New York Times: In March, China's Ministry of Environmental Protection found that 71 of 74 cities failed to meet the country's minimum air-quality standards. Last month, the National People's Congress revised the nation's environmental protection laws to allow for more aggressive punishments for polluters. Following inspections in March and April, Beijing's Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau found 171 violations of its air pollution standards. In response it has assessed $1.7 million in fines against the violators. That doubles the fines it assessed for the same period in 2013.