World News Briefs -- March 5, 2019 (Evening Edition)

The second session of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) opens at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

SCMP: China cuts taxes and defence budget growth, demands more profits from state firms

* Value-added taxes cut more than expected. State firms have to hand in more profits to bridge fiscal shortfall
* Defence budget growth slashed from 8.1 per cent to 7.5 per cent

China on Tuesday set its economic growth target
of 6.0 to 6.5 per cent for 2019, down from last year’s target of “about 6.5 per cent.”

The figure was revealed in the government work report to be delivered by Premier Li Keqiang as the National People’s Congress opens.

A separate report will announce the targeted defence budget.

This annual gathering of China’s political elite comes a year after President Xi Jinping amended the constitution to remove a presidential term limit and ahead of the 70th anniversary of Communist Party rule later this year.

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Final assault against ISIS camp launched Friday night and is still ongoing.

Syrian forces evacuate 3,000 from final Islamic State territory. ISIL fighters 'surrender in large numbers' in final Syria enclave.

Syrian army attacks Islamic State targets in desert: report.

Trump: 'I agree 100 percent' with keeping some US troops in Syria.

Yemen, Saudis, UAE accuse Huthis of breaking pullback deal.

Zarif resigned over Assad's trip to Tehran: Spokesperson.

Saudi Arabia faces first-ever censure at U.N. rights forum: diplomats.

Islamic council rejects Israeli court closure at Al-Aqsa compound.


US reports 'progress' in peace talks with Taliban.

U.S. declines to elaborate on Pompeo labeling Taliban terrorists.

China sets robust growth target to shore up cooling economy.

North Korea restoring part of launch site it promised Trump to dismantle.

China praises U.S., South Korea decision to end military drills.

Pakistan begins crackdown on militant groups amid global pressure.

U.N. religious freedom expert seeks visit to China's Xinjiang.


Algeria army chief pledges to secure country as anti-Bouteflika protests continue. Algerian army talks tough to protesters.

Thousands of Algerian students gather for fresh anti-Bouteflika protests. Armed with memes, Algerian students join anti-Bouteflika protests.

Rwanda accuses Uganda of supporting rebel groups.

Terror attacks on the rise in Mali: UN.

Rebels in Chad gold-rush region refuse to lay down arms.

IS-backed Boko Haram faction may have new chief: sources.

Burundi forces UN human rights office to close.

Mali refugees arrest: Fears in Burkina Faso.

Ex-Liberian president's son charged over missing money scandal.

Libya to hold elections by year end: Tripoli PM.


Three small bombs found at London's Heathrow, Waterloo railway station and City Airport. Explosives mailed to London transport hubs spark counterterrorism investigation.

EU-UK Brexit talks failed to reach deal on Tuesday: sources.

Theresa May gains momentum ahead of Brexit vote next week.

Soft Brexit could be result if May deal rejected again, says chief whip.

EU's Juncker hits out at Hungary PM over party group membership.

US senior diplomat to discuss INF treaty with UK officials in London.

EU leaders lukewarm on Macron's plea for reform.

European Parliament set to end EU-wide daylight savings.


Record-breaking family migration overwhelming U.S. border agency.

Trump signals White House won't comply with Democratic probes.

U.S. Paul, Udall introduce bill to end Afghanistan War.

Hillary Clinton rules out running for president in 2020.

Bloomberg says he will not run for president in 2020.

Venezuela crisis: Maduro vows to defeat 'crazed minority'.

Venezuela's Guaido vows to paralyze public sector to squeeze Maduro.

Venezuela’s adversaries seek to show resolve in crisis.

Colombia border hospitals struggle with Venezuelan migrant influx.

Justin Trudeau's cabinet rallies behind him after second resignation. Jane Philpott: Trudeau crisis grows as minister quits.

Justin Trudeau 'concerned' as China suspects Canadians of spying.

Canada FM decries China halting canola shipments.

Cuba aims for 5M tourists in 2019, the year of Havana's 500th anniversary.


Pakistan says 'action being taken against Jaish-e-Mohammed' militant group. Pakistan arrests scores in fresh crackdown on armed groups.

International courts, Guantanamo, citizenship-stripping: What next for Western ISIS supporters?

Berlin Christmas market attacker accomplice charged with bomb plot.

Prominent French jihadis killed in IS-held area in Syria.


Industrial, tech companies pull US stocks slightly lower.

Trump to strip India, Turkey of preferential trade status. Trump ejects India from $5.6bn tariff deal over 'negative' trade barriers.

Kylie Jenner beats Mark Zuckerberg to become youngest self-made billionaire.

Most expensive car ever built sells for $19M at Swiss auto show.

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