World Games, China Spotlight and Gold Medals for Marchers

Jan 23, 2015

Iris Gross, Executive Director of the Birmingham International Center

Alabama is still buzzing over the news that Birmingham will be the host city for the 2021 World games. The first task in preparing to host the games will be to watch how Poland does it.

Wroclaw, Poland will be hosting the 2017 games and Alabama be taking notes on how that city handles it. Over four thousand athletes from one hundred countries usually take part.

Professor Darin White is the founder and coordinator of the sports marketing program at Samford University. He says one advantage the World Games have over the Olympics is that World Games insist that host cities don’t have to build pricey new venues.

“When the Olympic committee team came back in and took a look at what we had going on back in October, they actually saw the different places we’d be using for the World games".

It could cost seventy five million dollars for Birmingham to hold the 2021 games. Transportation and security will likely have to be beefed up. Still, proponents say the event could bring a quarter billion dollars in business to the community.

China is Alabama’s second biggest trading partner. That economic relationship is the focus of a new series of events at the Birmingham International Center.

The Center will host various cultural, educational, and outreach events between now and May. A large part of the focus is on business and trade with China. Alabama does two and a half billion dollars’ worth of business with China every year.

Iris Gross is the Executive Director of the Birmingham International Center. She says they hope to help Alabama businesses build and maintain relationships with their Chinese counterparts.

“One of the facets of doing business with other countries is you really have to understand the culture. And that’s what we do. Everything is built on relationships, and the better relationship you have, the easier it will be to do business. So that’s what we do”.

Yesterday, business leaders in Mobile met to discuss a pending trade deal with Europe and how Alabama might benefit. The agreement is meant to address issues like e-commerce and intellectual property rights.

The fiftieth anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches is coming up in March, and legislators from Alabama want to honor the participants in that historic event.

U.S. Representatives Terri Sewell and Martha Roby, both of Alabama, have introduced a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to civil rights advocates who participated in the 1965 marches.

The representatives say the courage of those marchers forced America to become a more just and democratic nation.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor the U.S. Congress can bestow.

President Obama will be in Selma in March for a commemoration of the marches. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says he expects some former U.S. Presidents to attend the event as well.

Western Alabama was shaken by a minor earthquake yesterday for the third time in just three months.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports that a Magnitude 2.7 earthquake occurred yesterday at around 4 AM near the town of Aliceville.

No damage has been reported, and the geological survey hasn't yet determined how deep this earthquake was underneath Earth's surface.

Other small earthquakes occurred in November and December in nearby Green County, just a few miles from the one reported yesterday.