Metro line passes test
The first phase of Metro Line 9 yesterday passed an examination by mechanical experts and will join Metro Line 6, the first phase of Line 8 and the new parts on Line 1 and 4 to be open for service later this month.
Sixty-five experts from seven cities across the country, including Shanghai, made up the team that determined whether the new lines were fit for purpose. --(12/21)
Subsidies for tours promoting science
Tourism authorities will subsidize Yangtze River Delta Region tour agencies which take students to scientific sites there.
Next year agencies which arrange travel for more than 50,000 students a year to scientific scenic spots, such as the Shanghai Science and Technical Museum, will be able to apply for the subsidies of 100,000 yuan (US$13,513), said the Shanghai Tourism Administrative Commission.
"We want more young people from Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces to expand their knowledge by traveling to the city and gain scientific knowledge in preparation for the 2010 World Expo," said Zhu Chengrong, deputy director of the commission.
The commission also released two sample scientific tourism itineraries yesterday. The Shanghai Sunqiao Agricultural Development Area, the Sheshan National Forest Park and most local museums are included in the itineraries.
To meet the subsidy criteria, tour products must have high quality tour guides with sufficient knowledge. They must be able to explain scientific facts to students of different ages, agencies said.--(12/20)
Metro trains order signed
Siemens and CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co Ltd - a Hunan-based company - will make 58 six-unit Metro trains for Metro Line 11 by 2010. Shanghai Shentong Metro Group signed a contract with the consortium yesterday.
The new trains will have a top speed of 100 kilometers per hour. --(12/19)
184 groups confirm attendance at Expo
One-hundred-and-eighty-four countries and international organizations have confirmed attendance at World Expo 2010, setting a record in the World Expo¡¯s 150-year history.
So far, 159 countries and 25 international organizations have accepted China's invitation to particiapate.
Since May, the Ukraine, Hungary, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Spain, Nepal, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Arab Emirates have signed participation contracts with the Bureau of the Shanghai World Expo Coordination. Contracts with Japan and Canada are now in progress.
The contracts contain detailed information such as the pavilion scale, activities and exhibition arrangements.
Most of these countries have already announced design schemes for their national pavilions.
200 countries and international organizations are expected to sign participation contracts by the end of next year.
China expects to draw 70 million visitors, the biggest number in the World Expo's history, to the fair from May 1 to October 31 in 2010. --(12/18)
A new day off from next year
Chinese workers will get one more statutory holiday from next year, according to a new law and holiday plan approved by the State Council and set to be enacted at the beginning of next year.
The new national public holiday plan adds three traditional festivals - Tomb-Sweeping Festival, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival - to the list of public holidays and cuts the original three-day May Day holiday to one day. This increases the number of public holidays to 11 days from 10.
The other holidays are New Year's Day, the three-day Spring Festival and the three-day National Day holiday.
As well as the 11 statutory holidays, some will enjoy special days off. On Women's Day, March 8 women will have a half-day holiday; on Youth Day, May 4 everyone aged between 14 and 28 will have a half day off; on Children's Day June 1, all children will have a full day off school and on August 1 all service personnel will be granted a half day's holiday. --(12/17)
Shanghai to launch int'l channel targeting foreigners
Shanghai will launch an international channel on Jan. 1 next year, as part of an effort to become an international and cultural metropolis.
The International Channel Shanghai (ICS) is expected to serve as a window to showcase the economic and cultural development of Shanghai and also provide audience with entertainment and information, said Li Ruigang, president of Shanghai Media Group (SMG).
The ICS programs, covering news, information, fashion, entertainment, foreign TV shows and movies, will be aired in English and Japanese, with Chinese captions, for 19 hours a day.
About 4.4 million Internet subscribers in the city can also watch the programs on their computers through IPTV (Internet Protocol Television).
The new channel will also focus on the 2010 World Expo by launching a weekly program, "EXPO Connection", in an effort to keep locals and foreigners informed of the preparatory progress.
Shanghai TV is the first in China to provide English programs. "News At Ten" and "Shanghai Noon", which started broadcasting in 1986, were the first English language news programs in the country. --(12/16)
US visa cost set to rise to US$355
America's admission price is going up.
Even though the US dollar is weak, beginning next year most people will have to shell out more money for US visas.
According to the US Consulate in Shanghai, the application fees for US visas will increase by up to 30 percent from January 1, the US consulate said yesterday.
The fee for a US non-immigrant visa will increase from US$100 to US$131 and for a US immigrant visa from US$335 to US$355.
The increases apply to visa applicants worldwide and are due to new security-related costs, new information technology systems and inflation, the consulate said.
For non-immigrant and immigrant visa applicants, those who paid the US$100 application fee before January 1 will be processed without further payment only if they appear for a visa interview before January 31.--(12/15)
The first anti-drugs-themed online TV series in the country began yesterday, targeting youth and office workers. The local narcotics control authority cooperated with the Shanghai Media Group to produce the 12-chapter series which can be seen at www.smgbb.cn, tv.people.com.cn and video.msn.com.cn.--(12/14)
Officials carry out food raids citywide
Shanghai cracked down on 400 illegal food producing factories and nearly 80,000 unlicensed restaurants and food stalls from August to November, the city¡¯s government announced in a news conference yesterday.
The purpose of the collective crackdown was to clean up the city's food industry and ensure food safety.
The Shanghai Product Quality and Food Safety Leadership Team organized more than 120 people in 19 supervision groups to launch the food safety campaign since October.
More than 450,000 law enforcement officials have inspected more than 410,000 enterprises and punished 11,000 cases, the total value of which amounted to over 30 million yuan (US$4.1 million).
At the same time, 208 model streets or blocks, where small and medium-sized food units flock to that have passed the food safety check-up, were picked to set a good example.
The city government will build a complete system to monitor food safety and supervise food recalls. --(12/13)
Shanghai Airlines, Air China join Star Alliance
Shanghai Airlines and Air China today became members of Star Alliance, the world¡¯s largest aviation alliance, bringing another 12 carriers to Pudong International Airport, which will save time for passengers shifting between member flights.
Half of the second passenger terminal in Pudong International Airport, which is now under construction and due to open next year, will be home to the transfer centers of these twelve airlines.
It will have 320 counters, including three domestic airlines and seven international airlines. VIP areas will cover 4,500 square meters. Forty-two air bridges, 44 transfer counters and transfer halls will also be put into use.
Insiders from Star Alliance said that they are now developing a joint IT platform for all its members to offer services such as airline inquiries and reservations. Passengers will receive air ticket discounts if they purchase combined tickets.
"Shanghai Airlines is expected to handle nine million passengers this year, an increase from seven million last year," Zhou Chi, chairman of Shanghai Airlines Company, said,"Shanghai Airlines will strive to be an international airline, tailored to the city's need to be a pivotal air hub in the Asian-Pacific region."--(12/12)
Workmen at the Shanghai World Financial Center have laid the last beam at the top of the 492-meter building, the tallest on the Chinese mainland. The new landmark is expected to be operational in March. --(12/11)
More than 700 staff of the Shanghai Labor and Social Security bureau and other residents yesterday attended a lecture to publicize the new labor laws which takes effect on January 1. According to the new law, employers must specify wages in job recruitment adverts and cannot deny jobs for carriers of hepatitis B. --(12/10)
To mark the 30th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up policy, Shanghai Film Group Corporation and NMG Entertainment have started to shoot the documentary "Engine."
The movie, which centers on the changing life of an ordinary person, will be shown during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. --(12/9)
Wanhangdu Road and Xinzha Road in Jing'an District are being widened and lengthened to improve traffic flow.
A 530-meter section of Wanhangdu Road between Wuning Road S. and Beijing Road W. will be widened to six lanes. Meanwhile, Xinzha Road will be lengthened 400 meters through Wanhangdu Road to Zhenning Road. --(12/8)
Bridge over the sea to Jiangsu's cities
Shanghai will build a 52-kilometer expressway linking Chongming Island and Jiangsu Province, including a seven-kilometer bridge across the Yangtze River.
The six-lane expressway, including a 31-kilometer local section, is the final phase of the Shanghai-Chongming-Jiangsu Connection Project.
The southern end of the expressway will link up with the bridge-and-tunnel connection being built between the Pudong New Area and Chongming Island via Changxing Island.
The expressway will include a bridge to link the island with Qidong, a small city on the Jiangsu coast.
When completed by around 2010, the travel time from Shanghai to the northern Jiangsu cities, such as Nantong, will be reduced from more than two hours to less than one.
Chongming Island, China's third largest, sits in the center of the mouth of the Yangtze River, which separates Shanghai and northern Jiangsu Province.
The city government has plans to develop the island into an ecology-based resort and residential area over the next few years.
In addition to the roads, a new Metro line is also planned to link the island with the mainland.
A group of transport engineers is carrying out detailed studies for the project.--(12/7)
Expo asks for volunteer logo, slogan ideas
World Expo Shanghai organisers announced the start of public submissions for a logo and slogan for Expo volunteers to mark International Volunteer Day yesterday.
Submissions will be accepted until April 30, the organisers said. The final result will be published in October, when organisers start recruiting volunteers.
Organisers said the volunteer logo should be modern, but also embody Chinese characteristics. It will be integrated with the Expo logo.
World Expo will need at least 20,000 volunteers to fill 38 planned positions at the World Expo site, ranging from interpreters and media assistants, to traffic guides and environment maintainer.
Organisers will recruit local volunteers in October and select overseas volunteers in December 2008. --(12/6)
High-tech spirit of cooperation
Shanghai Call Center, known to foreigners as "Shanghai voice," has teamed up with one of the world's biggest software service and IT companies.
The center yesterday signed a memorandum of cooperation with Infosys Technologies Limited at its headquarters in Bangalore, India.
Meanwhile, the Shanghai Information Technology Development Commission and Shanghai Pudong Software Park also signed a memorandum of cooperation with Infosys.
Shanghai Call Center is a free 24-hour hotline hosted by the Shanghai government and undertaken by the Wenhui-Xinmin United Press Group (publisher of Shanghai Daily), providing foreigners with information about Shanghai's culture, entertainment, education, investment, medical services, tourism, transport, entry-exit issues and many other topics. --(12/5)
Shanghai to build a second Lujiazui
Shanghai plans another commercial zone in Pudong in three years to match the famed Lujiazui area, the Pudong New Area government announced yesterday.
It will not have Lujiazui's cluster of skyscrapers but will feature a combination of modern and historic buildings.
The site, the Sanlin Expo Functional Zone, is to the south of the Lujiazui area and will cover 82 square kilometers, three quarters of the 2010 World Expo Site.
"We hope the World Expo will bring more business opportunities to this new zone," Jiang Ming, head of the managing committee of the Sanlin zone, said yesterday at a meeting to invite business interest.
Before the inauguration of the six-month world fair in May 2010, the area will be home to luxury hotels, an Expo village for Expo staff, a huge public activity center and parks along the Huangpu River.
It also expects to attract various fashion and cultural studios, commercial outlets and complexes.
At the meeting Pudong officials promised advantageous policies for investors - the Pudong New Area government will subsidize most companies investing in Sanlin according to their profits.
As well as new buildings, the Pudong government has promised to conserve many old residential houses and factories, re-developing them into modern restaurants and hotels. --(12/4)
Shanghai, together with neighboring Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, will create a unified environment for foreign investment, city officials said yesterday. Foreign-invested enterprises which have registered in one place can invest in the other two with a local certificate, said the Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau.--(12/3)
New policy for cyclists
People buying bicycles from December 1 will have to register with their proper names. The new policy is intended to curb bicycle theft. Bicycle manufacturers also have to stamp serial numbers on bikes. Second-hand bicycles will also have to have the real owner's name registered when they are sold. Bicycles without serial numbers cannot be sold after April next year. --(12/2)
Problem passengers put on an airline blacklist
Spring Airlines, a China-based private carrier, has blacklisted passengers who refused to get off planes because they wanted compensation from the company.
The chairman of Spring Airlines, Wang Zhenghua, announced this on the company's Website.
Half the blacklisted passengers came from Shanghai - many more than from other provinces. The company said because it was Shanghai based, it carried more passengers from the city than from elsewhere.
Only "leading troublemakers" will be blacklisted, said Zhang Lei, a spokesman for Spring Airlines.
He said passengers could contact the Civil Aviation Department if they want to complain.
More than 10 passengers refused to get off a Spring Airlines plane after it landed on July 17, demanding compensation for a delayed flight from Shanghai to Dalian, Liaoning Province. The passengers stayed on the plane for more than 14 hours, causing 12 flight delays. The incident caused the carrier to lose about 100,000 yuan (US$13,513). --(12/1)