Capital hits 'blue-sky' target
With another sunny day on Saturday , Beijing has hit the target of having 266 "blue sky days" this year ahead of time. Data from the Beijing Environmental Monitoring Center indicated that Saturday's air quality was sound. The municipal government has made strenuous efforts to curb pollution. Some 40,000 high-pollution "yellow-label" cars were driven off the road this year, and some 13,000 households changed from coal to clean energy.
Foreign, Chinese company taxes unified
China is levying two new taxes on foreign companies, marking the beginning of a standard national tax rate for foreign and Chinese enterprises. China will charge foreign firms with operations here two additional taxes (a construction tax and education surcharge) in a measure taking effect Wednesday, according to a State Council announcement in late November. The measure makes most of the taxes imposed on domestic and international companies equal. But it also means foreign enterprises' expenditures on local operations will rise by up to 10 percent.
Tighter iPhone regulations
China Unicom, the official telecom carrier that offers iPhones in the Chinese market, announced on Monday that it will place even tighter restrictions on iPhone purchases to deter scalpers and stop iPhone users from leaving for its competitor China Mobile.
The new restrictions took effect on Wednesday for new customers and will not affect existing customers. According to the announcement, subscribers who buy iPhones from China Unicom must use it with the bundled China Unicom subscriber identity module (SIM) card. If the SIM card and handset do not match, the operator will block the mobile phone, freeze the deposit and terminate any promotion associated with the contract.
Classes resume after stampede
Classes resumed on Tuesday in the primary school where 41 children were injured on Monday in a stampede in Aksu city of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, city authorities said. The accident occurred at the No 5 Primary School as students rushed downstairs from the second floor of the four-story building to the playground for exercise at about noon. The only child critically injured in the accident was out of danger on Tuesday. The other children with injuries were in stable condition.
Mainland visitors boost tourism
Visitor arrivals to Hong Kong in October rose 18 percent to more than 3.2 million compared with the same period last year, with mainland arrivals up by more than 20 percent, the Hong Kong Tourism Board announced on Tuesday. The sustained growth in overall arrivals was led by the rise of mainland tourists during the National Day Golden Week holidays.
Regional free trade talks 'set for 2012'
Free trade agreement (FTA) talks among China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) could start in 2012 as the countries try to reduce reliance on the United States and the European Union, Yi Xiaozhun, vice-minister of commerce, told China Daily.
US economic woes and the European debt crisis are boosting integration efforts and adding momentum to negotiations for an FTA among the three countries. "I expect the negotiations to start in 2012, when a joint study by the three nations will be concluded," Yi said on the sidelines of a meeting of the FTA Joint Study Committee in Weihai, Shandong province.
Record-breaking train on track
Imagine how it feels to sit in a passenger jet as it hurtles down the runway just prior to take-off. That is the feeling a lucky group of passengers got to experience on Friday when China's newest fast train set a world record during a trial run as it hit 486.1 km/h on the Beijing-Shanghai line. The new record replaced one of 416.6 km/h set almost three months earlier, also in China, on the high-speed line between Shanghai and Hangzhou.
The Central Economic Work Conference will be held on Dec 10, Friday. The annual meeting, usually convened in early December, maps out important guidelines for the country's economic work next year.