Archive March 2019

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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ation and safety officials Daniel Elwell, Robert

US senators sharply questioned regulatory officials on Wedne

sday about the Federal Aviation Administration’s reliance on Boeing Co’s engineers to cert

ify the safety of the company’s new 737 Max 8 aircraft, which was involved in two fatal crashes in the past five months.

A self-certification procedure called Organization Designation Authorization came under scr

utiny at a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee’s aviation subcommittee in Washington. Testifying wer

e Daniel Elwell, acting FAA administrator; Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Saf

ety Board; and Calvin Scovel III, Transportation Department inspector general.

For decades, the FAA has delegated some authority for certifying new aircraft to the manufacturers, reducing government costs.

After the crashes of Lion Air in Indonesia in October and Ethiop

ian Airlines this month, which killed a total of 346 passengers and crew members, critics have ci

ted the self-certification process as evidence of an overly cozy relationship between the FAA and the industry.

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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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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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Li, who inspired the boom after winning Asia’s first major

 title at the 2011 French Open, warned that increased funding and exposure for the sport does not guarantee Grand Slam champions will follow.

“After the US Open (in August), players don’t need to travel overseas with tournam

ents held at home one after another,” said Li, who is an ambassador for her hometown Wuhan Open in Hubei province.

“However, for the younger players nowadays they are likely to squander the opportuni

ties that we had to fight hard to earn, because everything comes easier and more frequently.

“They have to focus on the game itself rather than the exposure or expectations off

the court to really improve one event at a time and benefit from the momentum.”

When Li turned pro in 1999 China had only two entry-level tournam

ents. Now the Women’s Tennis Association calendar features nine Chinese tourn

aments, including the premier mandatory China Open in Beijing and year-end WTA Finals in Shenzhen.

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Dinosaur-era bird fossil found with unlaid egg dating back abo

A group of scientists in Gansu province have discovered a fossilized b

ird dating back about 110 million years and the first ever to have an unlaid egg in its abdomen.

The fossil represents a new species, Avimaia schweitzerae, belonging to a group called the Enantiornithes, which was a

bundant around the world and coexisted with dinosaurs in the Cretaceous period.

The well preserved fossil was discovered in the city of Yumen.

Because the specimen was crushed flat, it was only after a small fragment was extracted and analyzed under a micro

scope that the research team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Pal

eoanthropology realized the unusual tissue was an egg, said Alida Bailleul, the lead author of the article.

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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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It is advisable to pursue an innovation-driven, well-coordi

inated and inter-connected, and fair and inclusive approach and forge a growth

model of vitality, a cooperation model of openness and win-win results, and a developm

ent model of balance and common benefits, so that people from across the world could share the benefits of economic globalization, Xi said.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Wang said.

During his visit, Xi, based on China’s just-concluded Two Sessions earlier this month, illu

strated to the European leaders the fine performances of the Chinese economy which had overcome multiple challenges in 2018.

Wang said Xi also introduced the newly-adopted foreign investment law, emphasizi

ng that it is necessary to use legal means to better protect intellectual property rights and attract foreign investment.

Xi pointed out that China will continue to push forward all-round reform and opening-up, promote trade and investment

liberalization and facilitation, so that European friends can better share China’s development opportunities.

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