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French Open - Roland Garros
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 2, 2019. Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in action during his fourth round match against Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

June 17, 2019

(Reuters) – Younger players must take responsibility and break the hegemony at Wimbledon to ensure there is a new champion this year, Greek world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas has said.

Since 2003, one of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal or Andy Murray have won the title at Wimbledon, with the Swiss leading the way with eight titles.

Former champion Boris Becker had slated the younger generation’s inability to challenge the ‘Big Three’ of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic — who have won every major over the last 2-1/2 years — and Tsitsipas hoped to be the one to accomplish the feat at Wimbledon.

“I would love to see something different this year. Hopefully it will be me,” Tsitsipas, 20, told reporters. “It would give it a little bit of variety, something different to these guys.

“We are responsible as the new generation to work hard to come up with something new and our best games to beat them. Some don’t want to take the responsibility of going out and overcoming all those difficulties and beat those guys.”

Tsitsipas has already beaten Federer and Nadal at the Australian Open and Madrid Open respectively this year but he said it was not up to just him or 22-year-old world number five Alexander Zverev to carry the torch for the younger players.

“There are others,” Tsitsipas added. “Felix (Auger-Aliassime), Denis (Shapovalov), Taylor (Fritz), Alex (de Minaur), Frances (Tiafoe)… We want a big, big rivalry in the future.”

Tsitsipas is the top seed at the Queen’s Club Championships, a traditional warm-up grasscourt tournament before Wimbledon, and plays Briton Kyle Edmund in the first round on Tuesday.

Wimbledon begins on July 1.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is pictured at the LABACE fair in Sao Paulo
FILE PHOTO: The Boeing logo is pictured at the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition fair (LABACE) at Congonhas Airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Aug. 14, 2018. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker/File Photo

June 17, 2019

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FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past the logos of French luxury goods maker Chanel in Nice
FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a wall with logos of French luxury goods maker Chanel in Nice, France, February 22, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/File Photo

June 17, 2019

By Pascale Denis

PARIS (Reuters) – Luxury fashion group Chanel, whose star designer Karl Lagerfeld passed away earlier this year, reported higher annual sales and profits on Monday and once again reaffirmed its independence, stating it was not for sale.

Chanel said its 2018 revenues rose 12.5% to $11.12 billion, while net profits climbed 16.4% to $2.17 billion.

The French fashion house, known for its tweed suits and quilted handbags, enjoyed growth across all of its markets, with Asia-Pacific leading the way with a 19.9% rise in annual sales, compared to a 7.8% rise in Europe and 7.4% in the Americas region.

The label’s move last year to release its financial results for the first time since it was founded in 1910 by Coco Chanel fueled speculation the group was preparing for a sale, despite its consistent denials.

Chief Financial Officer Philippe Blondiaux again told Reuters that the company was not for sale and was not planning any stock market listing.

“We’ve got to live with the fact that we are one of the most desirable brands in the market. These rumors will unfortunately keep coming back on a regular basis,” said Blondiaux.

“Chanel needs to remain independent, in order to have the freedom to make choices that go against the grain, such as no longer using exotic animal skins, or by harmonizing prices,” he added.

In May, Chanel’s new creative chief Virginie Viard delivered her first solo collection for the brand in the wake of Lagerfeld’s death, and Blondiaux said Chanel saw Viard as being with Chanel for the long-term.

(Reporting by Pascale Denis; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Susan Fenton)

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Buddhist monk leaves the annual meeting of the nationalist group Buddha Dhamma Parahita Foundation, previously known as Ma Ba Tha in Yangon,
A buddhist monk leaves the annual meeting of the nationalist group Buddha Dhamma Parahita Foundation, previously known as Ma Ba Tha in Yangon, Myanmar June 17, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang

June 17, 2019

By Thu Thu Aung

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s most prominent group of nationalist Buddhist monks on Monday condemned sedition charges against one of its leading members, Wirathu, ahead of a hearing in the fugitive monk’s case expected on Tuesday.

Police issued an arrest warrant for Wirathu last month, but he has evaded arrest.

The monk is the best-known proponent of anti-Muslim rhetoric that has spread as Myanmar has transitioned from full military rule and as social media sites like Facebook have become popular.

Wirathu is accused of inciting violence against the Rohingya minority and other Muslims. He has also been supportive of the powerful military and critical of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Buddha Dhamma Parahita Foundation, formerly known by the Burmese acronym Ma Ba Tha, said Wirathu’s broadsides against Nobel laureate Suu Kyi were only “positive criticism”.

Religious authorities were responsible for disciplining monks who spoke out of turn, said central committee member Mya Nan Sayataw, reading from a statement released at the conclusion of the group’s annual meeting.

“It is an unlawful action by the government,” he said of the sedition charge against Wirathu, which can carry a penalty of life imprisonment.

A court in the city of Yangon is expected to begin proceedings in absentia on Tuesday.

Tun Nyunt, a spokesman at the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture, said anyone breaking the law should face action, including Buddhist monks.

More than 2,300 monks and nuns and another 3,000 laymen attended the foundation’s two days of speeches, recitation and donation ceremonies at a monastery in the north of Yangon.

The nationalist group accuses Suu Kyi’s administration of allowing immigration of Muslims. The group supports the military, which led a campaign that pushed hundreds of thousands of Rohingya from the country in 2017.

Its chapters across Myanmar also run schools and other social services and provide legal aid. Members have successfully lobbied for laws restricting interfaith marriage and religious conversion.

Some soldiers in uniform attended Monday’s event, and a military commander donated about $20,000 to the foundation.

Some books on nationalist subjects were on sale including “The people who want to eradicate Myanmar”, a paperback that includes the chapter “Londonistan: swallowed by Islam”.

(Reporting by Thu Thu Aung; Writing by Simon Lewis; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

June 17, 2019

DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) – Iran said on Monday it would breach internationally agreed curbs on its stock of low-enriched uranium in 10 days — a move likely to worsen already high tensions with Washington — but it added European nations still had time to save a landmark nuclear deal.

In a sign of concern at Iran’s announcement, Germany urged Tehran to meet all its obligations under the 2015 accord. Britain said if Iran breached limits agreed under the deal then London would look at “all options”.

Close U.S. ally Israel, Iran’s arch foe, urged world powers to step up sanctions against Tehran swiftly should it exceed the enriched uranium limit.

U.S.-Iran tensions are growing following accusations by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration that Tehran last Thursday attacked two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a vital oil shipping route. Iran denies having any role.

Iran’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, on Monday denied Tehran was behind the attacks and said if the Islamic Republic decided to block the strategic Strait of Hormuz shipping lane it would do so publicly.

Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said on state TV that “We have quadrupled the rate of enrichment (of uranium) and even increased it more recently, so that in 10 days it will bypass the 300 kg limit.”

“Iran’s reserves are every day increasing at a more rapid rate.”

Tehran said in May it would reduce compliance with the nuclear pact it agreed with world powers in 2015, in protest at the United States’ decision to unilaterally pull out of the agreement and reimpose sanctions last year.

The deal seeks to head off any pathway to an Iranian nuclear bomb in return for the removal of most international sanctions.

The accord requires Iran to curb its uranium enrichment capacity, capping Iran’s stock of low-enriched uranium at 300 kg of uranium hexafluoride enriched to 3.67 percent or its equivalent for 15 years.

A series of more intrusive U.N. inspections under the deal have verified that Iran has been meeting its commitments.

Urging European signatories to speed up their efforts to salvage the accord, President Hassan Rouhani said its collapse would not be in the interests of the region or the world.

“It’s a crucial moment, and France can still work with other signatories of the deal and play an historic role to save the deal in this very short time,” Rouhani was quoted as saying during a meeting with France’s new ambassador in Iran.

U.N. WATCHDOG CHIEF WORRIED

Kamalvandi, in a news conference at Iran’s Arak heavy water nuclear reactor which has been reconfigured under the deal, said Tehran could rebuild the underground facility to make it functional. Heavy water can be employed in reactors to produce plutonium, a fuel used in nuclear warheads.

In January, Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi told state TV that “despite pouring concrete in pipes within the core of the Arak reactor … Iran had purchased pipes for replacement in case the West violated the deal.”

Salehi said that only he and the country’s top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had knowledge about the additional pipes.

The west European signatories to the deal – France, Britain and Germany – have defended the nuclear accord as the best way to limit Iran’s enrichment of uranium.

But Iran has repeatedly criticized delays in setting up a European mechanism that would shield trade with Iran from U.S. sanctions in an effort to save the nuclear deal.

The United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency believe Iran had a nuclear weapons program that it abandoned. Tehran denies ever having had one.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday the United States did not want to go to war with Iran but would take every action necessary, including diplomacy, to guarantee safe navigation through Middle East shipping lanes.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. atomic watchdog, declined to comment. Its chief Yukiya Amano said last week that he was worried about rising tensions around Iran’s nuclear program and he hoped they could be resolved through dialogue.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said on Monday the European Union wanted to stick to the Iran nuclear deal but that Iran needed to do the same.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom and Parisa Hafezi in Dubai, Additional reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin and William Schomberg in London, Ben Blanchard in Beijing, Francois Murphy in Vienna, Robin Emmott in Brussels, Dan Williams in Jerusalem and Andrew Osborn and Andrey Kuzmin in Moscow, Editing by William Maclean)

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FILE PHOTO - Plane of Etihad Airways company is seen at Minsk international airport near the village of Slabada
FILE PHOTO – A plane of Etihad Airways company is seen at Minsk international airport near the village of Slabada, Belarus, May 19, 2016. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

June 17, 2019

By Alexander Cornwell and Hadeel Al Sayegh

DUBAI (Reuters) – Etihad Airways has appointed former Aer Lingus chief financial officer Andrew MacFarlane as its new group CFO, a spokesman for the Abu Dhabi airline said on Monday.

MacFarlane, who served as Aer Lingus CFO from 2009 to 2014, replaces Mark Powers who left Etihad earlier this year for personal reasons.

MacFarlane joins Etihad from state fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) where he has held a non-aviation role since 2014, according to his LinkedIn page.

He is the airline’s second CFO since it announced it was overhauling its management in 2017.

Etihad has begun a five-year turnaround strategy led by Group Chief Executive Tony Douglas, who joined the Abu Dhabi carrier in 2018.

The loss-making airline has scaled back its ambitions and started reorganizing as a mid-sized carrier focused on point-to-point traffic in 2018.

It has canceled dozens of Airbus and Boeing aircraft orders worth tens of billions of dollars.

(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell, additional reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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U.S. one dollar bills blow in this photo illustration. REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo
U.S. one dollar bills blow in this photo illustration. REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo

June 17, 2019

By Beth Pinsker

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The days of guaranteed pensions from work are long gone, but can annuities make up the difference for millennials?

Congress is on the cusp of passing retirement reform legislation that will open 401(k) plans to annuity products which guarantee lifetime income, alongside the more typical offerings of mutual funds, target-date funds and bonds.

Yet most people do not consider annuities until they are nearing retirement. At that point, they might take $100,000 or so from the sale of a house or a business and plunk some of it down on an annuity policy that will either delay payments for a few years or start immediately, getting something like $750 a month for life once they turn 65.

While it is rare for millennials to be interested in annuities, certified financial planner Ashley Folkes, who is based in Phoenix, Arizona, does have some clients who ask about lifetime income.

“There are some that are really against risk,” Folkes said. “If they can’t sleep at night, what can you do?”

For those clients, Folkes said there are annuities products that will give you more return than just a money market fund. He does not stray into any of the more risky and fee-laden variable annuities, because if they can deal with risk, he steers them into stocks and bonds.

Shane Morrow, a certified financial adviser based in Austin, Texas, uses annuities with some clients in their 30s as a portion of their asset allocation.

Morrow’s clients invest in these products outside of their workplace retirement plans, which means they keep control of them even if they change jobs or move. The portability of the new 401(k) annuities that Congress will now permit is not clear yet.

“Those are very real questions – the mobility of work is significant,” Morrow said.

QUESTIONS, NO ANSWERS

Also unclear in the bills moving through Congress is what type of annuities will be offered, what fees will be charged, how taxes will be assessed and what the limits will be.

“Are they going to be reversible, so you can change your mind?” asked Glenn Daily, a fee-only insurance consultant based in New York, something that is typically not possible today without huge surrender fees.

Daily also questioned the administrative costs, which can be considerable, especially considering the potential return.

“I’m really skeptical that giving up investment flexibility at a young age is smart,” Daily said. “You really have to be well compensated for giving up flexibility.”

How much could millennials get out of annuities in a 401(k) while investing small amounts per payroll period? Maybe not too much, because they would still want to stick mostly with stocks – the recommended split between stocks and fixed income is 60-40 or 70-30.

It would take a 25-year-old making $50,000 and contributing 6% a long time to save anywhere close to $100,000 toward an annuity, considering they might just be putting in $50 a pop toward it.

Doug Boneparth, a certified financial planner whose clientele at his company, Bone Fide Wealth in New York, is heavily millennial, wants to know who will educate workers about these choices.

“It’s a blatant example of how the general public’s lack of understanding of personal finance could do some harm as you start marketing complex products inside 401(k)s,” Boneparth said.

The better way to save more for retirement is to max out all your tax-advantaged plans with a disciplined and diversified approach. Annuities should be off the table until you do all of that, Boneparth said.

Then, if you still have extra savings, there is a whole open market to choose from.

“Why do you need your employer plan to decide what annuity to pick?” Boneparth said.

(Editing by Lauren Young and Bernadette Baum)

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FILE PHOTO: A labourer walks on steel pipes at a steel market in Hefei
FILE PHOTO: A labourer walks on steel pipes at a steel market in Hefei, Anhui province, China, December 31, 2009. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

June 17, 2019

By Tom Miles

GENEVA (Reuters) – China has halted a dispute at the World Trade Organization over its claim to be a market economy, a panel of three WTO adjudicators said on Monday, meaning Beijing must accept continued EU and U.S. “anti-dumping” levies on cheap Chinese goods.

One trade official close to the case said so much of the ruling had gone against Beijing that it had opted to pull the plug before the result became official.

“They lost so much that they didn’t even want the world to see the panel’s reasoning,” the official said.

Without a WTO ruling in Beijing’s favor, the EU and United States can keep imposing duties on cheap imports from China while disregarding its claim that they are fairly priced.

China had insisted that they treat it as a “market economy”, countering their view that the price of Chinese exports could not be taken at face value due to state interference in the economy.

It took legal action saying that under its 2001 WTO membership terms it must be recognized as a “market economy” after 15 years.

“China believes that there can be no other plausible reading of this simple and unambiguous treaty language,” China’s WTO ambassador Zhang Xiangchen said at a WTO hearing in 2017, calling the text “crystal clear”.

But the United States and the EU disagreed. They said Chinese goods — especially commodities such as steel and aluminum — were still heavily underpriced because of subsidies and state-backed oversupply, giving Chinese exporters an unfair advantage.

The row had become an explosive issue for the United States, with President Donald Trump threatening to quit the WTO if the organization did not “shape up”.

Chinese, EU and U.S. officials did not immediately comment on the suspension.

Beijing launched disputes against Brussels and Washington at the WTO in December 2016. It only pursued the case against the EU, but asked to suspend legal proceedings on May 7, the panel said.

After an EU request to take certain considerations into account, China reiterated its request to suspend legal proceedings. The panel accepted and halted the case on Friday.

The official said China was on course to lose the bulk of the case, with only some minor points going in its favor.

“They were going to win something, but it was overshadowed by the huge defeat that they had on the main claim.”

(Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Hugh Lawson)

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Traders work on the floor at the NYSE in New York
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

June 17, 2019

By Shreyashi Sanyal

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures treaded water on Monday, after the main indexes ended the previous week slightly higher, as focus shifted to a pivotal Federal Reserve meeting that could lay the groundwork for an interest rate cut later this year.

The S&P 500 index has risen nearly 5% so far in June on hopes of a rate cut in the face of weaker economic data and heightening global trade tensions, but that rally ran out of steam in the past week as traders trimmed their expectations.

The Fed is expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged at a policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, but analysts expect data to show that a growing number of policymakers are open to cutting rates in the coming months.

“The Fed has a very delicate balancing act to contend with as they have a choice of endorsing current dovish market pricing and keeping things calm, or to suggest it’s gone too far too quickly and give risk assets a sharp jolt,” wrote Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank.

The Fed’s policy-setting committee is due to release its statement at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) on Wednesday.

At 7:14 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.02%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.25 points, or 0.04% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 8 points, or 0.11%.

Investors also braced for the Group of 20 summit at the end of the month, which may yield progress on resolving the prolonged trade war between the United States and China.

Among stocks, Pfizer Inc edged down 0.1% in premarket trading after the drugmaker said it would buy Array Biopharma Inc for $10.64 billion. Shares of Array jumped 59%.

(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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FILE PHOTO - China’s President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Mongolia's President Khaltmaagiin Battulga on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Bishkek
FILE PHOTO – China’s President Xi Jinping attends a meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (not pictured) and Mongolia’s President Khaltmaagiin Battulga (not pictured) on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan June 14, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

June 17, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit North Korea on Thursday for two days, China’s state media announced on Monday.

China is North Korea’s lone major ally and the visit comes amid a protracted dispute over the North’s denuclearization with the United States.

(Reporting by Huizhong Wu)

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FILE PHOTO: The Pfizer logo is seen at their world headquarters in Manhattan, New York, U.S.
FILE PHOTO: The Pfizer logo is seen at their world headquarters in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

June 17, 2019

(Reuters) – Pfizer Inc said on Monday it would acquire Array Biopharma Inc for $10.64 billion in cash, giving it access to the target’s approved drugs for skin cancer and the targeted cancer medicines in its pipeline.

The offer of $48 per Array share represents a premium of about 62% to the stock’s close on Friday. Array’s shares surged 56% in light premarket trade.

Pfizer has been investing in cancer drugs and gene therapies in the face of competition for its blockbuster pain drug Lyrica.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year approved Array’s oral combination treatment for use in patients with the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The company is also testing its triple combo therapy in colorectal cancer patients.

“(The acquisition) sets the stage to create a potentially industry-leading franchise for colorectal cancer alongside Pfizer’s existing expertise in breast and prostate cancers,” Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said.

Pfizer said it expects to complete the deal in the second half of 2019.

The transaction is expected to add to earnings beginning 2022, and will be dilutive to adjusted earnings per share by between 4 and 5 cents this year and in 2020, Pfizer said.

(Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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Visitors look at the French-German-Spanish New Generation Fighter (NGF) model during the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris
Visitors look at the French-German-Spanish New Generation Fighter (NGF) model during the 53rd International Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France, June 17 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

June 17, 2019

By Michel Rose

PARIS (Reuters) – Spain on Monday joined a Franco-German project to build a next-generation fighter jet, an initiative touted as key to ensuring Europe can defend itself without depending on allies in an increasingly uncertain world.

Dassault Aviation and Airbus will build the warplane which is expected to be operational from 2040, with a view to replacing Dassault’s Rafale and Germany’s Eurofighter over time.

The European project faces competition from Britain, which last year launched its own plans for a new combat jet dubbed “Tempest”. Industry executives have urged European capitals to move swiftly or risk losing out in a global market to bigger players led by the United States, or even China in the future.

The defense ministers of France, Germany and Spain signed an accord launching a trilateral framework of cooperation at the Paris Airshow, sat in front of a mock-up of the jet and with French President Emmanuel Macron applauding behind them.

France’s Safran and Germany’s MTU Aero Engines will jointly develop the new warplane’s engine.

Dassault and Airbus have delivered a joint industrial proposal to the governments of France and Germany.

“The first demonstrator phase marks another decisive step,” they said in a joint statement.

France had explored working with Britain on the project, bringing together Europe’s two biggest military powers.

But in July 2017, Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced plans for the new Future Combat Air System (SCAF), including a fighter jet and a range of associated weapons such as drones.

Britain’s unveiling last July of its plans for a next-generation aircraft to rival the United States’ F35, the world’s most advanced warplane, laid bare European divisions and deepening scepticism about the future of European defense cooperation as Britain negotiates its exit from the European Union.

BAE Systems, Italy’s Leonardo, engine maker Rolls-Royce and missile maker MBDA are running the British project.

“Competition amongst Europeans when it weakens us against the Americans, the Chinese, is ridiculous,” Macron told reporters at the air show when asked about the two combat jet programs.

The French and German governments expect to invest an initial 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion) in the combat jet by 2025, with France, the project leader, contributing 2.5 billion euros, according to the French defense ministry.

Paris and Berlin target the first flight of a prototype around 2026.

(Reporting by Michel Rose, Sophie Louet; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Mark Potter)

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FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of the Spanish bank BBVA are seen in Madrid
FILE PHOTO: The headquarters of the Spanish bank BBVA are seen in Madrid, Spain, June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Juan Medina/File Photo

June 17, 2019

MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish bank BBVA must look closely at accusations against its former chairman Francisco Gonzalez to avoid potential costs to its reputation, Bank of Spain Governor Pablo Hernandez de Cos said on Monday.

Spanish authorities are investigating contracts with a jailed ex-police chief Jose Manuel Villarejo, whom news reports said was hired by BBVA in 2004 to spy on top executives of a potential buyer, construction company Sacyr.

“Our message remains the same; it’s important that lender looks at this matter deeply and quickly in order to mitigate potential costs to its reputation,” de Cos said during a conference in Santander.

In March, Gonzalez said he would temporarily step down as honorary chairman to avoid any harm to the bank’s reputation during the inquiry.

Current chairman Carlos Torres told the same conference that the bank was cooperating closely with the judicial inquiry as well as conducting their own investigation into the matter.

The bank has acknowledged that it hired Grupo Cenyt, a security firm owned by ex-police chief Villarejo, who was arrested in 2017 as part of a separate investigation and remains in prison.

Torres, who replaced Gonzalez in January, has said that Cenyt provided various services to BBVA but the bank had found no evidence of spying.

(Reporting by Jesus Aguado; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Ingrid Melander)

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

June 17, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Iran’s oil minister is scheduled to meet his Russian counterpart in Iran later on Monday, industry sources said, raising hopes of progress in resolving a month-long impasse over when OPEC and its allies will hold their next policy gathering.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and partners including Russia, an alliance known as OPEC+, have been considering since last month moving the date of their policy meeting in Vienna to July 3-4 from June 25-26.

Russia’s Alexander Novak favors postponing the meeting to early July to avoid clashing with G20 discussions in Japan in late June, while the Iranian minister, Bijan Zanganeh, wants to keep the original schedule, sources have said.

The two are scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. Tehran time (1230 GMT), one of the sources said.

“Hopefully this meeting will break the impasse,” the source said.

OPEC and its allies have been reducing oil output by 1.2 million barrels per day since Jan. 1 to support the market. The meeting is to decide whether to extend or adjust the pact.

(Reporting by Alex Lawler; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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Medical students participate in a protest called by Indian Medical Association (IMA), during a nationwide doctors strike in Ahmedabad
Medical students participate in a protest called by Indian Medical Association (IMA), during a nationwide doctors strike in Ahmedabad, India, June 17, 2019. REUTERS/Amit Dave

June 17, 2019

By Alasdair Pal and Subrata Nagchoudhury

NEW DELHI/KOLKATA (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of doctors across India went on strike on Monday demanding better working conditions, the country’s top medical body said, as the outrage over lax security conditions at hospitals escalated.

The nationwide protests, affecting hundreds of hospitals, started after an attack at a medical college in West Bengal state a week ago. The attack left three junior doctors seriously injured after a dispute with a family whose relative had died.

The incident resonated with Indian doctors, many of whom are poorly paid and overworked compared with their foreign counterparts.

Thousands of doctors protested outside hospitals across India on Monday, holding placards and wearing black arm bands and bloodied mock bandages.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), that represents more than 300,000 doctors and half-a-million junior doctors, medical students and other staff, said almost all of its members, apart from those providing emergency services, have joined the protests.

“Practically, the entire medical fraternity is on strike,” Dr RV Asokan, the IMA’s honorary general secretary told Reuters on Monday. “Everybody is on the street.”

The IMA is demanding tougher punishments for those who attack doctors, as well as higher recruitment to support the overworked staff.

A doctor in an outpatient unit in India often saw more than 100 patients in a day, Asokan said, and despite tens of thousands of junior doctors graduating every year, many were out of work.

“The workload of doctors is inhuman,” he said. “The government is not recruiting enough.”

Doctors, who have been protesting in West Bengal ever since the attack a week ago, were due to hold talks with the government after the state authorities permitted the media to cover the meeting.

There were queues at Ernakulam Government Hospital in the southern state of Kerala on Monday morning, as patients waited to consult the limited number of doctors who were on duty.

(Reporting by Alasdair Pal in NEW DELHI and Subrata Nagchoudhury in KOLKATA, additional reporting by Sivaram V in KOCHI and Jatindra Dash in BHUBANESWAR; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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FILE PHOTO - Logo of General Electric is seen in Baden
FILE PHOTO – The logo of General Electric is seen at its plant in Baden, Switzerland November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

June 17, 2019

ZURICH (Reuters) – General Electric plans to cut around 450 jobs at two Swiss sites to help address “challenges on the global energy markets”, the U.S. industrial conglomerate said on Monday.

The envisaged reductions at the Birr and Baden facilities — which will remain open — are separate from the 1,200 Swiss job cuts GE announced last year at its troubled power generation business, a spokesman said.

The company has a workforce of 3,050 in Switzerland now.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Silke Koltrowitz)

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FILE PHOTO: Ceremony marking 1st delivery of Boeing 737 Max airplane to Air China in Zhoushan
FILE PHOTO: Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Kevin McAllister speaks during a ceremony marking the 1st delivery of a Boeing 737 Max passenger airplane to Air China at the Boeing Zhoushan completion center in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province, China, December 15, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

June 17, 2019

By Eric M. Johnson and Tim Hepher

LE BOURGET, France (Reuters) – Boeing executives took turns to apologize for the loss of life in two 737 MAX crashes and pledged to apply lessons of the crisis to future planes as the world’s largest aerospace company struck a chastened tone at the opening of the Paris Airshow.

Executives from finance, jetliners, defense and services added their voices to apologies for the 346 deaths from Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg, while also touting the strength of the overall aerospace and defense market.

“This is the most trying of times,” Boeing commercial airplanes boss Kevin McAllister told a press briefing.

“But without a doubt this is a pivotal moment for all of us. It’s a time to capture learnings. It’s a time to be introspective. And it’s a time for us to make sure accidents like this never happen again.”

The worldwide grounding in March of Boeing’s fast-selling aircraft followed a crash in Indonesia and another in Ethiopia that triggered one of the worst crises in the company’s more than 100-year history.

Boeing has been criticized for what some PR experts consider a lawyer-driven and wooden response to the three-month-old MAX crisis, though Muilenburg has said it is approaching the Paris Airshow with humility and stressing safety as its top priority.

McAllister said Boeing would apply lessons learned from the grounding of the 737 MAX but would not speculate when it would return to service, though Muilenburg told reporters on Sunday the jet would fly again commercially this year.

Executives also said engine issues were the key factor to be resolved in the development of its all-new 777X twin-aisle jet, but that the plane was performing well as it moves towards a flight test later this year.

“The long pole in the tent remains engine issues,” McAllister said of General Electric’s GE9X engine.

GE Aviation said earlier it had found excess wear on a compression part on the GE9X engine developed for the 777X, forcing it to redesign the part.

The part will not be ready for months and no airplane will fly without the retrofitted part, GE said.

McAllister said he was “staying very close to the situation” but that it was premature to make any predictions on timing delays for the program.

Boeing says it is targeted a 2020 entry to service, but Gulf airline Emirates says it expects the first plane in June that year – after flight tests expected to take 14 months.

Airlines that rushed to buy the fuel-efficient MAX are taking a hit to profits since having to cancel thousands of flights.

Meanwhile, Boeing is delaying decisions on the launch of a possible new aircraft, the mid-sized NMA, to give full attention to the 737 MAX, industry sources said.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson and Tim Hepher in LE BOURGET, France; Editing by Mark Potter)

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FILE PHOTO: Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn and wife Carole Ghosn arrive at his place of residence in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn, accompanied by his wife, Carole Ghosn, arrives at his place of residence in Tokyo, Japan, March 8, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

June 17, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – The wife of former Nissan Motor chairman Carlos Ghosn urged U.S. President Donald Trump to raise her husband’s case with Japan’s prime minister at a summit of world leaders later this month.

“I’d like President Trump to speak to Prime Minister Abe about fair conditions, fair trial conditions and to let me speak to my husband and also to respect this presumption of innocence until proven guilty,” Beirut-born Carole Ghosn, who has a U.S. passport, told the BBC.

Shinzo Abe is due to host other leaders of the Group of 20 economies in the Japanese city of Osaka on June 28-29.

Ghosn, who holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, is facing financial misconduct charges and has said he is the victim of a boardroom coup, accusing “backstabbing” former colleagues of conspiring to oust him as Nissan chairman.

Carole Ghosn said she had not spoken to her husband since he was re-arrested on April 4 before being released on bail three weeks later.

“They told him one of the bail conditions, the restrictions, is he isn’t allowed to speak to me or talk to me, which I find inhumane,” she said.

“All of this could have been dealt with internally within the company. This didn’t need to go this far and on top of it my husband is innocent and time will prove the truth.”

In April Carole Ghosn called on the French government to do more to help her husband. Carlos Ghosn, who holds French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, has denied charges against him.

(Writing by William Schomberg, editing by Louise Heavens)

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FILE PHOTO: Logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen in Winterthur
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at a branch in Winterthur, Switzerland November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

June 17, 2019

ZURICH (Reuters) – Credit Suisse said on Monday it was in advanced talks on the future of investment product platform InvestLab.

“Credit Suisse is in advanced discussions regarding strategic alternatives to support the further development of Credit Suisse InvestLab, although no final decision has been made,” the Swiss bank said in a statement.

Financial news website Inside Paradeplatz reported on Monday that Credit Suisse would sell InvestLab to wealth tech company Allfunds this week.

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Michael Shields)

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A logo of Mellanox Technologies is seen at their building in Yokneam
A logo of Mellanox Technologies is seen at their building in Yokneam, Israel March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

June 17, 2019

By Rami Ayyub and Tova Cohen

RAWABI, West Bank/TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Palestinian engineers working for Israeli chip designer Mellanox Technologies are poised to share a $3.5 million payout when the company’s takeover by U.S. chip supplier Nvidia Corp is completed.

Mellanox is one of a handful of Israeli firms that have begun to collaborate with the emerging Palestinian tech scene, bypassing the political conflict to tap a growing pool of engineers at costs they say are comparable to hiring from engineering expertise in India or Ukraine.

The chip maker offered stock options to more than 100 Palestinian engineers in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip when it hired them as contractors, even though they are not permanent staff, as a shortage of engineers in Israel makes their skills highly sought after by multinationals.

Mellanox says its Palestinian designers and coders, outsourced through software firm ASAL Technologies, will now be able to exercise those options after Nvidia’s $6.8 billion takeover closes at the end of 2019, and stand to collectively earn as much as $3.5 million.

“We’re very proud they have equity, the same as all other employees in the company,” Mellanox Chief Executive Eyal Waldman told Reuters in an interview.

“Thirty, forty thousand dollars for an employee in the West Bank or in Gaza is a lot of money,” Waldman added, noting that unemployment there hovers at around 40 percent.

The median daily wage in the West Bank is $28 and just $11 in Gaza, according to the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute.

ASAL CEO Murad Tahboub said 125 of his 350 employees work exclusively for Mellanox, which makes products that connect databases, servers and computers, and they were given options in a bid to reduce job hopping among workers.

“(Mellanox) saw value, they saw loyalty in the relationship,” Tahboub said in his office in a bustling high-tech centre in Rawabi, the first Palestinian planned city in the West Bank. “The Israeli market provides an opportunity for the whole Palestinian high-tech sector.”

ASAL’s other clients include Microsoft, Intel and Cisco. Tahboub said his engineers designed 70 percent of Cortana, the virtual assistant created by Microsoft.

High-tech provides a unique opportunity for Palestinians, whose universities produced around 3,000 engineers in 2018, Tahboub said.

Still, Tahboub said Israeli restrictions – particularly curbs on the movement of goods and people in and out of the West Bank and Gaza – deter multinationals from investing in or outsourcing from the Palestinian territories.

“(Investors) avoid risk. Why should I invest in a startup in Palestine if I’m not sure if the owner of that startup can travel to the U.S.?”, Tahboub asked.

Those challenges are intimately felt in Gaza, whose economy has suffered from years of Israeli and Egyptian blockades. Economic cooperation between Israel and Gaza is mostly limited to merchants importing goods, including cement and petrol.

Both Mellanox and ASAL agree tech can be a major boost for Gaza, and they plan to increase their joint remote workforce in Gaza from 25 engineers currently.

Waldman hopes the two companies’ collaboration will help improve relations and reduce tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

“The more positive friction there is between the two people the better it is for us, for the environment, for the Israelis, for the Palestinians,” Waldman said. “I think we can have an impact.”

(Reporting by Tova Cohen in Tel Aviv and Rami Ayyub in Rawabi; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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FILE PHOTO: Benoit Coeure, board member of the European Central Bank (ECB), is photographed during an interview with Reuters at ECB headquarters in Frankfurt
FILE PHOTO: Benoit Coeure, board member of the European Central Bank (ECB), is photographed during an interview with Reuters at ECB headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

June 17, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – European Central Bank board member Benoit Coeure said in an interview published on Monday that if the ECB decided cutting rates was the best option, it would have to consider the effect of negative rates on banks and whether tiering was needed.

A so-called tiered deposit rate would mean banks are exempted in part from paying the ECB’s 0.40 percent annual charge on their excess reserves, boosting their profits as they struggle with an unexpected growth slowdown.

Coeure said any options available to the ECB came with both costs and benefits but that would not stop the bank from using them to fulfill its mandate.

“So, if the conclusion were that cutting rates is the best option, then we would have to consider the impact of negative rates on financial intermediation, especially for banks,” Coeure said in an interview with the Financial Times.

“We would have to consider whether a tiering system is needed,” he said. “Today the prevailing view in the Governing Council is that it is not, but we also agree that it deserves further reflection.”

Coeure said the ECB had instruments at its disposal like changing its guidance, cutting rates or restarting quantitative easing but that the question was which tools or set of tools were most appropriate.

“That discussion only started (at June’s ECB Governing Council) in Vilnius; we need to take it forward and reflect on the nature of the risks we’re facing,” Coeure said.

He cautioned that low rates over a long period might ultimately cause financial stability risks.

Earlier this month the ECB changed its forward guidance, ruling out raising interest rates in the next year.

Asked whether that guidance was already outdated given that markets have pushed out expectations for a rate increase further, Coeure said: “The guidance is a way to filter the view of the Governing Council on future economic developments and doesn’t have to coincide with market expectations.”

Coeure said the euro zone economy was not faring too badly and pointed to strength in the construction and services sector, but warned that signals from the financial markets – such as the constellation of prices in the bond market – were “quite alarming”.

Asked whether the ECB needed to review its aim of keeping inflation close to but below 2% across the euro zone, Coeure said: “We have more urgent issues to face right now, but I’m pretty sure that we’ll do it at some point nevertheless.”

ECB policymaker Ewald Nowotny said in remarks published on Sunday that the ECB could set itself a more flexible inflation target given how difficult it has been to boost prices.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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FILE PHOTO: A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin
FILE PHOTO: A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt/File Photo

June 17, 2019

LE BOURGET, France (Reuters) – Lockheed Martin F-35 program manager Greg Ulmer said on Monday he had “no concern” that the proposed merger of Raytheon Co and United Technologies Corp would affect the F-35 program or pressure its margins.

“I don’t see any concern,” Ulmer told reporters at the Paris Airshow when asked if the merger of two key suppliers would affect the F-35 program, which is working hard to reduce costs.

Ulmer also said Turkish firms continued to produce components for the aircraft despite a row over Ankara’s plans to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system.

He said plans by the U.S. government to start winding down Turkey’s participation in the F-35 program would not affect Lockheed’s production plan this year.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

First round of presidential election in Guatemala
Sandra Torres, presidential candidate for the National Unity of Hope (UNE) arrives to cast her vote at a polling station during the first round of the presidential election in Guatemala City, Guatemala, June 16, 2019. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria

June 17, 2019

By Adriana Barrera and Sofia Menchu

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Guatemala’s presidential election appeared to be headed for a runoff as partial results on Monday gave center-left candidate Sandra Torres an early lead but far short of the majority needed to avoid a second round against a conservative rival.

With votes tallied from 42% of polling stations, preliminary results from Sunday’s election gave former first lady Torres 24.18% of the vote, followed by conservative Alejandro Eduardo Giammattei with 15%, the electoral tribunal said.

The presidential race, which groups 19 candidates, appeared all but certain to be headed for a second round of voting on Aug. 11. The head of the electoral tribunal said late on Sunday it could take approximately two weeks to have definitive results from across the Central American country.

Guatemala’s next president will face the daunting challenge of curbing drug gang violence that has ravaged the country and helped spur illegal immigration to the United States, stoking tensions with President Donald Trump.

Torres, of the center-left UNE party, has led the race to succeed President Jimmy Morales, a conservative former television host whose term has been blighted by accusations of corruption made by U.N.-backed investigators.

Nevertheless, Torres also has high negative ratings and may struggle to win a direct run-off if supporters of the many right-of-center candidates unite against her.

In third place with 12.11% was Edmond Mulet, a former U.N. official whose conservative candidacy gained traction in recent weeks.

Torres, who wants to send troops into the streets to fight drug gangs, and use welfare programs to tackle poverty, extended a hand to Guatemala’s business elite when voting on Sunday.

“We have to sort out our problems here, and part of the reason for the migration is the lack of jobs, the gap in wages between the United States and here,” she said. “We need to work with the business community to revive the economy.”

Rampant violence and widespread discontent over corruption and impunity in the country of 17 million have prompted more and more Guatemalans to flee for the United States.

The surge of departures has undermined Trump’s pledge to curb illegal immigration, and the U.S. president has responded by threatening to cut U.S. aid to Central America.

That prospect has caused alarm in Guatemala, where the legacy of the bloody 1960-1996 civil war still casts a long shadow over the country’s development.

COALITION PROSPECTS

Rain fell on Guatemala City during Sunday’s vote and results suggested there was considerable discontent among the electorate about the choice of candidates on offer. More than 12% of votes cast were blank or spoiled ballots, the early count showed.

Morales, who is barred by law from seeking re-election, took office in 2016 vowing to root out corruption after his predecessor was brought down by a probe led by the U.N.-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG).

Instead, Morales himself became a target of a CICIG probe into allegations of campaign finance wrongdoing and was subject to impeachment proceedings in 2017.

He survived the attempt to oust him, and then engaged in a bitter dispute with the CICIG before finally terminating its mandate, effective from September.

None of the top contenders has unequivocally backed the CICIG, with Torres saying she would consider holding a referendum on whether it should remain in Guatemala.

Fernando Escalante, 41, an industrial design adviser, said the next president must continue the fight against corruption.

“I fear all the progress we’ve made could be lost, but maybe it’s time for us Guatemalans to take on the task,” he said.

Questions of legitimacy have dogged the 2019 contest since two of the front-runners were forced out, including Thelma Aldana, a former attorney general who tried to impeach Morales with the CICIG. The government accused Aldana of corruption, leading to her exclusion last month.

(Reporting by Daniel Flynn; editing by Darren Schuettler)

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FILE PHOTO: Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache addresses the media in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache reacts as he addresses the media in Vienna, Austria, May 18, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

June 17, 2019

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austrian far-right veteran Heinz-Christian Strache, who quit as deputy head of the coalition government over a video sting, said on Monday he would not take up a European Parliament seat, forgoing a move that might have hurt his Freedom Party further.

Strache stepped down as vice chancellor and Freedom Party (FPO) leader on May 18, the day after German media published secretly filmed footage from a 2017 dinner party in Ibiza at which Strache met a woman posing as a Russian oligarch’s niece.

In the footage, Strache appeared to offer to fix state contracts, though he says he did nothing illegal and none of his comments were followed through on. Anti-corruption prosecutors are also investigating Strache on suspicion of breach of trust.

Strache was entitled to the European Parliament seat because of Austria’s electoral system, in which voters pick a party list and can express a preference for one candidate on that list. With enough preferential votes, a candidate jumps to the top of their party’s list and the front of the queue for its seats.

Although Strache was 42nd and last on the list of a party that secured just three seats in last month’s European Parliament election, he got enough preferential votes – roughly 45,000, or almost a third of his party’s votes, well above a 5% threshold for jumping up the list – to get one of its seats.

“I have … decided not to take up the EU mandate,” Strache said in a statement, adding that he would not return to active politics until the origins of the footage were clear.

“This decision is not the result of a political calculation or of any deal,” he added, referring to the fact his far-right FPO on Friday picked his wife Philippa as a candidate for parliament in elections widely expected to be held on Sept. 29.

He could have accepted the seat as soon as the results of the May 26 vote came through, but he kept Austria guessing as to whether he would take it up and risk further damaging his party’s image. He had until next month to decide.

The political damage from the video sting scandal has been great. Conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz called off his coalition with the FPO the day Strache stepped down.

Kurz then tried to stay on as head of what was effectively a minority government but parliament forced it from office, saying Kurz deserved at least some of the blame for the fallout from the scandal.

(Reporting by Francois Murphy, Editing by William Maclean)

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FILE PHOTO: Boris Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain's Conservative Prime Minister, leaves home in London
FILE PHOTO: Boris Johnson, leadership candidate for Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, leaves home in London, Britain, June 15, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville

June 17, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Boris Johnson got a boost for his bid to replace British Prime Minister Theresa May when one of his former rivals backed his candidacy on Monday and said he was almost certain to win the contest.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who dropped out of the race on Friday after winning just 20 votes in the first ballot of Conservative lawmakers, said Johnson was the best candidate to lead the party.

“Boris has run a disciplined campaign and is almost certainly going to be our next prime minister,” Hancock said in an article in The Times newspaper.

“People need to put aside their differences for a greater purpose. My view is that we need to start coming together sooner rather than later,” Hancock said.

The Brexit crisis could deepen under a new British leader as Johnson, the face of the official Brexit campaign in the 2016 referendum, has promised to lead the United Kingdom out of the EU with or without a deal.

The British parliament has indicated it will try to stop a no-deal Brexit, which investors warn would roil financial markets and shock the world economy, while the EU has said it will not renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement that May agreed in November.

Johnson, the favorite to replace May, won the support of 114 Conservative lawmakers in the first round of the leadership contest. A total of 313 lawmakers voted.

His closest rivals were: Jeremy Hunt, the foreign minister, who won 43 votes; Michael Gove, environment minister, with 37 votes and Dominic Raab, former Brexit minister, on 27 votes.

Rivals turned their fire on Johnson on Sunday, questioning his pledge to leave the EU by the end of October no matter what.

“The difference between me and Boris is that I would try for a deal,” said Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a Channel 4 television debate, where Johnson’s absence was marked by an empty lectern.

The second round of voting will be on Tuesday with the result due around 1700 GMT. Any candidate with 32 votes or fewer is eliminated. If all candidates have more than 32 votes, the one with the fewest is eliminated.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by William Schomberg)

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FILE PHOTO: NVIDIA logo shown at SIGGRAPH 2017
FILE PHOTO: A NVIDIA logo is shown at SIGGRAPH 2017 in Los Angeles, California, U.S. July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

June 17, 2019

By Stephen Nellis

(Reuters) – Nvidia Corp on Monday said it will make its chips work with processors from Arm Holdings Inc to build supercomputers, deepening Nvidia’s push into systems that are used for modeling both climate change predictions and nuclear weapons.

Nvidia was long known as a supplier of graphics chips for personal computers to make video games look more realistic, but researchers now also use its chips inside data centers to speed up artificial intelligence computing work such as training computers to recognize images.

To do so, Nvidia’s so-called accelerator chips work alongside central processors from companies such as Intel Corp and International Business Machines Corp.

At a supercomputing conference held in Germany on Monday, Nvidia said its accelerator chips will work with Arm processors by the end of the year.

Arm, owned by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, provides the underlying processor technology for the chips in most mobile phones. But companies such as Ampere Computing, headed by Intel’s former president, have been working to take those chips into data centers, where Intel’s chips are dominant.

But Arm processors are different from Intel or IBM chips in that Arm itself does not make chips. Instead it licenses out the underlying technology so others can make chips with it.

Ian Buck, vice president of Nvidia’s accelerated computing unit, said the project to build a supercomputer with Arm will be a “heavy lift” from a technical perspective.

But he said Nvidia undertook it because researchers in Europe and Japan want to develop super computing chips with Arm’s technology, essentially giving them a third option beyond IBM and Intel over which they can have more control.

“That openness … makes it very attractive,” Buck said of Arm’s technology during an interview with Reuters before the conference. “What makes Arm interesting, and why we’re announcing support is, is its ability to provide an open architecture for supercomputing.”

The move to work with Arm on supercomputers follows Nvidia’s $6.8 billion deal to buy Israeli firm Mellanox Technologies. Mellanox makes high-speed networking chips that help stitch together many smaller computers into a larger one and is found in some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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FILE PHOTO: A man stands at an Airbus trade pavilion at Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, Britain
FILE PHOTO: A man stands at an Airbus trade pavilion at Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, Britain, July 17, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

June 17, 2019

By Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) – Airbus is poised to break records by launching the longest-range narrow-body jetliner at the Paris Airshow this week, but jetmakers are having to rethink their mantra on comfort as they squeeze ever more miles out of jets designed for shorter trips.

Airbus and Boeing have been promoting new carbon-fiber long-haul aircraft such as the 787 Dreamliner and A350, which offer roomier cabins and help passengers avoid jet lag by providing a cabin pressure closer to that felt on the ground.

But they have also been adding more range and capacity to older and narrower models such as the A320neo family and the 737 MAX as airlines demand more flexibility with the advantages of highly efficient single-aisle planes, supporting low fares.

Airbus is about to push that further by adding a longer stride to the A321neo with its new A321XLR, whose range of 4,500 nautical miles leapfrogs the out-of-production Boeing 757 and nudges it into the long-jump category enjoyed by wide-body jets.

It also eats into a range category targeted by a possible new mid-market twin-aisle jet, the NMA, under review by Boeing.

But there is a debate over whether passengers will enjoy flying longer distances in medium-haul planes, or at what price.

Airline bosses on the long-haul low-cost panel at the Paris Air Forum on Friday differed over whether extended-range narrow-body jets or wider twin-aisles were best suited for their growing industry.

In particular, the rise of the single-aisle long-distance jet involves revisiting years of industry marketing about the benefit of escaping jet lag and fatigue on long trips.

Aircraft cabins are pumped to a higher pressure than the ultra-thin outside air at cruising altitude. But the pressure is still lower than at sea level due to structural limitations.

That’s not a problem for shorter trips but travel experts say the higher altitude setting on older planes can contribute to jet lag on long flights, worsening the effect of time zones.

CABIN DILEMMA

Although Airbus stresses the 1980s-designed A320 fuselage is wider than the competing 737 MAX and therefore has roomier seats, it also has a lower cabin pressure than modern long-haul alternatives like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner or Airbus A350.

On those airplanes the cabin is pressurized at a level equivalent to 6,000 feet compared with 8,000 feet for the A320 and most other metal-built jets of all sizes.

For the Airbus A330neo wide-body jet the cabin altitude is above 7,000 feet but still below 8,000 feet.

“XLR cabin pressure could be an issue,” said an airline executive who has studied the plane, asking not to be named.

The company itself set out the disadvantages of flying with a high cabin altitude on long journeys when it launched the business-jet version of the A320neo family in 2015.

“A lower cabin altitude makes most sense on long flights, especially towards their end, when an aircraft is able to reach its highest cruising altitude,” Airbus said then on its website.

For the business jet version, Airbus was able to lower the cabin altitude below 6,400 feet. But it could only do so by reducing the maximum number of trips, which matters relatively little to luxury operators but is less attractive to airlines.

Airbus faces a dilemma whether to lower the cabin altitude on the A321XLR and meet its published goal for long flights, or leave it tuned for shorter flights and increase durability.

Airbus declined to comment.

The A321XLR is expected to be able to fly around eight hours in most cases, linking U.S. eastern cities deep into Europe.

The head of International Airlines Group’s low-cost long-haul carrier Level, Vincent Hodder, told the Paris Air Forum the XLR could be configured to fly as long as 10 hours. Level and others are studying it, he said.

Airbus is chasing potential customers including American Airlines and JetBlue for the launch, where it aims to grab up to 200 orders also including U.S. airline investor Indigo Partners.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher, editing by Louise Heavens)

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Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei attends a panel discussion at the company headquarters in Shenzhen
Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei attends a panel discussion at the company headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China June 17, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

June 17, 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters) – China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd expects sales this year and next year at around $100 billion, its chief executive Ren Zhengfei said on Monday.

The firm was put on a U.S. blacklist last month that bars it from doing business with American tech firms.

(Reporting by Sijia Jiang; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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FILE PHOTO: The Airbus logo is pictured at Airbus headquarters in Blagnac near Toulouse
FILE PHOTO: The Airbus logo is pictured at Airbus headquarters in Blagnac near Toulouse, France, March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

June 17, 2019

LE BOURGET, France (Reuters) – Airbus will launch a long-range version of its A321neo passenger jet at Paris Airshow and will announce close to 200 orders over the week, sources familiar with the matter said.

Airbus is set to formally launch its A321XLR airplane on Monday, aiming to carve out new routes for airlines with smaller planes and steal a march on its rival Boeing’s plans for a possible new mid-market jet.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher, writing by Alistair Smout, editing by Laurence Frost)

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FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street in London
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street, as uncertainty over Brexit continues, in London, Britain June 12, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

June 17, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May is considering a face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at this month’s G20 summit in Japan in an effort to begin a thaw in relations before a new British leader comes to power, The Times newspaper reported.

Britain’s relations with Russia fell to a post-Cold War low after the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former colonel in Russian military intelligence, and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury in March 2018 with the Novichok nerve agent.

May blamed Russia which denied any involvement. Allies in Europe and the United States sided with May’s view and ordered the biggest expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of the Cold War. Russia expelled Western diplomats in return.

The Times said a meeting with Putin would only take place if there was a purpose to the meeting. May last met Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina in November when the Russian president approached her informally.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by William Schomberg)

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FILE PHOTO: Logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen in Zurich
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank UBS is seen in Zurich, Switzerland, Oct. 25, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

June 17, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China Railway Construction Corp (CRCC) has decided not to cooperate with UBS for a planned dollar-bond sale, a spokesman at the Chinese infrastructure giant told Reuters on Monday.

Earlier, Bloomberg reported that CRCC decided against hiring UBS as a joint global coordinator on the bond sale after remarks about pigs by an economist at the Swiss bank last week sparked a public outcry in China, citing people familiar with the matter.

(Reporting by Yawen Chen and Ryan Woo; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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FILE PHOTO: A high-quality diamond is seen in a jewellery shop in Milan
FILE PHOTO: A high-quality diamond is seen in a jewellery shop in Milan, October 18, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

June 17, 2019

By Emilio Parodi and Maria Pia Quaglia

MILAN (Reuters) – (Please note strong language in paragraph 38.)

A long-running criminal probe into diamond sales by Italian banks has uncovered what prosecutors say is further evidence of corruption by officials at UniCredit, Italy’s largest lender, and smaller rival Banco BPM.

The allegations, some previously unreported, are laid out in documents used by prosecutors when they sought a magistrate’s order seizing assets from the banks and two diamond brokers. Reuters viewed the documents, which also included excerpts of wire taps and witness statements.

The allegations relate to suspected crimes and do not necessarily mean that prosecutors will charge the companies and their employees when their investigation, which has been running since 2016, is concluded.

The number of bank officials under suspicion, and the allegations they may face if they are charged, however, are widening.

In a new development, officials from UniCredit and Banco BPM are also suspected of corruption because broker Intermarket Diamond Business (IDB) invested some of its profits from the diamond sales in the banks’ shares, according to evidence gathered by prosecutors.

In addition to UniCredit and Banco BPM, Intesa Sanpaolo and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siene are also under investigation.

In February, magistrates guiding the probe ordered the seizure of more than 700 million euros in assets from the two brokers and five banks.

UniCredit said in a statement to Reuters it was cooperating closely with authorities and its policy was not to comment on an ongoing investigation. It would “continue to offer appropriate customer care services to its affected clients”.

Lawyers for Banco BPM, Banca Aletti, Intesa Sanpaolo and IDB did not respond to requests for comment. Monte dei Paschi’s lawyers declined to comment.

In a long-running scandal in a sector already tarnished by controversy, Italy’s biggest banks are suspected of colluding with diamond brokers to scam their own customers — allegedly selling them diamonds at vastly inflated prices while marketing them as sound financial investments.

All of the banks, along with a Banco BPM subsidiary, Banca Aletti, are suspected of fraud and money-laundering for using the proceeds to boost profits, according to allegations laid out in the documents used for the seizure order.

Prosecutors also allege that UniCredit and Banco BPM worked out a deal with IDB where, in return for the banks selling IDB’s diamonds, the broker would channel money into their stock, boosting their share capital at a time when it was under pressure from a rising tide of bad debts.

Under Italian law it is deemed to be corruption when one party abuses its commercial position to induce the counterparty to provide it with favors — in this case, the alleged purchase of shares. The IDB officials involved are also under investigation.

According to a criminal lawyer when asked by Reuters, under Italian law, if the banks are charged and convicted, they could be fined millions of euros, risk forfeiting the total of 161 million euros seized from them in February and could even be temporarily suspended from operating by court order.

They could also be ordered to pay compensation to victims, with sums to be decided by a civil court.

More than 100,000 people are estimated to have bought diamonds at Italian banks over the last 20 years, judicial sources say.

A GUN TO THE HEAD

Banks have been selling diamonds on behalf of brokers in Italy since the 1980s but they ramped up the business after the global financial crisis, according to prosecutors, when a deep recession left them saddled with soured loans and looking for alternative revenue sources.

Banco BPM, Italy’s third-largest bank, was known as Banco Popolare in 2016 when it was looking to raise capital to fund its merger with Banca Popolare di Milano.

In a telephone conversation in early June 2016, a transcript of which was seen by Reuters, the former CEO of IDB complained that Banco Popolare was insisting he invest in the bank’s shares.

“Given we decided more or less voluntarily to subscribe in a very substantial way to Banco Popolare’s capital increase, they arrived with a 9-milimetre and they pointed it at my forehead and told me, ‘sign here’,” Claudio Giacobazzi said in a call to his financial adviser in 2016.

Giacobazzi died last year. IDB went bankrupt in January and is in liquidation.

IDB invested more than 7 million euros in shares and share options in UniCredit in 2012, and a total of more than 950,000 euros in Banco Popolare shares in 2014 and 2016, according to the February order authorizing the seizure of the banks’ assets. Reuters reviewed a copy of the order.

Banco BPM profited the most from diamond sales, netting around 85 million euros, including the Banca Aletti business, between 2012 and 2016 — more than all the income earned by the other three banks combined, according to the order. Banco BPM also charged the biggest commissions, up to 24.5%, they show.

Milan prosecutors believe the banks teamed up with brokers to sell the stones in blister packs to bank customers, often at more than double their market value, making tens of millions of euros each in commissions. Their partners IDB and another broker Diamond Private Investment (DPI), made hundreds of millions each.

A lawyer for DPI declined to comment on what he called an ongoing preliminary investigation.

Prosecutors believe staff from UniCredit, Banco BPM and Monte dei Paschi accepted gifts including hotel stays and antiquities from brokers as sales incentives.

Italian state television channel Rai3 first reported the alleged mis-selling in late 2016.

Currently, 68 banking and brokerage officials are under investigation, as well as the banks themselves, but more individuals are expected to be investigated before the probe concludes within a few months, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Prosecutors have received lawsuits from more than 450 alleged victims, one of the sources said.

Italy’s antitrust authority fined the banks and brokers a total of 15 million euros in 2017 for selling the stones at inflated prices.

Since then, the banks have begun to compensate customers. All except Banco BPM have offered to buy back diamonds at the purchase price. Banco BPM said last month it would compensate clients for their losses but leave them with the stones. In April, it said it had received 18,400 claims for compensation.

CRAZY STUFF

Investigators allege the banks and the diamond brokers made the diamonds look like a safe investment.

Customers who queried the price they were paying were referred to inflated diamond prices listed in Italy’s main financial daily, Il Sole 24 Ore. The listings, which were assumed by clients to be official market quotes, were in fact ads placed by the brokers, prosecutors say.

A spokeswoman for the newspaper declined to comment.

One Banca Aletti brochure distributed to its clients describes diamonds as a “good refuge” over the medium and long term, forecasting returns of 50-80 percent above inflation.

In one phone tap in May 2017, a planning and marketing executive for parent bank Banco BPM, Pietro Gaspardo, discusses the brochure with BPM director general Maurizio Faroni.

    “The things written inside are amazing. Amazing! Amazing!” Gaspardo tells Faroni. “Expected returns … crazy stuff. There are things written there that are really madness.

“I’m not thinking of myself now but for the bank. That stuff there will screw us up the arse totally. To make an investment and not sell it as a jewel, with expected return — shit!”

Gaspardo’s lawyer, Maurizio Miculan, said his client’s comments show his innocence because he was clearly surprised at what he found in the brochure.

Faroni’s lawyer declined to comment.

When customers wanted to cash in the diamonds, they would resell the stones back via the banks to the brokers. The lenders made commissions of 12-24.5% on selling the diamonds and the brokers made commissions of 7-16% on buying them back, according to the judicial order that authorized the February asset seizures.

One of those clients was Gabriele Moggi who spent around 33,000 euros — most of an early-retirement payoff from the Italian Air Force — on diamonds in 2016 on the advice of his bank, a unit of Banco Popolare. He had them independently valued six months later for around 8,000 euros.

Moggi told Reuters he eventually settled with the bank in January this year for compensation of 15,000 euros, leaving him with the stones and a net 10,000 euros loss.

“I was asking for 20,000,” said Moggi who was fed up and wanted out. “In the end I accepted 15,000 euros because there was no other way to get out of it.”

A spokeswoman for Banco BPM said the bank couldn’t comment on individual cases.

(Editing by Mark Bendeich and Carmel Crimmins)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Alibaba group is seen at VivaTech fair in Paris
FILE PHOTO: The Alibaba group logo is seen at the high profile startups and high tech leaders gathering, Viva Tech, in Paris, France, May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

June 17, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Alibaba Group Holding has proposed a one-to-eight stock split for a vote at the upcoming annual general meeting of shareholders in Hong Kong on July 15, it said in a statement.

The statement, dated Friday but published on the firm’s website on Monday, said the split will increase flexibility in the firm’s capital raising activities and that the firm’s board recommends shareholders to vote in favor of the proposal.

The e-commerce giant has filed confidentially for a Hong Kong listing that could raise up to $20 billion, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier this month.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators hold flags during anti government protests in Algiers
FILE PHOTO: Demonstrators hold flag during anti government protests in Algiers, Algeria April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

June 17, 2019

By Lamine Chikhi

HAIZER, Algeria (Reuters) – While tens of thousands of Algerians have been gathering for four months in the capital to demand sweeping political reforms, former fighters who led the last confrontation with the establishment have been warning people not to rock the boat.

In the 1990s, they drove an uprising against the military after it canceled a landmark multiparty election that Islamists were poised to win. This time they say protests could bring a repeat of the chaos and bloodshed their actions unleashed.

“I deeply regret what happened in the 1990s,” once such fighter, Sheikh Yahya, said at his home in Haizer, a village in the Kabyle mountains 120 km (75 miles) east of the capital Algiers where he now works as a butcher.

“This is why I will never participate in any action that might end up violent.”

Some 200,000 people died in Algeria’s decade-long civil war, leaving many Algerians fearful of radical change now that longtime President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has given into the pressure from the streets and stepped down.

Following Bouteflika’s departure in April, the protesters have been pressing for the exit of the entire elite in control since the North African country’s independence from France in 1962 – the same cause the jihadists took up arms for in 1991.

But Yahya and other former jihadists now support the army and other security forces, the strongest part of that elite. It also includes business tycoons and former independence fighters in Algeria’s ruling FLN party as well as labor unions in a state-dominated economy sustained by oil and gas production.

The ex-fighters are Salafists, a literalist Sunni school of Islam whose adherents range from the radical jihadists of Islamic State to an overwhelming majority which shies away from politics.

Salafi influence in Algeria is far wider than their numbers – an estimated one in 40 people – would suggest, analysts say. This makes their anti-protest messages a significant counterweight to calls for radical change.

“Algeria has around 18,000 mosques, most of them are under Salafi influence,” said political analyst Mohamed Mouloudi. One Salafi cleric has a website with a million followers.

By contrast leading Sufis, a more inclusive Sunni school that most Algerians belong to, have kept a low profile since the ouster of Bouteflika, their most high-profile member.

Salafists are social conservatives heavily influenced by Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabis. They reject both political Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, which led Egypt in a 2012-2013 interlude from military-backed rule, as well as Western influence – from clothing to political systems.

They were part of the reason the 2011 Arab Spring pro-democracy movement bypassed Algeria, after Sheikh Ali Ferkous, a Salafi icon, declared “unrest is forbidden in Islam”, and they continue to argue that stability is paramount.

MILITARY CHIEF, CONSERVATIVE LEADER

The Army chief, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Gaed Salah, played a key role in toppling Bouteflika by saying the president’s poor health made him unfit for office.

Upper House Chairman Abdelkader Bensalah became interim president but is now under pressure from demonstrators to quit, due to his links with Bouteflika and pledge on June 6 to stay in office until elections, which have been postponed indefinitely.

A group of protesters and some Salafi clerics have suggested Bensalah hands over to former conservative minister Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi, son of well-known cleric Bachir Ibrahimi who played a role in the independence war against France from 1954 to 1962.

Ahmed Taleb Ibrahimi is a fierce opponent of Bouteflika, who did not allow him to set up a political party. Ibrahimi, 87, has promised to end of what he called “dirty money”, referring to corruption under Bouteflika, and introduce transparency.

“Ibrahimi is one of the rare clean politicians in Algeria who can reconcile the youth with politics. We believe he can play a very positive role,” said Seif Islam Benatia, a dentist prominent among protesters who encompass a wide array of views.

Yahya, who spoke to Reuters with two of his fellow former fighters Akli and Mohamed sitting alongside, also supports Ibrahimi, as well as army chief Salah. “We want stability to remain,” he said.

Their village lies in what was known in the 90s as the “triangle of death” — the flashpoint of the civil war, which the army said it was fighting to prevent Taliban-style rule. The mountains with its caves and valleys were ideal hiding ground for fighters to store arms and prepare ambushes on the army.

Yahya gave up the fight in 2006 after accepting amnesty from Bouteflika and persuaded others to make peace with the state.

Algeria’s welfare state rewarded him with $6,000 in aid to build a modest house where the ground floor serves as his poultry butchery. Two sons got jobs at state firms — a livelihood they fear losing if chaos erupts.

“GIFT FROM GOD”

Salafists have been quietly working to influence society, identifiable here, as elsewhere, by their long beards, white robes and short trousers emulating the Prophet Mohammad.

Their clout can be seen in Haizer, where Yahya’s house is a gathering point for youth, neighbors and other ex-fighters he persuaded to lay down arms.

“Marches, protests, unrest and all the tools used in democracies to topple leaders are illicit in Islam,” Yahya said.

Such messages resonate in Algeria, analysts say, because many people fear protracted unrest would undermine a state that provides jobs, health insurance and housing.

They also undermine Islamist political parties, which have struggled since the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), which almost took power in 1991, was banned the following year.

“Salafi are influential because they focus on the youth, and society,” Mouloudi told Reuters. “Political Islam’s leaders are divided, fragmented and hold little influence politically.”

In Algiers, some of the young protesters, who include many women and some children, oppose any kind of Islamist takeover.

“We want radical change, but I don’t want to end up with Islamists ruling the country,” said Nadia Beigacem, 21, who studies English at Algiers University and does not wear a veil. “Western democracy is my model, not the Saudi Arabian model.”

Rather than Ibrahimi, she wanted a young Algerian as leader, like former U.S. President Barack Obama or French President Emmanuel Macron. “We are a young nation,” she said.

Salafist leader Ferkous has not commented on recent protests but other followers have rejected them. “What is forbidden remains forbidden, even if everyone does it,” said Mohamed Al-Habib, a prominent Salafist in a video message.

The weekly Friday protests have been continuing, but numbers have declined in recent weeks, indicating the resignation of Bouteflika and prosecution of his younger brother and closest former advisor Said and others have slowed their momentum.

“After chaos and 200,000 people killed, we now have peace and stability, this is a gift from God,” Yahya said.

“Let’s preserve it.”

(Editing by Ulf Laessing and Philippa Fletcher)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve building is pictured in Washington, DC
FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve building is pictured in Washington, DC, U.S., August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

June 17, 2019

By Ann Saphir and Howard Schneider

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve, facing fresh demands by President Donald Trump to cut interest rates, is expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged at a policy meeting this week but possibly lay the groundwork for a rate cut later this year.

New economic projections that will accompany the U.S. central bank’s policy statement on Wednesday will provide the most direct insight yet into how deeply policymakers have been influenced by the U.S.-China trade war, Trump’s insistence on lower interest rates, and recent weaker economic data.

Analysts expect the “dot plot” of year-end forecasts for the Fed’s benchmark overnight lending rate – the federal funds rate – will show a growing number of policymakers are open to cutting rates in the coming months, though nowhere near as aggressively as investors expect or Trump wants.

The Fed is also widely, though not universally, expected to remove a pledge to be “patient” in taking future action on rates, opening the door to a possible cut at its coming policy meetings.

Risks may be rising, but “I don’t think they want to box themselves into a corner,” said Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust. “The markets are set up for a cut in July, and if they don’t get it, financial conditions will tighten.”

The federal funds rate is currently set in a range of 2.25% to 2.50%.

The Fed’s policy-setting committee is due to release its latest statement and economic projections at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT) on Wednesday after the end of a two-day meeting. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a press conference shortly after.

MIND THE DOTS

The Fed’s last set of economic and policy projections, released in March, showed most policymakers foresaw no need to change rates this year and only very gradual rate hikes thereafter. (For a graphic of the gap between market and Fed expectations, please see https://tmsnrt.rs/2WzJ6tu.)

But since that meeting the economic outlook has become cloudier.

Recent U.S. retail sales numbers were strong. But while unemployment has held near a 50-year low of 3.6%, U.S. employers created a paltry 75,000 jobs in May. Inflation, which Powell says is low in part because of temporary factors, continues to undershoot the Fed’s 2% target.

The Atlanta Fed forecast on Friday that gross domestic product will increase at a 2.1 percent annualized rate in the April-June quarter, a drop from the 3.1 percent pace of the first three months of the year.

Trade uncertainty has increased as well, with Trump using the threat of tariffs on goods from Mexico to force the country to curb the number of mostly Central American immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.

He has also vowed to slap more tariffs on Chinese imports if no trade deal is reached when he meets Chinese President Xi Jinping at a Group of 20 summit at the end of this month in Japan.

Concern that mounting tariffs could further slow U.S. and global economic growth is one of the chief reasons traders in interest rate futures loaded up on contracts anticipating three U.S. rate cuts by the end of the year.

Fed officials may have reason to trim their rate outlook a bit, but meeting market expectations would involve a dramatic shift. Nine of the Fed’s current 17 policymakers would have to move their rate projections downward for the median to reflect a single cut, let alone three.

“Powell will do what he can to try to downplay the dots especially if they don’t show what the markets want them to show,” said Roberto Perli, economist at Cornerstone Macro. “He will have a tough time.”

Adding to the pressure for a rate cut is a yield curve inversion in parts of the market for U.S. government debt, historically a precursor of recessions. The three-month Treasury bill, for instance, has paid out a higher rate than a 5-year Treasury note for the last several months running.

And Trump, who has said that rates should be lowered by perhaps a full percentage point or more, continues to publicly berate the Fed and Powell, his handpicked chairman, for refusing to act.

“I’ve waited long enough,” Trump said in an interview with ABC News last week, talking favorably of the “old days” when Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon intervened forcefully in Fed policy – and set the stage, many economists argue, for the high inflation, economic volatility and recessions that followed in the 1970s.

DOWNWARD SHIFT

Most of the more than 100 economists polled June 7-12 by Reuters say they are not penciling in a rate cut until the third quarter of next year. But views are shifting rapidly. Forty respondents expected at least one rate cut sometime in 2019, up from just eight who did in the previous poll.

Within the U.S. central bank, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard is the only policymaker who has said a rate cut may be needed “soon.”

Several others have signaled a readiness to move off their wait-and-see stance, with Powell saying earlier this month in a speech in Chicago that the Fed will act “as appropriate” in the face of risks posed by the global trade war and other developments.

The word “patient,” which had been repeatedly used by the Fed since early this year to signal its willingness to hold off further rate hikes, was notably absent from Powell’s remarks, though the Fed chief stopped well short of suggesting a rate cut was coming soon.

The Fed raised rates four times in 2018 but has since abandoned plans to continue lifting borrowing costs this year.

It is likely to avoid signaling any move to cut rates until it is ready to deliver, predicted Bruce Monrad, a high-yield bond portfolio manager at Boston-based Northeast Investors Trust.

Nevertheless, Monrad added, Fed policymakers may have tied their own hands by letting bets in financial markets stray so far. “They have had six months to control the rhetoric. They really haven’t walked back the market.”

(Reporting by Ann Saphir and Howard Schneider; Editing by Paul Simao)

Source: OANN

PGA: U.S. Open - Final Round
June 16, 2019; Pebble Beach, CA, USA; Viktor Hovland with the low amateur medal after the final round of the 2019 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

June 17, 2019

PEBBLE BEACH, CA. (Reuters) – Viktor Hovland ended his amateur career in style on Sunday by breaking a U.S. Open record that Jack Nicklaus had held for 59 years.

The Norwegian’s four-under-par 280 total at Pebble Beach was two strokes better than the best previous score by an amateur, set by Nicklaus at Cherry Hills in Colorado in 1960.

Nicklaus finished second to Arnold Palmer that year, and though Hovland could not quite match that lofty result on Sunday he was nonetheless pleased to bow out of amateur ranks on a high note.

“It’s obviously cool to perform such a thing and I hope that I can feed off of this going into my professional career and do more things like this and be in contention of winning tournaments,” said Hovland.

He shot a closing 67 and tied for 12th, nine strokes behind winner Gary Woodland, and five ahead of the second-placed amateur, Brandon Wu.

Hovland became the eighth player to be the low amateur in the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year, and the first since Matt Kuchar in 1998.

Others to achieve the feat include Nicklaus in 1961 and Phil Mickelson in 1991.

Hovland won last year’s U.S. amateur championship at Pebble Beach.

After a three-year stint on a golf scholarship at Oklahoma State University, he will make his pro debut at the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship in Connecticut starting on Thursday.

“I’ve had the three best years of my life at Oklahoma State and I’ve learned so much not only as a player but as a person,” said the 21-year-old.

(Reporting by Steve Keating; Writing by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A security guard walks past in front of the Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: A security guard walks past in front of the Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo, Japan January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

June 17, 2019

By Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Bank of Japan is expected to maintain its massive stimulus program on Thursday and signal its readiness to ramp up monetary support if growing risks such as the escalating U.S.-China trade war threaten the economy’s modest expansion.

Many BOJ policymakers are wary of using their dwindling policy ammunition any time soon as years of ultra-low interest rates strain financial institutions’ profits, say sources with knowledge of the central bank’s thinking.

But the darkening outlook is also forcing them to brace for the likelihood of another economic downturn and brainstorm ideas on how to respond, they say.

Adding to the uncertainty are heightening market expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will start to cut interest rates to fend off the damage from the trade war with China.

While such rate cut expectations have kept a floor on stock prices so far, an actual cut by the Fed could push down the dollar and trigger an unwelcome yen spike that hurts Japan’s export-reliant economy, some analysts say.

“There may be no immediate need for action,” one of the sources said. “But with uncertainty over the outlook so high, the BOJ would need to think about how to respond if a shock hits the economy.”

At the two-day rate review ending on Thursday, the BOJ is widely expected to keep its short-term rate target at -0.1% and a pledge to guide the 10-year government bond yield around zero percent. The Fed meets this Tuesday and Wednesday.

The BOJ board is likely to maintain its view Japan’s economy continues to expand moderately as a trend, but debate whether its projection of a rebound in overseas growth later this year remains valid, the sources say.

At a post-meeting news conference, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is likely reinforce his view the central bank is ready to deploy additional stimulus if the economy loses momentum to hit its 2% inflation target.

Japan’s economy expanded an annualized 2.1% in January-March but many analysts predict growth to slow in coming quarters as the U.S.-China trade row hurts global trade. A scheduled domestic sales tax hike in October may also cool consumption, they warn.

Many in the BOJ prefer to wait for more data, such as the central bank’s “tankan” quarterly business sentiment survey due July 1, to see how deeply the trade tensions could hurt domestic demand, the sources say.

“Domestic demand, including capital expenditure, is still firm. The key is to see whether this will remain the case,” a second source said.

Japan’s annual core consumer inflation hit 0.9% in April, remaining distant from the BOJ’s target, despite years of heavy money printing by the central bank.

Many analysts say the BOJ has very little tools left to fight the next recession, with its negative rate policy hurting financial institutions’ margins and long-term yields already hovering below zero.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A security guard walks past in front of the Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: A security guard walks past in front of the Bank of Japan headquarters in Tokyo, Japan January 23, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

June 17, 2019

By Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Bank of Japan is expected to maintain its massive stimulus program on Thursday and signal its readiness to ramp up monetary support if growing risks such as the escalating U.S.-China trade war threaten the economy’s modest expansion.

Many BOJ policymakers are wary of using their dwindling policy ammunition any time soon as years of ultra-low interest rates strain financial institutions’ profits, say sources with knowledge of the central bank’s thinking.

But the darkening outlook is also forcing them to brace for the likelihood of another economic downturn and brainstorm ideas on how to respond, they say.

Adding to the uncertainty are heightening market expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will start to cut interest rates to fend off the damage from the trade war with China.

While such rate cut expectations have kept a floor on stock prices so far, an actual cut by the Fed could push down the dollar and trigger an unwelcome yen spike that hurts Japan’s export-reliant economy, some analysts say.

“There may be no immediate need for action,” one of the sources said. “But with uncertainty over the outlook so high, the BOJ would need to think about how to respond if a shock hits the economy.”

At the two-day rate review ending on Thursday, the BOJ is widely expected to keep its short-term rate target at -0.1% and a pledge to guide the 10-year government bond yield around zero percent. The Fed meets this Tuesday and Wednesday.

The BOJ board is likely to maintain its view Japan’s economy continues to expand moderately as a trend, but debate whether its projection of a rebound in overseas growth later this year remains valid, the sources say.

At a post-meeting news conference, BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda is likely reinforce his view the central bank is ready to deploy additional stimulus if the economy loses momentum to hit its 2% inflation target.

Japan’s economy expanded an annualized 2.1% in January-March but many analysts predict growth to slow in coming quarters as the U.S.-China trade row hurts global trade. A scheduled domestic sales tax hike in October may also cool consumption, they warn.

Many in the BOJ prefer to wait for more data, such as the central bank’s “tankan” quarterly business sentiment survey due July 1, to see how deeply the trade tensions could hurt domestic demand, the sources say.

“Domestic demand, including capital expenditure, is still firm. The key is to see whether this will remain the case,” a second source said.

Japan’s annual core consumer inflation hit 0.9% in April, remaining distant from the BOJ’s target, despite years of heavy money printing by the central bank.

Many analysts say the BOJ has very little tools left to fight the next recession, with its negative rate policy hurting financial institutions’ margins and long-term yields already hovering below zero.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Source: OANN

An aerial view shows police officers investigating the site where a police officer was found stabbed in front of a police box and the officer's gun, loaded with several bullets, was stolen, in Suita, Osaka
An aerial view shows police officers investigating the site where a police officer was found stabbed in front of a police box and the officer’s gun, loaded with several bullets, was stolen, in Suita, Osaka prefecture, western Japan June 16, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

June 17, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese police on Monday arrested a man on charges of stabbing a police officer and grabbing a loaded handgun in a western city near Osaka, which hosts a summit of the G20 grouping next week, police said.

The 33-year-old suspect, caught while lying on a bench beneath which the stolen gun had been placed, has denied the charges, a local police official said.

“We are taking a grave view of the incident, which caused great anxiety among residents,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular news conference.

“With a G20 summit scheduled next week, we will reinforce vigilance and guard even more strictly.”

A large-scale search for the suspect began on Sunday, after the stabbed officer was found lying in front of a police box in the city of Suita. On Monday, he was unconscious and in a critical condition, authorities said.

One of the bullets originally loaded in the stolen gun seemed to have been fired, but police have heard of no reports of related injuries or damage, the police official said.

Violent crime is rare in Japan but occasional high-profile incidents have shocked the nation.

Sunday’s incident follows a case last month in which a knife-wielding middle-aged man killed a girl and an adult, injuring 17 people near the capital, Tokyo.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The brand logo of Alphabet Inc's Google is seen outside its office in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: The brand logo of Alphabet Inc’s Google is seen outside its office in Beijing, China August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

June 17, 2019

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google has appointed Stanley Chen as its managing director of Greater China sales and operations, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Chen, who will be based in Shanghai, was most recently general manager of Google Taiwan, a role he held for the last eight years, it said.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Source: OANN

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers
Jun 16, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers right fielder Cody Bellinger (35) and center fielder Alex Verdugo (27) high five after the final out of the ninth inning against Chicago Cubs at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

June 17, 2019

Cody Bellinger hit a home run, and closer Kenley Jansen found a bit of redemption as the Los Angeles Dodgers earned a 3-2 victory Sunday over the visiting Chicago Cubs.

Jansen earned his 21st save, although just barely, one day after he gave up a two-run home run to Anthony Rizzo in the ninth inning that gave the Cubs a 2-1 victory.

The Cubs put the first two runners aboard against Jansen in the ninth inning, but the right-hander got pinch hitter Kyle Schwarber on a groundout, threw out Albert Almora at the plate after a comebacker and finished off the victory by getting Javier Baez on a line drive to center field.

The Dodgers took a 3-2 lead in the eighth inning when Russell Martin fought off a breaking ball from Steve Cishek (1-4) to dunk a single into left field and score Chris Taylor from second base. Ross Stripling (3-2) pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the victory.

The Dodgers had a chance to open a big early lead, but Cubs starter Jose Quintana recovered from a jam of his own doing. The left-hander issued two walks to load the bases and a third to Max Muncy to bring home a run. But he ended that threat by striking out Martin, then retired 12 of the next 14 Dodgers batters.

The Cubs took a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning against Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu. Willson Contreras’ roller through the right side scored a run, and David Bote followed with a sacrifice fly for the second run.

Both runs were unearned after the sixth inning started with a throwing error by third baseman Justin Turner on a ground ball by Baez.

Bellinger tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning when he crushed a home run to center field, his 23rd of the season.

Quintana gave up two runs on six hits over five innings with three walks and three strikeouts.

Ryu gave up his two unearned runs on seven hits over seven innings with no walks and eight strikeouts. Ryu has now given up one earned run or less in four consecutive starts and eight of his last nine.

The Dodgers won three of the four games in the series and also won the season series by taking four of the seven games.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Headquarters of the PBOC, the central bank, is pictured in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: Headquarters of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, is pictured in Beijing, China September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

June 17, 2019

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s central bank said on Monday the second phase of a cut in the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) freed about 100 billion yuan ($14.44 billion) worth of long term funds.

In open market operations, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) also injected 150 billion yuan via 14-day reverse repos to “keep liquidity level stable at end-June”, the bank said in a statement on its website. [CN/MMT]

The PBOC announced in May that it would implement a reduction of RRRs for some small- and medium-sized banks in three phases, as part of wider efforts to help companies weather a slowdown in the world’s second largest economy.

The third phase of the RRR cut is scheduled to take effect on July 15.

(Reporting by Winni Zhou and David Stanway; editing by Darren Schuettler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: File photo of employees working at a Target store at St. Albert
FILE PHOTO: Employees work at a Target store at St. Albert, Alberta, January 15, 2015. REUTERS/Dan Riedlhuber/Files

June 17, 2019

(Reuters) – Target Corp on Sunday said it was unable to process select card payments at some stores for nearly 90 minutes due to a vendor-related issue – the second consecutive outage faced by the retailer in a week.

Target said its payments vendor NCR experienced an issue at one of its data centers on Sunday afternoon, which affected the retailer’s stores.

The incident was not related to Saturday’s glitch, the company said in an emailed statement, adding that the issue has now been resolved and payments are going through.

The company had faced an outage on Saturday due to an “internal technology issue” which stopped customers in the United States from paying for in-store purchases.

The issue was not a security-related issue and no payment information was compromised at any time, the retailer added.

A defect in a network device in June 2014 also caused problems with Target’s payment processing systems, according to media reports.

(Reporting by Ishita Chigilli Palli in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A man looks at an electronic board showing the Nikkei stock index outside a brokerage in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: A man looks at an electronic board showing the Nikkei stock index outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

June 17, 2019

By Tomo Uetake

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares got off to a shaky start on Monday as investors were cautious ahead of a closely-watched Federal Reserve meeting, while political tensions in the Middle East and Hong Kong kept risk-appetite in check.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan opened slightly lower and was last little changed, while Japan’s Nikkei average stood flat.

Wall Street stocks ended lower on Friday as investors turned cautious before this week’s Fed meeting, while a warning from Broadcom on slowing demand weighed on chipmakers and added to U.S.-China trade worries.[.N]

“The week ahead is likely to provide some clarification for investors on three fronts that have been a source of uncertainty. The FOMC meeting, with updated forecasts, is center stage,” said Marc Chandler, chief market strategist at Bannockburn Global Forex.

A private gauge on eurozone’s manufacturing sector as well as U.S.-China trade frictions will also be watched closely, Chandler said.

Financial markets have been sideswiped since a sudden escalation in Sino-U.S. trade tensions in early May, with growing anxiety among investors that a protracted standoff could tip the global economy into recession.

Adding to the tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump would raise the issue of Hong Kong’s human rights with China’s President Xi Jinping at a potential meeting of the two leaders at the G20 summit in Japan later this month.

On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of black-clad protesters in Hong Kong demanded that Beijing-backed city leader Carrie Lam step down over her handling of a bill that would have allowed extradition to China, resulted her to issue a rare apology.

Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East added another layer of uncertainty for investors after the United States blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week.

Hopes that global central banks will keep the money spigot open have helped to temper some of the fears, and all eyes are on the Fed’s two-day meeting starting on Tuesday.

Strong U.S. retail sales data on Friday rolled back expectations of a Fed rate cut at this week’s meeting to 21.7%, from 28.3% on Thursday, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool. But bets of an easing at the July meeting remain high at 85%.

The Bank of Japan also meets this week and is widely expected to reinforce its commitment to retain a massive stimulus program for some time to come.

The retail report also sent short-dated U.S. Treasury yields higher, flattening the yield curve.[L2N23L10H]

Benchmark 10-year notes was last at 2.091%, while two-year bond yield edged up, shrinking the spread between two- and 10-year yields to 23.6 basis points compared to more than 30 earlier this month.

A Reuters poll showed a growing number of economists expect the Fed policymakers to cut interest rates this year, although the majority still see it holding steady.

In currency markets, the dollar index against a basket of six major currencies climbed to 97.583 on Friday, its highest level in almost two weeks, after the U.S. retail sales data eased fears that the world’s largest economy is slowing sharply.

The index last stood at 97.511, while the euro fetched $1.1220, near the lower end of its weekly trading range.

Oil extended gains on Monday after the attacks on two oil tankers last week raised concerns about potential supply disruptions, but prices remained on track for a weekly loss on fears that trade disputes will dent global oil demand. [O/R]

Brent futures rose 0.2% to $62.13 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 0.2% to $52.60.

Spot gold eased 0.1% to $1,340.25 an ounce after hitting a 14-month peak on Friday.

Bitcoin jumped overnight to $9,391.85, its highest level in 13 months. It was last quoted at $9150.15.

(Reporting by Tomo Uetake; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: 30th anniversary of the crackdown of Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, in Hong Kong
FILE PHOTO: Thousands of people take part in a candlelight vigil to mark the 30th anniversary of the crackdown of pro-democracy movement at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, at Victoria Park in Hong Kong, China June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

June 17, 2019

GENEVA (Reuters) – More than 20 Chinese activists who took part in the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement called on Monday on the United Nations’ top human rights body to investigate Beijing’s deadly crackdown 30 years ago.

Wang Dan and 21 others, backed by the group Chinese Human Rights Defenders, said they had submitted the complaint to the U.N. Human Rights Council, a Geneva forum which opens a three-week session on June 24.

“We request the HRC investigate the gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms committed by the Chinese government during its military assault on peaceful protests,” they said in statement.

They also sought action over “the consistent pattern of human rights violations in persecuting Chinese citizens during the past three decades who broke the silence” about the events of June 3-4, 1989.

The anniversary remains taboo in China. Beijing has not held a public inquiry nor permitted an independent investigation, the statement said.

Beijing enjoys strong support among developing countries at the Human Rights Council, a 47-member state forum that has never adopted a resolution on China since being set up in 2006.

A Council spokesman was not in a position to provide any information, noting that communications lodged via the complaint procedure were confidential.

“The massacre 30 years ago has not ended yet. The Chinese government even determined that the victims were criminals and a large number of exiles are still deprived of their right to return to their own country,” said Wang, who lives in the United States.

China has never provided a death toll for the 1989 violence, but rights groups and witnesses say it could run into the thousands.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by John Stonestreet)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar notes are seen on a desk at a currency exchange booth in Karachi
FILE PHOTO: U.S. dollar notes are seen on a desk at a currency exchange booth in Karachi, Pakistan December 3, 2018. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro/File Photo

June 17, 2019

By Shinichi Saoshiro

TOKYO (Reuters) – The dollar hovered near a two-week high early on Monday, as strong U.S. retail sales data tempered some of the fears about a sharp downturn in the world’s largest economy.

That provided some relief to the dollar ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting this week. While few expect the Fed to cut rates at Wednesday’s policy review, traders are wagering that policy makers will do just that in coming months.

The dollar index versus a basket of six major currencies was little changed at 97.509 after rising to 97.583 on Friday, its highest since June 3.

The index had declined to a 2-1/2-month low of 96.459 a little more than a week ago after a weak U.S. jobs report heightened Fed rate cut prospects.

Expectations of an interest rate cut at the Fed’s June 18-19 meeting fell from 28.3% on Thursday to 21.7% according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool. But bets of an easing at the July meeting remain high at 85%.

“In addition to the upbeat U.S. data, the dollar is supported by weakness in other currencies, notably the euro and antipodeans,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior FX strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

“The Fed might cut rates sooner or later but so might its antipodean counterparts as well as the European Central Bank, and such views put the dollar at an advantage.”

With growth slowing and inflation staying well below the its target, the ECB recently raised the prospect of even more stimulus, arguing that a rate cut or even more asset purchases may become necessary.

The central banks of Australia and New Zealand face a similar predicament as the global economy braces for fallout from the U.S.-China trade conflict.

Australian bond yields slipped to a record low last week as investors priced in further easing by the Reserve Bank of Australia, which already cut rates to a record low 1.25% earlier this month.

The euro was little changed at $1.1216 after shedding about 0.6% on Friday, when it fell to an eight-day trough of $1.1203.

The Australian dollar crawled up 0.1% to $0.6878 but remained within reach of a five-month low of $0.6862 set on Friday, when the currency retreated nearly 0.7%.

The New Zealand dollar, which slumped more than 1% during the previous session, traded near a three-week low of $0.6488 brushed toward the end of last week.

The dollar was flat at 108.570 yen after edging up 0.15% on Friday.

(Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 – http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh)

(Reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An oil rig is seen in the waters on the southern coast of Pengerang
FILE PHOTO: An oil rig is seen in the waters on the southern coast of Pengerang, Malaysia February 26, 2019. Picture taken February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

June 17, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Oil prices rose on Monday after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington will take all actions necessary to guarantee safe navigation in the Middle East, as tensions mounted following attacks on tankers last week.

Brent futures rose 27 cents, 0.4% to $62.28 a barrel by 0040 GMT. They rose 1.1% on Friday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 18 cents, or 0.4%, at $52.69 a barrel. They rose 0.4% in the previous session.

Prices had jumped as much as 4.5% on Thursday after the attacks on two oil tankers near Iran and the Strait of Hormuz.

It was the second time in a month tankers have been attacked in the world’s most important zone for oil supplies as tensions increase between the United States and Iran. Washington blamed Iran for Thursday’s attacks, prompting a denial and criticism from Tehran.

“We don’t want war. We’ve done what we can to deter this,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News Sunday, adding: “The Iranians should understand very clearly that we will continue to take actions that deter Iran from engaging in this kind of behavior.”

Tensions between Iran and the United States have risen since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of a deal last year between Iran and global powers that aimed to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief.

Iran has repeatedly warned it would block the Strait of Hormuz if it cannot sell its oil because of U.S. sanctions.

Also supporting prices were comments over the weekend by the Saudi energy minister, Khalid al-Falih, that OPEC would probably meet in the first week of July and he hoped it would reach an agreement on extending oil output curbs.

“We are hoping that we will reach consensus to extend our agreement when we meet in two weeks time in Vienna,” Falih told reporters while attending a G20 energy and environment ministerial meeting in Karuizawa, northwest of Tokyo.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries plus Russia and other producers, an alliance known as OPEC+, have a deal to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) from Jan. 1. The pact ends this month and the group meets in coming weeks to decide the next move.

(Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; editing by Richard Pullin)

Source: OANN

PGA: U.S. Open - Final Round
June 16, 2019; Pebble Beach, CA, USA; Tiger Woods after putting on the 8th green during the final round of the 2019 U.S. Open golf tournament at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

June 17, 2019

PEBBLE BEACH, CA. (Reuters) – Tiger Woods made another awful start before turning on the afterburners to shoot two-under 69 in the final round at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach on Sunday.

It was too little, too late, but Woods left the oceanside course with some positive vibes after a frustrating week at the scene of his greatest performance.

“Again, got off to another crappy start and was able to fight it off,” said Woods, who bogeyed four of the first six holes, the easiest stretch on the course, a day after bogeying two of the first three.

He birdied six holes thereafter on Sunday to finish at two-under 282.

Woods never came close all week to replicating his 15-stroke record runaway of 2000, not that it was realistic at age 43 to expect it.

The Masters champion now turns his attention to next month’s British Open at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, the final major of the season.

“I’ve never been up to Portrush, and I’m looking forward to getting up there and taking a look at the golf course and trying to figure it out,” said the 15-times major champion.

While Woods already has three U.S. Open titles under his belt, Phil Mickelson is still seeking his first in a championship that has caused him heartache like no other.

The six-times runner-up, who needs a victory to complete the career grand slam, shot 72 to finish at four-over 288 on his 49th birthday.

He arrived with high hopes at a course where he has won the annual PGA Tour event five times, but was never a factor all week.

That did not stop him from getting plenty of love from the galleries, who sang “Happy Birthday” at various stages of the final round.

“I thought this was a really good chance for me,” Mickelson said.

“I just didn’t putt my best, didn’t chip my best. I actually played okay tee to green.”

Five-times major champion Mickelson was philosophical about never winning his national open.

“Dealing with losing in this game is a huge thing because even the best, the greatest winners, win such a small percentage of the time,” he said.

“But I have had so many special moments here at Pebble Beach. This was my first event as a pro, 1992, here.”

Mickelson also turned his thoughts to the British Open.

“I played Portrush one time with my dad and it was a special, fun golf course,” he said.

“It’s been a while so I don’t remember a lot of the details and subtleties of it.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating; Writing by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
FILE PHOTO: May 11, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) looks on from the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

June 17, 2019

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Sunday that Giancarlo Stanton will return from the injured list and play on Tuesday.

Boone added that newly acquired slugger Edwin Encarnacion will be active Monday night when the Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays. Encarnacion, acquired from the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night, is leading the American League with 21 home runs.

Stanton has been sidelined since March 31 with multiple injuries, including a calf ailment. The Yankees have also been without fellow outfielder Aaron Judge for most of this season, but Judge (strained oblique) is nearing his return as well.

“Encarnacion, Stanton and Judge, that’s three elite power hitters plugged into our lineup,” Boone told reporters. “Hopefully it’s something that over time creates a big-time advantage for us.”

–The New York Mets placed right-hander Noah Syndergaard on the 10-day injured list with a hamstring strain and activated second baseman Robinson Cano.

Syndergaard left Saturday night’s 8-7 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning. An MRI was scheduled for Sunday morning. On the season, Syndergaard is 5-4 with a 4.55 ERA for the Mets.

Cano had last played on June 5, when he aggravated a left quadriceps injury and landed on the injured list for the second time in a month. He went 1-for-3 in his return to the lineup Sunday.

–Mets left-hander Jason Vargas exited Sunday’s game against the Cardinals with a cramp in his left calf.

Vargas fouled off a 1-0 pitch while batting in the fourth inning, grimaced and bent over before coming out of the game. His plate appearance was completed by Jacob deGrom, who drew a walk. Wilmer Font replaced Vargas on the mound.

The game was tied at 3-3 when Vargas exited. He allowed three runs and a two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt in the first as the only hit.

–The Atlanta Braves will continue to monitor left-hander Sean Newcomb, but he passed initial tests after getting hit in the back of the head with a line drive on Saturday.

Newcomb exited his start against the Philadelphia Phillies after a comebacker off the bat of Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto hit off his head and ricocheted into the Philadelphia dugout for a ground-rule double. The line drive exited Realmuto’s bat at 102 mph.

“We’re just going to keep monitoring him,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s passed the tests. You just don’t know with an injury like that overnight. Hopefully, he gets through the night and sleeps, and he comes in here and he’s great.”

–Shortstop Jose Iglesias missed the Cincinnati Reds’ series finale against the Texas Rangers after the team placed him on the three-day paternity leave list.

The Reds reinstated right-hander Robert Stephenson from a rehabilitation assignment in a corresponding move.

Iglesias, 29, is batting .289 with four home runs and 24 RBIs this season.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
FILE PHOTO: May 11, 2019; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (27) looks on from the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

June 17, 2019

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Sunday that Giancarlo Stanton will return from the injured list and play on Tuesday.

Boone added that newly acquired slugger Edwin Encarnacion will be active Monday night when the Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays. Encarnacion, acquired from the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night, is leading the American League with 21 home runs.

Stanton has been sidelined since March 31 with multiple injuries, including a calf ailment. The Yankees have also been without fellow outfielder Aaron Judge for most of this season, but Judge (strained oblique) is nearing his return as well.

“Encarnacion, Stanton and Judge, that’s three elite power hitters plugged into our lineup,” Boone told reporters. “Hopefully it’s something that over time creates a big-time advantage for us.”

–The New York Mets placed right-hander Noah Syndergaard on the 10-day injured list with a hamstring strain and activated second baseman Robinson Cano.

Syndergaard left Saturday night’s 8-7 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in the seventh inning. An MRI was scheduled for Sunday morning. On the season, Syndergaard is 5-4 with a 4.55 ERA for the Mets.

Cano had last played on June 5, when he aggravated a left quadriceps injury and landed on the injured list for the second time in a month. He went 1-for-3 in his return to the lineup Sunday.

–Mets left-hander Jason Vargas exited Sunday’s game against the Cardinals with a cramp in his left calf.

Vargas fouled off a 1-0 pitch while batting in the fourth inning, grimaced and bent over before coming out of the game. His plate appearance was completed by Jacob deGrom, who drew a walk. Wilmer Font replaced Vargas on the mound.

The game was tied at 3-3 when Vargas exited. He allowed three runs and a two-run homer to Paul Goldschmidt in the first as the only hit.

–The Atlanta Braves will continue to monitor left-hander Sean Newcomb, but he passed initial tests after getting hit in the back of the head with a line drive on Saturday.

Newcomb exited his start against the Philadelphia Phillies after a comebacker off the bat of Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto hit off his head and ricocheted into the Philadelphia dugout for a ground-rule double. The line drive exited Realmuto’s bat at 102 mph.

“We’re just going to keep monitoring him,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s passed the tests. You just don’t know with an injury like that overnight. Hopefully, he gets through the night and sleeps, and he comes in here and he’s great.”

–Shortstop Jose Iglesias missed the Cincinnati Reds’ series finale against the Texas Rangers after the team placed him on the three-day paternity leave list.

The Reds reinstated right-hander Robert Stephenson from a rehabilitation assignment in a corresponding move.

Iglesias, 29, is batting .289 with four home runs and 24 RBIs this season.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN


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