July 17, 2019

Surprise, surprise, she's back!

Gossip Girl is coming to HBO Max seven years after it went off the air. WarnerMedia's new streaming service — set to launch in 2020 — has ordered 10 episodes of the rebooted series and is bringing fans back to the inner circles of the Upper East Side elite, reports TVLine.

The creative team behind the original CW hit series is set to return, with creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage executive producing and Joshua Safran stepping in as showrunner. It's unknown whether the original cast will make appearances in the reboot, but HBO Max has revealed that the series "will address just how much social media — and the landscape of New York itself — has changed in the intervening years."

Based on Cecily von Ziegesar's book series, Gossip Girl ran on The CW from 2007-2012 and exposed the world to the talents of Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, and Penn Badgley. The show has remained a staple in pop culture and the reboot is sure to fill many viewers' hearts with nostalgia. But, until then, xoxo. Amari Pollard

2:11 p.m.

The meat industry is in for a rough road to recovery.

It's been nearly a month since President Trump encouraged meat plants to either remain open or reopen, even as many of them became hotspots for coronavirus spread across the U.S. Outbreaks are continuing to mar the plants' reopening plans, leading to industry-wide dilemmas that could create meat shortages for months to come, The Washington Post reports.

While it's difficult to put a number on just how many meat plant workers have contracted coronavirus nationwide, North Carolina has provided a good sample. Of the 2,200 workers tested for coronavirus at Tyson Foods' chicken processing plant in Wilkes Country, 570 tested positive last week, Tyson told NPR. Parts of the facility have closed for cleaning, cutting how much meat the plant can turn out. And so, for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, North Carolina farmers have had to start euthanizing at least 1.5 million chickens, a state agriculture official told the News & Observer, calling the measure a "last resort."

Most meat plants in North Carolina and nationwide won't disclose just how may of their employees have contracted coronavirus, but the close-packed working conditions have turned the facilities into disease hotspots since the early days of the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated at least 5,000 workers were infected by the end of April, though advocates have suggested there could be more than 17,000. And with plants already slow to respond to outbreaks and some still partially closed, it's likely that shortages may only get worse. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:00 p.m.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) is offering a defense of former Vice President Joe Biden following controversial remarks about black voters while admitting the comments made him cringe.

Clyburn, the House majority whip who delivered a crucial endorsement of Biden ahead of his victory in the South Carolina Democratic primary, spoke to The View on Tuesday about Biden's recent comments to The Breakfast Club that "if you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or for Trump, then you ain't black."

"I cringed, no question about that," Clyburn told The View on Tuesday regarding Biden's comments, also saying that Biden "did not do as well as I had hoped in responding."

Clyburn went on to say that Biden is "not a perfect person" but should be compared "to the alternative, not the almighty." To those who were offended by what Biden said, Clyburn said that "all of us have misspoken" at times and said things "we do not really mean that come out a little bit wrong, and that's what happened here."

Following backlash to his remark, Biden said that he "shouldn't have been such a wise guy" and that was perhaps "too cavalier," adding that "no one should have to vote for any party based on their race, their religion, their background." Brendan Morrow

12:29 p.m.

For the millions of Harry Potter fans growing increasingly restless in coronavirus quarantine, J.K. Rowling has dug into her attic and found something that might help.

The author has announced that starting Tuesday, she'll be publishing her new children's book The Ickabog for free, releasing new chapters online every weekday. Rowling explained that she wrote most of her first draft of this fairy tale in between working on Harry Potter installments and intended to release it after Deathly Hallows, but it "went up into the attic" after she decided to take a break from children's books.

"A few weeks ago at dinner, I tentatively mooted the idea of getting The Ickabog down from the attic and publishing it for free, for children in lockdown," Rowling said. "My now teenagers were touchingly enthusiastic, so downstairs came the very dusty box, and for the last few weeks I’ve been immersed in a fictional world I thought I’d never enter again."

Now, kids can read the book or have it read to them during "these strange, unsettling times," Rowling said. Kids are also being called on by Rowling to submit illustrations as they go through The Ickabog, and the best ones will be included in the book when it's published in print and as an eBook later this year; all of Rowling's author royalties from the book will go to COVID-19 relief, she said. Rowling noted the book isn't a Harry Potter spin-off.

New chapters of The Ickabog are to be published through July 10, so get reading — and drawing. Check out the first chapters here. Brendan Morrow

12:08 p.m.

Biotechnology company Novavax rolled out its first human trials for its coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday.

Novavax already tested its vaccine on animals in low doses and found it successful, Axios notes. So the Maryland-based company will inject 131 volunteers in the Australian cities of Melbourne and Brisbane, with results of the clinical trial expected to be made public in July.

Phase 1 of the trial is a "randomized, observer-blinded, placebo-controlled trial" that assesses two different dosage sizes of the vaccine among healthy participants age 18 to 59, Novavax said in a press release. If that first phase goes well, Novavax said it expects a second phase to begin "promptly." That second phase will be conducted across several different countries, including the U.S., and across a broader age range.

Novavax shares spiked when markets reopened Tuesday after the holiday weekend, up from $46.11 per share to $54.20. Novavax is among several pharmaceutical companies racing to develop coronavirus vaccines, with Pfizer and Moderna launching human trials earlier this month. Kathryn Krawczyk

11:01 a.m.

An Obama administration economist has reportedly left Democrats concerned about President Trump's re-election prospects with his prediction about the state of the economy leading up to November.

Speaking to a group of Republican and Democratic officials in early April, Politico reports Jason Furman, who was chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under former President Obama, surprisingly asserted that "we are about to see the best economic data we’ve seen in the history of this country."

As the coronavirus pandemic takes a devastating toll on the U.S. economy, bringing the unemployment rate to the highest level seen since the Great Depression, Furman continues to predict a "partial rebound" on the horizon, comparing the situation to the economic aftermath following a natural disaster and telling Politico that "you could easily have one to two million jobs created a month in those four reports before November."

He added, "And then toward the end of October, we will get GDP growth for the third quarter, at an annualized rate, and it could be double-digit positive economic growth. So these will be the best jobs and growth numbers ever." This assumes re-openings continue across the country and a second wave of coronavirus doesn't prompt major lockdowns.

Although Politico notes that a "rebound won't mean that Trump has solved many underlying problems," Democrats are reportedly "spooked" by the idea that the president "could be poised to benefit from the dramatic numbers" ahead of the 2020 election, with one former Obama White House official pointing to Trump's positive polling on the economy and arguing, "This is the challenge for the Biden campaign. If they can't figure this out they should all just go home." Read the full report at Politico. Brendan Morrow

10:39 a.m.

Everything you've ever known is a lie, because apparently everyone has been pronouncing Steve Buscemi's name wrong for years.

In a profile published Monday in GQ, the endearingly humble actor (who, by the way, has survived getting hit by a bus, car, and stabbed by a stranger in a bar!) discusses topics like how he hopes to one day win the New Yorker caption contest and how he'd prefer to be murdered less in movies. But the real revelation comes in a parenthetical by the article's author, Gabriella Paiella: "He says it boo-sem-ee, not boo-shem-ee."

This information might, understandably, radically alter the way you see the world. Maybe now that you know the proper pronunciation, you'll sell all your earthly possessions to become a shepherd in the Scottish highlands, all the while muttering "boo-sem-ee, not boo-shem-ee" under your breath. If ever in doubt, though, you can always avoid the whole "potato, po-ta-to" headache and stick with plain old "Mr. Pink." Read the full profile here. Jeva Lange

10:20 a.m.

Multiple authorities are investigating the death of a black man in Minneapolis police custody after a disturbing video showed an officer kneeling on the man's neck as he protested "I can't breathe."

Around 8 p.m. Monday, police were called to a report of a forgery in progress at a business in Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. When officers found a suspect matching the report's description, they ordered him out of his car and said he complied with their commands, police spokesman John Elder said. But the man later "physically resisted," Elder continued.

As bystander video shows, a white police officer ended up kneeling on the man's neck as he said "I can't breathe" and "everything hurts" over and over. One bystander noted the man's nose was bleeding, and another kept telling the officers "you're stopping his breathing right there" and "you could have put him in the car by now." "He's not responsive right now," one bystander later notes, and after an ambulance arrives for the man, another bystander tells the officer "You just really killed that man, bro." The man was taken to a hospital and later died.

The officers in the incident were wearing body cameras, and the footage has been turned over to Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said. "Being black in America should not be a death sentence," Frey said Tuesday, adding that "this officer failed in the most basic, human sense."

You can find the disturbing video at Fox 9, and read more at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Kathryn Krawczyk

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