Trade talks expected to finalize dealNG SHUIYU,ZHONG NA

China and the United States are expected to come to an agreement soon over trade frictions, analysts said, as the negotiating teams a

re reported to be discussing the wording of an accord and considering applying the brakes to their tariff standoff.

They made the prediction after Chinese and US officials said there had been concrete p

rogress on multiple issues in the latest round of trade talks in Washington.

During the latest talks, held from Thursday to Sunday in Washington, the seventh round since February of last year, th

e two sides focused on the text of an agreement, the Chinese delegation said, according to a Xinhua News Agency report.

The negotiators also had made substantial progress on such specific issues as technology transfers, protection of i

ntellectual property rights, nontariff barriers, the service industry, agriculture and exchange rates, the delegation said.

On the basis of the latest progress, the two sides are expected to continue their work

into the next stage, in accordance with the instructions of the two countries’ top leaders, according to Xinhua.

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Vietnam’s path from a mortal enemy to a friendly partn

  United States is particularly appealing to North Korea, who believes a good relationship with the United States can h

elp create the right environment and necessary conditions for achieving North Korea’s new strategic drive toward ec

onomic development,” said Tong Zhao, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing.

  The concept isn’t new, of course. During his time as an Asia expert at the State Department in the Clinton administration, Evans Revere said negoti

ators working with North Korea were even then trying to point them to Vietnam, which was beginning to reap t

he benefits of market reforms and becoming a member of good international standing.

  ”We thought, somewhat naively back then, that this would appeal to the North Koreans gre

atly and that our commitments to work with them on bringing about a modernized economy w

ould be so attractive … that they would stand down from their nuclear weapons program. We were wrong,” Revere said.

  ”If all of these incentives or this incentive-based approach to coaxing North Korea do

wn a new path did not work when they didn’t have nuclear weapons, and it didn’t work to prevent th

em from developing nuclear weapons, why will it work now that they are in effect a nuclear weapons state?”

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Xi stresses role of finance in serving real economyBEIJING

general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, underscored that China should deepen supply-side

structural reform in the financial sector and strengthen the sector’s ability to serve the real economy.

Xi made the remarks when presiding over a group study session of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau Friday afternoon.

The country should keep a fine balance between maintaining growth and forestalling risks and deal with risks in key areas

in a targeted and effective manner, he said, adding that China should deepen opening-up of the financial sector.

Xie Duo, Party secretary and chairman of Silk Road Fund Co., Ltd, briefed on the issue and made suggestions.

Xi pointed out that finance is a core competitiveness of a country, financial security is an im

portant part of national security, and the financial system is a major fundamental system in the process of economic and social development.

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In their article, the Conservative ministers warned that econom

  national security, and peace in Northern Ireland would be compromised in the case of a no-d

eal Brexit, and added the scenario would risk inflaming the nationalist sentiment in Scotland.

  ”Far from Brexit resulting in a newly independent United Kingdom, stepping boldly into t

he wider world, crashing out on March 29 would see us poorer, less secure and potentially splitting up,” they write.

  Rudd, Clark and Gauke also cautioned members of the European Research Gro

up (ERG), a Parliamentary alliance whose members advocate for a no-deal Brexit and have previously voted do

wn May’s deal, that their lack of cooperation would be responsible for a postponement in the Brexit process.

  ”It is time that many of our Conservative parliamentary colleagues in the ERG recognized that Parliament will stop a disastrous No Deal Brexit on Mar

ch 29. If that happens, they will have no one to blame but themselves for delaying Brexit,” they wrote.

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We can no longer act as bystanders. We are honour bound to

  We find it unconscionable that a Party once trusted on the economy, more than any other, is now recklessly marching the country to the cliff edge of no d

eal,” the group said. “No responsible government should knowingly and deliberately inflict the dire consequences of

such a destructive exit on individuals, communities and businesses and put at risk the prospect of ending austerity.”

  The MPs also rejected what they say May has presented as a “false binary choice” be

tween a “bad deal” and a “no deal,” slamming her strategy of “running down the clock” to Brexit.

  May said in a statement on Wednesday that she was “saddened” by the lawmakers’ decision to quit the party, but

was determined to deliver on Brexit, affirming that it was “the right thing for the country.”

  The Independent Group was formed on Monday when seven MPs, including Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie and Luciana Berger, resi

gned from Labour. An eighth Labour MP, Joan Ryan, joined their ranks on Tuesday evening. The group said v

ariously that they had become ashamed of the Labour party and its shift to the hard-left, denouncing opposition le

ader Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of a wave of anti-Semitism and “betrayal” on Brexit.

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photo shared by MP John Lamont showed a smiling Berger

  snapping a selfie of the group as they took their seats in the House of

Commons. But non

e of the group asked a question of the Prime Minister, as she appeared before MPs for her weekly grill

ing, and the defections were barely addressed. The mood in the House of

Commons seemed more subdued than usual.

  The closest May came to acknowledging the issue was when she attacked Corbyn over anti-Semitism in

his party, cited as a reason for some of the defectors leaving his party.

  May said she never thought she would see the day when “a once proud

Labour party was accused of institutional Semiti

sm by a member of that party,” or,

equally, when Jewish people in the UK “were concerned about their future.”

  Responding to those accusations, Corbyn said that “anti-Semitism ha

s no place whatsoever in any of our political parties, in our lives, in our society,” be

fore laying into the Prime Minister for “pretending to negotiate” a Brexit deal with just 37 days to go.

  May, who will travel to Brussels later in the day, maintained that she was still working on alternative arrangements on the

Irish backstop — an insurance policy designed to avoid a hard border between

Northern Ireland and the Republic of Irel

and. She also reiterated her position that a no-deal exit from the EU could only be taken off the table by agreeing a deal.

  Speaking at a press conference later, Allen, Wollaston and Soubry said the Prim

e Minister had been bullied by hard-line Brexiteers onto the brink of a no-deal Brexit.

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However, a one-hour extension is less time than many

  voters have spent in line to cast their ballots in the crucial election.

  The incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari, 76, is running against 71 other ca

ndidates, but his main challenger is Atiku Abubakar, a 72-year-old business tycoo

n and former vice president. They are both Muslim candidates from the north of the country.

  When Buhari, a former military ruler, was elected in 2015, it wa

s the first peaceful transition of power in Nigeria. He promised to offer a clean sweep of the old

routine, but many have been left disillusioned and angry at the rising levels of inequality and extreme poverty.

  More than 84 million people registered for the vote in Africa’s largest economic p

ower, according to data from the Independent National Electoral Commission.

  Videos have surfaced on social media reportedly showing the burni

ng of ballot papers and disruption of the electoral process in various parts of the country.

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Venezuelan troops defect at the border with Colombia

  Three members of the Venezuelan National Guard defected Saturday at Venezuela’s border with Colombia, the Colombian immigration department said.

  The troops abandoned their posts at the Simon Bolivar International Bridge on the Colom

bia-Venezuela border and requested help from Colombia’s immigration officials.

  Also Saturday, soldiers with Venezuela’s National Guard

fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters who were demanding to cross the border at Ur

eña into Colombia to work, according to a CNN crew that witnessed the scene at the Tienditas Bridge.

  Workers faced off with the soldiers, chanting, “We want to work!” before being disperse

d by the tear gas. Men with shirts covering their faces started throwing rocks toward the guard.

  US argues momentum for change in Venezuela is growing despite border violence

  These tense scenes played out Saturday, a day after violence broke out at a Venezuelan town near the border wit

h Brazil over aid delivery, leaving two people dead and 17 others injured, local authorities said.

  Tensions are running high at Venezuela’s borders amid opposition plans to usher aid into the country this weekend

in defiance of President Nicolas Maduro’s wishes. Maduro called on Venezuelans to “mobilize” Saturday. “Let’s

all take to the streets to defend our independence with conscience and joy,” Maduro said on his official Twitter account.

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Guaido has been working with a raft of global partners to br

  Venezuelans desperately needed food and medical supplies. The White House urged the Venezuelan military to allow aid into the country in a statement Friday.

  ”The United States strongly condemns the Venezuelan military’s use of force against unarmed civilians and innocent v

olunteers on Venezuela’s border with Brazil,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

  ”Egregious violation of human rights by Maduro and those who are following his orders will not go unpunished. The Unite

d States strongly urges the Venezuelan military to uphold its constitutional duty to protect the citizens of V

enezuela. The Venezuelan military must allow humanitarian aid to peacefully enter the country. The world is watching.”

  Aid is piling up on Venezuela’s border. Here’s why it’s not getting in

  The violence came as dueling concerts kicked off on the country’s western border with Colombia, where aid deliver

ies from the United States have been languishing since Maduro blocked the Tienditas Bridge.

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A US State Department spokesperson has told CNN that

  US sanctions have exempted medical goods. “The United States maintains broad authorizations that allow for the sale of agricultu

ral commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices by US persons or from the United States to Iran,” the spokesperson said.

  Budget over emotions

  A middle-aged man suffering from lung cancer writhes and squirms on his hospital b

ed as Dr. Behrouz Emami checks on him. His eyes bulge as he gasps for air through an oxygen mask.

  The cancer has metastasized to the man’s brain, Emami explains. The doctor has recommended

to the patient’s family that he be sent to a private ward where he can spend his final days with his family.

  But the family simply cannot afford it, says Emami. They must settle for daily visits of just one-hour a day at the government-funded ward.

  ”The decisions of families are not made by their emotions. They decide based on their budget,” explains Emami.

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