Archives February 2022

What you need to know ahead of Biden’s first State of the Union address

President Biden will deliver his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

His message to the nation comes as the coronavirus pandemic is set to enter its third year and as Russia continues its march into Ukraine in what Biden says is an attempt to restore the fallen Soviet Union.

These issues are set against the backdrop of Biden’s very low poll numbers and a looming midterm election that will serve as the most tangible assessment of Americans’ faith in Biden and the Democratic Party.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of Tuesday night’s speech.

When is the State of the Union, and how can I watch it?

President Biden will deliver the State of the Union address on Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET.

On Fire Television will provide live coverage and analysis of Biden’s address and the Republican response — as well as Texas’ primary election happening the same day.

You can listen to On Fire Television’s simulcast of the event at OnFireTelevision.com, on YouTube.com or on TheDiamondKShow.com

15-Year-Old TikToker Fatally Shot Herself While Recording Video

According to reports, a 15-year-old Mexican girl was found dead after she tried to film herself while holding a 9mm Uzi machine gun she found in the closet of her grandmother’s house. 

The situation went down in Guasave, Sinaloa, while Yasmin Esmeralda visited her family. Reports say Yasmin asked her younger brother to record her holding the weapon so she could post to TikTok and that the accidental shot immediately killed the young girl.

While speaking to Vice, Sinaloa’s state prosecutor Sara Bruna Quinonez Estrada said, “The fact that there were weapons in the house, that weren’t controlled, is the responsibility of the adults who knew there were children in the house.” Estrada continued saying, “That she chose to record a clip [in that way] shows that our youth is immersed in [drug cartel] culture. It’s what they hear about at all hours.” 

It was noted that the firearm used by Esmeralda was banned from Mexico’s military and that there is only one official gun shop in the country, which has officials confused about how the weapon got into the home. 

source: VICE

CIAA Tournament Wraps Up Week Of Basketball In Baltimore

 The CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament wrapped up a week in Charm City by crowning two new champions. For the women, it was Lincoln University. The men saw Fayetteville State University take home the title.

The CIAA is the nation’s first historically black conference. It last held its basketball tournament in Baltimore in 1952.

Along with great basketball, the tournament packed the past five days with rallies, expositions, and musical performances.

“It’s a huge opportunity for us to really deliver a lot of really good content—not just in the venue from watching really great student-athletes but also in the community,” CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams said.

The free festival brought in fans from all over the state giving them something to enjoy before, during, and after the big games.

McWillaims thanked Baltimore for being such a great host, “As I’ve been saying all week, we really want to B-more and you have shown us how to do that.”

The CIAA took extra steps to include Charm City’s students in its festivities.

During the tournament week, the Virginia State University Woo Woo cheerleaders made a surprise visit to Edmondson Westside High School and the Leadership School for Young Women in an effort to inspire them to pursue college careers.

Source: CBS

42-Year-Old Man Targeted In Hustler Club Shooting

A man was injured over the weekend in what police described as a targeted shooting at a strip club on “The Block” in downtown Baltimore.

Officers were called to the Hustler Club in the 400 block of East Baltimore Street about 1:30 a.m. Sunday in response to a reported shooting, Baltimore Police said.

When they arrived, investigators found a 42-year-old suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the back and upper arm, according to police.

The unidentified man was taken to an area hospital, where he was most recently listed in stable condition, police said.

The facade of Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club at 405 E. Baltimore St. Built in 1906 by J.B. Elfatrick & Sons, the Gayety was one of the most famous theaters on The Block during the heyday of burlesque theater. The Gayety closed in 1969 and was leased by the Hustler Club in 2003. (Photo by Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Police said the shooting appears to be targeted, though it’s not yet clear what led them to suspect the victim was singled out.

Detectives are currently reviewing surveillance footage to see how the shooting unfolded.

The shooting comes days after State Sen. Bill Ferguson said city and state officials are working together to find ways to prevent and curb violent crime in the area.

Anyone with information about shooting is asked to call police at 410-396-2411 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.

Source: WBAL

Trial date set for Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby

Court proceedings and a trial date have been scheduled for Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby.

The motions hearing is scheduled for April 14 and a jury trial is set for May 2. 

Mosby faces federal charges of two counts of perjury for and two counts of making false statements on a loan application.

PDF: Court proceedings and trial date

Mosby’s defense team filed court motions on Friday seeking to have the case dismissed. The state’s attorney claimed she was innocent at a January news conference.

“I am innocent of the charges that have been levied against me and I intend to fight with every ounce of energy within my being to prove my innocence and to clear my name,” Mosby said at a news conference. “I have done nothing wrong. I did not defraud anyone to take my money from my retirement savings and I did not lie on any mortgage application.”

Prosecution has until March 11 to file a rebuttal to defense motions to dismiss. The defense will then have until March 25 to respond.

Both sides have until April 4 to file any other motions.

Putin announces ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences they have never seen.” He said the attack was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine – a claim the U.S. had predicted he would falsely make to justify an invasion In a televised address, Putin accused the U.S. and its allies of ignoring Russia’s demand to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and offer Moscow security guarantees. He said Russia’s goal was not to occupy Ukraine. U.S. President Joe Biden denounced the “unprovoked and unjustified” attack on Ukraine and said the world will “hold Russia accountable.”

As Putin spoke, big explosions were heard in Kyiv, Kharkiv and other areas of Ukraine. A full-blown Russian invasion could cause massive casualties and topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government. And the consequences of the conflict and resulting sanctions levied on Russia could reverberate throughout the world, affecting energy supplies in Europe, jolting global financial markets and threatening the post-Cold War balance on the continent. He said the Russian military operation aims to ensure a “demilitarization” of Ukraine. Putin urged Ukrainian servicemen to “immediately put down arms and go home.” Putin announced the military operation after the Kremlin said rebels in eastern Ukraine asked Russia for military assistance to help fend off Ukrainian “aggression.”

The announcement immediately fueled fears that Moscow was offering up a pretext for war, just as the West had warned. A short time later, the Ukrainian president rejected Moscow’s claims that his country poses a threat to Russia and said a Russian invasion would cost tens of thousands of lives.

Source: WBAL

Biden condemns ‘Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified attack on Ukraine’

US President Joe Biden condemned an “unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces” in a statement Wednesday evening following explosions in Ukraine.”President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” Biden said. “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”Shortly before explosions began in Ukraine, Russian President Vladmir Putin called for Ukraine’s “demilitarization” in televised remarks announcing a military operation.

Biden said that he planned to speak to the American people on Thursday and would announce “further consequences” that the US and its allies planned to impose on Russia over “this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.”

“We will also coordinate with our NATO Allies to ensure a strong, united response that deters any aggression against the Alliance,” Biden said.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

Source: CNN

Watch Kanye West Premiere New Album Donda 2 at Miami Event

Kanye West’s “Donda Experience Performance” event, marking the premiere of his new album and Donda sequel Donda 2, is taking place tonight at LoanDepot Park in Miami. Billed as a “DONDA 2 listening and DONDA 1 performance” by West on Instagram, the event’s livestream is happening in IMAX theaters and at Kanye’s Stem Player website. Watch it below.

After over two hours of heartbeat noise, the show began with a house on fire and a new song that appeared to feature posthumous vocals from XXXTentacion. As multiple new songs played in the stadium, West danced near the flaming house while wading through water. He shared “Flowers,” which he teased with his Stem Player exclusivity announcement, and “Eazy.” 

West was joined in the water by Migos as a new song featuring Baby Keem and the trio played. The next two songs featured Future, who reportedly executive produced the album, and the latter also appeared to feature Travis Scott. Pusha-T appeared in the stadium as his new single “Diet Coke” played. 

A subsequent song opened with a sample of Vice President Kamala Harris’ “we did it, Joe” phone call, featured Jack Harlow (who appeared at the event), and West’s repeated line “we stopped buying Louis bags after Virgil passed.” It was followed by another song featuring Future. A sample of Kim Kardashian West’s SNL monologue about Kanye opened the next track (though not the punchline: “So, when I divorced him, you have to know it came down to just one thing: his personality!”). The next song began with a TikTok-popular Empire sample.

The event pivoted to a live performance, which featured the Sunday Service choir and multiple songs from Donda. Marilyn Manson, who is facing multiple sexual assault lawsuits and is the subject of a new documentary that outlines allegations of abuse, once again joined West and DaBaby during “Jail.” Fivio Foreign and Alicia Keys delivered a live performance of the new single “City of Gods.” Soulja Boy appeared to be featured on “Fist Time in a Long Time” amid an on-again, off-again feud with West. The event ended with a performance of “Off the Grid” that featured Playboi Carti (in Joker makeup) and Fivio. 

Donda 2 will reportedly be made available exclusively through West’s Donda Stem Player. He claimed that he turned down a $100 million deal from Apple, choosing instead to release the album via his own platform. In late January, West had announced that Donda 2 would arrive on February 22, but it did not appear online or on the stem players at midnight. 

West has lately become an avid Instagrammer, using his page to share (and typically delete) controversial posts, often about Kim Kardashian West, as well as her rumored boyfriend Pete Davidson. Among the first of West’s recent incendiary posts was a criticism of his oldest daughter North West’s TikTok use. He also harassed Davidson directly. Due to West’s anger with Davidson, he also appeared to cut ties with Kid Cudi—a friend of Davidson’s. West, on February 12, said that Cudi would not appear on Donda 2. Cudi had previously appeared alongside West on Donda’s “Moon.”

Since the August 2021 release of Donda, West has co-headlined the Amazon-sponsored Free Larry Hoover Benefit Concert with Drake and was announced as a Coachella headliner. The first part of the Jeen-Yuhs documentary about his life premiered at Sundance, and he had been a mainstay in the tabloids due to his relationship with actress Julia Fox. (Fox and West broke up in February after a couple of months together.) Plus, he legally changed his name to Ye, which is also the name of his 2018 studio album.

Source: Pitchfork

College basketball teams converge in Baltimore for CIAA tournament

College basketball teams are converging in Baltimore this week as they reach the highest point in the season. The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Basketball Tournament starts Tuesday in Baltimore.

The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA®), the nation’s oldest historically Black athletic conference today announced its updated COVID-19 safety protocols in advance of the 2022 CIAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament being held in Baltimore on February 22 -26 at the Royal Farms Arena.

Teams from Historically Black Colleges and Universities are in town ready to compete. Bowie State University plays the role of host at Royal Farms Arena in downtown Baltimore. College basketball teams had a second day of practice Monday, and there’s a big awards banquet for players and coaches. Marcus Clarke, senior associate commissioner for championships and events, said to pull off this event, the CIAA met with public safety officials and the city’s health commissioner.

Clarke said this is a huge stage for the players. “We have the third-largest tournament in college athletics, and it’s no small feat. We have a lot of coaches coming to town to see our teams play. It’s a great platform,” Clarke said. Steve Joyner Jr., who coaches the women’s basketball team from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, said the tournament is huge for the players.

Per COVID-19 protocols, all athletes are tested every morning.

Source: WBAL

War fears grow as Putin orders troops to eastern Ukraine

Ukraine

A long-feared Russian invasion of Ukraine appeared to be imminent Monday, if not already underway, with Russian President Vladimir Putin ordering forces into separatist regions of eastern Ukraine.

A vaguely worded decree signed by Putin did not say if troops were on the move, and it cast the order as an effort to “maintain peace.” But it appeared to dash the slim remaining hopes of averting a major conflict in Europe that could cause massive casualties, energy shortages on the continent and economic chaos around the globe.

Putin’s directive came hours after he recognized the separatist areas in a rambling, fact-bending discourse on European history. The move paved the way to provide them military support, antagonizing Western leaders who regard such a move as a breach of world order, and set off a frenzied scramble by the U.S. and others to respond.

Underscoring the urgency, the U.N. Security Council set a rare nighttime emergency meeting on Monday at the request of Ukraine, the U.S. and other countries. Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, sought to project calm, telling the country: “We are not afraid of anyone or anything. We don’t owe anyone anything. And we won’t give anything to anyone.”

Source: AP News