Dust storm blows across north China, flights cancelled

BEIJING: A major dust storm engulfed northern China and Beijing on Thursday, prompting authorities to cancel dozens of flights and urge children and the elderly to stay indoors. Buildings were shrouded by the greyish haze in the capital while residents who ventured out covered their mouths and noses with masks and bandanas. At least 48 flights were cancelled, including six international routes in Asia and Russia, according to the Beijing Capital Airport’s website. The storms regularly occur in spring, when winds from China’s northwest blow loose, dry soil and sand into the city from the Gobi desert, coating urban areas with a layer of yellow grime. AFP