Hu ally dismisses promotion rumour
Li Yuanchao , a close ally of Hu Jintao widely tipped for promotion to a key government post, described rumours that he would join the Politburo Standing Committee as 'nonsense'. Mr Li, a media savvy former vice-director of the State Council Information Office, looked surprised when a Hong Kong journalist asked whether he would join the Standing Committee. 'The speculation ... has no grounds. It is nonsense,' he said. Mr Li, the Jiangsu party secretary, has been tipped to replace He Guoqiang as head of the party Central Committee's Organisation Department. Chongqing party secretary Wang Yang , favoured to succeed Guangdong party chief Zhang Dejiang , tackled similar questions on possible promotions with humour. 'I want to know too, maybe I should ask Secretary He [Guoqiang] tonight,' he said. Josephine Ma and Kristine Kwok
Subway pushed to limit by rush of commuters
The opening of Beijing's No5 subway line and its cheaper fares have already eased congestion but the soaring number of subway commuters has posed challenges, Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan said. 'It is good news that we have already been successful in attracting more people. But our concern now is whether the poor facilities on two old subway lines, built in the 1960s and 1970s, are safe enough,' he said. He added that many Beijingers had complained that with ticket prices lowered to 2 yuan, trains were too crowded. 'We have partly achieved our goals but what about the capacity when commuters have been diverted to subways?' he asked. Shi Jiangtao
Mayor denies relocation plan over Three Gorges reservoir
Chongqing Mayor Wang Hongju denied that there was a government plan to relocate 4 million residents near the Three Gorges reservoir. Under a Chongqing urban-rural development plan approved by the State Council, people would be moved from two areas in the northeast and southeast of Chongqing along the Yangtze. But Mr Wang said that it was just a prediction of the numbers who would naturally leave the areas. He denied accusations that the massive dam had harmed the environment. 'Our water has improved and the air has become cleaner,' he said.