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FILE PHOTO: G20 leaders summit in Buenos Aires
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are seen before a family photo during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina November 30, 2018. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci/File Photo

March 21, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may meet President Donald Trump in the United States in late April for talks on North Korea and Japan-U.S. trade, two government officials and Japanese media said on Thursday.

The meeting was requested by the Japanese side and arrangements were being made for the end of April, the Asahi Shimbun daily said, without giving a specific date.

Two government officials familiar with the matter told Reuters that planning for Abe’s visit was underway.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said an overseas trip by Abe had not been decided.

The talks would likely focus on North Korea after Trump’s failed meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in February, against a backdrop of Tokyo’s concern that is being sidelined in those negotiations, the Asahi Shimbun said.

Japan’s cabinet is expected to vote next month on extending unilateral sanctions against North Korea by two years, public broadcaster NHK said on Wednesday.

Japan-U.S. trade is also expected to be on the agenda.

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.

Japanese officials have repeatedly said that Abe and Trump agreed last year that Washington would not impose auto tariffs as long as bilateral trade talks are going on.

The Asahi Shimbun said discussions are also being held on a separate meeting in April between Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

(Reporting by Yoshifumi Takemoto; writing by Elaine Lies; editing by Darren Schuettler)

Source: OANN

Danielle Herrington brought some serious heat Wednesday when she dropped a great white bikini shot on Instagram.

The 25-year-old Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model looked terrific as she posed for the snap rocking the two-piece suit during her latest trip to Cacalchén, Yucatan, Mexico. (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

She didn’t explain what the great picture was for and only captioned it, “This sunshine today really gave me life. Who else gets seasonal depression?” (SLIDESHOW: The Sexiest Looks From The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show)

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The swimsuit cover model’s social media account is always pure fire with some fantastic photos she’s shared from her various fashion photo shoots to her swimsuit-clad trips around the world. (RELATED: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Kate Upton [SLIDESHOW])

Here are the ones that really stood out, including one snap of her wearing white lingerie and looking sensational. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

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Not to mention, a handful she’s posted from her stunning appearances in the annual swimsuit issue.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Danielle Herrington brought some serious heat Wednesday when she dropped a great white bikini shot on Instagram.

The 25-year-old Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model looked terrific as she posed for the snap rocking the two-piece suit during her latest trip to Cacalchén, Yucatan, Mexico. (SLIDESHOW: 142 Times Josephine Skriver Barely Wore Anything)

She didn’t explain what the great picture was for and only captioned it, “This sunshine today really gave me life. Who else gets seasonal depression?” (SLIDESHOW: The Sexiest Looks From The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Danielle Herrington (@danielle_herrington_) on

The swimsuit cover model’s social media account is always pure fire with some fantastic photos she’s shared from her various fashion photo shoots to her swimsuit-clad trips around the world. (RELATED: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Kate Upton [SLIDESHOW])

Here are the ones that really stood out, including one snap of her wearing white lingerie and looking sensational. (SLIDESHOW: These Women On Instagram Hate Wearing Clothes)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Danielle Herrington (@danielle_herrington_) on

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Danielle Herrington (@danielle_herrington_) on

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Danielle Herrington (@danielle_herrington_) on

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A post shared by Danielle Herrington (@danielle_herrington_) on

Not to mention, a handful she’s posted from her stunning appearances in the annual swimsuit issue.

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in attendance at a press conference in advance of Super Bowl LIII at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta
FILE PHOTO: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in attendance at a press conference in advance of Super Bowl LIII at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., January 30, 2019. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

March 21, 2019

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is seeking to suppress video evidence that authorities assert support the solicitation of prostitution charges filed against him, ESPN reported Wednesday.

Per the report, a motion was filed Wednesday by Kraft’s attorneys with intentions to make sure the video, which he said has been described as “graphic and damning,” never is released. The report calls the motion a “warning shot” to prosecutors that Kraft’s team will challenge that police had probable cause even to collect the video as evidence.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that prosecutors offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial, along with other stipulations. CNN reported Wednesday Kraft will reject the offer.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money.

–Much of the New York Giants’ top brass — including head coach Pat Shurmur, offensive coordinator Mike Shula and senior vice president of player personnel Chris Mara — took Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins to dinner Tuesday night, then studied his on-field drills at the Buckeyes’ Pro Day the following day.

Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network summed up the action: “Strong workout for Haskins. Improved foot quickness, excellent anticipation and pace on the ball.”

Haskins could be the choice if New York is ready to try to draft the replacement for Eli Manning with the No. 6 overall pick, but there could be competition as other quarterback-needy teams assess their draft positions. Haskins said he would soon meet with the Oakland Raiders (who hold the No. 4 pick), the Denver Broncos (No. 10), the Miami Dolphins (No. 13) and the Washington Redskins (No. 15).

–Also in Columbus, potential No. 1 overall pick Nick Bosa did not participate in on-field drills after performing well in drill work at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.

He said he had meetings scheduled with the San Francisco 49ers, who hold the No. 2 pick, and the Giants. He also interviewed with all the top teams at the combine, including Arizona, which picks first. Bosa had 29 tackles for loss, including 17.5 sacks, in 29 career games for the Buckeyes.

–Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin told Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle that “more surgeries (are) on the way, most likely,” while the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo cited a source in saying that Baldwin will meet with Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia in early April about a potential sports hernia.

Baldwin, 30, missed two games in September with a knee injury and a shoulder problem arose later in the campaign. He had surgeries to address both issues this offseason.

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added two women as assistant coaches, making them the first full-time female coaches in team history and making the Bucs the first NFL team with two female coaches on staff. Maral Javadifar will take on the role as assistant strength and conditioning coach as Lori Locust will be an assistant defensive line coach.

–Quarterback Trevor Siemian has agreed to a reported one-year deal worth $2 million with the New York Jets. Siemian spent all of last season on Minnesota’s active roster, although he did not play as Kirk Cousins’ backup after the Vikings acquired him in a trade with Denver last March. Siemian, 27, started 24 games for the Broncos over the 2016 and ’17 seasons, passing for 5,686 yards and 30 touchdowns against 24 interceptions.

–The Minnesota Vikings, in search of help at offensive guard, announced the signing of Josh Kline, who was released last week by the Tennessee Titans. The deal is for three years and $15.75 million, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. … The Chicago Bears re-signed punter Patrick O’Donnell and backup quarterback Tyler Bray.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Fox News’ Dana Perino criticized the Democratic presidential candidates who have come out in favor of dismantling the Electoral College, during her Wednesday appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

California Sen. Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke have all stated their belief that the country should do away with the Electoral College and elect presidents via the popular vote.

WATCH:

“It’s a litmus test, right? Is there a Democratic candidate who is saying no? Cory Booker kind of tapped the breaks on it, whoa, whoa, whoa, I don’t know. But he will get there. This is happening,” Perino stated. “Remember, it’s Eric Holder also, I think, who during the Obama administration suggested this. But the Democrats didn’t need to talk about this when President Obama was president because he won the Electoral College. Okay?” (RELATED: Democratic Lawmaker Introduces Constitutional Amendment To Abolish The Electoral College)

“The institutions have held up but the Democrats are now talking about actually dismantling those institutions. And what is interesting to me is that the reason that the country is set up this way with different states is because we are republic. You have a representative government,” she continued.

“If you do away with that and you just elect the president by whoever lives in New York and California, then, and you just erase all of those boundaries, then you truly are for open borders,” Perino concluded. “Then you are no longer of the United States of America. You are like united people of America where perhaps, not so united, right, just the people of America.”

Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio rebuked the Democrats’ plan to get rid of the Electoral College on twitter Tuesday morning.

US senator Marco Rubio, addresses the press on the humanitarian aid shipments sent by the US government for Venezuela that are stockpiled at a collection center in the Colombian border, at the Simon Bolivar international bridge in Cucuta, Colombia, border with San Antonio de Tachira, Venezuela on February 17, 2019. - Thousands of volunteers in Venezuela will begin mobilizing on Sunday to bring American aid into their crisis-hit country despite a blockade by President Nicolas Maduro who claims the assistance could be cover for a US invasion. US aid that has been piling up in the Colombian border town of Cucuta has become the frontline of the confrontation between Guaido and Maduro. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images)

US senator Marco Rubio, addresses the press on the humanitarian aid shipments sent by the US government for Venezuela that are stockpiled at a collection center in the Colombian border, at the Simon Bolivar international bridge in Cucuta, Colombia, border with San Antonio de Tachira, Venezuela on February 17, 2019. (LUIS ROBAYO/AFP/Getty Images)

“The Democrat plan to get rid of the Electoral College has nothing to do with making sure every vote counts,” Rubio stated. “It’s about diminishing the electoral power of what liberals arrogantly call the ‘flyover states’ & of Americans they habitually disrespect as uneducated & backwards.” (RELATED: Marco Rubio Rebukes Democrats’ Attempt To Get Rid Of The Electoral College)

President Donald Trump also supported the Electoral College on Twitter, saying, “Campaigning for the Popular Vote is much easier & different than campaigning for the Electoral College. It’s like training for the 100 yard dash vs. a marathon. The brilliance of the Electoral College is that you must go to many States to win.”

Twelve states have passed laws mandating that their Electoral College votes go to the winner of the national popular vote, but none of the laws will go into effect unless the combined number of Electoral College votes reach 270 — the number of votes needed for a presidential candidate to win.

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Indonesia's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati attends the World Economic Forum on ASEAN at the Convention Center in Hanoi
FILE PHOTO: Indonesia’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati attends the World Economic Forum on ASEAN at the Convention Center in Hanoi, Vietnam September 12, 2018. REUTERS/Kham

March 21, 2019

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s finance minister said the Federal Reserve’s forecast for no rate hikes in 2019 “will be good for global economy” as markets will be calmer than in 2018, when the U.S. central bank raised rates four times.

“It shows that they’re concerned with economic slowdown in the U.S. and in the world,” Sri Mulyani Indrawati told reporters at the sideline of a government event.

Amid signs of an economic slowdown, the Fed abandoned projections for any interest rate hikes this year at a two-day policy meeting that ended on Wednesday.

Bank Indonesia is due to wrap up its own policy meeting later on Thursday. It is widely expected to keep interest rates unchanged for a fourth straight month, despite inflation falling to its lowest pace in nearly a decade, a Reuters poll showed.

(Reporting by Tabita Diela; Writing by Gayatri Suroyo; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Firearms are displayed at Gun City gunshop in Christchurch
FILE PHOTO: Firearms are displayed at Gun City gunshop in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo

March 21, 2019

WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Thursday that military style semi-automatics and assault rifles will be banned under stronger new gun laws following the killing of 50 people in the country’s worst mass shooting.

Ardern said she expects the new law to be in place by April 11 and buy-back scheme will be established for banned weapons.

“Now, six days after this attack, we are announcing a ban on all military style semi-automatics (MSSA) and assault rifles in New Zealand,” Ardern said.

“Related parts used to convert these guns into MSSAs are also being banned, along with all high-capacity magazines.”

(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Michael Perry)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A worker pushes a trolley loaded with goods past a construction site in the central business district of Sydney
FILE PHOTO: A worker pushes a trolley loaded with goods past a construction site in the central business district (CBD) of Sydney in Australia, March 15, 2018. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

March 21, 2019

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s jobless rate fell to a near eight-year low in February as a bumper run in employment extended, sending the local dollar sharply higher on expectations the country’s central bank won’t cut interest rates any time soon.

A total 4,600 net new jobs were created in February with all of the increase led by part-time work, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report on Thursday.

Although February’s performance was a pale shadow to the downwardly revised 38,300 employment growth recorded the previous month, the data showed the overall trend in the labor market was still positive.

Australia is creating jobs at a brisk annual pace of 2.3 percent, faster than the 1.6 percent rise in population.

Even so, the participation rate fell to 65.6 percent from 65.7 percent as fewer people went looking for work. That sent the jobless rate to the lowest since June 2011 at 4.9 percent.

The Australian dollar jumped 0.6 percent to $0.7155, near a one-month high as the data tempered market expectations that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) would cut the benchmark interest rate from its current record low.

The employment report has become increasingly important for monetary policy as the country’s central bank is counting on labor market strength for a long-awaited pick up in wage growth and inflation in the face of a property market downturn.

The RBA has held the cash rate at an all-time low of 1.50 percent for 2-1/2 years now and just last month switched away from its long-held tightening bias to a more neutral stance.

Yet, leading indicators of labor demand point to a slowdown in employment growth. Business confidence and conditions have pulled back from peaks touched last year and the number of job advertisements have declined.

Separate data out on Wednesday showed an index of vacancies released by Australia’s department of jobs and small business eased in February for the second consecutive month, although there still was a healthy 179,100 skilled job vacancies advertised across the country.

For now, the RBA will take solace from the lower unemployment rate and still-strong jobs growth, even though the overall economy has hit a soft patch.

(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol speaks during a news conference in Seoul
FILE PHOTO: Bank of Korea Governor Lee Ju-yeol speaks during a news conference in Seoul, South Korea, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

March 21, 2019

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s central bank chief said on Thursday the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to abandon projections for any interest rate hikes this year eased uncertainties for Korean policymakers.

Bank of Korea (BOK) Governor Lee Ju-yeol also said it is still too early to discuss cutting interest rates in Asia’s fourth largest economy, due to uncertainties stemming from a slowing Chinese economy and Brexit.

“It’s not right time to discuss easing of policy rates yet,” Lee told reporters, adding that the BOK’s current policy is accommodative enough to support South Korea’s economic growth.

The Fed on Wednesday brought its three-year drive to tighten monetary policy to an abrupt end, abandoning projections for any interest rate hikes this year amid signs of an economic slowdown, and saying it would halt the steady decline of its balance sheet in September.

Last month, the BOK kept the seven-day repurchase rate at 1.75 percent.

(Reporting by Joori Roh, Cynthia Kim; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers
FILE PHOTO: Feb 25, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) looks on prior to facing the Chicago Cubs at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw threw a simulated inning Wednesday as he continues his build-up process for the regular season, one day after it was announced that he would begin the season on the injured list.

Kershaw, who turned 31 on Tuesday, is working through shoulder inflammation that appeared at the start of spring training. He has pitched into October each of the past two seasons, as the Dodgers lost in the World Series both times, and he has dealt with injuries, mostly to his back, each of the past three years.

Kershaw threw 22 pitches on a back field at the Dodgers’ spring training complex at Glendale, Ariz. Teammates Joc Pederson, Max Muncy and David Freese all stepped into the batter’s box with Kershaw pitching, but none of them took swings.

“Health-wise, felt good,” Kershaw said afterward, according to MLB.com. “You just have to start the build-up process. That’s the bummer to being a starter. Can’t skip innings, got to go an inning at a time. One inning down and go to two innings and work your way up to 100 pitches. I don’t know the exact math, but you go up an inning a start and there’s days in between. It’s probably 20 days or something.”

There is no timetable on Kershaw’s return, but if he pitches that first full inning against hitters in the next week or so, there is a chance he could rejoin the Dodgers at some point in the second half of April.

There has been speculation Kershaw could pitch in a game in Arizona on Saturday, just before the Dodgers break camp.

The Dodgers still have not decided on an Opening Day pitcher. That assignment had belonged Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, for a team-record eight consecutive seasons.

“Better to miss a little at the beginning than any time at all the rest of it,” Kershaw said. “Being out there Opening Day is special. I don’t take that for granted. I love being out there and what it signifies and being part of the Dodger history and all that stuff. It’s not lost on me. I love doing that. But when you get super realistic about it, it is just one game.”

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Guatemalan Attorney General Aldana participates in a news conference in Guatemala City
FILE PHOTO: Guatemalan Attorney General Thelma Aldana participates in a news conference in Guatemala City, Guatemala, August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas/File Photo

March 21, 2019

By Nelson Renteria

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – A Guatemalan presidential candidate known for tackling high-profile corruption as attorney general said on Wednesday that she would return from neighboring El Salvador within days despite an arrest warrant.

A judge on Monday ordered the arrest of Thelma Aldana, a former attorney general who helped topple and imprison a former president on corruption charges and investigated current President Jimmy Morales, who has largely dismantled the country’s U.N.-backed anti-corruption investigative body known as CICIG.

The country’s electoral tribunal confirmed her candidacy in the June presidential election on Tuesday, shortly after news reports circulated of the order.

Aldana said if she wins, she would make government efficient and transparent as well as strengthen CICIG, adding that the accusations against her were politically motivated to undermine her bid for top office.

“No, I’m not scared. They’re the ones who are scared,” Aldana told Reuters in an interview in El Salvador’s capital, where she had previously scheduled activities. “When I go back to Guatemala… I’ll do it with complete calm, I’ll do it without a single problem.”

The arrest order includes charges of embezzlement, lying and tax fraud. Aldana said she plans to return to Guatemala on Thursday or Friday and had not been notified of the warrant. Under Guatemalan law, she holds immunity as a presidential candidate.

In January, Morales’ government said it was terminating CICIG, after already banning the group’s head from the country.

Aldana had worked with CICIG to investigate President Jimmy Morales for campaign financing violations. She and CICIG previously led the probe into former President Otto Perez Molina that triggered his impeachment and ousted him from office. He remains in custody on charges of involvement in a customs corruption ring.

If she wins, Aldana said she would ask the United Nations to formally expand the anti-corruption mandate of the CICIG, which was originally formed to investigate illegal security forces.

“Clandestine security bodies embedded in the state motivated the Guatemalan government 10 years ago to go to the United Nations … but they’re still there,” she said.

Aldana added that she is against a law proposed by Morales’ party that would free military officials convicted of human rights crimes during the Central American country’s 36-year civil war, which has sparked criticism from international rights groups.

“Without a doubt, it’s a proposal that could generate impunity and obviously I’m not in favor of approving it,” she said.

(Reporting by Nelson Renteria; Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Tennis: BNP Paribas Open-Day 2
FILE PHOTO: Mar 5, 2019; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Novak Djokovic (SRB) works on the practice court in preparation for the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) – World number one Novak Djokovic on Wednesday dismissed any suggestion of friction with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal as tennis politics spilled over to the Miami Open.

Tension between the three biggest names in men’s tennis appeared on the rise after Djokovic, president of the ATP Player Council, rebuffed a request by Federer to meet during the BNP Paribas in Indian Wells earlier this month to discuss the future of ATP chairman Chris Kermode.

Despite a tenure which brought record prize money and growth, Kermode was ousted as ATP chief when players’ representatives on the ATP Board failed to endorse an extension of the Englishman’s contract.

As head of the 10 member Player Council Djokovic had been pushing for change while Federer and Nadal backed Kermode or at the least felt the issue needed more discussion.

“I saw Roger today, we were in the opening ceremony cutting the ribbon on center court,” said Djokovic during his pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday. “We had a small chat there was no time to talk about the political stuff.

“That is hopefully something we will have time in the next few days to go through.

“It’s not necessary for you guys to create any tensions between us. In contrary I have a very good relations with both of them.”

With Kermode’s status decided Federer said on Wednesday that he is still willing to talk to Djokovic but with the decision made saw no urgency to meet.

“A lot of stuff has been decided already so we’ll see if this week is going to happen or not but we are not chasing each other at this point,” said Federer. “If it happens, it happens.”

For his part Djokovic appeared eager to wash his hands of the entire affair reminding everyone that it was the three players representatives on the ATP board that voted not to renew Kermode’s contract and not the Player Council, which was only part of the discussion.

The Serb added that if Federer and Nadal have opinions they were welcome to share them with the Player Council at any time.

“The player council is only part of the structure,” said Djokovic. “We are not part of the board or deciding anything that is voted on later on.

“We are in consultation and collaboration with our player board representatives.

“Board members are the ones voting on what they think is appropriate for the players side.

“Federer and Nadal have been icons of our sport for so many years and their opinions are extremely important to everyone.

“If they want to be active and part of it, either officially or unofficially, I think it’s only positive news for us.”

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Passersby walk past in front of an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Passersby walk past in front of an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, September 28, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

March 21, 2019

By Andrew Galbraith

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Shares in Asia rose on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve took a more accommodative stance at its policy meeting, but concerns over slowing global growth and U.S.-China trade talks are expected to limit gains.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.5 percent in early trade. Australian shares were last down 0.1 percent.

Markets in Japan are closed on Thursday for a public holiday.

The rise in the broad Asian index followed a wobbly session on Wall Street overnight, as growth and trade concerns overcame an initial shift toward more risk-taking sparked by the Fed’s dovish shift.

In comments at the end of a two-day policy meeting Wednesday, the Fed abandoned projections for any interest rate hikes this year amid signs of an economic slowdown, and said it would halt the steady decline of its balance sheet in September.

But while investors cheered the Fed’s new approach, the reasons behind it sparked concern. Lingering worries about China-U.S. trade talks, which are set to resume next week, also weighed on the investment mood, with U.S. President Donald Trump warning that Washington may leave tariffs on Chinese goods for a “substantial period” to ensure Beijing’s compliance with any trade deal.

“What the Fed is doing is trying to engineer a soft landing. What the market is hearing though is things have gotten so weak so quickly … and the earnings outlook is so dire that real money managers don’t want to chase this rally,” Greg McKenna, strategist at McKenna Macro wrote in a morning note to clients.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.55 percent to 25,745.67, the S&P 500 lost 0.29 percent to 2,824.23 and the Nasdaq Composite added less than 0.1 percent to 7,728.97.

The Fed’s comments pushed yields on benchmark U.S. Treasurys lower, with 10-year notes yielding 2.5245 percent compared with a U.S. close of 2.537 percent on Wednesday.

The abandonment of plans for more rate hikes this year pushed the two-year yield, sensitive to expectations of higher Fed fund rates, to 2.3982 percent, down from a U.S. close of 2.4 percent.

After falling on Wednesday, the dollar steadied, with a basket tracking the currency against major rivals flat at 95.910.. It was up a hair against the Japanese currency, buying 110.70 yen.

The euro was up 0.14 percent on the day at $1.1427, while sterling rebounded from a sharp drop Wednesday after British Prime Minister Theresa May asked the EU to delay Brexit until June 30, a shorter extension than some in the market had been expecting. May later said she was “not prepared to delay Brexit any further.”

The pound was up 0.11 percent at $1.3211.

In commodity markets, oil prices, which had jumped Wednesday on supply concerns, retreated.

U.S. crude fell 0.1 percent to $60.17 a barrel after touching four-month highs on Wednesday. Brent crude was a touch lower at $68.47 per barrel.

Gold gained on the weaker dollar, with spot gold up 0.27 percent at $1,315.72 per ounce. [GOL/]

(Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Sam Holmes)

Source: OANN

  • Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe has repeatedly spread conspiracy theories. 
  • Tribe has amplified conspiracies about President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia teaming up to expose Jeff Bezos and Russia orchestrating a plane crash to cover up collusion, among others.
  • Tribe’s role as internet conspiracist hasn’t kept media outlets from promoting him on TV and in news articles.

Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe has habitually spread conspiracy theories, but that hasn’t prevented him from maintaining a presence in the national media.

Tribe was among several high-profile figures to amplify a false conspiracy theory in February that President Donald Trump had teamed up with Saudi Arabian Prince Mohammed bin Salman to leak Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s affair to the National Enquirer.

“Are Donald Trump and the murderous Saudi Prince bin Salman co-conspirators with David Pecker and AMI in a failed criminal plot to blackmail and extort Jeff Bezos as owner of the Washington Post? Asking for a friend in the Southern District of New York,” Tribe wrote on Twitter, where he has more than 492,000 followers. (RELATED: Majority Of Democrats Believe A Straight-Up Conspiracy Theory)

His conspiratorial post was shared thousands of times across Twitter.

Screenshot/Twitter

Screenshot/Twitter

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the Enquirer had paid the brother of Bezos’s mistress $200,000 for text messages between the two lovers, confirming a Daily Beast report that identified the brother — not the Saudis — as the Enquirer’s source. Tribe’s tweet was still up as of Wednesday evening.

The Harvard Law professor has made a habit of spreading baseless conspiracy theories, seemingly without repercussion.

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Attorney Laurence H. Tribe attends The ACLU of Southern California’s 2011 Bill of Rights Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on Dec. 12, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

In one instance, Tribe implied that a Russian plane crash in February 2018 was a cover-up of collusion between Trump and Russia.

His tweet, which again received thousands of retweets, read: “Among those killed in the tragic plane crash yesterday: Sergei Millian, a Papadopoulis [sic] friend who had emailed Kushner and is said to be behind one of the most salacious claims in the dossier on Trump’s involvement with Russia. Probably just coincidence. .”

He sarcastically added that the “coincidence” “[s]ounds plausible.”

Tribe’s viral claim was nowhere close to the truth. Millian wasn’t on the plane.

In December 2018, Tribe shared a left-wing blog post titled “Mueller Hints That Mike Pence May Be Indicted Soon.” There is no evidence to support that headline, and the vice president has not been indicted.

“The title of this piece gets well ahead of its skis in terms of actual substance,” Tribe conceded, before continuing “but the evidence described provides rich food for thought. And if Pence is truly in Mueller’s cross-hairs, that’s a huge game-changer.”

No reporting to date supports the claim that Pence is “in Mueller’s cross-hairs.” The blog Tribe cited, PoliticusUSA.com, has a track record of spreading misinformation.

In January, Tribe cited the same blog to say that Trump’s announcement of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plans to travel to Afghanistan during the government shutdown bordered on “treason” by giving “aid and comfort” to the Taliban.

Tribe’s role as internet conspiracist hasn’t prevented national media outlets from elevating his profile, quoting him in their articles and hosting him on their panels.

Tribe has appeared on MSNBC five times this year, according to a transcript search on the media monitoring service Grabien.

The Washington Post cited Tribe in an article Monday about Republican Iowa Rep. Steve King, who shared a meme on Facebook saying that Republican states would win in a civil war because they have “8 trillion more bullets.” King deleted the post after criticism.

The Post quoted a tweet from Tribe, who said that King “isn’t actually COMMITTING treason, but he is fomenting and inciting it.” Tribe said King’s meme provided the House of Representatives “[a]mple reason to expel him.”

Tribe’s media appearances have continued long after a May 2017 BuzzFeed report noted his established track record of spreading anti-Trump conspiracy theories.

In one instance BuzzFeed documented, Tribe shared an article from the Palmer Report, a left-wing blog known for spreading misinformation, that claimed Trump had paid then-Republican Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz “$10 million in Russian money” in advance of the 2016 election.

The only source for the conspiracy theory was a tweet from an anonymous Twitter user.

Follow Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson

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 - Office workers are seen in the London Place business district near Tower Bridge in central London
FILE PHOTO – Office workers are seen in the London Place business district near Tower Bridge in central London February 9, 2011. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 21, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – British private-sector employers expect to give staff a basic annual pay rise of 2.5 percent this year, the same as in 2018, though some will delay awards until after government Brexit plans are clearer, an industry survey showed on Thursday.

British wage growth rose to its highest in a decade at the end of last year at 3.5 percent, and the Bank of England sees only a slight slowdown in 2019 as employers struggle to find staff in the face of the lowest unemployment in decades.

XpertHR, a company that collates data on pay settlements at large employers, said firms it surveyed expected on average to award pay rises of 2.5 percent this year.

Before 2018, 2 percent was the standard pay rise offered.

Britain’s official measure of average weekly earnings growth usually exceed typical pay settlements as it also includes pay rises workers get through job moves and promotions.

“Based on the pay activities of employers so far this year and the increases planned, 2.5 percent looks set to be the benchmark pay award across the economy for 2019,” XpertHR pay and benefits editor Sheila Attwood said.

The BoE cites a tight labor market and weak productivity growth as the main reasons why it will need to raise interest rates over the medium term, though for now Brexit is keeping its rate rise plans on hold.

XpertHR said firms were offering higher pay in order to match their competitors and to tackle recruitment and retention issues, while higher mandatory employer pension contributions and Brexit uncertainty were factors weighing on pay.

“Some (staff) will have to wait until beyond their normal review date as a number of employers are delaying a decision until the impact of Brexit on their business can be fully assessed,” the report said.

Prime Minister Theresa May asked the European Union on Wednesday to allow Britain to delay Brexit until June 30 and EU leaders are expected to discuss the matter at a summit on Thursday. The decision must be taken unanimously by all remaining 27 EU members.

(Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Andy Bruce)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amnesty International is seen next to director of Mujeres En Linea Luisa Kislinger, during a news conference in Caracas
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amnesty International is seen next to director of Mujeres En Linea Luisa Kislinger, during a news conference to announce the results of an investigation into humans rights abuses committed in Venezuela during protests against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela February 20, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jass

March 21, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Amnesty International attacked the electric vehicle (EV) industry on Thursday for selling itself as environmentally friendly while producing many of its batteries using polluting fossil fuels and unethically sourced minerals.

Manufacturing batteries can be carbon intensive, while the extraction of minerals used in them has been linked to human rights violations such as child labor, a statement from the rights group said.

“Electric vehicles are key to shifting the motor industry away from fossil fuels, but they are currently not as ethical as some retailers would like us to believe,” it said, announcing the initiative at the Nordic Electric Vehicle Summit in Oslo.

Production of lithium-ion batteries for EVs is power intensive, and factories are concentrated in China, South Korea and Japan, where power generation is largely dependent on coal or other fossil fuels, Amnesty said.

Global automakers are investing billions of dollars to ramp up electric vehicle production. German giant Volkswagen for one plans to raise annual production of electric cars to 3 million by 2025, from 40,000 in 2018.

Amnesty demanded the EV industry come up with an ethical and clean battery within five years and in the meantime that carbon footprints be disclosed and supply chains of key minerals identified.

Last month, a letter seen by Reuters showed that 14 non-governmental organizations including Amnesty and Global Witness had opposed plans by the London Metal Exchange to ban cobalt tainted by human rights abuses.

Instead of banning the cobalt brands, the LME should work with firms that produce them to ensure responsible souring, they said.

(Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Jan Harvey)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Powell holds news conference following two-day policy meeting in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell holds a news conference following the two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

March 21, 2019

By Dan Burns

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve will remain the top holder of U.S. Treasuries for the foreseeable future after the central bank said it would stop shrinking its $4 trillion balance sheet by the end of September.

So just what is inside this vast holding of assets?

Before the financial crisis struck in late 2007, the Fed’s balance sheet was less than a quarter of its current size and consisted almost entirely of Treasury securities.

Then, to help foster an economic recovery, the Fed went on a buying binge that ran from the end of 2008 to late 2014 in three phases, a program known as quantitative easing (QE). It bought a mix of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and over those six years its balance sheet mushroomed nearly five-fold.

Today, Treasuries account for just 55 percent of the assets on the Fed’s balance sheet. The other big chunk is MBS at about 40 percent. The remainder is a hodge-podge of other assets, including gold.

The Fed would like to get back to a balance sheet consisting mostly of Treasuries.

(GRAPHIC: The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet – https://tmsnrt.rs/2ULcay0)

But not all Treasuries are the same. These securities range in maturity from 1-month bills to 30-year bonds, and the Fed has held a different mix of these over time.

Ahead of the crisis, its preference was for short-term securities such as T-bills, which mature in a year or less, and shorter-dated notes, typically maturing in no more than five years.

The needs of the QE program changed that, and the program’s priorities also shifted over time. The result was that the composition of the Treasuries portfolio is markedly different today than it was a decade ago.

(GRAPHIC: How the Fed’s Treasury portfolio has changed – https://tmsnrt.rs/2HzaYdX)

Before the crisis, for instance, notes maturing between five and 10 years accounted for just 7 percent of the Fed’s Treasury holdings, and the longest-term securities, maturing in 10 years or more, were around 10 percent of that portfolio.

The five-to-10 year sector shot up to as much as 52 percent of the portfolio by early 2013 when the Fed was making a concerted effort to lengthen its maturity profile to pressure long-term bond yields lower and boost the housing market. The longest-dated bonds grew to account for 25 percent, and its holding of T-bills dropped to effectively zero.

Today, the Fed’s stash of five-to-10 year paper is again its smallest bucket, just over 11 percent. Interestingly it has kept its holdings of long-dated bonds steady, and as the balance sheet has shrunk the share has risen to nearly 30 percent.

(GRAPHIC: The Fed’s Treasury holdings by maturity – https://tmsnrt.rs/2Hv6Iwd)

In his press conference detailing the Fed’s plans for its balance sheet over the long term, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said he would like to see the overall balance sheet continue to shrink a bit more relative to the U.S. economy.

At its peak, the balance sheet was the equivalent of roughly 25 percent of annual U.S. economic output compared with around 6 percent before the crisis.

As a percentage of nominal gross domestic output, the balance sheet today is just 20 percent of the nearly $21 trillion U.S. economy.

Powell and his colleagues at the Fed would like to see it get down to about 17 percent, at which time they would likely begin growing the portfolio again at a pace to maintain that balance sheet-to-GDP ratio over the long term.

(GRAPHIC: The Fed’s balance sheet was a quarter of GDP – https://tmsnrt.rs/2HvdrGt)

(Writing by Dan Burns; Editing by Chris Reese)

Source: OANN

Whitney Tipton | Contributor

Authorities arrested a California man Tuesday for allegedly setting up phony PACs and websites to raise money for Democrats.

Prosecutors charged John Pierre Dupont, 80, with wire fraud and identity theft, NBC News reported. He allegedly used $250,000 raised to pay personal expenses, including the purchase of a Mercedes-Benz.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York allege Dupont established three fraudulent political action committees and at least a dozen websites to raise money for various campaigns, including for Democratic 2020 presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke. Dupont set up a website claiming to raise money “to unite immigrant families,” the complaint also alleges.

Geoffrey Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a press conference about the apprehension of a suspect in the recent spate of mail bombings at the Department of Justice on October 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Geoffrey Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a press conference in Washington, DC. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

“Thousands of donors believed their hard-earned money was being used to support the causes described in solicitations, but in reality, the scam PACs had no operations beyond the fundraising itself, and no funds were used to support candidates,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. (RELATED: Woman Who Climbed Statue Of Liberty To Protest Trump Sentenced To 5 Years Probation)

The criminal complaint alleges Dupont accepted $250,000 across various fraudulent entities since 2015, zero of which was ever actually donated to any candidate or cause. Instead, Dupont paid his rent, made cash withdrawal and used approximately $25,300 to purchase a Mercedes-Benz sedan, the complaint alleges.

In addition to the criminal charges, the complaint notes that Dupont failed to report any of the donations to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Dupont served time for convictions in 1985 of mail fraud and again in 1991 of bank fraud and money laundering, the Los Angeles Times reported. At one point in 1992, Dupont escaped from a minimum-security federal prison in Oregon. Federal authorities captured Dupont in 1997 and released him in 1999.

The charges carry up to 22 years if Dupont is convicted.

Follow Whitney 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

Whitney Tipton | Contributor

Authorities arrested a California man Tuesday for allegedly setting up phony PACs and websites to raise money for Democrats.

Prosecutors charged John Pierre Dupont, 80, with wire fraud and identity theft, NBC News reported. He allegedly used $250,000 raised to pay personal expenses, including the purchase of a Mercedes-Benz.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York allege Dupont established three fraudulent political action committees and at least a dozen websites to raise money for various campaigns, including for Democratic 2020 presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke. Dupont set up a website claiming to raise money “to unite immigrant families,” the complaint also alleges.

Geoffrey Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a press conference about the apprehension of a suspect in the recent spate of mail bombings at the Department of Justice on October 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Geoffrey Berman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks at a press conference in Washington, DC. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

“Thousands of donors believed their hard-earned money was being used to support the causes described in solicitations, but in reality, the scam PACs had no operations beyond the fundraising itself, and no funds were used to support candidates,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. (RELATED: Woman Who Climbed Statue Of Liberty To Protest Trump Sentenced To 5 Years Probation)

The criminal complaint alleges Dupont accepted $250,000 across various fraudulent entities since 2015, zero of which was ever actually donated to any candidate or cause. Instead, Dupont paid his rent, made cash withdrawal and used approximately $25,300 to purchase a Mercedes-Benz sedan, the complaint alleges.

In addition to the criminal charges, the complaint notes that Dupont failed to report any of the donations to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Dupont served time for convictions in 1985 of mail fraud and again in 1991 of bank fraud and money laundering, the Los Angeles Times reported. At one point in 1992, Dupont escaped from a minimum-security federal prison in Oregon. Federal authorities captured Dupont in 1997 and released him in 1999.

The charges carry up to 22 years if Dupont is convicted.

Follow Whitney 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: MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Houston Astros
FILE PHOTO: Mar 20, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) prior to a spring training game against the Houston Astros at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports – 12384288

March 20, 2019

Carlos Correa hit a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning and the Houston Astros went on to a 2-1 spring training victory over the New York Yankees at Kissimmee, Fla.

Astros starter Wade Miley gave up one run on three hits over 4 2/3 innings as five Astros pitchers held the Yankees to four hits on the day.

Gary Sanchez drove in the only run for the Yankees on a double in the first inning.

Braves 8, Blue Jays 7

Andy Wilkins hit a home run and drove in two runs while Charlie Culberson and Ronald Acuna Jr. each also drove in two as Atlanta won at Dunedin, Fla. Kevin Pillar and Teoscar Hernandez each hit a home run for Toronto.

Tigers 3, Phillies 1

Josh Harrison hit a home run and Spencer Turnbull pitched five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts as Detroit won at Clearwater, Fla. Bryce Harper had a single and scored the only run for Philadelphia on an Odubel Herrera ground ball.

Marlins 6, Cardinals 0

Neil Walker hit a home run and Pablo Lopez gave up just two hits over six scoreless innings as Florida won at Jupiter, Fla. Drew Robinson had two of the three St. Louis hits.

Pirates 6, Twins 5

Colin Moran had a pair of RBI singles as Pittsburgh scored all six runs over the final two innings for the victory at Fort Myers, Fla. Jonathan Schoop hit a home run for Minnesota.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Houston Astros
FILE PHOTO: Mar 20, 2019; West Palm Beach, FL, USA; New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) prior to a spring training game against the Houston Astros at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports – 12384288

March 20, 2019

Carlos Correa hit a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning and the Houston Astros went on to a 2-1 spring training victory over the New York Yankees at Kissimmee, Fla.

Astros starter Wade Miley gave up one run on three hits over 4 2/3 innings as five Astros pitchers held the Yankees to four hits on the day.

Gary Sanchez drove in the only run for the Yankees on a double in the first inning.

Braves 8, Blue Jays 7

Andy Wilkins hit a home run and drove in two runs while Charlie Culberson and Ronald Acuna Jr. each also drove in two as Atlanta won at Dunedin, Fla. Kevin Pillar and Teoscar Hernandez each hit a home run for Toronto.

Tigers 3, Phillies 1

Josh Harrison hit a home run and Spencer Turnbull pitched five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts as Detroit won at Clearwater, Fla. Bryce Harper had a single and scored the only run for Philadelphia on an Odubel Herrera ground ball.

Marlins 6, Cardinals 0

Neil Walker hit a home run and Pablo Lopez gave up just two hits over six scoreless innings as Florida won at Jupiter, Fla. Drew Robinson had two of the three St. Louis hits.

Pirates 6, Twins 5

Colin Moran had a pair of RBI singles as Pittsburgh scored all six runs over the final two innings for the victory at Fort Myers, Fla. Jonathan Schoop hit a home run for Minnesota.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Paul Singer, founder and president of Elliott Management Corporation, speaks at WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach
FILE PHOTO: Paul Singer, founder and president of Elliott Management Corporation, speaks at WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S., October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake

March 20, 2019

By Hyunjoo Jin

SEOUL (Reuters) – The showdown between U.S. activist hedge fund Elliott Management and Hyundai Motor Group is set to come to a head on Friday when shareholders gather to vote on the fund’s demands for a hefty special dividend and a board shake-up.

Elliott’s challenge to South Korea’s second-biggest family-run conglomerate is the latest example of shareholder activism in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy, long dominated by powerful cliques that took minority investors for granted.

The activist fund founded by billionaire Paul Singer tasted success last year when it and other investors opposed Hyundai’s ownership restructuring plan on the basis that it would favor family members rather than minority shareholders.

While it looks likely to fail on most counts on Friday, even if it manages to gain a single seat at Hyundai it would be a major victory for shareholder empowerment in the country.

Elliott is trying to rally shareholder support for dividend payouts from Hyundai Motor and Hyundai Mobis for 2018 worth a combined 7 trillion won ($6.2 billion), saying the group should dispose of its excess capital.

That is more than six times higher than the $1 billion payouts proposed by the Hyundai affiliates, which say Elliott’s proposals would hamper future investments and acquisitions.

Elliott has also proposed five board nominees combined at Hyundai Motor and Hyundai Mobis to address “governance shortcomings”.

The campaign received a potentially fatal blow last week when South Korea’s National Pension Service, the second-biggest shareholder in the two firms, said Elliott’s demands were “excessive” and would cause “conflicts of interest”.

“I cannot help but think that Elliott is trying to make quick bucks and leave rather than enhancing long-term shareholder value,” said Kim Woo-chang, one of the members of the NPS panel which made the decision to vote against the proposals.

“Elliott’s strategy has failed. It was shortsighted,” Kim told Reuters.

The NPS holds stakes of 8.7 percent and 9.45 percent in Hyundai Motor and Hyundai Mobis, respectively. About 30 percent of the two firms are owned by Hyundai affiliates and family members. Resolutions require approval from a majority of the votes of shareholders present at the meetings.

As of November, Elliott held more than 2.5 percent of common stock in Hyundai Mobis, 3 percent in Hyundai Motor and 2.1 percent in affiliate Kia Motors.    

BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT

Questions about Hyundai Motor Group grew in 2014 when it paid $10 billion to buy land for a new headquarters in Seoul, three times the appraised value.

Some investors remain deeply troubled by that decision and want to see change at the conglomerate, even if they are not ready to support Elliott’s proposals.

“It is not that Elliott’s demand is nonsense. Hyundai has accumulated cash, and it has a poor track record of using cash,” said Park Yoo-kyung, a Hong Kong-based director of Dutch pension fund APG Asset Management, which holds shares in Hyundai Motor and Hyundai Mobis.

    “But we decided to give (the newly created board) the benefit of the doubt,” Park told Reuters.

Leading proxy advisor ISS has recommended investors vote for Elliott’s proposal to expand the board to 11 directors from nine at Hyundai Mobis to make room for director nominees from both the activist fund and management.

Seven out of nine funds which disclosed their proxy votes ahead of the meetings said they would back Elliott’s proposals for board changes at Hyundai Mobis, according to the website of Korea Corporate Governance Service.

The proponents include funds run by California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the largest U.S. public pension fund.

For Hyundai Motor, five out of six funds said they would vote against Elliott’s three director nominees, who will compete with Hyundai’s nominees to win board seats.

Once this battle is over Hyundai still faces the bigger challenge of revamping the group’s ownership structure, a process which is attracting close scrutiny from Elliott, NPS and other investors.

Elliott did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

($1 = 1,131.8200 won)

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Stephen Coates)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A woman looks at scarves on sale at a department store in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: A woman looks at scarves on sale at a department store in Tokyo March 30, 2012. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao

March 20, 2019

By Ritsuko Ando

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s 24-hour convenience stores are struggling to stay open around the clock as an industry that has continually expanded now finds itself at the sharp end of a labor shortage.

Franchise owners, some of whom were forced to work amid massive snowstorms or in the wake of a family death, have launched a campaign to persuade industry leader 7-Eleven to allow stores to close earlier.

Although the debate has focused on their plight, it has also raised doubts over the future of a $100 billion industry that faces an aging population, slow economic growth and new competitors such as Amazon Prime.

“The question is, how much demand is there for 24-hour service in an age when online shopping is expanding?” said Takayuki Kurabayashi, a Nomura Research Institute partner who specializes in consulting for the retail industry.

Japanese convenience stores began expanding in the 1970s as their 24-hour accessibility proved a perfect match with the country’s dense population and late-night work culture.

The brightly lit stores, which locals call “combini,” are ubiquitous and an essential part of modern Japanese life, offering everything from neckties to packaged “bento” lunches for city workers.

Rural Japanese rely on the stores for parcel and ATM services, or even as lifelines during disasters such as earthquakes.

The franchise system promoted a nationwide expansion that took the total number of stores to roughly 58,000 last year, a majority operated by the big three: 7-Eleven, originating in the U.S. but now Japanese-owned; FamilyMart, UNY Holdings’ convenience store arm; and Lawson, a subsidiary of trading house Mitsubishi Corp.

For years, the franchise model shielded operations from the direct effects of Japan’s labor crunch. But now, the tightest labor market more than 40 years is hurting store owners, who pay salaries after handing over royalty fees.

A union of convenience store owners said they were finding it increasingly hard to hire enough employees. Many owners said they worked long hours themselves to keep stores open 24 hours – a requirement in most franchise contracts.

“At the time of the agreement, we could not foresee the current labor shortage or spike in minimum wages,” said Mitoshi Matsumoto, a union member who owns a 7-Eleven store in Osaka, referring to the deal he and his wife signed with the company.

Struggling to keep the store running after his wife’s death last year, he began closing it for a few hours at night, and was threatened with a fine.

His pleas to management and lawmakers drew widespread sympathy in a country in which “work-life balance” has become a buzzword and employers have come under fire for cases of death by overwork.

Even the pro-business Nikkei newspaper wrote an editorial saying stores should be allowed reasonable working hours even if consumers suffer slight inconveniences.

Amid such pressure, the company said that on Thursday, it would begin testing shorter hours at 10 of its more than 20,700 stores. It emphasized that the change was experimental and that it was not yet altering its 24-7 format.

SATURATION AND INNOVATION

Roy Larke, who analyses Japan’s retail industry as editor of JapanConsuming.com, said he sees the sector as saturated and consolidation inevitable.

“We do have too many convenience stores now, sometimes literally next door to each other. There are probably around 10 percent too many,” he said.

Katsuhiko Shimizu, spokesman for Seven & i Holdings which owns 7-Eleven and general merchandise chain Ito-Yokado, disagreed.

“There’s room for innovation,” he said, citing the company’s efforts to incorporate more automation and artificial intelligence in processes ranging from stocking to check-out.

Chains are also testing new formats such as outlets that combine drugstores, dry cleaners and even gyms. FamilyMart has opened some such stores with the country’s largest discount chain, Don Quijote, to inject excitement.

Analysts warn against underestimating a sector known for maintaining high margins and rarely discounting, helped by constant product renewals and staples like 100-yen (90-cent) coffees.

They also say it’s too early to predict the outcome of Japan’s online grocery delivery race, which is only getting started.

Although Amazon’s grocery and same-day delivery services are considered threats, convenience stores are also launching online platforms; their affiliations with traditional supermarkets and logistics networks are seen as advantages.

“It’s not clear-cut whether Amazon will be overwhelmingly powerful here,” said Larke. “Especially in food, it doesn’t have the game to itself.”

Convenience stores, like other Japanese businesses, have also been expanding abroad. But Nomura Research’s Kurabayashi warned that those foreign markets, including China, were also aging.

“What’s happening in Japan is eventually going to happen elsewhere in Asia,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time.”

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Source: OANN

Former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said while speaking at Vanderbilt University on Tuesday that she spent the days after her election loss in November “plotting.”

“I don’t concede that I lost. I acknowledge that I’m not the governor of Georgia,” she said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “That’s made plain everyday I don’t walk into the Governor’s Mansion.”

“I upend the tradition of politics where you’re supposed to be genteel, say everything is fine. I didn’t do that,” Abrams continued. “I could fight just to fight, but the minute it becomes about me, it becomes a vanity project. … That can’t be the reason you do things. And I spent that 10-day period plotting. Revenge can be very cathartic.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 22: Ava Duvernay and Stacey Abrams speak onstage at the 3rd annual National Day of Racial Healing at Array on January 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

The former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives made headlines last week when she declared herself the victor in her gubernatorial election. (RELATED: Stacey Abrams’ Nonprofit Slapped With Its 7th Tax Lien)

“I did win my election,” she said, during an event nearly a week ago. “I just didn’t get to have the job.”

Abrams has claimed on multiple occasions that her opponent, Brian Kemp, who ran for election while serving as Georgia’s secretary of state, suppressed black and Democratic voters by removing them from the rolls and removing polling stations in primarily black precincts.

Other Democrats, such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker have all come out and alleged that Abrams was the rightful winner.

Follow Mike on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Former Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said while speaking at Vanderbilt University on Tuesday that she spent the days after her election loss in November “plotting.”

“I don’t concede that I lost. I acknowledge that I’m not the governor of Georgia,” she said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “That’s made plain everyday I don’t walk into the Governor’s Mansion.”

“I upend the tradition of politics where you’re supposed to be genteel, say everything is fine. I didn’t do that,” Abrams continued. “I could fight just to fight, but the minute it becomes about me, it becomes a vanity project. … That can’t be the reason you do things. And I spent that 10-day period plotting. Revenge can be very cathartic.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 22: Ava Duvernay and Stacey Abrams speak onstage at the 3rd annual National Day of Racial Healing at Array on January 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

The former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives made headlines last week when she declared herself the victor in her gubernatorial election. (RELATED: Stacey Abrams’ Nonprofit Slapped With Its 7th Tax Lien)

“I did win my election,” she said, during an event nearly a week ago. “I just didn’t get to have the job.”

Abrams has claimed on multiple occasions that her opponent, Brian Kemp, who ran for election while serving as Georgia’s secretary of state, suppressed black and Democratic voters by removing them from the rolls and removing polling stations in primarily black precincts.

Other Democrats, such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker have all come out and alleged that Abrams was the rightful winner.

Follow Mike on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Tennis: BNP Paribas Open-Day 9
FILE PHOTO: Mar 12, 2019; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Naomi Osaka (JPN) reacts after being defeated in her fourth round match against Belinda Bencic (not pictured) in the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

March 20, 2019

By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) – Serena and Venus Williams usually get top billing at the Miami Open but this year there is another sister act vying for the spotlight with world number one Naomi Osaka showing older sibling Mari the ropes.

The Williams sisters have hoisted the Miami trophy 11 times between them and all those victories were celebrated at Crandon Park in Key Biscayne.

But this year the tournament has moved to the suburbs and Hard Rock Stadium is Osaka country with Naomi and Mari growing up three miles away and learning to play tennis almost in the shadow of the Hard Rock home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, who are part-owned by the Williams sisters.

Naomi will be joined in the draw by her 338th-ranked sibling who needed a wildcard to get a place in the tournament.

“It is a bit weird that I have to give her advice and she is my older sister,” Naomi told reporters on Wednesday. “But she has been doing like newbie mistakes.

“Yesterday it rained out all day but she came here at 11 o’clock and her match was the fourth on.

“I mean, like, what are you doing? Stuff like that I have to talk to her about.”

The 21-year-old U.S.-based Japanese player has taken the tennis world by storm, winning the last two Grand Slams and amassing $10.8 million in prize money while Mari, one year older, tries to claw her way up the rankings with $58,000 in career earnings.

While Naomi now holds sway over her older sister, that was not always the case.

“Up until I was 15 she was 6-0ing me, it was ridiculous,” the Australian and U.S. Open champion said. “In the win-loss record she is up by a million or something.”

Naomi gets a first-round bye while Mari starts her campaign on Thursday against another wildcard in American Whitney Osuigwe.

On opposite sides of the draw, the only way the sisters could meet in Miami would be in an all-Osaka final.

Even if Mari’s stay ends up being short, however, Naomi is enjoying having her sister by her side.

“It’s nice because you can give each other advice especially if you have played the opponent,” Naomi said. “I really enjoy having her around, most of the time we don’t play the same tournaments.

“For me I don’t really talk to that many people and she is sort of the nicer one in this relationship.”

Mari Osaka’s focus will be getting past the first round and advancing any further would be considered a wild success but Naomi will have loftier objectives.

“I actually drove past this (stadium) a lot when I was a kid,” she said. “I grew up watching all these great players winning it so just to come from being a kid in the audience to being the one holding the trophy would mean a lot.”

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

A former operator of a spa that’s entangled in a prostitution investigation responded Wednesday to top Democrats’ call for the FBI to investigate her because of her ties to President Donald Trump and China.

“I’m Republican and I’m Chinese,” Li “Cindy” Yang told NBC News. “That’s the reason the Democrats want to check me.”

Yang sold Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, roughly seven years ago. Now the spa and its new operators are in the news after authorities charged New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in late February with soliciting a prostitute there. (RELATED: Brazil’s New President Says What He And Trump Have In Common: ‘We Are God-Fearing Men’)

Senate and House Democrats requested the FBI open criminal and counterintelligence investigations into Yang, reported ABC News. They point to media reports claiming Yang’s company GY Investments sells opportunities to get close to Trump to Chinese clients.

”Although Ms. Yang’s activities may only be those of an unscrupulous actor allegedly selling access to politicians for profit, her activities also could permit adversary governments or their agents access to these same politicians to acquire potential material for blackmail or other even more nefarious purposes,” the Democrats wrote in a March 15 letter according to NBC News.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft celebrates on Cambridge street during the New England Patriots Victory Parade on February 05, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Patriots owner Robert Kraft celebrates on Cambridge street during the New England Patriots Victory Parade on Feb. 5, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Yang told NBC News she has lived in the U.S. for roughly two decades and has not had contact with any Chinese government officials.

“I love Americans. I love our president. I don’t do anything wrong,” she said.

Yang has made numerous social media posts of photographs with Trump, including a selfie with the president at a Super Bowl party at the Trump International golf resort in Florida, reported NBC News. She is “part of a network of organizations pushing for Taiwan to return to Chinese control and that fall under the oversight of the Chinese government,” reported the Miami Herald.

Kraft is expected to reject a plea deal that would result in prosecutors dropping criminal charges against him for allegedly soliciting prostitutes, according to reports Wednesday. Many pundits have weighed in on the scandal, including CNN’s Michael Smerconish, who called investigating Kraft “the largest waste of resources since Jussie Smollett” on Feb. 23.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

Send tips to [email protected].

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

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

A former operator of a spa that’s entangled in a prostitution investigation responded Wednesday to top Democrats’ call for the FBI to investigate her because of her ties to President Donald Trump and China.

“I’m Republican and I’m Chinese,” Li “Cindy” Yang told NBC News. “That’s the reason the Democrats want to check me.”

Yang sold Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, roughly seven years ago. Now the spa and its new operators are in the news after authorities charged New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in late February with soliciting a prostitute there. (RELATED: Brazil’s New President Says What He And Trump Have In Common: ‘We Are God-Fearing Men’)

Senate and House Democrats requested the FBI open criminal and counterintelligence investigations into Yang, reported ABC News. They point to media reports claiming Yang’s company GY Investments sells opportunities to get close to Trump to Chinese clients.

”Although Ms. Yang’s activities may only be those of an unscrupulous actor allegedly selling access to politicians for profit, her activities also could permit adversary governments or their agents access to these same politicians to acquire potential material for blackmail or other even more nefarious purposes,” the Democrats wrote in a March 15 letter according to NBC News.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft celebrates on Cambridge street during the New England Patriots Victory Parade on February 05, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Patriots owner Robert Kraft celebrates on Cambridge street during the New England Patriots Victory Parade on Feb. 5, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Yang told NBC News she has lived in the U.S. for roughly two decades and has not had contact with any Chinese government officials.

“I love Americans. I love our president. I don’t do anything wrong,” she said.

Yang has made numerous social media posts of photographs with Trump, including a selfie with the president at a Super Bowl party at the Trump International golf resort in Florida, reported NBC News. She is “part of a network of organizations pushing for Taiwan to return to Chinese control and that fall under the oversight of the Chinese government,” reported the Miami Herald.

Kraft is expected to reject a plea deal that would result in prosecutors dropping criminal charges against him for allegedly soliciting prostitutes, according to reports Wednesday. Many pundits have weighed in on the scandal, including CNN’s Michael Smerconish, who called investigating Kraft “the largest waste of resources since Jussie Smollett” on Feb. 23.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

Send tips to [email protected].

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: Dustin Johnson of the U.S. stands on the putting green before withdrawing from the 2017 Masters in Augusta
FILE PHOTO: Dustin Johnson of the U.S. and his caddie Austin Johnson stand on the putting green shortly before Dustin Johnson withdrew from play due to injury during the first round of the 2017 Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, U.S., April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

March 20, 2019

(Reuters) – Nearly two years after Dustin Johnson was knocked out of the Masters when he injured his back slipping on stairs on the tournament’s eve, his caddie and brother Austin has broken a bone in his hand in a similar mishap.

Austin suffered the injury while packing up on Sunday night at the rental house where the brothers were staying at the Players Championship in Florida, world number one Dustin told reporters.

“He had a bit of a run-in with a pair of stairs, kind of like I did,” Dustin said on Wednesday on the eve of the Valspar Championship in Palm Harbor, Florida.

“Those stairs, man, they’ll get you.”

Austin is not letting the injury prevent him from his professional duties.

He caddied in the pro-am at Innisbrook on Wednesday with his left arm in a sling and a cast on his wrist.

Dustin was the hot favorite at the 2017 Masters, as world number one and coming off the back off three straight victories.

The back injury, which he described as severe bruising, kept him out of action for a month.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during Friday prayers in Tehran
FILE PHOTO – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during Friday prayers in Tehran September 14, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/File Photo

March 20, 2019

GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday in a new year speech broadcast on state TV that the Islamic Republic successfully resisted “unprecedented, strong” U.S. sanctions.

Iran has faced economic hardship since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from a multilateral nuclear deal last year and reimposed sanctions.

Khamenei also said that economic hardship and the fall of the currency remain top problems and that the government should confront these issues by boosting production.

(Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO - Khalilzad listens to speakers during a panel discussion on Afghanistan at the Conservative Political Action conference (CPAC) in Washington
FILE PHOTO – Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations, listens to speakers during a panel discussion on Afghanistan at the Conservative Political Action conference (CPAC) in Washington, February 12, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

March 20, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, will meet with Chinese, Russian and European Union diplomats on Afghanistan on Thursday as he tries to forge a peace deal with the Taliban to bring an end to America’s longest war.

“Discussion topics include international support for the Afghan peace process, the role each party can play in bringing an end to the war, and progress to date in peace talks,” the State Department said in a statement.

The meeting at the State Department will include Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan; Deng Xijun, his Chinese counterpart; and Roland Kobia, the EU’s special envoy.

Khalilzad will brief them on his recent talks in Doha, Qatar, with the Taliban, where the United States reported progress but no final deal on a withdrawal of U.S.-led international forces.

The Taliban rejects direct negotiations with the Kabul government led by President Ashraf Ghani, accusing it of being a U.S. puppet.

U.S. negotiators are pressing the Taliban to accept a ceasefire and talks on Afghanistan’s political future with representatives of Afghan society, including Ghani’s government. But the talks have primarily focused on the Taliban’s counter-terrorism assurances and a U.S. troop withdrawal.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO - Khalilzad listens to speakers during a panel discussion on Afghanistan at the Conservative Political Action conference (CPAC) in Washington
FILE PHOTO – Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations, listens to speakers during a panel discussion on Afghanistan at the Conservative Political Action conference (CPAC) in Washington, February 12, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

March 20, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. special representative for Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, will meet with Chinese, Russian and European Union diplomats on Afghanistan on Thursday as he tries to forge a peace deal with the Taliban to bring an end to America’s longest war.

“Discussion topics include international support for the Afghan peace process, the role each party can play in bringing an end to the war, and progress to date in peace talks,” the State Department said in a statement.

The meeting at the State Department will include Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s presidential envoy to Afghanistan; Deng Xijun, his Chinese counterpart; and Roland Kobia, the EU’s special envoy.

Khalilzad will brief them on his recent talks in Doha, Qatar, with the Taliban, where the United States reported progress but no final deal on a withdrawal of U.S.-led international forces.

The Taliban rejects direct negotiations with the Kabul government led by President Ashraf Ghani, accusing it of being a U.S. puppet.

U.S. negotiators are pressing the Taliban to accept a ceasefire and talks on Afghanistan’s political future with representatives of Afghan society, including Ghani’s government. But the talks have primarily focused on the Taliban’s counter-terrorism assurances and a U.S. troop withdrawal.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: An AT&T logo is seen at a AT&T building in New York City
FILE PHOTO: An AT&T logo is seen at a AT&T building in New York City, October 23, 2016. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – AT&T Inc Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said Wednesday that China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is making it very difficult for European carriers to drop the company from its supply chain for next-generation 5G wireless service.

“If you have deployed Huawei as your 4G network, Huawei is not allowing interoperability to 5G — meaning if you are 4G, you are stuck with Huawei for 5G,” said Stephenson at a speech in Washington. “When the Europeans say we got a problem — that’s their problem. They really don’t have an option to go to somebody else.”

The United States has been pressuring other countries to drop Huawei from their networks. Stephenson said the U.S. government could do a better job explaining the security risks of Huawei. “The biggest risk is not that the Chinese government might listen in on our conversations or mine our data if we use their equipment,” Stephenson said.

Within a decade, 5G will drive all U.S. factories, utilities, refineries, traffic management and help underpin autonomous vehicles. “If that much of infrastructure will be attached to this kind of technology do we want to be cautious about who is the underlying company behind that technology. We damn well better be,” Stephenson said.

Huawei did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

The United States warns that next-generation 5G equipment, which some telecoms experts see as more vulnerable to attack than previous technology, could be exploited by the Chinese government for spying if supplied by Huawei.

Huawei has grown rapidly to become the world’s biggest maker of telecoms equipment and is embedded in the mobile networks and 5G plans of many European operators. It denies that its technology represents a security risk.

In the United States, 5G networks will largely be built by Nordic equipment makers Ericsson and Nokia , and Strayer said there were safer alternatives to Huawei.

The United States has also alleged Huawei violated its sanctions on Iran and stole intellectual property. No evidence of spying has been presented publicly even as scrutiny on Huawei has intensified, and several Western countries have restricted the firm’s access to their markets.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday Germany was not planning to exclude any one company from its 5G auction per se, but rather wanted bidders in the mobile spectrum auction to meet certain requirements.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO - Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud attends the 2019 budget meeting in Riyadh
FILE PHOTO – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud attends the 2019 budget meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 18, 2018. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS

March 20, 2019

CAIRO (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud called Morocco’s King Mohammed VI to review “brotherly relations” between the two countries, state news agency SPA said on Wednesday.

Moroccan media last month said Morocco has recalled its ambassador to Saudi Arabia for consultations, indicating cracks in relations between the traditional Sunni Muslim allies over Yemen, Qatar and Western Sahara.

The call also discussed regional and international events, SPA added.

(Reporting by Hesham Hajali; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Source: OANN

Katie Jerkovich | Entertainment Reporter

Jenny McCarthy opened up about her time as a co-host on “The View” with Barbara Walters and compared the former ABC daytime host to Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest.”

“Hopefully, I get the Barbara Walters who is nice,” the 46-year-old actress recalled telling herself every day at the studio during her time on the daytime talk show, according to an excerpt shared Wednesday by Vulture from Ramin Setoodeh’s book “Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of ‘The View.‘”  (RELATED: Jenny McCarthy Just Revealed When She’s Posing Nude Next)

Nick Cannon, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke attend the FOX's "The Masked Singer" Premiere in Los Angeles, California, on December 13, 2018. (Photo credit:LISA O'CONNOR/AFP/Getty Images)

Nick Cannon, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke attend the FOX’s “The Masked Singer” Premiere in Los Angeles, California, on December 13, 2018. (Photo credit:LISA O’CONNOR/AFP/Getty Images)

“You know the movie ‘Mommie Dearest’? I remember as a child watching that movie and going, ‘Holy cow,’” she added. “I’ve never seen a woman yell like that before until I worked with Barbara Walters.”(RELATED: Joy Behar: Female Trump Voters Don’t Know The Difference Between A Predator And A Protector)

McCarthy continued, “Imagine a woman like Barbara Walters. It’s her last year and she doesn’t want to leave. Think about that. And I’m the new bitch there.”

The “Masked Singer” judge also said that besides being brought on the show from 2013-2014 to talk pop culture, she was told they couldn’t “do pop culture anymore because [Walters] doesn’t know who the people are” and would have to learn political issues.

“I panicked because I don’t consider myself a political person,” McCarthy explained. “Now I had to figure out, ‘Am I coming out as a Republican or a Democrat? Where do I stand on all the social issues and political issues?’”

“I was going to work crying. I couldn’t be myself,” she added. “My fans were telling me, ‘Where’s Jenny? They aren’t letting you be you.’”

McCarthy continued, “Every day I went home and I was miserable. It really was the most miserable I’ve been on a job in my 25 years of show business. I kicked myself for not taking the CBS job, of course.”

Source: The Daily Caller

Katie Jerkovich | Entertainment Reporter

Jenny McCarthy opened up about her time as a co-host on “The View” with Barbara Walters and compared the former ABC daytime host to Joan Crawford in “Mommie Dearest.”

“Hopefully, I get the Barbara Walters who is nice,” the 46-year-old actress recalled telling herself every day at the studio during her time on the daytime talk show, according to an excerpt shared Wednesday by Vulture from Ramin Setoodeh’s book “Ladies Who Punch: The Explosive Inside Story of ‘The View.‘”  (RELATED: Jenny McCarthy Just Revealed When She’s Posing Nude Next)

Nick Cannon, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke attend the FOX's "The Masked Singer" Premiere in Los Angeles, California, on December 13, 2018. (Photo credit:LISA O'CONNOR/AFP/Getty Images)

Nick Cannon, Jenny McCarthy, Ken Jeong and Robin Thicke attend the FOX’s “The Masked Singer” Premiere in Los Angeles, California, on December 13, 2018. (Photo credit:LISA O’CONNOR/AFP/Getty Images)

“You know the movie ‘Mommie Dearest’? I remember as a child watching that movie and going, ‘Holy cow,’” she added. “I’ve never seen a woman yell like that before until I worked with Barbara Walters.”(RELATED: Joy Behar: Female Trump Voters Don’t Know The Difference Between A Predator And A Protector)

McCarthy continued, “Imagine a woman like Barbara Walters. It’s her last year and she doesn’t want to leave. Think about that. And I’m the new bitch there.”

The “Masked Singer” judge also said that besides being brought on the show from 2013-2014 to talk pop culture, she was told they couldn’t “do pop culture anymore because [Walters] doesn’t know who the people are” and would have to learn political issues.

“I panicked because I don’t consider myself a political person,” McCarthy explained. “Now I had to figure out, ‘Am I coming out as a Republican or a Democrat? Where do I stand on all the social issues and political issues?’”

“I was going to work crying. I couldn’t be myself,” she added. “My fans were telling me, ‘Where’s Jenny? They aren’t letting you be you.’”

McCarthy continued, “Every day I went home and I was miserable. It really was the most miserable I’ve been on a job in my 25 years of show business. I kicked myself for not taking the CBS job, of course.”

Source: The Daily Caller

Mason Thibault | Contributor

Running out of battery for any of your devices sucks in such a digitally-connected age, but lets face it sometimes running out of all of them puts you in a real bind. Say your on the road, without a car charger, your phone is dead and your car battery dies. What do you do?

This power station can reliably charge most of your devices in the event of an emergency or for recreation (Photo via Jackery)

This power station can reliably charge most of your devices in the event of an emergency or for recreation (Photo via Jackery)

With 30-day money back guarantee, Jackery is dedicated to providing products you love

If your answer is panic, perhaps you need to learn about this official Honda licensed product created by Jackery, a brand dedicated to always providing power while you are outdoors.

For that reason, this Lithium-Ion portable power station features 292 Watt-hour energy storage. For reference this thing can charge your phone fully about 20 seperate times before it needs to be recharged it. With multiple outputs including USB, AC output, and a 12V car port, you can charge everything from a mini fridge to a 32 inch TV! Its basically like owning a mini power plant that fits in your car.

Plus, the HLS290 is solar-ready (if you buy compatible solar panels you can charge this thing while outside and essentially get free unlimited power depending on the weather). So what are you waiting for, aside from serving as a reliable power source in case of emergency, this HLS290 gives you everything you need for recreation on the go, and for $399.99, this thing is an absolute steal. I may need to pick one up soon!

(Photo via Jackery)

(Photo via Jackery)

If you like this power station, be sure to check out more Jackery products now and receive free shipping and a 2 year warranty on orders over $50 

Have a suggestion for a cool product or great deal that you think Daily Caller readers need to know about? Email the Daily Dealer at [email protected].

Follow The Daily Dealer on Twitter and Facebook

The Daily Caller is devoted to showing you things that you’ll like or find interesting. This is a sponsored post. We do have partnerships with affiliates, so The Daily Caller may get a small share of the revenue from any purchase.

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: People walk outside the central bank headquarters building in Brasilia
FILE PHOTO: People walk outside the central bank headquarters building in Brasilia, Brazil, September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

March 20, 2019

By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low 6.50 percent on Wednesday, as expected, while noting that recent economic data has been weaker than expected and that inflation risks are no longer skewed to the upside.

The bank’s nine-member monetary policy committee, known as Copom, voted unanimously to keep the benchmark Selic rate unchanged for the eighth straight meeting, as forecast by all 21 economists in a Reuters poll. [BR/INT]

In a sign that new central bank chief Roberto Campos Neto will stay the steady course set out by his predecessor, Copom repeated a line from recent policy statements that policy is best determined with “caution, serenity and perseverance.”

In a shift from its February statement, however, Copom said on Wednesday that risks to inflation are symmetrical. Six weeks ago the committee said inflation risks were skewed to the upside but moderating.

“Recent data on economic activity came in below expectations,” policymakers said in their statement.

“On the one hand, the high level of economic slack may lead to a lower-than-expected prospective inflation trajectory. On the other hand, frustration of expectations regarding the continuation of reforms…may affect risk premia and increase the path for inflation over the relevant horizon,” they said

Copom has long stressed the importance of economic reforms and adjustments – the biggest of which is an overhaul of social security recently presented in Congress – to keep inflation anchored and improve the outlook for Brazil’s economy.

(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Brad Haynes and Alistair Bell)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: People walk outside the central bank headquarters building in Brasilia
FILE PHOTO: People walk outside the central bank headquarters building in Brasilia, Brazil, September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

March 20, 2019

By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low 6.50 percent on Wednesday, as expected, while noting that recent economic data has been weaker than expected and that inflation risks are no longer skewed to the upside.

The bank’s nine-member monetary policy committee, known as Copom, voted unanimously to keep the benchmark Selic rate unchanged for the eighth straight meeting, as forecast by all 21 economists in a Reuters poll. [BR/INT]

In a sign that new central bank chief Roberto Campos Neto will stay the steady course set out by his predecessor, Copom repeated a line from recent policy statements that policy is best determined with “caution, serenity and perseverance.”

In a shift from its February statement, however, Copom said on Wednesday that risks to inflation are symmetrical. Six weeks ago the committee said inflation risks were skewed to the upside but moderating.

“Recent data on economic activity came in below expectations,” policymakers said in their statement.

“On the one hand, the high level of economic slack may lead to a lower-than-expected prospective inflation trajectory. On the other hand, frustration of expectations regarding the continuation of reforms…may affect risk premia and increase the path for inflation over the relevant horizon,” they said

Copom has long stressed the importance of economic reforms and adjustments – the biggest of which is an overhaul of social security recently presented in Congress – to keep inflation anchored and improve the outlook for Brazil’s economy.

(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Brad Haynes and Alistair Bell)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: People walk outside the central bank headquarters building in Brasilia
FILE PHOTO: People walk outside the central bank headquarters building in Brasilia, Brazil, September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

March 20, 2019

By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at a record low 6.50 percent on Wednesday, as expected, while noting that recent economic data has been weaker than expected and that inflation risks are no longer skewed to the upside.

The bank’s nine-member monetary policy committee, known as Copom, voted unanimously to keep the benchmark Selic rate unchanged for the eighth straight meeting, as forecast by all 21 economists in a Reuters poll. [BR/INT]

In a sign that new central bank chief Roberto Campos Neto will stay the steady course set out by his predecessor, Copom repeated a line from recent policy statements that policy is best determined with “caution, serenity and perseverance.”

In a shift from its February statement, however, Copom said on Wednesday that risks to inflation are symmetrical. Six weeks ago the committee said inflation risks were skewed to the upside but moderating.

“Recent data on economic activity came in below expectations,” policymakers said in their statement.

“On the one hand, the high level of economic slack may lead to a lower-than-expected prospective inflation trajectory. On the other hand, frustration of expectations regarding the continuation of reforms…may affect risk premia and increase the path for inflation over the relevant horizon,” they said

Copom has long stressed the importance of economic reforms and adjustments – the biggest of which is an overhaul of social security recently presented in Congress – to keep inflation anchored and improve the outlook for Brazil’s economy.

(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Brad Haynes and Alistair Bell)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG poses for a picture during the annual results news conference of the German drugmaker in Leverkusen
FILE PHOTO: Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG poses for a picture during the annual results news conference of the German drugmaker in Leverkusen, Germany February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Tina Bellon

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bayer AG had hoped a new trial strategy focusing jurors on scientific evidence could stem a burgeoning tide of U.S. lawsuits over its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup, but a second jury finding on Tuesday that the product caused cancer has narrowed the company’s options, some legal experts said.

Bayer shares tumbled more than 12 percent on Wednesday after a unanimous jury in San Francisco federal court found Roundup to be a “substantial factor” in causing California resident Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The jury decision was a blow to Bayer after the judge in the Hardeman case, at the company’s request, had split the trial, severely limiting evidence plaintiffs could present in the first phase. Tuesday’s defeat on terms considered advantageous to Bayer sets up the second phase to be even tougher and limits the grounds on which the company could appeal any final verdict, the experts said.

“The fact that Bayer lost this trial despite it being set up in the most favorable way for them is a huge setback,” said Thomas Rohback, a Connecticut-based defense lawyer.

Bayer in a statement on Tuesday said it stood behind the safety of Roundup and was confident the evidence in the second trial phase would show that Monsanto’s conduct was appropriate and the company not liable for Hardeman’s cancer.

The company, which bought Monsanto last year, on Wednesday declined to comment beyond that statement.

Tuesday’s finding did not address liability, which will be determined following the second trial phase that began on Wednesday.

Bayer denies glyphosate or Roundup cause cancer. The German company faces more than 11,200 lawsuits over the popular weed killer. Last August, following the first Roundup trial, a California state court jury issued a $289 million verdict against the company.

Two weeks after that verdict, which was later reduced to $78 million and is being appealed, Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann reassured analysts that the company had a new legal strategy based on focusing jurors on the scientific evidence.

“Bayer and the joint litigation team are working to ensure that, going forward, this overwhelming science will get the full consideration it deserves,” Baumann said in an Aug. 23 conference call.

A LOT AT STAKE

There is a lot at stake for Bayer, which acquired Roundup maker Monsanto last year for $63 billion. Though Bayer does not break out sales figures for Roundup, glyphosate is the world’s most widely used weed killer, and Roundup is the leading brand.

Bayer’s new strategy was focused on keeping out plaintiffs’ allegations that the company improperly influenced scientists, regulators and the public about the safety of Roundup. Bayer has denied it acted inappropriately and said in public statements following the August verdict that it thought the jury was inflamed by the claims of corporate misconduct.

Vince Chhabria, the San Francisco federal judge overseeing the Hardeman case, agreed with the company’s argument that such evidence was a “distraction” from the scientific question of whether glyphosate causes cancer. He agreed to split the trial in a January order.

Had Bayer had won the first phase, there would have been no second phase looking at company liability. Now that it has lost, almost all of the previously excluded evidence can be presented to the jury.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers hit Bayer with those allegations in their opening statements for the second phase on Wednesday. Aimee Wagstaff, one of Hardeman’s lawyers, said Monsanto influenced the science around Roundup through its “cozy” relationship with regulators.

Bayer could convince the jury in the second phase that, despite their finding that Roundup played a substantial role in Hardeman’s cancer, the company was not liable. Experts said that was unlikely.

“They could present evidence of how careful they were in developing Roundup, but that’s an uphill battle given that the scientific evidence was their strongest argument,” said Alexandra Lahav, a law professor at the University of Connecticut.

A lawyer for Bayer on Wednesday argued that Bayer could not be held liable because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as other regulators worldwide, approved Roundup without a cancer warning.

If the Hardeman trial had not been split and a final verdict went against Bayer, the company might have been able to appeal any damages award to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by claiming the jury had been improperly swayed by inflammatory evidence, said Lori Jarvis, a Virginia-based mass tort defense lawyer. That argument will now be difficult to make.

“It would not be surprising at all for the 9th Circuit to uphold what the jury did in this case, particularly given the great effort Chhabria put into creating a level playing field for Monsanto,” Jarvis said.

Some lawyers said Bayer could still argue on appeal that plaintiffs’ experts and their scientific evidence were insufficient and statistically invalid and should not have been admitted at trial. But they noted the 9th Circuit, which oversees the San Francisco federal court, has generally been permissive in allowing expert testimony.

However, experts said it was probably too soon to write off Bayer’s legal strategy, noting future Roundup cases could result in different outcomes.

“It’s a relatively early phase in this litigation as a whole and we just need to see more trials to understand Bayer’s liability,” said Adam Zimmerman, a law professor at Los Angeles-based Loyola Law School.

(Reporting by Tina Bellon; Editing by Anthony Lin and Bill Berkrot)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG poses for a picture during the annual results news conference of the German drugmaker in Leverkusen
FILE PHOTO: Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG poses for a picture during the annual results news conference of the German drugmaker in Leverkusen, Germany February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Tina Bellon

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bayer AG had hoped a new trial strategy focusing jurors on scientific evidence could stem a burgeoning tide of U.S. lawsuits over its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup, but a second jury finding on Tuesday that the product caused cancer has narrowed the company’s options, some legal experts said.

Bayer shares tumbled more than 12 percent on Wednesday after a unanimous jury in San Francisco federal court found Roundup to be a “substantial factor” in causing California resident Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The jury decision was a blow to Bayer after the judge in the Hardeman case, at the company’s request, had split the trial, severely limiting evidence plaintiffs could present in the first phase. Tuesday’s defeat on terms considered advantageous to Bayer sets up the second phase to be even tougher and limits the grounds on which the company could appeal any final verdict, the experts said.

“The fact that Bayer lost this trial despite it being set up in the most favorable way for them is a huge setback,” said Thomas Rohback, a Connecticut-based defense lawyer.

Bayer in a statement on Tuesday said it stood behind the safety of Roundup and was confident the evidence in the second trial phase would show that Monsanto’s conduct was appropriate and the company not liable for Hardeman’s cancer.

The company, which bought Monsanto last year, on Wednesday declined to comment beyond that statement.

Tuesday’s finding did not address liability, which will be determined following the second trial phase that began on Wednesday.

Bayer denies glyphosate or Roundup cause cancer. The German company faces more than 11,200 lawsuits over the popular weed killer. Last August, following the first Roundup trial, a California state court jury issued a $289 million verdict against the company.

Two weeks after that verdict, which was later reduced to $78 million and is being appealed, Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann reassured analysts that the company had a new legal strategy based on focusing jurors on the scientific evidence.

“Bayer and the joint litigation team are working to ensure that, going forward, this overwhelming science will get the full consideration it deserves,” Baumann said in an Aug. 23 conference call.

A LOT AT STAKE

There is a lot at stake for Bayer, which acquired Roundup maker Monsanto last year for $63 billion. Though Bayer does not break out sales figures for Roundup, glyphosate is the world’s most widely used weed killer, and Roundup is the leading brand.

Bayer’s new strategy was focused on keeping out plaintiffs’ allegations that the company improperly influenced scientists, regulators and the public about the safety of Roundup. Bayer has denied it acted inappropriately and said in public statements following the August verdict that it thought the jury was inflamed by the claims of corporate misconduct.

Vince Chhabria, the San Francisco federal judge overseeing the Hardeman case, agreed with the company’s argument that such evidence was a “distraction” from the scientific question of whether glyphosate causes cancer. He agreed to split the trial in a January order.

Had Bayer had won the first phase, there would have been no second phase looking at company liability. Now that it has lost, almost all of the previously excluded evidence can be presented to the jury.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers hit Bayer with those allegations in their opening statements for the second phase on Wednesday. Aimee Wagstaff, one of Hardeman’s lawyers, said Monsanto influenced the science around Roundup through its “cozy” relationship with regulators.

Bayer could convince the jury in the second phase that, despite their finding that Roundup played a substantial role in Hardeman’s cancer, the company was not liable. Experts said that was unlikely.

“They could present evidence of how careful they were in developing Roundup, but that’s an uphill battle given that the scientific evidence was their strongest argument,” said Alexandra Lahav, a law professor at the University of Connecticut.

A lawyer for Bayer on Wednesday argued that Bayer could not be held liable because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as other regulators worldwide, approved Roundup without a cancer warning.

If the Hardeman trial had not been split and a final verdict went against Bayer, the company might have been able to appeal any damages award to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by claiming the jury had been improperly swayed by inflammatory evidence, said Lori Jarvis, a Virginia-based mass tort defense lawyer. That argument will now be difficult to make.

“It would not be surprising at all for the 9th Circuit to uphold what the jury did in this case, particularly given the great effort Chhabria put into creating a level playing field for Monsanto,” Jarvis said.

Some lawyers said Bayer could still argue on appeal that plaintiffs’ experts and their scientific evidence were insufficient and statistically invalid and should not have been admitted at trial. But they noted the 9th Circuit, which oversees the San Francisco federal court, has generally been permissive in allowing expert testimony.

However, experts said it was probably too soon to write off Bayer’s legal strategy, noting future Roundup cases could result in different outcomes.

“It’s a relatively early phase in this litigation as a whole and we just need to see more trials to understand Bayer’s liability,” said Adam Zimmerman, a law professor at Los Angeles-based Loyola Law School.

(Reporting by Tina Bellon; Editing by Anthony Lin and Bill Berkrot)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG poses for a picture during the annual results news conference of the German drugmaker in Leverkusen
FILE PHOTO: Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG poses for a picture during the annual results news conference of the German drugmaker in Leverkusen, Germany February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Tina Bellon

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bayer AG had hoped a new trial strategy focusing jurors on scientific evidence could stem a burgeoning tide of U.S. lawsuits over its glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup, but a second jury finding on Tuesday that the product caused cancer has narrowed the company’s options, some legal experts said.

Bayer shares tumbled more than 12 percent on Wednesday after a unanimous jury in San Francisco federal court found Roundup to be a “substantial factor” in causing California resident Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The jury decision was a blow to Bayer after the judge in the Hardeman case, at the company’s request, had split the trial, severely limiting evidence plaintiffs could present in the first phase. Tuesday’s defeat on terms considered advantageous to Bayer sets up the second phase to be even tougher and limits the grounds on which the company could appeal any final verdict, the experts said.

“The fact that Bayer lost this trial despite it being set up in the most favorable way for them is a huge setback,” said Thomas Rohback, a Connecticut-based defense lawyer.

Bayer in a statement on Tuesday said it stood behind the safety of Roundup and was confident the evidence in the second trial phase would show that Monsanto’s conduct was appropriate and the company not liable for Hardeman’s cancer.

The company, which bought Monsanto last year, on Wednesday declined to comment beyond that statement.

Tuesday’s finding did not address liability, which will be determined following the second trial phase that began on Wednesday.

Bayer denies glyphosate or Roundup cause cancer. The German company faces more than 11,200 lawsuits over the popular weed killer. Last August, following the first Roundup trial, a California state court jury issued a $289 million verdict against the company.

Two weeks after that verdict, which was later reduced to $78 million and is being appealed, Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann reassured analysts that the company had a new legal strategy based on focusing jurors on the scientific evidence.

“Bayer and the joint litigation team are working to ensure that, going forward, this overwhelming science will get the full consideration it deserves,” Baumann said in an Aug. 23 conference call.

A LOT AT STAKE

There is a lot at stake for Bayer, which acquired Roundup maker Monsanto last year for $63 billion. Though Bayer does not break out sales figures for Roundup, glyphosate is the world’s most widely used weed killer, and Roundup is the leading brand.

Bayer’s new strategy was focused on keeping out plaintiffs’ allegations that the company improperly influenced scientists, regulators and the public about the safety of Roundup. Bayer has denied it acted inappropriately and said in public statements following the August verdict that it thought the jury was inflamed by the claims of corporate misconduct.

Vince Chhabria, the San Francisco federal judge overseeing the Hardeman case, agreed with the company’s argument that such evidence was a “distraction” from the scientific question of whether glyphosate causes cancer. He agreed to split the trial in a January order.

Had Bayer had won the first phase, there would have been no second phase looking at company liability. Now that it has lost, almost all of the previously excluded evidence can be presented to the jury.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers hit Bayer with those allegations in their opening statements for the second phase on Wednesday. Aimee Wagstaff, one of Hardeman’s lawyers, said Monsanto influenced the science around Roundup through its “cozy” relationship with regulators.

Bayer could convince the jury in the second phase that, despite their finding that Roundup played a substantial role in Hardeman’s cancer, the company was not liable. Experts said that was unlikely.

“They could present evidence of how careful they were in developing Roundup, but that’s an uphill battle given that the scientific evidence was their strongest argument,” said Alexandra Lahav, a law professor at the University of Connecticut.

A lawyer for Bayer on Wednesday argued that Bayer could not be held liable because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as other regulators worldwide, approved Roundup without a cancer warning.

If the Hardeman trial had not been split and a final verdict went against Bayer, the company might have been able to appeal any damages award to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by claiming the jury had been improperly swayed by inflammatory evidence, said Lori Jarvis, a Virginia-based mass tort defense lawyer. That argument will now be difficult to make.

“It would not be surprising at all for the 9th Circuit to uphold what the jury did in this case, particularly given the great effort Chhabria put into creating a level playing field for Monsanto,” Jarvis said.

Some lawyers said Bayer could still argue on appeal that plaintiffs’ experts and their scientific evidence were insufficient and statistically invalid and should not have been admitted at trial. But they noted the 9th Circuit, which oversees the San Francisco federal court, has generally been permissive in allowing expert testimony.

However, experts said it was probably too soon to write off Bayer’s legal strategy, noting future Roundup cases could result in different outcomes.

“It’s a relatively early phase in this litigation as a whole and we just need to see more trials to understand Bayer’s liability,” said Adam Zimmerman, a law professor at Los Angeles-based Loyola Law School.

(Reporting by Tina Bellon; Editing by Anthony Lin and Bill Berkrot)

Source: OANN

Freshman Florida Rep. Greg Steube was one of four Republicans to introduce a resolution last week condemning anti-Semitism that specifically addresses comments made by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Steube introduced the resolution, which he doesn’t believe will get passed, with Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, Jeff Duncan and Louie Gohmert in response to the resolution the House passed condemning all forms of bigotry that didn’t name Omar. Many have interpreted the freshman Minnesota rep.’s comments as anti-Semitic.

“I filed my own resolution because I believe that we need to set an example, not just for the country as members of Congress calling out racial and anti-Semitic remarks,” Steube told The Daily Caller Wednesday, adding, “but we need to set an example for the world that we’re not going to put up with that type of behavior, especially from a member of Congress and deal with it directly.”

The resolution mentions Omar’s now-deleted 2012 tweet in which she accused Israel of having “hypnotized the world.” She doubled down on this tweet before eventually apologizing for it and it also listed her more recent accusation that a pro-Israel lobbying group pays for Congressional support for Israel. It also referenced her questioning if some members of Congress have a “dual loyalty” to the United States and Israel. (RELATED: Omar’s Experiences Are ‘More Personal’ Than Children Of Holocaust Survivors)

Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket, speaks to a group of supporters in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 6, 2018. - US voters elected two Muslim women, both Democrats, to Congress on November 6, 2018, marking a historic first in a country where anti-Muslim rhetoric has been on the rise, American networks reported. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee, won a House seat in a heavily-Democratic district in the Midwestern state of Minnesota, where she will succeed Keith Ellison, himself the first Muslim elected to Congress. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP)

Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket … (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP)

The “dual loyalty” comment specifically spurred the resolution condemning all types of bigotry, which is why Steube felt like he needed to draft a separate resolution specifically addressing anti-Semitism. Omar has apologized for the 2012 tweet and for the congressional support allegation but has not issued an apology for posing the “dual loyalty” question.

Steube added, “So, after the first time when she got called out for the first remark when she was a congress[wo]man. After her own leadership condemned her statements, she apologized and then she had, after that anti-Semitic remarks that she hasn’t apologized for. The result of that was a watered-down resolution condemning hate in general and not addressing her specific anti-Semitic remarks.”

Many of the people who defended Omar were quick to suggest that the criticism against her was misguided and disingenuous with some bringing up the question of whether or not criticizing the Israeli government is considered anti-Semitic.

“Anyone can be critical of policy decisions. I mean, we have that debate in the halls of Congress every day,” Steube said, but explained that Omar’s “remarks” were “nowehere near” criticizing policy decisions. “I think anybody can debate policy and decisions that are made by leaders of different countries, but that doesn’t give you latitude to be anti-Semitic.”

Republican House member-elect Dan Crenshaw (R) … (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Omar, one of the first female Muslim members of Congress, published an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she lays out her foreign policy beliefs for the region including where she called for “a two-state solution, with internationally recognized borders.”

The Florida Republican said that he had read parts of Omar’s op-ed. In response to what her stance is, he said:

In order to truly have peace in that region the Palestinians are going to have to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a country and denounce terrorism. And they still have failed to do that and they still, as far as I know, unwilling to do that. And until you have the Palestinian government say, Palestinian Authority, say that Israel has a right to exist in the country, in that region and denounce terrorism, I don’t see how you can ever have, even start to begin the process of negotiating a peace agreement because the very existence of Israel as a country, they don’t support.

Steube declined to comment on the indictment of sitting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Follow Mike on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

Freshman Florida Rep. Greg Steube was one of four Republicans to introduce a resolution last week condemning anti-Semitism that specifically addresses comments made by Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Steube introduced the resolution, which he doesn’t believe will get passed, with Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, Jeff Duncan and Louie Gohmert in response to the resolution the House passed condemning all forms of bigotry that didn’t name Omar. Many have interpreted the freshman Minnesota rep.’s comments as anti-Semitic.

“I filed my own resolution because I believe that we need to set an example, not just for the country as members of Congress calling out racial and anti-Semitic remarks,” Steube told The Daily Caller Wednesday, adding, “but we need to set an example for the world that we’re not going to put up with that type of behavior, especially from a member of Congress and deal with it directly.”

The resolution mentions Omar’s now-deleted 2012 tweet in which she accused Israel of having “hypnotized the world.” She doubled down on this tweet before eventually apologizing for it and it also listed her more recent accusation that a pro-Israel lobbying group pays for Congressional support for Israel. It also referenced her questioning if some members of Congress have a “dual loyalty” to the United States and Israel. (RELATED: Omar’s Experiences Are ‘More Personal’ Than Children Of Holocaust Survivors)

Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket, speaks to a group of supporters in Minneapolis, Minnesota on November 6, 2018. - US voters elected two Muslim women, both Democrats, to Congress on November 6, 2018, marking a historic first in a country where anti-Muslim rhetoric has been on the rise, American networks reported. Ilhan Omar, a Somali refugee, won a House seat in a heavily-Democratic district in the Midwestern state of Minnesota, where she will succeed Keith Ellison, himself the first Muslim elected to Congress. (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP)

Ilhan Omar, newly elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket … (Photo by Kerem Yucel / AFP)

The “dual loyalty” comment specifically spurred the resolution condemning all types of bigotry, which is why Steube felt like he needed to draft a separate resolution specifically addressing anti-Semitism. Omar has apologized for the 2012 tweet and for the congressional support allegation but has not issued an apology for posing the “dual loyalty” question.

Steube added, “So, after the first time when she got called out for the first remark when she was a congress[wo]man. After her own leadership condemned her statements, she apologized and then she had, after that anti-Semitic remarks that she hasn’t apologized for. The result of that was a watered-down resolution condemning hate in general and not addressing her specific anti-Semitic remarks.”

Many of the people who defended Omar were quick to suggest that the criticism against her was misguided and disingenuous with some bringing up the question of whether or not criticizing the Israeli government is considered anti-Semitic.

“Anyone can be critical of policy decisions. I mean, we have that debate in the halls of Congress every day,” Steube said, but explained that Omar’s “remarks” were “nowehere near” criticizing policy decisions. “I think anybody can debate policy and decisions that are made by leaders of different countries, but that doesn’t give you latitude to be anti-Semitic.”

Republican House member-elect Dan Crenshaw (R) … (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Omar, one of the first female Muslim members of Congress, published an op-ed in The Washington Post in which she lays out her foreign policy beliefs for the region including where she called for “a two-state solution, with internationally recognized borders.”

The Florida Republican said that he had read parts of Omar’s op-ed. In response to what her stance is, he said:

In order to truly have peace in that region the Palestinians are going to have to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a country and denounce terrorism. And they still have failed to do that and they still, as far as I know, unwilling to do that. And until you have the Palestinian government say, Palestinian Authority, say that Israel has a right to exist in the country, in that region and denounce terrorism, I don’t see how you can ever have, even start to begin the process of negotiating a peace agreement because the very existence of Israel as a country, they don’t support.

Steube declined to comment on the indictment of sitting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Follow Mike on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

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

March 20, 2019

Source: OANN

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

  • Brazil’s new President Jair Bolsonaro sat down with American media after his meeting with President Donald Trump Tuesday.
  • He discussed his desire to “make Brazil great” and how he owes his life “to God” after being stabbed on the campaign trail. 
  • Brazil had been ruled by politicians from the left for years, and Bolsonaro is the country’s first conservative leader in its democratic era.

Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, wants to “make Brazil great” and says he owes his life “to God” after being stabbed on the campaign trail, according to his interview with American media following his meeting with President Donald Trump Tuesday.

The U.S. and Brazil have had a fraught relationship in the past, but Bolsonaro and Trump want to turn over a new leaf. They have not, for example, ruled out cooperating in military action in Venezuela, where socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro’s regime is in turmoil.

“To a large extent, I support what Trump does; he wants to make America great, I also want to make Brazil great. I also have concerns about the indiscriminate entrance of foreigners without any criteria. But beyond this, we are both Christians and we are God-fearing men,” Bolsonaro told Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in an interview published Wednesday. (RELATED: Democrats Who Won’t Support Ousting Venezuela’s Socialist Dictator Pile On Brazil’s Democratically Elected Leader)

Bolsonaro’s election marked a turn in his home country as well. Brazil had been ruled by politicians from the left for years, and Bolsonaro is the country’s first conservative leader in its democratic era, reported CBN.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro presents U.S. President Donald Trump with a Brazil national soccer team jersey Number 10 for striker position at the White House March 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro presents U.S. President Donald Trump with a Brazil national soccer team jersey Number 10 for striker position at the White House March 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

“It is time to overcome old resistances and explore the very best potential between Brazil and the United States. After all, it is fair to say that today, Brazil does have a president who is not anti-American,” Bolsonaro said in the White House Rose Garden Tuesday, according to CBN.

Bolsonaro is only three months into his first term and has been nicknamed “Trump of the Tropics” for his brash rhetoric and desire to bring conservative reform to Brazil. Bolsonaro’s critics claim he uses “misogynistic and homophobic” rhetoric and wants to take away land rights from indigenous people.

The Brazilian politician also discussed the stabbing that almost cost him his life when he was a leading candidate in his country’s presidential election in 2018. The man who allegedly stabbed him was a former member of a socialist political party and sympathizer of radically left leaders.

“Doctors who attended to me said that for every 100 stabbings of the kind I endured, only one person survives. So, I am a survivor and owe my life to God. It was His will for me to live,” Bolsonaro told CBN.

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared iterim president Juan Guaido and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speak during a press conference at Palace Itamaraty on February 28, 2019 in Brasília, Brazil. (Photo by Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-declared iterim president Juan Guaido and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro speak during a press conference at Palace Itamaraty on February 28, 2019 in Brasília, Brazil. (Photo by Andressa Anholete/Getty Images)

Prompted by Bolsonaro’s White House visit, progressive U.S. lawmakers piled on criticism of the Brazilian leader after decrying U.S. action in Venezuela against Maduro.

Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar wrote on Twitter Tuesday that Bolsonaro has “praised torture,” “called refugees ‘scum of the world,’” “compared same-sex adoption to pedophilia,” “expressed admiration for Brazil’s military dictatorship” and “called for extrajudicial killings.”

“We must call out human rights abuses worldwide,” concluded Omar, who is on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

This was not the first time Democratic lawmakers expressed concerns about Bolsonaro. California Rep. Ro Khanna, former Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison (whom Omar succeeded) and 16 others wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling Bolsonaro a “far-right extremist” before his election, reported Politico. They also claimed Bolsonaro said he would not accept defeat should he lose the election.

Brazil recognized Guaido over Maduro in January. Maduro compared Bolsonaro to former German dictator Adolf Hitler in a speech on Jan. 14 after he questioned the integrity of Venezuela’s elections.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Jon Brown | Associate Editor

The Washington Post offered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a platform to express his opinion Tuesday for the second time in less than five months, despite the unparalleled number of journalists imprisoned by his government.

Sixty-eight journalists are imprisoned in Turkey, more than any other country in the world, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Nevertheless, in an op-ed entitled “The New Zealand killer and the Islamic State are cut from the same cloth,” Erdogan used WaPo as a soapbox from which to scold Western nations for failing to adequately distinguish Islam from terrorism.

Likening the New Zealand mosque shooter to radical Islamic terrorists, Erdogan maintained that the shooter’s motives were a distortion of Christianity and admonished that the world “must establish that there is absolutely no difference between the murderer who killed innocent people in New Zealand and those who have carried out terrorist acts in Turkey, France, Indonesia and elsewhere.” (EXCLUSIVE: A Look Inside Andrew Brunson’s Harrowing Turkish Courtroom Experience)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a ceremony marking the 104th anniversary of Battle of Canakkale, also known as the Gallipoli Campaign, in Canakkale, Turkey March 18, 2019. Cem Oksuz/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

“Unfortunately, Islamophobia and xenophobia, among other practices incompatible with liberal values, were met with silence in Europe and other parts of the Western world,” he continued. “We cannot afford to allow this again. If the world wants to prevent future assaults similar to the one in New Zealand, it must start by establishing that what happened was the product of a coordinated smear campaign.”

Erdogan’s op-ed was a continuation of sentiments he expressed last week at the funeral of a Turkish minister, where he condemned the entire world — and the West, especially — for rising Islamophobia and racism.

“With this attack, hostility towards Islam, that the world has been idly watching and even encouraging for some time, has gone beyond individual harassment to reach the level of mass killing,” he said, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News. (RELATED: Erdogan Uses New Zealand Mosque Shootings To Condemn World For ‘Hostility’ To Islam)

The Post, which uses the slogan “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” also published Erdogan in a Nov. 2, 2018, op-ed that condemned Saudi Arabia for the murder of journalist and WaPo columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

FILE PHOTO: Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Ankara, Turkey April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

Presidents Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and Vladimir Putin of Russia hold a joint news conference after their meeting in Ankara, Turkey April 4, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

“Erdogan makes a solid point that all murderers or terrorists of innocent people should be treated alike and equally condemned,” said Jeffrey McCall, a communications professor at DePauw University who specializes in journalism ethics. “Letting Erdogan come off as all righteous, however, given his track record of curtailing free expression in his own country, is quite unnecessary.”

“It was a curious move when the Post gave Erdogan op-ed space last fall in the wake of the Khashoggi murder, but a case could be made at that time because the assassination took place in Turkey,” McCall continued. “There is no particular need now to give Erdogan a platform to broadly criticize other governments and suggesting the West is normalizing extremism.” (RELATED: Turkey’s Erdogan Wants Twitter To Silence American Critic)

“The Post, in a sense, seems to be giving Erdogan a legitimacy that is undeserved, given his own record on human rights and the many other measured voices that are available to weigh in on such a serious topic,” he added.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 19: Executive editor at The Washington Post, Martin Baron, (L) and Vanity Fair's Sarah Ellison speak onstage during "A Newspaper Editor in the Spotlight" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on October 19, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Executive editor at The Washington Post, Martin Baron, (L) and Vanity Fair’s Sarah Ellison speak onstage … (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

Shortly after the 2016 presidential election, WaPo executive editor Martin Baron used Erdogan as an example of the possible dangers that could befall American journalists under President Donald Trump. In remarks delivered at a Manhattan dinner party upon winning an award, Baron quoted CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, saying:

This is how it goes with authoritarians like Sisi, Erdogan, Putin, the Ayatollahs, Duterte, et al. … First the media is accused of inciting, then sympathizing, then associating—until they suddenly find themselves accused of being full-fledged terrorists and subversives. Then they end up in handcuffs, in cages, in kangaroo courts, in prison — and then who knows?

“When the press is under attack, we cannot always count on our nation’s institutions to safeguard our freedoms—not even the courts,” Baron then warned, adding, “Many journalists wonder with considerable weariness what it is going to be like for us during the next four — perhaps eight — years. Will we be incessantly harassed and vilified? Will the new administration seize on opportunities to try intimidating us? Will we face obstruction at every turn? If so, what do we do?” (RELATED: Koppel: NYT And WaPo Not What They Used To Be Thanks To Trump Vendetta)

Baron went on to emphasize the importance of “holding the most powerful to account,” and that failing to do so raises the question, “If we do not do that, then what exactly is the purpose of journalism?”

WaPo did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment.

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Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Soy beans are seen at storage plant in Carlos Casares
FILE PHOTO: Soy beans are seen at a storage plant in Carlos Casares, Argentina, April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Hugh Bronstein and Karl Plume

PERGAMINO, Argentina/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Francisco Santillan, 55, a grains farmer from the heart of Argentina’s soybean country, has two things on his mind: the rains and twists and turns in a bitter trade war between the United States and China that has hurt prices.

The weather-worn farmer, who rides a Harley-Davidson around the 4,500 hectares of farmland he manages, is expecting a bumper soybean crop when he begins harvesting this month, but he and his neighbors are holding off from sealing deals with buyers in the hope a trade war breakthrough will bolster prices.

The United States and China, the world’s top soybean producer and importer respectively, have slapped import duties on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of each other’s products in their dispute. Tariffs made U.S. soybeans too expensive so Beijing stopped buying them, resulting in a glut that has hit soybean contracts in Chicago, the reference price for the global trade.

Trump said on Wednesday that a trade deal with Beijing was coming along nicely, with U.S. negotiators poised to head to China next week for another round of talks. Negotiations to resolve the dispute have been turbulent – Trump also said on Wednesday tariffs would remain in place for a long time and last week that he was in no rush to reach a deal.

Benchmark Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures are hovering near $9 per bushel, only about 90 cents above decade lows posted in September.

“I am waiting for a better price,” said Santillan, one of a group of farmers who spoke to Reuters among fields of green, knee-high soy plants in the country’s fertile Pampas, where the ground was damp from heavy rains.

“The season is coming along very well. The harvest will be above 55 million tonnes and that will have a huge impact on the economy,” Santillan said. “But with news about the U.S.-China trade war determining Chicago reference prices, rather than supply and demand, it’s like we are flying without instruments.”

CASH CROP

Much in Argentina, the world’s No. 3 soybean producer and the top exporter of soyoil and the soymeal livestock feed that is fuelling Asia’s shift in diet from rice to pork and poultry, hangs on the soy crop.

A severe drought last year dragged the economy into recession, while bumper tax revenues this year could help support government spending and prop up President Mauricio Macri’s bid for re-election.

Delayed sales could hamper that. Just 16.2 percent of this season’s expected crop was sold by early March versus 30.5 percent at the same point a year earlier, government data show.

The uncertainty over prices – and the delays to deals – could also rattle the global trade as major buyers look to lock in supply, namely Archer Daniels Midland Co, Bunge Ltd, Cargill Inc and Louis Dreyfus Co.

The “ABCD” quartet, which dominates global grain trade, rely on a steady flow of grain to turn a profit in a typically thin-margin business. Farmers’ reluctance to sell at low prices has stung the grains merchants recently, particularly Bunge, which blamed limited farmer selling in Brazil for earnings misses last year.

Bunge’s acting Chief Executive Gregory Heckman called Argentina “one of the larger wild cards” for the firm’s oilseeds business in 2019, and said the firm anticipated farmers would hold more of their soybeans as a hedge against inflation and currency fluctuations.

“Soybean sales are happening slower this season than at any point over the last 10 years,” said a Buenos Aires-based grains broker. “Farmers are saying ‘I don’t like the price and I don’t need the money now because I was able to make cash with wheat and corn. So I’ll wait’.”

The uncertainty for the soy harvest comes at a complex time for President Macri too, who is battling to revive the economy while fending of challenges from political rivals ahead of national elections in October.

“For Argentina, the trade war between the United States and China is piling uncertainty on a country that is already full of uncertainty,” said Jorge Bianciotto, who manages a 2,300-hectare farm called La Lucila in Pergamino.

“This generates risks in terms of next year’s planting and investment decisions.”

His neighbor, Juan Girado, who manages a 500-hectare plantation, shared his concern.

“When they say the conflict is likely to end, prices rise. When the conflict looks like it’s deepening, prices fall,” he said. “So with a big crop on the way, and with prices as low as they are, it would be good for us for the trade war to end.”

(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Karl Plume; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Soy beans are seen at storage plant in Carlos Casares
FILE PHOTO: Soy beans are seen at a storage plant in Carlos Casares, Argentina, April 16, 2018. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo

March 20, 2019

By Hugh Bronstein and Karl Plume

PERGAMINO, Argentina/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Francisco Santillan, 55, a grains farmer from the heart of Argentina’s soybean country, has two things on his mind: the rains and twists and turns in a bitter trade war between the United States and China that has hurt prices.

The weather-worn farmer, who rides a Harley-Davidson around the 4,500 hectares of farmland he manages, is expecting a bumper soybean crop when he begins harvesting this month, but he and his neighbors are holding off from sealing deals with buyers in the hope a trade war breakthrough will bolster prices.

The United States and China, the world’s top soybean producer and importer respectively, have slapped import duties on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of each other’s products in their dispute. Tariffs made U.S. soybeans too expensive so Beijing stopped buying them, resulting in a glut that has hit soybean contracts in Chicago, the reference price for the global trade.

Trump said on Wednesday that a trade deal with Beijing was coming along nicely, with U.S. negotiators poised to head to China next week for another round of talks. Negotiations to resolve the dispute have been turbulent – Trump also said on Wednesday tariffs would remain in place for a long time and last week that he was in no rush to reach a deal.

Benchmark Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures are hovering near $9 per bushel, only about 90 cents above decade lows posted in September.

“I am waiting for a better price,” said Santillan, one of a group of farmers who spoke to Reuters among fields of green, knee-high soy plants in the country’s fertile Pampas, where the ground was damp from heavy rains.

“The season is coming along very well. The harvest will be above 55 million tonnes and that will have a huge impact on the economy,” Santillan said. “But with news about the U.S.-China trade war determining Chicago reference prices, rather than supply and demand, it’s like we are flying without instruments.”

CASH CROP

Much in Argentina, the world’s No. 3 soybean producer and the top exporter of soyoil and the soymeal livestock feed that is fuelling Asia’s shift in diet from rice to pork and poultry, hangs on the soy crop.

A severe drought last year dragged the economy into recession, while bumper tax revenues this year could help support government spending and prop up President Mauricio Macri’s bid for re-election.

Delayed sales could hamper that. Just 16.2 percent of this season’s expected crop was sold by early March versus 30.5 percent at the same point a year earlier, government data show.

The uncertainty over prices – and the delays to deals – could also rattle the global trade as major buyers look to lock in supply, namely Archer Daniels Midland Co, Bunge Ltd, Cargill Inc and Louis Dreyfus Co.

The “ABCD” quartet, which dominates global grain trade, rely on a steady flow of grain to turn a profit in a typically thin-margin business. Farmers’ reluctance to sell at low prices has stung the grains merchants recently, particularly Bunge, which blamed limited farmer selling in Brazil for earnings misses last year.

Bunge’s acting Chief Executive Gregory Heckman called Argentina “one of the larger wild cards” for the firm’s oilseeds business in 2019, and said the firm anticipated farmers would hold more of their soybeans as a hedge against inflation and currency fluctuations.

“Soybean sales are happening slower this season than at any point over the last 10 years,” said a Buenos Aires-based grains broker. “Farmers are saying ‘I don’t like the price and I don’t need the money now because I was able to make cash with wheat and corn. So I’ll wait’.”

The uncertainty for the soy harvest comes at a complex time for President Macri too, who is battling to revive the economy while fending of challenges from political rivals ahead of national elections in October.

“For Argentina, the trade war between the United States and China is piling uncertainty on a country that is already full of uncertainty,” said Jorge Bianciotto, who manages a 2,300-hectare farm called La Lucila in Pergamino.

“This generates risks in terms of next year’s planting and investment decisions.”

His neighbor, Juan Girado, who manages a 500-hectare plantation, shared his concern.

“When they say the conflict is likely to end, prices rise. When the conflict looks like it’s deepening, prices fall,” he said. “So with a big crop on the way, and with prices as low as they are, it would be good for us for the trade war to end.”

(Reporting by Hugh Bronstein and Karl Plume; Editing by Adam Jourdan and Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN


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