pain

FILE PHOTO: ATP 1000 - Monte Carlo Masters
FILE PHOTO: Tennis – ATP 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 17, 2019 Canada’s Felix Auger Aliassime in action during his second round match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

May 26, 2019

(Reuters) – Fast-rising Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime said he will have to be more careful with his schedule in the future after pulling out of the French Open with a groin injury.

The 18-year-old, seeded 25th, said he had injured his groin playing in Lyon this week where he played in Saturday’s final.

“Maybe I should be more careful in the future,” Auger-Aliassime, one of several young exciting Canadians to fly up the rankings in the last year, told a news conference.

“It’s true I was feeling good physically when I got to Lyon. Several players do that and do two tournaments in a row, but maybe I should learn my lesson.

“It’s difficult to say why I got hurt. I’ll have to see that. Nevertheless, as for everything in my career, I learn every time.”

Auger-Aliassime played in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Lyon in the buildup to the French, losing in the final in the Lyon to Benoit Paire.

He said he had felt his groin injury in his semi-final win in the French city and decided to pull out of Roland Garros following the results of an MRI scan.

“I was feeling great. And then during my semi-finals I started feeling pain in my groin. I think I’m at peace just knowing that it’s something that gonna heal pretty

fast, but I have to be careful.”

He said he hoped to return to the grasscourt tournament in Stuttgart next month in the build-up to Wimbledon.

“If I had played five sets on clay, I run the risk of

worsening the lesions,” he said.

“This is why we decided I should pull back. And I hope I will be back in a tournament in two weeks.”

Alejandro Davidovich Fokina takes his spot in the draw and will face Australian Jordan Thompson in the first round.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)

Source: OANN

The Economic Innovation Group’s (EIG) Distressed Communities Index (DCI) shows a significant economic transformation (from two distinct periods: 2007-2011 and 2012-2016) that occurred since the financial crisis. The shift of human capital, job creation, and business formation to metropolitan areas reveals that rural America is teetering on the edge of collapse.

Since the crisis, the number of people living in prosperous zip codes expanded by 10.2 million, to a total of 86.5 million, an increase that was much greater than any other social class. Meanwhile, the number of Americans living in distressed zip codes decreased to 3.4 million, to a total of 50 million, the smallest shift of any other social class. This indicates that the geography of economic pain is in rural America.

“While the overall population in distressed zip codes declined, the number of rural Americans in that category increased by nearly 1 million between the two periods. Rural zip codes exhibited the most volatility and were by far the most likely to be downwardly mobile on the index, with 30 percent dropping into a lower quintile of prosperity—nearly twice the proportion of urban zip codes that fell into a lower quintile.

Meanwhile, suburban communities registered the greatest stability, with 61 percent remaining in the same quintile over both periods. Urban zip codes were the most robust—least likely to decline and more likely than their suburban counterparts to rise,” the report said.

Visualizing the collapse: Economic distress was mostly centered in the Southeast, Rust Belt, and South Central. In Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and West Virginia, at least one-third of the population were located in distressed zip codes.

Prosperous zip codes were the top beneficiaries of the jobs recovery since the financial crisis. All zip codes saw job declines during the recession, each laying off several million jobs from 2007 to 2010. But by 2016, prosperous zip codes had 3.6 million jobs surplus over 2007 levels, which was more than the bottom 80% of distressed zip codes combined. It took five years for prosperous zip codes to replace all jobs lost from the financial crisis; meanwhile, distressed zip codes will never recover.

EIG shows that less than 25% of all counties have recovered from business closures from the recession.

“US business formation has been dismal in both magnitude and distribution since the Great Recession. The country’s population is almost evenly split between counties that have fully replaced (with 161 million residents) and those that have not (with 157.4 million). This divide is due to the fact that highly populous counties—those with more than 500,000 residents—were far more likely to add businesses above and beyond 2007 levels than their smaller peers. Nearly three in every five large counties added businesses on net over the period, compared to only one in every five small one,” the report said.

To highlight the weak recovery and geographic unevenness of new business formation, EIG shows that the entire country had 52,800 more business establishments in 2016 than it did in 2007.

Five counties (Los Angeles, CA; Brooklyn, NY; Harris, TX (Houston); Queens, NY; and Miami-Dade, FL. ) had a combined 55,500 more businesses in 2016 than before the recession. Without those five counties, the US economy would not have recovered.

On top of deep structural changes in rural America, JPMorgan told clients last week that the entire agriculture complex is on the verge of disaster, with farmers in rural America caught in the crossfire of an escalating trade war.

“Overall, this is a perfect storm for US farmers,” JPMorgan analyst Ann Duignan warned investors.

Farmers are facing tremendous headwinds, including a worsening trade war, collapsing soybean exports to China, global oversupply conditions, and crop yield losses in the Midwest due to flooding. This all comes at a time when farmers are defaulting and missing payments at alarming rates, forcing regional banks to restructure and refinance existing loans.

Today’s downturn of rural America is no different than what happened in the 1920s, 1930s, and the early 1980s.


Trump hit China with 25% on more than half of their exports. The stock market panicked this week. Here’s why you should celebrate…

Source: InfoWars

The Economic Innovation Group’s (EIG) Distressed Communities Index (DCI) shows a significant economic transformation (from two distinct periods: 2007-2011 and 2012-2016) that occurred since the financial crisis. The shift of human capital, job creation, and business formation to metropolitan areas reveals that rural America is teetering on the edge of collapse.

Since the crisis, the number of people living in prosperous zip codes expanded by 10.2 million, to a total of 86.5 million, an increase that was much greater than any other social class. Meanwhile, the number of Americans living in distressed zip codes decreased to 3.4 million, to a total of 50 million, the smallest shift of any other social class. This indicates that the geography of economic pain is in rural America.

“While the overall population in distressed zip codes declined, the number of rural Americans in that category increased by nearly 1 million between the two periods. Rural zip codes exhibited the most volatility and were by far the most likely to be downwardly mobile on the index, with 30 percent dropping into a lower quintile of prosperity—nearly twice the proportion of urban zip codes that fell into a lower quintile.

Meanwhile, suburban communities registered the greatest stability, with 61 percent remaining in the same quintile over both periods. Urban zip codes were the most robust—least likely to decline and more likely than their suburban counterparts to rise,” the report said.

Visualizing the collapse: Economic distress was mostly centered in the Southeast, Rust Belt, and South Central. In Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and West Virginia, at least one-third of the population were located in distressed zip codes.

Prosperous zip codes were the top beneficiaries of the jobs recovery since the financial crisis. All zip codes saw job declines during the recession, each laying off several million jobs from 2007 to 2010. But by 2016, prosperous zip codes had 3.6 million jobs surplus over 2007 levels, which was more than the bottom 80% of distressed zip codes combined. It took five years for prosperous zip codes to replace all jobs lost from the financial crisis; meanwhile, distressed zip codes will never recover.

EIG shows that less than 25% of all counties have recovered from business closures from the recession.

“US business formation has been dismal in both magnitude and distribution since the Great Recession. The country’s population is almost evenly split between counties that have fully replaced (with 161 million residents) and those that have not (with 157.4 million). This divide is due to the fact that highly populous counties—those with more than 500,000 residents—were far more likely to add businesses above and beyond 2007 levels than their smaller peers. Nearly three in every five large counties added businesses on net over the period, compared to only one in every five small one,” the report said.

To highlight the weak recovery and geographic unevenness of new business formation, EIG shows that the entire country had 52,800 more business establishments in 2016 than it did in 2007.

Five counties (Los Angeles, CA; Brooklyn, NY; Harris, TX (Houston); Queens, NY; and Miami-Dade, FL. ) had a combined 55,500 more businesses in 2016 than before the recession. Without those five counties, the US economy would not have recovered.

On top of deep structural changes in rural America, JPMorgan told clients last week that the entire agriculture complex is on the verge of disaster, with farmers in rural America caught in the crossfire of an escalating trade war.

“Overall, this is a perfect storm for US farmers,” JPMorgan analyst Ann Duignan warned investors.

Farmers are facing tremendous headwinds, including a worsening trade war, collapsing soybean exports to China, global oversupply conditions, and crop yield losses in the Midwest due to flooding. This all comes at a time when farmers are defaulting and missing payments at alarming rates, forcing regional banks to restructure and refinance existing loans.

Today’s downturn of rural America is no different than what happened in the 1920s, 1930s, and the early 1980s.


Trump hit China with 25% on more than half of their exports. The stock market panicked this week. Here’s why you should celebrate…

Source: InfoWars

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By Eric Felten, RealClearInvestigations
May 25, 2019

Now that the Russia collusion allegations have evaporated, the long knives are out and the president’s antagonists are watching their backs. They have moved from accusing President Trump of treason to pushing revisionist narratives that try to shift the blame for the debunked probe onto others.

President Trump with Attorney General William Barr: Newly empowered.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

This effort is expected to accelerate following Trump’s decision Thursday to empower Attorney General William Barr to declassify CIA, Pentagon, and Director of National Intelligence documents as necessary to access “information or intelligence that relates to the attorney general’s review” of the Russia probe.

In other words, he’s gaining the authority needed to investigate the investigators.

CIA sources immediately objected in the New York Times that assets’ lives would be at risk, stunting Langley’s ability to recruit. Perhaps. But the argument is a bit shopworn, raising the question whether intelligence managers are looking to protect their agents and sources, or aiming to protect themselves.

There are a growing number of indicators that the leading players in the 2016 election drama are turning on one another, making a mad dash for the lifeboats to escape being dragged under with the political Titanic that is Christopher Steele and his dossier. These are many of the same people who had been eager to exploit the dossier, that collection of memos paid for by the Clinton campaign and supposedly sourced from Russia. Once treated like the Rosetta stone of collusion, the Steele documents now seem even to Trump antagonists more like the Howard Hughes diaries.

Back when fingers weren’t pointing: FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in 2014.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

A “former CIA official” has told Fox News that two of Trump’s most high profile accusers – former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Director of the CIA John Brennan – didn’t want anything to do with Steele’s opus. It was former FBI Director James Comey, the source said, who was pushing to use the dossier in the official Intelligence Community Assessment, issued in the final days of the Obama administration. Having failed at that, thanks to Clapper and Brennan’s diligence (or so the story goes), Comey went rogue and confronted President-elect Trump with the salacious highlights produced by Steele.

Even the peripheral players are doing their best to shift blame. Former FBI General Counsel James Baker – who is under criminal investigation for leaks –  recently went on the Skullduggery podcast to assert that  he and other bureau officials were “quite worried” that  Comey’s meeting with Trump would look like a page out of J. Edgar Hoover’s playbook – invoking  the legendary FBI director who stockpiled damaging information to blackmail politicians. Would Comey be wrong to interpret Baker’s comments as an offer to testify against his former boss in exchange for a deal on the leaks investigation?

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch: Case of testimony over “matter.”

AP Photo/Cliff Owen

Comey has no shortage  of adversaries, partly because old rivals he thought he had dispatched — such as former Attorney General Loretta Lynch —  are back in the mix, and he is possibly sensing his vulnerability. It was in June 2017 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee that Comey tossed Lynch under the proverbial bus. Now it’s clear she’s showing she can climb out from under the motor coach and dust herself off.

In September of 2015, Lynch and Comey were preparing to testify on Capitol Hill and expected to be asked about the Hillary Clinton email probe — code-named the Midyear Exam — which at that point had not been officially acknowledged. “I wanted to know if she [Lynch] would authorize us to confirm we had an investigation,” Comey told lawmakers. “And she said yes, but don’t call it that; call it a ‘matter.’ And I said why would I do that? And [Lynch] said just call it a ‘matter.’” Comey says he reluctantly went along with Lynch’s demand, even though it gave him “a queasy feeling.” He worried “that the attorney general was looking to align the way we talked about our work with the way a political campaign was describing the same activity, which was inaccurate.”

Lynch pushed back against the notion she had twisted Comey’s arm. In April 2018 she told NBC’s Lester Holt that she didn’t remember the meeting the way Comey described it, and that the FBI director had raised no objections.

Comey and Lynch: Seeing things differently.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

But now that the questions about officials’ behavior regarding the 2016 candidates has become a fraught topic, those officials are taking stronger stands to defend themselves. Comey continues to leave little wiggle room in his portrayal of the conversation with Lynch. In a December 2018 closed-door congressional interview, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) asked him to confirm “the fact that the attorney general had asked you to refer to this investigation as a matter, correct?”

“That is correct.” Comey said.

Not so, says Lynch. On Dec. 19, 2018, she appeared before a closed-door session of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. She was being questioned by Republican staff attorney Zach Somers. He asked “whether you ever instructed Director Comey to call the Midyear Exam investigation a matter?” She said his testimony was the first she had any indication “that he had that impression of our conversation.”

That answer was a little ambiguous, so Somers asked Lynch directly: “So you do not believe you ever instructed him to call it a matter?”

“I did not,” said Lynch. “I have never instructed a witness as to what to say specifically. Never have, never will.” Under penalty of lying to Congress, the former AG declared, “I didn’t direct anyone to use specific phraseology.”

Before leaping to the conclusion that Lynch is calling Comey a liar, we need to keep reading the transcript of Lynch’s testimony, which ends up being far less definitive than it first appears. As is so often the case with lawyers’ lawlerly responses, the assertion turns on specific words. Lynch said she didn’t “instruct” or “direct” anyone to use any “specific” language. Instead, she testified, she had told Comey that she personally referred to the Hillary affair as a “matter” or “issue” and “that was the suggestion that I made to him.”

Could it be this is the shape of investigations — sorry, matters — to come? The spectacle of former power players parsing verbs at one another? It may seem a sound defensive strategy now, but it will grow harder to craft phraseology subtle enough to slip out of trouble. Legalistic sparring becomes increasingly difficult as the number of those being put under oath proliferates, and as the number of investigations mount. The game theory concept known as the “Prisoner’s dilemma” is confounding enough when there are two players having to figure out whether to trust one another or sell each other out. Make it multi-person, game theorists point out, and the difficulty for the players grows exponentially.

Making the game even more difficult is how much of the play is being done under cover. When so much of the frenzied blame-shifting is right out in the open, who knows how much whet work with the long knives is going on in the shadows? “If Brennan and Comey and Clapper are doing this publicly,” one Senate staffer says, private-sector dossier-peddlers “[Sidney] Blumenthal, [Cody] Shearer and [Glenn] Simpson are doing it privately.”

There’s no overstating institutional animosities and how likely they are to affect efforts to find out the full story of what happened in the 2016 election. The Department of Justice, the FBI, the State Department and various intelligence agencies are supposed to cooperate, working together to amplify their efforts through coordination. Instead, they often end up at odds, competing for the praise and resources that come with successes and laying off on others the blame that attends mistakes and failures.

“The FBI and DoJ are ruthless to each other, petty to one another,” one congressional staffer marvels.

Peter Strzok: “DoJ are putzes, man,” he texted. “God I hate them.” 

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

FBI investigator Peter Strzok provides a vivid example of the attitudes at play. In texts to his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, he makes declarations such as “I hate DoJ.” Half an hour later he sends another text that includes “And I hate DoJ.” Elsewhere in the texts, the people of “main justice” are called “political dicks” In the same spirit Strzok declares “DoJ are putzes, man.” Later he tells Page, “Don’t trust DoJ” and declares, “God I hate them.” Page describes DoJ as the “no brigade.” She writes, “I just feel like throttling DOJ.”

Connoisseurs of the knife fights between Justice and the bureau keep an eye out not only for what gets reported in the press, but where it gets reported. “The Department of Justice has good relations with, and tends to leak to, the Washington Post,” says a longtime Capitol Hill staffer. “The FBI leaks to the New York Times.”

He points to the competing narratives about then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s supposed offer to wear a wire and record conversations with the president. The story broke in the New York Times last September and portrayed then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe as the level-headed professional pushing back against Rosenstein’s fevered fantasies, which included not only the suggestion of secretly recording Trump, but the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment to have him removed from office. “The extreme suggestions show Mr. Rosenstein’s state of mind in the disorienting days that followed Mr. Comey’s dismissal,” the Times wrote. “Mr. Rosenstein appeared conflicted, regretful and emotional, according to people who spoke with him at the time.” In other words, if there were dubious decisions being made by federal law enforcement officials, it wasn’t just Rosenstein’s fault, according to the Times; it was because the deputy AG was losing his marbles.

Conflicting accounts: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, left, and FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe, right, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

The Times story was followed shortly thereafter by a Washington Post take on the same events, a version significantly more friendly to Rosenstein. According to “attendees at the meeting,” it was McCabe who was pushing boundaries, advocating an “investigation into the president,” the Post wrote. In this account, “Rosenstein responded [to McCabe] with what one person described as a sarcastic comment along the line of: ‘What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?’” The Post story attributed to a “Justice Department official who met frequently with both McCabe and Rosenstein” that “in the months that followed, Rosenstein never broached either subject — the 25th Amendment or a possible wiretap involving the president.”  

You don’t have to be a champion contestant on that peculiar Washington game show — “Guess the Source!” — to have a sense of which side of the street was providing what information to which newspaper.

Given the Times’s sources in and around the FBI, there is particular significance when the Times writes a revisionist history of the bureau’s activities involving the 2016 election. At the end of 2017 the paper had done its best to write the dossier out of the creation myth of the Russia investigation. The Times had maintained, in an April 20, 2017 article, that it was Carter Page’s ill-advised commencement speech in Moscow in the summer of 2016 that had sparked the FBI’s concerns the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia. This line came from the dossier, which had alleged that Page had secret meetings with billionaire oligarchs during his Moscow stay. But after the dossier started to be exposed as the partisan document it was, a new reason emerged to justify the launching of a counterintelligence probe into team Trump — that George Papadopoulos had supposedly mentioned, over drinks with an Australian diplomat, that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz: With him on the case, leakers are “getting ahead of the story.”

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

That alternate origin story remained largely unchanged until early this month, when the Times rewrote its narrative, clearly with the help of FBI sources. The new narrative included the revelation that the bureau had sent a “government investigator” to London under the false name “Azra Turk.” Her undercover mission was to flirt with Papadopoulos and pump him for information about Trump and the Russians. The Times helpfully (from the FBI’s point of view) portrayed this as evidence of the “level of alarm” investigators had about Trump and Russia. 

The article was a classic example of a fundamental Washington PR technique, that of “getting ahead of the story.” Knowing the Azra Turk business is being looked over by the Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, sources in, or formerly of, the bureau went to friendly reporters and fed them information that could put the events in the least unflattering light possible. Note, however, that the bureau players — who normally wring their hands about the national security damage done by the release of unredacted information — aren’t above leaking details of covert ops if that’s what it takes to soften a blow.

As things unravel further, they’re likely to get nastier. In part that’s because the FBI doesn’t just hate the Department of Justice. If the Page-Strzok texts are any indication, the bureau doesn’t much like the State Department either. “DOJ is a wild pain in the ass,” Strzok texts Page. “Not as bad as State, but still.” Faced with sending some documents about the Hillary email investigation to Foggy Bottom, Page texts, “I’m not giving State an advance warning. F them.” Strzok responds, “And yes, totally. F State. No heads up.”

Former FBI lawyer Lisa Page: “We both hate everyone and everything.”

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

They not only sneered at their colleagues across the street (Justice and the FBI are housed on opposite sides of Pennsylvania Avenue), their feelings toward their bureau co-workers ranged from diffidence to detestation.

Consider the infamous text from Strzok to Page: “Just went to a southern Virginia Wal-Mart,” Strzok wrote. “I could SMELL the Trump support.”

Lost in the noisy outrage over the Trumpy odors insult has been Page’s reply: “Yep, out to lunch with Sally” Moyer, Page texted. “We both hate everyone and everything.”

“Do you hate everyone and everything?” Republican staff attorney Arthur Baker asked Moyer — a unit chief in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel. The question came in an October 2018 closed-door interview with the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight.

“Some days,” Moyer deadpanned.

The questioner was nonplussed: “But you don’t hate everyone and everything all the time?”

“Not all the time, no.”

Sally Moyer: A little gallows humor.

Moyer may have been indulging in a little gallows humor, but aggravation with the job and co-workers at the FBI — hate for everyone and everything all the time — seems to be commonplace in the bureau. Page calls various colleagues everything from “an ASTOUNDING douche” to “a petulant baby.”

Given the paramount heights to which both Strzok and Page had risen within the FBI, it’s unlikely they were outliers among the bureau’s management class. Their casual contempt for co-workers and for the departments of Justice and State can’t be attitudes far out of step with those of their seventh-floor colleagues. Sticking it to State and Justice and even (perhaps especially) the fellow down the hall: If that was the culture of the FBI’s leadership when the investigators were riding high and enjoying the power that came from collaborating with State and Justice in the pursuit of a president, just imagine how they are likely to behave toward one another now that they have become the pursued rather than the pursuers.

Even in the best of times, departments and agencies such as Justice, State and the FBI find themselves in back-stabbing bureaucratic battles of all against all. Imagine how those Hobbesian bureaucrats, whether current or former, are likely to behave when the outcomes being fought over have profoundly personal ramifications. One recalls the moment in “It’s a Wonderful Life” when the upstanding George Bailey is sinking in frantic desperation: “Do you realize what this means?!” he shouts at doddering Uncle Billy, who’s lost the bank deposit. “It means bankruptcy and scandal and prison. That’s what it means.” With shocking savagery, Bailey throws the old man down in his chair and declares, “One of us is going to jail, and it’s not going to be me!”  

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72nd Cannes Film Festival - Photocall for the film
FILE PHOTO: 72nd Cannes Film Festival – Photocall for the film “Pain and Glory” (Dolor y Gloria) in competition – Cannes, France, May 18, 2019. Director Pedro Almodovar poses. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

May 25, 2019

By Sarah White

CANNES, France (Reuters) – An introspective turn by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar with a movie about an filmmaker, and a darkly humorous South Korean thriller are among the movies sparking awards buzz at Cannes in an unusually crowded field of runners and riders this year.

The film festival’s top Palme d’Or prize will be announced on Saturday evening after the jury headed up by Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu hash out their picks from the movies vying in the main selection.

“It’s been quite a strong year in all the competitions at Cannes,” said Meredith Taylor, editor of arthouse film site Filmuforia, adding that she had handed out more four-star reviews than usual.

Cannes juries have been known to stump critics, however.

“Quite often an outsider comes in,” Taylor said.

French director Celine Sciamma has also earned glowing praise for period love story “Portrait Of A Lady On Fire”, while first time director Ladj Ly of France impressed with the politically charged “Les Miserables”, a tale of police violence.

And as well as Almodovar’s “Pain And Glory”, the festival was not short of other strong entries from Cannes darlings, including two-time Palme d’Or winner Ken Loach with a searing swipe at Britain’s gig economy in “I’m Sorry We Missed You.”

Almodovar’s return with his loosely biographical film starring Antonio Banderas, on top form as a tormented filmmaker looking back at his life, has nonetheless sparked talk of long overdue recognition at Cannes.

The “All About My Mother” director has never won the top prize at the French cinema festival, where he headed up the jury two years ago.

His latest entry has him vying against another Cannes heavy-hitter in the field of filmmakers delving into the world of cinema for inspiration – Quentin Tarantino presented “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”, his ode to a bygone era in tinseltown.

Its star-studded premiere this week marked one of the high points of the festival, as Tarantino walked the red carpet with Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in tow, though despite critical acclaim few have billed it as the one to watch.

Instead, Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite”, a suspenseful, wickedly funny satire about class struggles has sparked buzz of awards glory for the South Korean director.

Few films out of the 21 selected for Cannes’ main competition hit a bum note with critics – bar one-time award-winner Abdellatif Kechiche, whose three-and-half hour movie with extensive close-ups of a young girls twerking in a nightclub, “Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo”, was panned by reviewers.

(Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Source: OANN

72nd Cannes Film Festival - Screening of the film
72nd Cannes Film Festival – Screening of the film “Pain and Glory” (Dolor y gloria) in competition – Red Carpet Arrivals – Cannes, France, May 17, 2019. Bella Hadid poses. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

May 24, 2019

By Johnny Cotton

CANNES, France (Reuters) – Enormous bouffant dresses decked out in lace or feathers ruled the red carpet at this year’s Cannes film festival, one of the of the world’s most glamorous stages for actors as well as fashion designers.

As well as oversized gowns, more classic monochrome looks also scored design points for some fashion critics amid the spangles, patterns and fringes that were certainly not lacking at parties and premieres on the French Riviera.

“I felt like on the carpet this year it was either go big or a little bit more iconic, understated looks and I loved that,” New York-based stylist Elizabeth Sulcer said.

The festival is due to draw to a close with an awards ceremony on May 25, one of the swankiest nights of the calendar.

In the classic corner, U.S. actress Selena Gomez walked the red carpet for her zombie movie “The Dead Don’t Die” wearing a white silk bra top and skirt with a high slit by Louis Vuitton.

“I think sometimes less is more and I really loved it in the white — it was bright and very beautiful,” Sulcer said of the outfit.

Others followed suit. Model Bella Hadid also kept it simple in a red cutout Roberto Cavalli gown at the premiere of “Pain and Glory” by Cannes veteran Pedro Almodovar.

But down the coast at Thursday’s exclusive amfAR charity gala many stars chose to pump up the volume including singer Dua Lipa, in a bombastic, red feathery Valentino number.

For Sulcer, sparkling pantsuits were one trend that hit more of an off note.

Margot Robbie, who stars in Quentin Tarantino’s new film “Once Upon A Time In Hollywood”, wore black sequinned Chanel trousers paired with an off-the-shoulder white top to the premiere.

(Writing by Sarah White; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Source: OANN

If China wants to cause a massive amount of pain for the U.S. economy in this trade war, they certainly have the firepower to do so. 

Today, China accounts for more than 80 percent of the world’s rare earth element production, and approximately 80 percent of the rare earth elements that are used by U.S. companies are imported from China.  The U.S. does have one facility that mines rare earth elements in California, but everything that is mined there has to be shipped to China for processing.  So at this point we do not have the ability to supply our own rare earth element needs, and that gives the Chinese a tremendous amount of leverage.

Without rare earth elements, modern society as we have come to know it would not be able to function.

Today, rare earth elements are used in the production of cell phones, televisions, computers, DVD players, speakers, cameras, electric car motors, jet engines, satellites, lasers, wind turbines and superconductors.

In other words, without rare earth elements we would not be able to produce any of those things.  And since the Chinese have such a dominant position in the global marketplace, that gives them an incredible amount of power.

Of course the Chinese understand this very well, and shortly after trade talks with the U.S. completely collapsed Chinese President Xi Jinping made it a point to visit one of the most important rare earth production facilities in China.  Needless to say, the purpose of that visit was to send a very clear message to the United States.  And once the Trump administration moved to cripple Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, there was a lot of speculation in the mainstream media that China may consider cutting off rare earth exports to the U.S. in response

The United States last week threatened to cut supplies of US technology needed by Chinese telecom champion Huawei, which Washington suspects is in bed with China’s military.

The US move has fanned speculation that Xi could impose retaliatory measures and in an indication of the importance of rare earths to the US, Washington did not include them in a tariffs increase on Chinese goods this month.

President Trump has turned the tables on the obstructionist democratic party by using their own momentum of false accusations against them. Matt Bracken breaks down how the President can achieve victory for the American people.

If China made such a move, it would take the trade war to an entirely different level.  Some are referring to this as China’s “nuclear option”, and they will not use it lightly.

But if they do decide to go there, it will be absolutely devastating

“China could shut down nearly every automobile, computer, smartphone and aircraft assembly line outside of China if they chose to embargo these materials,” James Kennedy, president of ThREE Consulting, wrote Tuesday in National Defense, a US industry publication.

Just consider the implications of that statement for a moment.

If China wants to do so, they could essentially shut down all auto, phone, computer and aircraft manufacturers in the United States once their existing supplies of rare earth elements run out.

If I was an executive at one of those companies, I would be hoarding rare earth elements like crazy right now.

Unfortunately, the rhetoric on both sides of this trade war just continues to intensify.  This week, Chinese President Xi Jinping referred to this trade war as “the new Long March”

“Today, on the new Long March, we must overcome various major risks and challenges from home and abroad,” state news agency Xinhua paraphrased Xi as saying, referring to the 1934-36 trek of Communist Party members fleeing a civil war to a remote rural base, from where they re-grouped and eventually took power in 1949.

“Our country is still in a period of important strategic opportunities for development, but the international situation is increasingly complicated,” he said.

And the Trump administration decided to make China even more upset by sailing two warships through the Taiwan Strait

Just in case the “world tech and trade war I” was not enough to send US-China relations back decades, on Wednesday the US military sent two Navy destroyers through the Taiwan Strait in its latest transit through the sensitive waterway, “angering China” at a time of tense relations between the world’s two biggest economies.

While trade war between the two superpowers is raging, so far at least there have been no shooting incidents, and yet the US seems eager to provide just the right “excuse” for a trade war to become a “kinetic” one, as Taiwan is one of a growing number of flashpoints in the U.S.-China relationship, where in addition to the increasingly bitter trade war, China’s increasingly muscular military posture in the South China Sea has prompted the United States to conducts frequent freedom-of-navigation patrols.

The longer this trade war lasts, the angrier that the Chinese are going to become.

Sadly, most Americans don’t even seem to realize that a trade war is happening, but over in China this is what everyone is talking about right now.  In fact, a new song entitled “Trade War” has just gone viral on one of their biggest social media platforms

A song titled “Trade War,” (video below) has gone viral on one the largest Chinese social media platforms, WeChat, generating more than 100,000 views amid a deepening trade war between the US and China. The song begins with a chorus singing “Trade war! Trade war! Not afraid of the outrageous challenge! Not afraid of the outrageous challenge! A trade war is happening over the Pacific Ocean!” reports Bloomberg.

You can listen to the song for yourself on YouTube right here.

If we stay on this path, relations with China are going to continue to deteriorate, and that has ominous implications for our future.

The two largest economies on the entire planet are now locked in a great struggle, and both sides are absolutely determined to emerge victorious.

It may not happen immediately, but at some point the Chinese will be very tempted to cut off all exports of rare earth elements to the United States, and if that happens we will immediately start hearing squeals of panic from many of the largest U.S. corporations.

Source: InfoWars

FILE PHOTO: Cranes are pictured against sunset at a construction site in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Cranes are pictured against the sunset at construction site in the Toyosu district in Tokyo, February 12, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

May 24, 2019

By Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s government downgraded its assessment of the economy on Friday but maintained the view it was recovering, suggesting that escalating U.S.-China trade tensions have yet to hit growth enough to put off this year’s scheduled sales tax hike.

The fallout from the trade war and slowing global demand have clouded the outlook for the export-reliant economy, keeping alive market expectations that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may postpone a twice-delayed increase in the sales tax in October.

But Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi shrugged off such speculation, saying Japan should proceed with the tax hike.

Japan needs revenues to pay for bulging welfare costs to support a fast-ageing population and curb the industrial world’s heaviest public debt burden.

“There’s no change to our plan to raise the sales tax as scheduled,” he told reporters after the report was issued.

“I don’t think things are that bad. Manufacturing is affected by the U.S.-China trade dispute. But if you look at the supply side of our economy, manufacturing accounts for only 21%,” he said, adding that the service sector that makes up a bulk of the economy is doing well, with consumption “holding up”.

“Japan’s economy is recovering at a moderate pace, while weakness in exports and industrial production continues,” the government said in a monthly economic report for May.

That was a slightly bleaker view than last month, when it said the economy was recovering moderately despite “some” weakness in exports and output.

Some analysts had previously expected the report could drop the view the economy was recovering, to signal that growth was too weak to weather the hit from the higher levy.

The government also cut its view on output and capital expenditure, nodding to the growing pain from U.S.-Sino trade tensions and slowing Chinese demand.

But it stuck to the view that domestic demand remains strong enough to moderate some of the pain from overseas headwinds, helping keep Japan’s recovery intact.

“Export growth is moderating due to China’s slowdown, which is keeping output weak,” a government official told a briefing, adding that some manufacturers were putting off capital spending plans.

“But consumption and capital expenditure continue to grow as a trend. The fundamentals supporting domestic demand remain firm,” he said.

Abe has repeatedly said he would proceed with an increase in the sales tax rate to 10% from 8% in October unless the economy was hit by a severe shock. But some lawmakers have called for a postponement on concerns it could tip Japan into recession.

The government has said Japan needs the tax hike to meet ballooning social welfare costs for a rapidly aging population and to rein in public debt, which is double the size of its economy and the biggest among major countries.

But critics of the plan argue that raising the tax would hit an economy already hurt by slowing exports.

A government index measuring current economic conditions showed Japan may already be in recession, while first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data showed weakness in consumption and capital expenditure.

(Additional reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Sam Holmes and Jacqueline Wong)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Cranes are pictured against sunset at a construction site in Tokyo
FILE PHOTO: Cranes are pictured against the sunset at construction site in the Toyosu district in Tokyo, February 12, 2015. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

May 24, 2019

By Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s government downgraded its assessment of the economy on Friday but maintained the view it was recovering, suggesting that escalating U.S.-China trade tensions have yet to hit growth enough to put off this year’s scheduled sales tax hike.

The fallout from the trade war and slowing global demand have clouded the outlook for the export-reliant economy, keeping alive market expectations that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may postpone a twice-delayed increase in the sales tax in October.

But Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi shrugged off such speculation, saying Japan should proceed with the tax hike.

Japan needs revenues to pay for bulging welfare costs to support a fast-ageing population and curb the industrial world’s heaviest public debt burden.

“There’s no change to our plan to raise the sales tax as scheduled,” he told reporters after the report was issued.

“I don’t think things are that bad. Manufacturing is affected by the U.S.-China trade dispute. But if you look at the supply side of our economy, manufacturing accounts for only 21%,” he said, adding that the service sector that makes up a bulk of the economy is doing well, with consumption “holding up”.

“Japan’s economy is recovering at a moderate pace, while weakness in exports and industrial production continues,” the government said in a monthly economic report for May.

That was a slightly bleaker view than last month, when it said the economy was recovering moderately despite “some” weakness in exports and output.

Some analysts had previously expected the report could drop the view the economy was recovering, to signal that growth was too weak to weather the hit from the higher levy.

The government also cut its view on output and capital expenditure, nodding to the growing pain from U.S.-Sino trade tensions and slowing Chinese demand.

But it stuck to the view that domestic demand remains strong enough to moderate some of the pain from overseas headwinds, helping keep Japan’s recovery intact.

“Export growth is moderating due to China’s slowdown, which is keeping output weak,” a government official told a briefing, adding that some manufacturers were putting off capital spending plans.

“But consumption and capital expenditure continue to grow as a trend. The fundamentals supporting domestic demand remain firm,” he said.

Abe has repeatedly said he would proceed with an increase in the sales tax rate to 10% from 8% in October unless the economy was hit by a severe shock. But some lawmakers have called for a postponement on concerns it could tip Japan into recession.

The government has said Japan needs the tax hike to meet ballooning social welfare costs for a rapidly aging population and to rein in public debt, which is double the size of its economy and the biggest among major countries.

But critics of the plan argue that raising the tax would hit an economy already hurt by slowing exports.

A government index measuring current economic conditions showed Japan may already be in recession, while first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) data showed weakness in consumption and capital expenditure.

(Additional reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Sam Holmes and Jacqueline Wong)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Tennis: Miami Open
FILE PHOTO: Mar 22, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Serena Williams of the United States hits a backhand against Rebecca Peterson of Sweden (not pictured) in the second round of the Miami Open at Miami Open Tennis Complex. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

May 24, 2019

By Rory Carroll

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Serena Williams represents the United States’ best chance to hoist the French Open trophy this year but questions loom about her fitness after she was forced to withdraw from the Italian Open last week with a knee injury.

Williams, a three-times French Open champion who has a 28-4 record on the red clay of Roland Garros, could be dangerous if she is pain free and can get off to a good start.

“Hopefully Serena is healthy enough to play,” Martin Blackman, general manager for player development with the United States Tennis Association (USTA), told Reuters.

“She’s such a professional that she doesn’t play unless she’s healthy, especially Grand Slams,” he said of the 23-time major champion, who is currently ranked number 10 in the world.

“So if she does, I think with every match that she wins she becomes a bigger and bigger threat.”

Her sister Venus has underperformed this year but remains in the conversation given her experience at slams, which includes a finals appearance at the French Open back in 2002.

The speedy, defensive-minded Sloane Stephens reached the French Open final last year and the 2017 U.S. Open champion could be poised to get the job done this year.

“Clay is a great surface for Sloane,” Blackman said.

“She’s such a good mover, she’s so good at opening the court, and she has so many different ways to hurt you. And she is getting more and more comfortable at the net.”

Powerhouse Madison Keys, who fell to Stephens in the French Open semi-finals last year, won her first clay court title at the Charleston Open in April, defeating Stephens and Caroline Wozniacki in the process.

“Madison recently made a coaching change, she’s working with (Juan) Nacho Todero and I think they are in a really good place,” Blackman said.

“She’s healthy, she’s fit and if she gets to the second week, she’s super dangerous.”

LESS OPTIMISTIC

While there’s a host of contenders on the women’s side, U.S. tennis fans can feel less optimistic about the men’s chances.

The top American man, world number 10 John Isner, last week withdrew from the French Open due to a foot injury he picked up during his Miami Open final defeat by Roger Federer in March.

The next best hope is probably the hard-hitting Sam Querrey, who has had success on clay in Davis Cup competition but has never got past the third round at the French Open, with his best result coming back in 2008.

Rising Americans Frances Tiafoe, Taylor Fritz and Denis Kudla are a combined 0-8 in their main draw matches in Paris so will all enter the tournament amid low expectations.

One bright spot for the U.S. men could be big-serving 21-year-old Reilly Opelka, making his French Open main draw debut.

“Really keep an eye out for Reilly,” Blackman said of Opelka, who routinely serves in the low-140 mile per hour range. “His serve can give you nightmares. No one wants to play him.”

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: OANN


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