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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 January 2007, 11:04 GMT
Olympic flame to ascend Everest
The Olympic flame is to be taken to the top of Mount Everest as part of the build-up to the 2008 Games in Beijing.

The flame will actually go to the summit twice as there will be a televised rehearsal in 2007 before the actual torch relay in 2008.

"The torch will be designed in order to burn at such a high altitude," said Beijing Olympics official Liu Jingmin.

The flame will be carried up the southern side of the mountain in Nepal and descend the north face into Tibet.

Chinese troops invaded the mountainous region of Tibet in 1950 and the country's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has been in exile in northern India since 1959.

Tibetan independence activists staged protests during the last two Olympic Games in Turin and Athens.

The full schedule of the torch relay, which must be approved by the International Olympic Committee, has not yet been released.

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