Biden puts forth COVID-19 strategy; A-listers turn out for Biden-Harris; there’s a Powerball winner

Today is Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. Let’s get caught up.

These headlines are in the news this morning: President Biden puts forth a national virus strategy; there’s a Powerball jackpot winner; and Hollywood A-listers in abundance at Biden-Harris inaugural.

Read on for these stories, other top headlines, celebrity birthdays and more.


Top stories

Biden puts forth virus strategy, requires mask use to travel

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the U.S. enters “what may well be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus,” President Joe Biden is putting forth a national COVID-19 strategy to ramp up vaccinations and testing, reopen schools and businesses and increase the use of masks — including a requirement that they be worn for travel.

Biden also will address inequities in hard-hit minority communities as he signs 10 pandemic-related executive orders on Thursday, his second day in office.

“We need to ask average Americans to do their part,” said Jeff Zients, the White House official directing the national response. “Defeating the virus requires a coordinated nationwide effort.” Read more from Biden’s first day:

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Hollywood on the Potomac: A-list turns out for Biden-Harris

A full-throated, supremely confident Lady Gaga belted out the national anthem at President Joe Biden’s inauguration in a very Gaga way — with flamboyance, fashion and passion. She was followed by Jennifer Lopez, dressed all in white, who threw a line of Spanish into her medley of “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful” — a pointed nod to multiculturalism.

And country star Garth Brooks, doffing his black cowboy hat, sang a soulful a capella rendition of “Amazing Grace,” his eyes closed for much of the song. He asked the audience to sing a verse with him: “Not just the people here, but the people at home, to work as one united.”

None other than Bruce Springsteen launched the evening’s entertainment: “Celebrating America,” a 90-minute, multi-network broadcast hosted by Tom Hanks that took the place of the usual official inaugural balls, with Biden and Harris watching along and giving brief remarks. Read more:

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Powerball jackpot winner worth $731.1M sold in Maryland

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A single Powerball ticket sold in Maryland is the winner of an estimated $731.1 million jackpot, the first to get the top prize in months.

Thanks to math and bad luck, lottery players had another shot at a giant jackpot Wednesday night that earlier had been estimated at $730 million, but it grew even further based on final ticket sales. Following the win, the new jackpot drops to an estimated $20 million for the next drawing Saturday. Read more:

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Today’s weather

Quick-moving storms bring showers to the Gulf Coast and lake effect snow in the North. Meanwhile, the West seeks drought relief from a potential rain and snow maker.

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In other news today …

  • A federal judge may decide Thursday whether a Pennsylvania woman accused of helping steal a laptop from the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the attack on the U.S. Capitol should be released on bail.
  • A fire broke out Thursday at a building under construction at Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, possibly affecting its future expansion of COVID-19 vaccine production.
  • The National Rifle Association is in a double-barreled legal battle for its future, moving forward with its bankruptcy case while fighting accusations it only sought Chapter 11 protection to avoid a potentially crippling lawsuit.
  • Three National Guard members on a training flight were killed Wednesday when their helicopter crashed in a farmer’s field in western New York.

Click on the links below for full versions of these stories and scroll further for a look at today in history and celebrity birthdays.

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