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2017-02-20 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-02-17 11:16:38    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun









This is Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing. Here is the news.
Australia's University of Newcastle has announced the establishment of a scholarship program supported by China's Jack Ma Foundation.
The Jack Ma Foundation will give 20 million U.S. dollars, roughly 26 million Australian dollars, to fund a scholarship program at the University of Newcastle. The fund is the first of its kind and it marks the largest philanthropic commitment in the university's history. This is the Foundation's first philanthropic contribution in Australia.
In its initial year, "The Ma and Morley Scholarship Program" will create 30 new scholarships and support a series of other scholarship programs at the university.
When the program reaches full capacity, it will support 90 students per year.
This is Special English.
A system developed by e-commerce giant Alibaba for China's Ministry of Public Security last year helped to find more than 600 missing children.
The system is called "Tuanyuan", or reunion. It is a pop-up platform that has been applied to multiple websites and apps, including AutoNavi and Alipay.
Since its launch last year, over 70 billion pop-ups have been made, sharing the information of 650 missing children. Six hundred and ten of them have been found.
Alibaba says most of these children were reported lost or had run away from home, but 4 percent were rescued from child traffickers.
Apart from updating lost and found information for children, the system also helps to refute fake information.
More Internet companies across China will join the network this year.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
Beijing will intensify the battle against air pollution, as the city mayor has promised to take "extra" anti-smog measures in 2017.
Beijing mayor Cai Qi said at a media conference that the municipal government will continue to decrease coal use by helping residents in villages use clean energy.
Beijing will try to basically realize zero coal use in six major districts and in Beijing's southern plain areas this year. The city will eliminate coal-fired boilers that can each produce up to 10 tonnes of steam per hour.
The mayor said the city will slash coal use by 30 percent to less than 7 million tonnes this year.
Meanwhile, Beijing will kick 300,000 old vehicles off the roads this year and promote new energy cars instead.
Cai said it is an important task for Beijing and its neighboring areas to work together and improve air quality in the region.
The average density of PM 2.5 in the Chinese capital was 73 micrograms per cubic meter last year, down 10 percent from the previous year.
This is Special English.
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 people and AIDS sufferers. It is also aimed at reducing infections through drug needles, blood transfusions 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 keeping mother-to-infant infection rates to within 4 percent.
According to the plan, more than 90 percent of the infected people and AIDS sufferers should receive anti-viral 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.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
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 by farmers, scientists have developed a device that can verify how much of the chemicals need to be used on the farmland.
A test kit containing color-coded test cards can help users determine the quality of their sprays and calculate droplet density.
This is Special English.
China plans to build a next-generation synchrotron radiation facility in Beijing.
One researcher from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, one of the country's top research institutes, says construction of the project is expected to start in Nov next year. It will be completed within six years, with a total investment of 5 billion yuan, roughly 700 million U.S. dollars.
The facility has been nicknamed Beijing Light Source. It will meet national security demands and create aerospace materials among other products. It will provide high-resolution methods of finding out more about substantial structures.
The facility will be a new generation light source developed based on previous ones.
The Light Source will create the brightest X-rays in the world. It will be 70 times brighter than the United States' National Synchrotron Light Source II. It will also be 10 times brighter than Sweden's MAX IV, the strongest of its kind in the world so far.
Bright X-rays could help measure the atomic structure of various substances, and the higher brightness will help researchers to see more detail in those substances.
Around the world, there are more than 50 such facilities providing support in many research fields. The light source plays an important role in the medical field, helping researchers discover mechanisms of tumors and understand cerebrovascular diseases better.
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 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, a 3 percent increase.
The tourism administration has reported growth from individual and high-end travelers. In addition to first-tier and coastal cities, inland cities including those in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, became important source markets for China's out-bound tourism industry.
Meanwhile, Chinese tourists' travel itineraries and preferred destinations are different than they were before.
For example, the phrase "Shopping spree" is a catchword among Chinese tourists visiting Japan in 2015. But this year, many people traveled to Japan for physical checkups as well as sighting seeing.
One owner of a tourism agency in Tokyo said 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 rare choice for Chinese tourists in 2005. But, since 2010, more Chinese tourists have chosen this African country as a destination to experience its different biodiversity environment.
This is Special English.
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 poodle.
A pet dog center in Beijing says the brown toy poodle has become popular in recent years because people think they are cute, small and smart.
The center says small dogs make ideal pets for many people with small apartments, adding that poodles are one of the smartest breeds.
The toy like breed has been nicknamed "the 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. This 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.
There are many reasons behind the popularity of the breed, including fashion trends and scarcity.
Experts say the cycle of favor for one breed is around seven years, and now the price of brown toy poodles is dropping, meaning fewer people are buying them.
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 Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
Joint Canadian-Chinese research has found that biochemical reactions that cause Alzheimer's disease could begin during the fetal 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, a marginal deficiency of vitamin-A has a detrimental effect on brain development. It has a long-lasting effect that may facilitate Alzheimer's disease in later 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 impairment.
The researchers studied 300 elderly people in China and found that 75 percent of those with vitamin-A deficiency had cognitive impairment, compared to 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 the 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 the 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.
This is Special English.
Scientists have discovered a tiny creature that dates back 500 million years and they 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 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 an even smaller ancestor 520 million years ago. They then 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 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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