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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 The decision was later rescinded.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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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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