TOKYO – The final preparatory events for the Tokyo Summer Olympics have changed as local coronavirus cases have risen again. The Japanese public remains against the opening of the Olympics as planned in less than four months.
Anti-Olympic activist Misako Ichimura might be expected to be excited. But like the organizer of the Olympics, he felt pressured to make it happen.
“Activists in Paris who are against the upcoming summer Olympics have asked why we haven’t been able to stop the Olympics given the situation here,” he said.
This is an unusual scenario for the anti-Olympic movement. Olympics held outside authoritarian countries have almost always met with protests over issues such as cost, corruption, and their impact on local communities and the environment. The match is still in progress.
This time there is a chance that won’t happen. On Friday, Tokyo told restaurants to close early to try to stem the rise in infections. The Olympic torch relay was held this week in an empty park instead of a public street in Japan’s third-largest city, Osaka, as infections in and around the city reached the highest levels seen at any point during the pandemic.
WASHINGTON – Within hours of Tuesday, the US State Department raised the likelihood of a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing – and then denied any current or previous discussions about the boycott.
The quickly scrapped idea that the US might not send athletes to the Olympics is just the latest sign of the confusion the Biden administration has faced over hosting major events in China.
The White House is under pressure from the Republican Congress to demand that the Olympics be moved – an unlikely suggestion for a two-week competition to take place in February – or at least not to send delegations of high-ranking officials and other figures. , in the form of a diplomatic boycott.
The US hasn’t sent top-level officials to China in more than a year, and recent senior meetings have taken place in Hawaii, under President Trump, and in Alaska, under President Biden. Sending a delegation to the Beijing Olympics opened the door to many attacks ahead of the midterm elections of Republican candidates demanding a tougher stance on China.
At the same time, the Biden administration is trying to overcome its own barriers in China, which it styles as an overall competitive approach with a cooperative aspect and includes calling on China about human rights abuses and increasing regional assertiveness while engaging on several global issues.
Japan is holding the kickoff ceremony for the Summer Olympics by starting Olympic torch relay across the country. It was a symbolic message that the Olympics would go ahead despite public doubts and curbs on the impending pandemic blocking overseas audiences of attending.
The torches will be carried across Japan’s 47 prefectures or states by some 10,000 runners, skiers, swimmers and others, before being taken to the Olympic stadium in Tokyo on July 23 for the opening ceremony. The Olympics delayed by one year because coronavirus pandemic.
“Of course, the relay alone will not solve all the challenges we face, but I hope this successful event will make everyone believe in the steps we have taken to ensure we can host the Olympics despite the pandemic,” said the Chief Executive Officer. Tokyo 2020 Toshiro Muto.
The relay starts near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where three reactors melted in 2011. Event organizers want the relay and the Olympics to be seen as a sign of recovery from massive earthquake, tsunami and nuclear destruction in northern Japan. Thousands of people remain unable to return to their homes near the power plant.
The relay is the main test on whether the Olympics can be held without exacerbating the pandemic in Japan, where new coronavirus cases are slowly starting to rise again following the third wave of infections. Relay organizers have asked the public to follow the show on television and live streaming, and said they would suspend if too many people gathered to watch it.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – More than 100 people packed the five-house auction here this month. The first under the hammer – a 60 year old house, last valued by the government at 840,000 New Zealand dollars in 2018 – sold for nearly NZ $ 1.6 million after 11 minutes of fierce bidding.
Starting this month, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will have to consider house prices when making decisions on monetary policy, alongside other factors such as inflation and unemployment.
It’s a job the central bank doesn’t want. As recently as December, officials warned that a change in its authority to enter property prices would have little impact because it would not affect housing supply. In some situations, such changes could lead to lower jobs and below-target inflation, the bank said.
However, the New Zealand government put those concerns aside and expanded the powers of the central bank’s monetary policy committee on February 25, worried that the economy would become vulnerable if house prices were left alone and feared its own popularity would suffer as home ownership became unaffordable. some. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised to crack down on speculators and increase housing affordability when he was first elected in 2017.
FEB. 27 SIGNED releases a trio of sneakers that look like doodles on Air Force Ones – a collaboration between design studios Rtfkt and a little, an 18 year old digital artist living in Seattle. Listed for $ 3,000, $ 5,000 and $ 10,000, respectively, three chaotic designs, each slightly different, were sold over a seven-minute period. In total, 621 pairs were purchased, the equivalent of $ 3.1 million. In today’s frenetic sneakers market, this fast-paced exchange of money isn’t all that surprising. (A pair of Air Jordans sells at auction for $ 10 $ 615,000 in August.) What really matters, however, is that Rtfkt shoes cannot be worn. They can’t even be touched or held. At least not yet.
These rainbow colored virtual sneakers are released digitally as NFTs or nonfungible tokens. Latest internet based collect hobbies, NFT are digital art or collections that are authenticated or “printed” using blockchain technology and then purchased using a cryptocurrency such as Ethereum. The digital ledger, which is accessible to anyone, keeps track of who owns a particular NFT, and ensures that the NFT cannot be duplicated or tampered with. Having an NFT doesn’t mean you own the copyright to a particular asset, but it does give you a right to brag. And NFT sales can come as a surprise: Last week, internet artist Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, sold a digital collage via Christie broke a record $ 69.3 million for the Singapore cryto fund Metapurse.
With all the money flowing around the NFT market, it will seem like a natural playground to a luxury industry player like Gucci, Saint Laurent or Prada, who have long been selling expensive and eye-catching items. But so far, the roughly a year old company known as Rtfkt (deliberate misspelling of the word “artefact”) is a leading player marketing NFT sneakers and now clothing. Its success could offer companies a roadmap mode if they choose to enter the NFT.
“Sneakers are a basic vehicle to get started,” because it’s an existing asset class Benoit Pagotto, one of the three founders of Rtfkt. (In the corporate structure of the internet age, Mr Pagotto is based in Paris, but his partner Chris le and Steven Vasilev located in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, respectively.) Mr. Pagotto, who previously worked in the esports industry, noted that, by 2021, even teenagers know you can buy a cool new sneaker like the Adidas Yeezy Boost day and sell it. to get some serious profit the next day.
The foldable nature of shoes applies even in the digital world. Just a few weeks after its launch, some Fewocious “shoes” were swapped for about double their launch price. And unlike traditional auction markets, every time an NFT is resold, Rtfkt receives a discount. This is a common practice in the market and makes NFTs all the more attractive because on paper, creators can make money forever.
Companies aren’t just digital. Rtfkt has hired two respected former employees of shoemaker Clarks to create real-world samples of its digital shoe designs and will release a real, factory-produced version to all NFT holders. “We think emotional attachment to physical objects is still important and can increase attachment” to design, Mr said. Pagotto. The tangible Fewocious sneakers will ship from April, but Mr. Pagotto says that to company customers these original shoes represent an unattractive side show for a digital release. In the weeks since the virtual shoe was released, she has watched NFT holders happily post about the designs on social media, all without ever touching a physical copy.
Rtfkt’s main audience consists of two groups that often overlap: digital fans accustomed to social media; and cryptocurrency fanatics who have made fortunes online. Arthur Meucci, 30, a photographer and early NFT collector, purchased a version of the Fewocious Rtfkt shoe. She hopes to accept a physical partner, if only so she can make a YouTube video of her opening that rare shoe box. After that even though she planned to take off her shoes. “I don’t see myself walking around in an expensive pair of shoes,” he said. For him, shoes and NFTs are more speculative assets than wearables.
The thirst for digital flex may hold the key to where “wearable” NFTs are headed. Clothing has long played a role in the digital experience. Popular contemporary games like “Fortnite” and “Animal CrossingAllows players to do everything in their character’s gear. Fashion brands have even entered the virtual fashion ecosystem: Earlier this year Gucci introduced its North Face collaboration in the game “Pokèmon Go”. However, the outfit was limited to that particular game. As Rustin Sotoodeh, 25, the CEO of tech accessories company Higround and a true NFT believer explains, this is the same as buying a pair of Nikes but only being able to wear them in a store.
He believes that in the future he will be able to “own” a clothing item digitally – beyond the parameters of a single game – giving one the ability to wander back and forth in any virtual space. Her “pipe dream,” she says, is to have a real world version and an NFT version of her favorite Stone Island jacket. He can walk into the corner shop inside, or he can digitally play “Hello” in it.
There are indications that the company is pursuing a one-to-one relationship between household closets and one’s digital wardrobes. In 2019, Nike patented “CryptoKicks, ” a system where customers receive a virtual version of a shoe when they buy it for storage in a “digital locker”. The technology has not yet been launched and Nike representatives did not respond to requests for comment regarding the patent. Even NFT supporters believe that the open landscape of Mr. Sotoodeh is still far away. Gaming “is a very competitive industry,” said Mr. Pagotto of Rtfkt, and it takes a high level of cooperation for video game publishers to use the same NFT-enabled technology.
For now, NFTs are mostly static objects – comparable to a painting hanging inside someone’s home. Even within that framework, some NFT lovers see the potential of the fashion world. Jeff Carvalho, one of the founders Lofty, a clothing and culture website, theorizes that a fashion label like, say, Tom Ford, could create memorable runway moments and offer them for sale. This is comparable to NBA Top Shots , a very lucrative market where fans spend five or even six figures to own NFT highlight clips like the LeBron James dunk. Mr. Carvalho also envisions fashion houses selling NFTs of their most iconic designs. If you’re already a hoarder Margiela’s signature is split Tabi boots or the cute heart logo t-shirt from Comme des Garçons Play, which has a very rare NFT version of this design can be a cherry on top.
Mr. Pagotto offers a reality check: Unlike basketball, fashion is “not a fan business.” Not millions of people stream runway shows and the number of Tabi boot collectors is far less than LeBron fans. These facts limit the audience – and the huge profit potential – of a fancy NFT. When contacted about possible future applications of blockchain technology, several fashion brands including Gucci,
The next straightforward step for a fashion-focused NFT is probably something Mr Sotoodeh created for purely fun. A few weeks ago he printed a cell phone “passport photo, ”- a head-to-toe photo of what she’s wearing – which she claims is the first suitable photo for the NFT. This isn’t a very good photo – her head was cut off and her arms disappeared from the frame. But it’s the sort of part of ephemera that can thrive in this crazy NFT world. After all, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey is auctioning the NFT of his first Tweet worth up to $ 2.5 million on Valuables, an NFT marketplace. So far, no one has bought a photo by Mr NFT. Sotoodeh, but with only a few thousand Instagram followers, Mr. Sotoodeh is not a blockbuster fashion influencer. If someone with a few million followers makes a photo that fits – it sounds ridiculous – crypto sales might start to take off.