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Beijing National Stadium, a.k.a. the "Bird's Nest"
Beijing National Stadium, a.k.a. the "Bird's Nest"
Kirill Zhurenkov

BEIJING — The Chinese capital likes to dazzle visitors with the biggest and best projects in the world. Consider, for example, the Olympic Park built for the 2008 games. It is spread over nearly 12 square kilometers, intersected by a canal that, seen from above, resembles a dragon.

The park is an exhibition of the country’s Olympic accomplishments. There is the now-famous “Bird’s Nest” stadium and the “Water Cube” aquatic center that looks like a crystal chain from the outside. It uses solar energy to stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The Beijing Olympics were, in fact, the most expensive in history for which China spent some $43 billion. Five years later, has it paid for itself? The other related question, of course, is what can Russia learn from China’s experience with the Olympics as it prepares to host the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

Breaking the “Olympic curse”

As the selected host for next year's games was approaching this fall, CNN posted a list of the most-indebted games. Athens 2004 was No. 1. Saddest postscript about the massive Greek overspending are the now-empty stadiums and the Olympic village that was transformed into public housing. But Athens was not alone on this list of Olympic shames. Montreal, which took 30 years to pay off debt from the 1976 games, was also included, as was Lake Placid, Albertville and Nagano. China seemed to risk more than anyone else, but it looks like the Olympic curse passed over the Middle Kingdom.

The miracle buildings constructed in preparation for the 2008 games have not been abandoned. That is abundantly clear from visiting on any given day. There’s hardly room to move in the Water Cube, which is used now both as an aquapark and a tourist attraction.

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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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