U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump step off Air Force One as they arrive at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
April 24, 2019
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An architect of a still-secret U.S. plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict took to Twitter again on Wednesday to disclose another element that it would not contain – a confederation with neighboring Jordan.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s Middle East envoy, Jason Greenblatt, had already tweeted “False!” on Friday to what he said were reports that the proposal would give part of Egypt’s Sinai desert to the adjacent Palestinian enclave of Gaza, which is ruled by the Islamist Hamas group.
On Wednesday, Greenblatt denied that the plan envisages a confederation involving Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which administers limited self-rule in the occupied West Bank.
“@KingAbdullahII & #Jordan are strong US allies. Rumors that our peace vision includes a confederation between Jordan, Israel & the PA, or that the vision contemplates making Jordan the homeland for Palestinians, are incorrect. Please don’t spread rumors,” Greenblatt wrote.
White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, another main architect of the peace proposal, said on Tuesday it would be made public after the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan ends in June.
Kushner, who is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka and spoke at a Time magazine forum in Washington, did not say whether the plan called for a two-state solution, a goal of past U.S. peace efforts.
Palestinian leaders have called for the establishment of an independent state alongside Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who won a fifth term in an election two weeks ago, laid down a series of conditions for Palestinian statehood in a major policy speech in 2009.
But U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed in 2014, partly over the expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied territory Palestinians seek for their state.
In a last-minute election campaign promise that angered Palestinians, Netanyahu said he planned to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank if he was again chosen as Israel’s leader.
The U.S. proposal, which has been delayed for a variety of reasons over the last 18 months, has two major components. It has a political piece that addresses core issues such as the status of Jerusalem, and an economic part that aims to help the Palestinians strengthen their economy.
Palestinian leaders have said Trump cannot be an honest broker after he broke with long-standing U.S. policy and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017 and moved the American embassy to the city last May.
(Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Gareth Jones)
Migrants are seen at the Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency in Tajora shelter center in Tripoli, Libya April 24,2019. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
April 24, 2019
By Ahmed Elumami
TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Libyan officials have opened the doors of a detention center for illegal migrants in Tripoli, but frightened Somalis and other sub-Saharan Africans told Reuters they had decided to stay for fear of getting caught up in fighting engulfing the capital.
“We don’t want to leave…we have no place to go,” said a 20-year old migrant who gave his name as Daoud, sitting on a mattress in a warehouse where 550 migrants have been held. His pregnant wife sits in a different room.
More than 3,600 jailed migrants have been trapped in the capital since forces from the east of the country started an advance to capture it, the United Nations says.
On Tuesday, some 12 migrants were wounded when unknown gunmen opened fire on them in a detention center in a suburb fought over by both sides, a spokesman for the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said. Details remain unclear. The injured migrants are being treated in a hospital. Amnesty International called for the incident to be investigated as a war crime.
In the quieter eastern Tajoura suburb, the manager opened the gate of his detention center housing migrants from sub-Saharan countries such as Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and some Arab countries. Everyone stayed, surviving on one meal of pasta a day. On good day they get two.
Large parts of Libya have been lawless since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, and the country has become the main transit point for hundreds of thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East attempting the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.
Officials have been accused in the past of mistreating detainees who are held by the thousands as part of European-backed efforts to curb smuggling.
At the Tajoura detention center, authorities have not supplied any food or water since before fighting started last week, said Nour Eldine Qarilti, the director.
“We have not received any assistance from all international organizations,” he told Reuters. “Some local NGOs still support us with simple needs but it’s not enough.”
Hundreds of migrants lay on mattresses. Others were using a kitchen to cook lunch for others for a small fee.
According the United Nations, Libya is now hosting more than 700,000 people who have fled their homelands, often trekking through desert in pursuit of their dream of crossing to a better life in Europe.
They then try find smugglers to put them on boats. But with Italy and France helping to beef up the Libyan Coast Guard, most now get caught before reaching Europe.
(Writing by Ahmed Elumami and Ulf Laessing; Editing by Peter Graff)
FILE PHOTO: A trader speaks to a floor official on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
April 24, 2019
By Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel
(Reuters) – Wall Street was set to open flat on Wednesday after a record-setting rally in the previous session, as investors assessed quarterly reports from industrial bellwethers Boeing and Caterpillar.
Boeing Co shares gained 1.5% in premarket trading even as the planemaker suspended its 2019 outlook and reported quarterly revenue below Wall Street estimates due to grounding of its 737 MAX jets. Its stock has lost 11.5% since the deadly Ethiopian crash in early March.
Caterpillar Inc fell 2.6%. The company topped analysts’ estimates for quarterly profit but posted a 4% decline in construction revenue in Asia-Pacific, one of its key markets dominated by China.
“Thus far you’ve had pretty strong reactions to earnings and investor sentiment is nervously positive,” said Michael James, managing director of equity trading at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles.
“The nervousness has to do with valuations and the concern being, ‘Am I going to get good enough results and guidance to justify the markets going higher?’”
The main indexes are holding within a hair’s breadth of all-time highs after a rally this year, sparked by a dovish Federal Reserve, hopes of a U.S.-China trade resolution and an upbeat earnings season.
The benchmark S&P 500 index is just 0.25% away from its intra-day record high of 2,940.91 hit on Sept. 21.
About a third of the S&P 500 companies are expected to report this week, determining if investors should be concerned about the start of an earnings recession or whether back-to-back quarters of negative growth can be avoided.
Profits of S&P 500 companies are expected to decline 1.1% for the quarter, according to Refinitv data. However, 77.5% of the 129 companies that have reported so far have surpassed earnings estimates.
At 8:39 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 15 points, or 0.06%. S&P 500 e-minis were down 1 points, or 0.03% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 1.25 points, or 0.02%.
Microsoft Corp and Facebook Inc, set to report after the closing bell on Wednesday, were up more than 0.5%.
EBay Inc shares jumped 3.6% after the company raised its full-year sales and profit forecasts.
AT&T Inc shares declined 2.5% after the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier reported quarterly revenue below Wall Street estimates.
Anadarko Petroleum Corp shares jumped 11.4% after Occidental Petroleum Corp sought to scuttle Chevron Corp’s takeover of the company with a $57 billion bid. Occidental’s shares fell 5.2%.
(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Amy Caren Daniel in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)
FILE PHOTO: Esports – ESL One – Dota 2 Major – Arena Birmingham, Birmingham, Britain – May 26, 2018 General view as fans watch on Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes
April 24, 2019
By Hilary Russ
NEW YORK (Reuters) – From snack companies to carmakers, a wide range of brands is trying to reach one of the hottest demographic groups around: esports fans.
Those brands are finding their footing with 39 percent of brand exposure in esports’ competitive video game broadcasts coming from non-gaming related companies in 2018, Nielsen said in a report on Wednesday.
“Over all forms of entertainment, their biggest passion is video games,” Nicole Pike, Managing Director of Nielsen Esports, said of enthusiasts of professional video gaming.
Such companies are called “non-endemic” since they are not as naturally aligned with esports as those that manufacture gaming computers, consoles, chairs and other gear, for instance.
The list of non-endemic brands in the sector and already includes State Farm, Disney, Spotify, Toyota, Mastercard, Cheez-It, Hershey, Chipotle, Sephora , Wendy’s and Head & Shoulders, and is getting longer.
Viewership of esports – when fans watch in person or online as professional video game players compete – is expanding.
The bulk of fans are typically between 18 and 35 years old, referred to in the Nielsen report by esports sponsor Doritos as “emerging adults.”
They have more disposable income than other sports fans and many have cut the cord to traditional media.
In fact, 61 percent of esports viewers on Twitch, a main platform for watching esports streams, do not watch television on a weekly basis, according to Nielsen, making traditional forms of marketing a challenge.
Reaching out through esports does seem to work, since 90 percent of Twitch’s esports viewers can name at least one non-endemic sponsor, Nielsen found.
Brands seen as authentically interested in the space fare better than those that just slap their logo on a jersey, advertising and esports experts say.
PepsiCo’s Doritos, for instance, sponsored a “Doritos Bowl” hosted by Twitch for a Call of Duty battle royale tournament between top streamers.
Fans watched nearly 550,000 combined hours of that tournament, Nielsen said.
When 20th Century Fox wanted to promote the digital release of its movie “Deadpool 2 Super Duper Cut,” it turned to the gaming advertising and talent agency Ader.
Ader partnered with top Fortnite influencer DrLupo and also created new custom designed Deadpool “emotes” – essentially emoji characters – that viewers use in Twitch chat windows.
An influx of non-endemic brands also adds credibility to the evolving esports ecoystem, said Chad De Luca, head of gaming and esports at Publicis Sport & Entertainment.
“It is a mark of approval from a blue-chip company,” he said.
(Reporting by Hilary Russ, editing by G Crosse)
FILE PHOTO: A view of cranes at the container terminal at the Red Sea port of Hodeidah, Yemen January 5, 2019. REUTERS/Abduljabbar Zeyad/File Photo
April 24, 2019
DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister on Wednesday blamed Yemen’s Houthi movement for a stalled peace deal in the main port of Hodeidah, saying the Iran-aligned group was ignoring the kingdom’s call for a political solution to the four-year war.
Saudi Arabia is leading a Western-backed Sunni Muslim military coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, which was ousted from power in the capital Sanaa by the Houthis in late 2014.
“They are ignoring our calls for a political solution to this crisis,” Prince Khalid bin Salman said at a security conference in Moscow, in his first comments on Yemen since becoming deputy defense minister in February.
The warring parties reached a deal at U.N.-sponsored talks in Sweden in December for a ceasefire and troop withdrawal from the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, a lifeline for millions of people.
The Houthis say they are ready to implement the Hodeidah deal, but that the other side is obstructing it.
The truce has largely held but the redeployment of forces has stalled with each side blaming the other for impeding the pact, the first major breakthrough in peace efforts in over four years aimed at paving the way for political negotiations.
Prince Khalid, a son of King Salman and a full younger brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, accused regional rival Iran of trying “to seize the Yemeni state” by supporting the Houthis, who control Hodeidah and most urban centers in Yemen.
The Houthis deny being puppets of Iran and say their revolution is against corruption.
The conflict, which has killed tens of thousands of people and pushed the poorest Arabian Peninsula nation to the brink of famine, is largely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and its arch foe Shi’ite Muslim Iran.
The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a database tracking violence in Yemen, last week said around 70,000 people have been reported killed since the start of 2016.
Western nations, some of which supply arms and intelligence to the alliance, have increased pressure on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to end the conflict following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October at the hands of Saudi agents at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.
(Writing by Lisa Barrington; Additional reporting by Tuqa Khalid; Editing by Alison Williams)