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China

China's Battle Against Traffic Treads On Fundamental 'Right To Buy Cars'

Analysis: Beijing's monstrous traffic jams have eased after the introduction of a new policy to impose a lottery system to limit automobile purchases. But as other Chinese cities follow suit, bigger economic and democratic questions are being rai

Bumper to bumper traffic in Beijing, China
Bumper to bumper traffic in Beijing, China
Qi Yue

BEIJING - Amidst much fanfare and many questions, the capital approved a new license plate "lottery" system last year to restrict the number of new car purchases. It was a policy aimed squarely at Beijing's wretched traffic situation. The city allowed only 240,000 new registrations in 2011, about a third of the number registered in 2010. It comes after Beijing saw the number of cars multiply from 1 million in 1997 to 4.76 million in 2010.

Last week, city officials announced a preliminary evaluation of the new policy, with Liu Xiaoming, director of Beijing Municipal Transport Committee, citing an overall 115-kilometer (33%) drop in bottlenecks, as well as an average time a driver sits in backups going down to an hour and five minutes, a 50% drop. Nonetheless, the evaluation did not specify how much of the traffic reduction is due to the restrictions on car purchases.

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Society

End Of Roe v. Wade, The World Is Watching

As the Supreme Court decides to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion rights, many fear an imminent threat to abortion rights in the U.S. But in other countries, the global fight for sexual and reproductive rights is going in different directions.

"Don't abort my right" At 2019 pro-choice march In Toulouse, France.

Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via ZUMA
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank and Sophia Constantino

PARIS — Nearly 50 years after it ensured the right to abortion to Americans, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case, meaning that millions of women in the U.S. may lose their constitutional right to abortion.

The groundbreaking decision is likely to set off a range of restrictions on abortion access in multiple states in the U.S., half of which are expected to implement new bans on the procedure. Thirteen have already passed "trigger laws" that will automatically make abortion illegal.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the ruling "a tragic error" and urged individual states to enact laws to allow the procedure.

In a country divided on such a polarizing topic, the decision is likely to cause major shifts in American law and undoubtedly spark outrage among the country’s pro-choice groups. Yet the impact of such a momentous shift, like others in the United States, is also likely to reverberate around the world — and perhaps, eventually, back again in the 50 States.

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