But she insisted Britain could still secure a deal and leav

e before Britons would have to vote in a May 23-26 election to the European Parliament — a condit

ion for the country to remain a member of the bloc beyond June 1 under the EU’s accord.

Many leaders had wanted a much longer extension, to the end of the year or even next March, but French President Emma

nuel Macron mounted stiff resistance throughout the evening, eventually forcing the compromise.

Macron questioned May’s ability to persuade parliament to her treaty, EU officials sa

id, and said that a tighter deadline would focus British minds. Others argued that an even longer exten

sion could spook May’s pro-Brexit critics into backing her deal for fear Brexit might stall.

Leaving at midnight on Oct 31 — Halloween, as social media commentators wer

e quick to note — would correspond with the end of the mandate of the present EU executive Commission.

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Xu said the country’s urbanization may hit 70 percent by

“China’s urban development should take the road of sustainable development,” Xu said. “We sh

ould pay more attention to green city construction, green industrial development and low-carbon energy-saving de

velopment. And we should also ensure that migrant workers have the same social rights as native residents.”

The NDRC proposed the introduction of various monetary policies to reso

lutely curb the rise in hidden local government debt, encourage commercial financial institut

ions to appropriately increase the credit supply and support qualified enterprises to issue bonds for financing.

To implement the new urbanization tasks, China will improve the appro

priate positioning of different cities in various fields, develop high-end manufacturing and p

roducer services in big cities and guide small and medium-sized cities to consolidate manufacturing centers.

Xu Lin said with rapid urbanization, 80 percent of China’s urban citizens will live in some 20 city clusters in the future.

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The core of Beijing’s high-quality development is to

 better deal with the relationship between ‘capital’ and ‘city’, which is to strengthen the four funct

ions of Beijing — the national center of politics, culture, international communications and scient

ific innovation,” said Cai Qi, Party secretary of Beijing, last month during the two sessions.

According to the municipal authority, the new economy — industries with intensive innovation a

nd knowledge — now makes up 33 percent of the city’s economy, and this ratio is expected to keep growing.

President Xi Jinping’s three-nation visit to Europe last month prod

uced tangible fruits and showed that despite any differences that may exist between China and

the European Union, they have the common desire to strengthen cooperation.

Thanks to mutual efforts from both sides, China-EU interaction has been displaying good momentum. Over the years, their economic

interests have become increasingly intertwined, and people-to-people exchanges have flourished, formin

g a solid foundation on which bilateral ties have been able to grow and prosper in an all-around way.

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Small train supplies water to mountain for 44 years

 For residents in Huojugou village in China’s Changbai Mountains, a train whistl

e is a euphonious sound that will bring gurgling water to their kitchen and bathhouse.

For 44 years, the mountainous village and several others in northeast China’s Jilin Province

have relied on a train, which only has one locomotive and one tank car, to provide their water supply.

The train commutes between the towns of Songshu and Baihe, nestled deep in Changbai Mountain. Since 1975, it has run for m

ore than 1.6 million km, delivering water to over 2,600 nearby villagers that had limited access to clean water.

Though cisterns have been built to store water unloaded from the trains, villagers along the line

still keep the tradition of welcoming the train in person, clanking their buckets and bottles.

Fetching water used to be a big headache. We had to travel to a far-away river to get water and e

ven make a hole in the ice during winter,” said Li Zuopei, an 80-year-old resident in Yingbishan village.

“Then the small train sent water right to our doorsteps, and it’s amaz

ing that the service has been going on uninterrupted for so many years,” said Li.

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The Temburong Bridge, the largest infrastructure

unei’s history, will become the country’s longest sea-crossing bridge with a total length of about 30 km. It is scheduled to open to traffic by the end of November 2019.

The CC4 section of the bridge is constructed by China State Construction Engineering C

orp. At around 11.6 km of the 11.8 km-long section will be a land viaduct traversing the mangrove swamp of the

Labu Forest Reserve, the company has established a set of strict safety and green construction evaluation systems to mee

t the high demand for environmental protection and cope with unprecedented difficulty in construction.

The Padma Bridge, 25 meters in width and 10 km in length, will

be built over the Padma River, one of the three major rivers in Bangladesh.

In June 2016, China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group Co Ltd was awar

ded a $1.55-billion contract by the Bangladeshi government to build the core structure of the bridge.

The bridge is the country’s largest infrastructure project, as wel

l as the largest foreign bridge project undertaken by Chinese companies in terms of total cost.

Once completed, travel time between the capital, Dhaka, and the southern city of Khulna will be shortened to about three hours from 13 hours.

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As if that was not enough of a provocation, Christensen

 said the first consultation will be held in September when a US delegation, led by a senior official fr

om the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, is expected to visit Taipei.

The US has been using one pretext or the other to provoke Beijing and violate the 1979 Joint Commun

iqué. But for the sake of Sino-US relations and regional peace, Washington should realize that instead of gain

ing anything, it would suffer huge economic and political damage by interfering in China’s internal affairs.

Xi’s message of peace and reunification

Delivering a speech to mark the 40th anniversary of the Message to Taiwan Compatri

ots on Jan 2, President Xi Jinping said that, on the basis of the common political foundation of uph

olding the 1992 Consensus and opposing “Taiwan independence”, political parties and people across all sectio

ns of society on both sides of the Straits can recommend their representatives to hold in-depth dem

ocratic consultations and establish institutional arrangements for peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.

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EU ready to grant Brexit delay if UK parliament backs dealpe

LONDON – The European Union could grant Britain’s request for a short Brexit delay if parliament vote

s next week in favour of a stalled departure deal, European Council President Donald Tusk said on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Theresa May asked the European Union to allow Britain to delay its de

parture date by three months to June 30, and EU leaders are expected to discuss the matter at a summit on Thursday.

Tusk said it would be possible to grant Britain a short postponement if parlia

ment next week backs May’s divorce agreement, which it has already voted down twice.

Should that happen, Tusk said no extraordinary EU leaders’ summit would be need

ed next week before the current Brexit date of March 29. Otherwise, he might call another summit.

“I believe that a short extension will be possible, but it will be conditional on a positive v

ote on the Withdrawal Agreement in the House of Commons,” Tusk told journalists.

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Extra pilot averted disaster on previous Boeing 737 Max 8 flight

An off-duty pilot in the cockpit of a Boeing 737 Max 8 jet jumped in to help

crew disable a malfu

nctioning flight-control system as it experienced difficulties in October, according to Bloomberg.

The next day, with a different crew, the same plane crashed into the sea off Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

On doomed Lion Air Flight 610, pilots searched in a handbook f

or a way to stop the plane from nosediving, according to an exclusive Reuters report.

Reuters cites the information from three people with knowledge of the contents of the cockpit voice recorder that has never been made public.

Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT) has refused to comment to CNN on the content of the voice r

ecorder as the investigation is still ongoing. Boeing also refused to comment to CNN on the matter Wednesday.

Indonesian authorities found the cockpit voice recorder in the Java Sea on January 14 and said it could take up to a year to publish a full report into the crash.

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There were 215 million single people in China at the

end of 2017, accounting for about 16 percent of the population, ac

cording to the National Bureau of Statistics. Marriage registrations have fallen every year

since 2014, while the divorce rate has risen for 16 consecutive years, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

Dining, traveling and pursuing activities individually have also become increasingly popular with singles in China.

Tang Chuan, a researcher with Sinolink Securities, said that without family burdens, singles

seem to be less inclined to save money, and their willingness to spend offers great potential for boosting the economy.

Sinolink Securities conducted research on singles born from 1985 to 1995 and found that about 40 percent of those in first- an

d second-tier cities live from paycheck to paycheck, while in lower-tier cities, the proportion is as high as 76 percent.

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North Korea’s coal sales have historically been some of

  the country’s most valuable exports. UN sanctions meant to punish Pyongyang for its 2017 missile

and nuclear tests put a cap on the amount of coal the country was allowed to sell internationally. The mea

sures also capped the amount of oil and energy products the country was allowed to import.

  The report accused banks and insurance companies across the wor

ld of “unwittingly” facilitating and providing “coverage for vessels involved in ever-lar

ger… illegal ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, and an increasing number of ship-to-ship coal transfers.”

  It added that North Korea “has attempted to supply small arms and light weapons and other military equipment to Hou

thi rebels in Yemen, as well as to Libya and the Sudan, via foreign intermediaries.”

  North Korea has long sought the removal of UN sanctions and portrayed the measures as violations of its sovereignty.

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