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US officials to boycott Beijing Olympics

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(Last Updated On: December 6, 2021)

The Biden administration is expected to announce this week that U.S. government officials will not attend the 2022 Olympics in Beijing, CNN reported on Sunday.

U.S. President Joe Biden said last month that he was considering such a diplomatic boycott to protest China’s human rights record, including what Washington says is genocide against minority Muslims.

The administration has been under pressure from activists and members of Congress to skip the games, Reuters reported.

The White House declined to comment on CNN’s report on Sunday. Four sources with knowledge of the administration’s thinking previously told Reuters that there was a growing consensus within the White House to keep U.S. officials away from the Beijing Olympics.

CNN said the U.S. boycott would not prevent its athletes from competing in the games.

The State Department did not respond to questions about the report late Sunday.

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China reports 36 new COVID-19 cases among Olympics-related personnel

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(Last Updated On: January 29, 2022)

A total of 36 new COVID-19 infections were detected among Olympic Games-related personnel on January 28, the organising committee of the Beijing 2022 Winter Games said on Saturday.

Nineteen were either athletes or team officials who tested positive after arriving at the airport on Friday, Reuters reported.

A notice on the Games’ official website said 29 were found among new airport arrivals, while seven were among those already in the “closed loop” bubble that separates event personnel from the public.

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ICC U19 World Cup: Afghanistan beats Sri Lanka to reach the semi-final

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2022)

Afghanistan’s National Under-19 team beats Sri Lanka by four runs to secure a place in the semifinals of the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2022.

Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) said in a statement that Afghanistan will play its next match against England at the North Sound of West Indies on February 1, 2022.

According to the statement, Afghanistan was put in to bat in overcast conditions. The openers scored 24 runs for no loss in 7 overs before the game was interrupted by rain, soon later the game was resumed again, from where the Sri Lankan bowlers started dominating the game by picking 4 wickets inside 3.5 overs to reduce Afghanistan from 24/0 in 10.5 to 26/4 in 13.4 overs.

“The left-arm middle-order batter Abdul Hadi alongside Allah Noor who bats right-handed at the top and middle order, fought hard to bat deep and bring as many runs as possible. The duo put on a 49-run partnership before Allah Noor fell to the opponent captain.”

“Noor Ahmad at the back end of the inning played an effective cameo (30 off 33) to lift Afghanistan’s total to 134. Both Noor Ahmad and Abdul Hadi were cut short, due to their wild slogging approach, otherwise, a little smoother and smarter thinking from both could have added 20-25 more runs to the total.”

Bilal Sami and Naweed Zadran, meanwhile, started brilliantly with the new ball as they conceded only 20 runs in the first 10 overs, picking up two wickets.

Naweed Zadran and Noor Ahmad added one more wicket each to their team’s tally, which were backed by some excellent and sharp fielding that handed the team more three run-outs to reduce the opponents to 43/7 in 17.1 overs.

“Sri Lankan Captain Dunith Wallegale alongside Raveen De Silva fought well to add 69 more runs together to their total. Just before they were to start finishing the game off, Nangyalai Kharoti removed the opponent skipper and Izharulhaq Naweed castle de Silva with a beautiful googly to leave them tottering at 116/9. The last pair added 14 more runs together to get their team close to the line before they mixed up while running a single and Mathew was short by yards while returning back to end a mouth-watering encounter in favor of Afghanistan by 4 runs,” the statement read.

For Afghanistan; Bilal Sami picked two, while Nangyal Kharoti, Noor Ahmad, Izharulhaq Naweed, and Naweed Zadran all took one wicket each. The rest four batters were run out following some electric fielding and direct hits from the fielders. The left-arm wrist-spinner Noor Ahmad was awarded as the Man of the Match for his important 30 runs and 1/20 off his 10 overs.

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Amid pandemic and protest, Olympics return to a changed China

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(Last Updated On: January 28, 2022)

The Beijing Winter Olympics kick off in a week, putting sports at centre-stage following preparations that have been clouded by diplomatic boycotts and the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced the Games into a tightly sealed bubble.

Beijing will become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games, and some venues from 2008 will be re-used, including the Bird’s Nest stadium, where the opening ceremony will again be overseen by famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou.

Almost everything else is different.

Where the 2008 Summer Games dazzled in what was a rising China’s arrival on the world stage, the Winter Olympics will be staged by a country that has grown far wealthier, more powerful and, under President Xi Jinping, more authoritarian and increasingly at odds with the West.

In the COVID-19 era, China has isolated itself with a zero-tolerance policy, cancelling nearly all international flights, meaning Olympic athletes and others must fly directly into a Games bubble on charters.

As in 2008, the Olympics have again cast a spotlight on China’s human rights record, which critics say has worsened since then, leading Washington to call Beijing’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims genocide and prompting a diplomatic boycott from the United States and other countries.

China rejects allegations of abuse and has repeatedly lashed out against the politicisation of the Games.

“The 2008 Olympics were a powerful source of soft power for China as it aspired toward global influence. In the past year, China’s reputation has dipped significantly in the western world,” said Rana Mitter, a professor of Chinese history and politics at Oxford University.

“The Chinese Communist Party will be hoping that the Winter Olympics 2022 can do something to reverse this position.”

However, the Games are set to kick off amid rising geopolitical tension, with troops mounted at the Ukraine border by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is expected to be in Beijing, as is U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

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