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Biden gets COVID-19 vaccine booster shot


2021-09-28 浏览

US President Joe Biden received a COVID-19 vaccine booster on Monday and told Americans still resisting the shots that they are damaging the country.

Biden rolled up his left sleeve in the White House and got a third Pfizer dose in line with the recently approved health guidance, which allows boosters for those 65 or older.

"I know it doesn't look like it, but I am over 65," Biden, 78, joked.

Also eligible for boosters are adults with high-risk medical conditions and those in jobs where they are frequently exposed to the virus.

But the problem, Biden said, is that a significant chunk of Americans continues to refuse even one shot of the vaccine, fueling a deadly nationwide surge of the Delta variant.

Biden said 77 percent of Americans had got vaccines but this wasn't enough, with still nearly a quarter refusing.

"That distinct minority is causing an awful lot of us, an awful lot of damage for the rest of the country," Biden said.

"Please do the right thing," he said.

Biden received his first Pfizer dose last December and a second in January when he was still president-elect.

About 60 million people in the United States are eligible for a Pfizer booster shot, Biden said last week.

He said people who have received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccinations could get boosters once studies have been completed and he expected that all Americans would be eligible "in the near term."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday that data on Moderna and J&J boosters would be evaluated "in the coming weeks."
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Xi congratulates Eric Chu on election as KMT chief


2021-09-27 浏览

President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, on Sunday congratulated Eric Chu on being elected chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang party.

Based on the common political foundation of upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence," over the years the two parties have engaged in positive interactions, promoted the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, brought benefits to people on both sides, and achieved notable results, Xi said in his congratulatory message.

Xi expressed his expectations that the two parties adhere to the common political foundation, uphold the national interests, and work together to seek the well-being of the people, maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait and achieve national reunification and rejuvenation.

Chu, in his reply, expressed gratitude to Xi. Noting that the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are all Chinese, Chu voiced his deep hope that the two parties can enhance mutual trust, exchanges and cooperation upon the foundation of upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence."

Chu expressed the hope for advancing the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties, working together to benefit people on both sides, and promoting peace and stability in the Strait.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Germans vote in close election to decide Merkel successor


2021-09-27 浏览

Germans went to the polls on Sunday in a national election too close to call, with the center-left Social Democrats mounting a strong challenge to retiring Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.

Merkel has been in power since 2005 but will step down after the election, making the vote an era-changing event to set the future course of Europe's largest economy.

A fractured electorate means that after the election, leading parties will sound each other out before embarking on more formal coalition negotiations that could take months, leaving Merkel, 67, in charge in a caretaker role.

"We all sense that this is a very important federal election," Armin Laschet, Christian Democratic Union party's candidate for chancellor, told journalists in Aachen.

"It is a federal election that will decide the direction of Germany in coming years and therefore every vote counts."

Running against Laschet is Olaf Scholz of the SPD, the finance minister in Merkel's right-left coalition who won all three televised debates between the leading candidates.

Scholz, 63, has seen his party's lead over the conservatives squeezed to 1-3 points in final opinion polls, leaving Laschet with a chance of clinching a narrow victory.

"I hope that as many citizens as possible will go and vote and make a very strong result for the SPD possible and give me the mandate to become the next chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany," Scholz said in Potsdam near Berlin.

The election is expected to yield a splintered parliament, which will force the winner to form a three-way coalition to secure a majority.

The most likely coalition scenarios see either the SPD or the conservative CDU/CSU bloc, whoever comes first, forming an alliance with the Greens and the liberal Free Democrats.

Scholz said that his preferred outcome was for the SPD and Greens to secure a majority to rule alone without a third partner.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

COVID-19 might have started to spread in September 2019 in US: study


2021-09-23 浏览

Chinese researchers have discovered by employing big-data analysis that the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States might have started to spread around in September 2019, earlier than the officially announced date of its first confirmed case.

According to a new article published Wednesday as a preprint in ChinaXiv, a series of previous studies showed that the United States, Spain, France, Italy, Brazil and other countries had shown signs of being hit by the virus before its outbreak in China.

ChinaXiv is an online publishing service operated by the National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The article, titled "Dating the First Case of COVID-19 Epidemic from a Probabilistic Perspective," suggested that the qualitative and quantitative analysis of infectious diseases, done by combining mathematical models and artificial-intelligence technology, can reveal the epidemic law of infectious diseases.

The researchers set up an optimized model using the epidemic transmission model and big-data analysis method, and inferred the dates of the first infection cases in 12 northeastern US states and in China's Wuhan City and Zhejiang Province, based on published data.

The result indicated that, for the 12 US states, the possible dates of the first infection, with a probability of 50 percent, fall mostly between August and October 2019, while the earliest is April 26, 2019 on Rhode Island, and the latest is November 30, 2019 in Delaware.

All of the dates indicated by the data are earlier than January 20, 2020, the officially announced date of the first confirmed case in the United States, showing that the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States started to spread around September 2019 with a high confidence probability.

The result also showed that the date of the first COVID-19 case in Wuhan, with a probability of 50 percent, is December 20, 2019, and the date for Zhejiang is December 23, 2019. It infers that the COVID-19 in China is most likely to have started in late December 2019.

The article said this is consistent with the results of the epidemiological investigation, which proves that the calculation method is accurate and reliable.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Medical employees fined for leaking personal information


2021-09-23 浏览

Two employees in the medical field were fined 500 yuan (US$77) each for publicly releasing the personal information of coronavirus patients and their close contacts, the government of Putian in Fujian Province, a recent hotspot of COVID-19 outbreak, said yesterday.

Private information leaked online includes their ID numbers, phone numbers, addresses and recent whereabouts.

An investigation found that two people forwarded the information from their workplace chat groups to public chat groups.

The two people, both from Putian, admitted their wrongdoing, the statement said.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Xi calls for bolstering confidence, jointly addressing global challenges at UNGA


2021-09-22 浏览

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday proposed a Global Development Initiative, calling for bolstering confidence and jointly addressing global threats and challenges to build a better world for all.

Xi made the remarks at the general debate of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) via video, as the world faces the combined impacts of changes unseen in a century and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beating COVID-19

Right now, COVID-19 is still raging in the world, with the number of new cases rising every day globally. "We must beat COVID-19 and win this decisive fight crucial to the future of humanity," Xi said, voicing confidence that "we humanity will surely overcome it and prevail" despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic may appear overwhelming.

He called for putting people and their lives first, taking a science-based approach in origins tracing, enhancing coordinated global COVID-19 response and minimizing the risk of cross-border virus transmission.

Noting that vaccination is a powerful weapon against COVID-19, Xi said the pressing priority is to ensure the fair and equitable distribution of vaccines globally.

He reiterated the pledge that China will strive to provide a total of two billion doses of vaccines to the world by the end of this year. "In addition to donating 100 million US dollars to COVAX, China will donate 100 million doses of vaccines to other developing countries in the course of this year."

The role of China is even more critical at a time when some countries have adopted a selfish strategy of vaccine nationalism and even put restrictions on export of COVID-19 vaccines and other medical supplies, said Nadeem Irfan Bukhari, a professor from University of the Punjab, Pakistan.

Global development initiative

"Development holds the key to people's well-being," Xi said, adding that countries need to work together to steer global development toward a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth.

He made a six-pronged Global Development Initiative, including staying committed to development as a priority, staying committed to a people-centered approach, staying committed to benefits for all, staying committed to innovation-driven development, staying committed to harmony between man and nature and staying committed to results-oriented actions.

"We need to increase input in development, advance on a priority basis cooperation on poverty alleviation, food security, COVID-19 response and vaccines, development financing, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy and connectivity, among other areas, and accelerate implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, so as to build a global community of development with a shared future," he said.

To support developing countries in responding to COVID-19 and promoting economic and social recovery, China has pledged an additional three billion US dollars of international assistance in the next three years.

China will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad, he said, pledging that the country will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy.

"This is another remarkable step taken by China on its own initiative to cope with the global climate change, as Xi earlier announced China's pledge to strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060," said Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies.

Rejecting forming small circles

"We need to advocate peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are the common values of humanity, and reject the practice of forming small circles or zero-sum games," Xi said.

Democracy is not a special right reserved to an individual country, but a right for the people of all countries to enjoy, the Chinese president stressed.

Ruan said that some countries are keen to gang up in the name of democracy, wantonly interfering in other countries' internal affairs and even arbitrarily suppressing normal development of other countries and people's legitimate right to live better lives.

"Recent developments in the global situation show once again that military intervention from the outside and so-called democratic transformation entail nothing but harm," Xi said.

He called for building a new type of international relations based on mutual respect, equity, justice and win-win cooperation, and doing the best to "expand the convergence of interests" and "achieve the biggest synergy possible."

"One country's success does not have to mean another country's failure, and the world is big enough to accommodate common development and progress of all countries," he said, adding that differences and problems among countries need to be handled through dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

Practicing true multilateralism

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations. Xi said China will solemnly commemorate this historic event and advance cooperation with the UN to a new level and make new and greater contributions to promoting the noble cause of the UN.

"The UN should hold high the banner of true multilateralism and serve as the central platform for countries to jointly safeguard universal security, share development achievements and chart the course for the future of the world," Xi stressed.

Ruan said that some countries claimed to safeguard "the rules-based international order" under the banner of multilateralism, yet what they actually did was framing their own rules as international rules and imposing them on other countries.

The Chinese president called on the UN to increase the representation and say of developing countries in international affairs, and take the lead in advancing democracy and rule of law in international relations.

"It should set common agenda (in the areas of security, development and human rights), highlight pressing issues and focus on real actions, and see to it that commitments made by all parties to multilateralism are truly delivered," he added.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

France recalls ambassadors to Australia, US in escalating row


2021-09-18 浏览

France on Friday recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Australia for consultations in a ferocious row over the scrapping of a submarine contract, an unprecedented step that revealed the extent of French anger against its allies.

President Emmanuel Macron ordered the recalling of the envoys after Canberra ditched a deal to buy French submarines in favor of US vessels, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

Le Drian said in a statement that the decision was made to "immediately" recall the two French ambassadors due to "the exceptional seriousness of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States."

The abandonment of the ocean-class submarine project that Australia and France had been working on since 2016 constituted "unacceptable behavior among allies and partners," the minister said.

"Their consequences affect the very concept we have of our alliances, our partnerships, and the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe," he added.

US President Joe Biden announced the new Australia-US-Britain defence alliance on Wednesday, extending US nuclear submarine technology to Australia as well as cyber defence, applied artificial intelligence and undersea capabilities.

The move infuriated France, which lost a contract to supply conventional submarines to Australia that was worth A$50 billion (US$36.5 billion) when signed in 2016.

A White House official expressed "regret" over the French envoy's recall but added "we will continue to be engaged in the coming days to resolve our differences, as we have done at other points over the course of our long alliance."

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby meanwhile acknowledged that telephone talks earlier between US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and French counterpart Florence Parly showed "that there is still much work to do in terms of our defence relationship with France."

'Directly affecting the vision'

The French ambassador recalls from the United States and Australia, key allies of France, are unprecedented. Withdrawing envoys is a last resort diplomatic step taken when relations between feuding countries are plunged into crisis but highly unusual between allies.

"I am being recalled to Paris for consultations," France ambassador to the US Philippe Etienne wrote on Twitter. "This follows announcements directly affecting the vision we have of our alliances, of our partnerships and of the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe."

Paris sees itself as a major power in the Indo-Pacific due to overseas territories such as New Caledonia and French Polynesia which give it a strategic and military foothold unmatched by any other European country.

France had made no effort to disguise its fury even before the recalls and on Thursday Le Drian accused Australia of back-stabbing and Washington of Donald Trump-era behavior over the submarines deal.

The row has for now at least put on hold hopes of a post-Trump renaissance in Paris-Washington relations under Biden and his Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a fluent French speaker who was educated in Paris.

France's European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune also said on Friday that Paris was unable to trust Canberra in ongoing European Union trade deal talks following the decision.

France meanwhile called off a gala at its ambassador's house in Washington scheduled for Friday.

The event was supposed to celebrate the anniversary of a decisive naval battle in the American Revolution, in which France played a key role.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

Chinese mainland reports 31 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases


2021-09-18 浏览

The Chinese mainland on Friday reported 31 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases, all in Fujian Province, the National Health Commission said in its daily report on Saturday.

Also reported were 15 new imported cases, including nine in Yunnan, three in Guangdong, two in Shanghai and one in Liaoning.

No new suspected cases or new deaths related to COVID-19 were reported on Friday, the commission said.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

6.0-magnitude quake in SW China's Sichuan kills 2, injures 3


2021-09-16 浏览

As of 5am on Thursday, two people were confirmed dead and three others injured after a 6.0-magnitude earthquake jolted Luxian County of Luzhou City, southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The dead and injured were reported at Caoba Village, Fuji Township of Luxian County, local authorities said.

The earthquake, occurred at 4:33am, has also caused the collapse of some houses.

According to the China Earthquake Networks Center, the epicenter was monitored at 29.2 degrees north latitude and 105.34 degrees east longitude. The quake struck at a depth of 10 km.

Approved by the provincial government, the earthquake relief headquarters of Sichuan has activated a level-II response, the second highest in China's four-tier earthquake emergency response system.

After the quake, the Luzhou City has launched a level-I emergency response and sent personnel for disaster investigation and rescue.

Further rescue is under way.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

'Many will follow:' SpaceX sends all-civilian crew into orbit

SpaceX 送平民上太空,会有更多人尝试

2021-09-16 浏览

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying four space tourists blasted off on Wednesday night from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the first mission to orbit the globe with an all-civilian crew.

A huge fireball illuminated the sky as the rocket's nine engines began to pull away from Earth at 8:02pm (0:02am GMT on Thursday).

Around 12 minutes later, the Dragon capsule separated from the rocket's send stage as the crew entered orbit, while the reusable first stage made its way back to Earth for a vertical landing on a sea barge.

"A few have gone before and many are about to follow," said Jared Isaacman, the 38-year-old billionaire who chartered the flight.

The spaceship's trajectory will take it to an altitude of 575 kilometers, which is deeper into space than the International Space Station.

After spending three days spinning around the planet, the four-person crew, all Americans, will splash down off the Florida coast.

"The #Inspiration4 launch reminds us of what can be accomplished when we partner with private industry!" tweeted NASA administrator Bill Nelson ahead of the launch.

Building up commercial capability has been the vision of NASA's commercial crew program since it was founded in 2011.

Tough training

SpaceX hasn't disclosed what the trip cost Isaacman, a high school dropout who went on to found Shift4 Payments and is also a keen aviator. But the price tag runs into tens of millions of dollars.

Isaacman's three crewmates were selected through a competition, and their stories have been followed in a Netflix documentary.

Hayley Arceneaux, a pediatric cancer survivor, is a 29-year-old physician assistant. She will be the youngest American to go into orbit and the first person with a prosthesis, on a part of her femur.

Chris Sembroski, 42, is a US Air Force veteran who now works as an aerospace data engineer.

Sian Proctor, a 51-year-old geoscientist and educator, was almost selected to become an astronaut for NASA in 2009.

She is only the fourth African-American woman to go to space.

They bonded over the course of six months' training that included climbing Mount Rainier, high G-force conditioning and experiencing a taste of weightlessness on a parabolic flight.

The mission is aiming to raise US$200 million for St Jude's Children's Research Hospital, a leading facility in Tennessee. Arceneaux received treatment there as a child, and now works there.

The crew will take with them various objects – a ukulele, hops intended to brew space beer and several digital assets known as non-fungible tokens – that will be auctioned off for the cause.

Throughout the flight, biological data including heart rate and sleep, as well as their cognitive capacities, will be analyzed to study the health impacts of space.

The Dragon is equipped, for the first time, with a cupola observation dome – the largest ever space window – to take in the view. The dome replaces the usual mechanism used on Dragons to dock with the ISS.

Privatization of space

Beyond the charitable and scientific aspects, the mission's stated goal is to represent a turning point in the democratization of space, by proving that the cosmos is accessible to people who have not been handpicked and trained for many years as astronauts.

For SpaceX, this is nothing less than a first step toward a multi-planetary humanity – founder and CEO Musk's ultimate vision.

The flight should remain fully automated, but the crew has been trained by SpaceX to be able to take control in the event of an emergency.

The space adventure bookends a summer marked by the battle of the billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos to reach the final frontier.

Branson, the Virgin Galactic founder, achieved the feat first on July 11, and was followed by the Blue Origin boss nine days later.

But these flights only offered a few minutes of weightlessness. SpaceX's mission is far more ambitious – though flights organized by a private company that contracted Russian Soyuz rockets in the 2000s took tourists to the ISS.

This is the fourth crewed mission for SpaceX, which has now sent 10 astronauts to the ISS for US space agency NASA.
来源: Shanghai Daily  

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