School funding concerns parents

Updated: 2012-07-27 08:04

(China Daily)

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School funding concerns parents

Chinese parents are concerned over uneven funding to primary and middle schools, according to a survey released on Thursday.

The survey, conducted by China Youth Daily, shows that 82.3 percent of the 10,180 respondents think that disparities in funding exist between primary and middle schools.

According to the survey, 62.9 percent of the respondents think that the government gives more money to well-known schools, and 62.3 percent suggest that the government should offer more support to poor-performing schools.

Sun Junyang, associate professor with Beijing Normal University, said the policy of developing key schools has led poor-performing schools to do even worse.

Sun suggested that the government should allocate funds evenly and ensure relatively balanced teacher resources.

Illegal land seizures increase

The amount of property in illegal land seizures has risen every month since January, and about 30 percent of such seizures were uncovered in June, the Ministry of Land and Resources said on Wednesday.

Illegal use of agricultural land, usually under the guise of constructing agricultural facilities, has been on the rise, said Yue Xiaowu, an official with the ministry.

However, the country reported a year-on-year drop of 1.7 percent in cases of illegal land seizures in the first half of the year, he said.

The ministry uncovered 15,000 cases of illegal land use involving 10,000 hectares of land in the first six months, down 35.3 percent year-on-year.

Authorities recovered 445 hectares of land and collected 650 million yuan ($103 million) in fines. A total of 313 people were punished for their involvement in the cases, he said.

Longer sentences in CCTV blaze

Three men already serving prison terms for using inferior and combustible material to build the new headquarters of China Central Television had their sentences extended after a retrial on Wednesday.

Tang Zhuchuang, vice-president of a Guangdong-based construction materials company, project manager Gu Xianshu, and quality controller Li Shuzhi each had three to four more years added to their respective sentences, according to Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court.

In an earlier trial, they were sentenced to two and a half to four and a half years.

The three men were charged with using flammable insulation on the outer walls of the new CCTV headquarters tower, which was damaged in a 2009 fire. The blaze killed one person and injured eight others.

The court said the three men were responsible for 160 million yuan ($25 million) of losses.

Capital city details govt expenses

The Beijing municipal government spent 864 million yuan ($135.3 million) last year on cars and their maintenance, overseas trips and banquets, a finance official said on Thursday.

It is the second time local governments, including Beijing, were asked to release such information since 2010. The Beijing government spent 266 million yuan less on the three items than in 2010.

Yang Xiaochao, director of the Beijing finance bureau, told local lawmakers at an ongoing session of Beijing People's Congress that 611 million yuan was spent on buying and maintaining cars.

The capital spent 317 million yuan less than in 2010 on buying new cars, the only item on the budget that has been reduced.

Yang said 12.99 billion yuan was spent on government operations. It was the first time such information has been released.


Five trapped in coal mine

Five miners were trapped in a coal mine when the mine's tunnel collapsed on Thursday afternoon in Southwest China's Guizhou province, local authorities said.

The accident occurred at around 2:30 pm at Anlilai Coal Mine in Pu'an county. Five miners were trapped underground.

Fifty-three miners rushed to the rescue but were later trapped as well. They were rescued at 8:34 pm and are receiving treatment in hospital.

Rescue work for the original five trapped miners is under way.


Typhoon leads to evacuations

Typhoon Vicente has affected 168,000 people in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, including 9,900 who were forced to evacuate, local authorities said on Wednesday.

Vicente, this year's eighth typhoon, made landfall near Taishan in Guangdong province on early Tuesday, bringing gales and rainstorms to Guangdong and Guangxi.

Between Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon, precipitation exceeded 200 mm in several cities in Guangxi, while winds of more than 70 km per hour were recorded in the cities of Nanning, Yulin, Wuzhou and Beihai, according to the region's meteorological center.

The storm has toppled more than 1,200 farmhouses and damaged 8,490 hectares of crops. Direct economic losses totaled 46.6 million yuan ($7.3 million), the region's civil affairs department said.


Landslide creates flood threat

A rain-triggered landslide in Northwest China's Gansu province on Wednesday has cut off a pivotal highway and formed a barrier lake that threatens to burst and flood a neighboring county, local authorities said on Thursday.

More than 50,000 cubic meters of rock and dirt fell down the side of a mountain in Jingning county on Wednesday morning, disrupting traffic on the No 304 provincial highway and forming a barrier lake in the Hulu River, the county publicity department said in a statement.

Ten people were forced to evacuate from the affected area, but no casualties were reported, it said.

Workers were still cleaning the debris from No 304 provincial highway on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the barrier lake remains a threat to thousands downstream of the lake in Qin'an county.

The provincial government has sent a team of geologists and water conservancy specialists to the site on Thursday.


Recovered works of art on display

An exhibition featuring returned Tibetan Buddhism art works from overseas opened on Wednesday in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet autonomous region.

The exhibition displays 101 art works including 39 golden and bronze Buddha statues, 39 musical instruments used in the Buddhist mass, and 23 thangka, a form of Tibetan silk painting that dates back to the Tibetan Tubo Kingdom more than 1,000 years ago, said Yeshe Puencog, curator of the exhibition.

"The items on display have much religious and artistic value, and they indicate the close ties between Tibet and the central government," he said.

The exhibits have been bought back mainly from UK, US and Indian collectors, he said.

A huge number of cultural relics were taken overseas in the late 19th century and early 20th century after Western powers invaded Tibet.

The exhibition is scheduled to last for two months in Lhasa and will then be taken to other Chinese cities.

Monks get help with vegetables

The government is helping monks at a Tibetan monastery perched on a rough slope of the Himalaya Mountains to grow vegetables in a new greenhouse, local officials said on Thursday.

Rongpo Monastery sits on the north slope of Qomolangma, also known as Mount Everest in the West. The region's adverse weather - long, freezing winters of gales and blizzards - combined with its remoteness have made vegetables hard to come by.

The greenhouse is part of a government campaign to greatly improve the living conditions in monasteries in the Tibet autonomous region this year. A canteen, a communal bathroom and a proper garbage dump will also be built. Each monastery will have a hygiene specialist as well, the officials added.


Russian suspect extradited

Police in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province have extradited a suspect to Russia at the request of Russian authorities.

The extradition took place at China's Heihe Port a week ago between police and judicial officials from Heilongjiang and Russia's Amur region, said a statement issued on Thursday by the Heilongjiang Provincial Public Security Department.

The Russian suspect, Mger Grigoryan, had fled to Harbin, the provincial capital, after he allegedly defrauded two Russian companies of more than 5.7 million roubles ($175,000) and 130,000 kg of rice in November 2004.

Chinese police detained the suspect in 2010 at the request of Russian authorities, the statement said.


System problem blamed for smoke

An airplane that was forced to land minutes after taking off from a Hangzhou airport suffered a malfunction in its air-circulation system, China Southern Airlines said on Thursday.

Flight CZ6199 had to return to Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport on Wednesday after passengers and crew members reported smoke in the cabin.

According to a company statement, the smoke was vapor coming from the front of the plane and was due to a faulty air-circulation machine.

The flight was traveling from Daqing in Heilongjiang province to Guangzhou in Guangdong province and had made a scheduled stop in Hangzhou.

Hong Kong

City women still outnumber men

The ratio of women to men in Hong Kong has increased from 1,000-to-912 in 2006, to 1,000-to-876 in 2011, the city's Census and Statistics Department said on Thursday.

The department said there were 3,768,600 women and 3,303,000 men in Hong Kong last year, while 44,139 girls and 51,279 boys were born.

About 55.4 percent of women and 60.6 percent of men were married, compared with 57.5 percent and 61.6 percent respectively in 2001.

Xinhua China Daily