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Basketball star Brittney Griner to spend nine years in a Russian jail

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Women’s basketball star Brittney Griner has been sentenced to nine years behind bars

Brittney Griner has been convicted of deliberately smuggling drugs into Russia.

The 31-year-old American will be imprisoned for nine years and pay 1 million rubles after she was found guilty of bringing cannabis-infused vape cartridges into Russia.

Judge Anna Sotnikova said she considered Griner’s admission of guilt and remorse, following an apology from the basketball star.

Sotnikova also said Griner’s time in custody will count towards the sentence.

“I want the court to understand that this was an honest mistake that I made while rushing, under stress, trying to recover from COVID and just trying to get back to my team.”

BRITTNEY GRINER

Griner told the court she had no intention of breaking any laws.

She was arrested at a Russian airport in February as the war in Ukraine began. “I know everybody keeps talking about political pawn and politics, but I hope that is far from this courtroom,” she said.-

The White House said authorities are working to free all Americans who have been detained abroad.

“Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. She never should have had to endure a trial in the first place,” said White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre.

It’s understood the Biden Administration offered to swap Griner and the former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan for a Russian arms dealer.

“As you all know, we have made a substantial offer to bring her and Paul Whelan home. We urge Russia to accept that proposal.”

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, White House Press Secretary

President Biden has described the situation as “unacceptable”, and urged Russia to free Griner so “she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates”.

Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said the Biden Administration has offered a deal to Russian authorities.

“It’s a serious proposal. We urge them to accept it. They should have accepted it weeks ago when we first made it.”

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON SPOKESPERSON

The details of the proposal have not been made public. Russian officials are yet to comment on the matters.

Griner is a two-time Olympic gold medallist and an NBA champion.

She was detained as she arrived in Russia to play with UMMC Ekaterinburg during the U.S. league’s off-season.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

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China ‘doesn’t want to’ use force against Taiwan

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China’s Ambassador to Australia says the last thing China wants to do is use force against Taiwan

Xiao Qian says he can never rule out the option to use other means, and that China is ready to use those means.

It follows an intense flare up of tensions in the Taiwan Straits, after U-S Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the democratically-ruled island.

China has responded with military drills, including the tests of a ballistic missile for the first time in history.

Taiwan is also responding with defence drills, as the nation seeks to counter China’s growing offensive.

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Kiely Rodni: Fears missing teen has been abducted

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A major search is underway for missing teen, Kiely Rodni, with renewed fears she may have been abducted

In a developing story officials, friends and family are scrambling to find 16-year-old, Kiely Rodni, who went missing after a party in Truckee, Northern California.

Rodni’s phone has not been used since the party at 12:30am local time on Saturday, near the Prosser Family Campground.

Police are “treating her disappearance as an abduction” and not ruling anything out at this stage. Officials are still unable to locate Kiely’s Silver 2013 Honda CRV vehicle. 

“We’re considering everything…We won’t rule anything out…

If you think you have information and you don’t think it’s relevant, we want it.”

Scott Alfred, detective, county sheriff

Kiely is caucasian with blonde hair and hazel eyes. She is approximately 170 cm tall, and weighs approximately 53 kgs.

Last known CCTV footage of Kiely

The teen has a distinct nose ring and was last seen wearing a black top and Dickies brand pants.

According to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office between 200-300 teens were at the party, with authorities stressing no one will be in trouble for drinking or taking drugs at the party.

Officials say finding Rodni is their only focus, with multiple agencies now part of the investigation.

Friends that were with her that night are trying to piece together what has happened to their friend.

“I know that she wasn’t in the right mindset or state to drive. And if she were to have driven, she wouldn’t have made it far…

So my concern is that somebody might have offered to drive her home and then didn’t take her home.”

sami smith, Kiely’s friend

Her distressed family are pleading for answers and have offered a $50,000 reward for Kiely’s safe return.

“We just want her home. We’re so scared, and we miss her so much. And we love her so much…

Kiely if you see this, please come home. I want nothing more but to hug you.”

Lindsey Rodni-Nieman, Kiely’s mother

Kiely’s mother, Lindsey, says she received a message from her daughter confirming she was leaving the party in 45 minutes and would be coming straight home.

Since then, no one has heard from Kiely.

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Are members of the Trump family facing jail time?

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A Former Justice Department prosecutor who worked on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, says that if he was advising a client facing what former President Donald Trump is, there would be a strong warning.

But now a former acting Solicitor General has gone even further, saying he’d be advising Trump that he’s facing jail time and to make plans accordingly.

Neal Katyal says it’s clear this is a targeted search against Donald Trump by the Justice Department.

Meanwhile, the White House says the President hasn’t been briefed or made aware of the raid on Donald Trump’s Florida home.

Today the White House press secretary was grilled by a reporter on the Trump issue, but responded with a firm “no comment”.

The FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s residence in Florida on Monday signalled an extraordinary escalation of an investigation into the handling of certain documents from his presidency.

The raid raises questions about whether his legal exposure extends beyond whether he improperly took government records when he left the White House.

We don’t yet know what the FBI was searching for.
But to obtain a search warrant, investigators would have had to show a judge that there was probable cause of a crime.
They would also need to show evidence of that crime was located at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach resort.

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