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An aerial view shows the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris
An aerial view shows the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France, June 17, 2019. Picture taken June 17, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

June 18, 2019

By Tim Hepher and Eric M. Johnson

LE BOURGET, France (Reuters) – Airbus and Boeing bagged a combined $15 billion of plane deals on day two of the Paris Airshow, as their sales teams scrapped for orders after a downturn in business at many airlines and the grounding of Boeing’s top-selling jet.

Airbus extended its early lead in orders at the event with a $6 billion deal on Tuesday to sell 36 planes to Philippines airline Cebu Air, including 10 of the new long-range A321XLR model launched on Monday.

The European planemaker also struck a deal to sell a further 30 A320neo aircraft to Saudi Arabian Airlines, worth $3.3 billion at list prices, while Malaysia’s AirAsia converted 253 A320neo orders to the larger A321neo model. Financial terms of the AirAsia deal were not disclosed.

Airbus shares were up 0.6% at 1100 GMT, having touched a record high of 126.50 euros in early trade.

Boeing, meanwhile, gained a much needed lift after a slow start to the show on Monday as Korean Air committed to buying 20 of the U.S. planemaker’s 787 Dreamliners, worth $6.3 billion at list prices.

Despite the flurry of activity, dealmaking at the aerospace industry’s biggest annual event has been quieter than normal, fuelling speculation that a decade-long boom might be coming to an end.

With airlines struggling to contend with overcapacity, slowing economies and geopolitical tensions, some analysts warn that Airbus and Boeing could face a growing number of cancellations from their bulging order books.

Boeing in particular is suffering after the grounding of its MAX 737 aircraft in March following two deadly crashes.

A321XLR TAKES OFF

However, the planemakers are confident of continued strong demand for more fuel-efficient jets as emissions regulations tighten and air travel continues to rise, driven by Asia’s growing middle classes. Boeing on Monday increased its 20-year industry demand forecast.

“Although investors have started to ask questions about the state of the upcycle, the aerospace industry remains very confident in the current state of the market,” analysts at Vertical Research Partners said in a note.

Sources familiar with the matter say that American Airlines and leasing giant GECAS are also in talks to buy Airbus’s new A321XLR, which is aimed at new routes for airlines with smaller planes, stealing a march on Boeing’s plans for a potential planned NMA mid-market jet.

As well as 10 Airbus A321XLR jets, Cebu Air said it was buying 16 larger A330neo planes and five of A320neo model. Finance chief Andrew Huang told a news conference the A330neo jets would have up to 460 seats, allowing the budget airline to add new international routes.

Cebu, which operates the Cebu Pacific brand, had a 51% share of the Philippine domestic market in 2018, according to company data. In the international market, its 19% share was second only to the 28% held by full-service rival Philippine Airlines.

Saudi Arabian Airlines, which already has 35 planes on order from the Airbus A320neo family, said its additional purchases included 15 of the A321XLR jet and that it also has an option to buy as many as 35 more A320neo aircraft.

Korean Air said in October 2018 that it was likely to order more Boeing 787 jets, mainly to replace its existing aircraft, as it looks to streamline its fleet and reduce costs.

(Additional reporting by Laurence Frost, Andrea Shala, Alistair Smout, Cyril Altmeyerhenzien, Sudip Kar-Gupta, Neil Jerome and Jamie Freed; Editing by Mark Potter, Keith Weir and David Goodman)

Source: OANN

An aerial view shows the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris
An aerial view shows the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France, June 17, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

June 18, 2019

(Reuters) – Following is a summary of commercial aircraft deals announced by Airbus and Boeing at the Paris Airshow.

AIRBUS

* Air Lease Corp signs letter of intent for 50 A220-300s, 27 A321XLRs and 23 A321neos worth an estimated $11 billion at list prices.

* Virgin Atlantic orders 14 A330neos worth $4.1 billion at list prices, and takes out an option for six more.

* Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines orders four A321XLRs, estimated to be worth more than $500 million at list prices.

* Philippines budget airline Cebu Air orders 16 A330neos, 10 A321XLRs and five A320neos, worth about $6 billion in total at list prices.

* Saudi Arabian Airlines orders a further A320neo family aircraft worth an estimated $3.3 billion at list prices, and takes out options for as many as 35 more.

* Malaysia’s AirAsia Group converts 253 A320neo orders to the larger A321neo. Financial terms not disclosed

BOEING

* Korean Air commits to buying 20 787 Dreamliners worth $6.3 billion at list prices.

* GECAS exercises purchase rights for 10 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters worth about $1.1 billion at list prices, and adds 15 more purchase rights.

(Compiled by Mark Potter)

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is seen outside their headquarters in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: The logo of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is seen outside their headquarters in Vienna, Austria December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

June 18, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – OPEC and non-OPEC states are discussing holding their ministerial meetings on oil output policy on July 10-12 in Vienna, a date range proposed by Iran, OPEC sources said on Tuesday.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other producers have since Jan. 1 implemented a deal to cut oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day. The meeting is to decide whether to extend the pact and whether to adjust it.

The new suggestion is that the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, an advisory panel, meets on July 10, followed by OPEC ministers on July 11 and the combined gathering of OPEC and non-OPEC producers on July 12, the sources said.

(Reporting by Reuters OPEC team; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell delivers the Federal Reserve’s Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell delivers the Federal Reserve’s Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

June 18, 2019

By Howard Schneider and Ann Saphir

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO – (Reuters) – Bond investors expect an aggressive set of U.S. interest rate cuts this year, and a voluble president pines for the “old days” when his predecessors bullied central bankers to get their way.

If Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell had a complicated task last year in calling an early halt to further Fed rate hikes, his mission in a Wednesday press conference may be even trickier: Thread the needle between growing expectations that lower rates are coming soon and economic data that looks reasonably healthy with rates just where they are.

Failing to pull it off could trigger the same sort of volatility and tightening of financial conditions witnessed in December, when Powell’s press conference remarks were interpreted as overly hawkish and in part responsible for an 8% drop in the S&P 500 over the next few days.

At the extreme, that sort of volatility could feed into the real economy and make the Fed’s job in coming weeks even more complicated.

“Powell will have to do a lot of tap dancing,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists wrote Friday in outlining how the Fed will need to account for expected slower U.S. growth, weak inflation and trade risks, without making it seem as if a serious downturn is in the offing.

“This is a Fed that wants to insure that the recovery will continue,” they said. “The goal will be to talk about the need to ease policy but underscore that a recession is not around the corner.”

The Fed begins its two-day policy meeting on Tuesday, and will issue a new statement and economic projections at 2 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Wednesday. Powell’s press conference is scheduled to begin Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. (1830 GMT)

The central bank is expected to leave its benchmark overnight policy rate unchanged at its current range of between 2.25% and 2.5%. The federal funds rate has been at that level since December after a three-year cycle of monetary policy tightening that began slowly but ended with roughly quarterly rate hikes over 2017 and 2018.

A ‘DARKENED’ OUTLOOK?

The mood has clearly shifted since the Fed last met in early May, in part because of trade policy choices made by President Donald Trump and which the president has demanded be offset with looser monetary policy.

But it is unclear by how much. One Federal Reserve regional bank president has referred to the outlook as “darkened,” and another has called for lower rates “soon.” Powell in his most recent public comments dropped the use of the word “patient” in referring to the Fed’s posture when it comes to deciding on the next rate move.

That suggested to many analysts that the word will disappear from the policy statement as well. In May that 279-word missive said the Fed “will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate.”

But an absence of patience doesn’t mean the central bank is on a hair trigger. The focus on Powell will center around how he describes the Fed’s sensitivity to upcoming data, how seriously it views the risks of a widening trade war, and whether it still sees weak inflation as likely “transitory,” as he described it in May.

A LITTLE ‘FEDSPLAINING’?

Despite his December misstep, Powell has been given generally good marks by Wall Street investors for his ability to communicate policy.

His immediate predecessors had their own miscues.

Former chairman Ben Bernanke triggered weeks of global bond market volatility with his 2013 comments about the Fed’s plan to reduce its bond purchases. And former chair Janet Yellen in 2015 had to navigate the difficulties of the first interest rate increase since the 2007 to 2009 financial crisis.

But Powell this week may have a pronounced information gap to fill. As of March, 11 of 17 policymakers felt that rates at year-end would be unchanged from today, and the other six saw them as likely a bit higher.

The expected performance of the economy has not changed that much since then. Even if Trump’s trade policies have been hard to predict, Fed officials say the economic consequences could just as easily cavort to the upside if, for example, an upcoming meeting of the Group of 20 nations ends with any hint of progress in U.S.-China trade negotiations.

At this point, as economists at Goldman Sachs wrote over the weekend, the “hurdle” for the Fed to cut rates “is likely to be higher than widely believed,” with the economy and markets either healthier or more aligned with Fed policy than was the case in the 1990s when the Fed used preemptive “insurance” rate cuts to encourage continued economic growth.

If Fed officials don’t collectively push their rate view down, as markets expect and the White House demands, it will be up to Powell to explain why.

(Graphic: Fed communications ratings – https://tmsnrt.rs/31DehYx)

(Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Dan Burns and Andrea Ricci)

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FILE PHOTO: An AirAsia Airbus A320 prepares to land at Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi
FILE PHOTO: An AirAsia Airbus A320-200 prepares to land at Noi Bai international airport in Hanoi, Vietnam April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Kham/File Photo

June 18, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – AirAsia Group has decided to convert 253 orders for Airbus’ A320neo planes to the larger A321neo model, making AirAsia the world’s largest customer for the A321neo.

“The change will enable the airline to offer higher capacity in response to ongoing strong demand across its network,” Airbus said in a statement on Tuesday.

Reuters last month reported the Malaysian low-cost carrier was in negotiations to buy the new longer-range version of the A321 passenger jet, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

Airbus launched the A321XLR, which has a range of up to 4,700 nautical miles, at the Paris Airshow on Monday.

AirAsia’s long-haul arm AirAsia X last year placed an order for 34 A330neo widebodies which it has yet to firm up. Some of those could be switched to long-range narrowbodies, the head of AirAsia X’s Malaysia arm said in November.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, Jamie Freed and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Mark Potter)

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FILE PHOTO: UEFA President Platini addresses a news conference after a UEFA meeting in Zurich
FILE PHOTO: UEFA President Michel Platini addresses a news conference after a UEFA meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, May 28, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/File Photo

June 18, 2019

By Emmanuel Jarry

PARIS (Reuters) – Michel Platini, the former head of European football association UEFA, was detained for questioning by French police on Tuesday over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament to Qatar, a judicial source told Reuters.

Platini’s lawyer William Bourdon was not immediately available for comment. The detention of the former soccer star was first reported by French investigative website Mediapart.

France’s national financial prosecutor’s office (PNF), which specializes in investigating economic crimes and corruption, has been leading a probe into the awarding of the 2022 tournament to the Gulf emirate since 2016. It is looking into possible offences including private corruption, conspiracy and influence peddling.

The decision in December 2010 to award the World Cup to Qatar surprised many given the lack of potential local audiences for the games, the extremely hot summer weather, and the poor performance of the country’s national squad. It will be the first Arab state to host the competition.

Le Monde newspaper reported that prosecutors were particularly looking into a lunch hosted by France’s then president, Nicolas Sarkozy, nine days before the announcement that Qatar would host the cup. Platini and Qatar’s prime minister at the time, Sheikh Tamim Ben Hamad Al Thani, were guests at the lunch.

Two of Sarkozy’s aides at that time, Claude Gueant and Sophie Dion, were also questioned by police on Tuesday, judicial sources confirmed to Reuters. Dion remains detained with Platini, while Gueant has been released, the sources said.

(Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry, Inti Landauro and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Luke Baker and Hugh Lawson)

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FILE PHOTO: Neil Woodford is seen in this undated handout picture
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

LONDON (Reuters) – The recent suspension of a high-profile British equity 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.

Neil Woodford’s asset management firm suspended dealing the 3.7 billion pound ($4.63 billion) LF Woodford Equity Income Fund this month, drawing criticism from politicians and regulators.

“I don’t think Woodford per se creates financial stability risks, but if it undermines confidence in the system it could be a very big problem,” Kashyap, a member of the BoE’s Financial Policy Committee, told a committee of lawmakers in parliament.

(Reporting by David Milliken, writing by Andy Bruce; Editing by William Schomberg)

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FILE PHOTO: White House Communications Director Hope Hicks leaves the U.S. Capitol after attending the House Intelligence Committee closed door meeting in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Then-White House Communications Director Hope Hicks leaves the U.S. Capitol after attending the House Intelligence Committee closed door meeting in Washington, U.S., February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

June 18, 2019

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hope Hicks, once a close aide and communications director for President Donald Trump, becomes on Wednesday the first member of his inner circle to testify to the congressional panel leading a probe into possible obstruction of justice by Trump.

Democrats who control the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee believe Hicks can provide important insights into troubling chapters of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and Trump’s efforts to interfere with the investigation.

“She’s our first fact witness,” said Jamie Raskin, a Democratic lawmaker on the committee. “Having somebody talking about what happened from a personal perspective will be a dramatic debut for the committee.”

Hicks, who was one of Trump’s closest aides during the 2016 campaign and the first 14 months of his presidency, was subpoenaed to testify and is due to appear at 9 a.m. (1300 GMT) on Wednesday, the committee said.

It will be a closed-door interview with lawmakers, and the committee will release a transcript afterward.

The White House is trying to prevent former Trump aides from cooperating with a string of congressional investigations into Trump, so it is unclear how helpful the 30-year-old public relations consultant will be.

Hicks’ attorney did not respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Mueller’s 448-page report refers to Hicks more than 180 times and places her in the middle of some of the most incriminating episodes involving Trump, who did not agree to answer Mueller’s questions on obstruction.

Democrats want Hicks to shed light on a June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower in New York, where the Mueller report said campaign officials, including the president’s son Donald Trump Jr., met with Russians who had offered “dirt” on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

One question is whether Trump himself was aware of the meeting at the time.

The Mueller report quotes former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates as saying Trump Jr. told Hicks, other campaign staff and Trump family members about his plans for the meeting but that Hicks denied knowing about the meeting until months later.

The report also recounts how in July 2017, Trump directed Hicks to issue a misleading statement to the press saying only that the Trump Tower meeting had been about Russian adoption.

“I would like to know about her involvement in that process and what she personally knew happened,” said Ted Lieu, another Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. “She was involved in that whole chain of events, where the president lied about what actually happened.”

Mueller’s report concluded there was insufficient evidence to establish that the Trump campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow. It also described attempts by Trump to impede Mueller’s probe, but stopped short of declaring that he committed a crime.

EVIDENCE OF OBSTRUCTION?

Hicks was also present for two separate episodes that Mueller cited as offering relevant evidence of obstruction after Trump took office: his efforts to get former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to redirect the Russia probe away from his 2016 election campaign team, and his attempts to persuade former White House Counsel Don McGahn to deny that Trump asked him to remove Mueller.

Lawmakers are not sure whether Hicks will talk about her time in Trump’s administration. The White House has already directed her not to give the committee documents pertaining to her tenure there, which ended in March 2018. Last month, the White House directed McGahn to ignore a subpoena for documents and testimony, leading him to skip a committee hearing.

House Republicans dismiss the committee probe as political overreach calculated to placate Democratic voters who want Trump impeached.

“It just seems like the Democrats are trying to influence the 2020 election and using the committees to do so,” said Debbie Lesko, a Republican on the panel.

Legal experts believe Hicks could decline to answer questions on key topics, citing Trump’s assertion of executive privilege over the Mueller report.

That could force the committee to seek a federal court order directing her to testify, an action the full House authorized in a party-line vote last week.

The committee has also subpoenaed Annie Donaldson, McGahn’s former chief of staff, to testify on June 24. Donaldson did not respond to a Reuters query.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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FILE PHOTO: Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria looks on before a joint news conference with Eurogroup President Mario Centeno at the Treasury ministry in Rome
FILE PHOTO: Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria looks on before a joint news conference with Eurogroup President Mario Centeno at the Treasury ministry in Rome, Italy, November 9, 2018. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi -/File Photo

June 18, 2019

By Tommy Wilkes and Dhara Ranasinghe

LONDON (Reuters) – Italy can avoid disciplinary action from the European Commission over its spending plans by sticking to its current budget deficit target but Rome will need to cut spending rather than hike taxes, Economy Minister Giovanni Tria said on Tuesday.

The European Union looks increasingly likely to impose disciplinary procedures on Italy over the management of its huge public debt, after inconclusive meetings on Friday between the Italian finance minister and his EU partners.

Speaking to bond investors and bankers at a conference in London, Tria sought to reassure the international financial community that Italy would not breach European rules.

An unexpected slowdown in growth last year had meant Italy could not comply with European Union fiscal rules, but a rise in tax receipts and lower-than-expected spending on social welfare programs in 2019 showed that Italy was on the right track.

“We are going to have the commitments approved by parliament,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference when asked if Rome would need to introduce new commitments to avoid disciplinary action by Brussels.

“For the next year, we have to indicate which of the instruments (to use),” Tria said, adding he preferred cutting spending rather than raising taxes to meet a budget deficit target of around 2.1% of GDP.

Tria also asked investors to avoid the “noise” coming out of the ruling coalition in Rome, in which populist parties from the far-right and left govern in an uneasy alliance, and instead focus on the actual spending commitments from the government.

Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini was reported by media as saying on Tuesday that Rome would press ahead with plans for “mini-bots” unless a better solution was put forward.

But in London Tria, seen as a moderate, said the notion of “mini-bots” was not on the government’s agenda. “We don’t need this kind of instrument,” he said.

The mini-BOTs, named after short-term bills or BOTs, are a proposal by Salvini’s far-right League party. They have raised concerns among investors that they could become a parallel currency.

“We don’t want to create problems in Europe. We have to reinforce the trust in investors in Italy’s financial situation,” Tria said.

(Reporting by Tommy Wilkes and Dhara Ranasinghe, editing by Ed Osmond)

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FILE PHOTO: U.S. Air Forces in Europe Commander Wolters speaks during NATO Baltic air policing mission takeover ceremony in Siauliai
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Air Forces in Europe Commander Tod D. Wolters speaks during NATO Baltic air policing mission takeover ceremony in Siauliai, Lithuania August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

June 18, 2019

LE BOURGET, Paris (Reuters) – U.S. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar remain in contact about Ankara’s plans to buy a Russian air defence system, and may meet during NATO meetings in Brussels next week, NATO’s commander told Reuters.

U.S. General Tod Wolters said the military-to-military relationship between the United States and NATO remained “absolutely, positively solid,” despite Washington’s decision to cancel Turkey’s purchase of F-35 stealth fighters if it proceeds with its purchase of the Russian S-400 air defence system.

“We won’t co-locate those two assets, the S-400 and the F-35,” Wolters said at the Paris Airshow. “I know there’ll be follow on dialogue to work on … details between Minister Akar and Secretary Shanahan. As a matter of fact there may the opportunity to meet next week at the ministerials in NATO.”

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mark Potter)

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FILE PHOTO: A Volvo logo is pictured on the stand during the 87th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva
FILE PHOTO: A Volvo logo is pictured on the stand during the 87th International Motor Show at Palexpo in Geneva, Switzerland, March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

June 18, 2019

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden’s AB Volvo is joining forces with U.S. chipmaker Nvidia to develop artificial intelligence used in self-driving trucks, the companies said on Tuesday.

The agreement between Volvo and Nvidia is a long-term partnership spanning several years, and work will begin immediately with personnel from the two companies being co-located in Gothenburg, Sweden and Santa Clara, California.

Volvo said the partnership will focus on the development of a flexible, scalable autonomous driving system, which is planned to be used first in commercial pilot schemes before it is deployed in commercial vehicles from the Volvo Group, Volvo said.

“Utilizing Nvidia’s end-to-end artificial intelligence platform for training, simulation and in-vehicle computing, the resulting system is designed to safely handle fully autonomous driving on public roads and highways,” Volvo said in a statement.

Nvidia, which has previously announced technology partnerships with automakers including Volkswagen, Mercedez-Benz and Toyota, said it was thrilled to team up with Volvo.

“The latest breakthroughs in AI and robotics bring a new level of intelligence and automation to address the transportation challenges we face,” Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said.

Nvidia’s so-called Drive Constellation chips often power the machine learning used to refine self-driving car software algorithms inside data centers, and the company has also been working to build its Drive chips into cars.

But automotive chips accounted for only $641 million of Nvidia’s $11.7 billion in revenue in its most recent fiscal year.

Tesla Inc was a major customer for Nvidia’s automotive chips, but last year, Chief Executive Elon Musk said the company was developing its own chip.

AB Volvo’s and Nvidia’s collaboration will be built on Nvidia’s full software package for sensor processing, perception, map localization and path planning.

(Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom; Editing by Keith Weir)

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FILE PHOTO: A Facebook panel is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, in Cannes
FILE PHOTO: A Facebook panel is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, in Cannes, France, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

June 18, 2019

By Katie Paul and Anna Irrera

SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Facebook Inc revealed plans on Tuesday to launch a cryptocurrency called Libra, the latest development in its effort to expand beyond social networking and move into e-commerce and global payments.

Facebook has linked with 28 partners in a Geneva-based entity called the Libra Association, which will govern its new digital coin set to launch in the first half of 2020, according to marketing materials and interviews with executives.

Facebook has also created a subsidiary called Calibra, which will offer digital wallets to save, send and spend Libras. Calibra will be connected to Facebook’s messaging platforms Messenger and WhatsApp, which already boast more than a billion users.

The Menlo Park, California-based company has big aspirations for Libra, but consumer privacy concerns or regulatory barriers may present significant hurdles.

Facebook hopes it will not only power transactions between established consumers and businesses around the globe, but offer unbanked consumers access to financial services for the first time.

The name “Libra” was inspired by Roman weight measurements, the astrological sign for justice and the French word for freedom, said David Marcus, a former PayPal executive who heads the project for Facebook.

“Freedom, justice and money, which is exactly what we’re trying to do here,” he said.

Facebook also appears to be betting it can squeeze revenue out of its messaging services through transactions and payments, something that is already happening on Chinese social apps like WeChat.

The Libra announcement comes as Facebook is grappling with public backlash due to a series of scandals, and may face opposition from privacy advocates, consumer groups, regulators and lawmakers.

Some Facebook adversaries have called for the company to incur penalties, or be forcibly broken up, for mishandling user data, allowing troubling material to appear on its site and not preventing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election through a social media disinformation campaign.

It is not clear how lawmakers or regulators will react to Facebook making a push into financial services through the largely unregulated world of cryptocurrency.

In recent years, cryptocurrency investors have lost hundreds of millions of dollars through hacks, and the market has been plagued by accusations of money-laundering, illegal drug sales and terrorist financing.

Facebook has engaged with regulators in the United States and abroad about the planned cryptocurrency, company executives said. They would not specify which regulators or whether the company has applied for financial licenses anywhere.

Facebook hopes it can bring global regulators to the table by publicizing Libra, said Kevin Weil, who runs product for the initiative.

“It gives us a basis to go and have productive conversations with regulators around the world,” said Weil. “We’re eager to do that.”

MAJOR PARTNERS

Bitcoin, the most well-known cryptocurrency, was created in 2008 as a way for pseudonymous users to transfer value online through encrypted digital ledgers. Early developers believed that the world needed an alternative to traditional currencies, which are controlled by governments and by central banks.

Since then, thousands of bitcoin alternatives have launched, and Facebook is just one of dozens of blue-chip companies dabbling with the underlying technology. But its status as a Silicon Valley behemoth that touches billions of people around the world has created significant buzz around Libra’s potential.

Partners in the project include household names like Mastercard Inc, Visa Inc, Spotify Technology SA, PayPal Holdings Inc, eBay Inc, Uber Technologies Inc and Vodafone Group Plc, as well as venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz.

They hope to have 100 members by Libra’s launch during the first half of 2020. Each member gets one vote on substantial decisions regarding the cryptocurrency network and firms must invest at least $10 million to join. Facebook does not plan to maintain a leadership role after 2019.

Though there are no banks among the inaugural members, there have been discussions with a number of lenders about joining, said Jorn Lambert, executive vice president for digital solutions at Mastercard. They are waiting to see how regulators and consumers respond to the project before deciding whether to join, he said.

The Libra Association plans to raise money through a private placement in the coming months, according to a statement from the association.

PRIVACY, REGULATORY CONCERNS

Although Libra-backers who spoke to Reuters or provided materials are hopeful about its prospects, some expressed awareness that consumer privacy concerns or regulatory barriers may prevent the project from succeeding.

Calibra will conduct compliance checks on customers who want to use Libra, using verification and anti-fraud processes that are common among banks, Facebook said.

The subsidiary will only share customer data with Facebook or external parties if it has consent, or in “limited cases” where it is necessary, Facebook said. That could include for law enforcement, public safety or general system functionality.

Transactions will cost individuals less than merchants, Facebook said, though executives declined to provide specifics. Each Libra will be backed by a basket of government-backed assets.

The company plans to refund customers who lose money because of fraud, Facebook said.

Sri Shivananda, Paypal’s chief technology officer said in an interview that the project is still in its “very, very early days,” and there were conversations in progress with regulators.

Mastercard’s Lambert characterized Libra similarly, noting much needed to happen before the launch.

If the project receives too much regulatory pushback, he said, “we might not launch.”

(Reporting by Katie Paul and Anna Irrera; Editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Lisa Shumaker)

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FILE PHOTO: John Glen, local Member of Parliament for Salisbury and South Wiltshire, talks to the media in Salisbury
FILE PHOTO: John Glen, local Member of Parliament for Salisbury and South Wiltshire, talks to the media in Salisbury, Britain, April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

June 18, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s government is committed to doing whatever it can to keep its financial sector globally competitive after Brexit, financial services minister John Glen said on Tuesday.

Britain is due to leave the European Union on Oct. 31 but it has yet to secure a divorce settlement with the bloc, the UK financial sector’s single biggest customer.

Uncertainty for finance has increased as a new British prime minister is being selected.

Glen said there must be a “clear plan” to maintain the UK financial sector’s global success as it cannot be taken for granted.

“It would be a tragedy if we lost our competitive advantage by accident,” Glen told a TheCityUK conference.

He knew the financial sector, known in Britain as the City, wanted an end to the ‘Brexit impasse’.

Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam, Luxembourg and Dublin have been vying to attract new hubs being opened by UK-based financial companies needing an EU base after Brexit.

Bankers see the shift of some jobs and activities from the City to the EU as inevitable and one-way, whatever the future UK trading deal with Brussels.

But Glen said none of those rival financial centers in the EU can match all that London has to offer.

TheCityUK’s new chair, Mark Tucker, said the financial sector was Britain’s most successful economic sector bar none and has a comparative advantage over other countries in that it is difficult, if not impossible, to replicate.

“It’s the envy of other nations,” said Tucker, who also chairs HSBC bank.

Finance needed to recover the public’s trust and have a “coherent and united front” so that it becomes more than the sum of its parts to demonstrate the benefits that finance brings to the economy and communities, Tucker said.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Catherine Evans and Louise Heavens)

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PM hopeful Boris Johnson leaves his home in London
PM hopeful Boris Johnson leaves his home in London, Britain, June 18, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

June 18, 2019

By William Schomberg

LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson got a further boost in his campaign to become Britain’s prime minister on Tuesday when a second former rival in the race backed him to lead the country out of its Brexit crisis.

Hours before the six contenders to replace Theresa May were due to be whittled down by the party’s lawmakers, Andrea Leadsom declared her support for Johnson, the clear favorite.

“He is the best placed to get us out of the EU at the end of October,” Leadsom, a former leader of the House of Commons who was eliminated from the leadership contest last week, told LBC radio. “Secondly, I do believe he is an election winner.”

On Monday, health minister Matt Hancock, who quit the race on Friday, also backed Johnson, despite their contrasting views on Brexit, saying he was almost certain to win the contest.

Johnson, a former London mayor and foreign minister, has given unequivocal statements that he will take Britain out of the European Union by Oct. 31 whether or not an agreement can be struck with the bloc to smooth the transition.

“We must leave the EU on October 31st, with or without a deal,” Johnson wrote again on Twitter on Tuesday.

Sterling fell to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in nearly six months on Tuesday.

‘CONFRONTATION WITH EU’

“It looks like Boris Johnson is going to be the next prime minister unless there is a big surprise and that indicates a looming confrontation with the European Union,” said Lee Hardman, a FX strategist at MUFG in London.

Johnson was due to participate in a televised debate on Tuesday evening along with the candidates who survive the second round of voting.

Those who do not receive the backing of more than 33 of the 313 Conservative lawmakers will be eliminated. If all candidates have more than 32 votes, the one with the fewest is eliminated.

Johnson opted not to appear in a first debate on Sunday and stayed away from question-and-answer sessions in parliament that the other five candidates attended on Monday.

His rivals kept up their calls on Johnson to spell out his plans for Brexit in more detail.

“What I find alarming and I want to try to clarify as soon as possible, hopefully in these debates this evening, is that half the people in his campaign have got the impression that he intends to leave on Oct. 31 with no deal,” Rory Stewart, Britain’s aid minister, told BBC radio.

“And the other half seem to have got the impression that he’s going for the softest of soft Brexits. The only way that we are going to have stability in our government, or our party or our country, is if people trust us.”

Johnson’s rivals hope that during Tuesday’s debate he will commit more of the gaffes that have marked his career.

But, barring a major upset, he looks set to make the final two in the race, when mainly pro-Brexit Conservative Party members will cast the deciding votes in July.

Johnson’s willingness to contemplate a no-deal Brexit could set up a clash with parliament which has voted against such an outcome. Brussels has ruled out a re-negotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement, the divorce deal it reached with May last year.

Johnson won the support of 114 Conservative lawmakers in the first round of the leadership contest. The result of Tuesday’s second round of voting is due around 1700 GMT.

(Additional reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Governing Council of the ECB monetary policy meeting in Vilnius
FILE PHOTO: Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank (ECB), attends a news conference in Vilnius, Lithuania June 6, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins/File Photo

June 18, 2019

SINTRA, Portugal (Reuters) – The European Central Bank will need to ease policy again, possibly through new rate cuts or asset purchases, if inflation doesn’t head back to its target, ECB President Mario Draghi said on Tuesday.

“In the absence of improvement, such that the sustained return of inflation to our aim is threatened, additional stimulus will be required,” Draghi told the ECB’s annual conference in Sintra, Portugal.

“That aim is symmetric, which means that, if we are to deliver that value of inflation in the medium term, inflation has to be above that level at some time in the future.”

He added there was still “considerable headroom” for more asset purchases and “further cuts in policy interest rates and mitigating measures to contain any side effects remain part of our tools”.

“Will use all the flexibility within our mandate to fulfill our mandate – and we will do so again to answer any challenges to price stability in the future,” Draghi said.

(Reporting By Francesco Canepa and Balazs Koranyi)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Swedbank sign is seen on the local headquarters building in Tallinn
FILE PHOTO: Swedbank sign is seen on the local headquarters building in Tallinn, Estonia March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

June 18, 2019

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Swedbank has suspended the two top executives at its Estonian business with immediate effect, acting on an internal investigation into compliance with money-laundering rules at the bank.

Sweden’s oldest retail bank has faced a turbulent year after being linked to a money laundering scandal originating at Danske Bank, which has said its Estonia branch was used to move 200 billion euros ($225 billion)of suspicious funds from 2007 to 2015.

Swedbank – whose group CEO and chairman departed amid the turmoil – admitted in late April to failings in combating money laundering and announced an internal inquiry to review its current and historic customer relationships through its Baltic units.

Swedbank said late on Monday the probe was continuing as it announced findings from the investigation so far had prompted it to suspend Robert Kitt, who has been Estonia CEO from 2015, and Vaiko Tammevali, Estonia CFO since 2014.

“Today’s decision is a consequence of the ongoing internal investigation,” Swedbank’s head of Baltic Banking, Charlotte Elsnitz, said in a statement.

“We are fully committed to the Estonian market and to all our employees, customers and other stakeholders. Estonia is one of four home markets of Swedbank.”

Kitt and Tammevali could not immediately be reached for comment.

The bank’s shares, which have lost about a third in value since the scandal broke, were down 1.5 percent at 138.55 Swedish crowns at 0735 GMT.

The most recent allegations against Swedbank, reported by Swedish state TV, stated that the lender had processed gross transactions of up to 20 billion euros a year from high-risk, non-resident clients, mostly Russian, through its Estonian branch from 2010 to 2016. Previous allegations had related to a period between 2007 and 2015.

Credit Suisse analysts said that the removals meant that essentially all top management in Estonia had been changed, which could help bank in any discussions with authorities.

The Estonian financial regulator declined to comment and said that their ongoing forward investigation with Sweden and other Baltic authorities was ongoing.

Swedbank said it was cooperating fully with authorities in Sweden, the United States and the Baltic countries in their investigations.

The lender said Olavi Lepp, currently chief risk officer, had been named acting CEO of Swedbank Estonia, while Anna Kouts, currently head of treasury, would become acting CFO.

(Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom and Esha Vaish, editing by Deepa Babington/Keith Weir)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam attends a news conference in Hong Kong
FILE PHOTO: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam looks down during a news conference in Hong Kong, China, June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

June 18, 2019

By Clare Jim and Anne Marie Roantree

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam will address the city on Tuesday after some of the biggest and most violent protests seen in the financial hub against an extradition bill that she postponed in a stark reversal of policy.

The bill would allow case by case extraditions to mainland China and despite its postponement, around two million people spilled on to the streets on Sunday, demanding Lam step down and scrap the bill entirely.

Lam’s climbdown, with the approval of China’s Communist Party leaders, was the biggest policy reversal since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and presented a new challenge for Chinese President Xi Jinping who has ruled with an iron fist since taking power in 2012.

Many accuse China, where the courts are strictly controlled by the Communist Party, of extensive meddling since the handover, with the extradition proposals a further example.

Lam hasn’t appeared publicly since the Sunday protests that were the largest in the city for decades.

Since the proposed amendments to the Fugitives Offenders’ Ordinance was first put to the legislature in February, Lam has repeatedly rebuffed concerns voiced in many quarters, including business groups, lawyers, judges, and foreign governments against the bill.

Critics say the bill would undermine Hong Kong’s rule of law, guaranteed by the “one country, two systems” formula, under which Hong Kong returned to China, by extending China’s reach into the city, and allow individuals to be arbitrarily sent back to China where they couldn’t be guaranteed a fair trial.

Lam issued an apology on Sunday night through a written government statement that many people said lacked sincerity. It failed to pacify many marchers who said they no longer trusted her and doubted her ability to govern.

Lam, a career civil-servant known as “the fighter” for her straight-shooting and tough leadership style, took office two years ago pledging to heal a divided society. Some observers say she is unlikely to step down immediately but any longer-term political ambitions she may have harbored are now all but dead.

Many protest organizers say they will continue to hold street demonstrations until Lam scraps the bill, fearing that authorities may seek to revive the legislation in future when the public mood is calmer.

(Reporting by Hong Kong newsroom; Writing by James Pomfret; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, June7, 2019. REUTERS/Staff

June 18, 2019

(Reuters) – Worries over the Middle East and another chip sector warning on trade pressured European shares on Tuesday, ahead of a key two-day Federal Reserve meeting which traders expect to clear the way for a cut in interest rates.

The United States on Monday announced the deployment of about 1,000 more troops, citing concerns about a threat from Iran and stirring nerves on financial markets already concerned by the ramping up of trade tensions with China.

German chipmaker Siltronic tumbled 8% after it was the latest to warn U.S. restrictions on exports to China would hurt business, saying Q2 sales would be “significantly below” the first quarter and were likely to decline further.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell 0.17% by 0708 GMT, with Britain’s FTSE 100 outperforming with a 0.2% rise.

The profit warning comes hot on the heels of U.S. chipmaker Broadcom’s shock statement last Thursday that trade issues would knock $2 billion off 2019 sales.

Another German chipmaker Infineon Technologies and STMicroelectronics, dropped 5.8% and 2.2% respectively, pulling the technology sector 0.8% lower.

Infineon’s move, however, came after it launched a 1.5 billion euro capital increase to help fund its acquisition of Cypress Semiconductor.

(Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Medha Singh in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: ATP 500 - Acapulco Open
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP 500 – Acapulco Open, Acapulco, Mexico – March 2, 2019 Australia’s Nick Kyrgios eyes the ball during his Final match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Henry Romero

June 18, 2019

(Reuters) – Australian Nick Kyrgios has welcomed Andy Murray’s return to tennis after hip surgery, saying he could not believe his eyes when he ran into the Briton practicing at Queens Club on Monday.

Murray, who underwent a hip resurfacing operation five months ago, is making his comeback this week by partnering Feliciano Lopez in the doubles.

“Andy was the first person I saw here, doing his drills,” Kyrgios told reporters ahead of his opening round match against France’s Adrian Mannarino. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

“Just to see him back healthy and happy on court is all that matters. He is a warrior. He’s good enough to do damage in doubles, especially with Feliciano. I’d almost pay to watch that match.”

Kyrgios has a fractious relationship with a number of senior players on the ATP Tour, including Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, but shares a warm friendship with Murray.

The Scot has defended Kyrgios on a number of occasions when the younger player ruffled feathers with his on-court behavior and barbed criticism of his fellow professionals.

Kyrgios said Murray had spoken to him about the possibility of them playing doubles at Wimbledon when they practiced at the All England Club a few weeks ago.

“I don’t think I want to carry him for Wimbledon dubs – I think he can find someone else to do that for him,” the Australian said with a smile.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire delivers a speech during a high-level forum on debt at the Finance ministry in Paris
FILE PHOTO: French Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire delivers a speech during a high-level forum on debt at the Finance ministry in Paris, France, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

June 18, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Renault’s alliance with Japanese partner Nissan remains French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire’s priority ahead of any further consolidation with the likes of Fiat-Chrysler, he said on Tuesday.

“It is not in our interest at all to weaken this alliance,” Le Maire told Europe 1 radio. The French government is Renault’s biggest shareholder with a 15% stake.

Asked to comment on media reports that Fiat’s top executive had been in Paris over the weekend, Le Maire replied: “It poses me no problems at all if the head of Fiat were to spend his time in Paris.”

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania
FILE PHOTO: U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller/File Photo

June 18, 2019

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey has ordered the arrest of 128 military personnel over suspected links to the network accused by Ankara of orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday.

Police were looking for just over half of the suspects in the western coastal province of Izmir and the rest across 30 other provinces, Anadolu said.

They were suspected of being supporters of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Turkish authorities of masterminding the failed putsch three years ago. Gulen has denied any role.

More than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial, while about 150,000 people from the civil service, military, and elsewhere have been sacked or suspended from their jobs under crackdowns since the attempted coup.

Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have criticized the scope of the crackdown, saying Erdogan has used the abortive coup as a pretext to quash dissent.

The government has said the security measures are necessary due to the gravity of the threat Turkey faces, and has vowed to eradicate Gulen’s network in the country.

(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Employee shows the logo of Careem on his mobile in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah
FILE PHOTO: An employee shows the logo of ride-hailing company Careem on his mobile in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah July 17, 2017. Picture taken July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

June 18, 2019

DUBAI (Reuters) – Uber and Middle East ride-hailing business Careem will remain separate entities until at least the first quarter of 2020, when Uber’s acquisition is expected to close, Careem’s CFO said on Tuesday.

The $3.1 billion dollar acquisition will make Careem a wholly owned subsidiary of Uber, but the Careem brand and app will remain intact, at least initially.

Maintaining two separate brands in the same market is better for competition, Ankur Shah said at a financial conference in Dubai.

(Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Employee shows the logo of Careem on his mobile in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah
FILE PHOTO: An employee shows the logo of ride-hailing company Careem on his mobile in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah July 17, 2017. Picture taken July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

June 18, 2019

DUBAI (Reuters) – Uber and Middle East ride-hailing business Careem will remain separate entities until at least the first quarter of 2020, when Uber’s acquisition is expected to close, Careem’s CFO said on Tuesday.

The $3.1 billion dollar acquisition will make Careem a wholly owned subsidiary of Uber, but the Careem brand and app will remain intact, at least initially.

Maintaining two separate brands in the same market is better for competition, Ankur Shah said at a financial conference in Dubai.

(Reporting by Davide Barbuscia; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

Illustration photo of Australian dollars
Australian dollars are seen in an illustration photo February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

June 18, 2019

By Hideyuki Sano and Stanley White

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Australian dollar on Tuesday eased to its lowest levels since early January after the nation’s central bank flagged a further rate cut, while the British pound was hobbled by rising worries of a no-deal Brexit

With markets focused on U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan meetings later this week, traders latched on to minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) June meeting which showed policymakers were prepared to cut rates once more to revive wages growth and inflation.

“The market is already pricing in two rate cuts (in Australia), and there are some speculative moves to push the Aussie lower,” said Yukio Ishizuki, foreign exchange strategist at Daiwa Securities.

The RBA minutes sent the Aussie slumping to $0.6833, its lowest since the flash crash of early January. It was last fetching $0.6837.

Markets are pricing in about 50% chance of another rate cut next month by the RBA, which delivered its first easing in almost three years just two weeks ago..

The pound was under pressure after former foreign minister Boris Johnson got a boost on Monday in his campaign to become prime minister as one of his former rivals and EU supporter Matt Hancock backed him.

That rattled markets as Johnson, the face of the official campaign to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, has promised to lead Britain out of the EU with or without a deal.

The pound, which tumbled to a 5-1/2-month low of $1.2532 on Monday, last traded at $1.2530. It also fell to its weakest level since January against the euro, which climbed to 89.74 pence, compared to a two-year low of 84.56 touched just over a month ago.

The pound could be in for a rough ride in coming days, with a raft of potentially market-moving events ahead, including consumer inflation and retail sales data, due on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, and the Bank of England’s policy announcement on Thursday.

The dollar eased slightly to 108.23 yen on Tuesday as a decline in Japanese stocks triggered about of risk aversion.

“The yen may have a little more room to rise if U.S. stocks take a hit and trigger a bout of risk aversion,” Daiwa Securities’ Ishizuki said.

The dollar index measuring its value against six major currencies also declined slightly to 97.446, undermined by the New York Fed’s business index fell this month by a record to reach its weakest level in more than 2-1/2 years.

The Fed’s two-day policy meeting starting later on Tuesday is the next major focus after markets have priced in more than two 25 basis-point rate cuts by year-end.

That marks a sharp contrast to the Fed’s official forecast in March, which showed policymakers deemed the next move would be a hike.

“As markets are now pricing in rate cuts in the second half of this year, the question is how the Fed will respond to such an outlook,” said Shinichiro Kadota, senior strategist at Barclays.

The euro was little changed in Asia, trading at $1.1231.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

Illustration photo of Australian dollars
Australian dollars are seen in an illustration photo February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

June 18, 2019

By Hideyuki Sano and Stanley White

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Australian dollar on Tuesday eased to its lowest levels since early January after the nation’s central bank flagged a further rate cut, while the British pound was hobbled by rising worries of a no-deal Brexit

With markets focused on U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan meetings later this week, traders latched on to minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) June meeting which showed policymakers were prepared to cut rates once more to revive wages growth and inflation.

“The market is already pricing in two rate cuts (in Australia), and there are some speculative moves to push the Aussie lower,” said Yukio Ishizuki, foreign exchange strategist at Daiwa Securities.

The RBA minutes sent the Aussie slumping to $0.6833, its lowest since the flash crash of early January. It was last fetching $0.6837.

Markets are pricing in about 50% chance of another rate cut next month by the RBA, which delivered its first easing in almost three years just two weeks ago..

The pound was under pressure after former foreign minister Boris Johnson got a boost on Monday in his campaign to become prime minister as one of his former rivals and EU supporter Matt Hancock backed him.

That rattled markets as Johnson, the face of the official campaign to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum, has promised to lead Britain out of the EU with or without a deal.

The pound, which tumbled to a 5-1/2-month low of $1.2532 on Monday, last traded at $1.2530. It also fell to its weakest level since January against the euro, which climbed to 89.74 pence, compared to a two-year low of 84.56 touched just over a month ago.

The pound could be in for a rough ride in coming days, with a raft of potentially market-moving events ahead, including consumer inflation and retail sales data, due on Wednesday and Thursday respectively, and the Bank of England’s policy announcement on Thursday.

The dollar eased slightly to 108.23 yen on Tuesday as a decline in Japanese stocks triggered about of risk aversion.

“The yen may have a little more room to rise if U.S. stocks take a hit and trigger a bout of risk aversion,” Daiwa Securities’ Ishizuki said.

The dollar index measuring its value against six major currencies also declined slightly to 97.446, undermined by the New York Fed’s business index fell this month by a record to reach its weakest level in more than 2-1/2 years.

The Fed’s two-day policy meeting starting later on Tuesday is the next major focus after markets have priced in more than two 25 basis-point rate cuts by year-end.

That marks a sharp contrast to the Fed’s official forecast in March, which showed policymakers deemed the next move would be a hike.

“As markets are now pricing in rate cuts in the second half of this year, the question is how the Fed will respond to such an outlook,” said Shinichiro Kadota, senior strategist at Barclays.

The euro was little changed in Asia, trading at $1.1231.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French oil giant Total is seen at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie
FILE PHOTO: The logo of French oil giant Total is seen on a flag at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie near Paris, France. May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

June 18, 2019

By Bate Felix

PARIS (Reuters) – Energy major Total said its new supercomputer – which has propelled it to a world ranking as the most powerful computer in the sector – will enable its geologists to find oil faster, cheaper and with a better success rate.

The Pangea III computer build by IBM will help process complex seismic data in the search for hydrocarbons 10 times faster that before, Total said on Tuesday.

The computing power of the Pangea III has been increased to 31.7 so-called ‘petaflops’ from 6.7 petaflops in 2016, and from 2.3 petaflops in 2013, Total said, adding that it was the equivalent of around 170,000 laptops combined.

The computer ranks as number 1 among supercomputers in the oil and gas sector, and number 11 globally, according to the TOP500 table (www.top500.org) which ranks supercomputers twice a year.

Total’s European peer Eni’s HPC4 supercomputer is ranked number 17 in the global top 500 list.

Oil and gas companies, along with other industrial groups, are increasingly relying on powerful computers to process complex data faster. This enables them to cut costs while boosting productivity and the success rate of projects.

Total did not say how much it had invested in the new supercomputer.

The company’s senior vice president for exploration, Kevin McLachlan, told Reuters that 80% of the Pangea III’s time would be dedicated to seismic imaging.

“We can do things much faster,” he said. “We are developing advanced imaging algorithms to give us much better images of the sub-surface in these complex domains and Pangea III will let us do it 10 times faster than we could before.”

Total said the new algorithms can process huge amounts of data more accurately, and at a higher resolution.

It would also help to locate more reliably hydrocarbons below ground, which is useful in complex environments where it is exploring for oil trapped under salt, such as Brazil, the Gulf of Mexico, Angola and the Eastern Mediterranean.

McLachlan expected the increased computer power to affect Total’s success rate in exploration, because of the better imaging, and in oil well appraisals, development and drilling. 

    “What used to take a week, now takes us a day to process,” he said, adding that tens of millions of dollars of savings would be made on the oil wells as a direct result of obtaining better images.

(Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO - Mohamed Mursi, head of the Brotherhood's newly formed Justice and Freedom Party gestures during an interview with Reuters in Cairo
FILE PHOTO – Mohamed Mursi, head of the Brotherhood’s newly formed Justice and Freedom Party gestures during an interview with Reuters in Cairo, May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El-Ghany

June 18, 2019

CAIRO (Reuters) – Former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi has been buried alongside other senior figures of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, his son, Ahmed Mursi, said on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

The burial was attended by members of the family in Cairo’s Nasr City after authorities refused burial in Mursi’s home province of Sharqiya in the Nile Delta, Ahmed Mursi said.

“We washed his noble body at Tora prison hospital, read prayers for him at the prison hospital … and the burial was at the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guides,” Ahmed wrote.

Mursi died on Monday from a heart attack after collapsing in a Cairo court while on trial on espionage charges, authorities and a medical source said. He was 67.

Mursi, a top figure in the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, had been in jail since being toppled by the military in 2013 after barely a year in power, following mass protests against his rule.

His death is likely to pile international pressure on the Egyptian government over its human rights record, especially conditions in prisons where thousands of Islamists and secular activists are held.

(Reporting By Ali Abdelaty, writing by Sami Aboudi)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An Airbus A320neo aircraft is pictured during a news conference to announce a partnership between Airbus and Bombardier on the C Series aircraft programme, in Colomiers near Toulouse
FILE PHOTO: An Airbus A320neo aircraft is pictured during a news conference to announce a partnership between Airbus and Bombardier on the C Series aircraft programme, in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

June 18, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Air Lease Corporation said on Tuesday it had signed long-term lease placements for two new Airbus A320neo and two Airbus A321neo LR aircraft with Japan’s Peach Aviation Ltd.

“The A320neo and A321neo LR offer Peach the most technologically advanced, fuel-efficient aircraft that will bring a new level of passenger comfort and convenience to the Japanese market,” said Air Lease Chairman Steven Udvar-Házy.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An Airbus A320neo aircraft is pictured during a news conference to announce a partnership between Airbus and Bombardier on the C Series aircraft programme, in Colomiers near Toulouse
FILE PHOTO: An Airbus A320neo aircraft is pictured during a news conference to announce a partnership between Airbus and Bombardier on the C Series aircraft programme, in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, October 17, 2017. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

June 18, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Air Lease Corporation said on Tuesday it had signed long-term lease placements for two new Airbus A320neo and two Airbus A321neo LR aircraft with Japan’s Peach Aviation Ltd.

“The A320neo and A321neo LR offer Peach the most technologically advanced, fuel-efficient aircraft that will bring a new level of passenger comfort and convenience to the Japanese market,” said Air Lease Chairman Steven Udvar-Házy.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An usher holds a baton to guide attendees towards the AGM of advertising agency WPP in London, Britain
FILE PHOTO: An usher holds a baton to guide attendees towards the AGM of advertising agency WPP in London, Britain, June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville

June 18, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Sixteen of the world’s biggest advertisers have joined together to push platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube to do more to tackle dangerous and fake content online.

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media will also include media buying agencies from the major ad groups – WPP, IPG, Publicis, Omnicom and Dentsu – as well as the platform owners, the group said on Tuesday at the ad industry’s annual gathering in Cannes, France.

Luis Di Como, executive vice president of global media at Unilever, said it was the first time that all sides of the industry had come together to tackle a problem that had far reaching consequences for society.

“When industry challenges spill into society, creating division and putting our children at risk, it’s on all of us to act,” he said. “Founding this alliance is a great step toward rebuilding trust in our industry and society.”

He said the group would initially focus on content that was a danger to society, such as terrorism.

Platform owners had taken steps to address the problems, he said, but their focus had been more reactive – tackling content after it appeared – than proactive.

The alliance will work together to develop processes and protocols to protect people and brands, he said.

Other brand owners in the alliance include Adidas, Danone, Diageo, Mondelez International, Nestle and Procter & Gamble.

(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by David Evans)

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FILE PHOTO: A Sanofi sign at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris
FILE PHOTO: The Sanofi logo at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

June 18, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – French healthcare company Sanofi has teamed up with Google to work on innovations, aimed at using emerging data technologies to change how medicines and health services will be delivered in future.

Sanofi and Google will use data sets to improve their understanding of key diseases and extract patients’ insights and feedback, the companies said in a joint statement.

“Combining Sanofi’s biologic innovations and scientific data with Google’s industry-leading capabilities, from cloud computing to state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, we aspire to give people more control over their health and accelerate the discovery of new therapies,” said Ameet Nathwani, chief medical officer and executive vice-president, Sanofi.

This would enable Sanofi to research and develop a more personalized approach to treatment and identify accompanying technologies to improve results, the statement said.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Sanofi sign at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris
FILE PHOTO: The Sanofi logo at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

June 18, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – French healthcare company Sanofi has teamed up with Google to work on innovations, aimed at using emerging data technologies to change how medicines and health services will be delivered in future.

Sanofi and Google will use data sets to improve their understanding of key diseases and extract patients’ insights and feedback, the companies said in a joint statement.

“Combining Sanofi’s biologic innovations and scientific data with Google’s industry-leading capabilities, from cloud computing to state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, we aspire to give people more control over their health and accelerate the discovery of new therapies,” said Ameet Nathwani, chief medical officer and executive vice-president, Sanofi.

This would enable Sanofi to research and develop a more personalized approach to treatment and identify accompanying technologies to improve results, the statement said.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Alibaba founder Jack Ma and CFO Maggie Wu react as the company's IPO begins trading at the NYSE in New York
FILE PHOTO: Alibaba Group Holding Ltd founder Jack Ma (front C) and Chief Financial Officer Maggie Wu react (front R) as the company’s initial public offering (IPO), under the ticker “BABA”, begins trading at the New York Stock Exchange in New York September 19, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

June 18, 2019

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Tuesday said its chief financial officer, Maggie Wu, will oversee the firm’s strategic acquisitions and investments unit, as part of a business and management reshuffle at the e-commerce giant.

Wu will take over from Executive Vice-Chairman Joe Tsai, who will support Wu in her new role, Alibaba said in a statement on its official WeChat account. It did not elaborate further on Tsai’s move.

Its supermarket division, Freshippo, will become a standalone business, and enterprise software unit DingTalk will be merged into the firm’s cloud unit, Alibaba said, adding that the changes are effective from Tuesday.

“To guarantee innovation, invest in our future, Alibaba is undertaking an organizational upgrade,” the company said in the statement, signed by Chief Executive Officer Daniel Zhang.

The announcement marks the first significant reshuffle since the company’s co-founder Jack Ma last year announced he would step down and allow Zhang to replace him as chairman.

Alibaba has been investing in new business lines such as cloud computing as a boom in its core e-commerce has peaked and its top-line growth is slowing.

Reuters reported last month that the firm is considering raising as much as $20 billion through a listing in Hong Kong to boost its investment war chest.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh and Josh Horwitz; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

Source: OANN

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees
Jun 17, 2019; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) and starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) shake hands after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

June 18, 2019

Masahiro Tanaka pitched a two-hitter and was backed by two homers, as the New York Yankees opened a 10-game homestand with a 3-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night.

Tanaka (5-5) turned in a third straight strong start against the Rays, allowing only a leadoff single to Austin Meadows in the fourth and a two-out single to Willy Adames in the fifth. In three starts this season against Tampa Bay, Tanaka has allowed one run on 10 hits and one walk in 22 innings, with 23 strikeouts.

Tanaka struck out 10, walked one, threw 76 of 111 pitches for strikes, faced two above the minimum and produced his 14th career double-digit strikeout game.

DJ LeMahieu and Cameron Maybin went deep for the Yankees, who homered for the 20th straight game. It is the second-longest streak in team history, behind only a 25-game streak from June 1-29, 1941.

Red Sox 2, Twins 0

J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts each went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Rick Porcello threw seven shutout innings to outduel Jose Berrios and lead Boston past Minnesota in Minneapolis.

It was a season-high sixth straight victory for Boston, which also moved six games above .500 for the first time this season.

Porcello (5-6) allowed four hits and a walk while striking out eight to pick up his first road victory in four decisions. Ryan Brasier pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to earn his seventh save. Berrios (8-3) gave up one run on five hits with 10 strikeouts over eight innings.

Cardinals 5, Marlins 0

Miles Mikolas pitched six scoreless innings, Matt Carpenter and Dexter Fowler slugged home runs, and host St. Louis earned a win over Miami.

Mikolas (5-7), a native Floridian who lost to his hometown Marlins last week, was much better this time around, allowing six hits — all singles — and no walks while striking out four. He combined with three relievers on an eight-hit shutout and ended his personal five-decision losing streak.

Carpenter went 3-for-4 with his 10th homer of the season, a double and two runs, helping the Cardinals improve to 6-2 in their past eight games. The Marlins have dropped nine of their past 11 games.

Rangers 7, Indians 2

Danny Santana belted a two-run homer, and Lance Lynn struck out nine and allowed just one run in seven innings as Texas defeated Cleveland in Arlington, Texas.

Elvis Andrus ripped a two-run double, and former Indian Shin-Soo Choo and Jeff Mathis each drove in a run for the Rangers, who scored all seven of their runs with two outs.

Francisco Lindor and rookie Oscar Mercado each belted a solo homer for the Indians, who fell for just the fourth time in 12 games.

Braves 12, Mets 3

Ronald Acuna Jr. continued his torrid offensive pace with three more hits, including a leadoff home run, and Atlanta defeated visiting New York.

Acuna was 3-for-5 with his 17th homer and two RBIs and extended his hitting streak to nine games, matching his season best. Acuna, who was 4-for-5 on Sunday, is hitting .409 (18-for-44) with three homers during the streak. He lifted his batting average to .301.

Brian McCann and Ozzie Albies also had three hits and struck back-to-back homers for the Braves in the eighth inning. Atlanta has won 10 of its past 11 games. The Mets have lost four of their past five.

Reds 3, Astros 2

Luis Castillo overcame errant command of the strike zone, and host Cincinnati held on through some tense moments in the latter innings for a victory over Houston.

Castillo (7-1) walked a career-high six batters, but he allowed only two hits and fanned seven while working six-plus innings. Michael Lorenzen got the last two outs for his third save.

The Reds scored all of their runs in the fifth inning, on a two-RBI single from Nick Senzel and an RBI hit from Eugenio Suarez.

Angels 10, Blue Jays 5

Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani each homered and had three RBIs, Felix Pena pitched six-plus innings in relief, and Los Angeles won at Toronto.

Trout had four hits, including a two-run double. Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun also homered for the Angels. Pena (5-1) allowed four runs, six hits and three walks while striking out five.

Cavan Biggio hit two home runs and had three RBIs for Toronto, and Randal Grichuk added a two-run homer.

Phillies at Nationals, ppd.

The scheduled game between Philadelphia and host Washington was rained out. It will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Syrian Foreign Minister al-Moualem speaks during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow
FILE PHOTO: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem speaks during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia August 30, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

June 18, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said on Tuesday that he does not want to see fighting between the Syrian and Turkish militaries.

Moualem made the comment in China during a joint briefing with the Chinese government’s top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Writing by Michael Martina; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Italian PM Conte and Deputy PM Salvini hold a joint news conference in Rome
FILE PHOTO: Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini attends a joint news conference following a cabinet meeting in Rome, Italy, June 11, 2019 REUTERS/Remo Casilli

June 18, 2019

By Crispian Balmer

ROME (Reuters) – Italy is the United States’ most reliable ally in Europe, Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Monday, keen to present himself as a strong, trustworthy statesman during a flying visit to Washington.

Fresh from his triumph in last month’s European parliamentary election, when his League party came top of the polls in Italy, Salvini went to Washington to burnish his credentials as a dynamic EU leader with a glowing future.

“At a time when European Union institutions are fragile and changing significantly, Italy wants to be the first, most solid, valid, credible and coherent partner for the United States,” he said on his Facebook page.

Salvini held talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence and visited Washington landmarks, sending home a flurry of Facebook videos and tweets to chronicle the brief trip.

Salvini, who also serves as interior minister in the government, has no direct say in foreign policy, which is overseen by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero — neither of whom have direct political affiliation with any group.

As head of Italy’s biggest party, Salvini seemed eager to reposition Italian diplomacy during his trip, however, saying he shared a “common vision” with Washington on China, Iran, Venezuela, Libya and the Middle East.

Italy has often adopted cautious lines in key diplomatic areas, seeking to serve as a bridge between various worlds.

Earlier this year, Rome angered the United States when it refused to recognise Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president — a position imposed on the Italian government by the League’s coalition ally, the 5-Star Movement.

Italy further incurred Washington’s displeasure in March when it became the first major Western power to endorse China’s ambitious “Belt and Road” infrastructure project in an effort to boost its own vital export market.

RETHINKING CHINA

However, in a news conference posted on his Facebook page, Salvini said the government was considering banning China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd from bidding for infrastructure projects in Italy following warnings from the United States that it could endanger national security in the West.

“When you raise the issue of national security and also have a shared vision and shared values with the United States, then you reach a time when business deals have to stop,” he said.

Salvini was one of the first prominent EU politicians to throw his weight behind Donald Trump in 2016 as he campaigned to become U.S. president and attended one of his election rallies.

He left Washington on Monday singing the praises of the president’s economic policy.

The next Italian budget “will have to be Trumpian” he said, referring to tax cuts introduced by the U.S. administration.

Salvini has pledged to introduce a flat tax in 2020, but the European Union executive has warned that heavily indebted Italy cannot afford such budget largesse and has threatened Rome with disciplinary action unless it gets its accounts in order.

“We will try to convince the EU with numbers and by being polite. But we will cut taxes regardless and they are just going to have to get used to the idea,” he said.

(Reporting by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Bank Indonesia's logo is seen at Bank Indonesia headquarters in Jakarta
FILE PHOTO: Bank Indonesia’s logo is seen at Bank Indonesia headquarters in Jakarta, Indonesia, January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

June 18, 2019

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Bank Indonesia is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate steady at a policy review on Thursday, but it may begin to follow other Asian central banks by cutting later this year, a Reuters poll showed.

All but three of 22 analysts surveyed predicted Bank Indonesia (BI) will hold the 7-day reverse repurchase rate at 6.0%, where it has been since November.

The other three forecast a trim by 25 basis points (bps), which would be the first rate cut since September, 2017.

A reduction would put BI on the same path as central banks in India, Malaysia and the Philippines who have loosened monetary conditions following the Federal Reserve’s dovish turn.

Hours before BI’s meeting, the Fed, facing fresh demands by U.S. President Donald Trump to cut interest rates, is expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged, but possibly lay the groundwork for a rate cut later this year.

“Now, we believe the stars in the global economic atmosphere are aligned for a BI rate cut,” said Satria Sambijantoro, an economist with Bahana Sekuritas, who is among the minority predicting a cut this week.

He cited even stronger dovish signals from the Fed, prospects of lower oil prices, and a credit rating upgrade from Standard & Poor’s last month as reasons why BI would feel comfortable cutting now.

Most other economists, however, think BI will take time to monitor global markets before cutting.

Trimegah Securities said in a note this week a premature rate cut would hurt the rupiah currency. Anchoring the rupiah was among BI’s main goals behind rate increases last year that increased the policy rate by a total 175 basis points.

“We’ll turn bearish on rupiah and bonds if BI delivers a rate cut too early,” its economist Fakhrul Fulvian said.

Governor Perry Warjiyo in an interview with Reuters last month said that BI will take into consideration global market conditions and Indonesia’s external balance when “considering the room for monetary policy to be more accommodative”.

Warjiyo told Reuters 2019 GDP expansion is seen at 5.1%, a fraction below last year’s 5.17% and near the bottom end of BI’s 5.0%-5.4% outlook.

On Monday, the governor told a hearing with parliament he expects global uncertainties to subside in the second half of the year.

Indonesian exports have plunged in recent months as global trade slowed and trade tensions between the United States and China escalated.

At its May 16 policy meeting, BI widened its forecast for the current account gap to 2.5%-3% of gross domestic products (GDP) this year, from an initial estimate of 2.5%.

All eight respondents who gave a view on the year-end benchmark expect at least one rate cut in 2019. Four predicted the rate would end the year 25 bps below its current level, three saw it 50 bps lower, and one saw the rate 75 bps lower.

(Polling by Tabita Diela and Nilufar Rizki in JAKARTA, Khusboo Mittal in BENGALURU; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: OANN

2019 MTV Movie and TV Awards - Tiffany Haddish, Melissa McCarthy and Elisabeth Moss present - Santa Monica, California
2019 MTV Movie and TV Awards – Tiffany Haddish, Melissa McCarthy and Elisabeth Moss present – Santa Monica, California, U.S., June 15, 2019. Picture taken June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

June 18, 2019

By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Superhero blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame” was the top winner at the MTV Movie and TV awards on Monday in a show marked by messages of empowerment and self-esteem.

The Marvel movie, the second biggest box office hit of all time, took wins for best movie, villain (Josh Brolin’s Thanos) and hero (Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man.)

But U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the diminutive, 86-year-old liberal judge, was voted best real-life hero, cementing her status as an unexpected pop culture icon, especially among women. She did not attend the MTV ceremony in the California beach city of Santa Monica.

The MTV Movie and TV awards usually focus on crowd-pleasers and is an irreverent antidote to the more serious winter Hollywood awards season. Winners get popcorn shaped trophies and are chosen by fans voting online.

But while medieval fantasy “Game of Thrones” was named best TV show on Monday, other awards went to darker fare.

“Surviving R. Kelly,” in which seven women spoke on camera about what they said was years of sexual and emotional abuse by the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer, won best documentary.

The Lifetime network documentary led to Kelly being dropped by his record company and to criminal charges in Chicago of aggravated sexual assault involving four women, three of them minors. Kelly has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

“Survivors walked through the fire and then stood again to tell this story,” Brie Miranda Bryant, an executive with Lifetime, said in an acceptance speech.

Elisabeth Moss, star of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” took the award for best performance in a TV show, a category that was entirely made up of women. The bleak drama series portrays a near future in which women are stripped of all their rights, including working and reading.

Brie Larson’s “Captain Marvel” triumphed in the best fight category, while MTV’s popular best kiss award went to newcomers Noah Centineo and Lana Condor from the Asian-led teen movie “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.”

“Love who you want to love, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise,” Condor, 22, told the audience.

Actor, producer and wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was given the Generation award for a career that encompasses more than 30 film and TV shows, including the “Fast and Furious” movie franchise.

Johnson told the audience that when he first came to Hollywood some 15 years ago, the entertainment industry didn’t know how to handle a 6-foot-4-inch, muscled, half black, half Samoan man, “so I decided I wasn’t going to conform to Hollywood, Hollywood was going to conform to me”.

Breakout singer Lizzo gave her first awards show performance with her hit single “Juice,” an anthem to self-esteem.

“Girls Trip” actress Jada Pinkett-Smith was given the annual Trailblazer award for a career that includes author, fashion designer, women’s rights activist and funder of youth programs.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; editing by Darren Schuettler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: MLB: Oakland Athletics at Texas Rangers
FILE PHOTO: Jun 9, 2019; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder Hunter Pence (24) makes a leaping catch during the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

June 18, 2019

The Texas Rangers placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day injured list Monday because of a strained right groin.

Pence sustained the injury Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds, when he was playing right field and chasing Jose Peraza’s hit into the corner in the fifth inning. He pulled up near the line as the ball landed and bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double.

An MRI exam Monday revealed the strain. Pence, 36, is hitting .294 with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs in 55 games this season, his first with the Rangers after signing as a free agent from the San Francisco Giants.

He is second to Boston’s J.D. Martinez at designated hitter in the first round of All-Star voting in the American League.

–San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado was suspended one game and fined an undisclosed amount for “aggressively arguing and making contact with” an umpire Saturday, MLB announced.

The suspension was to be served Monday night, with the Padres hosting the Milwaukee Brewers, but it will be delayed after Machado chose to appeal. He told reporters before the game he didn’t believe he made contact with umpire Bill Welke, who ejected Machado in the top of the fifth inning in Saturday’s game against the Colorado Rockies in Denver.

“I didn’t touch him. I didn’t think I touched him. Video says it all,” Machado said of the encounter. .”.. I think we’ve got a good case. I don’t think anyone’s ever gotten suspended a game for arguing balls and strikes.”

–In the span of a week, the New York Yankees’ lineup could get a complete makeover with the addition of American League home run leader Edwin Encarnacion and the healthy return of outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.

Encarnacion, acquired from the Seattle Mariners, was in the lineup Monday night against the Tampa Bay Rays as the Yankees returned home from a road trip for what is setting up as an explosive homestand. Batting fifth as New York’s designated hitter, he went 0-for-4 in the Yankees’ 3-0 win.

The homestand may include more fireworks because the usual middle-of-the-order bombers, Stanton and Judge, are close to being on the field at Yankee Stadium. For Stanton, that will happen Tuesday. Judge is close, and could be back with the team by the end of the weekend after not stepping to the plate since the opening series of the season against the Baltimore Orioles.

–With just days remaining until the end of the first-round of All-Star voting, a pair of Los Angeles outfielders continue to lead.

Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers leads all vote-getters with 2,184,251, and the Angels’ Mike Trout tops the American League balloting with 1,904,273.

New voting rules have divided the balloting into rounds. At the conclusion of the first round, which ends Friday, the top three players at each position — nine in the outfield — will move on to the next round of balloting with the vote tally starting over.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NBA: Toronto Raptors-Championship Parade
Jun 17, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and team mates show off the Larry O’Brien trophy to fans during a parade through downtown Toronto to celebrate their NBA title. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

June 18, 2019

Four people sustained non-life-threatening gunshot wounds at Monday’s rally celebrating the Raptors’ championship, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said.

Three arrests were made, according to Saunders, who added that the investigation was ongoing.

A reported 1.5 million parked Toronto’s downtown for the Raptors’ parade and subsequent rally at City Hall. The shootings occurred at Nathan Phillips Square, adjacent to City Hall. Addition people sustained minor injuries attempting to flee the scene after the shots were heard.

Mayor John Tory said in a statement, “It is disappointing and I’m sure a source of anger for more than just me that anyone would carry a gun and discharge it at what was otherwise a joyous celebration.”

–While the Raptors celebrated, the next chapter for the team sits in limbo based on the future of star forward Kawhi Leonard.

“Holding that trophy, there’s nothing more special than that,” Ed Rogers, chairman of Rogers Communications, partial owner of the Raptors, said at the rally. “The three of us are going to do everything we can to not make this a one-year thing, but make this a dynasty.”

Leonard will opt out of the final year of his contract to become a free agent. The Raptors expected this bit of paperwork even before Leonard was acquired from the San Antonio Spurs last summer. What they won’t know until at least June 30 is whether Leonard ever will wear a Toronto uniform again, and Leonard declined to offer any hints Monday.

–Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said he isn’t concerned by reports of tension between James Harden and Chris Paul.

In a wide-ranging interview on ESPN Radio, Morey also disputed reports that Paul has asked to be traded and confirmed that he intends to come to contract terms with head coach Mike D’Antoni. As to an ESPN story that said there’s unrest between All-Stars Harden and Paul, Morey said the frustration stems from a desire to win.

“Two competitive superstars at that level, there’s going to be times when they are extremely competitive, extremely focused on how do we get to that next level, and when we don’t, there’s going to be frustration,” Morey said. “I’m frustrated, our top players are frustrated, Mike D’Antoni is frustrated. We want to take the last step and be the champion, and I think it’s good that there is tension in the sense that we all want to win.”

–The New Orleans Pelicans picked up the 2020-21 option for head coach Alvin Gentry, putting him under contract for the next two seasons.

Gentry, 64, has spent the past four seasons coaching the Pelicans, going 145-183 and leading the team to the second round of the playoffs in 2017-18.

The Pelicans went 33-49 this season. Anthony Davis requested a trade in the middle of the campaign and sat out or had his minutes limited for much of the second half.

–Pelicans forward Julius Randle will opt out of his $9.1 million player option for 2019-20, The Athletic reported.

The 6-foot-9 Randle signed a one-year contract with the Pelicans last summer that included the player option for 2019-20. With his expected opt-out, Randle and the Pelicans could negotiate a new deal, or Randle could pursue another team.

The Pelicans agreed to trade All-NBA star Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for a hefty return of players and draft picks earlier this week. They now have the No. 1 and 4 overall picks in Thursday night’s draft, and they are expected to select Duke’s Zion Williamson with the top pick.

–Forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason after the Brooklyn Nets declined to make a qualifying offer, ESPN reported.

Hollis-Jefferson later tweeted: “Brooklynnnnn I Love You.. can’t believe it’s been 4 years ha.. Thank you”

Hollis-Jefferson, 24, averaged 9.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in four years with the Nets, who acquired him in a draft-night trade after the Portland Trail Blazers selected him with the 23rd pick in the 2015 draft. He started 147 of 234 games in Brooklyn, averaging a career-best 13.9 points in 2017-18.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NBA: Toronto Raptors-Championship Parade
Jun 17, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry and team mates show off the Larry O’Brien trophy to fans during a parade through downtown Toronto to celebrate their NBA title. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

June 18, 2019

Four people sustained non-life-threatening gunshot wounds at Monday’s rally celebrating the Raptors’ championship, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said.

Three arrests were made, according to Saunders, who added that the investigation was ongoing.

A reported 1.5 million parked Toronto’s downtown for the Raptors’ parade and subsequent rally at City Hall. The shootings occurred at Nathan Phillips Square, adjacent to City Hall. Addition people sustained minor injuries attempting to flee the scene after the shots were heard.

Mayor John Tory said in a statement, “It is disappointing and I’m sure a source of anger for more than just me that anyone would carry a gun and discharge it at what was otherwise a joyous celebration.”

–While the Raptors celebrated, the next chapter for the team sits in limbo based on the future of star forward Kawhi Leonard.

“Holding that trophy, there’s nothing more special than that,” Ed Rogers, chairman of Rogers Communications, partial owner of the Raptors, said at the rally. “The three of us are going to do everything we can to not make this a one-year thing, but make this a dynasty.”

Leonard will opt out of the final year of his contract to become a free agent. The Raptors expected this bit of paperwork even before Leonard was acquired from the San Antonio Spurs last summer. What they won’t know until at least June 30 is whether Leonard ever will wear a Toronto uniform again, and Leonard declined to offer any hints Monday.

–Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said he isn’t concerned by reports of tension between James Harden and Chris Paul.

In a wide-ranging interview on ESPN Radio, Morey also disputed reports that Paul has asked to be traded and confirmed that he intends to come to contract terms with head coach Mike D’Antoni. As to an ESPN story that said there’s unrest between All-Stars Harden and Paul, Morey said the frustration stems from a desire to win.

“Two competitive superstars at that level, there’s going to be times when they are extremely competitive, extremely focused on how do we get to that next level, and when we don’t, there’s going to be frustration,” Morey said. “I’m frustrated, our top players are frustrated, Mike D’Antoni is frustrated. We want to take the last step and be the champion, and I think it’s good that there is tension in the sense that we all want to win.”

–The New Orleans Pelicans picked up the 2020-21 option for head coach Alvin Gentry, putting him under contract for the next two seasons.

Gentry, 64, has spent the past four seasons coaching the Pelicans, going 145-183 and leading the team to the second round of the playoffs in 2017-18.

The Pelicans went 33-49 this season. Anthony Davis requested a trade in the middle of the campaign and sat out or had his minutes limited for much of the second half.

–Pelicans forward Julius Randle will opt out of his $9.1 million player option for 2019-20, The Athletic reported.

The 6-foot-9 Randle signed a one-year contract with the Pelicans last summer that included the player option for 2019-20. With his expected opt-out, Randle and the Pelicans could negotiate a new deal, or Randle could pursue another team.

The Pelicans agreed to trade All-NBA star Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for a hefty return of players and draft picks earlier this week. They now have the No. 1 and 4 overall picks in Thursday night’s draft, and they are expected to select Duke’s Zion Williamson with the top pick.

–Forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason after the Brooklyn Nets declined to make a qualifying offer, ESPN reported.

Hollis-Jefferson later tweeted: “Brooklynnnnn I Love You.. can’t believe it’s been 4 years ha.. Thank you”

Hollis-Jefferson, 24, averaged 9.9 points and 5.9 rebounds in four years with the Nets, who acquired him in a draft-night trade after the Portland Trail Blazers selected him with the 23rd pick in the 2015 draft. He started 147 of 234 games in Brooklyn, averaging a career-best 13.9 points in 2017-18.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A pumpjack is seen at sunset outside Scheibenhard, near Strasbourg
FILE PHOTO: A pumpjack is seen at sunset outside Scheibenhard, near Strasbourg, France, October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

June 18, 2019

By Aaron Sheldrick

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices were falling for a second day on Tuesday, after more signs that global economic growth is being hit by U.S.-China trade tensions, although losses were limited amid tensions in the Middle East after tanker attacks last week.

Brent crude futures were down 16 cents, or 0.3%, at $60.78 a barrel by 0215 GMT. They fell 1.7% in the previous session on concerns about slowing global growth.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 12 cents, or 0.2%, at $51.92. They dropped 1.1% on Monday.

The New York Federal Reserve said on Monday that its gauge of business growth in New York state posted a record fall this month to its weakest level in more than 2-1/2 years, suggesting an abrupt contraction in regional activity.

U.S. business sentiment has sagged as tensions over trade have escalated between China and the United States and on signs of softness in the labor market.

“The (oil) market is in a rut and desperately in need of some robust economic data to get it out of this funk,” said Stephen Innes, managing partner at Vanguard Markets in Bangkok.

Oil prices have fallen around 20% since 2019 highs reached in April, in part due to concerns about the U.S.-China trade war and disappointing economic data.

U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping could meet at the G20 summit in Japan later this month. Trump has said he would meet Xi at the event, although China has not confirmed the meeting.

Putting further pressure on oil, the U.S. energy department said on Monday that shale oil output is expected to reach a record in July.

But tensions in the Middle East are likely to keep prices supported, analysts said.

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced on Monday 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.

Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since last Thursday when two oil tankers were attacked, which Washington has blamed on Tehran. Iran has denied involvement.

(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Richard Pullin and Joseph Radford)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan opposition lawmaker Gilber Caro speaks during an interview with Reuters in Caracas
FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan opposition lawmaker Gilber Caro speaks during an interview with Reuters in Caracas, Venezuela June 12, 2018 in this still image taken from a video. REUTERS TV/ via REUTERS

June 18, 2019

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela on Monday freed opposition lawmaker Gilber Caro, who was detained in April in what allies said was a violation of his parliamentary immunity, the opposition-controlled National Assembly said on Twitter.

The move by President Nicolas Maduro’s government, which faces a challenge to its legitimacy from National Assembly leader Juan Guaido, comes days before a visit by Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, to meet victims of rights abuses and speak with both leaders.

“The parliamentarian Gilber Caro should never have been jailed,” the National Assembly said. “Today he comes out from behind bars, but just like all Venezuelans, he still is not free.”

In January, Guaido invoked the constitution to assume an interim presidency, calling Maduro a dictator and saying his 2018 re-election was illegitimate. He has been recognized as Venezuela’s rightful leader by dozens of countries, including the United States and most South American neighbors.

Maduro calls Guaido a U.S.-backed puppet seeking to oust him in a coup. He retains control of state functions and Venezuela’s armed forces.

The U.N. last month criticized the Maduro government’s handling of Caro’s arrest, saying its failure to confirm his fate and whereabouts constituted an “enforced disappearance” under international law.

Caro, who had previously spent 18 months in jail on treason and weapons charges between 2017 and 2018, was freed from the Sebin intelligence agency’s Caracas headquarters, known as the Helicoide, attorney and former lawmaker Pedro Diaz-Blum told Reuters.

Diaz-Blum is a member of the Boston Group, a network of U.S. and Venezuelan legislators that has served as an intermediary between the government and the opposition for more than a decade. The group on Monday posted a brief video on Twitter of Caro greeting some of its members in an office.

Rights group Penal Forum said Melvin Farias and Junior Rojas, two men it called political prisoners and said had been jailed for more than a year, had also been freed.

Several politicians close to Guaido who have been arrested in recent weeks remain behind bars, including his chief of staff Roberto Marrero and National Assembly Vice President Edgar Zambrano.

(Reporting by Mayela Armas and Vivian Sequera; Additional reporting by Tibisay Romero in Valencia; Writing by Luc Cohen and Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

A man looks on in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Nanjing
A man looks on in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

June 18, 2019

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO (Reuters) – Investor caution ahead of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate meeting capped Asian stocks on Tuesday, while crude oil prices retreated as global growth worries overshadowed supply concerns stemming from recent Middle East tensions.

The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.25%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.15% and Japan’s Nikkei dipped 0.3%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.2%.

Bucking the trend were Australian stocks, which rose 0.3% after minutes from the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) last policy meeting pointed to the possibility of another interest rate cut.

The Fed, facing fresh demands by U.S. President Donald Trump to cut interest rates, begins a two-day meeting later on Tuesday. The central bank is expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged this time but possibly lay the groundwork for a rate cut later this year.

Fresh hopes for looser U.S. monetary policy have been a tonic for risk assets markets, which were buffeted last month by an escalation in the trade conflict between Washington and Beijing. The S&P 500 has gained 5% this month after sliding in May on trade war fears.

“In just a few months, the market has turned from being guided by the Fed to actively guiding the Fed,” wrote interest rate strategists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Focus is now on how close the Fed could be to cutting interest rates amid the raging U.S.-China trade war, signs of the economy losing steam and pressure by President Trump to ease policy.

“The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting is the week’s biggest event so there will be a degree of caution prevailing in the markets,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.

“Expectations for a rate cut in July have increased significantly, so the markets could experience disappointment if the Fed does not send strong signals of impending easing.”

U.S. Treasury yields dipped on Monday after the New York Fed’s “Empire” gauge of business growth in the state showed a fall this month to its weakest in more than 2-1/2-years, fanning rate cut expectations.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies stood little changed at 97.468 after pulling back from a two-week high on the decline in Treasury yields.

The Australian dollar fell to a fresh five-month low of $0.6851 after minutes from the RBA’s June meeting showed the central bank thinks it may have to ease policy again to push down unemployment and revive wages and inflation.

The central bank cut rates to a record low of 1.25% at its meeting earlier this month, to support the slowing economy.

The pound extended an overnight slump and brushed $1.2512, its lowest since Jan. 3. Concerns that arch-Brexiteer Boris Johnson will replace Theresa May as prime minister have dogged sterling. [GBP/]

The euro was a shade higher at $1.1231 after spending the previous day confined to a narrow range.

U.S. crude oil futures shed 0.13% to $51.86 per barrel after retreating 1.1% the previous day and Brent crude lost 0.2% to $60.81 per barrel following Monday’s loss of 1.7%.

Oil prices had fallen on Monday as weak Chinese economic data released at the end of last week led to fears of lower global demand for the commodity. [O/R]

Concerns over weakening demand overshadowed tensions in the Middle East, which remained high following last week’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

(Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thomas talks in his chambers at the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas talks in his chambers at the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, U.S. June 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

June 18, 2019

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – Justice Clarence Thomas on Monday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to feel less bound to upholding precedent, advancing a view that if adopted by enough of his fellow justices could result in more past decisions being overruled, perhaps including the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

Writing in a gun possession case over whether the federal government and states can prosecute someone separately for the same crime, Thomas said the court should reconsider its standard for reviewing precedents.

Thomas said the nine justices should not uphold precedents that are “demonstrably erroneous,” regardless of whether other factors supported letting them stand.

“When faced with a demonstrably erroneous precedent, my rule is simple: We should not follow it,” wrote Thomas, who has long expressed a greater willingness than his colleagues to overrule precedents.

In a concurring opinion, which no other justice joined, Thomas referred to the court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which reaffirmed Roe and said states cannot place an undue burden on the constitutional right to an abortion recognized in the Roe decision. Thomas, a member of the court at the time, dissented from the Casey ruling.

Thomas, 70, joined the court in 1991 as an appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush. Thomas is its longest-serving current justice.

The court now has a 5-4 conservative majority, and Thomas is among its most conservative justices.

He demonstrated his willingness to abandon precedent in February when he wrote that the court should reconsider its landmark 1964 New York Times v. Sullivan ruling that made it harder for public officials to win libel lawsuits.

“Thomas says legal questions have objectively correct answers, and judges should find them regardless of whether their colleagues or predecessors found different answers,” said Jonathan Entin, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “Everyone is concerned about this because they’re thinking about Roe v. Wade.”

COURT DIVISIONS

The Thomas opinion focused on “stare decisis,” a Latin term referring to the legal principle that U.S. courts should not overturn precedents without a special reason.

While stare decisis (pronounced STAR-ay deh-SY-sis) has no formal parameters, justices deciding whether to uphold precedents often look at such factors as whether they work, enhance stability in the law, are part of the national fabric or promote reliance interests, such as in contract cases.

In 2000, conservative then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist left intact the landmark 1966 Miranda v. Arizona ruling, which required police to advise people in custody of their rights, including the rights to remain silent and have a lawyer.

Writing for a 7-2 majority, Rehnquist wrote that regardless of concerns about Miranda’s reasoning, “the principles of stare decisis weigh heavily against overruling it now.” Thomas joined Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent from that decision. But even Scalia, a conservative who died in 2016, had a different view of stare decisis.

In a widely quoted comment, Scalia once told a Thomas biographer, Ken Foskett, that Thomas “doesn’t believe in stare decisis, period,” and that “if a constitutional line of authority is wrong, he would say let’s get it right. I wouldn’t do that.”

Stare decisis has also split the current court, including last month when in a 5-4 decision written by Thomas the justices overruled a 1979 precedent that had allowed states to be sued by private parties in courts of other states.

Justice Stephen Breyer, a member of the court’s liberal wing, dissented, faulting the majority for overruling “a well-reasoned decision that has caused no serious practical problems.” Citing the 1992 Casey ruling, Breyer said the May decision “can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next.”

Thomas said the court should “restore” its jurisprudence relating to precedents to ensure it exercises “mere judgment” and focuses on the “correct, original meaning” of laws it interprets.

“In our constitutional structure, our rule of upholding the law’s original meaning is reason enough to correct course,” Thomas wrote.

Thomas also said demonstrably erroneous decisions should not be “elevated” over federal statutes, as well as the Constitution, merely because they are precedents.

“That’s very different from what the Court does today,” said John McGinnis, a law professor at Northwestern University in Chicago.

McGinnis said the thrust of Thomas’s opinion “makes clear that in a narrow area he will give some weight to precedent. But at the same time, he thinks cases have one right answer, and might find more cases ‘demonstrably erroneous.’”

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Will Dunham)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda speaks during a group interview at the BOJ headquarters in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda speaks during a group interview at the BOJ headquarters in Tokyo April 10, 2013. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

June 18, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank’s board would “certainly” discuss heightening overseas economic risks at a two-day rate review starting on Wednesday.

“The BOJ will guide monetary policy appropriately taking into account the impact overseas economic changes could have on Japan’s economic outlook and the momentum for achieving our inflation target,” Kuroda told parliament on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A woman rides a tricycle carrying a child near a residential compound in Beijing's Tongzhou district
FILE PHOTO: A woman rides a tricycle carrying a child near a residential compound in Beijing’s Tongzhou district, China, February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

June 18, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s new home prices rose 0.7% month-on-month in May, picking up the pace slightly from a 0.6% gain the previous month, Reuters calculated from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data published on Tuesday.

On a yearly basis, average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities increased 10.7% in May, unchanged from the growth rate in April.

China’s real estate market has shown signs of resurgence in recent months as some smaller cities quietly loosened curbs, and confidence has been lifted by Beijing’s call on banks to beef up lending and lower interest rates.

But a broader economic slowdown means the rebound might not be sustainable, some analysts caution, while official purchase restrictions in most cities are also expected to remain in place.

China’s property investment growth cooled in May and sales saw their biggest decline since October 2017, suggesting the frothy housing market may not be able to cushion the effects of a slumping manufacturing sector and intensifying trade tensions.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Sydney businessman walks into the light outside the Reserve Bank of Australia
FILE PHOTO: A Sydney businessman walks into the light outside the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), February 3, 2015. REUTERS/Jason Reed/File Photo

June 18, 2019

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s central bank believes it will likely have to cut interest rates further from the current record low of 1.25% in order to push down unemployment and revive growth in wages and inflation.

Minutes of the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) June policy meeting showed its Board decided cutting rates by a quarter point at that meeting would help speed up the economy, but would not be enough on its own.

“Given the amount of spare capacity in the labor market and the economy more broadly, members agreed that it was more likely than not that a further easing in monetary policy would be appropriate in the period ahead,” the minutes showed.

Financial markets have already priced in another rate cut to 1% by August and a further move to 0.75% by early next year.

The Board also noted that lower rate were not the only policy option available to assist with unemployment, echoing calls by RBA Governor Philip Lowe for government action on infrastructure spending and economic reform.

So far, the newly re-elected government of Prime Minister Scott Morrison has downplayed the need for fiscal stimulus and stuck to plans for returning the budget to surplus in 2019/20.

The Liberal National Coalition won re-election in mid-May, beating the favored Labor Party.

Tuesday’s minutes showed the Board judged lower rates would support the economy by pushing down the value of the Australian dollar. The currency has duly fallen to five-month lows since the RBA’s June 4 meeting.

Lower rates would also reduce debt repayments by households, so freeing up extra cash, while lowering borrowing costs for business, the minutes showed.

The Board acknowledged that cutting rates crimped returns for savers, but felt the overall impact would be to support economic growth.

Members also saw little risk that easing policy would lead to a risky rise in household borrowing or to an unexpectedly strong pick up in inflation.

Indeed, the Board judged that the factors suppressing inflation and wage growth would last for some time given the extent of spare capacity in the labor market.

Source: OANN

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans-Press Conference
FILE PHOTO: Apr 17, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry following a press conference announcing the hiring of Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin at the New Orleans Pelicans facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports – 12548272

June 18, 2019

The New Orleans Pelicans picked up the 2020-21 option for head coach Alvin Gentry, ESPN reported on Monday, putting him under contract for the next two seasons.

Gentry, 64, has spent the past four seasons coaching the Pelicans, going 145-183 with three losing years. He led the team to the second round of the playoffs in 2017-18 before a drop-off this year.

The Pelicans went 33-49 this season. All-Star forward Anthony Davis requested a trade in the middle of the campaign and sat out or had his minutes limited for much of the second half.

Davis was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this week for a package of three players — Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart — and three first-round picks. The Pelicans are expected to rebuild around those players and former Duke star Zion Williamson, the presumptive first overall pick in Thursday’s draft, after winning the lottery for the top pick earlier this month.

Gentry has also been a head coach for the Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns, going 480-533 in the regular season across parts of 16 seasons and 17-13 in three playoff appearances.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-San Jose Sharks at St. Louis Blues
FILE PHOTO: May 17, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (65) shoots during the first period in game four of the Western Conference Final of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports – 12726592

June 18, 2019

All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson signed an eight-year deal to remain with the San Jose Sharks. The team did not release contract figures, but multiple reports on Monday said it’s worth about $11.5 million per year — $92 million total.

His contract will be among the NHL’s richest in annual average value. Connor McDavid of Edmonton is the league’s highest-paid player, with a $12.5 million annual average value.

Karlsson, 29, could have become the league’s marquee free agent this offseason as he reached the end of the seven-year, $45.5 million contract he signed with the Ottawa Senators, who selected him No. 15 overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft. He is a two-time winner of the NHL’s Norris Trophy (2012 and 2015) and a six-time All-Star.

Limited to 53 games last season with a groin injury, Karlsson had 45 points (three goals, 42 assists). In 680 career NHL games, he has 563 points (129 goals, 434 assists).

–Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel recently vetoed a trade, and the team is no longer seeking to move him, general manager Jim Rutherford said on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh.

Kessel, a 13-year veteran with 357 goals and 466 assists in his career, reportedly nixed a trade to the Minnesota Wild, which were not on Kessel’s list of approved trade destinations.

Kessel, 31, had 27 goals and 55 assists in 82 games for the Penguins last season, his fourth with the team. He helped Pittsburgh win the Stanley Cup in 2016 and 2017. He is under contract through the 2021-22 season.

–The New York Rangers acquired defenseman Jacob Trouba from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for defenseman Neal Pionk and the 20th overall pick in the 2019 NHL draft.

Trouba, 25, set career highs in assists (42) and points (50) last season, playing in all 82 regular-season games for the first time in his career. Among defensemen, he tied for ninth in the league in assists and was 13th in points.

Trouba, selected by Winnipeg with the ninth pick in the 2012 draft, has played in 408 games for the Jets in the past six seasons, with 137 assists and 42 goals. Pionk, 23, has appeared in 101 games for the Rangers in the past two seasons, with 33 assists and seven goals.

–The Anaheim Ducks announced Dallas Eakins as their head coach. Eakins, 52, most recently was head coach of the Ducks’ American Hockey League affiliate, the San Diego Gulls.

Eakins also has NHL head coaching experience, leading the Edmonton Oilers to a 36-63-14 record from 2013-15. He played for eight teams across a 10-year NHL career as a defenseman, scoring no goals and adding nine assists.

Eakins replaces Randy Carlyle, who was fired as Ducks coach in February after a dreadful 2-15-4 stretch where Anaheim lost 12 straight games (0-8-4) from Dec. 18-Jan. 15. General manager Bob Murray served as interim coach for the rest of the season, leading the Ducks to a 14-11-1 record.

–The Ottawa Senators re-signed left winger Anthony Duclair on a one-year, $1.65 million contract.

Duclair, who was acquired in a February trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets, could have become a restricted free agent this offseason. The 23-year-old had 33 points (19 goals, 14 assists) in a combined 74 games with Columbus and Ottawa last season.

Duclair, a third-round draft pick of the New York Rangers in 2013, broke into the NHL as a 19-year-old with New York in the 2014-15 season. He has 122 career points (56 goals, 66 assists) in 287 games with five teams.

–The Columbus Blue Jackets re-signed left wing Markus Hannikainen to a one-year contract for the 2019-20 season. The Athletic reported the deal is worth $750,000.

Hannikainen, 26, recorded seven points (four goals, three assists) in 44 games with the Blue Jackets in 2018-19. He set career highs in goals, points and games played.

The Blue Jackets originally signed Hannikainen, a native of Finland, in April 2015. He played four years before that in Liiga, Finland’s top professional league.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN


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