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  • Traffic bans to help city celebrations
    Strict traffic limits will be imposed in Shanghai as the city celebrates the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic of China and the holiday break with spectacular fireworks and lighting shows.
    Sightseers have been urged to avoid the Bund, a traditional viewing site when the city has put on similar displays, as massive construction projects continue there ahead of the 2010 World Expo that begins next May.
    The Shanghai Public Security Bureau said yesterday that some city streets would be closed to traffic in the afternoon and night from Wednesday until October 4 to allow pedestrians to enjoy the landscape light show.
    The themed fireworks will light up the sky in seven districts on the night of Thursday, the National Day.
    Police suggested people avoid the riverside area along the Bund, describing it as "a completely enclosed construction site."
    The core sightseeing zone of the Bund, or Zhongshan Road E1, from its intersection with Nansuzhouhe Road to Xinkaihe Road, would be inaccessible to the public throughout the holiday, police said.
    "We advise people to avoid gathering near this area during the holiday because narrow roads resulting from construction are potentially risky to public safety," police said in a statement yesterday.
    The Bund notwithstanding, pedestrians are in for a visual feast across major CBD areas throughout the holiday evenings.
    The traffic bans will be effective every day from 3:30pm until 11:30pm.
    In the Puxi area, the major celebrating zone will be closed to traffic.
    This area is bounded by Liyang Road, from its crossing with Dongdaming Road, Zhoujiazui Road, Haining Road, Xizang Road N., Xizang Road M., Beijing Road W., Chengdu Road N., Chongqing Road S., Fuxing Road M., Fuxing Road E. and the Huangpu River.
    Vehicle traffic on the roads themselves outside the designated zones would continue as normal, officials said.
    The same ban will take effect in Pudong inside an area that is bounded by Baibujie Road, Lujiazui Ring Road N., Lujiazui Ring Road S., Shibujie Road and the Huangpu River.
    Some cross-river bridges and tunnels, downtown elevated roads and Metro stations would also operate under restricted traffic conditions during the holiday afternoons and evenings, police said.
    Fireworks will go off from 5pm until 10pm on Thursday in the districts of Zhabei, Xuhui, Yangpu, Minhang, Baoshan, Songjiang and Qingpu.
    Each district would also impose traffic bans in appropriate areas during the holiday period, police said.
    Daily subway turnover may hit 5 million during the break, according to the Metro management.
    This will be nearly 1 million more than the average daily numbers, and extra trains and services have been scheduled. --(9/28)

  • Chinese rights warning
    China has urged Myanmar to take effective measures to safeguard the lawful rights of Chinese citizens in the country, according to a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
    The statement, posted on the ministry's Website on Friday night, said an official with the ministry, Wei Wei, recently made representation to Myanmar after military conflicts in northern parts of the country in August harmed the rights and interests of Chinese citizens living there.
    Wei, head of the ministry's department of consular affairs, met this week with Kyi Kyi Sein, minister counsellor of the Myanmar Embassy in China, reiterating China's stance.
    Wei urged Myanmar to thoroughly investigate the case as soon as possible, severely punish law breakers, and tell China of the results. China also called on Myanmar to take concrete steps to avoid recurrence of similar incidents, said the statement.
    The Foreign Ministry and China's embassy and consulate in Myanmar would monitor the outcomes and safeguard the safety and rights of Chinese there, it said. --(9/27)

  • Arts to fore
    The 11th Shanghai International Arts Festival Performing Arts Fair will be held from October 17 to 22 at the Pullman Hotels and Resorts. More than 100 major arts festivals, international performing arts organizations and agencies from more than 30 countries and regions will attend. --(9/26)

  • Trains tested
    Metro authorities are testing new trains on the five new lines that will be ready before the 2010 World Expo starts next May. A total of 121 new trains will arrive in the city before the Expo, each capable of carrying 2,500 commuters. Lines 7, 10, 11 and 13 and the second phase of Line 9 will be running before the event. --(9/25)

  • Shanghai International sourcing fair opens
    Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng yesterday attended the opening ceremony of the Shanghai International Sourcing Fair at ShanghaiMart yesterday.
    The fair attracted 272 buyers and suppliers from 32 countries and regions, including Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour, 3M and B&Q.
    The fair covers auto parts, electronic and electrical components, communication & IT components, instruments and meters, chemical raw materials, industrial machinery and supplies, hardware accessories, energy and environment, garments and textiles, gifts and crafts, home accessories, toys, food and beverage, furniture, building materials and household appliances. --(9/24)

  • H1N1 shots successful
    The first people who received H1N1 flu vaccinations on Monday in Beijing had no abnormal reactions, a city health official said yesterday.
    The capital took the lead to start a swine flu vaccination program. Students taking part in National Day celebrations on October 1 were the first to be immunized, said Zhao Tao, head of the Beijing Health Bureau's disease control and prevention department.
    About 10,000 students and celebration participants received the vaccinations on Monday. None of them had adverse reactions, he said.
    The bureau had deployed 500 medical staff in 49 teams to carry out vaccinations in colleges, middle and primary schools in the city, he said.
    The free vaccinations are funded by the municipal government.
    Beijing has reported 1,432 H1N1 flu cases so far, of which 1,112 have recovered.
    The total number of confirmed cases of H1N1 flu on the mainland had reached 13,262 as of 3pm on Monday, figures from the Ministry of Health showed.
    All 31 mainland provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have reported H1N1 flu cases. No deaths have been reported so far. --(9/23)

  • US on course to raise funds
    Raising funds will no longer be a problem for the USA Pavilion as several companies are "on the verge" of sponsoring America's entry at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, the top official for the country's Expo project said yesterday.
    The United States has now raised more than US$40 million of its US$61 million budget, said Jose Villarreal, commissioner general for the USA Pavilion.
    The slowly recovering global economy has made it easier to find potential sponsors.
    "I don't foresee any problem raising the necessary funds for the pavilion," he said.
    The list of companies who want to sponsor the USA Pavilion is "extensive," but Villarreal declined to reveal names as negotiations were still ongoing.
    More than 12 US-based companies have already signed contracts to sponsor the pavilion, including General Electric, PepsiCo, 3M, Dell and Golden Eagle.
    The pavilion budget includes about US$20 million for construction, US$20 million for production of the pavilion's shows and promotions with the remainder slated for operations.
    The country is set to have a bunch of entertainment and sports stars to appear at its pavilion during the 184-day event.
    The USA Pavilion will feature a multimedia show that focuses on "ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things. --(9/22)

  • Checks on ships at dam
    Vessels carrying very dangerous cargos are forbidden to pass the Three Gorges Dam area for 10 days starting from next Monday, as part of safety precautions around the National Day holiday, the river's navigation authority said yesterday.
    Yangtze River navigation administration said all ships passing through the Three Gorges Dam and the Gezhouba Dam are required to undergo strict safety examinations until October 10, in an effort to avoid public safety incidents including pollution spills, violence and acts of terrorism.
    Those carrying top-class dangerous goods will be banned for passage, it said.
    All ships must reveal the identities of the staff, the number of passengers, detailed information about cargos and voyage certificates.
    Police patrols and monitoring measures with advanced equipment have been intensified along the Three Gorges area.
    The Three Gorges Project, initiated in 1993, is a multi-functional water control system built on the upper and middle reaches of the country's longest waterway, the Yangtze River. --(9/21)

  • Tourists return to mainland
    Inbound tourism on the Chinese mainland rebounded in August after falling for 15 consecutive months since May last year, the National Tourism Administration said.
    The mainland reported more than 11.09 million inbound tourist arrivals in August, up 3.06 percent year on year, according to data from the administration released on Friday.
    Growth was recorded in the number of arrivals from 16 major sources of overseas tourists.
    Foreign currency income from inbound tourism was estimated at US$3.466 billion in August, up 5.38 percent from a year earlier.
    Those figures compared to a year-on-year 3.05 percent decline of tourist arrivals in July which stood at 10.72 million, and a 0.66 percent drop of foreign currency income to US$3.325 billion.
    Meanwhile, Chinese mainland tourists made about 4.65 million outbound trips in August, up 11.69 percent from a year ago. The top three destinations were Hong Kong, Macau and South Korea.
    China's inbound tourism suffered from the global economic downturn last year which forced overseas tourists to cut travel spending. --(9/20)

  • Dental checks
    Free dental consultations will be available at the gate of People's Park tomorrow morning on National Dental Care Day, the Shanghai Health Bureau said. Due to a three-year screening and filling campaign, the prevalence of decayed teeth among five-year-old children dropped by 7 percent to 36 percent. Incidence of decayed teeth among children at age 12 dropped from 34.6 percent to 28 percent. --(9/19)

  • Shanghai Customs trials import classification
    Shanghai Customs has begun to classify imports in a pilot program in Pudong New Area.
    The classification for import clearances, based on the credibility of enterprises, will include elements such as categories, price and permits.
    The customs bureau in Pudong New Area have selected 23 import and export enterprises at AA level for the trial.
    Shanghai Customs received 671 declarations at the first day of the pilot plan. --(9/18)

  • Typhoon-hit Taiwan starts to rebuild
    Five weeks after Taiwan's worst storm in half a century killed hundreds of people and buried hundreds of village homes in mudslides, the massive task of reconstruction has only just begun.
    Sections of densely forested mountain slopes are bare where mudslides cascaded down. The foundations of bridges that were destroyed by torrential waters lie on river beds lined with large boulders. The remains of a collapsed building teeter on a river bank.
    Workers using large bulldozers are gradually removing the debris and wreckage. They are rebuilding downed bridges and repairing severed roads in the southern, upland regions worst hit when Typhoon Morakot slammed into the island on August 8 and 9.
    The storm dumped two meters of rain in some areas of southern Taiwan, triggering flooding and mudslides in and around some 40 villages. About 700 people died.
    The government has earmarked NT$120 billion (US$3.6 billion) for reconstruction work over the next three years. That will include building houses for the 7,000 people whose homes were washed away or destroyed.
    In the district of Kaohsiung, workers face the gigantic job of rebuilding 30 destroyed bridges and repairing many parts of a 600-kilometer road through the mountains.
    Its two main rivers, Laonung and Cishan, and many tributaries breached their banks. Waterfall and hot-spring resorts, were buried under mudslides, along with houses, orchards and vegetable plantations.
    "Nothing could stand intact when such massive floodwaters and mudslides came rushing down," said Huang San-che, an official supervising the reconstruction work, as he pointed to the craggy foundation of the destroyed Jiashian Bridge.
    "Such flooding may become more frequent," he said. "We will have to build the new bridges taller, wider and stronger. The embankments will also be reinforced."
    Rains dumped by Morakot in the two-day period surpassed the amount of rain that normally accumulates over an entire year.
    Meteorologists fear torrential rain could hit the island more frequently as a possible result of climate change. --(9/17)

  • Powerful Panels
    Installation has been completed on the solar energy systems on the rooftops of the China Pavilion and Theme Pavilion at the Expo site.
    It is the largest solar system in Asia.
    The system will generate 2.84 million kilowatt-hours per year, which can serve 2,500 Shanghai families for a year.
    The system has a shelf life of more than 20 years.
    All the electricity will be sent to the state grid and be funneled back to the pavilions.
    About 2,800 square meters of panels are on the China Pavilion. A total of 26,000 square meters of solar panels have been installed on the rooftop of the Theme Pavilion. --(9/16)

  • Drivers count mounting cost of license plates
    New city drivers will bid for 8,500 car license plates at this month's auction, a record number so far this year to meet demand during the prime car sales season.
    Shanghai International Commodity Auction Co, the auction organizer, said yesterday that an extra 500 private license tags will go under the hammer in the monthly auction on September 19, compared with 8,000 announced last Friday.
    "It's normal to offer more plates at this time of year because September and October are the prime car sales season," said Zhu Junyi, an official from Shanghai Information Center's automotive industry research office.
    China sold 1.13 million autos in August, traditionally a slow month for sales, according to China's Association of Automobile Manufacturers. That was the sixth consecutive month to see a sales of over 1 million.
    Plates on Shanghai's second-hand market have cost as much as 39,500 yuan (US$5,800) recently.
    Analysts said it was possible the auction price could exceed 40,000 yuan this month. --(9/14)

  • New park opens on National Day
    The first phase of Gucun Park, the city's biggest suburban wilderness area, will open to the public from National Day.
    Located in Baoshan District, the 183.9-hectare park is designed to be the "green lung" of Shanghai, containing plenty of trees, shrubs and habitat for wild animals and birds, Shanghai Morning Post reported today.
    Work on the second phase of construction will begin later this year, extending the park to 434.5 hectares ¨C three times the size of Century Park in Pudong, the newspaper said.
    A large lake and wetland area will be constructed alongside vegetable and fruit farms so residents can pick fresh produce. --(9/13)

  • Smoking ban likely for pubs, karaoke bars
    Smoking may be banned in pubs, Internet cafes and karaoke bars from January next year, according to a new draft law to control smoking in public areas.
    Shanghai's first law controlling smoking was designed to protect the health of women and children, Oriental Morning Post reported today.
    The draft law also bans smoking in schools and kindergartens, hospitals, and most government departments. It suggests a smoking ban in restaurants but won't ban the practice, the report said.
    About 30 percent of city residents smoke, lower than China's average but higher than in most overseas countries, said Zhou Yupeng, vice director of the Shanghai People's Congress standing committee.
    The draft law may be issued in January at the annual meeting of the Shanghai People's Congress, the director of Shanghai Smoking Control Office told a conference in April this year. --(9/12)

  • Parks to keep visitors cool in summer
    The Shanghai Expo organizer is to build two parks along the Huangpu River in the Pudong section of the Expo site for visitors to enjoy a cooler environment in summer - a temperature 5 degrees Celsius lower than other parts of the site.
    The organizer yesterday unveiled the design of the two main parks - the 230,000-square-meter Expo Garden and 140,000-square-meter Houtan Park - that will cover the 2-kilometer riverside.
    More than 5,000 tall trees will provide shelter from the sun and provide natural air-conditioning by channeling the wind through the site, said Yu Zhiyuan, director of the Expo park project. Purified water from the Huangpu River will be sprayed on the ground to lower temperatures. --(9/11)

  • ICBC sets up precious metal trading in Shanghai
    The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China yesterday established a department to deal with precious metal trading including gold, the nation¡¯s first commercial bank to open such a service.
    Shanghai Vice Mayor Tu Guangshao and Jiang Jianqing, chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, attended the unveiling ceremony.
    The department will cover transactions, rentals, stock, investments, loans and financing of precious metals. --(9/10)

  • Later hotel check-out time gets mixed reception
    Some city hotels have agreed to later check-out time from this week, while others are worried the practice may adversely affect arriving guests.
    The China Tourism and Hotel Association over the weekend removed the section of its regulations that says "guests should pay half a day's room charge if checking out after 12pm, and should pay a day's room charge after 6pm."
    Before, the association refused to change the section, describing checking out before noon is an "international practice."
    The section was modified so hotels are now obliged to clearly declare check-out time in their lobbies, or inform guests about them before they register.
    Some luxury hotels, such as Pullman Shanghai Skyway and Sofitel Jinjiang Oriental Pudong, said they would delay check-out time to 2pm to 3pm at least until the end of the year. --(9/9)

  • Notary hotline opens
    Shanghai Association of Notaries has recently launched a hotline (96987200) offering information on how to find the city¡¯s 22 notaries and to receive complaints. Operators and recorded information will be available through the hotline, which is only available in Chinese so far. --(9/8)

  • Cool and cloudy week ahead
    Shanghai is expected to enjoy cool and cloudy weather this week. Today's maximum temperature will be 32 degrees Celsius, and thicker cloud from tomorrow to Thursday will bring cooler conditions, with highs ranging between 30 and 31, forecast the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
    Lows will range between 24 and 25 degrees. From Friday, a weak cold front will bring temperatures under 30 degrees, forecasters said, but a tropical storm will likely miss the city and hit Japan. --(9/7)

  • Local Vaccine Approved
    Shanghai Institute of Biological Products was advised yesterday by the National Institute for the Control of Pharmaceutical and Biological Products in Beijing that its H1N1 vaccine had passed tests.
    "We will now send our vaccine for evaluation by a panel of experts for a production license," said Shao Jun from the Shanghai institute. "The conference could happen next week." If approved, the Shanghai manufacturer will be the country's third licenced to mass produce swine flu vaccine.
    Shanghai Health Bureau didn't update the condition yesterday of a victim with a serious case of swine flu after reporting the city's first critical case on Friday. --(9/6)

  • High-tech park embraces low-tech transport
    Zhangjiang High-Tech Park plans to make 5,000 rental bikes available by the time World Expo starts next year to help the white-collar workers commute between the park and the nearest Metro station.
    Park management officials said they planned to increase the number of bike rental stations to 150, every 300 meters in the 25-square-kilometer area.
    The project started in October with just 20 bikes and two rental stations - one in the park and one at the Zhangjiang High-Tech Park Metro station.
    "The service has been very popular among white-collar workers," said Zhang Cailuo, an official with the park management committee.
    Currently, about 600 rental bikes travel between 50 venues every day. Each bike is used 3.4 times a day on average.
    To rent a bike, users pay a 200-yuan (US$28) deposit for free travel for the first 30 minutes. Then they pay 1 to 3 yuan per hour for any additional time. --(9/4)

  • Home sales nearly double
    Sales of new luxury homes in Shanghai extended their rally for the seventh consecutive month when they nearly doubled in August amid an abundant supply.
    A total of 590 luxury houses, all costing more than 40,000 yuan (US$5,856) per square meter, were sold in the city last month, compared with 310 units in July and 626 units registered during the first half of this year, according to a research released yesterday by Shanghai Uwin Real Estate Information Services Co.
    "The 90 percent monthly increase in volume was primarily due to a notable boost in supply during the past month," said Lu Qilin, a researcher at Uwin. "With growing speculation of a tighter monetary policy by the central government, many wealthy people turned to purchasing luxury houses as a hedge against inflation."
    The supply of luxury houses soared by more than tenfold to some 142,000 square meters last month, mainly fueled by Star River and Bund House, which each introduced 322 units, or 95,400 square meters, and 88 units, or 28,000 square meters, to the market in early August, Uwin statistics showed.
    By the end of August, Star River, a luxury development in Pudong's Huamu area, sold a total of 254 apartments while Bund House in Huangpu District sold 58 units, according to the city's official housing Website.
    The average price for luxury homes, however, fell by 10 percent month on month to about 53,300 yuan per square meter, the lowest since August 2008, Uwin statistics showed.
    "Buying sentiment for top-end homes may remain strong in September as more luxury projects, both villas and apartments, are scheduled to come out this month," said Xue Jianxiong, an analyst with E-House (China) Holdings Ltd.
    Major real estate developers including Top Glory, Hutchison Whampoa, CR Land and Shanghai Greenland will probably launch their high-end residential projects soon, with prices likely ranging from 60,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan per square meter, industry people said. --(9/3)

  • Numonyx sets up base in Waigaoqiao
    Numonyx, one of world's largest RAM providers has recently invested US$30 million to set up a manufacturing base in Waigaoqiao, Shanghai.
    The 10,000-square-meter research and development base will be put into use by next January. Up to 200 researchers will develop memory products, semi-conductors, software and carry out other research and development.
    The company will further invest in Shanghai's Pudong New Area, said Brian Harrison, the company¡¯s president.
    Numonyx is a world memory solution provider working on solutions such as NOR, NAND, MCP RAM on wireless handsets, digital cameras, routers, automotive safety systems, industrial automation and removable storage media. --(9/2)

  • New look for old stations
    Renovations are on target to refurbish Shanghai's 155 older Metro stations by the end of this year, with some stations already taking on a new look after construction has finished.
    Shanghai Indoor Stadium Station on Line 1, the city's oldest Metro line, has already been repainted and repaired, with new-look platform pillars and fresh decor.
    Signs will be improved and some stations will get a new roof to shelter the entrances from rain and reduce the risk of passengers slipping in wet weather.
    Metro operators are also introducing vacuum toilets to 35 major Metro stations on Line 1, 2, 4, 6 and 8 after a pilot project at People's Square Station proved a success.
    The vacuum toilets, like those used on airplanes, flush away waste quickly, save water, and reduce smells, officials said, making them more suitable for busy stations than traditional public toilets. --(9/1)



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