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KABUL, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- Afghanistan kicked off a mass vaccination campaign against polio after a new case of the infectious disease was recently confirmed, the Public Health Ministry said on Monday.

Starting from Monday, the house-to-house drive will target 9.5 million children of less than five-year-old, the ministry said in a statement.

"The campaign runs throughout Afghanistan for four days, from 17-19 October, with a catch-up day to revisit missed children on 21 October," the statement said.

The number of polio cases recorded in the militancy-hit country has risen to eight so far this year after a fresh case was confirmed in Barmal district of the eastern Paktika province while some cases were detected in eastern Kunar and southern Helmand and Kandahar provinces.

"Polio is a crippling disease that cannot be treated but it can be prevented through vaccination. Every child under the age of five in Afghanistan should be vaccinated during each immunization round to ensure they are protected," the statement reads.

"Afghanistan is on track to stopping the transmission of polio and our focus is now on finding and vaccinating every child missed for any reason. Most of Afghanistan remains polio-free," Afghan Minister of Public Health Ferozuddin Feroz was quoted as saying.

During this polio campaign all children aged 2-5 years will also receive de-worming tablets, according to the statement.

The ongoing insurgency and conflicts have been hindering the efforts to stamp out the infectious disease in the mountainous country.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- Brazil police and firefighters Wednesday called on the authority of Rio de Janeiro to cancel the traditional beachfront New Year's Eve celebration for security concerns.

In a letter to local and regional authorities, Adalberto de Souza, president of the Association of Active and Retired Military Police Officers and Firefighters, said the situation was a time bomb.

Predicting potential "violent" protests sparked by "the serious economic, political and financial crisis," de Souza said the annual gathering, which drew thousands of revelers to the city's famed Copacabana Beach, should be called off.

"Anticipating the possibility of demonstrations which, given the number of people involved, could turn violent and harmful for those present, we recommend canceling the entertainment and fireworks show put on by the city of Rio de Janeiro," the letter read.

De Souza cited the "innumerable protests" in recent months by civil servants who have not received their salaries, and others protesting proposed layoffs announced by the state government.

Just two months before the Rio Olympic Games, the state government declared a "financial emergency" in June.

Rio, Brazil's leading tourist destination, was expected to receive some 2 million people, including 865,000 tourists, to attend the celebration on the night of Dec. 31.

By Xinhua writer Liu Xin

BEIJING Men's Nike KD 7 All White Black Australia , Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- A pair of worn, black shoes has accompanied Joel Bellassen all over the world.

Sitting at the window in a hostel at Beijing International Studies University, the 64 year-old Frenchman said he doesn't recognize where he is Kid's Nike KD 7 Bright Crimson Black Australia , although he has been to 24 provinces and autonomous regions during his 200-plus trips to China and speaks Mandarin like a native. "It's easy to find skyscrapers in almost any large city in this country," he said. "But it's hard to distinguish one from another."

Bellassen is General Inspector of Chinese Language at France's Ministry of National Education. He traveled to Beijing this time on an academiCc tour and to give a speech on the theme "Current difficulties of teaching Chinese as a foreign language."

He always has the Xinhua Dictionary and a Contemporary Chinese Dictionary in his bag. His favorite Chinese story is "Kong Yiji," written by Lu Xun.

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Bellassen has been fascinated by Chinese for 45 years. In 1969, he chose Chinese as his major at the Universite Paris 8. "I was interested in Chinese ideographs and had a burning curiosity about this remote, mysterious Men's Nike KD 8 Christmas Pack White Black Bright Crimson Australia , Eastern country."

In 1973 the two countries restored cultural exchange programs, which had been halted by China's Cultural Revolution. This gave him a chance to take his first China journey with 29 other college students.

"It was like going to the moon," Bellassen recalled. "My grandmother tried to persuade me to stay in Paris because China was comparatively underdeveloped."

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Despite restored cultural exchanges, 1973 was still during China's Cultural Revolution. "I visited all of my classmates after we finished our exchange program in China," he said. Though many Chinese people at the time thought foreigners were coming to China for political reasons Men's Nike KD 8 Bright Crimson Black Australia , Bellassen said neither he nor his classmates took part in political movements before, during, or after their China stay.

"We came to China in a politically sensitive period Men's Nike KD 9 Cargo Green Australia , but we studied here mainly out of curiosity," he said.

Arriving in China after a 22-hour flight, Bellassen caught his first sight of Beijing. A few people were riding bicycles late at night Men's Nike Kd 9 Elite Ivory Pale Grey Australia , he recalled. A portrait of Chairman Mao hung on the airport's terminal building.

In the 1970s, Chinese people were still curious about foreigners. "One day I went to Wangfujing, Beijing's commercial district Men's Nikelab Zoom KD 9 Pearl Pink Dust Australia , to buy a pair of shoes," he said. He attracted hundreds of people's attention in the street. "But even my close Chinese friends turned away from me, which really made me puzzled Nike Zoom LeBron Soldier 9 Australia ," Bellassen said.

In ord.