Reuters blog archive
from Photographers' Blog:
Zhezkazgan, central Kazakhstan
By Shamil Zhumatov
PART ONE: LAUNCH
During more than a decade of covering Russia’s space exploration program, I have seen pretty unusual missions. I have taken pictures of an investor heading for the International Space Station, as well as those of a clown and programmers flying into orbit. But the most recent space launch and landing have probably become the most unforgettable – the torch of the forthcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia’s Sochi reached space and then returned to Earth. Now, as I play back this hectic flurry of events, it is still hard to believe how closely these two things are entwined – the Olympics and space. The Olympic Games had been aimed by the authorities to strengthen Russia’s image. Given this ambitious task set by Moscow, Russia’s space program – a symbol of national pride, albeit marred by several botched unmanned launches – simply couldn't stand aloof. Space was doomed to become part of this bright political show.
A few months earlier, when I learnt about the future mission of the torch, the only question that haunted my friends was – how will it burn in space? Their avid interest was heated by the torch itself, whose flame had gone out several times since the Olympic relay across Russia began last month. One of my colleagues even joked that while in space the torch would need “a man with a lighter”, recalling the image of a resourceful plainclothes security agent who saved the day, reigniting the torch with a cigarette lighter when the flame went out right at the start of the relay in the Kremlin on October 6. But as the launch date of November 7 drew nearer, there was a general sigh of relief – the torch would not be lit aboard the space station for safety reasons, and it simply would not be able to burn in outer space due to the laws of nature.
The show began on November 5 at 0700 sharp. The gates of a giant hangar at Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan opened, and at the sound of a whistle a locomotive slowly rolled out a Soyuz rocket, whose normally white-and-grey body was now decorated with Sochi Olympics trademark snowflake patterns. A quick glance at a large number of armed policemen, their armor and helicopters hovering overhead left no one in doubt that the upcoming launch was of paramount importance to Moscow.
Nowadays Russia’s space program is no longer in the limelight as was the case during the heyday of its glory, but there was an unusually large number of journalists at that pre-flight news conference. The torch, placed on a smaller table between the main and backup crews, was in dissonance with the routine picture and created an impression of a third person being present. U.S. astronaut Rick Mastracchio often looked at it during the news conference.
from Photographers' Blog:
Park City, Utah
By Lucas Jackson
It’s that time of year again. All around us the leaves are changing, the air is getting crisp, and while most of us are enjoying one of the nicest times of the year around the world, thousands of world class athletes are entering the final phases of their training to compete in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
This past week I was assigned for the second time in as many years to take portraits of more than a hundred members of the U.S. Olympic team before they finish their training and head to the Olympics. These media weeks organized by the U.S. Olympic Committee are an amazing opportunity for media outlets from all over the country to sit down, interview and photograph our athletes with little disruption to their training schedules or personal lives before one of the biggest events of their athletic careers. For the photographers it is a whirlwind three days where we spend anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes trying to capture a portrait of every athlete who attends.
By Peter Thal Larsen
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
Japan’s Olympic boost will be mostly psychological rather than financial. Tokyo’s victory in the race to host the 2020 summer Games will help Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to rebuild the country’s confidence. But expectations that an Olympian investment spree will lift Japan out of deflation are as misplaced as fears that it will trigger a debt crisis.
from Global Investing:
The world's leading ad agencies are positioning themselves in Brazil, Russia and China -- countries that are expected to provide almost a third of the growth in global advertising over the next three years. That's according to a report by S&P Capital IQ Equity Research, a unit of publishing giant McGraw Hill.
Most major advertisers already have a foothold in these BRIC economies, where the advertising market is projected to grow by an average 10.7 percent a year over the next three years -- more than three times the growth rate in the developed world. Over the next 15 years, big emerging markets will add $200 billion to the global ad spend, S&P Capital IQ reckons.
from Photographers' Blog:
By Kai Pfaffenbach
There are a few things you expect as a German photographer from cozy Frankfurt when your boss sends you to cover the test events for the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympic winter games in Russia.
Will it be heavy snow and cold you have to brave? How difficult will communication be (as I don't speak Russian)? How will the general feeling of Russians be about Germans a few days after they celebrated the anniversary of their big victory over Hitler's sixth army in Stalin-(Wolgo)grad during WWII in 1943? Well, after nine days within the 70km (43 mile) perimeter of the 2014 Olympics I can say it is a bit of everything but it is definitely a balancing act between extremes.
from The Great Debate UK:
It is clear Britain got a ‘bounce’ from the Olympics, but much more is needed to secure long-term economic legacy
--Andrew Hammond is an Associate Partner at ReputationInc. He was formerly a UK Government Special Adviser, and a Senior Consultant at Oxford Analytica. The opinions expressed are his own.--
Six months since the London 2012 games began, a flurry of research has indicated that the UK’s international image has received a boost from hosting the Olympics and Paralympics. Most recently, the latest Anholt GfK Roper Nation Brands Index, released on January 17, showed that the United Kingdom edged up from fifth to fourth place since July 2012 in the survey’s overall country reputation rankings; only the United States, Germany and France currently have a more favourable nation brand.
from India Insight:
The outrage has simmered down, cricket has cast its usual mammoth shadow and there are burning, more important, social issues to deal with.
No wonder, there is simply no trace of the gloom that had descended on India after the world's second most populous nation was kicked out of Olympic family earlier this month.
from Left field:
I cannot remember a year with more British sporting success. Andy Murray has had the best year of his career, becoming the first British man to win a major in 76 years. On top of that, he won Olympic gold at Wimbledon in singles, silver in the mixed doubles and also reached the Wimbledon singles final.
Britain's Olympic and Paralympic teams may have brought home more medals than organisers had dreamed possible but the Games themselves have probably failed to lift the economy as much as the government had hoped.
The country's gross domestic product will grow 0.6 percent in the current quarter, according to the latest Reuters poll, revised down from a 0.7 percent prediction in an August poll.
from The Great Debate UK:
--Andrew Hammond is an Associate Partner at ReputationInc, and was formerly a UK Government Special Adviser, and Senior Consultant at Oxford Analytica. The opinions expressed are his own.--
With the Paralympics now concluded, the curtain has come down on a remarkable London 2012 and Diamond Jubilee Summer that has more than delivered on the “like no other” tagline given to it. Now, significant, urgent effort is required so that the once-in-a-generation opportunity for meaningful economic and reputational legacy is not lost - we need an 'Economics Team GB'.