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There will be much time in the coming weeks and months to continue to consider the Beijing Olympics in all their complexity. Today, though, all I can offer in this space is a moment of silence for those who lost their lives in the Sichuan earthquake. As I write these words, the death toll from the quake stands at over 13,000, with thousands more still unaccounted for. While numbers coming out of official China are not always the most accurate, it seems clear from news reports from both Chinese and international sources that this is one of the worst natural disasters China has faced in modern history. The domestic torch relay has been scaled back in deference to the tragedy, and a minute of silence in honor of the victims will be observed at the beginning of the remaining legs of the relay. Our thoughts go out to the victims and their families.

 

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