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2017-04-18 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-04-17 11:45:01    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun

This is Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing. Here is the news.
China has seen its air quality worsen a little in the first quarter of this year, particularly in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province.
The national environmental authority said that in the first three months, 70 percent of days in 340 cities tracked had good air quality. The figure is 1 percent higher than the same period last year.
However, the concentration of PM2.5 increased 3 percent year-on-year. PM2.5 refers to the fine particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 microns that is hazardous to human health. PM2.5 is one of the six air pollutants that are monitored continuously.
While the average air quality has deteriorated slightly nationwide, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region saw a major drop in air quality in the first quarter. PM2.5 concentration soared to 95 micrograms per cubic meter, a 27 percent increase year-on-year.
The national air quality standard for PM2.5 is 35 micrograms per cubic meter or less.
Six of the top ten most polluted cities were in Hebei Province, where heavy industry is an economic pillar. The provincial capital topped the list in the first quarter.
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Beijing residents could be rewarded with up to 500,000 yuan, roughly 72,000 US dollars, if they can provide useful information on spies or related activities.
A government policy took effect recently. Under the policy, informants are eligible to be offered rewards ranging from 10,000 yuan to 500,000 yuan, depending on how useful the information is.
Informants can pass information to authorities by calling a hotline, sending letters or visiting the bureau.
Informants' privacy and information about spy-related messages will not be disclosed. Information providers can ask authorities for protection if they or their family are in danger due to the act of informing.
The policy stipulates that informants will face punishments if they deliberately slander others or invent and spread false information.
Beijing's Public Security Bureau says China saw rapid increases in international exchanges, as well as the number of people entering or exiting the country.
Overseas espionage agencies and other hostile forces have also intensified their disruptive activities in China, including political infiltration and the stealing of intelligence. The bureau says Some Chinese individuals have also betrayed the nation to benefit their private interests.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
China has announced it had completed controlled tests on its first hot-water drill, which is capable of drilling through 1,500 meters of ice and will be used for Antarctic research.
This is the fourth test on the drill, which was conducted in Northeast China.
The drill used pressurized hot water to melt and bore into the ice. The assessment panel said it is capable of drilling 1,500 meters into the ice shelf in Antarctica.
The review panel said the drill will be invaluable to China's Antarctic scientific exploration.
The panel agreed to further testing and said the equipment should be used during China's upcoming 34th Antarctic expedition in November.
Once it passes the Antarctic test, China will be the third country in the world to have mastered hot water drilling deeper than 1,000 meters, following the United States and Australia.
The drilling helps with the detection of ice shelves which are floating ice platforms between glaciers and the ocean surface. The freeze-thaw underneath ice shelves has an important effect on the continental ice sheets, and water masses and ocean currents.
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Strong downstream demand led to increasing sales of excavators in China last month.
Data with China Construction Machinery Association showed that sales of excavators in March rose more than 55 percent year on year as the Chinese economy gained momentum. Analysts said April is expected to follow the same pattern.
For the January to March period, sales almost doubled from a year earlier.
Economists say excavator machinery is a barometer of new infrastructure, and its strong growth indicates that the economy could expand steadily in the first half of this year.
Adding to a slew of upbeat data on the economy, surveys on the country's manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors showed the economy had staged a strong start.
China's manufacturing sector in March stayed above the boom-bust mark for the eighth month in a row, and the non-manufacturing sector continued to expand, nearing a three-year record high.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
A fund for assisting the medical treatment of patients with rare diseases has been initiated in Shanghai.
The fund has starting money of 3 million yuan, roughly 440,000 U.S. dollars. It was jointly raised by rare disease prevention and treatment institutions in Shanghai and drug firms.
The chairman of the Shanghai Rare Disease Prevention and Treatment Fund said the funding would encourage more effective prevention and medical treatment of rare diseases.
He said the fund would help pool more financial support and company donations for rare disease patients.
Globally, there are some 6,000 to 7,000 recognized rare diseases. Only a few of them have established medical treatment.
Around 60 percent of rare disease patients are children, with 30 percent living less than five years.
There has been no epidemiological survey of rare disease patients made in China.
Early diagnosis and treatment can effectively check on the progress of rare diseases and even cure them.
It could take years for doctors to diagnose a rare disease, while patients miss the best time for treatment and suffer from inflicted problems leading to mental difficulties, heart problems and atrophied muscles.
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.
Chinese telecoms giant Huawei has unveiled the 20 winners of the 7th edition of the company's Digital Talents program, offering French students two weeks of technological immersion in China.
For the first time, 20 students have been selected to travel to Huawei's base in Shenzhen in July.
Organizers say that this year, the candidates proposed their original and innovative solutions to social challenges in relation with digital transformation.
Projects involved sectors including the environment, education, employment, health and energy resources.
Huawei says it runs the program "to identify the digital talents of tomorrow".
Chaired by the former housing minister of France, the jury included a think tank founder, Huawei communications director, newspaper editor-in-chief, the director of a science institute, and the general director of Paris' economic development agency. Members of the jury met on April 4 in Paris to choose the best 20 projects.
The 20 selected projects deal with a range of issues, including connected glasses, recycling cigarette butts, cyber attacks, video games, and providing help for refugees.
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The School of Global Governance has been opened at Beijing Foreign Studies University, aiming to train more multilingual professionals with global vision and cross-cultural communication proficiency.
The school aims to cultivate talents who are proficient in international rules and at least two working languages of the United Nations.
It will carry out research on international organizations and provide intellectual support for China's participation in international affairs.
The school is the first of its kind in China. It offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs. It grew out of an education reform pilot program launched in 2010. Some former graduates have been employed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Pan American Health Organization, and United Nations Office at Geneva.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
In addition to 600 million yuan, roughly 87 million U.S. dollars, in box office sales in China so far, the Hollywood blockbuster "Beauty and the Beast" has given rise to countless hot-selling products.
Beast-themed puppets and tea cups often sell out at Shanghai Disneyland, and the 30-plus types of dessert based on the movie have become top choices for movie fans at Shanghai Disneyland Hotel.
Tina Dai, a merchandise team member at Shanghai Disney Resort, said the resort is planning to restock the ceramic teacups, based on one of the characters in the movie, which sell for 85 yuan each.
Dai said the popularity of movie-based products shows consumers' keen interest in Disney characters and movie stories.
While China is shifting its growth engine from the industrial to the service sector, U.S. companies are exploring new growth points.
Statistics show China-U.S. service trade exceeded 100 million U.S. dollars last year.
Global coffee chain Starbucks is among the beneficiaries of the huge Chinese market.
The corporation's fiscal report showed comparable store sales increased 6 percent in China, 3 percentage points higher than global growth. Net quarterly revenues for the China/Asia Pacific segment grew 18 percent year on year to 770 million U.S. dollars.
The robust sales growth is partly due to cooperation between Starbucks and Chinese Internet giant Tencent, which has offered mobile payment services for Chinese customers since December.
The two companies have also rolled out a digital gift-giving service on WeChat, allowing WeChat users to send and receive Starbucks digital gifts and then cash them in at offline outlets.
Starbucks is the first retail brand to use the digital gift-sharing service, supported by the social network's 850 million monthly active users.
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China has launched a universal network covering the data of elder care facilities across the country.
The Civil Affairs Ministry said information recorded about these institutions in the network will include internal management, service quality, security management and staff profiles.
The ministry said it has started a training program on how to use the new network. The first set of information will be entered by May 10.
China's aging society is a major social issue. There are currently more than 220 million people over 60 years of age in the country, or 16 percent of the total population, and the numbers are growing.
Authorities have said they will streamline the approval process for elder care institutions to address challenges brought by the aging population.
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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