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Mar 23, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Gio Gonzalez (43) throws a pitch during the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
April 20, 2019
Pitcher Gio Gonzalez opted out of his contract with the New York Yankees and intends to become a free agent, MLB.com reported Saturday.
Now, the next move belongs to the Yankees.
Gonzalez signed a minor league contract with the Yankees in March, and under the terms, he could opt out on April 20. The Yankees have 48 hours to grant his release or add him to the roster.
If he is put on the roster, Gonzalez will be paid a $3 million base salary, along with $300,000 per start.
In three starts at Triple A-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he as a 2-1 record with an ERA of 6.00.
Gonzalez, 33, made his major league debut in 2008 with Oakland. Last season, split between Washington and Milwaukee, he was 10-11 in 32 starts and had a 4.21 ERA.
–Field Level Media
FILE PHOTO - Spain's Socialist leader and current Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez speaks during a PSOE party meeting ahead of the April 28 general election in Dos Hermanas, near Seville, Spain April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca
April 20, 2019
MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s Socialists led in a poll published on Saturday in newspaper El Mundo with 30.3 percent of votes, equivalent to between 122 and 133 seats in the 350-seat parliament, but fell short of a majority with its main far-left ally ahead of a general election on April 28.
A coalition of three right-wing parties – People’s Party (PP), Ciudadanos and far-right Vox – would get 45.3 percent of votes, equivalent to between 152 and 174 seats, but this would also be short of the 176 seats needed to secure a parliamentary majority, according to the poll conducted by Sigma Dos.
It is exactly the same number of seats that the Socialists and anti-austerity Podemos would have together.
But Socialist Pedro Sanchez could be reelected as prime minister if he manages to get also the support of small regional parties that backed him in the past without having to rely on Catalan pro-independence parties that last February voted against his budget, forcing him to call for a snap election.
(Reporting by Joan Faus; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
FILE PHOTO - British Prime Minister Theresa May leaves after a news conference following an extraordinary European Union leaders summit to discuss Brexit, in Brussels, Belgium April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman
April 20, 2019
LONDON (Reuters) – A top member of Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party will tell her in the coming week that she must step down by the end of June or her lawmakers will try again to depose her, the Sunday Times reported, without citing sources.
May survived a vote of no confidence in December and although party rules mean lawmakers cannot challenge her again until a year has passed, lawmaker Graham Brady will tell her the rules will be changed unless she quits, the newspaper said.
Brady, who chairs the Conservative Party’s influential 1922 Committee of backbench lawmakers, will tell her that 70 percent of her members of parliament want her to resign over her handling of Brexit, the Sunday Times said.
Britain was originally due to leave the European Union on March 29, but that deadline was pushed back to April 12 and then again to Oct. 31 as May failed to break an impasse in parliament on the terms of Brexit.
(Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
FILE PHOTO - A general view shows a newly built section of the U.S.-Mexico border fence at Sunland Park, U.S. opposite the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in this picture taken from the Mexico side of the U.S.-Mexico border April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez
April 20, 2019
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico said on Saturday it had “deep concern” about armed groups that intimidate and extort migrants on the border, shortly after the ACLU and Democratic senators called for a probe into such citizen efforts to block migrants from crossing.
“These types of practices can drive human rights abuses of people who migrate or request asylum or refuge in the United States,” Mexico’s Foreign Relations Ministry said in a statement, referring to “militia groups” in New Mexico.
It added that patrols “on the margins” of the law create risks for the safety of migrants.
On Thursday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico condemned the United Constitutional Patriots, which patrols the southern U.S. border in New Mexico, as a “fascist militia organization” operating outside the law.
The group has posted videos showing members dressed in camouflage and armed with semi-automatic rifles holding groups of migrants, many Central American families seeking asylum, until U.S. Border Patrol agents arrive.
The small volunteer group says it is helping the Border Patrol deal with a surge in undocumented migrants at the southern border. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has toughened various policies and put pressure on Mexico in an attempt to discourage people from attempting to cross into the United States illegally.
Along with the ACLU, New Mexico Democratic senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall also called for an investigation into the border group.
“Threatening innocent children and families fleeing violence and seeking asylum is unacceptable and flies in the face of our values as a state and a nation,” they said in a joint statement on Twitter on Friday.
(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Richard Chang)
On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman set an Aug. 12 court date for former White House counsel Greg Craig as he faces allegations of lying to the FBI and appeared as one of 14 criminal referrals in the report, released Thursday, by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Craig, who served under former President Barack Obama, came under scrutiny after he failed to register as a foreign agent while Paul Manafort, Trump's ex-campaign manager, financed a report that Craig authored and that was in service to the Ukrainian government. He has pleaded not guilty to lying to the FBI.
Craig has pleaded not guilty to lying to federal prosecutors about his work for the Ukrainian government. The prosecution was "unprecedented and unjustified," he said in a video posted to YouTube.
A grand jury indicted Craig, claiming that he made false statements to the Justice Department's Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Unit which enforces laws surrounding disclosure for foreign lobbying activities.
In his video response posted earlier this month, Craig claimed the FARA unit made a formal determination agreeing that he didn't act as an agent. "I did not participate in a scheme to mislead the government or conceal material facts," he said.
Source: Fox News Politics
FILE PHOTO - A worker places an electoral poster of Spain's Socialist leader and current Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in La Fresneda, Spain April 12, 2019. REUTERS/Eloy Alonso
April 20, 2019
MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s Socialists led in a poll published on Saturday in newspaper El Pais with 28.8 percent of votes, equivalent to 129 seats in the 350-seat parliament, but fell short of a majority with its main ally ahead of a general election on April 28.
A coalition of three right-wing parties – People’s Party (PP), Ciudadanos and far-right Vox – would get 44.4 percent of votes, equivalent to 156 seats, but this would also be short of the 176 seats needed to secure a parliamentary majority, according to the poll conducted by 40dB.
Socialist Pedro Sanchez could be reelected as prime minister if he manages to form another parliamentary majority with the support of the array of parties, including far-left Podemos and Catalan pro-independence parties, that backed him last June when he won a vote of confidence against PP’s government at the time.
(Reporting by Joan Faus; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
FILE PHOTO - Customers walk past Avianca airline check-in machines at Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo, Brazil, April 12, 2019. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
April 20, 2019
BRASILIA (Reuters) – Avianca Brasil has canceled more than 1,300 flights, Brazilian media reported on Saturday, as the bankrupt airline was forced to reduce its fleet by more than two-thirds.
The cancellations, for April 19-28, are nationwide, with airports in Brasilia, Guarulhos in Sao Paulo, and Galeao in Rio de Janeiro, the hardest hit, O Estado de Sao Paulo reported.
Avianca, which filed for bankruptcy protection in December, has to return 18 leased planes after Easter, Brazil’s National Civil Aviation Agency said on Thursday, reducing its fleet to just eight aircraft.
Earlier this month, the airline had 35 planes.
(Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Richard Chang)
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A Libyan man walks near a house damaged by an overnight shelling in Abu Salim district in Tripoli, Libya April 17, 2019. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
April 18, 2019
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The United States and Russia both said on Thursday they could not support a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Libya at this time, diplomats said, as mortar bombs crashed down on a suburb of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
Russia objects to the British-drafted resolution blaming eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar for the latest flare-up in violence when his Libyan National Army (LNA) advanced to the outskirts of Tripoli earlier this month, diplomats said.
The United States gave no reason for its position on the draft resolution, which would also call on countries with influence over the warring parties to ensure compliance and for unconditional humanitarian aid access in Libya, which has been gripped by anarchy since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011.
The United States’ U.N. mission declined to comment and the Russian U.N. mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, Russia or China – the so-called permanent five – to pass. It was not immediately clear if Britain would persist with negotiations on a draft next week.
The United States and Russia made their positions clear during a closed-door council briefing by U.N. Libya envoy Ghassan Salame, who diplomats said appealed for a ceasefire, warning that weapons were pouring into the country and it was heading toward a serious humanitarian situation.
The U.S. reluctance to support Security Council action is in contrast to Washington’s earlier public opposition to Haftar’s offensive, which began while U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was visiting Tripoli.
Some U.N. diplomats have suggested the United States might be trying to buy time as President Donald Trump’s administration works out how to deal with the latest developments in Libya.
“I think there are a range of views in Washington on the policy side and they haven’t reconciled them and they’re not entirely certain where the president is on it,” said a senior U.N. diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“The American system is trying to evaluate all the scenarios and work out which one is in America’s best interest and just hasn’t done that yet,” the diplomat said.
Haftar’s forces predicted victory within days, but Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj’s internationally recognized government has bogged them down in southern suburbs with help from armed groups from various western Libyan factions.
A united Security Council informally expressed concern on April 5, calling on all forces to de-escalate and halt military activity and specifically calling out the LNA.
In the following days, the council was unable, however, to issue a more formal statement, diplomats said, as Russia objected to a reference to the LNA, while the United States said it could not agree to a text that did not mention Haftar’s forces.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then said in a statement on April 7 that “we have made clear that we oppose the military offensive by Khalifa Haftar’s forces and urge the immediate halt to these military operations against the Libyan capital.”
Haftar enjoys the backing of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which view him as an anchor to restore stability and combat Islamist militants, while most Western powers have supported Serraj.
Trump met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on April 9.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke with Pompeo about Libya on Thursday and both agreed on the need for a “rapid” ceasefire and return to the U.N-led political process, the French foreign ministry said in a statement. Paris has given Haftar support in the past.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Additional reporting by John Irish in Paris; Editing by Peter Cooney)
FILE PHOTO: A Boeing 737 MAX 8 takes off during a flight test in Renton, Washington, January 29, 2016. REUTERS/Jason Redmond/File Photo
April 16, 2019
(Reuters) – A Federal Aviation Administration review board said Tuesday that software update to the grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft was found to be “operationally suitable.”
Boeing said earlier this month it planned to submit a software upgrade and additional training for the anti-stall system known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) on the planes to the FAA in the coming weeks for approval.
The draft report from the FAA Flight Standardization Board also said additional training was needed for MCAS, but not required to be done in a simulator.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Nick Zieminski)
MANCHESTER, N.H. – Bill Weld acknowledges that he’s the longest of long-shot candidates as he prepares to challenge President Trump for the GOP primary nod.
But the former two-term Massachusetts governor points to another one-time GOP long shot who twice won New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary – the late Sen John McCain, R-Ariz.
In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday – the day after he formally launched his campaign to be the GOP’s 2020 standard bearer – Weld pointed to McCain’s tireless style of politics, which fueled his primary victories in New Hampshire in 2000 and again in 2008, when he captured the nomination.
“John McCain made that work here twice. Not once but twice. He was the underdog both times,” Weld pointed out.
Weld – he’s so far the lone GOP politician to announce a primary challenge to Trump’s re-election campaign — faces a sharp uphill climb to defeat the president, who remains popular with Republican voters in New Hampshire and across the country.
Still, Weld said he can beat Trump, emphasizing that he’s used to being the underdog, as he was in his state’s gubernatorial election some 30 years back.
“When I ran for governor of Massachusetts, I was less than an asterisk,” Weld said. “And I went out to every event all summer long and into the fall and I was often all by myself. And little by little, people said, ‘This kid keeps showing up.’ And the same thing would be the plan here” in New Hampshire
Minutes before he sat down with Fox News, Weld was implementing his plan, going table to table to talk with voters at Manchester’s Airport Diner, seen by many as a must-stop for White House hopefuls. He had just come from the fabled Red Arrow Diner in downtown Manchester, his first stop in a two-day swing through the Granite State.
Weld was in New Hampshire just two days after Trump’s re-election campaign announced it had raised $30 million in the first three months of this year — it now boasts a war chest of more than $40 million.
Asked how he can compete, Weld said that “my calls have been going well. I’m been making some finance calls. I’m calling some people who were supporters of Mitt Romney, people who were supporters of Jeb Bush, and they’re supportive.”
He added, “I don’t think New Hampshire is a primary you can buy.”
Weld has made visits to the state almost every week since announcing in February that he was setting up a presidential exploratory committee. And he said that’ll continue.
“I could be in New Hampshire all day, every day and still sleep in my own bed in Massachusetts every night,” he said.
Independents – some 40 percent of the state’s electorate – are allowed to vote in either the Democratic or Republican presidential primaries, which could help Weld as he tries to pull the ultimate upset in the GOP nomination race.
“I’ll probably be here part of every week between now and next February,” he said. But Weld also insisted that his message could also resonate on the West Coast and in some of the Rocky Mountain states.
Weld, who’s been a very vocal critic of the president, told Fox News: “I think I can do a better job than he can. I can cut spending. I have the political will to do it. I did that in Massachusetts. … Mr. Trump, whatever his other virtues might, he is not an economic conservative.”
What’s more, Weld said he “wouldn’t turn my back on climate change and global warming the way Mr. Trump has. … The Republican Party should not put its head in the sand on climate change.”
The president’s re-election campaign adviser and daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, said the president’s 2020 team hasn’t been worried at all about a Republican primary challenge.
“I don’t know why someone would be dumb enough to challenge Donald Trump,” she told Fox News recently when asked about Weld. “I don’t know why anybody would waste their time and money on the Republican end trying to challenge the president. We’re not worried about that at all.”
Weld also isn’t making any friends with the New Hampshire GOP.
State party chairman Steve Stepanek points to Weld’s insistence that he wouldn’t support Trump in the 2020 election, and to Weld’s time in 2016 as the Libertarian Party vice presidential nominee (Weld re-registered as a Republican earlier this year), and asked, “How can he call himself a Republican.”
But Stepanek – he was New Hampshire co-chairman of Trump’s 2016 campaign — said Weld would get a fair shake, adding that “essentially I am neutral in the primary as far as Governor Weld is concerned.”
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, another vocal Trump critic, has also been mulling a GOP primary challenge against Trump. So has Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who heads to New Hampshire next week to headline “Politics and Eggs,” another important event for White House hopefuls.
“I spoke to both of them in the last few days. Very pleasant conversations,” Weld shared.
Asked if he would exit the race if either Kasich or Hogan jumped in, he quickly answered: “I wouldn’t get out. I’d compete, but it would be an honorable competition.”
He said multiple primary challengers “could be good for President Trump, sharpening him up a little bit so that he wouldn’t take everything for granted. … It might be harder for President Trump to duck debates if there were three other candidates here.”
Source: Fox News Politics
The flag of Puerto Rico flies outside the Capitol building in San Juan, Puerto Rico May 4, 2017. REUTERS/ Alvin Baez
April 19, 2019
SAN JUAN (Reuters) – A judge on Thursday ordered banks to comply with a request from Puerto Rico’s federally created financial oversight board to disclose customer information related to certain debt issued by the bankrupt U.S. commonwealth.
The ruling boosts a potential effort by the board to recover billions of dollars in payments made to bondholders should a federal court hearing Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy cases choose to invalidate disputed debt issued by the government and its agencies.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Gail Dein’s order said “good cause exists” to grant the board’s motion, which seeks to compel banks to submit bondholder names and addresses along with Puerto Rico debt payments the bondholders received between 2013 and 2017.
The Bank of New York Mellon, Bank of America Corp, JP Morgan Chase Bank, and U.S. Bank objected to the board’s request last week, citing concerns over disclosing confidential customer information, as well as the cost and ability to produce a large amount of information by the April 19 deadline set by the board.
The judge ordered the banks and the board to submit a proposed confidentiality agreement by April 23 and set rolling deadlines of April 25, April 30 and May 8 for the banks to submit bondholder information. She rejected requests by the banks to be reimbursed for their costs and for indemnity for claims that could result from compliance with the order.
It was unclear whether the banks will appeal. Attorneys for the banks either declined to comment or could not immediately be reached.
The quest for bondholder information is related to an attempt by the board and some creditor groups in the bankruptcy to have the federal court void more than $6 billion of defaulted general obligation (GO) bonds sold in 2012 and 2014, as well as debt issued by Puerto Rico’s Public Buildings Authority and bonds sold for the island’s Employees Retirement System.
The board filed bankruptcy for the island in May 2017 to restructure about $120 billion of debt and pension obligations. But it did not seek to void the GO bonds on the basis they were issued in violation of debt limits in the Puerto Rico Constitution until January 2019, just months before the statute of limitations on bringing such actions runs out in early May.
U.S. District Court Judge Laura Taylor Swain is scheduled to take up the board’s motion to extend that deadline at an April 24 hearing.
(Reporting By Luis Valentin Ortiz in San Juan and Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis)
Climate change activists block a road during the Extinction Rebellion protest at Parliament Square in London, Britain April 16, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
April 16, 2019
LONDON (Reuters) – Police have arrested 290 people in two days of protests after climate-change activists blocked some of London’s most important junctions including Oxford Circus and Marble Arch, causing traffic chaos.
The protests, led by British climate group Extinction Rebellion, brought parts of central London to a standstill again on Tuesday.
Extinction Rebellion, which generated headlines with a semi-nude protest in the House of Commons earlier this month, is demanding the government reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
Police said they expected the demonstrations to continue in coming weeks and had to strike the right balance between allowing the right to peaceful protest while ensuring disruption was kept at a minimum.
“At this time, ongoing demonstrations are causing serious disruptions to public transport, local businesses and Londoners who wish to go about their daily business,” Chief Superintendent Colin Wingrove said on Tuesday.
Activists had been told they must confine any demonstrations to the Marble Arch area, and police were taking action against protesters in other locations.
More than a dozen activists had been arrested at Waterloo Bridge near parliament by lunchtime on Tuesday.
Others were sitting in the road with linked arms, chanting at the police “Rebellion! Rebellion!” and “We are peaceful! What about you?”
Five arrests were for criminal damage after the Royal Dutch Shell building near the River Thames was targeted on Monday.
Two protesters on Monday climbed up scaffolding, writing “Shell Knows!” in red paint on the front of the building and three protesters glued their hands to revolving doors at the entrance.
Tents littered the prime shopping area of Oxford Circus on Tuesday morning, with some activists huddled beneath a model boat with the words “Tell the Truth” across its side. One placard read: “Rebel for Life”.
Activist Katy Fowler, 39, from Machynlleth in Wales, said reaction from the public had been very positive.
“People have come up to us to thank us emphatically,” she said. “There is an awareness and a hunger for something to be done.”
(Reporting by Paul Sandle, Hannah Mckay and Andrew Marshall and Elisabeth O’Leary; Additional reporting by Bhanu Pratap in Bengaluru; writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison and Tom Brown)