Today’s edition of quick hits.
* On her way home: “WNBA star Brittney Griner is free Thursday after the Biden administration negotiated her release from a Russian penal colony in exchange for an arms dealer, according to a senior administration official. President Joe Biden signed off on the trade, which took place in the United Arab Emirates, even though it meant leaving behind Paul Whelan, an American corporate security executive who remains jailed in Russia.”
* An extraordinary turn of events in Peru: “Peru’s stunning political crisis ground forward Thursday, as former President Pedro Castillo appeared in court following a failed attempt to close a hostile congress and his successor looked for ways to unite the country behind institutions gutted by endemic corruption and mistrust.”
* He should feel free to walk away anytime: “Russian President Vladimir Putin acknowledged Wednesday that his ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine is taking longer than expected but said it has succeeded in seizing new territory and added that his country’s nuclear weapons are deterring escalation of the conflict.”
* Iran’s execution: “Iran said Thursday it had executed a person arrested over the monthslong protests gripping the country, the first known death penalty carried out related to the unrest. ... Mohsen Shekari was one of 11 people known to have been sentenced to death in relation to the protests, which have posed the biggest challenge to the Islamic Republic’s ruling clerical establishment since it came to power in a 1979 revolution.”
* Afghanistan’s execution: “The Taliban authorities on Wednesday executed an Afghan convicted of killing another man, the first public execution since the former insurgents took over Afghanistan last year, a spokesman said.”
* Quite a shift: “Gasoline prices are now cheaper across the U.S. than they were a year ago, and the price per gallon could fall below $3 for most Americans by the end of the year.”
* The Speak Out Act is now law: “President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed legislation curbing the use of confidentiality agreements that block victims of sexual harassment from speaking publicly about misconduct in the workplace.”
* He is, of course, entirely right: “Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s top infectious disease expert and a chief proponent of Covid vaccines, sharply criticized the “extreme” ideological divide that he said has led to a disproportionate number of coronavirus deaths among Republicans compared to Democrats.”
* More suspected corruption in Florida:” The Florida legislator who sponsored legislation critics dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill was accused of illegally obtaining tens of thousands of dollars in Covid-relief funds, authorities said Wednesday. Joseph Harding, 35, was indicted on six counts of wire fraud, money laundering, making false statements and other crimes, the U.S. attorney’s office for Northern Florida said in a release.”
* Oh my: “Sean Spicer, Donald Trump’s first White House press secretary, marked the 81st anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Wednesday by mistakenly honoring D-Day. ‘Today is Dday,’ Spicer wrote on Twitter. ‘It only lives in infamy if we remember and share the story of sacrifice with the next generation #DDay.’”
See you tomorrow.