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A demonstrator is frisked by a military police officer after a protest against the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro's government, at the Ministries Esplanade, in Brasilia, Brazil, June 21, 2020. VOA

The world’s democracies are suffering under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new Freedom House report.

The report, titled Democracy Under Lockdown, says “the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened a crisis for democracy around the world, providing cover for governments to disrupt elections, silence critics and the press, and undermine the accountability needed to protect human rights, as well as public health.”

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A possible bright spot, the report says, is

“the persistence of public protests, under every type of regime.”

Freedom House President Michael J. Abramowitz said, “Governments in every part of the world have abused their powers in the name of public health, seizing the opportunity to undermine democracy and human rights.”

U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for coronavirus recently. Unsplash

Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: जिसके लिए ट्रोल हुए थे ट्रम्प, उस गलती को फिर से दोहराया

The report contains a section about the U.S. presidential election, noting that many experts have expressed concern about whether election authorities around the country are fully prepared for the polls, given the surge in voting by mail and the controversy over last-minute changes in election rules.

It came out before U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19 late Thursday.

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The report identifies four problems that have emerged to threaten democracies during the pandemic: government transparency and information on the coronavirus; corruption, lack of protection for vulnerable populations, and government abuses of power. Abuses also have extended into elections, with authorities delaying or disrupting national elections in at least nine countries.

“The erosion of political rights and civil liberties began long before the pandemic,” said Amy Slipowitz, research manager at Freedom House, who co-authored the report, “but people in every region of the world are clearly committed to reclaiming their freedom.” (VOA)


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Tokyo Olympics 2020 Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar enter semi finals.

Indian wrestler Ravi Kumar (57kg) and Deepak Punia (86kg) enjoyed fruitful outings at the Tokyo Olympic Games as they secured semifinal berths in their respective weight categories at the Makuhari Messe on Wednesday.

On the opening day of the wrestling competition, Ravi Kumar defeated Bulgaria's Georgi Vangelov 14-4 on technical superiority to reach the last-four in the men's 57kg category, while compatriot Deepak Punia overcame China's Zushen Lin 6-3 on points to advance to the semifinals.

Ravi Kumar will take on Nurislam Sanayev of Kazakhstan in the last-four, while Punia will be up against David Morris Taylor of the USA.

Earlier, Ravi Kumar had won his opening-round bout by technical superiority against Colombia's Oscar Tigreros to secure a quarterfinal spot. Competing in the Round-of-16 bout against the Colombian wrestler, the 23-year-old Ravi Kumar, who is making his Olympic debut, showed no nerves as he dominated the bout to win by technical superiority (13-2).

Ravi Kumar landed attack after attack and went 13-2 up, winning the bout by technical superiority with minutes to spare. In wrestling, building up a 10-point lead over the opponent results in a victory by technical superiority.

India's 86kg freestyle wrestler Deepak Punia showed no signs of the niggle that had forced him to pull out of the Poland Open Ranking Series in Warsaw in June, as he defeated Nigeria's Ekerekeme Agiomor on technical superiority to secure a quarterfinal berth.

He got his Olympic campaign to a fine start as he was in control from the start of the bout and hardly ever allowed his Nigerian opponent any room to maneuver his moves, finally winning with a 12-1 on technical superiority.

Punia, who had also suffered an elbow injury just before the Games, was slow at the start but came into his own as the bout progressed, inflicting takedowns at regular intervals to earn points.

The Indian wrestler eased into a 4-1 lead at the break and extended his lead comfortably in the second period.

Punia, the silver medallist from the 2019 world wrestling championships, then set up a clash with China's Lin Zushen in the quarterfinals and defeated him 6-3.