Connect with us


Brittney Griner Denied Appeal on 9-year Sentence in Russia

Avatar for VORNews



Brittney Griner

On Tuesday, a Russian court dismissed Brittney Griner’s appeal of her 9-year prison sentence for drug charges, bringing her closer to a high-stakes prisoner swap between Moscow and Washington.

The Olympic gold medalist and 8time all-star center for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury was convicted on Aug. 4 after police said they seized vape canisters carrying cannabis oil in her luggage at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

Griner, 32, appeared via video link from a correctional colony outside the capital where she is being kept.

Griner admitted to having the CBD vape canisters in her suitcase during her trial but claimed she packed them accidentally in her rush to catch her trip and had no illegal intent.

Her defence team provided written declarations in which she stated that she had been prescribed cannabis to relieve chronic pain.

The 9-year sentence came close to Russia’s maximum of ten years, and Brittney Griner’s defenders contended that the punishment was disproportionate after his conviction.

In similar cases, they noted, defendants received an average sentence of around five years, with about a third given parole. While upholding the sentence, the court stated that Griner’s prison time would be revised to reflect her time in pre-trial detention.

One day in pre-trial custody will be counted as one and a half days in prison. Thus, she will still be sentenced to about eight years.

 Brittney Griner

Griner’s lawyers, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov wrote in an email that they were “extremely dissatisfied” with the judgment since “the punishment is harsh and defies normal court practice.”

“Brittney Griner’s greatest concern is that she will not be swapped and will have to complete the remainder of her sentence in Russia,” they wrote. “She had hoped for today because every month, every day away from her family and friends is important to her.”

They said they needed to consult Brittney Griner about the following legal actions.

Griner’s detention in February happened at a moment when Moscow and Washington were at odds, just days before Russia sent soldiers into Ukraine. Griner returned to Russia to play for a Russian team during the summer of the WNBA.

Biden warns Russia that nuclear weapons would be a “bad mistake.”

President Joe Biden cautioned Russia on Tuesday that using a tactical nuclear weapon would be an “extremely grave error.” He also stated that the White House is in “continuous touch” with Russian authorities for Brittney Griner’s release. (Oct. 25)

According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, the decision is “another failure of justice, aggravating the unfairness of her confinement,” and “securing her release is our goal.”

 Brittney Griner

President Biden told reporters that the state department is in “continuous touch” with Russian authorities over Brittney Griner and the other Americans jailed in Russia.

While there has been no movement in getting her back to the United States, Biden stated, “We are not stopping.”

Before her conviction, the US State Department proclaimed Griner to have been “wrongfully held,” an accusation that Russia has categorically denied.

US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan states that Biden “is willing to go to tremendous lengths and make difficult judgments to bring Americans home.”

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert stated that the decision, “although regrettable, was not anticipated.” It’s time to put this case behind us and bring BG home.” According to the WNBA Players Association, the verdict “further validates that BG is not simply unfairly incarcerated — she is very certainly a hostage.”

Because the Biden administration is under increasing pressure to do more to bring Brittney Griner back home, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken revealed in July that the State Department had made a “substantial proposal” to bring Brittney Griner home, along with Paul Whelan, an American businessman serving a 16-years for espionage.

 Brittney Griner

Blinken did not clarify, but AP and other news outlets have reported that Washington has offered to swap Brittney Griner and Whelan for Viktor Bout, an arms dealer known as the “merchant of death,” captured in Thailand, serving a 25-year term in the United States.

The White House stated that it has yet to get a constructive response to the offer from Russia.

Russian officials have refused to comment on the US plan and asked Washington to debate the topic privately rather than publicly. However, some Russian officials have stated that a deal is more feasible when all appeals have been exhausted.

In September, Biden met with the wife of Brittney Griner, Cherelle Griner, and her agent, Lindsay Colas.

 Brittney Griner

Following the discussions, the White House stated that the president reiterated to the families of Brittney Griner and Paul his “continued commitment to working through all possible avenues to bring them home.

In April, the United States and Russia exchanged prisoners for the release of a Russian pilot, Konstantin Yaroshenko, who was convicted of a cocaine trafficking conspiracy; Moscow released US Marines veteran Trevor Reed.

Moscow has also advocated for releasing other Russians detained in the United States.

Alexander Vinnik, for example, has been accused of laundering billions through an illegal cryptocurrency exchange. Vinnik was apprehended in Greece in 2017 and extradited to the United States in August.

Last month, Vinnik’s French lawyer, Frederic Belot, informed the Russian publication Izvestia that his client wished to be involved in a future swap.

Another possible candidate, according to the publication, is Roman Seleznev, the son of a Russian legislator. In 2017, he was sentenced to 27 years in jail on charges related to a hacking and credit card fraud conspiracy.

Source: AP, VOR News


Dianne Feinstein: ‘Pioneering’ Senator Dies Aged 90

Avatar for Kiara Grace




Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who served for more than three decades and was a pioneer for women in American politics, passed away at 90.

Feinstein was the eldest senator in the United States, and she voted on Thursday.

The veteran Democrat was questioned about alleged memory and cognitive issues for months.

After a “minor fall” at home in April, she was admitted to the hospital, the latest in a series of health concerns.

The office of Ms. Feinstein stated in a statement that she died overnight at her residence in Washington, DC.

The statement continued, “Senator Feinstein was a force of nature who had an enormous impact on our country and her home state.” She left an incontestable and extraordinary legacy.

Governor Gavin Newsom of California must now appoint her replacement. He had previously promised to nominate a black woman to serve the remainder of her term, which ends in 2025.

Ms. Feinstein, born in 1933 and grew up in San Francisco, attended Stanford University and was elected to the San Francisco County Board of Supervisors in 1969.

This election marked the beginning of a long career in public service that led her to become the first female mayor of San Francisco and, in 1992, a senator.

She had previously proclaimed her intention to retire at the end of the following year, but she resisted mounting pressure. Several prominent Democrats, including Representatives Adam Schiff and Katie Porter, have previously declared their intentions to run for her Senate seat.


Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who served for more than three decades and was a pioneer for women in American politics, passed away at 90.

In a statement issued after her passing, US President Joe Biden said that Ms. Feinstein “made history in so many ways, and generations to come will benefit from her legacy.”

Due to a case of shingles, she was absent from Capitol Hill for nearly three months earlier this year. Upon her return, she assumed fewer responsibilities and used a wheelchair to navigate the US Capitol. She occasionally appeared perplexed in interviews, committee hearings, and floor votes.

Ms. Feinstein was well-known for her ardent support of gun control measures and the 1994 assault weapons prohibition signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

After the murders of her predecessor, George Moscone, and city councilman Harvey Milk, she became mayor of San Francisco in 1978.

She stated that the experience of racing to Mayor Moscone’s office and discovering a bullet wound while searching for his pulse had left an indelible mark on her.

As a senator, Ms. Feinstein was the first woman to chair the influential Senate Intelligence Committee, overseeing a multi-year evaluation of the CIA’s controversial interrogation program of foreign terrorists following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The evaluation ultimately resulted in legislation prohibiting “enhanced interrogation techniques” on terrorism suspects, such as waterboarding.


Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, who served for more than three decades and was a pioneer for women in American politics, passed away at 90.

Ms. Feinstein was the first woman to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the first woman to lead the Senate Rules Committee.

Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, described Dianne Feinstein as a “pioneering woman leader” in a statement.

“Dianne’s extraordinary career will inspire countless women and girls to pursue careers in public service for generations to come,” she said.

On the Senate floor, Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell praised “her dogged advocacy and diligent service”.

In recent years, concerns about her deteriorating health and cognitive abilities have prompted calls for her retirement and brought attention to the aging of America’s legislators.

During a committee vote, individuals around her could be heard in a widely circulated video telling her to “just say yes.”

Despite mounting family tensions, she is succeeded by a daughter, Katherine, who reportedly held power of attorney over her mother’s legal affairs. Richard Blum, her investment banker spouse, passed away last year.


Continue Reading


New York City: State Of Emergency Declared Over Flash Flooding

Avatar for Kiara Grace



new york

In New York City, a state of emergency has been declared as violent storms deliver flash flooding.

Many of the city’s subways, streets, and highways have been inundated, and LaGuardia Airport closed at least one terminal on Friday.

According to New York Governor Kathy Hochul, some areas received up to five inches (12.7cm) of rain overnight, and up to seven more inches (17.8cm) are expected.

“This is a dangerous, life-threatening storm,” she continued.

She announced on X, formerly known as Twitter, that she was proclaiming a state of emergency in New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley due to the region’s extreme rainfall.

She urged individuals to take precautions and to “never attempt to travel on flooded roads.”

As a result of the declaration of a state of emergency, New York City Mayor Eric Adams issued a call for “heightened alertness and extreme caution.”

new york

In New York City, a state of emergency has been declared as violent storms deliver flash flooding.

“Some of our subways are flooded, and it is extremely difficult to move around the city,” he said at a press conference.

Due to intense rainfall, people were pictured and captured on video wading through knee-deep water in the streets and subways.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) advised individuals who did not need to travel to remain at home.

Terminal A at La Guardia Airport is presently closed due to flooding, according to airport authorities.

Before traveling, passengers were instructed to verify with their airline.

new york

The New York City Police Department also announced multiple road closures and the deployment of the National Guard.

Elsewhere, traffic stopped along a section of the FDR Drive, a significant thoroughfare on the east side of Manhattan, as the water rose above the tires of automobiles.

In addition, employees attempted to unclog a drain in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, while cardboard and other debris floated by.

According to municipal officials, there were no storm-related fatalities or serious injuries as of midday (1600 GMT).

The weather service has issued flood warnings and advisories for approximately 18 million people in the New York metropolitan area and other major East Coast cities.


Continue Reading


Disney Plus Announces Crackdown On Password Sharing In Canada In 2023

Avatar for Kiara Grace



disney plus

NEW YORK — Today, password-sharing crackdowns are becoming increasingly prevalent in the streaming industry. In addition, Disney Plus follows suit.

In an email sent to Canadian users this week, Disney announced restrictions on the “ability to share your account or credentials outside of the household.”

The updated Canadian Subscriber Agreement for Disney Plus stipulates that users may only share a subscription within their domicile if permitted by their account tier and that violations may result in Disney Plus limiting or terminating service. According to the streamer’s help center, “Household” refers to the collection of devices associated with a subscriber’s principal residence and used by the residents.

These password-sharing restrictions are part of multiple revisions to the Disney Plus Subscriber Agreement that will go into effect on November 1 for most Canadian users. According to this week’s email, annual subscribers in Quebec may see the changes a bit later, depending on their billing cycle, while users who alter their plan before November 1 will see the changes take effect immediately.

As previously disclosed in August, Disney Plus will launch its ad-supported tier offerings in Canada and select European markets on November 1. The ad-supported tier of Disney Plus has been available in the U.S. since December 2022.

disney plus

Disney Plus Announces Crackdown On Password Sharing In Canada

When contacted by The Associated Press, a Disney Plus spokesperson declined to comment on whether similar domestic restrictions could be anticipated in countries other than Canada.

In a recent earnings call, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger pledged to make the company’s streaming services profitable, notably through an October price increase on its ad-free Disney+ and Hulu plans in the U.S. and a restriction on password sharing that is expected to last through 2019.

At the time, Iger did not elaborate on the password-sharing crackdown beyond stating that Disney could reap some benefits in 2024, although he added that the work “might not be completed” by then and that Disney could not predict how many password-sharing users would switch to paid subscriptions.

New restrictions on streaming extend far beyond Disney. Netflix, for instance, made headlines when it began clamping down on password sharing. Freeloading viewers are now required to open their accounts in the United States unless a subscriber with a standard or premium plan agrees to pay a $8 monthly surcharge to enable more people from different households to watch.


Continue Reading

Recent News