Shijiazhuang, July 10 (Xinhua/UNB) -- A handwritten family tree dating back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) was discovered in north China's Hebei Province, according to local authorities.
The thread-bound family tree, found in Shuangpengtou Village, Xingtai City, was completed in August 1637 and is well-preserved with clear and neat handwriting.
The manuscript recorded the pedigree of a family of Meng and the family's rules and rituals, and also described the politics, economy and culture around the city.
"The well-preserved family tree offers us valuable insight into the family rules and rituals, economy and culture in central and southern Hebei in the Ming Dynasty," said Lan Jianhui, an expert on culture and history in the city.
Jinan, July 10 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Geological workers in east China's Shandong Province have found four reserves of hot dry rock, which equal about 18.8 billion tonnes of standard coal, local authorities said Wednesday.
A geological team managed to dig into the rock in the cities of Rizhao and Weihai, according to the Shandong Bureau of Coal Geology.
Covering an area of 1,500 square km, the rocks can be used in fields such as power generation, heating and oil exploitation.
Hot dry rock is a kind of geothermal energy that contains no water or steam. It is usually found 3 km to 10 km below the earth's surface, with temperatures higher than 180 degrees Celcius.
The renewable and pollution-free resource, with rich reserves and stable output, is believed to have great potential to replace fossil fuels in the future, according to the bureau.
Frankfurt, Jul 9 (AP/UNB) — Volkswagen is halting production of the last version of its Beetle model this week at its plant in Puebla, Mexico. It's the end of the road for a vehicle that has symbolized many things over a history spanning the eight decades since 1938.
It has been: a part of Germany's darkest hours as a never-realized Nazi prestige project. A symbol of Germany's postwar economic renaissance and rising middle-class prosperity. An example of globalization, sold and recognized all over the world. An emblem of the 1960s counterculture in the United States. Above all, the car remains a landmark in design, as recognizable as the Coca-Cola bottle.
The car's original design — a rounded silhouette with seating for four or five, nearly vertical windshield and the air-cooled engine in the rear — can be traced back to Austrian engineer Ferdinand Porsche, who was hired to fulfill German dictator Adolf Hitler's project for a "people's car" that would spread auto ownership the way the Ford Model T had in the U.S.
Aspects of the car bore similarities to the Tatra T97, made in Czechoslovakia in 1937, and to sketches by Hungarian engineer Bela Barenyi published in 1934. Mass production of what was called the KdF-Wagen, based on the acronym of the Nazi labor organization under whose auspices it was to be sold, was cancelled due to World War II. Instead, the massive new plant in what was then countryside east of Hanover turned out military vehicles, using forced laborers from all over Europe under miserable conditions.
Re-launched as a civilian carmaker under supervision of the British occupation authorities, the Volkswagen factory was transferred in 1949 to the Germany government and the state of Lower Saxony, which still owns part of the company. By 1955, the one millionth Beetle - officially called the Type 1 - had rolled off the assembly line in what was now the town of Wolfsburg.
The United States became Volkswagen's most important foreign market, peaking at 563,522 cars in 1968, or 40% of production. Unconventional, sometimes humorous advertising from agency Doyle Dane Bernbach urged car buyers to "Think small."
"Unlike in West Germany, where its low price, quality and durability stood for a new postwar normality, in the United States the Beetle's characteristics lent it a profoundly unconventional air in a car culture dominated by size and showmanship," wrote Bernhard Rieger in his 2013 history, "The People's Car."
Production at Wolfsburg ended in 1978 as newer front drive models like the Golf took over. But the Beetle wasn't dead yet. Production went on in Mexico from 1967 until 2003 — longer than the car had been made in Germany. Nicknamed the "vochito," the car made itself at home as a rugged, Mexican-made "carro del pueblo."
The New Beetle — a completely new retro version build on a modified Golf platform — resurrected some of the old Beetle's cute, unconventional aura in 1998 under CEO Ferdinand Piech, Ferdinand Porsche's grandson. In 2012, the Beetle's design was made a bit sleeker. The last of 5,961 Final Edition versions is headed for a museum after ceremonies in Puebla on July 10 to mark the end of production.
Dvur Kralove, Jul 8 (AP/UNB) — Two Barbary lion cubs have been born in a Czech zoo, a welcome addition to a small surviving population of a rare lion subspecies that has been extinct in the wild.
The pair, one male and one female, were born on May 10 in the Dvur Kralove park. Under the guidance of mother Khalila, they have taken their first steps in their enclosure in recent days. They have not yet been named.
The biggest lion subspecies, which once roamed its native northern Africa, was completely wiped out due to human activities. Many were killed by gladiators in Roman times while hunting contributed to their extinction later.
It's believed Barbary lions went extinct in the wild in the 1960s.
Fewer than 100 are estimated to live in captivity.
White Oaks, Jul 8 (AP/UNB) — A saloon in a New Mexico ghost town attracts regulars with diverse backgrounds and opinions with a promise to "have dialogue."
The No Scum Allowed Saloon in the White Oaks, New Mexico, pulls in people from around the state and sometimes tourists from overseas because of its reputation and catchy name, the Albuquerque Journal recently reported .
Saloon owner Karen Haughness, one of the nine people who live in White Oaks, said the saloon's regulars often exceed the town's population. She says the saloon cultivates civil discourse among visitors.
"We are different. We come from different places. We are different politically. We have extreme liberals and extreme conservatives," said Haughness, who also works as a school psychologist and sells antiques on the side. "But we can state opinions without getting into arguments. We have dialogue."
Rick Virden, 66, a former Lincoln County sheriff who has a ranch between White Oaks and Carrizozo, said there are quite a few people who come to the saloon on a regular basis.
"And some of them are from quite a ways away," he said.
The town was founded after gold was discovered in the region in 1879. Outlaw Billy the Kid is said to have visited White Oaks often looking for a good time.
People moved out as gold mining evaporated, with the last mine closing in 1930. Today, the No Scum Allowed Saloon's regulars make up to about three times the town's single-digit population.
Jackie Keller, 56, a former State Highway Department employee, lives just east of White Oaks. She is known for her green chile salsa and bakes cakes for saloon birthday parties.
"You can't beat the people here," she said. "We help each other out. It's desolate here."
White Oaks is 160 miles (257 kilometers) southeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico.