The star Olympian and Paralympian was charged on Friday with the murder of 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp who was shot dead at his luxury Pretoria home in a case that has gripped the world.
Police sources close to the investigation told the independent City Press newspaper that Steenkamp’s skull had been “crushed”.
“There was lots of blood on the bat,” one source told the paper.
Police are investigating whether the bat was used to assault Steenkamp, who was shot four times in the early hours of Thursday, or if she used it to defend herself.
Police have dismissed initial suggestions that Pistorius, 26, could have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder, and City Press said she was wearing a nightie at the time of the killing.
Shadows emerge in the life of Pistorius
“The suspicion is that the first shot, in the bedroom, hit her in the hip. She then ran and hid herself in the toilet … He fire three more shots,” a police source told City Press.
Pistorius - a national icon who inspired people around the world when he became the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied athletes in the Olympic Games last year - is spending the weekend in a police cell after being charged with murder.
He is due to apply for bail at a new court hearing on Tuesday, the same day a memorial service will be held for his slain girlfriend.
Pistorius, who had been going out with Steenkamp since late last year, faces a life sentence if convicted of premeditated murder, as alleged by state prosecutors.
“The Olympic Games are competitions between athletes in individual or team events and not between countries.”
— International Olympic Committee
“USA, USA, USA”
— American sports fans
We are again in the midst of the quadrennial spectacle of naked nationalism and amazing athletics that are the Summer Olympics, and the question on everyone’s mind is who will win the most medals. Not which person — which country.
Economists have taken time out of their busy schedules of destroying the world to provide insights into which factors help make countries successful in their bids for Olympic glory.1
The first factor is population. If athletic ability is roughly equally distributed around the globe, the more citizens you have, the more great athletes you are likely to have. It stands to reason, for example, that Australia will likely win more medals than New Zealand, simply because it has five times the population.
But population isn’t everything. As in most areas of modern life, money matters too. If a country is made up of subsistence farmers, it is not going to have much athletic infrastructure, government or private support, or even enough well-nourished citizens to excel in sports on the global stage. So the second main factor that economists use to predict Olympic success is per-capita income.
So, being rich in raw materials (people) and having the wealth to develop them are the main economic determinants of Olympic success. And, since population and wealth are not distributed equally across countries, neither are Olympic medals. In the 2008 Beijing games, 65 percent of the gold medals were won by athletes from only 10 of the 200 countries that competed.
I like this method of protest much better than that practiced by xenophobe hate lobbyists like Geller and Spencer.
Thursday, the Daily Mail reported that police were called to City Hall near the London Olympics to investigate reports of protesting topless women.
When officers arrived, they observed at least four women screaming “No Sharia” and other rants directed towards alleged Islamic strongholds at the Olympic Games.
Four Ukrainian feminists at the Olympic protest, Femen, were arrested after police accused them of disturbing the peace and spirit of the Summer Games.
Protesters (one shown here) showed up to speak out on alleged Islamic regime influences that continue to oppress women athletes.
The topless protesters accuse the 2012 Olympic governing body of fascism and being a willing partner with authoritarian and extreme right-wing systems of government.
Obviously, the feminist group believes the Summer Games is the best place at this point to get their message to a world audience on how women are still treated as subservient to men, especially in Islamic countries.
Mitt Romney’s Friday was better than his Thursday.
He did very little.
The highlights: Romney walked half a mile on a public sidewalk here (driving would have made him late, because of the gridlock), met with Ireland’s prime minister and sat in the Olympic Stadium to watch the Games’ Opening Ceremonies.
Missing, however, was the breakout moment Romney may need to salvage his overseas tour, which got off to a rocky start when the presumptive Republican presidential nominee openly questioned Britain’s readiness to host the Olympic Games.
Romney’s missteps have drawn extensive mockery in Britain and public consternation from both Republicans and Democrats in the United States, and his campaign advisers were at a loss Friday to put a positive spin on the story — other than to look ahead to the next two stops on his tour.
Romney arrived in London under a bright spotlight, as expected, but apparently without a strategy for conveying a message to voters back home — such as reminding Americans of his widely lauded stewardship of the 2002 Winter Olympics or promoting his foreign-policy vision.
As a result, there is now immense pressure on him to find better footing in Israel and Poland. Romney’s advisers hope his events in Jerusalem on Sunday — when he will lock arms with Israeli leaders — could create a moment of strength that might redefine the candidate’s intensely scrutinized audition as a statesman.
IN ANCIENT GREECE it was impossible to stitch a sponsor’s logo to an Olympic athlete’s singlet or shorts, because the competitors were all naked. In today’s London it is still impossible. Though clothing is now allowed at the Olympics—indeed it is compulsory—so is a veneer of amateurism. No advertisements are allowed in the stadium; no logos may be emblazoned on the athletes’ kit (except at the Paralympics: see article).
Behind the veneer, commercial interests are vying furiously for gold. The sums involved make Russian weightlifters look insubstantial. The British government’s budget for the games has risen to £9.3 billion ($14.5 billion) from an initial estimate of £2.4 billion. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has raised $4.87 billion in broadcast fees and sponsorship for the four-year cycle that includes the London summer games as well as the Vancouver winter Olympics of 2010. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), which is actually in charge of staging the games, has raised another £700m in sponsorship; it is raking in pots more by selling tickets and licensing souvenirs.
Eleven global sponsors (known as top Olympic partners, or TOPs) pay fat sums to the IOC for the right to use the Olympic brand. Only one TOP sponsor is allowed in each commercial category: Coca-Cola for soft drinks, Panasonic for televisions and so on. This business model dates back to the 1980s. Before then, the Olympics were a commercial mess, with lots of sponsors paying small sums to borrow the Olympic brand in a few cherry-picked markets. Now, the IOC sells much bigger contracts to fewer sponsors. Top-tier deals are long-term (at least eight years) and global. The size of each deal is secret, but the total for all 11 for 2009-12 is $957m.
Sponsors can pay in cash, in kind, or both. For example, Atos, a French consultancy, is a top-tier sponsor. It also manages the information technology for the games. In its command room overlooking London’s Docklands, 450 technicians and support staff hunch over screens. Among other things Atos handles the accreditation system for all 250,000 athletes, trainers and hangers-on. This means creating a big database for personal information for people from all parts of the world. It has to hook up with the British immigration authorities, so everyone who needs a visa gets one. And it has to be secure: visiting prime ministers don’t want their private data published on WikiLeaks.
Runners who’ve faced off against Oscar Pistorius say they know when the South African is closing in on them from behind. They hear a distinctive clicking noise growing louder, like a pair of scissors slicing through the air—the sound of Pistorius’s Flex-Foot Cheetah prosthetic legs.
It’s those long, J-shaped, carbon-fiber lower legs—and the world-class race times that come with them—that have some people asking an unpopular question: Does Pistorius, the man who has overcome so much to be the first double amputee to run at an Olympic level, have an unfair advantage? Scientists are becoming entwined in a debate over whether Pistorius should be allowed to compete in the 2012 London Games.
Pistorius was born without fibulas, one of the two long bones in the lower leg. He was unable to walk as a baby, and at 11 months old both of his legs were amputated below the knee. But the growing child didn’t let his disability slow him down. At age 12 he was playing rugby with the other boys, and in 2005, at age 18, he ran the 400-meter race in 47.34 seconds at the South African Championships, sixth best. Now 25, the man nicknamed the “Blade Runner” has qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, just three weeks before the games were to begin. But should he be allowed to compete?
The latest from Israel’s “Partners for Peace”®:
The Palestinian Authority has thanked the International Olympic Committee [IOC] for refusing to allow a minute’s silence at the opening ceremony in London to mark the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in the Munich Games.
Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Union, sent a letter to IOC Chairman Jaques Rogge thanking him for his position, the PA’s official news agency, Wafa, reported Wednesday.
In his letter, Rajoub, a former PA security commander, wrote: “Sports is a bridge for love, connection and relaying peace between peoples. It should not be a factor for separation and spreading racism between peoples.”
Wafa said that Rajoub sent the letter to the IOC chairman on Tuesday.
A senior PA official in Ramallah confirmed that Rajoub had sent the letter and said that the Palestinians were opposed to “Israel’s attempts to exploit the Olympic games for propaganda purposes.”
A senior Israeli official responded to the Palestinian letter by saying that “if the leadership of the PA is not willing to disassociate itself from its terrorist past, and is unwilling to see the Munich massacre as a brutal act of terrorism, then in Israeli eyes there will be big questions regarding their true commitment to peace and reconciliation.”
Mr. Rajoub apparently has no problem with killing Olympic athletes for propaganda purposes, only with spreading racism by taking a moment to honor the memory of those slain.
Incidentally, this is the same Jibril Rajoub who not so long ago, in the spirit of “Sport [a]s a bridge for love, connection and relaying peace between peoples”, urged that Israel be barred from hosting part of the U21 Euros in 2013.
And don’t even get me started on Rajoub’s disgusting use of the term “racism” to refer to Israel’s efforts to have the IOC honor the victims with a simple moment of silence.
Mitt Romney handed Barack Obama a priceless gift for the US presidential election campaign when the presumptive Republican nominee blundered on his first diplomatic outing by questioning whether London was capable of staging a successful Olympic Games.
In a move that astonished Downing Street, hours before it laid on a special reception for Romney at No 10 he told NBC there were “disconcerting” signs about the preparations for the Games.
One senior Whitehall source said: “What a total shocker. We are speechless.”
David Cameron wasted no time in slapping down Romney hours after his remarks were broadcast. On a visit to the Olympic Park, the prime minister said: “We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.”
Cameron’s remarks were intended to be a light-hearted rebuke to Romney, who used his famous management skills honed at Bain Capital to rescue the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002.
Romney frantically rowed back later after a 45-minute meeting in Downing Street where the prime minister expressed his unease about his remarks. “I am very delighted with the prospects of a highly successful Olympic Games. What I have seen shows imagination and forethought and a lot of organisation and [I] expect the Games to be highly successful,” he said.
London and the Olympic Games are clearly not made for each other. Visitors will need determination and, most of all, patience to reach the venues at all. And, for the locals, it all can’t end soon enough.
It’s never easy to be a Londoner, not even on a perfectly normal workday in an English summer.
Everyone, whether rich or poor, experiences the same hardships of big-city life in London. For Londoners, the day begins with aircraft noise — which some never get used to — partly because double- or triple-paned windows are in short supply, even in Europe’s most expensive city.
In London, cars, cabs and buses are inefficient forms of transportation for medium- and long-distant trips. As a result, day after day, millions squeeze into the clattering London Underground, the oldest, probably hottest and often fullest subway system in the world. Then, after prolonged inhalation of the melded odors of perspiration and perfume, the crowds pour into downtown London’s too-narrow sidewalks before disappearing into their offices. There, they can finally do what some still do very well in this massive, sometimes magnificent but often excessively wound-up city: make money.
The same drama unfolds every evening, only in reverse. About half of London’s workforce commutes more than 45 minutes each way — if all goes well, that is. Is it any surprise that so many people there have a few drinks at a pub before heading home, resorting to alcohol to cast the place where they live - and their lives — in a somewhat rosier light?
The Economist claims that London “had the best infrastructure in the world” 100 years ago. But, today, the city is already being pushed to its limits on a daily basis. And now this major city is about to host the world’s most challenging major spectacle, the Olympics, for the third time, after hosting it in 1908 and 1948.
The Olympic Games are viewed by most people as a symbol of unity and peace — a time when countries put aside their conflicts and differences to compete in obscure contests like the javelin throw and modern pentathlon. In other circles, however, the Olympics are viewed as “an £11-billion, taxpayer-funded ad campaign,” a “10-day corporate jamboree” and “vanity parades for the political class.”
These are the sentiments of Kerry-Anne Mendoza, a 30-year-old University of London student and spokesperson for Our Olympics, an umbrella movement of interest groups and campaigners opposed to the London Games starting next month. Seeking to build on the spirit of the Occupy London protest camp that lasted for four months outside St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Our Olympics organizers are mobilizing what they claim are thousands of supporters and making plans to try to disrupt the upcoming games in any way they can. “We support and encourage all and any acts of non-violent civil disobedience up to and during the Games. These Olympics really do represent all that is wrong with Britain today,” Mendoza says.
Public protests around the Olympics are nothing new — prior to the 1968 games in Mexico City, more than 20 people were killed in student riots against the government. But the London Games come at a time of universal anger over financial greed and corruption and the austerity measures that have caused economies to falter and unemployment to soar all over Europe. Mendoza says many Britons are furious over the costs of hosting the Olympics when the country is in the midst of a double-dip recession, particularly as the price tag rose to £11 billion earlier this year, more than double the initial estimate. Last month, Margaret Hodge, the Labour MP who chairs Parliament’s public accounts committee, told the BBC: “It is staggering that the original estimates were so wrong … There is a big question mark over whether it [the Olympic organizing committee] secured a good deal for the taxpayer.”