BEIJING Emergency text number Police in the capital have made an emergency number available for people who need help but cannot talk on the phone, the Beijing Daily reports. Text messages may be sent to 12110, which is monitored by police. The number can be used not only by people who are deaf or mute but also anyone who simply may not feel safe talking, such as in instances of kidnapping or robbery, when making a call could be dangerous or impossible. Lower smog targets set The municipal government has set less ambitious targets for pollution reduction this year compared with 2012 and said the rapidly increasing urban population has made environmental protection more difficult, Xinhua reports. Nitrogen oxides - found in car exhaust, cigarette smoke and smog - are expected to be cut by 2 per cent this year, while last year's target was 3 per cent. Beijing's population has risen by 400,000 people annually in recent years, officials said. HEBEI 'Red tourism' drive The provincial government hopes to bring in 20 billion yuan (HK$24.6 billion) a year from "red tourism" by 2015, the Hebei Daily reports. Red tourism sites consist largely of military strongholds that the Red Army built before 1949 on land that the government confiscated and distributed among peasants, in line with communist ideals. Today, it plans to build luxury hotels and entertainment centres at a dozen sites. High pollution alert issued Residents are coping with excessive levels of air pollution this week, and authorities on Monday warned people to avoid outdoor activities if possible, the Yanzhao Evening News reports. Tangshan , Shijiazhuang and Handan have been the most polluted cities. Weather officials expected the air quality to remain low all week amid a lack of wind. Urban heating, vehicles and industrial plants were cited as the primary causes of the smog, which has reduced visibility to less than 500 metres. JILIN Heating firms on brink Nearly 20 large-scale heating companies in the province must rely on government loans to survive, having borrowed a combined 450 million yuan from China Development Bank this winter to maintain normal operations, Xinhua reports. The government sets heating prices, which cannot be raised. If the firms go out of business, more than 1.3 million people in nine cities could lose heat. Poor quality green bulbs More than 40 per cent of energy-efficient light bulbs in the province do not meet national quality standards, according to a survey by provincial authorities, Xinhua reports. The findings came as inspectors examined the light bulbs of 30 brands, and dimness was found to be the most common issue due to the use of cheap, low-quality florescent materials. QINGHAI Clampdown on satellite TV A provincial-wide campaign will be launched in rural and urban areas across Qinghai this year, and the government has warned that people who do not remove satellite dishes from their roofs, balconies and backyards will face forced removals, the Qinghai Daily reports. The law forbids residents from watching television channels from other countries. 8 dead in pile-up At least eight people were killed and 28 injured in a 14-vehicle pile-up on Tuesday in Minhe county, Haidong , Xinhua reports. At least seven people remained in critical condition. Traffic authorities said a heavy truck loaded with coal lost control and smashed into a line of cars, mini-vans and buses. SHAANXI Monoxide poisoning kills 3 Three construction workers from Sichuan recently died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning in a rented apartment in Jingyang county, Xianyang , as they appeared to be burning coal for heat, the Xian Evening News reports. Investigators found a basin with coal ash in the room. The landlord said he did not tell tenants to put out the fire before they went to sleep because he assumed they knew it was dangerous. Xian roads too dusty A government survey last month found that nearly all major roads in Xian had dust levels that exceeded national air-quality standards, the Xian Evening News reports. The city's environmental protection authorities monitored 14 streets and avenues for a month, and only one met national standards. The city government admitted that it had not yet come up with an effective means to eliminate dust, which has been mostly caused by massive construction projects for skyscrapers and subways. SHANXI Volcano park to open A huge volcano-themed park will open soon in Datong , where more than 30 dead or dormant volcanoes are concentrated in a 130-square-kilometre area, Xinhua reports. The last eruption there occurred about 60,000 years ago. The city government said it planted nearly 3,000 hectares of trees and spent 30 million yuan on a road through the park, which features scenic spots where people can observe the volcanoes and landscape. 'Plant polluted water' Villagers living near a large state-owned aluminium plant in Hejin city have put up signs along the banks of the Yellow River warning people that the water is polluted and deadly, Xinhua reports. Farmers alleged that illegally dumped pollutants from the plant, run by the Aluminium Corporation of China, killed their crops and cattle. The city's environmental protection officials said the factory ignored complaints. YUNNAN Vegetable farms ready Kunming has finished building 5,300 hectares of vegetable-production bases that will supply more than 20 kinds of fresh vegetables to urban residents daily, from next month, the Yunnan Daily reports. The government will monitor the bases to reduce the risk of food-safety problems, such as pesticide poisoning. Cook dies in kitchen blast A stove exploded in a high school kitchen in Yiliang county, Zhaotong , on Tuesday, killing a cook and injuring his four assistants, Xinhua reports. Authorities said the stove was a multi-purpose, energy-efficient model and more time was needed to determine the cause. ZHEJIANG 250 accidents a day Snow and ice on roads caused an average of more than 250 traffic accidents a day on highways in the province from Thursday to Sunday, and many involved sports utility vehicles or pricey sports cars, the Qianjiang Evening News reports. Provincial traffic authorities said drivers of expensive cars, in particular, overestimated their vehicles' ability to drive on slippery roads and kept their speed over 100km/h. Taps run dry due to repairs Tap water supplies in Wenzhou have been severely affected by the shutdown of a major plant, and tens of thousands of residents in the eastern part of the city were told they needed to rely on bottled water for at least two days, from yesterday, the Wenzhou City News reports. The city said the plant was closed to replace a 5-kilometre pipeline that had been leaking since last week, but repairs were expected to be slow due to the cold, rainy weather.