Nice weather continues but cooler Friday
The city's weather is forecast to be good this week, mainly sunny with some clouds, with today's high to be 27 degrees Celsius and the low around 20 degrees, local meteorologists said.
Temperatures are to be stable through Wednesday with little chance of rain. Things will change later in the week as a cold front is expected on Friday.
Yesterday's air quality was labeled ¡°good¡± by the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center, a change from two days ¡°lightly polluted¡± air last Wednesday and Thursday. Today's air quality is also forecast to be good. Better readings are mainly because rainfall washed pollutants from the air last Saturday.
The city's readings of PM2.5 fine particulate matter also dropped sharply. As of 5pm yesterday, the average level of PM2.5 in the latest 24 hours was 41.7 micrograms per cubic meter, much improved from last Thursday, when the reading reached its highest at 197 micrograms per cubic meter since Shanghai began to issue PM2.5 readings.
The national PM2.5 standard is 75 micrograms per cubic meter. All the readings at the city's nine monitoring stations were below the standard at 5pm yesterday, with the only exception in Qingpu Dianshanhu area where the reading was 84.8 micrograms per cubic meter. That station is typically higher ¡ª it's often downwind of downtown.
Still, autumn has not arrived yet, forecasters say. Autumn officially starts when the daily average is below 22 degrees for five straight days after liqiu, the start of autumn in the Chinese lunar calendar, which fell on August 7.
In the Pacific, tropical storm Jelawat has strengthened into a typhoon at 8am yesterday. The China Meteorological Bureau said the center of Jelawat was in the northwestern Pacific, about 900 kilometers from Manila at 2pm yesterday.
It is moving at 5 kilometers per hour heading northwest, which could put it close to southeast Taiwan. The national weather bureau said Jelawat is strengthening but will not have much influence on China's coast in the next three days.--(9/24)
Hurdler Liu Xiang was seen on crutches yesterday at a ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the establishment of The Shanghai Sports Institute. During its 60-year history, nine of its students have won 13 Olympic gold medals. The school now has four campuses in Shanghai with more than 500 teachers and students.--(9/13)
Smaller SIM cards to be available
Mobile phone companies on China's mainland are ready to provide a new smaller SIM card used in the iPhone 5, which went on sale worldwide yesterday but isn't yet available on the mainland.
Both China Mobile and China Unicom say they can provide the nano-SIM cards for customers who have bought the phone overseas.
It might be around three months before the iPhone 5 officially goes on sale on the mainland, industry insiders said. By then, all carriers will have to provide better services to keep their existing customers and attract new ones, according to analysts. --(9/22)
40% more cars jam highway on holiday
The city is expected to see a 40 percent increase on highway traffic volume during the National Day holidays with the peak day's traffic volume reaching over 1 million, city traffic officials said yesterday.
A new policy to suspend toll collection during major public holidays may dramatically increase traffic volume during the upcoming holidays, city authorities warned.
The upcoming eight-day holiday starts on September 30 and will see a big exodus as families use the long holiday to travel. The first day of the holiday is likely to be the peak travel day, officials said.
According to the new national policy, the city's highway toll collections would be suspended from midnight on September 30 to midnight on October 8, said Dai Xiaojian, an official.
Drivers of vehicles with seven seats or less may enjoy free rides. However, they still have to collect toll cards from checkpoints and return them to next stations, Dai said. The cards will help vehicles line up in order at checkpoints and also help traffic officials to gather traffic volume data, Dai said.
But he warned that as the National Day holiday would be the first holiday for motorists to enjoy the policy, they should be prepared for serious gridlock.
The traffic department said the waiving of road tolls can cut the cost of a driving trip by half. Many drivers who previously chose toll-free roads will be tempted to travel on expressways.
More workers will work overtime and more checkpoints will be open during the holiday to cope with anticipated traffic jams, officials said.
Meanwhile, more tourists coming into the city may pressure the city's transportation systems.
The city's buses are expected to receive 7 million passengers a day during the holidays with 7.8 million on the peak day. The Metro lines are expected to have 5.8 million passengers a day with 7.35 million on the peak day, officials said.--(9/21)
Jinshan to get closer to downtown with new rail
It will only take locals about half an hour and 10 yuan (US$1.6) to reach Jinshan on the southern edge of Shanghai when the first direct rail route to the suburban district enters service on September 28, its operator said today.
The Jinshan Railway Line runs from Shanghai South Railway Station to Jinshan New Town on the Hangzhou Bay. It will use bullet trains that travel in two modes. One is non-stop; the other stops at each station.
The non-stop service will take 32 minutes to complete the whole trip, while the slower service will take about an hour to finish the nine-stop journey.
The current bus service takes more than an hour for Jinshan residents to get to downtown.
The new railway will charge fares from 3 yuan to 10 yuan. Passengers can use their public transport cards to buy tickets and enjoy discounts for bus and Metro transfers.--(9/20)
Railways poised for big crush during 8-day holiday
People can book train tickets for trips between September 30 and October 7 online or by phone. The eight-day National Day holiday overlaps the Mid-Autumn Festival and will see big tides of travelers as they go home for family reunion.
Shanghai's three railway stations have added 87 ticket windows in addition to the 65 existing windows and 165 ticket vending machines.
Group tickets can be bought by dialing the ticket hotline 12306. A minimum of six passengers who take the same train for the same destination is required to enjoy the group booking service. The hotline is open from 8am to 9pm.
Since online ticket booking began yesterday afternoon, the website has been in a state of constant jam.
Shanghai inter-city bus service operators said the passenger volume during the upcoming holiday may surpass that during the Spring Festival holiday.--(9/19)
Shanghai Tower signs deals for smart business system
A smart business system is now being built at the site of Shanghai Tower in Lujiazui financial zone. The system will allow office workers to use their mobile devices to order and pay for goods and services.
Shanghai Tower yesterday signed agreements with IBM, Huawei and China Telecom to build the system. IBM will offer consulting service and help build the smart business system; Huawei will provide the network, equipment, and technology services; China Telecom will help build the tower's cloud data center and provide smart business applications.
The smart business system is an integration of Internet, the Internet of things, and mobile network. It can be accessed via mobile phones, tablet computers, and desktop computers.
The new building will also employ a digital visitor reception system that scans visitors and give each approved visitor a temporary electronic code to enter the building.
The building will also feature digital monitoring system and sensors that control water taps, ventilators and other facilities and can report errors to repair crew who also use digital gadgets to detect problems for fixing.
The high-rise building is slated to open in 2015.--(9/18)
Sanba to blow past Shanghai, hit nort
Super typhoon Sanba will bring strong winds to regions along its course, including the Shanghai area, and bring heavy rainfall to China's northeastern provinces over the next few days, the national meteorological authority said yesterday.
Storms will hit the north and southeast of Heilongjiang Province and eastern Jilin Province, while some regions will see downpours of 100 to 120 millimeters, Xinhua news agency reported.
Sanba's influence on Shanghai won't be as strong as in those provinces as it heads north at a distance from the coastline, the city's weather authority said.
The speed at the center of the super typhoon is 52 meters per second, and its strength will stay unchanged or slightly weaken as it moves northward toward the south of the Korean Peninsula, the center said. It is expected to hit South Korea today.
Winds, then warmer
The center forecast that the typhoon will bring strong wind to the western part of East China Sea, waters east of Taiwan, the estuary of the Yangtze River, the Hangzhou Bay, coastal areas in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces, and the central and southern parts of the Yellow Sea over the next day, Xinhua reported.
The nation's flood control authority told residents in coastal regions to prepare for possible influences of Sanba.
Gales were expected last night in the coastal areas of Pudong New Area and Chongming Island as Sanba reached Shanghai's latitude but no severe conditions were expected, the bureau said.
Shanghai's weather should be favorable in the next few days, cloudy some days and others sunny with a high reaching 28 degrees Celsius later in the week, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. The meteorological autumn is still some time off as the days are to become warmer this week, officials said.
Today is to be cloudy with temperatures from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. It should be sunny starting tomorrow, with a low of 19 degrees to a high of 28.--(9/17)
Home sales spur rise in mortgages
A rebound in property sales has ensured that new home loans in Shanghai expanded quicker last month, the Chinese central bank's Shanghai headquarters said yesterday.
In August new mortgages rose to 3.49 billion yuan (US$551 million), up 1.68 billion yuan from July and was 1.72 billion yuan higher than the same month last year, a report issued by the local headquarters of the People's Bank of China said.
The sales of new homes in the city in recent months have more than doubled from the start of the year on growing demand from home buyers as well interest rate cuts.
In July 858,900 square meters of new homes, excluding government-funded affordable housing, were sold. In June 1.02 million square meters were sold and 858,900 square meters were transacted in May. The sales were all above the January-July average of around 615,000 square meters.--(9/15)
Latest iPhone fails to win over Chinese Apple fans
Apple's iPhone 5, with its bigger screen and thinner design, doesn't seem to be wowing Chinese fans and industry professionals like the iPhone 4 did.
That could be because numerous leaks about the new product have revealed that not much is new, and widely anticipated features, such as wireless charging and eyeball and gesture recognition ¡ª which exist in rival models by Nokia and Samsung ¡ª are missing. In addition, the Chinese mainland lacks a 4G network, which the iPhone 5 supports.
China is Apple's second biggest regional market by revenue, but the Chinese mainland is not on the list of the first batch of regions to sell the iPhone 5.
Sales are expected to start in Hong Kong next Friday, with a starting price of HK$5,588 (US$716) for the 16GB model.
There is no date yet for official iPhone 5 sales on the Chinese mainland but stores on Taobao, the online marketplace, are already taking orders for phones at around 5,500 yuan (US$868).
"It's just a taller iPhone 4S without innovation," said Fjptlinli on Weiphone.com, a major Apple user forum in China.
It was just one of many posts expressing disappointment at the new device. And in an online survey on Sina.com, 48.1 percent of 36,000 respondents said they would not be buying an iPhone 5, 24.6 percent would "wait and see," and just 27.3 percent said they would buy one.
With the iPhone 5, Apple's pace of innovation is slower, which brings opportunities to rivals such as Samsung and Nokia as well as Chinese firms, executives of Chinese phone makers Xiaomi and Shanda said during an IT industry forum yesterday.
Apple used to be a unique piece of artwork but now it has faded into something like all the rest, Xiang Ligang, head of professional telecommunications website CCTimes.com, said.
Chinese Internet and software service providers, however, welcomed the iPhone 5's new iOS operating system with its integration of China-oriented functions.
Besides being installed in the iPhone 5, the next-generation iOS or iOS 6 update can be downloaded by all iPhone and iPad users.
Apple has added "China features" such as Baidu's search service, Sina's Weibo service and Youku Tudou's video services.
"People can now share video by iPhone and iPad quickly and easily, like overseas YouTube users," Youku Tudou, China's biggest online video sharing website, said in a statement yesterday.
Apple has dropped the price of its old models in its retail and online stores. The iPhone 4S 16GB will now cost 4,488 yuan, down 500 yuan, and the iPhone 4 8G is now 600 yuan cheaper at 3,088 yuan. --(9/14)
Swill oil law proposes heavy fines for violators
Companies and individuals who illegally collect and process swill oil will face fines of up to 100,000 yuan (US$15,900) under new regulations designed to prevent the oil flowing back into kitchens, Shanghai officials said yesterday.
Restaurants that sell used oil to illegal collectors will face fines of up to 50,000 yuan under a draft law that is open for public discussion until next Wednesday, officials said.
Letters can be sent to the city government's law office at No. 200 People's Avenue and e-mails to email@example.com.
Initial responses from the public indicate that the proposed penalties are still too low compared with the huge profits to be gained from the business.
Comments on the Shanghai government's Weibo microblog say penalties must be high enough to deter illegal dealers and that anyone involved in the practice should face severe criminal charges.
The draft law sets out strict conditions for companies wishing to be licensed to collect and transport swill oil.
Such companies must keep complete records and report to the government, and their vehicles must be installed with monitoring devices, such as cameras and GPS, and have them switched on.
Monitoring devices must be installed at swill oil storage places and processing workshops.
Restaurants will be required to install waste oil storage facilities and separate swill oil from other kitchen waste.
The law stipulates that swill oil is banned from being made into edible oil for use or sale.
Currently, swill oil can be made into fuel, industrial oil and products such as soap.--(9/13)
Tropical storm forms as city cools off
A new tropical storm was formed yesterday in the western Pacific Ocean while Shanghai's weather should cool off after today for the rest of the week, meteorologists said.
Sanba, the 16th tropical storm this year, was formed at 8am yesterday about 1,530 kilometers southeast from Manila, the Philippines, the National Meteorological Center of China said yesterday. Sanba is expected to strengthen and to move northwest at 10 to 15 kilometers per hour. It should not affect coastal China in the next three days.
Shanghai is to be cloudy with scattered thundershowers and a high of 30 degrees Celsius, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. The high should drop tomorrow to between 24 and 26 degrees in the following four days. It should be mostly cloudy.
"Cold fronts from the north were active recently," said Fu Yi, a bureau officer. "But the warm and wet currents should be strong and ... the city should experience some rain today and tomorrow."--(9/12)
Banks lend 703.9b yuan in August, more than expected
New yuan lending in August rose unexpectedly as the government strived to shore up the slowing economy.
Chinese banks extended 703.9 billion yuan (US$111 billion) of local currency loans in August, 163.8 billion more than July and 155.5 billion more than last August, the People's Bank of China said in a statement today.
The size was also the biggest of any August on record, beating economists' expectations of around 600 billion yuan according to surveys by Bloomberg and Reuters.
"The better-than-expected data showed that the country has indeed stepped up support to lending," said Li Huiyong, a chief analyst of Shenyin & Wanguo Securities Co. "The increase of liquidity by loans offset an outflow of foreign currencies and will help boost the economy."
The central bank data also showed that total social financing, including loans, bank acceptance bills, corporate bonds and equity financing, reached 1.24 trillion yuan in August, 188.5 billion yuan more than in July and 166.6 billion more than in August last year.
The combined social financing in the first eight months was 10.07 trillion yuan, 691.5 billion more than last year.
Analysts also warned that the effects of a new round of investment may take time to reveal.
"High lending data may help improve market sentiment, but there are still uncertainties over funding sources for infrastructure projects," said Zhong Zhengsheng, a senior analyst of Everbright Securities. "Local governments are still cash-strapped and it's improper for the government to intervene too much in economy."--(9/11)
Cool, wet week but autumn still awaits
Another wet and cool start to the week is forecast, but it is still too early to say autumn weather is just around the corner, local meteorologists said yesterday.
The first three days of the week are expected to be rainy, with some thunderclouds present, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said.
Today it should be overcast, with temperatures ranging from 23 to 27 degrees Celsius. It may get slightly warmer tomorrow, with a high of up to 29 degrees for two days.
Rain is likely to stick around until Thursday.
While autumn-like coolness may have already been felt, but it is still not autumn in meteorological terms.
There is a slim chance that autumn will start soon, forecasters said. The official standard is five consecutive days with average temperature below 22 degrees.
Autumn usually arrives around September 27, according to the bureau.
The city was hit by thunderstorms and sudden heavy rains yesterday afternoon and many flights in Shanghai were delayed.
The city's weather authority issued a yellow thunderstorm alert at noon.
Flights were grounded yesterday at both Hongqiao and Pudong international airports.
At Pudong, about 56 percent of the flights had been able to depart the airport on time by 3pm, said the airport operator. While 70 percent flights landed on schedule, officials said. Two flights scheduled to land at Hongqiao had to land at Pudong instead. Flights resumed operations after the rain stopped.--(9/10)
Auto sales rev up but stocks rise
China's passenger car sales in August drove out quickly from a three-month slowdown although inventories continued to pile up at dealerships, according to an industry association.
Deliveries of sedans, sport-utility vehicles, multi-purpose vehicles and minivans accelerated from July's 8 percent increase by jumping 11.2 percent from a year earlier to 1.16 million units last month, the China Passenger Car Association said yesterday.
The association said the market rebound was within expectations as the high season for domestic car sales approaches in October.
But higher output has created a persistent problem in surplus inventory for dealers, the association said.
More than 1.22 million new cars rolled off assembly lines last month, an increase of 10 percent on an annual basis. The higher production brought this year's cumulative supply surplus to 737,353 units from 670,383 units by July. --(9/8)
City warned of water resource shortage
Shanghai may face a shortage of water resources if the population continues to soar, according to a study by a local political advisory body.
The city currently has a population of 23 million, which is estimated to reach 30 million within the decade. By then, the teeming metropolis may have to resort to other drinking water sources in addition to the current Yangtze River and Huangpu River, Xinmin Evening News reported yesterday.
The current capacity of the city's water supply was about 16 million tons per day, which is able to cover the demand of 26 million people. However, once the population reaches 30 million the demand would rise to 18 million tons per day exceeding the current capacity, according to Xu Xuehong, a water and environment expert and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee of Shanghai.
Meanwhile, the quality of water in the Huangpu, the main source of water for the city, continues to fall short, Xu said.
The Shanghai Water Authority had planned to use alternatives such as taking water directly from the Taihu Lake or building a new resource on the Yangtze but both have proved too difficult a task.
Since the Qingcaosha Reservoir in the Yangtze began operation last June, Shanghai has been altering its water supply structure.
By the end of 2015, 70 percent of the city's drinking water will be provided by Qingcaosha and Chenghang reservoirs of the Yangtze while the Huangpu will only take care of 30 percent.--(9/7)
Officers block kids from illegal school
The 100-plus men accused by parents of blocking their children from entering an illegal school are law enforcement officials on a crackdown against an unlicensed kindergarten, government officials said.
Qibao Town government announced the operation yesterday after angry parents complained online that about 200 children were blocked by men lining up at the entrance of the privately owned Yingzhimeng day care center on Tuesday morning.
Parents said the men dressed in blue and grey uniforms didn't allow them to send the children to the school, but offered to send them to another kindergarten nearby, which parents said charges twice as much as the Yingzhimeng center.
A teacher with the center who refused to be named claimed the center was legal, but couldn't offer valid qualifications or licenses to prove its legality. An official surnamed Hei with Qibao government told Shanghai Daily that the center is among six unlicensed kindergartens ordered to shut by local authorities. Five of the six closed, but Yingzhimeng ignored the order.
Several parents became angry and scuffled with the law enforcement team, the report said. No arrests were reported.
The report said the center had severe safety and hygiene problems and its teachers had no qualifications.--(9/6)
Stocks end low on profitability woes
Shanghai stocks fell yesterday on concerns listed companies" profitability will plummet further amid fears the nation?s economy is unlikely to recover in the near future.
The Shanghai Composite Index dropped 0.75 percent to settle at 2,043.65 points, the lowest level since February 2, 2009.
Nearly 50 percent of the 945 companies listed on the Shanghai and Shenzhen markets predicted a decline in profits in the third quarter, the 21st Century Business Herald reported.
Latest PMI data showed China's manufacturing activity contracted at a faster pace in August, dampening hopes the nation?s economy will regain growth momentum in the second half of this year.
"A wider-than-expected fall in PMI data for August indicates China's economy hasn't bottomed out and is still under high downward pressure," Founder Securities said in a report.
Lenders led the market down as worries mount that an increase in bad loans may threaten the prospects of the banking sector. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd, the nation's largest lender, declined 0.8 percent to 3.74 yuan (59 US cents). The Bank of Communications fell 1.6 percent to 4.21 yuan. China Merchants Bank lost 1.7 percent to 9.84 yuan.
Property developers lost amid policy uncertainty. Poly Real Estate, the nation's second-largest listed developer, sank 1.8 percent to 9.95 yuan. Gemdale Corp slumped 1.9 percent to 5.13 yuan.
Home sales in China are likely to increase in the next two months as developers begin to launch new properties, but policy risks are expected to constrain growth, said Zhang Dawei, chief market analyst at Zhongyuan Real Estate, a property agent.
Kweichow Moutai Co, a high-end liquor producer, jumped 6.2 percent to 233.43 yuan after announcing plans to raise factory gate prices of some its products by 20 to 30 percent.--(9/5)
Foreigner 'shot photos' under skirt
Angry Metro riders nabbed a foreigner after the man allegedly shot some obscene pictures of a female passenger with a cell phone camera on a subway train during morning rush yesterday.
The foreign man is being investigated, police said yesterday. Witnesses said they heard him speak Japanese.
According to witnesses, the incident occurred on a Metro Line 2 train at about 8:30am yesterday when the man put his cell phone camera under a woman's skirt to secretly shoot pictures. But the woman saw him and shouted for help. Other passengers caught the man and turned him over to police.
The man "looked frightened to death when we caught him," said a witness identified by the screen name "Ryge," who uploaded pictures of the man.--(9/4)
Cooler, wet week expected
Keep an umbrella handy as the city is expected to have a cooler, wet week, with a cold front possibly driving the Indian summer away, forecasters said yesterday.
The mercury will dip starting tomorrow with maximum temperatures dropping to below 30 degrees Celsius under the influence of a low-pressure trough and a cold front, the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau said.
Today should be cloudy with some thundershowers, and rain is likely to stick around until Thursday.
The high for today is forecast to be 30 degrees, and it is to drop to 27 degrees tomorrow, forecasters said. The mercury will range between 23 and 28 degrees till Thursday.
Local meteorologists said the city may not experience Indian summer this year. Qiulaohu in Mandarin, the Chinese version of Indian summer, is a spell of hot weather in autumn.--(9/3)
City denies kids are GM rice guinea pigs
Government officials in central China's Hunan Province yesterday denied claims that children there were being used as guinea pigs in US-backed research on the effects of consuming genetically-modified (GM) rice.
The response was prompted by a Greenpeace article saying that the environmental protection group had discovered a study backed by the US Department of Agriculture involving feeding genetically modified golden rice to a group of 24 children, aged between six and eight, in Hunan.
The study, published in the August edition of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, claimed that golden rice, genetically engineered to be rich in carotene, is effective at providing vitamin A to children.
A spokesman for Hengyang City, where Greenpeace claims the study was conducted, said the government has formed an investigation team. Initial findings indicated that there had been no such research project.
However, the spokesman said there was a study on the transformation of carotene in vegetables to vitamin A in children's bodies. The study, commissioned to its Hunan branch by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2008, selected 68 children in Hengyang's Hengnan County for the experiment.
"The food given to the children did not involve GM rice or other GM food," the spokesman said. "Parents were notified of the experiment in advance."
Hunan CDC officials said that the food used was all locally purchased.
The government spokesman said the study had not involved any American institute.--(9/2)
Bank's new head
Shanghai Pudong Development Bank will have a new president and vice chairman next week as the lender filled the vacancy after eight months. Zhu Yuchen, general manager of China Financial Futures Exchange, will succeed Fu Jianhua, who quit in January, a statement said yesterday.--(9/1)