FILE PHOTO: Russian servicemen drive S-400 missile air defence systems during the Victory Day parade, marking the 73rd anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin
May 22, 2019
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said he sees an improvement in talks with the United States over the purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems and U.S. F-35 fighter jets, but added that Ankara was also preparing for potential U.S. sanctions.
Turkey and the United States are at odds over Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400s, which cannot be integrated into NATO systems. Washington says the move would jeopardize Ankara’s role in building Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, which it says would be compromised by the S-400s.
Speaking to reporters late on Tuesday, Akar said that Turkey was fulfilling its responsibilities in the F-35 project and that Ankara expected the program to continue as planned. He said talks with U.S. officials were still underway.
He also said Turkey was evaluating a U.S. offer to purchase the Raytheon Co. Patriot systems, adding that Ankara and Washington were working on price, technology transfer, joint production issues on the latest offer from U.S. officials.
(Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Dominic Evans)
College students work out at the Sumo wrestling club at Nippon Sports Science University in Tokyo, Japan May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato
May 22, 2019
By Jack Tarrant and Yoko Kono
TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump can expect a warm welcome from the sumo wrestling community when he presents a custom-made “Trump Award” to the winner of the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo on May 26.
However, with Trump expected to view the bouts from a chair instead of sitting cross-legged on a cushion as ringside viewers typically do, some fans have been left upset at his special treatment.
Trump is expected to watch the final three bouts on the last day of the tournament at the Ryogoku Kokugikan venue alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during his May 25-28 state visit. Their wives, Melania Trump and Akie Abe, are also expected to attend.
He will present the trophy to the winning wrestler following other awards, the Japanese Sumo Association (JSA) said.
“I’ve always found that fascinating,” Trump said of sumo at a news conference in April.
Some members of the sumo community welcomed the increased exposure that Trump’s visit will give their sport.
“Sumo is Japanese traditional culture. It is not just about winning and defeat. So, it is good that the president is involved and will present a trophy,” said Kazuo Saito, a sumo coach at Nippon Sports Science University.
Saito also doesn’t think the U.S. leader’s presence will affect the wrestlers’ performance.
“I believe that they will compete at their best,” he said.
Trump, 72, will sit in a chair, instead of on a “zabuton” cushion on the floor as is customary.
That has upset some sumo fans.
Masaru Tomamoto, 73, said he sympathized with Trump but nonetheless would prefer the U.S. leader to follow custom.
“I also want to sit on chair as we watch sumo wrestling,” admitted Tomamoto over a steaming bowl of chanko nabe, the stew favored by sumo wrestlers.
“But if (Trump) watches a Japanese traditional sport, sumo, I think that it would be much better for him to sit cross-legged with the cushion on the floor, rather than on chair.”
Izumi Chiba from Sapporo in northern Japan echoed the sentiment: “As we say, when you are in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
Trump will have to climb onto the ‘dohyo’ – or sumo ring – to present the award alongside Abe. Shoes are typically not worn on the dohyo so he may have to wear slippers or shoe covers.
Almost one-eighth of the 11,000 seats have been reserved for Trump, Abe and their security teams. Ordinary attendees will have to go through security checks, media reported.
Trump will not be the first foreign dignitary to present a trophy to a sumo tournament winner.
Former French President Jacques Chirac, who was known as a big sumo fan, created the President of the Republic of France Cup and presented the trophy to the winning wrestler in 2000. It was presented every year until Chirac left office in 2007.
(The story was refiled to correct the spelling of Chiba in paragraph 15)
(Reporting by Jack Tarrant and Yoko Kono; additional reporting by Masashi Kato and Ami Miyazaki; editing by Linda Sieg)
FILE PHOTO: The Women’s FIFA World Cup trophy is seen before the announcement ceremony for the Women’s FIFA World Cup 2019 at their headquarters in Zurich March 19, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/File Photo
May 22, 2019
(Reuters) – World soccer governing body FIFA is facing a backlash on social media from fans who bought multiple tickets for next month’s women’s World Cup in France only to discover that their seats were not together.
Supporters with tickets for the June 7-July 7 showpiece were allowed to download and print them on Monday and a number of parents have since complained that seats have been allocated in such a way that they cannot sit with their children.
The tournament organizers initially released a statement saying they could not change seat allocations except for parents with children under the age of 18 who were not seated together.
In a subsequent statement organizers said less than 1% of fans with tickets for the semi-finals and final were facing seat-allocation issues.
“The previous tweets regarding FIFA Women’s World Cup tickets allocation were published without a full understanding of the situation and we apologize for that,” organizers said in a statement https://twitter.com/FIFAWWC/status/1130624973247328256 on Twitter.
“The issues were faced by less than 1% of fans requesting tickets for the semi-finals and the final. FIFA and the local organizing committee are confident the problems will be solved and fans will be able to enjoy the matches as they envisaged.”
The assurances did not calm supporters on social media, who suggested the problem was far more widespread and demanded organizers resolve the issue.
Twitter user Gareth James complained he would have to sit separately from his two daughters and would not attend the game if their seats were not reallocated.
“How will (the problems) be solved? Me and my daughters aged 11 and 13 have tickets that are not together, so will not be able to attend,” he tweeted https://twitter.com/gisjames25/status/1130658364243886080.
A fan named Mike Swanson said he had been crushed to discover that his family of five, which includes three children, would be spread over three different rows.
“This was to be a family trip and we can’t even sit together as a family,” he said in a tweet. “What a disappointment. Not a happy customer.”
FIFA released a statement later on Tuesday saying they were still working on a solution.
“FIFA and the local organizing committee are… doing everything they can to ensure that families will always be seated together at each and every match,” the statement said.
“Of the 1.3 million tickets on sale for the tournament it is estimated that not having side-by-side seats will affect only a very small number of fans.”
The women’s World Cup semi-finals and final will be held in Lyon.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Nick Mulvenney)
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a speech on Brexit in London, Britain May 21, 2019. Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool via REUTERS
May 22, 2019
LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May has asked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to support her Brexit deal after offering sweeteners including the chance to vote on whether to hold a second referendum.
“I have shown today that I am willing to compromise to deliver Brexit for the British people,” May wrote in a letter dated May 21 to Corbyn about her Withdrawal Agreement Bill, legislation which implements the terms of Britain’s departure.
“The WAB is our last chance to do so,” May said. “I ask you to compromise too so that we can deliver what both our parties promised in our manifestos and restore faith in our politics.”
Corbyn said on Tuesday that his party could not vote for the Withdrawal Bill, describing May’s new offer as “largely a rehash of the government’s position” in talks with the opposition that broke down last week.
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge)
FILE PHOTO: Newly-appointed Bank of Japan (BOJ) board member Yutaka Harada leaves a news conference at the BOJ headquarters in Tokyo March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Yuya Shino
May 22, 2019
By Leika Kihara
NAGASAKI, Japan (Reuters) – Bank of Japan board member Yutaka Harada said on Wednesday the central bank must ramp up stimulus “without delay” if a slowdown in the economy hampers achievement of its price target.
While capital expenditure and private consumption have so far withstood the impact from falling exports and output, risks to the economy were heightening, said Harada, a vocal advocate of aggressive monetary easing.
“The impact of the consumption tax hike scheduled for October this year also is a concern,” Harada said in a speech to business leaders in Nagasaki, southern Japan.
“If the economy deteriorates to the extent that achieving our price target in the long-term becomes difficult, it’s necessary to strengthen monetary easing without delay,” he said.
Reflationist-minded BOJ board members like Harada had argued in the past that the central bank must do more to quicken achievement of its price target.
However, his comment that the BOJ must act if the price target becomes hard to hit “in the long term” underscores a growing sense within the central bank that it is running out of effective tools to prop up inflation.
Harada said the planned sales tax hike in October could weigh on inflation by cooling consumption, warning that tax increases could push the economy into recession.
Recent weaknesses in exports and output could also start to hurt job growth and consumption, he said.
“The economy has been weak recently, and the same can be said about prices,” Harada said. “There’s a risk the current sluggishness observed in prices will spill over to inflation expectations, further delaying a pick-up in inflation.”
The BOJ’s nine-member board is divided between those like Harada who see room to ramp up stimulus, and those who are more worried about the rising cost of prolonged easing.
Years of heavy money printing by the BOJ have failed to fire up inflation and crushed long-term interest rates near zero, drawing criticism from financial institutions for narrowing their margins and hurting their profits.
Harada said those who argue that the BOJ’s ultra-loose policy was hurting financial institutions ignore the benefits years of monetary easing have brought to the economy.
“The deterioration of banks’ profitability is actually caused by a structural problem, which is that they are accumulating deposits despite a lack of borrowers,” he said.
(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Sam Holmes)
The logo of Huawei is pictured at a mobile phone shop in Singapore, May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
May 22, 2019
By Sam Nussey
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese telco SoftBank Corp’s low-cost mobile brand Ymobile said on Wednesday it would delay the launch of Huawei P30 Lite smartphone, following the imposition of trade restrictions on the Chinese manufacturer by Washington.
The smartphone from Huawei Technologies was due to go on sale on Friday but a SoftBank spokesman said the telco wanted to be confident it could sell the product in light of the U.S. restrictions.
The U.S. Commerce Department blocked Huawei from buying U.S. goods last week, a major escalation in the trade war between the world’s two top economies, saying the firm was involved in activities contrary to national security.
Another Japanese telco, KDDI Corp, said on Wednesday it was putting the launch of the Huawei P30 Lite Premium handset on hold. Japan’s largest telco, NTT Docomo, said it was considering putting on hold reservations for the Huawei P30 Pro smartphone.
The United States temporarily eased the restrictions on Huawei on Monday, to minimize disruption for customers. The move is likely to allow companies such as Google to continue providing support such as software updates to Huawei smartphones sold on or before May 16.
Alphabet Inc’s Google suspended some business with Huawei, Reuters reported on Sunday. The firm’s smartphones run on Google’s Android operating system.
(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Stephen Coates)
FILE PHOTO: Air China’s logo is seen on a counter of Air China at a terminal of Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, March 28, 2016.REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo
May 22, 2019
BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s three biggest airlines have requested compensation from U.S. planemaker Boeing Co for losses incurred by the grounding and delayed deliveries of 737 MAX jets, as regulators gather to discuss design changes for the troubled aircraft.
Chinese state television on Wednesday reported that Air China Ltd and China Southern Airlines Co Ltd have added their voices to a request from China Eastern Airlines Corp Ltd a day earlier.
China was the first country to ground the 737 MAX globally after a crash in Ethiopia killed 157 people in March, in the second such incident for Boeing’s newest aircraft.
The compensation requests come as the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration hosts global regulators in Dallas on Thursday to review 737 MAX software and training proposals from Boeing before deciding whether and when to end the two-month grounding.
The International Air Transport Association has convened a meeting of airlines with grounded 737 MAX jets for the same day in Montreal.
Other carriers including Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Ryanair and Flydubai have also asked Boeing for compensation.
(Reporting by Stella Qiu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Christopher Cushing)
FILE PHOTO: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he is presented with a garland during a thanksgiving ceremony by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders to its allies at the party headquarters in New Delhi, India, May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis/File Photo
May 22, 2019
By Krishna N. Das
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s ruling coalition has promised to rev up growth, double farmers’ income and boost infrastructure spending in the next five years after exit polls showed it would retain power when general election votes are counted on Thursday.
Exit polls have predicted an outright majority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alliance in the seven-phase election that ended on Sunday. Such surveys have proved misleading before and the opposition has dismissed them as “gossip”.
The coalition, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which is led by Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), met in New Delhi on Tuesday confidant that victory was assured.
“The NDA has resolved to speed up economic growth and fulfill the needs of the people in the next five years of our government,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh, also a senior member of the BJP, told reporters late on Tuesday.
“We’re committed to a strong, developed and inclusive India.”
Six of the seven exit polls conducted have predicted that the NDA would comfortably surpass the majority mark of 272 seats in the lower house of parliament.
But the main opposition Congress party has dismissed the polls and urged its workers to remain vigilant at centers where votes are being stored before the Thursday count.
Economic growth eased to a five-quarter low of 6.6% in the three months to December and there are signs it is still slowing.
March industrial output contracted for the first time in nearly two years, and surveys show a slackening in manufacturing and services growth, while car and motorbike sales have tumbled.
Some economists have called for some stimulus.
Singh said plans were ready to meet the BJP’s manifesto pledge to spend 100 trillion rupees ($1.44 trillion) on infrastructure in the next five years and 25 trillion rupees on agriculture and rural development.
Singh also reiterated the BJP goal of doubling farmers’ income by 2022, the 75th year of India’s independence from British colonial rule.
Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, whose regional party is part of the NDA, said the election had unleashed a “tsunami” of support for Modi.
Political analysts say the election result could consolidate Modi’s dominant position in politics while undermining the role of Congress party and opening up space for newer parties.
“If the exit polls are to be believed, Modi’s image as the incorruptible defender of the faith and nation has triumphed once again,” said Nikhil Menon, assistant professor of history at the University of Notre Dame.
“Narendra Modi may well be leading his party into an era of electoral dominance.”
Nearly two dozen opposition parties have complained to the Election Commission of attempts to tamper with voting machines in vote-count centers. The commission has rejected the allegation.
(Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Robert Birsel)
Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a candidate for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination, used a televised town hall event Tuesday night to spread the debunked claim that President Trump called asylum-seekers “animals.”
The remarks from the former congressman from El Paso, Texas, came in response to the first question during the CNN event, which took place in Des Moines, Iowa, capital of the state where the first caucuses of next year’s election season will be held.
Sarah Duncan, a research associate from the political organization Vote Smart, asked O’Rourke how he planned to “restore global trust in American leadership.”
The candidate began by calling Trump’s domestic and foreign policy a “disaster.”
“Describing those immigrants who come into this country as rapists and criminals — though they commit crimes at a far lower rate than those who were born in this country — describing asylum-seekers as animals or an infestation. An infestation is how you might describe a termite or a cockroach — something you want to stamp out, something less than human,” O’Rourke said.
“You don’t get kids in cages at the border unless you dehumanize them in the eyes of your fellow Americans,” he added. “The day that the president signed his executive order attempting to ban Muslim travel to the United States is the day that the mosque in Victoria, Texas, was literally torched to the ground.”
“The day that the president signed his executive order attempting to ban Muslim travel to the United States is the day that the mosque in Victoria, Texas, was literally torched to the ground.”
But O’Rourke’s false claim went unchallenged by CNN Town Hall moderator Dana Bash.
Trump’s “animals” remark came in May 2018, on Long Island, N.Y., at a roundtable discussion of illegal immigration and sanctuary city policies. During a discussion with law enforcement officials, a sheriff referred to members of the violent gang MS-13.
President Trump responded by slamming MS-13 gang members, not migrants in general, as “animals.”
“We have people coming into our country — trying to come into our country, we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals,” Trump said.
At the time, his comments were taken out of context as if called all migrants “animals,” a falsehood that was spread by high-profile Democrats as well as many members of the media. The video went viral again in April after a Twitter user uploaded the same clip — and falsely claimed President Trump referred to asylum seekers as “animals.”
O’Rourke went on to slam Trump for embracing Russian President Vladimir Putin and call Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation a “hoax” during a conversation after the report’s release.
When asked about how he would address immigration if elected, O’Rourke vowed to grant citizenship to DREAMers and offer a pathway to citizenship for all other illegal immigrants in the country.
Source: Fox News Politics
FILE PHOTO: Walmart’s logo is seen outside one of the stores in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., November 20, 2018. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo
May 22, 2019
By Nandita Bose
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Walmart Inc will meet large consumer goods companies and advertising firms for the first time in New York next week to pitch its advertising business, as the world’s largest retailer aims to rev up its website and stores as a platform for other companies to reach customers.
The event marks Walmart’s first effort to grow its nascent advertising business and heralds the retailer’s rising challenge to online ad leaders Alphabet Inc’s Google, Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc.
The event, called “5260,” is named after a Walmart store near the retailer’s hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas, which is known for being a test lab for retail innovation, Walmart told Reuters.
It is likely to be attended by hundreds of companies ranging from Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Coca Cola to Mattel, Glaxosmithkline and NBC Universal, multiple sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The country’s top marketing and advertising firms are also likely to be in attendance, the sources, who did not wish to be named, added.
Walmart declined to name the attendees.
Walmart’s pitch will be simple: encourage some of the biggest advertisers to shift their spending to Walmart and away from rivals like Google, Facebook Inc and Amazon. And Walmart says that its massive customer base and data on what shoppers purchase give it a compelling edge.
As consumer behavior has shifted, a growing number of shoppers now begin their product searches on Amazon instead of Google, forcing companies to move their ad budgets to Amazon – a significant change that bodes well for Walmart.
Walmart heralded its ambitions at its shareholder meeting last year when Chief Executive Doug McMillon said, “We have a tiny ad business. … It could be bigger.”
Since then, Walmart has bought its website advertising in-house, consolidated ad sales for its stores and website under the Walmart Media Group and acquired a startup called Polymorph Labs to boost the business.
The move could help Walmart shore up sales and margins at a time when revenue is likely to come under stress from tariffs on Chinese imports, and margins are under pressure from its billions of dollars in e-commerce investments.
Stefanie Jay, vice president and general manager of Walmart Media Group, told Reuters the company’s “core differentiator” is that its ad offerings are informed not just by online purchase behavior and intent but also by data on what people are buying in stores before and after they see an ad, something its online rivals are unable to see.
Eighty-seven percent of shopping in the United States still happens in stores, she said.
Over 300 million customers visit Walmart’s stores every month, and over 300 million shopped with Walmart online as recently as January, drawing in more shoppers than Amazon, Google and Facebook, according to research firms.
“Advertisers are always looking for that complete picture to better understand where they should spend their ad dollars,” Jay said.
Walmart’s ad offerings will include sponsored search and display ads, which drive awareness and engagement. Jay said Walmart will add video ads this year.
Along with Jay, other senior Walmart executives attending the event include Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer; Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer; and Charles Redfield, executive vice president of food for Walmart U.S.
The opportunity for Walmart will be capitalizing on the share Google is losing, consultants said. Although spending on Google search ads continues to grow and is expected to be up 17% this year to $40 billion, Google’s market share is expected to slip to 71% by 2020 as Amazon grows, according to research firm Marketer.
Even so, Walmart faces an uphill task.
Beyond search ads, Amazon offers display ads, TV-like ads in live sports telecasts and targeted ads to people as they travel around the web.
Amazon’s global digital ad revenue is expected to rise by more than 52% in 2019 to reach $14.03 billion, according to eMarketer. Pivotal Research estimates it will reach $38 billion by 2023.
In the United States, Amazon is the third-largest digital ad publisher behind Google and Facebook, which combined control about 60% of U.S. online ad spending. Amazon’s share is 5.5 percent.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler)