Eyes on the Prize
Chinese tennis player Li Na wins her first Australian Open women's singles title in Melbourne after beating Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova in the final, becoming the first Asian to secure the honor
Math Whiz
Zhou Wei, a contestant on Super Brain, a talent show that screens on Jiangsu Satellite TV, amazes the audience by successfully solving a difficult math problem

"China needs to loosen its immigration policies, including giving citizenship to skilled foreign nationals, as China's population is aging quickly and its economic upgrading needs more skilled workers."

Wang Huiyao, Director of the Center for China and Globalization, an independent and non-profit think tank, talking in Beijing recently

"Consumption, production and pollution are related. The purpose of the production of goods is to supply consumption, and at the same time it leads to pollution. We would like to look at air pollution from a consumption perspective, as an alternative to the previous production-based view."

Lin Jintai, a professor at Peking University, on a recent study conducted by him and eight other scholars that shows manufacturing goods in China for export contributes significantly to the country's severe air pollution

"The air quality in the temple has improved significantly, and so has visitors' environmental awareness."

Hu Xuefeng, abbot of Beijing's renowned Lama Temple, commenting on the temple's policy of providing environment-friendly incense free of charge since December 10, 2013

"Compared with previous years, the flu virus is much more active this winter, especially in south China, with there being three major strains of the flu virus, H1, H3 and influenza B virus."

Feng Zijian, Deputy Director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, talking to China National Radio on January 22

Firework Fracas

Beijing Times
January 23

In recent years, haze and PM 2.5 have become a major environmental concern of the public. As the country makes efforts to rein in air pollution and improve the environment, fireworks are increasingly frowned upon as a tradition to celebrate the Spring Festival.

Thus, the custom of setting off fireworks is triggering debate among people in large cities like Beijing. Environmentalists argue that fireworks will not only produce air pollution but also bring risks of fire accidents. But defenders say it has been a historical tradition in Lunar New Year celebrations for thousands of years. Without fireworks, the Spring Festival will lose a part of its profound cultural meaning to Chinese people.

Vaccine Controversy

January 23

The news that the Hepatitis B vaccine produced by a domestic company was potentially fatal for newborn babies has been proven untrue by health authorities. But the false news has had a large impact on the country's medical industry and the public. For instance, the number of newborn babies receiving a Hepatitis B vaccination dropped drastically, as many parents became suspicious of the vaccine's safety.

Battling Smog Shown are tourists at Tiananmen Square in downtown Beijing (XINHUA)
Bird Flu Prevention Chickens up for sale in a market in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province (XINHUA)
Security Commission
China's President, Xi Jinping, will head the national security commission
Reform Assignations
China's leading group for overall reform approved the establishment of six sub-groups at its first meeting
Employment Rate
China's urban unemployment rate stood at around 4.1 percent in 2013
Green Future A visitor at the Jiasheng Modern Agricultural Technology Demonstration Park in Zhangbei County, north China’s Hebei Province (MOU YU)
Cheaper Driving A staff member from a gas station in Baoding, north China’s Hebei Province, refuels a car (ZHU XUDONG)
Downgrading Ratings
Dagong, China's domestic ratings agency, downgraded the rating outlook for New Zealand from stable to negative partly due to downward pressures on its economic growth
Yuan Globalization
The yuan becomes the world's eighth most-used currency in international payments in December, says the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication
Debt Transparency
China has increased the transparency of its massive local government debt by allowing local governments to release independent reports on their liabilities
Banks Face Transformation Pressure
China has stepped up its oversight of shadow banking
Stake Purchase
Alibaba Group Holding, China's Internet giant, and Yunfeng Fund have invested 1.33 billion HK dollars to obtain 54.3 percent of shares in CITIC 21CN, an integrated information and content service provider
Taxi Call Apps
Heated competition in the mobile payment sector has spread to calling for taxis as two Chinese Internet giants offer incentives to passengers and taxi drivers to boost usage
    A 6-month-old female koala sits atop her mother’s head on January 22 at zoo in Duisburg, western Germany. The baby koala was taken out of her mother’s pouch to be weighed, at just 350 grams (XINHUA/AFP)
    A woman displays horse-themed stamps in Kuala Lumpur on January 24. Malaysia issued a series of special stamps to mark the Lunar Year of the Horse (XINHUA)
    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon opens the Geneva II peace talks on January 22 in Montreux. Representatives of the Syrian Government and opposition, world powers and regional bodies attended the conference aimed at ending the armed conflict in Syria (XINHUA/AFP)
    A model presents a creation by designer Serkan Cura during a fashion show in Paris on January 23 (XINHUA/AFP)
    Passengers wait for announcements at Grand Central Terminal in New York City on January 23 after a power failure left thousands of train commuters stranded (XINHUA/AFP)
  • PERU
    Officials view archaeological assets repatriated from the United States, Brazil, Australia, Egypt and Britain at the Peruvian Foreign Ministry in Lima on January 22 (XINHUA/AFP)
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