Doping-tainted weightlifting must reform or risk 2024

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made it clear that weightlifting will have to prove it is doping-free or risk losing its spot for the Paris 2024 Games.

In July, the IOC had already told the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) to provide a report by December describing how it plans to tackle the issue of doping in the sport.

Post December, the IOC and the World Anti-Doping Agency will be monitoring to ensure that the changes have been made to their satisfaction.

The IOC President Thomas Bach made it crystal clear at the body’s session meeting in Lima that if the sport is declared non-compliant with the WADA code, then the situation might be different with regards to Paris 2024.

“This is the idea behind this formula concerning weightlifting, that the decision to include them (for Paris) is subject to the compliance with the WADA code.”

Out of the total 106 positive tests emerged from the re-tests conducted by the IOC in the past two years of samples from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London games, about half of them came from weightlifters.

Along with athletics, the sport represented more than 80 percent of the positive cases from the re-tests, informed IOC member Denis Oswald.

The IWF banned Russia from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro for “bringing weightlifting into disrepute”, now several other countries are facing potential bans after a series of positive tests.

Sources – Reuters, India Today

Image Source – REUTERS/Mariana Bazo

Pakistan plans to build dams on Indus River

On Thursday V. K Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs said in a written reply in  Rajya Sabha, Pakistan has decided to construct water dams with on the Indus River with the help of China.

The Indian Government has issues demarches to both Beijing and Islamabad over the new construction. The demarche states that the construction is void and it will violate India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, as V.K Singh informed the Rajya Sabha

V.K Singh said, “”India has a clear and consistent position that these territories are illegally occupied by Pakistan and that any collaborative activity there is in violation of India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,”.

In addition, he also told, “accordingly, we have made demarches to both Pakistan and China conveying the position. The government will continue to maintain this position.”
However, Pakistan is abided to follow the Indus water Treaty signed with India. The treaty gives both the countries equal distribution of river water. Recently India has been engaged in border issues with China and on the other side, Pakistan has elected its new Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.




Image Source-AFP

China backed candidate sworn in as Hong Kong’s new leader

Hong Kong marks 20 years of Chinese rule as Carrie Lam has been sworn in as Hong Kong’s chief executive by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

According to the Guardian, Lam who served as the deputy to her predecessor Leung Chun-Ying, beat John Tsang, former financial secretary, and Woo Kwok-Hing, a former judge.

“I’m facing the biggest call of my career,” Lam said after taking her oath in Mandarin Chinese instead of the local Cantonese on June 30 amid scattered protests.

“In the next five days, I’ll be speaking to my team and making sure I do not let the central government or the people of Hong Kong down.”

As per Al Jazeera, many pro-China groups cheered loudly and waved flags in the victory while scores of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters were taken away by police. They have been protesting against China’s increasing encroachment on the city’s freedom in the wake of the “one country, two systems” arrangement.

“Lam’s victory despite her lack of representation and popular support reflects the Chinese Communist party’s complete control over Hong Kong’s electoral process and its serious intrusion of Hong Kong’s autonomy”, Nathan Law, pro-democracy legislator, said after the vote.

China’s preferred candidate won 777 votes out of the 1,194 eligible to be cast to become the city’s first female leader. She further went on to say that she will not attempt to restart discussions on political reforms, “The ultimate aim is the selection of the chief executive by universal suffrage.”

“We shall start with connecting to resolve the simpler, less controversial issues,” she told the Guardian. Lam hugely benefitted from the lack of open elections and would have probably lost if Hong Kong citizens were given a “one person, one vote” system.

Sources: The Guardian, Al Jazeera

Image Source: Reuters

Beijing Breathes Fresh Air after a Prolonged Battle with Pollution

The pollution crisis in China is a cause of concern, with increasingly-poisonous air levels hovering the Chinese skies. However, on December 22, Beijing breathed a bout of fresh air, even if only for a brief period.

As per reports, strong winds blew away the alarmingly high levels of pollution overnight, and considerably reduced the soot in the air. The pollution levels had blanketed the Chinese capital for five days, due to which the government had enforced a red alert.

The quality of air as per the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Beijing shot up to 400 during the course of the night. However, the friendly winds on Thursday pulled it down to a 50. The red alert was lifted following this development, which put an end to the emergency restrictions on vehicles and construction sites.

Although the sun shines on in Beijing, certain parts of Northern China are still shrouded with the pollution red alert. Readings are still being monitored in parts of Northern China, including the metropolis of Tianjin and the province of Hebei.

China’s war on pollution began in 2014 and has been a prolonged battle ever since.

Closer home, this phenomenon is seen in the capital city, Delhi which sleeps under toxic skies. The government of India should take a cue from the Chinese pollution crisis and think of it as a stern warning for the ‘dark’ days to come.


Sources: NDTV, Reuters

11 dead in Northern Myanmar during a tussle between army and insurgents

Conditions in Myanmar are taking a turn for worse, as more and more people are being killed in the growing clashes between security forces and armed insurgents. 11 deaths in northern Myanmar have been reported in the month of December.

The situation intensified since late November when violence broke out in the  northern Shan state. As per reports, thousands have fled the state in fear and have crossed borders into China.

AFP reported that the scuffle on December 2 led to the killing of 9 policemen and 2 civilians. According to state media record, 30 soldiers, policemen and civilians have died since the clash began. Looking at the conditions in Myanmar, Beijing has put its military on high alert fearing violence outbreak into its territory.

The ongoing clashes pose a great threat on State Counselor Suu Kyi’s attempt in building a nationwide peace agreement to end the decade-long violence in Myanmar. The spokesperson of rebel group Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA) said that the rebel groups are ready for negotiation only if the army will talk in good faith. “Our alliance from Northern Shan state will stand our ground and defend if they launch more attacks. But if they stop the fighting, we welcome negotiations to find a solution.”, said Colonel Tar Phone Kyaw, TNLA spokesperson.

Sources: Indian Express, Zee News India

Image Source: South China Morning Post

Beijing’s warning for Delhi on Karmapa’s Visit

The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje visited the state of Arunachal Pradesh last week and was accompanied by Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, who tweeted about the same event.
Following the visit of the Karmapa, China is in hopes that India will not take any actions in order to complicate boundary dispute on the eastern section of the India-China border.
As per TOI reports, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang spoke on the issue saying “We hope India can abide by relevant consensus and refrain from any action that might complicate the boundary question. We should ensure peace and stability of border areas and sound and steady development of bilateral relations serves the common interests of the two sides.”
China’s concerns arise from the fact that Karmapa addressed a massive gathering a Mon region of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as being under its own territory. Mon falls under the area which is part of the boundary dispute between the two countries.
The Karmapa visited the Tawang monastery and the presence of Kiren Rijiju was construed as a sign that New Delhi is extending support to him. While China sees the Dalai Lama in a divisive light, it has refrained from criticizing the Karmapa, who had fled Tibet on similar conditions.
Image Source : Tibetan Review

China counting on service and other sectors to pick up receding manufacturing PMI

China’s activity levels across its manufacturing sector indicates a receding purchasing managers’ index in July. Incidentally, this has occurred for the first time since February.

Reportedly, the latest manufacturing PMI sanctioned by China’s National Bureau of Statistics, was marked at 49.9, which was marginally below the 50.0 level anticipated by economists. 

One of the reasons cited for China’s snail paced industrial activity is heavy flooding along the Yangtze River. Falling activity at smaller firms is also a key reason for July’s poor numbers.

Besides this, an official survey indicated, that the economy will further slowdown in the coming months unless the government engages in shelling out huge sums of money to rev up the economy.

While a similar private survey showed business picking up for the first time in 17 months, the increase was negligible, though the bigger official survey on Monday suggested China’s overall industrial activity to remain sluggish.

However, even though the manufacturing sector continued to lag behind, the non-manufacturing sector PMI, released in line with the manufacturing PMI by the NBS, showed a gradual increase in number from 53.7 to 53.9 in June.

While China’s tertiary sector is currently the largest component of the economy, and also the fastest growing, the growth recorded in the non-manufacturing PMI in July is detrimental to offset weakness in the manufacturing sector. In addition to this, Beijing has been counting heavily on its strong services sector to pick up pace as it tries to make the economy independent of heavy industry and manufacturing exports.

Sources: Reuters, Business Insider