The fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress opens at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 5, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

>CPPCC starts annual session


The 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) started its fourth annual session on Thursday afternoon in Beijing.


At the meeting, the agenda for the session was reviewed and approved by political advisers. Wang Yang, chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, delivered a work report from the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee.


During the session, political advisers will hear and deliberate on that work report and a report on how the proposals from political advisers have been handled. The political advisers will also sit in on the fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress as non-voting participants, hearing and discussing reports, including the government work report. Discussions on the draft outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan and the long-range objectives through the year 2035 will be high on the agenda at this year's session.


Soybeans are harvested in Heilongjiang province. [Photo/Xinhua]

>20b yuan loans for spring farming


The China Development Bank (CDB) has pledged to set up a special loan program worth 20 billion yuan to support spring plowing. The loan will be used to ensure the supply of important farm produce and sideline products as well as facilitate spring production, according to CDB.

国家开发银行(国开行) 将设立总体额度200亿元的春耕备耕专项贷款,助力保障城乡居民重要农副产品供给和春季农业生产顺利开展。

Financial support will focus on the production and circulation of farm produce, including grain and oil, vegetables, meat, eggs, milk and aquatic products, as well as the procurement, production, circulation and distribution of means of production, such as seeds, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and feed.


Last year, the bank rolled out a special loan of 10 billion yuan for spring plowing for the first time, covering 27 provincial-level regions nationwide, which promoted work resumption at agricultural production firms.


Color picture of Mars' north pole taken by Tianwen 1. [Photo provided by CNSA]

>First high-def pictures of Mars


The China National Space Administration (CNSA) on Thursday published three high-resolution images of Mars captured by the country's Tianwen-1 probe. These images include two panchromatic images and one color image, said CNSA.


The panchromatic images were taken by the high-resolution camera of Tianwen-1 at a distance of 330 to 350 km above the surface of Mars, with a resolution of about 0.7 meters. In the images, Martian landforms such as small craters, mountain ridges and dunes are clearly visible.


It is estimated that the diameter of the largest impact crater in the images is around 620 meters.


The color image is of the red planet's North Pole region taken by the medium-resolution camera, CNSA said.


Tianwen-1, the country's first independent Mars mission, was launched by a Long March 5 heavy-lift carrier rocket on July 23 from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province, kicking off the nation's planetary exploration program.


SpaceX starships SN9 and SN10 (right) continue to wait for test flights as the sun sets at the launch facilities in Boca Chica, Texas, Feb 1, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

>A trip around the Moon


Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has invited eight members of the public to join him for a trip around the Moon on Elon Musk's SpaceX flight.


"I want people from all kinds of backgrounds to join," he said in a video via Twitter, where he also shared a link to application details. He said he will pay for the entire journey, so those who come onboard will fly for free.


The mission, called dearMoon, is scheduled to fly in 2023.


Applicants need to meet two criteria: they should advance "whatever activity" they are in to "help other people and greater society in some way", and are "willing to support other crew members who share similar aspirations", he said.


The mission would be the first lunar journey by humans since 1972.


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