5 things to know Thursday

December 2, 2021
5 things to know Thursday


President Biden to unveil winter plan for fighting COVID-19

President Joe Biden is expected to reveal on Thursday his administration’s plan for combating COVID-19 this winter as scientists continue to learn more about the emerging omicron variant. The president assured the public during a briefing earlier this week that the plan will not entail shutdowns or lockdowns, but reports suggest strict travel measures may be put in place. Health experts expect the rest of Biden’s winter plan to include strategies seen throughout the pandemic: improve testing and genomic sequencing, push COVID-19 vaccinations, expand eligibility for boosters, and encourage masking regardless of vaccination status.

Alec Baldwin says he ‘didn’t pull the trigger’ in first interview since ‘Rust’ shooting

In his first sit-down interview since the shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on the set of the movie “Rust,” Alec Baldwin is speaking out. The actor, who fired a prop gun that he says he didn’t know contained live ammunition, sat down with George Stephanopoulos in an hour-long ABC News special that will air Thursday night (8 p.m. ET/PT, streaming on Hulu after). In a clip of their discussion released Wednesday, Baldwin gets emotional at times as he talks about Hutchins and tears up when Stephanopoulos tells him “the gun was in your hand.” Baldwin said he “didn’t pull the trigger.”

ITF meets after WTA suspends China tournaments amid Peng Shuai’s accusation fallout

The International Tennis Federation Board meets Thursday to discuss the Women’s Tennis Association’s suspension of all tournaments in China after former doubles No. 1 player and three-time Olympian Peng Shuai accused a high-ranking official in the Chinese Communist Party of sexual assault. Since her allegations, the knowledge of Shuai’s whereabouts have been sporadic, and her virtual meeting with the International Olympic Committee last week did little to assure the WTA and the international community of her safety. “The WTA has remained steadfast and true to its values since the outset and we understand their decision,” ITF spokesperson Heather Bowler said. “We will continue to monitor the situation closely.” 

Smollett defense set to cross-examine star witness

Jussie Smollett’s legal team Thursday will seek to dent the credibility of a star witness who said the former “Empire” star recruited him and his brother to stage a racist, homophobic attack on Smollett in January 2019. But casting doubts on the testimony of Abimbola Osundairo won’t be easy. Much of what Osundairo told jurors from the stand Wednesday appears to be corroborated by video and other evidence. Osundairo testified that Smollett asked him and his brother, Olabinjo, “to fake beat him up” and instructed them on how to carry out the alleged hoax in Chicago. Smollett planned a “dry run” and gave him a $100 bill to buy supplies for the staged attack, Osundairo said. “He wanted a camera to catch it,” Osundairo said, adding that Smollett said he wanted to use the recording for media purposes. Osundairo, who worked as a stand-in on “Empire,” also said he and his brother agreed because he felt indebted to Smollett for helping him with his acting career.

MLB owners lock out players in first work stoppage since 1994-95

With Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement with the MLB Players’ Association expiring late Wednesday night, the league’s 30 owners voted to lock out players beginning Thursday. This creates the first work stoppage since the players walked out in the summer of 1994 and returned for a shorter-than-usual 1995 season. MLB officials met multiple times this week with their union counterparts along with players on the MLBPA’s executive council, but as highly expected, there was not nearly enough runway for the sides to hammer out an agreement during what’s expected to be the most contentious CBA negotiations since 2002. Instead, commissioner Rob Manfred will freeze all league business until an agreement is reached. That means no trades, no free-agent signings and no players allowed inside club facilities. Manfred, who moved quickly to assign blame to players in a letter to fans released on the league’s website, will hold a press conference on Thursday at 10 a.m. ET at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. 

Contributing: The Associated Press


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