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Turkey-U.S. continue coordination for delivery of F-35: Turkish military sources

FILE PHOTO: A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin
FILE PHOTO: A Lockheed Martin F-35 aircraft is seen at the ILA Air Show in Berlin, Germany, April 25, 2018. REUTERS/Axel Schmidt/File Photo

April 4, 2019

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Coordination between Ankara and Washington over delivery of F-35 fighter jets continues as well as training of Turkish pilots in the United States, Turkish military sources said on Thursday.

Turkey has not halted preparations at the Malatya airbase where the F-35 jets will be stationed, the sources said, adding that Turkey has fulfilled all of its obligations under program.

(Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Dominic Evans)

Source: OANN

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Brazil court orders Vale employees, contractors arrested again

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Members of a rescue team search for victims after a tailings dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA collapsed, in Brumadinho
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Members of a rescue team search for victims after a tailings dam owned by Brazilian mining company Vale SA collapsed, in Brumadinho, Brazil January 28, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano Machado/File Photo/File Photo

March 13, 2019

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – A Brazilian court in the state of Minas Gerais on Wednesday ordered the arrest of Vale SA employees and contractors who an appeals court had let go after they were charged in the January dam burst that killed hundreds of people, according to a court statement.

The employees and contractors had been released by an appeals court order on Feb. 5. The disaster in Brumadinho killed 200 people and 108 are still unaccounted for. Vale did not immediately comment on the report.

(Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by David Gregorio)

Source: OANN

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Insurers face large claims after second Boeing 737 MAX crash

Relatives and friends of Sara Gebremichael, a senior hostess and a crew leader on the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane that crashed, mourn at her house in Addis Ababa
Relatives and friends of Sara Gebremichael, 38, a senior hostess and a crew leader on the Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302 plane that crashed, mourn at her house in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Maheder Haileselassie

March 11, 2019

By Noor Zainab Hussain, Carolyn Cohn and Suzanne Barlyn

(Reuters) – Boeing Co’s insurers face big claims from families of the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash, coming less than six months after the crash of the same type of Boeing aircraft in Indonesia, insurance and aviation sources said.

An Ethiopian Airlines passenger jet bound for Nairobi crashed minutes after take-off on Sunday, killing all 157 people on board, raising questions about the safety of the Boeing 737 MAX 8, a new model that also crashed in Indonesia in October.

While the initial insurance payments will be made by Ethiopian Airlines’ insurers, they may look to recoup their money from Boeing’s insurers if they can prove that the aircraft was faulty, the sources said.

Initial payments to the passengers’ families are bound by the Warsaw and Montreal conventions, but those payouts could be much higher if families pursue legal claims, particularly through U.S. courts, said Clive Garner, head of law firm Irwin Mitchell’s travel litigation group in London.

“If there were to be anything defective in terms of the plane or any of its components, then it would be possible to bring a claim against the manufacturer as well as the airline,” he added.

Insurers typically form a consortium to share the risks of large claims, with the lead insurer taking a larger proportion of the risk. The insured value of the plane itself was likely around $50 million, according to industry sources.

Willis Towers Watson was the insurance broker for Ethiopian Airlines, while Chubb was the lead insurer, a Willis spokeswoman said on Monday. A Chubb spokesman declined to comment.

Britain’s Global Aerospace was the lead insurer for Boeing and also for Lion Air, which operated the plane that crashed in October, said Global Aerospace Chief Executive Nick Brown.

Marsh was Boeing’s insurance broker, two sources told Reuters. None of the sources gave financial details of the policies.

Boeing shares fell 5.6 percent on Monday.

U.S. LAWSUITS POSSIBLE

Boeing self-insures an initial layer of coverage before the Global Aerospace coverage kicks in, said Justin Green, a New York-based aviation lawyer who has represented families in cases against Boeing. Boeing declined comment on its insurance cover.

It is not uncommon for the planemaker, which is headquartered in Chicago, to face lawsuits in the United States, where legal compensation payments for the crash victims could run around $2 million to $3 million per person, depending on the law applied, compared to about $200,000 in Ethiopia, said Green.

U.S. courts often throw out such lawsuits, given the difficulty of finding witnesses overseas, but the fact that eight U.S. citizens were killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash increases the likelihood that litigation on behalf of all victims’ families could be heard by a U.S. court, Green said.

Initial compensation costs for all 157 passengers who died on the flight could be around $25 million, according to Reuters calculations based on the terms of the Montreal convention.

The Montreal convention provides for a maximum of 113,100 special drawing rights, currently worth $1.39, for death or injury of each passenger, although not all countries are joined up to the convention.

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru and Carolyn Cohn in London and Suzanne Barlyn in New York; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Bill Rigby)

Source: OANN

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Germany in good position to weather Brexit, trade shocks: Scholz

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz addresses a news conference to present the budget plans for 2019 and the upcoming years in Berlin
Finance Minister Olaf Scholz addresses a news conference to present the budget plans for 2019 and the upcoming years in Berlin, Germany March 20, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

March 20, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – With solid public finances and a vibrant domestic economy, Germany is well placed to withstand headwinds from a weakening world economy, trade disputes and the risk of a no-deal Brexit, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday.

“The economic situation in Germany remains good,” Scholz said. “We cannot find funding for everything we want but we can finance a lot,” he said, referring to falling tax revenues as the economy grows at a slower pace.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers, writing by Joseph Nasr, editing by Michelle Martin)

Source: OANN

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Ex-CBP Chief: Migrants at Border “Skyrocketing”

A “skyrocketing” surge of migrants is arriving at the U.S. border, with many being released into the country due to dysfunctional laws and judicial activism, warns former Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan.

Morgan, who served as head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) under President Obama, dismantled “false narratives” being parroted by mainstream media and Democrat officials to downplay the emergency on the southern frontier.

“Right now, we are facing skyrocketing numbers at the border,” Morgan told Tucker Carlson. “The Border Patrol right now is estimating that if the numbers continue at this pace, we could reach 900,000 or a million apprehensions this year.”

“The difference between the 90s and 2000s are the demographics. In the 2000s, we had a million, but 90 percent of them were removed. This year, we could reach a million — the difference is, because they are family units and children, we will release 65 percent of that million. 650,000 will be released into the interior of the United States. That’s the difference. It’s a crisis.”

When asked how many of the 650,000 would likely be deported, Morgan asserted that asylum laws and activist judges have created pathways and loopholes that could shelter virtually all of them “indefinitely.”

“Right now, after you’ve had due process and you’ve had your hearing, now the court just ruled you can appeal that hearing,” Morgan said. “That’s basically a lower court creating amnesty.”

Morgan also touched on an issue raised by DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during Congressional testimony last week – the “recycling” of child migrants exploited to escort adult illegal aliens into the country.

“The kids are being used as pawns,” Morgan said. “We actually have information that kids are being trafficked across and then sent back to Mexico, and they come back across with another adult so they can all enter into the United States.”


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested that America is “garbage” while at SXSW in Austin Texas.

Dan Lyman:

Source: InfoWars

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Iran urges Palestinians to resist Trump’s pro-Israel moves

A man drives an agricultural tractor in a vineyard in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights
A man drives an agricultural tractor in a vineyard in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

March 29, 2019

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran called on Friday on Palestinians to be steadfast in their resistance against U.S. President Donald Trump’s moves in support of Israel on Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Iran spoke on the eve of “Land Day”, an annual commemoration of the deaths of six Arab citizens of Israel killed by Israeli security forces during demonstrations over government land confiscations in northern Israel in 1976.

“The U.S. president’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital…and the occupied Golan Heights as part of the illegitimate Zionist regime…shows clearly that Palestinian resistance and perseverance as symbolised by ‘Earth Day’ is the right path,” Iran’s foreign ministry said on its website.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in 1981 in a move that the 15-member U.N. Security Council declared “null and void and without international legal effect”.

Palestinians seek an independent state in territory taken by Israel in the 1967 war. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been frozen since 2014.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait on Tuesday criticized the U.S. decision on the Golan and said the territory was occupied Arab land. Non-Arab Iran echoed the comments.

“Americans are breaking international law on a daily basis…and recently in regards to the Golan Heights,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in remarks carried by state television. “We should resist this and, God willing, we will come out victorious.”

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have increased since Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers last year and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Source: OANN

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Fire salvage draw with Orlando at the death

MLS: Orlando City SC at Chicago Fire
Mar 9, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Fire forward C.J. Sapong (9) scores against the Orlando City during the second half at Bridgeview Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

March 9, 2019

Forward C.J. Sapong equalized on a header in the fifth minute of extra time Saturday afternoon, allowing the Chicago Fire to salvage a 1-1 draw with visiting Orlando City SC despite being down to 10 men.

It appeared the Lions were headed for a 1-0 win until the Fire counter-attacked quickly after an Orlando City offsides infraction, getting the game-tying goal on a cross by substitute Przemyslaw Frankowski that found the head of Sapong.

The last-minute dramatics prevented an 0-2 start for the Fire, who were beaten 2-1 by the Los Angeles Galaxy last week in the opener.

Orlando City, which had opened its season with a 2-2 draw against New York City, tied for the second straight game.

Dom Dwyer turned a Chicago turnover and defensive miscommunication into the Tigers’ only goal in the 47th minute of the match.

The Lions caught a break when Nani stole a misplayed ball near midfield and chipped a pass over the head of the Chicago defense. When Fire goalie David Ousted and the last defender hesitated in clearing the bouncing ball, Dwyer swooped in and poked it over Ousted’s head for Orlando’s only goal of the match.

Dwyer had entered the game as a substitute in the 21st minute after teammate Tesho Akindele suffered an injury.

The Chicago comeback occurred after it was relegated to playing with 10 men after Jorge Corrales received a red card in the 64th minute, which was given upon video review of a late slide tackle just outside the box.

Chicago outshot the visitors 7-2 in the match, but just 3-2 in shots on target.

Orlando goalie Brian Rowe made two saves, while Chicago’s Ousted had one.

The Fire had won their last three matches against the Lions. They remained unbeaten (3-0-4) against Orlando City since 2015.

The two Eastern Conference rivals don’t meet again until the season finale on Oct. 6.

–Field Level Media

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MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets
Apr 22, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

April 23, 2019

Jeff McNeil had two hits, including a solo home run, to lift the host New York Mets past the Philadelphia Phillies 5-1 on Monday in a game that saw Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper get ejected while arguing from the dugout.

Mets starter Steven Matz (2-1) was effective, allowing three hits and one run in six innings. He struck out six and walked two. It was a completely different outcome from his last start against the Phillies in which he faced eight batters and failed to record an out on April 16.

Rhys Hoskins ripped a solo homer for the Phillies. Cesar Hernandez had Philadelphia’s only other two hits in the game, as the Phillies failed to support starter Jake Arrieta (3-2). The right-hander threw six-plus innings and gave up seven hits and four runs (three earned). He fanned seven and walked one.

In a bizarre circumstance, Harper was tossed with two outs in the fourth. After a questionable called strike to Hernandez, plate umpire Mark Carlson motioned to the dugout and ejected Harper for arguing balls and strikes. Harper had reached base in all of his previous 21 games with the Phillies before going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts and being ejected.

Rockies 7, Nationals 5

Nolan Arenado homered and finished with three hits — including the 1,000th of his career — while Mark Reynolds and Raimel Tapia also went deep to lead Colorado past Washington in Denver.

Trevor Story had two hits and Seunghwan Oh (1-0) pitched an inning of relief for the victory. Colorado has won seven of its past eight following an eight-game losing streak. Wade Davis pitched the ninth inning for his second save.

Arenado’s milestone hit came leading off the seventh inning, when he hit his fourth home run of the season off reliever Wander Suero (1-2) to make it 6-5. Brian Dozier homered, and Howie Kendrick drove in two for the Nationals.

Cardinals 13, Brewers 5

Dexter Fowler matched his career high with four hits, drove in four runs and scored three to help St. Louis throttle visiting Milwaukee in the opener of the three-game series.

Paul Goldschmidt had three hits and three RBIs, and Jose Martinez, Paul DeJong and Matt Carpenter contributed two hits each for St. Louis, which blew the game open with seven runs in the seventh inning.

Cardinals right-hander Jack Flaherty (2-1) made his third start of the season against the Brewers and delivered his longest outing, going six innings and giving up four runs and three hits, all homers. He struck out a season-high 10 and walked one. Milwaukee’s Adrian Houser (0-1), making his first major league start, went four-plus innings and gave up five runs on nine hits.

Twins 9, Astros 5

Jorge Polanco recorded his second four-hit game of the season, and he belted a two-run, two-out homer in the eighth inning to carry Minnesota to victory in the opener of a three-game series in Houston.

The Twins, winners of five of their past six, scored two in the first and another run in the second — Jason Castro’s first home run of the season leading off the frame — off Brad Peacock (2-1). Minnesota’s Jake Odorizzi (2-2) limited the Astros to two runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out two without walking a batter.

Houston trailed 7-1 before getting a solo homer from Michael Brantley in the sixth inning and a three-run blast from Carlos Correa in the seventh, but like Sunday night (when Houston rallied from a nine-run deficit and loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth inning before falling 11-10), the Astros couldn’t complete the comeback.

Rays 6, Royals 3

Tampa Bay hit for the cycle in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three runs to emerge with a win over visiting Kansas City. Mike Zunino hit a 425-foot, two-run home run to dead center for the key hit in the inning.

Wilmer Font (1-0) recorded the final out of the seventh and picked up the victory for the Rays, who snapped a four-game losing streak. Emilio Pagan pitched the ninth to record up his first major league save.

Brad Keller (2-2) took the loss for the Royals, who dropped their fourth in a row. He had not surrendered more than three earned runs in any of his first five starts, but he gave up five runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Diamondbacks 12, Pirates 4

David Peralta smacked a three-run triple and Christian Walker added a two-run homer during a seven-run seventh inning as Arizona clobbered host Pittsburgh.

Pirates starter Joe Musgrove, who had allowed two earned runs this season, was charged with three runs and five hits in six-plus innings. He struck out five and walked two. Kyle Crick (0-1) took the loss after giving up four runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Eduardo Escobar homered and drove in three runs, and John Ryan Murphy added three hits for Arizona, which has won six of its past eight games. Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley gave up four runs and seven hits in four innings, but Matt Andriese (3-1) got the win with two scoreless innings of relief.

White Sox 12, Orioles 2

Jose Abreu hit his 150th career home run and drove in five runs while James McCann hit a homer and had four RBIs as Chicago scored a season high in runs to win at Baltimore.

Orioles starter David Hess (1-4) kept the White Sox quiet in the first four innings, but homers have troubled him this season, and it happened again in this game. With the game scoreless, Tim Anderson started the fifth with a double and Nicky Delmonico walked. McCann then crushed a three-run shot to left-center — the eighth surrendered by Hess.

Manny Banuelos made his first start this season for Chicago — his first major league start since September 2015 — and scattered five hits in four shutout innings. Jace Fry (1-0) got the victory in relief.

Tigers at Red Sox, ppd.

Detroit’s scheduled game at Boston was rained out and will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader Tuesday.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

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An illustration photo shows the Facebook page displayed on a mobile phone internet browser held in front of a computer screen at a cyber-cafe in downtown Nairobi
An illustration photo shows the Facebook page displayed on a mobile phone internet browser held in front of a computer screen at a cyber-cafe in downtown Nairobi, Kenya April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

April 23, 2019

By Maggie Fick and Paresh Dave

NAIROBI/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s struggles with hate speech and other types of problematic content are being hampered by the company’s inability to keep up with a flood of new languages as mobile phones bring social media to every corner of the globe.

The company offers its 2.3 billion users features such as menus and prompts in 111 different languages, deemed to be officially supported. Reuters has found another 31 widely spoken languages on Facebook that do not have official support.

Detailed rules known as “community standards,” which bar users from posting offensive material including hate speech and celebrations of violence, were translated in only 41 languages out of the 111 supported as of early March, Reuters found.

Facebook’s 15,000-strong content moderation workforce speaks about 50 tongues, though the company said it hires professional translators when needed. Automated tools for identifying hate speech work in about 30.

The language deficit complicates Facebook’s battle to rein in harmful content and the damage it can cause, including to the company itself. Countries including Australia, Singapore and the UK are now threatening harsh new regulations, punishable by steep fines or jail time for executives, if it fails to promptly remove objectionable posts.

The community standards are updated monthly and run to about 9,400 words in English.

Monika Bickert, the Facebook vice president in charge of the standards, has previously told Reuters that they were “a heavy lift to translate into all those different languages.”

A Facebook spokeswoman said this week the rules are translated case by case depending on whether a language has a critical mass of usage and whether Facebook is a primary information source for speakers. The spokeswoman said there was no specific number for critical mass.

She said among priorities for translations are Khmer, the official language in Cambodia, and Sinhala, the dominant language in Sri Lanka, where the government blocked Facebook this week to stem rumors about devastating Easter Sunday bombings.

A Reuters report found last year that hate speech on Facebook that helped foster ethnic cleansing in Myanmar went unchecked in part because the company was slow to add moderation tools and staff for the local language.

Facebook says it now offers the rules in Burmese and has more than 100 speakers of the language among its workforce.

The spokeswoman said Facebook’s efforts to protect people from harmful content had “a level of language investment that surpasses most any technology company.”

But human rights officials say Facebook is in jeopardy of a repeat of the Myanmar problems in other strife-torn nations where its language capabilities have not kept up with the impact of social media.

“These are supposed to be the rules of the road and both customers and regulators should insist social media platforms make the rules known and effectively police them,” said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division. “Failure to do so opens the door to serious abuses.”

ABUSE IN FIJIAN

Mohammed Saneem, the supervisor of elections in Fiji, said he felt the impact of the language gap during elections in the South Pacific nation in November last year. Racist comments proliferated on Facebook in Fijian, which the social network does not support. Saneem said he dedicated a staffer to emailing posts and translations to a Facebook employee in Singapore to seek removals.

Facebook said it did not request translations, and it gave Reuters a post-election letter from Saneem praising its “timely and effective assistance.”

Saneem told Reuters that he valued the help but had expected pro-active measures from Facebook.

“If they are allowing users to post in their language, there should be guidelines available in the same language,” he said.

Similar issues abound in African nations such as Ethiopia, where deadly ethnic clashes among a population of 107 million have been accompanied by ugly Facebook content. Much of it is in Amharic, a language supported by Facebook. But Amharic users looking up rules get them in English.

At least 652 million people worldwide speak languages supported by Facebook but where rules are not translated, according to data from language encyclopedia Ethnologue. Another 230 million or more speak one of the 31 languages that do not have official support.

Facebook uses automated software as a key defense against prohibited content. Developed using a type of artificial intelligence known as machine learning, these tools identify hate speech in about 30 languages and “terrorist propaganda” in 19, the company said.

Machine learning requires massive volumes of data to train computers, and a scarcity of text in other languages presents a challenge in rapidly growing the tools, Guy Rosen, the Facebook vice president who oversees automated policy enforcement, has told Reuters.

GROWTH REGIONS

Beyond the automation and a few official fact-checkers, Facebook relies on users to report problematic content. That creates a major issue where community standards are not understood or even known to exist.

Ebele Okobi, Facebook’s director of public policy for Africa, told Reuters in March that the continent had the world’s lowest rates of user reporting.

“A lot of people don’t even know that there are community standards,” Okobi said.

Facebook has bought radio advertisements in Nigeria and worked with local organizations to change that, she said. It also has held talks with African education officials to introduce social media etiquette into the curriculum, she said.

Simultaneously, Facebook is partnering with wireless carriers and other groups to expand internet access in countries including Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo where it has yet to officially support widely-used languages such as Luganda and Kituba. Asked this week about the expansions without language support, Facebook declined to comment.

The company announced in February it would soon have its first 100 sub-Saharan Africa-based content moderators at an outsourcing facility in Nairobi. They will join existing teams in reviewing content in Somali, Oromo and other languages.

But the community standards are not translated into Somali or Oromo. Posts in Somali from last year celebrating the al-Shabaab militant group remained on Facebook for months despite a ban on glorifying organizations or acts that Facebook designates as terrorist.

“Disbelievers and apostates, die with your anger,” read one post seen by Reuters this month that praised the killing of a Sufi cleric.

After Reuters inquired about the post, Facebook said it took down the author’s account because it violated policies.

ABILITY TO DERAIL

Posts in Amharic reviewed by Reuters this month attacked the Oromo and Tigray ethnic populations in vicious terms that clearly violated Facebook’s ban on discussing ethnic groups using “violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion.”

Facebook removed the two posts Reuters inquired about. The company added that it had erred in allowing one of them, from December 2017, to remain online following an earlier user report.

For officials such as Saneem in Fiji, Facebook’s efforts to improve content moderation and language support are painfully slow. Saneem said he warned Facebook months in advance of the election in the archipelago of 900,000 people. Most of them use Facebook, with half writing in English and half in Fijian, he estimated.

“Social media has the ability to completely derail an election,” Saneem said.

Other social media companies face the same problem to varying degrees.

(GRAPHIC: Social media and the language gap – https://tmsnrt.rs/2VHjwTu)

Facebook-owned Instagram said its 1,179-word community guidelines are in 30 out of 51 languages offered to users. WhatsApp, owned by Facebook as well, has terms in nine of 58 supported languages, Reuters found.

Alphabet Inc’s YouTube presents community guidelines in 40 of 80 available languages, Reuters found. Twitter Inc’s rules are in 37 of 47 supported languages, and Snap Inc’s in 13 out of 21.

“A lot of misinformation gets spread around and the problem with the content publishers is the reluctance to deal with it,” Saneem said. “They do owe a duty of care. “

(Reporting by Maggie Fick in Nairobi and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Fiji and Omar Mohammed in Nairobi; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Source: OANN

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FILE PHOTO: Kazakhstan's President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev speaks during his meeting with South Korea's counterpart Moon Jae-in in Nur-Sultan
FILE PHOTO: Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev speaks during his meeting with South Korea’s counterpart Moon Jae-in in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mukhtar Kholdorbekov

April 23, 2019

NUR-SULTAN (Reuters) – Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Tuesday secured veteran leader Nursultan Nazarbayev’s backing to run in the June 9 snap presidential election, virtually guaranteeing Tokayev’s victory.

Nazarbayev, who leads the oil-rich Central Asian nation’s biggest political party, Nur Otan, asked party members at a pre-election congress on Tuesday to officially nominate Tokayev.

(Reporting by Tamara Vaal; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Darren Schuettler)

Source: OANN

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Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif, is the latest presidential candidate to join the call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment following the release of the Mueller Report.

During a televised town hall on Monday night, Harvard University student Karla Alvarado asked Harris if congressional Democrats should “reconsider” their position on impeachment, something top leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, has repeatedly dismissed.

Harris began by declaring that it’s “very clear” that there is “a lot of good evidence” in the Mueller Report that points to obstruction of justice. And although she still intends on beating Trump in the 2020 election, she expressed that Congress should proceed with impeachment.

CANDIDATE ASKS CNN’S CHRIS CUOMO TO STOP ‘CREEPING’

“I believe Congress should take the steps towards impeachment,” Harris said. “I am also a realist and when I look at what has been happening over the two years and some months since I’ve been in the United States Senate, I have also witnessed folks in the United States Congress and in particular the GOP, who have been presented with many reasons to push back against this president and they have not.”

She later elaborated that while impeachment may pass in the Democratic-controlled House, it would likely not in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Last week, Harris expressed caution towards impeachment, saying she wanted to hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and “really understand” what he concluded in his report before moving forward with impeachment.

Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, doubled down on her call to impeach Trump at an earlier town hall.

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“There is no ‘political inconvenience’ exception to the United States Constitution,” Warren told CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.

Source: Fox News Politics

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FILE PHOTO : Holidaymakers view thousands of carp streamaers in Sagamihara, Japan.
FILE PHOTO : Holidaymakers view thousands of carp streamers hanging on the bank of the Sagami river in Sagamihara, southwest of Tokyo May 3, 2005. REUTERS/Issei Kato

April 23, 2019

By Malcolm Foster

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s unprecedented 10-day holiday to celebrate Crown Prince Naruhito’s enthronement is expected to give the sluggish economy at least a short-term boost.

Breweries, hotels, retailers, restaurants and train operators are all expected to benefit from the holiday, which runs from April 27 to May 6. Banks, schools, government offices and many businesses will be closed.

A record 24.7 million people – about one-fifth the country’s population – are expected to travel, according to travel agency JTB Corp., mostly within the country.

“Japanese are in a festive mood, with the new imperial era beginning and the 10-day break,” said Yoshiie Horii, a spokesman for brewer Asahi Group, which is increasing production of several brands by 5-10 percent ahead of the break. “We think this holiday will spur consumer spending.”

Japan has a cluster of national holidays every year around this time dubbed “Golden Week.” But this year, authorities gave the nation an extended vacation to fete the imperial succession.

After a 31-year reign, Emperor Akihito will abdicate on April 30 and be replaced by his son Naruhito the next day.

Japanese have made travel plans months ahead of time, creating intense competition for popular destinations such as Hawaii and Europe. Akiko Nishikata’s family tried in November to reserve a package tour to Hawaii for Golden Week but were told they were sold out.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to go on a long trip, so we’re disappointed,” Nishikata said. Instead, they’ll travel to either Hokkaido in the north or Kyushu in the south.

Also, because the imperial transition is triggered by Akihito’s abdication, not his death, consumers don’t feel a need to hold back due to mourning.

To mark the new era, department stores in Tokyo plan to offer limited quantities of commemorative items on May 1, including traditional sweets with “Hello, Reiwa” on them and confections sprinkled with powdered gold.

TAX HIKE

The expected economic bump from the long holiday will boost second-quarter GDP growth and give Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government another reason to proceed with a planned sales tax increase in October, said Hideo Kumano, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute.

Kumano estimates that domestic travel spending will jump nearly 30 percent from a year ago to 1.48 trillion yen ($13.3 billion).

“In March, there was a lot of talk about a recession, but that’s completely disappeared with buzz from the announcement of Reiwa on April 1,” he said. “May 1 will be even bigger.”

Overall consumer spending during the 10 days is forecast to rise 7.6 percent compared with a year ago and contribute a quarter percentage point to GDP, said Koya Miyamae, senior economist at SMBC Nikko Securities.

But other analysts cautioned that an increase would probably be followed by a drop in consumption, making the long-term impact negligible.

“A spending boost, if any, will be short-lived,” said Masaki Kuwahara, senior economist at Nomura Securities.

Manufacturers generally don’t expect the longer holiday to have a big impact. Toyota, for example, says its plants are usually closed for nine days during Golden Week, and it is doing the same this year.

Computer systems companies and other businesses may see a dip in sales because of lost workdays, but a Reuters survey of about 220 companies showed that nearly half didn’t expect the long break to affect their business. About 28 percent predicted a decline in output or sales while a quarter projected a rise.

JITTERY TRADERS

Hospitals will alternate operating hours during the break, as is typical during holidays. Tokyo residents can visit a website to see which hospitals are taking patients, and find more detailed information.

Financial market traders, meanwhile, are worried that the 10-day shutdown could cause disruptions and unsettle the yen.

The U.S. jobs report and several other key events will happen while the market is closed, said Shogo Maekawa, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.

“It’s a risk that we can’t trade for 10 days even if something volatile happens in overseas markets,” he said.

($1 = 111.6900 yen)

(Reporting and writing by Malcolm Foster; additional reporting by Tetsushi Kajimoto, Naomi Tajitsu, Izumi Nakagawa, Ayai Tomisawa; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Source: OANN

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