FILE PHOTO: Basketball – NBA Global Games – New Orleans Pelicans training session ahead of preseason game against Houston Rockets – Beijing, China – 11/10/16. New Orleans Pelicans Anthony Davis shoots the ball. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
June 19, 2019
The Los Angeles Lakers, with LeBron James in place and Anthony Davis on the way, reportedly are attempting to clear enough salary-cap space to make a run at a third star player this summer.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks, the Lakers are looking to expand the agreed-upon trade that would bring in Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, hoping to add other teams who might take fringe players off their hands.
It’s all part of the Lakers’ efforts to boost their available money from the current $23.8 million up to $32.5 million.
Those who could be on their way out of Los Angeles, according to the report, are Moritz Wagner, Jemerrio Jones and Isaac Bonga. The Lakers also would need Davis to waive the $4 million trade bonus that he is contractually due to receive in order for his new team to reach its desired salary-cap level.
–Kawhi Leonard is ready to head home and is reportedly focusing on signing with the Los Angeles Clippers.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski dispelled reports that Leonard might be interested in joining the Lakers, who will add Anthony Davis when trades can become official next month. Per Wojnarowski’s report, it’s the Clippers that Leonard wants to join.
Leonard attended San Diego State and is an L.A. native. He had almost an entire section of Oracle Arena filled with family in Oakland to watch the Toronto Raptors claim Game 6 against the Warriors and win the NBA Finals last week.
–Boston forward Al Horford will turn down his 2018-19 option of $30.1 million and no longer intends to re-sign with the Celtics, multiple media outlets reported.
After he opts out, the 33-year-old will be able to discuss contracts with other teams starting June 30. Players can sign or re-sign contracts beginning July 6.
Horford has spent the last three years in Boston since arriving on a free agent deal from Atlanta, where he played the first nine seasons of his career. The nine-time All-Star averaged 13.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 68 games for the Celtics last season.
–Rockets All-Star point guard Chris Paul wants out of Houston, and his relationship with MVP candidate James Harden is “unsalvageable.”
According to Yahoo Sports, Paul approached management to demand a trade following the season-ending loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference semifinals.
Moving Paul and his three-year, $124 million contract will not be easy, though general manager Daryl Morey has been open about having trade discussions involving all of his players other than Harden this offseason.
–Should you know the whereabouts of Kyrie Irving, the Celtics would like a word.
Irving, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent June 30, has reportedly gone silent and given president Danny Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens no choice but to assume he will move on to another team.
Reports last week indicated Irving was “preparing to sign” with the Brooklyn Nets not long after splitting from his only professional agent to join the stable of Roc Nation. Because Irving has no active agent — his change from Jeff Wechsler cannot be official until June 29 — the Celtics have no conduit to the six-time All-Star.
–The Pelicans picked up the 2020-21 option for head coach Alvin Gentry, who is now under contract for the next two seasons.
“We couldn’t be happier to extend our relationship with Alvin,” executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement.
Gentry, 64, has spent the past four seasons coaching the Pelicans, going 145-183.
–Harrison Barnes is set to opt out of his contract with the Sacramento Kings and become an unrestricted free agent.
Barnes’ agent, Jeff Schwartz, told ESPN of the pending move that will allow the 27-year-old to pursue his fourth NBA team since entering the league with the Golden State Warriors in 2012.
Traded from the Dallas Mavericks to the Kings in February, Barnes averaged 16.4 points per game between the two clubs.
–A sheriff’s deputy sustained serious injuries and is considering a lawsuit against Masai Ujiri after an altercation with the Raptors president following Thursday’s title-clinching victory in Oakland, the deputy’s attorney said.
David Mastagni, the deputy’s attorney, told Bay Area CBS affiliate KPIX late Monday that his client has a “serious concussion” and a “serious jaw injury” after an “unprovoked, significant hit to the jaw” caused by Ujiri.
“No options are being ruled out as to how to rectify the situation,” Mastagni added.
–Field Level Media
FILE PHOTO: Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones try to make a catch on a long pass in front of Philadelphia Eagles defender Jalen Mills in the third quarter of their NFL football game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., September 6, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar
June 19, 2019
The Atlanta Falcons are confident they will re-sign wide receiver Julio Jones to a new long-term extension before training camp begins next month, ESPN reported Tuesday.
Jones has two years remaining on his deal, which owes him $9.6 million in 2019 and $11.4 million in 2020. He signed a contract adjustment as training camp opened last July — giving him $4.4 million, including $2.9 million from his 2019 salary, up front — and the team reportedly promised to do a full extension this offseason. That came after Jones missed the Falcons’ entire offseason program and threatened to hold out into training camp.
The 30-year-old again missed voluntary workouts this summer, but he showed up for mandatory minicamp. He told reporters in April he isn’t concerned with being the NFL’s highest-paid wide receiver.
In his eighth season, Jones is coming off of his sixth Pro Bowl selection — fifth in a row — after catching 113 passes for a league-high 1,677 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He remains the NFL’s all-time leader in career receiving yards per game (96.7).
–Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford played through broken bones in his back last year, according to a team reporter.
Mike O’Hara, a long-time Lions beat reporter who now works for the team’s website, said of Stafford on a recent episode of his podcast, “He had a broken back last year. Broken bones in his back.”
After taking 12 hits against the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 2, Stafford was listed with a back injury for the final four weeks of the 2018 season, including limited participation and questionable designations for games in Weeks 14-16. He played in all four games, throwing for 691 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions as the Lions went 2-2.
–The former NFL running back who wore “He Hate Me” on his jersey during his season in the XFL was found safe after going missing in South Carolina, according to a report from the Charlotte Observer.
Police said Torrold “Rod” Smart was located and was OK, the Observer reported. Earlier in the day, the Lancaster (S.C.) County Sheriff’s Office said Smart was a “missing endangered person” and was seeking information regarding his whereabouts.
Smart, 42, played college football at Western Kentucky. As an undrafted free agent in 2000, he was signed by the then-San Diego Chargers but was released. The following year, he played for the Las Vegas Outlaws of the XFL, then later in 2001 played in the Canadian Football League and with the Philadelphia Eagles. He played four more seasons with the Carolina Panthers.
–New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas is headed for paydirt, one way or another.
General manager Mickey Loomis said on Mad Dog Sports Radio that the Saints and Thomas have begun talks geared toward a long-term deal. Thomas, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, had 125 receptions for 1,405 yards in 2018.
“We’ve had some conversations, and I like keeping that close to the vest until there’s something to report, but look, we love what Mike’s done for us,” Loomis said. “He’s a fantastic player, one of the best at his position in the league, and hopefully we can keep him a Saint for a long time as well.”
–More than 5,000 Denver Broncos fans attended owner Pat Bowlen’s memorial service, according to the team.
Bowlen died last week at age 75 after a fight with Alzheimer’s disease. The team hosted a public memorial service at Broncos Stadium at Mile High, where fans walked past photos and memorabilia from Bowlen’s life and watched a video tribute in his honor.
Former Broncos players such as John Elway, Rod Smith and Peyton Manning also attended the service. Bowlen will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame posthumously this August.
–Former Senior Bowl director and Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage is expected to join the New York Jets’ personnel department under new general manager Joe Douglas, NFL Network reported.
Per the report, Savage’s role is not yet fully defined, but an announcement “should come this week,” absent a setback. NFL Network also reported Ravens assistant director of pro personnel Chad Alexander will join the Jets as director of player personnel.
ESPN reported the Jets are hiring Indianapolis Colts vice president of player personnel Rex Hogan as assistant general manager, after Hogan served as New York’s senior director of college scouting from 2015-17.
–Field Level Media
FILE PHOTO: California’s Governor Gavin Newsom speaks during the California Democratic Convention in San Francisco, California, U.S. June 1, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo
June 19, 2019
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday apologized to Native Americans for violence and other wrongdoings they suffered during the state’s history and called their mistreatment genocide.
The Democratic governor, in an executive order, called for the creation of a Truth and Healing Council to produce a report before the end of 2024 on the historical relationship between the state and Native Americans.
Newsom delivered the apology during an appearance with tribal leaders at the California Indian Heritage Center near Sacramento, the state capital.
“It’s called a genocide, that’s what it was, a genocide,” Newsom said, citing the $1.3 million in state funding authorized in the 1850s to subsidize militia campaigns against Native Americans. “No other way to describe it, and that’s the way it needs to be described in the history books.”
Tribal leaders who appeared with Newsom on Tuesday thanked him for the apology.
“It’s healing to hear your words, but actions will speak for themselves and I do look forward to hearing more and seeing more of you,” Erica Pinto, chairwoman of Jamul Indian Village in San Diego County, said.
“WAR OF EXTERMINATION”
In discussing the history of California’s treatment of Native Americans, Newsom cited an 1851 address to the state legislature by California’s first governor, Peter Burnett.
“That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the races until the Indian race becomes extinct must be expected,” Burnett said then.
The state of California had never previously formally apologized for its role in wrongdoing against Native Americans, according to the governor’s office.
Newsom’s predecessor, Democrat Jerry Brown, did endorse a 2016 book by historian Benjamin Madley, of the University of California, Los Angeles, titled “An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873.” The book detailed how California’s indigenous population fell from as many as 150,000 people to about 30,000.
Madley estimated that between 1846 and 1873, up to 16,000 Native Americans were killed in California. Disease, dislocation and starvation also took their toll, Madley wrote.
The U.S. Congress in 2009 passed a resolution, tucked into an appropriations bill, that apologized to Native Americans for violence, maltreatment and neglect inflicted by U.S. citizens.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Bill Tarrant and Leslie Adler)
FILE PHOTO: Jun 14, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado (13) celebrates after a solo home run in the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
June 19, 2019
The Major League Baseball Umpires Association criticized the one-game suspension of San Diego Padres infielder Manny Machado, calling it “a slap in the face” and “a disgrace to the game.”
Machado was suspended for “aggressively arguing and making contact with” plate umpire Bill Welke as he disputed a called third strike in Saturday’s game against the Colorado Rockies.
“One game..one single game. What kind of precedent is that setting? It is NOT okay to throw a temper tantrum and physically touch someone of authority, just because you don’t agree. Violence in all workplaces is not tolerated. Period,” the MLBUA’s statement read, in part.
Major League Baseball, which also fined Machado an undisclosed amount for the incident, issued a statement opposing the umpires association’s input on the matter. The league statement said it was inappropriate for the umpires’ union to comment on player discipline, just as it would be inappropriate for the players’ union to comment on umpire discipline.
–The New York Yankees activated outfielder Giancarlo Stanton from the 10-day injured list before their game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Stanton, 29, had been out since April 1, having played just three games this season while battling multiple injuries. He batted fifth and played right field upon his return.
The Yankees also are expecting outfielder Aaron Judge, who has played in just 20 games this season because of an oblique injury, to return this week.
–Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve will join the team on the road and could be back in the lineup on Wednesday.
Altuve, a six-time All-Star and the 2017 American League MVP, has been out since May 11 due to a strained left hamstring.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said outfielder George Springer, who has been sidelined since May 25 because of a hamstring strain, could go on a rehab assignment later this week. Reliever Collin McHugh (elbow), out since May 15, also is nearing a return, Hinch said.
–The condition of former Red Sox star David Ortiz was upgraded to good by doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he remains in the intensive care unit.
Tiffany Ortiz offered the update on her husband in a statement issued by the team. She said David Ortiz “continues to make progress with his recovery.”
Ortiz, 43, was shot in the back June 9 as he visited a club in his hometown of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He had surgery for internal injuries that evening, then was flown to Boston the following day and underwent a second operation.
–Catcher Zack Collins, the 10th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, was recalled by the Chicago White Sox.
Welington Castillo left Sunday’s game with soreness in his back and was placed on the 10-day injured list. He was diagnosed with a strained left oblique.
The White Sox also reinstated left-handed pitcher Jace Fry from the 10-day injured list, filling the roster spot that opened when right-hander Thyago Vieira was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte on Monday.
–Field Level Media
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference about the government’s decision on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
June 19, 2019
By David Ljunggren and Nia Williams
OTTAWA/CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Canada on Tuesday approved as expected a hotly contested proposal to expand the western Canadian crude oil pipeline it bought last year, providing hope for a depressed energy industry but angering environmental groups.
Construction on the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is scheduled to resume this year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference. A senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said earlier that Ottawa expected legal challenges to the approval.
The project would triple Trans Mountain’s capacity to carry 890,000 barrels per day from Alberta’s oil sands to British Columbia’s Pacific coast, alleviate congestion on existing pipelines and diversify exports away from the United States.
Trudeau, who faces a tough fight in a national election scheduled for October, has been under pressure both from western Canadian politicians who accuse him of doing too little for the oil industry, and from environmental groups, which see the oil sands as a highly polluting source of crude production.
“This isn’t an either/or proposition. It is in Canada’s national interest to protect our environment and invest in tomorrow, while making sure people can feed their families today,” he said, adding he knew some people would be disappointed.
The Liberal government previously approved the expansion in 2016 but that decision was overturned last year after a court ruled the government had not adequately consulted indigenous groups.
The approval was widely expected as the government spent C$4.5 billion ($3.4 billion) to buy the 66-year-old pipeline from Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd last year to ensure that the expansion proceeded. Western Canada’s oil production has expanded faster than pipeline capacity, causing a glut of crude to build up.
Trudeau said the government would make a series of accommodations to indigenous concerns about the pipeline, including on protections of killer whale and fish habitats in British Columbia.
One group of indigenous activists in British Columbia, called Tiny House Warriors, vowed in a statement that the expansion would not be built on their territory.
“The Trudeau government does not have the right to put a pipeline through unceded Secwepemc land,” spokeswoman Kanahus Manuel said.
FURTHER OBSTACLES AHEAD
The government’s latest approval can be appealed through the courts. Trans Mountain also requires various permits and route approvals in British Columbia, where that province’s left-leaning New Democratic Party government opposes the project.
The B.C. government also plans to appeal a recent British Columbia Appeal Court ruling that the provincial government cannot restrict the flow of oil on pipelines that cross provincial boundaries.
British Columbia Premier John Horgan said his government was “disappointed” with the federal government’s decision but would not unduly withhold construction permits.
Mike Hurley, mayor of Burnaby, where the pipeline terminates in a tank farm near the Westridge Marine Terminal on Burrard Inlet, said his city was “absolutely against” the pipeline expansion.
“It brings too much extra risk into our community and we don’t believe the risk is worth the rewards. There’s risk of fire, explosion, chemical releases, a natural disaster for our First Nations people who use the inlet so much, and for business.”
Construction is expected to take 2-1/2 years, investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt & Co said. Assuming work on the expansion resumes this year, the expanded pipeline could be in service in early 2022.
“We will measure success not by today’s decision but by the beginning of actual construction and more importantly by the completion of the pipeline,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, a frequent critic of Trudeau. “This is now a test for Canada to demonstrate to the rest of the world we are a safe place in which to invest.”
The decision will help create billions in economic benefits across Canada as it allows Canadian oil to reach higher-paying international markets, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said in a statement.
Eighty percent of the expanded pipeline’s total capacity has been contracted to companies including Suncor Energy Inc, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd and Exxon-owned Imperial Oil Ltd, according to a National Energy Board filing.
The Canadian government has long said it planned to sell the pipeline once most of the obstacles to its construction have been cleared. Numerous indigenous groups have said they are interested in investing in it.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa and Nia Williams in Calgary; Additional reporting by Kelsey Johnson in Ottawa and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Cooney)
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts on stage formally kicking off his re-election bid with a campaign rally in Orlando, Florida, U.S., June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
June 19, 2019
By Steve Holland
ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday formally launches what may be an uphill battle to persuade voters to give him four more years in office, as he bets a strong U.S. economy will outweigh voter concerns about his unorthodox style and polarizing policies.
At an evening rally in Orlando, Florida, Trump, who has long made it known he is running for re-election, will begin making his case with gusto for a second term. He and his wife, Melania, and a large contingent of senior White House staff arrived in Orlando aboard Air Force One for the occasion.
The Trump of 2020 most certainly will bear a strong resemblance to the Trump of 2016 – brash and eager to bash opponents and promote tough policies on trade and immigration.
Two-and-a-half years into his tenure, Trump sees plenty of positive factors, led by a growing economy with low unemployment.
“If the economy stays strong, he is very likely to get re-elected,” said Trump confidant Newt Gingrich, a former Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
But an investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, coupled with a presidential style marked by name-calling and eye-popping tweets, has undermined some Americans’ confidence in Trump before the November 2020 election.
He also has stirred division with his hard-line policies on immigration and unsettled business and farm groups with his use of tariffs in trade disputes with China and some allies.
Democrats cite a string of broken promises in Trump’s first term, from lowering drug prices to closing corporate tax loopholes and stopping plant closures. In a media call on Tuesday, Democratic Party officials focused on his moves to weaken the signature healthcare law of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, without providing an alternative.
“Donald Trump is launching his campaign for re-election tonight and the American people face a choice – we can make Trump an aberration or let him fundamentally and forever alter the character of this nation,” said Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager for Democratic front-runner Joe Biden.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll on June 11 gave Trump a 40% job approval rating, compared with 57% who disapproved. Other opinion polls have shown him running consistently behind his main Democratic challengers, such as Biden, in key battleground states.
Republican strategists say the fundamentals favor Trump as he heads into his election but that he faces challenges given his bare-knuckled approach, which he refuses to temper.
“His support with his base is as strong as it’s ever been for any Republican incumbent president. The challenge is adding to that and building the coalition he needs for re-election,” said Republican strategist Ryan Williams, a former adviser to 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
In a Twitter post before his trip, Trump said: “Republican enthusiasm is at an all time high. Look what is going on in Orlando, Florida, right now!”
The Orlando Sentinel, however, welcomed the president’s visit with an editorial titled: “Our endorsement for president in 2020: Not Donald Trump.”
Trump supporters with tents and sleeping bags started camping out at the rally venue on Monday and thousands had gathered by Tuesday afternoon in a torrential downpour. “It was like a big Trump party,” said Maureen Bailey, who slept in a tent with her twin sister, Laureen Vartanian.
Local Democratic Party officials planned a “Win With Love” rally a few blocks from the Trump rally.
Starting his 2020 push in Florida, which the former New York businessman considers his second home, shows how important the state is to Trump’s re-election hopes. He would like to recreate the state-by-state electoral victory map he assembled to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
That election included Trump victories in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, and he thus far faces challenges in all those states, along with North Carolina.
FLORIDA IS A KEY
Democrats vow to win back industrial states like Pennsylvania and Michigan that flipped to Trump in 2016 after decades of voting Democratic in presidential elections, and they believe his behavior and policies will generate strong turnout among Americans eager to turn him out of office.
Trump campaign advisers wave off the polls at this stage, saying Trump had trailed in most polls in 2016 and still won.
The advisers believe Trump’s chances will improve once Democrats go through their hard-fought nominating process and produce a nominee for him to face off against.
Nobody is expecting Trump to change his behavior. Aides who had urged him early in his White House tenure to tone down his style are long gone.
Some Trump advisers had urged the president to begin his campaign launch in New York with a nostalgic recreation of the scene from June 2015 when Trump and his wife rode down an escalator at Trump Tower for his announcement speech.
On his flight to Tokyo on May 24, Trump turned down the idea, based on input from the first lady, who thought he should do something new and was adamantly against the escalator ride, said a person with direct knowledge of the conversation.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu in Washington and Carlo Allegri in Orlando; Editing by Bill Trott and Peter Cooney)
A man is reflected on an electronic board showing a graph analyzing recent change of Nikkei stock index outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
June 19, 2019
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian share markets jumped on Wednesday as investors dared to hope the Federal Reserve would follow the lead of the European Central Bank and open the door to future rate cuts at its policy meeting later in the day.
Indeed, ECB President Mario Draghi’s shock turnaround on easing fueled talk of a worldwide wave of central bank stimulus, firing up stocks, bonds and commodities.
Adding to the cheer was news U.S. President Donald Trump would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit later this month, and that trade talks would restart after a recent lull.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan climbed 0.6% in early trade, adding to a 1% gain the day before.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.5% and South Korea 1.1%. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 were a fraction firmer after a upbeat Wall Street session.
The Dow ended Tuesday with gains of 1.35%, while the S&P 500 rose 0.97% and the Nasdaq 1.39%. The S&P 500 has gained 6% so far this month to be 1% from the all-time high hit in early May.
All eyes are now upon the Fed which is scheduled to release a statement at 1800 GMT on Wednesday, followed by a press conference by Chairman Jerome Powell shortly after.
Yet the heightened anticipation also creates risks the Fed might fail to meet investors’ high expectations.
“Market expectations for a dovish shift are nearly universal, the only question seems to be the degree,” said Blake Gwinn, head of front-end rates at NatWest Markets.
Futures are almost fully priced for a quarter-point easing in July and imply more than 60 basis points of cuts by Christmas.
“Markets will be looking for validation of this pricing,” he added. “We think this represents a fairly high bar for the Fed to deliver a dovish surprise.”
BofA Merrill Lynch’s latest fund manager survey spoke volumes about the sea change in sentiment.
Allocation to global equities dropped 32 points to a net 21% underweight, the lowest since March 2009, while the bond allocation hit the highest since September 2011.
Interest rate expectations collapsed, while concerns about a trade war soared to be the top risk for investors, ahead of monetary policy impotence, U.S. politics and a slower China.
The shift was clear in bond markets where German yields hit record lows deep in negative territory, while Japanese yields sank to the lowest since august 2016 at -0.145%.
Yields on the U.S. 10-year note reached the lowest since September 2017 at 2.016%, a world away from the 3.25% top touched in November last year.
The fallout in currencies was significantly less, in large part because it was hard for one to gain when all the major central banks were under pressure to ease.
The euro did pull back a bit after Draghi’s comments, but at $1.1198 was still well within the recent trading range of $1.1106-$1.1347.
The dollar remained sidelined against the yen at 108.53, and a shade firmer on a basket of currencies at 97.628.
In commodity markets, the rate-cut buzz kept gold near 14-month highs at $1,346.62 per ounce.
Michael Hsueh, an analyst at Deutsche, noted the decisively dovish shift in central bank expectations was bullish for gold.
“This provides the desired backdrop – one in which investors are less likely to be concerned about the opportunity cost of holding a non-yielding asset, particularly versus the increasing stock of negative-yielding debt,” he said.
Reflation trades also supported oil prices, as did hopes for a thawing in the Sino-U.S. trade dispute. [O/R]
Brent crude futures bounced 40 cents to $62.54, while U.S. crude firmed 45 cents at $54.35 a barrel.
(Editing by Sam Holmes)
FILE PHOTO: A worker walks in a container area at a port in Tokyo, Japan January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File photo/File Photo
June 19, 2019
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s exports fell 7.8% in May from a year earlier, down for a sixth straight month, Ministry of Finance (MOF) data showed on Wednesday, underscoring persistent weakness in overseas demand.
That compared with a 7.7% drop expected by economists in a Reuters poll, and followed a 2.4% fall in April.
Imports fell 1.5% in the year to May, versus the median estimate for a 0.2% increase.
The trade balance came to a deficit 967.1 billion yen ($8.91 billion), versus the median estimate for a 979.2 billion yen shortfall.
For full tables, go to the MOF website: http://www.customs.go.jp/toukei/info/index_e.htm
(Reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto and Daniel Leussink; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)
An employee works on assembling an electric vehicle (EV) at a factory of Suda Electric Vehicle Technology Co, in Sanmenxia, Henan province, China March 19, 2019. Picture taken March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer
June 19, 2019
By Kane Wu, Yilei Sun and Julie Zhu
HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) – Last year, Wei Qing and his private equity investment team visited more than 20 Chinese electric vehicle manufacturing startups.
The end result? They decided not to invest in any.
“There are too many uncertainties from when a company tells a story in the early stage, to when it produces a sample car and raises funds, to the eventual mass production,” said Wei, managing director at Shanghai-based Sailing Capital.
Wei, who declined to name the EV makers his team visited, said he thinks only a few of them will survive. Sailing instead decided to invest in an EV parts supplier, he added.
His concerns reflect what bankers describe as increasingly tough funding times for Chinese EV makers which must jostle for attention in a crowded sector and produce convincing arguments about future profitability despite government cuts to EV subsidies and plans to phase them out.
Numerous setbacks plaguing Tesla Inc in its quest for sustained profitability as well as a dramatic slide in sales and problems with some cars at Chinese startup Nio Inc have also put investors on their guard.
This year, Chinese EV makers have raised just $783.1 million as of mid-June compared with $6 billion for the same period a year earlier and $7.7 billion for all of 2018, according to data provider PitchBook.
One Hong Kong-based banker said he had been approached by at least a dozen EV makers seeking new funds but had to pass on most of them as they were not able to set themselves apart from the crowd.
Even fundraising efforts that have gotten off the ground are not moving as fast as EV makers would like.
“It is challenging,” said the banker who began working on one fundraising this year. “If you can get a meeting with investors, you can always tell a story, but some don’t even reply to your requests for a meeting.”
He declined to be identified as the negotiations were not public.
(For a graphic on ‘Fundraising by Chinese EV Companies’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2IjAjYt)
Eager to curb smog and jump-start its own auto industry, China has said it wants so-called new energy vehicles (NEVs) – which also include hybrids, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell cars – to account for a fifth of auto sales by 2025 compared with 5% now.
Those ambitions have spawned a plethora of EV startups competing not just with each other, but also global automakers and Tesla, which plans to start production in China this year.
About 330 EV firms are registered for some sort of subsidy, government data shows, although the number of more well established startups is much smaller, at around 50.
But amid criticism that some firms have become overly reliant on government funds, Beijing has reduced subsidies, raised the standards needed for vehicles to qualify and flagged they will end altogether after 2020.
That has led to sharp slowdown as vehicle prices rise. Sales of NEVs in May rose just 1.8% from a year earlier compared with 18.1% in April, and 62% growth for 2018.
Surviving in the current funding environment, requires much cost discipline, Daniel Kirchert, CEO at Nanjing-based EV maker Byton, told Reuters.
“Given the current situation, it is not enough for any startup to come up with good products and be fast to market. At least it’s equally important to manage cost. Not only fixed costs but variable cost,” he said.
Byton, which is backed by state-owned automaker FAW Group and battery supplier Contemporary Amperex Technology Co (CATL) is one of a few EV makers with a fundraising round in train, seeking $500 million.
Others include Leap Motor, backed by state-owned Shanghai Electric Group Corp and Sequoia Capital China, which is seeking $372 million as well as CHJ Automotive, founded by serial entrepreneur Li Xiang, which wants to raise as much as $500 million.
Those with successful funding under their belts this year include Baidu Inc-backed WM Motor Technology Co Ltd which closed a $446 million round in March, according to PitchBook.
Some have obtained money outside private equity. E-Town Capital, a Beijing government investment firm, will invest 10 billion yuan ($1.4 billion) in a joint venture with Nio, which could help Nio build its own plant.
TESLA, NIO WEIGH
But overall, industry funding prospects are much bleaker, particularly as Tesla and Nio struggle.
Founder Elon Musk told Tesla employees last month the $2.7 billion the company recently raised would give it just 10 months to break even at the rate it burned cash in the first quarter. Shares in the industry pioneer have slid 32% in the year to date.
Nio’s shares have been hit harder, down 60% this year on a cut to its delivery outlook, a halving in first-quarter sales from the previous quarter, increased competition and reduced subsidies. Its reputation has also been hurt after three vehicles caught on fire and by the inadvertent shutting down of a car on Beijing’s prestigious Changan Avenue after the driver initiated a software update.
Nio declined to comment.
“Some of the listed EV industry leaders are currently underperforming in the secondary trading market and that has created pressures for the sector’s short-term outlook,” said Brian Gu, president of EV startup Xpeng Motors and a former senior JP Morgan banker.
“We are seeing investors become more cautious, selective and keenly focused on the frontrunners. I think this trend is likely to persist,” he said.
An investor in WM Motor was more downbeat about the willingness of private equity investors to fund the industry.
“Nio is probably the best among Chinese EV start-ups. Look where it stands now – how can that make us comfortable about writing cheques for other EV start-ups?” said the investor who also held Nio shares but sold them this year.
(Reporting by Kane Wu and Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Yilei Sun in Beijing; Additional reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu in Beijing; Editing by Jennifer Hughes and Edwina Gibbs)
Cast members Ed Sheeran, Lily James and Himesh Patel attend the UK premiere of “Yesterday” in London, Britain, June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
June 18, 2019
By Emily G Roe
LONDON (Reuters) – Imagine a world where The Beatles never existed? That is what British director Danny Boyle asks audiences to believe in his new movie “Yesterday.”
The comedy, arriving in movie theaters next week, tells of struggling British musician Jack who wakes up after a traffic accident and finds himself in an alternate timeline where only he can remember the music of the 1960s band.
Boyle, who won an Oscar for the 2008 movie “Slumdog Millionaire,” said the band gave permission for their music to be used in the film despite it being a story where “they are literally erased from the consciousness of the world.”
“I think they (The Beatles) must have loved the idea – how quirky the idea was. It appeals to their sense of humor I think,” Boyle said on the red carpet in London on Tuesday.
“That is so typical of their sense of humor – and their bravery as well – because they are experimenters. So I think they like the fact that it’s a bit left field,” he added.
Boyle said Ringo Starr and the widow of George Harrison had seen the film and sent notes of support.
As for Paul McCartney, Boyle said: “I don’t think Paul has seen the movie, but he’s seen the trailer and he said ‘Oh that seems to work!’”
Boyle said he had also written to Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon.
The movie also features Grammy Award-winning British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, playing himself, as the person who helps Jack, played by British actor Himesh Patel, recreate some of the band’s most famous hits, sending his career soaring.
The movie, with a screenplay by “Love Actually” writer Richard Curtis, also features Lily James, Kate McKinnon and James Corden.
“Yesterday” starts its global rollout on June 26.
(Reporting by Reuters Television, editing by G Crosse)
An image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and China’s President Xi Jinping is displayed during a North Korean delegation’s visit in Beijing, China, in this photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 30, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS
June 18, 2019
SEOUL (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China supports North Korea’s “correct direction” in resolving the issue of the Korean peninsula politically, according to North Korean state newspaper Rodong Sinmun on Wednesday.
In an front page Rodong Sinmun op-ed, Xi said that “we will actively contribute to peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region by strengthening communication and coordination with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” according to the newspaper. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is North Korea’s official name.
Xi is set to visit Pyongyang on Thursday and Friday, making him the first Chinese leader to visit in 14 years.
(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
FILE PHOTO: PG&E crew work on power lines to repair damage caused by the Camp Fire in Paradise, California, U.S. November 21, 2018. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage
June 18, 2019
By Jim Christie
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – PG&E Corp will pay $1 billion as part of its bankruptcy reorganization to more than a dozen local governments in California struck by wildfires in recent years, the company and lawyers for the governments said on Tuesday.
Payments to the local governments will settle claims from lawsuits put on hold by PG&E’s bankruptcy and are separate from the thousands of individual claims stemming from wildfires that the company expects will be filed against it during the bankruptcy period.
San Francisco-headquartered PG&E filed for Chapter 11 protection in January anticipating $30 billion in liabilities from wildfires in 2017 and 2018 blamed on its equipment.
The local governments said in a filing in March that their claims could top more than $2.5 billion for fire-related damage to roads, bridges, sidewalks, road signs and signals, public landscaping and water systems.
The governments include the city of Paradise, which was leveled by November’s Camp Fire in California deadliest and most destructive wildfire of modern times.
The city of Santa Rosa and Sonoma and Napa counties, which were hard hit by blazes in 2017, also are among the localities that settled with PG&E.
(Reporting by Jim Christie; editing by Grant McCool)
FILE PHOTO: An Adobe Systems Inc software box is seen in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 13, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
June 18, 2019
(Reuters) – Adobe Inc beat analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit and revenue on Tuesday, driven by growth in its digital media business that houses its flagship product Creative Cloud, sending its shares up 4.6% after market.
Adobe is sharpening its focus on the fast-growing cloud business, a fiercely competitive market dominated by Microsoft Corp, Oracle Corp and Salesforce.com Inc.
In doing so, Adobe, known for its image-editing software Photoshop, partnered with Microsoft in March to bolster its sales and marketing software capabilities.
Salesforce and Microsoft also posted better-than-expected quarterly results on the back of growth in their cloud businesses.
Adobe’s shift to a cloud-based subscription has brought a more predictable revenue stream for the company, by selling its software through web-based subscriptions and not through the sale of packaged-licensed software.
On Tuesday, Adobe’s executives expressed confidence in the company’s ability to raise prices annually for its subscription-based services, while driving volume growth by attracting new users.
“We’re able to do that through the various new products that are attracting folks to our platform… And then as they get comfortable with those, they end up to upsell them into full suite products for multiple applications,” Chief Financial Officer John Murphy on post-earnings call.
Subscription revenue during the second quarter jumped 27.7% to $2.46 billion and product revenue rose 1.2% to $152.8 million.
Revenue from Adobe’s digital media segment jumped 22% to $1.89 billion, above estimates of $1.86 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Revenue from its Experience Cloud business, which provides services including analytics, advertising and marketing, rose 34% to $784 million, above analysts’ estimate of $774.9 million. The growth was helped by the acquisitions of Magento and Marketo, Chief Executive Officer Shantanu Narayen said on the call.
However, the company expects to report revenue of about $2.80 billion in the third quarter, below analysts’ estimates of $2.83 billion. It estimates a 20% revenue rise in its digital media unit in the current quarter.
The San Jose, California-based company’s revenue jumped 25% to $2.74 billion in the quarter ended May 31, beating estimates of $2.70 billion.
Excluding items, Adobe earned $1.83 per share, above the average analyst estimate of $1.78.
(Reporting by Sayanti Chakraborty in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)
Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during a rally against U.S. President Donald Trump, in London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
June 18, 2019
(Reuters) – British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn will back a move on Wednesday for Labour party to change its Brexit policy and support a second referendum in all circumstances, The Times reported, citing a senior Labour source.
Labour, which along with the Conservatives saw its support slump at the European elections as voters expressed their frustration over Brexit deadlock, is divided over whether to unequivocally support holding a second referendum.
Corbyn has so far only said the option of another Brexit vote should be kept on the table, along with a national election. The prospect poses a dilemma as many of the party’s supporters backed Brexit.
(Reporting by Ishita Chigilli Palli in Bengaluru; Editing by Chris Reese)
Soccer Football – Women’s World Cup – Group C – Italy v Brazil – Stade du Hainaut, Valenciennes, France – June 18, 2019 Brazil’s Debinha is fouled by Italy’s Elena Linari resulting in a penalty being awarded to Brazil REUTERS/Phil Noble
June 18, 2019
VALENCIENNES, France (Reuters) – Marta’s second-half penalty sent Brazil into the last 16 of the women’s World Cup with a 1-0 win against Italy on Tuesday that ensured they finished as one of the best third-placed sides.
Marta, the only player to score at five different World Cups, converted a spot kick in the 74th minute as Brazil finished third in Group C on six points, level with Italy, who top the group on goal difference.
It was Marta’s 17th World Cup goal, moving her ahead of Germany’s Miroslav Klose to become the outright top scorer in both the men’s and women’s game.
Australia beat Jamaica 4-1 to finish second in the group, also on six points, but ahead on goals scored of Brazil, who face a clash with either hosts France or Germany for a place in the quarter-finals.
“We were obviously targeting the first place in the group, but this is a World Cup after all. Now it doesn’t matter who will cross our path. We can’t choose it,” said Marta. “We have cleared a goal of ours: qualifying. Now it’s a matter to get ready and to try to go further.”
Italy coach Milena Bertolini told a new conference: “It’s hard to say it’s a nice defeat, however we are pleased to come through as group winners. It was very much unexpected as our goal was to just make it past the group phase.”
Italy looked physically superior, but it was Brazil who had the biggest early chance when Debinha flicked on a corner kick and forced Italy keeper Laura Giuliani to make a point-blank save.
Cristiana Girelli fired home after controlling superbly in the area, but the effort was disallowed for offside in the 29th minute.
Italy went close again in the 40th minute when Barbara Bonansea’s volley at the end of a quick counter-attack forced Brazil keeper Barbara to make a spectacular save.
Brazil threatened after the break, with Cristiane’s finely-taken free kick hitting the crossbar in the 52nd minute.
Brazil were eventually rewarded when they were awarded a penalty after Debinha was brought down by Elena Linari and Marta coolly converted the spot kick, wrongfooting Giuliani.
(Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)
Soccer Football – Women’s World Cup – Group C – Jamaica v Australia – Stade des Alpes, Grenoble, France – June 18, 2019 Australia’s Sam Kerr scores their fourth goal REUTERS/Emmanuel Foudrot
June 18, 2019
GRENOBLE, France (Reuters) – – Sam Kerr struck four times to send Australia through to the last 16 of the women’s World Cup with a 4-1 victory against Jamaica on Tuesday.
Kerr struck twice either side of the interval as Australia finished second in Group C. They pipped third-placed Brazil on goals scored to set up a meeting with Norway for a place in the quarter-finals.
Jamaica bagged their first goal of the tournament through Havana Solaun but finished bottom of the Group after three defeats.
Italy topped Group C on goal difference with six points despite a 1-0 defeat against Brazil.
Kerr scored her second goal of the tournament with a header after 11 minutes to put the Matildas in the driving seat on a stiflingly hot night at the Stade des Alves.
Kerr doubled the tally three minutes before the break with another header after being left unmarked in the area.
Halftime substitute Solaun reduced the arrears as she netted Jamaica’s first women’s World Cup goal after collecting a perfect through ball from Khadija Shaw in the 49th minute.
But Kerr became the first Australian to score a hat-trick in a senior World Cup with a clinical finish after a defensive blunder by the Jamaicans.
She added a fourth seven minutes from time and that final goal allowed them to leapfrog Brazil on goals scored in the standings.
(Writing by Julien Pretot, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
FILE PHOTO: The logo for Anadarko Petroleum corp. is displayed on a screen on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
June 18, 2019
By Sabina Zawadzki
LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. energy firm Anadarko Petroleum Corp on Tuesday gave the go-ahead for the construction of a $20 billion gas liquefaction and export terminal in Mozambique, the largest single LNG project approved in Africa.
The announcement, which occurred at an event in Mozambique, was widely expected after Anadarko last month flagged the decision date.
“As the world increasingly seeks cleaner forms of energy, the Anadarko-led Area 1 Mozambique LNG project is ideally located to meet growing demand, particularly in expanding Asian and European markets,” Chief Executive Officer Al Walker said in a statement http://pdf.reuters.com/htmlnews/htmlnews.asp?i=43059c3bf0e37541&u=urn:newsml:reuters.com:20190618:nPn4scVtza.
Anadarko has agreed to be taken over by Occidental Petroleum Corp. Once that deal goes ahead, Occidental has agreed to sell assets including the Mozambique LNG project to French oil major and large LNG trader Total SA. Officials at Total were not immediately available for comment.
Natural gas use is growing rapidly around the world as countries seek to meet rising energy demand and wean their industrial and power sectors off dirtier coal.
The project, which has committed long-term supplies to utilities, major LNG portfolio holders and state companies around the world, underscores the industry’s conviction that LNG demand will soar in years to come despite a slump in prices this year.
Low prices for the gas that is super-cooled for transportation prompted fears final investment decisions (FIDs) such as Anadarko’s would be delayed or scrapped. But the U.S. company gathered enough long-term buyers to underpin the financing of the project.
“Flexible commercial arrangements, including an innovative co-purchase agreement with Tokyo Gas and Centrica, have been instrumental in securing the project a roster of high-quality customers in a crowded LNG market,” said Frank Harris, head of LNG Consulting at Wood Mackenzie.
LNG prices slumped this year as a jump in supply from new terminals in the United States, Australia and Russia were not totally met by higher demand in Asia.
The trade is also nowhere near as developed as the market for crude oil, causing erratic price movements.
“At $20 billion, today’s FID is the largest sanction ever in sub-Saharan Africa oil and gas,” added Jon Lawrence, an analyst with Wood Mackenzie’s sub-Saharan Africa upstream team.
The project is also expected to be transformational for Mozambique, one of the poorest nations on earth beset by economic crisis, conflict stemming from a civil war and serious governance malaise, whose annual gross domestic product is just $13 billion.
The government of Mozambique said the project is expected to create more than 5,000 direct jobs and 45,000 indirect jobs.
With a 12.88 million tonne per year (mtpa) capacity, Mozambique LNG is one of the largest greenfield LNG facilities to have ever been approved. It involves building infrastructure to extract gas from a field offshore northern Mozambique, pump it onshore and liquefy it, ready for further export by LNG tankers.
On the African east coast, the liquefaction plant will be able to sell LNG to both the lucrative Asian market, home to 75%of global LNG demand, and to the flexible European market, which helps balance global LNG trade by soaking up excess supply.
Mozambique LNG joins other mega-projects approved in the past year such as Exxon Mobil Corp’s 16 mtpa U.S. Golden Pass plant and Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s 14 mtpa LNG Canada facility.
Still expected this year are approvals from Exxon for a 15.2 mtpa project also in Mozambique, and from Russia’s Novatek for its 19.8 mtpa Arctic LNG-2 plant.
Anadarko’s partners in the Mozambique LNG project are Mitsui, Mozambique state energy company ENH, Thailand’s PTT and Indian energy firms ONGC, Bharat Petroleum Resources and Oil India.
(Reporting by Sabina Zawadzki in London; additional reporting by Scott DiSavino in New York and Debroop Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey, Marguerita Choy and Arun Koyyur)
FILE PHOTO: Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speak to the media at the State Department in Washington, U.S., April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
June 18, 2019
By Phil Stewart and Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan abandoned his quest for the top Pentagon job on Tuesday as reports emerged of domestic violence in his family, plunging the leadership of the U.S. military into new uncertainty just as tensions with Iran are rising.
Shanahan said he made the decision, first announced by U.S. President Donald Trump in a tweet, to prevent his three children from reliving “a traumatic chapter in our family life.”
“It is unfortunate that a painful and deeply personal family situation from long ago is being dredged up,” Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, said in a statement.
Hours after naming Secretary of the Army Mark Esper to replace Shanahan as acting secretary, Trump told reporters he would likely nominate the former Raytheon executive and army veteran to the defense secretary position.
Shanahan, 56, was thrust into the role in an acting capacity in January, after then Defense Secretary Jim Mattis abruptly resigned over policy differences with Trump.
He had been due to go before U.S. senators for confirmation hearings when the allegations of incidents of domestic violence surfaced as part of FBI background checks.
USA Today reported that the FBI had been examining a nine-year-old dispute involving Shanahan and his then-wife.
The newspaper reported https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/06/18/defense-secretary-fbi-patrick-shanahan-wife-domestic-violence-altercation/1470811001 that Shanahan said in a statement late on Monday that he “never laid a hand on” his former wife. USA Today reported that he and his wife both claimed they had been punched by the other and that his wife was arrested after the incident but the charges were dropped.
The Washington Post also reported that Shanahan’s teenage son allegedly hit his mother with a baseball bat in 2011, when the Shanahans were already living apart, leaving her unconscious in a pool of blood.
The Post said Shanahan had been responding to its questions about the incidents since January. He told the paper he now believes he was wrong to say in a memo to his ex-wife’s brother that his son had acted in self-defense.
“Bad things can happen to good families . . . and this is a tragedy, really,” the paper quoted Shanahan as saying. He added the disclosure of the incident would “ruin my son’s life.”
Shanahan has been a prominent figure as tensions between the United States and Iran have risen in recent weeks. It was Shanahan who announced the deployment of about 1,000 more troops to the Middle East on Monday, citing concerns about a threat from Iran.
Worries about a confrontation between the two countries have mounted since attacks last week on two oil tankers near the Gulf. Washington blamed long-time foe Iran for the incidents but Tehran denies responsibility.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it was a bad time for the United States not to have stable leadership at the Pentagon.
“This is a very difficult time, with everything going on in Iran and with provocations and counteractions. And to have no Secretary of Defense at this time? It’s appalling, and it shows the chaos in this administration,” he told reporters.
The decision to stand down promises to prolong what has already been the longest period without a confirmed defense secretary.
Shanahan was the longest official in history to serve as secretary of defense in only an acting capacity, according to Pentagon records. Part of the delay was due to Shanahan being under investigation by the Pentagon inspector general for allegedly seeking preferential treatment of Boeing while at the department. He was cleared of wrongdoing in April.
Shanahan did not have prior experience in national security matters before he was picked by Mattis to be his deputy.
A source familiar with the situation said Shanahan met Trump in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning to say he wanted to step down. The source, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said the decision was 100 percent Shanahan’s.
(Additional reporting by Makini Brice and Amanda Becker; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Mary Milliken, Nick Zieminski and Sonya Hepinstall)
FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission logo adorns an office door at the SEC headquarters in Washington, June 24, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
June 18, 2019
By Katanga Johnson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday it is considering boosting the number of options in private stock sales by broadening access to more potential investors and revamping the capital-raising process of private companies.
The agency invited the public to comment on whether it should expand its private-offering framework.
SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said he considers public consultation a step toward addressing concerns over the large amount of capital raised in the private versus public markets, and the way it bars some investors from participating.
“We are taking a critical look at our exemptions from registration to ensure that our multifaceted private offering framework works for investors and entrepreneurs alike, no matter where they are located in the United States,” Clayton said.
He added that the goal is to expand investment opportunities while maintaining appropriate protections.
Tuesday’s request for comment seeks public feedback on whether the SEC should take steps to facilitate a company’s transition from one form of offering to another, and whether retail investors should be allowed greater exposure to companies through pooled investment, the agency said.
It will also consider the limitations on who, and in what amount, a person can invest in a private company stock sale.
The agency said it welcomes responses from startups, entrepreneurs and investors.
Some industry advocates welcome the SEC’s public consultation, arguing that both companies and investors stand to win if the agency moved to adopt a proposal that expanded investor access to private offerings.
“There is huge interest from retail investors in getting in on the ground floor of the next large successful company,” said Dina Ellis Rochkind, an attorney with the Paul Hastings law firm. There would be equally strong interest from startups to raise capital from retail investors, she added.
Democrat-appointed Commissioner Rob Jackson said he voted in favor of letting the public in to more private deals but was hesitant because of the potential for fraud to less-savvy investors.
“The questions in this release involve a fundamental tradeoff: the costs families suffer when investors are victims of fraud versus the benefits of broader access to capital,” Jackson said.
(Reporting by Katanga Johnson; Editing by Susan Thomas and Bill Berkrot)
FILE PHOTO: Athletics – World Athletics Championships – women’s 100 metres final – London Stadium, London, Britain – August 6, 2017 – Elaine Thompson of Jamaica after the race. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo
June 18, 2019
By Kayon Raynor
KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) – As Jamaica prepares to select their world championship team, the exhilarating days of the nation’s male sprinters, led by Usain Bolt, dominating the world are gone, two of the Caribbean island’s top coaches say.
While the country’s female sprinters continue to excel, the men do not rank among the year’s best in either the 100 or 200 meters.
“It appears we are going through another one of those cycles,” coach Glen Mills, who guided Bolt to eight Olympic gold medals and 14 world championship medals between 2007 and 2017, told Reuters.
“I think that there is talent in the junior level that could develop, which could move us once again to the forefront,” said the optimistic Mills two days before the June 20-23 national championships which will help determine the Jamaican team for the Sept. 28-Oct. 6 world championships in Doha.
Stephen Francis, who brought two-times world 100m bronze medalist and former record holder Asafa Powell to global attention, blamed a variety of reasons for the recent decline.
“You find that a combination of bad coaching, bad environment, bad influences and a lack of discipline and all that kind of thing are responsible for the fall,” Francis said in an interview with Reuters.
“I stated a couple of years ago that there was going to be a problem with male sprinting in Jamaica.”
The saving grace has been the female sprinters led by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, a five times global champion at 100m, and Rio double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, the coaches believe.
“Our female program looks very lucrative with our top females over the years, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson and of course we have quite a large number of youngsters including Briana Williams (World under-20 double gold medalist) among others,” Mills said.
Francis added: “Shelly and Elaine are there, but you have others in the pipeline who one expects in two or three or four years will replace them.
“But not so for the men, I don’t know if anybody can say where the next good talent is coming from.”
Still there is optimism that Jamaica could win as many as 10 medals in Doha.
“I think we have at least three events where we have prospects on the male side… obviously the discus (2019 world leader (Fedrick Dacres), the sprint hurdles (Olympic and world champion Omar McLeod), maybe the 400m and maybe the long jump,” Francis said.
“On the female side, there are a whole lot of events where we have medal prospects.”
Fraser-Pryce and Thompson are among the year’s fastest in the 100, Janeek Brown and Danielle Williams in the 100m hurdles and the women’s 4x100m relay team.
(Editing by Gene Cherry and Toby Davis)
FILE PHOTO: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) logo is seen before the FCC Net Neutrality hearing in Washington February 26, 2015. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
June 18, 2019
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission will vote in July on whether to auction a key band of largely unused 2.5 GHz spectrum to help advance next-generation 5G wireless networks and scrap requirements that it be used for education, the agency said on Tuesday.
The FCC in May 2018 voted to consider releasing additional key 2.5 GHz mid-band spectrum reserved in the 1960s for what is now known as the Educational Broadband Service.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement the proposal would give existing users more flexibility in how they use the spectrum. “Valuable mid-band spectrum available for new mobile services will allow for more efficient and effective use of these airwaves and will advance U.S. leadership in 5G,” he added.
Pai said last year the FCC was seeking to ensure that existing users would retain spectrum, give some entities a chance to obtain new licenses “and then auctioning off the remaining white spaces.” Reuters reported the auction plans earlier on Tuesday.
Sprint Corp uses leased spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band in its existing 4G network and 5G network that it is being rolled out. That spectrum is a key part of Sprint and T-Mobile US Inc’s proposed $26 billion tie-up and 5G plan, and is not directly affected by the auction, FCC officials said.
The U.S. Education Department in a June 7 letter told the FCC it should maintain an “educational use requirement” for that spectrum and suggested setting aside revenue from license sales to help students who lack the internet access required to do their homework.
The FCC proposal would remove that educational requirement, officials told reporters on a conference call. It did not provide an auction timetable but said the proposal would establish a “competitive bidding window.” Several FCC auctions are planned this year, the agency added.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr last year noted that the 2.5 GHz band is unused in about half the country, and more than 90% of the licenses held by educational institutions are leased to other entities.
Carr said those arrangements show “many educational institutions have contracted with those providers so that each can focus on what it does best: the former can educate
students, and the latter can build wireless networks.”
The FCC also plans to vote next month on revising its children’s television programming rules, it said in a statement.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Richard Chang)
FILE PHOTO: The Google logo is pictured at the entrance to the Google offices in London, Britain January 18, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo
June 18, 2019
By Paresh Dave and Arjun Panchadar
(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google announced on Tuesday it would set aside $750 million in land and $250 million in financing to spur developers in the San Francisco Bay Area to build at least 20,000 homes and rehabilitate other housing over the next decade.
Google, which told Reuters it has 45,000 employees in the region, has been the target of local activists who for several years have said the company’s growth and high salaries have contributed to rising rents and housing shortages. They have called on Google and other Silicon Valley tech companies to invest in affordable housing and rethink expansions.
Google said housing had reached a “crisis point” in the Bay Area but declined to comment on whether its announcement in a blog post on Tuesday was a response to pressure from community activists, who plan to demonstrate Wednesday outside Alphabet’s annual shareholder meeting.
Activist group Silicon Valley Rising called Google’s announcement “a great step in the right direction.”
In January, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropy in partnership with other groups said they planned to raise $500 million to build or preserve more than 8,000 homes in the Bay Area over 10 years. And Microsoft Corp pledged $500 million toward addressing homelessness and developing affordable housing in the Seattle region.
Google told Reuters it would lease land valued at $750 million, and largely zoned for offices or shops, to construct mostly apartments and some for-sale homes for a total of at least 15,000 units.
It declined to elaborate on why the space is no longer needed for offices.
The $250 million would go toward equity and debt investments in projects preserving existing affordable housing or constructing at least 5,000 new affordable units for people of various income levels. Google said it would prioritize developments near transportation hubs by its offices.
Google has already proposed 5,700 new homes at one of its developments in Mountain View, California adding that it is also in discussions with the cities of Sunnyvale and San Jose.
(Reporting by Paresh Dave in San Francisco and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel and Lisa Shumaker)
FILE PHOTO: Mar 31, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) runs the bases after hitting a home run during the bottom of the seventh inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports – 12451096
June 18, 2019
The New York Yankees activated outfielder Giancarlo Stanton from the 10-day injured list, and he is expected to be in the lineup when the Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.
Stanton, 29, has played just three games this season while battling multiple injuries and went on the IL on April 1. He will bat fifth and play right field.
In anticipation of the move, the Yankees optioned outfielder Mike Tauchman to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Monday’s game.
The 29-year-old Stanton had 97 total home runs the previous two seasons.
The Yankees also are expecting outfielder Aaron Judge, who has played in just 20 games this season because of an oblique injury, to return this week.
–Field Level Media
A woman shops in a supermarket in Buenos Aires, Argentina April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian
June 18, 2019
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s gross domestic product (GDP) likely contracted 5.9% in the first quarter from the same quarter a year ago, hit by a decline in domestic consumption and production due to stubbornly high inflation and a sharp recession, according to analysts polled by Reuters.
South America’s second largest economy is expected to report official GDP data for the first quarter on Wednesday, according to the statistics agency INDEC’s formal publication schedule.
A Reuters poll of eight local and international analysts indicated a range of economic contractions between 5.6% and 7.2%, with the average drop around 5.9%. Analysts said a gradual recovery process would follow.
“Slowly economic activity will recover,” as it benefited from low levels of consumption and idle capacity in the quarterly comparisons, said Pablo Besmedrisnik, director of consultancy Invenómica.
Argentina’s economy had grown 3.9% year-on-year in the same quarter in 2018, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INDEC). The country’s GDP has been falling since the second quarter of 2018.
(Reporting by Hernan Nessi; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Australian Open – Second Round – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, January 16, 2019. Russia’s Maria Sharapova in action during the match against Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
June 18, 2019
By Martyn Herman
SANTA PONSA, Spain (Reuters) – After two weeks enjoying the delights of Mallorca it was time for business for Maria Sharapova on Tuesday as she launched her comeback from a six-month injury lay-off in style.
The Russian five-times Grand Slam champion struggled for rhythm initially on the low-bouncing grasscourt at the Mallorca Open but picked up the pace to beat Viktoria Kuzmova 7-6(8) 6-0.
It was a small step for the 32-year-old who will face reigning Wimbledon champion and top seed Angelique Kerber in a standout second-round match at the Santa Ponsa Tennis Club.
Kerber, who suffered an ankle injury during the claycourt season and lost in the first round at the French Open, beat Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure 7-5 4-6 6-2.
Former world number one Sharapova admitted there is still much to work on but was encouraged by her display in negotiating a tricky opening round — her first competitive match since the St Petersburg Open in January.
There were a few double faults in the first set but the right shoulder that has caused her so much trouble in the past and needed minor surgery in February appeared to hold up.
She saved two set points in the opener but allowed her opponent, ranked 39 places higher than her at 46, only six points in the second as a large crowd, which included tournament referee Toni Nadal, watched under a blazing sun.
It was the 2004 Wimbledon champion’s first win on grass for four years in only her second match on the surface in that time.
“It was nice to get a victory,” she told reporters.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been out there so it felt really good to go through a few things I’ve worked on and get the arm into action again. There’s a lot to work on but I had to start somewhere.”
Wildcard Sharapova said she felt “optimistic” about the shoulder that needed minor surgery in February and did not feel anything “too sharp” during the match.
With rain falling elsewhere in Europe, Mallorca appeared a wise choice as a starting point for a suspect shoulder but it was not all smooth for wildcard Sharapova against Kuzmova.
The Slovak broke to lead 6-5 in the first set as Sharapova served three double-faults. Sharapova broke back immediately to force a tiebreak but had to fend off a set point at 6-7 and another at 7-8 before sealing the set when Kuzmova missed a forehand.
A confident Sharapova romped through the second set.
Victoria Azerenka, the third former world number one in action on the day, was beaten 1-6 6-4 7-5 by Caroline Garcia.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)
Argentine politician Sergio Massa arrives for a meeting with presidential candidate Alberto Fernandez (not pictured), in Buenos Aires, Argentina, June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian
June 18, 2019
BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentine politician Sergio Massa, who recently pledged his support to the main opposition challengers to President Mauricio Macri, is in line to play a key role in the country’s Congress if his new allies win national elections later this year.
The former chief of staff said on Tuesday he would be the first on a list of candidates to lead the Chamber of Deputies, one of the country’s two houses of Congress, if Peronist hopeful Alberto Fernandez wins the presidency.
Massa, a centrist politician who had himself eyed a presidential run, struck an alliance last week with Fernandez and his unrelated running mate Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who served as president from 2007 to 2015.
The alliance – which had raised the question of what role Massa would take – is expected to widen the appeal of the Fernandez-Fernandez ticket to more moderate voters, particularly in the key province of Buenos Aires.
Argentina’s National Congress is comprised of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
“Beyond my personal interest, our biggest responsibility is to give Argentines the possibility to build a majority to have a new government,” Massa said during a seminar in Buenos Aires.
The Fernandez-Fernandez pairing will take on center-right leader Macri in elections in October. If no candidate wins 45% of votes in the first round of voting – or wins at least 40% with a 10 percentage point margin over the second-place finisher – the race will go to a runoff in November.
Macri, who has been hit hard in the polls by a painful economic recession and market volatility, will seek re-election with running mate Miguel Ángel Pichetto, another moderate Peronist.
(Reporting by Gabriel Burin; writing by Adam Jourdan; editing by Leslie Adler)
FILE PHOTO: May 6, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) reacts during the second half in game four of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports – 12656499
June 18, 2019
Should you know the whereabouts of Kyrie Irving, the Boston Celtics would like a word.
Irving, who can opt out of his contract and become a free agent June 30, has reportedly gone silent and given president Danny Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens no choice but to assume he will move on to another team.
Reports last week indicated Irving was “preparing to sign” with the Brooklyn Nets not long after splitting from his only professional agent to join the stable of Roc Nation.
Because Irving has no active agent — his change from Jeff Wechsler cannot be official until June 29 — the Celtics have no conduit to the six-time All-Star.
ESPN reported Tuesday the Celtics are “almost to the point of resignation” that Irving is, in fact, leaving Boston.
The Boston Globe claims Irving is “ghosting” the Celtics and the team has little to no communication with him.
Kevin Durant reportedly had no such issue getting through to Irving.
Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report said Friday on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on Fox Sports Radio that a meeting between the two basketball superstars took place in New York, and likely means Durant won’t be returning to the Golden State Warriors.
Durant was in New York City on an extended stay since traveling there to have surgery for a ruptured Achilles suffered in Toronto during Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
–Field Level Media
FILE PHOTO: Boris Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, leaves home in London, Britain, June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
June 18, 2019
LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson, the frontrunner to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May, won the most votes cast in the second round of voting for Conservative Party leader on Tuesday, with four other candidates also getting through.
Johnson, a former London mayor and foreign minister, won 126 votes, with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt in second place on 46 votes and environment minister Michael Gove third with 41 votes.
The international development minister Rory Stewart was fourth on 37 votes and the interior minister Sajid Javid was fifth on 33 votes.
One candidate — former Brexit minister Dominic Raab — was eliminated after he failed to receive the required minimum of 33 votes.
Now the remaining candidates will face further votes to whittle down the contest to two, when Conservative members will decide who will become leader, and Britain’s next prime minister.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper. Editing by Andrew MacAskill)
FILE PHOTO: South African athlete Caster Semenya speaks with journalists after she raced for the first time after her ban due to elevated testosterone levels at a small meeting in Montreuil, near Paris, France, June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer – /File Photo
June 18, 2019
(Reuters) – Caster Semenya will get another chance at her favorite event, the 800 meters, when the South African competes in the June 30 Prefontaine Classic in California, her agent and meeting officials told Reuters on Tuesday.
The race will be the first at the distance for the double Olympic champion since the Swiss Federal Tribunal issued a stay of new IAAF regulations for XY chromosome athletes like Semenya with differences in sexual development (DSDs) who compete in events ranging from 400 meters to a mile.
“Caster’s representation requested that she be removed from the 3,000 meters (where she was originally entered) to the 800 meters and we are happy to comply,” meet director Tom Jordan said in a telephone interview.
“Indications are she will be going for a fast time,” said Jordan, who was busy lining up a competitive field for the race at Stanford University.
Semenya, unbeaten at the distance in 30 finals since 2015, has a personal best of 1:54.25, with the world record 1:53.28.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) last month rejected her appeal against the rules, which mean middle distance female athletes with a high natural level of testosterone must take medication to reduce it.
Semenya has defiantly refused to take medication and appealed to the Swiss Federal Tribunal, which earlier this month said the South African will be able to run in the 800m without medication until her appeal is ruled on by the tribunal on June 25.
The ruling applied only to Semenya, the IAAF said.
“Nothing changes from our point of view,” an IAAF spokeswoman said on Tuesday when asked for comment on Semenya decision to run in the Diamond League race.
“The IAAF continues to comply with the Swiss Federal Tribunal’s order dated 31 May to suspend the DSD Regulations in as far as they apply to the appellant. It should be noted that the Diamond League meetings are not organized by the IAAF. Entry for any athlete into a Diamond League meeting is by invitation only from the meeting organizer.”
Semenya had wanted to run an 800 meters at Sunday’s Rabat Diamond League meeting. She at first was denied entry but officials later reversed their decision.
It came too late, Semenya said.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar)
FILE PHOTO: Jun 2, 2019; Paris, France: Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) hits the ball to Stan Wawrinka (not pictured) on day eight of the 2019 French Open at Stade Roland Garros. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports
June 18, 2019
(Reuters) – Rain forced the cancellation of the second day’s play at the Queen’s Club Championships on Tuesday, with matches involving the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Juan Martin del Potro rescheduled for Wednesday.
As many as 10 singles matches and two doubles contests were set to be played on Tuesday but spells of rain led to a number of false starts before the organizers were forced to cancel the day’s play after 1700 local time (1600GMT).
Britain’s former world number one Andy Murray is scheduled to make his comeback on Wednesday, five months after what he has described as “life-changing” hip resurfacing surgery following his first round exit at the Australian Open.
The 32-year-old Scot will partner Spain’s Feliciano Lopez in the doubles competition.
The Queen’s Club tournament is a traditional warm-up event for the Wimbledon Championships which start on July 1.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)
FILE PHOTO: Single family homes being built by KB Homes are shown under construction in San Diego, California, U.S., April 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
June 18, 2019
By Lucia Mutikani
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. homebuilding fell in May, but groundbreaking activity in the prior two months was stronger than previously thought, pointing to some tentative signs of improvement in the struggling housing market.
Land and labor shortages are, however, making it difficult for builders, especially in the single-family housing segment, to fully take advantage of a sharp decline in mortgage rates. That has left the housing market continuing to grapple with tight inventory and sluggish sales growth.
The report from the Commerce Department on Tuesday came as Federal Reserve officials started a two-day policy meeting.
Low inflation, a slowing economy and an escalation in the trade war between Washington and Beijing have led financial markets to fully price in an interest rate cut this year, pulling down mortgage rates. The U.S. central bank is, however, not expected to cut rates on Wednesday.
“Housing continues to wander along, not doing much better but not weakening a whole lot,” said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pennsylvania.
Housing starts dropped 0.9% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.269 million units last month amid a drop in the construction of single-family housing units, the government said. Data for April was revised up to show homebuilding rising to a pace of 1.281 million units, instead of increasing to a rate of 1.235 million units as previously reported. Housing starts in March were also stronger than initially estimated.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast housing starts edging up to a pace of 1.239 million units in May.
Single-family homebuilding, which accounts for the largest share of the housing market, dropped 6.4% to a rate of 820,000 units in May. Single-family housing starts fell in the Northeast, the Midwest and West, but rose in the South, where the bulk of homebuilding occurs.
Some on the weakness in groundbreaking activity likely reflects heavy rain and flooding in some parts of the country.
The housing market hit a soft patch last year and has been a drag on economic growth for five straight quarters.
The PHLX housing index was trading higher, in line with a broadly firmer U.S. stock market. The dollar rose slightly against a basket of currencies, while U.S. Treasury yields fell.
Despite the recent signs of improvement in housing starts, there are concerns that renewed trade tensions between the United States and China could hurt future home building.
A survey on Monday showed confidence among homebuilders ebbed in June, with builders continuing “to report rising development and construction costs, with some additional concerns over trade issues.”
Builders said that despite lower mortgage rates, “home prices remain somewhat high relative to incomes, which is particularly challenging for entry-level buyers.”
The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has decreased to 3.82% from a peak of about 4.94% in November, according to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac. According to the latest data, house prices rose 3.7% in March from a year ago, outpacing wages, which increased 3.1% in May.
Building permits rose 0.3% to a rate of 1.294 million units in May. It was the second straight monthly increase in permits. Building permits have been weak this year, with much of the decline concentrated in the single-family housing segment.
Permits to build single-family homes increased 3.7% to a rate of 815,000 units in May, after five straight monthly declines. Permits were boosted by a 7.7% jump in the South, the largest gain since December 2016. But single-family housing permits fell in the Northeast, West and Midwest.
“The gain in permits along with more favorable buying conditions points to gradually improving activity over the summer,” said Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina. “That said, lower mortgages rates will not likely be rocket fuel for residential construction, and a surge in activity is unlikely.”
Starts for the volatile multi-family housing segment surged 10.9% to a rate of 449,000 units last month. Permits for the construction of multi-family homes dropped 5.0% to a pace of 479,000 units.
Housing completions fell 9.5% to 1.213 million last month. Realtors estimate that housing starts and completion rates need to be in a range of 1.5 million to 1.6 million units per month to plug the inventory gap. The stock of housing under construction was little changed at 1.131 million units.
“If you were waiting for more construction to deal with the nation’s growing housing shortage, you are going to have a longer wait,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at MUFG in New York.
(Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
Israeli Eviation Alice electric aircraft is seen on static display, at the eve of the opening of the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France, June 16 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
June 18, 2019
LE BOURGET, France (Reuters) – An electric plane capable of flying up to 650 miles with nine passengers made its debut at the Paris Airshow on Tuesday, with its manufacturer targeting regional commuter routes such as the French capital to the southern city of Toulouse.
Eviation Aircraft said the plane – called Alice – was a radical rethinking of the cost, experience and environmental impact of regional travel.
The impact of air travel on the environment has become a key focus of climate campaigners and airlines have long been looking at ways to address emissions and their costs through new designs and cleaner technologies.
“Operating at a fraction of the costs of conventional jetliners, our Alice will redefine how people travel regionally and usher in a new era of flying that is quieter, cleaner and cost effective,” Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay said.
The company said it would be aimed at high traffic commutes such as Paris to Toulouse, Norway’s Oslo to Trondheim and America’s San Jose to San Diego.
It said its first commercial customer would be Cape Air, one of the largest independent regional airlines in the United States, serving 35 cities there and in the Caribbean. Cape Air has a “double-digit” purchase option for Alice, a statement said.
“We see tremendous opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of our operations,” Cape Air founder and CEO Dan Wolf said in a statement released from the airshow, which has been dominated by deals for industry heavyweights Boeing and Airbus.
Following test flights this year and certification in 2021, Eviation said it planned to begin shipping the aircraft for commercial use in 2022.
(Writing by Alison Williams in London; Editing by Janet Lawrence)
FILE PHOTO: A demonstrator holds a poster with a picture of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 25, 2018. REUTERS/Osman Orsal/File Photo
June 18, 2019
GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations extrajudicial executions investigator, Agnes Callamard, will to issue her report on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Wednesday, a statement said.
Callamard, who has led an international inquiry into Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October, said after a visit to Turkey this year that the evidence pointed to a brutal crime “planned and perpetrated” by Saudi officials.
The CIA and some Western countries believe Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, ordered the killing, which Saudi officials deny.
(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
FILE PHOTO: Bombardier’s logo is seen on the building of the company’s service centre at Biggin Hill, Britain March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo
June 18, 2019
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s government will buy three new Bombardier jets this year, RND newspapers reported on Tuesday, adding that the deal would have a volume of 240 million euros ($268.51 million).
The finance ministry is willing to approve the on-top budget request by the defense ministry to unlock the funds, RND reported, citing a confidential document the finance ministry sent to the budget commission in the lower house of parliament.
Germany’s government fleet, transporting Angela Merkel and ministers around the world, has been grappling with a series of technical incidents and outages over the last months. It has decided to order three new Airbus A350-900 aircrafts in April.
(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Michael Nienaber)
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees arrive at FCI Victorville federal prison in Victorville, California, U.S. June 8, 2018. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon
June 18, 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Monday that U.S. authorities would begin next week removing millions of immigrants who are in the United States illegally.
“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Trump tweeted, referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. “They will be removed as fast as they come in,” he said. He did not offer specifics.
There are an estimated 12 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally, mainly from Mexico and Central America.
Under a deal reached earlier this month, Mexico has agreed to take Central American immigrants seeking asylum in the United States until their cases are heard in U.S. courts.
The agreement, which included Mexico pledging to deploy National Guard troops to stop Central American immigrants from reaching the U.S. border, averted a Trump threat to hit Mexican imports with tariffs.
Trump also said in the tweet that Guatemala “is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement.”
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence suggested last week that Guatemala could receive asylum seekers from its neighbors as a so-called safe third country.
Details of the plan have not been made public, and Guatemala has not publicly confirmed talks that the U.S. State Department said were taking place in Guatemala on Friday.
U.S. rights group Human Rights First said, however, it was “simply ludicrous” for the United States to assert that Guatemala was capable of protecting refugees, when its own citizens are fleeing violence.
Mexico has agreed that if its measures to stem the flow of migrants are unsuccessful, it will discuss signing a safe third country agreement with the United States.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Peter Cooney)
FILE PHOTO: Part of film producer Harvey Weinstein’s new legal team, attorney Jose Baez, speaks following a hearing at New York Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., January 25, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
June 18, 2019
NEW YORK (Reuters) – One of the lawyers representing Harvey Weinstein in his rape trial due to begin in September has asked a judge to let him drop the former movie producer as a client, the New York Post reported, citing a letter from the attorney to the New York court.
The attorney, Jose Baez, asked a Manhattan justice to let him off the case six months after Weinstein, 67, hired him because of their strained relationship, the newspaper reported on Monday.
“Mr. Weinstein has engaged in behavior that makes this representation unreasonably difficult to carry out effectively and has insisted upon taking actions with which I have fundamental disagreements,” Baez wrote to Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Burke last week, according to the newspaper.
Baez did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
Prosecutors in New York accuse Weinstein, 67, of forcibly performing oral sex on a woman in 2006 and raping another woman in 2013. Weinstein faces five criminal charges, including rape, and could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The trial is scheduled to begin on Sept. 9.
More than 70 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. He has denied all accusations and said any sexual contact was consensual.
Weinstein hired Baez and Harvard University law professor Ron Sullivan after his former attorney Ben Brafman left the case in January. Sullivan left the case last month after his defense of Weinstein sparked an outcry at Harvard and led to his dismissal from a dean role.
Baez previously represented Casey Anthony, a Florida woman found not guilty in 2011 of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in a high-profile criminal case.
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Will Dunham)
FILE PHOTO: Vice governor of the People’s Bank of China Chen Yulu attends a thematic forum of the second Belt and Road Forum for international cooperation in Beijing, China, April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo
June 18, 2019
LONDON (Reuters) – China will let markets play a more prominent role in deciding the exchange rate for its yuan currency, the central bank’s vice governor Chen Yulu said on Tuesday.
“We will improve the market based exchange rate formation and transmission mechanism, we aim to let the market play a more decisive role in determining exchange rate,” Chen said during an event at Bloomberg in London.
China has taken big strides in trying to promote the international usage of its currency since 2009 but the yuan’s take up in global trade and markets remains meagre thanks to its relatively closed markets and largely policy determined exchange rate.
Chen also added that policy makers in the world’s second largest economy would push ahead with efforts to make yuan-denominated assets more attractive to investors outside China and focus on opening its financial sector.
“Going forward, China will pursue high standards in improving the financial sector: We will improve the business standard and improve the policy climate to further improve the attractiveness of RMB assets.”
(Reporting by Karin Strohecker and Saikat Chatterjee)
FILE PHOTO: View of the house of District President of Kassel Walter Luebcke, who was found dead, is pictured in Wolfhagen-Istha near Kassel, Germany, June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski/File Photo
June 18, 2019
BERLIN (Reuters) – The murder of a prominent politician by a suspected right-wing radical is an assault on Germany’s democratic system and should serve as a wake-up call, the interior minister said on Tuesday, pledging to combat all forms of extremism.
The arrest of a right-winger over the shooting two weeks ago of Walter Luebcke, a regional ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel known for his pro-migrant views, shocked Germany and prompted calls for a more pro-active government response to anti-immigrant extremists.
“Right-wing extremism is a serious danger for our free society. We must fight it with all we can,” Horst Seehofer, a Bavarian who opposed the open-door migrant policy Merkel operated in 2015-16, told a news conference.
“The attack on a representative of our state is an alarm signal … combating extremism and terrorism of all kinds is a central matter for this government,” he said.
Germany is home to some 12,700 potentially violent far-right radicals, domestic intelligence agency BfV estimates, and a Civey poll showed 60 percent of Germans think the government is doing too little to oppose them.
Luebcke, the head of the district government in Kassel in the state of Hesse, was shot in the head at close range on the terrace of his home two weeks ago. A 45-year-old named by police as Stephan E. was arrested at the weekend after they found his DNA at the scene.
Investigators said he was a known right-wing radical in the 1980s and 1990s. He had been a member of a shooting club but did not have a gun license.
German media have reported that the suspect was a member of an armed branch of the banned ‘Blood and Honour’ European network of neo-Nazis, but Seehofer said it was unclear whether he was part of a group or a loose network of right-wing extremists.
Germany was shaken by the chance discovery in 2011 of a neo-Nazi cell, the National Socialist Underground whose members murdered eight Turks, a Greek man and a German policewoman from 2000 to 2007.
After fierce criticism of the intelligence agencies and police for underestimating the risk of far-right violence, reforms were introduced, such as closer coordination between agencies and regions.
BfV chief Thomas Haldenwang said much had changed. “But in view of the scale of the threat from the right, we are not in a position to say we have mastered (it),” he told reporters.
Last year, Germany was shaken by violent right-wing protests in the eastern town of Chemnitz after the killing of a Cuban-German citizen for which two immigrants were arrested. Soon after, the then head of the BfV was ousted after he was accused of harboring right-wing sympathies.
(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; editing by John Stonestreet)
FILE PHOTO: Neil Woodford, founder and fund manager at Woodford Investment Management, is seen in this undated handout picture released on June 10, 2019. Jonathan Atkins/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
June 18, 2019
By Carolyn Cohn and Muvija M
(Reuters) – British money manager Neil Woodford faced further pressure on Tuesday after retail platform Fidelity International stopped its customers from making new investments in one of his smaller funds.
Woodford, one of Britain’s best-known fund managers, suspended the 3.7 billion pound ($4.6 billion) LF Woodford Equity Income fund on June 3 due to a rise in redemption requests, leaving investors unsure about when they will get their money back.
This has put Woodford’s business under scrutiny by regulators and politicians, and led to outflows from the Income Focus fund, his other open-ended investment fund.
Fidelity’s decision to curb new investments in the Income Focus fund is the latest setback for Woodford, after British wealth manager St James’s Place ended a 3.5 billion pound investment mandate with Woodford Investment Management.
Meanwhile, investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown removed the Equity Fund, which has come under fire for investing in unlisted and illiquid stocks, from its ‘Wealth 50’ list and cut its exposure to the Income Focus fund.
Fidelity said in an emailed statement that its move was “in the best interest of our platform clients unless and until uncertainties are resolved,” adding it was not restricting withdrawals from the fund.
It said that the restrictions were temporary and a “precautionary measure”.
The Income Focus fund “doesn’t have any exposure to illiquid or unquoted securities”, a Woodford spokesman said in an email, adding that it contains “a combination of large, mid and small-sized companies”.
The Income Focus fund’s assets under management (AUM) have dropped 32% since the Equity Income fund suspension, to 325 million pounds, Morningstar data shows. Redemptions and market movements can contribute to a drop in AUM.
The suspension of Woodford’s fund could become a “very big problem” if it caused investors to doubt the integrity of the financial system, Bank of England policymaker Anil Kashyap said on Tuesday.
And PIMFA, the trade association for investment managers and financial advisers, said it represented “an erosion of trust”, while retail investor lobbyist Gina Miller called for an independent review into the regulator.
Woodford’s only listed fund, the Woodford Patient Capital Trust, hit record lows on Tuesday, down more than 30% since the Equity Income fund suspension. It recovered ground to 55 pence by 1220 GMT, down 0.2%.
(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn in London and Muvija M in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Alexander Smith)
FILE PHOTO: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a news conference with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez (not pictured) at Diaoyutai state guesthouse in Beijing, China May 29, 2019. REUTERS/Florence Lo
June 18, 2019
By Ben Blanchard
BEIJING (Reuters) – The Chinese government’s top diplomat warned on Tuesday that the world should not open a “Pandora’s Box” in the Middle East, as he denounced U.S. pressure on Iran and called on it not to drop out of a landmark nuclear deal.
Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since last Thursday when two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman.
The United States blamed Iran for the attacks, more than a year after President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Iran denied involvement in the tanker attacks and said on Monday it would soon breach limits on how much enriched uranium it can stockpile under the deal, which had sought to limit its nuclear capabilities.
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced on the same day the deployment of about 1,000 more troops to the Middle East for what he said were defensive purposes, citing concerns about a threat from Iran.
Speaking in Beijing after meeting Syria’s foreign minister, Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi said the United States should not use “extreme pressure” to resolve issues with Iran.
Wang told reporters that China was “of course, very concerned” about the situation in the Gulf and with Iran, and called on all sides to ease tension and not head towards a clash.
“We call on all sides to remain rational and exercise restraint, and not take any escalatory actions that irritate regional tensions, and not open a Pandora’s box,” Wang said.
“In particular, the U.S. side should alter its extreme pressure methods,” Wang said.
“Any unilateral behavior has no basis in international law. Not only will it not resolve the problem, it will only create an even greater crisis.”
Wang also said that the Iran nuclear deal was the only feasible way to resolve its nuclear issue, and he urged Iran to be prudent.
“We understand that relevant parties may have different concerns but first of all the comprehensive nuclear deal should be properly implemented,” he added. “We hope that Iran is cautious with its decision-making and not lightly abandon this agreement.”
At the same time, China hopes other parties respect Iran’s legitimate lawful rights and interests, Wang said.
China and Iran have close energy ties, and China has been angered by U.S. threats against countries and companies that violate U.S. sanctions by importing Iranian oil, including Chinese firms.
China has had to walk a fine line as it has also been cultivating relations with Iran’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia, the Asian giant’s top oil supplier.
Iran’s foreign minister has visited China twice this year already. Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has also visited Beijing this year.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Writing by Se Young Lee and Michael Martina; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, Robert Birsel)
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping meet business leaders at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo
June 18, 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he would meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit later this month, and that trade talks between the two countries were set to restart ahead of time.
“Had a very good telephone conversation with President Xi of China. We will be having an extended meeting next week at the G-20 in Japan. Our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting,” Trump tweeted.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Tim Ahmann)
FILE PHOTO: A view of the exterior of the JP Morgan Chase & Co. corporate headquarters in New York City May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files
June 18, 2019
BOSTON (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co will convert its $2 billion Highbridge multi-strategy fund into a credit focused fund to better meet client appetite, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.
One of the fund’s four lead portfolio managers, Arjun Menon, who had focused on Asian stocks, will be leaving the fund, the spokesman said.
(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
A worker adjusts European Union and U.S. flags at the start of the 2nd round of EU-US trade negotiations for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels November 11, 2013. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
June 18, 2019
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s trade surplus in goods with the United States increased in the first four months of 2019 while its deficit with China widened, figures that could further strain global tensions.
The European Union’s surplus with the United States grew to 48.2 billion euros ($54.0 billion) in Jan-Apr 2019 from 46.0 billion euros in the same period of 2018, EU statistics office Eurostat reported on Tuesday.
With China, the EU’s trade deficit expanded to 62.0 billion from 57.2 billion euros.
The United States has hit the European Union with tariffs and threatened more in complaint over the trade balance. Both Washington and Brussels have also complained that China wants free trade without playing fair.
Overall, the goods trade deficit of the 28-nation bloc increased to 21.7 billion euros in Jan-Apr 2019 from 10.3 billion a year earlier.
Energy imports were the chief cause of the deficit, especially from Russia and Norway.
For the narrower 19-country euro zone, exports grew by 5.2% year-on-year in April and imports by 6.6%, leading to a narrowing of its trade surplus to 15.7 billion euros in April from 17.1 billion a year earlier.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the euro zone’s trade surplus also declined to 15.3 billion euros in April from 18.6 billion in March as exports fell by 2.5% month-on-month and imports declined by 0.9%.
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Francesco Guarascio)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy meet at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
June 18, 2019
BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was seen shaking when she met visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy earlier on Tuesday, said she had since drunk water and was feeling better.
Merkel looked as if she were struggling to stand up while she and Zelenskiy listened to national anthems during military honors upon his arrival.
“Since then I have drunk at least three glasses of water – I obviously needed that and so I’m doing very well now,” Merkel said during a joint news conference with Zelenskiy in Berlin.
(Reporting by Michelle Martin and Joseph Nasr; Editing by Madeline Chambers)