In a Nutshell

What did you miss over the summer?

Russo-Ukrainian War

The Russo-Ukrainian War continues to escalate as the Russian invasion and shelling continues. The Russian invasion first began on February 24, 2022 when Russian forces started missile and artillery attacks. Since then, Russian troops have occupied much of eastern and southern Ukraine.  

Shelling is currently taking place near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. The plant, currently controlled by Russia, could be the cause of a major radiation disaster as well as loss of electricity for the area. Large scale anxiety continues to grow as fighting near the plant continues. People in the area are loading into vehicles to flee the area as the threat of radiation leak intensifies. 

Ukraine has blamed Russia for explosions there and said the Kremlin is using Europe’s largest nuclear power plant for blackmail, according to the Washington Post. The US Department of State reported that Russia Blocked a consensus on a nuclear nonproliferation treaty. This treaty would prevent Russia from escalating to a nuclear war.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is providing incentives for Ukrainians to be integrated into Russia or the newly controlled Russian territory. He recently signed decrees allowing Ukrainians to work in Russia as well as financial benefits. Russia has been offering Ukrainians with passports and $170 monthly pensions.

According to the New York Times, recent actions by the Kremlin seem intended to knit the Russia-occupied territories in Ukraine’s east and south closer to Russia.

Biden’s Loan Relief Plan

President Joe Biden announced a plan that would help relieve student debt to those who need it the most. Debt relief will be used to support the working middle class who faced financial setbacks during the pandemic. 

According to the White House, the current cumulative federal student loan debt is $1.6 trillion and rising for more than 45 million borrowers, a significant burden on America’s middle class. Those who apply for debt relief are households that earn between $51,000 and $82,000 a year.

The New York Times explains that the program has set off a contentious debate as economists and political figures assess the full consequences of the plan. The plan will cost nearly a half-a-trillion dollars over the next decade that will ultimately fall upon the taxpayers. 

Biden’s three part plan will provide targeted debt relief to address the financial harms of the pandemic, and make the student loan system more manageable. It will also protect future students and taxpayers by reducing the cost of college and holding schools accountable when they hike up prices.

Fufeng USA company buys land near Grand Forks

A Chinese food company, Fufeng USA, has bought land in North Dakota, near the Grand Forks Air Base. This purchase has received national attention as US lawmakers are anxious about the United States National Security.  

Currently, Fufeng USA, which is based in Shandong, China, owns 370 acres of land about 20 minutes from the Grand Forks Air Base. The company is planning on building a corn mill, although some lawmakers believe this construction should be stopped. 

The Grand Forks air base is home to some of the nation’s most sensitive military drone technology, according to CNBC. The base also holds a space networking center, which is used for military communication around the world. People are concerned that this information will be discovered by the Chinese government. 

North Dakota’s Senators have voiced their concerns about the project and have said it should not go forward, even if it provides benefits. KFYR reported that the city says the corn milling plant would add jobs and tax revenue. The mill would provide about 200 direct jobs. 

The land was previously owned by Gary Bridgeford. He sold his land for more that $26,000 an acre. He got backlash for selling his land. “I’ve been threatened,” he said. “I’ve been called every name in the book for selling property,” Bridgeford told CNBC. 

Judge Blocks Abortion Ban in North Dakota

North Dakota’s near-total ban on abortion has been blocked by a state judge. On August 25, District Judge Bruce Romanick granted a request for a preliminary injunction, this was a day before the ban was supposed to take effect. The ban would have made an abortion in the state a felony with the exceptions for the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest. 

The request was made by the Red River Women’s Clinic. This clinic was the only abortion clinic in the state until it recently moved across the river into Moorhead, Minnesota. Accordion to CNN, Romanick was persuaded by the arguments put forward by the abortion clinic challenging the ban that there would be “significant” harm if the law took effect.

The result of this decision will no longer influence the Red River Clinic; however, it would still impact medical providers. This is the second that the trigger law has been blocked. In July, Romanick stated that Attorney General Drew Wrigley was premature in setting a July 28 closing date and issued a temporary restraining order allowing the clinic enough time to move to Moorhead without a gap in services, according to the Daily Progress. 

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