The show director of the Olympics opening ceremony has been dismissed, one day before the event is due to be held. Footage of Kentaro Kobayashi from the 1990s recently emerged in which he appears to be making jokes about the Holocaust. Japan’s Olympic chief Seiko Hashimoto said the video ridiculed “painful facts of history”. The dismissal is the latest in a string of scandals to hit the Games.
China cannot accept the World Health Organization’s plan for the second phase of a study into the origins of Covid-19, a senior Chinese health official said Thursday. Zeng Yixin, the vice minister of the National Health Commission, said he was “rather taken aback” by the call for a further probe into the pandemic’s origins and, specifically, the theory that the virus might have leaked from a Chinese lab.
A group of US state attorneys general unveiled on Wednesday a landmark $26bn settlement with large drug companies for allegedly fueling the deadly nationwide opioid epidemic, but some states were cool on the agreement. Under the settlement proposal, the three largest US drug distributors, McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and AmerisourceBergen Corp, are expected to pay a combined $21bn, while drugmaker Johnson & Johnson (J&J), which manufactures opioids, would pay $5bn.
People who neither identify as male nor female in Argentina will be able to use “X” the gender field in their national ID document and passports starting Wednesday. Argentina is the first country in South America to officially recognize nonbinary citizens. The county’s center-left government said it was joining countries such as New Zealand, Canada and Australia with its decision.
Hong Kong police arrested five people on Thursday on sedition charges, saying that children’s books they had published featuring wolves and sheep as characters were aimed at inciting hatred towards the city’s government amongst youngsters. The arrests were the latest involving suspected critics of Hong Kong’s government that have raised fears about the shrinking space for dissent since Beijing imposed a national security law in June 2020.