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Verzuz Announces Battles with The Isley Brothers vs. Earth, Wind and Fire

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The next showing in the Verzuz series will premiere on April 4th, which falls on Easter Sunday.

What We Know:

  • Last weekend’s Verzuz battle featured Wu-Tang Clan comrades Raekwon and Ghostface Killah. The show featured guest appearances from fellow Wu-Tang affiliates such as RZA, Cappadonna, and Inspectah Deck.
  • As of now, there isn’t any information regarding guest appearances for the show on Easter Sunday. It appears as though The Isley Brothers and Earth, Wind and Fire carry enough star-power to carry the show by themselves.
  • The Isley Brothers began making hits in the 1950s and began as a gospel group. One of the brothers, Vernon Isley, was involved in a tragic bicycle accident and died in 1955. After a year of mourning and recovering from the tragedy, the Isleys moved to New York and officially began their musical career with the release of their single called “Shout.” Since then, the Isley Brothers have won two Grammy awards and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • The Isley Brothers were inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and headlined Pitchfork Music Festival in 2019. Earth, Wind, and Fire were also inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. The group has received seven Grammy Awards from 17 total nominations and were the recipients of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award as well in 2016. In addition, Earth, Wind, and Fire have also earned four American Music Awards out of 12 nominations.
  • Earth, Wind, and Fire were formed in Chicago, Illinois, in 1969 by Maurice White. The band contains elements of various music genres such as funk, disco, soul, jazz, pop, and rock. The group is currently slated to perform at an annual fundraising event, Race to Erase MS, this summer in June. The event will be held at the Rose Bowl Stadium with a socially distanced outdoor concert. In 2020, Race to Erase MS raised over $1.4 million for the organization and its Center Without Walls program.

It remains unclear how the veteran groups plan to approach each other during the show, but it appears as though the two groups will perform classics from their respective catalogs on Easter evening.

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Diego Maradona’s Doctor and Six Others to be Questioned in His Death

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Soccer icon Diego Maradona suffered a heart attack weeks after undergoing brain surgery for a blood clot and died in November 2020 at 60 years old. After this, two of his children filed a complaint with the Argentine Justice Department against neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, citing that he allowed their father’s health to deteriorate. Medical experts agreed with their claims.

What We Know:

  • Argentina’s public prosecutor brought in a panel of twenty medical authorities to analyze Maradona’s treatment. They concluded that the care the legend received held “deficiencies and irregularities;” they also determined the medical team left his survival “to fate” and could have survived if tended to at a healthcare facility. Maradona died in a rented Buenos Aires home, where he obtained home care.
  • Alongside Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, psychologist Carlos Diaz, nurses Ricardo Almiron and Dahiana Madrid, nursing coordinator Mariano Perroni, and medical coordinator Nancy Forlini will face interrogation.
  • Beginning Monday and spanning two weeks, the seven will appear “one by one” before prosecutors to reply to the allegations. They may receive charges such as manslaughter if found guilty.
  • The hearings were supposed to begin last month, but officials needed to postpone them due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Prosecutors will end questioning on June 28 with Luque. Once this finishes, a judge will decide if the matter should proceed in court. This process may take months or years. While awaiting their fate, the seven must follow strict rules, such as not leaving the country. They risk eight to twenty-five years in prison if they do so.
  • Luque actively denies all the accusations against him. He claims he “tried his best” and offered Maradona everything he could. He also states that the soccer player accepted some things and denied others.

In addition, Luque says that Maradona felt very depressed in his final days; he declares that the “quarantine hit him very hard.” Because of this, Dr. Luque wants dismissal of the case. Despite his pleas, the courts will continue their movement to bring justice to Maradona’s family and fans.

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9 Mass Shootings This Weekend Brings Total to 272 This Year

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From Friday afternoon to Sunday, nine mass shootings occurred in six states. This brings the total of mass shootings for 2021 to 272.

What We Know:

  • A mass shooting is defined by the Gun Violence Archive as an incident in which four or more people are shot, regardless of fatalities. Initial reporting from ABC News detailed four mass shootings in the span of six hours this weekend. Further coverage from CNN revealed the number to be nine.
  • In Savannah, Georgia on Friday evening one person was killed and eight others were injured. The youngest victim was 18 months old. Police are still working to identify a suspect or suspects who pulled up to a residential home and opened fire. The same house had been targeted the Tuesday before and the events are believed to be linked.
  • 4 hours later in Austin, Texas, gunfire was reported in the entertainment district. One was reported dead, 13 wounded, and one in critical condition. Police arrested one suspect but another is being sought out.
  • Shots were also fired in Dallas, Texas earlier in the day. Five people were wounded including a four-year-old and four adult victims. Police said the incident occurred when two groups became involved in some sort of disturbance.
  • On Friday afternoon in Washington state, just south of Seattle, officers responded to reports of a shooting. Two people were found dead at the scene and two others were hospitalized with injuries.
  • In North Carolina on Friday night, numerous shots were fired. There were four victims total, one was pronounced dead when responders arrived. Police recovered two guns from the scene and other evidence.
  • In the early morning hours on Saturday in Chicago, Illinois, one woman was fatally shot and nine others injured. Two suspects reportedly approached a crowd in the Chatham neighborhood and opened fire.
  • Two Ohio cities experienced incidences this weekend as well. In Cleveland, three people were killed outside of a gas station Saturday morning. Three other victims were hospitalized. In Cincinnati, at least four people were wounded that same day. Two of the victims aged 6 and 8 are in critical condition.
  • The non-stop incidents that have occurred so far have officials concerned as COVID-19 restrictions lift nationally. Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Research Forum, stated, “There was a hope this might simply be a statistical blip that would start to come down. That hasn’t happened. And that’s what really makes chiefs worry that we may be entering a new period where we see a reversal of 20 years of declines in these crimes.”

The Gun Violence Archive reports that the total number of mass shootings so far this year is 40% higher than that of this time in 2020 and 65% higher than in 2019. With gun control legislation continuing to be a hot topic, and with decisions like that of Judge Roger Benitez overturning preexisting legislation, it is unclear what the rest of the year may bring.

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Senate Announces Bipartisan $1 Trillion Infrastructure Deal

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(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A bipartisan group of 10 Senators have been engaged in negotiations with President Biden to create an infrastructure bill. After negotiations ceased this Tuesday, the group announced they have a tentative plan to propose in the coming weeks.

What We Know:

  • The plan includes $579 billion in new spending, which would add up to $1.2 trillion over eight years. Senators said in a statement that the proposal would be paid for and would not include tax increases. There have been talks amongst the group of indexing the gas tax to inflation to cover the cost, but Biden’s unwillingness to raise taxes for those who make less than $400,000 a year would prove difficult.
  • Republicans are skeptical of this deal and Democrats are impatient. Many are hopeful that a bipartisan agreement will pass. In a joint statement, the group said, “We are discussing our approach with our respective colleagues, and the White House, and remain optimistic that this can lay the groundwork to garner broad support both parties and meet America’s infrastructure needs.”
  • Some Democrats are vehemently opposed to the deal as it makes no mention of clean energy or climate change. They are encouraging leadership to push through a partisan bill, which still would require ten votes on the Republican side to pass.
  • Regardless of opinion, many agree that a bill needs to pass swiftly. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is among these representatives, “I worry about time being wasted. Even if our Republican colleagues [work in] good faith, we simply do not have the time to delay.”

The uncertainty in this decision follows a few weeks of tumult in the Senate between Democrats and Republicans. White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement, “Senior White House staff and the Jobs Cabinet will work with the Senate group in the days ahead to get answers to those questions, as we also consult with other members in both the House and the Senate on the path forward.”

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