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Postponed Tokyo Olympics to open July 23 next year

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The Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23 next year, organisers said on Monday, after the coronavirus forced the historic decision to postpone the Games until 2021.

“The Olympics will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021. The Paralympics will be held from August 24 to September 5,” Tokyo 2020 chief Yoshiro Mori told reporters at a hastily arranged news conference.

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Only hours earlier, Mori had said he expected a decision from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the course of the week.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were due to open on July 24 this year and run for 16 days, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the first peace-time postponement of the Games.

The IOC and Japan had for weeks insisted the show could go on but the rapid spread of COVID-19 prompted growing disquiet among athletes and sporting federations.

The Olympics was the highest-profile sporting casualty of the coronavirus that has wiped out fixtures worldwide and all but halted professional sport.

There was some speculation that Japanese organisers could take advantage of the blank canvas to shift the Games to spring, avoiding the heat of the Tokyo summer that had been their main concern before coronavirus struck.

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Due to the heat, the marathon has been moved to Sapporo, a city some 800 kilometres (500 miles) to the north of Tokyo where the weather is cooler even at the height of summer.

The postponement has handed organisers the “unprecedented” task of rearranging an event seven years in the making, and Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto has admitted the additional costs will be “massive”.

According to the latest budget, the Games were due to cost $12.6 billion, shared between the organising committee, the government of Japan and Tokyo city.

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However, that number is hotly contested with a much-publicised government audit suggesting the central government was spending several times that amount — on items organisers claim are only tangentially related to the Olympics.

– ‘Mankind’s victory’ –

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The postponement affects every aspect of the organisation — hotels, ticketing, venues and transport being among the major headaches.

Hotels have had to cancel bookings, dealing them a bitter blow at a time when tourism is already being hammered by the coronavirus.

Some venues that had booked events years in advance will potentially have to scrap them to make way for the rescheduled Olympics and there is still uncertainty about whether ticket-holders will get refunded.

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Another thorny issue is the athletes’ village, which was due to be converted into luxury apartments after the Games, some of which have already found buyers.

The Japanese government had touted the Games as the “Recovery Olympics”, designed to show how the country had bounced back from the 2011 triple disaster of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in the northeastern Fukushima region.

The Games are now being billed as the expression of humanity’s triumph over the coronavirus.

“We are embarking on an unprecedented challenge,” said Mori earlier Monday.

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“But I believe it is the mission of the Tokyo 2020 organising committee to hold the Olympics and Paralympics next year as a proof of mankind’s victory” against the virus.


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‘Absolute vacuum in leadership’: Internet shreds ‘coward’ Trump for hiding as 75 cities protest

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President Donald Trump is under fire Sunday after the White House announced he will not be seen today despite five days and nights of protests in more than 75 cities across the country and governors in at least ten states activating the National Guard.

Possibly more than at any time during his three-and-a-half year old administration Trump is taking tremendous criticism for how he has managed the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and for his handling of the protests against the killing by police of George Floyd.

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Trump boasts he’s about to declare Antifa a ‘Terrorist Organization’

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Donald Trump took to Twitter on Sunday morning to announce that he will be "designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization."

The brief tweet followed several others blaming violence at George Floyd protests on the loosely organized group of anarchists.

The president wrote, "The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization."

You can see the tweets below:

The United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2020

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Make cops pay for their crimes and end ‘qualified immunity’: conservative columnist

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Writing for the conservative Bulwark, the vice president for criminal justice at the Cato Institute explained that the time has come for police officers who have been accused of crimes be treated like any other Americans and not be handed the shield of "qualified immunity" that protects them from paying the price for breaking the law.

As Cato's Clark Neily wrote, in light of the death of George Floyd at the hands of four Minneapolis police officers -- now all fired -- it is time for a reappraisal of legal protections provided to law enforcement personnel.

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