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2017-09-05 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-09-01 13:14:30    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun

This is Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing. Here is the news.
Chinese President Xi Jinping says China will fully honor its commitment to host "a fantastic, extraordinary and excellent" Winter Olympic Games in 2022.
President Xi made the remarks when meeting with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who was in China to attend the opening ceremony of the Chinese National Games in the northern port city of Tianjin.
The president said the preparations in the lead up to the 2022 Winter Games are going smoothly. He said China will take the opportunity to promote the balanced development of national competitive sports and mass sports, so as to improve the health of all Chinese people.
For his part, Bach said the International Olympic Committee will coordinate with China to make sure the event is a great success.
In a related development, President Xi called on the people to open up new development areas in sports in order to enable the country to become a world sports power as soon as possible.
He made the remarks during his meeting with individuals and groups in the sports field and representatives of China's top athletes.
The quadrennial National Games, billed as China's mini-Olympics, are held from August 27th to Sept. 8.
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A major China-Laos railway project has entered the phase of comprehensive construction in an orderly and effective way.
The announcement was made by the Laos-China Railway Company, at a gathering in Laos to commend the progress achieved so far in the project.
The construction of the railway officially started on Dec. 25, 2016 in the northern part of the country. In March this year, a campaign of 100-day dry season working competition was launched to speed up the construction process.
Since the launching of the competition, construction units of the project have overcome various difficulties to effectively promote the implementation of the project.
In less than six months, site preparation has been completed for the construction of four stations. Foundation has been laid for nine bridge piles, and 86 holes have been dug for the construction of 46 tunnels.
A senior Lao official said the railway is a project of strategic significance which will benefit peoples of the two countries.
He said the project will greatly promote interconnectivity between China and Southeast Asia.
Using Chinese technology, equipment and investment, the China-Laos railway is the first overseas route connecting with the railway system in China.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
U.S. President Donald Trump has said that he hoped the U.S. could have good relations with Russia, which would be "good for world peace".
Trump said at a joint press conference with visiting Finnish President that he hopes the U.S. has good relations with Russia.
Trump's remarks came at a low point of bilateral relations between Washington and Moscow, as the two sides hold differences on a range of issues, including the war in Syria, the conflict in Ukraine, and U.S. accusations that the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, a charge Russia strongly denies.
A few weeks ago, Trump signed into law a sanctions bill on Russia, Iran and North Korea, but he criticized the bill as "seriously flawed".
The new legislation also grants U.S. lawmakers power to block Trump from unilaterally lifting sanctions on Russia.
Russia has said it will not resort to symmetric countermeasures in response to sanctions by the U.S. and will continue to seek dialogue with the U.S. instead.
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The third largest city in the U.S. Chicago saw its metro area unemployment rate decline in July compared to the same period last year.
Preliminary data from the Illinois Department of Employment Security shows that unemployment rates fell to 4.8 percent from 6 percent a year ago, the lowest for July since 2006. The numbers are not adjusted to take into account seasonal fluctuations in hiring.
Meanwhile, in Chicago metro area, it added 23,800 jobs over the year, a growth rate of 0.6 percent, far less than the 1.5 percent national average for July.
Most of the growth was in financial activities, professional and business services, information and leisure-hospitality. Construction and government lost the most jobs in the Chicago metro area.
The unemployment rate measures people who are not working but are looking for work, so it can decline as people give up looking because they are frustrated. The labor force also declines when people stop working to retire, go to school or go on disability.
But the unemployment rate for the state of Illinois is up 0.1 percentage point to 4.8 percent in July. The state revised its June job growth data, indicating Illinois gained 6,400 jobs rather than its original estimate of 8,600.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
China's leadership in tackling climate change has encouraged many countries to address the issue.
A United Nations climate official says they have seen an emerging and growing leadership of China in terms of clean technologies, and different initiatives they have taken nationally in order to accelerate the transformation of the Chinese society.
The officials is on a three-day visit to China, her first to the country as a UN climate official.
She called China "one of the most important leaders" in tackling global climate change, noting that the country has made positive efforts in line with its green development concept, which the UN very much welcomes.
She said China has translated it into actions, which is no doubt a source of inspiration for other countries.
China has made headway in cutting emissions and fighting climate change in recent years. Last year, the country cut its carbon intensity, the measure of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP, by 6.6 percent, surpassing its goal of 3.9 percent.
The government has promised to reduce its carbon intensity by 18 percent, and to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 15 percent, by 2020 from 2016.
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The leaders of France, Germany, Spain and Italy have vowed to strengthen support for African countries in an effort to stem illegal migration.
The leaders have issued a joint statement following a meeting in Paris on migration, in which they were joined by their counterparts from Niger and Chad, along with head of Libya's United Nations-backed government and foreign policy chief of the European Union.
The document said migration is a transnational phenomenon that can not be tackled by a single state, but requires a high level of coordination within Europe and between European and African countries, which requires a long-term response to development.
The European leaders agreed to help African countries, who are the main countries of origin or transit for illegal migrants, to enhance border control and help them combat human trafficking.
The statement underlined the financial effort by the EU, especially under the European Development Fund, to improve situations in the countries of origin, which aims to "address the root causes, prevent departures and improve the capacity to return illegal migrants".
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing. You can access the program on our Apple Podcast. Now the news continues.
Every Monday and Thursday afternoon in Bryant Park, one of most illustrious public spaces in downtown New York City, the clink of intricate tiles and ignited outbursts from drawing an unlucky piece can only mean one tantalizing game: mahjongg.
Mahjongg, originated in China around 150 years ago, is a fascinating, gin rummy-like game played with tiles rather than cards. The game has evolved to become a popular American pastime since it was first introduced to the U.S. in the early 1920s.
The national Mahjongg League has 500,000 members. Linda Fisher is Bryant Park's mahjongg area organizer. The program was created when someone from the park saw Fisher's mahjongg blog in 2013. They contacted her, asking if she would organize a mahjongg area in the park.
This year marks the fourth year of the mahjongg area in Bryant Park. The mahjongg area now runs twice a week. On holidays there are even marathons with all kinds of mahjongg. Anyone can come play and learn.
Mahjongg is a brain game that involves skill and luck. Quick thinking and mental complexity are always present in mahjongg. The game keeps the mind sharp and in good health. It has been found to preserve brain functions and delay memory loss in elderly individuals.
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India's top court has banned the practice of Islamic instant divorce locally called Triple Talaq, after describing it as unconstitutional and "un-Islamic".
Triple Talaq, forms a practice where a Muslim man was authorized to divorce his wife by uttering the word "Talaq", meaning divorce, three times.
The landmark court decision came in response to petitions filled by five Muslim women who had been divorced in this way. Two human rights groups had also petitioned in the apex court seeking an end to the custom.
The verdict was delivered by a constitutional bench comprising of five top judges from different major faiths including Hinduism, Christianity and Islam.
The bench delivered a spilt verdict of 3-2 invalidating the practice as part of the Muslim Personal Law.
Women's rights activists and victims have hailed the court's decision as a historic win.
There have been cases in which Muslim men in India have divorced their wives by issuing the Triple Talaq by letter, telephone and text message on mobile phones, including using apps like WhatsApp and Skype.
The top court began to hear the petitions challenging Triple Talaq in May after clubbing seven petitions challenging the practice.
Muslims religious groups in India oppose the court's decision and view it as the interference in their religion.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
The Chinese government has stepped up a crackdown on state-owned enterprises debt to prevent systemic financial risks infecting the broader economy.
A recent State Council meeting agreed that the work would be a priority in the ongoing campaign to bring down debt levels of these enterprises administered by the central government, amid improving corporate performance.
Central state-owned enterprises have made headway in cutting outdated capacity, reining in debt risks and improving competitiveness. Given the favorable conditions, more effort is needed to cut the debt level of these enterprises and a guideline will be formulated.
Data from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences showed that the leverage ratios of financial institutions and non-financial institutions were 21 percent and 156 percent respectively at the end of 2015. The Economic Information Daily reported earlier that state-owned enterprises were responsible for around 60 percent of China's corporate debt.
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Belarusbank, the largest bank in Belarus, signed a memorandum of understanding with China's UnionPay International on financial service cooperation.
The memorandum is aimed at establishing relations and applying to the services of the UnionPay payment system cardholders in the network of Belarusbank ATMs, retail and service organizations cooperating with the bank in accordance with the acquiring agreements.
UnionPay International is a subsidiary of China UnionPay, focused on the growth and support of UnionPay's global business. In partnership with more than 1,500 institutions worldwide, UnionPay International has enabled card acceptance in 162 countries and regions with issuance in 42 countries and regions.
Belarusbank is actively expanding its cooperation with China's financial institutions in various business areas.
The Bank is also ready to continue the dialogue with China's financial community on cooperation in all areas of banking services.
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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