CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 33,565,289 and the nation’s death toll stands at 602,462, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, noted yesterday that the Delta coronavirus variant now makes up more than 20 percent of all new cases in the U.S. The percentage doubled from the previous week and health officials believe the variant could become the dominant strain… The White House announced yesterday that the U.S. will likely not reach President Joe Biden’s goal of 70 percent of Americans receiving one dose of the vaccine by July 4.
SENATE REPUBLICANS BLOCK VOTING RIGHTS LEGISLATION… Senate Republicans successfully blocked voting rights legislation yesterday. The vote was 50-50 along party lines to advance the For The People Act, which fell 10 votes short of what the measure needed. The bill had the support of President Joe Biden, as well as more than 900 political scientists who issued a joint statement calling on Congress to pass the bill.
INDIAN BOARDING SCHOOLS TO BE INVESTIGATED… Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced yesterday that her department will investigate abuse perpetrated at the boarding schools where Indigenous children were separated from their families in the 19th and 20th centuries. Haaland said the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative will produce authoritative reports and documentation on the cruelty of a previously obfuscated history. Haaland, who is Native American, said her own ancestors had endured the cruelty of the schools.
KHASHOGGI KILLERS TRAINED IN U.S… The New York Times reported yesterday that four of the Saudi operatives involved in the brutal murder of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 took part in a State Department-approved paramilitary training course in the U.S. just a year earlier. According to the report, a security firm called Tier 1 Group provided the training to members of the Saudi Royal Guard under a contract approved by the State Department. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and outspoken critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was never seen again after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2017 for marriage documents. It was later determined that he had been murdered and dismembered there by Saudi operatives, reportedly at the behest of the crown prince.
CONNECTICUT MAKES MARIJUANA LEGAL… Connecticut yesterday became the 19th state to legalize marijuana. Governor Ned Lamont signed a bill into law allowIng adults 21 and older to possess up to 1.5 ounces of marijuana on their person and up to 5 ounces in a locked container concealed in car glove box or trunk, starting July 1. However, growing recreational plants will remain illegal until July 2023. Criminal records will be expunged for people with certain cannabis convictions.
SMALL TV STATION FEATURED IN HBO DOCUMENTARY… HBO yesterday announced it will air a six-part, half-hour documentary series centered on an independent TV station in southern Nevada. “Small Town News: KPVM Pahrump” premieres August 2. The series follows the station’s staff during the months leading up to the 2020 presidential election.
PITBULL TO TOUR… Pitbull yesterday announced plans for a new North American tour with special guest Iggy Azalea. “The I Feel Good” tour will span 32 cities starting August 20 in Clarkston, Michigan. The tour closes October 13 in Tampa. Pitbull is scheduled to release his twelfth studio album later this year.
Washington 3 – PHILADELPHIA 2… Max Scherzer (6-4) held the Phillies to a run on two hits over five innings and the Nationals escaped with the victory. Yan Gomes knocked in two runs with a pair of singles.
Atlanta 3 – N.Y. METS 0… Charlie Morton (7-3) pitched one-hit ball over seven innings and struck out 11 before two relievers preserved the shutout. Dansby Swanson slugged a three-run homer in the top of the third inning for the Braves.
Milwaukee 5 – ARIZONA 0… Freddy Peralta (7-2) allowed just one it over six innings and fanned 10 in the Brewers’ blanking of the Diamondbacks. Kolten Wong and Christian Yelich hit solo homers. Luis Urias singled home two runs.
SAN DIEGO 3 – L.A. Dodgers 2… Jake Cronenworth homered with a runner aboard in the bottom of the first inning, pinch-hitter Ha-Seong Kim added a solo shot in the fifth and the Padres held off the Dodgers. Blake Snell gave up four hits over five innings in outdueling Clayton Kershaw (8-7).
Houston 3 – BALTIMORE 1… Zack Greinke (8-2) held the Orioles to a run on five hits over 7-1/3 innings. Myles Straw homered and singled home a run for the Astros.
Kansas City 6 – N.Y. YANKEES 5… The Royals used a four-run top of the eighth inning to get past the Yankees. Ryan O’Hearn homered and produced a run-scoring single.
Boston 9 – TAMPA BAY 5 (11 innings)… Rafael Devers’ two-run double sparked a four-run top of the 11th inning that carried the Red Sox past the Rays. Hunter Renfroe hit a two-run homer and singled home a run.
Oakland 13 – TEXAS 6… The Athletics jumped out to a 9-0 lead after three innings and never looked back in their throttling of the Rangers. Matt Chapman and Ramon Laureano hit two-run homers.
Cincinnati 10 – MINNESOTA 7… Tyler Naquin belted a tie-breaking three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning. Tucker Barnhart also homered for the reds.
PITTSBURGH 6 – Chi. White Sox 3… The Pirates came up with four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to overtake the White Sox. Adam Frazier hit a solo homer.
DETROIT 8 – St. Louis 2… Jonathan Schoop’s three-run homer capped a six-run bottom of the fourth inning for the Cardinals.
Toronto 2 – MIAMI 1… Lourdes Gurriel Jr. doubled home Cavan Biggio with a go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning and the Blue Jays hung on to edge the Marlins.
CHI. CUBS 7 – Cleveland 1… Kyle Hendricks (10-4) pitched four-hit ball over six innings and the Cubs cruised past the Indians. Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras and Patrick Wisdom smacked solo homers.
San Francisco 5 – L.A. ANGELS 0… Anthony DeSclafani (8-2) pitched three-hit ball over seven innings and two relievers completed the shutout of the Angels. Wilmer Flores hit a two-run homer in the top of the first inning and Mauricio Dubón homered to lead off the second.
SEATTLE 2 – Colorado 1… Shed Long Jr.’s one-out homer in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted the Marlins over the Rockies.
TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE…
Washington (Erick Fedde, 4-4) is at Philadelphia (Vince Velasquez, 2-2)…
Arizona (Caleb Smith, 2-2) hosts Milwaukee (Brandon Woodruff, 5-3)…
Atlanta (Kyle Wright, 0-0) is at the N.Y. Mets (TBA)…
San Diego (Joe Musgrove, 4-6) hosts the L.A. Dodgers (Trevor Bauer, 7-5)
Houston (Jose Urquidy, 5-3) is at Baltimore (Thomas Eshelman, 0-0)…
the N.Y. Yankees (Michael King, 0-3) host Kansas City (Danny Duffy, 4-3)…
Boston (Garrett Richards, 4-4) is at Tampa Bay (Rich Hill, 5-2)…
Texas (Mike Foltynewicz, 1-7) hosts Oakland (James Kaprielian, 4-1)
the Chi. White Sox (Dylan Cease, 5-3) are at Pittsburgh (Chase De Jong, 0-1)…
Detroit (Matt Manning, 0-1) hosts St. Louis (John Gant, 4-5)…
San Francisco (Kevin Gausman, 8-1) is at the L.A. Angels (Shohei Ohtani, 3-1)…
Seattle (Justus Sheffield, 5-6) hosts Colorado (German Marquez, 5-6)…
Toronto (TBA) is at Miami (Trevor Rogers, 7-3)
NBA PLAYOFF SCOREBOARD…
PHOENIX 104 – L.A. Clippers 103… Deandre Ayton threw down a Jae Crowder lob off an inbounds play at the buzzer to give the Suns a stunning victory over the Clippers and a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference finals. Ayton finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Cameron Payne scored a game-high 29 points. Devin Booker tossed in 20 points. The series moves to L.A. for Game 3 tomorrow.
TONIGHT’S NBA PLAYOFF SCHEDULE…
Atlanta is at Milwaukee for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals
NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF SCOREBOARD…
Montreal 4 – VEGAS 1… The Canadiens skated past the Golden Knights to force tomorrow’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup semifinals in Montreal. Nick Suzuki scored a goal and had two assists. Goalie Corey Price made 26 saves.
TONIGHT’S NHL STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF SCHEDULE…
Tampa Bay is at the N.Y. Islanders for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup semifinals with the Lightning leading 3-2