Two web sites purporting to sell tickets to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games due to open in Beijing, Chinon Friday have been the subject of lawsuits from the International Olympic Committee in United States courts in recent weeks. The web sites, and, were designed to resemble official sites and often appeared above the official sites in Google searches, and scammed some victims out of up to US$50,000 each for tickets to events such as the Opening Ceremony and swimming, which were listed despite the official Beijing ticket web site stating that tickets to all events had sold out as of July 27. The sites are believed to have taken in millions of dollars in total.

Ken Gamble, a private investigator from Sydney, Australia, believes the sites are operated by Terance Shepherd, whom Gamble has been tracking for several years in relation to other fraudulent web sites selling tickets to events such as the FIFA World Cup. According to Gamble, Shepherd’s modus operandi involves setting up the fake web sites, overselling the tickets, and then failing to produce the tickets. “The story’s always the same,” Gamble said, “it’s an ‘unfortunate mistake’ or someone has ‘let them down’. They promise a refund, which never happens, and the credit companies end up paying all the refunds.” Shepherd owns a home in the London suburb of Blackheath, although authorities believe he is currently hiding in Barbados.

On Monday, customers received an email from someone named “Alan Scott”, claiming that the site’s ticket supplier had filed for bankruptcy. The email recommended that customers should contact their credit card companies to seek refunds “immediately”, and said that the company would set up a call centre to provide assistance to its customers. However, the site has been shut down and a phone number previously listed on it has been disconnected. The company’s address, in Phoenix, Arizona, was found to be an empty office space. Visa International has stated that victims who used their Visa card to pay should be able to get their money back, but it is not yet clear whether the same will apply to all customers

Source : wikinews

Wikinews has confirmed that the unblocking of the Chinese Wikipedia in China has probably been extended to cover the whole of China. Ting Chen, who is currently the community elected board member of the Wikimedia Foundation, said at 09:54 (UTC) today on Wikimedia’s foundation-l mailing list that he has “reports from provinces and cities from very different corners of the country, that the users have direct access.”

Cary Bass.

Ting Chen, community elected board member of the Wikimedia Foundation, announced that the Chinese Wikipedia was unblocked earlier today
Image: Cary Bass.

Wikinews previously reported the the Chinese Wikipedia was unblocked in China, although that unblock did not cover the whole of the country. Wikipedia user Aphaia has also said that Wikipedia can even be accessed in remote districts such as Fujian. She said that “Fujian is rather near to Taiwan so this lifting would be nationwide, I suppose.” Using a Website Testing tool, Wikinews has also confirmed access in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. However, access to controversial pages such as the article on the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 was found to remain restricted.

Despite the fact that the ban has been lifted, the Chinese Wikipedia continues to tell readers a way to get around the firewall. At the top of every page there is a message telling users (who are not logged in) to view Wikipedia using the https server to bypass the block.

Some Wikipedia contributers have said that the block may reappear after the olympic games have finished. Titan Deng, an active Wikimedia who organized Wikimania 2007 said that “the lift of the ban is brought by the Olympic Game which is going to be held next week.” He then said that “the lift[ing of the block] might end after the Olympic Game[s] finishes.”

The International Olympic Committee warned China in April that it wanted the internet freely accessible for the entire duration of the Olympic Summer Games. Unrestricted access is guaranteed to the 30,000 reporters and media staff expected for the Olympics under Beijing’s ‘host city contract’.

Sorce : wikinews

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has lifted a ban on Iraqi athletes participating in the Beijing Olympics. The IOC placed a ban on the country’s participation on July 24 claiming a political influence within Iraq’s national Olympic committee. This came after the Iraqi government’s suspension of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Iraq in May 2008.

The 2008 Summer Olympics Logo

The 2008 Summer Olympics Logo

The decision to remove the ban is a result of the Iraqi government’s agreement to allow free elections for their National Olympic Committee while under international scrutiny. “The National Olympic Committee will have fair elections before the end of November,” said Pere Miro, Director of the IOC’s relation with NOC’s. In the meantime, Iraq’s NOC will be run by a interim Committee approved by the IOC.

Even though the ban has been lifted, five of the seven athletes are still unable to participate due to the final date of selections having passed. Two athletes participating in sprinting and rowing are expected to compete.

There has been some who believed that Iraq has been treated wrongly in the matter of their NOC. Ahmed Tabour, head of the Cultural and Sports Committee stated that “Iraq was never suspended during the days of Saddam [Hussein], who personally appointed the national Olympic committee. The Iraqi people need hope, and sport gives them a lot of hope.”