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The omicron variant is the latest Covid-19 virus that is spreading in other countries. The variant has already been identified in cases in Botswana, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Israel, the Netherlands, Australia and Hong Kong. President Biden was briefed Sunday by his COVID-19 response team, including his chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not announced any cases of the omicron variant in the U.S., but Fauci said Sunday that it is inevitable that there will be confirmed cases at some point. Scientists are not certain where the variant originated, but the mutations of the virus were first identified by scientists in South Africa and the World Health Organization deemed it a “variant of concern” on Friday, given its already rapid spread.

In a mixed verdict, a jury awarded more than $25 million in damages against white nationalist leaders for violence that erupted during the 2017 Unite the Right rally. The verdict is a rebuke to the white nationalist movement, particularly for the two dozen individuals and organizations who were accused in a federal lawsuit of orchestrating violence against African Americans, Jews and others in a meticulously planned conspiracy. After a nearly month-long civil trial, a jury in the U.S. District Court in Charlottesville deadlocked on two key claims but found the white nationalists liable on four other counts in the lawsuit filed by nine people who suffered physical or emotional injuries. In a civil trial, white nationalists were accused of conspiring to commit racially motivated violence at the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Lawyers for the plaintiffs invoked a 150-year-old law passed after the Civil War to shield freed slaves from violence and protect their civil rights. 

Commonly known as the Ku Klux Klan Act, the law contains a rarely used provision that allows private citizens to sue other citizens for civil rights violations. Hundreds of white nationalists descended on Charlottesville for the Unite the Right rally on Aug. 11 and 12, 2017, ostensibly to protest city plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

During a march on the University of Virginia campus, white nationalists chanted “Jews will not replace us,” surrounded counter protesters and threw tiki torches at them. The following day, an avowed admirer of Adolf Hitler rammed his car into a crowd of counter protesters, killing one woman and injuring dozens more.

Procter & Gamble Co. issued a recall for more than a dozen Old Spice and Secret-branded aerosol deodorants and sprays, warning that the products could contain benzene, a cancer-causing agent. The recall notice, published earlier this week, noted that the affected products likely will not expose people to levels of benzene high enough to cause health issues. The company added it has not “received any reports of adverse events,” but it’s moving forward with the recall out of “an abundance of caution.” The recall notice said, “Exposure to benzene can occur by inhalation, orally, and through the skin and it can result in cancers, including leukemia and blood cancer of the bone marrow and blood disorders which can be life-threatening.” P&G wants consumers who purchased the affected products — which were sold in stores across the United States, as well as online — to throw them away, and the company is offering full refunds. Customers can fill out an online form or contact a hotline at 888-339-7689 Monday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm.

The Georgia Education Advancement Council presented the Overall Institutional Excellence in Advancement Award to KSU’s Division of University Advancement at the 2021 GEAC Annual Conference, held Nov. 16-18 in Young Harris. The award is presented to institutions demonstrating outstanding achievement and commitment to the field of higher education advancement.

Today starts the first day of Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights. It is an eight-day Jewish observance that remembers the Jewish people’s struggle for religious freedom.

Family Life Restoration Center, under the direction of Luther Washington and with the help and support of volunteers, distributed 1600 Thanksgiving meals this past Monday and Tuesday, thanks to the financial support of Word of Faith Cathedral.

A new grocery store, Sprouts Farmers Market, will open in Smyrna at 2530 Cumberland Blvd. It will be the 18th Sprouts Farmers Market in Georgia and the fourth in Cobb County. Sprouts has a total of 16 locations across the metro Atlanta area and operates more than 360 in 23 states nationwide. The new store in Smyrna will be the first Sprouts in the state formatted with the franchise’s new artist’s rendering of the new format for Sprouts Farmers Market stores like the one set to open in Smyrna. The 18,000-square-foot food market is smaller than the franchise’s traditional locations. Sprouts hired 73 workers at the new store and is still filling a few positions.

Former Georgia Tech and NBA basketball player Iman Shumpert won the mirror-ball trophy on “Dancing with the Stars” Monday night, beating YouTube star JoJo Siwa. He is the first Atlantan to win the competition in 30 seasons and the first NBA star to even make it to the finals. Shumpert, who is also on an E! reality show with his wife Teyana Taylor, was an underdog from day one. He and his professional dancer, Daniella Karagach, had to grapple with a massive height difference.

A national Christmas tree shortage that started last year has continued into the 2021 holiday season, and this year is likely to be worse than 2020. For Georgia consumers, it means there’s no time to waste in getting to a tree farm or store. An industry insider is advising tree shoppers to snag what’s available before it’s too late, and expect to pay at least 20 percent more.

Have a safe and wonderful week….


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