The Beyoncé Mass Makes Its Debut in New York + More News

by Debra Brown

Beyoncé Mass

 

Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.

 

The Beyoncé mass makes its New York debut

The Beyoncé mass, a Christian worship service inspired by the life and music of its namesake, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter makes its debut in New York.

The brainchild of Rev. Yolanda Norton, a Hebrew Bible scholar and the H. Eugene Farlough Chair of Black Church Studies at San Francisco Theological Seminary, the Beyoncé Mass explores how issues of race and gender impact the lives, voices, and bodies of African-American women. It makes its New York debut this week at a pair of local churches with strong black leadership: First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn and St. James Presbyterian in Harlem.

“The Mass says to young black girls, You are part of what God had in mind when, during creation, God said, ‘It is good,’”. The Mass’s specific messages for black women and girls notwithstanding, it welcomes anyone who has been excluded by the church.

For more, read our interview with Dr. Eboni Marhsall Turman, a feminist theologian.

 

Hundreds of thousands protest against government corruption in Lebanon

Hundreds of thousands of protestors in Lebanon have taken to the streets, in the biggest protests to sweep the country in over a decade. Lebanese protesters say their politicians have stolen tens, or even hundreds, of billions of dollars from them, aided by laws that allow bank secrecy.

The demonstrations began after the government announced new taxes, including a $6 monthly fee on calls on free messaging apps like WhatsApp. The proposed tax was scrapped just hours after the protests started, but demonstrations continued.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced a package of reforms include halving politicians’ salaries, assistance for poor families, creating a body to fight corruption and improvements to the country’s dilapidated electricity infrastructure. It also included a pledge to recover stolen public funds.

After Prime Minister Saad Hariri fast-tracked economic reforms, calls for his government’s resignation grew louder.

 

Diplomat directly tied Trump to a quid pro quo with Ukraine

The top U.S. envoy to Ukraine told House impeachment investigators that Donald Trump sought to withhold critical military aid to Ukraine and refuse a White House meeting with the country’s president unless he pursued politically motivated investigations into Trump’s rivals.

In his opening statement, Taylor said Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told him that “everything”, including military assistance to Ukraine and a meeting between Trump and the Ukrainian leader, was contingent on the Ukrainians publicly announcing investigations into Trump’s political opponents. 

 

Facebook removed four state-backed disinformation campaigns from Russia and Iran

Facebook said that it had recently found and removed four state-backed disinformation campaigns. Three of the disinformation campaigns originated in Iran and one in Russia, Facebook said, with state-backed actors disguised as genuine users. The campaigns were aimed at people in North Africa, Latin America, and the United States, the company said.

Elizabeth Warren, a front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, recently accused Facebook of being a “disinformation-for-profit machine” because it allowed false information from political leaders to circulate under its free-speech stance. The Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department are investigating Facebook’s market power and history of technology acquisitions.

The company has embarked on closer, information-sharing partnerships with other tech companies like Twitter, Google, and Microsoft. Since 2016, Facebook has strengthened its relationships with government agencies, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and those in other countries outside the United States. 

 

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