5 things to know Thursday

A month since the Highland Park shooting

A month has passed since the July 4 mass shooting in a Highland Park, Illinois parade that left seven people dead. Over the past month, the case against the 21-year-old shooting suspect has progressed. The Highland Park native appeared in Lake County Circuit Court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to 117 counts. Residents of Highland Park are still reeling from the attack and thousands have sought mental health services, Mayor Nancy Rotering told USA TODAY. Many are also turning anger into activism by making public art, putting up street signs, organizing phone banks and meeting lawmakers to push for gun control legislation.

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Closing arguments in Brittney Griner’s trial in Russia

Brittney Griner’s defense attorney, Maria Blagovolina, told Reuters that closing arguments will take place on Thursday in the WNBA star and Olympic gold medalist’s cannabis possession case and that sentencing is expected. “very soon”. Griner returned to a Moscow-area courtroom on Tuesday amid intensified diplomatic talks between the White House and the Kremlin. Griner, 31, has been detained in Russia since February after vaping cartridges containing cannabis oil were found in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Last week, the United States said it had offered a deal for the release of Griner and Paul Whelan, an American imprisoned in Russia for espionage. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Russia made a “bad faith” counter-offer that US officials do not consider serious.

China launches military drills in areas surrounding Taiwan after Pelosi’s visit

China began military drills in six areas surrounding Taiwan on Thursday. The drills were sparked by a visit to the self-governing island by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week. China had warned of the “consequences” for Pelosi visiting Taiwan. China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory, although Taiwan considers itself a sovereign country. The United States has long embraced a murky middle ground that seeks to support Taiwan without angering Beijing. China’s official Xinhua news agency said the drills were joint operations focusing on “blockading, assaulting sea targets, striking ground targets and controlling airspace”. Taiwan has put its army on high alert and organized civil defense exercises, while the United States has numerous naval assets in the region. The exercises are due to run from Thursday to Sunday and include missile strikes on targets in the seas north and south of the island in an echo of the last major Chinese military drills aimed at intimidating Taiwan’s leaders and voters in 1995 and 1996.

Raiders and Jaguars to open 2022 NFL preseason in Hall of Fame game

The Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars will open the 2022 NFL preseason schedule Thursday at the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. This will be the Raiders’ fourth appearance in the game and the Jaguars’ second; Jacksonville’s previous appearance was in the Jaguars’ first exhibition game in the NFL in 1995. The game marks the debut of Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels, a Canton native who played his football games home at Fawcett Stadium, the predecessor of the current stadium. Doug Pederson will work his first game as Jaguars head coach. Former Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch and defensive lineman Richard Seymour will be inducted into the Canton-based Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 6, as will the ex-Jaguars tackle Tony Boselli.

Duchess Meghan turns 41

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, turns 41 on Thursday. To mark her birthday last year, she launched “40×40”, an initiative by Archewell to inspire people around the world to dedicate 40 minutes to supporting women’s return to the workforce. It has become a tradition for the Sussex family to commemorate personal celebrations with a charitable act, such as building a new community relief center in Mumbai, India, to mark their third wedding anniversary. Meghan and Prince Harry gave up their royal duties and moved to California two years ago. Their last public appearance in the UK was in June for Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

Contribute: The Associated Press

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