>NPC concludes annual session
China's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), on Thursday held the closing meeting of its annual session.
Lawmakers adopted amendments to the organic law and procedural rules of the NPC and a decision on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
Lawmakers adopted the Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development, and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035.
They approved resolutions on the government work report, and the work reports of the NPC Standing Committee, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate at the meeting.
They also passed resolutions on the implementation of the 2020 plan and on the 2021 plan for national economic and social development, and approved the 2021 plan.
The lawmakers also passed resolutions on the execution of the central and local budgets for 2020 and on the central and local budgets for 2021, and approved the central budget for 2021.
>'Dual circulation' to power growth
The "dual circulation" development paradigm, in which domestic and overseas markets reinforce each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay, was mentioned as a guiding thought in a blueprint for China's development in the next five to 15 years.
Domestic circulation will be key to the new development pattern, with detailed measures to be rolled out to expand domestic consumption and smooth supply chains. But "dual circulation" is by no means a closed domestic loop.
China will work to promote the coordinated development of both domestic and external demand, imports and exports, as well as foreign and outbound investment. The country will stay committed to further opening-up.
>House OKs $1.9t relief package
The US House of Representatives on Wednesday approved the final version of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, sending it to President Joe Biden's desk for his signature amid rising inflation worries.
The Democrat-controlled House approved the final relief bill by a vote of 220 to 211 almost along party lines.
The Senate passed the bill in a 50-49 vote last week after making changes to the original version passed by the House.
The legislation, known as the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, includes a new round of up to $1,400 in direct payments for most Americans, $350 billion for state and local governments, as well as funding to directly combat the pandemic. It also extends an additional $300 weekly federal unemployment benefits through September.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that Biden plans to sign the relief package into law on Friday.
>Bach re-elected as IOC president
Thomas Bach proposed that "together" be added to the Olympic slogan of "faster, higher, stronger" after being re-elected as president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during the virtual 137th IOC Session on Wednesday.
In his acceptance speech addressing IOC members, Bach said: "We learned during this coronavirus crisis, the hard way, that we can live up to our Olympic slogan 'faster, higher, stronger', in sports and in life, only if we are working together in solidarity. The world is so interdependent that nobody can solve the real big challenges alone anymore."
"There is no doubt the opening ceremony (of Tokyo 2020) will take place on July 23," Bach reiterated in his opening remarks.
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