Reuters blog archive

from Global News Journal:

Panda-mania rocks Taiwan

By Ralph Jennings

Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan arrived in a city gripped by panda-mania today. You would think David Beckham or Tom Cruise had just flown into Taipei.

Local TV stations announced the arrival of the two giant pandas from China with the rolling headline: "We're coming!" TV anchors working the story have given viewers across Taiwan every detail imaginable about the four-year-old pandas -- from the fruit and corn buns they love to eat to hopes they will mate at the Taipei zoo and produce a cub.

Michael Turton, a widely read English-language blogger in Taiwan, said China had scored a public relations coup by donating the pandas to its political rival across the Taiwan Strait. "Pandas are so non-threatening ... They're so cute and they're so widely accepted all over the world as a symbol of China. It's very successful."

Not long ago, the pandas would probably have flown to Taiwan via Hong Kong. But since Taiwan's pro-China President Ma Ying-jeou took office in May, once icy ties have warmed and the pandas flew direct from China, courtesy of direct daily air links that took effect last week.

from Global News Journal:

Remembering Beijing’s cramped housing

By Niu Shuping

China's economic reforms have made a huge difference in the availability of affordable and spacious housing.

After I graduated in 1988 from a university in Wuhan, I found a job in Beijing and lived in a dormitory on the top floor of a five-storey office building.

from Changing China:

China opens Paralympic Games

opening cermoney one

Beijing opened the Paralympic Games in spectacular fashion on Saturday, the crowd at the Bird's Nest roaring in approval at the lavish performance overseen by renowned Chinese film director Zhang Yimou.

Particularly well received was a moving ballet performance by a young girl who lost a leg in May's massive Sichuan earthquake.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Britain’s Beijing heroes can teach soccer a thing or two

British Olympic medal winnersStanding in the reception of a Heathrow hotel watching a roll call of British gold-medal winners file past, the overriding impression was just how normal they all seemed.

There was something wonderfully natural and down-to-earth about these luminaries of Britain's finest Olympic effort in a century.

from Changing China:

Snapshot Beijing, 7: Bolt breaks the unbreakable world record

Bolt breaks the 200 world record

My abiding memory from these Games  will be watching Usain Bolt give everything he had to break a world record most of us had thought unbreakable.

Michael Johnson's time of 19.32 in the 200 metres had never been seriously challenged before the Jamaican sprinter, a headline writer's dream, decided it was finally time to get down to some serious work.

from Changing China:

A pleasant surprise in Beijing

Volunteers stand near the targetsI'd expected the worst when I got to Beijing three weeks ago. I remember what it was like in another Communist country -- East Germany with its suppressed and scared people coupled with deplorable service and shoddy quality everywhere you turned.

That's roughly what I had in mind for China, although I knew Beijing itself would certainly be a more prosperous and modern place than East Germany, and with a bit of window dressing for the Olympics.

from Changing China:

Snapshot Beijing, 6: Michael Phelps wins eight golds

Phelps in full flow

Michael Phelps trouncing his rivals is always something fantastic to see, and here in Beijing it took your breath away to watch him so often leave everyone else for dead.

But the races which stick most vividly in my mind are the two in which gold appeared to have escaped him.

from Changing China:

Beijing bustling again already

As Olympic visitors started to worry on Sunday about airport return traffic, cars in Beijing were being parked on sidewalks again.

Night clubs were open after an anti-prostitution blitz a few weeks ago. Once banished vendors scrummed on sidewalks to sell Olympic pins, the collection of which had grown to a competitive roar among locals close to the Games.

from Changing China:

Olympic fever hits London

Riding a wave of sporting euphoria after its best Olympic performance in a century, Britain accepted Olympic host-nation status from China on Sunday with a huge street party in front of Buckingham Palace.

Owen Wyatt catches up with Olympic gold medallists Michael Phelps and Bradley Wiggins as London throbbed with 40,000 partygoers at a live concert to start the countdown to the London 2012 Olympics.

from Changing China:

Snapshot Beijing, 5: Fair play gets forgotten

Taekwondo kick to the head

It was everything the event was not supposed to be. The Olympics should embody sportsmanship and fair play. Taekwondo is about discipline and civility in a fight.

Unfortunately Cuba's Angel Vaoldia Matos forgot about both in the heat of his bronze medal bout.