LET THE GAMES BEGIN: Chinatown Celebrates The Olympic Opening Ceremonies + Making Time, Last Night [Photos by TIFFANY YOON]
XINHUANET: PHILADELPHIA, the United States, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — Chinatown in Philadelphia, Pa., turned into a sea of jubilance Friday night as thousands of local Chinese Americans and citizens gathered here to celebrate the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics over 10,000 km away.The event, named “evening of champions,” would “celebrate the spirit of Olympiad, capture the excitement of the Olympic Games and help to showcase the Chinese tradition and culture,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who also wished both Chinese and American athletes good luck at the Olympics. Combining elements of Chinese culture and the Olympics, the event showcased Chinese lion dance, martial arts and folk songs and dances while featuring demonstrations of Olympic sports such as basketball, fencing, gymnastics and table tennis. MORE
NEW YORK TIMES: BEIJING — A Chinese man wielding a knife attacked two American tourists related to an American Olympic coach on Saturday, killing one of the tourists and wounding the other and their Chinese tour guide while the three were visiting an ancient tower in central Beijing. The attacker then killed himself by leaping from the tower, Chinese officials said.
MEANWHILE: GORI, Georgia — Russia and the former Soviet republic of Georgia veered closer to all-out war on Saturday as Russia moved parts of its Black Sea fleet toward Georgia’s coast and intensified air attacks on Georgia, striking two apartment buildings in the city of Gori and clogging roads out of the area with fleeing refugees. Russia acknowledged that Georgian forces had shot down two Russian warplanes, while a senior Georgian official said the Georgians had destroyed 10 Russian jets. Russian armored vehicles continued to stream into South Ossetia, the pro-Russian region that won de facto autonomy from Georgia in the early 1990s. The fighting that began when Georgian forces tried to retake the capital of the South Ossetia, Tskinvali, appeared to be developing into the worst clashes between Russia and a foreign military since the 1980s war with Afghanistan. Russian officials said that 1,500 civilians had been killed in South Ossetia and that 12 Russian troops had died. A Georgian government spokesman said that 60 civilians had been killed in Gori in the two apartment buildings, which were located near a tank base. Each side’s figures were impossible to confirm independently. MORE
NEW YORK TIMES: Bernie Mac, a stand-up comic who played evil-tongued but lovable rogues in films like “Bad Santa” and “Mr. 3000” and combined menace and sentiment as a reluctant foster father on “The Bernie Mac Show” on Fox, died on Saturday in Evanston, Ill. He was 50 and lived near Chicago. The cause was complications from pneumonia, said his publicist, Danica Smith. In 2001, the Fox network took a gamble with “The Bernie Mac Show,” an unconventional family comedy with Mr. Mac portraying a childless married comedian who reluctantly takes in his sister’s three youngsters when she goes into a drug-treatment program. The irascible Mr. Mac made a different kind of TV dad, “more Ike Turner than Dr. Spock,” Chris Norris wrote in a 2002 profile for The New York Times Magazine. Mr. Mac’s special style of tough love — “I’m gonna bust your head ’til the white meat shows,” he warns his surly teenage neice — set the show apart from other family sitcoms and raised a few critical eyebrows, but audiences saw enough of the character’s soft center to find the show touching. MORE