nd information technology, had confirmed at the Boao Fo

oao Forum for Asia, that China will grant 5G licenses this year, but didn’t disclose a specific date.

“5G, industrial internet and the internet of vehicles are among the country’s top development priorities

in the telecommunications industry,” Zhang Feng, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, sa

id on Friday during the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

Zhang called for accelerated efforts to set standards in key areas, including 5G, to expedite the com

mercialization of this forefront technology and bolster the nation’s core competitiveness.

Major Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies Co has already unveiled its first 5G chip and first 5G fold

able smartphone, the Mate X, which is expected to hit the market in June, despite challenges involving the United States.

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Nevertheless, it is difficult to separate cyclical elements

and external shocks from the long-term trend and to conclude that China’s potential growth rate really is 6-6.5 percent.

Many Chinese economists cite long-term supply-side structural factors-such as demographic agi

ng, environmental degradation, and a lack of progress on reform-to argue that China has simply en

tered a new stage of development, characterized by significantly lower potential growth rates.

Structural factors don’t explain falling growth rate

While this may be true-everyone in China agrees that 9-10 perce

nt annual growth rates are a thing of the past-there is no clear indication of how much Chin

a’s growth potential has actually declined. Long-term supply-side structural factors do not explain, for exam

ple, why the growth rate fell from 12.1 percent in the first quarter of 2010 to 7.4 percent in the third quarter of 2013.

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This issue is similar to the environment. External critics

ent. External critics of China don’t appreciate that Chinese themselves realize there

are issues to be addressed. They are doing so. These developments should be encouraged.”

President Xi Jinping, who spoke at the Second Belt and Road Foru

m for International Cooperation in Beijing recen

tly, listed areas in which China will improve the environment for foreign investment.

The president said the nation will work hard to create a business environ

ment that respects the value of intellectual prop

erty, will improve the legal system for IPR protection at all levels, will strengthen law enforcement and pr

otection for the legitimate rights and interests of foreign IP owners and will bar the

forced transfer of technology, improve protection of trade secrets and crack down on infringement.

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The Belt and Road Initiative, which originated in C

 China but belongs to the world, has become an open and inclusive platform for international cooperation and a well-recog

nized global public good thanks to the concerted efforts of the parties involved, Xi said.

Calling think tanks significant forces for Belt and Road constructi

on, the president said developing think tank exchanges and cooperation helps deepen mu

tual trust, unite consensus and promote the BRI to achieve high-level development.

He expressed the hope that the think tank network would develop in-depth academic exchanges to promote solid coope

ration under the BRI and contribute to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

Also on Wednesday, a ceremony to mark the release of the English and French editions

of a compilation of remarks by Xi on the Belt and Road was held in Beijing by the State Council Information Office.

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We support the BRI globally because it’s a big project wi

ith so many applications in different parts of industry and the economy, and we want agreements, project by project.”

Raffarin was appointed special envoy on China affairs by French President Emmanuel Mac

ron. He pointed out that it is not pragmatic to have an agreement about every industrial sector, because, as sovereig

n states, both countries need to protect the interests of their own businesses and industries.

“It’s easier to go project by project, and, after some experience, we can add a larger vision,” Raffarin said.

His comments came after Italy signed a BRI memorandum of understanding with China during

Xi’s visit to Rome last week to become the first G7 country to join the global infrastructure plan.

According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, from January to November 2018, China’s direct investment in France reached $330 mil

lion. China’s growing investment in Europe has prompted concerns in the West, which Raffarin thinks are misplaced.

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Trump, who has faced backlash for saying he took Kim’s

  word that the North Korean leader was unaware of former prisoner Otto Warmbier’s c

apture, said Saturday that he was torn between his obligation to negotiate and his support for the Warmbiers.

  ”I’m in such a horrible position,” Trump said. “Because in one way I have to negotiate. In

the other way, I love Mr. and Mrs. Warmbier. And I love Otto. And it’s a very, very delicate balance.”

  Democrats and socialism

  Trump also accused congressional Democrats of accepting socialism and trying to “replac

e individual rights with total government domination” during the speech.

  ”Just this week more than 100 Democrats in Congress signed up for a socialist takeover of Am

erican health care,” he said, apparently referencing the Medicare For All bill currently supported by many House Democrats.

  Trump said that the plan “would lead to colossal tax increases” and “take away private covera

ge from over 180 million Americans,” as opposed to the private plans and new cooperative plan backed by hi

s administration “where you get better insurance than Obamacare for a fraction of the cost.”

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How the Wagah border post became a symbol of India

  Military tensions in the disputed region of Kashmir have erupted in recent

weeks, with India and Pakistan painting different versions of events.

  One thing we do know for certain is that an Indian pilot, identified as Wing Commander Abhinandan, was captured by Pakistan aft

er his plane was shot down in a dogfight earlier this week between Pakistani and Indian warplanes over the ceasefire line in Kashmir.

  He was due to be handed back to India on Friday afternoon, at a famous border post in the village of Wagah.

  While Indian-controlled Kashmir and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir are separate

d by a 435-mile de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC), Wagah village sits on the international fron

tier to the south between the Pakistani city of Lahore and the Indian city of Amritsar.

  Wagah straddles the border — with the eastern half in India and the western half in Paki

stan — and sits on the Grand Trunk Road, one of the main overland routes between the two nations.

  Pakistani rangers (L) and Indian security forces (R) perform the daily Beating Retreat ceremony at Wagah in August 2017.

  The border post has taken on a symbolic role in the decades-long conflict over Kashmir, despite be

ing outside the disputed region, thanks to a daily military parade known as the Beating Retreat ceremony.

  Every evening there for 60 years, Pakistan’s Rangers and India’s Border Securit

y Force have taken part in a lowering-of-the-flags ceremony before sunset, typically around 4 p.m. local time.

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Prep work for science and tech innovation board underway

Preparation work for China’s ground-breaking science and technology innovation boa

rd is in full swing, with more supporting measures in the pipeline and detailed rules to be an

nounced soon, said China’s securities watchdog and the Shanghai bourse on Wednesday.

“On the whole, related work for the new board has gone rather smoothly. And we will continue to make solid and me

ticulous preparations to launch this major reform in an effective way,” said Yi Huiman, the newly appointed chairman of

the China Securities Regulatory Commission, when convening his first-ever press conference on Wednesday.

Detailed rules of the new board will be available soon to take effect, after necessary mod

ifications in line with public opinions solicited, based on the draft version, said Huang Hongyuan, ge

neral manager of the Shanghai Stock Exchange, the bourse that will launch the board.

“We will receive listing applications after the regulations are available,” H

uang said. How soon the first company will go public on the new board depends on variou

s factors, including preparation progress of the companies and their investment banks, Huang added.

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Green Book’ wins on Oscar night marked by inclusiveness

  ”Green Book” won best picture at the Oscars, marking the final twist on a night of historic firsts, filled with suspense until the final prize.

  Despite controversies surrounding the film, and many outspoken critics, the per

iod drama about race relations in the 1960s felt like a more conventional best-picture choi

ce than its two top rivals, both of which had to overcome key hurdles: “Black Panther” represented the fi

rst superhero movie to earn such recognition, while “Roma” not only would have been the first foreign-lan

guage winner, but was likely hobbled by those who still see its distributor, Netflix, as an upstart in the movie world.

  The Oscars compensated for a host-free ceremony with a nigh

t of breakthroughs, moving briskly through the categories in a concerted effort to sh

orten the run time, amid a night marked by greater inclusiveness and that spread the wealth among the nominees.

  Award voters extended honors to a number of blockbusters, including “Black Panther,” which

earned several technical awards; and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the biography of Queen and the band’s fron

tman, Freddie Mercury, earned four Oscars — the most of any film — including Rami Malek’s first for the central role.

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photo shared by MP John Lamont showed a smiling Berger

  snapping a selfie of the group as they took their seats in the House of

Commons. But non

e of the group asked a question of the Prime Minister, as she appeared before MPs for her weekly grill

ing, and the defections were barely addressed. The mood in the House of

Commons seemed more subdued than usual.

  The closest May came to acknowledging the issue was when she attacked Corbyn over anti-Semitism in

his party, cited as a reason for some of the defectors leaving his party.

  May said she never thought she would see the day when “a once proud

Labour party was accused of institutional Semiti

sm by a member of that party,” or,

equally, when Jewish people in the UK “were concerned about their future.”

  Responding to those accusations, Corbyn said that “anti-Semitism ha

s no place whatsoever in any of our political parties, in our lives, in our society,” be

fore laying into the Prime Minister for “pretending to negotiate” a Brexit deal with just 37 days to go.

  May, who will travel to Brussels later in the day, maintained that she was still working on alternative arrangements on the

Irish backstop — an insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border between

Northern Ireland and the Republic of Irel

and. She also reiterated her position that a no-deal exit from the EU could only be taken off the table by agreeing a deal.

  Speaking at a press conference later, Allen, Wollaston and Soubry said the Prim

e Minister had been bullied by hard-line Brexiteers onto the brink of a no-deal Brexit.

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