New York City Tightens COVID-19 Restriction’s (UCNN 12.7.21)

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According to the Daily Mail, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is tightening COVID-19 restrictions in the wake of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant in what he is describing as a ‘pre-emptive strike’ against the virus. The mayor announced Monday morning that he would soon institute a vaccine mandate for all private sector employees in the city and make children aged five to 11 show proof of vaccination to take part in indoor dining, fitness or entertainment activities. Currently in New York, only those 12 and older have to show proof of having received the vaccine, and they only have to receive at least one shot to be eligible, with that figure being bumped up to two shots under the new restrictions. De Blasio said his new orders will go into effect on December 27, and an official announcement with more information is expected later on Monday.

According to the Associated Press, A religious group based in Ohio announced Monday that a violent gang in Haiti has released three more hostages, while another 12 remain abducted. The statement from Christian Aid Ministries said the people were released on Sunday in Haiti and are “safe and seem to be in good spirits.” The group provided no further details. On Nov. 21, the religious organization announced that the 400 Mawozo gang had released the first two hostages of a group of 17 kidnapped in mid-October. There are 12 adults and five children in the group of 16 U.S. citizens and one Canadian, including an 8-month-old. The leader of the 400 Mawozo gang has threatened to kill the hostages unless his demands are met. Authorities have said the gang was seeking $1 million per person, although it wasn’t immediately clear that included the children in the group. “We are thankful to God that three more hostages were released last night,” said the statement from Christian Aid Ministries, an Anabaptist missions organization based in Berlin, Ohio. “As with the previous release, we are not able to provide the names of the people released, the circumstances of the release, or any other details.” The group reiterated its request for supporters to devote Monday through Wednesday as days of prayer and fasting “to intercede for those who are still being held as well as those who have been released.”

According to the New York Times, Seven years ago, Lakewood Church, the Houston megachurch led by Joel Osteen, the prominent televangelist, reported that $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks had been stolen from a church safe. Last month, the money may have been discovered — not by detectives or church personnel, but rather by a plumber fixing a toilet inside a church bathroom. The plumber revealed the discovery on Thursday when he called into a Houston radio show. “There was a loose toilet in the wall, and we removed the tile,” he said on 100.3 FM’s morning show. “We went to go remove the toilet, and I moved some insulation away and about 500 envelopes fell out of the wall.” His reaction? “Oh, wow.” The plumber said he contacted a maintenance supervisor and then gave the church the envelopes. On Friday, the Houston police confirmed that the money appeared to be connected to the 2014 theft.

According to the Associated Press, Carrie Meek, the grandchild of a slave and a sharecropper’s daughter who became one of the first Black Floridians elected to Congress since Reconstruction, died Sunday. She was 95. Meek died at her home in Miami after a long illness, family spokesperson Adam Sharon said in a statement. The family did not specify a cause of death. Meek started her congressional career at an age when many people begin retirement. She was 66 when she easily won the 1992 Democratic congressional primary in her Miami-Dade County district. No Republican opposed her in the general election. Alcee Hastings and Corrine Brown joined Meek in January 1993 as the first Black Floridians to serve in Congress since 1876 as the state’s districts had been redrawn by the federal courts in accordance with the 1965 Voting Rights Act. On her first day in Congress, Meek reflected that while her grandmother, a slave on a Georgia farm, could never have dreamed of such an accomplishment, her parents told her that anything was possible. “They always said the day would come when we would be recognized for our character,” she told The Associated Press in an interview that day. In Congress, Meek championed affirmative action, economic opportunities for the poor and efforts to bolster democracy in and ease immigration restrictions on Haiti, the birthplace of many of her constituents. Meek is survived by her children Lucia Davis-Raiford, Sheila Davis Kinui and Kendrick B. Meek, seven grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and multiple nieces and nephews. Funeral arrangements were pending.

According to the Daily Mail, A former child actress who starred in the Oscar-nominated 2012 movie Beasts of the Southern Wild was shot dead in New Orleans while sitting in a car with a man who police suspect was the gunman’s intended target. The late Louisiana native Jonshel Alexander, 22, played a supporting role in the acclaimed film that had been directed by Benh Zeitlin in her home state. Alexander did not appear in any other movies and in recent years worked as a restaurant hostess to support her baby daughter. According to police, Alexander and an unnamed man were sitting together in a car in the 1500 block of North Claiborne Avenue at around 9pm on Saturday when a masked gunman opened fire and then fled. Paramedics who were called to the scene pronounced Alexander dead. The man she was with suffered a gunshot wound as well but was able to drive himself to a hospital for treatment. Police have released photos showing a person of interest in a blue ski mask standing next to a maroon pickup truck. That vehicle has since been found torched miles away from the crime scene.

According to the Associated Press, The U.S. Justice Department said Monday it is ending its investigation into the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, the Black teenager from Chicago who was abducted, tortured and killed after witnesses said he whistled at a white woman in Mississippi. The announcement came after the head of the department’s civil rights division and other officials met with several of Till’s relatives. Till’s family members said they were disappointed there will continue to be no accountability for the infamous killing, with no charges being filed against Carolyn Bryant Donham, the woman accused of lying about whether Till ever touched her. “Today is a day we will never forget,” Till’s cousin, the Rev. Wheeler Parker, said during a news conference in Chicago. “For 66 years we have suffered pain. … I suffered tremendously.” The killing galvanized the civil rights movement after Till’s mother insisted on an open casket, and Jet magazine published photos of his brutalized body. The Justice Department reopened the investigation after a 2017 book quoted Donham as saying she lied when she claimed that 14-year-old Till grabbed her, whistled and made sexual advances while she was working in a store in the small community of Money. Relatives have publicly denied that Donham, who is in her 80s, recanted her allegations about Till. Donham told the FBI she had never recanted her accusations and there is “insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she lied to the FBI,” the Justice Department said in a news release Monday. Officials also said that historian Timothy B. Tyson, the author of 2017′s “The Blood of Emmett Till,” was unable to produce any recordings or transcripts in which Donham allegedly admitted to lying about her encounter with the teen. “In closing this matter without prosecution, the government does not take the position that the state court testimony the woman gave in 1955 was truthful or accurate,” the Justice Department release said. “There remains considerable doubt as to the credibility of her version of events, which is contradicted by others who were with Till at the time, including the account of a living witness.”

According to the Daily Mail, A White NYC woman who plowed her BMW through 50 Black Lives Matter protesters in Manhattan refused a plea deal which would see her complete six days of community service and instead demands trial: Says activists began attacking luxury sedan as she drove down street. Kathleen Casillo, 52, appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday after she was accused of driving through NYC BLM protestors last December. Casillo rejected the court’s offer for a plea deal, which would have given her six days of community service and one year license suspension, in favor of a trial. BLM protestors gathered in front of the court room as they awaited justice for Casillo’s actions. They had been angered over Casillo’s ‘lenient’ sentencing after she was only charged with reckless assault in the third degree on February 22.

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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!