President Xi Jinping meets Myanmar Commander-in

China would like to enhance strategic communication and deepen cooperation with Myanmar

no matter how the international situation changes, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday.

Xi made the remark while meeting with Myanmar Commander-in-Chief of Defen

se Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The two countries should deepen their comprehensive strategic cooperation to bring more practi

cal benefits for the people of both countries and contribute to regional stability and prosperity, Xi said.

Noting that military cooperation is an important part of China-Myanm

ar relations, Xi said that the two armies should enhance pragmatic cooper

ation and build bilateral military relations on the basis of mutual trust and benefit.

Xi said that China supports the peace process of Myanmar and pays attention to t

he development of the political and security situation in the northern part of Myanmar.

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They are both staunch supporters of free trade and mul

ultilateralism, and with the United States increasingly opting for unilateralism in international affairs, China and the EU can str

engthen their coordination within the framework of the United Nations and buttress the role of multilateral mecha

nisms including the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund.

Beijing and Brussels are also two important voices advocating internati

onal efforts to combat climate change and promote sustainable development.

It is hoped that the leaders attending the China-EU Summit in Brussels will send positive signals that the two sides are commi

tted to deepening their strategic and reciprocal cooperation. By strengthening their consensus and solida

rity, they can boost confidence that they will work together to address shared and global challenges.

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Minor earthquake in Beijing “normal, isolated event”

A 2.9-magnitude earthquake at a depth of 17 kilometers was detected at 1:25 pm on Sunday in Be

ijing’s Haidian district, according to the China Earthquake Networks Center.

Two earthquake experts said the minor quake was a normal activity in the

earth’s crust caused by changes in crustal stress, and th

ere is no need for the public to panic, according to a report on huanqiu.com.

“It is a normal and isolated event,” said Guo Xun, dean of the Civil Engineering

School at the Institute of Disaster Prevention.

“As Beijing is at the junction of the earthquake zones of Shanxi province, the

Hebei Plain and Yanshan Mountain, the city will e

xperience one to two earthquakes at around magnitude-3 degree every year,

according to past exper

ience,” Sun Shihong, a researcher at the

China Earthquake Networks Center, added.

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Flight systems, however, typically are built with a

 backup system so there can be no single point of failure. Since the crashes of Max jets in Indonesi

a in October and Ethiopia last month, Boeing has modified design of the anti-stall device to include two sensors on all aircraft.

The FAA allows airlines to make minor modifications in previously certified

aircraft to meet their operational needs, a rule Boeing followed in building the 737 Max for

foreign carriers. Ethiopian Airlines and Indonesia’s Lion Air — involved in fatal crashes five months apart — repo

rtedly declined to buy two add-on safety devices that might have helped the pilots keep the doomed planes in the sky.

Neither airline purchased the “angle of attack” system display for readi

ngs of two sensors rather than one and a “disagree light” to be activated if the sensors prod

uce conflicting readings. The Lion Air crash in October killed 189 passengers and crew.

Airlines around the world, including China and the US, have flown the 737 Max, introduced in 2018, without incident.

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Third, there is a serious focus on education overall. Ove

 the past five years, China has built or expanded 260,000 primary and secondary schools, added 1.7 million teache

rs and increased the student body by 27.3 million. The Ministry of Education committed more resources last y

ear to poverty-stricken areas to ensure every child is able to attend school by 2020.

Beyond easing dire poverty in rural areas, China has an ongoing pa

rallel policy to build a moderately prosperous society by 2020, a crucial aspect of which is set

ting up a basic social security system. This has been done progressively since the 1980s.

China also has had several social insurance programs since the 1990s, covering unemployment, employment injury, mat

ernity, medical care and pension. The country subsequently embarked on a new and successful phase of so

cial security development to provide healthcare benefits to rural and nonworking urban residents.

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Meanwhile, automakers’ recommended retail priwas

 on a decreasing streak. Imported models of Ford Motor (China) abated as much as 34,000 yuan, compared with Volkswagen Multivan’s highest cut of

13,300 yuan and some models of FAW Toyota’s 11,000 yuan, said Chinanews. As China International Capital Corporation Lim

ited analyzed, automobile, real estate and medicine industries will enjoy the largest scale of tax reduction; and the bigge

st rise in net profit as a result of tax cuts will go to coal, food and beverage, electricity industries.

Nur Bekri, former head of the National Energy Administration, has been arrested

for taking bribes, said the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Tuesday, Xinhua reported.

Nur Bekri, also former deputy head of the National Development and

Reform Commission, was investigated by the Communist Party of China Central Com

mission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission.

The former chairman of the Xinjiang regional governm

ent was named new head of the National Energy Administration on Dec 31, 2014.

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The announcement was a rare move for Apple, known in

the electronics industry for keeping tight wraps on product plans until it publicly launches them at

splashy events in Silicon Valley. The early announcement of AirPower, along with a wirelessly char

ed version of its AirPods headphones, was a break in that tradition. Apple released the updated AirP

ods last week, heightening speculation that the accompanying charging mat would come soon.

Daring Fireball, a website that covers Apple news, previously reported that Apple engineers h

ad issues with devices overheating on the AirPower pad. Apple declined to comment beyond its statement on the project.

Apple offered wireless charging in the iPhone in 2017, after many of its

rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd had offered the feature for several years. Whil

e rumors circulated that Apple might create its own unique wireless charging technology, the company instea

d chose to use a system that works with Qi, an open industry standard already in use by Samsung and others.

Apple shares did not move on the news, and shares of NXP Semiconductors and STMicro

electronics, two major suppliers of chips used in Qi systems, appeared to be unaffected also.

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The 10 percent deduction rate, which applies to buyers of ag

ricultural goods, will be cut to 9 percent, said the statement.

“The VAT reform is not simply lowering the tax rate, but focusing on the integration with the overall tax reform. It has continued to ma

ke progress toward the long-term goal of establishing a modern VAT system, and it also leaves room for cutting the number of VAT brac

kets from three to two in the future,” said Wang Jianfan, director of the department of taxation under the Ministry of Finance.

To implement the statutory taxation principle, China will also accelerate legislation to deepen VAT reform, Wang said.

The joint statement came after Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday that China will imp

lement a series of measures to cut VAT rates and ease the tax burden in almost all industries.

Earlier this month, Li said in his 2019 Government Work Repo

rt that VAT reform was key to improving the tax system and achieving better income distribution.

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All the devices were judged to be viable, and the package

  sent to Heathrow Airport burst into flames after being opened by staff. Nobody was injured by the devices and no arrests have been made.

  The packages were posted with Irish stamps and had return addresses in Dublin, prompting Irish police to join the investigation. The packages were all A4-size

d white postal bags containing yellow padded bags, which were capable of igniting when opened.

  Police Scotland confirmed that a controlled explosion was carried out on the p

ackage found at the University of Glasgow on March 6 as a precautionary measure.

  The Metropolitan Police and Police Scotland said in a joint statem

ent that the devices “bore similarities” to past packages “linked to dissident groups asso

ciated with Northern Ireland related terrorism,” and that “officers were already looking at this as a line of enquiry.”

  The devices did not cause any injuries or damage.

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Theresa May asks EU for Brexit delayIn his press conference, Don

the President of the European Council, made it clear that the EU would only

approve a delay to the Brexit process if the House of Commons approves the Withdra

wal Agreement signed by Theresa May last year. That suggests a third “meaningful vote” must be held in Parliament next week.

another vote. Earlier this week he ruled that the government could not hold repeated votes on the same issue without substantive changes.

The government will hope that Tusk’s statement will be sufficient to satisfy Bercow’s demand.

After that, there’s the question of persuading MPs to support the deal.

Theresa May lost her first meaningful vote by a historic margin of 230 in January, and lost her second last week by 149.

May faces an uphill challenge to pass the deal a third time – 75 MPs will have to change their mind

s. The Prime Minister will hope that the looming and clear threat of no deal will force opposition MPs to support her deal.

The trouble is, there’s a small group of hardcore Brexit-supporting MPs o

n her own side who would be happy to see the UK crash out without a deal – a clean bre

ak from the EU with no complications. Quite how she persuades them to get onside is unclear.

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