Fresh Start: Podcast News (2/16/2020 Sun.)
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Welcome to Fresh Start.

This is People’s Daily app. 

Here are today’s picks from our editors.

Chinese researchers develop new rapid testing kits for COVID-19


A new rapid testing kit for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was developed by China's State Key Laboratory of Respiratory Disease, the Guangdong-based laboratory announced on its social media platform Friday.

Authorities in charge of the laboratory claimed the test results can be shown within 15 minutes after collecting a drop of blood.

However, according to some experts, the new test method has not yet received consensus in the testing industry. (Xinhua)

France announces first COVID-19 death in Europe

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The French health minister Agnès Buzyn has reported the first death from COVID-19 in Europe on Saturday. It is thought to be the first death from the virus outside of Asia.

According to Buzyn, the victim is an 80-year-old Chinese tourist, from Hubei Province. He arrived in France on January 16 and was hospitalized in Bichat Hospital, Paris, with strict isolation measures on January 25. 

"His daughter also has the COVID-19 virus and is also hospitalized at Bichat, her health condition is not causing concern anymore and she should be released soon." said Buzyn. (People's Daily app)

US, Taliban reach truce, paving way for US withdrawal

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The United States and the Taliban have agreed on a weeklong reduction of violence that could pave the way for a US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, a senior US official said Friday, while cautioning that US troop reductions will be conditioned on the Taliban's meeting commitments.

The peace agreement, according to the US official, would call for a nationwide cease-fire, negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban and a commitment from the Taliban not to harbor terrorist groups, while setting a timetable for a US troop withdrawal.

The seven-day period has yet to begin, but will take effect soon, the official said. (Xinhua)

Sichuan guarantees food supply for overseas pandas amid epidemic


The customs of Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, has been making efforts to check and handle batches of fresh bamboo bound for overseas giant pandas amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

A total of 527kg of fresh bamboo and bamboo shoots have been sent to Russia by air from Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport on Saturday. Chengdu customs said it was the ninth batch of outbound fresh bamboo that they have handled since the Spring Festival this year.

The diet of giant pandas is almost exclusively bamboo, and each panda can eat 20 to 30kg of bamboo per day. (Xinhua)

US 5-year-old boy who rescued family from fire gets honor


A 5-year-old boy who saved his family from a house fire received special recognition Friday from officials in the southern US state of Georgia.

Noah Woods woke up Sunday to flames in the room he and his 2-year-old sister, Lilly, shared. Officials said he pulled himself and his sister to safety through a bedroom window. He then ran next door and grabbed his uncle, who helped the rest of the family of eight escape.

On Friday, Noah was presented with a proclamation from Bartow County Commissioner Steve Taylor honoring him with his very own day. (AP)

Coronavirus forces Chinese gymnasts to pull out of World Cup in Australia


The Chinese gymnastics team has been forced to withdraw from next week's World Cup in Melbourne due to the Australian government's travel restrictions after the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The organizers of the event confirmed the news on Saturday.

It has come as a big setback for the Chinese gymnastic side as the World Cup offers qualifying points for the Tokyo Games. In fact, as per the qualification rules, the gymnasts with the 3 best scores out of 8 in the World Cup series will earn a berth in the much-anticipated Tokyo Summer Games. With Melbourne being the 6th World Cup in the series, the Chinese gymnasts now have to perform their best in the final two legs before the Olympics. (CGTN)

Thanks for listening and be sure to catch us tomorrow.

And now for the Question of the Day:

The deep-sea bomber worms have a unique defense system. What do they release when they are in danger?

(Answer: Green, glowing sacs.)  

Today’s quote is from American businessman Elon Musk.     

"If we drive down the cost of transportation in space, we can do great things."

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Ryan Yaoran Yu, and Brian Lowe. Music by Eugene Loner.)