Japan expands Covid-19 emergency area as 350,000 people sign petition demanding Olympics are scrapped

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has announced a state of emergency will be extended to areas with infection spikes, as 350,000 people signed a petition for the Olympic Games – due to be held in Japan this summer – to be canceled.

From May 16 to 31, health curbs currently in place in areas including the capital will now be extended to Okayama, Hiroshima and Hokkaido, the location of the Olympic marathon.

This means nine prefectures in total will be under Japan’s third set of pandemic emergency measures by next week. Some cities in Gunma, Ishikawa and Kumamoto have their own restrictions in place.

Speaking on Friday, Suga said the population in the three areas going under the state of emergency “is relatively big and the number of new cases is very rapidly increasing.”

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On Friday, the organizer of a petition to cancel the Olympic Games, set to take place in just 70 days’ time, submitted his request to Tokyo city chiefs.

Japanese lawyer Kenji Utsunomiya has garnered more than 351,000 signatures since he launched the petition on May 5.

“Holding the Olympics should be welcomed by everyone, but that is not possible under the current situation. So the Olympics must be canceled,” he told reporters as he filed his request.

Japan’s Olympic Minister Tamayo Marukawa announced on Friday that 45 out of 528 municipalities have shelved their plans to host Olympic athletes this summer owing to concerns over Covid-19.

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Variants of the original Covid-19 virus are believed to be behind the spike in infection rates in some areas of Japan. According to the Health Ministry, cases of the more transmissible N501Y variant first detected in South Africa now account for 70% of infections across the country.

The National Institute of Infectious Diseases also said this week that 70 cases of the Indian variant have now been detected in Japan. Known as B.1.617.2, the variant may also be more contagious than the original strain of the virus and could be behind the recent devastating surge in Covid-19 cases in India.

In March 2021 Olympic officials announced that foreign visitors would not be allowed to attend the Games this summer. Residents of Japan will be able to attend and organizers have said they will honor tickets purchased for the Games before they were postponed last year.

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‘Hotter than a wh*re in church’: NFL prodigy Zach Wilson’s mom labels Disney World bosses ‘maskholes’ over Covid-19 rules (VIDEO)

NFL second pick Zach Wilson’s mother has raged at Disney World bosses for being “maskholes” following a trip to their Florida theme park that she said her family had hated, accusing organizers of being “up in our business”.

Lisa Wilson became an instant hit with many fans when she shared photos of herself looking glamorously thrilled as he was drafted second overall by the New York Jets at the NFL selection ceremony at the end of last month.

Anyone who was not quick enough to become one of her thousands of followers on Instagram, where she goes under the name ‘lifeaccording2lisa’ and describes herself as a married “mother to six badass kids”, is now likely to have missed out after she made her account private following her fury at Disney World.

“We only made it about four hours to Disney World because my family kind of hate amusement parks,” complained the self-declared “appropriately inappropriate” doting parent.

Warning: video contains swearing

“It was hotter than hell out there, like a wh*re in church, and Disney – you’re kind of maskholes, not going to lie. Always up in our business.”

Rules produced by the hugely popular attraction “encourage people to get vaccinated” and warn that face coverings are a requirement for visitors over the age of two.

Temperature checks are required for entry to some locations, according to Disney World’s guidance, which also asks visitors to accept a “health acknowledgement” checklist and warns that “experiences may be modified in order to reduce contact.”

Wilson usually posts recipes, fitness tips and family insights on social media, and her unexpected outburst received a mixed response.

While one admirer called her “awesome”, another mocked: “She’s the type of delicate flower NFL fans will deify.”

Wilson, a 21-year-old Mormon, was clearly uncomfortable in his reply when he was pressed by a laughing radio host about people supposedly saying “wow,his mom is really hot” during the draft.

“Yeah, it’s not my favorite for sure,” Wilson admitted. “I like to keep her out of the spotlight. She’s an awesome lady and I love having her support.”

Before restricting her account, Wilson had one important salvo to fire. “I want to make it clear that I did wear my mask properly all day,” she stressed.

“I didn’t get reprimanded even once. I am very respectful. But it is miserable being at the ‘happiest place on earth’ with police walking around yelling at people for taking a drink of water. It’s outside, it’s hot and a lady in front of us passed out in line.”

Her Instagram profile also calls the ardent fan an “intuitive cook”, “home builder” and “organizer of all sh*t”.

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Italy’s League party leader should not face trial over kidnap claim after refusing to let migrants disembark

An Italian judge in Catania has ruled that the leader of Italy’s right-wing League party, Matteo Salvini, shouldn’t stand trial over claims he kidnapped a group of migrants in July 2019 when he refused to let them disembark.

The allegations center around a July 2019 incident where, as Italy’s interior minister, Salvini refused to allow 131 migrants on a coast guard vessel to disembark, until EU member states agreed a deal on redistributing the refugees.

While negotiations were ongoing with EU nations, the migrants had been forced to remain aboard the Italian vessel Bruno Gregoretti for six days while it was docked in Sicily’s port.

The judge in Catania sided with prosecutors who had asked that Salvini not face trial over the charge of kidnapping, as his political decision did not violate international treaties and did not warrant further investigation.

The decision in the Catania case is at odds with a decision made in a Palermo court in April 2021, where a judge ruled that Salvini must stand trial for the same incident over the kidnapping charges. If found guilty, the leader could face up to 15 years in prison and be permanently barred from holding government office.

Responding to the ruling on Friday, Salvini declared “If there was no kidnapping in Catania, then I do not see why there should be kidnapping in Palermo.”

The Palermo trial will kick off on September 15.

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Salvini’s League party caused Italy’s coalition government to collapse in 2019 after pulling out of the administration in an attempt to trigger an election. Having failed to force the country to head to the polls, the League has since joined Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s national unity government.

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How Northern Ireland Peace Process Reached Its Destination While Israel/Palestine Deal Was Derailed

China has accused the United States of “ignoring the suffering” of the Palestinians after Washington blocked a UN Security Council meeting. The US is one of Israel’s closest allies and has backed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline view of the Palestinian issue but is it time for Israel to learn lessons from the Northern Ireland conflict?
Source: http://sputniknews.com

Big Ben behind bars: Siberian prison installs British-style red phone boxes to create ‘atmosphere of London’ for inmates

Inmates in Russia’s third-largest city, Novosibirsk, will now get a little taste of international travel after a prison installed British-style red phone boxes to decorate the room inmates use for calls to the outside world.

Authorities in Correctional Colony 8 also got the prison’s art students to draw an illustration of the Palace of Westminster’s Elizabeth Tower, known worldwide as Big Ben.

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According to the Federal Penitentiary Service, placing payphones inside red phonebooths helps to “maximize the atmosphere of London.” According to Russian law, inmates have a right to telephone conversations.

Correctional Colony 8 is a high-security male penal colony for inmates who have previously served a prison sentence. The prison is located on the outskirts of Novosibirsk, the largest city in Siberia, 3,000km east of Moscow.

The new design isn’t the first prison renovation to make headlines recently. Last year, the walls of a prison in the southern city of Astrakhan were painted light pink, and the rooms were filled with bunk beds and chairs to create what some called a ‘children’s camp’ atmosphere.

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‘I’m getting that belt soon’: Russian UFC contender Makhachev claims ‘old clown’ fighters are dodging him amid fan criticism

UFC title hopeful and Khabib Nurmagomedov training partner Islam Makhachev has hit back at fans who have accused him of picking “Mickey Mouse” foes, insisting that “not a single one” of the top 10 lightweights wanted to fight him.

Some fans have been enraged by reports that the Dagestani destroyer will make his much-anticipated return to action on July 17 at UFC Fight Night 191, with Thiago Moses, who is ranked at 16, reportedly lined up as an opponent.

Critics tagged the manager Makhachev shares with former champion Nurmagomedov, Ali Abdelaziz, and asked whether the likes of Rafael dos Anjos, Paul Felder and Dan Hooker had really turned down the opportunity to face him.

“Are you serious? Do better,” jibed one, while another said Moses’ record, which includes two defeats in six UFC fights since winning Dana White’s Contender Series Brazil 3, was a demonstration of Makhachev meeting “holy Mickey Mouse opponents”.

Makhachev clearly either caught wind of the negative feedback or was just angry in general. Retweeting a post by ESPN, the 29-year-old wrote a seething caption calling the division’s top 10 “a bunch of old ass slick fighters”.

“Not a single one accepted the fight they were offered,” he claimed. “No matter what, I’m going to keep moving and get that belt soon, with or without these clowns. See you July 17.”

A calmer head pleaded for patience from Makhachev and his followers. “Lightweight is so f*cking stacked,” they began.

“Tony [Ferguson], [Michael] Chandler, Charles [Oliveira], Justin [Gaethje], Dustin [Poirier], Conor [McGregor]… he needs to wait and getting an easy fight to keep the win streak is a great idea.

“If Conor and Tony lose [their upcoming fights], they are out of the picture and Dustin gets the next shot [at the winner of Oliveira vs. Chandler this weekend]. Then Islam will get a Top 10 opponent.”

In response, 7-5 minnow Anthony ‘PrettyBoy’ Taylor popped up to inform Makhachev that he is available as his next opponent.

“Bro, you’re not even in the big leagues yet and [you’re] calling out the hardest fight in the world in the division,” a pundit piped up.

“Don’t get ahead of yourself. Hope you make it soon, though. You’ve got [nice] hands.”

One reader argued that UFC newcomer Michael Chandler is fighting for the belt at UFC 262 this weekend because he is American, calling the sport “rigged”.

Those comments echoed the words of Tony Ferguson at the last press conference ahead of the card.

“I’m going to be real. You got this sh*t handed to you. You got Dana White privilege,” ‘El Cucy’ told Chandler in Houston to laughter from fans and even the promotion president himself.

Moving on to Nurmagomedov, Ferguson dubbed his former potential opponent a “f*cking b*tch” and a “p*ssy”.

“I’m going to dedicate this song [to him] called ‘Mask Off’. ‘Chase a cheque, never chase a b*tch’. That’s Khabib,” Ferguson quipped, in reference to a hit by rapper Future of the same name.

As one of Nurmagomedov’s closest friends who was also trained by the 29-0 great’s late father, Abdulmanap, Makhachev has no love lost with Ferguson either.

After extending his winning streak to seven victories at UFC 259 by dominating Drew Dober, Makhachev threatened to retire the 37-year-old veteran.

“My dream fight is Tony Ferguson,” he said shortly after having his hand raised. “That’s my dream fight. I just want to make him retire. He talks too much.

“Khabib is retired, now [Ferguson] keeps pressuring him, for what? I’m here, I have a seven-fight win streak, make this happen.”

With back-to-back losses, Ferguson faces a do-or-die clash with Beneil Dariush on Saturday. Should he win his next fight, Makhachev might get his wish once and for all.

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Islam Makhachev (right) will face Thiago Moises in the UFC © Jason Silva / USA Today Sports via Reuters | © Per Haljestam / USA Today Sports via Reuters
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Portugal reports lowest ever number of babies born this winter as it becomes latest nation hit by declining birth rates

The birth rate in Portugal sunk to its lowest level this winter since records began in 1911, Portugal’s National Statistics Institute has said. The birth rate declined by a whopping 19% compared to the pre-pandemic January 2020.

The figures released by Portugal’s National Statistics Institute (INE) on Friday show that a total of 5,912 live babies were born in the country in January this year, which is 1,415 fewer (19.3%) than in January 2020, before the country went into lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The figure for February also represents a 11% drop since last year. The two months saw the “lowest monthly figures ever observed since records began” at INE in 1911, the Institute says.

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It goes on to report that, although the number of deaths was decreasing overall, the figures for February 2021 were still nearly 29% higher than the during the same month of 2020. Covid-19 was responsible for nearly 30% of all deaths.

An increase in deaths and a decrease in births means there was “a strong deterioration of the natural balance” in the first two months of 2021, INE warned.

Portugal has become the latest country to report this worrying statistic. Record-low birth rates were also recorded in Spain and Italy. The US registered its worst birth-rate drop in decades in 2020, according to a report released earlier this month.

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Birth rates have been falling across Europe and the US over the course of the past decade, but the pandemic seems to have accelerated the decline. The trend is being attributed to the uncertainty and stress experienced by people enduring more than a year of Covid-related restrictions and lockdowns.

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Source: NEWS