Front Page of the Day

"Iron big brother" finally uses his brain

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Qianjiang Evening News

"Ticket sales screens have been upgraded; this time, 'iron big brother' used his brain" - The headline on the cover of today's Qianjiang Evening News may seem odd if you don't get the allusion to President Hu Jintao's comments before the Spring Festival. At that time, people were complaining about how difficult it was to buy rail tickets, and Hu actually issued an order telling the railway ministry to "use their brains."

The article inside is about the Hangzhou Railway Station's newly-adopted information system, which includes a big screen showing the number of tickets remaining. Prospective buyers no longer have to wait in line for hours only to be told that the tickets have already been sold out.

Electronic information signs can be found in many station, but their status messages are typically limited to "available" and "unavailable."

"Iron big brother" (铁老大), the nickname of China's railway system, can be traced back to the days of the planned economy, when trains went largely unchallenged by other means of transportation. Even today, the rail system still enjoys many privileges, with one of the most criticized being the status of the Railway Ministry, which doubles as the industry's regulator body and its only player.

Also on the front page:

● Xiong Zhenlin, a junk dealer who killed eight people including a two-year-old boy, was sentenced to death yesterday at his first trial. Xiong expressed his remorse in the court and wished that his life could be spared.

● After the Ministry of Commerce recently gave positive comments regarding initiatives made by some local governments to encourage consumption by issuing vouchers to the public, the Hangzhou municipal government is considering paying 5 to 10 percent of public servants' salary in the form of time-limited vouchers.

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