The Rundown for July 15, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in he U.S. has reached 3,431,574 and the death toll stands at 136,466, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Alabama, Florida and North Carolina reported record daily increases in deaths yesterday. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said during an interview with medical journal yesterday that the U.S. could get the coronavirus pandemic under control in one to two months if every American wore a mask. “The time is now,” he warned. Meanwhile, the first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the U.S. has produced positive results in 45 volunteers who were administered the drug last March. The vaccine produced by the Biotech company Moderna reportedly produced coronavirus antibodies in all participants in the initial safety trial. A late-stage trial is scheduled to begin on July 27, when 30,000 will participate in 87 locations.

TRUMP RESCINDS VISA RULE… The Trump administration yesterday rescinded its rule that would have required international students to transfer or leave the U.S. if their schools held classes entirely online because of the pandemic. The rule faced widespread criticism following its announcement last week and was facing eight federal lawsuits and opposition from hundreds of universities. Its withdrawal was revealed at the start of a hearing in a federal lawsuit in Boston brought by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs said federal immigration authorities agreed to pull the July 6 directive and “return to the status quo.”

TRUMP IMPOSES CHINA SANCTIONS… President Donald Trump yesterday announced the signing of legislation that imposes sanctions on China in response to its interference with Hong Kong’s autonomy. Trump said the order also ends the preferential treatment that the U.S. has long afforded Hong Kong. In response, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced retaliatory sanctions against a handful of U.S. officials and entities, including Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

GHISLAINE MAXWELL HELD WITHOUT BOND… British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was ordered to be held without bail yesterday after pleading not guilty in a New York court to charges she conspired to traffic minors. Her trial was set for July 12, 2021. The 58-year-old Maxwell, an associate of the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, has denied helping him Epstein sexually exploit and abuse multiple minor girls as young as 14 from 1994 to 1997. The eight counts against her include conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and perjury.

TUBERVILLE BEATS SESSION IN ALABAMA PRIMARY… Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville defeated former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in yesterday’s runoff for the Republican nomination for an Alabama U.S. Senate seat. With 92 percent of precincts reporting, Tuberville held a 61- to 39-percent lead. He moves on to face Democratic Senator Doug Jones in November. Jones ran unopposed in the primary.

ENTERTAINMENT
VIACOM DISMISSES NICK CANNON
… Viacom has announced that it is terminating its long-running relationship with Nick Cannon after the actor and TV show host allegedly spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on his podcast. The “Cannon’s Class” on June 30 featured Cannon’s interview of Professor Griff, a rapper who was fired from the group Public Enemy in 1989 for blaming Jews “for the majority of the wickedness in the world.” In the interview, the two shared conspiracy theories about the Rothschild banking family and claims that people of African descent are the “true” Jews.

NAYA RIVERA AUTOPSY RESULTS… Autopsy results released yesterday confirmed that “Glee″ star Naya Rivera died from accidental drowning in a Southern California lake. Authorities said the body showed no signs of traumatic injury or disease that might have contributed to the drowning at Lake Piru and there was no initial indication that drugs or alcohol may have played a role in her death. The results were consistent with the preliminary findings of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

SPORTS
BRAVES SIGN YASIEL PUIG
… The Atlanta Braves have reportedly reached agreement with outfielder Yasiel Puig on a free-agent contract. The 29-year-old Puig was a 2014 All-Star for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He batted .267 in 149 games last season with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. The signing comes after Braves outfielder Nick Markakis announced earlier this month that he is opting out of the 2020 season.

The Rundown for July 14, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 3,363,056 and the death toll stands at 135,605, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. A spike in cases in California has prompted governor Gavin Newsom to re-close indoor dining, bars, movie theaters, zoos and museums. 30 California counties will be forced to close gyms, churches, hair salons, malls and other businesses. Meanwhile, California’s two largest school districts have announce plans to start the fall semester with online-only classes in defiance of the Trump administration’s calls for schools to reopen for in-person instruction. Los Angeles Unified, the country’s second-largest school district with roughly 700,000 students, will begin instruction August 18; San Diego Unified, which serves more than 100,000 students, is set to start August 31.

JUDGE RULES GEORGIA ABORTION LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL… A federal court yesterday permanently blocked Georgia’s “heartbeat” abortion law. The law outlawed most abortions once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity, or about six weeks into a pregnancy. In his ruling, District Judge Steve C. Jones wrote that the law violated a woman’s constitutional right to access to the procedure as established by the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade. Governor Brian Kemp signed House Bill 481 into law last year.

LAWSUIT FILED OVER VISA RULE… Seventeen states and the District of Columbia, along with dozens of universities, have joined in a lawsuit that challenges the new federal rule that strips international students of their visas if their coursework is entirely online when classes resume in the fall. 18 attorneys general say the Trump administration’s rule “cruel, abrupt, and unlawful action to expel international students amidst the pandemic that has wrought death and disruption across the United States.” The lawsuit names the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement as defendants.

MARY TRUMP CLEARED TO PUBLICIZE MEMOIR… A New York Supreme Court judge yesterday lifted the restraining order that would have prohibited Mary Trump from publicizing her memoir about her uncle Donald Trump and his family. “Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” is scheduled for release today. President Trump’s brother, Robert Trump, had tried to stop the book’s publication on the grounds that it violated a confidentiality agreement Mary signed as part of an inheritance settlement from her grandfather in 2001. Judge Hal Greenwald ruled that the confidentiality clause in “what appeared to be somewhat nasty [intrafamily] litigation” was “so overly broad, as to be ineffective.”

TEXAS SUPREME COURT SHUTS DOWN STATE GOP CONVENTION… The Texas Supreme Court yesterday struck down an appeal by the Republican Party of Texas that would have allowed the group to host its convention in Houston this week. Mayor Sylvester Turner had ordered the event to be canceled over coronavirus concerns last Wednesday prompting the state GOP’s executive committee to file suit. The state supreme court court ruled that though the party has the right to hold a convention, “those rights do not allow it to simply commandeer use of the (convention center).” State Republican Party officials are now planning to host a convention virtually.

ENTERTAINMENT
NAYA RIVERA’S BODY FOUND
… Authorities in Southern California announced yesterday that they have found the body of “Glee” star Naya Rivera five days after she was reported missing at Lake Piru in Ventura County. The 33-year-old actress and her boy were last seen renting a pontoon boat at the lake’s marina. The boy was later found sleeping alone on the boat and told investigators that he and his mother had been swimming and he got back into the boat but she didn’t. Authorities said the following day that they believed Rivera had drowned and shifted from a rescue mission to a recovery operation.

4 CHARGED IN MURDER OF POP SMOKE… The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced yesterday that two men and two teenagers have been charged in the murder of rapper Pop Smoke. The rapper was fatally shot during an alleged robbery in February. The 19- and 18-year-old men are eligible for the death penalty since the alleged murder occurred during an alleged robbery. They also face gang and gun charges.

SCIENCE-SHOW HOST GRANT IMAHARA DIES… Grant Imahara, an electrical engineer and roboticist who hosted the popular science shows “MythBusters” on Discovery Channel and Netflix’s “White Rabbit Project,” died suddenly yesterday following a brain aneurysm. He was 49. Imahara joined “MythBusters” in its third season and left the next year with co-hosts Kari Byron and Tory Belleci. The three reunited in 2016 for “White Rabbit Project.”

SPORTS
WASHINGTON DROPS REDSKINS NICKNAME
… The Washington Redskins made it official yesterday by announcing that they will replace their nickname and logo amid decades-long complaints that they are racial slurs. Pending trademark issues will determine when the new nickname is revealed. Team owner Dan Snyder had vowed for years that he would never change the team’s name but apparently changed his mind amid recently applied economic pressure from investors, sponsors and vendors.

The Rundown for July 13, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of conformed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 3,304,942 and the nation’s death toll stands at 135,205, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Florida’s 15,300 new cases yesterday were a daily high for any state during the pandemic. Arizona, Texas and California have also been hard-hit. There was good news in New York City, where health officials reported zero coronavirus-related deaths for the first time since the pandemic hit.

GRAHAM TO ALLOW MUELLER TO TESTIFY… Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham announced on Twitter yesterday that he will allow Democrats to bring in former special counsel Robert Mueller to testify about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, had denied Democrats’ previous attempts to bring Mueller before the committee but apparently changed his mind after reading an op-ed Mueller wrote in Saturday’s Washington Post. Mueller defended his office’s prosecution of former President Trump adviser Roger Stone and emphasized that he is still a convicted felon and “rightly so” even after President Trump’s commuted his sentence.

21 INJURED AFTER BLAST ABOARD NAVY SHIP… The Navy says 17 sailors and four civilians were injured yesterday after an explosion caused a three-alarm fire aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard as it was docked at Naval Base San Diego for routine maintenance. The hospitalized sailors were reported to be in stable condition and mostly suffering from either heat exhaustion or smoke inhalation. San Diego Fire Chief Colin Stowell said that the fire would “more than likely” burn the ship to the water.

FEDERAL EXECUTION SCHEDULED FOR TODAY… The first federal execution since 2003 is scheduled for today following yesterday’s decision by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a lower court ruling staying the execution of a man convicted of murdering a family of three. 47-year-old Daniel Lewis Lee of Yukon, Oklahoma, is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 4 p.m. at a federal prison in Indiana. He was convicted in Arkansas of the 1996 killings of a husband, wife and their 8-year-old daughter. Lee’s family tried to delay the execution by arguing that they would be put at high risk for coronavirus if they had to travel to attend the execution and vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.

GAS PRICES DOWN 2 CENTS… The average price for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline in the U.S. rose by 2 cents over the past two weeks, according to a nationwide survey of gas stations released yesterday. The highest average price found that the most expensive gas was in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it cost $3.20 per gallon. The cheapest gas was in Houston, where a gallon costs $1.79 on average.

ENTERTAINMENT
ELVIS’ GRANDSON DIES
… Singer and actor Benjamin Keough, the son of Lisa Marie Presley and the grandson of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, died yesterday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in Calabasas, California. He was 27. Keough was the son of musician Danny Keough and the sister of actress Riley Keough.

POP SMOKE TOPS ALBUM CHART… Pop Smoke’s posthumous release, “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” sold 251,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 album chart. The original Broadway soundtrack to “Hamilton” shot into second place on sales of 102,000 units. Last week’s champ, Lil Baby’s “My Turn,” dropped into third place after selling 62,000 copies. DaBaby’s “Blame It On Baby” sold 36,000 units to finish fourth. Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding” capped the top five with 36,000 copies sold.

SPORTS
REDSKINS TO CHANGE NAME
… The Washington Redskins are expected to announce a new nickname at a press conference this morning. The nickname has been criticized for years as racially insensitive and the franchise announced earlier this month that it would be conducting a thorough review. Team owner Dan Snyder famously told USA Today in 2013 to “put it in all caps” that he would never change the name. Meanwhile, major league baseball’s Atlanta Braves have informed season-ticket holders that that they will not be changing their nickname but will take a further look at the future of the tomahawk chop.

The Rundown for July 10, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 3,117,946 and the nation’s death toll stands at 133,290, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Several states continue to set record highs for daily increases in new cases. Arizona, California, Florida and Texas have accounted for nearly half of all new cases in the U.S. in recent days. The recent surge has overwhelmed hospitals and slowed testing.

SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST TRUMP IN TWO DECISIONS… The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that presidents are not immune from state criminal proceedings while in office and that President Trump is not “categorically immune” from having his financial records released to a New York grand jury. However, High Court justices ruled in a second case that a lower court needs to consider separation of power issues related to Congressional subpoenas of President Trump’s tax returns, thereby making it appear unlikely that Trump’s financial records will be released before the November election. The vote was 7-2 in both cases. Both of Trump’s SCOTUS appointees, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, ruled against him in each.

SECTION OF EASTERN OKLAHOMA IS NOW INDIAN LAND… A large swath of eastern Oklahoma will now be considered the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation following a Supreme Court ruling yesterday. The decision was based on Congress’ failure to formally undo the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s 19th century reservation. As a result of the ruling, state prosecutors have no authority to pursue cases against American Indians on that land. It could also overturn hundreds of past convictions and impact other tribes.

FORMER SDNY PROSECUTOR TESTIFIES… The recently-ousted federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York testified before the House Judiciary Committee behind closed doors yesterday. Geoffrey Berman, whose office has investigated people close to President Trump, testified that Attorney General William Barr pressured him to step down last month so that Barr could replace him with Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton. Berman said Barr offered him positions at the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division or even at the SEC.

DEFENSE CHIEF CONFIRMS RUSSIAN-BOUNTY BRIEFINGS… Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed yesterday that he had been briefed on intelligence reports that Russia was paying Taliban militants up to $100,000 for every American they killed. The confirmation conflicts with President Trump’s claim that the reports were a “hoax.” Esper did say that he has not seen intelligence that corroborates claims that American troops were killed as a result of the “bounty” payments.

JUDGE IN MICHAEL FLYNN’S CASE SEEKS REVIEW… The judge in Michael Flynn’s criminal case has asked a federal appeals court to reconsider its decision to drop Michael Flynn case. Judge Emmet Sullivan seeks a review of the appeals court that would involve all active judges on the court rehearing the case. Trump has criticized the case against Flynn, his former national security adviser who pleaded guilty and admitted lying to FBI agents about his discussions with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. before Trump was inaugurated. Flynn withdrew his plea and appealed his case.

CALIFORNIA SUES OVER STUDENT VISA RESTRICTIONS… California officials yesterday announced their intent to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its sudden policy change that intends to return international students to their home countries if their schools in the U.S. switched to online courses due to the coronavirus pandemic. The lawsuit filed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra came a day after Harvard and MIT sued in federal court to stop the new policy. Immigration and Customs Enforcement had announced in March that student visa holders in the U.S. would be allowed to remain in the country if they’re forced to attend virtual classes.

MICHAEL COHEN BACK IN CUSTODY… President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, was returned to federal prison yesterday for allegedly violating his home confinement agreement. Law enforcement officials said Cohen refused to sign documents prohibiting him from interacting with the media or writing a book. In May, pandemic concerns prompted Cohen’s release from federal prison to serve the rest of his three-year sentence from home. He was convicted for his role in making hush-money payments to women who said they’d had affairs with Trump.

ENTERTAINMENT
NAYA RIVERA BELIEVED DEAD
… Efforts to find actress Naya Rivera in a Southern California lake are now a recovery operation and not a rescue mission, Ventura County sheriff’s officials said yesterday. Authorities are resuming that the 33-year-old Rivera is dead. She rented a boat with her 4-year-old son on Wednesday afternoon and hasn’t been seen since. She was reported missing after the boy was found alone on the boat.

JOY REID GETS WEEKDAY MSNBC SHOW… MSNBC announced yesterday that it is giving political analyst Joy Reid her own weekday show in the 7 p.m. EDT time slot. “The ReidOut,” based out of Washington, D.C., is set to premiere on July 20 and will feature political discussions and one-on-one conversations with politicians. Its timeslot was previously filled by “Hardball” until show host Chris Matthews suddenly retired in March. Reid’s current weekend morning show, “AM Joy” will continue with a rotating lineup of hosts until MSNBC names a permanent replacement in the fall.

SPORTS
COLLEGE CONFERENCES PLANNING FOR FALL
… The Big Ten Conference announced yesterday that it plans to adopt a conference-only season for all fall sports, including football, amid the coronavirus pandemic. The conference is the first to make such a move. Officials from the SEC say they are continuing to meet with campus leaders “to determine the best path forward” for fall sports. Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby says he’s following advice to “move ahead slowly” and plan “for all available scenarios.” The Atlantic Coast Conference plans to delay all fall sports until at least Sept. 1. On Wednesday, the Ivy League declared a shutdown of fall sports.

The Rundown for July 9, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… More than 60,000 new coronavirus cases were recorded yesterday to set a daily high and raise the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. to 3,055,004, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The nation’s death toll stands at 132,309. More than three dozen states have shown increases over the past week and health officials say hospitalizations and patients in intensive care have also risen significantly. California Governor Gavin Newsom blamed people who have ignored or defied precautions for yesterday’s record-setting 11,694 new cases. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy yesterday issued an executive order requiring face coverings outdoors where social distancing is not possible. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan for 1.1 million students in the nation’s largest public school district to return to classes in September, attending only two or three days a week and learning online in between. Meanwhile, President Trump threatened to hold back federal money if school districts don’t bring their students back in the fall and complained that his own public health officials’ safety guidelines are impractical and too expensive.

FEDERAL AGENTS TO COMBAT CRIME IN KANSAS CITY… Attorney General William Barr announced yesterday that the Department of Justice is sending federal law enforcement to Kansas City, Missouri, to combat a recent surge in violent crime. The city has recorded a 40-percent surge in homicides compared with 2019. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said he was caught off-guard by the announcement but said he would not oppose the initiative.

SUPREME COURT DECISIONS… The Supreme Court handed down a pair of major decisions on religion and employers yesterday. Justices voted 7-2 to allow employers to opt out of birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act if they have religious or moral objections to birth control. The High Court also decided that religious school teachers are not covered by the federal government’s fair employment laws and threw out two discrimination lawsuits brought by teachers against their employers.

NEW YORK AG CALLS FOR POLICE REFORM… New York Attorney General Letitia James called for sweeping reforms of the New York Police Department in a new report released yesterday. Among other proposals, James recommends that New York City’s mayor give up sole control over the city police commissioner’s hiring. She urged the creation of a commission with representatives from the mayor, City Council, public advocate and comptroller who would oversee hiring and promotion of senior New York Police Department officials. The commission would have final say on the department’s budget and officer discipline. The Attorney General’s Office issued the report after receiving 1,300 complaints concerning police conduct during protests that erupted following the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd.

EXECUTION IN TEXAS… A 45-year-old man convicted in the 1993 fatal shooting an 82-year-old man was executed by lethal injection in Texas last night. Billy Joe Wardlow was put to death at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the killing of Carl Cole at his home in Cason, about 130 miles east of Dallas. Wardlow was 18 at the time of the slaying, and his attorneys argued that his brain was still developing at the time.

ENTERTAINMENT
LADY A SUES OVER NAME
… The band formerly known as Lady Antebellum has filed a trademark lawsuit over its new name, Lady A. In a suit filed in Tennessee District Court, Lady A seeks a ruling that would allow it to use the name without infringing on the trademark rights of Anita White, a Seattle-based blues singer who has been using the name for decades. The band claims it had been in negotiations with White but talks fell apart after she demanded $10 million dollars to allow them the new name.

SEARCH FOR NAYA RIVERA… A search-and-rescue effort extended into last night after former “Glee” actress Naya Rivera was reported missing at a Southern California lake. Authorities at Piru Lake in Ventura County say the search began after Rivera’s 4-year-old son was found floating alone on a rented boat three hours after the actress had rented it. The child was said to be unharmed and told investigators that he and his mother were swimming, but his mother never got back into the boat.

SPORTS
AMAZON PULLS REDSKINS MERCHANDISE
… Amazon yesterday became the latest company to announce that it is removing Washington Redskins merchandise from its website while the team considers a name change. Sellers were reportedly given 48 hours to remove the items. Nike, Walmart, Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods previously announced they were pulling Redskins merchandise.

The Rundown for July 8, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,996,098 and the nation’s death toll stands at 131,480, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. President Trump revealed yesterday that he plans to pressure state and local lawmakers to reopen schools in the fall months. Meanwhile, New York and New Jersey have added Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma to their lists of states being put under quarantine rule. The rule requires travelers from the states to undergo 14 days of quarantine and also applies to travelers from 16 other states where positive test rates have exceeded 10-per-100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average or the positivity rate is 10 percent or greater.

U.S. MOVES TO WITHDRAW FROM W.H.O… The Trump administration has taken the first step toward withdrawing the U.S. from the World Health Organization by notifying Congress and the United Nations. The withdrawal comes amid a rising number of coronavirus cases throughout the nation. The notice of withdrawal lists the effective date as July 6, 2021.

FBI DIRECTOR WARNS OF CHINA ATTACKS… FBI Director Christopher Wray yesterday accused the Chinese government of carrying out espionage and cyberattacks against the U.S. as part of “one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.” During an address at the Hudson Institute, Wray admitted he didn’t know how much of an economic impact the attacks have had, but said “every figure I’ve seen is breathtaking.” Prior to Wray’s comments, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited national security concerns in threatening to ban TikTok as well as other Chinese social media apps.

DEUTSCHE BANK FINED… New York state regulators have fined Deutsche Bank $150 million for its role in enabling convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. New York’s Superintendent of Financial Services Linda Lacewell said the bank failed to act on warning signs that Epstein was carrying out suspicious payments, among other violations. The bank processed millions of dollars in transactions that the department said should have prompted “additional scrutiny” because of Epstein’s criminal history, according to Lacewell.

DETAILS EMERGING IN TRUMP TELL-ALL BOOK… Journalists are reporting salacious details from their advance copies of the tell-all memoir written by President Donald Trump’s niece. In “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” Mary Trump claims that her uncle is a “narcissist” who now threatens the life of every American. She describes her uncle as a fraud and a bully to whom “lying was primarily a mode of self-aggrandizement meant to convince other people he was better than he actually was.” The author claims Trump hired a man to take his SAT prior to entering college, developed a world view forged by trauma at home and lacked the “ability to develop and experience the entire spectrum of human emotion.” When questioned about the revelations, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany offered,”I have yet to see the book but it’s a book of falsehoods.”

ENTERTAINMENT
JOHNNY DEPP U.K. LIBEL TRIAL UNDERWAY
… Johnny Depp’s libel trial in the U.K. got underway yesterday and brought him and ex-wife Amber Heard face-to-face for the first time in years. Depp is suing News Group Newspapers, owner of the Sun tabloid, and the tabloid’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, over a 2018 article which called him a “wife-beater.” Heard claimed to have been the victim of domestic abuse in over 13 incidents from 2013 to 2016, which Depp denies. The 57-year-old Depp and 34-year-old Heard met filming 2011’s “The Rum Diary” and were married for 15 months beginning in February 2015. Depp has filed a separate $50 million defamation suit against Heard in the U.S. over claims she made in an op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post.

TOM HANKS TALKS COVID… While promoting his upcoming film “Greyhound,” Tom Hanks has been relating the film with his recent battle with the coronavirus. The 63-year-old Hanks said during an appearance on the “Today” show yesterday that the struggle and survival in the film’s story line could just as easily apply to the current pandemic. The film, which premieres Friday on Apple TV+, tells the story about a U.S. Navy commander leading a convoy of Allied ships during World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic. Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, tested positive for COVID-19 in March but have since recovered. He encourages people to help stop the spread of the virus by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing their hands.

SPORTS
ATLANTA DREAM CO-OWNER OPPOSES BLM
… Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, who co-owns the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, has expressed her opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement and wants the league to put an American flag on every jersey when play resumes later this month. Loeffler said in a letter she wrote to the league commissioner that the BLM movement “is totally misaligned with the values and goals of the WNBA and the Atlanta Dream, where we support tolerance and inclusion.” The letter prompted a number of current and former WNBA players to demand Loeffler’s removal as Dream co-owner.

The Rundown for July 7, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,938,624 and the nation’s death toll stands at 130,306, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci noted yesterday that the average age of new coronavirus patients has dropped by roughly 15 years compared with only a few months ago. During a Q&A discussion with National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins, Fauci said that the resurgence of cases in the U.S. is an extension of the original outbreak, not a second wave.

TREASURY DEPT. DISCLOSES PPP LOAN RECIPIENTS… The Treasury Department yesterday released names of more than 650,000 companies that received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. Loans totaling $521 billion were intended to help companies to pay their employees amid the pandemic. Much of the money ended up in the hands of restaurants, small businesses and organizations, but some of the beneficiaries were called into question. They included groups that opposed government spending and taxes, companies with ties to lawmakers and their families, Washington, D.C., strategy firms and Kanye West’s fashion brand.

PIPELINES GET SHUT DOWN… Work on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines was brought to a halt by two court rulings yesterday. The Supreme Court denied the Trump administration’s request to allow for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline to continue in upholding a lower court’s decision that blocked a key environmental permit. A federal judge in Washington ordered the Dakota Access pipeline shut down for additional environmental review. Pipeline owner Energy Transfer announced plans to appeal. Yesterday’s rulings came a day after backers announced they were pulling out of the $8 billion Atlantic Coast gas pipeline in the Southeast.

ONLINE-ONLY CLASSES THREATEN INTERNATIONAL-STUDENT VISAS… International students in the U.S. on student visas must leave the U.S. or face possible deportation if their college or university switches to online-only classes in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. In announcing the policy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that students on F-1 and M-1 visas “may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.” Students on F1 visas who attend schools that provide a mixture of online and in-person classes will be permitted to take some online courses.

STATE OF EMERGENCY IN GEORGIA… Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency yesterday following a 4th of July weekend in which the shootings of 30 residents left five people dead. The order authorizes the deployment of 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops at state buildings and increases law-enforcement patrols. The Guardsmen will be assigned to protect state buildings, including the Capitol, the governor’s mansion and the headquarters for the Department of Public Safety.

ENTERTAINMENT
CHARLIE DANIELS DIES
… Country music star Charlie Daniels died yesterday after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83. Daniels, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, was best known for his song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Prior to achieving fame, Daniels was a session musician best known for his work with Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr and Leonard Cohen.

DISNEY ANNOUNCES KAEPERNICK DOCUMENTARY SERIES… The Walt Disney Co. announced yesterday that it is entering a partnership between ESPN Films and Colin Kaepernick for an exclusive documentary series on the former NFL player’s football career and racial activism. According to ESPN, the series will tell “scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity.” Disney will carrie the project across all its platforms, including Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Hulu, Pixar and The Undefeated.

SPORTS
MLB REVEALS SEASON SCHEDULE
… Major League Baseball announced yesterday that its 2020 regular season will get underway with a pair of games on July 23. The defending World Series-champion Washington Nationals will host the New York Yankees in the opener and the San Francisco Giants visit the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the nightcap. A full slate of 14 games will be played the next day.

CHIEFS EXTEND MAHOMES… The Kansas City Chiefs announced yesterday that they have reached agreement with Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes on a 10-year contract extension that binds him with the team through the 2031 season. The deal is worth a reported $450 million. ESPN reported that the extension includes a $140 million injury guarantee and no-trade clause.

The Rundown for July 6, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,879,830 and the nation’s death toll stands at 129,904, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned during an appearance yesterday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the U.S. is “right back where we were” when the country experienced its first peak in coronavirus infections earlier this year. Forty states have reported a surge in confirmed coronavirus cases after lifting restrictions and phased-in reopenings. Federal Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told ABC News yesterday that he “can’t predict when a vaccine will be ready.” The admission contrasts with President Trump’s prediction that scientists would have a “vaccine solution” ready “long before the end of the year.”

ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE DEVELOPERS WITHDRAW… The energy companies behind the $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline yesterday announced they were pulling out of the project, citing uncertainties about costs, permitting and litigation. Dominion Energy and Duke Energy announced their withdrawal despite winning a critical permit last month in Supreme Court. The companies released a statement explaining that “recent developments have created an unacceptable layer of uncertainty and anticipated delays” for the 600-mile project, which would have crossed West Virginia and Virginia into North Carolina.

REMAINS IDENTIFIED AS VANESSA GUILLEN’S… The Army announced yesterday that it has identified the remains of missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen, according to the lawyer representing the slain woman’s family. The 20-year-old Guillen had been missing since April 22. Last week, investigators found what turned out to be her remains about 20 miles away from the Killeen, Texas, base. One of two suspects in the case, a Fort Hood soldier, took his own life last Wednesday after being confronted by Killeen police officers and federal marshals.

8 BELIEVED DEAD IN IDAHO AFTER PLANES COLLIDE… Authorities in Kootenai County, Idaho, believe eight people are dead after two planes collided over Coeur d’Alene Lake yesterday afternoon. Two bodies were recovered before the planes sank, officials say. The remaining six victims are still unaccounted for but are believed to be dead. The planes have been found in 127 feet of water and recovery efforts will begin today or tomorrow.

2 DEAD, 8 WOUNDED IN SOUTH CAROLINA SHOOTING… An early-morning shooting outside a nightclub in Greenville, South Carolina, yesterday left two people dead and eight others wounded. The Greenville County Sheriff says the incident was “probably gang related” and investigators are seeking two suspects. Conditions of the wounded vary from minor to critical, according to officials.

ENTERTAINMENT
NICK CORDERO DIES
… Broadway star Nick Cordero died last night after a months-long battle with COVID-19. He was 41. Cordero fell ill on March 20 and was first diagnosed with pneumonia before testing positive for the coronavirus. He had been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for 94 days before his death. While battling the disease, he had his right leg amputated, lost more than 60 pounds and survived two mini-strokes. On Broadway, Cordero received a Tony nomination for “Bullets Over Broadway” and also starred in “Rock of Ages,” “Waitress” and “A Bronx Tale the Musical.” He was in L.A. to star in a “Rock of Ages” adaptation.

LIL BABY TOPS ALBUM CHART… Lil Baby’s “My Turn” sold 70,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 albums chart for a fifth week. Lil Durk’s “Just Cause Y’all Waited 2” rose to No. 2 after selling 43,000 units. DaBaby’s “Blame It on Baby” finished in third place with 40,000 copies sold. Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding” finished fourth on sales of 39,000 units. The Weeknd’s “After Hours” sold 32,000 copies to cap the top five.

SPORTS
NHL PLAYERS, OWNERS FINALIZE SEASON PROTOCOLS
… NHL players and owners have finalized protocols to resume the season by the end of the month. The agreement still has to be approved by the players’ union executive committee before it goes to a full membership vote of all NHL players. The NHL’s board of governors will also vote on the package. The league hopes to open training camps on July 13. Once regular-season opens, Eastern Conference teams will play in Toronto while the Western Conference teams will be in Edmonton. The 24-team tournament will conclude with a Stanley Cup Final in Edmonton, likely in early October.

The Rundown for July 3, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,739,879 and the nation’s death toll stands at 128,740, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Florida reported a daily-high record yesterday and there have also been surges in Texas, Arizona and California. Texas Governor Greg Abbott yesterday issued an executive order mandating that all Texans wear face masks if they live in a county with more than 20 cases. He also deputized local governments and courts the authority to impose restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people.

DEMS CRITICIZE TRUMP AFTER RUSSIA-BOUNTY BRIEFING… CIA Director Gina Haspel led a group of intelligence officials in briefing House and Senate leaders on emerging reports that Russia has been paying Taliban militants bounties for dead American soldiers. Afterward, Democrats in the “Gang of Eight” criticized President Trump for not acting on the intelligence. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a joint statement declaring that any threats against U.S. troops “must be pursued relentlessly” and criticized Trump for “being soft” on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

GHISLAINE MAXWELL ARRESTED… FBI agents yesterday arrested British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell on charges she helped lure at least three girls as young as 14 to be sexually abused by the late financier Jeffrey Epstein. She is also charged with perjury relating to alleged lies told in her deposition. The 58-year-old Maxwell has faced multiple, years-old accusations that she helped Epstein scout young girls for abuse. Maxwell was arrested in Bradford, New Hampshire, where she was living on a wooded estate she purchased for $1 million last December.

GEOFFREY BERMAN TO TESTIFY BEFORE HOUSE PANEL… Geoffrey Berman, who was forced out of his job as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, will testify before the House Judiciary Committee next Thursday. Berman will discuss his removal, which came suddenly under suspicious circumstances. He had led the prosecutions of several President Trump associates before being ousted by Attorney General William Barr.

SUPREME COURT DENIES CURBSIDE VOTING IN ALABAMA… The Supreme Court voted 5-4 yesterday to block a lower court order allowing local officials to offer curbside voting in the July 14 runoff and loosen absentee ballot requirements in three of the state’s largest counties during the COVID-19 pandemic. The three counties are where plaintiffs in the lawsuit live. Groups that filed suit to make voting more accessible vowed to get the voting rules changed by the general election in November.

ENTERTAINMENT
HUGH DOWNS DIES
… Hugh Downs, who became one of television’s most familiar faces during a seven-decade career in broadcast news, died yesterday of natural causes. He was 99. Downs co-anchored NBC’s “Today” show from 1962 to 1971 and co-hosted the ABC evening newsmagazine “20/20” until his official retirement in 1999. He continued doing voice-over duties for a number of documentary films and specials through the 2000s.

CONAN MOVES SHOW TO COMEDY CLUB… Conan O’Brien is moving his late-night talk show to the Los Angeles comedy club where he got his start doing improv in 1987. O’Brien will start broadcasting from the Largo at the Coronet starting on Monday after filming from his home using an iPhone since march. He will continue to interview celebrity guests through Zoom and no audience will be present.

SPORTS
REDSKINS PRESSURED TO CHANGE NAME
… The Washington Redskins are facing increasing pressure to change their name. Yesterday, FedEx, which has naming rights to the stadium the team plays in, formally requested that the franchise adopt a new nickname. Later in the day, Nike.com removed all official team gear from the site. Team owner Dan Snyder has adamantly opposed changing the team’s name, despite it being considered an offensive racial slur toward the Native Americans.

The Rundown for July 2, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,686,249 and the nation’s death toll stands at 128,062, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The 50,203 new cases reported yesterday set a new one-day record. Arizona, California, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas were among states that recorded record highs. California yesterday rolled back reopening efforts by banning indoor restaurant dining in 19 counties, closing bars and stepping up enforcement of the restrictions as COVID-19 infections surge. Meanwhile, the Health Department announced yesterday that it is buying nearly all the next three months’ projected production of Covid-19 treatment remdesivir from U.S. manufacturer Gilead. Tests have found that remdesivir cuts recovery times but it is not yet clear if it improves survival rates. A course of treatment in the U.S. will cost $2,340.

MIDDLEMAN IDENTIFIED IN RUSSIAN BOUNTY PAYMENTS… As President Trump continues to dismiss intelligence reports of Russia paying Taliban-linked militants bounties to kill U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, additional details are emerging. The New York Times yesterday identified Afghan contractor Rahmatullah Azizi as the middleman between a Russian military unit and Taliban militants. American and Afghan officials say he paid out bounties as high $100,000 per dead American soldier for at least five years. Intelligence files of him collecting “hundreds of thousands of dollars” were among the materials provided to Congress this week.

BLOCK LIFTED ON TRUMP’S NIECE’S TELL-ALL BOOK… A New York Supreme Court judge yesterday removed a temporary restraining order that blocked Simon & Schuster’s publication of a tell-all book written by President Trump’s niece. “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” by Mary Trump is set for release on July 28. Whether or not Mary Trump might have breached a confidentiality agreement signed in the settlement of Fred Trump’s estate is still pending litigation.

POLICE CLEAR SEATTLE PROTEST ZONE… Seattle police cleared the city’s protest zone yesterday morning following an executive order from Mayor Jenny Durkan calling for protesters to vacate the area. Officers reported arresting 32 people who did not leave the several-block area. Protesters had gathered in the area for weeks amid protests against police brutality and racial injustice. The gatherings were mostly peaceful until two recent fatal shootings prompted Durkan to clear the zone.

DHS TASK FORCE TO PROTECT MONUMENTS… The Department of Homeland Security announced plans yesterday to deploy a newly established task force to protect federal statues and other monuments over the Fourth of July weekend. The establishment of the Protecting American Communities Task Force follows recent toppling of monuments with links to slavery, racism or colonialism. Acting Secretary Chad Wolf says his department will monitor potential civil unrest or destruction, deploy resources to protect federal monuments and work with the Interior and Justice departments to share intelligence.

ENTERTAINMENT
‘BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD’ RETURN
… Comedy Central announced yesterday that it is bringing back the classic MTV animated series “Beavis and Butt-Head.” Creator Mike Judge has agreed to fill a two-season order at the network. “Beavis and Butt-Head” ran for seven seasons on MTV from 1993 to 1997. The show was revived in 2011 for one season and made into the 1996 film “Beavis and Butt-Head Do America.”

CARL REINER TRIBUTE TOMORROW NIGHT… CBS will be paying tribute to the late Carl Reiner with a pair of colorized episodes of “The Dick Van Dyke Show” tomorrow night. Two episodes prominently featuring Reiner, who created and co-starred in the series, will air at 8 p.m. on CBS and streaming service CBS All Access. Reiner died Monday at the age of 98. The episodes “Coast to Coast Big Mouth” and “October Eve” were colorized under Reiner’s supervision. CBS said Reiner considered “October Eve” as one of his favorite episodes.

SPORTS
NFL AIMING AT 2 PRESEASON GAMES
… ESPN reported yesterday that the NFL plans to shorten its 2020 preseason to two games. The move is part of a larger acclimatization plan for players amid a shutdown of workouts during the coronavirus pandemic. Most players are scheduled to report to training camps on July 28, but the first preseason games won’t be played until the third week of August. Each team will play one home game and one on the road in the preseason. Teams that travel will depart on the day before games.