The nationwide emergence of the spokesperson system at the local government level will establish a standard procedure for the release of government information and has demonstrated China's determination to increase transparency in its government operations.

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    Jiao Yang
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    Chen Qiwei
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Uh, oh - hot spell headed our way

By next week, Shanghai could be facing the same scorching weather - with the mercury nearing 40 degrees Celsius - that has gripped northern China, the weather authority said yesterday.

The city is expected to bid goodbye to the plum rain season on Tuesday or Wednesday with the strengthening and southern movement of a subtropical high, according to Shanghai Meteorological Bureau.

That means the baking-hot midsummer is coming.

Yuan Zhaohong, deputy director of the bureau, said Shanghai is forecast to soon experience 15 high temperature days, the temperature tipping 35 degrees.

"The extreme high temperature could reach 38 to 39 degrees, according to our forecast," Yuan told reporters. "The possibility of the highest surpassing 40 degrees is not excluded, but there should be little likelihood," he added.

Yesterday was "Xiaoshu," or Slight Heat, one of the 24 traditional Chinese solar terms, a prelude to hotter temperatures.

World Expo organizers, looking ahead, launched new measures to cope with the coming heat.

Ding Hao, deputy director of the bureau of Shanghai World Expo, said they've installed about 100,000 square meters of sunshade to protect visitors from heatstroke. The bureau also plans to place more ice cubes to cool the grounds once the mercury climbed over 35 degrees.

Ding said 95 percent of the visitors who got heatstroke in the site were waiting in crowded lines.

"The lines are usually densely populated where heatstroke could easily happen with a high temperature," Ding said yesterday.

Strong thundershowers are expected to arrive in Shanghai again from tomorrow to Sunday, weatherman said, during which the temperatures should drop a little, ranging from 28 degrees low to 34 high.