Democratic primary: Nevada kicks off caucus week while Iowa’s fiasco lingers
In the race for president, all eyes are now on Nevada. Early caucusing begins Saturday at 80 locations around the state. (In-person caucusing takes place Feb. 22.) Though Democratic candidates have been aggressive in courting support from Nevada’s most politically powerful labor union – The Culinary Union – it announced Thursday it would not back a contender in the wide-open race to challenge President Donald Trump. The union represents 60,000 housekeepers, porters and bartenders working in Las Vegas casinos. The announcement deals a blow to longtime Nevada poll-leader Joe Biden, whose campaign is reeling from unexpectedly poor support in the nation’s first two nominating contests. Meanwhile in Iowa, in the aftermath of the caucus debacle and the resignation of the state’s Democratic Party chairman Troy Price, Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez called for a recanvass of Iowa. The recanvass will begin on Sunday and is a hand-audit of caucus math worksheets and reporting forms to see if final results were reported accurately.
NBA All-Star weekend brings top talent and skills to Chicago
The NBA’s best of the best take to the Windy City for the 69th All-Star weekend. Saturday’s events will include skills challenges, a 3-point contest and a slam dunk contest. The weekend is headlined by Sunday’s game between players from around the league. Game proceeds will go to a Chicago-based charity selected by team captains LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. The NBA has not released all of its plans for how they will honor Kobe and Gianna Bryant and other victims who died Jan. 26 in a California helicopter crash, but Chicago native and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson will perform a special tribute before player introductions at Sunday night’s game.
Americans on cruise ships impacted by coronavirus scare begin trips home
Passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship began disembarking in Yokahama, Japan, to complete their 14-day quarantine period for coronavirus off the ship, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said Friday. The U.S. government was preparing to fly home Americans on the ship, The Wall Street Journal reported. About 380 Americans and their families will be offered seats on two State Department flights, CDC official Henry Walke told the paper. Those flights will arrive in the U.S. as early as Sunday, he said, adding that those with a fever, cough or other symptoms won’t be allowed to fly. Meanwhile, guests on board Holland America’s MS Westerdam started to disembark in Cambodia Friday hoping the process would be finished by Sunday. The ship was turned away from multiple other points, despite the cruise line’s assertion of no known coronavirus cases among the ship’s 2,257 people on board. China reported 2,641 new cases Saturday as it escalates measures to contain the outbreak and reassure an anxious public.
62nd Daytona 500 jump starts the 2020 NASCAR season
The 62nd Daytona 500 kicks off the 2020 NASCAR season Sunday afternoon (Fox, 2:30 p.m. ET) and if a theme has emerged, it’s that there is no theme. The Associated Press notes no clear favorite has emerged for “The Great American Race” and no single manufacturer has an edge. So, we’ll see NASCAR dole out a record $23.6 million to a wide-open field of 40 drivers who believe can grab the life-changing victory. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. may have changed teams, but that didn’t stop him from winning the pole for NASCAR’s Super Bowl. Also, Erik Jones, Joey Logano and William Byron won earlier qualifying races. One storyline worth noting is seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will begin his final season as a full-time Cup driver Sunday and then retire after the 2020 season. Johnson said he’s not done competing, but for now, he is focused on his taking home his first checkered flag since 2017.
Megahit ‘Extreme Makeover’ returns to television
It’s time to “move that bus” once again. “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” a monster hit for much of its 2003-12 run on ABC, returns Sunday (9 ET/PT) in a new home on HGTV, with Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Modern Family”) replacing Ty Pennington as host. As before, down-on-their-luck families are surprised with rebuilt (or substantially renovated) homes after a marathon weeklong transformation. In contrast to the ABC version, which featured more extravagant McMansions, the new show focuses on “changing people’s lives, but not people’s lifestyles,” Ferguson says. “We don’t have the budgets to create these mansions.”
Contributing: Associated Press