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Russia

Moscow Looks To Rein In Skyscraper Construction

While some cities take a bigger-is-better approach to high-rise construction, Moscow is looking to curb enthusiasm for skyscrapers in much the same way as Saint Petersburg. Proposed regulations would impose a 75-meter height limit for most of the historic

Moscow's 40-story Nordstar Tower (**RS**2009)
Moscow's 40-story Nordstar Tower (**RS**2009)
Aleksander Voronov and Margarita Fedorova

MOSCOW -- Historical conservation has a complicated history in Moscow. In 1931, Stalin destroyed the city's most prominent cathedral, only for the site to remain empty for years, before ultimately being turned into a swimming pool.

These days, however, Russia's political and business capital is making an effort to preserve its historical skyline by following Saint Petersburg's lead and restricting the height of new construction.

The new regulations are based according to neighborhood, and would outlaw new buildings higher than 75 meters in 40% of the city. The height limit would apply to about 80% of the city center.

The regulations are not entirely unprecedented, as there are already some restrictions on tall buildings. In 2010, Moscow's mayor demanded that the upper floors on a new 213-meter tower be lopped off, claiming that the construction's height was illegal. The decision was later rescinded.

Although experts recognize that developers will not be happy with the news, they called the new regulations "logical and understandable." They also noted, however, that it could lead to less new construction and higher rents for office space in Moscow.

Read the original article in Russian

Photo - **RS**2009

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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