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2014-12-09 NEWS Plus Special English
   2014-12-09 10:53:29    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Han

 

 


 

This is NEWS Plus Special English. I'm Yun Feng in Beijing. Here is the news.
China, the world's leading coal producer and consumer, has begun levying resource tax on coal on the basis of sales instead of production, in a move to shore up the dim industry and improve the deteriorating environment.
The key to the reform, however, is to clear out charging fees involving coal. Due to historical reasons, Chinese coal producers pay taxes as well as fees under various names, such as coal price adjustment funds, compensation fees for native minerals, and fees for local economic development.
The State Council, China's cabinet, decided to clear off these fees before implementing the resource tax reform on coal at an executive meeting in September.
According to a circular issued by the Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission in October, the reform plan bans local governments from setting up funds that charge coal producers.
The circular stipulated that no more administrative charges or governmental funds involving coal, crude oil, and natural gas, are allowed to initiate by any local government, department or unit, except with permission from laws, rules and State Council regulations.
The authorities warned that there must be accountability for any violations, setting a deadline for local governments to report their cleanup campaign and the list of fees to be canceled and to be kept.
China's top coal producers had sped up actions to meet the deadline. North China's Shanxi province has cut almost 11 billion yuan, roughly 1.8 billion US dollars of fees coal producers have been charged since a massive cleanup in June.
This is NEWS Plus Special English.
China's revised Workplace Safety Law has taken effect. The law imposes harsher punishment on offenders.
Adopted in August, the amendment stipulates fines ranging from 200,000 yuan, roughly 32,000 U.S. dollars, to 20 million yuan, or more than 3 million dollars, for enterprises involved in serious workplace accidents, depending on the resultant losses.
Under the old law, fines for enterprises violating the law were no more than 100,000 yuan or less than five times the income earned from the illegal operations.
Managers of such enterprises who are found to have failed in their duty to ensure safety can be fined between 30 and 80 percent of their annual income corresponding to losses.
A judicial interpretation mapped by the Supreme People's Court has also taken effect, stipulating harsher punishment for the production and sale of fake and substandard pharmaceuticals.
According to the document, those who produce or sell fake or substandard drugs for pregnant women, infants, children and patients in critical condition will be given particularly heavier penalties.
This is NEWS Plus Special English.
New regulations on family foster care in China have taken effect, allowing each foster family to take in a maximum of two children, instead of three in the past, provided that the family does not have a child of its own aged below six.
The formal qualifications required of foster parents are also being raised. Prospective parents should have completed at least nine years of formal education and their financial status should be at least average for their region.
Foster families are already an anomaly in China, and social workers are worried that while the new regime may better protect children, it may make the rare foster families even rarer.
You are listening to NEWS Plus Special English. I'm Yun Feng in Beijing.
Twitter is trying to make it easier for victims and witnesses of online harassment to report it.
The short messaging service said that the new tools will roll out to users over the coming weeks. It is available now for a small group of Twitter's almost 300 million members. Among other changes, the updates streamline the process for reporting abuse, especially on mobile devices.
Twitter says it also made "behind-the-scenes improvements" that speed up response times to reported tweets and accounts.
Harassment and bullying on Twitter is not new. Recently, an online campaign dubbed "Gamer Gate" has led to the harassment of women in the video game industry for criticizing the lack of diversity and how women are portrayed in gaming.
A director of user safety at Twitter says that in the coming months, people can expect to see additional user controls, further improvements to reporting and new enforcement procedures for abusive accounts.
It is unlikely that the improvements will put an end to harassment on Twitter. While users can block accounts, and Twitter can delete them, there is nothing stopping bullies from setting up new accounts under different names.
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that almost three-quarters of American adults who use the Internet have witnessed online harassment. Forty percent have experienced it themselves. The types of harassment ranged from name-calling to physical threats, sexual harassment and stalking. Half of those who were harassed said they didn't know the person who had most recently attacked them.
This is NEWS Plus Special English.
The Los Angeles city attorney in the U.S. has filed a lawsuit to shut down a mobile phone application that arranges medical marijuana home deliveries.
The suit alleges that the iPhone and Android free app, Nestdrop, is a "flagrant attempt" to bypass restrictions contained in Proposition D, the medical marijuana law approved by Los Angeles voters last year.
Nestdrop links customers with delivery services. It started as an alcoholic beverage delivery service but added marijuana in November, promising arrival within an hour.
Pot delivery is currently only available in Los Angeles, but the company has said it wants to expand throughout Southern California.
Customers must prove they have a doctor's prescription and must be a member of a medical marijuana collective, although they can join a local one through the app.
The company said it works with local dispensaries that can provide pot in bud, edible and concentrated forms.
The lawsuit argues that the law only permits medical marijuana patients to pick up the drug for themselves, or for caregivers to pick up pot for their patients.
The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, asks a judge to permanently bar Nestdrop from arranging marijuana deliveries and fine the company that owns the app 2,500 dollars a day since November.
In a statement, a Nestdrop co-founder said the company intends to fight the lawsuit.
The company says that patients with limited mobility may be unable to visit a dispensary unassisted; and that Nestdrop is the technology platform that connects law-abiding medical marijuana patients with local dispensaries to receive the medication that they need in a safe and secure manner.
This is NEWS Plus Special English.
New device is not only smart, but trendy with a sense of innovation.
After smart wristbands that can track your every movement, and smart scales that can monitor your weight, a new wave of technology is now expected to delve even deeper into monitoring everyday life, including one device which even promises to revolutionize the way we do things as bland as drinking a cup of water.
Pre-orders opened on November 26 for Ocup with more than 750 people having paid for at a price of around 670 yuan, roughly 110 U.S. dollars on JD.com, what its developer calls a "smart cup".
Using sensors and a Bluetooth device inside the polymer-coated cup itself, the vessel can track the amount of liquid users drink throughout the day.
The data are recorded and can be checked via an Ocup app, much in the same way as the well-known wearable tracker Jawbone Up can record a person's progress toward daily fitness goals.
Ocup has been developed to measure the amount of water people drink to make sure their intake is at a healthy level, no matter what kind of life they lead.
The developer, Shenzhen-based Rrioo Company, says that people spend more than one third of their days in offices, and fast-paced office life usually comes with big pressure, which squeezes the time for people to pay attention to their health.
The company says that Apart from creating a smart product, Rrioo hopes to promote a healthy lifestyle, adding that the company hired top designers from Denmark to make the cut itself look as stylish as possible, under the philosophy "less is more".
As well as the basic functions of tracking water intake and sending out signals to remind users to drink regularly, Ocup also has an array of other features such as wireless charging, gesture monitoring and an LED display which can tell the user temperature of the liquid it contains.
According to JD.com, China's massive e-commerce site which specializes in selling consumer electronic products, the smart cup could be the next big thing in China, after the launch in July of a similar device by a company called Cuptime, what was then the first of its type.
You're listening to NEWS Plus Special English. I'm Yun Feng in Beijing. You can access the program by logging onto NEWSPlusRadio.cn. You can also find us on our Apple Podcast. If you have any comments or suggestions, please let us know by e-mailing us at mansuyingyu@cri.com.cn. That's mansuyingyu@cri.com.cn. Now the news continues.
U.S. Scientists have discovered a new frog species in southern New Jersey that makes some un-froglike sounds.
The Atlantic Coast leopard frog groans and makes coughing noises rather than croaking sounds. The unfamiliar call attracted the notice of wildlife experts several years ago in Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Morris County.
They photographed the frog and concluded it wasn't the northern leopard frog or southern leopard frog.
A team led by the State University of New Jersey recently identified the species in an online scientific journal. Experts say it shows that the state's marshes and swamps are valuable to wildlife, even in urban or suburban areas.
The frog has been found along the Delaware River and bay, the Atlantic Ocean coastline, in the Meadowlands and New York's Staten Island.
This is NEWS Plus Special English.
For a year or so, drinking a cup of tea at leisure has gradually become a new fashion in North Korea, and a number of teahouses sprang up around the capital city of Pyongyang.
The fashion of tea drinking that starts to prevail in the liquor-loving nation may result from the success in the cultivation of an indigenous tea, the Kangryong green tea.
Located mostly above the 38th parallel north, North Korea is not supposed to be an ideal place for tea planting, as tea bushes won't possibly survive in chilly and arid climate. It is even widely believed that growing tea above 36 degrees north latitude can hardly succeed by traditional techniques.
However, the late leader Kim Il Sung gave instructions as early as in 1982 that the country should produce tea on its own. His successor Kim Jong Il continued to put the task on the agenda and ordered to further advance research in tea growing.
Even during the "Arduous March" in the 1990s, the cultivation effort had not been slackened.
Despite unfavorable natural conditions, the Kangryong green tea was eventually produced on a large scale in Kangryong County in South Hwanghae Province on the western coast between 37 and 38 degrees north latitude, almost a southernmost place in the territory.
Shortly after, the Kangryong black tea also emerged when the green tea leaves were crushed and oxidized by fermentation. But in some teahouses only green tea is available probably because people grow fonder of green tea that is more beneficial to health.
A waitress at a cafe situated on the first floor of Koryo Hotel told reporters that the Kangryong green tea was also named "Un Jong Tea", meaning "gratitude", in order to express their gratitude for the two deceased North Korean leaders. She says that without their care and guidance, the people would not have been able to taste the homegrown tea.
This is NEWS Plus Special English.
Men's tennis world number one Novak Djokovic will reveal "never before told" stories about his life in a short documentary series in partnership with Australian winery Jacob's Creek.
The 27-year-old tennis star says that the biggest fight he had in his life was actually the "fight within". He made the remarks in a short trailer released recently for the videos called "Made By".
He added that the mini-documentary has given him the opportunity to tell the world his story for the first time, showing what he has been shaped and inspired by.
The video will be released in next month.
That is the end of this edition of NEWS Plus Special English. To freshen up your memory, I'm going to read one of the news items again at normal speed. Please listen carefully.
That is the end of today's program. I'm Yun Feng in Beijing. Hope you can join us every day at CRI NEWS Plus Radio, to learn English and learn about the world.

 

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