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  • Pudong considers Lujiazui ring road
    The Pudong New Area government wants to build a ring road around the Lujiazui Area to facilitate both pedestrians and drivers, a senior engineer said yesterday.
    If the city government approves the plan, construction would kick off this year to link four existing roads - Yincheng Road E., Yincheng Road S., Yincheng Road W., and Yincheng Road N. - to form a ring.
    When the ring road is created, it will be much more convenient for drivers to find signature business buildings such as the Jin Mao Tower. --(7/29)

  • Free services at local parks
    Ten volunteer workshops will open at 10 local parks, starting tomorrow, to provide various free services for visitors, the Shanghai Greenery Administrative Bureau said yesterday.
    The services include legal consultation at Changfeng Park, Putuo District; psychological consultation at Sports Park, Minhang District; medical consultation and treatment at Penglai Park, Huangpu District; painting courses at Caoxi Park, Xuhui District; household gardening training at Yangpu District Park; as well as collecting donations for the disabled at Kaiqiao Park in Changning District.
    College students will serve as English interpreters at Shanghai Zoo on public holidays and weekends.
    Currently, the city has 700 teams of more than 13,000 volunteers in 141 parks, said Wang Liqiong, an official with the bureau.
    Most of the volunteers are retired people who do morning exercises at the parks, she said. Their main duty is to help maintain order in the parks. --(7/28)

  • Lights to stay on during the summer
    Scenic lighting in the city won't be turned off again this summer, even if temperatures top 35 degrees Celsius, officials from the Shanghai Public Sanitation Bureau announced yesterday.
    The city government had previously ordered the bureau to turn off the lights during hot days to save power. From July 5 to 15, the bureau shut off the lights four times. The government has decided that shutting down the lights hurts tourism more than it saves electricity. --(7/27)

  • Fudan research earns high praise
    Researchers at Fudan University are receiving unparalleled recognition for their discovery of an efficient genetic transport element in mammals, a breakthrough that could help scientists worldwide study the functions of specific genes in humans.
    Fudan's discovery of the piggyBac (PB), the newly discovered DNA transposon, was published online by Cell, one of the world's top academic journals related to life sciences on July 21.
    The discovery will also be the cover story of Cell's August 12 edition, the first time a Chinese research paper has earned the journal's cover, Fudan officials said.
    The new finding will allow researchers to insert a PB element into any of the 300,000 genes found in the human body. The element effectively turns the gene off, so researchers can see how the body reacts once a specific gene is no longer functioning.
    If turning off one gene causes cardiac problems, for instance, researchers will know that gene is related to how the heart functions.
    Transposable elements are mobile genetic units identified in many creatures. They control mutations in lower organisms, such as worms and insects.
    While researchers have been able to use them in studies of lower organisms in the past, they have had little luck using them in cells from mammals due to the lack of an efficient transposition system. --(7/26)

  • Highway network project to complete by year-end
    The highway network linking every part of the city and its suburbs is expected to take shape by the end of the year, local urban construction authorities has announced.
    The last several parts of the highway network project will all complete by year-end, including the 21.09-km-long Xinway (A6) Expressways, 18.5-km-long Tingfeng (A7) Expressways, the south-eastern surburban ring road (A30), the Xiangyin Road Tunnel and the Puxi part of the middle ring road.
    Both located in the Jinshan District,  the Xinwei Expressways and the Tingfeng Expressways will serve as the western extension to the suburban ring road. The Xinwei Expressways also comprises the Shanghai section of the longest national highway, Tongsan National Highway.
    The Xiangyin Road Tunnel is the longest underwater shield-constructed tunnel in China. The southern and northern parts of its main structure have been completed. Finishing work on two linkages between the southern and northern parts will be safety channels in case of emergencies.
    The Puxi part of the middle ring road is 38.2 kilometers in total length. The 9-km-long elevated part was completed at the beginning of the year, the 26-km-long trunk roads will be completed by the end of the year, while the 3.2-km southern part is planned for some time later.
    Besides the key highway projects, the government is also preparing for constructions on the highway linking the Pudong International Airport and the Zhejiang Province and the Xizang Road Cross-river Tunnel. --(7/25)

  • City to innovate Inner Ring Road
    The city government will provide a major face-lift to the Inner Ring Road this year, the Shanghai Engineering Administrative Bureau announced yesterday. The project will cost nearly 2 million yuan (US$246,914) and will include 22 major areas where road surfaces are severely cracked. The construction will be done mainly from 12am to 5am each morning. The 29-kilometer ring road was put into use in the early 1990s. --(7/24)

  • City opens "green channel" for Taiwanese fruit
    To adopt a welcoming attitude to the farmers of Taiwan, seen as family, Shanghai is opening a "green channel" customs procedure to facilitate the entry into the mainland of the island province's fruit, Shanghai government spokesperson Jiao Yang said at a July 20 press conference.
    Statistics indicate that in 2004, 367.6 tons of Taiwanese fruit in 153 batches entered via Shanghai Customs, with a total value of US$247,000.
    This year the imports will be boosted, she expected, because the "green channel" route designated by Shanghai Administration for Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine will cut the costs of storage, refrigeration and transport. --(7/22)

  • Marriage expenses hit the ceiling
    The average cost of a wedding in the city this year soared to 160,000 yuan (US$19,277), up 30 percent from last year, according to the Shanghai Wedding Trade Association.
    The association surveyed 10,000 new couples who held their weddings in the past six months. Their wedding costs mainly covered clothes, jewelry, wedding banquet and honeymoon. --(7/21)

  • ChinaJoy opens this week
    The third China Digital Entertainment Exposition and Conference (ChinaJoy, for short) will be staged at Shanghai New International Expo Center from July 21 to 23. --(7/20)

  • Two key universities are merged
    Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Shanghai Second Medical University were officially merged yesterday as part of national efforts to build several world-class universities in China.
    The merger, which was initiated by the Ministry of Education and the city government, is the second key university restructuring in the city in recent years. In 2000, Shanghai Medical University became part of Fudan University. --(7/19)

  • City welcomes investment in cultural industry
    Shanghai is opening up the burgeoning cultural industry and welcoming all forms of investment to this sector from across the nation, a senior cultural official said at a July 12 press conference.--(7/18)

  • City GDP on track with goal
    The city is right on course to meet its economic growth target of 11 percent this year, the Shanghai Committee of the Communist Party of China reported on Friday.
    "Overall, the city's economic performance during the first half of this year was normal and healthy," Mayor Han Zheng said as he addressed more than 300 high-ranking officials attending a plenary session of the CPC Shanghai Committee.
    A first-half gross domestic product figure will be released later by the Municipal Statistics Bureau.
    Han said the city's economic development is proceeding in line with macro efforts by the central government to rein in uncontrolled growth and redundant investment and head off inflation.
    "The rate of increase for investment and loans in the city has slowed noticeably," Han said, stressing that the healthy development of the real estate market is crucial to the city's overall economic growth.
    Tighter controls were imposed this year on mortgage loans and new taxes were levied to dampen market speculation and prevent the growth of a property bubble.
    During the two-day session, Party members reviewed the city's economic performance so far this year and adopted a blueprint for enhancing administrative competence.
    In a keynote speech, Shanghai Party Secretary Chen Liangyu highlighted the importance of developing innovative high-tech industries, science, technology and education to realize the city's development goals during the second half of the year.
    "When the advantages of high-tech industries are fully showcased, Shanghai's economy will have a bright future," Chen said.
    He said the city enjoys several key advantages that will help advance its economic development. Among them, the central government has chosen the Pudong New Area as a pilot area for implementing a new round of comprehensive reforms; more and more multinationals have moved their regional headquarters to the city; and the development of Chongming Island as an ecological resource is progressing.
    Last month, 18 multinational companies - including Heineken-APB (China) Management Service Co and Corning (Shanghai) Management Ltd - set up regional headquarters in the city, bringing total such relocations to 104.
    Chen said the first phase of the Yangshan Deepwater Port south of the city will soon go into use, greatly improving Shanghai's status as an international shipping and modern logistics hub.
    He also called on the city to revitalize its old commercial brands while growing logos from home and abroad. There are now only 24 Shanghai nameplates on the national list of famous domestic brands, accounting for less than 10 percent of the total.
    For the second half of this year, the city needs to concentrate on enhancing work safety, food quality and public security, Chen said.
    The Party secretary also highlighted the significance of drawing up an effect development blueprint for the 11th Five Year Plan (2006-2010) during the second half of this year.
    "We should put the development of modern service industries in a very important position," Chen said.
    He also emphasized that Shanghai's hosting of the 2010 World Expo will be a prime opportunity for showing off the charm and vitality of the city as well as the Chinese nation.
    "The World Expo advances the innovative level of a city and a country," Chen said.--(7/17)

  • Painted fan exhibition opens
    The expo which features about 1,000 fans from 118 artists will run through next Monday at the Shanghai Library. --(7/15)

  • Jiading unveiled new city blueprint
    Jiading District officials announced a plan at a July 13 briefing meeting to build the city's third satellite "new city", or the Jiading New City.
    Unlike the previous two, or the Songjiang New City and the Linggang New City, the Jiading New City, in the shape of a watertown symbol lotus, will be developed as a model of energy-efficient community and is expected to attract a population of 1 million, the officials revealed.
    Upon describing the layout, they said, the new city will be in the middle of the Jiading District, including the existing towns of Jiading, Anting and Nanxiang. While renovations will be held on these old towns, construction on new projects will be carried out.
    As planned, a central business and administration center will constitute the pistils of the lotus flower shape, while the Jiading town, Nanmen business center, a recreation center and Malu town will make the flower's four petals from north to south respectively.
    A 1,000-mu (67-hectare) ecological park and a rail line transit hub will constitute the two huge leaves of the lotus. A 2.8-kilometer long greenery strip linking the Jiading town and the Formula One track of Shanghai International Circuit will pose for the supporting branch of the flower.--(7/14)

  • Budget airplane arrives
    The first airplane to be used by China's pioneering budget airline landed yesterday at Hongqiao International Airport in preparation for its maiden flight next Monday.
    The Airbus 320 will take off from Shanghai to Yantai in Shandong Province at 8:50am.
    About 160 people are expected to be on the flight, including a crew of six, said officials with Spring Airlines Co Ltd, the low cost carrier which is affiliated to Shanghai Spring International Travel Service, the nation's largest private travel agency.--(7/13)

  • Relocated migrants find employment
    More than 2,900 people who were relocated to the city from Chongqing Municipality to make way for the Three Gorges Project, have found jobs. It means 1.58 people in a family of migrants are employed, officials announced yesterday at a government conference on a review of the resident relocation work.
    Since July 1999 to August 15 last year, 7,519 migrants from Yunyang County and Wanzhou District of Chongqing Municipality have been relocated to the city's six suburban districts and Chongming County.--(7/12)

  • Pudong to build gymnasium
    The Pudong New Area government will spend 270 million yuan (US$32 million) building Yuanshen Gymnasium, officials said. The gymnasium, covering an area of 21,709 square meters, will include an indoor swimming pool and playground. The project, expected to be completed in June 2007, will help form Yuanshen sports center including a stadium, a swimming pool and a gymnasium.--(7/11)

  • Expo animates summer fun
    Nearly 8,000 visitors flocked to the 2005 Shanghai Comics and Animation Expo on the opening day yesterday for a look at the latest comic books, films and toys.
    Most of the visitors were students taking advantage of their summer vacations to enjoy a cartoon fest, organizers said.--(7/10)

  • Hot-weather work reined in
    Shanghai's Labor Inspection Team is fanning out across town to make sure employees aren't overworked during the hot weather.
    The stepped-up inspection campaign begins today with a focus on labor-intensive firms, open-air work sites, beverage manufacturing companies and other seasonal businesses.
    Some 2,500 labor inspection assistants will check whether companies are extending work hours illegally or are paying their employees improperly, officials said.
    "The scorching weather has already caused workers to suffer, and companies must fully comply with the city government's regulation to protect employee labor rights," said Lu Tingfei, a publicity official with the labor team.
    No reports of injuries have been confirmed, however.
    On Wednesday, the Shanghai Labor and Social Security Bureau teamed up with five other city government departments to rule that companies, especially those operating under high-temperature conditions, could shorten working hours when the temperature reaches 35 degrees Celsius.
    On days when the mercury hits 38 degrees, companies are now allowed to give their employees a day off unless they're involved in essential public services.
    Companies have also been told to improve ventilation, take other heat-reducing measures and ensure an adequate drinking water supply to reduce heat-related illness.
    Some firms found themselves in trouble even before the formal campaign began.
    On Wednesday morning, inspection officials discovered that a garment manufacturing factory in suburban Minhang District forced more than 60 employees to work from 8am to 9pm every day since April.
    "Even on the 39-degree day, we had to work more than 13 hours with only a one-hour dinner break," said an Anhui Province native worker surnamed Huang, adding that she and her colleagues were given no more than three days off each month and were paid a flat piece-rate scale.
    The city caps work hours at eight hours a day, five days a week. Overtime pay amounted to 150 percent of the normal rate is required for any additional hours, and no more than three hours of overtime are allowed each day.--(7/8)

  • City sponsoring special games
    The Shanghai Sixth Special Olympic Games will kick off on October 1 as a prelude to the 2007 Special Olympics World Games.
    More than 4,000 local athletes will compete in 19 different sports such as swimming, football and gymnastics over four days, city government officials said yesterday. Meanwhile, around 50 "sunshine homes" have been set up to provide 3,000 people suffering mental disabilities with free trainings in self-care, basic working skills and social communication. --(7/7)

  • Int'l marine forum marks ancient voyage
    The Shanghai International Marine Forum 2005 opened on July 5 in the city, as part of the celebrations to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the maiden voyage of Zheng He, China's greatest maritime explorer, in the 15th century.
    Leading one of the greatest fleets of all time, Zheng made seven voyages from Asia to Africa and took to the seas nearly a century before the European age of exploration began in earnest.
    More than 200 marine experts from across the globe attended yesterday's forum whose purpose is building a ship spillage damage compensation system suitable for China.
    In his report, Liu Gongchen, Vice Director of China Marine Safety Administration, said China has drafted regulations for a compensation system and is submitting them to the State Council for final approval. The oil spill pollution fund system is expected to be operating within the year.
    China reported 2,353 oil spills in the 30 years from 1973 to 2003, or one every 3.5 days, according to Liu's report.
    Other city and national leaders made presentations at yesterday's forum, including Shanghai vice mayor Yang Xiong and the country's vice minister of communications, Xu Zuyuan.--(7/6)

  • City to draft standards for low-priced housing
    Shanghai's lawmakers are drafting standards governing low-priced housing and housing sales, expecting to unveil the new regulations in the third quarter and put them into effect in the fourth quarter, Shanghai government spokesperson Jiao Yang said at the June 29 press conference.
    The standards involved include the qualifications of buyers or renters eligible for the housing, which is intended for residents with low-and-mid-range incomes. As well, they will cover the purchasing and renting of houses.
    The prices of these houses will be controlled under the market prices of the neighboring areas, Jiao stressed.
    District authorities will be in charge of organizing housing distribution and supply, while the city government will supplement housing supplies, she added.
    On the rental system for low-income relocated residents, Jiao said the city is carrying out a trial program in two relocated residential quarters in Changning and Zhabei districts.
    If the system works well, the government will increase it to all low-income families in the two districts and later to throughout the city, she said. --(7/5)

  • Mayor vows to increase energy saving
    Shanghai will continue improving both the energy structure and the efficiency of energy use as key components in a bid to conserve energy, Mayor Han Zheng told visiting Danish Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Industry Bendt Bendtsen.
    On June 30, Han welcomed the Danish delegation at the Jinjiang Small Hall.
    Han said China and Denmark have enjoyed a long friendship and have achieved good cooperation in shipping and at ports. He hoped Mr. Bendtsen's visit would lead to closer and wider exchanges and cooperation.
    On the topic of energy, Han said limited resources have created a bottleneck that retards China's development. With a population exceeding 1.3 billion, the country has more than ever felt the urgent need to address the energy problem.
    "We have reached the common understanding that China will develop into an energy-saving society," he said. "Shanghai, an inland-resource-reliant city, must take the lead in this energy saving campaign," he added, hoping that Shanghai would learn more from Denmark and extend cooperation in this area.
    Bendtsen said Denmark is glad to increase cooperation and strengthen relationships with Shanghai in ports, shipping and energy development and use.--(7/4)

  • Hero of arson attack dies
    A series of ceremonies will be held this week to memorialize a Yangpu District police officer who died on Friday from severe burns suffered as he tried to prevent an arson attack.
    Police Captain Yan Dehai succumbed to respiratory failure after 10 days of treatment at Changhai Hospital.
    Many of Yan's friends, colleagues and private citizens have visited a temporary memorial hall set up at the hero's former work place since Saturday.
    Yan and three other officers were hurt when Xu Yi, a 38-year-old city resident, set his apartment on fire on June 21 following a two-hour standoff with police, authorities said.
    Police said the motive for the fire remains under investigation as Xu continues to receive hospital treatment for burns.
    Yangpu police said Xu, who had no record of mental illness, had been acting "strangely" for days before the fire due a property dispute with his tenant.
    Yan, off duty at the time, was among the first to respond to a disturbance call at the Yanji area.
    "I hadn't expected he would come as he had been suffering from a severe waist injury for four days," said a team member surnamed Liu. "He was receiving massage treatment at the hospital at that time."
    The arriving officers found that Xu had locked himself into his apartment and threatened to set it on fire with two 10-gallon gasoline canisters that had been placed in the middle of the room.
    When attempts to persuade Xu to open the door failed, police decided to take action.
    "We were very careful to quietly unlock the iron security door, but we made a sound anyway," said team member Chen Yong. "At the sound Xu immediately lit the gasoline."
    Though Chen was closest to the door, the police captain pushed him aside.
    "He kicked the door open and dashed into the flames without any hesitation," Chen said.
    Chen attempted to follow, but the explosive force of the burning gasoline slammed the door shut.
    Yan managed to subdue Xu and prevented him from igniting the other barrel of gasoline, police said.
    "I didn't know how to support him afterwards. He walked out of the room unsteadily and the skin was hanging off both arms," Chen told reporters.
    "If it had not been for Captain Yan, it would have been me who was lying in a hospital," he said.
    The other officers suffered minor burns and were released after hospital treatment.
    Details on Yan's funeral and other commemorative activities were still being worked out yesterday.
    Yan, a former athlete, joined the police force 17 years ago and dealt with many emergencies.--(7/3)

  • Plum rains end on scorching day
    Shanghai's plum rain season ended yesterday with the highest temperature of the year and the least rainfall in the past 60 years.
    The mercury crested at 37.9 degrees Celsius - the sixth straight day of plus-35 degree temperatures - and the benchmark seasonal rain guage measured only 23 millimeters, about one-tenth the average.
    The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said there were only four rainy days during the annual wet spell, which began on June 18.
    The plum rain season coincides with the time the fruit reaches maturity and an annual rain belt moves north into Shanghai. It ends when the weather bureau concludes that the seasonal band of showers has slipped away until next year.
    The hot, dry spell was not anticipated. Earlier in the year, the weather bureau was forecasting 230 and 290 millimeters of precipitation during the plum rains. The average in past years was 244 mm.
    The rainy period usually lasts about 20 days; this year it was only 12 days, according to the bureau.
    "This year's plum rain season was abnormal. The hot weather came earlier than it did in the past," said Dai Xinfu, the weather bureau's chief meteorologist.
    The outlook is for more heat ahead, with daily highs topping 35 degrees.
    The forecast for today and tomorrow calls for sunny skies and highs of about 37 degrees. Sunday should be cloudy, but temperatures may still reach 36 degrees. Similar temperatures will continue at least until next Wednesday.
    But the weathermen warned that the unstable subtropical high-pressure systems that usually bring sunny weather could produce drastic changes such as storms and strong winds.--(7/1)



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