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DPRK announces test******
The evaluation test-fire of Hwasong 12-type ground-to-ground intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile was conducted on Sunday, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) reported.
Under a plan of the Academy of Defence Science, the Second Economy Commission and other institutions concerned, the test-fire was aimed to selectively evaluate the missile being produced and deployed and to verify the overall accuracy of the weapon system, according to the report.
"It was conducted by the highest-angle launch system from the northwestern part of the country toward the waters of the East Sea of Korea in consideration of the security of neighboring countries," KCNA reported.
It confirmed the accuracy, security and effectiveness of the operation of the Hwasong 12-type weapon system under production, the report said.
Interview: German ping pong icon Boll says "always curious to play" Chinese paddlers******
NEW YORK, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Matchups against Chinese paddlers were not only fun but also "helping me so much to improve myself," and "I was always curious to play them," said German table tennis evergreen Timo Boll.。
"I always wanted to play them. I was never shy to play them," the former world No. 1 told Xinhua in a recent interview, adding "(it) doesn't matter if I win or lose, afterward I'm always a better player when I meet them."
"I wouldn't have become such a good player without the Chinese," said the German veteran, who was also active as a guest player in the Chinese Super League.。
The eight-time European men's singles winner said every generation of the Chinese table tennis circle has very outstanding players.。
"If I play Chinese players, I have to be prepared from the first ball because you have to read the game inside the game," he said.。
"You have to be very sharp and you cannot afford easy mistakes and you have to be really on the point in that game," said Boll, who has taken on different generations of top Chinese paddlers, including Liu Guoliang, Kong Linghui, Wang Liqin, Ma Lin, Zhang Jike, Ma Long and Fan Zhendong.。
"The more often you play them, you feel immediately that you (get improved)," said the world's No. 10, adding "it's nice to follow the whole table tennis history of China and to be a small part of it."
The six-time Olympic contender said the biggest strength of Chinese table tennis lies in its unique system, which helps to find the talents and train them at younger ages.。
To spot the young talents and to bring them to good cultures, where they can grow up, where they go to school and practice a lot with good coaches, "this is unique in China," and "that's we have to learn, but it's not easy," Boll said.。
Germany is well-structured in clubs where a lot of amateur players can play each other, but it lacks a good structure for professional table tennis like China, he noted.。
Commenting on his performance at the recently concluded 2021 Houston World Table Tennis Championships, he said it was unfortunate as he failed to take a chance at the semifinal, but still "it's a nice story" to win his first singles medal at the worlds in a decade at the age of 40.。
The German said he came to Houston "without very high expectations," as he was still a little bit struggling with his physical condition after the Olympics and wasn't sure if he could play really on a high level.。
Boll said he won't be retiring any time soon, though he could feel the age every day.。
"It's all about fun playing ... I won't find anything else which can fulfill myself so much like table tennis, it's also hard to stop. I have to admit," he said.。
The veteran, who repeatedly voiced his love for practicing and the routine of a sportsman, added that respect from the other players and fans also encourages him to keep going.。
Looking ahead, Boll said he would concentrate on his club, try to compete in big tournaments and play them on a high level.。
"I will try to play, especially the Asian tournaments where I can compete against the best players like the Chinese players," he said, adding he hopes to lead his compatriots to compete in the 2022 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Chengdu.。
"Hopefully I can come back to China soon," he said. Enditem。
'Historic': US surgeons successfully implant pig heart in human******
This handout photo released by the University of Maryland School of Medicine on Monday shows surgeons performing a transplant of a heart from a genetically modified pig to patient David Bennett, in Baltimore, Maryland, last Friday.。
Surgeons in the United States have successfully implanted a heart from a genetically modified pig in a 57-year-old man, a medical first that could one day help solve the chronic shortage of organ donations.。
The "historic" procedure took place last Friday, the University of Maryland Medical School said in a statement on Monday. While the patient's prognosis is far from certain, it represents a major milestone for animal to human transplantation.。
The patient, David Bennett, had been deemed ineligible for human transplant – a decision that is often taken when the recipient has very poor underlying health.。
He is now recovering and being carefully monitored to determine how the new organ performs.。
"It was either die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it's a shot in the dark, but it's my last choice," the Maryland resident said a day before the surgery.。
Bennett, who has spent the last several months bedridden on a heart-lung bypass machine, added: "I look forward to getting out of bed after I recover."
The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization for the surgery on New Year's Eve, as a last-ditch effort for a patient who was unsuitable for conventional transplant. "This was a breakthrough surgery and brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis," said Bartley Griffith, who surgically transplanted the pig heart.。
"We are proceeding cautiously, but we are also optimistic that this first-in-the-world surgery will provide an important new option for patients in the future."
Surgeon Dr. Bartley Griffith (L) with patient David Bennett, who received a heart implant from a genetically modified pig, in Baltimore, Maryland.。
Muhammad Mohiuddin, who co-founded the university's cardiac xenotransplantation program, added the surgery was the culmination of years of research, involving pig-to-baboon transplants, with survival times that exceeded nine months.。
"The successful procedure provided valuable information to help the medical community improve this potentially life-saving method in future patients," he said.。
Bennett's donor pig belonged to a herd that had undergone genetic editing procedures.。
Three genes that would have led to rejection of pig organs by humans were "knocked out," as was a gene that would have led to excessive growth of pig heart tissue. Six human genes responsible for human acceptance were inserted into the genome, for a total of 10 unique gene edits.。
The editing was performed by Virginia-based biotech firm Revivicor, which also supplied the pig used in a breakthrough kidney transplant on a brain dead patient in New York in October.。
But while that surgery was purely a proof-of-concept experiment, and the kidney was connected outside the patient's body, the new surgery is intended to save a person's life.。
The donated organ was kept in an organ-preservation machine ahead of the surgery, and the team also used an experimental new drug made by Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals along with conventional anti-rejection drugs to suppress the immune system.。
About 110,000 Americans are currently waiting for an organ transplant, and more than 6,000 patients die each year before getting one, according to official figures.。
To meet demand, doctors have long been interested in so-called xenotransplantation, or cross-species organ donation, with experiments tracing back to the 17th century.。