Your Friday briefing: Russia sentenced Britney Griner to 9 years

We cover Chinese military exercises in Taiwan and the sentencing of American basketball star Britney Greener.

A Russian court has sentenced Britney Griner, the WNBA star who has been in custody in Moscow since February, to nine years in a strict regime colony on drug charges.

The guilty verdict, which most experts see as preordained in a legal system in which defendants are rarely acquitted, leaves Griner’s fate a matter of diplomatic wrangling between Russia and the United States. for one of the world’s most famous arms dealers.

U.S. officials allege Greiner was mistakenly detained and held as a political bargaining chip. President Biden called the verdict “unacceptable.” now facing a difficult choice stand firm on your offer to trade arms dealer Victor Bout for Griner and another American, Paul Whelan, or sweeten the offer.

News from the war in Ukraine:


The Chinese military is currently conducting military live-fire tests in the waters surrounding Taiwan, a show of force meant to punish the island for hosting U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this week.

At least 11 Chinese missiles hit the seas north, south and east of Taiwan within 24 hours of Pelosi’s departure. The exercises, some of which are less than 10 miles from the Taiwanese coast, will also give Chinese forces valuable practice if one day they are ordered to surround and attack the island.

Although an inevitable conflict is unlikely, the exercise, which will last for three days, puts the region at a standstill. Tensions can escalate dangerously, especially if things go wrong. The Japanese government has stated that five Chinese missiles hit its exclusive economic zonethe first time anyone has landed in these waters.

US view: American officials expressed concern that the events could provoke an unintended confrontation between Chinese and Taiwanese forces, especially if the Chinese military launches a missile over the island or if an incursion into disputed airspace leads to an air conflict.

In China: On social media, many Chinese have been disappointed with Beijing’s limited response to Pelosi’s visit, especially given the harsh rhetoric of the government. Some netizens compared the military to China’s men’s soccer team, which caused ridicule in the country because it qualified for the World Cup only once.

Next stop: On Thursday, Pelosi met with political leaders in South Korea and made little to no response to China’s reaction. It is reported by the Associated Press.. The South Korean president, who is on vacation, spoke to her by phone rather than in person, which critics saw as a deliberate snub, referring to South Korea’s relationship with China.


Long criticized for ignoring the ill effects of climate change, Australia is the world’s third largest exporter of fossil fuels. took an important step towards reducing emissions.

The country’s lower house of parliament has passed a bill that would commit the government to cut carbon emissions by at least 43 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 and reach zero by 2050. It is expected to pass through the Senate in a few weeks.

“The effects of climate change are real. We need a real answer,” said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who advocated that commitment when he challenged the long-ruling conservative coalition in the May election. “The government is offering it.”

But this step is considered by many to be long overdue. A separate Australian Greens proposal that called for a 75 percent reduction in emissions by 2030 was rejected. Greens leader Adam Bandt argued that the government’s lower target would lead to the death of the Great Barrier Reef, which is expected to continue to struggle with current warming trends.

Global context: The 43 percent commitment brings Australia closer to cuts promised by Canada, South Korea and Japan, but still falls short of US, EU and UK commitments.

Efforts are being made in Ireland save the call of the corncrake – a small, shy bird related to the coot. Its sharp and monotonous cry is rarely heard today, but for the older generation it was a favorite sound of summer, evoking dreary memories of warm weather, haymaking and romantic nights.

For 119 years, the New Zealand All Blacks have dominated men’s rugby.

With three world titles and a record winning percentage of nearly 80 percent, no country in the world can beat them.

However, after a losing streak led to a humiliating drop in the world rankings, the team – and New Zealand – face a prospect that once seemed unthinkable: All Blacks in declineand this time they may not have the strength to bounce back.

The All Blacks have lost four of their last five matches, dropping to fourth in the world rankings, their lowest position ever. Their struggle has left New Zealand wondering not only why its most iconic representatives failed, but also what it means when the world’s best rugby team isn’t really the best.

Part of the answer? New Zealand has changed. While rugby continues to be an exciting sport for many, the number of men playing the game is declining as interest in other sports grows. A recent study found that only 7 percent of young New Zealanders play regularly.

That’s all for today’s briefing. See you next time. — Matthew

PS Matt Purdy was named Editor-at-Largenew leadership position at The Times.

Latest release”Dailyabout the abortion referendum in Kansas.

You can contact Matthew and the team at briefing@nytimes.com.