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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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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Besides, the blasts in Sri Lanka indicate terrorists coul

ld also target areas that until now were considered terror-free, especially Asian tourist destinations such as the Maldives and Thaila

nd, because they attract a large number of Western people, as well as investments and interests. To prevent such

terrorist attacks, all countries have to make joint efforts to not only strengthen their security but also impr

ove their coordination so they can more effectively combat the common threat of terrorism.

Even though there is no evidence to show social media played a role in the attacks in Sri Lanka, all countries should strengt

hen supervision of the internet because it is being increasingly used to spread terrorism and plan terrorist atta

cks. The IS group’s online tyranny could be more dangerous compared with its actual presence in a country as a ban

ned organization, because its online propaganda could prove more effective in leading people astray.

Therefore, governments — with the active help of internet companies — have no choic

e but to play a bigger role in containing the spread of terrorism online.

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President hails US high school students’ roles

Mandarin learners encouraged to play parts in fostering bilateral friendship

President Xi Jinping encouraged a group of United States high-school students to boost

friendship between China and the US as he replied to their letter written to him in Chinese.

“I hope you will make the best of your time, study hard and contribute y

our part to a deeper friendship between the people of our two countries,” Xi wrote in th

e letter, saying the young generations represent the future of the Sino-US friendship.

Over 40 students from Niles North High School in the state of Illinois who are studyi

ng Mandarin Chinese recently wrote to Xi, asking about his work, life and hobbies.

They told the Chinese leader in the letter that they are studying Mandarin, and they love the Chinese language, music and cuisine.

In his written response, Xi expressed gratitude to the students for their letter, and said he

can feel from the letter their love of the Chinese language as well as their interest in Chinese culture.

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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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For example, technologies like artificial intelligence

have improved the company’s stocking and inventory processes.

“Earlier we were reliant on the intuitions and experience of the local operation team. With the

use of technology like AI and big data, we are getting more accurate answers.”

As a larger and older retailer, Walmart has constantly worked with startups, said McMillon, citing the new Omega 8 platf

orm that enables retail innovation startups to collaborate with Walmart China to create better services for customers.

McMillon cited the example of a scanning ring developed by a starup for

Walmart that shortens pickup time for JD Daojia orders to less than 10 minutes and impr

ovements in the overall efficiency by 50 percent. Walmart’s WeChat mini-program has over 30 million members and is

developing an e-commerce service based on WeChat to help customers shop more easily and more accurately.

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Wang, the Chinese think tank member, said many of

nternational relations scholars of his generation think of the US

as an example of the value of “freedom, democracy, fairness and human rights”.

“But those words are no longer applicable to describe the US today,” he said.

Wang said that for him, cancellation of the visa is nothing m

ore than a short-term absence from US academic activities, and “it is the US’ loss, not ours”.

He also said the decision would not affect the Chinese think tank he leads in continuing aca

demic exchanges with the US, and he suggests that China should not take countermeasures over such matters.

“No matter how petty the US becomes, China should still stick to its open attitude rather compete for who’s worse,” he said.

The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative is not a geopolitical tool or a debt trap for particip

ating countries, but a platform for cooperation, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Friday.

Wang made the remark at a press conference ahead of the second Belt and Road F

orum on International Cooperation, which will be held in Beijing next week.

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China’s trade with the US amounted to 815.86 billi

on yuan ($121.7 billion) between January and March, a decrease of 1

1 percent year-on-year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

In March, Sino-US trade climbed 0.1 percent to 291.35 billion yuan, the administration said.

Li Kuiwen, spokesman for the customs authority, said trade tensions between the two cou

ntries have had certain impacts on companies’ operations, but the impact is “generally controllable”.

Li said economic and trade cooperation remains the ballast of Sino-US re

lations, and he is hopeful that China and the US will achieve mutually beneficial results.

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

has the confidence to achieve the annual projected growth goal, said the nation’s top economic regulator.

Yuan Da, spokesperson with the National Development and Reform Commission, said the

first quarter’s stable economic development has laid a solid foundation for annual growth.

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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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D’s stock tumbled after the student first accused Liu in A

August, and its shares have slowly crawled back since Decembe

r. Hong Tao, an analyst from GF Securities, said the tech heavyweight has faced troubles. JD’s adv

anced logistics system, which is its core strength, has been overtaken by Alibaba’s Cainiao Logistics.

JD is in the spotlight as it is reducing salaries for its delivery staff and seeing a round

of shake-ups in its management team. Its chief technology officer Zhang Chen, chief lega

l officer Long Yu, and chief public affairs officer Lan Ye, all announced their resignation within just one month.

The company said in February that it would lay off 10 percent of its senior executives above vice-president level this year.

The 7-coin set contains two gold coins and five silver coins, with a variety of shapes. Designs i

nclude traditional Chinese ornamentation, dragon, phoenix, flowers and bird. All are legal tender.

The coins are made by Shenzhen Guobao Mint, Shenyang Mint and Shanghai Mint.

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