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Student loan payments were scheduled to resume on May 1 but the Biden administration plans to freeze federal student loan payments through Aug. 31. This move extends a moratorium that has allowed millions of Americans to postpone payments during the coronavirus pandemic. The action applies to more than 43 million Americans who owe a combined $1.6 trillion in student debt held by the federal government, according to the latest data from the Education Department. Borrowers will not be asked to make payments until after Aug. 31, and interest rates are expected to remain at 0% during that period

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tested positive for COVID-19, a day after appearing unmasked at a White House event with President Joe Biden. Pelosi received a positive test result for COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic, her spokesman said Thursday in a tweet. He said, “The Speaker is fully vaccinated and boosted, and is thankful for the robust protection the vaccine has provided.”

Following the elite Gridiron Club dinner in Washington, the number of people who tested positive for Covid rose to 53 on Friday, all but confirming that the April 2 event marked a significant outbreak. The latest count suggests that at least 8% of the 630 journalists, politicians, and VIPs who attended the annual dinner have reported positive tests. Those testing positive include Attorney General Merrick Garland; Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo; Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine; President Joe Biden’s sister, Valerie Biden Owens; Democratic Reps. Joaquin Castro of Texas and Adam Schiff of California; and top aides to Vice President Kamala Harris and first lady Jill Biden. Nancy Pelosi and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also reported positive tests last week, though neither attended the event at the downtown Renaissance Washington Hotel.

While much of the United States has reported a plateau in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, New York City and Washington, D.C., have been battling a swift rise in cases in the last two weeks.  

A congressional oversight committee on Thursday said the Justice Department is “obstructing” its investigation into former President Donald Trump’s handling of White House records by preventing the release of information from the National Archives. The complaint involves the 15 boxes of White House records that Trump took to his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida after leaving office last year.

A legal effort to disqualify lawmakers from reelection who participated in events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol expanded Thursday when voters and a progressive group filed suit against three elected officials in Arizona to bar them under the 14th Amendment from running again. It was unclear if the challenges would go anywhere. 

In a show of solidarity with Ukraine, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson traveled to the country Saturday to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The two leaders met and discussed the “U.K.’s long term support to Ukraine,” including a new package of financial and military aid, the prime minister’s office said. The visit comes a day after Johnson pledged another $130 million in high-grade military equipment to Ukraine, saying Britain wants to help Ukraine defend itself from continuing Russian assaults. 

A United Nations General Assembly vote Thursday approved a U.S.-led effort to suspend Russia from the 47-member Human Rights Council over the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine. Suspension from the council, which is based in Geneva, is a large diplomatic slap at Russia, one of the United Nations’ founding members. The resolution to suspend Russia needed a two-thirds majority of votes cast, with abstentions not counting as votes, and is seen as a barometer of the world’s abhorrence over the apparent atrocities in Ukraine. The resolution received 93 votes in favor and 24 against, and 58 countries abstained. China had said it would not support the measure, and India, Brazil, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates — all members of the U.N. Security Council — abstained from voting, arguing that the move could worsen the war and that further investigation of reported atrocities was needed before the United Nations took action. 

Minnesota prosecutors declined to file charges against a Minneapolis police SWAT team officer who fatally shot Amir Locke while executing an early morning no-knock search warrant in an apartment in February. Locke, 22, who was Black, was on a couch in the apartment when authorities entered without knocking as part of an investigation into a homicide in neighboring St. Paul. His mother, Karen Wells, has called his death “an execution.”

Wellstar Health System reported it has suffered a data breach through its email system. Wellstar said it learned two months ago that someone unauthorized had gained access to two email accounts. Via those accounts, patients’ health care information was exposed, including patient laboratory information, Wellstar said in a written statement. The statement did not say how many individuals’ information was exposed in the breach, specifying only that it did not extend to all Wellstar testing patients. Wellstar did not reply to a request for further information Friday evening. Wellstar said in its news release it had disabled the email accounts involved and reset passwords to prevent further unauthorized access.

Clayton State University President T. Ramon Stuart announced his resignation after less than a year on the job, saying a recent health challenge prevents him from effectively serving in the position. Stuart, who became President in July, was the first Black person to serve in that position. He was previously provost and vice president of academic affairs at Fort Valley State University. Stuart, 43, had the surgery on Feb. 15.  Kerry Heyward, attorney for Georgia State University, will serve as interim president.

Legislation that would require daily scheduling of recess in elementary and middle school in Georgia is on its way to the governor’s desk for his signature into law.

Will Smith has been banned from the motion picture academy from attending the Oscars or any other academy event for 10 years following his slap of Chris Rock at the Academy Awards. The move comes after a meeting of the academy’s Board of Governors to discuss a response to Smith’s actions. Smith preemptively resigned from the academy last week during the runup to the meeting and said he would accept any punishment the academy handed down. Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock on stage over a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” Smith said in a statement. 

Global footwear brand Nike officials announced it is planning to open a new technology center in Atlanta next year. The hub will be located in the West Midtown area and is set to open early next year. Nike joins a growing list of international corporations bringing tech jobs to Atlanta. The exact location of the office and the number of people it will employ have not yet been released.

The Atlanta Jazz Festival, billed as one of the largest free jazz festivals in the country, is bringing some legends to Piedmont Park on Memorial Day weekend. Latin jazz giant Eddie Palmieri, million-selling crossover artist George Benson and Herbie Hancock, a keyboard artist who bridged multiple eras in jazz, will perform as the closing acts during three days of music on May 28-30. The Midtown park will host five acts each day, Saturday, May 28, through Monday, May 30, with music beginning at 1 p.m. and continuing until 10:30 p.m.

Elon Musk is joining Twitter’s board of directors a day after revealing that he’d become the social media platform’s largest shareholder with a 9% stake. The billionaire has criticized Twitter publicly for its commitment to free speech. He’s also run into trouble on the platform as the CEO of Tesla after financial regulators found he had posted inaccurate information about the company.

“Seinfeld” actress, Estelle Harris, who hollered her way into TV history as George Costanza’s short fused mother on “Seinfeld” and voiced Mrs. Potato Head in the “Toy Story” franchise, died Saturday in Palm Desert, CA. She was 93. 

A pilot who crash-landed his plane on a busy roadway in Cobb County is doing well. The crash occurred on Cobb Parkway on Thursday, not far from Cobb County International Airport. The pilot was the only person aboard the plane and walked away safely, declining to go to the hospital.” The FAA is investigating the cause of the crash. The pilot said he experienced engine problems, which caused the crash.

An unruly passenger on a Delta Air Lines flight from Las Vegas to Atlanta faces one of the largest fines ever levied by the Federal Aviation Administration for her alleged behavior. The $77,272 fine is part of beefed-up efforts by the FAA to crack down on disruptive passengers. The FAA alleges the Delta passenger on July 16, 2021, flight “attempted to hug and kiss the passenger seated next to her; walked to the front of the aircraft to try to exit during flight; refused to return to her seat; and bit another passenger multiple times.” “The crew had to physically restrain her.”

Hundreds of atheists will gather in Atlanta on Easter weekend for the 2022 American Atheists National Convention. This will be the first in-person convention since 2019 for the New Jersey-based nonprofit, which will be held April 14 through 17. at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel at the Cobb Galleria Center. About 500 atheists, who don’t believe in the existence of God or gods, are expected to attend. 

Have a wonderful week….


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