The medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics were unveiled on Wednesday with exactly one year to go until next year’s Games.
The unveiling of the medals, designed by Junichi Kawanishi, was the main attraction of an extravagant ceremony in the Japanese capital to commemorate the landmark.
The event was attended by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The medals, which are 85 millimetres in diameter, feature Greek goddess of victory Nike in their design along with the Olympic symbol and are made from recycled metals, collected from 6.21 million electronic devices donated across Japan.
Abe said he hoped next year’s Games would have a similar impact as the 1964 Summer Games held in Tokyo.
“Sports brings the world together and it affords equal opportunities to all. That is what sports are about,” said Abe. “Fifty five years ago we learned that when we hosted it in Tokyo before.”
“Next year we want to demonstrate that again and we want this to be an opportunity where we can do that.”
Bach reiterated that Tokyo is the best-prepared city he has ever seen ahead of an Olympic Games.
“It will be a wonderful and unique moment for our gracious Japanese hosts. For you to show the world the best of Japan,” added Bach.
Organizers believe they are on track to deliver a world-class sporting event next year and with 3.22 million tickets already sold and over 200,000 people applying to be volunteers, engagement in Japan is unprecedented.
The only reminder of the issues in the build-up to the Games on Wednesday was the presence of new Japanese Olympic Committee President Yasuhiro Yamashita on stage with Bach and Abe.
Yamashita took over at the JOC last month, following the resignation of Tsunekazu Takeda, who is being investigated for suspected corruption related to the Tokyo 2020 bid. (REUTERS)
Three people were injured in a Palestinian attack near an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, according to early reports by the Israeli military on Friday (August 23).
A military spokesman said the attack was carried out near Dolev, a settlement northwest of the Palestinian city of Ramallah.
“Three people appear to be injured at the scene,” the spokesman said, adding that troops were searching the area.
Israeli news reports said the wounded were Israelis, and that Palestinians had thrown an explosive charge near a water spring popular with hikers in the hilly central region of the West Bank. The first reports came shortly after 10 a.m. (0700 GMT).
Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said it was treating three people in “serious condition”, including a 46-year-old man, a 21-year-old man and an 18-year-old woman. (Reuters)
Russia showcased to the media the world’s first floating nuclear power plant Akademik Lomonosov on Thursday (August 22).
Crew on the Akademik Lomonosov are expected to leave Murmansk for a long journey along the Northern Sea Route to Chukotka in Russia’s far east.
Rosenergoatom deputy director Dmitry Alekseenko said at a news conference that the main advantage of the new type of nuclear plant is its mobility that allows it to reach any point with demand for energy. He also said that it would do no harm to the environment.
Critics, however, warily recall Soviet-era nuclear accidents and Russia’s naval disasters such as the loss of the nuclear-powered submarine Kursk, which sank in the Barents Sea after explosions on board, killing all 118 crew.
In 2018 Greenpeace issued a statement calling Lomonosov a ‘nuclear Titanic’. (Reuters)
Bolivian firefighters continued battling on Wednesday (August 21) a series of wildfires ravaging swathes of the country from both land and air.
Using a helicopter to dump water on hot spots, firefighters also used dirt and sand to put out smaller flames in Santa Cruz. Television images showed flames dangerously close to the highway that leads to Brazil.
Bolivia’s government has reported that nearly 500,000 hectares of forest have been left charred from wildfires.
This week, authorities warned that 70% of Santa Cruz Department is under “extreme risk” from forest fires.
Environmental organisations have also warned of damage to more than 500 species of fauna, some endemic, after slash-and-burn tactics combined with dry conditions have caused dozens of forest fires in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday (August 21), President Evo Morales said measures are being stepped up to battle the fires.
Bolivia’s wildfires come as neighbouring Brazil also battles record-breaking fires in its Amazon. (Reuters)
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