In the early hours of Monday, the speaker of parliament, Rached Ghannouchi, who leads Ennahda, tried to get into the legislature in Tunis. He was blocked by those who supported Mr Saied’s move, and responded with a sit-down protest with his own loyalists.
TOKYO — The Tokyo Olympic Stadium on a hot and sticky Monday morning was an edifice in search of an audience.
The people trickling through security and the Covid-19 checks were mostly members of camera crews, various technicians, and the occasional reporter.
“Not busy,” said the Japanese soldier scanning bags for contraband said and shrugged.
The grounds surrounding the 68,000-seat stadium, which was completed in November 2019 and is wedged into a bustling Tokyo neighborhood, would be teeming with tourists if these Olympics weren’t being staged during a pandemic.
Although the track and field events at the stadium don’t start until Friday, there is an Olympic museum and the shell of the structure has distinctive Japanese touches like wooden plates and foliage.
But the grounds were spotless — and empty.
The concession stands were shuttered. The turnstiles looked lonely. The handful of ushers on hand did not venture out of the shade.
Inside, the view was breathtaking the way a cathedral can be breathtaking, with the stands creating an enormous bowl and a field of emerald green in the center beneath an open sky. There is also a digital ticker running inspirational messages in English aimed at the athletes.
There are three layers of seats which are dark green, lime green, brown and white and which, on first glance, create the illusion that somebody is sitting in them. But it is just an illusion.
Because Tokyo is under a state of emergency, no fans are allowed in the stands at the Olympic stadium or any of the other venues where the athletes are competing.
But the Olympic stadium is the crown jewel of the Tokyo Olympics and the seats here will remain as they have been since the games official kicked-off last Friday, meaning empty.
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Fewer than a thousand foreign dignitaries and diplomats, Olympic sponsors and members of the International Olympic Committee were present at the opening ceremony when athletes from more than 200 countries paraded through the stadium.
But that would not have been readily apparent to the estimated 17 million people who tuned in to watch the coverage by NBC News, whose parent company, NBCUniversal, owns the U.S. broadcasting rights to the Games.
So the small army of robots programmed to help spectators find their seats and perform other tasks will sit idle. The ubiquitous signs reminding spectators to social distance, sanitize hands and refrain from blowing on “noisemakers” will go largely unread.
Out of the field Monday morning, nobody was going for the gold just yet.
Instead, workers — all wearing masks against Covid-19 — hosed down the track and took stock of the equipment for the track and field athletes, who start competing this Friday at the stadium.
“The finish line, very nice,” said a security person standing watch over the numbers that will be familiar to anybody who has seen a dramatic Olympic finish and which appeared to be freshly painted.
Other workers were touching up the paint on the flagpoles from which the Japanese and Olympic flags hung limply in the hot and very humid air.
Nearby, a contingent of soldiers dressed in camouflage field uniforms marched smartly up to the flagpoles on which the flags of medal-winning athletes will be raised.
While their commanding officer barked out orders, the soldiers turned towards the poles, grabbed the robes, and pretended to raise and lower the flags, which they then folded up and carried off. But there was nothing in their hands.
Every year, a new class of outstanding athletes, coaches and other athletic personnel are inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.
From Michael Jordan to Roy Williams, many UNC basketball alumni have earned the honor of having their names etched amongst the legends of this state, but on June 23, it was all about the football program. Headlining a class of 11 at the Raleigh Convention Center, current head coach of the UNC football team, Mack Brown, and former defensive star, Julius Peppers, represented a new sight for the Tar Heels.
Also inducted posthumously was UNC’s former director of track and field Dennis Craddock, who won more ACC titles than any other coach in conference history. Craddock, who died in 2019, claimed 45 ACC titles over the course of his career at Virginia and North Carolina.
In a state full of famous sports names and storied athletic programs, it is a great honor to reach this stage and for Brown and Peppers to be inducted together — two of the greatest to ever walk the turf of Kenan Stadium — it was a grand occasion for the UNC football program.
Brown’s first-ever head coaching job was with Appalachian State for the 1983 season. He would go on to North Carolina in 1988 where he coached until 1997, then returned for a second stint with the program in 2019. Peppers came to Chapel Hill as a defensive end in 1998 and would go on to record 30.5 career sacks, second-most in program history.
This pair of North Carolina sports legends have a special bond.
Coach Brown recruited Peppers all through high school, and although he left for Texas prior to Peppers’ arrival in Chapel Hill, the two have kept a relationship over the years.
Brown still remembers laying his eyes on Peppers as a high schooler during his first tenure as head coach of the Tar Heels, and he knew right away the impact that the young man from Southern Nash High School in Bailey, North Carolina, was due to make.
“We recruited Julius and he was a 6-foot-5, 235-pound running back with all of these little guys trying to tackle him and nobody was tackling him,” Brown said. “When he got there, we had trouble figuring out what he would be. ‘Was he going to be the best tight end ever, or the best defensive end ever?’”
Although college football coaches were hot after Peppers for his potential on the football field, it took him a while to come around to the idea of throwing on a helmet and shoulder pads due to his first love — the game of basketball.
Part of the reason Peppers decided to attend UNC was actually because of the promise he was given by the basketball coaches to allow him a chance to walk on to the team and be a dual-sport athlete.
“My passion was basketball,” Peppers said. “Part of the story is that I had to be somewhat convinced to try out for the football team in high school. So, when I had the opportunity to come take the football scholarship and try out for the basketball team (at UNC) it was something that I couldn’t pass up.”
Peppers held his own on the basketball court in Chapel Hill and played a key part of a Final Four run for former head coach Bill Guthridge in the 1999-2000 season, but his football accomplishments were on a totally different level.
During his sophomore season, Peppers led the nation in sacks with 15. A year later, he was unanimously voted a first-team All-American and received the Chuck Bednarik Award, which is given to the top collegiate defensive player.
Peppers not only made his mark during his time in Chapel Hill; he also went on to be a nine-time Pro Bowler in the NFL, where he recorded 159.5 sacks and 51 forced fumbles.
On Friday, Peppers attributed a lot of his success to coach Brown and other UNC personnel for helping keep him in-state.
“I was always proud to be a North Carolinian, so it’s a special night for me and it’s a special night for all of us, really,” Peppers said. “It is even more special that coach Brown is here with me, and we’re going in together. He’s a big part of the reason that I became a Tar Heel, so to be here going in alongside him is something that I never expected, but that I am grateful for.”
Although he never got to coach Peppers himself, Brown first scouted the potential in the teenager from Nash County.
His eye for talent has resulted in many young players like Peppers being given the opportunity to forever be immortalized in the football record books, and that is something Brown said he will forever be proud of.
“It’s the coolest thing in the world to be able to watch these young people whom you have been involved in their lives get married and have children and become very successful,” Brown said. “To watch them give back to the community and then come back and be around them to see the lives that they have built for themselves — that’s the real reward for coaching.”
Being honored in this way is rewarding to anyone, but Brown views the induction as a chance to reflect on the work of others who made his work possible.
On a night in which he and Julius were in the spotlight, the long-time coach wanted most of all to highlight the help he has received over the years.
“The first time I went into a Hall of Fame I tried to figure out what it meant — I knew that it was cool,” Brown said. “Then I started thinking about how big this is and that it looks back over your whole life and career, and then I realized it’s really not about me at all, but that it is a wonderful opportunity for me to tell every staff member, coach and player at Appalachian State and at the University of North Carolina that worked with me, ‘Thank you.’”
TOKYO (AP) — The Latest on the Tokyo Olympics, which are taking place under heavy restrictions after a year’s delay because of the coronavirus pandemic:
Momiji Nishiya of Japan has won the first ever Olympic skateboard competition for women.
The 13-year-old gave the host nation a sweep of golds in the street event a day after after Yuto Horigome won the men’s event.
Rayssa Leal, a 13-year-old from Brazil, won the silver. That’s her country’s second in skateboarding after Brazilian Kelvin Hoefler took silver on Sunday in the men’s event.
The women’s bronze went to Funa Nakayama, also from Japan.
The men’s volleyball team from Russia has beaten the United States in pool-play action.
The Russians took control when they held off two match points before taking the second set 27-25 to go up 2-0. The Americans rallied to win the third set before falling 25-23 in the final set for their first loss of the tournament.
The U.S. had swept France in its opening pool play match. The ROC team is now 2-0 after beating Argentina in their first match.
In an earlier pool play match Monday, Iran beat Venezuela 3-0 for its second straight win.
Naomi Osaka is into the third round of the Tokyo tennis tournament.
The host country’s superstar stepped up her game when she needed to in a 6-3, 6-2 win over 49th-ranked Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland to reach the last 16 at Ariake Tennis Park.
The second-ranked Osaka will next face either 2019 French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic or Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania.
The men’s surfing contest at the Olympics has been delayed 90 minutes due to low tide at Tsurigasaki beach, about 90 miles east of Tokyo.
The International Surfing Association, the sport’s Olympic governing body, said low tide combined with the shifting weather has destabilized the quality of the surf conditions for the sport’s big debut.
The call came at the end of the eight 1-on-1 heats for the women’s competition, and now the men’s game is pushed back to start at 1:18 p.m. local time.
Such delays are not unusual in competitive surfing, as it is perhaps the only organized sport that is both dependent on an uncontrollable variable — the weather — and defined by a literal uneven playing field — the ocean.
Caeleb Dressel is off on his quest for six swimming gold medals at the Tokyo Games, leading off an American victory in the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay.
Dressel gave the U.S. a lead it never relinquished, swimming the first leg in a blistering 47.26 seconds.
Blake Pieroni and Bowe Becker kept the Americans out front before Zach Apple turned in an anchor leg of 46.69 to leave no doubt at the end.
The U.S. won in 3 minutes, 08.97 seconds, the third-fastest relay in history. Italy took the silver in 3:10.11, with the bronze going to Australia in 3:10.22.
Australia’s Ariarne Titmus has defeated American Katie Ledecky in the 400-meter freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics.
Titmus won one of the most anticipated races of the games, capturing the gold medal with the second-fastest time in history.
Titmus, who trailed by nearly a full body-length at the halfway mark of the eight-lap race, turned on the speed to touch in 3 minutes, 56.69 seconds.
Defending Olympic champion and world-record holder Ledecky settled for the silver this time in 3:57.36 — the fourth-fastest time ever recorded.
No one else was even close. The bronze went to China’s Li Bingjie in 4:01.08.
Britain’s Adam Peaty has repeated as Olympic champion in the men’s 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.
Peaty was perhaps the surest best at the Olympic pool, being the first man to break both 58 and 57 seconds in his signature event. He posted the fifth-fastest time in history (57.37 seconds) to blow away the field.
Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands claimed the silver in 58.00, while the bronze went to Italy’s Nicolo Martinenghi in 58.33. American Michael Andrew was next in 58.84 — the second straight final in which a U.S. swimmer finished fourth and was denied a medal.
The Olympic archery schedule has been altered for Tuesday due to expected high wind and rain from a forecasted typhoon.
The morning sessions involving first- and second-round matches are officially delayed until noon local time at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field. But the afternoon session has been postponed.
The plan is to make up the matches Wednesday and Thursday. The individual finals for the men and women at the Tokyo Games are still scheduled for Friday and Saturday.
It’s the first time the Olympic archery scheduled has been majorly influenced by weather, according to World Archery. At the 2008 Beijing Games, there was an hour delay.
Maggie MacNeil has captured Canada’s first gold medal at the pool with a victory in the women’s 100-meter butterfly.
The reigning world champion touched first in 55.59 seconds, edging out China’s Zhang Yufei (55.64) for the top spot. Australia’s Emma McKeon took the bronze in 55.72, beating American teenager Torri Huske by one-hundredth of a second.
Huske went out fast, as is her style, and appeared to be close to the front with about 10 meters to go. But she faded on her final strokes and just missed a spot on the podium.
The U.S. team was denied a medal for the first time in the swimming competition.
Defending champion and world-record holder Sarah Sjöström of Sweden was seventh.
NBC says an estimated 17 million people in the United States watched the opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics, down 36% from the kickoff to the Rio de Janeiro Games five years ago.
Nielsen says the 17 million includes people who watched the ceremony live on NBC or online when it aired Friday morning and those who saw an edited version on NBC in prime time that night.
NBC was unable to break down how many people watched live and how many saw the prime-time version. The 26.7 million who saw the Rio opening ceremony included both television and online viewership.
Nine years ago, when the Summer Olympics were held in London, the opening ceremony drew a record-setting U.S. audience of 40.7 million people.
It’s difficult to tell how much the sluggish start to the Tokyo Games reflects decreased interest in the Olympics, which were delayed a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, or profound changes in how Americans watch television. With the explosion of streaming as an alternative, ratings for live television have dropped sharply over the past five years.
Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt has won the men’s triathlon in a time of one hour, 45 minutes and four seconds, 11 seconds ahead of Britain’s Alex Yee.
New Zealand’s Hayden Wilde was third.
Blummenfelt is the first Norwegian to medal in triathlon, which combines swimming, cycling and running. He finished 13th in the Rio Games in 2016.
Blummenfelt was in fifth after the 1,500-meter swim and 40-kilometer cycling legs of the race before surging to the win in the final stage.
Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee, who won silver in Rio and bronze in London in 2012, finished sixth.
Defending champion Fiji has opened the men’s Olympic rugby sevens competition with a 24-19 comeback win over Japan.
The highly favored Fijians scored in the opening 30 seconds of the tournament, with Jiuta Wainiqolo posting the first points after Japan failed to control the ball from the kickoff.
The Fijians went close to doubling the lead but Wainiqolo’s attempted one-handed pickup off the ground resulted in Japan captain Chihito Matsui running three-quarters of the field to equalize for the hosts.
The Fijians regained the lead but, after the half-time siren sounded, Japan’s Fiji-born Lote Tuqiri crossed to give the hosts a surprising 14-12 lead at the break.
Japan, a surprise semifinalist when rugby sevens made its Olympic debut in 2016, extended the margin to seven points early in the second half before Fiji responded with two tries and had one disallowed after the full-time siren to clinch the win.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Local officials are considering a development proposal that could see northeastern Indiana’s Auburn Auction Park renovated into a news sports complex.
ForeSight Consulting, a Fort Wayne-based developer, submitted its application to construct the Auburn Sports Complex with the Auburn Plan Commission earlier this month.
Design plans include transforming the existing auction pavilion building into 10 indoor basketball courts, including an NBA-sized court, in addition to housing nine volleyball courts and an indoor soccer field. Outdoors, four soccer fields and eight baseball diamonds are planned.
The auction property has been for sale for about two years.
Amy Schweitzer, Auburn’s planning director and office administrator, told the Journal Gazette that Auburn development officials will consider the proposal at their Sept. 14 meeting. Developers said they hope to have basketball tournaments at the complex by February 2022 if the project is approved.
For more than 50 years, hundreds of thousands of visitors have descended on the auction park, located south of Auburn along Interstate 69, for its auctions of high-end antique and classic vehicles.
The site has also been the annual home of a highly attended Labor Day classic car auction. This year’s auction is scheduled to take place Sept. 3-6.
A key group of leading G20 nations is committed to climate targets that would lead to disastrous global warming, scientists have warned. They say China, Russia, Brazil and Australia all have energy policies associated with 5C rises in atmospheric temperatures, a heating hike that would bring devastation to much of the planet.
The analysis, by the peer-reviewed group Paris Equity Check, raises serious worries about the prospects of key climate agreements being achieved at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow in three months. The conference – rated as one of the most important climate summits ever staged – will attempt to hammer out policies to hold global heating to 1.5C by agreeing on a global policy for ending net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050.
The EU and UK have outlined emission pledges that could bring the world close to these aspirations. However, those of China, Russia, Brazil and Australia – which remain reliant on continued fossil-fuel burning – would trigger temperature rises of 5C if followed by the rest of the world. This dramatic discrepancy reveals a deep division over the energy and environment policies of the world’s richest nations. “Without more ambition from China, Brazil, Russia and Australia, Cop26 will fail to deliver the future our planet needs,” warned Tanya Steele, chief executive at WWF.
The stark difference between the climate plans of different G20 nations – who together are responsible for 85% of all global carbon emissions – was underlined last week in Naples, when a meeting of member states’ energy and environment ministers ended with the group failing to agree on a package of commitments to tackle climate change. “The G20 is failing to deliver,” said the online activist network Avaaz.
The G20 meeting had been viewed as a critically important staging post leading up to Cop26 and its failure to find common ground underlines the crucial differences that divide nations in the group and indicate it is not going to be easy to secure a meaningful accord in Scotland.
This point was backed by Yann Robiou du Pont, the lead researcher for the Paris Equity Tracker analysis. “The research underlines what many of us fear: major economies are simply not doing enough to tackle the climate crisis and, in many cases, G20 countries are leaving us on track [for] a world of more heatwaves, flooding and extreme weather events.”
A world that would be 5C hotter than it was before the Industrial Revolution, when fossil-fuel burning began in earnest, would be one in which a quarter of the global population would face extreme drought for at least one month a year; rainforests would be destroyed; and melting ice sheets would result in dangerous sea-level rises.
In addition, loss of reflective ice from the poles could cause oceans to absorb more solar radiation, while melting permafrost in Siberia and other regions would release plumes of methane, another pernicious greenhouse gas. Inevitably, temperatures would soar even further.
By contrast, scientists say that if temperature rises can be kept below 1.5C, then the worst impacts of climate change could be prevented – though they also point out that temperatures have already risen 1.2C, leaving the world facing very tight margins to avoid the worst impacts of global warming over the next 30 years.
The extent of the climate crisis has also been highlighted this month with extreme weather events causing devastation across the world: deadly floods have swept through Germany, Belgium and China, while massive wildfires have gripped the US and Siberia. Global warming has been implicated in every case.
“Ahead of Cop26, we now need to see action and we owe it to the most vulnerable countries to rally together. Failure to deliver on our commitments is not an option and we must not be found wanting,” said Alok Sharma, the former UK business secretary who is now president of Cop26. Sharma last week was strongly critical of countries such as “big emitters” Russia and China who must do more to tackle climate change, he warned.
Under the 2015 Paris Agreement, nearly 200 countries committed to submit new climate plans every five years with a goal to limit global warming to well below 2C, aiming at 1.5C, compared to pre-industrial levels. However, earlier this year, the United Nations issued a “red alert” over current climate plans, warning they were “nowhere close” to meeting the Paris goals.
The International Energy Agency recently said that if the world was to stay within 1.5C of warming, all further development and exploration of new fossil fuel sources should cease from this year.
President Joe Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, told the Observer that the US was carefully considering the implications of the IEA report. “I know that people are very heavily aware of the need to shift our programmes and policy [in a way that] really robustly embraces that,” he said. “Everybody in the world need to be working on this. We need to think differently. We should be pushing hard in a different direction [from fossil fuels].”
He said Biden was also working to ensure the US and China were aligned on the need to stay within 1.5C.
“The first thing [Biden] hopes about China is that China recognises the reality of where we all are, and where China is, and what we need to do to get this job done. China is a global leader with a special responsibility to make sure we are all meeting [climate goals]. We want to find common ground.”
He said there were no plans for a US-China summit, such as President Barack Obama conducted with China’s President Xi Jinping ahead of the Paris conference, but said such a meeting was “not out of the question”.
He added: “A lot of conversations with China have not yet arrived at agreement.”
TAMPA, FL – It was quite the year for USF Athletics.
“Ten American Athletic Conference team or individual championships; nine national postseason appearances,” said Michael Kelly, who is entering his fourth year as Vice President of Athletics at USF.
“Winning is contagious here in ‘Champa Bay’,” said Kelly, who was sure to bring all of his teams’ trophies to show the media. “We have seen a lot of it here at USF.”
Michael Kelly has a lot to be proud of. Despite a global pandemic, he oversaw an athletic department that managed to be one of the most successful in its conference.
“We at USF Athletics believe in “BULLIEVE” and it’s been a great year to accomplish many things under the circumstances,” boasted Kelly.
Even with so many sports succeeding, the two most popular teams – football and men’s basketball – fell flat. On the court, Brian Gregory’s squad went 9-13. Following the season there was an investigation into alleged racial comments from an assistant, and eight players transferred out of the program.
“We were on a good success path until hitting the speed bump this year,” Kelly said. “I didn’t quite measure up to what we thought this year, but I feel the recruiting we have done and as we move forward, we’re going to be well positioned in that.”
On the football field, Jeff Scott’s first year was forgettable. Going 1-8 in a season riddled with COVID issues, it’s hard to judge Michael Kelly’s most important hire. Kelly sees bright days ahead under Scott.
“I believe with every fiber in my being that Coach Scott is going to lead USF to a conference championship,” said Kelly. “It’s just a matter of when.”
Kelly isn’t just dealing with his teams, but also the changing landscape of college sports. On July 1st, Name Image and Likeness laws went into effect across several states throughout the nation. Student-athletes can enter partnerships with businesses for profit. Kelly knows the importance of educating every young person in his athletic department.
“It is still different than just getting a check for cost of attendance,” Kelly explained. “You do have to kind of set up your own business, capitalize your own personal brand, and there are going to be undetermined limits of what we can do for them.
Some are concerned this could lead to bigger programs getting a bigger advantage. Wealthy boosters and businesses are already jumping in to help their favorite teams land prized recruits.
“Reality is that maybe the rich get richer, and that is just kind of the facts,” said Kelly. “I don’t concern myself with what everyone else is doing.
One thing Kelly is keeping a close eye on is the proposed expansion of the College Football Playoff from four teams to 12 as early as 2023.
Before coming to USF in 2018, Kelly was the Chief Operating Officer of the Playoff.
The four-team format has held a members-only feel with Power-5 programs. Kelly believes this move to expand would allow the USF’s of college football to actually feel like they could make the Playoff.
“Was it technically true that Coach Scott could sit in front of his guys and say ‘you can make the football playoff?’ Yes, it was technically true,” said Kelly. “Was it an extremely tough putt? Yes. But now, you can look at them in the eye and say ‘guys, with the schedule we have set for the next ten years, we put ourselves in position to win The American, there is a very good chance that we’re going to the College Football Playoff and that’s big-time.”
Michael Kelly is an optimist. He believes the best is yet to come for the Bulls. With a championship mindset, Kelly sees his programs taking off and competing for titles for years to come.
“We’re trying to build a vibe here that people want to be apart of USF Athletics, they can’t wait to be part of what is being built here and what is being built in Tampa Bay in general,” Kelly said.
Several U.S. states scaled back their reporting of COVID-19 statistics this month just as cases across the country started to skyrocket, depriving the public of real-time information on outbreaks, cases, hospitalizations and deaths in their communities.
The shift to weekly instead of daily reporting in Florida, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota marked a notable shift during a pandemic in which coronavirus dashboards have become a staple for Americans closely tracking case counts and trends to navigate a crisis that has killed more than 600,000 people in the U.S.
In Nebraska, the state actually stopped reporting on the virus altogether for two weeks after Gov. Pete Ricketts declared an end to the official virus emergency, forcing news reporters to file public records requests or turn to national websites that track state data to learn about COVID statistics.
The state backtracked two weeks later and came up with a weekly site that provides some basic numbers.
Other governments have gone the other direction and released more information, with Washington, D.C., this week adding a dashboard on breakthrough cases to show the number of residents who contracted the virus after getting vaccines.
Many states have recently gone to reporting virus numbers only on weekdays.
When Florida changed the frequency of its virus reporting earlier this month, officials said it made sense given the decreasing number of cases and the increasing number of people being vaccinated.
Cases started soaring soon after, and Florida earlier this week made up up one-fifth of the country’s new coronavirus infections.
As a result, Florida’s weekly releases — typically done on Friday afternoons — have consequences for the country’s understanding of the current summer surge, with no statewide COVID stats coming out of the virus hot spot for six days a week.
In Florida’s last two weekly reports, the number of new cases shot up from 23,000 to 45,000 and then 73,000 on Friday, an average of more than 10,000 day. Hospitals are starting to run out of space in parts of the state.
The trend of reducing data reporting has alarmed infectious disease specialists who believe that more information is better during a pandemic.
People have come to rely on state virus dashboards to help make decisions about whether to attend large gatherings or wear masks in public, and understanding the level of risk in the community affects how people respond to virus restrictions and calls to get vaccinated.
But reporting the numbers on a weekly basis still allows people to see the overall trends while smoothing out some of the day-to-day variations that come from the way cases are reported and not the actual number of new cases.
And experts have long advised that it makes sense to pay more attention to the seven-day rolling average of new cases because the numbers can vary widely from one day to the next.
State health departments have a long history of providing the public regular updates on other diseases like flu and West Nile, but those viruses have none of the political baggage associated with COVID-19.
What’s happening in Tokyo
The very first match of the Olympic beach volleyball tournament has been cancelled because a Czech player tested positive for COVID-19.
Marketa Slukova tested positive earlier this week, knocking her and partner Barbora Hermannova out of the Tokyo Games.
The Czechs were supposed to be playing a team from the host country that would have been making its Olympic debut. Instead, the Japanese pair of Megumi Murakami and Miki Ishii earned the victory by default.
Slukova is one of at least three members of the Czech team who have tested positive since their arrival in Japan, including men’s beach volleyball player Ondrej Perusic.
The team has said it’s investigating if the outbreak of COVID-19 is linked to its charter flight to Tokyo.
What’s happening around the world
As of Saturday, more than 193.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s case-tracking tool. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.1 million.
In Asia-Pacific, thousands of people took to the streets of Sydney and other Australian cities on Saturday to protest pandemic lockdown restrictions amid another surge in COVID-19 cases, and police made multiple arrests after crowds broke through barriers and threw plastic bottles and potted plants.
In Africa, Tanzania on Saturday received its first batch of one million Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines donated by the U.S. government. Tanzania had been among the few countries in Africa yet to receive vaccines or start vaccinating its population, mainly because its former leader had claimed that prayer had defeated COVID-19 in the country.
In the Americas, Cuba has received a shipment of COVID-19 aid from Russia, including one million medical masks, according to the Latin American country’s Defence Ministry. Cuba, which kept coronavirus infections low last year, earlier this week reported the highest rate of infections per capita in the region, straining its health-care sector and helping stoke rare anti-government protests earlier this month.
In Europe, far-right activists and members of France’s yellow vest movement are holding protests on Saturday against new coronavirus measures. French lawmakers are debating a bill requiring everyone to have a special virus pass to enter restaurants and other venues and mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for all health-care workers as infections and hospitalizations are again on the rise.
LONDON (AP) — With all British schools now closed for the summer, airports and airlines were looking a tad more normal on Saturday, although the number of families heading off for warmer climes remains way down from before the coronavirus pandemic.
This weekend traditionally marks the great summer getaway from Britain, with airports jam-packed with excitable children and their anxious parents heading off mostly to the popular beach resorts of southern Europe, from Portugal’s Algarve coast in the west to the sun-soaked island nation of Cyprus to the east.
However, with travel to and from many popular destinations facing varying and often confusing quarantine and testing requirements, it’s clear that many British families think it’s all too much hassle and have opted again to holiday within the U.K.
For the second year running, it’s all about the “staycation.”
What’s not to like about fish and chips and a game of crazy golf by the seaside or enjoying a marshmallow over a campfire at the Latitude music festival in eastern England that is being attended this weekend by some 40,000 people?
Still, the numbers venturing abroad are certainly on the rise, partly as a result of the U.K.’s rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines that has seen nearly 70% of the adult population receive the requisite two doses and over 87% get at least one dose.
The British government, which has been operating a traffic-light system for overseas travel, recently tweaked its rules to make it simpler for fully-vaccinated individuals and their families to travel. Now, anyone arriving back in England from “amber” list destinations — including Greece, Spain and the United States — are exempt from the government’s 10-day quarantine requirement subject to testing requirements.
Although France is on the “amber” list, anyone returning from there to England still has to quarantine for 10 days amid concerns over the beta variant first identified in South Africa.
Industry leaders said the changes have helped buoy up the travel sector, one of the worst affected during the pandemic, as well as many destinations in Europe that rely heavily on British tourists.
Airports and airlines across the U.K. are enjoying their busiest weekend of the year so far. London’s Heathrow Airport said it was expecting about 129,000 passengers on Saturday and Sunday. Though welcome, that’s about half the number it saw two years ago.
“We look forward to welcoming back even more passengers as vaccination rates climb in the U.K. and abroad,” said CEO John Holland-Kaye.
Gatwick, Britain’s No. 2 airport, was expecting between 25,000 to 27,000 passengers a day over the weekend. Again that’s far lower than the equivalent weekend in pre-COVID times, when it could see around 100,000 travellers a day.
Holiday company Tui said it has almost double the number of passengers traveling Friday to Sunday compared with last weekend. It will be resuming flights to a series of destinations including the Greek islands of Kefalonia and Skiathos, and Marrakech in Morocco.
For most people in Britain, though, getting on those flights will have to wait. There’s always next year.
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