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2017-04-17 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-04-14 14:38:47    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun

This is Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing. Here is the news.
The central government and local authorities will accelerate planning for the Xiong'an New Area.
China's top economic planner said that in addition, those governments will provide policy and financial support for key projects and budgeting.
The National Development and Reform Commission said a master blueprint of the new area, as well as overall and detailed blueprints of the initial area are among the first plans to be mapped out.
The commission will guide the Hebei provincial government and authorities as they draft the plans to ensure they meet the high standards of quality needed for the project.
Apart from having world-class urban planning, the architecture in the new area will also showcase Chinese cultural characteristics.
The central government will also give support to major transportation, ecology, water conservation, energy, and public service projects in the new area.
China announced a historic decision to establish the Xiong'an New Area in Hebei province as part of measures to advance the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.
The new area is similar to the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and the Shanghai Pudong New Area. It is of national significance and "crucial for the millennium to come".
This is Special English.
China's environmental watchdog has sent inspection teams to 7 cities to cope with a new round of severe smog.
The inspection teams have been sent by the Ministry of Environmental Protection. They went to cities including Beijing and Tianjin, in northern China.
Inspectors discovered factories fabricating pollutant data in some cities. A steel mill in a city was found to have shut down a pollutant detector. Those responsible have been detained by local police.
The inspection team found that smog emergency plans have been poorly implemented in Tianjin. Several cement producers in another city were found to have continued operations when they should have been suspended.
In Beijing, a ceramics producer and a paper maker cheated inspectors regarding the use of purifying equipment. A furniture plant in Hebei Province refused inspectors who were attempting to conduct inspections.
A new round of air pollution continues in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, with some cities issuing orange alerts, the second-highest in China's four-tier warning system.
China has been under growing pressure to address air pollution as smog frequently smothers the country.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
China is the largest exporter of military drones, and it is ready to place a new model on the international market.
The TYW-1 has been developed by Beihang University in Beijing, one of China's top institutes for science and technology. The model is an unmanned aircraft for reconnaissance and combat. It was developed based on the older generation model which is widely used by the Chinese military.
The drone is to make its maiden flight in September and will be sold on the international market next year.
The developer is a firm set up by the university to develop and sell drones.
The company said it aims to tap the markets in neighboring countries, as well as in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
This will be the first time a Chinese university has sold large unmanned combat aircraft on the international market. The Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi'an in Shaanxi province, has sold small, unarmed military drones to foreign buyers.
The best-known Chinese military drones are the Wing Loong family, made by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, and the CH series, developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.
This is Special English.
A top Chinese language university will add 11 language courses, mostly African and Oceanianic tongues, to boost talent support for the country's extending ties with the regions.
The Beijing Foreign Studies University will offer a dozen courses to undergraduates from September, including Kurdish, Maori and Tongan.
The languages are used in west Asia, Oceania, the Caribbean, Africa, and Eastern Europe. The regions share close ties with China under the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to bring investment, infrastructure and interconnectivity to the ancient trade routes.
New Zealand, where Maori is an official language, has signed a memorandum of understanding with China on the Belt and Road Initiative.
Chinese people proficient in local languages and cultures are lacking in some participating countries of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the university is helping to equip more students with language skills and knowledge of the regional affairs to meet the demand.
The university will set up more language majors, especially those used by countries along the Belt and Road regions.
The university now has 84 language majors. It plans to increase the number to more than 100 in 2020, covering all countries that have diplomatic relations with China.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths 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.
The MTR Company that runs the Hong Kong metro system has been named a partner in a new consortium to run one of the major inter-city rail franchises in Britain.
The MTR and rail operator FirstGroup have been awarded a contract to operate one of the busiest rail routes in London, serving towns and cities in the southwest of England.
The Department of Transport said a new company, First MTR South Western Trains Limited, will use the experience of the MTR to deliver smooth and rapid journeys for passengers travelling around London's suburban network.
It is the first franchise awarded since Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling set out his vision for the future of the railways. The program involves the biggest investment in rail services across Britain since the Victorian era. The contract also marks a new era in work between train operators and Network Rail.
Currently, train operating companies work separately from Network Rail, which is responsible for track and rail infrastructure.
Grayling said First MTR South Western Trains Limited will deliver the improvements that people want right across the South Western franchise area.
The official said faster journeys will be delivered through a consistent fleet of new suburban trains offering a regular, metro-style service.
This is Special English.
Two universities in northwest China's Xinjiang will add Farsi and Urdu to their undergraduate curriculum.
The Shihezi University and Xinjiang Normal University are setting up Farsi and Urdu majors respectively, and will start enrolling students nationwide this summer.
Farsi is the official language in Iran and Tajikistan, and a major language in Afghanistan.
Currently only six universities in China offer Farsi as a major, producing less than 500 people proficient in the language.
The universities say Xinjiang's increasing cooperation in trade and counter-terrorism with Farsi-speaking countries requires more advanced Farsi language learners.
Urdu is the official language of Pakistan. In 2013, China and Pakistan started to build the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a 3,000-kilometer network of roads, railways and pipelines linking Xinjiang's Kashgar and southwest Pakistan's Gwadar Port.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
A toddler who fell into a 15-meter-deep dry well in east China's Shandong province has been rescued.
The 2-year-old boy was pulled out of the well in the early morning. He was alive and alert. He remains in hospital under observation.
The accident occurred as the boy accidentally fell into the unprotected well.
The deserted well is 30 centimeters in diameter, and is too narrow for rescuers to go down to bring the boy up. Dozens of excavators and bulldozers were used to dig a big hole near the well to reach the boy.
Rescuers managed to pull the child out with the help of a camera and a "shaft lifter" specially designed for such situations.
In November last year, a 6-year-old boy in Hebei province died after falling down an 80-meter dry well, despite a marathon rescue operation.
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A giant panda born in captivity and then released into the wild died after being attacked by an unknown animal.
Researchers said the 3-year-old male panda was released into a nature reserve in Sichuan province in March last year.
Experts at the Chengdu Research Base became concerned after receiving abnormal signals from the GPS tag on its neck in September and launched a search for the panda.
The body was found with wounds on its shoulder, ear and leg.
An examination found that the panda had been attacked by an unknown animal and the wounds had caused a bacterial infection that resulted in fatal blood poisoning.
A statement was issued after internet users accused the research base for not telling the public what had happened to the panda.
A source at the base said the State Forestry Administration had approved training the panda to live in the wild. The base reported to the administration shortly after the body was discovered, but it did not inform the public because researchers could not determine the attacker.
Some experts thought the attacker was a dog, while others thought it could be a wild panda.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
Almost 15 million Chinese people visited 150 major cemeteries to honor their deceased family and relatives during the three-day holiday for Tomb-Sweeping Day.
The number of people visiting burial sites across the nation increased by 9 percent year on year.
The cemeteries deployed service staff to help direct more than 2 million vehicles, up 30 percent from the year before.
In addition, modern and more eco-friendly ways of honoring the deceased have emerged in recent years, including "Internet tomb-sweeping" and sea-burials.
Staff and students from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center honored aerospace martyrs at a cemetery in northwest China's Gobi Desert on Tomb-Sweeping Day.
The center has witnessed 24 firsts in the country's aerospace history, including the successful launch of its first man-made satellite and the first space lab.
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A hospital in central China's Henan province where a patient killed three people with a chopstick has been closed to allow for an investigation into its standards.
The patient, a man surnamed Yang, attacked four female patients at the privately run hospital, after breaking free of his restraints on Feb 24.
One of the women died at the scene, while two others died in hospital from their injuries.
The mental health hospital is suspected of "chaotic management" and has been closed while an investigation team looks into the attack.Two county health officials in charge of supervising local hospitals have been dismissed.
Local police has placed Yang under criminal coercive measures and a thorough investigation is underway. Coercive measures can include detention and 24-hour monitoring.
The event was first reported by The Paper, a news website based in Shanghai. The attacks happened on the night Yang was admitted to the hospital.
The Paper quoted an anonymous source at the hospital as saying that "Yang is a schizophrenic". He looked potentially dangerous during a health check after he was admitted.
Footage from a surveillance camera at the hospital captured parts of the attack.
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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