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2017-04-25 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-04-21 14:06:31    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun









This is Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing. Here is the news.
Chinese central authorities have released a detailed 10-year youth development plan, vowing better education, employment and healthcare for the nation's youth.
"Youth" in the context of the plan released by the Communist Party of China's Central Committee and the State Council refers to those aged from 14 to 35.
The Middle-and Long-term Youth Development Plan covers the period between 2016 and 2025. It sets a general goal for establishing a "youth development policy system and work mechanism" by 2020 and improving the system by 2025.
Specifically, the plan sets educational goals of an average 14 years of education for the newly added labor force and a gross higher education enrollment rate of over 50 percent within 10 years. It aims for 90 percent of the groups to meet physical standards and give them more accesses to mental and physical care.
Authorities will strengthen educational campaigns targeting different ages within the group to champion patriotism and socialism with Chinese characteristics, making the "Chinese dream" a common goal for them.
This is Special English.
The preparatory committee of the Xiong'an New Area in north China's Hebei Province has said to control illegal land and housing purchase as well as construction.
China has announced to establish the Xiong'an New Area, a landmark new economic zone near Beijing designed to integrate the capital with its surrounding areas.
The announcement attracted investors to swarm into the area, and drove up housing prices.
The committee warned all forms of illegal trade of properties are not protected by law, and vowed to crack down on illegal construction and trading of second-hand houses.
The committee said it will strictly implement the central authorities' guidelines that say "homes are for living in, not for speculating with".
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
China's top quality watchdog said more than 40 percent of consumer goods exported to China last year through e-commerce platforms fell short of standards.
Last year, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine conducted random quality inspections on 1,000 batches of the products. The items were consumer goods including toys, diapers, clothing and kitchenware. Four hundred items were found to be substandard, accounting for 41 percent of all sampled products.
In addition to meeting quality standards, imported products must be correctly labeled in Chinese.
The quality of consumer goods imported through the channels other than e-commerce proved to be higher, with only 29 percent falling short of standards.
The authority organized two large-scale inspections last year, involving more than 5,300 batches of imported consumer goods, including air purifiers, car brake blocks, household electrical appliances and clothes. More than 1,500 were found to be substandard.
Last year, quality supervision authorities across China handled 36,000 cases relating to violations of laws on quality standards, involving 2 billion yuan's, roughly 330 million U.S. dollars' worth of goods.
Quality supervision authorities at all levels have been urged to intensify quality supervision and keep cracking down on law violations to improve the quality of products and protect consumer rights.
This is Special English.
China has started the construction of one of the world's largest and most sensitive cosmic-ray facilities.
The Large High Altitude Air Shower Observatory will attempt to search for the origin of high energy cosmic rays. It aims to study the evolution of the universe and high energy celestial bodies, as well as to push forward the frontier of new physics.
The observatory is located at 4,400 meters above sea level in an mountainous area in Southwest China's Sichuan province. The total investment is 1.2 billion yuan, roughly 180 million U.S. dollars.
The construction of the project is set for completion in January 2021. It will be a key frontier project for cosmic ray research in the world.
Cosmic rays are particles that originate in outer space and are accelerated to energies higher than those that can be achieved in even the largest man-made particle accelerators. The origin of the cosmic rays has remained a mystery since they were first spotted some 100 years ago.
The observatory will be mankind's first attempt to hunt for the highest-energy Gamma ray, which is the burst of radiation thought to be produced alongside cosmic rays in the Galaxy.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
The United Nations' intellectual property agency says China is showing "quite extraordinary" growth in international patent applications, putting Chinese applicants on track to outpace their U.S. counterparts within two to three years.
Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization, says China posted nearly 45-percent growth in such patent applications last year, saying "the country continues its journey from "Made in China" to "Created in China".
Overall, the United States was first for the 39th straight year and accounted for nearly 56,600 applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty, followed by Japan at over 45,200 and China at nearly 43,200.
China's state-owned ZTE Corporation in Shenzhen, one of the world's biggest suppliers of network switching gear, was the No. 1 applicant last year, topping crosstown rival Huawei. U.S.-based Qualcomm.
This is Special English.
In Shaanxi province in southwest China, a farmer's rent-a-chicken business has helped hundreds of rural families cast off poverty. Zhang Chunpu's program is a free loan of chickens to farmers who then make money by selling the free-range eggs back to Zhang's cooperative businesses.
Over the past decade, rent-a-chicken has helped more than 800 households in Yanchang County, who previously survived on an annual per capita income of less than 2,300 yuan, roughly 335 U.S. dollars.
The idea came to Zhang by accident. In 2003, he saw profits from selling healthy eggs and acquired 6,000 chickens.
It wasn't always easy. Zhang recalled the time that the chickens nearly ate up all the grass on the nearby mountain, as well as fought with each other and didn't lay eggs. He was nearly bankrupt, but he couldn't see the birds starve to death. He started giving the birds to the villagers.
The birds he rents to farmers roam free in yards and on hillsides, eating pumpkins, cabbage and worms.
Zhang's cooperative earns 0.1 yuan from each egg, while farmers can earn 0.15 yuan. However, the real profit comes from the chickens.
Each farmer earns about 100 yuan per year per chicken, enabling them to get away from poverty.
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.
A group of Swedish university students who raised 1.2 million euros, roughly 1.3 million U.S. dollars, in crowd funding for their startup to build electric cars has caught the attention of German industrial heavyweight Siemens.
The two sides said they were starting a partnership that will see them create 50,000 lightweight city cars annually starting next year.
The twin-seat vehicles, called L7e, have 15 kilowatt engines with a maximum speed of 130 kilometers per hour. They weigh 400 kilograms each and have a 150 kilometer range.
The cars are made from sustainable composite materials and will be unveiled in late 2017. The first deliveries are scheduled for early 2019. The first high-end vehicle has a target price of 200,000 kronor, roughly 22,300 U.S. dollars. The price for an electric Smart Car in Sweden is at least 210,000 kronor, roughly 23,400 U.S. dollars.
The vehicle's steering system resembles a Wii controller more than a traditional car's steering wheel.
Lewis Horne, the CEO of the startup, called Uniti Sweden, says the deal gives his company "the opportunity to not only develop a sustainable car, but also manufacture it in a sustainable way at a large scale."
This is Special English. 
Matt Garlock has trouble making out what his friends say in loud bars, but when he got a hearing test, the result was normal. Recent research may have found an explanation for problems like his, something called "hidden hearing loss".
Scientists have been finding evidence that loud noise, from rock concerts, leaf blowers, power tools and the like, damages our hearing in a previously unexpected way. It may not be immediately noticeable, and it does not show in standard hearing tests.
But over time, Harvard researcher M. Charles Liberman says, it can rob our ability to understand conversation in a noisy setting. It may also help explain why people have more trouble doing that as they age. And it may lead to persistent ringing in the ears.
Liberman says the bottom line is "noise is more dangerous than we thought."
His work has been done almost exclusively in animals. Nobody knows how much it explains hearing loss in people or how widespread it may be in the population. But he and others are already working on potential treatments.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
The Gulf of Oman turns green twice a year, when an algae bloom the size of Mexico spreads across the Arabian Sea all the way to India.
Scientists who study the algae say the microscopic organisms are thriving in new conditions brought about by climate change, and displacing the zooplankton that underpin the local food chain, threatening the entire marine ecosystem.
A marine biologist at the Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, wrinkles his nose as the research vessel nears the bloom. He says "Sea stench", referring to the algae's ammonia secretions.
He signals the boat to stop as it speeds up beneath a gigantic rock arch off the coast of Muscat, the capital of Oman, an arid sultanate on the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. The captain kills the engine and drops anchor into a slick of bright green muck surrounded by crystal-clear blue water.
The swarms of microscopic creatures beneath the surface of the Gulf of Oman were all but invisible 30 years ago. Now they form giant, murky shapes that can be seen from satellites.
Across the planet, blooms have wrecked local ecosystems. Algae can paralyze fish, clog their gills, and absorb enough oxygen to suffocate them. Whales, turtles, dolphins and manatees have died, poisoned by algal toxins, in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. These toxins have infiltrated whole marine food chains and have, in rare cases, killed people.
This is Special English.
China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will build more kindergartens and hire more bilingual teachers to improve its three-year bilingual pre-school education.
A total of 4,400 bilingual kindergartens will be built or expanded in 2017 across the region. And 10,000 bilingual teachers will be hired this year, 6,500 more compared with previous years.
The education department announced that Xinjiang will also provide more training courses for bilingual teachers and encourage more college graduates to work as bilingual teachers.
From 2011 to 2015, Xinjiang built 2,500 new bilingual kindergartens in rural areas, bringing the region's pre-school education penetration rate to 77 percent, or 480,000 pre-schoolers.
With funds from the central government, Xinjiang plans to offer three years of bilingual pre-school education, instead of the current two years, in its rural areas in the next four years.
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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