The Russian hackers behind the massive SolarWinds cyberespionage campaign broke into the email accounts of some of the most prominent federal prosecutors’ offices around the country last year, the Justice Department said.The department said 80% of Microsoft email accounts used by employees in the four U.S. attorney offices in New York were breached. All told, the Justice Department said, in 27 U.S. attorney offices at least one employee’s email account was compromised during the hacking campaign.The Justice Department said in a statement Friday that it believes the accounts were compromised from May 7 to Dec. 27, 2020. Such a timeframe is notable because the SolarWinds campaign, which infiltrated dozens of private-sector companies and think tanks as well as at least nine U.S. government agencies, was first discovered and publicized in mid-December.The Biden administration in April announced sanctions, including the expulsion of Russian diplomats, in response to the SolarWinds hack and Russian interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Russia has denied wrongdoing.Jennifer Rodgers, a lecturer at Columbia Law School, said office emails frequently contained all sorts of sensitive information, including case strategy discussions and names of confidential informants, when she was a federal prosecutor in New York.”I don’t remember ever having someone bring me a document instead of emailing it to me because of security concerns,” she said, noting exceptions for classified materials.The Administrative Office of U.S. Courts confirmed in January that it was also breached, giving the SolarWinds hackers another entry point to steal confidential information like trade secrets, espionage targets, whistleblower reports and arrest warrants.The list of affected offices includes several large and high-profile ones like those in Los Angeles, Miami, Washington and the Eastern District of Virginia.The Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, where large numbers of staff were hit, handle some of the most prominent prosecutions in the country.”New York is the financial center of the world and those districts are particularly well known for investigating and prosecuting white-collar crimes and other cases, including investigating people close to the former president,” said Bruce Green, a professor at Fordham Law School and a former prosecutor in the Southern District.The department said all victims had been notified and it is working to mitigate “operational, security and privacy risks” caused by the hack. The Justice Department said in January that it had no indication that any classified systems were affected.The Justice Department did not provide additional detail about what kind of information was taken and what impact such a hack may have on ongoing cases. Members of Congress have expressed frustration with the Biden administration for not sharing more information about the impact of the SolarWinds campaign.The Associated Press previously reported that SolarWinds hackers had gained access to email accounts belonging to the then-acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and members of the department’s cybersecurity staff, whose jobs included hunting threats from foreign countries. 

The last VHS player was produced five years ago by Funai Electric in Japan. But for many, the era of VHS tapes never ended. Karina Bafradzhian and Angelina Bagdasaryan have the story.Camera: David Gogokhia, Vazgen Varzhabitian.

Fake videos generated by artificial intelligence — also known as deep fakes — are becoming more common and harder to detect. But some deep fakes are being used for a good cause. Karina Bafradzhian has the story. Inc has been hit with a record $886.6 million (746 million euros) European Union fine for processing personal data in violation of the bloc’s GDPR rules, as privacy regulators take a more aggressive position on enforcement.The Luxembourg National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) imposed the fine on Amazon in a July 16 decision, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing on Friday.Amazon will appeal the fine, according to a company spokesperson. The e-commerce giant said in the filing it believed CNPD’s decision was without merit.CNPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, requires companies to seek people’s consent before using their personal data or face steep fines.Globally, regulatory scrutiny of tech giants has been increasing following a string of scandals over privacy and misinformation, as well as complaints from some businesses that they abuse their market power.Alphabet’s Google, Facebook Inc, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp have drawn heightened scrutiny in Europe.In December, France’s data privacy watchdog handed out its biggest ever fine of 100 million euros ($118.82 million) to Google for breaching the nation’s rules on online advertising trackers.

There is growing international criticism of Israel following allegations that software from the private security company NSO was used to spy on journalists, dissidents, and even political leaders around the world. A group of American lawmakers is urging the U.S. government to take punitive action against the company, which denies any wrongdoing. In Israel, some experts are calling for better regulation of cyber exports. Linda Gradstein reports for VOA from Jerusalem.

Big tech companies are making it mandatory for employees in the United States to get COVID-19 vaccinations before entering campuses, as the highly infectious delta variant of the coronavirus drives a resurgence in cases.Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. said on Wednesday all U.S. employees must get vaccinated to step into offices. Google is also planning to expand its vaccination drive to other countries in the coming months.According to a Deadline report, streaming giant Netflix Inc. has also implemented a policy mandating vaccinations for the cast and crew on all its U.S. productions.Apple Inc. plans to restore its mask requirement policy at most of its U.S. retail stores, both for customers and staff, even if they are vaccinated, Bloomberg News reported.Apple and Netflix did not immediately respond to requests for comments.Many tech companies, including Microsoft Corp. and Uber, have said they expect employees to return to their offices, months after pandemic-induced lockdowns forced them to shift to working from home.In April, Salesforce said it would allow vaccinated employees to return to some of its offices.Google also said on Wednesday it would extend its global work-from-home policy through Oct. 18 due to a recent rise in cases caused by the delta variant across different regions.”We’ll continue watching the data carefully and let you know at least 30 days in advance before transitioning into our full return-to-office plans,” the company said.   

Current and future attempts by the United States to use its military might abroad could very well meet the same fate as the country’s nearly two-decade-long war in Afghanistan, a U.S. government watchdog warned, citing the repeated failure of top officials to learn from their mistakes.

U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John Sopko unleashed the blunt assessment Thursday during a discussion with reporters, accusing wave after wave of top-ranking defense officials and diplomats of lying to themselves, as well as the American public.

“We exaggerated, overexaggerated,” Sopko said in response to a question from VOA. “Our generals did. Our ambassadors did. All of our officials did, to go to Congress and the American people about ‘We’re just turning the corner.’

“We turned the corner so much, we did 360 degrees,” he said. “We’re like a top.”

Sopko said that while there were “multiple reasons” the U.S. failed to create a more effective and cohesive Afghan military, some of it was “this hubris that we can somehow take a country from that was desolate in 2001 and turn it into little Norway.”

But another key factor, he said, was “mendacity.”

Top ranking U.S. military leaders “knew how bad the Afghan military was,” Sopko said, adding that they tried to keep such problems hidden.

‘We changed the goal posts’

“Every time we had a problem with the Afghan military, we changed the goal posts,” he said. “The U.S. military changed the goal posts and made it easier to show success. And then, finally, when they couldn’t even do that, they classified the assessment tool.”

Sopko cautioned that part of the problem with setting up Afghanistan for success also hinged on Washington’s refusal over almost 20 years to plan for long-term success.

“We’ve highlighted time and again we had unrealistic timelines for all of our work,” he said, pointing to a series of reports by his office during the past 12 years.

“Four-star generals, four-star military, four-star ambassadors forced the USAID [U.S. Agency for International Development] to try to show success in short timelines, which they themselves knew were never going to work,” Sopko said. “These short timelines, which have no basis in reality except the political reality of the appropriations cycle or whatever, whatever is popular at the moment, are dooming us to failure.

“That unfortunately is a problem not just with Afghanistan,” he added. “I think you find it in other countries where we’ve gone in.”

Sopko’s critique Thursday came just after the release of his office’s most recent report, which described the situation on the ground in Afghanistan as “bleak” and warned that the Afghan government could be facing an “existential crisis.”

Pentagon and State Department officials did not immediately respond to Sopko’s criticism, but they repeatedly have defended U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Last week, America’s most senior military officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley, said Afghan forces were well trained and well equipped, even though the Taliban had “strategic momentum.”

Milley also has defended the U.S. model known as “train, advise and assist,” calling it “the best approach” to counterterrorism.


China’s new ambassador to Washington, Qin Gang, on Wednesday wished the United States victory against COVID-19 and said great potential awaited bilateral relations, striking an optimistic tone as he arrived at his new post amid deeply strained ties.

Qin’s arrival comes days after high-level talks in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and senior Chinese diplomats ended with both sides signaling that the other must make concessions for ties to improve.

Qin, 55, a vice foreign minister whose recent past portfolios have included European affairs and protocol, is replacing China’s longest serving ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, 68, who last month announced his departure after eight years in Washington.

“I firmly believe that the door of China-U.S. relations, which is already open, cannot and should not be closed,” Qin told reporters at his residence in the U.S. capital after arriving from the airport.

“The China-U.S. relationship has come to a new critical juncture, facing not only many difficulties and challenges, but also great opportunities and potential,” Qin said.

He said relations kept moving forward “despite twists and turns,” and added that the U.S. economy was improving under President Joe Biden’s leadership.

“I wish the country an early victory against the pandemic,” he added.

Qin, who did two stints as a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson between 2006 and 2014, has earned a reputation for often pointed public defenses of his country’s positions.

Relations between Beijing and Washington deteriorated sharply under former President Donald Trump, and Biden has maintained pressure on China, stepping up sanctions on Chinese officials and vowing that the country won’t replace the United States as the world’s global leader on his watch.

China’s Foreign Ministry has recently signaled there could be preconditions for the United States on which any kind of cooperation would be contingent, a stance some analysts say leaves dim prospects for improved ties.

The post of the U.S. ambassador to China has been vacant since October, when Republican Terry Branstad stepped down to help with Trump’s reelection campaign.

With many U.S. ambassador posts to allied countries still unfilled, Biden has yet to nominate a replacement for China, though former ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns is considered a favorite candidate in foreign policy circles.  

As the U.S economic recovery continues, many Americans want to buy new cars and trucks. But finding them is hard amid a global semiconductor shortage. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more on how COVID-19 continues to affect supply and demand in the automotive industry.

Producers: Kane Farabaugh, Adam Greenbaum. Videographer: Kane Farabaugh.

Face mask requirements are returning to the United States in some communities and workplaces, along with directives for mandatory coronavirus vaccinations, in a new push to curb the easily transmissible delta variant of the infection that has already killed more than 611,000 Americans.

On the Independence Day holiday earlier this month, U.S. President Joe Biden heralded the strides the country had made in combating the coronavirus. But now he said he was seriously considering requiring that the more than 2.1 million federal workers be vaccinated, and that he would adhere to face mask rules when he visited parts of the country where the virus was surging.

The U.S. is now recording more than 60,000 new coronavirus cases each day, the government said, up from fewer than 12,000 a day in late June.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the leader of the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, has reimposed a mask requirement in the chamber.

The western state of Nevada, where the popular Las Vegas gambling mecca is located, is reimposing mask rules for indoor gatherings, as is the Midwestern city of Kansas City, Missouri. A major newspaper, The Washington Post, said it would require that all its journalists be vaccinated before returning to the office in mid-September.

The requirements follow new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said Tuesday that new data suggested even vaccinated people could pass on the virus if they became infected. The CDC said masks should be worn inside public places in communities that have seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus.

“I know this is not a message America wants to hear,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told CNN on Wednesday. “With prior variants, when people had these rare breakthrough infections, we didn’t see the capacity of them to spread the virus to others, but with the delta variant, we now see that you can actually now pass it to somebody else.”

She stressed that vaccines against the coronavirus were preventing greater levels of hospitalization and death. But millions of Americans remain skeptical of the vaccines and are refusing to get inoculated, or are saying  they are unlikely to do so.

Walensky said unvaccinated people were accounting for “a vast majority” of new infections. Two-thirds of the vaccine-eligible population of people 12 years and older in the U.S. have received at least one dose. Still, the government said slightly less than half of the U.S. population of more than 328 million people had been fully vaccinated.

“We can halt the chain of transmission,” Walensky said Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” “We can do something if we unify together, if we get people vaccinated who are not yet vaccinated. If we mask in the interim, we can halt this in just a matter of a couple of weeks.”

With the new federal guidance, numerous state and municipal governments across the U.S. are reconsidering or rescinding their earlier easing of mask rules.

The CDC also called on school systems across the country to require masks for students, teachers and visitors as they start the new school year in August and September. But some states in the South have passed laws banning masks in schools, leaving it unclear as to how they may react to the new CDC guidance.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press.

Celal Baslangic was at his Cologne home on July 16 when two German police officers knocked on his door and warned the veteran Turkish journalist that his name was on an apparent “hit list” of those allegedly to be targeted for violence. 

The police provided Baslangic with contact details for an officer overseeing an investigation into a list of about 50 outspoken critics of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, some of whom live in Germany.  

Rumors of such a list already were circulating among the exile community. But as police investigate the veracity of the list, attention has turned to whether Ankara has the ability to reach dissidents who have left the country to avoid persecution.  

Journalists named on the list and experts say nationalist groups with links to violent crimes operate in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, and that exiles who fled persecution in Turkey no longer feel safe. 

Baslangic, a veteran journalist with 47 years’ experience, left Turkey in early 2017 as authorities arrested dozens of reporters and others accused of supporting or promoting a failed attempted coup the year before.  

The former Cumhuriyet and T24 journalist was charged with terrorist propaganda for taking part in a solidarity campaign with the pro-Kurdish newspaper Ozgur Gundem. 

Baslangic told VOA he believes the apparent hit list is an attempt to intimidate journalists and media outlets like Arti TV, the Turkish news network he founded when he moved to Cologne.  

“I do not think that this is only because of Erdogan. It is possible to view it as an effort of the coalition partners that will prevent Erdogan from getting closer to both the European Union and NATO,” Baslangic said. 

Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has a parliamentary alliance with the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).  

The Turkish Embassy in Berlin did not return VOA’s emailed requests for comment.  

Cologne police confirmed they have been aware of this apparent hit list since mid-July but declined to provide further information about the number of individuals and the identities of those on the list. 

“Those affected are journalists, writers, and artists close to the Turkish opposition,” a spokesperson told VOA.  

But Baslangic said he wants more transparency about the list. 

“We want to know the source of this list so that we can take it seriously, or [know if] it’s just to intimidate us, so that we can tell the difference,” Baslangic said. “No one can distinguish it better than us, because we know the Turkish state, and we know what this state can do.”

Physical attacks

For some journalists, like Erk Acarer, the warning he was on the list came as little surprise. 

On July 7, three assailants attacked the columnist for daily BirGun, in the courtyard of his Berlin apartment complex. The assailants — who spoke Turkish — warned Acarer to stop writing.  

Acarer needed hospital treatment for a head injury, and German police are investigating, the journalist told VOA. He added that police have provided protection for him and his family.  

On July 20, however, Berlin police found a threatening note wrapped around a hard-boiled egg in the courtyard to his home. 

Acarer says he thinks the Turkish government has a long reach in Europe and beyond.  

“Polarization and conflict in Turkey are being carried to Europe and other parts of the world by the AKP and MHP government. … So, I think the assailants are the gangs who have been consolidated by [the Turkish government] and live in Germany,” Acarer told VOA.  

Acarer didn’t specify a group, though networks that include the Grey Wolves and Osmanen Germania reportedly are operating outside of Turkey. 

In a 2020 report, Berlin estimated that in Germany, 11,000 people are affiliated with the ultra-nationalist movement of which the Grey Wolves are a part. The far-right Turkish group has been accused of politically motivated violence in Turkey and abroad.  

Separately, German media in 2017 alleged that Metin Kulunk, a high-ranking member of the AKP, had links the Turkish nationalist group Osmanen Germania.  

The group was outlawed in Germany in 2018 because of its links to violent crimes and extreme right-wing views.  

VOA was not able to find contact information for Kulunk. The media chair of the AKP did not respond to VOA’s email. 

Kulunk responded to the 2017 media reports at the time via social media, saying Germany supports the PKK and FETO group, and that its “deep state’s media operations are futilely trying to target me and Turkish civil society organizations.” 

Ankara says the FETO group was behind the failed attempted coup. The PKK is designated as a terror group by Turkey, U.S. and EU. 

No safety in exile

Hayko Bagdat, an exiled Turkish Armenian journalist, says Germany’s foreign policy priorities with Turkey, including the EU refugee deal and Turkey’s potential role in Afghanistan, prevent Berlin from addressing human rights issues with Ankara. 

Police also informed Bagdat his name is on the apparent list. 

“We are no longer a subject on their agenda at the negotiation table with the Erdogan regime. Democracy in Turkey, prisoners, imprisoned politicians, people in exile or their safety is not even an argument that is used against Erdogan anymore,” Bagdat told VOA.  

Because of that, Bagdat said, “Dissidents all over the world do not feel secure.”  

The journalist moved to Berlin from Istanbul in 2016 and Turkey later issued a warrant for his arrest on charges including terrorist propaganda and insult.   

An official source in Germany’s Foreign Ministry told VOA via email that Germany has “repeatedly campaigned for journalists and the respect for their rights in Turkey.” 

“For all people living in Germany, it must be guaranteed that they are not imperiled by any violence, regardless of underlying motivations,” the source said, adding that any “deficits in the respect for freedom of speech and the media are addressed consistently.” 

Laurens Hueting, an advocacy officer for the Leipzig-based European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), finds the attack on Acarer and list of alleged targets disturbing.  

“Going to live in exile is not enough for Turkish journalists to escape the persecution they face inside their own country, which is quite a frightening development in and of its own,” Hueting told VOA, describing Germany as a “safer haven.” 

“What we’ve been advocating for and saying is that there should not be this half-hearted approach and that human rights should be always at the center and the forefront of this relationship consistently, and not be made subordinate to other geopolitical considerations,” Hueting said. 

For all the debates on politics and attention to the apparent hit list, for those directly affected, it is one more threat they must contend with just because of their profession.  

When asked if he was taking steps to protect his safety, Baslangic responded, “What can we do? Are we supposed to get guns? We’re journalists and we’re doing our jobs.” 

This report originated in VOA’s Turkish service.  

Warning: This TV package includes a soundbite from Tuesday’s congressional hearing that contains profane and racist language.

U.S. lawmakers heard emotional testimony from four members of law enforcement Tuesday as a special panel met for the first time to investigate the events of the January 6 attempt by Trump supporters to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. VOA’s Congressional Correspondent Katherine Gypson reports the panel will probe former President Donald Trump’s role in the riot.

Produced by: Katherine Gypson

Tunisia’s Islamist al Nahda Party is calling President Kais Saied’s suspension of parliament a “coup” and urging a broad “dialogue,” while other political parties and leaders appear divided on his decision.

A number of trade syndicates, including the Labor Federation, say they support the move so long as it does not last more than a month.

Tunisian state TV reported that the situation inside the country was calm Tuesday following Saied’s decision Sunday to suspend parliament. It said Tunisians were largely obeying a curfew that forbids more than three people from gathering in the streets during the night.

Most government institutions, with the exception of security forces, interior ministry and customs, were also suspended for several days. The president met with political and trade union leaders to discuss his next move, amid calls by some for a well-defined “road-map.”

 The Tunisian president told a roundtable Monday night that he had been patient for a long time, but that some provocateurs were trying to destroy government institutions from within. Saied asked for calm and urged citizens to avoid provocations. Democracy is important, he said, but the poor have no rights.

Islamist parliament speaker Rached al Ghannouchi told supporters to suspend their protest in front of parliament to avoid bloodshed. His al Nahda Party called the president’s suspension of parliament a “coup,” but urged all political parties to hold a dialogue.

Peter Johnson, a former U.S. diplomat who now works in Tunisia, tells VOA that he doesn’t see a clear-cut answer as to whether the president’s move was legal or not.

“I would definitely say it’s a grey area. It’s not really clear black or white because this is something that article 80 [of the constitution] gives him the power [to do] as commander-in-chief of the military — the power of national security, of protecting the borders, of diplomacy,” Johnson said. “However, at the same time, that same section of the constitution talks of his power to remove certain government officials, but not to completely suspend parliament.”

Johnson points out that the constitution also gives parliament the right to remove the president with a two-thirds vote, so the president short-circuited a major check and balance. But, he argues, the Tunisian public seems broadly supportive of Saied’s move, so far.

“The Tunisian people seem broadly supportive [of the president’s move] so far,” Johnson said. “I hear from many, many friends and from seeing the celebrations in the streets that people were very frustrated by the stalemate and the inaction of this current government [or past government].”

Fathi al Ayadi, a spokesman for the Islamist al Nahda Party, told Qatar’s al Jazeera TV (Arabic) that “the best way to avoid the threats to the country that [President Saied] says he is trying to prevent is a return to normal constitutional procedures and a return to democracy and the political process.”

Outspoken Tunisian member of parliament Abir Moussi applauded the president for sidelining the al Nahda Party, while Oussam Khleifi, of the Heart of Tunisia Party, thanked him for “his wise leadership and for acting swiftly.” The head of the Tunisian workers’ party, however, claimed the president was “misleading the people.”


Malawians have again begun to line up to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.  Malawi ran out of doses in June amid a rise in COVID-19 infections and just weeks after the government burned 20,000 unused doses that expired because of vaccine hesitancy.

Malawi’s government resumed its vaccination program Monday after the arrival of 192,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Since then, vaccination centers have seen long lines of people, unlike the past, when some centers would only vaccinate two people per day.

Liznet Chilungo was among thousands who lined up for vaccinations Tuesday at the Youth Centre in Blantyre.

She said she “decided to get vaccinated this time because the COVID-19 infection is now becoming very scary and many [more] people are dying than before.” 

She said she originally was hesitant because she doubted the efficacy and safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine due to myths and misinformation.

George Jobe, executive director for the Malawi Healthy Equity Network, said the huge turnout confirms the fear and panic people have about rising COVID-19 cases and other factors.

“The first factor could be that those who received the first jab and second jab are still in good health including the state president and the vice president contrary to myths and misinformation that were there. That should have affected the mindset of people over the COVID-19 vaccine,” Jobe said.

Also, preliminary results of a survey by the Ministry of Health show that over 80% of COVID-19 patients who are admitted to public hospitals had not been vaccinated.

However, Malawi is far from inoculating the 11 million people needed to reach herd immunity.  

Records from the Public Health Institute of Malawi show that just 43,165 people have received two doses of a vaccine.  Another 385,000 have received just the first shot. 

Charles Mwansambo, secretary for the Ministry of Health, said people most vulnerable to the coronavirus should get vaccinated first. 

“Because we will be getting enough vaccine for everybody, so I would recommend that let’s give a chance to health workers, let’s give a chance to those over age of 60. Let’s also give a chance to those with conditions like high blood pressure, sugar (diabetes). And the rest of us we can wait,” Mwansambo said.

The Ministry of Health announced last week that in addition to 192,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which arrived Saturday, Malawi expects to receive 119,000 more doses of the same vaccine before the end of the month.

The country is also expected to receive donations of 300,000 Pfizer vaccine doses and 300,000 Johnson & Johnson doses in early August.  

A storm off Japan’s east coast remained a threat to the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday, despite not battering the host city with devastating winds and rain as initially feared. 

Wind and rain sweeping Tokyo Bay delayed the start of the women’s triathlon early in the morning, before Flora Duffy snagged Bermuda’s first-ever Olympic gold medal. 

The bronze-medal softball game was set to go ahead in the afternoon in Yokohama, just south of Tokyo, under steady drizzle and the strongest gusts of the tournament. The gold-medal game between Japan and the United States was scheduled for 8 p.m. (1100 GMT), with clouds and intermittent rain forecast through the day. 

For surfers, however, the weather proved a boon, prompting organizers to move the surfing medal events a day earlier than scheduled to take advantage of the waves. 

Japan’s hot, wet and unstable summer weather patterns have been a persistent concern for the Games, compounding difficulties for an Olympics being held under a COVID-19 state of emergency. 

Tokyo was forecast to receive up 34 mm (1.3 inches) of rain over 24 hours from Tropical Storm Nepartak, now forecast to make landfall in the north early Wednesday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It was headed toward Sendai, 370 km (230 miles) up the coast from Tokyo, according to the Tropical Storm Risk monitoring site. 

Although Tokyo was spared a predicted overnight deluge, Nepartak remained a tropical storm, able to pack winds up to 118 kph (73 mph), as it meandered off Japan’s east coast, rather than weakening to a tropical depression while plowing northwest, as earlier forecast. 

The storm had earlier disrupted the schedules of rowing and archery. The men’s triathlon went ahead on Monday. 

Rather than avoid the bad weather, organizers moved the surfing semi-finals and finals forward a day to make the most of big, bold waves that are expected to abate as the weather changes on Wednesday. 

Overall, athletes could welcome a slight respite from the extreme heat that had earlier caused an Olympic archer to collapse. Tuesday’s forecast high temperature was 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), below recent highs of 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) 

The Japanese army said it was monitoring the situation, ready to deploy its FAST-force disaster troops if needed. South of Tokyo, the authorities were warning residents to prepare for more heavy rain after 21 people died in mudslides from torrential rains early this month.