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Golf: Woods says Nicklaus’s record in crosshairs

FILE PHOTO: Tiger Woods of the U.S. is congratulated by Jack Nicklaus after his final round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin
FILE PHOTO: Tiger Woods of the U.S. is congratulated by Jack Nicklaus (L) after his final round of the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, June 3, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan

April 26, 2019

By Rory Carroll

(Reuters) – Tiger Woods said Jack Nicklaus’s record of 18 major championships is in his sights following his triumph at the Masters as he enjoys a career “extension” after a prolonged period of injury woes.

In his first comments since winning his 15th major title and fifth green jacket, the 43-year-old American said he always thought Nicklaus’s mark was reachable, provided his career was long enough.

“It took him an entire career to get to 18,” Woods said in an interview with streaming service GOLFTV.

“So now that I’ve had another extension to my career — one that I didn’t think I had a couple of years ago — if I do things correctly and everything falls my way, yeah, it’s a possibility.”

“I’m never going to say it’s not, except for a couple of years ago when I couldn’t walk,” he said with a laugh.

“Now I just need to have a lot of things go my way, and who’s to say that it will or will not happen? That’s what the future holds, I don’t know. The only thing I can promise you is this: that I will be prepared.”

Everything was going Woods’s way during his final round in Augusta, a win, he said, that had yet to sink in.

The former world number one was two shots behind the leading Francesco Molinari at the 12th at Augusta National when the British Open champion opened the door by finding water en route to a double-bogey.

“It went from a one-horse race with all of us kind of chasing Francesco, to now Pandora’s box is opened up playing 13, where … there’s at least seven with a legitimate chance to win the tournament with six holes to go.”

Woods birdied the next hole to grab the lead and held his nerve despite a logjam of contenders.

He will make his first start since the Masters at the May 2-5 Wells Fargo Championship in North Carolina where he will bid to match Sam Snead’s all-time record of 82 PGA Tour victories.

However, Woods said he was just happy to show his two children the positive side of a career that was derailed by personal problems and a litany of back injuries that convinced many the best golfer of his generation was done.

“They never knew golf to be a good thing in my life and only the only thing they remember is that it brought this incredible amount of pain to their dad and they don’t want to ever want to see their dad in pain,” he said.

“And so to now have them see this side of it, the side that I’ve experienced for so many years of my life, but I had a battle to get back to this point, and it feels good.”

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, Additional reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ian Ransom)

Source: OANN

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Democratic hopeful Hickenlooper to take on monopolies in economic plan

FILE PHOTO: U.S. 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper speaks at the 2019 National Action Network National Convention in New York
FILE PHOTO: U.S. 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper (D-CO), speaks at the 2019 National Action Network National Convention in New York, U.S., April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

April 26, 2019

By Sharon Bernstein

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – Democratic presidential hopeful John Hickenlooper, a former governor of Colorado, will release an anti-monopoly plan in California on Friday that could challenge the dominance of such companies as Amazon and Google, his campaign told Reuters.

In his first detailed economic policy proposal since announcing his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination last month, Hickenlooper’s plan, shared exclusively with Reuters on Thursday, could help him distinguish himself in a crowded field of 20 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for the presidency in 2020.

Hickenlooper, who made his fortune as a small-business owner, plans to take on the tech giants and other large companies in San Francisco on Friday, in the heart of the state’s thriving technology center.

“He’s talking about it from the perspective of an entrepreneur,” spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said in an interview. Mega-corporations like Amazon or Google that dominate the market can make it difficult for new ideas to percolate.”

In a white paper to be released Friday morning in advance of a speech at the Commonwealth Club, Hickenlooper, 67, bemoans a slowing of the creation of new startup businesses in the United States, blaming lax enforcement of anti-trust laws from tech to retail for leading to dominance by a few companies in such varied sectors as hardware stores, cell phone providers and e-commerce.

Hickenlooper is not the first Democratic candidate to make the dominance of the big tech companies a campaign issue. Senator Elizabeth Warren last month vowed to break up Amazon, Google and Facebook if she is elected president, saying at a campaign event in New York City, “The competition needs the opportunity to thrive and grow.”


Hickenlooper’s proposal calls for beefing up U.S. regulation of large companies, including expanding the Clayton Anti-Trust act to encourage competition and appointing judges who are “committed to the original aims of the anti-trust laws.”

Although the white paper stops short of calling for breaking up such companies as or Facebook, Hickenlooper’s campaign said that beefed-up enforcement and a new focus on encouraging competition could lead to such results.

As president, the white paper said, Hickenlooper would also push for legislation to limit employers’ ability to demand non-compete agreements from workers, and ban makers of automobiles, farm equipment, computers and other products from forcing consumers to use the companies’ own authorized repair systems when equipment breaks down.

Hickenlooper would also direct the Federal Trade Commission to resume a long-abandoned practice of tracking companies’ industry dominance, including examining past mergers to see if they should be undone.

Warren, in her announcement last month vowing to combat the dominance of big tech companies, said she would nominate regulators to unwind acquisitions, such as Facebook’s purchases of WhatsApp and Instagram and Amazon’s deals for Whole Foods and Zappos.

Hickenlooper is one of two governors to join the race to unseat U.S. President Donald Trump, who is expected to seek reelection. Washington Governor Jay Inslee has made climate change the centerpiece of his campaign.

A centrist, Hickenlooper reinvented himself after a devastating job loss by founding a brew pub in what was then a neglected area of Denver. He later became the city’s mayor and served two terms as governor of Colorado, leaving office in January of this year.

In a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Wednesday, Hickenlooper was among several Democratic hopefuls who fell near the bottom of the pack in terms of name recognition. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who had not yet declared his run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination when the poll was conducted, led all other candidates in the race and drew his strongest levels of support from minorities and older adults.

Biden declared his candidacy on Thursday.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

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Pompeo aims to lift State Department morale with ‘ethos’ statement

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the media at the State Department in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to the media at the State Department in Washington, U.S., April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

April 26, 2019

By Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hopes to boost morale at the State Department with an “ethos” statement that some former officials viewed with skepticism, partly because an early draft had language they saw as an admonition not to leak to the media.

Two former officials knowledgeable about the effort said the language rankled them because it implied diplomats could not be trusted and they questioned the need for an “ethos” statement laying out the agency’s characteristic attitudes and beliefs.

    The two former officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the initiative was driven by Ulrich Brechbuhl, the State Department counselor who is a close aide to Pompeo and was his classmate at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

    A third former official knowledgeable about the effort said the language alluding to leaks ultimately had been dropped and that the statement itself sought to burnish the esprit de corps at the department.

    “There was something that could be taken as a no-leak pledge that was in an early draft. It did not (survive),” said that former official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Pompeo is scheduled to deliver remarks on “One Team, One Mission: Introducing our Ethos” at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) on Friday, the anniversary of his becoming secretary of state.

A senior State Department official involved in the effort said he did not recall specific discussion about leaks but that there was a wider discussion of accountability and professional responsibility.

The official, who spoke on behalf of the department on condition of anonymity, said he could not categorically rule out that there had been any talk about leaks but stressed that it was by no means the main focus.

“To do so (categorically rule it out) means you want me to say that nobody ever had this on their mind or it was not one of the sort of elements that we would define as professional responsibility or accountability,” he said. “It might have been in people’s minds. … It was never a principal or major one.”

    More than a dozen current and former officials questioned the need for the statement of ethos, noting that U.S. diplomats take an oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

    The agency also has a mission statement that says: “The U.S. Department of State advances the interests of the American people, their safety and economic prosperity, by leading America’s foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance.”



Pompeo has worked to improve morale by increasing promotions, lifting a hiring freeze and making it easier for diplomats’ family members to work at missions abroad – reversing policies pursued by his predecessor, Rex Tillerson.

    Pompeo has also said that he wanted to focus on the State Department “getting back our swagger,” a phrase that rang false to some U.S. diplomats who are taught to be understated rather than overbearing, given U.S. economic and military might.

    Several current and former officials said the latest effort may backfire at an agency where many are disheartened by chaotic national security decision-making, unfilled senior positions and perceived White House distrust of U.S. diplomats.

    Told of the statement and the effort to enhance the agency’s esprit, Richard Boucher, a former State Department spokesman or deputy spokesman under four Republican and two Democratic secretaries of state, said: “You mean ‘swagger’ didn’t do it?”

    “Nothing speaks like leading with diplomacy and if we are going to start doing that then we don’t really need … (a new) statement,” said Boucher, who teaches at Brown University.

    “The impetus for the initiative was a perceived lack of loyalty and discipline,” said another former official who spoke on condition of anonymity, saying its reception would depend on whether it celebrates “the craft of diplomacy” or “it is more of an admonishment to toe the administration line.”

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed and Jonathan Landay; Editing by Mary Milliken and Peter Cooney)

Source: OANN

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US Judge in Washington State Blocks New Trump Abortion Rule

A U.S. judge in Washington state Thursday blocked new Trump administration rules that would provide additional hurdles for women seeking abortions, including by banning taxpayer-funded clinics from making abortion referrals.

Judge Stanley Bastian in Yakima granted the preliminary injunction in cases brought by the state and abortion rights groups, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. The new rules were due to take effect May 3.

"Today's ruling ensures that clinics across the nation can remain open and continue to provide quality, unbiased healthcare to women," Ferguson, a Democrat, said in an emailed statement.

The ruling came two days after a federal judge in Oregon, hearing a separate challenge by 20 states, said he intended to at least partially block the rules. That judge, Michael McShane, suggested he was reluctant to issue a nationwide injunction, but said the administration's new policy was motivated by "an arrogant assumption that the government is better suited to direct women's health care than their providers."

Title X is a 1970 law designed to improve access to family planning services, especially for low-income women and those in rural areas, but abortion opponents and religious conservatives say it has long been used to indirectly subsidize abortion providers.

Abortion is a legal medical procedure, but federal laws prohibit the use of Title X or other taxpayer funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman.

Clinics that receive money under Title X provide a wide array of services, including birth control and screening for diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases and cancer. The program serves 4 million patients, about 1.6 million of whom obtain services through Planned Parenthood.

In addition to banning abortion referrals by taxpayer-funded clinics, the changes would prohibit clinics that receive federal money from sharing office space with abortion providers — a rule critics said would force many to find new locations, undergo expensive remodels or shut down.

"All over the country, there are Title X providers looking at their patient schedules and wondering what they were going to do," said Clare Coleman, president of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, which sued. "Now we know that everyone can continue to do their care as they have been doing for the past 50 years."

The judge made his ruling from the bench and said he would issue a written opinion early next week, Coleman said.

The Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment, citing a policy of not commenting on litigation.

While the new rules would permit clinic staff to discuss abortion with clients, they would no longer be required to do so. If patients ask for an abortion referral, staff would be required to give a list of primary care providers with no indication as to which provide abortions.

The list would have to include providers who do not offer abortions, and it could not include clinics or organizations that aren't primary care providers, such as Planned Parenthood.

Supporters of the changes say they return Title X's regulations back to their original legislative intent that "none of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning."

"We're extremely disappointed that a district judge made a ruling — a wrong ruling — that affects the entire nation," said Mark Miloscia, executive director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, which was not involved in the case. "We support family planning, but not giving it through agencies that kill the unborn."

The legal challenges argue that the changes violate a requirement that patients receive pregnancy counseling that is not weighted for or against abortion, and that it violates the Affordable Care Act's prohibition on regulations that impose "unreasonable barriers to the ability of individuals to obtain appropriate medical care."

Some 98,000 patients in Washington were expected to receive care through Title X this year, Ferguson said.

Source: NewsMax America

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Federal judge blocks new Trump administration abortion rule

A federal judge in Washington state Thursday blocked nationwide enforcement of rules enacted by the Trump administration that could strip federal funding from health care providers who refer patients to have an abortion.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian in Yakima federal court came two days after a federal judge in Portland, Ore., indicated he would block at least some of the rule changes, which were due to take effect May 3.

The suit challenging the changes was brought against the Department of Health and Human Services by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson and abortion rights groups including Planned Parenthood. Opponents of the rule changes described them as a transparent attack on Planned Parenthood and said they would curb access to care such as contraception and breast and cervical cancer screening for millions of low-income people.

"Today’s ruling ensures that clinics across the nation can remain open and continue to provide quality, unbiased healthcare to women," Ferguson said in a statement. "Trump’s 'gag rule' would have jeopardized healthcare access to women across the country. Title X clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, provide essential services – now they can keep serving women while we continue to fight to keep the federal government out of the exam room."


The planned changes to the federal Title X family planning program, which was created in 1970 and serves 4 million patients, would prohibit clinics that receive federal money from sharing office space with abortion providers as well as banning abortion referrals by taxpayer-funded clinics. Federal laws prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to pay for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman. Religious conservatives and abortion opponents have long complained that Title X has been used to subsidize abortion providers indirectly.

"This Administration has made clear that we will protect life at all stages, and this rule is another important step," White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said in response to the ruling.

The Washington state lawsuit said the changes would affect more than 90,000 Title X patients in the state and would force 90 percent of the medical professionals providing abortion and other family planning services to either find new locations, undergo expensive remodels or shut down.


"All over the country, there are Title X providers looking at their patient schedules and wondering what they were going to do," said Clare Coleman, president of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, which sued. "Now we know that everyone can continue to do their care as they have been doing for the past 50 years."

The lawsuit also claimed that the rule changes violated provisions of ObamaCare, which protects providers and patients from government interference in the health care relationship, and a federal law that requires doctors to provide information about abortion and prenatal care to patients in an unbiased manner. Ferguson also alleged the changes violated the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 by contradicting Title X regulations without sufficient justification and violated doctors' rights to free speech and women's rights to abortions under Roe v. Wade.

Fox News' Bill Mears, Matt Leach and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

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Trump Administration Reevaluating Offshore Drilling Plans

The Trump administration said Thursday it is reevaluating its controversial plan to sharply expand offshore drilling as it responds to a court ruling that blocked oil and gas development off Alaska and parts of the Atlantic.

Governors and lawmakers from both Republican- and Democratic-led states have strongly opposed the expanded drilling. And a federal judge last month ruled against President Donald Trump's executive order to open the Arctic and parts of the Atlantic to broader oil and gas development, saying Trump had exceeded his authority.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday that the legal challenges may be "discombobulating" to the administration's overall drilling plans. Bernhardt says the administration may have to wait for the challenges to fully play out in court.

Interior spokeswoman Molly Block said that given the court setback, the agency "is evaluating all of its options."

The Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management "will carefully consider all public input received, including comments from governors of affected states, before making final decisions" on expanded drilling off the country's coasts, Block added.

Environmental groups welcomed what they said amounted to a delay in the administration's coastal drilling expansion plans. Collin O'Mara of the National Wildlife Federation said the administration "needs to go one step further and fully and permanently scrap its plan to open our coasts to unfettered offshore drilling."

But Randall Luthi, head of the National Ocean Industries Association trade group, urged against a "hard stop" in administration planning on expanded offshore drilling. "What cannot be delayed ... is the importance of domestic production to meet the growing demand for affordable, reliable American energy," he said.

The Trump administration announced a new five-year plan last year that would open up 90 percent of U.S. offshore reserves to development by private companies. Then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said it would promote responsible energy development, boost jobs and pay for coastal conservation efforts.

The plan calls for expanded drilling in the Arctic and off the Atlantic coast and would open up waters off California for the first time in more than three decades. Drilling would be allowed from Florida to Maine in areas that have been blocked for decades.

Industry groups said the plan would encourage economic growth and create thousands of jobs, while environmental groups denounced the plan, saying it would cause severe harm to America's oceans, coastal economies, public health and marine life.

The plan drew bipartisan criticism in Congress, as lawmakers in coastal states said oil drilling off the coast could put their economy, environment and marine life at risk.

Governors from coastal states asked to be removed from the plan, but Interior officials said they were pressing forward even as they promised to take local concerns into consideration.

Offshore drilling was a key factor as the Senate confirmed Bernhardt as interior chief this month. Florida Republican Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott voted in favor of Bernhardt after receiving assurances from him and other administration officials that Florida would be excluded from drilling proposals. A moratorium on offshore drilling in Florida expires in 2022.

Rubio said in a statement on the day of the vote that he is "confident that when all is said and done the ban on oil drilling off of Florida's coasts will remain in place."

Bernhardt has declined to publicly rule out drilling off any state, including Florida.

Source: NewsMax America

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Factbox: Trump stonewalls House Democrats on multiple probes

U.S. President Trump attends the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump attends the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

April 26, 2019

(Reuters) – President Donald Trump is flatly refusing to cooperate in numerous U.S. congressional probes of himself and his administration, taking a defiant stance that could trigger protracted court fights with House of Representatives Democrats.

In an unprecedented step, the Trump administration has filed a lawsuit to try to block one congressional subpoena; some Trump advisers have been told to ignore other subpoenas; and a request for Trump’s tax returns has not been fulfilled.

In most instances, Trump risks trouble with Congress over subpoenas, “contempt of Congress” citations and civil enforcement actions in court.

Trump’s stonewalling has hardened since the release last week of a redacted report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Trump viewed the report as an exoneration because the special counsel did not charge him with conspiring with Russia or with obstruction of justice. However, the report detailed the Trump campaign’s welcoming of help from the Russians and his later efforts to thwart Mueller’s inquiry.

Like other senior Democrats who are treating the Mueller report as a road map for further investigations by Congress, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings accused the Trump administration on Wednesday of a “massive, unprecedented, and growing pattern of obstruction.”

The following are ways Trump has defied Congress in recent days:


Don McGahn, former White House counsel, was a key witness in the Mueller probe and House Democrats want to hear from him. But the White House plans to assert executive privilege to prevent McGahn and other current and former administration officials from testifying to Congress, the Washington Post has reported.


Parts of the Mueller report were redacted, leaving some questions unanswered. Democrats have issued a subpoena in an attempt to obtain the full report without redactions and evidence Mueller relied on. Attorney General William Barr must decide by May 1 whether to comply.

Barr has said he has a legal obligation to keep secret information obtained from grand jury proceedings, and that other redactions were necessary to protect U.S. intelligence sources and avoid harm to ongoing law enforcement matters.


Unlike past presidents in recent decades, Trump has refused to make public his tax returns, raising questions about what is in them. Democrats are probing Trump’s past business dealings and possible conflicts of interest posed by his continued ownership of extensive business interests.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to meet a congressional deadline on Tuesday for turning over Trump’s tax returns to the House tax committee, setting the stage for a possible court battle between Congress and the administration.

Mnuchin said he planned to make “a final decision” on whether to provide Trump’s tax records by May 6.

Legal experts said House Democrats could vote to hold Mnuchin or IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig in contempt of Congress if they ignore a subpoena, as a step toward suing in federal court to obtain the returns.


Trump on Monday filed a lawsuit attempting to keep U.S. lawmakers from obtaining his financial records. The unprecedented suit seeks to block a subpoena issued by Cummings, whose panel is looking into Trump’s financial record.

The subpoena sought eight years of documents from Mazars USA, an accounting firm long used by Trump to prepare financial statements. Cummings issued the subpoena after Michael Cohen, formerly Trump’s personal lawyer, testified to Congress in February that Trump had misrepresented his net worth.


Cummings said on Tuesday that his panel will soon vote on whether to cite a former White House official with contempt for failing to appear for questioning on allegations that the Trump administration inappropriately granted security clearances to some of the president’s advisers.

The White House told the Oversight Committee that it had directed Carl Kline, who was White House personnel security chief for the first two years of Trump’s presidency, to ignore the committee’s subpoena to appear.


On Wednesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) rebuffed the Oversight Committee’s request for an interview with John Gore, an official who was involved in the administration’s decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census.

The Justice Department said Gore, a lawyer in its Civil Rights Division, would not participate in a deposition set for Thursday if he could not have a department lawyer at his side. The committee had offered to let a lawyer sit in a different room.

A DOJ official said the committee had provided “no legitimate or constitutional basis for excluding a DOJ lawyer from assisting at the deposition.”


Trump on Wednesday vowed to fight any effort by congressional Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings against him, promising to go to the Supreme Court, even though it plays no role in the constitutional impeachment process.


Congressional Democrats said in March that a U.S. government agency was responding too slowly to their requests for documents about the Trump administration’s abandonment of a plan to move the FBI.

Before he became president in January 2017, Trump supported moving the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters to the suburbs of Washington, Democrats looking into the matter said.

They said that after Trump was elected and disqualified from bidding to acquire the site for commercial development, he switched his position. Democrats have subsequently raised questions about a possible Trump conflict of interest.


The White House refused a request for Trump’s top immigration aide Stephen Miller to testify to Congress in a letter on Wednesday to the House Oversight Committee.

Miller, a former Senate aide, has helped shape some of Trump’s most controversial immigration policies, from the first Muslim travel ban shortly after he took office in 2017 to the child separation policy for migrants who illegally crossed the U.S.- Mexico border, both of which were rejected by courts.

(Compiled by Caroline Stauffer; editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

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FILE PHOTO: Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland attends a news conference on media freedom as part of the G7 Foreign Ministers' meeting in Dinard
FILE PHOTO: Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland attends a news conference on media freedom as part of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Dinard, France, April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

April 15, 2019

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada expanded sanctions against the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro on Monday, according to a statement from Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, targeting an additional 43 people close to the disputed leader.

While the statement did not give names, it said they were “high ranking officials of the Maduro regime, regional governors and/or directly implicated in activities undermining democratic institutions”.

Canada had already sanctioned 70 others.

(Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: A Cathay Pacific Airways Airbus A350 airplane approaches to land at Changi International Airport in Singapore
FILE PHOTO: A Cathay Pacific Airways Airbus A350-900 airplane approaches to land at Changi International Airport in Singapore June 10, 2018. REUTERS/Tim Chong

April 17, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd Chief Executive Rupert Hogg said he was “relatively confident” the air cargo market would pick up in the second half after a weak start to the year.

“We tend to do quite well in cargo but the volumes do go up and down due to general economic sentiment,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of a media event in Beijing on Wednesday.

“I’m relatively confident that cargo will get stronger in second half this year.”

The Hong Kong-based airline is one of the world’s largest cargo carriers and has previously said it was keeping a close eye on U.S.-China trade tensions.

Cathay Pacific has said that its cargo volumes fell by 5.5 percent in the three months ended March 31, but that the decline was smaller in March than in January and February.

The International Air Transport Association last month nearly halved its annual forecast for traffic growth in the air cargo market to 2 percent, citing trade frictions, Brexit and anti-globalization rhetoric.

(Reporting by Stella Qiu and Brenda Goh; writing by Jamie Freed; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson spoke on “The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton” in an interview that aired Sunday about proposed new regulations aimed at making it easier for investors to take advantage of tax breaks for investing in “Opportunity Zones” in low-income areas.

“Policies have been pretty much aimed at putting people into programs,” Carson said, and now the Trump administration is trying to get poor Americans “out of the programs and self-sufficient.”

President Trump said last week that 8,700 neighborhoods across all 50 states and U.S. territories have received the Opportunity Zone designation and would be eligible for the federal tax incentives he’s proposed.

“The entire island of Puerto Rico is an opportunity zone,” Carson said.

“We are very concerned about the rural areas, too,” he added.

Trump’s proposed regulations were issued by the Treasury Department. They sought to clear up questions that were keeping some investors from using the incentives.


The program was included in the $1.5 trillion tax cut legislation that Trump pushed through Congress in 2017.

The new Opportunity Zones were set up to enable private investors to re-invest profits into designated areas.

“They are going to invest that money somewhere,” Carson said.


He noted private investors would do what they do because they “want to be successful.”

As White House officials have explained, investors in Opportunity Zones could get tax benefits by deferring their capital gains taxes invested in the zones until 2026. They also could receive discounts of up to 15 percent on capital-gains profits invested in the zones and would pay no capital-gains taxes on investments in the zones held for at least 10 years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

The Trump administration is “not going to do a military exercise inside Iran” in order to precipitate a regime change, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, Axios reported on Sunday.

Pompeo was speaking in a closed-door meeting recently with about 15 Iranian-American community leaders in Dallas, Axios said, relying on three sources who were in the room.

Pompeo also distanced the administration from the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), an anti-regime organization that the U.S. once designated as a terrorist group and which some in the room said are worse than the current regime in Tehran.

He acknowledged that National Security Adviser John Bolton and Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have friendly ties with the controversial group, but emphasized that neither he nor Trump did.

Pompeo mostly used euphemism to talk about the administration’s stance on Iran and was sparse with details, according to the sources in the room.

The secretary of state also said the Trump administration would have handled the 2009 Green Movement uprising against the regime very differently than the Obama administration did, but refused to describe how.

The State Department did not respond to requests for comment about the report.

Source: NewsMax Politics

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

April 25, 2019

(Reuters) – Inc on Thursday trounced first-quarter profit estimates on soaring demand for its cloud and advertising services, but forecast second-quarter revenue largely below expectations.

Net sales rose 17 percent to $59.70 billion, beating the analysts’ average estimate of $59.65 billion.

The company forecast net sales of between $59.5 billion and $63.5 billion for the second quarter, the midpoint of which was below analysts’ average estimate of $62.37 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Amazon’s net income rose to $3.56 billion, or $7.09 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $1.63 billion, or $3.27 per share, sending its shares up 1.2 percent after the bell.

Net sales in North America, its biggest market, jumped 17 percent to $35.81 billion in the quarter.

Amazon Web Services revenue surged 41.4 percent to $7.70 billion, but missed the estimate of $7.72 billion.

Amazon’s operating expenses rose 12.6 percent in the quarter to $55.28 billion as it invested in electric-car maker Rivian and self-driving car startup Aurora and continued spending on its Prime program, grocery delivery from Whole Foods stores and original video content.

Amazon has also been gaining immensely from its highly profitable ad sales business. The company said revenue from the category and some other items grew 33.7 percent to $2.72 billion, but missed estimates of $2.85 billion.

(Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

Source: OANN

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