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Florida offers to host 2021 Olympics if Tokyo backs out

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Amid speculation that Tokyo might back out of its 2021 Olympics hosting gig because of the coronavirus pandemic, the state of Florida has put itself forward as a back-up host.

Jimmy Patronis, the state’s chief financial officer, on Monday pitched Florida as a host for the 2021 Olympic Games in a letter to the International Olympic Committee.

“Today, I am writing to encourage you to consider relocating the 2021 Olympics from Tokyo, Japan to the United States of America, and more specifically to Florida,” Patronis wrote.

“With media reports of leaders in Japan ‘privately’ concluding that they are too concerned about the pandemic for the 2021 Olympics to take place, there is still time to deploy a site selection team to Florida to meet with statewide and local officials on holding the Olympics in the Sunshine State,” Patronis continued. “I would welcome the opportunity to pitch Florida and help you make the right contacts to get this done.”

Patronis also made a point of mentioning the Sunshine State’s growing population and praising its distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

“Unlike other states, when the COVID-19 vaccine comes to Florida it doesn’t just sit on the shelf wrapped in government red tape; it moves fast to protect our communities,” Patronis wrote, also touting Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s (R) battle to keep the state’s economy open while combatting the spread of the coronavirus.

Florida, the country’s third-biggest state, right now is ranked number four for coronavirus deaths so far during the pandemic with over 25,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. While California had far stricter restrictions than Florida, the former has the second-most deaths so far. New York has the most deaths of any U.S. state, while Texas has the third-most.

Patronis took a moment to promote that Florida “successfully allowed sports to take place during the pandemic,” such as NFL, NBA, and college football games and UFC events. He also bragged about Disney World being open, saying that it is “an incredible model for how to run a complex organization in the midst of COVID-19.”

Due to Florida being a massive tourist destination, Patronis argued that the Sunshine State is well-suited to handle a massive influx of people, listing off the state’s statistics for transportation infrastructure, lodging, already existing sports facilities, and world-renown health facilities in each of the state’s regions.

On January 13, a state of emergency was issued in Japan after the nation surpassed 300,000 COVID-19 cases, according to The Hill.

The upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, which are set to start in July, were originally supposed to happen last July but were pushed back.

Last Friday, parties responsible for putting together the Tokyo Games emphasized they would be continuing with the scheduled dates of July 23 to August 8, according to The Japan Times.

“I am determined to realize a safe and secure Tokyo Games as proof that mankind will have overcome the virus,” said Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Taliban Holds Parade for 250 Newly Trained Soldiers with American-Made Weapons Left Behind

As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.

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On Sunday, Taliban forces held a very bone-chilling parade showing off their captured American-made armored military vehicles and Russian helicopters. The act was “a display that showed their ongoing transformation from an insurgent force to a regular standing army” writes CNN.

The Taliban are no longer terror insurgents fighting against American forces that had once freed Afghanistan from the Taliban. As the result of an ill-prepared withdrawal that went horribly wrong, the Taliban now holds a large stock of weapons and equipment left behind.

The parade was part of a graduation for 250 newly trained Taliban soldiers, said defense ministry spokesman Enayatullah Khwarazmi. CNN reports, “The exercise involved dozens of US-made M117 armored security vehicles driving slowly up and down a major Kabul road with MI-17 helicopters patrolling overhead. Many soldiers carried American-made M4 assault rifles.”

Tragically, much of the weaponry taunted in the parade by Taliban forces were supplied by the United States to the American-backed government in Kabul during the past two decades. The equipment was to aid an Afghan national force and make it capable of fighting the Taliban.

As forces fled Afghanistan, some of the military equipment provided by western forces was flown into Central Asian Countries in an attempt to avoid it landing in the hands of the Taliban. It remains unclear exactly how much of what did end up in Taliban control is still operational.

American troops destroyed over 70 aircraft and dozens of armored vehicles, as well as disabled air defenses before flying out of Kabul during the frenetic evacuation. CNN reports “Taliban officials have said that pilots, mechanics and other specialists from the former Afghan National Army would be integrated into a new force, which has also started wearing conventional military uniforms in place of the traditional Afghan clothing normally worn by their fighters.”

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