Youth Games action starts without Ebola-struck nations

admin   •   August 18, 2014   •   1344

Australia’s Brittany Dutton celebrates after winning the women’s triathlon during the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, August 17, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/ALY SONG

(Reuters) – Australian triathlete Brittany Dutton won the first gold of the Youth Olympics as competition kicked-off on Sunday without Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria who withdrew because of the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Friday they had banned three west African athletes from competing in combat sports and pool events in China as a precaution after the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola which has claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people in the region.

IOC President Thomas Bach said on Saturday that following the move, taken after discussion with the World Health Organisation, the governments of Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone had opted against allowing their athletes to compete in the 13-day multisport event.

“Two NOCs (Sierra Leone and Liberia) decided together with their government to not come here. We have to respect the decision of the government in such a difficult moment for their country,” the German was quoted as saying by China’s Xinhua news agency.

“We also have been informed that the team of Nigeria wants to go home. Obviously the Nigerian government has decided to send them home.

“We feel sad for the athletes as it will be extremely difficult for them. They already felt the excitement of living in the Village and now they have to leave – that’s a very difficult task.”

Xinhua also quoted an unnamed official of the Youth Olympics Organising Committee saying they were “appreciative of and grateful” that the trio withdrew.

“On behalf of other delegations and their athletes, I hereby extend to them the heart-felt respect,” the report said.

Organizers of the second Youth Olympics were also concerned about adverse weather in Eastern China over the fortnight disrupting competition for the athletes, who are between aged 14 and 18.

“There is the possibility the city could face frequent rainy days, electrical storms and occasional occurrences of haze and possibly typhoons,” the Nanjing 2014 Meteorological Services Command Centre said.

Dutton escaped the weather and haze concerns early on Sunday morning as the 16-year-old rode a brilliant bike leg to force American Stephanie Jenks in to second on her 17th birthday.

Dutton celebrated her win by taking a selfie with former fencer Bach, who had called on athletes to snap pictures of themselves throughout the Games to promote friendship in competition.

(Writing by Patrick Johnston; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Two missing, three injured in oil refinery fire in China

UNTV News   •   July 13, 2020

A massive oil refinery fire in Longyan City of east China’s Fujian Province has left two missing and three others injured with one in severe condition, according to the local government’s report released at 21:30 on Sunday.

All injured victims were immediately taken to hospital.

According to the report, the cause of the accident is the hot weather which led to fire while a worker was operating a glycerinum storage tank at the Longyan Zhuoyue New Energy company, located in Tieshan Town of the city’s Xinluo District.

The fire lit up an area of 3,900 square meters as of 21:30.

All nearby residents have been evacuated to safety, while hundreds of firefighters brought in from across the province are continuing to fight the flames.

A local emergency response headquarters has been set up, with a total of 12 fire stations, 54 fire trucks and 202 firefighters dispatched to the rescue.

In addition, armed police, public security, forest fire control, militia reserve, medical workers, sanitation workers, emergency management personnel and other rescue forces also rushed to the scene, quickly organized the evacuation of the factory workers and the surrounding people, and implemented temporary traffic control.

According to the report, the main substances produced during the refinery fire included PM2.5, PM10, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, but no poisonous materials and cumulative pollutants.

By the time of the report, rescue is still underway. (Reuters)

China’s embassy in Kazakhstan warns citizens of pneumonia deadlier than COVID-19

Robie de Guzman   •   July 10, 2020

China’s embassy in Kazakhstan has warned its citizens on Thursday (July 9) to take precautions against an outbreak of pneumonia in the country that it says is more lethal than COVID-19.

It said in a statement on its official website late on Thursday that there had been a “significant increase” in cases in the cities of Atyrau, Aktobe and Shymkent since mid-June.

On Friday (July 10), however, Kazakhstan’s healthcare ministry branded Chinese media reports based on the embassy statement as “fake news”.

The ministry said its tallies of bacterial, fungal and viral pneumonia infections, which also included cases of unclear causes, were in line with World Health Organisation guidelines.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian declined to comment on the issue directly during a Friday (July 10) briefing in Beijing, instead referring media to “the relevant authorities in Kazakhstan”.

“China also hopes to obtain information on this,” Zhao said.

Kazakhstan, which imposed a second lockdown this week to rein in the coronavirus pandemic, has a tally of almost 55,000 COVID-19 infections, including 264 deaths. The number of new cases rose on Thursday to a daily record of 1,962.

On Tuesday (July 7), state news agency Kazinform said the number of pneumonia cases “increased 2.2 times in June as compared to the same period of 2019”.

In its statement, the Chinese embassy had said pneumonia in Kazakhstan killed 1,772 people in the year’s first half, with 628 deaths in June, including Chinese citizens.

It is unclear whether the said pneumonia it referred to was caused by a virus related to coronavirus or a different strain. (Reuters)

(Production: Shubing Wang, Fang Nanlin)

China says willing to join arms treaty if U.S. reduces its nuclear arsenal

UNTV News   •   July 8, 2020

If the United States were willing to reduce its nuclear arsenal to China’s level, China would “be happy to” participate in trilateral arms control negotiation with the U.S and Russia, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Wednesday (July 8).

The U.S. has repeatedly called for China to join in trilateral negotiations to extend a flagship nuclear arms treaty between the U.S. and Russia that is due to expire in February next year.

Fu Cong, head of arms control department of Chinese foreign ministry, reiterated to reporters in Beijing on Wednesday that China has no interest in joining the trilateral negotiation. (Reuters)

(Production: Martin Pollard, Wang Shubing)

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