Monday, June 21, 2021

June 4, 2021 TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo has been “cornered” into holding the games during the coronavirus pandemic, one of Japan’s best-known Olympians and an executive member of the Japanese Olympic Committee said in an outspoken editorial published Friday. Kaori Yamaguchi said the International Olympic Committee, the government and local organizers are ignoring widespread opposition to the games from the Japanese public.

Depending on how the question is phrased in different polls, between 50-80% of Japanese people oppose holding the Olympics.

“We have been cornered into a situation where we cannot even stop now. We are damned if we do, and damned if we do not,” Yamaguchi wrote in an editorial published by Japan’s Kyodo news agency. “The IOC also seems to think that public opinion in Japan is not important.”

Yamaguchi won a bronze medal in judo at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and is also a former world champion. She teaches at the University of Tsukuba.

 “What will these Olympics be for, and for whom?” she asked. “The games have already lost meaning and are being held just for the sake of them. I believe we have already missed the opportunity to cancel.”

Japan has officially spent $15.4 billion to organize the Tokyo Olympics, and government audits say it may be twice that.

The Switzerland-based IOC derives almost 75% of its income from selling broadcast rights. Its income has been stalled since the one-year postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, and estimates suggest it could lose $3 billion-$4 billion in broadcast income if the games were canceled.

Fans from abroad have already been banned for the Tokyo Olympics.

In her weekly briefing on Friday, organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said organizers would follow government guidance on having any local fans. That decision was expected on June 20 when the current state of emergency in Tokyo expires.

Kengo Sakurada, head of the association of corporate executives in Japan, said Thursday that no fans should be allowed.

“Many people are feeling extremely uneasy about the safety of holding the Olympics,” he said. “Even if the infections slowed, no fans should be the rule.”

Hashimoto was asked if the Olympics were 100% certain to take place. The IOC and organizers have said they will and venues are now being set up for the Olympics to open on July 23.

Senior IOC member Richard Pound said last week it would take “Armageddon” to stop the games.

IOC vice president John Coates said several weeks ago that the Olympics would go ahead if there were a state of emergency.

Hashimoto hedged, slightly.

 “Whether it’s 100% or not, well, I have been receiving this question many times,” Hashimoto said. “If the IOC judges, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government judges, that it is difficult, then it is also our mission to respond to such judgment.”

She also said that the visit by IOC President Thomas Bach, which was announced for July 12 by Coates, was now uncertain.

“Nothing is decided,” she said.

Bach’s scheduled visit to Hiroshima in May was called off because many parts of Japan were under a state of emergency.

The IOC’s plan is to get 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes from more than 200 countries and territories into Tokyo, sequester them in a bubble at the Olympic Village, let them compete and then get them out of Japan within two days of their finish.

Tens of thousands of others will also enter coaches, judges, officials, broadcasters, media and members of the so-called Olympic Family.

“Sports we know is one big industry now,” Hashimoto said. “But even with these industrialized games, there are athletes, pure athletes out there who have been doing everything to prepare for these games. For us, providing an arena for these athletes to show what they have been doing is also another mission of the Tokyo Olympics.”

Dr. Shigeru Omi, a top medical adviser for the Japanese government and a former World Health Organization regional director, is putting Primer Minister Yoshihide Suga under increasing pressure to explain why the Olympics should take place.

Speaking in a parliamentary session on Thursday, he said “holding the games in the middle of the pandemic is abnormal.” On Friday, also in parliament, he said holding the Olympics if there were still a state of emergency in place “should be avoided.”

“It is crucial that we must not let the Olympics trigger a flow of people,” Omi said Friday.

Japan has attributed about 13,000 deaths to COVID-19, and less than 3% of the population has been fully vaccinated in a very slow rollout

SXM Radio Online


June 15, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — Oprah Winfrey and Hearst Magazines are teaming up for interviews that pair young Black journalists with elders who include civil rights activists, celebrities and others sharing some lessons learned in life. The project, “Lift Every Voice,” will be featured on Winfrey’s website and in magazines like ELLE, Good Housekeeping, Esquire, Runner’s World and Winfrey’s own O Quarterly. Dionne Warwick, Patti LaBelle, Andre De Shields and the activist Claudette Colvin are among the people featured. While some material from earlier Hearst television stories is used, the interviewers are drawn primarily from the ranks of historic Black colleges and universities, with most of the portraits taken by Black photographers just starting in the field. In one example, 94-year-old community activist Opal Lee, from Fort Worth, Texas, talks to Mariah Campbell, a journalism student at Texas Southern University, about efforts to make Juneteenth a national holiday. Winfrey said she was inspired by her own memories of knowing poet Maya Angelou when Winfrey was young, and how Angelou stressed the importance of sharing stories from the time she grew up.

June 15, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Philharmonic will resume subscription performances in September following a historic 18-month gap caused by the coronavirus pandemic, presenting a shortened schedule of 78 concerts in a season shifted from Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall while the orchestra’s home is remodeled. The Philharmonic said Tuesday its season will open Sept. 17 with music director Jaap van Zweden conducting the orchestra and pianist Daniil Trifonov in Anna Clyne’s “Within Her Arms,” Copland’s “Quiet City,” George Walker’s “Antifonys for Chamber Orchestra” and Beethoven’s piano concerto No. 4. That concert, the orchestra’s first regular event since March 10, 2020, will be the first of 50 at Lincoln Center’s 1,086-seat Alice Tully Hall, a venue more typically used for chamber music and recitals. There will be 28 concerts in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s 1,233-seat Rose Theater, located at Columbus Circle, less than half a mile from Geffen Hall, plus four concerts at Carnegie Hall, the orchestra’s home from 1891 to 1962.

June 15, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Rita Moreno emigrated with her mother from Puerto Rico at age five. By six, she was dancing at Greenwich Village nightclubs. By 16, she was working full time. By 20, she was in “Singin’ in the Rain.” In the documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It,” Norman Lear says: “I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever met in the business who lived the American dream more than Rita Moreno.” In the decades that followed, Moreno won a Tony, a Grammy, an Emmy and an Oscar, for “West Side Story.” (Her entire acceptance speech: “I can’t believe it.” ) With seemingly infinite spiritedness, she has epitomized the best of show business while also being a victim to its cruelties. That has made Moreno, who co-stars in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming “West Side Story remake, a heroic figure to Latinos, and to others. “I have never given up,” she said in a recent interview by Zoom from her home in Berkeley, California.

June 15, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — The tragedies of Brian Wilson’s life is a rock ‘n’ roll story well told. The postscript — that he’s a survivor nearing age 80 who appears to be supported personally and professionally in a way he never really had before — is less familiar. Despite some uncomfortable moments in “Brian Wilson: Long Promised Road,” that important update is the point of the documentary that premieres Tuesday at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. The film’s heart is a series of drives around Southern California, where Wilson and Rolling Stone magazine editor Jason Fine talk, listen to music and occasionally stop at restaurants. There’s a comfort level between the two; Fine is a journalist who has become a friend. Wilson, the creative force behind the Beach Boys, has dealt with an abusive, hard-driving father, the mental illness Schizoaffective disorder where he’d hear voices berating and belittling him, and band members often resistant to where he was going musically. Add in years of drug abuse, a quack psychologist who effectively held him, prisoner, for a decade and the younger brothers who died early, and it’s a lot to endure.

Business News

June 16, 2021 WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Tuesday installed an energetic critic of Big Tech as a top federal regulator at a time when the industry is under intense pressure from Congress, regulators and state attorneys general. The selection of legal scholar Lina Khan to head the Federal Trade Commission is seen as signaling a tough stance toward tech giants Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. Khan was sworn in as FTC chair just hours after the Senate confirmed her as one of five members of the commission on a 69-28 vote. Khan has been a professor at Columbia University Law School and burst onto the antitrust scene with her massive scholarly work in 2017 as a Yale law student, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.” She helped lay the foundation for a new way of looking at antitrust law beyond the impact of big-company market dominance on consumer prices. As counsel to a House Judiciary antitrust panel in 2019 and 2020, she played a key role in a sweeping bipartisan investigation of the market power of the tech giants.

June 15, 2021  BRUSSELS (AP) — The deal the United States and the European Union reached Tuesday to end their long-running rift over subsidies to Boeing and Airbus will suspend billions in punitive tariffs. It will ease trans-Atlantic tensions. And it will let the two sides focus on a common economic threat: China. But the breakthrough still leaves some trade friction between the U.S. and the EU unresolved. Most prominently, President Biden kept in place import taxes that President Donald Trump imposed on European steel and aluminum, a move that infuriated some of America’s closet allies three years ago. For now, Tuesday’s truce in the Boeing-Airbus dispute goes a long way toward repairing a huge commercial relationship — $933 billion in two-way trade last year despite the pandemic — that came under enormous strain during the Trump years. Among other things, the former president angrily charged the Europeans with using unfair trade practices to sell more products to the United States than they bought and of shirking their responsibility to pay for their own national defense.

June 15, 2021 -A day after her interview for a part-time job at Target last year, Dana Anthony got an email informing her she didn’t make the cut. Anthony didn’t know why — a situation common to most job seekers at one point or another. But she also had no sense at all of how the interview had gone, because her interviewer was a computer. More job-seekers, including some professionals, may soon have to accept impersonal online interviews where they never talk to another human being, or know if behind-the-scenes artificial-intelligence systems are influencing hiring decisions. Demand for online hiring services, which interview job applicants remotely via laptop or phone, mushroomed during the COVID-19 pandemic and remains high amid a perceived worker shortage as the economy opens back up. These systems claim to save employers money, sidestep hidden biases that can influence human recruiters and expand the range of potential candidates. Many now also use AI to assess candidate skills by analyzing what they say.

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