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  • Chongming to upgrade tourism facilities
    Chongming tourism authorities said yesterday that it's not possible to charge admission to the island's scenic spots in the near future, despite calls by city government to do something to rein in tourist volume.
    It is also not possible to limit tourism at present because authorities don't want to disappoint people who are eager to visit the island's bird sanctuary and other scenic spots, the Chongming County Tourism Bureau said.
    But bureau Director Shen Yongping did say the island will improve its infrastructure so it can accommodate more tourists.
    Crowds have swelled to the point of overload since a tunnel-bridge link was completed to the island last month.
    By March, a sightseeing center covering 16,000 square meters will be open near the east coast wetlands, along with a parking lot able to hold 100 buses.
    The bureau is planning to turn the island's west and east coasts into upmarket scenic areas to attract big-spending tourists. Officials believe that more upscale travelers will help limit visitor volume and protect the environment.
    Parts of the wetlands will become a 2.2-square-kilometer ecological park, which will charge an admission fee, and the Mingzhu Lake scenic area in the west will be turned into a luxury holiday site.
    The central parts of the island will target middle-income tourists.
    Also by March, the island's eateries will be able to seat 65,000 people at once, about 20,000 more than at present.
    The overall plan won the praise of some experts. Wang Hong, president of the Shanghai University of Engineering Science, said the island should target the high-end market.
    "It will not only raise the popularity of the island but also protect tourism resources," she said yesterday. --(11/27)

  • Safe cycling
    Shanghai Traffic Police and a Luwan education center yesterday opened the city's first center for teaching teenagers 12 and older to ride bicycles safely.
    Students have to pass tests before they are allowed to ride bikes to schools. --(11/26)

  • South Korea Offers Favors To Chinese Tourists
    South Korea is planning to give favors to Chinese tourists to mark the Visit China Year in 2010 and Visit Korea Year in 2012, its tourism authorities said in Shanghai yesterday.
    The courtesies will include shopping discounts and free rooms and transport, said Lee Cham, director of the South Korean Tourism Organization.
    The effort is designed to help tourists from China and South Korea visit each others' countries during the 2010 World Expo Shanghai and the 2012 Expo Yeosu.
    Yeosu, a port city, also bid for the 2010 World Expo, but lost to Shanghai. Later it got the 2012 World Expo, which will focus on climate, organizers said. --(11/25)

  • See Danish Pavilion By Bike
    Free bicycles will be available for visitors to the Danish pavilion to borrow during the 2010 World Expo.
    "Altogether 250 bicycles will be brought to the pavilion for free riding during the Expo," John Hansen, project director for the Danish Expo Secretariat, said yesterday. "They are all made in Denmark."
    Bicycles are regarded as a symbol of a healthy lifestyle and sustainable urban development in Denmark, and Copenhagen is one of the leading bicycle cities in the world.
    "We will provide free bikes for visitors to ride within the pavilion through an area which is designed like Copenhagen streets," said Hansen.
    A promotional week for the Danish pavilion opened in Shanghai yesterday and runs until Saturday. A free exhibition all week on the third floor of Hong Kong New World tower on Huaihai Road features ideas on creating a high quality of city life. --(11/24)

  • Fund set to help the disabled jobless
    The China Disabled Persons' Federation and the Ministry of Finance launched a plan yesterday to finance services for jobless people with mental and serious physical disabilities.
    According to the "Sunshine Home" plan, the central government will earmark 600 million yuan (US$88 million) in the next three years toward a system to help disabled people.
    Care homes, built by local governments, non-profit organizations or individuals, are eligible for the subsidy, according to the plan.
    Poor families with members who have mental and severe physical disabilities also can apply for the aid if the disabled person is jobless and needs care.
    China currently has more than 83 million disabled people. About 18 million of them suffer mental and severe physical disabilities, and are jobless, officials said. --(11/23)

  • Car Prize On Offer
    Come up with a nickname for the United Kingdom Pavilion and you could win a new car and other gifts.
    The Website of the UK Pavilion ( yesterday invited people to offer ideas, take part in games and competitions and learn more about the nation.
    Simon Featherstone, program director of UK Expo, said the online pavilion was designed for people all over the world who won't have a chance to visit Shanghai. --(11/22)

  • Expo float rides in parade of roses
    Shanghai unveiled its design today for the 2010 Rose Parade in Los Angeles on January 1.
    The World Expo-themed float will make its debut with NBA superstar Yao Ming and Expo mascot Haibao. Yao Ming, the ambassador of Shanghai Expo 2010, together with stars from NFL and Los Angeles Lakers, will ride on the float, which will include a model of the Chinese pavilion model and the skyline of Shanghai.
    During the parade in LA, Shanghai will stage a display, book exhibition and general knowledge contest about the 2010 World Expo.
    Shanghai's magnificent rose float was bound to attract the attention of visitors from all over the world, said Jeffrey Throop, acting president of the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena, California.
    Zhang Yun, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Los Angeles, officials from the Information Office of Shanghai Municipality, Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film & TV and Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination attended the press conference. Pasadena is well known for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game. --(11/20)

  • Expo Main Avenue Advances
    The Expo Axis started its management-work phase yesterday. Shanghai Industrial Investment (Holding) Co Ltd is in charge.
    "Our services include information center, security checks, facility safeguards, customer services, cleaning work and others," said Shen Jifang, an official from the company. --(11/19)

  • Banks vie for Taiwan business
    The Bank of China and its rivals are vying to be the first to open a branch in Taiwan after a long-awaited memorandum of understanding between the Chinese mainland and the island was signed.
    Li Lihui, president of the Bank of China, said he would immediately apply to open a branch in Taiwan.
    The memorandum signed on Monday allows banks, brokers and insurers to conduct business in each other's market for the first time.
    It will take effect in two months.
    The bank has already considered the president of the coming branch, which will have more than 20 staff members. The bank plans to hire Taiwan locals, according to Li.
    He visited several possible sites when he was in Taiwan in September. Li said he expected a Taiwan branch to break even within two to three years.
    The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Bank of Communications and China Construction Bank all said earlier that they were planning to set up a Taiwan business once the memorandum was signed. --(11/18)

  • Souvenirs lag
    The 2010 World Expo Souvenir Management Office said sales volume of the Expo souvenirs was at nearly 1.2 billion yuan (US$171 million). The office suggested that food and paper products be added to the souvenirs. To encourage new ideas, the office is planning a competition to select an "honored Expo souvenir." The winner should be creative in design, production technique and raw material. --(11/17)

  • Classical feast
    The famed London Philharmonic Orchestra will perform on January 2 and 3 at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center for the 2010 New Year Concert. Conductor Christoph Eschenbach will lead the orchestra in works by Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Ravel. Tickets are 180 (US$26.4) to 1,980 yuan. --(11/16)

  • City smoking ban likely before Expo
    The first smoking-control law in Shanghai is expected to take effect before the Expo starts in May.
    Officials from World Health Organization's China representative office and the state health authorities are urging Shanghai to ban indoor smoking throughout the city and to launch a tobacco-free Expo.
    Shanghai, which is currently drafting anti-smoking legislation, should turn the 2010 World Expo into a model for tobacco-free big events, experts told the Shanghai International Seminar in Tobacco Control yesterday.
    The number of residents in Shanghai who smoke has dropped about 6 percent, from 30.2 percent in 2000 to 24.7 percent in 2008. Last year, 44.3 percent of men were smokers.
    The city should also use the event to promote an anti-smoking mind-set, and make sure that its impending anti-smoking law bans tobacco in all indoor public venues, working places and public transportation, the experts said.
    Xu Jianguang, director of the Shanghai Health Bureau, said Shanghai's first smoking-control law will expand on previous efforts that have been largely ineffective. --(11/14)

  • Global beatbox contest in Shanghai
    Beatboxers from all over the world will compete in a musical face-off this Saturday at Changning International Gymnastics Center.
    Sixteen finalists from 79 competitors will show their beatboxing skills by producing drumbeats, rhythm and sounds by using bodies, mouths, voice and more as part of the 11th Shanghai International Arts Festival.
    Well-known beatboxers RoxorLoops from Belgium and Shlomo from the UK will be judges of the Shanghai International Beatbox Performance and Competition. --(11/13)

  • Migrant help
    Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission said yesterday that it has signed agreement with eight provinces, the major sources of migrant workers in the city, to improve migrant people's family planning.
    Migrant workers can enjoy free contraceptive tools, guidance on baby-raising and favorable policies for obeying the family planning rules. There were 6.42 million migrant workers by last year - over one third of local residents. --(11/12)

  • Secret Garden play Chinese classic
    European musical duo Secret Garden will play the Chinese classic "Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai" (or, "A Legend of Butterfly") at its New Year's Eve concert at the Shanghai Oriental Arts Center, today's Shanghai Morning Post reported.
    Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry will play the Chinese classic on her antique violin, produced in 1790, to pay tribute to the first Chinese violinist to perform it, Yu Lina, on the 50th anniversary of the Chinese classic.
    They will also perform their hits "Songs from a Secret Garden," " White Stone" and "Once in a Red Moon."
    Sherry and Norwegian composer and pianist Rolf Lovland started Secret Garden in 1995 and first visited China in 1997. --(11/11)

  • Hongqiao Airport decorates new terminal
    Hongqiao Airport finished the interior decoration of its new terminal yesterday.
    Light gray has mainly been used for the background colors, while signs are brightly painted for easier recognition.
    The new terminal is part of an airport expansion project which is due to be completed by the end of this year. The new terminal is expected to put to use next March.
    The new terminal's area of construction measures 364,000 square meters, which includes the main building and the boarding passages.
    The main terminal building's top floor is the departure check-in hall and the security check area. The building¡¯s floor second floor is for arrivals, while the ground floor handles guests and baggage claim. There is also a domestic departure lounge. --(11/10)

  • Cooler days, rain coming
    Rain and cooler weather are expected this week as another cold front hits the city, weathermen said yesterday.
    The temperature will drop under 20 degrees Celsius toward the end of the week, but the chill won't be as sharp as last week's, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
    Yesterday's high was 27.5 degrees Celsius - the second highest temperature during the first 10-day period in November of the past 30 years. The highest was on November 2, 2003, when the thermometer hit 28.2 degrees, according to the bureau.
    The warmth will depart, beginning today. Although the high will reach 25 degrees, the rain today may make people feel cool.
    And starting tomorrow, the highs will drop to around 20 degrees - even 17 degrees on Friday. The lows this week will range from 16 to 18 degrees, forecasters said.
    Rain is expected the whole week through at least Friday, except for Wednesday, when the sky is expected to be overcast, the bureau said.
    Forecasters said yesterday's warmth was caused by a warm air mass which enveloped the city.
    Because the cold front in the north was far away and relatively weak, the warm air mass moved rather slowly.
    The relatively high humidity may have made people feel muggy and uncomfortable.
    Forecasters reminded that although the temperature will not plunge this week, people should still be aware of the weather change, to prevent catching cold. --(11/9)

  • Highway signs replaced
    The replacing of traffic signs along the Beijing-Shanghai Expressway is well under way, on target to replace more than 30,000 signs by next March.
    So far 900 highway signs of all 1,300 on highway G2 have been replaced.
    All Shanghai expressways will receive new names and numerical codes over the next five months as part of a nationwide initiative to create a unified system for highways.
    In Shanghai, eight national expressways and nine provincial-level routes with a total length of 760 kilometers will have new names and codes.
    The new standards require all national-level expressways to start with the letter ¡°G.¡±
    New regulations require that any national route should only be identified by a combination of the names of the cities at the starting and finishing points.
    The new system will eventually make things clearer for drivers as fragmented regional names now point to the same expressways that run through different cities and provinces, highway officials said yesterday.
    Provincial-level expressways in Shanghai, as well as other parts of China, will have codes starting with "S" in line with the new national standards.
    The new nationwide system has red signs for national routes and yellow for provincial expressways. --(11/6)

  • Disneyland news propel stocks to end up
    The announcement of the Shanghai Disneyland project propelled the local stock market to a seven-week high yesterday in anticipation that the theme park will attract more visitors to boost the city's service industry.
    The key Shanghai Composite Index edged up 0.46 percent, or 14.31 points, to 3,128.54, its highest close since August 13. Turnover totaled 164 billion yuan (US$24 billion).
    United States-based Walt Disney Co said in a statement yesterday that it has received Chinese government approval to build a theme park in Shanghai. The project, which costs an estimated US$3.5 billion, is expected to be operational in five or six years in Pudong New Area.
    Shanghai Jinling Co jumped 3.54 percent to 9.37 yuan on hopes the project will boost service and entertainment facility providers in the area. SinoTex Investment and Development Co rose 8.64 percent to 11.19 yuan and Shanghai Belling Corp surged 7.25 percent to 7.40 yuan.
    "The index is likely to remain on an upward trend in the near future with improving economic situation and improved earnings from listed companies despite some fluctuations in property shares," Zhao Yang, an analyst at United Securities, wrote in a research note.
    Property shares lost their earlier gains as some investors took profit. Shanghai Lujiazui Finance & Trade Zone Development Co lost 1.92 percent to 29.17 yuan and Shanghai Jielong Industry Co shed 1.94 percent to 18.24 yuan.
    Metal producers gained after the gold price jumped above US$1,080 an ounce. Nanjing Yunhai Special Metals Co surged 8.11 percent to 16 yuan, Zijin Mining Co rose 1.50 percent to 9.49 yuan, Zhongjin Gold Mining Co added 1.78 percent to finish at 59.34 yuan.
    Banks also rose, with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank jumping 2.16 percent to 23.67 yuan. --(11/5)

  • Luxury home sales in sluggish period
    Shanghai's luxury residential sales market was sluggish for the second straight month due to high prices and a drop in supply.
    A total of 64,000 square meters of new luxury homes costing more than 40,000 yuan (US$5,856) per square meter were sold across the city in October, an increase of 4.9 percent from September, according to research released yesterday by Shanghai Uwin Real Estate Information Services Co.
    That was less than half the volume registered in August, when more than 140,000 square meters of new homes with a price tag of above 40,000 yuan per square meter changed hands.
    However, the average price of high-end homes climbed to 63,477 yuan per square meter last month, up 2.4 percent from a month earlier.
    "The average price of luxury houses has remained well above 60,000 yuan per square meter in Shanghai for two straight months," said Lu Qilin, a Shanghai Uwin researcher. "More developers are asking for above 100,000 yuan per square meter for some units, which was unimaginable six months ago."
    Nearly 20 projects on both sides of the Huangpu River are seeking more than 100,000 yuan per square meter for some units, according to E-House (China) Holdings Ltd statistics.
    More than 90 percent of the city's luxury residential projects have seen sales slow since September with most selling less than 10 units each month, said Xue Jianxiong, an E-House analyst.
    A drop in new supply also led to the decline in volume last month, Uwin said.
    Three new luxury residential projects were introduced in October, compared with nine in September. --(11/4)

  • Construction ends on 48 pavilions
    The World Expo Shanghai organizer today finished construction on the 11 joint and 37 rented pavilions for the 2010 event, which will house more than 180 participant countries and international organizations.
    Construction on the rest five rented pavilions will be finished by the end of the year, which was delayed because the five participants -- Peru, Argentina, Colombia, Croatia and South Africa ¨C were late in signing their participation contracts.
    The organizer said that construction is in step with their deadline to finish all the pavilions built by the organizer by the end of the year.
    The organizer will soon begin interior decoration and to plant trees around the pavilions, said Li Yinfa, a project manager for construction on the joint and rented pavilions.
    They will hand over the pavilions to participants to arrange their exhibitions at the end of the year, Li said.
    So far, 192 countries and 50 international organizations have confirmed participation in the Shanghai Expo.
    Fifty-four of them will build stand-alone pavilions, others will rent a pavilion from the organizer or hold exhibitions in joint pavilions. --(11/3)

  • Crowds mob first buses to Chongming
    Big crowds and long lines yesterday hit the city's first bus services from the Pudong New Area to Chongming Island after a new tunnel-bridge link opened on Saturday.
    "Media reports said that a bus trip would be so convenient now, taking only 70 minutes to travel from downtown to Chongming Island. Guess how long the trip really took today?" asked passenger Hu Yanxun.
    She arrived at the bus terminal in Pudong at 8:30am and it was about 2 hours and 50 minutes later when she set foot on the island.
    Nearly half that time was spent on waiting in a long line at the bus station and struggling in big crowds trying to board a bus, Hu said.
    "There were so many passengers waiting. After we managed to board a bus, the driver spent nearly 20 minutes collecting fares before the bus started," she said.
    Passengers at other bus stations reported similar frustrations on the four routes linking downtown Shanghai to the island at the mouth of the Yangtze River.
    Police officers stayed on the scene to keep order.
    Some passengers complained about too many seniors traveling on the buses to Chongming - Shanghai senior citizens get free bus rides, while others pay a 12-yuan fare.
    "At least 70 percent of the passengers were elderly. They seemed very excited to take a free bus ride for a look at the new tunnel-bridge complex that's just opened to traffic," Hu said.
    The Changjiang Tunnel-Bridge Expressway connects the downtown with the islands of Changxing and Chongming, previously accessible only by ferry.
    As strong winds in the Yangtze River suspended all island ferry services yesterday morning, many Chongming islanders heading for Shanghai rushed to the bus station to take the new service.
    More bus routes to the island will be gradually introduced.
    Chongming islanders who supply their vegetables to the city were all smiles yesterday with the new transport links.
    "This could now save me 40,000 yuan (US$5,859) to 50,000 yuan a year, which used to be spent on ferry tolls to transport my vegetables," said producer Zhang Hua.
    Farmers transporting vegetables escape the bridge and tunnel fees. --(11/1)



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