>Newlyweds can receive subsidies
Newly married couples can receive up to 600,000 yen to cover their rent and other costs to start a new life from next April if they live in a municipality adopting Japan's newlywed support program, government sources said Sunday.
To be eligible, both husband and wife will have to be under age 40 as of the registered date of marriage and have a combined income of less than 5.4 million yen, up from age 35 and 4.8 million yen under the current conditions for aid of up to 300,000 yen.
Only 281 municipalities, or 15% of all cities, towns and villages in Japan, had adopted the program as of July as they must shoulder half the expenses.
But to increase the number, the central government will bear two-thirds of the cost starting in fiscal year 2021, sources said.
The program is part of government efforts to address the low birth rate.
>Restaurants add COVID surcharge
New York City diners may soon see a COVID-19 surcharge on their bills as the restaurant industry continues to suffer due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a 46-2 vote, the New York City Council passed a bill on Sept 16 that would allow restaurants to charge as much as 10% to customers dining indoors or outdoors to help cover COVID-19 expenses.
Labeled as a "COVID-19 recovery charge," the surcharge does not add to the bill's overall tax, nor does it apply to delivery or takeout orders.
A restaurant implementing the surcharge is free to use the new funds however it likes, though it must also make it clear the surcharge is not a substitute for a tip or gratuity for waitstaff.
>Free trade zones rise to 21
China's three newly established pilot free trade zones will further facilitate its high-level opening-up and boost high-quality growth through deeper reforms, especially in the areas of digital economy, high-end manufacturing and regional integration, experts said.
The State Council, the nation's Cabinet, released plans for the new pilot zones in Beijing and in Hunan and Anhui provinces on Monday, boosting the number of the country's FTZs to 21.
Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, said the move shows the country's resolve to pursue high-level opening-up and ensure the safety and stability of industrial and supply chains.
China set up its first FTZ in Shanghai in 2013 to attract more foreign investment and promote trade and regional integration.
Since then, the country has added 20 zones, including those in such diverse areas as the coastal provinces of Fujian and Guangdong and the inland provinces of Shaanxi and Sichuan.
>Mars probe makes course correction
China's Tianwen 1 Mars probe carried out its second midcourse correction maneuver on Sunday night, according to the China National Space Administration.
The robotic spacecraft ran its four 120-Newton thrusters for 20 seconds at around 11 pm after receiving control signals from its ground controllers, the administration said in a statement on Monday morning.
By Monday morning, Tianwen 1 had traveled 160 million kilometers in an Earth-Mars transfer trajectory toward the red planet and was nearly 19 million km from Earth, it added.
China launched Tianwen 1, the country's first independent Mars mission, on July 23 at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province, opening the nation's planetary exploration program.
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