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Brittney Griner spends birthday behind Russian bars

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Tributes pour in for Brittney Griner today, as she spends her 32nd birthday behind bars in Russia

BRITTNEY GRINER- Birthday wishes from around the world have flooded in today for WNBA star Brittney Griner.

The American has spent her 32nd birthday behind bars in a Russian prison cell.

It comes as U.S. consular officers complete a phone call with Griner and fellow American detainee, Paul Whelan.

The news of the phone conversation was confirmed during a State Department briefing, and follows months of no contact with the pair.

Brittney Griner & Paul Whelan
Photo credit: CNN

It comes as the Biden Administration continues to push for their immediate release, attempting to strike a deal with Russia.

However, it remains difficult given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Birthday behind bars

Today, marks 8 months since WNBA star Brittney Griner was detained for bringing cannabis oil into the country. It also marks Griner’s 32nd birthday.

She released a message from behind bars that read “thank you everyone for fighting so hard to get me home. All the support and love are definitely helping me.”

Tributes now flow in for the Basketball star, from around the globe.

Tributes from teammates

Appeal hearing approaches

Griner now awaits her appeal hearing next week, where she will learn her fate.

Many of Griner’s supporters, including the Biden administration, believe she has been “wrongfully detained” and used as a political pawn.

Russia has previously stated that the release of Griner is not a priority for the country.

Speaking exclusively to CNN, Griner’s lawyers said her birthday has been “difficult” because of her looming appeal hearing in a matter of days.

They added Griner is “very much concerned with the outcome of the appeal.”

Holly is an anchor and reporter at Ticker. She's experienced in live reporting, and has previously covered the Covid-19 pandemic on-location. She's passionate about telling stories in business, climate and health.

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Bombshell pro-Russian video emerges from Australian Open

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A bombshell video has emerged of the father of tennis star Novak Djokovic, amplifying the Russian controversy the Australian Open

 
Djokovic’s father was seen posing for pictures with a group of Putin supporters after his son won against Russia’s Andrey Rublev, to qualify for his 10th semi-final.

Russian flags have been banned from the Australian Open, but that didn’t stop one fan.

A man was seen holding a Russian flag with Putin’s face on it and wearing a t-shirt with the pro-war ‘Z’ symbol on it.

Four spectators were questioned by police and evicted from Melbourne Park.

After losing her semi-final, Belarusian Viktoria Azarenka hit back at media when pressed on tennis’ relationship with Russia’s war on Ukraine.

She told reporters incidents like Novak’s father posing with Russian fans have nothing to do with players.

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Sex noises interrupt BBC FA Cup coverage

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The BBC has been forced to apologise to viewers after its live coverage of the FA Cup was interrupted by sex noises.

The moaning you just heard was played as Gary Lineker presented the third-round replay between Wolves and Liverpool.

BBC is now investigating the incident which appears to be an act of sabotage.

Lineker says a mobile phone was found taped to the back of the set and was responsible for the sex noises.

After the incident, the broadcaster said the sound being made in the studio was so loud it was “quite difficult” to carry on.

But he still saw humour in the incident calling it a “good” prank and questioning why the BBC felt the need to apologise in the first place.

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Russian controversy at the Australian Open

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Russian

Russian flags have been banned from the Australian Open following match controversy

As the Australian Open heats up, organisers have been forced to ban Russian flags from the venue.

It follows the red, white and blue flag being spotted behind fans during a match between a Russian and a Ukrainian.

Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia condemned the act and called on organisers to take action.

Tennis Australia has since made changes to its tournament regulations.

In a statement, the organisers say they will “continue to work with the players and fans to ensure the best possible environment to enjoy the tennis.”

The ban is effective immediately.

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