TOKYO (AP) — Athletes at the Tokyo Olympics won’t have the luxury of hanging around once they’ve wrapped up their event.
No late-night parties in the Athletes Village. No nights — or early mornings — on the town.
Instead of getting to know their global neighbors, Olympic athletes will be encouraged to leave Japan a day or two after they’ve finished competing.
From the opening ceremony to life in the village on Tokyo Bay, the postponed 2020 Olympics will be like no other. There’ll be stringent rules and guidelines — and maybe vaccines and rapid testing — to pull off the games in the middle of a pandemic that has been blamed for more than 1 million deaths worldwide.
“Staying longer in the village increases the potential for problems,” John Coates, the IOC member in charge of overseeing Tokyo preparations, said Wednesday at a briefing for the Olympics and Paralympics.
Coates was asked if athletes would be discouraged from sightseeing, or looking around the city.
“Yes,” he replied simply, a short answer suggesting these Olympics will be all business with few frills.
Coates accompanied International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach to Tokyo this week as he met Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and shored up support with key Japanese sponsors.
It was Bach’s first visit to Japan since the Olympics were postponed in March.
Bach left Tokyo on Wednesday after two days of saying a vaccine was likely to be available and athletes would be strongly encouraged to take it.
Organizers and the IOC are growing confident they will have a vaccine and rapid testing. This will help, but dozens of other countermeasures will also be in place; social distancing, masks and bubbles in the venues and the Athletes Village.
Japan has controlled the virus reasonably well with about 1,900 deaths attributed to COVID-19. But almost 500 new cases were reported Wednesday in Tokyo, and more than 2,000 around Japan — both one-day records.
Cases are surging in the country just as optimism is also on the rise.
Christophe Dubi, the Olympic Games executive director, acknowledged much is still in the planning stages with many scenarios in play ahead of the scheduled opening on July 23, 2021.
“We don’t know what the situation will be next year, but some decisions will have to be made already in December,” Dubi said, speaking remotely.
Coates said the opening ceremony would be restricted to only athletes and a maximum of six team officials. In the past, dozens of officials — at times 50, Coates said — were allowed to march, filling in for athletes who may have skipped in order to compete the next day.
“We won’t do that this time,” Coates said. “That is just increasing the potential problem in the ceremony.”
Coates said all 206 countries would be represented in the opening ceremony, and a full contingent of 11,000 athletes will compete in the games. But the opening ceremony parade is likely to look smaller.
Officials are also
New Delhi [India], November 6 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Friday deferred after the Diwali vacation hearing on a plea seeking directions to ban stubble burning in the states neighbouring the national capital to prevent air pollution.
A bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde, said, “We will conduct the hearing after Diwali.”
During the last hearing in the matter, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre had submitted that an ordinance has been brought in order to deal with the air pollution in the Delhi-NCR region and adjoining areas.
Mehta had also sought directions to keep in abeyance it’s October 16 order of appointing former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur as one-man commission to look into the issue of air pollution and stubble burning, which was allowed by the court.
The top court was hearing a plea, which referred to a Harvard University study that air pollution may now be an important factor that aggravates a mild COVID-19 infection into an acute one, had contended that stubble burning contributes almost 40 per cent of air pollution in Delhi.
It had sought directions to ban stubble burning in the states neighbouring the national capital as it creates massive air pollution in the winters. (ANI)
A parks levy would restore parks services and expand access for low-income Portlanders.
PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Parks & Recreation has long struggled financially. In 2019, the city had to make drastic cuts to the bureau’s budget after discovering a more than $6 million budget shortfall.
The pandemic has only worsened this dire financial situation with shuttered summer programs, community centers and swimming pools. The bureau now faces a $16 million deficit largely due to an over-reliance on recreation fees.
But Measure 26-213 aims to address the park’s reliance on user fees and fund recreation programs and park services through a levy on the Multnomah County ballot.
The measure would prevent “ongoing reductions to park services and recreation programs, preserve and restore park and natural area health, and center equity and affordable access for all,” according to the measure filing.
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The parks levy is one of several tax measures on the ballot. If passed, it would enact a tax of $0.80 per $1,000 of assessed property value for five years beginning in 2021.
The Portland City Council estimates that this levy will cost the average property owner about $13 per month, and would raise an average of $48 million each year for the five-year period.
Rather than funding new projects, like the library bond and preschool-for-all measures, the park levy would largely help to preserve existing programs and services. It will keep facilities like Multnomah Arts Center open and ensure daily garbage and bathroom maintenance in Portland Parks.
RELATED: Measure 26-211 could increase Multnomah County library space by 50%
If the levy does not pass, Portland Parks & Recreation will struggle to restore recreation programs next summer and maintain parks, community centers and restrooms, according to Randy Gragg, executive director of Portland Parks Foundation.
“Although we haven’t been able to experience (park programs) because of the pandemic this year, next year we wouldn’t be able to experience them because of the (budget) deficit,” Gragg said.
In addition to maintaining existing services, funds could also help the parks bureau increase accessibility by canceling fees for low-income Portlanders. The bureau will use the funds to expand programs for people of color and children experiencing poverty.
If the measure is passed, park officials will conduct more community outreach to determine what services these groups need. A five-member community oversight committee will also be appointed by the Portland City Council to review levy expenditures and report annually to the council.
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Portlanders for Parks is the principal campaign in support of the measure. Supporters include organizations like the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Sunrise Movement PDX and the Portland Business Association, along with both mayoral candidates — Mayor Ted Wheeler and challenger Sarah Iannarone.
According to a recent DHM Research poll conducted on behalf of Oregon Public Broadcasting, the parks levy is in a strong position. That measure received 53%
Travel industry groups called on the Trump administration to pursue an approach to COVID-19 testing that would obviate the need for quarantines and travel bans in order to safely re-open travel.
Airlines for America, the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the U.S. Travel Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, among others, wrote a letter to Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Transportation Department Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoCentury of the Woman: Can Leading Women Have it All? Female lawmakers, officials call for more women at all levels of government to improve equity The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association – Country reacts to debate night of mudslinging MORE and acting Homeland Security Department Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfVoting rights group files suit against Trump, administration officials alleging voter intimidation Business groups, universities file lawsuit over new rules targeting H-1B visas US extends Mexico, Canada border closures MORE on Thursday.
The groups noted that in the U.S., 18 states currently have some type of quarantine in place and said that the patchwork of rules is “confusing and discourages travel.”
“Furthermore, there are alternatives to quarantines, such as testing and screening of passengers at or ahead of departure, that can significantly reduce the risk of importation of COVID-19 and may actually be more effective due to the difficulties in enforcing compliance with quarantine requirements,” they wrote.
The groups suggested that, as an alternative to an automated quarantine system, state governors and international governments should work together to implement comprehensive, cost-effective pre-departure testing procedures and contact tracing protocols.
“There is widespread agreement in the aviation and travel industries that appropriate COVID-19 pre-departure testing protocols can serve as an alternative to quarantines while increasing confidence in the health and safety of the air transportation system,” they wrote.
Other groups on the letter included the Airports Council International-North America, the American Society of Travel Advisors, the Association of Flight Attendants and the Cargo Airline Association.
The letter was also copied to Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D), New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), New Mexico Gov. Michelle Grisham (D), New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoState officials plead for more info on vaccine distribution plans Overnight Health Care: NIH chief: Trump has not met with task force in ‘quite some time’ | CDC reports 300,000 more deaths than expected this year | UK to start challenge trials for vaccine Cuomo: Travel within Tri-State area should be avoided due to COVID-19 spike MORE (D), Ohio Gov. Mike DeWineMike DeWineWhy isn’t the Trump campaign airing TV ads in Ohio? Sunday shows – Trump’s positive coronavirus test reverberates Ohio governor: I hope Trump’s positive coronavirus test serves as ‘cautionary tale’ to those who don’t wear masks MORE (R), Vermont Gov. Phil Scott (R) and D.C. Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserDC cancels 2021 Cherry Blossom Parade over COVID-19 fears Federal court rules DC church can resume services outdoors despite city restrictions DC-area health officials urge COVID-19 testing for anyone