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Water bacteria cancels Tokyo 2020 paratriathlon test swim

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The swimming section of a paratriathlon test event for Tokyo 2020 was cancelled Saturday due to high levels of bacteria in the water, the latest in a series of difficulties over water quality and temperature.

Olympic organizers have won widespread praise for their preparations but extreme summer heat and poor water quality have brought headaches at practice events, with less than a year to go until the opening ceremony.

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The International Triathlon Union (ITU) shelved the swimming leg after tests showed levels of e-coli more than double the acceptable standard.

The 70 paratriathletes instead competed in a duathlon format with two runs and a bike race.

“I’m so sorry for athletes that we could not prepare the competition conditions effectively,” Shinichiro Otsuka, managing director of Japan’s Triathlon Union, told reporters.

“It was regrettable,” he said, vowing to step up preparations for Sunday’s Mixed Relay.

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Former British paralympic triathlete Clare Cunningham tweeted that Saturday’s decision to abridge the race was “disappointing for all”.

It was the latest setback at a test event for Olympic organizers after extreme temperatures women’s triathlon run was cut short due to extreme heat in the Japanese capital on Thursday, with French triathlete Cassandre Beaugrand was taken to hospital for suspected heatstroke.

Around a dozen competitors and spectators also fell ill at a rowing test event, also due to high temperatures, as Tokyo swelters through a deadly heatwave.

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Competitors at a marathon swimming test event on Sunday complained of smelly water and high water temperature at Odaiba Bay, the location for long-distance swimming and triathlon.

Organisers are desperate to avoid the embarrassment of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, when the pool used for diving events turned an unsettling shade of green overnight.

Brazilian officials also had to scramble to clean up the bay used for sailing and windsurfing that was plagued by sewer bacteria and filthy with rubbish.

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In October 2017, Tokyo 2020 organizers were left red-faced after tests revealed levels of e-coli bacteria more than 20 times higher than international standards, sparking doubts about the venue’s safety.

At the time, the organizing committee blamed prolonged summer rain that had brought pollutants from offshore for the high readings between late July and early September.

A year later, organizers said that tests using underwater “screens” to filter the water had successfully reduced bacteria levels at the venue.

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“We will keep doing our best to secure a safe and sound environment for athletes towards the Games next year,” Tokyo 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya said Saturday.


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Ex-prosecutor demands congressional investigation after latest report on the FBI and Brett Kavanaugh

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Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh had another allegation of sexual misconduct revealed on Saturday in a bombshell report in The New York Times.

"A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly," the newspaper reported.

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Boris Johnson promises Britain will be like the Incredible Hulk during Brexit negotiations

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday he was making a "huge amount of progress" towards a Brexit deal with the EU, in an interview in which he compared Britain to the Incredible Hulk.

"It's going to take a lot of work between now and October 17" when EU leaders gather for their final summit before Britain's scheduled exit from the bloc, he told the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

"But I'm going to go to that summit and I'm going to get a deal, I'm very confident. And if we don't get a deal then we'll come out on October 31."

His comments came ahead of talks with European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker and the EU's chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, in Luxembourg on Monday.

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NYT blasted for ‘spectacularly offensive sentiment’ after tweet illustrating ‘rape culture’

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The results of a 10-month investigation into Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh by New York Times reporters Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly was published on Saturday.

But attention was taken away from the powerful reporting after the Twitter account of The Times opinion page posted a shocking message.

"Having a penis thrust in your face at a drunken dorm party may seem like harmless fun," read the tweet.

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