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China clean air plan goes into effect

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Beijing on Sunday will begin in earnest the staged shutdown that is supposed to keep the Summer Olympics from being shrouded in air pollution.

International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has told Beijing Games organizers that outdoor endurance events will be postponed if air quality is poor.

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Authorities already have phased out 30,000 old taxis and pulled nearly 4,000 old diesel buses from the road. Now, half of Beijing’s 3.3 million vehicles are being garaged, Associated Press reports. The government also is shutting down factories and power plants that regularly spew pollution into the air.

Construction sites in the capital are being shut down, and the government has even promised to use rockets to seed clouds -- in effect, using rain to wash the skies clean.

The government also opened three new subway lines today that are designed to reduce vehicle emissions.

-- Greg Johnson


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