Pompeo, Lavrov hold phone talks over INF, Venezuela

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has had a phone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, reaffirming US stance on the Inte

rmediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and Venezuela, the State Department said on Wednesday.

Pompeo told his Russian counterpart on Tuesday that the INF Treaty would terminate in early August unless Russia com

es back into full and verifiable compliance with the treaty, the State Department said in a statement.

Pompeo and Lavrov also discussed the situation in Venezuela and a peaceful transition to

democracy that is in the best interest of both the United States and Russia, said the statement.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Lavrov warned Pompeo in the phone co

nversation that Russia opposed US intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela, including the use of force.

Washington will face violations of international law if the United States intervenes, Lavrov told his counterpart.

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Innovation in science and technology bolsters Guangdong’s e

Despite China’s ongoing trade war with the United States, Guangdong province, an economic powerhouse, has found new ways to attain sustainable economic development.

In addition to the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, which helped the province maintain its strong growth momentum, inn

ovation in science and technology was the key to sustainable economic growth last year, Wang Ruijun, director-general of

the provincial Department of Science and Technology, told local media recently.

Wang said the provincial government spared no effort to promote innovation after President X

i Jinping urged Guangdong to further develop its innovative industries during last year’s tw

o sessions – the annual meetings of China’s top legislature and advisory body.

Wang said Guangdong has invested more than 4 billion yuan ($593 million) to help build seven provi

ncial-level laboratories and 72 other major scientific research projects to support economic development.

It has also actively integrated its scientific and technological development into the country’s de

velopment plan for major scientific and technological projects, while building the Guangdong-H

ong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Innovation Center of Science and Technology, he said.

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The Ministry of Education said on Feb 2 that it will contin

ue to boost support for private kindergartens and encourage them to provide inclusive services.

The ministry said media reports that the country will no longer allow the development

of private kindergartens were misleading, and it will continue to encourage investment in kindergartens.

As of 2017, about 63 percent of kindergartens nationwide were run by private entiti

es, among which 43 percent were deemed to be providing inclusive services, the ministry said.

It added that it will encourage more private kindergartens to provide inclusive servic

es. In the meantime, private kindergartens will be allowed to remain profit-oriented to meet public demand.

Chinese authorities have decided to grant a three-year tax benefit to encourage self-employment and hiring by small businesses.

The decision was jointly announced on Feb 2 by the Ministry of Finance, State Taxation Administration and two other government departments.

According to the decision, people in need who start a business can have 12,000 yuan ($1,790) a year deducted from their families’ annual taxes over three years.

The preferential treatment will target four groups: those registered as members of pov

erty-stricken groups; people who have been jobless for more than half a year; those living on su

bsistence allowances; and recent graduates from higher education institutions.

Businesses that have hired individuals from the four groups and paid social insurance for

them can also enjoy tax deductions of 6,000 yuan per person a year for three years.

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WTO should play bigger role in global governancetate Coun

reign Minister Wang Yi has called for the World Trade Organization to play bigger role in global governance.

Wang made the statement at the 18th session of the consultations of the coordinators for the China-France Stra

tegic Dialogue with Philippe Etienne, foreign policy advisor to the president of France, in Paris on Thursday.

Wang highlighted China’s position in upholding multilateralism and the rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at the core.

Noting China supports for the reform of the WTO to increase its authority and efficiency, Wang said the core value and b

asic principles of the WTO as well as the direction of trade liberalization should remain unchanged.

The WTO reform should follow the practice of decision-making by consensus, and c

annot be dictated by a few, nor decided by an exclusive small group of Members, he noted.

Wang called for safeguarding the special and differential treatment for developing members in the

WTO reform, saying France should objectively treat China as a developing country.

Priority should be given to the resolution of the issue of Appellate Body member appointment blockage, he said.

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With more and more people gathering at the lake, it became over

run with fences and nets used to trap fish. Pollutants discharged by residents liv

ing in the area went directly into the lake, and water quality went from bad to worse.

“We could drink directly from the lake at the beginning, but a few years lat

er, the water began to stink, and we had to buy bottled water onshore” Chen recalled.

Overfishing and other human activities put the lake in crisis.

Realizing the need to clean up the lake, the local government took a series of protec

tive measures including relocating all the fishermen and getting rid of all the fences and nets.

Under the government policy on relocation of fishermen, Chen got 170,000 yuan (around 25,368 U.S. dollars) of

subsidy after moving onshore. Using the subsidy, the 110,000 yuan he got from selling his boat to the g

overnment and his own savings, he bought a nice apartment not far from his workplace.

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All of the 606 sewage pits in the new area are now under co

All of the 606 sewage pits in the new area are now under control. The new area has also strengthened

the supervision of 133 water-consuming enterprises and closed 915 polluting enterprises in 2018.

The garbage in rivers of the three counties in Xiongan was also cleaned up, while about 180 million cubic meters of w

ater was supplied to the Baiyangdian Lake as a result of an ecological water supply project last year.

In April 2017, China announced the establishment of the Xiongan N

ew Area, which is about 100 km southwest of Beijing and spans three counties in Hebei Province.

Ecological restoration in Baiyangdian Lake, the largest wetland ecosy

stem in northern China, has been reinforced since Xiongan New Area was set up.

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In addition, Wisconsin has seen a tightening labor market in t

the last few years, with the unemployment rate steadily registering 3 percent or lower in nin

e months, which made it difficult for companies to look for workers, let alone skilled ones or engineers.

Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, s

aid that the association has about 3,800 members, half of which are m

anufacturing companies. Around 80 percent of the members have seen a labor shortage in one way or another.

Ian Robertson, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison college of Engineering, said the college has 800 gr

aduates every year. They have about 6,000 job opportunities to choose from, most of which are outside of the state.

To meet the demand for engineers, the college plans to expand their enrollment from around 4,500 t

o 5,200 in the next few years. But after graduation, how many of the students will be hired by Foxconn is hard to say.

Robertson said many companies in need of engineers tend to build long-term relationships wit

h the university by establishing labs and offering internships. “Foxconn is just one of them,” he said.

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In Foxconn’s case, the average salary it promised isviously l

ower than the average salary for engineers in the state, which is about $60,000. In addition, having employees work 50-60 hours a week would be difficult.

“The US educational system is probably not even generating enough for the current deman

d in the United States with the economy strong and high-tech industry developing well,” said Jason Dedr

ick, professor at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University.

“You already have a lot of companies, Google, Facebook, Amazon and so on, com

peting for those engineers. Apple or rather its suppliers, will be trying to hire en

gineers in a market that’s already pretty tight. It would not be really easy to do that hiring really quickly,” he added.

 engineers, the college plans to expand their enrollment from around 4,500 to 5,200 in

the next few years. But after graduation, how many of the students will be hired by Foxconn is hard to say.

Robertson said many companies in need of e

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Fire Ritual is deeply influenced by worship music and court music in

ancient China, while blending western and modern musical elements. Hand cymbals, resembli

ng those in Peking Opera, were seamlessly merged with a Baroque violin ensemble, and the sound

of bird chirping echoed the hymns of human beings, creating dialogue between mankind and nature.

Various non-musical objects, as a signature style of Tan, were used to imitate cer

tain sounds. For example, the orchestra repeatedly turned pages of their scores to create the sound of wind.

Singaporean conductor Kahchun Wong led the orchestra for the first time. He turned himself

into a Shaman in the ritual with rich body languages, adding to a sense of immersive theatrical ex

perience for some 2,700 spectators, who gave a standing ovation when the piece concluded.

Wong in 2016 became the first Asian to win the prestigious international Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition for young conductors held in Germany.

Other programs during the night included an adapted version of Korean folk song Arirang, and Mozart’s Der H

olle Rachefrom The Magic Flute, both performed by South Korean soprano So Young Park as her Philharmonic debut.

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If China and the US fail to come up with a deal before the 90

day truce ends, tariffs on Chinese goods will increase to 25 percent, which, as many exporte

rs believe, will have a significant impact on bilateral trade. Increasing tariffs will also weigh on Amer

ican business, which purchases a sigificant amount of Made-in-China products every year.

The International Monetary Fund cut its global economic outlook and warned of the risks of trade disputes in January, and sai

d failure to resolve trade tensions could further destabilize a slowing global economy, Reuters reported.

“Proper handling of the d吖ivergence between China and the US not only impacts the two countries but also global econ

omic recovery,” Wei said, noting that the two sides felt the urgency to defuse tensions.

During the latest round of trade talks, the two sides touched on the trade balance, technology transfer, protection of intel

lectual property rights, non-tariff barriers, the services sector, agriculture and an enforcement mechanism.

As China-US relations are reciprocal, the US needs to make some good gestures to Ch

ina to make sure a trade deal will be reached, said Mei Xinyu, a research fe

llow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

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