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Golf: Tom Brady, Phil Mickelson to face Aaron Rodgers, Bryson DeChambeau for “The Match”

The PGA Tour announced Wednesday that Buccaneers’ QB Tom Brady will team-up with Phil Mickelson for a golf battle against Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Bryson DeChambeau this summer in the fourth edition of The Match. Capital One’s The Match airs at 5 p.m. EDT July 6 from the Reserve at Moonlight Basin in Big Sky, Mont. The event, which takes place on a Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, airs on TNT. The Match format started when Mickelson bested Tiger Woods in a head-to-head battle in 2018 in Las Vegas. Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning then beat Mickelson and Brady in the second edition of the celebrity showdown in 2020 in Hobe Sound, Fla. The Match format features the golfers on live mics as they exchange banter and trash talk throughout the competition. Players will alternate shots in the match play event.

Mickelson tweeted Wednesday: “It’s game time! My partner Tom Brady and I are back and ready to settle some unfinished business. See you in Montana, Aaron Rodgers and Bryson DeChambeau.” Brady tweeted Wednesday:Two old guys against the young bucks. Bryson better get used to laying up because we know Aaron Rodgers isn’t going for it.” DeChambeau tweeted: “Can’t wait to unleash the beast in Big Sky. Get your popcorn ready, this is going to be epic.”

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Half of all U.S. adults have received COVID-19 vaccination as of this week

Half of all adults in the United States are expected to have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 this week, it was announced at a briefing of the White House COVID-19 Response Team. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says almost 130 million U.S. adults are now fully vaccinated — or about 49.8% of the adult population. Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced a goal of 70% of Americans having at least one dose by July 4.

CDC data shows that at least 25 states and Washington, D.C., have fully vaccinated at least half of their adult residents. Early on Tuesday, Moderna announced that its vaccine is safe and effective in children between the ages of 12 and 17. If approved by regulators next month, it would be the second coronavirus vaccine available in the United States to children.

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Kristen Clarke confirmed as first black woman to lead Justice Department Civil Rights division

The Senate confirmed Kristen Clarke as the first Black woman to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights division on Tuesday with a 51-48 vote following an additional procedural step as Republicans objected to her nomination.

Clarke is a first-generation American whose parents immigrated from Jamaica West Indies, and she earned degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University School of Law before working as a trial attorney for the Civil Rights division’s criminal and voting sections during the George W. Bush administration. She also served as co-director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund’s voting rights group and most recently as president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

During her confirmation hearing, Clarke said she does not support defunding the police but does support “finding strategies to ensure that law enforcement can carry out their jobs more safely and effectively and channeling resources to emotional health treatment and other severely under-resourced areas.” Clarke’s nomination comes one year after George Floyd was killed by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Biden pushed for Clarke’s confirmation last month when Chauvin was convicted on murder charges in Floyd’s death, saying she and Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta would “root out the unconstitutional policing and reform our criminal justice system.”

 

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Philadelphia Phillies place Bryce Harper on 10-day injured list

The Philadelphia Phillies announced on Tuesday they have placed outfielder Bryce Harper on the 10-day injured list due to a left forearm injury.  Manager Joe Girardi told reporters about the move during a Zoom conference call before the Phillies played Miami Marlins in Miami. Harper missed the Phillies’ previous two games, and his placement on the injured list is retroactive to Sunday.

Harper was for 16 in through his last four games and is hitting .274 this season. Girardi had originally told reporters that there was not anything medically wrong with Harper, and that he just was given the day off last Sunday, and said he chose to give Harper another day off Monday, citing his slump. However, Girardi admitted on Tuesday he knew Harper was injured and did not tell reporters because he didn’t want to give the Phillies’ opponents a competitive advantage.  Said Girardi: “It cropped up Saturday. After the game, he didn’t say anything to me. On Sunday morning, we talked and he called and said his wrist was sore. I gave him the day off. I didn’t want [Boston Red Sox manager] Alex Cora to know I wasn’t going to use Bryce. … I thought he would be OK Monday and he wasn’t. I didn’t want [Marlins manager] Don Mattingly to know. We are just going to put him on the injured list.”

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Wayne Gretzky resigns as vice chairman of Edmonton Oilers to join TNT as broadcast analyst

After re-joining the Edmonton Oilers as its vice chairman in 2016, Wayne Gretzky released a statement Tuesday on Twitter saying that he intends to “step away” from his post. Gretzky’s departure comes less than 24 hours after the Oilers were swept out of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs. Edmonton was favored to win, but the Winnipeg Jets took the series 4-0.

According to reports, Gretzky has signed a contract with TNT “in the neighborhood of $3 million per season.” ESPN and TNT are taking over the NHL broadcast rights starting with the 2021-22 season; NBC had previously owned them.

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President Biden to double federal funding for extreme weather events

The White House announced on Monday that the Biden administration is doubling federal funding to better prepare for hurricanes and other severe weather events and asking NASA to collect more climate data. The announcement came ahead of Biden’s visit Monday to Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters to receive a briefing on the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

During the FEMA visit, Biden outlined $1 billion in added funding to help communities prepare for severe weather and other disasters. The money will shift the federal focus from “reactive disaster spending” to research-supported community preparedness. The money will go to the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program that helps areas prepare in advance for natural disasters, such as hurricanes and wildfires. A portion of the money will focus on disadvantaged areas.

NASA will also launch a new mission for an Earth System Observatory to better understand and track how climate change is impacting weather and communities.

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U.S. warns against travel to Japan ahead of Olympics amid surge in COVID-19 cases

The State Department and health officials are warning Americans against travel to Japan — which is preparing to host the Olympics in just two months — due to a of a surge in coronavirus cases in the country. The alerts don’t ban U.S. citizens from visiting the country, but they could have an impact on insurance rates for travelers and may factor into decisions by Olympic athletes and spectators on whether to compete in or attend the games, which are due to start in July. There was no immediate indication as to what effect the warnings might have on would-be Olympic-goers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new COVID-19 update: “Travelers should avoid all travel to Japan. Because of the current situation in Japan even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Japan.”  Following the CDC alert, the State Department announced: “Do not travel to Japan due to COVID-19.”  The State Department’s warning raised the department’s travel alert from a Level 3 -“Reconsider travel”, to a Level 4 “Do not travel.” The previous Level 3 alert was issued on April 21.

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee said in a statement it still anticipates that American athletes will be able to safely compete at the Tokyo Games: “We feel confident that the current mitigation practices in place for athletes and staff by both the USOPC and the Tokyo Organizing Committee, coupled with the testing before travel, on arrival in Japan, and during Games time, will allow for safe participation of Team USA athletes this summer.”

Tokyo and Osaka and several other areas are under a state of emergency until May 31 that is likely to be extended. There is fear of new variants spreading with only a tiny percentage of the Japanese — estimated at 2% to 4% — vaccinated.

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U.S. warns against travel to Japan ahead of Olympics amid surge in COVID-19 cases

U.S. health officials and the State Department on Monday warned Americans against travel to Japan because of a surge in coronavirus cases in the country, which is preparing to host the Olympics in just two months.

The twin alerts don’t ban U.S. citizens from visiting the country, but they could have an impact on insurance rates for travelers and may factor into decisions by Olympic athletes and spectators on whether to compete in or attend the games, which are due to start in July. There was no immediate indication as to what effect the warnings might have on would-be Olympic-goers.

“Travelers should avoid all travel to Japan,” the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a new COVID-19 update. “Because of the current situation in Japan even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Japan.”

The State Department’s warning, which followed the CDC alert, was more blunt. “Do not travel to Japan due to COVID-19,” it said in the announcement, which raised the department’s travel alert from Level 3 — Reconsider travel — to Level 4 — Do not travel. The previous alert was issued on April 21.

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee said it still anticipates that American athletes will be able to safely compete at the Tokyo Games.

“We feel confident that the current mitigation practices in place for athletes and staff by both the USOPC and the Tokyo Organizing Committee, coupled with the testing before travel, on arrival in Japan, and during Games time, will allow for safe participation of Team USA athletes this summer,” the committee said in a statement Monday.

Earlier Monday, Japan mobilized military doctors and nurses to give shots to older adults in two major cities, as the government tried desperately to accelerate its vaccination rollout and curb coronavirus infections before it hosts the Olympics. That move came amid growing calls for the games to be canceled.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is determined to hold the Olympics in Tokyo beginning on July 23, after a one-year delay, and has made an ambitious pledge to finish vaccinating the country’s 36 million older people by the end of July.

Japan has recorded just over 12,000 COVID-19 deaths — good by global standards, but poor in Asia — but Tokyo and Osaka and several other areas are under a state of emergency until May 31 that is likely to be extended.

There is fear of new variants spreading, with only a tiny percentage of the Japanese — estimated at 2% to 4% — vaccinated.

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Utah Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson wins 2020-21 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award

Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson was voted the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year for 2020-21. The 28-year-old Clarkson moved from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Cleveland Cavaliers and, most recently, to Utah. He beat out teammate Joe Ingles and New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose to win this year’s accolade.

In 68 games, Clarkson has averaged 18.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists as the Jazz finished with a record of 52-20 and captured the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.  This is the sixth straight season the award has gone to a player from the Western Conference.

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