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The history of Olympic Games

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Greek Ambassador Georgios Stilianopoulos writes to Việt Nam News on the occasion of Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo.

On the occasion of the upcoming XXXII Tokyo Olympiad, in my capacity as Ambassador of Greece in Việt Nam, but also as a Greek citizen – Greece being the birthplace of the Olympic Games – I would like to share with your readers some information regarding the history of the world’s top sporting event.

Since antiquity, the Olympic Games have been an event that brings people together every four years, in the name of what the British would later term “sport”.

The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens, at Panathenaic Stadium, on April 6, 1896. Courtesy Photo of the embassy

The area of Olympia and the site of the sanctuary were inhabited as far back as Early Helladic times (3000 BC). At the end of the Mycenaean Age (1100 BC), the cult of Zeus was established in the sanctuary, which was named Olympia after Mount Olympos, the mythical abode of the gods.

The ancient Greeks believed that the Olympian gods themselves inaugurated the Games at Olympia. The myth says that Heracles organised the first track events: he determined the site and size of the first stadium, established the first foot race, and crowned the winner with a “kotinos”, a branch of wild olive from the tree he himself had planted at Olympia.

The sanctuary of Olympia was quickly recognised throughout Greece as the paramount competitive and religious centre, renowned throughout the then-known world. In order to ensure the safe movement of athletes and spectators-pilgrims to the sanctuary and the smooth conduct of the games, a “Sacred Truce” was declared: all hostilities between Greek city-states had to cease for a month.

The first Olympiad was held in 776 BC. This year also marks the beginning of historical times for Greek antiquity. The games were held every fifth year and from Classical times onwards lasted five days. The intermediate four-year period was called an Olympiad. It is known that the games took place during the midsummer full moon, which fluctuated between the last week in July and the first half of August.

A year before the beginning of the new Olympiad, the officials responsible for the games sent heralds to every corner of Greece and to all the Greek colonies that were dispersed throughout the Mediterranean. These heralds announced the date of the opening of the games and consequently of the Sacred Truce, imposing hereby the cessation of all hostilities between the Greek city-states, as well as the deferment of all sentences of capital punishment.

Olympic Flame lighting Ceremony. Courtesy Photo of the embassy

The numerous city-states were all represented at these festive panhellenic gatherings at Olympia, not only by athletes but also by official emissaries who frequently stressed their presence by making splendid appearances. Rhetorical events took place on the fringe of the games, such as the delivery of important speeches of ecumenical content and appeals by orators, historians, and philosophers.

For several centuries the Games continued to be held every four years. By the time the Romans arrived in Greece, in 146 BC, there had already been some serious infractions to the Truce. However, the Games flourished anew during the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian, when the installations in the sanctuary were modernized and enlarged.

The Games continued to be held until AD 393, when the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I issued a decree forbidding them. In AD 426 the Emperor Theodosius II ratified their abolition.

The modern Olympic Games was revived in 1896 by Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin, with the inspired and decisive support of the Greek writer Demetrios Vikelas who became the first President of the International Olympic Committee. Apart from the period of the two World Wars, the games have since been held every four years in one of the world’s major cities, with the participation of athletes from an ever-growing number of countries.

Greece, as the birthplace of the Olympic Games, is always trying to reinforce the ideals of peace, friendship, mutual understanding, sporting spirit, fair play, ethical conduct, sense of dignity, and peaceful coexistence between peoples. The goal is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind.

This year’s Olympic Games will be held under unprecedented and adverse conditions, due to the numerous obstacles created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the restrictions, I wish Tokyo’s Olympic Games to be a new banner of solidarity and peace between peoples. I also hope that the only challenges between nations will always be of a sporting nature and that the Olympic ideals and spirit will prevail once more.

In conclusion, I am addressing my best wishes for safe Games to the Japanese organisers, for unforgettable dream Games, and every success to the Vietnamese athletes.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/life-style/995575/the-history-of-olympic-games.html

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Vietnam affirms stance on condemning use of chemical weapons

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Vietnam affirmed its stance on condemning the use of chemical weapons and emphasised the need to respect and fully implement the Chemical Weapons Convention at the United Nations Security Council’s meeting 

on the implementation of Resolution 2118 (2013) on chemical weapons in Syria.

Vietnam affirms stance on condemning use of chemical weapons hinh anh 1

Destroyed buildings in eastern Aleppo city, Syria, where chemical weapons were allegedly used (Source: un.org)

Addressing the meeting on August 4, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, welcomed the readiness of Syria and the Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to hold high-level communications, saying that this is an opportunity to step up dialogue towards the complete settlement of the chemical weapon issue in Syria.

He stressed the important role of constructive cooperation and unity among the international community to create favourable conditions for collaboration efforts of the OPCW and Syria.

Thomas Markram, Deputy to the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said that the OPCW Secretariat and Syria continued to focus on addressing differences in the country’s initial report, stressing the need to find solutions to several existing issues of the initial report as soon as possible, which is considered an important basis for definitively solving the chemical weapon problem in Syria.

At the meeting, UNSC members expressed concerns over the accusations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria and called for increased cooperation in this issue.

The countries emphasised the importance of promoting collaboration between the OPCW Secretariat and Syria to resolve existing issues, towards the full implementation of obligations under the CWC and the UNSC’s Resolution 2118./.

Source: VNA

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/vietnam-world/vietnam-affirms-stance-on-condemning-use-of-chemical-weapons-763257.html

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2030 Businesspeople Club delivers necessities to people in quarantined areas

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Members of the 2030 Businesspeople Club transport relief to a quarantined area in HCMC – PHOTOS: LE VU

HCMC – Through the “Food for Saigon during Social Distancing” program, the 2030 Businesspeople Club, a member of the Saigon Times Club, handed over 40 tons of vegetables, fruits, rice and other necessities to people living in areas under lockdown or quarantine in HCMC on August 3 and 4.

The event was part of the Saigon Times – Great Circle 2021 series, an initiative of the Saigon Times Group, that is aimed at supporting people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nguyen Dinh Tu, vice chairman of the 2030 Businesspeople Club, said through the program, the club expects to mobilize 8,000 gift sets for disadvantaged people across 20 districts of the city.

Up to now, the club has delivered 4,000 gift sets, each comprising 5 kilograms of vegetables and fruits and 5 kilograms of rice, to needy people in 10 districts. The club has also provided eggs, instant noodles and other necessities to poor households in the city.

Each gift set comprises vegetables, fruits, rice and other necessities

During 30 days of the “Food for Saigon during Social Distancing” program, the 2030 Business Club expects to give some 150 tons of vegetables and fruits as well as essentials to people whose livelihoods are severely affected by Covid-19 in HCMC and the neighboring provinces.

The Saigon Times Group launched the “Saigon Times – Great Circle 2021” program with the theme, “Join hands to fight off the pandemic”, on June 2. The program receives donations from organizations and individuals and then distributes them to the needy in HCMC and other provinces.

Donations for the program can be sent to:

Tap chi Kinh te Sai Gon

Bank account number: 1007 1485 1003318

Vietnam Export Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank) – Hoa Binh Branch – HCMC

Transaction content: Name – UnghoSaigon Times – NVTL – Donghanhchongdich

To participate in the program, please contact:

Huynh Huong (Phone number: 0913118711)

Or Huy Han (Phone number: 0902696617)

 

Source: https://english.thesaigontimes.vn/83570/2030-businesspeople-club-delivers-necessities-to-people-in-quarantined-areas.html

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Obituary: Veteran painter Đỗ Quang Em dies

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Veteran painter Đỗ Quang Em, a leading artist of the South’s fine arts, died at home on Tuesday in HCM City. He was 79. Photo courtesy of the artist’s family

HCM CITY — Veteran painter Đỗ Quang Em, a leading artist of the South’s fine arts, died at home on Tuesday in HCM City. He was 79.

His funeral took place on Thursday in HCM City. 

Chairman of Việt Nam Fine Arts Association Lương Xuân Đoàn told Tuổi Trẻ newspaper: “Đỗ Quang Em was one of the four cornerstones of the fine arts world that evolved in pre-1975 Sài Gòn.” 

Đỗ Quang Em was born in Ninh Thuận Province in 1942. He studied photography from his father, owner of a small photographic studio when he was a child. 

He was sent to study at the Gia Định College of Fine Arts in Sài Gòn (now the HCM City University of Fine Arts). 

In 1965, he became involved in painting after graduating from college. His work earned recognition from art lovers and critics. 

In 1973-74, he worked as a lecturer at Gia Định College of Fine Arts. 

Đỗ Quang Em was part of a family of three generations of artists and trained himself to be a master of light in his paintings.

An oil painting called Bùa Hộ Mệnh (Amulet) was released in 2000 by late painter Đỗ Quang Em who used hyperrealism, a type of drawing technique, to create his art. Photo courtesy of the artist’s family

Em’s art focused on the use of strong contrasts between light and dark. 

Because of his love for photography, Em chose to paint realistic items but pushed his style further into the realm of hyperrealism. The technique, which takes a lot of time and skill, looks as real as a photograph.

“Em was professional in his use of this technique. The use of light and shadow helped the painter build up texture and detail,” said art critic Nguyên Hưng. 

Hyperrealism was an art movement and style popular in the United States and Europe in the 1970s with Carole Feuerman being the forerunner along with Duane Hanson and John De. 

Founded on the aesthetic principles of photography and photorealism, the artists often worked to create paintings that resembled photographs.

Hyperrealists took ordinary everyday objects and used them as a means to convey more subdued emotions in their paintings. They presented these objects as living and tangible, painted in meticulous detail to the point that they created an illusion of reality far from the original photo.

Hyperrealists often add subtle, pictorial details to create the illusion of a reality which doesn’t exist often conveying the emotional, social, cultural and even political messages of the artiste.

Đỗ Quang Em’s works feature a range of topics and objects, from people to animals and still life. Many of his paintings portray his wife and daughters. 

He also loved to draw cups, glasses, oil lamps and origami figures. 

A paiting called Chân Dung Vợ Hoạ Sĩ (Portrait of Artist’s Wife), released in 1975 by late painter Đỗ Quang Em. Photo courtesy of the artist’s family

He organised several solo and group exhibitions in HCM City, Singapore and Hong Kong. 

His works have been displayed and collected by Vietnamnese and foreign galleries and collectors, including the HCM City Musuem of Fine Arts. 

Chân dung vợ họa sỹ (Portrait of Artist’ Wife), 1975. Đỗ Quang Em

 Two of his famous paintings are Tôi và Vợ Tôi (My Wife and I) and Ấm và Tách Trà (A Teapot and Cups, which were auctioned for US$70,000 and $50,000 in Hong Kong in 1994-95.  

His paintings in the 1990s sold for $60,000-70,000 in the foreign market. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/life-style/1004306/obituary-veteran-painter-do-quang-em-dies.html

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