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  • Countdown Beijing: Holiday Over


    The face of Olympic volunteers: Du Shanshan, 24, worked at the August sailing test event in Qingdao. (ATR) 
    Holiday Test for Olympic City

    The return of holiday-makers to Beijing in the past couple of days has produced a repeat of last weekend's exodus on the eve of the October 1 National Day.

    As many as 300,000 cars poured into the city over the last two days, says the city's traffic department.

    Besides the end of the national holiday, the Moon Festival at the end of the week brought even more people to Beijing to snack moon cakes and cheer the full moon.

    Tiananmen Square, the nation's most popular gathering point, was thronged with visitors all week, including 3,700 people who lost their companions in the square.

    Police offered public address and telephones to help the lost.

    More than 200,000 tourists came for the 6am flag-raising ceremony on the square on October 1, the day celebrated as the founding of the People?s Republic of China.

    Visitors left behind well in excess of 100 tons of trash at Tiananmen this week, according to reports.

    Beijing 2008 headquarters resume normal operations in the next week after closing for the holiday.

    Volunteer Application Wave

    More than 210,000 people applied to become volunteers at the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics after just one month after recruitment began.

    Universities and colleges channeled 157,486 applications while 76 percent of the 52,143 who applied online were in the 16-25 age group.

    A total of 100,000 volunteers for the Olympics and Paralympics are being recruited. Next year 10,000 urban volunteers will be sought to help police with security and traffic management.

    Italian Director OK for Beijing Short, Spielberg Not

    Italian writer-director Giuseppe Torna
    The world's largest public square will play host to Olympic-size crowds in 2008. (ATR) 
    tore, best known for his 1988 movie Cinema Paradiso, has agreed to make a five-minute movie of his impressions of Beijing in the run-up to the 2008 games.

    Tornatore will take part in "Vision Beijing", in which the Beijing municipal government will ask five leading directors to make short movies of the city.

    Steven Spielberg, who will be one of the advisors for the opening and closing ceremonies for the games, said he was too busy to make one of the five films, the government-run magazine Beijing This Month reports.

    The magazine did not say if any other directors had agreed to take part, but it said Oliver Stone and French director Luc Besson were considered for the project.

    Reporting in Beijing by Bill Smith

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