Showing posts from September, 2011

Metro braces for big holiday crowds, altering some trains

SHANGHAI Metro is gearing up for an anticipated record number of passengers during the National Day holiday period. Popular lantern shows at sites near Nanjing Road E., People's Square and Lujiazui stations will lead to service alterations and limits on passengers numbers. Nanjing Road E. station, shared by Metro Lines 2 and Line 10, will be closed after 4pm each day until Monday. Trains will not stop at the station and passengers will not be allowed to enter or exit. At People's Square and Lujiazui stations, the subway operator plans to limit passenger numbers if the volume becomes great by asking passengers to take alternative means of transport. Extra trains and tickets will be ready for the anticipated crowds, Metro officials said. Passenger numbers on the city's 11 Metro lines rose to 7.1 million yesterday. The last time the daily figure exceeded 7 million was about a year ago during the Shanghai World Expo. Metro Line 1 services were extended to after midnight la…

Holiday gridlock

Cars are stuck in a major traffic jam at the intersection of Yan'an and Huashan Roads in downtown Shanghai this afternoon. Today is the last workday before the coming National Day Holiday and the traffic jam came earlier than usual and is expected to last till 8pm today.

Shanghai World Expo raked in huge profits

THE 2010 Shanghai World Expo made a total profit of 1.05 billion yuan (US$164 million), boosted by ticket sales and sponsorships, according to a report released by the Shanghai municipal audit bureau today. The auditor said that no severe cases of misappropriated funds were found when the report was compiled. The report showed that the 184-day event pulled in operating revenues of 13 billion yuan, exceeding its original investment of 11.96 billion yuan. The expo received 73 million visitors, including 3.5 million from overseas. Ticket sales adding up to 7.3 billion yuan accounted for 56.52 percent of its operating revenues. Revenues from the sponsorship came out to 3.97 billion yuan. In addition, the construction of the Expo Park cost a total of 19.7 billion yuan, 1.7 billion yuan more than was previously budgeted, the report said.

Praise For Pedestrians After Elderly Man Falls

PASSERSBY who went to the aid of an elderly man who had fallen in the street have been praised by the man's grateful son and the online community. The 86-year-old had taken a tumble on Shanghai's Nanjing Road West at about 1pm yesterday. His nose was bleeding and blood was dripping onto his clothes. A number of pedestrians rushed to help him. They got him to his feet, cleaned him up, offered him water, alerted the police and called for an ambulance. Passerby Zhou Yunyao took a picture of the scene and it attracted a host of comments online praising the people who had rushed to the old man's aid. At the hospital, the man's son said he wanted to thank everyone who had helped. He had told his father to stay put while he looked for a taxi but he had wandered off.

Cinemas boycott film starring anti-gay couple

LOCAL theaters began to boycott the public release of a film that stars a famous acting couple who angered many with remarks of discrimination against homosexuals, New Express Daily reported yesterday. Lu Liping and her husband Sun Haiying's new film "Love Never Dies" won't be released in some theaters due to pressure from the gay rights groups. The film's distributor, known as "Dianyingyishu" on Weibo microblogging site, revealed that some theaters banned the film under pressure. The film's director, A'Nian, confirmed the boycott on his microblog and asked the public to treat it rationally. "The film has the right to be screened just as you (gay couples) have the right to love each other," he said. Some theater managers admitted that they had received an order to boycott the film, the newspaper said. Shanghai cinemas have not received a notice to ban the film and the film's local premiere is set on October 14, according to the Sha…

Woman pawns friend's house using forged documents

A woman who allegedly took 500,000 yuan (US$78,159) from a pawn shop by using a friend's property ownership certificate has been arrested on charges of fraud, Huangpu District prosecutors said yesterday. The 55-year-old woman surnamed An pretended to be the boss of an investment company and applied for a collateral loan of 500,000 yuan at a local pawn shop on March 23, 2010. To get the loan, An mortgaged an apartment on Xianxia Road in Changning District. She showed the pawn company all the required documents, including the ownership certificate, the attorney's letter with signatures of the house owner surnamed Zhang, his wife and their son, and a notary letter. The pawn company approved An's application after all the documents were confirmed real. On the same day, it transferred 500,000 yuan to An's bank account according to her request. However, when the company went to register the apartment at the housing exchange center, the notary letter turned out to be a fake. …

Having a blast at the Bund

Visitors to the Bund enjoy fireworks last night as 19 cruise boats and three fireworks-shooting vessels join an extravaganza to promote the ongoing Shanghai Tourism Festival and coming National Day break.



Gimme shelter

Workers install a shelter for bicycles at the crossing of Yan'an and Shaanxi roads in downtown Shanghai yesterday as part of the city's efforts to encourage citizens to use bikes. The shelter is about 40 meters long.

City gets official Expo museum

The Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) said yesterday that all future World Expo hosts shall donate exhibits to the only official World Expo Museum in the world, which is expected to be completed in Shanghai by 2015. More than 200 participants from the World Expo Shanghai donated more than 30,000 exhibits to the future museum. The BIE said, under its guidance, more exhibits will be collected from previous and future Expo hosts. Vincente Gonzalez Loscertales, Secretary General of the BIE, said the bureau had added it into formal requirements that all future Expo bidders shall support the Expo Museum in Shanghai. The World Expo Museum in Shanghai will be constructed under cooperation between the BIE and the Shanghai government, according to a cooperation memorandum signed by both sides in November 2010. According to the BIE, the Expo Museum will be located on the Puxi side of the former Expo Site and cover a total area of 35,000 square meters. Construction of the Expo Museum wi…

Shanghai oil refinery fire under control

A fire that broke out in an oil refinery last night in Shanghai was under control and no casualties were reported, said municipal police. The accident occurred at around 10:30pm in a coking unit of Gaoqiao oil refinery and the fire was under control at 11:50pm, said the police. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Injured Federer pulls out of the Shanghai Masters

TENNIS star Roger Federer, a record 16-time grand slam winner, has pulled out of next month's ATP 1000 Shanghai Rolex Masters, tournament organizers said yesterday. "After consultation with my team, I've unfortunately decided to pull out of the Shanghai Rolex Masters in order to take some necessary time to rest and recuperate after a long summer," Federer said. "I have some nagging injuries that I need to address and I look forward to returning to the ATP World Tour as soon as possible," he said. It is the second time the Swiss player, currently ranked world No. 3, had pulled out of the tournament. He withdrew in 2009 due to injuries. The Association of Tennis Professionals had approved Federer's decision, said the organizers of the Shanghai tournament to be held from October 9 to 16. Federer, 30, won the Masters Cup in Shanghai in 2006 and 2007 and was runner-up last year after he lost to Scotland's Andy Murray. "I have very fond memories …

Leukemia boy saved with baby sister's cord blood

THE eight-year-old boy who received umbilical cord blood from his 22-month-old sister to treat his leukemia a month ago has become healthy again, the Shanghai Cord Blood Center said today. The boy identified as Jia Jia was discharged yesterday from Shanghai Daopei Hospital's bioclean treatment unit which is specialized in stem cell transplant after doctors said the transplant was successful. The boy is expected to stay in an ordinary ward for full recovery from the deadly disease. Umbilical cord blood collected at childbirth and bone marrow collected from an adult donor are used to treat blood and autoimmune diseases effectively. Their key ingredient is stem cells. Stem cells from umbilical cord blood are less mature than those in adult bone marrow and less prone to be rejected by the recipient. Jia Jia, who is from neighboring Jiangsu Province, was diagnosed of acute leukemia at the age of five. The disease was brought under control after chemotherapy. To cure his disease, his pa…

Cement truck hits scooter, killing 6-year-old girl

A six-year-old girl died; another girl and a woman were injured at 8:05am this morning when their scooter was hit by a concrete mixer truck at a crossroad in Pudong New Area. The woman was driving the two girls to kindergarten on the scooter along Changqing Road when the truck came up from behind, made a right turn to Chengshan Road and knocked down the scooter. Its wheels rolled over one girl and the woman's leg. Another girl narrowly escaped death, said a witness surnamed Xia. The two wounded were immediately sent to the hospital. Police have detained the truck driver and are investigating the cause of the accident.

Most chat fraud victims women, prosecutors say

OF the more than 10 suspects arrested and charged in fraud cases since the beginning of the year in Jing'an District, prosecutors have found that more than 70 percent of the victims were females. Online chatting has become a typical way for suspects to approach female victims, no matter their age. Lonely older people were more likely to be cheated by "friends" their own age, prosecutors said. Liu Hao, a 19-year-old Anhui Province native, was charged with fraud after he swindled more than 60,000 yuan (US$9,284) from two women in their 20s he met through a chat program. Liu pretended to be a rich Singaporean in chat rooms, claiming that he owned properties in Hong Kong and was doing real estate business in Shanghai, according to prosecutors. Lured by Liu's handsome appearance and family background, the two victims, Zhang Hui and Wang Sui, started relationships with Liu, during which Liu took 50,000 yuan from Zhang and 10,000 yuan from Wang based on various lies. Prosec…

Teaming up to save sharks

Virgin Group head Sir Richard Branson (left) and former NBA player Yao Ming attend a news conference organized by WildAid, a wildlife conservation group, to promote shark conservation in Shanghai today.

Citywide checks after polio outbreak in Xinjiang

SHANGHAI has stepped up screening to identify children who have missed polio vaccinations after an outbreak, China's first since 1999, was reported in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region earlier this month. "Migrant children are the main targets of the campaign in the wake of the polio outbreak in Xinjiang," said the Shanghai Health Bureau's Li Shanguo. "Local parents are strictly following the vaccination schedule by taking their children for vaccination in time, while migrant children may miss the injection due to low awareness and their removal from home town to the city." He said each subdistrict will check all the children in its communities and require eligible children to get the free vaccination. Genetic sequencing of the isolated viruses in Xinjiang indicates they are genetically-related to viruses currently circulating in Pakistan, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday. Nine cases have been confirmed in China so far, six children and three ad…

New study links high BPA level with type II diabetes

LOCAL doctors found a high level of bisphenol A (BPA) in blood can increase the risk of type II diabetes. The discovery was published in the latest issue of Annals of Internal Medicine published in the United States, Shanghai Ruijin Hospital said today The discovery can help the research on BPA, an organic compound used in many consumer products, but its negative effects on human health have not been proven with any solid evidence so far, the hospital said. Currently, many countries including the US and China have banned the use of BPA in feeding bottles and food containers for babies. As concern rises about BPA's potential hazard to child health, people also began to discuss its effects on adults. Ruijin Hospital doctors carried out a research to study the relationship between exposure to BPA and type II diabetes. The research found 87.7 percent of Chinese over 40 have BPA in their urine, averaging 0.81ng per milliliter. When the BPA level reaches 1.43ng per milliliter, the risk …

SUV driver who mowed down 4 scooters turns himself in

THE hit-and-run driver whose SUV knocked down four scooters, killing one man and injuring three others on Monday night has turned himself in, city police said this afternoon. The 21-year-old offender surnamed Luo got his driving license in March and borrowed the BMW 320i from a friend to drive for fun, but he wasn't familiar with the car and lost control driving at high speed, Pudong police said. Luo surrendered to police last night and is now in criminal detention as police investigation is ongoing. The accident happened at 7:55pm on Jinjing Road in Pudong. Luo made a right turn from Jiahong to Jinjing and lost control of the SUV which mowed down four scooters on the road. But the car did not stop. It knocked down a tree and crashed into a factory gate. One scooter driver got entangled under the SUV and died on the spot. The other three suffered injuries to their spine, thigh and head respectively. Luo and three passengers in his car fled the scene after the crash. Police said th…

Earliest fall since '86? Time will tell

SHANGHAI may be entering its earliest autumn in 25 years, but because the temperature is expected to bounce back after several cooler days, the city's weather authority is holding off its declaration. The city is expected to be cloudy today with the high rising two degrees to 23 degrees Celsius, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau. The sky should turn sunny and cloudy from tomorrow through the rest of the week, and the high is forecast to gradually reach 26 degrees over the weekend, said the observatory. According to the standard meteorological changing of season, autumn is announced by the bureau when the 24-hour average temperature drops below 22 degrees for five consecutive days after li qiu, or beginning of autumn on the Chinese lunar calendar, usually around August 7. The first day of the five will then be considered the beginning of the season. The city's average temperature slid below 22 degrees on Monday and Tuesday but there are three days to go. The mercury may r…

Landlord jailed for raping his tenant

A landlord who raped his tenant was sentenced to four and a half years in prison by the Pudong District People's Court yesterday. The 36-year-old convict, Wang Lian, is from Chongqing and came to Shanghai in 2006. He rented a three-bedroom apartment on Rongcheng Road and sublet the bedrooms to others. In June, Zhang Jing, the victim, saw his "for rent" ad online and contacted Wang to rent one bedroom. After she moved in, Wang began to harass her with love messages and gifts but all was turned down. On June 24 when other tenants were out, Wang sneaked into Zhang's room and raped her. Wang was caught that night after Zhang called the police. He pleaded guilty in the court yesterday.

Putuo District vice director sacked over corruption

Chen Meng, vice director of Putuo District, was sacked for accepting bribes, city authorities announced this morning. Judicial investigation is now under way to uncover the crime of Chen, a 49-year-old Jiangsu Province native, who was promoted as vice director of Putuo District only in February. Chen allegedly accepted a large amount of money from others and helped them to obtain construction contracts while he was vice mayor of Songjiang District. Last year, Cai Zhiqiang, former director of Putuo District, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for accepting 2.84 million yuan (US$444,703) in bribes, while Yin Kunneng, former office director of the Putuo District government, received a jail term of 11 years for taking 720,000 yuan in bribes.

Another battery plant shut down

ANOTHER lead-acid storage battery plant was shut in Shanghai yesterday, Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau officials said. That means that seven of the 17 battery plants in the city have now been ordered to cease production because of excessive lead discharges. The bureau said its checks were still ongoing but should be complete and the results will be released by the end of the month. Last Wednesday, the Shanghai Johnson Controls International Battery Co, run by US-based Johnson Controls, was shut in Kangqiao of the Pudong New Area after 25 children living nearby were detected with high levels of lead in their blood. Shanghai Xinmingyuan Automobile Accessory Co, in the same area, was also ordered to cease lead-related operations. After the tests that revealed high levels of lead in children, the local environment watchdog sped up its inspection of lead-acid battery plants and other plants which used lead, shutting down plants failing to meet discharge standards. A database on …

Burglars caught after robbing 5 Shanghai homes

POLICE have caught the two burglars who robbed five homes in Changning, Minhang and Pudong districts last month and recovered about 50,000 yuan (US$7,829) of stolen items, officers said today. Following the clues provided by victims and surveillance videos, officers caught the two men in a hotel in Minhang. The two suspects also stole jewelry, cameras and cash from hotel rooms on August 30. Police said the two men climbed bare-footed through unclosed windows into the victims' apartments and ran away by the stairs in the building. One of them was wanted by police in Ningbo, Zhejiang Province for thefts. They are now in police detention while their case is under investigation, police said.

A lift for science

Children set off a "rocket" yesterday at downtown Fuxing Park during a science promotion fair. With a theme of "energy, ecology, safety and fun," the event aimed to bring science experts and amateurs together to increase interest in science among locals.

Preparing for an emergency

A civil defense volunteer guides residents to evacuate from a Shanghai community during a fire drill yesterday, National Defense Education Day. An air defense warning siren was sounded across the city yesterday to raise awareness about what to do in event of an emergency.

Firms in poison case boast of safety

Both companies at the center of a probe into lead poisoning of children in Shanghai claim to have won awards for environmental controls and worker health and safety, officials from the firms said yesterday. One of the firms, a large lead-acid battery plant run by US-based Johnson Controls, has been shut down and the lead-related operations of the other, Shanghai Xinmingyuan Automobile Accessory Co, have similarly been ordered suspended by Shanghai's environmental watchdog. The Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau said in a notice on its website yesterday that it was studying lead emissions from the two factories. The Pudong district government said it believed the Johnson Controls factory was the main source of lead emissions in the area. Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls said yesterday that the company was taking residents' concerns about lead exposure "very seriously" and cooperating with the authorities, but that it did not believe its battery factor…

City air defense drill

RESIDENTS in every part of Shanghai -- with the exception of the two airports -- will hear an air defense warning today, National Defense Education Day.The drill will start at 11:35am and last until 12:03pm. Local authorities will inform people ahead of the time through TV and radio broadcasts and cell phone text messages. The warning will be divided into three phases. The first section -- early warnings -- will ring for three-minute periods, starting at 11:35am. There will be 24-second intervals between the three-minute sirens, said Wang Huying, an official with the Shanghai Civil Defense Office.The second phase, from 11:45 to 11:48, will be for air alerts. The siren will sound for six seconds, 15 times, with six-second pauses in between.The third part, a single three-minute siren, will tell people the alerts are lifted.

Learn science through play at Fuxing Park carnival

A science carnival will be held in Shanghai's Fuxing Park tomorrow to promote scientific knowledge through entertaining and interactive programs, said officials of the Shanghai Science and Technology Association, the event organizer. It is the first such carnival in the city and it is free of charge. Visitors who can complete the games will receive souvenirs. The officials said science and technology have become a priority sector in Shanghai. Another world-leading medical appliance company set up its research and development center in the city yesterday. Covidien's flagship R&D center will be put to use next July and it will develop products tailor-made for the Chinese market, they said.

Oh baby, you're one in ... 7 billion!

A nurse massages a new-born baby at a care center for premature and ill infants in a Shanghai maternity hospital yesterday. According to the United Nations website, the world's population is projected to pass 7 billion on October 31. The UN also predicted that the figure would reach 9.3 billion by 2050 and 10.1 billion by the end of this century. Countries with high birth rates, mainly in Africa, will see their populations tripled by then. Average life expectancy will be 81 by 2100.

Shenglu Food boss defends himself in 'dyed bun' case

YE Weilu, the owner of Shanghai Shenglu Food Co which sold recycled and dyed buns to supermarkets and made headlines in April after its scandal was exposed on CCTV, denied some charges against him in court today. Ye and his two colleagues were accused of producing and selling counterfeit products. The prosecutors said Ye began to buy a synthetic lemon-yellow dye last September and asked one colleague, Xie Weixian, to add the illegal addictive to recycled buns to make them look fresh. Another colleague, Xu Jianming, was responsible for delivering the dyed buns to supermarkets. The Baoshan District People's Court was told Shenglu Food Co sold 620,927 yuan (US$97,107) worth of dyed buns between October 1, 2010 and April 11 this year. But Ye denied the sales figure, saying it was 400,000 yuan at most. He also argued that he didn't know the edible lemon-yellow dye is not allowed in steamed and boiled food. But Ye's two colleagues pleaded guilty in the court. Xu admitted that th…

Man dies fighting over 2 jiao washroom fee

A man was killed this morning while fighting with a public washroom keeper over a 2 jiao (US$0.03) washroom fee. The fatal event occurred in the Gaoqiao Area of Pudong New Area. A witness surnamed Fu said a mid-aged man who is a wet market vendor rushed into the washroom, but didn't pay the fee to the keeper, who was about 70 years old. The keeper held the man and drew out a long lettuce root to beat him with. While they were wrestling, the man suddenly fell over and lost consciousness. People called the police, and found the man was dead. The police said they were investigating the case.

10 die, 14 injured as bus overturns on expressway

TEN people died while another 14 were injured last night when a bus overturned on a Shanghai expressway one of the deadliest crashes in the city in recent years. Among the 14 injured, one is in critical condition due to severe chest wounds, reported today. Ten passengers passed away at the scene, while the rest succumbed to their wounds at hospitals. The bus carried 24 workers of an electronics maker and was running at a high speed along the Longdong Avenue section of the Outer Ring Road in Pudong New Area when the accident happened. The driver lost control of the bus after giving way to a minibus. The bus crashed into the side rails, hit a pole and overturned.

Malfunction causes Metro delays in morning rush hour

Shanghai's Metro Line 8 trains ran at a restricted speed between two stations due to a malfunction in today's morning rush hour, causing overcrowding and congestion of passengers. Trains ran at low speed between Jiangpu Road Station and Zhongxing Road Station from 7:30am. The train interval was also extended. The metro operator estimated the malfunction would last 10 minutes, reported today. The metro operator had to restrict passengers who wanted to interchange to Line 8 from other lines. One microblogger complained it took 35 minutes for the train to pass three stations and passengers waiting for the train lined all the way to stairs. The metro operator said the normal operation resumed at 7:44am.

10 die as bus crashes in city

At least 10 people died in a traffic accident late last night when a bus overturned on a Shanghai expressway. The accident, Shanghai's deadliest in recent years, happened around 11:20pm when the bus was giving way to a minibus on the Longdong Avenue section of the Outer Ring Road in the Pudong New Area, witnesses said. The bus, carrying about 20 people, lost control and crashed into the railing to the right of the road, according to witnesses. Some of the injured were in critical condition.

Like in the movies

Shanghai SWAT team members practice their skills in an outdoor obstacle course today as part of major anti-terrorism and anti-riot drills launched by the Shanghai Public Security Bureau. Among the skills displayed were sharp shooting by a SWAT sniper who shot a 3mm-width blade from a distance of 50 meters.

Experts stress prenatal screening for Down syndrome

NO more than half of Shanghai's pregnant women receive screening for Down syndrome while the nation's average testing rate is less than 20 percent, medical experts said at a conference on prenatal screening tests. By comparison, about 65 to 70 percent of pregnant women in Europe receive Down syndrome screening test, mostly in the early stage of pregnancy, said Wong Fatt Heng from Roche Diagnostics Shanghai. Wong said that more than 90 percent of fetuses with Down syndrome can be detected through a combined test in the early and middle stage of pregnancy. Non-invasive tests through B ultrasound scan and blood test are used in the screening with no harm to mothers and their babies, doctors said. Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition characterized by the presence of an extra copy of genetic material on the 21st chromosome. The incidence of Down syndrome is about at 1 per 700 births. So far there is no treatment. Diagnostic screening and early intervention are the only solution…

Food destroyed in city's safety campaign

Shanghai's latest food safety crackdown has uncovered more than 20 underground workshops and 4,300 unlicensed businesses with 4,800 kilograms of unqualified food destroyed.The campaign targeted the production of swill oil, fake salt and fake Chinese liquor.

40-min highway chase ends with robbery fugitive's arrest

A fugitive was captured on the city's Chongming Island after an intense highway chase last week, Shanghai police said today. On the afternoon of September 6, a car without license plates crashed through a toll booth barrier in Pudong New Area and sped toward the Changjiang Bridge that links Shanghai proper with Chongming Island. After hitting several road barriers on the bridge, the car crashed through another toll booth on the island, triggering a hot chase by several police cars. The "mad" car continued to drive through police checkpoints on its wild run until it was cornered on a country road. Then, the driver abandoned the car and ran along a river bank before jumping into the river as more policemen arrived. One officer, Wang Lixiang, also jumped into the water and grabbed him to the bank. Police said the high-speed chase lasted about 40 minutes. Luckily no one was injured. The man surnamed Chen turned out to be a fugitive involved in a robbery in Shandong Province …

City applies new personal income tax this month

INDIVIDUAL income tax will be calculated using a new method this month, no matter the salary people receive this month is for August or September, the Shanghai Local Tax Bureau said in a statement yesterday. The online statement came after some people complained that they paid the same income tax this month as they did in August, although China officially raised the personal income tax exemption threshold from 2,000 yuan (US$313) to 3,500 yuan (US$547) on September 1. A local employee surnamed Wu was quoted by Guangzhou Daily yesterday that he still paid the same amount of income tax this month, nothing different from the previous months. The report also said the calculation system upgrade has not completed in some cities such as Xiamen in Fujian Province, making people paying taxes under the old system. It raised people's concerns about government inefficiency in upgrading taxation software after the new calculation method was announced in July. But Shanghai authorities dismissed…

Stay-home festival a bonanza for stores

DESPITE the pleasant weather, more Shanghai people chose to stay in town during the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, a traditional time for family reunions. Shanghai's sightseeing bus center, the city's main short-distance trip organizer, reported that people going on tours outside the city plunged by more than 22 percent over the same period of last year. Although scenic spots such as the Oriental Greenland in the suburbs and neighboring water town Zhouzhuang remained hot destinations, more people were choosing to wait for the National Day holiday in three weeks' time to travel as they could then enjoy a seven-day break, according to city tourism officials. "For a short holiday like the Mid-Autumn Festival, I prefer to go shopping during the day and eat mooncakes while enjoying the view of the moon with family members at night," said office worker Fan Qiliang, 26. Sales revenue at major retailers across the city jumped 166.4 percent over the same period …

Get into the groove

Brazilian dancers show off their samba moves during a grand parade along Huaihai Road last night that marks the beginning of the Shanghai Tourism Festival. Twenty-two floats from home and abroad took part in the elaborate parade. The tourism festival will continue until October 6 and more than 8 million people are expected to participate in the more than 30 planned activities taking place around the city. Many tourists sites, restaurants ad hotels will offer big discounts to mark the festival.

Enjoying 3D London

Jacqui Booker (left), deputy consul general of the British Consulate-General in Shanghai, has fun against a 3D backdrop of London at night in Raffles City Square yesterday. World famous 3D street artists Joe Hill and Max Lowry created the illusion, which allows the public to insert themselves virtually into some of Britain's iconic landmarks, as part of the Great Britain 3D world tour.

A 3D night out in London

A couple has fun against a 3D backdrop of London at night in downtown Shanghai's Raffles City Square today. Visitors will have a chance to see some of London's famous landmarks in the city today and tomorrow as part of the Great Britain 3D world tour. World famous 3D street artists Joe Hill and Max Lowry created the "illusion" which allows the public the insert themselves virtually into some of Britain's iconic landmarks. --Zhang Suoqing

Massive blaze put out at petrochemical plant

A fire which broke out at 10:50pm last night at Shanghai SECCO Petrochemical Co in Jinshan District was finally put out at 9am this morning. No casualties were reported and the fire had not caused pollution or a drop in air quality, the local government said. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Sources said over 100 fire engines and 1,000 firefighters rushed to the plant last night to battle the blaze. City officials also rushed to the site to help coordinate the firefighting efforts. The plant is near the northern shore of Hangzhou Bay in Jinshan District, southern Shanghai.

Fire breaks out at chemical plant

A FIRE broke out in a chemical industry zone on the outskirts of Shanghai late last night, according to sources with the city's fire brigade. The fire started about 11pm at the premises of Shanghai Secco Petrochemical. Sources said there are no reports of casualties. The plant is near Hangzhou Bay in Jinshan District of southern Shanghai. Fifty fire engines attended, and firefighters were still fighting the blaze at 1am today.

World Expo permanent exhibition to open

A permanent exhibition on the World Expo 2010 Shanghai will open on September 25 in the former Urban-Footprint Pavilion in Puxi with more than 2,000 exhibits from various pavilions on display. Tickets will cost 30 yuan, while students, military personnel, senior citizens and children can enter for 15 yuan. "More than 14,000 exhibits have been collected from over 200 Expo pavilions for the exhibition, which will definitely remind visitors of the 184-day Expo," said Liu Xiuhua, director of the Expo Museum who will take charge of the exhibition. Exhibits feature the "Miguelin," the Spain Pavilion's 6.5-meter animated baby as well as an animated show about the expo which is similar to the China Pavilion's "Along the Riverside During the Qingming Festival." The former headquarters of the expo operators will also be exhibited as a highlight, Liu said.

Circus trainer suspended for abusing bear in public

A circus trainer was suspended from the Shanghai Wildlife Park after a video was posted on the Internet and showed him beating and cursing a black bear he did performances with. The park said vets have examined the black bear, but found it hadn't suffered serious physical damage. The netizen's short video shows the male trainer cursing and beating the bear with a stick, and then shoving it onto the ground. The bear moaned as if it was enduring pain during the whole process. When the trainer saw that someone was capturing his misdeeds on video, he dragged the bear by its neck chain to a lair, and threw the stick at the camera person. The park said it was shocked by the trainer's behavior. Officials said he was not a staff member of the park, but was with a circus team from Anhui Province. The bear also belonged to the circus team. "The group is qualified with business license," said Luo Danhong, an official with the park. "But anyway, the trainer broke the …

22 preschoolers hospitalized for food poisoning

Twenty-two children have been hospitalized for food poisoning after having lunch at a kindergarten in Shanghai's Songjiang District. The preschool children are in stable condition after receiving treatment in Shanghai Children's Hospital, Songjiang District Center Hospital and Xinzhuang Hospital, district government said. The kids from Xinqiao Kindergarten started to vomit yesterday evening. They had a lunch of dumpling at the kindergarten. Health authorities have taken food sample for further testing. So far it's unknown whether someone dropped poison or the food went bad.

Bittersweet dog bite aftermath

LYING on a hospital bed, the seven-year-old boy whose eyelid was bitten off by a stray dog last Saturday is now recovering after surgery that saved his left eye, but his parents still cannot cheer up. The family is now plagued with medical bills reaching 10,000 yuan (US$1,560). And the boy's parents, both migrant workers from Fujian Province, have to bear it all as there is no way to find reimbursement. Although the city adopted a new policy in May that requires dog owners to take care of their pets and compensate people who are bitten, stray dogs are not covered. The boy's mother surnamed Fang complained the residential complex's property management company has refused to cover the medical expense. The family also can't find any government subsidy because it's a stray dog with no owner to take the responsibility. "So we have to swallow the bitterness all by ourselves," said Fang. "But shouldn't it be the government's responsibility to protec…

Air-defense warning detailed

LOCAL residents in every corner of the city except the two airports will hear an air-defense warning on September 17, the National Defense Education Day, the Shanghai government announced yesterday. The warning will start at 11:35am and last until 12:03pm. Local authorities will inform people ahead of time through TV and radio broadcasts and cell phone text messages. The warning will be divided into three phases. The first section - early warnings - will ring for three minutes each starting at 11:35am. There will be 24-second intervals between the three-minute sirens, said Wang Huying, an official with the Shanghai Civil Defense Office. The second phase, from 11:45 to 11:48, will be for air alerts. The siren will sound for six seconds 15 times, with six-second pauses in between. The third part, a single three-minute siren, will tell people the alerts are lifted. The warnings are one in a series of activities to be launched on the National Defense Education Day, the third Saturday in …

Pudong to hand out one discount card that fits all

CONSUMERS bogged down with too many discount cards will be relieved to hear about a new type of card which combines all the functions in one. Pudong New Area government will deliver 100,000 of these discount cards called "Dashequ" to residents and tourists during the annual Shopping and Tourist Festival from September 10 to October 7. "We found that consumers' wallets are full of various cards including the membership cards, discount cards and coupons," said Wu Jing, an official with Pudong's Commission of Commerce. "Now they only need to carry one card on them to get discounts at various venues including the restaurants, gyms, hair salons and shopping malls in Pudong," she said. The card can be used at more than 1,000 retailers and stores in the Lianyang Community, Jinqiao Community, Huamu Community, to name a few. Discount activities will be updated from time to time. The cards, along with an introduction to the participating stores, will be del…

Special deals usher in tourism festival

SOME local scenic spots, eateries and hotels will offer big discounts from today to October 6 to mark the Shanghai Tourism Festival. Almost all the main scenic spots in the city will join the campaign, said the Shanghai Tourism Administration yesterday. Scenic spots will halve admission fees, while eateries will offer at most 48 percent off for UnionPay tourist card holders, officials said. Meanwhile, the 12th Shanghai International Music Fireworks Festival is scheduled to take place in Century Park at the end of September to welcome the new month of October. To set this year apart from previous years, the organizers will introduce some basic fireworks facts to the watchers during the performance to help them better judge the quality of the shows. The festival will feature six shows offered by Chinese, Swedish, Korean, Greek, Portuguese and German fireworks artists. Li Zhengming, an official from the Puong New Area Tourism Bureau, said that the show would contain the latest innovation…

Chasing dreams

For a long time, being able to communicate in Chinese language was a dream of mine, and when this photo was taken, it was a very far-fetched one. Now, however, I actually do speak Chinese and I use it every single day at work. It's time to start chasing new dreams.

Ive been dreading to write this post, thats why I have neglected my blog for the last few weeks.

When I turned 29 on August 15, I hit a milestone, namely 5 years in China. On September 11 (which I know is a very sad day for most people) Ill hit another one: 10 years of living abroad. Thats more than one third of my life, and pretty much my whole adult life (so far).

Ive been thinking a lot about everything Ive been doing for the last 10 years abroad/5 years in China, and I look back at most of it with joy. I dont have any real regrets, just some I wonder what would have happened if I would have done this instead of that. But I believe thats pretty normal.

Next year I turn 30, and it feels as if Ill enter a new era of my …

Park's colorful display is homegrown

People take pictures at the Riverside Forest Park in Shanghai's Pudong New Area yesterday as a two-month wild flower show was launched at the park. Seeds of wild flowers were planted in the park instead of being cultivated elsewhere and moved into the park especially for the show. This is the first time in a city park that all the flowers on show have been grown in this way, officials said. About 80 percent of the flowers, totaling more than 100 types, have been introduced from Europe.

Man who beat female bus driver gets jail

THE man who severely assaulted a female bus driver in May was sentenced to three years and six months in jail this morning after being found guilty on charges of causing a disturbance. The Baoshan District People's Court said the 32-year-old defendant, Shen Bo, got onto the wrong bus on May 13 and then beat the driver, Zhou Weiqin, when the bus did not stop where he was planning to go, causing serious injuries to the victim. But Shen was given a lenient sentence as he is suffering from depression and thus bearing limited criminal responsibility, said the court. Shen boarded bus No. 116 to go to Zhangjiabang in Baoshan District, not knowing it was an express line of the route and would not stop at Zhangjiabang. He was infuriated when the bus drove past his destination and slapped Zhou while she was driving the bus at 46 kilometers per hour. Zhou then pulled the bus to the Wusong Bridge to ensure the safety of the passengers, but Shen did not stop the assault. He even pushed Zhou of…

Young Slovakian falls to her death in Xuhui

A young foreign woman plunged to her death early this morning from a high-rise in downtown Xuhui District. City police said they ruled out the possibility of murder. Police said the woman was from Slovakia and aged about 20. Neighbors said the woman's body was found at about 1:30am in a residential community on Xietu Road. The woman, who lived on the 18th floor, the top floor, fell off and crashed onto a car parked beneath and bounced to the ground, said a witness. The woman lived in a large rented apartment together with four to five other foreign women, said the property management official of the building. The women worked as model in the city and had a Chinese man as their agent, neighbors said. Police said they were still investigating the death.

City taxis lauded but data iffy

SHANGHAI cabs have been listed among the 10 greatest taxis in the world by, although the honor may be dubious given that the travel guide website, under the US-based television news network CNN, couldn't even get the car right. The city's Volkswagen taxis ranked ninth on the list. The reasons for Shanghai taxi to sit in the ninth spot included the taxis' speed, cheap price and the rather questionable distinction of being "a little bit dirty." "There's nothing iconic about Shanghai's humdrum fleet of Volkswagen Jettas and it's never clear if the Perspex screen around the driver is to keep phlegm in or out," said the website. "But to zip in a cab over the city's elevated neon expressways is to truly experience modern Shanghai: cheap, fast and just a little bit dirty." Internet surfers soon correctly pointed that Shanghai taxis are VW Santanas, not Jettas. But's top lists are not known for their complete…

Police bust illegal Jinshan casino

FOUR men have been detained for allegedly running an illegal gambling den in a factory in suburban Jinshan District, local police today said. Officers also seized gambling money of more than HK$2.3 million (US$295,341) and another 100,000 yuan. Police were tipped off in August that the suspects had set up a 'casino' in a factory in Jinshan's Tinglin Town. The gamblers usually gathered inside the factory at night with all the windows covered by cloth, police said. Officers raided the site on Saturday and nabbed the organizers and gamblers. Three gamblers were fined 500 yuan and are subject to 15 days of detention, police said.

Twins successfully separated

Four-month-old conjoined twin girls were successfully separated this afternoon after six hours of surgery at Shanghai Children's Medical Center. The two, nicknamed An An and Xin Xin, meaning safe and relieved in Chinese and carrying the good wishes of their parents, are in a stable condition now. An An and Xin Xin, from Zhejiang Province, were found to be conjoined during a prenatal check-up. Their mother, near 40, kept them under the advice of local doctors who found that the two fetuses were only connected to each other at their liver, and a big chance for successful separation existed. The twins, born on April 20, have been kept under observation since the 18th week of pregnancy with doctors waiting for them to grow to about 10 kilograms so that they are strong enough to receive the surgery. Though they shared one liver and used one pericardium, doctors said they were lucky to have their own hearts.

'Ghost' dog found dead

A STRAY dog that attacked 17 people, even biting off a seven-year-old boy's eyelid, was found beaten to death yesterday morning. The dog, referred to as "ghostly" by people living in a community on Yongtai Road in the Pudong New Area because it attacked out of nowhere and disappeared just as quickly, evaded attempts to catch it on Saturday. A SWAT team and armed dog catchers were dispatched to search and destroy the dog, but it played "hide and seek" with them the whole day, police said. The dog was last seen alive at 10:15pm when several dog catchers spotted it and started to beat it with wooden clubs, but it still, although injured, managed to run off into the dark, police said. Some residents in the community believe the dog might have died of its injuries during the night, while another said it could have been killed by its owner, a woman with red hair who is said to have abandoned it. The police are still investigating the case to find out the reason fo…

Small aircraft warned after paragliding scare

SHANGHAI'S military aviation control authority and police warned yesterday that all small aircraft should get approval before taking off after several paragliders were operating without authorization, which affected commercial flights at the city's two airports. The airforce based in Shanghai said yesterday that nine people and three paragliders had disturbed 39 flights in the city on Thursday. The military alerted police after detecting the unauthorized activity at 10:38am around the bay area of suburban Fengxian District. Zhong Weihong, a military official, said that the people operating the paragliders had not "applied for permission nor reported in advance." "The flying severely affected flights at Shanghai's two airports," Zhong said. Police seized the paragliders and said the operators would be punished, without elaborating. It was not immediately known whether the people had acquired flying licenses for paragliders. With a boom in civilian aircr…

Twins face separation

A nurse feeds a pair of four-month-old conjoined twin girls yesterday at Shanghai Children's Hospital. The twins are scheduled for separation surgery on Monday. Connected at the chest, the two lie face to face. The twins' mother brought them to Shanghai from Zhejiang Province for consultation once she found by prenatal check that they were conjoined.