24 July 2008

Olympics 2008

With less than a month to go until the Olympics, Beijing has asked polluting industries to cease or reduce production. The government hopes to clean the air for athletes, and to help offset a looming power shortage.
Beijing, Olympics
Photo Reuters
, a drastic plan to lift the Chinese capital's gray shroud of pollution just three weeks ahead of the games.

Half of Beijing's 3.3 million vehicles will be pulled off the roads and many polluting factories will be shuttered. "Pea-soup air at the opening ceremony would be their worst nightmare," said Victor Cha, director of Asian Studies at Georgetown University.

Striking venues and $40 billion spent to improve infrastructure cannot mask Beijing's dirty air. A World Bank study found China is home to 16 of the 20 worst cities for air quality. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has repeatedly warned that outdoor endurance events lasting more than an hour will be postponed if the air quality is poor.

The plan to clean the gray air seems to match the high-security tone of the games, which will be policed by 100,000 officials.
Razor-wire barriers and soldiers standing at attention guard the outskirts of the Olympic Green area and the Chinese have even installed ground-to-air missiles near one Olympic venue to protect it from possible attacks.

Security, tight visa rules and inflated hotel prices seem to be keeping foreigners away. Many nightspots near Olympic venue are being closed by security officials, who say the games are under threat from Muslim extremists in China's western Xinjiang region. China's communist government seems to fear being embarrassed during the games by pro-Tibet activists, local dissidents or critics of China's human rights policies.

The gigantic experiment to curb pollution could still go wrong. Veerabhadran Ramanathan, an atmospheric scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, said unpredictable winds could blow pollution into Beijing despite factory shutdowns in the city and five surrounding provinces.

Ramanathan is leading a multinational research project in tracking Beijing's pollution before, during and after the Olympics.
"Reducing the local emissions is going to reduce the local pollution, but is that sufficient to help the athletes breath cleaner air? This is going to depend on the winds," he said.

21 July 2008

Valentino's Finale Spring/Summer '08

Valentino's final collection is a feast for the senses, colorful, chic, and fun!