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Odour Cabs
    2007-03-05 15:38:48     CRIENGLISH.com

Odour Cabs
A POLITICAL adviser and frequent visitor to Beijing says the odor inside so many taxis is so offensive it may tarnish the city's image in the 2008 Olympic Games.

Shi Xiangpeng, who came from Hong Kong to attend the annual session of the National Committee of the 10th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, says on the basis of his own experience that about one-third of the taxis in Beijing were smelly.

He attributed the odor to the bad habits of some drivers from the suburbs of Beijing. Since they live far away from the downtown areas where they can do more business, they sometimes sleep and have meals, with onion or garlic, inside the cars, Shi says. He also notices some drivers don't bath for a long time and some smoke in their cabs.

He called on taxi drivers to pay more attention to their personal hygiene and try to keep a clean and pleasant scent inside the cars.
 
Blind School Needs Funds
THE Shanghai Blind Children School is asking city residents to donate money for needy blind students to cover the cost of braille textbooks. The Schools the books are a heavy finanicial burden that is usually neglected by other charity programs.

Blind students in the city use the same textbooks as other children, but the school, which is the only institute for blind children in Shanghai, has to translate them into braille and have them specially printed.

Due to the high cost of printing braille books, each textbook costs about 40 times the price of normal textbooks.

While the city government covers much of the cost of basic education for blind students, it doesn't offer enough money for textbooks, especially for students studying for the national college entrance exam, the school says.

Yuan Jinxing, the school's headmaster, claims that years of subsidizing expenses for students has put the school into a tight financial situation that it can no longer afford to maintain.
 
Wedding biz has room to grow
China's marriage-related industries like wedding photography and wedding ceremony services pluck an average of 125,000 yuan from the pockets of each newly-wed couple or their parents. That's more than most couples make in a year, Sunday's Beijing Morning Post reports.

An analysis of nearly 60,000 couples showed that more than 70 percent of the spending goes on housewares such as furniture and home appliances.

The wedding itself -- the ceremony, photography, wedding gowns, the honeymoon and jewelry -- accounted for less than 20,000 yuan, 15.5 percent of the total, and analysts claim there is room for growth there.

The wedding feast accounted for the rest of the spending.

According to the survey, overall marriage spending reached a whopping 557,478 yuan because it often includes the purchase of an apartment and a car. Chinese people tend to regard an apartment as indispensable for starting a family while autos have become affordable for many and are a key status symbol.
 
Holiday gifts go to pawn stores and barter websites
Anchor: sending and receiving gifts is big for the spring festival, just like what people do to celebrate festivals in other parts of the world. But what happens afterwards to the gifts, which have been chosen with so much brainwork in the holiday shopping season? In Beijing, people go to pawn stores and barter trade web sites to get rid of them. Reporter Zhao Zhuang has the story.

Reporter:
The spring festival is now over and people have started to worry about what to do with the gifts they've received. Some get really creative in this. Here is a rather big pawn store in Beijing. The jewelries, gold decorative items in the counter are all gifts received during the festival.

The general manager of the store, Shuang Meiling says, there are more clients to sell their gifts in the past few days and most of the items are gold, jade and diamond accessories as well as watches.

"Clients plan not to keep the gifts and decide to send them to a pawn store. There are four or five more deals than usual in the past few days."

On the side of a street, signs reading "buying back cigarettes, drinks and gifts at good prices" can be seen at a lot of convenience stores. 6 stores with such a sign can be seen in a short distance of less than 300 meters along a street. A consumer selling cigarettes to a store says.

"These are gift cigarettes from the holiday. "

Apart from going to pawn stores to get cash back, many people turn online to barter the gifts. A few websites for people to exchange stuff have seen a high traffic volume.

One website offers 300 gifts waiting to be traded. Going online is quite popular among many people.

"If there're too many gifts, it's worth trying to get rid of them online. "

"It's fast and easy. In addition, it can reach more people."

A friendly reminder to online traders: make sure to check best-before dates and receipts.

For China Drive, I'm Zhao Zhuang.

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