Fresh Start: Podcast News (3/8/2019 Fri.)
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Welcome to Fresh Start.

This is People's Daily app.

Here are today's picks from our editors. 

Xi stresses perseverance in fight against poverty


Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday called for perseverance in the fight against poverty as there are only two years left for the country to meet its goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2020.

"There should be no retreat until a complete victory is won," said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

He made the remarks when deliberating with deputies from Gansu Province at the second session of the 13th National People's Congress, China's national legislature.

Decisive progress has been achieved in the country's tough fight against poverty over the past years, marking a new chapter in the poverty reduction history of mankind, said Xi. (Xinhua) 

China to cut taxes, administrative fees by 2 trillion yuan: finance minister

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China will cut taxes and administrative fees by 2 trillion yuan ($298.09 billion) this year, Minister of Finance Liu Kun said at a press conference on Thursday during the Two Sessions.

According to the government work report submitted by Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday, China is to cut taxes and administrative fees by 2 trillion yuan to reduce the corporate burden and boost consumption in China’s domestic market.

China will provide more support to small and micro enterprises, implement a revised individual income tax law and deepen Value Added Tax reform, which is the core of the reduction plan,Liu said. (People's Daily app) 

China suspends Canadian canola imports over pest concerns

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China customs has suspended the clearance of canola imports from Canadian company Richardson International Limited and relevant firms after harmful pests were discovered in their imports. 

The clearance suspension involves their canola imports shipped beginning March 1, according to a warning notice issued Thursday by the General Administration of Customs (GAC).

The warning will be valid until further notice, GAC officials said.

The move is taken to protect China's agriculture production and ecological safety, the GAC said. (Xinhua) 

DPRK: US-ROK joint military exercise violates joint agreements


The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Thursday blasted the joint military drills held by the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the US, claiming the action violates the agreements reached last year, Yonhap reported, citing the DPRK's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"This also represents a frontal challenge to the aim and desires of all [Korean] people and the international community for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," said KCNA.

The military exercise, known as Dong Maeng, was launched to replace the springtime "Key Resolve and Foal Eagle" joint military drills. The military exercise started on Monday and will last through Tuesday. (CGTN) 

Israel's first spacecraft to moon sends selfie

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An Israeli spacecraft on its maiden mission to the moon has sent its first selfie back to Earth, mission chiefs said Tuesday.

The image showing part of the Beresheet spacecraft with Earth in the background was beamed to mission control in Yehud, Israel -- 23,360 miles away, the project's lead partners said in a statement.

NGO SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, launched the unmanned Beresheet -- Hebrew for Genesis -- from Cape Canaveral in Florida on February 22.

The 585-kilogram (1,290-pound) craft took off atop a Falcon 9 rocket from the private US-based SpaceX company of entrepreneur Elon Musk.

The trip is scheduled to last seven weeks, with the Beresheet due to touch down on April 11. (AFP) 

Two million elderly Americans swindled in 12 months: government


The US Justice Department said Thursday some two million elderly Americans have been deprived of $750 million in various rackets over the last year.

The fraud has led to 255 indictments in the US, but officials say the targeting of seniors is a global problem, with victims in Britain, Canada and Germany.

Growing technical support fraud has been among the most worrying causes for complaint, with 142,000 US consumers claiming to have been victims in 2018, among them a large number of elderly. (AFP) 

Venice to start taxing tourists


A trip to Venice is on most bucket lists. Over 20 million visitors go to the UNESCO World Heritage Site each year. To offset the cost of maintaining the city, the municipal council has approved a tourist tax starting this May.

Tourists will pay anywhere from three to 10 euros, depending on the time of year. Those exempt include citizens born in Venice, long-term residents living or studying in Venice, children under 6 years of age, and people visiting relatives.

Tax revenues will support the city's cleaning and security. (CGTN) 

Thanks for listening and be sure to catch us tomorrow.

And now for the Question of the Day:

Who is the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy?

(Answer: Peter Jackson.)

Today's quote is from French novelist Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880).

"The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe."

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Ryan Yaoran Yu, Lance Crayon, Elaine Yue Lin, and Chelle Wenqian Zeng. Music by Eugene Loner.)