Heavy smog returns to Beijing

Heavy smog blanketed the Chinese capital Friday, but authorities did not declare a third red-level pollution alert.

The level of fine particulates hit the officially "dangerous" level of 500 microgrammes per cubic metre, according to the environmental group World Air Quality Index.

The maximum safe level is 25 microgrammes, according to the World Health Organization.

Beijing has issued two red smog alerts this month, for the first time under a colour-coded system implemented in 2013.

But city authorities on Friday did not issue another warning, which would have closed schools and factories and restricted traffic for three days.

A north wind was forecast to blow the latest smog away from the region Saturday.

Heavy smog is common in the winter months in northern China, where coal is widely used.

Last update: Fri, 25/12/2015 - 12:03

More from World

Trump breaks with decades-old US policy in call with Taiwan president

US president-elect Donald Trump telephoned Friday with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, with whose government the...

Death toll reaches 13 in Tennessee wildfires

Thirteen people were confirmed dead and about 70 were still missing on Friday in wildfires that continue to burn in...

Russia: Syria peace talks blocked by those seeking al-Assad's ouster

Syrian peace talks are being blocked by those seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad in violation of a United...

Germany pledges additional 50 million euros in aid as Aleppo crumbles

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pledged 50 million euros (53.2 million dollars) in aid to the war-...

UN expert: Torture widespread after Turkey coup, overcrowded jails

Torture and abuse were "widespread" in Turkey in the immediate aftermath of the failed coup attempt in July, a UN...