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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…