Artículos de Agosto 2008

The Tomatina

Viernes, 29 Agosto 2008

It all started on the last Wednesday of August 1945, when the young people of that time were in the village square, where the “Tomatina” is celebrated. As the local authorities and the music band were parading during a festival of “giants and big-headeds”, a group of these young people who wanted to participate in the festival pushed the other young people who were wearing costumes. One of the young people fell on the floor, and when he got up he started to hit everyone there, so everybody started fighting. Nearby there was a vegetable market stall in the street with the boxes of vegetables ready to be sold. The young people started to throw tomatoes to each other until the police took control and stopped that “battle” and ordered the responsible party to pay for the damages. The following year, the young people of the village repeated the “battle” but they brought their own tomatoes from home. Again this was broken up by the local police. After repeating the same celebration during consecutive years, the festival was non-officially established. These people did not imagine that they had established a tradition that would grow year by year.

In the beginning of the fifties the festival was forbidden by the City Hall of Buñol. But it did not stop some people from repeating the event and they were imprisoned. The village asked for the festival to be allowed and they insisted so much that finally the local authorities agreed to allow it. Each year there were more and more people participating in the festival, they had their pockets full of tomatoes and they were ready to throw water to each other, to jump in the fountains and to participate in other ‘loutish acts’. The problem was that this battle also involved the people who were only interested in watching and sometimes there were important people being ‘attacked’. So the festival was forbidden again.

In 1955 and as a protest the people celebrated ‘the tomato funeral’, a big demonstration where the villagers carried a coffin with a big tomato inside and they were accompanied by the band of music playing funeral marches. In 1957, the festival was definitely allowed and nowadays the City Hall organises and promotes this festival which made them famous all over the world.

The festival became popular all over Spain due to the Javier Basilio’s report, broadcasted in the TV program Informe Semanal.

Since 1980, the City Hall supplies the people with the tomatoes, and every year more and more tons of tomatoes are used, also there are more and more visitors.

On the 27 August 2002, the General Tourism Office awarded the Tomatina of Buñol with the title of <Festival of International Tourist Interest>.

Olympic Games

Lunes, 25 Agosto 2008

The Olympic Games is an international multi-sport event. The original Olympic Games were first recorded in 776 BC in Olympia, Greece, and were held until AD 393. Interest in reviving the Olympic Games proper was first shown by the Greek poet and newspaper editor Panagiotis Soutsos in his poem “Dialogue of the Dead” in 1833. Evangelos Zappas sponsored the first modern international Olympic Games in 1859. He paid for the refurbishment of the Panathenian Stadium for Olympic Games held there in 1870 and 1875. This was noted in newspapers and publications around the world including the London Review, which stated that “the Olympian Games, discontinued for centuries, have recently been revived! Here is strange news indeed … the classical games of antiquity were revived near Athens.”

The International Olympic Committee was founded in 1894 on the initiative of a French nobleman, Pierre Frédy, Baron de Coubertin. The IOC has become the heart of the “Olympic Movement,” a conglomeration of sporting federations that are involved in the organization of the Games. As the Olympic Movement has grown so have the profile and complexity of the Games. Participation in the Games has increased to the point that nearly every nation on earth is represented. With the proliferation of satellite communications, the Internet, and the continuing trend towards globalization, the Olympics are consistently gaining supporters. This growth has created numerous challenges, including political boycotts, the use of performance enhancing medications, bribery of officials, and terrorism.

Despite these challenges the Olympics have continued to thrive and flourish. Each successive Games attempts to add more events in order to keep up with the ever-evolving advance of athletic expression around the world. The 2008 games in Beijing comprised 302 events in 28 sports. The most recent Winter Olympics in 2006 featured 84 events in 7 sports. While the Olympic Games do continue to evolve, they also encompass many rituals that were established during their infancy in the late 19th and early 20th century. Most of these traditions are on display during the Opening and Closing ceremonies, and the medal presentations. For its part, the Olympic Movement has made considerable progress in fostering participation among as many nations as wish to compete, as well as focusing on the Olympic motto: Citius Altius Fortius - Faster, Higher, Stronger.

Edinburgh International Festival 08

Martes, 19 Agosto 2008

Welcome to Festival 08.  The Edinburgh International Festival was founded in 1947 in the aftermath of a devastating war, as an optimistic expression of what Europe could be. It owes its origins to an imperative to rebuild a sense of community in a continent which had torn itself apart; to restore hope to shattered lives through music, opera, drama, and dance. Europe today is a very different place. Borders have been redrawn in every direction and these borders are not just political or geographic, but also cultural, social and even religious. These are exciting times in which to live in Europe; times which demand a commitment to our sense of community. A festival is an expression of the creative ambition of the community it serves. It’s also a place where the personal and collective challenges we face as a society can be explored; Explored by artists working across and beyond the very boundaries which often seem so problematic. Festival 08 invites you to embark upon an exciting and often confronting journey along these cultural borders. Artists from Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bosnia and Georgia are juxtaposed with work from Lebanon, Turkey, the Palestinian Territories, Israel and Iran, all places with particular challenges on their own borders. Music from orthodox Christian traditions is heard alongside devotional masterpieces from Islam. Most illusive of all are the rich traditions of gypsy music, a source of inspiration to composers from Brahms to Bartok, which reject the idea of borders of any kind altogether. I hope that you will chart your own path through this Festival and create your own journey.


The International Descent of the River Sella

Lunes, 4 Agosto 2008

The International Descent of the River Sella will be celebrated on Saturday 9th August 2008 and is open to all spanish and foreign participants in possesion of the competitor’s licence for the present year.

Organization belongs to the Royal Spanish Canoeing Federation and, by delegation, to the Sella Organizing Committee.

At 12:00 a.m. the starting positions of craft will be allocated by categories, in accordance with the regulations of the race. All craft should be situated at their starting positions at 11:00 a.m. These positions will be checked by the Line Judges on the banks of the river. After finishing the Official Ceremony, the Starting Judges will signal the start by changing the colour of the traffic lights situated on the river bank from RED to GREEN (indicating the start). All craft should be situated out of the water and each participant on the river bank in front of the structure positioned for this purpose. The start system should be closed at 11:45 a.m.
Along the Sella River betwen Arriondas and Ribadesella bridges (20 Km.). Place: Asturias (Spain).The Cadets, Centenarians, and Mixed categories as well as the RR types, have their Finishing Line at the Llovio railway bridge (15 Km.) where the river estuary begings and where the outdoor lunch and festivities are held. The Senior, Junior and Veterans categories (Men and Women in K2, K1, C2 and C1)) have their Finishing Line at Ribadesella (20 kms.)
The finishing line will be situated below the central point of the bridge at Ribadesella marked with the sign META (20 Km.)Not withstanding, as already indicated in the section “COURSE”, there will be an additional finishing line below the railway bridge at Llovio, for the particular categories mentioned previously. Orange buoys will be positioned near the bridge at Ribadesella, making a channel through which those craft competing in the race will enter and avoiding the possibility that other vessels enter the zone around the finishing line.

Pekin 2008

Viernes, 1 Agosto 2008

From Times Online


 August 1, 2008                           

Public lose their appetite for Beijing Games

Ashling O’Connor, Olympics Correspondent

Negative publicity surrounding the Beijing Games has caused a “drastic” fall in interest in the Olympics in Britain, according to market research released today. The public’s appetite for the world’s biggest sports event has declined since the Athens Games in 2004, led by concerns about China’s human rights record and air pollution.

The survey by Sport+Markt, published exclusively in The Times, showed that the proportion of people who were either “interested” or “very interested” in the Olympics had fallen from 52 per cent to 36 per cent over the past four years. Britain displayed the lowest level of enthusiasm out of the five major European countries - Germany, Italy, France, and Spain - where interest had fallen. Germany registered the highest level.

Unsurprisingly, as Beijing is the host city, the highest interest in the Games was recorded in China, followed by Russia, Japan and the US - the other big Olympics markets.

“In the UK, the drop in interest in the summer Games over the past four years is drastic. The fact that England did not participate in the European Championships this year should have had the opposite effect,” Gareth Moore, an international sales director, said. “But negative publicity regarding China and Tibet as well as the environmental issue and discussion on Beijing’s air pollution did its job.”

1,000 people per country between the ages of 16 and 69, will worry the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Jacques Rogge, the president, has maintained that the anti-Chinese protests that plagued the Beijing torch relay around the world earlier this year had not damaged the Olympic brand.

His optimism contrasts with private views expressed by some IOC members that they regretted their decision in 2001 to award the Games to Beijing because China’s political leaders had failed to carry out some of the promises made at the time. Besides a vocal - and non-binding - pledge to improve the human rights situation, Beijing made contractual agreements to increase media freedom during 2008 and clean up its heavily polluted air in time for the Games which start a week today.

However, human rights campaigners are still reporting crackdowns on civil liberties and religious freedoms, and a restraint on the press as the opening ceremony approaches. Journalists in the Olympic Village have reported blocks on certain websites critical of China. Photographs this week of Tiananmen Square encased in a thick haze of industrial smog offer proof of China’s failure to meet the IOC’s expectations.

“The events in Tibet this spring as well as protests regarding the torch relay acted as a negative worldwide campaign for the Olympics in Beijing,” Hartmut Zastrow, the Sport+Markt executive director, said. “This significantly decreased the anticipation in the build-up to the Olympics.” The findings may also worry London’s Olympic organisers. An unsuccessful Games in Beijing could create a hangover effect, although the poll did find that 64 per cent of respondents in Britain were looking forward to the 2012 Games.

There is some good news for the IOC. The survey revealed a jump in awareness among the British public of the Olympic sponsors compared with four years ago. Coca-Cola was the most recognised brand followed by McDonald’s and Visa.

- Separate research published yesterday by the Department for Children, Schools and Families found that more than eight out of 10 young people know very little about the 2012 Olympics. Some children surveyed were not even aware that the Olympics were to take place in London. One Year 2 child thought it would be in the US, while a Year 1 child suggested Australia. Eighty-three per cent know “not very much” or “nothing at all” about the Games. The report suggests that awareness of the Olympics will increase after the Beijing Games. In September, the London Organising Committee of the Games (Locog) will launch their education programme designed to encourage children to learn about the values of the Olympics.