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BEIJING, March 29 (Reuters) - The number of pollution sources in China has increased by more than half in eight years, the environment ministry said on Thursday as it embarks on a nationwide survey to determine the damage done by more than 30 years of untrammeled growth.

The announcement from the newly minted Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) underlines the challenges facing China, in its fifth year of a war on air, water and soil pollution, as it tries crack down on data fraud and improve monitoring.

The government is currently conducting a second nationwide "environmental census" aimed at identifying pollution threats throughout the country. The first was published in 2010.

"The goal for the census is to do thorough data collection so that it can reflect the extent of the pollution," Hong Yaxiong, the head of ministry's pollution survey office, told reporters at the first regular briefing since the beefed-up ministry was created this month.

The environment ministry absorbed new duties formerly held by the land, water and agriculture ministries as part of the biggest government shake-up in years. It will also now be in charge of climate change and carbon emissions.

The new census is due to be completed in 2019. According to preliminary estimates, the total number of pollution sources now stands at 9 million, including 7.4 million industrial sources, 1 million in rural areas and 0.5 million from urban locations, Hong said.

The first census conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics from 2007 to 2009, uncovered 5.9 million sources of pollution nationwide, with the industrial provinces of Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang at the top of the list.

The survey also identified 209.8 billion tonnes of waste water, 63.7 trillion cubic metres of waste gas emissions and 3.852 billion tonnes of industrial solid waste nationwide.

Started last year, the second census will widen its scope to include industrial parks, rural pollution sources, boilers, municipal and waste water outlets, and it will also survey soil pollution sources such as mercury, cadmium or lead.


NEW YORK, March 22 (AFP) Itching to move abroad and start a new chapter in your life?

Social butterflies looking to make new friends in foreign places will have more success in countries like Portugal, Taiwan and Mexico, which emerged the most welcoming countries for expats in a new survey.

According to the latest results of the Expat Insider survey, which is based on the insights of 13,000 expats from 188 countries and territories, Portugal can lay claim to being the friendliest country for newcomers:  An overwhelming majority of 94 per cent of expats currently living in the country said locals have a friendly attitude towards expats.

Along with being friendly and helpful, expats noted that people look out for each other in Portugal.

However, it’s a different story when it comes to forging actual friendships, as that figure drops to 58 per cent for making new friends.

Rounding out the top three spots are Taiwan and Mexico.

The Expat Insider Survey was released from expat networking site InterNations and ranks 65 countries.

In the survey, Canada ranked 10th and the US ranks 36th.

At the city level, a similar survey last fall named Paris the worst European city to live in as an expat, mostly due to the Parisian’s cold and unwelcome attitude towards foreigners.

France did little to improve its performance on the newest survey, coming in 55th out of 65 places, with expats saying they struggle to make friends and don’t feel at home in the country.

Here are the top 10 most welcoming countries for expats:

1. Portugal
2. Taiwan
3. Mexico
4. Cambodia
5. Bahrain
6. Costa Rica
7. Oman
8. Colombia
9. Vietnam
10. Canada