Tuesday December 12, 2017
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Beijing chosen to host 2022 Winter Olympics

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xi-jinpingAFP1

 

Kuala Lumpur: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Friday awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing which hosted an “exceptional” Summer Games in 2008 and promises to do even better this time.

Beijing won 44 nods against Almaty’s 40 in the IOC voting with one abstention, becoming the first ever city to host both summer and winter Olympics, reports Xinhua.

In the 2022 Games voting, the secret ballot by 85 IOC members was conducted twice, first electronically and then on paper, after it was discovered that the electronic system had malfunctioned.

The Games will be divided between the capital and the city of Zhangjiakou — which is 118 miles north-west of Beijing and will host the snow events.

The Chinese capital and its co-bidder Zhangjiakou erupted with joy as IOC president Thomas Bach announced the winner at the 128th IOC session at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center.

Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated China’s passion for the Games in a video speech played during Beijing’s final presentation to the IOC members early in the afternoon.

“The 2022 Olympic Winter Games if held in China will boost exchanges and mutual understanding between the Chinese and other civilizations of the world, encourage more than 1.3 billion Chinese to engage in winter sports with interest and passion and give them yet another opportunity to help advance the Olympic Movement and promote the Olympic spirit,” Xi said.

“The Chinese government highly appreciates the Olympic Values and the IOC’s initiative of reform. We will honour all the commitments we have made and fully implement the Olympic Agenda 2020.”

A 12-member Beijing panel made a passionate presentation six hours earlier. Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and former NBA star Yao Ming also weighed in.

The panel explained how the bid met the Olympic Agenda 2020 principles, promising athlete-centred, sustainable and economical Games, while giving much more: an opportunity to grow winter sports in the world’s most populous country, as well as a buzzing environment of a modern city and sporting action at the foot of the Great Wall.

Almaty, the former capital of Kazakhstan, bowed out with grace. Its message of a compact Games with atmosphere and a wintry setting was not quite enough to get it across the line.

Modern, quick and efficient transport is a key element of the Beijing 2022 bid. An integral part of the government’s Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Intercity Rail Master Plan, the construction of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed rail link began last year and will be fully operational by early 2019.

Yanqing is only 20 minutes from Beijing while Zhangjiakou is just 50 minutes away from the capital city.

Beijing 2022 will re-use 11 of 12 competition and non-competition facilities post-2008 including four iconic venues — Bird’s Nest National Stadium, Water Cube National Aquatics Center, Wukesong MasterCard Center and the China National Convention Center (CNCC).

Air quality and snow conditions are regarded as two of the major challenges for Beijing, but the bid officials have given an answer and solution to all the concerns.

In an effort to tackle air pollution, Beijing upgraded its coal-fired heating system in urban areas to natural gas heating system and closed down heavy-polluted plants. Neighbouring city Tianjin and provinces including Hebei adopted similar measures.

Lack of natural snow was considered as a disadvantage for the 2022 host. But the climate conditions in Zhangjiakou’s Chongli county, where cross country, freestyle and other skiing events will be held, won’t be a concern.

“In last snow season in the Chongli resort, the snowfall is 70 centimetres, so that’s enough for Winter Olympics Games,” said Zhangjiakou Mayor Hou Liang.

(IANS)

 

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Xi Jinping Lays Out New Vision for Communist China

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Xi Jinping Hall of the People in Beijing.
Security personnel stand guard after the opening session of China's 19th Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. VOA

At the opening of a top-level political meeting Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping gave a sober assessment of the challenges facing the world’s second-largest economy and its ruling Communist Party, laying out an ambitious vision that stretches forward to the middle of this century and pledging to build what he called a “modern socialist country” for a “new era.”

In a nearly three-and-a-half hour speech at the opening session of the 19th Party Congress, Xi spoke confidently about the country’s future and its opportunities. He also stressed that an increasingly strong Communist Party would continue to chart the path forward.

But such an effort is not without its challenges.

Xi has overseen a massive anti-corruption drive since rising to power five years ago, which has punished more than one million officials and led to the downfall of several high-ranking party members as well. He said the fight against corruption will always be in progress and is still the party’s biggest threat.

In his speech, he spoke frequently about the struggles China’s leadership faces, mentioning the word “struggle” more than two dozen times.

Growing demands 

Xi said the demands of China’s near 1.4 billion people are becoming increasingly broad.

“Not only have their material and cultural needs grown; demands for democracy, rule of law, fairness and justice, security, and a better environment are also increasing each day,” he said.

But much like other topics Xi spoke about in his address, which left some struggling to stay awake and hungry as it pushed past noon, it was unclear how China’s ruling party would do just that.

Although the Chinese leader mentioned growing demands for democracy, he made it clear that no major political reforms were on the horizon.

“A political system cannot be criticized abstractly without consideration for social and political circumstances, and historical cultural traditions. It cannot look up to one man as the highest authority or blindly copy foreign political systems without regard for specific conditions,” Xi said.

Xi Xinping Hall of the People in Beijing.
Security personnel stands guard after the opening session of China’s 19th Party Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. VOA

Tighter controls 

Xi’s first five years as China’s top leader has been marked by an ever-increasing tightening of expression both online and in society. As Xi has sought to forward his vision for China, he has led a sweeping crackdown on civil society and locked up dissidents and lawyers.

He has shown little signs of loosening that grip. In fact, the 19th Party Congress is expected to further expand his power.

During the twice-a-decade gathering, China’s Communist Party rulers will reshuffle their leadership and install a new Politburo Standing Committee, a top group of leaders that will rule the country for the next five years. The body is expected to be filled with more members who are loyal to Xi and part of his faction within the party.

An attendee waits for passengers to board the Fuxing, China
An attendee waits for passengers to board the Fuxing, China’s latest high-speed train with a sticker reads “Incredible, my country” parked at Hongqiao Railway Station in Shanghai, China. VOA

Economic development 

On the economy, Xi said that China’s development is not a threat to any country and that it would continue to open its doors to foreign companies. He said that China would expand access to its services sector and deepen market-oriented reforms while strengthening state-owned companies.

In his speech, Xi tried to balance his emphasis on socialism and state control with promises of fair play towards foreign companies who can bring in the new and innovative technologies his government eagerly wants.

“All businesses registered in China will be treated equally,” he said while promising to “protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors.”(VOA)

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Colour-Changing e-skin to have Robotics Uses: Chinese Scientists

The research can have applications in robotics, prosthetics and wearable technology

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Chinese researchers have developed a user-interactive electronic skin that can change colour and it can have uses in robotics
Chinese researchers have developed a user-interactive electronic skin that can change colour -- an ability associated with animals such as chameleons, octopuses and squid and it can uses in robotics. Wikimedia
  • Chinese researchers have developed a user-interactive electronic skin that can change colour
  • The changes are perceptible to the human eye without much strain
  • The researchers employed flexible electronics made from graphene, in the form of a highly-sensitive resistive strain sensor, combined with a stretchable organic electrochromic device

Beijing, July 26, 2017: Chinese researchers have developed a user-interactive electronic skin that can change colour — an ability associated with animals such as chameleons, octopuses and squid. The changes are perceptible to the human eye without much strain.

Though science has been able to replicate these abilities with artificial skin, the colour changes are often only visible to the naked eye when the material is put under huge mechanical strain.

The research conducted by Tsinghua University in Beijing can have applications in robotics, prosthetics and wearable technology.

“This user-interactive e-skin should be promising for applications in wearable devices, robots and prosthetics in the future,” the study mentioned.

ALSO READHas The Chinese Government Done Enough to Assist Victims of ‘Comfort Women’ System?

The researchers employed flexible electronics made from graphene, in the form of a highly-sensitive resistive strain sensor, combined with a stretchable organic electrochromic device.

“To obtain good performance with a simple process and reduced cost, we designed a modulus-gradient structure to use graphene as both the highly sensitive strain-sensing element and the insensitive stretchable electrode of the ECD layer,” said Tingting Yang from Tsinghua University, in a paper published in the journal 2D Materials.

The researchers found that subtle strain — between zero and 10 per cent — was enough to cause an obvious colour change, and the RGB value of the colour quantified the magnitude of the applied strain.

The study noted that the capability for interactive colour changes with such a small strain range has been rarely reported before. (IANS)

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Paris inaugurates International bidding for 2024 Olympics

The Paris 2024 Bid Committee has marked a milestone in its bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games with a special presentation here

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2024
Pixabay Paris

France, Feb 4, 2017: The Paris 2024 Bid Committee has marked a milestone in its bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games with a special presentation here.

The event was participated by Paris 2024 leadership, top athletes, political and business leaders.

 Speaking at the event, Paris 2024 Co-Chair Tony Estanguet said Paris has launched the bid 18 months ago, the bidding team has put athletes at the heart of the plans and has developed a compact plan with 85 per cent of venues being within 10 km, Xinhua news agency reported.

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Details of the ultra-compact, city-centre inspired concept were the highlights of the candidature file the bidding team submitted to International Olympic Committee.

Paris’ 2024 has a bold vision to deliver the most sustainable Games ever, with 95 per cent of venues either pre-existing or temporary structures, in addition, a ground breaking carbon emissions strategy closely aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020 and the Paris Climate Agreement is also under plan.

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Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo said Paris embodies a belief in the human spirit and an absolute commitment to protect the environment.

“Paris has always stood on the cutting edge of progress and that is why the Games in Paris will be the first ever to be aligned with the Paris Agreement,” she said.

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The event also defined the city’s approach to legacy which will see Paris 2024 Olympics become a model of sustainable development, innovation and social purpose.

The Paris 2024 bid will also build on the city’s global leadership and the positive role sport can play in society to deliver legacies for future generations and to be shared with future host cities. (IANS)