Models

Robin Holzken gave her fans a show with a recent Instagram photo.

Holzken, who is one of the most popular models in the game, posted a photo of herself in blue lingerie, and it’s not too hard on the eyes. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

In fact, this might be one of the best snaps that we’ve seen out of her in a minute or two, which is saying a lot. (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

Take a glance below. My guess is that you’re likely going to agree with my assessment of the situation.(SLIDESHOW: 71 Times Samantha Hoopes Stripped Down)

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A post shared by Robin Marjolein Holzken (@robinholzken) on

Does it ever get old watching Holzken dominate the web? I think the answer to that question is no, and it’s an overwhelming no. (SLIDESHOW: This Blonde Bombshell Might Be The Hottest Model On The Internet) 

Here are a few more times she put the world on notice with some great pictures. You’re going to enjoy them all. (SLIDESHOW: 60 Times Abigail Ratchford Wore Almost Nothing)

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A post shared by Robin Marjolein Holzken (@robinholzken) on

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Robin Marjolein Holzken (@robinholzken) on

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Robin Marjolein Holzken (@robinholzken) on

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A post shared by Robin Marjolein Holzken (@robinholzken) on

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A post shared by Robin Marjolein Holzken (@robinholzken) on

Source: The Daily Caller

Robin Holzken gave her fans a show with a recent Instagram photo.

Holzken, who is one of the most popular models in the game, posted a photo of herself in blue lingerie, and it’s not too hard on the eyes. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

In fact, this might be one of the best snaps that we’ve seen out of her in a minute or two, which is saying a lot. (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

Take a glance below. My guess is that you’re likely going to agree with my assessment of the situation.(SLIDESHOW: 71 Times Samantha Hoopes Stripped Down)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Robin Marjolein Holzken (@robinholzken) on

Does it ever get old watching Holzken dominate the web? I think the answer to that question is no, and it’s an overwhelming no. (SLIDESHOW: This Blonde Bombshell Might Be The Hottest Model On The Internet) 

Here are a few more times she put the world on notice with some great pictures. You’re going to enjoy them all. (SLIDESHOW: 60 Times Abigail Ratchford Wore Almost Nothing)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Robin Marjolein Holzken (@robinholzken) on

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Robin Marjolein Holzken (@robinholzken) on

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Robin Marjolein Holzken (@robinholzken) on

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Robin Marjolein Holzken (@robinholzken) on

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Robin Marjolein Holzken (@robinholzken) on

Source: The Daily Caller

Illustration photo of a Japan Yen note
A Japan Yen note is seen in this illustration photo taken June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

March 24, 2019

By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – The Japanese yen hovered near a six-week high on Monday while Asian shares are expected to start lower as risk assets fell out of favor on growing worries about an impending U.S. recession, sending global bond yields plunging.

In Asia, Nikkei futures pointed to a weak start for Japan. Australian shares fell 0.3 percent at the open while New Zealand’s benchmark index faltered 0.9 percent.

Investors also kept one eye on the details of a nearly two-year U.S. investigation which found no evidence of collusion between Donald Trump’s election team and Russia, in a major political victory for the U.S. President.

U.S. stock futures were marginally higher during early Asian hours.

On Friday, all three major U.S. stock indexes registered their biggest one-day percentage losses since Jan.3 with the Dow sliding 1.8 percent, the S&P 500 off 1.9 percent and the Nasdaq dropping 2.5 percent.

Concerns about the health of the world economy heightened last week after cautious remarks by the U.S. Federal Reserve sent 10-year treasury yields to the lowest since early 2018. Adding to the fears of a more widespread global downturn, manufacturing output data from Germany showed a contraction for the third straight month.

In response, 10-year treasury yields slipped below the three-month rate for the first time since 2007. Historically, an inverted yield curve – where long-term rates fall below short-term – has signaled an upcoming recession.

“We have re-run our preferred yield curve recession models, which now suggest a 30-35 percent chance of a U.S. recession occurring over the next 10‑18 months,” said Tapas Strickland, markets strategist at National Australia Bank.

Typically a 40-60 percent probability sees a recession within the next 10-18 months, Strickland added, basing the analysis on previous recessions.

“The risk of a U.S. recession has risen and is flashing amber and this will keep markets pricing a high chance of the Fed cutting rates.”

Much of the concerns around global growth is stemming from Europe and China which are battling separate tariff wars with the United States. Political turmoil in Britain over the country’s exit from the European Union is also a major overhang for risk assets.

On Sunday, Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper said in a front page editorial British Prime Minister Theresa May must announce on Monday she will stand down as soon as her Brexit deal is approved.

The British pound was last flat at $1.3209 after three straight days of wild gyrations. The currency slipped 0.7 percent last week.

Politics was also in focus in the United States.

The long-awaited Mueller report into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to help Trump defeat his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, marked a major milestone of his presidency as he prepares for his 2020 re-election battle.

In currency markets, the Japanese yen – a perceived safe haven – held near its highest since Feb. 11. It was last off 0.1 percent at 110.04 per dollar.

The Australian dollar, a liquid proxy for risk play, was down for its third straight session of losses at $0.7072.

(Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

Charles Kolb | Deputy Assistant to George H.W. Bush

If only Christopher Hitchens were still alive!

The Vanity Fair and former Nation journalist died of esophageal cancer at age 62 in December 2011. He would have a field day with today’s strange new world: the 2016 election, the Clintons (whom he detested), Trump’s presidential antics, Brexit (born a Brit, Hitchens became an American citizen), social media, artificial intelligence, and the 2020 presidential candidates.

Hitch was a great debunker. His irreverence was exceeded only by his intelligence, his eclectic reading, and his remarkable memory. He seemed to know just about everything, and his book titles trumpeted his strong verdicts. Bill Clinton was skewered in “No One Left to Lie To,” and his slim, scathing volume about Mother Teresa was titled “The Missionary Position.” There was, however, one unassailable Hitchens Hero: novelist and essayist George Orwell.

Hitchens’s 2002 book, “Why Orwell Matters,” is worth reading today. Hitchens praised Orwell as a relentless champion of liberty and equality whose vision embraced “a society of free and equal human beings.” Orwell despised communism and fascism, and his novels “Animal Farm” (1946) and “Nineteen Eighty-Four”(1949) warned about the danger of “Big Brother” governments that adopt authoritarian tactics against the governed.

Orwell never knew the Internet, but he surely would have been concerned about how social media platforms operate, with business models heavily reliant on algorithms that maximize profits by freely mining individual data at the expense of privacy. And that’s the problem: a Faustian bargain that says “give us your personal data in exchange for free services.” Governments now justify enhanced surveillance in exchange for enhanced security. As Hitchens wrote, Orwell believed deeply that “there should be no utilitarian tradeoff between freedom and security.”

To her credit, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) recognizes the dangers described by Orwell, and that is why she pledges to break up the big data-driven tech companies if she becomes president. Warren is not alone. The pushback is already starting: the European Union has adopted internet rules (the General Data Protection Regulation) that strengthen individual privacy, is pursuing vigorous antitrust enforcement, and has levied substantial fines against Facebook and Google. We can expect continued congressional hearings that will examine these firms’ business practices, their privacy protections, and their profits.

Hitchens probably would have panned Warren’s fake populism (“I’m a gonna get me a beer”) and her ludicrous Cherokee-heritage claims (“my papaw had high cheekbones”). But the irreverent journalist and the consumer-oriented senator probably would have agreed on curbing social media platforms, enforcing antitrust laws, and forcing changes to existing business models that mine “free data” while offering inadequate privacy guarantees. Warren deserves credit for pressing these issues.

Machines governed by algorithms (mathematical problem-solving formulas that impose a set of rules designed to seek, identify, and capture patterns) now impact increasing aspects of contemporary life. This development is not inherently bad. Algorithms drive a significant portion of daily stock-market trading. Driverless cars use algorithms to process information faster than human brains. Algorithms now fly planes and track our Internet activity, including our daily movements based on our cellphone locations.

Edward Snowden’s massive data dump revealed that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress when he told Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore) that the government was not collecting personal data on American citizens. The government was scooping up everything it could find and relying on algorithms to search that information for potential terrorist threats.

When algorithms become linked with the brave new emerging world of artificial intelligence, however, there is the potential for both good (health care, fraud prevention, driverless cars, airport facial recognition) and bad (China’s plans to use AI for political monitoring through a “social credit system” that tracks citizens and bolsters Communist one-party political control).

Along with Hitchens and Orwell, Elizabeth Warren worries about tradeoffs between freedom and security. We need to tame the use of algorithms and make them work for us, not against us. What makes us human is our personal interaction with other humans, not with machines.

“Orwellian” is now applied to situations involving official government deception, extensive secret surveillance, and evading reality through lies and misleading information. George Orwell and Christopher Hitchens are no longer with us, so we need crusaders like Elizabeth Warren (and others) to ensure that our world remains governed by humans and not by machines responding to impersonal mathematical formulas.

Charles Kolb served as deputy assistant to the president for domestic policy in the Bush White House from 1990-92.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Candle flames burn during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu
FILE PHOTO: Candle flames burn during a commemoration ceremony for the victims at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town Bishoftu, near Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

March 24, 2019

By Jason Neely

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines has rejected media reports that optional equipment for Boeing 737 MAX planes was critical for safety aboard a flight that crashed this month.

The crash of flight 302 and a similar one involving Indonesia’s Lion Air in October, both flying the new 737 MAX 8, have cost 346 lives and sparked the biggest crisis in decades for Boeing.

Grieving families, nervous travelers and airlines around the world are looking for answers while Boeing prepares updates aimed at getting the 737 MAX, with sales worth $500 billion at stake, back in the air.

In a sign of the impact on Boeing’s business, Indonesia’s Garuda is pushing to dump a $6 billion order for the grounded planes.

Teams from the three U.S. airlines that own 737 MAX jets were also heading to Boeing’s factory in Renton, Washington over the weekend to review a software upgrade.

One focus for investigators is software Boeing installed on the MAX series designed to push a plane’s nose down if it senses too sharp an ascent and an indicator that shows that angle of flight.

OPTIONAL ITEMS

Ethiopian Airlines CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said it was important not to confuse safety-critical equipment with optional items.

“A Toyota is imported with all the necessary equipment to drive, like the engine and the wheels, but with air conditioning and the radio optional,” Tewolde said.

“When Boeing supplies aircraft there are items which are mandatory for safety and then there are optional items,” he added, noting the angle of attack indicator was optional.

Some media reports have questioned whether having this installed may have helped the cockpit crew regain control of flight 302, which crashed near Addis Ababa on March 10 killing all 157 aboard.

Tewolde rejected this, adding: “The angle of attack indicator was on the optional list along with the inflight entertainment system.”

He echoed the words of Norwegian Air which said it had not selected the cockpit light warning of discrepancies between angle of attack sensors for its fleet of 18 MAX 8 aircraft.

“We have chosen not to fit this particular optional extra …it is not a safety critical feature nor is it a requirement by any aviation authority,” Norwegian told Reuters.

Ethiopian Airlines is Africa’s biggest airline with a modern fleet of Boeing, Airbus and Bombardier aircraft and a flying history that dates back to the 1940s.

They have been flying Boeing planes since 1962 and have four MAX 8 jets, with another 25 worth some $3 billion on order.

GARUDA

Garuda has written to Boeing asking to cancel its order for 49 737 MAX 8 planes, CFO Fuad Rizal said on Friday. CEO Ari Askhara told Reuters customers had lost trust in the plane.

The airline might switch to other Boeing models, Rizal told Reuters, adding it was in negotiations with Boeing while a move to Airbus planes was not under consideration. Garuda rival Lion Air is weighing what to do with an even bigger order following its crash, which killed all 189 passengers and crew aboard.

It has 190 Boeing jets worth $22 billion at list prices waiting to be delivered.

Boeing has said it is been working closely with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on a software upgrade and training set to be deployed across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks.

The FAA which certifies planes expects to approve these design changes no later than April, it has said.

American Airlines pilots this weekend were preparing to test the planned software upgrade, saying they want their own safety guarantees on the fix.

Southwest and United Airlines said they would also review documentation and training associated with Boeing’s updates.

(Reporting by Jason Neely; additional reporting by Jamie Freed in Singapore, Cindy Silviana and Bernadette Christina Munthe in Jakarta, David Shepardson in Washington and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; editing by Keith Weir)

Source: OANN

Katie Jerkovich | Entertainment Reporter

Meet the first-ever red-haired Victoria’s Secret Angel, Alexina Graham.

Judging by the photos and clips on her social media account, the honor is well deserved. (RELATED: Celebrate Alessandra Ambrosio’s Birthday With Her Most Scandalous Pics [SLIDESHOW])

“I found out I was going to officially become a Victoria’s Secret Angel when I was at dinner with my best friend. . . . It’s very exciting! It still feels so surreal, to be honest, I have been working so hard to get to this moment — it’s a real mixture of feeling emotional, nervous and excited,” the 29-year-old Victoria’s Secret model shared with Glamour UK Thursday.

Alexina Graham attends the Victoria's Secret Viewing Party ar Spring Studios on December 2, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria's Secret)

Alexina Graham attends the Victoria’s Secret Viewing Party ar Spring Studios on December 2, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret)

“I found out when I was having dinner with one of my best friends, just in a restaurant in Soho, New York,” she added. “My agent sent me a screenshot of an email saying, ‘You are joining the [Victoria’s Secret] family in 2019!’ So, I called her thinking she was joking, and she said, ‘No, it’s true!’”(RELATED: Take A Look Back At Adriana Lima’s Career With Victoria’s Secret)

Graham continued, “So, me and my friend just got champagne — it was such a great way to find out! We kept it chic though, darling!”

The beauty from Nottingham, U.K., announced Thursday on Instagram that she had officially got her wings — following in the footsteps of such huge supermodels as Gisele Bundchen, Adriana Lima and Jasmine Tookes, just to name a few.

She first walked the annual lingerie show catwalk in 2017 and then once again in 2018. Lots of models walk the show, but getting wings is a special honor.

“It means so much to me to be the red-haired [Victoria’s Secret] Angel. . . . Being a Victoria’s Secret’s Angel comes with a lot of empowerment,” the lingerie model explained. “I think for me being a red-head [Victoria’s Secret] Angel means I get to put redheads out there more.”

“Being an angel is part of having that media outreach so that I can say to young red-head kids, ‘you can do anything you want! Nothing is impossible!’” she added. “This is a ‘two fingers up at my bullies’ moment…”

Graham continued, “Like most redheads, I did get bullied at school because we just stand out. I was this skinny little, geeky thing with no boobs but now I have embraced it as a woman. Having red hair is now a powerful part of my identity. It took me a long time to get here, I have gone through so much in the last ten years both in terms of my career and my life.”

At one point, she said she almost gave up her dream of modeling about “[five-to-six] years ago,” but her mom encouraged her to “keep going.”

And clearly it was a great decision. We can hardly wait to see what the future will bring for her. Congratulations!

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton
FILE PHOTO: An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/File Photo

March 22, 2019

By Alwyn Scott and Eric M. Johnson

NEW YORK/SEATTLE (Reuters) – Much like tapping the brake pedal in a car to disengage cruise control, a sharp tug on the controls of older models of Boeing Co’s 737 used to shut off an automatic trim system that keeps the plane flying level, giving the pilot control.

But Boeing disabled the “yoke jerk” function when it brought out the 737 MAX, the latest version of its top-selling jet – and many pilots were unaware of the change, aviation experts told Reuters.

(Understanding controls on the Boeing 737 MAX: https://tmsnrt.rs/2OjLSAt)

(Boeing 737 MAX deliveries in question interactive: https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hv2btC)

(Ethiopian Airlines crash and black boxes: https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

The difference may help explain why pilots struggled to keep their aircraft climbing after takeoff on two fatal 737 MAX flights less than five months apart that killed 346 people.

Pilots of a Lion Air flight that crashed in October scoured a handbook for answers as the plane repeatedly lurched downward in the first minutes of flight, Reuters reported.

An Ethiopian Airlines flight that went down on March 10 showed “clear similarities” to the Lion Air accident, aviation authorities said after seeing black-box data.

A pair of switches on the center console between the pilots will turn off the automatic trim and a mechanism, new on the 737 MAX, known as the Maneuver Characteristics Augmentation System, or MCAS, that is suspected of playing a role in both disasters.

TRAINING MATERIAL ‘NOT CLEAR’

But pilots would have needed to know that MCAS existed, that it had unusual power to force the plane down and that “a hard pull on the yoke” would no longer turn off the automatic trim that uses MCAS, John Hansman, an aeronautics professor at MIT, said in an interview.

“That wasn’t clear to the pilots flying the airplane,” Hansman said. “The training material was not clear on that.”

Boeing declined to comment. In the aftermath of the Lion Air crash, Boeing pointed to long-established procedures that pilots could have used to handle a malfunction of the anti-stall system, regardless of whether the pilots knew MCAS existed.

That checklist tells pilots to switch off the two stabilizer trim cutout switches on the central console, and then to adjust the aircraft’s stabilizers manually using trim wheels.

An American Airlines flight manual mentions MCAS only in a table of acronyms, according to an October 2018 edition of the 1,400-page book seen by Reuters. Pilots have raised questions about why more detail on MCAS was not included.

The American Airlines manual’s two-page description of trim controls describes a “trim circuit,” but not how MCAS could be triggered by a faulty sensor reading, which is also suspected in the two crashes.

PREVENTING A DANGEROUS STALL

The MCAS system was designed to counteract the effect on the plane’s handling caused by new larger 737 MAX engines, which had to be placed farther forward and higher on the wings because the 50-year-old 737 design sits relatively low to the ground. That move gave the MAX a tendency to nose up into a stall, a dangerous position in which a plane loses lift as too little air flows across its wings.

MCAS, essentially a few lines of computer code in the flight control system, relies on data from two small, blade-shaped sensors near the nose of the aircraft that measure the angle of air flow. Faults in the sensors are not uncommon, and MCAS relies on only one sensor at a time during flight. In the Lion Air crash, investigators found a faulty reading led the plane’s computer to believe it was stalled and to push the nose down.

Boeing later issued a bulletin reminding pilots how to respond to such a faulty reading. An optional warning light could have alerted pilots to the faulty sensor.

MAINTENANCE, TRAINING UNDER SCRUTINY

Investigators unraveling the Lion Air crash are looking at maintenance records and whether the pilots had enough training to handle the emergency, among other factors.

The 737 MAX can fly without MCAS, so the feature was not considered “flight-critical” even though it has extraordinary power to steer the plane, said an industry expert with knowledge of the system who spoke on condition of anonymity. MCAS controls the large horizontal wing on the plane’s tail known as the stabilizer, while the pilot controls smaller flaps or “elevators” on the stabilizer.

Over several minutes, the stabilizer can shift position enough that the elevator controls can no longer counteract the downward direction of the plane, the source said.

“They gave more control power to the automation than to the pilot,” the source said of the MCAS design.

The Lion Air pilots flew for about five minutes by using the elevator to counteract the stabilizer every 15 or 20 seconds, said Hansman, based on readings from the flight data recorder. After that, the pilot tried pulling back hard on the controls.

“That’s what suggests that the crew didn’t understand the system. They thought they were shutting MCAS off and didn’t,” Hansman said. “Whereas any time during the entire sequence, they could have reached to the middle console and just shut it off.”

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott in New York and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Source: OANN

An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton
An aerial photo shows Boeing 737 MAX airplanes parked on the tarmac at the Boeing Factory in Renton, Washington, U.S. March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson

March 22, 2019

By Cindy Silviana and Tracy Rucinski

JAKARTA/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Boeing Co will mandate on MAX jets a previously optional cockpit warning light, which might have warned of problems that possibly played a role in the recent crashes of Ethiopian and Indonesian planes, two officials briefed on the matter said.

The safety feature is expected to be offered as part of a software update to the MAX fleet that was grounded in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, said the officials who asked not to be identified.

The crash set off one of the widest inquiries in aviation history and cast a shadow over the Boeing MAX model intended to be a standard for decades.

Boeing did not immediately comment on the plan to make the safety feature standard, but separately said it was moving quickly to make software changes and expects the upgrade to be approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the coming weeks.

But Indonesia’s national carrier Garuda said on Friday that customers had lost trust in the planes and it has sent a letter to Boeing asking to cancel an order for 49 MAX 8s – the first airline to publicly confirm plans to cancel an order for the troubled aircraft.

The current order was valued at $6 billion at list prices and Garuda, which currently has one MAX in its fleet, said it could switch to other Boeing models.

While a direct link between the crashes has not been proven, initial investigations show similarities and attention has focused on an automated flight-control system, MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), that came into service two years ago with the MAX.

The software is designed to prevent a loss of lift that can cause an aerodynamic stall, sending the plane downwards in an uncontrolled way. In the Lion Air crash, it may have been erroneously activated by a faulty sensor, investigators believe.

Chicago-based Boeing will also retrofit older planes with the cockpit warning light, the officials told Reuters. The world’s largest plane maker previously offered the alert, but it was not required by aviation regulators.

Boeing has said it plans to make software changes to the aircraft, but it is unclear how long it will take Boeing to refit existing MAX planes with new software or hardware.

Experts said it could take weeks or months to be done, and for regulators to review and approve the changes. Regulators in Europe and Canada have said they will conduct their own reviews of any new systems.

The FAA has said installation of the new software and related training was a priority.

SOFTWARE FIX

Randy Tinseth, Boeing’s vice president of commercial marketing, said the software changes include changes in the control laws of the airplane, an update of the displays, the flight manual, as well as the training.

Boeing has tested the improvements in a simulator and in the air, he said on Thursday. He defended Boeing’s design and production processes, adding that it was too early to speculate on what the investigations will show.

The company has said there was a documented procedure to handle the automated system at the heart of the problem.

The pilots’ union of Southwest Airlines, the largest operator of the MAX, said it is working with the company, Boeing, other pilot unions and the FAA to test and validate the new software.

“We still would like to have more detail on the development, control parameters and testing done on the algorithm that will trigger an MCAS event,” the union said in a statement.

The American Airlines’ pilots union told Reuters it expects to test the software fix on simulators this weekend in Renton, Washington, where Boeing builds the MAX and has two simulators.

MAX simulator training is currently not required, partly because not many simulators exist.

Southwest and American expect to receive MAX simulators later this year.

Ethiopian Airlines said on Thursday the simulators are not designed to replicate the MCAS problems. The airline is among the few that do have a simulator but the captain of the doomed flight had no chance to practise on it before the crash, a pilot colleague said.

MOUNTING PRESSURE

The two crashes killed almost 350 people.

Since the Ethiopian crash, Boeing shares have fallen 12 percent and $28 billion has been wiped off its market value.

Pressure has mounted on the company from U.S. legislators, who are also expected to question the FAA. The company also faces a criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.

Several lawsuits already filed on behalf of victims of the Lion Air crash referring to the Ethiopian accident. Boeing declined to comment on the lawsuits.

Consumer advocate and former U.S. presidential candidate Ralph Nader lost a grand-niece in the Ethiopian crash and urged whistleblowers to help challenge the aviation industry and get to the bottom of what happened.

“They lulled us into complacency,” he said in an interview in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal.

(For a graphic on ‘Boeing 737 MAX deliveries in question’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hv2btC)

(For a graphic on ‘Grounded 737 MAX fleet’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2O6jQbI)

(For a graphic on ‘Ethiopian Airlines crash and black boxes’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

(Additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington, Jamie Freed in Singapore, Bernadette Christina Munthe in Jakarta, Maggie Fick and Jason Neely in Addis Ababa, Tim Hepher in Paris, and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Writing by Sayantani Ghosh, Georgina Prodhan and Ben Klayman)

Source: OANN

Japan Display Inc's logo is pictured at its headquarters in Tokyo
Japan Display Inc’s logo is pictured at its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, August 9, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

March 22, 2019

By Makiko Yamazaki

TOKYO (Reuters) – When Japan Display Inc broke ground on a new factory in central Japan in 2015, the future looked bright for one of the world’s top vendors of liquid crystal display (LCD) panels.

The plant would strengthen the company’s position as the primary screen supplier for Apple Inc as sales of the iPhone 6 soared. And the U.S. smartphone juggernaut said it would front most of the $1.5 billion in costs, with Japan Display paying it back with a percentage of screen sales, according to two company sources.

Four years later, Apple’s shifting fortunes have brought Japan Display to its knees and threaten to end Japan’s long run as a leader in display technology.

A slowdown in iPhone sales, combined with a proliferation of new iPhone models – many of which use newer organic light-emitting displays (OLED) – have left Japan Display’s new factory running at half capacity.

But it still owes Apple a majority of the construction cost, one of the company sources said. He declined to give the exact amount.

Desperate for capital, Japan Display is looking to an investor group, led by China Silkroad Investment Capital, for a bailout, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. The deal would give the Chinese group a near-majority stake in exchange for an investment of $500 million to $700 million, the sources said.

The group plans to build an OLED panel plant in China using Japan Display’s technology, according to those two sources.

The company’s woes show how weak iPhone sales and a broader slowdown in the smartphone business are causing pain across the Asian electronics supply chain.

“In retrospect, the new plant was unnecessary,” one of the sources with direct knowledge of the bailout talks said. “But the decision wasn’t wrong back then. Japan Display started to pick up steam thanks to Apple at the time, and Apple wanted the new plant.”

Japan Display wasn’t alone in betting on robust growth in iPhone sales, which looked especially attractive because of Apple’s now-abandoned strategy of offering few variations in each product cycle.

“We were all thrilled to see lifetime sales of a single iPhone model reaching 100 million units,” a source at another Apple parts supplier said.

“Supplying components for just one model in massive volume is extremely cost-efficient,” he said. “At the same time, we exposed ourselves to huge volatility risks.”

Japan Display has built relationships with other smartphone vendors, including Chinese powerhouses Huawei, Xiaomi, and OPPO.

But it is losing their orders too as sales growth softens and the Chinese players switch to domestic panel makers such as BOE Technology and Tianma Microelectronics, which have sharply improved the quality of their screens.

Japan Display supplied almost a third of Huawei’s smartphone screens in 2015, but its share had plunged to 4 percent by the third quarter last year as the Chinese company turned to BOE and Tianma, according to researcher IHS Markit.

Sources at Japan Display and other Apple suppliers interviewed for the story declined to be identified as they are not authorised to talk to the media. Suppliers rarely speak about business with Apple on the record because of strict non-disclosure agreements.

NON-APPLE BUSINESSES

Japan Display was formed in 2012 in a government-backed merger of the ailing display units of Sony Corp, Toshiba Corp and Hitachi Ltd.

It boasts strength in so-called thin-film transistor technology (TFT), crucial for making high-resolution images on both LCD and OLED panels. In addition to its Apple business, which accounted for more than half the company’s revenue over the last four years, it’s a top supplier of dashboard panels for major automotive component companies such as Continental.

But Japan Display has struggled to navigate the fast-changing display business.

Its new LCD factory was still under construction when Apple informed Japan Display in autumn 2015 that it planned to move quickly away from LCD to the newer OLED technology, two former company officials said. It was too costly by then to abandon the half-completed plant, one of them said.

Japan Display’s management at the time, led by former Sanyo Electric executive Mitsuru Homma, promised to start mass-production of OLED panels by 2018.

In the meantime, the management shut down older, unprofitable LCD lines to shift resources to OLED, but its main investor, a state-backed fund, blocked plans for drastic job cuts for fear of public backlash, one of the former officials said.

Unexpectedly weak sales of the iPhone 6s created a cash crunch in 2016, and Homma resigned early the next year after the company took a $640 million bailout from the state-backed fund.

The new chief executive, Nobuhiro Higashiiriki, declared a full-on shift to OLED. But the company was already behind rivals, notably Samsung Electronics, and still needed more cash for OLED investment. Disappointing sales of the iPhone XR, the only LCD model in Apple’s 2018 lineup, were yet another blow.

“The company now looks exhausted, with many engineers leaving,” one former employee said.

Some board members have expressed concerns about technology transfer that may follow the proposed Chinese investment, sources familiar with the talks said. But the government investment fund has run out of patience.

“We don’t have any other option,” one of the company sources said, adding that the government has been quiet about the bailout plan. “They could argue that display technologies are not something Japan must keep and protect, when Chinese panel makers are ramping up more display plants.”

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; additional reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida; Editing by Jonathan Weber)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun attends a launch ceremony of the new flagship phone Xiaomi Mi 9 in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun attends a launch ceremony of the new flagship phone Xiaomi Mi 9 in Beijing, China February 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

March 22, 2019

By Josh Horwitz

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Smartphone retailers in China say it’s a tough sell of late with consumers reluctant to upgrade, put off by chill economic winds.

Even so domestic brands led by Huawei have made big strides, wooing consumers with top-notch hardware and innovative features as they move upmarket in the $500-$800 price range. The result: a loss of share in a key segment for Apple Inc and fresh price cuts for iPhones by Chinese retailers.

“Of those people who are upgrading, there are many switching from Apple to Chinese brands but very few switching from Chinese brands to Apple,” said Jiang Ning, who manages a Xiaomi store in the northern province of Shandong.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Xiaomi Corp, Oppo and Vivo once sought to grab share in the world’s biggest smartphone market with value-for-money devices, but consumer demand for better phones has prompted strategic rethinks.

“People are more attached to their phone than ever and have higher expectations for the function and experience it offers. The response has been constant upgrading of hardware specs,” Alen Wu, global vice president at Oppo, told Reuters.

He Fan, CEO of Huishoubao which buys and resells used phones, said he has seen a consumer shift to Huawei from Apple, driven by the Chinese love of selfies and emphasis on camera quality. Huawei has had a tie-up with German camera maker Leica since 2016.

“Huawei’s cameras have become noticeably better than Apple’s in that they suit the tastes of Chinese consumers more,” he said.

Compared to dual-cameras common in most smartphones, Huawei’s P20 Pro device boasts three rear-facing cameras, with the additional one improving zoom capabilities.

It is one of several new devices in its P20 and Mate 20 lines, which helped Huawei’s share of the $500-$800 segment in China surge to 26.6 percent last year from 8.8 percent, data from research firm Counterpoint shows.

Apple, by contrast, saw its share of the segment tumble to 54.6 percent from 81.2 percent, also hurt by its decision to move even further upmarket with the iPhone X series.

“Most Chinese smartphone buyers are not ready to shell out beyond $1,000 for a phone,” said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint. “This left a gap in the below-$800 segment, which Chinese vendors grabbed with both hands.”

(For a graphic on ‘Chinese smartphones increase share of home market’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2HvsyQi)

Shipments of phones priced above $600 in China grew 10 percent in 2018, data from research firm Canalys shows. By contrast, the overall market shrunk 14 percent, marking a second year of contraction.

OVERSEAS GAINS

The weaker cachet for Apple in China was underscored this month when several major retailers simultaneously cut iPhone prices for a second time this year.

A 64GB iPhone 8 sold at Suning.com Co Ltd now costs 3,899 yuan ($580), roughly 25 percent less than it did in December. That’s also lower than its $599 price tag in the United States, where iPhones typically cost less to buy than in China. Most iPhone models through to the iPhone 8 series have seen prices in China cut, albeit not equally.

In earnings too, it seems to be a tale of divergent fortunes. Apple’s October-December revenue from the Greater China region fell by about a quarter from a year earlier. Greater China currently accounts for 15.6 percent of its overall revenue.

Huawei, the world’s No. 2 smartphone maker, has estimated revenue for 2018 rose 21 percent, which analysts attribute in large part to robust smartphone sales.

More broadly, fewer sales for Apple means fewer customers for its App Store and media streaming services. The shift to higher-end phones by Chinese brands has also meant greater inroads in overseas markets.

Huawei’s shipments in Europe jumped 55 percent in the latest quarter and it now has 23.6 percent market share, according to Canalys. That’s not far behind Samsung Electronics and Apple which saw small declines in shipments.

OPPO, VIVO

If Huawei is taking the lion’s share of turf that Apple once had in China, Oppo and Vivo – brands owned by electronics hardware conglomerate BBK – are the newest threats.

In June, Vivo launched the Nex which starts from 3,898 yuan ($610) and in July, Oppo launched the Find X, priced at 4,999 yuan ($755).

The models mark the first time the brands have priced a phone above $600, a sharp departure from their roots selling $300-$500 models to young consumers in second-tier cities.

The devices came with features unavailable in the iPhone, including under-the-glass fingerprint sensors and “notchless” displays, both of which increase the size of usable screen.

Xiaomi too is going upmarket, announcing in January it would split off its low-budget Redmi range of phones into a sub-brand. In doing so, it is taking a leaf out of Huawei’s book which has for years sold cheaper devices under the Honor brand, helping differentiate its products.

Redmi will target international markets and e-commerce sales, while the flagship Xiaomi brand will target China and offline retail markets, company founder Lei Jun told reporters.

Last month, Xiaomi unveiled the Mi 9, its latest flagship device with a price tag of 2,999 yuan ($450). But the company also said it might be the last time a Xiaomi flagship phone would be priced under 3,000 yuan.

“Xiaomi’s flagship series phones were once always set at 1,999 yuan,” said Lei. “This was a contributing factor to our rise, but it also became an obstacle to our growth,” he said.

(For a graphic on ‘Chinese smartphones increase share of home market’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hx2KD4)

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz; Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco, Paul Sandle in Barcelona and the Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Edwina Gibbs)

Source: OANN

By Joe Kurtenbach, American Rifleman

For me, Mossberg firearms are epitomized by the dozen or so M500 pump-action shotguns filling a rack in the armory of Comanche Troop, 4/7 CAV, at Camp Hovey, Republic of Korea. I can’t be sure of the guns’ whereabouts today, but they were already well-tenured residents during my rotation to the U.S. Army installation during 2008 and 2009. Used and abused would be an apt description of their service experience. The shotguns had been handled by countless soldiers, shot during familiarization training and qualification fire, and issued often for field exercises during which they would rattle around in the back of a HUMVEE or get strapped to the newest troopers’ packs to be dragged up, down and around Korea’s mountainous terrain. They were tools and were treated as such. And, like the best tools, they were tough, gritty and reliable. No one could say the pump-action assemblies of those guns ever cycled smoothly, but they always cycled.

Mossberg’s newest product, the MC1sc—for Mossberg Carry 1 Subcompact—retains the reliability and utility for which the company is known, but provides an evolved experience compared to classic offerings. Though the trade winds have been, for years now, blowing strongly toward handguns suitable for personal defense and concealed carry, Mossberg has relied upon its sporting- and service-oriented rifles and shotguns, and has won a following of loyal customers through innovative offerings such as the 590 Shockwave pump-action, the AR-magazine-fed MVP series of rifles, and the user-customizable FLEX system of stocks and grips. With longarms currently in use by the military and law enforcement, and a century’s worth of field experience with American sportsman and armed citizens, the rifles and shotguns from North Haven, Conn., and Eagle Pass, Texas, have garnered a strong reputation for quality, reliability and affordability.

Such a company, then, could easily have stumbled when attempting to introduce its first handgun in nearly 100 years. For those who don’t know, Mossberg’s very first commercial firearm was actually a pistol; the 1919 Mossberg Brownie was a four-barreled .22 rimfire intended for use by trappers, though it also found some acceptance as a vest-pocket defensive arm. However, despite the long hiatus from the handgun market, the MC1sc stands as a testament to Mossberg’s heritage of performance and value, and boldly leaps into relevance as one of the most refined concealed handgun offerings in what is now a well-established category. I can only speak for myself, but the MC1sc surprised and impressed me with its aesthetic appeal, excellent ergonomics, unquestionable utility and unwavering reliability. In short, it’s a pistol that Mossberg can be proud of, and it may launch the company into its next hundred years of firearm design and manufacture.

Though most of the MC1sc’s disassembled components are familiar, note the slide’s push-button back plate (arrow) and the orange-shrouded striker assembly. Mossberg’s disassembly method does not require pulling the trigger.

Within the concealed carry market at large, the MC1sc will find itself quite at home, and among good company. It’s no mistake that the new Mossberg bears more than a passing resemblance to category stalwarts such as the Smith & Wesson Shield, Glock 43 and Springfield Armory XD-S. Those pistols have been wildly successful commercial offerings, and the small-frame, single-stack, semi-automatic in 9 mm Luger continues to be a proven winner. Given the success of competitive firearms, it does beg the question as to why Mossberg would choose to take on some of the most popular pistols of the day with its first handgun offering in a century. The answer, according to Mossberg, was based on extensive market research. The company found that despite the plethora of excellent offerings, there is still unmet demand for subcompact pistols in this configuration.

Turning our attention directly to the new Mossberg, it’s useful to examine the pistol independently, and then I’ll clue you in on some very interesting, and largely unadvertised, crossover capabilities. The MC1sc is a striker-fired, recoil-operated center-fire pistol chambered for 9 mm Luger. It uses a 3.4″ barrel of 416 stainless steel that is button-rifled with a six-groove, 1:16″ twist, and features a diamond-like carbon (DLC) finish for increased resistance to wear and fouling. A subcompact both in name and size, the pistol weighs 19 ozs. unloaded, is 6.25″ long and stands 4.3″ tall with the six-round, flush-fitting magazine installed, or 4.75″ with the seven-round extended magazine. Those magazines, by the way, are both “single-stack” in design, but I add the quotation marks because some staggering is readily apparent through their transparent polymer bodies—that’s right, transparent, but more on that later. The MC1sc is also very trim; the slide measures just a hair more than 0.9″ wide, and the widest point on our sample gun was at the slide stop lever where it measured 1.07″ across. 

As one would expect from a new entry in this category, Mossberg opted to use an injection-molded polymer frame. Besides offering advantages in terms of weight savings, durability and reduced manufacturing costs, polymer pistol frames also afford designers a lot of latitude regarding shape, texturing and ergonomics. On the MC1sc, Mossberg took full advantage. The rounded heel paired with the shallow finger grooves yields a comfortable, hand-filling grip despite the slim frame. Two texturing patterns also improve purchase, the front- and backstrap feature vertically aligned ovate windows with stepped, pyramid-like flats—it’s an interesting design. The left and right sides of the frame have areas with a coarser, finely detailed crosshatch pattern. The combination of shape and texturing are very effective for anchoring the gun in the hand.

For all its similarities to the current crop of sub- compact semi-automatics, Mossberg’s MC1sc stands out thanks to features such as: its ergonomic and well-textured grip frame; a fine, 5-lb., flat-faced trigger; its dehorned slide with forward cocking serrations; and dovetailed, steel, three-dot sights (inset).

While on the topic of the frame, it is worth examining the pistol’s controls. My evaluation model featured a left-side-only slide stop lever, a magazine release button that is reversible for right- or left-handed use, and, of course, the trigger, which is of a flat-faced design—a feature increasingly popular as an aftermarket upgrade for competitive pistols—and is equipped with the central blade-style safety lever. There is no manual safety on the test gun, but Mossberg is building versions of the MC1sc equipped with crossbolt safeties which, like the magazine release, are user-reversible for righties and lefties; instructions for reconfiguring the controls can be found in the owner’s manual. Coming back to the trigger, the pistol operates with a striker-fired action so the trigger pull is very consistent shot to shot. Mossberg advertises that the MC1sc exhibits 0.5″ of trigger travel, and that calculation was spot-on for my evaluation sample—0.25″ of take-up followed by a defined break and another 0.25″ of overtravel. Reset comes after just 0.25″ of forward travel—right at the trigger’s breaking point—and is easily distinguished by clear audible and tactile cues. In terms of trigger pull weight, Mossberg advertises 6 lbs. of pressure as the requirement, but the average of 10 pulls with the test gun using a Lyman digital trigger gauge was exactly 5 lbs., and none of the measured pulls were more than +/- 3 ozs. from 5 lbs. It is a very good trigger.

Moving to the top half of the gun, the MC1sc’s slide is also machined from 416 stainless steel and receives the same black DLC finish as the barrel. Angled serrations are present both in the usual rearward location, as well as at the front of the slide. They are actually back-cut, giving each groove an extra bit of bite and providing very positive engagement with the shooter’s fingers. The entire slide has also been dehorned, giving the gun a smooth and polished appearance. Although forward cocking serrations and a thorough dehorning job have long been the specialty of custom gunsmiths, and are oft-sought aftermarket modifications, both features are standard-issue on the Mossberg. Topping the slide are low-profile steel sights. My test pistol’s sights were in the familiar three-white-dot configuration, but Mossberg also offers the gun with TruGlo Tritium Pro night sights. The sights are secured via dovetail cuts in the same pattern as many SIG pistols, so compatible aftermarket options are plentiful and readily available.

Compatibility is one of the standout features of the MC1sc, and it’s not limited to the sights. Too often, in my opinion, we see companies launch new firearm designs that utilize proprietary—and often unproven—magazines, which are a pretty important component when it comes to ammunition storage, feeding and overall gun functionality. Likewise, handguns always bear the added concern of holster fit. Outside of the two or three most popular pistol manufacturers, aftermarket support for a new platform may lag behind the introduction, and may be quite limited in scope and variety. Given that the MC1sc is Mossberg’s first pistol in a century, and considering its use of proprietary magazines, one would be right to worry about aftermarket support.

To disassemble the MC1sc, remove the magazine and ensure that the chamber is clear. Lock the slide to the rear. Next, depress the integral push-button on the rear slide plate (l.) and remove the plate by pulling it downward. With the plate removed, the orange shroud of the striker assembly will be visible (ctr.). Remove the striker assembly by pulling it rearward, out of the slide. Once the striker is removed (r.), release the slide and ease it forward off of the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring and internal components.

Fear not.

Even though Mossberg isn’t likely to advertise it, the MC1sc has some serious cross-compatibility with a very popular pistol that should set your mind at ease. Ever heard of Glock’s G43? The MC1sc functions flawlessly with factory Glock G43 magazines. Also, the Mossberg will fit most G43 holsters. Don’t think you can fit a round trigger guard into a square space? Think again; the internal dimensions of the MC1sc’s trigger guard are similar to the G43 and therefore engages the retention features of Kydex holsters—I tested half a dozen from various makers, and they all worked. The external dimensions are similar as well, so leather rigs should be no problem. Mossberg has shown some serious savvy by designing the MC1sc to be compatible with the sights, magazines and holsters of other, more established handgun models. In so doing, the company completely sidestepped the requirement of developing an accessory aftermarket, which can be a major barrier for newly introduced firearms. Oh, and did I mention that a version of the MC1sc will also be available pre-equipped with a Viridian trigger guard-mounted red laser? The laser sights will be available separately as well, so those who prefer an additional aiming device, Mossberg’s got you covered on that front.

If you’ve followed along, a picture should be taking shape wherein Mossberg, despite being out of the handgun game for most of the past 100 years, has introduced a very refined personal-defense pistol that is heavily influenced by and, in many ways, similar to its more seasoned competitors. One area where the MC1sc breaks away from the crowd is in its safe disassembly procedure. Rather than incorporating takedown levers or tabs, or requiring the trigger to be pulled during disassembly, Mossberg engineered an entirely different method to improve safety during maintenance. With a cleared gun—magazine removed and chamber checked—users need only lock the slide to the rear, remove the rear slide plate by pressing the integral button and pulling it down and out, and then extract the striker assembly from the rear of the slide (the component is especially hard to miss thanks to its blaze orange polymer shroud).

Mossberg’s method completely removes the mechanical components required to impact a cartridge’s primer, rendering the now-partially disassembled gun inert. How’s that for safe? With the striker assembly removed, simply release the slide assembly and ride it forward off the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring assembly and the frame’s internals. The recoil spring, by the way, is a dual-captured assembly—again, a proven design for guns of this size and type.

To introduce the new pistol and put it through its paces, Mossberg chose the tried-and-true approach of inviting a group of gun writers to Paulden, Ariz., to take part in three days of shooting at Gunsite Academy. This venue has seen its share of new product introductions, and has humbled more than a few guns due to the combination of heat, dust and high-volume shooting. The Mossberg representatives may have even questioned their decision to hold the event when, on the morning of Day 1, many of us questioned aloud why the company would ever jump into the compact polymer pistol arena, already convinced its clear magazines wouldn’t survive the week. It was, indeed, a particularly outspoken congregation, most of us having carried a gun for a living, and the remainder being civilian shooters who nonetheless take their pistolcraft seriously.

Our “constructive criticism” wasn’t reserved for Mossberg, either. One evening the group went to a local restaurant for dinner and refreshment. After ordering a bourbon, neat, one attendee—who shall remain nameless—agreed to sample the bartender’s “counter-offer” of a small-batch, craft-style, independently distilled Irish whiskey. The barman regaled us for three or four minutes about the merits of his no-doubt-hipster-infused spirits. Upon taking a sip of the proffered liquor, and with the barkeep leering over his shoulder, the attendee simply said it “Tastes a bit of wet dog,” and politely repeated his order of bourbon, neat. All in all, it was a group that didn’t mince words or hold back opinion. Little did we know that by the end of Day 3 we’d all walk away impressed.

Mossberg’s transparent polymer magazines stood up to the rigors of Gunsite, and they have been reliable throughout testing.

During the event, more than a dozen pistols were shot to the tune of 500 to 1,000 rounds, each—using a mix of American Eagle 115-gr. FMJs and Hornady Critical Duty 135-gr. FlexLocks—and experienced exactly zero stoppages or malfunctions. That’s something I’ve never seen at a Gunsite industry event. We shot steel and paper on the square range at distances of 3 yds. to 50 yds. for accuracy and from the holster for time. We shot our way through outdoor simulators such as Gunsite’s “Donga” course, and fought through shoot houses with frangible ammunition. Frequent NRA Publications contributor Richard Mann even wanted to see if the MC1sc would cycle 9 mm Luger snake-shot loads, a feat very few semi-automatics are capable of—the gun ran perfectly.

And those clear polymer magazines? We abused those things, even tossing them around the range, stepping on them and covering them in sand. They worked just fine. The general category of transparent plastic pistol magazines has earned a dubious reputation due to inconsistent quality from various makers, but Mossberg’s magazines are manufactured to the company’s exacting specifications and have been the model of reliability throughout my testing. One cautionary note, it is easy to squeeze an extra round into some of the magazines, and doing so may affect the pistol’s functionality. Mossberg is aware of this issue and is currently exploring remedies for future production. Until then, please don’t overload your magazines.

Upon returning from the Gunsite event, my testing continued at the NRA Headquarters range with the American Rifleman protocol testing. The protocol includes using three types of ammunition, each of which is chronographed to determine velocity and energy, and accuracy testing is conducted by firing five consecutive, five-shot groups at 7 yds. due to the pistol’s sub-3.5″ barrel and intended role as a concealed defensive arm. I chose to test the gun with Aguila’s 115-gr. FMJ ammunition, which I have found to be an excellent and affordable range load, Hornady’s American Gunner 124-gr. XTP +P load, which is a great all-around cartridge—the MC1sc is rated for use with +P ammunition, but the manual advises against using +P+ loads—and SIG’s 365 115-gr. V-Crown JHP personal-defense ammunition which has been formulated to perform well in short-barreled pistols. The full results of my testing are tabulated nearby, and several sub-1″ groups with the Aguila and Hornady loads confirmed what I’d already learned at Gunsite by ringing 12″ steel at 50 yds.—the MC1sc is a very accurate little gun.

When the smoke clears and the brass has all been swept, I’m interested to see how the market responds to the MC1sc. Afterall, this is a pistol that a company like Mossberg had no business making. This is no rough-around-the-edges pump-action; reliable, yes, but this one is also thoughtfully refined. Common-sense upgrades such as forward slide serrations and magazine cross-compatibility have eluded companies in this market for years, companies that do nothing but build handguns. And if that weren’t enough, true to tradition, Mossberg is going to offer the pistol at an exceedingly reasonable price so that regular guys and gals, the company’s faithful fans, can afford the newest addition. The MSRP on the base model gun is listed at $425, but I’ve seen it advertised by some sellers at less than $350. The folks at Mossberg may have had no business making this gun, but they did, and 100 years on, they’ve managed to put the rest of the market on notice.

Thanks to American Rifleman for this post. Click here to visit AmericanRifleman.org.

Source: The Daily Caller

By Joe Kurtenbach, American Rifleman

For me, Mossberg firearms are epitomized by the dozen or so M500 pump-action shotguns filling a rack in the armory of Comanche Troop, 4/7 CAV, at Camp Hovey, Republic of Korea. I can’t be sure of the guns’ whereabouts today, but they were already well-tenured residents during my rotation to the U.S. Army installation during 2008 and 2009. Used and abused would be an apt description of their service experience. The shotguns had been handled by countless soldiers, shot during familiarization training and qualification fire, and issued often for field exercises during which they would rattle around in the back of a HUMVEE or get strapped to the newest troopers’ packs to be dragged up, down and around Korea’s mountainous terrain. They were tools and were treated as such. And, like the best tools, they were tough, gritty and reliable. No one could say the pump-action assemblies of those guns ever cycled smoothly, but they always cycled.

Mossberg’s newest product, the MC1sc—for Mossberg Carry 1 Subcompact—retains the reliability and utility for which the company is known, but provides an evolved experience compared to classic offerings. Though the trade winds have been, for years now, blowing strongly toward handguns suitable for personal defense and concealed carry, Mossberg has relied upon its sporting- and service-oriented rifles and shotguns, and has won a following of loyal customers through innovative offerings such as the 590 Shockwave pump-action, the AR-magazine-fed MVP series of rifles, and the user-customizable FLEX system of stocks and grips. With longarms currently in use by the military and law enforcement, and a century’s worth of field experience with American sportsman and armed citizens, the rifles and shotguns from North Haven, Conn., and Eagle Pass, Texas, have garnered a strong reputation for quality, reliability and affordability.

Such a company, then, could easily have stumbled when attempting to introduce its first handgun in nearly 100 years. For those who don’t know, Mossberg’s very first commercial firearm was actually a pistol; the 1919 Mossberg Brownie was a four-barreled .22 rimfire intended for use by trappers, though it also found some acceptance as a vest-pocket defensive arm. However, despite the long hiatus from the handgun market, the MC1sc stands as a testament to Mossberg’s heritage of performance and value, and boldly leaps into relevance as one of the most refined concealed handgun offerings in what is now a well-established category. I can only speak for myself, but the MC1sc surprised and impressed me with its aesthetic appeal, excellent ergonomics, unquestionable utility and unwavering reliability. In short, it’s a pistol that Mossberg can be proud of, and it may launch the company into its next hundred years of firearm design and manufacture.

Though most of the MC1sc’s disassembled components are familiar, note the slide’s push-button back plate (arrow) and the orange-shrouded striker assembly. Mossberg’s disassembly method does not require pulling the trigger.

Within the concealed carry market at large, the MC1sc will find itself quite at home, and among good company. It’s no mistake that the new Mossberg bears more than a passing resemblance to category stalwarts such as the Smith & Wesson Shield, Glock 43 and Springfield Armory XD-S. Those pistols have been wildly successful commercial offerings, and the small-frame, single-stack, semi-automatic in 9 mm Luger continues to be a proven winner. Given the success of competitive firearms, it does beg the question as to why Mossberg would choose to take on some of the most popular pistols of the day with its first handgun offering in a century. The answer, according to Mossberg, was based on extensive market research. The company found that despite the plethora of excellent offerings, there is still unmet demand for subcompact pistols in this configuration.

Turning our attention directly to the new Mossberg, it’s useful to examine the pistol independently, and then I’ll clue you in on some very interesting, and largely unadvertised, crossover capabilities. The MC1sc is a striker-fired, recoil-operated center-fire pistol chambered for 9 mm Luger. It uses a 3.4″ barrel of 416 stainless steel that is button-rifled with a six-groove, 1:16″ twist, and features a diamond-like carbon (DLC) finish for increased resistance to wear and fouling. A subcompact both in name and size, the pistol weighs 19 ozs. unloaded, is 6.25″ long and stands 4.3″ tall with the six-round, flush-fitting magazine installed, or 4.75″ with the seven-round extended magazine. Those magazines, by the way, are both “single-stack” in design, but I add the quotation marks because some staggering is readily apparent through their transparent polymer bodies—that’s right, transparent, but more on that later. The MC1sc is also very trim; the slide measures just a hair more than 0.9″ wide, and the widest point on our sample gun was at the slide stop lever where it measured 1.07″ across. 

As one would expect from a new entry in this category, Mossberg opted to use an injection-molded polymer frame. Besides offering advantages in terms of weight savings, durability and reduced manufacturing costs, polymer pistol frames also afford designers a lot of latitude regarding shape, texturing and ergonomics. On the MC1sc, Mossberg took full advantage. The rounded heel paired with the shallow finger grooves yields a comfortable, hand-filling grip despite the slim frame. Two texturing patterns also improve purchase, the front- and backstrap feature vertically aligned ovate windows with stepped, pyramid-like flats—it’s an interesting design. The left and right sides of the frame have areas with a coarser, finely detailed crosshatch pattern. The combination of shape and texturing are very effective for anchoring the gun in the hand.

For all its similarities to the current crop of sub- compact semi-automatics, Mossberg’s MC1sc stands out thanks to features such as: its ergonomic and well-textured grip frame; a fine, 5-lb., flat-faced trigger; its dehorned slide with forward cocking serrations; and dovetailed, steel, three-dot sights (inset).

While on the topic of the frame, it is worth examining the pistol’s controls. My evaluation model featured a left-side-only slide stop lever, a magazine release button that is reversible for right- or left-handed use, and, of course, the trigger, which is of a flat-faced design—a feature increasingly popular as an aftermarket upgrade for competitive pistols—and is equipped with the central blade-style safety lever. There is no manual safety on the test gun, but Mossberg is building versions of the MC1sc equipped with crossbolt safeties which, like the magazine release, are user-reversible for righties and lefties; instructions for reconfiguring the controls can be found in the owner’s manual. Coming back to the trigger, the pistol operates with a striker-fired action so the trigger pull is very consistent shot to shot. Mossberg advertises that the MC1sc exhibits 0.5″ of trigger travel, and that calculation was spot-on for my evaluation sample—0.25″ of take-up followed by a defined break and another 0.25″ of overtravel. Reset comes after just 0.25″ of forward travel—right at the trigger’s breaking point—and is easily distinguished by clear audible and tactile cues. In terms of trigger pull weight, Mossberg advertises 6 lbs. of pressure as the requirement, but the average of 10 pulls with the test gun using a Lyman digital trigger gauge was exactly 5 lbs., and none of the measured pulls were more than +/- 3 ozs. from 5 lbs. It is a very good trigger.

Moving to the top half of the gun, the MC1sc’s slide is also machined from 416 stainless steel and receives the same black DLC finish as the barrel. Angled serrations are present both in the usual rearward location, as well as at the front of the slide. They are actually back-cut, giving each groove an extra bit of bite and providing very positive engagement with the shooter’s fingers. The entire slide has also been dehorned, giving the gun a smooth and polished appearance. Although forward cocking serrations and a thorough dehorning job have long been the specialty of custom gunsmiths, and are oft-sought aftermarket modifications, both features are standard-issue on the Mossberg. Topping the slide are low-profile steel sights. My test pistol’s sights were in the familiar three-white-dot configuration, but Mossberg also offers the gun with TruGlo Tritium Pro night sights. The sights are secured via dovetail cuts in the same pattern as many SIG pistols, so compatible aftermarket options are plentiful and readily available.

Compatibility is one of the standout features of the MC1sc, and it’s not limited to the sights. Too often, in my opinion, we see companies launch new firearm designs that utilize proprietary—and often unproven—magazines, which are a pretty important component when it comes to ammunition storage, feeding and overall gun functionality. Likewise, handguns always bear the added concern of holster fit. Outside of the two or three most popular pistol manufacturers, aftermarket support for a new platform may lag behind the introduction, and may be quite limited in scope and variety. Given that the MC1sc is Mossberg’s first pistol in a century, and considering its use of proprietary magazines, one would be right to worry about aftermarket support.

To disassemble the MC1sc, remove the magazine and ensure that the chamber is clear. Lock the slide to the rear. Next, depress the integral push-button on the rear slide plate (l.) and remove the plate by pulling it downward. With the plate removed, the orange shroud of the striker assembly will be visible (ctr.). Remove the striker assembly by pulling it rearward, out of the slide. Once the striker is removed (r.), release the slide and ease it forward off of the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring and internal components.

Fear not.

Even though Mossberg isn’t likely to advertise it, the MC1sc has some serious cross-compatibility with a very popular pistol that should set your mind at ease. Ever heard of Glock’s G43? The MC1sc functions flawlessly with factory Glock G43 magazines. Also, the Mossberg will fit most G43 holsters. Don’t think you can fit a round trigger guard into a square space? Think again; the internal dimensions of the MC1sc’s trigger guard are similar to the G43 and therefore engages the retention features of Kydex holsters—I tested half a dozen from various makers, and they all worked. The external dimensions are similar as well, so leather rigs should be no problem. Mossberg has shown some serious savvy by designing the MC1sc to be compatible with the sights, magazines and holsters of other, more established handgun models. In so doing, the company completely sidestepped the requirement of developing an accessory aftermarket, which can be a major barrier for newly introduced firearms. Oh, and did I mention that a version of the MC1sc will also be available pre-equipped with a Viridian trigger guard-mounted red laser? The laser sights will be available separately as well, so those who prefer an additional aiming device, Mossberg’s got you covered on that front.

If you’ve followed along, a picture should be taking shape wherein Mossberg, despite being out of the handgun game for most of the past 100 years, has introduced a very refined personal-defense pistol that is heavily influenced by and, in many ways, similar to its more seasoned competitors. One area where the MC1sc breaks away from the crowd is in its safe disassembly procedure. Rather than incorporating takedown levers or tabs, or requiring the trigger to be pulled during disassembly, Mossberg engineered an entirely different method to improve safety during maintenance. With a cleared gun—magazine removed and chamber checked—users need only lock the slide to the rear, remove the rear slide plate by pressing the integral button and pulling it down and out, and then extract the striker assembly from the rear of the slide (the component is especially hard to miss thanks to its blaze orange polymer shroud).

Mossberg’s method completely removes the mechanical components required to impact a cartridge’s primer, rendering the now-partially disassembled gun inert. How’s that for safe? With the striker assembly removed, simply release the slide assembly and ride it forward off the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring assembly and the frame’s internals. The recoil spring, by the way, is a dual-captured assembly—again, a proven design for guns of this size and type.

To introduce the new pistol and put it through its paces, Mossberg chose the tried-and-true approach of inviting a group of gun writers to Paulden, Ariz., to take part in three days of shooting at Gunsite Academy. This venue has seen its share of new product introductions, and has humbled more than a few guns due to the combination of heat, dust and high-volume shooting. The Mossberg representatives may have even questioned their decision to hold the event when, on the morning of Day 1, many of us questioned aloud why the company would ever jump into the compact polymer pistol arena, already convinced its clear magazines wouldn’t survive the week. It was, indeed, a particularly outspoken congregation, most of us having carried a gun for a living, and the remainder being civilian shooters who nonetheless take their pistolcraft seriously.

Our “constructive criticism” wasn’t reserved for Mossberg, either. One evening the group went to a local restaurant for dinner and refreshment. After ordering a bourbon, neat, one attendee—who shall remain nameless—agreed to sample the bartender’s “counter-offer” of a small-batch, craft-style, independently distilled Irish whiskey. The barman regaled us for three or four minutes about the merits of his no-doubt-hipster-infused spirits. Upon taking a sip of the proffered liquor, and with the barkeep leering over his shoulder, the attendee simply said it “Tastes a bit of wet dog,” and politely repeated his order of bourbon, neat. All in all, it was a group that didn’t mince words or hold back opinion. Little did we know that by the end of Day 3 we’d all walk away impressed.

Mossberg’s transparent polymer magazines stood up to the rigors of Gunsite, and they have been reliable throughout testing.

During the event, more than a dozen pistols were shot to the tune of 500 to 1,000 rounds, each—using a mix of American Eagle 115-gr. FMJs and Hornady Critical Duty 135-gr. FlexLocks—and experienced exactly zero stoppages or malfunctions. That’s something I’ve never seen at a Gunsite industry event. We shot steel and paper on the square range at distances of 3 yds. to 50 yds. for accuracy and from the holster for time. We shot our way through outdoor simulators such as Gunsite’s “Donga” course, and fought through shoot houses with frangible ammunition. Frequent NRA Publications contributor Richard Mann even wanted to see if the MC1sc would cycle 9 mm Luger snake-shot loads, a feat very few semi-automatics are capable of—the gun ran perfectly.

And those clear polymer magazines? We abused those things, even tossing them around the range, stepping on them and covering them in sand. They worked just fine. The general category of transparent plastic pistol magazines has earned a dubious reputation due to inconsistent quality from various makers, but Mossberg’s magazines are manufactured to the company’s exacting specifications and have been the model of reliability throughout my testing. One cautionary note, it is easy to squeeze an extra round into some of the magazines, and doing so may affect the pistol’s functionality. Mossberg is aware of this issue and is currently exploring remedies for future production. Until then, please don’t overload your magazines.

Upon returning from the Gunsite event, my testing continued at the NRA Headquarters range with the American Rifleman protocol testing. The protocol includes using three types of ammunition, each of which is chronographed to determine velocity and energy, and accuracy testing is conducted by firing five consecutive, five-shot groups at 7 yds. due to the pistol’s sub-3.5″ barrel and intended role as a concealed defensive arm. I chose to test the gun with Aguila’s 115-gr. FMJ ammunition, which I have found to be an excellent and affordable range load, Hornady’s American Gunner 124-gr. XTP +P load, which is a great all-around cartridge—the MC1sc is rated for use with +P ammunition, but the manual advises against using +P+ loads—and SIG’s 365 115-gr. V-Crown JHP personal-defense ammunition which has been formulated to perform well in short-barreled pistols. The full results of my testing are tabulated nearby, and several sub-1″ groups with the Aguila and Hornady loads confirmed what I’d already learned at Gunsite by ringing 12″ steel at 50 yds.—the MC1sc is a very accurate little gun.

When the smoke clears and the brass has all been swept, I’m interested to see how the market responds to the MC1sc. Afterall, this is a pistol that a company like Mossberg had no business making. This is no rough-around-the-edges pump-action; reliable, yes, but this one is also thoughtfully refined. Common-sense upgrades such as forward slide serrations and magazine cross-compatibility have eluded companies in this market for years, companies that do nothing but build handguns. And if that weren’t enough, true to tradition, Mossberg is going to offer the pistol at an exceedingly reasonable price so that regular guys and gals, the company’s faithful fans, can afford the newest addition. The MSRP on the base model gun is listed at $425, but I’ve seen it advertised by some sellers at less than $350. The folks at Mossberg may have had no business making this gun, but they did, and 100 years on, they’ve managed to put the rest of the market on notice.

Thanks to American Rifleman for this post. Click here to visit AmericanRifleman.org.

Source: The Daily Caller

By Joe Kurtenbach, American Rifleman

For me, Mossberg firearms are epitomized by the dozen or so M500 pump-action shotguns filling a rack in the armory of Comanche Troop, 4/7 CAV, at Camp Hovey, Republic of Korea. I can’t be sure of the guns’ whereabouts today, but they were already well-tenured residents during my rotation to the U.S. Army installation during 2008 and 2009. Used and abused would be an apt description of their service experience. The shotguns had been handled by countless soldiers, shot during familiarization training and qualification fire, and issued often for field exercises during which they would rattle around in the back of a HUMVEE or get strapped to the newest troopers’ packs to be dragged up, down and around Korea’s mountainous terrain. They were tools and were treated as such. And, like the best tools, they were tough, gritty and reliable. No one could say the pump-action assemblies of those guns ever cycled smoothly, but they always cycled.

Mossberg’s newest product, the MC1sc—for Mossberg Carry 1 Subcompact—retains the reliability and utility for which the company is known, but provides an evolved experience compared to classic offerings. Though the trade winds have been, for years now, blowing strongly toward handguns suitable for personal defense and concealed carry, Mossberg has relied upon its sporting- and service-oriented rifles and shotguns, and has won a following of loyal customers through innovative offerings such as the 590 Shockwave pump-action, the AR-magazine-fed MVP series of rifles, and the user-customizable FLEX system of stocks and grips. With longarms currently in use by the military and law enforcement, and a century’s worth of field experience with American sportsman and armed citizens, the rifles and shotguns from North Haven, Conn., and Eagle Pass, Texas, have garnered a strong reputation for quality, reliability and affordability.

Such a company, then, could easily have stumbled when attempting to introduce its first handgun in nearly 100 years. For those who don’t know, Mossberg’s very first commercial firearm was actually a pistol; the 1919 Mossberg Brownie was a four-barreled .22 rimfire intended for use by trappers, though it also found some acceptance as a vest-pocket defensive arm. However, despite the long hiatus from the handgun market, the MC1sc stands as a testament to Mossberg’s heritage of performance and value, and boldly leaps into relevance as one of the most refined concealed handgun offerings in what is now a well-established category. I can only speak for myself, but the MC1sc surprised and impressed me with its aesthetic appeal, excellent ergonomics, unquestionable utility and unwavering reliability. In short, it’s a pistol that Mossberg can be proud of, and it may launch the company into its next hundred years of firearm design and manufacture.

Though most of the MC1sc’s disassembled components are familiar, note the slide’s push-button back plate (arrow) and the orange-shrouded striker assembly. Mossberg’s disassembly method does not require pulling the trigger.

Within the concealed carry market at large, the MC1sc will find itself quite at home, and among good company. It’s no mistake that the new Mossberg bears more than a passing resemblance to category stalwarts such as the Smith & Wesson Shield, Glock 43 and Springfield Armory XD-S. Those pistols have been wildly successful commercial offerings, and the small-frame, single-stack, semi-automatic in 9 mm Luger continues to be a proven winner. Given the success of competitive firearms, it does beg the question as to why Mossberg would choose to take on some of the most popular pistols of the day with its first handgun offering in a century. The answer, according to Mossberg, was based on extensive market research. The company found that despite the plethora of excellent offerings, there is still unmet demand for subcompact pistols in this configuration.

Turning our attention directly to the new Mossberg, it’s useful to examine the pistol independently, and then I’ll clue you in on some very interesting, and largely unadvertised, crossover capabilities. The MC1sc is a striker-fired, recoil-operated center-fire pistol chambered for 9 mm Luger. It uses a 3.4″ barrel of 416 stainless steel that is button-rifled with a six-groove, 1:16″ twist, and features a diamond-like carbon (DLC) finish for increased resistance to wear and fouling. A subcompact both in name and size, the pistol weighs 19 ozs. unloaded, is 6.25″ long and stands 4.3″ tall with the six-round, flush-fitting magazine installed, or 4.75″ with the seven-round extended magazine. Those magazines, by the way, are both “single-stack” in design, but I add the quotation marks because some staggering is readily apparent through their transparent polymer bodies—that’s right, transparent, but more on that later. The MC1sc is also very trim; the slide measures just a hair more than 0.9″ wide, and the widest point on our sample gun was at the slide stop lever where it measured 1.07″ across. 

As one would expect from a new entry in this category, Mossberg opted to use an injection-molded polymer frame. Besides offering advantages in terms of weight savings, durability and reduced manufacturing costs, polymer pistol frames also afford designers a lot of latitude regarding shape, texturing and ergonomics. On the MC1sc, Mossberg took full advantage. The rounded heel paired with the shallow finger grooves yields a comfortable, hand-filling grip despite the slim frame. Two texturing patterns also improve purchase, the front- and backstrap feature vertically aligned ovate windows with stepped, pyramid-like flats—it’s an interesting design. The left and right sides of the frame have areas with a coarser, finely detailed crosshatch pattern. The combination of shape and texturing are very effective for anchoring the gun in the hand.

For all its similarities to the current crop of sub- compact semi-automatics, Mossberg’s MC1sc stands out thanks to features such as: its ergonomic and well-textured grip frame; a fine, 5-lb., flat-faced trigger; its dehorned slide with forward cocking serrations; and dovetailed, steel, three-dot sights (inset).

While on the topic of the frame, it is worth examining the pistol’s controls. My evaluation model featured a left-side-only slide stop lever, a magazine release button that is reversible for right- or left-handed use, and, of course, the trigger, which is of a flat-faced design—a feature increasingly popular as an aftermarket upgrade for competitive pistols—and is equipped with the central blade-style safety lever. There is no manual safety on the test gun, but Mossberg is building versions of the MC1sc equipped with crossbolt safeties which, like the magazine release, are user-reversible for righties and lefties; instructions for reconfiguring the controls can be found in the owner’s manual. Coming back to the trigger, the pistol operates with a striker-fired action so the trigger pull is very consistent shot to shot. Mossberg advertises that the MC1sc exhibits 0.5″ of trigger travel, and that calculation was spot-on for my evaluation sample—0.25″ of take-up followed by a defined break and another 0.25″ of overtravel. Reset comes after just 0.25″ of forward travel—right at the trigger’s breaking point—and is easily distinguished by clear audible and tactile cues. In terms of trigger pull weight, Mossberg advertises 6 lbs. of pressure as the requirement, but the average of 10 pulls with the test gun using a Lyman digital trigger gauge was exactly 5 lbs., and none of the measured pulls were more than +/- 3 ozs. from 5 lbs. It is a very good trigger.

Moving to the top half of the gun, the MC1sc’s slide is also machined from 416 stainless steel and receives the same black DLC finish as the barrel. Angled serrations are present both in the usual rearward location, as well as at the front of the slide. They are actually back-cut, giving each groove an extra bit of bite and providing very positive engagement with the shooter’s fingers. The entire slide has also been dehorned, giving the gun a smooth and polished appearance. Although forward cocking serrations and a thorough dehorning job have long been the specialty of custom gunsmiths, and are oft-sought aftermarket modifications, both features are standard-issue on the Mossberg. Topping the slide are low-profile steel sights. My test pistol’s sights were in the familiar three-white-dot configuration, but Mossberg also offers the gun with TruGlo Tritium Pro night sights. The sights are secured via dovetail cuts in the same pattern as many SIG pistols, so compatible aftermarket options are plentiful and readily available.

Compatibility is one of the standout features of the MC1sc, and it’s not limited to the sights. Too often, in my opinion, we see companies launch new firearm designs that utilize proprietary—and often unproven—magazines, which are a pretty important component when it comes to ammunition storage, feeding and overall gun functionality. Likewise, handguns always bear the added concern of holster fit. Outside of the two or three most popular pistol manufacturers, aftermarket support for a new platform may lag behind the introduction, and may be quite limited in scope and variety. Given that the MC1sc is Mossberg’s first pistol in a century, and considering its use of proprietary magazines, one would be right to worry about aftermarket support.

To disassemble the MC1sc, remove the magazine and ensure that the chamber is clear. Lock the slide to the rear. Next, depress the integral push-button on the rear slide plate (l.) and remove the plate by pulling it downward. With the plate removed, the orange shroud of the striker assembly will be visible (ctr.). Remove the striker assembly by pulling it rearward, out of the slide. Once the striker is removed (r.), release the slide and ease it forward off of the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring and internal components.

Fear not.

Even though Mossberg isn’t likely to advertise it, the MC1sc has some serious cross-compatibility with a very popular pistol that should set your mind at ease. Ever heard of Glock’s G43? The MC1sc functions flawlessly with factory Glock G43 magazines. Also, the Mossberg will fit most G43 holsters. Don’t think you can fit a round trigger guard into a square space? Think again; the internal dimensions of the MC1sc’s trigger guard are similar to the G43 and therefore engages the retention features of Kydex holsters—I tested half a dozen from various makers, and they all worked. The external dimensions are similar as well, so leather rigs should be no problem. Mossberg has shown some serious savvy by designing the MC1sc to be compatible with the sights, magazines and holsters of other, more established handgun models. In so doing, the company completely sidestepped the requirement of developing an accessory aftermarket, which can be a major barrier for newly introduced firearms. Oh, and did I mention that a version of the MC1sc will also be available pre-equipped with a Viridian trigger guard-mounted red laser? The laser sights will be available separately as well, so those who prefer an additional aiming device, Mossberg’s got you covered on that front.

If you’ve followed along, a picture should be taking shape wherein Mossberg, despite being out of the handgun game for most of the past 100 years, has introduced a very refined personal-defense pistol that is heavily influenced by and, in many ways, similar to its more seasoned competitors. One area where the MC1sc breaks away from the crowd is in its safe disassembly procedure. Rather than incorporating takedown levers or tabs, or requiring the trigger to be pulled during disassembly, Mossberg engineered an entirely different method to improve safety during maintenance. With a cleared gun—magazine removed and chamber checked—users need only lock the slide to the rear, remove the rear slide plate by pressing the integral button and pulling it down and out, and then extract the striker assembly from the rear of the slide (the component is especially hard to miss thanks to its blaze orange polymer shroud).

Mossberg’s method completely removes the mechanical components required to impact a cartridge’s primer, rendering the now-partially disassembled gun inert. How’s that for safe? With the striker assembly removed, simply release the slide assembly and ride it forward off the frame in order to access the barrel, recoil spring assembly and the frame’s internals. The recoil spring, by the way, is a dual-captured assembly—again, a proven design for guns of this size and type.

To introduce the new pistol and put it through its paces, Mossberg chose the tried-and-true approach of inviting a group of gun writers to Paulden, Ariz., to take part in three days of shooting at Gunsite Academy. This venue has seen its share of new product introductions, and has humbled more than a few guns due to the combination of heat, dust and high-volume shooting. The Mossberg representatives may have even questioned their decision to hold the event when, on the morning of Day 1, many of us questioned aloud why the company would ever jump into the compact polymer pistol arena, already convinced its clear magazines wouldn’t survive the week. It was, indeed, a particularly outspoken congregation, most of us having carried a gun for a living, and the remainder being civilian shooters who nonetheless take their pistolcraft seriously.

Our “constructive criticism” wasn’t reserved for Mossberg, either. One evening the group went to a local restaurant for dinner and refreshment. After ordering a bourbon, neat, one attendee—who shall remain nameless—agreed to sample the bartender’s “counter-offer” of a small-batch, craft-style, independently distilled Irish whiskey. The barman regaled us for three or four minutes about the merits of his no-doubt-hipster-infused spirits. Upon taking a sip of the proffered liquor, and with the barkeep leering over his shoulder, the attendee simply said it “Tastes a bit of wet dog,” and politely repeated his order of bourbon, neat. All in all, it was a group that didn’t mince words or hold back opinion. Little did we know that by the end of Day 3 we’d all walk away impressed.

Mossberg’s transparent polymer magazines stood up to the rigors of Gunsite, and they have been reliable throughout testing.

During the event, more than a dozen pistols were shot to the tune of 500 to 1,000 rounds, each—using a mix of American Eagle 115-gr. FMJs and Hornady Critical Duty 135-gr. FlexLocks—and experienced exactly zero stoppages or malfunctions. That’s something I’ve never seen at a Gunsite industry event. We shot steel and paper on the square range at distances of 3 yds. to 50 yds. for accuracy and from the holster for time. We shot our way through outdoor simulators such as Gunsite’s “Donga” course, and fought through shoot houses with frangible ammunition. Frequent NRA Publications contributor Richard Mann even wanted to see if the MC1sc would cycle 9 mm Luger snake-shot loads, a feat very few semi-automatics are capable of—the gun ran perfectly.

And those clear polymer magazines? We abused those things, even tossing them around the range, stepping on them and covering them in sand. They worked just fine. The general category of transparent plastic pistol magazines has earned a dubious reputation due to inconsistent quality from various makers, but Mossberg’s magazines are manufactured to the company’s exacting specifications and have been the model of reliability throughout my testing. One cautionary note, it is easy to squeeze an extra round into some of the magazines, and doing so may affect the pistol’s functionality. Mossberg is aware of this issue and is currently exploring remedies for future production. Until then, please don’t overload your magazines.

Upon returning from the Gunsite event, my testing continued at the NRA Headquarters range with the American Rifleman protocol testing. The protocol includes using three types of ammunition, each of which is chronographed to determine velocity and energy, and accuracy testing is conducted by firing five consecutive, five-shot groups at 7 yds. due to the pistol’s sub-3.5″ barrel and intended role as a concealed defensive arm. I chose to test the gun with Aguila’s 115-gr. FMJ ammunition, which I have found to be an excellent and affordable range load, Hornady’s American Gunner 124-gr. XTP +P load, which is a great all-around cartridge—the MC1sc is rated for use with +P ammunition, but the manual advises against using +P+ loads—and SIG’s 365 115-gr. V-Crown JHP personal-defense ammunition which has been formulated to perform well in short-barreled pistols. The full results of my testing are tabulated nearby, and several sub-1″ groups with the Aguila and Hornady loads confirmed what I’d already learned at Gunsite by ringing 12″ steel at 50 yds.—the MC1sc is a very accurate little gun.

When the smoke clears and the brass has all been swept, I’m interested to see how the market responds to the MC1sc. Afterall, this is a pistol that a company like Mossberg had no business making. This is no rough-around-the-edges pump-action; reliable, yes, but this one is also thoughtfully refined. Common-sense upgrades such as forward slide serrations and magazine cross-compatibility have eluded companies in this market for years, companies that do nothing but build handguns. And if that weren’t enough, true to tradition, Mossberg is going to offer the pistol at an exceedingly reasonable price so that regular guys and gals, the company’s faithful fans, can afford the newest addition. The MSRP on the base model gun is listed at $425, but I’ve seen it advertised by some sellers at less than $350. The folks at Mossberg may have had no business making this gun, but they did, and 100 years on, they’ve managed to put the rest of the market on notice.

Thanks to American Rifleman for this post. Click here to visit AmericanRifleman.org.

Source: The Daily Caller

Visitors are seen in front of a display of Swiss watch manufacturer Patek Philippe at the Baselworld watch and jewellery fair in Basel
Visitors are seen in front of a display of Swiss watch manufacturer Patek Philippe at the Baselworld watch and jewellery fair in Basel, Switzerland March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

March 21, 2019

BASEL, Switzerland (Reuters) – Swiss watchmakers are confident they can grow sales this year even in the face of a cooling Chinese economy, executives told Reuters at an industry fair on Thursday, as demand strengthens in other markets like the United States and Britain.

Switzerland’s watch industry, which relies heavily on Chinese customers, has seen exports – the best available indicator for demand – rise only 2.1 percent in the first two months of the year, following a 6.3 percent increase last year.

However, some are confident they will do much better this year.

“We’re aiming for double-digit growth in our watch business this year,” Jean-Christophe Babin, chief executive of LVMH’s jeweler Bulgari, said in an interview at the Baselworld show.

His comments were echoed by independent watchmaker Oris, also banking on a double-digit increase, while LVMH stablemate Hublot said it had an exceptional year in 2018 and was counting on 7-8 percent growth this year from a high basis.

Oris said sales in the United States, its biggest market, were growing strongly. That trend was confirmed by retailer Watches of Switzerland, which also reported firm UK demand, particularly for Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet products.

Luxury watch brand Patek Philippe, whose most affordable models cost around 14,000 Swiss francs, said it expected sales this year to be at a similar level to last year as it was again going to deliver around 62,000 pieces.

Its president, Thierry Stern, categorically denied recent speculation the family-owned company could be up for sale.

Swetha Ramachandran, who manages a luxury brands equity fund for GAM, said privately owned brands like Patek or Rolex were seeing better demand than their listed counterparts because they had not given in to the temptation of easy volume growth when Chinese demand boomed a few years ago.

That meant they have avoided the build-up of excess inventory that has hurt some rivals, while protecting the scarcity value of their brands.

“Private players are managing their business for price rather than for volume,” she told Reuters in an interview earlier this week.

She said Richemont was still one of her top 10 holdings due to its exposure to faster-growing jewelry, but she had exited Swatch Group shares.

Switzerland’s watch industry is going through a period of profound change, notably in distribution, as brands focus on developing their own boutiques — brick and mortar or online — while reducing their network of third-party retailers.

This development has led more and more brands to exit the traditional watch fairs in Basel and Geneva, which they had used to build up contacts with distributors. That was reflected in fewer exhibiting brands and much less crowded aisles at the Baselworld fair on Thursday.

Several executives said efforts to hold both watch fairs in April next year, instead of separately in January and March, were going in the right direction, but were not sufficient.

“April is too late in the year,” said Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe. “At LVMH, we have not really decided what to do next year. We already signed contracts for Baselworld so we’re likely to be in Basel, but we might also organize a separate event in January to present our new models.”

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Jan Harvey)

Source: OANN

Nick Sherman | Contributor

Several economists and researchers predict that President Donald Trump would win the 2020 election, according to a report by Politico.

The report, written by Politico’s Ben White and Steven Shepard, cited multiple economic models that claim Trump would “likely ride to a second term in a huge landslide.”

One researcher, Donald Luskin, who is the chief investment officer for TrendMacrolytics, said in an interview with Politico that “the economy is just so damn strong right now and by all historic precedent the incumbent should run away with it.”

Luskin predicted Trump’s win in 2016 based on his economic models. An economist, Ray Fair of Yale also predicted Trump’s victory in 2016 according to this type of economic model.

Fair predicts that Trump will win the 2020 election with 54 percent of the popular vote while the Democrats will only garner 46 percent, according to the Politico interview. (RELATED: Michael Moore Predicts Trump Wins In 2020 If Dems Run Politician Against Him)

Fair is a pioneer in this type of election forecasting, using a formula model to predict the outcomes of elections.

Fair’s model states that presidential incumbents have an advantage in an election and that the state of the economy also affects the outcome of an election. He also says that voters are less likely to vote for a party that has held the White House for two terms.

The report also included Mark Zandi, who is the chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, who also predicted that Trump would win in 2020.

According to the Politico piece, Zandi tested 12 different economic models for the upcoming presidential race. He says Trump won all 12, and was “quite comfortable in most of them.”

Zandi has also been a critic of Trump stating that he thinks the U.S. economy under Trump “is a trainwreck waiting to happen,” and has criticized the president’s immigration policy. (RELATED: Economists Predict Recession Durin 2020 Election)

In Zandi’s models, he uses gas prices, unemployment, other political variables and popularity, as well as looking at economic factors on the state level to forecast the outcome of the election, as reported by Politico.

Source: The Daily Caller

Skram of Buddy Electric car dealer company shows the charging of a second-hand Fiat 500e in Oslo
Maiken Skram of Buddy Electric car dealer company shows the charging of a second-hand Fiat 500e, imported from California, U.S., in Oslo, Norway March 15, 2109. Picture taken March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Alister Doyle

March 21, 2019

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

OSLO (Reuters) – On the outskirts of Oslo, a row of Fiat 500es imported from California stand parked in the snow outside the Buddy Electric dealership, part of a global flow of pre-owned electric cars to Norway powered by green subsidies elsewhere in the world.

The company’s production manager, Tor Einar Hanssen, said it had sold about 110 in the past year and a half, making a small profit on the cars, most of which had been used for a few years by U.S. leasing companies.

“They’re surprisingly good in cold weather,” he said.

A gleaming blue Fiat 500e is on sale for 129,000 Norwegian crowns ($15,000) with 24,000 km (15,000 miles) on the clock. It costs about 20,000 crowns($2,300) to import and adapt each Fiat, Hanssen said.

On U.S. used car websites, similar Fiats in California are advertised for about $10,000.

Norway has the world’s highest rate of electric car ownership in the world, partly thanks to long-term perks such as free or discounted road tolls, parking and charging points, which boost the appeal of second hand models unwanted elsewhere.

The government also exempts electric vehicles from taxes on traditional vehicles that are very high in a country which does not have its own fossil fuel car industry to lobby against them. Rebates offered by other countries are another part of the equation.

In California, residents who own a new battery electric car for at least 30 months can get a rebate of up to $4,500, said John Swanton, of the California Air Resources Board.

The Fiats show how varying incentives around the world to promote electric cars, spurred by efforts to combat climate change and limit air pollution, can affect trade flows.

They can also distort national goals for shifting from fossil fuels, although U.S. exports to Norway of 4,232 used electric cars in the past two years are tiny compared with U.S. sales. The state of California alone aims to have five million zero-emission vehicles on its roads by 2030.

The issue has a bigger impact in some European countries, which may be over-estimating the greenness of their domestic car fleets due to exports to Norway, where top plug-in cars include Nissan Leafs, Volkswagens <Vow g_p.de>, BMW and Tesla.

“We’re getting a certain amount of vehicle electrification for free, paid by other countries,” said Lasse Fridstroem, a senior research economist at the Norwegian Center for Transport Research.

“But perhaps it won’t last,” he said of the used e-car imports. He and some car dealers say demand for electric cars elsewhere in Europe is picking up, and that Norway could swing to be a net exporter of used electric cars in coming years.

(For a graphic on ‘Second-hand electric vehicles in Norway’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hy4lsB)

BOTTLENECK

At the moment, long waiting lists for new electric cars in Norway mean that people who obtain a new model in high demand, such as a Tesla Model 3 or Hyundai Kona, can potentially re-sell it above list prices that are already higher than elsewhere.

Part of the reason is a bottleneck in new e-car imports. This is caused, to some extent, by incentives for car makers to sell electric cars in the European Union, of which Norway is not a member, even if they are immediately exported to Norway.

To tackle this issue, from January 2019, sales of new cars in Norway are included in a broader EU calculation of the greenness of each manufacturer’s European-wide car fleets, a target the carmaker must meet to avoid large penalties.

This could reduce Norway’s demand for imports but may also mean its EU neighbors record fewer sales.

Last year, plug-in electric cars accounted for 31.2 percent of new car registrations in Norway, the highest in the world, and the share rose to 34.2 percent when including second-hand imports, according to the Norwegian Road Federation (OFV). The two figures surged to 40.7 and 43.5 percent in February 2019.

Statistics Norway said 11,913 used electric cars and vans were imported last year, up from 9,063 in 2017 when it started to compile data of the second-hand trade.

They came from countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Britain and South Korea, bringing some of the benefits of cleaner air and less noise intended for their citizens to Norway, where the environment is already far cleaner than in many other countries.

Trod Sandven, a Jaguar Land Rover dealer in Bergen in west Norway, bought 250 new Kia Soul cars last year in countries including Germany. After registering them for a day so that they counted towards manufacturers’ green goals under the EU rules, he exported them undriven to Norway to sell as “second hand”.

“They’re brand new, with the plastic still on the seats. The only thing we do is the paperwork,” said Sandven. He said he received no German subsidies, since that would require owning the cars for several months in Germany.

“Now it’s changing again, now we are exporting cars to other countries,” he said. “Norway is crowded with used electric cars and Europe is screaming for electric cars. It’s changing every year.”

SWEDEN MOVES

Stockholm tightened subsidy rules last July after finding that about 10 percent of all electric and plug-in hybrids were exported within five years. Eighty percent of those exports ended up over the border in Norway.

“It is problematic that some of the used electric vehicles, that have been subsidized by Swedish tax payers, are exported,” said Jakob Lundgren, spokesman for Sweden’s Environment Minister Isabella Lovin.

Under the new system from July 2018, Swedes have to own a new electric car for six months before receiving a 60,000 Swedish crowns ($6,398.50) rebate. Previously, they got a 40,000 crown discount on buying the car.

Lundgren said there were no data yet to show if the rule change had made an impact.

With just five million people, Norway bought 46,143 new battery electric cars in 2018, making it the biggest market in Europe ahead of Germany with 36,216 and France on 31,095, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association.

EU rules in effect from 2020-21 will force new cars sold in Europe, including Norway, to average no more than 95 grammes of carbon dioxide per kilometer, with carmakers facing hundreds of millions of euros in potential fines for non-compliance.

Other nations tend to hand out subsidies to make e-cars cheaper but lag in infrastructure, such as charging points. Norway wants all new cars to be zero emissions by 2025. Among other nations, Britain and France have similar goals for 2040.

Electric cars depreciate less quickly in Norway than elsewhere, partly due to the ongoing benefits, which include low-cost ferry trips and use of bus lanes to avoid congestion.

“Norway has become a magnet for the rest of Europe to ship used battery electric vehicles,” Matthew Harrison, executive vice president Toyota Motor Europe, said at the Geneva motor show this month. “Frankly there is no used-car demand for battery electric vehicles” elsewhere in Europe, he said.

Among sources of second hand imports, Fridstroem and other economists said they were baffled by those from Britain. Norway imported 2,147 electric cars from Britain in 2017, and 133 in 2018, according to Statistics Norway.

The steering wheel in British cars is on the right, the wrong side for driving in mainland Europe, making them unattractive in Norway.

A spokesperson for the British Department for Transport said the main conditions for plug-in car grants, of up to 3,500 pounds ($4,624.55), were that buyers have an address in Britain and register the vehicle in the country.

The Department did not comment when asked if some dealers might be buying electric cars made in Britain but designed for mainland Europe. That might be a loophole allowing dealers to pocket the grant and export the car to Norway, although it was not clear why the number of exports had dropped.

(With extra reporting by Nichola Groom in Los Angeles and Laurence Frost in Geneva; graphic by Nerijus Adomaitis; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

Source: OANN

Yovanna Ventura didn’t hold back in a recent Instagram post.

Ventura, who is one of the best models on all of Instagram, dropped a snap of herself topless on the beach, and you absolutely don’t want to miss this one. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

I know that it’s hard for Ventura to shock anybody, but this picture might be able to the job done. (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

You’ll understand what I mean once you take a look below. It’s an outstanding post. (SLIDESHOW: 71 Times Samantha Hoopes Stripped Down)

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Does she always bring the heat or does she always bring the heat? The answer is a resounding yes on both counts. (SLIDESHOW: This Blonde Bombshell Might Be The Hottest Model On The Internet) 

Well done, Ventura. Well done. Now, take a gander at a few more times she busted out a flamethrower online. (SLIDESHOW: 60 Times Abigail Ratchford Wore Almost Nothing)

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Source: The Daily Caller

Economic growth averaging 2.8 percent reached under President Donald Trump's policies can be sustained over the next decade, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett said Wednesday.

"What happened is we went from 1 percent growth, the new normal that would be disappointing forever, to 3 percent growth over the last two years with deregulation and tax cuts," Hassett told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday morning. "Everything has lifted off and our view is it will continue. It is continuing because the policies are working."

The Trump administration is assuming Congress will make tax cuts permanent, as some will expire, Hassett said.

"Regulatory costs in the U.S. declined under President Trump last year because he has a regulatory budget, and paperwork costs are going down for the U.S. government," Hassett said. "As far back as we looked, we couldn't see a year like that."

The forecast assumes Trump's policies are enacted, Hassett said, and "hopefully Congress will look at that and be convinced."

Analysts from Wall Street and the Federal Reserve paint a different picture for the economy, projecting 1.9 percent growth for the long-run forecast, noted show co-anchor Sandra Smith, but Hassett disagreed.

"If you go back to the first year that we said growth would inch up a little bit, everybody said we were crazy," Hassett said. "Our policies are working the way the academic literature says they should and confident they'll continue to grow going forward. The people criticizing us were wrong. How many years in a row do we have to be right before they question their models?"

Source: NewsMax

Economic growth averaging 2.8 percent reached under President Donald Trump's policies can be sustained over the next decade, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett said Wednesday.

"What happened is we went from 1 percent growth, the new normal that would be disappointing forever, to 3 percent growth over the last two years with deregulation and tax cuts," Hassett told Fox News' "America's Newsroom" on Wednesday morning. "Everything has lifted off and our view is it will continue. It is continuing because the policies are working."

The Trump administration is assuming Congress will make tax cuts permanent, as some will expire, Hassett said.

"Regulatory costs in the U.S. declined under President Trump last year because he has a regulatory budget, and paperwork costs are going down for the U.S. government," Hassett said. "As far back as we looked, we couldn't see a year like that."

The forecast assumes Trump's policies are enacted, Hassett said, and "hopefully Congress will look at that and be convinced."

Analysts from Wall Street and the Federal Reserve paint a different picture for the economy, projecting 1.9 percent growth for the long-run forecast, noted show co-anchor Sandra Smith, but Hassett disagreed.

"If you go back to the first year that we said growth would inch up a little bit, everybody said we were crazy," Hassett said. "Our policies are working the way the academic literature says they should and confident they'll continue to grow going forward. The people criticizing us were wrong. How many years in a row do we have to be right before they question their models?"

Source: NewsMax

Lily Aldridge gave her fans a bit of a surprise Wednesday.

The superstar model dropped a black and white snap of herself on Instagram in a swimsuit for her 5.3 million followers, and I’m sure they enjoyed it a lot. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

It’s not every day that we see golden content from Aldridge. She’s not known for cutting loose on a regular basis, but it’s snaps like the one below that remind us that she certainly has the skills necessary. (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

Give it a look, and decide for yourself what you think. (SLIDESHOW: 71 Times Samantha Hoopes Stripped Down)

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A post shared by Lily Aldridge (@lilyaldridge) on

This is the kind of content that we live for here at The Smoke Room. Models and Instagram provide the perfect platform for swimsuit content, which is exactly what this picture was. (SLIDESHOW: This Blonde Bombshell Might Be The Hottest Model On The Internet) 

Here are a few more times that she reminded the world of her skills. (SLIDESHOW: 60 Times Abigail Ratchford Wore Almost Nothing)

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: The 2016 Volvo XC90, winner of the Truck of the Year award at the North American International Auto Show, is displayed in Detroit
FILE PHOTO: The 2016 Volvo XC90, winner of the Truck of the Year award at the North American International Auto Show, is displayed in Detroit, Michigan, January 11. 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

March 20, 2019

By Esha Vaish

GOTHENBURG (Reuters) – Swedish automaker Volvo hopes to reinforce its reputation for safety-first driving by installing cameras and sensors in its cars from the early 2020s, monitoring drivers for signs of being drunk or distracted and intervening to prevent accidents.

The safety features, detailed at a briefing in Gothenburg on Wednesday which fleshed out plans outlined earlier this month, mark another step by Volvo toward its pledge to eliminate passenger fatalities by 2020.

Volvo, which in the 1950s was the first carmaker to introduce the three-point seatbelt, had said on March 4 it would introduce a 180 km per hour speed limit on all new vehicles.

Volvo said the cameras and sensors will be installed on all models built on its SPA2 platform for larger cars such as the XC90 SUV, on which its driverless cars will also be built, starting in the early part of the next decade.

Intervention if the driver is found to be drunk, tired or distracted by checking a mobile phone – among the biggest factors in accidents – could involve limiting the car’s speed, alerting the Volvo on Call assistance service, or slowing down and parking the car, it said.

Development of technology that would support such maneuvers has accelerated in the past year as the industry increasingly focuses on electric and autonomous cars.

Volvo Chief Executive Hakan Samuelsson told journalists the technology developments meant carmakers had the responsibility to take on the role of Big Brother to ensure safety on roads.

While the strategy meant Volvo, owned by China’s Geely, might lose some customers keen on high speeds, it also opened opportunities to win parents who wanted to buy the safest car to carry their children, he said.

Volvo also said it would introduce Care Key, allowing a Volvo buyer to set a speed limit for themselves or before lending the car to younger or inexperienced drivers, as standard on all its cars from 2021.

Samuelsson said Volvo was talking to insurers to offer favorable terms to what it termed as “club max 180” customers who were using the safety features.

“If we can encourage and support better behavior with technology that helps drivers to stay out of trouble, that should logically also have a positive impact on insurance premiums,” Samuelsson said.

(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Gothenburg; Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO : A Toyota logo is displayed at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva
FILE PHOTO : A Toyota logo is displayed at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy

March 20, 2019

NAGOYA (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp and Suzuki Motor Corp on Wednesday said they planned to produce electric vehicles (EVs) and compact cars for each other to better compete with fast-changing technologies in the global auto industry.

The agreement builds on a partnership between the two Japanese companies announced in 2017 under which Toyota is helping Suzuki to develop and market electric cars in India, while Suzuki helps Toyota increase its presence in the fast-growing Indian market.

Under the latest agreement, Suzuki will source hybrid systems for cars it sells worldwide from Toyota, which pioneered hybrid vehicles with the Prius more than 20 years ago, the companies said in a joint statement.

Suzuki’s hybrid vehicles for the Indian market will be made using engines and batteries locally produced by Toyota. In addition, Toyota will produce electric vehicles based on its RAV4 SUV crossover and Corolla wagon for Suzuki in the European market.

In return, Suzuki will produce two compact models for Toyota in India based on its Ciaz and Ertiga models, and supply Toyota with gasoline engines for compact vehicle models sold in Europe.

Suzuki will also produce its Baleno, Vitara Brezza, Ciaz, and Ertiga models for Toyota to sell in Africa.

(Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Lockheed Martin's logo is seen during Japan Aerospace 2016 air show in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Lockheed Martin’s logo is seen during Japan Aerospace 2016 air show in Tokyo, Japan, October 12, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

March 19, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – A German military helicopter tender likely to be fought out between U.S. arms makers Lockheed Martin and Boeing will get “mandatory” funding of 1.61 billion euros ($1.8 billion) under German budget plans, a government document shows.

Some lawmakers and industry officials had worried that the long-awaited tender could be postponed because Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen secured only half the 4 billion euro increase in military spending she had sought for 2020.

However the document, which is due to be approved by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet this week, singled out the heavy-lift helicopter as the only major arms program on a list of “mandatory elements” of a new four-year budget plan.

The helicopter program is expected to cost Germany around 4 billion euros ($4.54 billion) in the longer term, a rich prize for the winning bidder.

Germany’s defense ministry has previously said it expects to choose either of two U.S. helicopter models, the twin-rotor CH-47 Chinook helicopter built by Boeing, or the new CH-53K King Stallion built by Lockheed’s Sikorsky helicopter unit.

Procurement of the 45-60 helicopters will continue beyond 2023, which is why the four-year plan budgets for a smaller sum.

The Defence Ministry issued a pre-solicitation notice for the new helicopter in February, saying it expected to issue a formal request for proposals in the second half of 2019.

A ministry spokesman declined to comment on the finance ministry document or any specific funding requests.

“We’re at the beginning of the process,” he said.

German government officials will debate and refine the budget request in coming months, and changes are possible, but the fact that the helicopter program was designated mandatory should prevent a postponement of the program, experts said.

Another big arms project that was to be launched this year, an 8 billion euro MEADS missile-defense system, to be built by Europe’s MBDA, owned by Airbus, Italy’s Leonardo and Britain’s BAE Systems, and Lockheed, was not included on the mandatory funding list.

Also absent were four new multi-role MKS 180 warships expected to cost 4.5 billion euros ($5.11 billion), along with a option for two additional ships.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke, Andrea Shalal and Sabine Siebold; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Source: OANN

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

March 19, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel-based Cognata, a developer of simulation platforms for self-driving cars, said on Tuesday it was partnering with U.S. chip supplier Nvidia Corp to speed up testing and validation for autonomous driving.

The companies will deliver an array of scenario and traffic models using large-scale, hardware-in-the-loop simulation, it said.

The simulation, Cognata said, will reduce testing time and costs, as well as produce better product quality and increase safety.

“Highly accurate and scalable traffic model simulation technology is essential to validate autonomous vehicle systems within nearly infinite combinations of real-world scenarios,” said Cognata CEO Danny Atsmon.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Steven Scheer)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A large robot nicknamed ÒKongÓ lifts the body of a Ford Expedition SUV at FordÕs Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville
FILE PHOTO: A large robot nicknamed Kong lifts the body of a Ford Expedition SUV at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant as the No. 2 U.S. automaker ramps up production of two large SUV models in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S., February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Carey/File Photo

March 19, 2019

By Joseph White

DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co <F.N> said it will boost U.S. production of its largest sport utility vehicles in a move to grab profits in a market where consumers favor larger, more comfortable vehicles.

Ford’s Kentucky Truck plant in Louisville will increase the production rate for Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator sport utility vehicles by 20 percent in July – the second 20 percent increase in a year for both models, executives said during a media briefing on Monday.

The move highlights Detroit automakers’ aggressive efforts to capitalize on popular, profitable large vehicles in America’s heartland, even as policymakers in California, China and Europe push for smaller, electric vehicles to reduce carbon dioxide emissions linked to climate change.

The Trump administration, however, has proposed freezing U.S. fuel efficiency standards – a decision that would make it easier for automakers to sell large SUVs and pickup trucks. [nL1N20T0TB]

With gasoline relatively cheap, U.S. consumers are paying premium prices for large SUVs that seat eight people and can tow a four-ton trailer.

The average transaction price of a new Ford Expedition is $62,700, Ford U.S. marketing director Matt VanDyke said, up $11,700 from the previous year. Ford does not disclose profits by model line. Average prices for the luxury Navigator rose to $81,000 in February from $78,000 a year earlier, according to Lincoln data.

In January, Ford said transaction prices across its U.S. model lines averaged $38,400, above the $34,000 industry average.

General Motors Co <GM.N>, which dominates the North American large SUV segment, will launch a new generation of its large SUV Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, and GMC Yukon, models later this year. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV <FCHA.MI> last month said it will re-enter the large SUV segment with new models due out in late 2020. [nL1N20L156]

Ford workers and engineers redesigned portions of the Kentucky Truck assembly line to allow for the latest increase, Ford North American manufacturing chief John Savona said.

For the first time, he said, workers at certain stations will be positioned at two levels – some in pits and some on platforms – to install parts on upper and lower sections of a vehicle in unison.

The redesigned Expedition and Navigator assembly system requires 550 additional workers, and those jobs will be filled by workers currently at Ford’s Louisville assembly plant, which builds small Ford Escape and Lincoln MKC SUVs, Savona said.

Ford invested $925 million to build the new generation Expedition and Navigator SUVs at the Kentucky plant. The automaker is pushing for market share in a segment it largely surrendered to rival GM over the past decade.

Since launching its new big SUVs, Ford has improved its share of the U.S. large SUV segment by 5.6 percentage points, Ford’s VanDyke told reporters on Monday.

But GM still commands a 70 percent share of a market where vehicles sell for more than double the average price of a midsize sedan. Ford on Monday night launched a marketing campaign to win over customers. Their slogan: “Built to be a better big.”

(Reporting By Joe White; Editing by Nick Carey)

Source: OANN

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

More than 140 groups and individuals signed onto a Monday letter supporting President Donald Trump’s proposed climate panel to review recent studies on climate change.

The letter’s signatories include conservative think tanks, science groups, scientists such as Ivar Giaever, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973, and others. Recent climate science is built on shaky predictions from flawed models, manipulated data and narrative-driven reports, the letter states. (RELATED: ‘Climate Alarmism,’ ‘Propaganda’ Fill US Agency Websites, Report Finds)

“In our view, an independent review of these reports is long overdue,” the letter, obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, reads. “Serious problems and shortcomings have been raised repeatedly in the past by highly qualified scientists only to be ignored or dismissed by the federal agencies in charge of producing [climate] reports.”

A February report by The Washington Post revealed that top administration officials at the White House, including Trump, are considering creating an independent panel of hand-picked government scientists to review the climate science at the base of federal reports such as the second volume of the National Climate Assessment released in November 2018.

Democrats used the report to push for more government-driven action on climate change while the White House downplayed the report’s importance, saying it was “largely based on the most extreme scenario” of global warming.

“The conclusions and predictions made by these reports are the basis for proposed energy policies that could cost trillions of dollars in less than a decade and tens of trillions of dollars over several decades,” the letter says. “Given the magnitude of the potential costs involved, we think that taking the insular processes of official, consensus science on trust, as has been the case for the past three decades, is negligent and imprudent.”

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez used the latest volume of the National Climate Assessment to rally support for the Green New Deal, a wide-ranging resolution that called for overhauling U.S. manufacturing, infrastructure, social programs and other areas.

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey hold a news conference for their proposed "Green New Deal" to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., Feb. 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey hold a news conference for their proposed “Green New Deal” to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., Feb. 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Ocasio-Cortez’s plan is thought to cost trillions or tens of trillions of dollars to enact with substantive policies. The resolution itself is largely filled with ideas and goals, making any hard estimates impossible to measure.

“If the alarmists are truly confident in their claims, they should welcome a review which would put to rest the doubts that have been expressed by climate skeptics. The opposition to a critical review suggests that the alarmists know their case is built on hot air and not on sound science,” Myron Ebell, director of the competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment, said in a statement.

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

Used aluminum cans are piling up in scrap yards as the market for aluminum recyclables shrinks in size and profitability, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The price for used aluminum cans tanked 30 percent since the summer of 2018. Aluminum rollers are cutting recycled aluminum from cans out of their business models to prioritize more profitable areas of business. (RELATED: Study: Plastic Packaging Bans Hurt The Environment More Than They Help)

Old aluminum cans are limited in what aluminum products they can be used in. Car and airplane manufacturers tend to stay away from using aluminum made from recycled cans. Aluminum producers are turning away from the used can market despite facing social pressure to embrace recycling, WSJ reports.

The slowdown in recycling aluminum cans comes amid a downturn the recycling market more broadly. Chinese tariffs and increased standards in recyclables’ purity have tanked the price of scrap paper and used plastic in the U.S.

“Recycling as we know it isn’t working,” Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Solid Waste Management Authority chief James Warner told WSJ in March 2018. “There’s always been ups and downs in the market, but this is the biggest disruption that I can recall.”

China served as the hub of the recycling market for years, taking up to 70 percent of the world’s plastic waste before throttling down on plastic imports in 2018, according to NPR. No other country has the infrastructure and capacity to process recycled goods like China, and now trash is piling up in developed countries as they look for new buyers of used plastic, paper and aluminum.

A laborer works at a paper products recycling station in Shanghai, China November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

A laborer works at a paper products recycling station in Shanghai, China November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

Prior to 2018, the U.S. took advantage of China’s massive market for recyclables. Chinese recycling companies were able to use cheap labor to sort through mounds of recycled materials to pick out the most profitable pieces, something U.S. recyclers could not afford.

As U.S. companies sent more recyclables over to China, more junk became mixed in with recyclable material, eventually reaching a high of about 20 percent of used goods being worthless. In 2018, China set a standard of just 0.5 percent of worthless products allowed in each shipment of recyclables, a standard far too strict for American scrap companies to meet and maintain a profit, according to WSJ.

Follow Tim Pearce on Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron greets Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta as they address a news conference after touring the Nairobi Central Railway in Nairobi
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron greets Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta as they address a news conference after touring the Nairobi Central Railway in Nairobi, Kenya March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya/File Photo

March 18, 2019

By John Irish

NAIROBI (Reuters) – On a trip to East Africa last week, a beaming French President Emmanuel Macron was driven through the grounds of the Kenyan president’s official residence in a locally assembled Peugeot 3008 car.

Two days earlier, he toured churches hewn into the rock in Ethiopia. On a visit last year, he went to a Nigerian nightclub.

Macron, 41, is trying to recast the style of France’s engagement in Africa, where it was once a colonial power, hoping that building warmer cultural and personal ties will help boost business, trade and investment.

He signed contracts worth about 2 billion euros ($2.27 billion) while in Kenya, whereas British Prime Minister Theresa May did not conclude any on a similar trip last August.

A consortium led by Vinci secured a 30-year concession worth 1.6 billion euros to operate a highway linking the Kenyan capital and Mau Summit in western Kenya. Renewables firm Voltalia sealed a 70-million-euro contract for a solar power plant and an Airbus-led consortium won a 200 million euro deal for coastal and maritime surveillance.

But Macron’s four-day tour of Kenya, Ethiopia and former colony Djibouti showed how big a battle France faces in Africa, where China, Turkey and others have moved in quickly and aggressively, and competition is fierce from African countries.

In 2017, French exports to Kenya, a former British colony, were about $200 million — about half Uganda’s exports to its neighbor. China exported $3.8 billion, making it Kenya’s biggest trading partner.

The personal touch is vital when competing with China, French officials say.

“We’ve always used that form of diplomacy to implant ourselves,” said a French diplomat in the region. “But it becomes all the more important when facing China, because it differentiates us from their contract-oriented, low-cost, low-interest model of doing business.”

TOUGH TASK

Trade figures across the continent show how tough the task ahead is for France, the world’s sixth largest economy.

From 2000 to 2017, the portion of all French exports that went to Africa halved from 11 percent to 5.5 percent. The main competition has come from Chinese goods, particularly in French-speaking West Africa.

Since coming to office in May 2017, Macron, who spent several months as a diplomatic intern in Nigeria in the early 2000s, has visited 16 African states, with two visits each to Mali and Morocco.

He has focused mainly on long-running relationships in French-speaking Africa, particularly the Sahel, where the responsibilities of the 4,500 French troops deployed there include fighting Islamic State. But he also has sought to build ties with Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia.

Last week’s trip was a chance for Macron to show that “for too long we treated these East African countries like Banana Republics and they don’t like that,” said a former French envoy.

“They have resources, financial means and growth. “I’m not convinced that what is seen as ‘our Africa’ (France’s former colonies) can offer the business opportunities we have elsewhere on the continent.”

France is now seeking more targeted investments in specific sectors. The national development agency pours about 5 billion euros a year into Africa yet that barely scratches the surface alongside the cheap loans, big infrastructure investments and financing by China.

“It’s not easy to develop these economic links,” said Francois Gualme of the French Institute of International Relations, who worked for France’s development agency. “There’s a political presence, but the economic presence remains small.”

“FRANCE MUST COME BACK”

In Ethiopia, Macron said he wanted a new economic relationship, but Beijing has also been forging economic ties with Addis Ababa. China rebuilt, and financed through a multi-billion dollar loan, the rail link between the Ethiopian capital and Djibouti that was constructed by the French in 1917.

There are many signs of China’s presence, including Chinese laborers building skyscrapers or greetings of “Ni Hao” from children. Some Ethiopians resent the Chinese influence and hark back to when French and European influence was felt more widely.

Near the old French railway terminus in Addis Ababa, a group of former rail employees sat chatting in French at the Railway Workers’ Club in between games of petanque.

“You are from Paris, this is all from Paris,” said one who gave his name only as Getachew. “France must come back.”

That sentiment was expressed elsewhere in Ethiopia, where France has said it will share its expertise to develop tourism and rebuild the landlocked country’s navy.

“China is bad for us,” said Wonde, a 30-year-old taxi driver. “They bring China here — workers, food, women — and leave nothing for the Ethiopians.”

But the small group of business leaders that accompanied Macron on his trip showed few signs of cashing in on this sentiment. The delegation included the chief executive of telecoms group Orange, which wants to position itself in Ethiopia before the state telecoms operator is privatized, but its prospects are no clearer after the trip.

Diplomats and members of the delegation said the potential is great in Ethiopia, a country of 100 million people, but complained about slow and excessive bureaucracy.

“There’s the political will from the prime minister, but the administration doesn’t necessarily agree with everything that’s being done,” said one French executive. “It will take time to clear the bureaucratic hurdles.”

PROSPECTS IN KENYA

In Kenya, an economy with a long record of enterprise and a British-style bureaucracy, the prospects appear brighter.

Automaker Peugeot assembles two models in the country and a range of French companies — from Vinci to water and waste utility Veolia, energy firm Total and electricity group EDF — are vying for opportunities in the East African country.

But French businesses account for just 1.4 percent of the total market share in Kenya, and France ranks only 17th among trading partners in the region’s most dynamic economy.

“The relationship is not so much unbalanced between our two countries,” Macron said alongside Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. “It is worse — it is weak to poor.

Macron said France should develop manufacturing projects based in Kenya. Kenyatta appeared to welcome that but did not respond directly when asked what France could offer that China and other countries could not.

There was, at least, success during the trip for a smaller business. Christophe Passelande, chief executive of Malteries Soufflet, said his barley malting company broke ground on a vast new plant on the outskirts of Nairobi he hopes will tap into Kenya’s large and growing beer market.

“When it comes to malting, the important actors are not Chinese,” Passelande told Reuters. “Our industry has real French know-how, and because of that we’re here first.”

But there is no sign that France is about to catch up with China in Ethiopia.

Asked whether France was a preferable partner to China, an Ethiopian businessman accustomed to working with the Chinese said: “Why would we want to put all our eggs in one basket?”

(Additional reporting by Marine Pennetier and Richard Lough; Editing by Luke Baker and Timothy Heritage)

Source: OANN

A room is seen at UCommune coworking space in Shanghai
A room is seen at UCommune coworking space in Shanghai, China March 7, 2019. Picture taken March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

March 18, 2019

By Clare Jim and Brenda Goh

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Co-working space operators in China are shifting their focus from ambitious expansion plans to services such as customizing offices for clients, as rising vacancy rates and tighter financing slow their exponential growth of the past two years.

The strategy shift marks a turn of fortunes for the Chinese co-working industry, whose rapid expansion has helped operators such as Ucommune, MyDreamPlus and Kr Space raise hundreds of millions of dollars.

The combined area of co-working space in four first-tier cities in China surged by almost 60 percent between the end of 2017 and October last year, according to industry association China Real Estate Chamber of Commerce.

However, 40 percent of the co-working centers were more than half empty as of October and 40 co-working brands had shut in the first 10 months of 2018, it added.

“There’s a shake-out in the flexible office space,” said Paul Salnikow, global CEO of The Executive Center, which entered China in 2001 and currently operates 45 premium flexible working centers in nine Chinese cities.

“Since November, we’ve seen operators in China walking away from centers, trying to give it back to the landlord. We’ve been offered furniture from some of these people, saying they’re trying to raise money.”

A common solution for firms appears to be diversification into services that require less capital investment, such as office design and management.

“Our focus this year is ‘management output’,” Mao Daqing, founder of Ucommune, one of the largest co-working space operators in China, told Reuters.

The company expected to partner with enterprise clients and open another 30 flexible working centers for them this year, providing design and management services, from 15 currently, he said. Ucommune’s own branded centers would add five to 10 more to the over 200 already in place.

U.S.-based WeWork started providing such services in China last year and also plans to grow the business.

One industry executive who declined to be identified told Reuters the asset-light model helped to shift rental costs to clients, boosting income.

LANDLORDS AT RISK

A survey of Chinese flexible working space operators by real estate consultancy CBRE in January found that around 68 percent planned to slow or halt expansion this year.

But the rise in vacancy rates and operators dropping out of the business could also spell trouble for Chinese office landlords, especially in major cities like Shanghai where co-working is more common than the rest of Asia-Pacific.

“Co-working operators need to go further asset-light and slow one-off CAPEX investment to stay in operation,” said Virginia Huang, CBRE Greater China managing director of advisory and transaction services.

“What this means is landlords also share some risks of this industry, not only the operators.”

Terms of underwriting co-operating operators are also changing, with landlords bearing more costs and risks.

Stanley Ching, Citic Capital’s head of property, said operators were increasingly seeking fit-out subsidies and leasing on profit-sharing models with landlords, as they become more reluctant to pay high rents to secure space.

LaSalle Investment Management, which rents space to co-working operators in China, said picking the right operators and limiting exposure was crucial.

“They’re not recession-proof yet; they haven’t gone through a recession, we don’t know who’s going to survive or who’s not,” said Elysia Tse, LaSalle IM Asia Pacific head of research and strategy.

“So we’ll make sure our portfolio of co-working tenants is a small minority portion.”

One positive trend for co-working operators is the growth in demand from larger corporates amid China’s broader economic slowdown.

“As companies’ outlook on the economy turns conservative and they want to save office costs, they turn to co-working space which provides flexibility,” said Ucommune’s Mao.

“Our clients for office design service also increased for this reason.”

(Reporting by Clare Jim and Brenda Goh; Additional reporting by Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Stephen Coates)

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

Josephine Skriver has once again proved why she’s an international sweetheart.

Everybody already knows what Skriver is capable of when it comes to the modeling game, but it also turns out the Danish-born star is a big fan of beer. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

The Smoke Room’s fan favorite posted a photo of herself enjoying a Guinness for Saint Patrick’s Day, and captioned the picture, “heaven in a glass.” (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

Now, would it have been cooler if she was drinking a Miller Lite? Of course, but I guess you can’t always have everything go perfectly. (SLIDESHOW: 71 Times Samantha Hoopes Stripped Down)

Having said that, I’m pro-beer and pro-models. Anytime those two things can come together, then it’s a good day for the universe. (SLIDESHOW: This Blonde Bombshell Might Be The Hottest Model On The Internet) 

That’s exactly what happened here. After all, what is freedom all about if we can’t celebrate models who love beer? Last time I checked, we didn’t walk on the moon so that attractive women could be deprived of their right to drink cold beverages. (SLIDESHOW: 60 Times Abigail Ratchford Wore Almost Nothing)

I really don’t know what to tell anybody who’s not on the Josephine Skriver hype train. Anybody that enjoys a few cold brews and is in the modeling game is a grade-A talent in our book everyday of the week.

It’s that simple.

I knew that I was on to something when I said she’d be one of the biggest stars on the planet years ago.

Well done, Skriver. Well done.

Source: The Daily Caller

Alexis Ren stunned her fans on Instagram with a recent post.

Ren, who is quickly becoming one of the most popular models on the planet, dropped a snap of herself topless in bed for her millions of followers. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

Just how popular was this snap with her audience? Well, I’m guessing they liked it a lot because it currently has nearly 650,000 likes. (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

Give it a glance below. I think you’re going to be impressed. (SLIDESHOW: 71 Times Samantha Hoopes Stripped Down)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Alexis Ren (@alexisren) on

Watching Ren dominate the internet is honestly one of the best things about Instagram. It never gets old watching her just tear it up on a regular basis. (SLIDESHOW: This Blonde Bombshell Might Be The Hottest Model On The Internet) 

Here are a handful of other times that she reminded the world just how elite she is. (SLIDESHOW: 60 Times Abigail Ratchford Wore Almost Nothing)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Alexis Ren (@alexisren) on

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A post shared by Alexis Ren (@alexisren) on

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Alexis Ren (@alexisren) on

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A post shared by Alexis Ren (@alexisren) on

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A post shared by Alexis Ren (@alexisren) on

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: BMW cars are seen at the automobile terminal in the port of Dalian
FILE PHOTO: BMW cars are seen at the automobile terminal in the port of Dalian, Liaoning province, China January 9, 2019. Picture taken January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

March 16, 2019

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – BMW AG <BMWG.DE> and Mercedes-Benz said on Saturday they will lower their prices in China, after the government announced it will reduce the country’s value-added tax (VAT) starting on April 1.

The German automobile companies each published posts on Chinese social media announcing immediate price cuts for several models. The discounts come as China endures a shrinking market for automobiles as the economy slows.

BMW said it would reduce prices for both domestically produced and imported models, including the locally-made BMW 3 series and BMW 5 series, along with the BMW X5 and BMW 7 import models. The BMW 320Li M model will sell for a suggested retail price of 339,800 yuan ($50,620), a drop of 10,000 yuan from its original price.

The reductions mark the company’s “active response to the national VAT adjustment notice,” BMW said in a post on WeChat, China’s popular messaging app.

Daimler AG-owned <DAIGn.DE> Mercedes-Benz announced similar price cuts on a range of its cars, also effective immediately, in advance of the upcoming VAT drop. The cuts shown on its social media page range from 10,000 yuan to 40,000 yuan on select models.

On March 5, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced that China will cut VAT across a range of industries, with the tax set to drop in the manufacturing sector from 16 percent to 13 percent and in the transport sector from 10 percent to 9 percent.

The carmakers’ cuts come as China’s automobile industry faces a major slowdown. In 2018, China’s car market shrank 5.8 percent, marking its first contraction in over two decades.

Policymakers have introduced a range of policies to stimulate demand for cars. In January, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said it would loosen restrictions on the second-hand car market and provide subsidies to boost purchases in rural areas.

(Reporting by Josh Horwitz; editing by Richard Pullin)

Source: OANN

NRA American Rifleman | Contributor

It’s no secret that long-range shooting has become extremely popular in this country. Whether participating in precision rifle competitions, hunting at extended ranges or merely plinking on steel targets, America’s rifleman are interested in shooting farther than ever. Optics, along with a suitable rifle and ammunition, are a key element in the long-range shooting equation, and can often mean the difference between success and failure. To fill this expanding niche, Leupold has developed the Mark 5HD 5-25X 56 mm

As could be expected, the Mark 5HD 5-25X 56 mm is a big scope; it’s almost 16″ long, with much of that length extending forward of the mounting area (or body tube) of the scope. That said, the Mark 5HD is actually a full pound lighter than many other models in the long-range precision category. The main tube is 35 mm in diameter, which means that the current selection of mounts is slim. At the time of this writing, 35 mm mounting solutions are available from Leupold, Badger Ordnance and Geissele. There is a reason for the large tube, though—the ability to dial sufficient elevation adjustment is a key element of long-range shooting. The Mark 5HD’s generous tube diameter gives it an impressive elevation-adjustment range of 120 m.o.a./34.9 mils, and a windage range of 60 m.o.a./17.5 mils.

The scope’s parallax can be adjusted, via a side focus knob, from 75 yds. to infinity.

This optic features a 5:1 magnification ratio, from 5X to 25X, with adjustments made by turning the power ring located just forward of the ocular lens housing. A threaded and removable throw lever gives the user added leverage, a useful feature when making adjustments from field positions. The Mark 5HD’s parallax can be adjusted via a side-focus knob, with seven yardage graduations from 75 yds. to infinity.

The Mark 5HD uses turret-style adjustments for both elevation and windage in 0.1-mil graduations; each click is both audible and tactile. The most efficient method of zeroing this scope is to remove the adjustment turret by loosening the hex screws, which reveals a single flat-blade screw head. Using a screwdriver to make the requisite adjustments makes the process fast and simple, and, once the rifle is zeroed, remounting the turret caps at the “0” position means that the dials are automatically calibrated.

A mechanical indicator built into the scope’s elevation-adjustment turret (r.) provides both tactile and visual feedback as to how many revolutions the knob has been turned.


When dialing for elevation, it’s not uncommon for a shooter to lose track of both his zero and the position of his turret—especially when a turret can turn multiple revolutions as this one does. The Mark 5HD provides solutions for both of those potential problems. The first is an adjustable zero stop that prevents the user from dialing below “0” when the turret is installed correctly: When in doubt, dial clockwise until the turret stops. The second issue can arise when dialing for true long range and the shooter isn’t certain how many revolutions the turret has made. On this optic, the turret utilizes a mechanical indicator that provides tactile and visual feedback as to the turret’s position so that it’s useful in any lighting condition. 

In order for a scope to be truly useful for long-range shooting, its adjustments must be both reliable and repeatable. To properly evaluate the capabilities of this optic, we mounted it to a Bergara B-14 BMP chassis rifle chambered in 6.5 mm Creedmoor that has proven itself to be capable of consistent sub-m.o.a. accuracy. With a 100-yd. zero established, we fired a test group to set a baseline for the rifle, optic and ammunition.

With a confirmed zero, we then “shot the square” by firing a shot and then dialing either one mil of elevation or windage before firing a subsequent shot and repeating that step in a clockwise direction. This ensures that the scope’s internals tracked accurately and repeatably. If everything goes as planned, the bullet holes on the target form the corners of a perfect box shape. This scope passed that test, so we progressed to an elevation challenge that would simulate a long-range shot: we hung a perfectly level target downrange, calibrated with two dots separated by four mils of elevation. A shot was taken at the lower target, and then the elevation was dialed into the scope to ensure that the point of impact not only moved the correct distance but also that it tracked in a perfectly vertical plane. The Leupold passed this test as well. The scope consistently returned to a precise zero, no matter what adjustments were made—a trait that is not as common as one might assume.

Our test model came equipped with Leupold’s TMR reticle, mounted in the scope’s front focal plane; the CCH, H-59 and Tremor 3 reticles are also available. The TMR uses hash marks to denote windage and elevation holds—these marks occur at 0.5-mil intervals for the first four mils and then transition to 0.2-mil spacing. Because it’s a first-focal-plane reticle, the graduations are calibrated correctly regardless of the magnification setting.

The generous eye box, long eye relief, positive adjustments and intuitive controls made this a very easy scope to master. Clarity was excellent, thanks to the quality of the lenses and their coatings. While optical quality usually ranks below the precision of the adjustments in priority when it comes to long-range shooting, the ability to spot hits and misses downrange is a key attribute, especially in the competitive realm.

This is not a budget-priced scope, and its price tag makes it ineligible for use in the Production Division of the Precision Rifle Series, but it is considerably less expensive than the two most popular precision scopes on the market, so everything is relative. The Mark 5HD is designed, machined and assembled in the United States.   

The Mark 5HD 5-25X 56 mm is Leupold’s answer to the premium, long-range precision optics craze, and it follows the Oregon maker’s tradition of being lighter and sleeker than the competition. This is a serious scope for true long-range applications, and, according to our testing, it meets the stringent criteria that those users demand.

Thanks to American Rifleman for this post. Click here to visit AmericanRifleman.org.

Source: The Daily Caller

Undated handout photo of Tesla Inc's Model Y electric sports utility vehicle
Tesla Inc’s Model Y electric sports utility vehicle is pictured in this undated handout photo released on March 14, 2019. Tesla Motors/Handout via Reuters

March 15, 2019

(Reuters) – Shares of Tesla Inc fell nearly 5 percent on Friday, as investors wondered if its unveiling of an electric sports utility vehicle would add to pressure on cash flow, while analysts worried the carmaker was not addressing slowing demand for other models.

Tesla, which introduced a cheap $35,000 version of its Model 3 sedan last month and is struggling to convince backers its business model works, on Thursday launched the “Model Y” compact SUV – built on the same platform as the Model 3.

“It seems to be another distraction tactic presenting a new model and (to) divert from the problems with the other cars, the production and the profitability,” NORD/LB analyst Frank Schwope said.

None of the 30 analysts who cover Tesla cut their price targets or recommendations for its shares, but the slightly bleak response to the new launch underlines the ambivalence of some on Wall Street to the company after months of legal wrangling and social media outbursts by Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk.

Some Wall Street analysts had raised concerns that demand for the higher-priced Model 3 was slowing down in the United States, especially after a reduction in the federal tax credit this year.

“We believe that Tesla’s original business model for the production and profitability of the ‘affordable’ $35,000 version of the Model 3 is proving to be very difficult to achieve,” ratings firm Moody’s wrote in a research note.

The launch of the Model Y also reignited worries that Tesla would need to raise cash sooner than later.

Two Tesla analysts, both known as Tesla bulls – Gene Munster from Loup Ventures and Ivan Fienseth from Tigress Financial Partners – said the company would likely need to raise money later this year.

Cowen & Co’s Jeffrey Osborne, who has an “underperform” rating on the stock, also agreed.

“We believe the event was more of a capital raising effort and branding exercise,” Osborne said in a client note. “We do not see the new Model Y igniting elevated demand or enthusiasm for the Tesla brand.”

Tesla said it would debut a long-range Model Y next year with a range of 300 miles (482 km), priced at $47,000, as well as a standard version, priced at $39,000, in 2021.

Tesla has been cutting jobs and closing stores in a bid to make profits and expects a loss in the first quarter.

Shares of the company were down at $276.06 in afternoon trading.

(Reporting by Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Arun Koyyur)

Source: OANN

Michael Bastasch | Energy Editor

  • Thousands of children will skip school to protest inaction on global warming, but their movement is based on a poor understanding of the science.
  • It’s not surprising given that adults have been telling them for months that humanity only has 12 years to avoid catastrophic warming.
  • But the United Nations assessments don’t suggest we’re on track for catastrophe — and that’s if you buy climate model forecasts.

Thousands of students will skip school Friday over global warming as part of an international movement backed by adult activists and based on a misreading of the latest United Nations climate report.

In the U.S., strikers are calling “for the Green New Deal, for a fair and just transition to a 100% renewable economy, and for ending the creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure,” according to the Youth Climate Strike website.

Young activists say “inaction has left us with just 11 years to change the trajectory of the worst effects of climate change.”

Isra Hirsi, the teenage daughter of Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, is one of the protest leaders. Her mother joined the planned strike for Washington, D.C., and tweeted in support of the climate protests, “We need to listen to the wisdom of our kids!”

Monied environmental organizations are supporting the strikers, and The New York Times said “grown-ups should listen” to children protesters. So, what exactly are these children saying?

“The rest of my life is literally on the line,” 17-year-old activist Feliquan Charlemagne told The Washington Post. “I’m going to have to grow up in this if we don’t take action and don’t turn it around.”

People take part in a "youth strike for climate change" demonstration in London

People take part in a “youth strike for climate change” demonstration in London, Britain February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson.

“I have dreams to run for president in 2044, but will that even be a possibility for me if we don’t do anything by 2030?” Isabella Fallahi, a 14-year-old high school student, told The Post. (RELATED: House GOP Demands Nancy Pelosi Hold Hearings On The Green New Deal)

The student strikes were inspired by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who began ditching school in August to sit in protest outside Swedish parliament. Thunberg skyrocketed to fame in 2018 after speaking at the United Nations climate summit in Katowice, Poland.

Greta told the U.N. in December that “civilization is being sacrificed” by adults who were “stealing” their children’s futures by not immediately shedding fossil fuels.

Since then, tens of thousands of students across the western world have skipped school to demand politicians immediately enact policies to decarbonize society. To young students, it’s a battle against a bleak, near-apocalyptic future.

Student activists’ alarm isn’t surprising — it’s been nurtured by the media, climate activists and politicians in the wake of a U.N. report released in October.

The U.N. special report stated emissions needed to fall 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030, and then for emissions to reach zero by 2050 to avoid warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. The U.N. Paris climate accord calls for keeping future warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

(And that’s if you put faith in the U.N.’s climate models, which have been shown to overestimate warming by as much as 50 percent.)

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg joins students for school strike in Hamburg

16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg is seen on stage as she takes part in a protest claiming for urgent measures to combat climate change, in Hamburg, Germany, March 1, 2019. REUTERS/Morris Mac Matzen.

Is 1.5 to 2 degrees of warming catastrophic? The U.N.’s projections suggest no, but the media framed it as a 12-year deadline to prevent climate change catastrophe. (RELATED: Greenpeace Co-Founder Patrick Moore Calls Out His Former Group For Rewriting History)

The 12-year deadline became a talking point for politicians and climate activists like Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Green New Deal’s main champion, and 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.

“The scientists are unanimous on this. We have no more than 12 years to take incredibly bold action on this crisis,” O’Rourke said campaigning in Iowa Thursday, adding its our “final chance” to avert potential “extinction.”

There was such a kerfuffle over Ocasio-Cortez invoking the 12-year climate deadline that climate scientists came forward to refute the talking point. However, those same scientists signed onto a letter endorsing the youth climate strikes — strikes based on the same claims scientists criticized.

So, are we on track for catastrophe? The last major assessment put the cost of 2 degrees Celsius of warming above the pre-industrial era equivalent to “between 0.2 and 2.0% of income.”

As climate policy expert Bjorn Lomborg noted, other estimates put the costs of global warming at 2 to 4 percent in lost economic output by the end of the century — so the world will still be richer, just 2 to 4 percent less rich based on economic models.

Final session of the COP24 U.N. Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice

COP24 President Michal Kurtyka, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa, Ovais Sarmad, UN Climate Change Deputy Executive Secretary, react after adopting the final agreement during a closing session of the COP24 U.N. Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland, December 15, 2018. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel.

“Problem, not catastrophe,” tweeted Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center and has led in-depth economic analyses on the trade-offs of focusing on climate change at the expense of other issues, like malnourishment and disease.

On the flip side, the U.N.’s 2018 special report pegged the cost of reducing emissions in line with Paris accord goals to be “around 2.4 trillion [dollars] between 2016 and 2035, representing about 2.5% of the world GDP.”

Though that may be on the low-end, the U.N. noted, admitting that other “assessments for a 2°C-consistent transition suggest that including investments in transportation and in other infrastructure would increase the investment needs by a factor of three.”

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Source: The Daily Caller

Raindrops cover the bonnet of a BMW car in London
FILE PHOTO: Raindrops cover the bonnet of a BMW car in London, Britain, February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

March 15, 2019

By Costas Pitas

LONDON (Reuters) – German carmaker BMW is continuing to prepare for a “worst-case scenario” no-deal Brexit after lawmakers voted to seek a delay to Britain’s exit from the European Union.

BMW builds over 15 percent of Britain’s 1.5 million cars, making Minis at a factory in Oxford and Rolls-Royce models at a southern English site in Goodwood in addition to more than 375,000 engines at its central English Hams Hall facility.

The firm said earlier this month that it could move some production out of Britain if the country does not secure an orderly departure from the European Union, another warning from a once soaring sector that is now reporting dips in investment, sales and output.

British lawmakers voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to seek a delay to Brexit, which had been due on Mar. 29.

“As a responsible employer, we must therefore continue to prepare for the worst-case scenario, which is what a no-deal Brexit would represent,” said a BMW spokesman.

“In order to prepare for a postponement of Brexit, the BMW Group is currently examining various scenarios. Preparations cover all key areas of our business including manufacturing, sales … customs processes, IT and logistics.”

BMW’s Mini and Rolls-Royce brands, Jaguar Land Rover and Honda – together accounting for around 55 percent of UK car output – all plan to shut their factories in April from between a week to up to a month in case of any disruption from a no-deal Brexit.

A delay would ruin such contingency plans as shutdowns are generally organized months in advance so employee holidays can be scheduled and suppliers can adjust volumes, making them hard to move.

(Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Andrew MacAskill and Giles Elgood)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Men unload a case containing the black boxes from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 outside the headquarters of France's BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget
Men unload a case containing the black boxes from the crashed Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 outside the headquarters of France’s BEA air accident investigation agency in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

March 15, 2019

By David Shepardson, Richard Lough and Aaron Maasho

WASHINGTON/PARIS/ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – French investigators on Friday will begin analyzing data from the black boxes of the Boeing 737 Max plane that crashed after takeoff from Addis Ababa killing 157 people, the second such calamity involving the aircraft since October.

Experts will be looking for any links between Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash and the October crash of a 737 Max operated by Lion Air in Indonesia that killed 189 people. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration grounded all Boeing MAX jets in service because of similarities between the two crashes.

Boeing said it had paused deliveries of its fastest-selling 737 MAX aircraft built at its factory near Seattle, but continues to produce the single-aisle version of the jet at full speed while dealing with the worldwide fleet’s grounding.

Possible links between the accidents have rocked the aviation industry, scared passengers, and left the world’s biggest planemaker scrambling to prove the safety of a money-spinning model intended to be the standard for decades.

The flight data and cockpit voice recorders were handed over to France’s Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety (BEA) on Thursday. Technical analysis would begin on Friday and the first conclusions could take several days.

U.S. lawmakers said on Thursday the 737 Max fleet would be grounded for weeks if not longer until a software upgrade could be tested and installed.

Boeing has said it would roll out the software improvement “across the 737 MAX fleet in the coming weeks.”

The captain of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 requested permission to return to Addis Ababa airport three minutes after takeoff as it accelerated to abnormal speed, the New York Times reported.

All contact between air controllers and Flight 302 to Nairobi was lost five minutes after it took off, a person who reviewed air traffic communications told the newspaper.

Within a minute of the flight’s departure, Captain Yared Getachew reported a “flight control” problem as the aircraft was well below the minimum safe height during a climb, the Times reported, citing the person.

After being cleared by the control room to turn back, Flight 302 climbed to an unusually high altitude and disappeared from radar over a restricted military zone, the person added.

Relatives of the dead stormed out of a meeting with Ethiopian Airlines on Thursday, decrying a lack of transparency, while others made the painful trip to the crash scene.

“I can’t find you! Where are you?” said one Ethiopian woman, draped in traditional white mourning shawl, as she held a framed portrait of her brother in the charred and debris-strewn field.

Nations around the world, including an initially reluctant United States, have suspended the 371 MAX models in operation, though airlines are largely coping by switching flights to other planes in their fleets.

Nearly 5,000 MAXs are on order, meaning the financial implications are huge for the industry.

“We continue to build 737 MAX airplanes while assessing how the situation, including potential capacity constraints, will impact our production system,” Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers said.

Boeing would maintain its production rate of 52 aircraft per month, of which the MAX, its newest version, represents the major share. However, Boeing declined to break out exact numbers.

CONNECTION TO INDONESIA CRASH?

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cited satellite data and evidence from the scene that indicated some similarities and “the possibility of a shared cause” with October’s crash in Indonesia.

The head of the Asian nation’s transport safety committee said the report into the Lion Air crash would be speeded up so it could be released in July to August, months earlier than its original timeframe.

Though it maintains the planes are safe, Boeing has supported the FAA move. Its stock is down about 11 percent since the crash, wiping more than $26 billion off its market value. It fell 1 percent on Thursday.

U.S. and Canadian carriers wrestled with customer calls and flight cancellations and Southwest Airlines Co and American Airlines Group Inc, the largest U.S. operators of the 737 MAX, said they had started flying empty MAX aircraft to be parked elsewhere during the ban.

U.S. President Donald Trump, an aviation enthusiast with deep ties to Boeing, said he hoped the suspensions would be short. “They have to figure it out fast,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

A software fix for the 737 MAX that Boeing has been working on since the Lion Air crash in October will take months to complete, the FAA said on Wednesday.

In what may presage a raft of claims, Norwegian Air has said it will seek compensation from Boeing for costs and lost revenue after grounding its fleet of 737 MAX.

Airline Garuda Indonesia said there was a possibility it would cancel its 20-strong order of 737 MAXs, while Malaysia Airlines said it was reviewing an order for 25 of the aircraft.

Under international rules, Ethiopians are leading the investigation but France’s BEA will conduct black box analysis as an adviser. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was also sending three investigators to assist.

The cause of the Indonesian crash is still being investigated. A November preliminary report, before the retrieval of the cockpit voice recorder, focused on maintenance and training and the response of a Boeing anti-stall system to a recently replaced sensor, but gave no reason for the crash.

(For an interactive graphic on ‘Ethiopian Airlines crash’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChBW5M)

(Reporting by Richard Lough, Tim Hepher and John Irish in Paris, Duncan Miriri and Aaron Masho in Addis Ababa, Jeff Mason and David Shepardson in Washington, Omar Mohammed and Maggie Fick in Nairobi; Danilo Masoni in Milan, and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle, Tracy Rucinski in Chicago, Allison Lampert in Montreal; Writing by Stephen Coates; Editing by Neil Fullick)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is seen at a groundbreaking ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai
FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is seen at a groundbreaking ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song

March 14, 2019

By Alexandria Sage

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Tesla Inc will unveil its Model Y electric sports utility vehicle on Thursday evening in California, promising a much-awaited crossover that will face competition from European car makers rolling out their own electric rivals.

Chief Executive Elon Musk has said the compact SUV, built on the same platform as the Model 3, which starts at $35,000, is about 10 percent bigger than the sedan, will cost about 10 percent more, and have slightly less range for the same battery.

Musk plans to unveil the car and offer pricing and other details at a small event at Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne, outside Los Angeles, and it will stream it online starting at 8 p.m. PT (11 p.m. ET). (https://www.tesla.com/modely)

Small SUVs are the fastest-growing segment in both the United States and China, the world’s largest auto market, where Tesla is building a factory, making the Model Y well positioned to tap demand.

Tesla has enjoyed little competition thus far for its sedans, but competition for electric SUVs is heating up as Tesla tries to master a new set of economics from the luxury line that made its reputation. On Thursday, ratings company Fitch warned that, despite Tesla’s early lead, “incumbent carmakers have the ability to catch up … thanks to their capacity to invest and their robust record in product management.”

Tesla’s targeted volume production date of late 2020 would put it behind electric SUV offerings from Volkswagen AG’s Audi, Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Shares of Tesla are down 24 percent from a year high of $379.57 in August, when Musk tweeted that he was taking Tesla private.

That plan – later scrapped – ushered in an ongoing period of turmoil at the company, from Musk’s public battles with regulators, a flurry of securities lawsuits, cost cutting and layoffs across the company. Tesla two weeks ago said it would close most stores and use savings to cut the price of most cars by 6 percent. Last week Tesla reversed course and said it would leave many stores open and raised prices back by about 3 percent.

Musk has promised an easier production ramp of the Model Y, since it shares about three-quarters of its parts with the Model 3 and would need only half the capital expenditures of the sedan.

The risk is “quite low” Musk told analysts in January. Tesla would “most likely” build the Model Y at Tesla’s battery factory in Nevada, he said.

Still, the Model Y, like all Tesla’s models, has already seen pre-production delays. Suppliers were originally told that production would start on the vehicle in November 2019, sources told Reuters last year.

In October, Musk said “significant progress” had been made on the Model Y and that he had approved the prototype for production in 2020. In January, he said Tesla had ordered the tooling needed to build the car.

(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Peter Henderson, Greg Mitchell and Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on motherboard in this illustration picture
FILE PHOTO: Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture, February 13, 2018. Picture is taken February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

March 14, 2019

(Reuters) – Canadian regulators are looking to create new rules for crypto trading platforms, months after the death of the founder of digital platform Quadriga CX that led to about C$180 million ($135 million) in frozen cryptocurrencies.

The Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) said https://bit.ly/2Fffz2V on Thursday they are considering a set of tailored regulatory requirements to address the “novel features and risks” of crypto platforms.

“We must adapt to innovation, and provide clarity to the market about how regulatory requirements might best be tailored and applied to these unique business models, while maintaining investor protection,” IIROC Chief Executive Officer Andrew Kriegler said in a statement.

The Quadriga situation highlighted a regulatory vacuum for the cryptocurrency industry in Canada and raised questions about who would be held accountable for any potential losses. The cryptocurrencies have been frozen in Quadriga’s user accounts since its founder Gerald Cotten, the only person with the password to gain access, died suddenly in December.

Canada’s biggest securities regulator, the Ontario Securities Commission, said in February it was looking into the platform given the “potential harm to Ontario investors”.

(Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

Source: OANN

Chris White | Energy Reporter

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s fundraising emails are using the Massachusetts Democrat’s calls to break up big tech companies to raise cash, but they’re also directing potential donors to her social media pages.

Warren’s new batch of fundraising emails target tech titans such as Facebook, Amazon and Google, telling potential donors that these “giant corporations are gearing up to fight back” against the senator’s calls to dismantle their business models. Her young 2020 presidential campaign is hoping to capitalize on a series of reports showing Facebook used various tools to share users’ private data.

“Things are changing,” her email reads. “All over the country, more and more people are raising their voices and demanding something different: A government that works for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.” The email also coincidentally directs constituents to Warren’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which is owned by Google.

Elizabeth Warren’s fundraising emails are dumping on big tech while directing donors to Facebook. (Screencap of Warren’s email)

Warren wants to impose new rules on tech companies with $25 billion or more in annual ad revenue, forcing Facebook and Google to reduce their hold on the online market. The plan also aims to curtail mergers between companies like Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp.

Warren said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that she would be willing to break up Facebook and prevent the giant Silicon Valley company from pairing with the likes of Instagram — Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for $1 billion. (RELATED: Warren: ‘We Can Go Back’ And Keep Facebook From Buying Instagram)

Silhouettes of laptop users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

“It’s possible to go back under antitrust and just say, look, we let this merger go through,” she said during the interview. “Often, the mergers are on conditions — conditional that they aren’t going to do this or do that — but let the merger go through, and it turns out that it has anti-competitive effects. And if it has anti-competitive effects, then we can go back and unwind these deals, break these pieces apart.”

Her fundraising emails reveal a large problem with Warren’s strategy: She is seeking to disrupt the business model of a major social media company whose platform can help her campaign reach a large number of potential donors. Warren’s office has not yet responded to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Follow Chris White on Facebook and Twitter

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected].

Source: The Daily Caller

89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva
FILE PHOTO: A Toyota logo is displayed at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy

March 14, 2019

(Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp said Thursday it is investing $749 million in five U.S. plants and adding 586 jobs as it boosts engine production capacity and adds new hybrid models.

President Donald Trump has prodded Japanese automakers to add more jobs in the United States as the White House has threatened to impose tariffs of up to 25 percent on imported vehicles, on the grounds of national security.

Toyota and other automakers have been heavily lobbying to block any new tariffs on imported vehicles.

Toyota said it will invest $288 million in Alabama to increase annual engine capacity from 670,000 to 900,000 by the end of 2021 and will add new 4-cylinder and V6 engine lines. It will also invest $238 million in a Kentucky plant to build hybrid versions of the Toyota RAV4 and Lexus ES 300h.

Toyota announced last year it would jointly build a new $1.6 billion plant with Mazda Motor Corp in Alabama.

Toyota said it will exceed a 2017 pledge to invest $10 billion over five years with a new commitment to reach nearly $13 billion over the same period, including Thursday’s announcement.

Toyota President Akio Toyoda will be in Washington Friday to deliver a speech in which he is expected to tout the new investments.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

Barbara Palvin is officially a Victoria’s Secret Angel.

Everybody knows that I’m a huge fan of Palvin’s work. It’s right up there with some of the greatest that we’ve ever seen, and now the Hungarian model is going to a whole new level. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

Palvin wrote the following Thursday on Instagram when announcing the big news:

OFFICIALLY A @victoriassecret ANGEL ! I don’t know where to begin but I’ll try : I never thought it would happen and it has exceeded all my expectations. I’m very excited to announce that I’m officially a @victoriassecret ANGEL ! Thank you for believing in me. There were times where I let my own thoughts hold me back and it was a hard climb away from those but my family , my team, Ed, and everyone at VS they were always there to support me and uplift me. I am proud to represent Hungary, and most importantly, all of you in this new chapter of my life! Thank you all so much again

This is so cool, and such great news. There are some times when you just know you’re bound to have a great day. (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

Finding out that Barbara Palvin is now a V.S. Angel is about as good as you could ever hope to get. She is a star in every measurement and metric, and now she’s in the most elite group of models on the planet. Again, it doesn’t get much better at all. (SLIDESHOW: 71 Times Samantha Hoopes Stripped Down)

This might be the greatest decision that V.S. has ever made, and I’m being totally serious. Palvin is a star of the highest order, and I’m pumped for her. (SLIDESHOW: This Blonde Bombshell Might Be The Hottest Model On The Internet) 

We’re only a few months in, but 2019 has already been a hell of a year. Go, Barbara, go!

Source: The Daily Caller

Janna Breslin gave her fans a show on Instagram with a recent post.

Breslin, who is one of the leading fitness models in the game, dropped a shot of herself in a tiny bikini for her fans to look at. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

Trust us here at The Smoke Room, you absolutely don’t want to miss this shot. It’s one of the best snaps that you’ve seen in a long time. (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

Take a glance below, and let us know what you think in the comments. (SLIDESHOW: 71 Times Samantha Hoopes Stripped Down)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by JANNA BRESLIN San Diego, CA (@jannabreslin) on

I really don’t know what to tell you if you’re not a fan of Breslin’s work on Instagram. It’s always great and pretty much never disappoints. (SLIDESHOW: This Blonde Bombshell Might Be The Hottest Model On The Internet)

Here are a few more examples for those who don’t believe me. (SLIDESHOW: 60 Times Abigail Ratchford Wore Almost Nothing)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by JANNA BRESLIN San Diego, CA (@jannabreslin) on

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by JANNA BRESLIN San Diego, CA (@jannabreslin) on

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by JANNA BRESLIN San Diego, CA (@jannabreslin) on

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by JANNA BRESLIN San Diego, CA (@jannabreslin) on

Source: The Daily Caller

Mahindra Automotive North America quality control workers inspect ROXOR off-road vehicles at the MANA assembly plant in Auburn Hills
Mahindra Automotive North America quality control workers inspect ROXOR off-road vehicles at the MANA Plant in Auburn Hills, Michigan, U.S., January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

March 14, 2019

By Nick Carey and Ben Klayman

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (Reuters) – “Warning: Don’t do anything stupid!” reads the sign to the right of Rick Haas’ office computer.

It is the same tongue-in-cheek warning affixed to the dashboard of every off-road Mahindra Roxor vehicle that Indian automaker Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd assembles in a suburb north of Detroit.

The motto might also apply to the Indian automaker’s latest attempt to enter the U.S. auto market – an effort Haas, a former executive at Ford Motor Co and Tesla Inc, is leading.

(GRAPHIC: Mahindra eyes U.S. auto market as new car sales are poised to stall – https://tmsnrt.rs/2F5aj1u)

A decade ago, Mahindra tried to break in to the U.S. market with a low-cost pickup truck. The foray ended in failure and a lawsuit from dealers demanding their franchise fees back.

Haas, the automaker’s North American chief executive, says this time Mahindra has a more cautious “pay-as-you-go strategy.” Instead of starting with a truck or passenger car, Mahindra is reintroducing its brand with the Roxor, a vehicle that looks like a vintage Jeep.

Mahindra has built around 3,000 off-road Roxors and is using the model, which starts at around $15,000, to demonstrate to American consumers and dealers “acutely aware of our previous experience” here that the Indian automaker can build a reliable product before it launches mainstream models for use on American roads, Haas told Reuters.

“Getting burned makes you cautious,” Haas said.

RICH PROSPECTS, BIG RISKS

Mahindra is one of a handful of European and Asian automakers gearing up to enter the U.S. market in hopes of gaining sales as well as credibility that can boost their brands at home.

France’s PSA and China’s Zotye and GAC all have outlined plans for establishing beachheads in the world’s second-largest market by sales, which offers rich pickings in segments including pickup trucks, SUVs and crossovers.

But the United States is a mature market that most industry executives say is heading for a downturn, and it is already crowded with over 40 automotive brands and 300-plus models on sale.

See graphic on annual U.S. new car sales https://tmsnrt.rs/2F5aj1u

“There’s not a line waiting out the front door of every potential newcomer to North America of people saying ‘I cannot wait for a new car to show up here today,’” said Larry Dominique, North American head of PSA, which has also taken a cautious approach to relaunching here.

PSA announced last month the Peugeot brand will lead its U.S. return – the same brand that crashed out of this market less than three decades ago.

Analysts and auto executives say new entrants must stand out in a crowd to crack the U.S. market, as Tesla Inc has with electric vehicles.

Just offering a cheap car may not be enough, said Mark Wakefield, head of the North American automotive practice for consultancy AlixPartners. The higher quality of used vehicles presents a challenge, while delivering the expensive safety features American consumers and regulators demand.

“If you fail to deliver on that then you’re a pariah in the market,” he said.

Prospective U.S. entrants might look to the example of South Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co, the last foreign automaker to successfully enter the U.S. car market.

The Korean carmaker launched cheap models in the United States in 1986, as Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co Ltd had done before. Hyundai scored early successes, but quality problems set the brand back, and forced a relaunch. Now, it is overhauling its U.S. strategy, shifting from sedans to SUVs.

The problem for prospective entrants is that if they do find an untapped niche, consultants and analysts expect other automakers to rush to fill it themselves.

A NEW STRATEGY

Mahindra’s first foray into the U.S. auto market was a disaster, as plans to launch a low-cost pickup with high fuel efficiency never came to fruition, in part because it failed to meet federal emissions standards. Angry dealers who had signed on to sell the Scorpio pickup sued Mahindra.

Mahindra regrouped. Haas set up Mahindra’s U.S. office in 2013 with just a handful of people, and that has risen to 450.

The company decided not to go into direct competition with major automakers, but to enter the much smaller and less heavily regulated market for off-road recreational vehicles sold mainly in rural America.

The Roxor stands out because it looks like a World War II Jeep. Mahindra has had a license since the end of that war to make such vehicles in India. Municipalities, mining and construction companies, and many others seeking rugged off-road vehicles have shown interest, Haas said.

The Roxor also has caught the eye of the owner of the Jeep brand, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) NV, a potential competitor whose U.S. headquarters is just up the road from Mahindra’s. Last August, FCA asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to block Roxor sales because the model is too similar to its own Jeep.

The commision has ruled FCA can pursue its intellectual property claims against the Roxor, but on Feb. 21 Mahindra asked the agency to review that ruling.

Mahindra has signed up a network of 390 powersports dealers all over the country to sell the Roxor. Haas said around a third of powersports dealers also own car dealerships so the Roxor allows him to establish the brand, then build relationships with car dealers.

“I can’t say what our plans are, but the smoke is going to clear out of the air in the next year to 18 months,” Haas said.

Among the vehicles under consideration for the U.S. market is the new Marazzo, a minivan designed by Mahindra’s Michigan engineers for sale in India that has scored well in international crash safety tests and features Apple CarPlay.

Instead of low prices, Mahindra plans to focus on its image of building rugged, durable vehicles for India’s roads.

“We’re India tough,” Haas said. “That’s a value that resonates with a chunk of the population here.”

The speed of Mahindra’s U.S. rollout will depend not only on retail consumers but the U.S. Postal Service, Haas said. The Postal Service is searching for its next generation of delivery vehicles and Mahindra is one of five finalists for the $6 billion project, which may be decided this year.

“That contract would make a fast (U.S.) entry easier, as you might imagine,” Haas said. “If it doesn’t happen, then we have to decide what we’re doing here.”

(Reporting By Nick Carey and Ben Klayman; Edited by Joseph B. White and Julie Marquis)

Source: OANN

89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva
An Audi logo is displayed at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy

March 14, 2019

INGOLSTADT (Reuters) – Audi the premium brand owned by Volkswagen said it expects to deliver an operating return on sales between 7 percent and 8.5 percent, below its long-term target, as costs for developing electric cars weigh on profits.

Audi said it would offer about 30 electric models by 2025.

Audi aims to deliver an operating return on sales of between 9 and 11 percent in the long term, the carmaker said on Thursday.

(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Riham Alkousaa)

Source: OANN

AbemaTV's staffs prepare for filming at its studio in Tokyo
AbemaTV’s staffs prepare for filming at its studio in Tokyo, Japan, February 22, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-hoon

March 14, 2019

By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) – On a Friday night at a downtown Tokyo television studio, 12 teen models with cutesy nicknames like Ayamin and Kyokyo are waiting nervously to find out who has won coveted spots on the cover of Popteen magazine, a Japanese fashion bible.

The girls, sporting a range of trendy styles, are the stars of “Popteen Cover Girl War,” a hit show from internet upstart AbemaTV that may signal a new direction for Japanese television.

Eschewing the pricy serials and star-studded films that have helped companies like Netflix upend the traditional TV business in the U.S., AbemaTV is betting on low-budget, reality-based fare with colorful graphics, relatable young faces and a relentless focus on generating social media buzz.

The approach has pulled in millions of young viewers, convincing some advertisers and industry analysts that AbemaTV has found a lucrative new model.

“It’s a generation used to rapidly processing information,” Tatsuhiko Taniguchi, head of AbemaTV, said of his young viewers. Dramas are put together “as if we are stuffing in twice the amount of screenplay,” he added.

Japan’s traditional broadcasters, boxed in by government regulations and concerned about upsetting their regional stations, have mostly left the internet field clear for upstarts like AbemaTV and foreign players like Netflix and Amazon.com.

Yet AbemaTV remains an unproven bet for its biggest backer, online ad agency CyberAgent, which launched the network three years ago with TV Asahi. CyberAgent spent 20 billion yen ($179.73 million) on the venture in the fiscal year that ended in September, much of that on programming, against revenues of just 6 billion yen.

CyberAgent’s stock price is down 40 percent from last July’s all time high at a time when its advertising and gaming units are also under pressure.

And the overseas players continue to make inroads: In addition to subtitling their large back catalogues, they are offering a growing library of local-language content such as Netflix’s “Terrace House.”

But CyberAgent founder and CEO Susumu Fujita, who at age 26 became the youngest CEO ever to take a company public in Japan, remains confident.

“We are not rushing to reach profitability,” said Fujita, 45, who estimates that revenue will double this year on the same amount of spending.

AbemaTV has around 8 million viewers each week. Goldman Sachs analyst Masaru Sugiyama sees the venture turning profitable next year and hitting 164 billion yen in revenue in 2024.

With big consumer brands looking for online advertising opportunities, “there’s a huge need for professional content on the internet, but there is a scarcity of that, especially in Japan,” Sugiyama said.

HIT MACHINE

AbemaTV viewers can watch about 25 ad-supported channels showing everything from 24-hour news to anime to Korean dramas to fishing via an app or in a browser.

Along with an ad-supported catch-up service for recently aired shows, for more hardcore fans there is also a 960-yen-per-month service providing access to every show AbemaTV has aired.

Japanese TV shows use lots of explanatory on-screen text, designed to capture viewers zapping between channels, along with wide shots of terraced rows of entertainers.

By contrast, AbemaTV’s smartphone-focused approach features a cleaner look with frequent close-ups.

AbemaTV hits include a variety show featuring former members of Japan’s once-biggest boy band, SMAP, and a dating show in which the female contestants and viewers try to identify which of the male contestants is a “wolf” lying to gain their affections.

During the run of “Popteen,” its stars inspired fierce loyalties among fans on social media as they completed tasks like been photographed while being splattered with goo, with their final ranking partly determined by viewer votes.

“In the end those who revealed their weak side got cheered on more than the girls who were perfectly cute,” said Airi Tsukioka, a producer on the show. Social media reaction informed the direction the show took, she said.

DIGITAL INTERFERENCE

AbemaTV traces its roots to Fujita’s participation from 2013 in discussions on the future of TV Asahi’s programming. One central question was how to meet the threat from foreign players like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Fujita’s answer was AbemaTV.

TV Asahi holds a 37 percent stake, helping reduce the burden on CyberAgent. AbemaTV gained another vote of confidence in October when it won the backing of two of Cyberagent’s rivals, Dentsu and Hakuhodo DY Holdings, which have taken 5 percent and 3 percent stakes respectively.

The investment brings on board two players who between them control a big chunk of Japan’s ad market and could help drive big brands to the platform.

Dentsu figures released last month showed that in 2018 internet spending grew 17 percent compared to a year earlier. TV spending shrank by almost 2 percent.

“We want to support the growth of new media,” said Arinobu Soga, Dentsu’s chief financial officer.

($1 = 111.2800 yen)

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Gerry Doyle)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai
FILE PHOTO: An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China September 7, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

March 14, 2019

By Andrew Galbraith

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – By day, Yao Yu heads up risk control for an investment firm in the southern metropolis of Shenzhen. By night, he goes on the prowl for his own business, Ratingdog, sniffing out data that could bring clarity to China’s notoriously opaque bond market.

Yao and a team of about a dozen part-time analysts scour information from China’s exchanges and clearing houses to produce ratings, analyses and pricing models for new bonds. Their findings are then posted to a public WeChat account that bears Ratingdog’s logo – a smiling, sunglasses-wearing border collie.

Since Yao founded the service in 2017, Ratingdog’s free YY Rating, YY Valuation and YY Pricing products have become widely used points of reference for investors and analysts wary of unreliable credit ratings provided by official agencies in the world’s third-largest bond market.

“In China, for fixed income, we need these kinds of services,” said Shen Yi, chief executive officer of Shanghai ShenYi Investment Co, referring to companies such as Ratingdog. “There’s a lot of space in the market for good information.”

Two defaults this year highlight the gap between official ratings and the Shenzhen upstart, which investors say is the country’s leading provider of free, independent credit research.

(For a graphic on ‘China corporate bond defaults’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChVjf7)

On Jan. 29, China’s state-backed Minsheng Investment Group, a private investment conglomerate, missed a deadline for a maturing 3 billion yuan onshore bond, belying its rock-solid AAA rating from Shanghai Brilliance Credit Rating, one of China’s four big agencies.

Ratingdog, however, had flagged Minsheng’s heavy debt burden and limited profit potential as early as 2017.

Then on Feb. 22, Qinghai Provincial Investment Group (QPIG), rated AA by three agencies including Dagong Global Credit Rating Co Ltd, became the first state-owned enterprise in decades to miss a deadline for an offshore bond coupon payment.

Ratingdog, however, had warned in 2017 of QPIG’s “very large susceptibility” to a downturn, giving it a speculative-grade rating of 7 out of 10.

Both Minsheng and QPIG subsequently made delayed payments.

(For a graphic on ‘Investors demand more from riskier debt’ click https://tmsnrt.rs/2ChWLOB)

IMPLICIT SUPPORT

While quantifying Ratingdog’s reach is difficult, Josh Sheng, chief investment officer at Shanghai Tongshengtonghui Asset Management, said a “large proportion” of domestic mutual funds and securities companies refer to its ratings and pricing. In contrast, many investors all but ignore official ratings, which rank most issuers as AA or higher, implying little default risk and giving little guidance on pricing.

That is despite efforts by Beijing to improve the quality of ratings and strengthen oversight, including freezing Dagong’s core ratings business last August for violating industry rules.

One reason for the preponderance of highly rated firms in China is an implicit assumption of state backing.

Jean-Charles Sambor, deputy head of emerging market debt at BNP Paribas Asset Management, said analysis of issuing companies has tended to focus on the likelihood of government support, rather than balance sheets.

“We basically don’t use official ratings for our investment decisions, and they’re not even very meaningful as a reference,” said Liu Xiaofang, head of investment research at Shanghai Fengshi Asset Management Ltd.

More than a month after Minsheng Investment’s technical default, and with the yield on a Shanghai-traded 4.88 percent Minsheng bond hovering above 13 percent, the company continues to boast an untarnished AAA issuer rating.

Ratingdog has rated Minsheng bonds at 7/10 since December, a level indicating “many credit issues” and a recommendation to avoid.

Shanghai Brilliance and Dagong did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

ISSUER-PAY

Drawn in part by the imminent inclusion of Chinese bonds in global indexes, foreign rating agencies have been racing to set up shop in China.

S&P Global Ratings recently became the first global agency to receive a license to rate Chinese onshore bonds. Fitch Ratings, which has established a domestic entity, and Moody’s Investors Service have also applied for licenses.

Some investors hope that the international agencies will encourage greater ratings transparency.

However, S&P Global will follow an “issuer-pay” model in China, similar to the one that domestic agencies currently use. Many investors in China have been wary of the practice, whereby ratings are given to issuers enlisting the agency’s services.

S&P provides issuer-pay ratings in other markets and says it has measures in place to guard against potential conflicts of interest. Its ratings of some Chinese issuers of both onshore and offshore debt, including QPIG, are notably different from those of domestic agencies.

But, says Ratingdog’s Yao: “There’s a problem here, and it’s a problem with overseas agencies, too, and that is: In the end, who are you serving? Is it investors or issuers?”

‘DIFFERENT ROAD’

While interest is high for Ratingdog’s products, monetizing that demand may prove difficult.

Only companies officially licensed to rate securities are permitted to charge for rating services in China.

But Yao plans to press ahead anyway, by introducing investor-paid customised research alongside its free analysis.

“Charging for services is meant to help speed up our development and expansion, but it’s also to understand real market demand,” he said. “After all, the only real demand is demand that’s willing to pay.”

Ratingdog’s growth could pose problems for it in what Hayden Briscoe, head of Asia Pacific fixed income at UBS Asset Management, calls “a very licensed regime”.

“I would suspect that he wouldn’t last for very long unless he had a proper license,” Briscoe said of Yao.

A senior rating industry source, who follows Ratingdog on WeChat, said that regulatory requirements are “very strict”, including annual audits with on-site checks conducted by regulators.

“If you give a rating, you also need to bear responsibility for it,” he said.

Yao said he is following a “different road” and not seeking a rating license, but how to operate legally is “a long-term consideration.”

BOTTOM-UP SHIFT

Ratingdog is not alone in looking to feed the market’s hunger for information. Domestic brokerages and investment banks offer sell-side credit research, often bundled for free alongside equity research.

One bank even uses a Ratingdog-like canine theme for bond analysis in its proprietary app.

BNP’s Sambor said the rise of these alternatives indicates a broader shift.

“What policymakers are trying to achieve is to make sure that investors are looking at credit research from a bottom-up perspective rather than a top-down perspective,” he said.

A “massive repricing” of onshore corporate bonds in the past 18 months has followed attempts to introduce more credit risk into the market, encouraging differentiation and better price discovery, Sambor said.

The spread of riskier 5-year AA corporate debt over AAA debt of the same tenor was 101 basis points on March 12, 56 basis points wider than at the end of 2017.

Still, even after 2018 saw a record level of corporate defaults, Chinese issuers remain relatively unlikely to default.

The marginal default rate – the proportion of the value of defaulting bonds to that of total outstanding credit bonds – was just 0.07 percent in December, according to China Central Depository and Clearing Co.

With defaults comparatively rare, developing reliable ratings will take time, said Yao, noting that global agencies and markets have had more than a century of competition and experience.

(Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Additional reporting by Samuel Shen; Editing by Vidya Ranganathan and Philip McClellan)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8, on a flight from Miami to New York City, comes in for landing at LaGuardia Airport in New York
FILE PHOTO: An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8, on a flight from Miami to New York City, comes in for landing at LaGuardia Airport in New York, U.S., March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

March 13, 2019

By David Shepardson and Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Congress plans to scrutinize why the United States waited so many days to ground all Boeing Co 737 MAX jets involved in Sunday’s crash in Ethiopia as other countries and airlines acted more quickly.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the order on Wednesday was the result of “new evidence collected at the site and analyzed today” and “newly refined satellite data” that Canada had cited earlier in its decision to halt flights.

The FAA did not disclose the new evidence at the scene but said it was “the missing pieces” that aligned the track of the two fatal Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes since October.

For decades, the United States has led the world in aviation safety, often setting standards that were later adopted by other countries. The agency came under heavy criticism from U.S. lawmakers and others who questioned why the FAA waited so long to ground the Boeing 737 MAX.

FAA officials plan to brief lawmakers Thursday, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

While President Donald Trump announced the ban on television, acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell said he made the decision with the support of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

“We were resolute in our position that we would not take action until we had data to support taking action,” Elwell told reporters. “That data coalesced today and we made the call.”

Canada grounded the planes earlier on Wednesday while the European Union acted on Tuesday. China and some airlines ordered the planes not to fly within hours of the crash on Sunday.

As of Wednesday night, regulators in Argentina and Mexico had not grounded planes.

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, a Democrat, said “it has become abundantly clear to us that not only should the 737 MAX be grounded but also that there must be a rigorous investigation into why the aircraft, which has critical safety systems that did not exist on prior models, was certified without requiring additional pilot training.”

Elwell said Wednesday he was confident in the 737’s certification.

The Senate Commerce Committee also plans to hold a hearing as early as April. Senator Ted Cruz said he plans “to investigate these crashes, determine their contributing factors, and ensure that the United States aviation industry remains the safest in the world.”

The grounding was an abrupt reversal as the United States had repeatedly insisted the airplane was safe to fly even as regulators and airlines around the world grounded the airplane.

Trump spoke to Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg on Wednesday before the announcement.

United Airlines, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines Co all fly versions of the 737 MAX and immediately halted flights on Wednesday.

American, with 24 737 MAX airplanes, said it will be “working to re-book customers as quickly as possible, and we apologize for any inconvenience.”

Boeing said it supported the action to temporarily ground 737 max operations after it consulted with the FAA, NTSB and its customers. Boeing shares were down 2 percent.

The shift came less than a day after U.S. regulators had again insisted the plane was safe. Even Chao flew aboard a 737 MAX on Tuesday.

The FAA plans to mandate design changes by April that have been in the works for months for the 737 MAX 8 fleet. Boeing said late Monday it will deploy a software upgrade across the 737 MAX 8 fleet “in the coming weeks.”

The company confirmed it had for several months “been developing a flight control software enhancement for the 737 MAX, designed to make an already safe aircraft even safer.”

The FAA said the changes will “provide reduced reliance on procedures associated with required pilot memory items.”

Elwell said Wednesday he was hopeful software improvements “will be ready in a couple months” after testing and evaluation is completed by the FAA of what he called a “software patch.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Ginger Gibson; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

Norwegian Air is demanding Boeing compensate the airline after over a dozen of its 737 Max 8 airplanes have been grounded following a deadly Sunday crash that killed 157 people.

The airline asked the corporation Wednesday to pay for both the costs and revenue loss that has resulted from the grounding of many of its planes. “We expect Boeing to take this bill,” Norwegian Air said in a statement, according to Reuters.

“It’s quite obvious that we will not take the cost related to the new aircraft that we have to park temporarily. We will send this bill to those who produce this aircraft,” Norwegian Air CEO Bjoern Kjos said.

Norwegian Air has 18 of the 737 Max 8 planes and has ordered more than 100 of the aircraft models, CNN reported Wednesday. Reuters reported a slightly smaller number and says the airline will have over 70 of the 737 Max 8 planes by the end of 2021.

“The little extra costs they are incurring, they can probably get that covered by Boeing,” analyst Preben Rasch-Olsen said, according to Reuters. “But if this situation continues into the Easter holidays, or May and June, then it is a problem. They (will) need to get in new planes. And then comes the costs.”

The planes were grounded Tuesday after aviation authorities in dozens of countries ordered the grounding of 737 Max aircraft. U.S. President Donald Trump also announced Wednesday that he is grounding all Boeing 737 Max planes.

An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 flight from Los Angeles lands at Reagan National Airport shortly after an announcement was made by the FAA that the planes were being grounded by the United States in Washington, U.S. March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The orders come after a an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max 8 plane crashed Sunday shortly after takeoff, killing everyone on board. A Lion Air Boeing airplane also crashed in October 2018, in a similar series of events in which automatic controls faultily forced the plane into a nose dive, causing the pilots to lose control. (RELATED: Ethiopian Boeing Flight ‘Smoked And Shuddered’ Minutes Before Crash)

Numerous airlines have also announced that they won’t fly any of the 737 Max planes until authorities determine what went wrong and determine other planes won’t suffer the same fate, CNN reported.

“What happens next is in the hands of European aviation authorities. But we hope and expect that our MAXes will be airborne soon,” Kjos added.

Follow Grace on Twitter.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Yovanna Ventura brought some serious heat on Instagram with a recent snap.

Ventura, who is one of our favorite models here at The Smoke Room, dropped a photo of herself in a black bikini, and this one absolutely won’t disappoint you. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

That’s probably why it took virtually no time at all before it garnered a ton of attention. It currently has nearly 80,000 likes. (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

Take a look below. I think you’re going to like what Ventura posted. (SLIDESHOW: 71 Times Samantha Hoopes Stripped Down)

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A post shared by Yovanna Ventura (@yoventura) on

It’s always awesome to see Ventura drop down from the clouds with some great on Instagram. We love to see it! (SLIDESHOW: This Blonde Bombshell Might Be The Hottest Model On The Internet)

Enjoy a few more times she lit it up on Instagram. (SLIDESHOW: 60 Times Abigail Ratchford Wore Almost Nothing)

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A post shared by Yovanna Ventura (@yoventura) on

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A post shared by Yovanna Ventura (@yoventura) on

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A post shared by Yovanna Ventura (@yoventura) on

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A post shared by Yovanna Ventura (@yoventura) on

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A post shared by Yovanna Ventura (@yoventura) on

Source: The Daily Caller


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