CAS set to announce ruling on 45 Russian athletes ahead of Winter Olympics opening ceremony

Alexander Legkov, a cross-country skiing gold medalist, is just one of the 45 waiting to hear whether they can complete in Pyeongchang
Updated 09 February 2018
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CAS set to announce ruling on 45 Russian athletes ahead of Winter Olympics opening ceremony

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea: Forty-five Russian athletes will have to wait until Friday, the opening day of the Pyeongchang Olympics, to find out if they can compete.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport heard the case of the 45 Russian athletes — including numerous medal contenders — and two coaches on Thursday. It will announce its ruling on Friday, nine hours before the opening ceremony.
Six other Russian athletes’ appeals were thrown out. CAS said it “lacked jurisdiction” to hear the cases.
Those six cases had been filed separately with applications by seven members of Russian support staff. CAS said its arbiters reviewed written submissions and “determined that the CAS ad hoc division lacked jurisdiction to deal with any of the two applications.”
The six athletes include two world champion speedskaters, Denis Yuskov and Pavel Kulizhnikov, plus athletes from biathlon and ski jumping.
All six were originally refused invitations to compete by the IOC. Unlike those in the group of 45, all six have previously served bans of various lengths for failed doping tests. The IOC had said it wouldn’t invite athletes previously banned for doping.
The first competitions of the games, including a US-Russia curling match, had already started when CAS heard the cases at a luxury resort in the mountains near Pyeongchang.
“We are hopeful that the panel will follow our argumentation and respect the rights of the athletes,” said Philippe Baertsch, a lawyer for the group of 45 Russians who are still awaiting their verdict. In attendance with Baertsch for that hearing were Elena Nikitina, the 2014 bronze medalist in women’s skeleton, and Tatiana Ivanova, a luger who won silver in the team event in 2014.
Leaving the hearing, Nikitina said the three arbiters — from Canada, Switzerland and Australia — “were pleasant and we were listened to.”
“We can’t comment on what just happened at the panel. I’ll just say that we came here to defend our good name and we were fully listened to by the CAS panel,” said luge coach Albert Demchenko, who was at the hearing. “All our documents and words were heard.”
The Russians are seeking to overturn the International Olympic Committee’s decision not to invite them to the games. If they win, it would force the IOC to accept athletes it considers to be linked to doping offenses.
The Russian team is formally banned, so they would have to compete as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag. With 168 IOC-approved athletes, it is already one of the biggest teams in Pyeongchang.
The IOC won’t comment on individual cases, but says its invitation process was based on evidence from a newly obtained Moscow laboratory database detailing doping in previous years.
Other athletes whose cases will be heard include Viktor Ahn, a six-time Olympic gold medalist in short-track speedskating, and Alexander Legkov, a cross-country skiing gold medalist.
Sergei Parkhomenko, the general secretary of the Russian Bobsled Federation, said athletes from his team were training in Siberia, ready to fly to South Korea at a moment’s notice if CAS gives them the green light.
“We’re hoping for a fair and logical decision from the court,” he said. “If there’s a positive ruling, they’ll fly in.”
Russian officials and athletes have indicated that not all of those who have filed appeals plan to compete if they win. Some are reportedly no longer in training, while others may not be included on full rosters in sports like hockey.


US SPEEDSKATER IN 'COIN TOSS' STORM

A tweet posted by the account of speedskater Shani Davis has blasted the use of a coin toss to select the US flagbearer for the opening ceremony at the Pyeongchang Games. Davis and luge athlete Erin Hamlin each got four votes in the athlete-led process. Each of the eight US winter sports federations got to nominate one athlete and have another serve as a voter. The US Olympic Committee said it was predetermined that a coin toss would be used in the case of a tie and if the athletes could not find a way to choose a clear winner. The tweet said the selection was made “dishonorably,” and included a reference to Black History Month. Davis is black, Hamlin is white. Davis’ account is verified, but it was unknown if he sent the tweet or if someone with access to his account did.


Saudi Justice Ministry’s e-services speed up powers of attorney

The ministry also announced a new digital mechanism for updating title deeds and obtaining a duplicate title deed, saving 90 percent of the clients’ time. (SPA)
Updated 1 min 25 sec ago
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Saudi Justice Ministry’s e-services speed up powers of attorney

  • “E-notarization will save about 8 million sheets of paper annually, making notarization greener and more cost-effective,” the ministry pointed out

JEDDAH: The Saudi Justice Ministry on Tuesday announced that it has issued more than 163,000 low-risk powers of attorney (PoAs) through its online portal “Najiz” in one month since the launch of its e-services.
The e-notarization system was launched on Nov. 18 to provide several services that dispense with paperwork and spare clients the need to visit notarial offices for low-risk PoAs.
The ministry also conducted 193,229 verification operations through its various electronic channels.
Prior to the launch of the e-notarization service, Justice Minister Waleed Al-Samaani said: “The Saudi Ministry of Justice is continuing its efforts to achieve the objectives of the National Transformation Program 2020 and Vision 2030, which focus on enhancing the user-friendliness and cost-effectiveness of government services.”
“The ministry is keen to overhaul and digitize procedures in the legal, enforcement and notarization sectors, a strategic objective that the ministry has given utmost importance,” he added.
The ministry revealed eight new e-services in the notarization sector, including digital PoAs, which put an end to paperwork and most of the clients’ visits to notarial offices. Digital PoAs are sent to the clients’ Absher-registered mobile numbers.
“E-notarization will save about 8 million sheets of paper annually, making notarization greener and more cost-effective,” the ministry pointed out.
One of the new e-services enables clients to inquire about their PoAs and their validity, terminate unwanted ones, and find out about the agencies that have checked the validity of any of their PoAs.
Another e-service enables government agencies to verify PoAs online through the “Yesser” program, the universal access number 920025888, the ministry’s portal (www.moj.gov.sa), and its official app.
The new system abridges about 70 percent of procedures and directs clients straight to the assigned notary’s office without having to go through the data entry hall.
The ministry also announced a new digital mechanism for updating title deeds and obtaining a duplicate title deed, saving 90 percent of the clients’ time. Under the new procedure, clients need only to visit the notarial office once the updated or duplicate title deed is ready.
Recently, the ministry also set a time limit of 21 days on the acceptance of rights claims made under domestic labor laws.
The time limit relates to labor or domestic labor disputes that are subject to periods of friendly settlement before reaching judicial proceedings.
A 21-day time limit was also set for complaints against the General Organization for Social Insurance regarding membership, registration and compensation issues. If a settlement is not reached in that period, the dispute is brought electronically to the labor courts through the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.
A five-day reconciliation period applies in cases of domestic workers after a dispute is settled. If there is no reconciliation during that time, the committee has 10 extra days to issue its decision and submit it electronically to the labor court.
The ministry recently opened seven labor courts in Riyadh, Makkah, Jeddah, Abha, Dammam, Buraidah and Madinah.