Need2Know: CDC Begs Not to Travel, Home Sales on Fire & All 'Likes' Lead to Rome

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In this Oct. 27, 2020 file photo, Passengers walk through Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City. The nation's top public health agency is pleading with Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving, or to spend the holiday with people with whom they are not currently living. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
November 20, 2020
Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Friday, November 20, 2020:

CERTIFICATION DEADLINES 

Georgia has finished its hand recount, affirming that Joe Biden won the state. President Trump has invited Michigan Republican legislators to the White House today, an extremely unusual move as his legal team attempts to overturn the results of the election in that state. Georgia has to certify its election results today by law. Michigan and Pennsylvania’s deadline to certify is on Monday. Those three states, combined with the states where the results are not being contested plus Minnesota on Tuesday, would give President-elect Biden more than 270 electoral votes and thus would make him the certified winner. Election law experts, constitutional scholars, the right-leaning Chamber of Commerce, and a small but growing number of Congressional Republicans are urging the president to accept defeat, worrying that a continued assault on the vote is doing significant damage to the integrity of America’s electoral process. AP

COVID-19: THANKSGIVING VIGILANCE

The CDC is all but begging Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving. The agency gave its first media briefing in months for the purpose of recommending that people stay home for the holiday and celebrate only with members of their own households. Meanwhile, the White House coronavirus task force returned to tell Americans to “increase their vigilance” ahead of a vaccine rollout. Dr. Fauci made a point of saying that the two vaccines that are close to being approved had not been rushed and are “really solid.” CHEDDAR

TREASURY CUTS OFF AID

The Treasury Dept. will not allow some of the Fed’s successful lending programs for small and midsize businesses to be extended past the end of the year, a move that could hamstring the economic recovery just as a new administration is taking office. Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin told the central bank to return nearly $500 billion in unused funding to Congress, drawing a rare rebuke from Fed Chair Jerome Powell. Powell wrote in a letter that those lending facilities are still needed and the money provides an important backstop if the economy gets worse. POLITICO

PHX RECORD HEAT

A late-season heat wave in the Southwest is shattering records left and right, with Phoenix on track to break its record for most 90-degree days in a calendar year. The city broke its record for the latest 90-degree day of the season twice already this week. A slight cool-off is forecast for Thanksgiving week. ACCUWEATHER

HOME SALES OFF THE CHARTS

The U.S. housing market is on absolute fire. Home sales rose in October to their highest level since 2006, powered by rock-bottom interest rates, higher household savings rates, and the desire to splurge for more space as many families -- especially Millennials -- continue to work, eat, learn and do pretty much everything from home. It’s not just existing-home sales, either. The shortage of housing across the country is powering demand for newly-built homes, too, which has the knock-on effect of creating jobs in the construction industry and robust sales of things like appliances and furniture. MOTLEY FOOL

MEDIA TIE-UP

BuzzFeed is acquiring HuffPost from Verizon in an all-stock deal, part of a larger agreement between the two companies that will include Verizon taking a stake in BuzzFeed. Digital media brands, of which BuzzFeed and HuffPost are the O.G.s, are looking to gain scale in order to better compete with Google and Facebook for ad dollars. WSJ

NFL WEEK 11

The NFL is activating its intensive COVID-19 protocols for the entire league as of tomorrow, mandating that all team personnel wear masks during practice, conduct team meetings virtually, and use “double PPE” during medical treatments. The vast majority of NFL teams have already been under the intensive protocol at least once this season. YAHOO SPORTS

OBAMA & OPRAH

If you’re wondering why President Obama has popped up seemingly everywhere all of a sudden, it’s because the first volume of his memoir was just published. Among his media rounds to promote the book, Obama recently sat down with Oprah Winfrey for her Apple TV+ special. Or at least, that’s what it looked like. Through the power of technology, the two were actually on opposite sides of the country, using a green screen to make it look like they were sitting together in front of a fire in a cozy living room: SEE IT

SPOTTED...

...Rudy Giuliani, with what appeared to be hair dye dripping down his face, during a news conference in which the president’s lawyer acted out a scene from My Cousin Vinny to alleged widespread voter fraud: SEE PIC

LEFTOVERS: ALL LIKES LEAD TO ROME

The Vatican is undergoing an internal investigation after it came to light that the pope’s official Instagram account ‘liked’ a racy photo of a lingerie-clad Brazilian model last month. Facing a media uproar, the Holy See says it has determined that none of its staffers liked the photo, and has asked Instagram to provide “explanations.” The like in question has since disappeared and the model, Natalia Garibotto, joked: “At least I’m going to heaven.” GUARDIAN
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