Ban on 'blind' school closings

Updated: 2012-07-24 08:06

(China Daily)

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Ban on 'blind' school closings

The Ministry of Education has issued a circular banning "blind" closings and mergers of rural public schools that are undertaken in response to concerns about road safety and students' commute times.

County-level governments must plan to ensure schools are in places that accord with local conditions, according to a circular issued by the ministry on Sunday.

Closings and mergers of rural schools will be suspended until the provincial government approves them, the circular said.

The circular requires students' commutes to last less than 40 minutes. It also calls on local governments to strictly enforce the Regulation on School Bus Safety Management, which the State Council adopted in April.

Alleged pyramid scheme cracked

Chinese police have cracked down on an alleged pyramid scheme that is suspected of enrolling more than 150,000 participants through the Internet.

Sources with the Ministry of Public Security said on Sunday the scheme was investigated for more than a year and finally eliminated in 17 provincial-level regions. They said the operation was disguised as an e-commerce website.

The chief suspect in the case, a man in his 50s, is suspected of having organized pyramid sales since the 1990s. In 2005, he established an e-commerce company, Feifan International, and is suspected of using it as a means of selling fake goods at high prices to customers. He is believed to have offered commissions to those who purchased and resold the goods.

The ministry said the case involved more than 1.4 billion yuan ($210 million).

Food rejected for quality concerns

China's top watchdog of product quality said on Monday 124 batches of food products imported in June were deemed to be of poor quality and returned to their places of origin or destroyed.

The substandard products, which came from 24 countries and regions and included cakes, cookies, drinks and dairy products, were seized at ports of entry before they were sold in the domestic market, said Li Yuanping, spokesman for the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. They were rejected either because they contained an excessive amount of microorganisms or illegal food additives, he said.

Also in June, a quarantine check of agricultural products found 1,882 harmful species on 61,072 separate occasions, the administration said.


First mayor of Sansha elected

The first mayor of the newly established Sansha city in the South China Sea was elected on Monday, as was head of the standing committee of the city's people's congress.

Xiao Jie, 51, former head of the Hainan provincial agriculture department, was elected to the mayoral position in the first session of the first Sansha People's Congress held on Yongxing Island, the government seat of Sansha.

Fu Zhuang, 56, former deputy director of the Hainan provincial civil air defense office, was elected head of the standing committee of the Sansha People's Congress.

The legislative conference also elected three deputy mayors and the heads of the city's intermediate people's court and procuratorate.

Forty-five deputies attended the first session of the first Sansha People's Congress and cast votes in the election.

The deputies, who came from the Xisha, Nansha and Zhongsha islands, were elected on Saturday by 1,100 residents from the islands.


Gift helps build school in Tibet

The construction of a primary school was completed on Sunday in Yushu, a Tibetan prefecture in Northwest China's Qinghai province that was severely hit by an earthquake in 2010.

The school, standing in Yushu's Chengduo county, was built with the help of 16 million yuan ($2.51 million) from the Republic of Congo.

Denis Sassou Nguesso, president of the Republic of Congo, expressed his country's willingness to provide the money when attending the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

In April 2010, a 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Yushu and killed 2,698 people.

China initially suggested the Republic of Congo give less money out of concern that so large a donation would place a heavy burden on the African country. The Republic of Congo, however, insisted that the aid be accepted and China eventually relented.

Inner Mongolia

Firefighters put out church blaze

Firefighters in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region say they have extinguished a fire that damaged a Catholic church on Monday.

The blaze broke out at about 1 pm in a Catholic church in the Donghe district of Baotou city and was extinguished at about 3:40 pm, firefighters said.

The fire destroyed about 15 square meters of the church's wooden roof. No deaths from the fire were reported.

An initial probe suggested the blaze started when church staff members were cooking.

Xinhua China Daily