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Friday, July 27, 2012

The 2012 Olympic Games Opening

The Slumdog Millionaire director’s opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics started with such verve and promise. There were fireworks! There were sheep! There were geese! There was electricity in the stadium, not just the kind generated by 80,000 people in a state of excited anticipation but also a clever arrangement of LED panels at every seat that sent pulses of color across the stands.  See official website Olympics London 2012

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 Rustic folk strolled beneath fluffy cumuli and disported themselves in a vision of the green and pleasant Britain celebrated in verse by William Blake at the beginning of the 19th century, as the industrial revolution gathered steam. By 1916, when Sir Hubert Parry set the poem to music, creating the greatest of all anthems, “Jerusalem,” ever more Britons lived in cities and worked in factories; world war would soon further threaten Blake’s idyll. Boyle’s history appeared to cast industrialists as the greater danger, though the program notes made clear that the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, played by Kenneth Branagh, should be regarded as a hero. Great chimneys sprouted from the stadium floor and the once carefree yokels were transformed into drudges. It was powerful and surprisingly scary for an event that at previous Games has dazzled but never daunted. “This is ****ing terrifying!! i want my mummy,” tweeted the British critic and journalist Giles Coren.
And it got better, at least if what you wanted from London 2012 wasn’t a poor man’s Beijing or an updated Sydney, all spectacle and not much substance. In the segment entitled “Happy and Glorious,” Boyle served up great dollops of the quirky humor that sustains his compatriots. A filmed sequence showed James Bond, in his current, Daniel Craig-shaped iteration, on a mission to Buckingham Palace. He is greeted by a pair of corgis and then by the Queen, “in her first acting role,” according to the Olympics organizers though she’s arguably been performing as the Queen since 1952. 

They board a helicopter and fly to the Olympic Park, and in a coup de théâtre, a real helicopter materialized above the stadium, and 007 and Q (or their stunt doubles) parachuted to the ground. And Her Majesty, in the same fetching apricot-colored gown she wore for the filmed sequence, took her seat in the box.

The VIP tiers were already well stocked with royals and more than 80 heads of state and would-be heads of state. Three former British Prime Ministers, John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, bookended the current Prime Minister David Cameron, and the opposition leader Ed Miliband. Michelle Obama represented the United States; Mitt Romney represented the ambition to do so in the future.

Whether the next sequence impacted his views on the benefits of universal, taxpayer-funded healthcare remains to be seen. The arena filled with dancing nurses and doctors pushing beds occupied by young patients, to symbolize Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). Initially jolly, this scene too turned dark, as nightmare figures from children’s literature multiplied until a phalanx of Mary Poppinses chased them away. After the show, still in costume, four of the “nurses” told TIME that they were real-life medics, who had gladly joined Boyle’s show in the hopes of chasing away nightmares of their own. 

“The NHS is a huge part of British history,” said Nadia Gildeh, a junior doctor. “It’s a significant part of what we are.” She hoped Boyle’s tribute would help persuade Prime Minister Cameron to preserve the NHS. “Hands off the NHS!” agreed Hilary Sharpe, a transplant nurse. “We love the NHS.”

The audience in the stadium loved the NHS too, or at least its musical version. In fact, they had loved the whole show up to that point. It was weird in places, patchy, a bit preachy sometimes. But as with so many top British sports stars, the wobbles made the watching even more compelling. Like Andy Murray at Wimbledon, Boyle had the crowd believing he could win, willing him to win. And like Murray at Wimbledon, he showed flashes of genius but just couldn’t sustain it. You knew he had lost when British creativity was represented in a montage of clips of music and film and TV and a meandering narrative about young folk texting before putting down their smart phones just long enough to kiss.

Britain is creative, prodigiously so. The clips showcased some of the things the nation does brilliantly: subverting genres, inventing new ones, and always, always laughing at itself. Mr Bean made an appearance, though not, as suggested by this author in a 2008 piece, as the carrier of the Olympic flame. That honor was given to seven young athletes, who lit a wonderfully, crazily deconstructed cauldron dreamed up by British designer Thomas Heatherwick.

But Boyle couldn’t overcome two fundamental problems. Britain is good at the sort of solemn pageantry surrounding royal occasions. It’s less good at solemnity without a traditional framework. It’s hard to disagree with Boyle’s messaging—for example about the dangers of unfettered capitalism and about how generations of immigrants have enriched and renewed Britain and about the value of the NHS—but it was clunky and worthy.

That’s because the other banana skin is the idea that last 100 years of British history, with its loss and confusion as well as its triumphs and achievements, lends itself to the lobotomized format of an Olympics opening ceremony. Monty Python might have done it à la Life of Brian, but the Olympic powers would never have approved. So we got something that almost worked, and captivated in parts. And that is as true a reflection of Britain as it’s possible to imagine.

Credit To : Olympics Time 
Official website Olympics London 2012


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chinese city declares war on piranhas

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The government of Guangxi region's Liuzhou is asking people to hunt the alien South American species, which badly bit two people earlier in the week who were paddling in the Liujiang River, the China Daily said.

 A southern Chinese city is on the alert for piranhas after two people were attacked in a river, and is offering a 1,000 yuan ($160) reward for every fish caught, dead or alive, state media reported on Thursday.  

 "Fishing with nets is not allowed in the section of the river that flows through the city, but we have made an exemption. Five fishing boats with experienced fishermen have been deployed on the river since Monday," Liuzhou official Wei Yongwen told the newspaper.

"In addition, more than 40 other fishermen from the local fishing association have joined us as well. They all use small pieces of pork as bait."

Other people have taken up position along the river's banks with rods, it added.

"It's horrible to know that the river has such fish. I will not swim there anymore," resident Liu Junjie was quoted as saying. "I'll pray they catch them soon."

However, their days may be numbered anyway, as piranhas die when the water temperature drops below 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit), as it will do in Guangxi over the winter, the China Daily added.

Chinese media has said the piranhas may have been released by people who had bought them as ornamental fish, and that authorities are now stepping up patrols of markets to ensure no more are sold.
Credit : Reuters,dummidumbwi, 

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Expose Arafat’s ‘killers’

Read Yasser Arafat Biography. Polonium Kill Yasser Arafat ?
WHEN PLESTINIAN leader Yasser Arafat died under mysterious circumstances at a Paris military hospital, at the age of 75 in November 2004, many in the Arab world suspected something was amiss following the manner the entire episode was handled. Arafat, who was virtually under house arrest for more than two years following a siege by the Israeli army of the Ramallah headquarters of his Fatah party, was flown out in a helicopter and then taken to a Paris military hospital for treatment of some mysterious ailment.

Two weeks later he was declared dead, but the cause of his demise was never revealed. Hospital records pertaining to his ailment were also not made public, though there were leaked media reports of him having suffered a stroke following a bleeding disorder. But most Palestinians suspected Israel’s hand in his death with the Fatah believing that he had been poisoned by Israeli agents.

Nearly eight years after the passing away of one of the most popular and admired Palestinian leaders, the mystery behind his death is finally unraveling. Arab satellite network Al Jazeera has come out with shocking findings relating to the death of Arafat, following a comprehensive, nine-month-long probe into the incident. The report, based on an analysis of the personal belongings of the late Palestinian leader — including his clothes, toothbrush and head-dress — by the respected Institute of Radiation Physics, Lausanne, in Switzerland, have revealed elevated levels of polonium-210, a highly radioactive element.

Arafat’s widow, Suha, who was determined to find the truth behind her husband’s demise, provided the personal belongings to the television network and the Swiss institute. The findings have shocked the global community, especially the Arab world, as it exposes the shallow claims about respect for human rights that are frequently parroted by Israel and its sympathisers in the west.

Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, is likely to clear the demand for an exhumation of the remains of Arafat, whose body was flown back to Ramallah and buried there. His remains are kept in a state mausoleum. Religious authorities and Arafat’s close relatives, including Suha, have backed the call for exhumation of the remains. An aide to the President has sought an international inquiry into the death of Arafat, on the lines of the UN-backed tribunal that looked into the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese premier.

The international community should back the demand for a thorough probe into the death of Arafat. Governments have been known to eliminate fiercely independent and popular leaders such as Arafat by means fair and foul. Fidel Castro, the Cuban leader, survived several such attempts in the past by the CIA. Its rival, the KGB, was more successful, managing to kill Alexander Litvinenko, a former agent and foe of Russia, by lacing his tea with Polonium-210 in London in 2006. Source : khaleejtimes

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