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2017-10-23 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-10-23 10:24:37    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun

This is Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing. Here is the news.
China's Ministry of Science and Technology has released a report indicating a rapid increase in scientific and technological innovation.
The report said the number of full-time equivalent research and development personnel in Chinese higher education institutions reached 355,000 by 2015, an increase of 47 percent from 2006.
Research and development funds provided by colleges and universities stood at close to 100 billion yuan, roughly 15 billion U.S. dollars, in 2015, almost 3 times more than in 2006.
In 2015, colleges and universities obtained more than 35 billion yuan in research funds from enterprises and public institutions.
Colleges and universities licensed 136,000 patents, including 57,000 invention patents in 2015, 8 times more than in 2006.
The report showed 570 out of 1,760 colleges and universities have established specialized institutions for transferring technological achievements.
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China plans to build up more vocational schools in poor areas as part of its battle against poverty.
China's education authority said vocational education was one of the best and fastest ways to bring people out of poverty.
The new schools will provide professional training, based on local economic and social situations. The subjects and majors will be designed to meet the market needs in each area and increase job opportunities for students.
China has provided various financial supports to poor vocational students across the country, including free tuition, scholarships and student grants.
China is closing in on its ambitious goal of achieving a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, with the baseline task of lifting all people out of poverty.
As of the end of 2016, there were still 43 million people in China living below the country's poverty line of 2,300 yuan, roughly 344 U.S. dollars, of annual income, accounting for around 3 percent of China's population.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
A senior Chinese official says China will make a greater contribution to global poverty reduction.
The official said at a forum that China is an active advocate and strong force for world poverty alleviation; and China will share its experiences and improve collaboration with other countries to push for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
After years of work, China is closing in on its goal of achieving a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, with a baseline task of lifting all people out of poverty. More than 10 million people have been freed from poverty each year since 2012.
The official said completing the task will require precise measures, focused on specific areas and groups.
The poverty-reduction forum gathered more than 200 people, including government officials from 13 countries and representatives of 16 international organizations.
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The national bank card association China UnionPay has seen record payments during the National Day holiday between October 1 and 8.
Payment over the China UnionPay network reached almost 1.4 trillion yuan, roughly 206 billion U.S. dollars, with a total of 728 million transactions. The daily averages went up 36 percent and 12 percent respectively year on year.
The city of Xiamen in east China's Fujian Province was among the areas with the highest increase, with daily transactions up more than 50 percent year on year.
A total of 2 million tourists visited the coastal city during the holiday, marking a jump of 24 percent from a year ago.
China UnionPay is the country's largest bank card payment processor.
UnionPay cards are popular among Chinese tourists traveling abroad and are accepted in more than 160 countries and regions around the world.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
Chinese scientists are pursuing international cooperation in human embryo editing.
Scientists with the Chinese Academy of Sciences published an article in the latest online issue of Stem Cell, a subsidiary of the academic journal Cell, discussing the importance of sharing human embryo editing technology.
The article said that in the light of recent editing developments, scientists and stakeholders from all around the world should cooperate in this historic opportunity for medicine and basic human biology.
Altering human genomic DNA is not a new concept, but the CRISPR methods are game changing. The efficiency and accuracy of the CRISPR gene editing uncovers new areas that were previously inaccessible.
The scientists called for an international cooperative structure or consortium to allow problems to be tackled jointly and for data to be analyzed and shared collaboratively.
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China has launched Venezuela's remote sensing satellite into a preset orbit.
The satellite, VRSS-2, was the third satellite jointly launched by China and Venezuela. The satellite will be primarily used by Venezuela for land resource inspection, environmental protection, disaster monitoring and management, crop yield estimation and city planning.
With a designed mission life of five years, it is an optical remote sensing satellite, equipped with a high resolution camera and an infrared camera.
The infrared camera, around the same size as an A3 printer, enables the satellite to capture images day and night at the required temperature of minus 215 degrees centigrade.
In 2008, China launched Venezuela's first satellite which carried communications facilities. In 2012, Venezuela's first remote sensing satellite, the VRSS-1, was launched into space from China.
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.
In what has been described as a world first, a farm field in Britain has been planted and harvested completely by autonomous vehicles and drones without any farmhands in sight.
The hands-free crop farming was delivered as a joint project by Harper Adams University in Shropshire and Yorkshire-based Precision Decisions, in an initiative partly-funded by the government agency, Innovate UK.
The renowned agricultural university and Precision Decisions announced the successful completion of "Hands Free Hectare", a project to plant, tend and harvest a crop using only autonomous vehicles and drones.
A spokesman for Innovate UK said that using this method returned a yield of 4.5 tonnes of spring barley, against a predicted yield of 5 tonnes. It demonstrates that an entire crop can be grown from start to finish without people ever needing to go into the field to directly work the land. The team believes it's the first in the world to farm a crop in this way. They now plan to replicate the trial with a winter crop.
A number of machines were used in the trial. A lightweight Iseki tractor did the spraying, drilling and rolling. The harvest was then completed with a Sampo combine harvester.
Field work to support decision-making was also done autonomously. Drones with multi-spectral and RGB color sensors were used to take aerial images of the field, while a smaller Scout vehicle was used to video at crop level and physically take samples.
These were sent back to the agronomist to analyze and assess what chemicals to apply, as well as where and when the crop was ready for harvest.
Smaller machines were specifically chosen to limit the impact on the soil, improve precision and plant health.
Innovate said this supports the thinking that in future, farmers will manage fleets of smaller, autonomous vehicles. These will go out and work in the fields, allowing the farmers to use their time more effectively.
The whole project cost less than 268,000 U.S. dollars, and was funded by Precision Decisions and Innovate UK.
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Chinese scientists have made a breakthrough in creating full-color emissive carbon dots, or F-CDs, which brings them one step closer to developing a faster wireless communication channel that could be available in just six years.
Light Fidelity, known as LiFi, uses visible light from LED bulbs to transfer data much faster than radio wave-based WiFi.
While most current research uses rare earth materials to provide the light for LiFi to transmit data, a team of Chinese scientists has created an alternative; and F-CDs are fluorescent carbon nanomaterial that proves to be safer and faster.
Many researchers worldwide are still working on the technology; and Chinese scientists said they were the first to successfully create it using cost-effective raw materials such as urea with simple processing.
An associate researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences said rare earth has a long lifespan which reduces the speed of LiFi transmission. However, F-CDs enjoy the advantage of faster data transmission speeds.
He said this is significant for the development of LiFi, which he expects to enter the market in just six years.
A 2015 test by a Chinese government ministry showed that LiFi can reach speeds of 50 gigabytes per second, at which a movie download could be completed in just 0.3 seconds.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Mark Griffiths in Beijing.
The U.S. private spaceflight company SpaceX has successfully delivered 10 satellites to low-Earth orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and landed its Falcon 9 on a drone-ship in the Pacific Ocean.
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blasted off from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base at 5:30 in the morning, carrying 10 satellites for Iridium Communications, as part of the company's Iridium Next constellation.
Around seven and a half minutes later, the California-based company successfully landed the rocket's first stage on "Just Read the Instructions" drone-ship that was stationed in the Pacific Ocean.
Cheers and applause broke out in the SpaceX control room as the launch was streamed live online.
The mission also marked SpaceX's 14th launch this year and the 17th successful landing of a Falcon 9 first stage. SpaceX has been reusing Falcon 9 first stages and is pursuing fully reusable rockets in an effort to lower the cost of spaceflight.
The Iridium Next satellites were deployed around 57 minutes after liftoff, with the entire process taking around 15 minutes..
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Almost 57 percent of cancer drugs authorized by the European Medicines Agency between 2003 and 2009 came onto the market without any clear evidence they improved the quality or quantity of patients' lives.
A team led by researchers from King's College London and the London School of Economics and Political Science conducted the analysis.
They found that most cancer drugs were approved by the agency using only surrogate measures which, although indicators, were not strong predictors of survival, whether living longer or feeling better.
Dr. Courtney Davis from King's College London said they evaluated the evidence base for all new drugs entering the market over a five year period and found that the majority came onto the market without clear evidence that they improved patients' survival or quality of life.
Davis said that when expensive drugs that lack robust evidence of clinical benefit were approved and reimbursed within publicly funded healthcare systems, individual patients may be harmed and public funds wasted.
The team also found that even after a median follow-up of five years, 49 percent of the drugs still showed no quality or quantity of life benefit and of those that did, these benefits were judged to be clinically insignificant around 50 percent of the time.
As a result of these findings, the researchers called on the agency to increase its evidence bar for the market authorization of new drugs.
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The rate of new cancer cases in the United States has decreased since the 1990s, but increases in overweight, and obesity-related cancers are likely slowing this progress. That's according to a new report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report found that in 2014, around 630,000 Americans were diagnosed with a cancer associated with overweight and obesity, representing 40 percent of all cancers diagnosed.
Overweight- and obesity-related cancer incidence rates were higher among older persons than younger persons and two thirds of cases occurred among people aged 50 to 74 years of age.
The rate was also higher among females than among males, partially because endometrial, ovarian and female breast cancers accounted for 42 percent of overweight and obesity-related cancers.
Overall, the rates of obesity-related cancers increased by seven percent between 2005 and 2014, while the rates of non-obesity related cancers declined by 13 percent during that time.
Colorectal cancer decreased 23 percent, due in large part to screening.
In 2013 and 2014, around two thirds of U.S. adults were overweight or had obesity and many people are not aware that being overweight and having obesity are associated with some cancers.
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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