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WASHINGTON , March 3 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen on Friday signaled that an interest rate hike in this month's monetary policy will likely be appropriate, if the economy progresses in line with officials' expectation.

"At our meeting later this month, the (Federal Open Market) Committee will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with our expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate," said Yellen in a speech at the Executives' Club of Chicago.

The Fed is scheduled to hold its next monetary policy meeting on March 14 and 15.

Yellen gave an upbeat assessment of the economy: the unemployment rate was at 4.8 percent in January, in line with Fed officials' estimates of longer-run normal level; economic outlook seems encouraging with risks from abroad receding; and inflation rate is rising nearly 2 percent
, the Fed's target, in January.

"With the job market strengthening and inflation rising toward our target, the median assessment of FOMC participants as of last December was that a cumulative 34 percentage point increase in the target range for the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate over the course of this year," said Yellen.

Yellen also warned that waiting too long to raise interest rates could force the central bank to act quickly in response to economic risks, which in turn could risk disrupting financial markets and pushing the economy into recession.

She said that the process of removing accommodation likely will not be as slow as it was during the past couple of years, if the economy is not adversely affected by unanticipated developments.

Other Fed policymakers
, including New York Fed President William Dudley and Fed governor Lael Brainard, said recently that it would be appropriate for the Fed to move rates soon, as the economy is close the full employment and 2 percent inflation target.

Yellen's remarks on Friday reinforced the market expectation that the central bank will likely act in its March meeting.

The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall in Beijing's Tiananmen Square will be closed for six months for renovation starting March, which will include repairs to the building and its inner facilities.

The memorial hall administration said on Friday that the overhaul will be conducted from March 1 to August 31, and will be temporarily closed to visitors for security reasons.

The hall was built in May 1977 and opened to the public on September 9 that year.

Some 220 million people have viewed the embalmed body of the late chairman at the hall. During peak holiday seasons, up to 30
,000 people at a time file past the leader's body, Guangming Daily reported.

The memorial hall undergoes renovations every March, including work to its air conditioners and lights, Zhengzhiju, a social media account run by the Beijing Youth Daily, reported.

Aside from the annual renovations which normally take 20 days
, the hall is overhauled every 10 years, the report said.

The last overhaul occurred in 2007 and lasted nearly seven months, from March to September 2007, when the building and its equipment were in need of repair.

The 1997 overhaul lasted nine months from April to December.

The next overhaul will be undertaken by state-owned China Xinxing Construction and Development General, the report said.

The company released a notice on February 20 saying it had won the bid to renovate the hall.

The hall honors Chairman Mao and six other national leaders, including Zhou Enlai
, Liu Shaoqi, and Deng Xiaoping.

The hall was one of the most popular tourist spots in September 9, 2016, which marked the 40th anniversary of Mao's death, the founding father of the People's Republic of China.

Arsenal, Everton and Stoke City have all agreed to play in this year's Asia Trophy in Singapore in preparation for the 2015-16 Premier League -season.

The three English teams will be joined by a Singapore Select XI for the mid-July knockout tournament at Singapore's new 55
,000-seat -National Stadium.

"We are very excited to bring the Barclays Asia Trophy to Singapore for the first time," Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore said in a statement.

"Arsenal have always been one of the most thrilling teams in the Barclays Premier League: they have some wonderful players and I'm sure they'll delight their many fans from across -Southeast Asia.

"Everton under Roberto Martinez continue to play an exciting brand of football, while Stoke City mix flair with a never-say-die attitude. Fans in Singapore should expect our most competitive ever Barclays Asia Trophy."

The Asia Trophy is the only Premier League-affiliated competition to be held outside of England. It has been held every two years since 2003.

Soccer-mad Asia has long been a key market for the Premier League.

The two previous editions of the biennial tournament were held in Hong Kong but the 2013 event, won by Manchester City, was marred by torrential rain, with the semifinals reduced to 80 minutes each.

Singapore has never hosted the tournament before but the Southeast Asian city-state got the nod after the completion of the billion-dollar Sports Hub complex
, which also hosts the annual end-of-season championship for women's tennis.

Arsenal, the FA Cup holders, will be making their first appearance at the Asian Trophy, as will Stoke City. Everton played in the 2005 tournament in Bangkok, finishing fourth after twice -losing on penalties.

The Premier League season kicks off on -August 8.

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