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Games begin in London ahead of official Olympic opening ceremonies

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 26th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The London Olympics got off to a lively start ahead of the opening ceremonies originally scheduled for Friday. Women soccer players got off to an early start with the British team taking on the New Zealand in Cardiff, Wales. Women athletes from the United States, France, Japan, Canada, Brazil, Cameroon, South Africa, Sweden, Colombia and North Korea have taken to the playing fields in what Games organizers are calling "Day -2.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Border staff who had been planning to go on strike later this week over job cuts called off the strike. Traffic restrictions when into effect, inconveniencing drivers from using special "Olympics Lanes" reserved for athletes and officials. All who break this temporary rule will be fined $200 in U.S. dollars.

The Transport for London agency reported moderate traffic problems as the rules went into effect.

While London skies had been apocalyptically gray for the month of June, forecasters now say that skies will brighten.

In the meantime, more than 10,000 athletes from 205 countries are assembling in London for Friday's Opening Ceremony.

A change for this event is now every country will have at least one female athlete after Saudi Arabia included two women in its team for the first time. The gesture is an important precedent for women's rights in the kingdom.

Awards will be handed out in 26 different sports. Many look forward to the chance of a shining new talent to captivate the world audience.

Much of the cost of staging the Olympic and Paralympic Games has been met by British taxpayers, with $14.5 billion coming directly from U.K. funds.

London's Metropolitan Police Service is taking its biggest-ever peacetime operation, running for 66 days across 1,000 venues, including sporting and cultural events and making use of up to 9,500 police officers on the busiest days.

In addition, the British government is deploying 18,200 troops, which is far more than planned after private security contractor G4S announced it could not provide the 10,400 guards for which it had been contracted.

The Ministry of Defense is guarding the games with two warships, Typhoon jet fighters, Puma helicopters, and, perhaps most controversially, surface-to-air missiles placed on apartment buildings near the stadium, despite objections from London residents.

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