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In The News

Brittney Griner’s Whereabouts Unknown

Brittney Griner’s Whereabouts Unknown

Brittney Griner detained in Russia

Cameron Manley, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Representatives for U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner, detained in Russia since February, have confirmed they do not know her current whereabouts. This comes after her attorneys said the courts had ordered her transferred to a Russian penal colony on Wednesday.

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“Our primary concern continues to be Brittney Griner’s health and well-being,” the WNBA player’s agent Lindsay Colas said in a statement. “As we work through this very difficult phase of not knowing exactly where she is or how she is doing, we ask for the public’s support in continuing to write letters and express their love and care for her.”

The 32-year-old American basketball superstar, who was playing in Russia during the off-season, was sentenced in October to nine years of prison for drug smuggling after a small amount of cannabis oil was found in her luggage.

The case has become a major diplomatic pawn amid the Russian war in Ukraine, with Washington and Moscow trading accusations about her treatment. In the latest step, Griner was in the process of being moved to a Russian penal colony where she is due to serve the remainder of her sentence.

“We do not have any information on her exact current location or her final destination,” said attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov.

Ukraine Says G20 Must Address Russia’s Deportation Of Children

Kyiv has collected thousands of reports of Ukrainian children being deported to Russia. Now Ukraine wants the issue addressed at next week’s G20 summit in Indonesia.

Presidential chief-of-staff Andriy Yermak released a statement saying: “The Russian Federation continues to commit its crimes in connection with Ukrainian children […] The removal of children continues.”

The statement also said that Ukraine’s National Information Bureau had shown that 10,500 children had been deported or forcibly displaced to Russia. The UN has called the claims “credible”.

The U.S. Institute of War has also cited Russian media sources confirming that Ukrainian children are being forcibly deported and adopted to Russian families.

Zelensky “Won’t Yield A Single Centimeter” Even As Donetsk Sees Heaviest Fighting

Aftermath of shelling in Donetsk

Mikhail Tereshchenko/TASS

Despite dozens of attacks reported on the eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk, President Volodymyr Zelensky said that the country “will not yield a single centimeter there.”

This comes as the towns of Bakhmut, Soledar and Avdiivka are witnessing the heaviest fighting in the Donetsk region since the Russian invasion on Feb. 24.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, Russian strikes hit more than 30 settlements in the Kherson and Mykolaiv regions. Multiple drone attacks on the southeastern Dnipropetrovsk region have also wounded people and damaged civilian facilities, according to the head of the regional military administration.

Russia And U.S. To Try To Resurrect Nuclear Treaty

Russia and the United States are looking to meet in the coming weeks to discuss resuming inspections of nuclear weapons facilities under the New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (New START), Bloomberg reports.

The treaty was put on hold after the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price did not specify when and where the meeting would take place, but two people in Moscow familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that the likely venue is Cairo.

In August, Russia banned U.S. inspectors from visiting its nuclear facilities. Moscow said the move was in response to visa restrictions that prevented Russians from entering the U.S.

$140 Million In Cash And Weapons: Details Emerge About Russia-Iran Drone Deal

A Russian military aircraft has delivered 140 million euros in cash and a number of seized UK and U.S. weapons to an airport in Tehran, Iran in August, Sky News reports, citing an unnamed source. In return, Iran provided Russia with more than 160 drones.

The Western munitions that Russia reportedly transported to Iran include a British NLAW anti-tank missile, a U.S. Javelin anti-tank missile, and a Stinger anti-aircraft missile. Sky News’ source claimed Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are planning to study the weapons and copy them for future use.

This revelation comes as Secretary of the Russian National Security Council, Mykola Patrushev, arrived in Tehran, invited by Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Iranian National Security Council. Patruchev is also set to meet with some other high ranking Iranian officials to discuss “further expansion of bilateral relations and international developments of mutual interest.”

Russian Tankers Sailing By Danish Front Page

“Russian gas is shipped to the EU like never before” writes Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten daily on its front page, as tankers carrying Russian natural gas sail past the Danish coast on their way to the rest of Europe. Although several countries have denied the ships access, the Danish daily reports that imports are breaking records.

U.S. And UK To Provide More Aid To Ukraine Ahead Of Winter

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it would provide an additional $25 million to Ukraine in order to help Ukrainians survive the harsh winter.

“With these new funds, the United States will expand upon its existing winterization planning and response efforts,” the statement reads.

The UK is also set to donate 12,000 sleeping kits for extremely cold weather and 150 heated tents to the Ukrainian military. The plan is to deliver 25,000 sets of extreme cold weather clothing by mid-December, ensuring troops are able to operate and survive the plunging temperatures in Ukraine.

North Korea Factories Busy Producing Winter Gear For Russian Soldiers

At least three factories in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang and a number of others in different parts of the country are producing “large quantities” of winter uniforms, underwear, and footwear for Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine, Radio Free Asia reports.

The factories are reportedly using Russian raw materials and plan to export finished uniforms via the Tumen River-Khasan freight train.

Sean Penn: The Oscar Goes To Zelensky

Sean Penn has given one of his Oscars to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a meeting Tuesday in Kyiv. “This is for you. It’s just a symbolic silly thing, but if I know this is here then I’ll feel better and strong enough for the fights,” Penn tells Zelensky in a video of the encounter. “When you win, bring it back to Malibu, because I’ll feel much better knowing there’s a piece of me here.”

Zelensky later gave an Order of Merit to Penn for his “sincere support and significant contribution to the popularization of Ukraine in the world.” Penn, who was filming a documentary in Ukraine when the Russian invasion began, has been one of the most outspoken celebrities supporting Kyiv and Zelensky.

Ukraine Postal Service Unveils Christmas Stamp, Designed By A Teenager

Stamp "Separated by war"

Ukrainian postal service

Ukraine’s post office released a holiday stamp designed by an 11th grade girl from Mykolaiv, Valeria Mykhailova, who was forced to flee her country. Her design was chosen after winning a public competition. The illustration, called “Separated by War,” is a split image of a woman sitting in front of a Christmas tree, contrasting with a soldier reloading his rifle.

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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