Labour aim to seize parliamentary time to try to stop no-deal Brexit

LONDON ( ) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party said on Tuesday it would try to take control of the parliamentary agenda on June 25 to give lawmakers the chance to introduce legislation aimed at preventing a no-deal Brexit.

Several of the candidates vying to replace Prime Minister Theresa May have said they would not be 上海夜生活论坛willing to delay Britain’s European Union beyond the end of October, even if it meant leaving without a deal.

A majority of lawmakers oppose leaving without a deal and other leadership contenders have warned parliament will block any attempt to do so. One, former Brexit minister Dominic Raab, has even raised the possibility of suspending parliament until after Oct. 31 to prevent it happening.

“The debate on Brexit in the Tory (Conservative) leadership contest has descended into the disturbing, the ludicrous and the reckless,” said Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer.

“None of the likely candidates for the top job has a credible plan for how to break the deadlock before the end of October.”

Labour said it would use an opposition day debate on Wednesday to vote on a motion, supported by lawmakers from several parties including the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats and a member of May’s Conservatives, to seize parliamentary time on June 25.

If successful, Members of Parliament (MPs) could then use that time to introduce legislation to try and avoid Britain leaving on Oct. 31 without a deal, Labour said.

“MPs cannot be bystanders while the next Tory Prime Minister tries to crash the UK out of the European Union without a deal and without the consent of the British people. That’s why we are taking this latest measure to end the uncertainty and protect communities across the country,” Starmer added.

Earlier this year, MPs used a similar process to pass a law, despite government opposition, that mandated May to seek more time from the EU.

This alone would not have prevented a no-deal, as the EU has to agree to any extension. Only legislating to revoke the Article 50 exit notification would stop Brexit happening.

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REFILE-ALTCOINS-“Privacy coin” Monero offers near total anonymity

(Replaces cars with cards in eleventh graph)

* Monero is 12th biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation It has around $1.4 billion-worth in circulation

* Monero is used on darknet marketplaces – analysts

* Developer says Monero enables crime no more than cash

By Tom Wilson

LONDON, May 15 ( ) – Bitcoin’s share of the cryptocurrency market is sliding, with a host of alternative digital coins gaining ground as developers race to create digital cash that can gain a footing in mainstream commerce and finance.

As these “altcoins” grow in prominence, is publishing a series of stories that examines the features and characteristics of some of the alternatives to bitcoin that have grabbed the attention of developers, investors and regulators.

The first in this series looks at Monero – referred to as a privacy coin because it allows users to conceal nearly all details of transactions. It has become increasingly used for illegal purposes.

Since its launch in 2014, Monero has grown to be the 12th biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalisation with around $1.4 billion-worth in circulation.

HOW IS MONERO DIFFERENT TO BITCOIN?

Every transaction involving Monero obscures the digital addresses of the senders and receivers, as well as the value of the transaction. That offers users near-total anonymity, allowing them to instantaneously send digital cash without leaving any clues.

Bitcoin was initially seen as opaque, as the identity of the owners of digital wallets used to send and receive bitcoin is not public.

But details recorded permanently on the blockchain after bitcoin is sent and received can, in fact, give up clues that can be used to pinpoint those identities. This has become increasingly easy with the advent of firms that specialise in analysing blockchain transactions.

WHY’S IT GAINING ATTENTION?

When Norwegian police earlier this year gave details of the kidnapping of the wife of a wealthy businessman, they said the family had demanded a ransom in cryptocurrencies. Local press reported that the suspects wanted to be paid in Monero.

The unusual request underlined a growing trend for criminals to seek alternatives to bitcoin, which through its first decade has become the cryptocurrency of choice for illicit activities from buying contraband to laundering money, cyber security experts and law enforcement agencies say.

Bitcoin proponents say that traditional cash is also widely used for criminal activities.

Monero’s use on darknet marketplaces – sites used for buying illicit goods from drugs to stolen credit cards – is on the rise, said Tom Robinson, chief data officer of Elliptic, a London-based firm that provides blockchain-tracking software to law enforcement agencies and private companies.

Three of the biggest five darknet markets now accept Monero, Robinson said, though he added the caveat that bitcoin is still the most widely used cryptocurrency for darknet payments.

One of Monero’s developer team said Monero enables crime no more than cash. Its developers should stay out of debates on its traceability or risk undermining its decentralised nature, Francisco Cabanas told .

“It doesn’t selectively encourage crime, it encourages commerce,” said Cabanas, who goes by the nickname “ArcticMine,” in an interview via Skype from Vancouver. “In that respect, it’s no different to cash.”

Monero is also widely used for “cryptojacking,” or illicit cryptocurrency mining, where hackers infect computers and steal their power to mine new coins – a highly lucrative endeavour.

Nevertheless, over 4 percent of the 17 million Monero in circulation were mined using malware, said Guillermo Suarez de Tangil, a cybersecurity lecturer at King’s College London who has researched Monero.

“There is a clear phenomenon of the underground using Monero, and selling malware that will contribute to Monero mining,” he said.

Monero’s developers say its characteristics make it a useful tool for companies looking to maintain commercial secrecy. Users in repressive countries looking to avoid censorship or surveillance can also safely move money in the form of Monero, they say.

IS LAW ENFORCEMENT WORRIED? WHAT DO REGULATORS SAY?

Cryptocurrencies are mostly unregulated. Though countries from Britain to the United States are looking at how to deal with the phenomenon, few have set out comprehensive strategies for dealing with digital coins.

Asked about Monero, Borja Pastor de la Morena, an official at Europol in The Hague who oversees the agency’s work on money laundering said: “This kind of alternative cryptocurrency is more opaque and better at concealing the activity of the users.”

He said: “It’s a phenomenon that we are paying attention to”

And though aware of the propensity for cryptocurrencies to be used for money laundering, few financial national-level regulators have specifically addressed privacy coins.

Britain’s finance ministry, which leads a task force that is looking at if and how Britain will regulate cryptocurrencies, said it was aware of the potential for Monero to be used for criminal ends.

“We recognise the risks with cryptoassets like ‘privacy coins’ being used for illicit activity,” a spokesperson said, adding that it would “soon” launch a consultation on bringing crypto-related companies under anti-money laundering regulation.

Japan’s financial watchdog, sensitive to money laundering potential of privacy coins, last year asked a Tokyo-based exchange to review its listings. The exchange later ceased trading Monero.

WHO’S BEHIND MONERO?

Like bitcoin, Monero is governed by a virtual community of hundreds of developers that lacks any centralised authority.

Cabanas is one of only two publicly-known members of its seven-person core developer team, who act as stewards for updates to its code.

Mitchell Krawiec-Thayer, a San Francisco-based blockchain developer who is part of Monero Research Labs, said Monero is designed so it can be easily mined by individuals rather than powerful groups that team up to mine coins in industrial quantities.

“This lowers the barrier of entry to everyone,” he said. “The downside is that criminals have started using that. Steal上海夜生活ing other people’s resources, putting strain on their equipment – it’s a straight-up threat.”

Monero has recently launched a response group, where those infected by malware can seek help, Krawiec-Thayer said.

WHO USES MONERO FOR LEGITIMATE PURPOSES?

Data on who uses Monero, and why, is scarce. That’s a challenge for understanding the usage of any cryptocurrency, even more so for one designed to obscure its tracks.

Daily transactions for Monero – one proxy for how widely the cryptocurrency is used – have hovered around 8,000 this month, data from website CoinMetrics shows. The number of active digital wallet addresses for Monero has hung around 5,000.

By comparison, bitcoin sees around 320,000 transactions a day, with about 785,000 active addresses.

Monero is not the only privacy coin. Others, such as ZCash, have grown popular with investors, often for speculative reasons but also because of interest in their privacy features.

Grayscale, the world’s biggest crypto asset manager with around $1.3 billion under management, allows investors like hedge funds to invest in ZCash.

Amid growing acceptance of privacy coins, a number of major exchanges list Monero. For example, Malta-based Binance, one of the world’s largest exchanges, allows users to trade the coin.

Binance declined to comment on Monero, but said it has a comprehensive review process for evaluating coins and tokens for listing, and that it carries out periodic reviews on projects.

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EU moves closer to debt action as Italy angles for compromise

ROME/BRUSSELS ( ) – The European Union moved closer on Tuesday to taking disciplinary action over Italy’s growing debt, as authorities in Rome made tentative steps to avert a procedure that could saddle the country with large fines and alienate investors.

Envoys of EU governments agreed that action was warranted, a confidential document seen by showed, confirming the assessment of the European Commission that Italy is in breach of fiscal rules by failing to cut its huge public debt.

The Commission’s outgoing president, Jean-Claude Juncker, said Italy was “moving in an unsound direction” and risked a procedure that could last years.

Italy and the Commission have been at loggerheads on fiscal issues since a euroskeptic coalition government took office in Rome a year ago armed with ambitious spending plans.

However, in a rare show of unity after successive bouts of infighting in recent months, the coalition’s leaders agreed overnight on a willingness to address the EU’s concerns.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said after they met that they would work together to avert the disciplinary action.

“Our shared goal is to avoid the infringement while safeguarding economic growth, employment, as well as tax cuts,” added Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini of the far-right League.

Italy’s debt has risen steadily from a pre-financial crisis low of 104% of domestic output in 2007 and now stands at 132%, second only to Greece’s within the euro zone. The Commission forecast it will rise further to 135% next year.

Brussels also wants Rome to cut its structural deficit, which excludes one-off revenues, to make its debt more sustainable.

Related CoverageItalian deputy PM Di Maio says coalition meeting went well

EU governments agreed the disciplinary procedure would be avoided if Rome made new offers, two European sources said.

‘NO TAX INCREASES’

But, emboldened by the League’s strong showing in last month’s European elections and in local polls, Salvini has made tax cuts a priority and has repeatedly taken aim at Brussels, calling for an overhaul of EU fiscal rules.

He insisted on Tuesday that “there won’t be any budget correction nor tax increases.”

Finance Minister Giovanni Tria, a technocrat, played down the events in Brussels, saying the final decision would lie with the bloc’s finance ministers.

He ag上海夜生活论坛reed a budget correction was not necessary, though one would be implemented if needed, and said Italy’s deficit would be lower than initially forecast due to lower expenditure.

But that may not be enough to stave off EU action.

Brussels will now intensify talks to obtain more fiscal commitments from Rome.

But if no compromise is found, the EU Commission could recommend the opening of the procedure as early as June 26, one official said. EU states would have then to agree to formally launch it in their last meetings before the summer break on July 8-9. The procedure could also lead to unprecedented fines.

To complicate the picture, Rome is also scrambling to avoid a sales-tax increase worth 23 billion euros, which is due to kick in automatically next year unless the money can be found elsewhere.

Both the League and its coalition partner 5-Star Movement have ruled out a sales tax hike, but have yet to spell out how they will cover the gap.

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G20 finance chiefs express concern over risks from ‘intensified’ trade conflict

FUKUOKA, Japan ( ) – Group of 20 fi上海夜生活论坛nance leaders on Sunday said that trade and geopolitical tensions have “intensified”, raising risks to improving global growth, but they stopped short of calling for a resolution of a deepening U.S.-China trade conflict.

After fiery negotiations that nearly aborted the issuance of a communique, finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in southern Japan repeated tepid support for a rules-based multilateral trading system.

“Global growth appears to be stabilizing and is generally projected to pick up moderately later this year and into 2020,” the G20 finance leaders said in a communique issued as the meetings in Fukuoka closed.

“However, growth remains low and risks remain tilted to the downside. Most importantly, trade and geopolitical tensions have intensified. We will continue to address these risks and stand ready to take further action.”

It also said that G20 finance leaders had agreed to compile common rules by 2020 to close loopholes used by global tech giants such as Facebook and Google to reduce their corporate taxes.

The communique also contained pledges to increase debt transparency on the part of borrowers and creditors. Another priority is sustainable infrastructure development, an issue brought into sharper focus by concerns that China’s massive Belt and Road infrastructure drive was saddling poor countries with debt they can’t repay.

DROPPED CLAUSE

However, the final language excluded a proposed clause to “recognize the pressing need to resolve trade tensions”, which was dropped from a previous draft debated on Saturday.

The deletion, which G20 sources said came at the insistence of the United States, shows a desire by Washington to avoid encumbrances as it increases tariffs on Chinese goods. The statement also contains no admissions that the deepening U.S.-China trade conflict is hurting global growth.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde emphasized that “the first priority should be to resolve the current trade tensions” while working to modernize international trading rules.

Related CoverageBOJ Kuroda: G20 reaffirms commitment to use all tools to fight risksECB’s policy message well understood by market: ViscoSee more stories

The IMF this week warned that, while growth is still expected to improve this year and next, the U.S.-China tariff war could cut 0.5 percent from global GDP output in 2020, about the size of G20 member South Africa’s economy.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Saturday said he did not see any impact on U.S. growth from the trade conflict and that the government would take steps to protect consumers from higher tariffs.

Mnuchin met People’s Bank of China (PBOC) Governor Yi Gang on Sunday in the first meeting of high-level U.S. officials in a month, but it produced no immediate result. Mnuchin described the meeting as “constructive” and “a candid discussion on trade issues”, but offered no further detail.

The PBOC said in a statement that the two finance officials “exchanged views on global economic and financial situation, G20 issues, as well as topics of mutual interest”.

The Buenos Aires G20 summit in December 2018 marked the start of a five-month trade truce between the United States and China to allow for negotiations to end their intensifying trade war. But those talks hit an impasse last month, prompting both sides to impose higher tariffs on each other’s goods as the conflict nears its first anniversary.

TRUMP-XI SUMMIT

The widening fallout from the U.S.-China trade war has tested the resolve of the group to show a united front as investors worry if policymakers can avert a global recession.

The bickering over trade language has dashed hopes of Japan, which chairs this year’s G20 meetings, to keep trade issues low on the various agendas at the finance leaders’ meeting.

Mnuchin said that U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping would meet at a June 28-29 G20 summit in Osaka, but the meeting has not been confirmed by China.

The planned meeting was said by Mnuchin to have parallels with the two presidents’ Buenos Aires meeting on Dec. 1, when Trump was poised to increase tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods.

Trump took that step in May and will be ready to impose similar 25% tariffs on a remaining $300 billion list of Chinese goods around the time of the Osaka summit.

At the Buenos Aires meeting, the G20 leaders described international trade and investment as “important engines of growth, productivity, innovation, job creation and development. We recognize the contribution that the multilateral trading system has made to that end,” their communique said.

The leaders in that communique called for reform of World Trade Organization rules that they said were falling short of objectives and pledged to review progress at the Japan summit.

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Ex-Trump adviser Flynn talking to Congress about testifying in Russia probe: lawyer

((In March 30 item, corrects spelling of Kislyak in paragraph 3))

WASHINGTON ( ) – Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has offered to testify before congressional committees probing potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia but wants protection against “unfair prosecution,” his lawyer said on Thursday.

“General Flynn certainly has a story to tell, and he very much wants to tell it, should the circumstances permit,” said a statement from Flynn’s lawyer, Robert Kelner.

Testimony from Flynn could help shed light on the conversations he had with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak last year when he was the national security adviser for Trump’s presidential campaign.

Kelner said discussions had taken place about Flynn’s availability to testify with officials of the intelligence committees of both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Both committees are investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. election campaign last year as well as possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russians.

Flynn was forced to resign as Trump’s national security adviser in February for failing to disclose talks with the Russian ambassador before Trump took office about U.S. sanctions on Moscow and misleading Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.

Questions remain about the scope of the discussions and what other contacts took place between other Trump advisers with the Russians. Earlier this week, the White House disclosed that Trump’s son-in-law and White House senior adviser, Jared Kushner, met executives of Russian state development bank Vnesheconombank, or VEB, in December.

U.S. intelligence agencies have said Russ上海夜网ia hacked emails of senior Democrats and orchestrated the release of embarrassing information in a bid to tip the presidential election in favor of Trump, whose views were seen as more in line with the Moscow’s.

Russia has denied the allegations. Trump has dismissed suggestions of links with Moscow as Democratic sour grapes for losing the election.

‘WITCH HUNT ENVIRONMENT’

The Wall Street Journal, citing officials with knowledge of the matter, reported on Thursday that Flynn had sought immunity from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the House and Senate intelligence panels in exchange for his testimony. The newspaper said he had so far found no takers.

The House denied the Journal report. “Michael Flynn has not offered to testify to HPSCI in exchange for immunity,” committee spokesman Jack Langer said in a statement.

The FBI declined to comment. The Senate committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Kelner’s statement did not mention the FBI.

He said Flynn “is now the target of unsubstantiated public demands by Members of Congress and other political critics that he be criminally investigated.”

Kelner said Flynn would not “submit to questioning in such a highly politicized, witch hunt environment without assurances against unfair prosecution.”Independent Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN he could not confirm the Journal report, but “if that turns out to be the case, that’s a significant development I believe because it indicates that he has something important to say.”

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TREASURIES-Yield curve flattens after inflation edges higher

NEW YORK, June 11 ( ) – A drop in two-year Treasury prices flattened the yield curve on Tuesday after a Labor Department report showed producer prices increased in May for the second consecutive month, pointing to a steady pick-up in underlying inflation pressures.

Producer prices excluding food, energy and trade services rose 0.4% last month, matching April’s gain, the government said. The so-called core PPI increased 2.3% in the 12 months through May after rising 2.2% in April.

The report appears supportive of the Federal Reserve’s view that recent weak inflation readings are transitory. Fed policymakers are scheduled to meet on June 18-19 against the backdrop of rising trade tensions, slowing U.S. growth and a sharp step-down in hiring in May that have led financial markets to price in at least two interest rate cuts by the end of 2019.

A rate cut, however, is not expected next Wednesday.

An increase in inflation could temper those expectations, because the Fed uses rate hikes to contain gains in inflation. The two-year yield, which reflects market expectations of rate hikes, rose 3.4 basis points to 1.934% in morning trade. That narrowed the spread between two- and 10-year yields, the most common measure of the yield curve, to 22.1 basis points from 23.9 on Monday.

Investors will closely watch the consumer price index report on Wednesday for further evidence of inflation. Expectations for a cut in July have been roughly stable since Monday, last around 66.7%, according to CME Group’s FedWatch tool.

“Really the key data point for this week is going to be CPI. It is a question of whether inflation is transient – every data point is going to be important to make that determination,” said Subadra Rajappa, head of U.S. rates strategy at Societe Generale.

The Treasury Department’s auction of $78 billion of government debt this week, beginning with the sale of $38 billion in three-year government notes on Tuesday, will also be in focus. Increased supply tends to lower prices and lift yields, broadly the trend in Tuesday morning trade.

“The focus is going to be on supply so there might be a little bit of a concession getting built into the market ahead of the auctions,” said Rajappa.

“We’ve seen a tremendous rally in bonds, so given today’s concession I think the three上海夜生活网-year auction should go OK.”

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Trump may discuss secretary of state job with critic Romney: source

NEW YORK ( ) – U.S. President-elect Donald Trump planned a Saturday meeting with Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and fierce Trump critic, and may discuss whether he should be a candidate for secretary of state, a source familiar with the meeting said on Thursday.

Trump already has a lengthy list of potential candidates for the post of top U.S. diplomat, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who met Trump on Thursday.

Trump, a former reality TV star, has shown a flair for the dramatic in his deliberations over his Cabinet, saying only he knows who “the finalists” are.

Corker told CNN on Wednesday he was “in the mix” for the position but that Trump might pick someone who was closer to him during the presidential campaign. He met on Thursday in Washington with Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

Trump’s expected meeting with Romney amounts to an olive branch of sorts to one of his sharpest critics. Romney, who in a speech in March called Trump “a phony, a fraud,” urged Republicans to vote for anyone but the New York real estate magnate while the party was picking its presidential nominee.

Trump, in turn, used harsh rhetoric at times during his campaign to dismiss Romney as a failure who blew a chance in 2012 to defeat Democratic President Barack Obama, whom Trump felt was a w上海夜网eak opponent.

The source told that a broad discussion was expected during the meeting and that discussion about the secretary of state position was possible. The source had said earlier his understanding was that the meeting would occur on Sunday.

Asked about the meeting, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway suggested it was still being arranged. “We’re working on it,” she said.

‘TRUMP WILL MAKE DECISION’

“I think it’s good that the president-elect is meeting with people like Mr. Romney,” U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, one of Trump’s closest confidants and a potential nominee for defense secretary, told reporters at Manhattan’s Trump Tower.

Sessions sounded far from certain Romney would be offered a job.

“There are a lot of talented people that he (Trump) needs good relationships with. And I think Mr. Romney would be quite capable of doing a number of things. But he will be one of those, I am sure, that’s reviewed. Donald Trump will make that decision,” Sessions said.

When Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, opted out of running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, people close to him suggested that serving as secretary of state might be appealing to him if a Republican won the presidency.

Related CoverageSome members of Trump team can begin agency briefings: White HouseTrump Treasury candidate’s bank accused of discriminationSee more stories

A steady stream of potential Trump administration hires made their way through the lobby of Trump Tower to meet with either Trump or officials close to him.

All indicated a willingness to serve, such as Jeb Hensarling, a Texas Republican who is chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee. He is a potential treasury secretary in the Trump administration.

“I stand ready to help the president in any capacity possible. I’ve got a great position in public policy today, if he wants to talk to me obviously, about serving somewhere else, we’ll look at serving somewhere else,” he told reporters.

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REFILE-GLOBAL MARKETS-S&P stock futures fall, Asian stocks slip as U.S.-China trade tensions simmer

(Refiles to correct spelling in latest Trump tweet)

* We are right where we want to be with China: Trump

* Trump-Xi talks likely at G20 summit: White House aide Kudlow

* Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

* S&P 500 futures, Japan’s Nikkei fall 1% in early trading

* Major currencies calm for the moment

By Wayne Cole and Tomo Uetake

SYDNEY, May 13 ( ) – U.S. stock futures fell and Asian shares slipped in early trade on Monday on growing uncertainty over whether the United States and China will be able to reach a deal to end their trade war after Washington sharply hiked tariffs.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 shed 1.1%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 0.2%, nearing its two-month low marked on Thursday.

Japan’s Nikkei average sunk as much as 1.0% to hit its lowest level since March 28. It last traded down 0.6%,

U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield inched down to 2.437%, partly as a safe haven but also on speculation a trade war would cloud global growth and thus keep major central banks accommodative.

The United States and China appeared at a deadlock over trade negotiations on Sunday as Washington demanded promises of concrete changes to Chinese law and Beijing said it would not swallow any “bitter fruit” that harmed its interests.

President Donald Trump tweeted late on Sunday that the United States is “right where we want to be with China,” adding that Beijing “broke the deal with us” and then sought to renegotiate.

The trade war between the world’s top two economies escalated on Friday, with the United States hiking tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods after President Donald Trump said Beijing “broke the deal” by reneging on earlier commitments. China has vowed to retaliate, without giving details.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told a Fox News program that China needs to agree to “very strong” enforcement provisions for an eventual deal and said the sticking point was Beijing’s reluctance to put into law c上海夜生活hanges that had been agreed upon. Kudlow said the U.S. tariffs would remain in place while negotiations continue.

Beijing remained defiant.

“Talks are on-going, but our base case is for limited progress and Chinese retaliation. We see a significant risk for all Chinese imports to be subject to tariffs over the next month or so,” said Michael Hanson, head of global macro strategy at TD Securities.

“The market reaction will ultimately depend on whether China and the U.S. continue to negotiate, whether the remaining $325 billion of U.S. imports from China also get tariffed, how China retaliates, and what happens to the 232 auto tariffs.”

Under that scenario, the renminbi was likely to fall between 5%-6% against the U.S. dollar in the coming three months, said Hanson, as a shock absorber to the economic impact of heavier tariffs.

The other major currencies were relatively calm, with the safe-haven yen still supported but not aggressively so. The dollar was holding at 109.72 yen, down 0.2 percent on the day and just above a 14-week trough of 109.46.

The euro was steady at $1.1235, while the dollar was a fraction softer against a basket of currencies at 97.295 .

The offshore Chinese yuan fell to its lowest levels in more than four months at 6.88 to the dollar. It last stood down 0.5 percent at 6.878 per dollar.

In commodity markets, spot gold firmed 0.2 percent to $1,287.81 per ounce.

Oil prices were softer in line with the general mood of risk aversion. U.S. crude was last down 0.5 percent to $61.33 a barrel, while Brent crude futures lost 0.2 percent to $70.49.

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UPDATE 1-Speculators cut bullish bets on U.S. dollar – CFTC and

(Adds dollar, yen and yuan details)

By Kate Duguid

NEW YORK, May 10 ( ) – Speculators cut their net long bets on the U.S. dollar in the latest week, according to calculations by and Commodity Futures Trading Commission data released on Friday.

The value of the net long dollar position was $38.08 billion in the week ended May 7, down from $38.88 billion the prior week.

To be long a currency means traders believe it will rise in value, while being short points to a bearish bias. The speculative market has been long on the dollar since mid-June last year.

U.S. dollar positioning was derived from net contracts of International Monetary Market speculators in the yen, euro, British pound, Swiss franc, and Canadian and Australian dollars.

In a broader measure of dollar positioning that includes net contracts on the New Zealand dollar, Mexican peso, Brazilian real and Russian ruble, the U.S. dollar posted a net long position of $34.34 billion in the week to May 7, compared with $34.92 billion the previous week.

Speculators cut their bullish positions a上海夜生活网s the dollar index fell after U.S. President Donald Trump on May 5 said he would increase tariffs on up to $200 billion worth of imports from China – a policy which went into effect Friday. The ratcheting up of trade tensions also drove the offshore Chinese yuan to four-month lows.

In the latest week, speculators cut short bets on the Japanese yen for the first time since mid-February . The Japanese yen is a safe-haven currency and has benefited from increasing trade tensions between the United States and China.

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FOREX-Euro poised for 2nd week of gains as China-U.S. trade talks eyed

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Saikat Chatterjee

LONDON, May 10 ( ) – The euro edged higher on Friday and is poised for a second consecutive week of gains on growing fears that any escalation in the trade conflict between the United States and China would force U.S. policymakers to cut interest rates.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariff increase to 25% from 10% on $200 billion of Chinese goods kicked in on Friday, and Beijing said it would strike back. The two sides are pursuing last-ditch talks to try to salvage a trade deal.

While U.S. and Chinese 上海夜生活论坛officials return to the negotiating table later on Friday, investors have quietly ratcheted up bets of a U.S. interest rate cut with markets now roughly expecting one rate hike by the end of 2019.

Athanasios Vamvakidis, an FX strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said if China retaliated then the threat of a global trade war will affect the outlook of the U.S. economy and increase the chances of a Fed rate cut.

“In this case, the Fed has more room to ease than most other central banks, suggesting eventually a weaker dollar against both the euro and the yen,” he said.

The single currency edged 0.1% higher to $1.1220 on Friday and was on track for a second consecutive week of gains.

Broadly, risk appetite was muted though some of the higher-yielding currencies such as the Australian dollar which was heavily sold earlier this week when Trump unexpectedly ratcheted up trade tensions, gained.

The dollar index measuring the U.S. currency against a basket of six major currencies, of which the euro is a main component, was slightly firmer at 97.43.

Still, trade tensions have had broadly little impact on foreign exchange markets with typical perceived safe-haven assets such as the Japanese yen only gaining 1.2% this week while broader currency market volatility gauges were subdued despite a minor bounce this week.

Elsewhere, the pound held around the $1.30 level after sustaining some losses this week before first quarter British GDP data where expectations are for a 0.5% expansion compared with 0.3% growth in the previous quarter.

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Rhetoric or reality? Arabs struggle to decode Trump’s Mideast rhetoric

DUBAI ( ) – The future leader of the Middle East’s top foreign ally is, in the words of a Saudi prince, an anti-Muslim “disgrace”, openly disdainful of Arab security partnerships, who believes Saudi Arabia would cease to exist for long without the United States.

Donald Trump’s presidential election victory means he is the man Washington’s Arab allies must deal with after his January inauguration, as they seek U.S. help to end wars from Syria to Mosul, manage humanitarian crises and provide jobs for their populations at a time of low oil prices.

Trump’s campaign tirades against Muslim migrants – the target of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s comments on Twitter – and against Arab allies who don’t “pay” for U.S. support suggest the relationship could be delicate.

How far Trump the president will differ from Trump the polarizing election candidate is not clear.

Brief, congratulatory messages flowed quickly from Arab allies, including one from Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, who wished Trump success in “achieving security and stability in the Middle East and the wider world”.

But underneath the protocol, for many Arab rulers and royals Trump’s victory is a source of anxiety. They now face a new America led by Trump who, they fear, could upend a regional order that has prevailed for decades.

Some ordinary Arabs like Trump’s no-nonsense style, and praise what they see as his capacity for tough leadership.

“A strong leader … that is what is needed here in the Middle East and all across the world,” said Ali al-Muhannadi, 57, a Qatari owner of an electrical company, filling his car up at a petrol station in Doha on Wednesday.

Muhannadi saw Trump as a useful ally in confronting the jihadist threat, saying he is “very frank and not like a politician. Islamist radicals are bad for the West and for us too”.

But privately there are concerns about a lack of clarity in Trump’s policies for the world’s most combustible region as it struggles to break free from war while trying to safeguard the free flow of its oil exports.

DISAFFECTED ARAB YOUTH

In particular there are worries that Trump’s hostile rhetoric towards Muslim migrants will play into the hands of Islamic State and al Qaeda, w上海夜生活网hich are eager to recruit disaffected young Arabs to wage war on the regional governments they despise as stooges of Washington.

Gulf Arab leaders want a U.S. president who understands their concerns after eight years of what they regard as diffidence under President Barack Obama, someone who did not provide the kind of personal contact they value.

In particular they want help to push back against Iran, their main rival. But they fear Trump’s public praise for Vladimir Putin will encourage Russia to expand its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Iran and an enemy of most Gulf Arab states.

Apart from a commitment to Israel’s security, a constant in U.S. foreign policy, and an isolationist tone to his comments, much in Trump’s statements about the region remains vague and poorly thought out, diplomats and analysts say.

Opinion is divided about whether Trump’s remarks on the campaign trail will be enacted when in office. Among these is his comment that he would consider halting U.S. purchases of Saudi oil unless Riyadh provides troops to fight Islamic State.

Faisal Al Yafai, a commentator at The National newspaper, said many people thought Trump had used his extravagant comments to win votes and once in office he would mellow.

“I am unconvinced. I think he actually believes his rhetoric. It’s quite worrying that he doesn’t seem to understand how global politics works,” he said. “For example you don’t go around saying ‘if our allies were threatened we wouldn’t intervene, why can’t they build their own nuclear weapons?’”

“That sort of stuff doesn’t help confidence. That collapse of confidence between the U.S. and its allies has a knock-on impact on the economies and in the decisions those countries take on a political level.”

Yafai, whose newspaper is based in the United Arab Emirates, noted Iraqis were putting their lives on the line to regain Mosul, Islamic State’s main stronghold in the country. “That is not just a war for the region, it is a war for the world,” he said.

Others are more sanguine.

A senior Turkish official predicted continued strong relations with the United States and argued that “comments in an election period always have a harder and more hawkish tone than is necessary. But they remain peculiar to the election period.”

SAUDIS “READY TO TAKE A RISK”

Prince Sultan bin Khaled al Faisal, a former Saudi special forces officer and now senior fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies in Riyadh, said that in U.S. elections “what they say and what they do are two totally different things”.

“Foreign policy is not made by one man,” he said. “But it’s difficult to pinpoint what his policy actually is.”

Trump’s remarks have been combative, and eye-catching. He has said the United States should be reimbursed by the countries it provides protection for.

Without America, “Saudi Arabia wouldn’t exist for very long,” Trump told the New York Times in March.

Trump’s win drew a cautious welcome in Syria, which has entered its fifth year of war between rebels and Assad’s forces.

In Damascus, Syrian member of parliament Sherif Shehada said U.S. policy could shift Assad’s way. “We must be optimistic, but cautiously optimistic,” Shehada told by telephone.

Trump’s statements on Syria, and his more open-minded stance towards Assad’s ally Russia, have fueled rebel concern about the policy he may adopt on the conflict, in which the Russian air force has been bombing insurgents.

But beyond all that, many officials and observers see another ominous consequence.

Trump’s win has not only delighted Western right-wingers but also jihadists who told supporters the election had revealed the true position of the United States towards Muslims.

“The masks have slipped,” one supporter said on Islamic State websites. “(Trump’s) moronic declarations alone serve us even if his decisions will be under the supervision of the Senate…,” wrote another.

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares sink as U.S.-China trade talks go to the wire

* European shares follow Asia, NY lower on China-U.S. trade angst

* Beijing vows retaliation after USTR sets tariff hike in motion

* Trump says China “broke the deal”; talks resume on Thursday

* Asia and EM stocks at 2-month lows, South Korea sinks 3 percent

* European stocks near 6-week lows, safe-haven yen 3-month high

* Uber IPO pricing due later

* Copper near 3-month low

* Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

By Marc Jones

LONDON, May 9 ( ) – World shares tumbled for a fourth day running on Thursday after a warning from U.S. President Donald Trump that a long-worked-on trade deal with China was in serious danger.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He was heading to Washington for two days of talks but Trump’s insistence that China “broke the deal”, and then Beijing’s response that it would retaliate against tariffs were ratcheting up the stakes.

Europe’s main stock markets sank almost immediately after a torrid day for Asia had battered 1.8 percent off China and more than 3 percent off South Korea, which is often seen as the bellwether for how this trade war hits home.

Both countries’ currencies were hit too, the won skidding to a more than two-year low and the yuan to a four-month trough, which kept traders buying the traditionally safe Japanese yen and U.S. and German bonds instead.

“Markets remain on edge ahead of the Chinese vice premier’s visit to Washington today,” Rabobank analyst Bas van Geffen said.

“Doubt that this tariff increase can be avoided is growing,” he added as Goldman Sachs also put the chance of a hike at 60 percent.

If talks do fall short, Washington has promised to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent at 12:01 a.m. ET (0401 GMT) on Friday. For economists, the worry is that it will further slow the global economy.

Kazuhiko Fuji, senior fellow at RIETI, a Japanese government-affiliated think-tank, said the trade talks looked fragile.

“I would suspect the U.S. will just hand China an ultimatum. No wonder the U.S. yield curve is almost inverting again,” he said.

The yield spread between three-month U.S. government bonds and the 10-year notes shrank to 3 basis points, compared with about 15 basis points a few weeks ago.

The closely watched spread turned negative in late March, spooking investors, who read the development as portending a recession.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield stood at 2.4423 percent in Europe, having touched its lowest level in five weeks of 2.426 percent on Wednesday.

Wall Street futures pointed to a 0.85 percent lower start after a choppy previous session had seen the Dow Jones Industrial close fractionally higher but the S&P 500 and Nasdaq drop 0.2 percent and 0.3 percent.

TAXI!

As well as the trade headlines, traders will also be closely watching the pricing on ride-hailing firm Uber’s initial public offering, which is set to be the biggest of the year so far.

“In the event of a complete breakdown in talks and higher tariffs, we would expect this to see U.S. stocks trade 10–15 percent below their highs and a fall of around 15–20 percent in the Chinese market,” Mark上海夜生活网 Haefele, global chief investment officer at Global Wealth Management at UBS, said.

In the currency market, the Japanese yen surged to a three-month high of 109.64 yen while China’s yuan fell half a percent to hit a four-month low of 6.838 and was headed for its worst four-day decline in a year.

Sterling, meanwhile, tried to brush off signs that Brexit talks between Britain’s government and the main opposition party may soon collapse to claw back above the psychologically key $1.30 level.

Commodity markets also felt the U.S.-China trade strains.

Brent crude futures dropped 0.6 percent to $69.92 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude also retreated 0.6 percent to $61.75 despite a surprise fall in U.S. crude stockpiles..

Benchmark London copper hit its lowest in nearly three months, going as low as $6,111 a tonne.

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Congress should act on ‘scandalous’ fantasy betting: Reid

WASHINGTON ( ) – The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate called on Congress to examine fantasy-sports betting services on Tuesday after reports that an employee with access to insider information placed bets in the unregulated multi-billion-dollar industry.

“There’s absolutely scandalous conduct taking place through those programs, fantasy sports,” Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid told reporters.

“I think it also should be a warning-shot to everybody that online gaming is a real scary thing and we ought to look at all of it,” said Reid, who is a former Gaming Commission head in Nevada, a hub of the industry.

Reid’s statement raises the prospect of congressional scrutiny and possibly new regulations for websites such as DraftKings and FanDuel that have drawn millions of users who pay a fee to compete for daily prizes by assembling teams that accumulate points based on how the players did in actual games.

Meanwhile, Representative Frank Pallone and Senator Bob Menendez, both New Jersey Democrats, asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into the fantasy scandal.

Both companies confirmed on Monday that a DraftKings employee won $350,000 from a $25 entry fee in an American football contest. According to a trade group, the employee inadvertently released player data – a practice that experts liken to insider-trading.

The two privately held companies say they temporarily banned employees from playing daily fantasy sports.

The House of Representatives could hold hearings this fall, said Pallone, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee. The Republican-controlled committee is looking into the issue, a spokesman said.

The issue could draw the attention of conservatives like House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who has pushed to outlaw other forms of online gambling.

Critics say daily fantasy sports services allow fans to bet with a frequency akin to gambling and led to the rise of the two industry leaders.

So far, fantasy sports services have escaped the restrictions that have outlawed sports betting in most states.

The Fantasy Sports Trade Association has spent $80,000 over the past year to defend its interests in Washington, lobbying records show. The group declined to comment.

Online gambling foes who are pushing for a nationwide ban on casino-style Internet gambling are not yet targeting fantasy sports services. But they may raise th上海夜生活网e DraftKings incident as another example of perils of online betting as they make their case, according to a former congressional aide now working to ban online gambling.

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Saudi stocks set to receive $20 bln windfall even as some investors sit out

* Saudi stocks to suck in $20 bln in passive flows

* Foreign ownership in Saudi stocks just 2 pct

* Khashoggi affair might stem active flows -analysts

* Slow reform, high valuations also factors

By Tom Arnold and Saeed Azhar

LONDON/DUBAI, March 17 ( ) – Saudi Arabia’s inclusion in major emerging m上海夜生活论坛arkets stock indices from Monday is likely to suck in around $20 billion in passive inflows, but unease after Jamal Khashoggi’s murder and sluggish reforms could lead some active foreign investors to steer clear.

Saudi Arabia will be the biggest recent addition to the global indices, the largest of which is the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which it joins from May. MSCI will give the kingdom a weight of 2.7 percent, between Russia and Mexico.

The kingdom is hoping the inclusions, starting on Monday when Saudi stocks join the FTSE Emerging All Cap Index, will kickstart its drive to become a major destination for foreign capital, after its global reputation was tainted by Khashoggi’s killing at the hands of Saudi agents in October.

The process should help bring in about $20 billion of combined passive inflows during 2019, analysts estimate. That would push up foreign ownership from around 2 percent, one of the lowest in the region, to around 6 percent, according to Al Mal Capital.

“The 2.7 percent pro-forma benchmark weight [within the MSCI index] is much more significant than prior index inclusions during the past decade,” said Alexander Redman, head of global emerging market equity strategy at Credit Suisse.

“And given that the proportion of assets under management within emerging markets passive funds is much larger than during previous index inclusions, it means there will be a significant amount of net foreign buying of Saudi equities.”

Analysts say pre-positioning by investors has been slow ahead of the process, however. Arqaam Capital attributes that to concern about delays to mega-projects, the kingdom’s fiscal constraints, high valuations for Saudi-listed firms and concerns that government asset sales will oversupply the stock market.

“As has been seen with a lot of other markets undergoing emergence, the reform process is not always smooth,” said Edward Evans, emerging markets equity portfolio manager at Ashmore Group.

“We’ve seen that in Saudi Arabia with their somewhat unorthodox approach to policymaking over the last few years, and the hope is that as the kingdom becomes more integrated in global financial markets, policy will become more predictable.”

The kingdom’s drive to diversify its economy away from oil dependence has had some hiccups, including a recession in 2017 and delays to plans to float shares in oil giant Aramco.

A source at a major western investment firm, who asked to remain anonymous, highlighted another reason why investors might be cautious. “I would find it unlikely that the active funds coming in will be anywhere close to benchmark as there are still reputation issues from holding Saudi assets,” the source said.

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF), and other state-owned funds indirectly own the lion’s share of Saudi stocks.

Many stepped in to limit a market crash in October last year caused by foreign investors dumping stocks after Khashoggi’s killing. Some had made similar moves when foreign investors were spooked after the government detained hundreds of officials under an anti-corruption drive in November 2017.

The index inclusions are seen as an opportunity for those funds to sell their positions in around 4 percent of the market, estimate analysts.

Foreign net buying has picked up since the start of the year, hitting $2.1 billion year-to-date. That is still below the expected passive and active inflows that could reach a total of up to $60 billion, said Arqaam.

For an interactive version of the below chart, click here tmsnrt.rs/2NXK0gp.

Arqaam said concerns the government could oversupply the market and, in turn, pressure valuations were misplaced, with local institutional selling, particularly from mutual funds, well below foreign buying in recent days.

“We expect the Saudi government-related entities such as PIF to cater to the required demand of stocks in a controlled manner,” said Vrajesh Bhandari, senior portfolio manager at Al Mal Capital in Dubai.

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General Electric CEO sets low 2019 profit targets, vows better from 2020

( ) – General Electric Co Chief Executive Larry Culp on Thursday set conservative profit targets for this year and staked his reputation on hitting them and doing better in 2020 and beyond, igniting a rally in the stock.

Culp’s detailed pep talk, which drew praise from Wall Street analysts on a conference call, swiftly reversed an earlier rout in the stock as he stressed GE was serious about its targets after years of missing profit expectations.

The forecast was low largely because GE will be spending $2.5 billion on restructuring this year,上海夜生活论坛 Culp said, adding the investment would pay off after a tough 2019.

“This is what constitutes a ‘reset,’” Culp said, using a word many analysts had longed to hear.

“The market should interpret a high level of conviction (in the forecast) simply because this team, in a public forum, is laying this roadmap out, mindful of the realities of 2019 but I think also optimistic … about the impact of what we’re doing.”

Culp did not soft-pedal the short-term pain. He said 2019 adjusted profit would be 50 cents to 60 cents a share, below analyst estimates of 70 cents, and GE could lose as much as $2 billion in cash from its industrial businesses, putting a number on a warning he issued last week.

The company expects free cash flow at GE Power to remain negative in 2020 before turning positive in 2021.

Investors are looking closely at GE’s cash and earnings after the company lost nearly $23 billion last year.

The outlook is “arguably better than expected,” said Deane Dray, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

The company did not make reference to any potential hit to its jet engine unit from the recent global grounding of Boeing Co’s 737 MAX aircraft. GE and partner Safran SA make the engine that powers all 737 MAX planes.

GE shares were up 2.9 percent at $10.31 in afternoon trading, after falling 4 percent in premarket activity shortly after the forecast was released. GE bonds also rose slightly.

“While lowered guidance is not a positive, we think GE’s plan and progress show it’s moving in the right direction,” said Jim Corridore, analyst at CFRA.

Culp also left considerable wiggle room in the forecast by including an unspecified amount of “contingency” money to cover hard-to-predict costs, such as when it will conclude big asset sales and how its power unit will perform.

JPMorgan analyst Stephen Tusa voiced concern that the gap between GE’s cash flow and earnings forecasts was the widest he had seen, which likely will mean analysts’ profit estimates are too high.

Culp said that although GE was taking “a safe conservative posture in this reset year … Rest assured, operationally, we’re running hard.”

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Publishers sue Peloton for using songs by Katy Perry, Rihanna, Timberlake, others

NEW YORK ( ) – Publishers representing the writers of songs by Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood and hundreds of other artists sued Peloton Interactive Inc on Tuesday, accusing the maker of video-streaming stationary bicycles of copyright infringement.

In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, the 10 publishers are seeking more than $150 million in damages, accusing Peloton of exploiting their songs by using more than 1,000 in its videos without permission.

They said Peloton must stop “trampling” their rights by using their songs for free. They noted that the company having obtained song licenses from other publishers showed it “full上海夜生活网y understood what the copyright law required.”

Peloton, in a statement, said it is reviewing the complaint. It also said it has “great respect for songwriters and artists,” and has “invested heavily to build a best-in-breed reporting and licensing system.”

The New York-based company is expected to seek a more than $4 billion valuation in an initial public offering that could occur in the second half of 2019, The Wall Street Journal said.

Founded in 2012, Peloton sells bicycles starting at $2,245, in packages that it said require signing up for memberships to access live and on-demand classes for cycling, running, yoga and other activities. Access to unlimited classes costs $39 a month.

The 10 music publishers include Big Deal Music, Downtown Music Publishing, Ole, Peermusic, Pulse Music Publishing, Reservoir, The Richmond Organization, Round Hill, Royalty Network and Ultra Music.

They said Peloton’s infringements cover songs by a who’s who of the music industry, such as the unauthorized use of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” in at least 55 workout videos.

The list of alleged infringements includes such songs as Mars’ “Grenade,” Perry’s “Roar,” Timberlake’s “SexyBack” and Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.”

It also includes older songs such as Celine Dion’s version of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” and Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s Halloween staple “Monster Mash.”

David Israelite, chief executive of the National Music Publishers’ Association, a trade group representing the plaintiffs, in a statement said music was responsible for much of Peloton’s business success.

“We look forward to getting music creators what they deserve,” he said.

The case is Downtown Music Publishing LLC et al v Peloton Interactive Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-02426.

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Obama, Putin spar over Syria

UNITED NATIONS ( ) – Russia and the United States agreed on Monday to look for a diplomatic end to the Syrian civil war but clashed over the central question of whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should retain power.

During a 90-minute meeting, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed that their armed forces should hold talks to avoid coming into conflict in Syria after a Russian military buildup there over the last several weeks.

The United States, France and allied countries are bombing Islamic State militants, who have exploited power vacuums to seize parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq as part of a stated goal of creating an Islamic caliphate.

The reinforcement of the Russian military presence in the country, including the addition of tanks and warplanes, has brought fears of inadvertent or accidental clashes among the forces as well as U.S. questions about Moscow’s main goal.

Speaking after his meeting with Obama, Putin told reporters Russia was pondering what more it could do to support Syrian government and Kurdish forces against Islamic State militants.

“We are mulling over what we would really do extra in order to support those who are in the battlefield, resisting and fighting with terrorists, ISIS (Islamic State) first of all,” Putin said, ruling out deploying Russian ground troops.

“There is (an) opportunity to work on joint problems together,” Putin said of his talks with Obama, which a U.S. official described as “businesslike.”

A senior U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters after the meeting: “The Russians certainly understood the importance of there being a political resolution to the conflict in Syria, and there being a process that pursues a political resolution.”

Related CoveragePutin-Obama discussed information sharing on Syria: KremlinObama, Iran’s Zarif shake hands in New York, Iranian official says CLINKING GLASSES, FROSTY LOOKS

U.S.-Russian ties have been deeply strained by Moscow’s March 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and its support of pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country.

Earlier in the day, relations between the two leaders appeared frosty – they clinked glasses at a lunch, but Obama had a piercing look as Putin smiled – and they laid out starkly differing positions toward Assad in their addresses before the annual United Nations General Assembly gathering of world leaders.

Obama said he was willing to cooperate with Russia and Iran to try to end the four-year civil war in Syria, in which at least 200,000 people have died and millions have been driven from their homes. But he described Assad as its chief culprit.

In contrast, Putin said there was no alternative to cooperating with Assad’s military to fight Islamic State militants, and called for the creation of a broader international anti-terrorist coalition. This appeal may compete with the coalition that the United States has assembled to fight Islamic State.

“The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict,” Obama, who spoke before Putin, told the world body. “But we must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo.”

OBAMA: NO ROLE FOR TYRANTS

Obama did not explicitly call for Assad’s ouster, and he suggested there could be a “managed transition” away from the Syrian president’s rule, the latest sign that despite U.S. animus toward Assad it was willing to see him stay for some period of time.

Obama dismissed the argument that authoritarianism was the only way to combat groups such as Islamic State, saying: “In accordance with this logic, we should support tyrants like Bashar al-Assad, who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children, because the alternative is surely worse.”

Putin differed, suggesting there was no option but to work with Assad, a longtime ally of Russia.

“We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces who are valiantly fighting terrorism face-to-face,” Putin said in his speech.

“We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad’s armed forces and (Kurdish) militia are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria,” he said.

French President Francois Hollande and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu both rejected the possibility of allowing Assad to stay.

BITTER PILL

In voicing a willingness to deal with Iran and Russia, both backers of Assad, Obama was openly acknowledging their influence in Syria and swallowing a somewhat bitter pill for the United States.

Tehran has armed the Syrian government and, through its backing of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, has helped Assad combat rebels seeking to end his family’s four-decade rule.

U.S. officials say they believe Putin’s buildup of Russian forces in Syria mainly reflects Moscow’s fear that Assad’s grip might be weakening and a desire to shore him up to retain Russian influence in the region.

They also see it as a way for Putin to try to project Russian influence more widely, a goal he appeared to achieve on Sunday with Iraq’s announcement that Russia, Iran, Syria and the Iraqi government were sharing intelligence on Syria.

Despite t上海夜网heir differences over Syria and Ukraine, the United States and Russia have worked with Britain, China, France and Germany, a group known as the P5+1, to secure a nuclear deal with Iran this summer.

The same group could also take up the issue of Syria, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said after a meeting of the six foreign ministers and Iran on Monday evening.

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Trump’s trade war cost U.S. economy $7.8 billion in 2018: study

WASHINGTON ( ) – President Donald Trump’s trade battles cost the U.S. economy $7.8 billion in lost gross domestic product in 2018, a study by a team of economists at leading American universities published this week showed.

Authors of the paper said they analyzed the short-run impact of Trump’s actions and found that imports from targeted countries declined 31.5 percent while targeted U.S. exports fell by 11 percent. They also found that annual consumer and producer losses from higher costs of imports totaled $68.8 billion.

“After accounting for higher tariff revenue and gains to domestic producers from higher prices, the aggregate welfare loss was $7.8 billion,” or 0.04 percent of GDP, the researchers said.

The study was authored by a team of economists at the University of California Berkeley, Columbia University, Yale University and University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and published by the National Bureau of Economic research. www.nber.org/papers/w25638

Having dubbed himself the “tariff man,” Trump pledged on both the campaig上海夜网n trail and as president to reduce the trade deficit by shutting out unfairly traded imports and renegotiating free trade agreements.

Trump has pursued a protectionist trade agenda to shield U.S. manufacturing. Washington and Beijing have been locked in a tit-for-tat tariff battle for months as imposing unilateral tariffs to combat, and Trump has imposed tariffs that have roiled the European Union and other major trading partners.

The authors said while U.S. tariffs favored sectors located in “politically competitive” counties, the retaliatory tariffs imposed on U.S. goods have offset the benefits to these areas.

“We find that tradeable-sector workers in heavily Republican counties were the most negatively affected by the trade war,” the researchers said.

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De Bruyne decided to extend his contract

Kevin De Bruyne, the Manchester City playmaker, decided to extend his contract and sign the new deal and it means that it will stay in this town until 2023 as the club announced it on Monday.

The Belgium international had his previous contract running until 2021 and there were talks between the club and the player since the beginning of the season as he was thought to deserve a better contract that will reflect his value for the club. He has been evaluated as one of the best world’s midfielders this season and he has been a crucial part of Pep Guardiola’s squad…

The former Chelsea player spoke about his feelings as he said, according to ESPN: “I am really happy to have signed this new deal. As I’ve said previously, my intention has always been to stay here at City, where I’ve felt at home from day one. Not only are we winning — we are playing great football. It’s a pleasure to be a part of and I’m really excited about what we can achieve in the coming years.”Top 5 Real Madrid players who are succeeding on a loan Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – We need to talk about the Top 5 Real Madrid players who are currently succeeding away from the club and are currently on a…

He also admitted that this decision was an easy one for him: “It was pretty easy [the decision to stay]. Obviously, you hear a lot of people talk about other clubs but I think at the moment we are 上海夜生活one of the best clubs in the world. The way this club is working as a whole unit is unbelievable. I’ve never witnessed it in other clubs before like that.”

In the end, Txiki Begiristain, the director of football, claimed: “Kevin’s new deal is great news for our club. He has shown this season how important he is to the team and has been integral in everything we’ve done so far. We are thrilled he has committed his long-term future to Manchester City.”

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Howe left frustrated after being held by West Ham

Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth coach, admitted that he was a bit frustrated as his side conceded an almost immediate equalizer against West Ham United and they were held to a 1-1 draw.

Ryan Fraser scored the first goal of the game in 71st minuted for the home side but it wasn’t enough to win the match anyway as Javier Hernandez equalized just two minutes after that the clash ended 1-1. It means that the Cherries haven’t been beaten for five matches in a row but despite that, Howe was a bit disappointed while being in charge of the club in his 100th Premier League game.

The talented British coach spoke about this match as he said, according to Sky Sports: “We didn’t start the game particularly well, we came under pressure early but did well to defend that and not concede. We grew into the game and scored a great goal from our perspective, and looked a real threat on the counter-attack in the second上海夜生活论坛 half. The frustrating thing is the timing of their second goal.”Top 5 Real Madrid players who are succeeding on a loan Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – We need to talk about the Top 5 Real Madrid players who are currently succeeding away from the club and are currently on a…

He also insisted that it was probably caused by the lack of concentration: “There was no time to enjoy it or build on it, which is frustrating. I don’t think the lads switched off or that it was a concentration issue, it was just the fact we didn’t win two big headers outside our box. It’s a frustration because at that stage I thought we were the better team and we were looking to build upon a great goal.”

In the end, Eddie Howe claimed that he was pleased by the performance of his two substitutes, Joshua King and Junior Stanislas: “Junior’s pass for our goal was sublime. He’s got the quality and makes us play very good football, so we’re delighted to have him back.  Josh has been such a key player for us in recent times, hopefully, those guys can give us a real lift.”

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