Regarding the second Belt and Road Forum for Intern

ational Cooperation, to be held in Beijing on Thursday through Saturday, S

ong said the ministry will help deepen economic and trade cooperation with other coun

tries. “China will build more free trade zones with countries that are willing to do so,” Song added.

“As for the existing free trade zones, we will reduce administrative barriers in trade

and investment and push the formation of a big Belt and Road marketplace.”

While some critics have argued that the initiative will lead countries i

nto debt traps, Song said debt can be solved through joint efforts to promote the devel

opment of BRI economies. “Even though some countries may have high debt levels, as their pace of indus

trialization, urbanization and modernization accelerates, their debts will gradually decrease.”

Joe Kaeser, president and CEO of Siemens AG, said, “If an initiative like the BRI unifies more than two-thirds of the global

population, it will create massive infrastructure and economic movement that will build its own rules.”

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The meeting called for expanded investment in comp

ulsory education, basic medical care, housing, drinking water, eldercare and ch

ild care, in addition to addressing other pressing issues for some groups in society.

Social security mechanisms to help those most in need will be furthe

r refined, with subsistence allowance systems set to be optimized, the statement said.

The meeting also called for full implementation of requirements set in the Ce

ntral Economic Work Conference, the annual policymaking meeting held in December.

The meeting urged an even more proactive fiscal policy and full implementation of tax and fee cuts.

Monetary policy will be eased or tightened to the right degree, and

it will be adjusted in accordance with economic growth and real-time inflationary and pricing

scenarios, the statement said, adding that financial support for the real economy will be bolstered.

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Govt plans slew of policies to boost consumption

A slew of new policies aimed at encouraging consumption

in key sectors will be unveiled soon, China Securities Journal reported.

China’s retail sales of consumer goods rose 8.3 pe

rcent year-on-year to 9.78 trillion yuan ($1.46 trillion) in the January-M

arch period, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In March alone, retail sales went up 8.7 pe

rcent to 3.17 trillion yuan, quickening from the 8.2-percent rise seen in the first two months.

In recent years, the government has, on the one hand, frequently intro

duced policies to promote opening-up, increase import and improve consumer welfare. On

the other hand, it has reduced and scrapped import tariffs on some consumer goo

ds. This has played an active role in consumption, Lian Ping, chief economist at Bank of Comm

unication said, adding that consumption still is the key driver for economic growth.

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However, the consumption structure has changed, with

service consumption accounting for 47.7 percent, up 1.4 percentage points year-on-year

. Meanwhile, sluggish auto consumption dragged the whole consumption growth.

The continuous decline of auto consumption has become

a key for stabilizing this year’s consumption, said Liu Xiaoguang, a resear

cher at the National Academy of Development and Strategy at Renmin University of China.

Mao Shengyong, spokesperson for the National Bureau of Statistics, recently said t

hat based on March data, auto production fell, however, the drop was narrowing.

The National Development and Reform Commission was reportedly considering a sl

ew of new measure to boost spending on automobiles, home appliances and consum

er electronics products. It has sent a draft plan to encourage consumption in the three sectors.

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Ruwan Wijewardene, Sri Lankan state defense min

nister, said on Tuesday that Islamic extremists staged the attacks in

Sri Lanka in retaliation to the shootings in two New Zealand mosques in March that claimed 50 lives.

And the blasts lay bare several threats confronting the whole world. First

of all, the reflux of IS terrorists formerly active in Iraq and Syria to countries that have not su

ffered large-scale serial terrorist strikes in a while poses a serious threat to their people’s safety.

Sri Lanka had enjoyed relative peace after the Liberation Tige

rs of Tamil Eelam, a militant organization demandin

g a separate homeland for Tamils in northeastern Sri Lanka, was defeated in 2009.

Governments have been keeping a close watch on the small nu

mber of people that have returned to their countries after atten

ding IS training camps. Yet the lack of coordination mechanisms among countries seemin

gly helps the terrorists evade surveillance and collude with extremist forces outside their countries.

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Xi shared some of his personal life. He said he has a dee

 interest in philosophy, history, literature, culture, music and sports, and that he first cul

tivated many of these interests back in middle school and they have stayed with him ever since.

His job is serving the people, and he works hard with a busy schedule, but takes great pleasure in his work, Xi wrote.

The Niles North students also inquired whether Xi likes the US.

Xi answered in the letter that he has visited their country many times and is impressed with the “beautiful landscape, hos

pitable people and diverse culture”, and he made a lot of friends, including some young people.

He said the students are “wonderful” and expressed hope that they will make greater progress in studying Chinese.

Learning Chinese will help them better understand China, a

d get acquainted with more Chinese friends and Chinese-speaking friends across the world, Xi said.

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We believe that with the passing of time and the sy

nergy of all parties, Belt and Road cooperation will definitely become deep and concrete, steady and extensive,” the report said.

“The Belt and Road will become a road of peace, prosperity, opening up, green development, innovatio

n, connected civilizations, and clean government. It wi

ll make economic globalization become more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.”

China will improve its oversight of human related scientific research and medic

al tests under draft laws and amendments submitted to China’s top legislature for review on Saturday.

Medical and scientific research related to human genes and embryos mi

ght present risks to health or violate ethics, and they must be strictly regulated therefore, said She

n Chunyao, senior legislator of the Constitution and Law Committee of the National People’s Congress.

A new item has been added to the country’s draft civil law, requiring that all

medical and scientific research related to human genes and embryos must f

ollow strict rules, laws and regulations, and should not pose a threat to people’s health or violate moral or ethical codes.

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Television footage also showed blasts in three hotels

the Cinnamon Grand, Shangri-La and Kingsbury hotels in the capital, which occurred following the church blasts.

2 more explosions hit Sri Lanka

A Sri Lankan military spokesman has confirmed two more explosions just outsi

de the capital, hours after six nearly simultaneous blasts rocked churches and luxury hotels.

The spokesman, Brig. Atapattu, says a 7th blast occurred at a guestho

use in Dehiwala, killing at least two people. Atapattu says an 8th blast occurred in Dem

atagoda on the outskirts of Colombo. He did not have details on the Dematagoda blast.

7 suspects have been arrested

State Minister of Defense Ruwan Wijewardene says seven suspects have been arrested.

Security has been beefed up across the countr

y. Wijewardene said all necessary precautions had been taken to keep citizens safe.

“As a government all necessary action will be taken agains

t any extremist group that is operating in our country,” Wijewardene said.

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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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Meanwhile, massive rescue operations are underway at

the explosion sites, the police said.Television footage showed ambulances r

ushing the injured to the Colombo National Hospital, the Batticaloa Hospital in

the east and the Negombo Hospital on the outskirts of the capital where the explosions took place.

There has been no claim of responsibility so far for the multiple blasts.

In just one church, St. Sebastian’s in Katuwapitiya, north o

f Colombo, more than 50 people had been killed, a police official told Reuters.

Media reported 25 people were also killed in an attack on a church in Batticaloa in Eastern Province.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe called a national security council meeting at his home for later in the day.

One of the explosions was at St Anthony’s Church in Kochcikade, Colombo.

St. Sebastian’s church posted pictures of destruction inside the church on its Fa

cebook page, showing blood on pews and the floor, and requested help from the public.

Out of Sri Lanka’s total population of around 22 million, 70 percent are Buddh

ist, 12.6 percent Hindu, 9.7 percent Muslim, and 7.6 percent Christian, according to the country’s 2012 cen

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