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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Senior Colonel Zhou Bo, director of the Center for Secur

Cooperation at the ministry’s Office for International Military Cooperation, said that comp

ared with other branches of the military, the PLA Navy plays a relatively larger role in protecting China’s overseas inter

ests and maintaining security in key sea lanes such as the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia.

“The PLA Navy is at the forefront of proving that the Chinese milita

ry is an open, cooperative and competent force for peace,” he said, adding that the PLA Navy has f

requently participated in humanitarian rescue missions, naval escorts, joint exercises and exchanges in past years.

“Through these non-war military operations, the Chinese Navy has also improved its capability and operability in dis

tant waters,” Zhou said. “Many security issues around the world require global efforts, and as its capability impr

oves, the PLA Navy can play a bigger part and contribute more to global maritime security.”

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On Sunday, the US sent the Navy’s guided-missile destroy

Curtis Wilbur and Coast Guard’s cutter Bertholf through the Taiwan Straits. On March 13, t

wo US B-52H bombers flew near Chinese islands in the South China Sea for the second time this month.

Wu said China resolutely opposes the “provocative actions” by the

US warplanes, and will continue to take necessary actions to safeguard national sec

urity. “The facts have shown that the US is the one militarizing the South China Sea,” he said.

Regarding the US military’s recent interactions with its Taiwan counterpart, Wu said China resolutely opposes any milit

ary interaction between the two sides, whether it involves arms sales to Taiwan or official military exchanges.

“The Taiwan question is a domestic matter for China, and it is related to China’s core interests and the feelings of the Chi

nese people. It cannot be interfered with by outside forces,” Wu said, adding that the one-China policy is a reco

gnized consensus in international relations, and the political basis for Sino-US relations.

“Any attempt to undermine this principle is no different than trying to shake the foundatio

n of Sino-US ties. This does not fit with the basic interests of either nation, and it is very dangerous,” he said.

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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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ao poses with a dog at her brick-and-mortar store in Chen

Zeng Niaoniao, a qipao designer in the post-95s generation, started her business when she was a sophomore in 2015, and now runs stores both online and off.

Last year, the turnover from her online store reached 12 million yuan ($1.78 million)

The 24-year-old designer has a track record on improving qipao, displaying her work at the 2018 Shan

g Fashion Week and attracting Chinese pop idol Yang Chaoyue to wear her design for an advertising photoshoot.

Zeng said her wish was to see people wearing her designs to stroll around town, and sh

e wanted to bring more improveqipao with new designs to young Chinese girls.

May’s offer to quit fails to break Britain’s Brexit stalemate

LONDON – British Prime Minister Theresa May failed to sway hardline opponents of her European Union divorce de

al on Wednesday with an offer to quit, but parliament’s bid to agree an alternative fell short, leaving the Brexit process as deadlocked as ever.

May told her Conservative lawmakers she would step down if her Brexit deal was finally passe

d by parliament at the third attempt, in a last-ditch bid to win over many of her party’s eurosceptic rebels.

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While May was addressing her lawmakers, MPs in the mai

n chamber debated eight other Brexit options, ranging from leaving abruptly with no deal to revoking the divorce altogether.

While there was no majority support for any, the option calling for a referendum on any depa

rture deal, and another suggesting a UK-wide customs union with the EU, won more votes than May’s deal did two weeks ago.

Oliver Letwin, a Conservative former cabinet minister who led parliament’s unusual power grab, said it ha

d been expected that none would immediately win a majority, and lawmakers would have another chance on Monday.

The uncertainty around Britain’s most significant political and economic change since W

orld War II has left allies and investors aghast. Sterling dipped after Wednesday’s events.

If May’s deal were to pass, her office said there would be a contest to replace her after May 22, when Britain would leave the EU.

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She would also become the fourth Conservative prime min

ister in a row to have fallen foul of divisions over Europe within her centuries-old party, following David Cameron, John Major and Margaret Thatcher.

Most voters think the Brexit negotiation has been handled badly and there may now be a slight majority for staying in the EU, rec

ent polls suggest. Many Conservative MPs say May herself has caused the chaos by not negotiating harder with the EU.

“It was inevitable and I just feel she’s made the right decision. She has actually read the m

ood of the party, which was a surprise,” said Conservative lawmaker Pauline Latham.

Over two decades since her debut appearance at Wimbledon, Chinese legend Li

Na still remembers her awkward introduction to the iconic London tournament.

Li first competed there in the girls’ singles in 1998, and was tripped up by the switch f

rom hard courts to grass, not to mention the All England Club’s famous sartorial etiquette.

“I had no clue at all on how to play on grass,” Li recalled at Tuesday’s The Road to Wimbledon junior training camp in Beijing.

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Five Chinese women are ranked in the world’s top 50, spear

headed by No 18 Wang Qiang, who this week reached the Miami Open quarterfinals to

become the first Chinese to go that far at the premier mandatory event since Li’s run to the final in 2014.

Li is delighted to see her compatriots mixing it with the world’s best, but said she expects more.

“It’s good to have a group of girls in the top 50, but the resources they enjoy today make me believe they could do better,” she said.

With more advanced coaching and training methods, WTA

CEO Steve Simon reckons China will unearth the next Li sooner rather than later.

“The chances of finding the next Li Na are very bright; it’s just a matter of time,” he said earlier this month in Shenzhen.

The return of The Road to Wimbledon, a tailor-made tournament for under-14 players, f

or its fourth year in China is part of the latest effort to deepen the domestic talent pool.

It began on Monday with a weeklong trial camp overseen by Dan Blox

ham, head coach of the All England Club. The best performers will be picked to compete at a nat

ional tournament in Nanjing in May, which will decide China’s representatives at the global final at Wimbledon from Aug 11-17.

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Detailed analysis of the fragment indicated that the

 bird’s reproductive system was not behaving normally. The eggshell consists of two layers instea

d of one as in normal, healthy bird eggs, indicating the egg was retained too long inside the abdomen, Bailleul said.

This condition occurs in living birds as a result of stress. Unlaid eggs may be coated with a second laye

r, or sometimes more, of shell. This abnormality has also been documented in sauropod dinosaurs, and in fossil and living turtles.

In addition, the eggshell was extremely thin, thinner than a sheet of paper, and did not have the proportions of a healthy egg, Bailleul said.

hina’s civil aviation regulator has temporarily stopped issuing airworthine

ss certificates for Boeing 737 Max 8s because of safety concerns, a move an expert said will bring huge economic losses to Boeing.

Two Boeing 737 MAX 8s have crashed in the last five months. All 157 pa

ssengers and crew members of a 737 MAX 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines died on Mar 10, includi

ng eight Chinese nationals. In October, the same model of plane, operated by Lion Air, went down over the Java Sea, killing 189.

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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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