>China adds two global geoparks
China has added two more geological parks to its list of UNESCO Global Geoparks, bringing the total number to 41, the National Forestry and Grassland Administration said Wednesday.
The Xiangxi Geopark in Central China’s Hunan province and Zhangye Geopark in Northwest China’s Gansu province were approved as Global Geoparks by the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization at its 209th session on Tuesday, according to the administration.
The Xiangxi Geopark boasts 160 Paleolithic and Neolithic cultural heritage sites, while the Zhangye Geopark features color hills, Danxia landforms and ophiolite suites.
To date, the number of Global Geoparks in China has surpassed one-quarter of the world's total, the administration said.
>Drivers' health a concern
Authorities urged public transportation service companies to pay special attention to drivers' physical and psychological conditions after a bus plunged into a reservoir in Anshun, Northwest China’s Guizhou province, on Tuesday.
The bus broke through a guardrail and fell into the Hongshan Reservoir in Anshun's Xixiu district at around 12:30 pm, causing 21 deaths. Five of the dead were local students, the city government said.
According to the city government, the driver, surnamed Zhang, was among the dead.
Zhang, 52, was a local resident who had been a bus driver since 1997.
On Tuesday evening, the Ministry of Transport released a warning notice, urging related departments at all levels to make stronger efforts to guarantee public safety.
Drivers with health problems should be temporarily prohibited from working, the notice said.
Further, the notification asked bus companies to strengthen monitoring and prevent those potential risks from threatening lives.
>US pushes to reopen schools
White House on Wednesday continued to push states to reopen schools in the fall as the country's COVID-19 cases passed 3 million with over 132,000 deaths.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened in his tweets to "cut off federal funding" for schools if they do not resume in-person learning this fall and criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for "their very tough & expensive guidelines" for opening schools.
During a press briefing a few hours later at the Education Department, Vice-President Mike Pence said the CDC would issue new guidance on reopening schools next week.
"We don't want the guidance from CDC to be a reason why schools don't open," Pence said. "I think that every American, every American knows that we can safely reopen our schools."
>US starts withdrawal from WHO
US President Donald Trump has formally started the withdrawal of the US from the World Health Organization, officials said Tuesday. The withdrawal is effective from July 6, 2021.
The US is the largest financial contributor to the WHO.
Trump has formally informed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that he has started the US pullout, a State Department representative said.
Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for Guterres, confirmed that the US gave its notice.
"The US is a party to the World Health Organization Constitution since June 21, 1948. The US's participation in the WHO was accepted by the World Health Assembly with certain conditions set out for its eventual withdrawal from the WHO. The said conditions include giving a one-year notice and fully meeting the payment of assessed financial obligations," said the spokesman. "The secretary-general is in the process of verifying with the WHO whether all the conditions for such withdrawal are met," Dujarric added.
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