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Hard Numbers: Saudi women’s rights icon sentenced, Russia updates COVID death toll, Trump caves, Wuhan citizen journalist verdict

Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul. Reuters

6: Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was sentenced to almost six years in prison for allegedly conspiring with foreigners to undermine the kingdom. Ms. al-Hathloul was jailed in early 2018, just before the Saudi government removed the ban on women's right to drive. She will likely be released early next year, however, because the presiding judge suspended more than half of the sentence and applied the time she has already served in prison.

186,000: Russian authorities have revised the country's official coronavirus death toll, admitting that more than 186,000 Russians have died from the disease, more than three times the amount previously reported. This means Russia — long suspected of having downplayed the severity of the pandemic within its borders — now has the third highest overall mortality from COVID-19, only behind the US and Brazil.

2,000: The US government avoided a shutdown and a lapse in additional unemployment benefits after President Trump backed down on his threat to not sign a $2.3 trillion budget and pandemic relief package agreed to by Congress. Trump wanted to cut foreign aid spending and to increase from $600 to $2,000 the amount in checks sent to individual Americans (which Democrats are in favor of, but most Republicans don't want).

4: A Chinese court sentenced a citizen journalist who reported on the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan to four years in jail for "picking quarrels and provoking trouble" (Chinese legal code for publishing what the government doesn't want people to know). Zhang Zhan was detained in May and is currently in poor health after several months on hunger strike to protest her arrest in China.


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