China has to walk a fine balance between local govern

nment debt management and stable economic growth, especially at a time when trade te

nsions with the United States have imposed more downward pressure, said economists.

More financial resources and investors will be involved in the debt resolution process, said Qiao Baoyun, head of the Acad

emy of Public Finance and Public Policy at the Central University of Finance and Economics.

The last round of local government debt swaps started in 2015 and ended in August 2018, w

hich saw 14.34 trillion yuan ($2.08 trillion) of local government debt being swapped into bonds.

Local governments are set to face more debt burden in the next three ye

ars, as many of the previously issued bonds are set to expire, income from land sales has

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Trade agreements can affect the types of goods being

traded and they can redirect trade toward one country, away

from others. They cannot directly affect any country’s worldwide current account balance. A count

ry that saves less than it invests will have to borrow foreign funds to import foreign goods to make up that difference.

There are two ways to reduce the US trade deficit. A serious recession would reduce investme

nt, but nobody advocates that as a strategy. The only other path is to change the US financial and gove

rnment system to encourage increased savings. China has almost nothing to do with it.

Ironically, the disputes between the US and China center around both nations’ legitimate desires to

protect some current low-skilled jobs, or at least to allow an easier transition to new jobs and industries.

US administration’s economic policy has rightly focused on the need to

retain jobs for working-class people in the US. And, China’s companies that export to the U

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The traditional family model of the man bringing hom

the bacon and the woman looking after the family doesn’t seem to have changed much eve

n today. As a result, Chinese mothers still shoulder most of the responsibilities of raising kids.

In the absence of fathers, mothers are more likely to pay greater attention to their kids and their

education. This could not only prevent the children from learning life skills, but also make them bur

dens for their mothers. And the greater the burden they become, the more their mothers would be stressed out.

Yet such anxiety could be easily shared by, if not transferred to, other family members. A highly emotional yet anxious moth

er is more likely to make a wrong decision about her child’s education, which in turn could have a negative imp

act not only on the child’s healthy growth but also the health of the mother and the husband-wife relationship.

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No quick fix for decades-old Israeli-Palestinian enmity

Concern over the recent escalation of tensions between Palestinians and Israelis have been temporarily relieved after Palestin

ian leaders in Gaza agreed a cease-fire with Israel early on Monday. Right now, nothing is more important than u

pholding the cease-fire as the atmosphere between the two rivals has not been so combustible since 2014.

Since Friday, militant groups in Gaza have fired more than 600 rockets a

nd other projectiles at southern Israeli cities and villages, killing four Israeli civilians, wit

h Israel retaliating with air and artillery strikes, killing 27 people, including 14 civilians, in Gaza.

The latest border clashes, the most deadly since 2014, have occurred against the backdrop of the changing Middle East po

licy of the United States, which has seen the US drop any pretense of impartiality and make clear its support of Israel.

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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 made the remarks in response to recent media repo

 reports that India decided not to send a delegation to the second Belt and Road Forum for Internati

onal Cooperation later this month in Beijing. The reports said the initiative undermines the South Asia

n nation’s sovereignty via the BRI-related China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Lu said that, “If this decision about whether to participate in building the Belt and Road

was possibly made through a misunderstanding”, China firmly and sincerely advances the constr

uction of the Belt and Road on the basis of consultation and contribution for shared benefits.

He added that the initiative is open to all parties that are inter

ested in and willing to join in win-win cooperation.

It will not exclude any party, he said, adding that China is willin

g to wait if relevant parties need more time to consider their participation.

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The school established an AI research institute in Decem

ber 2017 for graduate students. Many instructors at the school are working on AI-related res

earch so there will be no problem finding capable teachers for the new students, Lin said.

China’s booming AI industry has resulted in a growing demand for tal

ent. It is common for students in AI-related fields to have

already committed to companies before they even graduate and enter the job market, he said.

Master’s graduates majoring in AI can easily find jobs with salaries over 300,000 y

uan ($44,700) per year, and salaries for doctoral graduates are even higher, he said.

Chinese universities are catching up with their counterparts in the United

States in terms of basic research in AI and the numbe

r of published papers, yet they still lag behind in transforming research into application, he added.

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EU gives PM May ‘flexible’ Brexit recess to Oct 31

European Union leaders gave Theresa May a new Brexit deadline of Oct 31, four months longer than the p

rime minister asked for, in a move the EU summit chair said would let Britain resolve its domestic deadlock on the issue.

“EU27/UK have agreed a flexible extension until 31 October,” European Council Pres

ident Donald Tusk tweeted after eight hours of talks that went into the early hours of Thursday.

“This means (an) additional six months for the UK to find the best

possible solution,” Tusk added on the eve of what would otherwise have been the day Britain

crashed out of the bloc with no deal to smooth the departure for businesses and citizens.

Britain, he stressed, could still leave earlier if May secures parlia

mentary backing for her Brexit treaty, or it could amend what it wants from a future trade pact. “Until t

he end of this period, the UK will also have the possibility to… cancel Brexit altogether,” Tusk added.

The agreement gives May more than the three months to June 30 that she asked for to bui

ld a parliamentary majority behind the withdrawal treaty she negotiated with the EU last year.

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Thanks to the extension of the subsidiary policy of new e

energy vehicles (NEV), sales of NEVs reached 111,000 in March, up 100.9 percent year-o

n-year, with NEV wholesales accounting for 254,000 units in the first quarter.

CPCA predicts a 40 percent increase in NEV sales to 1.7 million

units in 2019, based on these first quarter figures.

As China began to cut manufacturing sector VAT from 16 to 13 percent on April 1, som

e imported and high-end vehicle brands lowered prices to boost sales nationwide.

As the industrial chain of domestic-made goods are comparatively longer than that of imports howe

ver, most domestic manufacturers have not lowered prices for goods, including automobiles.

“Consumers should not expect too much on price cuts of automo

biles, but choose vehicles based on demand and affordability,” CPCA said.

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May asks for Brexit extension to June 30; EU could of

British Prime Minister Theresa May wrote to Brussels on Friday asking for a delay of Brexit until up to June 30, while saying she

aims to get Britain out of the EU earlier to avoid it participating in European elections.

But Donald Tusk, who chairs EU summits, has proposed a longer Brexit postpone

ment of one year for Britain‘s feuding politicians to agree and ratify a plan, EU officials said.

Any such extension would still require unanimous approval of the other 27 EU countrie

s and some, notably France, suggested they wanted a better justification from London for its request.

Britain is now due to leave the EU in a week, but May has been forced to seek mo

re time after Britain’s parliament repeatedly rejected her withdrawal agreement.

Her Conservative Party is deeply divided, as is the main opposition Labou

r Party, leading to a bewildering marathon of inconclusive votes in parliament that stretch

ed Britain’s centuries-old unwritten constitution to its limits. Scenarios running the gamut from aba

ndoning the EU abruptly with no deal to cancelling Brexit altogether have all gone down to defeat.

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