The Rundown for February 18, 2020

TALIBAN OFFICIAL SAYS PEACE DEAL IS FINALIZED… A Taliban official said yesterday that a peace deal with the U.S. to end more than 18 years of war has been finalized. Spokesman Suhail Shaheen told an Afghan television station that the two sides are prepared to sign a deal by the end of February. An Afghan government official confirmed the agreement but stopped short of calling it a done deal until t was signed. The U.S. has been negotiating an end to the war since July 2018. A deal was reportedly nearing completion last September, but negotiations collapsed after the Taliban took credit for the death of a U.S. soldier.

PROSECUTORS CONSIDER MORE CHARGES AGAINST PARNAS… CNN reported yesterday that federal prosecutors are considering new charges against an associate of President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. The charges would center on Fraud Guarantee, a company co-founded by Lev Parnas that has been accused of misleading potential investors. The six-year-old company, which offers an insurance policy for companies to protect against fraud, reportedly paid Giuliani $500,000 at around the time that Parnas and his associate, Igor Fruman, launched a campaign to pressure Ukraine’s government to announce an investigation into Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

VIRGINIA DELAYS ASSAULT-WEAPON BAN… Virginia lawmakers dealt a blow to the state’s gun control advocates yesterday by voting to defer a proposed ban on sales of assault weapons. The proposal was part of a package of gun control measures sought by Governor Ralph Northam. The proposal called for a ban on the sales of some semiautomatic weapons as well as the possession of magazines with more than 12 rounds. Four Democratic legislators on the Virginia Senate Judiciary Committee joined Republicans in the 10-5 vote to defer a final decision until next year after the state’s crime commission has studied the issue.

BEZOS PLEDGES $10B TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE… Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has announced plans to spend $10 billion of his own fortune in the fight against climate change. In an Instagram post yesterday, the world’s richest person said he’ll start giving grants this summer to scientists, activists and nonprofit groups. Bezos had faced criticism for not doing more to protect Earth. Last month, a group of 357 Amazon workers who referred to themselves collectively as Amazon Employees for Climate Justice posted complaints about environmental and other matters despite company rules forbidding workers from criticizing the company online.

QUARANTINED AMERICANS RETURN… More than 300 Americans who had been quarantined for two weeks aboard the coronavirus-affected Diamond Princess cruise ship returned to the U.S. yesterday. Among the passengers were 14 people who tested positive for the virus. According to the State Department, another 60 Americans remained in Japan for monitoring. The coronavirus outbreak is blamed for the deaths of 1,770 people in China and five in other countries.

ENTERTAINMENT
RASCAL FLATTS MAKES ADDITIONS TO FAREWELL TOUR… Rascal Flatts has added new dates and additional opening acts for its planned farewell tour. Chase Rice and Chris Lane have joined Avenue Beat, Caylee Hammack, King Calaway, Matt Stell and Rachel Wammack as openers at different points during the tour. Most of the dates added will be in August and September. The tour ends October 30 in Nashville.

MARC MARON TO HOST NETFLIX SPECIAL… Actor, comedian and podcast host Marc Maron announced yesterday that he will host a new special that’s coming to Netflix next month. The 56-year-old Maron said his stand-up comedy special “End Times Fun” will premiere March 10. The special was filmed in Los Angeles last October. Maron says he will explore politics, celebrity status, religion, technology and more in the special.

SPORTS
NHL SCORES
CALGARY 6 – Anaheim 4… Andrew Maniapane scored two of his three goals during five-goal third period that carried the Flames past the Ducks. Matthew Tkachuk had a goal and an assist.

ARIZONA 2 – N.Y. Islanders 1… The Coyotes got goals from Clayton Keller and Conor Garland and held off the Islanders. Goalie Antti Raanta made 28 saves.

Florida 5 – SAN JOSE 3… Mike Hoffman’s second-period goal gave the Panthers the lead for good in their defeat of the Sharks. Aaron Ekblad set up two goals. Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 stops at goal.

VEGAS 3 – Washington 2… The Golden Knights took a three-goal lead into the third period and held on to top the Capitals. Max Pacioretty’s second-period goal proved to be the difference.

Tampa Bay 4 – COLORADO 3 (OT)… The Lightning recovered to outlast the Avalanche after letting a two-goal lead slip away. Nikita Kucherov netted the winning goal at 3:03 of overtime. Alex Killorn and Cameron Gaunce scored 16 seconds apart in the second period.

TONIGHT’S NHL SCHEDULE
Washington is at Philadelphia…
Pittsburgh hosts Toronto…
Buffalo is at Ottawa…
Detroit hosts Montreal…
New Jersey is a St. Louis…
Nashville hosts Carolina…
Los Angeles is at Winnipeg

TOP 25 COLLEGE MEN’S BASKETBALL SCORES
#3 KANSAS 91, Iowa State 71

HAMLIN WINS AT DAYTONA… Denny Hamlin captured his second straight win at Daytona yesterday and third overall by crossing the finish line 0.014 seconds ahead of Ryan Blaney. Hamlin joined six Hall of Fame drivers as winners of three or more Daytona 500s. The race featured a fiery crash late in the final lap that sent Ryan Newman to the hospital. Doctors last night called his injuries non-life-threatening.

NBA REGULAR SEASON RESUMES THURSDAY

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