Cities vie to join urban area
Shanghai World Expo organizers have put back the deadline for the Urban Best Practices Area because of an overwhelming international response to the exhibition.
Cities intending to take part had originally until today to complete their applications. But now the Bureau of International Exposition has decided to shift the deadline to January 31, 2008.
The Urban Best Practices Area (UBPA) will be an extraordinary innovation in the history of world expositions and will create one of the most striking features of the Shanghai World Expo.
Located at Zone E over a 15-hectare area, UBPA will offer a great stage for cities to propose their solutions to the urban issues from different perspectives and through their best practices in different fields.
The UBPA will be both an exhibition area and an exhibit itself and it will constitute the largest Thematic Pavilion in Shanghai Expo 2010.
Some 30 examples will be selected giving visitors fresh ideas about how to better their lives and cities.
In May, Expo organizers began to ask cities around the world who wanted to take part in the UBPA and so far, 13 cities, including Liverpool in Britain, Madrid in Spain, Sao Paulo in Brazil and Zurich in Switzerland, have officially submitted entries.
Shanghai has also already prepared several cases for the exhibition, said Zhou Hanmin, deputy director general of the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination.
At present 58 cities have said they want to enter and 26 have actually begun negotiating details with the organizers, said Zhou.
The selection committee, consisting of 20 members from international organizations such as the UN Environmental Program, UNESCO and the World Bank, was scheduled to review the proposals between September and November.
UNESCO has recommended more than 20 cases to the selecting committee, said Zhou, who is also one of the judges. --(8/31)
Metro Line 10 route revealed
Shanghai's Metro Line 10 will traverse most of the city's signature areas including Sichuan Road, Huaihai Road and Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai Shentong Metro Group announced on Tuesday.
The group also this week signed a contract with a consortium composed of Alstom SA, Shanghai Alstom Transport Co and Nanjing Puzhen Vehicle Factory to import 41 six-carriage Metro trains for the line.
The line will be open to the public by the end of 2009 and 26 new trains will arrive in the city before March 2010 to ensure there are enough trains to meet demand for the World Expo 2010.
The remaining 15 trains will arrive afterwards.
The 36-kilometer Metro Line 10 has 30 underground stations, stretching from the New Jiangwan Town in the north to Hongqiao Airport in the southwest.
"It is not the longest line but passes most key business and sightseeing areas," Wu Xinyi, a publicity official for Shentong, said.
The line will pass through the Wujiaochang area, Sichuan Road, the Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall, Huaihai Road, Shanghai Library, Yuyuan Garden and the Shanghai Zoo. --(8/30)
Scenic library opens
Qingpu Library, China's first library constructed over a body of water, opened to the public yesterday.
The library, covering an area of 8,000 square meters, is located above Xiayang Lake in central Qingpu District. It has become another landmark building in Qingpu together with the Qingpu Museum.
The library has six reading rooms with a total collection of around 330,000 books and has joined the city's central library network, which includes the Shanghai Library and district libraries. --(8/29)
City to aid more poor students with 200m yuan
The Shanghai government plans to allocate 200 million yuan (US$26 million) each year for scholarships and subsidies to aid needy college students, up from the previous 30 million yuan, the Shanghai Education Commission announced yesterday.
More than 64,000 students, accounting for 17 percent of the city's college students, are expected to benefit from the subsidies each year, an increase of 46,000 students from previous year, according to the commission.
The Shanghai Education Commission and city universities have promised to help every student with fiscal difficulties continue their studies. --(8/28)
A special group of forecasters has been set up to monitor weather conditions during the 2007 Special Olympic Summer Games from October 2 to October 11, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said yesterday.
The group has made arrangements to accurately forecast the weather and may use artificial rain dispersal methods if necessary, the bureau said. --(8/27)
Markets plan for the masses
Fifty mini wet markets will be set up in downtown Shanghai to make life more convenient for city residents, the Oriental Morning Post reported on Friday.
The concept of mini wet markets was first proposed by Jin Minzhu, a member of Shanghai's Political Consultative Conference, the city's political advisory body.
After talking with several senior residents who lived alone in the Jing'an District, Jin found most complaints focused on the lack of wet markets in their neighborhood.
"They live near the Jing'an Temple but they have to buy meat, rice and vegetables in wet markets several kilometers away," Jin said.
Elderly people don't like buying vegetables in supermarket as they believe the produce is more expensive and not as fresh as that in wet markets.
Jin wrote in the proposal that each mini wet market should be within 800 meters of a major residential area.
"These markets will be cleaner than traditional markets," Jin said. --(8/26)
Signposts will show the way to the future
SHANGHAI yesterday started to put up the first 49 of its new street signposts which now include address numbers.
The design of the new street signs was given the thumbs up by 70 percent of the 1,500 residents who assembled to select one of three designs in January.
By June 2009 the city will have replaced its 21,000 street signs and erected more at new locations.
"The new street signs will be better," said Wang Yizhong, the deputy director of the Shanghai Engineering Administrative Bureau, at a news conference yesterday.
Unlike the current white on green street signs, the new signposts are on a blue background and include street numbers.
They are one and half times larger than the old signs and are much easier to read from a distance.
And the new street signs will use a standardized English spelling.
The first batch of 49 signposts will be raised in Hongkou, Yangpu and Xuhui districts by the end of this month. --(8/24)
Fry anxiety in city
Scprching weather came back to Shanghai yesterday in the wake of Typhoon Sepat.
The maximum temperature hit 35.2 degree Celsius, the first day the mercury surpassed 35 degrees after a 13-day respite and precious little rain.
The baking day forced the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau to issue a yellow alert over the dangers of heatstroke, particularly for the elderly and children.
There is no short-term relief expected.
City meteorological experts predict that over the next five to seven days there will be clear skies mixed with some rain, but temperatures will range between 34 and 36 degrees.
As of yesterday, the city has recorded 27 days with highs topping 35 degrees this year - exactly the same as last year's total. --(8/23)
City absorbs more overseas investment
Shanghai's foreign direct investments accounted for 63.47 percent of contracted foreign investments in the first seven months of this year, exceeding the country's average rate of 30 percent, a government official said at a conference yesterday.
Trading costs in Shanghai are higher than some other cities in the country, while the returns are also higher.
Last year, the return on investments for foreign companies reached 24.73 percent in Shanghai, and the figure was even higher in Pudong New Area at 32.6 percent, according to a survey covering 12,400 foreign enterprises in 12 Chinese cities.
The return on investments for foreign firms in China reached 22 percent on average during the period, the survey said.
Among the 481 foreign enterprises in the 2006 Fortune Global 500, 257 have invested in Shanghai. The 257 companies'contracted foreign investment hit a combined US$22.70 billion for 1,884 projects in the city.
General Electric, Sumitomo Electric, and Hitachi are listed top foreign investors in Shanghai, followed by Itochu, Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Siemens, Fuji film, Marubeni and Volkswagen. --(8/22)
Computers will download Expo trash removal
Rubbish will be collected from the World Expo 2010 Shanghai site by a computer-controlled pneumatic conveying system, officials of the Shanghai Public Sanitation Bureau said yesterday.
The system does away with the need for dirty garbage trucks to enter the site. Garbage will be collected in fully enclosed conditions, without the need for manual operation, officials said.
Litter bins, either indoor or outdoor, will be linked by underground pipes. Waste will be compressed to be either recycled, burn or treated in other ways outside the Expo site.
The system will be able to handle 30 to 60 tons of rubbish each day.
The Expo site is estimated to produce about 200 tons of rubbish a day at peak times.
Intelligent cleaning robots and volunteers will also ensure a clean environment in every corner of the site.
Recirculated water will be used to wash roads and flush toilets, officials said.
The Expo expects a total of 70 million visitors, with about 400,000 to 800,000 each day at peak times.
To ensure enough public toilets, officials are setting up permanent fixed toilets, temporary fixed toilets and movable toilets. There will be 6,150 toilets in total. --(8/21)
Shanghai attracts global IT giants
Several leading IT corporations including Google, Microsoft and Intel have set up research and development centers in Shanghai, Shanghai Daily reported.
Online search giant Google Inc opened its Shanghai research and development center this June. The center brings Google's well-known "high-quality working environment" from Silicon Valley to Shanghai. Kai-Fu Lee, the company¡¯s China president and global vice president, said that Google has set no limits on recruitment in Shanghai. He said he would like the Shanghai center soon employ 400 people.
Microsoft Corp set its R&D center in south Shanghai's Zizhu Science-based industrial Park. The number researchers in its Beijing and Shanghai center will rise to 8,000 in three years. The whole Shanghai R&D center will cover 150 acres.
Intel Asia and Pacific R&D center, which is based in Shanghai, now employs more than 1,000 people.
All three giants agree that the localization of technology is the key to success in China.
Xie Enwei, the dean of Microsoft Advanced Technology Center Shanghai Branch Xie Enwei, said the company is more interested in recruiting experienced workers than recent graduates.
Lee said that Google Shanghai research and development center attracts engineers from not only the Yangtze Delta but also Silicon Valley. --(8/20)
Leading British vocational qualifications provider City&Guilds announced yesterday it had launched its International Teaching, Training and Assessing Learning Certificate in the city. Locals with at least two years' work experience will be able to apply for the international certificate by passing a written test and hands-on lecturing ability assessment from next March. --(8/19)
City first as hospital sets up rest home
The city's first hospital-run rest home has been set up at Nanshan Hospital, providing medical and psychological services to some 90 residents with an average age over 80.
People living there yesterday praised the rest home's medical background, a strong attraction over ordinary care homes.
The hospital has designated three of its seven floors for 156 rest-home beds, which won approval by the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau last year.
The hospital establishes a health database for every elderly resident, detailing medical histories and medication. Staff with special training in elderly nursing measure blood pressure everyday and run weekly physical checkups.
"Doctors visit every elderly person twice a day to give medication while also detecting any small problems," said Niu Zhenguo, Nanshan's president. "We also have a special nurse to talk with the elderly and give them psychological help everyday, since many elderly people have depression or a gloomy outlook due to poor health or age."
So far, no residents have suffered a stroke or heart attack, and bedridden patients have no bedsores.
The monthly cost for Nanshan is 850 yuan (US$112) to 900 yuan, while the average cost of normal rest homes is between 600 to 1,500 yuan, officials said.
Officials from local health authorities said medical facility operating rest home can be a positive try in promoting adjacent and convenient medical service to the elderly. --(8/17)
Bit of paradise now on show
A girl watches the paradise threadfin fish yesterday at the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, in its Chinese mainland debut.
Visitors to Shanghai Ocean Aquarium can see the new paradise threadfin fish from Thailand for the first time on the mainland.
These silvery gray marine fish are found in tropical to subtropical waters, from the west coast of India to Thailand and Malaysia.
Their most distinctive feature is their pectoral fins - they are in two distinct sections, the lower of which have many long, thread-like independent rays. The rays are thought to serve as feelers, helping the fish find food.
Because of these rays fanning out, the fish is often called "the thousand-handed Kwan-yin," as it looks like the image of Buddha often seen in temples.
The fish needs a water pH index of 7.6 with a temperature at 26 to 27 degrees Celsius, said the aquarium, making it difficult to survive in artificial conditions and rarely displayed.
"We monitor the water quality three to five times every day in its tank, while other fishes need checking only two or three times a day," said Yang Yuan, an aquarium official. --(8/16)
Weather cools as river hits a warning level
The water level of the Huangpu River yesterday morning passed a warning level in the upper reaches of the river, the Shanghai Flood Control Headquarters said.
The headquarters yesterday issued a blue tidemark alert, the lowest of the four-scale warning levels but advised that the river's water level might again reach that mark at midnight.
At 3:25am yesterday, the water level at Mishidu area reached 3.63 meters, 0.13 meters higher than the area's warning level.
The water level at the Suzhou river mouth at 1:26am was 4.46 meters, approaching the warning level of 4.55 meters.
The river's level returned to normal then, the headquarters said. This was the first time the water level had risen above the warning level this year. The headquarters reminded authorities to close sluice gates to curb flooding.
The relatively cool weather will continue this week, with the temperature ranging between 32 to 34 degrees Celsius. Thunderstorms may affect some districts this afternoon, and from tomorrow to Friday cloudy skies are expected over the city. --(8/15)
Pledge to cut energy
The city government yesterday announced a plan to greatly reduce its energy consumption and emission of toxic pollutants by 2010.
Among its major goals compared with 2005: to reduce the city's overall energy consumption by 20 percent per unit of Gross Domestic Product; to reduce its overall emission of sulfur dioxide by 26 percent; and to increase the rate of sewage treatment to reach 80 percent.
"Energy saving and environmental protection are of vital importance for the city's further development," Chen Qiwei, a municipal spokesman, said yesterday.
To fulfill the target, the government will refurbish 14 major coal-fired power plants and hundreds of industrial boilers so that their emission will be further desulfated, he said.
The government vows to build, rebuild and upgrade more than 25 sewage treatment plants and related networks.
The city will also ensure that new buildings must meet the country's energy-saving standard. --(8/14)
Special Olympics theme song picked
A song created by two Shanghai musicians was picked on Saturday as the theme song for the 2007 Special Olympic Summer Games.
The song, "We Share One World," was composed by Hao Yonggang of the Shanghai Jindun Art Troupe, with lyrics by Qian Wujie of the Fudan University art center. It expresses the public's pride in the Special Olympic athletes, encouraging them to do their best in the games.
The event's executive committee collected theme song submissions from September 25, 2006, to November 30. Altogether 573 works were submitted by composers from all over the world.
Public voting ran from July 20 to August 5 on three Websites: the games' official site (www.2007specialolympics. com), the Shanghai Oriental Publicity Education Service Center (www.dfxj.gov.cn) and Shanghai Civilization Website (www.wmsh.gov.cn), along with voting by people from 200 community schools and 100 community culture centers.
The song selection was announced at a charity cocktail party for the games by three Shanghai-native sports figures: basketball star Yao Ming, Olympic gold medal hurdler Liu Xiang, and table tennis star Wang Liqin.
The party featured a charity auction at which a painted T-shirt created by Special Olympic athletes and carrying Yao and Liu's signatures was sold.
More than 1.3 million yuan (US$167,525) was raised in the event and donated to the games, which run from October 2 to 11. --(8/13)
Esmeralda makes 7th city visit
The Chilean naval training vessel Esmeralda arrives in Shanghai yesterday morning with a crew of 286 on a seventh visit to the city that will last seven days. Of all the foreign navy warships that have docked in the city, the Esmeralda has been here the most. The steel-hulled, four-masted ship is 113 meters long, and its masts top 48.5 meters. It was commissioned in 1954 and can travel 17.5 knots per hour. The vessel has visited more than 300 ports worldwide. --(8/11)
ID for kids on cards
Shanghai is considering whether to launch a smart card for children under six containing their birth date and medical history, officials said at a forum yesterday.
The information would be stored electronically in a database and parents would be given an integrated circuit card which could be used in hospitals, said Liu Jian, vice director of the Shanghai Municipal Informatization Commission.
No date has been given for the card's launch because the project needs support from other bureaus, Liu said.
"Our vision is to establish a database in electronic form from a person's birth until death in Shanghai. Everyone will carry an IC identity card, from baby cards, student cards to adult cards when he or she turns 16," Liu said.
Shanghai has already issued 300,000 student ID cards with a built-in chip, which stores personal and school information.
The new baby cards will be used in registration and regular health checks, just like adult social security cards, according to Gao Yanjie, an official at the Ministry of Health.
"It sounds very convenient to carry only one card instead of a permanent residence card, health record and epidemic prevention record when I take my baby to hospital," said new mother Ada Wang, who has a seven-month-old boy. --(8/9)
Changjiang Tunnel construction well underway
Nearly five kilometers of the 8.95-kilometer Changjiang Tunnel has been dug, which will link Wuhaogou in Pudong New Area to Changxing Island in Chongming County upon completion in 2010.
Two machines, each with a diameter of 15.43 meters, the world¡¯s largest, are digging the tunnel at a maximum depth of 55 meters beneath the Yangtze River.
The Changjiang Tunnel construction is part of a project that will link Chongming to Pudong.
The 9.97-kilometer bridge will connect Changxing Island and Chenjiazhen Town in Chongming. A highway will be built on Changxing Island to link the tunnel to the bridge.
The project, with an investment of about 12.3 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion), is expected to cut the driving time from Pudong to Chongming to about 20 minutes. The journey takes at least 45 minutes by boat. --(8/8)
City's job market expands 20%
The number of job vacancies and job seekers in Shanghai's second quarter have risen about 20 percent compared to the first quarter this year, according to a job market report issued yesterday.
The report, released by the Shanghai Labor and Social Security Bureau, said 20,000 enterprises registered with the Shanghai Job Placement Center's Website (jobs.12333sh.gov.cn) and other job Websites, offering a total of 390,000 vacancies, a 20.7-percent rise from the first quarter.
A record of 419,000 people applied for jobs at public job placement centers across the city, rising by 23.2 percent from the first quarter, with most job seekers being 25 to 34 years old.
The report said the average age of the job seekers was 32, and 80 percent were under 35, while only 10 percent of the total were older than 45. The number of applicants over 45 decreased by 8.3 percent from the first quarter and 22.5 percent from the same period last year.
The city's key sectors, such as medicine manufacturing, chemical and logistic industries, attracted the most job seekers, with the employment demand-to-supply ratio at about 0.3.
According to the report, a total of 1,009 people applied for 273 medicine manufacturing jobs, putting the demand-to-supply ratio at 0.27, the lowest in the top 10 industries.
The center's career information analyst said the strong competition was due to job seekers following growing industries.
But some occupations are suffering a shortage of qualified staff.
Only 35,402 applications were received for 48,467 sales positions posted during the second quarter.
Jobs in securities investment companies also faced a shortage of staff with the bullish stock market generating a huge demand.
Only 1,189 of the 6,578 jobs in securities firms were filled, giving a demand-to-supply ratio of 5.53. --(8/7)
Young leaders here
The 2007 Harvard College Association for US-China Relations Summit for Young Leaders in China kicked off in the city yesterday. Sponsored by the Harvard AUSCR, the summit attracted 300 high school students from 26 regions throughout the country, as well as 50 star students from Harvard. --(8/6)
Greenlight for green park
The city's biggest ecological park, planned to cover 434.5 hectares, will be built in Gucun Town of Baoshan District, officials said yesterday.
A unique feature of the new park will be that visitors will be able to drive their cars into the park. The township's original small roads will be turned into main roads of the park.
"In this way, visitors won't cause trouble to the nearby traffic and they can also go to different parts of the park quickly," says the online park plan.
Combined with the nearby Outer Ring Road greenbelt, the park forms a large green area with native plants and water courses, giving visitors a touch of nature.
People can enjoy spas in the forest or holiday in the traditional wooden houses, giving them a farm life experience.
Native birds can be observed from a specially constructed viewing platform and sports enthusiasts can enjoy golf, gateball (a traditional Chinese children's game) and grass skiing.
The plan can be viewed on the Baoshan district government Website (www.shbsq.gov.cn) and people are invited to make suggestions for the park which as yet does not have a construction date. --(8/4)
Mamma Mia packs up after successful run
The musical "Mamma Mia" staged its last show at Shanghai Grand Theater last night.
All performances were sold out and about 50,000 people attended the show during its monthlong run.
Some people went several times. Songs such as "Dancing Queen," "I Have a Dream," "Voulez-Vous" and "Take a Chance on Me" proved very popular with spectators.
One cast member said it was great to have Chinese people in the audience dance and sing along.
Mamma Mia's team manager said he was impressed by the politeness of fans when the leading actress and her two substitutes fell ill, and the Shanghai Grand Theater professionally handled the emergency.
The team has received a special gift from the theater -- a diary recording the cast's work and life in Shanghai. The theater plans to performances by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Ballet to celebrate its 10th anniversary next year. --(8/3)