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Mysterious pink snow hits Italian glacier


2020-07-06 浏览

Scientists in Italy are investigating the mysterious appearance of pink glacial ice in the Alps, caused by algae that accelerate the effects of climate change.

There is debate about where the algae come from, but Biagio Di Mauro of Italy’s National Research Council said the pink snow observed on parts of the Presenae glacier is likely caused by the same plant found in Greenland.

“The alga is not dangerous, it is a natural phenomenon that occurs during spring and summer in the middle latitudes but also at the Poles,” said Di Mauro.

The plant, known as Ancylonema nordenskioeldii, is present in Greenland’s so-called Dark Zone.

Normally ice reflects more than 80 percent of the sun’s radiation back into the atmosphere, but as algae appear, they darken the ice so that it absorbs the heat and melts more quickly. “Everything that darkens the snow causes it to melt because it accelerates the absorption of radiation,” said Di Mauro.

“We are trying to quantify the effect of other phenomena besides the human one on the overheating of the Earth,” Di Mauro added.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Chinese mainland reports 4 new confirmed COVID-19 cases


2020-07-06 浏览

Chinese health authority said Monday that it received reports of four new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Sunday, of which one was domestically transmitted.

The domestically transmitted case was reported in Beijing, the National Health Commission said in its daily report.

No deaths related to the disease were reported Sunday, according to the commission.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Plague case confirmed in N China's Inner Mongolia


2020-07-06 浏览

North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region has confirmed one bubonic plague case, local health authorities announced late Sunday evening.

The case was first reported as a suspected case on Saturday at the people's hospital in Urad Middle Banner in Bayannur City.

The patient, a local herdsman, has now been quarantined and is in stable condition.

Local authorities in Bayannur have issued a level III warning for plague prevention and control that will last until the end of 2020, the municipal commission said in a press release.

It also urged the public to beef up self-protection as the city is at risk of people-to-people infections and not to hunt and eat animals that could cause plague infections.

The agency also called on the public to report any findings of ill or dead marmots and other animals, and report suspected plague cases, high fever patients with unknown reasons and any patients who die suddenly.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

UK and US criticized for meddling in China affairs


2020-07-03 浏览

China condemned foreign meddling in the country’s internal affairs on Thursday, after Britain decided to extend a broader path to citizenship for the residents of Hong Kong and the US House of Representatives passed the so-called “Hong Kong Autonomy Act.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said no amount of pressure from external forces could “shake China’s determination and will to safeguard national sovereignty and Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.”

He urged the US to abide by international law and stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs, and not sign the sanction bill into law.

His comments came after the US House of Representatives on Wednesday joined the Senate in approving a bill imposing sanctions on groups that “undermine the city’s autonomy” under the pretext of a national security legislation in Hong Kong.

If the bill becomes law, “China will definitely take strong countermeasures, and all consequences will be borne by the US side,” Zhao said.

Meanwhile, dozens of lawmakers protested outside the US Consulate in Hong Kong to demand that the US stop meddling. The group said it gathered 1.6 million signatures online in support of its call.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry also condemned the UK’s citizenship offer to Hong Kong residents and warned of “consequences.”

“All Chinese compatriots living in Hong Kong, including those with British National (Overseas) passport, are Chinese nationals,” he said.

About 370 people were arrested during and after Wednesday’s illegal assembly, including 10 on suspicion of violating the new security law.

Hong Kong police arrested a man on a London-bound flight early Thursday on suspicion of having stabbed a police officer in the arm during Wednesday’s protests.

The 24-year-old man, surnamed Wong, was arrested on a Cathay Pacific flight after police received an anonymous tip-off about his travel plans, police said.

Wong had purchased a ticket on Wednesday and boarded the flight with no check-in luggage, police said. He did not respond to the crew when they called him by name, and was not in his designated seat. Police identified him after conducting a sweep of the plane.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

China to honor Korean War veterans with medals


2020-07-03 浏览

China will bestow memorial medals upon Chinese People’s Volunteer Army veterans of the 1950-53 Korean War to mark the 70th anniversary of their participation.

The medals are to be presented in the name of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission, said a statement released on Thursday by an office in charge of granting Party and state awards and honors.

In addition to those who fought in the war, other people eligible for the medals include those who provided services during the war such as medical workers, transport sector workers, translators, truce talk participants, militia, migrant workers, journalists, writers, photographers, as well as those who stayed on to help with post-war economic recovery in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

New study analyzes three models for forecasting COVID-19 spread


2020-07-03 浏览

US researchers have presented and detailed three regional-scale models for forecasting and assessing the course of COVID-19 pandemic in a new study published on Thursday.

The three models are, an exponential growth model, a self-exciting branching process model, and the susceptible-infected-resistant (SIR) compartment model, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Modeling and forecasting the spread of COVID-19 is critical for effective public health policy, yet it remains challenging to do so, according to the research team led by Andrea Bertozzi, professor of Mathematics and Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at University of California, Los Angeles.

Models of disease transmission that have a minimal number of parameters can help isolate key features of the pandemic that may be relevant for policymaking.

In the United States and several European countries, infections and deaths exhibited exponential growth with similar doubling times in the early stages of the outbreak.

A self-exciting point process model suggests that as of early April, 2020, the reproduction number of COVID-19 had declined to less than 1 in China, but remained greater than 1 in the United States and Italy, with substantial variation among US states.

Compartment models, which fit the data well for some US states, suggest that the fraction of the population infected depends only on the basic reproduction number R0, regardless of the fraction of the population initially infected.

Short-term social distancing might not substantially reduce the total number of infections if it is relaxed before a vaccine or effective antiviral therapies are introduced, according to the researchers.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Unpopular New Zealand health minister quits after COVID lapse


2020-07-02 浏览

New Zealand's health minister resigned on Thursday after a public backlash over his breach of lockdown and his criticism of the civil servant responsible for the country's world-leading novel coronavirus response.

Outgoing minister David Clark was already under a cloud after breaking lockdown in April and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who faces an election in September, admitted his presence had become a distraction.

"It's essential our health leadership has the confidence of the New Zealand public," she said.

"As David has said to me, the needs of the team must come before him as an individual."

Clark described himself as "an idiot" in April after admitting he breached strict lockdown orders by taking a 20-kilometer drive to the beach with his family.

He kept his job but was kept out of the public eye, with health department director-general Ashley Bloomfield appearing alongside Ardern to give daily updates on the coronavirus crisis.

As the success of New Zealand's response became apparent — it has recorded only 22 deaths in a population of 5 million — the bespectacled Bloomfield became wildly popular, with fans printing his face on tea towels and posting tributes on social media.

It meant there was public anger when Clark criticized Bloomfield for a series of mistakes linked to border quarantine and footage went viral of the minister admonishing his subordinate as the civil servant stood by looking crestfallen.

Critics said it was "like kicking a puppy" and accused Clark of throwing Bloomfield "under a bus."

Announcing his resignation, Clark insisted he had a warm relationship with Bloomfield and singled him out for praise.

"He is an exceptional public servant," Clark told reporters.

"Thank you Ashley and your team for the extraordinary work you have done for our country during our most serious health crisis in a century."

Clark denied he was pushed from his ministerial position ahead of the September 19 election, saying he only stayed on after breaking lockdown because he did not want to leave in the midst of a health emergency.

"Now that we're on a stable footing, it feels appropriate to let someone else take the reins," he said.

Ardern said Education Minister Chris Hipkins would handle the health portfolio until the election.

If the government is reelected, Ardern did not rule out another ministerial role for Clark, who plans to stay in parliament.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

US sees record 52,000 new virus cases in 24 hours: Johns Hopkins


2020-07-02 浏览

The US notched more than 52,000 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours on Wednesday, a tally by Johns Hopkins University showed, a new one-day record as infections surge around the country.

The Baltimore-based university's tracker showed 52,898 more cases as of 8:30pm (12:30am on Thursday GMT), bringing the total number of cases since the pandemic reached the United States to 2,682,270.

The university also recorded a further 706 fatalities, bringing the total death toll to 128,028.

New daily case numbers have hovered around 40,000 in recent days, with Johns Hopkins recording 42,528 new infections one day earlier.

Hospitalizations are also increasing in several cities, including Houston and Phoenix.

On Wednesday Texas broke its daily record and reported 8,076 new cases of COVID-19, nearly 1,000 more than the day before.

The surge in cases has seen several states pause their reopenings. California on Wednesday banned indoor dining in Los Angeles as well as service in bars, cinemas and museums for at least three weeks.

The governor of Michigan also closed bars in the northern state, while Oregon and Pennsylvania have fallen in with other states making it compulsory to wear masks, a highly politicized issue in the country.

"During a heavy travel season, the absence of a strong national response, including a nationwide masking mandate, will continue to threaten the viability of our economy and the ability of our schools to reopen in the fall," warned David Rubin, director of PolicyLab, a research center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

President Donald Trump, who has yet to be seen in public wearing a face mask during the coronavirus pandemic, said on Wednesday he would have "no problem" doing so, while reiterating his belief that the contagion will just "disappear."
来源: Shanghai Daily  

China's State Council appoints HKSAR officials


2020-07-02 浏览

The State Council on Thursday appointed Chan Kwok-ki as secretary-general of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

It also announced that Au Ka-wang was appointed director of the Immigration Department of the HKSAR government.

The decisions were made in accordance with the HKSAR Basic Law of the People's Republic of China, and based on the nominations by HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Xi stresses breaking new ground amid changes through reforms


2020-07-01 浏览

President Xi Jinping on Tuesday underlined the importance of relying on reforms to tackle changing situations and open up new prospects, while encouraging exploration with good outcomes in key spheres.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, specified the requirements in a speech at the 14th meeting of the central committee for deepening overall reform.

The breakthrough and leading role of reforms must be given full play for the country to achieve the goals and tasks outlined in the 13th five-year plan, win the battle against poverty, complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects, and embark on a new journey toward building a modern socialist country, said Xi, who heads the committee.

Li Keqiang and Wang Huning, both members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and deputy heads of the central committee for deepening overall reform, also attended the meeting.

The meeting reviewed and approved a series of reform plans and guidelines on state-owned enterprises, the integrated development of new generation information technology and the manufacturing industry, the rural homestead system, the integrated development of media, the education evaluation system, and the state-owned art troupes.

It also heard a report on reform progress of the medical and health care system since the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee.

The next three years will be crucial for the country's SOE reforms, the meeting noted, stressing efforts to optimize the layout and structure of the state-owned economy to make it more competitive, innovative, controllable, influential, and more able to withstand risks.

In terms of the integrated development of new generation information technology and the manufacturing industry, the meeting said that efforts should be made to speed up the innovative development of the industrial internet with a focus on advancing smart manufacturing.

The meeting urged efforts to deepen the integrated media development and mechanism reforms, and cultivate talent in the all-media sector to build a set of competitive, strongly influential new types of mainstream media.

Educational evaluation is a matter concerning the direction of educational development, so it is necessary to set up an educational evaluation system that is scientific, and in line with the requirements of the times, the meeting said.

Meanwhile, the meeting stressed the further development of state-owned art troupes to stimulate their vitality.

Since the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, the country has been improving medical services through establishing the world's largest basic medical security network, and reducing the medical treatment burden for patients, putting people's lives and health first, it noted.

The meeting called for attaching great importance to the application of the new generation of information technology in the field of medicine and healthcare, reshaping the management and service mode, optimizing the allocation of resources, and improving service efficiency.

It stressed the need to make plans for the reforms in the 14th Five-Year Plan period, focus more on making institutional improvement, and optimizing governance system, and do more to address deep-seated institutional problems.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

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