Глава американской разведки заявил, что Китай проводит биологические испытания для создания суперсолдат
Директор разведки Джон Рэтклифф утверждает, что в Китае проводят испытания на людях для создания солдат с «биологически улучшенными способностями».
Джон Рэтклифф, который занимал должность директора национальной разведки при Дональде Трампе, сделал данное заявление в редакционной статье для Wall Street Journal, где он сообщил, что сегодня Китай «представляет собой величайшую угрозу для Америки».
«Данные ясны: Пекин намерен доминировать над США и остальной планетой в экономическом, военном и технологическом плане», — написал Рэтклифф, добавив, что Китай приложил невероятные усилия для достижения своей цели.
«Разведка США выяснила, что Китай даже проводил испытания на служащих в Народно-освободительной армии в надежде создать людей с расширенными биологически возможностями. В стремлении Пекина к власти нет этических границ».
Срок полномочий Рэтклиффа на посту директора национальной разведки должен закончиться примерно через шесть недель, когда Джо Байден будет приведен к присяге в качестве президента.
Байден назначил на эту должность Аврил Хейнс, ранее занимавшую должность заместителя директора Центрального разведывательного управления.
В пятницу Палата представителей приняла закон, отменяющий федеральные наказания и устраняющий судимости, связанные с каннабисом.
Законопроект был одобрен 228 голосами.
«Мы терпеливо относились к этому годами. — сказал член Палаты представителей Эрл Блюменауэр, демократ от штата Орегон — Моя точка зрения заключалась в том, что <…> Конгресс не должен закрываться, не рассмотрев вопрос о легализации каннабиса, поскольку это имеет огромное влияние, особенно на черных американцев».
Опросы показывают, что поддержка легализации марихуаны увеличилась до 68% с тех пор, как штаты Колорадо и Вашингтон легализовали каннабис в 2012 году. Каждый третий американец сейчас живет в штате, где разрешено употребление марихуаны взрослыми.
Ряд красных штатов, включая Миссисипи и Южную Дакоту, проголосовал в день выборов за то, чтобы разрешить медицинскую марихуану. Кроме того, на этой неделе Организация Объединенных Наций исключила каннабис из списка опасных наркотических веществ.
В 2018 году в США было арестовано около 663 тыс. человек за преступления и нарушения, связанные с марихуаной — что составляет около 43% всех арестов, имеющих отношение к наркотикам. Исследование ACLU, проведенное в апреле, также показало, что чернокожие люди почти в четыре раза чаще подвергаются аресту за хранение марихуаны, чем белые: при том, что обе группы с одинаковой вероятностью употребляют каннабис.
Закон под названием MORE отменит федеральные уголовные наказания за марихуану, удалит из системы федеральные судимости за ненасильственные преступления, связанные с марихуаной, предоставит штатам деньги для очистки судимости за марихуану, а также создаст программы грантов для помощи.
Полицейский из Нью-Джерси не при исполнении, отправившийся на охоту, обнаружил пропавшего без вести человека, который разбил свою машину в лесу — благодаря собаке 78-летнего мужчины. Отпечатки лап животного привели офицера прямо к нему.
27 ноября Хайди Сарно позвонила в полицию около 20:00, чтобы сообщить, что ее отец, Фред Рэпп, пропал без вести. Она предоставила им информацию об автомобиле, мобильном телефоне и состоянии здоровья Рэппа — однако, это ничуть не упростило поиски.
Полиция попыталась использовать GPS, чтобы определить местонахождение Фреда, но, по словам офицеров, данные постоянно менялись. Не помогли даже беспилотник и недавно приобретенный поисковой группой вездеход.
В конце концов, Рэпп ответил на звонок сержанта Теодора Кука, сообщив, что попал в аварию и не знает, где находится. К счастью, спустя несколько мгновений Фред столкнулся с добрым самаритянином, которому передал трубку. Этим человеком оказался сержант Чарльз Брукс.
Он охотился поблизости, когда увидел собаку Рэппа — Пити — на одной из троп. Брукс предположил, что пес сбежал от своего хозяина и решил воссоединить их. Он шел по следам Пити, пока не наткнулся на ее владельца.
Сержант сообщил Куку их местонахождении, после чего сопроводил мужчину на открытую местность, где они дождались прибытия помощи.
«Случившееся — напоминание, что полицейский работает круглосуточно и без выходных», — говорится в заявлении начальника полиции Манчестера Лизы Паркер.
«Нам повезло, что сержант Брукс оказался в нужном месте в нужное время. Неизвестно, чем бы закончилась эта история, если бы не он».
Мужчина из Миссури был арестован за убийство 22-летней беременной женщины и ее будущего ребенка в День благодарения.
27-летний Дамион Дельгадо нанес матери двух детей Аметист Киллиан более 20 ножевых ранений: преимущественно, в голову, шею и живот. По словам властей, мотив преступления все еще не ясен.
«Это было очень жестокое убийство», — отметил прокурор Тим Ломар во время брифинга для прессы в четверг.
По словам Ломара, Киллиан и Дельгадо познакомились в интернете и занимались «опасной деятельностью» в ночь преступления, но не стал вдаваться в подробности. Известно, что найти Дельгадо удалось благодаря сообщениям на телефоне убитой.
Киллиан пропала утром 26 ноября после того, как вышла из дома за сигаретами.
Когда она не вернулась, ее парень и отчим отправились на поиски. Примерно через 20 часов сумочку и одежду женщины обнаружили возле ее дома. Тогда родственники Аметист связались с полицией — и вскоре офицеры обнаружили тело женщины в кустах.
Ломар добавил, что у Дельгадо, который сейчас находится под стражей с залогом в $1 млн., «почти нет» криминального прошлого.
Представитель Twitter сообщил Forbes на условиях анонимности, что соцсеть может запретить президенту Дональду Трампу доступ к платформе после инаугурации Джо Байдена.
В данный момент президент Трамп, чьи твиты соцсеть уже неоднократно помечала как распространяющие ложную информацию, защищен «Политикой мировых лидеров». Согласно данному правилу, платформа может не удалять твиты, нарушающие ее правила, чтобы пользователи видели, что пишут их лидеры.
Однако, после полудня 20 января «Политика мировых лидеров» больше не будет касаться Трампа, и бывший президент будет обязан следовать тем же правилам, что и обычные граждане, — объяснил инсайдер.
Это означает, что Трампа может ждать более суровое наказание за нарушение правил твиттера, вплоть до удаления аккаунта — хотя для этого потребуется несколько нарушений.
После первого нарушения Twitter, как правило, не позволяет пользователю использовать аккаунт до тех пор, пока он не удалит твит, в то время как второе нарушение может привести к временной блокировке учетной записи. Так, Дональду Трампу-младшему запретили использовать платформу в течение 12 часов после того, как он опубликовал в твиттере ложное заявление о гидроксихлорохине и COVID-19.
Представитель Twitter, попросивший не раскрывать его имя, отметил, что у соцсети нет «особых правил» для Трампа, и отказался говорить, обсуждались ли в компании последствия потенциальной блокировки аккаунта 45-го президента США.
Roy Keane was joking. Probably. Arsenal had just lost at home to Wolves, condemning the club to its worst start to a season in almost 40 years. Mikel Arteta’s team had slumped to 14th in the Premier League. It had won only once, domestically, since early October. Still, though, Keane found a silver lining. “They’ll have just about enough to stay up,” he said.
The line was delivered with enough relish to suggest his interest in Arsenal’s possible relegation was not so much sincere concern as an irresistible opportunity to warm the embers of an old rivalry. Keane does not think Arsenal is at risk of losing its place in the Premier League. Of course not. But then the content of the joke was not the part that was supposed to wound. The nature of it was.
Entropy set in at Arsenal a long time ago. Soccer has a heightened sensitivity to sharp, drastic change — the sort that seems to materialize in a day, a week, and then evaporate — but also an ability to remain blissfully numb to the sort that spools out over the span of seasons and years.
The winnowing of Arsenal is a case in point. The latter years of Arsène Wenger’s reign at the club were a case study in slow, steady and, in the moment, almost imperceptible decline: the gradual downgrading of Arsenal first from perennial title challenger to serial F.A. Cup winner, from mainstay in the Champions League to contender for a place and inexorably on, all the way down past hopeful to where it stands now: outsider.
It would be quite wrong, of course, to suggest that nobody noticed. The crowds at the Emirates — before the nine silent months of the pandemic — regularly bubbled with mutiny and protest and dissent. AFTV built an entire media brand on the back of internecine squabbling about the direction of the club. Cubic tons of ink have been spilled detailing each unfurling crisis.
ImageCredit…Adam Davy/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
But something about the time lapse disguised the scale of the decline. That each step — from title challenger to top-four regular, top-four regular to top-four contender and so on — seemed shallow made it possible to miss just how far Arsenal had traveled from the peak, and just how steep the journey back to the summit might be.
That is not to say someone should have spotted the direction of travel, that some soothsayer might have been able to surmise that this is where it would end. Such a prediction would have seemed — and to an extent still does, even with Arsenal marooned in its current mediocrity — laughable.
This is not, after all, supposed to happen, not in the age of the superclubs, in an era in which soccer’s hierarchy is set in stone, when the elite enjoy such wealth and power and grace that they have become untouchable.
A vast divide yawns between the elite and the rest, the bridge drawn up to prevent anyone crossing over. Mostly, we worry that strips teams of their right to dream, but it works in both directions: It also means those who have already made it no longer have any reason to worry. Sure, things might go wrong, but for a given value of wrong. In a bad season, you might finish sixth.
And yet Arsenal proves that status is not frozen, not forever. It is not so long ago, after all, since this was the club that served as an emblem for the self-perpetuation of success. Arsenal could always qualify for the Champions League, 20 years in a row, because it always qualified for the Champions League.
But even that did not mean it was immune to the effects of bad decisions. And, over the last decade or so, under the disinterested stewardship of the Kroenke family, there have been plenty of those.
ImageCredit…Pool photo by Michael Regan
Even Wenger, when we spoke a few weeks ago, wondered if he had stayed — been allowed to stay — too long. When he was replaced, it was by Unai Emery, a perfectly serviceable manager who was wholly unsuited to the job at hand. That unhappy experiment lasted 18 months before Arteta, having learned at the knee of Pep Guardiola, was drafted in.
Off the field, the thinking has been even more muddled. Wenger himself had experimented with remedies. He empowered StatDNA, the analytics firm Arsenal had bought in 2012, but then seemed to move away from its work. When he left, Arsenal seemed to recognize that the job he had done for years was actually several different ones, and (to its credit) recruited specialists to fill each of them.
In came Sven Mislintat, hailed as the visionary behind Borussia Dortmund’s success, who was tasked with turning Arsenal into the home of the best young talent in the world. Then came Raul Sanllehi, with his apparently comprehensive contacts book, with his promise to get Arsenal access to the best agents on the planet and, through them, the best players.
But neither worked well with the other and both, eventually, would leave. Time for another idea: Edu Gaspar, another former player, was made technical director. Arteta was promoted, given wider-ranging responsibilities. Kia Joorabchian, the sort of man you suspect refers to himself as a superagent, seemed to have the inside track on the club’s transfer dealings.
Arsenal’s squad lays bare the lack of coherence behind the scenes. Arteta now has eight (or nine, depending on your definition) central defenders at his disposal, but the club’s record signing, Nicolas Pepe, does not fit neatly into the team. His highest-paid player, Mesut Özil, has been reduced to live-tweeting the team’s games.
ImageCredit…Paul Childs/Action Images, via Reuters
How to pick a route out of this mess remains a mystery, particularly under Arsenal’s current ownership. For a while, over the summer, it seemed as if Arteta’s bright promise as a coach might be enough. He had crafted a team that was resilient and disciplined and smart, one that offered a kernel of what an updated, modernized Arsenal could be. He won the F.A. Cup and the Community Shield.
A few months later, that momentum has been surrendered. Arsenal heads to Tottenham on Sunday not only behind its league-leading rival in the table, but trailing Chelsea and West Ham, too. It is, for the time being, the fourth-best team in London.
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on its finances. Its roster is an uneasy blend of young promise and fading high-earners. It does not want to sell the former and it cannot move the latter; all it can do is let them run their contracts down. Where the money will come from for the necessary, multiyear rebuild is anyone’s guess.
Arsenal will recover, of course. It will return, though it is likely to be a long and arduous journey. In the meantime, it stands as a warning to the rest of the elite that their place at the top table has not been granted in perpetuity: It is yours only so long as you make (enough of) the right decisions.
And it offers inspiration to all those teams who harbor aspirations of, one day, usurping the established order: to Leicester and to Wolves and to Everton and the rest. The divide can be bridged. Permanence is an illusion. People — clubs — make mistakes, no matter their size or their wealth or their self-perception. Keane was joking, probably, when he said Arsenal would not suffer relegation. In a way, though, it already has.
Finally, a Good Thing Out of Brexit
The sunlit uplands are just a few weeks away. Britain will leave the European Union on Jan. 1 and it will finally be free to … have its own currency? No, that’s not it. Control its own borders? Oh, it did that anyway. Turn Kent, the garden of England, into a gigantic parking lot for trucks? Seems a strange thing to want, but if that’s what you like, great.
Brexit’s impact on soccer will, in all likelihood, not be particularly noticeable in the Premier League. English clubs will, in theory, no longer be able to recruit so liberally from Europe, but most of the players of interest to the teams of the country’s top division will readily meet the criteria to be granted permission to play in it. (Lower-tier teams, and the majority of clubs in Scotland, may feel more of an effect on their recruitment plans.)
Most important, though, was one throwaway line hidden deep in the weeds of the Premier League’s statement on how international transfers will work in this brave new world. English teams will, starting Jan. 1, no longer be able to sign any international player until the player has turned 18.
ImageCredit…Oliver Weiken/European Pressphoto Agency
This, make no mistake, is a problem for the Premier League’s elite, who have spent the better part of two decades trawling around Europe for any fresh-faced teenager with even a scintilla of talent and using their financial muscle to draw them in. They have been allowed to do so because of a European Union exemption in FIFA’s statutes on the cross-border transfers of minors.
Now they will have to stop. England’s clubs can no longer be hothouses of international talent. And — through gritted teeth — that is a good thing. It may, in fact, be the most obvious benefit anyone has seen from Brexit to date.
There are some cases in which teenage players benefit from being allowed to leave their home countries in order to sign for one of the world’s biggest clubs. Players in countries without the infrastructure to nurture their talent, for example, or where their development might be improved by access to better facilities.
For the most part, though, the E.U. exemption is used to pluck Spanish, Dutch, Belgian and French teenagers from academies that have reared them from a young age, and to do it at a knockdown price.
The clubs that lose the teenagers are not reimbursed suitably for the work they have done; instead, they miss out on the premium fee they might receive if the player completed their education at home. The players are, with only a handful of exceptions, treated as assets, rather than individuals, to be fattened and sold at a profit, rather than given a chance to shine.
It entrenches inequality, rather than addressing it, ensuring more and more of the world’s best talent coalesces at certain clubs. English teams have exploited it more than anyone else in recent years (Manchester United currently has three Czech or Slovak goalkeepers in its ranks, all of them teenagers) but must now stop. It would be a benefit of Brexit for everybody if FIFA took this as a chance to clamp down on the loophole, to close it, for everyone else, too.
Change Is Good. But Not This Change.
In its final moments, then, the Champions League group stage might deliver something approaching excitement after all. On Tuesday, one of Manchester United, Paris St.-Germain and RB Leipzig will be eliminated. On Wednesday, both (or neither) of Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid might follow.
It is a welcome coda to what has been a particularly predictable six weeks, an autumn that has made the proposed restructuring of the competition starting in 2024 — adopting the so-called Swiss Model, in which teams would play 10 group games and be ranked on a “giant” league table of all 32 teams — seem, if not appealing, then at least understandable.
The new plan solves severable problems. Well, no: It solves one problem in several ways. It means teams will play more games, and big teams will play more games against other big teams, which means everyone will make more money from broadcast contracts.
ImageCredit…Peter Powell/EPA, via Shutterstock
But the plan fails on two counts. One: It is not nearly as intuitive as the current system, which is, and this is just pure science, the best format for a sporting competition yet invented, as the World Cup will prove in 2026. And two: It places too much emphasis on prestige fixtures, and too little on drama. It gives the powerful clubs too many chances to fail.
What will make next week special is not that there will be lots of games between glamorous names, but that some of those glamorous names will be in jeopardy. Whatever change comes to the Champions League — and change can be good, too — that should be the priority: increasing the risks, not ring-fencing the rewards.
ImageCredit…Anita Pouchard Serra for The New York Times
It is probably no surprise that the death of Diego Maradona touched so many of you, but still, it has been lovely to read all of the memories of and tributes to him that have filled my inbox in the last week. I particularly liked Ron Amato’s conclusion after “bingeing on highlights reels” for a week: “He got the ball, and stuff happened.”
Folu Ogundimu hit upon a question I’ve been thinking about, too: “How do you compare Pelé’s great artistry and influence on soccer to Maradona’s?” I had this thought while I was writing last week’s newsletter: I’m not sure you would say that Pelé changed the game, particularly, in the way that Cruyff definitively did — there isn’t a Pelé role or a Pelé tactic or a Peléan school of thinking. Pelé’s greatness maybe resides, instead, in the sense of mastery, that he had perfected the game.
Thomas Jakobsh made an insightful observation, too, that “the suggestion his mistakes and frailties were the inevitable flip side, or byproduct, of his on-field genius” does not hold water. (This came up on Set Piece Menu this week, as it happens).
“There is a much more prosaic explanation: The world is filled with grifters, con men, unscrupulous agents, hustlers, mobsters. As Jorge Valdano has elegantly explained, Maradona was a victim, perhaps even the perfect victim,” Thomas wrote. “Adulation stalked him since he was 16, and nothing in those first 16 years equipped him for what was to come. For this failure, there is a lot of blame to be shared.”
And I just wanted to respond to Lucas Bongarra, who felt that last week’s piece communicated that Maradona was “not so spectacular, that he was great then, but couldn’t do any of the unbelievable stuff in today’s game.”
That certainly was not what I thought last week’s column said. While I don’t think Diego Maradona transformed soccer, he most definitely transformed what we thought of as possible within it. As for whether he would thrive in the modern game: yes, obviously, he was inordinately talented. Whether modern soccer could produce a Maradona, I’m not so sure. That may be both to its credit and to its detriment.
The American Academy of Pediatrics posted updated guidance Friday on young people and sports in the pandemic, making a strong recommendation that participants should wear face masks for all indoor sports. It made exceptions only while swimming and diving, since it’s harder to breathe through wet masks; during gymnastics and cheerleading, where masks could get caught or obstruct vision; and during wrestling contact, where they could be a choking hazard.
Cloth face masks are also encouraged for outdoor sports, when athletes are competing, in group training sessions and on the sidelines. The new recommendations are a response to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in children and are meant to protect the athletes themselves, their family members and their communities.
The academy had issued previous guidance on children and sports in the pandemic, but this revision notably strengthens the face mask recommendations for those actually engaged in vigorous exercise, and offers clarifications on cardiac risks for young athletes who have had Covid-19.
“We know kids are getting infected at a significant rate, we know kids live with adults and there’s a significant rate of transmission if they bring it home,” said Dr. Susannah Briskin, an associate professor of pediatric sports medicine at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, who is on the executive committee for the American Academy of Pediatrics’ council on sports medicine and fitness, and was co-author on the new guidance.
Dr. Briskin said that in states that have mandated masks for all sports, “athletes tolerated the change very well — most people take a couple of practices to find a mask they can work out in.” When she was working on the guidance, Dr. Briskin started exercising in a mask herself, and tried several kinds to find the right one. It may take more than one session to get used to wearing the face mask during exercise, she said. “The first time, people may find it to be an annoyance; by the second or third, they don’t notice,” she said.
Heart problems after Covid-19 have been a concern in athletes, both children and adults, since early in the pandemic, when it became clear that the novel coronavirus could cause myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle. So the advice has been adjusted for young athletes who have had Covid-19 and want to return to play.
The new A.A.P. guidance specifies that children and adolescents who have had asymptomatic disease or mild disease need to be screened by their primary care providers before returning to sports. Those who have not been sick, or who have had less than four days of fever and other mild symptoms, should see their regular doctors, who are expected to carry out a cardiovascular history and physical (the American Heart Association recommends a 14-point screening checklist).
All those who have had Covid-19, even without symptoms, should thus be asked about symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations or fainting. A positive screen or an abnormal physical exam should lead to an EKG and a referral to a pediatric cardiologist. And a child or adolescent who had a more significant bout with Covid-19 — including fever for four days or more; more severe and prolonged symptoms of muscle aches, chills or lethargy; or a hospitalization — should see a cardiologist after symptoms resolve and before starting to exercise.
Even those who were completely asymptomatic should increase activity gradually, and only after being screened, Dr. Briskin said, suggesting five stages of incremental progress toward full activity; the A.A.P. recommends a schedule for graduated return to play that was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine earlier this year.
Dr. Aaron Baggish, the director of the cardiovascular performance program at Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center, said that early in the pandemic, when it became clear that many of those who were sick enough to be admitted to the hospital with Covid had evidence of injury to the heart, those who worked with athletes began worrying about what they might see in young people.
Early guidelines were very conservative, he said, and recommended extensive testing, but more recently, with better information, it has become clear that it is more important to focus on those who were more significantly ill. Dr. Baggish was the senior author of an article, “Coronavirus Disease 2019 and the Athletic Heart,” published in October in the journal JAMA Cardiology, which put forth guidance for cardiac testing in adult athletes before they can return to play. The article also argued that while there are still many unknowns about the possible effects of Covid-19 on the heart, the single most important consideration about organized sports should be preventing transmission and viral spread.
Dr. Briskin agreed that the initial approach pediatricians took, when not much was known about the effects of Covid-19 infection, to “make sure we were doing everything we could to protect our athletes,” advice was generally to be very conservative. “We’re just starting to hit the point where we’re getting some data about cardiac effects of Covid-19 on a younger population,” she said; “that’s going to help us give more accurate guidance for return to play.”
Dr. Peter Dean, a pediatric cardiologist who is the team cardiologist for University of Virginia athletes, and who sits on the American College of Cardiology sports and exercise leadership committee, said that as far back as June, athletes who had had Covid were starting to ask if they could go back to playing. The recommendations for adults at the time suggested fairly extensive cardiac testing for everyone, including EKGs, echocardiograms and blood tests for troponins (proteins that increase when there is injury to heart muscle).
“At that point we really weren’t seeing pediatric cases,” Dr. Dean said, and it seemed that children were less severely affected by the infection in general. Covid-19 infection can definitely affect the heart in a child or adolescent, Dr. Dean said, and some children, such as those with multisystem inflammatory syndrome, do need extensive cardiac work-ups. But rather than testing all children, it makes sense to focus on those who had moderate or severe disease, or who have persistent symptoms.
“Myocarditis is a big deal, but it’s incredibly rare,” he said.
“I think we are less worried as a community now about subclinical myocarditis than we were before,” Dr. Dean said. There was a fear, perhaps, that children who had been mildly ill might have sudden cardiac arrests, either at home or when exercising, but “we just haven’t seen it.”
Dr. Alex Diamond, the director of the program for injury prevention in youth sports at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said that the conversation about returning to play after even asymptomatic Covid infection should be “another opportunity for pediatricians to have a touchpoint with their patients.”
Because of the pandemic, he said, “we’re seeing people delaying care for other issues,” and missing well child checks and vaccinations. The sports physical allows the pediatrician to do all the other important checks to make sure that a child or adolescent is doing well and can safely participate in sports.
And anyone who continues to have symptoms after Covid, especially shortness of breath, palpitations or chest pain, should be seen promptly by a doctor. “Watch out for any exertional type symptoms,” Dr. Diamond said.
Sports have great value in the lives of children and adolescents, and people who practice sports medicine tend to believe strongly in the benefits of athletic participation. “Our kids need some outlets, their lives have been turned completely upside down, like the rest of us,” Dr. Diamond said. “For some, their only outlet is sports.” But the benefits of exercise make it even more urgent to make things as safe as possible.
“When we talk about the risk of playing sports, we have to look at the risk of not playing sports,” Dr. Dean said.
Contact sports bring people close together, Dr. Briskin said, and as sports move indoors for the winter, the risk of transmission increases. “If people want to give sports a chance to continue in a safe manner, they need to give thought how to do it safely and curtail spread before we see lots of teams isolated or people infected,” Dr. Briskin said. In addition, the athletes need to restrict their activity away from sports, she said, again minimizing their own risks and reducing community spread.
По словам инсайдеров в стране, в Северной Корее провели публичную казнь через расстрел — в качестве наказания за нарушение правил карантина.
Мужчина, обвиненный в контрабанде через закрытую китайскую границу, был расстрелян 28 ноября, — сообщает Daily Mail, ссылаясь на Radio Free Asia. Данный жест, по словам источников, был классической для руководства КНДР попыткой запугать граждан.
Хотя власти Северной Кореи утверждают, что в стране до сих пор не было зафиксировано ни одного случая COVID-19, Ким Чен Ын ввел «чрезвычайные карантинные меры сверхвысокого уровня», а войска получили приказ стрелять в нарушителей границы с Китаем, — добавляют источники.
«Они устроили публичную казнь через расстрел, чтобы напугать жителей приграничной зоны, потому что у них было много контактов с людьми по другую сторону границы, включая контрабанду», — сказал один инсайдер.
Приговоренный к смертной казни был описан как мужчина в возрасте 50 лет, обвиненный в контрабанде с китайскими деловыми партнерами через границу, которая была закрыта на протяжении большей части 2020 года.
Китай является крупнейшим торговым партнером Северной Кореи, но из-за пандемии товарооборот между двумя странами упал на 75 процентов. Опасаясь, что контрабандисты могут спровоцировать вспышку вируса, режим Кима усилил свое военное присутствие на границе, чтобы обеспечить соблюдение карантинных мер.
Согласно источникам, Пхеньян также направил специальные подразделения для проверки пограничников и обеспечения того, чтобы они сами не участвовали в контрабанде.
Другой инсайдер сказал, что публичная казнь была типичной попыткой режима обеспечить тотальный контроль населения.
«Всякий раз, когда люди жалуются на качество жизни, власти пытаются заткнуть им рот, угрожая им публичными казнями или отправляя их в лагеря для политических заключенных», — подчеркнул он.
Ironman triathlon champions are often regarded as the superheroes of modern sports, freakishly fit specimens who swim, cycle and run a combined 140.6 miles in roughly eight hours.
Yet, professional triathletes have long been poorly compensated afterthoughts in a sport that has always prioritized the everyday amateur participants who squeeze in training before and after work and pay nearly $1,000 to enter a race.
That may be on the verge of changing, beginning this weekend in Daytona Beach, Fla., where many of the sport’s top professionals will launch a championship circuit they hope will become as lucrative as the golf and tennis championships are for their pros. In the process, they are trying to unseat Ironman, the company that has dominated triathlon for decades, as the premier competition for elite triathletes.
“It’s actually harder to make a living as a professional triathlete now than it was when I started in 2008,” said Tim O’Donnell, 40, who has won more than 20 major triathlon events. “Most athletes are just trying to pay their bills.”
The new series of events, backed by the Professional Triathletes Organization, a fledgling alliance among 350 top triathletes and numerous deep-pocketed investors, is the latest attempt by top athletes to become highly compensated partners with control of their careers and the sports they play rather than undervalued independent contractors.
Although the history of sports is filled with leagues and tours that theoretically looked perfect but foundered after failing to gain an audience, when successful the change can be dramatic. In the 1960s, Wimbledon semifinalists received two pairs of shorts from Lillywhites, the sports emporium in London. Then, Grand Slams started allowing professionals and, beginning in the 1970s, tennis players took control of their tours. Last year, a Wimbledon semifinalist earned $750,000 and the singles champions earned nearly $3 million each.
By comparison, in 2019, the total prize money at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, the Super Bowl of triathlon, was $650,000. The winners won $120,000. Earlier this year, Advance Publications, the media company, bought Ironman for $730 million.
“These athletes should be highly paid co-owners,” said Charles Adamo, executive chairman of the Professional Triathletes Organization.
A spokesman for Ironman declined to comment.
Adamo, the world’s top triathletes, and investors like Michael Moritz, the billionaire venture capitalist have planned a race series with four major individual competitions and an annual team event, similar to the championship schedules in tennis and golf.
ImageCredit…Francois Nel/Getty Images
Each event will feature 60 top professional men and 60 top professional women. The events will offer more than $1 million in prize money that the top 20 athletes will share — significantly more than at the typical triathlon competition.
Instead of the 140.6-mile Ironman distance, or the 70.3 mile half-Ironman, the new competitions will be 100 kilometers, about 62 miles, and include a 1.2 mile swim, a 48-mile bike ride and a half-marathon (13.1 miles). This weekend’s race will take place within the Daytona International Speedway, with competitors swimming in the large lake in the infield.
The shorter distance ensures competitions can finish within a more television friendly window of about three-and-half-hours. It will also allow elite athletes to do more high-profile competitions than they otherwise might in a year. O’Donnell predicted top triathletes would participate in the new group’s five events, plus one regular Ironman event to qualify for Kona and, if they make it, the world championship.
Increased prize money should provide an incentive for triathletes to compete head-to-head more often.
Rachel Joyce, a retired champion and the co-president of the triathletes organization, said she and other top triathletes regularly picked races in which they knew a weak field would give them the best chance at the winner’s paycheck and the sponsor bonuses for placing first.
“It makes it kind of boring when your closest competitor is 20 minutes behind you,” Joyce said in an interview last month.
That is only part of the down side of professional triathlon, a sport that began as a lark in the 1970s in California and Hawaii. The dirty secret about elite triathletes, with their chiseled physiques, $8,000 bikes and training schedules that allow for unlimited chocolate cream pie, is that for most of the pros, the pay is relatively lousy.
Kevin Durant of the Nets will approach $40 million this season, not counting the millions more he earns through sponsorships. In 2019, Jan Frodeno of Germany, the reigning Ironman world champion and something of a deity to triathletes, got paid like a decent accountant for his victories, taking home $158,000 in prize money. Katie Zaferes of the United States, who led the prize money list for both men and women in 2019, earned $347,500. Just $80,000 in winnings was good enough for a spot in the top 10 on the money list. For the best of the best, endorsement deals can boost income — to the range of a bad middle relief pitcher — but since triathlon is barely on television, those lucrative endorsement deals are increasingly hard to come by for all but the superstars.
“The best triathletes are doing pretty well, but the ones in the middle and the bottom are hurting,” said Rocky Harris, chief executive of U.S.A. Triathlon, the sport’s national governing body.
Alissa Doehla, was a professional marathoner until 2016, when she decided to pursue the triathlon. She estimates the switch required about a $20,000 investment in equipment. She had five top 10 finishes in half-Ironman events in 2017. Then she got hit by a truck while training in 2018. She has returned to competitions and said while it’s possible she broke even that first year she certainly has not since then.
ImageCredit…Tom Pennington/Getty Images,
“It’s so expensive up front,” Doehla, 34, said from her home in Indiana last month, where she was training for this weekend’s race in Daytona Beach. “My husband has a good job. For people who are not lucky enough to have a spouse to support them in the lean years it is a tough sport.”
The new series will only work if fans actually watch. That would drive up media rights fees and spur potential sponsors to try to reach a very desirable audience.
U.S.A. Triathlon has found the average income for all triathletes is more than $125,000. The sport’s boosters like to portray triathlon as the 21st century version of golf — a favored activity among white collar executives who obsess about data from their Garmin watches with an intensity their predecessors gave to golf handicaps. But participatory endurance sports have always been about maximizing entry fees rather than creating the stars who compete for million dollar purses and make compelling televised sports drama.
Some 100 media outlets worldwide, including NBC’s Peacock streaming service, will feature the Daytona Beach race this weekend. Moving forward though, organizers need long-term rights and sponsorship deals.
The new endeavor plans to allow weekend warriors to participate in its competitions but their entry fees will not be enough to sustain the organization and the prize money it wants to offer.
Chris Kermode, who ran tennis’s ATP Tour and is now the vice chairman of the Professional Triathletes Organization, said if slick televised championships in
snooker and darts could create celebrity champions, triathletes, who are usually more attractive physical specimens than dart throwers or billiards players, should be able to find their way.
“The principles of all sports are fundamentally the same,” Kermode said. “It is about making people care about one person winning over someone else. Everybody has a story and if you tell that story you can get people to care.”