Simone Biles to return to Olympics competition after pulling out of other events over mental health concerns
Simone Biles, who has pulled out of several events at the Tokyo Olympics citing the need to protect her mental health, will compete in the balance beam final, USA Gymnastics has said.
“We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow – Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!” USA Gymnastics said in a statement.
The four-time Olympic gold medallist ruled herself out of the vault and uneven bars finals, as well as from the all-round final.
We are so excited to confirm that you will see two U.S. athletes in the balance beam final tomorrow – Suni Lee AND Simone Biles!! Can’t wait to watch you both!
— USA Gymnastics (@USAGym) August 2, 2021
She also removed herself from the team final on 27 July after a shaky performance on vault during the first rotation.
She watched on, cheering, as her three American teammates carried on without her, finishing second behind the Russian Olympic Committee.
Indeed, she has become something of a fixture in the stands supporting Lee, MyKayla Skinner and Jade Carey in their event finals.
Biles, 24, said she was dealing with issues surrounding air awareness, referred to as “the twisties” in gymnastics.
She qualified for all five individual event finals but took herself out of four of them, ending her hopes of finishing the games with a career total of 10 Olympic medals.
The balance beams final is on Tuesday. The gymnast won bronze on beam in Rio de Janeiro five years ago.
Biles has been praised for her bravery in confronting her challenges with mental health.
Max Whitlock, who has retained his Olympic pommel horse title, has praised “incredible” Biles for prioritising her mental health, describing her as the greatest of all time.
He told Sky Sports News: “She’s incredible and I think what she’s done out here shows a lot of strength.
“That’s probably one of the hardest things for her to do. It’s really difficult.”
The four-time gold medal-winner from Rio posted since deleted videos showing her getting lost in the air on two attempts at her uneven bars dismount, a double-twisting, double back, Olympics.com said.
Previously, Biles explained, she had only suffered from twisties on floor and vault. Tokyo is the first time they have affected other events.
She said: “They’re not fun to deal with. It’s honestly petrifying trying to do a skill… not having your mind and body in sync”.
Ukraine war: Hundreds of new sanctions placed on Russia by US and EU after Alexei Navalny’s death
Hundreds of new sanctions have been placed on Russia by the US and the EU on the eve of the second anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine and a week after Alexei Navalny’s death.
Among those targeted by Washington’s more than 500 new sanctions are people involved in Mr Navalny’s imprisonment and three Russian officials the US has said are connected to his death.
The Russian opposition leader, who was a fierce critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, fell unconscious and died suddenly last Friday in an Arctic penal colony.
President Joe Biden, who has condemned the death, met Mr Navalny’s widow and daughter on Thursday.
The US Treasury sanctions target Russia and its war machine – in the largest number of restrictions imposed in one go since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.
The Biden administration imposed new trade restrictions on 93 entities from Russia, China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan, India and South Korea for supporting Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.
Putin ‘will pay an even steeper price’
The president said in a statement on Friday: “The American people and people around the world understand that the stakes of this fight extend far beyond Ukraine.
“If Putin does not pay the price for his death and destruction, he will keep going. And the costs to the United States – along with our Nato allies and partners in Europe and around the world – will rise.”
As well as targeting those associated with Mr Navalny, the US has also hit “Russia’s financial sector, defence industrial base, procurement networks and sanctions evaders across multiple continents”, Mr Biden said.
The penalties “will ensure Putin pays an even steeper price for his aggression abroad and repression at home,” he added.
The EU’s sanctions
The EU measures were against people and organisations it suspects of undermining Ukraine, focusing on “members of the judiciary, local politicians and people responsible for the illegal deportation and military re-education of Ukrainian children”.
It takes the total number of sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU to over 2,000, including some placed on Mr Putin and his associates.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the 106 sanctions against individuals and 88 aimed at “entities”, often companies, banks, government agencies or other organisations, showed the bloc’s “determination to dent Russia’s war machine and help Ukraine win its legitimate fight for self-defence”.
Companies making electronic components, which the EU believes could have military as well as civilian uses, were among 27 entities accused of “directly supporting Russia’s military and industrial complex in its war of aggression against Ukraine”, a statement said.
Those companies – including some based in India, Sri Lanka, China, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Thailand and Turkey – face tougher export restrictions.
The names should be published in a few days’ time.
Since the start of the war, the US has put more than 4,000 officials, oligarchs, firms, banks and others under Russia-related sanctions.
US lander successfully touches down on moon for first time in over 50 years
The Odysseus moon lander has successfully touched down.
The privately-owned Intuitive Machines’ lander is the first US lander to successfully touch down on the moon’s surface in more than 50 years – since the last of NASA’s Apollo programme in 1972.
It is also the first ever private craft to land on the moon.
There were claps in the Houston control room as landing success was confirmed after a few tense minutes.
“I know this was a nail-biter, but we are on the surface, and we are transmitting,” Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus said.
“Welcome to the moon.”
The team had to wait for confirmation that there was a signal before celebrating.
The lander was successfully launched aboard a SpaceX rocket last week.
Following the latest update: Moon landing live
NASA is the mission’s main sponsor, paying $118m (£93.5m) to put its experiments on board as part of a programme which could eventually see astronauts return to the moon later in the decade.
Odysseus is also carrying six other payloads from commercial companies.
It has landed closer to the moon’s south pole than any other craft.
The region has many more craters, cliffs and boulders than the equator, where the Apollo landings were in the 60s and 70s.
Scientists hope to find layers of ice, or perhaps Arctic-style permafrost, from which they can create hydration for astronauts – something which would enable them to stay for prolonged missions.
This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.
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Joe Biden calls Vladimir Putin a ‘crazy SOB’ – and the Kremlin reacts
Joe Biden has sparked a war of words with the Kremlin after he called Vladimir Putin a “crazy SOB” at a fundraiser.
Speaking at an event in San Francisco, the president fired a barb at his Russian counterpart while discussing the effects of climate change.
“This is the last existential threat. It is climate,” Mr Biden told donors in California.
“We have a crazy SOB like that guy Putin and others and we always have to worry about nuclear conflict, but the existential threat to humanity is climate.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in response: “Has Mr Putin ever used one crude word to address you? This has never happened. Therefore, I think that such vocabulary debases America itself.”
He then called it a poor attempt to sound like a “Hollywood cowboy,” and added: “This is a disgrace for the country itself, I mean the United States.”
It’s not the first time Mr Biden has sworn at opponents, with the president caught on microphone calling a Fox News reporter a “stupid son of a bitch” during a White House press conference in January 2022.
The president has also, according to Sky’s US partner NBC News, called Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu an “asshole” on at least three occasions recently.
During the 2020 election, Mr Biden told a man he was “full of shit” in a row about gun control during a campaign stop in Detroit, Michigan, and later called him a “horse’s ass”.
After Mr Biden’s latest expletive in San Francisco, he turned his attention to Donald Trump over the former president comparing himself to Alexei Navalny, the Russian opposition leader who died at an Arctic penal colony last week.
“Some of the things that this fellow’s been saying, like he’s comparing himself to Navalny and saying that – because our country’s become a communist country, he was persecuted, just like Navalny was persecuted. I don’t know where the hell this comes from,” the president said.
“I mean, if I stood here 10, 15 years ago and said any of this, you’d all think I should be committed. It astounds me.”
Last week, the president blamed the “monster” Russian leader and “his thugs” for Mr Navalny’s death – which the Kremlin denies.
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