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Need2Know: Restrictions Loosen, Market Rallies & Live TV Ratings Crash

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Tia Baker cleans a desk in a classroom during a media tour at Dorothy Eisenberg Elementary School, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Las Vegas. On Monday, Pre-K to third graders will be starting a two-days-per-week "hybrid" in-person schedule in the Clark County School District. Other grades will be phased in before April 6. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Tuesday, March 2, 2021:

COVID-19: LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

The pace of vaccinations in the U.S. continues to accelerate, up to about 1.8 million doses a day. That’s likely to keep rising as the first J&J doses arrive in some states today. Florida, Ohio and NYC are expanding vaccine eligibility this week. More states and cities are lifting restrictions, too: restaurants in Massachusetts are open without capacity limits; Chicago public schools reopened for all K-5 students; California has a deal to encourage school re-openings by the end of the month. Experts have noted that testing has plunged, which will make it harder to identify a new surge. The country is still reporting 65,000 or so new cases a day and around 2,000 daily deaths. AP

CUOMO ACCUSER #3

A third young woman has accused New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment. Anna Ruch told The New York Times that she met Cuomo at a wedding in 2019 and that he immediately put his hand on the small of her back, and when she tried to move it he said she seemed “aggressive” and then put his hands on her cheeks and asked if he could kiss her. The moment was captured in cell phone photos taken by Ruch’s friend: SEE IT

FAMILY SEPARATIONS

The Biden administration will give migrant families separated at the border during the Trump administration the option of reuniting and settling in the U.S. The parents of about 500 children detained at the border have still not been found even as a new White House task force has made headway in reuniting about 100 families. The number of unaccompanied minors arrested for crossing the border has been climbing, worrying some that another humanitarian crisis may be brewing. NBC NEWS

HISTORIC CONVICTION

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was convicted on corruption and influence-peddling charges and sentenced to at least one year in jail, though his sentence cannot start until he exhausts the appeal process and the court said it would consider allowing him to serve it at home with an ankle monitor. His wife, Carla Bruni, wrote on Instagram: “What insane relentlessness, my love...the fight continues.” Sarkozy is the first former French leader to face the prospect of jail since Philippe Pétain was convicted of collaborating with the Nazis during WWII. FRANCE 24

MARKET RALLY

The stock market started March with a bang, with the S&P notching its best day since last June and the overall market seeing its best day of the year so far. Tech stocks appear to have recovered from last week’s steep declines, but the rally is more broad as investors reflect the growing optimism on vaccines as well as the likelihood that the Senate will pass the new stimulus bill soon. CHEDDAR

AMAZON SHAVES 'STACHE

Amazon has quietly tweaked the look of its app icon after people noticed that the recently updated design, with a piece of blue tape over the company’s iconic “smile” logo, looked an awful lot like a Hitler mustache. The new icon has a redesigned piece of tape that looks more like the real tape on an Amazon box and less like the facial hair popularized by the worst dictator in history. SEE IT

SPRING TRAINING

Baseball is back (and on time this year). All 30 teams have reported to their spring training locations in Florida and Arizona and are in the midst of their first scheduled exhibition games ahead of the new season, with limited fan attendance. The MLB is planning for an as-close-to-normal-as-possible full, 162-game season this year with Opening Day scheduled for April 1. AP

THE INTERVIEW

CBS has started heavily promoting Oprah Winfrey’s upcoming sit-down with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, set to air Sunday night in an extended two-hour special. The first promos tease “shocking things” and a “breaking point” that led to the Duke and Duchess resigning from their royal duties. The interview is in the can, so it may be outdated by airtime on one important development with regard to the royal family: Prince Philip, the 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth who has been in the hospital for the last two weeks, has been transferred to another facility amid growing concerns about his condition. DEADLINE

SPOTTED...

…Ryan Fischer, Lady Gaga’s friend and dog walker, penning an emotional post on Instagram as he recovers in the hospital. Fisher writes, referencing Miss Asia, the dog that got away: “I cradled Asia as best I could, thanked her for all the incredible adventures we’d been on together, apologized that I couldn’t defend her brothers, and then resolved that I would still try to save them…and myself.” SEE IT
...the newest addition to the Baldwin clan. Hilaria Baldwin shared a snap of her and Alec’s newborn baby, their sixth child. Their fifth, Eduardo, was born last September: SEE PIC

LEFTOVERS: WHERE'D EVERYONE GO?

There’s a tectonic shift happening in live television, and no one knows whether it’s just pandemic fatigue or something more ominous for the industry. The early ratings for the Golden Globes are eye-popping: just 5.4 million people tuned into the show, down 60 percent from last year. The last big live TV event, the Super Bowl, saw its worst ratings in 15 years. Ratings for the NBA Finals were down 51 percent. The U.S. Open was down 49 percent. Post-Trump cable news ratings are down too, with Fox News particularly affected. Media execs have long pointed to news, sports and big events like award shows as the programming that will save the networks in an age of streaming, and now that’s being tested. DEADLINE
Listen to the N2K Podcast! Looking for more context and analysis on the big stories of the day? Check out our podcast! Hosts Jill and Carlo break down the headlines, every weekday morning Listen on Apple or Spotify, or watch on YouTube, and send us your feedback!
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