London organizers have unveiled the design of the showpiece venue for the 2012 Olympics—a simple bowl-style 80,000-seat stadium for track and field events and the opening and closing ceremonies. The $1 billion (approximately Rs3,900 crore) arena will include a sunken bowl featuring permanent seating for 25,000 spectators, with the remaining 55,000 seats in a temporary structure at the top. After the Olympics, the stadium—which is bordered by water on three sides—will be converted into a 25,000-seat arena for track and field events. “This is the first stadium in history that only has one purpose—as an Olympic stadium, because after the Olympics, it gets pulled apart,” design chief Rod Sheard said. “Every other Olympic stadium, certainly in modern times, has had to accommodate guesswork as to the future events that might be held there.”
There will be a cabled roof, independent of the rest of the stadium, covering about two-thirds of the seating areas. A fabric curtain will wrap around the perimeter of the stadium. Food and drink stands will be located in separate pods outside the main structure, rather than underneath the seating as in most stadiums. The Olympic flame might not be attached to the stadium itself, but placed just north of the venue, Sheard said. Construction will begin next April and finish by the summer of 2011.
Truffles from Yorkshire
Farmers in a Yorkshire town famous for its rhubarb and liquorice sweets are moving upmarket with an attempt to grow truffles, one of the world’s most expensive delicacies. They will spread the spores from the rare black fungus normally found in France’s Perigord region among the roots of oak and beech trees in Pontefract in West Yorkshire. Supermarket chain Asda, which organized the trial, said it wants to cut the price of the “black diamonds”, which sell for hundreds of pounds per kg. “Truffles are so rare and expensive that very few ordinary people have ever tasted them,” an Asda spokesman said. “Growing them on a large scale in Yorkshire would boost supply and cut the cost of importing them.” However, truffle lovers will have to wait up to five years to see if the experiment has worked because the pungent fungus grows slowly. Pontefract is known for its rich soil that already supports bumper crops of rhubarb and liquorice. The roots of the liquorice plant are used to make sticky black sweets called Pontefract Cakes. Wild truffles have been collected in Britain for centuries, but commercial growing is rare. If the trial is a success, Asda said it may extend truffle cultivation across Yorkshire. (Reuters)