The Rundown for December 15, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 16,515,717 and the nation’s death toll stands at 300,474, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 198,647 new cases and 1,619 deaths… An intensive care unit nurse in New York became the first person in the U.S. to receive the newly authorized Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine yesterday. Sandra Lindsay’s vaccination comes months after she began treating the sickest of COVID-19 patients.

BIDEN, HARRIS WIN OFFICIAL… Joe Biden and Kamala Harris received 306 electoral votes yesterday to confirm their election as president and vice president. The 55 votes from California pushed them above the 270 votes required for victory. Subsequent votes from Hawaii gave them a final total of 306 to Donald Trump’s 232. During a prime-time speech last night, Biden called on Americans to “turn the page” on the Trump era and called for unity, noting that “democracy beats deep in the hearts of the American people.”

WILLIAM BARR STEPPING DOWN… Attorney General William Barr confirmed yesterday that he plans to step down before Christmas. His departure comes just a month before the conclusion of Donald Trump’s presidency and amid recent clashes with the White House over its election-fraud claims. Prior to the election, Barr faced heavy criticism for politicizing the Justice Department and taking a militant approach to protesters. Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen will become acting attorney general, Trump announced.

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY TARGETED IN HACK… The Department of Homeland Security is among federal agencies that were targeted in hacks blamed on Russian intelligence. Cybersecurity analysts say the hacks exploited weaknesses in network security software from SolarWinds, a company whose products are used by more than 300,000 customers, including more than 400 of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies, five branches of the U.S. military and the Departments of Defense, State and Justice, as well as the office of the president. The Commerce and Treasury Departments also reported being hacked in an attack that began in the spring.

SENATORS PRESENT BIPARTISAN RELIEF BILL… A bipartisan group of 12 senators yesterday introduced their $908 billion, two-part COVID-19 stimulus bill. The legislation includes a $748 billion package focused on funding for education, vaccines and transportation in addition to a $160 billion add-on that includes state and local funding as well as a short-term liability shield for employers. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has dismissed Democrats’ calls for funding and hopes lawmakers pass a bill before lawmakers wrap up their legislative session at the end of the week.

ENTERTAINMENT
FILMS TO BE PRESERVED
… “The Dark Knight,” “Grease,” “The Blues Brothers,” and “Shrek” are among films selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry yesterday. The Library of Congress annually chooses 25 films on the basis of their cultural, historic or aesthetic importance. Other films selected included “Freedom Riders,” “The Hurt Locker,” “Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege,” “The Ground,” “Buena Vista Social Club,” “The Devil Never Sleeps,” “The Joy Luck Club,” “Illusions,” “Losing Ground,” “Wattstax,” “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Lilies of the Field,” “The Man with the Golden Arm,” “Outrage,” “Cabin the Sky,” “With Cara and Camera Around the World,” “The Battle of the Century,” “Bread, “Kid Auto Races at Venice” and “Suspense.”

SHAWN MENDES TOPS ALBUM CHART… Shawn Mendes’ new release, “Wonder,” sold 89,000 copies to give him his fourth No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Last week’s champ, Bad Bunny’s “El Ultimo Tour del Mundo,” dropped into second place on sales of 57,000 units. Ariana Grande’s “Positions” jumped to No. 3 after selling 55,200 copies. Michael Bublé’s “Christmas” finished fourth with 55,000 units sold. Carrie Underwood’s “My Gift” sold 53,000 copies to cap the top five.

SPORTS
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL

Baltimore 47 – CLEVELAND 42
… Justin Tucker booted a tie-breaking 54-yard field goal with 7 seconds remaining and the Ravens (8-5) added a safety on the game’s final desperation play to cap a wild win over the Browns (9-4). After Cleveland scored back-to-back touchdowns in the fourth quarter to erase a 13-point deficit, Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson threw a go-ahead 44-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Brown with 1:51 left. A two-point conversion gave the Ravens a seven-point lead that they couldn’t hold. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for a score to fuel his team’s fourth-quarter comeback. Jackson rushed for 124 yards and two scores to lead the Ravens’ ground game.

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
Marquette 89, No. 9 CREIGHTON 84…
No. 19 Rutgers 74, MARYLAND 60

NBA PRESEASON SCORES
CLEVELAND 116, Indiana 106…
Toronto 112, CHARLOTTE 109…
New Orleans 114, MIAMI 92…
Dallas 128, MILWAUKEE 112…
Memphis 123, MINNESOTA 104…
UTAH 111, Phoenix 92

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