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Japan scientist ‘very pessimistic’ Olympics will happen next year –



TOKYO — A Japanese professor of infectious disease says he is “very pessimistic” the postponed Tokyo Olympics can open in 15 months.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think the Olympics is likely to be held next year,” Kentaro Iwata, a professor of infectious disease at Kobe University, said Monday speaking in English on a teleconference. “Holding the Olympics needs two conditions; one, controlling COVID-19 in Japan, and controlling COVID-19 everywhere.”

Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the Tokyo organizing committee, expressed his own reservations 10 days ago. Since then, the organizing committee and the International Olympic Committee have said there is no “Plan B” other than working for the Olympics to open on July 23, 2021.

“I am very pessimistic about holding the Olympic Games next summer unless you hold the Olympic Games in a totally different structure such as no audience, or a very limited participation,” Iwata said, speaking at a forum arranged by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo.

“You have to invite so many athletes from many, many places, which is not very compatible with this COVID-19 infection that is causing a pandemic. Japan might be able to control this disease by next summer. And I wish we could. But I don’t think that will happen everywhere on earth.”

Japan was spared during the initial stage of the coronavirus outbreak. But cases are now spiking, particularly in Tokyo and other large cities. As of Monday, there were about 12,000 detected infections in Japan and about 250 deaths.

Devi Sridhar, professor of Global Health at the University of Edinburgh, said holding the Olympics may hinge on finding a vaccine.

“I think it all depends on whether we have a vaccine,” Sridhar said late last week. “And so I think if you talk to some of the scientists, they’re saying we’ll have a vaccine by the fall and we can manufacture it quickly and we can get it out to people. If we do, then I’d say, actually, we have a great chance of going ahead with the Olympics.”

Sridhar said without a vaccine, the Olympics in 2021 were unlikely. This could also apply to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, which are to open in China in February — just six months after the Summer Games are to close.

“If it looks in the next few months that a vaccine is proving difficult, that actually it has massive side effects or it’s not effective or we’re not actually building immunity in individuals, then I think it’ll (Olympics) have to be delayed,” Sridhar said.

Dr. Ali S. Khan, the dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska, told The Associated Press in an email that even without a vaccine it may be possible to go ahead.

“Fifteen months is plenty of time for public health to wrap around this problem even without a vaccine or drug,” Khan said, suggesting the creativity of the “medicoindustrial complex” would tackle the problem.

“Think handheld personal testing devices the way we test for blood sugar,” Khan said.

He also said it might take some “rethinking” of the Olympics in terms “venues, backend, athletes, and spectators.”

The Olympics draw 11,000 athletes, with 4,400 Paralympians also attending — all the athletes with large staffs of trainers, coaches and support teams. Athletes are to stay in a sprawling housing complex on Tokyo Bay. The Olympics draw thousands of foreign visitors, and depend on air travel and hundreds of hotels.

IOC member John Coates, who has overseen the preparations of the Tokyo Olympics, said last week the IOC believes it has given itself “as much time as possible.” But he acknowledged the possibility od unprecedented changes.

“It may be there is still an issue about the number of people congregating and those things, testing on athletes,” Coates said. “It’s too early to say.”

Japan is officially spending $12.6 billion or organize the Olympics, although a government audit board put the figure at twice that. All but $5.6 billion is taxpayer money.

Local estimates say the postponement will cost between $2 billion and $6 billion with Japanese governments picking up almost all the bills.

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MLS players boycott training in apparent labour impasse – TSN



Toronto FC, Montreal Impact and Vancouver Whitecap players boycotted training Monday in an apparent labour impasse between the MLS and the MLS Players Association.

It appears players in “multiple markets” also stayed home amidst reports they faced a threatened lockout by the league.

The training sessions are voluntary but players had been taking advantage of them, with Toronto, Atlanta, Inter Miami and Sporting Kansas City among those slated to progress from individual to small group training sessions Monday.

“Players made a CHOICE to focus their time and energy on an important decision which includes the threat of a lockout instead of volunteering to attend on-field training for a tournament we already agreed to attend,” tweeted Minnesota United midfielder Ethan Finlay, a member of the MLSPA’s executive board. “Refuse is not the word I would use.”

With the season on hold since March 12 due to the pandemic, the two sides have been bargaining about concessions and pay.

On Sunday night, the Players Association announced its membership had approved a package for the 2020 season included player salary reductions and additional concessions. It did not provide specifics although the proposal included participating in a summer tournament in Orlando.

“While a difficult vote in incredibly challenging times, it was taken collectively to ensure that players can return to competition as soon as they are safely able to do so,” the PA said in a statement. “The package has been formally submitted to the league for a decision by the owners.”

The league declined comment Sunday night but reports soon emerged that it wanted more concessions.

Complicating matters is the fact that while the league and PA agreed on a new collectively bargaining agreement in February, it has yet to be ratified.

The players’ proposal included adding a year to the CBA.

The labour negotiations come against a backdrop of unrest in the U.S. in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

“I can’t sleep some of these nights!,” tweeted Mark-Anthony Kaye, a Canadian international who plays for Los Angeles FC. “My mind just races and goes on and on at the amount of possible scenarios in where I lose my life or I’m harmed by a police officer who took an oath to protect us. The police force has lost its credibility, the CHANGE needs to start internally!”

The league released a statement Monday saying the “entire Major League Soccer family is deeply saddened and horrified by the senseless murder of George Floyd.

“We stand united with the black community throughout our country and share in the pain, anger and frustration. We hear you. We see you. We support you. We are committed to use our voices and the platform of our league, our clubs and our players to continue to champion equality and social justice.”

Prior to the league release, Toronto defender Justin Morrow wondered what was taking so long.

“How long must we wait to hear from you regarding what’s going on across the country?” he tweeted. “Can’t you see that your players are speaking up and it matters to them? Your silence is deafening. Please support us.”

The MLSPA issued its statement Sunday.

“Like our players, we are deeply sickened by the continued inequality and violence around the country. We stand with all of those who have been subjected to unfair and unequal treatment because of the colour of their skin. We must commit as a society to end this horrible cycle.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2020.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

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Dykstra's libel suit dismissed: Reputation 'so tarnished that it cannot be further injured' – theScore



Lenny Dykstra’s defamation and libel lawsuit against former New York Mets teammate Ron Darling was dismissed Friday by New York Supreme Court Judge Robert D. Kalish, according to ESPN.

Dykstra’s “reputation for unsportsmanlike conduct and bigotry is already so tarnished that it cannot be further injured,” the ruling stated.

The lawsuit stemmed from Darling’s 2019 memoir, “108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters from My Time in the Game.” In the book, Darling wrote that Dykstra directed racist taunts toward Boston Red Sox pitcher Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd during the 1986 World Series.

Darling petitioned to have the lawsuit dismissed by citing Dykstra’s past legal problems as well as comments made in Dykstra’s autobiography, “House of Nails: A Memoir of Life on the Edge.” Judge Kalish cited these documents as a contributing factor to the dismissal.

“Based on the papers submitted on this motion, prior to the publication of the book, Dykstra was infamous for being, among other things, racist, misogynist, and anti-gay, as well as a sexual predator, a drug abuser, a thief, and an embezzler. Further, Dykstra had a reputation – largely due to his autobiography – of being willing to do anything to benefit himself and his team, including using steroids and blackmailing umpires,” Kalish wrote.

The 57-year-old Dykstra played 12 major-league seasons between the Mets and Philadelphia Phillies. He’s made headlines in his post-playing career for various legal issues, including a 2018 arrest for drug possession and uttering terroristic threats. He served six-and-a-half months in prison after pleading guilty to bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets, and money laundering in 2012.

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Jon Jones Has Made Enough Money from Fighting to Retire




If Jon Jones
wants to relinquish the light heavyweight title and walk away from
the sport, that’s his decision, according to Dana White.

The UFC president issued a brief statement to the
Canadian Press
on Monday after Jones tweeted that he planned on
vacating the 205-pound belt. Jones’ threat was the latest salvo in
public dispute
regarding negotiations for a potential
superfight with heavyweight Francis

is one of the greatest to ever do it,” White said. “The
decision he wants to make regarding his career is up to him. The
reality is that he’s made enough money from fighting that he’s now
in the position to retire and never work again in his life.”

White’s statement bears some resemblance to
remarks he made
about Conor
after the Irish star earned in the neighborhood of
$100 million to box Floyd
in August 2017.

Money appears to be at the root of the issues between Jones and
White. The UFC boss claimed that “Bones” demanded a Deontay
payday — around $25 to $30 million — to fight Ngannou.
Jones responded that he never provided a specific number, only that
he wanted a new deal for the added risk of moving up in weight.
Things have only escalated since then, as Jones wasn’t pleased with
White’s remarks at the UFC on ESPN 9 post-fight press conference

Jones’ attention has been elsewhere more recently. He took to the
streets to
stop vandalism
in Albuquerque, New Mexico, early Monday morning
during the George Floyd protests in the city and then assisted
local businesses
with clean-up and repairs during the day.

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Edited By Harry Miller

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