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WASHINGTON – A major concession by Democrats to end requiring military personnel to get COVID vaccinations clears the way for funding that includes a 4.6% pay raise for military personnel, more realistic combat training in Vernon Parish, allow B-52s to load nuclear warheads in Bossier Parish and upgrade Louisiana National Guard facilities in Abbeville and New Orleans.

WASHINGTON — Russia freed WNBA star Brittney Griner on Thursday in a dramatic high-level prisoner exchange, with the U.S. releasing notorious Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, American officials said. The swap, at a time of heightened tensions over Ukraine, achieved a top goal for President Joe Biden, but carried a heavy price — and left behind an American jailed for nearly four years in Russia.