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400 days to go: Tokyo previews 2020 Olympic Games with miniature models

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Miniature models representing the 55 sports that will be on show at next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games were on display in the Japanese capital on Thursday (June 20), 400 days before the summer showpiece begins.

The models, presented in jars within the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry, form part of a wider display alongside the Tokyo 2020 torch and the Games’ mascots Miraitowa and Someity.

On display since March, the models are made using a 3D printer and are aimed at raising awareness of all the sports for Japanese fans.

Baseball and softball, karate, skateboarding, surfing and speed climbing will all feature at Tokyo 2020 as organisers target a younger audience.

With 400 days to go until the Games commence, excitement is building amongst the Japanese population, who have applied for tickets in their droves during the first wave of sales.

More than 7.5 million people registered for the ID required to make an application.

The first lucky fans who earned tickets during the initial lottery found out what events they can go to on Thursday.

Softball, the first event on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic schedule, will begin in Fukushima two days before the opening ceremony on July 24. (REUTERS)

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Lawmakers call Trump’s attack as attempt to distract from his policies

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Four minority U.S. congresswomen, known as the “the squad”, accused President Donald Trump of trying to sow division and distract attention from what they characterized as failed policies on immigration, health care and taxation on Monday (July 15).

“This president does not know how to make the argument that Americans do not deserve health care. He does not know how to defend his policies. So, what he does is attack us personally and that is what this is all about,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York – Democrat) said.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts – Democrat) urged the public to “not take the bait” following Trump’s Twitter messages on Sunday (July 14) that said the lawmakers should go back to “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

All four of the first-term House members are U.S. citizens and all but one were born in the United States.

The president’s remarks were widely derided and some, though not many, of his fellow Republicans spoke out against them.

Trump did not identify the lawmakers by name in his Sunday tweets, but he appeared to refer to representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

“This is not the first, nor will it be the last time we hear disgusting, bigoted language from the president,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Michigan- Democrat) said.

Omar said Trump’s remarks were rooted in the “agenda of white nationalists.”

Tlaib and Omar repeated their calls for Trump to be impeached. (REUTERS)

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Trump tells Democratic congresswomen to ‘go back’ to ‘fix’ countries they came from

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

(L-R) Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts | Courtesy: Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday (July 14) told a group of mostly American-born Democratic congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” a comment that was condemned by Democrats as racist.

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe… viciously telling the people of the United States… how our government is to be run,” Trump said in a series of three comments on Twitter.

While he did not mention names, Trump appeared to be referring to first-year Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – a group known as “the squad” that has been very critical of Trump and also of the current Democratic leadership of the House.

Only Omar, whose family left Somalia as refugees and arrived in Minneapolis in 1997, was born outside the United States.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, has feuded with the group in an increasingly bitter intra-party fight, but came to their defense Sunday along with other Democratic colleagues. She called Trump’s comments “xenophobic.”

“When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ has always been about making America white again,” she said on Twitter. (REUTERS)

(Production: Deborah Lutterbeck)

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Death toll in Nepal floods rises to 55, thousands displaced

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

The death toll in Nepal from flash floods and landslides rose to 55 on Sunday (July 14), with dozens missing and injured, the government said.

Ten thousand people have been displaced from their homes as incessant monsoon rains pounded many areas in mostly mountainous Nepal since Thursday (July 11), submerging large areas of land, inundating homes, and destroying bridges and roads across the country.

A Home Ministry statement said 55 people had been confirmed dead and 33 injured, with 30 still missing.

India’s north eastern state of Assam has also been hard hit by the floods brought by the monsoon, with at least 1.5 million people displaced and 10 dead.

In the Chittagong division of Bangladesh there have been 10 deaths and about 500,000 displaced, with 200 villages flooded.

Officials said in some areas rains had eased but rivers in the eastern part of the country were still above flood level.

The Kosi River, which flows into the eastern Indian state of Bihar, was among those that had risen above the flood level.

The Kosi has been a serious concern for both India and Nepal since it broke its banks in 2008 and changed course, submerging large areas of land and affecting more than 2 million people in India’s Bihar state. (REUTERS)

(Production: Emily Cooper)

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