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There will be no changes to the timing of school holidays in Auckland from the beginning of October despite the region having been in lockdown for nearly five weeks. Education Minister Chris Hipkins said school holidays in Auckland...
By John Gerritsen, RNZ It seems the influence of the Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield is no match for peer pressure.Principals have told RNZ most teenagers in alert level 2 areas are not bothering to wear face masks...
By Matai O'Connor of RNZ A Māori-led mobile vaccine clinic that focuses on going to emergency and transitional housing is being used in Te Whanganui-a-Tara to help curb vaccine hesitation in the community. In the first week...
Warning: Graphic details. This article may be triggering to some people. A police investigation into sexual and physical abuse inside Christian community Gloriavale has identified at least 60 people involved in "harmful sexual behaviour",...
A 23-year-old man has been charged with murder after the discovery of a teenager's body in Manurewa, Auckland.The 16-year-old girl was found in McVilly Rd on the afternoon of Saturday, September 11, prompting police to start a homicide...
Hamilton-based freelance journalist and advocate for the disabled community Michael Lewis Pulman, died in Hamilton on September 8, 2021 in his 30th year. His funeral service was in Te Kuiti on Wednesday, followed by burial at Te...
Police are extending a six-month operation aimed at cracking down on gangs and organised crime after seizing almost 1000 firearms, nearly $5 million in cash and arresting 800 people.Operation Tauwhiro launched in February as a national...
Ventilation in Wellington's Bay Plaza Hotel is not up to "standard required to deal with the Delta variant" and has halved the hotel's capacity. The hotel will cease operating as a MIQ facility completely at the end of the year,...
Wet weather is causing a few problems in Wairoa, and it's set to continue until late on Friday afternoon.Wairoa District Council said on Friday morning that Waiatai Road was closed due to flooding, and warned road users there were...
A bakery and a petrol station outside of Auckland have been linked to a person with Covid-19 - the first time businesses outside of the city have been linked to the current outbreak in weeks.The Uppercrust Bakery at 504 Maunganui...
Police have arrested a man accused of causing a melee at an Auckland supermarket that included not wearing a mask, shoplifting and chasing a security guard with his dog before turning aggression towards officers who were called to...
Four Hawke's Bay firefighters are self-isolating after helping an essential worker from Auckland who was in an early morning crash on State Highway 5. DO YOU KNOW MORE? EMAIL US Hawke's Bay Fire and Emergency NZ area manager...
A bakery in Mt Maunganui has been linked to a person with Covid-19.The Uppercrust Bakery Mt Maunganui, at 504 Maunganui Rd, has been identified as a location of interest this morning - as has the BP Tauriko.Uppercrust Bakery owner...
A number of items have been found in the search for a missing man and his three children last seen near a beach in Marokopa.Efforts to find Thomas Phillips, 34, and his three young children, Jayda Jin, 8, Maverick Callum-Phillips,...
Gang and Central Hawke's Bay drugs rehabilitation programme Kahukura failed in its first bid for recognition from the courts when a judge in Napier rejected it as a basis for relaxing a man's sentence for involvement in supplying...
A road snowfall warning has been issued for State Highway 1 the Desert Road between Rangipo and Waiouru.MetService says snow showers may affect the road on Friday with 1cm to 2cm possible throughout the day near the summit.Meanwhile,...
By RNZ Searchers are focusing on the Marokopa coastline in the mission to find Thomas Phillips and his three young children.Thomas Phillips, 34, and his three young children, Jayda Jin, 8; Maverick Callum-Phillips, 6; and Ember...
The owner of a Milton helicopter company is devastated by the loss of a "much-loved employee and friend" in a crash near Lawrence yesterday.Lister Helicopters confirmed one of its machines, a Eurocopter Squirrel AS350, was involved...
A person is in hospital with life-threatening injuries after being struck by a train last night.Police said they were notified around 8.15pm that a pedestrian had been hit by the train in Ngāruawāhia, in the Waikato region.St...
By Nathan Rarere of RNZ Seventy-one per cent of New Zealanders have had their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, with just over half of those people now fully vaccinated.At the rate the country is going, New Zealand is just weeks...
Chinese state media ominously warned Australia to “prepare for the worst.”
The investigation opens a potential path for accountability in the Philippines, though any prosecution of extrajudicial killings is likely to take years.
The debate over the remains of the ruthless Maoist leader is forcing the country to again confront the most brutal period in its past.
Most Europeans, vaccinated or not, have been banned from the United States since March 14, 2020: More than 550 days and counting.
The death of Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, who led Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, comes as France is drawing down its forces in a region facing the menace of extremism.
Speaking from a detention camp in Syria, Shamima Begum said she "made a mistake."
But even from prison, opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s ‘Smart Voting’ app has the Kremlin uneasy.
Until the new deal, ties between the U.S. and Australia had seemed decidedly frosty.
The big highlight of Mexico’s Independence Day has been the visit by Cuban President Miguel D�az-Canel
The debate unfolding around the world over coronavirus vaccine mandates is playing out on a small scale at the United Nations headquarters ahead of a meeting of dozens of world leaders in New York next week.
Trudeau bet that his handling of the economic and public health crises wrought by the pandemic would help him regain a majority in the House of Commons. It hasn’t been so easy.
Young people coming of age in an era of natural disasters are facing another struggle, too: growing anxiety about climate change.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s reluctance to get a vaccine is a rarity in his country — and may complicate his plans to attend the U.N.’s General Assembly next week
Haiti’s new justice minister is pledging to find those responsible for high-profile killings as he spoke publicly for the first time since taking over from his predecessor fired by Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who recently dismissed officials seeking to interview him as part of the investigation into the president’s slaying
Authorities say a 16-year-old boy has been detained in connection with a possible plan for an Islamic extremist attack on a synagogue in the German city of Hagen
A U.N. official says tens of thousands of Haitians are still awaiting help more than a month after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the country’s southern region
At least 10 civilians were killed in a village in northeast Nigeria, according to local reports.
China yesterday unveiled a plan to control plastic pollution over the next five years, aiming to effectively curb white pollution by 2025.The action plan, jointly issued by the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, details measures to cut the production and use of plastics, develop alternatives for plastics, and substantially reduce the amount of plastic waste in landfills and environmental leakage during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025).By 2025, key sectors such as retail, e-commerce and express delivery, are expected to drastically cut the unreasonable use of disposable plastics, according to the plan.The country will promote the use of alternatives to plastic, such as bamboo, wood, paper and degradable plastics. It will also ramp up research on degradable plastic technologies and encourage the orderly development of related industries.The recycling and disposal of plastic waste will also be improved across the country, while plastic waste in key water areas, scenic spots and rural areas will be cleaned up, the plan states.
“Shared Destiny-2021,” a multinational peacekeeping live exercise organized by the Chinese military, concluded at a training base in Queshan County of central China’s Henan Province yesterday.Li Zuocheng, a member of the Central Military Commission and chief of staff of the CMC Joint Staff Department, observed a comprehensive exercise, attended the closing ceremony and declared the conclusion of the drill.The comprehensive exercise, which started around 9am, was attended by over 1,000 officers and soldiers from countries including China, Mongolia, Pakistan and Thailand.Under joint command, they completed tasks such as building temporary operating bases, guard patrol, armed escort, protection of civilians, and response to violence and terrorist attacks.The exercise, which kicked off on September 6, is an important supporting event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations.During the exercise, troops of various countries conducted joint military training, cooperated closely, and learned from each other.The drill helped assess and advance the capability of peacekeeping standby forces to carry out missions. It also promoted exchanges, mutual trust and pragmatic cooperation between participating troops.
Chinese officials and human rights experts on Tuesday voiced strong support for the country’s newly issued five-year human-rights action plan for 2021 to 2025.The plan proposes new objectives and missions for the new stage of China’s development, with a focus on issues concerning people’s wellbeing.Li Xiaojun, an official with the bureau of human rights affairs under the State Council Information Office, told a press conference that the new action plan aims to provide better education, jobs and incomes, promote social security services, medical services and living conditions, while ensuring more effective ways for the people to exercise democratic political rights.The plan stresses protecting the underage from corporal punishment and bullying, both on the Internet and on campus, said Chang Jian, director of the human rights research center of the Tianjin-based Nankai University.It also proposes providing better services to elderly people with disabilities and dementia, Chang added.The plan sets specific targets to protect the rights and interests of the disabled, including 500,000 new jobs for them in urban areas, and building rehabilitation universities, Li Xiaojun said.Bie Tao, head of the Department of Laws, Regulations and Standards under the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said the protection of environmental rights is a major characteristic of China’s efforts to safeguard human rights.Noting that the plan urges improvements to the system of compensation for ecological and environmental damage, Bie said regulations will be drafted in this regard.The plan lists China’s targets and promises on domestic and international development of the cause of human rights.Li Xiaomei, special representative for human rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the historic achievements made by China in eliminating extreme poverty and building a moderately prosperous society in all respects are the best practice in human rights progress.“China will open a new chapter in international exchanges and cooperation on human rights in the next five years,” Li said.
At a packaging workshop of canned tomato paste in Yanqi Hui Autonomous County in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Aysam Sawut watches over a control console while listening to music on her headphones.The 29-year-old skilled operator and 26 other workers are employed at the highly automated factory which produces around 6,000 tons of tomato paste annually. Half of its products are sold overseas.Aysam Sawut’s factory is certainly relevant to pizza and crisp lovers. One in five canned tomato pastes available on the global market are likely to have been produced in Xinjiang, one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of the sweet-sour product.In 2020 alone, the region produced nearly 720,000 tons of tomato products, accounting for more than 85 percent of China’s total.Yang Ruisheng deems autumn the most joyful season of the year. A tomato farmer and head of a local rural cooperative in Yanqi, Yang owns about 40 hectares of tomato plantation.“A bumper harvest is in sight this year and the robust market demand has helped increase the price of our tomatoes,” said Yang. One hectare of tomatoes can bring local farmers more than 75,000 yuan (US$11,650) in gross income.Tomato paste makers are racing for raw materials, and they are even willing to come to harvest the tomato fields themselves, Yang said.Large tomato-plucking machines are frequently seen in the fields in Yanqi. Machines are mostly used in the industry chain covering tomato plantation, harvesting and processing.During tomato plantation, human labor is only required when dropping seedlings at regular intervals on the mobile planting machine.“Tomatoes are planted with a fixed row-to-row spacing so as to better facilitate mechanized harvesting,” said Xiong Xiangdong, a senior agricultural technician in Yanqi.Besides, drones are used for spraying pesticides and devices with sensors are utilized to help sort out unripe tomatoes, stalks and clods.Faster than humans“Normally, machines can harvest about 6,667 square meters of plantation in just 10 hours.“At least three to four days are needed if relying on human labor,” said Ma Liang, an operator of agricultural machinery in Yanqi.He can earn more than 15,000 yuan in the 50-day harvest season.Xinjiang’s tomato paste industry is not only highly efficient but also lucrative. More than 90 percent of the region’s tomato products are sold overseas, mainly in Italy, Russia, Africa and the Middle East.The tomato paste produced in Yanqi is rich in lycopene, good in taste and hardly contains any mold, thanks to the local dry climate, ample sunshine, fertile land and huge temperature differences between day and night.“Our products are very popular in Middle East countries,” said Zhang Gaohui, chairman of the factory where Aysam Sawut works. He has been engaged in the industry for 26 years and is very confident in his products.
If you think dolls are just the playthings of little girls, think again.
A woman who goes by the nickname A Yuan is 26 and she collects dolls. Indeed, she owns a whole family of them from brands like Dollfie Dreams, Smart Dolls and Obitsu. She says they bring color into an otherwise “boring” life.
A Yuan and others like her call themselves “doll mothers.” In their minds, the dolls are not toys but rather parts of their families.
A 25-year-old “doll mother” who identified herself only as Alkaid told Shanghai Daily she has owned dolls for eight years.
“For me, they are somewhat like my children,” she said. “I design personalities, makeup and settings for each of them,” she told Shanghai Daily. “I see them as unique in the world and would never resell them.”
Besides buying clothes for her dolls, she takes them out for photo shoots and exhibition visits, and write stories for them. She celebrates birthdays she has chosen for them.
“My mother supports my hobby and often goes with me to the park where we take pictures of my dolls,” Alkaid said. “She also accompanies me to the annual doll exhibition Shanghai Dolly Paradise and gives me dolls as birthday gifts.”
Yang Lin, 27, is new to the ranks of “doll mothers.” She took up the hobby last year.
“I put the dolls in my office and change their clothes to match the seasons,” she said. “Sometimes I take the dolls with me on business trips. Each doll has a unique style.”
It turns out doll-collecting is a gender-free hobby.
Xiao Ming, 32, is a “doll father” and former art student from Harbin. He said he acquired his first doll, which he named Xue Mi, in 2009.
“The dolls give me spiritual comfort,” he said. “After graduating from university, I stayed in Beijing for a period. It was an extremely lonely time for me. Sometimes the only communication I had with other people was a ‘thank you’ to a supermarket cashier. My dolls saved me. They were like Robinson Crusoe’s Friday.”
He said he bought his first two dolls with pocket money given to him by his grandfather. After his grandfather died, Xiao Ming preserved the dolls in boxes to commemorate the old man.
Dolls are becoming big business. In Shanghai, one of the favorite shops for “doll mothers” is Bluemoon Dollhouse on Hongqiao Road. It’s one of the few brick-and-mortar retailers in an industry conducted mostly online.
Inside the shop, dolls are everywhere. They line shelves and sit in display cabinets.
Store owner Lan Yue, 38, says she was introduced to the world of dolls when a friend bought a “ball-jointed” doll and showed it to her in 2005.
That doll variety refers to one that has socket joints, allowing it to sit and make various gestures. Modern Asian dolls of this type were generally made of resins and were first produced in 1999 when Japanese company Volks created the Super Dollfie line of dolls.
This level of doll collecting didn’t come cheap. Super Dollfies cost thousands of yuan, with some full sets selling at more than 10,000 yuan (US$1,544). And ordering them from Japan in the era before easy online shopping was complicated.
Lan was captivated.
“The doll had exquisite makeup and wore fancy dress,” she says. “All her joints could move to make different gestures.”
Lan bought her first doll from domestic doll maker Doll Zone. She designed the doll’s clothes and makeup. Soon she was chatting online with other doll collectors. Her passion became a business when she quit her job on a magazine and opened a shop specializing in dolls and all their related paraphernalia.
Dolls are generally considered one of mankind’s earliest toys. Wooden paddle dolls were found in Egyptian tombs as early as the 21st century BC. Dolls with movable limbs and interchangeable clothing date back to at least 200 BC, and stories from ancient Greece told of little girls playing with dolls in AD 100.
There are endless varieties of dolls, like rag dolls, voodoo dolls, Russian nesting dolls and Barbie-style fashion dolls. There are equally endless materials used to make them — wood, corn husks, PVC, rubber, porcelain, leather and paper mache, among others.
Dolls come in all sizes. A ball-jointed doll can be as tall as 65 centimeters or as small as 11cms.
Bluemoon Dollhouse opened in 2008.
“I found the location, decorated the shop and contacted different doll brands to become an authorized agent,” she said. “I posted ads online.”
The shop has become popular. On weekends, there are even queues outside.
“I have made a lot of friends from the shop,” Lan said. “We often hang out together, go for a meal or do karaoke. The shop doesn’t bring in big profits and the work is tiring, but I enjoy it all.”
Lan had to relocate her shop several times — once due to street redevelopment. She chose her current location in a commercial building to keep costs down and weed out gawkers. She sells both online and offline.
Doll mothers, she explained, “raise” dolls. They can create personas for them through makeup and clothing — sweet dolls, seductive dolls, gloomy dolls, sad dolls. Some imitate animated, comic or game characters. And owners sometimes organize doll parties.
“It’s a good hobby,” Lan said. “Many doll owners learn about making up and designing clothes for their dolls. They also learn something about photography from taking pictures of them.”
Raising dolls is full of imagination and the pursuit for beauty, she says.
“When designing clothes for a doll, you are building dreams,” Lan explains. “A human being’s appearance is restricted by nature. But dolls have infinite possibilities.”
Her clientele includes some grandmothers and also foreign customers who hear about her shop from online forums.
Dolls tend to reflect the countries that make them in appearance and clothing. Until recently, the most popular dolls were foreign, sporting the clothing of, say, Japan, South Korea or Western cultures. But that is changing. Domestic doll makers are producing dolls with definite Chinese attributes and clothing.
Makeup artist Hei Zhu Ren is part of the new wave of chinoiserie dolls. She has created the Bel-Eve Doll brand.
Her dolls have graceful bodies and look like feitian, or the “flying goddess” found in the frescoes of Dunhuang’s Mogao Grottoes. The dolls have the updo hairstyles of ancient Chinese women and wear traditional Chinese clothing.
Hei said she fell in love with dolls when she was an undergraduate and began collecting them. When their numbers grew beyond her ability to afford accessories, she began making them herself.
Later, she shifted her sights to plastic dolls, primarily Obitsu dolls from Japan’s Obitsu Plastic Manufacturing Co, and dolls from the American fashion doll franchise Monster High.
Since Obitsu allow their buyers to design the facial makeup, Chinese doll makeup artists created exquisite ancient Chinese-style faces for them.
But Hei didn’t like the body shape of Obitsu dolls and wanted a more Chinese version. She said she couldn’t find quite what she wanted, so she created her own.
Her Bel-eve Doll comes in various themes, like the Silk Road and Dunhuang feitian series.
Elsewhere in the industry, Hangzhou-based Angell Studio is continuing its series of dolls themed on the 24 solar terms, dolls drawing on concepts from China’s Classic Mountains and Seas, and Glorious Life dolls of ancient Chinese figures like the Tang Dynasty Princess Taiping.
The brand also cooperates with Chinese mobile game Menghuanxinzhuxian, turning its Biyao heroine into dolls.
Shenzhen-based Loong Soul Doll has lines from Ancient Legends, Chinese Gods and 28 Lunar Mansions. It also works with popular Chinese video game producer JX Online 3, designing a doll based on one of its characters.
A new Chinese-doll brand called Phoenix Mystery is gaining popularity among doll fans.
“It’s a good to see that,” said doll owner Xiao Ming. “Now, we doll lovers have more choices. In the past at doll exhibitions, you found most Western-style clothing or Japanese kimonos for dolls. But now, we have Chinese-style clothes, fashionable ones.”
China’s COVID-19 outbreak in Fujian Province, which has reported 152 local cases in five days, has prompted cities in other parts of the country to issue travel warnings ahead of major holidays.
The travel warnings come ahead of the weeklong National Day holiday starting on October 1, a major tourist season, as well as a shorter Mid-Autumn Festival holiday next week.
The last outbreak in July-August, which saw strict movement restrictions in some cities, hit tourism, hospitality and transportation sectors and slowed retail sales growth.
Even though all new local cases in China since September 10 were reported in Fujian only, the northeastern city of Jilin, as well as Maoming and Guangzhou in the south, have advised people against non-essential trips out of their provinces. Shanxi and Heilongjiang provinces have also made similar advisories.
The cities of Chifeng and Hohhot in the northern autonomous region of Inner Mongolia have advised residents to stay put during the holidays, while Xi’an in Shaanxi Province told residents to avoid leaving town for unnecessary reasons.
The National Health Commission said yesterday that 50 new locally transmitted cases were reported for September 14, compared with 59 infections a day earlier. All of them were in Fujian.
That brings the total number of local infections in the three Fujian cities of Putian, where the outbreak began, Xiamen and Quanzhou to 152.
About 30,000 people traveled from Putian to other provinces between August 26 to September 10, state television reported yesterday citing estimates from health authorities.
Zeng Shidian, director of Disease Control and Prevention Center in Wenzhou, in Zhejiang Province north of Fujian, was cited as saying in local media that there is a “high” risk of the city seeing some imported cases from Putian and other parts of Fujian due to the movement of people and goods.
Wenzhou is urging its residents not to travel to Fujian during the upcoming holidays. The city said on Tuesday it will close indoor entertainment venues for half a month.
The outbreak in Fujian includes infections among unvaccinated students in at least four primary schools and two kindergartens, data from local authorities showed.
China has fully vaccinated 91 percent of students aged 12-17 against the coronavirus, the Ministry of Education said yesterday, although authorities said schools need to be vigilant.
Wang Dengfeng, an education ministry official, told state television that students and teachers were being encouraged to stay put during the upcoming holidays.
The education ministry said in a statement that schools should not be complacent and implement anti-COVID measures in a more efficient and targeted manner.
China’s two vaccines have been approved for use in children from the age of 3 but authorities in charge of the vaccination rollout have yet to make children under 12 eligible.
The rise in academic grant fraud cases, and several dismissals, boosts concerns that researchers of Chinese descent are being unfairly targeted.
With recovering economies and high vaccination rates, the E.U. is looking much better than earlier this year, though challenges persist.
The Taliban leadership is “closer than a family,” says Abdul Ghani Baradar.
After a semester online, Wang Ziwei looked forward to meeting classmates who are returning to campus at Washington University in St Louis. But the 23-year-old finance student said the US revoked his student visa on security grounds.
Wang is among at least 500 students the Chinese government says have been rejected under a policy issued by then-President Donald Trump to block China from obtaining US technology with possible military uses. Students argue it is applied too broadly and fume at accusations that they are spies.
“The whole thing is nonsense,” Wang said. “What do we finance students have to do with the military?”
The policy blocks visas for people who are affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army, or universities deemed by Washington to be part of military modernization efforts. Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has given no indication of what he might do.
Chinese officials appealed to US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman to drop the visa restrictions when she visited in July, according to The Paper, a Shanghai online news outlet.
Separately, a group of 177 Stanford University professors sent an open letter this month asking the US Justice Department to end the China Initiative, another Trump-era program that investigates researchers in the United States. The letter signers say it has raised concerns about racial profiling and discouraged scholars from staying in or coming to the country.
China is the biggest source of foreign students in the United States. The number fell 20 percent in 2020 from the previous year but at 380,000 was nearly double that of second-ranked India.
An engineer at a state-owned aircraft manufacturer said he was turned down for a visa to accompany his wife, a visiting scholar in California studying pediatric cancer. The engineer has undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Harbin Institute of Technology in China’s northeast. It is one of seven schools Chinese news reports say are associated with visa rejections because they are affiliated with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
Chinese ambassador to the United States Qin Gang on Monday called on Washington to create necessary conditions for implementing the China-US phase-one trade agreement.
“As a show of sincerity, China has been faithfully implementing the agreement despite the pandemic,” Qin said during a virtual meeting with members of the US-China Business Council.
China “has made positive progress” in enhancing IPR (intellectual property rights) protection and expanding market access of agricultural products and the financial sector, he said. However, since the agreement came into force, the United States “has continued to impose sanctions and restrictions” on China, including putting more than 900 Chinese entities on various lists of restrictions, Qin noted.
“This has directly affected Chinese companies’ ability and willingness to purchase from the US and has had a negative impact on the implementation of the agreement,” he said.
Qin’s remarks came after US media recently reported that the US government is considering launching the so-called Section 301 investigation into Chinese subsidies in an attempt to pressure China on trade issues.
“If we compare China-US relations to a giant ship, then economic and trade cooperation has been its ballast and propeller. When the ship sails against heavy winds and huge waves, we need to add more strength to the ballast and propeller,” Qin said at the meeting featuring CEOs of some of the largest US corporations.
New local COVID-19 infections more than doubled in China’s southeastern province of Fujian, health authorities said yesterday, prompting officials to quickly roll out measures including mass testing to halt the spread of the virus.
The National Health Commission said 59 new locally transmitted cases were reported for September 13, up from 22 infections a day earlier. All of them were in Fujian Province.
In an update later yesterday, local authorities said that as of 8am, the province has reported 120 locally transmitted confirmed cases and 19 local asymptomatic carriers in the latest outbreak that began on Friday.
The confirmed cases occurred in three cities, with Putian, where the first infections were found, reporting 75 cases. Xiamen, a tourist and transport hub with a population of 5 million, has 33 cases, while Quanzhou reported 12.
All the infected patients have been transferred to designated hospitals for treatment.
As of Monday, two areas in the province have been classified as COVID-19 high-risk areas and four more as medium-risk areas.
The resurgence comes ahead of the weeklong National Day holiday starting on October 1, a major tourist season. The last domestic outbreak in late July to August disrupted travel, hitting the tourism, hospitality and transportation sectors.
China’s air passenger traffic plunged 51.5 percent in August from a year earlier, data showed yesterday, highlighting the vulnerability of airlines to repeated outbreaks even though COVID-19 is largely under control in the country.
Putian, a city of 3.2 million, ordered testing of all residents yesterday after Delta variant cases reportedly linked to a returnee from Singapore ballooned into a province-wide outbreak.
“The Putian government is a big client of ours,” said a staff member at a Xiamen building survey firm, declining to be named. “About half of our company went to Putian last week. They are now isolated at home, while the rest have gone to do their COVID tests.”
Xiamen also began city-wide testing, locked down areas of higher virus risk, closed public venues such as cinemas, gyms and bars, and told residents not to leave the city for non-essential reasons.
The first patient in the Xiamen cluster was a close contact of a case in Putian.
Known for its mild weather and a laid-back lifestyle, Xiamen is a popular tourist destination domestically.
The Xiamen Gaoqi International Airport is also a key transportation hub linking the Yangtze and Pearl River Delta. About 60 percent of flights to and from Xiamen were canceled yesterday, according to aviation data provider Variflight.
Long-distance passenger bus service from Xiamen to other areas has been suspended.
Authorities said the cluster’s suspected patient zero was a man who had recently returned from Singapore and developed symptoms after completing a 14-day quarantine and initially testing negative for the virus.
The man’s 12-year-old son and a classmate were among the first patients detected in the cluster last week, shortly after the new school term began. The variant then raced through classrooms, infecting more than 36 children including 8 kindergartners, authorities said yesterday, in the first major school-linked spread the country has seen since the start of the pandemic.
China has administered more than 2 billion doses of its coronavirus vaccines, enough to fully vaccinate around 70 percent of its population. But most young children remain unvaccinated.
The Putian government had ordered schools to stop in-person classes while Xiamen followed suit yesterday.
The Chinese embassy in Singapore warned its citizens to be “cautious” about traveling to the Southeast Asian country and “be psychologically and economically prepared” for difficulties re-entering China.
Tickets to the new Universal Beijing Resort were sold out within one minute of release prior to its official opening date on September 20, travel operators said yesterday.
Admission to the theme park and rooms at its two accompanying hotels opened for reservation yesterday.
At midnight, no tickets were available within a single minute for the opening date, and ticketing orders for the Universal Studio amusement park exceeded 10,000 within three minutes, Shanghai-based online travel operator Trip.com said.
Tongcheng-Elong said tickets for September 20 were sold out within one minute on its platform as well and there were also no tickets available for the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday between Sunday and Tuesday.
Many buyers are from East China, the online travel operator said, based on its data.
According to data provided by Qunar, the first ticket was sold on the travel platform in just one second. All tickets for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival holiday were sold out within 30 minutes. Meanwhile, search for nearby hotels increased by more than seven times.
Data from Qunar also showed 80 percent of the ticket buyers on the platform have purchased at least two tickets, among them about 30 percent have also bought children’s tickets.
Alibaba’s travel site Fliggy said 100,000 tickets for designated dates were sold within half an hour on its platform.
Compared with late August when the resort announced its opening time, followers of the flagship store on Fliggy grew by 150 percent.
The UBR app and its WeChat mini-program temporarily crashed at midnight due to the huge amount of traffic.
Within 30 minutes, all rooms at the Universal Studios Grand Hotel for the opening dates were fully reserved.
The Universal Pass, offering express access to rides and attractions and priority seating at selected shows, is only available on four dates prior to the end of November, with the rest of the dates already sold out.
A one-day ticket to the theme park follows a four-tier pricing structure — 418 yuan (US$64.80), 528 yuan, 638 yuan and 748 yuan — based on the popularity of the dates.
Located in Beijing’s Tongzhou District, the UBR is the fifth Universal Studios theme park globally, the third in Asia, and the first in China.
Though Adiham Mahmti, a firefighter in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, finished his shift, his work was barely done.
Instead of returning to his dormitory to get some rest, he and his colleague Tian Zheng rushed to fetch microphones and a tripod to start livestreaming on the popular short-video platform Douyin, where viewers from across the country were waiting for them.
The session was themed on the firefighters’ daily life, in which the two livestreamers shuttled between the training hall, basketball court and canteen, showing how their colleagues work out, relax during spare time and what food they eat. They also answered viewers’ queries on fire safety.
“We want to popularize fire safety tips and share fragments of our daily lives with netizens. We want to show people what life is like for a firefighter through an insider’s perspective,” said Mahmti, 35.
This livestreaming series, as part of a broader effort to enhance public awareness of fire safety, has garnered over 5.2 million views on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.
Mahmti and Tian, from the Urumqi Fire and Rescue Detachment, got this unique idea in March. During their emergency fire missions, they noticed that many people lacked fire safety knowledge, and decided to find a solution.
After some research, they found that short videos were popular among Chinese netizens, so they signed up on four social media platforms, including Douyin and Weibo, and started the livestreams.
They simply recorded their routine life at their workplace and explained the differences in the use of varied fire extinguishers. They later edited down the videos to around one minute to achieve an optimal length for social media video post, and uploaded them.
Their videos have struck a positive chord. The subscriber count soon soared and the comment sections of their accounts were inundated with engagement, with viewers seeking more updates and asking questions about fire safety.
They, however, didn’t have much time to respond to each question. So, in late June this year, they decided to try their hand at livestreaming, which would enable them to answer frequently asked questions.
Within three months, their 12 livestreaming sessions racked up over 20 million views.
CHINA has lodged solemn representations to the United States over reports that it is considering changing the name of a “representative office” of China’s Taiwan region in the country, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said yesterday.
Zhao was responding to media reports that the Biden administration is “seriously considering” allowing a request by the Taiwan authority led by Tsai Ing-wen to change the name of the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” in Washington DC into the “Taiwan Representative Office.”
The question of Taiwan is the most important and sensitive core issue in China-US relations, and the one-China principle is the political foundation of bilateral ties, said Zhao.
He said that in the Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and the United States, the US had made a clear commitment that the American people will maintain cultural, commercial, and unofficial relations with Taiwan.
US President Joe Biden said the US side has no intention to change its one-China policy when he called President Xi Jinping on Friday, Zhao said. He urged the US side to abide by the one-China principle and the three China-US joint communiques with concrete actions.
The US side should stop official contacts of any form with China’s Taiwan region or substantively upgrading relations with it, including attempts to change the name of the “Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office” into the “Taiwan Representative Office,” or sending wrong signals to “Taiwan independence” forces, said Zhao.
The Chinese spokesperson added that the US should handle Taiwan-related issues prudently to avoid “seriously damaging” China-US relations or peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits.
Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said China “resolutely opposes” the development of official relations in any form or mutual establishment of official agencies between Taiwan and countries having diplomatic relations with China. She warned that Democratic Progressive Party’s tricks for “Taiwan independence” are doomed to fail.
THE COVID-19 situation in the southeastern city of Putian is “serious and complex” and it is very likely more new cases will emerge in communities, schools and factories, state broadcaster CCTV said yesterday, citing National Health Commission experts.
By 8pm yesterday, the city in Fujian Province had reported 79 infections in the latest outbreak, including 58 confirmed cases and 21 asymptomatic patients.
Fujian’s capital city Xiamen has found 12 confirmed cases as of 6pm yesterday. Cases have also been reported in nearby city of Quanzhou.
A total of 43 local cases had been reported in Fujian between September 10 and September 12, NHC data showed.
The first few infections, found during routine testing, were elementary students in Xianyou County in Putian. Another cluster is among workers in a local shoe factory.
The First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University was put under lockdown yesterday after a logistics staff member tested positive for COVID-19.
The case was detected during a routine screening, and outpatient and emergency medical services have been suspended, the hospital said.
Siming District of Xiamen City, where the hospital is located, imposed a lockdown in parts of the area, with residents ordered to stay at home and social gatherings banned.
China has released a guideline on deepening the reform of its ecological compensation mechanism to speed up the building of ecological civilization.
The guideline, jointly released by the general offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, details measures for the country to realize long-term ecological compensation goals set for 2025 and 2035.
By 2025, an ecological compensation mechanism that is aligned with economic and social development should be built. The classified compensation system targeting ecological elements such as rivers, natural forests and wetlands, and the comprehensive compensation system that features fiscal support will be improved.
In the meantime, a market-oriented and diversified compensation pattern will be formed with the whole of society more actively participating in ecological protection.
By 2035, the country will form an ecological compensation mechanism that meets the requirements of ecological civilization in the new era, according to the document.
The classified compensation system will take into account factors including the economic and social development of the ecological protection areas, and the protection costs of diverse ecological elements.
Efforts will be made to explore a protection mode that facilitates local governments to strengthen coordination in practicing ecological protection measures, said the document.
While focusing on national ecological security priorities, the country will enhance the comprehensive compensation system with policies that conform to the financial capacity and promote equal access to basic public services.
Liang Dali, 31, has spent six years teaching special needs child Yiyi basic skills such as using utensils, hand washing and going to the toilet.Liang, from Longxi County in northwest China’s Gansu Province, says her job is rewarding but also challenging.Liang started her path in special education in 2015 by joining the first batch of teachers organized by the government to offer door-to-door educational services to ensure equal opportunities for children with severe disabilities. So far, more than 300 teachers in Longxi County have provided free visitation services for over 170 disabled children.“I was a kindergarten teacher back then and offered my services to a severely disabled girl near my school,” Liang said, “She always welcomed me with the utmost warmth, finishing her homework carefully and reviewing before our next class.”Liang could not help but cry every time she thought about this special student.“I will never forget her eyes — full of expectation for me. She is why I decided to devote myself to special education.”Since the student now suffers from an illness that has made it impossible for her to move freely, she asks her parents to create a card for Liang based on her ideas every year for Teacher’s Day on September 10.Thanks to continuous efforts, people are now more aware of special education. In Gansu, the number of teachers involved in the sector has exceeded 1,200. The enrollment rate of the disabled in the compulsory education stage in Gansu has reached 96.81 percent by the end of last year. The province is home to 44 special education schools in the compulsory education stage, and counties with a population of over 300,000 each have independent special education schools.“It is necessary for teachers to have strong observation skills and creativity to find the characteristics and shining points of each child,” said Qian Enhua, one of Liang’s colleagues at the Special Education School of Longxi County.Xiaoxia, a hearing-impaired child who likes drawing, was not able to paint grass without the help of teachers when she started to learn the skill at the age of 14. Repeated failures made her lose confidence. “We took her to the fields to practice in the nature and kept encouraging her to pick up the brush and draw whatever she wanted,” Qian said.The 27-year-old girl was admitted to Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts this year. “She told us over the phone, excited and somewhat trembling, and we all cried happily,” Qian said.One morning, Qian spotted an apple and some sweets on her desk after she entered the classroom and saw her students smiling at her.“At that moment, I felt all my efforts paid off. Although these children have special needs, they can feel and express love, and are eager to interact with those who love them,” Qian said.
The election of the seventh Legislative Assembly of the Macau Special Administrative Region kicked off yesterday.Voting started at 9am. The preliminary results are expected early this morning.The seventh legislature will comprise 33 seats, including 14 directly-elected seats, 12 indirectly-elected seats, and seven appointed by the SAR’s chief executive within 15 days after receiving the reviewed vote counting of direct and indirect election.A total of 126 candidates from 14 groups will run for the 14 directly-elected seats, while 12 candidates from five vocational groups will run for the 12 indirectly-elected seats.After casting his vote, Ho Iat Seng, chief executive of the SAR, called upon voters to vote.Ho expressed his hope that the legislators perform their supervisory power over the SAR government in accordance with the Basic Law of the Macau SAR.Anti-corruption officials said they have carried out around 8,000 inspections since the election work began and the situation was satisfying.Due to the impact of COVID-19, the SAR government has adopted strict prevention measures for the campaigning period.On voting day, voters were required to wear face masks, have their body temperatures checked and present health codes. There were also signs reminding voters to keep social distance and avoid gathering.
About 20 years ago, a diary chronicling the struggles of a teenage girl from rural China was published at home and abroad and became an instant hit.In the book “The Diary of Ma Yan: The Struggles and Hopes of a Chinese School Girl,” Ma described scenes such as how girls had to cross mountains to reach school every morning with an empty stomach.Their longing for the change of destiny through learning and hardworking was inspirational for many readers.Twenty years have since passed and the conditions described in Ma’s diary have undergone tremendous changes.A whole new world has been forged.“Mother, my tears would never dry if I couldn’t go to school,” Ma wrote in her diary when her mother Bai Juhua suggested the 13-year-old drop out of school and learn tailoring or hairdressing skills.Ma cried a river and asked her younger brother to read her diary to their mother.Then, her mother changed her mind.In order to support her daughter, she traveled far and did odd jobs to earn money. Ma’s hometown Zhangjiashu is a mountainous village in Tongxin County, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in northwest China.It is part of Xihaigu, a barren region that was deemed one of the most unfit places for human settlement by the United Nations in the 1970s.“Now, all children have got access to free education thanks to the implementation of the country’s nine-year compulsory education policy,” said Ma Ruyun, principal of the Third Middle School of Tongxin County where Ma Yan once studied.The bungalows where Ma once studied have been replaced by concrete buildings with bright classrooms equipped with digital blackboards and Internet. Students can attend online classes.Ma wrote in her diary that she and her classmates used to bring steamed buns as their only food at school.Now, students do no longer have to bring their own food.“Today no girl drops out of school to get married,” Ma Ruyun said. “Their parents are ready to send them to a vocational school to acquire skills even if they fail to gain admission to a senior middle school.”
An explosion and fire caused by liquefied gas cylinder leakage killed eight people and injured five others on Saturday in a residential building in the city of Dalian, northeast China’s Liaoning Province.The accident happened about midnight in the city’s Pulandian District.
Six people died of suffocation on Saturday at a factory in the city of Baoding, in north China’s Hebei Province.The accident happened about 3am when a worker at a down-jacket factory in Daxinzhuang Village, Xushui District, fainted while checking the water pump in a scum pool. Several others fainted in the rescue attempt.
traffic police will launch a campaign from today to strengthen the crackdown on drunk driving around the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.Police will live broadcast their activities during the 10-day campaign to warn the drivers against drunk driving.The Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional festival symbolizing family reunion, runs from September 21 for three days.
An Australian member of a UN committee about discrimination against women describes the Prime Minister's reference to a threat of violence against female protesters as "saddening".
News Corp says it has reached a multi-year agreement with Facebook that covers its major Australian mastheads, including The Australian, Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, as well as regional publications.
Australian health advisors and the government remain committed to the rollout of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, despite safety concerns overseas and on the backbench.