Concerns have been raised that the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is not taking seriously Russia’s failure to provide data from a laboratory at the heart of the country’s ban over state-sponsored doping.
As three WADA staff arrived in Russia on Wednesday, Sky News understands the agency’s president, Sir Craig Reedie, was on a golfing holiday in California.
WADA is attempting to extract data from the former Moscow laboratory which was the nerve centre of the country’s doping programme after Russia missed an initial deadline to send the data on 31 December 2018.
Russia was controversially welcomed back into the international fold by WADA in September, against the wishes of many athletes.
The three-year suspension for covering up state-sponsored doping was lifted with the provision that they would provide full data from the old Moscow laboratory by 31 December.
Sir Craig said at the time it was “inconceivable” that Russia would fail to meet that deadline, but 2019 has arrived with no sign of the promised information.
However, with his organisation in the spotlight over how they are dealing with the evolving scandal and his own position being called into question, Sky News understands he has chosen to stay in California on holiday.
Olympic champion cyclist Callum Skinner, who is a member of WADA’s own athlete committee, was heavily critical of the timing of his fellow Scotsman’s holiday.
“I really hope that Craig Reedie has been giving recent events his upmost attention,” he told Sky News.
“This is the most crucial time in WADA’s history. While sometimes we all deserve a holiday it’s been alleged that Craig Reedie is taking his annual golfing holiday in California.
“If that is true it’s deeply inappropriate.
“If I were Craig Reedie and I had staked my entire career on giving a 100% guarantee on an outcome that didn’t occur I’d be doing everything I can to make it right.
“All parties in this saga deserve better. We are talking about athletes’ health, victims who have ended up in witness protection and the preservation of clean sport.
“WADA aren’t on the putting green, Reedie is stuck in the bunker.”
Earlier this week, Sir Craig said: “We are continuing to act on the basis of the 31 December deadline having been missed, with all the consequences that failure could bring.”
The WADA Compliance Review Committee (CRC) will meet on Monday in Montreal to assess the Russian data, provided it can be retrieved from Moscow.
It is unknown when Sir Craig will return from his holiday in the US to his home in Scotland or WADA’s headquarters in Canada.
There is still no date set for a meeting of WADA’s executive committee, which will decide if Russia is to face sanctions for missing the deadline for supplying the data.
A WADA spokeswoman said: “Sir Craig is not based at WADA headquarters in Montreal and normally conducts WADA business from his home in Scotland.
“He is currently in the US where he continues to work remotely, as he does year-round. He remains every bit as connected as always and continues to provide ongoing advice, direction and leadership on the ever-changing and challenging Russia situation.
“Despite the role of WADA president being entirely voluntary, Sir Craig is available 24-hours a day, as he has been since the beginning of his presidency.”
Oil tanker hit by ‘torpedo’ in the Gulf of Oman | World News
A “torpedo” may have been used in an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
One of the vessels – Front Altair – is “suspected of being hit by a torpedo”, Taiwan’s state oil refiner, CPC Corp, said.
It was carrying 75,000 tonnes of a petrochemical feedstock called naphtha when it was attacked at 5am, UK time, the company added.
Wu I-Fang, CPC’s petrochemical division CEO, said all crew had been rescued.
The other tanker – Kokuka Courageous – sustained damage to its starboard hull, the vessel’s management said.
The US navy is providing assistance, saying it was “aware of the reported attack” and had received “two separate distress calls” earlier this morning.
All major Gulf stock markets dropped following the news.
Telegram cyber attack timed to coincide with Hong Kong protests | World News
Messaging platform Telegram has said it was hit by a powerful cyberattack that coincided with protests in Hong Kong.
Hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets of the Chinese-ruled city in recent days to protest against an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to the mainland to stand trial.
Activists in both Hong Kong and mainland China, where Telegram is blocked, frequently use the messaging system to organise protests in the hope of evading government surveillance.
Telegram CEO Pavel Durov tweeted that the attack – which was aimed at disrupting the service rather than an attempt to steal user data – came from mostly Chinese IP addresses.
“Historically, all state actor-sized [attacks] we experienced coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong [coordinated on @telegram]. This case was not an exception.”
Telegram detailed the attack in a thread on Twitter, explaining: “We’re currently experiencing a powerful DDoS attack. Telegram users in the Americas and some users from other countries may experience connection issues.
“A DDoS is a ‘Distributed Denial Of Service attack’: your servers get GADZILLIONS of garbage requests which stop them from processing legitimate requests. Imagine that an army of lemmings just jumped the queue at McDonald’s in front of you – and each is ordering a Whopper.
“The server is busy telling the Whopper lemmings they came to the wrong place but there are so many of them that the server can’t even see you to try and take your order.
“To generate these garbage requests, bad guys use ‘botnets’ made up of computers of unsuspecting users which were infected with malware at some point in the past. This makes a DDoS similar to the zombie apocalypse: one of the Whopper lemmings just might be your grandpa.
“There’s a bright side: All of these lemmings are there just to overload the servers with extra work – they can’t take away your BigMac and coke. Your data is safe.”
The messaging app, which offers end-to-end encryption through its so-called secret chats, has over 200 million users.
Trial date announced for Saudi prince’s sister over beating of a workman | World News
The sister of Saudi Arabia’s crown prince will face trial next month, accused of ordering her bodyguard to beat up a workman.
Princess Hassa bint Salman is expected to be absent from the trial which is to take place in Paris on 9 July, according to a legal source quoted by news agency AFP.
The victim had been hired to refurbish the princess’s apartment in an ultra-expensive part of the French capital in September 2016.
When he took a photograph of a room where the work was to be done, the princess accused him of wanting to sell it to the media.
Then she allegedly ordered her bodyguard to assault him, shouting: “Kill him, the dog, he doesn’t deserve to live”.
The workman said he was punched in the face and his hands were tied before he was forced to kiss her feet.
He was allowed to leave the apartment hours later but his tools were allegedly confiscated and he was off work for eight days.
The bodyguard was charged in 2016 with armed violence, theft, issuing death threats and holding someone against their will.
But Princess Hassa fled France and a warrant was issued for her arrest in December 2017.
She has not been apprehended.
The princess is the sister of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Said to be aged in her 40s, she has been praised by Saudi media for her work in charity and women’s rights.
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