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Hard Numbers: Bomb threats rattle state capitols, Egypt expands new desert metropolis, Myanmar junta springs prisoners, poll shows popular Jan. 6th conspiracy theory, “Bladerunner” walks out of jail

Law enforcement surround the Mississippi State Capitol

Law enforcement surround the Mississippi State Capitol

6: On Wednesday, six US state capitol buildings were evacuated after a mass email claimed a bomb threat. No bombs were found but the scare comes after a string of incidents in which state and federal representatives have been “swatted” – a kind of harassment in which prank callers tell the police there are emergencies at lawmakers’ homes, causing SWAT teams to be deployed there.

28: For several years now Egypt has been building a slick new capital city on a swathe of desert land 28 miles east of teeming, chaotic Cairo. Now officials plan to double the size of the undertaking. Supporters say the government needs a modern seat of power, and a new city to help absorb some of Egypt’s fast-growing population. Critics say it’s just a Neo-Pharaonic boondoggle that’s busting the country’s fragile finances and enriching President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s cronies.

9,652: Myanmar’s military government announced it will release 9,652 prisoners, including 114 foreigners, in an attempt to salvage foreign relations that have suffered since it seized power in a 2021 coup. Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, however, remains in prison, where she is serving a 27-year sentence for corruption that the United Nations regards as bogus.

25: Polling shows that 25 percent of Americans believe it is “definitely or probably true” that the FBI was behind the Jan 6th riot at the US Capitol. Supporters of Donald Trump are overrepresented among the group that believes this. The investigation into Jan 6th is ongoing, with 1,240 people connected to the attacks arrested so far. Trump has promised to pardon those who have been sentenced if he is re-elected later this year.


11: Throwback alert! Remember Oscar Pistorius, the South African paralympic superstar with carbon fiber legs who dazzled the world at the 2012 Games before he was convicted of killing his girlfriend by shooting her through a bathroom door? “Bladerunner”, as he was known, is getting out of jail on Friday, after serving 11 years for the killing.

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