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Tokyo 2020: Athlete debunks rumours of ‘anti-sex’ cardboard beds in Olympic Village by carrying out bounce test | World News

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Athletes in the Olympic Village have been proving how robust their cardboard beds are amid rumours they were designed to prevent competitors having sex.

The recycled cardboard beds are designed to be environmentally sound rather than to discourage intimacy.

Irish gymnast Rhys McClenaghan filmed himself bouncing on his cardboard bed to disprove the rumours that they would collapse under any strain.

“In today’s episode of fake news at the Olympic Games, the beds that are meant to be anti sex.

“They are made out of cardboard, yes, apparently they are meant to break under any sudden movements.”

As the 21-year-old from Newtownards in Northern Ireland bounced up and down, he proclaimed “it’s fake news!”

IOC communications chief Christian Claue tweeted: “Getting a lot of questions right now to @iocmedia about the sustainable cardboard beds of the Olympic Village.”

He then highlighted the Irish gymnast’s bed test video which has been widely shared online.

Athletes have been told that they should not be mixing with other nations at the Olympic Village and that COVID-19 protocols have to be observed all the time.

Condoms have been given to Olympic Games participants since the 1988 Seoul Olympics – a move designed to raise awareness of AIDS while also encouraging safer sex.

However, Tokyo 2020 organisers have not followed suit due to the pandemic.

Three athletes inside the Olympic Village have already tested positive for COVID-19 and are now isolating while authorities establish their close contacts and who may need further testing.

On Sunday, Team GB confirmed that six track and field competitors and two staff members are isolating after sitting near a passenger on their plane to Japan who then tested positive.

All of the unidentified Team GB members involved have tested negative for COVID.

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US and Germany agree Nord Stream 2 pipeline deal and vow to counter Russian ‘aggression’ | World News

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The United States and Germany have announced a deal to allow the completion of a controversial Russian gas pipeline to Europe without further sanctions.

The agreement aims to allay fears about European dependence on Russian energy.

However, critics have said the deal does not go far enough.

American officials had opposed the project, which would allow Russia to export gas directly to Germany and potentially cut off other nations.

But under the terms of the deal, the US and Germany committed to impose costs on Russia to prevent it from using the $11bn (£8bn) Nord Stream 2 pipeline as a political weapon.

The Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, Germany
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The Nord Stream 2 gas line landfall facility entrance in Lubmin, Germany

They have also agreed to support Ukraine and Poland – who are both bypassed by the project and fear Russia‘s intentions – by funding alternative energy and development projects.

“The United States and Germany are united in their determination to hold Russia to account for its aggression and malign activities by imposing costs via sanctions and other tools,” they said in a joint statement.

“Should Russia attempt to use energy as a weapon or commit further aggressive acts against Ukraine, Germany will take action at the national level and press for effective measures at the European level, including sanctions, to limit Russian export capabilities to Europe in the energy sector,” it said.

The Nord Stream 2 project has posed a major foreign policy dilemma for the Biden administration.

US officials from both parties have long feared that it would give Russia too much power over European gas supplies, potentially shutting off gas to Ukraine and Poland.

But the pipeline is 98% completed and the US has been determined to rebuild ties with Germany that were damaged during the Trump administration.

In a nod to Poland, Germany also agreed to sign on to the “Three Seas Initiative”, an EU and US-promoted scheme that aims to boost investment, infrastructure development and energy security among the countries bordering the Baltic, Black, and Adriatic seas.

Despite the agreement, there remains strong bipartisan opposition to the pipeline in Congress, as well as in Ukraine and Poland.

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Train driver faces trial over crash that killed 80 people near Santiago de Compostela in Spain | World News

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The driver of a train which crashed and killed 80 people in Spain in July 2013 is to go on trial, a court has ruled.

The train derailed and hit a concrete wall after approaching a curve at more than double the speed limit on the outskirts of Santiago de Compostela, in the northwestern region of Galicia.

The prosecutor is requesting four-year sentences for both the train driver and the head of traffic safety.

They are accused of 80 crimes of homicide due to gross professional negligence, 145 crimes of injury to gross professional negligence and one crime of damage.

A start date for the trial has yet to be set.

The investigation into the crash has taken almost eight years, as it was prolonged to potentially determine the responsibilities of other senior officials who were dismissed.

The driver was injured in the incident and was held in custody at a hospital while three days of mourning took place in the aftermath of the crash.

Footage showed carriages flipped over and bursting into flames, with bodies and debris strewn across the tracks.

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United Arab Emirates tackles hot weather by ‘creating its own rain’ with drones | World News

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The United Arab Emirates is using drone technology to enhance its rainfall amid temperatures of over 40C.

Abu Dhabi and Al Ain are among the cities that have been drenched after the National Centre for Meteorology (NCM) implemented cloud seeding technology.

The drones fly into clouds and release electric charges, which helps water droplets merge together and form precipitation.

The cloud seeding technology used in the UAE has also been tested in Bath. Pic: University of Bath
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The cloud seeding technology used in the UAE has also been tested in Bath. Pic: University of Bath

The country typically sees less than 100mm of rainfall a year, compared with the UK’s average of 1300 mm.

The NCM has carried out 126 cloud seeding flights since the beginning of 2021, according to Gulf Today.

This includes 14 flights since last Tuesday, with a two to three hour flight operated in most of the country’s regions.

The organisation has partly attributed increased rain to its cloud seeding efforts.

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Other techniques used to stimulate rainfall in the country involve dropping salt or other chemicals into clouds, designed to accelerate the growth of water droplets.

Some studies suggest cloud seeding could increase rainfall by up to 35%, but others dispute its effectiveness.

China and India are among other countries trialling this technology.

Professor Giles Harrison, of the University of Reading, is working on the research and said it is “intended to bring blue-sky thinking to cloud and rain”.

He said: “Our project is about changing the balance of charges on the tiniest cloud droplets, a neglected aspect of clouds which could revolutionise our ability to manipulate rainfall in areas that need it most.”

“Water scarcity is one of the biggest problems facing humanity, and climate change is providing more uncertainty around rainfall,” said Dr Keri Nicoll, another academic who conducted preliminary tests in Bath.

She said initiatives to improve rainfall are crucial in parts of the world that are “really struggling for water”.

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