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2017-04-24 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-04-21 14:05:24    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun

This is Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing. Here is the news.
Beijing has put a new medical care reform plan into effect, bringing an end to medicine price markups.
More than 3,600 medical institutions are involved in the reform and all of them have abolished the medicine price markups. That's according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Health and Family Planning.
It is estimated that the cost of treatment per outpatient will be reduced by around 5 percent on average thanks to cuts in medicine prices. There will be an average cost increase of 2.5 percent for inpatient treatment due to the growth of certain service charges.
Community hospitals and medical institutions have been given the same access to the medicines usually prescribed in higher-level hospitals, so that patients can have more choices.
Marking up medicine prices is a practice that has been adopted by most public hospitals in China since the 1950s. It allows hospitals to sell drugs with markups usually at a rate of 15 percent above the drugs' tag prices.
The reform aims to effectively motivate medical staff to pay more attention to the medical service they are providing, and further improve the doctor-patient relationship.
This is Special English.
China has launched its largest operation to control air pollution in the northern regions. The operation has sent more than 5,600 inspectors to push the areas to meet ambitious pollution reduction targets.
Unlike the nationwide inspections conducted last year, the yearlong, intensified inspection is being led by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
The inspectors will keep a spotlight on governments and companies in 28 major cities which are susceptible to heavy smog.
Inspectors will check important areas including governments' implementation of air pollution control efforts. They will also shut down small plants with high emissions.
Through the inspection, the ministry will push the governments and companies to fully implement measures to tackle air pollution.
The ministry will closely watch the regions with pollution problems and stick with them until all the pollution issues are resolved.
During a separate inspection, officials checked 450 companies and government departments. The inspection team found 280 violations, including companies that falsified monitoring data or discharged excessive pollutants.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
A recent cooperation deal between China and Kenya has become an important step for China's nuclear power technology to go global.
The China General Nuclear Power Corporation announced recently that the company has signed a nuclear power training cooperation framework agreement with the Kenya Nuclear Electricity Board.
Under the deal, China's Hualong One reactor is expected to be applied in Africa.
The 1,000-megawatt water reactor was developed by the China General Nuclear Power Corporation and the China National Nuclear Corporation. It has reached the highest international safety standards to prevent leakage of radioactive materials and resist earthquakes.
The China General Nuclear Power Corporation has formed a joint venture with Electricite de France SA to develop the Bradwell nuclear power plant in the UK, as well as to fund and design the reactor.
The British government started an assessment of the reactor design in January. The process is expected to take around five years.
Observers say there is a high possibility that the reactor design will pass the UK's approval process.
This is Special English.
Chinese scientists have extracted a medicinal compound from a natural herb called thunder god vine, which targets cell metabolism and could help tackle obesity.
Celastrol, extracted from thunder god vine, and artemisinin, developed from sweet wormwood, are among five herbal compounds believed to have the most potential to treat illnesses where no cure has been discovered, including cancer.
The discovery of artemisinin won Chinese scientist Tu Youyou a Nobel Prize in 2015.
The research team was led by Zhang Xiaokun, professor with the College of Medicine at Xiamen University. It found that celastrol from the thunder god vine can alleviate inflammation.
The team carried out the research on mice. The study found that celastrol could effectively control weight increases in mice feeding on high fat food.
The research paper was published in science journal Molecular Cell on April 6.
Scientists will continue to study how celastrol regulates metabolism to explore new drugs, with low toxicity and high efficiency, to help people lose weight.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences has earmarked 10 million yuan, roughly 1.4 million U.S. dollars, for the research and development of an advanced artificial intelligence processor.
The deep learning processor chip, the "Cambrian", is expected to become the world's first processor that simulates human nerve cells to conduct deep learning.
The program is named after the Cambrian Period, which marked a rapid diversification of life forms on earth. Scientists expect that the processor will spearhead a new era in artificial intelligence.
The investment will be used in basic research areas to explore the structure and algorithm for the next generation of artificial intelligence. The project also aims to lay a foundation for China's ambition in the global chip market.
The funds will also be used to promote and publicize the research.
Google's artificial intelligence program AlphaGo needs huge power and large servers to operate. The Cambrian aims to perform at the same level but using only one watt of power. The processor will have the size of a smartphone or a watch.
This is Special English.
Industry insiders say the planned Xiong-an New Area in Hebei province is expected to bring tourism opportunities to a large wetland area and to the province as a whole.
China announced a decision to set up the new area to boost coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province.
Over the following three days, during the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday, the Baiyangdian Lake tourist area received 18,000 visitors. Tourism income reached 16 million yuan, roughly 2.4 million US dollars. Both figures represented a 260 percent increase compared with last year.
The lake is one of North China's largest freshwater wetlands. It is located in Anxin County, which is part of the new area.
An online travel service provider said the new area has the basic infrastructure for attracting tourists. It has adequate tourism resources and easy transport. The plan of the new area has attracted the attention of people from across the country to go for a visit.
Bookings on the website during the holiday tripled that of last year. Tourists mainly came from neighboring Beijing and Shandong province. There are also people from farther afield, including Shanghai and Guangdong Province.
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.
A woman from the Philippines has become the first person to receive a residence permit designed for foreigners providing housekeeping service in Shanghai.
The event occurred in Shanghai's Pudong district, which houses more than 300 Fortune 500 companies and is home to the Pilot Free Trade Zone in the country.
Liu Chen is a Chinese American and president of the Shanghai Affinity Biopharmaceutical Company. Liu applied for the one-year residence permit on March 14 for the housemaid he hired. Two weeks later, she obtained the permit.
More than 20 foreign housemaids have received their residence permits in Shanghai. Liu's was the only case that has been made public.
The permission for foreign housemaids is one of the measures Shanghai has unveiled since July 2015 to attract talented foreigners as the city tries to build itself into a global technological innovation hub by 2030.
This is Special English.
Education experts say Children should have more opportunities to participate in study tours or other outdoor activities only if their safety is guaranteed.
In developed countries, including the United States and Japan, study tours such as summer camps are key activities and are always the source of unforgettable memories. That's according to Sun Yunxiao, chief expert of the China Youth and Children Research Center.
Sun says that in China, young people are having less opportunity to enjoy such activities because schools and parents are cutting down on them for security concerns.
In recent years, accidents in which children were killed or injured while participating in school outdoor activities have been reported by the media. The events raised concerns among parents.
A vice chairman of the Chinese Society of Education said a test-oriented education is also part of the reason for the shrinking number of study tours.
Another expert says student workloads are heavy, leaving them little time for traveling.
In December, 11 ministries in China jointly released a guideline, stating that study tours will become part of the curriculum system in primary and middle schools nationwide.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
A new system is being introduced in southern China's Guangdong that gives parents and students more of a say over the designs of school uniforms.
The move was put forward in a document jointly published by the province's education department, the industry and commerce administration, as well as the quality and technology administration.
Manufacturers will be invited to showcase their wares in schools, but the final decision on which uniform should be adopted will be decided by a poll.
Students and parents can also offer suggestions on how manufacturers can further improve their designs and the materials used for the uniforms.
The price, design and materials used in school uniforms are decided by local education departments alone. The new plan allows different schools to have different styles of uniform.
This is Special English.
Macao has officially started its application for a member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as a City of Gastronomy.
Macao has officially applied to become one of the most popular choices for food and restaurants, which will add another reputation to the city.
Macao's Tourism Office listed the application as one of four major goals in 2017. It even set up a special committee in charge of the issue.
Officials say that if Macao is successfully designated as a UNESCO gastronomy city, it will add a significant international brand for Macao with far-reaching significance. It will also serve as a powerful impetus to the sustainable development of Macao's economy.
Macao held an "International Gastronomy Forum" in November as a warm-up before it officially applies for the branding.
This is Special English.
Spanning 1,100 meters across a river in southwest China's Sichuan Province, a main cable backstay bridge has been successfully installed. The bridge, on the Luding River, is part of an expressway linking two cities in the province.
This is the first suspension bridge in the province that has been built in a highly active seismic zone with complicated wind field and a large span. Around 34,000 steel cables will be used in the construction. The total length will reach 60,000 kilometers if all the cables are laid together in a single line, which is equivalent to 1.5 times of the circumference of the earth.
The bridge has dual carriage way with four lanes of traffic in each direction, allowing vehicles to travel at 80 kilometers per hour.
A drone was also used during the construction of the bridge.
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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