The latest on Brittney Griner’s release from Russian prison; more TikTok bans surface and crazy cats of Qatar take center stage. These stories and more highlight the midday rundown for Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022.
Brittney Griner free after U.S. – Russia prisoner swap
“She’s safe, she’s on a plane, she’s on her way home after being wrongfully detained by Russia, held under intolerable circumstances. Brittney will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones and she should’ve been there all along,” said President Biden on Thursday morning.
President Biden announcing Griner’s return to freedom today. The prisoner swap being one of the most high-profile given Griner’s popularity as a professional basketball player. Her release came at a cost.
Notorious Russian arms dealer, Viktor Bout, has been released from federal prison in return. And American Marine Paul Whelan, once again left out of negotiations, for the second time this year.
Griner’s wife, Cherelle, gave thanks to the administration for their work in the prisoner swap. She also promised not to forget the others left behind.
“BG and I will remain committed to getting every American home, including Paul, whose family is in our hearts today as we celebrate BG being home. We do understand there are still people out here enduring what I’ve endured the past nine months, of missing tremendously their loved one,” said Cherelle Griner.
More TikTok bans
Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, is the latest to issue a ban on TikTok. Employees for state agencies will not be allowed to download or access the app on any government issued devices. The app is now banned from state networks in five states and faces a lawsuit in another. They all cite security concerns.
Concerns over TikTok aren’t just being expressed at the state level. FBI Director Christopher Wray has also called the app a national security threat. He says the agency is looking into how to address it.
“We, the FBI, do have national security concerns about the TikTok app. Its parent company is controlled by the Chinese government, and it gives them the potential to leverage the app in ways that I think should concern us,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Google is to delete inaccurate search information
In Europe, if a person searches their name in Google and the results produce content that is inaccurate about them, they can now tell Google to remove it.
How much say a person has in removing their digital traces has long been a tug-of-war between free speech and right to privacy. Now, The European Union court has decided Google will have to listen to its users if they complain there is false information linked to their name.
Some economists say the U.S. is in a housing recession
Some economists are no longer saying a housing recession is coming, but rather we are already in one. Interest rates on a mortgage have seen 50-year highs. Starting the year around 3% and jumping as high as 7%. That’s a difference of about $1,000 a month in mortgage on a mid-priced home.
The Housing Market Index has been on a decline for 11 months straight.
Cat-ar World Cup features felines on field
Apparently people aren’t the only ones loving all the action at the World Cup. Cats wanted to get as up-close-and-personal as they possibly could, taking center stage at press conferences, and thinking they have VIP access on the playing fields.
England’s team even named one of the stray cats “Dave” and called it their good luck charm. One of the players says he would adopt the cat if they can win the tournament.
Stray cats are commonly found on the streets of Qatar.