2010-01-28

Top 10 attractive scenic spots in China

There're thousands of attractions that you will appreciate and love in China, you don't want to miss them - if you have the time. It will take you years travelling in China to go through these attractions.

We are all short of time nowadays, so here're the Top 10 Attractions in China. By all means, go and visit these places if you have the chance to travel to China, you won't regret.

1. The Great Wall - Beijing Badaling
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2. Forbidden City
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3. The Bund, Shanghai
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4. Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses
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5. Yellow Mountain (Mt. Huangshan)
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6. The Potala Palace
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7. Dian Chi Lake
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8. Lijiang, Yunnan
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9. Mogao Grottos
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10. West Lake
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2010-01-28

Flaming cloud lightens sky

Photo taken on Jan. 26, 2010 shows the beautiful flaming cloud scenery in Ganyu County of Lianyungang City, east China's Jiangsu Province.
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2010-01-27

Amazing underwater photos show beluga whales meeting divers

They don't get visitors in these parts that often.

That's because these beluga whales live under three feet of ice in the freezing waters of northern Russia's White Sea.

But when some underwater photographers arrived, they certainly weren’t shy - as these stunning images show. The whales are not endangered but under threat from pollution and loss of habitat.

They are thriving, however, at this whale sanctuary, where a natural bay under the ice provides a haven from the strong currents of the wider ocean.

The 'natural farm' acts as a nursery for breeding whales, as well as acting as a rehabilitation centre for former performing animals before they are set into the wild.

The whale sanctuary was designed and built by marine biologists from St Petersburg University.

Occasionally, guests at the local Arctic Circle Dive Centre can swim with the friendly giants, and get close enough to touch.


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Up close: A beluga whale, Delphinapterus leucas, eyes a diver a few feet away as it swims under ice at the Arctic circle Dive Center in the White Sea, Karelia, northern Russia

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Close encounter: A scuba diver braves temperatures of -10C to approach the whale

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Open wide: The whale tries to eat the camera, unsure of what it is

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Safe: The animals in the natural farm are a mix of wild animals and former performing animals, who are allowed to rehabilitate in the safe environment before being released into the ocean

2010-01-27

Aliens are already on the earth, Bulgarian scientists claim

BEIJING, November 30 (Xinhuanet) -- Bulgarian scientists claim that extraterrestrials are living amongst humans on the earth and that they are already in contact with some of them, the Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

Scientists from the country's Space Research Institute were quoted by the paper as saying that they are currently working on deciphering a complex set of symbols sent to them by the visitors from outer space.

Lachezar Filipov, deputy director of the Space Research Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, confirmed the research was taking place. According to Filipov, the centre's researchers were analysing 150 crop circles from around the world, which they believe answer questions put to them by the aliens.

"Aliens are currently all around us, and are watching us all the time," Mr Filipov told Bulgarian media. "They are not hostile towards us, rather, they want to help us but we have not grown enough in order to establish direct contact with them."

But he said contact will come soon. "The human race was certainly going to have direct contact with the aliens in the next 10 to 15 years," Filipov said. "Extraterrestrials are critical of the people's amoral behavior referring to the humans' interference in nature's processes."

Earlier this month Global Times reported on a claim by a professor at Yunnan University in south-west China who said that aliens were already living in several Chinese provinces. Professor Zhang Yifang said they posed no threat to humans during an address at the Kunming UFO Forum which took place in the first two weeks of November. "I believe they are nice and they have no intention of attacking us," Zhang said, "Perhaps they are shape-shifters camouflaged as human beings or they have manufactured human-like robots to watch us."

Zhang Yifang who is also director of the Kunming UFO Research Association, claims that beings from outer space may be living in Yunnan, Heilongjiang, in north-east China, and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in the north-west. "The complicated terrain of these places makes them perfect for observing us earthlings," Zhang says.

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A flying object is seen on Vancouver Island, British Columbia in this October 8, 1981 photo. In May 2006, the British Ministry of Defence made public a top secret report on UFOs, concluding that three decades of sightings had failed to produce evidence of visiting extraterrestrials.(Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

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An aerial view shows circles created in a grain field near the north Czech town of Liberec, 110km (70 miles) north of Prague, in this picture taken from a remote helicopter June 30, 2008. The origin of the circles remains unknown.(Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

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A visitor to an exhibition by Japanese video and performance artist Mariko Mori embraces the sculpture of an "alien", part of a composition entitled "Oneness", in order to hear its "heartbeat" in Kiev April 11, 2008.(Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

2010-01-27

Astonishing images of Milky Way captured by amateur star-gazer

An amateur star-gazer has stunned astronomers around the world with these amazing photographs of the universe - taken from his garden shed.
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2010-01-18

Russia mulls rescuing Earth from possible asteroid collision

Russia is considering sending a spacecraft to a large asteroid to knock it off its course and prevent a possible collision with Earth, the head of Russia's space agency said Wednesday.

"A scientist recently told me he has calculated that it (Apophis) will surely collide with Earth in the 2030s," Anatoly Perminov told the Voice of Russia radio.

A number of proposals to deflect the 270-meter asteroid's trajectory have been brought up, he said.

"Calculations show that it is possible to create a spacecraft within the said time, which would help avoid this impact without destroying it and without detonating any nuclear charges," he said.

Perminov said experts from Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, would soon hold a closed-door session to discuss ways to prevent the possible disaster.

Experts from Europe, the United States, China and other countries might be invited to join the planned project once it is finalized, he said.

Apophis, which was discovered in 2004, was forecast to pass by Earth several times at a dangerous distance from 2029 to 2036. However, an October update on its orbit by NASA indicated "a significantly reduced likelihood of a hazardous encounter with Earth in 2036."

Scientists have long theorized about asteroid deflection strategies. Some have proposed sending a probe to circle around a dangerous asteroid to gradually change its trajectory. Others have suggested sending a spacecraft to collide with the asteroid and alter its momentum or using nuclear weapons to hit it.


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Russia is considering sending a spacecraft to a large asteroid to knock it off its course and prevent a possible collision with Earth, the head of Russia's space agency said Wednesday.
2010-01-18

Images of annular solar eclipse on January 15, 2010

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2010-01-18

Annular solar eclipse visible in China

Following the splendid total solar eclipse seen last year, an annular solar eclipse will occur on Friday. And people in more than 10 provinces of China will be able to witness the rare astronomic phenomenon.

The eclipse is expected to last a record of 11 minutes and 8 seconds at around 3 p.m. Astronomers say an eclipse lasting longer than this one won't happen until the year 3034. An Annular solar eclipse occurs when the sun and moon are exactly in line, but the apparent size of the moon's shadow is smaller than that of the visible disc of the sun.

The covered sun therefore appears as a Ring of Fire with its rays appearing spread out from the silhouette of the moon. Astronomers advise those observing the celestial show to take appropriate precautionary measures.


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Following the splendid total solar eclipse seen last year, an annular solar eclipse will occuron Friday.

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The path of solar eclipse in Asia on January 15. For half the world, the Sun will be briefly reduced to a blazing ring surrounding a sombre disk on Friday, when an annular eclipse races from central Africa to eastern Asia, astronomers say.
2010-01-14

Yilan County

Yilan County is a county in Northeastern Taiwan. Its name comes from the aboriginal Kavalan tribe. Yilan is officially administered as a county of Taiwan.

International Children's Folklore and Folkgame Festival,“A dreamland for the children of Taiwan, a magnet for art from around the world, a garden of culture for the people of Ilan.” Seven years ago, these were the concepts that launched the first ICFFF, and over the years the people of Yilan have been making it happen step by step. Of all Taiwan’s folk festivals, the ICFFF is probably the best known internationally.

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Each summer, Dongshan River Water Park attracts countless children and the themes of the various years have become for many part of the collective memory. The number of people attending has grown each year since the festival was first held in 1996, surpassing one million visits for the first time in 2002. Not only does the event enrich Ilan’s cultural soil and create business opportunities, it offers a highly successful example which other cities and counties across Taiwan can draw on as they also attempt to bring more culture and art into the life of their communities.

Started from 2004, Yilan Green International Film Festival in Taiwan (GIFT) is a non-competition film festival which launch its 3rd edition from 28/4 to 06/5, 2006. GIFT also aims to build up an archive collecting the selected works for the purposes of relevant research as well as education. GIFT is an international film festival taking place in a beautiful country side of Taiwan. As always, our guests will notice the clean and peaceful landscape of Yilan County and the hospitality of Yilan people. We hope that GIFT is a film festival that could fulfill the expectations of all kind of the audience.
2010-01-14

Taipei Palace Museum

The Taipei Palace Museum and the famous Forbidden City in Beijing are derived from the same institution, which was split into two as a result of the Chinese Civil War. Covering a total area of 1200 mu (about 198 acres), the Palace Museum is located in the outskirts of Taipei City. Construction started in 1962 and the museum was inaugurated on November 12, 1965, the 100th anniversary of the birth of Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), the great Chinese revolutionary. Thus, the museum is also named as Yat-sen Museum. The splendid architecture of the structure is modeled on the Forbidden City in Beijing and incorporates elements of traditional Chinese royal design in feudal society. The museum itself has four floors. The first, second and third floors are used for exhibitions, while the fourth floor is a lounge where visitors can rest.

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The Taipei Palace Museum houses large collection of priceless Chinese artifacts and artwork, including ancient bronze castings, calligraphy, scroll paintings, porcelain, jade, and rare books, many of which were possessions of the former imperial family. The full collection, which consists of some 650,000 pieces, spans many dynasties. Each exhibit, however, puts on display only about 1,700 pieces at a time. At this rate, assuming a duration of three months for each exhibit, it will take 100 years to cycle through the entire collection! Incredible!

On the left side of the museum hall is Chih-shan Garden, which showcases many of the elements of traditional Chinese gardening art. Inside the garden, pavilions, little bridges, flowing water, winding paths and green trees combine to create an atmosphere of simplicity and serenity. On the pillars of the pavilion, verses of well-known calligraphers are carved, increasing the beauty of the area and the pleasure of visitors - even those who cannot read the graceful characters.

On the right side of the museum hall is Chih-te Garden. Strolling through it, you will marvel at the beauty of the pavilions, bridges and ponds that grace this garden, especially in autumn, when the cool wind carries the fragrance of the lotus and sweet-scented osmanthus.

Also part of the Taipei Palace Museum is the Chang Dai-ch'ien Memorial Residence, which was the home of the celebrated painter Chang Dai-ch'ien (1901-1984).

One of the treasures of this museum is a jade cabbage, which was part of the dowry of Concubine Jin in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). What's amazing about this jade cabbage is that it is carved from a single piece of jade that is half grey and half emerald green. The artist carved the leaves from the green part and used the grey part as the outside of the cabbage. Two red katydids posed on the cabbage make this work of art so realistic that if you nipped it with your fingernails you would expect to see juice drip from the wound. When it was carved, cabbage stood for the purity of a family, while the katydids were the symbol of many children-obviously good symbolism for an object that was part of a dowry.

It is said that originally the jade cabbage was the dowry of Concubine Zhen. So why was it found in the room of Concubine Jin? The answer is that Concubine Jin and Concubine Zhen were sisters. When Emperor Guangxu chose them as concubines, their father prepared munificent dowries for them. Concubine Jin loved jewelry, so she was given a huge amount of money and valuables; while her little sister Concubine Zhen was fond of books, so her father gave the priceless jade cabbage to her. When Concubine Jin discovered that there was no jade cabbage in her box, she became angry and cried. In order to comfortable her elder sister, Concubine Zhen gave the treasure to Concubine Jin, thus making it part of her sister's dowry.

2010-01-14

Mazu Pilgrimage, Taiwan

Mazu, the Goddess of the Sea, migrated to Taiwan with the people of Fujian Province in the 17th century to become one of the most revered deities on the island, where today about 870 temples are dedicated to her worship. Mazu's birthday falls in the third lunar month; during this time, temples around the island, including Taichung County Dajia Jhenlan Temple, Changhua County Lugang Tianhou Temple, Yunlin County's Chaotian Temple, Tainan City's Grand Tianhou Temple, and Chiayi County's Fongtian Temple, hold ceremonies, with incense burning, tours by the deities around their domains and other festivities. Among these temples, Jhenlan Temple in Dajia, Taichung County has the largest celebration and also the oldest.


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The pilgrimage from Dajia's Jhenlan Temple takes place during the third lunar month. All sorts of festive activities are arranged at this time, including puppets and theater performances, displays of embroidered banners, float parades, dragon and lion dances, and other events as the procession passes through Changhua and Yunlin counties, and proceeds to Fongtian Temple in Singang, Chiayi County. Many devotees walk the whole trip, which lasts eight days and seven nights.

The Mazu image which the pilgrims carry along with them is warmly welcomed at Fongtian Temple. The devotees prepare meat, fruits, and vegetables as offerings; firecrackers are discharged and incense is burned. Another high point of the activities occurs when Mazu returns home to Dajia in her palanquin; along the route, one can see hundreds of thousands of devotees holding parties for friends, relatives, and the returning pilgrims.

2010-01-14

Enchanting scenery of South Putuo Temple

South Putuo Temple is situated at the foot of Wulao Peak at the southern end of Xiamen City, Fujian Province. First built in the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D.- 907A.D.), it was restored many times in several following dynasties. Because it is located to the south of Putuo Mountain which is one of China's four holy Buddhist Mountains in Zhejiang Province, it is called South Putuo Temple. As a famous Buddhist sacred spot in southern Fujian Province, this temple plays a very important role both at home and overseas.

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2010-01-12

Coma claims stage nine win

Marc Coma won the ninth stage on Monday after picking up the tenth stage victory of his career - beating overall motorbike leader Cyril Despres by a mere four seconds.

Thick Fog hampered the 9th stage - a 547 Kilometer trek from Capiago to La Serena - so the special stage was shortened. Even though it was a mere 338 Kilometers, the drivers and riders still found the going tough as it was mostly on the soft desert sand.

The best ten finishers from the previous day started side by side - the going got tough but the tough got going over the soft dunes with many of them finding navigation difficult.

Last year's champion Marc Coma made an error - It could have cost him dear as he rode 5 kilometers further than the rest of the field. But the Spaniard still was the fastest man to claim the stage win.

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Spanish motorcyclist Marc Coma, seen here on January 10, has won the ninth stage of the Dakar Rally, the 170 kilometres special from Copiapo.

Marc Coma, Motorbike 9th Stage Winner, said, "It's really an unusual day. It's the last day of our trip at the Atacama desert. The competition was very interesting. Though my navigation had some problem, I had a good result. I am very happy."

Moving to the cars, stage eight winner Stephane Peterhansel was undone by the dunes of the Atacama which caused him to lose a significant amount of time. Nasser Al Attiyah won the 6th stage victory of his career with a time of one hour, 59 minutes and 28 seconds. Overall leader Carlos Sainz finished second.

Carlos Sainz, Car Category Overall Leader,said, "I feel very good. The whole course is the desert. We take the advantage of our car-Volkswagon's Touareg to have a comeback. The result is good."

Stage 10 will take place from La Serena to Santiago.
2010-01-12

China's top search engine Baidu hacked

Baidu (www.baidu.com), China's biggest search engine, was hacked on Tuesday morning, and is currently inaccessible.

Chinese netizens pointed out that the hackers, who call themselves "Iranian Cyber Army", changed Baidu's DNS records, redirecting traffic to another site.

Baidu has not given any official response yet.


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The defaced site also included a message that said, "This site has been hacked by Iranian Cyber Army."
2010-01-12

Chinese acrobats wow Muscovites in chilly weather

Throngs of Muscovites have braved chilly weather to enjoy an acrobatic stage spectacular by Chinese performers. The artists from Hangzhou of east China's Zhejiang Province held the show in Manege Square, adding a festive atmosphere to the city of Moscow.

The stage performance opened with a stunning acrobatic dance called "Splendid Dunhuang". For the following hour the show burst at the seams with colorful pieces from the art of contortion, and hoop diving, to plate spinning.

Audiences were enthralled by the impeccable dexterity and agility of the Chinese artists... many who have performed to rave reviews and won praise at both home and abroad.

Audience members said they became completely lost in a magical hallucination, during the show.

It was organized by a Russian charity, for orphans and the disabled.

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Throngs of Muscovites have braved chilly weather to enjoy an acrobatic stagespe ctacular by Chinese performers.

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The stage performance opened with a stunning acrobatic dance called "Splendid Dunhuang".
2010-01-12

Shaoxing opera stuns Beijing andience

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The trio of shows staged were all tried and true classics.

Over the past weekend, Xiao Ya, an accomplished Shaoxing Opera performer from Shanghai, staged a string of three shows at the Chang'an Grand Theater in Beijing.

The trio of shows staged were all tried and true classics. They were "A Scholar and His Wife", "The Imperial Commissioner's Dilemma", and "Romance of a Pundit".

All of them are distinguished by their compelling plots, exquisite melodies, and spectacular costumes. In spite of their South China dialect, the shows had the Beijing audience entirely enthralled.

Shaoxing Opera is a Chinese operatic genre unique to the East China provinces in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Evolved out of the local folk songs and music, it took its present shape about a century ago. In the 1950s, a series of highly successfully Shaoxing Opera movies paved the way for its national recognition. Following decades of decline, the genre has come to see a renewed flourish in recent years, largely thanks to the initiative of young performers.


2010-01-08

"Varekai" descends on London

Now we turn our attention to London where it's also extremely cold. But snow and freezing weather couldn't keep the crowds away from London's Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday for the triumphant return of the Cirque du Soleil extravaganza, "Varekai."

This is the second time Cirque de Soleil has shown "Varekai" at the Albert Hall, with the production making its London debut in January 2008.

"Varekai" publicist, Chantal Blanchard says the historic venue is an important one for Cirque du Soleil, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Chantal Blanchard said, "This is very special because this is the only time we perform in an actual venue. Most of the time, this show, we carry our own venue, we're on tour with a big top. So this for us, on tour with shows, this is a privilege. I mean we come into this magnificent theatre and everything and there's not a lot of places that like you just say can accommodate the way we do our stage and everything and this place is perfect for it."

The show features the amazing acrobatics, precision choreography and fantastic physical feats that Cirque du Soleil has become famous for.

The production follows the adventures of a young man who falls from the sky into a magical forest at the edge of a volcano.

As he is parachuted into a world filled with fantastic creatures and characters and magical possibilities, the adventure of "Varekai" begins.

The word "Varekai" means 'wherever' in Romanian, or gypsy, and is meant to pay tribute to the nomadic spirit of the circus tradition.

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2010-01-08

On-line PS version of Avatar: celebrities become Navi Featurettes

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2010-01-08

Startling strawberry crab discovered off Taiwan

A marine biologist has discovered a startling new crab species that resembles a large strawberry.

The unusual crustacean was found off the coast of southern Taiwan. It has a dramatic bright red shell covered with small white bumps.

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Professor Ho said his team found two female crabs of the new species last June off the coast of Kenting National Park, known for its rich marine life.

The crabs died shortly afterwards, possibly because the water in the area was polluted by a cargo ship that ran aground.

Taiwanese crab specialist Wang Chia-hsiang confirmed Professor Ho's finding.



2010-01-07

Suns beat Kings 113-109

Turning to the NBA and a game between Western Conference rivals, the Phoenix Suns taking on the Sacramentop Kings. This a showdown between one of the NBA's established superstars at the point guard position in the Suns Steve Nash, and one of the rising stars in the game in the Kings superb rookie Tyreke Evans.

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Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash, right, drives to the basket against Sacramento Kings defender Tyreke Evans, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010.

The Suns' Amare Stoudemire, 12th leading scorer in the league.
First quarter: Israeli national Omri Casspi threw down a dunk for the Kings. He knotted the game at 13-all.
Second quarter: Phoenix pulled away, Jared Dudley made it a 13 point lead for the Suns.

Third quarter: Jason Thompson blocked Dudley and scored at the other end. The Kings fought back from a 20-point deficit to get to within six late in the third quarter.

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Sacramento Kings forward Jason Thompson, right, and Phoenix Suns forward Grant Hill size up a loose ball during the second half of an NBA game in Sacramento, Calif.,Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2010. The Suns won 113-109.

Fourth quarter: Sacramento grabs a Phoenix turnover. Casspi hits from 3 point range, the Kings trail by four early in the 4th quarter.

Later, Sacramento down by two. Andres Nocioni banks it home off a no-look pass from Kings star rookie Tyreke Evans. The game is tied at 88-all.

But the Suns went on a 7-0 run. Jason Richardson drained a three-pointer from the corner. Phoenix took a 95-88 lead with seven-and-a-half minutes left in the game.

But it wasn't over yet, Evans stole the ball from Steve Nash and cruised in for a slam to cut the deficit to five. Evans led the Kings with 27 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Then, Beno Udrih scored 8 straight points for the Kings. He tied the game again at 103-all with less than 2 minutes left.

It came down to Steve Nash with 44 seconds left in regulation. He dropped in a long two to put the Suns in front 103-99.

Nash had 30 points and 12 assists. Phoenix beat Sacramento 113-109, and ended a seven-game road losing streak.

2010-01-07

Wolrd´s tallest building opens in Dubai

Crowning glory or last hurrah? Dubai has opened the world´s tallest structure in a glitzy ceremony to put a brave face on its crushing debt woes. Emaar properties, developers of the tower - originally called Burj Dubai - as Burj Khalifa in honour of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan, the president of the United Arab Emirates - say the building delivers a new message: hope for the future.

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2010-01-07

International Ice and Snow Festival opens in Harbin

Chinese visitors slide their way to a Disney-themed ice park in Harbin, as the northeastern city gears up for its spectacular annual International Ice and Snow Festival.

Harbin is the frozen capital of China's northern Heilongjiang province, and on Tuesday, its annual ice and snow festival officially kicks off.

Unable to wait for the opening, locals and tourists alike are already enjoying the glittering ice sculptures, and braving temperatures way below zero at the Disney Ice Festival.

Mu Yongsheng, a tourist from neighboring Jilin province, was happy to have finally made it to Harbin for the festival.

Mu Yongsheng, tourist, said, "It's feels sacred. One of the most sacred cities in the east and I've never come before. It's my first time seeing so many beautiful ice sculptures and lanterns. But this year is really cold, really very cold."

The annual Harbin Ice Festival enjoys a fun-filled reputation for a fascinating variety of snow-related activities and competitions involving artists and ice lovers from around the world.

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