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June, 2016:

Shenzhen plans three new airports with international flights to city expected to double by 2020

The plan aims to make the city southern China’s transport hub but risks bringing more underutilised airports into the Pearl River Delta

Shenzhen is looking to build three new airports – one each for commercial airliners, seaplanes and helicopters – as part of plans to make it southern China’s transport hub.

However, the plan risks bringing even more underutilised airports into the Pearl River Delta.

The airports are part of a 1.4-trillion-yuan (HK$1.66 trillion) blueprint to shift the city’s development eastward. “Shenzhen will build the ‘One Belt, One Road’ transportation hub in southern China and study the plausibility of building an airport on water in the east as well as starting to plan a second airport in the east as soon as possible,” the Shenzhen government’s Eastward Shift Strategic Action Plan for 2016 to 2020 unveiled last month stated.

According to people with knowledge of the plan, a second Shenzhen airport was in the very early planning stages. The work was being carried out based on projected future demand when Shenzhen’s Baoan international airport reached full capacity. The airport – which handled 39.7 million passengers last year compared with 68.4 million in Hong Kong and 50 million in Guangzhou – is starting a 11.2-billion-yuan expansion plan to add a third runway and fourth terminal that could meet demand up to 2045.

A second airport may be built somewhere near Huizhou, a city to the east of Shenzhen, which now has a small facility that is mostly used by the military.

A new airport for commercial airlines would be in addition to those already operating in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai.

While demand for air travel is huge in the densely populated region, the three larger airports already frequently suffer from delays due to complicated airspace controls in the region while the Zhuhai and Macau airports are underutilised.

“Pearl River Delta airport coordination is just a myth. If it could be done, it would have been done long ago,” CK Law, an associate director of the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Aviation Policy and Research Centre, said.

He said none of the local governments wanted to see their airport become secondary to others in the region. He also said airlines would only fly to profitable destinations, making it difficult to coordinate the role of the airports unless under a planned economy.

According to insiders, central government regulators planned to give more clarity to Shenzhen airport’s international role. The airport, which only gained its first flight to the United States via Beijing with Air China in February, is expected to be granted at least five more international routes this year as Shenzhen’s role as an international hub is to be enhanced under the 13th five-year plan.

A spokeswoman for the airport said its international traffic was expected to nearly double by 2020. However, she said she was unfamiliar with the second airport proposal.

The Shenzhen government had proposed a rail link between the Shenzhen and Hong Kong airports, which could see the two work as one. Under the plan, Hong Kong would have handled the international traffic while Shenzhen the domestic. The idea was rejected by Hong Kong, but Qianhai, the free-trade zone situated in the middle, was still keen, according to sources.

People with knowledge of the plan said an “airport-on-water” for seaplanes was likely to be built on Shenzhen’s Da Peng Peninsula to the northeast of Sai Kung as part of a plan to develop the peninsula as a high-end corporate travel destination. The same people said Shenzhen’s Nantou Airport that can handle 16 helicopters at a time was to be relocated to the more distant Longhua district. Nantou airport is mainly used by CITIC Offshore Helicopters, China’s largest offshore helicopter operator.

“Building new airports is a typical way for local governments to engineer urban growth after development based on land sales runs out of steam,” Qi Qi, a lecturer at Guangzhou Civil Aviation Academy, said.

He said Guangzhou’s third runway was an example of an expensive development going to waste as its airspace conflicted with Foshan airport, which meant it only ended up being used for landing. Guangzhou is now planning two more runways.

“There might be an oversupply of runways in the short-run, but the bottleneck for airports in China tends to be the airspace. So, as long as the airspace issue is not resolved, airports users will still feel there is not enough airport capacity,” Sarah Wan, assistant professor in the Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said.

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Exposure to air pollution raises your blood pressure, Chinese study shows

Even brief exposure to chemicals found in air pollution can adversely affect blood pressure. Also in the news: women smokers more likely to give up by timing their quit date with their period

Both short- and long-term exposure to some air pollutants commonly associated with coal burning, vehicle exhaust, airborne dust and dirt are associated with the development of high blood pressure, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.

“In our analysis of 17 previously published studies we discovered a significant risk of developing high blood pressure due to exposure to air pollution,” says Tao Liu, lead study author from the Guangdong Provincial Institute of Public Health in China. “People should limit their exposure on days with higher air pollution levels, especially for those with high blood pressure; even very short-term exposure can aggravate their conditions.”

The 17 studies involved a total of more than 108,000 hypertension patients and 220,000 non-hypertensive controls. The meta-analysis found high blood pressure was significantly associated with short-term exposure to sulphur dioxide, which mainly comes from the burning of fossil fuel, and particulate matter (PM2.5, the most common and hazardous type of air pollution, and PM10). It was also significantly associated with long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is produced from combustion, and PM10.

No significant associations were found between hypertension and short-term effects of ozone and carbon monoxide exposure. Researchers said ozone and carbon monoxide’s links to high blood pressure requires further study.

Female smokers more likely to kick the habit by ‘timing’ their quit date with their menstrual cycle

Women who want to quit smoking may have better success synchronising their quit date with the period of time following ovulation and prior to menstruation, according to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. This period, according to the study published in Biology of Sex Differences, is when brain circuitry involved in making “good decisions” is optimal.

Penn researchers recruited 38 physically healthy, premenopausal women aged between 21 and 51 years of age who smoke and who were not taking hormonal contraceptives. Functional MRI scans were done on the women to examine how regions of the brain that help control behaviour are functionally connected to regions of the brain that signal reward.

Results revealed that during the follicular phase – which begins at menstruation and continues until ovulation – there was reduced functional connectivity between brain regions that helps make good decisions and the brain regions that contain the reward centre, which could place women in the follicular phase at greater risk for continued smoking and relapse. Using smoking cues (pictures of smoking reminders such as an individual smoking) was associated with weaker connections between cognitive control regions in follicular females.

“Interestingly, the findings may represent a fundamental effect of menstrual cycle phase on brain connectivity and may be linked to other behaviours, such as responses to other rewarding substances (ie alcohol and foods high in fat and sugar),” says study senior author Teresa Franklin.

Long-term memory test could aid earlier Alzheimer’s diagnosis

People with Alzheimer’s disease could benefit from earlier diagnosis if a long-term memory test combined with a brain scan were carried out, a study suggests. University of Edinburgh scientists, in collaboration with colleagues in the US, studied long-term memory in young mice, some of which had the equivalent of very early stage Alzheimer’s disease, and some of which were healthy.

They say testing memory over a long timescale reveals early deficits in the brain’s ability to remember that go undetected by checks for short-term forgetfulness, which is the current practice for diagnosis. They add that the type of memory loss revealed by such tests could potentially be reversed by the development of new treatments.

In the study, the mice were taught to locate a hidden platform in a pool filled with water, using signs on the wall of the room to navigate. When tested shortly after the initial task, both groups of mice were able to remember the way to the platform. However, when tested one week later, the mice in the Alzheimer’s group had significantly more difficulty remembering the route.

Professor Richard Morris, who led the research, says: “We recognise that tests with animals must be interpreted with caution, but the use of these genetic models in conjunction with appropriate testing is pointing at an important dimension of early diagnosis.”
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Transition from traditional waste management to Zero Waste in only 4 years

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Hong Kong drivers caught in surprise police blitz complain over ‘unfair’ fines … despite being illegally parked

Week-long, city-wide crackdown on illegal parking begins

Drivers in Central blackspots were caught out on Wednesday as ¬police launched a week-long, ¬city-wide crackdown on illegal parking.

Those expecting the leniency they were accustomed to were in for a surprise; they ended up complaining that the operation was “unfair”, as police enforced HK$320 fines only minutes after the drivers parked their vehicles ¬illegally, and without warning.

While traffic police swooped on blackspots, the uphill battle against illegal parking was evident as it was back to business as usual when the officers moved on.

A Filipino professional driver was one of those given a ticket for waiting for his boss in a restricted area on Lyndhurst Terrace at around 1pm.

The driver, 56, who refused to give his name, said he had parked there almost every day for the past few years as his boss would have lunch nearby.

“[This is] the first time I have got a ticket in this area. I have worked as a driver in Hong Kong for 20 years,” he said, adding that he was unaware of the police ¬operation, which was announced last week, and questioned whether he had even broken the law.

“This is an open area. There is no sign. Suddenly they came and gave me a ticket … no warning,” he said.

He said the officer, who spoke in Cantonese – a language the driver was not fluent in – would only tell him “it is ticketing time”.

Police have vowed to be tough during the seven-day operation.

Their focus is on double-parking and stopping in restricted zones.

Central and Kowloon Tong – notorious for traffic congestion as a result of illegal parking – were among areas targeted on Wednesday.

A local woman was given a ticket for double parking at noon on the same road in Central where the Filipino driver was caught out.

“I am not familiar with this area,” she said.

“I parked here for just two minutes to pick up some stuff for my kids. Then I got a ticket.”

The officer involved told the woman “even one minute would not work”, as her car was blocking others from turning.

On Wellington Street, the Post saw an officer take only two minutes to ticket a white BMW.

In Yau Ma Tei, a 57-year-old driver and his 44-year-old passenger were arrested for disorder in a public place after they were allegedly uncooperative and yelled at the police officer who fined them for illegal parking.

The driver, surnamed Lam, parked his car outside 3 Waterloo Road.

But in Kowloon City, another notorious blackspot, drivers ¬defied the crackdown with rampant double and triple parking.
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