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House passes legislation protecting LGBTQ rights

On Thursday, the House passed legislation that would extend existing civil rights law to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. The bill would ensure equal treatment for LGBTQ individuals in areas including employment, education, housing, credit, public accommodations and others.

The House voted 224 to 206 to pass the legislation largely along party lines. All Democrats and three Republicans voted in favor of the bill. The legislation now moves to the Senate, where it will require at least 10 Republican votes to avoid a Senate filibuster and move the bill to a vote. As of now, no Senate Republicans have signed on to support the legislation.

The Equality Act passed in the House in 2019, but stalled in the Republican-led Senate when conservative opponents claimed the legislation would infringe on their religious freedom. Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a press conference Thursday. “I will use my power as Majority Leader to put it on the floor and let’s see where everybody stands.” President Joe Biden also supports the bill, and listed it as a top priority during his presidential campaign.

House passes sweeping LGBTQ rights bill

Via www.nbcnews.com
 

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NCAA releases COVID-19 contingency plans for March Madness tournaments

The NCAA Division I’s Men’s Basketball and Women’s Basketball Committees released replacement policies for the upcoming NCAA tournaments on Thursday (which can be viewed in full here). 

The content in the new policies state that after the championship field is released and before the championship beginning, a single-bid conference “may replace its [automatic qualifier] if it is unable to participate due to COVID-19.” For any multi-bid conference that has a team unable to participate, “the last four teams not selected as at-large teams for the original field shall be designated as replacement teams.” The replacement team will be placed in the bracket position left vacant by the withdrawing team, and once the bracket is finalized and released, teams will not be reseeded.

For the NCAA men’s tournament, the deadline for consideration of replacing a team unable to participate due to COVID-19 is Tuesday, March 16. Once the tournament has begun “no team will replace a team that has a COVID-19 issue and can no longer participate in the championship.” Instead, its opponent would advance to the next round via forfeit.  

The men’s tournament will take place exclusively in Indianapolis due to COVID-19 restrictions; it will have its bracket released at 6 p.m on Sunday, March 14 before getting underway on Thursday, March 18. 

The women’s tournament will be held in San Antonio due to COVID-19 restrictions; it will have its bracket released at 6 p.m on Monday, March 15 before getting underway on Friday, March 18.

March Madness replacement rules, explained: How NCAA will select new teams to account for COVID-19 withdrawals

Via www.msn.com
 

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Ex-U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach John Geddert dies by suicide after being charged with human trafficking

Former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach John Geddert died by suicide Thursday after being charged with 24 crimes stemming from alleged sexual, physical and emotional abuse against gymnasts in his care. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a statement confirming that authorities found Geddert’s body late Thursday afternoon after the charges against him were announced.

Geddert, 63, was charged with 20 felony counts of human trafficking for allegedly subjecting his athletes to forced labor or services “under extreme conditions that contributed to them suffering injuries and harm.” He was also charged with individual felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, second-degree criminal sexual conduct and continuing a criminal enterprise.

Geddert also faced one charge of lying to a peace officer during a violent crime investigation for false or misleading statements to authorities investigating former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar who was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting hundreds of girls. Nassar worked as Geddert’s team physician and in-house medical expert for 20 years and was the sole medical doctor whose advice he would accept.

Ex-Olympics gymnastics coach John Geddert commits suicide after sexual assault charges

Via www.msn.com
 

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Ex-U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach John Geddert dies by suicide after being charged with human trafficking

Former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach John Geddert died by suicide Thursday after being charged with 24 crimes stemming from alleged sexual, physical and emotional abuse against gymnasts in his care. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel issued a statement confirming that authorities found Geddert’s body late Thursday afternoon after the charges against him were announced.

Geddert, 63, was charged with 20 felony counts of human trafficking for allegedly subjecting his athletes to forced labor or services “under extreme conditions that contributed to them suffering injuries and harm.” He was also charged with individual felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, second-degree criminal sexual conduct and continuing a criminal enterprise.

Geddert also faced one charge of lying to a peace officer during a violent crime investigation for false or misleading statements to authorities investigating former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar who was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison for sexually assaulting hundreds of girls. Nassar worked as Geddert’s team physician and in-house medical expert for 20 years and was the sole medical doctor whose advice he would accept.

Ex-Olympics gymnastics coach John Geddert commits suicide after sexual assault charges

Via www.msn.com
 

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Former aide of NY Governor Cuomo details harassment and misconduct claims against him

A former member of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration offered new details Wednesday of sexual harassment claims she made against him, saying he once kissed her on the lips without consent after a private meeting. Lindsey Boylan, an economic advisor in Cuomo’s administration, said that during her more than three years working for him Cuomo “would go out of his way to touch me on my lower back, arms and legs,” amongst other accusations.

Boylan wrote in a blog post on the website Medium that the kiss happened after she gave Cuomo a one-on-one briefing on economic and infrastructure projects in his New York City office. Boylan, a Democrat running for Manhattan borough president, confirmed that she had posted the blog and said decided to elaborate because she hoped it would empower other women to come forward. She said the governor created a culture of pervasive sexual harassment, and that two other former Cuomo staffers have privately confided in her that they were also sexually harassed by the governor in the workplace.

The new detailed account of Boylan’s allegations against Cuomo comes amid mounting criticism against the Governor. Boylan had tweeted back in December that Cuomo sexually harassed her, but she didn’t reveal details and declined interview requests. At the time, Cuomo denied that he did anything inappropriate. Cuomo’s spokesperson Caitlin Girouard said Wednesday that all of Boylan’s “claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false.”

‘Pervasive harassment’: Former Cuomo adviser says governor ‘kissed me on the lips’

Via www.nbcnews.com
 

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Postmaster General DeJoy calls mail delays ‘unacceptable’ calling for urgent reform

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy appeared before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Wednesday to answer lawmakers’ questions on how to put the USPS on a better financial footing. The service came under scrutiny in the fall after DeJoy ordered certain service cuts.

DeJoy said that recent postal delays were “unacceptable” and suggested officially slowing first-class mail to accommodate the U.S. Postal Service’s difficulties making on-time deliveries. Mail delivery times became unreliable in 2020 amid an increased use due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a greater use of mail-in voting for the presidential election.

DeJoy said to account for those delays and manage costs, the USPS may need to reduce the amount of mail transported by plane, thereby increasing the amount of time it may take for some mail to be delivered.  He told the panel the USPS is losing some $10 billion a year in what he described as a “death spiral.” Part of the blame for the large losses is a change in 2006 requiring the USPS to pre-fund about $120 billion in retiree healthcare benefits.

U.S. Postal Service on ‘death spiral’ without urgent reform: chief

Via news.yahoo.com
 

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Tom Brady expected to be out until June to recuperate from knee surgery

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said quarterback Tom Brady likely won’t be able to take the field again until June after undergoing surgery to “clean up” his left knee.

Brady required offseason knee surgery after leading the Buccaneers to the Super Bowl title. He hasn’t missed a game because of injury since he suffered a torn ACL in 2008. Brady is a seven-time Super Bowl champion, three-time league MVP and 14-time Pro Bowler who has more Lombardi Trophies than any individual franchise in the NFL. In 2020, he completed 65.7 percent of his passes for 4,633 yards, 40 touchdowns and 12 interceptions during the 2020 campaign.

Bruce Arians: Tom Brady should be ready for 7-on-7 work around June

Via www.msn.com
 

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Tyrell Williams released by Las Vegas Raiders two years into wide receiver’s four-year contract

The Las Vegas Raiders announced on Wednesday they have released wide receiver Tyrell Williams, ending his tenure with the team two seasons into a four-year, $44.3 million contract.  The 29-year-old did not play in 2020 after a torn labrum in his shoulder last September landed him on injured reserve. He posted 651 receiving yards and six touchdowns on 42 catches over 14 games in 2019. 

Williams is now an unrestricted free agent. The 2021 free-agency class are expected to feature some of the NFL’s top playmakers including quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receivers Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson II and Kenny Golladay and offensive linemen Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff.

Raiders Have Officially Released Veteran Wide Receiver

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Texas energy board members resign after crisis due to winter storm power outages

Four board members of Texas’ power grid operator will resign after last week’s blackouts left millions of people without electricity after a winter storm hit the area. More than 3 million people and businesses were left without power after a major winter cold front swept Texas last week, leaving Texans without power in below-freezing temperatures. Residents struggled to stay warm, and the lack of heating froze pipes, contributing to a water crisis in the state.

The board chairwoman and vice chairman of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”) along with two other board members, issued a joint statement announcing their intention to resign at a meeting Wednesday. Their statement read: “To allow state leaders a free hand with future direction and to eliminate distractions, we are resigning from the board effective after our urgent board teleconference meeting adjourns on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.” The four members said in the letter that they have heard the concerns about “out-of-state” board leadership and want to acknowledge Texans’ “pain and suffering” during the past week. 

Gov. Greg Abbott said he welcomed the resignations, issuing a statement which read: “When Texans were in desperate need of electricity, ERCOT failed to do its job and Texans were left shivering in their homes without power,” Abbott said. “ERCOT leadership made assurances that Texas’ power infrastructure was prepared for the winter storm, but those assurances proved to be devastatingly false.”

4 ERCOT board members to resign amid backlash over Texas storm

Via www.cbsnews.com
 

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Tiger Woods undergoes surgery for leg injuries after serious car crash

Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV rolled over and ended up on its side in suburban Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department confirmed the news in a statement. According to the LASD, the 45-year-old  athlete had to be pulled from his vehicle with the “jaws of life” by firefighters and paramedics and was transported by ambulance to a hospital for serious injuries. Woods was the sole driver and occupant in the crash, which took place on the border of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes. The vehicle sustained major damage. The sheriff’s department said it is conducting an investigation into the crash.

Woods underwent leg surgery, according to his manager, Mark Steinberg, who said in a statment: “Tiger Woods was in a single-car accident this morning in California where he suffered multiple leg injuries. He is currently in surgery and we thank you for your privacy and support.”

Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV; the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities such as David Spade and Dwyane Wade at Rolling Hills Country Club.

Woods has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019.

Tiger Woods seriously injured in California car crash

Via www.pressherald.com
 

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