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Kunming to roll out free public bicycles
The Kunming municipal government has announced a plan to provide bicycles for free use by the public, according to a Dushi Shibao report. The report said the plan has been received by the public with approval, tempered with a skepticism that the bikes will all be stolen.

Dali posts record holiday numbers
During this year's eight-day National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival 'Golden Week' holiday, Dali set new records for holiday visitors and tourist revenue, according to a Kunming Information Hub report.

Approximately 590,000 domestic and international tourists visited Dali in the first eight days of October, an increase of 44.9 percent over the same holidays one year ago. Revenue from tourism was 355 million yuan (US$52 million).

In addition to the traditional draws of Dali's old town and Three Pagodas, tourist visits to nearby Eryuan (洱源), Heqing (鹤庆) and Bingchuan (宾川) also reached new highs. Tourists driving their own vehicles – primarily from Kunming as well as Sichuan, Guizhou and Guangxi – accounted for more than 90,000 of the visitors to the Dali area over the holiday, the report said.

Yunnan banana joins Millennium Seed Bank
The Yunnan banana, aka Musa itinerans aka bajiao (芭蕉), has been added to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at the Royal Botanical Gardens in the UK. The bajiao seeds were provided to the seed bank by the Kunming Institute of Botany.

The addition of bajiao seeds from Yunnan also marked the 10 percent mark for the seed bank, which now has seeds of 24,200 species in its possession, with a goal of ultimately collecting seeds of 242,000 species. The seed bank is aiming to mitigate the possibility of extinction for the world's flowering plants, 70 percent of which are under threat.

The bajiao plant, which exists in an area spanning from Yunnan into Southeast Asia and India, is threatened by the increased clearing of jungle for agriculture. Despite not being a major crop for human consumption, it can be used to breed disease-resistant hybrid banana varieties. It is also a staple for the endangered Asian elephant and other animals in the region.

The bajiao seeds have been dried and are now being stored at -20 degrees Celsius in a US$131 million facility, located in Sussex. The seed bank estimates that as many as one quarter of the world's flowering plant species may be on the brink of extinction by the middle of this century.

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