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2017-10-09 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-09-30 13:13:32    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun









This is Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing. Here is the news.
China hopes Singapore will support Chinese enterprises which wish to participate in the Singapore-Malaysia high-speed railway project.
Premier Li Keqiang said China has cutting-edge, safe and reliable, cost-effective high-speed railway technology. He made the remarks recently in his talks with visiting Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to build a 360-kilometer high-speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, which is expected to start operation by December 2026 and cut travel time to around 90 minutes.
The Singaporean Prime Minister said his country welcomes Chinese businesses to the project.
Both sides will work for progress in negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and upgrading the bilateral Free Trade Agreement.
China looks to new development in three inter-governmental projects: Suzhou Industrial Park, the Tianjin Eco-City and the Chongqing Connectivity Initiative.
Premier Li said China supports more exchanges in culture, social governance, defense, law enforcement and security.
China is the largest trading partner for Singapore while Singapore is the largest source of foreign investment for China.
He said China is willing to synergize the Belt and Road Initiative with Singapore's development strategy to improve trade and investment cooperation, proposing more partnership in finance, science and technology and innovation.
This is Special English.
China's real estate bubble is deflating as home prices in top tier cities are cooling.
Analysts say the turning point for first-tier and major second-tier cities has emerged, given the pace of new home price growth slowed in 15 major cities compared with the same month last year.
Experts say that it is an overall decline for the first time in three years. Home prices in 15 major cities declined by 1.3 percent to 6.6 percent year on year in August.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics provided fresh evidence that China's property market boom is running out of steam as the government continues cooling measures to squeeze asset bubbles.
In first-tier and major second-tier cities the real estate market continued to stabilize in August, driven by targeted regulation policies.
Since the end of last year, dozens of local governments have passed or expanded their restrictions on house purchases and increased the minimum down payment required for a mortgage as rocketing housing prices, especially in major cities, had fueled concerns about asset bubbles.
The market was also cooled by relatively tightened liquidity conditions as the government moved to contain leverage and risk in the financial system.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
China had moved a step towards helping singles find a relationship, with the issuance of a guideline governing dating websites.
Government bodies will coordinate to promote real-name registrations and authentication on dating sites and crack down on marital fraud and other crimes related to matchmaking services.
That's according to the guideline issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League of China, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and the National Health and Family Planning Commission.
The number of singles in the country remains large, while available online dating platforms come with doubts about authenticity.
The document has vowed to promote trustworthy matchmaking services that will meet the diversified needs of young adults by mobilizing nongovernmental bodies and social forces. It says there should be more channels for people to voice their needs and comment" in matchmaking services.
With 200 million unmarried people in the country, the Chinese government has kept marriage on its agenda. The guideline was drafted to help carried out the Middle and Long-Term Youth Development Plan for the period between 2016 and 2025.
Published in April, it was the first 10-year development plan for youth, defined in the plan as those aged from 14 to 35. Marriage is one of the 10 categories it covers.
This is Special English.
The Agricultural Bank of China recently installed two ATM machines that use facial recognition software to initiate cash withdrawals in Guiyang city in southwest China.
Additional ATMs employing facial recognition technology are planned to be installed throughout the city by the end of the year.
As a safety protocol, the bank has set a maximum daily withdrawal amount of 3,000 yuan, roughly 460 US dollars, at the facial recognition ATMs.
The Agricultural Bank of China has already installed facial scanners at 37 of its bank counters across China. Similar scanners have also been implemented in Merchants Bank ATMs in 106 cities across the country.
Facial recognition technology is rapidly becoming widespread, being used for just about everything from shopping, withdrawing money even to getting toilet paper.
China has taken a leading role in facial recognition technology, and the application of this technology has become a magnet for entrepreneurs in the country.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
"Toys R Us", the world's leading retailer dedicated to toy and baby products, has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to a debt load and severe competition from online retailers.
"Toys R Us" intends to use these court-supervised proceedings to restructure its outstanding debt and establish a sustainable capital structure that will enable it to invest in long-term growth and fuel its aspirations to bring play to kids everywhere and be a best friend to parents.
Dave Brandon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said in a release regarding the filing that it marks the dawn of a new era at Toys 'R' Us where they expect that the financial constraints that have held them back will be addressed in a lasting and effective way.
"Toys R Us" has around five billion U.S. dollars of long-term debt on its balance sheet. Restructuring that debt will give the company the financial flexibility to invest and strengthen its competitive position in an increasingly challenging and rapidly changing retail marketplace worldwide.
"Toys R Us", the Wayne New Jersey-based toy retailer, has 1,600 "Toys R Us" and "Babies R Us" stores around the world, which are continuing to operate as usual.
The company's operations outside of the U.S. and Canada are not part of protections proceedings.
This is Special English.
Beijing has required shared bikes to be updated or scrapped from service after they have been in use for three years as the city introduces more rules to regulate the two-wheelers.
The Beijing Municipal Committee of Transport said on its official Weibo account that two separate rules on technical requirements for shared bikes as well as their parking have been rolled out following the publication of a general guideline issued last week.
According to the new rules, each new shared bike should be tested and proved qualified before being rolled out of the factory. Shared bikes that have been put into use should be rechecked annually and unqualified bikes should be recalled.
Shared bikes need to be installed with GPS with an accuracy error of less than 15 meters and a smart lock, while information on a bike's location, in-use time and locking status needs to be streamed to the company's database.
Each bike should have a clear, permanent steel seal, including a unique code number. All new shared bikes need to pass a quality test and will have a three-year lifecycle.
Companies that provide shared bikes need to facilitate parking by providing a digital map to users depicting where parking is allowed or forbidden.
They also need to maintain real-time monitoring on bike use and report the data to government platforms for supervision.
With Beijing's 15 bike-sharing companies together operating 2.4 million bikes across the city, new additions have been banned.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing. You can access the program on our Apple Podcast. Now the news continues.
A Chinese poetry recitation event has been held in Yokohama, Japan to mark the 45th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan diplomatic relations.
Scholars including Atsuo Ueda, a professor from Obirin University, recited in Mandarin Chinese poems about the long-term history of communication and exchanges between China and Japan, including works by Lu Xun, a leading figure of modern Chinese literature who used to study in a medical school in Japan.
Ueda said that the Japanese culture has been largely influenced by Chinese culture. He said cultural exchanges are vitally important to Japan's future and will provide necessary foundation for further deepening exchanges between the peoples of China and Japan.
A vice chairman of the Japan-China Friendship Association of Kanagawa Prefecture said the bumpy bilateral relationship needs more efforts from peoples of both countries.
He said they will continue to make efforts to enhance friendship between the two countries through hosting communication activities such as this recitation.
As well as the event, a photo exhibition has also been held, showing hundreds of photos featuring historical figures and exchange activities between China and Japan.
The two events are sponsored by the Japan-China Friendship Association of Kanagawa Prefecture.
This is Special English.
An old industrial neighborhood once full of factories and manufacturing shops in central Istanbul has been transformed into an entertainment spot.
The Bomonti neighborhood adjacent to the iconic Taksim Square is now renowned for its street attractions, festivals, concerts and other performances.
A brand new street festival was initiated in the neighborhood, the last in line to consolidate Bomonti's reputation as one boasting a rich street culture, in which live performances by street musicians and dancers and a wide variety of food specialties are available.
For children, several activities have been designed in particular for them as well.
The festival will continue all night with open-air concerts by two well-known Turkish music bands and the screening of two films.
An organizer of the festival expected the two-day event to attract over 10,000 visitors.
The old beer factory in the neighborhood, among others, was transformed into an entertainment island several years ago, which has helped Bomonti to replace Taksim as a popular spot for nightlife.
The complex known as "Bomontiada" has well-known high-end restaurants, bars, coffeehouses, open-air concert areas as well as Istanbul's most prestigious live music venue, Babylon.
A local resident says both the street life and nightlife in the hood are becoming more and more colorful each day with the contribution of attractions like this street festival.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
When children believe they can succeed in math and reading, it increases their chances later to achieve high test scores in those subjects.
Researchers used two U.S. data sets, one being a nationally represented study and one U.K. data set to measure self-concept and standardized assessments of early and later academic achievement. The data involved 14,000 British children and 1,600 American children aged five to 18.
Allowing for the children's earlier achievement and their characteristics and backgrounds, including birth weight, ethnicity, gender, age and their mother's education, the researchers found that children's self-concept of their ability in math predicted later mathmatical achievement, while their self-concept of their ability in reading predicted later reading achievement.
The finding suggests that the links between self-concept of ability and later achievement are specific to domains; that is, there is a link from students' self-concept about reading to reading achievement, and from students' self-concept about math to mathmatical achievement.
Self-concept is how students perceive their capabilities to succeed in academic tasks.
The study also showed that success was not limited to students who perform at the top levels. It extends to students with different levels of achievement in math and reading.
The study found that even the lowest-performing students who had a more positive view of their math and reading abilities had higher levels of achievement in math and reading.
This is Special English.
A Swiss research team has deciphered the entire visual network of a fruit fly's brain, which, in time, could help reconstruct the information flows in human brains.
Scientists have succeeded in deciphering the entire visual network of the brain of a fruit fly larva, that consists of 130 cells, or around six percent of the entire larval brain.
With some 2,000 cells, the brain of the fruit fly larvae is much smaller than that of an adult drosophila which has 150,000, let alone the human brain with an estimated 80 billion cells.
However, these flies are just suitable for basic brain research due to its greatly simplified nervous system and short generation time. The research team said that their next phase will be to investigate how this network influences behavior and which cells perceive how and what, for example light or heat.
The long-term goal behind the precise mapping of such nerve-cell networks with their connections is to be able to one day reconstruct the information flows in the fruit fly brain and, ultimately, its human counterpart.
The scientists said they still didn't know enough about how a brain works, and  "only once the normal functions of this organ have been deciphered can they try to understand what goes wrong with diseases.
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 Mark Griffiths in Beijing, and I hope you can join us every day, to learn English and learn about the world.

 
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