Thousands of condoms clog Games village drains? (Reuters)

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Thousands of flushed condoms threaten to choke the Commonwealth Games village’s drainage system, media reports said, in the latest problem to hit the venue from hidden snakes to outbreaks of dengue.

Games organizers, who won a race against time to ready the village, are now battling to clear clogged drains after thousands of non-biodegradeable contraceptives were flushed down toilets in the first week of the event.

“If that is happening, it shows that there is use of condoms and I think that is a very positive story. Athletes are being responsible,” Commonwealth Games Federation President Mike Fennell told a news conference Thursday.

“We all know that encouraging safe sex is a very important thing to do.”

Games organizers had provided 8,000 free condoms in the village, and the provision appears to be in high demand. One official told the Mail Today newspaper Thursday that over 4,000 had already been snapped up by eager athletes.

Shoddy construction work, fears over an outbreak of dengue fever and worries about security had meant many teams delayed their move into the village before the Games began. However, blame for the latest problem lies firmly with the athletes.

Following a decision to provide free condoms at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, it has become something of a tradition.

At the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000, athletes quickly used up the 70,000 free condoms provided, forcing organizers to supply another 20,000, while at the 2004 Games in Athens, the provision was doubled to 130,000.

At both the Beijing Games in 2008, and the Vancouver Winter Olympics in February, 100,000 condoms were provided for athletes.

(Reporting by Henry Foy; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Sugita Katyal)

Cabinet minister under fire for Vogue shoot (Reuters)

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TOKYO (Reuters) – A popular Japanese cabinet minister apologized Friday after a photo shoot she did in Japan’s parliament building for the local edition of Vogue drew fire from opposition parties.

Renho, a 42-year-old former TV presenter who is state minister for administrative reform, appears in the November edition of Vogue Nippon posing near a marble staircase in a short white dress, cream jacket, and ankle-high boots, hand on one hip.

The magazine went on sale roughly a week ago but only became an issue Thursday, when a weekly magazine — more usual reading material for Japan’s staid and overwhelmingly male political establishment — took it up.

Opposition lawmakers promptly denounced the shoot, which accompanied an interview with Renho on her political beliefs and juggling of job and motherhood, as “inappropriate.”

Renho, who is half-Taiwanese and goes by only one name, stressed to a news conference that she had gone through proper channels to set up the photo session, which took place in August when parliament was in recess.

“I frankly apologies if my action was inappropriate or caused concern, as that was not my intention,” she said.

Renho’s office registered her photo shoot with parliament as part of her political activities, which is permitted. Photo sessions for commercial use are prohibited.

Renho, one of only two female cabinet ministers, became popular among voters after news shows focused on her grilling of squirming bureaucrats about the effectiveness of projects at government panel meetings to cut waste.

The incident could become an additional headache for Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who is trying to reach policy deals with opposition parties in a divided parliament as Japan struggles to keep a fragile economic recovery on track.

(Reporting by Yoko Nishikawa;editing by Elaine Lies)