More reason to celebrate the end of festival
The celebration of Chinese New Year is always exciting, but last week there was even more with the Lantern Festival falling on the same day as the 800-day countdown to World Expo Shanghai 2010.
On Thursday, as people across the city celebrated the end of Lunar New Year festivities, Expo countdown activities were also held mingling Expo elements with traditional cultural flavors.
Residents in Shanghai's 19 districts and county participated in more than 50 activities with Expo mascot Haibao making an appearance at almost every countdown party.
He seemed almost as popular as traditional Lantern Festival highlights such as lion and dragon dances, red lanterns and tangyuan, round-shaped dumplings made of glutinous rice and stuffed with sweet fillings.
Visitors to Xintiandi, which was decorated with hundreds of twinkling lights, got the chance to write their wishes on bottles and throw them into Taipingqiao Lake as a show of their expectations for the year ahead and their excitement about Expo.
In Baoshan District, primary school students drew Expo images on a 100-meter-long piece of canvas in the park while residents in Songnan Town presented a photo exhibition showing their participation in Expo since Shanghai won the right to host the event in 2002.
Another group of Shanghai residents toured the nation - even climbing the Himalayan Mountains - to promote Expo, planting flags with the names of people they have met during the tour.
In Huangpu District, local residents welcomed yet another statue of Shanghai Expo's lovable mascot Haibao. The first Haibao erected in a local community is at the crossroad of Zhongshan Road S. and Xizang Road S., the future entrance of the Expo site in Puxi. --(2/25)
Water hyacinth is going to seat
City sanitation workers have cleared 84,000 tons of water hyacinth in the past six months, almost triple the total amount collected in 2006.
About 240,400 tons of the floating aquatic plant were collected on the Huangpu River and the Suzhou Creek while another 602,000 tons were cleared on rivers in suburban of Jinshan, Qingpu, Songjiang, Fengxian, Baoshan, Minhang and Pudong New Area districts, Shanghai City Appearance & Environmental Sanitation Administration said on Friday.
Water hyacinth affects water quality by reducing oxygen, clogging waterways, killing fish and harming the environment.
It can also affect the city's fresh water supply if it spreads to areas near purification plants.
When hyacinth matures it breaks into clusters and flows from the upper reaches of the Yangtze River to downtown Shanghai.
An alternative method of disposal has been offered by a furniture company which purchases the plants to produce furniture - a sofa that can seat three people needs about a ton of water hyacinth. --(2/24)
Watching the flowers
Winter jasmine will be blooming soon but if you get bored with the blossoms here then you can travel to the Netherlands to see the tulips, to Japan for the cherry blossom, and even just to Suzhou for the plum blossom festival.
Ctrip is offering excursions to Japan while the Shanghai China International Travel Service are going to the Netherlands for the 59th Keukenhof spring exhibition on March 20.
The theme of the world's largest flower exhibition is the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The plum blossom festival, which starts next Saturday, is only a bus ride away. The Shanghai Sightseeing Bus Center has several trips to the 12th Suzhou Taihu Lake Plum Blossom Festival. --(2/23)
Opera for all
Shanghai will teach Peking Opera in 20 elementary and secondary schools from the new semester, China's educational authority announced.
Nine other cities and provinces will also teach it from March to next July as a trial for nationwide teachings. The ministry has selected nine classic Peking Operas for students of different grades. Students will learn a drama every year and will be taught by experts in the art. --(2/22)
Universities in the United States will hold two open enrolment meetings for high school students, undergraduates and postgraduates in the city on Saturday and March 5.
Students can get the application procedure and scholarship information from delegates of the universities, and exchange the study plan with them. Visa officers at the US Consulate General Shanghai will also come to explain US visa policies. --(2/21)
Pudong airport tests new runway
A large-sized passenger plane made a successful trial flight on the third runway at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport yesterday, marking that the runway has been prepared for its operation in March.
An Airbus A340-300 jet, run by China Eastern Airlines, took off at the runway at 5:28am to test the new facility, including apron, signs, security facilities and navigation facility, and made a final landing at 6:49am.
The 3,400-meter-long and 60-meter-wide is able to host the world¡¯s biggest passenger plane A380 after put into use on March 13.
The operation of the runway will make Shanghai the first city on the Chinese mainland that runs two airports and four runways.
A second passenger terminal at the airport, which was built in last December, is also under testing and will be open at the end of March.
The annual capacity of the Pudong airport is expected to boost to 60 million passengers and 4.2 million tons of freight with the operation of the terminal and the runway.
Last year, the Pudong airport and Shanghai Hongqiao Airport posted a double-digit growth in traffic handled, with more than 50 million passengers and 2.9 million tons of freight.
The runway is part of the airport¡¯s expansion plan, which includes building two more runways and a third passenger terminal by 2015 to meet rising air traffic demand.
The expansion will further boost the capacity of the city's bigger airport to 80 million passengers a year and six million tons of freight at that time. --(2/20)
Bilingual editions of the Labor Contract Law in both Chinese and English have been published and are available from the Shanghai Trade Union.
The English version of the Labor Contract Law was translated by Shen Xiongde, the head of the international communications department of the Shanghai Trade Union.
The first edition of the book had 10,000 copies printed, and it costs 10 yuan (US$1.40).
People who want to buy the book can call the Shanghai Trade Union (6321-1939), and ask to be transferred to the international communications department. --(2/19)
Weihai Road in downtown Jing'an District, where Shanghai Daily is located, will be transformed to publishing, broadcasting and other mass communication hub, the district government announced.
The east-west road was once synonymous with car maintenance as the street was home to dozens of auto part shops in the 1990s. But most of these shops have since been relocated to outer urban areas.
The district government's plan is to attract more "mass communication and cultural organizations to the street."
The street is now home to Wenxin United Press Group and Shanghai Media Group, two powerhouses of Shanghai's mass media industry. --(2/18)
A new flower supermarket is scheduled to open in Lanling Bird and Flower Market in Putuo District in May.
Covering 3,500 square meters, the supermarket will display flowers in pergolas to make shopping more convenient.
It will also serve as a wholesale flower market, with a handling capacity of 200,000 flowers daily from Chinese provinces, the Netherlands, South Korea and Japan. --(2/17)
The Luwan District Public Sanitation Bureau has sent local taxi drivers 50,000 maps marking the location of public toilets in the district.
The bureau hopes the map can help drivers to find the toilets and reduce environment pollution. --(2/16)
Shanghai tightens control over public order
Shanghai increased its residents' sense of security 2.52 percent last year by effectively resolving several major social order issues, Shanghai Committee for Comprehensive Management of Public Security said yesterday at its first regular meeting this year.
Wu Zhiming, member of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal Party Committee, secretary of the Shanghai Commission of Politics and Law and director of the Shanghai Committee for Comprehensive Management of Public Security, hosted the meeting.
Wu said that social security is vital to people's life and social development. He urged public order be tightened in the city to offer an improved environment for NPC and CPPCC conferences and the Beijing Olympics. --(2/15)
Shanghai begins selecting medal presenters
Shanghai today began to select medal presenters for the 2008 Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games, a local newspaper reported.
Forty female presenters will be chosen from 10 local universities including Fudan, Jiao Tong and the Shanghai Theater Academy China, Xinmin Evening News reported today.
Three rounds of competition will be held within a month, it said.
Candidates must be between 18 and 25 years old and between 168 and 178 centimeters tall, the report said, citing the evaluation group of the competition.
Candidates also must have a "regular appearance with standard proportions."
The criteria included strict requirements for temperament, body and skin, according to the report.
The Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games will select 380 medal presenters, also known as Olympic Misses, from Beijing and Shanghai, the report said.
A total of 100,000 volunteers will be chosen for the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics. The number will exceed that of the Athens Olympics, whose volunteer numbers set a record. --(2/14)
Back to normal
Bus lines, taxies and Metro lines have all returned to normal work from today, as it is the first business day after Spring Festival holiday.
It is relatively easier to book taxis at morning rush hours by phone, compared to before the break, as students are still on holiday and the weather was getting better. --(2/13)
Powerful help from the city
Shanghai's power authorities have sent electricity generators and three teams to the provinces of Jiangxi, Hunan and Zhejiang to help fast-track supplies to the snow-hit regions.
About 500 engineers and technicians from the Shanghai Electric Power Co are expected to gather at Jinhua in Zhejiang tomorrow to repair up to 20 kilometers of damaged lines and 19 pylons that have collapsed under the weight of ice and snow.
The team sent to Jiangxi has worked in the province's hardest-hit rural regions for a week. According to He Luzhong, the team's chief, team members have to put hot water in plastic bags to warm their feet. --(2/12)
Rail-rush travelers home for fine times
Return travelers are leading the first post-holiday peak rail travel wave in Shanghai and weather experts have good news saying there will be no snow in town in coming days as previously forecast.
The Shanghai Railway Administration said yesterday daily passenger turnover in stations under its jurisdiction is expected to exceed 650,000 for yesterday and today. This compares with 618,000 on Saturday, 552,000 on Friday and 447,000 on Thursday.
The administration, in charge of stations in Shanghai and some neighboring provinces, said it is arranging additional trains, adding ticket offices and fully opening station entrances and exits to ease overcrowding.
Rail passenger turnover, mainly students, home visitors and migrant laborers, could total 17.5 million in the post-holiday period, up 3.3 percent from a year earlier. The daily number will peak about February 22 when it is expected to exceed 800,000.
Shanghai's long-haul bus station is adding capacity as its authority said a peak will come after Wednesday.
About 120,000 migrant workers in Shanghai had to cancel trips home as the worst snow in more than five decades hit the country's rail system. Some may choose to go home now as weather and transport conditions improve.
Weather in Shanghai is forecast to be mainly cloudy or sunny until Thursday, except for light rainfall early today. Temperatures will range from highs of five to seven degrees Celsius, with lows between minus two to zero degrees, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said.
The bleak weather has had an effect on the city's holiday tourism sector, although weather conditions have improved since the weeklong holiday started.
From February 7 to 9, about 1.5 million people visited Shanghai, a bit less than last year, the local tourism authority said.
People taking short-distance journeys to neighboring provinces via the Shanghai Traveling Bus Center totaled 20,210 during the three days, down 13.9 percent.
Still, people paid more visits to some theme events in suburbs as well as indoor attractions like the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium. Retail sales in four major shopping areas rose 25 percent and sea voyages experienced a surge. --(2/11)
Traffic basically back to normal in China
Traffic in disaster-hit China has largely been back to normal, with only a few highway sections still being closed due to frozen road surface, the Ministry of Public Security said in Beijing yesterday.
Traffic was smooth on the Beijing-Zhuhai expressway, a north-south trunk road.
The trunk road saw a surging flow of traffic at the section bordering Guangdong and central Hunan Province, with 3,832 vehicles heading south, up 70 percent from Friday, and 5,760 vehicles heading north, down 20 percent, according to the ministry.
In east China's Zhejiang Province, a section of the No. 13 provincial highway, a section of the No. 22 provincial highway and two sections of the No. 20 provincial highways remained closed to vehicles because of icy surfaces.
Road to the scenic Daming Mountain in Nanning, capital city of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwest China, was still sealed, as workers were clearing fallen trees and repairing cave-ins on the road.
Six sections of highway in north China's Shaanxi Province were either under traffic control or were blocked at night, the ministry said.
More than 140,000 police officers and 45,000 police cars were deployed on roads nationwide to ensure safe and smooth traffic during the traditional Spring Festival.
By 6:00 pm yesterday, no major accident with three or more killed were reported, according to the ministry.
The snow, the heaviest in five decades in many places, has been falling in China's eastern, central and southern regions for almost a month. It has caused death, structural collapse, blackouts, traffic chaos and livestock and crop losses in 19 provinces, municipalities and regions. --(2/10)
China's power coal reserves continues to rise
China's power coal stockpile has risen to 26.31 million tons, enough to fuel power stations throughout the country for 10 days on average, according to the latest statistics from the State Electricity Regulatory Commission(SERC).
The figures also show that power stations with coal reserves of less than three-day burning have dropped from the peak of 89 to a low of 38.
The SERC's report yesterday said that the local grids in snow and ice stricken provinces of Hunan, Jiangxi and Guizhou are yet to be repaired, while those in other provincial areas are basically normal.
Serious snow storms over the past few weeks have disrupted power supply in wide areas of south and east China. The bad weather has also made it difficult for rail transportation of coal from mines to power plants. The Chinese government has been urging coal-producing provinces to increase output and the Ministry of Railways to give top priority to coal transportation.
The disaster relief and emergency command center under the State Council said yesterday that about 150,000 workers were working to bring back power services in regions blacked out by the worst winter storm in more than five decades.
By 5pm Thursday, the State Grid Corp of China had restored power supply to 20.38 million households. By Thursday noon, the smaller China Southern Power Grid had successfully repaired 4,276 power transmission lines and was working on the remaining 2,498 lines, according to the center. --(2/9)
Chinese look to New Year as country recovers from weather chaos
Chinese people are looking forward to an auspicious Year of the Rat, as the country recovers from transport and power chaos triggered by a long spell of bad weather.
People began to exchange text messages on Wednesday, wishing one another a healthy, happy, and successful Lunar New Year. The Rat Year officially began yesterday.
Many recalled the three weeks of severe weather in their greetings, stressing the significance of family, friendship, the leadership and the spirit of determination and unity among people in coping with the natural disaster.
Many other miners participated in an emergency campaign that produced 1 million tons of coal every day over the past week. Their efforts have helped many disaster-stricken regions to alleviate energy shortages.
The unexpected spate of extreme weather, which brought widespread chaos, also revealed the weak points of China's fast-growing economy.
The economy has boomed since it launched an opening-up policy in 1978, but the gap between limited resources and increasing demand has remained unsolved, experts said. They cited the examples of the Spring Festival transportation period and coal and electricity shortages triggered by the weather problems.
But many Chinese believe that the upcoming Olympic Game will bring good luck and development opportunities to the country, ensuring a better life for the 1.3 billion population. --(2/8)
China embraces Lunar New Year
Tourists visit the festive Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai. The Yuyuan Lantern Fair will kick off from Feb.7 to 24. Chinese people throughout the country are celebrating the traditional Spring Festival with various forms of folk arts and activities. --(2/7)
Doors are open
Twenty of the city's major popular science museums will be open during the Spring Festival holidays from tomorrow through February 12, the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission said yesterday.
Among them are the Shanghai Maglev Transport Science and Technology Museum, the Shanghai Eyeglasses Museum, the Shanghai Earthquake Museum, China Dairy Museum and the Shanghai Wind Power Technology Museum.--(2/6)
Cleared to work
Sanitary workers cleared 180 million square meters of snow from January 26 to last weekend. The Shanghai Public Sanitation Bureau has bought 14,000 more shovels and has all of its 400 vehicles and 10 specialist salt spreaders on the roads.
The bureau said yesterday decorative lighting could be turned on again from Wednesday to Saturday. But the hours will be cut from five hours to 3.5 hours a day, from 6pm to 21:30pm to conserve electricity. --(2/5)
Chow's the big winner at city's box office
Stephen Chow's heartwarming sci-fi film "CJ7" was a hit at Shanghai's box office over its opening weekend.
According to Shanghai United Cinema Lines, the city's major cinema chain, the movie has taken 5.6 million yuan (US$767,000) in ticket sales since its national debut on Wednesday. It has grossed more than 30 million yuan nationally.
"It is a good performance for a film virtually without action," said Wu Hehu, the chain's deputy director. "Chow's large fan base seems a guarantee for strong box office."
Wu said the heavy snow that plagued Shanghai for several days last week had kept people away from cinemas, causing an estimated 30-percent drop in total box office.
"In that sense, 'CJ7' has made a very good beginning and it is expected to reap at least 10 million yuan at our chain," he said.
Yonghua Cinema Manager Li Lan said his theater has made about 500,000 yuan from the movie.
"The emotional story line that depicts the love between a father and son will make it a good alternative for the whole family," Li said.
Thursday, the first day of Chinese New Year, will see the premiere of "Kung Fu Dunk," based on the famous Japanese animation "Slam Dunk" and starring the multi-talented Jay Chou.
And from next Sunday, movie buffs will be able to see Julian Jarrold's "Becoming Jane," a biographical portrait of the famous author Jane Austen and her romance with a young Irishman.--(2/4)
Fare discounts for commuters will be expanded to cover all the city's more than 900 bus lines this year, including buses without air-conditioning, the Shanghai Urban Transport Management Bureau said.
Currently, the preferential policy covers the Metro lines and air-conditioned buses on the 409 bus lines within the Inner Ring Road.
The time, currently within 90 minutes, for commuters to leave one bus and catch another is also to be extended but the exact time hasn't yet been decided. --(2/3)
Zoo makes learning fun for children
Shanghai Zoo is to combine education with entertainment during the Spring Festival with a special exhibition for children.
To celebrate the Year of Mouse, the zoo has moved the warm tanks in which the rodents are kept to grass areas for children to observe at close hand to compare the different breeds and their behavior.
More than 100 wild, pet and laboratory rodents, of 17 breeds, will be featured in the exhibition. Some rare breeds , such as naked mole rats and chinchillas, will be on show.
To explain the huge variety of rodents, the zoo will be weighing the largest - coypus, or nutrias - and the smallest - tiny hamsters - in front of visitors.
"In people's minds, mice are fat, gray and black, and harmful to human beings. We wish to change that stereotype through this exhibition," said Pan Xiuwen, a zoo official.
Zoo officials will also tell children about ancient Chinese tales about the creatures.
The exhibition is from today to March 7.--(2/2)
Playing cat and mouse
The Shanghai Ocean Aquarium has introduced two new breeds of fish to celebrate the new year.
The corydoras catfish from South America, which looks like a mouse, is on display to mark the Year of the Mouse, while bowmouth guitarfish from Taiwan are very rare, officials said.
The catfish can be seen in the aquarium's South American exhibition area. Some seven to eight centimeters long, they have whisker-like markings near their mouths, giving them the appearance of mice swimming in water.
Two bowmouth guitarfish, which look like a cross between a shark and a ray, are also on display.--(2/1)