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Everest Olympic road work begins June 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Sports.
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Mount Everest lies on the border between Tibet and Nepal

China has begun work to surface an unmade road leading to the base camp of Mount Everest on the Tibetan side of the world’s highest mountain. The project to pave the 108km (67 mile) road is being done to ease the Olympic torch’s journey to the summit next year, Xinhua news agency reports. The torch will pass through en route to Beijing for the 2008 summer games.

Chinese media say the new road will also assist the growing number of tourists travelling to base camp. The four-month-long project will cost 150m yuan ($20m), according to Xinhua.

The Olympic flame is due to be carried through 20 cities in five continents on its journey from Olympia in Greece to Beijing next year. The world’s highest mountain, Everest, straddles the border between Tibet and Nepal.

The path through Tibet may trigger protests from critics of Beijing’s rule. China invaded Tibet in 1950 and its spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, lives in exile in India.

Four US activists were arrested on Everest in April after unfurling a banner calling for Tibet’s independence as Chinese climbers were carrying out relay assessments.


Real vodka must be made from cereals or potatoes June 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Drinks & Beverages.
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Traditional vodka can only be made from grain or potatoes, the European Parliament decided on Tuesday.

Vodkas made from other ingredients can only use the name if their composition and origin is clearly indicated on the label, according to new spirit labelling rules approved by the parliament.

Parliamentarians from traditional vodka producing countries, such as Finland, Poland or Sweden, had pushed for rules that would have included molasses among the ingredients allowed. Other deputies wanted the notice indicating composition of nontraditional vodkas to cover two-thirds of the label.

But the new compromise rules, approved by a show of hands, were backed by all EU governments except Poland and are likely to be endorsed by EU ministers later this month, officials said. Approval by a qualified majority of the EU’s 27 member states is needed for the new rules to take effect.

The regulations, replacing guidelines from 1989, were needed to ensure the quality of spirit drinks and protect their “geographic origin” indicator that helps sell them and guarantees their exclusivity, the EU said. They also define the labelling of products such as the Czech Republic’s Slivovice, Greece’s Ouzo and Germany’s Rum-Verschnitt, among others.