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Shanghai purrs over new Hello Kitty theme park

The world’s only Hello Kitty-themed pavilion brings a fantasy world with a retro decor for fans in Shanghai.

Hello Kitty Shanghai Times was launched by propert

y developer Shimao Group and Japanese animation powerhouse Sanrio on March 29.

By creating an immersive experience of Shanghai during three symbolic periods of the city’s history – the 1930s, 1980s and today – the

indoor theme park provides a unique experience for visitors with Sanrio’s best-known characters, incl

uding Hello Kitty, My Melody, Badtz-Maru, Pompompurin, Keroppi and Cinnamoroll.

The time travel-themed attraction is located at Shimao Festiva

l City on bustling East Nanjing Road, and is expected to attract 2 million visitors a year. S

preading across three floors, the play area takes up a total gross floor area of about 6,000 square meters.

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It’s regrettable that the US treats academics like me in

such an unfriendly and offensive manner,” Wang said, adding t

hat Washington’s decision shows that the country has become an “oversensitive and

paranoid one which has a lack of confidence in dealing with diplomatic relations”.

A number of Chinese social scientists have had similar experiences when their US visas were revoked.

Zhu Feng, executive director of the China Center for Collaborat

ive Studies of the South China Sea at Nanjing University, told the Global Times news

paper in Beijing that his 10-year US visa was crossed out by FBI agents, canceling it, whe

n he was about to board a flight back to Beijing at Los Angeles International Airport in March 2018.

Zhu said the FBI first threatened to revoke his visa if he did not cooperate with their inquiry.

“‘Go back to China’,”Zhu recalled an agent telling him during that visit. “You will receive a notification.”

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Index results bode well for quarterly GDPprise mark

hina’s economic growth will remain stable in the first quarter, and is expected to land at 6.3 percent or even higher year-on-year when it is released this week, e

conomists said after some economic indicators for March surprised the market on the upside.

“Downside pressure began to ease in the first quarter, as signaled by the r

ather substantial recovery in various economic indicators in March,” said Yao Jingyuan, form

er chief economist at the National Bureau of Statistics and a researcher for the Counselors’ Office of the State Council.

Chinese banks’ lending in yuan, a leading indicator for the real economy

, surged in March by 1.69 trillion yuan ($252 billion), up 52 percent from a year earli

er, according to the People’s Bank of China, the central bank. The manufacturing purchasing managers inde

x for March, which was back into expansion territory, may be a sign of accelerating industrial activities.

Exports in March also picked up, rising 14.2 percent in US dollar ter

ms from a year ago, versus 0.1 percent for the January-February period, customs data showed.

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On the China-CEEC leaders’ meeting, Chen said the

mechanism has made good achievements in economic cooperation over the past several years, including freight trains running between C

hina and Europe. The mechanism should continue focusing on concrete projects in infrastructure and other key areas, she said.

People-to-people exchanges, including education and tourism, should also be stren

gthened to improve mutual understanding between their people, Chen added.

China will take key measures in a new push to improve its cities through boosting the urban pop

ulation and bolstering the nation’s high-quality and stable economic growth, the country’s top economic planner said.

Measures include relaxing residency curbs, promoting investmen

t and financing mechanisms and increasing infrastructure spending in cities.

The National Development and Reform Commission issued on Monday key tasks for 2019’s new urbanizatio

n boost, which will help maintain the country’s sustainable and healthy economic growth and overall social stability.

China aims to increase the urbanization rate by at least 1 percentage point by the end of this year, accordi

ng to a document posted on the NDRC’s website. The proportion of urban population to total population reached 59.58 percent in 2018.

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In Nanjing, the local railway authority has put more tra

ains into service. It said residents in the city would likely make about 340,000 trips by train on Friday.

Other branches of the railway system have also launched more runs to handle the increase of holiday passengers.

Tomb Sweeping Day, also known as Qingming Festival, fell on Friday this year. It i

s a traditional Chinese day on which people pay tribute to deceased family members,

friends and national heroes. Chinese people have used the day for spring outings since ancient times.

In recent years, the number of Chinese travelers, to both domestic and foreign destinations, d

uring the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday has increased annually, and most of them travel by rail for some or all of the j

ourney. For destinations within China, railways offer lower prices and more choices than airlines.

At present, China operates more than 131,000 kilometers of tracks. That fig

ure includes more than 29,000 km of high-speed rail, two-thirds of the global total.

Last year, China invested more than 338 billion yuan ($50 billion) in the construct

ion of 26 new railways and opened new lines totaling 4,683 km, most of them high-speed.

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Nearly 3.4 billion trips were made on Chinese rail line

 last year. Every day, an average of 5.5 million people use the nation’

s high-speed trains, accounting for nearly 60 percent of daily users of the country’s rail network.

The State-owned rail car manufacturer CRRC Corp, the world’s largest train maker, had sta

rted developing a new-generation of bullet train that will operate at 400 kilometers per hour.

A preliminary report issued on Thursday by Ethiopian officials found that a malfunctioning sensor sent incorrect inform

ation to a Boeing 737 Max 8 jetliner, triggering an anti-stall system that began a chain of events that ended with th

e plane nose-diving into the ground, killing 157 people on March 10, the Associated Press reported.

Boeing has acknowledged that the sensor malfunctioned in the Ethiopian Airlines 737

Max jetliner, triggering the anti-stall system when it was not needed, the AP reported.

In addition, CRRC is designing two types of maglev trains-a 600 km/h high-speed version and a 200 km/h medium-speed ver

sion. Designers said the company expects to put them into service sometime around 2021.

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Flight systems, however, typically are built with a

 backup system so there can be no single point of failure. Since the crashes of Max jets in Indonesi

a in October and Ethiopia last month, Boeing has modified design of the anti-stall device to include two sensors on all aircraft.

The FAA allows airlines to make minor modifications in previously certified

aircraft to meet their operational needs, a rule Boeing followed in building the 737 Max for

foreign carriers. Ethiopian Airlines and Indonesia’s Lion Air — involved in fatal crashes five months apart — repo

rtedly declined to buy two add-on safety devices that might have helped the pilots keep the doomed planes in the sky.

Neither airline purchased the “angle of attack” system display for readi

ngs of two sensors rather than one and a “disagree light” to be activated if the sensors prod

uce conflicting readings. The Lion Air crash in October killed 189 passengers and crew.

Airlines around the world, including China and the US, have flown the 737 Max, introduced in 2018, without incident.

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The terraced fields are where my roots are. They are the

 golden rice bowls passed down from our ancestors,” said Lu, 61. “We cannot afford to lose them.”

The local terraced fields have been in existence for about 1,300 years when

the Hani people built a complicated channel system to direct water from the forested hillto

p to nurture paddies on mountain slopes. The natural and cultural wonder was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2013.

It has not always been plain sailing. In the 1960s, a blight caused for

est coverage to drop to just 17 percent, threatening the terraced fields with a devastating drought.

The situation improved in recent decades after China tightened its crackdown on illegal lumb

ering and returned marginal farmland into forest, breathing new life into the local forests as well as terraced paddies.

But as economic takeoff swept across China, the Hani villages faced new trouble, as their old w

ays of farming and the limited output failed to keep young laborers from leaving for better-paying jobs in the cities.

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Environment officers have also begun to process the pollut

ution in the Xinfeng River – the most polluted water body in the park after the explosion –

to prevent it from contaminating waters outside the park, according to the release.

The construction of the pipeline connecting the river and the Yulang chemical sewage treatment plant was completed on Thursday night, it said.

“The priority in the team’s work is to handle the wastewater resul

ting from the explosion and to closely monitor nearby rivers and other water bodies to ensure th

at not even a single drop of untreated water will be discharged into the external environment of the park,” the release said.

According to the work plan, all polluted water would be temporari

ly stored at the Yulang chemical sewage treatment plant before being processed to meet national standards.

In addition to 50 environmental experts, the Ministry of Ecology and Environment has also di

spatched more than 200 environment monitoring officers to the site, according to the ministry.

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Elwell defended the agency’s reliance on experts from ma

anufacturers and said the current system had produced an unprecedented safety record i

n the US. He said the FAA was “fully involved” in the certification of the Boeing 737 Max 8, including “133 of the 297 flight tests”.

Senator Richard Blumenthal questioned the FAA’s oversight of the Boeing 737 Max jet, argu

ing that reliance on the manufacturer put “the fox in charge of the henhouse”.

Blumenthal said Boeing rushed to get the 737 Max in the air to compete with Europe’s Airbus and disregarded critical safety features.

“There needs to be rigorous reform so the FAA is put back in charge of safety,” he said. “The

fact is that the FAA decided to do safety on the cheap, which is neither safe nor cheap,” he said.

Senator Jerry Moran asked what it would take for the FAA on its own to certify airc

raft. Elwell said: “Ten thousand additional FAA employees and $1.8 billion” per year.

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