World this week
The IOC announced a first-of-its-kind postponement of the Summer Olympics on Tuesday, bowing to the realities of a coronavirus pandemic that is shutting down daily life around the globe and making planning for a massive worldwide gathering in July a virtual impossibility. The International Olympic Committee said the Tokyo Games "must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020, but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community."
It was an announcement seen as all but a certainty as pressure mounted from nervous athletes, sports organizations and national Olympic committees - all confronting the reality that training and qualifying schedules, to say nothing of international anti-doping protocols, had been ruptured beyond repair. Other Olympics - 1916, 1940 and 1944 - have been canceled because of war, but none have ever been postponed for any reason, let alone a renegade virus..
Israel appeared to be barreling toward a constitutional crisis as opponents took to the streets and turned to the Supreme Court to fight a series of unprecedented steps taken by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while confronting the coronavirus pandemic. In recent days, Netanyahu and his surrogates have shut down the court system, approved the use of sophisticated phone-surveillance technology on the general public and temporarily suspended the activities of parliament.
While Netanyahu has defended the moves as extraordinary steps in extraordinary times, his opponents accuse him of undermining Israel's democratic foundations in a desperate bid to cement his grip on power and derail a looming criminal trial after coming up short in parliamentary elections this month. Netanyahu's Likud Party controls only 58 seats, three short of a majority required to form a government. Gantz has the backing of 61 lawmakers, and under Israeli custom, was tapped this week by the country's president to try to form a new government.
The US is cutting $1 billion in aid to Afghanistan and threatening further reductions in co-operation, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said this week. Mr Pompeo announced the cut following a trip to the Afghan capital, Kabul, where he failed to break a deadlock between two politicians who both claim victory in the country's last presidential election. He hoped to save a deal signed between the Taliban militant group and the US. The agreement is supposed to pave the way to peace in Afghanistan.
However, the political disunity in Kabul has hampered efforts to create a negotiating team and the talks with the Taliban - a key part of the agreement signed late last month - have yet to begin. Since the US intervened in 2001 to dislodge the Taliban, tens of thousands of people have been killed in Afghanistan, including an estimated 32,000 civilians. But if the US-Taliban deal comes to fruition, the US and its Nato would be withdrawing all troops within 14 months.
A new study that looks at lifespan in wild mammals shows that females live substantially longer than males. The research finds that, on average, females live 18.6% longer than males from the same species. This is much larger than the well-studied difference between men and women, which is around 8%. The scientists say the differences in these other mammals are due to a combination of sex-specific traits and local environmental factors.In every human population, women live longer than men, so much so that nine out of 10 people who live to be 110 years old are female.
Large-scale data on mammals in the wild has been lacking, Now, an international team of researchers has examined age-specific mortality estimates for a widely diverse group of 101 species.In 60% of the analysed populations, the scientists found that females outlived the males - on average, they had a lifespan that's 18.6% longer than males.
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