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Tokyo Olympics might be canceled due to COVID: official

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(Last Updated On: April 15, 2021)

A senior Japanese ruling party official said canceling this year’s Olympics in Tokyo remains an option if the coronavirus crisis worsens, Reuters reported.

This comes as a fourth wave of infections surges across the country in less than 100 days from the planned start of the Games.

“If it seems impossible to do it any more, then we have to stop, decisively,” Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of the Liberal Democratic Party, said in comments to broadcaster TBS.

Cancellation is “of course” an option, Nikai said. “If the Olympics were to spread infection, then what are the Olympics for?” he added.

Reuters reported that Nikai, a key supporter of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, is known for his frank comments, which come as many other ruling party lawmakers have avoided discussing the hot button issue of a possible cancellation.

The world’s biggest sporting event has already been delayed by a year and is being held without international spectators.

Japan is grappling with rising coronavirus infections, with numbers trending higher in Tokyo after the government ended a state of emergency, and Osaka suffering a record number of cases.

The government is pushing ahead with preparations incorporating social distancing measures and other restrictions for the Games set to begin on July 23, with a scaled back torch relay underway, Reuters reported.

“We’ll hold (the Games) in a way that’s feasible,” Taro Kono, a popular minister in charge of Japan’s vaccination drive, said on a separate TV programme, according to Kyodo News. “That may be without spectators,” he added.

Polls indicate little support in Japan for holding the Games during a global pandemic. “Canceling Olympics” was trending on Twitter in Japan on Thursday with more than 35,000 tweets from users.

“If this person says it, Olympics cancellation looks like a reality,” tweeted @marumaru_clm in reference to Nikai.

Olympic organisers, Japan’s national Olympic committee and the Tokyo government did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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Ashraf Ghani found to have lied countless times during his tenure

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

Ashraf Ghani, former president of Afghanistan, has been found to have lied dozens of times during his seven years in office and made as many, if not more, commitments which he failed to keep.

During the inauguration of Kamal Khan Dam in Nimroz province in March this year, Ghani said that Afghanistan will export electricity to Pakistan and India within five years.

This was said despite Afghanistan relying heavily on its neighbors for at least 70% of its power.

Afghans on Sunday slammed Ghani and branded him a liar and said one cannot believe a word he said.

According to Afghans, Ghani was a deceptive president.

In another instance, Ghani pledged to stay in his home country and to never leave.

Just weeks before Ghani fled the country he said: “Everyone is going, but I am not going. It is my home and it is my grave.”

The following is a short list of commitments made by Ghani that were not kept.

1- Ghani promised to create one millions jobs, but instead five million lost their jobs.
2- During a trip to Badghis province, Ghani promised to establish an academic college and a technical school in every district. This never happened.

3- He also pledged to allocate and give land to all teachers. Again this never happened.

4- He made promises to supply all districts in the country with electricity. Less than 9% of the rural population have electricity, while 75% of Afghans live in rural areas.

5-Ghani promised to end the bloodshed in the country countless times. This never happened under his rule.

6-He also vowed to build 6,000 schools. Nothing came of this.
8- Ghani also made numerous promises to make sure that every family had food on their tables – yet most soldiers went without pay for months.

Kabul residents are angry and have not only accused him stealing over $168 million dollars in cash as he fled the country on August 15 but also labeled him a complete liar.

“Every speech of Ashraf Ghani’s was a lie. He deceived the people of Afghanistan.

“None of his commitments were implemented,” said Mohamad Maseh, a Kabul resident.

Ghani made dozens of other commitments that he never achieved, which has had a profound impact on the lives of ordinary Afghans.

Teachers were not only promised land but housing as well. This never materialized, while Ghani also went back on his word when he said he would pay the salaries of civil servants from his own pocket if needed.

“Ghani deceived the people and told hundreds of lies and then fled,” said Rohid, a Kabul resident.

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Muttaqi says non-recognition of IEA govt is benefitting Daesh

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

Turkey can play “an active role in investing, realizing some projects, renovating and restoring Afghanistan,” with the resources it possesses, according to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan’s new acting foreign minister.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency during his visit to the country this week, Amir Khan Muttaqi said the official recognition of his government and international aid held great importance to the recovery of the country’s economy.

While in Turkey, Muttaqi met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and discussed issues related to the official recognition of the IEA and the unfreezing by the US of Afghanistan’s assets.

Muttaqi said the freezing of reserves by the US after the IEA’s takeover, violated international law and human rights.

He stressed money blocked by the US was sent from other states for the development of Afghanistan.

“The real question is, why was this money blocked? What did the citizens of Afghanistan do?,” he asked.

“On the other hand, the US and other countries say that humanitarian aid should be given to Afghanistan and human rights should be respected. But, they leave the Afghan people with a population of about 40 million without basic necessities.”

However, he told Anadolu Agency that not recognizing the new government in Afghanistan benefits Daesh (ISIS-K) but dismissed concerns that the group was a threat to Afghanistan.

“They are carrying out attacks on mosques and streets. You will agree that it is not an easy task to ensure the safety of all mosques and streets. They do not own any place in Afghanistan,” he said adding that “the fact that the new state in Afghanistan is not officially recognized is beneficial to Daesh/ISIS.

“The countries of the world, on the one hand, say control the Afghan people so they do not emigrate. On the other hand, they do not officially recognize the government and give morale to Daesh/ISIS. This is in the interest of neither Afghanistan nor the world,” he said.

Turkey and the new administration in Afghanistan held their first high-level contact after the IEA took power on August 15.

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Merkel hopes Germany continues to work with Turkey

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(Last Updated On: October 17, 2021)

In a farewell visit to Turkey, outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel said her country will continue to maintain a working relationship with Turkey, and stressed the need for continued cooperation on migration and other issues.

“The relationship between Turkey and Germany, with its positive and negative sides, will go on,” Merkel told reporters at a joint news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the steps of Istanbul’s Dolmabache Palace.

“Everybody knows the security and independence of both our countries depends on each other.”

“We want to prevent human trafficking. It is essential … for the EU to support Turkey in this regard,” she said.

Merkel stressed that Turkey and Germany always have common interests, and added that this would be how the next federal government will see it.

Erdogan said Turkey would “always remember the good faith and the contribution” Merkel made towards maintaining ties with Turkey.

“From prevention of irregular migration from Syria, to dispatching humanitarian aid to northern Syria, on many topics Merkel did not abstain from taking the initiative and taking responsibility,” Erdogan said.

Merkel, who led Germany for 16 years, and Erdogan, who has led Turkey for 19 years, are perhaps the most seasoned political leaders in the region. At times, Merkel has pushed for maintaining ties with Turkey despite pressure at home over contentious issues such as migration and human rights.

Merkel is preparing to leave active politics later this year, but she will remain in her post until a new coalition government is formed.

Her Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) narrowly lost the general elections late last month.

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