LESSON 27 - 5G / FOOD SAFETY (24022019)

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    LESSON 27 - 5G / FOOD SAFETY (24022019)



    There has been a lot of publicity recently surrounding 5G, the next generation of wireless technology for the world. But what is this technology and how might it change our lives?

    What is 5G?

    5G stands for fifth generation, meaning the next step in the progression of technology to replace the current 4G system. 4G was the replacement for 3G, which came after 2G, and so on.

    These systems are wireless computer networks.

    Earlier “G” systems were designed to improve mobile communication operations. Each new technology brought major improvements in speed and greatly increased network capacity.

    The new 5G system promises more of the same. It is expected to permit more users to do more things -- at a faster rate. Higher internet speeds and larger network capacity should result in better performance for device users connected to 5G.

    However, technology experts say there is a major way that 5G is different than the earlier systems. It will move well beyond mobile network technology to affect many more devices and industries than other “G” versions.

    When will it be available?

    Before we can all use 5G, wireless companies and phone makers will have to complete and deploy a whole new system. New phones and communication equipment must be built.

    American wireless companies have been preparing for the new system for some time. They have been creating new network equipment and buying broadcasting space to carry 5G signals. They have built new 5G antennas to serve American cities and towns. Wireless providers will invest at least $275 billion in 5G-related networks in the United States, the industry group CTIA reported.

    The first U.S. launch of 5G is expected to happen sometime this year. Industry experts expect it will take a few more years to go nationwide. It will take even longer to reach rural areas.

    China is expected to launch 5G sometime in 2020, while European nations are likely to build their systems more slowly over time.

    In the United States, the first 5G-ready phones should be available in the first half of this year. The first 5G iPhone, however, is not expected until 2020.

    4G phones will work on 5G networks, but not at 5G speeds.



    57 year-old retiree Li Jianhua was born and raised in the city of Jinan (Tể Nam), capital of Shandong (Sơn Đông) Province in east China.

    His wish to add some green to his life has turned the little hill in front of his city center apartment into a miniature farm, with peach trees, beans, and all sorts of vegetables.

    "I just thought it was quite dirty over there and it's in front of my apartment, so I wanted to make it greener. I grew some vines and we can eat all the fruits when they are ripe, so I told my neighbors to help themselves and they love the produce. I turned it into a vegetable farm gradually, I bought cabbage seeds and cucumbers this year."

    The popularity of Mr. Li's produce is due to it being completely organic and therefore safe.

    Li Jianhua only fertilizes his garden with manure which he ferments himself from animal feces.

    A big food safety scandal in his city two months ago still rattles people's nerves even now.

    Meat sold in a local Walmart store labeled as donkey meat was actually found to be fox meat.

    Donkey meat is a popular snack in some parts of China, but foxes are mainly raised for fur while their meat is generally considered inedible.

    Mr. Li is still upset about the whole scandal because it was uncovered by a customer owing to a lack of sufficient government supervision.

    "With the Walmart scandal, if the consumer had not complained and had the meat tested, we would always have been kept in the dark. We ordinary people cannot tell the difference just by tasting the food. Without advanced testing equipment, how can we tell? This shows that the supervision from relevant authorities is not carried out effectively enough to cover the upstream producers."

    Li Jianhua also believes food safety remains a major concern as the food sector is highly competitive but lacks proper supervision.

    He recalls a trip to a nearby farm, where the owner gave him some organic cucumbers together with an industry secret.

    "The farmer told me that I can't eat cucumbers sold on the market because progesterone is used in the farm. It's a type of hormone contained in contraceptive pills. Cucumbers grown using the hormone ripen within days; the flower doesn't even wither when the cucumber is 20 centimeters long. He said all the cucumbers sold on the market with flowers on it are grown using the hormone."

    Food safety issues are a bitter topic in China.

    Poor supply chain management has frequently led to scares in products ranging from baby milk to cooking oil.

    Mr. Li says he hopes during the two sessions, the government can do something significant enough to stop the constant food safety scandals.

    "My expectation is that the government can strengthen supervision. If it cares about people's health, the supervision over food should be constant. Every batch of food should be checked. The current system consists of random spot-checks; I think it's wrong. The tainted meat scandal involving the big company Shuanghui was revealed by the media instead of government supervision."

    Li Jianhua suggests that the current spot-check system gives producers room to maneuver as they self-select which samples to send to regulators.

    The labs have already been built, the equipment has been bought, so why aren't they being used more effectively?

    Composed & Edited by Le Quoc An

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