A large number of Chinese cultural heritage sites are b

eing restored as well. We have no room for even the slightest error,” Song said.

Liu Qingzhu, a cultural heritage expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, “In anci

ent times, thunderstorms were the biggest threats for wooden architecture. They became much safer after l

ighting rods were widely installed. However, the use of electricity in restorations has created a new problem.”

Unlike the stone structures of much ancient architecture in the W

est, wood was the primary building material in ancient China. “If a fire similar to the one at Notre

Dame in Paris happened at a Chinese building, the whole building would probably burn down,” Liu said.

Hours after the fire in Paris, the Palace Museum in

Beijing, China’s former imperial palace from 1420 to 1911 and also known as the Forbidden City, held an eme

rgency meeting to go over its fire-prevention efforts. It is the world’s biggest architectural complex made of wood.

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In early April, the US increased military interactions

with the island by officially acknowledging that military personnel have been posted in the Taipei office of the American Institute in Taiwan since 2005.

US weapons manufacturer Raytheon was also granted a $9 million contract to upgrade Taiwan’s Patriot missile defense system.

Senior Colonel Liang Fang, a professor at PLA National Defense Universit

y, said the recent drill will test and enhance the PLA’s joint operating capabilities.

“It will increase the PLA’s ability to protect national sovereignty, and warn thos

e who are trying to undermine it to abandon their illusions,” she said. “Similar drills

will be more common in the future, with increasingly sophisticated equipment and training methods.”

Xiu Chunping, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social

Sciences’ Institute of Taiwan Studies, said the recent drill serves to warn the US and separati

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When he took up residence inside the Ecuadorian Em

mbassy in 2012, it was to avoid answering the sexual allegations against him in Sweden, which had sought his extraditi

on for questioning. He also sought refuge because of fears he would ultimately be extradited to the US

Swedish prosecutors opened an investigation into Assange af

ter two women accused him of sexual offenses during a 2010 visit to Sweden.

Some of the sexual misconduct accusations are no longer viable because their time ran out. But Swedish prosecutors

have said a rape case could be reactivated before the statute of limitations ends in August 2020.

After Assange’s arrest, Swedish prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson was tapped to look

into a request from a lawyer for one of the accusers to find out whether the case can be pursued.

Elisabeth Massi Fritz, the lawyer for the woman who reported bei

ng raped by Assange, told The Associated Press that she w

ould “do everything” to have the Swedish case reopened so Assange can be extradited to Sweden and prosecuted.

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Besides the successful capture of the first black

k hole image, two earlier detections of gravitational waves from

black hole mergers also were products of international collaboration.

In February 2016, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory in the United States announ

ced the first observation of gravitational waves generated by a black hole merger. The following June, it annou

nced the second detection of a gravitational wave event from colliding black holes.

Wu said Tianqin has potential for even greater discoveries.

“LIGO used interferometers on the ground with an arm length of 4 km. But with satellites, the arm length will increas

e to 170,000 km. So the space-based probes (enabled by Tianqin) will be able to detect gravitational waves at much l

ower frequencies generated by the merging of massive or supermassive black holes,” he said.

“It will also enable us to see the smaller black holes during the infancy of the universe, as w

ell as understand the history of black hole growth and the evolution of galaxies,” he said

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The China-Belarus Industrial Park, located 25 km from Mi

insk and covering an area of 91.5 square kilometers, is the first special economic area in Bela

rus and the largest intergovernmental cooperation project between China and Belarus.

The industrial park is stepping up efforts to attract more global investors, with 43 companies registered by the end of February.

Among the 43 companies, 26 are from China, 10 from Belarus, and seven from other countries, like the United States and Ru

ssia. The companies have signed agreements to make total investments of more than $1 billion in the park.

The China-funded Djibouti International Free Trade Zone, which started construction in January 2017, opened on July 5, 2018.

Covering an area of 48.2 sq km, the zone is operated by a join

t venture with investment by Chinese enterprises, including China Merchan

ts Holdings and Dalian Port Corp Ltd, as well as the Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority.

More than 20 enterprises from the commerce, logistic, processing sectors have signed letters of intent to re

gister with the FTZ, as infrastructure in the first phase of the FTZ, which covers an area of 6 sq km, has been basically completed.

The FTZ is expected to become a crucial junction linking other African countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative, and

make Djibouti, the small northeast African country, a marine logistics hub linking Africa, Asia and Europe.

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The government gave itself the option of bringing May’s dea

back to parliament on Friday, although speaker John Bercow repeated his warning that he

would not allow a third vote unless the motion had changed substantially since its last defeat.

May, who voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum, had already promised to step down before the next election, due in 2022.

Her deal, defeated in parliament by 149 votes on March 12 and by 230 votes on Jan 15, mea

ns Britain would leave the EU single market and customs union as well as EU political bodies.

But it requires some EU rules to apply unless ways can be found in the future to ensure no bor

der posts need to be rebuilt between British-ruled Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

Many Conservative rebels and the DUP object to this “Irish backstop”, saying it risks binding Britain to the EU for years.

To succeed, May needs at least 75 lawmakers to come over to her side.

After the ERG met, a spokesman said: “There is no way enough votes are

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While May was addressing her lawmakers, MPs in the mai

n chamber debated eight other Brexit options, ranging from leaving abruptly with no deal to revoking the divorce altogether.

While there was no majority support for any, the option calling for a referendum on any depa

rture deal, and another suggesting a UK-wide customs union with the EU, won more votes than May’s deal did two weeks ago.

Oliver Letwin, a Conservative former cabinet minister who led parliament’s unusual power grab, said it ha

d been expected that none would immediately win a majority, and lawmakers would have another chance on Monday.

The uncertainty around Britain’s most significant political and economic change since W

orld War II has left allies and investors aghast. Sterling dipped after Wednesday’s events.

If May’s deal were to pass, her office said there would be a contest to replace her after May 22, when Britain would leave the EU.

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According to the Ministry of Commerce, as of the end of N

ovember 2018, France had invested in 5,647 projects in China, with actual investment value amounting to $17.49 billion.

“There are no official rules for French enterprises to succeed in C

hina. The main rule is to respect the Chinese people,” said Raffarin.

Well-known by many Chinese people as a “good friend” of China,

the 70-year-old said he has visited China more than 100 times since his first trip in 1970.

Residents in Chinese mainland will be able to apply for passpo

rts and travel permits at every exit and entry management department across the coun

try starting from April 1, according to National Immigration Administration on Tuesday.

The travel permits refer to the documents allowing mainland residents to travel to and from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, it said.

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The Italian side looks forward to enhancing cooperati

tion with China on jointly building the Belt and Road, She said.

Noting that the history of Italy-China exchanges for the past 50 years has been a history of dia

logue and friendship, the speaker said the Italian Senate is willing to facilitate exchanges between the two cou

ntries’ legislative institutions, and continue to make contributions to deepening Italy-China friendly cooperation.

Xi arrived in Rome Thursday for a state visit to Italy, the first stop of his three-nation Europe tour, which will also take him to Monaco and France.

hinese authorities have unveiled detailed measures to implement valu

e-added tax reform, a key step to boost market vitality and stabilize economic growth.

Starting April 1 this year, the 16 percent VAT rate that applies to manufa

cturing and other sectors will be lowered to 13 percent, while the rate for construction, tran

sport and other sectors will be reduced from 10 percent to 9 percent, said a joint statement released on Th

ursday by the Ministry of Finance, State Taxation Administration and the General Administration of Customs.

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But Wu admitted that it is not easy to crack open the har

 nut of European smartphone market where most handsets are sold in large retail chains and by local telecom operators.

Also, European consumers are different from their Chinese counterpart

s in terms of product preferences. For instance, European consumers are not big fans of bea

utifying photos. As a result, the company has to work hard to localize its products.

Although Oppo is a well-known brand among European tel

ecom industry professionals, awareness about it among the consumers is not high.

“It takes time to build a brand, with careful consideration nee

ded to decide what forms of marketing and product com

munications are appropriate. We are working hard to know the specific characteristics of each market,” Wu said.

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