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Wednesday, 16-May-2012 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
London may temper China's gold medal pride

Kids Jordan ShoesBEIJING (Reuters) - When Chinese athletes swept to the top of the gold medal table during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the feat was accompanied by a wave of national pride, the culmination of China's "100 year dream" to host the world's most prestigious sports event.
Whether China can repeat that feat at this year's London Games will surely be watched closely by all. But cooler heads may prevail at home if that success is not repeated as China has been buoyed by the country's other achievements since hosting the Games, such as its bounding economy.
"I'm not sure it is now as politically important as it was, since they did it once," said Susan Brownell, professor of anthropology and expert on Chinese sports at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
The simmering debate over the importance of the pursuit of medals began to heat up after the Beijing Games ended in success. There appeared to be acknowledgement the country lacks a broad-based sports culture and Olympic medals are generally won by a minority of government-supported athletes, raising questions over whether it can become a sports power, she said.
"So I do have the feeling that with the great success of the Beijing Olympics, at least domestically it was hugely successful, that it's not so important to prove themselves any more," she added.
"But why was it so important all along? It had to do with the idea of China standing up against domination by the West ... hosting the Olympics was called China's 100-year dream."
This is, of course, not to say that China will not be trying to win as many golds as it can in London.
China has not slackened off in its Olympics medals quest. Nor has the state even begun to back off from its involvement in producing national
At the state-run Shichahai sports school, located in central Beijing not far from the top leadership compound at Zhongnanhai, the government begins training young athletes from as young as 6.
Dubbed "the cradle of world champions" in a gold-embossed stone plinth outside one of its entrances, the school has raised 39 world champions and seven Olympic ones. Large Chinese flags dominate the austere gyms and other training rooms.
Slogans reminiscent of the heyday of Chinese communism pasted around the campus exhort athletes not to forget that "All training is for competition" and "There are no heroic individuals, only heroic groups".
It is a spirit the school's head, Shi Fenghua, has no intention of abandoning.
"Competing peacefully like this as the Chinese nation is rising, confirms our abilities. China was once the sick man of Asia," Shi told Reuters in her jordan for sale
But Chinese sports officials are keen to temper expectations.
"I have complete confidence in our team at the London Olympics, but there are many, many difficulties," said Cui Dalin, former deputy head of the State Administration of Sport, which answers directly to China's cabinet.
"Firstly, we were the host nation during the Beijing Olympics, doing battle on home turf, while in London we will be the guests. There's the time difference, the different food and a different environment from Beijing," he told Reuters.Jordan Fusion for sale
There also will be many new and somewhat untested faces competing in London, Cui said, citing table tennis champions Wang Nan and Zhang Yining among those who have now retired.
"It will be a handover from the old to the new. Whether the young athletes can get through the test of such an enormous event as London, we will have to see what they can do."
Perhaps ironically, the official discussion of China's medal hopes in London echoes that in the run up to Beijing - when officials routinely would play down the country's prospects and play up its challenges.
By the time the Games closed on August 24 2008, China had earned 51 golds, leapfroging the United States' 36 golds and topping the medals table for the first time.
(Editing by Ossian Shine)
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Wednesday, 9-May-2012 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Paul Simon, Yo-Yo Ma share Swedish music prize

jordan shoes for saleSTOCKHOLM (AP) — Singer-songwriter Paul Simon and cellist Yo-Yo Ma have won the 2012 Polar Music Prize, Sweden's most prestigious award for
Simon and Ma will receive 1 million kronor ($166,000) each and an invitation to the prize ceremony in Stockholm Aug. 28.Jordan Shoes
The award was founded by the late Stig Anderson, the manager of Swedish pop group ABBA, and has been handed out since 1992. It is typically shared by a pop artist and a classical musician.
Calling Ma the "leading cellist of our time," the prize jury said Tuesday he is "living proof that music is communication, passion and the ability to share experience."Cheap Air Jordans
The citation praised Simon as a "world-class songwriter" who captured the currents of his time with "consummate skill, innovative arrangements and provocative lyrics."New Jordans 2012 For Sale

Wednesday, 9-May-2012 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Officials: Al-Qaida bomber was CIA informant

Nike Air Jordan ShoesWASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA had al-Qaida fooled from the beginning.
Last month, U.S. intelligence learned that al-Qaida's Yemen branch hoped to launch a spectacular attack using a new, nearly undetectable bomb aboard an airliner bound for America, officials say.
But the man the terrorists were counting on to carry out the attack was actually working for the CIA and Saudi intelligence, U.S. and Yemeni officials told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The dramatic sting operation thwarted the attack before it had a chance to succeed.
It was the latest misfire for al-Qaida, which has repeatedly come close to detonating a bomb aboard an airliner. For the United State, it was a victory that delivered the bomb intact to U.S. intelligence.
The officials spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the operation. The cooperation of the would-be bomber was first reported Tuesday evening by The Los Angeles Times.
The FBI is still analyzing the explosive, which was intended to be concealed in a passenger's underwear. Officials said it was an upgrade over the bomb that failed to detonate on board an airplane over Detroit on Christmas 2009. This new bomb contained no metal and used a chemical — lead azide — that was to be a detonator in a nearly successful 2010 plot to attack cargo planes, officials said.
Security procedures at U.S. airports remained unchanged Tuesday, a reflection of both the U.S. confidence in its security systems and a recognition that the government can't realistically expect travelers to endure much more. Increased costs and delays to airlines and shipping companies could have a global economic impact, too.
"I would not expect any real changes for the traveling public," said House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich. "There is a concern that overseas security doesn't match ours. That's an ongoing challenge."
While airline checks in the United States mean passing through an onerous, sometimes embarrassing series of pat-downs and body scans, procedures overseas can be a mixed bag. The U.S. cannot force other countries to permanently adopt the expensive and intrusive measures that have become common in American airports over the past
The Transportation Security Administration sent advice to some international air carriers and airports about security measures that might stave off an attack from a hidden explosive. It's the same advice the U.S. has issued before, but there was a thought that it might get new attention in light of the foiled plot.
The U.S. has worked for years to try to improve security for U.S.-bound flights originating at international airports. And many countries agree that security needs to be better. But while plots such as the Christmas attack have spurred changes, some security gaps that have been closed in the U.S. remain open overseas.Cheap Jordan Shoes
Officials believe that body scanners, for instance, probably would have detected this latest attempt by al-Qaida to bring down a jetliner. Such scanners allow screeners to see objects hidden beneath a passenger's clothes.
But while scanners are in place in airports nationwide, their use is scattershot overseas. Even in security-conscious Europe, the European Union has not required full-body imaging machines for all airports, though a number of major airports in Paris, London, Frankfurt and elsewhere use them.
All passengers on U.S.-bound flights are checked against terrorist watch lists and law enforcement databases.
In some countries, U.S. officials are stationed in airports to offer advice on security matters. In some cases, though, the U.S. is limited to hoping that other countries follow the security advice from the Transportation Security Administration.
"Even if our technology is good enough to spot it, the technology is still in human hands and we are inherently fallible," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a member of the House Intelligence Committee. "And overseas, we have varying degrees of security depending on where the flight originates."
Al-Qaida has repeatedly tried to take advantage of those overseas gaps. The Christmas 2009 bombing originated in Amsterdam, where the bomber did not receive a full-body scan. And in 2010, terrorists smuggled bombs onto cargo jets, which receive less scrutiny than passenger planes.
In both those instances, the bombs were made by al-Qaida's master bomb maker in Yemen, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri. Officials believe this latest bomb was the handiwork of al-Asiri or one of his students.
In the meantime, Americans traveled Tuesday with little apparent concern.Retro Jordan Shoes
"We were nervous — for a minute," said Nan Gartner, a retiree on her way to Italy from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. "But then we thought, we aren't going anywhere near Yemen, so we're OK."
Associated Press writers Kimberly Dozier, Ted Bridis, Bob Burns, Bradley Klapper and Alan Fram in Washington, Ahmed Al-Haj in Sanaa, Yemen, Verena Dobnik in New York, Paisley Dodds in London, Matthew Lee in New Delhi and Slobodan Lekic in Brussels contributed to this report.
Contact the Washington investigative team at DCinvestigations(at)
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Wednesday, 9-May-2012 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Mideast nuclear conference in jeopardy

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VIENNA (AP) — Hopes dimmed Tuesday for staging major nuclear talks later this year between Israel and its Muslim rivals, as Iran and Arab countries at a 189-nation conference accused Israel of being the greatest threat to peace in the region and Egypt warned that Arab states might rethink their opposition to atomic arms.
Because Israel has not signed the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, it was not present at Tuesday's gathering of treaty members. But the United States defended its ally, warning that singling out Israel for criticism diminished chances of a planned meeting between it and its Muslim neighbors to explore the prospect of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction.
The Mideast conference planned for later this year was a key plank of a monthlong 2010 high-level gathering of treaty signatories that convenes every five years to review the objectives of the 42-year-old treaty. Muslim nations have warned that failure to stage the Mideast meeting would call into question the overall achievements of the 2010 conference.
Egypt, speaking for nonaligned NPT signatory nations — the camp of developing countries — said Israel's nuclear capabilities constitute "a threat to international peace and security."
Later, in his separate capacity as Egypt's delegate, senior Foreign Ministry official Ahmed Fathalla warned that Arab nations might "revise their policies" regarding their opposition to having nuclear weapons if the planned Mideast conference failed to materialize.
Fathalla said he was citing a declaration from the March 29 Arab summit in Baghdad. But a senior U.S. official, who demanded anonymity because he was not authorized to comment to reporters, said it was the first time he had heard that jordans
The senior official also said he was not surprised by the verbal attacks on Israel, noting that outreach by Washington to individual Arab countries for moderation so as to not jeopardize the Mideast conference had been unsuccesful.
Israel is unlikely to attend any hostile Mideast meeting and its absence would strip the gathering of significance, leaving it as little more than a forum for Arab states to further criticize the Jewish state and its undeclared nuclear
Israel has remained opaque on its nuclear capabilities but is commonly considered to posess atomic arms — a status that Muslim nations say make it the greatest threat to Mideast stability.
Western allies of Israel disagree, accusing Iran of violating the nonproliferation treaty by noncompliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions demanding it curb uranium enrichment and other activities with nonmilitary applications that could also be used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. As such, they say, Iran most menaces Mideast stability.
Reacting to a harsh series of attacks on Israel, U.S. State Department envoy Thomas M. Countryman urged Muslim nations to ease their pressure at the Vienna meeting, convened to prepare for the next NPT summit in 2015, telling delegates: "continued efforts to single out Israel ... will make a (Mideast) conference less likely."cheap air jordans
He also voiced "deep concern over Iran's persistent failure to comply with its nonproliferation obligations, including ... U.N. Security Council resolutions," and urged Tehran to reduce concerns about is nuclear program by coming to May 23 talks with six world powers in Baghdad "with the same serious and constructive attitude that the six partners bring."
Countryman also criticized Syria — found by the International Atomic Energy Agency to be "very likely" hiding a covert nuclear program — and urged it and Tehran to "return to full compliance" with their treaty obligations.
Iran insists that it has no intention of harnessing its expanding nuclear program into weapons making, a stance repeated Tuesday by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mahdi Akhondzadeh. He condemned the "hyprocitic and double standard approach of the United States and the EU member states for keeping "deadly silent on the Israel nuclear program (while) they express baseless concern about Iran's nuclear program."cheap jordan shoes

Wednesday, 9-May-2012 12:00 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Christina Tosi named rising star chef by Beards

Jordan Shoes For SaleNEW YORK (AP) — Compost, "crack" and something called cereal milk — unlikely ingredients that have propelled Christina Tosi to the head of her culinary class.
The protege and dessert maven of uber chef-of-the-moment David Chang was named rising star chef of the year on Monday by the James Beard Foundation, an honor earned largely by her knack for crafting unusual sweet treats — including soft serve ice cream made from milk flavored by breakfast cereal — and the almost fanatical following they have generated.
But garnering one of the so-called Oscars of the food world — one of more than 20 awarded Monday — didn't change Tosi's sense of the simplicity of what she does.
"For me, it's just about creating things that we feel really attached to," Tosi said during the 25th annual Beard Foundation awards. "The style that we do it is finding a flavor, a texture that we feel attached to and giving it back in a way that we think is cute or playful or approachable and at the end of it of course it's delicious and you want to come back for it.
"And that's where we begin and we end with it," she said."
Tosi oversees desserts, breads and ice cream for Chang's Momofuku restaurant group, and is best known as the woman behind his Momofuku Milk Bar. That's where you can find her so-called compost cookies, oversized treats rich with coffee grounds, potato chips and pretzels, and her sticky-salty-sweet "crack pie," which is as addictive as its name
The James Beard awards honor those who follow in the footsteps of Beard, considered the dean of American cooking when he died in 1985. Monday's ceremony honored chefs and restaurants; a similar event on Friday was held for book and other media awards.
The foundation's outstanding chef award went to Daniel Humm, the chef behind New York's Eleven Madison Park. Humm, a native of Switzerland, has spent his career amassing awards. Most recently, his restaurant — which has four stars from the New York Times and three from the Michelin Guide — was named No. 10 in the world by Restaurant magazine.
Though Eleven Madison Park — a veteran of several Beard awards over the years — has earned high praise since it opened in 1998, most consider it to have shined brightest since 2006, when Humm took over the kitchen, bringing with him an inventive, yet classically French style.
Eleven Madison Park is best known for its tasting-style menu that lists dishes only by key ingredients and encourages diners to work with the chef to create individualized meals.
Humm beat out Chang, Gary Danko of Restaurant Gary Danko in San Francisco, Paul Kahan in Chicago, Donald Link of Herbsaint in New Orleans, and Nancy Silverton of Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles. Last year's winner was Jose Andres, the man credited with popularizing tapas in the United States.
Boulevard restaurant in San Francisco was named outstanding restaurant of the year. Opened by chef Nancy Oakes on the San Francisco waterfront in 1993, Boulevard's cuisine blends regional American cooking with French style. Last year's outstanding restaurant honor went to Eleven Madison Park.
The best new restaurant award went to Grant Achatz's second — and wildly different — Chicago restaurant, Next, which has come to be defined as much by the food served there as by the way it handles reservations (if you can call them that).
You don't reserve tables at Next, you purchase tickets, much as you would for a concert. Diners pay in advance for a seating at a particular time. What they are served varies, as the notoriously modernist Achatz changes the menu every three months. Last year, the best new restaurant honor went to Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen in New York.
The group's Lifetime Achievement award this year went to Wolfgang Puck, the pioneer of California cuisine whose menu for the annual Academy Awards Governors Ball is almost as eagerly anticipated as the awards themselves. Puck has won multiple honors from the foundation over the years and is the only chef to have twice received its Most Outstanding Chef award.
Puck, whose cooking combines classic French technique with a focus on seasonal and local ingredients, has been an iconic voice in California cuisine. Born in Austria, he moved to Los Angeles in 1975. In 1982, he opened Spago, the restaurant for which he remains best known. Today, he has 20 restaurants around the country.Jordan Shoes
The organization's Humanitarian of the Year honor went to Chicago chef Charlie Trotter, who earlier this year announced that he will close his acclaimed eponymous restaurant after it celebrates its 25th anniversary in August. Trotter plans to return to school to earn a master's degree in philosophy.
Trotter was honored Monday for his work with children, including raising $3 million via The Charlie Trotter Culinary Education Foundation to help pay for needy students to attend culinary school. Trotter has said he has not ruled out opening another restaurant after completing his degree.
"All of us in this room that are interested in hospitality and gastronomy and service and cuisine," he said during Monday's ceremony. "But what's the point if you're not going to give something away? You can make a difference. That's the fun part."
The Beard Foundation also named its top regional chefs around the country: Bruce Sherman of North Pond in Chicago (Great Lakes region); Maricel Presilla of Cucharamama in Hoboken, N.J. (Mid-Atlantic); Tory Miller of L'Etoile in Madison, Wis. (Midwest); Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern in New York (New York City); Tim Cushman of O Ya in Boston (Northeast); Matt Dillon of Sitka & Spruce in Seattle (Northwest); Matt Molina of Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles (Pacific); Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, Ala. (South); Hugh Acheson of Five and Ten in Athens, Ga., and Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene in Atlanta (Southeast); and Paul Qui of Uchiko in Austin, Texas.
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