Fireforks created a heavy smog over the "Bird's Nest" in Beijing as the Olympic Opening Ceremony got off to a spectacular start. This is the time and day that China and the entire world has waited and was looking forward to.
The Olympic Opening Ceremony started at 8AM EST. NBC's Olympic website says it will show the opening ceremony at 7:30 PM EST this evening.
However, thanks to BBC we have this video from You Tube that you can see some major parts of the Olympic Opening Ceremony.
NBC's Olympic website (www.nbcolympics.com/) has the complete schedule of the Olympic Games as NBC is the sole broadcaster of the games in USA.
The Live coverage of Olympic Opening Ceremony and all the games is also available at official site of The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (http://en.beijing2008.cn/).
"Beijing welcomed the world to the Games of the 29th Olympiad on August 8 with an Opening Ceremony that began at 8:00 p.m. (1200GMT). A Zhang Yimou-directed performance dazzled the 90,000-plus spectators that filled the National Stadium. Follow the performance on the official website of the Games," writes the official Committee website.
Xinhua reports that "Chinese President Hu Jintao on Friday told international dignitaries coming for the Beijing Olympic Games that the Beijing Olympics is an opportunity for both China and the world.
"The Beijing Olympic Games is an opportunity not only for China but also for the whole world," Hu said in his toast at a welcoming banquet for foreign leaders and other VIP guests who will attend the Games's opening ceremony on Friday evening, including IOC President Jacques Rogge and Honorary President Juan Antonio Samaranch.
"We should carry forward the Olympic spirit of solidarity, friendship and peace, facilitate sincere exchanges among people from all countries, deepen mutual understanding, enhance friendship and rise above differences, and promote the building of a harmonious world featuring lasting peace and common prosperity," said Hu.
Radio Netherlands writes who is staying away from the Olympic Opening Ceremony
Who is staying away?
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper won't be at the opening, but because attendance has now become so politicised, both stressed that they simply didn't have the time for a trip to China. In other words, no offence is intended.
The political leaders of Estonia, Poland and the Czech Republic, on the other hand, say they don't want their presence to be seen as an expression of support for the Chinese authorities. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is staying away - according to spokesmen he never planned to attend - but as host of the 2012 games he does have to be present at the closing ceremony. The heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, who has long been a sympathiser of the Dalai Lama, announced in January that he wouldn't be going to Beijing.
Finally, Silvio Berlusconi - an avowed lover of spectacle - has also said he won't be going. He says Beijing is too hot and humid for him.
China has planned the most expensive opening ceremony in Olympic history, keen to put the world spotlight on its modern face.
Some 100 million dollars, twice the 2004 Athens bill, has gone on what are set to be spectacular ''Big bang'' opening and closing ceremonies.
Some 15 thousand performers and 29 thousand fireworks will give the Games a sparkling start.
More than 80 state leaders and royal family members are expected to attend the opening ceremony.
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