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SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Hazardous air pollution forced schools to shut or suspend outdoor activities in at least two cities in eastern China, where residents complained of the yellow skies and foul smells that are symptomatic of the country’s crippling smog crisis.

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China’s stability-obsessed leadership has become increasingly concerned by the abysmal air quality in cities, as it plays into popular resentment over political privilege and rising inequality in the world’s second-largest economy.

In Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province, the sun was the color of “salted egg yolk” on Wednesday as the government raised the “red alert” for poor air quality for the first time, state-run news media reported.

Smog 3

The city saw levels of PM2.5, or particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers, reach a reading of 354 on Wednesday, said Nanjing-based news portal

Levels above 300 are considered hazardous, while the World Health Organization recommends a daily level of no more than 20.

Qingdao, a coastal city in Shandong province, was also shrouded in smog as PM2.5 levels of over 300 were recorded, said Peninsula Metropolis Daily, a Qingdao newspaper.

Smog 5

Nanjing suspended classes in primary and secondary schools and Qingdao banned outdoor activities, said the official Xinhua news agency. Qingdao also banned the burning of leaves and rubbish and restricted the use of government vehicles, while Nanjing said it would strengthen control on industrial sources of pollutants.

Both cities predicted the severe pollution would continue, indicating the measures will not be lifted soon, said Xinhua.

Residents in both cities took to China’s popular Twitter-like Weibo site to describe desolate streets and the apocalyptic environment. “The sky is pale yellow and the air is full of a choking smell,” one user wrote.

The smog follows reports in October of pollution all but shutting down Harbin, one of northeastern China’s largest cities. Visibility was reportedly reduced to 10 meters (33 feet).

(Reporting by Shanghai Newsroom; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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For many people, Apple is a company that produces magic. While Steve Jobs has passed on, he has left behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.
Unfortunately, there is a darker side to Apple. Many iPad and iPhone components are manufactured in China by Foxconn, an electronics company. Many employees who work at Foxconn work in an oppressive environment, having strict timing and quotas for putting together iPad and iPhone components. Over the past year, there have been suicides at Foxconn, many of them by employees jumping to their death off of company buildings. In response to this Foxconn has installed netting around many of their manufacturing buildings.In addition to a poor working environment, many people are concerned about the environmental impact Apple’s products have. An iPad contains many rare earth metals, toxic components, and carcinogens. The industrial processes used to produce these parts release many dangerous toxins into the environment.One of the greatest environmental concerns in iPhone manufacturing is the mining of rare earth minerals. Rare earth minerals are integral parts of many modern electronic components, including circuits, GPS receivers, LCD screens, and computer processors. Rare earth minerals can be found in many parts of the world, but are mostly mined in China. Many of these minerals are embedded in very small quantities like natural ore, which requires a toxic refining process to yield a pure product. These refining processes dump many extremely toxic chemicals into the environment.

Cities around areas that mine these rare earth refineries have high rates of cancer, and have become known by locals in China as cancer cities.

While Steve Job’s company does not directly pollute, the contractors and part suppliers they use have a very serious environmental impact. Should these 3rd party component manufacturers be held accountable for their actions?

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