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Don't forget about Marc Fogel, another American wrongfully detained in Russia

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During his State of the Union address, President Biden outlined his vision for the year ahead and his priorities for the future. In his remarks, the president did not mention Marc Fogel, the American teacher imprisoned in Russia since 2021. 

Sadly, Fogel’s omission from the address is yet another missed opportunity for the Biden administration to give the Pittsburgh-area resident – a man we collectively represent – a similar spotlight so many other wrongfully detained Americans have rightfully received.

For congressional leaders who have worked on his case for years, Marc is very familiar. So is his mother, Malphine Fogel, who is approaching her 95th birthday. She and her family continue to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill to inform them of Marc’s situation.

Marc Fogel, right, with his family (Photos courtesy Ellen Keelan and Lisa Hyland)

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If this case is new to you, here is Marc’s story. For nearly 36 years, Marc taught history courses at schools attended by children of U.S. diplomats in Colombia, Venezuela, Oman and Malaysia. For the past decade, he also taught in Russia. 

GOP REP INTRODUCES BIPARTISAN ‘MARC FOGEL ACT’ PUSHING STATE DEPT FOR ANSWERS ON AMERICANS JAILED OVERSEAS

On Aug. 14, 2021, Marc was detained for possession of medical marijuana used to treat his severe back injury. As a result, he is currently serving a 14-year sentence in a Russian prison.

With Marc’s condition, this could be a death sentence.

Marc’s charge is similar to that of WNBA player Brittney Griner. Griner was arrested at the same Russian airport nearly six months after Marc was arrested. 

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Due in part to her public platform, in December 2022, the Biden administration swapped Griner for notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, the man infamously known as the “Merchant of Death.” Bout was convicted in 2011 of conspiracy to kill American citizens.

BIDEN FOUGHT FOR BRITTNEY GRINER BUT FORGOT ABOUT FOGEL

We are thankful Brittney Griner is home with her family and believe Marc should be entitled to the same attention from the State Department.

While the State Department played a critical role in Griner’s release, the department has been less than helpful in returning Marc to his family. 

Under federal law, Marc meets the established criteria to be designated as “wrongfully detained” by the State Department. It’s a designation critical to securing his freedom. Although Marc has yet to be classified as wrongfully detained after more than two-and-a-half years in prison, Griner was designated within three months after her arrest.

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US SHOULD SHOW WHY AMERICAN TEACHER HELD IN RUSSIA IS NOT CONSIDERED ‘WRONGFULLY DETAINED,’ CONGRESSMAN SAYS

When pressed on this lack of progress toward a designation, State Department officials have been either unable or unwilling to provide us with a concrete explanation. This lack of clarity has increased our call for answers and resulted in the introduction of The Marc Fogel Act last year. 

This bipartisan legislation would amend the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act to require more transparency from the State Department to Congress on how wrongful detainment determinations are made.

It’s past time for the State Department to declare Fogel as wrongfully detained by the Russian government. They refuse to act yet offer no explanation for their inaction. In fact, Marc is rarely even a part of the administration’s public dialogue when it comes to Americans imprisoned in Russia. 

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Our commonsense legislation would allow Congress to receive critical information not only about Fogel and why he has not received this declaration, but also about other Americans who may be imprisoned or held hostage abroad in the future. 

Lastly, we implore the State Department to consider the personal toll Marc’s imprisonment has taken on the Fogel family. The lack of acknowledgment and designation of Marc by the department has not only impacted him, but also his mother, wife, two sons, and his entire family. 

Marc deserves to be home in Pennsylvania with his mother and family. They have gone nearly 1,000 days without him.

After the release of Griner, the Biden administration stated they are “continuing to work to bring home every American who continues to endure such an injustice.” We hope the administration follows through. As Marc’s representatives, we remain deeply concerned about our constituent’s health, safety and freedom.

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Marc Fogel deserves to be home. So do Evan Gershkovich, Paul Whelan and all other Americans who are wrongfully detained in Russia. They must not be forgotten.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY REP. MIKE KELLY

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM REP. GUY RESCHENTHALER

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, a Republican, represents Pennsylvania’s 14th District. Rep. Christopher Deluzio, a Democrat, represents Pennsylvania’s 17th District.

The congressmen represent districts in the Pittsburgh region, where the Fogel family resides, and lead legislation advocating for the State Department to designate Marc Fogel as wrongfully detained.

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Connecticut

Connecticut Senate Passes AI Bias Bill Despite Tech Lobbying

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Connecticut Senate Passes AI Bias Bill Despite Tech Lobbying


Connecticut is closer to becoming the first state to make private companies consider the risks of the artificial intelligence products they sell to customers.

Legislation that would place guardrails on the emerging technology (SB 2) passed the state Senate on Wednesday. The bill heads to the state House of Representatives as legislators attempt to clear the measure before the May 8 end of the session.

The sweeping bill targets algorithmic bias when the technology enables discrimination including in housing and social services. It also aims to restrict AI-made deepfakes and the technology’s impact on the state’s labor pool. …



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Maine

Immunization rates for school children reaches record high, Maine CDC says

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Immunization rates for school children reaches record high, Maine CDC says


AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) – Immunization rates for school children in the state have reached a record high, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control.

Ninety-five percent of school-age children have received all the required vaccines.

This is the first year Maine has exceeded the “herd immunity” threshold since reporting began in 2011.

“Herd immunity” is when most of a population develops immunity from infectious diseases either through vaccination or previous infection.

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According to the World Health Organization, the percentage of people who need to be immune in order to achieve “herd immunity” varies with each disease.



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Massachusetts

Massachusetts-based marine scientists attach camera to great white for intriguing 'shark's-eye view'

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Massachusetts-based marine scientists attach camera to great white for intriguing 'shark's-eye view'


Cape Cod, Massachusetts-based marine scientists successfully attached a camera tag to a great white shark in waters off the southeastern portion of the U.S. for just the second time.

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) scientist Megan Winton and charter boat Capt. Chip Michalove of Outcast Sportfishing were both working off the coast of South Carolina, when they caught a 9-foot female white shark and attached a camera tag to her dorsal fin. The duo also attached a GPS tag onto the fin, which will transmit the shark’s location in real time for about a year, whenever it breaks the surface of the water.

AWSC said in a press release that it recently updated its “White Shark Catalog” for 2024, which is available for the public to view and includes “the most comprehensive source of photos and information on individual white sharks that have been identified along the Atlantic Coast.”

The organization has been able to grow its catalog to contain over 700 white sharks all documented along the northwestern portion of the Atlantic Ocean.

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The most recent shark to be tagged with a camera and GPS locator will eventually be available for tracking on the organization’s app, Sharktivity.

The camera clamped onto the shark will give researchers a “shark’s-eye” view while also recording data on the shark’s environment and movements with the help of sensors, 10 times per second.

The device will completely detach itself from the shark after about a day, before resurfacing and transmitting its location for researchers to retrieve the camera.

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Scientists have successfully attached a camera to a great white shark for just the second time. (iStock)

Researchers plan to use the data to learn why white sharks return to the waters off the Carolinas during the winter and spring months.

“We know from historical records and tagging data collected over the past 15 years that the southeast U.S. is an important overwintering habitat for white sharks,” Winton said. “But we don’t know that much about how they use the area exactly, or what it is they’re doing when they’re there.”

Michalove named the shark he and Winton tagged, Jason Flack, in honor of a Hilton Head, South Carolina, local who died in a hit-and-run crash in February.

3 GREAT WHITE SHARKS PING NEAR GEORGIA, SOUTH CAROLINA COASTS: ‘IT’S MOVING DAYS’

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Scientists have successfully attached a camera to a great white shark off the coast of South Carolina. (iStock)

The duo also worked together and tagged the great white shark known as LeeBeth, which gained international attention after she was tracked the furthest west in the Gulf of Mexico than any previously tracked white shark.

AWSC did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the latest shark to be tagged.

Still, being able to capture a great white shark and place research technology on it is something the charter captain never thought he would be able to do, all in the name of science.

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“I never thought I’d be holding the dorsal fin of a great white shark and applying this type of technology,” Michalove said. “I’ve been intrigued with these sharks my whole life, and what we’ve learned from their paths has been fascinating.”

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