Construction begins on China's tallest building
Construction began in Shanghai yesterday on China's tallest building, a 632-meter skyscraper called the Shanghai Center.
The center will be taller than the other two most famous skyscrapers in Shanghai, the 420.5-meter-tall Jin Mao Tower completed in 1999 and the 492-meter-tall Shanghai World Financial Center finished in August this year, all located in the central financial district of Lujiazui.
The new building will be completed in 2014, costing more than 14.8 billion yuan (about 2.2 billion U.S. dollars), according to the Shanghai Center Construction and Development Co., Ltd.
Designed by Gensler, an American firm, the new landmark will twist as it rises and be surrounded by an outer glass wall.
The design with the name of "Dragon" was chosen from many candidates in June. The tower will feature nine gardens between the main building and the glass wall. A public park will also be in the building. --(11/30)
Experts say winter on the way
The cold front affecting Shanghai may push the city into winter next week. It will be cold over the weekend and the chilly weather will continue into the middle of next week, weathermen said yesterday.
The minimum temperature will remain around 3 or 4 degrees Celsius in the downtown area, and below zero in the suburbs over the weekend, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
The maximum temperature will range between 12 and 14 degrees, forecasters said.
"The influence of the strong cold front striking this week will not come to an end," said Man Liping, a forecaster with the bureau. "Whether the city has crossed into winter will depend on Monday's temperature."
Winter comes when the daily average temperature falls below 10 degrees for five straight days. According to the bureau's forecast, from Thursday to Sunday the average temperature will be no higher than 10 degrees. --(11/29)
Shanghai kids top China height average
Children in Shanghai are taller than the average Chinese kids, according to a survey of 70,431 children between six and 18 years of age from Xuhui, Luwan and Minhang districts.
The survey, released on Wednesday, was conducted by Fudan University's Children's Hospital and education authorities.
"It is the first survey to study the growth of local children after six years old," Dr Luo Feihong, a director at Fudan children's hospital, told the Shanghai Morning Post.
According to national standards, a five-year-old boy should be at least 1.01 meters and a girl 1m. A 10-year-old boy should be at least 1.27m and a girl should be at least 1.26m.
At various ages, Shanghai children were between 0.5 to 5 centimeters taller than the national average. Only 3.77 percent of local children are short of stature. --(11/28)
The second session of the 13th Shanghai People's Congress will start on January 13.
Main agendas include hearing reports on national economic and social development plans for 2008 and 2009, budget reports, and reports on the Shanghai People's Court and prosecutors office. --(11/27)
The Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau yesterday announced the start of a project to make Shanghai into an environmentally friendly city with the cooperation of the United Nations Development Programme, the UN Environment Programme and the China Center for Economic and Technical Exchanges. --(11/26)
New bullet trains offer sleepers
Bullet trains with sleepers and evening departures will come into service next month between Shanghai and Beijing.
Four trains will be added to the Shanghai-Beijing route on December 21. The D306 sleeper will leave Shanghai Railway Station at 9:41pm, while the D302 will leave at 9:46pm. They will arrive in Beijing at 7:40am and 7:45am the next morning.
Around the same time, their counterparts the D305 and D309 trains will be headed from Beijing to Shanghai.
The ticket price has not been confirmed but will be between 600 yuan (US$88) and 700 yuan each way. An air trip between the two cities costs from 400 yuan to more than 1,000 yuan each way, subject to seasonal fluctuations in price.
At present, only one bullet train is available from Shanghai to Beijing every day and it has no sleeping facilities. It leaves around 7pm, which means passengers have to spend the night sitting up.
"The new bullet train is very welcome," said a regular traveler on the route, surnamed Chen. "They leave late and offer sleepers. We could finish dinner in town before catching the train and have a good sleep on board." --(11/25)
Change is coming to Metro TV
The city's Metro owner is planning to build a special Metro TV station to be aired on Metro screen systems.
Insiders from Shanghai Shentong Group, owner of Shanghai Metro, said they are moving ahead with plans to set up the Metro TV station in cooperation with Shanghai TV.
Big screens were installed on Metro station platforms about two years ago. They are mainly used for broadcasting information of the train shuttles. During long intervals, they also play brief video clips or advertisements.
Many passengers have complained about the video content because it never changes. On platforms along Line 3's northern extension, a nearly 30-second short cartoon about a frog's fishing adventure has been played on the screens every day for nearly two years. During an interval of 15 minutes on the route, the frog cartoon is repeated more than 20 times. --(11/24)
TWENTY-SEVEN scientists, scientific research administrators and graduates received this year's Shanghai Meiji Dairy Life Science Award yesterday.
Approved by the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission, the award series aims to promote local research in life sciences. Ge Baoxue of the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Zhang Weidong from the Second Military Medical University won this year's top awards. --(11/23)
NBA's 1st 2010-11 slam dunk may swish at Shanghai Expo
The NBA is expected to kick off its 2010-11 season at the Shanghai World Expo Performance Center during the World Fair, a senior official in charge of the facility said yesterday.
The season-opening basketball game might be held in late October, near the end of the Shanghai 2010 World Expo, Huang Jin, vice general manger of the Shanghai Expo Arena Co Ltd, told local reporters gathered at the center's construction site.
The company, which will operate the center during and after the expo, was founded on October 15 by the Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group AEG Corp, a leading sports and entertainment presenter based in the United States and NBA China.
Schedule details are still under discussion.
The 184-day 2010 World Expo will begin on May 1 and end on October 31, while the NBA season will begin at the end of October or early November.
An NBA pre-season game between the Sacramento Kings and the Houston Rockets was held in the Shanghai Indoor Stadium in 2004.
The new center, to be shaped like a huge seashell, will hold most of the Expo performances. At 120,000 square meters, it will be the largest comprehensive performance arena in China.
It will also be one of the five permanent buildings on the Expo site, along with the China Pavilion, Theme Pavilion, Expo Center and Expo Boulevard.
The center will have two floors underground and four above ground, with a basketball court on the first floor.
The court is being built to NBA standards, Huang said.
The center also will feature a large multifunctional hall and a skating rink for ice shows. The rink will be opened to the public after the Expo.
Underground construction on the center has been finished. The building's steel frame now rises 19 meters above ground, said Tao Xiong, the center's project manager. The building will be 42 meters tall when it is finished.
The steel structure of the center will be completed next March, and the entire facility is scheduled to be finished on December 31, 2009.
Construction is right on track across the entire Expo site, organizers said. Work has started on 1.5 million square meters of construction. About 20 kilometers of roads will be finished by the end of this year.
Two of 11 joint pavilions have been finished. The other nine pavilions are under construction and will be completed in the third quarter next year.
Four of 39 pavilions built by the organizer and rented to exhibitors have been completed so far. Another 21 are under construction. --(11/22)
'Art' piano is Expo musical key
The "Sound of Harmony," the most expensive piano from Steinway's Art Case Collection, will be used as a special performance instrument at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, according to Alvin Wu, account manager at Steinway Piano Shanghai.
With a market value of 8 million yuan (US$1.17 million), the 2.7-meter-long piano features the inlaid image of "Peacock," a traditional ink-wash painting by Shi Qi, a renowned Chinese artist.
"Steinway has had the experience of decorating paintings on pianos before, but it was a great challenge for us to use a profoundly hued Chinese ink-wash painting," said Werner Husmann, vice president of marketing and sales for Steinway and Sons Hamburg and chairman of Steinway Piano Shanghai, "It took us about four years to complete the task."
Guo Qingxiang, the owner of the piano, is a well-known collector from Dalian.
"I am an admirer of Shi Qi's art," Gao said. "Many Westerners think that traditional ink-wash paintings are merely black and white, but I wanted to promote the dazzling beauty of modern Chinese art to more people.
"So I thought of making a special order from Steinway. I am pleased to learn that this piano is now chosen by the 2010 World Expo."
Steinway Piano Shanghai and the Expo coordinators are working out who will be the first to play the piano. --(11/21)
New needle rule
Shanghai Health Bureau announced yesterday that all hospitals must use disposable acupuncture needles from the beginning of next month.
Hospitals are ordered to give up the practice of using recycled acupuncture needles to prevent chances of infections. --(11/20)
The city's urban planners said yesterday that Metro Line 19 will link Pudong with two local islands when it's finished by 2020.
The line will start from Pudong's fringes, run across Changxing Island and reach Chongming Island. --(11/19)
Local computer world's 10th fastest
China's most powerful domestically made supercomputer has been ranked as the 10th fastest in the world, the Shanghai Economic Committee said yesterday.
The Dawning 5000A, or "Magic Cube," was jointly developed by the Institute of Computer Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Dawning Information Industry Co and the Shanghai Supercomputer Center, where it resides.
The development of the Cube made China only the second country capable of building supercomputers whose processing speeds reach multi-hundred trillion floating-point operations per second, according to the committee. Floating points represent a method of encoding numbers.
The Cube is China's second supercomputer to rank among the world's top 10. A Dawning 4000A took 10th place in 2004.
The Dawning 5000A is the most powerful system outside the United States. --(11/18)
Shanghai shivers as cold front sweeps by
Shanghai residents should get out their winter clothes this week as minimum temperatures may drop 6 to 8 degrees Celsius compared to last week, weather experts said yesterday.
A cold front will trigger the sharp drop in temperature. People should also remember to carry their umbrellas as the cold snap will be accompanied by rain, they said.
The minimum temperature for the next three days is expected to drop to 7 degrees Celsius in downtown areas, while the suburbs will be even colder.
The first frost of the season may appear on Wednesday or Thursday around the city's fringes, according to the weathermen.
The cold front will also bring strong winds to the mouth of the Yangtze River.
Temperatures may rise slightly during the weekend, with highs hovering around 18 degrees, they said. --(11/17)
Germany leads way in building Expo pavilion
Construction started yesterday on the German pavilion for the 2010 World Expo, signalling the beginning of the first batch of national centers to be built on the site in Pudong New Area of Shanghai.
The German Pavilion, known as the "Balancity," will be completed around April 2010, said its chief architect Lennart Wiechell.
Work will start on the steel structure of the pavilion in January and be finished in October, 2009, Wiechell said.
Prior to Expo starting on May 1, the completed pavilion will be headquarters for the country's preparation team, said Dietmar Schmitz, Germany's commissioner general for the Expo.
The 6,000-square-meter structure will be Germany's largest at any Expo. The pavilion will comprise three exhibition areas that will give the impression of floating within an airy structure. It will showcase German urban life and how the country's design and products can help solve urbanization problems.
The German government will invest 30 million euros (US$38.10 million) in its Expo presence and will be supported by contributions from some German companies, said Schmitz.
He said the country would invest more money during its Expo preparation in spite of the global financial crisis.
Construction will start on another five to seven pavilions before end of the year, said Ding Hao, a Shanghai World Expo deputy director general. More than 40 nations have confirmed they will build pavilions for the Expo. --(11/16)
British musical theater diva returns
British diva Elaine Paige will hold a concert in Shanghai on December 16, with ticket prices ranging from 180 yuan (US$26) to 1,350 yuan.
Known as the "First Lady of the British Musical Theater," Paige held a sold-out concert two years ago in the city. Tickets sold so rapidly that the organizer decided to add another concert the following night.
The musical queen also said she had a pleasant shopping experience in Shanghai, where she bought lots of shoes. During that trip, she promised fans she would return.
Known for numerous characters from classic musicals, Paige was the original singer for many hit songs, including "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" from "Evita," "Memory" from "Cats," "I Know Him So Well" with ABBA from "Chess," and many others.
She will perform all her hit songs at the concert to commemorate the 40th anniversary of her debut. --(11/15)
The Shanghai Health Bureau will give free medical consultation on diabetes prevention in Xujiahui today, World Diabetes Day.
This year's focus will be on diabetes in children and adolescents. China has 40 million diabetes patients and about 100,000 are juveniles. --(11/14)
Expressway to Link Shanghai and Jiangsu
An expressway is being built to link Shanghai to neighboring Jiangsu Province. It will open by the end of next year, said the highway's constructors yesterday.
The new six-lane expressway is called route A16 or the Jiangsu-Shanghai expressway. Its Jiangsu section has already been completed.
Shanghai's section is 7.9 kilometers long and will start in Kunshan, at the very south of Jiangsu Province and reach Shanghai's Qingpu District.
Railway authorities in Jiangsu also announced an adjustment to the design of the Shanghai-Nanjing express train line. The new design will have a larger กใ?proportion of elevated tracks, which will mean faster travel times. The future speed limit on the route has been raised from 250 kilometers per hour to 300km/h.
Shanghai and Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu, will be about 50 minutes apart by rail when the line opens in 2010. Currently, a trip by train from Shanghai to Nanjing takes 2 hours. --(11/13)
Industries gain new recycling network
The operator of a business zone in Pudong New Area plans to help put illegal trash collectors out of business by setting up a recycling network that matches waste producers with authorized waste disposal companies.
The coordination will take place through a Website titled the Pudong Recyclable Resource Public Service Platform, which will be opened to the Chinese-speaking public in the middle of next month.
Users, both businesses and families, can access the service by visiting Pd3r.com or calling 400-880-3828. Authorized logistics and garbage collection companies can bid to provide professional waste disposal services to the members of the platform at no cost. Fees will be charged to firms handling the refuse, which ranges from paper to plastics to metals and includes hazardous wastes such as acids.
The Website was created and funded by the Jinqiao (Group) Co Ltd, which runs the Shanghai Jinqiao Export Processing Zone. The high-level development zone is home to modern industry, residences, commerce and trade.
The recycling platform plans to promote the service initially among the processing enterprises located in Jinqiao.
The platform aims to direct business to legal waste disposal companies and clean up the current disorder in the garbage disposal market by setting up an industrial chain for waste disposal.
"Currently, most trash from factories and homes is taken improperly by self-employed people - the ones who ring their bells around the neighborhood to collect waste," said Zhao Junyi, the business supervisor of the platform.
"It's a pity that the high-tech equipment of many legal waste disposal companies lies unused."
She said that while recycling technology has matured, the lack of an effective collection network has prevented greater use of the equipment. --(11/12)
Smashing weekend for 007
The rainy weather failed to daunt the fans of 007.
The new action-packed James Bond film "Quantum of Solace" was a hit at the Shanghai box office on its opening weekend.
Shanghai United Cinema Lines, the city's leading movie chain, said the film brought in about 6.6 million yuan (US$966,820) in ticket sales since its China release on Wednesday.
"The movie has a large global fan base, stunning fight scenes and impressive stunts and is expected to make at least 10 million yuan at our chain," said Wu Hehu, the cinema group's deputy director.
"Quantum" was the second 007 film allowed to be shown in Chinese theaters. The first, "Casino Royale," took in about 100 million yuan at the mainland box office.
So far Xujiahui's Yonghua Cinema, one of the most popular theaters in Shanghai, has made more than 660,000 yuan from the Bond film.
But starting Monday, Bond will have a competitor to battle at the box office. Another Hollywood science fiction thriller, "Babylon AD," will hit the local silver screens. --(11/11)
Cold snap but some clear skies
Wrap up warmly tomorrow because temperatures are expected to drop to 9 degrees Celsius as a cold front sweeps over the city.
In the suburbs, tomorrow's temperatures could be even lower, forecasters said.
The sky will remain clear until at least the middle of this week. But this means temperatures will fall rapidly at night.
The mercury will rise above 20 degrees on Wednesday. Toward the end of the week, maximum temperatures will range between 17 and 20 degrees, with daily minimums between 9 and 13 degrees, said the Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.
The low temperature yesterday in the city was 10 degrees Celsius, the lowest so far this autumn. The low in Chongming County was 8.2 degrees. The high yesterday was 16.6 degrees. --(11/10)
Japanese pop singer shines on film
Japanese pop singer Kosuke Atari held his fist concert on the Chinese mainland at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center last Sunday.
In addition to his distinctive singing, his acting debut in the film "Cape No. 7" was also impressive. The story is about a band in a rural town. He plays himself, as a famous singer who visits the town for a concert. His major debut single "Sorezore Ni" is part of the movie.
Even without a strong promotional campaign, the romantic musical drama has gained unexpected popularity. Raking in more than 100 million yuan (US$14.6 million) at the box office, it is the highest-grossing Chinese-language film produced in Taiwan.
In earlier interviews, Atari said he was a little nervous to take the role, as he found that acting was very different from singing.
It seemed the star worried too much. His performance was hailed by movie fans and critics alike. Acclaimed film maker Hou Hsiao-hsien even said it was the best movie he had seen in a long time. --(11/9)
Lottery stumbles in cyber shutdown
Workers are making rush repairs to a lottery computer system after about 2,000 outlets had to halt ticket sales this week, the Shanghai Welfare Lottery Center said yesterday.
The center is working with suppliers and hopes to resume sales in the next couple of days, officials said. The computer glitch was caused by updated three-dimensional video game software.
"The defects were discovered on Tuesday, and data transmission began breaking down sporadically. Things became even worse on Wednesday," said Wang Yulin, an official at the center.
The system is one of four that the city uses to sell lottery tickets.
The center has extended the deadline from Tuesday to Sunday for ticket holders to claim prizes. People can still purchase lottery tickets via short messages or telephone. --(11/8)
Fog stalls sea traffic as skies turn dirty
A second day of fog disrupted sea traffic, while the city's air quality deteriorated to the "slightly polluted" level due to the lack of air movement.
The Shanghai Meteorological Bureau issued a "yellow" fog alert at 4pm, the lowest on a three-color scale.
Visibility fell to around 500 meters, and the fog was expected to linger at least until this morning. The mist should dissipate in the afternoon when winds are forecast to pick up.
Yesterday's stagnant air caused the inhalable particle index to reach 147, breaching the pollution threshold, according to the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center.
Forecasters explained that the wind was not strong enough to scatter the small airborne particles.
On the transport front, Wusong Port maritime safety officials said ferry services to three nearby islands were stopped at 6am yesterday as visibility dropped below 1,000 meters at the mouth of the Yangtze River.
Hundreds of cargo vessels were also required to remain at anchor.
Though there was trouble at sea, the fog did not affect highway travel, and flights continued to operate. --(11/7)
Electronic fence gates equipped with sensors and monitoring systems will be used to guide visitors and keep order during the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, officials said yesterday.
Other high technologies, from wireless network access, electronic ticketing to mobile-phone-based guides, will also be used during the Expo. --(11/6)
The Shanghai World Expo 2010 will adopt over half of the high technologies used at the Beijing Olympics, including solar energy and "green" vehicles, local officials said at a forum on Olympics technical innovation yesterday. --(11/5)
Zhujiajiao Watertown, a tourist attraction in Qingpu District, has stopped charging its 10 yuan (US$1.46) admission fee, officials said.
The Zhujiajiao Investment Development Co said it canceled the charge at the government's request. --(11/4)
US school talk
The Association of Boarding Schools, an international organization representing boarding schools across the world, will hold a conference about studying in the United States on Friday evening at Pudong's Shangri-La Hotel.
Staff from around 70 boarding schools will offer information about their schools. Local education experts warned parents that going overseas to study can be a major challenge for those under 18 years old. --(11/3)
TWO hooded cranes, an endangered species under state protection, have been seen in the Chongming East Coast Bird Nature Preserve. Bird experts say they are the first hooded cranes to visit Chongming this year. Compared with recent years, the birds arrived a little later this year. --(11/2)
Bank to charge for calls
The Shanghai branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China will start charging its telephone banking customers to cover rising cost. The move is expected to affect 3 million users in Shanghai.
The bank will charge 12 yuan (US$1.75) annually to telephone banking clients registered at its outlets and half that amount for self-registered clients. The charge comes into effect on December 1 for all clients registered before the end of last year, the bank said on its Website yesterday.
It also said new telephone users can enjoy a free service for the first year but will be charged the following year.
The services that will be charged for include account transfer, account management and trading on foreign currency, gold, bonds and stocks. General inquiries to the bank's hotline are still free.
The bank said it has poured more than 10 million yuan into updating the system.
The bank argued that it had already stated in its service contract that it had the right to start charging fees but had previously waived them.
The Bank of Communications said all banks may start charging for free services such as sending text messages to credit card users to inform them of transactions. --(11/1)