Interim Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph Steps Down (BCNN1 7.19.21)

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According to the New York Post, Interim Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who took over leadership of the country after President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, will reportedly step down and hand the reins to his challenger. Joseph and Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon whom Moïse had appointed prime minister two days before he was gunned down on July 7, had both vied for domestic and international support after the power vacuum created by the assassination. He had claimed that Henry, 71, had not yet been sworn into the job and had no right to act as interim leader. Joseph, who was Moïse’s foreign minister, has claimed he was Haiti’s rightful interim leader following the assassination because he had been serving as acting prime minister before the late president named Henry, the Washington Post reported. But on Monday, Joseph told the paper that he and Henry had met privately in the past week in an attempt to resolve the leadership dispute, and that he agreed Sunday to step down “for the good of the nation.” “Everyone who knows me knows that I am not interested in this battle, or in any kind of power grab,” Joseph told the Washington Post. “The president was a friend to me. I am just interested in seeing justice for him.” Henry released a recorded address Sunday night in which he repeated his claim to the prime minister’s job.

According to CNN, Drug overdose deaths rose by close to 30% in the United States in 2020, hitting the highest number ever recorded, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday. More than 93,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2020, according to provisional data released by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. That’s a 29.4% increase from the 72,151 deaths projected for 2019. “Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) and psychostimulants such as methamphetamine also increased in 2020 compared to 2019. Cocaine deaths also increased in 2020, as did deaths from natural and semi-synthetic opioids (such as prescription pain medication),” the NCHS said in a statement. “This is the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a 12-month period, and the largest increase since at least 1999,” Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement. “These data are chilling. The COVID-19 pandemic created a devastating collision of health crises in America,” added Volkow.

According to the Associated Press, Maj. Fannie Griffin McClendon and her Army colleagues never dwelled on being the only Black battalion of women to serve in Europe during World War II. They had a job to do. The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was credited with solving a growing mail crisis during its stint in England and, upon their return, serving as a role model to generations of Black women who joined the military. But for decades, the exploits of the 855 members never got wider recognition — until now. The Senate passed legislation that would award members of the battalion, affectionately known as the Six Triple Eight, with the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill is awaiting action in the House but is already too late for most 6888 members. There are believed to be only seven surviving, including McClendon.

According to CNN, Entrepreneur Justin Turk knew his start-up was special, but a $1 million prize from Grammy award-winning singer and producer Pharrell Williams came as a shock. On Tuesday, Williams announced the winners of his Black Ambition prize competition — and Turk and his business partner, Andre Davis, are in the national spotlight. Williams’ non-profit was founded in December to help Black and Latino business owners close the wealth gap through entrepreneurship. Turk and Davis, co-founders of Livegistics, took home the top prize of $1 million. The Detroit-based entrepreneurs run a cloud-based material management software company, which eliminates paperwork in heavy civil construction and demolition. The company also provides data and metrics that construction experts can use for efficiency. Livegistics is also helping the environment through the elimination of tons of paper each year and helps local communities accelerate the elimination of blight in urban cities and neighborhoods. “We knew we had something special, but you don’t go in thinking you will walk away with $1 million. But when it happens you are like, ‘Wow, we just won $1 million,’” Turk said.

According to NBC News, Coco Gauff’s Olympic dreams are over before they can even start. The 17-year-old tennis star will not be competing in the Tokyo Games after testing positive for COVID-19, leaving Team USA without its leader. In a statement Sunday, the U.S. Tennis Association wished Gauff the best and said it hoped for a return to the court in the near future. The day before Gauff’s announcement, the first COVID-19 case was confirmed within the Olympic Village. Two members of Team South Africa, Thabiso Monyane and Kamohelo Mahlatsi, also tested positive, according to a statement by the team. The Tokyo Olympics are set to begin on Friday with the opening ceremony. The venues will have no spectators to reduce the risk of infection. So far, only 26 percent of the population in Japan has been vaccinated, and COVID-19 cases are on the rise.

According to The Grio, Frankie Lons, best known for appearing in Keyshia Cole’s various reality TV shows, reportedly succumbed to her years-long battle with addiction while celebrating her birthday. Keyshia Cole’s mother, Frankie Lons, has passed away from an overdose after a long-fought battle with addiction, her family has confirmed to TMZ. She was 61. Frankie Lons, was known by many for being the mother of famed R&B songstress Keyshia Cole, after appearing on Cole’s various reality TV shows. Becoming a fan favorite, Frankie wound up earning her own spin-off series entitled, Frankie & Neffe, alongside Cole’s sister Neffeteria Pugh. The death was first announced by Cole’s sister Elite Noel, who shared the news to her Instagram stories. In a heartbreaking post, Elite Noel wrote that the passing of her mother is “the worst pain ever.” She wrote in the Instagram story, “worse pain ever… see my mama in a body bag on her birthday! My heart [is] so broke.”

According to Rolling Stone, Biz Markie, the pioneering rapper, producer, and beatboxer whose jovial goofiness, boundless, off-kilter creativity and innovative music made him a singular presence in both hip-hop and pop culture at large, died Friday at the age of 57. “It is with profound sadness that we announce, this evening, with his wife Tara by his side, hip hop pioneer Biz Markie peacefully passed away,” his rep Jenni Izumi said in a statement. “We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time. “Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years,” Izumi added. “He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter. We respectfully request privacy for his family as they mourn their loved one.” While a cause of death was not revealed, the rapper had struggled in recent years with health issues related to his decade-long battle with Type 2 diabetes. In April 2020, he was hospitalized due to complications related to the disease, and later that year suffered a stroke. Although the rapper was rehabilitating, his condition continued to decline, leading to premature reports of Markie’s death in late June.
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In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!