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By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - The largest group of exiled ethnic Uighurs have asked the chair of the IOC's ethics commission to personally review its call for the 2022 Winter Games not to be held in Beijing amid evidence of what it calls crimes against humanity.

Activists and U.N. experts say 1 million Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims are held in Chinese camps in Xinjiang.

China denies abuses and says its camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism in the remote western region.

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) said its public complaint on the issue last August had not been given a fair hearing by the International Olympics Committee.

In a statement seen by Reuters on its Feb. 26 letter to ethics chief Ban Ki-moon, the WUC repeated that the IOC had "acted in breach of the Olympic Charter by failing to reconsider holding the 2022 Olympics in Beijing following verifiable evidence of genocide and crimes and humanity taking place".

There was no immediate comment from the IOC.

The IOC said in a statement to Reuters last August that it "must remain neutral on all global political issues". The IOC said it had received assurances from Chinese government authorities "that the principles of the Olympic Charter will be respected in the context of the Games".

The World Uyghur Congress, which uses a different spelling for the word Uighur, said its latest letter followed what it called a failure by the IOC's ethics office to comply with the procedure for such cases.

This was because it had received a reply in September only from the Games executive director and not the ethics commission.

The Uighur group "calls on Mr Ban Ki Moon to either examine the Complaint himself or to appoint a new Ethics and Compliance Officer to do so properly," the WUC statement said. Ban is a former U.N. secretary-general.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said he agrees with his predecessor Mike Pompeo's determination that genocide against Muslims is underway in Xinjiang.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

Tags: United Nations, The Olympics

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Girl, 15, stabbed in ‘Weed Day’ brawl as hundreds of pots smokers hit Hyde Park for ‘420’ event

A GIRL of 15 was stabbed yesterday in a "Weed Day" brawl as hundreds of pot smokers hit Hyde Park for a "420 event".

The violent scuffle saw a group of young women grappling with each other, as one appears to hold a knife.

15A brawl in Hyde Park was captured a group grappled, with one appearing to have a knifeCredit: Reuters 15They punched and kicked each other as people looked onCredit: Reuters 15Cops broke up the fight before finding a girl was injured with a stab woundCredit: Reuters

A crowd surrounded the gang as the group landed kicks and punches, before cops broke up the brawl and found the teenager with a stab wound in the leg.

Officer performed first aid on the injured youngster before she was taken to hospital for treatment on non life-threatening wounds.

In a statement the Metropolitan Police said: "A number of people are likely to have seen what happened.

"They are asked to call 101 or tweet @MetCC providing the reference CAD6227/20APR."

Hundreds of people had packed into the central London park to demand marijuana is decriminalised.

It is not clear if this group was part of the demos, as Brits flocked to the busy park.

Police officers were seen patrolling the park which was full of joyous locals enjoying “Weed Day” – which falls on April 20 every year.

But youngsters were left to gather in large groups to smoke together with some wearing marijuana-themed sunglasses and hats.

15It is not clear if it was linked to the demonstration in Hyde Park yesterdayCredit: Reuters 15A group gathered around the brawling teenage girlsCredit: Reuters 15Two young women were enjoying the sunshine as they gathered for 420 day in LondonCredit: LNP 15A man appears to smoke a huge joint as he celebrates '420 day' in Hyde Park yesterday afternoonCredit: Reuters

Every year, April 20 is dubbed “420 day” as in the US calendar the date is written as 4/20 - and the digits have become synonymous with cannabis culture.

In the US, 33 states have legalised the drug with a doctor's recommendation.

It is a day half of celebration and half a call to action - calling for the decriminalisation of the drug.

Urban legend suggested that 420 was formerly the penal code that Californian police used to categorise marijuana cases.

However, this theory has been discredited as the digits are linked to trespassing offences.

Many believe that 420 culture first stemmed from the San Rafael High School in California.

15Piers Corbyn spoke through a megaphone at the event in Hyde ParkCredit: Reuters 15A woman was pictured wearing marijuana-themed sunglasses yesterday afternoonCredit: Rick Findler 15Huge groups gathered together in Hyde Park to celebrate 420 dayCredit: Elliott Franks 15A young man smokes in Hyde Park yesterdayCredit: Reuters 15Scotland Yard officers were on patrol on Tuesday afternoonCredit: LNP 15Two women appeared to be enjoying a spliff as hundreds gathered in Hyde ParkCredit: Rick Findler

In 1971, five students allegedly hatched a plan to meet at 4.20pm, where they embarked on a mission to find a plot of cannabis plants that were growing nearby.

Even though their mission was unsuccessful, rumour has it that 420 continued to be used as a secret code for marijuana.

Today, it remains a term used to describe the consumption of weed, especially at around 4.20pm in the afternoon.

Festivities are widespread in North America, where observances have been held in locations including Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, and Parliament Hill in Ontario.

420 DAY

Cannabis lovers in other countries have also adopted the tradition.

The Home Office states that: “It remains illegal for UK residents to possess cannabis in any form.”

Growing, possessing or distributing the Class B drug is against the law, but some councils in the UK don’t pursue those who use cannabis for “personal use”.

The maximum punishment for cannabis possession is five years in prison and an unlimited fine.

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If you are caught with cannabis you could be issued a warning or an on-the-spot fine of £90.

However, medical forms of marijuana are available over the counter or by prescription in the UK - but sales are heavily monitored and regulated.

Doctors were given the go-ahead to prescribe cannabis products to patients from November 1, 2018.

15Hundreds of people flocked to the busy park on TuesdayCredit: Elliott Franks 15A man was wearing a weed-themed hat and glassesCredit: Reuters

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