Dec 5, 2017

Russia banned from next year's Winter Olympics

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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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

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SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.