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Archive for March, 2022

The human body is often seen through a male lens. 30 female photographers present a different view

Wind Form" (2014) by Prue Stent and Honey Long

Before film was invented, early portrait photographers first discovered the titillating pleasure of exposing images of nudes on silver copper plates. Since then, the male gaze has largely shaped how bodies are visualized in printed media.
Many of the most iconic images of the coach outlet body have been taken by men — think Edward Weston’s gentle black-and-white photograph of his muse, or Mario Sorrenti’s erotic campaign of Kate Moss for Calvin Klein. Meanwhile, less space has been given to female pioneers like Imogen Cunningham or Ana Mendieta, who turned their lenses on themselves.
But a new exhibition at Fotografiska New York features 30 contemporary female artists who offer new perspectives on the naked form as a symbol of beauty, self-expression, identity, eroticism or politics — and not just the slender female forms overrepresented in media, but a range of cis, non-binary and trans figures of all skin tones and body types.
"Jackie & Megane" (2019) by Bettina Pittaluga
Linking the myriad imagery is a sense of human connection, from French photographer Bettina Pittaluga’s inviting portraits that welcome the viewer into her subjects’ homes, to Israeli-American photographer Elinor Carruci’s candid documentation of her marriage as she and her husband age.
“Historically the female perspective has been precluded in this narrative of what the nude body means and how it should be shown,” said Amanda Hajjar, the museum’s director of exhibitions, in a phone interview. The show previously ran at the museum’s Stockholm location and was curated by Johan Vikner.
In “Nude” the body isn’t just an object of desire, but a vessel for strength, wisdom and intimacy; a marker of transition; and a site of history and violence.
"Tranquilo" (2016) by Dana Scruggs
Australian photographers Prue Stent and Honey Long depict vivid, playful images of women wrapped in billowing cotton-candy fabric, tapping into the magic and vivacity of life. Japanese photographer Momo Okabe takes intimate nude portraits of her transgender friends and acquaintances using intense neon lighting to heighten swarovski jewelry emotion. American photographer Dana Scruggs focuses on the beautiful subtleties of dark skin and the elegance of the naked male form, both of which are less seen in fine art and editorial imagery. And Swedish photographer Arvida Byström questions how objects and colors are coded as feminine through cheeky, social media-literate images.
A 2016 photo by Arvida Byström appears in the 'Nude' exhibition.
There are installations, videos and works around performance too, the last of which includes photographs of Nigerian artist Jenevieve Aken, who rallies against violence and injustice toward women by taking on the spirit form of “La bella Elvira,” a 22-year-old Italian girl who was murdered in a village near Pisa 75 years ago, and whose case was never solved.
Overall, the women represent 20 nationalities, with their ages ranging from mid-20s to mid-50s.
“What really stands out is how global this show is. There is a real understanding that Western ideals of nudity are not necessarily what everybody is experiencing in the world,” Hajjar said.
“We need more African artists, Asian artists (and) South American artists at the forefront of contemporary photography.”

Madeleine Albright, first female US secretary of state, dies

Madeleine Albright, the first female US secretary of state and who helped steer Western foreign policy in the aftermath of the Cold War, has died. She was 84 years old.

The cause was cancer, Albright’s family said in a statement Wednesday.
Albright was a central figure in President Bill Clinton’s administration, first serving as US ambassador to the United Nations before becoming the nation’s top diplomat in his second term. She championed the expansion of NATO, pushed for the alliance to intervene in the Balkans to stop genocide and ethnic cleansing, sought to reduce the spread of nuclear weapons, and championed human rights and democracy across the globe.
President Joe Biden paid tribute to Albright in a lengthy statement Wednesday, calling her a “force” and saying working with her during the 1990s while he was on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was among the highlights of his Senate career.
“When I think of Madeleine, I will always remember her fervent faith that ‘America is the indispensable nation,'” said Biden, who ordered flags at the White House and all federal buildings to be flown at half-staff in Albright’s honor.
“Few leaders have been so perfectly suited for the times in which they served,” Clinton red wing shoes said in a statement. “As a child in war-torn Europe, Madeleine and her family were twice forced to flee their home. When the end of the Cold War ushered in a new era of global interdependence, she became America’s voice at the UN, then took the helm at the State Department, where she was a passionate force for freedom, democracy, and human rights.”
Clinton later told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he had recently spoken with his former top diplomat.
She “spent the entire conversation talking about how Ukraine had to be defended and that we had put a lot of those who said we had made a mistake to expand NATO — she said (Russia’s) not going after NATO yet,” Clinton said on “The Situation Room.”
“She just wanted to support whatever we could do to back Ukraine. And that’s all she wanted to talk about. She was happy. She was upbeat,” he added. “And she didn’t want to venture into her health challenges. She said, ‘I’m being treated, I’m doing the best I can. The main thing we can all do now is to think about the world we want to leave for our kids.'”
Albright was a face of US foreign policy in the decade between the end of the Cold War and the war on terror triggered by the September 11, 2001, attacks, an era heralded by President George H.W. Bush as a “new world order.” The US, particularly in Iraq and the Balkans, built international coalitions and occasionally intervened militarily to roll back autocratic regimes, and Albright — a self-identified “pragmatic idealist” who coined the term “assertive multilateralism” to describe the Clinton administration’s foreign policy — drew from her experience growing up in a family that fled the Nazis and communists in mid-20th century Europe to shape her worldview.
She saw the US as the “indispensable nation” when it came to using diplomacy backed by the use of force to defend democratic values around the world.
“We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us,” she told NBC in 1998. “I know that the American men and women in uniform are always prepared to sacrifice for freedom, democracy and the American way of life.”
Perhaps most notable were her efforts to bring about an end to violence in the Balkans, and she was crucial in pushing Clinton to intervene in Kosovo in 1999 to prevent a genocide against ethnic Muslims by former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. She was haunted by the earlier failure of the Clinton administration to end the genocide in Bosnia.
The breakup of communist Yugoslavia into several independent states, including Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, in the 1990s generated savage bloodshed unseen on the continent since World War II. The term “ethnic cleansing” became synonymous with Bosnia, where Serb forces loyal to Milosevic tried to carve out a separate state by forcing out the non-Serb civilian population.
The Clinton administration did not intervene until the massacre at Srebrenica in 1995, when Serbs killed 8,000 thorogood boots Muslim men and boys, which led to the US-brokered Dayton Peace Plan. But when Milosevic then tried to move his ethno-nationalist plan to Kosovo, the Clinton administration gathered a coalition to stop him doing there what he had gotten away with in Bosnia.
Albright accused Milosevic of creating “a horror of biblical proportions” in his “desire to exterminate a group of people” — Kosovo’s Muslim majority. She came under heated criticism in Washington at the time, with some calling the NATO airstrikes “Albright’s War” while others accused her of misjudging Milosevic’s resolve. To that end, Albright said in 1999, “I take full responsibility along with my colleagues for believing that it was essential for us not to stand by and watch what Milosevic was planning to do,” adding that “we cannot watch crimes against humanity.”
Ultimately, the US-led coalition did stop Serbian aggression, and Kosovo declared independence in 2008.

Miss World crowned amid calls for peace in Ukraine

Miss Poland Karolina Bielawska (C) smiles after winning the 70th Miss World beauty pageant at the Coca-Cola Music Hall in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 16, 2022.

Poland’s Karolina Bielawska was crowned the 70th Miss World on Wednesday, with contestants and organizers expressing solidarity with Ukrainians during an on-stage candle tribute at the televised finale.
Bielawska, who works as a model and is studying for a master’s degree, claimed the title in Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan, three months after the contest was delayed due to a Covid-19 outbreak. Miss USA, Shree Saini, oofos shoes was named first runner-up, while Ivory Coast’s Olivia Yacé took the second runner-up spot.
As well as the usual performances and live judging, the glitzy ceremony featured messages of support for Ukraine following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of the country, which shares a border with Poland. In one segment, Jamaica’s Toni-Ann Singh, who won Miss World in 2019, sung a rendition of Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli’s “The Prayer” as those on stage and in the audience held candles aloft.
Miss World 2019 Toni-Ann Singh sings "The Prayer" during the 70th Miss World beauty pageant at the Coca-Cola Music Hall in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Miss World 2019 Toni-Ann Singh sings “The Prayer” during the 70th Miss World beauty pageant at the Coca-Cola Music Hall in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The words “a prayer for peace” appeared on a screen behind the finalists. The official Miss World Twitter account tweeted that the performance was part of the pageant’s efforts to “stand with Ukraine.” Organizers also said that more than 7,000 candles had been prepared for the show, which was broadcast in over 100 countries.
In a statement published prior to the pageant, CEO of Miss World Ltd., Julia Morley, said: “We must do something, even if it may seem never enough to light one candle, if we all light a candle together we can change the world,” while inviting people around the world to “shine their light for Ukraine” and post images to social media.
Earlier this week, Miss World organizers published a video message from 2016’s Miss Ukraine, Oleksandra Kucherenko. Against a virtual backdrop of footage from the conflict, she appealed to countries around the world “to support us, to close the sky above Ukraine and to save the world (from a) nuclear catastrophe,” adding: “Our peace is your peace.”
The current Miss Ukraine, Oleksandra Yaremchuk, who did not qualify for the final event, is currently in Kyiv, the organization said.
Miss Poland Karolina Bielawska waves after winning the 70th Miss World beauty pageant.
Miss Poland Karolina Bielawska waves after winning the 70th Miss World beauty pageant.
Initially scheduled for December, the Miss World pageant was postponed after multiple people linked to the event — including 23 of the 97 contestants — tested positive for Covid-19 with just days to go.
Only the 40 semi-finalists were invited back for Wednesday’s rearranged event, which was hosted by the English singer and TV personality Peter Andre and the Mexican singer coach outlet and actor Fernando Allende.
Preliminary competitions had already taken place by that time, with Yacé named winner of the pageant’s Top Model portion, Mongolian representative Burte-Ujin Anu winning the Miss World Talent content and Mexico’s Karolina Vidales named Miss World Sports.

A 13-year-old was behind the wheel in Texas crash that killed 9 people and left two University of the Southwest golfers critically injured

A 13-year-old boy drove the pickup truck involved in a fiery head-on collision in Texas that killed nine people, including six University of the Southwest golfers and their coach, a National Transportation Safety Board official said Thursday.

Preliminary information indicates the left front tire of the pickup was a spare that failed, causing the vehicle to pull hard to the left into oncoming traffic of a two-lane roadway, NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg said.
Investigators were able to identify the remains of the driver by his size, Landsberg said. Both vehicles were probably moving close to the posted speed limit of 75 mph, he said.
In Texas, a minor can begin the classroom part of a driver education course at 14 but must be at least 15 to apply for a learner license, swarovski jewelry according to the public safety department website.
Henrich Siemens, 38, of Seminole, Texas, was in the truck with the boy, authorities said. He was among the nine people killed in the Tuesday evening crash.
The students are recovering and making steady progress, University of the Southwest Provost Ryan Tipton said Thursday.
“One of the students is eating chicken soup,” Tipton told reporters. “I spoke with the parents and they are there with them and they are recovering every day. It’s a game of inches and every hour leads to them one step closer to another day… There is no indication as to how long it’s going to take but they are both stable and recovering and every day making more and more progress.”
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), a Dodge 2500 pickup drove into the approaching lane of a highway just outside Andrews, Texas, and hit a Ford Transit van carrying members of the New Mexico university’s men’s and women’s golf teams.
DPS Sgt. Steven Blanco said “the Dodge pickup drove into the northbound lane and struck the Ford passenger van head on.”
Six students and a coach in the van were killed as were the driver of the pickup and a passenger. Two other golfers were initially in critical condition at University Medical Center of Lubbock, Texas, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
The NTSB dispatched a 12-member team to investigate.
A makeshift memorial was set up at the Rockwind Community Links in Hobbs, New Mexico, Wednesday.
“It was very clearly a high speed, head on collision between two heavy vehicles,” Landsberg told reporters.
Landsberg said in it’s unclear why the full-sized spare blew out before the crash.
“On the highways 100 people (are killed) a day,” he said. “Every two days we are killing the equivalent of a Boeing 737 crashing. Now just think about that. That’s what’s putting this into perspective. And it’s long overdue that we start to do something about it.”
Emergency responders heading to the crash were told by a dispatcher there were two vehicles on fire with people trapped inside, according to recordings on Broadcastify.com, which monitors radio traffic among many emergency departments.
One of the first responders to arrive said: “All units, I’ve got wrecked units on both sides of the highway, fully involved vehicles. I’m still trying to get up on scene and see what we have.”
Members of the men’s and women’s golf teams at the University of Southwest were traveling back to their Hobbs, New Mexico, campus from a tournament in Midland, Texas, school officials said.
The remainder of the red wing shoes two-day tournament, hosted by Midland College, was canceled. There were 11 schools in the competition, which included both men’s and women’s teams, Midland College Athletic Director Forrest Allen said.
The weather in the area of the crash was clear with no fog, CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers said. There were no freezing temperatures, and the wind was light at around 5 to 8 mph.
As investigators worked to determine what caused the deadly collision, the University of the Southwest is dealing with the emotional toll on its community.
“Our institution is crushed and broken but strong,” Paula Smith, the university’s vice president for financial services, said Thursday.
Many students at the small Christian university — with an enrollment of about 1,100 students, including about 300 on campus — will be returning from spring break over the weekend, and the school is planning a memorial assembly for next week, according to Tipton, the provost.
“These aren’t the kind of things that you ever even dream of happening. And they shouldn’t happen,” he said.
Tipton said officials have said they may never know what caused the pickup truck to veer into the van’s path.
“For any of you that have lost a loved one or a member of your family, it’s the same feeling here,” he said. “They’re not only students and coaches. They are loved ones to us. They are members of our family here on campus.”
One victim was Laci Stone, a freshman member of the women’s golf team who was majoring in global business management, according to a family member.
The six USW student athletes killed in a crash Tuesday were identified as (top row, left to right) Laci Stone, Jackson Zinn, Karisa Raines, (bottom row, left to right) Mauricio Sanchez, Travis Garcia and Tiago Sousa.
“Last night Laci’s golf team was involved in a crash leaving a golf tournament. Our sweet Laci didn’t make it.,” Laci’s mother, Chelsi Stone, posted on Facebook. “Our Laci is gone! She has been an absolute ray of sunshine during this short time on earth.”
Laci, 18, of Nocona, Texas, was one of three siblings.
“We will never be the same after this and we just don’t understand how this happened to our amazing, beautiful, smart, joyful girl,” her mother said.
The school identified the other students who died as Mauricio Sanchez, 19, of Mexico; Travis Garcia, 19, of Pleasanton, Texas; Jackson Zinn, 22, of Westminster, Colorado; Karisa Raines, 21, of Fort Stockton, Texas; and Tiago Sousa, 18, of Portugal.
USW President Quint Thurman confirmed the death of coach Tyler James, who was 26.
“Great coach and a wonderful man,” Thurman said in an email. “Don’t make them any better!”
Coach Tyler James.
James’ bio on the school website said he was in his first season as head coach and played golf at Ottawa University and Howard Payne University.
“He always cared for us and made sure we were always doing good on and off the golf course,” said freshman Phillip Lopez, who did not participate in the tournament.
“I just can’t believe that my teammates and my coach are gone,” Lopez told CNN.
Students Dayton Price, 19, of Mississauga, Ontario, and Hayden Underhill, 20, of Amherstview, Ontario, were hospitalized. GoFundMe fundraisers were started to help pay for victims’ funeral and medical expenses.

Putin’s chilling warning to Russian ‘traitors’ and ‘scum’ is a sign things aren’t going to plan

Western leaders and security agencies are spending huge amounts of resources on getting into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s head. It’s a futile exercise — at times when the West has thought Russia’s war in Ukraine might be losing steam, Putin has doubled down, sending his forces to bomb maternity hospitals and shelters harboring children.

Now, an apparent pause in the advancement of Russian troops has the West guessing: Has Russia’s war effort stalled? Or is it a tactical regrouping?
Either way, an incendiary Stalinesque speech on Wednesday night red wing shoes  in which Putin called Russians opposing the war “traitors” marked a change in tone and a sign that not all is going to plan, experts said. Perhaps more worrying, many observers saw it as a sign that the head of the Russian state, facing setback in Ukraine, would take a vengeful turn at home and crack down more forcefully than ever on any sign of dissent.
While some Russians support the war, many others are protesting against it in the streets, fully aware they will be rounded up by heavily armed police even for the most peaceful of demonstrations. The Russian state has made mass protests illegal, and now, insulting the military is against the law. Still, people show up in groups, while others demonstrate entirely alone. Even lone protesters have been detained, social media videos have shown.
A journalist who jumped on camera on a state-controlled news program, holding an anti-war sign, has become a cause celebré for free speech in Russia. A renowned ballerina has left the Bolshoi. Russian prisoners of war are calling Putin out for using propaganda to justify the war.
'We all will be judged.' Russian prisoners of war voice disquiet, shame over war in Ukraine
Putin, who has enjoyed consistently high ratings in Russia, is now turning to a strategy of intimidation to keep Russians on side, experts said. His speech Wednesday hinted darkly that those Russians who do not side with him were, in essence, traitors — chilling words in a country where mass political repressions and the Gulag system are still within living memory.
“The West will try to rely on the so-called fifth column, on national traitors, on those who earn money here with us but live there. And I mean ‘live there’ not even in the geographical sense of the word, but according to their thoughts, their slavish consciousness,” Putin said. The “fifth column” usually refers to sympathizers of the enemy during a war.
“Such people who by their very nature, are mentally located there, and not here, are not with our people, not with Russia,” Putin said, mocking them as the type that “cannot live without oysters and gender freedom.”
“But any people, and even more so the Russian people, will always be able to distinguish true patriots from scum and traitors, and simply spit them out like a gnat that accidentally flew into their mouths, spit them out on the pavement,” he said.
For Tatiana Stanovaya, founder of the political analysis firm R. Politik, Putin’s speech proved the leader’s plan has derailed.
“It seems to me that oofos shoes everything is starting to crumble with Putin. This speech of his is despair, strong emotion, impotence,” she wrote on her official Telegram account.
Pointing to the situation in Russia, Stanovaya argues that Putin is losing the battle of popularity, too.
“This is the beginning of the end. Yes, they will twist everyone’s elbows, lock them up, imprison them, but it is already all without a future … Everything will crack and slip.”
Elisabeth Braw, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, said Putin’s speech reflected how isolated the Russian leader had become.
“What we saw as the war began, and what we have seen since — including last night’s speech — is really the result of a man whose entire world takes place inside his head,” Braw told CNN, explaining how Putin had isolated intensely during the pandemic and was now more cut off as Western sanctions batter the Russian economy.
How long can Ukraine hold out in the war for the skies?
She said that he was likely surprised and angered by how far the West has gone with sanctions, and was now worried of the backlash that would likely soon come from the Russian people.
“There is a sort of humiliation of a country that is now seeing McDonald’s close, where Russians are flocking to IKEA to get every last item that’s available before it leaves the country — that is humiliating, and of course, also rather frightening when you think of the potential reaction among the Russian public once these consumer goods are no longer available,” she said.
Putin’s ominous warning to Russians came as the UK’s Defense Ministry said the invasion had “largely stalled on all fronts.”
“Russian forces have made minimal progress on land, sea or air in recent days and they continue to suffer heavy losses,” the ministry tweeted Thursday, adding that Ukrainian resistance remained “staunch and well-coordinated.”
That chimes with the assessment from a senior US defense official, who told reporters on Monday that Russian forces in and around several key cities had made no appreciable progress over the prior weekend.
It may be wishful thinking to read so much into this pause. Russia’s military is far mightier than Ukraine’s by every measure. Any “stall” is more likely to be tactical than a sign of Russia backing down.
Nonetheless, Russia’s invasion hasn’t brought easy pickings for Putin. In 2014, Russia was able to annex Crimea in around three weeks — the same amount of time this war has raged so far. Ukraine’s resistance, propped up by weapons sent from the West, has been greater than coach outlet Putin had calculated, experts said.
That’s clear by the way Russian forces are now bombing civilian targets indiscriminately. They are also showing signs of being stretched to their limits.
A public intelligence assessment report released Tuesday by the UK Defense Ministry said that Russia was calling up reinforcements from across the entire country. This includes the eastern section of the Russian Federation, troops in the Pacific Fleet and Armenia, as well as fighters from “private military companies, Syrians, and other mercenaries.”
The journalist who protested on Russian state TV says it was 'impossible to stay silent'
Braw said that the stall in Russian forces’ movement was likely the result of Russia working out next steps.
“Russia clearly counted on a swift and decisive success, which didn’t happen. They face more united, better trained Ukrainian fighters than Russia appreciated,” she said. “So they went to Plan B, which was brutal warfare, but Ukraine is standing firm. They are winning back towns, they recently liberated a local mayor who was taken captive. So if that’s not working, what’s Plan C?”
At the very least, Ukraine’s resistance has put the country in a better place for negotiations with Putin than it would have been at the start of the war, Braw said.
What Putin won’t want is to lose many more soldiers, she added.
“If Russia returns from the Ukrainian war with a completely decimated military, it’s clearly pursued the wrong strategy.”

Damage to Snake Island, where Ukrainian troops defiantly rejected surrender, seen in satellite photo

The first clear satellite image has emerged of Snake Island, where Ukrainian defenders famously responded to the threat of Russian invasion with the words: “Russian warship, go f*** yourself.”

The image, taken on Sunday by Maxar Technologies, shows damage to some buildings from Russian military strikes, as well as a Russian naval vessel anchored in the Black Sea. It backs reports from the beginning of the Russian invasion that the island came under assault after its Ukrainian garrison rejected Russian surrender demands.
The Ukrainian troops were all killed — and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said they would be “awarded the title of Hero of Ukraine posthumously” — but later the Ukrainian military said they were “alive and well” and taken prisoner.
According to the Ukrainian Navy, the garrison on the island repelled two attacks by Russian forces but in the end was forced to surrender “due to the lack of ammunition.”
A Ukrainian statement said that Russian attackers oofos shoes destroyed the island’s infrastructure, including lighthouses, towers and antennas — some of the damage that can now be seen in the new satellite photo.
In the image, some of the red-roofed buildings in the island’s center are shown to have been significantly damaged by Russian shelling. Although parts of the island are snow-covered, impact craters can be seen dotting the island.
The ship seen offshore was identified by Maxar as a Ropucha-class landing ship.
Snake Island, also known as Zmiinyi Island, sits about 30 miles (48 kilometers) off the Ukrainian mainland’s southern tip in the northwestern Black Sea. It’s about 185 miles west of Crimea, the Ukrainian territory that Russia annexed in 2014.
Though it is only about 46 acres (18 hectares) in size, a report last year from the non-partisan Atlantic Council think tank called it “key to Ukraine’s maritime territorial claims” in the Black Sea.
Highlighting its strategic importance, Zelensky chose Snake Island last year as the spot for an interview with Ukrainian media in advance of a summit to try to reverse Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the Atlantic Council report said.

Russia has requested military and economic assistance from China, US officials say

National security adviser Jake Sullivan talks to reporters at the White House on December 7, 2021, in Washington, DC.

It’ll be ‘very difficult’ to get detained US basketball star Brittney Griner out of Russia, lawmaker says

For days, family and friends have been clamoring for the release of two-time Olympic champion Brittney Griner after she was detained in Russia on drug charges.

Now, hundreds of strangers have joined the effort as US-Russian tensions escalate amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Griner, 31, is a championship-winning oofos shoes player with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and spends her offseasons playing for the Russian team UMMC Ekaterinburg.
The Russian Federal Customs Service said an American at Sheremetyevo Airport was carrying hash oil. Russia’s Interfax News Agency quoted a statement from the Customs Service, which did not identify the traveler by name:
“As a US citizen was passing through the green channel at Sheremetyevo Airport upon arriving from New York, a working dog from the Sheremetyevo customs canine department detected the possible presence of narcotic substances in the accompanying luggage,” the statement said.
“The customs inspection of the hand luggage being carried by the US citizen confirmed the presence of vapes with specifically smelling liquid, and an expert determined that the liquid was cannabis oil (hash oil), which is a narcotic substance.”
The customs agency said the arrest happened in February, but the exact date was not given. The New York Times was first to report Griner’s arrest. Her whereabouts since her arrest also remain uncertain.
Griner’s ordeal comes as the Russian invasion of Ukraine is in its second week. President Vladimir Putin issued a series of threats Saturday against Ukraine and Western powers, saying the sanctions introduced on his country are “equivalent of a declaration of war.”
A member of the US House Armed Services Committee said “it’s going to be very difficult” to get Griner out of Russia.
“Our diplomatic relationships with Russia are nonexistent at the moment,” Democratic Rep. John Garamendi of California told CNN on Monday.
“Perhaps during the various negotiations coach outlet that may take place, she might be able to be one of the solutions. I don’t know.”
He also noted that “Russia has some very, very strict LGBT rules and laws” — though it’s not clear whether those rules and laws might impact Griner’s case.
But the Biden administration is working on trying to get Griner out of Russia, members of the Congressional Black Caucus said after meeting with President Joe Biden on Monday.
“The best news we got today was that they know about it and that she’s on the agenda,” Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who represents Griner’s hometown of Houston, Texas, told reporters.
Noting a potential 10-year-sentence for Griner, Jackson Lee added: “We know about Britney Griner, and we know that we have to move on her situation.”

Hundreds petition for Griner’s release

More than 1,000 people have signed the “Secure Brittney Griner’s Swift and Safe Return to the U.S.” petition on Change.org.
Journalist Tamryn Spruill, who covers women’s basketball, started the online petition Saturday.
“Griner is a beloved global citizen who has used her platform since her entry into the WNBA to help others,” Spruill wrote on the petition’s web page.
“Griner was in Russia for work: playing for UMMC Ekaterinburg, where in 2021 she helped the team win its fifth EuroLeague Women championship.”
Spruill explained why many female professional basketball players in the US work overseas. “Like many athletes competing in the WNBA, Griner plays abroad during the WNBA offseason because her salary is exponentially higher in other countries,” Spruill wrote.
“For WNBA players, that means playing abroad, while NBA rookies who haven’t played a professional game yet are handed salaries many-times higher that what title-winning, All-Star designated WNBA veterans could ever hope for,” the petition says.
“These realities are not the fault of the players. They simply want to be paid their worth like their male counterparts, and they do not deserve to be entangled in geopolitical turmoil for doing so.”

‘There are no words to express this pain’

Griner’s wife described the agony of waiting in an Instagram post on Monday.
“People say ‘stay busy.’ Yet, there’s not a task in this world that could keep any of us from worrying about you. My heart, our hearts, are all skipping beats everyday that swarovski jewelry goes by.” Cherelle Griner wrote.
“There are no words to express this pain. I’m hurting, we’re hurting.”
On Saturday, she thanked supporters in a post and asked for privacy.
“I understand that many of you have grown to love BG over the years and have concerns and want details,” Cherelle Griner wrote. “Please honor our privacy as we continue to work on getting my wife home safely.”
But Griner’s fate remains unclear.
A criminal case has been opened against the US citizen arrested, Interfax reported, citing Russia’s customs service.
A spokesperson for the US State Department said the agency is “aware of reports of a US citizen arrested in Moscow.”
“Whenever a US citizen is arrested overseas, we stand ready to provide all appropriate consular services,” the spokesperson told CNN on Saturday.
CNN has reached out to Griner’s representative for comment.
Her high school basketball coach, Debbie Jackson, remembers Griner as an athlete with determination and grit.
But Jackson told CNN she worries Griner’s case will be used for political purposes.
“My biggest fear is that … she will become a political pawn,” Jackson said.

Playing in Russia for years

Griner has played with Russia’s UMMC Ekaterinburg since 2015 during the WNBA offseason. In five games this season, she has averaged 13.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
The star player, who won the WNBA championship with the Mercury in 2014, averaged 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last season with Phoenix.
Griner is also a two-time medalist at the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Championship with Team USA.
USA Basketball, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the Mercury and the WNBA players’ union publicly shared their concerns for Griner.
USA Basketball, the governing body for sport in the United States, said it is “aware of and closely monitoring the legal situation facing Brittney Griner in Russia. Brittney has always handled herself with the utmost professionalism during her long tenure with USA Basketball and her safety and wellbeing are our primary concerns.”
The WNBA said Griner has its “full support,” adding its main priority is “her swift and safe return to the United States.”
The Women’s National Basketball Players Association said it is “aware of the situation in Russia concerning one of our members, Brittney Griner.”
“Our utmost concern is BG’s safety and well-being,” the WNBPA said. “We will continue to closely monitor and look forward to her return to the US.”
The Phoenix Mercury said it is “closely monitoring the situation with Brittney Griner in Russia” as they remain in “constant contact with her family, her representation, the WNBA and NBA. We love and support Brittney and at this time our main concern is her safety, physical and mental health, and her safe return home.”

World No. 1 Ko Jin-young shatters records in HSBC Women’s World Championship win

Ko Jin-young celebrates winning the HSBC Women's World Championship at Sentosa Golf Club on March 6, 2022 in Singapore.

Thousands of acres near Panama City are torched as Florida Panhandle wildfires continue

Florida Forest Service crew members at the Adkins Avenue Fire on Sunday.