Protesters have gathered in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires, where the Olympic torch is being paraded.
Authorities are mounting a major security operation, keen to avoid the disruption that marred the flame’s progress through the UK, US and France. Several thousand police and marshals have lined the 13km (8-mile) route the torch will follow through Buenos Aires.
But anti-China activists protesting against the Beijing Games have promised “entertaining surprises”. Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri lit the torch and held it aloft on Friday as hundreds of sporting enthusiasts applauded. But activist Jorge Carcavallo unfurled a giant banner on the torch route reading “Free Tibet”. And members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which is banned in China, lit their own “human rights torch” and marched along the route the flame was to take.
Every new city shows what the people of this world think about the embarrassment Olympics, so Mr. Rogge how do you feel now? It was your choice!
Filed under politics, sports
Zimbabwean police have banned political rallies “with immediate effect”, amid growing tension over the country’s disputed presidential election.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena told state radio there were insufficient officers to deploy at such rallies. The decision came as state radio reported that President Robert Mugabe would not now attend a regional summit on the crisis in Zambia at the weekend.
And that after the opposition had a meeting with the South African president Mbeki. The opposition says Mugabe is using violent and underhand means to retain power; but then what else did they expect from the caricature dictator?
The International Olympic Committee is ending a week of meetings overshadowed by violent protests against the torch relay for the Beijing Games.
With the Olympic flame in Argentina, IOC officials were discussing how future relays should be handled. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has told China he will not attend the Games opening ceremony in Beijing in August.
The IOC president said protests at the relay in London, Paris and San Francisco had created a “crisis”. Speaking on Thursday, Jacques Rogge also urged China to respect its “moral engagement” to improve human rights. But Beijing told the IOC to keep politics out of the Games.
Indeed, but what happens with politics entering the Olympics? And they have done so for the last …let me see 70 years when Nazis organized the Olympic games in 1938.
A U.S. Marine wanted in the brutal slaying of a pregnant colleague who accused him of rape was arrested Thursday night in western Mexico, authorities said.
Police arrested Cpl. Cesar Laurean as he wandered on a street in the rural township of Tacambaro in the state of Michoacán. The bearded suspect, chained at the wrists and ankles, stared straight ahead but his eyes occasionally filled up with tears as he answered a reporter’s questions in terse phrases.
“You know my name. You know who I am,” Laurean said while being held at the Michoacán state attorney general’s office in Morelia, the state capital. Asked if he wanted to say anything, Laurean simply said “Proof,” but wouldn’t explain.
Why all of them one way or another try to escape in Mexico? Anything to do with corruption?
My god or better my Buddha …he woke up! UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will not attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, an aide has said. The decision was due to “schedule issues” and had been made months ago, said UN spokeswoman, Marie Mukabe.
Meanwhile, Buenos Aires is braced for Friday’s Olympic torch relay after anti-China protests in other cities. Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai has withdrawn from the torch relay’s Tanzanian leg, due to concerns over human rights in China.
The BBC’s Laura Trevelyan said the UN was anxious not to give the impression that Mr. Ban’s absence was a boycott of the Games. Ms Mukabe said Mr. Ban “had conveyed to the [Chinese] government some months ago that he may not be in a position to accept the invitation to attend this important event due to schedule issues”.
This means the decision was made before violent anti-Beijing protests in and around Tibet last month that were suppressed by a heavy security presence.
Late as always to everything I have to admit Ki-moon surprised me with this decision even though I would expect him to be more …UN and say why he really doesn’t go, emphasize that whatever UN stands for there is one country member of the security council that ignores and violates them!
Filed under politics, sports
Campaigning in Italy is in its final day ahead of this weekend’s elections. The vote comes three years early, after Romano Prodi stepped down as prime minister when his coalition government collapsed in January.
Billionaire businessman and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, 71, wants a third term as prime minister. His main rival is 52-year-old Walter Veltroni, the former mayor of Rome. Mr. Berlusconi is ahead in opinion polls but 15% of voters are undecided.
At his final election rally in Rome on Thursday, Mr. Berlusconi appealed to his supporters to bring in more voters. “Get out there and do missionary work,” he told a crowd of 3,000 supporters.
Mr. Berlusconi is the head of a business empire that spans media, advertising, insurance, food and construction and includes the successful football club AC Milan. He is heading a new party – the People of Liberty. Mr. Veltroni is also leading a new party – the Democratic Party. He compares himself to US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and has promised to boost pay and pensions to stimulate the Italian economy.
The return of Berlusconi, the empire returns, the jester of the court strikes back! Ok I’m having fun with Silvio but I’m not sure if the Italians feel the same!
Democratic opponents of US President George W Bush have accused him of putting off tough decisions on Iraq until after the presidential elections.
The criticism follows Mr. Bush’s announcement of a “major strategic shift” that includes suspending troop withdrawals after July. He says this would allow senior commander General David Petraeus to assess the next step in Iraq.
But his opponents say the people want answers from this president, now. The decision to halt withdrawals means the US presence in Iraq is likely to last well beyond January 2009, when Mr. Bush will leave office and whoever wins the November elections will take over.
Well they are right, aren’t they? He cannot take a decision the next president will be forced to honor against her/his policy!