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The clock ticked down toward the expiration of Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement at 11:59 p.m. EST and a likely management lockout ending the sport’s labor peace at 9,740 days over 26 1/2 years. Players and owners have appeared headed for a confrontation for more than two years. The union demanded change following anger over a declining average salary, middle-class players forced out by teams concentrating payroll on the wealthy and a share of veterans jettisoned in favor of lower-paid youth.

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U.S. health advisers have endorsed an antiviral drug from Merck to treat COVID-19. It sets the stage for an expected authorization of the first pill that Americans could take at home for the coronavirus. A Food and Drug Administration panel voted that the drug’s benefits in curbing hospitalizations and deaths outweigh its risks. Those risks include potential birth defects if used during pregnancy. The FDA isn’t bound by the panel’s recommendation and is expected to make its own decision before the end of the year. Merck’s pill could provide a much-needed therapy as colder weather pushes case counts higher and U.S. officials brace for the arrival of the new omicron variant.