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Tokyo breaks ground on new 2020 Olympics National Stadium
TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo held a groundbreaking ceremony on Sunday for a $1.5 billion National Stadium to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike and other dignitaries launched the construction at the site of the demolished National Stadium, which was used during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, by putting their hands on a glass sphere that rotated through pastels of the colors of the Olympic logo.
The ceremony ended with a video replete with computer graphics showing how the stadium is expected to look and function once completed by November 2019.
Work on the stadium in the center of the city fell behind schedule because the government abandoned the original design amid spiraling costs and complaints over its scale and appearance.
Koike, Tokyo's first female governor, took office in July pledging to use her platform to host a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly 2020 Olympics. She has lambasted organizers of the 2020 games for failing to keep costs under control.
An expert panel she appointed put the price tag of the 2020 Games at over $30 billion, barring drastic cost-cutting measures, a more than a four-fold increase from the initial estimate when the city was awarded the games in 2013.
Fans of the old stadium, built in the late 1950s, had lobbied to keep and renovate it. But in the end the government opted to replace it with a more modern facility.
Kengo Kuma, the architect of the new, open-air stadium, chose a wooden lattice design that echoes traditional styles seen in Japanese shrines and pagodas. It is intended to blend in with surrounding parkland and will be structured to minimize costs for heating and cooling.
The structure will use Japanese-grown larch in its wood and steel composite roof and prefabricated panels to help speed the work along and contain costs.
2 Indian soldiers killed along disputed Kashmir frontier
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Two Indian soldiers have been killed in fighting with Pakistani soldiers and suspected militants along the volatile frontier in Indian-controlled Kashmir, officials said Saturday.An army officer said militants overnight ambushed an Indian army patrol, killing one, while Pakistani soldiers provided covering fire near Machil sector along the Line of Control dividing the disputed region between India and Pakistan.The officer, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Ethics watchdog probes Canadian PM's lavish vacation
Ottawa (AFP) - Canada's ethics commissioner has opened a probe of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over his lavish post-Christmas vacation at the private island of billionaire philanthropist and spiritual leader the Aga Khan.In a letter to an opposition Conservative member of Parliament shown to AFP on Monday, Commissioner Mary Dawson said she was investigating whether Trudeau breached ethics laws in receiving a free Bahamas vacation and in using the Aga Khan's helicopter to fly to his private… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Out of place: The increasingly bad reputation of Vietnamese tourists
Vietnamese tourists in South Korea. Photo: Doan Xuan Hai More Vietnamese people are able to afford a holiday. But that is not always a good thing, at least according to industry insiders. The number of Vietnamese tourists grew sharply by 48 percent to 57 million last year, including more than 6 million people who traveled abroad. This fast-growing market has brought both big gains and big problems. At a meeting held by the Vietnam Tourism Association in Hanoi on Thursday, industry insiders… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Trump again slams 'Hamilton'; Pence says he wasn't offended
NEW YORK (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump, in the midst of choosing his Cabinet, took time out Sunday for a second day to criticize the cast of the Broadway musical "Hamilton" and demand an apology for a message an actor delivered from the stage to Trump's running mate about the need for diversity in America. But Vice President-elect Mike Pence said he wasn't offended by the message.Pence said on "Fox News Sunday" that he heard the boos and cheers when he walked into the Richard Rodgers… chat_bubble_outline Read More...
Land of sheep in central Vietnam
Ninh Thuan has a year around hot climate, with a short wet season during September and November. The climate has helped the province gain a nationwide reputation as the ‘holy land’ of sheep. The sheep in Ninh Thuan are descended from those brought in by the French more than a century ago. Today the sheep population is estimated at roughly 100,000, primarily in the districts of Ninh Phuoc, Bac Ai and Thuan Bac. At around 8:00 a.m. every day, locals herd the animals to grazing fields where… chat_bubble_outline Read More...