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from Changing China:

A tale of two stadiums

Evacuated people rest at a sports stadium which was turned into a temporary shelter in MianyangThis weekend, Beijing inaugurated the new Bird's Nest Stadium with the "Good Luck Beijing" track and field event. I attended less than 24 hours after covering the earthquake in Sichuan, and the contrast between sports and rubble was a little hard to digest.

The Bird's Nest stadium, built for the Olympics, can seat 91,000 fans. The air flows through well, keeping it cool in the muggy Beijing summer. The seats are well-positioned, so the contestants can be seen easily. The screens are visible, the sound-system clear, the lighting strong but not harsh.

The Mianyang stadium, in Sichuan, is currently housing nearly 20,000 refugees. Every railing is covered in clothing, the floors covered in cardboard and quilts. The glassed-in second story helps shield old people and children from the rain. The screens are tuned to television coverage of the disaster and the PA system booms out the radio news.

Competitors prepare to run during the Good Luck Beijing China Athletics Open in BeijingLucky Beijing, Unlucky Sichuan.

But the two stadiums have some things in common.

A small army of young volunteers works in each. Fresh faced volunteers in Beijing answered the call to help China's Olympics make a shining impression on the world. Masked volunteers in Mianyang answered the call to serve fellow Chinese in an hour of need.

from Changing China:

The earthquake and the Olympics

A soldier carries out relief work as a Beijing Olympics countdown board is seen in the background after an earthquake in BeichuanThe tenor of China's Olympic year changed dramatically over the past two weeks.

What had been a building crescendo of celebration and national pride turned into an outpouring of grief and support for the earthquake-hit province of Sichuan.

Wall-to-wall television coverage of the torch relay, a blissful affair once on Chinese soil, gave way to heart-rending reports from the devastated epicentre and uplifting scenes of a nation pulling together to confront disaster.

from Changing China:

Disaster in Sichuan

Earthquake damage in Dujiangyan

I was one of the first foreign reporters on the scene after a devastating earthquake hit the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan on May 12.

It all seemed so normal when I arrived in the provincial capital Chengdu, some 12 hours after the 7.9 magnitude tremor hit, that I thought maybe the area had got off lightly. But heading in the hard hit town of Dujiangyan, just north of Chengdu, two hours after arriving in Sichuan, I realised how bad the situation was.

from Changing China:

Where next for the torch?

The national flag in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square flies at half mast in memory of those who died in the massive earthquakePreparations for the Beijing Olympics have understandably taken a back seat to the tragedy in Sichuan.

On Sunday, it was announced that the torch relay would be suspended from Monday to Wednesday to mark three days of national mourning.

from Photographers' Blog:

Why I became a news photographer – continued

 China Quake 1

I covered the aftermath of an earthquake years ago as a new-comer to the business. I was living in Rome and we had felt the quake as it struck a moutainous region of Southern Italy just before 8 o'clock on a Sunday evening in November.

It was first light by the time we got to the village of Balvano. As, I drove down into the valley, the village was blanketed by cloud. There was no sound, there were no lights but as we passed through the cloud, we became aware of an awful noise - the terrible wailing of the survivors.

from MediaFile:

Breaking news, Twitter style

twitter.pngNews of a possible explosion rippled through the popular online service Twitter on Tuesday, in a preview of what's to come in the realm of breaking news and citizen journalism. Twitter is a so-called microblogging site that allows users to send and receive short messages.

At about 1:37 pm, software developer Dave Winer asked the Twitterverse: "Explosion in Falls Church, VA?" (Perhaps not coincidentally, Winer is a well-known blogger and podcasting evangelist). A flurry of posts, or "tweets," followed, as users reported rumbles as far away as Alexandria.