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Archive for April 16th, 2008

Olympische Flamme erreicht Indien…

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on April 16, 2008

Neu Delhi (AFP) – Unter strengen Sicherheitsvorkehrungen ist die olympische Flamme in der indischen Hauptstadt Neu Delhi eingetroffen.

Der Präsident des örtlichen Olympischen Komitees, Suresh Kalmadi, nahm das Feuer am frühen Donnerstagmorgen (Ortszeit) auf einem Militärflughafen in Neu Delhi in Empfang.

Tausende Polizisten hatten am Mittwoch die Ankunft der olympischen Flamme vorbereitet. Sie errichteten Barrikaden rund um die auf drei Kilometer verkürzte Laufstrecke, um mögliche tibetische Proteste zu verhindern.

Die Flamme war zuvor durch das benachbarte Pakistan getragen worden.

(Quelle: AFP – Mittwoch, 16. April, 22:24 Uhr | 24-Stunden-Ticker – koeln.de)

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Olympic torch arrives in India under heavy guard…

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on April 16, 2008

NEW DELHI: The Olympic torch touched down in the Indian capital early on Thursday, police and witnesses said, amid high security and concerns of increased protests by pro-Tibetan activists.

A plane carrying the flame landed from neighbouring Pakistan ahead of a short and heavily-guarded relay later on Thursday, the latest leg of the torch’s world tour before the Beijing Olympics.

The flame arrived at a military airbase in New Delhi and was received by Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, witnesses said.

Riot police backed by paramilitary troops ringed the airbase, amid reports that 60 exiled Tibetans had staged a brief protest just outside the airport before they were taken away by soldiers.

“The torch has arrived and everything is under control,” a police spokesman told AFP. The torch has driven to the Chinese embassy in the capital, witnesses said.

Some 15,000 policemen and commandos have locked down the heart of New Delhi for the relay which will take place through a boulevard in the city centre.

Officials have refused to specify when the relay will begin amid fears that protesters, who are using the relay to demonstrate against China’s human rights record and its rule in Tibet, will disrupt the run.

“We have taken every precaution to ensure the event remains peaceful,” junior home minister Shakeel Ahmed also told reporters on Thursday.

Officials have also insisted that Thursday’s run – one of the most sensitive stretches of its global voyage, with India home to more than 100,000 Tibetan refugees – would be a success.

Exiled Tibetans have staged waves of protests in the run-up to the arrival of the torch here, including storming the Chinese embassy on March 21 which prompted Beijing to register a strong protest to New Delhi.

India is home to Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and some 100,000 Tibetans who fled their homeland after a failed uprising against neighbouring China’s rule in 1959.

Police on Wednesday manned yellow barricades leading to India Gate, the monument to slain Indian soldiers and the end point of the truncated run.

Traffic will be banned around the route, the Metro will be shut down and government offices will close during the run.

Bollywood actors Aamir Khan and Saif Ali Khan, tennis player Leander Paes and officials from China’s embassy in New Delhi were slated to run in the relay, which had earlier been shortened from nine kilometres to three kilometres for security reasons.

The early stages of the relay in London and Paris were overshadowed by demonstrations against Beijing’s crackdown on protests in Tibet, and the stage in San Francisco was also drastically curtailed.

Other legs, including a ceremony and relay around a stadium in the Pakistani capital on Wednesday, passed without incident.

(Source: AFP/de – 17 April 2008 0505 hrs | channelnewsasia.com)

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Olympischer Fackellauf durch Stadion in Pakistan…

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on April 16, 2008

Islamabad (AFP) – Auch auf ihrer ersten Asien-Etappe ist die Olympische Flamme mit strengen Sicherheitsvorkehrungen empfangen worden. Das Feuer erreichte Pakistan, wo es unter den Blicken von tausenden Polizisten durch ein Stadion in Islamabad getragen wurde, wie ein AFP-Korrespondent berichtete. Die pakistanische Regierung fürchtete vor allem islamistische Anschläge auf den Fackellauf. Auch in Indien bereiteten zahlreiche Polizisten die Ankunft des Feuers vor. Zu Beginn des Olympischen Fackellaufs hatte es in London und Paris heftige Proteste von Tibet-Aktivisten gegeben.

Rund 8000 sorgsam ausgewählte Gäste durften den Fackellauf im Jinnah-Stadion von Islamabad verfolgen. Aus Angst vor neuen Selbstmordanschlägen von Islamisten verlegten die Behörden in letzter Minute die Laufstrecke von der größten Prachtstraße der pakistanischen Hauptstadt in das Stadion. Bei ihrer Fahrt in das Stadium flankierte eine Elite-Einheit die Fackel. Präsident Pervez Musharraf und Regierungschef Yousuf Raza Gilani hatten ihre Teilnahme an der Zeremonie angekündigt.

Als enger Verbündeter Chinas wollte Pakistan mit allen Mitteln tibetische Proteste sowie Anschläge gegen den Fackellauf verhindern. Musharraf hatte vor wenigen Tagen während eines Besuchs in China versichert, in Pakistan wolle niemand etwas tun, das den Interessen Chinas widerspreche. China ist der wichtigste Waffenlieferant Pakistans.

In Indiens Hauptstadt Neu Delhi errichteten Polizisten Barrikaden rund um die auf drei Kilometer verkürzte Laufstrecke, um mögliche Proteste von Tibetern zu verhindern. Das Feuer sollte am Mittwochabend in Indien eintreffen und am Donnerstag dann durch die Stadt getragen werden. Die Polizei plante, den Verkehr im Zentrum vollständig zu stoppen und Metro-Stationen zu schließen, wie die Zeitung “Hindustan Times” berichtete. Laut dem indischen Fernsehsender NDTV will Neu Delhi auch auf die ursprünglich als Zuschauer eingeladenen Schulkinder beim Fackellauf verzichten. Damit wird die Olympische Flamme praktisch unter Ausschluss der Öffentlichkeit durch die Stadt getragen. Nur rund 15.000 Polizisten werden die Strecke säumen.

Der Lauf durch Neu Delhi zählt zu den heikelsten Etappen des weltweiten Fackellaufes. Rund 100.000 tibetische Flüchtlinge leben in Indien, darunter auch das geistliche Oberhaupt, der Dalai Lama. Für Donnerstag rechnet die Polizei mit rund 3000 Demonstranten.

(Quelle: AFP – Mittwoch, 16. April, 14:47 Uhr | Yahoo! Nachrichten Deutschland)

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Tight security in Pakistan Olympic torch run…

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on April 16, 2008

SADAQAT JAN
Associated Press

ISLAMABAD – Runners carried the Olympic flame around the outside of a sports stadium Wednesday – an invitation-only event in front of an elite, sparse crowd with heavy security to deter any anti-China protesters or terrorist attacks.

Clearly worried about the possibility that the high-profile ceremony might be disrupted, thousands of police aided by explosives-sniffing dogs stood guard as Pakistan’s pro-China government ensured a trouble-free stop on the torch’s global tour toward Beijing.

Televised live – the only way the general public could watch – the relay of Pakistani and Chinese torchbearers looked almost like a practice run as they jogged on access roads around the perimeter of Jinnah Stadium, Islamabad’s main sports complex.

President Pervez Musharraf, fresh from a six-day trip to China, presented the Olympic flame to the first runner, then joined a raft of school children on reviewing stands.
Pakistani athlete Kiran Bano holds the Beijing Olympic torch as she runs around the Sports Complex in Islamabad.

“I would like the people of China who are our closest friends to know that we stand with you and support you in this glorious event you host for the entire world,” Mr. Musharraf said in an address.

Protests of China’s human rights record have disrupted the torch’s passage through Western cities, and Pakistan has gone to great lengths to avoid any repeat during the Olympic symbol’s 22-hour stay here.

The original plans for carrying the torch along a two-kilometre route from the white-marble Parliament in Pakistan’s capital were changed.

Colonel Baseer Haider, an army official helping organize the event, said the route was changed because of the “overall security environment” and the risk of bad weather. A violent hailstorm hit Islamabad on Tuesday, but the weather was fine Wednesday.

Police, many carrying guns, surrounded the stadium, where soldiers manned the main gate and checked vehicles with sniffer dogs. Only guests with invitation cards issued by the Pakistan Olympic Association were being allowed in.

“There is absolutely no chance of any trouble, any protest against it,” said event coordinator Mohammed Yahya from the Pakistan Olympic Association.

A plane carrying the torch from Oman landed at the military section of Islamabad airport amid tight security early Wednesday.

About 60 Pakistani athletes took turns carrying the torch on the grounds of the stadium. A display of folk music and dancing were scheduled afterward.

The Pakistan Olympic Association urged broadcasters using state TV coverage of the torch to avoid “negative comments” and make “no mention” of the conflict in Tibet.

Pakistan has strong and long-standing defence and economic links with China. Both are rivals of neighbouring India.

The torch’s stops in Kazakhstan, Russia, Argentina, Tanzania and Oman have been rouble-free.

However, rioting in two Pakistani cities in the past week has raised tension in a country permanently on guard against attacks by Islamic militants based along its border with Afghanistan. Chinese workers were targeted in two deadly attacks last year.

“We have to take care that there is no infiltration by some elements who are bent on disrupting our understanding and great relationship,” Mr. Musharraf said in China on Monday.

The turmoil over the torch relay and the growing international criticism of China’s policies on Tibet and Darfur have turned the Beijing Olympic Games – which begin Aug. 8 – into one of the most contentious in recent history.

The flame travels on Thursday to India, home to nearly 100,000 Tibetan exiles including the Dalai Lama. Thousands of police have been deployed there to deter chaotic protests.

(Source: Wednesday April 16, 2008 – 2:02 PM EDT | globeandmail.com)

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