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From left to right, Noa Argamani, Shlomi Ziv, Almog Meir Jan and Andrey Kozlov. Hostages and Missing Families Forum

Today’s News Briefs: Israeli hostages freed; Apollo astronaut dead in crash; Pat Sajak; EBay

Today’s headlines include the amazing rescue of four Israeli hostages; Famous Apollo astronaut who took iconic image dead in airplane crash at 90; Pat Sajak retires from Wheel of Fortune and EBay drops American Express.

Four hostages rescued in Gaza

Four hostages, kidnapped from the Nova Music Festival Oct. 7,  have been freed in a special operation in Gaza.  They were being held in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, Israel’s military says. Noa Argamani, 25, from the now viral images of her being taken from Israel on the back of a motorcycle, was held with Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40.The operation to free them was headed by the Israeli military, intelligence and special forces from two separate operations in Nuseirat, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said Saturday. “They are in good medical condition and have been transferred to the ‘Sheba’ Tel-HaShomer Medical Center for further medical examinations,” the IDF added.

Famous astronaut dies in plane crash

Taken aboard Apollo 8 by William Anders, this iconic picture shows Earth peeking out from beyond the lunar surface as the first crewed spacecraft circumnavigated the Moon, with astronauts Anders, Frank Borman and Jim Lovell aboard. William Anders/NASA

William Anders, a NASA astronaut who was part of the historic 1968 Apollo 8 crew who were the first three people to orbit the moon, has died in a plane crash off the coast of Washington state, reports CNN. From the spacecraft, Anders, 90, captured an iconic image of Earth showing the moon’s surface in the foreground during the Apollo 8 flight on Christmas Eve 1968, titled “Earthrise.” It changed his perspective he said. “Suddenly I looked out the window, and here was this gorgeous orb coming up,” Anders described of Earth. “For me, it made me realize that the earth was small, delicate and not the center of the universe,” Anders said.

Pat Sajak leaves Wheel of Fortune

Pat Sajak said farewell to “Wheel of Fortune” Friday night after hosting the legendary game show for more than 8,000 episodes across 41 seasons. The episode featured footage from Sajak’s 1981 debut. A round was cut from Friday’s program to make room for Sajak’s goodbye message, but he gave each contestant $5,000 to make up for it. “Well, the time has come to say goodbye,” Sajak said on-air. “It’s been an incredible privilege to be invited into millions of homes night after night, year after year, decade after decade.” Sajak said he was proud of making the show “a safe place for family fun. No social issues, no politics, nothing embarrassing, I hope. Just a game.” The popular TV host is conservative politically but has been private about his faith. He once revealed that he enrolled in online classes to obtain a degree from the Christian Hillsdale College and has spoken at the school.

Convictions bring record fundraising

The Trump campaign’s next FEC filings may reveal history has been made. The former president has raised a whopping $400 million since his conviction in New York City in late May and the money keeps coming in. It would be the most any campaign has ever raised from private donations in US political history. According to CNBC, the donations began pouring in within moments of the guilty verdict. The donation traffic crashed several Trump campaign websites. In addition, Jacob Helberg, a senior advisor to Palantir CEO Alex Karp and major Democrat Party donor, has switched his allegiance to the Trump campaign. Helberg told CNBC he is hosting a two-hour summit in July to bring in other Silicon Valley and defense industry donors. To put the $400 million from two weeks in context, Barack Obama raised $778 million from all sources during the entirety of his 2007/2008 campaign.

EBay drops American Express

American Express is being dropped as a payment option from e-commerce site EBay over high processing fees. “At a time when payment-processing costs should be declining because of technological advancements, investments in fraud capabilities, and customer protections by merchants like eBay, credit card transaction fees continue to rise unabated because of a lack of meaningful competition,” eBay said in a June 5 statement. The credit card will disappear from the site worldwide. Ebay’s 132 million customers are being notified.

–Dwight Widaman and wire services

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