The Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on Monday conferred the title of "role model of the times" on Zhu Youyong, a famous plant pathologist.
Zhu, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and honorary president of Yunnan Agricultural University, has devoted himself to poverty alleviation in southwest China's Yunnan Province.
Voluntarily working in a poverty-stricken region inhabited by ethnic minority groups, Zhu led villagers in developing local specialty industry and trained over 1,000 people as pioneers in raising income with farming technology.
Zhu has made a number of well-recognized achievements in agricultural technology development and has been committed to promoting the application of research findings in the field.
Zhu's dedication has earned him many awards, including the second prize in national sci-tech progress awards, outstanding Party member and model teacher of the country.
Ree Drummond — known for her Food Network cooking show, ``The Pioneer Woman'' — won't follow diet trends to sell cookbooks.
"I have found that I have to be authentic to me, otherwise it won't work. My interest will fizzle. I stay most passionate when it's something that's really going on in my life," she told The Associated Press.
For instance, Drummond tried the Keto diet this year, but didn't stick with it. Still, she does offer Keto-like recipes in her latest cookbook, "The Pioneer Woman Cooks: The New Frontier," to reflect public interest in the diet.
"It was a little too hardcore for me to sustain, but that's what was behind the handful of lower-carb recipes in the cookbook. Just on those days or weeks when you want to kind of make slightly smarter choices, those are the recipes that reflect that," she said.
"But I call them lower carb because I'm not making any Keto gods happy."
Drummond's cooking is all about making your stomach happy. She's generally known for hearty fare, along with rich desserts. Surprisingly, though, bread is not her strong suit.
"I can kind of muddle through ... But I just don't have the artistry to make a really great loaf of bread. So that's going to be my lifetime goal," she said.
Her cookbook includes step-by-step visual guides with her recipes.
"It's the style that I used when I first started food blogging back in 2007. I just decided to take pictures of the steps as I cooked," Drummond said. "I had no idea if anybody would be interested, but I posted them and the people who read it at the time said, 'Hey, do another one.' And so that became my style."
Her brand continues to grow each year. She started as a stay-at-home married mom to four children on her ranch in Pawhusaka, Oklahoma, blogging about motherhood and simple recipes. Now she has a hit show, a collection of cookbooks and children's books, and a houseware line at Walmart. She was even featured on the cover of People magazine.
"I blogged on a whim, but I blogged about things that made me tick. Like, my kids. I wrote funny stories about raising them in the country,'' she said. "It's kind of crazy what has happened since then. But it's helped me enjoy the ride because, you know, just make all the plans you want and then pop popcorn and sit back and watch. You never know what will happen."
A tiny wooden relic believed to have been part of Jesus' manger has returned to its permanent home in the biblical city of Bethlehem 1,400 years after it was sent to Rome as a gift to the pope.
Sheathed in an ornate case, cheerful crowds greeted the relic Saturday with much fanfare before it entered the Franciscan Church of St. Catherine next to the Church of the Nativity, the West Bank holy site where tradition says Jesus was born.
The return of the relic by the Vatican coincides with Advent, a four-week period leading up to Christmas.
The Palestinians welcomed the relic as a spirit-lifting occasion as Bethlehem braced for Christmas, where pilgrims from around the world flock to the city in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The mad scramble between Thanksgiving and Christmas just got six days shorter.
Black Friday once again kicks off the start of the holiday shopping season. But with six fewer days than last year, it will be the shortest season since 2013 because Thanksgiving fell on the fourth Thursday in November — the latest possible date it could be. That means customers will have less time to shop and retailers will have less time to woo them.
Adobe Analytics predicts a loss of $1 billion in online revenue from a shortened season. Still, it expects online sales will reach $143.7 billion, up 14.1% from last year's holiday season
The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, baked the shorter season into its forecast, but it says the real drivers will be the job market. It forecasts that holiday sales will rise between 3.8% and 4.2%, an increase from the disappointing 2.1% growth seen in the November and December 2018 period that came well short of the group's prediction.
Last year's holiday sales were hurt by turmoil over the White House trade policy with China and a delay in data collection by nearly a month because of a government shutdown. This year's holiday forecast is above the average holiday sales growth of 3.7% over the previous five years.
NRF expects online and other non-store sales, which are included in the total, to increase between 11% and 14%, for the holiday period.
Black Friday is expected to once again be the largest shopping day of the season, followed by the last Saturday before Christmas, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse, which tracks spending across all types of payments including cash and check. Thanksgiving Day isn't even on the top 10 holiday shopping days, according to MasterCard.
The 2019 holiday season will be a good measure of the U.S. economy's health. Many retail CEOs describe their customers has financially healthy, citing moderate wage growth and an unemployment rate hovering near a 50-year low.
"The overall picture is positive," said Craig Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultancy. "People are spending out of positive cash flow as opposed to borrowing."
Economic growth has moderated since earlier this year, with growth at just 1.9% in the July-September quarter, down from 3.1% in the first three months of the year. Analysts blame at least part of that on the U.S.-China trade war, which has forced many companies to delay plans to invest and expand.
That's left consumers as the main drivers. So far, Americans have kept up their spending, allaying fears of a recession.
With more holiday deals happening earlier to compensate for the late start, many have already started to shop. More than half of consumers have already started their holiday shopping and nearly a quarter of purchases have already been made, according to the annual survey released by the NRF and Prosper Insights & Analytics. The survey of 7,917 adult consumers was conducted Oct. 31 through Nov. 6.
"This is further evidence that the holiday season has grown far beyond the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas," said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of NRF, in a statement.
How high will they fly?
That's going to be the question of the morning on Thursday for the giant balloons at the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Parade officials and the New York Police Department are keeping an eye on wind gauges along the 2.5-mile (4-kilometer) parade route that snakes through Manhattan.
If wind speeds reach dangerous levels, the 16 helium balloons — including Smokey Bear and Snoopy — could be brought down to float at a lower level or taken out of the parade.
The National Weather Service is projecting sustained winds of up to 24 mph (39 kph) with gusts to 40 mph (64 kph) during the parade.
City rules require balloons to be grounded if sustained winds exceed 23 mph (37 kph) and gusts exceed 34 mph (55 kph).
The parade, one of the city's most popular events, features about 8,000 marchers, two dozen floats, and marching bands, ending with an appearance from Santa Claus.
Among the performers scheduled for this year are actor Billy Porter of "Pose," and singers Celine Dion, Ciara, Kelly Rowland and Idina Menzel.
NYPD Chief of Police Rodney Harrison has the final say on whether the balloons fly, and how high.
The character balloons can go as high as 55 feet (16 meters) off the ground and as low as 10 feet (3 meters).
The rules requiring them to be grounded in high-wind conditions came after wind blew a "Cat in the Hat" balloon into a lamppost near Central Park in 1997, critically injuring a woman.
In 2005, eight years after the "Cat and the Hat" went off course, an M&M's balloon smacked into a lamppost in Times Square, causing cuts and bruises to a woman in a wheelchair and her 11-year-old sister.
In 2017, a gust on an otherwise calm day sent a smaller balloon into a tree branch. That one popped and fell harmlessly onto the crowd.