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In our news wrap Wednesday, the Buffalo Bills shared positive news about Damar Hamlin's recovery saying he remains in intensive care with signs of improvement, prominent Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti has been released after nearly three weeks in jail for supporting anti-government protests and Twitter announced it will ease its three-year ban on political advertising.
In the day's other headlines: The NFL's Buffalo Bills shared positive news about Damar Hamlin's recovery. He remains sedated, in critical condition, after his heart stopped during a Monday night game in Cincinnati.
A team statement said Hamlin remains in the intensive care unit with signs of improvement noted yesterday and overnight. A family spokesman also said the recovery is headed in — quote — "a positive direction." And President Biden said he had spoken with Hamlin's parents today.
This was the third and final day of Pope Emeritus Benedict's lying in state at the Vatican. Mourners again streamed through St. Peter's Basilica, in all, some 200,000 people over the last three days.
And at his weekly general audience today, Pope Francis again offered words of praise.
Pope Francis, Leader of Catholic Church (through translator): I would like us to join with those here paying their respects to Benedict. His acute and gentle thought was not self-referential, but ecclesial, because he always wanted to accompany us in the encounter with Jesus.
Pope Francis will preside over Benedict's funeral tomorrow in St. Peter's Square, an event that will draw heads of state and royalty.
In Iran, prominent actress Taraneh Alidoosti has been released after nearly three weeks in jail. She'd been locked up for supporting anti-government protests and criticizing a crackdown. Iranian accounts say she was let out on bail. After her release today, she posted a photo of herself holding flowers and surrounded by her friends.
Russia launched dozens of rockets and airstrikes in Ukraine today amid growing internal criticism in Moscow over a Ukrainian attack. It happened last weekend in the Donetsk region. The Russians say 89 soldiers died. Ukraine says it was 400. Russia's Defense Ministry charge today that soldiers using cell phones gave away their position. Others accused the Kremlin of trying to deflect blame.
The ruling general in Myanmar pardoned more than 7,000 prisoners today and outlined plans for an election later this year. The amnesty meant to mark the 75th anniversary of the country's independence. Myanmar has faced international isolation and sanctions since the military seized power from a democratically elected government in 2021.
Families and others swarmed by bosses with the newly released prisoners, which included political detainees, some reacting cautiously.
Htin Lin Oo, Released Prisoner (through translator):
I don't have any special feelings about being released from prison. What really matters is whether it's real freedom. I mean, I don't just want to be released from jail, but I also want freedom for all my life, all my hopes, my family and all the new generations.
There was no sign that ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi was among those pardoned. She is serving 33 years in confinement on charges brought by the military regime.
The man behind a U.S. college admissions bribery scandal now faces three-and-a-half years in federal prison. Rick Singer was sentenced today in Boston for helping celebrities and other wealthy clients buy their kids' way into top schools. He pleaded guilty to racketeering, conspiracy and other charges and helped secure convictions of others in the scheme.
Facebook's parent company, Meta, was hit today with more than $400 million in fines in Ireland for online privacy violations. Regulators also banned the company from forcing European users to agree to personalized ads. The decision could force changes in Meta's business model that targets users based on their online activity.
Meantime, Twitter has announced that it will ease its 3-year-old ban on political advertising. It's the latest bid by billionaire Elon Musk to increase revenue after buying the platform. Twitter banned political ads back in 2019 under pressure about misinformation on social media. Today, the company said it believes such ads can add to the public debate on important issues.
And on Wall Street, stocks managed to advance after an up-and-down day. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 133 points to close at 3326. The Nasdaq rose 71 points, the S&P 500 added 28.
And still to come on the "NewsHour": the FDA clears the way for wider access to abortion pills; tensions rise between south and North Korea amid more missile tests; and the former U.S. Capitol Police chief warns of vulnerabilities that remain two years after January 6.
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