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The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 08-08-08
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Iliades Marched into the Bird's Nest FirstMankind's Feast Kicked Off
08 Αυγ 2008 15:26:00 (Last updated: 08 Αυγ 2008 22:52:33)
By Ampelakis Spyros
A breathtaking combination of colours, sounds and images kicked off mankinds biggest celebration, the 29th Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Billions of eyes worldwide watched the opening ceremony held at the citys packed Olympic Stadium, also known as the "Birds Nest," a ceremony which reached its peak when IOC member and champion gymnast Li Ning lit the Olympic cauldron while winched up to the rim of the stadium. One of the highlights of the event was when children representing each of the 56 ethnic groups in China. The kick-off was nothing but spectacular. During the final countdown, 2008 "fous" (ancient Chinese drums made of clay and bronze) started beating, symbolizing the 2008 Olympic Games.
6... 5... 4.... 3.... 2... 1...
And the "Birds Nest" turned into a flower that exploded in a spectacular display of fireworks.
Making the best of state-of-the-art technological advances, the Chinese director made the Olympic circles look as if they were flying over the stadium, creating a brilliant spectacle for both the people who packed the stadium and those who watched it on TV.
A digital parchment unfolding in the centre of the stadium signalled the opening ceremony of the 29th Olympic Games. Above it, there was a paper, another great Chinese invention. The paper turned into a three-dimensional platform, depicting Chinese ideographs and emblems, including the Great Wall of China.
Impressive was the representation of the Old Silk Road, the ancient route between East and West. High-profile pianist Lang Lang performed accompanied by a five-year-old girl. He was followed by themes "Nature" and "Dream" with 2,008 martial art specialists, lots of imagination and Hollywood-like special effects. The most striking of all was when a huge globe symbolizing the earth emerged from the stadiums' bowels.
British soprano Sarah Brightman sang "You and Me" along with Chinese famous singer Liu Huan. She had sung a duet with Plácido Domingo at the Barcelona Olympic Games in 1992.
The Athletes' Parade
Greek Olympic medallist Ilias Iliades was the first athlete of the 29th Olympic Games to step his foot in the Birds Nest. With the Greek flag in his hands and his irresistible smile, Greeces Olympic judo champion opened the athletes march into the Beijing Olympic Stadium amid the crowds cheers and music played by orchestras from all over the world. Taking part in the Olympic Games is a lifelong dream for all athletes and this feeling could be easily read on the faces of all those who paraded, representing the 204 participating nations.
After the parade was concluded, Hu Jintao officially declared the opening of the Games.
Giannis Ioannides: "Participation Is What Really Matters"
In his interview with NET radio station, Greeces Deputy Culture Minister Giannis Ioannides referred to the opening ceremony of the 29th Olympic Games, stressing the fact that the Greek flag is the first to enter the ceremony: "It is really important that the Greek flag marches first. It was Greece that taught the Olympic ideals. The Olympic Games are Greeces biggest promotion campaign, for it is common knowledge that everything started from here, Ancient Olympia."
The Deputy Minister then commented on the Greek delegation, which has already arrived in the Olympic Village and is trying to adjust to the harsh conditions in the Chinese capital. Touching on his expectations, Ioannides argued: "I believe and hope that all [Greek] athletes will do their best and their achievements will result from their hard work. Participation is what really matters in the Olympic Games.
Translated by Areti Christou
Most Expensive Olympic Games!
The Feast Began in Beijing
 Greek Olympic Team Socked08 Αυγ 2008 20:54:00
By Giahanatzis Dimitris
It was confirmed Friday that a member of the Greek Olympic team was tested positive to illegal substances. However, information remains sketchy. It is a track athlete who was found positive to M3 substance. The Greek team is in Japan to get prepared and adjust to the areas conditions. As per information, the athlete will not travel to Beijing.
Translated by Areti Christou
 Bomb Blast Kills 18 in Iraq08 Αυγ 2008 20:36:00
A car bomb in a vegetable market in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar killed 18 people and wounded 25 on Friday, police said. The town, 420 km northwest of Baghdad, is near the city of Mosul, where U.S.-backed Iraqi troops have cracked down on al Qaeda Sunni Arab militants in recent months. The attack was the biggest since suicide bombers struck Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad and a protest by Kurds in Kirkuk last month, killing nearly 60 people in total. Iraq has become far less violent over the past year, but U.S. and Iraqi authorities say al Qaeda retains the capability to set off bombs killing large numbers of people.