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2017-02-13 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-02-10 12:55:10    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun

This is Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing. Here is the news.
More than 18 million children were born in Chinese hospitals last year, an increase of 11 percent from 2015. More than 45 percent of the newborns were not the first child of the family.
Last year, China saw the largest number of newborns since 2000, following the abolition of the decades-long one-child policy.
Moreover, the health authority reports that the maternal and infant mortality rates also dropped last year.
China has pledged to improve maternal and child care services by increasing the number of obstetricians, midwives and hospital beds.
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China will host a United Nations meeting on fighting desertification in September.
An estimated 1,400 delegates from around 200 parties to a United Nations special convention on desertification will participate in the event. They will gather in Ordos in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region for the meeting.
The participants will discuss their national goals and action plans to achieve zero net land degradation by 2030.
China's desertified areas were greatly reduced in the period between 2009 and 2014.
According to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, 12 million hectares of land are lost to desertification every year across the globe. And the figure could rise due to population growth, climatic reasons and unsustainable farming practices.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
More than 100 golf courses have been banned in China, as part of its efforts to clamp down on illegal use of land and water resources.
Of the total 680 golf courses across China, 110 have been closed since a national project was launched in 2011.
Among their illicit behavior, these golf courses were found to have illegally used large amounts of arable land or nature reserve areas, or extracted groundwater in prohibited areas.
Eighteen of the golf courses have been required to return their illegally occupied land, and another 47 have been ordered to stop business activities or construction.
The central government has ordered the rectification of the remaining 500 golf courses, of which a dozen have closed voluntarily.
China imposed a ban on the construction of new golf courses in 2004, when there were fewer than 200 in the country. However, the number continued to rise as the sport gained popularity, especially among business people and government officials.
Golf courses are seen in all provincial-level regions except Tibet.
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Moving some colleges out of central Beijing, either to the suburbs or other cities, is necessary to ease overcrowding; but experts say any new locations will have to first meet the needs of the employees.
Beijing's rich education resources have long attracted large numbers of people from across China, leading to chronic congestion and putting a strain on public services.
To alleviate the problem, the city government released a five-year plan last year for education development. The plan aims in part to keep higher-education institutes small in size. It also aims to remove some university facilities from central areas.
Experts say it is imperative that some colleges and universities leave the city, but they expect it to be a long term process.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
Seven hundred million Chinese people, or around half of the country's total population, had used mobile phones to access the Internet as of the end of last year.
The number of people who used their mobile phones to surf online continued to increase by an annual 10 percent during the past three years.
Last year, almost 500 million people used mobile phones to make payments, an increase of 30 percent from a year earlier.
China has more than 700 million internet users, accounting for 53 percent of the total population. The user number increase is now stable after almost 10 years of fast growth.
Last year, the public used Internet-based government services more often than they used offline service centers and hotlines to access government information. Officials say this means that government information was disclosed to the public in an increasingly mobile, immediate and transparent manner.
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Surgeons in a central China hospital have succeeded in performing two complex pediatric heart surgery operations using 3D printing technology.
One of the patients was a 13-year-old girl who suffered a condition which causes her heart muscle to grow abnormally thickly. The other patient was a 3-year-old boy with severe left ventricular outflow tract obstructions.
Complexity was involved in both cases. Doctors at the hospital used a 3D printer to produce full-size replicas of the patients' hearts. The models allowed doctors to carefully study the condition and plan the operations.
The surgery was successful and the patients are recovering.
The event marked the first time that 3D printing technology was used in Hunan Province for pediatric cardiovascular surgery.
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Shanghai police have detained a gang of 83 people for faking auctions with illegal gains of 6 million yuan, roughly 870,000 U.S. dollars.
The suspects charged antique owners high commission fees for fake auctions. They then told the clients that their auction items remained unsold.
The suspects were also found to have issued fake authentication certificates and charged very high fees.
Police started investigating the case in July last year when three fake auctions were discovered in the city.
Around 100 people had been captured as of mid-December, with 83 of them facing criminal charges.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing. You can access the program by logging on to 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.
A teenage pop star from China, Wang Yuan, has addressed a United Nations youth forum at the UN headquarters in New York.
Wang spoke at the United Nations youth forum on Jan. 31, calling for equal access to high quality education for young people worldwide.
Wang is a member of the popular boys band TFboys. He told the crowd that China has 280 million young people, which is the second largest youth population in the world. He said he is fortunate to work with the United Nations to end poverty, promote gender equality and combat climate change.
Wang said his dream for 2030 is that every young person will have access to good quality education; and girls have the same potential to achieve amazing things as boys.
The United Nations youth forum is aimed at involving the efforts of youth to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity across the globe.
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Beijing has received more than 2 billion cubic meters of diverted water from the Yangtze River, benefiting 11 million local people.
Since it began operation in December 2014, the south-to-north water diversion project has pumped over 2 billion cubic meters of water to Beijing, with 70 percent of the water from the Yangtze River.
The water has been stored in reservoirs or is being used for groundwater, rivers and lakes.
Officials say the project is running smoothly and safely. The water supply is stable and the water quality is up to standard.
The project has greatly relieved the water shortage problems in the city. Previously, Beijing relied mainly on underground water with high calcium and magnesium salt levels.
The middle route of the diversion project transmits water through canals and pipes from a reservoir in central China's Hubei Province, bringing water to northern China.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
Major parks in Beijing received a record high of 460,000 visitors in a single day on January 31, the fourth day of the Lunar New Year holiday.
The visitor numbers in a dozen parks were up 14 percent year on year.
Temple fairs, cultural exhibitions and other traditional events were held in the parks to celebrate the Spring Festival.
Major parks in Beijing attracted some 1.4 million visitors during the week-long holiday.
Beijing had blue skies for most of the holiday week, after the city had seen frequent smog earlier in the winter.
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The Chinese New Year was in the beginning of spotlight at a newly-founded cultural center in Athens, as Greeks celebrated the Year of the Rooster.
On the weekend of the New Year, 40 children aged four to eight attended a craft workshop where they had the chance to make their own traditional Chinese paper kite. To many of the children, this was their first experience of Chinese culture.
Excited about their new decorative toys, the children played in the vast indoor and outdoor spaces of the cultural center, flying kites.
Adults were invited to make paper mache lanterns to take home with them, as a souvenir of their participation in the celebration. Afterwards, they decorated a wire dragon figure with paper strips and lighting, and attempted their first dragon dance. The auspicious dragon is a symbol of good luck, wisdom and power in Chinese culture.
The workshops were followed by two Chinese film screenings, with one being the 2011 martial arts drama "Dragon", and the other, "The Grand master", a 2013 film based on the life of Chinese martial-arts grand master Ip Man.
A statement from the center said that starting with the Chinese New Year celebration, its goal is to introduce a new events section to initiate visitors into foreign cultures.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
A naval ship has been found in southern Sweden some 400 years after it went missing.
The naval ship was the first to set sail from a naval base in southern Sweden in 1682 and is considered to have marked the launch of the famed shipbuilding history of the country.
With its 70 canons and 450-strong crew, the ship was used in the bombing of Copenhagen and King Karl the Twelfth's landing in Denmark in 1700. Later, the ship fell into oblivion.
Last year, the area in southern Sweden where the ship was clearly marked out was located on old maps of the area.
Diving expeditions were carried out and it was confirmed that an old shipwreck was indeed buried in thick layers of sediment at the bottom of the sea.
Now, all evidence seem to point to it being a well-known warship and it seems it was deliberately sunk, with the intention of using it as a blockhouse.
However, the ship will likely not be salvaged because marine biologists cannot tell how much of the ship remains. But there is a theory that at least one deck is intact.
This is Special English.
A collection of over 300 works of art from Russia's State Historical Museum is on display at a museum in north China's Shanxi Province.
The items on display in the Shanxi Museum include oil paintings, sculptures, fashion and jewelry, as well as gold and silver ware from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The collection displays the life of the Russian people in that period. The curator of the museum says the event has helped visitors to understand Russia, as well as its culture and history.
Last November, as part of the cultural exchange program, a similar show from the province was held in Moscow.
The exhibition is free of charge and will run until May before moving on to other parts of China.
That is the end of this edition of 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 Mark Griffiths in Beijing, and I hope you will join us every day, to learn English and learn about the world.


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