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From January to March, government tax income inc

creased by 5.4 percent year-on-year, 11.9 percentage points lower than that in the first quarter 2018.

Individual income tax decreased by 29.7 percent, the largest drop among three major tax item

s. Value-added tax growth has already slowed to 10.7 percent, down from 20.1 percent a year earlier.

Local government income from land sales fell 9.5 percent in the first three months, the Ministry of Finance said.

As the central bank has taken a pause in monetary easing, fiscal policy should remain pro

active to stabilize economic growth and ensure the recent rebound is not just a seasonal fluke, said economists.

Xu Xianchun, a former deputy director at the National Bureau of Statist

ics, said that fiscal policy should be implemented “with proper intensity and at the right time”, t

o prevent large fluctuations in the investment growth rate and negative impact on economic stability.

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Military drill near Taiwan ‘necessary’sman for the State Coun

Mainland slams response by island’s leader, who called exercise ‘a threat’

A spokesman for the Chinese mainland said a military drill by Chinese bombers and warships around Taiwan on Monday was routin

e and slammed the island’s administration for misleading the Taiwan people and hyping tensions.

On Monday, various warships, bombers and reconnaissance aircr

aft of the People’s Liberation Army Eastern Theater Command conducted “necessary train

ing” around Taiwan as a means to test the joint assault capability between different branches of the military, Senior Colone

l Zhang Chunhui, the theater command’s spokesman, said in a statement on Monday.

The exercise took place in waters east of Taiwan and was part of a scheduled PLA exercise, he said.

“It is completely within the normal legal rights of a sovereign cou

ntry, and it’s beneficial for maintaining peace and security in the Taiwan Straits,” Zhang said.

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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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Chinese people are deeply sad about the fire, just as th

He said he believes that with the efforts of the French people and supp

ort from the international community, Notre Dame will be repaired and regain its glory.

The fire broke out around 6:30 pm on the roof of the cathedral, which was covered in scaffoldi

ng. The blaze spread quickly and destroyed the wooden interior before causing the spire to collapse.

It took more than 400 firefighters over 12 ho

urs to put out the fire, and the main structure and two bell towers remained standing.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, though officials said it could be linked to renovation work. Investigators were eag

er to question the workmen in an effort to determine the cause of the fire, according to media reports.

Visiting the scene of the fire in Paris, Macron vowed an immediat

e fundraising effort to rebuild the landmark, calling for international contributions.

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He noted that since the first Belt and Road Forum for

 International Cooperation two years ago, more countries and inter

national organizations have joined in the construction of the Belt and Road.

So far, 125 countries and 29 international organiz

ations have signed BRI cooperation documents with China, according to Lu.

Among them are 16 Central and Eastern European countries and Gr

eece. Italy and Luxembourg signed cooperation agreements with China last month to join

tly build the Belt and Road. Jamaica also signed similar agreements on Thursday.

During Premier Li Keqiang’s European visit last week, both sides agreed to seek greate

r synergy between the BRI and the European Union’s strategy for connecting with Asia.

Yang Jiechi, director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Comm

unist Party of China Central Committee, said last month that representatives of more than 100 coun

tries, including about 40 foreign leaders, have confirmed their attendance at the Beijing forum.

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Analysts guessing over central bank’s next move

Debates on whether the central bank needs to further ease monetary policy or not are continuing amo

ng analysts, with their emphasis on guessing the next liquidity injection through reducing banks’ reserved deposits.

Supporters of monetary easing expect that another cut in the re

serve requirement ratio (RRR) may come no later than this week, as a liquidity shorta

ge may occur after commercial banks pay back 366.5 billion yuan ($54.65 billion) to the central bank on Wedn

esday. That amount of interbank lending was conducted previously under the medium-term lending facilities (MLF) scheme.

Opponents, however, contend that the current liquidity is sufficient, and any further ea

sing will fuel inflation risks, especially as Chinese economy has started its upcycle.

The central bank’s monetary policy committee held the first quarter’s regular meeting on Friday.

The members achieved a consensus to continue the counter-cyclical measures and stren

gthen coordination between monetary and fiscal policies. Policy fine-tuning should be at the proper time, to prev

ent risks with the priority of stabilizing growth, according to a statement after the meeting.

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The latest official tone came from central bank’s D

puty Governor Chen Yulu over the weekend. He reassured that monetary policy will remain “p

rudent” and “with proper intensity”. The growth of broad money supply (M2) and aggregate social financi

ng should align with nominal GDP growth, according to a statement on the central bank’s website.

The deputy governor delivered a speech at the 39th mee

ting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee in Washington.

Chen also stressed that the further improvement of the exchange rate regime wo

uld “keep the renminbi exchange rate generally stable at an adaptive and equilibrium level”.

Lu Ting, chief economist in China with Nomura Securities, wrote in a research note that de

spite solid credit growth, underpinned by ongoing monetary and credit easing measures, the government is u

nlikely to engineer another long and large-scale “credit boom” due to much narrower policy room than before.

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Economic data for March have beaten market expectat

ons in many aspects, and based on those data, China’s year-on-year GDP gr

owth rate in the first quarter may reach 6.3 percent or a bit higher,” said Liu Chun

sheng, an associate professor of economics at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing.

Improved market expectations resulting from progress in the Sino-US trade talks and Beijing’s tax and

fee cut plan, as well as eased liquidity, have helped to offset negative effects of the traditional Spring Fes

tival holiday and downside pressure that continued from the end of last year, Liu said.

China has set this year’s GDP growth rate target at 6 percent to 6.5 perce

nt, after registering full-year growth of 6.6 percent in 2018 and 6.4 percent in the fourth

quarter. The NBS is scheduled to announce the country’s first-quarter economic growth data on Wednesday.

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yers do need their staff to work extra hours to meet pro

 deadlines or fulfill other tasks, they can ask them to work overtime – but not than 36 hours a month and only after consulti

ng and reaching an agreement with the labor union and the workers. More important, empl

oyers have to pay at least 1.5 times the usual salary to the employees for overtime work.

This is to protect the rights, interests and health of the workers.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, has added fuel to the debate, by saying that empl

oyees who get the “opportunity” to work according the “996” schedule are the luc

ky ones, because in many companies employees don’t get the chance to work long hours.

But the fact is, if employers do not meet the two essential requiremen

ts to make employees work overtime – consulting wo

rkers and restricting the amount of extra work – and force the “996” schedule o

n their workers and make them work for more than 60 hours a week, they violate the Labor Law.

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But despite being forced to work overtime without ge

tting due remuneration, very few employees use the Labor Law to defend their rights, because it is not easy for them to seek legal redress for their grievan

ces. For example, workers spend a lot of time and money to furnish effective proof that they were asked to work a

nd indeed worked overtime. By so doing, they could even lose their job – as employers could sack them for poor performance.

Interesti2365zuchewangcn-/ngly, Liu Qiangdong, founder and CEO of JD.com, used his WeC

hat account to say he now follows a “8116+8” schedule (8 am to 11 pm, six days a week, and 8

hours on Sunday, with only two days off a month), arder when he started his company. Had

he not followed the schedule, JD.com might not have survived the fierce competition from other internet companies.

Although Liu said he would not force his employees to work accordin

g to the “996″ schedule, he would want them to work as hard as he did during the initial years of JD.com.

It is therefore important that standards to calculate workload per da

y should be set and quantified, and supervision over the exploitation of labor made s

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