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IOC decides not to lift Russian ban at Pyeongchang Winter Games

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The International Olympic Committee has voted unanimously against lifting the ban of Russia from the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

It means the 168 athletes competing as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” (OAR) will not be able to march under their country’s flag at Sunday’s closing ceremony.

IOC President Thomas Bach said a condition of Russia’s ban being lifted is that no further positive drug tests come out of Pyeongchang.

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Russian fan at Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics
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A Russian fan looks on at the Pyeongchang Olympics

Two of the four athletes who tested positive in Pyeongchang were Russian, including a curler who had to return his bronze medal.

“The IOC executive board decided first not to lift the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee for the closing ceremony,” Mr Bach said.

“Therefore, no delegation of the Russian Olympic Committee will have taken part in these Olympic Winter Games.”

Russia was banned in December from taking part in Pyeongchang following revelations of widespread doping at the 2014 Sochi Games.

But 168 athletes deemed doping-free were allowed to compete as neutrals at this year’s Games.

Sky News Asia Correspondent Katie Stallard-Blanchette said that while Russian athletes will appear in neutral uniforms today, they will likely soon compete under the national banner if no further doping charges are found.

“Despite the fact that two Russian Athletes appear to have been caught doping at these winter Olympics, it looks very much that shortly Russia will be back in Olympic competition,” she said.

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Great Britain's Isabel Atkin competes in a run of the women's ski slopestyle final event during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Phoenix Park in Pyeongchang on February 17, 2018



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Team GB record inspires UK winter sports

IOC member Nicole Hoevertsz from Aruba and head of the Russia implementation group said the Russian delegation met many of the criteria required for reinstatement during the Olympics.

However, he said the two failed drug tests were too much.

“Despite a good collaboration from the OAR delegation to respond to these (doping) cases in a prompt and transparent way, the implementation group was convinced that these cases caused significant concern,” Mr Hoevertsz said.

The final drug testing results might not be known for several days or even weeks.

“I’m very disappointed,” said Elena Valbe, president of the Russian cross-country skiing federation.

“Some athletes stayed behind later with the hope that they would be walking under the Russian flag. I’ve heard athletes say that they were staying just because they wanted to walk with the flag and in our uniform.”


The decision was made at the International Olympic Committee's HQ in Switzerland



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Dec 2017: Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics

Meanwhile, a high-level delegation of North Korean officials has arrived in Pyeongchang to attend the closing ceremony later.

North Korean officials were not expected to travel to the Games until Kim Jong Un announced on New Year’s Day that he wanted to send a team.

Ivanka Trump, the US President’s daughter, will also attend the closing ceremony after two days of visiting venues and meeting American athletes

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Ivanka Trump poses with Team USA members
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Ivanka Trump (centre) poses with Team USA members

“I’m so excited to be here. It’s just so incredibly inspiring,” she said.

“It’s been an amazing couple of days, and such an honour and privilege to be here with our allies in South Korea and celebrate all that we’ve accomplished as a culture, a society economically and, of course, in sport.”

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<a href='https://www.skysports.com/olympics/live-blog'>Tokyo Olympics Day 6: Quiet start for Team GB on medals front – as world pole vault champ forced out due to COVID</a>

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<a href='https://www.skysports.com/olympics/live-blog'>Tokyo Olympics Day 6: Quiet start for Team GB on medals front – as world pole vault champ forced out due to COVID</a>

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New Zealand is best placed to survive a global collapse of society, study suggests | World News

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New Zealand is the country most likely to survive a collapse of global civilisation, researchers have said.

A study has suggested a combination of ecological destruction, limited resources and population growth could trigger a worldwide breakdown “within few decades”, with climate change making things worse.

A “very likely” collapse would be characterised by the disintegration of supply chains, international agreements and global financial structures, according to researchers at the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University.

Wind turbines at Whitelee Windfarm in East Renfrewshire
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Researchers said the UK could increase its use of wind turbines to secure its future

They said problems could spread quickly because of how connected and economically dependant countries are on one another.

Five countries were identified as best placed to maintain civilisation within their own borders: New Zealand, Iceland, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia.

All of them are islands or island continents which have fewer extremes in temperatures and varied amounts of rainfall due to their proximity to oceans.

Researchers said this makes them most likely to have relatively stable conditions in the future, despite the effects of climate change – which is expected to hit subtropics and tropics the hardest.

New Zealand’s ability to produce geothermal and hydroelectric energy, its abundant agricultural land and its low population would allow it to survive relatively unscathed.

Although the UK has generally fertile soils and varied agricultural output, it does not have as much agricultural land available because of its population density, raising questions about future self-sufficiency.

Britain’s reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear energy was considered to be a risk as power sources could be “rendered at least partly inoperable” if global supply chains collapse.

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Researchers said this could be mitigated by the nation’s manufacturing capabilities.

Meeting the large population’s energy demands through renewables alone would require very extensive infrastructure, they said, but the UK could increase its resilience by harnessing more energy from wind and water bodies like lagoons or barrages in the Severn Estuary.

Professor Aled Jones, Director of the Global Sustainability Institute at Anglia Ruskin University, said “significant changes are possible in the coming years and decades”.

He said: “The impact of climate change, including increased frequency and intensity of drought and flooding, extreme temperatures, and greater population movement, could dictate the severity of these changes.”

Researchers identified pandemics as another risk to societal stability, citing the United Nations’ warning that future pandemics could be even more severe than COVID-19.

Twenty countries were analysed in the report.

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Boris Johnson urges world leaders to dig deep to boost children’s education across globe | Politics News

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Boris Johnson is urging world leaders to dip into their pockets to boost children’s education across the globe and help avoid a “legacy of wasted talent” as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The prime minister will host a summit in London on Thursday with the aim of fundraising among governments, business and charities for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).

The GPE aims to raise $5bn (£3.6bn) over the next five years in order to get 175 million more children into education around the world.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta at Chequers, the country house of the serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in Buckinghamshire. Picture date: Wednesday July 28, 2021.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta will close Thursday’s summit

Ahead of the Summit, Mr Johnson said: “We have a fight on our hands to ensure COVID-19 does not scupper the life chances of millions of children, leaving a lasting legacy of wasted talent.

“Too many children around the world – girls in particular – were already out of school before the pandemic.

“Enabling them to learn and reach their full potential is the single greatest thing we can do to recover from this crisis and build better, greener and fairer societies.

“Today I am urging governments, businesses and philanthropists to invest in the future by fully funding the transformative work of the Global Partnership for Education.”

Girls are feared to be particularly at risk of never returning to school once they have left, with 132 million girls around the world already estimated to be out of school even before the impact of the COVID pandemic.

Thursday’s summit is being jointly hosted with Kenya and will be opened by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and his Kenyan counterpart, Raychelle Omamo.

The prime minister and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who held bilateral talks at Chequers on Wednesday, will close the summit, along with Australia’s former prime minister Julia Gillard, who is the GPE’s chair.

World leaders, businesses, UN agencies, charities and youth leaders will join the summit both virtually and in person.

The UK last month pledged £430m to the GPE at the G7 Summit in Cornwall.

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