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The Government has spent nearly £750,000 on tickets for the London 2012 Games.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has been allocated 8,815 tickets, including 213 for the opening ceremony. These alone cost £194,525 and include 41 of the top-priced opening ceremony tickets costing £2,012.12.

They have also paid out £71,490 for 143 tickets for the closing ceremony, according to the figures revealed in a Freedom of Information request by Sky News.

Almost two thirds of the 1.9 million people who applied in the six-week first round of Olympic sales ended up empty-handed. A total of 1.2 million people ended up with nothing, with only 700,000 - 36% - being successful.

The DCMS put bids in for tickets for all the Government and, it is believed, its allocation will be shared out across government departments.

Many dignitaries, heads of state and business leaders across the world will fill some of the best seats at the opening and closing ceremonies which will be used as a showcase for Britain. Sought-after tickets for track cycling, with a total of 224 tickets to the Olympic Park velodrome sessions, are among the DCMS allocation.

 

A three-minute chorus of bells will be rung out across Britain to signal the start of the first day of the London 2012 Games.

The mass bell-ringing, masterminded by Turner Prize winner and musician Martin Creed, will begin at 8am on July 27 2012 when the aim is for all the bells in the country to be rung as quickly and as loudly as possible.

The performance, entitled Work No 1197, will be part of the London 2012 Festival to welcome to Britain the 205 nations who will compete at the Games.

Creed, who was born in Wakefield and raised in Glasgow, said: "It is by the people and for people. On the morning of the opening of the Games it is a massive signal that something is happening."

London 2012 now need thousands of members of the public to make the event, based on the tradition that bells are rung to mark special moments, a reality.

Anyone can take part, from ringers using the largest church and town hall bells through to hand bells, school bells, a single bell and even the bell on a bicycle. Community groups, clubs and individuals are all welcome to take part, London 2012 said.

 

Tennis star Novak Djokovic tasted victory at Wimbledon - by eating the famous Centre Court grass.

The Serbian fell on his back after defeating Rafael Nadal in four sets then knelt over and picked some of the hallowed turf and put it in his mouth.

The 24-year-old wowed a 15,000 capacity crowd - and more than 10,000 around Wimbledon - with his blockbusting tennis.

Nadal, who surrendered his title and top world ranking to Djokovic with defeat, could not cope with his combination of speed and brutal shot selection.

 

The organisers of the London Olympics have been drawn into further controversy after it emerged that around 150,000 tickets marketed to Britons were snapped up by other European Union residents.

People in other EU countries obtained just under 5% of the three million tickets which went on sale in the first round ballot, the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) confirmed.

EU law meant they were free to apply for the tickets, despite being allocated their own batch of seats.

Priti Patel, the Conservative MP for Witham, Essex, told the Sunday Telegraph: "British taxpayers and Londoners who have paid through their taxes to fund the Games will be alarmed and hugely disappointed to see they were not given priority on tickets when they went on sale. The system is a farce."

Alison Seabeck, the Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, agreed some people will feel "rightly aggrieved that they won't be able to share in this fantastic event".

The figures do not include the second round sale of 2.3 million tickets which began on Friday.

 

Wimbledon officials have beefed up security after a little-known protest group tried to stage a demonstration within the ground.

Democracy campaigners 15M London - which has a movement in Spain, where it originated - attempted to smuggle banners and tins of paint inside SW19, where it was feared they would target a high-profile match.

The 14 protesters, all Spanish and wearing yellow T-shirts, sent the grounds into lockdown with a Metropolitan Police helicopter monitoring the massive queue. It was feared the group would target world number one Rafael Nadal who was playing on Court One.

Thousands of fans - who had already queued throughout the night in the hope of seeing some of the top stars play - were delayed as bosses closed the gates for an extra 45 minutes.

Ian Ritchie, chief executive of the All England Lawn and Tennis Club, said it was not known if the 125th championships would be targeted again but security had been increased.

He said: "We put a particular message out looking at strengthening the presence on the court. We have service stewards from the armed forces - we have 650 of them.

"They are hugely equipped to deal with the situation as well as the G4S security. For all we know, we have to be prepared for people coming back in on Monday."

A police spokesman said: "At approximately 10.30am today a number of people were stopped in the queue at the tennis for Wimbledon and items were also found near to this group, believed to be for use in a demonstration or publicity stunt.

"The police informed the All England Lawn Tennis Club which delayed the opening of the gates where additional searches took place. A number of individuals are not being allowed access to the tennis following the searches. No arrests were made."

15M London put a message on its website saying: "Important: don't go to Wimbledon - mission aborted." The activists describe themselves as "a movement of outraged citizens" fighting for people rather than economic powers.

 

Photo by MDales, Press Association

 Photo by feradz

On June 2, an unparalleled incident occurred in Kyiv downtown. A group of anti-semitic disposed Pechersk district dwellers attempted an act of violence towards Head of a Polish company involved in the preparation of Poland and Ukraine to hosting Euro 2012.  Crying "you sheeny, clear out of here", several unfriendly women attempted to attack Iryna Kotlyarevska, CEO at Iris Consulting Group (Poland), and to hit her on the face. "We will mop you up anyway, sheeny," the Nazi-disposed Pechersk district dwellers cried.  A Pechersk ROVD militia unit managed to arrive at the place immediately, thus saving Irina from harm, and identified one of the attackers. Iryna Kotlyarevska is known as leader of several education and publishing projects in countries where Diaspora lives. 

 

Demand for Olympics tickets could outstrip supply with one in five adults saying they plan to buy tickets for the London 2012 Games.

But while 70% believe the Olympic Games will boost the UK economy, only 39% believe this will outweigh the cost of hosting the spectacle.

Organisers are releasing 6.6 million tickets to spectators in Britain, with a deadline of April 26 for applications to join the ballot.

Outdoor advertising agency Kinetic Worldwide said the Games could be "massively over-subscribed", with 10 million Britons saying they plan to apply for tickets.

A further 2.2 million tickets will be available to overseas spectators and organisations sponsoring the Games.

In the capital, 36% of people say they plan to buy tickets, with just 23% saying tickets are too expensive. Organisers say one quarter of tickets will cost less than £25 and 90% will cost less than £100. The best seats at the opening ceremony will cost £2,012.

More than half of Londoners say they are now excited about the Olympics, up 10% since October to 51%. Across the UK 40% of those surveyed said they are excited.

More than half of those planning to go to the Olympics say they are not sports fans but consider it to be a "once in a lifetime" experience.

James Copley, of Kinetic UK, said: "Our research suggests the level of anticipation and interest in attending the Games is growing and London will see a surge in visitors at the top end of expectations."

Kinetic Worldwide surveys a panel of 500 UK adults every quarter.

 

Photo by www.mkfive.co.uk

 Press Association Ltd. 2010, All Rights Reserved.

 

A new housing strategy which critics believe threatens Newmarket's position as "the capital of the horseracing industry" has been declared legally flawed by the High Court.

Leading names in the racing world asked a judge to quash a decision to adopt the Forest Heath Core Strategy Development Plan, arguing it could destroy the unique, horse-friendly character of the Suffolk town.

Photo by davelee_jblog

 

A decision on who will move into the £537 million Olympic Stadium, due to take place on Friday, has been postponed, the Olympic Park Legacy Company has said.

A spokesman said "more time is needed to consider the bids".

London rivals West Ham and Tottenham, both in football's Premier League, are in a head-to-head race to move into the stadium in Stratford, east London, after the 2012 Games.

An OPLC board meeting on Friday was widely seen as the point when a final decision would be made for the showpiece stadium.

The company is in charge of securing an economical viable future for the Olympic Park. Final submissions were made by the rival bidding teams last Friday.

An OPLC spokesman said: "Given the detailed nature of both bids received, we need more time to seek further clarification with both bidders in order to identify a preferred bidder. The stadium is a significant public asset and we have a duty to run a robust process.

"In addition to the two short-listed bids, the Legacy Company also has the option of the original plan to convert the Olympic Stadium to a 25,000 seats, mixed-use venue. In going to market, the Legacy Company's aim was to consider options which would enhance and build on that plan."

West Ham, in a joint bid with Newham Council, want to create a 60,000-capacity arena for football, athletics, concerts and community use.

Tottenham, in a joint bid with sports and entertainment giant AEG, has pledged to create an athletics legacy elsewhere and contribute to the refurbishment of the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace.

An athletics legacy was one of the key promises that London 2012 made to the International Olympic Committee when it won the right to stage the Games.

 

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Footballer Craig Bellamy has been arrested on suspicion of assault.

The Cardiff City striker, who is on loan from Manchester City, was taken into custody after two men were injured in an early-morning incident in Cardiff.

The 31-year-old former Wales star - who has also played for Norwich City, Coventry City, Newcastle United, Celtic, Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool - was bailed after speaking with officers.

He was arrested after the alleged assault on Caroline Street - informally known as "Chippy Lane" - at around 2.45am on Sunday. The men, aged 20 and 26, sustained facial injuries.

A South Wales Police spokesman said: "A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault and has been bailed pending further inquiries."

The police were unable to confirm the date Bellamy was bailed to.