• Scientists warn of China’s glaciers shrink
By Li Zhihui
China’s glaciers have retreated by 18 percent since the 1950s, Chinese scientists warned.
A survey using remote sensing data between 2006 and 2010 showed China had 48,571 glaciers covering 51,840 square km in the west region, according to a recent catalog of the country’s glaciers released by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
The worst shrink was detected on the Altai Mountains located in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Gangdise Mountain in Tibet Autonomous Region, with retreat hitting 37.2 percent and 32.7 percent respectively over the past half century, according to the survey by the CAS Cold and Arid Regions Research Institute.
Major glaciers on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, especially the east part of Gangdise as well as the southern and western Himalayas were melting at the most rapid pace, with areas shrinking by 2.2 percent every year, according to the survey.
• China Earthquake Networks Center to provide push notification service
By Sun Xiaozheng and Lu Guoqiang
China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC)will provide an earthquake notification service to the public through its Weibo account, the center said on Wednesday of December 17.
CENC joined hands with Weibo.com and promised that earthquake information would be pushed to all terminal users in the epicenter regions within 10 seconds of the earthquake.
Earthquake alerts will also be available through the center’s official Weibo platform, according to Pan Huaiwen, director of CENC.
“The move is to ensure fast and accurate earthquake information access for the relevant people, and to reduce people’s panic after the earthquake,” Pan said.
• China establishes database on classic Chinese literature
By Fu Shuangqi
A database of Chinese poems and classics of literature will soon be open to viewers at home and abroad.
The database, still in its first phase, is made up of about 500 hours of video on the 100 most popular classic of Chinese poetry and short essays, said a press release from the People’s Education Press, the database’s publisher, on Wednesday of December 17.
The videos show readings and elaborations on the classics, including some from ethnic minorities like Mongolian, Tibetan, Uyghur and Korean. These works are presented in both their original languages and in Mandarin.
In the second and third phrases of the database, the publisher plans to use classics of philosophy, politics and history.
The project, sponsored by the government, is the work of more than 40 experts and ten elite universities or institutes.
• China calls for tipoffs on food, drug
By Liu Lu
The Legislative Affairs Office of China’s State Council called for tip-offs on problematic food and drug products, prohibiting exposure of the whistle-blowers’ information.
According to a draft regulation issued on Wednesday, food and drug watchdogs at all levels should create channels for people to report tip-offs using phones, internet, letters and petitions. It called for an improved administration system to handle the reports.
Concrete facts and information on suspect food and drug products should be provided when people submit tip-offs, the draft said.
Although the draft called on people to report using real names, whistle-blowers who are not willing to provide their personal information should be respected. Any information related to whistle-blowers should not be leaked.
The draft also highlighted some of the most important instances in which people should contact authorities, including those causing death and disability, infant and children’s dairy food safety, several types of pharmaceuticals, blood products, vaccines and high-risk medical instruments.
Individuals and public organizations can visit http://www.chinalaw.gov.cn or send letters and emails to share opinions on the draft regulation before Jan. 16 in 2015.
• Less privilege in China’s college enrolment
By Hu Longjiang, Wu Jing and Shi Yucen
Math, science and sport competition winners will no longer receive extra points on their college application, the Education Ministry announced Wednesday amid China’s college admittance reform.
The ministry also canceled bonus points added to results on the national college entrance exam, or gaokao, based on good morality and physical performance.
In China, gaokao results are the major assessment standard for college enrollment of students. The exam saw some 9.3 million test takers in 2013.
For years, China has had the tradition of awarding extra scores to college applicants who win major sports events, math or science competitions, which has prompted a boom in math and science training centers.
Bonus points are also common for students from Taiwan, ethnic minorities, children of martyrs and returned overseas Chinese. There are no current plans to remove this policy.
The latest move does not mean that the students’ achievement in some areas become useless, according to the ministry.
The specialty and achievement of students will be recorded for college references and in a pilot program, some “extra-special” students may be directly enrolled by some colleges through an internal selection without assessing their performance in the national exam.
As a supplement of the gaokao system, the pilot program was launched in 2003 and currently covers 90 colleges and universities. They are allowed to recruit about five percent of the total quota allocated to them.
The gaokao was restored in 1977 after 10 years of suspension.
In recent years, China has been struggling to improve its college recruitment system to make it more fair and transport more talents for its fast-growing high-tech industries.
On Tuesday the ministry issued two documents to stress evaluating the students by overall competency including their actual skills, physical health, art cultivation and social practice, instead of the solely exam scores.
• China’s game market hits 18.5 bln USD
By Ma Chao, Yu Li and Li Baojie
China’s game market experienced robust growth this year with revenues for the sector surging 37.7 percent year on year, said a report on Wednesday of December 17.
Game sales have reached 114.5 billion yuan (18.5 billion U.S. dollars) this year, according to a report released by China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association at the annual meeting of the country’s game industry held in Haikou, capital of the southern island province of Hainan.
The growth was driven in particular by strong sales of mobile games in the wake of increased smartphone penetration.
Sales of mobile games soared 145 percent year on year to 27.5 billion yuan, it said.
Sales of games developed by domestic game companies reached 72.7 billion yuan, posting strong growth of 52.5 percent.
Meanwhile, the number of game players in the world’s most populous country saw modest annual growth of 4.6 percent to reach 517 million, the report said.
• China’s Baidu, taxi app Uber sign investment agreement
By Cheng lu and Li Zhengwei
China’s leading search engine Baidu signed a strategic cooperation and investment agreement with the U.S. car-hailing service Uber on Wednesday of December 17 in Beijing.
According to the agreement, Baidu will invest in Uber, but the company didn’t disclose how much the investment was worth.
The two companies will cooperate to promote technological innovation, develop the international market and China’s “online to offline”, O2O service in the future.
The agreement will allow Uber to use Baidu’s advanced technologies in multimedia, big data and artificial intelligence, and expand its share in emerging markets.
Meanwhile, Baidu can also expand global mobile service market with the help of Uber’s abundant customers and offline service capability.
Baidu chairman and CEO Robin Li said this is a pioneering strategic partnership between a Chinese and an American Internet companies.
He said Baidu’s strategy is to connect people with service in the mobile Internet era. What people need is service related to food, clothing, shelter and transportation. This is why Baidu has decided to cooperate with Uber, which can provide transportation service to users, he said.
Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick was also present at the signing ceremony on Wednesday. He said this cooperation is a milestone for Uber, which runs in more than 250 cities across the world, and the Asia-Pacific region has been a key area of growth.
As one of China’s Internet giants, Baidu has operated businesses in regions including Southeast Aisa, the Middle East, and Latin America.
• Chinese police arrest dozens selling contaminated pig corpses
By Lü Qiuping and Fu Qing
Police in south China’s Guangdong Province arrested 34 members of five criminal outfits suspected of selling and processing contaminated pig corpses, officers said on Wednesday of December 17.
A total of 25.4 tonnes of dead pigs and pork were seized, with an estimated value of 38.5 million yuan (6.2 million U.S. dollars), said Chen Weiren, a police officer with the Zhaoqing City Public Security Bureau.
Chen said it took more than two months for police to uncover the entire dealing and processing chain in Gaoyao, a county-level city of Zhaoqing.
The suspects were involved with buying and selling the corpses of pigs who died of disease, processing them into packaged refrigerated pork and selling them to different cities across the province, Chen said.
He said pig farmers usually sold the pig corpses with the price of one yuan per kilo or even gave them to the dealers free of charge. The processed pork was sold at more than 30 yuan per kilo to local stores and preserved meat plants.
Police also found one of the groups put additive into the processed pork to sell as fake dried beef.
Further investigation is under way.
• Police bust cross-border bullet smuggling at east China
By Cheng Lu and Liu Baosen
Police confiscated more than 1,000 bullets at a resident’s home in east China’s Shandong Province, customs department of Jinan City said on Wednesday of December 17.
Based on a tip-off, anti-smuggling police tracked a package, which was declared as server cabinet, delivered via FedEx from California to Liaocheng City.
When the package arrived at a resident’s house, the police checked it and found 1,100 bullets in it.
They also found an air rifle, a homemade handgun, and an imitation handgun at the home of the suspect surnamed Wu.
Preliminary investigation showed that Wu asked others to buy these bullets in the U.S. through messaging platform Tencent’s QQ in late October. Further investigation is under way.
• No casualties in Beijing shopping mall fire
By Lu Guoqiang and Lü Qiuping
No casualties were reported after Beijing’s Joy City mall in Chaoyang District caught fire on Wednesday of December 17, firefighters said.
Heavy smoke was spotted in a restaurant kitchen on the top floor of the mall located at Chaoyang North Road, and firefighters rushed to the scene upon receiving calls at 10:27 a.m., said an officer with the fire department of Beijing.
No flames were found when firemen arrived at the scene and no casualties were reported.
The officer said a pot containing boiling oil caught fire, emitting heavy smoke, and the fire was put out before firefighters came.