General roundup (February 1, 2009)

Shoe monument in IraqSome general news and info from various sources…

Australia – Rafael Nadal won first Australian Open crown, defeating Roger Federer [ATP]

China – Birth defects soar due to environmental pollution; a baby is born with physical defects every 30 secs in China [Chinadaily]

Enviromental – Many effects of climate change are irreversible [BBC]

Iraq – A fibreglass-and-copper monument (pic) is built in honour of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at Bush during a news conference [Youtube]

Japan – PM Taro Aso has announced a 1.5 trillion yen (USD17bn) aid package to help Asian countries weather the economic downturn [BBC]

North KoreaNorth Korea is scrapping all pacts with South Korea and warned that the downward relations has pushed the peninsula to the brink of war [Reuters]

South Korea – Asiana Airlines, Korea’s second-largest air carrier, is named Airline of the Year by ATW (Air Transport World) magazine [ATW]

Thailand – Deja vu… tens of thousands of protesters held a rally in Bangkok calling on the new Thai government to resign [Youtube]

Beijing Olympics roundup (2)

A few more hours to go before the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympics. Some random news and information about Olympics and happenings in Beijing…

2008-08-08 8.08pm

The number ‘8’ is seen as a symbol of prosperity for Chinese. The Beijing organisers are optimising their wish for prosperity to the max obviously… by running the opening ceremony on 8.08pm, on the 8th of August, 2008.

Renowned director Zhang Yimou and choreographer Zhang Jigang are the co-directors for tonight’s show at the Beijing National Stadium.

It’s still a mystery on who will light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony. It’s heavily rumoured that gymnastic legend Li Ning will take the honour; we’ll see how true the speculations are.

[Read more…]