Police web appeal for family of found baby
Police trying to find the parents of an baby girl abandoned in a parking lot over the weekend have posted her photograph on their microblog.
The child, aged about one-and-a-half years old, was discovered cold and wet next to a residential complex in Xiaokunshan Town on Saturday night, Songjiang District police said.
Officers said the little girl, who is in stable condition in hospital, shows signs of learning difficulties. They hope web users can help trace her parents by providing valuable information on Xiaokunshan police's microblog account at t.sina.com.cn or dialling 110.
The baby was found by a resident in the parking lot of the No.8 Pingyuan residential complex about 8pm, according to an officer surnamed Shen.
Police searched the scene yesterday morning but found no clues.
The photograph posted on the police microblog shows the little girl wearing a light green hooded coat, red pants and red cotton shoes. She was in good health, police said.
Meanwhile, a two-month-old baby boy abandoned in Minhang District on January 25 has still to be reunited with his parents, as they have yet to be located, despite media appeals.
A note attached to the child said he had a twin sister and that he was suffering from jaundice.
In the note, his parents said they were poor migrant workers and could no longer afford his medical bills.--(2/21)
Drivers will see tolls lifted this year if the line of vehicles waiting to pass a toll gate exceeds 1,000 meters, the city's transport and construction authority has announced. This is the first time the "free toll for smooth traffic" practice has been written into local traffic regulations.--(2/19)
Sunnier skies, warmer days
Drizzle is expected to stop this weekend and the weather should improve, weatherman said yesterday.
Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said the weather should be stable in the following days and there should be four to five days of fine weather. Temperatures should also climb with the high hitting 15 degrees Celsius. Today is forecast to be cloudy to overcast with a low of 2 degrees and a high of 6. The weather is forecast to be drizzly tomorrow with the mercury ranging from a low of 4 degrees to a high of 6, the bureau said.--(2/18)
Upgrades for info centers
The city is planning to renovate its travel information centers soon in a bid to better help tourists who need assistance or guidance, said the Shanghai Tourism Administration yesterday.
The new centers will also be more eye-catching, so that tourists can find them more easily.
At present, the city has a total of 45 travel info centers in all of the city's 17 districts and Chongming County. Tourists, however, have complained that a large number of the centers are built far away from main streets, and if they need help, they wouldn't know where to find them.
The administration said that info centers in popular areas, such as in Xujiahui, the Bund and airports would receive a large number of tourists, but the rest would be less busy.
Officials said they will set up more signs on the roads near the centers, to make them easier to find and build new booths at busy areas.
The bureau will also use professional travel consultants to man the booths who can give suggestions to tourists on itineraries in the city and in surrounding areas.
Officials also reminded tourists that the addresses of all the centers are on Shanghai Tourism's website: www.shanghaitour.net, but at present only a Chinese version is available.--(2/17)
Officials quarantine 4 with A-H1N1
Local entry-exit quarantine authorities found four people with A-H1N1 influenza on a Liberian cargo ship last week. The ship, as well as the affected crew, has left the city, officials said yesterday.
On Thursday, the Waigao-qiao Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau received a report saying that three crew members on the cargo ship "Northern Juvenile" were suffering from fever and a cough, typical A-H1N1 symptoms. As soon as the ship docked, bureau officials boarded and checked crew members' temperatures.
Officials found that another member, who had close -contact with the ill men, also had a high fever. The four were sent to Pudong Infectious Disease Hospital for further tests and diagnosis.
Doctors suggested the patients be quarantined, and the four were sent back to the ship where they were held in -isolation. The ship left the city the next day.
On Saturday, the Shanghai Center for Disease Control confirmed that the four crew members had A-H1N1. The bureau informed the ship at once, warning them to take measures to prevent the disease from spreading further.
Local health officials said the A-H1N1 situation is stable in Shanghai and the number of cases continues to fall.--(2/16)
Auto sales rise 15.3% but slump is expected
Passenger car sales in China totaled 1.4 million units in January, up 15.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the China Passenger Car Association yesterday.
However, passenger car sales, including automobiles, multi-purpose vehicles, sport-utility vehicles and minivans, fell 4.8 percent from December as government incentives ended and cities restrained vehicle purchases to ease traffic problems.
All categories, except minivans, reported negative growth in January from a month earlier with the biggest drop in car sales, which fell 10.3 percent to 965,238 units.
China's auto sales surged 32 percent to more than 18 million units last year, driven by government stimulus measures including favorable tax rebates on fuel-efficient vehicles as well as subsidies for rural purchases.
Industry analysts expect market growth to slow this year now that incentives have expired and cities like Beijing have introduced policies to limit the number of cars purchased each month to deal with gridlocked streets.
Rao Da, the association's secretary general, said the withdrawal of government incentives will lead to a drop in vehicle sales.
"January's record sales were an extension of last year's market boom and the sales cooled notably at the end of last month," he said. "The negative growth month to month and a rising inventory show signs of a slumping market."
The association predicted February sales would drop 35 percent from January, which would be the largest decline on record, due to the Chinese New Year holiday.
Shanghai General Motors was the top seller among domestic car makers with 131,944 vehicles sold last month. It was followed by Shanghai Volkswagen and FAW Volkswagen, which sold 100,108 units and 91,288 units respectively.
Despite the end of the government stimulus, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers earlier said auto sales may still increase 10 to 15 percent this year due to solid demand.--(2/15)
37 financial projects win innovation awards
Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng attended an award ceremony on Friday during which 37 projects were presented the Shanghai Banking & Financial Innovation Award, including Hushen 300 Stock Index Futures and the next-generation mobile phone banking developed by the Bank of Communications.
The municipal government set up the award last year to implement the national strategy of building Shanghai into an international financial center. Innovation is the key to accomplishing that goal, Han said at the award ceremony.
The 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015) is crucial for Shanghai to develop into an international center of economy, finance, trade and shipping, said the mayor.
Vice Mayor Tu Guangshao, Shanghai People's Congress Standing Committee Vice Chairman Yang Dinghua, and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Shanghai Committee Vice Chairman Gao Xiaomei were also present at the award ceremony.--(2/14)
Car sales drive to monthly high
Sales of domestic car makers raced to their highest monthly level in January despite the expiry of government incentives on purchases and the introduction of vehicle license quotas in Beijing to ease the city's chronic traffic problems.
Ford Motor China yesterday said it sold a record 53,340 units in January, an increase of 20 percent from a year earlier.
Luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz sold 15,330 units in China last month, a surge of 89 percent from the same month a year ago.
Japanese rival Honda Motor Corp yesterday also reported sales more than doubled to 65,580 units in January from the same month last year.
The brisk sales occurred after the government ended incentives on smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles from January 1, which included tax cuts and subsidies. Beijing's city government limits vehicle registrations to combat congestion.
Analysts said the robust January sales were an extension of last year's market boom. Policy changes have prompted consumers to flock to showrooms and place their orders at the end of last year.
"The market doesn't show a significant slump amid the negative impact," said Fang Quan'an from Western Securities. "Growth in 2011 will be more steady."
However, the small car market started to show signs of cooling after the incentives were removed.
Ford said about 7,135 units of Fiesta compact cars were sold in January, an only 1 percent rise from a year earlier.--(2/12)
Housing index climbs again
Shanghai's existing housing index rose for the fifth consecutive month in January.
The index, which monitors price fluctuations of existing homes across the city, gained 9 points, or 0.34 percent, from a month earlier to 2,575, the Shanghai Existing House Index Office said yesterday.
The prices of existing homes in five downtown districts in Puxi and Pudong's part within the Inner Ring Road rose an average 0.48 percent last month. Meanwhile, 62 of the 72 areas tracked saw an average price rise of 0.46 percent while the balance dipped 0.41 percent on average.
"The past month witnessed a really mixed performance as the central government introduced a new set of tightening measures on January 26 and 27 in a continuous effort to cool the housing market," said Tao Ting, an analyst of the index office. "Buyers rushed to secure deals during the first 26 days amid market speculation that further curbing policies would be launched, and buying sentiment plunged in the last couple of days of the month after official announcements from the government."
China increased the down-payment requirement for second-home buyers from 50 percent to 60 percent on January 26 and launched trial operations for a property tax in Shanghai and Chongqing the next day after earlier rounds of tightening measures seemed ineffective to cool home prices.
Existing homes in Longbai in Shanghai's Minhang District rose 1.22 percent from a month earlier, the largest rise of all monitored areas, and those in Longhua in Xuhui District climbed 1.21 percent.--(2/10)
Back to work ... and cold and rain
If the thought of returning to work after the Spring Festival holiday wasn't bad enough for millions of city residents, it's going to be cold and wet as well.
The weather will turn overcast this morning, and drizzle or snow will fall on the city from late today to tomorrow, forecasters said yesterday.
However, after that the skies will clear with sunny ¡ª though cold ¡ª conditions predicted for Saturday.
For the next day or so, the maximum temperature will drop to around 10 degrees Celsius from yesterday's 17.2 degrees, and fall further to 5 degrees at the weekend, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. Low temperatures will also fall, down to minus 1 degree on Saturday morning, forecasters said.
The bureau advised residents that it's not time for spring clothes yet, as the chilly weather may last a while.
Outside Shanghai, the cold wave will also cover most of the country over the next three days. Snowstorms will hit central and east China, including the western area of Yellow and Huaihe river valley and the northeastern area of the lower reaches of the Yangtze River.
Other places, such as the Xinjiang Uygur, Tibet and Inner Mongolia autonomous regions, northeast and northwest China, will also have rain or snow, the Central Meteorological Observatory said. Temperatures in those area could fall by as much as 8 to 10 degrees, it said.--(2/9)
Luxury helicopters to be built in China
A Chinese manufacturer has joined forces with a European helicopter maker to tap the market for high-end business aircraft, Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao reported yesterday.
Under an agreement signed with Eurocopter, a subsidiary of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company, Wenzhou-based Zhong'ou International Group will assemble helicopters at one of its manufacturing plants in Changshu in Jiangsu Province, while Eurocopter, the world's No. 1 helicopter maker, will provide spare parts and technical support.
The first helicopters - seating six to eight people and powered by turbo-charged engines - are due to be delivered next year.
The helicopters will cost between 30 million yuan (US$4.55 million) and 60 million yuan each, according to the newspaper.
Eurocopter has been seeking a partner to produce high-end helicopters for business use in the Chinese mainland for some time.
Established in 1989 mainly as an auto parts manufacturer, Zhong'ou now runs three manufacturing plants in Shanghai and neighboring Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces.
The company started to tap the luxury recreational vehicle market in 2002 in cooperation with Mercedes-Benz.
In the long term, Zhong'ou plans to produce high-end helicopters on its own, Chairman Wu Guolin said.--(2/8)
Two More Days Of Warm Weather
The city is expected to stay warm today and tomorrow, with temperatures reaching 15 degrees Celsius today and 16 degrees tomorrow, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said yesterday.
Today's lowest temperature will be around 5 degrees while tomorrow will see that rise to 10 degrees.
But temperatures will begin to drop from Wednesday.--(2/7)
A cold snap will sweep northern China over the next few days.
Temperatures in some parts of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and northeast China will drop 4 to 6 degrees Celsius, the National Meteorological Center said on its website.
In most areas north of the Huaihe River, temperatures will drop between 4 and 10 degrees tomorrow and Tuesday.
The cold front is then expected to move southward, the center said.
Meteorologists said there will be light snow in some parts of Xinjiang, eastern Inner Mongolia, the Sichuan Basin and most areas of northeast China in the next few days.
Meanwhile, coastal regions were enveloped in heavy fog yesterday, causing some transport problems.
Visibility was less than 50 meters in Dongying, Shandong Province.--(2/6)
Cold front to sweep north China
China's meteorological authority said Saturday that a cold snap would sweep north China over the next few days, bringing down temperatures and carrying gusty winds.
Temperatures in some parts of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and northeast China will drop 4 to 6 degrees Celsius over the weekend, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said in a statement on its website.
In most areas north to the Huaihe River, the temperatures will go down 4 to 6 degrees Celsius, or even 8 to 10 degrees Celsius in some parts of the areas between Monday and Tuesday.
The cold front would then move southward to affect more areas in the eastern and southern parts of the country.
The NMC said some areas in northern and western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the eastern part of Inner Mongolia, Sichuan Basin and most of the northeast China, the western parts of the areas south to the Yangtze River will see light to moderate snow or sleet in the forthcoming three days.
Fog continued to shroud south China Saturday, reducing visibility to less than 200 meters in parts of Hunan, Hubei, Jiangxi, Sichuan and Fujian provinces, as well as Chongqing City.--(2/5)
Shanghai details housing restrictions
Buyers of second homes who apply to Shanghai's public housing fund will need to put down 60 percent of the price, up from 50 percent, the city government announced yesterday.
It was releasing details for the local implementation of the latest tightening policies issued by the central government in a bid to curb speculation.
Interest rates for such mortgages should be at least 10 percent above the standard level, a notice issued by the Shanghai Information Office said.
The measures came into effect yesterday, the Shanghai Provident Fund Management Center said.
Shanghai has also promised to announce its annual target of controls on new home prices by the end of March, a requirement by the central government.
"The latest increase in down payment for second home buyers under the city's public housing fund program, by itself, will have quite a small impact on the city's housing market due to the comparatively low lending ceiling of the program," said Ma Ji, research manager with Shanghai Centaline Property Consultants Ltd, which operates more than 240 brokerages across the city.
"However, the overall influence of the country's latest actions to curb property speculation, which include a stricter home purchase ban, will probably cut home sales significantly."
The transaction volume of homes, both new and existing, will likely drop at least 50 percent in the coming few months in the city, Ma said.
The lending ceiling for each household under Shanghai's public housing fund program is now 400,000 yuan (US$60,698) for second-home buyers but the majority of homes sold in Shanghai nowadays cost between 1.5 million and 2.5 million yuan, Ma said.
Currently, the provident fund center only extends loans to second-home buyers if the floor area of their first home divided by the number of family members is no larger than the local average of 34 square meters per person.
Meanwhile, Shanghai will ensure full implementation of all tightening policies introduced last week by central government, according to the notice.
The down payment for buyers of second homes at commercial banks will be raised to 60 percent from the previous 50 percent, with interest rates standing 10 percent above the standard level.
Local families who already own two or more houses and non-local families who have one home already in the city will be banned from buying any more homes here.
The home-purchase ban also applies to non-locals who cannot provide tax or social insurance certificates to show their length of residence in the city.
For local families who have one home already and non-local families who can prove their length of residence, they are both entitled to buy only one more home.
Residential properties in Shanghai will be charged a full transaction tax if they are sold within five years of purchase.
A separate notice, on the official website of the city's taxation bureau, says that owners of taxable homes are required to pay their annual property tax voluntarily by December 31 every year and a daily 0.05 percent surcharge would be levied if there was any delay.--(2/2)
Profit set to jump
SAIC Motor Corp said its 2010 net profit would more than double from a year earlier.
The nation's largest auto group expected its 2010 net income to grow more than 100 percent from 6.59 billion yuan (US$997 million) a year earlier, the company said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
The auto maker also said it has increased its sales target for this year despite the overall industry's expected cooling from a market boom in 2010. The company aimed to sell 3 million cars this year.--(2/1)