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American luger Emily Sweeney silences Winter Olympics crowd with horrific crash

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American luger Emily Sweeney appeared to have a strong start in the final heat of her competition, but as she rounded Curve 9, the track’s most treacherous spot, she lost control.

Sweeney’s sled began careening all over the track and she wound up sliding feet-first up one curve toward the track roof before getting thrown and eventually tumbling to a stop.

The raucous crowd went silent as Sweeney was slow to get up.

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Luge - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Women's Singles competition - Olympic Sliding Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 13, 2018 - Emily Sweeney of the U.S. walks after crashing. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann - DEVEE2D0Z2RYJ

It took several minutes for Emily Sweeney to get to her feet after the crash.

 (Reuters)

It took several minutes for Sweeney to get to her feet, then several more before she could finally start a slow walk to the finish area — surrounded by team and on-site medical personnel.

The team doctor said Sweeney, 24, suffered bumps and bruises and no broken bones. She was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.

“I’m OK,” she told reporters in the mixed zone.

Sue Sweeney, center, the mother of Emily Sweeney of the United States, cries out as her daughter crashes on the final run during the women's luge final at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Sue Sweeney, center, the mother of Emily Sweeney of the United States, cries out as her daughter crashes on the final run during the women’s luge final at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

 (AP)

“I’m very sore and pretty stiff,” Sweeney told NBC. “I’m going to get an X-ray on my back after this, but I wanted to have the last word. So thanks for all the support, you guys. It’s a bummer, for sure, and I know that I’m better than that. But here were are. It happens.”

This was the first Olympics for Sweeney, who missed out on a spot in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Sweeney, who is also a member of the National Guard, also missed a spot in the 2010 Winter Olympics after losing a special race-off to her big sister, Megan Sweeney.

Luge - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Women's Singles competition - Olympic Sliding Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea - February 13, 2018 - Emily Sweeney of the U.S. reacts after crashing. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann - DEVEE2D0YOLVL

Emily Sweeney said she was “fine” after the crash. She was taken to a hospital as a precautionary measure.

 (Reuters)

Curve 9 has been a problem for sliders throughout the early portion of the Olympics, causing many to skid, lose control and lose some time. Crashes, however, have not come as often as they did in the 2006 and 2010 Games, both of which left athletes openly complaining about track safety.

“I’ve never been so relieved than when I saw her getting up and walking,” said American teammate Summer Britcher, who was choking back tears.

Later in the final run, Britcher lost control at the start and collided with a few walls — but got down the track without crashing or sustaining serious injury.

Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger won gold and American Erin Hamlin finished sixth.

The Associated Press contributed to this reported.

Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang



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Parliament’s email system less secure than Gmail, says MP ‘hit by Chinese psy-op emails’ | World News

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A senior MP says parliament’s email system is less secure than Google’s Gmail as he claimed to have been the victim of Chinese “psy-ops”.

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, called on the government to do more to defend democracy and freedom of speech.

The MP is one of seven British parliamentarians sanctioned by China in retaliation for British measures imposed over human rights abuses in Xinjiang province. They have all spoken out about the treatment of Uighurs and Hongkongers.

Mr Tugendhat claims to have been targeted by Chinese “psy-ops” – psychological operations – including fake emails tendering his resignation to fellow MPs.

He said: “I was told by friends at GCHQ – not formally, I admit – that I was better off sticking to Gmail rather than using the parliamentary system because it was more secure.

“Frankly, that tells you the level of security and the priority we are giving to democracy in the United Kingdom.”

Parliamentary officials said Westminster’s email system offered significantly greater protection than external providers.

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), whose experts work with the Parliamentary Digital Service, said MPs should continue to rely on it.

An urgent question on China was granted in the Commons on Tuesday after Mr Tugendhat, plus four other MPs, two peers, a barrister and an academic, were sanctioned in March, including being banned from China and Hong Kong.

Conservative former minister Tim Loughton is one of the MPs and said the sanctions by China are “laughable”.

“To be sanctioned by a totalitarian regime is not only deeply ironic and laughable, but it is an abuse of parliamentary privilege of this House by a foreign regime,” he said.

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‘Genocide’ taking place in China

Foreign Office Minister Nigel Adams, who wasn’t sanctioned, said the government “stands in complete solidarity with those sanctioned by China”.

He added that the government will not allow the sanctions to “distract attention from the gross human rights violations” taking place in China.

However, shadow Foreign Office minister Stephen Kinnock accused the government of “rank hypocrisy” and asked why Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab “says one thing in public and something else together in private”.

“It is clear that the government has no strategy on China at home and no strategy on China abroad,” he added as he called for an audit of “every aspect of the UK-China relationships”.

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Chinese ambassador ‘summoned’ over sanctions

Mr Adams said the “reality” is the UK has always wanted a “mature, positive relationship with China” based on “mutual respect and trust”.

“There’s still considerable scope for constructive engagement and co-operation but we will not sacrifice our values or our security,” he added.

Conservative MPs Iain Duncan Smith, Mr Tugendhat, Tim Loughton and Nusrat Ghani were all sanctioned, as well as Labour’s Baroness Helena Kennedy, barrister Geoffrey Nice and academic Jo Smith Finley.



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Iran set to enrich uranium to highest level ever – after ‘attack’ at nuclear facility blamed on Israel | World News

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Iran says it will increase its enrichment of uranium to 60% purity – its highest figure ever – bringing it closer to the levels needed for a nuclear weapon.

It comes after an “attack” at the Natanz nuclear facility in the country which Iran has blamed on Israel as an act of sabotage.

France says it is co-ordinating a response to Iran’s latest move with world powers, adding that it was a “serious” development.

Sunday’s incident at Natanz was initially described by Iran as a blackout in the electrical grid feeding above-ground workshops and underground enrichment halls, but later officials called it an attack.

Israel is suspected of carrying out the assault that damaged centrifuges, though it has not claimed it.

The Natanz plant pictured in 2005
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The Natanz plant pictured in 2005

News of Tehran’s intent to increase the purity of nuclear material comes as the Biden administration looks to revive the 2015 deal which limited Iran’s ability to create enriched uranium.

The US president’s predecessor Donald Trump abandoned the deal three years ago.

Iran expects to produce uranium enriched to 60% purity next week, said Kazem Gharibabadi, its ambassador to the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Also, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, Abbas Araqchi, said his nation would activate 1,000 advanced centrifuge machines at Natanz, which suffered the explosion on Sunday.

The 2015 Iran deal limited the purity level to which Iran can enrich uranium hexafluoride to at 3.67%.

A level of about 90% is needed for nuclear weapons.

Talks are due to continue in Vienna, Austria, to try and revive the 2015 agreement.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has called the enrichment plan from Iran “provocative”, and said it called into question how seriously Tehran was taking the talks.

Discussions between Iran and global powers to revive the deal last week were “constructive”.

Iran has said it never sought to obtain or develop nuclear weapons, and that it only wants nuclear technology for civilian purposes like medicine or energy.

Western intelligence services believe Iran had a secret nuclear weapons programme until 2003, although Israel suspects that this it is continuing in some form.

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St Vincent: Water supplies running short on Caribbean island hit by volcano eruption | World News

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Clean water supplies are running short on the Caribbean island of St Vincent after ash from a volcanic eruption contaminated reservoirs.

The blast from La Soufriere volcano rocked the eastern Caribbean island last week, sending an ash cloud six miles into the air.

Up to 20,000 people had to be evacuated from the island’s northern region in the shadow of La Soufriere, with 3,000 more forced to move to 80 government shelters.

Smoke rises from the La Soufriere volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Pic: UWI Seismic Research Centre
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The volcano had been simmering for days. Thousands fled their nearby homes. Pic: UWI Seismic Research Centre

Although no casualties were reported since the first huge blast on Friday, falling ash and pyroclastic flows (fast-moving lava, ash and hot gases) have destroyed crops and contaminated water reservoirs.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told local NBC Radio he thought the country would need “hundreds of millions of dollars” to recover from the eruption.

He said: “We have to get stuff rolling in to people.”

Mr Gonsalves said some people have refused to leave communities closest to the volcano and he urged them to evacuate.

Garth Saunders, water and sewer authority minister, said efforts were under way to move water trucks to the hardest-hit areas but he warned: “What we are providing is a finite amount. We will run out at some point.”

The prime minister said people in some shelters need food and water, and he thanked neighbouring nations for shipments of items including cots, respiratory masks and water bottles and tanks.

In addition, the World Bank has given $20m (£14.5m) to the government of St Vincent as part of an interest-free catastrophe financing programme.

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Ash rains down on St Vincent after eruption

Adam Billing, a retired police officer who lived and tended to his crops on land near the volcano, said he had more than three acres of plantains, tannias, yams and a variety of fruits, and estimates he lost more than $9,000 (£6,600) worth of crops.

“Everything that (means) livelihood is gone. Everything,” said Mr Billing.

Roads on the island are covered in ash
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Roads on the island are covered in ash

The volcano had seen persistent low-level eruption since December and volcanologists say activity could continue for weeks.

Another blast was reported on Tuesday morning, sending a further large plume of ash into the air.

A previous eruption in 1902 killed 1,600 people.

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