>China to extend pro-employment policies
China will extend some of its pro-employment policies until the end of this year, further facilitate flexible employment, and increase financial support for sectors that continue to be affected by the epidemic, a State Council executive meeting said on Wednesday.
With employment pressure remaining relatively high, China will continue with its job-first policy this year and maintain policy support for market entities, specifically small businesses, and also vital employment groups, the meeting said.
The government will continue to refund unemployment insurance premiums to employers and increase policy support for market-based employment to help college graduates find jobs or start new businesses.
Pro-employment policies such as subsidizing professional training and college graduates' internships, and supporting college graduates find entry-level jobs, will be extended until the end of this year.
Employers of vital employment groups will enjoy tax cuts and social insurance payment subsidies, the meeting said.
>UN report predicts stronger growth
A UN report has revised world economic growth projections as a result of robust rebounds in China and the US, but warned against fragilities in other economies in the context of COVID-19. In its mid-year update of the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2021, which was released on Tuesday, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) now predicts the world economy will grow 5.4% in 2021, instead of the 4.7% forecast in January.
The department revised its forecast for China from 7.2% to 8.2%; and for the US from 3.4% to 6.2% for 2021.
The pandemic is far from over for a majority of countries.
For many developing countries, economic output is only projected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2022 or 2023, according to the report.
While the global growth outlook has improved, surging COVID-19 infections and inadequate vaccination progress in many countries threaten a broad-based recovery of the world economy, warned the report.
>China embraces rural tourism boom
China is in the middle of a rural tourism boom amid the COVID-19 pandemic, CNN reported on Tuesday.
Chinese tourists are heading not just to domestic historic and natural wonders - some are looking for something a bit different, like spending a day picking mulberries, watching rice grow, fishing by the seaside and eating home-grown food, the report said.
The rapid growth in rural tourism isn't just the result of the pandemic or rapid urbanization in China. It's also a major government policy of revitalizing rural areas, the report said.
Rural sightseeing is only just beginning to take off, and in the future, it will focus more on China's myriad local cultures, according to tourism industry personnel.
>COVID-19 early warning system
Scientists in the UK are developing a COVID-19 early warning system that could prevent future lockdowns by combining data on vaccine uptake with wastewater testing.
It will link results of when genetic material from the virus is identified in wastewater to specific areas and highlight where infections are increasing or decreasing.
This will help to pinpoint the prevalence and distribution of the virus.
The project will forecast the pandemic's trajectory, allowing experts to identify potential hotspots early, predict stresses on hospitals and intensive care units, and create more focused access to vaccines.
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