The Rundown for March 17, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 29,547,753 and the nation’s death toll stands at 536,887, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… A federal review of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 guidance turned up several troublesome recommendations by the former Trump administration. The review, which was ordered by CDC director Rochelle Walensky and posted on the agency’s website yesterday, found some of the recommendations were authored primarily by outside sources and were not based on the best science available.

INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS SAY RUSSIA INTERFERED IN ELECTION… A report released yesterday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded that Russia attempted to interfere in the 2020 U.S. presidential election by damaging Joe Biden and supporting Donald Trump. Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the operations, according to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. The report names two of the Russian intelligence operatives, Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach and Konstantin Kilimnik. The latter is a long-time associate of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and met secretly with Manafort through the campaign. The report also accused Iran of taking part in efforts to undermine public confidence in the U.S. elections processes and institutions.

KAVANAUGH’S BACKGROUND CHECK QUESTIONED… Rhode Island Democratic Senator Shelton Whitehouse has called on Attorney General Merrick Garland to help ensure “proper oversight” of an investigation into the FBI’s background check of Brett Kavanaugh prior to his 2018 confirmation as a supreme court justice. Whitehouse, who serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggested that the background check was “politically-constrained and perhaps fake.” Kavanaugh’s former high-school classmate Christine Blasey Ford and several other women have accused him of sexual assault and misconduct. The FBI was brought in to investigate the allegations during Kavanaugh’s confirmation but its efforts were questioned by some Democratic senators who found it incredulous that neither Kavanaugh nor Ford were so much as interviewed by investigators. In a letter he sent Garland yesterday, Whitehouse noted that some witnesses wanted to share their accounts with the FBI but could not find anyone at the bureau who would accept their testimony.

ISABEL GUZMAN CONFIRMED AS SBA ADMINISTRATOR… The Senate voted 81-17 yesterday to confirm Isabel Guzman’s nomination as administrator of the Small Business Administration. Guzman has been serving as director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate, where she was in charge of small businesses COVID-19 relief. In her new position, she will oversee the rollout the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program for small-business loan relief.

8 DEAD IN ATLANTA-AREA SHOOTINGS… Authorities in Georgia say a 21-year-old man captured last night is the suspect in three metro Atlanta massage parlor shootings that left eight people dead. Robert Aaron Long is accused of killing four people at a massage Parlor in Cherokee County at around 5 p.m. Approximately 45 minutes later, he allegedly killed four more people at two separate massage parlors across the street from each other in Atlanta. Long was eventually taken into custody in Crisp County, about 150 miles south of Atlanta.

ENTERTAINMENT
YAPHET KOTTO DIES
… Actor Yaphet Kotto, whose work spanned television and film from the 1960s through the 1990s, died on Monday of undisclosed causes in the Philippines. He was 81. Kotto was best-known for playing a snarky engineer in the 1983 film “Alien” and as a villain in the 1981 James Bond film “Live and Let Die.” He also played police lieutenant Al Giardello on NBC’s in the long-running TV series “Homicide: Live on the Street.”

UPCOMING ‘SNL’ GUESTS… Daniel Kaluuya and Carey Mulligan have been booked to guest-host upcoming “Saturday Night Live” episodes. Kaluuya will host the April 3 episode, with musical guest St. Vincent. Mulligan will host the show a week later, with Kid Cudi as musical guest. Both actors were nominated for Oscars on Monday. Kaluuya is up for Best Supporting Actor nod for “Judas and the Black Messiah” and Mulligan is up for Best Actress for “Promising Young Woman.”

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

Utah 117 – BOSTON 109… Donovan Mitchell keyed a fourth-quarter rally and led a balanced scoring attack with 21 points in leading the Jazz past the Celtics. Jordan Clarkson delivered 20 points off the bench. Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

MIAMI 113 – Cleveland 98… All five starters scored in double figures as the Heat cruised past the Cavaliers. Jimmy Butler led the way with 28 points and 12 boards.

PHILADELPHIA 99 – New York 96… The 76ers held the Knicks to 14 fourth-quarter points in coming from behind to win their sixth in a row. Tobias Harris scored six of his game-high 30 points in the final 2:25. Seth Curry tossed in 20 points. Ben Simmons had 16 points and 13 rebounds.

CHICAGO 123 – Oklahoma City 102… The Bulls jumped out to a fast start and never let up in downing the Thunder. Zach LaVine made 15 of 20 field-goal attempts on his way to 40 points. Lauri Markkanen added 22 points.

Atlanta 119 – HOUSTON 107… Danilo Galinari scored 20 of his 29 points in the first half as the Hawks won their sixth straight and extended the Rockets’ losing streak to 17 games. John Collins had 20 points and 10 boards. Trae Young dished off 14 assists to go with his 13 points.

PORTLAND 125 – New Orleans 124… The Trail Blazers came from 17 points down in the final six minutes to stun the Pelicans. Damian Lillard knocked down the tying and winning free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining to cap a 50-point effort.

L.A. LAKERS 137 – Minnesota 121… The Lakers pulled away in the second half to put away the Timberwolves. LeBron James racked up 25 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists. Montrezl Harrell added 25 points off the bench.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Toronto is at Detroit…
Indiana hosts Brooklyn…
Milwaukee is at Philadelphia…
Washington hosts Sacramento…
Boston is at Cleveland…
Chicago hosts San Antonio…
Golden State is at Houston…
Memphis hosts Miami…
Charlotte is at Denver…
Dallas hosts the L.A. Clippers

NHL SCOREBOARD
NEW JERSEY 3 – Buffalo 2
… Miles Wood netted the go-ahead goal on a power play early in the third period and the Devils hung on to edge the Sabres. Sami Vatanen scored a tying goal in the second period.

WASHINGTON 3 – N.Y. Islanders 1… Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom each had a goal and an assist as the Capitals topped the Islanders. Ovechkin’s goal in the second period was the 718th of his career and moved him past Phil Esposito for sole possession of sixth place on the NHL’s all-time list.

Boston 2 – PITTSBURGH 1… Trent Frederic scored a tiebreaking goal in the third period and the Bruins made it stand in edging the Penguins. David Pastrnak opened the scoring with a power-play goal in the first period. Goalie Daniel Vladar made 34 saves.

DETROIT 4 – Carolina 2… Adam Erne found the net twice as the Red Wings skated past the Hurricanes to end their eight-game skid. Filip Hronek had a goal and two assists. Jonathan Bernier made 35 saves at goal.

MINNESOTA 3 – Arizona 0… Goalie Kaapo Kahkonen stopped all 31 shots in his second shutout of the season and the Wild breezed past the Coyotes. Ryan Hartman provided all the offense Minnesota needed with a first-period goal.

Tampa Bay 4 – DALLAS 3 (SO)… The Lightning recovered to outlast the Stars after blowing a two-goal lead in the final two minutes of regulation. Brayden Point had a goal and an assist in regulation and netted the decisive goal in the shootout.

COLORADO 8 – Anaheim 4… The Avalanche scored four unanswered goals in the third period to double up on the Ducks. Nazem Kadri’s second goal tied the game late in the second period and he set up two other scores.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Vancouver is at Ottawa…
the N.Y. Rangers host Philadelphia…
Montreal is at Winnipeg…
Calgary hosts Edmonton…
San Jose is at Vegas…
Los Angeles hosts St. Louis

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is April 1)…
BOSTON 5, Atlanta 3…
TAMPA BAY 7, Baltimore 1…
N.Y. Yankees 7, DETROIT 4…
Pittsburgh 4, MINNESOTA 2…
Toronto 14, PHILADELPHIA 5…
N.Y. METS 8, Houston 3…
Milwaukee 7, L.A. DODGERS 2…
Chi. White Sox 4, SAN DIEGO 3…
L.A. ANGELS 17, Cleveland 8…
ARIZONA 12, Oakland 3…
Miami 4, WASHINGTON 3…
Colorado 11, CINCINNATI 7…
Seattle 13, KANSAS CITY 0…
Texas 10, SAN FRANCISCO 6

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