The Rundown for March 19, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 29,605,933 and the nation’s death toll stands at 538,052, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… An update released yesterday by Johns Hopkins University revealed the number of COVID-19 cases jumped more than 10 percent in 14 states this week compared with last. Seven of the states are posting a rise of more than 20 percent, the report concluded. Infections are spreading fastest in Michigan, with alarming increases also in Delaware, Montana, Alabama and West Virginia.

SENATE CONFIRMATIONS… The Senate narrowly confirmed Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services secretary yesterday. The 50-to-49 vote paved the way for California’s attorney general to lead the White House’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Later yesterday, the Senate confirmed William Burns as CIA director and Brian McKeon was as deputy secretary of state for management and resources. Burns is a former ambassador to Russia and Jordan who served at the State Department for more than 30 years under both Democratic and Republican presidents. McKeon has been a longtime Biden aide and adviser who also served as foreign policy adviser for President Bill Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign.

BIDEN TO PICK BILL NELSON AS NASA ADMINISTRATOR… Former Florida Democratic senator Bill Nelson is President Joe Biden’s pick for NASA administrator. Biden is expected to make the announcement as early as today. The 78-year—old Nelson flew to space aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986 during his time in Congress advocated for space programs. He has faced criticism, however for his support of NASA’s troubled Space Launch System. The system’s heavy-lift rocket is years behind schedule, over budget and has yet to launch.

HOUSE PASSES IMMIGRATION BILLS… The House yesterday passed immigration bills that would protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and offer them a pathway to gain legal status. The House voted 228-197 to approve the Dream and Promise Act, which would help more than 3 million so-called “Dreamers” and other qualifying immigrants remain in the U.S. and offer them a chance for citizenship. Lawmakers also passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which would help another 1 million immigrant agriculture workers and their families stay legally in the U.S. The vote was 247 to 174.

ATTORNEYS GENERAL SUE OVER PIPELINE… A coalition of attorneys general from 21 states is suing President Joe Biden and members of his administration for rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit. Their suit seeks to undo Biden’s attempt to effectively cancel the 1,200 mile-long pipeline, claiming the president exceeded his authority with his January 20 executive order revoking permits. Attorneys general say Biden and senior members of his administration flouted rules Congress established to limit actions the president can take regarding Keystone. Former president Trump approved permits for the pipeline in 2019 after the Obama administration had denied them.

ENTERTAINMENT
ARMIE HAMMER FACES RAPE ACCUSATION
… A new and determined accuser has emerged with sexual-misconduct accusations against actor Armie Hammer. A woman who lives in Europe and wants to be known by her first name, Effie, said during a virtual press conference yesterday that Hammer violently raped her and abused her physically and emotionally during their on-and-off four year relationship from 2016 to 2020. Effie claimed she has provided police with evidence that Hammer raped her on April 24, 2017, in Los Angeles. LAPD, meanwhile, confirms that Hammer is the target of a sexual-assault investigation. The actor, whose film credits include “The Social Network,” “Call Me By Your Name” and “Sorry to Bother You,” has come under scrutiny in recent months following the leak of disturbing graphic text messages that he allegedly wrote. Backlash to the allegations prompted him to step away from several high-profile projects, including the upcoming romantic comedy “Shotgun Wedding.” He had been cast as co-star alongside Jennifer Lopez but was replaced by Josh Duhamel.

HBO MAX PLANS BRITTANY MURPHY DOC… A two-part documentary about the late actress Brittany Murphy is in the works at HBO Max. The documentary centers on Murphy’s life prior to her passing in 2009 at age 32. Murphy was best known for her work in the 1995 film “Clueless” and her credits included “8 Mile,” “Just Married” and the Fox animated comedy series “King of the Hill.” Her death was ruled an accident and determined to be the result of a combination of pneumonia and the effects of several over-the-counter drugs she had taken. A year later, the death of her husband fueled speculation about her passing.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

WASHINGTON 131 – Utah 122… The Wizards built an 18-point halftime lead and held off the Jazz. Bradley Beal poured in a game-high 43 points. Russell Westbrook racked up 35 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists. Donovan Mitchell’s 42 points weren’t enough for Utah.

ATLANTA 116 – Oklahoma City 93… The Hawks cruised past the Thunder for their seventh straight win. Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 23 points apiece.

NEW YORK 94 – Orlando 93… The Knicks held on at the end to edge the Magic. Alec Burks had 21 points and 10 boards. Julius Randle had a solid all-around game with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 17 assists.

Minnesota 123 – PHOENIX 119… The Timberwolves used a big fourth quarter to rally past the Suns. They got a career-high 42 points from Anthony Edwards and 41 from Karl-Anthony Towns.

PORTLAND 101 – New Orleans 93… Damian Lillard scored 21 of his game-high 36 points in the first quarter to help the Trail Blazers take an early lead on their way past the Pelicans. Enes Kanter finished with 16 points and 13 boards.

L.A. LAKERS 116 – Charlotte 105… The Lakers came up big in the fourth quarter to put away the Hornets for their fourth straight win. LeBron James led all scorers with 37 points. Dennis Schroder tossed in 20 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Sacramento is at Boston…
Cleveland hosts San Antonio…
Indiana is at Miami…
Orlando hosts Brooklyn…
Utah is at Toronto…
Houston hosts Detroit…
Golden State is at Memphis…
Denver hosts Chicago…
Minnesota is at Phoenix…
Portland hosts Dallas

NHL SCOREBOARD
NEW JERSEY 3 – Pittsburgh 2… The Devils scored the game’s first three goals and held on to top the Penguins. Jack Hughes had a goal and an assist. Goalie Scott Wedgewood made 40 saves.

Boston 4 – BUFFALO 1… David Krejci set up three goals to surpass 700 points in his career and the Bruins dealt the Sabres their 13th straight loss. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist.

Philadelphia 4 – N.Y. ISLANDERS 3… Oscar Lindblom’s second goal of the game broke a tie with 2:22 remaining and the Flyers made it stand in downing the Islanders. Claude Giroux scored a goal and assisted on another.

Columbus 3 – CAROLINA 2 (OT)… Seth Jones netted a pair of goals, including the game-winner with 50.4 seconds left in overtime, to send the Blue Jackets past the Hurricanes. Joonas Korpisalo stopped 25 shots at goal.

TAMPA BAY 4 – Chicago 2… Ross Colton scored a go-ahead goal in the third period and Victor Hedman added an empty-netter to push the Lightning past the Blackhawks. Hedman also picked up an assist.

Nashville 2 – FLORIDA 1… The Predators got a pair of goals from Calle Jarnkrok in tripping the Panthers. Goalie Juuse Saros made 40 stops.

DETROIT 3 – Dallas 2… Robby Fabbri scored a goal in each period and the Red Wings withstood a late rally to edge the Stars. Detroit lost goaltender Jonathan Bernier to an injury late in the second period after he stopped all 22 shots he faced.

EDMONTON 2 – Winnipeg 1… Connor McDavid found the net twice in the second period to carry the Oilers past the Jets. Tyson Barrie assisted on both goals. Mikko Koskinen made 25 stops at goal.

COLORADO 5 – Minnesota 1… The Avalanche got four goals from their top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen in snapping Wild’s five-game winning streak. Rantanen scored twice and had two assists.

ANAHEIM 3 – Arizona 2 (OT)… The Ducks outlasted the Coyotes after spotting them a two-goal lead. Adam Henrique netted a power-play goal 43 seconds into overtime. Jamie Drysdale had a goal and an assist in his NHL debut.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
the N.Y. Rangers are at Washington…
Montreal hosts Vancouver…
Calgary is at Toronto…
San Jose hosts St. Louis…
Vegas is at Los Angeles

NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP UNDERWAY
The NCAA men’s basketball championship tipped off yesterday with First Four play-in games to fill out the 64-team bracket and finalize tomorrow’s first-round matchups…

Texas Southern 60, Mount St. Mary’s 52… The Tigers claimed a 16 seed in the East Regional and advances to play top-seeded Michigan.

Drake 53, Wichita State 52… The Bulldogs secured an 11 seed in the West Regional and moves on to face sixth-seeded USC.

Norfolk State 54, Appalachian State 53… The Spartans nailed down a 16 seed in the West and now must go up against Gonzaga, the tournament’s overall top seed.

UCLA 86, Michigan State 80 (OT)… The Bruins play on as an 11 seed in the East and will battle sixth-seeded BYU.

TODAY’S NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
MIDWEST REGION (Indianapolis)
(1) Illinois vs. (16) Drexel…
(8) Loyola Chicago vs. (9) Georgia Tech…
(5) Tennessee vs. (12) Oregon State…
(4) Oklahoma State vs. (13) Liberty…
(7) Clemson vs. (10) Rutgers…
(6) San Diego State vs. (11) Syracuse…
(3) West Virginia vs. (14) Morehead State

MIDWEST REGION (West Lafayette, IN)
(2) Houston vs. (15) Cleveland State

SOUTH REGION (Indianapolis)
(7) Florida vs. (10) Virginia Tech…
(3) Arkansas vs. (14) Colgate…
(1) Baylor vs. (16) Hartford…
(4) Purdue vs. (13) North Texas…
(5) Villanova vs. (12) Winthrop

SOUTH REGION (Bloomington, IN)
(6) Texas Tech vs. (11) Utah State

SOUTH REGION (West Lafayette, IN)
(2) Ohio State vs. (15) Oral Roberts…
(8) North Carolina vs. (9) Wisconsin

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is April 1)…
Washington 3, N.Y. METS 1…
Chi. Cubs 4, CLEVELAND 3…
CHICAGO 9, Kansas City 7…
L.A. Dodgers 7, ARIZONA 7 (tie)…
L.A. ANGELS 3, Milwaukee 2…
Oakland 4, SAN DIEGO 2…
ST. LOUIS 7, Miami 5…
TEXAS 12, Cincinnati 9…
SEATTLE 6, San Francisco 3

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