Photo: Marc van der Chijs
What must be one of the most eagerly anticipated Olympic Games ever is about to kick off.
What's unusual about Beijing 2008 and part of why these particular Games have generated so much interest are all the issues other than sport: Can China stage the Games successfully? Will the Games signal a change in China's social and political landscape? Is it right for a country with such oppressive human rights policies to bask Olympic glory? Will the Games be disrupted? Will the Games fail? Will the world change its view of China after the Games and will China change its view of itself?
For once, I think it's true to say that the world really will be watching at 1:00pm GMT.
In the meantime, here's a selection of recent Beijing 2008 articles:
MSNBC (amongst others) reports on the dress code that has been issued to Beijing residents advising them literally 'What Not To Wear'. The forbidden fashion list includes the ever popular wearing of white socks with black shoes, and wandering the streets in pyjamas. Trinny and Susannah would approve, I'm sure!
The New York Times reports on the explosion of advertising surrounding the Games in China and how local companies are having to up their game to compete with unprecedented levels of foreign ads.
The Guardian reports on one of the more contentious issues: The millions of Chinese who have been displaced to make way for the Games. There is no doubt that China has pulled out all the stops to makes these Games happen, but at what cost to ordinary, non-Olympian citizens?
The Times reports that top Chinese scientists will use the latest medical techniques to ensure that all female competitors in the Games are really female, putting paid to all those 'Surely that's a bloke?' type conversations.