Transport officials are to speed up the establishment of exclusive transit-bus lanes. By the 2010 World Expo, there will be one buses-only lane on each downtown road at least three lanes wide. --(2/28)
The 8th annual Jinqiao 8-kilometer run in Pudong New Area will be held on April 12.
There will be three race categories: an 8km run, a fun run and a corporate relay, as well as stage performances, interactive games and a prize draw. About 10 percent of the ticket proceeds will be donated to the Special Olympic Games. --(2/27)
Hospital building program launched
Shanghai's Mayor Han Zheng yesterday launched a program to build grade III hospitals in the city's suburbs.
Han said that in cooperation with the traditional downtown hospitals, the new suburban grade III hospitals would offer the best facilities and provide quality medical attention for farmers and townsfolk.
The city will establish grade III hospitals in the districts of Minhang, Nanhui, Baoshan, Jiading and Pudong New Area.
Central hospitals in the districts of Qingpu, Fengxian and Chongming Island will be upgraded to grade III hospitals with 800 beds if they meet the standards. --(2/26)
Changzhou is to distribute tourism coupons valued at 1 million yuan (US$146,274) in the city. The coupons will offer free admission to four scenic spots in the city in Jiangsu Province, including the Changzhou Dinosaur Land.
Accommodation coupons will also be available. Coupons will be valid until April 30, the Changzhou Tourism Bureau said. --(2/24)
Forecast calls for soggy and cold week
Keep your umbrellas handy this week - and expect no sunshine and little warmth. The rain that's been dousing the city since last week will continue until at least Friday, weathermen said yesterday.
Except for tomorrow, when the maximum temperature will reach 13 degrees Celsius, the highs will range between 9 and 10 degrees all the way to Friday, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said.
The minimum temperature will range between 6 and 8 degrees all week.
The last 10 days of February will have seen about two or three times the normal amount of rain, it said.
Forecasters said although temperatures aren't low, people will feel cold during this gloomy weather.
"With the weather changing all the time, it's easy for people to catch cold," said Man Liping, a forecaster with the bureau. "After all, spring is still a little way off." --(2/23)
On-line mayor pledges hospitals
More first-class hospitals with outstanding medical experts and advanced facilities will be built in Shanghai's suburban districts to benefit farmers and townsfolk, Mayor Han Zheng pledged to thousands of Netizens during an online forum on a government-run Website yesterday.
He also said that Shanghai planned to locate more future budget housing projects near Metro transfer hub stations for the convenience of residents.
More than 270,000 Netizens were attracted to www.eastday.com to participate in discussion with Mayor Han and ask questions online.
Han responded to some of the more than 9,300 questions that accumulated during the two-hour chat session, creating a new record for this program that features government officials and experts talking with the public.
When a netizen, who named himself "small farmer,'' complained that Shanghai's medical resources were heavily concentrated inside downtown districts, the mayor responded that hospitals of the same standard were planned for construction in suburban districts.
Han said that in cooperation with the traditional hospitals located downtown, future suburban Grade-III hospitals, offering the best facilities and services, would allow more farmers and townsfolk to enjoy similar standard medical services.
Han told the Netizens that urban planners were now considering building large residential complexes near the city's Metro hub stations. These future complexes would include a full range of services, including hospitals, schools, and commercial centers.
Many of the city's future budget apartment projects would be built within these residential complexes, he said.
"This will enable budget-house residents to enjoy a more convenient lifestyle in the future,'' the mayor said.
Shanghai's current planning involves construction of 4 million square meters of new budget houses each year, however this may be increased to allow more residents to benefit from the low cost housing project in the city. --(2/22)
A total of 92,000 students will graduate from local middle schools this year, a decrease of 8,000 from last year. About 98 percent of applicants will be enrolled at high schools, almost the same as last year. --(2/21)
Shanghai Children's Medical Center has launched a Website (www.nutrition4kids.cn) about children's nutrition.
Experts said many parents don't know enough about choosing the proper food for their children. --(2/20)
Residents urged to conserve water
Shanghai residents are being urged to conserve water this week as the water supply from the Yangtze River will decrease because of a salt tide hitting the river mouth.
The tide, which arrived on February 12, will last another five to six days, the water authority said yesterday.
The supply from the river will be reduced to 1.3 million cubic meters a day from 1.6 million cubic meters. The water mainly goes to the districts of Baoshan, Putuo and parts of Pudong New Area and the supply may be affected at peak times, the Shanghai Water Bureau said.
Water in local reservoirs will make up for the shortage during the period. And the bureau will limit water usage in high-energy-consuming factories if necessary, officials said.
"Now the water level at the Chenhang Reservoir is about 5 meters, which is relatively adequate for the city over this period," said Chen Yuanming, director of the bureau's water supply department. "But we still hope people will conserve water."
The Baosteel Reservoir in Baoshan District will provide no less than 300,000 cubic meters to the Chenhang Reservoir daily, and 150,000 cubic meters a day will be transported from Yangshupu Water Plant in Yangpu District to Pudong. --(2/19)
Bumper baby crop for 2009
Shanghai is expecting 170,000 babies this year, helping to push the city's population to more than 19 million.
This year's permanent population in Shanghai will increase by 0.3 percent, or 220,000, from 18.88 million last year, the Shanghai Municipal Population and Family Planning Commission said yesterday. In addition to the births, about 50,000 children and adults are expected to join the city's permanent population.
Last year, the city's population grew a year-on-year 0.27 percent, said the Shanghai Statistics Bureau.
In 2006, the annual birth rate of the permanent population was 0.747 percent, and 134,201 babies were born. In 2007 this climbed to 0.907 percent with 166,600 births.
Last year, the birth rate was 0.889 percent, with around the same number of babies born as in 2007. The city's population has grown by around 300,000 every year for the past 17 years. --(2/18)
Germany recruiting guides for Expo
Germany is looking for about 180 guides to work in its Expo pavilion from next May.
Applicants, who will be paid between 1,200 euros (US$1,547) and 1,500 euros a month, must be able to speak Chinese and German. Those who can also speak English will be given priority, says the country's Expo Website (expo2010-deutschland.de).
Guides should be service-orientated, confident, "friendly, communicative, flexible, reliable and able to work under pressure," says the Website.
The guides will introduce exhibits and direct visitors inside the pavilion during the 184-day event.
The country is also recruiting 20 assistants for pavilion management, cultural events and public relations as well as eight drivers.
People can apply online until the end of April. Training will begin in March 2010. --(2/17)
Shanghai had a population of 18.88 million by the end of last year, according to the Shanghai Statistics Bureau.
About 166,600 babies were born and 115,500 people died in the city last year, putting the city's population-growth at 0.27 percent. The bureau also reported that 11 automobiles are owned, on average, by every 100 local families. --(2/16)
Measures planned to save water resources
China will tighten water resources management and work to reduce waste to cope with worsening shortages, Water Resources Minister Chen Lei said yesterday.
"Shortages cause us to consider careful use of water resources to ensure sustainable economic and social development," he told a national conference in Guilin, in southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
China is planning to reduce water consumption per unit of GDP to 125 cubic meters by 2020, down 60 percent from now, Chen said.
"We must take strict measures to preserve water resources in the face of the severe lack of water worsened by factors such as overuse, pollution and drought ," Chen said. China is facing the most severe drought in 50 years. --(2/15)
Film maker turns his focus on Expo 2010
Film maker Jia Zhangke is in town shooting a 90-minute documentary "Shanghai Legend" for the 2010 World Expo.
The film will introduce Shanghai's architecture, culture and life and explore the Expo theme, "Better City, Better Life."
Despite his busy schedule, the award-winning director attended the premiere of "Park Shanghai" last night.
The film, by 26-year-old director Huang Kai, focuses on a group of former classmates who get together to talk about their lives and offers insights into the delicate emotions and desires of the city's younger generation.
Jia said he was attracted by the story line and said the film was a creative take on the spiritual lives of today's young people. --(2/14)
Showers rain on hopes of spring
GET your umbrella handy from tomorrow as rain is expected for a couple of days.
The rain will worsen on Sunday and Monday, giving way to occasional drizzle from Tuesday. But today will be sunny and warm, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
Temperatures will also fall as a cold front sweeps the city, and Shanghai will have to wait a while longer for spring, forecasters said.
"The high temperature will drop to 15 degrees Celsius on Saturday from Friday's 24 degrees," said Man Liping, a forecaster with the bureau. "The low will also drop to 10 degrees from Friday's 15 degrees. From Sunday, the maximum temperature will range between 10 and 12 degrees, and the minimum will drop below 10."
Yesterday, the maximum temperature reached 24.6 degrees, which made it the warmest February 12th for the past nine years. Today's temperature is also expected to be a record.
Due to the recent high temperatures, the city was expected to step into spring this week, one and a half months earlier than usual, but the coming cold front has shattered that dream.
Spring is considered to have arrived when daily average temperatures rise above 10 degrees for five straight days, forecasters said. --(2/13)
Cabinet meeting calls for perfect preparation of Shanghai expo
China's State Council, or cabinet, calls for perfect preparation of 2010 Shanghai World Expo, saying it would be significant for the boost of market confidence, the promotion of international communication in economy, technology and culture.
An executive meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday said the year 2009 is a very important time for the preparation of Shanghai expo. The organizer should strengthen the service for international exhibitors, and speed up the building of venues and other related facilities.
Operation preparations including security, transportation and telecommunication services should be completed this year, and the use of latest scientific innovations should be incorporated in the building, operation and exhibition of the Shanghai expo, it said.
A total of 185 countries and 46 international organizations, include the European Union (EU) and its 27 member states, have confirmed their participation in the event to date.
The Expo, running from May 1 to October 31, 2010, will feature five theme pavilions -- "Urbanian," "City as a Form of Life," "Urban Planet," "Urban Future" and "Urban Culture."
An estimated 70 million visitors are expected to attend the 184-day expo with the theme of "Better City, Better Life." --(2/12)
In the beginning
The Shanghai Science Education Lecture series began yesterday with a talk on the theory of evolution at the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum (www.sstm.org.cn).
There will be seven more lectures this year. --(2/11)
New technology cleans Metro air up
New clean air technology has been tested at Xujiahui Station on Metro Line 1.
Experts said the trial in the Metro station was successful and pollution levels were kept below the recommended national limits.
Air quality in the Metro has been a concern for environment experts and with Shanghai running more than 500 kilometers of Metro lines in the future clean air technology has been growing in importance.
The new technology was researched by the Shanghai Urban Construction Group and uses high voltages to create negative oxygen atoms that merge with pollution particles to help clean the air. --(2/10)
Shanghai police consult public on fake bank notes
Shanghai police set up public consultations to help residents identify fake counterfeit bank notes yesterday.
The event was held at Wanda Plaza in Wujiaochang in Yangpu District by both the Shanghai General Team of Economic Crime Investigation and the Yangpu District Public Security Bureau. In other parts of the city, 19 district-level economic crimes investigation teams also held separate similar events. More than 200 experienced economic investigation officers and employees from The People¡¯s Bank of China participated.
Counterfeit notes have been reported more frequently of late. Based on the number of recently solved cases, the number of fake notes is large and spread over a wide area.
Fake note carriers transported the counterfeits from other provinces and sold them to people doing illegal businesses and some immoral peddlers.
Police warned residents about "low risk and high profit" businesses, fake chain stores and other scams. Officers also urged people to call police if they spot such activities. --(2/9)
More relief allocated to drought areas
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has allocated 86.7 billion yuan (US$12.69 billion) in relief funds from its reserve to drought-stricken areas.
Of the total, 71.6 billion yuan will be given to farmers for general relief goods, and the other 15.1 billion yuan will go to grain producers to supplement incomes, it announced on Friday.
The central government announced on Thursday it would allocate a further 300 million yuan for local governments, in addition to 100 million yuan already committed.
The MOF ordered local governments to channel the funds to farmers as soon as possible. In the worst drought-stricken provinces, the funds should be given to farmers within one month, it said.
Persistent drought has hit most parts of northern China, including Henan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Shandong, Qinghai and Gansu, posing a severe threat to the country's summer wheat harvest. The area of affected crops has expanded to 10.73 hectares.
The drought is also affecting rice-growing Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.
China's leading economic planning agency yesterday underscored the importance of drought relief efforts.
The National Development and Reform Commission urged governments at all levels to speed up construction of water resources projects to meet the demand of agricultural production. --(2/8)
Denmark's 'mermaid' ready for Expo visit
The Little Mermaid, the statue of Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale character and one of Denmark's top tourist attractions, will be boxed up and sent to China to charm visitors at the Shanghai 2010 World Expo.
"There will be a vast amount of people traveling to Shanghai, and if there is one person who is big in China, it is Hans Christian Andersen," Denmark Deputy Prime Minister Lene Espersen told Reuters.
Espersen said that some 70 million people are expected to attend the World Fair in Shanghai next year, and at least 3 million of them are expected to visit the Danish Pavilion.
When the plan to send the statue to Shanghai emerged last year, it created a heated debate in Denmark. Some politicians said six months were too long for one of Copenhagen's landmarks to be away from the Scandinavian country.
But a city spokesman said on Thursday that there was now a majority on the Copenhagen City Council in favor of the trip. A final vote will take place on February 19.
Espersen said the Danish pavilion, called Welfairytales, will portray Denmark as an environmentally friendly country by combining the old with the new -- fairytales and welfare.
The sculpture, which sits on a granite block in Copenhagen's port, was created in 1913 by Edvard Eriksen.
The Hans Christian Andersen fairytale that bears her name was first published in 1837 and has since been turned into a Walt Disney cartoon.
It tells the story of a young mermaid who is willing to give up everything for the love of a prince. --(2/7)
City demands to know about job cuts
The Shanghai Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau has ordered that businesses planning layoffs report their plans to them.
The measure is aimed at protecting employees¡¯labor rights and interests as well as preventing arbitrary and large-scale layoffs.
The notification said state-owned and state-controlled businesses under direct control of the Shanghai government, businesses in Shanghai directly under the central government and wholly foreign-owned enterprises with more than US$10 million registered capital must report to the city bureau with their plans.
Other businesses with lay-off plans will have to report to the district labor administrative departments. Businesses in Pudong New Area not under the central government should report to Pudong department.
The districts¡¯administrative departments should report to the city bureau when they receive reports.
The report must contain: a copy of the "enterprise business license" and "trade union corporate certificate"; personal information of the union representative or the employees¡¯delegate; a written lay-off plan that includes the number of workers the business wants to trim, the employees¡¯names and preparation for economic compensation; and the business¡¯explanation to staff and the employees¡¯view.
The notification also stressed that enterprises providing fake materials could be punished. --(2/6)
McDonald's cuts prices by nearly 33%
United States fast food chain McDonald's yesterday offered its biggest price discounts in China as it tries to cope with a weak catering industry hit by the slowing economy.
From yesterday till March 10, customers can buy four super value combo meals at McDonald's 1,065 stores across the nation for 16.50 yuan (US$2.41), a discount 32.6 percent, and at a price lower than 10 years ago. The fast food chain has also launched new varieties such as a pork burger for 6 yuan while its breakfast menu combo costs 10 yuan and will be offered on a long-term basis, McDonald's said.
McDonald's said the nationwide super value discount campaign, which covers nearly 40 percent of its total products, has been its most aggressive price reductions since its entry to the country in 1998 and comes on the heels of a weak market confidence.
"It's our goal to make sure McDonald's is affordable and accessible to more and more consumers," said Jeffrey Schwarts, chief executive officer of McDonald's China.
Over the last few months of last year, the impact of the global financial crisis has been spreading to China's catering industry which has seen a drop in outdoor dining and consumption in many high-end restaurants.
KFC, the biggest fast food chain in China with double the number of stores that McDoanld's has, has also offered discounts of up to 20 percent in its meal sets since November.
McDonald's estimated that the super value discount campaign would help its sales revenue in China this year grow 5 percent, said Phyllis Cheung, vice president and chief marketing officer of McDonald's China.
Schwarts disclosed 175 new restaurants will be open in China this year, which will create 10,000 jobs. This would make China its No. 1 growth market for the first time.
McDonald's also plans to expand domestic sourcing to supply its global markets in the future. Its domestic purchases to supply its markets in China have risen by four times over the past 10 years. --(2/5)
City polices illegal foreign workers
The city's Exit-Entry Administration recently announced that 61,995 foreigners acquired residence certificates for work last year.
The police also have found 377 illegally employed aliens.
Police warns that aliens should get employment permits and residence certificates before signing working contracts. --(2/4)
City to spend US$379m on 3,200 new buses
The local government is to spend 2.6 billion yuan (US$379.8 million) this year on new buses to service city routes, according to transport administration officials.
The authority also say they will continue to expand bus routes to suburban residential areas, enhance the fare discount policy and raise salaries for bus crews. Shanghai Urban Transport and Port Administration said the government's 2.6-billion-yuan investment would buy more than 3,200 buses costing almost 800,000 yuan each.
"Compared to our previous practice of offering compensation to encourage bus companies to replace old buses, the new plan should work directly and more effectively," said Li Jielin, an administration official.
The new buses will not only ensure better service for passengers but would also reduce emissions, the administration said.
Since early last year, the city's different bus companies have been merging or have been purchased by the government.
Eventually, Pudong New Area and Puxi will each have a bus company in charge of regional routes while the city's seven suburban districts will also have their own bus operator.
All nine companies will be state-owned and managed. Officials believe that with the government in charge of the industry, making improvements will be easier.
Officials said local transit buses carried 4.9 billion passengers last year, accounting for 28 percent of those using the public transport. --(2/3)
Improved services for city parks
The Shanghai Greenery and Public Sanitation Bureau said it will start building new toilets in city¡¯s parks and supply free boiled drinking water from this month.
Sources say 211 toilets will be built (including 37 mobile toilets for districts), free boiled drinking water will be supplied in 146 parks when open and flower consulting services offered. --(2/2)