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Pt 2: Totalitarian Training - Huang Xu must be feeling some relief this week. China's men's gymnastics coach had threatened to throw himself off of one of Beijing's now-countless high-rises if his team didn't deliver gold. On Tuesday, the team did win gold. And Mr. Huang gets to live another day.
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It's Thursday August 14.
According to tribal elders in Iraq's Anbar province, al-Qaeda is banning women from buying "suggestively shaped" vegetables, like cucumbers.
Currently, al-Qaeda in Iraq is also said to be working on an edict forbidding men from buying donuts...Tim-Bits only, boys!
This is The Current.
Oil and Georgia
Despite repeated calls for a ceasefire, the six-day-old conflict between Georgia and Russia seemed to grow deeper this week. Russian tanks rolled into the Georgian city of Gori. There are reports that Russian forces sank Georgian vessels at the Black Sea port of Poti. And it appears that military activity in the region is escalating, not diminishing. In the midst of all that, U.S. President George Bush had some harsh words for Russia. He said he would not tolerate Russian hostility and that his administration's support of Georgia is about preserving democracy.
From the beginning, many observers have explained the conflict as a cold-war aftershock. But according to my next guest, that analysis ignores one, strategically crucial detail -- oil. Steve LeVine is a correspondent for BusinessWeek magazine who lived in the region for many years. He's also the author of several books, including The Oil and The Glory: The Pursuit of Empire and Fortune on The Caspian Sea. Steve LeVine joined us from Washington.
Listen to Part One:
Huang Xu must be feeling some relief this week. China's men's gymnastics coach had threatened to throw himself off of one of Beijing's now-countless high-rises if his team didn't deliver gold. On Tuesday, the team did win gold. And Mr. Huang gets to live another day.
Whether he was bluffing or not, there's little doubt that China is especially focussed on winning at the Beijing games. To achieve its goal of collecting more medals than any other country, the Chinese Government has invested enormous resources in an already legendary athlete training system, one that dates back to the inception of the republic nearly six decades ago and has been producing impressive athletes and equally impressive controversy ever since.
Fan Hong has spent years researching China's athlete training system at University College Cork in Ireland. She's also experienced the system first-hand as a competitive swimmer in China. She's joined us from Beijing.
The Inside Track
Jessica Gao spent many years inside China's athlete training system. Back in the early 1980s, she was a mid and long-distance runner for the Chinese national track and field team, before her career was cut short by injury. She came to Canada in 1997 and now lives in Edmonton.
China's approach to athletic training differs from Canada's in a lot of ways. But one of the most fundamental differences is in the psychology involved. For his thoughts on why that is, I'm joined by Robert Schinke. He teaches Human Kinetics at Laurentian University. He's also the editor of the forthcoming book, Cultural Sport Psychology. He joined us from Sudbury.
Listen to Part Two: