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Paris receives best overall review

LONDON: Exactly a month before the vote, front-runner Paris received the best overall review on Monday in an IOC evaluation of the five cities bidding for the 2012 Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee issued a 123-page report evaluating the bids of Paris, London, New York, Madrid and Moscow — the most competitive and glamorous field in Olympic bid history.

London, Madrid and New York also got positive ratings, while longshot Moscow came in for criticism.

The report did not rank the cities, but offered an insight into the strength and weaknesses of each bid. It focused on technical issues such as venues, financing, transport plans, accommodations, security and public and government support.

The findings will serve as a guide for the 117 eligible IOC voting members who will cast secret ballots in Singapore on July 6. However, the vote will also take into account geopolitical and other issues not covered by the report.

The report was based on visits to the five cities in February and March by the IOC evaluation commission, headed by Morocco's Nawal El Moutawakel.

Paris has been considered the favorite since the start of the campaign nearly two years ago, and the report only reinforced that status. However, the report also made clear that London, New York and Madrid are worthy contenders. — AP

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