Updated: 2011-08-05 13:35
A woman walks in a sandstorm that blanketed Urumqi, capital city of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, at about 6 pm on Aug 3. The blue sky disappeared and the visibility in the city and nearby districts was less than 500 meters. [Jiang Wenyao/for China Daily]
Steps to boost domestic sales
Measures are being drafted to promote domestic sales of goods originally produced for export, a trade official said.
The measures, due in September, coincide with a slowdown in export growth and an upturn in domestic consumption. They include simplifying the approval process for domestic sales, establishing convenient financing, expanding sales channels and enhancing brand image, said Chen Linhui, vice-chief of the processing trade division at the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation in Guangdong province. Due to the rising cost of labor, yuan appreciation and shrinking demand, China's manufacturers are finding it harder than ever to sell overseas.
National traffic safety overhaul
The Ministry of Public Security will launch a two-month national traffic safety overhaul campaign from August, in a bid to prevent major traffic accidents.
The campaign will primarily focus on checks of passenger coaches, trucks, school buses and vehicles that carry hazardous materials, said a statement issued by the ministry. An overloaded 35-seat bus caught fire on July 22 on the Beijing-Zhuhai Expressway, killing 41 people and injuring 6 others onboard.
Palace Museum admits damage
Managers of the Palace Museum admitted that a piece of 1,000-year-old porcelain among its invaluable collection was damaged by error during research, which involved examining the artifact with an analytical device. The disclosure came after a netizen on July 30 blew the whistle on the accident.
The porcelain plate, a grade-one cultural relic from the Ge kiln called "Celadon Plate with a Mouth in the Shape of Mallow Petals", was crushed and damaged on July 4 when a laboratory researcher used a device to examine it, according to a statement from the museum.
Jet fuel price adjustments soon
China will adjust the price of jet fuel every month to better reflect movements in global oil prices, said the National Development and Reform Commission. Starting Aug 1, jet fuel producers and their clients can negotiate the price of kerosene on the first day of every month. The government has also reduced the import tariff on jet fuel to zero starting July.
Poor air quality hits many big cities
The average air quality in 45 major cities - nearly four out of every 10 major cities in the country - was rated as "poor" in the first half of this year, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
Urumqi, capital of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, recorded the highest level of pollution.
Air quality in the other cities with poor air quality, mostly provincial capitals or industrial hubs, was rated as 3 on the country's 4-grade pollution scale, meaning the air is slightly polluted. Grade 1 is the best quality.
Water shortage worsens
A lingering drought has caused water shortages for 4.28 million people in China, the country's drought relief authority said on Aug 1.
The high temperatures and lack of rain that persisted throughout July have resulted in drought in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, the Ningxia Hui autonomous region and the provinces of Gansu, Guizhou and Hunan, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said on its website.
By now 4.22 million hectares of arable land had been affected by the drought, the statement said. Some 3.88 million head of livestock suffered from water shortages.
GDP rating system unveiled
The Chinese Academy of Sciences has published China's first quality assessment system for gross domestic product (GDP).
The assessment system rated the 2010 GDP for 31 provinces by their contribution to local economic growth, social development, environmental quality, people's living standards and government management.
After rating the five criteria, the researchers calculated a final score for each province's GDP, with Beijing scoring the highest and the Ningxia Hui autonomous region the lowest.
The researchers said they based the scores on data from the China Statistical Year Book 2010, and counted the contribution of GDP on each criterion.
Helping hand for Greece
China could provide loans to Greece to fund government bond buybacks in the secondary market to help cut the country's debt burden, a Greek Finance Ministry official said on July 29.
"There are signs that China is interested in taking part in the new funding scheme for Greece," said the official, who declined to be named.
The official did not elaborate but referred to a meeting between Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and China's International Monetary Fund representative in Washington this week.
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