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    IN BRIEF (Page 2)

    Happy bugs: Wang Shunjiao, a silk embroidery artist, works on a piece depicting crickets crouching on a cabbage in Huaxian county, Henan province, on Aug 23. Local silk embroidery by folk artists was added to the province's intangible cultural heritage list in 2007. Feng Dapeng / Xinhua

    Natural resources must be safeguarded, Xi says

    Restricting the exploitation of natural resources in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau is good for economic development, President Xi Jinping said on Aug 23 during a visit to the area. The ecosystem is fragile in Qinghai, especially in the Sanjiangyuan area, where the headwaters of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang (known as the Mekong outside China) rivers are located. The area is home to more than 2,200 types of wild plants, 85 animal species and more than 230 kinds of birds. Since the late 20th century, the lakes there have shrunk as a result of human activities and overgrazing. Xi said ecological protection must be made a top priority in exploiting natural resources.

    Infrastructure boost planned to aid Jiangxi

    Premier Li Keqiang vowed on Aug 22 to further improve infrastructure in impoverished regions of southern Jiangxi province. The government will invest more in highways, power grids and irrigation facilities for the region, the premier said during a visit to the city of Ruijin.

    Shanghai seeks input on master plan

    Shanghai has invited residents to contribute ideas to its ambitious plan for development through 2040, aiming to lift the living, working and learning conditions of the city's people to a new high. The public can provide opinions through Sept 21, officials said when publishing the proposed plan on Aug 22. With ceilings set for the city's permanent resident population and the overall land planned for construction, Shanghai will pursue a path of meticulous growth, said Zhuang Shaoqin, director of Shanghai's planning bureau.

    Hospitals will pioneer push for organ donation

    About 300 hospitals nationwide will be selected as pioneers to set up a department to coordinate and promote organ donations among medical staff and to raise awareness of and standardize the practice, said Huang Jiefu, director of the China Organ Donation and Transplantation Commission and former vice-minister of health. The hospitals' medical staff will be trained using updated information about donation techniques, processes, regulations and policies, Huang said. In addition, the country's top health authority will introduce a monitoring system to scrutinize the process of brain death diagnosis for organ transplantations.

    Central bank official assumes IMF post

    Zhang Tao, deputy governor of China's central bank, formally assumed his duties as deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund on Aug 22, which analysts say showcases China's rising influence in the field of global financial governance. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, announced the appointment on July 8. Zhang succeeds Zhu Min, who stepped down on July 25.

    Royal courtyard house gets facelift

    The Palace Museum, also known as the Forbidden City, has begun to renovate one of its former imperial courtyard houses in an effort to better protect a building that is nearly 500 years old, and to set an example for the preservation of other historical buildings. The Yangxin Dian, or the Court of Spiritual Rest, built in 1537, hasn't been renovated in around 35 years. It is expected to reopen in 2020.

    Military snipers test their skills

    Forty-two military snipers from 15 countries gathered in Beijing on Aug 22 to take part in a competition. The goal was to enhance military cooperation to combat terrorism. The four-day event, the first of its kind hosted by the Chinese Armed Police Force, attracted snipers from France, the Republic of Belarus, Hungary and Israel, among others.

    Rules detailed for social organizations

    China will lower the threshold and simplify registration procedures for social organizations, according to new central government guidelines. The rules state that social organizations will now file registration applications with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, which will review them in light of opinions from officials and experts.

    Group lauds success with air pollution

    Effective pollution controls adopted in 161 major Chinese cities have greatly improved air quality, a green organization said on Aug 22. Of the cities, 90 percent have reached their goals, and 14 have managed to cut concentrations of PM2.5 - tiny particles of pollution that are hazardous to human health - by more than 20 percent, said Fu Lu, head of the China office of Clean Air Asia, an environmental group based in Manila, the Philippines. Last year, major pollutants such as sulfur dioxide were reduced 21.9 percent year-on-year, and the average PM2.5 reading was down by 14.1 percent in the cities, the report said.

    China opposes nuclear development plan

    China opposes the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear development program, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Aug 24 after an annual meeting with counterparts from Japan and the Republic of Korea. The DPRK test-fired a submarine-launched ballistic missile on Aug 24 before the meeting between Wang, Japan's Fumio Kishida and the ROK's Yun Byung-se in Tokyo. Wang said China will continue to strive for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and persist in settling such issues through dialogue and consultation. The test was done after Pyongyang said it would launch a "pre-emptive nuclear strike" against the ongoing annual US-ROK military exercise, which lasts until Sept 2.

    Nation ready to offer assistance to Italy

    China is ready to provide assistance to quake-hit areas in Italy, Lu Kang, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Aug 24. China expresses its sincere sympathy to the people affected by the disaster, Lu said, adding that the Chinese embassy in Italy has launched emergency procedures and is closely monitoring the situation with regard to potential Chinese casualties in the disaster. The death toll had topped 240 by Aug 25, and thousands were left homeless after a magnitude-6.2 earthquake devastated a string of mountainous towns and villages about 140 km east of Rome on Aug 24.

    Xi, Obama will meet in September

    US President Barack Obama will hold "in-depth meetings" with President Xi Jinping in September during his 11th and probably final trip as president to Asia, the core region of his administration's foreign policy, the White House said. Experts said that disagreements will remain between China and the United States on key issues, such as the South China Sea and the planned deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense anti-missile system in the Republic of Korea, but the two leaders will likely strive to reach a consensus.

    Female sci-fi writer wins Hugo accolade

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