Tunnel project underway
The tunnel project which will link Pudong and Changxing Island is well underway. Yesterday, workers began the assembly and calibration of the world's biggest tunnel-boring machine (TBM), specially designed for the project. The process will take more than two months.
The fruit of cooperation between Shanghai Tunnel Engineering Co Ltd and German company Herrenknecht AG, the state-of-the-art TBM has a diameter of 15.34 meters, equivalent to a building 5-storeys high.
The whole project is expected to be completed in 2010. --(5/31)
Restored Penglai Park to reopen
Penglai Park, complete with old pavilions and ancient relics, will reopen tomorrow to the public in Huangpu District after one-year restoration that cost about 20 million yuan (US$2.5 million). Admission is free.
The restored, enlarged park features seven traditional pavilions, including two newly built in the old style. It also has ancient stone carvings from Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) to Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
"We have dozens of carved stone relics in the park, which were collected in the 1970s by the gardeners from the suburbs of Shanghai and Jiangsu Province," said Zhang Bolun, a park employee.
Five pavilions, including the Qingshang Pavilion, were first erected during the Qing Dynasty. Two new pavilions were added.
Built in 1953, the park was once enjoyed by neighborhood residents. But it fell into disrepair over 50 years.
It was seriously damaged during Typhoon Matsa last summer and forced to close. The park has been enlarged from 27,000 square meters to 35,000 square meters during the restoration. --(5/30)
To mark International Children's Day on Thursday, local medical experts from three leading children's hospitals provided free consultations at Shanghai Children's Medical Center over the weekend. The center also conducted various charity moves to collect money for children from needy families. City officials also visited children with leukemia. --(5/29)
Cloudy, dry days ahead on weekend
It will be a mostly cloudy but dry weekend.
The mercury will rise a little, but it should be comfortable as the daily highs will be under 27 degrees Celsius, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
The daily high today should be 26 degrees, with a low of 19 degrees.
Sunday will have a little sunshine, despite the clouds, and winds of up to 38 kilometers per hour downtown. The temperatures should range from 18 to 27 degrees.
The cloudy weather should last until Monday, when the daily high will approach 30 degrees.
Sultry weather should be not far away as the city is expected to enter the Plum Rain Season in the middle of next month, when there will be long rains and hot days. --(5/27)
SCO affects schedules
Local government departments, primary and middle schools will have three days off from June 14 to 16 when the summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will be held in the city on June 15.
The city government announced yesterday that government departments and schools will be open on the weekend before the meeting.
Other institutions and enterprises are allowed to set their own work schedules for the week.
To ensure success of the summit, the city is planning to enact traffic restrictions on some local roads and areas during the meeting. --(5/26)
Summer is here
It's official: summer is here, and a little earlier than usual.
For the fifth day in a row the average temperature rose above 22 degrees Celsius, allowing weathermen to declare the day the hot spell began, last Saturday, the start of summer.
The average start date for summer in Shanghai is early June, but in the past few years it has come earlier.
Last year, summer began on May 28.
The temperature peaked yesterday at 29.2 degrees Celsius with a low of 18.8 degrees. The next few days, however, are expected to be a little cooler because a low-pressure front will bring more cloud cover, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
The high today should drop by 2 degrees to 27 degrees, with a low of 19 degrees, the bureau said.
Showers are expected tomorrow, and it will be a little windy with winds of up to 38 kilometers per hour. The temperature should range from 17 to 25 degrees.
The weekend will be cloudy and overcast, but with no rain. The mercury should peak at 26 degrees, and drift as low as 17 degrees. --(5/25)
Solar heaters for elderly
Solar powered water heaters will be installed in about 300 seniors' homes around the city by the end of next year.
The municipal government will pick up the tab for the heaters, which is expected to hit 25 million yuan (US$3.12 million).
Officials with the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau said the current water heaters are too small for the number of people living in many seniors' homes, so they need to be replaced.
The city now has around 400 seniors' homes with more than 33,000 residents.
According to the bureau, the new water heaters will be installed in 120 seniors' homes this year and another 180 by the end of 2007.
The solar powered heaters can heat water to 80 degrees Celsius on a sunny day, and 40 degrees Celsius during cloudy or rainy weather. --(5/24)
New diagnostic facility to open
With analysis of a urine sample, your health status can be seen in a few minutes. The Shanghai Systems Biomedical Research Center (SSBRC) will introduce this kind of ¡°magic¡± facility, from America, next month, according to information from an international forum.
The SSBRC was established last November, dedicated to research on early-diagnosis and medication techniques.
According to the metabolism profile produced by the facility, a patients physical status can be vividly ascertained after comparison with the profiles of healthy people. The process takes about 10 minutes, almost 10 times faster than the current standard.
The research center will also take part in building a technical platform for nano inspection. It is hoped that, using this facility, tumours will be detected in a few seconds instead of the current several hours or even days. --(5/23)
Rainy days in forecast
It will likely rain today and tomorrow, which will cool down the city a little after the mercury topped 30 degrees Celsius over the weekend.
Today's high is forecast at 28 degrees - 3.6 degrees lower than yesterday, which missed the date's record of 33.5 degrees in 1927. The daily low will be about 20 degrees.
Showers are expected tomorrow, when the daily high should drop to 25 degrees. The low will be 18 degrees.
It will be a little windy on Wednesday, with wind speeds up to 38 kilometers per hour.
The daily high will be 26 degrees, with a low of 17 degrees, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
The weekly high will be 30 or 31 degrees, and the weekly average about 22 degrees.
The temperature is near criteria for the official start of summer.
An average daily temperature of 22 degrees for five consecutive days is needed before meteorologists declare that summer has begun.
Summer started in late May last year, a little earlier than normal. Summer usually starts in early June.
Showers, perhaps even thunderstorms, are forecast on Thursday, according to meteorologists. --(5/22)
City holds nutrition expo
The four-day First China International Nutrition Health Industry Expo will be held in the city on November 9. Some 350 groups will attend the expo, 60 percent from overseas. The National Center for Public Nutrition and Development said it will hold forums during the expo and discuss national standards of nutrition products. --(5/21)
Tennis fans snatch up tickets for Masters Cup
Organizers of the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup reminded fans to order tickets for the tournament as soon as possible as 60 percent of the seats have already been sold.
The first phase of sales closed yesterday and were limited to ticket holders at last year's event. Those with 2005 receipts were offered a 40 percent discount for this year's event.
The price-cut was introduced to woo spectators disappointed by the number of withdrawals from the tournament last year. Five of the top eight ranked players in the world, including American Andre Agassi and Russian Marat Safin, withdraw either before or during the tournament due to injury or personal matters.
Only the top eight players in the world rankings qualify for the annual Tennis Masters Cup, which is to be held at suburban Qizhong Tennis Center. The weakened field, though a result of unfortunate timing and bad luck, drew many complaints from local tennis fans.
Single-day tickets for the November 12-19 tournament range from 100 yuan (US$12) to 1,380 yuan. Package deals cost between 2,200 yuan and 4,800 yuan. --(5/19)
Auto racing culture show
The 2006 Shanghai International Car Racing Culture Festival will take place from September 1 to October 7 at venues citywide.
The festival will involve a Kart championship, online gaming competition, exhibitions, and facts contest.
The highlight is the month-long Kart Championship from September 9 to October 2 at the Shanghai International Circuit, Jiading District. Information about entering the race and activities will be released later. --(5/18)
Disabled artists' show
Two hundred disabled artists are displaying their work at the Shanghai Library, highlighting weeklong events on helping the disabled. The two-day show ends today.
Works include calligraphy, photography, sculpture, and painting.
Pieces were selected among 800 entries, and many artists are well-known. --(5/17)
ISCE 2006 to open in Shanghai
The International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), proclaimed as the¡°world expo for software engineering¡±, is to be held in Shanghai from 20-28 May, according to information released by the Shanghai Municipal Informatization Commission.
It will be the first time a city in a developing country has hosted an international software summit. It is also the first time for a country¡¯s name to appear in the conference theme -- "bringing the Chinese software engineering community into the ICSE mainstream".
The ICSE was co-founded by two international authorities, the Association of Computer and Machine and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-Computer Science, in 1975. In 2003, Shanghai bid to be host of the conference and succeeded.
The conference will run simultaneously with the 3rd Shanghai International Informatization Exposition. The exposition will feature four professional exhibitions on information technology. --(5/16)
Kids donate spare books
Over the weekend, hundreds of local youngsters donated their spare books to their peers in the country's poverty-stricken areas.
Jointly sponsored by Shanghai Volunteer Association and Philips, the two-day book collection netted more than 114,000 books at Huaihai Park and two other business and community donation sites.
Most of the books were cartoons, science and literature reading materials and academic guidance books, organizers said.
Organizers said that they were also planning for book donation vehicles to collect people's spare books to be sent out regularly. --(5/15)
Grow a garden of goodies in Songjiang
A 20,000-square-meter farm in Songjiang District offers city slickers the chance to grow their own vegetables.
Xinqing Farm belongs to the Shanghai Songjiang Modern Agriculture Region and has been divided into 290 plots.
It was launched late last month. People can rent 60 square meters of land and grow three to four types of vegetables.
Rent is 1,000 yuan (US$125) a year, and 40 plots have already been taken, according to Tang Xiaodi, the farm's spokesperson.
Xinqing Farm is about a one hour drive from downtown via Highway A30. Those interested can also take Metro Line No. 1 to Lianhua Road Station and then transfer to the Lianfeng bus. --(5/14)
Rossi raring to go again
SEVEN-TIME champion Valentino Rossi said yesterday he was still not sure of the performance of his improved Yamaha bike as the fourth round of the MotoGP championship gets under way at the suburban Shanghai International Circuit today.
Rossi, winner of the previous five championships, has struggled this season - his only success in 2006 coming in the second race at Qatar.
Rossi and his Camel Yamaha team have worked on the Yamaha M-1 machine after the race in Istanbul but the 27-year-old rider admitted he was yet to get a full guarantee on the consistency of the bike.
"We still don't know if the bike is 100 percent at this moment," said Rossi, who is fifth and trails leader Nicky Hyden of Honda by 12 points. "We have tried to tune the suspensions to restore the bike's agility and avoid the excessive vibration which has troubled us in the opening races.
"It has been corrected but we will not know how it performs until the trials on Friday."
Rossi said last year's success at the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix on a wet track was a special one - something that he says will motivate him to do well this weekend.
"The race here last year was a turning point for our entire 2005 campaign as we triumphed under difficult circumstances. After that we started to stretch the gap on our rivals," Rossi said. "We are hoping to repeat that again here."
While no one has written off Rossi, Hayden, Marco Melandri, Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa have already proven that if the seven-time world champion does move to Formula One next season, there will still be plenty of talent left in MotoGP. --(5/12)
Taxi fares to rise on higher gas prices
A taxi ride to the office or home from the bar will cost more starting today as the city has approved its first fare increase since 1998.
The base fee, which covers the first three kilometers of a trip, will increase to 11 yuan (US$1.36) from 10 yuan during the day, while the price after 11pm will jump to 14 yuan from the current 13 yuan.
The price of each additional kilometer will also rise slightly from 2 yuan to 2.1 yuan, with the final fare rounded up or down, the Shanghai Price Bureau announced yesterday.
In the city's suburbs, the first three kilometers will cost 9 yuan, up from the previous 8 yuan, and each additional kilometer will cost an additional 0.1 yuan.
According to the bureau's calculations, the overall price hike is 6.7 percent, and passengers will have to pay 1.4 yuan more for each trip on average.
The city will begin adjusting the meters on the 45,000 taxis in Shanghai today, but that work won't be complete until the end of the month.
The increase is the direct result of a newly enforced mechanism that allows taxi fares to float with fuel prices to counter the influence of rising gas prices on the taxi industry and drivers.
In March, the price of gasoline and diesel fuel rose more than 5 percent on the back of major increases in the cost of international crude oil.
The city held a public hearing in the middle of last month to summon opinions from taxi drivers, taxi company officials, and riders for the mechanism, which they believe will help deal with any future fluctuation in fuel prices.
"The increase will ensure taxi drivers' incomes are not affected, but will not raise the taxi companies' profits," said bureau director Wu Zhenguo, stressing fares could also drop if oil prices recede.
Next month, the government and taxi companies will stop paying subsidies to drivers. Currently they pay more than 800 yuan a month for each car, which are normally shared by two drivers.
Cab companies will also lower the rental price they charge drivers for their cars. Currently the fee is 9,800 yuan or even higher a month for one car. The bureau set a future ceiling price of 9,500 yuan a month.
The new fare mechanism means no public hearing will be needed for future price changes, but fare won't change more than once a year unless gas prices fluctuate wildly.
While cab drivers seem pleased with the fare increase, some working in the suburbs are worried they will have a tougher time competing with unlicensed cabs, which already charge lower fares.
Bureau officials say they will step up their efforts in helping legal cab companies in the suburbs, where "black cabs" are prominent. --(5/11)
Foreign banks flock to city
Shanghai's increasingly attractive environment for financial markets is expected to attract a growing number of foreign banks to the city over the coming three years, according to the Shanghai Banking Regulatory Commission yesterday.
The number of foreign banks in the city has been growing fast, with 87 branches by the end of March this year (including one currency broker and two auto finance companies), up by 25 over the past three years, with 18 being added last year. Four branches and five sub-branches of foreign banks are currently being established.
By the end of March this year, foreign banks in the city reported combined assets of over US$50 billion, accounting for 55 percent of such assets in China and 13 percent of Shanghai's banking sector. Over the past three years, foreign banks' total assets have grown by 50 percent annually, with loan balances growing by an average of 58.5 percent per year and savings balances rising an average 60.4 percent per year.
The number of employees working for the local operations of foreign banks has also seen rapid growth, reaching a total of 5,696 by the end of last year, up 1,646 from a year previously. --(5/10)
Hong Kong to establish Shanghai economic and trade office
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government plans to establish economic and trade offices in both Shanghai and Chengdu, with the offices expected to be operational by the second half of this year, SAR Chief Executive Mr. Donald Tsang confirmed.
Launching the office in Shanghai will boost cooperation and exchanges between Hong Kong and Shanghai, Tsang said. Since the counterparts held their first economic and trade cooperative conference in October 2003, they have cooperated in the fields of airport management, 2010 World Expo, tourism & exhibitions, investment, commerce & trade, education, health and sports.
Shanghai and Hong Kong have also maintained all-round cooperation. More than 1,000 specialists from Hong Kong currently work in Shanghai, said Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng. --(5/9)
High fuel costs may hike cab fare
Shanghai's government approved a fuel-related taxi fare adjustment plan yesterday to help cab drivers whose profits are squeezed by the soaring coast of fuel. It means taxi fares may rise.
China raised the price of gasoline and diesel more than 5 percent in March due to major increases in the cost of international crude oil. The government also adopted a plan to develop a new water source at the estuary of the Yangtze River. Mayor Han Zheng said current water sources will fall short of the city's demand for further development. --(5/9)
City to protect historic sites
Shanghai will focus on the conservation of historic areas, while seeking to avoid the harming of sites under pressure from both developers and government.
Since October 2004, the Shanghai Urban Planning Administrative Bureau has issued conservation plans for the city's 12 designated historic areas, classifying the buildings into five categories, each having different conservation requirements.
The detailed plan for the historic areas in the city's 600km2 downtown and also that for the suburban areas will be completed next year. --(5/8)
Rain belt showers cool relief
Thanks to a strong wind and showers brought by a low pressure system, Shanghai's residents will feel a little cooler today.
The highest temperature will drop 4.8 degrees to 23 degrees Celsius today and the lowest is likely to be 18 degrees, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
Affected by the low pressure, gales blew into the city yesterday morning, forcing the bureau to issue a blue wind alert signal, which indicates gusts of 74 kilometers an hour.
"As a rain belt covering Jiangsu and Anhui provinces was moving eastwards into the city, showers will prevail through today with heavy rainstorms in some areas," said Yao Jianqun, chief meteorologist with the bureau.
Since the low pressure system will move to the East China Sea, tomorrow will be cloudy but there will be no rain, according to the bureau. But the mercury might rebound a little to 26 degrees Celsius. --(5/6)
Shanghai's medical experts urge young couples to take premarital examination.
There are about 30,000 couples getting married during the Labor Day holiday week, and only 5 percent plan to take physical check, according to a survey. --(5/5)
Jobs on offer for locals Down Under
Australia will host two job fairs in Shanghai and Hong Kong this month to attract Chinese professionals, according to the Australian embassy in Beijing.
Australia needs all kinds of skilled workers, especially in sectors like mining, resources exploration and construction, said a news release from the embassy issued yesterday.
China has become the third largest source of skilled workers for Australia, it said.
Australia plans to hold 16 such fairs this year. One will be held from Tuesday to Wednesday in Shanghai and another from May 13 to May 14 in Hong Kong. --(5/5)
New job role for former UN official
Klaus Toepfer, former executive director of the United Nations Environment Program and UN Under-Secretary-General, works with Shanghai's Tongji University as chief professor of environment and sustainable development, university officials announced yesterday. Toepfer will be required to work at Tongji for three to six months each year and is responsible for promoting the exchange between Tongji and universities and enterprises abroad. --(5/4)
Week to start hot
The weeklong Labor Day holiday will start off cloudy and hot, but a cold-air mass should cool down the city later in the week and bring showers on Friday.
Temperatures should reach 30 degrees Celsius across the city early in the week, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
A warm-air mass is controlling weather patterns in the city, so temperatures will be well above average levels for this time of year, the bureau said.
Today will be overcast, with showers overnight. Temperatures will range between 20 and 30 degrees. Tomorrow will also be overcast with an expected high of 28 degrees.
Wednesday will be sunny, with a high of 30 degrees and temperatures dropping to 18 overnight.
Thursday will be cloudy with highs again reaching 30 degrees.
Friday will see showers and thunderstorms in the evening, with temperatures hovering between 22 and 31 degrees.
Saturday will be overcast with heavy thunderstorms. The daily high will drop to 25 degrees, with a low of 20 degrees.
Next Sunday will also be wet with the high dropping to 22 degrees. --(5/1)
Construction of the link between Pudong and Chongming Island has started, the city government announced yesterday. It said the project is expected to be complete before 2010. The link includes a tunnel and bridge with a total distance of 25.5 kilometers. --(5/1)