60,000-plus foreigners enjoy visa-free entry
Shanghai frontier inspection authorities have issued temporary entry permits to more than 60,000 foreign visitors since China's new Entry-Exit Administration Law took effect on July 1.
Officials said 339 foreign travelers received temporary entry permits at the Shanghai International Cruise Terminal.
Foreigners can apply for a temporary entry permit if they are international cruise passengers or 24-hour visa-free transit passengers or have an emergency. They can stay in China for no more than 15 days.
The new law has extended visa-free entry policy to foreigners who come to China by all means of travel from plane to ship and train to offer them great convenience.
The city's frontier officials have handled 534 cases of illegal entry since July 1, 389 of them at the Pudong International Airport.--(8/16)
Plan calls for ACs in schools
The Shanghai Education Commission said it will encourage primary and middle schools to install air conditioners inside classrooms in reply to a Shanghai People's Congress member who submitted the proposal earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the commission will carry out a survey to work out a plan for installing air conditioners in schools citywide. The survey will also take public sanity, the operation and maintenance of air conditioners and energy conservation into consideration, according to the reply. --(8/15)
Blue skies, nothing but blue skies ...
Blue skies and white clouds provide the backdrop for a panoramic view of skyscrapers across the Huangpu River as Shanghai breathed fresh air brought by a southeast wind which is freeing the city from the scorching heat it has suffered for nearly 40 days. Slightly cooler temperatures contributed to the clean air yesterday, with the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center reporting an air quality index of 43, or "good." The average density of dangerous PM2.5 particles was a third of the nation's permitted limit. The center said air quality had been affected by the density of ozone in the atmosphere over the past week which was raised by a succession of sizzling hot days. Before the last weekend, there was six days when the city's air quality was rated moderately to heavily polluted. --(8/14)
Shanghai's new home sales fall to 25-week low
New home purchases fell to a 25-week low in Shanghai last week as a record heat wave, inadequate supply and continuously high prices jointly crimped buying sentiment.
The sales of new homes, excluding government-subsidized affordable housing, dropped 22 percent from the previous seven-day period to 149,100 square meters, the lowest weekly volume registered since mid February, Shanghai Deovolente Realty Co said in a report released yesterday.
The average price fell 4.3 percent week-on-week to 22,352 yuan (US$3,646) per square meter, the lowest in 11 weeks, Deovolente data showed.
"The momentum among buyers plunged to the lowest in nearly six months as the mercury soared to a historical record, making last week the hottest week this summer," said Lu Qilin, a Deovolente researcher. "However, an insufficient supply, particularly of mid- to low-end houses, and high home prices were the main reasons behind the sluggish sales."
Only 137,800 square meters of new homes were released locally last week, flat from the previous week.
As of Sunday, 262,000 square meters of new homes were sold in Shanghai in August, up 12.8 percent from the same period a month ago, said Century 21 China Real Estate in a report.--(8/13)
Metro fare refund now available
Local Metro operator said passengers can apply for a fare refund if they were affected by a malfunctioning Metro Line 1 train, which led to a delay of more than one hour yesterday morning.
The malfunction occurred about 10:20am on a train near People's Square Station. Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, local Metro operator, said the train was repaired just over an hour later but did not identify the problem.
Trains on the line continued to operate but at reduced speeds and longer intervals. Passengers at affected stations were suggested to transfer to other lines or take other means of transport.
Some netizens joked the trains were suffering heat stroke given the unbearable weather. Some who were affected by the delay left complaints on Shanghai Metro's Weibo microblog.
"I've waited at Hengshan Road Station for more than one hour," posted a person identified as "lisa". "The foreigners next to me are going to miss their flight."
Shanghai Shentong said affected passengers can apply for a fare refund within seven working days. It is the first time the city's subway operator has offered refunds for a delay.
According to a new regulation governing subway services, passengers will be eligible for a refund if a Metro train is delayed more than 15 minutes due to a malfunction. The policy is expected to be approved on Thursday.
Passengers can dial 6437-0000 for refund details.--(8/12)
Swimming pools selected as sanitation models
Shanghai health authorities announced a list of swimming pools as role models in hygiene and sanitation.
The list includes swimming pools at Jing'an Sports Center, Hongqiao Hotel, Shanghai High School and a few venues in suburban Songjiang, Jinshan, Qingpu and Fengxian districts.
The officials drew the list after examining 783 swimming pools in the city. All of them passed the water quality test.--(8/10)
New index to track prices of local daily necessities
Shanghai may put together a new index to measure the price changes of products closely linked to people's daily lives.
The Consumer Price Index, the current main gauge of inflation which has often drawn complaints that it is in sharp contrast to people's feelings, is said to be too vague.
Chen Hongmin, a local lawmaker, recently suggested that the authorities compile a new index, possibly named after "Yihaodian," or the online mall selling daily necessities from food to soap, to track the price changes of products that people care about and use the most.
"Many people wonder why the CPI growth does not fit into their feelings about the rapidly rising prices. In my opinion, it is largely because the CPI covers too many products and has a different focus from what ordinary people care about," Chen said. "Thus we should produce a new index to meet the demand of tracking price changes of daily necessities."
In the first half of this year, Shanghai's CPI expanded 2.3 percent from a year earlier, with food costs rising 4 percent. This led to skepticism among people because their experiences told a different story of the price change.
The Shanghai Statistics Bureau has accepted Chen's suggestion and plans to start compilation work for the new index, which is expected to be released at the end of this year.--(8/9)
Index snaps 6-day win streak amid correction
Shanghai shares headed south yesterday, snapping a six-day winning streak, as small caps tumbled in a market correction while investors braced for China's trade data due out today.
The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.67 percent to 2,046.78 points.
Media companies and IT firms dragged the market lower following in the footsteps of their peers on the Nasdaq-style bourse in Shenzhen, with the ChiNext Price Index slumping 3 percent to 1,175.7 points.
"The market was in a vacillating correction (mode) as risks were in store for growth shares that were approaching their record highs," said Guosen Securities.
Zhe Jiang Daily Media Group Co retreated 4 percent to 29.99 yuan (US$4.89) following a 7.1 percent surge on Tuesday. Shanghai Xinhua Media Co shed 4.5 percent to 5.54 yuan.
Investors adopted a cautious stance ahead of trade data today, which will offer hints on the state of the world's second-largest economy.
"Growth of trade in China is likely to moderate further in the second half of the year due to unfavorable external environment and lagged effects of yuan appreciation," the State Information Center, a government think-tank, said in a report published in China Securities Journal yesterday.--(8/8)
An official 40.6ˇăC makes it another record day for city
Shanghai equaled its hottest day record yesterday when the mercury climbed to 40.6 degrees Celsius at the city's benchmark observatory, although it was higher in some parts of the city.
The temperature at a weather observatory in central Pudong New Area hit 41.6 degrees at 1:27pm and areas in Jiading District also experienced highs above 41 degrees at that time.
The 40.6 degrees reading at the city's benchmark Xujiahui observatory, also noted on July 26, was the highest official temperature since 1873. The previous hottest day at the observatory was 40.2 degrees on July 12, 1934.
Yesterday's official peak came at 1:40pm, making it the second day this summer when the mercury topped 40 degrees and the sixth since the Xujiahui observatory began keeping records.
The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau issued its fourth red high-temperature alert of the summer, the highest in a three-level system, at 10am yesterday.
The coolest place in the city was in coastal Lingang New City in Pudong where the maximum temperature was 35 degrees.
Today will be another hot day with temperatures again reaching 40 degrees, and forecasters say the heat will continue for another four days at least, with the mercury rising to between 37 and 39 degrees.
Sunday may bring a little relief with a subtropical high moving north, the weather bureau said. --(8/7)
Line 13 will get a big extension
Line 13 will eventually extend to Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park in the Pudong New Area, Shanghai Shentong Metro Group said on Sunday.
The line already links suburban Jiading to lines 3 and 4 at Jinshajiang Road Station in Putuo District as five stations opened in December 2010. The Metro operator previously said the second phase of Line 13 would connect to lines 2 and 12 at Nanjing Road W. Station by the end of 2014 and feature an additional 13 stations. The stops will include the former World Expo site, Xintiandi Station, Madang Road Station and end at Huaxia Road Station in Pudong. The third phase will link Huaxia Road Station to Zhangjiang Hi-Tech Park. Upon completion the entire line will stretch about 30 kilometers.--(8/6)
Plants, pets from abroad a risk
Check before placing an order for an animal or plant from overseas or risk falling foul of restrictions, Shanghais quarantine authorities advised yesterday.
Turtles, frogs, insects and seeds are among banned items found in international parcels recently seized by the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.
"Succulent plants have become popular among locals this year, and many people bought these online from South Korea without being aware that the seeds are banned in international parcels," said Qiu Wenwei, an official with the international parcel check division of the bureau.
The bureau has intercepted more than 7,200 batches of seeds this year.
Plants brought into the city without going through quarantine process can threaten local species, the bureau said.
Some from overseas contain diseases that affect local plant species, it added.
In March, the bureau found bacteria in oil seed rape from Japan which could threaten about 30 varieties of plants.
Animals are also commonly found in international parcels, the bureau said.
In March, it discovered 2,480 specimens of frogs and insects from overseas, plus 833 turtles that came from Indonesia.
Wang said public awareness of items that are banned in international parcels is low, and advised residents to check the bureaus list of prohibited items before buying online.--(8/5)
Taking innovation to new heights
Emergency elevators that can be used in the event of a fire or earthquake are one feature that will distinguish the Shanghai Tower from other skyscrapers in the Lujiazui financial zone.
As the tower reached 580 meters yesterday, with the capping of the main structure, Shanghai Daily talked to designers and builders about the design, green energy technology and safety in a building that will stand at 632m -- the world's second tallest now -- when operational in 2015.
More than 10,000 architects drawings filed away in a storage room at Tongji Architectural Design Group, co-designer of the tower with American firm Gensler Architecture and Design, record the history of the building.
"Design and construction would be a lot easier if the building could be built horizontally," joked Chen Jiliang, deputy director of the design group.
"It's quite a different task to put all the elements in a vertical structure."
The sheer height of the 125-floor tower -- including four underground stories -- has meant architects have had to develop innovative safety solutions.
The Shanghai Tower will feature elevators solely for use in emergencies, among more than 100 lifts.
"The building's too high to evacuate by stairs in emergencies," explained Chen.
A fire extinguishing system using foam rather than water is another feature. Foam can be pumped higher than water for tackling a blaze.
The building's height limits the use of fire ladders and there are no designated fire rescue helicopters in the city, said designers.
Security is also a vital issue and there are plans for a face recognition system to supplement a gate control system.
Fears of subsidence have been raised since the earliest days of the project, heightened when cracks were found on nearby roads and underground pipes last year.
"After foundation and pit construction work finished, the problems were solved," said Gao Zhenfeng, deputy chief engineer on the project.
Green technologies are another innovation.
From the air-conditioning, lighting system and outside curtain walls, designers claim the Shanghai Tower will be one of China's greenest skyscrapers, say designers.
The Shanghai Tower team have no doubt about their building's place in the city.
Ding Jieming, director of Tongji Architectural Design Group, compares it to fellow Liujiazui high-rises the Shanghai World Financial Center, which opened in 2008, and the Jin Mao Tower, which became operational in 1999.
"Jin Mao represents the past, the Shanghai World Financial Center represents now, while the Shanghai Tower is the future," Ding said.--(8/4)
Metro transfer made easy at Caoyang Road Station
The transfer channel for Metro Line 3, 4 and 11 at Caoyang Road Station has been expanded and was put into use yesterday. It is now twice bigger and equipped with four escalators.
Before its expansion, the channel was overcrowded during the rush hour and it had only one escalator, forcing passengers from Line 3 and 4 to climb upstairs to change to Line 11.
Workers also built a short link to turn the channel from the shape of "I" to the shape of "Y" to divide the flow of passengers.--(8/2)
Water quality report broadcast everyday
Shanghai Water Authority yesterday began publishing its water quality report on outdoor LED displays in 50 residential communities across the city.
The report shows the turbidity, residual chlorine, total plate count and E. coli count of the city's tap water. National standards are listed alongside for reference.
The 50 communities are both in downtown and suburban areas.--(8/1)