[Update - 5:59pm, July 31]
The results are out! The host of the 2022 Winter Olympics is Beijing!
[Update - 4.49pm, July 31]
The IOC has decided to vote by paper ballots after problems with the electronic voting in the choice for the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics.
After both bid teams made final presentations earlier Friday, IOC members were voting with new tablets by secret ballot.
But after the vote was declared closed, IOC director general Christophe De Kepper told the delegates that there had been “interferences with changes of tablets” and that scrutineers “are not comfortable with the integrity of the vote.”
De Kepper said the vote would be re-run using paper ballots, which is a much lengthier procedure.
[Update - 1.29pm, July 31]
Human rights activists are stepping up efforts to derail Beijing's bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Five groups opposing Beijing's bid have appealed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), urging it not to award the Games to the Chinese capital.
"China is now facing a human rights crisis with a scale of violations that is unprecedented since 2008," United States-based rights activists Rose Tang and Gu Yi said in a letter last week to the IOC.
They said human rights had deteriorated in China since Beijing held the 2008 Games. The last two years under President Xi Jinping have been marked by a sweeping crackdown on dissidents, activists and human rights lawyers.
The Beijing 2022 Bid Committee said sport should be kept separate from politics. "We believe in the Olympic Charter's vision to protect the power of sport from political influence," it said.
The IOC said both Almaty and Beijing had given assurances on "non-discrimination ... internet access, media freedom, labour rights and the right to demonstrate during the games".
It's not long until it is announced which city will host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games: Almaty in Kazakhstan or Beijing in China. While the International Olympic Committee says both cities are strong candidates, critics say it's an unpleasant choice between two countries that are controversially undemocratic and with dubious human rights records.
Beijing and Almaty staged their final pleas to the IOC today to win the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Underdog Almaty made lightly disguised attacks on
“We are a golden opportunity to prove that smaller advancing nations can successfully host the Olympic Games,” Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Massimov told the IOC.
The former Kazakh capital would stage “a games that are centred on the needs of athletes and sport not on the needs of (the) host country’s global image”, said Andrey Kryukov, vice chairman of the Almaty bid committee.
“In Almaty, there will be no bus, train or car rides for hours to reach or return from faraway mountain venues.”
All of Almaty’s venues are within 30 kilometres (18 miles) of the city, which the delegation portrayed as a “winter wonderland”.
Olympic fever mounted in
“The delegation will present to the whole world