The official opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Turin, in which 2,500 athletes from 85 countries are participating in 15 different sports, kicked off on 10 February amid high security, and controversy about drug taking.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced it will carry out 1,200 drug tests in Turin, a 72 per cent increase on the number of tests performed in Salt Lake City four years ago. Under strict Italian doping laws athletes found using steroids can be prosecuted, although Italian authorities have backed down from the plan to take an active role in drugs testing at the games.

United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan has meanwhile called on UN member states to observe the Olympic truce during the games, for which over 720,000 tickets have now been sold, about 90 per cent of the total.