CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 34,132,071 and the nation’s death toll stands at 609,231, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Canada has announced plans to ease border restrictions for fully vaccinated, discretionary travelers from the U.S. on August 9 before loosening the Covid-19 measures for those from other countries on September 7. The Biden administration has yet to announce when it plans to roll back restrictions on the U.S. side of the shared border… The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that all students, teachers and staff older than age 2 should wear masks in schools regardless of vaccination status, the recommended Monday. In newly updated guidance for the upcoming 2021-22 school year. The organization also said it is “strongly encouraging” COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone eligible.
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT BACKS OFF JOURNALISTS… New Justice Department policy announced yesterday by Attorney General Merrick Garland formally prohibits federal prosecutors from seizing the records of journalists in leak investigations, with limited exceptions. The new policy tries to weigh the media’s First Amendment rights against government’s desire to protect classified information. The policy allows federal prosecutors to seize journalists’ records if the reporters are suspected of working for agents of a foreign power or terrorist organizations. There is also an exception for situations with imminent risks, like kidnappings or crimes against children.
4 CHINESE NATIONALS INDICTED FOR CYBERATTACKS… A federal grand jury has indicted four Chinese nationals for their involvement in a widespread cyberattack campaign that attacked dozens of companies, colleges and government agencies from 2011 to 2018. The Justice Department indictments accuse the at-large suspects of targeting numerous industries with cyberattacks, including aerospace/aviation, biomedical, defense, healthcare, manufacturing, maritime, research institutes and transportation. Prosecutors say the four men were acting on behalf of the People’s Republic of China.
CAPITOL INSURRECTIONIST SENTENCED… A 38-year-old Florida man who pleaded guilty to breaching the Senate chamber during the January 6 Capitol insurrection was sentenced yesterday to eight months in prison. Paul Hodgkins became the first Capitol rioter convicted of a felony to be sentenced following his guilty plea last month to obstructing congressional proceedings. The Justice Department had requested a 1.5-year sentence, saying it would deter future political violence and send a strong warning.
GOP MEMBERS NAMED TO JAN. 6 COMMITTEE… House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has reportedly selected the five House Republicans who will serve on a special committee investigating the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. McCarthy has settled on Jim Banks of Indiana, Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rodney Davis of Illinois, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota and Troy Nehls of Texas. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moved to create the committee last month after Senate Republicans blocked a House-passed bill creating an independent commission. The committee has its first hearing scheduled for July 27.
TAYLOR SWIFT TOP MONEY MAKER… Taylor Swift took in $23.8 million in 2020 to top Billboard’s 2020 Money Makers list during a year in which a pandemic shut down tours. Like other top-earning artists, Swift relied on streaming and physical sales for income. Post Malone was close behind in second place after making $23.2 million. Céline Dion was third with $17.5 million. The Eagles made $16.3 million to finish fourth. Billie Eilish was fifth with $14.7 million.
LADY GAGA, TONY BENNETT TO PERFORM… Lady Gaga confirmed yesterday that she and Tony Bennett will reunite “one last time” at a pair of shows next month at Radio City Music Hall in New York. The events on August 3 and 5 will honor Bennett on his 95th birthday. The legendary crooner has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
WASHINGTON 18 – Miami 1… Juan Soto went 3-for-5 with a pair of homers and five RBIs as the Nationals destroyed the Marlins. Trea Turner tripled home a run and blasted a three-run homer. Josh Bell, Berrera and starting pitcher Jon Lester also went deep. On the mound, Lester (3-4) pitched six-hit ball over seven scoreless innings.
N.Y. Mets 15 – CINCINNATI 11 (11 innings)… Jeff McNeill homered in the top of the first inning and singled home a run to spark a five-run top of the 11th inning that carried the Mets past the Reds. Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto and James McCann hit two-run homers.
ST. LOUIS 8 – Chi Cubs 3… Dylan Carlson had a couple of hits, including a two-run homer, and knocked in four runs to lead the Cardinals past the Cubs. Paul Goldschmidt homered and singled home a run. Jake Woodford (2-1) allowed a run on six hits over 5-2/3 innings.
ARIZONA 4 – Pittsburgh 2… Pavin Smith and Josh VanMeter hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the second inning, Eduardo Escobar added a two-run shot in the fifth and the Diamondbacks held off the Pirates. Caleb Smith (3-6) gave up two runs on six hits over 6-2/3 innings.
San Francisco 7 – L.A. DODGERS 2… Thairo Estrada doubled home two runs during a four-run top of the seventh inning and the Giants put away the Dodgers. Buster Posey and Wilmer Flores homered during a three-run first.
San Diego – ATLANTA (ppd)… Inclement weather in Atlanta forced postponement of last night’s Padres-Braves game. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader tomorrow.
Minnesota 3 – CHI. WHITE SOX 2 (8 innings)… Nelson Cruz homered in the top of the sixth inning and lifted a tie-breaking sacrifice fly in the eighth as the Twins outlast the White Sox in the first game of a doubleheader. Jorge Polanco had a couple of hits, including a run-scoring single.
CHI. WHITE SOX 5 – Minnesota 3 (7 innings)… Gavin Sheets’ walkoff three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the White Sox a split of the twinbill. Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada also went deep for Chicago.
Boston 13 – TORONTO 4… The Red Sox opened with an eight-run top of the fist inning and never looked back in their thrashing of the Blue Jays. Hunter Renfroe unloaded a grand slam to highlight the uprising. Kiké Hernandez homered twice and knocked in three runs. Jarren Duran and Rafael Devers hit solo homers.
Baltimore 6 – TAMPA BAY 1… Spenser Watkins (2-0) held the Rays to a run on four hits over six innings and the Orioles cruised to the win. Pat Valaika lined a two-run single to spark a four-run top of the sixth inning.
DETROIT 14 – Texas 0… The Tigers pummeled the Rangers with a 19-hit attack. Akil Baddoo opened the scoring with a two-run homer in the bottom of the third inning and singled home two more runs. Miguel Cabrera lined a bases-clearing double and added a two-run single. Five Detroit pitchers combined on a four-hitter.
HOUSTON 4 – Cleveland 3… Yordan Alvarez’s two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning proved to be the difference as the Astros hung on to edge the Indians. Zack Greinke (9-3) surrendered two runs on five hits over 5-1/3 innings.
OAKLAND 4 – L.A. Angels 1… Cole Irvin (7-8) scattered seven hits over seven shutout innings and the Athletics topped the Angels. Ramon Laureano’s three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning broke a scoreless tie. Matt Olson added an eighth-inning homer.
TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE…
Miami (Trevor Rogers, 7-6) is at Washington (Paolo Espino, 2-2)…
Cincinnati (Wade Miley, 7-4) hosts the N.Y. Mets (TBA)…
San Diego (Yu Darvish, 7-3) is at Atlanta (Touki Toussaint, 0-0)…
St. Louis (TBA) hosts the Chi Cubs (Trevor Williams, 3-2)…
Pittsburgh (Tyler Anderson, 5-8) is at Arizona (TBA)…
the L.A. Dodgers (TBA) host San Francisco (Alex Wood, 8-3)
the L.A. Angels (Jose Suarez, 4-2) are at Oakland (James Kaprielian, 4-3)
Toronto (Alek Manoah, 2-1) hosts Boston (Garrett Richards, 5-5) in Buffalo…
Baltimore (John Means, 4-2) is at Tampa Bay (Shane McClanahan, 3-3)…
Detroit (Tarik Skubal, 5-8) hosts Texas (Dane Dunning, 3-6)…
Cleveland (Triston McKenzie, 1-3) is at Houston (Luis Garcia, 6-5)…
the Chi. White Sox (Dallas Keuchel, 7-3) host Minnesota (Bailey Ober, 1-1)
Kansas City (Mike Minor, 6-8) is at Milwaukee (Eric Lauer, 3-4)…
the N.Y. Yankees (Domingo German, 4-5) host Philadelphia (Aaron Nola, 6-5)…
Seattle (Marco Gonzales, 1-5) is at Colorado (German Marquez, 8-6)
NBA FINALS RESUMES TONIGHT… The Milwaukee Bucks will try to claim the franchise’s second NBA title, and first since 1971, when they host the Phoenix Suns in Game 6 of the NBA finals holding a 3-2 lead. Game 7 would be Thursday in Phoenix.