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Olympic athletes in ‘impossible position’ – Canada

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Canadian Olympic chiefs said Monday the health and safety of athletes had prompted the country’s decision to withdraw its team from the Tokyo Olympics amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A day after Canada became the first team to announce its withdrawal from the July 24-August 9 Games, Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) chief David Shoemaker said athletes had been left in an “impossible position.”

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With public health authorities urging individuals to stay inside to curb the spread of COVID-19, athletes had been caught between a desire to heed health and safety advice while trying to minimize disruption to training programs.

“What we started to hear a fair bit was how this put tremendous pressure on our athletes who frankly were being torn by conflicting messages,” Shoemaker told AFP.

“On the one hand to do what they needed to do for their health and safety and that of their families and communities, and at the same time keep an eye on their training and the possibility that the Olympics could still occur in July.

“We felt that athletes were being placed in an impossible position and it wasn’t appropriate to ask athletes to put themselves at risk, to put their families at risk and their communities at risk, by still thinking that they had to get themselves ready for Tokyo.

“So in effect we told them to stand down … we thought it was time to stop focusing on gold medals and start focusing on the health of athletes and their families and of Canadians.”

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The COC’s statement on Sunday specified a refusal to take part in a Games staged in the “summer of 2020” — in theory leaving the door open to participation at an Olympics scheduled later this year.

Shoemaker however said Monday that Canada’s preference was for a one-year postponement, expressing doubt that the Games could be rearranged in any other window in 2020.

“Our strongest recommendation is that the Games be rescheduled for the summer of 2021,” Shoemaker said. “We think it gives the greatest chance for the solutions to this terrible pandemic and also because it allows for the greatest possible amount of time to prepare for a postponed games.

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“The seasonality would match up as opposed to trying to take the games into a month where it had not been anticipated. We’re sceptical of a games being rescheduled for later on in 2020.”

 

 


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COVID-19

White House adds 20 percent increase to ‘best case’ projection of coronavirus deaths

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The White House is moving the goal posts once again. Instead of taking drastic action, like asking every state's governor to mandate a quarantine to reduce the spread of coronavirus, it is quietly upping its projected death toll, just one day after stunning Americans with a six-digit death rate.

On Sunday President Donald Trump told Americans he thinks if 100,000 Americans die from coronavirus he will have done "a very good job."

On Monday Dr. Deborah Birx announced the White House is projecting 100,000 to 200,000 deaths.

Tuesday evening, the number increased 20 percent.

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Elections 2016

Olympic athletes in ‘impossible position’ – Canada

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Canadian Olympic chiefs said Monday the health and safety of athletes had prompted the country's decision to withdraw its team from the Tokyo Olympics amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A day after Canada became the first team to announce its withdrawal from the July 24-August 9 Games, Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) chief David Shoemaker said athletes had been left in an "impossible position."

With public health authorities urging individuals to stay inside to curb the spread of COVID-19, athletes had been caught between a desire to heed health and safety advice while trying to minimize disruption to training programs.

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Elections 2016

Vietnamese women strive to clear war-era mines

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Inching across a field littered with Vietnam war-era bombs, Ngoc leads an all-women demining team clearing unexploded ordnance that has killed tens of thousands of people -- including her uncle.

"He died in an explosion. I was haunted by memories of him," Le Thi Bich Ngoc tells AFP as she oversees the controlled detonation of a cluster bomb found in a sealed-off site in central Quang Tri province.

More than 6.1 million hectares of land in Vietnam remain blanketed by unexploded munitions -- mainly dropped by US bombers -- decades after the war ended in 1975.

At least 40,000 Vietnamese have since died in related accidents. Victims are often farmers who accidentally trigger explosions, people salvaging scrap metal, or children who mistake bomblets for toys.

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