Peterson

More air links can be expected as the two sides agreed

to facilitate airlines from each other to do business and ease the market access for them, according to the communique.

During his state visit to Italy from March 21 to 24, Xi held talks with Italian President Sergio Mattar

ella and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on bilateral ties, as well as regional and international issues of common interest.

The communique said the two sides have agreed to advance China-Italy comprehe

nsive strategic partnership in the spirit of mutual respect and mutual benefit for win-win outcomes.

Actions will be taken to fully implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, it added.

The two sides reiterated their commitment to promote multilat

eralism and maintain the international system with the United Nations at its core. They agre

ed to oppose protectionism of any form, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, maintain the

World Trade Organization (WTO)’s central role and jointly push for necessary reforms to the WTO.

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The two sides agreed to work with each other on coopera

ation in fields such as environment and sustainable energy, agriculture, sustainable urbani

zation, health, aviation, space technology, infrastructure and transportation, according to the communique.

The two sides also expres

Visiting President Xi Jinping met with Italian Senate Speaker Maria Elisabetta Alberti

Casellati here Friday on expanding exchanges and cooperation between the two countries’ legislative institutions.

China and Italy have enjoyed a traditional friendship, with the ancient Silk Road closely linking the two peoples, Xi said.

Since they established diplomatic relations nearly 50 years ago, the China-Italy ties have seen heal

thy and stable development, and the two countries have become important partners who trust each other and work together, Xi said.

sed willingness to strengthen cultural cooperation that includes heritage protection and figh

t against relic trafficking, education cooperation that highlights language studies, judicial coope

ration that involves extradition and anti-graft experience sharing, and law enforcement cooperation.

During Xi’s visit, the two sides signed 19 intergovernmental bilateral cooperation documents, the communique said.

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Volunteers inundate blood donation center near explosion site

After an explosion at a chemical plant killed 47, residents of Xiangshui county in Jiangs

u province have flooded centers to donate blood for the severely injured survivors.

There were so many people coming in to donate blood

that the organizers at one center ran out of application forms, China Daily discovered Friday afternoon.

“On average,People wait in line to donate blood at a donation point after

a deadly chemical factory blast killed dozens in Xiangshui county in Jiangsu province on Frid

ay people have to wait for at least five hours for their turn,” said Meng Xianghua, a me

mber of the local labor union that has been assisting in the drive to build up blood supplies following the blast.

He said one of his neighbors came in at 8 am Friday and had to wait until 1:30 pm to d

onate. “There are so many people coming that we failed to count how many people have donated so far,” he added.

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Most Chinese and Myanmar students are Dai people and som

 of them are relatives, so the close ties between them are not broken by national borders. W

hat the school has been doing is to further strengthen the special bond between the two peoples,” he said.

The school has preschool classes and first through third grades and all classes are taught in Chinese, Dai dialect and Bu

rmese, Sun said, adding that students can take advantage of free tuition and nutritious breakfasts.

Jie En, 11, a Myanmar student at the school, said, “The teache

rs do not treat us differently because we come from a different country, and people cannot tell wh

ether we are from China or Myanmar because we can also speak fluent Chinese.”

Myanmar students only need to show proof of identificatio

n and a birth certificate to register at the school and are allowed four entries into China a day, he said.

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On March 13, CNBC reported that Malta, an island nation i

the Mediterranean that is also a EU member state, has indicated it, too, could join the BRI. The news channel quoted Maltes

e Finance Minister Edward Scicluna as saying that “certain prejudices” should not come in the way of good business.

I am not sure if Marquis, or his boss, US National Security Advisor John Bolton, plan to lecture, warn or th

reaten Malta as they have been doing to Italy these past days. But instead of indulging in such rea

ctionary activities, the US should abandon its Cold War mentality and stop looking for non-existent enemies.

More important, the US should also stop forcing other countries to ch

oose between China and the US, especially as many countries made it clear they do not wan

t to be lectured on what they should do when the Obama administration launched the “pivot to Asia strategy”.

The world needs more infrastructure-building projects such as the BRI, not mo

ves to sabotage such projects, as the US has been trying to do for quite some time now.

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Bank of Beijing planning venture with Dutch lenderCo Ltd said

Bank of Beijing Co Ltd said on Friday that it has got the necessary board approvals for the esta

blishment of a joint venture with Netherlands-based ING Bank NV, in which the latter will be the majority partner.

With a total investment of 3 billion yuan ($448 million), the forthcoming joint-venture bank, whic

h is still waiting for regulatory approval, may become China’s first commercial lender in which a for

eign shareholder has a controlling interest. According to the plan, ING Bank will hold a 51 percent stake, and Bank of Beijing 49 percent.

Drawing on the experience of ING Bank in the successful development of direct ba

nking services, the joint venture will build a brand in the area of digital banking with the help of financial tec

hnologies and try to become a benchmark in terms of the implementation of China’s push to further open

up its financial sector to foreign investors, said the mid-tier commercial lender BOB in an announcement.

Different from the traditional counter-based model, the direct banking model uses e-cha

nnels to provide financial products and therefore has no restriction of time, regions or geographic branches.

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And business confidence in Britain has slumped to the lo

  d to the lowest level in almost a decade.

  ”The reason for this underperformance relative to the rest of the world is, I believe, the uncertainty surrounding the prospect of Brexit,” Ge

rtjan Vlieghe, a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, said in a speech last month.

  The pain has also been felt by households. The pou

nd plunged 15% against the dollar after the 2016 vote, pushing the price of imported goods hig

her. That spurred inflation and contributed to a decline in the value of people’s paychecks.

  Company trauma

  Executives have reacted to the uncertainty by attempting to Brexit-proof their businesses.

  ”It is clear that political inaction has already had economic consequences, with many firm

s hitting the brakes on investment and recruitment decisions as a result of ongoing uncertainty,” said Ad

am Marshall, director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, a business lobby.

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The UK essentially now has three options, and each come

  with increasingly urgent logic.

  Option one: Approve the Withdrawal Agreement. The UK will then leave the EU on May 22 and enter the transition period. More on that later.

  If MPs vote the deal down, then they have a decision to make by April 11: stand in the EU parliamentary elections or don’t.

  Option two: Don’t stand in the elections, held between May 23-26, and leave the EU before then. It is unlikely that

any substantial new deal could be struck by this point. What the EU would do at this point is unclear.

  Option three: Stand in the elections and request a long extension. This makes softer Brexit all but inevitabl

e and undoing Brexit a lot more likely.At some point next week, May will bring her Withdrawal Agreement back to the Com

mons. She needs to flip 75 MPs if she’s to win by a margin of one. Given she dedicated some of this week to accusing them of betraying the nation, it’s hard to see

them feeling charitable. All the PM can hope for is that the EU has bought a new level of focus to London.

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Identity of ‘Shanghai vagrant’ confirmed by employer

The identity of a Shanghai vagrant, who has become an overnight online celebrity after videos of him explaining Chinese classics to passers-by went viral on Chin

ese social media, has been confirmed by his employer, the auditing office of Shanghai’s Xuhui district government.

The office said the vagrant called Shen Wei became one of its employees in 1986 but

has been on sick leave since 1993, during which he has been paid with a basic salary.

For the past seven years, Shen, usually in rags and tangled long hair, has lived near the metro st

ation of Yanggao South Station and collected garbage every day. He began to get online attention over the past few

days when videos taken by passers-by, and then online broadcasters, show his eloquence, resourceful knowledge of Chinese classics and “wor

ds of wisdom” as he advises onlookers to spend more time on reading rather than taking videos of him.

He spends most of his spare time reading books, mostly Chinese classics which he has bought wit

h the money he earns from garbage collecting. He refuses to receive help and told the Red Star News reporter that he has around 10

0,000 yuan ($14,991) in his bank account. The money comes from his 2,000 yuan monthly salary and his father’s savings.

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He said he was asked by his employer to stay home for

mental illness and not go back to work until he recovered.”The utmost goal is like Zhuge Liang (of the Three Kingd

oms), who became a senior official to serve the country,” Shen said. “What comes second is to be like Du Fu (a reno

wned poet in Tang Dynasty known for his patriotism), who always puts the country’s and the people’s interests first.”

“Over the past 26 years, no one from the office has ever asked about me,” Shen told Red

Star News. The auditing office of Xuhui district hasn’t responded to comment as of press time.

Shen also denied online rumors that he graduated from Fudan University and once lost a daughter to a car crash.

“I have never been married, so how could I have a daughter,” he retorted. “Me, a Fudan graduate? Fudan was far out of my league.”

After days of being bombarded with visits and interviews from curious citizens or online streamers, who

are tapping into his sudden popularity for public exposure, Shen said he hopes he can be left alone so as to read more books.

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