The bond pricing mechanism will be further improv

Under a pilot scheme, the first group of six provinces and cities sold 6.8 billion yuan in bonds

at commercial bank counters to individual buyers between March 22 and early April.

The coupon rates are between 3.01 percent and 3.33 percent, higher than treasury b

onds issued by the central government as well as bank deposits with the same maturity.

Gross local bond issuances hit 1.18 trillion yuan in the first qua

rter, compared with only 219.5 billion yuan in the same period last year.

The total quota for 2019 local government bond issuances is 3.08 trillion yuan, according to the Ministry of Finance.

“About 60 percent of the bonds were issued for ongoing construction, especially

for shantytown renovation projects, railways and roads,” said Hao Lei, head of the ministry’s Budget Department.

While debt financing continues to grow, the government is experiencing sharp declin

es in fiscal revenue growth, especially from tax and land sales, official data showed.

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Lu made the remarks in response to recent media repo

 reports that India decided not to send a delegation to the second Belt and Road Forum for Internati

onal Cooperation later this month in Beijing. The reports said the initiative undermines the South Asia

n nation’s sovereignty via the BRI-related China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Lu said that, “If this decision about whether to participate in building the Belt and Road

was possibly made through a misunderstanding”, China firmly and sincerely advances the constr

uction of the Belt and Road on the basis of consultation and contribution for shared benefits.

He added that the initiative is open to all parties that are inter

ested in and willing to join in win-win cooperation.

It will not exclude any party, he said, adding that China is willin

g to wait if relevant parties need more time to consider their participation.

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Underscoring the increasingly important role of railw

way in social and economic development, leaders from China and the CEECs voiced support fo

r moving forward practical cooperation in the development of the China-Eur

ope Land Sea Express Line and making use of European Union (EU)-Chin

a Connectivity Platform to promote development of intermodal freight transportation.

Taking note of the Three Seas Initiative, the participants to the leaders’ meeting expressed their welcome to port cooperat

ion between China and the CEECs, including the opportunities deriving from inland waterways and the interm

odal connections to further enhance the cargo transportation between Asia and Europe.

Leaders from China and the CEECs also expressed their willingness to explo

re the possibilities of establishing a China-CEEC Customs Information Center in Hungary and

their support for the holding of the 5th China-CEEC Transport Ministers’ Meeting in 2020 in Croatia.

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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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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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Wudang Mountain attracts foreign martial arts ap

About 20 Chinese martial arts schools in the Wudang Mountain region have tra

ined about 30,000 kung fu enthusiasts from around the world.

Yuan Xiugang, a member of the Wudang Martial Arts Association, has taugh

t over 60 foreign students since 1995. One of his apprentices, Jack, a 29-year-old from Ill

inois in the US, first arrived in Wudang 10 years ago. Now Jack has become a kung fu coach.

“My goal is to open a school in the US, letting more Americans appreciate authentic Chinese martial arts,” he said.

Thomas, another of Yuan’s students, is from France and explores tea culture. He leases about

two acres of a tea garden at Wudang Mountain. After mastering the technique of processing tea leaves, Th

omas decided to sell his products to European countries, like France and Austria.

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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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hina will continue to suspend extra tariffs on

The State Council said on Sunday that China would continue to suspend additional tariffs on US

vehicles and auto parts after April 1, in a goodwill gesture following a US decision to delay tariff hikes on Chinese imports.

In December, China said it would suspend additional 25 percent tariffs on US-made vehi

cles and auto parts for three months, following a truce in a trade war between the world’s two largest economies.

The State Council, or China’s cabinet, said the move was aimed at “continuing to create a good atmosphere for the ongoing trade negotiations between both sides”.

elt and Road Initiative serves to promote multilateral cooperation: China Daily editorial

t is natural for such a big international project as China’s Belt and Road Initiative to be ta

ken by some with a grain of salt. But the fact that 129 countries and 29 international organizations

have so far signed cooperation documents with China on the initiative shows that such views are in the minority.

The most common charges laid at China’s door are the Belt and Road is a debt trap and it is all about Chi

na’s strategic objectives. It has also been called a “scheme to split European Union”. And other labels will certainly appear.

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Crews clean up foul water at blast sitel teams are nitoring

Environment officers were busy preventing the spread of polluted water insi

de an industrial park in Jiangsu province that was hit by a deadly blast last week.

Priority had been given to the treatment of wastewater in the exploded chemical plant and the huge

pit the explosion generated, according to a release from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment on Friday.

The deadly blast occurred at about 2:48 pm on March 21 following a fire in a plant owned b

y Jiangsu Tianjiayi Chemical Co. The accident has left at least 78 dead and more than 600 injured.

Alkali had been thrown into the waste water to neutralize its acidit

y so that the polluted water could flow to a nearby treatment plant via a pipeline. Otherwise, the wa

stewater would erode the pipeline, according to a working team the ministry dispatched to the site.

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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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