The Olympic Torch has made its way to Thai capital Bangkok. Earlier this week it was in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Muscat, Oman; Islamabad, Pakistan and New Delhi, India.
National Stadium open to media
On Wednesday the media got a sneak preview of the National Stadium or Bird’s Nest, which is now completed.
This weekend, it will host the Good Luck Beijing Race-Walking Challenge.
Bank reserve ratio hiked to 16%
On Wednesday the central bank announced the amount banks must hold in reserve will be raised by half a percentage point.
The reserve requirement ratio is now a record 16 percent, the third hike this year.
Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi wins third term
Media mogul Silvio Berlusconi won his third term as Italy’s prime minister on Monday after defeating former Rome mayor Walter Veltroni in a general election.
The election was called after Romano Prodi’s government collapsed in January.
Pope Benedict goes to America
Pope Benedict XVI is on his first visit to the United States.
He will preside over two masses at baseball stadiums and pray at ground zero. He celebrated his 81st birthday in the White House on Wednesday.
President Hu Jintao meets Taiwan’s Vincent Siew
President Hu Jintao met with Vincent Siew, chairman of the Taiwan-based Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation during the Boao Forum for Asia.
Hu said economic and trade exchanges between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan face a historic opportunity.
Siew hopes weekend charter flights will be launched as soon as possible so that mainland tourists can soon travel to Taiwan.
Pakistani President talks to China Daily
In an exclusive interview with China Daily, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf praised Beijing for its preparations for the upcoming Olympics.
He condemned those who tried to disrupt the Olympic Torch relay.
Musharraf was in Beijing to develop closer relations with China economically and politically. He called for strengthening a communication infrastructure between the two countries as well as security against terrorism.
Japan and China to boost ties
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi is in Tokyo in the lead-up to President Hu Jintao’s visit to Japan next month.
It will be the first time a Chinese president has visited Japan in a decade.
Hu will attend the opening ceremony for the China-Japan Friendly Exchange Year of Youth.
He will also play table tennis with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.
Putin to lead United Russia
President Vladimir Putin will lead Russia’s largest political party after he steps down next month.
He will also serve as prime minister once his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, is sworn in as president on May 7.
Putin accepted the newly created job of chairman of United Russia for four years, giving him guaranteed control of the Duma for the same period.
News on lighter note
Celine Dion supports 2008 Olympics
Canadian singer Celine Dion was in Beijing and gave her full support behind the Olympics.
She flew into the Chinese capital after a concert in Shanghai.
Dion said she was definitely against boycotting the Games.
Cultural Relics Returned to China
Cultural relics dating back from 2,000 BC to the Ming Dynasty were returned to China after they were smuggled out a decade ago.
The 156 ceramic and jade pieces were discovered in Denmark in 2006. China got them back through the Danish courts.
Jet Li wins at Hong Kong Film Awards
Martial arts star Jet Li won best actor at the 27th Hong Kong Film Awards for his role in The Warlords.
The period epic also scored seven other prizes including best film and an award for its director, Peter Chan.
（英语点津 Celene 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Bernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, producing current affairs shows and documentaries.
Brendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op’Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily’s Website opinion section.
He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.