Russia banned from 2020 Olympics and more due to doping
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has banned Russia from international competitions including both the World Cup and the Olympics for a period of four years.
While banned from places like the Olympics, Russia still is able to compete in next year’s European football championships.
Move over normal nukes, the world now has hypersonic weapons to worry about.
Russia announced on Friday that it had become the first nation to enter an intercontinental hypersonic weapon into military service.
“Today, we have a unique situation in our new and recent history. They [other countries] are trying to catch up with us. Not a single country possesses hypersonic weapons, let alone continental-range hypersonic weapons,” said Putin.
Development of the Avangard reportedly began after Putin claimed the U.S. efforts to develop new missile defence systems would handicap Russia’s nuclear deterrent capabilities.
Russia has shown the Avangard to U.S. inspectors in November.
What are hypersonic weapons?
Travelling at a minimum of five times the speed of sound (Mach 5), hypersonic weapons combine the speed of a “ballistic missile with the maneuvering capabilities of a cruise missile.”
The unique combination of speed and maneuverability creates a weapon which at the moment allows them to evade missile defence systems.
The Russian hypersonic weapon can reportedly fly 27 times faster than the speed of sound and will be mounted on Soviet-built RS-18B intercontinental ballistic missiles, code-named SS-19 by NATO.
Of course, no weapon is ever permanently unstoppable, it just so happens this one will take some serious investments to counteract.
For example, US officials have talked about putting a layer of sensors in space in order to detect the hypersonic weapons.
While American officials prepare defence initiatives, they themselves worryingly remain quite far behind when it comes to putting forward their own hypersonic nuclear deterrent.
According to a statement made by Defense Secretary Mark Esper in August, “it’s probably a matter of a couple of years” before the U.S. also has an operational equivalent.
Perhaps, even more worrying, the United States could also be behind China, its chief military counterweight, when it comes to fielding its own hypersonic weapon.
China has reportedly begun testing two hypersonic missile systems.
The United States has multiple projects in development, although the earliest results are expected no sooner than 2023.
Democrat Congresswoman Deb Haaland has brought forward a resolution to acknowledge the achievements of James “Jim” Thorpe. The resolution requests that the International Olympic Committee restore Thorpe’s 1912 Olympic records by recognizing him as the sole gold medalist in the two events he won, the pentathlon and the decathlon.
Thorpe’s lost legacy
During the 1912 Olympics, Thorpe represented the United States as an enrolled member of the Sac and Fox Nation. At the time, Native Americans were not legally recognized as full U.S. citizens, only gaining full rights in 1924 through the Indian Citizenship Act. Alongside the lack of rights, bigotry against the indigenous people was rampant and systematic, with news openly involving derogatory statements and stereotypes.
In the context of this environment, Thorpe became a celebrated figure both locally and abroad, in many ways helping push forward the cause of genuine equality and acceptance.
Yet just a year later, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in 1913 would go on to strip him of his gold medals, because Thorpe previously was paid around $15 a week ($380 today) for playing semi-pro baseball before participating in the Olympics.
The AAU falsely claimed this made him a professional athlete in a competition reserved for amateurs, despite his baseball league being hardly professional.
By taking away his medals, the AAU turned Thorpe, in the eyes of the public, into a malicious cheater. Thorpe died in 1953, but the defamation against him would continue for years.
Attitudes changed as the decades rolled by, with The International Olympic Committee restoring Thorpe’s medals in 1982. Yet, regarldess of the return, the athletes who finished second to Thorpe are still listed as co-recipients of Olympic gold medals.
Taking away the gold medals of the other undeserving athletes may not precisely change history’s view of Thorpe any more than it already has–still, it is nonetheless an important and symbolic act of justice for his supporters
Haaland, a Democrat and a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, sees the congressional resolution as a way to highlight Thorpe’s accomplishments from the worldwide competition.
“Any person who has represented our country honourably and brought victory home for the United States in the Olympics is an American hero and should be recognized as one, but inherent biases took away that honour from Jim Thorpe,” she said.
Thorpe was almost as gifted as other athletes like Bo Jackson, showing excellence in multiple sporting pursuits. After winning gold medals in some of track and field’s most gruelling events, he played in the major leagues, including the precursor to the NFL.
Historical depictions haven’t been especially kind to Thorpe, despite his consistent career excellence.
Hollywood chose Burt Lancaster, loaded with dark makeup, to portray Thorpe in a 1951 movie about his life, which portrayed the stripping of his Olympic medals as illegitimate.
Upon Thorpe’s death in 1953, he was buried in a Pennsylvania town, which he had never lived nor even visited. It was two towns that essentially amalgamated in hopes of making money from the legend’s corpse. Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk were both successful railroad stop of the booming coal industry. By the ’50s the two towns had hit hard times, but a newspaper editor thought they could find another boon with the body of Thorpe.
Through the editor’s urging, residents of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk voted to merge under name of Jim Thorpe, PA, in 1954.
In a deal with Thorpe’s third wife, the town provided a $10,000 mausoleum for Thorpe’s body. This was the first part of a plan to draw tourists, which Thorpe’s sons had found distasteful.
“Patsy took his body around and farmed him out to bidders,” son Bill Thorpe once told me. He was a soldier serving in Korea when his father passed away.
Bill Thorpe and his two living brothers still want their father’s body to be moved back to his native Oklahoma. They considered the burial arrangement in Pennsylvania disrespectful, saying it did no justice to Thorpe’s Sac and Fox heritage.
Thorpe’s two living daughters take a different perspective of Thorpe’s burial, seeing it as paying respect to a larger than life figure that their father was.
Issues over Thorpe’s burial place have stretched into the current decade, leading the sons to sue in an attempt to move his remains. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case, leaving Thorpe’s remains in Pennsylvania.
Despite all the controversy over Thorpe’s death Haaland and other members of Congress are interested in using the power of politics to revive interest in how he lived, by focusing on some of his greatest achievements.
We, as Canadians, can learn a lot from this act of recognition of Indigenous athletes and respect for their legacies. Canada’s own Oklahoman Native American athlete Jack Jacobs transformed Canadian football, and has been in many ways commemorated for his excellence in football, but more has to be done for both him and other indigenous athletes who the public let fly under the radar.
A former national security adviser to the prime minister told military officials that Canada’s perception of the threats posed by Russia and China need to be clearly recognized, especially as the United States shifts towards a more isolationist economy, reports the CBC.
“The risks posed by these two countries are certainly different, but they are generally based on advancing all their interests to the detriment of the West,” said Richard Fadden, former national security adviser to Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper.
“Their activities span the political, military and economic spheres.”
Fadden, who also served as head of CSIS and as deputy defence minister, made the comments at the annual Vimy Ridge Dinner in Ottawa.
Russia and China have both shown a willingness to “use virtually any means to attain their goals,” while the U.S. has shown at various instances that it’s willing to withdraw from global trade.
The rise of American isolationism, Fadden says, means Canada will need to seek new avenues in addressing global crises without the United States, and instead, with other allies.
But in order to do so, Fadden says, Canada needs to recognize drastic changes that have occurred on the world stage over the last decade.
Canada should “recognize our adversaries for what they are, recognize we have to deal with them, but draw clear limits to what we will accept,” he said.
According to Fadden, Ottawa and our federal leaders need to recognize that the post-Cold War world order “with comprehensive U.S. leadership is gone, and is not coming back in the form we knew.”
While serving as CSIS director years ago, Fadden noted the rise of Chinese influence throughout Canadian municipal and provincial politics.
“The West does not have its act together as much as it could and should,” said Fadden.
Fadden echoed similar sentiment as former U.S. national security advisor Susan Rice, who recently told the CBC that she believed Huawei phones, made by a company who American officials believe is puppeteered by the Chinese communist party, posed a major threat to national security.
“It’s hard for me to emphasize adequately, without getting into classified terrain, how serious it is, particularly for countries involved in the Five Eyes,” said Rice explaining the severity of the threat, while suggested the signals intelligence alliance (Five Eyes) between U.S., Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia would be put into serious jeopardy if Canada went ahead with Huawei 5G.
Fadden also pointed out that radicalization was occurring beyond the confines of Islam and violent right-wing terrorism has become a growing concern.
“Right-wing terrorism is growing and, like its cousin jihadist terrorism, it is a globalized threat,” he said. “We will ignore it at our peril.”
A Russian man has been arrested for throwing a cat at a policeman after an altercation started between the two parties, according to Global News. The attack occurred in an apartment complex in a dilapidated area of Moscow.
The man who threw the cat, Gennady Shcherbakov, faces charges of violence against the police. Despite the incident happening over a year ago, Shcherbakov was only charged on Wednesday. He has a maximum prison sentence of five years.
The cat-throwing started when the police came to Shcherbakov’s Moscow apartment in response to a noise complaint.
The police report that the man was found with the cat in the stairwell of the apartment. When the police attempted to speak to him, the man shook the cat like a coke bottle and lobbed the creature at the policeman. The cat seriously scratched the policeman.