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China to probe far side of moon this year

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Animations of lunar probe orbiting Moon (Courtesy of China Central Television (CCTV)

China plans to probe the far side of the Moon starting from the end of 2018, according to the country’s space scientists.

The far-side lunar probe will use Chang’e-4 for a soft landing and start researches, said Bao Weimin, director of the technology department under the China Aerospace Science and Technology.

As the Moon’s rotation period is equal to its revolution period, which is called as synchronous rotation by scientists, there is always one side of the Moon facing away from the Earth, known as the far side.

Therefore, contacts cannot be made from the Earth to Chang’e-4. To ensure the smooth communication, scientists will first launch another satellite to relay the information sent by Chang’e-4 to the Earth. — Reuters

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Canadian sentenced to death in China for drug smuggling

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

Canadian man Robert Lloyd Schellenberg being sentenced at court in Dalian, Liaoning Province, China | Reuters

A Chinese court on Monday (January 15) sentenced a Canadian man to be executed for drug smuggling, prompting Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to accuse China of using the death penalty arbitrarily.

The ruling, and Trudeau’s reaction, could aggravate already sour relations between Beijing and Ottawa following the arrest of a Chinese executive in Canada and China’s subsequent detention of two Canadians.

Schellenberg was told in court he had the right to appeal to Liaoning High Court within 10 days upon receiving the ruling, the intermediate court said in a second statement.

The case is likely again to test relations between Beijing and Ottawa, which have been tense since Canada’s arrest of a Chinese executive at the request of the United States in December, followed by China’s detention of two Canadian citizens on suspicion of endangering state security. — Reuters

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WeChat’s big data report shows Chinese people changing habits

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, January 10th, 2019


Fu Fan, director of Wechat data analysis department, speaking at fifth annual conference of WeChat | REUTERS

WeChat, the most popular social media app in China, Wednesday published a big data report that shows changing habits of Chinese people.

According to the report released at WeChat’s fifth annual conference in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, nearly 1.1 billion active users send a total of about 45 billion messages every day.

They also made a quite startling revelation about the country’s recent nocturnal habits.

“We discovered our users went to bed later. They started to sleep at around 11:30 on average, 1.5 hours later than in 2015,” said Fu Fan, director of WeChat Data Analysis Department, at the conference.

Meanwhile, for the post-80s and post-90s generations, they spent on average about eight minutes on video calls while older people tended to stay talking a little bit longer.

Each generation also prefers different emojis, while its mobile payment feature has become a crucial part of many users’ lives regardless of their age.

“WeChat payment has become a basic device and a bridge for all walks of life, which can connect merchants with their target consumers and users. As of mid-October 2018, WeChat payment has increased by 50 percent compared with the same period last year,” said Bai Zhengjie, operations director of WeChat Pay.

Those numbers are just further evidence of WeChat’s success in China.

But some experts believe its dominance may be coming under pressure from a general change in online habits.

“When we’re talking about being a threat, it’s more in terms of the time spent on mobile shifting more towards Byte Dance’s products, which I think this is the trend we’ve seen over the past two or three years,” said Matthew Brennen, a tech analyst.

Facing the popularity of short video apps like Tik Tok, one month ago in its biggest update in four years, WeChat launched a significant feature,called “Time Capsule”.

The new feature resembles “Instagram Stories”, where users can post videos that disappear a day later.

Meanwhile, with “Top stories”, WeChat also changed the original “like” button in Wechat articles to “recommend”, allowing users to find other people with similar mindsets.

But it seems it may take some time before they really catch on.

“Time capsule is very interesting. But many people don’t know where to see them. Post them online is simply futile,” said a WeChat user.

Experts say competition is so fierce in China’s internet industry that even a super app like WeChat cannot afford to misjudge their users’ needs.
— Reuters

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World’s biggest tech show opens with rollable TVs and robots galore

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Dancing robots from Robotis in a gadget show in Las Vegas Nevada, United States on January 8, 2019 | Reuters

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the world’s biggest tech and gadget show, opened its doors on Tuesday (January 8), with thousands of technology enthusiasts heading to Las Vegas to get a peek at the latest innovations.

Drawing a big crowd was LG’s rollable television — a 65 inch TV that rolls itself away into a sleek piece of furniture when it’s not being used.

LG spokesman Bob Lawton said the versatile television, which can be placed against a window or in the middle of a room, would begin shipping in the second half of 2019. The price has not yet been set, he said.

Robots, as always, were everywhere at CES. From a robot you can play ping-poing with to a robot personal assistant. Chinese company VxFly, which also makes an underwater robot, launched its electric propelled kickboard, designed to help children learn to swim. The LESWIM will retail at $199, the company said.

CES runs until Friday (January 11).
— Reuters

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