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Cultural China: "Faith can move mountains"******
TAIYUAN, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- In traditional Chinese culture, a proverb similar to "faith can move mountains" is called "Yu Gong Yi Shan," which means "the Foolish Old Man who moved mountains."
In the story, the Foolish Old Man, or Yugong, and his family lived in mountains that blocked their way in and out. To facilitate movement for themselves and the future generation, Yugong, approaching his 90s, was determined to remove the mountains, shovel by shovel.。
His act was mocked by the Wise Old Man, or Zhisou. "You are so foolish. With your remaining years and the little strength you still have, you could not cut a tree in the mountain. How can you possibly move all the soil and rocks," questioned Zhisou.。
Yugong replied, "It's true that I will die, but I have my sons, and they will have sons. Then their sons will have sons, and those sons will also have sons. I will have endless sons and grandsons, but these mountains will not grow. Why can't they be leveled?"
In the end, God was touched by Yugong's perseverance and sent two titans from heaven who helped move the mountains away.。
The fable has become a synonym for forging ahead while facing enormous difficulties and persevering to the end. Although it is not a real story, perseverant villagers in the Taihang Mountains of north China's Shanxi Province dug through a mountain standing between their village and the outside world.。
With a cliffside road built, farmers in Shenlongwan Village in Pingshun County have sent their agricultural products out for sale and brought in tourists, shaking off poverty and embracing prosperity.。
Benefiting from its unique climate, Shenlongwan is famous for its farming products, such as walnuts and pears, but transporting the farm produce out used to be a problem.。
Before the road was built, villagers had to trek six hours, detouring eight townships of three provinces to arrive at the county seat, or risk their lives climbing a narrow, almost vertical steep pass.。
"We desperately needed a road," said Duan Jianlin, a veteran from the village who participated in the construction. "If we couldn't finish building it in one year, we would try two years. If two years were not enough, we would make it three years."
It took the villagers 15 years to build the 1,526-meter road using simple tools like hammers and chisels.。
Now, 60 percent of the 700-plus villagers are engaged in tourism-related businesses. In the first half of this year, the village received more than 300,000 tourists despite the epidemic.。
"Walking on such a unique road is not only to enjoy the beautiful scenery but also to learn from the villagers' perseverance," said Zhang Hao, a traveler from Shanghai.。
Last year, the village saw its net per capita income reach 12,000 yuan (about 1,875 U.S. dollars). By comparison, the figure was only 680 yuan in 2000, when the road went operational.。
"The road is a path to prosperity and also a symbol revealing the traditional struggling spirit of Chinese people," said Zhou Haiyu, former Party chief of the village. Enditem。
2nd case of Omicron COVID******
Japan confirmed its second case of the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 on Wednesday, the top government spokesman said.。
A man in his 20s who arrived from Peru at Narita airport near Tokyo on Saturday was confirmed as infected with the Omicron variant, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said.。
The non-Japanese man from Peru is currently in quarantine at a medical facility, and was not in close contact with the first case, who is a diplomat in his 30s traveling from Namibia, according to the government.。
Scientists are seeking to figure out whether the new strain is more transmissible or able to evade vaccine-induced immunity.。
Earlier on the day, Matsuno said Japan will deny re-entry to all foreigners who have recently been to Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.。
The measure will come into effect Thursday and remain in place "for the time being," Matsuno told a press conference. Japan has already banned new entries of foreigners from around the world from Tuesday.。
Exemptions are allowed to be made in "special circumstances" involving foreign spouses and children of Japanese citizens, diplomats and humanitarian cases, the government has said. But eligibility for such exemptions is being narrowed as part of efforts to keep out the Omicron variant, Matsuno said.。
The transportation ministry also said Wednesday it has demanded airlines to stop accepting new reservations for international flights arriving in Japan as part of tighter border controls.。
The World Health Organization has designated the Omicron strain a "variant of concern," warning it may be highly transmissible or able to evade immunity gained from vaccines or previous infections.。
China considers raising teacher qualification requirements******
BEIJING, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- China is considering raising the standard of qualifications required for teachers in a proposed revision to the Teachers Law, Minister of Education Huai Jinpeng said on Thursday.
Teachers will have higher education requirements, Huai stated when delivering a report to the ongoing session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.
An assessment process will be established to examine teachers' professional qualifications, Huai added.
The draft revision proposes establishing a system of salary distribution according to work and performance, and improving the award and discipline system for teachers, he said.
Ethics are highlighted as the most important criteria for assessing teachers in the draft, according to the report.
The draft revision also specifies teachers' rights and obligations. They will enjoy greater autonomy in teaching, have the right to discipline students, and the intellectual property rights to their innovations, it noted.
At the same time, teachers are required to play their part in protecting and assisting minor students.
The draft revision to the law will be submitted to the NPC Standing Committee for review after being further improved, the minister said. Enditem