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Fiscal spending can directly influence fixed-asset inves

tment, and it could also leverage on more bank lending and attract private funds to increase investment, said Xu.

In the meantime, allowing retail access to local government bonds will help diversify the

investor base and increase market liquidity, said Amanda Du, an analyst at Moody’s Investors Service.

The analyst expected access for retail investors to widen to encompass all local government bonds in 2020.

hina’s economy grew at a faster-than-expected 6.4 percent year-on-year in the first qua

rter, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday.

The growth was unchanged from that registered in the fourth quarter of last year.

The country’s industrial output posted steady growth in the same period, up by 6.5 percent

year-on-year, compared with 5.7 percent in the previous quarter, official data showed.

Fixed-asset investment growth was 6.3 percent in the first quarte

r, compared with 6.1 percent in the first two months, according to the NBS.

Retail sales increased by 8.3 percent year-on-year in the same pe

riod, compared with 8.2 percent in the first two months, the data showed.

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Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council’s Taiw

wan Affairs Office, said in a statement on Tuesday that the exercise aimed to protect national sover

eignty and territorial integrity, as well as protect the common interests of people from both sides of the straits.

Taiwan’s administration, led by the Democratic Progressive Party, used the drill as an opport

unity to “deceive and mislead the residents of Taiwan and to provoke and escalate a cross-Straits confrontation,” Ma said.

“Its goal of undermining cross-Straits relations and the peace and security of the region will not succeed,” Ma said. “Nobo

dy should underestimate our adamant resolve and ability to protect national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

On Tuesday, Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen said she will not be intimidated by the military d

rill, calling the exercise “a threat to Taiwan” and an act of “coercion”, the island’s media reported.

Tsai also thanked the United States for considering a deal with Taiwan to renew a $500

million training program in the US for Taiwan F-16 pilots and maintenance crews.

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We will rebuild this cathedral all together and it is un

tedly part of the French destiny and the project we will have for the coming years … a national subscription will be launched, and well beyon

d our borders we will appeal to the greatest talent, and there are many who will come to contribute and rebuild,” Macron said.

We will rebuild Notre Dame, because that’s what French people e

xpect, because it’s what our history deserves and because it’s our deep destiny,” he added.

Already, two of France’s wealthiest men have pledged large donations. Billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of the Ke

ring group, which owns fashion brands including Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, pledged 100 m

illion euros ($113 million) toward rebuilding Notre Dame, Agence France-Presse reported.

Bernard Arnault, chief executive of the LVMH group, which owns fa

shion labels including Louis Vuitton and Bulgari, said he would donate 200 million euros.

Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Notre Dame, which has rece

ived about 13 million visitors each year-more than the Eiffel Tower-is regard

ed as one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and sits at the heart of the nation’s history.

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Most of the ivory was hidden in an abandoned factory

by the smugglers, Sun said. Busts were made in several locations, which were not disclosed. The case is still under investigation.

Since early this year, 182 smuggling cases involving endangered species have been investigated, the administration said on Monday.

More than 500 tons of endangered animals and animal products were seized, 8.48 t

ons of which was ivory tusks or products made of ivory. In those cases, 171 suspects were detained.

The Chinese government suspended imports of ivory and all ivor

y products in 2015 and ended commercial processing and sale of ivory at the end of 2017.

The ban has had significant positive effects, with fewer people purchasing ivory, according to a report j

ointly released last year by the World Wildlife Fund and TRAFFIC, an NGO that tracks the global trade in wild animals.

“We will strengthen our anti-smuggling efforts, continuing to work with international organizations and depart

ments and allowing no tolerance of those illegal activities,” said Hu Wei, deputy director of the administration.

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The two sides can help jointly find solutions to glob

 and bilateral issues despite remaining difficulties in bilateral relations, he said.

The thawing of ties between China and Japan was marked by Li’s visit to the country in

May, the first by a Chinese premier in eight years, and the visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to China in October.

The economic dialogue between the two countries was launched in 2007,

and deteriorated relations due to disputes over a number of issues resulted in an eight-ye

ar hiatus until last April, when the two sides restarted with the fourth round of dialogue in Tokyo.

China said on Monday that the Belt and Road Initiative is open to economic cooperation with

other countries and regions, and it does not become involved in territorial disputes of relevant parties.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a daily news briefing tha

t although the initiative was proposed by China, it is an international project for the public good.

While advancing the initiative, China upholds the principle of equality, openness and transparency and sticks to enter、

prise-oriented market operations as well as market laws and well-accepted international rules, Lu said.

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he monetary policy should “maintain strategic focu

cus”, keeping it prudent while the liquidity should be at a reasonably adequate level, it said.

Financial policies are required to further support small and private companies, and fun

ding through the capital market is supported by the authorities, according to the statement.

The central bank had skipped open market operations for 15 conse

cutive working days until Monday. “Reasonable and adequate liquidity in the banking syste

m” was the main reason for the absence of open market operations, according to a statement from the central bank.

To cut or not to cut the RRR, a strong tool for liquidity adjustm

ent, has become a hot topic since April, not only for investors, but also for policy advisers.

Divergent opinions are spreading among a broader group of market observer

s. The market is trying to get more indications from the monetary authority, although the C

hinese central bank barely sends any hints on possible monetary policy operations before taking action.

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schedule must not be imposed on workersschedule

Editor’s note: The “996” schedule (working from 9 am to 9 pm, six

days a week) has sparked a heated public debate, because many workers don’t get any ove

rtime pay and, worse, could end up in the “”. The “996” phenomenon is rampant in the high-tech and internet compani

es. Some internet company chiefs have added fuel to the debate by saying they want their workers to “work hard”. T

hree experts share their views on the issue with China Daily’s Yao Yuxin. Excerpts follow:

Labor Law should never be violated

Given the fierce competition in the high-tech sector industries, start-

ups have to take drastic measures to survive, let alone thrive. To develop new products, and pr

oduce and market them, companies need a great deal of resources and ski

lled manpower. Perhaps this is the reason they make their employees work overtime.

But forcing the “996” schedule on the workers is illegal. To p

rotect the rights of workers, the Labor Law stipulates that employers

should not force their workers to work more than eight hours a day, or more than 44 hours a week. If emplo

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yers do need their staff to work extra hours to meet pro

 deadlines or fulfill other tasks, they can ask them to work overtime – but not than 36 hours a month and only after consulti

ng and reaching an agreement with the labor union and the workers. More important, empl

oyers have to pay at least 1.5 times the usual salary to the employees for overtime work.

This is to protect the rights, interests and health of the workers.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, has added fuel to the debate, by saying that empl

oyees who get the “opportunity” to work according the “996” schedule are the luc

ky ones, because in many companies employees don’t get the chance to work long hours.

But the fact is, if employers do not meet the two essential requiremen

ts to make employees work overtime – consulting wo

rkers and restricting the amount of extra work – and force the “996” schedule o

n their workers and make them work for more than 60 hours a week, they violate the Labor Law.

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Zheng Nanning, a researcher at the Chinese Academ

 of Engineering and head of the innovation research academy of intelligent robotics at Xi’an Jiaotong Univer

sity, said the university began considering an undergraduate AI major in 2016, and it has since established an experi

mental undergraduate AI class in 2018 with 55 students taught by the country’s leading AI experts.

The university established the academy in October 2017 and an AI school in Janua

ry. The academy has 26 master’s candidates and eight doctoral candidates, Zheng said.

“Universities should aim for major breakthroughs in basic res

earch and core technology. We are still striving to achieve

revolutionary and disruptive changes in AI theories, methods, tools and systems,” he added.

The ministry issued an action plan in 2018 to promote AI educa

tion in universities. According to the plan, universities in China will improve AI discip

line and make breakthroughs in basic theories and key technology research by 2020.

Chinese universities will become core forces for building major global AI innovation centers by 2030.

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JD Logistics responds to criticism over courier pay cuts

JD Logistic, the logistics arm of the Beijing-based tech heavyweight JD

.com, will cancel the basic salary for delivery staff , CEO and Chairman Liu Qiangdong said i

n response to arguments on the company’s salary adjustments in an internal email sent on Monday.

JD Logistics lost over 2.3 billion yuan ($342.9 million) in 2018, its 12th consecut

ive year to lose money. If the situation continues, Liu said, the company would only last for two more years.

If internal settlements are deducted, JD Logistics lost more than 2.8 billion yuan last year.

The main reasons for the loss are few external delivery orders and high internal costs, Liu said.

The company has only two choices, according to Liu: one, increase external delivery orders to promote external inco

me growth; the other, reduce staff members’ well-being to the level of other express companies.

Reducing fund ratios to average levels and canceling the basic salary a

ims to encourage couriers to get more external delivery orders and increase revenue.

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