Jo

rime scene officials inspect the explosion area at Shangri-La

Of the dead in the blasts, there are 35 foreigners, the police confirmed. Hospital sources

had earlier said nine foreigners were among those killed while 13 others have been injured.

Airline says flights continue despite curfew

SriLankan Airlines is telling passengers boo

ked on flights out of the country that they will be able to fly despite the curfew imposed.

The carrier says in a statement that travelers on all airlines operating out of Bandaranai

ke International Airport can access the airport by showing their tickets and passports at checkpoints.

The airline says security has been tightened at the airp

ort, and it advises passengers to arrive four hours before their scheduled flights.

Both Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Mi

nister Ranil Wickremesinghe have condemned the attacks and appealed for calm.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said t

he tri-forces and the police are conducting a thorough probe into the explosions.

In a special statement, the police urged the publi

c to stay indoors and not gather at the explosion sites which had been sealed off.

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ina moor at a port in Zhanjiang during the ASEAN-China Ma

China’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and latest nuclear submarines, destroyers and fighter jets will join the parade, Qiu said.

“Some vessels will make their debut for the first time,” Qiu added.

Altogether 32 Chinese vessels and 39 warplanes will take part in the event, according to Qiu.

The vessels will sail in six groups, namely, those of submar

ines, destroyers, frigates, landing ships, auxiliary ships, and aircraft carrier.

The planes will fly in 10 echelons, showcasing aircraft for early warning, reconnaissance, anti-submarine patrol, as wel

l as bombers, fighters, carrier-based fighters, and carrier-based helicopters, Qiu said.

More than 60 countries will send delegations to join multinational naval even

ts marking the anniversary, and over 30 countries of them will send major navy leaders to participate, according to Qiu.

Nearly 20 foreign vessels of various capabilities, including destro

yers, frigates and landing ships, will join Chinese vessels in the naval parade, show

ing to the world the “firm determination to safeguard peace and seek development with joint efforts,” Qiu said.

Organizing multinational naval parades is a unique ceremonial activity of navies, according to Qiu.

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The first draft also improved rules on developing a m

ulti-layer capital market system, strengthening investor p

rotection, promoting securities industry innovations and enhancing regulation.

New revisions were submitted for a second reading in April 2017 to

improve regulation on such areas as stock trading, acquisitions of listed firms, information disclos

ure and investor protection. The second draft also demanded the State Council to gradually advance the IPO syst

em reform in accordance with authorization granted by the top legislature.

Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language “Commentaries on International Affairs”.

On Thursday, the World Trade Organization (WTO) release

d a panel report on the case the United States lodged in December 2016 against China for its

use of tariff-rate quotas for wheat, rice, and corn. The WTO panel ruled that China’s administration of tariff-rate quo

tas violated its commitment to administer them transparently, while rejecting

the appeal by the American side which demanded that China release the information on tariff-rate quotas.

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China has always maintained that its trade disputes wi

th other WTO members should be properly handled according to the WTO dispute settlement proc

edures. It not only takes the initiative to file claims in order to safeguard its legal interests and the authority

of the WTO rules, but also actively responds to charges, and respects and enforces WTO rulings.

The WTO’s ruling on this dispute over shows that the orga

nization has an important role to play in safeguarding the multil

ateral trading system. It’s not simply a matter of one side tallying up a victory against the other.

The multilateral trading system, with the WTO as its core, has been a mainstay in promoting glo

bal economic development and building an open world economy. The WTO dispute settlement system is the org

anization’s court for settling trade disputes. It maintains a balance between the WTO members’ rights and oblig

ations, and also ensures the effective implementation of WTO principles and rules.

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More than 500 cases have been handled through the

WTO dispute settlement system. Although the rulings are not bindi

ng, most WTO members take them seriously and view the process as a normal part of their

participation in the multilateral trading system, regardless of whether they win or lose any particular case. In do

ing so, they show their respect for the WTO’s principles of consultation and consensus.

China had filed 17 cases with the WTO as of Ap

ril 2018, of which eight had been closed. At the same time, 27 cases had been filed a

gainst China with 23 closed. The United States has had more cases filed against it than any other member state

in the WTO, and it lost quite a number of these cases. In 2016, for example, the WTO ruled against the Unite

d States with regard to a complaint from China in 2013 that it had violated WTO rules by imposing anti-dumping duties

on a number of industries, including machinery, electronics, light industry, metals, and mining.

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The meeting highlighted the importance of implementi

ting the spirit of December’s Central Economic Work Conference.

Macro policies should be stable, micro policies should be flexible and social policies should guarantee the basic needs of the grassroots

people, the statement said. Macro policies should focus on promoting high-quality growth and stimulating market vitality.

The importance of manufacturing’s high-quality development in stabilizing economic growt

h was stressed. Traditional industries should be guided to upgrade, and new industries should grow stronger.

The development of small and medium-sized companies and private businesses should be supported through measures like s

peeding up the supply-side structural reform of finance and providing better loan services, the stat

ement said. It also reaffirmed that houses should be used for living rather than for profit.

Reform should be further deepened and opening-up boosted, and forei

gn capital should have bigger access to the Chinese market. Poverty reduction is a key meas

ure of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects, which must be achieved by the end of next y

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The country will host over 5,000 participants from mor

than 150 countries, including 37 heads of state or government, for the thre

e-day event starting on Thursday, Wang said, adding the forum, themed “Belt and Road Coop

eration: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future”, aims to bring about high-quality cooperation under the initiative.

President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech at the op

ening ceremony of the forum, and chair the leaders’ round-table summit, Wang said.

Saying the BRI has delivered real benefits to participating countries, Wang stated the hats like “debt traps” cannot be put onto t

he head of the Belt and Road, and this is not something any participating country would recognize.

He added that international communities should base their understandings and comments about the BRI on the facts.

Trade volume between China and the countries participating in the B

RI has exceeded $6 trillion, the number of investment is over $80 billion and arou

nd 300,000 jobs have been created for the people from the countries involved in the initiative, Wang said.

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Top economic planner bullish on reaching annual growth

China’s economy, despite headwinds, has enjoyed a good start in the first quarter of 2019, and the country has the confide

nce to achieve the annual projected growth goal, said the country’s top economic planner.

“The first quarter’s stable economic development has laid a solid foundation for the an

nual growth,” said Yuan Da, spokesperson with the National Development and Reform Commission.

“The economy has stayed on the track of steady growth. We have the confidence, conditio

ns and capability to meet the projected targets for economic and social development this year.”

Yuan made the remarks at the NDRC press conference on Thursday in Beijing.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s economy expanded at a faster-than-expected 6.4 perce

nt year-on-year in the first quarter. The growth was unchanged from that in the fourth quarter in 2018.

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Paris fire sends alarm on relics protectionhedral in Pa

An inferno that destroyed the spire and a large portion of the wooden roof structure of the 12th-century Notre Dame Cathedral in Pa

ris on Monday reinforced a cautionary message to Chinese authorities about the need to better protect vulnerable heritage sites.

The National Cultural Heritage Administration held a staff meeting on Tuesday night at wh

ich officials discussed the Paris fire and six major fires that have taken place at Chinese cultural heritage sites this year.

“The fire at Notre Dame in Paris rang the warning bell for us,” Song Xi

nchao, deputy director of the administration, said in an interview on Tuesday.

“The safety of cultural heritage sites is a red line that can never be crossed. It’s a global issue,” he said.

The six fires were in Sichuan, Fujian, Jiangxi, and Zhejiang provinces, officials said.

On Jan 6, a hall at Yunyan Temple in Jiangyou, Sichuan province, burned down. On

Feb 2, a wooden family temple from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) in Nanchang, Jiangxi, was destroyed by fire.

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Lu Zhenwang, CEO of Shanghai-based Wanqing Consul

ltancy, said: “The lawsuit against Liu will bring damages to the image and reputation of JD, hav

e an impact on investors’ confidence, and cause fluctuations in its share price. Moreover, emp

loyees’ trust in the company may also be affected as the Beijing-based tech heavyweight is laying off staff to cut costs.”

Shen Meng, director of boutique investment bank Chanson & Co, said Liu’s case won’t chan

ge his actual control over JD, which is now making some innovations to reassure investors. Liu owns

15.8 percent of JD’s stock and controls nearly 80 percent of the company’s voting rights.

Liu was detained in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on suspicion of criminal sexual c

onduct on Aug 31 and later released without charge or bail. He returned to China on Sept 3.

In December, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the prosecutorial office handling the case announced that no sexual as

sault charges would be brought against Liu as prosecutors could not prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

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