Culture

 

British Queen celebrates

Sport

Athletes began arriving at the Olympic Village on Monday under leaden skies and persistent drizzle to what will be their home for the next three weeks and the scene of their quest for gold.

Consistent with the British summer so far, the weather was anything but golden to welcome the competitors with brooding clouds and umbrella-busting winds keeping the international flags flapping outside one of the entrances.

However, some of the apartments have already been given a splash of national colour.

One block had a banner reading "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie; Oi, Oi, Oi" spread over several balconies.

Another had a long banner in the Belgian colours hanging down, while others were decorated with Slovenian flags.

The smell of damp fresh pine wood filled the air around many of the newly-constructed buildings.

The site's shops are already open, with a range of international newspapers and handy items such as batteries for sale.

With thousands of athletes still to arrive, the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, still doesn't feel quite like the welcoming park organisers have envisaged.

A myriad of winding, empty roads criss-cross the area, flanked by concrete barricades and metal fences.

Soldiers in combat fatigues operated the airport-style security searches at the perimeter for regular visitors.

 

Some people working in third-world countries for Olympic sponsor Adidas - which produced the official Team GB outfit - are paid less than 68p an hour, the sports giant has admitted.

Countering allegations made at a protest in central London that these workers were paid as little as 34p an hour, the firm insisted the wage rate was "almost double" that figure.

An Adidas spokesman said: "Adidas takes all allegations about working conditions extremely seriously and is fully committed to protecting worker rights."

Anti-poverty campaigners targeted Adidas stores across the country over claims relating to workers in some of its contracted factories.

Protesters attempted to attach labels branded with "34p - Exploitation" to items of clothing, which they say is the hourly wage rate for workers in Indonesia making the brand's goods.

Anti-poverty charity War on Want handed out 14,000 protest price tags to activists who gathered at Adidas's own-brand outlets, including their flagship store in London's Oxford Street, as well as retailers who stock their products.

The demonstrations also followed reports that Olympic organisers were investigating claims factory workers in Cambodia earn only £10 a week basic pay to make Adidas's licensed fan wear for the Games.

Campaigner Murray Worthy, from War on Want, said: "Adidas is clearly now on the rack through growing pressure over sweatshops. Thousands of our tags are being put on its products across the country. It is high time Adidas ensured a living wage for its factory workers."

 

A verdict is expected in footballer John Terry's trial for allegedly using a racist obscenity about Anton Ferdinand.

Terry, 31, is accused of calling the QPR centre-half a "f****** black c***" during a Premier League match on October 23 last year.

He claims he was sarcastically repeating a slur that Ferdinand mistakenly thought he had used, and denies a racially aggravated public order offence.

This afternoon Chief Magistrate Howard Riddle is expected to give his verdict in the case at Westminster Magistrates' Court. If convicted, Terry faces a maximum fine of £2,500.

On Thursday, during closing speeches, prosecutor Duncan Penny said on Terry's account, Ferdinand had used the words "calling me a black c***".

This meant that Terry added the word "f******", and had also used the word "and" before the racial obscenity, Mr Penny said. "If it's rhetorical repetition, why does the word 'and' feature at all? Why are any other words spoken by Mr Terry at all, beyond 'a black c***?'."

He said Terry had used "straightforward racial abuse" rather than repeating anything, and that it was unlikely that Ferdinand would have had the "motivation or frankly the sophistication" in the heat of the moment to make up an allegation that Terry had used racial abuse.

 

Football's world governing body FIFA has agreed to allow the introduction of goal-line technology (GLT) at a meeting of the sport's executives here on Thursday.

The technology will be used at the Club World Cup in Tokyo in December, the Confederation Cup in 2013 and also the World Cup in 2014.

 

Spain's footballers were on Monday expected to make a glorious home-coming, after successfully defending their European championship title and making history as the first team to record back-to-back wins in the competition.

Just minutes after the side's 4-0 win against Italy in Kiev, workers had finished erecting a massive stage for a victory party next to Madrid's famed Cibeles stone fountain, depicting the goddess of nature on a chariot being hauled by lions.

Captain Iker Casillas and the rest of "La Furia Roja" will then be greeted by King Juan Carlos before being hailed by fans in an open-top bus that will travel through the capital's streets.

Goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata on Sunday sparked wild celebrations across Spain, sweeping away the clouds of an economic crisis that has engulfed the south European nation.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said last week that a victory would benefit the country, which is mired in recession and recently received a 100-billion-euro ($125 billion) loan for its embattled banks and has seen its property market crash.

"If we can do it... I believe that it will be beneficial not just for football but for the country in general," he said, changing his previous assertion to Prime Minister Mariano Roy that a win would not resolve the country's problems.

"It will send some signals to the country that we are going in the right direction. And if the success can be transferred into society, that would be marvellous."

Young and old revelled in Spain's unprecedented third straight international title, blaring car horns and flying the national flag in their hands, through car windows and off the back of motorbikes in a party that stretched into the night.

Spain's red-and-yellow colours were everywhere: painted on faces, decorating wigs, on banners draped over fans' shoulders, wrapped around hips and hanging from balconies and outside bars.

In the streets they banged drums, blared horns or just waved two-euro ($2.50) flags sold on street corners.

In Madrid's Puerta del Sol, a dozen people leapt into the fountain and splashed water over scores of others dancing in joy.

Tens of thousands of people had been glued to giant screens in an official fanzone outside Real Madrid's Bernabeu stadium as Spain added to their Euro 2008 and 2010 World Cup titles.

Others swilled beers, cheering and gasping in bars across the nation as the match unfolded.

"Today the whole country is united as one and everyone is in the Euro. And the crisis? No-one is thinking about the crisis," said 23-year-old business student Miguel Revert outside a central Madrid sports bar.

 

The head of the Syrian Olympic Committee has been refused a visa to travel to London for the Games, it has been reported.

There had been suggestions for months that General Mowaffak Joumaa would be barred from entering the UK because of his connection to the Syrian military.

Due to his links to the regime of Syria's President Bashar Assad, the application has been refused, according to the BBC.

The Home Office said: "We are not commenting on individual cases."

A recent spike in violence by the forces of President Assad's regime has been seen in the troubled Middle East state.

The Home Office is responsible for carrying out background checks on behalf of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and advises the committee on whether an applicant is suitable for accreditation.

 

 

Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner was on Monday banned for one match and fined 100,000 euros (80,000 pounds $126,000) for flashing the sponsored waistband of his underpants while celebrating a goal during Euro 2012, UEFA said.

European football's governing body said that its Control and Disciplinary Body had decided to impose the fine and suspend him for "one competitive fixture" after the celebration during last Wednesday's 3-2 defeat by Portugal.

"This suspension applies to the next 2014 FIFA World Cup match, including the qualifying competition, for which Bendtner is eligible," a statement said on the UEFA website.

Bendtner has three days from the written receipt of the sanction to appeal.

UEFA last week announced disciplinary proceedings against the player for "improper conduct (Law 4 of the Laws of the Game)" during the Group B game in Lviv, Ukraine, that Denmark lost 3-2.

Law 4, which covers "The players' equipment" states: "Players must not reveal undershirts which contain slogans or advertising. A player removing his jersey to reveal slogans will be sanctioned by the competition organiser.

Article 18.18 of the "Regulations of the UEFA European Football Championship 2010-12" also states: "All kit items worn during the final tournament must be free of any sponsor advertising."

The waistband of Bendtner's green and white underwear had the name of a Dublin-based online betting firm. The company, Paddy Power, said on its website that they were "lucky pants".

Jorge Lorenzo cruised to a comfortable win over defending world champion Casey Stoner in the British MotoGP here on Sunday, with Spaniards also clinching the Moto2 and Moto3 categories.

The Yamaha star, a winner here in 2010 when he went on to claim the title, extended his lead at the top of the championship standings on the strength of this his 42nd career success.

Stoner, who is retiring at the end of the 2012 season, narrowly managed to fend off his Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa for second.

Aside from Lorenzo, who now leads the MotoGP championship by 25 points, the feat of the day belonged to British rider Cal Crutchlow, who crashed heavily in Saturday practice and competed nursing a broken and dislocated left ankle.

Despite his injuries the gutsy Yamaha rider finished an admirable sixth, having left his hospital bed and starting at the back of the grid after missing qualifying.

A drained Crutchlow, an absentee last year after crashing in qualifying, told the BBC: "In all honesty it's been an emotionally draining and tough weekend.

"It was a long day yesterday, they told me at the hospital I wasn't going to be allowed to ride, but the medical staff here did a great job.

"Now I need to make sure I'm fit for the next race."

In dry conditions American Ben Spies, alongside surprise pole sitter Alvaro Bautista on the front row, shot into an early lead.

The Yamaha man was closely tracked by Stoner, with Bautista lying third and Nicky Hayden on a Ducati in fourth.

This quartet were clear of a chasing pack headed by Lorenzo, who turned up at Silverstone having rejected an offer to fill Stoner's place at Honda next season, instead signing a new two year contract with Yamaha.

Stoner, who won by 15sec in the wet here last year, pounced on a mistake by Spies to hit the front on lap five as Lorenzo moved up to fourth.

 

Denmark threatened to spring a surprise as they led 2010 World Cup finalists Holland 1-0 at half-time of their Euro 2012 Group B match here.

Michael Krohn-Dehli broke the deadlock in superb style in the 24th minute as he sent both Dutch captain Mark van Bommel and John Heitinga the wrong way and his left-footed shot went between goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg legs.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer stayed on course for a mouth-watering French Open semi-final showdown, but only after they survived fourth round scares at a chilly Roland Garros.

Djokovic staged an epic recovery to defeat Italy's Andreas Seppi 4-6, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 while Federer, the champion in 2009, dropped the first set against Belgian lucky loser David Goffin, the world number 109, before claiming a 5-7, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 win.

World number one Djokovic, bidding to become just the third man to hold all four majors at the same time, and first since 1969, struggled in the cold conditions on Philippe Chatrier court against a player he'd beaten seven times in seven meetings.

"I played very badly, but I won thanks to my fighting spirit," said Djokovic, after a 25th successive Grand Slam match win took him into the Paris quarter-finals for the sixth time.

"He was the better player for the first two sets and I was fortunate to come through. But even at two sets down I still believed I could do it and that's about the only positive I can take. It was one of those days when nothing worked." 

A lacklustre Djokovic committed 77 unforced errors to 22nd-seeded Seppi's 81 before pulling through after four hours and 18 minutes.

He will next face either French fifth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka, the 18th seed, for a place in the semi-finals.

Tsonga was leading 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), 3-6, 3-6, 4-2 when their match was suspended until Monday because of fading light.

The 25-year-old Djokovic has never got beyond the semi-finals in Paris and his discomfort on the testing red clay courts was starkly illustrated last year when a 43-match winning run was ended by Federer.

For the first two sets on Sunday, he was heading for the biggest shock since Rafael Nadal had his perfect 31-match, four-title stretch smashed by Robin Soderling at the same stage in 2009.

But the top seed regrouped as Seppi, who had also played five-set matches in the second and third rounds, wilted. 

Victory represented the Serb's third win from two sets to love down after pulling off similar Houdini acts against Federer in the US Open semi-final last year and Wimbledon second round against Guillermo Garcia Lopez in 2005.

"I didn't have a good start in the third and fourth sets. That's the only thing I could have done better," said Seppi, who was playing in his first Grand Slam last 16 match at the 29th attempt.

Federer, the record 16-time Grand Sam title winner, booked his place in a 32nd consecutive quarter-final at the majors, but he had been just two points from going down two sets to love down in the ninth game of the second set.

Contesting his 50th successive Grand Slam tournament, the third seed will take on either Argentine ninth seed Juan Martin Del Potro or Tomas Berdych, the seventh-seeded Czech.

Their match was halted due to darkness with Del Potro leading 7-6 (8/6), 1-6, 6-3.