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Treasury sanctions 7 Iranian leaders over violence against protestors, internet shutdown

Treasury sanctions 7 Iranian leaders

The U.S. Department of the Treasury (DOT) sanctioned seven Iranian government and security leaders on Thursday for their suppression of women’s rights protests using violence and censorship.

The figures sanctioned by the DOT’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) are attempting to squash demonstrations sparked by the arrest of Mahsa Amini by Iran’s Morality Police.

Amini was “severely beaten” and then died while in custody for wearing her hijab improperly. Iranian women are required by Islamic law to cover their heads, necks and hair using a hijab.

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Proud Boys leader pleads guilty to seditious conspiracy over Jan. 6 actions

Proud Boys leader pleads guilty to sedition charges

A lieutenant of longtime former Proud Boys chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio became the group’s first member to plead guilty to seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot on Thursday, deepening the government’s case against an organization accused of mobilizing violence to prevent the inauguration of Joe Biden.

Jeremy Bertino, 43, of Belmont, N.C., becomes a potential key witness for the Justice Department against Tarrio and four other Proud Boys leaders, some of whom had ties to influential supporters of President Donald Trump. The five Proud Boys defendants are set to face trial in December on charges including plotting to oppose by force the presidential transition, culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack at the Capitol.

At a hearing before U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly in Washington, Bertino pleaded guilty to that count and to one count of illegal possession of firearms as a formerly convicted felon, punishable by 51 to 63 months in prison at sentencing under advisory federal guidelines, prosecutors said.

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Russian rockets slam into Ukrainian city near nuclear plant

Russian rockets slam into Ukrainian citySeven Russian rockets slammed into residential buildings in Zaporizhzhia before dawn Thursday, killing two people and trapping at least five in the city close to Europe's biggest nuclear power plant, the governor of the mostly Russian-occupied region said.

The strikes came just hours after Ukraine's president announced that the country's military had retaken three more villages in one of the regions illegally annexed by Russia.

Governor Oleksandr Starukh wrote on his Telegram channel that many people were rescued from the multi-story buildings, including a 3-year-old girl who was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Zaporizhzhia is one of four regions that Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed in violation of international laws on Wednesday, and is home to a nuclear plant that is under Russian occupation. The city of the same name remains under Ukrainian control.

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Biden to pardon all federal offenses of simple marijuana possession

Marijuana possession

President Biden will pardon everyone who has been convicted of simple possession of marijuana under federal law, the White House announced Thursday.

“There are thousands of people who have prior federal convictions for marijuana possession, who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result.  My action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions,” Biden said in a statement.

The pardons will also include people who have been convicted of simple possession in the District of Columbia.

The announcement represents the most significant action on marijuana the Biden administration has taken to date — and a major step towards decriminalization.

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French writer Annie Ernaux wins the 2022 Nobel Prize in literature

Annie Emaux

The French writer Annie Ernaux has been awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in literature. The 82-year-old writer is known for works that blur the line between memoir and fiction.

In making the announcement, the committee noted the "clinical acuity with which she uncovers the roots, estrangements and collective restraints of personal memory." The permanent secretary also noted during his announcement that they had not been able to reach Ernaux to let her know of the award, worth approximately $900,000 in U.S. dollars.

Ernaux was born in 1940 in France. Her first book, Cleaned Out, in 1974, was an autobiographical novel about obtaining an abortion when it was still illegal in France. She wrote the book in secret. "My husband had made fun of me after my first manuscript," she told the New York Times in 2020. "I pretended to work on a Ph.D. thesis to have time alone."

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Peloton to cut 12% of workforce in fourth round of layoffs this year

Peloton to cut 12% of workforce

Peloton is planning to cut about 12% of its workforce in its fourth round of layoffs so far this year, the company announced on Thursday.

The 500 job cuts will leave the maker of high-end exercise-equipment plans with roughly 3,800 employees globally, less than half the number of people the company employed at its peak last year.

“A key aspect of Peloton’s transformation journey is optimizing efficiencies and implementing cost savings to simplify our business and achieve break-even cash flow by the end of our fiscal year,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Peloton has been attempting to adjust its business to the current market after experiencing incredible sales growth during the height of the pandemic.

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Ukraine reworks its weapons wish list as winter approaches

Ukraine reworks its weapons wishes

As Ukrainian forces mow through cities once held by Russia, Kyiv is reworking its weapons wish list from Western countries while troops prepare to dig in for bitter winter fighting.

At the top of their list is new air defenses, due to fears that Vladimir Putin will step up missile attacks on civilian targets as his front lines collapse.

“Ukraine has been able to prevent most Russian attacks, but we may expect increased Russian missile attacks against critical Ukrainian infrastructure” in the coming weeks, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former NATO chief, said in an interview.

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Ex-top Justice Dept officials testimony sought in ethics hearing of Trump ally Clark

Former Justice Dept. officials testimony sought in Clark hearingThe top two U.S. Justice Department officials in the waning days of Donald Trump's presidency will be asked to testify publicly in a legal disciplinary hearing against their former colleague Jeffrey Bossert Clark, who allegedly tried to help Trump overturn his election loss.

Hamilton "Phil" Fox, the head of the D.C. bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel, disclosed his plans to call former Acting Attorney General Jeff Rosen and former Acting Deputy Attorney General Rich Donoghue as witnesses during a D.C. bar ethics committee hearing on Thursday.

Clark, who is also facing a parallel federal investigation into his conduct, is accused of attempting to "engage in conduct involving dishonesty" and attempting actions "that would seriously interfere with the administration of justice," according to the charging document filed by Fox's office.

He has denied wrongdoing, citing 54 different defenses, some of which also claim that the D.C. Bar lacks jurisdiction to bring the case against him.

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U.S. judge temporarily blocks parts of New York's new gun law

Gun Free Zone sign posted by NYPDA federal judge in New York on Thursday temporarily blocked parts of the state's new gun law to allow the Gun Owners of America, an advocacy group, to pursue a lawsuit challenging the legislation.

The law came into effect on Sept. 1, creating new requirements for obtaining a license, including submitting social media accounts for review, and creating a long list of public and private places where having a gun became a felony crime, even for license holders.

Lawmakers in New York's Democratic-controlled legislature had passed the law during an emergency session in July after the U.S. Supreme Court found the state's licensing regime for firearms to be unconstitutional following a challenge by the New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association, a powerful gun-owners' rights group.

Chief Judge Glenn Suddaby of the U.S. District Court in Syracuse agreed to issue the order at the request of six New York residents who are members of Gun Owners of America, which competes with the National Rifle Association in political influence.

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