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2017-04-11 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-04-07 11:16:58    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun

This is Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing. Here is the news.
A new fund will be set up to pool the knowledge of the country's top scientists to discover the "unique" cause of smog that frequently blankets northern China in winter.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang says blue skies will not be, and should not be, a luxury.
The premier highlighted the government's increasing financial support for smog-related research, aiming to tackle the air pollution more effectively, after some scientists pointed out that the causes of smog in northern regions in winter are unique in the world.
Environmental experts say there is little domestic research on the severe smog events, which are widespread and long lasting in northern regions in winter.
The smog has complicated components, of which 60 to 70 percent are secondary pollutants generated after chemical reactions.
Scientists found that the nitrogen oxides in the air could form sulfates, thus worsening the air pollution. It means controls on the use of nitrogen fertilizer in Northern China would work for air pollution controls.
The premier said such research results deserve more attention, and encouraged more research on smog to dig out the causes. He said targeted efforts based on thorough research could speed up the pollution control process.
This is Special English.
The Natural Science Foundation of China financed 41,000 programs last year, allocating funds of 23 billion yuan. That's roughly 3.3 billion U.S. dollars.
The programs include research on gravitational waves, robotics and the evolution of land.
The foundation will focus on areas including brain science, new materials, advanced manufacturing and information security.
It will encourage scientists to continue to push boundaries in research and development.
The foundation punished 91 people for misconduct and revoked 33 programs last year.
The fund will help to improve the research integrity system, ensure fairness and promote innovation.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
China's first heavy-lift helicopter for civilian purposes, the AC313, has passed a test flight in heavy rain in east China's Jiangxi province. This was the last of its airworthiness tests.
The test marks the first time for China's domestically made large helicopter to test fly in heavy rain. The success shows that the 13-ton helicopter for civil use is capable of flying in complicated weather conditions.
The test had to be carried out in the rain with precipitation exceeding 0.8 millimeters in six minutes, and the helicopter had to fly at high speed at a height between 200 meters to 500 meters after take-off and before landing.
Engineers from the developer, the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, and test pilots initiated plans for the test and possible emergencies to secure the safety of the flight.
All its devices and systems worked normally in the test, and the pilots gained clear vision in the cab. The helicopter has totally met with airworthiness regulations.
The helicopter fills the gap between China's large civil helicopters and developed countries, setting a milestone for China's helicopter development.
This is Special English.
More than 20,000 ethnic minority students in northwest China's Xinjiang will be accepted onto courses at inland schools and universities this year.
Almost 10,000 students from Xinjiang will go to study in inland high schools, another 3,000 will attend inland vocational schools and another 8,000 will study at inland universities.
Ethnic minority students have been awarded places at schools and universities in inland regions since 1989, in a program designed to offer gifted students a better quality education and, subsequently, greater opportunities.
So far, more than 60,000 high school graduates in Xinjiang have been admitted by inland universities, while more than 90,000 students from Xinjiang have been taught at inland high schools. Most of these students return to work in Xinjiang after graduation.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
China will dredge sections of the Yangtze River this year to deepen it and increase the amount of freight traffic that can use the waterway.
Projects will be carried out on the upper, middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. It aims at forming a water network connecting more places.
The water level is of prime importance to freight transportation. For every 10 centimeter rise in the water level, a 3,000 metric ton ship can carry an extra 180 tons of cargo.
Experts say the water gateway is essential to boosting the development of the Yangtze River Economic Belt. The river's mainstream is the busiest river in the world regarding freight traffic.
This year, freight traffic on the mainstream of the Yangtze River was more than 2 billion metric tons, while railways across China transported 3 billion tons. The river handled 15 million containers last year.
Water transportation is much cheaper than rail and road transportation.
New projects will be carried out under strict environmental rules.
China will build a green navigation channel, including using environmental materials and technology to avoid water pollution, and use an ecological design to allow fish to migrate and plants to grow.
This is Special English.
More than 220,000 tonnes of cargo have been transported by the world's largest shiplift at the Yangtze River's Three Gorges Dam in central China's Hubei Province since September.
Almost 900 ships, carrying 220,000 tonnes of cargo and 8,000 passengers have passed through the dam's ship lock via the shiplift between September last year and March.
The shiplift has reduced the average time to pass the dam from more than three hours to just one hour.
The shiplift is the largest and most sophisticated of its kind in the world. It features a ship-chamber, which has a container that is 120-meters long, 18-meters wide and 4-meters deep.
It is designed to transport small and medium-sized ships, with a maximum displacement of 3,000 tonnes.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing. You can access the program by logging on to crienglish.com. You can also find us on our Apple Podcast. Now the news continues.
Global warming shrank certain animals in the ancient past, and scientists worry it could happen again.
A new study says warm-blooded animals got smaller at least twice in Earth's history when carbon dioxide levels soared and temperatures spiked as part of a natural warming.
University of New Hampshire researchers warned that mammals could shrivel in the future under even faster man-made warming. The question is how fast people are going to see these changes.
Three different species shrank noticeably around 54 million years ago when the planet suddenly heated up. One of them was an early, compact horse. The horse got 14 percent smaller, going from around 17 pounds, roughly 7.7 kilograms, to 15 pounds.
The horses were around the size of a dog, then they dwarfed. They may have gone down to the size of a cat.
Previous studies have documented a similar shrinking of mammals, including another early horse ancestor, during an earlier warming around 56 million years ago. Scientists and farmers have also long tracked animals, including cows, that shrink and give less milk during hotter stretches.
This later work shows heating and shrinking are connected over millions of years.
This is Special English.
More high-quality schools will be built in Beijing to ensure that more children have access to a high standard of education. That's according to a statement by the Beijing Municipal Education Commission.
At least three mediocre or low-quality schools in six densely populated districts will be merged with their high-quality counterparts.
Within two or three years, 25 new high-quality schools will be established and the weakest schools in each district will be merged with strong ones or become part of a high-quality school alliance.
The commission said schools in the six districts would start to aid the development of at least 15 low-quality schools in Beijing's outskirts or suburban areas.
Meanwhile, primary and junior middle schools are not allowed to cooperate with real estate companies to run branches.
Schools are also banned from having campuses outside the capital without permits from the commission. However, programs that are in line with the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province are an exception.
The commission said the steps have been taken to boost the balanced development of educational resources and educational equity.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
Students aiming to enter Tsinghua University this year had better be able to swim or be prepared to learn swimming and pass a swim test since the prestigious university will not grant bachelor's degrees if they cannot swim.
This September, students at Tsinghua University will have to take swimming courses if they fail a swimming test. They will not be granted a degree if they cannot swim.
Those with chronic diseases, skin disease or hydrophobia, once examined and affirmed by medical staff, don't need to take the required test or course.
The university says swimming abilities is a requisite survival skill, and is beneficial for students in the long run. Swimming is good water sport as it improves people' endurance and doing less harm to things like joints and muscles. 
Officials say the ability to swim is a must for students to earn their degrees and this is not something new in the university, as this ability was listed on its school regulations in the early 20th century.
Almost one decade ago, Tsinghua University required that students cannot graduate or go to study overseas if they cannot swim. The requirement was dropped later on since the swimming pools at the campus could not accommodate the increasing numbers of students.
This is Special English.
A "Belt and Road" International Music Season has opened in Shenzhen City in south China's Guangdong Province.
Musicians at the concert will give performances in styles both classic and popular, East and West, as well as traditional and avant garde.
According to the local publicity department, this concert is an important step for Shenzhen to follow up in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and will help speed up building itself into a culturally-strong city.
Themed "Connecting China with the World", the music season will also feature other activities including workshops and seminars.
Officials from UNESCO said the theme of the music concert stands consistent with UNESCO's spirit that culture can connect the world. In an age of frequent international disputes and conflicts, cultural exchange is of greater significance, as it can bring peaceful dialogue in the future.
This 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.
This 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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