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  • Johnson Stays Away From Davos to Push Populist U.K. Agenda

    Golocal247.com news

    (Bloomberg) -- As the global rich gather in Davos, Boris Johnson is reminding voters in Britain why he called his new administration the “people’s government.”The prime minister, who is staying away from the annual jamboree of the World Economic Forum, is considering the idea of moving the House of Lords out of London, possibly to York 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of the British capital.The shock revelation emerged a day after Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid warned business leaders to expect divergence from European Union rules after Brexit, whether or not a free-trade deal is concluded by the end of 2020.Johnson reinforced his vision of a “global Britain” trading freely outside the EU on Monday at an inaugural investment summit with African leaders. He called for the U.K. to be the “investment partner of choice” on the continent.Johnson won a commanding majority in the general election by persuading pro-Brexit districts in northern England and the Midlands to back his Conservative Party for the first time. He did so by promising to take Britain out of the EU on Jan. 31, but he must now deliver economically if he’s to retain their support.The premier has spoken repeatedly about “leveling up” across the U.K. and the budget due in March is expected to include billions of pounds of new infrastructure projects to boost the economy of northern England, which has been hit by a decade of austerity and the decline of heavy industry.In an indication of his new focus, ministers on Sunday confirmed that the House of Lords -- the upper, unelected chamber of Parliament -- could be moved permanently to York, an historic city of little more than 200,000 people, or Birmingham in central England. The news was first reported by the Sunday Times.“It’s one of range of things we are looking into. It’s about demonstrating to people we are going to do things differently,” Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly told Sky TV’s “Sophy Ridge on Sunday” show. “The Labour Party lost millions of voters because they failed to listen.”Suspicions QuashedSuspicions that Johnson might use his House of Commons majority to sever ties with Brexit hard-liners in his party and deliver a soft divorce appeared to be quashed by Javid in an interview with the Financial Times published Saturday.The chancellor said Britain would no longer abide by EU regulations and businesses needed to adjust, raising the stakes as the government prepares to embark on trade talks with the EU. Johnson has given himself just 11 months to tie up a deal. If he fails, Britain will be headed for another cliff-edge Brexit at the end of the year.Javid’s comments prompted dismay among businesses, which fear divergence could cost billions of pounds with sectors such as car making, aerospace and food manufacturing bearing the brunt. Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry lobby group, said alignment had supported jobs and competitiveness in some of the most deprived regions of the U.K.Johnson also appears to be on a collision course with businesses over immigration, with reports that the government is proposing to bring in restrictions on low-skilled migrants at the end the year, two years earlier than planned.Africa FocusAs Britain leaves the EU, Johnson is seeking to build economic ties with fast-growing regions, such as Africa. He addressed the U.K.-Africa Investment Summit in London, with the government promising 620 million pounds ($804 million) of financing to spur U.K. exports to Ghana, Zambia, Gabon and Uganda.“Africa is the future and the U.K. has a huge and active role to play in that future,” Johnson said.The gathering underscores fears that Britain risks losing out in the region. China, already a huge investor on the continent, hosted dozens of African leaders in 2018 and Russia, an expanding presence, followed suit last year. France and Turkey are also aggressively pushing trade on the continent.Johnson also said the U.K. will halt all support for thermal coal mining or coal power plants overseas as part of efforts to tackle climate change.(Updates with Johnson comment three paragraphs from bottom)\--With assistance from Stuart Biggs, Olivia Konotey-Ahulu and Steve Geimann.To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Atkinson in London at a.atkinson@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Fergal O'Brien at fobrien@bloomberg.net, Stuart Biggs, Mark WilliamsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 06:01:30 -0500
  • TIMELINE-Key events in Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou's extradition case

    TORONTO/LONDON, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, will appear in a Vancouver, Canada, courtroom on Monday for the first day of her extradition trial, a process expected to take months - possibly years - to decide whether she can be extradited from Canada to the United States. Dec. 30, 2012 – Reuters publishes an exclusive story https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-huawei-hp/exclusive-huawei-partner-offered-embargoed-hp-gear-to-iran-idUSBRE8BT0BF20121230 citing documents that showed a major partner of Huawei had offered to sell at least 1.3 million euros worth of embargoed Hewlett-Packard computer equipment to Iran’s largest mobile-phone operator in late 2010. Jan. 31, 2013 - Reuters publishes another exclusive story https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-huawei-skycom/exclusive-huawei-cfo-linked-to-firm-that-offered-hp-gear-to-iran-idUKBRE90U0CA20130131 revealing that Meng had served on the board of the company that had attempted to sell the embargoed Hewlett-Packard computer equipment to the Iranian mobile-phone operator.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 06:00:00 -0500
  • U.S. and Latin American partners to discuss Hezbollah presence in Venezuela

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    The United States is concerned about the presence of Hezbollah, the terrorist group supported by Iran, in Venezuela, an issue that will be raised by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a meeting on counterterrorism efforts that will gather several ministers from the region in Bogota on Monday.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 06:00:00 -0500
  • Russian opposition wants big protest over Putin's plan to 'rule for ever'

    Russia's anti-Kremlin opposition said on Monday it planned to stage a big protest next month against President Vladimir Putin's proposed constitutional changes, which it cast as a ploy for Putin to rule for life. Putin, in a surprise move, last week unveiled a sweeping shake-up of the political system which led to the resignation of Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister along with his government. Putin's changes, which would amend the constitution to create new centres of power outside the presidency, were seen by many as giving the 67-year-old scope to extend his grip on power once his term expires in 2024.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 05:48:56 -0500
  • Another Country May Return to Haunt Trump

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    (Bloomberg) -- Want to receive this post in your inbox every day? Sign up for the Balance of Power newsletter, and follow Bloomberg Politics on Twitter and Facebook for more.Donald Trump has had a lot going on. Impeachment at home, a re-election campaign picking up speed, trade tensions with China, military tensions with Iran, plus bubbling issues in Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.So it’s not surprising that, after an end-year bout of mutual mud-slinging, North Korea seems to have slipped down the White House’s priority list. Years of talks, including two summits, haven’t shown much progress curtailing Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions.That doesn’t mean North Korea can’t make trouble for the U.S. president as he moves into high gear for the election. Kim Jong Un’s regime might be secretive and isolated, but it doesn’t like being ignored. Above all, Kim wants international recognition of North Korea as a nuclear state and a seat at the table with the bigger players.North Korea has a long history of doing dramatic things to force countries to interact with it or to give it economic concessions.There are signs it has quietly restarted some mothballed nuclear operations. It has refrained from testing very long-range missiles (that, in theory, could hit the U.S.), but that doesn’t mean it won’t if it really wants Trump’s attention.There are other clues Pyongyang is ready to shake things up. It has reportedly replaced its foreign minister — who’d been in the role since 2016 — with Ri Son Gwon, a former army officer. That could suggest a harder line ahead.Global HeadlinesTrump’s week | Anticipation is building in Washington ahead of the Senate’s first impeachment trial in 20 years, even as Democrats and Republicans continue to squabble about aspects of the proceedings. Trump, meanwhile, is heading back to Davos, poised to hail his economic record as vindication of an “America First” agenda to the world’s elite while lawmakers back home weigh his fate.Hands off | Here’s a dynamic to watch for as global elites gather in the Swiss alps at the World Economic Forum this week: Governments are gearing up for a more active role in steering economies through the big challenges of the coming decade, from global warming and inequality to the great-power race for a technological edge. “We’re past peak laissez-faire in many ways,” said Adair Turner, former head of the U.K.’s bank regulator and a Davos regular.Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a daily newsletter that will run through Jan. 24. Click here for more on U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to skip Davos.Libya impasse | Libya’s eastern military commander, Khalifa Haftar, is a difficult man to deal with, as world leaders found yesterday when they failed to persuade him to sign a peace deal to end a five-year civil war. He’s shut half of the North African nation’s oil production less than a week after he walked out of talks in Moscow aimed at reaching a durable cease-fire. While the warring parties agreed to set up a committee to negotiate a halt to fighting, progress appears to be fleeting.Gray Lady | The New York Times endorsed both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying, “May the best woman win.” Editorial board members said they were impressed by Warren’s emphasis on policy and said Klobuchar, who has struggled to gain traction in polls, “could unite the party and perhaps the nation.”Trump, meanwhile, championed a pair of trade victories at a farm convention yesterday in Austin, Texas.Tehran’s de-linking | Iran’s six-year drive to integrate with the global economy appears to be coming to an end in the face of biting U.S. sanctions. As Marc Champion reports, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei accused Europe of joining Washington in trying to “bring Iran to its knees.” Iran threatened today to withdraw from its last remaining commitments to the 2015 deal that limited its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.What to Watch This WeekIf the past three years of Brexit have been difficult, the next 11 months threaten to be even more so. Click here for more on the battle lines between the U.K. and the European Union. Hong Kong’s government pushed back on a key demand of protesters as a downtown rally turned violent, showing there’s no end in sight for the unrest that began last June. Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido started an international tour that includes a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and a trip to Davos. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe opened a new session of parliament today with a fresh call to revise the U.S.-imposed postwar constitution, a career-long bid that still faces huge obstacles. South Africa’s government said it’s working on solutions for the national airline after failing to pay $138 million in funding by yesterday’s deadline.Thanks to all who responded to our pop quiz Friday and congratulations to reader Hitesh Thakkar, who was the first to correctly answer that newly minted Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s previous job was head of the Federal Tax Service. Tell us how we’re doing or what we’re missing at balancepower@bloomberg.net.And finally ... A pneumonia outbreak in central China has widened, with more than 200 people now diagnosed with the new SARS-like virus. Health experts say there’s evidence the illness is spreading from person to person. With the Lunar New Year just days away — a holiday season when Chinese citizens rack up 3 billion trips across the country to reunite with family — the mystery virus’s spread is likely to intensify. To contact the author of this story: Rosalind Mathieson in London at rmathieson3@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Kathleen Hunter at khunter9@bloomberg.net, Karl MaierFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 05:48:44 -0500
  • Populist party could leave Norwegian govt over IS woman

    Norway's populist Progress Party could leave the center-right government coalition over a decision to bring back home an Islamic State group-linked woman and her two children from a detention camp in Syria. The anti-immigration party, Norway’s third-largest, is one of Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s four coalition members, together with her Conservatives, the centrist Liberal Party and the Christian Democrats..

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 05:28:21 -0500
  • Iraqi officials: At least 13 wounded in violence in Baghdad

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    Iraqi security forces fired tear gas and live rounds during clashes with anti-government protesters overnight and on Monday morning in Baghdad, wounding at least 13 demonstrators and prompting authorities to close key streets and thoroughfares leading to the city center, officials said. The violence is the latest since protests in Iraq reignited last week after a brief lull amid soaring tensions between Washington and Tehran following a U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad earlier this month.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 04:43:37 -0500
  • Iran says Zarif skips Davos over programme change

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    Iran said Monday its Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will skip this week's World Economic Forum after organisers changed the event he had been planning to take part in. The annual summit, which kicks off in the Swiss resort of Davos on Tuesday, has been overshadowed by escalating tensions between Iran and its arch foe the United States. Zarif had been scheduled to attend the gathering after receiving a personal invitation, his ministry said.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 04:29:34 -0500
  • US envoy say it's his mustache; South Koreans say otherwise

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    The U.S. ambassador to South Korea has some unusual explanations for the harsh criticism he's faced in his host country. Or a Japanese ancestry that raises unpleasant reminders of Japan's former colonial domination of Korea? Many South Koreans, however, have a more straight-forward explanation for Harry Harris' struggle to win hearts and minds in Seoul, and it's got more to do with an outspoken manner that they see as undiplomatic and rude.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 04:24:21 -0500
  • Iran Plans Final Nuclear Compliance Cut in Sign Deal Exit Nears

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    (Bloomberg) -- Iran is planning “one last step” in its gradual draw-down from complying with the nuclear deal, raising the possibility that it’s close to announcing a complete withdrawal from the embattled international accord.In addition to the five-stage reduction of its commitment that Iran has already announced, it’s now working on the final measure that will have “more effective consequences,” Abbas Mousavi, Foreign Ministry spokesman, told a news conference in Tehran on Monday.Iran has been gradually reducing its compliance with the 2015 accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, since U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned it and began reimposing -- and then increasing -- sanctions on the country’s economy.Earlier this month, Iran announced it’s no longer observing limits on uranium enrichment or research and development activities, but insisted it was still working within the parameters of the deal and would continue cooperating with United Nations nuclear inspectors.President Hassan Rouhani last week said all the steps could still be reversed as soon as Europe was able to commit to the agreement and take concrete steps allowing Iran to sell oil. In a move that has worsened tensions with Tehran, the U.K., France and Germany said last week they would trigger the deal’s dispute resolution mechanism, which could eventually mean the matter being referred to the UN Security Council. Mousavi said the move “lacks legal value” and that an “empty-handed” EU is unlikely to risk a major escalation in its standoff with Iran by involving the U.N.’s top decision-making group.Days before European nations turned up pressure on the Islamic Republic, the U.S. and Iran came to the brink of war after Trump ordered the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. As Iranian forces launched retaliatory attacks on U.S. facilities in the Middle East, they accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner over Tehran, triggering protests against the regime.Britain has also infuriated Iran’s government by proposing that the current accord be replaced with a “Trump deal.” Mousavi said that while Iran remains open to talks with the EU on the future of the agreement, the Islamic Republic won’t agree to any proposals from either the bloc or the U.S. for an alternative to the existing deal.To contact the reporter on this story: Arsalan Shahla in Tehran at ashahla@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Paul AbelskyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 04:09:26 -0500
  • N.Korea's Kim taps tough-talking military veteran as foreign minister

    * New minister has led talks with S.Korea, but never U.S. SEOUL, Jan 20 (Reuters) - North Korea's new foreign minister is a former defence commander with little diplomatic experience, spotlighting leader Kim Jong Un's reliance on party and military loyalists at a sensitive time amid stalled U.S. talks, analysts in Seoul said on Monday. Last week, North Korea told countries with embassies in Pyongyang that Ri Son Gwon, a senior military officer and official of the ruling Workers' Party, had been appointed foreign minister, a diplomatic source in Seoul told Reuters.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 03:26:41 -0500
  • China repeats call on Canada to release Huawei CFO Meng

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    China repeated its call on Monday for Canada to release detained Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou as soon as possible, ahead of the executive's first extradition hearing later in the day. "The resolve of the Chinese government to protect Chinese citizens' proper legal rights is firm and unwavering," foreign ministry spokesman, Geng Shuang, told reporters during a daily briefing. Meng, daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on Dec. 1, 2018, at the request of the United States, where she is charged with bank fraud and accused of misleading the bank HSBC about Huawei Technologies' business in Iran.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 02:51:36 -0500
  • Monday morning news briefing: Prince Harry breaks silence on royal exit

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    If you want to receive twice-daily briefings like this by email, sign up to the Front Page newsletter here. For two-minute audio updates, try The Briefing - on podcasts, smart speakers and WhatsApp. Prince Harry: I had no choice but to leave The Duke of Sussex last night described his "great sadness" over his split from the Royal family, but said: "There really was no other option." In his first personal comments about the decision to step back from public life, the Duke expressed disappointment with the conclusions - revealing the move followed "so many months of talks". The Duke's speech (read in full here) came barely 24 hours after Buckingham Palace announced the couple were to give up their HRH titles and would no longer formally represent the Queen. It has become clear Harry and Meghan jumped the gun with their vision for how their new lives would look. Victoria Ward explains the vast chasm between what they said they wanted - and the reality of what they got. One of the main sticking points was funding. It has emerged that the Prince of Wales is planning to review the couple's financial "abdication" deal within a year amid fears over mounting costs. It took just 10 days from the Duke and Duchess dropping their bombshell to the Queen granting their exit from The Firm - a quickie divorce if ever there was one. Read a comprehensive recap of how the royal drama unfolded. Camilla Tominey writes in this analysis that Her Majesty's decisive action over the Duke and Duchess of Sussex not only reminds us who is boss - but why. For more exclusive insight from Camilla, sign up to Your Royal Appointment newsletter for free. Killer drivers to face life imprisonment Dangerous drivers who cause deaths face life imprisonment under Boris Johnson's plans for longer sentences. The maximum term for causing death by speeding, racing or using a mobile phone will rise from 14 years to life - equivalent to manslaughter. Home Affairs Editor Charles Hymas reports that the crackdown on killer drivers has been dubbed Violet-Grace's Law by campaigners in memory of a four-year-old killed by a speeding stolen car being driven at 83mph in a 30mph zone. Montague wins £400,000 in BBC pay row Sarah Montague has won a £400,000 payout in her "stressful" fight against BBC gender discrimination. The journalist - a former host of Radio 4's Today, who now presents The World at One - said she also received "an apology from the BBC for paying me unequally for so many years". The settlement is the latest in the BBC's dispute with female members of staff - with as many as 120 bringing forward equal pay cases. News digest PM meets Putin | Johnson warns of no thaw in Russia relations Bercow blow | No peerage for ex-Speaker, says Long-Bailey Triple stabbing | Three men killed in east London knife attack Impeachment trial | Democrats push for new Trump witnesses Not what the doctor ordered | Lonely turn to GPs just for a chat Gallery: The big picture Mists of Avalon | The view from Glastonbury Tor at sunrise as mist rolls over the Somerset landscape, creating the illusion of a tidal wave. View our picture editor's choice of more striking images of the day. The striking image was captured by local photographer Michelle Cowbourne Credit: SWNS Comment Tim Stanley | Royal deal is good for everyone, except Harry Nick Timothy | Liberal Left is collapsing under its own intolerance Roger Bootle | Brexit will prove there is an alternative to the EU David Malpass | Africa needs to seize this golden chance Jane Shilling | Co-parenting latest twist in cult of the selfish Editor's choice It's Blue Monday | Simple techniques to boost your mood Strictly Curse | Rugby star Ben Cohen's new life purpose Christine Keeler | Where her true sexual interest lay Business and money briefing Flybe's plan | Bailed-out Flybe is preparing to launch services on the lucrative route from Heathrow to Germany's industrial heartland, threatening to further enrage airline executives fuming by a government rescue. Oliver Gill reports that the planned Dusselfdorf link is part of an overhaul including an extra service between Newquay and Amsterdam.   Church loan scandal | MPs attack HSBC and Amigo Investment tip | Makeover is bearing fruit: This is a buy Alex cartoon | See our brilliant cartoonist's latest work Sport briefing Liverpool 2 Man Utd 0 | Jurgen Klopp insists he and his team will not get drawn in to the party which Liverpool fans are currently enjoying on their seemingly inevitable march towards a first title in 30 years. The Reds are now 16 points clear at the top of the table with a match in hand. Read Jason Burt's match report from Anfield.   Burnley 2 Leicester City 1 | Keeper saves penalty to set up win 'They stole our club' | Owners accused of losing West Ham soul Relegated Saracens | Club will be broken up in 'end of an era' And finally... Frozen fans overrun village | With its frozen vistas and sparkling lakes, the Austrian hamlet of Hallstatt is renowned as a real-world inspiration for Frozen, Disney’s hit musical. But fame has brought unbearable levels of tourism to the 16th-century settlement, which is inundated with selfie-taking tourists who seem more interested in their Instagram profiles than local businesses and culture.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 02:23:21 -0500
  • South Korea Mulls North Korea Visits Despite U.S. Pushback

    (Bloomberg) -- South Korea is considering different ways to allow its people to travel to North Korea despite a U.S. warning to proceed with caution in visiting a country under extensive international sanctions.The Unification Ministry said Monday the government is looking at measures that include allowing South Koreans to go to North Korea directly through previously established land crossings or going through a third country in a tour group. The latter option would help South Koreans travel to major cities in North Korea, including the capital Pyongyang.The tourism initiative comes after the South Korea presidential office last week criticized U.S. Ambassador Harry Harris for suggesting that the U.S. government should be consulted first. The latest dispute added to heightened tensions between the allies over U.S. demands for South Korea to pay more for hosting American troops.Harris said tourism is allowed under sanctions but some of things visitors take with them could be prohibited under the sanctions, which were imposed on North Korea to punish it for its testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.South Korea Should Consult U.S. on North Korea Tours, Envoy SaysTourism allows cash-starved North Korea to obtain hard currency and significant flow of money to Kim Jong Un’s regime could undermine President Donald Trump’s maximum pressure campaign to squeeze its economy through sanctions. Moon has called for a resumption of projects with North Korea seeing them as a way to establish trust and security on the heavily armed peninsula.North Korea’s Kim has pushed for increased tourism and in an address to mark the new year highlighted one of his pet projects in the coastal city of Wonsan, which has been undergoing a tourism face-lift. For months Pyongyang has rebuffed Moon’s calls for talks, telling South Korea to stay out of the way in its dealings with Trump and advising Seoul to “behave prudently” and “not to be reduced to a fool heading nowhere.”Kim last year also threatened to tear down South Korean-built structures at a resort constructed at North Korea’s Mt. Geumgang, delivering a blow to Moon’s plans to bring back the now-frozen project once seen as a symbol of reconciliation.Kim Jong Un Deals Blow to South Korean Plans for Joint ResortIn 2008, South Koreans were ordered to vacate the resort after a 53-year-old woman vacationer who wandered close to a North Korean military facility in the area was shot and killed. More than 2 million South Koreans had visited the scenic mountain site located near the border before it was shut down. Tourists paid a fee to enter North Korea and Pyongyang took a cut on all the money the South Koreans spent on food, lodging and tours. The U.S. raised worries at the time that North Korea used funds from Mt. Geumgang to help pay for its weapons programs.To contact the reporter on this story: Jihye Lee in Seoul at jlee2352@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Jon Herskovitz, Peter PaeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 01:32:50 -0500
  • Shooting kills 2 officers before Hawaii homes catch fire

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    A Hawaii man with a history of run-ins with police and neighbors was facing eviction when he stabbed his landlord and killed two officers before the house he and two women were believed to be in burned, authorities and neighbors said Sunday. Police responding to a call for help found a woman who had been stabbed in the leg and resident Jaroslav “Jerry” Hanel, in his 60s, opened fire, killing Officers Tiffany Enriquez, a seven-year veteran, and Kaulike Kalama, a nine-year veteran, Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said. The homeowner, Lois Cain, had recently sought to have Hanel evicted, court records showed.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 01:18:29 -0500
  • Japan’s Abe Resumes Constitution Quest to Burnish Legacy

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    (Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces almost insurmountable obstacles to completing his career-long quest to amend Japan’s pacifist constitution. That won’t stop him from trying.The premier opened a new session of parliament on Monday with a fresh call to revise the country’s U.S.-imposed postwar constitution. Abe has raised the issue at almost every public speaking opportunity since the new year, saying he wants to make full use of what he expects will be his final 20 months in office.“The constitution shows what form the country will take,” Abe said. “It’s our responsibility as lawmakers to put forward a proposal for what kind of country we should aim to be in the future,” he added in comments that drew hearty applause from lawmakers of his ruling Liberal Democratic Party.Success would help burnish Abe’s legacy after becoming the country’s longest-serving prime minister in November. Rewriting the constitution was one of the founding principles of the LDP, which argues the move is needed to give Japan’s “self-defense” forces greater legitimacy and secure Tokyo’s interests around the globe.While many in the right-leaning LDP view the constitution imposed in 1947 as a symbol of Japan’s humiliation after World War II, the document has broad political support. Previous talk of amendments, or changing laws to allow Japanese troops to fight abroad, has led to street protests -- something Abe may want to avoid as Tokyo prepares to host the Summer Olympics.Abe’s challenge wasn’t made any easier by his failure in July to win a two-thirds majority in parliament’s upper house, something that would’ve helped him push through any change. He must also overcome a pushback from within his ruling coalition.“In terms of political priorities, I don’t think public interest is necessarily strong,” Natsuo Yamaguchi, who leads Abe’s Buddhist-backed coalition party, Komeito, told NHK on Jan. 12. “We have to look at this calmly and realistically as we move ahead.”Although a change would please Japan’s sole military ally, the U.S., which has been prodding Tokyo to take a more assertive security role, it could complicate Abe’s other diplomatic efforts. The government is preparing for a state visit this spring by President Xi Jinping of China, where suspicion of Japan’s military ambitions still runs deep.South Korea, which has been feuding with Japan over a host of war-related grievances in recent months, has urged its neighbor to “remain within the mold of the pacifist constitution.” Meanwhile, North Korean state media denounced Abe’s efforts to amend the document in a commentary Wednesday as “a revelation of wicked design to turn Japan into a military giant.”Abe has already outlined his proposed changes -- including adding wording to the war-renouncing Article 9 that would make explicit the constitutionality of Japan’s Self-Defense Forces. The country maintains almost 250,000 troops, hundreds of fighter jets and dozens of warships, although their activities are constrained by law.Japan has also sent troops overseas on several occasions -- and plans to send a naval destroyer and two surveillance planes to the Middle East next month on an information-gathering exercise in a region that provides the country with the bulk of its oil.Japan spends about 5 trillion yen ($45 billion) annually on defense. It has ramped up its financing each year that Abe has been in office, in an effort to counter the growing capabilities of nuclear-armed neighbors such as China, Russia and North Korea, which has fired missiles over Japan.“I am unwavering in my desire to be the one who achieves a revision of the constitution,” Abe told public broadcaster NHK in an interview broadcast Jan. 12.National ReferendumEven if Abe were to cobble together the two-thirds majority needed in both houses of parliament to pass a change, he would still need to pass a national referendum. Some surveys have shown a growing voter willingness to debate the issue, but there’s no clear public consensus for a revision.A poll by the Sankei newspaper and Fuji News Network this month found that 53.5% of respondents were against changing the constitution. A little more than half said they didn’t approve of a revision under the Abe administration.Abe enters the year hobbled by scandals that have led to the arrest of a sitting LDP lawmaker accused of taking bribes from a Chinese company seeking to be involved in the local casino industry. He also faces lingering questions over whether he improperly rewarded constituency supporters with invitations to a publicly funded cherry blossom-viewing party.While some in Japan’s splintered opposition want to avoid debating the constitution, Shiori Yamao, a lawmaker with the Constitutional Democratic Party and a former prosecutor, said she wanted to start discussions as soon as possible. In a Jan. 16 interview, she expressed concern that a referendum could be held without the public fully understanding the implications.“Prime Minister Abe has a concrete proposal that would write the SDF into the constitution,” she said. “We are against that. If you just write in that they exist without setting rules for their activities, there will be no constitutional restraints.”(Updates with remarks from speech in third paragraph.)\--With assistance from Takashi Hirokawa.To contact the reporters on this story: Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo at ireynolds1@bloomberg.net;Emi Nobuhiro in Tokyo at enobuhiro@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Jon Herskovitz, Muneeza NaqviFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 01:16:39 -0500
  • Martin Luther King holiday: Faith, politics mix this holiday

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    The nation is marking the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with tributes Monday recalling his past struggles for racial equality, observing the federal holiday named for him against the backdrop of a presidential election year. In an early tribute to King, Vice President Mike Pence spoke Sunday in Memphis, Tennessee, at a church service in which he recalled the challenges and accomplishments of the slain civil rights leader. Before the service, Pence toured the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where King was fatally shot on April 4, 1968, while standing on a balcony.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 01:02:41 -0500
  • Virginia's capital braces for gun-rights rally

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    Virginia’s capital city is bracing for the expected arrival of thousands of gun-rights activists and other groups that have vowed to descend on Richmond to protest Democrats’ plans to pass gun-control legislation. Gov. Ralph Northam declared a temporary state of emergency days ahead of Monday’s rally, banning all weapons including guns from the event on Capitol Square. Militia groups and white supremacists were among those expected to mix with gun-rights activists, raising fears the state could again see the type of violence that exploded in Charlottesville in 2017.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 01:01:28 -0500
  • Making Babies to Grow Economies Won't Work

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    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- In his recent state of the nation address, Russian President Vladimir Putin spent about 20 minutes on a sweeping constitutional reform proposal designed to keep him in power indefinitely — and about twice as much time on ideas meant to boost the birth rate. This is typical of Europe’s national-conservative governments, and even some relatively liberal ones, that are preoccupied with fertility policies because of declining populations.Perhaps they’re on to something. In a just-published working paper, economist Charles Jones of Stanford University built some models to show that so-called natalist policies may be “much more important than we have appreciated” in determining whether nations, and the world as a whole, will end up with a shrinking population and no economic growth — or with both the population and the economy on a path of steady growth. The intuition behind the models is that growth is, essentially, a function of people’s ability to come up with new ideas, and if the number of people stops growing or falls, the stock of knowledge stops expanding.“The social planner,” Jones wrote, “would like the economy to have a much higher fertility rate.” But the global trend is going in the opposite direction:Historically, fertility rates in high-income countries have fallen from 5 children per women to 4, 3, 2, and now even fewer. From a family’s standpoint, there is nothing special about “above two” versus “below two” and the demographic transition may lead families to settle on fewer than two children. The macroeconomics of the problem, however, make this distinction one of critical importance: it is the difference between an Expanding Cosmos of exponential growth in both population and living standards and an Empty Planet, in which incomes stagnate and the population vanishes.United Nations population data show birth rates going down steeply even in those parts of the world where it seemed just recently they’d never go down below the replacement rate of 2 births per woman. In Asia, for example, that’s projected to happen between 2055 and 2060. More educated populations and more women in the workforce mean fewer kids, and these are factors that aren’t going away in the foreseeable future.In Europe, of course, the population growth rate already is negative. In the wealthier countries the decline is still offset by immigration from places that produce too many people for their countries of origin to sustain. That’s the case in Germany and France. But in post-Communist Eastern Europe, natalist policies are the only obvious way to slow down a population decline enhanced by emigration, which the European Union’s free-movement policy has stimulated. Besides, natalism goes hand in hand with nativism, and in a number of Eastern European countries, voters, and subsequently governments, are wary of trying to increase immigration.In any case, counting on immigration isn’t really a long-term solution. If the global population as a whole stops growing, this source of replenishing the labor forces and the stock of idea-generating researchers and entrepreneurs will run out.So the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban will start offering free in vitro fertilization to women starting Feb. 1, in addition to tax breaks and loan forgiveness for large families. Poland last year expanded its generous 500 Plus program, initially intended as a kind of unconditional basic income for families with at least two children, to those with just one child. The program, introduced in April 2016, pays families about 12% of the country’s average gross wage per child, and while some criticize it for the absence of means-testing, others welcome it as a form of recognizing the labor that goes into caring for children.Lithuania recently extended child benefits to all children and decided to pay for free lunches for all preschoolers. Other post-Communist nations, such as Slovakia and Bulgaria, have pro-fertility policies in place, though they’re less generous than Poland’s or Hungary’s.Putin’s Russia is one of the world’s natalism champions. Though, unlike its former Eastern European satellites, it attracts a relatively large number of immigrants from former Soviet countries, the open-door policy is unpopular and, as Putin well knows, unsustainable because fewer people throughout the former Soviet Union are learning Russian or dreaming of moving to Russia.So the government has been offering “maternity capital” to new mothers — a lump subsidy currently worth $7,600 that can go toward housing, education and other costs. Briefly, the policy appeared to work: In 2013, 2014 and 2015, the number of births in Russia exceeded the number of deaths. But then an economic downturn reversed the trend. In January through February of 2019, Russia’s natural population decrease, 236,900 people, was bigger than for the whole of 2018. Putin is ready to fight tooth and nail for a return to growth. Starting this year, low-income families are receiving, on average, $180 per child per month until the children reach age 3; in the state of the nation address, Putin proposed continuing to pay half that amount until age 7. He has also ordered the maternity-capital subsidy boosted to $10,000 for the second child. In addition, the government will offer hot meals to all primary-school students.The problem with the measures taken by Eastern European governments is that they don’t really work as advertised. In a 2014 paper, the Brandeis University economist Elizabeth Brainerd wrote that natalist policies in post-Communist Europe have been “only modestly effective in countering the impacts of widespread social changes, including new work opportunities for women and stronger incentives to invest in education.”Indeed, more recent data appear to bear out this conclusion. In Poland, the 500 Plus program has lifted many families out of poverty, but the number of births and the fertility rates actually dropped in 2018. The population decline resumed after halting in 2017. In Russia, meanwhile, the brief baby boom largely took place in areas with the least economic opportunity — those where the maternity capital went the furthest. Some of these areas are in the North Caucasus, a region with a high proportion of Muslims who traditionally have high birth rates. Big-city residents are more responsive to the general economic situation and to intangibles such as the level of freedom and a sense that the children will have a better future. So far, Putin’s policies haven’t produced much hope on any of those fronts — and even if they did, there’d be no guarantee that Russia wouldn’t follow the Western European low fertility trend.Even though, in theory, pro-fertility policies appear desirable as global population growth slows, in practice there are no such policies proved to have a surefire effect. As Canadian political scientist Richard Togman wrote in “Nationalizing Sex: Fertility, Fear and Power,” his recent history of natalism: “Thus far, efforts to increase fertility have primarily led to a change in the timing of births but not in the overall number of babies born. Regimes as violent and totalitarian as Nazi Germany and Communist Romania have failed to increase long-term birth rates, as have a multitude of more moderate approaches of many other states.”In Togman’s view, the problem with natalist politics is that they’re based on the manipulation of broad national statistics rather than on finding out why the birth rate is low in a specific nation or region. “Governments almost never make studied inquiries of various demographic groups regarding what it would actually take to convince them to have another child,” he wrote:Only through a detailed study of local context and with input from those whom the programs are deemed to serve can natalist policy be truly effective. By its nature, natalist policy relies on the buy-in of millions of people, and truly consensual efforts to change reproductive practices might yield great benefit to individuals, their communities, and the state.Because of this need for smart design and universal buy-in, illiberal governments such as Putin’s or Orban’s aren’t likely to come up with the best solutions. Ultimately, that means humanity may come up with other ways of ensuring an expanding store of knowledge and continued growth before it cracks the secret of increasing fertility. Jones mentioned a couple of possibilities in his paper: Producing more ideas with the help of automation, or simply discovering a way to make people immortal.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 01:00:41 -0500
  • Fires set stage for irreversible forest losses in Australia

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    Australia’s forests are burning at a rate unmatched in modern times and scientists say the landscape is being permanently altered as a warming climate brings profound changes to the island continent. Heat waves and drought have fueled bigger and more frequent fires in parts of Australia, so far this season torching some 40,000 square miles (104,000 square kilometers), an area about as big as Ohio. Before the recent wildfires, ecologists divided up Australia’s native vegetation into two categories: fire-adapted landscapes that burn periodically, and those that don’t burn.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 00:34:20 -0500
  • Crimes? Impeachment prosecutors, defense lay out arguments

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    President Donald Trump’s defense team and the prosecutors of his impeachment are laying out their arguments over whether his conduct toward Ukraine warrants his removal from office. What they're likely to hear in this extraordinary setting is the House Democrats' impeachment articles that charge Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress over his pressure on Ukraine for political help. From the White House, the senator-jurors are expected to hear that Trump committed no crime, the impeachment articles are invalid and he's the victim of Democrats who want to overturn his election.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 00:31:04 -0500
  • Election 2020: The unexpected durability of Biden, Sanders

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    When Sen. Kamala Harris’ advisers assessed the Democratic primary field early in her campaign, they viewed Joe Biden as headed for an inevitable collapse and Bernie Sanders as unlikely to recapture the magic of his 2016 campaign. A year later, Harris is out of the race, and Biden and Sanders are front-runners for the Democratic nomination. Both have overcome speed bumps in their campaigns, including a heart attack for Sanders, refined the rationales for their candidacy, and maintained the support of key Democratic constituencies — black voters for Biden and younger voters for Sanders.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 00:17:55 -0500
  • Migrants marooned in Guatemala plan surge into Mexico

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    Denis Contreras, a Honduran making a second try at reaching the U.S., laid out the plan Sunday night to his fellow migrants marooned in this Guatemalan border town: First the men will go, then the families and the women traveling alone with children. More than a thousand Central American migrants were preparing to again walk en masse early Monday across a bridge leading to Mexico in an attempt to convince authorities there to allow them safe passage through the country.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 00:02:11 -0500
  • 10 years after Vatican takeover, Legion in new abuse crisis

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    The administrator of the elite Catholic school in Cancun, Mexico, used to take the girls out of class and send them to the chapel, where the priest from the Legion of Christ religious order would sexually abuse them. “As some were reading the Bible, he would rape the others in front of them, little girls aged 6 to 8 or 9,” said one of his victims, Ana Lucia Salazar, now a 36-year-old Mexican television host and mother of three. Salazar’s horrific story, which has been corroborated by other victims and the Legion itself, has sparked a new credibility crisis for the once-influential order, 10 years after the Holy See took it over after determining that its founder was a pedophile.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 00:00:05 -0500
  • UN's decarbonisation target for shipping to cost over $1 trillion - study

    At least $1 trillion of investment in new fuel technology is needed to enable the shipping industry to meet U.N. targets for cuts in carbon emissions by 2050, a study published on Monday showed. The global shipping fleet, which accounts for 2.2% of the world's CO2 emissions, is under pressure to reduce those emissions and other pollution. U.N. shipping agency, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), aims to reduce the industry's greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050, a target that will require the swift development of zero or low emission fuels and new ship designs using cleaner technology.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0500
  • Free Markets Made Davos. Now Governments Are Crashing the Party

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    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.In a memorable exchange at Davos last year, tech billionaire Michael Dell was explaining how higher taxes on the rich had never done much good anywhere, when he was contradicted. Actually, said Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, they’d worked pretty well within living memory in his own country, the U.S.For an executive crowd that’s thrived under 40 years or more of policies based on freeing up business and markets, the observation was a reminder that older versions of Western capitalism didn’t always look like that – and a warning the next incarnation might not, either.Rather than a hands-off approach, governments are gearing up for a more active role in steering economies through the big challenges of the coming decade, from global warming and inequality to the great-power race for a technological edge. Perhaps unsurprisingly, politicians from Europe, Asia and even the U.S. are embracing the idea.“We’re past peak laissez-faire in many ways,” said Adair Turner, former head of the U.K.’s bank regulator and a Davos regular.“We passed it in the financial system 10 years ago, when we nearly blew up the world economy,” he said. “It’s taken longer in other areas. But people are realizing there’s a need for strategic direction in areas like climate change.”On plenty of other issues too.Managed TradeIn the U.S., both Republicans and Democrats increasingly want to manage international trade instead of leaving it to markets. Donald Trump broke that mold, and his would-be opponents aren’t inclined to take a less interventionist line. When Democratic contenders for this fall’s presidential election were asked in a debate if they’d remove China tariffs on day one, none of them said “yes.”Indeed, the initial trade agreement signed last week suggests “the more successful the deal, the greater the drift toward more state-managed economies in both China and the U.S.,” according to a BofA Global Research note.Democrats are meanwhile itching to intervene in health care. If Obamacare was about structuring private markets, the next overhaul may involve direct public spending – paid for with the higher taxes objected to by Dell, founder of the eponymous computer giant.There’s been a similar shift on higher education. Even one of Trump’s senior student-loan officials described the American way of financing college degrees with private debt as “nuts.”Trump has delivered tax cuts for companies and individuals, sticking with a Republican orthodoxy since the administration of Ronald Reagan, who was president when the World Economic Forum first met in 1988. High stock prices and profits are celebrated as evidence America is thriving.‘Common Good’But on some issues, Republicans don’t sound as reflexively business-friendly as they used to.Sharpening competition with China, which for Trump has been mostly about trade, has spurred some Republicans into a broader rethink. One idea taking hold is that if its chief rival has a government-directed industrial policy, America may need one too.Republican Senator Marco Rubio has made that case in a series of reports and speeches. While the market “will always reach the most efficient economic outcome,” at times that result can be “at odds with the common good and the national interest,” he said last month.In Europe, Germany and France – which coined the term ‘dirigisme’ as well as ‘entrepreneur’ – are pushing for mergers to create continental champions able to compete globally in fields such as car batteries.‘Golden Age’Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government wants freedom from European Union competition and subsidy rules to be able to aid U.K. industry as it sees fit. Johnson has promised a post-Brexit “golden age,” helped by state funding for infrastructure and health.Tech giants are in the political crosshairs everywhere. U.S. lawmakers have been hauling tech bosses into hearings and threatening them with antitrust actions.European regulators have taken the fight further, opening lawsuits, levying billions in fines and threatening tech companies with a new digital tax. The energy industry, too, is under more direct pressure in Europe, where leaders have backed ambitious goals for reducing carbon emissions.The revival of activist government isn’t confined to Western economies. The world over, “nation-states are reasserting themselves, presenting new risks to the capital and assets of corporations,” Eurasia Group said in a report on 2020 developments.The success of the state-led Chinese economy may be one underlying reason.‘Half the Story’China’s breakout has been characterized as “a movement in the direction of markets,” said Dani Rodrik, an economics professor at Harvard. “This gets only half the story right. It completely overlooks the other half, which has to do with management of the currency, the role of the state, and promoting new industries.”Even the International Monetary Fund, traditionally an advocate of light-touch government, is working on a new framework that will allow more space for policy makers to manage flows of capital and intervene in currency markets.Economists at the IMF and elsewhere also see a bigger role for governments to manage economies with fiscal policy. For most of the Davos era central banks have taken the lead by tweaking the price of credit. But interest rates have been stuck at rock-bottom levels for more than a decade, and businesses and households are maxed out anyway.Politicians, unlike central bankers, have the power to address inequality directly. Governments can raise tax rates for top earners “without sacrificing economic growth,” IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva, a Davos attendee, wrote in a blog post this month.The question may arise again at this year’s WEF, where one of the themes is: “Fairer Economies.” Just don’t expect the discussion to be comfortable.“The classic Davos Man answer is to say, ‘There’s lots to be done -- but don’t tax the rich more’,” said Turner. “The more thoughtful ones realize that can’t be quite true.”\--With assistance from Simon Kennedy and Alex Tanzi.To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Holland in Washington at bholland1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Kennedy at skennedy4@bloomberg.net, Alan CrawfordFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Mon, 20 Jan 2020 00:00:00 -0500
  • JPMorgan Chase buys new Paris building for post-Brexit move

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    US bank JPMorgan Chase on Sunday said it had purchased a new building in the heart of Paris capable of holding 450 people, the latest step in its plans to move out of London following Brexit. The newcomers will join the 260 employees already working in the French capital, the bank said in a statement. "After multiple government reforms and given the intrinsic nature of Parisian infrastructure, this is the ideal time to invest here and for more of our staff to settle here," said Kyril Courboin, the bank's managing director in France.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 22:46:14 -0500
  • Israel to welcome the world for Auschwitz anniversary

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    World leaders are to travel to Israel this week to mark 75 years since the Red Army liberated Auschwitz, the extermination camp where the Nazis killed over a million Jews. It is set to be one of the most important events ever organised by the Jewish state, with more than 40 leaders planning to land in Tel Aviv before attending Thursday's sombre commemoration at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre in Jerusalem. Thousands of police officers and other security forces will deploy from Tuesday, ahead of the arrival of dignitaries including Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and US Vice President Mike Pence.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 21:26:41 -0500
  • Hong Kong Leaders Rebuff Protest Demand as Violence Persists

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    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam’s government again pushed back on a key demand of protesters as a downtown rally turned violent, showing the unrest that began last June still has no end in sight.In a lengthy statement on Sunday, a government spokesman recapped failed attempts to implement a promise of universal suffrage since China took control of the former British colony in 1997. It said that Hong Kong’s residents need a “clear understanding” that any chief executive elected by all citizens shall also be accountable to Beijing.“This is the constitutional order under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle which should not be ignored,” the spokesman said. “The community needs to attain a consensus on these principles, and premised on the legal basis, to narrow differences through dialogues under a peaceful atmosphere with mutual trust.”“Any constructive discussion on the issue of constitutional development would be difficult to commence if the aforesaid cannot be achieved,” it added.The statement, which mimics the same stance Beijing has held on universal suffrage since 2014, shows that Lam’s government still isn’t budging on the core demand driving the protests. The unrest has plunged Hong Kong into its first recession since the global financial crisis, with the retail and tourism sectors particularly hard hit.Traffic through Hong Kong International Airport declined across the board last year as protesters conducted sit-ins and disrupted transport routes. The airport handled 71.5 million passengers in 2019, down 4.2% from a year earlier, the Airport Authority Hong Kong said Sunday. Flight movements fell 1.9%, while total cargo throughput declined 6.1% from a year ago to 4.8 million tonnes.Head WoundsThe demonstration on Sunday started peacefully in Chater Garden in the Central business district, with speeches and music drawing in thousands of people. But police ordered the rally to end early, citing violent behavior by protesters who fanned out from the approved meeting area.Four officers were injured, including two from the Police Community Liaison Office, who suffered head wounds after being attacked with wooden sticks and other weapons near the rally, according to police. The officers weren’t wearing riot gear and were beaten as they tried to flee, the police said in a statement, accusing protesters of throwing bricks, committing arson and damaging public facilities during a “rampage.”Ng Lok-chun, the police force’s senior superintendent of operations, refuted accounts by the organizers to the media that the officers who were attacked had disguised themselves in plain clothes. Ng said that’s not true because these officers have been in contact with the organizers in the past.“This is certainly ridiculous and irresponsible,” Ng said at a late night briefing. “The organizer certainly is acquainted with those injured officers.”One of the organizers of Sunday’s rally, Ventus Lau of the Hong Kong Civil Assembly team, said his goal was to get the world to focus on the city again after global headlines turned to Taiwan’s election and the crisis involving Iran. He also insisted protesters would keep fighting for meaningful elections.“If the government refuses to give us universal suffrage, this is a clear sign that they are still suppressing our human rights, our freedom and our democracy,” Lau said.During the rally, police scuffled with demonstrators and handcuffed a number of people who blocked roads and set fire to barricades. Tear gas was used to disperse the crowd, Ng said.Eight people who were stopped and searched -- a practice the organizers opposed -- were also arrested for carrying items such as hammers, spanners and batons, which have been used to attack police officers in the past, he said.One of the organizers was also arrested for “repeatedly” obstructing officers, Ng said, without identifying the person. The South China Morning Post said Lau was arrested.‘Loves the Country’Beijing has stuck to a proposal for universal suffrage that it outlined in August 2014, triggering the Occupy protests. The plan would’ve required nominees to be screened by a committee stacked with Beijing loyalists in Hong Kong before being put to a public vote, with a requirement that the person “loves the country and loves Hong Kong.”The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office reaffirmed that proposal in September, saying that Beijing would never allow Hong Kong’s opposition to pick a leader who wasn’t accountable to the central government. “Today, anyone who harbors such an idea will get nowhere,” Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, told reporters at the time.The protests were ignited by a bill to allow extraditions to mainland China that the government subsequently withdrew. The demonstrators’ demands have broadened to include an independent inquiry into police conduct and universal suffrage for both the Legislative Council and chief executive.Foreign OpinionsLisa Lau, a former member of the Independent Police Complaints Council, the group the government has tasked with finding accountability, said the body is hobbled by a lack of investigative powers, Ming Pao reported Sunday. She added the group has not yet met with the police commander in charge of the July incident in Yuen Long when subway riders were violently attacked, it said.Lam is due to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week to “remind global political, business and media leaders” of the city’s resilience. Her government’s statement on Sunday also condemned protester calls for foreign governments to sanction alleged human rights offenders from Hong Kong.“Foreign governments, legislatures or organizations have absolutely no role in matters relating to the constitutional development of Hong Kong, and should not express any opinion or take any action in an attempt to influence or interfere in the discussions of related matters in Hong Kong,” it said.(Updates with details from police statement in eighth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Iain Marlow.To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Lam in Hong Kong at elam87@bloomberg.net;Aaron Mc Nicholas in Hong Kong at amcnicholas2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Ten Kate at dtenkate@bloomberg.net, James LuddenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 20:37:45 -0500
  • Cases of new viral pneumonia in China surpass 200

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    China reported a sharp rise in the number of people infected with a new coronavirus on Monday, including the first cases in the capital. Health authorities in the central city of Wuhan, where the viral pneumonia appears to have originated, said an additional 136 cases have been confirmed in the city, which now has a total of 198 infected patients. Two individuals in Beijing and one in the southern city of Shenzhen have also been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, health commissions in the respective cities said Monday.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 20:30:31 -0500
  • A thousand EU financial firms plan to open UK offices after Brexit

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    More than a thousand banks, asset managers, payments companies and insurers in the European Union plan to open offices in post-Brexit Britain so they can continue serving UK clients, regulatory consultancy Bovill said on Monday. The new offices and staff will help mitigate the loss of business going the other way as the current unfettered two-way direct access between Britain and the EU comes to an end in December following a Brexit transition period. As a first step, the companies, who until now have been able to serve UK customers directly from their home base, have applied for temporary permission to operate in Britain after Jan. 31 when the UK leaves the bloc, Bovill said, using figures obtained from Britain's Financial Conduct Authority.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 19:38:09 -0500
  • London Luxury House Sales Rebound as Buyers Race to Beat New Tax

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    (Bloomberg) -- Sign up here to receive the Davos Diary, a special daily newsletter that will run from Jan. 20-24.London’s luxury property market saw a surge in sales last quarter as buyers rushed to snap up houses before Prime Minister Boris Johnson follows through on a campaign promise to slap a new tax on purchases by foreign investors.Deals for the capital’s most expensive properties -- those going for 5 million pounds ($6.5 million) and above -- soared by 78% in the last three months of 2019 from the year-earlier period, according to LonRes. The number of sales was the highest in three years, the property research firm said in a report on Monday.The buying spree wasn’t limited to the very top of the market. Across London’s priciest neighborhoods, such as Mayfair and Chelsea, home sales increased by 34%, the biggest gain since mid-2017.A 3% levy on foreign buyers of homes in England was included in the Conservative Party’s manifesto before the December election in which Johnson won a commanding majority in Parliament, allowing him to deliver on his Brexit plans. It’s possible Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid could announce it in March as part of the budget. The tax is intended to cool prices and help locals get a foot on the housing ladder.“There are early indications that the relative political certainty provided by last month’s general election result is starting to boost activity in prime London markets,” Tom Bill, head of London residential research at broker Knight Frank, said in a separate statement. “In the 10 working days following the election, Knight Frank transacted more exchanges in prime central London than any equivalent period since December 2016.”Another factor driving the fourth-quarter sales surge was confusion surrounding the government’s plans for changes to the sales tax, called a stamp duty, which had depressed the market in the preceding months, according to LonRes. That issue dropped off the political agenda as the Brexit-dominated election approached, emboldening buyers to go ahead with purchases in the year’s final three months.Some activity has even returned recently to the pinnacle of the market, with Chinese property magnate Cheung Chung Kiu closing in on breaking London’s price record with the purchase of a 45-room mansion in Knightsbridge for more than 210 million pounds.\--With assistance from Lucca de Paoli.To contact the reporter on this story: Eddie Spence in London at espence11@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shelley Robinson at ssmith118@bloomberg.net, Patrick Henry, Marion DakersFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 19:01:00 -0500
  • Orban Poised to Win Reprieve as EU Party Divided Over Expulsion

    (Bloomberg) -- The European Union’s biggest group is leaning toward delaying an anticipated vote on whether to expel Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s party from its ranks as consensus hasn’t been reached.The European People’s Party, the largest in the European Parliament, is unlikely to hold an up-or-down on Orban’s Fidesz party at a Brussels meeting that starts on Feb. 3, according to EPP sources who asked not to be identified because no official decision has been taken. The EPP suspended Fidesz’s membership in March over rule-of-law concerns in Hungary.Playing for time would further drag out the intra-party drama after the EPP endured years of criticism for shielding the Hungarian leader as he eroded democratic checks and balances. The Orban model has since been adopted in Poland and has inspired nationalists in the west, alarming rights advocates about democratic backsliding in the EU.Being a member of the EU assembly’s biggest group has perks, including the opportunity to confer with fellow leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel before EU summits when key decisions are taken. Leaving it could reduce Orban’s influence over future deliberations, including the distribution of billions of euros in funding.A push to eject Fidesz gained momentum when Donald Tusk took over the reins of the EPP in November. The group entrusted three “wise men,” including Tusk’s predecessor as EU president and a former Austrian chancellor, to draw up a report on whether Fidesz was still compatible with it. Its conclusions were expected to steer the EPP’s decision.But the report, originally due by early January, has yet to be filed and concern over Orban’s future moves if he was expelled remain, according to the sources. The “wise men” haven’t been able to reach a consensus, according to one of the sources, highlighting divisions inside the umbrella group.Orban has repeatedly said that he’d preemptively quit the group before being ousted and that he’d then most likely form a new group in the European Parliament with populists. On Friday, he said he was “within a centimeter” of doing so after a majority of EPP members backed a European Parliament resolution calling for redoubling efforts to rein in Hungary and Poland over rights violations.The Hungarian leader is hedging his bets. He met this month with Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the power behind Poland’s ruling Law & Justice party, to discuss cooperation in EU party politics. And just when the EPP was originally due to discuss Fidesz’s status in Brussels next month, Orban is scheduled to speak in Rome at a “national conservatism” forum along the likes of Italian nationalist firebrand Matteo Salvini.\--With assistance from Irina Vilcu.To contact the reporters on this story: Zoltan Simon in Budapest at zsimon@bloomberg.net;Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net;Ben Sills in Madrid at bsills@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net, Andrea Dudik, Michael WinfreyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 19:00:00 -0500
  • AP sources: Security probe targets Trump's Russia adviser

    A White House adviser on Europe and Russia issues has been placed on administrative leave pending a security-related investigation, two people with knowledge of his exit said Sunday. Andrew Peek was escorted off the White House compound on Friday, according to one of those familiar with his departure. Peek, former deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran, has been in the position since November.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 18:37:08 -0500
  • More than 100 killed in Yemen missile, drone attack

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    More than 100 people were killed and dozens wounded in a missile and drone attack blamed on Huthi rebels in central Yemen, officials said Sunday. Saturday's strike follows months of relative calm in the war between the Iran-backed Huthis and Yemen's internationally recognised government, which is supported by a Saudi-led military coalition. The Huthis attacked a mosque in a military camp in the central province of Marib -- about 170 kilometres (105 miles) east of the capital Sanaa -- during evening prayers, military sources told AFP.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 18:35:41 -0500
  • 2 more Puerto Rico officials fired after warehouse break-in

    Golocal247.com news

    Gov. Wanda Vázquez fired the heads of Puerto Rico’s housing and family departments Sunday in the latest fallout over the discovery of a warehouse filled with emergency supplies dating from Hurricane Maria. The removal of Housing Secretary Fernando Gil and Department of Family Secretary Glorimar Andújar came a day after the governor fired the director of Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency. Vázquez fired him hours after a Facebook video showed angry people breaking into the warehouse in an area where thousands have been in shelters since a recent earthquake.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 16:57:22 -0500
  • Sanders distances himself from group backing his WH run

    Golocal247.com news

    Bernie Sanders said Sunday that outside political groups that can raise and spend unlimited sums backing candidates for public office should be abolished — including those supporting his own bid for the White House. The remarks, made during a candidate forum with New Hampshire Public Radio, are the first substantive response from Sanders after The Associated Press reported earlier this month that Our Revolution's advocacy for his White House bid appeared to skirt campaign finance law.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 16:53:09 -0500
  • Boris Johnson should negotiate trade deals with individual US states, an ex-trade secretary will say today

    Golocal247.com news

    Britain should negotiate trade deals with individual US states as a backstop while Boris Johnson tries to seal a post-Brexit free trade agreement with America, a former trade secretary will say on Monday.  Liam Fox will point out that four US states - California, Texas, Florida and New York - would be members of the G20 if they were independent nations, and that many deals could be struck with states, rather than the US as a whole. While tariffs on goods can only be negotiated by Washington, deals on services, which account for the majority of Britain’s transatlantic trade, can be sealed on a state level, unlocking billions of pounds of business for the UK economy. Dr Fox will tell a conference in Geneva that free trade agreements are not “the only mechanism” to generate huge volumes of business between countries such as the UK and the US. He will say that a comprehensive free trade agreement with the US will encounter “unavoidable difficulties” because “the US will, quite correctly, negotiate hard for its own interests” and “is likely to focus on better access for its agricultural products”. Liam Fox Many commentators have warned that the Government’s insistence that it will not allow products such as chlorine-washed chicken or hormone-fed beef into the country from the US is incompatible with a free trade agreement (FTA), meaning it will be difficult to convince Donald Trump to sign one. However, Dr Fox, who served as International Trade Secretary until last summer, will tell business leaders that Britain should concentrate on removing non-tariff barriers to trade with the US, which would not need an FTA. He says regulatory autonomy after Brexit - as promised by Mr Johnson - will be key to removing long-standing trade barriers. One example he cites is a mutual recognition agreement negotiated by the Government between the Institute for Chartered Accountants of Scotland and two US accountancy bodies covering every US state, which made professional qualifications on either side of the Atlantic compatible with each other and opened up the American market to accountants from Scotland. US trade negotiations | Britain can make deals with individual states over services Services already account for £50bn of exports to the USA, around 60 per cent of the total export market, and similar deals would open up the US market still further. Speaking to The Telegraph ahead of his speech, Dr Fox said: “There are other things in the toolkit apart from FTAs. “We should be concentrating on market access restrictions rather than solely FTAs with countries like America.” An FTA would cover tariffs, quotas and fees on goods being traded across the Atlantic, but Dr Fox says that as well as mutual recognition agreements, the removal of regulatory barriers can be done outside an FTA. Dairies in Northern Ireland, for example, were unable to export yoghurt and other dairy-based products to China because of regulations that meant that although China imported milk from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, it would not import Northern Irish yoghurt that incorporated milk from the Republic. The Department for International Trade negotiated the removal of the regulatory glitch, which was worth £250 million to Northern Irish producers. Dr Fox will tell the Spinoza Foundation think tank that such side deals represent “enormous potential for Britain to trade more with the US, beyond the concept of an FTA”.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 16:30:00 -0500
  • Boris Johnson should negotiate trade deals with individual US states, an ex-trade secretary will say today

    Golocal247.com news

    Britain should negotiate trade deals with individual US states as a backstop while Boris Johnson tries to seal a post-Brexit free trade agreement with America, a former trade secretary will say on Monday.  Liam Fox will point out that four US states - California, Texas, Florida and New York - would be members of the G20 if they were independent nations, and that many deals could be struck with states, rather than the US as a whole. While tariffs on goods can only be negotiated by Washington, deals on services, which account for the majority of Britain’s transatlantic trade, can be sealed on a state level, unlocking billions of pounds of business for the UK economy. Dr Fox will tell a conference in Geneva that free trade agreements are not “the only mechanism” to generate huge volumes of business between countries such as the UK and the US. He will say that a comprehensive free trade agreement with the US will encounter “unavoidable difficulties” because “the US will, quite correctly, negotiate hard for its own interests” and “is likely to focus on better access for its agricultural products”. Liam Fox Many commentators have warned that the Government’s insistence that it will not allow products such as chlorine-washed chicken or hormone-fed beef into the country from the US is incompatible with a free trade agreement (FTA), meaning it will be difficult to convince Donald Trump to sign one. However, Dr Fox, who served as International Trade Secretary until last summer, will tell business leaders that Britain should concentrate on removing non-tariff barriers to trade with the US, which would not need an FTA. He says regulatory autonomy after Brexit - as promised by Mr Johnson - will be key to removing long-standing trade barriers. One example he cites is a mutual recognition agreement negotiated by the Government between the Institute for Chartered Accountants of Scotland and two US accountancy bodies covering every US state, which made professional qualifications on either side of the Atlantic compatible with each other and opened up the American market to accountants from Scotland. US trade negotiations | Britain can make deals with individual states over services Services already account for £50bn of exports to the USA, around 60 per cent of the total export market, and similar deals would open up the US market still further. Speaking to The Telegraph ahead of his speech, Dr Fox said: “There are other things in the toolkit apart from FTAs. “We should be concentrating on market access restrictions rather than solely FTAs with countries like America.” An FTA would cover tariffs, quotas and fees on goods being traded across the Atlantic, but Dr Fox says that as well as mutual recognition agreements, the removal of regulatory barriers can be done outside an FTA. Dairies in Northern Ireland, for example, were unable to export yoghurt and other dairy-based products to China because of regulations that meant that although China imported milk from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, it would not import Northern Irish yoghurt that incorporated milk from the Republic. The Department for International Trade negotiated the removal of the regulatory glitch, which was worth £250 million to Northern Irish producers. Dr Fox will tell the Spinoza Foundation think tank that such side deals represent “enormous potential for Britain to trade more with the US, beyond the concept of an FTA”.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 16:30:00 -0500
  • Homes burn after shooter kills 2 Honolulu officers

    Golocal247.com news

    A man shot and killed two police officers Sunday as they responded to a home in a leafy neighborhood beneath the rim of a famed volcanic crater near Waikiki Beach, authorities said. The suspect opened fire as police arrived, killing Officers Tiffany Enriquez and Kaulike Kalama, said Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard. The homeowner, Lois Cain, had recently sought to have a man evicted, court records showed.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 15:41:34 -0500
  • Dozens wounded as Iraqi protesters up pressure on government

    Golocal247.com news

    Iraqi security forces wounded dozens of protesters on Sunday as renewed anti-government demonstrations gripped the capital and Iraq's south, activists and officials said. The mass protests had lost steam when soaring U.S.-Iran tensions threatened an open conflict on Iraqi soil in past weeks. As the regional crisis receded, Iraqi activists gave the government a week's deadline to act on their demands for sweeping political reforms or said they would up the pressure with new demonstrations.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 14:50:41 -0500
  • Argentines remember prosecutor killed while probing attack on Jews

    Golocal247.com news

    Argentines paid tribute Saturday to a prosecutor on the fifth anniversary of his unsolved death while probing the bombing of a Jewish community center -- an attack in which he alleged a presidential cover-up to shield Iran in exchange for trade. Prosecutor Alberto Nisman led the probe of the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association headquarters, which left 85 dead and 300 wounded. In 2015, his body was found in his Buenos Aires apartment with a gunshot wound to the head, delivered at close range from a handgun found at his side.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 14:49:04 -0500
  • Iraq protests swell with youth angry at slow pace of reform

    Golocal247.com news

    Iraqi youth angry at their government's glacial pace of reform ramped up their protests on Sunday, sealing streets with burning tyres and threatening further escalation unless their demands are met. The rallies demanding an overhaul of the ruling system have rocked Shiite-majority parts of Iraq since October, but had thinned out in recent weeks amid rising Iran-US tensions. Protesters had feared Iraq would be caught in the middle of the geopolitical storm and last Monday gave the government one week to make progress on reform pledges.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 14:45:08 -0500
  • Democrats navigate sensitive gender politics as voting nears

    Golocal247.com news

    Democratic presidential candidates spent the weekend grappling with how to address questions surrounding sexism and gender bias as they sought to balance support for women against concerns of a political blowback. After his wife went public with her own experience of sexual assault at the hands of her doctor, businessman Andrew Yang said that “our country is deeply misogynist." Other White House hopefuls, however, didn't go so far. Billionaire Tom Steyer said that while systemic sexism exists, he “hopes" half of America is not misogynistic.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 14:30:20 -0500
  • China launches bid to phase out single-use plastics

    Golocal247.com news

    China is stepping up restrictions on the production, sale and use of single-use plastic products, the state planner said on Sunday, as it seeks to tackle one of the country's biggest environmental problems. Vast amounts of untreated plastic waste are buried in landfills or dumped in rivers. The United Nations has identified single-use plastics as one of the world's biggest environmental challenges. The National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, which issued the new policy, said plastic bags will be banned in all of China's major cities by the end of 2020 and banned in all cities and towns in 2022. Markets selling fresh produce will be exempt from the ban until 2025. Other items such as plastic utensils from takeaway food outlets and plastic courier packages will also be phased out. By end of 2020, the restaurant industry will be banned from using single-use straws. By 2025, towns and cities across China must reduce the consumption of single-use plastic items in the restaurant industry by 30%. Some regions and sectors will also face restrictions on the production and sale of plastic products, although it is not yet clear which geographical areas. China also banned the import of all plastic waste, and the use of medical plastic waste in the production of plastic. The production and sale of plastic bags less than 0.025mm thick will be banned, as will plastic film less than 0.01mm thick for agricultural use. China is already boosting recycling rates and is building dozens of "comprehensive resource utilisation" bases to ensure that more products are reused as part of its war on waste.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 13:58:33 -0500
  • Houthi rebels kill at least 70 soldiers in Yemen after attack on mosque

    Golocal247.com news

    Yemen's president condemned on Sunday an attack by Houthi rebels on a government military camp, as authorities said fatalities had risen to at least 79 troops. Ballistic missiles smashed into a mosque in the training camp in the central province of Marib late Saturday, wounding 81 others during evening prayers, according to Abdu Abdullah Magli, spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces. The oil-rich province of Marib lies about 115 kilometers (70 miles) east of the Houthi-controlled capital, Sanaa. The city is a stronghold of the Saudi-led, U.S.-backed coalition. The missile strike was the bloodiest attack in Marib since the beginning of Yemen's long-running civil war, marking a military escalation in a rare spot of relative stability. The U.N. envoy to Yemen delivered a stern warning about the recent spike in military activity across multiple provinces, noting with "particular concern" the airstrike that hit the military camp. "The hard-earned progress that Yemen has made on de-escalation is very fragile. Such actions can derail this progress", said Martin Griffiths. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi described Saturday's assault on Muslim worshipers as an act of "blatant aggression" that underscored Houthis' "lawlessness" and "unwillingness" to make peace, according to Saudi Arabia's state-run news agency. He denounced the Houthis as "a cheap Iranian tool in the region." A Shiite Houthi tribesman holds his weapon during a tribal gathering showing support for the Houthi movement, in Sanaa, Yemen Credit:  AP Yemen's defense ministry placed the military on heightened alert at nearby bases, directing troops to "take precautions" ahead of imminent battle. "This attack will be answered harshly," Magli warned in a televised statement. Coalition forces said they launched "massive assaults" on rebel targets northeast of the capital, killing and wounding dozens of Houthi fighters. There was no immediate comment from the Houthi faction. Yemen's civil war erupted in 2014 when Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels seized Sanaa, and much of the country's north, ousting President Hadi. The conflict became a regional proxy war months later as a Saudi-led coalition intervened to try and restore Hadi's internationally-recognized government, which rules in exile in Riyadh, the Saudi capital. Both Houthi rebels and Saudi-led coalition forces have been accused of war crimes and rampant human rights abuses in Yemen. Indiscriminate coalition air strikes and rebel shelling have drawn widespread international criticism for killing civilians and hitting non-military targets. The grinding war in the Arab world's poorest country has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced over 3 million and pushed the country to the brink of famine. Meanwhile, fighting has settled into a bloody stalemate.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 13:54:42 -0500
  • Italy ready to play leading role in monitoring Libya peace-PM Conte

    Italy is ready to take a leading role in monitoring a ceasefire agreement in Libya, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Sunday following the conclusion of a peace conference in Berlin. "Obviously we'll have to go through a United Nations Security Council and then we can define this commitment after that," he said.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 13:52:56 -0500
  • Britain's Johnson warns Putin over Skripal poisoning

    Golocal247.com news

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Sunday used his first official meeting with Vladimir Putin to warn the Russian leader not to repeat the 2018 chemical attack that almost killed former spy Sergei Skripal. Downing Street said Johnson told the Kremlin chief on the sidelines of a summit on the Libya crisis in Berlin that ties between Moscow and London would not return to normal until Russia ended its "destabilising" activities. Johnson "was clear there had been no change in the UK’s position on Salisbury, which was a reckless use of chemical weapons and a brazen attempt to murder innocent people on UK soil," Downing Street said in a statement.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 12:49:34 -0500
  • Pompeo angry over death of US citizen jailed in Egypt

    Golocal247.com news

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “expressed outrage” to Egypt’s president on Sunday at the death of an American citizen who insisted he had been wrongfully held in an Egyptian prison, according to a State Department spokeswoman. Pompeo’s sharp remarks signal the U.S. government was putting the death of Mustafa Kassem, 54, following his protracted hunger strike last week, high on the diplomatic agenda. Pompeo raised his concerns to President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi about Kassem’s “pointless and tragic death” on the sidelines of an international peace summit in Berlin that aims to end Libya’s civil war.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 12:26:47 -0500
  • Illegal crossings plunge as US extends policy across border

    Golocal247.com news

    Adolfo Cardenas smiles faintly at the memory of traveling with his 14-year-old son from Honduras to the U.S.-Mexico border in only nine days, riding buses and paying a smuggler $6,000 to ensure passage through highway checkpoints. Father and son walked about 10 minutes in Arizona's stifling June heat before surrendering to border agents. Instead of being released with paperwork to appear in immigration court in Dallas, where Cardenas hopes to live with a cousin, they were bused more than an hour to wait in the Mexican border city of Mexicali.

    Sun, 19 Jan 2020 12:24:36 -0500
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