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每日新闻播报(June 18)

chinadaily.com.cn 2021-06-18 16:32

A 20-story-tall Long March 2F carrier rocket blasts off at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China's Gobi Desert, June 17, 2021. [Photo by Wang Jiangbo/for chinadaily.com.cn]

>Three astronauts head to space station

China on Thursday successfully launched the crewed spacecraft Shenzhou XII, which is expected to send three astronauts to its space station core module Tianhe for a three-month mission. The spacecraft, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 9:22 am (Beijing Time), according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

It is China's seventh crewed mission to space and the first during the construction of China's space station.

The three astronauts are commander Nie Haisheng, a 56-year-old veteran who participated in the Shenzhou VI and Shenzhou X missions; Liu Boming, 54, who was part of the Shenzhou VII mission; and Tang Hongbo, 45, who is in his first space mission.

A technician works on the production line of LNG containers at a plant in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province. [Photo/China Daily]

>Economic recovery firm in May

China's economy continued its consolidated recovery in May with production demand picking up, retail sales growing faster and employment remaining stable, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.

The country's industrial output rose by 8.8% year-on-year last month, putting the two-year average growth at 6.6%, NBS said.

Fixed-asset investment rose by 15.4% on a yearly basis in the January-May period. On the two-year average basis, fixed-asset investment grew by 4.2% in the first five months.

Retail sales grew by 12.4% year-on-year in May, sending the two-year average growth rate to 4.5%, the bureau said.

Retail sales climbed by 0.81% in May compared with April.

The country's surveyed urban jobless rate ticked lower in May at 5%, improving from 5.1% in April.

A Taiwan compatriot receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Shanghai Guanghua Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine in East China's Shanghai, April 19, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

>Taiwan residents welcome to get vaccinated on mainland

The Chinese mainland will offer support for Taiwan residents who come to the mainland to receive COVID-19 vaccines, as the island is in the throes of a recent outbreak but faces severe vaccine shortages, a mainland spokesman said on Wednesday. Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesman at the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, made the announcement at a news conference while commenting that many Taiwan residents are crossing the Straits to get vaccinated on the mainland.

Taiwan residents who fly to the mainland can get vaccinated as long as they meet vaccination requirements and strictly adhere to entry epidemic prevention regulations before boarding and after arriving, Ma said.

According to preliminary statistics, the number of Taiwan compatriots vaccinated on the mainland reached 62,000 as of May 31, he said.

Kenyan tour guide, Daniel Ole Kissipan, receives the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine against the coronavirus disease under the COVAX scheme, in Nairobi, Kenya, on April 27, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

>Delta variant of COVID spreads rapidly

The Delta variant of COVID-19, first identified in India, has been detected in 74 countries and continues to spread rapidly amid fears that it is poised to become the dominant strain worldwide.

Outbreaks of the Delta variant have been confirmed in China, the US, Africa, Scandinavia and Pacific Rim countries.

Scientists report that it appears to be more transmissible, and to cause more serious illness.

In the US, according to the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb, cases of the Delta variant are doubling roughly every two weeks and account for 10% of all new cases, while in the UK it accounts for more than 90% of new cases.

Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University's school of public health in the US, last week called the Delta variant "the most contagious variant we've seen so far".

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