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Haze hovers over Beijing day before opening ceremony
August 7, 2008 / 1:12 AM / in 9 years

Haze hovers over Beijing day before opening ceremony

BEIJING (Reuters) - Haze hovered over the Chinese capital on Thursday, just a day before the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games that have been beset by worries about pollution.

<p>A Chinese paramilitary policeman keeps watch as a plane taxis on the tarmac shrouded in haze at Beijing airport on August 7, 2008. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV</p>

Cloudy skies were forecast for the rest of the day in Beijing where the Environmental Protection Bureau said that levels of particulate matter were within the “fairly good” range on Wednesday.

Humid, still weather and temperatures hitting 34 degrees Celsius (93 Fahrenheit) have seen stubborn smog hanging over the city over the past few days.

The capital has already pulled millions of cars off the roads and halted factory production to ensure cleaner air.

<p>A policeman and volunteers ride bikes through the Olympic Village as a heavy haze clouds the air in Beijing August 7, 2008. REUTERS/Phil Noble</p>

Friday is expected to be cloudy too, with scattered rain, and a maximum temperature of 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit).

“During the opening ceremony it will mainly be cloudy ... and there will essentially be no impact upon it,” the China Meteorological Administration said on its website (www.cma.gov.cn).

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It was raining in muggy Hong Kong, where equestrian events are scheduled to start on Saturday, as a tropical storm looms over the former British territory.

Tropical storms often develop over the South China Sea in the summer months, growing into full-fledged typhoons threatening China, the Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan.

For athletes of endurance events, smog could pose a major problem and the International Olympic Committee has said it might reschedule events if the pollution is too bad.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie

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