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VOL. 45 | NO. 7 | Friday, February 12, 2021

Is COVID-19 the death of shaking hands?

The centuries-old greeting is actually kind of disgusting

On March 8, 2020, the 8:45 morning service at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Franklin was unfolding as it did every Sunday. Just after the Prayers of the People, the rector offered The Peace. “May the peace of the Lord be always with you,” Father Rusty McCown said to the congregation. “And also with you,” they responded.

You never know where that extended right hand has been

I began to question the practice of shaking hands long before COVID-19. But like most of us, I never acted on my disdain for the practice. Maybe now I will.

JOE ROGERS: MY TAKE

Nashville or NOLA? Old Hickory knew where to call home

In solidarity with New Orleans, a few folks on my side of Nashville have instituted a “Yardi Gras” decorating competition this year.

Local Weather
Currently
Nashville, TN
52.0°F
Overcast
Wind: from the North at 11.5 gusting to 19.6 mph
Humidity: 61%

EVENTS

Business Studio: Influence & Leadership Lessons. This Nashville Chamber virtual event focuses on executive leadership featuring a dynamic panel. Mars Petcare Presenters: Ibolya Haigis, senior finance director, governance & controls and process improvement; Megan Foley, finance director, data & analytics; Carson Small, senior finance manager, advanced reporting & analytics. This is a complimentary event, but pre-registration is required. Join online or by phone. 8:30-9:30 a.m. Information

more events »

RICHARD COURTNEY: REALTY CHECK

Music City real estate still singing the same hit song

January sales numbers have been released by the Greater Nashville Realtors, and it’s the same old story despite the new year: Sales are strong with 2,745 closings representing a 4% increase compared to January 2020.

REAL ESTATE

Davidson County real estate trends for January 2021

January 2021 real estate trends for Davidson County, as compiled by Chandler Reports.

US long-term mortgage rates flat; 30-year stays at 2.73%

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. long-term mortgage rates were flat this week for a second straight week. Home-loan rates stayed near record lows as the economy, especially in the services sector, remains burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.

NEWSMAKERS

9 Bradley lawyers named ‘Attorneys for Justice’

Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP attorneys Kimberly M. Ingram, Alexandra C. Lynn, Erin Malone-Smolla, Casey L. Miller, Peter C. Sales, Edmund S. Sauer, Jeffrey W. Sheehan, Fritz Spainhour and David K. Taylor have been recognized by the Tennessee Supreme Court as 2020 “Attorneys for Justice.”

BRIEFS

The Rutledge secures space in Four Seasons

The Rutledge will open its second location at Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Nashville in a 13,000-square-foot space on the ground floor of the First Avenue development across from the Ascend Amphitheater.

BEHIND THE WHEEL

Whatever happened to car subscription services?

Just a few years ago, car subscriptions looked like the next sure thing. Picking up on consumers’ comfort with paying monthly for the likes of streaming services or phones, many automakers introduced programs that allowed people to get a new car and a variety of perks for a monthly fee.

PERSONAL FINANCE

What gig workers need to know about taxes

If you became a gig worker during the pandemic, beware: Your taxes just got more complicated.

CAREER CORNER

COVID’s impact on gender equality

January’s unemployment rate fell to 6.7%, with more than 49,000 jobs added in January. As in previous months during the last year, hospitality, retail and travel continue to struggle. And, sadly, the pandemic is having a disproportionately higher impact on the careers of women.

MILLENNIAL MONEY

Get those tough money tasks off your to-do list

Nothing sparks procrastination quite like a to-do list of financial tasks. Sometimes the only thing scarier than making a financial choice in the first place is making the WRONG choice, which can happen when you don’t totally understand what you’re doing.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Tennessee moves vote on Confederate bust in Capitol to March

NASHVILLE (AP) — Due to severe winter weather, a Tennessee panel won't vote until next month on whether to remove the bust of a Confederal general and early Ku Klux Klan leader from the state Capitol.

NASHVILLE AREA

Fisk University announces 17th president

NASHVILLE (AP) — Fisk University's Board of Trustees has named Vann Newkirk Sr. as the 17th president of the historically Black university in Nashville.

Vanderbilt lands $5M to create center on US presidency

NASHVILLE (AP) — Vanderbilt University has landed a $5 million donation to set up an academic hub focused on the U.S. presidency.

TOURISM

Coronavirus slows bourbon tourism in Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Bourbon tourism in Kentucky slowed to a trickle last year as the coronavirus pandemic led to the first drop-off in visitors in more than two decades.

Graceland plans in-person events during Elvis Week

MEMPHIS (AP) — On the 44th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, fans will get to celebrate the musician once again at the annual Elvis Week event in Memphis, Tennessee.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Ford to go all electric in Europe by 2030

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Ford is vowing to convert its entire passenger vehicle lineup in Europe to electric power by 2030 in just the latest sign of the seismic technological changes sweeping the auto industry.

COURTS

New York sues Amazon over worker safety during pandemic

NEW YORK (AP) — New York is suing Amazon, claiming the company failed to provide workers with a safe environment at two warehouses in the state as COVID-19 infections surged nationwide.

Epic Games files EU antitrust complaint against Apple

LONDON (AP) — Epic Games said Wednesday it filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with European Union regulators, opening a new front in its war with the tech giant over app store payments.

TECHNOLOGY

US charges North Korean computer programmers in global hacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has charged three North Korean computer programmers in a broad range of global hacks, including a destructive attack targeting an American movie studio, and in the attempted theft and extortion of more than $1.3 billion from banks and companies, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

US still unraveling 'sophisticated' hack of 9 gov't agencies

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. authorities are still working to unravel the full scope of the likely Russian hack that gave the "sophisticated" actor behind the breach complete access to files and email from at least nine government agencies and about 100 private companies, the top White House cybersecurity official said Wednesday.

MEDIA

Tribune agrees to purchase by hedge fund for $630 million

CHICAGO (AP) — The newspaper publisher Tribune has agreed to be sold to Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund known for cutting costs and eliminating newsroom jobs, in a deal valued at $630 million.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

Government rushes virus gene-mapping as mutations spread

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. is scrambling to expand DNA mapping of coronavirus samples taken from patients to identify potentially deadlier mutations that are starting to spread around the country.

US govt seizes roughly 10M phony N95 masks in COVID-19 probe

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal agents have seized roughly 10 million fake 3M brand N95 masks in recent weeks, the result of an ongoing investigation into counterfeits sold in at least five states to hospitals, medical facilities and government agencies.

Thousands of service members saying no to COVID-19 vaccine

WASHINGTON (AP) — By the thousands, U.S. service members are refusing or putting off the COVID-19 vaccine as frustrated commanders scramble to knock down internet rumors and find the right pitch that will persuade troops to get the shot.

Biden reframes his goal on reopening of elementary schools

MILWAUKEE (AP) — President Joe Biden is promising a majority of elementary schools will be open five days a week by the end of his first 100 days in office, restating his goal after his administration came under fire when aides said schools would be considered open if they held in-person learning just one day a week.

AP FACT CHECK: Biden and his shifting goalposts on schools

WASHINGTON (AP) — How do you define success when it comes to reopening schools in the pandemic? President Joe Biden and his aides are having difficulty settling on an answer to that question.

COVID-19 bill would scale up ability to spot virus mutations

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. scientists would gain vastly expanded capabilities to identify potentially deadlier coronavirus mutations under legislation advancing in Congress. A House bill headed for floor debate would provide $1.75 billion for genomic sequencing.

EU OKs contract for 300 million more Moderna vaccine doses

BERLIN (AP) — The EU commission has approved new contract for 300 million additional doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine.

Native Americans embrace vaccine, virus containment measures

CHEROKEE, N.C. (AP) — Joyce Dugan did not hesitate before sitting down inside the Cherokee Indian Hospital for her second and final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. "I'm proud of our hospital," the 72-year-old former tribal chief said as a nurse quietly prepped her arm. "I'm proud that we're able to get these shots."

Japan starts COVID-19 vaccinations with eye on Olympics

TOKYO (AP) — Japan launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign Wednesday, months after other major economies started giving shots and amid questions about whether the drive would reach enough people quickly enough to save a Summer Olympics already delayed by the pandemic.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks end mostly lower on Wall Street, led by drops in tech

Stocks mostly pulled back from recent highs Wednesday, weighed down by a slide in technology companies.

Fed officials expressed concerns in over slowing economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve officials were convinced last month that the U.S. economy and job growth had slowed as coronavirus cases surged across the country, noting that the outlook is heavily dependent on the course of the virus.

Biden's $15 wage proposal: Job killer or a boon for workers?

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden's effort to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour could provide a welcome opportunity for someone like Cristian Cardona, a 21-year-old fast food worker. Cardona would love to earn enough to afford to move out of his parents' house in Orlando, Florida, and maybe scrape together money for college.

Lawmakers to face off with GameStop saga's key players

WASHINGTON (AP) — The GameStop saga has been portrayed as a victory of the little guy over Wall Street giants but not everyone agrees, including some lawmakers in Washington.

US retail sales jumps 5.3% thanks to $600 stimulus checks

NEW YORK (AP) — Those $600 stimulus checks got Americans shopping again. After three months of declines, retail sales soared a seasonally adjusted 5.3% in January from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday. It was the biggest increase since June and much larger than the 1% rise Wall Street analysts had expected.

Wholesale prices surge 1.3% in January, led by energy spike

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale prices surged 1.3% in January, pushed higher by a big jump in energy costs.

U.S. industrial production climbs 0.9% in January

WASHINGTON (AP) — American industry expanded for the fourth consecutive month in January but has yet to recover fully to the level of activity that preceded the pandemic.

Delivery-only restaurant brands see pandemic-fueled growth

Do you know which restaurant cooked your meal delivery? Increasingly, it can be hard to tell.

Buffett's firm reveals new investments in Verizon, Chevron

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Warren Buffett's company made major new investments in Verizon and Chevron and again trimmed its huge stake in Apple while making several other adjustments to its stock portfolio last year.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Rush Limbaugh, 'voice of American conservatism,' has died

PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Rush Limbaugh, the talk radio host who ripped into liberals, foretold the rise of Donald Trump and laid waste to political correctness with a merry brand of malice that made him one of the most powerful voices on the American right, died Wednesday. He was 70.

Impeachment over, Congress shifts focus to security failures

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the still shaken and heavily guarded U.S. Capitol, thousands of National Guard troops still wander the halls. Glass windows remain broken. Doors swing without handles. And in the grand marble hallways, which amplified the shouts of insurrectionists just over a month ago, there is an uncomfortable silence.

Pentagon rethinking how to array forces to focus on China

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration faces a conundrum as it rethinks the positioning of military forces around the world: How to focus more on China and Russia without retreating from longstanding Mideast threats — and to make this shift with potentially leaner Pentagon budgets.

Biden describes life at the White House: 'A gilded cage'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Four weeks into his presidency, Joe Biden is still getting used to the trappings of the office.

Trump rips McConnell as GOP divide deepens post-Capitol riot

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the most caustic sign yet of deepening GOP divisions, former President Donald Trump blistered Mitch McConnell as a "political hack" on Tuesday, days after the Senate's top Republican denounced him as the inciter of U.S. Capitol attack.


TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 16
PREDATORS

Stars scrap 2nd game in row with Predators in frigid Dallas

DALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Stars postponed a second consecutive game against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday after further consultation with city officials over widespread power outages attributed to extreme winter weather.

UT SPORTS

New Tennessee football coach Heupel brings 3 UCF assistants

KNOXVILLE (AP) — New Tennessee football coach Josh Heupel is bringing three offensive assistants with him from the UCF staff.

MUSIC INDUSTRY

ACM Awards show returns to Nashville venues in April

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Academy of Country Music Awards is coming back to Nashville for a second time to hold its awards show at three different venues.

STATE GOVERNMENT

Tennessee's monthly revenues up once again amid pandemic

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee officials are reporting that the state exceeded their tax revenue estimates in January by nearly $380 million.

Tennessee lands $6.9M in STEM education grants

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee officials say they have landed $6.9 million in grants to aid in computer science and STEM education.

COURTS

Black franchise owner sues McDonald's, cites persistent bias

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Black owner of 14 McDonald's franchises says the company has shown more favorable treatment to white owners and denied him the opportunity to buy restaurants in more affluent communities, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Youngstown.

MEDIA

Australia to amend laws to make Google and Facebook pay

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's government said on Tuesday it will amend draft laws that would make Google and Facebook pay for news to clarify that publishers would be paid in lump sums rather than per click on news article links.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

FEMA opens mass vaccine sites as bad weather hampers efforts

FEMA opened its first COVID-19 mass vaccination sites Tuesday, setting up in Los Angeles and Oakland as part of an effort by the Biden administration to get shots into arms more quickly and reach minority communities hit hard by the outbreak.

Vaccine delays leave grocery workers feeling expendable

As panicked Americans cleared supermarkets of toilet paper and food last spring, grocery employees gained recognition as among the most indispensable of the pandemic's front-line workers.

Hospitals still ration medical N95 masks as stockpiles swell

Mike Bowen's warehouse outside Fort Worth, Texas, was piled high with cases of medical-grade N95 face masks. His company, Prestige Ameritech, can churn out 1 million masks every four days, but he doesn't have orders for nearly that many. So he recently got approval from the government to export them.

Muted Mardi Gras: Closed bars, barricaded Bourbon Street

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Coronavirus-related limits on access to Bourbon Street, shuttered bars and frigid weather all were expected to prevent what the city usually craves at the end of Mardi Gras season — streets and businesses jam-packed with revelers.

Dutch court orders government to scrap coronavirus curfew

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — A Dutch court ordered the government on Tuesday to end the curfew it imposed last month to rein in the spread of coronavirus, saying the ruling coalition was not entitled to use emergency powers to enforce the restrictive measure.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Stocks end wobbly day mostly lower; natural gas prices surge

U.S. stock indexes closed mostly lower Tuesday as losses in health care and technology companies kept gains in energy and other sectors of the market in check.

Highlights of COVID-19 relief bill progressing in House

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Democratic-led effort to pass a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package has passed its latest challenge with House committees advancing measures that will soon be combined into a single bill expected to clear the full House by the end of February.

GameStop's saga may be over; its effect on Wall Street isn't

NEW YORK (AP) — The frenzy around GameStop's stock may have quieted down, but the outsized influence small investors had in the saga is likely to stick around.

Biden extends pandemic help for homeowners, renters wait

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is extending a ban on housing foreclosures to June 30 to help homeowners struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cost of a single Bitcoin exceeds $50,000 for first time

SILVER SPRING, Md. (AP) — The seemingly unstoppable rise of Bitcoin continued Tuesday with the cost of a single unit of the digital currency rising above $50,000 for the first time.

Got no milk: Nestle creates vegan KitKat bar

BERLIN (AP) — Coming soon to a selected retailer near you: a vegan version of the iconic KitKat candy bar.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Democratic's lawsuit accuses Trump of inciting deadly Capitol riot

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Homeland Security chairman accused Donald Trump in a federal lawsuit Tuesday of inciting the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and conspiring with his lawyer and extremist groups to try to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the presidential election he lost to Joe Biden.

Senate panels call former Capitol Police chief to testify

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has announced its first hearings to examine the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol, calling in the former chief of Capitol Police and the former heads of security for the House and Senate, all three of whom resigned immediately after the attack.

Vigorous preparation returns as Biden calls other leaders

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new-old ritual is taking shape in the Biden White House, one that starts with bulky briefing packages, war-gaming the "what-ifs," and Oval Office discussions about how to talk to this or that particular U.S. ally or adversary.


MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15
MUSIC INDUSTRY

Stax Music Academy found a way to flourish during pandemic

MEMPHIS (AP) — For the denizens of Soulsville — the South Memphis-based community/nonprofit foundation centered on the Stax Museum of American Soul Music and the Stax Music Academy — 2020 was supposed to have been a year of celebration. Stax Music Academy was set to mark its 20th anniversary with a series of concerts and events, while the museum was poised to continue its curatorial reinvigoration. Instead, COVID-19 happened.

MEDIA

Google fined $1M for misleading French hotel rankings

PARIS (AP) — Google has agreed to pay a fine of 1.1 million euros ($1.3 million) after French authorities concluded the search engine displayed "misleading" rankings for French hotels.

Major Australian media company strikes Google news pay deal

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Seven West Media has become the largest Australian news media business to strike a deal with Google to pay for journalism in a partnership announced Monday before the nation's Parliament considers draft laws to force digital giants to pay for news.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Luxury car brand Jaguar to go all-electric by 2025

LONDON (AP) — Struggling luxury car brand Jaguar will be fully electric by 2025, the British company said Monday as it outlined a plan to phase out internal combustion engines.

GM's Chevy Bolt SUV joins parade of new US electric vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — Whether people want them or not, automakers are rolling out new electric vehicle models as the industry responds to stricter pollution regulations and calls to reduce emissions to fight climate change.

HEALTH CARE

'Obamacare' sign-ups reopen as Democrats push for more aid

WASHINGTON (AP) — HealthCare.gov's market for subsidized health plans reopens Monday for a special three-month sign-up window as the Democratic-led Congress pushes a boost in financial help that could cut premiums by double digits.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

COVID-19 shots might be tweaked if variants get worse

The makers of COVID-19 vaccines are figuring out how to tweak their recipes against worrisome virus mutations — and regulators are looking to flu as a blueprint if and when the shots need an update.

Business owners ponder whether to require COVID-19 shots

NEW YORK (AP) — As more coronavirus vaccine doses become available in the weeks and months ahead, many business owners face a difficult decision: whether to require employees to be inoculated.

Insider Q&A: Pfizer exec talks ramping up vaccine supply

With coronavirus still spreading globally, Pfizer Inc. and the other makers of COVID-19 vaccines are under pressure to rapidly make more.

The superspreaders behind top COVID-19 conspiracy theories

As the coronavirus spread across the globe, so too did speculation about its origins. Perhaps the virus escaped from a lab. Maybe it was engineered as a bioweapon.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Okonjo-Iweala becomes first woman, African to lead WTO

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was appointed Monday to head the World Trade Organization, becoming the first woman and first African to take on the role amid disagreement over how the body decides cases involving billions in sales and thousands of jobs.

Activists fear Biden's commitment to higher minimum wage

WASHINGTON (AP) — Union activist Terrence Wise recalls being laughed at when he began pushing for a national $15 per hour minimum wage almost a decade ago. Nearly a year into the pandemic, the idea isn't so funny.

Biden to speak at virtual meeting of world's major economies

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will speak at a virtual meeting of the world's major economies on Friday to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and global vaccination distribution, according to the White House.

Japanese economy sees recovery from pandemic slump

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese economy grew at an annual rate of 12.7% in October-December, marking the second straight quarter of growth, amid a recovery from the slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic, according to government data released Monday.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Trump looks to reassert himself after impeachment acquittal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump took in the win at Mar-a-Lago, surrounded by friends and family. His lawyers celebrated with hugs and smiles. One joked, "We're going to Disney World!"

Pelosi says independent commission will examine Capitol riot

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that Congress will establish an independent, Sept. 11-style commission to look into the deadly insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol.

Impeachment isn't the final word on Capitol riot for Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump's acquittal at his second impeachment trial may not be the final word on whether he's to blame for the deadly Capitol riot. The next step for the former president could be the courts.

Biden order reestablishes faith-focused White House office

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden signed an executive order Sunday relaunching a White House office aimed at fostering cooperation between the federal government and faith-based and secular community organizations.


FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12
PREDATORS

Fabbro's late goal lifts Predators over Red Wings, 3-2

NASHVILLE (AP) — The first game-winning goal of Dante Fabbro's career came in dramatic fashion.

NASHVILLE AREA

FedEx gives $1M to TSU for student assistance

NASHVILLE (AP) — FedEx Corp. is giving Tennessee State University $1 million to help students finish their degrees and be prepared for the workforce, the school said.

STATEWIDE

Tennessee pharmacies to receive shots under federal program

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's Department of Health announced that starting Friday access to COVID-19 vaccinations will be expanded under the launch of a federal government program.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

CDC: Strong evidence in-person schooling can be done safely

The nation's top public health agency said Friday that in-person schooling can resume safely with masks, social distancing and other strategies, but vaccination of teachers, while important, is not a prerequisite for reopening.

Airlines push White House to reject testing for US flights

WASHINGTON (AP) — Leaders of several major U.S. airlines met online Friday with White House officials to press their case against requiring coronavirus tests for passengers on domestic flights, saying it would undermine the already fragile industry.

Biden: Governors, mayors need $350 billion to fight COVID

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden met with a bipartisan group of governors and mayors at the White House on Friday as part of his push to give financial relief from the coronavirus pandemic to state and local governments — a clear source of division with Republican lawmakers who view the spending as wasteful.

Biden says US is securing 600 million vaccine doses by July

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — President Joe Biden said Thursday that the U.S. will have enough supply of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the summer to inoculate 300 million Americans.

UK boss of KPMG quits after slamming staff COVID complaints

LONDON (AP) — The chairman of accountancy firm KPMG in the U.K. has resigned after reportedly telling staff to stop complaining about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their lives and jobs.

ENVIRONMENT

Court: Nigerian farmers can sue Shell in UK over pollution

LONDON (AP) — Britain's Supreme Court ruled Friday that a group of Nigerian farmers and fishermen can sue Royal Dutch Shell PLC in English courts over pollution in a region where the Anglo-Dutch energy giant has a subsidiary.

COURTS

Religion, death penalty collide at the Supreme Court

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is sending a message to states that want to continue to carry out the death penalty: Inmates must be allowed to have a spiritual adviser by their side as they are executed.

Tennessee man leaves $5 million to pet border collie

NASHVILLE (AP) — It won't be a dog's life for a Tennessee canine whose owner recently died.

Fox hosts Dobbs, Bartiromo strike back in voting fraud suit

Three Fox News hosts — Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro — are seeking the dismissal of claims against them and their employer as part of a $2.7 billion libel lawsuit brought by the voting technology company Smartmatic.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

S&P 500 closes wobbly week at new record high

Technology companies led a late-afternoon rally on Wall Street Friday that capped a week of wobbly trading with the major stock indexes hitting all-time highs.

Sign of inequality: US salaries recover even as jobs haven't

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a stark sign of the economic inequality that has marked the pandemic recession and recovery, Americans as a whole are now earning the same amount in wages and salaries that they did before the virus struck — even with nearly 9 million fewer people working.

Amazon faces biggest union push in its history

NEW YORK (AP) — The second Jennifer Bates walks away from her post at the Amazon warehouse where she works, the clock starts ticking.

Democrats pushing Biden's COVID-19 bill through House panels

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats pushed half of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan through a House committee Thursday, advancing $1,400 payments for millions of Americans and other initiatives that Republicans call too costly, economically damaging and brazenly partisan.

UK economy suffers biggest drop since 1709

LONDON (AP) — The British economy suffered its biggest decline in more than 300 years in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic closed shops and restaurants, devastated the travel industry and curtailed manufacturing.

Disney 1Q profit falls but beats expectations due to Disney+

NEW YORK (AP) — The Walt Disney Co.'s net income fell sharply in its most-recent quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic still weighs heavily on many of its businesses, from theme parks to movies.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Trump lawyers say Democrats urge supporters to 'fight,' too

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawyers for Donald Trump defended him against impeachment Friday by accusing Democrats of waging a campaign of "hatred" against the former president and manipulating his words in the lead-up to the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol. Their presentation included a blizzard of their own selectively edited fiery comments from Democrats.

Biden will try to close Guantanamo after 'robust' review

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will seek to close the prison on the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay following a review process, resuming a project begun under the Obama administration, the White House said Friday.

White House aide suspended for threatening reporter

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House deputy press secretary T.J. Ducklo has been suspended for a week without pay after he reportedly issued a sexist and profane threat to a journalist seeking to cover his relationship with another reporter.

Convict Trump or face dire democracy damage, prosecutors say

WASHINGTON (AP) — Dire harm from Donald Trump's false and violent incitements will vex American democracy long into the future unless the Senate convicts him of impeachment and bars him from future office, House prosecutors insisted Thursday as they concluded two days of emotional arguments in his historic trial.

What to watch as Trump's lawyers deliver impeachment defense

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump's lawyers have a simple objective as they open their defense at the former president's impeachment trial: Don't lose any Republican votes.

Biden to slowly allow 25,000 people seeking asylum into US

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Biden administration on Friday announced plans for tens of thousands of people who are seeking asylum and have been forced to wait in Mexico under a Trump-era policy to be allowed into the U.S. while their cases wind through immigration courts.


THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 11
VANDERBILT SPORTS

Vanderbilt wraps up football staff, hiring cornerbacks coach

NASHVILLE (AP) — Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea wrapped up his first staff, hiring LaMar Morgan on Thursday as cornerbacks coach.

TENNESSEE TITANS

Titans coach Mike Vrabel adds pair of offensive assistants

NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have hired Erik Frazier as an offensive skill assistant and Jason Houghtaling as an offensive line assistant.

MUSIC INDUSTRY

Morgan Wallen tells fans not to defend his racist language

NASHVILLE (AP) — Country star Morgan Wallen asked fans not to downplay the racist language he was caught saying on camera and said that he accepted the punishments he faced.

STATE GOVERNMENT

After Gov. Lee blasts trans athletes, Senate GOP tepid on ban

NASHVILLE (AP) — A day after the governor said transgender athletes would "destroy women's sports," Tennessee's Senate GOP leaders on Thursday offered tepid support for legislation that would ban them from participating in girls' sports.

Gov. Lee won't revive paid family leave push

NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Wednesday he won't revive his push from early last year to offer paid family leave for state workers.

NASHVILLE AREA

Hildreth, Watts named to Biden's COVID equity task force

NASHVILLE (AP) — Two of the 12 members of President Joe Biden's COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force are from Tennessee. The panel announced on Wednesday includes Dr. James Hildreth, President and CEO of the historically Black Meharry Medical College in Nashville. Also included is Bobby Watts, of Goodlettsville, who is CEO of the National Health Care for the Homeless Council.

MIDSTATE

Electric car battery maker to build plant, add 287 jobs in Clarksville

NASHVILLE (AP) — State officials say an electric car battery manufacturing company is planning to invest $220 million in a new Tennessee plant that is expected to create 287 new jobs.

REGION

TVA gives raise to CEO that Trump had criticized

NASHVILLE (AP) — A federal utility's board voted Thursday to increase the multimillion-dollar pay scale of its CEO, coming to the decision based on findings of an independent review ordered up after then-President Donald Trump blasted the executive as "ridiculously overpaid" last summer.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Autoworkers face uncertain future in an era of electric cars

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — When General Motors boldly announced its goal last month to make only battery-powered vehicles by 2035, it didn't just mark a break with more than a century of making internal combustion engines. It also clouded the future for 50,000 GM workers whose skills — and jobs — could become obsolete far sooner than they knew.

Court won't delay extradition of 2 in Nissan boss's escape

BOSTON (AP) — A U.S. appeals court refused Thursday to put on hold the extradition of two men wanted by Japan on accusations that they helped smuggle former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn out of the country in a box in 2019.

Study: Smaller cars may be why crashes injure women more

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The smaller, lighter vehicles that women more often drive, and the types of crashes they get into, may explain why they are much more likely to suffer a serious injury in a collision than men, a new study published Thursday found.

TRANSPORTATION

Bombardier to end Learjet production, cut 1,600 jobs

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Learjet, which became synonymous with lifestyles of the rich and famous, is about to fade into aviation history.

ENVIRONMENT

Greener pastures: Shell plans steady drop in oil business

LONDON (AP) — Royal Dutch Shell, one of the multinationals that has defined the oil industry, is slowly turning away from the fossil fuel that made its fortune over the decades but also worsened a global climate crisis.

TECHNOLOGY

Digital siege: Internet cuts become favored tool of regimes

LONDON (AP) — When army generals in Myanmar staged a coup last week, they briefly cut internet access in an apparent attempt to stymie protests. In Uganda, residents couldn't use Facebook, Twitter and other social media for weeks after a recent election. And in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region, the internet has been down for months amid a wider conflict.

MEDIA

China bans BBC news broadcasts in apparent retaliatory move

BEIJING (AP) — China has banned BBC World News from airing in China, one week after threatening to retaliate for the recent revocation of the British broadcasting license for China's state-owned CGTN.

VIRUS OUTBREAK

L.A. closing 5 mass vaccination sites due to low supply

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles is temporarily closing five mass vaccination sites including Dodger Stadium for lack of supply as the state faces continuing criticism over the vaccine rollout.

Fauci: Virus shot categories to open up by April

WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci predicts by April it will be "open season" for vaccinations in the U.S., as supply boosts allow most people to get shots to protect against COVID-19.

AstraZeneca expects updated COVID-19 vaccine by autumn

LONDON (AP) — AstraZeneca said Thursday it expects to have a new version of its COVID-19 vaccine ready for use by this autumn as drugmakers respond to concerns about emerging variants of the disease that may be more transmissible or resistant to existing vaccines.

'Overwhelm the problem': Inside Biden's war on COVID-19

WASHINGTON (AP) — The meetings begin each day not long after dawn. Dozens of aides report in, coffee in hand, joining by Zoom from agency headquarters, their homes or even adjacent offices.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

US stock indexes wobble as investor caution offsets optimism

Another day of choppy trading on Wall Street left the major U.S. stock indexes nearly flat Thursday, even as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite hit all-time highs.

CBO expects $2.3 trillion deficit before Biden relief plan

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Congressional Budget Office says the federal government is on track for a $2.3 trillion deficit this year, down roughly $900 billion from last year when the coronavirus pandemic led Congress to provide historic amounts of financial aid.

US jobless claims fall slightly to 793,000 with layoffs high

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell slightly last week to 793,000, evidence that job cuts remain high despite a substantial decline in new confirmed viral infections.

GOP attacks Dems' $1.9T COVID-19 relief bill from all angles

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans are attacking the Democrats' $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package as too costly, economically damaging and overtly partisan, an all-angles attempt to derail new President Joe Biden's top priority as it starts moving through a Congress his party controls only narrowly.

EU hopeful for firm economic growth despite virus challenges

BRUSSELS (AP) — Despite deep uncertainty over a surge in coronavirus cases and the impact of new variants of the disease, senior European Commission officials on Thursday expressed cautious optimism that European economies will rebound later this year and in 2022.

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

Rioters acted on Trump's 'order,' Democrats say in trial

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats prosecuting Donald Trump's impeachment  said Thursday the Capitol invaders believed they were acting on "the president's orders" to stop Joe Biden's election, arguing it was the culmination of the defeated president's pattern of spreading false and violent rhetoric that will continue to vex American politics if left unchecked.

Trump lawyer says House presentation 'offensive'

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of Donald Trump's lawyers is calling the presentation by House impeachment managers "offensive."

Biden hopes infrastructure can bridge partisan divide

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is hoping that launching an effort to build roads and bridges can help to unite Democrats and Republicans in a time of sharp partisan divisions.

Biden decree ends 'emergency' that Trump used to build wall

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has officially ended the "national emergency" that President Donald Trump declared in order to take money from the Pentagon to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

HUD reverses Trump policy, bans gender identity housing bias

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Department of Housing and Urban Development will begin enforcing a ban on housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The move is a major reversal of the position under the Trump administration's housing secretary, Ben Carson.

Trial highlights: Harrowing footage, focus on Trump's words

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats opened their first day of arguments in former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial with searing footage of the U.S. Capitol riot as they painted Trump as an "inciter in chief" who systematically riled up his supporters and falsely convinced them the election had been stolen, culminating in the deadly attack.

'Distressing and emotional': Senators relive horror of riot

WASHINGTON (AP) — For 90 tense minutes, members of the Senate relived the horror.

Trump can't hang on to lawyers after false election claims

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump spent much of his career deploying high-powered lawyers to do his bidding. Now he is having trouble finding top-tier help when he might need it most.

How a leading anti-Trump group ignored a crisis in its ranks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Last June, the Lincoln Project was on a high. Led by several prominent former Republican consultants, its slickly produced ads attacking President Donald Trump made it perhaps the best known of the so-called Never Trump organizations.

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