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“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said at the very end of a speech in Poland’s capital that served as the capstone on a four-day trip to Europe.  Biden’s comments dramatically escalated the rhetoric against the Russian leader after his brutal invasion of Ukraine. Following his comments, the White House attempted to clarify soon after that Biden was not calling for a new government in Russia. A White House official asserted that Biden’s point was that “Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region.” The White House declined to comment on whether Biden’s statement about Putin was part of his prepared remarks. Biden has frequently talked about ensuring that the Kremlin’s invasion, now in its second month, becomes a “strategic failure” for Putin and has described the Russian leader as a “war criminal.

Flags are being lowered to half-staff across the country through March 27 to honor the life of Madeleine Jana Korbel Albright, the first female secretary of state. Albright served as secretary of state from 1997 to 2001 under President Bill Clinton and also as his U.S. ambassador to the United Nations from 1993 to 1997. “Madeleine Albright was a force,” President Joe Biden wrote in a declaration for the honor this week. “She defied convention and broke barriers again and again. She was an immigrant fleeing persecution. A refugee in need of safe haven. And like so many before her — and after — she was proudly American.

Former President Donald Trump brought his anti-Kemp campaign to Commerce, Georgia for a rally to push his slate of state candidates to oust Governor Kemp and his allies. Trump escalated his grudge Saturday against Kemp, urging supporters to oust the incumbent he once endorsed and purge the state government of many of the governor’s allies. Trump warned that his backers won’t vote in a general election against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams if Kemp is the nominee. Adding that the Senate GOP frontrunner will also be damaged, Trump said “If Kemp runs, I think Herschel Walker will be seriously and negatively impacted.” Trump used much of his remarks to tout his term in the White House and falsehoods about his 2020 election defeat in Georgia. When his attention shifted to Georgia candidates, he mostly doted on Perdue’s attempt to oust Kemp. “If Brian Kemp is renominated, he will go down in flames at the ballot box,” said Trump. Perdue said for the first time this past week that he also was the victim of a “stolen” election when he lost the January 2021 runoff to Democrat Jon Ossoff. Perdue unveiled sharper attacks on Kemp saying, “… thanks to Brian Kemp, in 2020 our elections were absolutely stolen.” Perdue added that he would make sure that “whoever was responsible goes to jail” if elected. Chants of “lock him up!” directed at Kemp broke out, as Perdue smiled and flashed a thumbs-up sign. 

Tracking by The Washington Post this past week shows the number of U.S. covid cases has dropped 16%, the number of hospitalizations fell by 17% and the number of deaths is down 19%. Health officials are watching the BA. 2 variant, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said accounted for about 35% of new infections nationally, up from 22% a week earlier.

Airline CEOs are calling for an end to the federal mask mandate. In a letter to Biden, the CEOs argued that the nation is in a different place than earlier in the pandemic and “well-protected” against severe disease caused by the coronavirus. U.S. airline executives called on Biden to end pandemic-related travel policies, including the federal mask mandate. “Much has changed since these measures were imposed and they no longer make sense in the current public health context,” executives from 10 air carriers wrote in the letter to Biden. “Now is the time for the Administration to sunset federal transportation travel restrictions — including the international pre-departure testing requirement and the federal mask mandate — that are no longer aligned with the realities of the current epidemiological environment.” In making their case, executives cited the “persistent and steady decline” of hospitalizations and death rates related to the coronavirus.

 The Black News Channel has shut down its operations as of Friday with many employees being told they were not getting their paychecks for the week. Majority stakeholder and Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan had invested about $50 million into BNC, but audience and revenues failed to meet the company’s hefty cost structure. He decided he couldn’t keep throwing more money at the operation, which has 230 employees, mostly people of color. The operation had several dozen employees in Atlanta including former CBS46 anchor Sharon Reed

Commissioner Kelly Gambrill and other County leaders paid tribute to 911 operator Dana Bell, a call taker for the past 2½ years. During a commission meeting, Gambrill presented Bell with a certificate of recognition that indicated she set a new county record for answering the most calls at Cobb’s Emergency Communications Center. Bell surpassed the 20,000 mark in early December and finished the year with more than 20,400 emergency calls.“E-911 call takers are crucial first responders during an emergency,” Gambrill said, reading from the proclamation. “(Dana) calmly provides a correct response and dispatch assistance during a dangerous time or serious situation, making our agency one of the best in the country.”

The Cobb County School District is hosting a virtual job fair for teachers Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. They will interview candidates seeking teaching positions for the 2022-2023 school year. There will be group and individual sessions with school administrators. Those who want to participate in the virtual job fair must complete a district employment application and apply for specific jobs to be considered for them. To register for the job fair or to find more information about how to participate, visit the district’s website.

Do you have rental questions or is facing eviction? Come learn about the law, court procedures, and emergency rental assistance from the Cobb Legal Aid personnel. There will be a community forum on April 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Cobb Public Safety Police Academy, 2435 East-West Connector in Austell. To start an application for legal assistance, apply at atlantalegalaid.org/apply. For more information, contact Cobb Legal Aid at 770-528-2565.

After being recently granted consular access to US basketball player Brittney Griner, an official from the US embassy in Moscow found the American athlete to be “in good condition.”  Griner has been detained in Russia since mid-February. Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, and player for the WBNA’s Phoenix Mercury were arrested in February at a Moscow airport and accused by Russian authorities of smuggling significant amounts of a narcotic substance. — an offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Griner’s legal team has had access to her and has been able to see her several times a week throughout her detention in Russia.

A group that advocates for college athletes filed a federal complaint that claims NCAA Division I schools are violating the civil rights of Black basketball players and football players by prohibiting compensation. The National College Players Association submitted a complaint to the Office for Civil Rights in the Education Department, saying NCAA rules prohibiting schools from compensating athletes disproportionately impact Black students. The complaint said, “Black men were 2.4% of undergraduate students enrolled at the 65 (Power Five conference) universities but comprised 55% of football teams and 56% of men’s basketball teams.”

After sending Matt Ryan to the Colts, the Atlanta Falcons announced it had agreed to terms with quarterback Marcus Mariota on a two-year contract. Mariota, 28, was originally selected by the Titans in the first round (second overall) of the 2015 NFL draft out of Oregon.

Free-agent quarterback Jameis Winston has agreed to return to the New Orleans Saints on a two-year deal. Winston started seven games for New Orleans in 2021 before a season ending knee injury. 

SUVs: Ford is recalling nearly 215,000 trucks and SUVs in the U.S. and Canada because brake fluid can leak, causing longer stopping distances. The recall covers F-150 pickups from 2016-2018 and Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs from 2016 and 2017. 3 GM recalls SUVs: General Motors is recalling more than 740,000 small SUVs in the U.S. because the headlight beams can be too bright and cause glare for oncoming drivers. The recall comes after U.S. safety regulators turned down a request from the automaker to avoid the recall. The company is recalling GMC Terrain SUVs from 2010 through 2017 model years. 

A 40-year-old burger chain is returning to the metro Atlanta area, with plans to open two restaurants including one at Cumberland Mall. Fuddruckers Restaurants, known for its customizable burgers, is opening 10 new mall-based eateries in partnership with real estate company Brookfield Properties, which includes two restaurants in Georgia at Perimeter Mall and Cumberland Mall.

Have a great week…


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