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A leader of localist group Hong Kong Indigenous Ray Wong leaves a court in Hong Kong
Ray Wong, one of the leaders of localist group Hong Kong Indigenous, leaves a court in Hong Kong, China, September 23, 2016, with nine other defendants after pleading not quilty on charges relating to Mongkok riots during Lunar New Year. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

May 25, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has made “solemn representations” to Germany after it granted refugee status to two Hong Kong activists facing rioting charges in the Chinese-ruled city, demanding it correct its “mistakes”, state news agency Xinhua reported on Saturday.

Xinhua said the Hong Kong office of China’s foreign ministry summoned Germany’s Acting Consul General to Hong Kong David Schmidt for an emergency meeting on Friday, where a representative expressed “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition”.

The two Hong Kong activists – Ray Wong, 25, and Alan Li, 27 – were former members of Hong Kong Indigenous, a group advocating Hong Kong’s independence from China. They were charged for rioting linked to a protest that turned violent in February 2016.

The pair, who later skipped bail and fled to Germany in 2017 via Taiwan, told Reuters this week they were granted refugee asylum status in Germany in May 2018.

“(China) urges the German side to recognize its mistakes and change its course, and not to accept and condone criminals, and interfere in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs,” Xinhua said.

The German consulate said this week it was aware that the two Hong Kong residents were staying in Germany, although it could not provide details on individual cases.

Hong Kong activists have become increasingly defiant in recent years, concerned about creeping interference from Beijing despite a promise of special autonomy for the city, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Scores of activists have been jailed on various charges including contempt of court and public nuisance. Critics said Hong Kong authorities have brought such charges to stifle freedom of expression and assembly.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has also expressed “deep regrets and strong objections” to the German authorities.

Hong Kong authorities deny persecuting activists.

(Reporting by Yawen Chen and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Source: OANN

Formula E - Berlin ePrix
Motorsport – Formula E – Berlin ePrix – Berlin-Tempelhof, Berlin, Germany – May 25, 2019 Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas Di Grassi celebrates winning the race with the trophy on the podium

May 25, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi gave Audi a home win in Formula E’s Berlin ePrix on Saturday, his second victory of the season, to put the heat on championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne, who finished third.

Former champion Di Grassi moved up to second overall in the standings and six points behind Frenchman Vergne, who has 102 after 10 races.

Switzerland’s Sebastien Buemi, who had started on pole position for Nissan at the Tempelhof airport circuit, was runner-up.

Di Grassi took the lead on the third lap, diving down the inside of Buemi, and stayed ahead to secure a back-to-back win for Audi in Berlin after last year’s success with Daniel Abt.

The Brazilian also took a point for the fastest lap.

Techeetah’s Vergne, last season’s title winner in the all-electric series, started back in eighth place but came through the field aggressively to stand on a podium of Formula E champions.

His German team mate Andre Lotterer dropped to third overall after retiring in the pits with a battery problem.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

Formula E - Berlin ePrix
Motorsport – Formula E – Berlin ePrix – Berlin-Tempelhof, Berlin, Germany – May 25, 2019 Audi Sport Abt Schaeffler’s Lucas Di Grassi celebrates winning the race with the trophy on the podium

May 25, 2019

BERLIN (Reuters) – Brazilian Lucas Di Grassi gave Audi a home win in Formula E’s Berlin ePrix on Saturday, his second victory of the season, to put the heat on championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne, who finished third.

Former champion Di Grassi moved up to second overall in the standings and six points behind Frenchman Vergne, who has 102 after 10 races.

Switzerland’s Sebastien Buemi, who had started on pole position for Nissan at the Tempelhof airport circuit, was runner-up.

Di Grassi took the lead on the third lap, diving down the inside of Buemi, and stayed ahead to secure a back-to-back win for Audi in Berlin after last year’s success with Daniel Abt.

The Brazilian also took a point for the fastest lap.

Techeetah’s Vergne, last season’s title winner in the all-electric series, started back in eighth place but came through the field aggressively to stand on a podium of Formula E champions.

His German team mate Andre Lotterer dropped to third overall after retiring in the pits with a battery problem.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: NFL: Super Bowl LIII-Los Angeles Rams Press Conference
FILE PHOTO: Jan 31, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) answers questions from the media during press interviews at Marriott Atlanta Buckhead. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

May 25, 2019

By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) – Aaron Donald is already the most fearsome defender in the NFL but the sting of a Super Bowl loss that kept him from making good on a promise to his young daughter has the Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle determined to come back better next season.

The moment that stuck with Donald most from that Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots in February did not happen in the game but rather in the immediate aftermath as his opponents brought their families onto the field to celebrate.

As Donald returned to the Rams locker room his daughter was reduced to tears since the result meant she was not able to play with her dad in the shiny confetti that cascaded from the rafters and coated the field.

“My main thing is I got to hold up to that promise. I told her she was going to be able to play in that confetti with her dad after we win,” Donald told Reuters in a telephone interview.

“So we are going to get there and we are going to win it this time … definitely more motivated than ever.”

The two-times reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, whose dominance has redefined his position, is so set on improving that he dismissed suggestions that he take two weeks off after the Super Bowl and was in the gym four days later.

Donald, who has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of his five NFL campaigns and in 2018 came up two sacks shy of tying Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22.5, is convinced that he has another level to his game.

“People are probably going to think I’m just talking, but I honestly feel like I haven’t played my best yet,” said Donald, who is working with DICK’S Sporting Goods on their National Runner’s Month campaign for May.

“I feel like there is a lot more room for improvement. I did a lot of good things last season that I get to build off but I also did a lot of things that I could clean up to make myself that much better.”

For all his dominance, Donald was largely held in check in his maiden Super Bowl appearance where he was limited to five tackles and one quarterback hit in a 13-3 loss.

Still, Donald is convinced that he and his young team mates will benefit from the experience of having played on the NFL’s biggest stage and will find a way to win should they make a return trip to the championship game.

“Experience is everything in this league,” said Donald.

“The more experience you got the more things you are able to go through, and the ups and downs through a season that you had I don’t think it can do anything but make you that much better.”

The 28-year-old former first-round draft pick has yet to watch a replay of the Super Bowl but plans to do so ahead of the 2019 season and break down each play to determine how he could have had a greater impact.

Donald promises to be more prepared than ever when the 2019 NFL regular season begins in September and had one simple message to the other 31 teams.

“They ain’t seen the Rams’ best football yet,” said Donald. “There’s a lot more to come.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

Russian jet fighters fly over a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula with a cargo ship beneath it after three Ukrainian navy vessels were stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea
Russian jet fighters fly over a bridge connecting the Russian mainland with the Crimean Peninsula with a cargo ship beneath it after three Ukrainian navy vessels were stopped by Russia from entering the Sea of Azov via the Kerch Strait in the Black Sea, Crimea November 25, 2018. REUTERS/Pavel Rebrov

May 25, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Moscow must release 24 sailors who were aboard three Ukrainian vessels it intercepted in November as they crossed a strait between Russian-annexed Crimea and southern Russia, an international maritime tribunal said on Saturday.

The Russian navy had captured the Ukrainian sailors and their vessels in the Kerch Strait, which links the Black and Azov seas, on Nov. 25, 2018 after opening fire on them.

The Hamburg-based International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) said Russia had to release the sailors and vessels immediately and both nations should refrain from taking any action which might aggravate the dispute.

“The Tribunal notes that any action affecting the immunity of warships is capable of causing serious harm to the dignity and sovereignty of a state and has the potential to undermine its national security,” ITLOS President Jin-Hyun Paik said.

Ukraine has already demanded the sailors’ release and the return of the impounded vessels, yet Moscow has not heeded the request or similar calls by the EU.

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Saturday it had not participated in the hearings, adding it intends to defend its point of view that the arbitration lacked the jurisdiction to consider the Kerch incident.

The ITLOS was established to settle maritime disputes by the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, of which both Ukraine and Russia are signatories. But it has no means of enforcing its decisions.

A bilateral treaty gives both Russia and Ukraine the right to use the Sea of Azov, which lies between them and is linked by the narrow Kerch Strait to the Black Sea. Yet tension has risen since Russia annexed Crimea, with both countries complaining about shipping delays and harassment.

Russia, which annexed Crimea in 2014 and built a road bridge linking it to southern Russia straddling the Kerch Strait, has vowed never to give Crimea back to Ukraine. It accuses Kiev of staging a provocation in the Kerch Strait and its sailors of crossing illegally into Russian waters.

Russia’s FSB security service said it had been forced to act in November because the ships – two small Ukrainian armored artillery vessels and a tug boat – had illegally entered its territorial waters.

“The Tribunal’s order is a clear signal to Russia that it cannot violate international law with impunity,” Ukraine Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal said on Facebook, adding she expected Russia to comply with the order quickly.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said if Russia releases the Ukrainian sailors and ships it could be the first signal from the Russian leadership of its readiness to end the conflict with Ukraine.

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz in Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Natalia Zinets in Kiev and Polina Devitt in Moscow; Editing by David Holmes)

Source: OANN

Formula One F1 - Monaco Grand Prix
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – May 25, 2019 Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc during practice REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

May 25, 2019

By Alan Baldwin

MONACO (Reuters) – Local hero Charles Leclerc was fastest for Ferrari in final practice for the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday while team mate Sebastian Vettel crashed, with mechanics hurrying to repair the car for qualifying.

Leclerc lapped the tight street circuit with a best lap of one minute 11.265 seconds, 0.053 faster than Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who was fastest in both Friday sessions, was third for Mercedes and 0.213 off the pace.

The Mercedes cars took to the track with their ‘halo’ devices painted red in a tribute to triple champion Niki Lauda, the Mercedes non-executive chairman who died on Monday.

Vettel locked up and crashed nose first into the barriers at Sainte Devote, with his damaged car swiftly craned off the circuit.

Ferrari said the car had been fixed and the German, a four-times world champion and double winner in Monaco, would be fine for qualifying.

While Leclerc’s time delighted the crowd, with plenty of support on a sunny afternoon in the principality, the 21-year-old was summoned to stewards and reprimanded for an infringement of the virtual safety car procedure after Vettel’s crash.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was fourth fastest with team mate Pierre Gasly fifth.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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A view shows the company logo of Caixa Economica Federal bank in downtown Rio de Janeiro
A view shows the company logo of Caixa Economica Federal bank in downtown Rio de Janeiro August 20, 2014. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

May 25, 2019

By Tatiana Bautzer

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian state lender Caixa Economica Federal has picked investment bank Morgan Stanley as co-advisor to help it find insurance partners, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

Morgan Stanley will manage the process alongside Caixa’s investment banking unit, the source said. Caixa Seguridade Participacoes, the insurance unit of the state lender, on Friday launched four processes to select insurance partners to sell health, dental, assistance and large risk policies.

Caixa had already sent invitations to insurers to offer other kinds of policies on May 10.

The insurance partners will have the right to underwrite policies for 20 years and sell them to Caixa’s 93 million clients through its more than 4,000 branches.

The bank intends the deals to increase Caixa Seguridade’s revenue before its initial public offering. The planned IPO is part of Caixa’s plan to raise up to 100 billion reais from the sale of assets it owns or manages.

Caixa and Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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Rahul Gandhi, President of Congress party, his mother and leader of the party Sonia Gandhi and India's former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend a CWC meeting in New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi, President of Congress party, his mother and leader of the party Sonia Gandhi and India’s former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in New Delhi, India, May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Altaf Hussain

May 25, 2019

By Zeba Siddiqui and Devjyot Ghoshal

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The head of India’s main opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, offered to quit on Saturday after a crushing election defeat but senior party officials rejected his offer and called instead for a major internal shake-up.

Gandhi, 48 and the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, had been under intense pressure since results released on May 23 showed Congress won only 52 of the 542 seats up for grabs in the country’s general election.

While that marked a marginal improvement on the party’s showing in the 2014 general election, it did not stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from winning a landslide mandate with 303 seats.

A second successive drubbing from Modi prompted calls for Gandhi to quit.

The result has been particularly embarrassing for Gandhi, who lost his own parliamentary seat in his home borough of Amethi in northern India, which his family has held almost continuously for the last four decades.

He did, however, win the other seat he contested in southern Kerala state.

At a meeting of top Congress leaders at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi on Saturday, Gandhi offered to step down as party chief, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) said in a statement.

But the committee “unanimously and with one voice rejected the same and requested the Congress President for his leadership and guidance in these challenging times,” it said.

“The CWC recommends a thorough introspection and requested the Congress President for a complete overhaul and a detailed restructuring at every level of the party,” the committee said.

In the run-up to the election, Gandhi sought to challenge Modi directly but critics said Congress’s campaign was weakened by a lack of focus and botched communications, as well as being out-spent by the BJP.

Building political capital from escalating tensions with arch-rival Pakistan ahead of the polls, the BJP concentrated on Modi’s national security record, effectively countering the opposition’s criticism of the government’s work on creating jobs and alleviating farmers’ woes.

Gandhi’s inability to replace the party’s old guard, responsible for its worst-ever electoral result in 2014, with younger leaders also proved an error, Congress officials said.

The party’s performance in this year’s election has drawn stinging criticism from political commentators such as prominent historian Ramachandra Guha, who called for Gandhi to go.

“Both self-respect, as well as political pragmatism, demand that the Congress elect a new leader,” Guha said on Twitter.

(Editing by Helen Popper)

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Ramaphosa takes the oath of office at his inauguation as South African president, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria
Cyril Ramaphosa takes the oath of office at his inauguation as South African president, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

May 25, 2019

By Nqobile Dludla

PRETORIA (Reuters) – Trade unionist-turned-businessman Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as South Africa’s president on Saturday, vowing to create jobs and tackle deep-rooted corruption that has strangled economic growth.

Ramaphosa, who becomes the country’s fourth democratically elected president since the end of apartheid, took the presidential oath before a crowd of about 32,000 people in a rugby stadium in the capital, Pretoria.

“Today our nation enters a new era of hope and renewal,” said Ramaphosa, 66, wearing a dark suit and flanked by foreign leaders including Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

“Let us forge a compact for growth and economic opportunities, for productive land and wider opportunities … A compact of an efficient, capable and ethical state. A state that is free from corruption,” said Ramaphosa, a former anti-apartheid activist and trade union leader who has wide-ranging business interests.

Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) clinched a 57.5% majority in a general election earlier in May, down from 62% in 2014 as voters turned against the ruling party due to revelations about government corruption and record unemployment.

Ramaphosa narrowly won the ANC leadership race in late 2017 and replaced scandal-plagued predecessor Jacob Zuma as state president in February 2018, a year before the latter’s term was due to expire.

Since then he has struggled to mend factions in the party opposed to his reform plans, especially at cash-strapped state power supplier Eskom. His promises to punish party members accused of corruption have also stuttered.

The challenges facing Ramaphosa were highlighted on Friday by the resignation of Eskom’s chief executive, who quit only a year since he was appointed to stabilize the utility and keep the lights on after nationwide blackouts.

Also on Friday, S&P Global Ratings kept South Africa’s credit rating unchanged one notch below investment grade.

The economy is set for a first quarter contraction after mining and manufacturing weakened, prompting the central bank to cut its 2019 growth forecast to 1%, well below the rate of at least 3% needed to bring down debt, budget deficits and joblessness.

“The challenges our country faces are huge and are real but they are not insurmountable. They can be solved and I stand here to say they are going to be solved,” Ramaphosa said in his speech on Saturday.

Many in the crowd at Pretoria’s packed Loftus stadium were optimistic.

“I love my president Cyril Ramaphosa. I know that as long as we have him here he is going to give us jobs and change many things,” said Patience Shabangu, 45, a volunteer at a local clinic.

Political analysts say a key test of Ramaphosa’s ability to deliver reforms will be his announcement of new cabinet, which is expected to take place next week.

“The speech was an honest and brutal reflection of South Africa’s recent problems. But it was also optimistic,” said Daniel Silke, director of the Political Futures Consultancy.

“He will be judged on a very high bar and the next step is the cabinet. If it contains any semblance of the dead wood from the past he will be severely critiqued,” Silke added.

(Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Helen Popper)

Source: OANN

Ramaphosa takes the oath of office at his inauguation as South African president, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria
Cyril Ramaphosa takes the oath of office at his inauguation as South African president, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, South Africa May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

May 25, 2019

By Nqobile Dludla

PRETORIA (Reuters) – Trade unionist-turned-businessman Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as South Africa’s president on Saturday, vowing to create jobs and tackle deep-rooted corruption that has strangled economic growth.

Ramaphosa, who becomes the country’s fourth democratically elected president since the end of apartheid, took the presidential oath before a crowd of about 32,000 people in a rugby stadium in the capital, Pretoria.

“Today our nation enters a new era of hope and renewal,” said Ramaphosa, 66, wearing a dark suit and flanked by foreign leaders including Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

“Let us forge a compact for growth and economic opportunities, for productive land and wider opportunities … A compact of an efficient, capable and ethical state. A state that is free from corruption,” said Ramaphosa, a former anti-apartheid activist and trade union leader who has wide-ranging business interests.

Ramaphosa’s African National Congress (ANC) clinched a 57.5% majority in a general election earlier in May, down from 62% in 2014 as voters turned against the ruling party due to revelations about government corruption and record unemployment.

Ramaphosa narrowly won the ANC leadership race in late 2017 and replaced scandal-plagued predecessor Jacob Zuma as state president in February 2018, a year before the latter’s term was due to expire.

Since then he has struggled to mend factions in the party opposed to his reform plans, especially at cash-strapped state power supplier Eskom. His promises to punish party members accused of corruption have also stuttered.

The challenges facing Ramaphosa were highlighted on Friday by the resignation of Eskom’s chief executive, who quit only a year since he was appointed to stabilize the utility and keep the lights on after nationwide blackouts.

Also on Friday, S&P Global Ratings kept South Africa’s credit rating unchanged one notch below investment grade.

The economy is set for a first quarter contraction after mining and manufacturing weakened, prompting the central bank to cut its 2019 growth forecast to 1%, well below the rate of at least 3% needed to bring down debt, budget deficits and joblessness.

“The challenges our country faces are huge and are real but they are not insurmountable. They can be solved and I stand here to say they are going to be solved,” Ramaphosa said in his speech on Saturday.

Many in the crowd at Pretoria’s packed Loftus stadium were optimistic.

“I love my president Cyril Ramaphosa. I know that as long as we have him here he is going to give us jobs and change many things,” said Patience Shabangu, 45, a volunteer at a local clinic.

Political analysts say a key test of Ramaphosa’s ability to deliver reforms will be his announcement of new cabinet, which is expected to take place next week.

“The speech was an honest and brutal reflection of South Africa’s recent problems. But it was also optimistic,” said Daniel Silke, director of the Political Futures Consultancy.

“He will be judged on a very high bar and the next step is the cabinet. If it contains any semblance of the dead wood from the past he will be severely critiqued,” Silke added.

(Writing by Mfuneko Toyana; Editing by Helen Popper)

Source: OANN


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