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Sara Barz's Posts

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On the Ball: In Beijing's court

A semi-comprehensive sportin’ round-up

Beijing Olympics 2008: With less than 30 days to the Olympic games, Chinese officials and businesses have actively been touting efforts to reduce air pollution. Even as visibility was down to a few hundred meters in the pollution-laden misty July weather, Beijing's environmental bureau insisted that there will be clear skies for the August games. Chinese corporations are trying to do their part to curb the smog. The Beijing Shougang Group has cut steel production by 70 percent and will take a 2 million yuan loss for the third quarter. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge told the AP, "We …

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Olympic trials: The locusts of control

A locust swarm worries Chinese officials ahead of Olympics

Officials in the Northern Chinese province of Inner Mongolia have mobilized 33,000 people to stop a swarm of locusts 267 miles outside of Beijing. Concerned that the locust swarm may descend on Beijing during the Olympic Games, the regional government has set aside 4 million yuan for pesticides and large-scale spraying machinery. As of July 2, the swarm had infested 5,000 square miles. "The larvae are in the hatching stage in the counties and cities near Beijing, Gao Wenyuan, of the Inner Mongolia's grassland office, told the Xinhua news agency, as reported by Bloomberg. "The plague is becoming more apparent." …

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Olympic trials

Olympic sailing venue battles with massive algae bloom

With a mere 37 days until the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, Qingdao, the port city where Olympic sailing events will be held, has sailed into troubled waters. Since June 12, municipal and Olympic officials have been wrestling with an algae bloom in Fushan Bay that has produced over 20,000 metric tons of weeds and green muck. Approximately 10,000 troops and Qingdao residents and 1,000 boats have been dispatched to dredge the bay. According to a Reuters report, algae blooms are regular occurrences in Qingdao, but this one stands out: "This is more severe than common algae outbreaks," a …

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Oh lord, won't you clean up my Mercedes-Benz?

Mercedes to offer a petroleum-free lineup by 2015

In the next seven years, Mercedes-Benz wants to eliminate petroleum-powered vehicles from its lineup. According to AutoblogGreen, "The German giant is working on a variety of technologies that will help provide crude oil free transport such as battery electrics, fuel cells and highly efficient internal combustion engines that can operate on biofuels." The automaker already has two new powertrains in either the concept or trial stages of development. The concept F700, which debuted in Frankfurt in fall 2007, is powered by a DiesOtto engine that combines Homogenous Charge Compression Ignition with spark ignition to get nearly the same efficiency as …

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Massholes in hybrids, video

Five Boston Globe reporters compete in ‘Mileage-athon’

Highest mpg wins: (Thank you, Ann!)

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Business sense

BP, Shell, Airbus, and other multinationals call for 50 percent emission cuts by 2050

The CEOs of 100 large multinational corporations -- including companies from carbon-intense industries -- have signed a World Economic Forum statement [PDF] that calls on the G8 to create a strategy to cut global greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050. The G8 will be meeting in Japan next month, and Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda will be pushing hard for an agreement on climate change. Notable signatories to the statement: Airbus, British Airways, BP, Duke Energy, DuPont, Electricite de France, Entergy, E.ON, Michelin, Petrobras, Renault, Rolls-Royce, and Shell. Are pigs flying? Not quite. The companies see money …

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Pause for effect

Iconic Ford SUV plant to be idled for summer

Photo: Dean Souglass Ford will close its Michigan Truck Plant in Wayne for nine weeks -- four weeks longer than previously announced -- starting on June 23. Birthplace to Lincoln Navigators and Ford Expeditions, the MTP has come in for hard times due to the plummeting market for SUVs. Since January, Expedition sales are down 31 percent; Navigators, 22 percent. Once bread and butter for American automakers, SUVs have fallen victim to $4-a-gallon gasoline. To the lay observer, the temporary MTP closure is just another symptom of the shift away from SUVs, but it actually signifies a whole lot more …