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Mayor's Office Postpones the Unveiling of Ai Weiwei's 'Zodiac Heads'

Monday, May 02, 2011

Ai Weiwei had planned to be in New York City on Monday to preside over the unveiling of his work, along with Mayor Bloomberg. Ai, however, has been detained in China since early April. On Monday morning, the Mayor prepared to give remarks on Osama bin Laden's death.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: New York Looks At Taxi Refusals and Parking Rules; Boston's Bike Share Program Launches in July

Thursday, April 28, 2011

(photo by Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

New York's City Council members hold a hearing on taxi refusals -- and share some stories of their own. (WNYC)

Speaking of the City Council: it may pass legislation today that reduces alternate side parking rules. (Wall Street Journal)

Denver won't be seeing a FasTracks sales tax increase on the ballot this November because its transit agency has concluded it likely wouldn't pass. The transit expansion project -- which includes six new train lines -- is at least $2 billion short of what is needed to complete the project by the end of this decade.  (Denver Post)

Boston is moving forward on its bike share program; a contract has been signed and "Hubway" will launch in July. (Alt Transport)

Chrysler says it will take out bank loans and sell debt later this quarter to repay $6.6 billion in bailout loans from the U.S. and Canadian governments. (Detroit Free Press)

China is offering incentives for companies to produce electric vehicles in that country -- you just have to hand over your tech secrets first. (Marketplace)

You know about the royal wedding; now the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee is throwing an "R-Oil Wedding" which "celebrat(es) the sacred and lasting union between the Republican Party and Big Oil." The invitation also takes the opportunity to photoshop John Boehner's head onto what looks like a Medieval gown. (Politico)

What should Oakland do with the spaces under elevated freeways? A city council member is seeking ideas. (Oakland Local)

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In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

– a new report found that almost half of NYC's parking placards are used improperly or are outright fakes (link)

– the Twin Cities' Central Corridor got a formal promise for federal funding (link)

– NYC cabbies say they don't want to go to outer boroughs because it costs them more (link)

-- New York's MTA voted to end its contract to provide Long Island Bus (link)

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The Takeaway

Will Shanghai's Auto Show Eclipse New York's?

Friday, April 22, 2011

As potential car buyers flock to the New York International Auto Show this week, some industry bigwigs are skipping the annual American show for another auto event — in Shanghai. The Chinese auto show and the American auto show overlap this year, and they are certainly competing over the industry spotlight. Paul Eisenstein, publisher of The Detroit Bureau.com, is at the New York show this week. He talks about the growing importance of China's auto show. Some of America's biggest launches, including the Chevy Malibu, are happening at that show as China becomes a major market for American cars.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Obama Invokes Bridge Collapse, NY Auto Show, TSA Unionizes

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Infrastructure is a campaign topic. President Obama recently invoked the Minnesota bridge collapse to criticize GOP budget. (CBS)

That doesn't mean transpo advocates are all in line. Robert Puentes of the Brookings Institution makes the case for a two-year transportation bill instead of a full six-year reauthorization. (New Republic)

CNN tries to understand why high-speed rail has become such a contentious topic. With companion piece debunking rail myths. (CNN)

Hear a trucker speak frankly about driving with an automatic tracker that monitors his hours and distance. He hated it before he got it, now he likes it. (The Takeaway)

At the NY Auto Show starting tomorrow Chevy will debut the new Malibu, calling it the "most fuel-efficient mid-sized Chevy ever" at 38 mpg. (AutoBlogGreen) Also at the show, Porshe is showing of a replica of a 1900 vehicle they're calling the first ever hybrid. (Wired) There's lots of car porn ahead of the show if you want to see the shiny new 2013 models. (Jalopnik)

For balance, some rail (station) porn. Here's an artist's rendition of the new high-speed rail station in Birmingham, England. (Birmingham Post)

First they slowed down high-speed rail for safety reasons. Now China is removing luxury seating to make bullet train travel more affordable. (Economic Times)

After six weeks of voting, TSA workers will unionize, but they haven't picked which union will represent them. It's time for a runoff election. (AP)

Rail just got cheaper in Hawaii. Estimates for a new transit plan have decreased from $5.5 billion to $5.3 billion. (Star-Advertiser)

The agency that runs the NYC subway, the MTA, is looking to sell its headquarters building and two others to make ends meet. A developer could build a skyscaper next to Grand Central Station on the site. (NY Times)

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In case you missed it on Transportation Nation:

- Now you can edit Google Maps and add in bike and walking paths yourself. We did it. (Link)

- DOT issues new rules for airlines on bag fees, tarmac waits and bumped travel vouchers. (Link)

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Studio 360

The Arrest of Ai Weiwei

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ai Weiwei is China’s most famous artist, and an international celebrity.  But inside the country, the government would prefer he remain unknown.  While he's attracted Western headlines as a witty, trouble-making critic of the regime, he’s mostly been left alone by the authorities.  But in 2009...

Slideshow: Ai Weiwei

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: China's (Less) High-Speed Rail, Sleeping Controllers, Carsharing Meets Stock Market

Thursday, April 14, 2011

If you're wondering how all these contentious budget deals are affecting plans -- and money -- for high-speed rail, Transportation Nation's Andrea Bernstein combed through the reports to find out. (The Takeaway)

China is also putting the brakes on high-speed, but for another reason. China slows down its bullet train over safety concerns. (WSJ)

After a second air traffic controller fell asleep working the lonely night shift, the FAA has announced it will add a second controller overnights at 26 airports, including D.C.'s Reagan National. (WAMU) But are air traffic controllers just plain overworked? (The Takeaway)

ZipCar, the country's largest carsharing company, has gone public, raising more than 31 percent above the expected offering price. (Bloomberg) That's all without the company actually making a profit. Marketplace explains that's not because the model doesn't work, but because buying all those cars to expand to new cities keeps the company in the red.

If it still ruffles your feathers to pay to check a bag while flying, consider that you don't get a refund on that fee when the airlines loose your luggage. Well the DOT wants to change that. (AP) Security pat-downs are also under review. After a You Tube video showed a six-year-old enduring a security pat-down, the TSA is considering changes to the policy. (Denver Post)

IBM and U.C. Berkeley are teaming up, and using smart phones, to tackle traffic jams. (Wired)

If freight trucking is an economic indicator, this isn't the best news. Road freight shipments fell 1.5 percent in February. (TruckingInfo)

(Photo: Asian Development Bank)

The city of Mandaluyong in the Philippines just launched a plan to use electric tricycles as public transportation. It's part of a wider effort to reduce air pollution. (TheCityFix)

The Texas Rangers are suing a former team owner for planning to price gouge fans for parking at the ballpark this season. (Dallas Morning News)

Like many transit systems facing budget cutbacks, D.C. area Metro is considering cutting bus routes, increasing weekend wait times, and eliminating subsidies. It is not considering fare hikes... now. (WAMU)

Maryland has voted down a gas tax increase. They did, however, raised taxes on alcohol. But, the booze surcharge won't go to transportation projects. (WAMU)

And on NYC bike lane usage, Streetsblog takes the same data as the NY Post, but draws the opposite conclusions. People use the bike lanes a lot, they find. (Streetsblog)

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The Takeaway

Chinese Government Detained Artist Ai Wei Wei for 'Economic Crimes'

Friday, April 08, 2011

One of China's most famous artists, Ai Wei Wei was detained Sunday. The artists is an outspoken critic of the Chinese government and many suspect that his detention is part of the government's crackdown on dissent. He is now being investigated for economic crimes according to a government spokesman. The BBC's Beijing correspondent Martin Patience spoke to Wei Wei's wife yesterday who said she hasn't heard from her husband. "I don't know whether to believe the information I received. I don't know what the situation is, the authorities haven't given me an explanation."

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Features

Despite Disappearance of Ai Weiwei, 'Zodiac Heads' Will Come to New York

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Twelve oversize bronze sculptures of animal heads representing the Chinese zodiac are scheduled to be unveiled in New York on Monday. But the creator of the work, “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads," will not be with them.

Ai Wei Wei

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Studio 360

China Takes Over the (Art) World

Friday, April 01, 2011

The corridors are so long, you may want to bring extra shoes. China’s newly-expanded National Museum is now the world’s largest museum — what does it say about the country’s cultural ambitions? And we’ll meet rising pop star Marsha Ambrosius. Her R&B sound is smooth and sexy, but her songs ...

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Studio 360

World's Biggest Museum Opens in China

Friday, April 01, 2011

"That is one mother of a Confucius!"  Beijing-based reporter Jocelyn Ford is not prone to hyperbole, but that was her uncensored reaction this week when she visited China's National Museum on Tiananmen Square. On April 1, the museum opens to the public after a three-year expansion...

Slideshow: The National Museum of China Reopens

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Transportation Nation

Chinese Coal Demand Spurs Increase in Montana Rail Traffic

Monday, March 21, 2011

(Helena, MT -- Jackie Yamanaka, YPR) A Montana short-line railroad has gone from laying off workers to hiring them back and planning for further expansion as Chinese demand for coal pushes some American freight lines to capacity.

Jim Lewis is director of sales and marketing for Montana Rail Link, a regional railroad that's seeing a boost in traffic. Lewis says rail use is up across the nation.  Neighboring Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railway’s northern route, known as the Hi-Line, is at capacity.

“There’s only so much track,” Lewis says. “We’re kind of a safety valve for BNSF to run traffic across our railroad so they can handle all of the traffic that they have.”

He just returned from a coal conference in Florida. He says mine executives talked about the growing coal export market, particularly to China.

“A couple of the CEO’s of large mining companies described it as we’re entering into a coal super-cycle,” Lewis says. “And it was stated in the conference that Asia represents 90 percent of a 4 billion ton global demand for coal.”

It’s expected coal mines in Montana and Wyoming’s Powder River Basin will be called upon to help meet that demand.

Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railway hauls the coal from those mines where it’s turned over to Montana Rail Link at Laurel, Montana. The Missoula, Montana-based railroad owns track between Laurel and Sandpoint, ID and has track rights to Spokane, WA.

Lewis says besides the global demand for commodities, there’s also an increase in demand domestically.

He adds the recent rise in fuel prices and the decline in commercial truck companies has shippers looking at rail as an affordable option.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Return Migrations and Identity

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nearly a million residents of Hong Kong migrated to North America, Europe, and Australia in the 1990s; recently many of these immigrants have returned to their homeland. In Return Migrations and Identity, psychology professor Nan Sussman chronicles this global trend and explains why there is a unique relevance for Hong Kong. She’s joined by Byron Shen, a Chinese immigrant who came to the United States for his Ph.D. at the University of California and then worked for a biotech company before returning to Shanghai in 2007.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Big in China

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blues artist and journalist Alan Paul chronicles his journey to the top of the rock charts in China. In Big in China, he tells how, when his wife was offered a job as the China bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal, he saw it as an opportunity to shake up their suburban life. He found himself as the leader of the Chinese American blues band Woodie Alan.

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The Takeaway

Assessing Japan's Quake; Remembering China's

Monday, March 14, 2011

James Fallows of The Atlantic magazine is currently in Beijing, but he has lived and worked in Japan. He also witnessed the powerful earthquake that hit China in 2008. China, still scarred by the 2008 Sichuan quake, has expressed admiration for the way that Japan has responded to Friday's earthquake. Although the relationship between China and Japan strained, many Chinese have expressed compassion for the country.

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The Takeaway

China's Leaders Target Inflation

Monday, March 07, 2011

China's Premier Wen Jiabao told the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing on Friday that controlling consumer and housing prices was a top priority. In China, where much of the ballooning population seems to be headed into the cities for work, real estate is becoming prohibitively expensive. Food prices are shooting up as well. What does this mean for China's role in the world economy and for U.S. relations with that country?

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The Takeaway

China's Phantom Revolution

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A call to action went out over social networks in China, urging protests in cities across the country. China also suffers from corruption, inflation and authoritarian rule, but the government seems to have effectively squelched any potential uprising. Officials have threatened potential protesters and filled city squares with police and security agents. Correspondent for The New York Times, Andrew Jacobs is in Beijing, where, he says, the country's security apparatus has been effective in quieting the protesters.

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The Takeaway

American Kids Are Falling Behind: True or False?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The latest testings results from the Program for International Student Assessment, show Americans are nowhere near the top in education, when compared to the rest of the world. American high school students finished 31st out of 65 economic regions in math, 23rd in science, and 17th in reading. How did our biggest global rivals do? Students from Shanghai finished at the top in all three subjects. Are American children falling behind? 

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The Takeaway

Could China See a 'Jasmine Revolution'?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Inspired by the protests in Tunisia and Egypt, Chinese demonstrators put out a call for protests over Chinese social media. Small gatherings popped up in Shanghai and Beijing. However, police shut down the protests quickly, and rounded up dissidents in the days prior to the scheduled protests. Some say these roundups show how worried the Chinese government is. Chris Hogg, reporter for the BBC, is in Shanghai.

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The Takeaway

How the West Was...Lost?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It’s said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions…But does that apply to the leaders of powerful countries? What if programs that were intended to help Americans — things like pensions, healthcare, and subsidized housing were hurting us instead? Dambisa Moyo is an economist and author of the new book: "How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly – and the Stark Choices ahead."

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Transportation Nation

Guangzhou Wins ITDP Sustainable Transit Award

Monday, January 24, 2011

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

[UPDATED] (Alex Goldmark, Transportation Nation) The 2011 Sustainable Transport Award goes to Guangzhou, China in large part for a successful and highly popular bus rapid transit system that integrates with bike lanes, bike share and metro stations, "raising the bar for all cities" according to the Institute for Transportation Development Policy that gives the award every year.

Here's the ITDP write up on the city's BRT system, which carries 800,000 people each day.

Accepting the award, Lu Yuan, a Guangzhou government official said, "It is a big honor to win this award ... and in the future we will continue to grow green transportation" systems to create a "sustainable, low-carbon and happy Guangzhou."

The other cities in contention for the prize were: Tehran, Iran (which inadvertently caused a minor international incident); Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico; Lima, Peru; and Nantes, France. Previous winners include Ahmedebad, India; Bogota, Colombia; and New York City.

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