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World News: New York marathon canceled

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

New York cancels Sunday marathon in wake of deadly storm
Reuters

PHUKET: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg abruptly reversed course and canceled Sunday’s marathon, a beloved annual race that had become a lightning rod for people frustrated by the disastrous aftermath of megastorm Sandy.

The decision taken yesterday came after a growing number of storm victims, some runners, and other politicians criticized Bloomberg’s decision earlier in the week to go forward with the marathon, one of the world’s most popular sporting events. They said the race, expected to draw more than 40,000 runners, could have diverted police and other resources from recovery efforts.

Bloomberg, hours after he repeated plans for the race to take place, issued a statement saying the event had become a “source of controversy and division” and would be scrubbed. The race will not be run again until next year, organizers said.

The decision removes what could have a been a dark spot on the mayor’s legacy. Public opinion in the past few days had turned against the mayor, with growing numbers saying it was inappropriate to run the race when so many New Yorkers were suffering.

People angered by the marathon plans had set up online petitions calling for runners to boycott the 26.2-mile race, or to run backward from the starting line in protest.

The uproar grew after the New York Road Runners Club, the race organizer, set up generators in Central Park for communications and other operations. It said it had paid for those privately, not with public funds, but some complained that the equipment should have been donated to those without power, electricity or heat.

Some runners, hearing of the cancellation, expressed frustration.

“I have mixed emotions,” said Christopher Miller, 34, of New Rochelle, New York, who would have been running his fourth New York City marathon. “Our hearts go out to people for their suffering, and also to the thousands who came from out of town and will leave without accomplishing what they set out to do months ago.”

BAD RECEPTION FOR RUNNERS?
Another runner said the mayor should have stuck to the original decision, saying the race gives local businesses a boost and was set to raise large amounts for relief efforts.

“This was going to turn into a big recovery and healing event,” said Usama Malik, 37, who works for a hedge fund. “I thought it was great that he (Bloomberg) made the decision to go on with it, to raise funds, to promote healing, and get people’s minds off of everything else that’s going on.”

Sandy, which brought a record storm surge to coastal areas, killed at least 102 people after slamming into the U.S. Northeast on Monday. Forty-one died in New York City, about half of them in Staten Island, which was overrun by a wall of water.

The marathon starts in Staten Island and weaves through all five of the city’s boroughs. Hundreds of thousands of people line the streets to watch the race.

Run every year since 1970, the marathon attracts professional and amateur runners, and is so popular that organizers run a lottery system to determine who can compete. The field features elite runners from around the globe, and is one of the six World Marathon Majors.

Among those who had been set to compete was Wilson Kipsang, the winner of this year’s London Marathon, who had traveled 45 hours from his home in Kenya.

In announcing that the race had been called off, Bloomberg insisted it would not have diverted resources from the recovery effort. Hours earlier he had previously drawn parallels with the decision a decade ago not to cancel or postpone the marathon after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

However, he said, “we cannot allow a controversy over an athletic event – even one as meaningful as this – to distract attention away from all the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track.”

Mary Wittenberg, the head of the New York Road Runners Club, said that as the controversy grew, she also was concerned about the reception runners may have received along the route.

At a news conference, Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson said it had become clear that “something that every year brings joy and unity to this city had become divisive and painful, and this is a city that’s had enough pain in the last week and I don’t think we need to add more.”

— Phuket Gazette Editors

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

World

Glass bridge in China shatters, tourist hangs on 100 metres above the ground

Tanutam Thawan

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A tourist walking on a glass bridge in China, looking down at the ground 100 metres below, quickly had to cling onto the bridge’s rails after high winds caused some of the panels of the glass-bottom bridge to shatter.

Reports say the wind blew at up to 145 kilometres per hour, damaging the glass bridge and leaving the tourists stuck in the middle. Firefighters and other emergency responders helped guide the tourist to safety.

The bridge was built at a resort at Piyan Mountain in Longjing. The scenic walkway has been popular among tourists. A photo of the tourists trapped on the damaged bridge was shared on the Chinese social media platform Weibo and other social media sites. One Twitter user reacted to the photo saying “This is basically one of my anxiety dreams played out in the real world.”

Glass bridge in China shatters, tourist hangs on 100 metres above the ground | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Daily Mail

 

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World

Third supsect arrested in bomb attack of Maldives ex-president

Neill Fronde

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Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed survived an assasination attempt May 6. (Via Flickr - Presidency Maldives)

After a bomb attack in the Maldives attempting to assassinate former president Mohamed Nasheed, police have arrested a third suspect. The Manhunt has continued in the Maldivian capital city of Malé as the police appealed to the public for any information they may have about another suspect. Religious extremists have been blamed for the attempt on the former president’s life.

Police did not release any details about the person that they arrested other than to confirm that they believed him to be connected to the bombing attack on Thursday. The bomb had been attached to a motorcycle that was parked near the Maldives ex-president’s car, and the owner of that motorcycle along with the second man was already arrested yesterday.

Mohamed Nasheed was not killed by the bomb detonation as he walked to his car, but he was seriously injured and has been hospitalized since the blast. The explosion injured 3 other people including one British national. The ex-president is now the Maldives parliament speaker and his family has tweeted updates about his condition since the bomb blast. He was moved from requiring life-support to intensive care yesterday after removing shrapnel from the blast in a 16-hour surgery. Doctors say one stray piece just barely missed his heart.

Nasheed had been the first democratically elected president of the Maldives in 2008 after decades of one-party rule. But a military coup in 2012 overthrew the government and ended his presidency. He was widely applauded for his progressive push for democracy and climate activism. The Maldives is a collection of 1,192 coral islands with no mountains, making it the lowest nation on Earth at just 1 metre above sea level on average. Nasheed’s pleas for action become a powerfully effective voice against climate change that could submerge the entire country he led.

Officials from the ex-president’s Maldivian Democratic Party have accused religious extremists of the attack believing that it could be politically motivated. But as of now, no group has claimed responsibility. The Maldives is mostly Muslim and has had problems in the past with an Islamic State recruiter injuring 12 Chinese tourists with a homemade bomb in 2007 and sending local recruits to Syria in 2019.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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World

UPDATE: Chinese rocket debris plunges into Indian Ocean

Thaiger

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PHOTO China's Long March 5B Rocket's debris will be crashing down to earth this weekend. (via CBS)

UPDATE:

10.30am (Thai Time) Trackers have confirmed that the debris has splashed down somewhere west of The Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

9.30am (Thai Time)

The Chinese Long March 5B carrier rocket should land in this area… 72.47°E longitude and 2.65°N latitude, just west of the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. That’s according to China’s National Space Agency.

“Most of the rocket was “destroyed” on re-entry to the atmosphere.”

ORIGINAL STORY:

The Long March 5B rocket left the Earth on April 29th, launching from Hainan island in China.

The launch was the first part of an 11 part mission to construct China’s own space station in Earth orbit. The Long March 5B rocket was carrying an unmanned Tianhe module as its payload, the first part of many to be constructed together in space. When attached as part of a permanent Chinese space station, it will serve as living quarters for future astronauts.

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson reassured that China is monitoring the rocket’s journey very closely and that most parts of the spacecraft would burn up on re-entry. Any debris looks likely to land in international oceans, and the chances of damage being done on dry land is considered to be extremely low.

The US military announced earlier in the week that the rocket would be tracked by US Space Command, calling it an uncontrolled re-entry. Statistically speaking, the debris is most likely to fall into an ocean somewhere as the Earth is 70% covered by water.

As the rocket tears at hypersonic speed into the Earth’s atmosphere, most debris would be quickly incinerated by the heat generated from the re-entry. But another Chinese Long March 5B rocket fell to Earth last year in May 2020 and some parts did hit land, doing damage to some buildings in the Ivory Coast.

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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