News Headlines - 18 March 2021

Tokyo Olympic Official Resigns Over Proposal to Dress Woman as a Pig - WSJ

The creative director of the opening and closing ceremonies for the Tokyo Olympics offered to resign after confirming that he had floated the idea of putting a female celebrity in a pig costume during the opening ceremony.
The resignation offer casts a new shadow over the Games just four months before they are due to begin following the recent decision by the head of the event’s organizing committee to step down after making sexist remarks.
Hiroshi Sasaki, who was named head of ceremonies in December for the Olympics, said in a statement that in March 2020 he made what he described as a joking suggestion to colleagues in an online chat forum. He said he proposed dressing up Naomi Watanabe in a pink costume and calling her an “Olympig” during the opening ceremony.
Mr. Sasaki, who directed the flag handover ceremony at the 2016 Rio Olympics in which then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe appeared in a Super Mario costume, said he realized the idea was inappropriate when his colleagues immediately criticized it.

Japan nuclear plant ordered to halt for lack of evacuation plans - The Mainichi

A Japanese court ordered Thursday the suspension of the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant, located northeast of Tokyo, citing a lack of evacuation plans despite persisting safety concerns over nuclear power generation 10 years after the Fukushima Daiichi accident.

High court allows utility to operate Ikata reactor | NHK WORLD

A Japanese court has ruled that a nuclear reactor in western Japan can be restarted, reversing an injunction order issued last year.
The Hiroshima High Court on Thursday handed down its decision on the No.3 reactor at the Ikata nuclear power plant in Ehime Prefecture, rejecting concerns about natural disasters.

Paris to enter four-week lockdown as France faces third Covid wave | The Guardian

The prime minister, Jean Castex, said on Thursday that France was in the grip of a third wave, with the virulent variant first detected in Britain now accounting for about 75% of cases. Intensive care wards are under severe strain, notably in Paris where the incidence rate surpasses 400 infections in every 100,000 inhabitants. “The epidemic is getting worse. Our responsibility now is to not let it escape our control,” Castex told a news conference.
France reported 35,000 new cases on Thursday and there were more Covid patients in intensive care in Paris than at the peak of the second wave.

Nineteen die in Madagascar after eating turtle | CGTN Africa

Nineteen people, nine of them children, have died from food poisoning in Madagascar after eating a turtle, sources said Thursday.
Thirty-four people were hospitalized on Monday in Vatomandry, in the east of the island, after eating the protected species, the Health and Food Safety Control Agency said.
Ten of them died, it said.
Another nine people, all of them children, died at home after eating meat from the same turtle, region’s governor said.