Newsbytes: Irvington District Housing Plan, Walmart Closes Stores, Prison Swap with Iran, and Hermit Hospitalized

By: Staff Writers Mustafa Ahmed and Carolyn Ge


The Fremont City Council approved a new housing plan in the Irvington district on January 12 in a 3-to-2 vote. This project involves demolishing the Connolly Shopping Center and instead uses the 3.7-acre area for constructing residential units. A total of 56 connected townhomes and 11 attached live-work units will be constructed on this property, which is located on the northwest corner of Fremont Blvd. Previous attempts of the project, including one in 2013, involved a combination of condominiums, townhouses, and live-work units.



Walmart announced on January 15 that it would close a record number of 154 stores, about three percent of its locations, across the nation. Around 10,000 Walmart employees could lose their jobs due to these widespread closures. Walmart also planned to end their Walmart Express stores since they failed to become popular in urban areas. According to the New York Times, Walmart’s president and chief executive Carl Douglas McMillon said, “Closing stores is never an easy decision, but it is necessary to keep the company strong and positioned for the future.”



Iran freed four Americans of Iranian descent from prison, including the Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, in exchange for seven Iranians who had been held on sanctions violations. The prisoner exchange comes on the heels of the lifting of longstanding economic sanctions on Iran made possible by the historic nuclear deal made in July. Both the exchange and the lifting of sanctions are improvements on the relations between the two countries, which have remained strained since the 1979 Tehran Hostage Crisis.



Agafya Lykova, a 70-year-old hermit who has lived all her life in the Siberian wilderness, was airlifted to Tashtagol Hospital after she began feeling intense pain in her leg. Lykova was born in the wilderness after her family fled civilization in 1936 to escape religious persecution at the hands of Stalin’s regime. Geologists stumbled across her family in the 1970s, who had remained so detached from society that they were unaware that World War II had occurred. After her father’s death in 1988, she became her family’s sole survivor. According to local papers, Lykova is expected to remain at the hospital for a week of evaluation before returning home.\


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