Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Court rejects appeals by 47 Russian athletes against Winter Olympics bans

Court rejects appeals by 47 Russian athletes against Winter Olympics bans

He also ratcheted up his rhetoric on the North's human rights abuses in a speech to US service members at Yokota Air Base in Japan. Since the country first participated in the Winter Games in 1948 - exactly 70 years ago - Seoul has grown considerably in its prowess, with superstars like Kim Yu-na becoming one of the most dominant figure skaters of all time.

Pence, who will lead the US delegation to the opening ceremonies Friday evening, met Thursday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to press for a more clear-eyed approach toward the nuclear-armed neighbor to the north. Forty-six members of its crew were killed in an attack; a South Korean, U.K. and US investigation showed it was carried out by the North.

O'Connor, who was born in California but competes internationally for Ireland, will lead the Irish team during the Parade of Nations at what is expected to be the coldest Winter Olympic games in history, as temperatures are expected to reach as low as minus 20 degrees.

The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in South Korea this year, bringing into question if President Donald Trump will be attending the games.

Moon, for his part, took the opportunity to highlight the visit of North Korean officials to the global competition, referring to the "Olympic Games of peace".

Vice President Mike Pence met with North Korean defectors on Friday as he uses his appearance at the Winter Olympics to call on the worldwide community to grow tougher on North Korea's nuclear program and human rights abuses.

Court rejects appeals by 47 Russian athletes against Winter Olympics bans
Court rejects appeals by 47 Russian athletes against Winter Olympics bans

The Games, whose opening ceremony will takes place at 8 p.m., on Friday, are kicking off amid increased political attention surrounding the participation of North Korean athletes and the potential of improved ties on the Korean peninsula.

She is also the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit the South since the Korean War.

Mr Kim's sister Kim Yo-jong is the highest profile member of the North Korean delegation to the Games.

Mr Moon, a liberal whose presidential win in May previous year ended a decade of conservative rule in Seoul, has always expressed a willingness to reach out to the North. He directly criticized the parade, but was then asked if the USA had ceded "moral high ground" on the issue, given President Donald Trump's interest in holding such a parade himself. Its delegation includes government officials, athletes, artists and cheerleaders. "North Korea has been very skillful".

Protesters burnt North Korean flags and pictures of Kim Jong-un, as around 800 people gathered for a march towards the stadium where the Olympic torch will be lit in what Seoul wants to become a symbol of peace.

Mr Pence did not shake hands with Mr Kim, he added, but Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did, exchanging a few words with him.

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