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The Olympic torch relay of Mt. Everest starts

Beijing (PTI): A special Olympic flame has reached the Mount Everest base camp for its ascent to the worlds highest peak in the restive Tibet, which witnessed the worst anti-government protests since 1989.

The flame reached the base camp Sunday, an official with the Mt Qomolangma (Everest) Olympic torch relay said in Tingri County of Tibets Xigaze Prefecture, official Xinhua news agency said.

The torch which reached the camp is separate from the one on the global run, which was today passed through South Korea before it was headed for North Korea. It's passage was marred by protests in London, Paris and San Francisco.

A team of torch bearers would take the flame to the summit on a day when weather permits.

Security personnel have been deployed in good strength at the Base Camp to ward off any possible attempts to disrupt the relay plans on which Beijing has invested much prestige.

Reports said China has banned climbing expedition from its side, and authorities in Nepal had also tightened security to prevent any trouble from the southern side of the border straddling mountain.

The flame to be taken to the Mount Everest is specially designed to keep it burning in thin air.

China had recently announced the completion of work on improving the 108-km highway to the Mt Everest in preparation for the relay to the summit, which the regional government has vowed to make a "complete success".

The highway was built from a makeshift road between Xigaze prefecture and the Mount Everest Base Camp under a USD 21 million project that began in June last year.

Over 90 per cent of the roadside had been covered by grass.

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Added: Apr-28-2008 
By: stefan171
Tags: Everest, Olympics, torch relay,
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