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Belarus athlete Krystsina Tsimanouskaya (C) at Narita International Airport in Narita, Chiba Prefecture, outside Tokyo, before boarding her Vienna-bound flight on Aug. 4. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya left Japan on Wednesday, aboard a plane bound for Vienna after refusing national team orders to fly home amid concerns for her safety.

Driving the news: The 24-year-old Olympian had sought refuge at the Polish embassy in Tokyo, where she was granted a humanitarian visa. But she changed flights at the last minute and boarded an Austrian Airlines flight for Vienna, an airport official told reporters.

  • She had spent two nights in Poland's embassy before departing for Austria's capital.

The big picture: Tsimanouskaya refused national team orders to board a flight home after Belarus officials took her to Tokyo's Haneda airport Sunday following her criticism of Belarusian coaches.

  • She told AP earlier Tuesday that officials from her country made it clear that she "would definitely face some form of punishment" if she returned home.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Nov 10, 2021 - World

The hybrid future of conflict

Polish security personnel guard a barbed wire fence at the Poland-Belarus border on Nov. 10. Photo: Leonid Shcheglov/BELTA/AFP/Belarus OUT

Two events over the past week — an attempted drone assassination and a partially engineered migrant crisis — show the changing nature of conflicts.

Why it matters: Outright wars between states remain extremely rare, but new technologies and strategies are enabling countries and groups to wage conflict by other, hybrid means.

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker