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Griner Released In Exchange For Merchant Of Death
WNBA star Brittney Griner was freed from Russian captivity Thursday in a prisoner exchange for notorious Russian arms dealer and international criminal Viktor Bout, known as the “Merchant of Death.” Griner was arrested in February at a Moscow airport after being caught with marijuana vaping materials. She was sentenced in August to nine years in prison. U.S. diplomats had been working for her release since she was taken into custody. President Joe Biden addressed why other Americans, such as U.S. Marine Paul Whelan, were not a part of the swap.
“Sadly, for totally illegitimate reasons, Russia is treating Paul [Whelan]’s case differently than Brittney’s,” Biden said.
“We are not giving up. We will never give up,” he added.
New York Times Writers Striking
More than 1,000 union members at The New York Times walked off the job today in what is set to be a 24-hour strike — the first such union action in more than 40 years.
Union members are demanding improved wages, more favorable remote work policies, as well as an improved employee evaluation system, which they say currently allows for racial bias.
Nantucket Goes Topless
Topless sunbathing is now legal in Nantucket, Massachusetts; Attorney General Maura approved an amendment passed in May by the residents of Nantucket legalizing topless beaches for both men and women.
Oregon Judge Blocks Gun Control Bill
A state judge has stopped a new Oregon law from taking effect that would create new barriers to purchasing firearms and ban the sale of any magazine larger than a 10-bullet clip, arguing that it violates Oregon’s constitution.
Russian-backed Ukrainian Faces 30 Years In U.S. Prison
Andrii Derkach, a Russian-backed Ukrainian politician, faces up to 30 years in prison for fraudulently buying two properties in California in violation of U.S. sanctions. Derkach was charged with seven criminal counts in an indictment unsealed this week. Derkach was previously sanctioned for trying to influence the 2020 elections, law enforcement officials said in a press release.
Peru’s President Arrested
Peru’s socialist President Pedro Castillo was arrested Wednesday after being impeached and removed from office for staging a coup to stay in power. During his first 16 months in office, Castillo has faced six criminal investigations and three impeachment attempts, including the one that removed him from power this week.
Prosecutors Launch Investigation Into Crypto Creep CEO: Report
U.S. prosecutors have reportedly opened a criminal investigation into whether disgraced FTX founder and major Democrat donor Sam Bankman-Fried committed financial crimes that led to the collapse of the company last month.
Celine Dion Announces She Has Stiff-Person Syndrome
And, iconic singer Celine Dion revealed Thursday that she is suffering from a rare disease that prevents her from currently performing. The singer stated she has been diagnosed with stiff-person syndrome (SPS), a progressive disease that leaves its victims as “human statues” who struggle to walk or talk.
“Unfortunately, these spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to,” the singer said in a video posted to social media.
Celine Dion has been diagnosed with a neurological disorder that ultimately leaves sufferers as human statues as it progressively locks the body into rigid positions, leaving people unable to walk or talk. This is so sad 💔 pic.twitter.com/6oYqaQVS3k
— virgo’s grooviest. (@virgosgrooviest) December 8, 2022
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