experienced some of the biggest population gains in 2021, adding about 221,000 and 93,000 residents through domestic migration. Phoenix and Tampa added newcomers especially rapidly. “As people have basically poured into these Sun Belt metros, that’s put additional demand on the housing market, and supply has struggled to keep up,” said Taylor Marr, an economist at Redfin. “A lot of the inflation variation is pretty correlated with these migration patterns.”

leases are 35 percent more expensive than at the start of the pandemic but have risen only 2 percent in the past six months, for instance.

Adam Kamins, a director at Moody’s Analytics who focuses on regional and local forecasting, said he expected inflation to begin to equalize across the country as price increases in the South fade more swiftly.

“I think there’s going to be some level of convergence in regional inflation,” Mr. Kamins said. “We just haven’t seen it yet.”

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Brittney Griner Is Sentenced to 9 Years in a Russian Penal Colony

The W.N.B.A. star Brittney Griner’s friends and colleagues expressed support and sadness for her after a Russian court found her guilty of attempting to smuggle illegal narcotics into Russia and sentenced her to nine years in a penal colony.

“Just really feeling sad and feeling sick for Brittney and hoping that she gets home as soon as possible,” said Breanna Stewart, a four-time W.N.B.A. All-Star who had played with Griner on the Russian team UMMC Yekaterinburg since 2020. “Now that the trial is done and the sentencing happened, I know she’s got to be in a very emotional state and just want her to know that we’re still continuing to do whatever we can to get her home.”

Griner has been detained in Russia since Feb. 17, when Russian customs officials at an airport near Moscow said they found hashish oil in vape cartridges in her luggage. Her trial began on July 1 and the conviction had been widely expected. The U.S. State Department has said that Griner is being wrongfully detained and that it has been working to negotiate her release.

Griner’s family has sought help from Bill Richardson, the former New Mexico governor who is working to secure the release of Griner and of Paul Whelan, a former Marine who has been detained in Russia since 2018.

“Today’s sentencing of Brittney Griner was severe by Russian legal standards and goes to prove what we have known all along, that Brittney is being used as a political pawn,” Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, said on Twitter. “We appreciate and continue to support the efforts of @POTUS and @SecBlinken to get a deal done swiftly to bring Brittney, Paul and all Americans home.”

Moments after the verdict, A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces tweeted “Free BG!” with an emoji of an orange heart. Dijonai Carrington of the Connecticut Sun tweeted “praying so hard for BG.”

The Phoenix Mercury released a statement calling Griner’s situation a nightmare.

“While we knew it was never the legal process that was going to bring our friend home, today’s verdict is a sobering milestone in the 168-day nightmare being endured by our sister, BG,” the Mercury’s statement said.

The W.N.B.A. players’ union posted a statement on Twitter from its executive director, Terri Carmichael Jackson, which called the verdict “unjust” and urged U.S. officials to do all they can to bring Griner home.

“Given her record of service on and off the court, BG deserves to come home,” the statement said.

It then called on the global sporting community to stand with Griner.

N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver and W.N.B.A. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert released a joint statement saying: “The W.N.B.A. and N.B.A.’s commitment to her safe return has not wavered, and it is our hope that we are near the end of this process of finally bringing BG home to the United States.”

Some N.B.A. players weighed in as well.

“Smh 9 Years…. Free BG,” Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat said on Twitter.

Nets star Kyrie Irving tweeted: “What is truly happening with our Queen @brittneygriner @POTUS @VP? Please give us an Update.”

Representative Colin Allred, Democrat of Texas, has been working to secure Griner’s release since March.

“Folks must remember that this conviction is all part of a sham trial and Brittney was wrongfully detained,” Allred said on Twitter. “It is just another cynical way for Russia to try and gain leverage.”

Debbie Jackson, Griner’s high school basketball coach, held back tears after learning of Griner’s verdict. Jackson recruited Griner, then a volleyball player, to play basketball at Nimitz High School in Houston, setting her on a path toward stardom on the court.

“It makes me sick that that was the decision,” Jackson said. “I was trying to be optimistic, even fully aware that when you’re dealing with Russia, things don’t go the way you would hope they would.” She said she hoped Griner “can remain hopeful that our State Department will work on a prison swap for her and other Americans that are in prison over there.”

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U.S. basketball star Griner admits Russian drugs charge but denies intent

  • This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine

KHIMKI, Russia, July 7 (Reuters) – U.S. basketball star Brittney Griner pleaded guilty to a drugs charge in a Russian court on Thursday but denied she had intentionally broken the law.

Griner was speaking at the second hearing of her trial on a narcotics charge that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, days after she urged U.S. President Joe Biden to secure her release. read more

“I’d like to plead guilty, your honour. But there was no intent. I didn’t want to break the law,” Griner said, speaking quietly in English which was then translated into Russian for the court.

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“I’d like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare,” she added.

The next court hearing was scheduled for July 14.

Griner’s lawyers told reporters they were hoping for the most lenient sentencing possible, taking into account “the nature of her case, the insignificant amount of the substance and BG’s personality and history of positive contributions to global and Russian sport.”

“We, as her defense, explained to her the possible consequences. Brittney stressed that she committed the crime out of carelessness, getting ready to board a plane to Russia in a hurry, not intending to break Russian law,” said Griner’s attorney, Maria Blagovolina, a partner at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin and Partners law firm.

“We certainly hope this circumstance, in combination with the defence evidence, will be taken into account when passing the sentence, and it will be mild.”

Griner’s legal team said it expected the trial to conclude around the beginning of August: “Brittney sets an example of being brave.”

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, was detained in February at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport with vape cartridges containing hashish oil, which is illegal in Russia, and has been kept in custody since.

The WNBA’s players association released a statement reiterating its support for the eight-time All-Star.

Griner will be recognised as an honorary starter at this weekend’s WNBA All-Star Game.

“The WNBA continues to work diligently with the U.S. State Department, the White House, and other allies in and outside government to get Brittney home safely and as soon as possible,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

The White House said Griner’s guilty plea would have no impact on U.S. negotiations to bring her home.

In a handwritten note, Griner appealed to Biden directly earlier this week to step up U.S. efforts to bring her home.

“I realize you are dealing with so much, but please don’t forget about me and the other American detainees…” Griner wrote. “Please do all you can to bring us home.”

Biden spoke to Griner’s wife on Wednesday, telling her he was working to have the basketball star released “as soon as possible”, the White House said. read more

Officials from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow attended Griner’s trial and delivered a letter to her from Biden, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

“We will not relent until Brittney, Paul Whelan and all other wrongfully detained Americans are reunited with their loved ones,” he tweeted, referring to former U.S. Marine Whelan who has been imprisoned in Russia since 2018 on espionage charges.

‘BARGAINING CHIP’

U.S. officials and many athletes have called for the release of Griner – or “BG” as she is known to basketball fans – who they say has been wrongfully detained.

Her case has prompted concerns that Moscow could use it as leverage to negotiate the release of a high-profile Russian citizen in U.S. custody.

Griner, a centre for the Phoenix Mercury in the Women’s National Basketball Association, had played for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian Women’s Basketball Premier League to boost her income during the WNBA off-season, like several other U.S. players.

Russian authorities say there is no basis to consider Griner’s detention illegal and that the case against her is not political despite Moscow’s fraught relations with the United States over the Russian military intervention in Ukraine.

Moscow’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Thursday that it was difficult to exchange prisoners with the United States and suggested Washington stop talking about the fate of Griner. read more

Asked about Ryabkov’s remarks, the State Department said it would not comment on speculation.

“Using the practice of wrongful detention as a bargaining chip represents a threat to the safety of everyone traveling, working and living abroad. The United States opposes this practice everywhere,” a State Department spokesperson said.

The Russian foreign ministry has said Griner could appeal her sentence or apply for clemency once a verdict has been delivered.

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Reporting by Reuters
Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Amy Tennery
Editing by Guy Faulconbridge, Frances Kerry and Howard Goller

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Starbucks CEO Schultz says days of ‘false promises’ are over, article with image

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Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz delivers remarks at the Starbucks 2016 Investor Day in Manhattan, New York, U.S. December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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April 15 (Reuters) – Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said there have been “a lot of false promises over the last few years” and assured his employees that those “days are over” in a video addressed to the company’s employees on Monday.

“We are going to make promises that we will keep, promises that are real and going to solve the problems that exist in your stores,” Schulz said in the video released to Reuters on Friday.

Schultz, who returned to lead the company for the third time last month, is in the midst of dealing with a growing union drive at U.S. cafes. read more

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He added that he plans to focus on issues raised by employees in their “co-creation sessions” such as need for more training, need for guaranteed hours, problems with ice machines breaking, maintenance and repairs not coming in a timely manner.

“I have realized there have been many short term decisions that have had an adverse affect. We are going to reverse that,” the CEO who has been practically synonymous with the company he took over in 1987 said.

Baristas at more than 170 U.S. Starbucks locations have asked the NLRB for union elections since August, with at least 10 locations voting in favor of the Workers United union. read more

Last month, a federal labor board accused Starbucks of unlawfully retaliating against two employees in a Phoenix, Arizona, cafe for trying to unionize their store.

The same day, a group of investors with $3.4 trillion under management urged the company to stop sending anti-union communications to its employees and to adopt a neutral policy towards unions.

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Reporting by Kannaki Deka in Bengaluru

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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