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information technology, had confirmed at the Boao Foru

um for Asia, that China will grant 5G licenses this year, but didn’t disclose a specific date.

“5G, industrial internet and the internet of vehicles are among the country’s top development priorities in the teleco

mmunications industry,” Zhang Feng, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, sa

id on Friday during the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

Zhang called for accelerated efforts to set standards in key areas, including 5G, to expedite th

e commercialization of this forefront technology and bolster the nation’s core competitiveness.

Major Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies Co has already unveiled its first 5G chip and first 5G fol

dable smartphone, the Mate X, which is expected to hit the market in June, despite challenges involving the United States.

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China’s tech heavyweights said the digital economy ha

s become a driving force behind economic growth, and interne

t companies should concentrate on making breakthroughs in core technologies.

“The country is narrowing the gap with developed countries, especially in autonomo

us driving, cooperative vehicle-infrastructure systems and intelligent transportation. We started a little late, but o

ur pace is faster and our potential is bigger,” said Robin Li, chairman and CEO of leading Chinese search engine Baidu Inc.

He noted that AI will have an impact on the internet and China should firmly grasp the historic opportuni

ties of AI, and the country’s efforts in technological innovations will begin gradually changing the world.

Pony Ma, chairman and CEO of Tencent Holdings Ltd, said the e-government is becoming the driving force for cons

truction of a digital China and high-quality social and economic development, and internet firms should co

nsolidate basic research and focus on making breakthroughs in core technologies.

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This issue is similar to the environment. External critics

ent. External critics of China don’t appreciate that Chinese themselves realize there

are issues to be addressed. They are doing so. These developments should be encouraged.”

President Xi Jinping, who spoke at the Second Belt and Road Foru

m for International Cooperation in Beijing recen

tly, listed areas in which China will improve the environment for foreign investment.

The president said the nation will work hard to create a business environ

ment that respects the value of intellectual prop

erty, will improve the legal system for IPR protection at all levels, will strengthen law enforcement and pr

otection for the legitimate rights and interests of foreign IP owners and will bar the

forced transfer of technology, improve protection of trade secrets and crack down on infringement.

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Thus, another feather in China’s cap is its establishme

nt of a comprehensive social security system in record time. Having set up the foundation,

it can now focus on targeted improvements. For example, in 2017, China provided special funds for pre-preg

nancy and other medical checkups for women, benefiting 12 million women, or 91.7 percent of the target group.

The country’s modernization could not have occurred without the people increasing their capabilities. Beyond general educ

ation for the population, the government has increased the knowledge and experience of officials to be at the fore

front of solving problems. Specialist schools and academies have been set up in multiple fields, including a national soci

al security school in Beijing to build the capacity of social security officers across the nation.

It is the totality of the Chinese experience over the past four decades, in rebuilding the

country in so many ways, that has become an inspiration for other countries. C

hina has been a diligent student learning from others. Today, it also has many experiences to share with the world.

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We support the BRI globally because it’s a big project wi

ith so many applications in different parts of industry and the economy, and we want agreements, project by project.”

Raffarin was appointed special envoy on China affairs by French President Emmanuel Mac

ron. He pointed out that it is not pragmatic to have an agreement about every industrial sector, because, as sovereig

n states, both countries need to protect the interests of their own businesses and industries.

“It’s easier to go project by project, and, after some experience, we can add a larger vision,” Raffarin said.

His comments came after Italy signed a BRI memorandum of understanding with China during

Xi’s visit to Rome last week to become the first G7 country to join the global infrastructure plan.

According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, from January to November 2018, China’s direct investment in France reached $330 mil

lion. China’s growing investment in Europe has prompted concerns in the West, which Raffarin thinks are misplaced.

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The Italian Senate warmly welcomes Xi for his visit, Casell

llati said, noting that the Italian and Chinese peoples have always trusted each other and

maintained profound friendship, with close ties in such fields as economy and trade, and culture.

The Senate speaker said she agrees with Xi on his remarks about the traditional friendly exchanges between the two cou

ntries dating back over 2,000 years, published in leading Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera ahead of his visit.

China and Italy are major countries that boast a rich culture, she said, adding that Italy is willing to boost communication and c

ooperation with the Chinese side in such fields as culture, art, language, heritage protection, tourism, science and tec

hnology, and innovation, and encourage their youths to increase exchanges and mutual understanding.

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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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A $50 million rescue and rebuild mission is now underway to

repair roads, bridges, schools, communication lines and provide healthcare to

those affected. The country is in poor shape to withstand the financial impact of a disaster: Zimbabwe is cur

rently in the grip of a deep economic crisis.
The Zimbabwe Information Ministry shared pictures of some pupils who had been res

cued from a boarding school in Chimanimani District, one of the worst-affected areas in the east of the country. Br

idges were swept away, and power and communication lines in the area have been cut off.

St Charles Lwanga School children are now safely in Chiping

e and currently receiving medical attention. pic.twitter.com/Ad9LSC7WhS

— Ministry of Information, Publicity & Broadcasting (@InfoMinZW) March 18, 2019

This cyclone follows a week of heavy rains and flooding across southeast Afri

ca that affected 1.5 million people in Mozambique and Malawi, killing at least 120 people in both countries, UN

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The Olympic giant slalom champion won three giant slalo

  Hirscher’s season tally of 10 wins was reduced to nine after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Stefan Luitz’s ap

peal against a doping violation and reinstated the German’s victory in Beaver Creek on December 2.

  Luitz was disqualified when he was photographed inhaling oxygen from a mouthpiece between the fi

rst and second runs. The International Ski Federation (FIS) ruled it was against anti-doping rules at FIS events. Luitz lodged an app

eal on January 29 and it was heard on March 11. The panel ruled that the World Anti-Doping Code prevails over FIS laws.

  ”FIS fully accepts the decision of CAS and all World Cup records and the World Cup star

ting list for giant slalom has been adjusted to reflect the decision,” said an FIS statement.

  Visit CNN.com/Sport for more news, features and videos

  Pinturault won the giant slalom in Andorra to seal second place on the overall season standings and become the most s

uccessful French ski racer ever with a 23rd World Cup win, eclipsing compatriot Carole Merle, who retired in 1994.

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Chinese women spending more on themselves: report

hinese women are buying more for themselves than they have in the past, according to a new report on Chinese women’s consumption.

The report was released one day before this year’s International Women’s Day by Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, Tmall.

More women are spending to please themselves instead of other

people, the report said. Tmall’s data showed that women’s consumption of books, tourism expe

riences, wire-free bras, flat shoes, flowers and other “treat-yourself” products continues to grow significantly.

Women born in the 1980s placed a total of 48.06 million book orders on

Tmall in the past year, while according to data from Fliggy, Alibaba’s travel arm, the same

group spent most on travel, China’s Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, China’s Macao and Singapore their favorite destinations.

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