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Coronavirus Live Updates: China Seeks Plasma Donors to Develop Treatment

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The United States said on Friday that it would approve humanitarian assistance to North Korea to help international aid agencies fight the coronavirus there, amid fears that the impoverished country may be hiding an outbreak.

North Korea has not reported any cases of the new coronavirus. But in the past week, some South Korean news reports, citing unnamed sources within the secretive North, said there had been deaths in the country that were suspected to be related to the virus. The reports could not be confirmed.

North Korea shares a 930-mile border with China, where the coronavirus emerged, and has taken aggressive steps to prevent its spread, including suspending all flights and trains to and from China.

North Korea’s public health system remains dysfunctional, and the travel restrictions have made it more difficult for the North to buy or smuggle medicine, goods and other supplies from China. Relief organizations have complained that American-led U.N. sanctions have blocked them from quickly approving aid.

This week, the Red Cross called for a sanctions exemption allowing it to transfer money to its office in North Korea, describing it as “a lifesaving intervention.” It cited an urgent need for personal protective gear and testing kits to prepare for an outbreak in North Korea.

The United States has similarly expressed alarm, saying it would not stand in the way of such aid.

“The United States is deeply concerned about the vulnerability of the North Korean people to a coronavirus outbreak,” Morgan Ortagus, a State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement on Thursday.

She added that Washington encourages American and international aid groups to “counter and contain the spread of coronavirus” in the North.

Reporting and research was contributed by Sui-Lee Wee, Choe Sang-Hun, Amber Wang, Zoe Mou, Albee Zhang, Yiwei Wang, Claire Fu, Miriam Jordan and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs.

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A Polish Olympian Aimed to Join Team U.S.A. Things Got Ugly.

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As an 11-year-old in Poland, Aleksandra Shelton saw her mother competing in a fencing competition on television. Intrigued by the sport and the allure of also appearing on TV someday, she built a saber fencing career that far surpassed her mother’s aspirations.

A decade later, Shelton won a bronze medal at the 2003 world championships. Then she took gold at the 2004 and 2008 European championships. She has competed in the past four Olympics for Poland. And she anticipated that this summer in Tokyo she would become only the fourth Polish woman — and about the 220th woman worldwide — to participate in five or more Games.

But Shelton, a dual citizen who is married to an American serviceman, encountered what she said was age and gender discrimination from Polish fencing officials after the birth of her first child three years ago. So she made a desperate attempt at nation-switching, hoping to head to her fifth Games as an American. Poland, however, has blocked the change, trapping Shelton between the two countries, leaving her unable as of now to compete in Tokyo for either.

Sandwiched by the heated politics of athletes’ rights and the baroque rules of Olympic eligibility, she is facing the sporting complications that can confront women who become mothers.

“After every storm, there needs to be a sunny day,” Shelton, who turns 38 next month, said in a telephone interview. “But it’s been more than two years of heavy rain.”

Shelton said Polish fencing officials began to reduce support for her once she became pregnant after the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She gave birth to a son in 2017.

“She felt she was an expired product in their eyes,” said Carlos Sayao, Shelton’s Toronto-based lawyer.

Frustrated, Shelton sought a different path to her fifth Olympics, and a chance to win an elusive first medal. She has competed as an American since January 2019. But here the story gets complicated.

To prevent mass nation-hopping, athletes generally must wait three years after changing countries to compete in an Olympic Games, unless they receive a special waiver.

A year ago, the matter seemed all but resolved in Shelton’s favor before combusting in recrimination during the spring and summer. In September, the Polish Olympic Committee declined to grant her an exemption to compete in Tokyo as an American. And since she has already switched national affiliations once, she can’t compete for Poland anymore. The Polish Olympic Committee declined to comment for this article.

Shelton has appealed her case to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport, a kind of Supreme Court for international sports. No hearing date has been set, and time is growing short. The United States Olympic fencing team will be chosen in April.

The case has received widespread attention in Poland, where the national federations that govern various sports operate with near-complete autonomy and can exert tremendous control over the careers of athletes.

Internationally, the oversight of sports governing bodies has come under intense scrutiny, including in the United States, where recent sexual abuse scandals have rocked several sports, particularly gymnastics and figure skating. In Poland last fall, Witold Banka, a former sports minister, described the top management of the country’s sports federations as being “like a cancer that is destroying Polish sport.”

Two top officials of the Polish fencing federation said in a joint email that they had not discarded Shelton after she gave birth, but instead had considered her the leader of the Polish women’s saber team heading toward the Tokyo Olympics.

They expressed suspicion that her effort to compete for the United States was rooted in strategy, not unfair treatment, after Poland’s failure to win any medals at the 2018 world fencing championships. The officials — Ryszard Sobczak and Tadeusz Tomaszewski — called Shelton’s accusations “untrue and full of slander.”

Shelton tells a different story. When she became pregnant, she said, Polish fencing officials prevented her from becoming the head saber coach at a prominent club in Warsaw. Their claim, she said, was that she lacked experience, even though she had competed in four Olympics.

Her coach at the time acknowledged in an interview that pregnancy was “a factor” in the decision because the coaching post would have required frequent travel and increased demands on Shelton’s time.

After Shelton gave birth, she said, the Polish fencing federation reneged on a promise to provide a physiotherapist to help her get back into competitive shape. Officials also declined, she said, to let her continue to train in Portland, Ore., a hub of American fencing, where Shelton has lived part time since 2010.

While nothing was said to her face by fencing officials, Shelton said she heard indirectly from colleagues that the Polish federation felt “I am too old, I should stay at home.”

Eventually, Shelton said, the Polish fencing federation seemed to sabotage her ability to continue competing for the Polish army team, causing her to lose her military retirement benefits. The federation strongly denied this, saying the army team remained available only to fencers still competing internationally for Poland. Broadly speaking, the federation officials wrote in their email that Shelton was attempting to “manipulate the facts to fit her narrative.”

Despite recent struggles, Poland’s 22 Olympic fencing medals (19 won by men, 3 by women) rank seventh among competing nations. Individual and team competitions are held in épée, foil and saber events.

“She is not in a shape that would allow her to compete in individual events, but in the United States she could compete as part of their team,” said Piotr Stroka, who coached Shelton in Warsaw and disagreed with her decision to pursue a nationality switch.

Stroka dismissed claims of discrimination, saying that Polish female fencers are “perhaps treated even better than men.” In Shelton’s case, he said, the federation “did everything it could for her.”

Yet it is not unusual for pregnant women in Olympic sports to find themselves in a disadvantaged position. Nike, for instance, faced withering criticism last year from American track stars sponsored by the company for reducing performance-based payments surrounding the period of childbirth. Facing a backlash, the sportswear giant amended its policy.

In Poland, sports federations in general have also endured searing rebuke. Banka, the former Polish sports minister who is now president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, told a radio interviewer in November that federations there are often “managed by irresponsible people who run them in an unethical way.”

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Man shot dead in CBD, Queensland news

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Police have shot dead a man who charged at officers with a knife after allegedly stabbing a tourist in Brisbane’s CBD.

The 26-year-old male victim, who police say was visiting from overseas, was walking down Mary Street with a woman, at 10am.

The pair were approached by a man, who they say was “behaving strangely”.

He stopped in front of them and said nothing as he pulled a knife out of his bag, police say.

Forensic teams on Mary Street examine the scene of the crime. (9News) (9News)
Police have shot dead a man who charged at officers with a knife after stabbing another person in Brisbane’s central business district. (Nine)

The pair fled, with the woman making it back to their hotel room.

However, the attacker chased the man, and hit him in the face, breaking his nose and injuring his lip before stabbing him in the back.

Police say he was trying to run when he was stabbed.

“The male, the victim then turned to run away further. He then felt in his back something sharp, which we now believe he was stabbed,” Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming told reporters.

Det Supt. Fleming says officers were alerted to the stabbing over their radio, prompting a police car to drive down Mary Street to confront the attacker.

They shot him after he approached them with a knife.

Detective Superintendent Tony Fleming said the man’s motivations are currently unknown, but he was known to police. (9News) (9News)

“It will be alleged that the male person has confronted police, he has been armed with a knife and police have discharged their firearms,” Det Supt Fleming said.

“They attempted to provide assistance to that man but he has subsequently died.”

Police believe the attacker had two knifes on him during the incident, and that he acted alone.

Det Sup Int Fleming said the attacker was known to police and said a wide ranging investigation would take place, including looking at potential terrorism related motives.

Police are watching CCTV and examining the car the attacker travelled in to the city.

However, they said they don’t believe there is any ongoing risk to the public.

“All the information to us at the moment was that this person was acting alone, came into the city alone, did those actions alone – but we just don’t take anything for granted,” Det Supt. Supt Fleming, said.

Invesigators examine evidence on Mary Street. (9News) (Nine)

“We don’t know the motivation for this attack today but obviously we treat it very seriously.

“Tragically a man has died, but it is my understanding that what police were confronted with today was a life-threatening situation and I’m very pleased that they are alive.”

The victim was taken to Royal Brisbane Hospital, where he received stitches for his stab wound.

He has now been released and is being interviewed by police.

A guest of the Westin Hotel told AAP she heard several gunshots, but thought they were fireworks.

“I came outside and I saw someone lying on the ground and (police) were performing CPR,” the guest told AAP.

Investigators from the Ethical Standards Command, the coroner and the Crime and Corruption Commission Queensland attended the scene as part of investigations into the incident.

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N.J. Gov. Murphy Announces He Has Tumor On His Kidney, Will Have Surgery – CBS New York

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy will have surgery next month to remove a tumor on his kidney, he announced on Saturday.

“Friends, I’ve got a tumor on my left kidney and will undergo a partial nephrectomy in early March to remove it,” Murphy wrote on Twitter. “The prognosis is very good and I’m profoundly grateful to my doctors for detecting the tumor early.”

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on stage during the 2019 Montclair Film Festival at the Wellmont Theater on May 4, 2019 in Montclair. (Photo by Lars Niki/Getty Images for 2019 Montclair Film Festival )

So what is a nephrectomy? How serious is it? And what can Gov. Murphy expect from the surgery? CBS2’s Scott Rapoport discussed the situation with Dr. Max Gomez.

“Partial nephrectomy is a fancy way of saying removing a part of the the kidney. That’s what nephrectomy means. These days it’s almost certainly done laparoscopically. And the recovery is very, very quick,” Dr. Gomez said.

The 62-year-old Murphy won’t know for sure if the tumor is cancerous until after the surgery.

Gomez said it’s simply too early to make any kind of prognosis.

“It will depend on the pathology, taking a look at the type of tumor, the type of cells, whether it has invaded other parts of the body and so forth,” Gomez said.

Murphy tweeted that he is far from alone here, adding that 50,000 New Jerseyans well learn they have cancer this year.

“If there’s anything my diagnosis reminds me of, it’s that preventative services are lifesaving and we need to continue fighting for affordable health care for all,” Murphy said.



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