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  • Han unveils new plant for Baosteel
    Baosteel Shanghai Pudong Iron and Steel Co, a subsidiary of China's biggest steelmaker, says it will invest at least 10 billion yuan (US$1.2 billion) into building a new facility in Baoshan District that will become the world's biggest environmentally friendly steel mill.
    Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng attended yesterday's opening ceremony and announced the start of construction.
    The new company is moving from its Pudong location because its existing plant is on the future site of the 2010 World Expo.
    Most of the investment funds will be used to build new facilities while existing hardware worth 100 million yuan will be shifted to the firm's new home.
    The steelmaker started construction yesterday on what it says will be the world's biggest mill to employ the environmentally friendly Corex technology.
    "The new facility is a key move for Baosteel in stepping up as a world's leading steelmaker," said Xie Qihua, Baosteel chairwoman.
    Baosteel aims to become one of the world's top three steelmakers by 2010 by boosting capacity and increasing product quality.
    The steelmaker signed a contract earlier this year with Austria-based VOEST-ALPINE Industrieanlagenbau GmbH & Co (VAI) to build the plant.
    VAI developed the Corex technology in 1989. It produces crude steel using thermal coal, in contrast with traditional blast furnaces that must use coking coal. It is considered a more environmentally friendly technology and can help cut energy consumption.
    The steelmaker plans to build its new facility in two phases. The budget for the first phase is nearly 10 billion yuan and includes the Corex facility, a continuous casting mill and a heavy plate rolling mill.
    The Corex facility, which will have a yearly production capacity of 1.5 million tons of molten pig iron, and the casting mill are expected to begin operation in October 2007. The heavy plate facility will be ready in March 2008.
    The new site is expected to produce 1.6 million tons of heavy plate annually when the first phase is finished.
    Second-phase expansion is expected to be completed by 2010, with a molten pig iron capacity of 3.5 million tons.
    The steelmaker will make high-value-added heavy plate at its new site, turning out products that can be used in ship building, boilers and skyscrapers.
    The Corex technology was put into commercial use by Saldanha Steel in South Africa and has since been used by Korea-based POSCO and in India. There are four such plants in the world.--(6/30)

  • Mayor presides new SIPG ceremony
    Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng on June 28 unveiled the new Shanghai International Port (Group) Co Ltd after its completion of the first stage of a restructuring into a joint stock company.
    The China mainland's biggest port operator will list on the market as soon as next year, according to SIPG president Chen Xuyuan.
    "Preparing for an initial public offering issuance will be part of our work in the next stage," Chen said after the unveiling ceremony of the new SIPG yesterday.
    "Overseas markets will be our preference, due to the new SIPG's strategy to be a multinational port operator. We target Hong Kong in the initial plan," Chen added.
    He also said, however, as the company hasn't finalized the listing plan, it's not very possible for it to float shares this year.
    "May be next year," he said, but declined to give an exact timetable.
    The new SIPG came about when the old SIPG signed an agreement on December 29, 2004, with several strategic investors including China Merchants Holdings (International) Co Ltd to jointly form the new firm. It was part of a plan to transform the state-owned port operator into a joint stock firm.
    The city government holds 50 percent in the new SIPG, which has a registered capital of 18.56 billion yuan (US$2.2 billion).
    Hong Kong-based China Merchants invested more than 5.5 billion yuan for a 30 percent stake in it.--(6/29)

  • Museum closes Lunar Walk amusement
    The Shanghai Science and Technology Museum has shut down its Lunar Walk facility, following an accident last month, museum officials said yesterday.
    It is not clear when the amusement will re-open to the public. But before that, the museum staff will conduct an extensive check on it and improve safety equipment.
    "The suspension aims to better guarantee visitors' safety," Li Jun, a museum official, said yesterday. "Our technology is not mature enough."
    Early last month, the museum opened the second phase of its exhibition including dozens of interactive displays such as Lunar Walk and a four-axis rotating facility that is used for training astronauts.
    However, only one week after it opened, a young woman fell from the 7-meter-tall Lunar Walk, and fractured her tailbone.
    The Lunar Walk is similar to bungee jumping. This experience resembles walking in the moon, which has only 1/6 the gravity of the Earth.
    Managers said they will look at adding more rubber cushions on the ground and walls to enhance safety.
    They said the museum will regularly conduct safety checks on its interactive exhibits.
    Other items set up as part of the second phase include robots that can perform Peking Opera, a mini-train journey inside the human body and a 3-D IMAX cinema.--(6/28)

  • Bad milk products poured down drain
    Local quality supervision authorities destroyed 7,372 packages of Vitasoy milk over the weekend, saying the company used substandard materials in production.
    The milk was poured into a sewage treatment plant in Songjiang District. Vitasoy Shanghai Co used more than 600 kilograms of coconut juice, which had passed its best-before date, to produce around 480,000 packages of coconut flavor soy milk between April and July 2004. The company has been fined 612,000 yuan (US$73,735) by the Songjiang District Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision, which was informed of the problem by a company whistleblower earlier this month. The bureau ordered a recall of all products at that time.--(6/27)

  • Shanghai Oriental Arts Center to open on July 1
    A night view of the butterfly-shaped Shanghai Oriental Arts Center in Pudong, which will hold its grand opening on July 1 with a performance of Puccini's "Tosca." The arts center has opened to the public in a trial operation for six months.--(6/26)

  • Sports facilities to open for free
    School sports and entertainment facilities will open to all elementary school students and parents for free each Saturday starting on July 2, officials with the Shanghai Education Commission said Friday.
    The facilities are expected to open to people of all ages once a week starting this autumn.
    The facilities include basketball, volleyball and tennis courts.
    Ping pong tables, swimming pools, gym equipment, as well as space for aerobics or dance classes will also be available to sports fans.
    A list of sports facilities will be offered to the public and updated on a regular basis, officials said.
    "The citywide move will make full use of our schools' sports resources and greatly expand the amount of free activities that people can try," said Zheng Jianguo, director of the Shanghai East Educational Service Center, the free sports program organizer.
    Previously, few schools were willing to open facilities to the public for fear of damage and the risk of accidents.
    To alleviate those concerns, the commission plans to allocate at least 1 million yuan (US$120,000) to the schools for daily maintenance and insurance for those who use the school facilities.
    Bureau officials also said that physical education teachers, university sports majors and retired athletes will also be organized to offer free coaching services and tips to get or stay healthy.--(6/26)

  • Rain hit rail lines
    The near-continuous rain in southern China has cut rail links between Shanghai and some cities in the affected region. The Shanghai Railway Station said three services from Shanghai to Fuzhou and Xiamen will be suspended today. Travelers who have bought tickets on those routes can receive a full refund. There was no word on when the services might resume.--(6/25)

  • City to improve subway transfer
    The city plans to make changes to several transfer hubs along its subway system to reduce the distance between lines to less than 50 meters, a local planner said at an international seminar yesterday.
    When the renovations are completed by 2010, it should only take passengers one to two minutes to transfer between subway lines at most hubs. Currently, it can take more than 10 minutes to walk between lines at some stations.
    "The current subway transfer hubs are not satisfactory so we want to improve them," Shen Rende, a planner with the Shanghai Urban Planning Administrative Bureau, said yesterday during the International Conference on Urban Underground Space.
    He said the city will have 17 major subway transfer hubs by 2010. By that time Shanghai will have 410 kilometers of Metro lines, more than four times the current 94 kilometers.
    He said the government will renovate some of existing subway stations, such as the Jing'an Temple Station, to shorten the distance between lines. He noted the walk between Metro Line No. 1 and No. 2 at People's Square will be reduced to less than 50 meters from the current 220 meters when a transfer square is built by the end of next year.
    "We have reserved enough underground space to guarantee efficient subway transfers," said Shen, noting that the government also plans to connect the subway entrances with nearby buildings.
    However, due to poor planning, the city won't be able to revamp the transfer hub between Metro Line No. 1 and No. 3 at the Shanghai Railway Station, Shen said.
    Officials wouldn't say how much the entire project will cost, as some parts of the plan have yet to be approved by the central government.
    More than 20 experts in the use of underground space from Japan, Canada, the Netherlands--(6/24)

  • Fruit prices to drop(6/23)
    About 1,500 tons of fruit produced in Taiwan is expected to arrive in local markets in the second half of the year, pushing down fruit prices in the city, officials from the Shanghai Fruit Trade Association said yesterday. So far, 18 kinds of fruit can be imported from Taiwan without paying any tariffs, including pineapples, mangoes and peaches.--(6/23)

  • Factories post added value rise
    Shanghai's industrial companies recorded a combined added value of 32.5 billion yuan (US$3.9 billion) in May, a year-on-year rise of 7.6 percent, said Shanghai Statistics Bureau on its Website yesterday.
    The bureau, however, didn't provide the total output value of industrial companies.
    The heavy industry, whose growth rate slowed in the first quarter as output of the automobile sector fell, regained its strength in May due to operation of some new major industrial projects including an auto steel sheet plant by the city's Baosteel Group.
    Heavy industry gained a total output value of 93.1 billion yuan in the month, up 9.5 percent from a year earlier.
    The total output value of heavy industry amounted to 431.7 billion yuan in the first five months, rising 11.6 percent from a year ago.
    The automobile industry was the only segment that declined sharply among all of the city's six pillar industries in the past five months.
    Auto companies had an output worth 37.78 billion yuan in the period, down 31.9 percent from a year earlier.
    The other five pillar industries in Shanghai, including steel, electronics products and biochemical products, accelerated quickly in the period.--(6/22)

  • Festival a hit at the box office
    Movie lovers spent more than 7 million yuan (US$843,373) at the box office during the Eighth Shanghai International Film Festival, which closed on Sunday, organizers said yesterday.
    Box-office receipts were up 16 percent from last year.
    About 300,000 viewers took in 200 films at 17 local cinemas during the nine-day event.
    The shanghai Film Art Center, the main festival site, took over around 2 million yuan in ticket sales during the event, 200,000 yuan more than last year.
    Cinema managers said European films such as "Hotel Rwanda" and "Downfall" proved popular this year.
    "For moviegoers, these European films are obviously harder to see than Hollywood productions, which can be found on DVD," said Shen Qilin of the center's marketing department.
    At shanghai Stellar Cinema City in Pudong, America's "Hellboy," South Korea's "A Moment to Remember" and Japan's "Last Quarter" drew big crowds.
    "There weren't many newly made productions," said Wang Tao, the cinema's marketing director. "Some people complained that 70 percent of the exhibited movies can easily be found on DVD."
    Paul wilsgaard of Norway took in the Chinese film "The Foliage" on Sunday.
    "This sentimental Chinese film was very interesting," he said. "To my regret, this year there were still too many commercial Hollywood films."--(6/21)

  • Sporting goods expo has new look
    The 16th China International Sporting Goods Exposition kicks off at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre on June 20.
    Shanghai has hosted this event for the past three years, but this year the expo features a new information system that will match up exhibitors and potential buyers, part of the organizer's effort this year to make the exhibitor-audience communication more efficient.
    As the largest trade fair for sporting goods in China, the expo will offer golden opportunities for sports companies from home and abroad to promote their products.
    During the expo, the organizing committee for the Changchun 2007 Asian Winter Games will hold a press conference.--(6/20)

  • Shanghai Circus World reconstruction completed
    Shanghai Circus World is undergoing its biggest reconstruction since it opened in 1999 to prepare for a multi-media show entitled "Era," which raises its curtain on September 27.
    "We will install high-end elements to our stage to create perfect sound, light, fog and water effects for a stunning performance," said Yu Yigang, director of Shanghai Circus World.
    Backed by a budget of 30 million yuan (US$3.6 million), the show will feature spectacular acrobatic feats and Chinese cultural elements such as folk songs and dancing.
    The high-tech enhancements will add to the magic of the performances, the organizers said.
    The Canadian artists Eric Villeneuve and Debra Brown have been invited to serve as director and choreographer of the performance.
    Villeneuve directed a cultural gala at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vancouver, and Brown won an Emmy in 2002 for a four-minute spectacular commemorating special effects in films at the 74th Academy Awards.--(6/19)

  • Satellite to monitor viruses
    China and France are planning to set up a satellite-based positioning system to monitor how viruses such as SARS "travel" in the atmosphere, scientists said this week.The Pasteur Institute of Shanghai, which specializes in biomedical research, will provide a task force for the project.
    It also plans to coordinate with various Chinese government sectors and institutes to establish the country's first such supervision network.
    That includes the Ministry of Agriculture and the Resource Satellite Application Center.
    Vincent Deubel, director of the Pasteur Institute of Shanghai, was quoted by Wenhui Daily on Tuesday as saying: "We hope to set up a Shanghai-based supervision network to monitor the movement of infectious diseases within China.
    "This network will greatly improve public health in prevention of all kinds of infectious diseases," he said.
    One institute researcher said since infectious viruses always move in the atmosphere and clouds, satellite-based research will help pinpoint their location and prevent the communication of viruses in advance.
    Deubel said after scientists acquire information concerning climate and geology in different areas of the country, they can analyze trends in how viruses infect people and animals.
    Then they will complete a prevention report to the central government to take preventive measures, if needed, he added.
    Deubel said the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the city government and two French companies may invest in the project.
    Officials of the institute yesterday declined to release detailed information, saying "it is still on the way." They also declined to comment on the cost of the project.
    Chen Zhu, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was quoted by Wenhui Daily on Tuesday as saying: "This prevention network is one of the hottest fields of study in global research."
    The Pasteur Institute of Shanghai is not for profit and was co-established last year by CAS, the municipal government and Paris-based Institute Pasteur.--(6/18)

  • E-learning program began
    The Shanghai Professional Network Education Association began operating in a new cyberspace program yesterday. Reporting to the Shanghai Information Service Association, the association will organize scholars, Website operators, university officials and human resources managers to discuss the city's e-learning programs on a regular basis. The association will also team up with the Fudan-Pacific Institute of Finance to launch e-learning programs for working professionals--(6/17)

  • Water supply to fall short
    The city is ready to combat a possible water shortage this summer, officials announced yesterday.
    Water shortages are expected in some parts of the city, especially the suburbs, including the Pudong New Area, although the overall supply can meet demand.
    Demand for water is expected to rise 6.8 percent from last summer to a record high of 9.87 million cubic meters a day, a little below the city's overall supply capacity of 10.58 million cubic meters, according to the Shanghai Water Authority.
    However, shortages are expected in five districts as the regional water companies' capacity will fall a little short of demand. In Jiading District, the peak demand is expected to hit 623,000 cubic meters daily, 200,000 cubic meters more than its top capacity.
    Shortages could also hit urbanized areas of Pudong, where peak demand will reach 200,000 cubic meters a day, while the top capacity of the areas is 163,000 cubic meters.
    Apart from the shortages, officials are also worried about pollution from Yangtze River, which will reduce fresh water supply for tap water use.
    The authority ordered an inspection of all water plants in the city to ensure they can work at top capacity if necessary. The check finished yesterday.
    Officials say they also hope to finish construction on three water plants by the end of this month. The new facilities will increase water supply by as much as 280,000 cubic meters a day--(6/16)

  • Overseas investment hit US$56 billion
    Shanghai has so far had an inflow of US$56 billion worth of overseas investment, about one tenth of the national total, said Zhou Yupeng, vice mayor of Shanghai, while addressing a municipal meeting on overseas investment yesterday.
    It will value quality in use of overseas investment instead of simply stressing quantity, Zhou added.
    The city will also make greater efforts to improve the structure of overseas capital investment in the city, and give more guidance in directing overseas capital into new fields, especially modern service trade such as logistics and exhibition business, said the official.
    In the meantime, the city will also take pains to improve service and investment environment by enhancing work efficiency and capabilities of the government departments.
    Shanghai is now home to 100 multinational regional headquarters, 115 investment companies and 152 research and development centers.--(6/15)

  • Joint survey on rivers
    The Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau will work with its counterparts in neighboring Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces to conduct a survey on the environment along the mouth of the Yangtze River and the East China Sea. The survey will assess pollution by industries and residents in the Yangtze Delta. The survey will begin in July and finish by the beginning of next year.--(6/14)

  • Int'l Film Festival opens
    The Eighth Shanghai International Film Festival opened Saturday night, which will be a double celebration for local movie buffs.
    Apart from the presence of a galaxy of film stars and screenings of some of the best movies from home and abroad, this year's festival coincides with the centenary of the Chinese film industry.
    A total of 17 films will scramble for the awards and the coveted top prize, the Golden Goblet Award. The two Chinese films in the contest are ``Gimme Kudos'' by veteran director Huang Jianxin and ``A Time to Love'' by award-winning director Huo Jianqi, whose film ``Nuan'' won the Tokyo Grand Prix, the top prize at the 16th Tokyo International Film Festival in 2003.
    As well, the Shanghai International TV Festival is be running this week from June 11 to 15 and entries are competing for the Magnolia Award which will be presented to the best TV drama and documentary.--(6/13)

  • Foreigners donate blood
    More than 100 foreigners donated blood at the Shanghai blood center yesterday.
    "We also hope more people join in us as blood donation is simple and safe," said Nicolas Milonas, the initiator of the activity and a French national who now lives in Shanghai.
    The activity, first of its kind held in Shanghai, also set a good example for local residents, said Zou Zhengrong, deputy director of the blood storage department of the center.
    Milonas learned from a newspaper about Shanghai's blood bank shortage last August. He started to think about organizing the foreigners living and working in Shanghai to donate blood.
    He and his six friends called or e-mailed foreign associations in Shanghai. More than 100 people from about 20 countries registered as blood donation volunteers.
    "I am so excited I made it and I will tell my family and friends my experience in Shanghai in Shanghai," said Christy Shapiro, who just came to the city from the United States six month ago, after her first-time blood donation.
    Shanghai needs 72 million mm blood for medical service annually and we are facing an increasing blood shortage these years. We hope that more local residents can also join in blood donation, said Zou.--(6/12)

  • Facilities draw active crowd on sports day
    Many sports facilities scattered around the city were busier than usual yesterday for the National Sports Day. More than 35 sports facilities were open to the public free of charge.
    According to Yang Jun, who works at the International Gymnastic Center, 300 people took part in free activities from 9am until noon yesterday - at least 100 more than usual.
    "Most of the visitors are students who just finished the university entrance exams or retirees," Yang said. "Badminton and table tennis were the most popular sports among the guests."
    Chen Yiping, an official from the Shanghai Sports Administration, said creating a sports day will raise awareness of the importance of exercise.
    Also, Shanghai Sports Club on Nanjing Road W. reported more than 100 guests - almost double the normal amount - for its free sports events including badminton, table-tennis and billiards.
    Zhou Meilun, an official at the club, said all the badminton courts were booked before 10am.
    However, tennis players were not so lucky. The wet weather rained on their parade, said Zhang Zhiming, an official from Changning Tennis Court.
    "Some of them came by taxi, but we had no choice but to say, 'Sorry, you can't play on wet courts."'
    Many residents expressed disappointment that they could not take advantage of the free facilities.
    "It is a pity for me that the sports day doesn't fall on the weekend," said Zhu Wenli, who works Monday to Friday. "I hope more such days can be provided, for example, once a month, to encourage more people to join sporting activities."--(6/11)

  • World service trade forum held in Shanghai
    China will work to further boost its fledgling service industry, said speakers at the ongoing world service trade forum in Shanghai yesterday.
    The two-day forum, organized by the Ministry of Commerce and the Shanghai Municipal government, attracted senior executives and leaders of service industry from more than 20 countries and regions worldwide.
    In a speech delivered at the forum, Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said the Chinese government aims to give priority to service sector development. He pledged to devote more effort towards attracting international service giants.
    "We will endeavor to further improve China's service sector and turn China into a popular out-sourcing option in global service trade," said the minister.
    China's service industry, which has grown tremendously in the past two decades, still fails to contribute substantially to the national economy.
    According to statistics from the ministry of commerce, China's service trade amounted to 4.6 billion US dollars in 1982 and stood at 128.6 billion US dollars last year, ranking the ninth worldwide.
    However, the country's service export only accounted for a mere 9 percent of the national export total, far lower than the global average of 19 percent.
    Meanwhile, China has been consistently pestered by a deficit inits service trade, with red ink in this regard amounting to 10.8 billion US dollars in 2004.
    Currently, China's most developed service industries still fall in the traditional categories of tourism and sea transportation. It will take time before China can assume truly significant roles in the world financial, insurance and computer sectors, according to Bo.
    In order to sharpen China's competitive edge in the service industry, Bo vowed to encourage innovation and competition. He said the government needs value of training professionals in the field.
    According to the minister, China has been focusing on attracting foreign investors to manufacturing industries in the past two decades. It plans to open the door wider to those who would like to enter China's service market.
    He also singled Shanghai out as an engine in developing China's service industry.
    As the most developed region nationwide, Shanghai now reports aper capita gross domestic product of 6,700 US dollars and its service industry contributes 48 percent to the municipality's total economic output.
    "We are confident in further developing Shanghai's service industry in the years to come as the city has made it clear to become an economic, financial, trade and transportation hub worldwide," said Bo Thursday.--(6/10)

  • Traffic safety class for teachers and officials
    Thirty local kindergarten teachers and officials attended the first children's traffic safety knowledge training program at suburban Sheshan Hill yesterday, according to the local branch of the China National Children's Center, which organized the event. Funded by the Central Organization of Traffic Safety in Finland, the program will equip teachers with common sense about road and water traffic as well as helping them recognize traffic signs. Teachers will be responsible for spreading the knowledge to all local kindergarten children and grade-one students after the three-day training program ends this Saturday.--(6/9)

  • Tax certificates to protect employees
    City tax authorities will begin issuing payment certificates to individual taxpayers starting next month, in an attempt to protect their legal rights.
    The certificates will guarantee employees know how much tax their employers have paid on their behalf, preventing companies from deducting taxes from wages without paying to the government.
    To begin with, tax authorities will send out the certificates once a year, but they plan to send them out every six months in the future, the Shanghai Taxation Bureau said in a statement released yesterday. "We will try to hand out the certificates upon requests from individual taxpayers immediately after they pay taxes."
    Currently, the tax bureau only sends tax receipts to companies, who deduct tax payments from employees' monthly wages and pass them on to the bureau.
    The plan doesn't cover expatriates working in the city, but they can ask their employers to help them get a tax certificate from the bureau.
    To protect the financial privacy of taxpayers, the bureau will seal the certificates in an envelop, which will then be delivered to employers to hand out to workers.
    "We will start to mail the certificates directly to the taxpayers later," the bureau said. If a company fails to pay taxes for its workers, the employees can be held responsible for paying back taxes.--(6/8)

  • City has clearer air and cleaner water
    Shanghai's environmental campaign has been paying off, as the number of days when air quality was tested as excellent and good has reached nearly 90 percent this year and the water quality of local waterways has been improved by 20 percent, according to the latest data from the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.
    The number of days reporting good air quality is the highest since 2002, with dust density declining by 16 percent.
    This year is the last year of Shanghai's second-round Three-Year Action Plan. The environment bureau is beefing up administrative measures on key environmentally unfriendly enterprises to ensure a complete accomplishment of this environment program--(6/7)

  • Are examinees coddled?
    Just how much special treatment do students preparing to sit the national college entrance exam need?
    That's the question some people are starting to ask as several bus companies have announced special rules to help examinees.
    Shanghai baitong Public Transportation Company, a bus operator owned by Dazhong Transportation (Group) Co Ltd, said that it will set aside at least three seats on each bus for students headed to exam sites during the three-day exam period from June 7 to 9.
    The seats will be clearly labeled as "special seats for examinees" and only students with an exam pass will be allowed to sit in them.
    Bus conductors will also try to persuade seated passengers to give up their seats for students, similar to the way they help elderly passengers and pregnant women.
    "As every parent wants their children to be in their best state for the exam, we will create the best bus-riding environment possible during the period," said Sun Xinjian, a Baitong's official.
    The caoyang branch of Shanghai Dazhong Public Transport Co Ltd has announced that students who are running late for the exam will be allowed to flag down buses between stops. If they are really late, drivers will let them off at the nearest safe place to the exam site, instead of simply pulling up to the regular stop, the Youth Daily reported.
    Previously, the city has set rules on construction noise control from the start of this month until several days after the exam is over, so students can study in peace. Traffic will also be blocked near exam sites while students are writing the test, so they are not bothered by noise.
    While students and parents have hailed many of these moves, many residents think the situation is out of control.
    "Examinees are healthy people," said Yuan Genbao, a local resident. "There's absolutely no need for the examinees to enjoy the same treatment as people who are elderly or sick."
    Yu hai, a professor in Fudan University's sociology department, said that excessive care from outside would only add to the stress students are facing.--(6/6)

  • World's largest shipyard under construction in Shanghai
    Construction stars last Friday on the Changxing Shipbuilding Base, on Shanghai's Changxing Island, which is expected to eventually become the world's largest shipyard.
    Construction started Friday on what is to become the largest shipyard in the world, marking a major step forward in China's ambition to become the world's leading ship builder.
    In the first phase of the 3.6-billion-US-dollar project, the Jiangnan Shipyard Corp, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC), is moving to Changxing Island to make way for Shanghai Expo 2010, China Daily reported Saturday.
    The Jiangnan Shipyard will expand its shipbuilding capacity from the current 800,000 deadweight tons a year to 4.5 million by 2020, it said.
    In the second phase of the project, other CSSC subsidiaries, including Hudong and Waigaoqiao, will add more yards along Changxing Island's eight-kilometer coastline.
    By 2015, CSSC is expected to have an annual capacity of 8 million deadweight tons, half of China's current production capacity.
    By then, Shanghai will also become the world's largest shipbuilding base, tripling its capacity to 12 million deadweight tons, said the English language newspaper.
    "The central government has called on China to become the largest shipbuilder in the world. The Changxing base is the most important step forward in this plan," it quoted CSSC General Manager Chen Xiaojin as saying.
    Friday also marked the 140th anniversary of the Jiangnan Shipyard, which was founded in the late Qing Dynasty as China's first manufacturing base for steel, naval ships and steel cannon.
    Shipbuilding has since been a vital industry in China as it boosts domestic manufacturing and machinery industries, creates job opportunities and revenue, and improves the country's naval capacity.
    The country's shipbuilding industry has achieved an annual average growth of 17 percent over the past few years and China now accounts for a quarter of the world's shipbuilding market, up from less than five percent five years ago.--(6/5)

  • Abortions rise in single women
    The number of single women having abortions has soared.
    Unmarried women accounted for about 65 percent of abortions last year - compared to only 25 percent in 1999 - in major cities such as Shanghai, Beijing and Tianjin, medical experts said at yesterday's meeting addressing the importance of contraceptive education for young people.
    The shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission and Nanjing Organon Pharmaceutical Co will launch courses at universities in the city on reproduction and contraception. Experts from both home and abroad will give lectures on campuses later this year.
    "In China, women between 20 and 29 years old have the most abortions and the percentage of those who are unmarried varies from 23 to 65 percent depending on the region," said Dr Yan Fengting, Organon's senior medical adviser. "About 5 percent of those getting an abortion are minors in Beijing and it's 7.2 percent in Shanghai."
    Experts said the high abortion rate is due to the growing prevalence of premarital sex and a lack of contraceptive understanding.
    Yan said that about 54 percent of women seeking an abortion did not use a contraceptive.
    The rate jumps to 80 percent among unmarried women--(6/4)

  • New taxes levied on real estate
    Shanghai has imposed two new taxes on residential property transactions in its latest move to cool down an overheating real estate market.
    Starting yesterday, the government began to levy a 5 percent fee on the total value of an apartment sold within 24 months of ownership, the Shanghai Housing and Land Administrative Bureau said last night.
    In addition, the contract tax paid by buyers will be doubled to 3 percent on apartments considered to be in the "luxury" price range.
    The tax for residential property designated as "affordable" will remain at 1.5 percent.
    Where the price line falls under the new rules depends on location.
    Within the Inner-Ring Road, an "affordable" apartment is priced below 17,500 yuan (US$2,108) a square meter and is less than 140 square meters in size, according to the land bureau's statement. Anything above those thresholds falls into the "luxury" category.
    Affordable apartments located between the Inner-Ring Road and the Outer-Ring Road are those that sell for less than 10,000 yuan a square meter and are below 140 square meters.
    The figure falls to less than 7,000 yuan a square meter for apartments outside the Outer-Ring Road.
    Industry experts said the new policies are expected to result in further adjustments to Shanghai's residential market.
    "Investors and some speculators used to focus on the city's residential properties. The new stringent policies will surely curb demand in the sector," said Lina Wong, East China managing director for Colliers International, a property services provider.
    "More taxes will influence new apartment sales and transaction volume in the existing housing market."
    Individual home buyers need to recalculate their investment returns based on the higher cost, analysts said.
    "Shanghai's real estate market is becoming mature, while the yield may edge downwards," Wong said. "Some investors may shift their focus to commercial properties."
    All the new policies that have been rolled out this year have been geared toward the rising residential sector. Shanghai's average residential housing prices rose by more than 20 percent to exceed US$1,000 a square meter last year from a year earlier.
    Among the moves designed to rein in speculation in the residential sector, Shanghai earlier imposed a 5.55 percent capital gains tax on people selling residential property units that had been held for less than 12 months. Property sellers are also now required to pay off the mortgage if the transaction is made within 12 months of purchase.
    "Actually, commercial property is being favored by overseas investors for its stable return," said Wong.
    Even with that shift, China Construction Bank said in Beijing yesterday that it has adjusted the structure of its real estate loans to give priority to residential customers.
    The CCB said the move was tied to nation's macroeconomic strategies and its view of the current situation in the real estate market. It said it will target its loans to areas where the market is well managed and cut back in speculative areas.--(6/3)

  • World service trade forum scheduled next week
    Shanghai government and the Ministry of Commerce will co-host the World Service Trade Forum at the Shanghai International Convention Center next Thursday and Friday, the city spokeswoman Jiao Yang reported yesterday. Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai and city Mayor Han Zheng are leading the forum¡¯s organizing committee. Participants at the forum will hold extensive discussions on how to advance the country¡¯s external trade as a member of the World Trade Organization--(6/2)

  • UK tours start in July
    The first Chinese tour group to visit Britain after the country was named a designated travel destination will take off sometime around July 20, the UK tourism board said yesterday.
    The group is expected to consist of 40 people from Shanghai and another 40 from Beijing.
    July 15 will be the first day Chinese citizens can obtain UK tourism visas for holiday groups of five or more, the board said.
    The local visitors will fly to Britain on Virgin Atlantic Airways, while those from Beijing will fly on British Airways.
    During the six-day-and-seven-night trip, they will tour London, and other scenic sites in both England and Scotland, said Charlie Li, Beijing representative of VisitBritain.
    The British tours will be priced at about 16,000 yuan (US$1,927), she added.
    "These Chinese visitors will be received by some important people from the tourism boards and governments in England and Scotland," Li said.
    The number of Chinese people visiting the United Kingdom has more than doubled over the last five years to more than 100,000 with spending rising 60 percent, Tom Wright, chief executive of VisitBritain, said.
    "Our research indicates that the natural beauty of Britain's landscapes, countryside and beaches, as well as iconic and historic landmarks, our rich cultural heritage and superlative shopping and dining, will all drive Chinese visitors to choose Britain for their holidays," he said.
    He said VisitBritain expects to at least double the number of visitors from China to 200,000 in 2010 and China has the potential to be one of Britain's top 10 inbound tourism markets by 2020. Revenues from--(6/1)



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