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FILE PHOTO: People shop at Macy's Department store in New York City, U.S., March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo
April 18, 2019
WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – U.S. retail sales increased by the most in 1-1/2 years in March as households boosted purchases of motor vehicles and a range of other goods, the latest indication that economic growth picked up in the first quarter after a false start.
The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales surged 1.6 percent last month. That was the biggest increase since September 2017 and followed an unrevised 0.2 percent drop in February.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales would accelerate 0.9 percent in March. Retail sales in March advanced 3.6 percent from a year ago.
With March’s rebound, retail sales have now erased December’s plunge, which had put consumer spending and the overall economy on a sharply lower growth trajectory. Retail sales last month were probably lifted by tax refunds, even though they have been smaller than in previous years, following the revamping of the U.S. tax code in January 2018.
Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales rebounded 1.0 percent in March after a downwardly revised 0.3 percent decline in February. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.
They were previously reported to have decreased 0.2 percent in February. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity, and strong core retail sales in March could result in the further upgrading of first-quarter GDP estimates.
Growth forecasts for the first quarter were boosted to around a 2.4 percent annualized rate on Wednesday after data showed the U.S. trade deficit narrowed for a second straight month in February.
First-quarter growth forecasts have been raised from as low as a 0.5 percent rate following fairly upbeat reports on trade, inventories and construction spending. The economy grew at a 2.2 percent pace in the fourth quarter.
A report from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday described the economic activity as expanding “at a slight-to-moderate pace in March and early April. The Fed’s “Beige Book” report of anecdotal information on business activity collected from contacts nationwide showed a “few” of the U.S. central bank’s districts reported “some strengthening.”
Stronger growth in the first quarter will probably not change the view that the economy will slow this year as the stimulus from a $1.5 trillion tax cut package diminishes and the impact of interest rates hikes over the last few years lingers.
In March, sales at auto dealerships jumped 3.1 percent, the most since September 2017. Receipts at service stations increased 3.5 percent, likely reflecting higher gasoline prices. Sales at building materials and garden equipment and supplies dealers rose 0.3 percent.
Receipts at clothing stores shot up 2.0 percent, the largest increase since last May. There were also increases in sales at furniture outlets, electronics and appliances shops, and food and beverage stores.
Online and mail-order retail sales increased 1.2 percent last month. Sales at restaurants and bars rose 0.8 percent, the most since last July. But receipts at hobby, musical instrument and book stores fell 0.3 percent.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani Editing by Paul Simao)
Special Counsel Robert Mueller should testify before Congress and answer lawmakers’ questions regarding his report of the Russia investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, Judge Andrew Napolitano said.
The Fox News senior judicial analyst said on “Fox & Friends” early Thursday morning – just hours before Attorney General William Barr is expected to release the highly anticipated report – said there is a “tremendous desire on the of Americans to see what is there.”
“This has consumed us for two years,” Napolitano added.
Napolitano said the report will be a 400-page summary of the documents, interviews and notes the special counsel has amassed over the past two years and it will be lightly redacted. That said, Democrats are going to look at everything see what they can use against the president.
“If there is anything in there that they can use to undermine his legitimacy or undermine his credibility or weaken his re-election chances, of course, they are going to do it,” he said. “That's what they do. They are the other side.”
Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein scheduled a 9:30 a.m. ET press conference to discuss the Mueller report’s public release. The Department of Justice said Wednesday that certain members of Congress will be able to see the report “without certain redactions” after its public release.
Napolitano said certain ranking members of the Intelligence Committee have top security clearance to see anything.
“Now, can they reveal what they see? If they do, they are going to undermine their credibility,” he added. “They will never have a secret shared with them again.”
It was not immediately clear exactly when on Thursday the DOJ would release the redacted version of the nearly 400-page investigation into Russian election meddling, but the document was expected to be delivered to lawmakers and posted online by noon.
Barr has said redactions in the report's release are legally mandated.to protect four broad areas of concern: sensitive grand jury-related matters, classified information, ongoing investigations and the privacy or reputation of uncharged "peripheral" people.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Democrat New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, has said he is prepared to issue subpoenas "very quickly" for the full report if it is released with blacked-out sections, likely setting in motion a major legal battle.
Source: Fox News Politics
FILE PHOTO: Job seekers speak with potential employers at a City of Boston Neighborhood Career Fair on May Day in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., May 1, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
April 18, 2019
WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell to more than a 49-1/2-year low last week, pointing to sustained strength in the economy.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 192,000 for the week ended April 13, the lowest level since September 1969, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for the prior week was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.
Claims have now declined for five straight weeks. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims would rise to 205,000 in the latest week.
The Labor Department said no states were estimated last week. Claims tend to be volatile around this time of the year because of the different timings of the Easter holiday and spring breaks.
The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 6,000 to 201,250 last week, the lowest reading since November 1969.
The claims data covered the survey week for the nonfarm payrolls portion of April’s employment report. The four-week average of claims decreased by 19,250 between the March and April survey weeks. This suggests solid employment growth after payrolls increased by 196,000 jobs in March.
Though the trend in hiring has slowed, job gains remain above the roughly 100,000 needed per month to keep up with growth in the working-age population. The unemployment rate is at 3.8 percent, near the 3.7 percent Federal Reserve officials project it will be by the end of the year.
A report from the Fed on Wednesday showed “modest-to-moderate growth” in employment in a majority of the U.S. central bank’s districts in April. The Fed’s “Beige Book” report of anecdotal information on business activity collected from contacts nationwide showed notable worker shortages “most commonly in manufacturing and construction.”
Thursday’s claims report showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid declined 63,000 to 1.65 million for the week ended April 6. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims dropped 22,750 to 1.71 million.
(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani Editing by Paul Simao)
President Trump sought to get out ahead of Thursday's release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report by branding the Russia investigation anew as “the greatest political hoax of all time.”
The president issued his condemnations via tweet shortly before Attorney General Bill Barr was set to hold a press conference, and then issue a redacted version of the Russia report.
“The Greatest Political Hoax of all time! Crimes were committed by Crooked Dirty Cops and DNC/The Democrats,” Trump tweeted.
He soon followed with: “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT!”
The tweets mark the first rhetorical shots of the day by the White House in a broader battle between Republicans and Democrats to frame the report before it is made public.
Barr is scheduled to hold his press conference at 9:30 a.m. with Deputy Rod Rosenstein, where he is expected to address the redactions to the document, interactions with White House officials about the report and executive privilege.
The decision to hold a press conference before the report is published sparked furious pushback from Democrats, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., issuing a joint statement calling it “indefensible.”
“Attorney General Barr’s regrettably partisan handling of the Mueller report, including his slanted March 24th summary letter, his irresponsible testimony before Congress last week, and his indefensible plan to spin the report in a press conference later this morning — hours before he allows the public or Congress to see it — have resulted in a crisis of confidence in his independence and impartiality," they said. "We believe the only way to begin restoring public trust in the handling of the Special Counsel’s investigation is for Special Counsel Mueller himself to provide public testimony in the House and Senate as soon as possible.”
Barr angered Democrats with his decision last month to issue a four-page summary of the report, in which he said Mueller had concluded there was no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 campaign. The special counsel also reviewed whether the president had obstructed justice in any way, but ultimately did not come to a conclusion on that issue. Barr and Rosenstein, though, said the evidence was “not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
Democrats had demanded Barr release the entire unredacted report to Congress, and expressed frustration at what they have considered a delay from the administration -- likely exacerbated by Trump’s frequent declarations that he had been exonerated by the report, and Barr’s intention to review the beginnings of the investigation.
Congressional Democrats have signaled that the release will be just the beginning of a showdown with the administration over the extent of report redactions, as well as further questions about whether the president obstructed justice during the Russia investigation.
Meanwhile, a source close to Trump’s legal team told Fox News on Wednesday that the president’s lawyers have been working on a counter-report in anticipation of any obstruction of justice claims in the report.
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Bill Mears, Brooke Singman and Gregg Re contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Matteo Salvini, Italy's Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the far-right League Party, speaks as he launches the start of his campaign for the European elections, in Milan, Italy April 8, 2019. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo
April 18, 2019
ROME (Reuters) – An investigation into corruption allegations against a junior minister from the far-right League prompted fresh conflict on Thursday within Italy’s already troubled government.
The League and anti-establishment 5-Star Movement formed a coalition last June, but relations between the two parties have grown increasingly sour ahead of EU elections in May, and there has been media speculation that the government might fall apart.
The latest row centered on Armando Siri, an undersecretary in the transport ministry, who learnt on Thursday that he had been placed under investigation for allegedly taking bribes to help companies operating in the renewable energy sector.
He denied the accusations, but in a move that infuriated the League, the 5-Star’s Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli announced he was stripping Siri of his government responsibilities until his judicial position was clarified.
“A corruption enquiry demands the utmost attention and caution,” a transport ministry statement said.
The 5-Star has vowed zero tolerance against corruption in Italy and has built much of its support on the back of a squeaky clean image. However, its own image has been hit in recent years as some of its own politicians have faced charges of wrongdoing.
League leader Matteo Salvini, who also serves as deputy prime minister and interior minister, accused his coalition allies of hypocrisy by turning on Siri.
“I say to our 5-Star friends they defended (Rome Mayor Virginia) Raggi when she was under investigation. Please do not apply double standards,” Salvini said, referring to the fact that Raggi remained in office last year despite being charged with abusing her powers.
She was later cleared of the accusations.
The investigation into Siri is being led by Rome and Palermo prosecutors and concerns nine other people, judicial sources said. Siri demanded to be heard by the magistrates as soon as possible to clear his name.
Siri is a vocal supporter of sweeping tax cuts which are a core League campaign promise and part of the government’s program.
In 2014, he plea-bargained a brief prison sentence over the fraudulent bankruptcy of a company that he was president of. He never served any time behind bars.
(Reporting by Domenico Lusi; writing by Angelo Amante, editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Crispian Balmer)
FILE PHOTO: Mediaset's Chief Executive Pier Silvio Berlusconi speaks after media conference at the headquarter in Cologno Monzese, near Milan, Italy, April 8, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
April 18, 2019
By Giancarlo Navach
COLOGNO MONZESE, Italy (Reuters) – Italy’s Mediaset will make a decision on a possible pan-European free-to-air television alliance by the time of a July 25 board meeting, its chief executive said on Thursday.
The board meeting had already been scheduled to review the broadcaster’s decision not to pay a dividend for 2018.
The broadcaster, owned by former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s holding company Fininvest, has in recent months repeatedly raised the idea of creating a pan-European TV player to fend off competition from established rivals and new entrants.
Speaking to reporters after the group’s annual general meeting, CEO Pier Silvio Berlusconi, who is the son of the former premier, said there were several options for Mediaset’s pan-European project.
“Once we have all the elements, we’ll understand how to go about this,” he said.
Most recently, speculation has intensified that Mediaset and German rival ProSiebenSat.1 Media could strike a deal, but the two companies denied last Saturday a press report that they were in merger talks.
Mediaset’s Chief Financial Officer Marco Giordani told the shareholder meeting there were currently no plans to expand in Germany with ProSiebenSat.
Like other European free-to-air broadcasters, Mediaset is suffering competition from internet giants such as Google and Facebook in the advertising market and is struggling to keep up with investments in content production by video-streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
France’s largest private TV broadcaster, TF1 has also been mentioned in the press as a possible partner for Mediaset, though the company said last September it was not discussing a major cross-border deal with its Italian rival.
Thursday’s shareholder meeting approved a loyalty share scheme that rewards longer-term investors with additional votes under an Italian law that is traditionally used by controlling shareholders to strengthen their grip on companies. Fininvest currently owns 44 percent of Mediaset.
Under the new scheme, investors will have two voting rights for each share held for at least 24 straight months.
Mediaset has been embroiled in a legal battle with hostile shareholder Vivendi, the French media conglomerate controlled by billionaire Vincent Bollore, since 2016 when Vivendi pulled out of a deal to buy Mediaset’s pay-TV unit.
After the failed pay-TV sale, Vivendi built a stake of 29 percent in Mediaset but was later forced by Italian regulators to transfer most of its voting rights into a trust because of antitrust concerns. Vivendi is also the top shareholder in Telecom Italia.
As Mediaset considers Vivendi’s stake illegitimate, its board rejected requests from both the French group and the trust in which it has transferred most of its stake to vote at Thursday’s shareholder meeting.
Vivendi said in a statement that it could challenge the validity of the decisions approved by the meeting.
(Writing by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Susan Fenton)
A view shows Notre-Dame Cathedral reflected on the River Seine after a massive fire devastated large parts of the gothic structure in Paris, France, April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer
April 18, 2019
By Michel Rose and Julie Carriat
PARIS (Reuters) – A time lapse camera installed just hours before Monday’s devastating blaze at Notre-Dame de Paris may contain vital clues as to what caused the inferno, a French scaffolding company working at the cathedral said on Thursday.
Europe Echafaudage was one of five companies contracted to restore Notre-Dame’s spire. The 90-metre (275-foot) collapsed in the blaze, crashing through the cathedral’s vaulted ceiling.
Footage from the camera, which was placed on the northern belltower and is now in the hands of investigators, shows the first smoke coming out of the spire’s base, Marc Eskenazi, a representative for Europe Echafaudage told Reuters.
“Shots were taken every 10 minutes starting from Monday at 2 p.m.,” Eskenazi said. “Smoke can be seen on these images. It starts on the south side” he said.
So far the authorities have said the fire appears accidental, although they have not ruled out arson. Police sources say an electrical fault is one possibility.
The office of Paris public prosecutor Remy Heitz did not respond to a request for comment on the images.
Investigators have been able to access some areas of Notre-Dame, including its two bell towers, though parts of the historic nave remained too dangerous to enter more than 72 hours after the fire.
The damage to one of France’s best loved monuments prompted an outpouring of national sorrow and urgent calls for the authorities to find out what caused the fire.
(Graphic: The fire at Notre-Dame – https://tmsnrt.rs/2XgGCRi)
Scaffolding specialist Europe Echafaudage, a unit of Le Bras Freres, a family-owned business of 140 employees based in Lorraine in eastern France, had almost finished erecting the scaffolding around the spire, 14 months after starting.
The company’s 12-strong team was the only one working on site on the day of the blaze.
Europe Echafaudage, and a second company involved in the project, Pro Tech Foudre, have said they followed strict safety procedures.
Pro Tech Foudre, which was to start work removing the lightning rod that ran down from the spire’s top, described Europe Echafaudage as a reputable company with a strong safety record and experience working on prestigious sites, including the Pantheon and Louvre museum in Paris.
“These are very serious people. They go beyond the architects’ demands. When they’re asked for a Porsche, they deliver a Rolls,” said Anthony Dupuy, manager of Pro Tech Foudre.
“There are other companies for which I’d have said they were asking for it, but not this one.”
Dupuy, who was involved in work to Notre-Dame in 2013, said safety regulations were very strict at the centuries-old site, with a focus on fire prevention. All extension chords had to be unplugged every night and smoking was not allowed anywhere.
The scaffolders started leaving work at 5:20 p.m. on Monday evening and by 5:50 p.m. – half an hour before the first alarm sounded – all were gone, Eskenazi said.
“The procedure says that at the end of the day, electricity on the site is turned off. So we turn off the lifts and the scaffolding’s lights, and we hand over the keys to the sacristy’s concierge,” he said.
“That’s exactly what the workers did. They followed the procedure, and it was of course duly noted in the registers at the sacristy.”
There was no welding machine or blowtorch on the site, he added.
Police sources confirmed no welding was being done at this stage to the site.
The outside scaffolding had no sprinkler system, but was equipped with movement detectors which did not go off, Eskenazi said. The alarms that activated were the cathedral’s own, he added. That may also yield clues as to where the fire started.
Investigators are trying to understand why the fire was not detected when the first alarm rang at 6:20 p.m., prosecutor Heitz has said. A second alarm sounded at 6:43 p.m., at which point the fire was detected in the roof.
An hour later, the spire, engulfed in flames, collapsed to the gasps of hundreds of dumbstruck onlookers.
André Finot, Notre-Dame’s spokesman said, there were “smoke detectors everywhere” that were connected to the cathedral’s safety HQ at the presbytery, where a firefighter is posted 24 hours a day.
“If something goes off, there is an agent inside the cathedral who can go make checks,” Finot said. He said he was not able to comment on the checks that were carried out after the first alarm sounded.
If indeed the fire was not arson, an electrical source would almost certainly be to blame, one police source said.
“If it’s an accident, there’s a 90 percent chance it came from an electric source, the police source said. “It was the only source of energy in the building.”
(Additional reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by Michel Rose; Editing by Richard Lough and Raissa Kasolowsky)
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Golf – Masters – Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, Georgia, U.S. – April 12, 2019 – Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa finishes on the 18th hole during second round play. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
April 13, 2019
AUGUSTA, Ga. (Reuters) – Louis Oosthuizen put himself firmly in Masters contention with a career-best 66 at Augusta National on Friday but while he was happy to share the lead after the second round he said his focus was on getting it right over the closing nine holes on Sunday.
Oosthuizen, whose sole major win came at the 2010 British Open, leads the way at the Masters on seven-under 137, alongside fellow major winners Francesco Molinari, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott.
His round of 66, which featured seven birdies and a solitary bogey, was a five-stroke improvement over his first-round performance and the 36-year-old hoped the third round would offer a little more consistency.
“I just need a decent, solid round tomorrow, not play yourself out of it and stay in touch with everyone,” said Oosthuizen, who won the South African Open for the first time in December.
“This golf course, you win it on the back nine on Sunday. We’ve seen over the years anything can happen on the back nine.”
While few would bat an eyelid at seeing Oosthuizen in contention for the Green Jacket, the same cannot be said for countryman Justin Harding, who is just one shot off the lead at the first men’s major of the year.
Five birdies on the back nine helped Harding to a second consecutive 69 and the 33-year-old told reporters he was making the most of his maiden trip to the Masters, even if he is still struggling to believe he is even playing at the prestigious tournament.
“Look, it still gives me the giggles just being here,” said Harding. “I’ve got a couple of friends out here, family is out watching, as well. We’re just having a nice time and enjoying the birdies.”
(Reporting By Amy Tennery; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
FILE PHOTO: Austrian National Bank Oesterreichische National Bank (OeNB) headquarters is pictured in Vienna, Austria March 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
April 15, 2019
VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s central bank on Monday accused the right-wing government of seeking to undermine its financial independence as part of plans to strip it of its role as a banking supervisor.
Conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s government, which includes the far-right Freedom Party, announced plans last year to reform banking supervision in Austria, which is currently split between the Financial Market Authority and the central bank.
It says the plan, which will shift 180 jobs to the FMA from the Austrian National Bank (ONB) and do away with one of the two FMA co-chiefs’ jobs, will make for a more streamlined structure and save money.
The central bank, however, said the plan would make banking supervision more complicated and expensive.
“It is to be feared that supervision costs in Austria will increase as a result of these new, complicated structures, taking into account in particular the creation of three new sections in the Finance Ministry,” the ONB said in a statement.
It was responding to a government announcement earlier on Monday that draft legislation for the planned shake-up had been sent for legal review ahead of its submission to parliament before the summer.
“In order to at least partially offset these additional costs, the draft law provides for 95 percent of the central bank’s profits to be paid to the federal government instead of 90 percent currently,” the central bank said.
“That reduces the ONB’s ability to generate reserves and should therefore be seen as an encroachment on the ONB’s financial independence,” it added.
The Finance Ministry said in its earlier statement that its plan would generate 10 million euros ($11.3 million) in annual savings from 2020, the year it is due to take effect.
“We are following European best practice and what is common in many European countries,” a Finance Ministry spokesman said in response to the central bank’s remarks on its financial independence, adding that a payout rate of 95 percent or more existed in countries including the Netherlands.
The central bank, whose Governor Ewald Nowotny is close to the opposition Social Democrats, also denounced the decision to do away with the post of FMA co-chair Helmut Ettl, who was also appointed with the Social Democrats’ support.
The Finance Ministry spokesman said the decision was a structural one aimed at efficiency rather than a personal one.
(Reporting by Francois Murphy; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who has enjoyed a surge in opinion polls and a torrent of media coverage, will formally launch a bid on Sunday for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
The announcement in South Bend comes as little surprise. No potential contender in the burgeoning Democratic field has seen as rapid a rise in the early stages of the campaign as Buttigieg, who went from obscure Midwestern politician to top-tier contender in a matter of weeks.
At 37, Buttigieg will be the youngest entrant in a field that features 77-year-old U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and, likely soon, 76-year-old former Vice President Joe Biden – a contrast Buttigieg has emphasized in campaign events.
The man known as “Mayor Pete” has styled himself as the voice of the millennial generation, often talking about what the United States might look like decades from now. He is the first openly gay major presidential candidate, which has given him inroads into a Democratic base that increasingly values diversity and progressivism.
As mayor of South Bend since 2012, he has presided over an economic turnaround that has brought new investment into the struggling northwestern Indiana industrial town, an achievement likely to be a central plank of his presidential campaign.
Polls of voters in Iowa and New Hampshire released last week showed Buttigieg in third place in both early-voting states, although still well behind Biden and Sanders. Buttigieg raised $7 million in the first quarter of the year, surpassing more established rivals such as U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
More than a dozen Democrats have announced a run for the chance to take on President Donald Trump, a Republican, in the November 2020 general election. Democratic voters will begin the process of selecting a nominee in a series of contests beginning early next year.
A former Rhodes Scholar, consultant for the firm McKinsey and Co and U.S. Navy reservist who served in Afghanistan, Buttigieg has the kind of background that could appeal to both moderates and progressives in the party.
But questions will persist about whether the mayor of an Indiana city of 100,000 residents is ready to run a nation of 330 million.
Buttigieg talks about his faith more frequently than many Democrats on the campaign trail. That recently brought him into direct conflict with Vice President Mike Pence, a former governor of Indiana.
At a lesbian, gay and transgender rights group event in Washington last week, Buttigieg made headlines when he argued that being gay was not a choice.
“That’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: that if you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
Pence answered the criticism in an interview with CNN, saying “I hope Pete will offer more to the American people than attacks on my Christian faith or attacks on the president as he seeks the highest office in the land.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
Emergency responders are seen on Holland Park Road in London, Britain April 13, 2019 in this picture obtained from social media. RONI GREENFIELD/via REUTERS
April 13, 2019
LONDON (Reuters) – Police in London opened fire outside the Ukrainian embassy on Saturday after a man rammed his vehicle into the ambassador’s empty parked car at least twice before being arrested, officials said.
No one was hurt in the incident, which happened early on Saturday outside the embassy building in the affluent Holland Park area of west London, and it was not being treated as terrorism, police said in a statement.
The embassy said in a statement that the ambassador’s empty official vehicle had been deliberately rammed as it sat parked in front of the building.
“The police were called immediately, and the suspect’s vehicle was blocked up,” it added.
“Nevertheless, despite the police actions, the attacker hit the ambassador’s car again. In response, the police were forced to open fire on the perpetrator’s vehicle.”
TV footage later showed a silver car slewed across the cordoned-off road with its driver’s door open and window shattered.
Police said they had been called at around 9.50 am on Saturday to reports of a car having hit several vehicles in the road.
“On arrival at the scene, a vehicle was driven at police officers,” they added in a statement. “Police firearms and Taser were discharged, the vehicle was stopped and a man, aged in his 40s, was arrested.”
The man was taken to hospital as a precaution but was not injured, they added.
(Reporting by Stephen Addison; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Helen Popper)
The expected nomination of businessman Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve appeared in jeopardy on Thursday as another Republican voiced opposition, possibly denying Cain the support needed in the Senate to be confirmed in the post.
“If I had to vote today, I would vote no,” Senator Kevin Cramer said in a statement.
Cramer becomes the fourth Republican senator reported to be opposed to Cain’s expected nomination by President Donald Trump. If all of the Senate’s Democrats and the two independents aligned with them were to vote against Cain, he would fall short of the majority support he would need.
Source: NewsMax Politics