The country will further open up its financial sector and

accelerate the process to fully lower the market access threshold for foreign investments in

banking, securities and insurance, the premier said. Service sectors, including medical care and educ

ation, will be opened up along with transportation, infrastructure and energy, he said.

Li said China will further make it easier for foreign companies to set up a venture capital presence and will improve regulati

ons on foreign investors’ strategic investments in listed companies and their mergers with and acquisitions of domestic enterprises.

Also, preferential policies for investments from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan w

ill remain unchanged, and greater development opportunities will be offered for them, Li said.

Wang Huiyao, president of the Center for China and Globalizaton, said he was impressed by Li’s speech to cl

ean up rules and regulations inconsistent with the Foreign Investment Law as well as to launch a more streamlined negative list.

“It shows China’s attitude of further opening-up, which is a higher-level and more concrete commitment of China,” he said.

Leif Johansson, chairman of global biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, said

Li’s speech reflects the determination to create a more open, fair and transpare

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The Chinese government has never imposed any policy

 to force foreign companies to transfer their technology,” Gao added, sayi

ng that the country’s Foreign Investment Law bars forced technology transfers.

The newly passed law, approved this month and set to take effect in January, stipulates that China will treat foreign and Chi

nese enterprises equally and protect their intellectual property rights. Under the law, foreign enterprises will recei

ve pre-establishment national treatment, in addition to a negative list system for market access.

A negative list shows areas where investment i

s limited or prohibited for foreign investors, with all other areas presumed to be open.

Gao said the ministry is working with relevant de

partments to conduct research on shortening the negative list for market access.

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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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Currently, all special purpose local government bonds are

domestically rated “AAA”, the safest level. The sale to individual investors is mainly of project-link

ed special-purpose bonds, a type of local government bond vigorously promoted by the government in re

cent years. The cash flows generated from the underlying projects will be used as the primary repayment sources.

In China, there are two types of local government bonds: general bonds and special purpose bonds. According to the country’s 2019 budget repor

t, which was approved by the top legislature earlier this month, the budgeted deficit for local governments is 930 billion yuan, up 100 billi

on yuan compared with 2018, and this fund gap will be supplemented by general bonds.

In the meantime, 2.15 trillion yuan of special purpose bonds will be issued to support la

rge infrastructure projects, such as shantytown renovation projects and railways, said the ministry.

Letting individual buyers invest in local government bonds is a way to narrow the government’s financin

g gap, said Hu Yijian, a tax professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. The gap is expected to expand, as policym

akers decided to cut about 2 trillion yuan in taxes and fees this year while at the same time increase spending on investment.

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But some were unmoved and the Northern Irish party cruc

rucial to getting the agreement through said it would reject the deal again.

Britain was supposed to leave the bloc on Friday but Brussels agreed last week to put back the

divorce date until April 12 to give it a chance to resolve a three-year crisis that has split the country down the middle.

However, it still remains uncertain how, when or even whether the United Kingdom, the wo

rld’s fifth-biggest economy, will leave the EU. The possibilities that it will leave with no deal to so

ften the shock to its economy, or delay the departure date to hold a general election, have increased as other options fade.

While May’s deal continued to stumble, an attempt by parliament to take control of the proc

ess by holding a series of indicative votes on other options produced no immediate way through the impasse.

None of the proposals, many of which involved closer alignmen

t with the EU than May envisages, won the support of a majority of lawmakers.

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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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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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Following his visits to Spain and Portugal in late 2018, Xi

came to Europe again in his first overseas trip this year, manifesting the great importance China attaches to Europe, Wang said.

In a world of unprecedented transformations, Xi noted that a stable, strategic and reciprocal China-EU relationship is urgently needed.

Wang said during his visit, Xi had in-depth communication with the European leaders to discuss cooperation in internation

al issues and reached important consensus of adhering to multilateralism, and discarding isolationism and unilateral moves.

He also said Xi and the European leaders agreed to enhance coordination and cooperation wit

hin the UN system, give full play to the constructive role of global and regional multilateral mechanisms s

uch as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and Group of 20 and the EU, and

actively contribute to solving international conflicts, combating climate change and promoting sustainable development.

In his keynote speech at the global governance forum, Xi raised “four deficits” in global affairs including governance deficit, tru

st deficit, peace deficit and development deficit. To address these deficits, he proposed a four-pronged approach of fairness and reas

onableness, consultation and understanding, joint efforts and mutual assistance and mutual benefit and win-win results.

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