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America's Stonehenge Destroyed, Chauvin Sentenced to 20 Years, and Griner Pleads Guilty in Russia

Updates from recent news stories of cultural significance.
America's Stonehenge Destroyed, Chauvin Sentenced to 20 Years, and Griner Pleads Guilty in Russia

A Georgia prosecutor described the apparent targeting of a mysterious monument with an explosive device as an "act of domestic terrorism," saying Thursday that the alleged crime was aimed at the county authorities that own the site, reports NBC News.

The monument — dubbed "America’s Stonehenge" — was unveiled on five acres of farmland in 1980. It was planned by an anonymous group that lived outside of Georgia and described themselves as a "loyal Americans who believe in God," according to an account of the site's origins on the Elbert County Chamber of Commerce's website. The group wanted to leave messages for future generations

The agency said one of five massive granite slabs — which are engraved with messages about the conservation of humanity — was destroyed in the explosion. The entire structure was demolished after authorities determined the weakened monument was unsafe for investigators, the agency said.

Georgia prosecutor calls explosion at 'America's Stonehenge' an act of domestic terrorism (NBC News)

Excerpt from NBC News: "The destruction of a public building by explosive is inherently intended to influence the actions of the governing authority that owns the structure," Parks White, the Northern Judicial Circuit district attorney said. According to a lengthy story about the site published by Wired in 2009, the Guidestones functioned as a clock, calendar and compass, and those messages — engraved in eight languages — were intended to function as a post-apocalyptic guide for survivors. That guidance included keeping the planet's population under 500 million "in perpetual balance with nature" and creating a "living new language" to unite humanity.

In other news, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for violating George Floyd's civil rights, according to BBC News.

Derek Chauvin sentenced to 20 years for violating George Floyd's rights (BBC News)

Excerpt from BBC News: Chauvin is already serving a 22-year state prison sentence for the on-duty murder of Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man. The two sentences will run concurrently and he will now be moved to a federal prison. But he will almost certainly spend more time behind bars following the sentencing. His sentence is due to be followed by five years of supervised release. "George's life matters," Mr Floyd's brother, Philonese, said in court on Thursday as he asked the judge to impose the maximum sentence of 25 years.
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And finally, by pleading guilty to drug charges in a Russian courtroom this week, American basketball star Brittney Griner has potentially accelerated her case’s conclusion, clearing a path for either a deal with the United States or, perhaps, a request for clemency, writes The New York Times.

What happens next for Brittney Griner? (The New York Times)

Excerpt from The New York Times: With a guilty verdict an all but a foregone conclusion in a Russian legal system that heavily favors the prosecution, her best hope, experts say, is that the Biden administration secure her freedom by releasing a Russian held in the United States. The name of one prisoner in particular has emerged: Viktor Bout, a Russian arms dealer serving a 25-year prison sentence. But any such negotiation can take place only after the formalities of the Griner trial are over, Russian officials say. Ms. Griner is charged with illegal drug possession and smuggling after Russian authorities say they found vape cartridges with 0.7 grams of cannabis oil in her luggage when Ms. Griner arrived in February to play basketball. She has been detained ever since, facing 10 years in prison in a penal colony.
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