300,000 couples wed on China's triple-eight Olympic date

300,000 couples wed on China's triple-eight Olympic date Beijing - More than 300,000 Chinese couples registered marriages Friday as the opening of the Olympics added to the auspicious triple eight in the 8.8.2008 date, state media said on Saturday.

The Ministry of Civil Affairs recorded 314,224 marriages nationwide, the highest number since the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Olympic host city Beijing recorded 15,646 marriages on Friday, 23 times the daily average, the agency said.

`City of Joy'' heralds Olympiad with palm art

olympiadKolkata, Aug. 9 : A Chinese artist in Kolkata has brought alive the spirit of the Olympics here through paintings made by his palms and fingers.

Fifty-six-year-old Guan Yaojiu paints mountains using his palms and finger instead of paint brushes.

He has dedicated this palm art piece to the ongoing Olympic Games in Beijing.

Yaojiu also makes dragons, which are revered by the Chinese, with the help of fine Chinese brushes.

Yaojiu uses his palm swiftly to bring about clarity on the canvas.

For his mountain paintings Yaojiu usually uses black, but adds shades of brown and green to some of his works.

Olympic torch maker finally relaxes after intense exhaustion and excitement

Olympic Torch New Delhi, August 9 : Huang Qijun, the 45-year-old maker of the Xiangyun (lucky clouds) torch, actually heaved a sigh of relief when it lit the Olympic cauldron on Friday night.

He was the one who produced the safety lantern and community cauldrons used in every relay, and accompanied the torch from Greece to Beijing.

"I instantly felt relaxed. I was exhausted, but also excited. My job is done," the China Daily quoted him as saying during an interview, after the cauldron was ignited.

Throughout the torch’s journey from Greece to Beijing, Huang kept the lowest profile.

Chinese activist feared detained for Olympics, group says

China PoliceBeijing - Prominent rights activist Zeng Jinyan is out of contact and is feared to have been detained by police before the opening of the Beijing Olympics, a rights group said on Saturday.

All attempts to contact Zeng had failed and she was thought to have "disappeared" from her Beijing home on August 7, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) reported.

She has lived under "residential surveillance", or virtual house arrest, for many months and was already prevented by state security police from meeting foreign journalists or speaking to them by telephone.

Beijing Olympics set to improve West''s view of China: Survey

Beijing OlympicsLondon, Aug. 9  A survey from a landmark conference on China held in London has opined that the Beijing Olympics could very well improve or have a positive impact on the way the West sees China in the near future.

Sixty-six percent of those who participated in the survey said there would be an improvement in Western perceptions after the Beijing Olympics, while 62 percent think China will become a democracy.

Seventy-one percent agreed that China''s rapid rise would not been seen as a threat to world peace, while an overwhelming 86 percent justified China being awarded the Olympic Games

Iran set to compete against Israel at Olympics

Iran Israel FlagTehran - Iran will compete against Israel at the Olympic Games for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Tehran media reported Saturday.

Iranian athletes have always rejected competing alongside Israelis as a sign of solidarity with the Palestinians and therefore faced disqualification on several occasions in international sport.

Iran does not recognize Israel as a sovereign state and has in the last three decades followed a hostile approach towards the Israeli government.