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    (CNN)Two Americans who had been held by Russian-backed forces for more than three months were back on US soil Friday afternoon. Americans Alexander John-Robert Drueke and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh arrived in New York City after they were released earlier this week in a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine that was brokered by Saudi Arabia. Their families said they believe the men are in good health. "We know that they are speaking, they are breathing, they are ambulatory, and they sound like themselves," Darla Black, the mother of Huynh's fiancée, told CNN on Friday.The two men were captured in June while fighting for Ukraine in a battle near Kharkiv. Their pro-Russian captors, the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), is a Russian-backed, self-declared republic that has governed a breakaway portion of Ukraine's Donetsk region since 2014. Drueke's and Huynh's families, CNN previously reported, had not spoken to the Alabama men during their months-long imprisonment until they got unexpected phone calls from the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. Read More"I have your son standing right next to me," Bunny...
    Cherry Hill, NJ (CNN)High school English teacher Larry Abrams has always considered himself a bookworm. Growing up, he loved visiting used bookstores and reading books that others had enjoyed before him. "I certainly like the transformative experience of reading, of going into other worlds, experiencing other cultures," Abrams said. Abrams started his teaching career in an affluent suburb outside of Philadelphia before moving to a high school in the under-resourced community of Lindenwold, New Jersey."I'd heard of food deserts, but I'd never heard of book deserts. And it occurred to me that I teach in a book desert," Abrams said. "Many of the kids in school simply struggle with reading. In my ninth-grade class it's very typical to have kids reading at a fifth-grade reading level. And if you're struggling with reading, you're going to be struggling with writing."In 2017, when one of his high school seniors told him she wasn't reading to her 2-year-old daughter, Abrams sprung into action. He put out a call to friends and family asking for gently used children's books, and in no time, he...
    A Pennsylvania woman visiting South Carolina was attacked by a shark on Monday, August 15, according to multimedia outlets. Karren Sites of Pittsburgh was wading in waist-height water in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with her 8-year-old grandson Brian when “I felt something bite me. I looked down and there was a shark on my arm,” Karen Sites told multiple media outlets via CNN Newsource.  “I couldn’t even see the shark coming up; it jumped up,” Brian Sites said. “I saw the movement of its tail and then it went back into the water.” Karren Sites was badly bitten on her right arm, requiring surgery and over 100 stitches, Fox23 reports.  She does not plan to lets this attack deter her from getting back in the water – she just needs to heal and get the all-clear from her doctors, she explained to CNN Newsource. Her grandson isn't so ready to make a splash, "I'll sit on the sand, but I ain't going in the water." The Myrtle Beach Police Department told WPDE that Sites was just one of two people who were...
    CNN reported on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman‘s (MBS) side of the confrontation with President Joe Biden over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. President Biden took questions from reporters Friday after he described what happened during his meeting with MBS and other leaders after reporters were led away. The president told reporters that he raised the issue of Khashoggi, whose murder is believed to have been ordered by MBS, and said he stood by his views on the subject. He also said that MBS denied responsibility. In a report authored by Phil Mattingly, Allie Malloy, Tamara Qiblawi, and Celine Alkhaldi entitled “MBS hits back at Biden after the President confronts Saudi prince about Khashoggi,” a “source familiar with the matter” described the “hitting back”: Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, hit back at Joe Biden after the US President confronted him about the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a meeting between the two leaders on Friday, according to a source familiar with the matter. In the meeting, Bin Salman, also known as MBS, denied responsibility for the...
    Hong Kong (CNN)Chinese authorities on Sunday violently dispersed a peaceful protest by hundreds of depositors, who sought in vain to demand their life savings back from banks that have run into a deepening cash crisis.Since April, four rural banks in China's central Henan province have frozen millions of dollars worth of deposits, threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of customers in an economy already battered by draconian Covid lockdowns.Anguished depositors have staged several demonstrations in the city of Zhengzhou, the provincial capital of Henan, over the past two months, but their demands have invariably fallen on deaf ears.On Sunday, more than 1,000 depositors from across China gathered outside the Zhengzhou branch of the country's central bank, the People's Bank of China, to launch their largest protest yet, more than half a dozen protesters told CNN.The demonstration is among the largest China has seen since the pandemic, with domestic travel limited by various Covid restrictions on movement. Last month, Zhengzhou authorities even resorted to tampering with the country's digital Covid health-code system to restrict the movements of depositors and thwart...
    Birx was hammered by criticism on the right for being supportive of the pandemic lockdown measures, but she was also heavily criticized on the left for not standing up to the former president as they had hoped she would. "In private meetings, more than I can count, Dr. Birx gracefully & respectfully pushed back on the former President when it was needed more than any other Doctor I worked with. To portray her as someone afraid to push back & speak up is to not know Deborah Birx," she added. "We can be extremely reductive in how we view public figures. To chalk up Deborah Birx's entire career into a few bad moments, while under immense pressure - misses decades of service. For example, Birx arguably did more than any living person to combat AIDS & HIV," said Griffin in her final tweet. "I admire her," she concluded. Griffin resigned from her position under Trump in Jan. 2020 and has become a CNN contributor where she often criticizes the former president. She...
    (CNN)Safi Rauf, an Afghan American naval reservist who was recently released from captivity under the Taliban, recounted his detainment on Wednesday and what it's like to finally return home."It's an incredible feeling. It hasn't settled in yet," he told CNN's Jake Tapper in an exclusive interview on "The Lead," his first since being released. "I hope one day I'm sitting on my couch just watching television and finally I can realize that I'm back, and I'm back in my home." The Biden administration on Friday had secured the release of Rauf, 27, who was doing humanitarian work in Kabul. He, along with his brother Anees Khalil, had been taken into custody by the Taliban in December and freed after more than 100 days of intense negotiations.Rauf and his brothers, all former Afghan refugees, founded the Human First Coalition, which worked to evacuate those trying to flee after Kabul fell. Exclusive: Biden administration secures release of Afghan-American Naval reservist who was held by TalibanRauf told Tapper that the "most difficult part" of his detainment was isolation and not being able to...
    (CNN)Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is casting skepticism in conversations with senators that the Build Back Better bill can pass the Senate this year, potentially delivering a blow to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's push to get the bill approved by Christmas, according to two sources familiar with the West Virginia senator's remarks.Manchin still has a number of concerns, namely that budget gimmicks hide the true cost of the bill, and he's pushing to ensure it costs no more than $1.75 trillion. But he also is seeking to pare down the bill, which passed the House last month, in a number of other areas -- including paid family leave, a methane fee on emissions from energy producers and a Medicare expansion to cover hearing costs. And he's seeking changes to some of the provisions in the tax title of the bill, one of the sources said. All of that means major changes would need to be made to the bill, followed by a full cost analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, and a review by the Senate parliamentarian, which is raising...
    (CNN)A former girlfriend of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook has accused him of assault, battery and false imprisonment related to an altercation that allegedly occurred at his Minnesota home nearly a year ago, to which Cook claimed on Wednesday he was the one who was assaulted.Cook's former girlfriend, Gracelyn Trimble, accuses him of intentionally striking her multiple times in November 2020, which caused her "pain and suffering, mental anguish, humiliation, and injuries which include a concussion, lacerations, bruising, and scarring," according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday. Trimble, who is a US Army Sergeant First Class living in Texas, flew to Minnesota to retrieve her belongings from his residence after "learning of further infidelity in Cook's part," the lawsuit filed in Dakota County District Court in Minnesota says. She entered through Cook's garage and grabbed mace she stored there "to defend herself as she feared what Cook may do" as she packed her items up, the lawsuit states. Trimble went to the living room where Cook and two other people were and asked Cook to help her get her belongings."Cook...
    (CNN)Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whom Donald Trump-era Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired hours before his retirement as the then-President's political furor toward him grew, has settled a lawsuit with the Justice Department, allowing him to officially retire, recoup hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and his pension.McCabe is a CNN law enforcement analyst.The New York Times first reported the settlement.This story is breaking and will be updated.
    (CNN)A southern Pennsylvania school board has reversed its decision to ban anti-racism books and resources.The Central York school board unanimously approved the reinstatement of a list of anti-racism books and resources, effective immediately, spokeswoman Julie Randall Romig confirmed to CNN.The reversal comes a week after a student protest and a heated virtual school board meeting about the "diversity resource list" that was banned from the curriculum by the board last year.  Last year, the all-White school board unanimously banned a list of educational resources that included a children's book about Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai's autobiography, and CNN's Sesame Street town hall on racism.School officials had said that the materials had not been banned, but were "frozen" while the board vetted them. But that process took nearly a year. Students fight back against a book ban that has a Pennsylvania community dividedRead MoreThe York school student group, which says it champions diversity education for all children, said they were surprised by the board's decision."The reversal of this ban was surprising but not surprising in a way most think," the Panther Anti-Racist Union (PARU) Executive Board said in a statement. "We...
    Silver Lake, Oregon (CNN)When crews battling the massive Bootleg Fire saw wind-driven flames race across the treetops, they had one option: retreat."We had a running crown fire, which means that the fire has reached the top of the trees and being pushed by the wind" moving at 30 mph, firefighter Eric West told CNN. "We all had to use our escape routes and pull back to a safety zone."Hundreds are still under evacuation orders as the nations largest wildfire chars more than 400,000 acresWest and other firefighters spoke with a CNN crew in southern Oregon on Thursday about the hazards of battling the Bootleg Fire, which has consumed more than 400,000 acres and turned into the nation's largest active blaze since starting July 6. The wildfire's growth slowed late this week, due partly to a change in humidity and lighter winds, and it was 40% contained Friday morning, according to InciWeb, a US clearinghouse for wildfire information. But dry timber and grass should fuel the fire for some time yet, and firefighters won't relish what could come when gusts pick...
    More On: cnn Jeffrey Toobin back on CNN after masturbating during work Zoom call Barack Obama talks race, says ‘siloing’ of media stokes US divisions CNN’s top media host roasted for ‘sycophantic’ interview with Biden press chief Energy secretary says enemies are capable of shutting down US power grid Jeffrey Toobin’s less-than-triumphant return to the CNN airwaves this week after a months-long leave of absence due to a Zoom masturbation scandal was greeted with shock, anger and disgust by observers. Toobin, CNN’s longtime chief legal analyst, sheepishly apologized Thursday for the October incident that led to his firing from The New Yorker and his disappearance from the cable network in an cringeworthy segment with anchor Alisyn Camerota. “I am a flawed human being that makes mistakes … It was wrong, it was stupid and I’m trying to be a better person,” Toobin said at one point. Many critics expressed doubt that the network would give a similar second chance to a conservative contributor or female employee caught doing what Toobin did. “It says a lot about the...
    Tammy Bruce aired a montage of callers roasting CNN’s Brian Stelter during his Thursday appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, as he was attempting to promote the paperback version of his book attacking Fox News, Hoax. Fighting fire with fire? The first caller came with a request, saying, “I’d like to ask Brian to—on national television—admit he and his network are a bunch of liars about Donald Trump.” The second caller — identified as a Kevin from Indiana — weighed in on the quality of Stelter’s reporting. “Mr. Stelter is the biggest minister of misinformation I have ever heard and I’m a news junkie,” Kevin said. “He made the statement just a few minutes ago that the stories are ‘always evolving’ —  yeah, his stories absolutely ‘evolve.'” “Thank you for the feedback, I appreciate it,” Stelter politely replied. Another caller from Indiana referenced Stelter’s past admiration of Michael Avenatti, the disgraced anti-Trump attorney convicted of felony extortion in a case involving Nike, the sports apparel company. “One of the reasons why I’m taking you seriously as a [2020 presidential] contender is because of your presence...
    PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday that he expects a decision to be made about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine by Friday, predicting the vaccine would come back on the market with restrictions or warnings. “I don’t want to get ahead of the CDC and the FDA and the advisory committee, but I would imagine that what we will say is: that it would come back and it would come back in some sort of either warning or restriction,” he told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.” READ MORE: Teens Age 15, 16, Charged In Series Of Violent Carjackings In Delaware The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss recommendations for the J&J vaccine. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration recommended pausing the use of the J&J COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday over six reported cases of “a rare and severe type of blood clot” reported in the US. However,...
    Horrific video footage has emerged appearing to show members of the Ethiopian military carrying out a massacre in which at least 15 unarmed men were rounded up and shot in the back of the head in the war-torn region of Tigray.  Their dead bodies can be seen strewn across the mountainous terrain while the perpetrators shoot at them again to make sure there are no survivors. The victims are then picked up and flung off the side of a ridge near the town of Mahibere Dego, northern Tigray region, it is claimed.  Evidence has emerged that the killers were wearing Ethiopian army uniforms when the senseless murders occurred, according to investigations by BBC Africa Eye and CNN.    At the beginning of the video, dozens of unarmed men are sat in rows whilst surrounded by the soldiers. BBC Privacy Policy At the beginning of the video, dozens of unarmed men are sat in rows whilst surrounded by the soldiers Evidence has emerged that the killers were wearing Ethiopian army uniforms when the senseless murders occurred, according to investigations...
     CNN’s Chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta claimed that President Donald Trump will go back to being “another crackpot on the Internet” after inevitably leaving the White House. Acosta shared his thoughts on Anderson Cooper 360 on Friday night, hours after Trump held a press conference in which he still refused to concede.  3CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta shared his thoughts with host Anderson Cooper Host Anderson Cooper said it was Trump’s first appearance in more than a week and that “his loss is further solidified” as his team’s “legal battles are falling apart.” Cooper then asked Acosta, “When is the inevitable going to happen?” Acosta, who has sparred with Trump on multiple occasions over the past four years, said Trump “was pretending in his Rose Garden press conference as if there’s some sort of way for him to get back to the White House come January 20th—that’s not going to happen.” “He was even talking about at some point about how he’s not going to let this country going into a lockdown, but then proceeded to talk about...
    New York (CNN Business)Amazon has pulled merchandise featuring the words "stand back" and "stand by," a phrase now associated with the Proud Boys, a far-right collective that the Southern Poverty Law Center says is a hate group. "All sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who do not will be subject to action including potential removal of their account," an Amazon (AMZN) spokesperson told CNN Business, adding that the products have been removed.A CNN journalist noticed merchandise with the Proud Boys logo and those words "stand back" and "stand by" being sold on Amazon. Proud Boy merch featuring the "Stand Back - Stand By" verbiage is now available on @amazon ....naturally. pic.twitter.com/2p1seB8cTG— Konstantin Toropin (@KToropin) September 30, 2020 The words were said by President Donald Trump at Tuesday's debate when he refused to condemn White supremacists for inciting violence at anti-police brutality demonstrations across the country. "Who would you like me to condemn?" Trump asked by moderator Chris Wallace. Joe Biden, Democratic nominee, could be heard twice saying, "Proud Boys."Read MoreTrump continued: "Proud Boys -- stand back and stand...
    CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta raised eyebrows on Friday over his reporting citing a "source" who said that "80 to 90 percent" of the nearly 200,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. could have been saved by the Trump administration if it implemented a newly uncovered mask distribution plan that was apparently scrapped. The Washington Post reported about a document from the U.S. Postal Service saying it had a partnership with the White House to distribute 650 million masks to Americans nationwide back in April, which was ultimately not executed. One administration official reportedly told the Post, "There was concern from some in the White House Domestic Policy Council and the office of the vice president that households receiving masks might create concern or panic." However, according to Gupta, tens of thousands of Americans would be alive today if the White House didn't nix this mask distribution plan, which would have reportedly sent five masks to every household. CNN EDITOR DELETES CORONAVIRUS TWEET AFTER BEING FACT-CHECKED BY ALEX BERENSON, OTHER CRITICS "You know, a source told me last night that there...
    Getty Gretchen Goldman, a scientist, was interviewed on CNN on Wednesday. Since she's working remotely with two young kids in tow, she did her best to set up a professional shot for the segment. After it aired, Goldman shared a photo of the messy room to make a point about how much working mothers are suffering. "We are all really struggling now, and parents have really been put in an impossible situation," Goldman told Insider. Sign up for our new parenting newsletter Insider Parenting here.. On Wednesday, Gretchen Goldman got a familiar call. She had 45 minutes to prepare for an interview with CNN regarding the Trump administration's appointment of a climate science denier to a top federal agency.  Pre-pandemic, this would've been simple for Goldman, a scientist and research director at the Center for Science and Democracy, who focuses on making esoteric scientific information digestible for the general public.  But while she's caring for her four- and two-year-olds at home, quickly organizing talking points, and looking for a clean, well-lit and quiet part of the house,...
    London (CNN Business)Citibank has a big problem: It mistakenly wired roughly $175 million to Brigade Capital Management, and the hedge fund hasn't returned the money.The US banking giant filed a lawsuit Monday in the Southern District of New York, seeking the return of funds that it said were transferred in an "operational mistake."An alarming number of people are complaining about their Citi credit card accountsCitibank (C) said in court documents that it meant to send Brigade Capital around $1.5 million in interest payments on a loan the hedge fund made to troubled cosmetics company Revlon (REV). Instead, it wired roughly 100 times that amount of its own funds to the hedge fund. Other Revlon creditors also received erroneous payments adding up to $900 million. Citibank, which acts as an administrative agent on the Revlon loan, alleges in court documents that Brigade Capital is refusing to return the money. "Brigade has taken the baseless position that Citibank's overpayment ... served to pay off Revlon's entire principal balance as well," the bank wrote in its complaint. To support that allegation, the bank...
    President Trump told CNN reporter Jim Acosta to "hold it" on Monday when the latter asked him about the coronavirus death rate in the U.S. as it compared to other nations. "The U.S. has so many deaths compared to so many countries around the world," Acosta said. Trump, in a reprise of his long-running criticism of the network, responded: "Fake News CNN, hold it." CORONAVIRUS DEATHS IN IRAN THREE TIMES THE OFFICIAL NUMBERS, LEAKED REPORT CLAIMS "We have done a great job in this country. We haven't been given -- and not me, I’m not talking about me," the president said. "The vice president, the task force, have not been given the kind of credit. If you look at countries all over the world are exploding right now -- people that you said were doing a wonderful job, so wonderful, but right now, take a look at the countries that are exploding. "You have Italy back, you have Spain back, you have France back, you have Germany back, you have a lot of countries -- and that’s not to knock them," Trump added. "It is a very delicate, very contagious disease. It was released by China. It should...
    In one of Georgia's counties hardest-hit by the coronavirus, parents are protesting for their children to return to classes for the upcoming semester. "The virus is not going away, we know it's not going away. We have to enforce some sort of normal," one Gwinnett County parent, Joanne Bayouk, told CNN in an article published Friday. "And though our normal is going to change, our kids need to go back." According to Georgia's Department of Public Health, Gwinnet County has recorded 14,442 COVID-19 cases. Across the state, the department has listed over 156,500 cases and 209 deaths related to the virus. Gwinnett County Public Schools announced Monday that classes would resume this year with online-only sessions, prompting hundreds of parents to join a private Facebook group to protest the new rules. Kelly Willyard, the group's organizer, said it grew from 255 members on the first day to nearly 1,400 people by the second. "As far as ideal an outcome now, it is going back to the two solutions, giving us the choice for digital and open schools," said parent Sheri Mitchell. Concerned parents gathered...
    (CNN)Americans appear to have squandered their ability to flatten the Covid curve, and now the economy, which Republicans and Democrats came together to save with trillions in taxpayer dollars over the spring, is again on the brink.Plans to reopen states are on ice.Plans to reopen schools are being walked back.But finding bipartisan agreement on a new round of stimulus is proving much more difficult.The problemRead MoreNew jobless claims rose 1.4 million this past week, the first increase in 16 weeks. That suggests the burst of economic activity that accompanied the spring fling is over. (The scale of these figures -- millions of people each week! -- has started to feel normal. It's crazy.) Read this from CNN's Anneken Tappe and Tami Luhby:A resurgence in infections and a rollback of reopening plans in several states is making it difficult for people to re-enter the labor force following the pandemic lockdown -- and it could derail the vulnerable US economic recovery.Now consider that the additional $600 per week Congress allotted starting in March to the Covid unemployed expires this week. Read it...
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