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2017-05-01 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-04-28 11:20:09    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun









This is Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing. Here is the news.
More than 3,100 government officials have been held to account for the poor implementation of pollution control measures. Environmental problems have been uncovered in all seven provincial level regions included in the environmental inspections by the central authorities.
Inspectors have conducted their month-long reviews in Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing municipalities as well as in other provinces since late November. The performance audits exposed more than 15,000 violations.
The inspection reports featured the complaint that governments have not focused enough attention on the environment. The failure has resulted in worsening air and water quality in some areas.
In one case, Gansu province in northwest China made plans to control air pollution, but inspectors found that it had not fully implemented the measures. The province has failed to meet its air pollution reduction targets for 2014 and 2015.
Inspectors also found a lack of assessment in Beijing, where seven districts failed to meet targets for 2014. The municipality did not release information or punish the officials responsible.
This is Special English.
China's manned submarine Jiaolong has gone through a dive simulation in Hainan Province to prepare for a deep descent in the South China Sea.
The submarine stayed underwater for 18 minutes in the drill before returning to its support ship. The crew completed tasks including underwater training, practical operation and emergency escape.
The ship's forthcoming South China Sea dive is part of the second stage of China's 38th ocean scientific expedition. The expedition will last for around four months.
Officials say the drill was necessary to test the equipment and personnel. Currently the Jiaolong's "technological status" is stable and the cooperation among various departments is smooth.
The submarine completed a deep-sea operation in the northwestern Indian Ocean earlier this year. It will also conduct surveys in the Yap Trench and the Mariana Trench.
Named after a mythical dragon, the Jiaolong reached its deepest depth of 7,062 meters in the Mariana Trench in June 2012.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
China has begun a series of changes to the rules regarding permanent residence for foreign nationals in the country.
A plan has been issued by the Ministry of Public Security. The "foreigner's permanent residence card" will be renamed as the "foreigner's permanent residence identity card".
Similar to the identity cards used by Chinese citizens, foreigners' identity information will be embedded in the chips on the machine-readable cards. The information will be shared by railways, airlines, insurance agencies, hotels and banks.
The old version cannot be read by machines, and foreigners often face difficulty in identity authentication. The reform aims to provide foreigners with easier access to public services.
The new card can be obtained at the original registration authority, while the old version can still be used until the expiry date. Related technical work is expected to be finished by June, and then foreigners can apply for the new cards.
Last year, 1,600 foreign nationals became permanent residents of China, an increase of 160 percent over the previous year.
This is Special English.
China is aiming to increase the scale of its cloud computing industry by more than 2.5 times from 2015 levels by 2019.
According to a new government plan, the scale of the cloud computing industry will be expanded to 430 billion yuan, roughly 62 billion U.S. dollars, by 2019. The action plan was issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Other targets include making breakthroughs in core technology, increasing cloud computing in manufacturing and government affairs, and strengthening the global influence of Chinese cloud computing companies.
The ministry expects that two to three Chinese cloud computing companies will lead the global market within three years. It says cloud computing should be a strong support for China's manufacturing and Internet industries and help other social and economic sectors.
The ministry pledged to enhance cloud computing network security and improve security regulation and relevant laws, as many users from key industries are still hesitating due to safety concerns.
In the next three years, China will help boost cloud computing technology and encourage local governments to work with leading cloud computing companies to build public service platforms.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
Chinese search engine Baidu has succeeded in using artificial intelligence to reconnect a man with his family 27 years after he was abducted.
The company is working with a charity group dedicated to connecting missing children and their families. Baidu uses its cross-age facial recognition program to analyze pictures of abducted children and identifies potential matches through the comparison of selected facial features. The missing children's pictures were uploaded by the victims and their birth families.
Thirty-three-year-old victim Fu Gui was born in Chongqing Municipality in western China. He was abducted in 1990 and later transferred to Fujian Province in southeastern China. He registered in 2009, and his birth family did the same in early 2017.
Baidu's facial recognition program was able to draw up a short list of potential identities for the man from pictures uploaded to the site, and a DNA test later verified the correct match.
Baidu has around 200 million sample pictures that it uses to improve the sensitivity and accuracy of its facial recognition program, which can be over 99 percent accurate.
Baidu's founder and CEO Robin Li says artificial intelligence systems, including facial recognition, could be used to help find missing children. The company has suggested that there should be a central database with missing children's information installed.
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.
Psychologists at the University of Manchester in Britain have revealed that they have come up with a new way of helping people overcome their fear of spiders.
Dr. Warren Mansell says rather than encouraging arachnophobias to face their spider fears, which is the current approach of many therapists, giving people control over how much they approach or avoid what they are afraid of is more likely to help.
Mansell based his findings on a theory known as Perceptual Control Theory. The study was published in Journal of Anxiety Disorders.
People with a fear of spiders sat in front of a screen and they themselves were able to control how close or distant the spider would appear.
He said Perceptual Control Theory predicts that it is vital for a client to have control over their experience of important elements of the environment including the sources of threat. He said control itself is pivotal for health and well-being.
The team recruited a large sample of people with high levels of spider fear and asked them to list their reasons for avoiding spiders but also their reasons for approaching spiders.
After completing a simple task, people reported avoiding spiders less in their everyday lives two weeks later, despite their fear, and without any prompting to do so.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
A new study suggests that when Coffea arabica plants were subjected to even short-duration heat waves, they became unable to produce flowers and fruit. This means there would be no coffee beans and no coffee to drink.
Researchers from the United States investigated how leaf age and heat duration affected Coffea arabica's recovery from heat stress during greenhouse testing.
The study found that the younger "expanding" leaves were particularly slow to recover compared to mature leaves, and that none of the plants that endured the simulated heat waves produced any flowers or fruit.
Coffea arabica is the dominant coffee-plant species on the globe. It grows in 80 countries in four continents in the tropics, accounting for 65 percent of the commercial production of the 9 billion kilograms of coffee consumed globally each year.
The findings emphasized how sensitive Coffea arabica is to temperature. The leaf temperature is higher than the surrounding air temperature, which is a realistic result of global climate change.
This is Special English.
A British researcher says governments worldwide should invest in global approaches to learn how carbon capture and storage works, which is a realistic way of reducing carbon emissions. That's according to a commentary published online recently by the journal Nature Energy.
David Reiner from the University of Cambridge, author of the commentary, said that like many new technologies, it is only possible to learn what works and what doesn't by building and testing demonstration projects at scale. He argues that by giving up on carbon capture and storage instead of working together to develop a global "portfolio" of projects, countries are turning their backs on a key part of a low-carbon future.
Reiner says carbon capture and storage works by separating the carbon dioxide emitted by coal and gas power plants, transporting it and then storing it underground so that the carbon dioxide cannot escape into the atmosphere.
However, the technologies have fallen out of favor with private and public sector funders in recent years. Corporations and governments worldwide, including most recently the UK, are abandoning the same technology they championed just a few years ago.
The researcher says there are several reasons why carbon capture and storage seems to have fallen out of favor with both private and public sector funders, including costs, commercial pressure and timescales, as well as a lack of international cooperation.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
A special edition of the "Ukraine-China" magazine has been launched to mark the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Ukraine.
The magazine features celebration remarks by the leaders of the two countries, as well as expert opinions on the historical path and the current state of China-Ukraine friendly relations.
The publications highlight topics including the strategic partnership between China and Ukraine, interregional cooperation, trade and economic relations, as well as collaboration in science and education.
The "Ukraine-China" magazine was first published in 1999 by the Kiev-based Institute of Oriental Studies. It was previously issued on an irregular basis, and became a periodical this year.
This is Special English.
An exhibition featuring conventional craftsmanship in Anhui Province has opened to the public at Beijing's Palace Museum.
The exhibition showcases 85 works by 20 successors of national intangible cultural heritage from the eastern Chinese Province. The items on display include ink stones, ink and brush pens, lacquer ware and bamboo carvings.
In ancient times, most calligraphy supplies used by Chinese emperors came from Huangshan city in the province. The Palace Museum and the city government launched a workshop last year, aiming to promote the craftsmanship and tourism development in the city.
Mount Huangshan is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site. It is known for its elegant architecture and high-quality green and black tea.
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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