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News Brief: March 24 – March 31


Russia’s Exodus from Putin’s War

Putin’s conflict with Ukraine has led to many Russian citizens looking for a way out, according to a CNN article.

“Russians’ interest in the topic of ‘emigration’ on Google quadrupled between mid-February and early March,” CNN said. “Searches around ‘travel visa’ have almost doubled, and for a Russian equivalent of “political asylum” they jumped more than five-fold.”

The reasons for departure include: police arresting activists, illegalizing the word ‘war’ and legislation sending people to prison for 15 years for spreading information the government said was false.

Putin has called these actions a “necessary purification of society.”

Australia, Turkey and Israel are currently among the top destinations for Russians fleeing the country.

UN Creates Panel to Enforce Climate Action

The head of the United Nations has assembled a 16-member panel of experts to determine if companies’ climate-oriented pledges are credible or “greenwashing.”

“Governments have the lion’s share of responsibility to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “But we also urgently need every business, investor, city, state and region to walk the talk on their net-zero promises.”

Panel members include Bill Hare, an Australian climate scientist; Malango Mughogho, a South Africa-based sustainable finance expert; Zhou Xiachuan, the former governor of the People’s Bank of China, and more.

ABC News said the panel “will make recommendations before the end of the year on the standards and definitions for setting net-zero targets, how to measure and verify progress, and ways to translate that into international and national regulations.”

Read more here.


Biden to Release Historic Volume from Oil Reserves

United States President Joe Biden plans to release 180 million barrels of oil from reserves.

The U.S. uses an equivalent of 8.8 million barrels of gas per day, according to EIA, the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This release would add approximately 20.45 days worth of gas to the current market.

“White House officials said it would act as a “bridge” as U.S. and global oil production ramps back up after the coronavirus pandemic,” CNN wrote in their article. They also wrote that these steps “are an attempt to reduce gas prices while also putting an onus on oil companies to increase supply.”

“Your family budgets to fill a tank — none of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war,” Joe Biden said.

Bruce Willis May End Acting Career Following Aphasia Diagnosis

Bruce Willis may step away from acting after being recently diagnosed with aphasia. Willis’s career earned him 145 credits across movies and tv shows as well as three Emmy awards.

Aphasia is a disorder that affects the brain’s language center and a person’s ability to understand or express speech.

According to the National Institute of Health, Aphasia can result from a stroke, a head injury, a brain tumor, or a progressive neurological disease.

It is unknown what health issues Bruce Willis may or may not have had prior to this news.

Arizona Governor Signs Anti-Abortion, Anti-transgender Bills into Law

On Wednesday, March 30, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed into law new bills impeding abortion access and transgender rights within the state.

The bills outlaw abortions conducted after 15 weeks of pregnancy, prohibit youth from receiving gender reassignment surgery and ban transgender girls from competing in school sports.

Ducey said the limits the legislation places on transgender people are “common sense.”

President Joe Biden said otherwise in a written proclamation addressing the recent rise in similar legislation, stating that such bills undermine transgender persons’ humanity and “corrode our Nation’s values.”

A Mississippi abortion law similar to Arizona’s is under review at the Supreme Court.


Death Row Inmate Marries Anti-Death Penalty Advocate

This week, Lea Rodger, an anti-death penalty advocate, married Richard Glossip, an inmate who has faced execution multiple times.

In 2015, his execution was delayed three times for the courts to examine new evidence and, when it was finally time, a drug mixup in the execution’s cocktail put things on hold once more.

“One thing he’s really taken away is: Don’t take anything for granted … really live in the moment,” Rodger told The Associated Press before they wed on Tuesday, March 29.

Though uncommon, marrying death row inmates is not unheard of. Ted Bundy, among others, wed while awaiting execution.

“Marriage is among the fundamental personal rights that prisoners retain,” Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said.

Read more here.

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