WASHINGTON – Two Americans and the remains of a third held captive by Iranian-backed militants in Yemen were released Wednesday in exchange for the return of about 250 of the Houthi rebels from Oman, according to the White House and sources in the region.
Oman's state news said the American captives were flown out of Yemen on an Omani plane. It said 250 “Yemeni brothers” who received treatment in Oman have been returned to Yemen's capital, Sanaa, on two flights as part of the exchange.
“The United States welcomes the release today of U.S. citizens Sandra Loli and Mikael Gidada from Houthi custody in Yemen,” national security adviser Robert O'Brien said in a statement. “We send our condolences to the family of Bilal Fateen, whose remains will be repatriated as well.”
O'Brien did not mention the exchange, but thanked the leaders of Oman and Saudi Arabia for their help in securing the release of the Americans.
Voter registration extended in Virginia
A federal judge has extended the deadline for registering to vote in Virginia by 48 hours after the state's online voter registration system went down because of an accidentally severed cable.
Wednesday's order by U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney, Jr. in Richmond is an effort to make up for several hours of lost time Tuesday, which had been last day to register before the November general election.
The shutdown of the state's website caused “a tremendous harm” to the people who want to register to vote, Gibney said.
Loving v. Virginia lawyer Cohen dies
Bernard S. Cohen, who won a landmark case that led to the U.S. Supreme Court's rejection of laws forbidding interracial marriage and later went on to a successful political career as a state legislator, has died. He was 86.
Cohen and legal colleague Phil Hirschkop represented Richard and Mildred Loving, a white man and Black woman who were convicted in Virginia in 1959 of illegally cohabiting as man and wife and ordered to leave the state for 25 years. The appeal of the conviction resulted in the Supreme Court's unanimous 1967 Loving v. Virginia ruling, which declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.
Cohen died Monday of complications from Parkinson's disease at his home in Fredericksburg, said his son, Bennett Cohen.
Malone, Eilish win Billboard honors
Post Malone won nine honors at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, including for top artist and top male artist.
Billie Eilish received awards for top album and top female artist.
Luke Combs was named top country artist, and Khalid was named top R&B artist.
Other winners included Lil Nas X, who accepted the top Hot 100 song for “Old Town Road,” which set the record for most weeks at No. 1.