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Sunday, June 29, 2008

China Troublemakers on Lockdown for Olympics

If you are a troublemaker in Shanghai, then the China government has issued you a notice.

“In order to strengthen public order during the Olympics and ensure the Games go smoothly, these are the rules important controlled people in our area must follow from April 1 to October 31.”

“Do not pick quarrels in public places”, “Do not express any political opinion to foreign reporters” and “Do not distort the truth, intentionally spread rumours or use other methods to whip up and disturb social order”.

In addition to the above rules, the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy issue a statement to the so called “troublemakers“, petitioners, or anyone on the “controlled” list, ordering them not to leave the city of Shanghai during the coming Olympics.

They have also been instructed not to talk about their political opinions to foreigners, leave the country (which is odd since they can’t leave Shanghai to begin with), or store weapons and explosives at their homes.

Anyone caught breaking the rules from April 1 to October 31, will be detained or prosecuted, depending on the rule broken.

falun-gong China Troublemakers on Lockdown for Olympics picture

The 2008 Olympic games will open on August 8th in Beijing, China.

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Chinese Man Pierced 2008 Times for Upcoming Olympics

China has been buzzing with anticipation for the 2008 Olympics this summer. From putting up sexy Olympic street lights to naming 3,500 babies after the event, you can definitely feel the pride and excitement for the coming games.

Wei, a 60 year-old Chinese acupuncturist from Guangxi province, showed his patriotism for the upcoming Olympics by piercing his head, face, chest, and arms with 2008 decorative needles in five different colors.

The event broke his previous Guinness Record of 1790 needles set in 2004. Wei also hopes to share more about the history of acupuncture to the world.

Initially inspired after reading about a Canadian who had set a record for inserting 420 needles in his arm, Wei felt that it was “not much compared to our centuries-old acupuncture,” and began experimenting with piercing his own body with needles.

On January 13, 2007, Wei had also paraded through town with 800 needles in his forehead and even put on skates and skated around the streets to show he was not in pain and alright.

“I shook with fear when I saw his hedgehog-head. It seemed like he must be hurting himself.” said a lady in her sixties.

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How was Tiger Woods able to play golf for a year with a badly injured knee?

Tiger Woods golf ACL knee

TIGER WOODS holds onto his knee as he comes out of a bunker during the third round of the US Open championship.
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File

Tiger Woods revealed last week that he'd been playing golf on a bum left knee for nearly a year. And he hadn't been doing badly: Recently, he finished second at the Master's and won the U.S. Open after forcing a playoff last week.

We'll never know if perfect knee health would have meant another green jacket. What we do know is that he winced in pain after every shot and caused more damage to his knee.

Woods had torn the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee about 10 months ago. One of four rubber band–like ligaments that connects the thigh bone (femur) to the tibia (the bone that makes up your shin) the ACL is the primary stabilizer of the knee. It extends from the back of the femur to the front of the tibia and basically keeps the lower bone from rotating all the way around when you pivot on your foot, allowing you to make sharp turns.

Such tears are a common injury in basketball, soccer, football and skiing, in which cutting, turning and pivoting are important parts of the game. For a college basketball player an ACL tear is a season-ending injury. People who injure the ligament typically hear a pop as it ruptures and the joint seems to give out.

It's exceedingly rare for anyone to tear an ACL playing golf, and in fact Woods says he did it while running. Not only are ACL tears rare in golfers, but for a typical golfer, the injury won't keep you from playing.

So why did Woods decide to have his injury repaired, meaning he would need to miss so much golf?

It's probably because in Woods's case, his whole golf swing is all about rotation. He gets much more hip and lower-back rotation than any other golfer I have seen. The ACL is the only thing holding that rotation back, so his knee is under more pressure than the average golfer's. That means more pressure on the cartilage (the whitish tissue found at joints between bones) in his knee.

Without the ACL preventing it, repeated stress can soften and weaken the cartilage, which can break off. That's probably what happened in Woods's knee, and it squares with the fact that he had surgery in April to remove broken cartilage in that joint. The reason he didn't have the ACL repair done at that time, according to a statement by Woods, was that he wanted to play in June at the U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course outside San Diego near where he grew up. Recovering from the cartilage surgery was only supposed to take several weeks, whereas the ACL surgery would have put him out through October or so.

He was able to play, but his knee may have held him back—and certainly kept him in pain. The rotation required to execute a Tiger Woods's swing is immense, and if Tiger can't rotate like Tiger, he can't play like Tiger. Tiger Woods at 90 percent can still win tournaments—as he showed last week—but being less than perfect falls short of his own demanding standards.

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Disappointing night for many early entrants


By Andy Katz

NEW YORK -- When will the underclassmen learn that the NBA draft can be a cruel and unforgiving process?

Mississippi State junior Jamont Gordon and USC freshman Davon Jefferson got a tough lesson Thursday. After leaving school early, both failed to be selected in the NBA draft. They flushed away their college eligibility, they lost their amateur status and now they'll be trying to make a team as a free agent.

Last month, Gordon chose to turn down an invitation to the Orlando pre-draft camp. The word was that he thought he would go in the first round.

Jefferson went to Orlando and at the time said he felt he was ready to make the jump to the NBA.

Both players better hope they get to the D-League and somehow make the NBA the hard way.

Even though a record 10 freshmen were selected in the first round, there were a number of disappointed underclassmen Thursday night. Clearly, a handful of early entrants got poor advice about their draft status, stayed in the draft instead of returning to school and plummeted below expectations.

Texas A&M's DeAndre Jordan left the Aggies after one season to go in the second round, No. 35 overall, to the L.A. Clippers. Jordan might have a shot to get a guaranteed contract, but clearly he didn't leave college for a second-round selection. He is a work in progress, but there was a theory that the work would be done as a first-round guaranteed selection.

Those close to Jordan during this NBA draft process raved about his raw talent, but the Aggies' staff had reasons for not playing him much toward the end of the season. They weren't enamored with his overall skill set, and that's why he'll have to earn his way in the NBA as a second-round pick.

New Jersey might have a steal in Memphis junior guard Chris Douglas-Roberts. But it still must have been a hard landing for CDR to go to No. 40.

Alabama junior Richard Hendrix, BYU junior Trent Plaisted and Kansas State freshman Bill Walker can't complain about going in the second round. Hendrix and Plaisted knew they likely had no shot to go in the first round when they decided to stay in the draft. Walker had to know that once he injured his knee -- again -- and decided to stay in the draft that he was likely going to go in the second round. There was some hope that he could go in the first, but that seemed to be less realistic as the night progressed.

Hendrix went to Golden State at No. 49. Plaisted went to Detroit (after Seattle traded the rights) at No. 46. Walker got dealt to Boston after getting selected by Washington at No. 47.

Kansas sophomore Darrell Arthur must be exhausted since he didn't get selected until No. 27 by New Orleans, which had already sold his rights to Portland. Arthur was then moved to Houston and eventually to Memphis.

Arthur was once projected as a lottery pick but might have dropped in the draft due to concerns over a reported blood test that showed a potential kidney issue. After he was picked late in the first round, he was traded for Donte Greene at the end of the night.

Greene, the Syracuse freshman, stayed in the draft because he assumed that he would go close to the lottery, if not in the lottery. Greene went No. 28 to Memphis but then ended the evening in Houston.

Chris Douglas-Roberts

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Chris Douglas-Roberts left Memphis early only to fall to the middle of the second round, where he won't have a guaranteed contract.

The big winners of the disappointed underclassmen actually might be Kansas junior Mario Chalmers and UCLA junior forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.

Chalmers didn't get selected until No. 34 by Minnesota, but he was dealt to Miami for two future second-round picks. This is great news for Chalmers since he is going to a team that coveted a point guard late in the first round. The Heat couldn't get another pick, and once they selected forward Michael Beasley with the second overall pick, they needed to get a point guard. Chalmers can be the answer as a potential backcourt mate for Dwyane Wade. Chalmers will likely have the best shot of any of these second-round picks to get a guaranteed contract.

Mbah a Moute knew he was a long shot for the first round, but he went to a team in Milwaukee at No. 37 that had interest in him for his defense and rebounding. Mbah a Moute will have a shot to make the Bucks.

While a number of underclassmen fell in the draft, Cal sophomore Ryan Anderson went to New Jersey at No. 21, higher than projected. Anderson took a gamble by staying in the draft, and it paid off handsomely for him. Florida sophomore Marreese Speights got a good situation when he went at No. 16 to Philadelphia. Nevada sophomore JaVale McGee (No. 18 to Washington), NC State freshman J.J. Hickson (No. 19 to Cleveland) and Ohio State freshman Kosta Koufos (No. 23 to Utah) were essentially picked in the range they were projected.

Still, the overriding question is whether there be lessons learned from Jefferson and Gordon. Will anyone ever pay attention to how far some of these projected lottery picks slid?

The sad truth is that a year from now, in the 2009 NBA draft, a few players will make the exact same mistake and leave school too early.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at

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Nets trade Jefferson to Bucks for Yi

By Ian Thomsen,

Forward Richard Jefferson (left) averaged a career-high 22.6 points last season.
Forward Richard Jefferson (left) averaged a career-high 22.6 points last season.

The Milwaukee Bucks have agreed in principle to trade Yi Jianlian to the New Jersey Nets for Richard Jefferson, two league sources told

The Bucks also are sending Bobby Simmons to the Nets. He has $20.5 million left on a contract that expires in the summer of 2010, when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh could become free agents.

This trade could be seen as a sign that the Nets truly are interested in getting involved in the LeBron sweepstakes, based in no small part on his close friendship with Nets minority owner Jay-Z. As a result of this trade, the Nets are no longer committed to paying Jefferson $15 million in 2010-11.

Yi's camp was said to be ecstatic about going to the rebuilding Nets and playing in a major market, which was one of the original concerns when he was drafted by the Bucks last year. Yi threatened to not sign with Milwaukee in hopes of forcing a trade to another team.

The Bucks, meanwhile, are providing new coach Scott Skiles with a veteran player who can help him win now. Jefferson averaged 22.6 points a game last season.

The Bucks also retain their No. 8 pick in the draft to further revamp their team. The Nets hold the No. 10 pick.

More draft buzz


• The top of the draft remained in turmoil less than four hours before the first pick.

A report Thursday afternoon that the Clippers had reached an agreement to move up to No. 4 in the draft, with the Sonics moving back to No. 7, was dismissed as premature by a league source with knowledge of the negotiations. It is a fact that the two teams have been talking, and that it could be consummated if O.J. Mayo is available at No. 4.

This could mean that the Clippers want Mayo to play for them next year as the No. 4 pick. Or, as another league source noted, it could suggest a bigger deal is in the works with Miami.

Under this proposal, the Clippers could send the rights to Mayo and Elton Brand to Miami for the rights to Beasley (the No. 2 pick) along with Shawn Marion. The Clippers could then either sign Marion to an extension or allow him to become a free agent, generating cap relief in 2009 when his $17.9 million salary comes off the books. The bottom line for the Clippers: They would get an exceptional talent in Beasley on a cheap rookie contract in exchange for the far more expensive Brand, who will make $16.4 million next season if he doesn't opt out this summer.

Miami has been putting out the word that it is interested in moving the No. 2 pick in hopes of following the example of the Celtics, who used their lottery pick in last year's draft to trade for Ray Allen as part of their successful attempt to win a championship immediately. The Heat would come out of this swap with the Clippers with Brand and Mayo to go with a healthy Dwyane Wade, which would enable them to challenge Boston and Detroit in the Eastern Conference one year after having the worst record in the league.

• Speculation of a trade involving Miami, however, was dependent on the Timberwolves' using the No. 3 pick to take Kevin Love instead of Mayo.

Word around the league for some time is that Minnesota VP Kevin McHale is enamored with Love. On the morning of the draft, however, a rumor about Love's knees was spreading around the league.

A league exec who has studied the medical reports said Love underwent surgery in his early teens to have his kneecaps realigned. According to that executive, his team doctor had studied the medical records and approved Love as ready to play in the NBA. Doctors with other teams were known to have made a similar assessment.

None of this information about Love's knees -- which NBA teams had known for some time but nevertheless was being discussed among league executives Thursday -- was not expected to serve as a last-minute impediment to his standing in the lottery.

• The Spurs (No. 26) and Celtics (No. 30) were said to be shopping their picks in an attempt to get out of the first round, according to league sources.

• As of Thursday afternoon, it appeared that the proposed trade of Jermaine O'Neal to Toronto for T.J. Ford had received the medical OK of both teams and was expected to be finalized (for salary-cap purposes) on July 9. The trade was always at risk until Ford was cleared by Indiana's doctors; the point guard has a worrisome history of injuries before and after his 2004 surgery to fuse two vertebrae in his neck.

The main reason the Raptors were looking to move Ford was to create room -- on the court and in their budget -- for Jose Calderon, a restricted free agent expected to be retained by Toronto this summer.

Indiana will also wind up with center Rasho Nesterovic and the No. 17 pick in the draft to go with its own pick at No. 11. The Pacers were expected to reach out for a point guard with their higher selection, but if Ford is on their roster they'll be able to go in a different direction. Many rival executives believe the Pacers could use the No. 11 pick on LSU big man Anthony Randolph, the player seen as having the biggest upside in the draft. The hope would be that he would become a star to eventually replace O'Neal up front.

The Pacers are expected to use the No. 17 pick for a big man to help fill in for O'Neal in the short term. I'm guessing they'll go for Georgetown's Roy Hibbert there.

• Nicolas Batum checked out OK. There was talk last week that the French forward might not be available because of worries about the condition of his heart. Now there is a feeling among some teams that these fears might have been exaggerated in order to place Batum with the organization of his choice. He underwent a full medical exam and has been cleared to be drafted. One possible home for Batum is Cleveland at No. 19.

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Behind the scenes of the Fresno ball girl video

NBA star LeBron James has a vertical leap of 44 inches, but he's got nothing on Fresno's ball girl.

MiLB Headlines
If you regularly peruse the World Wide Web, there is a good chance you have seen the "Ball girl Makes Incredible Catch" video making the rounds over the past couple of days. In the 39-second clip, a ball girl at Fresno's Chukchansi Park climbs the left-field wall to make an amazing leaping catch.

Well, at least some of what appears in that video actually happened.

This much is true: on April 17, the Fresno Grizzlies hosted the Tacoma Rainiers in an evening contest at Chukchansi Park. And at some point in the ballgame, Tacoma's Brent Johnson came to the plate against Victor Santos and lofted a deep fly ball down the left-field line.

What didn't happen (at least not in real life) is the catch itself. The ball girl was a stunt woman, working on behalf of an advertising production agency that was filming a Gatorade ad. However, this particular campaign was scrapped before the commercial could make it to the airwaves. The ad was leaked online instead, where it quickly became a viral video sensation.

As a result, Grizzlies Director of Media Relations Paul Kennedy has been a very busy man.

"I've been getting calls from all over the country and our website has gotten a lot more hits over the past couple of days," he said. "It's funny, because there's really no explanation for why something like this catches fire. I think what helped the video find an audience is that it's really hard to tell that it was a commercial. With the logos removed and no voiceovers, it really does look like unedited game footage."

The distinction between fantasy and reality is indeed a tricky one to make, largely due to the clip's attention to detail. The first 12 seconds is actual game footage from the April 17 contest, and Grizzlies announcer Doug Greenwald played a part in the ruse by later recording an authentic-sounding play-by-play call of the ball girl's acrobatics.

"Our facility provided the size and setting that was perfect for their needs," said Kennedy. "The production crew got their stuff set up in the morning, shot the game that evening, then worked through the night on the choreographed stunt."

While Kennedy estimates that eight or nine players and coaches were used as extras during the overnight shoot, it was Jake Wald who was featured most prominently. Wald, who is actually an infielder, stars in the clip as a somewhat humiliated left fielder who passively watches the ball girl's heroics from several feet away. He is currently a member of the Connecticut Defenders and regular readers of this site might also recognize him as one half of the mock-country duo Stache and Hawk.

For the Grizzlies, the question is how to cash in on their fleeting moment as YouTube sensations.

"It's tough, because we've been on the road and we're not in a position to immediately capitalize on this," said Kennedy. "But this helps get our team name, logo, and uniforms out there, and will only help our reputation grow. The bottom line is that there's no such thing as bad exposure."

And despite the unexpected popularity of the ball girl clip, don't expect to see any copycat attempts at Chukchansi Park anytime soon.

"Like most Minor League parks, we have the bullpen located down the left-field foul line," said Kennedy. "If a ball is hit in that direction, it's just going to be a relief pitcher chasing after it."

Benjamin Hill is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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