Countries strive to replicate historic Silk Road’s world-changi

China would like to make joint efforts with Italy to revive the ancient Silk Road and bring more benefits for the people, President Xi Jinping said on Friday.

Xi made the remark while speaking to the media with Italian President Sergio Mattarella

in Rome. Xi left Beijing on Thursday for state visits to Italy, Monaco and France. His trip will conclude on Tuesday.

The ancient Silk Road boosted interconnectivity between Asia and Europe, and it encouraged exchanges between civilizations, Xi said.

Xi told reporters that his discussion with Mattarella was fruitful and the two leaders reached a wide range of consensuses.

China and Italy should connect their developmental strategies and enhance cooperation in such areas as infra

structure, seaports, logistics and maritime transport while promoting practical cooperation under the Belt and Road, Xi said.

China would like to increase trade and investment with Italy, Xi said, adding that Ita

ly is welcome at the second China International Import Expo as an honored guest. China would like to import more prod

ucts of high quality from Italy, and more domestic companies are being encouraged to invest in Italy, he said.

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The 10 percent deduction rate, which applies to buyers of ag

ricultural goods, will be cut to 9 percent, said the statement.

“The VAT reform is not simply lowering the tax rate, but focusing on the integration with the overall tax reform. It has continued to ma

ke progress toward the long-term goal of establishing a modern VAT system, and it also leaves room for cutting the number of VAT brac

kets from three to two in the future,” said Wang Jianfan, director of the department of taxation under the Ministry of Finance.

To implement the statutory taxation principle, China will also accelerate legislation to deepen VAT reform, Wang said.

The joint statement came after Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday that China will imp

lement a series of measures to cut VAT rates and ease the tax burden in almost all industries.

Earlier this month, Li said in his 2019 Government Work Repo

rt that VAT reform was key to improving the tax system and achieving better income distribution.

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donate blood at a donation point after a deadly chemical fact

The blast occurred on Thursday at the Chenjiagang Industrial Park in t

he city of Yancheng, in Jiangsu province, and the fire was brought under control on Friday.

Meng’s union has been offering free food and drinking water to those donating blood since the center was set up Thursday.

Gao Shuibao, a volunteer at the local Red Cross society, estimated at least 280 people do

nated their blood on Thursday and the number stood at more than 200 on Friday morning.

Zhang Yinlong, whose home is about 20 kilometers away from the donation point, had come in for the fourth time on Friday to give blood.

“I came at 5 pm yesterday, but only found an extremely long line. I went back home and

came back again at about 8 pm, but had to give it up after waiting for two hours,” said the 38-year-old.

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The office was established after Kim and South Korean Preside

  nt Moon Jae-in met at the DMZ for an historic summit last year, which was follow

ed by a meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.

  Pyongyang said it would notify Seoul regarding “further practical matters in the future.”

  In the statement, the Unification Ministry said South Korea regrets the decisi

on, and urged the North to return soon and continue the work being done at the liaison office towards a full peace settlement.

  ”We regard such a withdrawal as very sad and unfortunate (and) we hop

e that the North will return shortly and hope that the liaison contact office will operate nor

mally as soon as possible,” Vice Minister of Unification Chun Hae-sung said at a press conference in Seoul Friday.

  ”We believe that we should take some time to judge (the situation).”

  North Korea’s pull-out Friday from the Kaesong Liason Office has been on cards since Hanoi, given recent

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All the devices were judged to be viable, and the package

  sent to Heathrow Airport burst into flames after being opened by staff. Nobody was injured by the devices and no arrests have been made.

  The packages were posted with Irish stamps and had return addresses in Dublin, prompting Irish police to join the investigation. The packages were all A4-size

d white postal bags containing yellow padded bags, which were capable of igniting when opened.

  Police Scotland confirmed that a controlled explosion was carried out on the p

ackage found at the University of Glasgow on March 6 as a precautionary measure.

  The Metropolitan Police and Police Scotland said in a joint statem

ent that the devices “bore similarities” to past packages “linked to dissident groups asso

ciated with Northern Ireland related terrorism,” and that “officers were already looking at this as a line of enquiry.”

  The devices did not cause any injuries or damage.

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And while it was perhaps the most blatant attempt by the

  ministration to wade into a foreign contest, it was not the only time the President or his tea

m has weighed in on the domestic politics of other countries. From undercutting British Prime Minis

ter Theresa May during a visit to the United Kingdom to calling attention to protests against French President Emm

anuel Macron, Trump has repeatedly sought to influence the internal affairs of the US’s closest allies — in full public view.

  ”It’s not without precedent that United States leaders have said things that affect politics in other countries, but it is without prece

dent for them to do it as brazenly as Trump has done,” said Joseph Nye, the former dean of Harvard Uni

versity’s Kennedy School of Government. “His style and the degree to which he intervenes are both unprecedented.”

  American administrations have long sought to quietly sway the domestic politics of other countries, whether throu

gh covert influence campaigns or military support. But rarely has a US president so eagerly voiced his opinions or

taken steps to influence another country’s internal affairs, particularly among close US allies.

  Instead — even when an administration’s preferred outcome was widely known or assumed — the White Hou

se maintained an officially neutral stance. A country’s internal affairs were off-limits, at least as a matter of stated position.

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With the Israeli elections approaching and Netanyahu da

  amaged by a pending indictment stemming from a corruption investigatio

n, it became increasingly clear that Trump would look to bolster one of his closest international partners.

  Netanyahu in recent weeks had begun to renew his push for the US to recognize the Go

lan Heights as part of Israel. Earlier this month, he brought US ambassador to Israel David Friedman and

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, to the Israeli-occupied territory, touting its strategic imp

ortance. Graham, a close ally of the President’s, promised Netanyahu he would personally lobby Trump to deliver.

  The Israeli ambassador’s visit was a precursor to Trump’s announcement on Thursday, a sen

ior administration official told CNN. The Golan Heights recognition had been in the works for sev

eral weeks, the official said, and culminated in a series of meetings between the President and his senior staff this week.

  US officials have offered no explanation as to w

hy Trump decided to take this step now, rather than wait until after Israel’s April 9 elections.

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The people of Britain have voted. When is the political class

  going to give effect to that vote?” Bolton said in an interview with the British broadcaster Sky.

  Trump Jr. was more forceful in an opinion article published in the Telegraph, comparing the Brexit referen

dum to his father’s election and asserting both were subject to interference by a class of political elites.

  ”With the deadline fast approaching, it appears that democracy in the UK is all but dead,” wrote Trump Jr., who hasn’t weighed in previous

ly on foreign matters and isn’t a known expert in British politics. “Why is this important for us Americans? Because Brexit is an example of

how the establishment elites try to subvert the will of the people when they’re given the chance.”

  The White House declined to say whether Trump Jr.’s op-ed reflected the views o

f the administration, or whether he consulted with the White House about his message.

  On Brexit at least, Trump was not completely breaking from presidential norm. His predecessor President Barack Oba

ma traveled to London in the months leading up to referendum and encouraged voters against a decision to leav

e the EU, saying such a move would leave them at the “back of the queue” for a trade deal with the US.

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Taxpayers whose main business is postal services, telecom

postal services, telecommunications, modern services or consu

mer services will receive 10 percent additional input VAT deduction before the end of 2021.

An increase in the overpaid VAT following this round of tax cuts will be refunded.

“The planned VAT cuts must be delivered as soon as possible,” Li said.

“Their implementation must be closely monitored to ensure that tax burdens are meaningfully reduced

in the major industries and lowered to various extents in some industries. All industries will see their taxes go down, not up.

“In case of an increased tax burden due to inadequate deducti

ons in certain individual industries, the government will work out targeted solutions,” he added.

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In the Government Work Report, Li said that the govern

ment’s moves to cut taxes on this occasion aim at an accommo

dative effect to strengthen the basis for sustained growth while also considering the need to ens

ure fiscal sustainability. It is also a major measure to lighten the burden on businesses and boost market dynamism.

Participants at Wednesday’s meeting also decided on adjustments to the export tax rebate rates of certain goods and services and

to the tax deduction rate of purchases of farm produce. They decided to increase transfer payments to local gov

ernments, focusing on supporting the central and western regions and counties and prefectures experiencing difficulties.

“The share that goes to enterprises in the national income distribution ne

eds to be increased to boost market vitality. This will

help keep employment stable, expand tax sources and make public finance sustainable.” Li said.

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