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2017-10-31 NEWS Plus Special English
   2017-10-27 12:56:56    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Du Lijun

This is Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing. Here is the news.
China's property market continued to show signs of cooling as home prices were falling or posting slower growth in major cities amid tough control policies.
Official data showed that on a yearly basis, of the 70 cities surveyed in September, the pace of new home price growth slowed in 15 major cities compared with the same month of last year.
The National Bureau of Statistics said that on a month-on-month basis, new home prices fell or remained flat in the 15 cities in September.
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A China-developed drought-resistant rice breed and its farming method have been introduced to nine other countries, mainly in Southeast Asia and Africa. Agriculture scientists say the plantation area of the rice breed had reached 2.3 million hectares in China.
Scientists say the breed, "Green Drought No. 1", was first exported to Angola in 2009. Plantations have reached 10,000 hectares in the country since then. The rice has also been planted in countries including the Philippines, Cambodia, Pakistan and Cameroon.
In Cameroon, the rice yield reached almost 30 kilograms per hectare this year, as compared with 5 kilograms per hectare of other rice breeds in the country.
Agriculture experts from 10 countries, including Egypt and Uganda, came to China in June to study the rice growing technique, hoping it could help improve the yield in their own countries, which face severe drought.
The rice breed has also proved to have a steady yield in saline-alkali soil in the Philippines, where fields suffer from monsoon flooding.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
The first satellite jointly developed by the Chinese and French space agencies will be launched from China next year.
The China-French Oceanic Satellite is being tested in a Beijing-based assembly testing center of the China National Space Administration.
The satellite will be primarily used for ocean waves forecast and monitoring, as well as research in floating ice, polar glaciers and ocean dynamics.
The satellite will carry cutting-edge equipment developed by the French space agency and wind-measurement equipment developed by Chinese scientists. It will be sent into space by a Chinese Long March carrier rocket.
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China has around ten marine research vessels under design or construction at the end of August.
The Oceanic Scientific Research Vessel Technology Summit has been held in Beijing. It was learned at the meeting that China's first domestically built polar research vessel and icebreaker is expected to be put into use in 2019. The vessel is developed to break polar ice using its bow and stern.
China has a total of 50 marine research vessels. The State Oceanic Administration said the number and performance of these research vessels are far from adequate in terms of global marine research and international cooperation.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
China's biggest life insurer, China Life, estimates that its net profits from January to September will surge by 95 percent due to increased investment return.
Preliminarily, calculations show that the company's profits during the January-September period reached 13 billion yuan, roughly 2 billion U.S. dollars, up 95 percent year on year.
Earnings per share stood at almost 0.5 yuan in the reporting period.
The company said the main reason behind the profit surge was higher returns on investment. Further details will be revealed in its upcoming report.
In the first half of this year, China Life reported a 17 percent year-on-year rise in its net profits.
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The first aircraft of the Airbus A330-neo family has completed its maiden flight, and a new airbus center in Tianjin will start to deliver the new model across China.
Airbus China confirmed that the first jet in the A330-neo family has successfully landed at an airport in France in the maiden flight.
The aircraft is an A330-900 variant which is expected to be sold after it completes 1,100 hours of test flights. So far, 12 customers worldwide have placed orders for a total of 212 planes.
In September, the Airbus Company opened its A330 Completion and Delivery Center in north China's port city of Tianjin, the first such center outside Europe for this type of plane.
As of August, China had almost 1,500 Airbus planes, including 200 from the A330 family.
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
The world's leading mobile payment platform Alipay has been launched in Denmark, enabling its Chinese users to enjoy its fast and convenient payment service when they travel to the Nordic country.
Operated by Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate company of China's Alibaba Group, Alipay users can hail a taxi, book a hotel, buy movie tickets, pay utility bills, make appointments with doctors, or purchase wealth management products directly from within the app.
Alipay was launched in Denmark by APay Nordic AS, in cooperation with 2paynow, the technology platform provider of Alipay in Europe.
Alipay's in-store payment service is covering more than 30 countries across the world, and tax reimbursement via Alipay is supported in 24 countries and regions.
Alipay has been launching its services in Europe since mid-2016. Denmark is the fourth Northern European country for Alipay to set foot in after Norway, Finland and Sweden.
Alipay now has over 520 million active users and over 450 financial institution partners globally. Over 10 million merchants accept Alipay across China.
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China will build national cultural demonstration zones to serve as a driving force for cultural development.
The Ministry of Culture says the first ten zones to be built include a mountain resort in northern China, a cultural product area in southern China's Guangdong Province and the Whitehorse Lake in eastern China.
Those who pass the examinations which last for three years will be authorized as a "national cultural demonstration zone".
China aims to build the zones into industry role models for the healthy development of culture, tourism and technological innovation.
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.
The China National Peking Opera Company has travelled to Britain to give four performances at London's Sadler's Wells, with its debut performance attracting over 1,000 Chinese nationals and Londoners alike.
This is the fourth time China's top national opera company has performed in Britain.
The year marks the 45th anniversary of China-UK diplomatic relations. The Chinese Ambassador to the UK says the company's first three tours were well received by British audience; and the company has provided a platform for China-UK cultural exchange.
A lead actor and Peking Opera star in the group said he is impressed by the passionate encouragement of the audience and the wide attention the mainstream media has paid in Peking Opera.
The national Peking Opera company has some of the best Peking Opera performers, playwrights and directors in all of China. 
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A world record price of over 166,000 U.S. dollars has been paid at an auction in Britain for one of the last known letters to have been written on board the famous Titanic ocean liner.
Oscar Holverson, a U.S. businessman, who was a passenger on the Titanic, wrote it on April 13, 1912, just before the liner hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage to New York in the early hours of April 15.
It is the only known letter, on headed Titanic notepaper, to have gone into the Atlantic Ocean when the ship went down.
Auctioneer Andrew Aldridge had given the letter a reserve price of between 80,000 dollars to 105,000 dollars, but an unnamed British collector took the bidding to its world record price.
The price beat the 157,000 dollars paid in 2014 for another letter that had been written a few hours before the Titanic sank.
Holverson, described as a successful businessman, had written the letter to his mother during the voyage. He had boarded the Titanic at Southampton with his wife Mary and they were making their way home to New York.
Although his wife survived, Holverson perished in the disaster and his body was recovered later, with the water-stained letter inside a pocket book. It was eventually delivered to his mother.
In the letter, Holverson had described the Titanic as like a palatial hotel, and also mentioned seeing fellow passenger John Jacob Astor who he described as one of the richest man in the world. Astor also died in the sinking.
Aldridge, who runs a family auction business in Wiltshire, said content of the letter took to it to another level in Titanic memorabilia, because of its date, the fact it went into the Atlantic and the observations that it contained.
He said that even if the letter was virtually blank, it would still rank as amongst the most desirable, such as the nature of the paper, its markings and history.
Other Titanic items sold in the auction included a set of keys belonging to a steward in the First Class section and two previously unpublished photos of the Titanic as it departed from Southampton. 
You're listening to Special English. I'm Ryan Price in Beijing.
A new study found that e-cigarettes appear to trigger unique immune response as well as the same ones that cigarettes trigger that can lead to lung disease.
Researchers from the United States say there is confusion about whether e-cigarettes are safer than cigarettes because the potential adverse effects of e-cigarettes are only beginning to be studied.
The study suggests that e-cigarettes might just be as bad as cigarettes; and comparing the harm of e-cigarettes with cigarettes is like comparing apples to oranges.
For the study, researchers observed 15 e-cigarette users, 14 current cigarette smokers and 15 non-smokers. Researchers found e-cigarettes have a signature of harm in the lung that is both similar and unique, which challenges the concept that switching from cigarettes to e-cigarettes is a healthier alternative.
Scientists believe their research is the first study to use human airway samples to explore the harmful effects of e-cigarettes. They found that e-cigarettes produced some of the same negative consequences as cigarettes.
However, the study had limitations that include the fact that of the 15 e-cigarette users, five said they occasionally smoked cigarettes and 12 identified themselves as having smoked cigarettes in the past.
A 2016 Surgeon General's report found that e-cigarette use increased by 900 percent among high school students from 2011 to 2015. In 2016, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration extended its regulatory oversight of tobacco products to include e-cigarettes.
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After examining menu items from 66 of the top 100 chain restaurants, U.S. researchers found that while some attention has been given to offering lower-sodium options, restaurant food is still high in sodium, particularly in main-course items.
Julia Wolfson is assistant professor of health management and policy in the University of Michigan. She said that overall, sodium content of newly introduced menu items declined by about 104 milligrams.
She said that however, among existing and new main-course items, the average sodium content of a single menu item is still more than half of the daily sodium recommended limit of 2,300 miligrams.
Using data from the MenuStat project, Wolfson and colleagues looked at nearly 22,000 menu items in fast-food, fast-casual and full-service chain restaurants over the period 2012 to 2016.
The database contains calorie and nutrition data gathered from websites of the 200 largest restaurants in the United States, as defined by sales volume.
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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