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Blinken speaks with Paul Whelan: The Rundown Aug. 17, 2023

Aug 17, 2023

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Paul Whelan, and Starbucks was ordered to pay millions of dollars as part of a wrongful termination suit. These stories and more highlight The Rundown for Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023.

Blinken speaks to Paul Whelan by phone

Secretary of State Blinken has spoken by phone with Paul Whelan, the American who is being held in a remote prison camp in Russia. The U.S. government has deemed Whelan is being wrongfully detained after he was sentenced to 16 years on espionage charges he and the U.S. said were fabricated.

Sources told multiple news outlets that Blinken told Whelan the U.S. is doing everything it can to bring him home as soon possible. This is the second time Blinken has spoken to Whelan since he was jailed in 2018.

In addition to speaking with the secretary of state, sources said Whelan was able to call his parents. Blinken said earlier in 2023 that the U.S. had made a “serious proposal” for Whelan’s release, but Moscow has not engaged in any serious negotiations.

The U.S. was able to secure the release of two other wrongfully detained Americans, Trevor Reed in April and Brittney Griner in December, as part of separate prisoner swaps. In addition to Whelan, Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich also remains wrongfully detained in Russia.

Legal battle over Mifepristone headed to Supreme Court

The legal saga over the abortion pill Mifepristone expected to end at the Supreme Court. The latest ruling comes from a federal appeals court on Wednesday, Aug. 16.

The court wanted access to the pill to be limited after finding the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) overstepped its authority in three ways:

  • Allowing the drug to be taken late in pregnancy
  • Allowing the drug to be mailed directly to patients
  • Having medical professionals other than doctors prescribe the pill to women seeking abortions

While the ruling seeks to limit access to Mifepristone, availability will remain unchanged for now. The Justice Department says it will go back to the Supreme Court to appeal the latest ruling.

Fulton County DA recommends Trump trial begin day before Super Tuesday

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has put forward the date she would like to see former President Donald Trump’s trial in Georgia to begin. She recommended it start on March 4, 2024.

The date happens to be the day before Super Tuesday, when voters in more than a dozen states cast their ballots for the Republican presidential nomination. Former President Trump’s team has not commented on the proposed date.

The proposed start date will have to be signed off by a judge. Trump’s other state trial in New York begins March 25, 2024.

According to a recent Associated Press poll, Americans are divided in their opinions about Trump’s most recent indictment. About half of Americans believe Trump should be prosecuted. The poll was split along party lines.

Items seized during police raid of newspaper returned

A police raid conducted at a Kansas newspaper’s office and its publisher’s home gained national attention over whether the police search was an infringement on First Amendment rights. The items police took during the raid have been returned to the newspaper.

The search warrant was withdrawn after media across the country condemned the raid. The newspaper is sending the seized computers and reporters’ cell phones to a forensics lab to be examined in order to figure out what police did with the electronics.

The Marion County Record’s publisher has promised his paper will continue to operate despite the disruption. It published its first edition since the police raid with the front-page headline reading “Seized but not Silenced.”

“This is the way things go here too often and too often people are brought into silence and intimidated by reactions like this,” Marion County Record Publisher Eric Meyer said on Monday, Aug. 14.

Marion police have said the public doesn’t have all the facts to the story yet. According to police, the raid was related to an ongoing investigation into whether the paper illegally obtained and used personal information about a local business owner.

Starbucks ordered to pay $2.7 million more in wrongful termination suit

Starbucks has been ordered to pay an additional $2.7 million in wage loss damages as part of a wrongful termination suit. The latest ordered payment is in addition to the $25.6 million awarded to former regional director Shannon Phillips in June of 2023.

Phillips, who is white, sued her former employer saying that her race was a factor in Starbucks firing her after the controversial arrests of two black men at a Philadelphia location in 2018 sparked nationwide protests. The two men, who were waiting for a business meeting, were arrested after an employee called 911 saying they were trespassing due to them not ordering anything while inside the store.

Phillips, who worked for Starbucks for 13 years, said she was not at the store when the incident occurred. She was fired the following day.

Starbucks said there was no evidence of intentional discrimination. The two men arrested at the store reached a private settlement with Starbucks and the city.

Chick-fil-A unveils twist to Original Chicken Sandwich

After experimenting for more than a year, Chick-fil-A has created what it calls the first ever twist to its beloved Original Chicken Sandwich. It is called the Honey Pepper Pimento Chicken Sandwich.

The sandwich will feature a chicken filet topped with pimento cheese, pickled jalapenos and honey. The Honey Pepper Pimento Chicken Sandwich will be available at Chick-fil-A restaurants nationwide beginning Monday, Aug. 28.

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SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN SPEAKS BY PHONE WITH AMERICAN PAUL WHELAN WHO REMAINS JAILED IN RUSSIA
AND —
STARBUCKS IS ORDERED TO PAY MILLIONS OF DOLLARS MORE AS PART OF A WRONGFUL TERMINATION SUIT.
THE RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.
THIS IS STRAIGHT-ARROW NEWS.
BRINGING YOU UNBIASED, STRAIGHT FACTS.
TODAY IS THURSDAY– AUGUST 17TH.
THANKS FOR JOINING US.
I’M KARAH RUCKER.
SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN HAS SPOKEN BY PHONE WITH AMERICAN PAUL WHELAN, WHO IS BEING HELD IN A REMOTE PRISON CAMP IN RUSSIA.
THE US GOVERNMENT HAS DEEMED THAT WHELAN IS BEING WRONGFULLY DETAINED IN RUSSIA AFTER HE WAS SENTENCED TO 16 YEARS ON ESPIONAGE CHARGES THE HE AND THE US SAY WERE FABRICATED.
SOURCES TELL MULTIPLE NEWS OUTLETS THAT BLINKEN TOLD WHELAN THE US IS DOING EVERYTHING IT CAN DO TO BRING HIM HOME AS SOON POSSIBLE.
THIS IS THE SECOND TIME BLINKEN HAS SPOKEN TO WHELAN SINCE THE AMERICAN CITIZEN WAS JAILED BY MOSCOW IN 2018.
IN ADDITION TO SPEAKING WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE, SOURCES SAY WHELAN WAS ABLE TO CALL HIS PARENTS.
BLINKEN SAID EARLIER THIS YEAR THAT THE U.S. HAD MADE A QUOTE — “SERIOUS PROPOSAL” — FOR WHELAN’S RELEASE, BUT MOSCOW HAS NOT ENGAGED IN ANY SERIOUS NEGOTIATIONS.
THE U.S. WAS ABLE TO SECURE THE RELEASE OF TWO OTHER WRONGFULLY DETAINED AMERICANS, TREVOR REED IN APRIL AND BRITTNEY GRIER IN DECEMBER – AS PART OF SEPARATE PRISONER SWAPS.
ALONG WITH WHELAN — WALL STREET JOURNAL REPORTER EVAN GERSHKOVICH ALSO REMAINS JAILED IN RUSSIA. LIKE WHELAN, THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SAYS HIS ARREST WAS UNJUST.

THE LEGAL SAGA OVER THE ABORTION PILL MIFEPRISTONE CONTINUES —
NOW THE SUPREME COURT IS GUARANTEED TO HAVE THE FINAL SAY.
THE LATEST RULING COMING FROM A FEDERAL APPEALS COURT WEDNESDAY —
WANTING ACCESS TO THE PILL TO BE **LIMITED —
AFTER FINDING THE F-D-A OVERSTEPPED ITS AUTHORITY IN THREE WAYS —
BY ALLOWING THE DRUG TO BE TAKEN LATE IN PREGNANCY —
ALLOWING THE DRUG TO BE **MAILED DIRECTLY TO PATIENTS.
AND HAVING MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS OTHER THAN DOCTORS PRESCRIBE THE PILL TO WOMEN SEEKING ABORTIONS.
WHILE THE RULING SEEKS TO LIMIT ACCESS TO MIFEPRISTONE —
FOR NOW — ACCESS WILL REMAIN **UNCHANGED.
THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SAID IT WILL GO BACK TO THE SUPREME COURT TO APPEAL THIS LATEST RULING —
WHICH SETS THE HIGH COURT UP FOR A FINAL VOTE ON THE MATTER.

FULTON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY FANI WILLIS HAS PUT FORWARD THE DATE SHE WOULD LIKE TO SEE FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP’S TRIAL IN GEORGIA BEGIN —
RECOMMENDING DAY ONE OF THE ELECTION CASE BEGIN ON MARCH FOURTH.
WHICH ALSO HAPPENS TO BE THE DAY BEFORE “SUPER TUESDAY” —
WHEN VOTERS IN MORE THAN A DOZEN STATES CAST THEIR BALLOTS FOR THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION.
TRUMP’S TEAM HAS NOT COMMENTED ON THE PROPOSED DATE.
WHILE THE D-A HAS **RECOMMENDED A MARCH 4TH START DATE —
IT WILL HAVE TO BE SIGNED OFF BY A JUDGE TO BECOME SET.
TRUMP’S OTHER STATE TRIAL — IN NEW YORK — BEGINS MARCH 25TH.
ACCORDING TO A RECENT ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL —
AMERICANS ARE DIVIDED IN THEIR OPINIONS ABOUT TRUMP’S MOST RECENT INDICTMENT.
ABOUT HALF OF AMERICANS BELIEVE TRUMP SHOULD BE PROSECUTED —
THE OTHER HALF THINKS HE SHOULDN’T.
THE POLL WAS — NOT SHOCKINGLY — SPLIT ALONG PARTY LINES.
AS GOP SUPPORT FOR TRUMP IS UNPHASED BY THE INDICTMENTS.

WE TOLD YOU EARLIER THIS WEEK ABOUT A POLICE RAID CONDUCTED AT A KANSAS NEWSPAPER’S OFFICE AND ITS PUBLISHER’S HOME —
THAT GAINED NATIONAL ATTENTION OVER WHETHER THE POLICE SEARCH WAS AN INFRINGEMENT ON FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS.
NOW WE’RE LEARNING THE ITEMS POLICE TOOK DURING THE RAID HAVE BEEN RETURNED TO THE NEWSPAPER.
THE SEARCH WARRANT IS BEING WITHDRAWN — AS PROSECUTORS ANSWER TO THE LOUD DEMANDS FROM MEDIA ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHO CONDEMNED THE RAID.
THE COMPUTERS AND REPORTER’S CELL PHONES THAT WERE ONCE CONFISCATED —
THE NEWSPAPER IS NOW SENDING TO A FORENSICS LAB TO TRY AND SEE WHAT POLICE DID WITH THE ELECTRONICS.
THE “MARION COUNTY RECORD’S” PUBLISHER HAS PROMISED HIS PAPER WILL CONTINUE TO PUBLISH DESPITE THE DISRUPTION.
IT PUBLISHED ITS FIRST EDITION SINCE THE POLICE RAID WITH THE FRONT-PAGE HEADLINE READING “SEIZED BUT NOT SILENCED.”
“This is the way things go here too often and too often people are brought into silence and intimidated by reactions like this.”
MARION POLICE HAVE SAID THE PUBLIC DOESN’T HAVE ALL THE FACTS TO THE STORY YET — AS ITS AN ONGOING INVESTIGATION INTO WHETHER THE PAPER ILLEGALLY OBTAINED AND USED PERSONAL INFORMATION ABOUT A LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER.

STARBUCKS HAS BEEN ORDERED TO PAY AN ADDITIONAL 2 POINT 7 MILLION DOLLARS TO A FORMER EMPLOYEE AS PART OF A WRONGFUL TERMINATION SUIT.
THIS IN ADDITION TO THE TWENTY FIVE POINT SIX MILLION DOLLARS AWARDED TO FORMER REGIONAL DIRECTOR SHANNON PHILLIPS IN JUNE.
PHILLIPS, WHO IS WHITE, SUED HER FORMER EMPLOYER SAYING THAT HER RACE WAS A FACTOR IN STARBUCKS FIRING HER AFTER THE CONTROVERSIAL ARRESTS OF TWO BLACK MEN AT A PHILADELPHIA LOCATION IN 2018 SPARKED NATIONIONWIDE PROTESTS.
THE TWO MEN — WAITING FOR A BUSINESS MEETING – WERE ARRESTED AFTER AN EMPLOYEE CALLED 9-1-1 SAYING THEY WERE TRESPASSING DUE TO THEM NOT ORDERING ANYTHING WHILE INSIDE THE STORE.
PHILLIPS WHO WORKED FOR STARBUCKS FOR 13 YEARS SAYS SHE WAS NOT AT THE STORE WHEN THE INCIDENT OCCURRED AND WAS FIRED THE FOLLOWING DAY.
STARBUCKS HAS PREVIOUSLY SAID THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE OF INTENTIONAL DISCRIMINATION.
THE TWO MEN ARRESTED AT THE STORE REACHED A PRIVATE SETTLEMENT WITH STARBUCKS AND THE CITY.

FINALLY THIS MORNING – A BIG TWIST FOR FANS OF CHICK-FIL-A. AFTER EXPERIMENTING FOR MORE THAN A YEAR, CHICK-FIL-A HAS CREATED WHAT THEY CALL THE FIRST EVER TWIST TO ITS BELOVED ORIGINAL CHICKEN SANDWICH. IT IS CALLED THE HONEY PEPPER PIMENTO CHICKEN SANDWICH. THE SANDWICH – LIKE THE ORIGINAL – WILL FEATURE THE CHICKEN FILET BUT THIS ONE WILL BE TOPPED WITH PIMENTO CHEESE AND PICKLED JALAPENOS AND HONEY. THE HONEY PEPPER PIMENTO CHICKEN SANDWICH WILL BE AVAILABLE AT CHICK-FIL-A RESTAURANTS NATIONWIDE BEGINNING MONDAY AUGUST 28.
THOSE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES THIS THURSDAY MORNING.
THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS AS YOUR TRUSTED SOURCE.
AND NOW YOU CAN KNOW THE SECOND THE RUNDOWN IS AVAILABLE WITH THE STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS APP.
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THEN MAKE SURE TO TURN ON NOTIFICATIONS FOR THE RUNDOWN AND YOU’LL GET ALERTED EACH WEEKDAY MORNING WHEN IT’S TIME TO WATCH.
UNBIASED. STRAIGHT FACTS. THAT’S STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS.
WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW.
UNTIL THEN I’M KARAH RUCKER.
HAVE A GREAT DAY.

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