Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Real World

I plan to do some blogs about the Olympics over the next fortnight but in the meantime the 'real world' carries on regardless of the attempt by sport to bring peoples together...

10th August - Russia bombed a military airport outside the Georgian capital early on Sunday and Tbilisi said Moscow was massing troops in a second breakaway region of Georgia as fighting raged for control of South Ossetia. There were signs of a second front opening in the conflict, with Georgia accusing Russia of sending troops by sea to the larger rebel region of Abkhazia on the Black Sea. A U.N. peacekeeping official also warned of an imminent military offensive by the Abkhaz who, like the South Ossetians, broke with Tbilisi in the early 1990s after a war.

Russia bombed Georgia's military airport 12 km (8 miles) from Tbilisi early on Sunday, the latest target in a Russian air assault on its small neighbour following a Georgian push to re-take the pro-Moscow enclave of South Ossetia. A Georgian ceasefire offer went unheeded by Moscow and separatists in the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali reported that Georgian forces, dug in on high ground outside the town, were continuing to fire on the town.

Russia poured troops into Georgia on Friday, dramatically upping the stakes in a long-running stand-off with the ex-Soviet republic over its pro-Western policies and its drive for NATO membership. The confrontation has sparked alarm in the West and led to angry exchanges at the U.N. reminiscent of the Cold War.

Meanwhile, in China itself, the Games' Day Two was spoiled by pre-dawn blasts and a shootout in Xinjiang, some 3,000 km (1,860 miles) west of Beijing. State media said "lawbreakers" tossed homemade explosives into local government buildings. Five attackers were shot dead by police, and two officers plus a security guard injured. Suspected Muslim militants killed 16 police in the same region a week ago. It was not known who was behind Sunday's attack.

Beijing says it has foiled past plots to sabotage the Olympics by separatists in Xinjiang. Critics accuse China of exaggerating the threat to justify repression of dissidents. Chinese authorities hope the Games will finally put the spotlight on sports after a build-up dominated by accusations of rights abuses and concerns over pollution despite Beijing's desire to showcase its modern face and economic might.

On the first day, though, a Chinese man stabbed to death the father-in-law of a U.S. men's volleyball coach at a tourist spot.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose...

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