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Raman Pratasevich in 2020. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The European Union on Friday banned Belarus airlines from flying over EU territory or landing in its airports in response to the Belarus government's forced landing of a Ryanair plane to arrest journalist Raman Pratasevich.

Driving the news: The restrictions come one day after Pratasevich appeared in a video on Belarus state television declaring his respect for strongman Aleksandr Lukashenko — who he has opposed for years — and claiming to have organized "mass riots" against the regime.

  • The 26-year-old breaks down in tears at one point in the video.
  • Human rights groups pointed to bruises on the journalist's hands and face, suggesting that his confession was forced, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: The diversion of the Ryanair passenger jet carrying Pratasevich last month prompted international outrage after it was revealed that Belarus security services had called in a fake bomb threat to force the plane to land in Minsk to arrest Pratasevich and his girlfriend.

  • The U.S. last week condemned Pratasevich's arrest and announced it was reimposing sanctions against nine state-owned Belarusian enterprises starting Thursday.
  • The White House also stated it was working with the EU to develop specific sanctions against members of the Lukashenko regime. European leaders have described the incident as a "hijacking."

Go deeper

Aug 6, 2021 - Sports

IOC removes two Belarus coaches in Tsimanouskaya case

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya during a press conference on Aug. 5. Photo: Attila Husejnow/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee said Thursday it canceled and removed the accreditations of two Belarusian coaches over their suspected involvement in trying to send sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya back to Belarus.

Driving the news: The coaches, Artur Shimak and Yury Maisevich, were asked to leave the Olympic village immediately "and have done so," the IOC said.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.