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  • Bust razes trafficking connections
    Drug trafficking channels between Shanghai and Guangdong have been destroyed by a crackdown on two drug gangs, Shanghai police said.
    The action against the drug gangs in Shanghai, Zhejiang and Guangdong led in the past two months to 43 suspects being detained, police said. About 213 kilograms of drugs including "ice," which was mostly methamphetamine, and ketamine, a powerful anesthetic, were found in the dens of the two gangs, the Shanghai Public Security Bureau said.
    In one of the cases, a gang of 16 drug dealers in Shanghai and Guangzhou was busted this month after three months of detective work.
    Over 30 kilograms of "ice" and ketamine were found in dens of the gang led by Liang Guoyong from Guangdong Province and Shi Runqiang from Shanghai, drug enforcement officials said.--(5/31)

  • Shanghai gets a charge out of reliable electricity
    Shanghai's electricity supplier was the most reliable among cities in China last year, Shanghai Municipal Power Company said yesterday.
    The time between receiving an electricity failure report and power company workers arriving at site was shortened from 36 minutes to 21 minutes on average, and the average repair time was reduced from 35 minutes to 14 minutes.
    The reliability rate of electricity power in the city reached 99.983 percent last year.
    In order to make it convenient for residents to pay their electricity bill, the power company added 850 payment windows across the city.
    Yang Dinghua, deputy director of the Standing Committee of Shanghai People's Congress, joined the press conference.--(5/30)

  • Investment hopes lift index
    Shanghai stocks snapped out of a three-week loss yesterday and rose on hopes China will accelerate investment in infrastructure construction to bolster a slowing economy.
    The Shanghai Composite Index jumped 1.19 percent to 2,361.37 points.
    Cement firms led the rise on possible higher demand for their products as the National Development and Reform Commission is accelerating approval for new projects.
    "The cement producers have gained 12 percent in the past five days on average," Hou Yingmin, analyst at Aijian Securities, said yesterday. "Cement shares were boosted by expectations that demand will rise as government will spend more on infrastructure construction."
    Wang Jianhui, a senior analyst at Southwest Securities, said: "The NDRC is accelerating approval for projects to maintain growth ¡®selectively.' The impact will not be as massive as the 4-trillion-yuan (US$630 billion) investment in 2008," referring to the measures the government unveiled then to counter the global financial crisis.
    Anhui Conch Cement Co, the nation's biggest producer of the material, soared 5.8 percent to 17.87 yuan. Huaxin Cement Co surged by the daily limit of 10 percent to 16.36 yuan. Fujian Cement Inc climbed 7.5 percent to 9.09 yuan.--(5/29)

  • Price cuts at 207 projects
    Over 200 residential property projects in Shanghai will offer price cuts in June, staying above 200 for the fourth straight month, with more than 20 percent located in Pudong New Area.
    Developers of 207 developments, comprising both apartments and villas, will provide discounts next month, compared to 205 developments this month, according to a research released over the weekend by, which operates the country's largest real estate website.
    Citywide, 76 percent of the price cuts will be offered by developers of projects located beyond the city's Outer Ring Road, up from 75 percent in May.
    Those within the Inner Ring Road, meanwhile, will account for less than 5 percent of the total, Soufun data showed.
    With 43 housing projects offering price discounts, Pudong will continue to lead all districts in the city. Qingpu is next with 25 projects offering price cuts and Songjiang has 24.--(5/28)

  • Weather forecast covers islands
    Hainan's meteorological bureau said yesterday that it has started issuing weather forecasts for two islands and one reef in the South China Sea.
    The bureau in the southern island province said it started forecasts for Yongxing and Huangyan islands as well as Yongshu Reef on May 16. "It is important to improve weather forecasts for the South China Sea to help ensure the safety of passing vessels and offshore production," said Cai Qinbo, director with the Hainan provincial meteorological station.--(5/27)

  • Baosteel gets Zhanjiang plant nod
    Baosteel Group Corp has won final approval to build a US$11 billion steel plant in south China's port city of Zhanjiang, years after the project was first proposed.
    The National Development and Reform Commission, which is responsible for approving major projects in China, yesterday said it has granted the go-ahead for the project, which will require a total investment of 69.68 billion yuan (US$11 billion) and have an annual capacity of 10 million tons.
    The commission delayed approving such major projects at a time China's steel industry is struggling with overcapacity. But the recent slowdown in the economy has prompted the government to focus more on stimulating growth.
    The central government said on Wednesday that it would speed up investment on a number of major infrastructure projects this year as part of efforts to facilitate growth.
    The NDRC has also approved a plan by Wuhan Iron and Steel Group to build a steel mill in Fangchenggang, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which will have an annual capacity of 9.2 million tons and require 64 billion yuan in investment, according to a separate statement.
    The two new modern steel projects have come to fruition only after local governments agreed to ditch some old capacity. The Guangdong government will close 16.14 million tons of obsolete crude steel annual capacity elsewhere in the province as part of its deal with Baosteel for the Zhanjiang project.
    Baosteel is China's third-largest steel firm, producing 43.3 million tons of crude steel last year, after the Hebei Iron and Steel Group and the Anshan Iron and Steel Group. Baosteel Chairman Xu Lejiang said earlier this month that the company plans to reduce capacity on its home turf of Shanghai by 3 million tons within the decade.
    In a separate development, three Chinese companies - Baosteel, Hunan Valin and Minmetals - have subscribed to become founder shareholders of globalORE, a Singapore-based electronic platform for physical iron ore trade. The platform is considered by some as a rival to a similar one just launched by the China Beijing International Mining Exchange.
    A Baosteel representative said the two platforms could complement each other. It also backs the Beijing platform.--(5/26)

  • Standard translations for TCM
    Traditional Chinese Medicine will have standard translations for each term to improve the spread of its theory and benefit more people around the world.
    A local university researcher is leading the translation team for the World Health Organization's International Classification of Traditional Medicine project, the university's officials announced yesterday.
    Commissioned by the State Food and Drug Administration, Li Zhaoguo, deputy dean of Foreign Languages College of Shanghai Normal University, has made the national standards translation for thousands of TCM terms. The Chinese standards have been submitted to the WHO to make the international standards, Li said.
    Experts from different countries often differ about translation of TCM concepts, and Li discusses the standard translation with experts.--(5/25)

  • US$105b support
    Shanghai has secured 660 billion yuan (US$105 billion) of financing support over the next three years from 12 banks.
    The funds will go to strategic industries such as high-end equipment manufacturing, bio-pharmaceutical, information technology and new energy.
    The 10 major industries may make up over 50 percent of the city's overall gross domestic product value by the end of 2015.
    The support will secure Shanghai's capital needs for major industry projects and help the city's economic restructuring. --(5/24)

  • Truck crashes into bus, hurts 13
    A concrete mixer truck crashed into a bus in a downtown area yesterday morning, putting 12 passengers in the hospital, traffic authorities said.
    The passengers, including one who suffered severe injuries, were in stable condition. The truck driver was injured lightly, with bruises on his left arm.
    The crash happened about 6:40am when the truck slammed into the middle of the bus at Xinzha Road and Chengdu Road N., shattering the bus windows and damaging its right side. There were about 20 passengers on the bus, and many suffered cuts and bruises. One middle aged man suffered head injuries and multiple fractures to his right arm.
    A witness, surnamed Xia, said he saw the truck approach the intersection when the traffic light was yellow.--(5/23)

  • Museum plan boosts astronomy
    Shanghai will build a museum to popularize knowledge of astronomy and showcase the latest astronomical achievements, local science officials told the International Symposium on the Popularization of Science in Shanghai yesterday.
    Zhao Shiming, deputy curator of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, said the local government and scientists are discussing details of the museum, to be the second on China's mainland after the Beijing Planetarium.
    Whether entry will be free also is being discussed by officials.
    "Visitors will feel like they are traveling in space, instead of watching a 3D or 4D film as is common in many domestic museums," Zhang said.
    Also, officials said a new Shanghai Natural History Museum will be finished next year in Jing'an District.--(5/22)

  • Fuel oil cleanup goes on, reservoirs closed
    The greasy dirt spotted along the south bank of Shanghai's Changxing Island after the sinking of a fuel ship was expected to be cleaned up by last night, while the city's major reservoirs in the Yangtze River likely will remain closed for three days, authorities said yesterday.
    The Shanghai Maritime Administration said it had dispatched 19 ships to the scene to clean the dirt since Saturday, and large pieces of greasy dirt had been removed by yesterday. More than 2,330 meters of oil fence and tons of oil-absorption felt were set out to control the pollution, officials said.
    The leak was on the south side of the Changxing Island where Qingcaosha Reservoir, the city's biggest, is located. The leak did not affect the water in the reservoir, said Zhu Yiping, vice manager of the reservoir.
    "The pollution area was around 2.5 kilometers away from the reservoir and was closer to the mouth of the river," Zhu said.
    Water monitoring has been ongoing around the clock by environmental and maritime authorities, officials said.
    "We'll open the water gate as soon as the alert is lifted," Meng Mingqun, director of the water supply division of the Shanghai Water Authority. "But it will be difficult within three days."
    The city's tap water quality was not affected by the incident, authorities said.
    Rescuers were alerted at 8:40pm on Friday when the Tongyin No. 6 reported being swamped during a gale at the mouth of Wusong port, close to the river's mouth. The crew of nine people were rescued.
    Salvage teams refloated the ship but oil was later spotted close to the reservoir, said maritime officials. Three major reservoirs around the area ¡ª Qingcaosha, Chenghang and Baogang ¡ª were closed.--(5/21)

  • Car plate record price for 5th consecutive month
    Strong demand drove car plate prices in Shanghai to a record high for the fifth consecutive month, despite an increase in the quota for yesterday's auction.
    The average price for a car plate was 64,367 yuan (US$10,182) - up 2,741 yuan on April, said auction organizer Shanghai Commodity International Co.
    The lowest successful bid increased 3,000 yuan to 64,000 yuan, while the total number of bidders was 24,230, up 1,524 from a month earlier.
    This is the fifth consecutive month that the car plate price in Shanghai has set a new high. The average price has increased about 10,000 yuan this year.
    The local government offered 9,300 plates for auction this month - the most this year and up 800 on last month's quota. But market observers said that hadn't altered car buyers' expectations of continuing price increases.
    "After the price of a car plate passed the 60,000-yuan psychological benchmark in April, would-be buyers who in the past had taken a wait-and-see approach decided to go ahead with their bids before it gets even higher," a car dealer surnamed Ji said.
    A netizen, nicknamed "Forever Lanlan" said on Weibo microblog that as the most expensive piece of iron in the world, Shanghai's car license plate is probably a good investment. Secondhand plates were priced at 67,000 yuan before the weekend.
    Sun Jianping, director of Shanghai Transport and Port Bureau, said earlier this month that the city government does not want to see license plate prices soaring, but will continue to ease traffic congestion by limiting private car ownership.--(5/20)

  • Drizzly and cooler over the weekend
    Shanghai is expected to have a wet weekend with a drop in temperatures, forecasters said yesterday.
    The city will see rain and drizzle on both today and tomorrow, and temperatures will range from 18 to 22 degrees Celsius. Yesterday's maximum temperature stayed above 30 degrees. Starting Monday, cloudy days will be back. Temperatures will range from 18 to 26 degrees. Next week's average is expected to be about 20 to 21 degrees, with two days of rain forecast during the latter part of the week, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. --(5/19)

  • Shanghai continues to record expanding foreign investment
    Foreign direct investment in Shanghai continued to expand in April, in contrast to the national trend of falling investment from overseas and the city's own weakening economy.
    Shanghai attracted US$2.07 billion of contracted foreign investment last month, up 33.2 percent from a year earlier, the Shanghai Statistics Bureau said.
    The pace quickened from the 2.7 percent rise in March and compared with February's 29.3 percent.
    Physically allocated foreign investment increased 15.9 percent to US$1.39 billion last month, slower than the surge of 46 percent in March.
    "Shanghai is trying to brave the economic difficulties by continuously improving the city's business environment and making it more investment-friendly," said Wang Zehua, a bureau analyst. "When uncertainties are all around the world, investors may feel safer to put their money in Shanghai."
    Others attributed the city's recent strong growth of inbound foreign investment to the Shanghai Disneyland project.
    Construction of the core facilities of Shanghai Disneyland, including roads and pipelines infrastructure, began last month.
    The first phase of the park will cost 24.5 billion yuan (US$3.8 billion), and an additional 4.5 billion yuan will be spent on support facilities such as hotels, shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.
    In contrast, foreign direct investment in China contracted for a sixth straight month in April by falling 0.74 percent.
    Shen Danyang, a Ministry of Commerce spokesman, said sluggish economic growth around the world, fiercer competition for new investment and China's rising production costs all contributed to the fall.
    Shanghai aims to attract at least US$10 billion in foreign direct investment each year by 2015, the Shanghai Commission of Commerce said earlier in a guideline for foreign investment.
    A mature market system, skilled workforce, efficient government and transparent laws should be major reasons for foreign investors to choose the city, instead of preferential policies, the commission said.
    However, that goal could be overshadowed by the city's weakening economic growth. Shanghai's gross domestic product expanded just 7 percent in the first quarter, the slowest in 18 months and the weakest among China's provinces and municipalities.
    The city's exports and imports both declined in April, the first "twin cuts" since October 2009. Industrial production was down 0.2 percent and fixed-asset investment in the first four months also lost 0.4 percent.--(5/18)

  • Thefts reveal lax hotel security
    Three luxury hotels in Shanghai were told to improve their security during a court hearing yesterday when a man was charged with thefts totaling 230,000 yuan (US$36,400) in 14 star-rated hotels in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou.
    The suspect surnamed Chen was caught in a five-star hotel in Jing'an District last November.
    Prosecutors said Chen would go to the entrance of buffet breakfasts and pretend to make a phone call while actually listening to guests revealing their room numbers.
    He then went to their rooms and asked cleaners to open the doors. Chen sometimes told a cleaner to clean the bathroom and sometimes he claimed that he had an urgent matter but had left the key to his wife.
    Most hotel workers would let Chen enter the room for fear their refusal would incur complaints and a salary deduction, prosecutors said. When they finished cleaning, Chen had already left with cash and other valuables from the room.
    Between July 2010 and November 2011, Chen used the trick to steal cash and valuables worth over 230,000 yuan in 14 hotels in the three cities. Sixteen people became victims but few reported to police after reaching compensation deals with the hotels, which themselves stayed mute to protect their reputations.
    In response to the scams, the Shanghai Tourism Trade Association will establish information-sharing mechanisms and step up security education at hotels.
    Information about crime cases and new trends that threaten guests' security will be released as quickly as possible, said Qiu Yongqiang, secretary-general of the hotel industry branch with the association.
    "The crimes exposed some loopholes in hotels' management," Qiu said.
    Many hotels are subjected to high turnover rates, and many new staff workers don't receive specific training, he said.
    Some hotels fail to respond quickly when suspicious people walk back and forth at the restaurant or the lobby area and staff members, some at the management level, lack security awareness, said Qiu. --(5/17)

  • Water dispensers quickly gain high bacteria levels
    Bacteria in cold water from drinking water dispensers will soar after seven days and greatly surpass the allowed bacterial limits in ten days, a detailed study has found.
    Machines' liners are the most likely spot for bacterial contamination due to their structure, and people must regularly clean and disinfect the machine and shorten the consumption period to avoid intestinal disease, especially in summer, according to the study by the Zhejiang Province Haiyan Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
    Similar research done by the Shanghai Center for Disease Prevention and Control showed the same results, as cold water had excessive levels of bacteria while hot water maintained a high quality due to bacteria being killed by the heat.
    Officials in Zhejiang Province spent five months checking microbial counts of cold and hot water at different times of day within 10-day periods, along with the change of microbial counts in hot and cold water mouths and liners. The study found the liner is completely contaminated by bacteria within two weeks and the cold water mouth within three months. The hot water mouth still has a 60 percent of quality rate on bacterial counts in five months.--(5/16)

  • Weekly home sales improve in Shanghai
    Sales of residential properties from low-to mid-class apartments to luxury ones rose in Shanghai last week.
    The purchases of new homes, excluding government-funded affordable housing, jumped 31.1 percent from a week earlier to 200,800 square meters in the city during the seven days ended on Sunday, said a report released yesterday by Shanghai Deovolente Realty Co.
    "An overall recovery in the residential market helped push up weekly sales to the highest since April," said Lu Qilin, a researcher at Deovolente.
    "The significant growth in transaction of luxury houses also led to an increase in the average price," Lu added.
    A residential project in outlying Qingpu District sold 193 apartments last week at an average price of 11,151 yuan (US$1,770) per square meter, topping all other developments around the city.
    Meanwhile, Shanghai Arch, a Sun Hung Kai Properties development in Pudong New Area, sold seven units last week at an average price of more than 110,000 yuan per square meter, becoming the best-selling luxury project in the city, according to Deovolente.
    Thirty-five luxury homes costing above 50,000 yuan per square meter were sold in the city last week, up from 15 units sealed the previous week.--(5/15)

  • Trim in ratio may spark rally in stocks
    Shanghai stocks may rise this week as the People's Bank of China cut the amount of cash that banks must set aside as reserves, pumping money into the financial system to bolster a slowing economy.
    The central bank cut the reserve requirement ratio by 0.5 percentage point for the third time in six months, effective this Friday. The ratio for the biggest lenders will fall to 20 percent and that for medium and small banks will drop to 16.5 percent, the PBOC said in a statement on its website.
    Financial institutions now hold about 84 trillion yuan (US$13.3 trillion) in total yuan deposits. The market estimated the cut in the ratio will unlock 400 billion yuan to 500 billion yuan for lending, reported yesterday.
    After the previous two reserve requirement cuts, the key stock index gained 2.3 percent and 0.3 percent on the following trading days.
    The Shanghai Composite Index shed 1.9 percent to close at 2,394.98 points last week, after a customs bureau report said China's export growth eased to 4.9 percent in April from a year ago, and down from 8.9 percent in March. In April the country's industrial production grew at the slowest pace of 9.3 percent since 2009.
    However the recent cut may not guarantee a stock rally this week as Zhou Xiaochuan, PBOC governor, explained earlier that the cut was to hedge against changes in foreign exchange reserves.
    "The ratio cut signals the economy is bottoming out," Ba Shusong, deputy director of the Finance Institute of the State Council's Development Research Center, said on his weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, on Saturday. --(5/14)

  • Bank reserve ratio cut set to provide boost to economy
    China yesterday announced a long-awaited move to make more money available for lending to address the slowing economic growth in China.
    The People's Bank of China said it will cut the reserve requirement ratio for commercial banks for 0.5 percentage point effective from Friday, the third cut since last December.
    The announcement came a day after data showed cooler inflation, sluggish trading, slower growth of domestic consumption, and disappointing banks lending in April.
    Large banks will have to hand in 20 percent of their deposits to the central bank as reserve after May 18, down from 20.5 percent currently. The ratio will be 16.5 percent for small banks.
    The move is expected to free around 420 billion yuan (US$66.7 billion) for lending.
    "The cut in the reserve requirement alone is not enough to stabilize the economy," said Qu Hongbin, a chief economist with HSBC Bank. "China's economy is facing heavy slowdown pressure."
    He estimated that the growth of gross domestic product may soften from first quarter's 8.1 percent to 7 percent in April.
    "The country should carry out more tax cutting policies, increase investment in affordable housing and medical care," Qu added.
    Lian Ping, an economist with the Agricultural Bank of China, said that the move will lower companies' fund-raising costs by increasing the money supply, and will also help to activate the bond and stock markets.
    The additional liquidity can also offset a slower inflow of foreign capital amid global economic uncertainties. Central bank data showed that the volume of yuan banks have used to purchase foreign currencies in the first quarter was 74 percent lower than the same period last year.
    Expectations have been mounting for the cut since March when central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan said that China has "plenty room" for lowering the reserve requirement ratio.
    Economists have advised for looser monetary policies and more stimulus plans after China's top statistic bureau said that the Consumer Price Index expanded 3.4 percent in April from a year earlier, down from a rise of 3.6 percent in March.
    Meanwhile, China's industrial production gained 9.3 percent last month, less than the rise of 11.9 percent in March, and was the slowest since 2009. Retail sales growth moderated to 14.1 percent from 15.2 percent, and fixed-asset investment in the first four months advanced 20.2 percent, compared with 20.9 percent in the first quarter.
    Analysts have estimated that two or three more cuts in reserve requirements may come this year.--(5/13)

  • Gloss dims on silver's debut
    Silver futures, which began trading yesterday in Shanghai, fell on concerns over a possible deterioration in the European debt crisis.
    The most active September-delivery contract settled 0.42 percent lower at 6,140 yuan per kilogram, or US$30.25 per ounce, on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. The decline followed the tumble in global markets which are very worried that the European debt crisis will worsen following inconclusive election in Greece while the new French president has promised to renegotiate austerity agreements.
    Earlier on Wednesday, New York silver fell to a four-month low of US$28.615 an ounce on Comex.
    Silver was the 28th product to be launched on China's futures markets. Producers now have a new hedging tool to control risks and investors can buy it to protect against inflation.
    Vice Mayor Tu Guangshao said the launch of the new silver contract was a significant milestone for the futures exchange.--(5/11)

  • Half-price day looms at 37 tourist sites
    A total of 37 tourist sites in Shanghai will offer 50 percent discounts for visitors on May 19 to mark the second "China Tourism Day."
    Popular sightseeing spots such as the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Shanghai Wildlife Park and Happy Valley are on the list, said the Shanghai Tourism Administration.
    Some sites, including the Happy Valley, anticipate huge visitor volume and will prolong their opening hours.
    The administration said that because the day falls on Saturday this year, the guest volume is expected to swell. Tourists should be fully prepared for big crowds and perhaps hot weather. Officials suggest people avoid extremely popular sites in the rush hours.
    Last year on May 19, tourism sites that provided half-off discounts welcomed a booming visitor flow. People started to line up at the gates not long after sunrise.
    Tourists said yesterday that they expect to enjoy the relatively inexpensive admission fees, but they know they are going to meet with a rush.
    "Last year my parents went to some of the sightseeing spots on the discount day," said Estel Zhao, a Shanghai resident. "And they felt exhausted as most of their time was spent on lining in queues, like what happened during the World Expo (in 2010)."
    Tourists said the admission fee for sites in Shanghai are too high. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower charges 150 yuan (US$23.70) to go to the observatory platform, while the Shanghai Wildlife Park requires admission of 135 yuan.
    The tourism administration said it encouraged the attractions to give discounts so people can enjoy them more often.--(5/10)

  • Baosteel may relocate main Shanghai plant
    Baosteel Group Corp, the parent of China's biggest listed steelmaker, may move its main factory out of Shanghai as part of its plan to adjust production capacity and structure, Chairman Xu Lejiang said today at a conference in Beijing.
    "There's no doubt the steel industry is a huge emitter of carbon dioxide," Xu said. "We are facing triple pressure from the government, the society and ourselves for meeting environmental protection standards. Moving may be our major task in the next few years."
    Shougang Corp, the only Beijing-based steelmaker, moved its main factory to Hebei Province in 2008 as the government implemented energy conservation and pollution reduction measures ahead of the Olympics.
    "Shougang's today is our tomorrow," Xu said. "We will take proactive actions in crossing the threshold. In the next 10 years, production in Shanghai will fall by three million tons. The lost capacity will be supplemented by other factories."
    According to an industry insider, Baosteel received government approval earlier this month for a 10 million-ton plant in Zhanjiang, a port city in Guangdong Province, without official papers.
    The steelmaker failed to get approval from the National Development and Reform Commission back in 2008 for the plant due to industry curbs on overcapacity.
    Chinese steelmakers posted combined losses of more than 1 billion yuan (US$158.2 million) in the first quarter due to slack demand on weakening exports and government curbs on the housing sector, the China Iron and Steel Association said last month.
    Meanwhile, Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Corp, also received approval for its 10 million-ton plant in Fang Cheng Gang, a port city in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region that is next to Guangdong Province. Market watchers are concerned the neighboring steelmaking bases may lead to excessive competition.--(5/9)

  • Bus camera plan to keep lanes clear
    City traffic authorities plan to install cameras at the front and rear of buses to deter other vehicles illegally using bus-only lanes.
    These lanes are open only to buses during morning and afternoon rushes.
    Shanghai construction and traffic commission said, in a response to the city's top adversary body, that it will team up with police to crack down on violations.
    The lanes are solely for buses between 7am to 9am and 4pm to 7pm. The city has 160 kilometers of bus lanes.
    However, many other vehicles use the lanes as shortcuts, adding to congestion on Shanghai's roads.
    "They just cut in suddenly without warning," said one downtown bus driver.
    A sharp burst on the horn persuades some motorists to get out of the bus lanes, added the driver.
    During a recent afternoon rush hour at a busy crossroads in downtown Hongkou District, Shanghai Daily counted within 10 minutes 160 or so vehicles traveling in the bus-only lane, of which a third were not buses.
    In rush hours buses save time using their lanes, as the city tries to encourage residents to take public transport.
    In 2005, Shanghai began building bus lanes, adding 30 kilometers annually. This figure will reach 300 kilometers within five years, said traffic officials.--(5/8)

  • Pollution alert as Shanghai enjoysits hottest day of the year so far
    Shanghai recorded its hottest day of the year so far yesterday with temperatures reaching 32.6 degrees Celsius.
    And today could be even hotter, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said, with temperatures reaching 33 degrees.
    City forescasters said the lack of cloud and wind was responsible for the rising temperatures. The three days since Friday have all seen readings in excess of 30 degrees.
    Zhu Jiehua, chief service officer with the bureau, said such high temperatures in early May were not uncommon. Conditions were similar in 2007, 2009 and last year.
    There will be some respite from the heat tomorrow and on Wednesday when showers are expected to help bring temperatures down to between 24 and 27 degrees. It will be windy on Thursday, forecasters say, which will lower temperatures even further - to between 18 and 24 degrees.
    Though the sun was shining yesterday, air quality in the city was said to be "lightly polluted" as a result of the lack of wind.
    Friday saw similar conditions but air quality had improved to "good" the next day before dropping again in the evening.
    The Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center issued a warning yesterday morning, urging anyone with respiratory diseases or weak immunity to stay home.
    The amount of PM10 and PM2.5 particles reached a peak between 9am and 10am yesterday. The PM2.5 density in Putuo District reached 190 micrograms per cubic meter at about 9am and 200 micrograms per cubic meter at Zhangjiang in the Pudong New Area about an hour later.
    China's acceptable daily limit for PM2.5 is 75 micrograms.
    Shanghai's PM2.5 density was above that figure from Saturday evening and for most of yesterday.
    PM2.5 particles pose major health risks as they are small enough to lodge in the lungs and even enter the bloodstream.
    Environmental officials said the pollution was caused by Shanghai's own pollutant sources, rather than particles from northern sandstorms blown in by the wind. But the sources weren't named.
    Air quality today will be lightly polluted and good tomorrow, the center said.
    Along with the rise in temperatures, the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration is warning local eateries and residents to take extra care during processing and cooking because of the increased risk of bacterial food poisoning in the heat.--(5/7)

  • Minor earthquake hits Baoshan area
    A small earthquake hit Shanghai's Baoshan District early yesterday.
    With a magnitude of 0.9, it was too small to be felt by humans, the city's seismological bureau said, adding that it didn't receive any reports from residents living in the area. The bureau reported the earthquake, which took place at 6:38am with the epicenter in Baoshan at a depth of 3 kilometers, on its microblog immediately after detecting it. The bureau said three to four small earthquakes occur in Shanghai each year. --(5/6)

  • Clean chit for celery cabbage
    The local agriculture authority yesterday denied the city's vegetable sellers were using an industrial chemical solution to keep celery cabbage fresh following reports of similar and widespread usage in east China's Shandong Province.
    Officials at Jiangqiao Vegetable Wholesale Market, one of the biggest in Shanghai, said there was no need to use formaldehyde to keep celery cabbage fresh as they were usually sold out within a day.--(5/5)

  • Migrants make up nearly 40% of Shanghai population
    Shanghai population continues to rise but local birth rate remains low, resulting in an imbalance of age distribution with a growing percentage of retirees and a dwindling percentage of children and young people.
    Migrants now account for nearly 40 percent of Shanghai's population. Most of them work in the agricultural, building and industrial sectors. They help to ease the city's labor shortage.
    Shanghai needs to improve its population structure and sex ratio at birth, provide better reproductive education and services to migrant workers, and study the relationship between population and social development, the Shanghai Population and Family Planning Commission said today.
    The city's registered population reached 23.47 million last year, 455,000 more than in 2010. The number is 1.7 percent of the national population.
    A registered resident is one who has a registered residence and has lived in Shanghai for at least six months.
    Shanghai's population increase in the past decade was much higher than the national average due to a huge influx of migrant workers and their families.
    Most of the 9.35 million migrant people live in the suburbs.
    They average 31.6 years old and have a high employment rate.--(5/4)

  • Shanghai home prices drop for seventh straight month
    SHANGHAI'S existing housing index declined for the seventh straight month in April.
    The index, which tracks price variations of previously occupied homes, lost 0.09 percent, or 2 points, to 2,575 last month, the Shanghai Existing Index Office said today.
    Year-on-year, the index retreated 16 points, or 0.59 percent, losing strength for the second consecutive month.
    "We've noticed rather slack market sentiment last month as home seekers continued to expect further cuts after the government repeated its vow to stick to property curbs," said Lu Bei, an analyst at the office. "At the same time, an increasing number of home owners began to raise asking prices as more buyers made inquiries since March. In the short term the market will likely be dominated by a wait-and-see sentiment again."
    Across the city, 69 of the 128 areas monitored by the office saw an average price drop of 0.24 percent last month. Thirty-eight remained unchanged from March and 21 posted gains, according to the office.--(5/3)

  • Back to work after holiday ... and the sun's returning too
    A member of staff patrols on a Segway at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station yesterday. The station recorded more than 160,000 passengers on Sunday alone. Railway stations in the Yangtze Delta handled some 4.11 million passengers over the three-day holiday.
    The three-day May Day holiday drew to a close under gray skies yesterday, with heavy traffic on the roads and busy trains and flights as people headed home for work.
    Extra rail services were added to meet demand, mainly in the Yangtze Delta region, said the Shanghai railway operator.
    The operator said railway stations in the region handled more than 4.11 million passengers during the holiday.
    Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station recorded 160,000 passengers on Sunday alone.
    Railway police said they held 10 ticket scalpers at local stations and confiscated more than 600 pieces of contraband, including knives and imitation guns.
    As residents return to work today, downtown transport facilities will come under pressure, said the traffic administrations. Additional subway trains have been put into service on Metro Line 8.
    And after the rainy, overcast weather during the break, Shanghai weather forecasters said yesterday that the sun is set to reappear-albeit accompanied by cloud-over the next four days.
    Temperatures are expected to rise and stay at 25 degrees Celsius late this week.
    Among those eager to get out and about over the holiday, many locals chose short-distance tours, said city tourism officials.
    More than 10,000 travelers left the city from the Shanghai Tourism Center hub, travelling to nearby destinations, said officials.
    For those looking further afield, airlines added flights to popular tourist destinations, such as Thailand, while Taiwan and Hong Kong remained hot destinations for locals.
    Immigration police said the city's two airports reported 173,000 passengers in the past three days-up 13.7 percent on the same period last month.
    For visitors to Shanghai, the newly re-opened Italy pavilion and the Saudi pavilion at the Expo site proved popular.--(5/2)

  • Airline to buy, and sell, jets in Boeing deal
    China Eastern Airlines Co is buying 20 Boeing 777 jets worth nearly US$6 billion while also selling five Airbus A340s to the US plane maker, the Shanghai-based airline said yesterday.
    The airline said it was selling the Airbus A340-600s, worth US$708 million, to Boeing because they had high operating costs and "relatively weak route competitiveness."
    The Airbus jets are just over eight years old, on average, and fly long-haul routes to New York and Los Angeles.
    China Eastern said that the list price of the 777-300s was US$5.94 billion but it negotiated a discount.
    Airlines routinely get discounts, and the final selling price is rarely disclosed.
    Boeing spokesman Yukui Wang wouldn't comment on the deal to buy China Eastern's second-hand jets.
    But he said the company has in the past bought jets made by other plane makers and sold them to other companies.--(5/1)



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