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Beijing 2022 Olympic medals design unveiled with 100 days to go******
BEIJING, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Beijing 2022 unveiled the design of the medals for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games on Tuesday, exactly 100 days before the Games begins.
Named "Tongxin", meaning "Together as one", the medals feature five concentric rings embodying the traditional Chinese philosophy of harmony between heaven, earth and human beings. The rings also symbolize the Olympic rings, carved in the inner circle, and the Olympic spirit uniting the world through sport.
The surrounding grooved rings are engraved with the Games' official title, "XXIV Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022," along with cloud and snowflake patterns, with the outer ring free of decoration.
The reverse side has the Beijing 2022 emblem at its heart, with the official name of the Games carved in Chinese below. The surrounding rings mimic star trails, with 24 dots representing the 24th edition of the Olympic Winter Games. The general picture, which resembles a celestial map, carries the wish that athletes achieve excellence and shine like stars at the Games.
The 2022 Paralympic medals share similar concentric-ring designs as the Olympic medals, but with the Paralympic logo in the center and "Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games" engraved below. The words gold, silver or bronze are also inscribed in braille for the respective medals.
The emblem of the Paralympic Winter Games and 13 dots, referring to the 13th edition of the Paralympics, feature on the reverse side.
The medal design was inspired from a piece of Chinese jadeware called "Bi", a double jade disc with a circular hole in the center. Just as jade is thought of as an auspicious and invaluable ornament in traditional Chinese culture, the medal is a testimony of honor and unceasing efforts by the athletes.
The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games will take place from February 4 to 20, followed by the Paralympic Games. Enditem
Blanket travel bans will not prevent int'l spread of Omicron variant: WHO****** A woman waits in the arrivals hall at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, on Dec. 21, 2020. (Photo by Tim Ireland/Xinhua)。
The World Health Organization warned on Tuesday that blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, even as dozens of countries have already introduced such restrictions.。
Although labeling Omicron as a "variant of concern," the WHO said blanket travel bans will only place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods, while also "disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data."。
The Omicron variant was first reported to the WHO by South Africa last week. So far, several countries and regions have confirmed cases of infection with Omicron.。
"It is expected that the Omicron variant will be detected in an increasing number of countries as national authorities step up their surveillance and sequencing activities," WHO said in an updated travel advice.。
As of November 28, 56 countries were reportedly implementing travel measures aimed at potentially delaying the importation of the new variant, according to the WHO.。
At a member states session on the Omicron variant on Tuesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked Botswana and South Africa for detecting and reporting this variant so rapidly. It is deeply worrying that these countries were being penalized by others for doing the right thing, he said.。
He called the "blunt, blanket measures" introduced by some member states "not evidence-based or effective on their own." He urged countries to take "rational, proportional risk-reduction measures, in keeping with the International Health Regulations."。
Meanwhile, the WHO advised that persons "who are unwell, or who have not been fully vaccinated or do not have proof of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and are at increased risk of developing severe disease and dying, including people 60 years of age or older or those with comorbidities that present increased risk of severe COVID-19 (e.g. heart disease, cancer and diabetes) should be advised to postpone travel to areas with community transmission."。
"Studies are ongoing to understand more about these mutations (of the Omicron variant) and their impact on transmissibility, virulence, diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines," it said.。
Putin signs decrees recognizing 2 'independent republics' in east Ukraine's Donbass******
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his address to the nation at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 21, 2022.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed two decrees recognizing "the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR)" and "the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR)" as independent and sovereign states.
At a ceremony held in the Kremlin, Putin also inked the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between Russia and the LPR and the DPR respectively with the heads of the two "republics," a Kremlin statement said.
"I consider it necessary to make a long-overdue decision – to immediately recognize the independence and sovereignty of the DPR and the LPR," Putin said in a televised address to the nation.
"Russia has done everything to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine" by fighting for the implementation of 2015 Minsk agreements, but all the efforts ended up in vain, he told the public.
According to Putin, nearly everyday there is Ukrainian shelling of settlements in Donbass and "there is no end in sight."
The crisis of European security occurred due to the eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which has led to the loss of mutual trust with Russia, Putin stressed.
Russian President Vladimir Putin signs documents, including a decree recognizing two Russian-backed breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent, during a ceremony at the Kremlin in Moscow on February 21, 2022.
He called it just "a matter of time" for NATO to accept Ukraine as a member state and then build facilities on its territory so that the level of military threats to Russia will rise dramatically.
As Moscow asked the United States and NATO for security guarantees, the Western countries precisely ignored Russia's fundamental concerns and nothing has changed in their position, Putin noted.
In such a condition, Russia "has every right to take retaliatory measures to ensure its own security," the president said.
Putin said he is aware that the West is trying to "blackmail" Russia again with sanctions, but he believes that sanctions will continue just because Russia exists, regardless of the situation in Ukraine.
After recognizing the independence of the LPR and the DPR, Putin instructed the Russian armed forces to ensure peace in the two "countries."
Earlier in the day, the Russian Security Council held an extraordinary meeting, when the country's top officials supported the recognition of the two "republics."
On Monday evening, Putin had phone conversations with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who "expressed their disappointment" with Putin's plan to recognize the LPR and the DPR, but meanwhile they showed readiness to continue contacts, according to a Kremlin statement.
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