Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda arrived in Beijing yesterday at the start of a four-day visit. Fukuda is scheduled to meet with President Hu Jintao and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao. According to a Japanese senior official, the two sides are expected to sign a number of joint documents on topics including climate change and a youth exchange program next year. Fukuda has also scheduled a speech today at Peking University which CCTV will broadcast live nationwide.
Pakistan's Bhutto assassinated in suicide attack
Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated this Thursday, throwing her country into political turmoil. The assassination casts doubts on whether the country would go to the polls on January 8, as scheduled. Police said a man fired at her as she was leaving an election rally in Rawalpindi before blowing himself up. They also said 16 other people were killed in the blast at the election rally in a park.
Construction to start on high-speed railway next month
The highly anticipated Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway will begin construction next month, said a Ministry of Railways official. Based on that timeframe, the railway will be completed by 2013. Trains running on the 1,318 km railway will then be able to travel at speeds of up to 350 kph and will cut travel time between the two cities from the current 10 hours to five.
Beijing rolls out carpet to disabled visitors
The Great Wall, the Summer Palace, and the Temple of Heaven - are just a few of the 60 tourist attractions in Beijing that will become accessible to disabled tourists in time for the Olympics. At the moment, people in wheelchairs have to be carried up the Great Wall. The government has spent 75.7 million yuan ($10.3 million) on such alterations so far.
Peking University Gymnasium – high tech home of ping pong
Well with 224 days left to the start of the Olympics the host city is warming up in readiness. Key venues are getting their last finishing touches and already starting to host a variety of events. This week China Daily reporters take you out to the newly completed high tech home of ping pong – the Peking University Gymnasium or the PUG.
This is Brendan John Worrell in northwest Beijing at Peking University, just 8kms away from the central Olympic village. And in 2008 it’s the home of table tennis championship -- or as the locals call it – ping pong qiao.
Located north of China's "silicon valley” the venue’s outer gray shell blends in well within the city’s modern tech center.
The nearby Zhibeizi courtyard garden and thousand-year-old trees give it that oriental flavor which visitors to the middle kingdom love.
The roof of this building is one of the most complicated Olympic construction projects. The roof resembles a ping-pong ball. It feels like a spaceship is about to land.
As ping-pong balls are very light, strict requirements have to be met, in particular with regards to wind speed. The International Table Tennis Federation demands in its rules that the wind speed must be 0.2 m/s.
Through all the many restrictions to construction, such as environmental, legal, and physical, the designer’s hard work has paid off.
The green Olympics philosophy has emphasized energy saving throughout the building.
The Peking University Gymnasium is the world’s first professional sports arena dedicated entirely to table tennis. After the Olympics, the venue will become a multipurpose arena for the citizens of Beijing.
（英语点津 Celene 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Brendan is an Australian who has been involved in education and writing for over a decade. He has published most recently for the Tiger Airways Inflight magazine, The Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times and Japan's Hiroshima Outside Magazine. He holds a Masters Degree in Community Development and Management and has resided in China for over 3 years.
Jonathan Stewart is a media and journalism expert from the United States with four years of experience as a writer and instructor. He accepted a foreign expert position with chinadaily.com.cn in June 2007 following the completion of his Master of Arts degree in International Relations and Comparative Politics.