The increased tempo of Beijing’s public diplomacy activities in recent years, from Confucius Institutes to the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, have received poor to mediocre reviews internationally. Expensive projects have been received positively by the Chinese public, but have done little to reverse China’s continued international image problems. Although a narrative of crisis pervades international scholarship on Chinese public diplomacy, there appears little evidence to suggest that Beijing is concerned.

It is Tokyo, after all. It was nearly 6am when a few thousand supporters gathered at Komazawa Stadium, one of the key venues for Tokyo’s 1964 games, exploded in celebration as International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge held up the winning envelope marked “Tokyo 2020." With Madrid ousted at the first round, the Tokyo-Istanbul competition boosted the hopes of the Japanese bidders that eventually took the final vote by a large margin: 60 to 36.

It's among the few things that many Cubans and Americans can agree on: Baseball should return to the Olympics. Antonio Castro, son of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, is in Argentina to argue before the International Olympic Committee that baseball — now in partnership with softball — should be returned to the Olympic games in 2020.

Eleven years after a joint Washington-Baltimore bid to host the Summer Olympics was snubbed, a group based in the nation’s capital announced Tuesday its interest in trying again. This time, the initiative doesn’t formally include Baltimore, though preliminary plans call for staging events in Maryland’s largest city, as well as Northern Virginia and the District.

With a gay propaganda law in the works, a history peppered with anti-gay violence, lawmakers in Parliament saying things like "homosexuality is a clearly unacceptable behavior" and a bid to host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, the situation in Kazakhstan sounds a lot like Russia's. And that's a curious place to be, when you consider the international outrage against the latter's aggressive anti-gay laws and the resulting calls to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi.

The XXXII Olympic Summer Games in 2020 will be hosted by one of three candidate cities: Madrid, Istanbul, or Tokyo, following the 2016 games in Rio De Janeiro. The three candidates were selected by the International Olympic Committee out of a group that also included non-selected applicant cities Baku, Doha, and Rome (which withdrew its bid shortly before the applicant files were due). The International Olympic Committee will elect the host city on 7 September 2013. Here is a look at the logos of each of the hopefuls (and not so hopefuls).

What happens when the domestic public seemingly overtakes a country’s public diplomacy agenda? Brazil looked like it had scored a double goal when it secured the bid to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. A massive promotional campaign to garner world attention was well underway. And then came the massive protests by the Brazilian public.