FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is pictured at the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition fair (LABACE) at Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Aug. 14, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker
February 26, 2019
By Jamie Freed
AVALON, Australia (Reuters) – Boeing Co has been shifting spare parts between its distribution centers in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in the world in preparation for Brexit, an executive said on Tuesday.
Britain’s potential exit from the European Union without a deal has proven a headache for the global aerospace industry which relies heavily on integrated supply chains and parts distribution centers.
“We are having our spares positioned in the right place,” Ken Shaw, the head of supply chain management for Boeing’s services business, told Reuters at the Australian International Airshow.
“We are continuously looking at the demand signals because we didn’t have to worry about it before between the London distribution center and shipping a part to France. Now we are having to be more purposeful so we are redistributing inventory.”
Airbus SE said this month it had spent tens of millions of euros on stockpiling parts and securing IT systems.
Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC effectively moved the home for its best-known jet engine designs to Germany last month to avoid regulatory delays or sales disruption after Brexit.
Shaw said Brexit was not expected to have much of an impact on Boeing’s manufacturing because its parts from Britain were mostly shipped to the United States and elsewhere rather than continental Europe.
“The underlying supply chain to make it has been a relatively easy thing for us just because of the nature of our product flows,” he said.
“We are in pretty good shape but we have moved some parts around and we have done some redistribution to put things where we needed to just in case. We are about as ready as we can be not knowing what the outcome is going to be.”
Other challenges for Boeing include ensuring suppliers can keep pace with its rapid production expansion plans as it looks to overcome persistent delays on engines and other issues that have hobbled the 737 factory to varying degrees since last summer.
Boeing is currently building 52 of its top-selling 737 aircraft per month at its Seattle-area factory. The manufacturer plans to speed up to 57 planes per month in June if it can smooth out supplier delays, Reuters reported this month, with the potential to later move to 63 a month if suppliers can keep up.
Shaw said Boeing was taking a disciplined approach to production rate increases, both from an airline demand perspective and a parts supply perspective.
“You get to a point where you have to relax a bit and make sure you are at a good spot before you take that next step,” he said. “That is why we do these rate breaks where we will go to a rate and stay there.”
(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
FILE PHOTO: A real estate sign hangs in front of a townhouse in the Brooklyn borough of New York, NY, U.S. March 21, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
May 23, 2019
By Hari Kishan
BENGALURU (Reuters) – U.S. house prices will rise this year by less than was predicted just three months ago, despite the Federal Reserve wiping out the prospect of future interest rate rises and recent market speculation about a cut, a Reuters poll showed.
While property market experts said a lack of supply of affordable new homes is likely to persist and so house price rises will outpace overall inflation, the normally rate-sensitive housing sector is not set to drive the economy in coming months.
The survey of nearly 50 housing analysts polled May 9-22 predicts U.S. house prices to rise 3.3% this year, a downgrade from the 4.0% rise predicted three months ago. House price rises are then forecast to slow to 3.0% next year and 2.7% in 2021.
S&P Case-Shiller Index, which measures house prices in 20 U.S. metropolitan cities, is up a little over 3% on an annualized basis. If the poll predictions come true, it will be the weakest house price rise since 2012.
“I believe we are in the late stages of the housing cycle in which the market retreats, first in terms of sale volumes and then with respect to prices,” said Issi Romem, chief economist at Trulia, a real estate website owned by the Zillow group.
U.S. economic growth beat expectations in the first quarter, but has since started to show signs of a slowdown.
Existing home sales, which make up for about 90% of all home sales in the United States, slipped in April for the second straight month. The latest Reuters poll forecasts them at an average 5.30 million unit annualized rate over the next four quarters, identical to those in the February poll and a whole 2.0 million short from the last peak in 2005.
After climbing to a seven-year high of about 5% late last year, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate has since dropped sharply, according to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac. Currently averaging around 4%, it is forecast to inch up to 4.25% this year and 4.40% next year.
Yet nearly two-thirds of 41 analysts who answered an additional question said the risks to their housing market outlook were skewed more to the downside.
“The gradual slowdown of the economy has a potential to significantly lower buyer confidence and further depress the pool of potential buyers,” said Nathaniel Karp, U.S. chief economist at BBVA.
A robust job market, rising wages and low mortgage rates have kept demand for housing elevated. U.S. home builders have responded to this by building more properties, which has led to a rise in housing inventory by almost 2% from a year ago.
However, that rise in inventory is not enough to meet continued robust demand for housing.
“Supply has not yet caught up, but it is in the improving direction, so home builders are building more, our inventory shows a little increase. I would like to see a drastic increase, but we are not getting those big substantial increases,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist with the National Association of Realtors.
Among property analysts who answered an additional question, 20 of 35, or nearly 60 percent, said it would take two years or more for the housing supply to reach adequate levels to meet demand. Nine said one to two years, while the rest said six months to one year.
(GRAPHIC: Reuters Poll: U.S. housing market outlook – https://tmsnrt.rs/2WZcPNt)
Starter homes, which are at the bottom end of the market, and make up for most of the demand, are expected to take even longer to catch up, some analysts said.
While analysts said lack of supply is having an impact on the housing market, some are also blaming last year’s revamped U.S. tax code, which reduced the amount of mortgage interest payments homeowners could deduct, for crimping demand.
“Price gains have slowed sharply, hit at first by rising rates but also sucker-punched by ‘tax reform’,” said Robert Brusca, chief economist at FAO Economics.
On an affordability scale of 1 to 10, analysts again rated U.S. house prices at 7, borderline expensive, where it has been since February 2018.
“While home prices are on average more or less in line with fundamentals, prices are higher than what could be justified by economic fundamentals in some of the most attractive metropolitan areas,” noted Karp at BBVA.
“That said, the level of misalignment has been narrowing for some time and will continue to do so going forward as demand shifts to more affordable locations where growth had taken longer to recover after the Great Recession.”
(Polling by Indradip Ghosh, Richa Rebello and Nagamani Lingappa; Editing by Ross Finley and Jonathan Oatis)
FILE PHOTO: A finished Nissan Altima comes off the line at Nissan Motor Co’s automobile manufacturing plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, U.S., August 23, 2018. REUTERS/William DeShazer/File Photo
May 14, 2019
By Nick Carey and Naomi Tajitsu
DETROIT/TOKYO (Reuters) – Nissan Motor Co Ltd said on Tuesday it had hit “rock bottom” with a 45% drop in annual operating profit. The automaker’s troubles in the United States, including a failure to deliver on a slew of promises to dealers, are a major reason why.
Nissan’s U.S. operations, once a big contributor to its international sales and profit, are now emblematic of its global challenges. Under ousted chairman Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s U.S. operations gunned for ambitious sales goals by pitting dealers against each other in a battle for sales bonuses, and cranking up sales to fleets, dealers said.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Chief Executive Officer Hiroto Saikawa said U.S. profit margins had hit a low level of between 1% and 2%.
He acknowledged Nissan had failed to honor its promises and aimed to bring its fleet sales down to 15% to 17% of total sales by around 2022 – from a high of around 40% in the first quarter. Bulk sales to rental-car fleets undermine resale values and hurt retail consumers at trade-in time, dealers said.
“It’s going to take more time than we thought to recover from this situation,” Saikawa said.
Nissan dealers complain the Japanese automaker has provided few specifics of a turnaround plan, and has not delivered on its past promises.
“We’ve heard a lot of talk, but we haven’t seen any action,” said U.S. Marine, managing partner with Sutherlin Nissan in Orlando, Florida.
Marine said dealers were skeptical because so-called stair step bonus programs remain in place that reward dealers with cash only if they hit monthly sales targets.
The programs can force dealers to slash profit margins to hit the targets, or risk seeing rival Nissan franchises get bonus money instead, dealers said. Profitability at his Nissan dealership has fallen by 50 percent in the last three years, Marine said.
“It’s depressing and deflating for a dealer when we get our new objectives for the quarter and they’re so high that some dealers are saying, ‘Screw it … we’re going to focus on selling used cars,’” Marine said.
Jose Valls, Nissan’s recently appointed head of North America, told Reuters the automaker will refresh most of its lineup over the next three years. He is reaching out to dealers to persuade them that this time, Nissan really plans to change.
“I know dealers are skeptical … but I’m trying to be very pragmatic and I need them as they need me,” Valls said. “We’re in the same boat.”
Nissan still has high consumer discounts and fleet sales. (See graphic)
Pulling back will be hard because overall demand for new vehicles in the United States is falling, and Nissan is weak in some of the remaining strong segments, such as large pickup trucks.
After hitting a peak of 8.9% in 2016, Nissan’s U.S. market share slid to 7.8% last year, its lowest since 2010. The company’s sales sank 11.6% in the first quarter, compared with an industry-wide drop of 3.2%.
‘WATCHING THEM CLOSELY’
To one degree or another, major automakers rely on discounts in the U.S. market to sell vehicles.
Automakers like Toyota Motor Cop and Honda Motor Co Ltd use discounts sparingly to prop up resale values, according to data from Cox Automotive.
At the high end, Nissan and others like Ford Motor Co “still rely heavily on manipulating the deal” with discounts, said Brad Korner, Cox’s general manager for automotive rates and incentives.
“We’ve come to a point where customers have been buying our product for the discounts offered on them, not for the strength of the product itself,” Nissan CEO Saikawa said on Tuesday.
Unplugging from fleet sales and deep discounts threatens Nissan’s U.S. manufacturing operations. Nissan operates North America’s largest auto plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, which has capacity of around 640,000 vehicles a year, plus a large plant in Canton, Mississippi.
Nissan laid off nearly 400 workers in Canton earlier this year. Nissan’s Valls said the automaker does not plan further job cuts, but added “anything is possible, we have to be prepared.”
Chris Reed, Nissan’s North American head of research and development, said his top goal is to ensure the smooth launch of seven revamped or new models over the next two years.
According to AutoForecast Solutions, they include new versions of popular models like the Rogue and Pathfinder SUVs and the Frontier pickup truck.
Pete DeLongchamps, senior vice president at auto retail chain Group 1 Automotive Inc, which owns nine Nissan dealerships, said the automaker is launching the right products, but discounts and high inventories remain a problem.
“Nissan needs to execute on its plan,” DeLongchamps said. “We will be watching them very closely to see that they do.”
(Reporting by Nick Carey in Detroit and Naomi Tajitsu in Tokyo; Additional reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Matthew Lewis)
FILE PHOTO: A worker monitors a process inside the plant at the copper refinery of Codelco Ventanas in Ventanas city, Chile January 7, 2015. REUTERS/Rodrigo Garrido/File Photo
April 7, 2019
By Zandi Shabalala and Ernest Scheyder
SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Global copper producers are converging in Chile this week as tightening supply buoys prices, even as the industry grapples with declining ore quality, project delays and worries the U.S-China trade war may hit long-term demand.
Despite these challenges, the industry is planning for substantial growth in the next decade thanks to an expected boom in production of electric vehicles, which use twice as much copper as internal combustion engines. Automakers are vowing to produce all-electric fleets.
With all that in mind, hundreds of investors, executives, analysts and regulators are gathering in Santiago, the Chilean capital, for the annual World Copper Conference.
“From a numbers perspective we have a deficit in copper, and it’s expected to be a tighter market in 2019 relative to last year,” said Eleni Joannides, a copper market analyst at consultancy Wood Mackenzie.
(For a graphic on ‘LME cash copper price’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2Vr2Qzw)
Relatively upbeat commodity prices since January have lifted producers such as Freeport-McMoRan Inc, Antofagasta Plc, BHP and Anglo American Plc out of the doldrums and presented them with a new problem: the hunt for high-quality assets at a time of geo-political uncertainty.
LME cash copper is expected to average $6,397 a tonne this year, a Reuters poll of 30 analysts shows, slightly lower than $6,437 on Friday.
“I think we’re heading into a bull market for copper,” said Jefferies mining analyst Christopher LaFemina.
A lack of new supply and steady demand this year for the metal, widely used in power and construction, should keep the 25-million-tonne market in a slight deficit and support prices, analysts said.
The industry is moving to bring new supply online, but it will take time. Freeport, the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer, cut its 2019 output forecast at Indonesia’s Grasberg mines by more than half as it transitions to underground operations, a costly process that will take years.
But Freeport, BHP, Nevada Copper Corp and other miners are spending more than $1.1 billion to develop fresh copper projects in the United States, a country once seen as a laggard in the global mining industry.
Panama, not historically associated with a large mining industry, is also seeing investment dollars. First Quantum Minerals Ltd plans to spend $327 million to expand a copper mine, with the goal of increasing production by 375,000 tonnes annually within five years.
(For a graphic on ‘Exchange stocks for copper’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2VmZbmd)
Tightening supply this year was Freeport, due in part to the Grasberg mine plan, while miner Glencore halved its 2019 output from its Mutanda copper and cobalt mine in Democratic Republic of Congo to 100,000 tonnes.
Meanwhile, global visible inventory in the form of combined stocks held by the London Metal Exchange, Comex and the Shanghai Futures Exchange have nearly halved from a year ago to around 500,000 tonnes, data from the exchanges show.
(For a graphic on ‘Mining companies vs. Copper price’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2Vs3xJ8)
Analysts said this has helped boost sentiment in copper and some other metals, which had been held down by the U.S-China trade dispute and hiccups in economic growth of top consumer China where stimulus has been promised.
Copper is one of the metals that will benefit the most from an expected boom in the use of electrical vehicles, but significant demand for the low-emission automobiles is expected to only ramp up in the middle of 2020’s.
Roskill expects sales of electric vehicles powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries to rise to 17 million units, or 20 percent of the total, in 2025, and 32 million, or 37 percent, by 2030 compared with 3 percent, or 2.1 million, last year.
Still, some copper executives are concerned that aluminum may try to supplant copper’s role in electronic equipment in the near future. Aluminum is a cheaper alternative to conduct electricity, although less efficient.
A large portion of the weeklong conference is devoted to research presentations from industry scientists studying new applications for the red metal, part of a plan to go on the offense against aluminum.
(For a graphic on ‘Copper market deficit’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2VoIGq5)
(Reporting by Zandi Shabalala and Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Veronica Brown, Leslie Adler and David Gregorio)
Israeli policemen and soldiers inspect a damaged house that was hit by a rocket north of Tel Aviv Israel March 25, 2019. REUTERS/ Ammar Awad
March 25, 2019
By Tova Cohen
MISHMERET, Israel (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday he will cut short his trip to the United States after a rocket attack near Tel Aviv wounded seven people.
An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said the projectile was fired from Gaza, an enclave controlled by the militant Hamas group, and Netanyahu said Israel would respond forcefully.
Netanyahu, who arrived in Washington on Sunday for a four-day visit ahead of an April 9 Israeli election, said he would fly home immediately after meeting President Donald Trump at the White House, as planned, later on Monday.
The early morning attack on Mishmeret, an agricultural town north of Tel Aviv, came at a time of high tension ahead of the anniversary of Gaza border protests at the weekend, and Trump’s expression of support for Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.
“In light of the security events I decided to cut short my visit to the U.S.,” Netanyahu said, calling the rocket fire a “heinous attack”.
In Mishmeret one house was completely destroyed, and at least one other house and cars were left badly damaged.
Israel’s Magen David Adom ambulance service said it was treating seven people, including an infant, a 3-year-old boy, a 12-year-old girl and a 60-year-old woman who was suffering from blast injuries, burns and shrapnel wounds.
The strike came minutes after the Israeli military activated air raid sirens in the area and said one rocket had been launched out of the Gaza Strip, a coastal territory 50 miles (80 km) away where Hamas and other factions possess such weapons.
Smadar Castelnovo, a Mishmeret resident who lives opposite the destroyed house, said they were woken up shortly after 5 a.m.
“We heard the siren and we didn’t think it was anything, but my daughter made us go into the reinforced room,” said Castelnovo, still in her pajamas.
“My daughter was upset because we had left the dog out. We went out to get the dog and as soon as we went back in there was a very loud boom.”
Police sealed off streets, and emergency services were working at the scene, as Israeli politicians visited to talk to media crews.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility from Gaza, where Palestinians were preparing for Israeli retaliation.
Israel told Palestinian officials it was closing all Gaza crossings as well as access to the sea from the blockaded territory.
Yahya Sinwar, the head of the Islamist militant group Hamas in the coastal enclave, canceled a planned public meeting scheduled for Monday afternoon, with Hamas officials citing “developments.”
Netanyahu said his decision to return to Israel was made after he consulted with Israeli military and intelligence chiefs. He had been due to address AIPAC, the largest U.S. pro-Israel lobby, on Tuesday.
But early on Monday he said: “In a few hours, I will meet President Trump and immediately after that I will return to Israel to direct our actions close-hand.”
His chief rival in next month’s election, centrist ex-general Benny Gantz, issued a statement accusing the rightist premier of having “bankrupted national security” by permitting such attacks. Gantz, who is also in Washington to address AIPAC, had urged Netanyahu to return home.
Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial capital, and outlying communities had last come under a long-range rocket attack that caused casualties during the 2014 war with Hamas.
Two rockets were launched at Tel Aviv on March 14 but caused no injuries or damage. Israel blamed those rocket launches on Hamas, though a security official later said the salvo had been set off by accident.
The latest attack follows disturbances involving Palestinian prisoners in southern Israel. Palestinian officials said 20 prisoners in Israel’s jail in the Negev were injured during violence inside the prison in the wake of “humiliating searches” by prison guards. Israeli officials said two guards were stabbed and wounded.
(Additional reporting by Stephen Farrell and Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza; Editing by Jeffrey Heller)
People take pictures of paramilitary officers marching in formation in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
May 26, 2019
By Cate Cadell
BEIJING (Reuters) – It’s the most sensitive day of the year for China’s internet, the anniversary of the bloody June 4 crackdown on pro-democracy protests at Tiananmen Square, and with under two weeks to go, China’s robot censors are working overtime.
Censors at Chinese internet companies say tools to detect and block content related to the 1989 crackdown have reached unprecedented levels of accuracy, aided by machine learning and voice and image recognition.
“We sometimes say that the artificial intelligence is a scalpel, and a human is a machete,” said one content screening employee at Beijing Bytedance Co Ltd, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to media.
Two employees at the firm said censorship of the Tiananmen crackdown, along with other highly sensitive issues including Taiwan and Tibet, is now largely automated.
Posts that allude to dates, images and names associated with the protests are automatically rejected.
“When I first began this kind of work four years ago there was opportunity to remove the images of Tiananmen, but now the artificial intelligence is very accurate,” one of the people said.
Four censors, working across Bytedance, Weibo Corp and Baidu Inc apps said they censor between 5,000-10,000 pieces of information a day, or five to seven pieces a minute, most of which they said were pornographic or violent content.
Despite advances in AI censorship, current-day tourist snaps in the square are sometimes unintentionally blocked, one of the censors said.
Bytedance declined to comment, while Weibo and Baidu did not respond to requests for comment.
The Tiananmen crackdown is a taboo subject in China 30 years after the government sent tanks to quell student-led protests calling for democratic reforms. Beijing has never released a death toll but estimates from human rights groups and witnesses range from several hundred to several thousand.
June 4th itself is marked by a cat-and-mouse game as people use more and more obscure references on social media sites, with obvious allusions blocked immediately. In some years, even the word “today” has been scrubbed.
In 2012, China’s most-watched stock index fell 64.89 points on the anniversary day https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-stocks-tiananmen-idUSBRE8530F720120604, echoing the date of the original event in what analysts said was likely a strange coincidence rather than a deliberate reference.
Still, censors blocked access to the term “Shanghai stock market” and to the index numbers themselves on microblogs, along with other obscure references to sensitive issues.
While companies censorship tools are becoming more refined, analysts, academics and users say heavy-handed policies mean sensitive periods before anniversaries and political events have become catch-alls for a wide range of sensitive content.
In the lead-up to this year’s Tiananmen Square anniversary, censorship on social media has targeted LGBT groups, labor and environment activists and NGOs, they say.
Upgrades to censorship tech have been urged on by new policies introduced by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). The group was set up – and officially led – by President Xi Jinping, whose tenure has been defined by increasingly strict ideological control of the internet.
The CAC did not respond to a request for comment.
Last November, the CAC introduced new rules aimed at quashing dissent online in China, where “falsifying the history of the Communist Party” on the internet is a punishable offence for both platforms and individuals.
The new rules require assessment reports and site visits for any internet platform that could be used to “socially mobilize” or lead to “major changes in public opinion”, including access to real names, network addresses, times of use, chat logs and call logs.
One official who works for CAC told Reuters the recent boost in online censorship is “very likely” linked to the upcoming anniversary.
“There is constant communication with the companies during this time,” said the official, who declined to directly talk about the Tiananmen, instead referring to the “the sensitive period in June”.
Companies, which are largely responsible for their own censorship, receive little in the way of directives from the CAC, but are responsible for creating guidelines in their own “internal ethical and party units”, the official said.
With Xi’s tightening grip on the internet, the flow of information has been centralized under the Communist Party’s Propaganda Department and state media network. Censors and company staff say this reduces the pressure of censoring some events, including major political news, natural disasters and diplomatic visits.
“When it comes to news, the rule is simple… If it is not from state media first, it is not authorized, especially regarding the leaders and political items,” said one Baidu staffer.
“We have a basic list of keywords which include the 1989 details, but (AI) can more easily select those.”
Punishment for failing to properly censor content can be severe.
In the past six weeks, popular services including a Netease Inc news app, Tencent Holdings Ltd’s news app TianTian, and Sina Corp have all been hit with suspensions ranging from days to weeks, according to the CAC, meaning services are made temporarily unavailable on apps stores and online.
For internet users and activists, penalties can range from fines to jail time for spreading information about sensitive events online.
In China, social media accounts are linked to real names and national ID numbers by law, and companies are legally compelled to offer user information to authorities when requested.
“It has become normal to know things and also understand that they can’t be shared,” said one user, Andrew Hu. “They’re secret facts.”
In 2015, Hu spent three days in detention in his home region of Inner Mongolia after posting a comment about air pollution onto an unrelated image that alluded to the Tiananmen crackdown on Twitter-like social media site Weibo.
Hu, who declined to use his full Chinese name to avoid further run-ins with the law, said when police officers came to his parents house while he was on leave from his job in Beijing he was surprised, but not frightened.
“The responsible authorities and the internet users are equally confused,” said Hu. “Even if the enforcement is irregular, they know the simple option is to increase pressure.”
(Reporting by Cate Cadell. Editing by Lincoln Feast.)
May 25, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos (40) watches his two run home run during the sixth inning against the Detriot Tigers at Citi Field. Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
May 26, 2019
Tomas Nido homered leading off the bottom of the 13th inning Saturday night as the New York Mets finally outlasted the Detroit Tigers, 5-4.
The Mets are 5-1 on a seven-game homestand. The Tigers have dropped 10 of 11.
The Mets loaded the bases with one out and failed to score in the bottom of the 11th before the Tigers did the same thing in the top of the 12th. Nido, who was the last player on the Mets’ bench when he entered in the 11th inning, capped a four hour and 11-minute duel when he hit his first walk-off homer off Buck Farmer (3-4).
Hector Santiago (1-0) tossed two innings for the Mets, who received two homers and four RBIs from catcher Wilson Ramos, who left for a pinch-runner in the 11th and was replaced by Nido. The two-homer game was the eighth of Ramos’ career and his first since last June 25.
Padres 19, Blue Jays 4
Austin Hedges hit his first career grand slam, Hunter Renfroe and Wil Myers each homered twice and visiting San Diego set a franchise record with seven homers while defeating Toronto.
Ian Kinsler and Eric Hosmer also homered for the Padres. Hedges had five RBIs and Myers had four.
Right-hander Cal Quantrill (1-2) struck out nine in six innings to earn his first career win for San Diego. Quantrill, who is from nearby Port Hope, Ont., and the son of former major league pitcher Paul Quantrill, allowed three runs on two hits, both home runs, and two walks in his fourth career start.
Yankees 7, Royals 3 (Game 1)
Luke Voit’s two-run home run in the seventh inning helped lead New York past host Kansas City in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.
With the win, the Yankees clinched the season series over the Royals for the fifth straight season. Since 2000, the Yankees have won 16 season series, with three splits and just one Royals series win (2014). The Yankees are 99-43 in the 2000s against Kansas City.
J.A. Happ (4-3) picked up the win after giving up three runs on four hits in six innings. Relying mostly on his fastball, Happ struck out 10 Royals.
Athletics 6, Mariners 5
Matt Chapman hit a home run, and Mike Fiers pitched six quality innings as Oakland defeated visiting Seattle for their eighth consecutive victory.
Domingo Santana hit two solo homers, and Mitch Haniger had one for Seattle, which lost its fifth in a row, eighth of nine and 20th of 25.
Chapman lined a solo shot over the wall in right-center field in the first inning against Mariners left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (3-2). Seattle twice tied the score after being down a run, but the Athletics never trailed.
Cubs 8, Reds 6
Jason Heyward, Addison Russell and Albert Almora Jr. each hit home runs, and Chicago Cubs outlasted visiting Cincinnati.
Anthony Rizzo also drove in a pair of runs for Chicago, which evened the series at one game apiece heading into Sunday’s finale. The Cubs improved to 18-9 at Wrigley Field. Tucker Barnhart, Derek Dietrich and Yasiel Puig each homered for Cincinnati.
The score was tied at 6 in the eighth when David Bote delivered a go-ahead double to deep center field with Almora at second base and Russell at first. Almora scored, and Kyle Schwarber followed with a sacrifice fly to send Russell home and increase the advantage to 8-6 entering the ninth.
Diamondbacks 10, Giants 4
Arizona put up double-figure runs for a second consecutive game, pummeling host San Francisco.
After an 18-2 romp of the Giants on Friday night, the Diamondbacks recorded 10 or more runs in back-to-back games for the first time since September 2017.
Ketel Marte hit the second pitch of the game for a triple and led off the third inning with a solo home run, his 11th of the season, highlighting a 13-hit attack one day after the Diamondbacks belted out 21 hits.
Cardinals 6, Braves 3
Pinch hitter Jedd Gyorko hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to spark St. Louis to a win over visiting Atlanta.
Gyorko’s homer, his first of the season, came against reliever Dan Winkler (1-1) and highlighted a four-run rally. It was the first home run for Gyorko since Aug. 20, 2018, when he went deep against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Cardinals tied the game earlier in the inning when Matt Carpenter beat the shift with an RBI single to left field that scored Paul DeJong. Carpenter was 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
Rays 6, Indians 2
Charlie Morton struck out a season-high 10 batters and Ji-Man Choi and Tommy Pham each belted a two-run homer as visiting Tampa Bay beat Cleveland. Brandon Lowe added his team-leading 11th homer to go along with an RBI double for the Rays, who handed the Indians their fifth loss in six games.
Carlos Santana belted a solo homer and Leonys Martin had an RBI single for the Indians, who saw manager Terry Francona ejected for the first time since 2016 after arguing a called strike on a pitch that hit Jose Ramirez in the sixth inning.
Morton (5-0) allowed one run on three hits in six innings to improve to 8-0 during an 18-start unbeaten streak that dates back to Aug. 17.
Phillies 7, Brewers 2
Jake Arrieta pitched eight innings to win his first start in nearly a month, and Philadelphia moved a season-high 10 games over .500 with a victory over host Milwaukee.
The Phillies won their third straight and for the seventh time in nine games to improve to 31-21.
Andrew McCutchen and Cesar Hernandez hit early solo homers, while Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto hit back-to-back homers in the ninth as Philadelphia totaled 12 hits. Jean Segura contributed a bases-loaded walk and extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a single in the ninth.
Twins 8, White Sox 1
Ehire Adrianza went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBIs, C.J. Cron also drove in four runs and Kyle Gibson allowed one run on five hits over seven innings to help Minnesota beat visiting Chicago for its fifth straight victory.
Cron finished 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. Jonathan Schoop and Eddie Rosario each scored two runs, and Jorge Polanco also had two hits for Minnesota, which matched its longest winning streak of the season.
Gibson (5-2) won for the fifth time in his last seven starts, walking one and striking out nine to improve to 8-4 in 15 career starts against the White Sox.
Nationals 5, Marlins 0
Patrick Corbin, who signed a six-year, $140 million contract in December, pitched a four-hitter, and Yan Gomes hit a three-run double to lead host Washington to a win over Miami.
In his seventh year in the majors, this was just Corbin’s second career shutout and fifth complete game.
Corbin (5-2), who threw 116 pitches, allowed one walk and struck out five. He also induced three double plays and got first-pitch strikes on 17 of the 29 batters he faced. He got 21 called strikes and eight swinging.
(Field Level Media)
May 25, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) dunks against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) as Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) looks on during the second half of game six of the Eastern conference finals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
May 26, 2019
TORONTO – Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and added seven assists, and the Toronto Raptors rallied past the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94 to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
The Raptors won the best-of-seven series 4-2 and will open the Finals on Thursday night in Toronto against the Golden State Warriors.
Pascal Siakam added 18 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 and Fred VanVleet scored 14 for the Raptors.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks. Brook Lopez added 18 points with nine rebounds and four blocks, Khris Middleton had 14 points, Ersan Ilyasova 13, and Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill 10 each.
The Bucks led by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, but the lead had dwindled to five entering the fourth.
Serge Ibaka’s dunk tied the game at 78 with 10:31 to play, and Siakam’s jumper and VanVleet’s 3-pointer capped a 10-0 run to give Toronto a five-point lead.
Lowry’s steal and Leonard’s dunk increased the lead to eight with 6:46 remaining.
The Bucks came back with a 7-0 run to pull within one point on Antetokounmpo’s layup with 5:19 to play.
Marc Gasol’s 3-pointer had Toronto ahead by four, but Lopez reduced it to two with a layup at 3:29. The Raptors went up by five on Siakam’s tip in with 2:06 to play.
Lopez made two free throws with 29.6 seconds to play, cutting the lead to three, but Milwaukee never had the ball within one possession in the closing minutes. Siakam made one free throw, and Leonard made two foul shots in the final seconds.
The Bucks were 6-for-9 from 3-point range to earn a 31-18 lead after one quarter.
Ilyasova’s 3-pointer with 7:48 to play in the first half put the Bucks ahead 38-23.
VanVleet’s 3-pointer with 2:28 to play in the half cut the lead to seven.
Serge Ibaka’s dunk with 1:32 left had the Raptors within five points, and VanVleet’s jumped reduced the lead to three with 1:07 left.
The Bucks scored the final four points of the half to lead 50-43.
A 3-pointer by Antetokounmpo gave the Bucks a 10-point lead early in the third quarter, before Gasol’s 3-pointer with 8:26 left in the third trimmed the lead to five.
But Middleton made a hurried 3-pointer as the shot clock expired and, after Leonard missed a shot, Eric Bledsoe came back with a 10-footer to put Milwaukee ahead by 13.
Middleton’s 3-pointer had the lead at 14 with 3:46 left in the third. The Bucks worked the lead to 15 before the Raptors went on a 10-0 run, with Leonard scoring eight. The Bucks led 76-71 after three quarters.
(By Larry Millson, Field Level Media)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wave on the way to the course to play golf at Mobara Country Club in Mobara, Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, Japan May 26, 2019. Kimimasa Mayama/Pool via Reuters
May 26, 2019
By Jeff Mason
CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump kicked off the second day of a Japan visit on Sunday with a round of golf with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, engaging in personal diplomacy aimed at smoothing tough discussions over differences on trade.
Trump, dressed in a red pullover, and Abe, wearing a blue blazer and white pants, met on a lawn and smiled for photographers before taking off for their game.
Abe’s office later posted a “selfie” picture on the course with Trump and Abe smiling together. Abe said in the post he hoped to make the Japan-U.S. alliance “even more unshakeable.”
The president’s state visit is meant to showcase the strength of the Japan-U.S. relationship, but tensions over trade have provided a backdrop of uncertainty.
Trump is unhappy with Japan’s large trade surplus and is considering putting high tariffs on its auto exports if a bilateral trade agreement is not reached. The United States and China are engaged in an expensive trade war that has pounded financial markets worldwide.
During remarks to business leaders on Saturday night, Trump ribbed Japan over its trading “edge” while saying progress had been made.
“With this deal, we hope to address the trade imbalance, remove barriers to United States exports, and ensure fairness and reciprocity in our relationship. And we’re getting closer,” he said.
“Just last week, U.S. beef exports gained full access to Japan and to the markets in Japan for the first time since the year 2000. We welcome your support in these efforts, and we hope to have several further announcements soon, and some very big ones over the next few months.”
Fox News reported on Sunday that Trump planned to wait until after Japanese elections in July to push for a trade deal, and officials have played down prospects of any major progress on the president’s trip.
The two leaders are also likely to discuss North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs. Trump said on Sunday he was not concerned about recent missile launches from North Korea and was confident that the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, would keep his promises.
After their golf game, Abe and Trump will attend a sumo tournament.
“I’ve always found that fascinating,” Trump said about Japan’s national sport during a meeting with Abe in Washington last month. “So, in fact, we’re having a trophy made in this country. We’re going to give the trophy to the winner of the championship.”
That trophy, now finished, weighs 60-70 pounds and is being called the “President’s Cup,” according to a White House official.
Trump will be the first U.S. president to attend such a tournament, according to another U.S. official, and the first to present a cup in the ring.
He is attending the final day of a 15-day tournament.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Nick Macfie)
FILE PHOTO: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama arrives for his visit to the Tibet Institute Rikon in Rikon, Switzerland September 21, 2018. REUTERS/ Arnd Wiegmann
May 26, 2019
BEIJING (Reuters) – China should hold talks with Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad told Chinese officials during a trip to the Himalayan region where he criticized Beijing for interfering in religious freedom.
Branstad visited Tibet last week, the first such trip by a U.S. ambassador since 2015, amid escalating trade and diplomatic tension between the two countries.
His visit followed the passing of a U.S. law in December that requires the United States to deny visas to Chinese officials in charge of implementing policies that restrict access to Tibet for foreigners, legislation that was denounced by China.
Branstad met Chinese government officials and Tibetan religious and cultural figures, and “raised our long-standing concerns about lack of consistent access” to Tibet, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing said in an emailed statement on Saturday.
“He encouraged the Chinese government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or his representatives, without preconditions, to seek a settlement that resolves differences,” an embassy spokeswoman said.
“He also expressed concerns regarding the Chinese government’s interference in Tibetan Buddhists’ freedom to organize and practise their religion,” she said.
Beijing sent troops into remote, mountainous Tibet in 1950 in what it officially terms a peaceful liberation and has ruled there with an iron fist ever since.
The Dalai Lama fled to India in early 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, and Beijing still brands him a dangerous separatist. China says its leaders have the right to approve his successor, as a legacy from China’s emperors.
But the 83-year-old Nobel peace laureate monk, who lives in exile in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamshala, has said that his incarnation could be found in India after he dies, and that any other successor named by China would not be respected.
Tibetan tradition holds that the soul of a senior Buddhist monk is reincarnated in the body of a child on his death.
China’s Foreign Ministry said last week that the government welcomed Branstad’s visit, but that China hoped the ambassador would not take any “prejudices” with him on the trip.
In December, China criticized the United States for passing the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, which seeks to promote access to Tibet for U.S. diplomats and other officials, journalists and other citizens by denying U.S. entry for Chinese officials deemed responsible for restricting access to Tibet.
The U.S. government is required to begin denying visas by the end of this year.
(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Nick Macfie)
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - The Best FIFA Football Awards - Royal Festival Hall, London, Britain - September 24, 2018 Marta after winning the Best Women's Player award Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley
May 26, 2019
SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil striker Marta is a doubt for their women’s World Cup opener against Jamaica next month after the country’s soccer confederation (CBF) said on Saturday she had picked up a hamstring injury in training.
Marta, named Women’s Player of the Year a record six times, picked up the injury at Brazil’s camp in Portugal and while the CBF did not clarify how serious the injury was coach Vadao told a Globo website she could miss their June 9 opener.
“Our worry is just about the first game,” he said, “and whether she has time to recover or not.
“She feels fine. We’ll wait a couple of days for the medical department to give me a more concrete appraisal.”
The absence of Marta, who has scored a record 15 women’s World Cup goals, would make Brazil’s life even more difficult at the June 7 to July 7 tournament in France, where they also meet Australia and Italy in the group phase.
The finalists in 2007 come into the tournament having lost their last nine matches, their worst ever run.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - May 25, 2019 Switzerland's Roger Federer attends a training session on the eve of the start of the tournament REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
May 26, 2019
PARIS (Reuters) – Roger Federer tops the bill at the French Open on opening Sunday when he makes his long-awaited return to the Parisian clay with a first-round match against Italian Lorenzo Sonego.
The 37-year-old Swiss, whose one Roland Garros title came 10 years ago, has been absent from the claycourt Grand Slam since 2015 and says he has missed it.
“I’m very happy to be back, maybe a tiny bit more because when I have missed the last three editions, and when you miss something in life, you’re happy to be back there again.”
The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who will play in the third match on the revamped Court Philippe Chatrier, returns as the third seed behind world number one Novak Djokovic and 11-times champion Rafael Nadal, neither of whom are in action on Sunday.
The Swiss has played down his chances of winning the title, although 73rd-ranked Sonego, making his main draw debut at Roland Garros having lost in qualifying last year, should not cause him undue alarm as he reacquaints himself with his surroundings.
“Center court looks very different. There has been a lot of upgrades and investments made,” Federer said.
“But I feel it is still the old Roland Garros, it’s kept its flair and everything.”
A connoisseur of style, Federer will no doubt be interested to see the brand new Court Simonne Mathieu — set in the picturesque Serres d’Auteuil botanical gardens and flanked by greenhouses containing rare and exotic plants.
Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza will hope the beautiful setting will help her recover some form as the 19th seed christens the court against American Taylor Townsend.
Women’s fifth seed Angelique Kerber will hope the ankle injury that has ruined her preparation will not be factor as she opens proceedings on Chatrier against Anastasia Potapova.
Germany’s Kerber is seeking to win the only Grand Slam to elude her and is one of several women that could take over as world number one at the end of the French Open.
Another one, second seeded Czech Karolina Pliskova, closes play on Chatrier against American Madison Brengle.
Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, one of the young brigade being tipped as a title contender, will also get his tournament started when he takes on Germany’s Maximilian Marterer.
Two Grand Slam champions will be on show on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Marin Cilic plays Italian Thomas Fabbiano while later last year’s runner-up Sloane Stephens faces Misaki Doi.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Pritha Sarkar)