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    Athletes start off at the Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Center at the Xiamen International Marathon in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, Jan. 2, 2010.

    XIAMEN, Southeast China, Jan. 2 -- The 2010 Xiamen International Marathon kicked off Saturday morning with a record of 48,000 runners contending for honors in full marathon, half marathon, 10-km and 5-km races.

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    Athletes start off at the Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Center at the Xiamen International Marathon in Xiamen, southeast China' Fujian Province, Jan. 2, 2010.

        Mugo Samuel Muturi of Kenya, defending champion in the men's race, set an event record of 2:08:51 last year. But Muturi, also the winner of the 2009 Beijing Marathon, faces stiff challenge this year as 15 others in the men's group have a personal best of under 2:10:00, among whom Bazu Worku of Ethiopia is the fastest with 2:06:15.

        After a clean sweep of top three in the women's race last year, China's dominance looks shaky this year due to the absence of a handful of elite runners, including reigning world champion Bai Xue.

        The Xiamen International Marathon, which was launched in 2003 and hailed by IAAF as the Gold Label Road Race, is renowned for its charming seaside scenic course. The whole course follows largely the scenic sections of the coastal city.

     

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    Athletes start off at the Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Center at the Xiamen International Marathon in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, Jan. 2, 2010.

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    Athletes start off at the Xiamen International Conference & Exhibition Center at the Xiamen International Marathon in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, Jan. 2, 2010.

    (Xinhua/Jiang Kehong)

  •     BEIJING, Dec. 27 -- Xinhua News Agency selected the top 10 sports news of China in 2009:

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    The flag of 24th World Winter Universiade is escorted into Harbin International Conference, Exhibition and Sports Centre Gym at the opening ceremony of the 24th World Winter Universiade in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Feb.18, 2009.

        1. Northeast Chinese city Harbin hosted the 24th World Winter University Games from Feb. 18 to 28, in which China topped the medal tally with a 18-18-12 record.

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    Chinese table tennis players pose during the awarding ceremony of the men's singles and women's singles at the world table tennis championships in Yokohama, Japan, May 2009.

        2. China clean-swept five gold medals at the world table tennis championships, which took place in Yokohama, Japan, from April 28 to May 5.

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    Members China's national badminton team celebrate at the awarding ceremony of the 2009 Sudirman Cup World Team Badminton Championships in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, on May 17, 2009.

        3. China won its seventh Sudirman Cup world mixed team badminton championships on May.

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    Zhang Lin shows the gold medal after the men's 800m freestyle swimming final at the World Championships in Rome, Italy, July 29, 2009.

        4. Zhang Lin became China's first ever men's swimming world champion as he bettered Australian Grant Hackett's world record by over six seconds to win the 800m freestyle at the Rome Worlds on July 30.

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    People practise Taiji in front of the National Stadium, also known as the Bird's Nest in Beijing, capital of China, August 8, 2009.

        5. Exactly one year after the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games, China inaugurated "National Fitness Day" on Aug. 8.

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    Liu Xiang of China celebrates the victory with the national flag after the final of men's 110m hurdles at the 18th Asian Athletics Championships in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, Nov. 12, 2009. Liu won the gold with 13.50 seconds.

        6. Star hurdler Liu Xiang came back after a sudden pullout from the 2008 Olympics, finishing second at the Golden Grand Prix in Shanghai on Sept. 20. The 2004 Olympic gold medalist then triumphed in the Chinese National Games in October, the Asian athletics championships in November and the East Asian Games in December.

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    Photo taken on Oct. 16, 2009 shows the art performance before the opening ceremony of the 11th Chinese National Games in Jinan, east China's Shandong Province.

        7. Shandong hosted the 11th Chinese National Games from Oct. 16 to 28, in which five world records were rewritten.

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    Lu Xiaojun of China takes a lift during the the men's weightlifting 77kg  at the world weightlifting championships in Gaoyang of Guangdong Province,China, Nov. 24, 2009.

        8. China claimed 18 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze medals to top the world weightlifting championships in Goyang, South Korea, in November.

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    Criminal suspects stand on trial at the court for soccer corruption in Yixing of Jiangxi Province, China, Dec. 11, 2009.

        9. A nationwide crackdown was launched by police on match-fixing and gambling in the Chinese professional soccer leagues at the end of 2009. Chinese soccer has been a long disappointment to the fans with its poor quality of play, violence, corruption and match-fixing.

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    China's national flag and the flag of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are raised during the opening ceremony of the 2009 East Asian Games in Hong Kong, south China, Dec. 5, 2009.

        10. Hong Kong hosted the 5th East Asian Games from Dec. 5 to 13,drawing 2,300 athletes from China, Chinese Taipei, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Guam, Japan, Macao of China, Mongolia, South Korea and Hong Kong of China.

     

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    Rihanna hopes some good came out of her assault at the hands of Chris Brown.

    The Barbados-born singer - who was attacked by ex-boyfriend Chris at a pre-Grammy's party in February - said the assault was the "wake-up call" she needed, and believes it marked a "turning point" in her life.

    The 21-year-old star said: "I've been through a lot in the last two years that forced me to do some growing up. "The assault came at the end of an incredible year for me, career-wise. Now I kind of look back on it as the beginning of a new era, almost like it was a wake-up call for me.

    It was a massive turning point for me in my life." The 'Umbrella' singer admitted 2009 has been the toughest year of her life but said at least Chris now knew what he had done was wrong and had been able to seek help. She said: "As bad and as terrible it was, so much that's great came out of the situation.

    Even for Chris he knows now that he's never going to do that again. "Before, young girls thought my life was perfect. Now they realise it's not. Nobody's perfect. I'm living the same human life that they are, just with a more public career."
    (Agencies)

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    A proposed Michael Jackson tribute concert in London next year has been thrown into doubt after the company organising the show went bust.

    Austrian firm World Awards Media said that the decision to scrap the gig had been made last month.

    No further details have been released but liquidator Martin Schneider revealed that the company had lost the financial support of its main sponsor.

    It is not yet known if Jackson's brother Jermaine will still go ahead and stage the gig himself.

    The concert, due to take place next June, was initially intended to be held outside Vienna's Schoenbrunn Palace in September this year. However, it was moved to London's Wembley Stadium after encountering scheduling conflicts.

    Former chief promoter Georg Kindel told the Austrian PA that he and Superfund founder Christian Baha - the majority owner of the now defunct company - parted ways in October.
    (Agencies)

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    Zheng Jie of China returns a shot to Lucie Safarova of Czech Republic during their match at the Rogers Cup tennis tournament in Toronto August 20, 2009.

    BEIJING: China's number two Zheng Jie has no plans to return to the state sports system and is happy with her first year of self-management despite the extra effort and lack of security it entailed.

    Along with compatriots Li Na, Yan Zi and Peng Shuai, the 26-year-old was this year freed from the obligation to be managed by the China Tennis Association (CTA), and pay 65 percent of her winnings for the privilege.

    CTA chief Sun Jinfang said last month she thought Zheng was in decline and, like other "less talented and more hardworking" players, would be better off back inside the national system.

    Zheng, who finished last season ranked 35th in the world with $534,172 in winnings, said it was inevitable that the first year of managing herself would have been a learning experience.

    "I am one of the first to try this and in the first year, I crossed the river feeling the stones," Zheng told China Weekly magazine.

    "My obligation is to try my best to get good results. As to whether I am suitable for self-management, I am not sure what is the standard we judge by, ranking or prize money?"

    Zheng was the first Chinese player to reach the last four of a grand slam when she lost in the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year, and followed that up with a doubles bronze at the Beijing Olympics.
    [Agencies]

  • Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

     

    Faye Wong(l) and Li Yapeng arrive at
    the red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on
    December 18, 2009 in Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

     

    Faye Wong(l) and Li Yapeng arrive at
    the red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on
    December 18, 2009 in Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

     

    Faye Wong(l) and Li Yapeng arrive at
    the red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on
    December 18, 2009 in Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

     

    Dai Jun arrive at the red carpet of
    the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on December 18, 2009 in
    Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Dee Hsu(L) and Mike Hsu arrive at the
    red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on December
    18, 2009 in Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Wei Chen(L) and Li Feier(R) arrive at
    the red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on
    December 18, 2009 in Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Charles Chen arrives at the red carpet
    of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on December 18, 2009 in
    Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Jiang Yingrong arrives at the red
    carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on December 18,
    2009 in Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Joseph Cheng arrives at the red carpet
    of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on December 18, 2009 in
    Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    TV host Shen Xing arrives at the red
    carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on December 18,
    2009 in Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Actor Tong Dawei arrives at the red
    carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on December 18,
    2009 in Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Singer Karen Mok arrives at the red
    carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on December 18,
    2009 in Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Singer Man Wenjun arrives at the red
    carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on December 18,
    2009 in Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Daniel Chan arrives at the red carpet
    of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on December 18, 2009 in
    Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Jessey Meng arrives at the red carpet
    of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on December 18, 2009 in
    Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Christy Chung(L) and Yan Zhenxiang
    arrive at the red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt
    Beijing on December 18, 2009 in Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Actor Mao Ning arrives at the red
    carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on December 18,
    2009 in Beijing, China.

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Hongkong actress Carina Lau arrives at
    the red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on
    December 18, 2009 in Beijing, China

    Star-stundded at red carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation

    Actress Yuan Quan arrives at the red
    carpet of the Yanran Angel Foundation at the Park Hyatt Beijing on December 18,
    2009 in Beijing, China.

    [Tungstar]

  • Spain, Greece, Argentina and the United States will head separate groups at basketball's world championship in Turkey next year.

    The draw, held Tuesday in an Istanbul hotel, divided 24 teams into four groups of six, with each team playing the other five in their group. After that, the top four teams in each group head into a knock-out stage.

    Spain won the last championship in Japan in 2006. Argentina is currently the top-ranked basketball country, and the United States won gold at the Olympics in Beijing.

    The championship will be played August 28-September 12 in the cities of Ankara, Kayseri, Istanbul and Izmir. 

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    (L to R) FIBA Sports Director and former basketball star Lubomir Kotleba, Puerto Ricon basketball player Daniel Santiago, former NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon and former Turkish basketball player Efe Aydan attend the draw for the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Istanbul December 15, 2009.

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    2010 FIBA World Championship mascot performs during the 2010 FIBA World Championship draw in Istanbul December 15, 2009.

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    Dancers from the Fire of Anatolia perform during the 2010 FIBA World Championship draw in Istanbul December 15, 2009.

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    The 2010 FIBA World Championship trophy is seen on stage during the 2010 FIBA World Championship draw in Istanbul December 15, 2009.

    [Agencies]

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    Dozens of young people stood in a line inside the Bella Center, the venue of the on-going United Nations Climate Change Conference, with a strong message that leaders must commit themselves to ensuring a successful outcome.

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    As the venue will limit the number of NGO representatives into the Bella Center, most of the young people participating the demonstration are scheduled to return to their home countries.

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    However, they have left the message behind. Time is running short and the nations must take actions to cut emissions, adapt and mitigate the global warming.

    [Photos by Li Xing]

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    Hollywood actor Johnny Depp smiles for fans at Japan premiere of his latest film 'Public Enemies' in Tokyo, Japan, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009.

    NASSAU, Bahamas – Hollywood heartthrob Johnny Depp suspects he'll never get used to receiving awards for his acting work.

    Depp, best known for his Oscar-nominated role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean" blockbusters, made the comments Sunday night before receiving a career achievement award at the Bahamas International Film Festival.

    "Whenever anybody say they are going to give me some kind of award, I'm always a little stupefied by the notion. The first thing I say is 'why?'," Depp told a small scrum of reporters. "I just go to work like anyone else, except my job happens to be a little stranger."

    Lit by cameras during a red carpet event, Depp said he planned on spending Christmas on his private island ringed with white sand off Exuma.

    "The place is as close to paradise as anywhere you can get," said Depp, wearing a black pinstriped suit and tinted glasses with heavy black frames.

    Fellow acting superstar Sean Connery, who also owns a home in the Bahamas, presented Depp with the award at the Balmoral Club in Nassau.

    The festival's founder, Leslie Vanderpool, described Depp as an "icon" who is one of the finest actors of his generation.

    "What makes this tribute to Johnny even more special is that he has a home in the Bahamas and possesses a true love and appreciation for the region and culture," Vanderpool said in a statement.

    Depp's diverse screen credits through the years include starring roles in "Donnie Brasco," "Edward Scissorhands," and "What's Eating Gilbert Grape."

    In September, Disney announced that a new "Pirates of the Caribbean" film is on the horizon. Depp will reprise his celebrated role as Sparrow in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," slated for summer of 2011.

    Depp said he's enjoyed playing all of his screen characters.

    "I'm still amazed I get jobs after all this time," he quipped.

    [Agencies]

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    British actor Jude Law arrives for the world premiere of "Sherlock Holmes" in Leicester Square in London, December 14, 2009.

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    U.S. musician Gwen Stefani arrives for the world premiere of "Sherlock Holmes" in Leicester Square in London, December 14, 2009.

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    British director Guy Ritchie arrives for the world premiere of "Sherlock Holmes" in Leicester Square in London December 14, 2009.

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    Canadian actress Rachel McAdams arrives for the world premiere of "Sherlock Holmes" in Leicester Square in London December 14, 2009.

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    U.S. singer Gwen Stefani and her husband Gavin Rossdale arrive for the World Premiere of "Sherlock Holmes" in Leicester Square, central London, December 14, 2009.

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    British actor Jude Law arrives for the world premiere of "Sherlock Holmes" in Leicester Square in London, December 14, 2009.

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    British director Guy Ritchie arrives for the world premiere of "Sherlock Holmes" in Leicester Square in London December 14, 2009.

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    British actor Jude Law arrives for the world premiere of "Sherlock Holmes" in Leicester Square in London, December 14, 2009.

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    British actor Jude Law arrives for the world premiere of "Sherlock Holmes" in Leicester Square in London, December 14, 2009.

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    U.S. actress Heather Graham arrives for the world premiere of "Sherlock Holmes" in Leicester Square in London, December 14, 2009.

    [Agencies]