January 6-13, 2006

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Language exchange

"The most important characteristic of a chief executive of any region is that he or she should be a noble person."

- Li Ka Shing, business tycoon from Hong Kong, on the topic of the special administrative region's future chief executive. see more

Arabian delights

CHEF Tarek Mouriess carried about 10 kinds of ingredients in his suitcase on his flight to Shanghai to host an Arabic Food Promotion at the Hilton Shanghai.
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Southport legends: Winter by the Irish Sea

By Namrita Chow

'The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas... when the
highwayman came riding, riding, riding'

THE ghosts of Southport in England seem alive and well. As a seaport that developed over the centuries, Southport has a long history of pirates and sailors, but most horrific are the legends of the old Palace Hotel.

It is said that two sisters carried out a suicide pact within the grand rooms of the palatial hotel. It is also said that a six-year-old girl was murdered and hidden under a bed. The rumours and legends grew so intense the hotel ceased to function and after the filming of a Frankenstein horror film - "The Dark" - the hotel was demolished in 1969.

As the demolition crew began work they complained of spooky occurrences, such as the sound of stiletto heels along the empty deserted corridors and the ancient lift working of its own accord even when all the power had been disconnected.

The last remaining ghosts of the bygone Palace Hotel are said to reside in the Fisherman's Rest, a Pub at the corner of what used to be the once glamorous hotel. They must be friendly ghosts, I think, as I have spent many a night drinking there.

Winter at the seaside

Southport overlooks the Irish Sea, an hour's train journey away from Liverpool. It's a seaside town with quaint historical charm. Long stretches of virgin beach are dotted by flocks of gulls against the backdrop of a clear blue sky.

The wind lashes fiercely in the winter. Yet the sun can sometimes still dominate the sky and the clarity of its light makes the beach inviting. A winter stroll along the Sefton coastline is a Boxing Day favourite. What better way to work off all those extra calories built up over the festive season than a nice long walk on the beach, with friends, family and pets?

The Formby Red Squirrel reserve, an hour's walk along the beach from Southport boasts rare red squirrels roaming wild in the forest along the coastline. The area has been designated a nature reserve and offers glorious walks in the forest and then onto the beach.

After that nice long walk the perfect English thing to do is to head to a pub for some good old fashioned pub grub.

We headed to Southport's Churchtown. This is a gorgeous part of town, with quaint old churches and whitewashed cottages, and rolling hills and farmland. We sat by a warm log fire at the lovely Hesketh Arms and ordered traditional favourites. Steak & kidney pies, calf's liver and bacon, turkey with stuffing and all the trimmings accompanied by well chosen red wines, a pint of Guinness or a glass of warm mulled wine.

The most famous of all the churches in Churchtown was built in 1571 and is known as St Cuthbert's. It was built on the site of a church pre-dating conquest times. St Cuthbert's has a tall steeple and the gravestones below tell of the long history of the area. The stones reflect the moonlight on clear winter evenings, when the ghosts of Old Jake or Pirate Jack are said to linger around. A large Christmas tree sits in the small village green, its subtle lighting gives Churchtown a very romantic feel. Walking hand in hand with your lover here is the perfect calm after the hectic storm of Christmas!

Cai Shaoyao

Balance public opinion and judicial independence



End of the Dream
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Auto fans melt away
With the approach of the Formula One Grand Prix, Yu Zhifei, deputy general manager of the Shanghai International Circuit, was worried about how to attract enough spectators to the circuit and rev up sluggish fan interest in the event.
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Under artificial eyes

FOR most customers, CCTV (closed-circuit television) surveillance cameras installed in shops, banks, buses or metro stops and many other places, merit little attention. But for Xiao Gang, such cameras have become an agonizing and confusing problem.

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