Divas sign up for Shanghai's annual jazz week
The Fifth Shanghai International Jazz Week will be held from January 14 to 17 next year.
Four overseas female jazz singers will perform in Shanghai: American jazz queens Patti Austin and Salena Jones, Japanese singer Lisa Ono, and Maria Cordero from Hong Kong.
Austin will play at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center in Pudong New Area on January 14. On the next night, Jones will appear. She sang during 2006's Shanghai Jazz Week.
Ono's bossa nova jazz was last heard in China during last year's Shanghai Jazz Week. She can be seen on January 16 at the Shanghai Grand Stage.
Since recording her first album in 1989, Ono, who learnt her style in Brazil, has had eight gold and two platinum records.
"Lisa is called 'Fresh Lily' due to her combination of traditional jazz rhythms with her personal oriental style," said Ma Yingzhen, from the organizers of the Shanghai Jazz Week.
Cordero started as an actress in Hong Kong cinema. "But you are wrong if you think she is only an actress," said Ma. "Jazz is another of her talents."
Cordero will perform on January 17 at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center. --(10/31)
IPR center to offer dispute aid
The Shanghai Intellectual Property Arbitration Center was officially founded yesterday with 61 intellectual and law professionals appointed as arbitrators.
The center will offer a new channel to solve intellectual property disputes as well as file lawsuits and lodge complaints to government departments, officials said. --(10/30)
Dutch PM on Happy Street
Visiting Netherlands Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende watches a model of the Dutch Pavilion, known as the "Happy Street," in Shanghai with local Dutch children. The Prime Minister signed a contract yesterday with the Shanghai World Expo organizers to participate in Expo Shanghai Online in 2010. The Dutch Pavilion is a pedestrian street that curves in the shape of the number 8, with 17 small houses elevated alongside it. The Prime Minister told Shanghai Daily that he believed the pavilion would attract more than 7 million visitors. --(10/29)
Vision of the future
African mayors are shown future plans for Yangpu District during their visit to the area¡¯s Knowledge and Innovation Community yesterday. The visitors, from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and other African countries, and officials from UNHABITAT are focusing on revamping old communities. --(10/28)
Twinned cities sign friendship agreement
Shanghai and Yokohama yesterday signed a five-year friendly exchange agreement to increase friendship between the two sister cities.
Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng and Hiroshi Nakada, mayor of the Japanese port city, signed the agreement during Nakada's visit to Shanghai. The Japanese mayor is here to celebrate 35 years of sister-city status.
Han said he is pleased with the way the two cities have cooperated in areas including the economy, trade, science and technology, urban city development and environmental protection, and that he wanted to increase the amount of direct flights from Shanghai to Yokohama.
Shanghai will send a delegation to visit Yokohama next year to celebrate the 150-year open-port anniversary of the Japanese city.
Yokohama was Shanghai's first sister city. Shanghai now has over 60 sister cities. --(10/26)
Cold, wet weather on the way
The mercury will drop further today as the influence of the cold front continues, weathermen at the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said yesterday.
Over the weekend, the maximum temperature will range between 19 and 20 degrees Celsius, with lows between 14 and 16 degrees.
Drizzle will darken the skies from late today to early tomorrow morning. Cloudy to overcast skies are expected for the rest of the weekend.
From the beginning of next week, the temperature will rise again to about 22 degrees, before falling back next Wednesday.
Rain will return late Tuesday and last until Wednesday, said the bureau.
Shanghai had its coolest autumn day yesterday, as the city fell under the influence of a cold front from the north.
The low temperature in Xujiahui yesterday morning was 14.4 degrees Celsius. Yesterday's high was 21.8 degrees.
Weather experts said the cold front marked the end of this year's typhoon season. --(10/25)
Airline up to snuff in Yunnan
Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines has received approval from the country's aviation authority to resume two routes in Yunnan Province from Sunday, after a half-year suspension due to a mid-air strike by its pilots.
Information on the two routes, from Yunnan's capital Kunming to Dali and Xishuangbanna, is available on China Eastern's online booking system. Seven flights on each route are offered on Sunday, according to the carrier's Website.
Its other six routes in the province, which were hit with flight reductions as punishment for the strike, will also resume normal operation. The resumption was approved after China Eastern improved its operations and contributed to rescue efforts for the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province.
The suspension began on May 4, following an earlier incident in which China Eastern flights returned to departure points at Kunming after taking off as pilots protested pay and working conditions. --(10/24)
Downtown check-in expanded
More domestic air travelers will be offered a downtown check-in service as China Eastern Airlines is set to join Shanghai Airlines at the city's downtown air terminal.
The terminal allows passengers to check in for their flight and receive their boarding pass at a counter in Jing'an Temple, which means they avoid queues and don't have to carry luggage to the airport.
The downtown terminal opened in 2002 but it has rarely been used. Only Shanghai Airlines currently offers downtown check-in, and only on a portion of its flights.
China Eastern Airlines plans to start offering the service next year, in anticipation of a major expansion of flights in the second half of 2009.
An official with Shanghai Airport Authority welcomed the move, but warned that security measures might mean few airlines followed China Eastern's lead.
"Luggage transport between the downtown terminal station and the airport means extra security pressures on the operators," she said. --(10/23)
City fund set to cut building energy use
City government is planning a 30-million-yuan (US$4.39 million) fund this year to promote energy-saving practices at public buildings.
The city will guide and support reconstruction of existing buildings with the help of this fund.
The administration will also accelerate the use of energy-saving monitoring systems at government offices and major public buildings, according to a report released at a session of the Standing Committee of the Shanghai People's Congress yesterday.
Saving energy at construction sites is also high on the agenda.
Supervision at 725 architectural enterprises in the city has improved with the establishment of a citywide network to gather statistics on energy consumption from these sites.
The government also initiated the Pujiang Intelligence Valley project in Minhang District to promote the integration of renewable energy and architecture. --(10/22)
Moratorium hits government cars
The Shanghai government has announced it will stop approving applications for new vehicles for official use in January in an effort to reduce emissions and control spending.
Three government organs including the Shanghai Supervisory Committee released the plan in response to a proposal by Shanghai People's Congress member Pei Zhen, who suggested freezing the purchase of government vehicles. If a purchase is necessary, the budget should be set carefully, Pei said in the proposal. The SPC member also advised encouraging government officials to take public transport by offering them an allowance. --(10/21)
Good odds for romance
Three thousand young people gather in Luwan Gymnasium yesterday to participate in a huge matchmaking carnival. The party attracted 1,800 men and 1,200 women, all of whom were white-collar workers below age 45. --(10/20)
Acclaimed director Xie Jin dies, 84
Famed Chinese film director Xie Jin died early yesterday at 84 in the eastern Zhejiang Province.
A hotel waiter in Shangyu City found Xie in his room at around 7:40am and discovered he had stopped breathing, according to city authorities.
The cause of death remained unclear.
He arrived in the city on Friday night to attend the 100th anniversary of the founding of his alma mater, Chunhui Middle School.
Xie he was a native of Shangyu and born in November 1923.
He made his film directing debut in 1957 with the acclaimed "Woman Basketball Player No. 5," and went on to create other popular features such as "The Red Detachment of Women," "The Herdsman," "Legend of Tianyun Mountain," "The Opium War" and "Hibiscus Town."
He was active in directing until 2001 with his last film "Woman Soccer Player No. 9." His films won the Golden Rooster, a top award in the Chinese film industry, three times. --(10/19)
A hiking competition will take place in the city next weekend. The route starts from Dishui Lake in Nanhui District and will extend along the eastern coast line. At least 100 people have signed up for the weekend competition. --(10/18)
Sunshine fills Expo energy bill
Solar power will play an important role in several key pavilions at the Shanghai 2010 World Expo, experts told a Yangtze River Delta science forum held yesterday in the city to discuss energy and sustainable development.
Solar-influenced construction will be used at the China Pavilion, Expo Center and the Theme Pavilion, where the slogan "Better City, Better Life" will play out. Solar lamps and solar-energy fixtures such as toilets and information boards will also be adopted, using batteries for storage.
About 200 scientists and government officials participated in the forum, organized by the Shanghai Consulting and Academic Activities Center for Academicians of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
The plan for Expo buildings integrates photovoltaic cells that covert sunlight directly into electricity, according to Hao Guoqiang of the Shanghai Solar Energy Research Center. About 4.4 megawatts of generating capacity will be used in building construction.
"Due to the artistic design of the buildings, photovoltaic materials will be installed mainly on the roofs of the pavilions and the Expo Center," Hao said. "The Theme Pavilion will become the nation's biggest building integrated with photovoltaics." --(10/17)
Balmy weather holds off start to autumn in city
Yesterday's average temperature exceeded 22 degrees Celsius, which means Shanghai is still enjoying summer time - just.
Autumn is considered to have arrived if the average temperature sinks below 22 for five straight days. The mercury had hovered below 22 for the previous four days, weathermen said.
Forecasters said the temperature would not drop suddenly in the next few days.
In recent years, autumn has been arriving later and later. In 2007, the advent of autumn was October 23, the latest in the city's meteorological history, forecasters said.
Daily highs will remain around 24 or 25 degrees Celsius over the weekend, while lows will be around 18 or 19, forecasters said yesterday.
The sky would remain cloudy over the weekend, and there may be some showers. --(10/16)
Solar heat puts Nanhui university in hot water
Dormitories at Shanghai Ocean University's new campus in Nanhui District's Lingang New City have been equipped with solar energy systems to provide hot water for students.
The installation, which represents the largest-scale use of solar energy at local universities, could save 2.16 million yuan (US$316,229)in annual energy costs, the university estimated.
The 13,800 students living in all the undergraduate dorms and most of the graduate dorms can use a special card to activate the hot tap water.
A gas heating system will be triggered on cloudy days to guarantee a continuous supply of hot water.
The Shanghai Development and Reform Commission has budgeted 10 million yuan for the program.
The university finished its relocation into the new campus last weekend. --(10/15)
Snack shacks shuttered
Shanghai has banned snack vendors from operating on city streets at night and ordered breakfast stands to be moved indoors in an effort to keep sidewalks cleaner and less congested before World Expo 2010.
The Shanghai Public Sanitation Administration issued a series of rules last week in an attempt to manage eight types of street stands and stop people from randomly setting up stalls in downtown areas or on main roads.
Operators of street-side vegetable stands will be asked to move to wet markets that have been converted from waste collection centers or storehouses. The government is considering decreasing rent and other fees as a preferential policy.
Newsstands will be relocated to nearby supermarkets or convenience stores, the administration said.
The administration also promised that holiday and weekend fairs will be set up at idle venues in residential areas so that stall owners have a fixed place to do business.
Some store owners like to build stalls outside their shops to attract customers, but the practice is outlawed and can clutter sidewalks. --(10/14)
Taiwanese plan Shanghai visits for World Expo
Known as China's "treasure island," Taiwan has many tourist spots, Sun-Moon Lake, Mount A-li and Hsimenting's fashion street, among others. Add one more attraction: A World Expo 2010 promotion in Taipei and Kaohsiung.
An exhibit, "Path into World Expo," was held at the Eslite Bookstore in Taipei from September 22 to 25. A conference was also held in Taipei and Kaohsiung.
Haibao, the mascot of the Shanghai World Expo, made its debut in the island province.
Taipei will showcase two exhibits in the Urban Best Practices Area of the Expo themed "Better City, Better Life." The Taiwan-based Aurora Group will build one of the 16 corporate pavilions.
Business people are urged to participate and visit, and island residents are encouraged to attend.
Expo officials say 223 countries and organizations have indicated participation or already signed contracts.
At the promotion in Taipei, visitors examined a model of the majestic China National Pavilion and took a digital video journey through the Expo site. Information on the history of World Expos and on the 2010 Expo were on display.
"I must go to the Shanghai World Expo in 2010" - that's what most visitors said, according to Ding Limin, an official from the Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination,
The mascot Haibao, meaning "treasure of the sea," and shaped like the character ren for "person" was popular. All visitors were given Haibao dolls and many children held them happily. Many people posed for photos with a Haibao statue in the exhibition area.
During the promotion 1,500 Haibao dolls were grabbed up.
Li Zengjie, a 79-year-old Taipei resident, was an enthusiastic visitor. He said his family home is Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province and he plans to visit the Expo in Shanghai. He said he also invited his daughter who lives in the United States to join him for an Expo reunion. --(10/13)
Shanghai hotline's a hit, consumers decide
Shanghai residents are generally satisfied with the service they get from the 12315 consumer rights hotline, says a new survey.
Most of the 5,000 respondents were between age 20 and 60, and 21 percent had university bachelor's degrees or higher education, said the Shanghai Social Sciences Institute which did the survey.
More than 83 percent of survey respondents said they or their relatives had asked the hotline for help, and 99 percent were satisfied with the service, said the institute.
Consumers did say, however, that the hotline needed to raise its efficiency in settling disputes and more training of operators was needed.
"The operator I dealt with was very nice and patient," said Wang Diya, who called the hotline to complain about a cosmetics company.
"But the sentence she repeated most was 'please wait for several days while we deal with the matter'."
Since starting in 1998, the hotline has received 2.7 million calls, and dealt with 560,000 cases.
Consumers have been returned about 260 million yuan (US$37 million) in refund value through the service. --(10/12)
Dialing up a Chinese lesson
Shanghai's East China Normal University has developed the world's first cell phone that teaches the Chinese language, school authorities said yesterday.
The new product, which went on sale yesterday for around US$200 at Xinhua Bookstores in the city, combines a cell phone with language-learning content.
It is the product of joint research by the university's International College of Chinese Studies and Software Engineering Institute. The handset is made by Shanghai Jingchen High-Technology Development Co Ltd.
The phone is programed to hold content from two of the college's textbooks that are widely used in Chinese language institutions around the world, and other information can be downloaded over the Internet. The device, which uses a stylus for writing the characters, is also supported by Chinese dictionary resources. --(10/11)
Airports to double flight load by Expo
Actions are under way to nearly double the flight capacity of the city's two airports and improve road access around the terminals to prepare for visitors to the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.
Wu Nianzu, president of the Shanghai Airport Authority, said yesterday that discussions have been launched with the regional air traffic control authority on ways to gradually increase the number of daily flights at the two local transport hubs from the current 1,200 to nearly 2,000 before the Expo.
Wu said a new operating plan for the Hongqiao International Airport is scheduled to be developed soon. A second runway and second terminal will go into use before 2010.
He also said the authority plans to expand traffic access to and between the two airports, an improvement that is urgently needed as road access to the Pudong International Airport is insufficient. --(10/10)
Water plants threaten to choke upper Huangpu
The appearance of huge numbers of water hyacinths in the upper reaches of the Huangpu River is threatening the local ecosystem.
Hyacinths have covered about 40,000 square meters of the river in Songjiang District. The Shanghai water administration on city appearance and environmental sanitation has cleared more than 4,000 tons of the plant.
Water hyacinths in such huge concentrations affect water quality by reducing oxygen, clogging waterways and killing fish. It also affects fresh water supply if it spreads to areas near purification plants. Officials said two blockage areas have been set up in Songjiang to collect the plants and prevent them from spreading. There are four other blockage areas in the lower reaches of the Huangpu River, which will be put into use if the threat cannot be contained. --(10/9)
Dozens of electric buses were stranded yesterday morning after a truck damaged overhead wires at the intersection of Zhoujiazui and Neijiang roads around 6:40am.
The truck's cargo was piled too high, resulting in damage to the wires, traffic police officials said. Although power was restored by 8:30am, the accident caused a severe traffic jam that lasted more than three hours. --(10/8)
City traffic police said yesterday that 59 road accidents occurred during the National Day holiday, but deaths and injuries were down from the same period last year.
The accidents left 18 people dead, a 28-percent drop from the previous holiday, and 50 were injured, a 44-percent decrease. --(10/7)
Sunshine greets end of break
The first working Monday after the National Day holiday should be sunny with temperatures slated to go up slightly today.
The temperature will range between 19 and 25 degrees Celsius with clear weather expected to hold through tomorrow and Wednesday.
The weather bureau expects Thursday and Friday to be cloudy but warmer, with the mercury hovering between 20 and 27 degrees. Evening and early mornings will be cooler.
Most areas of the city experienced showers yesterday morning as the minimum temperature went down to 18.2 degrees - 3.5 degrees lower than the previous day. The maximum was below 22 degrees.
Chief meteorologist of the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau, Fu Yi, said autumn would be late this year. Normally, autumn arrives in Shanghai by early October. The bureau declares the onset of autumn if the average temperature stays below 22 degrees for five consecutive days. --(10/6)
A holiday sweetener well worth the wait
Shanghai residents and visitors had a late holiday bonus yesterday when the sweet-scented osmanthus finally flowered across the city.
The blooming was nearly a week later than normal, but the flowers in Xuhui District's Xujiahui Park and People's Square in the downtown are now in full blossom, according to experts.
The late blooming also means the osmanthus are in flower at the same time as the cottonrose hibiscus and chrysanthemum, presenting a unique flower banquet for local residents.
"The blooming of the flowers has been delayed for about four to seven days because of the unexpected warm weather," said Wu Zhixing, a local gardening expert.
"But the late-coming sweet-scented osmanthus are expected to stay in full bloom for 10 days and next week will be the best time to appreciate them," Wu said.
However, the weathermen said there are clouds on the horizon that could dampen the experience.
Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said yesterday that thunderstorms are expected to hit the city late today, cutting the maximum temperature to 24 or 25 degrees Celsius.
The rain is not expected to last long, but cloudy skies will linger into tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Shanghai Railway Administration yesterday forecast that today and tomorrow would be the busiest days for people returning home by train after the holidays.
Administration officials said travelers began to return yesterday and extra measures are in place in the two stations in Shanghai to deal with the crowds.
They said 200,000 people arrived by train yesterday and 185,000 departed.
Short-distance journeys among cities in the Yangtze Delta including Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Wuxi and Suzhou were particularly busy during the holidays with people going home or travelling. --(10/5)