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February 25, 2014 AT 6:38 AM
The hazardous levels of air pollution blanketing Beijing since last week intensified on Tuesday, triggering a smog alert to be raised from “yellow” to “orange.” China's capital uses a four-tiered pollution alert system with orange being its second-highest level. Should the pollution worsen and the “red” smog alert warning be necessary, the local government would be authorized to take more serious steps including shutting schools and ordering the city’s vast government fleet of cars off the roads. Meanwhile, an interview on Chinese state television in which a Chinese admiral spoke of the military advantages of air pollution by declaring “laser weapons are most afraid of smog” was roundly ridiculed online.