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Federal health officials are extending until mid-January its rules that cruise ships must follow to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks. The rules were scheduled to expire Nov. 1. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the extension makes only minor modifications to current rules. The agency says that after Jan. 15, it plans to move to a voluntary program for cruise companies to detect and control the spread of COVID-19 on their ships. An industry trade group pledged to continue working with CDC on health measures on board ships.

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Tumbling COVID-19 case counts have some schools around the U.S. considering relaxing their mask rules, but deaths nationally have been ticking up over the past few weeks. Some rural hospitals are also showing signs of strain and cold weather is setting in. The cold sends people indoors, where the virus can more easily spread. The University of Washington’s influential COVID-19 forecasting model is predicting increasing infections and hospitalizations in November. COVID-19 deaths per day have begun to creep back up again after a decline that started in late September. Deaths are running at about 1,700 per day, up from close to 1,500 two weeks ago.

The only bidder for management of Georgia's Confederate-themed park is a new firm created by an official of the company that's pulling out. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Stone Mountain Memorial Association board voted on Monday to choose Thrive Attractions Management LLC as the finalist. It's led by Michael Dombrowski, a vice president of Herschend Family Entertainment. That company has said it will leave by next summer, citing decreased revenues and increased division fueled by the park’s Confederate imagery. Management companies have little direct control over the Confederate imagery, but Dombrowski says he supports efforts to create a museum exhibit about the park’s long ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

The Boston Red Sox say their rebuilding plans are ahead of schedule. Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom says that going from last place in 2020 to within six wins of a championship shows the organization is back on the right track. Just as importantly, he didn’t sell out the team's future to get there. Bloom says his goal for the year was to feel as though the future was secure. He thinks that's the case after adding players like Kiké Hernández and Kyle Schwarber to a core that includes Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez. 

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Bayern Munich soccer star Joshua Kimmich has found himself at the center of a debate in Germany over the merits of vaccination against the coronavirus. The 26-year-old Kimmich confirmed over the weekend that he is yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 because of his concerns about the effects of the vaccines. Kimmich said it is “very possible that I will get vaccinated.” His comments were welcomed by the far-right Alternative for Germany party. They led to dismay among those who are banking on vaccines as a route back toward normalcy at a time when infection rates are climbing again in Germany.

The Kellogg Co. is trying to persuade its 1,400 striking cereal-making workers to return to the bargaining table. The Battle Creek, Michigan-based company said Monday that it sent a message to the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union that represents those workers offering to resume contract talks. The workers have been on strike since Oct. 5. Dan Osborn, president of the union’s local chapter in Omaha, Nebraska, said he believes the union is ready to return to the bargaining table if the company is willing to negotiate on its two-tiered wage system that offers newer employees less pay and fewer benefits.

Auburn coach Bryan Harsin declined to address his vaccination status days after the university imposed a mandate requiring all employees be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The university mandate, which went into effect last Friday, imposes a Dec. 8 deadline for employees to be vaccinated or they could face termination. Harsin has declined to say whether he’s vaccinated since first asked during the Southeastern Conference media days in July. He says he is aware of the new policy.

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To help pay for his big economic and social agenda, President Joe Biden is looking to go where the big money is: billionaires. Biden never endorsed an outright “wealth tax” when campaigning last year. But his more conventional proposed rate hikes on the income of big corporations and the wealthiest Americans have hit a roadblock. That leaves a special tax on the assets, not the income, of billionaires being proposed by a Senate Democrat as a possible vehicle to help pay for Biden's plans: child care, universal pre-kindergarten, child tax credits, family leave and environmental initiatives.