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White House officials say President Joe Biden likely contracted the highly contagious variant of the coronavirus spreading rapidly through the United States. His symptoms include body aches and a sore throat, according to an update from his doctor. The variant, known as BA.5, is an offshoot of the omicron strain that emerged late last year, and it’s believed to be responsible for the vast majority of coronavirus cases in the country. The highly contagious virus challenges the nation’s efforts to get back to normal after 2½ years of pandemic disruptions. The White House says Biden is taking Paxlovid, an antiviral drug designed to reduce the severity of the disease. He was isolated at the White House and “continuing to carry out all of his duties.

The Secret Service is under fire for failing to provide Congress with any news agency text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021, but assures the House committee investigating last year’s Capitol attack will continue searching for the lost material. Secret Service Communications Chief Anthony Guglielmi confirmed texts sought by the committee were inadvertently lost during an equipment upgrade prior to the inspector general’s request for them.

Anthony Fauci, the nation’s preeminent infectious-diseases expert who has served as the face of the coronavirus pandemic response for more than two years, will retire by the end of President Joe Biden’s term after more than 50 years in government. Said Fauci, “By the time we get to the end of the Biden administration term, I feel it would be time for me to step down from this position.” Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, has served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. In that role, he has advised seven presidents through all manner of public health crises, including HIV/ AIDS, the 2001 anthrax attacks, Ebola, Zika, and coronavirus. Biden heralded Fauci’s decades in public service and made Fauci his chief medical adviser upon winning the presidency. Biden has leaned heavily on Fauci in his response to the pandemic, which has continued to spread rampantly throughout the country despite the widespread availability of vaccines. 

Former Minneapolis police Officer Thomas Lane has been sentenced to 2½ years in prison on a federal civil rights charge for his role in the killing of George Floyd. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced for his February conviction of depriving Floyd of medical care as he lay dying under Officer Derek Chauvin’s knee in May 2020. “Mr. Lane this is a very serious offense, in which a life was lost,” Magnuson said. “The fact that you did not get up and remove Mr. Chauvin when Mr. Floyd became unconscious is a violation of the law.” The brother of George Floyd, Philonise Floyd, reacted with disappointment to the 30-month sentence saying, “The fact that this judge had a chance to deliver a maximum amount of time and he chose not to — what did that tell other people around the world? What does that tell people of color? The fact that they went below the (recommended) sentence, that’s terrible, because you give other people, for other crimes, way more time than that.” Floyd’s nephew, Brandon Williams, called the judge’s decision to impose a minimal sentence “a slap in our face.”

The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved legislation Tuesday to protect same-sex and interracial marriages amid concerns that the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade abortion access could jeopardize other rights criticized by many conservatives.

In a robust but lopsided debate, Democrats argued intensely and often personally in favor of enshrining marriage equality in federal law, while Republicans steered clear of openly rejecting gay marriage. Instead, leading Republicans portrayed the bill as unnecessary amid other issues facing the nation.

The World Health Organization has declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. As of Saturday, the virus has been discovered in more than 70 countries, 68 of which historically had not reported cases of monkeypox. In the U.S., confirmed cases have popped up in all but six states: Alaska, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Vermont, and Wyoming, according to the CDC.

As families prepare for the new school year, they do so with the threat of another Covid Surge looming. District leaders for metro schools are ironing out what coronavirus protocols will look like in the classroom. Many say they will keep up with heightened hygiene and cleaning regimens, but face covering protocols vary by the school district. Check with your child’s school for the protocol.

Last week, a federal appeals court allowed Georgia’s restrictive abortion law to take effect, an outcome that’s been expected since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturned Roe v. Wade, which had guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion for nearly 50 years. The federal appeals court overturned a lower court ruling Wednesday and said Georgia’s restrictive 2019 abortion law should be allowed to take effect. The panel of appeals judges sent the case back to a federal district judge and instructed him to reverse his 2020 ruling and allow the law to take effect. In a follow-up order, the panel lifted the district judge’s ban, allowing the law to take effect immediately. “We vacate the injunction, reverse the judgment in favor of the abortionists, and remand with instructions to enter judgment in favor of the state officials,” Chief Judge Bill Pryor of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in his order. Abortions are no longer allowed once a doctor can detect fetal cardiac activity, typically about six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women know they are pregnant.

Vice President Kamala Harris is asking Gov. Brian Kemp to help get more Georgians enrolled in the Affordable Connectivity Program, a new program to bring affordable internet service to low-income households. In a letter to Kemp, Harris wrote that as many as 1.1 million eligible Georgians still haven’t signed up to receive discounts of up to $30 per month on their internet bills, along with a one-time $100 discount on the purchase of a laptop, tablet or desktop computer. The program is part of $65 billion to expand internet access provided in the infrastructure law that President Joe Biden signed last year. Check your eligibility and sign up at getinternet.gov.

U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff is leading the inquiry that will examine the Atlanta penitentiary. Ossoff is chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday that he said will look into allegations of “corruption, abuse and misconduct” at the Atlanta prison. A star witness at the hearing will be the outgoing director of the federal Bureau of Prisons, Michael Carvajal. 

Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, has been ordered to appear in front of a Fulton County special grand jury next month after failing to attend a hearing in New York to challenge a recent subpoena. A court filing submitted Wednesday morning stated that Giuliani didn’t appear before New York State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Farber on July 13 to argue why the court shouldn’t honor the Georgia subpoena, technically known as a certificate of a material witness. Farber ordered Giuliani to appear and testify before the Fulton grand jury beginning Aug. 9, 2022. Giuliani was one of seven Trump confidantes whose subpoenas were approved by a Fulton judge this month. 

Two Georgia Agencies, the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, are launching the Georgia Center for School Safety, a website clearinghouse to distribute school safety resources and updated training to Georgia schools and community partners. The site allows school and district staff, community partners, and the public to access school safety training, resources, and guidelines. Web and in-person training are available on active shooter response, bus safety, de-escalation, emergency operations planning, school safety assessments, and severe weather. To access the Georgia Center for School Safety, visit https://www.gacss.org/.

After eight years of service as head of the Smyrna Fire Department, Chief Roy Acree announced he will retire at the end of this month. Acree is a 32-year veteran of the department, being named fire chief in 2014. His last day will be July 31, when Deputy Chief Brian Marcos will take over as interim chief.

Kyler Murray has agreed to a long-term contract that will keep the quarterback with the Arizona Cardinals through the 2028 season. ESPN reported that the contract could be worth $230.5 million, with $160 million guaranteed. The two-time Pro Bowl selection was taken with the No. 1 overall pick out of Oklahoma after he won the Heisman Trophy and has largely delivered in his quest to make the Cardinals a better franchise.

Georgia’s Kirby Smart now ranks as the highest-paid college football coach in the country. UGA finalized the long-awaited contract extension for the seventh-year coach. The 10-year deal is worth $112.5 million and will keep Smart on the Georgia sideline through the 2031 season. Smart’s salary and supplemental compensation for the 2022 season will be $10,250,000. Annual incremental increases averaging about $222,000 per year will culminate in $12,250,000 for the 2031 season. He was averaging $7.1 million previously. The deal, brokered by Memphis-based agent Jimmy Sexton, is thought to make Smart the highest-paid coach in college football. 

Twitter’s lawsuit against Elon Musk is set for an October trial, citing the “cloud of uncertainty” over the social media company after the billionaire-backed out of a deal to buy it. Twitter had asked for an expedited trial, while Musk called for waiting until next year. Twitter is trying to force Musk to make good on his promise to buy the company for $44 billion — and the company says the dispute is harming its business. Musk, the world’s richest man, wants to back out of the deal. 

T-Mobile has agreed to pay $350 million to customers affected by a class action lawsuit filed after the company disclosed last August that customer personal data like social security numbers had been stolen in a cyberattack. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday, the mobile phone company said the funds would pay for claims by class members, the legal fees of plaintiffs’ counsel, and the costs of administering the settlement. It also said it would spend $150 million next year and in 2023 to fortify its data security and other technologies.

The $660 million Mega Millions jackpot that was up for grabs on Friday night produced no big winners and has rolled over to its third-highest total in the game’s 25-year history, $790 million. There have been four Mega Millions jackpots in 2022. The largest of those was a $426 million winner in California in January, a $128 million winner in New York in March, a $110 million winner in Minnesota in April, and a $15 million winner in Tennessee, also in April.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued recalls for July 14 through 21. The most serious bulletins came from Ford, which recalled Escape models as well as Lincoln Corsair and Maverick models with 2.5 HEV or PHEV engines due to the potential for an engine compartment fire. Buick is recalling Regal sedans over a faulty electronic brake control module that may result in a loss of brake power assist. Mercedes is warning of a rearview camera malfunction in some electric and S-Class models. 

Have a wonderful week…


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