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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Elwell defended the agency’s reliance on experts from ma

anufacturers and said the current system had produced an unprecedented safety record i

n the US. He said the FAA was “fully involved” in the certification of the Boeing 737 Max 8, including “133 of the 297 flight tests”.

Senator Richard Blumenthal questioned the FAA’s oversight of the Boeing 737 Max jet, argu

ing that reliance on the manufacturer put “the fox in charge of the henhouse”.

Blumenthal said Boeing rushed to get the 737 Max in the air to compete with Europe’s Airbus and disregarded critical safety features.

“There needs to be rigorous reform so the FAA is put back in charge of safety,” he said. “The

fact is that the FAA decided to do safety on the cheap, which is neither safe nor cheap,” he said.

Senator Jerry Moran asked what it would take for the FAA on its own to certify airc

raft. Elwell said: “Ten thousand additional FAA employees and $1.8 billion” per year.

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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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Retail sales of local government bonds attract eager

Chinese local government bonds worth 1.4 billion yuan ($208.5 million) were snapped up by retail investors within a single day, after counter sales in banks we

re made available for the first time. The fundraising will help supplement a broader fiscal deficit this year, analysts said.

On Monday, individuals in China were able to purchase bonds issued by t

he Zhejiang provincial government (five-year term, 3.32 percent coupon rate) and the N

ingbo city government (three-year term, 3.04 percent coupon rate). Proceeds from the sales will be used for land purchases (300 million yuan) and shantytown renovations (1.1 billion yuan), acc

ording to a notice on the website of China Central Depository and Clearing, a clearinghouse under the central bank.

The minimum investment amount for retail investors is 100 yuan, lower than most wealth management products issu

ed by commercial banks. Previously, individual investors could only purchase bonds issued by the central government, kno

wn as treasury bonds. And before Monday, local government bonds were traded mainly in the interbank market.

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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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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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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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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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The European leaders said they are glad to see a greater

 development in China, and the EU welcomes China’s willingness to share its development opportunities.

Chinese enterprises are welcome to invest in European countries, said the European leaders, adding that they will not adopt restrictive measures against specific com

panies, and are willing to provide a fair, open and transparent business environment for all foreign enterprises.

During the visit, Peng Liyuan, Xi’s wife, also attended a number of events aimed at deepeni

ng cultural and educational exchanges between China and the European nations.

As a special envoy of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the advanceme

nt of girls’ and women’s education, Peng was invited to visit the headquarters of the UNESCO in Paris.

Wang said Peng’s visit highlighted China’s image of a hardworking, responsible maj

or country that actively participates in international education, gender equality and other affairs.

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Ceremony held to mourn E China blast victims victims in Yanch

A memorial service was held on Wednesday for victims who died in a chemical plan

t explosion seven days prior in Xiangshui township, Yancheng city, East China’s Jiangsu province.

More than 200 officials, police officers, firefighters, bereaved families and volunteers attended the serv

ice at 7:30 am. The cars at the site honked their horns and attendees presented flowers to pay tribute to the victims.

To date, the deadly explosion of Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Co in Yancheng’s Xiangshui county has claimed 78 lives.

According to Chinese tradition, the seventh day after a death marks the height of the mourning period.

subsidies continue gradual phase-out

China will whittle down subsidies on new energy vehicles as the industry develops and cost drops, aiming to boost high-quality development in the NEV sector.

The newest measure will lower subsidy standards for new energy passenger cars, buses and t

rucks, taking factors such as industry growth, cost reduction and subsidy phase-out policies into consideration, the

Ministry of Finance said in a joint statement Tuesday, adding the move was set to bring more competition in the industry.

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