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News Brief March 4-8


The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned 11 Zimbabwe government officials as a result of their involvement in corruption and/or serious human rights abuse.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa and first lady Auxillia were included in the sanction. The U.S. will seize assets owned by any of the 11 individuals named in the sanction and prohibit transactions between these individuals and the U.S. 

The OFAC press release documents the corrupt business dealings occurring amongst the government officials, including President Mnangagwa’s involvement in smuggling. 

Human Rights Watch has evidence of the human rights abuse cases in Zimbabwe ranging from violations of child labor laws to excessive force used against protestors. 

When this new sanction came into effect, the other sanctions against Zimbabwe were revoked. 

““The United States remains deeply concerned about democratic backsliding, human rights abuses, and government corruption in Zimbabwe,” Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said. “The changes we are making today are intended to make clear what has always been true: our sanctions are not intended to target the people of Zimbabwe. Today we are refocusing our sanctions on clear and specific targets: President Mnangagwa’s criminal network of government officials and businesspeople who are most responsible for corruption or human rights abuse against the people of Zimbabwe.” 


With spring break rapidly approaching, experts have compiled safety guidelines about hidden cameras in motels and AirBNBs. 

“Spring break travelers – who are typically college age and on a budget – seek out cheap Airbnbs and motels, which are more likely to unknowingly spy on their guests with illegally concealed cameras,” Michael Balboni, cyber security expert, said.

Tiny cameras can be hidden in a variety of average looking items in a hotel room. 

Balboni listed ways to screen a room:

  • Turn off all the lights and see if there’s light coming from an unexpected place
  • While the lights are off, scan the room with a flashlight and see if anything reflects
  • Listen for any strange buzzing sounds

He also recommends checking the mirror to see if it might be a two-way mirror. 

“If you knock on it, and you see it’s very dense, that’s likely a two-way mirror,” Balboni said.

If a camera is found, Balboni recommends calling law enforcement immediately and avoiding an altercation with the landlords. 


State Question 832 seeks to raise the minimum wage in Oklahoma from $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour by 2025 and then gradually increase it by $1.50 annually. This plan would reach its finality in 2029, setting the Oklahoma minimum wage at $15 an hour. 

The Supreme Court of Oklahoma has approved the question to move toward voters. Advocates of the question must seek 92,000 Oklahomans to sign a petition in favor of the question so it can move to the governor’s desk for an official voting date. 

“We believe it is important to put this on the ballot so that voters have the opportunity to decide this for themselves,” Amber England with the yes 832 campaign said. “At the end of the day, we are talking about people’s lives. Oklahomans who are just trying to get by, trying to figure out, ‘How am I going to feed my family with the rising cost of groceries? How am I going to pay my bills?'”

“We look forward to a vigorous campaign to educate Oklahomans about the disastrous policy that will crush working families through price increases on the heels of record inflation and put corner stores and family farms out of business,” State Chamber CEO and President Chad Warmington said in a statement.

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