In the wake of classified documents being discovered in the homes of former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, and current President Joe Biden, the National Archives has formally asked that they re-check their personal records for any classified documents or other presidential records. The Archives sent a letter Thursday to representatives of former presidents and vice presidents from the last six presidential administrations covered by the Presidential Records Act (PRA) – from former President Ronald Reagan’s White House to the present. The letter requests that they check their files to ensure that material thought to be personal does not “inadvertently” contain presidential records that are required by law to be turned over to the Archives. “The responsibility to comply with the PRA does not diminish after the end of an administration,” the letter states. “Therefore, we request that you conduct an assessment of any materials held outside of NARA that relate to the Administration for which you serve as a designated representative under the PRA, to determine whether bodies of materials previously assumed to be personal in nature might inadvertently contain Presidential or Vice Presidential records subject to the PRA, whether classified or unclassified.”
Following a global law enforcement operation that ran for months, the Department of Justice announced this week the destruction of the Russian-linked Hive ransomware group. This criminal syndicate sold ransomware tools and services to affiliates around the world starting in the summer of 2021, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. They received more than $100 million in profits from victims who paid to get their data back or prevent it from being leaked. According to the Justice Department, Hive targeted more than 1,500 victims in over 80 countries, from hospitals to Costa Rica’s public health agency, crippling businesses and harming critical infrastructure. The FBI says it hacked into Hive’s networks in July 2022, burrowing into its digital infrastructure to spy on the group’s operations and gather important intelligence before ultimately dismantling the operation on Wednesday night.”Simply put, using lawful means, we hacked the hackers,” explained Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco during a press conference Thursday.
According to documents posted by the FDA on Monday, scientists at the Food and Drug Administration propose making Covid vaccination a regular, once-a-year shot that is updated to match current strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. For people who are older or immunocompromised, the FDA would recommend two annual doses of the revised shot.
Walmart is raising the average hourly wage of its associates to more than $17.50 an hour — up from about $17 an hour. John Furner, the president and CEO of Walmart U.S., said the move is part of an effort to strengthen the retail giant’s jobs and invest in its people. The raise will include a mixture of associates’ regular annual increases and targeted investments in starting rates for thousands of stores “to ensure we have attractive pay in the markets we operate,” Furner writes, adding the changes will be reflected in March paychecks.
The Southwest Airlines holiday travel debacle is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The debacle left thousands of travelers stranded for days. Southwest canceled more than 16,700 flights over several days in late December. While a massive winter storm caused the initial cancellations, the company’s outdated software systems turned what should have been a normal problem into a snowballing disaster that lasted for days after other airlines had resumed their usual operations. The investigation comes as the airline reported a $220 million loss last quarter and further losses in the first quarter. The department’s investigation will look into whether Southwest made unrealistic flight schedules, “which under federal law is considered an unfair and deceptive practice,” according to a department spokesperson.
Former lieutenant governor Geoff Duncan announced he is joining CNN as an on-air political commentator focused on national politics. A former minor league professional baseball player, Duncan served three terms in the Georgia House before scoring an upset victory over then-state Sen. David Shafer to win the state’s No. 2 job. He elected not to run for re-election.
An ethics complaint has been filed against Cobb County Commissioner Jerica Richardson over an alleged conflict of interest in the county’s ongoing redistricting controversy. Filed Monday by Debbie Fisher, vice chairman of Party and Grassroots Development for the Cobb Republican Party, the complaint accuses Richardson of violating county rules in voting twice last year to support the county’s home rule redistricting effort, which is aimed at redrawing the commission district boundaries to keep Richardson in office. Filed with the Cobb Board of Ethics, the complaint asks for a judge to void those two votes by Richardson. Doing so would leave the split of the vote on the home rule effort at 2-2 between the board’s Democrats and Republicans. Richardson will have 30 days to reply to the complaint, and within 60 days the Board of Ethics will set an initial open meeting for an investigatory review of the evidence, according to Board of Ethics attorney Lynn Rainey.
Dwight “Ike” Reighar, CEO of MUST Ministries, was named the Cobb County Citizen of the Year at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner celebration Saturday evening at the Cobb Galleria Centre. Reighard was recognized for his leadership of a ministry which provides services to some 60,000 people a year struggling in poverty. He became head of MUST Ministries in 2011. During his tenure, the Marietta-based charity launched its mobile pantry, which served 17,000 families in its first year, and the MUST Hope House shelter in Marietta. The 43,000 facility opened last year and features 136 beds and 36 respite beds used during inclement weather, a chapel, a rooftop retreat for families and a large dining hall.
Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett was arrested early Sunday on a charge of public intoxication in Dallas, Texas. Dallas police confirmed he was arrested at about 6 a.m. local time after officers responded to a man banging on doors in the Old East Dallas section of the city. He was found at the scene “and determined he was intoxicated,” according to a police press release. Bennett, 25, was taken to a city detention center. He has since bonded out of jail.
After years of studies revealed that many processed products contained levels known to pose a risk of neurological and developmental impairment, the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday proposed maximum limits for the amount of lead in baby foods like mashed fruits and vegetables and dry cereals. The agency issued draft guidance, which would not be mandatory for food manufacturers to abide by. The guidelines, if adopted, would allow the agency to take enforcement action against companies that produced foods that exceeded the new limits.
According to the American Lung Association’s 21st annual “State of Tobacco Control” report, Georgia is among the states with the worst policies to prevent and reduce tobacco use. The report evaluates state and federal measures taken to eliminate tobacco use and recommends effective tobacco control laws and policies to save lives. The state of Georgia, where tobacco use takes the lives of 11,690 people each year, earned mostly failing grades on this year’s report, and tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in America. The report calls for Georgia policymakers to focus on closing the gaps in Georgia’s smoke free air law and significantly increasing the state tobacco tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products.The American Lung Association’s Danna Thompson, Director of Advocacy in Georgia, also highlighted the state’s high smoking rates and high usage of tobacco products among high school students.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging parents to dispose of certain pairs of children’s pajamas that have been recalled due to flammability worries. The recall was issued last week by and concerns 26 designs sold by the U.K.-based company, Selfie Craft. The recalled pajamas, roughly 38,740 in all, were sold over a long period of time, from November 2017 to June of last year. The products were manufactured for children ages 3 to 12, sold with packs of permanent fabric pens that children could use to color in pictures on the pajamas. The recall was prompted by a failure to meet U.S. flammability standards, presenting a risk of burns to children wearing them.
Have a wonderful week….