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Piers Morgan: Media and Democrats reaction to Mueller report ‘a disgrace’

DailyMail.com editor-at-large and former CNN anchor Piers Morgan appeared on "Hannity" Monday night where he lambasted Democrats and the mainstream media for their reaction to the Mueller Report's release last week, calling it "a disgrace."

"Mueller was the savior, the man on the white horse riding into town to take down President Trump on collusion with Russia, he would be exposed as a traitor and this would be the end of his presidency. And then Mueller report comes out and it turns out it was all nonsense. It was to quote Donald Trump, it was 'fake news,'" Morgan told host Sean Hannity.

TOP DEM DISMISSES POSSIBILITY OF COLLUSION FATIGUE: 'THE RUSSIANS AREN'T GETTING TIRED'

Last week, Attorney General William Barr released a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report that revealed the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia.

Morgan criticized The New York Times, The Washington Post and cable news outlets for pushing the "obstruction of justice" narrative after the Mueller report did not result in charges against the president.

"We are supposed to believe now that Donald Trump committed repeated obstruction of justice over a crime that he now, as we all know, did not commit? He is trying to obstruct people from investigating something he says he said he didn't do and Special Counsel has confirmed he didn't do. It is ridiculous, it is a farce, it is making a mockery of America," Morgan said.

The British television presenter also mocked liberals unable to cope with the fact that Trump beat Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016.

"The liberals here are refusing to accept results in 2016. 'But Hillary won the popular vote.' Who cares? It's not about the popular vote," Morgan said.

Morgan also went after his old employer CNN, saying he still had friends there but wondering aloud if they are continuing their coverage for monetary reasons.

TRUMP RAILS AGAINST 'BULLS---' IN MUELLER REPORT

"I don't know why they have done that other than it gives them a lot of money, I guess.  I think it damages their credibility and I wish they weren't doing it," Morgan said.

Morgan warned the media and Democrats that if they continue to cover President Trump in the same vein that they are essentially guaranteeing him a second term.

"If the Democrats, fueled by the media, try to continue to fight this, and I'm telling you what will happen, Donald Trump will get reelected and he will have four more years of this," Morgan said.

Source: Fox News Politics

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Weak first quarter seen for U.S. refiners, but brighter summer expected

FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of the Valero Houston Refinery is seen in Houston, Texas
FILE PHOTO: An aerial view of the Valero Houston Refinery is seen in Houston, Texas, U.S. August 31, 2017. REUTERS/Adrees Latif

April 23, 2019

By Stephanie Kelly and Jarrett Renshaw

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. independent refiners are expected to roll out lower than expected first-quarter profits after a spate of outages, weak gasoline margins and a surge in the price of Canadian oil, according to analysts.

Major independent refiners cut production dramatically during the quarter, with some electing to undergo maintenance rather than produce barrels at a time when gasoline margins slumped.

Several major U.S. refiners, including Valero Energy Corp, HollyFrontier Corp, and Marathon Petroleum Corp, are all expected to fall short of consensus estimates when they report results, according to Refinitiv Eikon’s SmartEstimate model, which values more recent revisions from higher-ranked analysts.

However, reduced refining output in the early part of the year sets up the industry for a potential rebound as the critical summer months approach. With gasoline stockpiles at a four-year low on a seasonal basis, margins have rebounded in anticipation of driving season.

U.S. refinery utilization dropped to 87.5 percent in early April, the lowest seasonally since 2014. Refiners had been running full-tilt for much of 2018, encouraged by strong demand for distillates. But in the process, they overproduced gasoline, tanking margins for the fuel along the way.

Those margins fell to $3.64 a gallon in January, the lowest since 2009. They have since recovered, and were at about $23.00 a gallon on Monday, as inventories have fallen to about 228 million barrels from almost 260 million barrels in mid-January.

(GRAPHIC: Gasoline stocks fall as refinery runs drop https://tmsnrt.rs/2Iafyjp.)

Refiner earnings kick off this week with Valero on Friday. Since the beginning of April, analysts, on average, have revised projections for refiners lower by more than 5 percent, according to Refinitiv data.

Analysts have sharply lowered estimates for Valero, Marathon and HollyFrontier, along with PBF Energy and Phillips 66, in the past month, putting them in the bottom quartile among U.S. companies in terms of revisions, according to Refinitiv data.

On top of heavy maintenance, fires broke out at facilities over the last few months, including at Valero’s Port Arthur, Texas, refinery, Exxon Mobil Corp’s Baytown, Texas, refinery and HollyFrontier’s El Dorado, Kansas, refinery.

HollyFrontier lowered the amount of crude it expected to process in the first quarter by 5,000 bpd. Analysts at Goldman Sachs downgraded the company’s outlook last week on concerns that profits would take a hit after Canadian crude differentials collapsed.

Sandy Fielden, director of commodities and energy research at Morningstar, said PBF also lost out because of “the Canadian crude discount just disappearing.”

Canadian crude oil had been heavily discounted due to oversupply and lack of pipelines, but that discount eroded after the province of Alberta instituted production cuts. Western Canada Select (WCS) recently has traded around $9.25 a barrel under U.S. crude, compared with $15.65 at the beginning of the quarter. [CRU/CA]

BUMPER BUNKER PROFITS?

Some refiners decided to undergo heavier planned maintenance during the quarter to ready facilities for new low-sulfur marine fuel requirements. The new regulations required by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) are due to come into effect on Jan. 1, 2020 and could produce bumper profits.

The rules outlaw high-sulfur fuels traditionally used for shipping – a boon for complex refineries that can break down products used by marine vessels into lower-sulfur products with higher margins.

Refiners could now run their plants at higher rates to take advantage of the higher margins, and analysts expect gasoline inventories to climb through the remainder of the year as a result.

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly and Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Susan Thomas)

Source: OANN

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Electric vehicle study sees opportunity for utilities

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla electric car supercharger station is seen in Los Angeles
FILE PHOTO: A Tesla electric car supercharger station is seen in Los Angeles, California, U.S. August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

April 23, 2019

(Reuters) – Increasing demand for electric vehicles in the United States over the next decade will create revenue opportunities for electric utilities that invest in greater grid capacity and offer EV charging and related services, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The study, by the Boston Consulting Group, assumes a significant leap in consumer demand for electric vehicles, which continue to account for only a fraction of U.S. vehicle sales.

BCG estimates that 20 to 30 percent of all U.S. new car sales by 2030 will be electric or hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles. Last year, plug-in hybrids and pure EVs accounted for just 2 percent of total U.S. car sales, according to the website InsideEVs.com.

BCG predicted that up to 12 percent of all vehicles on U.S. roads will be plug-in hybrid or pure electric by 2030, stretching “the capacity of the current grid” when charging in certain locations or at certain times of day.

The study’s authors suggested that utilities consider expanding their range of services and explore such options as subscription services that impose a flat EV charging fee while providing customers with a free home charger that automatically charges a vehicle overnight and during periods of off-peak demand.

Utilities also were urged to consider offering consulting services, as well as software solutions to both consumer and commercial customers for energy and fleet management.

(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

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Samsung retrieving all Galaxy Fold samples after defect reports -source

FILE PHOTO: The Samsung Galaxy Fold phone is shown on a screen at Samsung Electronics’ Unpacked event in San Francisco
FILE PHOTO: The Samsung Galaxy Fold phone is shown on a screen at Samsung Electronics Co Ltd’s Unpacked event in San Francisco, California, U.S., Feb. 20, 2019 REUTERS/Stephen Nellis

April 23, 2019

By Ju-min Park

SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is retrieving all Galaxy Fold samples distributed to reviewers to investigate reports of broken screens, a day after it postponed the phone’s launch, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

The retrieval comes as the world’s biggest smartphone maker met with embarrassment ahead of the foldable device’s U.S. release on April 26, with a handful of technology journalists reporting breaks, bulges and blinking screens after a day’s use.

The South Korean tech giant postponed the handset’s launch for an unspecified period of time while it investigated the matter. It said initial findings showed the issues could be associated with impact on exposed areas of the hinges.

A representative declined to comment further on Tuesday.

Samsung’s share price was 0.4 percent lower as of 0425 GMT, in a flat Seoul market. However, parts suppliers fell, with hinge maker KH Vatec Co Ltd shedding 3.1 percent.

A person with direct knowledge of the supply chain said KH Vatec conducted an internal review of hinges used in the Galaxy Fold and found no defects. The supplier declined to comment.

In March, Samsung released a video showing robots folding Galaxy Fold handsets 200,000 times for its durability test.

Samsung’s head of IT and mobile communications, DJ Koh, has repeatedly said foldables are the future of smartphones.

Though the issue does not hurt Samsung’s balance sheet, the postponement damages the firm’s effort to showcase itself as an innovative first mover, not a fast follower, analysts said.

In some cases, reviewers had peeled off a layer of film which they mistook for a disposable screen protector.

“It’s disastrous that Samsung sent samples to reviewers without clear instructions on how to handle the device, and that the firm needs to fix screen flickering,” said analyst Kim Young-woo at SK Securities.

One Samsung employee, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “On the bright side, we have an opportunity to nail down this issue and fix it before selling the phones to a massive audience, so they won’t have same complaints.”

Samsung emailed pre-order customers upon delaying the launch, online outlets said on Twitter.

“Your pre-order guarantees your place in the queue for this innovative technology,” Samsung said in the email. “We’ll update you with more specific shipping information in two weeks.”

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Additional reporting by Heekyong Yang; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

Source: OANN

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Chinese people love peace, Xi says as kicks off major naval parade

Chinese navy personnel perform at an event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in Qingdao
Chinese navy personnel perform at an event celebrating the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) in Qingdao, China, April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

April 23, 2019

By Ben Blanchard

QINGDAO, China (Reuters) – The Chinese people love peace and countries should not threaten each other with the use of force, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday as he kicked off a large-scale naval parade marking 70 years since the founding of China’s navy.

Xi is overseeing a sweeping plan to refurbish the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) by developing everything from stealth jets to aircraft carriers as China ramps up its presence in the disputed South China Sea and around self-ruled Taiwan, which have rattled nerves around the region and in Washington.

The navy has been a key beneficiary of the modernisation plan, with China looking to project power far from the country’s shores and protect its trading routes and citizens overseas.

Meeting foreign naval officers in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, Xi said the navies of the world should work together to protect maritime peace and order.

“The Chinese people love and long for peace, and will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development,” Xi added, in remarks carried by the official Xinhua news agency, after foreign reporters were asked by Xi to leave the room.

“Everyone should respect each other, treat each other as equals, enhance mutual trust, strengthen maritime dialogue and exchanges, and deepen pragmatic cooperation between navies” he added.

“There must be more discussions and consultations between countries, and there cannot be resorts to force or threats of force at the slightest pretext,” Xi said.

“All countries should adhere to equal consultations, improve crisis communication mechanisms, strengthen regional security cooperation, and promote the proper settlement of maritime-related disputes.”

Xi is expected to review the naval parade from sea later in the day, though it is unclear whether poor weather in Qingdao – with mist and driving rain – could affect the event.

The parade will feature 32 Chinese vessels and 39 aircraft, as well as warships from 13 foreign countries including India, Japan, Vietnam and Australia.

China has said it will display for the first time new nuclear submarines and warships.

China has frequently had to rebuff concerns about its military intentions, especially as military spending continues to scale new heights.

Beijing says it has nothing to hide, and invited a small number of foreign media onboard a naval ship to watch the parade, including from Reuters.

China’s last naval battles were with the Vietnamese in the South China Sea in 1974 and 1988, though these were relatively minor skirmishes.

Chinese navy ships have also participated in international anti-piracy patrols off Somalia’s coast since late 2008.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Michael Perry)

Source: OANN

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Democratic presidential candidates divided over impeaching Trump

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump attends the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington
FILE PHOTO: 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 23, 2019

By Tim Reid

(Reuters) – A group of Democratic presidential candidates were divided on Monday over whether Republican President Donald Trump should be impeached, reflecting a broader split in the Democratic Party over how to react to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian election meddling.

Answering audience questions at a televised CNN event in the early voting state of New Hampshire, three Democratic 2020 candidates shied away from calling for Trump’s impeachment.

Another, California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, said Congress should “take the steps towards impeachment” but believed such an effort would likely fail.

Only one candidate at the event, Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, issued a full-throated call for Congress to try and remove Trump from office.

“If any other human being in this country had done what’s documented in the Mueller report, they would be arrested and put in jail,” Warren said. Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and another 2020 hopeful – who was not at the CNN event – has also called for Trump’s impeachment.

In the report released on Thursday, Mueller portrayed a president bent on stopping the probe into Russian meddling. But Mueller stopped short of concluding that a crime was committed, leaving it to Congress to make its own determination as to whether Trump obstructed justice.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, and some other Democratic Party leaders have been wary of impeaching Trump before the November 2020 presidential election.

They believe there are not enough votes in the Republican-controlled Senate to remove Trump from office, and that such a move could play into his hands. They also remember Republican efforts to impeach former Democratic President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, which backfired politically.

But prominent liberals have demanded the start of proceedings to remove Trump from office since the release of a redacted version of Mueller’s report last week.

In a letter to fellow Democratic lawmakers on Monday, Pelosi did not rule out impeaching Trump, but said it is “important to know that the facts regarding holding the president accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings.” She added that Trump engaged in highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior “whether currently indictable or not”.

Reflecting the divide in the party over how to proceed over Mueller’s findings, the five 2020 candidates, who appeared at back-to-back events before an audience of young voters, were also split.

Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said: “If for the next year and a half all the Congress is talking about is ‘Trump, Trump, Trump,’ and ‘Mueller, Mueller, Mueller’ and we’re not talking about the issues that concern ordinary Americans, I worry that works to Trump’s advantage.”

Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar said she did not want to “predispose things” over the question of whether to impeach Trump and left that question up to the U.S. House of Representatives, where impeachment proceedings are initiated.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said Trump “deserves” to be impeached, but he would leave it to the House and Senate. He said politicians have to stop talking about Trump so much, and the best thing for Democrats would be to deliver “an absolute thumping” to Trump at the ballot box next November.

(Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Michael Perry)

Source: OANN

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Fast track: Indonesia, Malaysia rail projects may give China more deals

Worker stands in front of Jakarta-Bandung High Speed Railway exhibition hall at Walini tunnel construction site in West Bandung regency
A worker stands in front of Jakarta-Bandung High Speed Railway exhibition hall at Walini tunnel construction site in West Bandung regency, West Java province, Indonesia, February 21, 2019. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

April 23, 2019

By Fanny Potkin and Tabita Diela

WALLINI, Indonesia (Reuters) – In a rural part of Indonesia’s Java island, two orange-clad workers confer in Mandarin over plans to lay tracks on a stretch of a $6 billion high-speed rail project between the capital Jakarta and the textile hub of Bandung.

Both are employees of the state-owned China Railway Engineering Corp (CREC), and have previously worked on a rail project in Uganda, another part of Beijing’s sweeping multi-billion dollar “Belt and Road” initiative (BRI) to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond.

Delayed for nearly three years over land ownership issues, construction on the 142 km (88-mile) Indonesian line finally kicked into high gear in 2018.

When China hosts its second summit of nations that are part of BRI this week, Beijing is likely to showcase the Indonesian project along with its recent success in getting Malaysia’s East Coast Railway Link (ECRL) back on track after months of negotiations.

Analysts say the two projects will be held up as China’s answers to criticism about high debt and the lack of transparency in the BRI and its attempt to refocus the program on sustainable financing, green growth, and high quality.

China’s foreign ministry said last week Beijing would “work together with all parties to benefit people across the world by jointly promoting the high-quality development of BRI in line with the national conditions of each country”.

The BRI is a key policy of Chinese President Xi Jinping but has been controversial in many Western capitals, particularly Washington, which views it as a means to spread Chinese influence abroad and saddle countries with unsustainable debt through nontransparent projects.

According to a draft communique seen by Reuters, participants at this week’s summit will agree to project financing that respects global debt goals and promotes green growth.

“This bucks the trend of recent negative headlines around the BRI and challenges facing projects in several countries,” said Peter Mumford at the Eurasia Group consultancy.

But in Malaysia, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed agreed to put the 668-km ECRL back on track only after cutting the cost of the project from $16 billion to $10.7 billion.

“The risk for China is that other countries, having seen Mahathir’s success, now try to adopt similar tough re-negotiating tactics on BRI projects, which could slow progress elsewhere,” said Mumford.

To be sure, there is no sign of any of the BRI countries attempting to re-negotiate deals signed with Beijing. Analysts say China is likely to use its willingness to work with partner nations and make projects feasible to seek more business.

“GOLD-PLATED”

Bankers familiar with the deal say the Indonesian project is being constructed under “gold-plated terms”.

Of the total $6 billion cost, China’s Development Bank will provide a $4.5 billion loan at 2 percent interest, according a project prospectus seen by Reuters. The remaining 25 percent of the project cost will be funded by equity provided by the consortium.

The loan will have no sovereign guarantees, which are among the most controversial parts of Belt and Road projects, as they shift risk onto the governments of partner countries.

Beijing lobbied hard against Tokyo in 2015 to win the Indonesian project as a way to showcase its high-speed rail expertise to international customers.

“China wanted to deliberately show that its fast train was better than Japan … we asked for the lowest rate possible and they gave 2 percent,” Rini Soemarno, Indonesia’s minister for state-owned enterprises, told reporters earlier this year.

The railway’s financial terms came under debate during April’s presidential election between Indonesian President Joko Widodo and challenger Prabowo Subianto, who pledged to review the project if he pulled off a victory.

While the results are still to be officially confirmed, sample vote counts by independent pollsters show Widodo to be headed for a second term.

At the project site, there seem to be no doubts that it will be completed. Deep in Indonesia’s tea country, workers are directing drilling machines into a hillside, displacing red earth to carve out two tunnels that will lead to the station of Wallini, a tea plantation near Bandung.

Chinese workers there told Reuters they had been at the site for a year and expected to stay until the project’s completion in 2021. Four new satellite towns will be built by the train consortium along the route.

Widodo’s government is currently offering up to $91 billion in infrastructure projects to Chinese companies, according to Luhut Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister for maritime affairs, who said Chinese officials have toured regional governments in search of projects to fund.

Two top officials told Reuters Widodo intends to lead a delegation to the Belt and Road forum, where some of those projects are expected to be signed.

One of the officials, Indonesia’s investment board chief, Thomas Lembong, told Reuters he expected this week’s summit to be a turning point, a “Belt and Road 2.0” with China more willing to negotiate.

“The Chinese leadership will do whatever it takes to make Belt and Road a success, even if that means making it more professionalised, transparent, and more cooperative,” he said.

THE SINGAPORE LINK

The revival of the Malaysian project is likely to give China hope of securing another train project: the high speed rail (HSR) between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, which was postponed by Mahathir after he initially threatened to cancel it.

“China will likely take heart from the ECRL outcome and focus their efforts on ensuring that the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore HSR remains on track,” Harrison Cheng, an analyst at Control Risks, told Reuters.

Beijing had been intent on being awarded the project to prove that its rail expertise could win over rivals in a first-world country like Singapore, with its diplomats describing it as a “must win at all costs project”.

Apart from CREC, consortiums from Japan, South Korea, Europe, Singapore and Malaysia are also in the race, if the project is revived.

A source in the Singaporean government said Malaysia would have to pay significant penalties to cancel the project altogether.

Mahathir as well as Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong will take part in this week’s Belt and Road summit, which could see China make a renewed push for the project.

(Reporting by Fanny Potkin and Tabita Diela in JAKARTA and WALLINI; Additional reporting by Gayatri Suroyo and Cindy Silviana in JAKARTA, Sumeet Chatterjee in HONG KONG, Brenda Goh in SHANGHAI, Joseph Sipalan and Liz Lee in Kuala Lumpur, and Joe Brock and John Geddie in SINGAPORE, Editing by Ed Davies and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Source: OANN

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A Wall St. street sign is seen near the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York
A Wall St. street sign is seen near the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., March 7, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

April 14, 2019

By Ann Saphir and Trevor Hunnicutt

SAN FRANCISCO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As President Donald Trump keeps up his attacks on the Federal Reserve’s policies, Wall Street is cautiously embracing them, giving a passing grade to the Fed’s communication since its shift in January to a “patient” approach on rate hikes.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York surveys the main Wall Street securities companies it trades with and asks them how they would grade the Fed’s communication with markets and the public since the last survey. The central bank asked for scores on a scale of one, for “ineffective,” to five, for “effective.”

Roughly two-thirds of the Wall Street companies, known as primary dealers, gave the Fed a score of four or five (more effective) in the latest survey published on Thursday, while 22 percent gave the Fed a score of one or two (less effective). The others were neutral.

The 3.4 composite of those scores is below Chairman Jerome Powell’s 3.6 average grade during his term but above the 3.2 average achieved by each of his two most recent predecessors, Janet Yellen and Ben Bernanke, a Reuters analysis of all surveys available on the New York Fed’s website shows. (For a graphic, see https://tmsnrt.rs/2XawZ6T).

A separate New York Fed survey of market participants that includes large investors showed that 57 percent gave the top two effectiveness scores while a quarter gave the lowest two scores. Both surveys were conducted March 6 to 11.

The grades are important because they help the Fed gauge how well its message is getting through to financial markets. The Fed relies on its credibility with investors to influence the economy.

After raising rates four times in 2018, a majority of Fed policymakers at their latest meeting in March expected that they would leave rates in their current 2.25-2.50% range for the rest of the year due to uncertainty about how much the global economy is slowing.

A well-honed message that rates are likely to stay on hold for a while can help ease financial conditions when central banks think those conditions overly tight. But if markets find the Fed’s message confusing or not credible, they may surge or slump in ways that undermines the Fed’s impact. That was the case late last year, when markets swung sharply in response to statements by Powell widely regarded by investors as communication missteps.

President Trump, meanwhile, has publicly slammed the central bank’s prior rate hikes for thwarting economic growth and he also pressed policymakers to change course.

Lewis Alexander, the chief economist at Nomura Securities, said the Fed moved policy “quite a lot” from December to March and that calibrating their language so everyone could understand it was not going to be easy.

“Powell’s stated intention to use plain language I very much endorse; there’s nothing in this world that can’t be explained thoroughly but simply,” he said.

The Fed is increasingly keen on its ability to communicate. Powell has instructed a small group of policymakers to come up with ways to improve it, minutes of the Fed’s March meeting published on Wednesday showed. This reflects concern that markets may take Fed forecasts on rates and the economy as promises rather than best-guess projections.

The emphasis on communications is also evident in Powell’s decision this year to hold news conferences after every Fed meeting, double the previous frequency. Even the New York Fed’s inclusion of the question on communications effectiveness in the March survey may reflect increased interest, given that historically it has posed that question only once a quarter.

Grades generally go up when the Fed does as expected and fall when it surprises, the Reuters analysis of grades over the last nine years show. The New York Fed did not make its pre-2011 surveys available.

Powell and other Fed policymakers have tried to dispel any perception that it could derail the economy by being too aggressive. Stocks leapt higher after Powell signaled he would be open to taking a go-slow approach on rate hikes.

In October 2015, when the Yellen Fed was navigating the difficult transition from years of super-low interest rates to a cycle of rate hikes, she got the worst grade of her tenure – an average 2.27 out of 5.

The Bernanke Fed did worse, getting a grade of 2.1 in late 2013, when they did not begin to taper the Fed’s bond purchases in September as markets had expected. His grades later recovered as the Fed limited its controversial quantitative easing program.

(Reporting by Ann Saphir in San Francisco and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Tampa Bay Lightning at Columbus Blue Jackets
FILE PHOTO: Apr 14, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; A view of the Stanley Cup Playoffs logo on a hat in the team store prior to game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

April 22, 2019

By Rory Carroll

(Reuters) – The National Hockey League said on Monday it would purchase carbon credits to offset airline emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

For the first round of the playoffs, which has the highest number of teams traveling and is currently underway, the NHL will offset more than 465 metric tons of carbon emissions, equivalent to taking 99 cars off the road for one year.

The league will purchase the offsets from Portland, Oregon-based Bonneville Environmental Foundation, which operates offset projects that capture or cut greenhouse gases emitted from animal waste, landfills and fossil fuel use.

The announcement, which coincides with Earth Day, is part of the NHL’s efforts to address climate change.

Last season the NHL published its second Sustainability Report, which examined its commitment to ensure all levels of hockey — from the frozen ponds it was invented on to professional arenas — thrive for future generations.

The report estimated that in the coming decades the average length of the skating season may shrink by one third in eastern Canada and by 20 percent in western Canada.

In response the league has ramped up efforts at its arenas to cut carbon emissions, reduce waste and conserve water, among other initiatives.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Mexico's President Obrador speaks during a news conference in Mexico City
Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

April 15, 2019

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Monday he will create a “Robin Hood” institute to return to the people the ill-gotten wealth seized from corrupt politicians and gangsters.

His administration is drawing up a bill to create an independent “Robin Hood” institute “against the corrupt” that would put confiscated goods such as real estate, jewelry and cars into the public’s hands, the president told reporters.

“Let’s quickly return everything to the people that’s been stolen,” he said at his regular morning news conference.

For example, the institute could assign seized homes to municipalities for schools, hospitals or elderly care centers, he said. Assets seized by the government tend to have been ransacked or require expensive upkeep, he noted.

He did not estimate the value of the assets, or offer details on how they would be given back to the people.

Since taking office in December, veteran leftist Lopez Obrador has rolled out a string of welfare programs for the poor and the elderly, cut salaries for top civil servants and says he is saving public money by eliminating corruption.

Lopez Obrador has shunned the often luxurious trappings of Mexico’s wealthy elites, choosing to fly coach and drive through the capital in a white Volkswagen Jetta.

Immediately upon taking office, he turned over the presidential palace to the public and put his predecessor’s official plane up for sale.

(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon and Sharay Angulo; Editing by Dave Graham and Jeffrey Benkoe)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump's lead attorneys Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani react after the Special Counsel summary was released in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump’s lead attorneys Jay Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani react after Attorney General William Barr sent lawmakers a summary of the key findings in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, at an office in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2019. Picture taken March 24, 2019. Courtesy of Peter Halmagyi/Handout via REUTERS.

April 19, 2019

By Karen Freifeld

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal lawyers spent at least 10 hours reviewing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election before it was made public, two of the lawyers told Reuters on Friday.

Rudy Giuliani, Jay Sekulow and two other Trump lawyers went to the U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday and Wednesday for an early look at the 448-page report into whether Trump’s team colluded with Russia and whether Trump obstructed the investigation, which was released to the public on Thursday.

Attorney General William Barr, who has drawn criticism from Democratic lawmakers over his handling of the Mueller probe, said on Thursday that both White House counsel and Trump’s personal lawyers had been allowed to review the redacted report.

Barr gave no details about how much access they were given but Sekulow and Giuliani said they reviewed copies of the report from about 4 p.m. until at least 9 p.m. on Tuesday and from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, taking notes on legal pads.

The lawyers said they gave up their cellphones and other electronic devices before being led into a Justice Department conference room in a restricted area known as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), designed to ensure secret information stays secure.

“We were doing a lot of reading, not talking,” Sekulow told Reuters, referring to himself, Giuliani, and Jane and Marty Raskin.

“I had at least 30 pages of notes,” said Giuliani.

Sekulow pushed back against Democrats’ complaints that Barr had tried to help Trump by giving his lawyers an early look at the report.

“Our client was the subject of an inquiry,” Sekulow said, explaining that the team of lawyers sent a note to the Justice Department last week asking to see the report. “We believed it was an appropriate request to make.”

The disclosure followed news reports this week that Justice Department officials discussed Mueller’s conclusions with White House lawyers before the release.

Giuliani said the preview reassured them that the report did not contain any bombshells.

“It gave us some confidence the people who hate him will hate him, the people who love him will love him, and the people in between were not going to be persuaded,” he said.

After the first session, the lawyers went back to Sekulow’s Capitol Hill offices, ordered in Chinese food and created an outline of their own about the most important details in the report, they said.

On Wednesday night, they went out for Mexican food. And on Thursday night, after the report’s release, they celebrated at the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Although Mueller’s team described in detail the extensive contact Trump’s team had with Russia during the election campaign and how Trump tried to impede the investigation, it stopped short of concluding he had committed a crime or that his aides had conspired with Moscow.

The team of personal lawyers was happy with the result. “No collusion and no obstruction,” Sekulow said, using a phrase often repeated by Trump.

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld; Editing by Kieran Murray and Bill Rigby)

Source: OANN

Prominent conservative donors who avoided President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign are now participating in a new fundraising drive for Trump ahead of his re-election bid, Politico reports.

Donors to former President George W. Bush and former presidential candidates Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Mitt Romney, R-Utah, have agreed to steer their fundraising networks toward Trump. Politico compares the project to the Pioneers network that backed Bush’s first presidential campaign. The program will offer rewards, such as invitations to retreats, briefings, and dinners sponsored by the campaign, to donors who give $25,000 or more to the Trump Victory fund.

“I think you’ll have a significant number of Bush and Romney veterans that were on the sidelines or didn’t get overly involved in 2016 but will be involved in the 2020 campaign,” said Jack Oliver, a longtime GOP fundraiser who helped President Bush and his brother Jeb Bush in their presidential campaigns.

“There were still a lot of people who were trying to lick their wounds and hadn’t quite gotten over the fact that he [Trump] had whipped everybody. They were slow to come on board,” said Roy Bailey, a fundraiser and one of the leaders of the Trump Victory project. He added about 150 people have joined.

“I’ve had a couple of people that in 2016, they just weren’t on board with candidate Trump at all and they said, ‘Look, Roy, he has won me over. I’m all in,'” he said.

Source: NewsMax America



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