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Russia’s Path To 2024 Olympics Takes Shape, Ukraine Objects




LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Russia’s path to sending a team to the Olympics in Paris next year became clearer on Thursday, despite strong opposition from Ukraine.

Even though Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked for them to be completely left out, the International Olympic Committee said on Wednesday that it would rather have teams from Russia and its ally Belarus that are officially neutral at the 2024 Olympics.

The next day, Russia and Belarus were invited to take part in the Asian Games, which are an important way to qualify for the Olympics.

Russia usually competes with Europe, but its relationships with many of the countries that will host qualifying events are tense. After Russia and Belarus invaded Ukraine, they were banned from almost all international Olympic competitions.

Zelenskyy told French President Emmanuel Macron, whose country is hosting the Olympics that Russia has “no place” there. Ukraine is attempting to rally opposition to the IOC-brokered plan.


Russia War Crimes

“IOC has been disregarding Russian war crimes, claiming that ‘No athlete should be prevented from competing just because of their passport’, while Ukrainian athletes continue to be killed by Russia. “I urge all sports figures to express their views,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted Thursday.

Last year, Ukraine didn’t take part in a judo Olympic qualifier because neutral Russians were allowed to compete.

Igor Levitin, who works for President Vladimir Putin and has important government and sports jobs in Russia, liked how the IOC did things.

“I believe it has already been a success. Olympic society recognizes that the Olympic Games cannot be held without Russia,” said Levitin, senior vice-president of the Russian Olympic Committee, according to state news agency Tass.

Some Russian officials were furious when the IOC said that athletes who “actively support the war in Ukraine” would be banned from competing. Stanislav Pozdnyakov, the president of the ROC, said on Wednesday that he was against “any restrictions, additional requirements, or sanctions.”


People Want Russian Athletes To Compete As Normal

Paris’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has said that she wants Russian athletes to compete as neutrals when the Olympics are held in her city without the Russian flag.

“I believe it is a time for athletes and that athletes should not be denied competition. But, as a large part of the sporting movement, I believe and plead that there isn’t a delegation behind the Russian banner,” she told France 2 television.

“Of course, the Games are taking place during a geopolitical period. “I hope the war in Ukraine will be over by the time the Paris Games arrive.”

Even as other European countries criticized the IOC, the French government did not respond immediately. According to British Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan, the IOC’s stance is “a world away from the reality of war being felt by the Ukrainian people.” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser in Germany referred to it as “the wrong path.”

In a statement released on Wednesday, the IOC talked about the civil war that broke out in the former Yugoslavia after the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Because the United Nations sanctioned the country, Yugoslav athletes could only compete as “Independent Olympic Participants.” They did not participate in team sports like soccer or basketball.


Olympic Qualifiers Are Coming Quickly

That would be worse than the punishments the IOC has given Russia in the years since one of the biggest doping scandals ever. Russians competed in the 2018 Winter Olympics as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” and as ROC in 2021 and 2022, without their country’s anthem or flag but with national colors on their uniforms.

The Asian Games, which will be held in Hangzhou, China, in September and October, will serve as Olympic qualifiers for various sports, including archery and boxing. Other sports have their Asia-specific qualifying tournaments.

“The OCA believes that sports can bring people together and that all athletes, no matter what their nationality or passport, should be able to compete,” the OCA said.

Husain al-Musallam, the long-serving director general of Kuwait-based OCA, is also the president of World Aquatics, which oversees the core Olympic sport of swimming in the IOC’s home city of Lausanne.

“The OCA has offered to allow eligible Russian and Belarussian athletes to compete in Asian competitions, including the Asian Games,” the organization said.

The OCA also said that it would “remain on standby” until the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the governing bodies of each sport agreed on the rules for Russia and Belarus to compete.





UN Head Says Survival Depends On How People Manage Water In 2023




WATER The United Nations Humanity’s survival depends on how people manage water, said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday at the close of a three-day conference on global water resources, during which developing countries made urgent requests for assistance with cleaner drinking water and better sanitation.

In his final remarks, Guterres stated, “All of humanity’s hopes for the future depend, in some way, on charting a new course to sustainably manage and conserve water.”

He stated that water “needs to be at the center of the global political agenda” and that this implies more aggressive action against climate change.

According to the United Nations World Water Development Report, released on the eve of the conference, 26% of the world’s population—2 billion people — lacks access to safe drinking water, while 46% — 3.6 billion people — lack access to basic sanitation. According to UN studies, nearly half the world’s population will face acute water stress by 2030.

Many rhetorical pledges to enhance water supply were made at the conference, but there needed to be more precise commitments to translate aspirations into better daily lives for regular people.


Throughout the meeting, water-stressed states, particularly those in the developing world

“We have such lovely, ambitious initiatives,” said Lina Taing, senior researcher at the global think tank United Nations University.

“We know that we are completely off track,” she stated, regarding providing them with clean water and sanitation. Taing stated that the world’s actions must be increased “fourfold.”

Throughout the meeting, water-stressed states, particularly those in the developing world, told U.N. members of their need for international aid to provide their people with drinking water and sanitation facilities.

“Waging a war on two fronts at the same time to address water issues and climate change is no easy task, especially for a small island nation like Kiribati, which has very limited resources at its disposal,” said Teburoro Tito, the United Nations representative for the Pacific island nation of fewer than 200,000 people. He claimed that Kiribati was particularly unprepared to deal with natural calamities.


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1 Million March In France, Unions Call New Pension Protests



paris march

PARIS MARCH — After more than a million people rallied across France on Thursday against unpopular pension reforms, French unions called for further statewide strikes and protests the following week, coinciding with King Charles III’s anticipated visit to France.

According to the Interior Ministry, the march in Paris attracted 119,000 participants, setting a record for the city’s capital during the pension demonstrations. However, as were many other marches, the march was plagued by violence. According to polls, most French people are against President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, which he claims is vital to maintain the system.

The unions quickly announced fresh demonstrations and strikes for Tuesday, the day the British king is expected to visit Bordeaux as part of his trip to France, building on the significant turnout. According to the Sud Ouest newspaper, on Thursday night, participants in an unofficial demonstration set fire to and completely demolished the heavy wooden entrance of the Bordeaux City Hall.

According to the ministry, in cities and towns around the nation on Thursday, more than a million people participated in protest marches.

Gerald Darmanin, the interior minister, went to the police headquarters on Thursday night march as fires were still raging in some Parisian neighborhoods hours after the march had concluded.

The protests were conducted the day after Macron infuriated his detractors even more by refusing to back down on the retirement bill that his administration rushed through parliament without a vote.

The eight unions organizing the protests march stated that “while the (president) tries to turn the page, this social and union movement… confirms the determination of the world of workers and youth to obtain the withdrawal of the reform.” On Tuesday, further nationwide strikes and protests were called for in addition to localized action this weekend.


Thursday night march as fires were still raging in some Parisian neighborhoods

Strikes disrupted travel as demonstrators surrounded ports, refineries, and Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

In Paris, clashes between police and groups wearing black masks that attacked at least two fast food establishments, a supermarket, and a bank reflected the violence’s escalation and diverted attention from the tens of thousands of nonviolent demonstrators.

Police charged repeatedly and fired tear gas to disperse the protestors after being attacked with objects and pyrotechnics. After the march, protesters gathered at the Place de l’Opera, partially obscured by a tear gas haze. The “radical elements,” according to the police, number around 1,000 persons.

Other marches were plagued by violence, particularly in Lyon in the southeast and the western cities of Nantes, Rennes, and Lorient, where an administrative building was stormed, its courtyard set ablaze, and its windows destroyed.

The nine union-organized rallies around the country on Thursday were the ninth to occur since January, when opponents of Macron’s proposal to raise the retirement age still hoped that parliament would reject it. However, the administration used a unique constitutional provision to force it through.

In a French interview on Wednesday, Macron remained steadfast in his belief that new legislation is required to maintain retirement funds. Other suggestions made by opponents included raising taxes on the affluent or businesses, which according to Macron, would harm the economy. He maintained that by the end of the year, the government’s law to raise the retirement age must be implemented.

The proposal now has to be approved by the Constitutional Council. But the opposition won’t give up.


The strikes on Thursday caused the Eiffel Tower and the Versailles Palace.

The chief of the moderate CFDT labor union, Laurent Berger, “We are trying to say before the law is enacted… that we have to find a way out and we continue to say that the way out is the withdrawal of the law.”

Public transportation networks in other significant cities, the Paris metro, and high-speed and regional trains were all affected. At Paris Orly Airport, almost 30% of scheduled flights were canceled.

The strikes on Thursday caused the Eiffel Tower and the Versailles Palace, where the British monarch will dine with Macron, to be shuttered.

Violence, a regular problem during demonstrations, has been worse recently. 12,000 security personnel, including 5,000 in Paris, would be on French streets on Thursday, according to Gerald Darmanin.

In a statement, the Education Ministry stated that 15% of instructors in high schools and roughly 24% of primary and intermediate school teachers took a sick day on Thursday.

Several hundred strikers wielding flares and yelling, “Macron, go away,” marched on the Paris Gare de Lyon train station rails to stop trains from moving. They were carrying flares.

Maxime Monin, 46, expressed concern that his and other public transportation workers’ holidays this year might be less enjoyable. He emphasized that such workers are not paid on strike days. But the price was worthwhile.

A bus depot in Pantin, in the northern suburbs of Paris, was blocked by several dozen union members during rush hour, preventing 200 vehicles from leaving.

A 48-year-old bus driver involved in the protest, Nadia Belhoum, condemned Macron’s choice to push through the higher retirement age.

She declared, “The president of the Republic is not a monarch, and he should listen to his people.



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Nigerian Politician Found Guilty In UK Organ Harvesting Plot




LONDON — In a scheme to take a street vendor to the U.K. as part of the harvesting of organs, a senior Nigerian politician and his wife were found guilty on Thursday.

Ike Ekweremadu, a lawyer and the vice president of the Nigerian Senate, and his wife Beatrice were charged with organizing a 21-year-old man’s flight to the United Kingdom to use him as a kidney donor.

According to the prosecution, the lawmaker and his wife recruited the man from a Lagos street market and set up the victim’s kidney donation for their 25-year-old daughter Sonia during an 80,000-pound (almost $100,000) transplant procedure at a London hospital.

According to the prosecution, the victim thought he was being taken to London in February 2022 for employment and that he would be paid thousands of pounds as part of the arrangement.

Although giving a kidney is legal in the UK, it is against the law to give someone money or another material benefit in exchange.

The conviction is the first under the U.K.’s modern slavery statutes of suspects in an organ harvesting conspiracy.


Ike Ekweremadu, a lawyer and the vice president of the Nigerian Senate, and his wife Beatrice were

To pull off the scam, the victim falsely claimed to be Sonia’s Nigerian cousin on his U.K. visa application, and the Ekweremadus pretended to be Sonia’s family to medical professionals.

However, a physician at the Royal Free Hospital determined the intended procedure couldn’t proceed after growing uneasy about the conditions. Prosecutors claim that the Ekweremadus then looked for additional possible contributors in Turkey.

The victim told British authorities that he had been smuggled from Nigeria and that someone was attempting to transplant his kidney, which is how the case was discovered.

Joanne Jakymec, the chief crown prosecutor, called the case “horrific.”

The victim had little awareness of what was happening, the victim’s statement read. “The convicted defendants showed utter disregard for the victim’s welfare nigerian, health, and well-being and used their considerable influence to a high degree of control throughout,” it stated.

At London’s Central Criminal Court on Thursday, Dr. Obinna Obeta, identified by the prosecution as a medical “middleman” in the scheme, was also found guilty. The jury found Sonia Ekweremadu, who has significant kidney disease, not guilty.

The accused were instructed to stay in detention, and their sentence was set for May 5.


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