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Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg ripped President Trump on Friday over allegations of past affairs and sexual misconduct while questioning the support the president enjoys from the religious right.
The South Bend, Indiana mayor – a one-time long-shot for the nomination whose surge over the past two months has made him a legitimate contender for the Democratic nomination – drew attention to Trump’s payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump. The president has repeatedly denied the affair with Daniels took place.
Healso accused leaders of the religious right of “hypocrisy” for supporting someone like Trump, whom he targeted as morally lacking.
“I’m old enough to remember when Republicans talked a lot about character in the Oval Office,” Buttigieg said in an interview with Fox News.
“And I’m a little bit puzzled that some leading figures on the religious right can look at somebody who has the track record that this president has on everything from the boasting about sexual misconduct to the payoff to somebody he’s having an affair and believe that that person ought to be the moral as well as the political leader of this nation. To put it mildly it seems inconsistent,” the mayor said.
Pointing to Trump’s payment of $130,000 to Daniels, Buttigieg charged that “the revelations about the payoff to the adult film actress he was allegedly having an affair with is just a concern on a moral level, but it has some pretty troubling legal implications too. So sometimes personal conduct and official or legal implications intertwine.”
Buttigieg made his comments one day after the president – in an interview with Fox News – supported Buttigieg’s status as a married gay man. The candidate, if elected, would become the nation’s first gay president.
“I think it’s absolutely fine. I do,” the president told Fox News host Steve Hilton.
“I think it’s great. I think that’s something that perhaps some people will have a problem with. I have no problem with it whatsoever. I think it’s good,” Trump stressed.
Hilton’s full interview with the president will air Sunday night on the Fox News Channel.
Buttigieg on Friday also took aim once again at Vice President Mike Pence, accusing the former Indiana governor of advancing “homophobic policies.”
“I don’t know what’s in his heart,” Buttigieg said in an interview conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that aired Friday. But he added that “if you’re in public office and you advance homophobic policies, on some level it doesn’t matter whether you do that out of political calculation or whether you do it out of sincere belief.”
“The problem is, it’s hurting other people,” Buttigieg pointed out.
Buttigieg and Pence have bene clashing in recent weeks over issues affecting the LGBT community.
In a Fox News interview earlier this week, the vice president said it was “disappointing” to see both Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden criticizing him on the campaign trail.
And pointing to Buttigieg, Pence teased that “if he wins their party’s nomination, we’ll have a lot more to say about him.”
Last month Pence accused Buttigieg of attacking his faith to stand out in a crowded Democratic primary field of contenders.
Source: Fox News Politics
A Huawei surveillance camera is seen displayed at an exhibition during the World Intelligence Congress in Tianjin, China May 16, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee
May 16, 2019
LONDON (Reuters) – China’s Huawei poses such a grave security risk to the United Kingdom that the government must reconsider its decision to give it a limited role in building 5G networks, a former head of Britain’s MI6 foreign spy service said on Thursday.
In what some have compared to the Cold War arms race, the United States is worried that 5G dominance would give any global competitor such as China an advantage Washington is not ready to accept.
The Trump administration, which hit Huawei with severe sanctions on Wednesday, has told allies not to use its technology because of fears it could be a vehicle for Chinese spying. Huawei has repeatedly denied this.
But British ministers have agreed to allow Huawei a restricted role in building parts of its 5G network. The final decision has not yet been published.
“I very much hope there is time for the UK government, and the probability as I write of a new prime minister, to reconsider the Huawei decision,” said Richard Dearlove, who was chief of the Secret Intelligence Service from 1996 to 2004.
“The ability to control communications and the data that flows through its channels will be the route to exercise power over societies and other nations,” Dearlove wrote in the foreword to a report on Huawei by the Henry Jackson Society.
Huawei, founded in 1987 by a former engineer in China’s People’s Liberation Army, denies it is spying for Beijing, says it complies with the law and that the United States is trying to smear it because Western companies are falling behind.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Britain on a visit this month that it needed to change its attitude towards China and Huawei, casting the world’s second largest economy as a threat to the West similar to that once posed by the Soviet Union.
Dearlove, who spent 38 years in British intelligence, said it was deeply worrying that the British government “appears to have decided to place the development of some its most sensitive critical infrastructure” in the hands of a Chinese company.
“No part of the Communist Chinese state is ultimately able to operate free of the control exercised by its Communist Party leadership,” said Dearlove.
“We should also not be influenced by the threat of the economic cost of either delaying 5G or having to settle for a less capable and more expensive provider,” he said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden and Andrew MacAskill)
FILE PHOTO: A man stands near an IBM logo at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 25, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo
May 21, 2019
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU antitrust regulators will decide by June 27 whether to clear U.S. tech giant International Business Machines Corp’s $34 billion bid for software company Red Hat.
The deal, IBM’s biggest, will help the company expand into subscription-based software offerings. IBM said on Tuesday it had sought EU approval the previous day. The European Commission confirmed the request.
Founded in 1993, Red Hat specializes in Linux operating systems, the most popular type of open-source software, an alternative to proprietary software made by Microsoft Corp.
The EU competition enforcer can either clear the deal with or without conditions or it can open a full-scale investigation.
U.S. regulatory authorities approved the deal without demanding concessions earlier this month.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by David Evans)
FILE PHOTO: Lithuanian presidential candidate Ingrida Simonyte’s campaign placard is seen in Vilnius, Lithuania May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
May 12, 2019
By Andrius Sytas
VILNIUS (Reuters) – Lithuanians started voting in a tightly contested presidential election on Sunday to replace outgoing Dalia Grybauskaite, the Baltic nation’s “Iron Lady” who was one of the European Union’s most outspoken critics of Russia.
Still very popular, Grybauskaite, 63, is not eligible to run after two terms. But the top three candidates vying to replace her have pledged to maintain a tough stance against Vilnius’ former Soviet master as well as hefty military spending.
Five years after Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine that sparked fears of further Russian aggression across eastern Europe, the election campaign in Lithuania was dominated by voter anger over economic inequality and corruption.
The race is led jointly by Ingrida Simonyte, 44, a former finance minister in a center-right government, and Gitanas Nauseda, 54, a former senior economist at a top bank, running neck-and-neck on 22% each, according to a Vilmorus/Lietuvos Rytas poll.
Polling third with 17% of voter support is prime minister Saulius Skvernelis, 48, a former police chief affiliated with the Farmers and Greens Union, the senior partner of the ruling coalition.
All three have vowed to advocate for increased state spending on social issues, a sore point for many in Lithuania where nearly a third of the population could be at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
Income inequality is among of the highest in the European Union, second only to Bulgaria.
Lithuania’s president has a semi-executive role with a say in the appointment of key officials such as judges, the chief prosecutor and head of the central bank. The president can veto laws and, in tandem with the government, sets foreign and security policy.
Both Nauseda and Simonyte say tax income should be raised to fund more state spending, although Skvernelis has introduced a tax cut as signature policy of his government.
“I try to appeal to people by saying, look, there are no simple answers, and there are many headwinds,” Simonyte, the finance minister when the government cut public sector wages and pensions in 2009 as a state default loomed, told Reuters.
“It’s complicated for a single party to take leadership (on state finances) because it knows it will be criticized by others for unpopular decisions. A president can show leadership and settle the debates,” she said.
Nauseda, a household name from his role as an economic commentator, told Reuters he would use the president’s position to help business expand in emerging markets, especially China, and ask the government to increase revenues and better fund social services, such as pensions.
“Retirement is leading to poverty, because pensions are obviously too low,” Nauseda said in a recent debate, adding he wanted the budget for pensions to be raised to 10% of gross domestic product from 6.8%.
Signaling he would resign if not elected, Skvernelis has pledged to raise retirement pensions by the middle of next year.
Polls close at 8 p.m. (1700 GMT), with results expected around midnight. A run-off vote will be held on May 26 if no candidate wins by a substantial margin.
(Writing by Johan Ahlander; Editing by Justyna Pawlak and Robert Birsel)
FILE PHOTO: A Nokia logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Espoo, Finland, May 5, 2017. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
April 25, 2019
HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finnish telecom network equipment maker Nokia reported a surprise quarterly loss on Thursday, citing hard competition in its core business, the networks unit.
Having signaled back in January “a particularly weak Q1”, Nokia reported a fall to an operating loss (non-IFRS) of 59 million euros ($66 million) from a profit of 239 million euros in the first quarter a year ago.
That compared with analysts’ profit expectation of 305 million in a Reuters poll.
The networks industry – dominated by Nokia, Sweden’s Ericsson and China’s Huawei – has been battered by years of slowing demand since 4G network sales peaked in the middle of the decade.
It is now readying for a new cycle of network upgrades as operators have started to invest in 5G equipment.
(Reporting by Anne Kauranen, Tarmo Virki in Helsinki; editing by Gopakumar Warrier)
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A man uses his smartphone next to a Japanese traditional Taiko drum during A man uses his smartphone next to a Japanese traditional Taiko drum during the preprartion for the upcoming Kanda festival in Tokyo, Japan, May 10, 2019. REUTERS/Issei Kato
May 27, 2019
TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s government said on Monday it will add from August the information-technology and telecommunication sectors to a list of industries for which restrictions on foreign ownership of Japanese firms apply.
The new rule comes amid heightening U.S. pressure in dealing with cyber-security risks and technological transfers involving China.
(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chris Gallagher)
FILE PHOTO: Papua New Guinea's then Prime Minister Peter O'Neill makes an address to the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia November 29, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne/File Photo
May 27, 2019
SYDNEY/MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Political turmoil in Papua New Guinea threatened to delay a $13 billion plan to double the country’s gas exports, sending shares in one of the project’s partners, Oil Search Ltd, down nearly 4% on Monday.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill said on Sunday he would resign after weeks of high-level defections from the ruling party. Sir Julius Chan, twice a former premier, would take over as the government’s leader, O’Neill said.
Political instability is not unusual in Papua New Guinea and has not held back mining and energy investments in the resource-rich country, however protests over benefits failing to reach rural areas have dogged the government and project owners.
It was not clear whether Chan could command a majority in parliament when it resumes on Tuesday.
“We will not choose him. It’s a really bad choice,” opposition lawmaker Allan Bird told Reuters in a text message.
“We want a complete break from O’Neill (and) Chan is just a proxy for O’Neill,” he said.
Chan said on Monday he had been approached by both the government and the opposition to take the role.
“This is not a position I am seeking,” he said in a statement. “However, I love Papua New Guinea, and there is a desperate need right now to unite the country … and to make the wealth of this country work to the benefit of the people of this country.”
O’Neill had resisted calls to resign for weeks but his opponents said on Friday they had rallied enough support in parliament to oust him over a range of grievances, including a gas deal agreed in April with France’s Total SA.
The deal with Total set the terms for developing the Elk and Antelope gas fields, which will feed two new liquefied natural gas (LNG) production units at the PNG LNG plant, run by ExxonMobil Corp.
At the same time, ExxonMobil and its partners are planning to build a third new unit at the PNG plant, to be partly fed by another new gas field, P’nyang.
Credit Suisse analyst Saul Kavonic said the political upheaval could put pressure on the government to negotiate tough terms for the P’nyang gas agreement, which is yet to be finalised, and affect talks on development costs.
“Both these factors heighten the risk of delay,” he said in a note to clients.
Any delays in the P’nyang agreement could hold up a final investment decision on the PNG LNG expansion, which is set to double the plant’s capacity to 16 million tonnes a year.
The uncertainty sent shares in Oil Search, a partner in PNG LNG and Papua LNG, down as much as 3.9% in early trading on Monday. Energy stocks rose 0.6%.
ExxonMobil and its partners had hoped to begin basic engineering planning for the expansion by mid-2019 and make a final investment decision in 2020.
They are racing against projects in Mozambique, Qatar, North America and Australia to produce LNG from the expansion by 2024 to fill an expected gap in the global LNG market. ExxonMobil and Total both have LNG projects elsewhere that could take priority if PNG politics delays them, Kavonic said.
RBC analyst Ben Wilson said he did not think a final investment decision in 2020 was at risk yet and played down the threat that the PNG opposition would seek to renegotiate the LNG agreement.
“Sanctity of contract is critical to ongoing investment in PNG and to the success of future potential sovereign bond issuances,” Wilson said.
Total and Oil Search representatives were not immediately available to comment.
(Reporting by Tom Westbrook and Sonali Paul; Editing by Paul Tait)
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg criticized the Trump administration for sending 1,500 more troops to the Middle East, telling ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday that "escalation is the last thing we need" and we have "learned nothing from the last 15 years of armed conflict" in the region.
The South Bend, Indiana mayor also said President Donald Trump's strategy regarding Iran seems to be "driven as much by domestic politics as it is by national security imperatives."
Although Buttigieg acknowledged the sending of the additional troops was also based on intelligence and a request from Central Command for increased force protection, he insisted the United States already has "the means to protect our assets in the Middle East" and "our national security policy has to be to avoid escalation in the Persian Gulf."
He also conceded "there is clearly a pattern of misbehavior and provocation by the Iranians that goes back in different ways across my entire lifetime," but he emphasized the administration's strategy appears to be driven by National Security Adviser John Bolton, "one of the architects of the Iraq War, [who] is continuing to try to prosecute a case to lead to higher tensions, escalation, and perhaps conflict with Iran as though we learned nothing from the last 15 years of armed conflict . . . in the Middle East."
Source: NewsMax Politics
FILE PHOTO: A worker stands next to robotic arms welding pump truck part at a factory of the Foton Loxa Heavy Machinery Co in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer
May 27, 2019
BEIJING (Reuters) – Profits earned by China’s industrial companies contracted in April after a sharp rebound in the previous month, adding to concerns about the already slowing economy in the wake of a recent escalation in Sino-U.S. trade tensions.
Profits in April dropped 3.7% year-on-year to 515.4 billion yuan ($74.80 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website on Monday, compared with a 13.9% surge in March.
For the first four months of 2019, industrial profits dropped 3.4% on an annual basis to 1.81 trillion yuan.
Industrial firms’ liabilities grew 5.5% from a year earlier to 63.87 trillion yuan by end-April, compared with a 6.5% rise at the end of the first quarter.
The data covers large companies with annual revenues of more than 20 million yuan from their main operations.
($1 = 6.8907 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Sam Holmes)
FILE PHOTO:Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media as he arrives at the Horizon Church in Sutherland in Sydney, Australia, May 19, 2019. AAP Image/Joel Carrett/via REUTERS
May 27, 2019
By Colin Packham
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit the Solomon Islands next week, two sources familiar with the plans said on Monday, as Western nations seek to rein in China’s influence on the tiny Pacific island.
With the United States and its allies keen to ensure China does not increase its foothold in the Pacific, protecting diplomatic recognition for self-ruled Taiwan has emerged as a flashpoint in regional ties.
“China is the Solomon Islands’ largest trading partner and this is adding a lot of pressure on lawmakers to switch allegiances,” said Jonathan Pryke, Pacific Islands program director at the think-tank, the Lowy Institute.
The Solomon Islands is one of a handful of Pacific countries to recognize Taiwan, a policy now in question after recent elections. China views as Taiwan as a renegade province with no right to state-to-state ties.
On Friday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would help Pacific countries in the face of China’s attempts to influence them.
Those remarks threaten to inflame tension between the U.S. and China already heated by their trade war, U.S. sanctions and China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea.
Morrison’s first overseas trip since winning re-election this month will also be the first time an Australian prime minister has visited the Solomon Islands since 2008.
Australia and China have been vying for influence in sparsely populated Pacific island countries that control vast swathes of resource-rich oceans.
Keen to undercut China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Australia has directed ever larger amounts of its foreign aid to the region.
In 2018, Australia said it would spend $139 million to develop undersea internet cable links to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, amid national security concerns about China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.
That year, Australia became the first country to ban the world’s largest maker of telecom network gear from its nascent broadband network, a step the United States followed this year by effectively banning U.S. firms from doing business with Huawei.
In November, Australia offered Pacific countries up to A$3 billion in grants and cheap loans in build infrastructure, as Morrison declared the region was “our patch”.
Australia has won favor through its spending commitments but its support of its dominant coal industry is a sore point for many in the region.
“There is little doubt that many Pacific islands will have been unhappy with the re-election of Morrison,” said Peter Chen, a political science professor at the University of Sydney. “He will need to find common ground to repair that relationship.”
($1=1.4438 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
FILE PHOTO: United Airlines planes, including a Boeing 737 MAX 9 model, are pictured at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, U.S., March 18, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo
May 27, 2019
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) reputation has taken a hit as a result of the Boeing Co 737 MAX grounding, United Airlines President Scott Kirby said on Monday.
“The brand of the FAA has certainly been impacted by this,” he said at the Skift Forum Asia conference in Singapore.
However, he said the regulatory system in the United States and elsewhere was likely to emerge stronger as a result of the 737 MAX grounding experience.
(Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
FILE PHOTO: May 13, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli (29) looks on during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks t Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
May 27, 2019
The Pittsburgh Pirates will call up right-handed prospect Mitch Keller ahead of their doubleheader against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.
Keller, the Pirates’ top pitching prospect, has gone 5-0 with a 3.45 ERA over nine starts for Triple-A Indianapolis this season and was scheduled to start for that club in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday. Keller, 23, will start the second game in Cincinnati, the Pirates announced in a tweet on Sunday.
A second-round pick by the Pirates in 2014, Keller has a 34-17 record with a 3.06 ERA over six minor league seasons. Injuries to starters Trevor Williams, Jameson Taillon and Chris Archer have left the Pirates hurting for pitching — though Archer returned to the rotation on May 15.
When Keller does take the mound, he won’t be throwing to Francisco Cervelli. The Pirates placed their starting catcher on the 7-day concussion list after he took a broken bat to the facemask during Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
This is the third straight season in which Cervelli has suffered a concussion, and he has a long history of dealing with them.
Cervelli, 33, is batting .193 with a homer and five RBIs in 34 games this season. Elias Diaz (.250 entering Sunday) will be the primary catcher during Cervelli’s absence. Pittsburgh also recalled catcher Jacob Stallings and infielder-outfielder Jose Osuna from Triple-A Indianapolis, while designating utility man Jake Elmore for assignment.
–After leaving Saturday’s start after just three batters, Boston Red Sox hurler David Price is expected to be moved up in the rotation for his next start, perhaps Tuesday or Wednesday against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park, according to Ian Browne of MLB.com.
With Price’s absence taxing the bullpen on Saturday, the Red Sox called up fellow left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez from Double-A Portland and sent right-hander Colten Brewer down to Triple-A.
Price, 33, is 2-2 in eight starts this season, sporting a 3.24 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.
–Right-hander Chris Paddack did not start as scheduled for the San Diego Padres against the Blue Jays in the Toronto because of a stiff neck.
Left-hander Robbie Erlin started as the opener for San Diego and took the loss, giving up one run in two innings as the Padres lost 10-1.
Paddack, a 23-year-old rookie off to a 4-2 start with a 1.93 ERA in nine starts. He is scheduled to make his next start on Wednesday against the host New York Yankees.
–The New York Mets activated outfielder Michael Conforto from the 7-day concussion list prior to their game against the Detroit Tigers.
Conforto started in right, batted third and went 0-for-3 in New York’s 4-3 win. Conforto, 26, suffered the concussion during a game against the Washington Nationals on May 16. He is batting .265 with nine homers and 21 RBIs in 43 games this season.
The Mets designated outfielder Rajai Davis for assignment to make room for Conforto, though the team hopes it can hold onto Davis.
–Both Los Angeles teams activated their Sunday starting pitchers from the injured list prior to their respective games, as the Angels activated left-hander Andrew Heaney for his season debut against Texas and the Dodgers activated right-hander Kenta Maeda before their series finale in Pittsburgh.
Heaney had been sidelined since experiencing elbow inflammation during spring training. He gave up two runs on two hits — both solo home runs — with eight strikeouts and a walk. He did not get a decision as the Angels beat Texas 7-6 in Anaheim, Calif.
Maeda had been sidelined by a left adductor contusion since May 16. He improved to 6-2 on the season after going five innings and giving up three runs on five hits with no walks and four strikeouts. The Dodgers beat the Pirates 11-7 to sweep the three-game series.
–Field Level Media