News in brief


New plant species discovered in China

Beijing, January 3 (IANS): Chinese scientists have discovered a new endangered species of flowering plant from the Primulaceae family. The new species, Primula Zhui, known in Chinese as Zhu Hua Baochun, was named after Zhu Hua, a researcher from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), reports Xinhua news agency. “It is named after Zhu for his great contribution to botanical research in tropical areas,” said Yang Bin, author of the paper and researcher with Southeast Asian Biodiversity Research Centre under the CAS. Currently, there are fewer than 50 individual plants of the new species in three localities in Yunnan. It has been designated a critically endangered species according to the classification by the World Conservation Union. There are about 500 Primula species in the world. They are native to the temperate northern hemisphere and high altitude areas.


Over 445,000 Afghans displaced by conflict in 2017

Kabul, January 3 (IANS): More than 445,000 Afghans were displaced in 2017 by conflicts and the dragging insurgency, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Wednesday. “From January 1 to December 31, 2017, a total of 445,335 people were displaced due to the conflict in Afghanistan,” it said in a statement. The number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the eastern Afghan region reached 140,205, with 123,538 of them in Nangarhar province, Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying. More than 1 million Afghans have been displaced due to conflicts since 2001 as worsening security situation and the ongoing insurgency have forced the people to leave their houses for safer places. Over 2,640 civilians were killed and over 5,370 others injured in conflict-related incidents in the first nine months of 2017, according to UN figures.


McDonald’s tests fresh beef in another burger

New York, January 2 (AP): McDonald’s says it is using fresh beef in another burger, the latest test by the chain to swap out frozen beef as it seeks to improve the image of its food. The company says the new burger, called Archburger, is being tested in seven McDonald’s restaurants in Tulsa, Oklahoma. McDonald’s held similar tests for fresh beef Quarter Pounders for about a year before announcing in March that it would roll it out to most of its 14,000 restaurants by the middle of this year. McDonald’s says the latest test is limited, and is seeking feedback from customers. At a sixth of a pound, McDonald’s says the fresh beef patties used in the Archburger are slightly smaller than those used in the Quarter Pounder.