With 2008 just a week away, Beijing 2008 organizers are down to the finish line in its preparations for the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympic Games next August.

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Science and Technology said most of its money for technological upgrades in the past year went to Olympic-related projects. According to a Chinese website the government contracted several research institutes and hi-tech companies to build a multi-lingual call centre for the Games which would provide help in 12 major global languages.

The hi-tech call centre and self-service information kiosks built along main Beijing streets have been tested and proved effective.

The municipal government also encouraged local companies to develop a computerized caption system in Chinese to ensure accessibility to the visually impaired. The Chinese-captioned video signals are to broadcast from the Olympic media centre for the first time.

Also, an intelligent urban transport system, consisting of a control headquarters and automatic monitoring sites surveying real-time traffic conditions, will be available ahead of the 2008 Games.

The expansion project of the Beijing Capital International Airport passed a final inspection Tuesday. The new terminal building is five times larger than the old one.

More than 300,000 officials, athletes and visitors are expected to travel through the airport for next August’s Games. The expanded section is scheduled to be operational in May.

The project, which cost 27 billion yuan, is also the first officially accepted large construction project for the 2008 Games.

Meanwhile the city has spent 380 million yuan to improve its network of barrier-free facilities for the Paralympic Games. A recent inspection revealed that the new Paralympic venues meet the standards of accessibility set by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The inspection also showed progress in the construction of accessible facilities to Beijing’s transport system, hospitals, shopping centres, tourist locations and other public places, according to Beijing’s vice mayor Ding Xiangyang.

China is to phase in cleaner motor fuel in Beijing in the next two months. It’s a move to clean the city’s “smoggy” skies ahead of the Games. Oil product wholesales and retailers will be required to start supplying gasoline and diesel fuel conforming to the cleaner Euro IV standard starting January 1, and complete a replenishing of their tanks with the new fuel by the end of February, reports the Beijing News Tuesday.

Beijing 2008 said Monday the second phase of tickets sales for the Games closes Sunday, with more than 340,000 people having booked over two million tickets. Beijing 2008 released a statement saying “by 12:00 Monday we have received more than 340,000 orders and about 90 per cent of the orders were over the Internet and the rest through Bank of China branches”.

BOCOG also received bookings for 23,000 tickets to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

Tickets will be allocated by a random draw, but the date of the lottery has yet to be announced.

The official website of China’s National Stadium, www.n-s.cn opened on Monday. The site has general information about the facilities as well as a traffic guide and calendar of major events at the main stadium during the Games, in a user-friendly interface. It’s in English and Chinese and has a multi-media introduction.

PUBLICATION: GamesBids.com
DATED: 25th December 2007