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Olympic budget raised to US$2 bln
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The appreciation of Yuan and the heightened tasks in security management have driven up Beijing's Olympics budget from US$1.6 billion to US$2 billion, Liu Jingmin, executive vice president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games, said in Beijing on Friday.

The figure still stays short of the 2.4-billion-USD budget for the Athens Olympics in 2004, he noted, adding that the committee would make a second revision of the budget in line with needs.

Olympic Beijing builds handicapped accessible facilities 


Beijing is renovating more than 1,000 public facilities a year for easier access of wheelchairs, said Liu Jingmin.


"All Beijing's star-level hotels and more than 40 hospitals are handicapped accessible," he told reporters on the sidelines of the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.


Beijing's Olympic facilities also include a new terminal building at the Capital International Airport and a more comprehensive subway network, which will extend to the Olympic village and the airport in time for the Beijing Games, said Liu.


Beijing's No. 5 subway line, running through the heart of the city from north to south, was inaugurated on Oct. 7 to boost public transport and ease road congestion ahead of the Olympics.


All the new routes employ wheelchair accessible cars.


The city promised last month it would put more handicapped accessible buses into service and replace all subway cars running on its two downtown routes with new ones in an effort to improve public transport facilities for the Olympics.


20,000 Olympic torch bearers to be chosen globally


Liu also revealed that more than 20,000 torch bearers are to be chosen around the world and preparations for the Olympic torch relay both in China and the rest of the world are going on smoothly.


According to the plan, the torch will be relayed to Mount Qomolangma. The number of torch bearers would be 21,880, the organizing committee revealed previously.


Venues to be completed


Construction of the National Stadium where the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics is to be held will be accomplished next March and all the other venues are to be completed by the end of this year, said Liu, adding that so far, 27 of the 37 venues have already been completed.


And the programs for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games have been finalized while rehearsals are underway.


Do not politicize Olympic Games


Also at the press conference, when answering a question on the boycott attempt by some people, Liu said political issues should not be associated with the Olympic Games.


"All the political issues that have nothing to do with the Olympics shall not be associated with the Beijing Games. The attempt to boycott the Beijing Games for such excuses is improper and unpopular," said Liu.


600,000 jobs created annually 


The coming Olympics created 600, 000 jobs every year since the preparations started in 2001.


Liu Jingmin said at the press briefing that Beijing has benefited from preparations for the coming Games, which is scheduled to open on Aug. 8, 2008.


In the past five years, Liu said, the annual increase of gross domestic product (GDP) in Beijing reached 12.1 percent averagely, with the amount last year at 770 billion yuan (US$102.7 billion) and the per capita figure at US$6,300.


Beijing also saw 3.9 million overseas tourist arrivals in 2006, one million more than that in 2001, Liu said


Meanwhile, the coming Olympics helped Beijing improve its urban planning and better transport networks, he said.


(Xinhua News Agency October 19, 2007)

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