Villagers work in the fields in Aba Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture in Sichuan province on July 16, 2016. [Photo/China Daily]
>Rural income on upward climb
Rural earnings have been rising steadily in China, and the wealth gap between rural and urban residents is narrowing, said Liu Huanxin, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs.
In the first three quarters of this year, disposable income for rural residents averaged 12,297 yuan, a 1.6% increase over the previous year after adjustments for inflation.
"The growth rate for the quarter is expected to continue to rise, and rural people will get a stronger sense of gain and happiness as we are nearing the goal of building a moderately prosperous society," he said at a Tuesday news conference held by the State Council Information Office.
In 2008, the central government first put forward the goal of doubling rural income from 2010 to 2020.
By the end of last year, the annual disposable income for rural residents exceeded 16,000 yuan, marking the completion of the goal a year ahead of schedule.
"The growth rate of rural earnings has been higher than that of urban incomes for 10 straight years," Liu added. As a result, the urban to rural income ratio shrank from 2.73:1 in 2015 to 2.64:1 in 2019.
>Quiet carriage service
High-speed trains between Beijing and Shanghai will have quiet carriages by the end of this year.
The upgrade will provide a more tranquil and comfortable ambience for travelers. Passengers willing to obey the rules can choose the "quiet carriage" while booking tickets on the website or mobile app 12306, according to the Beijing-Shanghai High Speed Railway Co Ltd.
In a quiet carriage, onboard videos will be muted, and announcements made at a lower volume.
Doors at the ends of the carriage will be kept closed to reduce noise.
The service is expected to start trial operations as early as Dec 23 with no specific regulations released yet, China State Railway Group said.
The company will also initiate a flexible pricing mechanism, offering preferential ticket prices for commuters and frequent business travelers.
Under the system, the ticket price for a second-class seat will be between 598 and 498 yuan.
For a business class seat, the price will be between 1,998 and 1,748 yuan.
The illustration from NASA shows the moon's Clavius Crater with an illustration depicting water trapped in the lunar soil there, along with an image of NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). [Photo/Xinhua]
>Water found on surface of moon
NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the moon, the agency announced on Monday.
This discovery indicates water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places.
"We confirmed water on the sunlit surface of the Moon for the 1st time using @SOFIAtelescope. We don't know yet if we can use it as a resource, but learning about water on the Moon is key for our #Artemis exploration plans," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted.
SOFIA's follow-up flights will look for water in additional sunlit locations and during different lunar phases to learn more about how the water is produced, stored and moved across the moon.
The data will add to the work of future moon missions, to create the first water resource maps of the moon for future human space exploration, according to NASA.
SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center.
Egyptian waiters and employees take their positions during the opening of a new restaurant called "9 Pyramids Lounge" by Orascom Pyramids Entertainment (OPE), amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt October 20, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]
>Restaurant opens near Giza Pyramids
Egypt launched its first tourist restaurant at the Giza Pyramids plateau late on Oct 20.
Dubbed "9 Pyramids Lounge," the restaurant covers an area of 1,341 square meters and overlooks the pyramids. "One of the problems always faced is people say there are no special services for tourists, that there is no cafeteria, no restaurant, nothing that can be offered to visitors," said Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
There will also be a fleet of new environmentally friendly buses to guide tourists around the plateau. The new facilities can all be easily taken apart and reassembled so as to protect the antiquities, and Waziri said the open-air restaurant offered "a panorama view that cannot be matched anywhere in the world ".
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