Much work’ awaits new Sino-US trade talksnited Stat

hina and the United States will hold their eighth round of high-level economic and trade cons

ultations in Beijing on Friday, with “much work” remaining to be done, the Ministry of Commerce said.

Ministry spokesman Gao Feng said on Thursday that the two nations have made some progre

ss through recent phone discussions between Vice-Premier Liu He and US Trade Representative Robert Ligh

thizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. “But there remains much work to be done,” he said.

To iron out differences over certain economic and trade issues, China and the US have b

een intensifying their consultations. Next week, Liu will visit Washington for the ninth round of talks.

Negotiators from both sides are striving to implement consensuses reached betw

een the countries’ leaders in December, Gao said at a regular news conference.

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ation and safety officials Daniel Elwell, Robert

US senators sharply questioned regulatory officials on Wedne

sday about the Federal Aviation Administration’s reliance on Boeing Co’s engineers to cert

ify the safety of the company’s new 737 Max 8 aircraft, which was involved in two fatal crashes in the past five months.

A self-certification procedure called Organization Designation Authorization came under scr

utiny at a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee’s aviation subcommittee in Washington. Testifying wer

e Daniel Elwell, acting FAA administrator; Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Saf

ety Board; and Calvin Scovel III, Transportation Department inspector general.

For decades, the FAA has delegated some authority for certifying new aircraft to the manufacturers, reducing government costs.

After the crashes of Lion Air in Indonesia in October and Ethiop

ian Airlines this month, which killed a total of 346 passengers and crew members, critics have ci

ted the self-certification process as evidence of an overly cozy relationship between the FAA and the industry.

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Information contained on flight recorders for the Indones

sia and Ethiopian planes has not been released, but analysts say the pilots may not have known h

ow to turn off the anti-stall device after it pointed the nose of the plane down, and that may have been a factor in the crashes.

On Wednesday, Mike Sinnett, Boeing’s vice-president, said he doesn’t see the need to overhaul its development of aircraft. He c

alled the new Max software “more robust” but also said the upgrade does not mean the original design was inadequate.

The upgraded MCAS will be activated by input from two sensors rather than one.

The system’s power will be limited so that the pilot can pull back on

the control column to override the system if the plane’s nose is pointed down.

Sinnett said a new training system for pilots on upgrades to the MCAS has been “provisionally approved”.

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According to the Ministry of Finance, local government

nts in Sichuan, Shaanxi and Shandong provinces as well as Beijing will eventually be able to sell bonds at count

ers in commercial banks directly to retail investors, and the practice will be expanded nationwide after an additional period of time.

The ministry said individuals do not need to pay taxes on the bonds’ interest income, and this policy is likely to attract more investors.

Selling local government bonds to retail investors should facilitate liquidity

in the secondary market, improve the market-oriented bond pricing mechanism and pu

sh issuers to enhance the quality of information disclosure, said Amanda Du, a Moody’s vice-president and senior analyst.

“Higher coupon rates compared with treasury bonds, and the tax exemption on the interest income, make

local government bonds more attractive for retail investors,” she said. “The fast takeup by retail investors also indicates that the

bonds have won high recognition among individual buyers, supported by the local governments’ high credit ratings.”

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Finance Minister Liu Kun said at a forum on Sunday tha

t the government plans to accelerate local government bond issuance this year. “We are tryi

ng to complete the issuance of the new bond quota of 3.08 trillion yuan by the end of September.”

“We will urge local governments to inject funds into projects quickl

y in order to stabilize investment and expand domestic demand,” said Liu.

In the first two months, issued local government bonds totaled at 782.1 billion yuan. Among this, 326.1 bil

lion yuan was raised through special purpose bonds, a type just like United States municipal bonds, the ministry said.

hina will further facilitate foreign enterprises’ venture ca

pital investments in Chinese companies, said Premier Li Keqiang at the Boao Forum for Asia on Thursday.

The country will also improve the regulations on foreign investors’ strategic invest

ment in mainland-listed companies as well as on their mergers and acquisitions with domestic enterprises.

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In a spectacular display of indecision, the House of Comm

ons has voted against remaining in the EU and every version of leaving the EU,” tweeted James Cleverly, the Conservative Party’s deputy chairman.

Nevertheless, some proposals fared better than May’s deal had done two weeks ago, and parlia

ment was due to hold more indicative votes on Monday after refining the options most likely to secure a majority.

Many Conservative eurosceptics had made clear they would only c

onsider supporting May’s deal if she gave a firm commitment to resign, hoping a new leader

would be more sympathetic to their views when negotiating the terms of Britain’s future relationship with the EU.

“I have heard very clearly the mood of the parliamentary party,” May told a meeting of Conservative lawmakers (MPs).

“I know there is a desire for a new approach – and new lead

ership – in the second phase of the Brexit negotiations – and I won’t stand in the way of that.”

But within hours of May’s offer, the Democratic Unionist Party, which props up her minority gov

ernment, said it would vote against the deal if May brought it back a third time.

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I didn’t even know I had to wear all white, nor did I prepare

a different pair of shoes for the surface. I was overwhelmed, in an embarrassing way.”

Li played the final match of her stellar career at Wimbledon 2014 before retiring due to a chronic knee injury two months later.

Now enjoying life as a housewife and businesswoman, the two-time Grand Slam singles champion spares no effort to en

sure that China’s new generation of players are better prepared than she was for life as a pro.

Her passion for the sport remains undiminished and shone through at Tuesday’s event at Beijing’s

1123 Junior Tennis Academy, where the 37-year-old hit shots with some young hopefuls and shared insights about life on the tour.

With more international tournaments visiting the country and strong government support and investment, tenni

s has entered the athletic mainstream in China, yet the nation still hasn’t found anyone to assume Li’s throne.

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Li, who inspired the boom after winning Asia’s first major

 title at the 2011 French Open, warned that increased funding and exposure for the sport does not guarantee Grand Slam champions will follow.

“After the US Open (in August), players don’t need to travel overseas with tournam

ents held at home one after another,” said Li, who is an ambassador for her hometown Wuhan Open in Hubei province.

“However, for the younger players nowadays they are likely to squander the opportuni

ties that we had to fight hard to earn, because everything comes easier and more frequently.

“They have to focus on the game itself rather than the exposure or expectations off

the court to really improve one event at a time and benefit from the momentum.”

When Li turned pro in 1999 China had only two entry-level tournam

ents. Now the Women’s Tennis Association calendar features nine Chinese tourn

aments, including the premier mandatory China Open in Beijing and year-end WTA Finals in Shenzhen.

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This year marks the 55th anniversary of China-France

diplomatic ties. During their meetings, Xi agreed with French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to f

orge a more solid, stable and vibrant China-France comprehensive strategic partnership, and continue to explore the way for major countries to get al

ong with each other, which should feature independence, mutual understanding, foresight, mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, Wang said.

In the joint statement issued by China and France on jointly safeguarding multilateralism and improving global governa

nce, the two sides pledged to build international relations of mutual respect, equality, justice, and win-win coop

eration on the basis of respecting international laws and the basic principles of international norms, Wang said.

Speaking of Xi’s visit to Monaco, Wang said leaders of the two cou

ntries have agreed to firmly stick to the correct direction of bilateral relations, adhere to open

ness and cooperation, and pursue more win-win results so as to jointly elevate the China-Monaco relations into a new era.

During Xi’s talks with Prince Albert II, head of state of the Prin

cipality of Monaco, the Chinese president said both sides should adhere to openness and cooperation a

nd pursue more win-win results, adding that China welcomes Monaco to actively participate in the joint development of the Belt and Road.

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percent of minors have internet accessChina had 169 million min

netizens in 2018 and the internet penetration rate was 93.7 percent, according to a report published on Tuesday.

The report was jointly published by the youth rights and interests protection departme

nt of the Communist Youth League of China Central Committee and the China Internet Network Information Center.

Minor netizens covered by the report are students at different levels under 18 years, but not including children under 6 years and non-student youths.

According to the report, 92 percent of minor netizens use mobile phones for internet ac

cess, and the percentages of minors using other devices for internet access are all less than 50 percent.

The report shows that 77.6 percent of minor netizens have their own internet access devices, and 69.7 percent have mobi

le phones. Data shows 52.2 percent connected to the internet less than one hour a day, and 24.2 percent between 1 and 2 hours.

Up to 87.4 percent use the internet for study, 68.1 percent listen to mus

ic and 64.2 percent play games for major leisure and recreational activities on the intern

et. Chatting online is the major communication activity for 58.9 percent, and 40.5 percent use short video apps, according to the report.

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