Weather services launched for Expo
The first automatic weather-monitoring station for the Expo site began operation yesterday, indicating the start of a project that offers various weather services for the 2010 World Expo.
The project is a main part of the cooperative agreement between the China Meteorological Bureau and the Shanghai Municipal Government.
China Meteorological Bureau plans to establish three-levels of weather-monitoring networks in the Expo site, Shanghai and the Yangtze River Delta region.
Eighteen weather-monitoring facilities will be built at the 5.28-square-kilometer Expo site to test the temperature, air-pressure, humidity, wind-power and even the intensity of ultraviolet radiation and atmospheric components. Shanghai will also build 58 such facilities and establish an emergency-response system, with more of these services being added to the Yangtze River Delta region. --(8/31)
SCO judges to meet in city
Supreme Court presidents from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states will meet in Shanghai for the first time from September 20 to 22 to enhance judicial cooperation.
It is another significant international summit organized by the Supreme People's Court of China after the 22nd Congress on the Law of the World.
Judicial justice and cooperation will be the theme of the summit, with other discussions including establishing a cooperative system to crack down on transnational crimes, and 'three forces' of terrorism, separatism and extremism. A united declaration will be issued at the summit.
Nearly 50 Supreme Court presidents and senior judges from China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will attend the summit. --(8/30)
Archery World Cup to be held in Shanghai
Shanghai will hold the fourth stage of the FITA Meteksan Archery World Cup next month, the General Administration of Sport of China said last Friday.
The event, its first time being held in the city, is scheduled from September 26 to 30 in Minghang Stadium, in southwestern Shanghai. Up till now, the event has more than 260 participants from 28 countries and districts, including world-class athletes from South Korea and the United States, the administration said.
The Shanghai stage, the fourth after Croatia, Turkey and Salvador on May and June, has eight items for both males and females. The top four athletes individual rankings will be admitted into the final round in Mexico. Currently, China's Qian Jialing is leading in the female individual rankings.
To encourage a larger audience, the administration said, no admission fee would be charged for the event. --(8/29)
Local kids sleep with the fishes
The Shanghai Aquarium in Pudong is offering kids the chance to spend a night camping with sharks.
A shark tunnel under the aquarium is open to campers on weekends. Since the program was launched earlier this month, more than 100 locals have spent the night sleeping in the tunnel while sharks gaze on from behind a glass wall.
The activity includes an orientation session and dinner.
Campers have to supply their own flashlights, but the aquarium outfits them with sleeping bags, bottled water and towels.
After dinner ends, campers are taken on a tour of the aquarium. The real fun doesn't begin until 10:30pm, however, when the campers set out their sleeping bags along the 155-meter-long underwater tunnel. --(8/28)
Public buses go green
The new public transport buses that meet Euro III emission standard is unveiled yesterday. The buses will serve the routes that run through the World Expo zone and Shanghai South Railway Station. --(8/27)
City to host contemporary theater fest
More than 100 artists from 13 countries and regions will gather in Shanghai for the 2006 Asia Contemporary Theater Festival from September 11 to 24.
The 13 theater companies, including Japan's Dougeza Theater Company, Party Performance Workshop from South Korea, Theater Practice of Singapore, Malaysia's Mobius Strip Theater, India's EX-theater Asia and POS Theater Company of Norway, will present 13 performances of different genres, under the theme of "Happy Asia," showcasing the latest trends of Asia's contemporary theatrical scene.
This year's festival, to be held at the Shanghai Drama Arts Center, will also pay tribute to the late Singaporean playwright-cum-director Kuo Pao Kun, one of Asia's most famed contemporary artist; and to Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) as part of the ongoing "Ibsen Year" activities in Shanghai. --(8/25)
Local events accessible to Hong Kong and Macau
Residents of Hong Kong and Macau will be able to book tickets for various events in Shanghai, without leaving their hometown, thanks to a cooperative deal inked between Shanghai and Hong Kong.
From August 22 to 24, a Shanghai delegation, led by Vice Mayor Yang Xiaodu, went to Hong Kong and Macau to hold a press conference on collaboration and cultural exchanges, tourism and sports, with a cooperative agreement inked. Shanghai East Ticket Co Ltd has set up two ticket offices in Hong Kong and Macau during the period to offer convenience to residents who want to book event tickets in Shanghai.
Shanghai will host six major events this fall, namely the Shanghai Tourism Festival, Shanghai Art Fair, Shanghai Golden Grand Prix track and field event, the Chinese Grand Prix Formula One race, the ATP Tennis Masters Cup and the Shanghai International Marathon. The event organizers have introduced the events at the press conference, which aroused a strong interest.
A Shanghai picture-exhibition was also held in the Macau Town. --(8/24)
AMD eyes gains in China via R&D hub
Advanced Micro Devices Inc opened a new research and development center in Shanghai yesterday in an effort to get closer to its clients in the personal-computer industry.
The US$16 million center is expected to help the world's second-biggest PC processor maker win market share in China from the current leader, Intel Corp.
The center, located in the Zhangjiang High Tech Park in Pudong, is AMD's biggest R&D center outside the United States. Its 400 engineers will work on AMD's next-generation mobile platforms and validate and test AMD's microprocessors.
"The center represents our deep commitment to China and to moving closer to customers and technology end users," Dirk Meyer, AMD's president and chief operating officer, said yesterday in Shanghai. --(8/23)
Local rivers cleaner
Rivers in the city center are much cleaner than last year, with an enhanced water-quality in 201 river ways thanks to a three-year water-quality improvement campaign.
In July last year, 1,217 meters of slope-protectors were built for Zhongyuan River in Yangpu District, with 33,000 cubic meters of silt cleaned and 15,000 square meters of greenery planted. In order to improve water quality, a pipeline with a diameter of one meter has been buried at the eastern bank of the river to transport clean water.
This year, 3,000 square meters of greenery was built along the river.
By October, more than 230 river ways in the city center will have their bad odors eliminated and become much cleaner. A total of 27 river-cleaning service agencies will be launched in the city center, with 941 cleaners and 12 additional cleaning ships. --(8/22)
Raring to go green
Preparations for the 2006 Shanghai International Solid Parterre Competition are in full swing, with 80 percent of the sculptures ready for display.
The competition, to be held at Shanghai Century Park from September 15 to November 30, will feature 88 greenery sculptures from 55 cities in 15 countries. Among the 88 works, 64 are from Chinese cities and the rest are from overseas. --(8/21)
The Shanghai Red Cross celebrated the 10th anniversary of the city's first stem cell transplant between strangers. A banker donated his stem cells to an 11-year-old boy with leukemia from Zhejiang Province in August 1996.
The boy was cured. At that time, there were only some 1,000 registered donors in the red cross, which has more than 62,200 donors currently. --(8/20)
Naval ship call
Young athletes of the local Special Olympics team visited the Canadian navy frigate HMCS Regina yesterday, two days after she arrived in Shanghai.
A team of 17 members aged between eight to 14 years had an hour-long tour of the ship.
The youngsters were keen on exploring the ship's control room, with some even sitting on the captain's seat.
The Canadian naval frigate, with 233 sailors, is in the city for a six-day port call, and will depart Shanghai on Tuesday.
Shanghai will host the 2007 World Special Olympics. --(8/18)
Expo Park construction kicked off
The construction of the 5.28-square-kilometer Shanghai Expo Park kicked off this month. The ideas on the blueprint will be eventually presented to the public soon.
With regard to the huge amount of visitors, which is estimated to reach 70 million during the Expo, the organizers are making detailed plans to solve tough problems such as queuing, catering and other public services.
The Shanghai Expo Bureau estimates that there will be 400,000 people on average visiting the Expo Park. An endless queue is what visitors and organizers are unwilling to see.
Entrance plans are going to be implemented: Check-in stations outside the park will be situated along the outer ring highway and Huangpu River, and there will be direct buses or ferries to carry visitors into the Expo Park.
The organizers promised that the waiting time should be within an hour, even during peak hours.
However, the waiting time will not be wasted since the organizers will arrange a rich variety of activities and shows at the venue. Visitors can watch while waiting.
The renovated old factories are another characteristic feature of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo. The total floor space of the Expo is 800,000 square-meters, almost one third of which will consist of reconstructed old factories. Not tearing them down not only serves the purpose of protecting old constructions, but also represents Shanghai¡¯s history.
The regenerated factories will be used for logistics, administration, public service base, supermarkets, and most attractively, a museum. With Shanghai Jiangnan Shipbuilding Museum on the site, a vivid history of the development of modern industry will be presented.
High-tech and environmentally-friendly elements will also be added into the atmosphere of the Expo Park. --(8/17)
Passengers can use public transport cards to take ferries across the Huangpu River starting September 1, Shanghai Ferry Co Ltd announced yesterday.
The paper ferry travel card will be discontinued. Officials said passengers who paid for a month's ferry service, including 44 trips for 22 days a month, can receive more discounts than previously offered with the monthly paper ferry card. --(8/16)
Investment guide for foreign investors
Foreign investors will find it easier to acquire investment information in Shanghai thanks to a new guide map, the first of its kind in the city.
Main business-invitation projects and regions, office buildings and shopping malls are shown on the map, together with their locations, the environment and traffic situation. For more information, foreign investors can consult via phone and the Internet, with phone numbers, website and email addresses of 19 local district and county-level foreign-investment commissions available on the map.
The map, with a circulation of 20,000, has 10,000 Chinese versions and 10,000 in English. The modern service industry is the top priority for foreign investors this year.
Last year, the Shanghai Foreign Investment Commission and the Shanghai Surveying & Mapping Institute jointly published a map for major local development zones, with demand far exceeding supply. --(8/15)
Heat wave has fatal outcome
The mercury soared to 38.6 degrees Celsius yesterday - marking the hottest day this summer and the 21st day this year that the high topped out above 35.
Yesterday's scorcher followed a high of 36.8 degrees on Saturday, when a welder died of heat stroke while working in the cabin of a ship in Chongming County.
The 57-year-old worker was wearing heavy clothing in an airless space when he fainted. The man, who was not identified, died on the way to the hospital.
The heat wave is forecast to continue for several days, with a high of 37 expected today, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
Forecasters blamed the hot weather on a subtropical high-pressure system that's pumping hot muggy air into Shanghai. --(8/14)
World Expo keeps growing
Sixty-one countries and international organizations have confirmed their participation in the 2010 World Expo, Shanghai Daily reported.
The United States has also expressed an interest in participating, key city officials said yesterday.
The officials said participating countries would be allowed to design and arrange their pavilions inside the Expo site. --(8/13)
Asia's largest railway station planned
The city government announced yesterday it would start building Asia's largest railway station this year.
Hongqiao Railway Hub will be located in the west of downtown Shanghai and cover an area of 1.33 million square meters, said Liu Lianqing, director of the Shanghai Railway Administration.
Construction of the station, which is expected to cost up to 15 billion yuan (US$1.87 billion), will be completed by 2010. The design of the new station has been made, according to Liu.
The station will provide terminals for four high-speed lines, including high-speed trains between Beijing and Shanghai, Shanghai and Ningbo and a line for the Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev railway, according to Liu.
Currently, the largest passenger transport railway station in Asia is Beijing West Railway Station, covering 510,000 square meters, which began operation in 1996. --(8/11)
City to renovate roads
Shanghai will implement a three-year renovation plan for local road facilities to welcome the 2010 World Expo, according to a work conference yesterday.
By the first half of 2009, Shanghai is expected to fulfill a goal of having flat road surfaces, standardized road facilities and good traffic conditions. --(8/10)
Blue skies usher in cleaner air
Shanghai has enjoyed a record 58 straight days of good to excellent air quality, mostly because of brisk winds, the environmental bureau reported yesterday.
The previous record was a 56-day streak in 2003.
Another blue-sky day measuring Grade 1 in air quality is expected today - the eighth in a row.
Grade 1 represents excellent air quality and Grade 2 good quality.
The environmental bureau's report for the past week said heavy wind helped dilute major air pollutants.
An earlier report pointed out there were 130 days of good to excellent air quality in the first five months.
The bureau expects 90 percent of the entire year will be in the same range, making it the best year since 2002.
In addition to the meteorological conditions, campaigns to clean up the environment also contributed to the cleaner skies, the bureau said.
In February, the city has banned highly polluting passenger vehicles from using elevated roads in the downtown area during daytime. As a result, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides from vehicular emissions dropped about 30 percent, the bureau said.
Starting October 1, cargo trucks and passenger vehicles that don't meet emissions standards will be prohibited from driving within the area bounded by the Inner Ring Road.
Shanghai's latest environmental protection plan calls for new sewage plants and pipelines, further reductions in vehicular emissions and power plant upgrades. --(8/09)
Minimum wage to rise in September
The city announced plans to raise minimum wages for full- and part-time employees yesterday, as well as increasing subsidies paid to families living below the poverty line.
The minimum monthly salary for full-time workers, based on a 40-hour work week, will climb to 750 yuan (US$94) from the current 690 yuan when the changes go into effect on September 1.
Part-time workers will see their minimum wage climb 0.5 yuan to 6.5 yuan an hour.
This is the 14th time the city has raised minimum wages since they were introduced in 1993.
The minimum wages don't include social insurance fees that companies must pay to cover their employees' medical insurance, unemployment insurance and pension payments. Those fees are based on average incomes in the city, so higher minimum wages could push them up.
The monthly allowance for families living under the poverty line will rise from 300 yuan to 320 yuan starting this month. --(8/08)
Fast meters to get the wrench
Shanghai plans to spend more than 1 billion yuan (US$125 million) over the next five years to upgrade water meters in the city's older residential areas.
The effort is meant, in part, to address growing complaints about inaccurate meters that overcharge homeowners.
The funding will also be used to install new meters so that every customer has one. At present, bill-sharing disputes often arise among neighbors who share a single meter.
In addition, many existing meters will be moved outside residences to make it easy for water company personnel to read them without having to disturb customers. The relocations will also help the water company's effort to prevent theft of service.
"The meters will meet standards to ensure their accuracy, and we will invite quality authorities to help supervise the process," said Zhang Jiayi, director of the Shanghai Water Authority.
Officials said they have received complaints about older meters running faster and faster as they age.
One of the complainants was Wang Binying, a senior citizen who lives in an older apartment on Dezhou Road in Pudong New Area.
Early this year, she conducted her own investigation by filling a bucket with what the meter indicated was 10 kilograms of water. The actual weight of the water, however, was 30 percent less. She then complained to the water company and received a replacement meter free of charge.
Some residents have even complained that their meter continued to run even when all the water taps in their home were turned off.
During public consultations on Saturday, representatives of the city's waterworks heard 336 complaints within two hours - about 80 percent of which were related to meters.
Residents also urged the regular cleaning of rooftop water tanks to prevent contamination within their communities.
The waterworks will begin the meter upgrade next year along with a major campaign to renovate water supply facilities such as tanks and pipes within all the city's residential communities. --(8/07)
Fudan teaches philosophy to biz executives
Top business executives who want to expand their education beyond accounting and marketing skills can sign up for the city¡¯s first university program in Sinology - the study of Chinese history, literature and civilization.
Fudan University is currently taking applications for spots in the 10-month, part-time program, which will cost students 38,000 yuan (US$4,750). --(8/06)
It will be easier to find one's way in the Hongqiao International Airport as 124 door and road indication plates will be added within the 4.47-square-kilometer area by the end of this year, the Shanghai Airport Authority said.
Previously the airport had only one registered road plate number and there's no plate number for the 14 roads within the airport. --(8/05)
Line No. 8 hits halfway
Residents in Yangpu District will save more than one hour on trips downtown when Metro Line No. 8 opens at the end of next year.
Construction on the line that will run between Shiguang Road near Wujiaochang area in the north and Yaohua Road, the south gate of the World Expo Park, is halfway completed, constructors said yesterday.
When finished the line will snake for more than 22 kilometers through five districts including Zhabei, Hongkou, Huangpu, Yangpu, Luwan and Pudong, and link People's Square with Huaihai Road, Nanjing Road and Hongkou Football Stadium.
It will take only 30 minutes for residents in Yangpu District to get to People's Square, where they can transfer to Metro Line No. 1 and No. 2.
So far, 40 entrances out of 83 have been completed. --(8/04)
City focuses on water conservation
Shanghai will consider water-conservation a long-standing strategy in its local economic and social development and will improve the efficiency of water usage, as part of a goal for the city to become a water-conservation society, according to a regular government press conference yesterday.
According to the general goal, by 2010, Shanghai is expected to establish a basic framework for water-conservation in the city, with improved water-usage plans. The recycling rate of industrial water is expected to reach 82.4 percent, the disposable rate of sewage is set to reach 80 percent and residents' daily water-use is to be within 155 liters per capita. Residents' drinking water is the top priority of the city's water usage strategy.
Shanghai should also enhance the education and social awareness of water-conservation techniques and relevant law systems. --(8/03)
PLA celebrates 79th birthday
To celebrate the 79th birthday of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the 70th anniversary of the Long March, a hundred Generals assembled at the Shanghai International Convention Center yesterday, singing songs to commemorate their glorious days.
With a number of famous national veterans living in the city, Shanghai has become a city of heroes. The singing activities were received with great enthusiasm by the Generals.
Scenes were moving yesterday. Even several 90-year-old soldiers attended the meeting accompanied by their relatives. Tears, memories and wishes were all celebrated in the melodies they sang.
Overlooking Shanghai at the International Convention Center, the veterans expressed their admiration of the city's development and wished a better tomorrow for Shanghai. --(8/02)
City remains safe
Shanghai remains relatively stable and safe in the first six months this year, according to the statistic released by Shanghai Safe and Security Commission yesterday.
The number of accidents happened in the first six months is 6573, reducing 11.55 percent comparing to the same period last year. Death toll in the accidents is 846 and 4215 injured. Pecuniary loss is 131,709,100 yuan (about US$ 16.5 million), seeing an 8.72 percent decrease year on year. --(8/01)