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Lance Armstrong Gives Up Fight Against Doping Charges, Could Be Stripped Of 7 Tour De France Titles



The cycling world was awash with speculation on Friday that American cyclist Lance Armstrong could be stripped of his seven consecutive Tour de France titles, after announcing he was giving up the fight against doping charges from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Le Figaro reports that only the Swiss-based International Cycling Union (UCI) can strip Mr. Armstrong of the titles, which he won from 1999 to 2005. By early Friday afternoon, the ICU had not yet commented on the latest development in the case.

If Armstrong were to lose his titles, international cycling authorities will face an unprecedented challenge to attribute the victorious Tour de France yellow jersey to other cyclists, some of whom are also caught up in doping scandals.

Slate.fr reports that for some years, in order to obtain a truly "clean" winner, authorities would have to go beyond the 20th-place finisher.

So what now? Give the titles to Beloki (banned), Ullrich (banned) and Basso (banned)? A whole decade of a sport I love tainted. #armstrong

— Dave Harrison (@dave_harrison) August 24, 2012

In a statement released on Thursday before the midnight deadline for him to challenge the USADA accusations, Armstrong announced that "There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, "Enough is enough." For me, that time is now."

"I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair," he added.

The Associated Press reports that USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said the UCI was "bound to recognize our decision and impose it" and that the cyclist would lose all of his titles and face a lifetime ban, despite being retired.

Armstrong lashed out at the USADA in his statement, writing that it had "broken the law, turned its back on its own rules, and stiff-armed those who have tried to persuade it to honor its obligations."

The cyclist came up clean in hundreds of drug tests over the course of his career, but he was dogged by allegations of doping as early as 1999. The USADA took Armstrong's decision not to pursue arbitration as an admission of guilt, according to the Associated Press.

Armstrong's had built a reputation as a champion athlete who popularized cycling in the United States, defeated testicular cancer and went on to found an organization devoted to cancer research that sold millions of yellow plastic "Livestrong" bracelets.

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The Problem With Always Blaming Climate Change For Natural Disasters

Climate change is real, but a closer look at the science shows there are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters. It is important to raise awareness about the long-term impact of global warming, but there's a risk in overstating its role in the latest floods or fires.

People on foot, on bikes, motorcycles, scooters and cars navigate through a flooded street during the day time.

Karachi - People wade through flood water after heavy rain in a southern Pakistani city

Xinhua / ZUMA
Axel Bojanowski


BERLIN — In September, thousands of people lost their lives when dams collapsed during flooding in Libya. Engineers had warned that the dams were structurally unsound.

Two years ago, dozens died in floods in western Germany, a region that had experienced a number of similar floods in earlier centuries, where thousands of houses had been built on the natural floodplain.

Last year saw more than 1,000 people lose their lives during monsoon floods in Pakistan. Studies showed that the impact of flooding in the region was exacerbated by the proximity of human settlements, the outdated river management system, high poverty rates and political instability in Pakistan.

There are many factors that contribute to weather-related disasters, but one dominates the headlines: climate change. That is because of so-called attribution studies, which are published very quickly after these disasters to highlight how human-caused climate change contributes to extreme weather events. After the flooding in Libya, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung described climate change as a “serial offender," while the Tageszeitung wrote that “the climate crisis has exacerbated the extreme rainfall."

The World Weather Attribution initiative (WWA) has once again achieved its aim of using “real-time analysis” to draw attention to the issue: on its website, the institute says its goal is to “analyse and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme weather events." Frederike Otto, who works on attribution studies for the WWA, says these reports help to underscore the urgent need for climate action. They transform climate change from an “abstract threat into a concrete one."

In the immediate aftermath of a weather-related disaster, teams of researchers rush to put together attribution studies – “so that they are ready within the same news cycle," as the New York Times reported. However, these attribution studies do not meet normal scientific standards, as they are published without going through the peer-review process that would be undertaken before publication in a specialist scientific journal. And that creates problems.

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