Middle Ring Road section opens today
A 3.4-kilometer stretch of the under-construction Middle Ring Road will open to traffic this morning, linking the Dabaishu area to Guohe Road in the Wujiaochang area of Yangpu District.
To date, 12.4 kilometers of the 70-kilometer-long ring road have been put into use, linking the Shanghai-Jiading Expressway with Wujiaochang.
The remaining part of the ring road, which runs through both Pudong and Puxi, will be gradually completed and opened by the end of 2007.
"The construction of the Middle Ring Road will provide more convenience for residents living in the city's Baoshan, Zhabei, Hongkou and Yangpu districts," said Qin Kangde of the Middle Ring Road Project Headquarters.
The new section of the ring road, mostly elevated roads, also incorporates an underground tunnel along Handan Road in front of Fudan University and a three-level intersection in Dabaishu, officials said.
Qin said the new section will greatly reduce ground traffic volume from Gonghexin Road to Dabaishu along the Inner Ring Road.
"It will only take half an hour to drive from Dabaishu to the Hongqiao International Airport via the new ring road," he said.
According to Qin, the trip currently takes about an hour.
He said the new ring road will also make it easier to travel from downtown to the city's Formula One race track in Jiading District.
The Middle Ring Road will expand and connect a dozen existing roads between the Inner Ring Road and the Outer Ring Road by 2007, officials said. --(9/23)
Luxemburg to open consulate in Shanghai(9/22)
Luxemburg plans to establish a consulate-general in Shanghai, visiting president of the Parliament of Luxemburg Lucien Weiler said in Beijing yesterday.
"We determined to establish it in Shanghai next year so as to further promote the economic and trade cooperation with China," he told Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.
Weiler said Luxemburg will continue to press the European Union to lift its arms embargo against China, and adhere to the one-China policy.
The trade volume between China and Luxemburg from January to July reached US$1.5 billion, which is equal to the total trade volume in 2004. Weiler said Luxemburg hopes to improve economic and trade cooperation. Wu welcomed the establishment of the consulate-general, saying the foreign ministries of the two countries have been cooperating in this matter.
He said Sino-Luxemburg relations have maintained good momentum, although the two countries' situations are different.
He stressed that they could further cooperate in finance, iron and satellites.
Wu also said the NPC would like to promote cooperation in developing its legislative system. China welcomes exchanges between parliamentary leaders and special committees, he said.
Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, also met Weiler yesterday. --(9/22)
Jiangwan Skatepark completed
Located in the northeastern outskirts of the city, the 100 million yuan (US$12.35 million) Shanghai Jiangwan Skatepark is said to be the biggest of its kind in the world. Primary construction was completed yesterday, and an international skateboarding tournament will be held at the 12,000-square-meter facility early next month. --(9/21)
Rain expected to take bite out of 'Autumn Tiger'
The city's recent hot spell will continue today, but showers are expected to cool down Shanghai a little starting tomorrow.
Temperatures should hit 34 to 35 degrees Celsius again today, after topping 35 degrees the past two days, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
While it will feel like summer outside, and meteorologists say it is still summer in the city, the past two hot days mark the beginning of an "Autumn Tiger," a Chinese term referring to the hot weather after the start of autumn according to the lunar calendar.
Summer doesn't officially end until the first of five consecutive days with daily average temperatures below 22 degrees.
The heat wave was produced by a subtropical high pressure system, which dominated the city and other parts of eastern China after Typhoon Khanun pulled out of the region.
Temperatures in most parts of Zhejiang, Fujian and Jiangxi provinces also hit 35 degrees over the past few days.
The hot weather yesterday forced weathermen to sound a red hot alarm at noon, which wasn't canceled until 4pm, making yesterday the 30th hot day this summer.
The Autumn Tiger will lose its strength starting tomorrow as the subtropical high pressure system will move into the sea, bringing showers to the city.
The daily high for tomorrow will drop to 33 degrees, with a low of 26 degrees. The mercury will drop below 30 degrees on Thursday and Friday, and there will be showers on both days. The hottest September day ever recorded in Shanghai was September 7, 1995,when temperatures hit 38.2 degrees. --(9/20)
Fudan exhibits open
A series of exhibitions related to Fudan University's 100th anniversary celebration kicked off in Shanghai on Saturday. The ongoing exhibitions cover the university's science and technology achievements, historic pictures, photos and publications, among others. Most of the exhibits are collected from university's young faculty members. --(9/19)
Fables in new sculpture park
Shanghai will build a huge fable-themed sculpture park, emphasizing world-standard beautiful sculpture and instructive themes drawn from traditional Chinese and Western fables, including Aesop's tales.
It will be constructed in the city's northern Zhabei District by 2010 when the World Expo is held, the Zhabei District government announced yesterday. The price tag was not immediately known and the fables had not yet been chosen.
More than 200 groups of fable-related sculptures will be built at the Daning Park, the city's biggest park in Puxi with a total area of 680,000 square meters - nearly five times bigger than the People's Square.
All the sculptures will be described in English and Chinese to help visitors understand the stories.
"Once completed, the park will become the biggest fable-themed sculpture park in the country," Yu Yinxiao, an official of Zhabei District government, said yesterday.
He explained the purpose of building the sculpture park is to improve the public interest in sculptures and to educate young people, to better understand the life principles behind various fables home and abroad.
Officials said they will soon start to collect fable themes from residents and will select the final themes according to votes from both experts and residents.
Most of the sculptures will reflect Chinese traditional fables, while some classic foreign tales, such as some Aesop's fables dating from ancient Greek times will also be used.
China has a rich and long history of fable writing, and many ancient fable writers were also great philosophers and poets.
They include Mencius, the philosopher and educator of Warring States Period (476-221 BC), and Su Dongpo, a famous poet of Song Dynasty (960-1279).
"We are planning to build a lot more high-quality sculptures over the next few years," said Wang Lin, deputy director of Shanghai Urban Sculpture Committee Office.
"The city's current street sculptures don't match the city's international position."
Urban planners said that the city now has 1,034 street statues but only a small part of them, about 10 percent, are considered to be masterpieces.
The city expects to possess 5,000 urban sculptures - including 100 major landscape sculptures - by 2010 when the World Expo opens. --(9/18)
Pipe organ debuts at arts center
German organist Thorsten Maden played two short French pieces yesterday on Shanghai's first pipe organ, which was recently set up at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center.
Maden played for an audience of about 200 people who have purchased tickets for his organ concerts this weekend at the center.
"It is the largest organ on the Chinese mainland," said Wendelin Eberle, president of Austrian organ-maker Rieger Orgelbau, which produced the instrument.
The organ cost more than 20 million yuan (US$2.47) and has 6,703 pipes, the largest of which is 10 meters tall while the smallest is only 8 millimeters in length.
"The one in Hong Kong also made by our company is only a bit larger. Beijing's three organs and Guangzhou's one organ are all smaller," said Eberle.
Organ music is generally associated with Western gospel music and church choirs. In the past, musicians in Shanghai have only had access to electronic organs, which don't offer the sound. --(9/16)
Taiwan party boss visits
James Soong, chairman of the People First Party in Taiwan, arrived in Shanghai yesterday afternoon to attend a non-governmental cross-strait forum today and tomorrow.
More than 60 PFP officials, scholars and experts from Taiwan will meet with about 70 counterparts from the mainland at the forum to exchange views about direct air links across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwanese investment in the mainland, agricultural and financial cooperation.
"The two-day forum in Shanghai is aimed at implementing the consensus reached in the Beijing talks with Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, in May," the PFP chairman said during a brief speech at Pudong International Airport yesterday.
Shanghai is an important base for Taiwan business people as the city has become a major economic and trade center in the Yangtze River Delta and the world as well, he added.
He noted there are more than 500,000 Taiwan business people living in the Yangtze River Delta region.
Soong and his delegation visited the Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Hall yesterday. --(9/15)
Shanghai Golden Grand Prix due this weekend
Some of the world¡¯s best track and field athletes are coming to the city for the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix scheduled for this weekend. Among the first batch of arrivals yesterday were Tonique Williams-Darling of the Bahamas, Justin Gatlin, Dwight Phillips, Allyson Felix and Allen Johnson from the United States and Meseret Defar of Ethiopia. --(9/14)
English record set
A tired group of 26 students and one British teacher successfully set a record for the longest continuous English class in the city yesterday morning after 72 straight hours of study. Four of the 30 original students gave up during the three sleepless nights of learning. One of the remaining students will be sent to London for free English courses later this year. --(9/13)
Foreign investment has big impact
Big projects have played a big role in Shanghai's foreign investment this year, according to Shanghai Foreign Investment Commission.
In the first eight months, 114 projects, or 4.3 percent of the total approved, attracting over US$30 million each, contributed to 57 percent of the total investment.
Fifteen of the 114 projects brought in over US$100 million each and US$3.2 billion in total, one-third of the total foreign investment from January through August.
The biggest foreign investment in the service industry goes to Shanghai International Port (Group) Co Ltd at US$670 million in contractual foreign investment. In the manufacturing sector Shanghai Powerchip brought in US$ 334 million in contracts. Investment in the project totals US$1 billion.
As well, according to data from the investment commission, more overseas companies are moving their regional headquarters to Shanghai and increasing numbers of investment firms are coming in.
From January to July, the number of cross-national companies establishing headquarters here increased by 25, for a total of 115, and 15 investment firms landed here, raising their total to 120. --(9/12)
Grand Theater makes efforts to fight piracy
The Shanghai Grand Theater has been warned that video pirates intend to film four performances of the Ballet de Opera National de Paris from September 22 to 25.
The warning was delivered in a letter from a ballet fan who said some people from overseas planned to secretly record the four performances with video cameras and sell them through the Interned to worldwide fans who couldn't attend the shows in Shanghai.
"We checked immediately and did find an overseas reservation which had paid for two VIP tickets for each of the four performances," said Hang Xiaoding, spokeswoman of Shanghai Grand Theater Arts Center. "The tickets are in row one and row 10, which allow for better filming from different angles and later editing."
Hang said a name cited in the letter as a video pirate was the same as that on a seat reservation. The letter was written by a fan of the ballet who is familiar with these "thieves," the theater said. "Our staff will supervise audiences in these seats and invite them out if they take cameras out during the performances," said Hang.
She said it's the first time that the theater encountered possible secret recorders from overseas for commercial purposes. Recording performances is always forbidden in the theater.
Officials only occasionally have caught some fans or experts who were filming productions for purposes of appreciation and education.
The letter said that the cameras to be used were highly advanced, small and difficult to detect.
This will be the first Shanghai trip of these 343-year-old ballet, which had only performed in China in 1997 in Beijing. The ballet will stage "L'Arlesienne," and "Bolero" in its premiere. --(9/11)
Deep-water port goes into trial operations
The first phase of the city's Yangshan Deep-water Port will be put into trial operation next month, and the world's largest container ship will try to berth at the port at the end of this month, city officials said yesterday.
The country's first bonded port with multi-billion yuan investments is expected to handle 3 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit) of cargo next year, according to the project's headquarters. The port, which is located at an island at the mouth of the Hangzhou Bay, is aimed at building the city into an international ocean shipping center and meeting mounting trade demand through the city. --(9/8)
Super girls still a hit
Tickets for a concert by several of the top vote earners in the smash hit TV talent contest "Super Girl" have been moving quickly since they went on sale on Monday night.
More than 50 percent of the 40,000 tickets for the October 6 show have been sold, including all 6,000 VIP tickets. The show will be held at Shanghai Stadium.
An youqi, the champion of last year's "Super Girl" and 12 contestants from this year's show might perform at the concert - but local residents will get a chance to decide who sings and who doesn't.
This year's champion Li Yuchun, a 21-year-old pop singing major at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, won the top prize by drawing 3.5 million cell phone message votes during the finals on August 26.
"Super Girl" was the country's most popular TV program this summer. Independent research suggests 10 percent of Chinese households watched all or some of the competition - a massive figure considering the country's population of 1.3 billion. VIP tickets to the upcoming concert sold for 280 yuan (US$35) to 580 yuan, while ordinary tickets are selling for 50 yuan, 100 yuan and 150 yuan. --(9/7)
City ensures food quality
As of this month, Shanghai has adopted strict inspections of 13 food categories, the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Quality and Technique Supervision announced yesterday. The move raises the total number of categories that now must receive strict checks before entering the market to 28. The 13 new categories are candy products, tea, wine, beer, yellow wine, salted vegetables, preserved fruits, roasted seeds and nuts, egg products, cocoa products, roasted coffee, aquatic and starch products.
Except for wine and beer, all the other 11 food categories together with wheat flour, rice, edible vegetable products will now be issued food production licenses by province-level quality supervision departments.
Consumers buying the 28 food categories should check whether they have production license numbers and "QS" signs, as those without the two signs are banned from sales. Consumers can dial a hotline -12365 to report irregularities. --(9/6)
City needs more 24-hour toilets
A member of the Shanghai government's top advisory panel says the city needs to set up more public toilets that are open around the clock.
A lack of toilets late at night makes life very difficult for many taxi drivers, convenience store clerks and others who make their way home after midnight, according to Zhuang Ziqun, a member of the local committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Although the number of public toilets in downtown Shanghai has increased in recent years, about 90 percent of public bathrooms close from midnight until 6am to cut down costs.
At a toilet forum currently being held in the city, local public sanitation officials announced plans to ensure there is one public toilet within 300 meters of any downtown location by 2010.
The city now has 3,468 public toilets, of which only 50 are open around the clock. --(9/5)
Special Olympics to open
The sixth Shanghai Special Olympics Game will be held from September 17 to October 4. The event will include 4,150 local athletes, as well as 60 from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, the organizing committee said yesterday. Athletes will compete in 15 events and take part in four performances. Organizers hope to gain experience for the World Special Olympics in Shanghai in 2007. --(9/3)
School renovations done
The Shanghai Education Commission announced yesterday that it had completed renovations on six local elementary schools and schools for the disabled in rural parts of the city. The renovation projects involved both face-lift and equipment installation at Shanghai School for the Blind, Shanghai Polytechnic for the Deaf and Mute, as well as schools on the suburban Changsha and Hengsha islands. The renovations cost more than 18 million yuan (US$2.22 million). --(9/2)
War art shows document the human toll(9/1)
Two major art shows - a street-side sculpture collection and a warehouse photo exhibition - visit Shanghai this week in the aftermath to ceremonies surrounding the 60th anniversary of the end of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression.
The 61-figure sculpture show, called "Peace & Prosperity," is on loan from Xiamen, Fujian Province.
The exhibition will be formally unveiled this morning on Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall.
The other event begins on Friday at the Sihang Warehouse, located on 181 Guangfu Road.
The photo and artifact show is structured around four main themes: battle, hero, homeland and love. Organizers said it explores the brutality of the war through the daily lives of common people.
More than 400 photos will be on display, most of which have never been shown in public before. Four documentaries and hundreds of war victory souvenirs donated by private collectors will also be shown. --(9/1)