January 17-24, 2006


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* Week In Brief
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Shanghai railways gear

up for Spring Festival mass


The city's railway administration has been getting ready for what it anticipates will be a historically high passenger flow during the Chinese Spring Festival.



Kraft shifts biscuit making to Suzhou
SUZHOU: Kraft Foods is closing one of its two Melbourne factories in Australia and shifting its biscuit manufacturing operation to China , according to Kraft Foods (China) Company Ltd.

Bank pioneers fixed rate mortgage
China Everbright Bank has been given the go-ahead to offer fixed-rate mortgages to home buyers in Shanghai and Beijing, the nation's first lender to offer such products.

Hard reservation
Although restaurants in Shanghai have scheduled two seatings for Chinese New Year's Eve dinner, it's still hard to get a reservation for China's most important meal of the year.



Surgical hope for chronially obese
Nursing helpers taking care of patients in Shanghai's hospitals do not belong to the hospitals, and clerks working at bank counters do not belong to the banks.

Fast food venues use holidays to increase business, profits
Eagle-eyed customers may have discovered that the price of certain KFC products has been increased by 5 jiao (US$0.06) to 1 yuan (US$0.125). Pizza Hut, another chain restaurant under Yum!

Emptied Shanghai Orthodox churches await new roles
With their imposing architecture, cavernous vaulted ceilings and ornate decoration, Shanghai's old Russian Orthodox churches should be prime real estate.

Professionals with pure motives
Social worker is a highly respected profession in developed countries, but in China, it is more of an ill-paid "professional Lei Feng" (an expression referring to a member of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, fabled for his willingness to help others). Despite this, social workers in China are gradually gaining recognition from the public and playing a greater role in ensuring social stability.

Week in Briefs

Pet shares infection
A 10-year-old girl was diagnosed with urethra inflammation ?a disease normally found among adult women ?at Shanghai Liren Women’s Hospital on Wednesday.

It was believed the condition came from the girl’s close contact with her pet dog. The girl’s parents reported that she ate, slept and even bathed with the dog. When the girl was brought to hospital by her parents, the doctor found the virus that caused the girl’s urethra inflammation was the same one shared by her pet dog.

Hard to stomach
Twenty-four per cent of white-collar workers suffer from stomach troubles, according to a recent health survey concerning such ailments among office workers conducted in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and released recently by the Shanghai Puya Medical Examination Centre.

Holidays are the peak time for white-collar workers to see doctors about stomach pains and disorders. During the three-day New Year’s holiday, Tongji Hospital saw the number of outpatients with stomach trouble increase by 20 to 30 per cent. Working pressure, unhealthy food and irregular work and rest schemes are blamed for the high incidence of stomach troubles among white-collar workers.

Education investments

From the coming spring semester, incidental expenses for students receiving compulsory education in the Chongming District will be abolished.

Charges for books will also be abolished in the district from the autumn semester, according to a special policy released by the municipal education commission on Wednesday. The Chongming District is also attempting to improve the retention of teachers. Over the past five years, the district has lost more than 500 teachers, equivalent to those introduced into the district. To make the situation more attractive for teachers, better pay and training programmes for teachers are being investigated.

Cat on a stick

A large number of missing cats may have ended up as “lamb skewers?this winter, reported the Oriental Morning Post.

Cats have gone missing in large numbers this winter, mainly because their fur is at its best in the season, said Li Ruohai, head of the Shanghai Small Animal Protection Association. The association carried out an investigation after a dozen cats it had sheltered went missing one morning and they found that the cats being sold for 15 yuan (US$1.8) each to local butchers.

The cats?fur would then be sold on to fur dealers at a much higher price while the meat would be sold for just 2 to 3 yuan (around US$0.3), usually to local barbecue stalls. To make the cat meat taste like lamb ?a popular barbecue skewer meat ?it would be soaked in soup made of sheep’s organs. In addition to barbecue stalls, the cat meat would also be purchased by small cooked-food shops to pass off as rabbit meat, for instance.

Two die in tunnel collision

A man and woman died in a traffic accident in the Dapu Road Tunnel Wednesday morning. It was the most severe traffic accident in the city’s first tunnel across the Huangpu River, which opened in 1971. The victims were in an east-bound minibus with a Zhejiang licence, which collided head-on with a tunnel line bus bound for Puxi.

According to the surveillance video, the minibus driver seemed to lose control of his vehicle after braking and swerved into the opposite lane, where it collided with the tunnel bus. Speed, mechanical failure or improper driving may have contributed to the tragedy. The speed limit in the tunnel is 30 kilometres per hour. No other injuries were reported in the accident.