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    Blue sky

2005-12-30 09:09

Beijing has had 230 "blue sky" days this year as of last Wednesday, fulfilling the pre-set target for the year 10 days ahead of schedule. It is the seventh year in a row of air quality improvement in the national capital. Greater efforts were made to improve the quality of air in Beijing this year. The capital removed 4,000 old polluting buses and 30,000 cabs from service and replaced them with new vehicles meeting newly promulgated state standards for pollution control.

Free education

Primary and middle school students in Shunyi, an eastern district in Beijing, will get free education and uniforms starting September next year, according to local education authorities. Shunyi will offer free textbooks to about 60,000 students and school uniforms to the about 41,000 who have registered permanent residences in the district. Beijing plans to offer free nine-year compulsory education in the coming five years.

Case closed

Three designers who claimed the newly-designed logo of the Beijing-based Palace Museum violated copyrights of their own designs have lost their case. The trio all put forward their own images for selection when the Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, invited new logo suggestions from the public last year. But in May this year, museum leaders announced none of the applications from the public were accepted, and turned to Beijing Ideal Design Art Company to design the logo instead.

Passing gas

A performing seal at a restaurant is in a bad way after swallowing a cigarette lighter thrown by a customer. Bosses at the Yugongyupo Restaurant in Beijing's Fengtai District, a seafood restaurant, say they are growing increasingly concerned over the welfare of the 2-year-old male seal Huanhuan. They said they had fed Huanhuan mustard oil on the advice of experts after the incident last week, hoping the lighter would pass through his body naturally.

Illegal sale

A Beijing-based company called "Lunar embassy in China" has been deprived of its business license by Beijing's industrial and commercial watchdog for having allegedly sold "land on the moon." The "Lunar Embassy", whose "moon land" sale fell in the category of "speculation and profiteering," was also ordered to pay a fine up to 50,000 yuan (US$6,300), according to the Chaoyang District Branch of the Beijing Municipal Administration of Industry and Commerce.

Accurate circulation

The first report on China's publications' circulation was unveiled recently. The report, issued by Guoxin Publications' Statistics and Certification Centre, provides circulation data for Car Friends News from May to October this year. The publication has an average monthly circulation of 619,281, the report said. In the past, circulation of various Chinese publications were reported mainly by the publishers themselves and not verified by official data.

Safe packaging

The Chinese Society for Environmental Sciences, a green NGO in China, has issued a written proposal in Beijing recently calling on all packaging enterprises in the country to produce safe packages. The NGO asked China's packaging producers to abide by both state laws and corporate codes, strictly following safety standards in their production, and step up technological innovation. The proposal was issued to raise the producers' environmental awareness.

Film industry

Chinese home-made films have won 32 international awards, one of the indications of a booming Chinese film industry, according to the Chinese film administration. A total of 263 homegrown films have registered with the Film Bureau of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and competed in 101 international film festivals in 2005. Tong said 18 homegrown films won 32 international awards in 24 international film festivals in 2005.

Short crosstalk

A competition on short crosstalk is now going well at the Guo'an Theater in Beijing, with 36 programmes out of 3,000 competitors to be shown on local TV in the festive days of the coming New Year. Well-known short crosstalk performer Jiang Kun, also chief of the jury committee for the competition, told reporters that the competition is being held for professional performers, non-professionals and overseas Chinese who love short crosstalk.

Foreign students

Universities and research institutes in Beijing will continue to expand the enrolment of foreign students next year. Chinese language and culture courses will be open to all foreign students. In 2005, more than 40,000 foreign students studied in 69 Beijing-based universities or research institutes, 3000 more than the previous year, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education.

Sex education

Sex education for young students should start in primary schools' senior grades, at 11-12 years, said experts attending a recent local forum on population and development in Beijing. The experts said primary school seniors are about to enter puberty, so it's necessary to give them basic sex education. This was echoed by a recent survey conducted among 2,100 students, parents and teachers in the Haidian District, Beijing. Eighty per cent of the respondents agreed.

Sperm bank

Beijing's horticultural department plans to build a sperm bank for rare birds in 2006. The sperm bank will be built for the artificial propagation and preservation of genetic diversity of rare birds. Sperm will be collected from strong, healthy birds and frozen using specific procedures for each species of bird.

Station rail-link

An underground railway, stretching for about nine kilometres, will connect two major railway stations in Beijing in 2007. The project was launched last Saturday in a bid to provide convenience for passengers who need to transfer between the two stations, Beijing Railway Station and Beijing West Railway Station, according to the Beijing Railway Department. The project is also expected to relieve the traffic situation in urban Beijing.

Car sales surge

Beijing is seeing a surge in automobile sales this holiday season, with some 2,200 license plates being issued daily since mid December. The Beijing Traffic Management Bureau said it usually issues about 1,000 license plates everyday. There are 2.55 million automobiles and 3.92 million drivers in Beijing, according to the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau, which estimates that 350,000 new automobiles have been sold in 2005.

Public info service

The Beijing-based National Library of China will provide free digital resources to the public. Readers can log on to the search engine Google to enter the NLC's website for the free digital resources. The library's staff said they will open the full texts of digital resources without reserved copyrights, to the public. Besides ancient books, rubbings of ancient bronze and stone carvings, 330,000 rare books bought from Western countries will also be made available to the public.

(China Daily 12/30/2005 page2)


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