Tuesday, November 30, 2010

China gave a stunning goodbye with amazing fireworks

The Asian Games (also known as XVI ASIAD) meets its grand finale tonight with incredible fireworks in the event of closing ceremony. The 16 days long game is the largest ever Asian Games. The skies light up with unbelievable firecrackers as China brought the curtains down on the major Asian Games 2010 in an uprising of colour, musical extravaganza, and an enlightening gala at the Haixinsha Island on the Pearl River.

The 16th Asian Games lowered its shutter in a jolly closing ceremony on Saturday night as host China demonstrated its unconcealed domination by sweeping 199 gold medals.

The president of the Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, summoned the Guangzhou Asiad “a vast achievement” and “one of the most exceptional” in history.

China won 119silver and 98 bronze, crowned the table for the 8th straight time, crashing its top gold tally of 183, engrave the 1990 Beijing Games.

Out of the 45 participating teams 36 were medaled in the 16-day games, wherein South Korea bagging 232 medals including 76 gold, thrashing Japan into a far-off third with 48 gold out of 216 medals.

After Beijing hosted the Olympics and Shanghai the World Expo, Guangzhou apprehended the Asian Games at the same time as an occasion to showcase its custom and modernity to the globe.

China’s 3rd largest city invested a surprising 120 billion yuan (about 17.9 billion U.S. dollars) in its assignments including stadiums, roads and subway lines. China opened the ceremony in a distinctive water-themed opening ceremony which paid honor to the city’s seafaring heritage; the ending was more like a singing and dancing gala.

Famous Asian artists such as India’s Gupta Tanya and Rave Tripthi, China’s Tang Can, Kazakhstan’s Mayra Kerei, Japan’s Ryoko Nakano, executed folk songs of their origin.

The sail-shaped vast LED screen in the backdrop interrelated with the performance while altering lights assisted change the field of play into glittery and blue sky, delegate cultural and natural landscape of Asia, from which athletes and officials from outstanding the continent could found their familiar tempo.

An Hour before the closing ceremony, the Chinese women’s volleyball team marched from two sets down to hit South Korea to win the last gold of the Games.

35 Olympic gold medalists, including athlete Liu Xiang and badminton players Lin Dan, appeared the brightest stars among the 1,454-member Chinese designation.

India finished 6th on the medal tally with a record 14 gold, 17 silver and 33 bronze for an in general tally of 64, covering their former record of 57 medals in the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi.

Korea finished following the 2nd place whereas Japan was 3rd that highlighted the reality that the Asian Games, the 2nd largest sports event after the Olympic Games, are still being terribly conquered by the distantly eastern nations of the continent.

100 artists with Indian flower garland in their hands tapped in 2 groups next the bikes and formed 2 curved moons on both sides of the Torch Tower while over 1000 singing group members grasp multihued Indian light-reflecting towels danced in accord.

The previous regions of the continent were also given their renown in the cultural background before flashbacks of the Asian Games competitions and athletes being honored their medals were shown with touching scenes, representing the eagerness and harmony that was perceptible all through the Games.

The show ended with all the contestants’ arrival to the stage forming different patterns while singing and dancing with throw away to bring an ending to the cultural part and the opening of the formal part of the ceremony with the coming of the athletes.

Subsequently the flag of the 1st Games held in Delhi in 1951 and the OCA flag were renounced to the Korean representatives by Huahua and Peng.

The Koreans accessible a little segment to the supplement of outstanding instruments and taekwondo, the country’s martial arts, which is as well a section of the Games event and ‘Welcome to Incheon’ and ‘See you at Incheon in 2014’ were burst into flames on the screen. The Games flame was snuffed out prior to the firecrackers illuminate the night sky to mark the end of the closing ceremony.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

New ATF rules affecting PGI and club events

Here is the officially approved PGI stance as it will be published in the next Bulletin. Please feel free to circulate this to any other lists, discussion groups, or other sites to which you subscribe. May as well get the word, bad though it is, out to everyone.

Transportation of Fireworks by Hobbyists June 2009 Update: URGENT READING By John Steinberg This article has been vetted for legal accuracy and reviewed by PGI Attorney, Doug Mawhorr.

If you are even thinking about bringing fireworks to the PGI, that are regulated as explosives by ATF, please read this article thoroughly as there has been a major change in rules interpretation and enforcement by ATF.

Let me also clarify and reiterate DOT rules interpretation which has NOT changed. DOT: 1) If you are NOT in commerce, DOT rules and regulations do NOT apply to you. You need not have a CDL, placards, log book, MCS 90 insurance certificate and $5 million in coverage, hazardous materials registration, etc. 2) If you are in commerce, you need all of the above and more. Conclusions: If you are bringing your own non-commercial fireworks to the PGI for your own enjoyment, DOT has no issue with you and you have none with them. This has not changed. If PGI is paying you to do a display, EVEN if you are a club, you MUST find a qualified means to transport your pyrotechnic materials to the convention. This most likely means working with a display company as no club I know of, including the PGI, can afford to become a commercial transporter of display fireworks.

ATF: Some history is required here: On May 24, 2003, the Safe Explosives Act took effect. This required an ATF license for ALL transportation of regulated explosives on public roads. "Public roads" means anything off your personal property. A User Limited ATF license will allow intrastate transportation. An ATF license, of any type greater than User Limited, is required for interstate transportation.

In 2006, the ATF conducted an enforcement operation at the Appleton PGI convention. Though no material was seized and no persons were charged, this created a problem that we felt needed to be addressed. To that end, on December 11, 2006, our attorney, John Brooke, Tom Handel, and I met with ATF and DOT personnel at ATF HQ. Representing ATF at that meeting were, among others, ATF Co-Chief Counsel, Teresa Ficaretta, Arson and Explosives Division Explosives Industry Branch Programs Chief Gary Bangs, and his immediate superior, Mark Jones, the Deputy Division Chief. An agreement was arrived at, endorsed by ATF Counsel, that a member of a club could transport hobbyist materials to a club event under the club ATF license.

An agreement was also reached whereby it was determined that travel requiring an overnight stay would still be interpreted as transportation and that no magazine storage would be required. Table of distances requirements would be in force, however, but cars would not count as occupied structures, so parking lots would have sufficed so long as the vehicle was locked. The details of and permissions granted under this agreement have previously been published in some detail and I will not reiterate those details here. Though we asked ATF to reduce this agreement to writing, no written response was ever provided to the questions we posed. These questions have now been answered in the June 2009 ATF Explosives Industry Newsletter.

For two and a half years, this verbal agreement was honored. No other interpretation was offered and enforcement was consistent with the agreements reached in 2006 by ATF and PGI. DOT did not offer any changes in regulatory interpretation at this meeting and none were requested of DOT by PGI.

The ATF regulation interpretation has now changed. The permissions previously afforded members to transport under a club license have been unilaterally rescinded and previous permissions granted must be considered as revoked.

If you are a non-ATF-licensed hobbyist: 1) You may continue to make and use regulated explosives for your own non-commercial enjoyment on your own property and must comply with lawful storage requirements. 2) You may NOT transport that material to a club event on the club license. 3) You may transfer your material to an ATF license holder. BUT, you may NOT transport the material off your property to that license holder. An ATF license holder may come to you, collect your material, create a record of acquisition, and then transport the materials to his magazine, logging them in properly. This is NO longer your material. The transfer must remain NON-COMMERCIAL. No payment for this service may be made by you to the license holder nor any payment made to you for the material. The license holder may bring this non-commercial material to an ATF-licensed-club event and transfer the material to the possession of the club. The club must create a record of acquisition. If you are a member of the club, with the club's permission, you may then be allowed to fire said material at that club event. But, the material can never be returned to your possession.

From this point forward, with NO EXCEPTIONS: You MUST have an ATF User Limited License for ANY intrastate (within your state, crossing NO state boundary lines) transportation of regulated explosive materials, whether in commerce or not. You must have an ATF license, of any type greater than User Limited, which is required for ANY interstate transportation of regulated explosives.

Further, as if that news were not enough, you are now in transportation ONLY while en route and moving. Whether or not you are an ATF license holder, if you stop overnight, your material MUST either be placed in a lawful magazine or, in a locked and attended vehicle AT THE DISPLAY SITE.

I was pleased that we could work out the agreement that was in force for the last two and a half years. I am dismayed that an agreement that worked so well has now been unilaterally discarded without any consultation with or communication to those affected, except as provided in the newsletter. But, that's the way it is.

Given the recent changes in ATF interpretation of explosives rules that rescind these two key allowances previously afforded hobbyists as published in the June Industry Newsletter, I think it would be both reasonable and prudent to expect an ATF enforcement action at the PGI convention and, perhaps, at other regional club activities. Thus, if you are not 100% certain you are lawfully transporting fireworks (non-commercial, ATF license holder) do not even think about doing so this year.

If you can find a license holder to come collect your material and are willing to part with it, as described above, this is your only remaining option to be a non-licensed hobbyist manufacturer and shoot your material at club events held at sites other than on your property. Otherwise, your best course would be to obtain an ATF license and a contingency storage letter from a license holder or to establish proper storage on your own premises.

In closing, this is, in my opinion, bad news and certainly makes life more complicated, but, for all but a few hobbyists, there are still solutions that will allow you to continue to enjoy your hobby. Whatever you choose to do, please do so lawfully. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by email. I will answer your questions and have our attorneys vet those answers for accuracy.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Asian Games open amid fireworks, water show

GUANGZHOU, China (AP) — Light beams, fireworks and water jets exploded from the banks of the Pearl River as China marked the opening of the 16th Asian Games in southern city Guangzhou, two years after dazzling the world with a gala opener to the Beijing Olympics.

Unlike the land-bound festivities at the Bird's Nest stadium that featured thousands of performers moving in coordination in 2008, Asian Games organizers paid tribute to coastal Guangdong province's seafaring heritage.

The venue on tiny Haixinsha island was configured like a sailboat for the 4 1/2-hour opening festivities designed by Chen Weiya — famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou's deputy when he crafted the Beijing ceremony. The 27,000-capacity stadium stood as the cabin; four towering pillars in front of it unfurled eight video screens that doubled as sails.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiaobao declared the games open. He was joined in the dignitaries box by Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.

The ceremony kicked off with a small boy floating down from the sky on a leaf-like carriage lit in green. He poured water from a bottle, setting off giant fountains that sprayed in arcs across the stage. Four dozen water goddesses seemed to walk across the water, followed by a dozen fairies rising out of pools in the stage floor.

Performers flapping large pieces of red cloth scrambled across the stage to create the image of petals dropping on water. Other actors entered in a large sampan-like vessel, recreating a journey in rough seas, with the would-be sailors swaying on ropes and ladders amid waters represented by large flags waved by hundreds of dancers.

Classical pianist Lang Lang performed on a white grand and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" actress Zhang Ziyi sang as synchronized swimmers danced and water sprouted before them.

Performers on jet skis zoomed into the stadium and performed tricks.

In a playful segment, dozens of dancers attached to wires seemed to run across cityscapes flashed across the video screens, climbed mountains and formed formations to look like eagles flying through the sky.

In a nod to Chinese hurdling superstar Liu Xiang, who is recovering from an Achilles' tendon injury that forced him to withdraw from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the dancers formed hurdles across a track while one jumped smoothly over them.

In keeping with the night's nautical theme, instead of walking into the stadium, the athletes arrived on boats that ferried them down the Pearl River. Brightly illuminated in bulbs of different colors, the 45 boats were decorated with Asian landmarks — including Japan's Mount Fuji, Cambodia's Angkor Wat, Jordan's Petra and India's Taj Mahal. China was represented by the Temple of Heaven, the Bird's Nest and the country's pavilion from the recently concluded Shanghai World Expo.

When the final torch bearer, Olympic champion diver He Chong, approached the Guangzhou cauldron — which emerged from the stage supported by four giant arches — he lit a big firecracker with two children who muffled their ears. The sparks that followed set the cauldron aflame.

The huge scale of the event has posed a logistical dilemma for the Chinese organizers.

Except for members of the public who won a lottery for tickets to the show, most residents of this wealthy city of 10 million watched it on TV — even though many could have enjoyed a picturesque view of the proceedings from either side of the river.

Officials locked down areas near the stadium, ordering residents within a half-mile radius to leave their homes for the night — apparently to eliminate the threat of sniper fire. However, they were asked to leave their lights on to help maintain a glittering skyline backdrop.

Tickets to the ceremony went for as much as $1,025.