Changing China

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A little drizzle won’t frazzle Olympic ceremony (Update)



Olympic organisers are praying that it doesn’t rain on the athletes’ parade at next Friday’s opening ceremony, but a little drizzle might in fact add some fizzle to the lavish show.

“The lighting effects will be more beautiful with a bit of rain,” said Yves Pepin, a French hi-tech wizard, who is a senior member of the creative team for the 3-1/2 hour extravaganza.

What the team fears is the sort of deluge that can batter the Chinese capital during August. “If it rains a lot then life will get very difficult. We have a plan B if this happens and some parts of the show will have to be downsized, although not cut altogether,” said Pepin, giving nothing more away.

With this in mind, a long range weather forecast released on Sunday provides some hope — there is a 41 percent chance of rain on Aug. 8, but a prolonged drenching is unlikely, according to Beijing’s Meteorological Bureau.

Smogwatch (1)


After a promising start in the immediate aftermath of the “odd-even” car restrictions and factory closures on July 20th, the air quality in Beijing has slowly deteriorated, as this combination picture shows.

Beijing's polluted skies 

The Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau says data shows that improvements have been made, but this is surely not the backdrop that organisers had in mind for the Olympics.