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Daily Archives: September 3, 2008

South Americans sweep in world tango tournament

Couples from Argentina and Colombia swept the top four spots late Monday in the finals of the World Tango Championships in Buenos Aires, defeating contestants from around the world including three Japanese couples.
The ultimate round of the dance style follows a week of competition that has been played out in front of 60,000 spectators, a third of whom were foreigners.
The two top spots were taken by Argentine couples, while the next two spots were won by couples from Colombia.
The Tango originated in the poor neighbourhoods of the Argentine capital before becoming a worldwide phenomenon synonymous with romance and drama in the early 20th century.
Its enduring international popularity was attested to by the broad field that entered this year's championship.
Of the 400 couples who trod and swirled over the boards in the Luna Park stadium in Buenos Aires, 90 came from 22 other countries, including Australia, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, France, Italy, the Philippines, Turkey and the United States.
One of the Japanese couples vying for the title were Tomoko Nakai, a former cook originally from Tokyo, and Eiichiro Oya, who used to be an employee in an Osaka hotel.
"I feel well prepared to dance. I'm not afraid of the Argentinian dancers. We know the 'milongas'," Nakai said ahead of the contest, referring to Buenos Aires dance halls where the precise flourishes and tango steps are practised.
A jury made up of highly regarded Argentine dancers, such as Juan Carlos Copes and Miguel Angel Zotto, judged the competition.

Russian newspapers hail ‘victory’ after EU summit

by Dario Thuburn*

Russian newspapers yesterday hailed a victory for Moscow after the European Union froze talks on closer ties until Russian troops withdraw from Georgia but stopped short of imposing economic sanctions.
"Europe Can Keep Sucking Our Oil and Gas," read a headline in the tabloid Tvoi Den, adding that the EU had not "given in to the hysterics" of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Polish President Lech Kaczynski.
"The mutual dependency between Russia and the EU leaves no alternative to developing close bilateral relations. This was once again confirmed at the EU summit in Brussels," said the government newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
"There is no mention of the introduction of economic sanctions in the final statement approved at the summit. This looks, at least at this stage, like a clear victory for proponents of dialogue with Moscow," the daily said.
The Kommersant daily said the summit was "a victory for Russian diplomacy." Izvestia said: "The main result of the Brussels summit of the EU is that most Europeans do not want to have a serious and long row with Moscow."
Ahead of Monday's emergency summit of the European Union, some EU members including Britain and Poland had called for harsher measures against Moscow following Russia's five-day war with Georgia last month.
Russian forces have remained deep inside Georgian territory since their August 8 offensive in retaliation against a Georgian attack on its separatist province of South Ossetia, which Moscow has since recognised as independent.
South Ossetia broke away from Georgia in a conflict in the early 1990s.
Russia's actions in the conflict have drawn fierce Western condemnation and EU leaders met as hundreds of thousands of people staged an anti-Russian rally in the Georgian capital Tbilisi.
Russia earlier warned it was ready to retaliate against any sanctions.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov left yesterday for talks on the Georgia crisis with Turkish counterpart Ali Babacan, ITAR-TASS reported.
Georgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili had met Babacan on Sunday.
At the EU summit, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said he would visit both Moscow and Tbilisi on Monday for talks on the crisis with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.
"As long as the withdrawal of troops has not been respected, all meetings on the (EU-Russia) partnership accord are postponed," Barroso told journalists after the extraordinary summit, the first since the Iraq war in 2003.
"It is clear that in the light of recent events, we cannot continue as if nothing has happened," Barroso added.
Sarkozy said the crisis "means that we have to re-examine our relationship with Russia."
The French president will meet his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on Monday in Moscow, Russian news agencies reported, citing a Medvedev aide, saying Moscow intended to follow up on contacts with Sarkozy.
"The meeting on September 8 is going to be crucial for relations between the EU and Russia," Sarkozy said.
Sarkozy brokered a six-point ceasefire agreement that ended the conflict between Georgia and Russia in August.
The EU voiced support for Georgia, promised help with reconstruction and agreed to send a "fact-finding mission" immediately — with the possibility later of "an increased European Union commitment on the ground."
The EU leaders also committed to organising an international donor conference to drum up aid for Georgia's reconstruction.
EU-Russia relations are currently governed by a partnership accord that dates from the post-communist era of 1997.
After many delays, negotiations on a fresh framework for diplomatic, economic and military relations were finally launched in July, and the next round of the talks had been scheduled for September 15.