The Russian team enters the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Photo: Mark Humphrey / AP

Russia has been banned from participating in next year's Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea as a result of an extensive, systematic state-backed doping campaign uncovered during 2014's Sochi Winter Olympics, per The New York Times. The report branded the penalties against Russia as "so severe they were without precedent in Olympics history," though Russian athletes with impeccable drug-testing records might be allowed to compete under a neutral flag.

Why it matters: The decision will likely only serve to exacerbate tensions between Russia and the West as Russia routinely uses the Olympic Games to showcase its athletic prowess to the rest of the world. Case in point: Russia led the Sochi medal table — in both total medals and gold medals — before some of its medals were stripped under the investigation.

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13 seconds ago - Economy & Business

Boeing research shows disinfectants kill coronavirus on airplanes

Electrostatic spraying of disinfectant. (Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines)

Boeing and researchers at the University of Arizona say their experiment with a live virus on an unoccupied airplane proves that the cleaning methods currently used by airlines are effective in destroying the virus that causes COVID-19.

Why it matters: Deep cleaning aircraft between flights is one of many tactics the airline industry is using to try to restore public confidence in flying during the pandemic. The researchers say their study proves there is virtually no risk of transmission from touching objects including armrests, tray tables, overhead bins or lavatory handles on a plane.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: Studies show drop in COVID death rate — The next wave is gaining steam — The overwhelming aftershocks of the pandemic.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.

Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a vote on Republicans' $500 billion targeted COVID-19 relief bill, a far less comprehensive package than the $1.8 trillion+ deal currently being negotiated between the Trump administration and House Democrats.

Why it matters: There's little appetite in the Senate for a stimulus bill with a price tag as large as what President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been calling for. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) "skinny" proposal was mostly seen as a political maneuver, as it had little chance of making it out of the Senate.