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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.
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
China and the United States have made new progress in negotiating the text of an econom
ic and trade deal, but much work remains to be done, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
Negotiating teams from the two countries are hashing out the text of the deal, including
an enforcement mechanism, on the basis of mutual respect and benefit, said Gao Feng, ministry spokesman.
The remarks came as the world’s two biggest economies have been i
ntensifying their consultations and aiming to break the deadlock in a timely manner.
In the most recent round of trade consultations, the negotiators discussed technolo
gy transfers, protection of intellectual property rights, nontariff measures, the service sector, agriculture, tra
de imbalances and enforcement mechanisms, according to earlier reports.
The American Chamber of Commerce in China said in a recent white paper that the US business commu
nity in China, long an advocate of good bilateral relations, can no longer be relied on to be a positive anchor.
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.