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/ 14 May 2008

China’s Olympic year of celebration turns to tragedy

A devastating earthquake is the latest in a series of disasters and controversies that have turned what China had hoped would be an Olympic year of celebration into one of turmoil and tragedy. With tens of thousands of people either dead or missing, Monday’s quake in the south-west of the country has plunged China into mourning less than 90 days before the Games.

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/ 1 April 2008

Open the internet during Games, Beijing told

The internet must be open during the Beijing Olympics. That was the message a top-ranking International Olympic Committee (IOC) official delivered on Tuesday to Beijing organisers during the last official sessions between IOC inspectors and the host Chinese before the Games begin in just more than four months.

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/ 7 March 2008

China urges Sudan to seek compromise in Darfur

China has urged Sudan to do more to stop fighting in Darfur and speed up the arrival of more peacekeepers, Beijing’s envoy on the crisis said of Friday, defending his country as a diplomatic bridge to help end the bloodshed. China has faced widespread criticism that it has not used its stakes in Sudan to press for an end to deadly havoc in the Darfur region.

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/ 29 February 2008

Sudan told to speed deployment of peacekeepers

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband called Friday for Sudan to speed up the deployment of peacekeepers to Darfur and to end aerial bombing in the troubled region’s western districts. Miliband said the international community is united in the need for a hybrid United Nations-African Union force, but the effort is stalled by a lack of necessary support from Khartoum.

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/ 22 February 2008

Politicising sport doesn’t work

COUNTERPOINT: When the Olympic Games were held in Moscow in 1980, the British team did not take part in the opening ceremony. As a first-time Olympian I was mildly disappointed, perhaps more so because it hadn’t been orchestrated by Steven Spielberg. That is now also true of Beijing and I doubt whether many Olympians lost much sleep over his decision.

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/ 14 February 2008

China faces Games crisis over Darfur

China was facing a major international crisis linked to the Olympics on Thursday amid mounting pressure over its role in Darfur after United States filmmaker Steven Spielberg severed his links to the Games. So far neither the Foreign Ministry nor the Olympic organising committee has responded to the decision by Spielberg.

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/ 11 February 2008

Jaws actor Roy Scheider dead at 75

Actor Roy Scheider, a two-time Oscar nominee best known for his roles as a small-town police chief in Jaws and his portrait of famed choreographer Bob Fosse in All That Jazz, died on February 10 at age 75. Scheider died of complications from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood cells.

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/ 7 January 2008

Gates eyes next digital decade

Microsoft chairperson Bill Gates took centre stage at the world’s largest technology show for the last time on Sunday and predicted that his industry was on the cusp of the next "digital decade". Gates said computing will become a pervasive part of everyday life through devices like televisions and cellphones.

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/ 18 December 2007

Peter Jackson agrees to produce Hobbit films

The Tolkien community was in hysterics on Tuesday. At least that was the verdict on one of the leading Hobbit websites following the announcement in Los Angeles that Peter Jackson, director of the -billion-plus trilogy The Lord of the Rings, had signed up to produce two films based on The Hobbit, expected to go into production in 2009.

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/ 13 September 2007

Robot ‘Geppetto’ builds artificial boy

David Hanson has two little Zenos to care for these days. There’s his 18-month-old son Zeno, who prattles and smiles as he bounds through his father’s cramped office. Then there is the robotic Zeno. It cannot speak or walk yet, but has blinking eyes that can track people and a face that captivates with a range of expressions.