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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a welcome ceremony as he arrives at the railway station in the Russian far-eastern city of Vladivostok, Russia, April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
April 24, 2019
By Maria Vasilyeva and Vladimir Soldatkin
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday at a summit designed to show that Washington is not the only power able to set the agenda on Pyongyang’s nuclear program.
The two men will sit down together on an island off the Russian Pacific city of Vladivostok two months after Kim’s summit with U.S. President Donald Trump ended in disagreement, cooling hopes of a breakthrough in the decades-old nuclear row.
The summit in Vladivostok – the first ever between Putin and Kim – provides Pyongyang with an opportunity to seek support from a new quarter, Russia, and possible relief from the sanctions hurting its economy.
For the Kremlin, the summit is a chance to show it is a global diplomatic player, despite efforts by the United States and other Western states to isolate it.
But with Moscow committed to upholding sanctions until the North dismantles its nuclear program, analysts said the summit was unlikely to produce any tangible help for Pyongyang, beyond a show of camaraderie.
In an interview with Russian state television as his train made a stop off on the journey to Vladivostok, Kim said he was looking forward to useful talks.
“I hope that we can discuss concrete questions about peace negotiations on the Korean peninsula, and our bilateral relations,” he said through an interpreter.
Kim Jong Un, making his first trip to Russia as North Korean leader, arrived at the train station in Vladivostok on Wednesday on board an armored train — his preferred mode of international transport.
After a brief delay while the train had to be repositioned to line up with the red carpet laid out on the platform, he disembarked and headed in a convoy of limousines and minivans across a bridge linking mainland Vladivostok to Russky island, the summit venue. Putin has yet to arrive in Vladivostok.
Putin’s last summit with a North Korean leader was in 2002 when his counterpart was Kim Jong Il, Kim Jong Un’s father and predecessor. Kim Jong Il also met in 2011 with Dmitry Medvedev, the Putin lieutenant who was then Russian president.
There was heightened security around Vladivostok in preparation for the summit, with an unusually heavy police presence, especially at the university campus on Russky island where the talks will take place.
Classes were still in progress on Wednesday but students were having their documents checked on the way in, and vehicles were no longer allowed to enter the campus. The Russian and North Korean flags fluttered from lamp-posts around the university.
(Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Gareth Jones)
FILE PHOTO: A Tesla logo is seen at a groundbreaking ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai, China January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Aly Song
April 24, 2019
(Reuters) – Tesla Inc said on Wednesday it would return to profit in the third quarter of 2019 after racking up two consecutive losses in the first half of the year, as it struggled to deliver cars to customers and launched a cheaper version of its Model 3 sedan.
The company, which Wall Street suspects may soon have to raise more cash, said it ended the quarter with just $2.2 billion in cash, after paying off a $920 million convertible bond obligation in March.
Tesla, however, affirmed its outlook of delivering 360,000 to 400,000 vehicles in 2019 and said it may produce as many as 500,000 vehicles in the year if its Gigafactory in Shanghai reaches volume production in the fourth quarter.
Shares of the company, down more than 20 percent this year, rose 1.7 percent to $263 in trading after the bell.
Tesla reported net loss attributable to common shareholders of $702.1 million, or $4.10 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, compared with $709.6 million, or $4.19 per share, a year earlier.
“As the impact of higher deliveries and cost reduction
take full effect, we expect to return to profitability in Q3 and significantly reduce our loss in Q2,” Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said in a letter to investors.
The Silicon Valley company has weathered a challenging few months, marked by a sharp drop in the number of vehicles delivered to global customers during the quarter and a public spat between Musk and financial regulators.
(Reporting by Vibhuti Sharma in Bengaluru and Alexandria Sage in San Fransisco; Editing by Arun Koyyur)
Speaking at the She The People Presidential Forum in Houston, the presidential hopeful was asked if he would pledge to having a woman running mate - something he has shied away from commiting to in the past.
“I will have a woman running mate,” Booker said. “To me it’s really clear that we do that.”
Booker previously suggested that “if I have it my way,” he would pick a woman to run alongside him.
“I am very confident that this election, we will make history, because no matter what, I'm looking you in the eye and saying this, there will be a woman on the ticket. I don't know if it's in the vice president's position or the president's position,” Booker said last month at a campaign event in New Hampshire.
Booker’s announcement could give him a more competitive edge in the crowded field of Democratic contenders, which includes a number of female candidates.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., also recently announced that he would be choosing a female running mate, saying he thinks the next president should run with someone who can speak to a different “experience” then he can as a “white man.”’
“I’ve pledged that I would ask a woman to serve as Vice President,” he said Tuesday. “ I would put forward a diverse candidate and I would put forward policies that would make sure that inherent bias that exists or discrimination that exists in communities would be eliminated.”
Among the female Democratic presidential candidates are Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
Booker’s appearance Wednesday marked the first-ever presidential candidate forum focused on women of color. The other candidates to appear included Harris, Warren, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Fox News' Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
FILE PHOTO: Recording artist R. Kelly leaves the Cook County Criminal Courthouse after being acquitted of child pornography charges in Chicago June 13, 2008. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES)/File Photo
April 24, 2019
By Joseph Ax
(Reuters) – A woman who accused R. Kelly of sexual abuse has won a civil case by default against the singer, after he failed to respond to her lawsuit and was a no-show in court.
The woman, who accused Kelly of repeatedly having sex with her when she was 16 years old, filed the case in Chicago in February, a day before Kelly was arrested on 10 charges of sexual abuse.
She is one of four accusers – three of whom were underage at the time of the alleged crimes – at the center of the criminal case against Kelly, according to her lawyer, Jeffrey Deutschman. She is identified as “H.W.” in criminal court filings.
A Chicago judge on Tuesday entered a default ruling against Kelly, according to court records, after he did not respond to the lawsuit and missed the hearing.
The judge, Moira Johnson, will hear from the victim at a hearing next month before determining how much Kelly should pay in damages.
Kelly’s criminal defense attorney, Steve Greenberg, said he was not involved in the civil litigation and declined to comment.
Prosecutors say Kelly, 52, sexually assaulted three teenage girls as well as a woman. Kelly, who has faced similar allegations for decades, has pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied any wrongdoing.
He was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008.
The lawsuit said Kelly first met the woman when she was 16 years old and initiated a sexual relationship that lasted for more than a year.
Kelly, whose first name is Robert, is an R&B star known for hits like “I Believe I Can Fly” and “Bump N’ Grind.”
(Reporting by Joseph Ax)
FILE PHOTO: A Facebook panel is seen during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, in Cannes, France, June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
April 24, 2019
(Reuters) – Facebook Inc on Wednesday blew away Wall Street profit estimates in the first quarter as it kept a lid on the costs of making its social networks safer, and set aside $3 billion to cover a settlement with U.S. regulators, calming investors who had worried about the outcome of a months-long federal probe.
Shares of the world’s biggest online social network jumped more than 10 percent after hours.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has been investigating revelations that Facebook inappropriately shared information belonging to 87 million of its users with the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.
The probe has focused on whether the sharing of data and other disputes violated a 2011 agreement with the FTC to safeguard user privacy. Facebook set aside $3 billion to cover anticipated costs associated with the settlement, but said the charges could reach as high as $5 billion.
If the settlement is in that range, it would be the largest civil penalty paid to the agency, said David Vladeck, a former FTC official now at Georgetown Law School.
“Everyone expected there would be a substantial civil penalty in this case,” said Vladeck. “There’s no question that Facebook is going to have to settle this matter. Investors want this behind them.”
The accrual cut the company’s net income in the first quarter to $2.43 billion, or $0.85 per share.
Excluding the $3 billion it set aside, Facebook would have earned $1.89 a share, up from $1.69 the year prior and easily beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.63 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Total first-quarter revenue rose 26 percent to $14.9 billion from $12.0 billion last year, compared to analysts’ average estimate of $15.0 billion.
Shares of Facebook rose 10 percent to $200.50 in after-hours trade, demonstrating the company’s resilience despite a series of scandals over improperly shared user data and propaganda that made it the target of political scrutiny across the globe.
The company’s shares lost a third of their value last year, after executives first warned about costs associated with its drive to improve safety and slowing growth in revenue and operating margin.
Total expenses in the first quarter were $11.8 billion, up 80 percent compared with a year ago. The operating margin fell to 22 percent from 46 percent a year ago, but would have been 42 percent without the one-time expense.
“This is a strong report suggesting that advertisers still see value in Facebook’s platform, as they did before the controversies and scandals erupted,” said Haris Anwar, senior analyst at financial markets platform Investing.com.
Executives have forecast that expenses will grow 40 to 50 percent in 2019, but say they expect the downward trend to taper off after this year as revenue from new ways of pushing ads and facilitating transactions offset the security spending.
Monthly and daily users of the main Facebook app compared to last quarter were both up 8 percent to 2.38 billion and 1.56 billion, respectively.
Estimates were for 2.4 billion monthly users and 1.6 billion daily users, according to Refinitiv averages.
(Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru and Katie Paul in San Francisco; additional reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington; editing by Patrick Graham and Bill Rigby)
FILE PHOTO: The Twitter logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 28, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
April 24, 2019
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Twitter was ablaze on Wednesday with humorous commentary and speculation over why Tesla Inc’s first-quarter earnings release was so late. As of 5:05 p.m. ET (2105 GMT), one hour after the market close, the results still had not been released.
Here is a sampling of comments on Twitter:
“Tesla forgot to get Deepak’s password when he left and now they can’t release the earnings. 40 minute late and counting…” – @FredericLambert, referring to former Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja
“TSLA has sent one of the new flawless robotaxis to deliver the earnings report, apparently.” – @NickGiva
“Maybe Tesla switched to full self accounting and it works as well as their full self driving.” – @bgrahamdisciple
“TSLA forgot to pay their WebEx Conference call bill.” – @mackandcompany
“I’m imagining Elon in a huge fight with the board right now who’s trying to convince him that he has to release the #s.” – “@EternityStake
(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
Former interim Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile, a Fox News contributor, said she thinks former Vice President Joe Biden “is a proven leader,” and has what it takes to “go the distance” in the 2020 presidential race.
Brazile made her comments on “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday, the day before Biden is expected to declare his candidacy for president.
The announcement would end months of speculation as the 76-year-old Biden mulled making what would be a third White House bid. Despite the recent #MeToo controversy complicating his would-be campaign, the former vice president has remained at the top of most public opinion polls.
Biden’s potential political campaign hit a bump recently after several women complained publicly about the prospective 2020 Democratic candidate, accusing him of touching them inappropriately at events.
“With 20 candidates I'm not sure that it's time to pick number one. But he is number one in the polls. That's because, of course, he was vice president for eight years. He’s been a public servant. He is a proven leader,” said Brazile.
She added, “The race to the White House is about delegates and the question is, will he have enough, what I like to say, enough miles to go the distance? I do believe he will go the distance and that's because voters know him, they appreciate his leadership. But what's his vision? That's what this generation of Democrats will be asking him. Where do you want to take us?”
Brazile also weighed in on congressional Democrats pushing to keep investigating President Trump despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrapping up his Russia investigation with no new indictments.
When asked if it is a good strategy for Democrats to continue to push, Brazile answered, “Absolutely,” adding, “No one is above the law. In fact, Democrats will be running on protecting our democracy.”
She added, “Democrats can walk and chew gum at the same time. You have Democrats out there talking about everything from jobs and the economy and infrastructure, they're running for president, they’re running to replace Donald Trump in 2020. But you have Capitol Hill Democrats. That's part of their responsibility in our system of government. So yes, we could do both.”
“No one is above the law. I think the president should comply with the request from the United States House of Representatives,” said Brazile.
She added, “This is important for the health of our democracy and the future of the United States of America. This is not partisan.”
Source: Fox News Politics
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FILE PHOTO: Workers of assembly factories cross a street as they rush toward their shift at an industrial park in Reynosa, Mexico January 10, 2019. Picture taken January 10, 2019. REUTERS/Tomas Bravo/File Photo
April 12, 2019
(This April 11 story corrects to include dropped word ‘not’ in paragraph 6)
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s lower house of Congress overwhelmingly approved a workers’ rights bill late on Thursday, legislation that U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi considers key to winning over Democrats wary of a revamped North American trade pact.
Pelosi called on Mexico last week to see through the legislation, saying U.S. lawmakers could not even take up the issue unless Mexico put new laws in place to protect workers.
Democratic lawmakers in Washington say the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) must ensure workers in Mexico have the right to organize, a step that would require new Mexican labor laws. They believe a major weakness of the 25-year -old North American Free Trade Agreement that the USMCA would replace is that it allowed Mexican wages to stagnate.
The workers’ rights bill was approved by Mexico’s lower house of Congress on Thursday night with 258 members in favor, 67 opposed and 18 abstentions.
The proposal could land in the Senate as soon as next week.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said after Pelosi’s comments he does not want to give the United States any motive to reopen negotiations of the pact, which wound up last year.
“It is in our benefit to have this treaty, and for there to be no excuse for opening up negotiations again,” he said in a regular news briefing on Thursday.
(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Miguel Angel Gutierrez Editing by Tom Brown and Paul Tait)
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., issued a subpoena Friday to obtain the “complete and unredacted” version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report, as well as the underlying materials, a day after the redacted copy was released.
“This includes, but is not limited to, all summaries, exhibits, indices, tables of contents or other tables or figures, appendices, supplements, addenda or any other attachments whether written or attached in a separate electronic format,” the subpoena says.
Nadler’s push is the next step in what is likely to be an extended political and legal battle over the report by Democrats in the House. The White House has hailed the report, which found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in 2016, as a victory.
But Democrats have pointed to Mueller’s review of 10 instances where Trump may be considered to have obstructed justice — although the special counsel did not conclude that Trump committed a crime.
Nadler and other Democrats have also furiously opposed Attorney General William Barr’s decision to release a redacted version of the report to Congress. Barr said that he, along with special counsel, identified four areas of the report that needed redactions, including grand jury material, information the intelligence community believes would reveal intelligence sources and methods, any material that could interfere with ongoing prosecutions, and information that could implicate the privacy or reputational interests of “peripheral players.”
Nadler is requesting the information on May 1, a day before Barr is set to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. If the Justice Department doesn’t respond, Democrats could hold officials in contempt of Congress or fight it out in court. Nadler’s committee also holds the power to launch impeachment proceedings, something that a number of House Democrats and 2020 presidential hopefuls have indicated they may support.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Source: Fox News Politics
Investigations now shift onto the Obama administration as Attorney General William Barr says there was spying and surveillance on the Trump campaign and President Trump said it was treasonous. This enters us into a new age of politics and hopefully justice and the deep state criminals are now in the cross-hairs.
Source: The War Room
FILE PHOTO: A model presents a creation at the Tod’s show during Milan Fashion Week Spring 2019 in Milan, Italy, September 21, 2018. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
April 18, 2019
By Claudia Cristoferi
SANT’ELPIDIO A MARE, Italy (Reuters) – Turnaround efforts at Italian luxury group Tod’s are starting to bear fruit with e-commerce sales growing at a “high-double digit” pace, owner and Chief Executive Diego Della Valle told shareholders on Thursday.
The shoes and leather goods company, famous for its Gommino loafers, has been struggling to revive the appeal of its brands to attract younger luxury shoppers, focusing on digital and more frequent collections and collaborations.
“Our recipe is known and unchanged. We want to keep our long-standing consumers and attract millennials,” Della Valle, who is also Tod’s chairman, said.
“We’ve got to the operational stage on some fronts and this gives us a little more confidence that the road taken is the right one.”
He added the company, which launched a new business model in late 2017 to reverse falling sales and refresh its namesake brand, could have moved earlier to tackle issues.
“But we’re doing what is needed”, he said listing among actions taken a management reshuffle that led to the appointment of a joint-CEO which Della Valle said was working out well.
Online sales, which account for 7 percent of total revenue, are growing at a “high double digit” pace and the firm hopes they will keep expanding at this rhythm in one or 1-1/2 years’ time so that the contribution to group sales can become more sizeable, Della Valle said.
To complement the online expansion in line with current multi-channel consumer trends, Tod’s is also planning to open a new flagship store on Milan’s famed Montenapoleone fashion street in a month.
Della Valle said disappointing quarterly earnings were the result of a push to “achieve sustainable results quite quickly”.
The company, which has fallen short of market expectations in recent years, has said 2019 will be another “year of transition” in terms of profitability.
The Della Valle family has been gradually increasing its stake in Tod’s as a sign of confidence in the company of which it now owns 63 percent.
“I’m happy where I am,” Della Valle said when asked about his role at the company.
(Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi, editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)
Sudanese demonstrators celebrate after the Defence Minister Awad Ibn Auf stepped down as head of the country’s transitional ruling military council, as protesters demanded quicker political change, outside the Defence Ministry in Khartoum, Sudan April 13, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer
April 13, 2019
By Khalid Abdelaziz
KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s security and intelligence chief quit on Saturday, state media reported, a day after the defense minister stepped down abruptly as interim leader following the overthrow of President Omar al-Bashir and protesters kept up demands for change.
Salah Abdallah Mohamed Saleh, known as Salah Gosh, who headed the National Intelligence and Security Service and was once the most influential person in the country after Bashir, was held responsible by protesters for the killing of demonstrators demanding an end to military rule.
Defense Minister Awad Ibn Auf stepped down as head of the transitional military council late on Friday after only a day in the post, as protesters demanded faster political change.
The new head of the military council, Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan Abdelrahman, accepted Gosh’s resignation, state news agency SUNA said on Saturday.
Burhan is a military commander believed to be more ready to talk to the protesters.
He was the third most senior general in the Sudanese armed forces and is little known in public life. As head of Sudan’s ground forces he oversaw Sudanese troops fighting in the Saudi-led Yemen war and has close ties to senior Gulf military officials.
Celebrations erupted on the streets of Khartoum overnight following Ibn Auf’s resignation. Thousands of protesters waved flags and illuminated mobile phones in the darkness and drivers hooted car horns. People chanted: “The second has fallen!” a reference to Ibn Auf and Bashir, witnesses said.
The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), which has been leading protests to demand a civilian government, called for more demonstrations on Saturday.
“Today, we continue the march to finish the victory for our victorious revolution,” the SPA said in a statement.
“We assert that our revolution is continuing and will not retreat or deviate from its path until we achieve … our people’s legitimate demands of handing over power to a civilian government,” it said.
DIALOGUE WITH DEMONSTRATORS
The military council said on Thursday it expected a pre-election transition to last two years at most or less if chaos could be avoided.
Bashir, 75, seized power in a 1989 military coup. He had faced 16 weeks of demonstrations brought on by rising food costs, high unemployment and increasing repression during his three decades in power.
The protests escalated last Saturday when thousands of demonstrators, apparently bolstered by change in Algeria following similar protests, marched towards the Defense Ministry in central Khartoum to deliver a memorandum demanding the military side with them.
Demonstrators have been camping outside the compound since then to push for a handover of power.
Worshippers packed the streets around the Defense Ministry for Friday prayers, heeding a call by the SPA to challenge the military council.
The numbers swelled in the afternoon and a Reuters witness estimated hundreds of thousands of protesters thronged areas around the ministry, which was guarded by soldiers.
At least 16 people were killed and 20 injured by stray bullets at protests and sit-ins on Thursday and Friday, a police spokesman said. Government buildings and private property were also attacked, spokesman Hashem Ali added.
He asked citizens to help ensure safety and public order.
(Additional reporting by Ahmed Tolba and Nayera Abdallah in Cairo, writing by Sami Aboudi and Lena Masri; Editing by Janet Lawrence)