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Slow-motion demolition

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The "biggest illegal building" on Xingjiaqiao Road N. in Hongkou District is demolished yesterday. Originally a two-story house, the building was illegally extended to become a seven-story "high-rise" (upper right) about two years ago. The demolition took five days to minimize the impact on neighbors.


Student suspected of faking robbery to shun exam

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A Jiao Tong University student said he nearly drowned after being thrown into an icy creek from a bridge near the school's Minhang campus during a robbery this morning but police suspect the student was telling a lie to avoid an exam.
"My roommate was almost killed after he was robbed around 6am this morning," a student wrote on his microblog.
The victim allegedly said he was blanketed by someone and pushed over the bridge as he was walking toward his dorm this morning. He told his roommates that he struggled for nearly 30 minutes before he was able to get out the freezing waters.
He was later accompanied by a roommate to report the robbery to the police.
However, police told the Shanghai Daily that they decided to drop further investigation because they suspected the student was lying.
Police said the student might have reported the incident in order to avoid taking an exam today but they did not explain why they had come to that conclusion.


Christmas spirit soured by festive price hikes

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SCROOGE-LIKE cinema and restaurant bosses made Christmas Eve treats too expensive for many Shanghai residents.

Cinemagoers planning to see the season's most popular movies - Zhang Yimou's "The Flowers of War" and "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate," directed by Hark Tsui - were asked to pay as much as 150 yuan (US$24) at some big cinemas.
Usually, a ticket to a standard movie costs between 60 and 80 yuan, while admission to a 3D production is around 80 to 100 yuan.
Among those dissuaded by the festive price hike was 22-year-old Typh Pei. "Me and my girlfriend reached the cinema, saw the prices, hesitated for a while and thought better of it," said 22-year-old Pei.
Wu Hehu, vice manager of Shanghai United Cinema Circuit, said movie ticket prices went up before the Christmas period. "The Flowers of War" is more than two hours long and "Flying Swords of Dragon Gate" is a 3D movie, so ticket prices are higher than for other movies.
M…

3 die in house collapse following mid-night quarrel

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A two-storey residential house in Shanghai's Qingpu District collapsed and killed three people early this morning.
There are eight families living in the house on Shengli Street, Zhujiajiao Town and most of them are migrant workers.
Neighbors said they heard a couple quarreling in the building around mid-night yesterday and at about 4am this morning, they heard a big bang as the building collapsed. The couple and another man on the second floor died on the way to the hospital.
Police are investigating for details of the accident.


City reports no H5N1 threat as HK culls chickens

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SHANGHAI is temporarily free from the threat of H5N1 virus, local agricultural authorities said this afternoon after Hong Kong issued a bird flu alert yesterday.
The Shanghai Agriculture Commission said they have set up check points on all the highways leading to the city and they also conduct bird flu checks regularly. No H5N1 case has been reported so far this year.
The Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau said the city's two airports use remote temperature monitors check inbound travelers. No bird-flu patients have been detected this year.
Hong Kong is expected to destroy 17,000 live chickens infected by H5N1 virus today, said the local newspaper, Wen Wei Po, today.
The infected chickens were found in a wholesale market yesterday morning by officials from the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. A dead chicken was tested positive for the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus.
All the 17,000 live chickens in the whole market need to be destroyed t…

Workers blockade offices demanding unpaid wages

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HUNDREDS of migrant workers blockaded four office buildings in Shanghai's Hongqiao area this morning in a bid to demand unpaid wages from the buildings' developers.
The workers began gathering in front of the buildings on Jinzhong Road in the Shanghai Hongqiao Linkong Business Park in Changning District at around 8am.
The blockage prevented officials and office workers from entering their workplaces, leaving them shivering in the cold wind, said a staffer at CBI China, a company based in one of the buildings.
The protesters dispersed at around 8:30am when police arrived, she said.
An official with the business park's management committee, surnamed Jiang, said the developer of the buildings owed money to the contractors who organized the migrant workers to exert pressure on the developer to pay up.
The buildings were completed last year.
The committee will continue coordinating between the two parties to avoid similar incidents from happening again, Jiang said.



Metro App Offers Real-Time Advice

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METRO operator Shanghai Shentong yesterday launched a free cellphone app, allowing travelers to access Metro information, including maps, stations, transit routes and the location of toilets on the city's 11 Metro lines.
The app is also intended to provide real-time advice on which lines are crowded and suggest alternative routes. Neighborhoods near the Metro stations will also be shown.
Initially, the app is available only for Apple devices but will be extended to other mobile phones next year. An English version is also in the pipeline.
Passengers can e-mail the operator at jwang@juntech.net to give their views on the software.

Wireless pledge

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OFFICE buildings in the Lujiazui commercial area in Pudong will be all covered by wireless Internet network by end of next year, the city has pledged. It is also aimed that by 2013, the average Pudong household will have access to above-20 Mbps broadband Internet connections.

Woman hit, killed after falling onto Metro Line 6 track

A WOMAN died after falling onto the tracks of Shanghai's Metro Line 6 during morning rush hour today, causing a short delay.The woman in her 30s fell onto the tracks just before a train pulled into Hangjin Road Station at 6:50am, the metro operator said.It's unknown whether she accidentally fell or jumped onto the tracks to commit suicide.The incident caused a delay of about 10 minutes and operation has returned to normal. An investigation is still underway.Another glitch hit the city's Metro Line 9 this morning. The trains were running at a limited speed between Songjiang New Town Station and Middle Yanggao Road Station after the signaling system malfunctioned at 7:46am, the operator said.Train intervals were extended to 8 minutes and passenger flows were temporarily restricted at several stations.The glitch was fixed at 8:04am, the metro operator said.

Crazy about chocolate

A model presents a creation with adornments partially made of chocolate during a chocolate fashion show in Shanghai yesterday.

New bridge links city with northern Jiangsu

A Yangtze River bridge linking Shanghai's Chongming Island with Qidong, a boom city in Jiangsu Province has passed final examinations and will be opened to traffic soon, project officials said today.The 53-kilometer bridge will cut the trip from downtown Shanghai to Qidong City by two hours to about 90 minutes. It takes only 35 minutes to drive from Pudong to Qidong.The new bridge is a vital link between the Yangtze Tunnel-Bridge Project on Chongming Island and the Nantong-Qidong Highway in Jiangsu, officials said.It will make the Pudong International Airport and Yangshan Deep-Water Port more accessible to cities in the northern part of Jiangsu. The drive from Qidong to the Pudong International Airport takes only about 45 minutes.The new route also means that Jiangsu's seafood and agricultural products can be transported faster to Shanghai.

Preference for boys by migrants

Shanghai is facing a gender imbalance due to migrant people's preference for baby boys, according to a report issued by the Shanghai Statistics Bureau yesterday.The imbalance among babies under three has increased over the past decade. However, the imbalance in the working-age population has decreased.The national census, conducted in November 2010, revealed that the overall gender ratio between Shanghai's male and female residents was 106.19:100, up from the 105.68:100 in the previous census 10 years ago.Residents include those with local registered residency and migrant people living in the city for more than six months.The gender ratio among all children under the age of three was higher, at 113.71 boys for every 100 girls among local residents. Ten years ago, it was 110.48 boys to 100 girls. The census found that the boy-to-girl ratio among migrant people's children under three was 126.13:100, much higher than the desired norm of 103 to 107 boys per 100 girls.The boy-t…

Memorial planned for the late charity activist

A memorial service for the deceased Zhang Jingdi, a retired French-language teacher in Shanghai and a charity enthusiast, will be held this Friday at 10am.Through his close ties with the local expatriate community, Zhang raised more than 5 million yuan (US$760,000) from foreign friends to help needy people in the city in the past 20 years.He died of kidney cancer at age 86 in the Zhongshan Hospital on August 9.His family is now inviting both Chinese and foreign friends to attend the memorial service to be held in the Binhai Guyuan Cemetery in the coastal Fengxian District.Buses are prepared to take attendants to the cemetery. Pickup points are Lujiabang Road Station Exit 1 for Metro Line 8 and 9 and Century Avenue Station Exit 7 for Metro Line 2, 4, 6 and 9. Last bus leaves before 8am.Zhang was named a "Charity Star" by the municipal government for his contribution to philanthropy. He battled with kidney cancer for nearly six months and even he was very ill, he still tried t…

Construction workers often lose pay

THREE-FOURTHS of construction workers are sweating in big Chinese cities, including Shanghai, without labor contracts, which means it is easier for their employers to stand them up in salary disputes, according to a survey by Peking University. The survey was based on an investigation of recent construction labor markets in Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing and Shenzhen.It found that 75.6 percent of the construction workers, mostly migrants hailing from China's vast, less-developed rural regions, said they had not signed any recruitment contact. The absence of a formal contract puts workers at a disadvantage in getting timely payment for their jobs. Only about 6 percent of construction workers in Shanghai said their salaries were settled at the end of each month, about the same as the level in Beijing, the survey showed. The percentage is about 23 percent in Shenzhen. Shanghai Daily interviewed some major construction group managers in Shanghai and their statements echoed the finding. …

ICS 'Shanghai Live' wins top Asian TV award

SHANGHAI Live, a news magazine program of International Channel Shanghai (ICS), has won the Best News Program award at the 2011 Asian Television Awards for its good and broad coverage of local and world news.This year 1,040 TV programs competed for the awards and 224 entries from 13 countries and regions were nominated.It is the first time a local television news program received such an honor in competition with entries provided by BBC, CNBC and CNN, ICS officials said.Shanghai Live, broadcast six nights a week was launched in January 2011. It presents news of major local and global events in an easy viewer-friendly manner to the city's English-speaking audiences, both foreigners and bilingual Chinese.China Rush (Season One), a Chinese version of the popular reality show "The Amazing Race," received a citation of excellence from the Awards jury in the category of Best Adaptation of An Existing Format.The third season of China Rush has begun recruiting volunteers. Online…

Nuclear initiative at Shanghai port

Lu Peijun (center right), deputy commissioner of the General Administration of Customs of China, and Thomas D'Agostino, administrator of the US National Nuclear Security Administration, shake hands after cutting the ribbon during the commissioning of a radiation detection system at Yangshan Port in Shanghai. The system is part of joint China-US efforts to prevent smuggling of nuclear materials for weapons or terrorism. The system is meant to provide comprehensive screening as part of the Megaports Initiative, a US Energy Department scheme to provide scanning systems at 100 of the world's biggest ports. Shanghai is the 40th such port, and the first in China.

Chilly days and filthy air ahead

Shanghai is expecting another cold front and a steep fall in temperature, the weather forecaster says today.The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau warns that the temperature will plunge tonight and reach nearly zero degrees Celsius at the weekend.The low will be 6 degrees Celsius today and reach zero around Sunday while the high will be around 7 degrees in the next few days, the bureau said.Today remains rainy with temperatures between 12 and 14 degrees. The sky will turn to cloudy tomorrow afternoon with the mercury hovering between 6 and 10 degrees.Today is "daxue" or Heavy Snow according to the Chinese lunar calendar, indicating the arrival of snowy weather. But Shanghai will have fine weather in the next few days.As the average daily temperature falls below 10 degrees Celsius in the next five days, tomorrow could be the first day of winter.The weather bureau also warns that the city's air quality might not be good as pollutants from North China are blown in by the cold c…

Balcony collapse kills woman, quality of construction probed

A sixth-floor downtown apartment balcony collapsed from its base yesterday, sending a woman plunging to her death, police said.The woman, aged 69 and surnamed Xi, was standing on the balcony about noon when part of it fell to the ground, city police said. The tragedy happened in an aged residential complex on downtown Maotai Road. A female neighbor said she heard "a huge noise suddenly and thought something was collapsing." She rushed to the scene and saw Xi lying on the ground. Then she saw the balcony "astonishingly missing from its original position" and the balcony on the fifth floor also damaged from the impact.Most of the balcony of apartment No. 602 caved in and landed downstairs. Only the bottom still hung on the sixth floor, with a broken sink attached to it.The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.Apartment No. 502 below, newly sold, was undergoing renovation. Witnesses said workers were removing the windows that once connected to the bottom of the col…

Tackling Overcharging

SHANGHAI'S taxi watchdog has received more than 200 complaints so far this year about taxi fare overcharging or passengers being rejected by cabbies.To tackle the problem, the city is distributing cards in Chinese and English about taxi fare charges at eight high-end hotels, said the Shanghai Traffic Law Enforcement Team. The joint initiative by the watchdog and hotels will be extended next year.

Shanghai bargain hunters out in force

A SHANGHAI version of Black Friday was staged at department stores over the weekend as a prelude to the upcoming new year promotions.Bargain hunters elbowed their way to shelves and cleared out merchandise without even looking at price tags at Printemps Department Store, which launched the first overnight new year promotion in the city at four outlets on Friday. During a promotion running from noon Friday until 2am yesterday, special offers, including up to 70 percent discounts and a free iPad 2 for people who spent a minimum amount of money, had shoppers in a frenzy.Although the biggest discounts ended at 2am, the store remained open until 6am. Starting from 10am on Friday, shoppers started lining up outside Printemps Department Store on Huaihai Road. More than 500 shoppers were lined up by 11am, which eventually forced the retailer to open at 11:30am, 30 minutes before it had planned. At another Printemps outlet, crowds toppled the metal rails and knocked over wooden benches."…

Foreign grads face local job hurdles

MORE and more foreigners want to stay and work in Shanghai amid China's robust economic development, but they find some obstacles due to lack of job-finding skills and tight government policies. Mira You, a South Korean woman, landed a job at a human resources company in Shanghai after graduating from Fudan University this year. Following her Chinese classmates, she looked for a job just as many local students did. She visited 51job.com and other job-recruitment websites, submitted her resume to firms and accumulated lots of intern experiences. "I kept asking my Chinese students how they look for jobs and they told me lots of useful methods," said You. "After I uploaded my resume online, many firms called me and offered me interview opportunities."But most foreign students have no idea how to find a job in the city, and they complain that the colleges don't provide any help. Tickets were not offered to foreign students at a job-recruitment fair held at Fuda…

Recalled bullet trains ready to get back on track

BULLET trains which were recalled following a series of breakdowns have now all been declared ready for use on China's high-speed routes, including the Shanghai-Beijing line, the Ministry of Railways said yesterday. In August, 54 CRH380BL trains were recalled after frequent malfunctions. The problems resulted in massive delays and service cancellations and sparked a surge of complaints from passengers. At the time, CNR, the country's leading train manufacturer, said thorough checks would be conducted on all the trains to see whether they needed to be overhauled. They wouldn't be returned until operational safety was guaranteed, it said. The ministry said engineers and an independent panel had completed tests on the trains and certified they were mechanically sound. Nearly a quarter of the daily train capacity on the Shanghai-Beijing express route was cut on August 16 when the trains were recalled. At about the same time, the state railway authority lowered speed limits for…

Unprotected sex leads to rise in AIDS cases

THE majority of new HIV carriers and AIDS patients in Shanghai are men aged between 25 and 44, city health officials said yesterday. About 82 percent of this year's newly-confirmed HIV carriers became infected through unprotected sex and half of them were homosexuals, the Shanghai Public Health Bureau said. The percentage of HIV carriers infected through intravenous drug injection decreased by nearly 20 percent from last year."In some areas of the country, unclean blood donations and drug injections are the main spread means, but Shanghai is different," said Wu Fan, director of the Shanghai Center of Disease Control and Prevention. "Since the city found the first AIDS case in 1987, sex has always been the main spread means. And in recent years, as we encourage people to go for HIV virus inspection voluntarily, more cases have been revealed."The city has 74 HIV test sites, and anyone who suspects he or she may be affected can be tested there free. The sites hav…

Line 10 problems getting look

LOCAL Metro management is working to reduce the problem of excessive emergency braking on Line 10 amid growing complaints from riders. Many Metro passengers have complained that trips on Line 10 are uncomfortable because the trains often engage their emergency brakes. The problem is triggered by Line 10's route peculiarities and a current signaling system deficiency, said Shao Weizhong, vice president of Shentong Group, the local Metro operator. Shao said Line 10 is special as drivers face an excessive number of curves along its downtown route. "Drivers have to be very skillful in controlling the speed so as to avoid causing uncomfortable feelings to the passengers," Shao said. Additionally, the signaling system on Line 10 triggers frequent emergency brakes without a clear cause, Shao said. He said the system supplier is looking for solutions. Line 10's operation has come under greater public scrutiny following the September 27 crash in which two trains collided when…

Search for Mr Chu is over ...

There was a bittersweet conclusion yesterday to a former wartime refugee's search for "Mr Chu," the man who was so kind to her family during their stay in Shanghai.A relative of the "Shanghai Uncle," an elderly Jewish woman had been searching for to express her gratitude for his help more than 60 years ago, got in touch yesterday to share her childhood memories.But she also brought the sad news that Mr Chu, whose real name was Zhou Zhiji, died 10 years ago at the age of 88.His daughter, Zhou Huizhen, got in contact with the Shanghai Jewish Refugees Museum yesterday. The museum has been helping 73-year-old Vera Sasson, who lives in the United States, in her search.Zhou, now a 70-year-old grandmother, said: "My father was a warm-hearted man and he was probably one of only a few Chinese men who could speak English well in the community. When local families wanted to communicate with Jewish families, my father would always offer help with translation."Dur…

Mr Chu's daughter delighted to find her Jewish playmate

THE relatives of Mr Chu, the "Shanghai Uncle" an elderly Jewish woman has been searching for years to show her gratitude for his help to her refugee family 60 years ago, have showed up today with fond childhood memories.Mr Chu, whose real name was Zhou Zhiji, died 10 years ago at the age of 88. He used to be a director of a Shanghai tobacco company and he could speak fluent English, which helped him to make friends with Jewish refugee families, said his daughter Zhou Huizhen, now a 70-year-old grandmother.Zhou said she was watching a local TV news program when she suddenly saw her father's photo being held by a 73-year-old Jewish woman, Vera Sasson, who was her playmate when she was only five or six years old.Zhou recalled that during the 1940s, her family had a very close relationship with their neighbor, a Jewish family living at 432 Kunming Road, Hongkou District.She said his father usually took the little cute Jewish girl home and invited her to eat Shanghai snacks s…

Tall tipple

Former basketball star Yao Ming was among guests at a fundraising banquet for the Special Olympics last night in Shanghai. Yao saw his first bottle of Yao Ming 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, together with his shoe molds, make 200,000 yuan (US$31,423) in an auction at the event. The charity banquet raised nearly 2.9 million yuan for the Special Olympics. The first 1,200 bottles of Yao Family Wines will be available on the market for 3,800 yuan each. The 31-year-old multimillionaire also donated a super-sized jacket for auction, which was bought by a businessman for 160,000 yuan.

Increase in foreign airline complaints

FOREIGN airlines are at the center of a growing number of passenger complaints, the local consumer rights watchdog said yesterday. The city industry and commerce administration based at Shanghai's airports said it had received more than 70 complaints this year up to October against foreign airlines.This is an increase of more than 120 percent on the same period last year. Around 40 foreign airlines provide services in Shanghai."A lack of effective communication and airlines being unfamiliar with Chinese traditions and habits are the main reasons for complaints," Wang Guangdi, the director with the consumer rights protection committee office at the airports, said at a meeting yesterday attended by more than 30 foreign airlines.He said travelers complained that it was often impossible to get through on some airline hotlines.Language barriers were also an issue, said Wang."Most companies require complaints in English," said Wang. "That's inconvenient for …

Warmer weekend to end with rainy days

SHANGHAI will have a warmer weekend after a minimum temperature of 6.2 degrees Celsius was recorded yesterday, the lowest since the start of this autumn, according to the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.As the cold front is fading away and the mercury is estimated to bounce back to as high as 21 degrees Celsius on Sunday.However, rainy weather will set in early next week and the temperature will drop to a range between 13 and 10 degrees.Weathermen said the weekend spike in temperature will still be considered normal as temperatures over 20 degrees were recorded in previous Novembers.

Ink-wash painting sells for US$4.3m

A TRADITIONAL ink-wash painting (left) jointly created by Wu Changshuo and Qi Baishi, two important figures in China's modern art history, fetched 27.5 million yuan (US$4.3 million) at auction in Shanghai yesterday.The first sale in the city by Beijing-based Rongbaozhai, a 300-year-old art dealership, raised 742 million yuan on the first day of a two-day event at the Four Seasons Hotel.The choice of Shanghai for the sale surprised many in the art world as the auction market in Shanghai has been sluggish in recent years compared to the booming scene in Beijing."The total amount raised at art auctions in 2010 in Beijing exceeded 35 billion yuan, while only 4 billion yuan in Shanghai," said Ma Wuyi, general manager at Rongbaozhai. "But Shanghai, the center of international economy, finance and trade, is of huge potential in the area of art."The first-day success of Rongbaozhai restored some confidence in the market after the China Guardian Auction House reported t…

Closed for business

A law enforcement officer today takes away a shop clerk from a well-known milk tea shop in Shanghai's Jing'an Villa, a lane or longtang near downtown Nanjing Road W. Many shops hidden inside the lane were shut down because they are operating without licenses. The 79-year-old lane has been transformed into a neighborhood of immense creativity and culture since last year.

Scaffold falls, killing 1 worker, injuring another

ONE worker died and another was injured after falling off a scaffold on a building in the city's Chongming Island this morning.The two construction workers, both Chongming natives, were working on the roof of the building when the scaffold they were standing on suddenly collapsed.One worker surnamed Gong was declared dead at the hospital while the other surnamed Yang is listed in critical condition with brain injuries and bone fractures.The accident is now under investigation.

Who'll buy my cabbages?

A farmer looks at piles of unsold cabbages at Shanghai's Jiangqiao Wholesale Market yesterday. There was a bumper harvest of cabbages in the city and neighboring regions this autumn thanks to the good weather. However, that was not good news for growers as the oversupply has resulted in falling prices and disappearing profits. With cabbages selling at just 7 or 8 yuan (US$1.26) for a sack, growers are not able to make enough money to even cover the cost of production. Shanghai introduced a price insurance scheme for green leafy vegetables last year to help growers, but cabbages were not put on the list.

Property agents detained for attacking competitors

THE boss of a real estate agency and his four employees were sentenced to six-month criminal detention for causing disturbance to their next-door competitor, the Huangpu District People's Court said yesterday.The 27-year-old boss surnamed Hu always had a dispute with its neighbor, "Tonglian Property." In June, the staff of the two companies even had a fight over a client.To vent his anger, Hu told his workers to attack the Tonglian stores on Guohuo Road and Jiangyin Road. They broke into the two stores on the evening of June 30, beating their staff and damaging their properties.The court said the fight caused more than 9,000 yuan (US$1,418) in damages and light injuries to three people.The court ordered Hu to pay 9,000 yuan to Tonglian and compensations to the three victims.

Motorcyclist killed in hit-and-run accident in Baoshan

A motorcyclist was killed early this morning when he was hit by a container truck in Shanghai's Baoshan District.The hit-and-run accident happened around 7:20am on Baoyang Road near Jiangyang Road N., close to "Home Value," a building materials and home decoration supermarket.The motorcyclist died on the spot. The container truck didn't stop and fled immediately, witnesses said.The man's body was carried away at about 8:20am after police collected evidences at the scene.Following tips from the witnesses and surveillance video footages, police tracked down on the hit-and-run driver surnamed Zheng in a transportation company on Fuminzhi Road.Police are still investigating the cause of the accident.

Shanghai to pilot emissions scheme

SHANGHAI has been chosen to take part in a pilot greenhouse gas emission rights trading scheme in an effort to encourage carbon emission reductions, China's top economic planner confirmed yesterday.Also taking part in the scheme are Beijing, Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Hubei and Guangdong, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.Details of how it will work and how long it will last were not available.

Fair draws job hunters

Graduating students pack a job fair in Shanghai University of Science and Technology today. A total of 346 enterprises and organizations offered more than 3,000 jobs. Similar job fairs will also be held in Shanghai Normal University and Shanghai University Town in Songjiang District.

Suspect nabbed in stabbing death of woman teacher

A suspect has been detained in the stabbing death of a kindergarten teacher in suburban Songjiang District, Shanghai police said today.The 29-year-old teacher surnamed Mei was found dead in her apartment last Wednesday by her parents, police said.Police detectives soon found a man surnamed Shen who has known the victim for six years, officers said.Shen allegedly asked Mei to be his girlfriend on November 16 but was rejected. He then stabbed Mei to death and fled, police said.Shen was caught four days later in Nanjing, the capital of neighboring Jiangsu Province, police said.

Boy dies after he runs naughtily into dad's knife

AN eight-year-old boy died despite hospital rescue efforts after he unexpectedly ran into a sharp-tipped kitchen knife his father was holding in Shanghai's Fengxian District.The boy was scolded by his mother when he was doing homework on Sunday afternoon. He ran into the kitchen and bumped into his father who was holding the knife, which pierced his heart, the Metro Express reported today.The boy was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his wound, the paper said.Neighbors said the boy was naughty and was frequently lectured by his parents.

Twin towers set to rise on the Bund

Preparation work under way on a piece of land on the Bund that was the most expensive parcel in Shanghai when it was sold for 9.22 billion yuan (US$1.44 billion) last February. Construction of two 180-meter towers will start next month on the site after its original buyer Shanghai Zendai Property reportedly sold the parcel to Fosun Group for 9.57 billion yuan on November 2. Plans of the twin towers complex attracted accusations that they would ruin the skyline of the historic Bund and the height of three side buildings has been lowered to below 80 meters to make the project more harmonious with the rest of the Bund's architecture.

Drug addict steals from women he lured to bed

A drug addict who stole more than 15,000 yuan (US$2,363) from women he had a one-night stand with to pay for his drug bills has been sentenced to two years and nine months in prison, the Hongkou District People's Court said today.Han Shang, a 29-year-old convict, was also fined 3,000 yuan for theft. The man hooked up with 11 women he met through social networking websites between June 2009 and July 2011.Han pretended to be a wealthy white-collar who was seeking one-night stand to release work pressure, the court heard.After having sex with them, Han stole cash, mobile phones and other belongings from those women when they were having a shower in the bathroom.He was arrested after one of the victims reported to the police.Han said he had never thought the victims would alert the police as it would be "too embarrassing" for them.The court said Han began taking drugs in 2007 and had two criminal records related with drugs. In June 2007, he was detained for three months for …

Road accidents a major threat to Shanghai children

TRAFFIC accidents have become a major cause of deaths and injuries for Shanghai children and youths, Shanghai traffic police said yesterday.Of the city's 1,000-plus traffic fatalities last year, 17 percent of them were victims aged 10 to 24. Their percentage was lower in previous years, officials said.A survey made by traffic police in the suburban Songjiang District showed that local hospitals treated more than 800 children aged below 15 who were injured in traffic accidents last year.The number is alarming at a time when people are mourning the deaths of 19 kindergarten children who were killed when their overloaded mini bus collided with a truck in Gansu Province last week.Shanghai police said that 10 percent of juvenile injuries are caused by traffic accidents.Yesterday marked the 7th World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. Shanghai observed the day with a local theme, "Slow down for kids. Be a responsible driver."In a crackdown on overloaded school buses …

SIM card ID rules flouted

CITY vendors are selling cellphone SIM cards without asking customers for identity details, as required by law, a Shanghai Daily investigation has discovered. A real-name registration policy was introduced more than a year ago to tackle cellphone scamming. Shanghai Daily found that in one grocery in Zhabei District China Mobile's pre-paid SIM cards are available from 50 yuan (US$7.80) to 100 yuan, without any identification documents being required.And some vendors selling pre-paid SIM cards at online shopping site Taobao do not ask buyers for their ID card.Instead, they use fake names and ID card numbers automatically generated by software that are accepted by telecom operators' systems.A Taobao vendor, who asked not to be named, told Shanghai Daily that telecom operators asked distributors of SIM cards to register ID card information, but do not carry out inspections afterward.The seller said this is because operators - as well as vendors - do not want registration rules to …

Giving the gift of life

Maryanne Von Essen (right) from South Africa donates blood at the Shanghai Blood Center yesterday. She and 17 other expatriates living in the city joined a campaign "Different Region, Same Passion" for blood donation. Each member of the foreign volunteer team donated 400 milliliters of blood.

Curtain drops on arts festival

Dancers from Germany's Bavarian State Ballet stage a scene from Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" last night at Shanghai Grand Theatre, which was the closing performance of the 13th Shanghai International Arts Festival. Fifty performances and 18 exhibitions were staged during the monthlong event.

Minhang to expand fleet of public bikes to 26,000

MINHANG District plans to enlarge its public bike system by adding 7,000 new bikes next year to meet local people's growing demand, the district commission for urban construction and transportation said today.Currently, there are 19,000 rent-free bikes in Minhang and the number will reach 26,000 next year. A budget increase of 26 million yuan (US$4.09 million) is expected, said Wan Huqing, an official with the commission.As of April, the commission had issued more than 217,000 user cards to local residents who want to borrow free public bikes to go to work or run errands, and the demand has exceeded the supply, said Wan.The public bike system was introduced in March 2009. Minhang residents can apply for a user card with their ID cards and residential certificates. They can ride off from any public bike station and return the bike within two hours each time.

1 killed, 4 injured in high-speed crash

ONE person died and four others were injured in a traffic accident on the South-North Elevated Road early this morning in Shanghai.The accident happened at 5:25am when a van hit a bus, killing one on the scene and causing traffic congestion. Traffic police had to close several entries onto the elevated highway to clean the scene.Witnesses said the vehicles were running at high speeds when the crash happened and one passenger was thrown out of the car by the force of the collision.The cars were towed away at 7:10am and traffic has resumed to normal.Police are investigating the accident.

Noise triggers knife attack on couple

A MAN was apprehended by police this morning for using a knife to slash a couple in a residential building in Shanghai's Zhabei District.The 48-year-old man was suspected of suffering a mental disease, according to his neighbors in the Jingfengyuan Residential Community.The couple is now being treated in a local hospital. The husband was seriously injured and received a surgery, police said.The attacker hacked the couple at about 9am in the corridor of their shared building, witnesses said. The woman was slashed in the face and one eye.After receiving the report, the city's SWAT team arrived immediately and overpowered the mad man who was wielding a knife and was wearing only his shorts."The man is unsociable and stays away from others. We know little about him except that he lives alone," said a woman. Other neighbors revealed that the man and the couple often quarreled over trivial things.One witness surnamed Zhong said the couple made a big noise in the corridor, …

Overloaded van hits bus, 2 pupils hurt

TWO pupils were injured when an overloaded van collided with a bus this morning in Shanghai's Songjiang District.
The van was an illegally operated school bus, hired by parents to transport the children to and from school.
It is licensed to carry only seven passengers, but 11 children were onboard when the accident happened at the intersection of Chexin Road and Minyi Road at 6:50am this morning.
The children's injuries are not life threatening.

Police are investigating the accident.

Tighter laws for city enforcers

CONTROVERSIAL public order enforcers are set to be subject to tighter regulations, under a new law being drafted by city legislators.Urban management workers - who across China are often accused of using excessive force - will have to adhere to clearly defined rules, city legislators said yesterday. Legislators are working on the law covering officers employed by the Shanghai government to help maintain public order and security. Urban management staff are not part of the police force and have no legal authority to detain people. The current law authorizes urban management workers to watch out for environmental and public order violations and assist police and other departments in tackling offences such as illegally setting up roadside stalls, selling fake products and smoking in public. The grey-uniformed officials are allowed to hand out fines to violators. The new law would have clearer definitions of the scope of routine duties, while also setting up stricter recruitment requirem…

Prosecutors: Beauty parlor has an ugly side

EIGHTEEN workers of a beauty parlor have been sued for forcing customers to spend hundreds of thousands of yuan in their store from September 2010 to May this year, Shanghai prosecutors said.
The prosecutors said 79 customers were compelled to pay 345,000 yuan for services offered by the suspects who will stand in court soon.
Three main suspects surnamed Wang, Hu and Yang opened the beauty parlor last year in the basement of a supermarket in Songjiang District and hired 15 employees. They used free gifts or free skin test to lure customers into their store, the prosecutors said.
Once customers came, the suspects would offer them free facial cleansing and a free try of a skin care product, then they would warn that the chemicals they had used were toxic and customers need to buy another product to remove it.
Some customers were offered a free try of a kind of cream on one side of their face and then illuminated by a special apparatus to show the contrast with the other side. In the end the…

Stars are all smiles

From left: Hong Kong pop singer Karen Mok, Hong Kong actor Jaycee Chan, son of kung fu star Jackie Chan, and Chinese mainland actress Huang Yi are all smiles during the promotion of their latest movie, "2011 East Meets West," in the city yesterday. The comic film will be released later this month .

Young man charged with robbing neighbor

A 19-year-old youth who allegedly robbed a wealthy neighbor and extorted 100,000 yuan (US$15,800) from him has been charged with robbery, theft and extortion, Baoshan District prosecutors said today.
The suspect, Li Le, reportedly broke into his next-door neighbor Jiang Jun's home through a kitchen window on May 23 and stole an LV wallet with 2,000 yuan in cash and some foreign currencies.
The prosecutors said Li confessed that he targeted Jiang because the 23-year-old looked very fashionable and owned a BMW sports car.
On June 10, Li broke into Jiang's home again through the balcony. Finding nothing valuable in the living room, he entered Jiang's bedroom and hit the victim with the back of a knife.
Li tied up Jiang's hands and told him to deliver 100,000 yuan before 5pm June 15, the prosecutors said. Then, he left with Jiang's iPhone which he sold to a mobile phone store for 3,000 yuan, according to prosecutors.
Li returned to pick up the money on June 15 but found pol…

Worms found in diaper; producer denies problem

A man in Yiwu City, Zhejiang Province is seeking compensation from Huggies Diapers after he found worms in his daughter's diapers.
Fang Hui was stunned when he saw fat worms crawling on the diaper his wife was going to change for their month-old daughter.
Fang complained to Huggies Diapers Shanghai last Thursday about the worms living in the folds of baby diapers he bought from a local supermarket last month.
"It was disgusting and I got goose bumps at the sight of these worms," said Fang's wife.
The couple has posted a warning on a local online forum to warn other young parents of the risks of Huggies Diapers.
"Babies cannot speak even if they feel uncomfortable," said Fang.
After receiving the complaint, the diaper company sent two sales representatives based in Jinhua City in the province to collect a sample of its defective product on Friday. The sample was immediately sent to the company's headquarters in Beijing for examination.
A Huggies China spokesper…

Elderly man pulled off Metro tracks

AN ELDERLY man was pulled off the tracks of Metro Line 4 at 7:54am this morning and escorted away by metro staff, causing a short delay.No one was injured during the incident as the man was removed from the tracks before a train had arrived, the Metro operator said.It's unknown whether the man accidentally fell onto the tracks or jumped down to attempt suicide. Another delay happened on Metro Line 10 at 8:10am when the emergency brake of a train was activated.After investigating, the operator found it was a false alarm, but to ensure safety, the train was taken out of service, causing a delay of about 10 minutes.Another glitch hit Shanghai's metro system at 8:41am when a Metro Line 2 train malfunctioned. Passengers were evacuated and the train was sent away for further examination.All the affected lines have resumed normal operations.

Blogs make headlines with their version of the news

SU Qian, 20, wakes every day to find thousands of messages from followers of her "Life In Shanghai" microblog. She then spends hours reading through them before deciding which to publish. Su is one of a growing number of microbloggers who have created their own "media agencies" on Weibo.com, with an audience of tens of thousands interacting with them daily."The most beautiful part of my job is to be trusted by my audience, who would fill you with messages to tell their stories," Su said.By using microblogs, the media outlets gather news and views directly from local users and broadcast them on the Internet. Although some of their "news" later proves to be unverified and inaccurate, they are becoming more and more popular among local people who see them as alternatives to the usual media organizations. Shanghai Daily has found that many of the media agencies on the microblog are owned and operated by individuals, mostly born after 1980, in contra…

Tongji students win award for heavy metal filter

LOCAL university students have developed a fibrous membrane that can filter heavy metals from water and garbage.
The invention has won them the first "Klaus Topfer Environment Innovation Award" presented today at Tongji University.
The electrospun mesoporous fibrous membrane developed by a team of international graduate students at Tongji University will be first used in a garbage incineration plant in the city's suburban Baoshan District.
"The membrane can remove up to 80 percent of heavy metals from the ashes of burnt garbage," said Wu Yinan, the team leader and a PhD student at Tongji's Environmental Science Department.
"Landfill without removing heavy metals is bad for the environment because heavy metals such as lead and copper can contaminate the soil and underground water," he said.
Moreover, recycled heavy metals can subsidize the city's garbage disposal expenses, Wu said.
The membrane can also be used in water plants to remove heavy metals …

Congress deputies listen to medical reform reports

THE Standing Committee of the Shanghai Municipal People's Congress held a meeting on November 9 to listen to official reports on the implementation of the city's medical reform. All SMPC deputies and local deputies to the National People's Congress heard the reports.
Representatives from the Municipal Development and Reform Commission, Municipal Health Bureau and Municipal Human Resources and Social Security Bureau informed the lawmakers of the progress of the city's medical reform and their efforts to fulfill major tasks and to improve the basic health care system.
According to official sources, Shanghai has increased investment in the construction of medical facilities and in the standardization of community health services. All the C-class hospitals in suburban districts will be put into use by the end of 2012 and the per capita fee for basic health services at community hospitals or clinics has been raised to 50 yuan.
The pilot program of family doctor services has be…

Husband arrested for killing wife and her suspected lover

POLICE have caught a 40-year-old man who first killed his wife and then stabbed her suspected lover to death yesterday in the city's Zhabei District.
The man surnamed Zhang killed his wife surnamed Huang at home in a residential complex on 555 Gonghexin Road around noon yesterday and left the scene immediately.
Neighbors said Zhang suspected Huang of having an affair with another man and was mad at her for talking to him in a cold and cynical tone.
Police began a manhunt for Zhang after the murder but didn't catch him immediately.
At about 7:30pm, Zhang returned to the residential complex and stabbed a man about his own age, who he believed was his wife's lover, near Building No. 3.
The man clutched the wounds with his hands and struggled to get help, leaving a 40-meter-long trail of blood on the cement road.
He was discovered by a police officer and rushed to a nearby hospital where he died despite emergency surgical treatment.
The hospital said the man was stabbed in the waist,…

Sharp performance

A local high school student pins a school badge to the lapel of Sir Simon Rattle, director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, at Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall last night. This was during an interactive session between fans and musicians following a performance by the orchestra at the Shanghai Grand Theater.

City plans incentives to boost cultural industry

The Shanghai government will launch a series of policies and incentives to create a "cultural highland" that will benefit the art, fashion and information technology sectors, local officials said yesterday.Officials also called on everyone in the city to be "open-minded" about other cultures so it will be easier to attract highly skilled professionals from both home and abroad."Now is the crucial moment as Shanghai restructures its economy to focus more on innovation," said Yu Zhengsheng, the city's Party secretary, as the two-day plenary session of the Shanghai Committee of the Communist Party of China ended. "Culture indicates 'soft power' and it nourishes a city's creativity. Without a good cultural environment, our intellectual foundations and inspiration will slowly drain away."Yu added the government realizes a healthy cultural environment will contribute greatly to stable economic and social development. Leapfrog developme…

Gucci denies selling second-hand bags as new

GUCCI China yesterday denied claims that goods returned by customers because of flaws are put back on its shelves again and sold as new.The luxury goods company was responding to a report in the National Business Daily alleging that a returned bag was repaired and placed among new bags for sale.It comes weeks after Gucci faced allegations of imposing a harsh regime on its sales assistants.This week's report quoted an insider who claimed to be "familiar with Gucci's operation mode" and accused the company of fraud.It was backed by what the insider claimed are internal e-mails detailing how a second-hand bag was to be sold as new.Gucci China, based in Shanghai, insisted yesterday it would never put returned items back on sale. "We will never allow or tolerate such conduct in our stores," said Ben Huang, director of marketing and communications of Gucci China. Huang said the allegations are "unacceptable" and that Gucci will hold an investigation. &q…

City to launch New Year charity drive

True Love Under the Blue Sky, Shanghai's largest annual charity event, will be held again on January 7 next year, organizers said today.The New Year charity drive, organized by the Shanghai Charity Foundation, features fundraiser, goods donations, free surgeries for the disadvantaged, and charity auctions.Money and goods collected will go to local needy homes to help them enjoy a happy Chinese New Year.Apart from donations, the event also calls on people to work as volunteers to take care of the elderly and disabled people in their communities during December and January when most migrant domestic workers have gone home for family reunion.

Defaulters arrested for ignoring court orders

FOUR people who refused to follow court orders to pay their debts were detained this morning by the Putuo District People's Court.The court sent out 10 teams of about 40 judges and bailiffs before 6am to nab the deadbeats at their homes before they go out and some were woken up from their sleep.No resistance was reported in the morning action, but some targets were not at home for days and the teams sent to catch them returned empty-handed.These defaulters will be under judicial detention for 15 days. The court says if they still fail to pay their debts within deadlines after the detention, their personal assets will be auctioned.The court says it has detained 27 deadbeats this year.

Car interiors 'poisoning drivers'

EXCESSIVE levels of poisonous chemicals are found in the interiors of more than 70 percent of private cars in Shanghai, a local environmental protection association claimed yesterday.Many interior fittings, particularly plastic components and glue, emit formaldehyde and benzene fumes that exceed standards, said Li Wei, secretary general of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Association.Li said more than 90 percent of problems discovered by the association were caused by formaldehyde and benzene, with levels in some cases 10 times higher than China's indoor environment standard.These poisonous chemicals can cause headaches, fatigue and vomiting."Many drivers contacted the association saying they had headaches after driving their cars for a long time," Li said.Car interiors are also polluted by carbon monoxide and gasoline fumes from the engine, said Li.Air-conditioning systems will also cause pollution if not cleaned for a long time, while metal engine parts may emit …

It's 11-11-11: a big day to wed

SINGLE women above the age of 32 and men over 34 are regarded as "leftovers" in Shanghai, according to a survey covering 1,200 Shanghai residents carried out by smmail.cn, the website said yesterday to mark "Single's Day," which falls today.Tradition in China holds that "men and women should get married when the age comes." Therefore, if people go past that age without marrying, pressure from family and society will rain down. In recent years, unmarried people in their 30s or older have become known as "leftovers," which carries something of a negative connotation.In fact, women are more challenged than men because people believe that it's quite normal for men to get married late because they have to achieve something in their career first, but women have no reason to stay single for so long. Female "leftovers" are now increasing in Shanghai. According to the 2010 population census, the number of unmarried women in the city ha…

Canada starts wood house demo project in Pudong

THE Canadian government has teamed up with the Pudong District authority to build wood-frame townhouses for out-of-town professionals in Pudong's Jinqiao Area.The Jinqiao Wood Townhouse Demonstration Project consists of 133 three-storey townhouses as part of the Jinqiao Townhouse Development Project. It is one of several such projects in China funded by the Canadian government.These projects are aimed at helping China to meet its emission-reduction goals, according to officials accompanying Canadian Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver's visit in Shanghai yesterday.The project is expected to be completed next year and will benefit young migrant professionals working in the city, they say."Canada has been privileged to support the development of wood-frame construction in China over the past decade," Oliver says, adding that wood is a cost-effective construction material for its energy efficiency and ability to withstand earthquakes.But in China, wood-framed house…

Falling pole kills 3 passers-by, injures 1 in Qingpu

THREE people died and one was injured in Qingpu District yesterday when a mini van hit a drooping cable and pulled down a roadside pole, crushing the four pedestrians.The mishap happened around 5:50pm when the van driving along Mingzhu Road caught the cable dangling across the road and dragged down the pole attached to the cable.Police said the four male pedestrians were hit by the fallen pole. One died at the scene and two were declared dead at the hospital. Only one survivor suffered light injuries.The survivor was a middle-aged police assistant in Xujing Town. He was on duty when the accident happened.Police cordoned off the site and began to search for the escaped driver, who was caught at about 7:30pm in neighboring Songjiang District, Qingpu police said.The accident also caused a blackout in a nearby building. The fallen pole was re-installed before midnight.Police are still probing the cause of the accident.

Blanket coverage

A citizen practices putting out a blaze at a fire-drill center that opened in suburban Fengxian District yesterday. The center has been built on about 12 hectares of land. Yesterday was national Fire Awareness Day.

Man jailed for swindling China Telecom of 500 phones

A man who defrauded China Telecom of hundreds of mobile phones and SIM cards worth 1.59 million yuan (US$250,899) was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined 100,000 yuan, Huangpu District People's Court ruled today.Prosecutors said Yang Hong, 33, used the documents of his former business partner to forge an official seal and signed a cellphone package with China Telecom Shanghai Branch in January.With that package, he was to receive 500 mobile phones and 500 SIM cards for free before the signed agreement came into effect in March.The court heard that Yang took 332 mobile phones and 450 SIM cards from China Telecom in January due to limited stock and sold most of them to clients in Beijing and Wuhan and used the money to pay debts.Yang's fraud was discovered when China Telecom found its complementary phones were sold on the market and reported him to the police. He was detained on February 1.In the court, Yang denied his crime of contract fraud, claiming he had no intention …

Beggars a growing nuisance on Shanghai streets

SOME foreign travelers have complained about their frequent encounters with street beggars in the evening on some upscale streets in downtown Xuhui District.And some local residents and cabbies also say they find panhandlers a headache especially after dark.A taxi passenger surnamed Lin said he almost lost his BlackBerry to a beggar last night when he got off at the Donghu Hotel. A woman beggar in her 20s followed him to the hotel door and picked up the phone that slipped from his pocket and ran off.But the cabbie saw the whole thing and shouted at Lin, who was able to catch the woman and retrieve his mobile phone.Some locals are urging Xuhui District authorities to address the problem of street beggars and maintain order in public places.

Thieves target Metro phones

THIEVES are snatching high-end mobile phones from the hands of Metro passengers and escaping through closing doors, police warned yesterday.Shanghai Metro police advised subway riders to take care of their mobile phones - particularly popular brands such as iPhone - as this crime is on the increase.Officers said the thieves target passengers holding a phone, snatch the phone as the carriage doors are about to shut and squeeze through the closing door, leaving the stunned victim on the train."Victims can't react because it all happens so quickly," said Song Youguo, a Metro police officer. Passengers are also vulnerable to thieves at Metro stations at night, according to Song. Subway police have apprehended 232 thieves so far this year and recovered stolen items worth more than 210,000 yuan (US$33,082). Meanwhile, Metro police said they have seized more than 30,000 dangerous items, including gas cylinders, knifes, replica guns and spent bullets, this year at 528 checkpoint…

East China Sea earthquake felt on some high-rises

SOME people on the upper floors of high-rise buildings in the city's Minhang District felt floor shaking this morning when a 7.0-magnitude earthquake jolted the East China Sea.The earthquake occurred at 10:59am at 27.2 degrees north latitude and 125.9 degrees east longitude. The epicenter is 220km under the surface, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.The epicenter was 270km from Diaoyu Island, 480km from Taipei and 520km from Wenzhou in eastern Zhejiang Province.A man working the 12th floor of an office building on Lianhua Road said he felt the building shaking for about 30 seconds. Many people on the same floor rushed downstairs in panic.Zhang Jiayue, an official at the Shanghai Seismological Bureau, told Shanghai Daily that the earthquake had little influence on the city. "Very few residents felt the tremor," he said.

Beware of phone snatchers on subway trains

SHANGHAI Metro Police have warned subway riders to take care of their mobile phones, particularly iPhones as the number of thefts is increasing in the subway. Police said the thieves would target passengers holding a phone in their hand on the train, snatch the phone the moment the carriage doors are about to shut and squeeze through the closing door, leaving the stunned victim in the train.Passengers are also vulnerable at the gates of a Metro station at night, police said. The subway police have nabbed 232 thieves this year and recovered stolen items worth more than 210,000 yuan. They also handled 12 robbery cases.The city's 11 Metro lines handle about 6 million riders each day on average. One in every six passengers would be subject to random checks, police said.

Shanghai issues expo legacy guidebook

SHANGHAI, along with the United Nations and International Exposition Bureau, yesterday issued a guidebook for city leaders around the world containing valuable urban development experience gained from the World Expo 2010.Experts from the three organizations spent over a year compiling the Shanghai Expo legacy book that provides urban management guides on aspects ranging from the economy, transport, waste management and information technology.It also includes case studies on world cities, most of which were exhibited at the Urban Best Practices Area at the expo in 2010, and suggestions from urban experts around the world.The bilingual book in both English and Chinese, named Shanghai Manual, will be used as the training manual for Chinese mayors and urban managers as well as their counterparts across the world, according to an agreement among the Shanghai Expo organizer, the UN and the bureau."It (Shanghai Manual) details the experience and practices of cities across the world in a…

It's back to classes for basketball icon

SHANGHAI'S basketball giant Yao Ming showed up in class at a local university yesterday, intent on slam dunking a bachelor degree.The sporting icon began three courses at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, with students crowding outside the classrooms, trying to get a glimpse or photograph of him.Yao's management team said the former NBA All-Star center is studying in the Antai College of Economics and Management at the university and his major is related to economics.Yao needs to complete 150 credits of study as required by the university before he can get the degree, said Zhang Chi, spokesman for Team Yao."The atmosphere of the classes was good - and there's no homework on the first day," Yao told reporters last night. "It has been more than a decade since I was in a classroom, and the moment I sat down today I just wanted the class to begin."Yesterday, Yao took classes in basic mathematics, college English and the major issues in modern times. Even for …

California Marketplace makes inroads into Shanghai

SHANGHAI Yangpu District and San Francisco Bay Area inaugurated a digital technology park today to develop cloud computing and electronic games industries.Two enterprises, California Marketplace and Minfon Group Inc, have signed agreements to move into the park, which covers 2.4 square kilometers of floor space.California Marketplace will introduce Californian lifestyle into Shanghai by selling Californian food, wines, clothes and other goods.The company will also open bars, restaurants, gyms and teaching institutes for GRE and SAT training.Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, said they would work with local government to help Chinese enterprises enter the US market as well.

Surgeries postponed as hospital cleaners on strike

ABOUT 200 cleaning workers in Shanghai Xinhua Hospital went on strike this morning over unpaid social insurances and lack of welfare, leaving hundreds of patients unattended and postponing surgeries.The strike began around 8am when the cleaners gathered outside the hospital's administrative building to protest against their employer, a cleaning company, for working overtime and not paid social insurances since 2002.The company and the workers held a round of negotiation in the morning but didn't reach an agreement. The ongoing strike has forced the hospital to postpone surgeries.The workers said the Jichen Cleaning Company, forced them to work nine hours a day and doubled their workload at the weekend. Each cleaner was given only seven days off per month, one day less than the social average.They also said their average income was less than 1,400 yuan (US$221) a month.

20 teenage girls facing charges in 'sex ring'

SOME 20 teenage girls, mostly students under 18 years old and including two under 14, have been caught by police offering prostitution in Shanghai to earn pocket money. Three of the suspects, believed to be starters of the "teenage girl prostitution ring," face charges of offering sex services and inducing classmates and friends to enter the business, Zhabei District prosecutors said."Many of them offered the prostitution services only to earn some pocket money and they were not ashamed of the trade," said Han Konglin, a prosecutor. Han said some come from families with decent economic backgrounds. Some of the girls would contact customers whenever they didn't have enough pocket money to go shopping."To me, it's not even realistic or worthwhile to study hard, go to university and have a decent job," said one suspect, a vocational school student nicknamed Xiao Wen. "I don't want to be a normal worker like my parents, living a hard life t…