ation and safety officials Daniel Elwell, Robert

US senators sharply questioned regulatory officials on Wedne

sday about the Federal Aviation Administration’s reliance on Boeing Co’s engineers to cert

ify the safety of the company’s new 737 Max 8 aircraft, which was involved in two fatal crashes in the past five months.

A self-certification procedure called Organization Designation Authorization came under scr

utiny at a hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee’s aviation subcommittee in Washington. Testifying wer

e Daniel Elwell, acting FAA administrator; Robert Sumwalt, chairman of the National Transportation Saf

ety Board; and Calvin Scovel III, Transportation Department inspector general.

For decades, the FAA has delegated some authority for certifying new aircraft to the manufacturers, reducing government costs.

After the crashes of Lion Air in Indonesia in October and Ethiop

ian Airlines this month, which killed a total of 346 passengers and crew members, critics have ci

ted the self-certification process as evidence of an overly cozy relationship between the FAA and the industry.

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Currently, all special purpose local government bonds are

domestically rated “AAA”, the safest level. The sale to individual investors is mainly of project-link

ed special-purpose bonds, a type of local government bond vigorously promoted by the government in re

cent years. The cash flows generated from the underlying projects will be used as the primary repayment sources.

In China, there are two types of local government bonds: general bonds and special purpose bonds. According to the country’s 2019 budget repor

t, which was approved by the top legislature earlier this month, the budgeted deficit for local governments is 930 billion yuan, up 100 billi

on yuan compared with 2018, and this fund gap will be supplemented by general bonds.

In the meantime, 2.15 trillion yuan of special purpose bonds will be issued to support la

rge infrastructure projects, such as shantytown renovation projects and railways, said the ministry.

Letting individual buyers invest in local government bonds is a way to narrow the government’s financin

g gap, said Hu Yijian, a tax professor at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. The gap is expected to expand, as policym

akers decided to cut about 2 trillion yuan in taxes and fees this year while at the same time increase spending on investment.

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I didn’t even know I had to wear all white, nor did I prepare

a different pair of shoes for the surface. I was overwhelmed, in an embarrassing way.”

Li played the final match of her stellar career at Wimbledon 2014 before retiring due to a chronic knee injury two months later.

Now enjoying life as a housewife and businesswoman, the two-time Grand Slam singles champion spares no effort to en

sure that China’s new generation of players are better prepared than she was for life as a pro.

Her passion for the sport remains undiminished and shone through at Tuesday’s event at Beijing’s

1123 Junior Tennis Academy, where the 37-year-old hit shots with some young hopefuls and shared insights about life on the tour.

With more international tournaments visiting the country and strong government support and investment, tenni

s has entered the athletic mainstream in China, yet the nation still hasn’t found anyone to assume Li’s throne.

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Five Chinese women are ranked in the world’s top 50, spear

headed by No 18 Wang Qiang, who this week reached the Miami Open quarterfinals to

become the first Chinese to go that far at the premier mandatory event since Li’s run to the final in 2014.

Li is delighted to see her compatriots mixing it with the world’s best, but said she expects more.

“It’s good to have a group of girls in the top 50, but the resources they enjoy today make me believe they could do better,” she said.

With more advanced coaching and training methods, WTA

CEO Steve Simon reckons China will unearth the next Li sooner rather than later.

“The chances of finding the next Li Na are very bright; it’s just a matter of time,” he said earlier this month in Shenzhen.

The return of The Road to Wimbledon, a tailor-made tournament for under-14 players, f

or its fourth year in China is part of the latest effort to deepen the domestic talent pool.

It began on Monday with a weeklong trial camp overseen by Dan Blox

ham, head coach of the All England Club. The best performers will be picked to compete at a nat

ional tournament in Nanjing in May, which will decide China’s representatives at the global final at Wimbledon from Aug 11-17.

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Following his visits to Spain and Portugal in late 2018, Xi

came to Europe again in his first overseas trip this year, manifesting the great importance China attaches to Europe, Wang said.

In a world of unprecedented transformations, Xi noted that a stable, strategic and reciprocal China-EU relationship is urgently needed.

Wang said during his visit, Xi had in-depth communication with the European leaders to discuss cooperation in internation

al issues and reached important consensus of adhering to multilateralism, and discarding isolationism and unilateral moves.

He also said Xi and the European leaders agreed to enhance coordination and cooperation wit

hin the UN system, give full play to the constructive role of global and regional multilateral mechanisms s

uch as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and Group of 20 and the EU, and

actively contribute to solving international conflicts, combating climate change and promoting sustainable development.

In his keynote speech at the global governance forum, Xi raised “four deficits” in global affairs including governance deficit, tru

st deficit, peace deficit and development deficit. To address these deficits, he proposed a four-pronged approach of fairness and reas

onableness, consultation and understanding, joint efforts and mutual assistance and mutual benefit and win-win results.

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spoke of the things that remain unchanged in the face

found changes in the international situation and bilateral relations.

He said the importance China attaches to its relations with France has not changed. China has always regar

ded France as a priority partner of cooperation, and the two peoples keep a special friendship, he added.

“This is a valuable asset that we must inherit and carry forward to keep China-France relations at the forefront of the times,” Xi said.

 went on to say that the common pursuit for peace, development, fairness and justice has not changed.

He said both China and France uphold the basic norms governing international relations underpinned by the purposes and

principles of the UN Charter while practicing multilateralism and opposing protectionism and unilateralism in international affairs.

Both countries are committed to building an open world economy and working together to meet th

e common challenges facing humanity, Xi said, adding that China and France have cooperated su

ccessfully on many occasions in the field of climate change, playing a positive leading role in the world.

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France pays high attention to the Belt and Road Initiative

regards China as an important strategic cooperation partner, and appreciates China’s im

portant role in and contribution to climate change and other international affairs, Macron said.

The French president pledged to further strengthen strategic communication and collaboration

with China, and bring into full play the leading role of the France-China comprehensive strategic part

nership, so as to jointly safeguard multilateralism and promote world peace and prosperity.

France is the last leg of Xi’s three-nation Europe tour that has taken him to Italy and Monaco.

his year marks the 40th anniversary of the Joint Communiqué on the Estab

lishment of Diplomatic Relations signed by Beijing and Washington that acknowledges t

here is only one China and Taiwan is part of China. It is also the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act the US Congress passed to permit u

nofficial relations with Taipei to continue and the US to sell arms and military equipment to the island.

For 40 years, US administrations have frequently used the Act as a political card to influence Sino-US ties and interfere in China’s internal aff

airs, as well as to provide “spiritual” support for the island authorities that seek “security” guarantees from the US.

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But by allowing Tsai Ing-wen, the island’s “pro-independe

ence” leader, to stop over in Hawaii on her way back to the island after an eight-day tour of thr

ee Pacific island nations this week, Washington is breaching all established protocols and violating the 1979

Joint Communiqué. Beijing lodged “stern representations” with Washington on Thursday against Tsai’s transit in Hawaii.

“We have consistently and resolutely opposed the United States or other countries which

have diplomatic relations with China arranging this kind of transit,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Ge

ng Shuang said in Beijing. Beijing has urged Washington not to send “Taiwan independence forces any wrong signal”, Geng said.

The method behind fluctuating policy of US

When the US intends to maintain good relations with the mainland, it significantly reduces the

use of or even refrains from mentioning the Taiwan Relations Act. But when Washington wants to put pressure on Beijing to fina

lize a deal or sign a trade agreement in its favor, it promptly resorts to using the Act. At times, even the island’s a

uthorities stir up trouble, prompting the US to use the Act to try and browbeat or incite the mainland.

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If the US Congress continues to send the wrong signals

to the “pro-independence” DPP, it will embolden the Tsai authorities to take more risky acti

ons, and thus damage cross-Straits ties further, harming the interests of Beijing and Washington both.

US Congress members are elected by American voters as their representatives and, ther

efore, they should always put the interests of their people and country first. And instigating the Tsai authorities to fu

rther damage cross-Straits ties certainly doesn’t serve the interest of either American voters or the US as a country.

The author is a professor at the Institute of Taiwan Studies, Beijing Union University. The views don’t necessarily repre

sent those of China Daily.President Xi Jinping and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte (both seated), witness the

signing of a memorandum of understanding on joint construction of the Belt and Road between He Lifeng, head of the N

ational Development and Reform Commission, and Luigi Di Maio, Italian deputy prime minister, in Rome on Saturd

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The two countries should take the memorandums of underst

understanding as an opportunity to connect the BRI with Italy’s own development plans, including building seaports in northern Italy, Xi said.

He called for upgrading bilateral cooperation in such priority areas as space technology, inf

rastructure, transportation, environment and energy, and also expanding third-market cooperation in relevant fields.

Conte said he considers participation in the BRI as a historic opportunity for Italy, a

nd trusts the move will help the two countries tap potential for bilateral cooperation.

Conte added that he expected to attend the second Belt and Road F

orum for International Cooperation, which will be held in Beijing next month.

Italian economist and China expert Michele Geraci hailed the memorandum of understandi

ng signed between the two countries as “a win-win-win for Italy, the rest of Europe and China”, and said he be

lieves more European countries will follow his country’s lead and sign up to be involved in the BRI.

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