Workers prepare a drone for taking aerial photos of Qinzhidao at Runzhen township, Chunhua, Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, on Nov 11, 2018. [Photo by Huo Yan/chinadaily.com.cn]

An archaeological team from the National Museum of China launched a program of using drones to take aerial photos of Qinzhidao, the main road of Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), at Chunhua county of Xianyang, Northwest China’s Shaanxi province, on Sunday.

Qinzhidao was the first national main road of Qin Dynasty, like the expressways of today. It is about 900 kilometers long and 30 to 50 meters wide, starting from Tiewang township at Chunhua to Jiuyuanjun, a place near Baotou, Inner Mongolia autonomous region.

The team leader Li Gang said that it was the first time that drones were used to take photos of the whole Qinzhidao. There were some photos taken from planes and satellites, but they were not clear enough.

Li said the program will clarify the locations and directions of the roads.

The program will be wrapped up within 40 days.

LHASA — Local transport authorities in southwest China’s Tibet autonomous region said a total of 24,306 kilometers of roads had been added to the region over the past five years.

By the end of 2017, the total length of the region’s road network reached 89,504 km, according to the regional transport department.

Seven major high-level roads were opened to traffic during the last five years, including those linking Lhasa to Nyingchi, the airport to the downtown of Xigaze, and the Gonggar airport in Lhasa to Tsetang township.

Poor transport has hindered agricultural development and animal husbandry in the region. During the past five years, construction of 3,005 rural road projects were started, with 1,325 now finished. Currently, the rural areas of Tibet have over 60,000 km of roads.

In 2018, the region expects to add another 6,000 km of roads, making the total length reach 96,000 km by the end of the year.

Several ministry-level departments, including education, emergency management and the State Medical Insurance Administration, have responded recently to issues of public concern.

Institutions must ensure teacher quality

The Ministry of Education urged institutions that provide off-campus academic training for middle and primary school students to ensure that their teachers have corresponding qualifications.

Zhu Zhiwen, vice-minister of education, said in a meeting held on Friday that such institutions must step up management of their teachers.

Schools must also take measures to ensure teachers do not take part-time jobs at off-campus training institutions or host tutoring classes on their own.

A long-term oversight mechanism must be established to strengthen routine supervision of off-campus institutions. Local authorities are also urged to step up supervision and assessment.

The country bolstered the oversight of institutions that provide off-campus academic training for students in August to reduce the burden for middle and primary school students and standardize the development of such institutions.

More aid given to landslide-hit area

Authorities have bolstered disaster relief efforts to the landslide-hit Tibet autonomous region as well as Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Emergency Management said in a statement on Oct 24 that a relief fund of 135 million yuan ($19.5 million) has been allocated to landslide-hit areas together with 3,000 tents, 30,000 cotton-padded coats and quilts, and 15,000 folding beds.

The supplies will be used to support relief work, including relocating affected residents, offering the daily necessities and rebuilding damaged houses, the statement said.

China activated a level-IV emergency response, the lowest level, after a landslide struck the border area of Sichuan and Tibet on Oct 11.

The landslide resulted in the formation of a barrier lake near a section of the Jinsha River. More than 21,000 people had been relocated as of Oct 12, with no reports of any casualties.

Rural communities to get better healthcare

Authorities unveiled a three-year plan on Oct 20 to boost health insurance for impoverished residents in rural areas.

The 2018-2020 plan, jointly issued by the State Medical Insurance Administration and two other departments, aims to ensure poverty-stricken rural residents benefit more from health insurance.

People living in extremely impoverished areas and those in poverty because of illness will be the major beneficiaries of the plan. It covers basic medical and major disease insurance and medical assistance should cover every rural resident by 2020. Insurance for diseases will cover more of the medical fees of impoverished rural residents by 2020.

The disparity in medical insurance between urban and rural areas will also be narrowed, and people in extreme poverty will receive full reimbursement for their medical insurance costs.

The move is part of China’s efforts to lift 30 million people out of poverty by 2020.

New schools to be given air-quality tests

A nationwide inspection of indoor air quality in newly built schools and student dormitories was launched after students suffered dizziness and nosebleeds due to excessive levels of formaldehyde in some areas.

The State Council’s education supervision committee released a statement on Thursday, urging local authorities to conduct a thorough inspection of indoor air quality in new schools, including dormitories and equipment that were put into use this year.

Schools where students suffer from dizziness and nosebleeds should hire recognized third-party institutions for air quality tests and publicize the results, it added.

Parents and the public should be informed of the inspection results via school bulletin boards or online platforms, the statement said.

The committee also urged schools with unacceptable indoor air quality to rectify the issue in a timely fashion, adding that school buildings cannot be put into use until air quality reaches national standards.

Ma Fenglan holds a bowl of
liangpi in two hands. [Photo by Liu Xiaohua/For chinadaily.com.cn]

Ma Fenglan used to make and sell liangpi, a noodle-like Chinese dish made from wheat or rice flour, in a self-built house of nearly 30 square meters in the suburb of Dawukou district of Shizuishan city, Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

But now, she runs her business in a two-story building of more than 300 square meters.

“My business is booming even more after I bought the new storefront last year,” Ma said. “The old house was located at a shantytown, a long distance from the downtown, and people had to walk through a rugged path to come and buy liangpi.

“The new storefront has a spacious kitchen and dining area, and the customers can sit down to enjoy the delicious food now,” she added.

The transformation of shantytowns is one of China’s major projects and it has been carried out all around China.

As President Xi Jinping said when delivering the 2018 New Year speech, the construction of 6 million apartments in shanty towns has begun ahead of schedule.

Ningxia Hui autonomous region has started renovating 53,423 apartments in 2017 and will further construct 29,000 apartments in 2018.

Two giant pandas at the Yabuli skiing resort enjoy the snowfall in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province on Saturday.

A panda plays in snow in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province on Oct 27, 2018. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The pandas, called Sijia and Youyou, are 11-year-old male and 12-year-old female, respectively.

A panda plays in snow in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province on Oct 27, 2018. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A panda plays in snow in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province on Oct 27, 2018. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A panda plays in snow in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province on Oct 27, 2018. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A panda plays in snow in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province on Oct 27, 2018. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A panda plays in snow in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province on Oct 27, 2018. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A panda plays in snow in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province on Oct 27, 2018. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

A panda plays in snow in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province on Oct 27, 2018. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Overseas students in China practice reciting traditional Chinese poems in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province, Feb 2, 2018. [Photo/IC]

Planning a trip with your Chinese girlfriend to visit her parents during Spring Festival and feeling nervous about what to say?

Here comes this “Special team for managing future mothers-in-law”. The five members of the team are overseas students in China learning festival routines, including writing couplets using Chinese calligraphy, reciting poems and practicing festival greetings in Chinese in the scenic West Lake area in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province on Friday.

They attracted a crowd of onlookers, with some even offering to point out their errors in pronunciation.

Spring Festival falls on Feb 16 this year.

A fight between the bus driver and an angry passenger caused the Chongqing bus to plunge into Yangtze River on Sunday, which left 13 people dead and 2 missing, said Chongqing police said on Friday morning.

Based on the black-box recording device from the bus and other evidence, a female passenger surnamed Liu, 48, missed her stop and asked the driver surnamed Ran, 43, to stop immediately.

After the driver refused to stop, Liu hit the driver’s head with her cell phone. During the fight, Ran lost control of the bus and the vehicle broke through a guardrail and plunged into the river with an estimated 15 passengers on board in Wanzhou, Chongqing.

The bus was lifted out of water Wednesday night.

Zhao Hu, a lawyer, said the family of the victims on the bus have the right to seek compensation from the bus operator and the family of the woman that fought with the driver.

The wreckage of a bus that plunged into the Yangtze River on Sunday is lifted out of the water in Chongqing’s Wanzhou district around 11:30 pm on Wednesday. Zou Yi / For China Daily

Related: 13 dead, 2 still missing in bus crash

A salvage team has found the bodies of 13 people and confirmed their identities after their bus plunged into the Yangtze River on Sunday morning in Chongqing.

The bus was lifted out of the water at 11:28 pm on Wednesday night.

Two people are still missing and the search is continuing. The bus had an estimated 15 passengers on board.

The vehicle swerved suddenly onto the wrong side of the road on the Second Yangtze River Bridge in the city’s Wanzhou district, striking an oncoming sedan before breaking through a guardrail more than 50 meters above the water.

The black-box recording device from the bus was found on Wednesday and handed over to the local public security bureau. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

According to the Ministry of Emergency Management, the salvage work was especially difficult because of the small size of the bus, the depth of the water, limited visibility and shifting currents that impeded divers.

The bus came to rest 71 meters below the river’s surface. All the windows of the bus were broken out, and it rested with its nose down at a 30-degree angle several meters from the face of an underwater cliff.

More than 70 rescue boats came to the scene, including three floating cranes with a total capacity of 125 metric tons. Eighteen professional divers are carrying out salvage operations, with another 20 divers serving as backups.

The Haixing 6000 takes samples. [Photo/Weibo.com]

SHENYANG — One of China’s underwater robots, the Haixing 6000, recently set a national depth record for a Chinese remotely operated vehicle, by diving 6,001 meters below sea surface during its first research expedition, scientists told Xinhua Sunday.

Haixing 6000 was developed by a team at the Shenyang Institute of Automation under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

It is the first remotely operated underwater vehicle built by China that is capable of diving 6,000 meters, said Li Zhigang, chief scientist of the team.

It reached a maximum depth of 6,001 meters, and completed a series of underwater tasks in three hours, including deep-sea observation, biological research, soil and water sample collection, and a simulative black box search.

At 2,000 meters, the underwater robot completed three sample collections in different sea areas in a single day, obtaining a total of nearly 400 kilograms of rocks, of which the largest single rock weighed 61 kilograms. Such an operation also verified the robot’s capabilities and reliability.

The name “Haixing” is Chinese for “starfish.”

According to scientists, the Haixing 6000 has conducted nine dives at different depths during the research expedition, which finished on Friday, showing that China has made progress in the development of underwater vehicle and deep-sea exploration.

Bill Gates is the only nonacademic foreign academician elected this year to the Chinese Academy of Engineering, one of China’s top scientific think tanks. Zhu Xingxin / China Daily

Multibillionaire suggests more health improvement efforts in BR Initiative

Microsoft founder Bill Gates said it’s a great honor for him to be elected into the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and he would take advantage of the opportunity to communicate with Chinese academicians to improve the world.

The 63-year-old US multibillionaire and philanthropist made the remarks during an online interview with Chinese media earlier this month before Bill and his wife Melinda on Tuesday released their 2018 annual letter, titled “The 10 Toughest Questions We Get”.

The questions range from education to their values, the African population, Trump’s foreign aid policy and climate change.

In December, Gates became a foreign member of China’s top scientific think tank. He is chairman of TerraPower, a nuclear reactor design company he cofounded in 2008.

To help cut back on greenhouse gases, the company has been working with China on fourth-generation nuclear power technology, which proponents advertise as being safer and cleaner.

In October, TerraPower signed a joint venture with China National Nuclear Corporation to work together to complete the Traveling Wave Reactor design and commercialize clean nuclear technology, a new option for civilian nuclear energy designed to better address safety, the environment and cost concerns.

“It is a private sector thing. The market can work because the market for energy is very large,” he said during the interview.

He also recognized that poor farmers are the most vulnerable to climate change. As the energy innovation initiative cannot work quickly enough to help them out, “the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation decides to help educate farmers, to help them with soil mapping, better seeds, fertilizing-the methods that can have instant, dramatic impact on the poor”, he added.

Regarding the fight against disease and poverty worldwide, Gates also reassured his foundation’s partnership with China in areas of research and development for new global health discoveries.

The foundation now has an institute in Beijing, working on developing new drugs to cure tuberculosis, one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide, he said.

There are huge opportunities here because of China’s growing scientific strength, in both basic research and at the investment level, Gates added.

Notably, he suggested the Chinese government include some health improvement efforts in the Belt and Road Initiative.

“China is definitely listening to what other countries’ needs are,” he said. “We’re hopeful that China will engage in malaria elimination in a number of countries, and if that could fit into the uplifting message around the Belt and Road, and China chose to do that, that would be one way to go about it.

“Helping poor farmers have more output or saving children’s lives are based on universal agreement and China also has a lot to bring to those causes.”

To improve China’s contribution to global health, he urged for improved drug regulations in the country to authorize and commercialize medical innovations more efficiently.

“The benefits of improving regulations will be very dramatic both domestically and internationally, both in commercial and philanthropic sectors,” he said.

Currently, medical innovations happening in China need to go through complex and longer inspections, he said.

Wang Xiaoyu contributed to this story.

BEIJING – The third season of the documentary “A Bite of China,” produced by the China Central Television (CCTV), will air daily starting Feb 19.

The documentary, which follows the successful “A Bite of China I” in 2012 and “A Bite of China II” in 2014, will continue to depict Chinese culture via food and explore the relationship between people and food.

This season has eight episodes with each lasting 50 minutes.

Wei Dichun, vice head of CCTV, said Friday that the documentary “A Bite of China” has cheered up Chinese documentary industry.

“The third season will resonate the feelings of people at home and abroad and become a window for the world to learn more about China,” Wei said.