In our news wrap Thursday, 28 Russian athletes had their Olympic doping bans overturned by the international Court of Arbitration for Sport. The panel also reinstated seven gold medals won by Russians at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Also, Trump administration officials charged today that Syria is still making and using chemical weapons.
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In the day’s other news: Twenty-eight Russian athletes who had been banned from the Winter Olympics for doping have now been cleared by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport. The panel ruled there was insufficient evidence.
It also reinstated seven gold medals won by Russians at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. President Vladimir Putin hailed the decision as he toured a vehicle factory in Rostov-on-Don.
President Vladimir Putin:
(Through interpreter) I think we have to avoid euphoria on our side. We have to take it calmly. We are happy for the athletes supported, but not everyone was fully cleared of charges. We have things to improve on our side for sure.
Russia is still banned from the upcoming Winter Games in South Korea for state-sponsored doping. But the 28 athletes could compete, if the International Olympic Committee agrees.
The United States charged today that Syria is still making and using chemical weapons. Unnamed Trump administration officials made the accusation in various news accounts. They said it is — quote — “highly likely” that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad kept a hidden stockpile of chemical weapons after agreeing to give them up in 2013.
The stream of Syrians and others seeking political asylum in Europe dropped last year, for the second year in a row. The European Union’s asylum agency says nearly 707,000 people in all applied for the special status. That is down 43 percent. Syrians made up the largest single group of applicants, with more than 98,000.
In Myanmar, new evidence today that the military and Buddhist supporters massacred Rohingya Muslims. The Associated Press reports that it confirmed at least five mass graves. Time-stamped cell phone video shows the remains of one village burned to the ground. Human bones were found in pools of acid used to prevent identification.
In Seoul, South Korea today, a top U.N. official said there must be a reckoning.
Yes, I would think that these are part of the hallmarks of a genocide. I think Myanmar needs to get rid of this baggage of, did you or did you not? And if proven that they did, then there has to be responsibility and accountability.
Myanmar denies all claims that Rohingya Muslims have been systematically slaughtered.
Kenya’s high court ordered today that three TV stations be allowed to broadcast again, but the government ignored the order. The stations have been shut down since they tried to air the mock inauguration of opposition leader Raila Odinga this week. Odinga’s supporters say President Uhuru Kenyatta rigged last year’s election.
Back in this country, the State Department’s top career diplomat, Tom Shannon, announced that he’s retiring after 35 years. He cited personal reasons. His departure comes as President Trump faces criticism for not filling a number of top diplomatic posts.
The Arizona Statehouse today expelled a Republican lawmaker over allegations of sexual harassment. Don Shooter is believed to be the first state lawmaker to be dismissed since the MeToo movement began. Others have resigned or been stripped of leadership positions.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 37 points to close at 26186. The Nasdaq fell 25 points, and the S&P 500 lost almost two points.