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This week, President Joe Biden commuted the sentences of 31 nonviolent drug offenders as the White House rolled out a broad initiative that aims to bolster the “redemption and rehabilitation” of people previously incarcerated through greater access to housing, jobs, food and other assistance. The actions came during what Biden has proclaimed as Second Chance Month, an attempt to put a greater focus on helping those with criminal records rebuild their lives. The 31 commutations were for people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes, who were currently serving time in home confinement. A senior administration official said, “The president is committed to providing second chances for individuals who have demonstrated rehabilitation and made contributions to their community.”

Manhattan Federal Judge Lewis Kaplan warned former President Donald Trump Wednesday to stop posting on social media after he derided his civil rape trial as a “SCAM” and mocked E. Jean Carroll for not screaming during his alleged attack on her. Kaplan called the posts “totally inappropriate” and told Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina to get the former president to keep quiet about the case. “(Trump) may or may not be tampering with a new source of potential liability,” Kaplan said, suggesting he could hold Trump in contempt of court. “And I think you know what I mean.” Tacopina vowed to have a chat with Trump, who is a notoriously difficult client to control. 

Former Vice President Mike Pence testified last week before a federal grand jury investigating efforts by then-President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. Pence’s appearance before a grand jury in Washington scrutinizing the president he once loyally served is a milestone in the Justice Department’s investigation and likely gives prosecutors a key first-person account about certain conversations and events in the weeks preceding the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. It also carries significant political implications, coming as Pence hints at entering the 2024 presidential race.

The white woman who accused Black teenager Emmett Till of whistling at and accosting her in Mississippi in 1955 — causing his lynching, which galvanized a generation of activists to rise up in the Civil Rights Movement — has died at 88. Carolyn Bryant Donham died in hospice care Tuesday night in Westlake, Louisiana, according to a death report filed Thursday in the Calcasieu Parish Coroner’s Office. Her death marks the last chance for anyone to be held accountable for the kidnapping and murder that shocked the world.

Colin Kaepernick, the civil rights activist and former NFL quarterback, will pay for an independent autopsy for Lashawn Thompson, who died in the Fulton County Jail last year. Thompson, 35, of Winter Haven, Florida, was discovered unresponsive in the jail’s psychiatric wing covered in bed bugs. According to a Fulton County Medical Examiner report, his cause of death was undetermined, but noted a “severe bed bug infestation” in the jail. “We are going to get an independent autopsy done and Colin Kaepernick has told the family that he will pay for it no matter what so we can get to the truth,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump announced during a recent meeting with reporters outside the jail.

Grady Health System will open new outpatient centers south of I-20 by the end of 2023 to address concerns around access to health care caused by the closures of Wellstar Health System’s Atlanta Medical Center and Atlanta Medical Center South in 2022. The two new neighborhood health centers will be located at Lee and White at 1000 Lee St. SW, a mixed-use development in West End, and at 3355 Cascade Road. The locations will provide primary and specialty care services such as cardiology, mammography, HIV services, rehabilitation and more. Grady says that the clinics will remove barriers to accessing quality health care for these areas. Officials said plans for the sites were in motion even before the two AMC closures.

The international cyberhacking group Anonymous Sudan on Friday claimed responsibility for website outages that hit Sandy Springs-based UPS and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport early Friday morning. Both websites were back up within a couple of hours. Anonymous Sudan posted messages on Telegram Messenger, taking credit for disrupting the sites and saying it would target other U.S. airports, education, businesses and government. UPS apologized to its customers just before 5 a.m., in response to questions from people trying to track or ship packages. The company said its website was fully recovered by 7:01 a.m. Hartsfield-Jackson’s website, which also went down early Friday morning, was back up by 8:30 a.m. Hartsfield-Jackson’s website was one of a number of airport websites hit by outages last October, also blamed on a hacking group’s targeted attacks. The latest website outage did not affect airport operations.

A federal judge in Virginia on Friday rejected a motion from Google to toss out the government’s antitrust case against it. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled the lawsuit alleging Google wields monopolistic power in online advertising can proceed.

A Brazilian dictionary has added “Pelé” as an adjective to use when describing someone who is “exceptional, incomparable, unique.” The announcement by the Michaelis dictionary on Wednesday is part of a campaign that gathered more than 125,000 signatures to honor the late soccer great’s impact beyond his sport. The three-time World Cup champion died in December at age 82 after a fight against colon cancer. The dictionary entry reads: “The one that is extraordinary, or who because of his quality, value or superiority cannot be matched to anything or anyone, just like Pelé; nickname of Edson Arantes do Nascimento (1940- 2022), considered the best athlete of all time; exceptional, incomparable, unique. Examples: He is the Pelé of basketball, she is the Pelé of tennis, she is the Pelé of Brazilian theater, he is the Pelé of medicine.”

The Baltimore Ravens agreed in principle with Lamar Jackson on a five-year deal Thursday, securing their star quarterback for the foreseeable future and ending a contract negotiation saga that was dominating the team’s offseason. The Ravens announced the deal hours before the first round of the NFL draft, and it’s fair to say that in Baltimore at least, this news will overshadow whoever the team might take in the first round. Jackson was the NFL’s MVP in 2019. 

Kevin Durant and Nike have agreed to a lifetime contract, making him just the third NBA player to receive such a deal, joining Michael Jordan and LeBron James. The 13-time All-Star has a relationship with Nike that dates to 2007, releasing 15 different sets of shoes. The 16th is coming soon. “When I first signed with Nike, I couldn’t have dreamed of how far we’d go in this partnership,” Durant said in a statement. The lifetime deal will continue to include shoes and other apparel, along with other “community and philanthropic collaboration focused on grassroots basketball.”

After weeks of posturing on both sides, the Jets and Green Bay Packers on Monday completed the trade that sends four-time NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers to New York. Jets legend Joe Namath has given Rodgers his blessing to wear his retired No. 12 jersey, but it is believed Rodgers will wear 8, the number he wore in college at California. The Jets now have a future Hall-of-Famer at quarterback and their fans are already talking about the Super Bowl.

Disney has sued Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over the Republican’s takeover of its theme park district, alleging the governor waged a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” after the company opposed a law critics call “Don’t Say Gay.” The suit, filed in Tallahassee, was filed minutes after a Disney World oversight board appointed by DeSantis voted to void a deal that placed theme park design and construction decisions in the company’s hands. It’s the latest conflict in an ongoing feud between DeSantis, a Republican expected to run for president, and Disney, a powerful political player and major tourism driver in Florida.

Delta Sky Clubs have been plagued with long lines and crowding, frustrating the frequent fliers who pay hundreds of dollars for access. Some members who stop by the Sky Club to grab a complimentary coffee or bite to eat before their flight are finding the wait to be so long that it’s not an option. Starting in early May, Atlanta-based Delta plans to start a pilot program offering grab & go food and drinks in the lobby of its Sky Club on Concourse B at Hartsfield-Jackson. “Pending a successful pilot, we’ll look at bringing the Grab & Go experience out into the concourse,” Delta said in a written statement. A Sky Club membership costs $695 annually for Delta Medallion-level frequent fliers.

Mattel announced its first-ever Barbie doll with Down syndrome after it collaborated with the National Down Syndrome Society to create a doll that properly represents a person with Down syndrome. “This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them. This Barbie serves as a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of representation,” said Kandi Pickard, NDSS president and CEO in a statement.

James Corden used part of his farewell speech on Thursday night’s final episode of CBS’ “The Late Late Show” to address the deep rift in America over hot button issues including politics and ideology. “We started this show with Obama, then Trump and a global pandemic. I’ve watched America change a lot. I’ve watched divisions grow and I’ve felt a sense of negativity boil over,” said the host. He implored his audience to “remember what America signifies to the rest of the world. My entire life it has always been a place of optimism. … Yes, it has flaws but show me a place that doesn’t. Show me a person that doesn’t. “Just because somebody disagrees with you doesn’t make them bad or evil. We are all more the same than we are different. There are so many people who are trying to stoke those differences and we have to try as best we can to look for the light, look for the joy. If you do, it’s out there,” he said. 

U.S. cigarette smoking dropped to a new all-time low last year, with 1 in 9 adults saying they were current smokers. Electronic cigarette use rose, to about 1 in 17 adults. The findings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are based on survey responses from more than 27,000 adults.
Select bags of Gold Medal flour are being voluntarily recalled by manufacturer General Mills for the possible presence of salmonella, according to a company announcement posted on the US Food and Drug Administration’s website. Salmonella was detected during a sampling of the 5-pound bag of the product, the company said. The bags of 2, 5, and 10-pound bleached and unbleached all-purpose flour have a “better if used by” date of March 27, 2024, and March 28, 2024, General Mills said. “All other types of Gold Medal Flour are not affected by this recall,” the company said in the announcement. Most flour is raw and hasn’t been treated to kill germs that cause food poisoning, according to the CDC. Salmonella bacteria dies when it is cooked or baked, but people can get sick when eating or tasting foods that include raw flour. Raw dough used for crafts also poses a risk. In a statement, Mollie Wulff, spokesperson at General Mills, said: “We are continuing to educate consumers that flour is not a ‘ready to eat’ ingredient. Anything made with flour must be cooked or baked before eating.”

Have a wonderful week.

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