NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers
Mar 20, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) reacts on the bench in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

The Milwaukee Bucks played without All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for a second consecutive game Wednesday night as he continues to nurse a sprained right ankle.

Antetokounmpo, a candidate for MVP, did not play in the Bucks’ road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. He also missed Tuesday’s victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, who were without their own superstar, LeBron James (sore left groin).

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said of Antetokounmpo before Wednesday’s game, “He’s making progress, he just can’t go tonight. It’s us hopefully being smart and being somewhat cautious, but it’s more than that. He can’t play. We’ll see how the next 24-48 hours go, and I’m hopeful he’ll be in a good place as we move forward.”

The NBA-best Bucks (53-19) fell 107-102 to the Cavaliers, who own the third-worst record in the league at 19-53. Milwaukee returns home Friday for a game against the Miami Heat.

–Bucks power forward Nikola Mirotic will miss two-to-four weeks with a “slight fracture” of his left thumb, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported.

The Bucks acquired Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans at the trade deadline to provide depth off the bench. The team confirmed the injury but did not update his status.

Since the trade, Mirotic has played in 14 games (three starts), averaging 11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 22.9 minutes per game. Mirotic sustained the injury in the Bucks’ 115-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. The injury likely will keep him out the rest of the regular season.

–The NBA Summer League will have an international flavor in 2019, as the Chinese and Croatian national teams will join all 30 NBA teams in participating in the league, which will be held July 5-15 in Las Vegas, the NBA announced.

Team China played in Las Vegas at the 2007 NBA Summer League, but Team Croatia is making its debut at the event, marking the first time the league will have two international teams.

Each of the 32 teams will play four preliminary games, with the top eight teams seeded into a tournament to determine the champion. Those that don’t make the championship bracket will play a consolation game.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Paul Ingrassia | Contributor

Ninety percent of British people said Brexit negotiations and how the government is handling them have been a “national humiliation” in a poll Wednesday.

The Sky Data poll’s results come in the wake of news that Prime Minister Theresa May is considering forestalling a Brexit deal until June 30 to avoid the potential automatic withdrawal that was to occur March 29 after nearly three years of negotiations. A longer delay is also possible. 

British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street to head for the weekly Prime Ministers Questions in the House of Commons on March 20, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street to head for the weekly Prime Ministers Questions in the House of Commons on March 20, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Of the polled participants, one-third (34 percent) blamed the U.K. government, one-quarter (26 percent) blamed British members of Parliament, and 7 percent blamed the EU. Some 24 percent of respondents said all parties deserve equal blame.

By postponing the breakup another three months, it raises doubts about the legality of a proposed extension because a new European Parliament is being sworn in over the summer to replace former U.K. seats. Since the EP does not officially convene until July, Britain believes another three-month window would be permissible.

May’s plan has already twice been rejected by large majorities of the British Parliament.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said Wednesday that there was potential for an extension, according to BBC.

Conservative lawmaker Peter Bone said delaying Brexit would be “betraying the British people,” according to the New York Post.

Angela Eagle, a member of the opposition Labour Party, expressed similar frustration.

“[Theresa May should] stop banging her head against the brick wall of her defeated deal” and look for cross-party support. (RELATED: Theresa May’s Brexit Deal Dies In A Historic Parliamentary Defeat)

“If Theresa May buckles and delays Brexit, I will do my best to tear her party limb from limb,” former U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage wrote in an op-ed for The Telegraph.

The poll interviewed a representative sample of 1,189 people Wednesday. 

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NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks
Mar 18, 2019; Dallas, TX, USA; A view of the arena during the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the New Orleans Pelicans at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

March 20, 2019

The NBA Summer League will have an international flavor in 2019.

The Chinese and Croatian national teams will join all 30 NBA teams in participating in the league, which will be held July 5-15 in Las Vegas, the NBA announced Wednesday.

Team China played in Las Vegas at the 2007 NBA Summer League, but Team Croatia is making its debut at the event, marking the first time the league will have two international teams.

Each of the 32 teams will play four preliminary games, with the top eight teams seeded into a tournament to determine the champion. Those that don’t make the championship bracket will play a consolation game.

Every NBA team will participate in Las Vegas for the second consecutive year. The Portland Trail Blazers beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2018 title.

China will host and participate in the 32-team FIBA World Cup, which begins Aug. 31. Croatia did not make the field.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Iron workers install steel beams during a hot summer day in New York
Iron workers install steel beams during a hot summer day in New York, July 17, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

March 20, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Wednesday that domestic producers were being harmed by imports of fabricated structural steel from Canada, China and Mexico, keeping alive an investigation that could lead to duties on the products.

The ITC’s preliminary determination ensures that an anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigation launched by the U.S. Commerce Department last month will move forward.

U.S. lawmakers, car companies and Canada and Mexico have strongly urged the Trump administration to drop U.S. national security tariffs on steel and aluminum imports after a deal announced last year to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The fabricated structural steel under investigation is used in major building projects, including bridges, office and residential buildings, parking decks and ports.

If the Commerce Department determines the imports are being dumped in the U.S. market at less than fair value, unfairly subsidized, or both, and if the ITC affirms its finding of harm, the United States will impose duties for an initial five years.

The department launched the trade case after receiving a petition from an industry trade group.

The United States imported $658.3 million worth of fabricated structural steel from Canada in 2017, $841.7 million worth from China, and $406.6 million from Mexico.

The Commerce Department alleges there are 44 subsidy programs for Canadian fabricated structural steel, including tax programs, grant programs, loan programs, export insurance programs, and equity programs. There are also 26 subsidy programs for China and 19 subsidy programs for Mexico, according to the agency.

Last month, a Canadian steel industry group said it would strongly oppose anti-dumping duties on certain steel imports from Canada. The Canadian Institute of Steel Construction said allegations “that these products from Canada are unfairly traded and cause injury to U.S. producers of fabricated steel products are baseless.”

(Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by David Alexander and Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

Paul Ingrassia | Contributor

Former Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is reportedly mulling another bid for statewide office.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Walker is “not ruling anything out” for 2022 and has his sights set on running for a senate seat or the governorship should an opportunity arise.

Current Democratic Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers just last year defeated Walker for the office. Based on the results of a Marquett poll from January, Evers enjoys strong support for a bevy of his key budget and policy priorities, which include expanding Medicaid through federal funding, increases in education spending, and legalizing recreational marijuana.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) is welcomed to the stage by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker during a campaign rally at the W.L. Zorn Arena November 1, 2016 in Altoona, Wisconsin. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) is welcomed to the stage by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker during a campaign rally at the W.L. Zorn Arena November 1, 2016 in Altoona, Wisconsin. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Yet Walker has not ruled out a potential rematch in 2022:

“As you know, I think six months is a lifetime in politics,” Walker told the Post. “I’m not ruling anything out. My wife … told me, ‘Don’t pretend you wouldn’t ever running again.’”

Walker also has his eyes set on another office: the US senate seat currently occupied by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who has strongly hinted at not seeking a third term in 2022.

“I would defer to him,” Walker said of Ron Johnson’s decision to seek reelection. “If he chose to run again, I wouldn’t run.”

In the meantime, Walker has used his time as a private citizen to barnstorm across the country campaigning in various states to enact a federal balanced-budget amendment by a constitutional convention.

The former governor chairs a nonprofit group that seeks to replicate his success as governor in calling for an unprecedented convention to amend the U.S. Constitution for a balanced-budget amendment in 2017, across other states. Walker intends to visit Idaho, Montana, Kentucky, and Virginia this summer.

Walker got heat from Wisconsin Democrats before departing office last year when he signed legislation that curbed the power of the newly elected Democratic governor and attorney general during a lame-duck session.

Wisconsin was one of the “blue wall” states to go red in 2016 that ultimately lead to victory for President Donald Trump. The state is poised to be a key battleground again come 2020. Earlier this month, it was reported that Milwaukee, the state’s largest city, will host the 2020 Democratic National Convention. (RELATED: It’s Official: DNC To Host Annual Convention In A Place Hillary Passed Over)

Walker was one of 17 major candidates to launch a presidential campaign in 2016. After dropping out in September 2015, he endorsed Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. Since then, he has appeared at rallies in support of Trump.

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

Source: The Daily Caller

Lindsay Denny | Emory University

Allegations are surfacing that women are being forced to trade sex for vaccines; health workers remain deeply distrusted; in some areas women are being blamed for the outbreak and gender-based violence has increased.

The current Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is now the second largest in history, and it’s ripping through the country uncontained. More than 900 people have been infected, including 72 healthcare workers; and nearly 600 people have died.

The much-heralded experimental vaccine that the World Health Organization, WHO, called “highly, highly efficacious” with hopes it would control the outbreak, has failed in the face of conflict and distrust. Uganda and Rwanda are bracing themselves for the possibility that Ebola will cross their borders.

It didn’t have to be this way.

Following the 2014 Ebola outbreak that put the world on edge, the World Health Organization, WHO, prioritized 10 diseases that pose the greatest public health risks, to accelerate prevention/control measures so we’d never again experience a pandemic like Ebola that cost billions as it killed thousands. This summer, the world experienced the unprecedented and simultaneous outbreak of six of those ten diseases including the DRC’s on-going Ebola outbreak.

Experts like Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of John Hopkins Center for Health Security, emphasize that we still lack licensed vaccines for “most of the deadly viral pathogens” that have sprung up in the last 40 years. Meanwhile, drug efficacy is declining and drug resistance is rising. Leaders, like Bill Gates, are rightly concerned about what is clearly ongoing global unpreparedness.

All this handwringing about pathogens, pandemics and preventable diseases leads me to the healthcare elephant in the healthcare center. I am incredibly frustrated that few experts point to the obvious: the physical environment where people are seeking care — hospitals and clinics around the world — do not have access to soap, water and sanitation, the fundamentals of disease prevention and containment.

The result is preventable illnesses and containable diseases endanger patients and staff daily; and when an outbreak like the 2014 Ebola pandemic takes root, we see the ghastly toll. The lack of access to water, soap and basic sanitation was a key reason why Ebola not only killed some 11,00 people, it was 103-fold higher in healthcare workers in Sierra Leone than in the general population, 42-fold higher in Guinea health workers, and the reason why Liberia lost 8 percent of its health workforce. Let’s remember that these professionals are also our frontline defense against pandemics.  

The absence of water/sanitation/hygiene is a daily threat. On a recent trip to Ethiopia, I stood in the neonatal intensive care unit of a major hospital and took in the scene in front of me. I’ve visited hundreds of health facilities in developing countries — this wasn’t even the worst I’d seen — but the conditions were no less jarring.

Twenty-five tiny newborns were three and four to a bed. The only sink in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit was filled with dirty water with no soap in sight; an empty bottle of hand sanitizer sat near the door. We know that simply handwashing with soap has been shown to prevent nearly 40 percent of neonatal deaths. An intern on duty told me it wasn’t uncommon for one of the babies to contract an infection, which rapidly spread to others.

This Ethiopian NICU was in the largest hospital in the region and staff were doing their best in conditions they knew were inadequate. They can’t wash bedding between patients or adequately clean up blood from medical equipment. As a newborn, I too spent a few weeks in a NICU. I wonder what my chances would have been had I been treated in a facility without clean water or a functioning sink.

It is not some unpronounceable drug that alone will prevent or contain everything from neonatal infections to pandemics like Ebola. It’s soap and water, the single-most effective method for containing the millions of germs living within the walls of a hospital. That makes handwashing a particularly powerful and cost-effective tool for doctors, nurses and midwives around the world — as it should, quite literally, be at their fingertips. But it is not.

A landmark study published in 2018, drawing on data from 179,000 health-care facilities in 78 low- and middle- income countries, found that 50 percent of surveyed health facilities lacked piped water and 39 percent lacked soap, 54 percent lacked both. Not surprising, in developing countries nearly one-in-six patients contract an infection during hospitalization.

Even here in the U.S., what may seem like a simple oversight can turn deadly. Eleven children died last fall from an adenovirus outbreak at a rehabilitation center in New Jersey. Health officials citedhandwashing deficiencies” and “infection control issues.” On average, U.S. health-care providers clean their hands less than half of the time they should. The Centers for Disease Control says about one in 25 U.S. hospital patients contracts at least one health-care-associated infection.

“We’ve gotten lucky” is not a prevention strategy. Health security clearly requires that sustainable water, sanitation and good hygiene practice be the non-negotiable part of health care everywhere, and that certainly includes inside hospitals and health-care facilities. WASH remains the untapped and cost-effective opportunity to improve health security for our own sake as well as the tireless work of frontline health-care workers who defend us all. Its global neglect is reckless.

Lindsay Denny, MPH, is a senior public health program associate for the Center for Global Safe WASH at Emory University and a technical advisor for Global Water 2020.

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

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

There is officially zero chance there will be any new episodes of “Westworld” coming out in 2019.

According to HN Entertainment, filming on the third season won’t end until October 4, 2019. Filming is set to begin in a few days.

If there was any hope at all that the third season of the HBO hit show would come out this year, you can go ahead and officially snuff out that flame.

There’s no chance in hell it wraps filming in October and is done before 2020. At this point in time, I wouldn’t get your hopes up for anything sooner than May or June of next summer. (RELATED: Jimmi Simpson Says He’s ‘Not Invited’ Back For Season Three Of ‘Westworld’)

Why does HBO do this to us? Why do they make us wait so long for new content. It’s just awful. It’s borderline torture to deprive us of fresh episodes for more than a year. We might end up going two years without a new episode at this rate. (RELATED: HBO Hands Out Massive Raises To Stars Of One Of Its Biggest Hits. Here’s How Much They’ll Make)

As a huge fan of the show, that doesn’t make me happy at all.

Having said all of that, I am still super pumped for season three. After what we saw at the end of season two, there are limitless possibilities to what we might get.

Will it all be outside of the park? Will some of it be outside of the park? Will the Man in Black bounce back? Again, the options are truly incredible.

It better be damn good if we’re waiting so long. Luckily, HBO hasn’t disappointed us yet, even if they do make us wait seemingly forever.

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Source: The Daily Caller

Betsy Rothstein | Reporter

Ex-Teen Voguer Lauren Duca was on the griddle Tuesday afternoon for a syllabus she wrote for a journalism class she’s teaching this summer at NYU.

The feminist who wrote a column called “Thigh High Politics” is catching major heat on social media for a syllabus that requires students to be on Twitter — or else. In fact, 20 percent of a student’s grade depends on it.

“Do I get an F if she blocked me already?” asked Hannah Gais, who writes for The New Republic and The Baffler.

Gais explained the blocking incident, tweeting, “I’m pleased to note that my social media presence is already ‘fully conceptualized’ as @laurenduca blocked me over a year ago for saying a joke she made while clearly hammered on a Tuesday was bad.”

Brains are already exploding imagining the nightmare this is going to create. After all, this is the woman who once tweeted that she was prepared to “bite some dicks off.” It was in response to some Evangelicals and The Handmaid’s Tale(Related: Lauren Duca Bites Off More Than She Can Chew) 

The Daily Beast‘s media writer Max Tani also mocked her class, tweeting to himself, “Max, you’ll be receiving a c- for your overusage of the phrase ‘let’s get this bread’ in your tweets.”

On Tuesday, Duca attempted self-deprecation in a response to Tani’s tweet.

“20% of the grade in my class is based on the practical application of crafting a personal brand based in journalistic ethics, but maybe I should add in more reading comprehension?” she asked, inserting a cutesy emoji. “Anyway, NYU students, let’s get weird this summer.”

After self-deprecation, she tried another tactic: verbal stabbing.

“For someone whose career has flourished with the help of a routinely captivating Twitter account, this seems oddly bitter,” Duca wrote. “Keep on keepin’ on, Tani.”

“Country Stan,” an arts and culture editor at the Montana Kaimin, the student newspaper at the University of Montana, tweeted, “Lauren Duca is clearly a moron but a lot of NYC media people who spend nine hours a day on twitter and have 30k followers are making fun of the ‘building a social media brand’ aspect of the course and uh ya’ll might need to sit this one out lmao.”

Deadspin‘s Luis Paez-Pumar tweaked her further, saying, “Lauren Duca is assigning TWO of her own stories as readings for the same class, it’s almost admirable how bold that is.”

The class is called “The Feminist Journalist,” and according to her class description, the course involves taking a pointed opinion.

“The truth is not a math equation,” Duca states. “In the middle of the ongoing American dumpster fire, there is, I believe, only one side to journalism, and it is motivated by building a truer, more equitable democracy. As this course will establish, not only does this effort allow for feminist journalists, it renders feminist journalism a moral necessity. We cannot build to social justice without adequate representation of intersectional perspectives.”

Nothing against women or moral necessities, but can’t a woman be a skillful, prominent journalist and not possess Ms. Duca’s quest for feminism?

As Duca puts it, “Media coverage of our current political climate has been plagued by the mental Napalm that I call ‘both sides-ism.’ This is a kind of classic ‘he said she said’ form of journalism where the reporter tries to give both sides of an issue, even if one side is completely bogus.” (RELATED: Lauren Duca Tells Billy Graham To ‘Have Fun In Hell’) 

Has Ms. Duca been attending the Brian Stelter School of Journalism at CNN?

This should be good — in other words, really bad. Yes, journalism typically involves presenting both sides of a story. Unless you’re an opinion writer, that’s the goal.

The course requires two writing assignments and a “fully-conceptualized social media presence.” Each student will invent his or her “brand.” Each week, the student’s “progress” on this stupid front will be discussed.

The goal in Ms. Duca’s class will be whatever is the opposite of objectivity. So here’s some big thoughts strung together by some punctuation: “Our goal will be to create a concrete set of ethics for guiding radical transparency: rather than attempting to pretend the brain is a white board that might be erased, as is the misinterpretation of objectivity, we will aim to share as much as possible, detailing the precise vantage point from which the truth is told.”

This monstrosity of a class will be every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Duca declares, “In short: It is not only possible to be a feminist journalist, we all ought to be.”

By August, the students should be ready to eat their feelings.

“Let’s eat junk food and have feelings about our past six weeks together,” she writes. “I will plan this week’s activities and discussion based on our conversations throughout the session. Also, carbs.”

Duca deployed sarcasm in response to her critics.

“Shit, slipped up for a quick sec and forgot that being a young woman means I’m supposed to be perfect in every conceivable way,” she wrote.

Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Netflix has a zombie thriller coming out, and it looks awesome.

The plot of “Black Summer,” according to Netflix’s YouTube description, is:

Set in the dark, early days of a zombie apocalypse, BLACK SUMMER stars Jaime King as Rose, a mother torn from her daughter who embarks upon a harrowing journey to find her. Thrust alongside a small group of American refugees, these complete strangers must find the strength they need to fight their way back to loved ones. But in order for Rose and her team to brave this hostile new world, they will need to make brutal decisions to contend with zombies – and each other.

Does that sound interesting to you? It sure as hell does to me. I’m also pretty juiced because the trailer for the show looks incredibly dark. (RELATED: ‘World War Z’ Sequel Shelved Due To Budgetary Issues)

Everybody knows that if you’re going to walk the zombie path that you have to go with the darkness. There’s really no other way (except “Zombieland”). Give it a watch below.

Again, this looks great. Also, on a bit of a side note, Netflix just continues cranking them out lately, and I’m here for it.

It looks like “Black Summer” is just going to be the latest show they knock out of the park when it gets released April 11. This comes right after they hit a home run with “Triple Frontier.” (RELATED: ‘Triple Frontier’ Is An Outstanding Movie)

The streaming service is just killing the game right now.

As for “Black Summer,” I can’t remember the last time we got some great zombie content. Hopefully, this doesn’t let us down.

Luckily, we won’t have to wait long because it comes out in less than a month. You know that I’ll be giving it a chance.

Source: The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller Shop | Contributor

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Like this deal? Check out Vault, the best way to secure your online data for just $9.99/mo.

You can find even more great deals like this at The Daily Caller Shop.

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FILE PHOTO: Mark Read, chief executive of WPP, leaves following the AGM in London, Britain, June 13, 2018
FILE PHOTO: Mark Read, chief executive of WPP, leaves following the AGM in London, Britain, June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

March 19, 2019

By Kate Holton and Pamela Barbaglia

LONDON (Reuters) – A series of buyout funds including U.S. firms Advent and Blackstone are in talks with advertising group WPP to explore bids for a majority stake in its data analytics unit Kantar, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The sale, led by Goldman Sachs, may value Kantar at up to 3.5 billion pounds ($4.7 billion), but some private equity investors are fretting over the decline in profits and revenues that the business has suffered in recent years.

Hellman & Friedman and CVC Capital Partners are also working on the deal, the sources said, while industry players have so far shied away from the process.

Bain Capital has also expressed interest in making a bid for Kantar, another source said, adding Bain might later decide to team up with one of the other buyout funds in the race.

WPP sent out confidential information packs this week, with non-binding offers expected in April, one of the sources said.

WPP, Blackstone, Advent and CVC declined to comment, while representatives at Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman were not immediately available.

WPP, the owner of agencies including JWT, Finsbury and Ogilvy, is in the middle of an overhaul launched by its new boss Mark Read following several profit warnings in 2017 and 2018.

The London-based group wants to sell a majority stake in Kantar to reduce debt as it braces for a tough year with revenue expected to drop by between 1.5 and 2 percent in 2019.

Kantar, a leading player in market research, provides brand and marketing communications research for some of the world’s largest advertisers.

Yet it has suffered a decline in revenue in recent years, with underlying sales down 2 percent last year to 2.6 billion pounds and operating profit down 14 percent to 301 million.

“The deal poses some challenges for private equity funds as it’s been on a downward trajectory for a while,” one source said.

Private equity investors are examining the turnaround potential of a possible deal, the sources said, and would value the business at up to 10 times its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), hoping to reignite growth within the first three years of their investment.

Liberum analyst Ian Whittaker said in February that Kantar could fetch more than 3 billion pounds, with WPP raising close to 2.1-2.2 billion pounds from a 60 percent stake sale.

WPP boss Read aims to complete the sale by the end of the summer as he needs cash to steer the world’s biggest advertising group back to growth.

Read took the helm of WPP last year, pledging to spend 300 million pounds to restructure the group and bring it back in line with peers by the end of 2021.

Founder Martin Sorrell, 74, remains a major WPP shareholder but is now running a new company which last year beat WPP in the race to buy Dutch digital agency MediaMonks.

(Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN

Japanese Olympic Committee President Takeda attends JOC board of directors meeting in Tokyo
Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda attends JOC board of directors meeting in Tokyo, Japan, March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

March 19, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – The head of Japan’s Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, said on Tuesday he will step down from his position when his current term ends in June.

French prosecutors placed Takeda under formal investigation in December for suspected corruption in Japan’s successful bid to host the 2020 Summer Games.

Takeda, who was president of the 2020 bid committee, said during a JOC board of directors meeting in Tokyo that he would step down from his position when his term ends and not seek re-election.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Jack Tarrant; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prince Harry arrives with girlfriend actress Meghan Markle at the wheelchair tennis event during the Invictus Games in Toronto
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prince Harry (R) arrives with girlfriend actress Meghan Markle at the wheelchair tennis event during the Invictus Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada September 25, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo

March 19, 2019

By Lisa Richwine and Rollo Ross

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Fascination, pride and the best soap opera in the world have many Americans eagerly awaiting the impending birth of Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle’s first child.

After some 29 million Americans watched the televised May 2018 wedding of Harry to Californian actress Markle, the prospect of the first British royal baby born to an American mother is proving even more compelling.

“It’s going to be massive,” said J.D. Heyman, deputy editor of People magazine. “When Meghan presents the baby, when Meghan and Harry step out onto a balcony … I think what you will see is an enormous outpouring of affection for both of them.”

“The excitement around this equals the births of certainly Prince William’s babies and, frankly, Harry and William’s birth(s)” more than 30 years ago, Heyman added.

Despite America’s War of Independence fought against Britain some 240 years ago, Americans have long been obsessed with British royals, who regularly feature on the front pages of celebrity magazines.

British producer Nick Bullen, a co-founder of subscription streaming service True Royalty TV, which launched last summer, said a colorful and dramatic history with larger-than-life figures such as King Henry VIII drives the modern fascination with the royal family.

“The British royal family is the best soap opera in town,” he said. “It’s as simple as that.”

True Royalty TV is based in London but draws its largest number of subscribers from the United States.

While celebrity media outlets are chronicling Markle’s pregnancy with daily pictures and speculation over the baby’s sex and due date, True Royalty TV plans documentaries and talk-show discussions on topics including: how will the royal couple raise their first child?

“Imagine raising an American royal in Britain,” Bullen said. “It’s hard enough I think for a lot of Americans to come to London and get to grips with boarding schools and prep schools and little caps and little shorts and how we raise children in the UK.

“Will Dorian, Meghan’s mum, be involved in the baby’s raising?” Bullen said. “Will it have holidays in California? Will it be doing baby yoga? People want to know all that level of detail.”

Not everyone is getting caught up in royal baby fever.

“I actually don’t have too much of an opinion about it,” shrugged Evan Jorgensen, as he strolled along the Venice Beach boardwalk in California on Monday.

But most people Reuters spoke to said they were excited and pleased. Americans feel tremendous affection toward Markle, said Heyman.

“There’s a personal pride that many people feel, that an average American girl of a multiracial background has risen to this position,” he said.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Rollo Ross; Writing by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Nick Carey)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Tsunekazu Takeda, President of the Japanese Olympic committee, attends a news conference in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Tsunekazu Takeda, President of the Japanese Olympic committee, attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan January 15, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

March 19, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) chief Tsunekazu Takeda, who is expected to announce plans to step down on Tuesday, is also set to resign as a member of the International Olympics Committee, Kyodo News reported.

French prosecutors placed Takeda under formal investigation in December for suspected corruption in Japan’s successful bid to host the 2020 Summer Games.

(Reporting by Chris Gallagher; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO - Natalie Jaresko, Executive Director of the Federal Fiscal Control Board of Puerto Rico attends a meeting of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico at the College of Engineers and Land Surveyors in San Juan
FILE PHOTO – Natalie Jaresko, Executive Director of the Federal Fiscal Control Board of Puerto Rico attends a meeting of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico at the College of Engineers and Land Surveyors in San Juan, Puerto Rico October 31, 2017. REUTERS/Alvin Baez

March 18, 2019

SAN JUAN (Reuters) – The executive director of Puerto Rico’s federally created financial oversight board said on Monday that a plan to restructure the U.S. commonwealth’s core government debt likely cannot be done by the end of April.

An attorney for the board last week told a U.S. judge who is hearing Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy cases that a draft plan was expected next month, according to local media reports.

But on Monday, the oversight board’s executive director, Natalie Jaresko, said the attorney meant to say that the plan could be filed with the court “at best” in April.

“I don’t think it’s highly realistic to do this by the end of April,” Jaresko said, adding that board’s goal is to seek court confirmation of a plan before year end.

Negotiations are ongoing with creditors over a plan of adjustment for roughly $13 billion of general obligation debt and almost $50 billion in unfunded pension obligations, although the board has asked the court to void more than $6 billion of GO bonds issued in 2012 and 2014.

“We’re trying not to do a cramdown, but I don’t know where that’s going to end up in the end,” Jaresko said, referring to a process where an adjustment plan could be imposed on certain creditors.

She took questions from the media following a meeting on Monday with members of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees U.S. territories and which has raised concerns over the 2016 federal Promesa law that created the oversight board.

“I think the Promesa law is working right now,” Jaresko said, adding that she cannot predict whether Congress would seek to revise it.

A committee spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The privatization of Puerto Rico’s bankrupt power utility, PREPA, is “moving forward,” but its pace “needs to improve,” Jaresko warned.

Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced in January 2018 his plans to privatize PREPA, a process that was expected to take 18 months. It was not until earlier this year, however, that the government selected companies to bid on taking over the distribution and transmission of power on the island. The utility, which filed for bankruptcy in the summer of 2017, continues to negotiate with its creditors to restructure roughly $9 billion in debt.

Puerto Rico has won court approval for restructurings of debt from its Government Development Bank and Sales Tax Financing Corporation known as COFINA.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog in Chicago and Luis Valentin Ortiz in San Juan; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Source: OANN

Audrey Conklin | Reporter

Wisconsin manufacturing facility Foxconn Technology Group announced Monday that it will open a new $10 billion plant by 2020 after talks with President Donald Trump.

Following his visit to the White House on Feb. 1, Dr. Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn CEO Terry Gou, said the company plans to begin production at its new plant by the 4th quarter of 2020, Reuters reports. Construction for the plant is likely to begin over the summer.

“Our commitment, from day one, has been to establish a winning formula for Foxconn and for Wisconsin,” Woo announced. “We continue to expand our presence around the state, create jobs and deepen our partnerships while innovating and adapting to meet changing market needs.”

Terry Gou (2nd L), chairman of Apple supplier Foxconn, shakes hands with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ... (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Terry Gou (2nd L), chairman of Apple supplier Foxconn, shakes hands with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker … (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Trump tweeted after his February meeting with Gou and Woo, “Great news on Foxconn in Wisconsin after my conversation with Terry Gou!”

The group will announce contractors for various construction jobs throughout the next year, and of those contracts, 95 percent will be rewarded to Wisconsin-based companies, Fox Business reports.

Wisconsin offered a nearly $4-billion incentive package in the form of tax and local tax credits in 2017 for the Taiwan-based group to move to the state and hire 13,000 people.

The Apple supplier specializes in creating liquid crystal display (LCD) screens, which are used for devices such as phones, tablets and more. The new facility is expected to be a “Generation 6” factory, meaning it will be able to create screens ranging in size from that of an iPhone to a television.

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Foxconn CEO Terry Gou ... (Photo by Andy Manis/Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Foxconn CEO Terry Gou … (Photo by Andy Manis/Getty Images)

It was initially speculated that the facility would be “Generation 10,” meaning it would be able to create screens as large as up to 11 ft. After Friday’s meeting with the president, however, Woo said Foxconn will continue with plans for the smaller facility.

Foxconn and Trump came under scrutiny in January when Woo told Reuters that the manufacturing company might not build a factory, despite having accepted the state’s significant incentive package: “In Wisconsin, we’re not building a factory. You can’t use a factory to view our Wisconsin investment.”

Trump called Foxconn an “incredible company” last year at a rally in Wisconsin: “They came to Wisconsin with the most incredible plan. Has anyone seen this place? It’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.”

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Foxconn, the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, is seen on top of the company's building in Taipei
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Foxconn, the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, is seen on top of the company’s building in Taipei, Taiwan, March 30, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

March 18, 2019

(Reuters) – Foxconn Technology Group Ltd said on Monday it will complete work on a new factory in Wisconsin to assemble liquid crystal display screens and start production before the end of next year.

Foxconn said the next phases of factory construction will begin by this summer “and the facility will begin production in the 4th quarter of 2020.”

Foxconn initially planned to manufacture advanced large-screen displays for TVs and other consumer and professional products at the Wisconsin plant. It later said it would build smaller Generation 6 LCD screens instead.

The initial Gen6 facility will manufacture screens for education, medical and healthcare, entertainment and sports, security, and smart cities products, Foxconn said Monday.

In February, Foxconn reiterated it would still build a factory in Wisconsin after the company’s chairman spoke to U.S. President Donald Trump, following a Reuters report the Taiwanese company was reconsidering its plans.

Reuters reported in January that Foxconn was reconsidering making LCD panels at a planned $10 billion Wisconsin campus and instead intended to hire mostly engineers and researchers there.

Foxconn has stopped using the $10 billion figure in recent releases and has not responded to questions about how much it now plans to invest in Wisconsin.

The planned 20-million-square-foot campus marked the largest investment for a brand new location by a foreign-based company in U.S. history when it was announced at a White House ceremony in 2017. It was praised by Trump as proof of his ability to revive American manufacturing.

Heavily criticized in some quarters, the Foxconn project was championed by Wisconsin’s then governor, Scott Walker, a Republican who helped secure around $4 billion in tax breaks and other incentives before leaving office. Critics called the deal a corporate giveaway that would never result in the promised manufacturing jobs and said it posed serious environmental risks.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Monday that much work on the Foxconn complex appeared to have halted over the last two months.

After the Reuters report in January, Foxconn, a major supplier to Apple Inc, issued a statement saying the global market environment had changed since the project was first announced and “necessitated the adjustment of plans for all projects, including Wisconsin.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Tom Brown)

Source: OANN

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Daily Dealer | Contributor

If you’re looking for a new pair of sunglasses to take to the beach this summer, check out Nordstrom Rack’s deep discounts on hundreds of designer styles, including more than 30 Ray-Ban styles at discounts of up to 70%. But act fast, because these sunglasses are likely to sell quickly at these prices.

Shop dozens of different luxury Ray-Ban styles. On sale now for a limited time (Photo via Ray-Ban)

Shop dozens of different luxury Ray-Ban styles. On sale now for a limited time (Photo via Ray-Ban)

Click here to shop Ray-Bans currently on sale for a limited time while supplies last 

We love these Ray-Ban 51mm Wood Clubmaster Sunglasses, and so do customer reviewers. These retail for $290, but you can get them for just $79.97 at Nordstrom Rack. Or check out these Ray-Ban 49mm Highstreet Gatsby Round Sunglasses, which drop in price from $178 to $79.97, a 55% discount. Shipping is free with your $100 purchase, so stock up on styles for the whole family! You’ll also find discounts on sunglasses from Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Gucci, Burberry, and more.

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

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

Source: The Daily Caller

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is waiting until special counsel Robert Mueller issues a report on his findings before deciding on whether he will challenge President Donald Trump in the Republican primary for the 2020 presidential election.

“The whole country is waiting for this to come out,” Hogan told The Washington Post in an interview published Monday. “Don’t get the impression that I’m sitting here like this vulture waiting for some bad news.”

Hogan spent much of his interview criticizing Trump’s nationalism, saying, “I come from the Ronald Reagan school of politics.”

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) speaks at the MGM National Harbor Grand Opening Celebration on December 8, 2016 in National Harbor, Maryland. Larry French/Getty Images for MGM National Harbor

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) speaks at the MGM National Harbor Grand Opening Celebration on December 8, 2016 in National Harbor, Maryland. Larry French/Getty Images for MGM National Harbor

Hogan is a widely popular Republican governor in a generally liberal state who has strayed from the president on many turns since his election.

“I’m for a bigger tent, for coming up with ideas and solutions that can reach a wider audience,” Hogan said, adding, “I appeal to Republicans because my message is: I haven’t abandoned my principles. I’ve just said let’s deal in the art of the possible.” (RELATED: Republican Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Leads) 

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks at the "Curbing the Opioid Epidemic" session at the National Governors Association summer meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S., July 13, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks at the “Curbing the Opioid Epidemic” session at the National Governors Association summer meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S., July 13, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Hogan speculated that “of course” he could not win a Republican primary challenge against Trump today, though he noted, “I also have been around long enough to know that things can change very rapidly … A lot can happen all spring and summer and into the fall.”

Hogan will face stiff criticism from within the Republican National Party with GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel saying at the Conservative Political Action Committee that anybody who challenges Trump “will lose horribly.

“What would any Republican be thinking saying, ‘This is a guy I’m going to run against?” McDaniel said. “So have at it, go ahead, waste your money, waste your time and go ahead and lose.”

The RNC also passed a pledge to provide Trump its “undivided support” in January 2019.

Source: The Daily Caller

PGA: THE PLAYERS Championship - Final Round
Mar 17, 2019; Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, USA; Rory McIlroy celebrates winning THE PLAYERS Championship golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass – Stadium Course. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

March 18, 2019

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy jumped two spots to No. 4 in the official world rankings on Monday, a day after claiming his first win in more than a year at The Players Championship.

Dustin Johnson tied for fifth at TPC Sawgrass to maintain his slim margin at the top over England’s Justin Rose, who managed to tie for eighth after rallying to make the cut. Brooks Koepka is No. 3, followed by McIlroy, who has steadily moved up since entering the year ranked eighth. He has yet to finish worse than a tie for sixth place in six events in 2019.

No. 5 Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau both moved down a spot, and were followed by Italy’s Francesco Molinari, Rickie Fowler, Xander Schauffele and Spain’s Jon Rahm in the top 10.

England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Australia’s Jason Day moved past Tiger Woods, who dropped to No. 13 following his T30 at The Players.

Former No. 1 Jordan Spieth missed the cut and continued his slide, falling another five spots to No. 30. He has three missed cuts and has not finished better than T35 in nine events since the second leg of last season’s FedEx Cup Playoffs.

The top 50 features 23 Americans and eight Englishmen.

–Phil Mickelson, who dropped a spot to No. 21 with his missed cut, has committed to the PGA Tour’s new stop in at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minn., this summer. The July 4-7 event outside of Minneapolis takes place three weeks after the U.S. Open and two weekends before the British Open.

In a statement, Mickelson said the event was a “perfect slot” for his schedule.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

  • More than 15 journalists, several U.S. government officials and multiple lawmakers were shown or given the Steele dossier during the 2016 presidential campaign or shortly after.
  • Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele disseminated the dossier far and wide in an apparent attempt to insert the document’s salacious allegations into the media.
  • Newly unsealed court filings show how widespread this effort was.

Court documents released last week in a lawsuit involving the Steele dossier revealed new details about the campaign to disseminate the infamous anti-Trump report to the press and within the U.S. government.

Much was already known about Fusion GPS and dossier author Christopher Steele’s efforts to seed the dossier with reporters and government officials. Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson orchestrated several meetings between Steele and Washington, D.C.-based journalists prior to the 2016 election. It has also been widely reported that Steele and Simpson met with government officials in an attempt to ensure that Steele’s unverified findings landed on the government’s radar.

A deposition given by David Kramer, a longtime associate of former Sen. John McCain, shed light on even more contacts with reporters and government officials. Kramer’s Dec. 13, 2017 deposition was released on March 14 along with a batch of other documents from a dossier-related lawsuit against BuzzFeed News.

By giving the dossier to government officials, Fusion GPS and Steele were able to create news hooks for journalists to write stories airing the dossier’s unverified allegations.

That was the case with Yahoo! News, Mother Jones, CNN and BuzzFeed News, all of which published stories not about the underlying claims made in the dossier, but about the fact that the document was being handled by U.S. government officials.

Here are all of the contacts that Steele, Simpson and Kramer had with government officials and the press.

Fusion GPS and Steele’s contacts with US government officials

Simpson and Steele, a former MI6 officer, made contact with two separate government officials during the campaign to disseminate the dossier.

Steele met with Justice Department official Bruce Ohr and his wife, a Fusion GPS contractor named Nellie Ohr, on July 30, 2016 to provide some of the information he had gathered in his investigation.

Simpson reached out and met Bruce Ohr on Aug. 22, 2016. Bruce Ohr told Congress on Aug. 28, 2018 that Simpson told him of possible intermediaries between the Trump campaign and Kremlin. Simpson and Bruce Ohr met against on Dec. 10, 2016. During that encounter, Bruce Ohr says Simpson handed him a memory stick with what he believes was a copy of the dossier. (RELATED: Details Emerge About Trump Dossier Firm’s Media Outreach Campaign)

Steele met with Jonathan Winer, a State Department official with close ties to former Secretary of State John Kerry, during summer 2016. He told Winer about the information he had gathered, and Winer wrote a two-page summary to give to others at the State Department.

Fusion GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson listens as his lawyer, Joshua Levy, speaks to members of the media following a meeting with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee in the Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill on October 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson is pictured. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Simpson reached out to Winer between Sept. 19-22, 2016. In an email, Simpson requested an urgent phone call with Winer. It would later be reported that Winer was a source for Michael Isikoff, the Yahoo! News reporter who wrote the first article laying out the dossier’s allegations against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The FBI relied heavily on the dossier to obtain four Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against Page.

Winer did not just receive intelligence from Steele. He also provided the retired spy with dirt gathered by two longtime Hillary Clinton allies, Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer. Blumenthal gave Winer a copy of a report written by Shearer that contained allegations similar to Steele’s dossier. Winer gave that report to Steele, who passed it to the FBI.

Simpson and Steele contact reporters

Simpson contacted several top national security reporters beginning in summer 2016 to arrange meetings with Steele. He also reportedly tipped ABC News reporter Brian Ross off to a Belarus-born businessman who is believed to be a major source for the dossier.

According to the book “Russian Roulette,” Simpson told Ross about Sergei Millian, an obscure businessman who had claimed in one interview that he had links to Trumpworld. During an on-camera interview with Millian on July 29, 2016, Ross asked Millian several questions that mirror allegations made in the dossier.

Simpson also set up meetings in mid-September 2016 between Steele and several other reporters, including Yahoo’s Isikoff, The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, The Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger and Rosalind Helderman, and Steven Lee Meyer and Eric Lichtblau at The New York Times.

Steele spoke in October 2016 with David Corn, a reporter at Mother Jones who published a dossier-based story on Oct. 31, 2016. Corn provided a copy of the dossier to James Baker, who then served as FBI’s general counsel. Corn hoped that Baker would reveal whether the FBI was investigating the dossier’s claims, but Baker told Congress he did not provide any information to the reporter.

Baker would also meet with Michael Sussmann, an attorney at Perkins Coie, the firm that hired Fusion GPS on behalf of the Democratic National Committee. Sussmann provided Baker with information relevant to the Trump-Russia probe but not from the dossier.

He provided similar information to Slate’s Franklin Foer and reporters at The New York Times. Both outlets reported stories about possible links between the servers of the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, a Russian bank that is identified in the dossier. The allegation of communication between the two servers remains unverified and has been heavily disputed.

Dossier used as ‘hook’ for multiple news articles

In the case of the Isikoff piece, the news hook was that the U.S. government was looking into the allegations from the Steele dossier about Page. From there, Isikoff was able to lay out what the dossier claimed about the former Trump campaign aide, regardless of whether the allegations were true.

The FBI cited Isikoff’s article in its applications for surveillance warrants against Page, a former Trump campaign adviser who is accused in the dossier of being the Trump team’s conduit to the Kremlin.

The dossier itself was published based on a series of news hooks.

CNN reported on Jan. 10, 2017 that former President Barack Obama and then-President-elect Donald Trump had been briefed on portions of the dossier on Jan. 6, 2017. CNN reported the briefing took place, and that Trump had been told about specific allegations that Russia might use as blackmail material against him.

BuzzFeed followed up an hour later, using the CNN report as a hook to publish the dossier in full.

The FBI itself sought to capitalize on the publication of the dossier, according to text messages that have been made public.

Peter Strzok, the counterintelligence official who led the Trump-Russia probe, texted FBI lawyer Lisa Page following CNN’s report, saying: “Hey let me know when you can talk. We’re discussing whether, now that this is out, we use it as a pretext to go interview some people.”

Prior to that, the FBI had conducted its investigation into the Trump campaign in secret. Few if any Trump associates were interviewed prior to Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017.

FBI agents showed up on Jan. 27, 2017 to interview George Papadopoulos at his home in Chicago. The agents initially asked Papadopoulos about Millian, an alleged dossier source who initiated contact with Papadopoulos on July 15, 2017.

Simpson and Steele use McCain to get to Comey

Kramer first learned of the dossier on Nov. 18, 2016, at the Halifax Security Forum. Sir Andrew Wood, an informal adviser to Steele’s company, told Kramer about the document and suggested sharing it with McCain. (RELATED: John McCain Associate Had Contact With A Dozen Reporters About Dossier)

Kramer flew to London on Nov. 28, 2016 to meet with Steele. The two made arrangements there for Kramer to obtain a physical copy of the report from Simpson.

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, speaks to reporters as he arrives for a vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., Oct. 18, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

After Kramer obtained the document, he shared it with numerous journalists, some at the direction of Steele.

According to his deposition, Kramer provided a copy of the dossier or previewed it to the following reporters: Julian Borger from The Guardian; Corn from Mother Jones; Ross and Matthew Mosk from ABC News; Peter Stone from McClatchy; Fred Hiatt, Hamburger and Helderman from The Washington Post; Bob Little from NPR; Alan Cullison from The Wall Street Journal; Carl Bernstein from CNN and Ken Bensinger from BuzzFeed.

Kramer said in his deposition that Corn and Borger were looking to use McCain’s meeting with former FBI Director James Comey as a news hook to continue publishing on the Steele report. He said the two journalists had somehow learned that McCain was going to meet with Comey.

Kramer also said that Steele wanted him to meet with BuzzFeed’s Bensinger and CNN’s Bernstein. He met with Bensinger on Dec. 28, 2016, where the reporter photographed the dossier. Kramer met with Bernstein days later, on Jan. 3 or Jan. 4, 2017.

The dossier also somehow made its way to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Former Sen. Harry Reid is believed to have obtained some of the information in August 2016. He wrote a letter to Comey on Aug. 25, 2016 regarding information about possible ties between Trump associates and Russian operatives. Comey met one-on-one with former CIA Director John Brennan.

Kramer also provided a copy of the dossier to Illinois GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger and the chief of staff of former House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Other State Department contacts

Winer wasn’t the only State Department official who obtained Steele’s information.

Kramer said in his deposition that McCain asked him to meet with Victoria Nuland, who served as assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Kramer also met with Celeste Wallander, who served as senior director for Russia and Eurasia issues on the National Security Council.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland speaks during a news conference in Kiev, Ukraine, April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

Kramer said McCain wanted to meet with the two officials as part of “due diligence” before meeting with Comey.

Nuland had several encounters with the document and Steele beginning in July 2016. Nuland was who approved FBI agent Michael Gaeta to meet with Steele in Rome on July 5, 2016. Gaeta and Steele had worked together years earlier on an investigation into bribery in FIFA, the international soccer organization.

Nuland was also contacted by Winer regarding Steele’s information. According to both Nuland and Winer, she suggested the information be passed to the FBI. Nuland testified to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in June 2018 that Steele visited the State Department in October 2016.

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Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini in Brussels
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attends a meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini (not pictured) in Brussels, Belgium March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

March 18, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union will seek Beijing’s agreement for deadlines to open up China’s economy at an April 9 summit in Brussels, according to a draft leaders’ statement, trying to coax it into making good on promises to deepen trade ties.

China and the EU will “agree by summer 2019 on a set of priority market access barriers and requirements facing their operators,” according to a six-page joint communique drafted by the EU, which still requires Chinese approval.

The statement, seen by Reuters, is set to be formally released at the of the summit between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; editing by Philip Blenkinsop)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Naotoshi Yamada poses for a photo at his office in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Naotoshi Yamada poses for a photo at his office in Tokyo, Japan, October 3, 2018. Picture taken October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

March 18, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Superfan Naotoshi Yamada, famous in Japan for having been to every Summer Games since 1964, has died aged 92 with an unfulfilled dream of watching the Olympics when it returns to Tokyo next year.

Japanese broadcaster NHK reported on Monday that he died last week following heart failure.

Yamada, known to his Japanese compatriots as “Olympic Ojisan”, or “Olympics Grandad”, first experienced the Games when Tokyo last hosted the gathering in 1964.

He had been a colorful presence at every Summer Games since, in his distinctive gold top hat and red jacket to pair with his beaming smile.

In an interview with Reuters in October, Yamada had expressed his desire to live long enough to see the Tokyo 2020 Games [nL5N20S0MG].

“It will be the culmination of all my years cheering the Olympics,” Yamada had said.

Yamada’s haul of flags, stamps, photographs and other items collected on his Olympic travels are on display at a gallery in his hometown of Nanto City, Toyama Prefecture.

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Source: OANN

Asparagus ready for picking is seen in a growing tunnel at Cobrey Farm in Ross-on-Wye
Asparagus ready for picking is seen in a growing tunnel at Cobrey Farm in Ross-on-Wye, Britain, March 11, 2019. Picture taken March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

March 18, 2019

By James Davey and Kate Holton

ROSS-ON-WYE, England (Reuters) – For almost 100 years, Chris Chinn’s family has farmed asparagus in the rolling hills of the Wye Valley in western England.

This year, he fears uncertainty around Britain’s departure from the European Union will keep his eastern European workers away and the asparagus will stay in the ground.

Asparagus grown in Britain is feted by chefs as among the world’s best but the seasonal worker shortage threatens the country’s asparagus industry and the viability of Chinn’s Cobrey Farms business.

It is a predicament shared by many British fruit and vegetable farmers, almost totally reliant on seasonal migrant workers from EU member states Romania and Bulgaria taking short-term jobs that British workers do not want.

At Chinn’s farm, which turns over more than 10 million pounds ($13 million) a year, the workers pick the premium asparagus spears that can grow up to 20 cm a day by hand. Sometimes they pick them twice a day before dispatching them to customers such as Marks and Spencer. and Britain’s biggest supermarket, Tesco.

“It is incredibly clear cut – there is no UK asparagus on your supermarket shelves without seasonal migrant workers,” Chinn, whose great grandfather started as a tenant farmer in 1925, told Reuters.

“We’re really at the point where we either import the workers or we import the asparagus.”

Britain’s asparagus season is short and early – traditionally running from April 23, known as Saint George’s Day, to Midsummer’s Day in mid-June. It will be the first big test of the 2019 seasonal labor crisis.


This year Chinn’s team has had to work much harder to recruit Romanians and Bulgarians who are perplexed by the long Brexit process as Prime Minister Theresa May seeks parliament’s approval for a divorce deal with the EU. They are also wary of the welcome they will receive from Britons, who voted in 2016 to leave the EU.

Though Cobrey Farms has signed up 1,200 workers who are due to start arriving at the end of this month, Chinn fears many will not turn up. He does not think he will be able to harvest the entire crop, meaning valuable asparagus will be left in the fields.

“If we’re 20 percent short of people then we will harvest 20 percent less asparagus,” said Chinn. “UK agriculture’s not a high-margin game, so 20 percent less means we’re in loss-making territory. Fifty percent could sink us.”

Chinn’s concern grew after 20 of the 100 or so workers due to help cultivate the crops in January failed to turn up.

Of 247 workers due to arrive between March 31 and April 6, 125 are yet to book flights, he said. They include 38 who have worked at Cobrey Farms before and stayed in the dozens of static caravans that stand at the foot of the hills on the farm.

Chinn, who voted Remain in the 2016 Brexit referendum, said uncertainty over eastern Europeans’ employment rights and how long they can stay, combined with a fall in the value of the pound, meant Germany and the Netherlands were now considered more attractive destinations.

“They go somewhere which is most straightforward and any, even minor, hurdles you put in their way is just nudging them ever closer to going somewhere else,” he said.

With just 11 days to go until Britain is due to leave the EU, the government is yet to agree a withdrawal arrangement or an extension, meaning the risk of a disorderly “no-deal” Brexit cannot be ruled out.

If Britain agrees on a divorce deal, a transition period will kick in, maintaining freedom of movement until the end of 2020. In the event of no deal, EU citizens arriving after March 29 would need to register to work for more than three months.

Elina Kostadinova, a 28 year-old harvest manager at Cobrey Farms who is from Varna on Bulgaria’s Black Sea, said many workers were worried about coming to Britain because of Brexit.

“They don’t know if they will be welcomed in the country, how long they may be able to stay, how they may be able to travel and what the future may hold,” she said. “It would be wonderful if the UK government could make a decision, so we can relay this message.”

British farms typically pay workers the national minimum wage of 7.83 pounds an hour plus performance-related bonuses.

Chinn said the idea of British workers plugging the gap was fanciful. He does not expect much help from the supermarkets, where sales volumes have already been negotiated for the season and prices have been fixed, barring exceptional circumstances.


Britain’s fruit and vegetable sector relies on up to 80,000 seasonal workers from the EU each year. Having previously been inundated with applications, labor agencies say interest dropped off in 2017 and 2018 as workers from Romania and Bulgaria opted to go elsewhere in the EU.

For the last two seasons, Britain has been short by around 10,000 workers, threatening the food supply and forcing farms to pay higher wages and bonuses. At the end of the summer as workers want to leave, farms will offer free accommodation and to pay the cost of flights to try to persuade them to stay on.

Concordia, a labor agency charity that finds EU pickers for British farms, said it now has to work much harder to recruit.

“U.K. agriculture is definitely entering into a crisis. No labor means no harvesting, which means no fruit and no vegetables on shelves in British supermarkets,” Chief Executive Stephanie Maurel told Reuters.

She was speaking in Moscow after the British government sanctioned a pilot trial for 2,500 workers to enter the country from Russia, Ukraine and Moldova for up to six months over the next two years.

Chinn, who has 3,500 acres of land, wants the government to increase the numbers to 10,000 this summer and over 50,000 in the next couple of years.

“We can’t change this natural cycle of the crop … the crop will come out the ground when it warms up,” he said. “So the key is about not waiting for a total disaster that wipes out large swathes of UK horticulture.”

(Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Timothy Heritage)

Source: OANN

Former British spy Christopher Steele, the author of the salacious dossier about President Donald Trump, admitted in a deposition that he used unverified sources for some of the information contained in the document.

CNN reported on a deposition Steele gave last summer, in which he said he used material gathered from CNN iReport stories. CNN iReport was a citizen journalist arm of the news network that relied on users submitting stories and multimedia content.

Steele admitted to using information he found via internet searches to compile information about Russian company Webzilla, its parent company XBT, and XBT CEO Aleksej Gubarev. The Steele dossier, which was first published by BuzzFeed in January 2017, claimed that Webzilla was working with the Russian government to help conduct cyber operations and interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Steele said during the deposition that he believed the content he read on CNN iReport had "some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site."

When asked whether he knew the content on the site had no connection to CNN reporters, Steele replied, "I do not."

Reaction to Steele's admission has been swift. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted, "The author of the fake Russia dossier — paid for by Hillary and the DNC and used to launch the witch hunt against President @realDonaldTrump — now admits he relied on claims posted by a random person on a CNN site 'not edited, fact-checked or screened.'"

Trump himself weighed in as well, tweeting, "Report: Christopher Steele backed up his Democrat & Crooked Hillary paid for Fake & Unverified Dossier with information he got from “send in watchers” of low ratings CNN. This is the info that got us the Witch Hunt!"

Source: NewsMax

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Los Angeles Lakers
Mar 1, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram (14) dribbles the ball as Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe (6) defends during the first quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

March 17, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers forward Brandon Ingram had surgery on his right arm Saturday and is expected to be ready by the start of the 2019-20 season, the team announced.

Ingram underwent thoracic outlet decompression surgery, performed by Dr. Hugh Gelabert at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Earlier this month, Ingram, 21, was diagnosed with deep venous thrombosis, which involved a blood clot that caused shoulder pain. After the diagnosis, the Lakers announced he would be out the rest of the season.

Ingram, in his third NBA season, averaged 18.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 33.8 minutes per game in 52 contests.

–Golden State star Kevin Durant was held out of the lineup at Oklahoma City, missing his second straight game with an injured right ankle.

Coach Steve Kerr told ESPN that Durant “most likely” would return for Monday’s game at San Antonio.

Durant, 30, played nine seasons for Seattle/Oklahoma City before signing with the Warriors as a free agent in 2016. He is averaging 27.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game this season.

–The top-seeded United States squad will open its defense of its FIBA World Cup championship this summer against the Czech Republic.

The draw for the 32-team tournament was held in Shenzhen, China. The United States will also face Turkey and Japan in Group E.

The FIBA World Cup will be held Aug. 31 to Sept. 15, with play in eight cities across China. The United States, coached this year by Gregg Popovich, is the two-time defending champion.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Retired NBA player Kobe Bryant draws teams for FIBA World Cup in Shenzhen
Basketball – FIBA World Cup Draw – Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China – Retired NBA player Kobe Bryant draws teams. March 16. 2019 REUTERS/Stringer

March 16, 2019

The United States will open its defense of its FIBA World Cup championship this summer against the Czech Republic.

The draw for the 32-team tournament was held Saturday in Shenzhen, China.

The United States – the tournament’s top seed – also will face Turkey and Japan in Group E.

The FIBA World Cup will be held Aug. 31 to Sept. 15, with play in eight cities across China. The United States is the two-time defending champion.

The American squad will be coached by Gregg Popovich. He is taking over for Mike Krzyzewski, who led Team USA to three Olympic gold medals. The team has not been selected, but 15 NBA All-Stars are in the player pool.

The second-ranked team, Spain, headlines Group C, and will play Puerto Rico, Iran and Tunisia in pool play. Spain won the World Cup in 2006.

France, the third-ranked team, was placed in Group G with the Dominican Republic, Germany and Jordan.

The United States will play all of its group games in Shanghai. The championship game will be played in Beijing.

Seven nations will qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics based on their World Cup finish. Host Japan has an automatic berth, and the four other teams that will compete in the Olympics will earn their way to Tokyo through qualifying tournaments.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Members of Austrian special operations unit Jagdkommando perform an exercise on an Agusta Bell 212 helicopter in Wiener Neustadt
FILE PHOTO: Members of Austrian special operations unit Jagdkommando perform an exercise on an Agusta Bell 212 helicopter in Wiener Neustadt, Austria, March 31, 2017. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader/File Photo

March 16, 2019

PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech Republic will buy 12 military helicopters from a U.S. company, narrowing the field of possible suppliers, Deputy Defense Minister Jakub Landovsky told a paper on Saturday.

The Defense Ministry scrapped a tender for helicopters in 2017 and planned to launch another in summer 2018, meant to include bidders from Germany and Italy too.

The contract, estimated at 12.5 billion crowns ($553 million), will now go to Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron, or Lockheed Martin’s Sikorski, the Pravo daily paper said.

“It is true that we did not have any large project with the United States for a long time,” Landovsky said in an interview published by Pravo.

“The helicopters are now on the table. And it is possible to say that we are in exclusive talks with the United States now about a purchase of new helicopters,” he said.

(Reporting by Robert Muller; Editing by Mark Potter)

Source: OANN

Logos of the Louis Vuitton brand are seen outside a Louis Vuitton store in Bordeaux
Logos of the Louis Vuitton brand are seen outside a Louis Vuitton store in Bordeaux, southwestern France, October 4, 2016. Picture taken October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

March 16, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – French fashion house Louis Vuitton has pulled Michael Jackson-themed items from its 2019 summer menswear collection following a documentary about alleged child abuse by the late pop star.

The collection was shown in January at the Paris Fashion week and is due to hit stores in June, but a Louis Vuitton spokeswoman said the Jackson-themed items would not be put up for sale.

Louis Vuitton said that at the time of the event, it was not aware of the “Leaving Neverland” documentary, in which two adult men say they were befriended by Jackson and abused by him in the early 1990s.

“I am aware that in light of this documentary, the show has caused emotional reactions. I strictly condemn any form of child abuse, violence or infringement against any human rights,” Louis Vuitton menswear designer Virgil Abloh said in a statement.

Abloh, an American designer who was hired by Vuitton in March 2018, said his intention for this show had been to refer to Jackson as a pop culture artist.

The documentary has caused a backlash against Jackson’s legacy, as some radio stations stopped playing his music and an episode of “The Simpsons” cartoon show featuring his voice is being pulled from future broadcasts.

Jackson’s family has called the documentary and news coverage of the accusations a “public lynching” and said he was “100 percent innocent”.

“We find the allegations in the documentary deeply troubling,” Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke said, adding that the firm is fully committed to advocating the cause of child welfare.

Louis Vuitton is the world’s biggest luxury brand, with annual sales of more than 10 billion euros, and is the biggest revenue driver for its parent company, French luxury goods group LVMH.

The menswear unit is a relatively small part of its business and pulling the Jackson-themed items should not have a major impact on the label.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Pascale Denis; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Southwest Airlines Co. Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft taxis at Midway International Airport in Chicago
FILE PHOTO: A Southwest Airlines Co. Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft taxis after landing at Midway International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Kraczynski

March 15, 2019

By Conor Humphries, Jamie Freed and Allison Lampert

DUBLIN/SINGAPORE/MONTREAL (Reuters) – The grounding of Boeing’s global 737 MAX fleet has brought headaches for airlines that need to find alternative aircraft to fly in their place, but it has given some carriers a welcome opportunity to re-evaluate orders for the plane.

Countries and airlines around the world banned the 737 MAX this week after a deadly Ethiopian Airlines plane crash killed all 157 people on board. The disaster followed a fatal crash of the same model operated by Lion Air in Indonesia in October.

For airlines that over-ordered the latest version of Boeing’s 737 workhorse, the grounding could be a good excuse to delay or cancel purchases, saving cash on the balance sheet, analysts said.

“These unfortunate developments could give airlines that have potentially over-ordered an opportunity to review their requirements and fleet strategy,” CAPA Centre for Aviation Chief Analyst Brendan Sobie said.

Many airlines have had to quickly find other aircraft to substitute for the grounded 737 MAX, which has also complicated plans by airlines to use the fuel-efficient, longer-range jet to serve new destinations.

Southwest Airlines Co, the world’s largest operator of the MAX, was planning to fly the jet on its new California-Hawaii route later this year, while Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes inaugurated flights from Brazil to Orlando and Miami in November after receiving its first 737 MAX planes.

Normally there are financial penalties for airlines that cancel orders and for manufacturers that do not deliver according to the contract terms. It was unclear how much legal leverage the MAX grounding might give airlines to wiggle out of commitments or seek damages for costs and lost revenue.

Among airlines that may regret ordering too many 737 MAX, Sobie cited Vietnam’s VietJet Aviation JSC, which he said had based a decision to expand from an all-Airbus A320 fleet by adding 200 737 MAX jets on a flawed strategy of opening joint ventures in overseas markets.

VietJet said it was closely monitoring developments and would make a decision about its order once more is known.

Among other Asian airlines, financially troubled Malaysia Airlines said on Friday that its order for 25 737 MAX jets was under review. Garuda Indonesia said this week it might cancel its order for 20 737 MAXs, which it had already reduced from 49 before the crash.

Lion Air, one of Boeing’s top three MAX customers in terms of total orders, had already thrown into question 187 unfilled orders after its October crash. It told Reuters on Wednesday it would halt all planned 737 MAX deliveries until after a final report into its crash is released later this year.

In Europe, analysts said there was a case for and against cash-strapped Norwegian Air cancelling MAX orders: The ban would offer a reprieve from debt commitments but could leave the airline at the back of a congested Airbus order queue or increase operating costs if flights were replaced with less fuel-efficient jets.

Loss-making Norwegian already said in February it was postponing delivery of 12 MAX aircraft from 2020 to 2023 and 2024 to cut expenditure and shift its focus from expansion to profitability, and this week became the first major airline to publicly say it will seek compensation from Boeing over the MAX grounding.

A Norwegian Air spokesman declined to comment on Friday on whether it was discussing delaying or cancelling altogether MAX 8 orders, saying it was in dialogue with Boeing about a range of topics but had nothing new to share.


For many large carriers like American Airlines Group Inc and China Southern Airlines Co Ltd, the 737 MAX a tiny proportion of the total fleet.

But smaller airlines Iceland Air, Poland’s LOT and Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA had planned to use 737 MAX jets to cover 25 percent, 17 percent and 11 percent of their summer schedules respectively, Goodbody analyst Mark Simpson said, giving them a higher exposure to the grounding.

“This is going to impact on their operations and cash flow,” he said. “Particularly into the Easter peak season next month and potentially through the summer as well… People will be scrambling for spare aircraft and there are not many, so lease rates will rise.”

Meanwhile, Air Canada on Friday became the first major airline to publicly attach dollars and cents to the uncertainty surrounding the 737 MAX, saying it was suspending its 2019 financial forecasts.

One silver lining for the airlines: Reduced seat capacity may allow them to hike passenger fares, analysts said.

(Reporting by Conor Humphries in Dublin, Jamie Freed in Singapore, Allison Lampert in Montreal and Gwladys Fouche in Oslo; additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski in Chicago, Marcelo Rochabrun in Sao Paolo, Cindy Silivana in Jakarta and Liz Lee in Kuala Lumpur; writing by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Source: OANN

Toyota's Human Support Robot delivers a basket to a woman in a wheelchair at a demonstration of Tokyo 2020 Robot Project for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo
Toyota’s Human Support Robot (HSR) delivers a basket to a woman in a wheelchair at a demonstration of Tokyo 2020 Robot Project for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, March 15, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-hoon

March 15, 2019

By Jack Tarrant

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics organizers launched their ambitious Robot Project on Friday, unveiling two of the robots designed to assist supporters, workers and athletes at the Games.

The two products, Toyota’s Human Support Robot (HSR) and the Power Assist Suit from Panasonic, were demonstrated to the public for the first time in Tokyo.

The HSR, a small white robot with built-in facial features, will assist wheelchair users at the Olympics, which begin in July 2020.

The robots can carry food and other goods, guide viewers to their seats and provide event information.

“We will support people at the Olympics and at the stadium in wheelchair accessible areas,” said Minoru Yamauchi, who is in charge of Toyota’s 2020 robots program.

“In terms of service, we will be offering stress-free entry and viewing and the robot can also carry bags and other luggage items for the customers.”

There will be 16 HSR robots at Tokyo 2020 venues and Toyota hope to have similar products available for general sale by the early 2030s.

Panasonic also presented their offering, a battery-powered exoskeleton that assists with picking up heavy objects.

People are strapped into the Power Assist Suits, which enable users to repetitively lift and carry objects without putting a strain on their back.

They will be used by workers at Olympic and Paralympic venues, as well as the athletes’ village.

Tokyo 2020 organizers have long maintained next year’s summer showpiece will be the most innovative ever and more robots are expected to be announced later.

“At Pyeongchang there are examples of robots being used at the Games but I don’t think it was to this sort of practical level,” said Tokyo 2020 Vice Director General Maasaki Komiya.

“So, let me reiterate, we want to give the impression that robots are actually usable and they can become part of our daily lives.”

“At past Games I do not believe that we really saw robots as part of the Games.”

The Olympics begin on July 24, 2020 with the Paralympics commencing a month later.

(Reporting by Jack Tarrant; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Source: OANN

Summer Zervos listens as her attorney Gloria Allred speaks during a news conference announcing the filing of a lawsuit against President-elect Donald Trump in Los Angeles
Summer Zervos listens as her attorney Gloria Allred speaks during a news conference announcing the filing of a lawsuit against President-elect Donald Trump in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

March 14, 2019

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York state appeals court rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to dismiss a defamation lawsuit by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on his television show “The Apprentice,” or delay it until after he leaves the White House.

In a 3-2 decision on Thursday, the Appellate Division in Manhattan said the U.S. Constitution did not strip state courts of power to decide cases arising under state constitutions, even if they involved sitting presidents.

Despite suggesting he embodies the executive branch and has significant responsibilities, “the President is still a person, and he is not above the law,” Justice Dianne Renwick wrote.

The dissenting judges said the lawsuit would interfere with Trump’s job as president, and should wait until he left office.

Trump’s lawyer Marc Kasowitz said Trump will appeal to the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, “which we expect will agree with the dissent.”

The decision affirmed a lower court ruling from last March.

Zervos’ lawyers are hoping to question Trump under oath about whether he defamed her by calling her a liar after she accused him of sexual misconduct.

“We look forward to proving to a jury that Ms. Zervos told the truth about defendant’s unwanted sexual groping and holding him accountable for his malicious lies,” Zervos’ lawyer Mariann Wang said.

Trump has denied Zervos’ claims and called her case politically motivated. Several other women have also accused Trump of improper sexual conduct.

Zervos, an “Apprentice” contestant in 2005, accused Trump of kissing her against her will at a 2007 meeting in New York, and later groping her at a Beverly Hills hotel.

She came forward in October 2016, the month before Trump was elected, after an “Access Hollywood” recording showed Trump speaking in vulgar terms about women. Trump also republished on Twitter a post calling Zervos’ accusations a “hoax.”

The appeals court called Zervos’ case “materially indistinguishable” from former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones’s lawsuit accusing then-President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment.

In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court let Jones’ case go forward. That paved the way for Clinton’s impeachment the following year.

Justice Angela Mazzarelli, one of Thursday’s dissenters, said the “all-consuming nature of the Presidency creates a constitutional barrier” against Zervos’ lawsuit.

All five justices found Zervos’ defamation claim legally sufficient, without ruling on its merits.

Trump also faced a defamation claim by adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit over a hush money agreement. That lawsuit was dismissed on March 7.

The case is Zervos v Trump, New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, No. 7610.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

Source: OANN

Jennifer Casale | Contributor

The anticipated prequel to “The Sopranos” will hit theaters on September 25, 2020, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The film, which was originally going to be called, “The Many Saints of Newark,” is now simply titled, “Newark.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 09: (L-R) Edie Falco, Robert Iler and Jamie-Lynn Sigler attend the "The Sopranos" 20th Anniversary Panel Discussion at SVA Theater on January 09, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

Edie Falco, Robert Iler and Jamie-Lynn Sigler attend the “The Sopranos” 20th Anniversary Panel Discussion (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

The upcoming film will be set in 1960s Newark, New Jersey, and will touch upon the Newark riots, which occurred during the “Long Hot Summer of 1967” when race riots spread across United States cities. The Newark riots resulted in 26 deaths and hundreds of injuries.

The creator of “The Sopranos,” David Chase, and Lawrence Konner are the prequel’s screenwriters. Both are producing the film as well with Alan Taylor as the director.

The late James Gandolfini’s son, Michael Gandolfini, is rumored to play a younger version of Tony Soprano, the character his dad won a Golden Globe for in 2000. (RELATED: ‘The Sopranos’ Cast Reunites For Show’s 20th Anniversary, Remembers James Gandolfini)

NEW YORK - MARCH 07: Actor James Gandolfini attends the sixth season premiere of the HBO series "The Sopranos" at the Museum Of Modern Art, on March 7, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

Actor James Gandolfini (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)

Alessandro Nivola, Vera Farmiga, Ray Liotta, Jon Bernthal, Corey Stoll, Billy Magnussen and John Magaro will also star in the prequel, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

“Newark” will open in theaters a little more than 13 years after the HBO crime drama series had its final episode in 2007.

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: Workers cut pork at Park Packing -- one of the Chicago's few remaining slaughterhouses -- in Chicago
FILE PHOTO: Workers cut pork at Park Packing — one of the Chicago’s few remaining slaughterhouses — in Chicago, Illinois July 18, 2015. REUTERS/Karl Plume

March 14, 2019

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO (Reuters) – China made its biggest purchases of U.S. pork in nearly two years last week, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed on Thursday, as Chinese hog prices surged after an outbreak of a deadly swine disease.

Buyers in the world’s biggest hog producer and pork consumer struck deals for the meat despite import tariffs of 62 percent imposed by China on U.S. pork as a consequence of the trade war between the two countries.

The duties had slashed China’s imports of U.S. pork from companies such as WH Group Ltd’s Smithfield Foods since last summer.

The sale of 23,846 tonnes of U.S pork in the week ended March 7 comes after a months-long outbreak of African swine fever in China that has spread to 111 confirmed cases in 28 provinces and regions across the country since August 2018.

There is no cure and no vaccine for the disease, which does not affect humans but is highly contagious and fatal to pigs. About 1 million pigs have been reportedly culled so far in an effort to try to contain the disease.

“They are going to need pork and lots of it,” Dennis Smith, a commodity broker for Archer Financial Services in Chicago, said about China.

The sales were the biggest to China since April 2017 and the third largest since the USDA began tracking pork export sales in 2013.

The USDA did not immediately respond to a request for comment about pork sales to China. Officials have previously said China may be underreporting hog deaths from African swine fever.

China also recently resumed purchases of other U.S. farm products, including soybeans and sorghum, that face retaliatory import tariffs.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday the United States was doing well in trade talks with China, but that he could not say whether a final deal would be reached.

Bob Brown, an independent U.S. livestock analyst, said U.S. pork prices have declined enough to offset Beijing’s tariffs.

“If they needed the stuff, we were the cheapest by far,” he said.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange May hog futures fell to a contract low last month. On Thursday, the contract reached its highest price in more than two months, supported by increasing concerns about African swine fever in China.

Chinese hog prices reached their highest in 14 months on Monday.

“Certainly there’s been a lot of focus on what hog prices are doing in China,” said Altin Kalo, agricultural economist for New Hampshire-based Steiner Consulting.

(Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: La Liga President Javier Tebas smiles during an interview with Reuters at the La Liga headquarters in Madrid
FILE PHOTO: La Liga President Javier Tebas smiles during an interview with Reuters at the La Liga headquarters in Madrid, Spain, October 2, 2018. REUTERS/Paul Hanna/File Photo

March 14, 2019

By Richard Martin

BARCELONA (Reuters) – UEFA proposals to change part of the Champions League format would be “catastrophic” for soccer but FIFA plans to overhaul the Club World Cup will be a boon for the sport, La Liga president Javier Tebas told Reuters on Thursday.

Tebas lashed out at changes he said Europe’s governing body is considering making to the Champions League, saying they would damage domestic competitions.

Accusing UEFA and the European Club Association (ECA) of plotting in secret, Tebas said the body wanted to play European games on weekends rather than in mid-week and expand the group stage to have four groups of eight teams, rather than the current format of eight groups of four sides.

“UEFA and the ECA are negotiating behind closed doors so that the others don’t know about the reforms which put national leagues in danger,” said in an exclusive interview.

“They are making reforms to the Champions League which are very dangerous for football. It’s a model which is very damaging for national leagues and also for them, as they don’t understand business.”

UEFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tebas earlier this year made headlines for attempting to switch a La Liga game between Barcelona and Girona to Miami, a move which was opposed by FIFA.

While he remains committed to taking domestic league games abroad to widen La Liga’s global appeal, Tebas said his priority was stopping UEFA’s proposed changes.


“Playing a game in Miami is much less important to La Liga than the catastrophic reforms of UEFA and the ECA,” he said.

“FIFA has been transparent in the last few weeks and changed its position so we support them (in their Club World Cup plans), meanwhile UEFA and ECA are doing the opposite and we are very worried about that and don’t support them.”

FIFA’s ruling council meets on Friday in Miami to discuss and vote on president Gianni Infantino’s plans for the revamped Club World Cup, which would take place in 2021, replacing the Confederations Cup.

The new-look competition would see 24 teams taking part instead of the current, annual tournament between six continental champions and an invited team, which has been dominated by the winners of the Champions League since 2013.

Tebas initially opposed Infantino’s plan for an annual, expanded Club World Cup, calling it “irresponsible” last year. But he said the Spanish league and other major European leagues have radically shifted their position on it.

“In the last year FIFA has made some changes and we are on the path to a good Club World Cup which fits well into the calendar and can be supported by national leagues,” Tebas said.

“It still needs to be polished but they are discussing distributing the money more evenly to smaller leagues and that’s very important. FIFA have also been more transparent about it.

“They’ve also committed to playing it every four years which affects national leagues a lot less.”

The proposed shake up to the tournament has been rejected by UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin and the ECA chief Andrea Agnelli, who is also the chairman of Juventus.

The FIFA council in Miami will also explore the possibility of expanding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from 32 to 48 teams, which could see the number of host countries also increase.

The tournament will take place between November and December rather than the traditional slot of June and July due to Qatar’s scorching summer temperatures, which is set to disrupt domestic leagues across Europe and around the world.

“We always opposed the change of the dates and now La Liga is preparing ourselves for the break in the season,” Tebas said.

“We also must decide what we do with all the players that are not going to the World Cup, of which there are many, not just in Spain but around the world and who didn’t figure in decisions like this.

“We’ll have to wait and see what FIFA decides but in principle, we at the Spanish league are not in favor of increasing the number of teams at the Qatar World Cup or any World Cup.”

(Editing by Ossian Shine)

Source: OANN

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the United Nations Environmental Assembly in Gigiri, Nairobi
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron addresses the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) in Gigiri, within Nairobi, Kenya March 14, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

March 14, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – Environmental groups including Greenpeace and Oxfam have filed an unprecedented court action against the French government, accusing it of insufficient policy actions to tackle climate change.

The groups aim to persuade the Paris Administrative court to force the government to apply its own policies, such as the multi-year energy plan, known as the PPE, and international agreements such as the 2015 Paris Climate accord.

“The state is not living up to commitments it has made itself, especially in the context of the Paris agreement of 2015,” said Cecile Duflot, a former minister and current Executive Director of Oxfam France.

“The state is a litigant like any other, our goal is for it to be condemned to act,” she told France Inter radio.

The court action is backed by an online petition signed by more than 2 million people and is supported by other NGOs including the Nicolas Hulot Foundation, created by a former minister and renowned environmentalist who resigned from President Emmanuel Macron’s government last summer over slow progress on climate change goals..

A Greenpeace statement said that France was on the wrong track in terms of curbing its emissions of greenhouse gases, which have been on the rise since 2015.

“This wait-and-see attitude has only worsened the situation in the agriculture, transport, energy and biodiversity protection sectors, with France falling behind and now requiring a restart and strong and urgent measures,” it said, adding that the government was refusing to put urgent measures in place to reach its objectives.

French Environment Minister Francois de Rugy, denied that the government was dragging its feet, adding on BFM Television that the court action would not lead to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

Speaking in Kenyan capital Nairobi on the sidelines of the One Planet Summit he launched in 2017 to speed efforts to tackle climate change, President Macron said he does not believe the court action would lead anywhere.

“The solution is in all of us. On this issue, it is not the People vs. The Government. This nonsense should stop,” Macron said on LCI Television.

“We all must act. Governments must act. Major enterprises must act. Investors must act. Citizens must act. All together.”

A draft energy and climate law that was due to be presented to the cabinet this week has been postponed so that it can be reworked with more ambitious environmental goals.

(Reporting by Bate Felix, Marine Pennetier, Danielle Rouquié and Jean-Baptiste Vey; Editing by David Goodman)

Source: OANN

Evie Fordham | Politics and Health Care Reporter

Mob boss Francesco “Franky Boy” Cali, of the Gambino crime syndicate, was fatally shot outside his home in Staten Island Wednesday night, police sources said.

Cali, 53, was shot in the chest six times by an unidentified gunman who sped away in a blue pickup truck, reported The New York Daily News. Cali’s wife and children were inside his large brick home when it happened around 9:20 p.m., police sources told The New York Post.

He was declared dead at Staten Island University Hospital North. (RELATED: Old Rape Kits Got Tested, And Now A Lot Of Rapists Are In Jail)

Cali, who had Sicilian lineage, is part of a “resurgence” in mob activity and reportedly concentrated on the heroin and OxyContin trade, according to The New York Post.

The body of former mob boss John Gotti is carried from Papavero Funeral Home in the Queens borough of New York 15 June 2002. (DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)

The body of former mob boss John Gotti is carried from Papavero Funeral Home in the Queens borough of New York 15 June 2002. (DOUG KANTER/AFP/Getty Images)

The Gambino crime family has been in the spotlight for years because of its high-profile former leaders, the late John Gotti and his son John “Junior” Gotti. The elder John Gotti grandson, also named John Gotti, was arrested on drug charges in the summer of 2016 in an investigation dubbed “Operation Beach Party.”

Cali is the first mob boss to be taken out since John Gotti Sr. orchestrated the assassination of then-Gambino boss Paul Castellano in 1985, according to The New York Post.

It’s unclear whether Cali’s murder was carried out by a rogue actor or approved by other members of the Italian American mafia in New York City. Police sources described Cali’s murder as “disrespectful” because it happened right outside his family home.

Cali was “a real quiet old-school boss,” a police source told The New York Post. He only had one criminal conviction, for extortion in 2008.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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An advertising board of German air carrier Lufthansa is seen at the airport in Frankfurt
An advertising board of German air carrier Lufthansa is seen at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, February 12, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

March 14, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Lufthansa forecast stable margins and revenue growth in the mid-single digits this year as it eyes cautious expansion in the busy summer months, minds costs and targets break even at its budget airline Eurowings.

Germany’s biggest airline on Thursday also reported a 11 percent decline in fourth-quarter adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to 378 million euros ($428 million), slightly below the mean forecast in a poll of analysts.

(Reporting by Douglas Busvine)

Source: OANN

American civil aviation and Boeing investigators search through the debris at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu
American civil aviation and Boeing investigators search through the debris at the scene of the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane crash, near the town of Bishoftu, southeast of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

March 14, 2019

By Conor Humphries and Eric M. Johnson

DUBLIN/SEATTLE (Reuters) – Deliveries of Boeing’s best-selling 737 MAX jets were effectively frozen on Wednesday, though production continued, after the United States joined a global grounding of the narrowbody model over safety concerns, industry sources said.

The 737 MAX is banned from flying in most countries across the world following an Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday that killed all 157 people on board. It was the second deadly incident for the relatively new Boeing model in five months.

Airlines, aircraft industry experts and financiers said that although the ban would theoretically not prevent some domestic deliveries, most airlines would avoid taking a jet banned from entering service on the wake of two crashes in five months.

“Who is going to take delivery of a plane they can’t use,” said an aviation financier, asking not to be named.

Boeing produces 52 aircraft per month and its newest version, the MAX, represents the lion’s share of production, although Boeing declined to break out exact numbers.

Boeing is expected to continue with production of the 737 at its factory outside Seattle, and has been planning to speed up production again in June.

Manufacturers avoid halting and then speeding up production as this disrupts supply chains and can cause industrial snags. But having to hold planes in storage consumes extra cash in increased inventory.

Each month of the grounding could cost Boeing around $1.8 billion to $2.5 billion in delayed revenue, according to analyst estimates, although that could be recouped once the ban is lifted and the planes are delivered.

Boeing in January provided guidance it would report $109.5 billion to $111.5 billion of revenue in 2019.

Asked how the global grounding of the 737 MAX would impact deliveries, a Boeing spokesman said: “We continue to assess.”

Boeing’s main U.S. customers — Southwest Airlines Co, American Airlines Group Inc and United Airlines — declined comment. So far they have voiced their confidence in the safety of the MAX.

“Although this MAX crash is clearly ‘bad news’ for Boeing, we think the company will ultimately battle through,” Vertical Research Partners analyst Robert Stallard said in a client note.


Boeing has already been working through supplier delays on engines from CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric Co and France’s Safran SA, and fuselages from Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc that led to dozens of planes being parked outside its Renton, Washington factory last summer.

This week, at least three freshly built 737s were parked at or near the factory with yellow weights hanging in the place of engines, signs of lingering issues, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

“We are still a few weeks behind the requirement, but have a line of sight to be back on track in the second quarter of this year,” CFM spokeswoman Jamie Jewell said.

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner was grounded for 123 days in 2013 after its lithium-ion battery packs caught fire. The jet went on to become a popular twin-aisle with a strong safety record.

Aircraft contracts do not typically contain a clause that automatically allows airlines to claim compensation for a regulatory action like a grounding.

However, planemakers do sometimes pay out compensation to cover the cost of financing when an airline is left without a promised airplane, said a senior industry source.

Even then, they generally balk at paying for other indirect costs borne by the airline.

UK-based aviation consultancy IBA estimated the financing cost of a 737 MAX at $360,000 a month or $12,000 a day.

Norwegian Air said on Wednesday it would seek compensation from plane maker Boeing for costs and lost revenue due to the 737 MAX 8 grounding.

Stallard said it was very difficult to estimate the amount of compensation Boeing would provide customers.

He added it would be impractical for airlines to try to switch their orders to the rival Airbus SE A320 narrowbody because there were no delivery slots available for a few years.

(Reporing by Conor Humphries in Dublin and Eric Johnson in Seattle; Additional reporting by Jamie Freed in Singapore, Tracy Rucinski in Chicago, Tom Westbrook in Sydney, Cindy Silviana in Jakarta, Heekyong Yang in Seoul, Aditi Shah in New Delhi, James Pearson in Hanoi and Alwyn Scott in New York; Writing by Tracy Rucinski; editing by Tim Hepher and Michael Perry)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Employees work on a drilling machine production line at a factory in Zhangjiakou
FILE PHOTO: Employees work on a drilling machine production line at a factory in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

March 14, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s industrial output grew 5.3 percent in the first two months of this year, the slowest pace of expansion in 17 years, official data showed on Thursday.

But fixed-asset investment rose 6.1 percent, while retail sales rose 8.2 percent, both more than expected.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted industrial output growth would slow to 5.5 percent in January-February from December’s 5.7 percent gain.

Investment growth had been expected to edge up slightly to 6.0 percent, from 5.9 percent in 2018.

Private-sector fixed-asset investment, which accounts for about 60 percent of overall investment in China, rose 7.5 percent in the same period, compared with an 8.7 percent rise in 2018, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.

Retail sales had been expected to rise 8.1 percent, easing marginally from December’s 8.2 percent pace.

China combines Janaury and February activity data in an attempt to smooth distortions created by the long Lunar New Year holidays early each year, but some analysts say a clearer picture of the economy may not emerge first-quarter data is released in April.

China’s economic growth cooled to 6.6 percent last year, the slowest in nearly three decades, and it is expected to lose more momentum in the next few months.

Beijing is rolling out more support measures to avert a sharper slowdown, but many analysts do not expect activity to convincingly bottom out until summer.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Kim Coghill)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: NBA: Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks
FILE PHOTO: Feb 13, 2019; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis sits on the bench during the game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports – 12158620

March 13, 2019

Kristaps Porzingis participated in his first full practice with the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

“I felt good on the court. I felt comfortable, I felt fluid,” Porzingis said of graduating from 3-on-3 workouts. “It feels good to do something physically.”

Porzingis landed with the Mavericks in February when the New York Knicks unloaded the 7-foot-3 All-Star, who hasn’t played this season while recovering from a torn ACL, as the centerpiece of a seven-player swap.

Head coach Rick Carlisle said the Mavericks are following a plan with Porzingis, who will not play this season.

“No issues,” Carlisle said after the workout Wednesday. “He’s made tremendous progress with his rehab, with his conditioning, his strength. This was the next logical progression. He played 3-on-3 yesterday morning with some of the other guys and did extremely well there. This went really well.”

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he engaged Porzingis about a long-term deal in February. Cuban said his goal is make sure Porzinigis is a member of the franchise for “the next 20 years.”

Porzingis can choose to play next season on a $4.5 million qualifying offer instead of accepting an offer that could be worth as much as $158 million over five years.

New York decided not to sign Porzingis to a rookie extension before the 2018-19 season — allowing him to become a restricted free agent after this season — in part to preserve an extra $10 million in cap space to go after free agents this summer.

Before the trade, the Knicks were projected to have slightly more than $30 million available under the salary cap, enough to lure a max-value contract in free agency.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Anne Kocsis | Contributor

Cold winter nights will soon give way to cool spring evenings. There is nothing better than sitting outside when the weather is just a little bit crisp. When the seasons change, one of my favorite things to do is to sit in my comfy outdoor lounge chair in front of the fire pit with a glass of wine.  I can hardly wait. If this sounds good to you and you don’t own a fire pit, consider checking out the large array of options on Amazon’s website. They have multiple options in every shape, size, type, and budget range.  Here are a few that are on sale now.

If you like this traditional fire-pit design, it is on sale now for under $100 Photo via Amazon)

If you like this traditional fire-pit design, it is on sale now for under $100 Photo via Amazon)

Save over $70 on this classic design wood fire pit on Amazon when you buy now 

1.  If you are looking for a basic wood fire pit that is attractive and portable, Landmann has a great option. The 25282 Barrone  Antique Bronze colored, steel Fire Pit is a 26 inch firebox with a mesh spark lid to keep embers contained. The box includes a built in wood grate and the beautiful crosshatch design is supported by four sturdy legs for added stability. Landmann includes a poker and a cover to help protect the box from outdoor elements. This fire pit is very popular with a 4.5-star rating. Some reviewers suggest adding a cooking grate to use for campfire cooking. The list price is $159.99, but Amazon has it reduced by half. For $84.19 and free shipping, you can have this fire pit set up in your yard by this weekend.
4. If you are looking for something with a bigger surface that can serve as your patio centerpiece, consider looking at Hiland AZ’s Extruded Aluminum Rectangular Table. This modern hammered bronze version has a larger table top. It is 49.5″ X 37.5″ in size. It is a sturdy 80 pound fixture that complements any outdoor living space. The gas fire includes starter fireglass and outputs 42,000 BTUs of clean burning propane to heat an area of 15 feet in diameter. The product has been rigorously tested and it is CSA and ETL approved. It is specially packaged for safe delivery and the company offers tech support 7 days a week. The customer testimonials rave about the company’s customer service. When you are ready for replacement parts, they are easy to get and they are shipped quickly.  This table is marked as “Amazon’s Choice.” Retailing for $899, it is on sale now for only $467.99 with free delivery.
(Photo via Amazon)

(Photo via Amazon)

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Two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington
FILE PHOTO: Two Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft are parked at a Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington, U.S., March 11, 2019. REUTERS/David Ryder

March 13, 2019

By Terje Solsvik and Gwladys Fouche

OSLO (Reuters) – Norwegian Air said on Wednesday it will seek compensation from plane maker Boeing for costs and lost revenue after grounding its fleet of 737 MAX 8 aircraft in the wake of the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

“We expect Boeing to take this bill,” Norwegian said in an emailed statement.

The Oslo-based airline has 18 ‘MAX’ passenger jets in its 163-aircraft fleet. European regulators on Tuesday grounded the aircraft following Sunday’s crash of a similar plane in Ethiopia, which killed 157 people and was the second crash involving that type of plane since October.

Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said on Monday that he was confident in the safety of the 737 MAX in an email to employees, which was seen by Reuters.

Industry sources, however, said the planemaker faces big claims after the crash.

Norwegian has bet heavily on the ‘MAX’ to become its aircraft of choice for short- and medium-range flights in coming years as the low-cost carrier seeks to boost its fuel efficiency and cut the cost of flying.

“What happens next is in the hands of European aviation authorities. But we hope and expect that our MAXes will be airborne soon,” Norwegian Air’s founder and Chief Executive Bjoern Kjos said in a video recording released on social media.

“Many have asked questions about how this affects our financial situation. It’s quite obvious that we will not take the cost related to the new aircraft that we have to park temporarily. We will send this bill to those who produce this aircraft,” he added.

Idle planes will add to pressures on the airline, which is making losses amid intense competition at a time when several smaller European competitors have gone out of business.

The carrier has raised 3 billion Norwegian crowns ($348 million) from shareholders in recent months and said it would cut costs as it tries to regain profitability this year.

“If this situation gets solved within the next fortnight, this will not be very serious for Norwegian,” said analyst Preben Rasch-Olsen at brokerage Carnegie, adding that seasonally low demand in March likely leaves spare capacity.

“The little extra costs they are incurring, they can probably get that covered by Boeing,” Rasch-Olsen said.

“But if this situation continues into the Easter holidays, or May and June, then it is a problem. They (will) need to get in new planes. And then comes the costs.”

Europeans tend to book their summer holidays in May, so the grounding may not yet affect bookings for the peak season for the airline industry, the analyst said.

Meanwhile, Norwegian was maintaining its order for more aircraft of the same type from Boeing, spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen said.

Norwegian is expected to take delivery of dozens more of the ‘MAX’ in coming years, raising the overall number to more than 70 by year-end 2021, according to recent company announcements.

Shares in the airline have now dropped 6.8 percent this week as investors worried about the impact of the Ethiopian crash.

They fell by 4.8 percent in early trade on Wednesday but later recovered to trade up 2.7 percent by 1246 GMT.

Norwegian canceled some flights on Tuesday, and on Wednesday it canceled at least three dozen departures, its website showed, most of which were due to fly from airports in Oslo, Stockholm and other Nordic cities.

The airline was booking passengers on to other flights and using other types of planes from its fleet to help fill the gaps.

In a separate statement, Norwegian said it would deploy one of its larger Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to operate its daily route from Dublin to Stewart airport north of New York City, replacing the grounded MAX.

(Additional reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; Editing by Susan Fenton and Louise Heavens)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: JP Morgan Chase & Co. corporate headquarters in New York
FILE PHOTO: A view of the exterior of the JP Morgan Chase & Co. corporate headquarters in New York City May 20, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Segar/Files/File Photo

March 13, 2019

(Reuters) – The consumer banking unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co said on Wednesday that it was planning to open up to 90 new branches in nine top U.S. markets.

Chase said it will hire up to 700 employees in the new markets, including Charlotte, North Carolina; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from this summer, the bank said in a statement.

(Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru)

Source: OANN

Wider Image: Cleaning up Shipbreaking
Workers dismantle a decommissioned ship at the Alang shipyard in the western Indian state of Gujarat, March 27, 2015. REUTERS/Amit Dave

March 13, 2019

By Gwladys Fouche

OSLO (Reuters) – The ethics watchdog for Norway’s $1-trillion wealth fund will focus this year on shipbreaking on India’s beaches, which endangers workers and pollutes the sea and sand, and will also look into pollution caused by pharmaceutical companies.

The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, created from the proceeds of Norway’s oil industry, operates under ethical guidelines set by parliament.

The fund’s Council of Ethics checks that companies the fund invests in meet these ethical standards. It set out its latest priorities in its annual report published on Wednesday.

Johan H. Andresen, chair of the Council on Ethics, said the watchdog would turn its attention to shipbreaking in India.

More than 80 percent of aging commercial ships are broken up on the beaches of Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.

Norway’s fund already excluded four firms in 2018 because they scrap ships on beaches in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

“First you establish a practice and then you open up to new countries, because we don’t have the capacity to look everywhere at the same time,” Andresen told Reuters ahead of the publication the annual report.

“We look at whether there is a systemic, or gross, violation of human rights or damage to the environment.”


The fund owns shares in 9,158 companies, 1.4 percent of the world’s listed equity, so decisions to drop or reinstate companies from its investments carry considerable weight among investors.

It is forbidden by law from investing in companies that produce nuclear weapons or landmines, or are involved in human rights violations, among other criteria.

Some 71 companies are presently excluded on recommendations by the Council on Ethics, on various grounds. Another 69 companies are excluded directly by the central bank based on their dependence on thermal coal.

The fund makes recommendations, either to exclude a company from the fund or to put it on a watch list, to the board of the Norwegian central bank, which then makes the final call. The board often, but not always, follows the recommendations.

The fund gradually sells shares in any company it wishes to drop, before any announcement is made. The main aim is to remove the ethical risk.


This year the Council on Ethics will also look for the first time into the pollution, particularly from antibiotic production, caused by pharmaceutical companies.

“In 2019, the council will contact the companies and may commission its own study of the problem,” the annual report said.

Another new focus will be economic activity that could endanger UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Andresen’s advice on this issue was clear.

“Besides don’t do it, be especially diligent on everything, from the local partners you pick, to making risk assessments, and be especially careful about the corruption risk,” he said.

The 57-year-old Norwegian, who also owns private investment vehicle Ferd, said there would probably be less than 20 recommendations made this year, stressing the number could vary depending on the progress of the various studies the council conducts.

One recommendation could involve a company breaching the human rights of its workers in the Gulf states, he said.

“We have been in dialogue with one company for quite some time. A recommendation may be made before the summer, unless the company makes some major changes to its business practice,” Andresen said.

Another recommendation could involve a company involved in the building of a large infrastructure project in the Americas that contribute to breaches of human rights of indigenous peoples. He did not name the company.

(Editing by Jane Merriman)

Source: OANN

A man sells goods along a street in Ein Terma, a district of eastern Ghouta
A man sells goods along a street in Ein Terma, a district of eastern Ghouta, Syria February 26, 2019. Picture taken February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

March 13, 2019

EASTERN GHOUTA, Syria (Reuters) – Hunkered near one of Syria’s hottest front lines for seven years, the eastern Ghouta district of Ein Terma sustained more damage than most areas in the conflict.

Its markets are now full and children throng the streets where shells were falling a year ago. But for the people who have returned to live there, the recovery is gradual.

As the eighth anniversary of the civil war arrives this week, Ein Terma’s battered streets attest to the long road ahead for Syria’s war-smashed towns and cities.

Many inhabitants have lost neighbors, friends or relatives as the population scattered through years of conflict. Despite government work, rubble still clogs many streets and the water and electricity supply is only partial.

Jobs are scarce, and for people who stayed in the area when it was controlled by the rebels, family paperwork for births and deaths in that period must be done anew.

Samiha Fares and her five children left their home in 2012, early in the war, as rebels gained control over the district.

She had been working for the Ein Terma municipal government and the rebels threatened her children and installed rockets on the roof of her house, she said.

The family quickly moved to Jormana, a district located just across the front line from their old home in Ein Terma. When government forces recaptured the area at the end of March last year, Fares returned with her children.

Their house was empty and scorched by fire. “My children calmed me. At least our house was still there and we could live in it,” she said. She found an old carpet and mattresses and blankets to sleep on. But the financial situation was difficult.

President Bashar al-Assad’s forces retook eastern Ghouta during a fierce offensive under massive bombardment.

As the rebels surrendered, people who did not want to come back under government control left to opposition-held Idlib in Syria’s far northwest.

According to the United Nations commission of inquiry on Syria, up to 50,000 people were “evacuated” in this way to the northwest.

The Syrian war, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people, has driven around half of Syria’s pre-war population from their homes, 5.7 million of them living as refugees in neighboring countries.


Fares’ own income went on necessities for the family. During the fighting, she pulled her oldest son out of university so he could contribute, working to help pay the rent.

She was divorced so they had no other adult income and she renovated their war-damaged house with money paid as compensation to her daughter from a car accident.

But the once tight-knit neighborhood has changed. “I don’t know any of the neighbors. They’re all strangers. They all came from somewhere else, from other villages,” said Fares. Their relationship is limited to superficial greetings, she said.

However, the upstairs neighbor came back to see the house and may now renovate it and return there. “Everybody is waiting for the summer to come back,” Fares said hopefully.

Hisham al-Zaqawi is also finding things difficult. He was a jeweler and confectioner before the war, and he stayed in Ein Terma throughout the fighting when it was under rebel control.

He says he distrusted the opposition, but when the army retook eastern Ghouta, his two brothers chose not to come back under government control and joined the exodus to Idlib.

During the years of siege, food became so expensive that he had to sell his business and even his own wife’s jewelry. There are more job opportunities now, he said, but he struggles for work.

His two older children were born before or early in the crisis, but his three-year old daughter Sham must be registered with the government. The procedure is straightforward, but the fee is expensive, he said.

“Currently I don’t have a good job. I’m sitting without one. If there was a job in renovating or anything like that I wouldn’t say no. I’d work.”

(Reporting by Kinda Makieh in eastern Ghouta; Writing by Angus McDowall and Imad Creidi)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Mar 2, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray (QB11) who did not participate in workout drills watches from the sidelines during the 2019 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports – 12268222

March 13, 2019

Kyler Murray will perform quarterback drills and other testing at his much-anticipated pro day workout in Norman, Okla., on Wednesday.

The Arizona Cardinals are among the teams expected to send a large contingent of coaches and personnel evaluators. Arizona owns the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft and speculation simmered during the NFL Scouting Combine that the Cardinals are primed to draft Murray and deal their 2018 first-round pick, Josh Rosen, for additional draft picks or a veteran.

Murray did not throw or take part in measurement tests at the combine, including the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump.

Beyond the Cardinals, the Oakland Raiders (fourth overall), New York Giants (sixth), Cincinnati Bengals (11th) and Miami Dolphins (13th) could covet Murray. The Denver Broncos are a longer shot to look at Murray with the 10th pick after trading for Joe Flacco.

–The Denver Broncos, who will have two new inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer, will meet the Atlanta Falcons in the 2019 Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 1 in Canton, Ohio.

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and cornerback Champ Bailey — who spent 10 seasons in Denver — will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame two days later, as will tight end Tony Gonzalez, who spent the final five seasons of his 17-year NFL career with the Falcons.

Other members of the 2019 class are safety Ed Reed, cornerback Ty Law, safety Johnny Robinson, center Kevin Mawae and personnel executive Gil Brandt.

–The Atlanta Falcons have given themselves financial wiggle room this offseason by restructuring the contract of quarterback Matt Ryan, ESPN reported.

The team created $7 million in cap space by converting $8.75 million of his 2019 base salary into a signing bonus. Before the move, the Falcons had the least amount of cap room in the NFL at just more than $6 million, according to

Ryan signed a five-year, $150 million contract last year.

–Dez Bryant could return to the New Orleans Saints when he’s recovered from the ruptured Achilles suffered in his second day of practice in 2018.

According to NFL Network, the Saints are hoping Bryant, 30, can play this season. He was signed last November as a free agent to a one-year, $600,000 contract after going months without interest following his release from the Dallas Cowboys in April 2018.

Bryant has 531 catches for 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns in his career, but he hasn’t posted a 1,000-yard season since 2014.

–Standout pass rusher Khalil Mack restructured his contract to create salary cap space for the Chicago Bears in 2019. The team converted $11 million of Mack’s 2019 base salary and roster bonus into a signing bonus to whittle more room under the cap.

Chicago is without a first-round draft pick, which was traded to Oakland in the deal for Mack.

The Bears reportedly have shown interest in free agent running back Le’Veon Bell, who is being pursued by as many as six teams after not playing last season in a contract dispute with the Steelers.

— The Pittsburgh Steelers announced they will keep injured linebacker Ryan Shazier under contract for 2019, allowing him to retain his medical insurance as he continues to recover from a spinal injury.

Shazier, who suffered the severe injury late in the 2017 season, will remain on the physically unable to perform list for the 2019 season. He will be paid a salary commensurate with his years of service in the NFL, and he’ll accrue another year toward his pension.

“We will continue to support Ryan’s efforts to return to play,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said. “Although he won’t be able to help us on the field in 2019, his leadership, insight, and emotional support have always been very valuable to us, and we look forward to his contributions in our pursuit of a championship.”

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

The ESPN logo is seen on an electronic display in Times Square in New York City
The ESPN logo is seen on an electronic display in Times Square in New York City, U.S., August 23, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar

March 12, 2019

By Hilary Russ

NEW YORK (Reuters) – ESPN will hold its first ever college championship for competitive video gaming later this year, the TV sports network said on Tuesday, a high-profile esports event aimed at younger fans who spend more time with game controllers than baseball bats or hockey sticks.

ESPN Events, a unit of Walt Disney Co’s cable sports network that also produces a lineup of other sports events such as the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, will produce the Collegiate Esports Championship (CEC).

The showdown will be held in Houston at Comicpalooza at the George R. Brown Convention Center in May. Players will compete in five games: Overwatch, Hearthstone, StarCraft II, Heroes of the Storm and Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition.

Street Fighter is made by Japan’s Capcom Co Ltd; the other featured games were developed by Blizzard Entertainment, a division of Activision Blizzard Inc.

As professional esports tournaments have expanded in the last couple of years, so too have college-level games, with schools developing their own competitive teams as they would for traditional sports.

Schools like the University of Nevada, Las Vegas now offer esports labs and course work, and the University of California at Irvine even has its own esports arena and summer camp.

“As universities continue to grow their esports programs at the varsity, non-varsity and club levels, we’re proud to be providing a platform for national exposure and recognition of some of the most talented players in the collegiate space,” said John Lasker, vice president of ESPN’s Digital Media Programming, in a statement.

The CEC will also become Overwatch’s only collegiate championship. Prizes will be in the form of college scholarships, ESPN said.

Players will come from the hundreds of North American schools currently competing in qualifying matches hosted by Collegiate Starleague and Tespa.

Portions of the qualifying rounds, as well as the championship, will be streamed globally, with ESPN to announce later which platforms it will use.

The Overwatch matches in particular will also shown on the livestreaming video platform Twitch, owned by Inc.

(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by David Gregorio)

Source: OANN

There’s something about journalists and traveling. Maybe it’s the boredom. The waiting. Or it’s the perks of being a journalist in 2019. Hop on social media during a crappy trip and an “influencer” is bound to get results.

Late Friday night, Leon Wolf, managing editor of Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze, began tweeting at American Airlines. An obese man was seated next to him. Leon wasn’t happy about it. He tends to tweet about sneezing too hard, inexplicably, shaving, or various types of cuisine, so this was an exciting departure from his norm.

“Wanna give a shout out to @AmericanAir for not requiring the guy who sat next to me on my last flight to purchase two tickets even though he could not prevent himself from spilling a good four inches into the space occupied by my seat, he began.

A journalist publicly whining about his or her travel experience borders dangerously close to saying, “Don’t you know who I am?” But so be it — you don’t even need to be that well-known to make it work. And if it gets the attention of an airline or Amtrak’s social media person, wasn’t it an act of service for all?

Leon Wolf/YouTube/MSNBC

Leon Wolf/YouTube/MSNBC

Thankfully, Leon didn’t keep us hanging.

He quickly added, “Super happy right now that I have a sore back and hip from having to sit canted at a 20 degree angle for two hours and that I had my elbow banged by the cart every time it came by since I was being forced to lean out into the aisle.”

TheBlaze journalist soon moved into his politics. According to Leon, Leon didn’t care how fat this guy was. And by the way, maybe it’s a thyroid problem? The self-reflective editor admits that he, too, is not svelte.

“I wanna say this here: I am super libertarian and I don’t judge people for being whatever size they are,” he wrote. “I don’t know this guy’s life. Maybe he has a thyroid problem. It’s none of my business. I’m certainly not small.” (Quick side note: A person’s size comes up pretty regularly in politics. Ex-Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is a staple fat joke on late-night shows. But he has also made fun of himself by discussing fat jokes with the likes of Bill Maher and David Letterman. During a 2016 presidential debate, President Trump said an anonymous email hacker “could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”)

Planes, Trains and Automobiles/YouTube

Planes, Trains and Automobiles/YouTube

Now pivoting to American Airlines, Leon places the blame where it belongs.

“It also should have been immediately apparent to anyone with a lick of sense that there was no chance he was going to fit within the horizontal confines of an airplane seat, and that’s the problem,” he continued.

Leon is obviously not a loner in his plight to fix universal travel issues  and throw around his journalistic weight to do so.

In the summer of 2017, conservative commentator Ann Coulter complained about Delta. She was on a flight from New York to West Palm Beach and had pre-booked the spacious emergency row to accommodate her 6’0 physique. She tried to switch from the window to the aisle with little time to spare. Coulter’s request was seemingly accepted. Still, the airlines kept her in the window seat. She blasted the airline on social media, and even snapped photos of fellow flyers. Coulter’s whining worked. Delta apologized and said it would refund Coulter’s $30 ticket. But the airline also reprimanded her behavior, calling her insults “unacceptable” and “unnecessary.” (RELATED: Coulter Dings Delta For Wrecking American Health Care) 

In the fall of 2016, NYT liberal columnist Charles Blow said no one would sit in the empty seat next to him on the Acela because he is black. “Love how subconscious racism works to my advantage on @Amtrak Acela,” he tweeted. “The seat next to me ALWAYS stays empty until ppl have no other options.” (RELATED: NYT’s Charles Blow Cries Racism Because No One Will Sit Next To Him On A Train) 

That one really blew. How could he prove that? People on trains don’t tend to care who they’re sitting next to just as long as they don’t stink. take up, ahem, too much room as in Leon’s nightmare scenario, or look creepy. I’m willing to give Blow the benefit of the doubt on all of these fronts.

In what may be my favorite example of a journalist traveling under the influence of douchiness, in August, 2016 The Young Turks Cenk Uygur filmed himself acting like a total asshole in an airport. Gate agents at LAX ultimately threw him off the flight for his cussing out a crew of American Airlines workers. The reason? A four-hour delay between LAX and Miami set Cenk off. (RELATED: Cenk Uygur Wins Contest For World’s Biggest A**hole) 

Airlines are increasingly creating “obesity policies,” says a 2017 report on The policies can be harsh and swift — if the seat doesn’t fit you must evacuate. If an extension seatbelt doesn’t fit and the armrest cannot be in the down position, the passenger can charged double or be booted off the plane.

American Airlines actually has an obesity policy — if you need an extension seatbelt or your body extends more than one inch beyond the “outermost edge of the armrest” you must purchase two seats. Delta’s policy is a little more humane for hefty travelers. They don’t make obese folks buy an extra seat, but if your bulk bleeds into the next seat, you could be asked to move or take a later flight.

Leon is not just a complainer. He has ideas on how to improve the travel experience for those who can fit in one airplane seat and those who clearly can’t.

He reasoned, “If I bring a bag to the gate that is even close to being too big, the gate agents spot it with an eagle eye and force me to put it in the little bin to verify that it isn’t bigger than the little shadow and if it is, I have to check it. …It’s the same damn issue with the seat. I pay hundreds of dollars for a few scant inches of horizontal space and if someone’s size means they will encroach on mine, they should have to pay for another seat so they don’t encroach. End of story.”

But that the end of nothing. He was just getting warmed up.

“I thought about letting this go but here’s the thing: if some @AmericanAir employee had done their job and told this guy he had to buy two tickets, he would have gotten on social media and kicked up a storm about being body shamed,” he wrote. “And that’s why it didn’t happen.”

Has this happened to Leon before? He doesn’t say but suggests that it’s a widespread (pun-intended) problem.

“As anyone who flies frequently knows, it’s a problem that’s getting worse and it needs to be dealt with,” he wrote. “And you should take employees completely out of the equation so they don’t get accused of singling anyone out or have complaints about, ‘I DO TOO FIT, HOW DARE YOU.’”

And now for Leon’s idea on how to delicately fix the problem. If you’re overweight, have feelings and an aversion to public humiliation, you may want to stop reading now.

“There’s a VERY simple solution: make one of those bag sizers for people,” he suggested. “Drag a plastic gate that is exactly as wide as the seats on the plane and set it right in front of the jetway. Everyone has to walk through. If you can’t fit without turning sideways, you buy two tickets.”

He compares it to the height requirement to the one at Disney World. But it falls flat. Unless you’re the late Hervé Villechaize (“Tattoo” from Fantasy Island), no one is really offended by height rules at theme parks.

“It’s no different from the signs at the amusement park about people who have to be a certain height to ride a certain ride,” Leon wrote. “Don’t argue with me; argue with the gate. You are physically too large to occupy a single unit of space that is for sale, therefore you must buy another.”

The Mirror sought comment from Wolf. I wanted to ask how his elbows, back and hips are feeling. I wanted to ask if he’ll ever fly American Airlines again. He didn’t reply by press time.

‘Don’t hate me because I’m skinner than you are!’

“I get that people are gonna complain because no one likes paying extra for anything and will make it into an outrage issue if you do but the rest of us should not have to suffer in silence,” Leon continued. “The space you sell us is small. Let us f***ing have it. That is all that needs to be said.”

Leon says Leon is not out to fat shame the guy, as he’s sure will happen with his thread. His purpose is bigger, to help all of mankind deal with this ever growing problem of a large man spilling into his seat and causing elbow issues.

Leon says Leon doesn’t care — bash him all you want. But he’s not staying silent any longer.

“I am sure I am gonna be flamed for this thread but I’m beyond the point of caring,” he wrote. “My hope is that I’ll also get some people who agree so the airlines can see that those of us who fit in seats and don’t inconvenience other passengers because we’re cheap matter, too. End.”

All that complaining actually did reach American Airlines.

His comfort is important to them?! This does not appear to be true. So much for American’s stringent obese passenger policy.

Let’s hope Leon’s next flight is not quite so cozy.

Source: The Daily Caller

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