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2017-10-16 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-10-16 10:08:14    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun

This is Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing. Here is the news.
Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent speech delivered at the opening ceremony of the Interpol General Assembly has been applauded by many overseas experts and scholars.
Speaking at the general assembly in Beijing, President Xi said China hopes to work closely with countries and international organizations on global security, and jointly build universal security for humankind.
In order to beef up global law enforcement and security cooperation, President Xi proposed the need to enhance reform and innovation, uphold the rule of law and seek mutual benefits. The Chinese president also vowed to provide stronger support for Interpol in the next five years to raise its global influence and leadership.
China's proposals of enhancing global law enforcement and security cooperation, as well as its support for Interpol have been applauded by the international community.
A Russian political expert says China has actively participated in global counter-terrorism operations and is committed to strengthening law enforcement cooperation with other countries.
Others say China has rich experience in combating terrorism and organized crime, which can be shared with other countries and organizations.
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China's new weather satellite has been put into operation. The Fengyun-4A satellite is the first of the country's second-generation geostationary orbiting weather satellites.
Tests on the satellite platform, payload and ground application system have been completed during its in-orbit operation.
Scientists say the satellite has helped improve China's weather and climate forecasts, and the results during its in-orbit operation have met targets.
Its successful operation enables China to become a leader in developing geostationary orbiting weather satellites.
The satellite was launched in southwest China last year.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
Chinese researchers say they might have solved the mystery of why the Zika virus causes microcephaly, a birth defect marked by small head size that can lead to severe developmental problems in babies.
A study published in the U.S. journal Science shows that one single genetic change, likely acquired in 2013, gave the mosquito-borne virus the ability to cause severe fetal microcephaly.
The research team in Beijing said their findings offer a reasonable explanation for the unexpected causal link of Zika to microcephaly. It will help understand how Zika evolved from an innocuous mosquito-borne virus into a congenital pathogen with global impact.
Zika was first identified in 1947 in Uganda. It was a little known one that sporadically caused mild infections, until its recent emergence in the Americas.
Then, it rapidly spread through South and Central America in 2015, and due to its link to congenital brain abnormalities, especially microcephaly during pregnancy, the World Health Organization declared in 2016 the current epidemics a public health emergency of international concern.
However, scientists remained unable to determine why the virus evolved into a pathogen triggering severe neurological syndromes.
The study compared contemporary Zika virus strains from the 2015 and 2016 South American epidemics with an ancestral Cambodian virus that was circulating in 2010. It found one critical mutation that conferred the ability to cause microcephaly in mouse models of fetal infection.
This is Special English.
American scientists have found a potential new way to attack Ebola, the deadly virus that ravaged West Africa just two years ago.
A protein called Tim-1 plays a key role in the last stages of Ebola infection; and mice without Tim-1 survived after being exposed to the virus.
It was previously thought that the Ebola virus infects all kinds of cells except T-cells, but the study found that the virus directly interacts with T-cells and specifically the Tim-1 protein.
The Ebola virus is commonly lethal within seven to 10 days. It effectively disables the immune response by a variety of mechanisms after entering the bloodstream. It shuts down dendritic cells, which are the sentinel cells that alert the rest of the immune system to a viral infection. This allows the virus to multiply uncontrollably and infect many organs.
Eventually, cells start dying and exploding, releasing their contents into the bloodstream, and the immune system then launches its entire arsenal of weapons at once, like a storm. While this hurts the virus, it also causes massive collateral damage to its host. The more severe the storm, the more likely it is lethal.
In the study, the researchers focused on studying Tim-1 because it was recently demonstrated to be an attachment factor for the Ebola virus.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
The world's highest road tunnel has opened to traffic in southwest China, 15 years after the project was started.
The tunnel cuts through the Chola Mountain on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It is 7 kilometers long, with auxiliary roads which are more than 5 kilometers long.
In the local Tibetan language, the name of the mountain Chola means that the mountain is so high that eagles cannot fly over it. The Chola Mountain peak is 6,000 meters above sea level and is snow-capped eight months of the year.
The tunnel is located at an altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level. A feasibility study started in 2002, and it took eight years for experts to finalize a plan before construction began in 2012.
The project cost 1.3 billion yuan, roughly 200 million U.S. dollars. The two-way tunnel has a speed limit of 40 kilometers per hour and it takes 10 minutes to pass through.
Previously, in order to travel to the other side of the mountain, people had to drive more than two hours on roads threatened by landslides, blizzards and slippery ice.
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Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, has partnered with Malaysian data technology provider Fusionex to provide end-to-end cloud solutions in Southeast Asian countries.
Fusionex will deploy its big data solutions on Alibaba Cloud's infrastructure, and will also become Alibaba's key go-to-market partner in Southeast Asia.
The two sides will also join forces in driving innovation in Big Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence.
Alibaba Cloud's chief executive officer says Malaysia is a starting point for the partnership, and the company hopes to expand it to more countries in the region.
Fusionex sees tremendous opportunity in the digital market, saying Malaysia will be the hub for the regional digital transformation. The company said they have not set a timeline for the cooperation partnership, and are looking forward to a long term relationship with Alibaba Cloud.
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.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger says the relationship between the United States and China will be the defining relationship for the world of the 21st century, and the two countries should work together to promote peace and human progress.
He made the remarks when addressing the U.S.-China University Presidents and Think Tank Forum held in Columbia University in the United States.
Kissinger said it will be imperative that the two countries work together to create a new type of world order that promotes peace and human progress.
He stressed that conflict between China and the United States will be a disaster for each society and for the world at large.
Kissinger said he has visited China more than 100 times since his first visit 46 years ago, learning something on each trip.
He said that during the years, American and Chinese leaders have managed to know each other and understand each other, people-to-people exchanges between the two countries in the recent past have evolved into an absolute prerequisite for world order.
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Recent online national surveys found that Americans are divided over the national anthem protest by National Football League players.
A survey conducted by the Cato Institute found that 61 percent of Americans opposed to President Donald Trump's idea to fire the National Football League players for not standing during the playing of the national anthem.
However, another survey by the YouGov showed that only 38 percent of Americans supported the kneeling protest.
A verbal war between Trump and National Football League players escalated recently. Trump challenged National Football League owners to fire any player who took a knee during the playing of the national anthem, then received fire back from more than 200 players who kneeled, locked arms or remained in the locker room during the anthem time before the game.
The Cato Institute published the result of the national survey, which is part of the forthcoming national Cato 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey participated in by 2,300 Americans 18 years of age and above.
It showed that 61 percent of Americans opposed firing players who refused to stand for the national anthem played before football games in order to make a political statement, and 38 percent of Americans aligned with Trump and supported firing those players.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
With the help of the Hubble Space Telescope, an international research team has observed an unusual pair of space rocks in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. This binary asteroid is the first known binary asteroid also classified as a comet.
According to the research, the two asteroids, collectively called 288P, orbit each other and show comet-like features, including a bright halo of material, called a coma, and a long tail of dust.
Using the Hubble Space Telescope, a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency, astronomers observed the asteroid pair last year just before it made its closest approach to the sun.
The images of the asteroid 288P revealed that it was actually not a single object, but two asteroids of almost the same mass and size, orbiting each other at a distance of around 100 kilometers. The German-led group concluded that 288P has existed as a binary system for only around 5,000 years.
Scientists say the most probable formation scenario of 288P is a breakup due to fast rotation. After that, the two fragments may have been moved further apart by sublimation torques.
This is Special English.
Chinese scientists say they have completed sequencing the genome of the peony, making bespoke peonies a possibility.
Scientists have recorded 66,000 peony genes, and put together a database on 1,000 varieties of peonies.
Mapping of the genome started in 2014 and the findings will lead to better protection of wild peonies and precision seeding. It will also help expand the use of peonies in cosmetics and other commercial products.
An imperial capital of many dynasties, Luoyang city in central China claims to have the country's best peonies. The peony was a favorite of the royal families for its luxuriant blossoms, which became a symbol of prosperity and wealth. An annual peony festival has been held in the city each year, attracting people from other parts of the country to visit the event.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
American researchers found that a primitive jellyfish sleeps just like humans, challenging the common notion that sleep requires a brain.
Researchers from the United States looked at the behavior of a primitive jellyfish and found that they show reduced activity, slower responses and need for sleep when deprived of sleep.
The study proved that a brain is not necessary for sleep. The jellyfish lives upside down on the sea floor and has no central nervous system.
The findings also indicated that sleep is an ancient behavior that stayed unchanged after years of evolution, since the jellyfish is very low on the animal family tree.
The study was published in Current Biology, and is co-authored by three Ph.D candidates in biology at the California Institute of Technology.
This is Special English.
Chinese archaeologists are in Kenya on a 2-month expedition to trace the origins of modern humans.
East Africa is universally acknowledged as the birthplace of humanity and has been a hotspot for the study of human evolution since the 1950s.
The team will work with the National Museum of Kenya to excavate an area in Rift Valley Province, 300 kilometers from the capital city Nairobi. They will work on a site discovered in 2016 and investigate the remains of ancient people.
Professional archaeologists from China are authorized to name any human fossils and related items they discover. Preliminary investigations earlier this year saw the discovery of 40 stone tools believed to be from a culture some 200,000 to 300,000 years ago.
To find out whether this culture had any relation to the origin of modern Chinese is one of the objectives of the excavation in Kenya. The researchers say a comparative study of Chinese and African prehistoric humans is essential for the study of the 100,000-year-old human remains found earlier in China.
The study was published in "Science" magazine in March. It believes that the ancient human in central China was likely a hybrid of the indigenous population and Europeans.
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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