Trial run for Zhangjiang tram
Zhangjiang's tram will begin a trial service in June and is expected to be in full use by July 1.
The ticket price will be two yuan (US$0.29) and transport cards as well as coins can be used. The public transport fare discount will also apply to this service.
The tram will run every 8 minutes and every 6 minutes in rush hours. The tram can travel at 20 kilometers per hour in rush hours, between the speed of the metro and buses.
Twenty-four trainees have arrived in Tianjin in north China to undergo training and receive their licenses. --(3/31)
Art fair inked
The annual Shanghai Art Fair will be held at ShanghaiMart on Yan'an Road W. from September 9 to 13. The total display area will reach 24,000 square meters, making it the largest art fair in Asia.
Last year's fair welcomed a total of 45,000 visitors and about 42 million yuan (US$6.15 million) worth of art was sold during the fair. --(3/30)
Volunteer logo unveiled
Expo volunteers got their own sign, slogan and song yesterday.
The World Expo volunteer logo features the Chinese character for heart, the letter V and a dove of peace carrying an olive branch.
It was designed by Li Xiaoli, a Shandong Province native who creates company logos.
The slogan chosen for volunteers was: "At Your Service At The Expo." It was submitted by Huang Yuanyuan, a student at Jinan University in Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province.
The winning logo and slogan were selected from 15,717 entries after a 147-day search ended.
About 10 percent of the suggestions came from overseas. An online vote for the 10 finalists was held at the end of last year.
At the announcement event yesterday, Hong Kong singer Eason Chan sang "By Your Side," the volunteer song for Expo 2010. --(3/29)
Psych unit open
The renovated branch of the Shanghai Mental Health Center in Minhang District opened its doors yesterday. The branch on Humin Raod is equipped with a new out-patient building and four buildings for hospitalized patients. The renovated branch will offer expert outpatient services. --(3/28)
A cold front from the north will bring rain to the city today and tomorrow. The maximum temperature will range from 12 to 15 degrees Celsius until next week, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said yesterday.
Lows of 8 to 9 degrees are expected. --(3/27)
LGP price rises
The guidance price of liquefied petroleum gas rose from 3.62 yuan (US 53 cents) to 3.82 yuan a liter in the city from dawn yesterday, the Shanghai Price Bureau announced.
The bureau said that after the price rise, taxi drivers using LPG would still be subsidized.
The price rise followed the national fuel price rise announced by the National Development and Reform Commission and the climbing price of crude oil. --(3/26)
Fuel prices climb today
The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, yesterday announced the first fuel price rises in nine months to reflect climbing crude oil prices.
The guidance gasoline price was raised by 290 yuan (US$42) a ton to 5,730 yuan, and diesel by 180 yuan a ton to 4,990 yuan, effective today.
At the pump in Shanghai, the price of the most widely used 93-octane gasoline rose to 5.19 yuan a liter from 4.95 yuan, while 97-octane gas climbed to 5.52 yuan a liter from 5.26 yuan, and the zero-grade diesel increased to 4.88 yuan a liter from 4.71 yuan, a Sinopec Shanghai sales branch spokesman said.
The commission said the increases were a result of recent rise in global crude oil prices.
China introduced a new fuel pricing mechanism late last year which analysts said would lead to more frequent adjustments according to international price movements and help ensure refiners' profit margins. The commission had cut fuel prices late last year and in mid-January under the new system. --(3/25)
Drainage systems in the pipeline
Shanghai will build more drainage systems and improve existing systems, the Shanghai Municipal Drainage Administration said yesterday.
The great West Guangfu system is being reconstructed on the existing Guangxin, West Guangfu and Dongxincun drainage systems. It will reduce flooding on the roads during the rainy season.
The city will build or improve 67 drainage systems to cover most downtown areas. Twenty-eight of these will be in use for the rainy season this year. --(3/24)
By the book
Thousands of books and replicas of modern and ancient Chinese paintings and western oil paintings are on display. The exhibition will run until Saturday at the Shanghai Art Museum. --(3/23)
Diplomat pushes Expo presence
China offers strong support to help facilitate US participation in the 2010 Shanghai World Expo and hopes it can soon confirm its participation, China's Ambassador to the United States said in Washington on Friday.
Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong told a breakfast with potential US corporate sponsors of the to-be-constructed pavilion that US participation would be a good opportunity for it to increase friendship, understanding and exchange with China and other participating countries.
Since Expo would contribute to restoring confidence in the world economy, the ambassador said that he hoped US corporations would take a long-term perspective.
Last year, the US Department of State picked a non-profit institution to prepare US participation in the Expo and the basic floor design of the US pavilion has been completed with joint Sino-US efforts. --(3/22)
Shanghai Normal University will team up with Kent State University to set up a Confucius Institute in the United States, university officials announced. It will be the third Confucius Institute, a national project to promote Chinese language, culture and history worldwide, that SNU set up after the ones in Japan and Botswana. --(3/21)
Ready in a tick
A clock sculpture that displays the countdown to the opening of the Expo 2010 at the intersection of Yan'an Road M. and Weihai Road. The countdown will start next Friday, 400 days before the Expo opens. Equipped with a GPS system, the clock will be accurate to within 0.03 seconds a year. --(3/20)
Qing Ming holidays set
The public holidays for Qingming Festival, or tomb-sweeping day, will run from April 4 to 6.
The festival day itself falls on Saturday April 4. The holiday will be taken on April 6. --(3/19)
Cherry trees bloom
The 100 cherry trees bloomed as temperatures continued to rise at Jing'an Sculpture Park. Today's high will be 25 degrees Celsius. --(3/18)
English on TV
English-language learners looking to refine their skills before taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), have a new resource - TOEFL TV, available now on YouTube (www.youtube.com/TOEFLtv).
It features videos on improving English and information about the test. --(3/17)
Yangpu roads renovated
Twelve roads have already been renovated throughout Yangpu District during 600-day countdown, the district greenery authority said.
One of the 12 roads, Sujiatun Road, has been turned into an open-air fitness area. Equipment has been installed along the road and residents can use it any time.
More of this equipment will placed in neighboring roads such as Fushun Road.
Dunhua Road which was in ill-repair and rundown, has been upgraded with green areas added.
An official with the district greenery and public sanitation bureau, Xu Yuelun, said that another 200 or more roads in the district will be improved before the Expo. --(3/16)
Another cruise ship port for Shanghai
A second cruise-ship terminal will open in April, 2010, enabling the city to cope with a boom of the industry.
More than 30 luxury passenger liners are scheduled to dock in Shanghai this month - a city record - bringing 25,000 visitors to town, Lu Jun, a media coordinator with Shanghai port immigration police said on Thursday.
About 20 percent of cruise ships now have to dock at the mouth of the Yangtze River because they're too big to fit under the Yangpu Bridge over the Huangpu River, forcing tourists to spend up to four hours on buses getting into the city and back to their ships even though they may only have a 12-hour stopover.
The new terminal is closer to town, located at Paotai Bay in Wusong Port, Baoshan District. It will include three berths, the same as Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal on the North Bund, with a capacity to handle 70,000-ton vessels.
The new terminal will also include ferry services to downtown Shanghai as well as buses.
More than 150,000 foreign and Chinese tourists arrived here on cruise ships last year, 17 percent more than in 2007.
Last year 112 cruise ships stopped in the city, 10 more than in 2007.
According to the port authority, cruise ship arrivals will increase 12 percent this year.
Next year's World Expo is expected to attract even more cruise ships and double the number of visitors arriving in the city on them.
Police also confirmed that construction will be completed next month on the last building at Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal. --(3/15)
Thirteen arts institutions put on 365 performances in more than 30 local universities and 150 primary and secondary schools last year, the Shanghai Education Commission said yesterday. --(3/14)
Spring outings for city tourists
The Shanghai Tourist Center is launching six new tourist trips for residents to enjoy the peach blossoms and rape flowers in the city's suburbs in the coming weeks.
Tourists can join five of the trips in Nanhui District for the peach blossoms and at the Shanghai Flower Port, according to Wenhui Daily report. The Rape Blossom Festival in Fengxian District will run from March 28-April 18.
The Nanhui Peach Blossom Village is the only daily trip available - the others take tourists at the weekends.
All the fares are under 100 yuan (US$14.62) and the center is near Shanghai Stadium.
From February tourists have been enjoying the outings for plum blossoms. --(3/13)
Local white-collar workers will have the chance to act in a play about office workers. Auditions will be held from March 25 to May 21 in Lujiazui area, People's Square and Huaihai Road. People can apply at www.bexcite.cn. Those accepted will perform on April 19, May 17 and June 7.
Foreign residents who can speak Chinese are also welcome to audition. --(3/12)
Icebreaker heads home after mission
China's only icebreaker will put into a local port on April 10 after completing another polar research mission and setting up China's third research station in the South Pole, local immigration police said yesterday.
The logistics base for the 167-meter Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, is located at Pudong's Waigaoqiao Port.
The icebreaker began its journey back from the South Pole on Monday after successfully completing the country's 25th scientific research mission there, police said. The return voyage will take about a month, police said.
The ship, carrying about 100 crew, has completed more than 40 scientific observations and experiments in the South Pole on climate, ecology, biology, astronomy and geology. --(3/11)
More trains for spring outing
Shanghai Railway Station will operate 17 extra train services from today until April 18 to help handle spring outing crowds.
The station has added 26 service windows and extra windows will be open at peak hours.
During this period, passengers can buy round-trip tickets including tickets to Shanghai-Hangzhou, Shanghai-Wuxi and Shanghai-Suzhou at all booking offices and commission bases across the city.
Shanghai Railway Station is expected to handle 6.5 million passengers this spring outing, 9.6 percent more than last year. Around Tomb Sweeping Day, it will handle 820,000 people, an increase of 5.26 percent from last year. April 4 may be the peak day with nearly 260,000 passengers expected. --(3/10)
Parks in Pudong will provide a free talk on flowers and plants to locals every week. Chuansha and Jinqiao parks will screen free open-air films this summer.
Chuansha Park will work with nearby hospitals to provide free health checkups every month. --(3/9)
Disneyland still on the cards for Shanghai
Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng said yesterday that the city is still negotiating with Walt Disney on opening the first Disney theme park on the Chinese mainland.
"We are like a couple in love, not married yet, and so far there's no timetable for the 'marriage'," the mayor joked with journalists at an opening session of Shanghai delegation during the ongoing annual session of the National People's Congress in Beijing.
Han said the Shanghai government and Disney have always maintained communication and negotiation on the project, and both teams adopted a more practical attitude in the past year.
In January the local government signed a framework agreement with Disney, a standard procedure toward a possible deal. No details were disclosed, however. If the Shanghai government and Disney finally agree to "tie the knot," it will become a third Disney theme park in Asia after Tokyo and Hong Kong.
In the Great Hall of the People yesterday afternoon, Shanghai Party Secretary Yu Zhengsheng and Mayor Han met more than 100 reporters at the opening session, a tradition for every delegation during the annual Parliament session.
Yu addressed the trial of yuan-denominated settlements of trade deals between some areas including Shanghai and neighboring Yangtze River Delta region and Hong Kong and Macau, and between the southwestern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Yunnan Province with Southeast Asian countries.
He said it would benefit Shanghai, the mainland and the two special administrative regions.
Hu Xiping, governor of Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank, explained that the yuan settlement is "vital" for the country to deal with the current financial crisis.
"Considering China's continuous trade surplus and the scale of foreign reserve, the yuan settlement will strengthen the currency's role in the international trade," Hu said.
The governor revealed that Shanghai is also applying to the central government for a trial of yuan-based settlement with foreign trade partners.
Mayor Han also addressed the progress of the maglev project connecting Shanghai's two airports. He said the government would announce the appraisal result and invite experts to evaluate the plan. Meanwhile, the government will listen to the opinions of those residents who live nearby the maglev line.
Some residents have voiced concern on the possible pollution caused by the speedy train after the initial plan was revealed.
For the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, the mayor said the preparation work in on schedule.
Another hot topic is the trial of household registration system, or hukou, which is designed to attract out-of-town talents. The three-year test run enables new Shanghainese to enjoy the same social insurance benefits as locals.
The mayor said more details of the hukou system will be released in the second half of this year. --(3/8)
A former residence of Zhou Enlai, the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, has been recognized by the government after a year's expert authentication. Located on Sichuan Road N., the address at No. 44 in Yong'an Neighborhood has been confirmed as the home of Zhou from 1928 to 1931. Hongkou District designated it a protected building on Thursday, the 111th anniversary of Zhou's birth. --(3/7)
Boost for holiday trains
Shanghai will run extra holiday trains to nearby tourist venues and launch more than 100 new tourist routes in March and April, Shanghai Railway International Travel Group announced.
The new holiday trains will be four return services for Wuyi Mountain, four for Jinggang Mountain, one for LiuˇŻan and a first ever service for Chizhou.
The trains will carry sleeping cars with four-person berths all leaving at about 8pm on Fridays and returning to Shanghai before 6 am on Mondays.
Some popular tourist venues like Hangzhou and Nanjing have distributed discount tourist coupons in Shanghai.
Shanghai railway will introduce more tours focusing on ˇ°Red Tourism,ˇ± combining patriotic education with tourism. Extra trains for Jinggang Mountain and Liuan, two classic Red Tourism towns, will run this month. --(3/6)
Emergency kits with band-aids, gauze, medicine and a long rope will be given to 9,100 local neighborhood committees this year, the Shanghai Civil Defence Office said yesterday.
The kits will be available in the event of air raids, military attacks or natural disasters. --(3/5)
Timely weather info for Shanghai Expo visitors
Expo visitors will not need to worry about Shanghai's weather. They will receive precise and updated weather forecasts for the Expo site free on their mobile phones when strolling around the 2010 world fair.
Construction began yesterday on the pavilion of the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization in the Pudong New Area section of the Expo site. The organization will build a high-tech weather station inside the pavilion.
The station will send forecasts to all visitors every one to three hours. During the city's plum rain or typhoon seasons, the station will issue weather alerts and send updates every half an hour, said Xu Xiaofeng, deputy director of the China Meteorological Administration and commissioner general of the organization's Expo exhibition.
People can also read weather updates on a large screen in front of the pavilion or on the pavilion's Expo Website.
Expo 2010 will be held from May through October. The period includes Shanghai's plum rain, flood and typhoon seasons when people may encounter constantly changing weather ranging from burning sunshine to heavy thunderstorms.
The meteorological pavilion, with a floor space of 2,000 square meters, will look like a huge cloud surrounded by mist. It will simulate climate cataclysms to urge people to protect the environment.
The pavilion is expected to attract 40,000 people every day. It will be the first meteorological pavilion in the 157-year history of the Expo. --(3/4)
'Angry Boy' May Make Expo Appearance
Norway's "angry boy" may be coming to Shanghai for the World Expo.
Sinnataggen, a sculpture of a toddler having a temper tantrum, is a popular tourist attraction in Oslo and according to the country's official Website, Norwegians are "silently working" to send it to Shanghai in 2010.
Arild Blixrud, project director for Norway said all foreigners wanted to see Sinnataggen when they visited Norway. "Everyone wants to see him, and everyone has a relationship with him," he said.
More than 3 million visitors are expected to visit Norway Pavilion.
The pavilion will introduce the country's experience in natural resources and energy conservation with the theme "Norway, Powered by Nature." --(3/3)
Job fair crowds
More than 10,000 fresh graduates gathered over the weekend at Shanghai Sports Palace, where a job fair offered 2,000 positions at 200 employers.
Putuo District has raised 2 million yuan (US$292,376) from companies that will be used to help graduates start businesses. --(3/2)
Record city budget announced
The local government will spend 155 billion yuan (US$22.6 billion) this year on expanding the Metro, making improvements to the road network, improving air and water quality and other major infrastructure projects.
"The city is now making unprecedented investments in its infrastructure projects and the scale of construction citywide will hit a peak this year as we come up to the World Expo," Vice Mayor Shen Jun said yesterday.
The government's plans include facilities and roads for the World Expo, building more economical residential complexes and upgrading facilities at public hospitals.
The latest budget is a record for the city. Last year, total investment was 139.8 billion yuan, officials said.
Shen said: "It's time for a final spurt" for the World Expo. He called on related departments and companies to step up the pace of their projects.
Up to 86 major infrastructure programs will start this year including the sixth phase of Waigaoqiao Port, a cross-river highway between Shanghai's Chongming Island and Qidong City in Jiangsu Province and the Changjiang Road W. vehicle tunnel under the Huangpu River.
Nearly 60 of the projects will be closely related to the Shanghai 2010 World Expo, said Huang Rong, director of the Shanghai Urban and Rural Construction and Transportation Commission, yesterday. --(3/1)