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05.12.2018, 07:18 AM
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HARBIN , Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- With farmers leaving land fallow during freezing temperatures and factories braced for an upcoming vacation, the northeastern city of Harbin is welcoming its "hottest" tourist season with ice and snow.

The annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival had a soft opening of world's largest ice and snow park earlier this week.

Covering an area of 800,000 square meters, the park used a record 180,000 cubic meters of ice and 150,000 cubic meters of snow this year. It was built in 20 days and is scheduled to officially open before Christmas.

The main activities of the 34th Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival will begin in January 2018. It is estimated to use one million cubic meters of ice and snow to make carvings and sculptures featuring Russian and other European styles, according to the municipal government.

A series of ice sculpture competitions will also be held to boost the development of ice and snow culture.

Ice and snow have become the name card of Harbin , which was known as "the oriental Moscow" for its Russian-style buildings such as St. Sohpia Cathedral. The festival brought in 40 million yuan (6.13 million U.S. dollars) in revenue during the seven-day Lunar New Year holiday in 2016.

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 15 (Xinhua) -- Pregnant women, who have a higher level of blood sugar in their early pregnancy, whether they have diabetes or not, ran a greater risk of giving birth to babies with heart diseases, a new study said Friday.

"Elevated random plasma glucose values during early pregnancy were directly correlated with increased risk for congenital heart disease in offspring," said the study conducted by the research of the U.S. Stanford University , which was published in The Journal of Pediatrics Friday.

The study, which reviewed medical records from 19,107 mother-baby pairs, said the risk of giving birth to a baby with a heart defect was 8 percent higher for every increase of 10 milligrams per deciliter in blood glucose levels at the early stage of pregnancy, when fetal heart is forming.

The study excluded from its analysis samples of women who had or developed diabetes during pregnancy.

In examing the medical records of the nearly 20,000 pairs of mothers and their babies born between 2009 and 2015, Stanford researchers analyzed the detailed data of the mothers' prenatal care , including blood test results and any cardiac diagnoses made for the babies during pregnancy or after birth.

They studied the blood samples of 13 percent of the mothers between four weeks prior to the estimated date of conception and the end of the 14th gestational week.

For decades, it is generally known that pregnant women with diabetes face a higher risk than non-diabetic women of giving birth to a baby with a congenital heart defect.

The latest study established the correlation of higher sugar levels with the risks of heart defects in babies of non-diabetic moms during early pregnancy.

"Knowing about defects prenatally improves outcomes because mothers can receive specialized care that increases their babies' chances of being healthier after birth," said James Priest, senior author of the study and assistant professor of pediatric cardiology at Stanford University School of Medicine.

HELSINKI, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- A Cuban volleyball player wasgiven unusually large compensation for being wrongfully detained inFinland.

The normal payment for detention as an innocent is 100 euros(117.9 U.S. dollars) per day or slightly more, but the Cuban got500 euros per day, according to media reports. The total reachednearly 200 ,000 euros (235,933 U.S. dollars).

In July 2016, five Cuban volleyball players were detained inTampere, central southern Finland on suspicion of having raped aFinnish woman at a hotel.

They were all convicted by a local court, but the court ofappeals later found one of them, Luis Tomas Sosa Sierra, innocent.The court said there was no proof that he had participated in therape.

Pekka Syrjanen , head of legal affairs at the State Treasury,told local media the compensation is not the highest so far. Awoman wrongfully detained on suspicion of killing her husband got800 euros per day some years ago. Enditem

LILONGWE, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Malawian President Peter Mutharika on Monday fired Health Minister, Dr. Peter Kumpalume, Deputy Defense Minister, Vincent Ghambi, and Attorney General , Kalekeni Kaphale, in a cabinet reshuffle where he has made several changes.

According to the statement released by the office of the Secretary to the Government Monday afternoon, Mutharika has replaced Kumpalume with Atupele Muluzi who was formerly Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.

Anna Kachikho, long-time ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislator and a new face in Mutharika's new cabinet, has since replaced Muluzi as Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development while another new face , Everton Chimulirenji, replaces Ghambi as Deputy Defense Minister.

Other changes include switches of ministers where Henry Mussa, formerly Minister of Labor, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, now takes over Industry, Trade and Tourism Ministry , taking the place of Joseph Mwanamvekha who has since moved to Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.

Mussa is now replaced by Francis Katsaira as Youth, Sports, and Manpower Development Minister while Dr. Emmauel Fabiano, formerly Education, Science and Technology Minister replaces Katsaira as Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister.

On the other hand, Bright Msaka , takes over the role of Minister of Education, Science and Technology, as Aggrey Masi goes up the ladder from Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology to replace Msaka a.
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