Reuters

Eurogroup President Centeno attends a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: Portugal’s Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Mario Centeno attends a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

March 25, 2019

LISBON (Reuters) – Eurogroup head Mario Centeno said on Monday that a new budget instrument to promote reforms and investment in the euro zone will start with less than hoped but will end up becoming a crucial tool for the bloc.

Describing it as a “new avenue of integration”, Centeno said the tool’s key strands will be defined by June this year, and it will then be framed in the EU’s budget.

“We will certainly start with resources below what some would like but I believe that, over time, this tool will become central to the euro zone, making it more cohesive, inclusive and attractive to the rest of the EU,” he told a conference.

The new EU budget tool will set aside funds to support reforms and convergence between economies and to help investments in countries facing temporary economic shocks.

(Reporting by Sérgio Gonçalves and Catarina Demony; Editing by Axel Bugge)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Uber's logo is displayed on a mobile phone
FILE PHOTO: Uber’s logo is displayed on a mobile phone, September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Munsif Vengattil

BENGALURU (Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc is six months into a major mapping project that fills holes in its coverage of Middle Eastern cities ahead of a possible takeover of regional rival Careem Networks and this year’s hotly anticipated initial public offering, according to a source with knowledge of the project.

A team of 28 engineers and other staff, working for Indian tech sector outsourcer Wipro, are on the verge of completing detailed mapping of businesses and public buildings in Saudi Arabian cities and have been asked to accelerate work as the company eyes a stock market launch in April, the source said.

The team in the Indian city of Hyderabad has also recently been entrusted with mapping Egypt and is under pressure to speed up the work, the source added, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly.

The costly and time-consuming exercise is vital to moves to scale up in what has become a crucial market for Uber, with the takeover of Dubai-based Careem and progress there a litmus test of Uber’s global ambitions after ceding other Asian countries to local competitors.

It may also have served to bolster the company’s position in talks on buying Careem, which other sources told Reuters on Sunday may announce a $3 billion takeover this week.

Mapping is a largely manual process done one block and one neighborhood at a time, requiring heavy investment, and the data must be updated regularly. Maps are the foundation of ride-hailing apps that shuttle passengers from one point to another via a navigation app.

Careem, which operates in the Middle East, Africa and southern Asia, had said previously it was 45,000 miles into mapping the region, saying that shortfalls in Google Maps in the Middle East coverage had forced it to spend on the project.

PICK-UPS

Normally Uber uses a mix of mapping resources, relying heavily on Google Maps and augmenting its knowledge of streets and pickup points using its own mapping cars and equipment carried by Uber drivers in their vehicles.

Uber’s website says its dedicated mapping cars are currently working only in Canada and around a dozen U.S. states, having previously mapped the UK, France, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, Columbia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Brazil.

Uber said the team in India was curating “Places” mapping data in Saudi Arabia to back up the necessary field work as it seeks to create its own set of locations against which it can easily search for pick-ups and drop-offs. It is different from vector mapping data and is a database of trip destinations, the company said.

Uber said it had not started work in Egypt.

According to the source, the process at Wipro is threefold; beginning from validation of existing data, to verification of new data collected from fieldwork and finally manually tagging each business and establishment on the proprietary map.

The fieldwork is done by Uber’s people on the ground, who go from business to business and take pictures from all the exterior sides of a building, a requirement in tagging the location of an establishment. Workers at Wipro use official websites and social media handles, as well as other resources, to fact-check data, the source said.

Wipro said it does not comment on specific client engagements. It was not clear whether Uber had agreements with other outsourcers for mapping the region.

In the run-up to its initial public offering next month, Uber is expected to tout its global reach and strong overseas markets to investors as a differentiation from U.S. rival Lyft.

An Uber purchase of Careem, after it gave up on markets in China, Southeast Asia and Russia in the face of strong local startups, has put the Middle East at the heart of that narrative.

A tie-up with Careem would also allow both companies to stop spending so heavily on infrastructure, as well as subsidizing rides for passengers and poaching drivers with bonuses, which have generated losses for both firms.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Heather Somerville in San Francisco; Writing by Patrick Graham; Editing by Dan Grebler)

Source: OANN

Demonstration against the planned EU copyright reform in Berlin
FILE PHOTO: People protest against the planned EU copyright reform in Berlin, Germany March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

March 25, 2019

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Europe’s creative industries are urging EU lawmakers to back a proposed overhaul of the bloc’s copyright rules, putting them at odds with internet activists who oppose a requirement to install filters to block copyright material.

The European Commission wants to reform copyright rules to protect Europe’s cultural heritage and ensure fair compensation to publishers, broadcasters and artistes. The European Parliament is due to vote on the Commission’s proposal on Tuesday.

More than a thousand artists have signed an online petition calling on EU lawmakers to endorse the overhaul while others have ran op-eds in newspapers in support of the changes, lobbying group Impala said in a statement.

Artists in favor of the proposed changes include film producers Pedro Almodovar and Michel Hazanavicius, Benny Andersson from Abba and author Ali Smith, as well as independent music labels.

A vote in favor by the European Parliament would pave the way for the reforms to become law.

Google, internet activists and European technology start-ups, however, oppose the overhaul and were joined on Monday by consumer lobbying body BEUC.

A requirement for Google’s YouTube, Facebook’s Instagram and other sharing platforms to install filters to catch copyright violations known as Article 13, but now renumbered to Article 17, has triggered protests, with an online petition www.savetheinternet.info garnering more than 5 million signatures so far.

Google senior vice-president for global affairs Kent Walker has said the article could prompt online platforms to over-block content to limit legal risks.

Critics also say filters are costly and could lead to erroneous blocking.

Publishers, artistes and actors had also originally been vocal critics of the Commission’s proposal to rewrite the copyright rules but reversed their position after successfully lobbying for Google to pay them for using their work online.

BEUC said it opposed the copyright reforms, arguing that consumers may not be able to share pictures and holiday videos with background music if automated filtering becomes the norm.

“This is not the modernized copyright law that creators and consumers need, but rather another attempt to protect an industry that has consistently resisted to deal with the impact of technological change on their business model,” BEUC’s Director General Monique Goyens said in a statement.

The European Parliament’s approval is the final step in a process which the European Commission kicked off two years ago.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Susan Fenton)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The company logo and trading information for BlackRock is displayed on a screen on the floor of the NYSE
FILE PHOTO: The company logo for BlackRock is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, U.S., March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Jessica DiNapoli and Svea Herbst-Bayliss

(Reuters) – BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, has hired Tanya Levy-Odom and Shannon Nelson for its investment stewardship team that engages with companies on corporate governance, according to their LinkedIn profiles and sources with knowledge of the moves.

The team has emerged as one of the most influential forces in corporate America, given BlackRock’s standing as a top shareholder in most big companies. It has been driving change behind the scenes on how companies run themselves and how they handle environmental, social and governance issues.

Levy-Odom has joined BlackRock as a director from strategic advisory and communications firm Rose & Company, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also worked in investor relations at Meredith Corp and in equity research at asset manager AllianceBernstein Holding LP, according to her profile.

Nelson joined the asset manager as a vice president, according to her LinkedIn profile. She formerly worked at BlackRock as an associate in institutional sales, maintaining relationships with investors such as public and private pension plans, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, according to her profile.

Sources familiar with the hirings who requested anonymity to discuss personnel issues confirmed the hires. BlackRock declined to comment.

Several executives have departed BlackRock recently, with James Hamilton moving to shareholder advisory firm PJT Camberview to work on governance matters, and Peter da Silva Vint joining investment bank Moelis & Co in its shareholder defense practice.

Zach Oleksiuk, the former leader of BlackRock’s investment stewardship team in the Americas, now works for investment bank Evercore Inc. Ray Cameron replaced him last year, reporting to global stewardship head Michelle Edkins.

Corporate boards are increasingly in the spotlight as activist hedge funds targeting governance issues grow in influence and social matters such as the #MeToo movement and Black Lives Matter put directors in the hot seat.

(Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York and Svea Herbst-Bayliss in Boston; Editing by Susan Thomas and Paul Simao)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba arrives for a group picture at the BRICS summit meeting in Johannesburg
FILE PHOTO: Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba arrives for a group picture at the BRICS summit meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

March 25, 2019

LIBREVILLE (Reuters) – President Ali Bongo, who suffered a stroke in October, has returned to Gabon following medical leave in Morocco, a source at the presidency told Reuters on Monday.

Secrecy surrounding the state of Bongo’s health during his five-month absence fueled instability in Gabon, where declining oil revenues and widespread poverty have dented his popularity.

And in January, a small group of soldiers briefly seized state radio in a bid to end 50 years of rule by Bongo’s family, who critics say have enriched only a small elite in the west African nation.

Bongo took over from his father Omar when he died in 2009, and despite widespread allegations of fraud was narrowly re-elected as president of the OPEC member in 2016, sparking deadly clashes between protesters and police.

“The president has returned definitively,” the source said, adding that Bongo may still travel abroad for medical tests. He returned on Saturday, the source said.

A presidential spokesperson was not immediately available for comment on Bongo, whose last public appearance was in January, when he briefly returned to Gabon one week after the coup attempt to swear in a new government.

In this and other closely-choreographed television appearances, it was not clear whether Bongo could walk, speak properly or move his right arm.

“He will continue to work, given he was already managing some files from Rabat, (but) his agenda has not yet been defined,” the source said.

(Reporting by Geraud Wilfried Obangome; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Edward McAllister and Alexander Smith)

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

March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – South Korean government officials are expected to press for extending a sanctions waiver on Iran’s petroleum exports that expires in May on a visit to Washington this week.

South Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Yoon Kang-hyun and other leaders will meet with U.S. State Department officials on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the waiver issued in November to keep buying Iranian oil in exchange for having reduced such purchases, the Seoul government said in a news release on Monday.

The Trump administration has unilaterally reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, the lifeblood of its economy, as it seeks to curb Tehran’s nuclear and missile ambitions and its influence Syria and other countries in the Middle East

Washington issued sanctions waivers for eight economies in November, including for South Korea, Iran’s fourth largest oil customer in Asia. But the administration has said it wants the exports to go to zero as quickly as possible.

The current U.S. goal is to reduce the number of sanctions waivers and to cut Iran’s oil exports about 20 percent, to below 1 million barrels of oil per day from May, sources said this month.

The South Korean officials will meet with the State Department’s top energy diplomat Francis Fannon on Thursday. On Wednesday they will meet with Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, and David Peyman, the deputy assistant secretary of state for counter threat finance and sanctions. The State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the meetings.

Peyman met with South Korean officials in Asia earlier this month. He offered “to continue to closely consult on the extension of sanctions exemption and Korean companies’ technical issues regarding trade with Iran,” a statement from Seoul’s foreign ministry said at the time.

South Korea is a large buyer of a light oil called condensates from Iran and has told a former U.S. official that there are few options for getting the same quality of condensate from other suppliers.

South Korea’s oil imports from Iran fell 12.5 percent year-on-year in February, customs data showed this month.

Yonhap news agency quoted a South Korean official as saying that Seoul has had discussions since November with Washington on gaining an extended exception and that ending the purchases of condensates would affect its economy. “No extension means no imports of Iranian condensate,” an official told Yonhap.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

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

March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – South Korean government officials are expected to press for extending a sanctions waiver on Iran’s petroleum exports that expires in May on a visit to Washington this week.

South Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Yoon Kang-hyun and other leaders will meet with U.S. State Department officials on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the waiver issued in November to keep buying Iranian oil in exchange for having reduced such purchases, the Seoul government said in a news release on Monday.

The Trump administration has unilaterally reimposed sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, the lifeblood of its economy, as it seeks to curb Tehran’s nuclear and missile ambitions and its influence Syria and other countries in the Middle East

Washington issued sanctions waivers for eight economies in November, including for South Korea, Iran’s fourth largest oil customer in Asia. But the administration has said it wants the exports to go to zero as quickly as possible.

The current U.S. goal is to reduce the number of sanctions waivers and to cut Iran’s oil exports about 20 percent, to below 1 million barrels of oil per day from May, sources said this month.

The South Korean officials will meet with the State Department’s top energy diplomat Francis Fannon on Thursday. On Wednesday they will meet with Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative for Iran, and David Peyman, the deputy assistant secretary of state for counter threat finance and sanctions. The State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the meetings.

Peyman met with South Korean officials in Asia earlier this month. He offered “to continue to closely consult on the extension of sanctions exemption and Korean companies’ technical issues regarding trade with Iran,” a statement from Seoul’s foreign ministry said at the time.

South Korea is a large buyer of a light oil called condensates from Iran and has told a former U.S. official that there are few options for getting the same quality of condensate from other suppliers.

South Korea’s oil imports from Iran fell 12.5 percent year-on-year in February, customs data showed this month.

Yonhap news agency quoted a South Korean official as saying that Seoul has had discussions since November with Washington on gaining an extended exception and that ending the purchases of condensates would affect its economy. “No extension means no imports of Iranian condensate,” an official told Yonhap.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

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

March 25, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – European planemaker Airbus is close to signing a deal worth billions of dollars with China following a delay of more than a year in the negotiations, industry sources said on Monday.

The deal is part of a package of trade deals coinciding with a visit to Europe by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Airbus declined to comment.

Boeing shares pared gains briefly on the news and were up about 1.2 percent at 16.26 GMT.

China has become a key hunting ground for Airbus and its leading rival Boeing, thanks to surging travel demand, but the outlook has been complicated by Beijing’s desire to grow its own industrial champions and, more recently for Boeing, the U.S.-China trade war.

French President Emmanuel Macron unexpectedly failed to clinch the Airbus order during a trip to China in early 2018 and the French government and Airbus have been working since to salvage it.

Macron said at the time that China would buy 184 A320 narrow-body jets, an order worth $18 billion at list prices.

Xi arrived in France from Italy on Sunday on a three-day state visit.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by John Irish)

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A woman checks her phone as she walks across London Bridge in London
FILE PHOTO: A woman checks her phone as she walks across London Bridge on the second day of a train strike in London, Britain December 14, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

March 25, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – Women in Britain are much more likely than men to be working in jobs that are threatened by the advance of technology, the country’s statistics office said on Monday.

Women held more than 70 percent of the 1.5 million jobs believed to be at high risk of automation, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The three occupations with the highest probability of automation were waiters, shelf-fillers and elementary sales roles, the ONS said.

But well-educated women were more at risk than men too.

“Even among degree-educated workers, three in four men are in jobs at low risk of automation, while only six in 10 women are,” the Resolution Foundation, a think tank, said.

Young people also faced a bigger challenge with more than 15 percent of 20-year-olds at high risk of losing their jobs to automation, although the threat shrank as their careers developed.

“Workers naturally obtain further skills and become more knowledgeable in their field as they progress further in their careers,” the ONS said.

(Reporting by Rachel Cordery; Editing by William Schomberg)

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FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller listens at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing about the FBI on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Robert Mueller, as FBI director, listens during a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing about the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing/File Photo

March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller acted honorably, President Donald Trump said on Monday, days after the fellow Republican wrapped up his Russia probe with no evidence of criminal collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

Asked if he thought Mueller acted honorably, Trump told reporters at the White House “yes.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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U.S. President Trump welcomes Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump gestures next to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a ceremony to sign a proclamation recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump signed a decree on Monday at the start of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying the United States recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory that Israel seized from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

The decree formalized Trump’s statement on March 21 saying it was time for the United States “to fully recognize” Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. The move appeared to give Netanyahu a boost ahead of the closely contested April 9 Israeli elections.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by David Alexander; Editing by Tim Ahmann)

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FILE PHOTO: Islamic state militant and women walk as they surrendered in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province
FILE PHOTO: Islamic state militant and women walk as they surrendered in the village of Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria, March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Issam Abdallah/File Photo

March 25, 2019

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Kurdish-led administration that runs much of northern Syria called on Monday for an international tribunal to be set up in their region to try the thousands of suspected Islamic State members they are detaining.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces on Saturday proclaimed the capture of Islamic State’s last territory in Syria, but no clear international policy has emerged yet about how to deal with the militants it captured there and at other strongholds of the group.

“We call upon the international community to establish a special international tribunal to prosecute Islamic State terrorists in northern and eastern Syria,” the statement said.

Thousands of suspected Islamic State members and fighters from Syria, Iraq and other countries are now in the of custody by the U.S.-backed group.

Its statement argued that the jurisdiction of the courts should be where the criminal act happened and where the offenders were captured in order for there to be a fair trial in line with international law and human rights conventions.

The Kurdish-led administration said it had appealed to the international community to take responsibility for the detainees, especially for nations to take back their own citizens.

“Unfortunately, there was no response or initiatives in this respect,” the statement said.

The people who left the final enclave at Baghouz, near the Iraq border, have been sent to camps in northeast Syria. One of those, al-Hol, was already overcrowded with uprooted Syrians and Iraqis and camp officials have said they do not have enough tents, food, or medicine. Aid workers warn of spreading disease, and dozens of children have died on the way there.

Many foreign governments see the detained suspected militants as a security threat and have been loath to accede to SDF entreaties to repatriate them.

(Writing by Lisa Barrington, Editing by William Maclean)

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FILE PHOTO: Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after briefing the U.S. House Intelligence Committee on his investigation of potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Sarah N. Lynch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller informed top U.S. Justice Department officials three weeks ago that he would not be reaching a conclusion on whether President Donald Trump had obstructed justice during the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, a U.S. Justice official said Monday.

The decision by Mueller not to reach a determination was “unexpected,” the person added, speaking anonymously in order to discuss private conversations involving U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who received the news.

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks on during a meeting with army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gaid Salah in Algiers
Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika looks on during a meeting with army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Gaid Salah in Algiers, Algeria, in this handout still image taken from a TV footage released on March 11, 2019. Algerian TV /Handout via Reuters

March 25, 2019

ALGIERS (Reuters) – Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika sacked the head of the state television, Ennahar TV reported on Monday.

Lotfi Chriet replaced Toufik Khelladi, Ennahar added.

(Reporting by Hamid Ould Ahmed, writing by Nayera Abdallah; Writing by Angus MacSwan)

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An Israeli Apache helicopter releases flares as it flies over the Gaza Strip
An Israeli Apache helicopter releases flares as it flies over the Gaza Strip March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

March 25, 2019

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli military said on Monday it had begun carrying out strikes on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, hours after a Palestinian rocket hit a house near Tel Aviv.

Reuters witnesses heard explosions in Gaza.

The military said in a statement that it had “begun striking Hamas terror targets throughout the Gaza Strip.”

One position hit was a Hamas naval position west of Gaza City, and a another was a large Hamas training camp in northern Gaza, Palestinian security officials and Hamas media outlets said.

Both positions were likely to have been evacuated, as Hamas had hours of notice that Israeli strikes were coming.

Witnesses said three missiles hit the northern target.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had promised a strong response to the rocket attack earlier in the day that injured seven Israelis.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Nidal al-Mughrabi, Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

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FILE PHOTO: Sen. Tom Udall visits the Standing Rock Reservation near Fort Yates
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), visits with Phyliss Young, an organizer of the tribal get-out-the-vote coalition ahead of the 2018 mid-term elections on the Standing Rock Reservation in Fort Yates, North Dakota, U.S. October 26, 2018. Picture taken October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Dan Koeck

March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic Senator Tom Udall on Monday announced that he will not seek re-election in 2020, ending a long career of representing the state of New Mexico in the U.S. Congress.

“The worst thing anyone in public office can do is believe the office belongs to them, rather than to the people they represent. That’s why I’m announcing today that I won’t be seeking re-election next year,” Udall said in a statement.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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Peter Biar Ajak, the South Sudan country director for the London School of Economics' International Growth Centre based in Britain, arrives at the courtroom in Juba
Peter Biar Ajak, the South Sudan country director for the London School of Economics’ International Growth Centre based in Britain, arrives at the courtroom in Juba, South Sudan March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

March 25, 2019

NAIROBI (Reuters) – A former World Bank economist whose detention in South Sudan has caused an international outcry was one of seven men charged on Monday with insurgency and sabotage, more than seven months after his arrest.

Peter Biar Ajak, who is country director for his native South Sudan for the International Growth Centre which studies emerging economies at the London School of Economics, had been held since last July.

He had not appeared in court until last Thursday, despite months of calls by U.S. senators and other international figures for him to be charged or released.

Biar’s lawyer and lawyers for the other defendants denied the charges against them, which were brought on Monday under anti-terrorism and security laws.

Appearing in court on Monday, Biar repudiated a document that was presented as his statement.

“The investigation was conducted under gunpoint to my head,” he said.

His lawyer, Monyluak Kuol, asked for the case to be dismissed, telling the court Biar was a civilian with no connection to the charges against him.

Ajak Mayol Bior, lawyer for one of the other defendants, businessman Kerbino Wol, said no act of terrorism had been committed and charges of arms possession were fabricated.  

A childhood refugee from the long war that ended with South Sudan’s independence from Sudan in 2011, Biar fled to the United States as a youth, was educated at Harvard and Cambridge and later worked at the World Bank. His supporters say he was promoting South Sudan’s peace process when he was arrested.

South Sudan has been in a state of civil war since 2013, two years after its founding, after political disagreements between President Salva Kiir and his then deputy, Riek Machar, degenerated into a military confrontation.

At its peak, the conflict uprooted a quarter of the country’s population of 12 million and devastated its oil-dependent economy. A regionally brokered deal last year, which had Machar return to government again as Kiir’s deputy, ended the fighting although pockets of violence remain in some parts.

(Writing by George Obulutsa)

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A man walks into the JP Morgan headquarters at Canary Wharf in London
A man walks into the JP Morgan headquarters at Canary Wharf in London May 11, 2012. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD PACKAGE – SEARCH “BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD JULY 11” FOR ALL IMAGES

March 25, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) – JPMorgan is asking around 300 staff in its London office to sign new contracts that will require them to move to one of the bank’s other hubs in the European Union if there is a no-deal Brexit, according to a person familiar with the matter.

This is part of JPMorgan’s plans to shift hundreds of staff if Britain leaves the EU without an exit deal so that it can continue to offer clients in the bloc trading, advisory and banking services. The U.S. investment bank is currently building up its offices in Frankfurt, Paris and Luxembourg as part of its Brexit planning.

A source said that JPMorgan staff in London asked to sign new contracts had already been consulted on the matter, and those who did not wish to move would not be made redundant.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg.

Britain was due to leave the EU on March 29 but that was delayed last week. Now, the country will leave the EU on May 22 if Prime Minister Theresa May’s proposed withdrawal agreement is approved by parliament this week.

If not, Britain will have until April 12 to offer a new exit plan or decide to leave without a treaty.

(Reporting by Rachel Armstrong. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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FILE PHOTO: The shadow of a worker is seen beside the EU Commission building in Brussels, Belgium
FILE PHOTO: The shadow of a worker is seen beside the EU Commission building in Brussels, Belgium, October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Leigh Thomas

PARIS (Reuters) – France will push for the presidency of the European Commission rather than the European Central Bank when top EU jobs come up for negotiations later this year, three sources briefed on discussions over the matter said.

Paris is eager to secure one of the most powerful jobs in the European Union, with the Commission seen as preferable because it has a greater role in shaping legislation at a critical juncture for the European project, whereas the ECB’s monetary policy responsibilities are narrower.

The European Commission, which serves as the EU’s executive and civil service, will appoint a new president for a five-year term after European Parliament elections take place in May, to succeed Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker.

ECB President Mario Draghi will stand down at the end of October.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told the French Senate last week France would fight to “defend its interests” once negotiations over the EU jobs begin, mentioning the need for Europe to find a leader able to strengthen regional sovereignty in the face of China and the United States.

“There are excellent French candidates for the ECB. But if you want to have an influence on the future of Europe, it’s the Commission that is more important,” a French government source said.

No formal decision has yet been taken on which job France will pursue. President Emmanuel Macron will be responsible for making the choice in the end. His office declined to comment.

Who gets the Commission presidency depends on which party comes out on top in European Parliament elections on May 23-26, and negotiations between EU governments that follow.

The choice of Commission president could see a sharp conflict between national leaders and the European Parliament, which is keen to see them nominate one of the lead candidates in the EU elections – such as the center right’s Manfred Weber, a German, or center left’s Frans Timmermans, a Dutchman.

The role of parliament, which must endorse any Commission president, risks complicating what has always been a complex power play among the member states and the pan-EU political movements to which national leaders belong.

Meanwhile, Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau has been mentioned as a potential candidate to run the ECB, while Benoit Coeure, a respected Frenchman on the ECB’s executive board, is also seen as a possibility in what is also certain to be a compromise among the euro zone’s biggest powers.

If France does not seek the ECB job, that could open the way for a northern European since the post has been held by Italy’s Draghi for over seven years. Former Finnish central bank chief Erkki Liikanen is regarded in a Reuters poll of economists as the most likely winner while Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann is also seen as a contender.

“The Commission is the most important job because it’s the most political. The ECB has already done what it can do,” one source familiar with thinking inside the government said.

REFORM PLANS

Playing in France’s favor for the Commission is the fact that a Frenchman has not led it since Jacques Delors in the late 1980s and early 1990s whereas a Frenchman, Jean-Claude Trichet, ran the ECB from 2003 until 2011.

Macron would support the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, French conservative Michel Barnier, for Commission president if it looked like he had chance of getting it, a source close to Macron said in February.

Barnier, like several other potential candidates mentioned, has not formally declared an interest.

The head of the Commission plays a critical role in shaping legislative priorities, which would help Macron’s reform plans for the bloc in the wake of Britain’s planned departure.

Macron wants to overhaul European industrial and competition policy. He has suggested reviewing the Schengen border-free system and creating a common police and asylum office.

In addition to the Commission and ECB jobs, EU countries will need to find a new head of the European Council, currently Donald Tusk, which is responsible for heading negotiations among EU leaders.

If the stars do not align for France on the Commission, Macron could still have a shot at putting a Frenchman in charge of the European Central Bank, with Villeroy regarded a serious contender in other European capitals.

“Villeroy has a lot of support in governments who aren’t French. His candidacy is taken very seriously even in Berlin,” said a source familiar with the situation, who also confirmed France is gunning for the Commission.

Nobody has declared their interest in the ECB job yet and the selection process is not expected to start until after the European elections.

The top posts at the European Commission and ECB are only two of a handful of senior jobs that will open up. EU commissioners – one from each member state – will also need to be named, while at the ECB, Coeure’s term expires at the end of the year.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Additional reporting by Yves Clarisse and Jean-Baptiste Vey in Paris, Alastair Macdonald in Brussels and Balazs Koranyi in Frankfurt; Editing by Luke Baker and Alison Williams)

Source: OANN

Nokia logo is seen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
The Nokia logo is seen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 28, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

March 25, 2019

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s flagship telecoms group A1 said on Monday it had selected Nokia as its partner for building next-generation 5G mobile networks in the country, continuing a long-standing cooperation with the Finnish equipment supplier.

A1 Group, which is controlled by Mexico’s America Movil and the Austrian state, said Nokia would provide it with 5G wireless technology and cloud-based core network technology.

5G will deliver super-fast connectivity and facilitate new applications from self-driving cars to medical robots.

The selection of suppliers for the new networks has become a politically sensitive issue after the United States lobbied Europe to shut out China’s Huawei, saying its equipment could be used by Beijing for espionage. Huawei has strongly rejected the allegations and this month sued the U.S. government over the matter.

The European Commission will urge EU countries to share more data to tackle cybersecurity risks related to 5G networks but will not call for a Huawei ban, sources have told Reuters.

Nokia and Sweden’s Ericsson are the leading European contenders to provide 5G equipment.

“Together with Nokia, we will leverage the full potential of 5G,” said A1 Austria Chief Executive Marcus Grausam.

“We rely on a trusted and long-standing partner with whom we have already successfully implemented numerous major projects.”

A1 Group agreed to pay 64.3 million euros ($72.8 million) for spectrum in the 3.5 Ghz band in Austria’s first 5G auction earlier this month. It has said it will finance that from its operational cash flow.

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

Shoppers enter and exit the Neiman Marcus at the King of Prussia Mall, United States' largest retail shopping space, in King of Prussia
FILE PHOTO: Shoppers enter and exit the Neiman Marcus at the King of Prussia Mall, United States’ largest retail shopping space, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, U.S., December 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mark Makela

March 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Neiman Marcus Group Ltd said on Monday it had reached an agreement with a majority of its lenders to extend the maturities of its debt by three years to help the luxury retailer turn around its business.

The new agreement is with the holders of more than 55 percent of the company’s term loan and 60 percent of its unsecured notes, representing more than $2.5 billion of the company’s debt.

The maturity of the term loan now extends to 2023, while the maturity for the unsecured notes was pushed out until 2024.

The company said the deal “provides substantial value” to its lenders and “creates ample runway to execute on and complete” Neiman Marcus’ transformation plan into a luxury customer platform.

Neiman Marcus has been struggling with a nearly $5 billion debt load, due mainly to its 2013 leveraged buyout by Ares and Canadian public pension fund CPPIB from other private equity firms.

The heavily indebted company also said on Monday it would pay down $550 million of its debt to term loan lenders. Term loan lenders participating in the deal will also receive a higher interest rate. The retailer will also complete an exchange offer for notes.

“The commitments we have obtained for this transaction are a validation of our business and transformation strategy and our leadership team,” Chief Executive Officer Geoffroy Raemdonck said.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

Source: OANN

Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz speaks at AIPAC in Washington
Israel’s Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz speaks at AIPAC in Washington, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s strongest election challenger, Benny Gantz, called on Monday for unity and moderation in a speech to a major pro-Israel U.S. lobby group that has been uneasy at Netanyahu’s courting of far-rightists.

Gantz’s appearance at AIPAC was overshadowed by a rocket strike on Israel from Gaza that prompted Netanyahu to cancel his own speech at the event so he could return and oversee retaliation.

Gantz, a retired army general who is a centrist newcomer to politics, went briefly off-script to commend Netanyahu’s decision, before delivering veiled censure of the conservative premier’s electioneering, which has included dismissive rhetoric about Israel’s Arab minority and appeals to ultranationalists.

“The divisive dialogue tearing our strong nation apart may serve – I doubt it, but it may serve – political purposes, but is shredding the fabric that holds us together,” he said.

If he succeeds Netanyahu after the April 9 election, Gantz said, “there will be no Kahanists running our country, there will be no racists leading our state institutions, and there will be no corruption leading our ways – no corruption whatsoever.”

Netanyahu forged a pre-election alliance last month with Jewish Power, an ultranationalist party that includes adherents of the late anti-Arab rabbi, Meir Kahane.

In a rare reprimand AIPAC, which is the largest U.S. pro-Israel lobby, called Jewish Power “a racist and reprehensible party.”

The four-term premier also faces criminal charges in three corruption cases, pending a review hearing after the election. Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing and described himself as the victim of liberal media bias and judicial overreach.

U.S. Jews, a largely Democratic constituency, have at times fretted over Netanyahu’s alignment with President Donald Trump’s Republican administration, and Gantz talked up AIPAC’s bipartisan strategy.

Gantz called Trump “a true partner and ally of Israel,” but added: “We want all of America, Republicans and Democrats, to move forward in the spirit of true bipartisanship that served so well in the past.”

After the speech, Gantz met Vice President Mike Pence, who also addressed the gathering.

Posting a photo of himself shaking hands with Pence, Gantz wrote on Twitter: “I thanked him for his unequivocal support for Israel and for everything they are doing for us.”

Netanyahu, who opinion polls show running neck and neck with Gantz, has dismissed his rival as a “weak leftist,” accusing him of allowing Iran to hack his cellphone. Gantz outlined national security policies that were not significantly different from the prime minister’s, and laughed off the alleged breach.

Iran has denied targeting Gantz. Gantz has said he had been informed by Israel’s domestic security service of a breach but there was no sensitive information on the device.

Alluding on Monday to his military exploits against Iranian threats while in uniform, Gantz directed a warning toward Tehran: “You know me, and not only from my cellphone.”

(Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

U.S. Attorney General William Barr leaves his house after Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election in McClean, Virginia
U.S. Attorney General William Barr leaves his house after Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election in McClean, Virginia, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said on Monday he wants Attorney General William Barr to appear before the panel to discuss the special counsel’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

“What’s next, I hope, will be that he will come to the committee (and) release as much as possible of the Mueller report,” Senator Lindsey Graham said, referring to the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell and Doina Chiacu; Writing by Tim Ahmann; editing by Susan Heavey)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Likud election campaign billboard depicting U.S. President Trump shaking hands with Israeli PM Netanyahu, in Jerusalem
FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a Likud election campaign billboard, depicting U.S. President Donald Trump shaking hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump was set to give Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a boost for his re-election campaign on Monday as Netanyahu’s chief political opponent sought to position himself as a better alternative to lead Israel.

During a White House visit by Netanyahu, Trump was expected to sign a proclamation officially granting U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. Israel seized the strategic land from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war.

The recognition, which Trump had announced in a tweet last Thursday, appeared to be the most overt gesture by the Republican president to help Netanyahu, who had been pressing Trump for the move.

The Israeli prime minister, who faces an election on April 9, on Monday cut short his U.S. visit after a rocket fired from Gaza injured seven people near Tel Aviv. He arrived in Washington on Sunday, originally for a four-day visit.

The attack in central Israel came as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel group, held its annual meeting in Washington with speaker after speaker expressing U.S. support for strong ties with Israel.

“We stand with Israel because her cause is our cause, her values are our values, and her fight is our fight,” Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday.

Pence also talked tough against Iran, saying that under Trump, “America will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.”

Netanyahu’s strongest election challenger, Benny Gantz, appeared before the gathering on Monday, and vowed to protect Israel against threats from Iran and Syria. He called for unity in Israel.

“We must remember if that we want hope, we must have unity,” he said.

With election day approaching, opinion polls put Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud and Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party neck and neck.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

Logos of Taiwanese multinational computer hardware and electronics company Asus are seen during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei
FILE PHOTO: Logos of Taiwanese multinational computer hardware and electronics company Asus are seen during the annual Computex computer exhibition in Taipei, Taiwan June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

March 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Hackers targeted “hundreds of thousands” of Asustek computer owners by pushing a backdoor update software tool from the computer maker’s own servers, cyber security firm Kaspersky Lab said on Monday.

The attack took place between June and November 2018, according to Kaspersky.

The hackers were surgically targeting an unknown pool of users, who were identified by their network adapters’ MAC addresses.

More than 57,000 Kaspersky users installed the backdoor version of ASUS Live Update, the report said.

Asus did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

(Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel)

Source: OANN

Whitney Tipton | Contributor

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was cutting his trip to the U.S. short after a rocket strike from Gaza hit a home just north of Tel Aviv and injured several people, according to Reuters.

“In light of the security events I decided to cut short my visit to the U.S.,” he told Reuters.

Netanyahu, who had only arrived Sunday for a four-day visit, will still meet with President Donald Trump today before boarding his return flight to Israel this afternoon.

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 5: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands withIsrael Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House March 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. The prime minister is on an official visit to the US until the end of the week. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 5: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House March 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

The rocket from Gaza landed on a home in the small agricultural town of Mishmeret, north of Tel Aviv, in early morning. A military spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that Israel’s Iron Dome rocket interception system had not been deployed in the area and was unable to bring down the rocket.

It left one house destroyed in addition to the surrounding damage. Reuters reported one infant, a 3-year-old boy, a 12-year-old girl and a 60-year-old woman were among those being treated for injuries.

Gazan officials have not claimed responsibility for the rocket, but are reportedly preparing for retaliation.

“There was a criminal attack on the state of Israel and we will respond forcefully,” Netanyahu said in a video statement sent to the Wall Street Journal.

The border along Israel and Gaza recently marked one year of continued border protests. President Trump recently expressed support for Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and is reportedly planning to make that statement official by signing a decree during today’s meeting, according to Reuters.

Netanyahu is running for an unprecedented fifth term. His main political rival, former Chief of the Israeli General Staff Benny Gantz, immediately issued a statement accusing Netanyahu of having “bankrupted national security” by permitting such attacks.

The election will be held April 9. (RELATED: Israel Holding Early Elections As Bribery Allegations Engulf Netanyahu)

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Source: The Daily Caller

A man enters the CME Group offices in New York
A man enters the CME Group offices in New York, U.S., October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

March 25, 2019

PRAGUE (Reuters) – Broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises (CME) said on Monday that it has launched a review of strategic options including possibly selling the company.

The announcement sent the company’s shares surging more than 8 percent on the U.S. Nasdaq exchange.

The group, majority owned by AT&T, operates 30 television channels in five central and east European markets and has been slashing its debt burden in recent years. Its net debt dropped to $765 million by the end of last year from $1.1 billion in 2017.

CME shares jumped 6.5 percent in Prague after it announced its review, to 86.3 crowns, the highest since August 2018, and were up 8.1 percent on the Nasdaq.

“(Strategic alternatives) may include, among other things, the sale of part or all of the company, a merger with another strategic partner, a recapitalization, or continuing to execute on CME’s long-term business plan,” the company said in a statement, adding it had AT&T’s support.

CME, with a market capitalization of $877 million at Friday’s close on the Nasdaq, has seen profits rise in recent years and has forecast a 10-12 percent rise at constant prices in core profit, or operating income before depreciation and amortization (OIBDA), this year, from $222.7 million in 2018.

That has prompted analysts and investors to speculate it could soon pay dividends or announce share buybacks.

CME said the review did not have to lead to a transaction and there was no timetable for the process.

It said it had hired Allen & Company LLC and BofA Merrill Lynch as financial advisors, and Covington & Burling LLP as legal advisor.

(Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Susan Fenton)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stands next to his airplane before boarding it to Beirut at Ben Gurion airport near Lod, Israel
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stands next to his airplane before boarding it to Beirut at Ben Gurion airport near Lod, Israel March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young/Pool

March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Russia to “cease its unconstructive behavior” by supporting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro during a phone call with his Russian counterpart, the State Department said on Monday.

Spokesman Robert Palladino said Pompeo had spoken to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about Venezuela on Monday.

“The secretary told Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov that the United States and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela,” Palladino said in a statement that also condemned Russian military support for the “illegitimate regime of Nicolas Maduro.” 

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Source: OANN

Logo of Bayer AG is pictured at the annual results news conference of the German drugmaker in Leverkusen
Logo of Bayer AG is pictured at the annual results news conference of the German drugmaker in Leverkusen, Germany February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

March 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Bayer AG and Johnson & Johnson have agreed to settle more than 25,000 U.S. lawsuits over their blockbuster blood thinner Xarelto for a total of $775 million, court documents on Monday showed.

The amount will be shared equally between the two companies that jointly developed the drug. Bayer and J&J do not admit liability under the agreement.

(Reporting by Tina Bellon in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Apple company logos are reflected on the glass window outside an Apple store in Shanghai
FILE PHOTO: Apple company logos are reflected on the glass window outside an Apple store in Shanghai, China January 3, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

March 25, 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Apple Inc, which later on Monday is expected to unveil a television and movie streaming service, is also working on a games subscription service for its App Store, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing people with knowledge of the plans.

The gaming service will not challenge new cloud-based streaming offerings such as Alphabet Inc’s Google Stadia. Instead, it will focus on iPhones and iPads and bundle together paid games from different developers that consumers can access for a monthly fee, according to the Bloomberg report.

Hollywood celebrities are expected to trek to Apple’s Cupertino, California, home to greet the debut of a revamped Apple TV digital storefront. Apple has commissioned programming from A-list names such as Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.

(Writing by Nick Zieminski in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Apple company logos are reflected on the glass window outside an Apple store in Shanghai
FILE PHOTO: Apple company logos are reflected on the glass window outside an Apple store in Shanghai, China January 3, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

March 25, 2019

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Apple Inc, which later on Monday is expected to unveil a television and movie streaming service, is also working on a games subscription service for its App Store, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing people with knowledge of the plans.

The gaming service will not challenge new cloud-based streaming offerings such as Alphabet Inc’s Google Stadia. Instead, it will focus on iPhones and iPads and bundle together paid games from different developers that consumers can access for a monthly fee, according to the Bloomberg report.

Hollywood celebrities are expected to trek to Apple’s Cupertino, California, home to greet the debut of a revamped Apple TV digital storefront. Apple has commissioned programming from A-list names such as Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg.

(Writing by Nick Zieminski in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he returns to the White House in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as the president returns from a weekend in Florida at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – There have been no conversations about President Donald Trump issuing pardons for any of his associates who have been charged or pled guilty as part of the U.S. Special Counsel’s Russia probe, White House representatives said on Monday.

There has been “no discussion that I’m aware of any pardons,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters at the White House. Fellow White House spokesman Hogan Gidley also told MSNBC in an interview that the White House has not had any conversations about such pardons.

(Reporting by Makini Brice and Susan Heavey)

Source: OANN

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

A caravan of mostly Central Americans began its trek toward the United States over the weekend, setting the stage for what will likely be another showdown between border enforcement officials and migrants.

Around 1,200 migrants formed a caravan in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas and, following the same route as numerous groups before them, started their journey northward Saturday, according to Reuters. The U.S.-bound group is made of mostly Central Americans from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, but also includes Cuban migrants.

The National Migration Institute — a department within the government of Mexico that tracks immigration — said the migrants were already within the country before they decided to assemble into a caravan near the country’s southern border with Guatemala.

The latest caravan will likely further inflame tensions between these Central American countries and the White House. President Donald Trump, who has made increased immigration enforcement a hallmark of his executive agenda, has threatened Central American governments with repercussions for allowing migrants to freely make their way to the U.S.

“… Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are doing nothing for the United States but taking our money. Word is that a new Caravan is forming in Honduras and they are doing nothing about it. We will be cutting off all aid to these 3 countries – taking advantage of U.S. for years!” Trump tweeted in late December upon the news of a 15,000-person caravan heading northward.

The number of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border has surged in recent months, with the Department of Homeland Security predicting nearly 100,000 apprehensions by the end of this month — which would mark the highest number in over a decade.

A group of Central American migrants surrenders to U.S. Border Patrol Agents south of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in El Paso, Texas, U.S., March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

A group of Central American migrants surrenders to U.S. Border Patrol Agents south of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in El Paso, Texas, U.S., March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Unlike in the early 1990s and early 2000s, the migrants getting apprehended today are mostly Central American and unaccompanied children, individuals who cannot be as easily deported as adult Mexican nationals. Border enforcement resources have been stretched thin because of this, forcing overcrowded Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities to release about 100,000 illegal aliens in the past three months. (RELATED: Central American Migrants Are Sending Billions Back To Their Home Countries)

The vast number of migrants are also submitting so many asylum requests that border checkpoints have buckled under the weight. Officials with the El Paso Border Patrol sector revealed that they temporarily closed their highway checkpoints due to the record amount of asylum requests.

The Trump administration has begun implementing what is known as the “remain in Mexico” policy in response to the immigration and asylum surge, The directive calls for foreign nationals who claim asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border to remain within the Mexican interior as their case runs through the U.S. immigration court system. The new policy is meant to curb abuse by asylum seekers who do not show up to their court date and simply disappear in the U.S. after making their claim.

Follow Jason 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: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman visit the border line between Israel and Syria at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman visit the border line between Israel and Syria at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights March 11, 2019 REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Samia Nakhoul

BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights was manna from heaven for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu two weeks before an election.

For many Arabs, it crushed any hope that there will one day be a negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians and increased doubts that Washington is an impartial arbiter.

But allies and enemies can agree on one thing: Trump’s statement last Thursday was a turning point in U.S. policy over territory Israel captured from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed in 1981, in a move the U.N. Security Council declared unlawful.

“I am confident that the Lord is at work here,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Israel when Trump made his announcement on Twitter, told the Christian Broadcasting Network in an interview.

Netanyahu, who has thanked Trump for the announcement, is seeking re-election on April 9 but faces a tough battle and possible indictment in three corruption cases in which he denies wrongdoing.

He was due to meet Trump on Monday on a trip highlighting what Netanyahu calls the strongest ever bond between an Israeli leader and a U.S. president, though Trump has said his decision on the Golan Heights was not connected with the election.

But Trump’s decision, following U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, could tempt other powers to annex land, undermine the roll-out of a U.S. Middle East peace plan and tilt Israel back into conflict with its Arab neighbors, Middle East analysts say.

“Donald Trump has made sure that Israel will be in a perpetual state of war with its Arab neighbors for many decades to come,” said Fawaz Gerges, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and author of the book Making the Arab World.

“What Trump has done is to hammer a deadly nail in the coffin of the peace process and Arab-Israeli reconciliation. This is a fundamental turning point. There is nothing left to discuss anymore.”

RESHAPING THE MIDDLE EAST

Trump’s move is, according to many analysts, partly intended to boost his own chances of re-election in 2020, by targeting the vast pool of U.S. evangelical Christians. Many of them voted for his in 2016 and they are championed in his administration by Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and others.

The announcement on the Golan Heights was the latest in a flurry of decisions that are widely seen as intended to redraw the contours of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Most have ticked the wish-list of Israel’s right-wing government and met longstanding demands of its U.S. supporters, including U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital. The Arab east of the city was occupied by Israel and then annexed after 1967 in a move that is legally repudiated internationally.

White House officials say the decisions on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights acknowledge the reality on the ground, which they say must be the basis for legitimate peace negotiations.

Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, said it was inconceivable Israel “would allow the Golan to be controlled by the state of Syria or by any of the rogue actors operating in the areas, including Iran.”

But with Sunni Arab leaders dealing with crises in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Sudan and Qatar, and their standoff with non-Arab Shi’ite Iran, they are less focused on Israel.

 

ARABS IN DISARRAY

Trump’s aides have indicated privately that they believe his moves on Jerusalem have provoked a less severe reaction in the Arab world than experts had predicted, a person familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

In particular, they did not appear to have blocked behind-the-scenes security contacts developed in recent years between Israel and the United States’ Gulf allies over their common enemy Iran, the person said.

Aides’ advice to Trump on recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights was that Washington could again weather the storm, the same person said.

Support for the move in the Trump administration had gained momentum over the past year as Israel increasingly expressed concern about Iranian forces and their proxies taking up positions in southwestern Syria, the official said.

John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser and one of the administration’s leading Iran hawks, was an important proponent of the policy shift, the official said.

But skeptics say the move will also give Iran and its local ally Hezbollah what they would see as justification for new attacks on Israel and hamstring anti-Iranian Arab leaders if they are seen to accept the U.S. move.

The Trump administration has identified Iran as its main target in the Middle East, and withdrew from the deal signed by Tehran, the United States and other world powers in 2015 on curbing Iran’s nuclear program.

MORE TO COME

But after the moves on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, Iran and Hezbollah may feel better able to present themselves as the only steadfast allies of the Palestinian cause.

They could also play into the hands of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by helping him in his portrayals of Israel and the United States as enemies.

“This will give further power to the Iran axis of resistance between Iran-Hezbollah-Assad against Israel and the U.S.,” said Galip Dalay, visiting fellow at Oxford University and a fellow at Brookings Doha. “This axis has just been given a very strong symbolic victory and this will give them the high ground.”

He said Arab leaders could not publicly support Trump’s decisions on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights because it would threaten their popularity, in some cases already low.

“From the Arab standpoint, this makes them more hesitant to be supportive because the political space they need to maneuver has been eroded,” said Dennis Ross, a veteran Middle East negotiator. “Each move by this administration has put Arab states on the defensive.”

Ross also suggested that U.S. recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights could embolden the Israeli right-wing to step up its push for annexing settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

“I worry that the right in Israel can say ‘they recognized this. It will be a matter of time before we can annex all or part of the West Bank’,” he said. “That would be the end of the two-state solution.”

(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick in Washington, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman visit the border line between Israel and Syria at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman visit the border line between Israel and Syria at the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights March 11, 2019 REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Samia Nakhoul

BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s call for recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights was manna from heaven for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu two weeks before an election.

For many Arabs, it crushed any hope that there will one day be a negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians and increased doubts that Washington is an impartial arbiter.

But allies and enemies can agree on one thing: Trump’s statement last Thursday was a turning point in U.S. policy over territory Israel captured from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed in 1981, in a move the U.N. Security Council declared unlawful.

“I am confident that the Lord is at work here,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was in Israel when Trump made his announcement on Twitter, told the Christian Broadcasting Network in an interview.

Netanyahu, who has thanked Trump for the announcement, is seeking re-election on April 9 but faces a tough battle and possible indictment in three corruption cases in which he denies wrongdoing.

He was due to meet Trump on Monday on a trip highlighting what Netanyahu calls the strongest ever bond between an Israeli leader and a U.S. president, though Trump has said his decision on the Golan Heights was not connected with the election.

But Trump’s decision, following U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, could tempt other powers to annex land, undermine the roll-out of a U.S. Middle East peace plan and tilt Israel back into conflict with its Arab neighbors, Middle East analysts say.

“Donald Trump has made sure that Israel will be in a perpetual state of war with its Arab neighbors for many decades to come,” said Fawaz Gerges, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics and author of the book Making the Arab World.

“What Trump has done is to hammer a deadly nail in the coffin of the peace process and Arab-Israeli reconciliation. This is a fundamental turning point. There is nothing left to discuss anymore.”

RESHAPING THE MIDDLE EAST

Trump’s move is, according to many analysts, partly intended to boost his own chances of re-election in 2020, by targeting the vast pool of U.S. evangelical Christians. Many of them voted for his in 2016 and they are championed in his administration by Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence and others.

The announcement on the Golan Heights was the latest in a flurry of decisions that are widely seen as intended to redraw the contours of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Most have ticked the wish-list of Israel’s right-wing government and met longstanding demands of its U.S. supporters, including U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital. The Arab east of the city was occupied by Israel and then annexed after 1967 in a move that is legally repudiated internationally.

White House officials say the decisions on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights acknowledge the reality on the ground, which they say must be the basis for legitimate peace negotiations.

Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, said it was inconceivable Israel “would allow the Golan to be controlled by the state of Syria or by any of the rogue actors operating in the areas, including Iran.”

But with Sunni Arab leaders dealing with crises in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Sudan and Qatar, and their standoff with non-Arab Shi’ite Iran, they are less focused on Israel.

 

ARABS IN DISARRAY

Trump’s aides have indicated privately that they believe his moves on Jerusalem have provoked a less severe reaction in the Arab world than experts had predicted, a person familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity.

In particular, they did not appear to have blocked behind-the-scenes security contacts developed in recent years between Israel and the United States’ Gulf allies over their common enemy Iran, the person said.

Aides’ advice to Trump on recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights was that Washington could again weather the storm, the same person said.

Support for the move in the Trump administration had gained momentum over the past year as Israel increasingly expressed concern about Iranian forces and their proxies taking up positions in southwestern Syria, the official said.

John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser and one of the administration’s leading Iran hawks, was an important proponent of the policy shift, the official said.

But skeptics say the move will also give Iran and its local ally Hezbollah what they would see as justification for new attacks on Israel and hamstring anti-Iranian Arab leaders if they are seen to accept the U.S. move.

The Trump administration has identified Iran as its main target in the Middle East, and withdrew from the deal signed by Tehran, the United States and other world powers in 2015 on curbing Iran’s nuclear program.

MORE TO COME

But after the moves on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, Iran and Hezbollah may feel better able to present themselves as the only steadfast allies of the Palestinian cause.

They could also play into the hands of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by helping him in his portrayals of Israel and the United States as enemies.

“This will give further power to the Iran axis of resistance between Iran-Hezbollah-Assad against Israel and the U.S.,” said Galip Dalay, visiting fellow at Oxford University and a fellow at Brookings Doha. “This axis has just been given a very strong symbolic victory and this will give them the high ground.”

He said Arab leaders could not publicly support Trump’s decisions on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights because it would threaten their popularity, in some cases already low.

“From the Arab standpoint, this makes them more hesitant to be supportive because the political space they need to maneuver has been eroded,” said Dennis Ross, a veteran Middle East negotiator. “Each move by this administration has put Arab states on the defensive.”

Ross also suggested that U.S. recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights could embolden the Israeli right-wing to step up its push for annexing settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

“I worry that the right in Israel can say ‘they recognized this. It will be a matter of time before we can annex all or part of the West Bank’,” he said. “That would be the end of the two-state solution.”

(Additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick in Washington, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

Source: OANN

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a Franco Chinese seminar of global governance in Quai d'Orsay in Paris
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks during a Franco Chinese seminar of global governance in Quai d’Orsay in Paris, France, March 25, 2019. Julien de Rosa/Pool via REUTERS

March 25, 2019

By Michel Rose and John Irish

PARIS (Reuters) – France and China will sign trade deals worth billions of euros on Monday during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping but Paris will also take the opportunity to push back against Beijing’s “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative.

President Emmanuel Macron wants to forge a united European front to confront Beijing’s advances.

After he and Xi meet later on Monday, the two will hold further talks on Tuesday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker, heads of the EU executive.

Xi arrived in France after visiting Italy, the first Western power to endorse China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative as Rome tries to revive its struggling economy.

The Belt and Road Initiative plan, championed by Xi, aims to link China by sea and land with Southeast and Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, through an infrastructure network on the lines of the old Silk Road.

France says Silk Road cooperation must work in both directions.

An official in Macron’s office said significant progress was expected in terms of opening up the Chinese market for some farm goods, especially poultry.

French officials have also expressed the hope that a multi-billion dollar deal for China to buy dozens of Airbus planes could be finalised.

In a column in Le Figaro published on Sunday, Xi made clear he wanted Paris to cooperate in the Belt and Road project, calling for more trade and investment in sectors ranging from nuclear energy, aeronautics and agriculture.

“French investors are welcome to share development opportunities in China. I also hope that Chinese companies can do better in France and make a greater contribution to its economic and social development,” he wrote.

French officials describe China as a both a challenge and partner, saying France must remain especially vigilant over any Chinese attempts to appropriate foreign technology for its own means.

The EU is already weighing a more defensive strategy on China, spurred by Beijing’s slowness in opening up its economy, Chinese takeovers in critical sectors, and a feeling in European capitals that Beijing has not stood up for free trade.

“An awakening was necessary,” Macron said in Brussels on Friday. “For many years we had an uncoordinated approach and China took advantage of our divisions.”

As part of efforts to push that approach, Macron will host Merkel and Juncker on Tuesday to meet with Xi to move away from a purely bilateral approach to ties.

“Macron is not happy to see China win so many prizes in Rome, so he has invented a bizarre European format by inviting Merkel and Juncker as a counterbalance to show that he is the driving force behind European integration,” said one Paris-based Asian diplomat.

($1 = 0.8833 euros)

(Additional reporting by Marine Pennetier and Richard Lough; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: The world's largest corn mill of global grain company Archer Daniels Midland is pictured in Decatur
FILE PHOTO: The world’s largest corn mill of global grain company Archer Daniels Midland is pictured in Decatur, Illinois, U.S., March 16, 2015. REUTERS/Karl Plume/File Photo

March 25, 2019

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Flooding and severe winter weather in the U.S. Midwest will reduce Archer Daniels Midland Co’s first-quarter operating profit by $50 million to $60 million, the U.S. grains trader said on Monday.

Record floods have devastated a wide swath of the Farm Belt across Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and several other states. The waters have idled ethanol plants, slowed rail shipments of agricultural products and swamped storage bins holding grain from previous harvests.

The disruptions come as the U.S. agriculture industry is grappling with the trade war between Washington and Beijing, which slashed shipments of American farm products to China.

For ADM, the floods are affecting two crucial business units; Origination, which buys, stores and transports grains, and Carbohydrate Solutions, which mills corn and wheat, the company said. The $50 million to $60 million impact on pre-tax operating profit will be roughly equal between the segments, with minor impacts to other units, ADM said.

“Extreme winter weather has affected our first quarter North American operations beyond what we would experience in a typical winter,” ADM said.

With rail lines washed out, and corn in storage flooded, production of ethanol has declined.

ADM’s corn processing complex in Columbus, Nebraska, was idled due to flooding and is running at reduced rates, the company said.

Unfavorable conditions on U.S. rivers since December are also severely limiting barge transportation movements and port activities, according to ADM.

Key rivers were swollen from flooding and ice buildup.

(Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Visitors pass the Newmont Mining Corporation booth during the PDAC convention in Toronto
FILE PHOTO: Visitors pass the Newmont Mining Corporation booth during the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention in Toronto, Ontario, Canada March 4, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Helgren/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Nichola Saminather

TORONTO (Reuters) – Newmont Mining Corp will pay a special dividend of 88 cents in an effort to soothe unhappy shareholders if they approve its $10 billion takeover of Goldcorp Inc, the company said on Monday.

Facing protests from investors who say Goldcorp shareholders benefit too much from the deal, Newmont said the immediate cash payment would represent a portion of the savings from a separate agreement with Barrick Gold Corp.

Newmont’s friendly bid to buy Goldcorp to create the world’s biggest gold producer preceded the agreement with rival Barrick to create a joint venture combining their operations in Nevada. Newmont offered 0.328 of its shares and 2 cents for each Goldcorp share.

Top Newmont shareholders including Paulson & Co and Van Eck International Investors said last week the Goldcorp proposal transferred to Goldcorp shareholders too much of the nearly $5 billion in synergies from the Barrick venture. Paulson has said it will vote against Newmont’s acquisition of Goldcorp.

Van Eck and Paulson could not be reached immediately for comment on Monday.

“We are pleased to make this special dividend payable to Newmont’s current shareholders in recognition of the potential synergy value of the Nevada joint venture agreement,” Newmont Chief Executive Officer Gary Goldberg said in a statement.

Goldcorp shares jumped 2.5 percent to C$14.88 in morning trade on Monday in Toronto, erasing most of Friday’s 2.9 percent loss. Newmont climbed 1.7 percent to a one-month high of $35.10 in New York trading.

Goldcorp said in a separate statement it supported the special dividend.

Also, Goldcorp said proxy advisory firm ISS recommended on Monday that its shareholders support Newmont’s takeover offer when they vote on April 4. Newmont shareholders will vote on April 11.

(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; Editing by Bill Trott and Jeffrey Benkoe)

Source: OANN

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S.
The U.S. Supreme Court building is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

March 25, 2019

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a bid by a unidentified company owned by a foreign government to contest a grand jury subpoena related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s now-completed inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, though the justices’ action does not force the firm to comply.

A federal judge has imposed an ongoing fine of $50,000 a day against the company, which had asked the justices to hear its appeal of a December lower court ruling that upheld a judge’s decision to hold it in contempt for refusing to fulfill the document request made in the subpoena.

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal in a brief order with no noted dissents from any of the nine justices.

Mueller submitted a final report on his findings to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Friday. On Sunday, Barr said Mueller did not find a conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

The case has remained a high-profile mystery, with the Supreme Court and lower courts declining to identify the company, the country that owns it or the specific purpose of the subpoena. The company has said it was a witness – as opposed to a suspect – in Mueller’s investigation.

Court filings show that the company has a U.S. office, though it has said it possesses no relevant documents in the United States. Court papers detailing its legal arguments have been made public but all information about the specific facts of the dispute are redacted.

The Supreme Court in January refused to put the lower court ruling on hold. According to court filings, the daily fine imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell started accruing on Jan. 15, so the company could now owe more than $3 million. Such fines accrue until the grand jury is no longer sitting. It is unknown whether the grand jury has completed its work.

The subpoena was issued in July 2018. Howell in September ordered the company to comply.

The legal question is whether the company is protected under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, a law that allows foreign countries to avoid being sued in U.S. courts. The law does not cover commercial activities. The company argues that this law protects it not just in civil cases but also in criminal cases. The company also argued that foreign governments are immune from contempt findings in U.S. courts.

Lawyers for the company said in the court papers the lower court ruling it is contesting “would wreak havoc on American foreign policy – possibly alienating U.S. allies, undermining diplomatic efforts, and inviting reciprocal treatment abroad for American agencies.”

On behalf of Mueller’s office, Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the Trump administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, asked the justices not to take up the case, deeming the lower court rulings correct.

The redacted court filings showed that the investigation involved in the case was the Mueller probe. Mueller neither concluded that Trump unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe, nor did he exonerate him of obstruction.

Mueller charged a series of Russian individuals and three Russian companies. The conviction of former Trump campaign chairman involved his concealment from the U.S. government of millions of dollars he was paid as a consultant to pro-Russia Ukrainian politicians. Manafort has been sentenced to 7-1/2 years in prison in two criminal cases brought by Mueller’s team.

Trump denied collusion and obstruction. Russia denied interfering in the election

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a Dec. 18 ruling that was not made public until Jan. 8, concluded “there is a reasonable probability the information sought through the subpoena here concerns a commercial activity that caused a direct effect in the United States.”

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

Source: OANN

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, U.S.
The U.S. Supreme Court building is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

March 25, 2019

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a bid by a unidentified company owned by a foreign government to contest a grand jury subpoena related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s now-completed inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, though the justices’ action does not force the firm to comply.

A federal judge has imposed an ongoing fine of $50,000 a day against the company, which had asked the justices to hear its appeal of a December lower court ruling that upheld a judge’s decision to hold it in contempt for refusing to fulfill the document request made in the subpoena.

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal in a brief order with no noted dissents from any of the nine justices.

Mueller submitted a final report on his findings to U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Friday. On Sunday, Barr said Mueller did not find a conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.

The case has remained a high-profile mystery, with the Supreme Court and lower courts declining to identify the company, the country that owns it or the specific purpose of the subpoena. The company has said it was a witness – as opposed to a suspect – in Mueller’s investigation.

Court filings show that the company has a U.S. office, though it has said it possesses no relevant documents in the United States. Court papers detailing its legal arguments have been made public but all information about the specific facts of the dispute are redacted.

The Supreme Court in January refused to put the lower court ruling on hold. According to court filings, the daily fine imposed by U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell started accruing on Jan. 15, so the company could now owe more than $3 million. Such fines accrue until the grand jury is no longer sitting. It is unknown whether the grand jury has completed its work.

The subpoena was issued in July 2018. Howell in September ordered the company to comply.

The legal question is whether the company is protected under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, a law that allows foreign countries to avoid being sued in U.S. courts. The law does not cover commercial activities. The company argues that this law protects it not just in civil cases but also in criminal cases. The company also argued that foreign governments are immune from contempt findings in U.S. courts.

Lawyers for the company said in the court papers the lower court ruling it is contesting “would wreak havoc on American foreign policy – possibly alienating U.S. allies, undermining diplomatic efforts, and inviting reciprocal treatment abroad for American agencies.”

On behalf of Mueller’s office, Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the Trump administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, asked the justices not to take up the case, deeming the lower court rulings correct.

The redacted court filings showed that the investigation involved in the case was the Mueller probe. Mueller neither concluded that Trump unlawfully sought to obstruct the probe, nor did he exonerate him of obstruction.

Mueller charged a series of Russian individuals and three Russian companies. The conviction of former Trump campaign chairman involved his concealment from the U.S. government of millions of dollars he was paid as a consultant to pro-Russia Ukrainian politicians. Manafort has been sentenced to 7-1/2 years in prison in two criminal cases brought by Mueller’s team.

Trump denied collusion and obstruction. Russia denied interfering in the election

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a Dec. 18 ruling that was not made public until Jan. 8, concluded “there is a reasonable probability the information sought through the subpoena here concerns a commercial activity that caused a direct effect in the United States.”

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

Source: OANN

The Nike swoosh logo is pictured on a store in New York City
The Nike swoosh logo is pictured on a store in New York City, New York, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

March 25, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to consider reviving a copyright case in which Nike Inc was accused of unauthorized use of photographer Jacobus Rentmeester’s famous 1984 photograph of basketball superstar Michael Jordan soaring through the air.

The justices turned away an appeal by Rentmeester, a former Life Magazine photographer, of a lower court’s ruling throwing out his copyright infringement lawsuit against the sportswear company. Rentmeester had said the decision against him by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals could stifle creativity and reward piracy.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham and Bill Trott)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium March 22, 2019. Julien Warnand/Pool via REUTERS

March 25, 2019

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Turkish jets buzzed his helicopter as he was flying on Monday to a Greek island to mark the anniversary of the 1821 uprising against Ottoman rule.

“They forced the helicopter I was on to maneuver low until Greek jets intercepted the forces violating our national air space,” Tsipras said in a speech on the island of Agathonisi, a few miles from Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.

“The message I want to send them is that such foolish actions have no meaning, they spend their gasoline for nothing. We will always be there to defend our national integrity.”

A Greek military official told Reuters that Greek F-16 fighter jets intercepted the Turkish jets about four miles away from Tsipras’s helicopter.

There was no immediate comment from Turkish authorities.

Though NATO allies, Turkey and Greece have long been at odds over issues ranging from ethnically split Cyprus to air space and overflight rights. Relations have worsened since Greece blocked the extradition of eight Turkish soldiers accused by Ankara of involvement in 2016’s failed military coup.

(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

U.S. Attorney General William Barr leaves his house after Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election in McClean, Virginia
U.S. Attorney General William Barr leaves his house after Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence of collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election in McClean, Virginia, U.S., March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

March 25, 2019

By Makini Brice and Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Monday it was up to the U.S. Justice Department to decide if detailed findings from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation would be made public, a day after the attorney general said President Donald Trump had been cleared of any collusion.

Mueller wrapped up his investigation after nearly two years on Friday and submitted his findings to Attorney General William Barr, who on Sunday released a four-page summary saying there was no evidence of criminal collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia in the 2016 election. Mueller’s report left unresolved whether Trump obstructed justice.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin on Monday said President Vladimir Putin was ready to improve ties with the United States following the release of Barr’s summary and called on the United States to formally recognize there was no collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Trump last week openly backed the public release of the report from the investigation, which he had repeatedly lambasted as a “witch hunt.”

The Barr summary handed Trump a political victory ahead of his 2020 re-election effort, even as Democratic challengers and lawmakers vowed to press on with other investigations into his business and personal dealings.

Democrats also called for the full findings from Mueller to be released to Congress and the public and vowed to call Barr to appear before lawmakers to answer questions.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that while Trump wanted the special counsel’s report to come out, it was not up to him.

“I think that the president is doing exactly what he should and that’s leaving that decision into the hands of the attorney general and we’ll see what decision he makes on that front,” Sanders said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” program on Monday.

Sanders declined to comment on whether Trump would invoke presidential privilege to withhold any information. But Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, said it “would be very inappropriate” to release the president’s written answers to the special counsel, saying they were confidential. Despite lengthy negotiations, Mueller never obtained an in-person interview with the president.

“As a lawyer, you don’t waive privileges and you don’t waive investigative detail absent either a court order or an agreement between the parties,” Sekulow told CNN in an interview, adding that Barr would make the final decision.

Trump embraced the summary’s findings, retweeting Barr’s assessment and related headlines news media despite years of decrying the “fake news” as #ReleaseTheFullMuellerReport trended nationwide on social media.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in a on a conference call with reporters, called on Washington to make the first move to reset ties and repeated Moscow’s denial of any interference in U.S. elections and internal affairs or those of any other country.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry also said the allegations of election meddling against a number of Russians were politically motivated.

Mueller’s investigation led to charges and guilty please against dozens of people, including a series of Russian nationals and companies as well as several advisers to President Donald Trump, including this former campaign chairman and national security adviser.

(The story was refiled to add the dropped word “said” in the first paragraph)

(Reporting by Susan Heavey and Makini Brice; Editing by Bill Trott)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Rohingya refugees gather at a market inside a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar
FILE PHOTO: Rohingya refugees gather at a market inside a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain/File Photo

March 25, 2019

By Serajul Quadir

DHAKA (Reuters) – Bangladesh is not in a hurry to relocate Rohingya refugees to a Bay of Bengal island, a minister told Reuters on Monday, after the United Nations sought more details on the government’s plan, criticized by some human rights groups.

Bangladesh wants to move 100,000 of the nearly 1 million Rohingya Muslims sheltered in cramped camps in its southeastern district of Cox’s Bazar to the remote island, known as Bhasan Char http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/MYANMAR-ROHINGYA/010060Z21XP/index.html, which it has been developing for the past two years.

The United Nations is making plans to help Bangladesh with the move, Reuters reported last week.

But in a statement on Monday, the world body called for a thorough assessment to ensure the viability of the move, saying it was discussing “critical protection and operational issues” ahead of any relocation.

“We’re also examining the potential operational implications of setting up a humanitarian response on Bhasan Char, including the requirements, time frames and costs involved,” it said.

Bangladesh is in talks with U.N. humanitarian bodies, and working on their observations, said Enamur Rahman, the junior minister for disaster management and relief.”So we are going a little slow. There’s no exact date to relocate,” he added.

“We are not in a hurry and it will start only when all these U.N. bodies and Rohingya people feel the area is ready.”

Rahman said the government was working to build more cyclone shelters on the island, which is hours from the mainland by boat. Many Rohingya have opposed the transfer plan.

A World Food Programme document shows the U.N.’s food agency supplied Bangladesh with detailed plans, including a timeline and a budget, on providing for thousands of Rohingya taken to the island within weeks.

The March 12 plans show how the agency and its partners “may facilitate the identification, staging, forward movement, reception, and sustainment of refugees” on the island, based on an initial appeal for donor funds from $9 million to $19 million.

Densely-populated Bangladesh says it has been grappling with the large refugee numbers.

The number of refugees in Cox’s Bazar has swelled since August 2017, when a Myanmar military-led crackdown that U.N. investigators have said was conducted with “genocidal intent” prompted some 730,000 Rohingya to flee.

Buddhist-majority Myanmar has denied almost all accusations of atrocities made by refugees, saying its security forces engaged in a legitimate counterterrorism operation.

GRAPHIC: A remote home for the Rohingya – http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/MYANMAR-ROHINGYA/010060Z21XP/index.html

(Reporting by Serajul Quadir; Writing by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

General view of a market on Sadam street in Hodeidah
General view of a market on Sadam street in Hodeidah, Yemen March 25, 2019. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad

March 25, 2019

By Mohamed Ghobari

ADEN (Reuters) – Yemen’s warring parties exchanged heavy weapons fire overnight in Hodeidah, residents and military sources said, as the United Nations scrambled to salvage a ceasefire deal in the Yemeni port city that is a lifeline for millions at risk of starvation.

The clashes were the heaviest since the ceasefire went into effect on Dec. 18, residents said, and came as the United Nations announced a deal setting out details of a mutual military withdrawal envisaged by the Stockholm truce accord.

Iran-aligned Houthi forces and troops backed by a Saudi-led coalition traded artillery, mortar and rocket salvoes late on Sunday and early on Monday, with explosions heard across the Red Sea city, residents said.

“The Houthis tried a surprise assault on our troops but we stopped them,” a military source from the internationally-recognized government said.

The Houthis’ Al Masirah TV accused government forces of shelling their positions without provocation.

The fighting affected Hodeidah’s usual flashpoints – the “July 7” district, four km (2.5 miles) away from the port, and southern outskirts where thousands of United Arab Emirates-backed troops are massed.

The Houthis and the government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi agreed at U.N.-sponsored talks in December to a truce and troop withdrawal from Hodeidah, the entry point for the bulk of Yemen’s humanitarian aid and commercial imports.

The ceasefire has broadly held although sporadic clashes continued as the United Nations struggled to implement a troop withdrawal, a confidence-building measure meant to clear the way for a broader peace settlement after four years of war.

DETAILS OF WITHDRAWAL AGREED

However, the U.N. observer team chief, Danish General Michael Anker Lollesgaard, was expected to convene both sides this week to formally launch newly agreed steps towards disengagement, according to sources involved in the discussions.

Houthi forces had agreed to withdraw 5 km (3 miles) from the Hodeidah district ports of Saleef, used for grain, and Ras Isa, an oil terminal, as a first step, three sources said.

The Houthi withdrawal and the pullback by coalition forces 1 km away from both the “Kilo 7” area and from Saleh city district would take place simultaneously as a second step, they said.

The government forces’ retreat would free up access to Red Sea Mills, which holds some 50,000 tonnes of World Food Programme grain, enough to feed 3.7 million people. Under the deal, humanitarian corridors would also be reopened.

The second phase of the pullout would see both sides withdraw troops 18 km (11 miles) from the city, and heavy weaponry 30 km (18 miles) away.

Tens of thousands of people have died in the war pitting the Houthis against the coalition, which intervened in Yemen in 2015 to restore Hadi’s government after it was ousted from the inland capital Sanaa.

The war has displaced over two million people and driven the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country to the verge of famine.

The World Health Organization said on Monday it had recorded 108,889 suspected cases of cholera and 190 associated deaths with the disease since the start of 2019 in several provinces. Around a third of the cases were children under five, it said.

Yemen’s conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Houthis, who control Sanaa and most population centers, deny being puppets of Tehran and say they are waging a revolution against corruption.

(Additional reporting and writing by Aziz El Yaakoubi in Dubai; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

A view shows a Russian one rouble coin in this picture illustration
FILE PHOTO: A view shows a Russian one rouble coin in this picture illustration taken October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

March 25, 2019

By Andrey Ostroukh

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Russian rouble strengthened on Monday to remain the world’s best-performing currency year-to-date as it received a boost from details of a report on Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

A U.S. investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not find that any of President Donald Trump’s campaign officials knowingly conspired with the Russian government in the 2016 election, according to details of the report released on Sunday.

The news dominated Russian media on Monday, raising hopes that Washington could refrain from imposing more sanctions against Moscow, something that proved harmful to Russian markets in recent years.

“The probability of harsh sanctions against Russia declines,” said Alexei Antonov, an analyst at Alor Brokerage.

“Conceptually, it should be supportive (for Russian assets) if we now assign a slightly lower likelihood to sanctions,” said Guido Chamorro, a portfolio manager at Pictet Asset Management.

Russian officials welcomed Mueller’s report. The Kremlin said Russia was ready to improve ties with the United States, while a senior lawmaker proposed a “reset” in ties with Washington.

The issue of relations between Trump and Moscow is likely to remain in focus in the foreseeable future, analysts at Sberbank CIB said.

“Two congressional committee hearings on Russia have been scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday, so there is a risk of negative headlines,” they said.

The rouble gained 0.6 percent to 64.30 at 1219 GMT , heading towards its strongest level since August 2018 of 63.63 which it hit last week. The rouble has gained more than 8 percent against the greenback this year.

Versus the euro, the rouble was 0.5 percent stronger at 72.74.

The rouble retains support from month-end tax payments that usually prompt export-focused companies to convert their dollar revenues to meet local liabilities. This month, tax payments are higher than usual.

The Russian bond market showed a limited reaction to the U.S. report.

Yields of 10-year benchmark OFZ treasury bonds, which move inversely with their prices, declined to 8.22 percent from 8.31 percent seen late on Friday, the day they moved higher following the central bank’s decision to hold rates.

Brent crude oil, a global benchmark for Russia’s main export, shed 0.3 percent to $66.85 a barrel but remained supportive for Russian assets as it hovered near 2019 highs.

Russian stock indexes erased earlier losses and headed higher. The dollar-denominated RTS index climbed 0.7 percent to 1,221.8 points, while the rouble-based MOEX Russian index was little changed at 2,492.3 points.

(Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh,; Additional reporting by Marc Jones, Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber and Polina Nikolskaya; Editing by Toby Chopra and Ed Osmond)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A woman reacts at a make shift memorial outside the Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch
FILE PHOTO: A woman reacts at a make shift memorial outside the Al-Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su

March 25, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – The French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM), a leading representative of Muslims in France, on Monday said it was suing Facebook and YouTube after footage of the Christchurch massacre was streamed on their platforms.

The mass-shooting at two mosques in New Zealand was livestreamed by the attacker through his Facebook profile for 17 minutes.

A few hours after the attack, footage from the stream could still be found on Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube, as well as Facebook-owned Instagram and Whatsapp.

Abdallah Zekri, president of the observatory of Islamophobia at the CFCM confirmed the legal complaint.

(Reporting by Julie Carriat; writing by Richard Lough; editing by John Irish)

Source: OANN

Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria attends a final vote on Italy's 2019 budget law at the Lower House of the Parliament in Rome
FILE PHOTO: Italian Economy Minister Giovanni Tria attends a final vote on Italy’s 2019 budget law at the Lower House of the Parliament in Rome, Italy, December 29, 2018. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

March 25, 2019

ROME (Reuters) – Italy aims to engage Singapore in big investment projects in the country, the Finance Minister Giovanni Tria said in a statement after meeting his Singaporean counterpart and officials at sovereign wealth funds GIC and Temasek.

Tria will also be in Singapore on Tuesday for an official trip.

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; writing by Francesca Landini; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Mike Lynch, Founder and Chairman of Autonomy Corporation, poses for photographers at an awards ceremony in central London
FILE PHOTO: Mike Lynch, founder of Autonomy, poses for photographers at an awards ceremony in central London March 13, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 25, 2019

By Georgina Prodhan

LONDON (Reuters) – British entrepreneur Mike Lynch artificially inflated revenue at his Autonomy software company before selling it to Hewlett Packard for $11 billion, the U.S. firm’s lawyer told a London court on Monday.

HP is suing Autonomy founder Lynch, once hailed as Britain’s answer to Bill Gates, along with his former finance chief Sushovan Hussain for $5 billion after the 2011 deal went disastrously wrong for the Silicon Valley group.

Lynch denies any wrongdoing and says HP’s mismanagement was responsible for the failure of the acquisition.

HP had bought big data firm Autonomy with the aim of making it the centerpiece of a plan to transform HP from a computer and printer maker into a software-focused enterprise services firm, a shift that rival IBM had already pulled off.

But a year later HP wrote down the value of Autonomy by $8.8 billion, saying it had uncovered serious accounting improprieties. These have led it to pursue Britain’s biggest-ever fraud trial against Lynch and Hussain.

Lawyer Laurence Rabinowicz QC, representing HP, told London’s High Court that Lynch and Hussain had knowingly been involved in “widespread and systematic false accounting” to create a materially false picture of Autonomy’s finances.

Autonomy had engaged in “revenue-pumping” by encouraging customers to buy its products in exchange for buying goods from them that it did not need, restructuring deals to produce upfront license fees, and covertly selling pure hardware not even programmed with its software at a loss, he said.

Rabinowicz said the issues were not a matter of complex financial niceties but rather of clear intention. “This is not a business dispute about how to apply accounting procedures,” he said. “This is a fraud case.”

Lynch observed proceedings from a back corner of the courtroom, occasionally scribbling notes or sending messages on his phone.

The 53-year-old, who also faces criminal wire- and securities-fraud charges in the United States, which carry a maximum 25-year prison term, is likely to appear before the London court around July.

Lynch received about $800 million for his stake in Autonomy, which started to turn sour before it was completed.

Many shareholders baulked at the 79 percent premium, and the architect of the strategy, then-chief executive Leo Apotheker was sacked.

Lynch was subsequently fired by Meg Whitman, who took over as HP CEO in 2012.

Both former CEOs are likely to appear as witnesses in the trial which is expected to continue until the end of the year.

(Additional reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Alexander Smith)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Miner works deep underground at Sibanye Gold's Masimthembe shaft in Westonaria
FILE PHOTO: Miner works deep underground at Sibanye Gold’s Masimthembe shaft in Westonaria, South Africa, April 3, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

March 25, 2019

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s gold and platinum mines will shed around 90,000 jobs in the next three years as above-inflation electricity price increases by power utility Eskom add to already soaring operating costs, an industry body said on Monday.

“In total, as many as 90,222 jobs would be at risk solely as a result of the MYPD4 tariff increases granted by Eskom,” the Minerals Council of South Africa said in a presentation.

Job cuts are politically sensitive in Africa’s most industrialized economy where a quarter of the labor force is unemployed, while power outages and steep price increases by Eskom are set to hurt an already fragile growth outlook.

In February, miner Sibanye-Stillwater said it planned to cut nearly 6,000 jobs in a restructuring of its gold mining operations, while Gold Fields said last year it could slash 1,100 jobs, and Impala Platinum plans to cut its workforce by a third.

Labor unions have threatened strikes over the job cuts at mining firms as well planned reductions at a numerous state-owned companies.

Energy regulator Nersa said in early March Eskom could hike tariffs by 9.41 percent in the 2019, 8.10 percent in 2020 and 5.2 percent in 2021, far less than Eskom’s request for increases above 15 percent in each of the three years.

The industry body said in its presentation that 71 percent of all gold mines and 65 percent of platinum mines were “loss-making or marginal” by the end of 2018, adding the power price hike would make the situation even worse.

Once the largest contributor to South Africa’s gross domestic product, mining has shrunk steadily over the last decade with hard-to-reach deposits, high wage settlements and uncertainty over ownership laws deterring investors against a backdrop of slack global demand.

Last week, Statistics South Africa data showed gold production contracted for the 15th month in a row, shrinking by 22.5 percent in January, while platinum output was up 8.8 percent in the same period.

“We see the Eskom crisis as not just a crisis but a potential disaster,” said Mines Council chief executive Roger Baxter.

(Reporting by Naledi Mashishi and Onke Ngcuka; Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN


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