Beijing touts `safe' Games
Beijing's already tight security will be stepped up for the 2008 Olympics with paramilitary troops, electronic surveillance and even taxi drivers lending a hand. Security will play "an overarching role" at the games, the official China Daily newspaper said. "We do not want to turn Beijing into a fortress, but a place with an auspicious and peaceful atmosphere that will make athletes, coaches and visitors feel relaxed and safe," Qiang Wei, the city's deputy Communist Party secretary, was quoted as saying. The effort will involve police, soldiers and paramilitary troops, as well as other city workers including bus, subway and taxi drivers, Qiang said. The government says it wants to prevent terror attacks, but security in the capital already is tight in order to prevent any public dissent against communist rule. Chinese authorities will also adopt tactics used last year at the Olympics in Athens, which had "a vast computer surveillance network with thousands of hidden cameras and microphones that analyzed dozens of languages," the paper said.
China slashes ticket prices
Hoping to build support after a disastrous first season, teams in China's troubled Super League are giving heavy discounts on season tickets while offering fans more chances to interact with players. International Shanghai, one of three Super League teams in China's financial hub, slashed season tickets by half to just 50 yuan (US$6) while newly promoted cross-town rivals, Shanghai Zonbon, are charging just 60 yuan. International launched the new ticket prices this week with a fiesta outside its stadium featuring players singing karaoke and greeting fans.
Wrestling in pants prohibited
A tussle has broken out in Japan's tradition-bound sumo world over the right to wear pants in the ring. Gargantuan sumo wrestlers generally compete naked but for a "mawashi," an arrangement of wrapped cloth that preserves a bare minimum of modesty. Sumo's amateur association hit upon the idea of allowing shy youngsters to wear "sumo pants," a more substantial garment similar to cycling shorts, to try to boost the dwindling numbers of children taking up the sport, the daily Yomiuri Shimbun said on Thursday. "Pubescent kids are not going to want to take part if they don't look cool," Yomiuri quoted one local amateur sumo official as saying. The sport's professional body, the Nihon Sumo Kyokai, however, has made clear that it will not allow wrestlers in pants to take part in youth tournaments, the paper said.
Williamses write advice book
Serena and Venus Williams have written a book with advice for pre-teens on such subjects as money and dating. Regarding the latter, their recommendation: Don't rush a crush. "We both really have a lot to say about that," Venus said on Wednesday with a laugh. Titled Venus and Serena: Serving From the Hip: 10 rules for Living, Loving and Winning, the book is targeted at 9-to-12 year olds. "It's a great book for teenage girls who deal with different issues," Serena said. "Growing up, I would have loved to have had such a positive role model to look up to and try to be like and try to emulate. We love having that opportunity to say, `Look, you can be like us, you can be successful and at the same time have high morals and high self esteem and be a very nice person at the end of the day.'" The sisters, who are in Key Biscayne for the Nasdaq-100 Open, wrote the book with Hilary Beard.