The Rundown for March 25, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 30,009,773 and the nation’s death toll stands at 545.237, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Drugmaker AstraZeneca released updated phase 3 trial data for its Covid-19 vaccine yesterday after preliminary report data released Monday drew criticism. The company now says its vaccine is 76 percent effective in protecting against symptomatic cases of the virus, not 79 percent as claimed previously.

BIDEN TO HOLD FIRST PRESS CONFERENCE… President Joe Biden is scheduled to answer questions at his first press conference as president this afternoon. Biden has wanted his first press conference to celebrate passage of the COVID-19 relief package and will be pressed on a number of other pressing issues. The nationally televised event is scheduled to begin at 1:14 p.m. Eastern from the East Room of the White House.

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS IN CHARGE OF BORDER RESPONSE… President Joe Biden has put Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of White House efforts to handle the influx of immigrants at the southern border. Biden says Harris will meet with the leaders of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador to establish that “there is one single figure dedicated” to U.S. response. Also yesterday, the Pentagon approved a Department of Health and Human Services request to house migrant children at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas, and Joint Base San Antonio. Camp Pendleton in California and Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado are being considered as well.

SENATE CONFIRMS DR. RACHEL LEVINE… Dr. Rachel Levine was confirmed yesterday as assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services. Her confirmation came following a 52-to-48 vote in the Senate. Levine becomes the first openly trans federal official to receive Senate confirmation. She was previously Pennsylvania’s physician general and a professor at Penn State College of Medicine. President Joe Biden called her “a historic and deeply qualified choice to help lead our administration’s health efforts.”

VIRGINIA ENDS DEATH PENALTY… Governor Ralph Northam yesterday signed legislation that makes Virginia the 23rd U.S. state to abolish the death penalty. His signature comes a month after both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly approved the legislation. Northam called signing the bill “the moral thing to do.”

ENTERTAINMENT
JAY LENO APOLOGIZES
… Comedian Jay Leno is apologizing for decades of racist jokes he’s made about Asian people. The former late-night talk-show host offers his apology amid rising violence targeting Asians, including last week’s shootings at Atlanta-area spas. Leno says he has met with the Media Action Network for Asian Americans and it has been very gracious in accepting his apology.

FORMER ‘TALLADEGA NIGHTS’ CHILD STAR DEAD… Former child star Houston Tumlin, whose only screen credit was a memorable one in the 2006 film “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” has taken his life at age 28. The Shelby County Coroner’s Office announced yesterday that Tumlin died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his Pelham, Alabama, home Tuesday. In “Talladega Nights,” Tumlin played the trash-talking son of Will Ferrell’s lead character. More recently, he served in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell and also worked repairing telephone lines.

SPORTS
NBA SCOREBOARD

INDIANA 116 – Detroit 111… The Pacers held off the Pistons to win at home for the first time in seven games. Caris LeVert pumped in 28 points.

MILWAUKEE 121 – Boston 119… The Bucks led by as many as 25 points and then had to hold the Celtics scoreless over the final minute and a half to win their eighth in a row. Khris Middleton scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Bobby Portis delivered 21 points off the bench.

TORONTO 135 – Denver 111… The Raptors ended their nine-game losing streak by routing the Nuggets. Pascal Siakam led all scorers with 27 points. Og Anunoby added 23 points and Norman Powell tossed in 22.

ORLANDO 112 – Phoenix 111… Evan Fournier scored a driving layup with 6.4 seconds left and the Magic escaped with a win over the Suns. Fournier finished with 21 points. Nikola Vucevic had game-highs with 27 points and 14 boards.

Cleveland 103 – CHICAGO 94… The Cavaliers handled the Bulls despite the absence of leading scorer Collin Seton. Darius Garland scored 22 points to lead a balanced scoring attack. Larry Nance Jr. had 14 points and as many rebounds.

Charlotte 122 – HOUSTON 97… The Hornets took control with a big third quarter and put away the Rockets. They got 25 points from Terry Rozier and 21 from Devonte’ Graham.

Dallas 128 – MINNESOTA 108… The Mavericks pulled away in the second half to thrash the Timberwolves. Kristaps Porzingis scored 29 points to lead seven players in double figures. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 21 points off the bench.

Memphis 116 – OKLAHOMA CITY 107… Dillon Brooks pumped in 25 points as the Grizzlies downed the Thunder. Grayson Allen tossed in 20 points. Jonas Valanciunas finished with 16 points and 15 boards.

L.A. Clippers 134 – SAN ANTONIO 101… The Clippers jumped out to an early double-digit lead and never looked back in their blowout of the Spurs. Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points. Marcus Morris dropped in 20 points.

UTAH 118 – Brooklyn 88… The Jazz led 38-17 after the first quarter and rolled past the short-handed Nets. Donovan Mitchell scored 27 points in just 27 minutes.

SACRAMENTO 110 – Atlanta 108… Tyrese Haliburton knocked down two free throws to break a tie with 36 seconds left and the Kings hung on to top the Hawks. De’Aaron Fox scored a game-high 37 points.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Portland is at Miami…
New York hosts Washington…
the L.A. Clippers are at San Antonio…
the L.A. Lakers host Philadelphia…
Golden State is at Sacramento

NHL SCOREBOARD
OTTAWA 3 – Calgary 1… Josh Norris scored the first of three straight third-period goals that carried the Senators past the Flames. Goalie Filip Gustavsson made 28 saves.

MINNESOTA 3 – Anaheim 2… Jared Spurgeon netted a pair of first-period goals and Nico Sturm scored the decisive goal in the second as the Wild edged the Ducks. Cam Talbot stopped 28 shots at goal.

PITTSBURGH 5 – Buffalo 2… Sidney Crosby and Zach Aston-Reese both had a goal and an assist as the Penguins extended the Sabres’ winless streak to 15 games. Goalie Tristan Jarry made 26 stops.

Winnipeg 5 – VANCOUVER 1… Andrew Copp scored four goals in leading the Jets past the Canucks. Connor Helllebuyck stopped 28 shots at goal.

SAN JOSE 4 – Los Angeles 2… Evander Kane found the net twice as the Sharks doubled up on the Kings. Brent Burns assisted on both Kane goals. Goalie Martin Jones piled up 42 saves.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
the N.Y. Islanders are at Boston…
Philadelphia hosts the N.Y. Rangers…
New Jersey is at Washington…
Columbus hosts Carolina…
Toronto is at Ottawa…
Pittsburgh hosts Buffalo…
Florida is at Chicago…
Nashville hosts Detroit…
St. Louis is at Minnesota…
Dallas hosts Tampa Bay…
Vegas is at Colorado

NHL NEWS… The NHL has fired referee Tim Peel for a comment he made on the ice during Tuesday night’s Detroit-Nashville game. The 53-year-old Peel was caught on broadcast audio saying he wanted to give the Nashville Predators a penalty after he called Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson for tripping Red Wings defenseman Jon Merrill, even though replays showed that Merrill embellished his fall to help draw the call. Peel was heard say saying “it wasn’t much, but I wanted to get a f—ing penalty against Nashville early.” The NHL says it has opened an investigation into the comment.

NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCORES (2nd round)…
ALAMO REGION
(6) Oregon 57, (3) Gonzaga 50…
(5) Missouri State 64, (13) Wright State 39…
(2) Louisville 62, (7) Northwestern 53

HEMISFAIR REGION
(2) Maryland 100, (7) Alabama 64…
(6) Texas 71, (3) UCLA 62

MERCADO REGION
(4) Indiana 70, (12) Belmont 48…
(3) Arizona 52, (11) BYU 46…
(2) Texas A&M 84, (7) Iowa State 82 (OT)

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is April 1)…
PITTSBURGH, 6, Atlanta 3…
TAMPA BAY 7, Minnesota 6…
ST. LOUIS 3, N.Y. Mets 0…
DETROIT 4, Philadelphia 1…
TORONTO 5, N.Y. Yankees 0…
Oakland 14, CHI. WHITE SOX 4…
Colorado 9, MILWAUKEE 8…
L.A. ANGELS 4, Kansas City 2…
BOSTON 2, Baltimore 0…
Houston 11, WASHINGTON 8…
Texas 6, CINCINNATI 5…
ARIZONA 6, Cleveland 5…
Chi. Cubs 6, SEATTLE 2…
SAN FRANCISCO 7, San Diego 3

The Rundown for December 23, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 18,197,351 and the nation’s death toll stands at 322,285, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The Centers for Disease Control said in an advisory last night that the COVID-19 variant identified in Britain has not yet been seen in the U.S. but cautioned that the sample sizes have been small. The nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says it’s reasonable to assume that the variant has already arrived. Nevertheless, scientists note that there’s no evidence that the variant is a more severe strain or a greater risk of death.

TRUMP WANTS CONGRESS TO AMEND CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILL… President Trump last night suggested he might not sign the coronavirus relief package passed on Monday without amendments. The president, who was expected to sign the legislation yesterday, called it “a disgrace” and urged Congress to increase direct stimulus checks from $600 to $2000. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded enthusiastically on Twitter. “At last the president has agreed to $2,000 — Democrats are ready to bring this to the floor this week by unanimous consent. Let’s do it!” she wrote.

TRUMP ROLLS OUT PARDONS… President Trump yesterday handed out pardons to 15 people, including four former U.S. service members convicted of war crimes, two people convicted in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and two former Republican congressmen convicted of corruption. Former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos and his associate Alex van der Zwaan were pardoned for lying to FBI agents. Also pardoned were former congressmen Duncan Hunter, who was sentenced to 11 months for stealing campaign funds and Chris Collins, who received a 26-month sentence for insider trading. Former Blackwater Worldwide military contractors received pardons despite their roles in the shooting deaths of 14 Iraqis in 2007.

TWO TRUMP PRIVATE BANKERS RESIGN… Two private bankers at Deutsche Bank responsible for lending to President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner abruptly resigned yesterday. The resignations of Rosemary Vrablic and Dominic Scalzi are effective at the end of the year. The 60-year-old Vrablic took on Trump as a client in 2011 and had a VIP seat at his inauguration in 2016. Deutsche Bank has lent Trump about $330 million and the loans are set to come due in 2023 and 2024. Trump provided a personal guarantee to obtain the loans, allowing the bank to pursue his personal assets if they are not paid back. The Trump Organization is under investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and New York Attorney General, both of which have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for information regarding its lending to the company. Two Deutsche Bank employees not working on the Trump account, were questioned by investigators with the criminal investigation seeking general information about lending practices in recent weeks.

BIDEN FAULTS TRUMP FOR CYBER ATTACK RESPONSE… President-elect Joe Biden said yesterday he had seen no evidence that the Trump administration has the cyber attacks against the U.S. under control and warned that the breach will not go unanswered once he takes office. Biden faulted Trump for stripping U.S. defenses against cyber attacks and urged the president to acknowledge that the attacks are coming from Russia and hold the Kremlin accountable. Both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr have already placed blame on Moscow while Trump has claimed China is behind them.

CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR FILLS VP-ELECT’S SENATE SEAT… California Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday appointed state Secretary of State Alex Padilla to replace Vice President-elect Kamala Harris when she departs the Senate to become vice president next month. The 47-year-old Padilla, the son of Mexican immigrants, will be the first Latino to represent the nation’s largest state. He will serve the remaining two years of Harris’ term.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SUES WALMART… The Justice Department sued Walmart yesterday, accusing the retail chain of enabling the opioid crisis through filling illegal prescriptions. Government lawyers say a “systematic failure” prevented Walmart from reporting questionable orders and is seeking thousands of dollars in civil penalties for each unlawful prescription filled and each suspicious order placed. If the suit is successful, Walmart could be forced to pay out billions in damages.

ENTERTAINMENT
SPECIAL MERIT HONOREES AT GRAMMYS
… The Recording Academy has announced that Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Lionel Hampton, Marilyn Horne, Salt-N-Pepa, Selena and Talking Heads will be honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards. Ed Cherney, Benny Golson and Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds will be presented Trustees Awards. The ceremony is scheduled for January 31, 2021.

HBO BRINGS BACK ‘HIS DARK MATERIALS’ FOR FINAL SEASON… HBO is bringing back the drama series “His Dark Materials” for a third and final season. The network said production would begin in Cardiff, Wales, in 2021. The Season 2 finale which airs Monday at 9 p.m. Eastern. “His Dark Materials” is based on the Philip Pullman fantasy trilogy of the same name.

SPORTS
NBA SEASON OPENERS

BROOKLYN 122, Golden State 99
… The Nets built a big lead early and cruised past the Warriors to open the NBA’s 2020-21 season. Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 26 points. Kevin Durant tossed in 22 points.

L.A. Clippers 116 – L.A. LAKERS 109… The Clippers jumped out to an early 22-point lead and cruised to an opening-night win over the Lakers. Paul George scored 26 of his 33 points in the second half. Kawhi Leonard added 26 points.

TONIGHT’S NBA SCHEDULE
Charlotte is at Cleveland…
Indiana hosts New York…
Miami is at Orlando…
Philadelphia hosts Washington…
Milwaukee is at Boston…
Toronto hosts New Orleans…
Atlanta is at Chicago…
Houston hosts Oklahoma City…
San Antonio is at Memphis…
Minnesota hosts Detroit…
Sacramento is at Denver…
Portland hosts Utah…
Dallas is at Phoenix

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
No. 1 GONZAGA 95, Northwestern State 78…
No. 3 KANSAS 79, No. 7 West Virginia 65…
No. 4 IOWA 70, Purdue 55…
No. 6 HOUSTON 76, Temple 50…
No. 9 WISCONSIN 67, Nebraska 53…
No. 14 MISSOURI 54, Bradley 53…
No. 15 Texas Tech 69, OKLAHOMA 67…
No. 16 VIRGINIA 76, William & Mary 40…
NORTH CAROLINA STATE 79, No. 17 North Carolina 76

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NEWS… Auburn has hired away Boise State’s Bryan Harsin to become its next head football coach. Harsin replaces Gus Malzahn, who was fired earlier this month after eight seasons with the Tigers. The 44-year-old Harsin is 69-19 with three Mountain West titles in seven seasons at Boise State, his alma mater.

The Rundown for December 7, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 14,756,914 and the nation’s death toll stands at 282,268, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 173,861 new cases and 1,076 deaths yesterday. A record 101,487 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized, according to the Covid Tracking Project… Roughly 33 million Californians are in new stay-at-home orders that took effect last night in regions where intensive care unit capacity dropped below 15 percent. Businesses like bars, hair salons, museums, movie theaters and indoor recreational facilities will be forced to close. Restaurants will be limited to takeout and delivery service while retail businesses can continue to operate at 20 percent capacity.

XAVIER BECERRA TO HEAD HHS… The New York Times reported yesterday that President-elect Joe Biden will nominate California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. The 62-year-old Becerra served 24 years in Congress representing downtown Los Angeles in Congress for 24 years before becoming California’s top prosecutor. Many expected him to be considered for U.S. attorney general.

GIULIANI HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID… President Trump announced yesterday that his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has tested positive for Covid-19. Giuliani was admitted to Georgetown University Hospital and later he tweeted that he was doing fine. News of the positive test prompted the Arizona state legislature to close for the next week after at least 15 current or future Republican legislators may have been directly exposed after meeting with Giuliani.

BIDEN TO RECEIVE INTELLIGENCE BRIEFINGS… Department of Defense officials have confirmed that members of the Biden transition team will begin receiving briefings from the Pentagon’s intelligence agencies at meetings today and tomorrow. The DoD plans 47 interviews with the Biden transition team, including with Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist and the chiefs of the military services. Other briefings have already taken place, including briefings on policy and international security affairs.

‘MOST PLAUSIBLE’ CAUSE OF MYSTERIOUS ILLNESS.. A radio frequency pulse is the “most plausible” cause of the mysterious illness that plagued diplomats and their families in Cuba and China, according to a report from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. After reviewing the illnesses’ symptoms and possible causes, the committee appointed to review the cases determined that what was observed was “consistent with the effects of directed pulsed radio frequency energy,” the report states. While the committee, made up of mostly medical experts, determined a radio frequency pulse was the most likely cause, they also said that there could have been other causes contributing to the illness and producing additional signs and symptoms. At least 26 Americans who worked at the U.S. Embassy in Cuba have reported symptoms since 2016. More recently, Americans working at the U.S. Embassy in China began experiencing similar symptoms.

ENTERTAINMENT
NETFLIX WON’T ADD DISCLAIMER TO ‘THE CROWN’
… Netflix has announced that it won’t be adding a disclaimer to “The Crown” to clarify that the show is fiction. The statement comes after controversy over in Season four of the hit show has been criticized for made-up storylines and invented scenes, particularly with regard to the marriage between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has called the show “a beautifully produced work of fiction” and has corresponded with Netflix on the matter.

BAD BUNNY TOPS ALBUM CHART… Bad Bunny’S “El Ultimo Tour del Mundo” sold 116,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 chart and become the first all-Spanish-language album to reach No. 1 in the 64-year history of the all-genre chart. Miley Cyrus’ “Plastic Hearts” debuted at No. 2 with 60,000 units sold. Last week’s champ, BTS’ “Be,” dropped to third place after selling 55,000 copies. Ariana Grande’s “Positions” sold 53,000 units to finish fourth. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” capped the top five with 48,000 copies sold.

SPORTS
NFL SCORES

New Orleans 21 – ATLANTA 16
… The Saints (10-2) made it nine straight wins with their defeat of the Falcons (4-8). Taysom Hill threw first-half touchdown passes to Tre’Quan Smith and Jared Cook. Michael Thomas had nine catches for 105 yards.

Detroit 34 – CHICAGO 30… The Lions (5-7) scored two touchdowns two plays apart in the final 2:18 to stun the Bears (5-7). Adrian Peterson ran five yards for the go-head score with 1:37 remaining. The play was set up by Romeo Okwara’s strip-sack of Chicago quarterback Mitchell Trubisky deep in Chicago territory. Matt Stafford passed for 402 yards and three touchdowns.

Cleveland 41 – TENNESSEE 35… The Browns (9-3) built a 38-7 halftime lead and held on to outscore the Titans (8-4). Baker Mayfield passed for 334 yards and hit four different receivers with touchdown passes.

MIAMI 19 – Cincinnati 7… The Dolphins (8-4) rode their defense to a win over the Bengals (2-9-1). Tua Tagovailoa found Mike Gesicki with a third-quarter touchdown pass. Jason Sanders kicked four field goals to 48 yards.

MINNESOTA 27 – Jacksonville 24 (OT)… Dan Bailey’s 23-yard field goal with 1:49 remaining lifted the Vikings (6-6) over the Jaguars (1-11). Bailey missed two extra points and a 51-yard field goal attempt with 13 seconds left in regulation. Kirk Cousins passed for 305 yards and a touchdown.

LAS VEGAS 31 – N.Y. Jets 28… Derek Carr connected with Henry Ruggs III on a 46-yard touchdown pass with 5 seconds remaining to send the Raiders (7-5) past the Jets (0-12). Darren Waller had 13 receptions for 200 yards and two scores.

Indianapolis 26 – HOUSTON 20… Philip Rivers threw two scoring tosses in the first half and the Colts (8-4) clamped down defensively in the second half to top the Texans (4-8). T.Y. Hilton had eight catches for 110 yards and a touchdown.

L.A. Rams 38 – ARIZONA 28… The Rams (8-4) rolled past the Cardinals (6-6) to move into a first-place tie with Seattle in the NFC West. Jared Goff threw for 351 yards and a touchdown. Darrell Henderson Jr. ran 38 yards for a fourth-quarter TD and Troy Hill added a 35-yard interception return for a score.

N.Y. Giants 17 – SEATTLE 12… The Giants (5-7) smothered the Seahawks (8-4) defensively in pulling off an upset win. Alfred Morris ran for a third-quarter touchdown and caught a 7-yard Colt McCoy pass for another. Wayne Gallman rushed for 135 yards on 16 carries.

GREEN BAY 30 – Philadelphia 16… Aaron Jones ran 77 yards for the game-clinching touchdown with 2:36 left as the Packers (9-3) downed the Eagles (3-8-1). Aaron Rodgers hit Davante Adams with two of his three scoring strikes and became just the seventh player with 400 career touchdown passes.

New England 45 – L.A. CHARGERS 0… Cam Newton rushed for two touchdowns and the Patriots (6-6) got a pair of TDs from their special teams in the rout of the Chargers (3-9).

KANSAS CITY 22 – Denver 16… The Chiefs (11-1) overcame some missed opportunities to fight of the Broncos (4-8) and clinch a playoff spot. Patrick Mahomes passed or 318 yards and a touchdown. Travis Kelce had eight receptions for 136 yards and a score.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL..
Washington (4-7) is at Pittsburgh (11-0)…
San Francisco (5-6) hosts Buffalo (8-3) in Glendale, Arizona

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
No. 8 MICHIGAN STATE 79, Western Michigan 61…
No. 11 West Virginia 80, GEORGETOWN 71…
No. 12 Villanova 68, No. 17 TEXAS 64…
No. 17 (tie) TEXAS TECH 81, Grambling 40…
GEORGIA TECH 79, No. 20 Kentucky 62

NCAA MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL NEWS… Top-ranked Gonzaga is cancelling four more games due to COVID-19 protocols. The announcement came a day after a player and another member of the team’s traveling party forced the postponement of Saturday’s highly anticipated matchup against No. 2 Baylor in Indianapolis. Gonzaga is scheduled to face No. 3 Iowa on December 19 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCORE
No. 20 USC 38, Washington State 13

The Rundown for November 27, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 12,879,762 and the nation’s death toll stands at 263,413, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Health officials fear that the rising number of deaths could reach levels initially seen in the spring, when the pandemic first hit the U.S. More than 2,300 deaths were reported on Wednesday, which marked a 57-percent increase over the 14-day average. Officials warn that daily deaths could double within a matter of days.

AMERICANS CELEBRATE THANKSGIVING… Americans marked a Thanksgiving Day holiday yesterday amid the ongoing pandemic. Nearly 6 million Americans traveled by air prior to the holiday despite political leaders and health officials discouraging travel or large gatherings. The number of air travelers is less than half of the same period last year. The traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City was scaled back significantly. The route was reduced from 2-1/2 miles to one block and balloon handlers were replaced by specially rigged vehicles. Spectators were forbidden from lining the streets.

COURT BLOCKS NEW YORK COVID RESTRICTIONS… New York Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday called Wednesday night’s Supreme Court decision blocking coronavirus restrictions imposed on religious gatherings “irrelevant.” The High Court voted 5-4 in favor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish congregations that had sought an injunction to block the restrictions from being enforced. Cuomo said the high court’s ruling would have no impact on the state’s virus control efforts because the red zone status for the area in question had expired last week.

TRUMP SAYS HE’LL LEAVE WHITE HOUSE IF BIDEN GETS EC VOTES… President Trump came as close as he has come to conceding the presidential election yesterday when he said he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden. Trump maintained it would be hard for him to concede under the current circumstances, however, and declined to say whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration. Biden won the election with 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232. Electors are scheduled to meet on December 14 to formalize the outcome. Biden also leads Trump by more than 6 million in the popular vote tally.

MEXICO INVESTIGATES WAL-MART… Mexico’s anti-monopoly commission signaled yesterday that it has launched a formal investigation into Wal-Mart’s Mexican subsidiary. While the Federal Economic Competition Commission did not identify its target, Wal-Mart de Mexico told investors earlier this week that it has been notified that it is that target of an investigation. The commission has publicly revealed that it is looking into possible monopolistic practices in wholesale and retail goods distribution and sales.

ENTERTAINMENT
ALEX TREBEK DELIVERS RECORDED MESSAGE
… “Jeopardy!” yesterday day aired a Thanksgiving message that had been pre-recorded by former host Alex Trebek prior to his death earlier this month. Trebek succumbed to his battle with pancreatic cancer on November 8 at age 80. The final episodes that he recorded is scheduled to air the week of January 4, 2021.

MADS MIKKELSEN REPLACES JOHNNY DEPP IN NEST ‘BEASTS’ FILM… Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen has been tapped to replace Johnny Depp in the next “Fantastic Beasts” film. Warner Bros. The 55-year-old Mikkelsen is best known for his roles in the James Bond film “Casino Royale,” “Hannibal” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” He will portray the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the third “Fantastic Beasts” installment, which is currently in production outside London. Its release date is set for July 15, 2022.

SPORTS
NFL SCORES

Houston 41 – DETROIT 25
… Deshaun Watson passed for 318 yards and four touchdowns in leading the Texans (4-7) past the Lions (4-7). Will Fuller had six catches for 171 yards and two scores. Defensive end J.J. Watt returned a first-quarter interception 19 yards for a TD.

Washington 41 – DALLAS 16… Antonio Gibson rushed for 115 yards and three touchdowns as Washington (4-7) rolled past the Cowboys (3-8). Montez Sweat intercepted an Andy Daulton pass and returned it 15 yards for a score.

SUNDAY’S NFL SCHEDULE
the N.Y. Giants (3-7) are at Cincinnati (2-7-1)…
Atlanta (3-7) hosts Las Vegas (6-4)…
Arizona (6-4) is at New England (4-6)…
Jacksonville (1-9) hosts Cleveland (7-3)…
Carolina (4-7) is at Minnesota (4-6)…
Buffalo (7-3) hosts the L.A. Chargers (3-7)…
Miami (6-4) is at the N.Y. Jets (0-10)…
Indianapolis (7-3) hosts Tennessee (7-3)…
Baltimore (6-4) is at Pittsburgh (10-0)…
Denver (4-6) hosts New Orleans (8-2)…
San Francisco (4-6) is at the L.A. Rams (7-3)…
Tampa Bay (7-3) hosts Kansas City (9-1)…
Chicago (5-5) is at Green Bay (7-3)

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
Seattle (7-3) is at Philadelphia (3-6-1)

TODAY’S TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
No. 2 Notre Dame is at No. 19 North Carolina…
No. 13 Iowa State is at No. 17 Texas…
No. 15 Oregon is at Oregon State…
No. 24 Iowa hosts Nebraska

SATURDAY’S TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
No. 1 Alabama hosts No. 22 Auburn…
No. 3 Clemson hosts Pittsburgh…
No. 4 Ohio State is at Illinois…
No. 5 Texas A&M hosts LSU…
No. 6 Florida hosts Kentucky…
No. 8 Northwestern is at Michigan State…
No. 9 Georgia is at South Carolina…
No. 12 Indiana hosts Maryland…
No. 16 Wisconsin hosts Minnesota…
No. 18 USC hosts Colorado…
No. 20 Coastal Carolina is at Texas State…
No. 23 Oklahoma State hosts Texas Tech…
No. 25 Tulsa is at Houston

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
No. 1 Gonzaga 102, Kansas 90…
No. 3 Villanova 83, Arizona State 74…
No. 8 Illinois 97, Chicago State 38…
No. 15 West Virginia 78, VCU 66

The Rundown for November 23, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 12,226,643 and the nation’s death toll stands at 256,745, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its partner BioNTech have submitted an application for emergency authorization in the U.S. of their Covid-19 vaccine, which has been shown by tests to be 95 percent effective. Pfizer hopes to produce up to 50 million doses by the end of the year. A Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisory committee is set to meet on December 10 to discuss whether to authorize the vaccine… Los Angeles County has issued an order that restricts in-person dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars for a minimum of three weeks. The order becomes effective Wednesday at 10 p.m.

BIDEN TO START NAMING CABINET APPOINTMENTS… President-elect Joe Biden will announce the first of his Cabinet appointments tomorrow and is planning for a scaled-down inauguration due to the coronavirus pandemic, his aides revealed yesterday. The New York Times and Bloomberg reported that former deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State. Bloomberg also reported that Jake Sullivan, a former aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will be named national security adviser.

TRUMP YET TO CONCEDE… President Trump has yet to concede the presidential election despite his legal team compiling a 2-34 record in post-election court challenges. He is facing mounting pressure by allies in his own party to accept the results and press on in serving Americans amid a pandemic. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer are among the most recent Republicans who have urged Trump to move on. Ron Klain, who is Biden’s choice as White House chief of staff, called on the General Services Administration to formally recognize Biden’s victory and unlock resources for the transition process. Meanwhile, the Trump campaign distance has apparently split from attorney Sidney Powell, whose recent public appearances have included incorrect statements about the voting process, baseless and wide-ranging conspiracy theories and a threat to “blow up” Georgia with a “biblical” court filing.

McMASTER WARNS AGAINST AFGHANISTAN WITHDRAWAL… President Trump’s former national security adviser H.R. McMaster warned yesterday that the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan will empower the Taliban. The retired lieutenant general called the plan “abhorrent” The withdrawal of about 2,000 troops from Afghanistan would leave 2,500 U.S. troops in country. It was announced earlier this month after Trump fired Defense Secretary and named Christopher Miller as his replacement.

ARREST IN WISCONSIN MALL SHOOTINGS… Police in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, last night announced the arrest of a 15-year-old suspect in connection with Friday’s shootings that left eight people injured at a mall. Officers also found a firearm that the boy allegedly used during the incident, police said. Investigators say it appears the shootings were the result of a dispute between two groups rather than a random act. Authorities said four “innocent bystanders” suffered what were believed to be non-life threatening injuries.

ENTERTAINMENT
TAYLOR SWIFT WINS BIG AT AMA AWARDS
… Taylor Swift won Artist of the Year and Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist at last night’s 2020 American Music Awards. Justin Bieber, Dan + Shay and the Weeknd were also three-time winners. The Weeknd’s wins included Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist, Favorite Soul/R&B Album for “After Hours” and Favorite Soul/R&B Song for “Heartless.”

AC/DC TOPS ALBUM CHART… AC/DC’s “Power Up” sold 117,000 copies to debut atop the Billboard 200 albums chart. Future and Lil Uzi Vert’s “Pluto x Baby Pluto” opened in second place with 105,000 units sold. Chris Stapleton’s “Starting Over” debuted in third place on sales of 103,000 copies. Last week’s champ, Ariana Grande’s “Positions,” dropped to fourth place after selling 75,000 units. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” capped the top five with 53,000 copies sold.

SPORTS
NFL SCORES

NEW ORLEANS 24 – Atlanta 9
… Taysom Hill replaced the injured Drew Brees at quarterback and rushed for two touchdowns in leading the Saints (8-2) past the Falcons (3-7). Michael Thomas had nine catches for 104 yards.

WASHINGTON 20 – Cincinnati 9… Washington (3-7) rallied in the second half to get past the Bengals (2-7-1). Rookie running back Antonio Gibson ran for 94 yards and a score. The loss was especially painful for Cincinnati, which will be without rookie quarterback Joe Burrow for the rest of the season after he was carted off the field with a knee injury in the second quarter.

CAROLINA 20 – Detroit 0… The Panthers (4-6) recorded their first shutout since 2015 in blanking the Lions (4-7). P.J. Walker passed for 258 yards and a touchdown in his first NFL start. D.J. Moore had seven receptions for 127 yards.

CLEVELAND 22 – Philadelphia 17… Linebacker Sione Takitaki returned a second-quarter interception 50 yards to open the scoring and the Browns (7-3) held off the Eagles (3-6-1). Defensive end Olivier Vernon recorded three sacks of Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz, one of which went for a third-quarter safety.

Pittsburgh 27 – JACKSONVILLE 3… Terrell Edmunds and Minkah Fitzpatrick each had two interceptions as the Steelers (10-0) smothered the Jaguars (1-9). Ben Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes to Chase Claypool and Eric Ebron. Diontae Johnson had 12 catches for 111 yards.

HOUSTON 27 – New England 20… Deshaun Watson threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the first half and the Texans (3-7) fought off the Patriots (4-6). Watson passed for 344 yards on the day.

Tennessee 30 – BALTIMORE 24 (OT)… Derrick Henry’s 29-yard touchdown run with 5:21 remaining in overtime lifted the Titans (7-3) over the Ravens (6-4). Henry finished with 133 yards on 28 carries. Ryan Tannehill had a pair of scoring tosses. Corey Davis finished with five receptions for 113 yards.

Dallas 31 – MINNESOTA 28… Andy Daulton’s 2-yard touchdown pass with 1:37 remaining sent the Cowboys (3-7) past the Vikings (4-6). Daulton also hit CeeDee Lamb and Ezekiel Elliott with scoring strikes. Elliott rushed for 103 yards.

DENVER 20 – Miami 13… Justin Simmons’ interception of a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass in the end zone with 1:03 left sealed the win as the Broncos (4-6) topped the Dolphins (6-4). Denver sacked Miami starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa six times and knocked him out of the game earlier in the fourth quarter. Melvin Gordon rushed for a pair of touchdowns.

L.A. CHARGERS 34 – N.Y. Jets 28… Justin Herbert completed 37 of 49 passes for 366 yards and three touchdowns and the Chargers (3-7) handled the Jets (0-10). Keenan Allen hauled in a franchise-record 16 receptions for 145 yards and a score.

INDIANAPOLIS 34 – Green Bay 31 (OT)… The Colts (7-3) rallied from a 28-14 halftime deficit to outlast the Packers (7-3). Rodrigo Blankenship’s fourth field goal of the game came from 39 yards out with 7:10 to go in overtime. Philip Rivers threw touchdown passes to three different receivers.

Kansas City 35 – LAS VEGAS 31… Patrick Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 28 seconds remaining to give the Chiefs (9-1) a last-minute win over the Raiders (6-4). Kelce finished with eight catches for 127 yards. Tyreek Hill had 11 receptions for 102 yards and a score. Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for two TDs.

MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
the L.A. Rams (6-3) are at Tampa Bay (7-3)

AP TOP 25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL RANKINGS… Alabama is the unanimous No. 1 in this week’s Associated Press college football poll. The Crimson Tide received all 62 first-place votes after beating Kentucky 63-3 on Saturday. The top eight teams in this week’s poll held their spots.

  1. Alabama
  2. Notre Dame
  3. Ohio State
  4. Clemson
  5. Texas A&M
  6. Florida
  7. Cincinnati
  8. BYU
  9. Miami
  10. Oregon
  11. Northwestern
  12. Indiana
  13. Georgia
  14. Oklahoma
  15. Iowa State
  16. Coastal Carolina
  17. Marshall
  18. Wisconsin
  19. USC
  20. Texas
  21. Oklahoma State
  22. Auburn
  23. Louisiana
  24. Tulsa
  25. North Carolina

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 May 21, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,551,668 and the death toll stands at 93,431, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. All 50 states now have taken some steps to reopen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a 60-page document offering guidance for reopening schools, mass transit and nonessential businesses. The plan outlines a “three-phased approach” for reducing social distancing and proposes the use of six “gating” indicators to assess when to move through another phase.

SUPREME COURT BLOCKS MUELLER MATERIAL FROM HOUSE… The Supreme Court yesterday temporarily blocked a lower court order requiring the Justice Department to turn over to the House grand jury material gathered by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators in their probe of President Trump’s Russia dealings. The stay requires the Justice Department to file a formal appeal by June 1. The House Judiciary Committee has sought the documents for more than a year. The lower courts said that grand jury records in the past have been turned over to Congress as part of impeachment investigations. The Trump administration argues that the case presents “serious separation of powers concerns” and should be examined by the High Court.

APPEALS COURT HALTS TEXAS MAIL VOTE… A court ruling that allowed Texas to expand its mail-in voting amid the coronavirus was put on hold yesterday by a U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The three-judge panel sided with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in stopping the expansion from taking effect while it’s under review. The action reverts Texas’ qualifications limiting absentee ballots to voters who are 65 years or older. Texans under 65 can only qualify for a mail-in ballot if they cite a disability or illness, if they’ll be out of the county during the election period, or are confined in jail.

MICHIGAN FLOODING… Rising floodwaters unleashed by two dam failures left parts of the central Michigan town of Midland under five feet of water yesterday and forced the evacuation of about 10,000 residents. Days of heavy rain caused the Tittabawassee River to overflow its banks and breach the Edenville and Sanford dams on Tuesday. Dow Chemical reports that floodwater has mingled with chemical pools at its Midland plant, prompting fears of contamination. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer called the destruction in Midland County “devastating” and asked for federal assistance.

MICHAEL COHEN TO BE RELEASED… President Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen is scheduled for release from prison to home confinement today. The 53-year-old Cohen, who is serving a three-year sentence for lying to Congress and campaign finance fraud, was originally due to be freed in November 2021. Fears of the coronavirus prompted his early release. Cohen admitted lying to Congress about a Trump Tower project in Moscow and committing campaign finance violations for making hush money payments to women who allegedly had affairs with Trump. Cohen also pled guilty to tax and bank fraud charges unrelated to Trump.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTOR DIES IN ATTEMPTED MURDER-SUICIDE
… Actor Hagen Mills, who’s best known for his appearance in the 2016 FX pilot “Baskets,” died in an attempted murder-suicide on Tuesday night in Mayfield, Kentucky, authorities confirmed yesterday. Police found his body after responding to the report of gunfire at a home. Investigators say Mills held his 4-year-old daughter and her grandmother hostage and then opened fire on the baby’s mother upon her arrival. After shooting the mother several times, Mills reportedly turned the gun on himself. The mother survived her wounds and is listed in stable condition at a hospital. The child and grandmother were not harmed. Among his other acting roles, Mills played Buck Barrow in the 2013 television movie “Bonnie & Clyde: Justified.”

LITTLE RICHARD LAID TO REST… Little Richard was laid to rest at a private service in in Huntsville, Alabama, yesterday. The pioneering Rock ‘N Roller was 87 when he died from bone cancer on May 9. Born Richard Penniman, he sold more than 30 million records worldwide and is best remembered for the hit songs ”Tutti Frutti, “Long Tall Sally” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.”

SPORTS
NCAA LIFTS ACTIVITY BAN FOR THREE SPORTS… The NCAA Council yesterday voted to lift its moratorium on athletic-related activities for football and men’s and women’s basketball. The vote allows for voluntary athletic activities for the threes ports to run through June. The moratorium was set to expire on May 31.