January 17-24, 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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Train tickets snapped up by holiday travellers

By Miao Qing

This year's Spring Festival travel season, which began last weekend, has already seen its peak ticket sales.

The Putuo Stadium, which has been converted into a temporary train ticket office for the travel period, yesterday accommodated more than 10,000 ticket buyers by 2 pm, according to Wu Guoping, an official with the Shanghai Railway Station who is in charge of the outlet.

Wu said a visible surge of ticket buyers appeared Sunday, when they received about 17,000 people, mostly migrant workers and students.
Yesterday about 17,000 train tickets were sold from the outlet. The number was nearly 20,000 Sunday.

The Spring Festival transportation season lasts 40 days, from January 14 to February 22. The city's railway administration expects days around January 25 to be the peak period for transportation before the Spring Festival. Train tickets with departure times within the busiest period sell out quickly.

Getting train tickets still remains the biggest difficulty for those who plan to go home for the reunion, even though the railway administration has added more passenger trains and ticket sale outlets in the city.

While Putuo Stadium was not a crush of ticket buyers at 2 pm yesterday, hundreds of people were already lined up outside for an overnight wait to be first in line to buy tickets for January 26 departures. (Passengers can buy their tickets 10 days ahead of their departure time so the tickets for January 26 will be sold starting today.)

Wu said it was important to be on hand as early as possible to buy a ticket. "Most of the January 25 departure train tickets were sold out by noon today," he said. "Very few tickets will be left in the afternoon."
Yan Haibin, a migrant worker from Anhui Province, went to the Putuo Stadium at about 1 pm yesterday to buy a ticket back to his hometown for January 25.

"If today I cannot get the ticket, I am ready to wait here overnight to buy a ticket leaving on January 26," he said.

The stadium was opened overnight Sunday to allow ticket buyers to stay inside, after the city's Mayor Han Zheng requested it in a group discussion at the Fourth Plenary Session of the 12th Municipal People's Congress. The ticket-selling operation concluded at 5 pm as usual.
Some ticket buyers said they still had difficulty buying their tickets even after waiting all night in queues.

"One of my colleagues waited overnight outside a ticket sales outlet in the Yangpu District. He was the first in the queue to buy tickets after the outlet opened, but he was told that all the seats for his train had already been sold out," said a ticket buyer surnamed Rong.

"It is quite miserable to stand for the entire trip," said Rong. "So where have all the seat tickets gone, even before they went on sale?"

The city's railway officials said the situation met by Rong's colleague is quite rare.

About 60 to 70 per cent of the tickets for trains which start from Shanghai can be sold in the city and the rest are assigned to other stations along the trip, said Chen Wanjun, an official with the Shanghai Railway Administration.

Apart from the train tickets booked by groups of students, migrant workers and tourists, the remaining tickets for each train, roughly 100 in number, will be available for sale at the city's 302 ticket windows during the travel period, he said.

"Ticket scalpers will make the scarce ticket supply even tighter. We still have not come up with an effective solution to deal with them, especially those hidden in the ticket sales outlets," Chen said.

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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