>Plans unveiled for big data industry
China on Tuesday unveiled a development plan for the big data industry during the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025). The scale of the country's big data industry will likely exceed 3 trillion yuan by the end of 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of around 25 percent, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said.
A market-oriented pricing mechanism for data as a key factor of production will be established by then, the ministry said, adding it would raise the social awareness of big data and incentivize advanced big data-powered products and services.
China's big data sector saw rapid development during the past five years, with the scale exceeding 1 trillion yuan by 2020, ministry data showed.
>WeChat removes barriers to external links
WeChat, the popular messaging app of Tencent Holdings Ltd, is allowing users to directly access external links in one-on-one chats, the latest answer to Beijing's call to end monopoly and enhance connectivity among internet companies.
WeChat said it is also testing e-commerce links from external sites to be accessible in group chats, which will go into effect successively.
In the revamp announced in September, WeChat enabled users to open external links in one-on-one chats, but users need to go through a redirect page prior to their destination.
The current upgrade has scrapped the landing page.
Users of Cloud QuickPass, the mobile payment service of UnionPay, can make payments by scanning WeChat Pay QR codes offline, and WeChat Pay users can do the same with QuickPass codes.
QuickPass payment now supports some Tencent services, such as its music and video streaming apps, as well as WeChat mini-programs for WeChat Read, JD and Luckin.
>WHO warns against blanket travel bans
The World Health Organization warned on Tuesday blanket travel bans will not prevent the international spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, even as dozens of countries have already introduced such restrictions.
Although Omicron has been labeled a "variant of concern" by the WHO, it said blanket travel bans will only place a heavy burden on lives and livelihoods, while also "disincentivizing countries to report and share epidemiological and sequencing data."
The Omicron variant was first reported to the WHO by South Africa last week. So far, several countries and regions have confirmed cases of infection with Omicron.
Dozens of countries have already tightened travel measures, and even suspended flights.
>UNAIDS warns of AIDS-related deaths
UNAIDS issued a stark warning on Monday that if leaders fail to tackle inequalities the world could face 7.7 million AIDS-related deaths over the next 10 years.
Some countries have made "remarkable progress" against AIDS. However, new HIV infections are not falling fast enough globally to stop the pandemic, with 1.5 million new HIV infections in 2020 and growing HIV infection rates in some countries.
The message comes as the UN Children's Fund reported at least 310,000 children were newly infected with HIV in 2020, or one child every two minutes. Another 120,000 children died from AIDS-related causes during the same period, or one child every five minutes.
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