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2017-02-21 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-02-17 11:18:00    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun

This is Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing. Here is the news.
A senior health official has called on governments at all levels to help relieve the burden on families wanting to have a second child.
A senior official from the National Health and Family Planning Commission has said that an array of departments need to introduce measures to help resolve issues that have arisen with the introduction of the second-child policy in January last year.
Health authorities have been rolling out policies nationwide since family planning rules were relaxed, including improvements to maternal care facilities.
However, the official warned that families will need help from other government departments to handle some of the problems, including increased expenses, maternity leave and a shortage of nurseries.
Almost 19 million babies were born in China last year, up 11 percent from 2015, with 45 percent born to women who already had a child.
Over the same period, the maternal mortality rate fell from 201 per 1 million births to 199, despite the fact that half of the 90 million women who became eligible to have a second child are over 40 years old, putting them at a higher risk of complications during pregnancy.
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Beijing has banned high-emission vehicles from its urban areas.
Starting from Feb. 15, light-duty gasoline-powered cars that fail to meet the "National Emission Standard 3" were banned from entering Beijing's fifth ring road on weekdays.
Violators will be fined 100 yuan, roughly 15 U.S. dollars, for every four hours that they drive on the road. Substandard vehicles will also be taken off the road through annual inspections or spot checks.
Beijing currently requires new cars to comply with the "Beijing 6" emission standard, which is higher than the widely-used "National Emission Standard 5" and equivalent to the "Euro 6" standard, the strictest in China.
The "National Emission Standard 1" was introduced in 1999 and the "National Emission Standard 2" followed in 2004.
Higher-polluting gasoline vehicles account for less than 10 percent of vehicles on the road, but discharge over 30 percent of nitrogen oxide and 25 percent of volatile organic compounds.
Beijing's 6 million vehicles produce 500,000 tonnes of various pollutants annually and account for 30 percent of locally-generated PM 2.5, a particulate matter associated with hazardous smog, making this the prime source for PM2.5.
Plagued by smog over the past decade, Beijing has initiated a series of regulations to improve its air quality.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
Last year, 1,600 foreigners became permanent Chinese residents, an increase of 160 percent on the previous year.
China has made huge progress in easing its residence and entry policies for foreigners since 2015, which has helped attract more talent from overseas and boost international exchanges and the economy.
Foreigners with permanent residence can enjoy the same rights as Chinese citizens do, including investment, housing purchases and schooling.
One year after new measures were implemented, Shanghai saw a year-on-year increase of six times the number of permanent residence applications from foreigners and their families.
The number of such applications in Beijing last year increased 430 percent from 2015.
Foreigners made over 57 million trips to China last year, up almost 10 percent from 2015.
At present, 15 Chinese cities allow a 72-hour visa-free entry for nationals of certain countries. Shanghai and the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang offer 144-hour visa-free stays for international transit passengers from certain countries.
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The Chinese government has issued a five-year action plan for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
The government has vowed to make the utmost effort to find HIV-infected personnel and AIDS sufferers. It is also aimed at reducing infections through drug needles, blood transfusion and mother-to-newborn infections. Efforts will be made to minimize the fatality rate and improve patients' quality of life.
The plan was made for the period between 2016 and 2020. It has set multiple targets including reducing AIDS-related activities in people by at least 10 percent and keep mother-to-infant infection rate to within 4 percent.
According to the plan, more than 90 percent of the infected people and AIDS sufferers should receive anti-virus treatment, and more than 90 percent of the cases of such treatment should be successful.
International cooperation on HIV/AIDES research will be strengthened to enhance the prevention and treatment of the disease.
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Scientists say China should draft national standards on pesticides to reduce the amount of residue that is left on agricultural products, preventing damage to the environment.
Scientists with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences say national standards on pesticides are badly needed as the country faces mounting pressure of protecting the ecological environment in rural areas. The standards should cover the levels of the maximum amount of residue allowed on a piece of farmland, and user instructions.
The scientists say improper usage of pesticides is a matter of grave concern. Chemicals in pesticides leach into the environment, wasting resources, and posing a serious risk to the whole eco system.
Overuse of pesticides also threatens aquatic life, animals and the long-term growth of crops. To prevent the damage and enable rational use of pesticides among farmers, scientists have developed a device that can verify how much of the chemicals need to be used on farmland.
A test kit containing color-coded test cards can help users determine the quality of their sprays and calculate droplet density.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price 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 record 6 million trips were made by mainland tourists to overseas destinations during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday, which ended on February 2.
That is an increase of 7 percent compared with last year's Spring Festival period. More than 370,000 trips were organized by travel agencies, up 3 percent from last year.
The tourism administration has reported growth from individual and high-end travelers.
Meanwhile, Chinese tourists' travel itineraries and preferred destinations have been different from before.
For example, "Shopping sprees" among Chinese tourists in Japan was a catchword in 2015. But this year, many people traveled to Japan for physical checkups besides sighting seeing.
One owner of a tourism agency in Tokyo says his agency arranged more than 200 physical checkups and medical treatments this year, up 50 percent from last year.
A tourism agency specializing in receiving Chinese tourists in Kenya says the country was a seldom choice for Chinese tourists in 2005. But, since 2010, more Chinese tourists have chosen the African country as a destination to experience its different biodiversity environment.
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People's preference for dog breeds is changing. Since 2012, when a Tibetan mastiff pup sold for 20 million yuan, roughly 3 million U.S. dollars, in Shandong province, the country has become obsessed with another breed, the brown toy poodles.
A pet dog center in Beijing says the brown toy poodle has been popular in recent years because they think it is cute, small and smart.
The center says small dogs are ideal pets for many people with small apartments, adding that poodles are one of the smartest breeds.
The toy like breed is nicknamed "teddy" in China. According to Beijing Kennel Club, Beijing had around 950,000 registered dogs in 2015. More than 13 percent of them were toy poodles. It even outnumbers other breeds including the bichon frise, the golden retriever and the Welsh corgi.
Since keeping a pet was legalized in 1993, the pet market has grown quickly. Many breeds have had their moment, including the Pekingese, the Tibetan mastiff and the Labrador.
Experts say the cycle of favor for one breed is around seven years, and now the price of a brown toy poodle is dropping, meaning fewer people are buying them.
There are many reasons behind the popularity, including fashion trends and scarcity.
Insiders say that with the market becoming more mature, pet owners are becoming more likely to choose a breed based on their own demands, instead of following the crowd.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
A joint Canadian-Chinese research has found that the biochemical reactions that cause Alzheimer's disease could begin during fetus period or soon after birth if the fetus or newborn does not get enough vitamin-A.
The study also showed that vitamin-A supplements given to newborns could be effective in slowing the degenerative brain disease.
The findings are based on studies of genetically-engineered mice. The research was announced recently by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver in western Canada.
The study shows that even as early as in pregnancy, marginal deficiency of vitamin-A has a detrimental effect on brain development. It has long-lasting effect that may facilitate Alzheimer's disease later in life.
The findings were the result of a five-year research project that built on previous studies that linked low levels of vitamin-A with cognitive impairments.
The researchers studied 300 elderly people in China and found that 75 percent of those with vitamin-A deficiency had cognitive impairment, compared to the 47 percent of those with normal vitamin-A levels.
This is Special English.
Australian researchers have solved a long-standing puzzle on the origin of stardust recovered from meteorites.
The international team of scientists, led by Melbourne's Monash University, identified the effect of a nuclear reaction within the dust grains for the first time.
The researchers say the solar system was born out of a nebula where rock-forming elements were locked inside dust grains. Some of the dust was made around stars, being effectively tiny condensed pieces of stars.
A small fraction of stardust survived the destruction process, while most of the original dust was destroyed to make up new dust, rocks and planets, including Earth.
Using special dust found on meteorites, the researchers were able to trace the evolution of the nebula from which planets were born. It also enabled them to understand physical processes inside stars where the grains were formed.
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Scientists have discovered a tiny creature that dates back to 500 million years and believe it may be the oldest known ancestor of a vast group of species, including humans.
The research was conducted by China's Northwest University, Cambridge University, and other institutions. The finding has been published by "Nature" online.
The animal is probably the oldest example of a category of creatures that includes vertebrates.
The tiny creature, around one millimeter in size, was found in the Cambrian fossils from northwest China's Shaanxi Province. Its bag-like body has a prominent mouth, and several lateral openings to expel water. One key step in its evolution was when the openings became gills.
One lead researcher of the study said the creature evolved from their even smaller ancestors 520 million years ago. Then they became primitive fish, and eventually humans.
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 Ryan Price in Beijing, and I hope you can join us every day, to learn English and learn about the world.


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