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The Fire burns on - Vancouver Anti-Olympics Torch on its way to London

Itchy the Bedbug, one of Vancouver's Poverty Olympics' anti-mascots, was present when Vancouver anti-Olympics activists handed over their Anti-Olympics Torch to Elizabeth Hogg from the London Coalition Against Poverty. The handover, the first stage in the torch's journey to London, took place next to the Olympic Cauldron in Jack Poole Plaza.

3rd Annual Vancouver Poverty Olympics poster/flyer3rd Annual Vancouver Poverty Olympics poster/flyerThe torch was used in a province wide tour of British Columbia to herald the Poverty Olympics which were held in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside in February 2010 to highlight the plight of homeless people and to remind politicians, VANOC and the IOC of promises made when Vancouver bid for the 2010 Games.

Robert Bonner, who handed over the torch, said the Poverty Olympics group had been successful in drawing attention to the problems and Rick Cooey, the handover's organiser, said they had spurred the province to implement a poverty-reduction strategy and highlighted problems in B.C., including a nation-leading rate in child poverty and a lack of social housing.

Unlike the Beijing Olympics torch, which had to be bussed around London to avoid protests, the event passed off peacefully and the torch will soon be welcomed to Britain where it will contribute to the continuing anti-Olympics campaign.

The other torch will no doubt face further well deserved attempts to put it out which will require a heavy security presence and lots of buses!


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"debt dither, legacy fears"

Dave Hill has posted a summary of Paul Norman's latest updates on Legacy, together with some hints emerging from the BBC about Baroness Ford's future heading the Legacy Company beyong the Parliamentary Summer Hols.


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Ooooh look, more broken promises

Today's Torygraph has this: London 2012 Olympics: Plans for widespread cheap tickets to be scrapped


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Less and less housing for the 'Legacy'

Oh that housing legacy!

It seems the OPLC, the Olympic Park Legacy Company, has revised the amount of housing for the 'legacy' downwards from 10-12,000 units to 8,000.

Of course, it has to be pointed out the housing on the Stratford City site, the Athletes' Village, was going to be built anyway as planning permission had already been granted before the Olympics took over the land.

And then there is the much forgotten demolition of homes for a thousand or so people at the Clays Lane and Park Village sites which should be counted in the calculation of net housing gain.

At one time much of the Athletes' Village, that is the housing, was going to be built at Clays Lane. Residents at Clays Lane did point out that it could all be put on Stratford City but the masterplanner thought a railway running through the site posed a security problem. Residents wondered why and lo and behold the masterplanner suddenly saw it could go there after all. Later the masterplanner scratched his head and couldn't remember anything about it.

The LDA went on insisting there really wasn't any double counting but the ODA just agreed there wasn't really a legacy from the Village after all as the housing was going to be built anyway. They were even kind enough to put it in a FoI response.


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Not quite the Olympics, but a cable car

Over the weekend plans were announced in the media for a cable car crossing the Thames between the 2012 venues The Dome and Excel Centre, perhaps in time for 2012. But it seems this isn't an entirely new brainwave from Bojo and his chums.

'Bluecloud' commenting in the Guardian, and the 853 blog both offer observations on the backstory.


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They can't keep politics out of sport

In Beijing it was Tibet and Human Rights. In London it may be Women in Sport and Palestinian Rights.

Women's rights campaigners are threatening protests against Saudi Arabia at London 2012 if they don't include women in their team and Palestinian artists, trade unionists, teachers, writers, film-makers and non-governmental organisations have called for a ban on Israel participating at London 2012, see the Games Monitor Discussion Group for recent press articles.

However, neither campaign expresses any concern about the IOC. Indeed they both seem to consider it a possible ally in their cause!

Anita DeFrantz, the former US Olympic rowing medallist who chairs the IOC's influential Women and Sports Commission said "I am hopeful that by 2012 every National Olympic Committee will have competitive opportunities for women."

The Palestinians end their petitions with the statement 'We feel sure that, in the light of the information available, you would not wish to lend support – however indirect and implicit – to Israel’s policies, by allowing them to attend and participate in such a high profile event that aims to be "a force for good".

Maybe Games Monitor should open a book on the likelihood of Saudi Arabia or Israel being banned from the London Olympics.


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Come back soon for interesting anecdotes and stories from the team.


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