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Machinists seek union vote for Boeing South Carolina workers

SEATTLE ( ) – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers said it planned to petition on Friday for about 2,850 workers at Boeing Co’s (BA.N) assembly plant in South Carolina to vote on union representation.

The petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB),,上海夜网邀请码Macauly, which had been expected, likely would allow workers to hold a secr上海夜生活et-ballot election in the next few months.

On average, votes take place about three weeks after a petition is filed, IAM spokesman Mike Evans said.

The union called off a vote in April 2015 after what it called “political interference” from state lawmakers and “misinformation” spread among workers.

The union, in a regulatory filing on Friday, said it sought to address concerns about “subjective raises, inconsistent scheduling policies and a lack of respect on the shop floor.”

Evans said the union was convinced workers were ready to vote for a union and that an e,上海夜网千花Fabiana,lection would be held this year.

Boeing said on Friday that a union was not in the “best interest” of its workers in South Carolina.

“We believe our teammates deserve to keep their hard-earned money in their pockets while continuing to work with the company to drive meaningful change,” Joan Robinson-Berry, Boeing vice president and general manager, South Carolina, said in a statement.

South Carolina is a right-to-work state where employees can’t be forced to join a union or pay dues even when covered by a union contract. In April 2015, it had the second-lowest union membership in the United States.

Boeing’s workforce at its main commercial aircraft factories in Washington state is largely unionized.

The South Carolina plant, which opened in 2011, makes 787 Dreamliners and is the only Boeing jetliner assembly line outside of Washington state. It is the sole producer of the 787-10, Boeing’s largest Dreamliner.

The first 787-10 is currently being assembled in South Carolina. It is due for its first flight this year, and the first customer delivery is expected i,上海夜生活乌托邦Radley,n 2018.

GE looks for sharp cut in corporate tax rate under Trump

( ) – General Electric Co (GE.N) is se,上海夜网官方网站Quaid,eking a sharp cut in corporate tax rates under President Donald Trump but is bracing for U.S. sales of medical equipment to suffer if Congress delays changing U.S. healthcare laws.

“From a GE perspective, at a minimum, we need to have a corporate tax system where the rate of taxation is commensurate with the OECD average of 21 or 22 percent,” down from 35 percent, GE Chief Financial Officer Jeff Bornstein told , referring to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. “We at least need to be on a par.”

The Boston-based industrial conglomerate, which makes more than half of its sales overseas, also wants companies to be taxed in countries where they earn money and not taxed again when earnings are returned to the United States. When companies repatriate foreign earnings, they should be taxed at 4上海夜网 to 5 percent, Bornstein said.

GE anticipates that delays in the U.S. Congress repealing and replacing Obamacare could dent its sales, but it does not expect to cut prices to spur sales, Bornstein added.

The comments came as GE, a maker of power plants, aircraft engines, locomotives and medical equipment, posted a 36 percent profit jump but said industrial division sales fell in the final quarter of 2016, sending its shares down.

Analysts questioned whether slow fourth-quarter growth in organic revenue, which excludes acquisitions, could mean GE will miss the 2017 target of 3 to 5 percent growth that it affirmed on Friday.

Organic revenue in industrial businesses fell 1 percent in the quarter, below GE’s zero to 2 percent forecast. GE explained that revenue at its power plant unit was hit by failure to ship six gas turbines to Bahrain and Iraq that it expected to deliver ,上海凤楼夜网Earl,in the quarter. Revenue in the unit still rose 20 percent, boosted by the Alstom business GE acquired last year.

With Alstom revenue included, as it will be in future quarters, hitting the revenue target “doesn’t look like a stretch,” said Deane Dray, analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

In fact, he added, investors may have sold GE shares on Friday and bought more volatile industrial stocks on the view that GE’s growth target implies stronger growth in 2017.

Revenue in GE’s oil-and-gas business, which sells products for exploration and production, fell 22 percent, but weak market conditions meant that decline was expected.

Noting GE’s overall organic revenue rose 4 percent in the fourth quarter, Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt said the 2017 target was achievable. “I feel pretty secure,” he said on a conference call with analysts.

GE shares were off 2 percent,夜上海论坛Cain, at $30.61 in afternoon trading.

GE said total revenue fell 2.4 percent to $33.1 billion, slightly below Wall Street expectations of $33.6 billion.

Net income from continuing operations attributable to GE shareholders rose to $3.48 billion, or 39 cents a share, from $2.57 billion, or 26 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, earnings fell 2 percent to 46 cents a share, matching the analysts’ average estimate compiled by Thomson I/B/E/S.

Uber to pay $20 million to settle U.S. claims it misled drivers

WASHINGTON (上海夜网 ) – Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc has agreed to pay $20 million to settle claims by the U.S. government that it exaggerated prospective earnings in seeking to rec,上海夜网千花Daisy,ruit drivers and downplayed the costs of buying or leasing a car, documents filed with a federal court on Thursday showed.

The company said on its website that some Uber drivers made more than $90,000 in New York and $74,000 in San Francisco when the real earnings were $61,000 and $53,000, respectively, the Federal Trade Commission said in a statement. It said Uber’s Vehicle Solutions Program gave inaccurate prices for leasing or owning a vehicle.

“This settlement will put millions of dollars back in Uber drivers’ pockets,” said Jessica Rich, director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Under Uber’s business model, consumers use an app to hail a ride and pay Uber for it. The ride is provided by an independent contractor, who is paid by Uber.

“When Uber’s promised earnings have not materialized, and drivers have attempted to cancel their auto agreements, they have incurred significant monetary harm,” the Federal Trade Commission said in its complaint. “Uber’s practices have caused its drivers to su,上海夜网邀请码Gabrielle,ffer millions of dollars of injury.”

Uber, which operates in 74 countries, said in a statement it was “pleased” to have reached an agreement with the Federal Trade Commission.

“We’ve made many improvements to the driver experience over the last year and will continue to focus on ensuring that Uber is the best option for anyone looking to earn money on their own schedule,” Uber said.

Company spokesman Matt Kallman said Uber has more than 600,000 drivers in the United States.

In addition to the $20 million payment, Uber would be barred under the agreement from misrepresenting its drivers’ earnings or payments for automobiles.

Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Commissioner Terrell McSweeny, both Democrats, voted for the settlement while Republican Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen dissented. Ramirez has announced that she w,上海夜网官方网站Kade,ill step down Feb. 10.

Yellen frontrunner for Fed chair after Summers withdraws: sources

WASHINGTON ( ) – Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen became the frontrunner for the U.S. central bank’s top job when President Barack Obama’s preferred candidate, former adviser Larry Summers, withdrew, s,上海夜生活桑拿会所Fabi,ources familiar with the situation said on Monday.

If nominated and confirmed, Yellen would replace Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, whose second term expires in January.

Summers, a former Treasury secretary under Presiden,上海新夜网龙凤Sabine,t Bill Clinton and a top economic adviser to Obama during the first two years of his presidency, dropped out of consideration for the post on Sunday because of opposition among fellow Democrats that would have made it difficult to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Yellen, who has a long career in the Fed system and chaired the White House Council for Economic Advisers under Clinton, would be the first woman to hold the job.

People familiar with the situation said Obama had largely whittled down his decision to two cand上海夜生活论坛idates, Summers and Yellen. With Summers out of the picture, Yellen moved to the top of the list. The president had mentioned former Vice Chairman Donald Kohn previously as also being under consideration. Adding further candidates to the list now was seen as unlikely.

An announcement is not expected this week. White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters earlier on Monday that Obama would announce his decision in the fall.

“Calendar watchers will note that we are still in the summer,” Carney said. The autumn officially begins on Sunday.

Analysts and former administration officials said Summers’ withdrawal put Yellen in good position to be appointed.

“We believe current Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen is now the clear frontrunner, followed by former Federal Reserve Vice Chair Donald Kohn, with only a slim chance of it being somebody else,” economists at Nomura wrote in a note to clients.

“Donald Kohn is an experienced and respected central banker, but he has not worked at the Fed since 2010. Financial markets would likely not react as well to his nomination and they would to Yellen’s.”

TOP CONTENDER

Summers’ close relationship with Obama had given him the upper hand in the selection process. The former president of Harvard University helped lead Obama’s economic team during the financial crisis that faced the White House when Obama took over in 2009.

White House officials have stressed for weeks that the president had not made a final decision, however, and Yellen remained a contender even as Summ,上海夜生活怎么玩Kai,ers appeared to be on track to get the nod.

Progressive and women’s groups had argued in favor of Yellen. Choosing a man after Summers’ withdrawal likely would be seen as a symbolic slap against those important constituent groups, which helped Obama win re-election in 2012.

“Easily, the front runner now is Vice Chair Janet Yellen,” said Jim Kochan, chief fixed income strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management LLC in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

Summers’ potential appointment created an unprecedented backlash and would have added to a list of battles the president faces with Congress this fall over the budget, raising the U.S. debt ceiling, and reforming immigration laws.

“(Obama) hadn’t made a decision, so I don’t read this as some kind of mutiny,” said one former administration official, referring to opposition among Obama’s fellow Democrats to Summers. “But he has plenty of challenges on his plate, so maybe this spares him one.”

Analysis: NYC’s new mayor to face day of reckoning on labor deals

( ) – If Bill de Blasio becomes New York City’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years, the liberal politician would soon find himself immersed in labor talks that could saddle the city with a $7 billion bill for retroactive wage increases for municipal workers.

De Blasio, who now serves as public advocate, became the frontrunner in Tuesday’s Democratic primary elections on a platform that included a plan to raise taxes on wealthier residents to fund pre-kindergarten and rein in corporate subsidies.

With ballots still being counted, de Blasio needs to hold on to 40 percent of the vote or face a runoff. If he does, he would face Republican Joe Lhota in November’s mayoral election.

Lhota has ruled out the idea of paying retroactive wage increases, which financial analysts say could eat up 10 percent of the city’s $70 billion annual budget. But de Blasio has not.

Retroactive wage increases are “something that should be on the table,” de Blasio told in an interview last week. “It’s a fair concern, but we need the cost savings ,上海夜网Queena,to support it – that’s the bottom line.”

The biggest city in the United States is already facing a ,上海夜生活网419Rachel,budget deficit of at least $2 billion in the fiscal year starting in July 2014. It has made about $80 billion worth of promises for retiree healthcare benefits that it might not be able to fund.

The magnitude of those fiscal challenges – which require the city to cut services or benefits – could sit uncomfortably with de Blasio’s liberal beliefs, or force Lhota to make concessions with labor unions that would make other Republicans shudder.

“Whoever assumes that position is going to be looking at the numbers. And the numbers speak for themselves,” said Dan Heckman, senior fixed income strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, which has recently purchased New York City debt.

It is still too early to determine a favorite, but New York’s fiscal woes and looming union battles are likely to become hot campaign topics.

By the time the last of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s three terms ends in December, every one of the more than 100 contracts that cover city workers will have expired at least a year earlier. The scenario leaves nearly 300,000 teachers, firefighters, police and other public employees without contracts. Many had gone without a pay raise for years.

Bloomberg “really kicked the can down the road. He did not deal with these contracts over a period, in some cases, of multiple years,” said Douglas 上海夜生活论坛Muzzio, a political science professor at New York City’s Baruch College. “His budgets have been balanced because he stuck the next mayor with this burden.”

De Blasio and Lhota also differ on how to boost revenue.

Lhota has said he would try to find savings in the city’s budget before raising taxes. That’s the approach he took when he ran the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, where he recommended fare increases after first cutting costs within the agency.

To expand preschool programs for children, de Blasio has advocated raising the city’s tax on incomes of more than $500,000 to 4.4 percent from 3.9 percent. He also proposed curtailing the economic development subsidies the city gives to some big companies like online grocer Fresh Direct to build or expand operations.

No mayor, however, can make most major financial decisions unilaterally. The mayor needs the approval of either the city council, the state legislature, and in some cases, voters. De Blasio would have to lobby state lawmak,上海夜生活乌托邦Oakley,ers for an income tax increase, for example. Other items, like property taxes and debt levels, are subject to caps.

Police and firefighters can also take their contract disputes to binding arbitration.

“The risk is that the next mayor could do a fairly decent job navigating…but if one of the uniformed unions thinks they could do better in arbitration, which historically they have, they could say forget it, we’re going to Albany and figure it out there,” said Maria Doulis, director of city studies at the Citizens Budget Commission.

The CBC estimates that if unions reached settlements soon for the same retroactive wage increases that have been awarded historically – between about 2 percent and 4 percent – the city could owe at least $7 billion this fiscal year through June 2014.

New York mayors have long struggled to win significant public labor concessions in a city that is heavily unionized.

Former Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani – for whom Lhota served as finance commissioner, budget director and deputy mayor for operations – was a favorite with police, who preferred him to his predecessor David Dinkins, the last Democrat to hold serve as mayor.

Giuliani lost that edge after he signed a 5-year contract with police in 1995 that included no pay raises for the first two years. But the so-called “zeroes for heroes” contract also included a pledge for no layoffs and skipped any other major concessions, according to Edmund J. McMahon, senior fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute.

“I don’t think any mayor’s gotten a productivity concession out of any public union in New York in recent memory,” McMahon said.

Taking a strong anti-union stance carries risks. In 1966, bus and subway workers walked off the job on Republican mayor John Lindsay’s first day in office, shutting down the city. Over the rest of his first term, teachers, garbagemen and municipal workers all went on strike, leading Lindsay to lobby the state for an income tax increase to help pay for settlements. Some say Lindsay paved the way for the city’s brush with bankruptcy in the 1975.

A councilman for three terms before becoming public advocate, de Blasio was part of a city government that wanted to spend more than Bloomberg. Analysts say that’s the way the New York City budget politics works: mayors are conservative with revenue projections, and the city council knows it and seeks to spend more.

“When it saw money, council wanted to spend money,” McMahon said. “As mayor, you’re the one who has to make the budget.”

San Jose and unions make final argument in battle over pension cuts

( ) – California’s third largest city, San Jose, and its employee unions presented final court arguments on Tuesday in a case that has major implications for other cash-strapped local authorities wanting to cut pensions, including bankrupt Detroit.

Even though voters in San Jose overwhelmingly backed a measure last year that would cut pensions for new workers and force current employees to contribute more to their retirement benefits, the city’s unions sued, claiming the reforms were unconstitutional.

Both sides, following a judge’s request made at the end of a five-day trial last month, filed voluminous closing arguments and summaries late Tuesday, much of which will likely be reprised in the litigation between 上海夜生活论坛unions and city authorities in Detroit, which filed for the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history in July.

San Jose’s pension overhaul was promoted by Democratic mayor Chuck Reed and approved by 70 percent of voters in 2012. Reed believed it was the best way to alleviate an acute budget shortfall and a rapidly growing unfunded pension liability, which sits at nearly $3 billion, and to save further cuts to essential city services.

City workers, led by San Jose’s police union, sued, demonstrating how difficult it is for local governments in the United States – e,上海夜生活Hadleigh,ven with a reform measure backed by voters – to rein in soaring pension and other retirement costs.

In its legal brief on Tuesday, the San Jose Police Officers’ Association argued that “Measure B”, the pension reform initiative, violated the vested pension and other retirement rights of city workers.

“Those rights cannot be legislated away by defendant city of San Jose, or the voters,” the union argued, “because such rights are protected by the California Constitution and the parties’ collective bargaining agreement.”

The city fired back in its 70-page brief, arguing that it was for the police and other unions to prove that Measure B was illegal and unconstitutional. In that regard, the city argued, the unions “failed to proffer any testimony or other evidence.”

Michael Sweet, a San Francisco bankruptcy attorney and who is not involved in the case, said the San Jose litigation is being closely watched by other U.S. cities, including those already in bankruptcy such as C,上海夜网后花园Ida,alifornia’s Stockton and San Bernardino, and Detroit in Michigan.

“Even though San Jose isn’t in bankruptcy, what they are doing is addressing th,上海足浴夜网联系方式Lance,e same kind of pension issues being faced in those bankrupt cities,” Sweet said. “Mayor Reed’s measure was an approach to addressing these pension issues, which in some instances have become unsustainable.”

San Jose’s pension reform has not yet been adopted because of the unions’ lawsuit. The city’s pension spending rose to $245 million last year from $73 million in 2001. The city has had to slash other spending and services to try and balance its budget.

The court case consolidated five lawsuits brought by two unions, individual employees and retirees. The judge overseeing the case has scheduled an October 10 hearing, ahead of a final ruling.

The case is in Santa Clara County Superior Court, No. 1-12-CV-225926

Business euphoria over Trump gives way to caution, uncertainty

WASHINGTON ( ) – Early optimism among business lobbyists and executives that Donald Trump’s election heralded better days has slowly given way to uncertainty as the president-elect fires off mixed and sometimes confusing messages on healthcare, taxes and trade.

An initial euphoria in the business world fueled a powerful post-election stock rally. Some of that has frayed as questions arise over the nuts and bolts of Trump’s campaign promises, although many in the business community said they remained optimistic.

Doubts deepened over the weekend as Trump declared he would replace President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare plan known as Obamacare with “insurance for everybody” – a goal far beyond Republican designs – and criticized a key component of a plan in Congress to overhaul corporate taxes. In a later interview, he appeared to adjust both stances, possibly adding to the confusion.

“It is fair to say that since the election, there has been mounting uncertainty about exactly what the specific policies are likely to be with regard to tax reform and replacing Obamacare,” a financial industry official said.

Expectations for faster growth, tax reform and a quick repeal of Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act, have “given way to ‘We are not really sure what he means by that,’” the official said.

A veteran Republican financial lobbyist said she was under constant pressure from clients to predict what the new administration was planning but had no reliable answers.

WRENCH IN OBAMACARE REPEAL

Trump appears to have thrown a wrench into Republican plans to repeal Obamacare with mixed signals on the details and timing of a replacement plan.

Congressional Republicans have focused on limiting government involvement in the healthcare system and eliminating the law’s individual mandate that forces people to have insurance.

But Trump told the Washington Post he was almost done with a plan to replace Obamacare with “insurance for everybody,” while forcing drug companies to negotiate directly with the government on prices for Medicare and Medicaid.

Trump’s recent attack on the border adjustment tax was another sign of his unpredictability, the financial lobbyist said.

That measure would tax imports and exempt exports in an effort to encourage companies to keep jobs and production in the United States. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Friday, Trump called the proposal “too complicated.”

“Anytime I hear border adjustment, I don’t love it,” Trump told the Journal. “Because usually it means we’re going to get adjusted into a bad deal. That’s what happens.”

Chris Krueger, an analyst at the investment firm Cowen and Co, said Trump’s comments to the newspaper about the border adjustment proposal were “breathtaking.”

“Trump is like a policy bull who seems to bring his own china shop with him to destroy it with every interview,” Krueger wrote in a research note.

In an interview with the news outlet Axios on Tuesday, Trump appeared to adjust both positions. He said the border adjustment idea was still “on the plate.” As for Obamacare, he said his comments were in response to proposals in which “people with no money aren’t covered,” which he said were unacceptable.

Lobbyists said the Trump transition team’s lack of interest in their input was clear in the past two weeks as it summoned trade groups to daily “listening sessions” at the American Enterprise Institute think tank. The agriculture, financial, transportation and tech industries were among the sectors that got a one-hour session, according to participants.

‘GOAT RODEO’

In the sessions, Wall Street lobbyists were encouraged to talk fast: a giant television screen overhead counted down two minutes of allotted time.

“It was a goat rodeo. We all got a couple minutes to speak. What can you really say in that time?” said another financial services lobbyist. “They wanted to check the box – ‘We’re listening to Wall Stree,夜上海论坛Lark,t.’ But who even knows where these transition people will be in a few days?”

Lobbyists also have been alarmed that the transition team has not included them in preparations for confirmation hearings for many nominated Cabinet officials, including potential Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“If you want someone to explain how Elizabeth Warren can hammer you 12 different ways, ask a lobbyist,” said the financial services lobbyist, referring to the Democratic U.S. senator from Massachusetts and frequent critic of Wall Street.

Even Trump’s website sowed confusion about his intentions. A promise to dismantle the Dodd-Frank regulatory reforms was removed at the end of last year and has not been replaced. A Trump representative blamed a redesign, but bank lobbyists are not so sure – other content made it through the redesign.

Some companies have been reassured by Trump’s Cabinet nominees, who are seen as more predictable and supportive of the business establishment than the impulsive president-elect.

Senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney general, has deep differences on values with the technology sector but is seen as an important Trump counterweight because he is a “deliberate decision-maker not prone to big d上海夜生活ramatic mood swings,” a source at one major Silicon Valley firm said.

Many lobbyists and business officials said they remained optimistic and cautioned ag,上海夜哪里艳遇Hadrian,ainst reading too deeply into tweets or comments that Trump makes on policy.

“If Obama or Bush opined on a policy … most of Washington assumed that raising that question was a well-vetted intentional decision to send a signal,” a senior U.S. Chamber of Commerce official said.

Trump, by contrast, may simply be raising policy issues beca,上海021夜网Sabia,use he has questions on them, the chamber official said.

The same financial industry official who acknowledged the uncertain climate also said he was still optimistic.

“There were a lot of candidates who were interviewed. There were names floated out there and … it was kind of a chaotic process,” the official said, referring to the process of picking candidates to fill Cabinet and other administration positions.

“But overall, I think one can make the observation that in making the final selections, Trump has shown … a very surprising even-handedness.”

AmEx profit misses estimates on higher marketing spend

( ) – American Express Co (AXP.N) posted a lower-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as the credit card issuer boosted spending on marketing and promotion to fend off rising competition.

The company said it now expects full-year 2017 earnings to be between $5.60-$5.80 per share. AmE,上海夜哪里艳遇Ebba,x had previously expected to achieve at least $5.60 per share in 2017.

“That outlook is built on a set of priorities designed to ,上海夜网Oakley,put us in a strong position for 2018 and the years ahead,” Chief Executive Kenneth 上海夜生活论坛Chenault said.

AmEx’s stock has rallied since the U.S. election as investors hope Trump will usher in a new era of looser bank regulations alo,上海夜生活桑拿会所Oakley,ng with economic growth which should drive increased spending among AmEx customers.

The company’s shares were down about 1 percent in after-hours trading.

Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Campbell, on a call with analysts, cautioned that quarterly earnings and revenue would be uneven in 2017, with lower growth in the first quarter.

During the quarter, AmEx added 1.6 million cards across its U.S. issuing businesses and 2.4 million on a worldwide basis, Campbell said.

“…we have now effectively replaced Costco as a distribution channel with our own proprietary activities,” Campbell added.

AmEx, which has long catered to affluent customers, has struggled since the loss of a lucrative partnership with Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O). The portfolio accounted for about 8 percent of the spending on AmEx cards in 2015.

Net income attributable to common shareholders fell to $825 million, or 88 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $899 million, or 89 cents per share, a year earlier.

Total revenue, net of interest expense, fell to $8.02 billion from $8.39 billion last year.

Analysts on average had estimated a profit of 97 cents per share, according to Thomson I/B/E/S.

Up to Thursday’s close, AmEx stock had risen about 15.5 percent since the U.S. election.

Costco to pay $11.75 million over lax U.S. pharmacy controls

( ) – Costco Wholesale Corp (COST.O) will pay $11.75 million to resolve claims that some of its pharmacies filled improper or 上海夜生活incomplete prescriptions for controlled substances in violation of federal regulations, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.

The deal, one of several corporate settlements being unveiled during the last days of President Barack Obama’s administration, came as U.S. authorities grapple with an opioid drug epidemic.

“This settlement demonstrates the accountability and responsibility that go along with handling controlled prescription drugs,” U.S. Drug Enforcement Assistant Administrator Louis Milione said in a statement.

A Costco spokesman declined to comment.

Under the settlement, Costco acknowledged that from 2012 to 2015 some of its pharmacies dispensed drugs without complying with the Controlled Substances Act and related regulations, the Justice Department said.

Those violations included filling prescriptions that lacked valid DEA numbers; filling prescriptions outside the scope of a doctor’s DEA registration; and failing to maintain accurate dispensing records, the Justice Department said.

“These are not just administrative or paperwork violations – Costco’s ,上海夜生活网交流Cadence,failure to have proper controls in place in its pharmacies played a role in prescription drugs reaching the black market,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen Decker in Los Angeles.

The Justice Department said Costco had bought a new pharmacy management system and set up a three-tie,上海新夜网龙凤Radcliff,r aud,上海夜网千花Earl,it program at its pharmacies to address the issues.

Under the settlement, DEA officials will be allowed to conduct unannounced and unrestricted inspections of all DEA-registered Costco pharmacies for the next three years, the Justice Department said.

As Congress returns, competing U.S. rallies highlight Syria divide

WASHINGTON ( ) – With a list of names, a stack of letters and a “Free Syria” pin on his lapel, Asaad Aref wandered the halls of Congress on Monday, trying to turn the tide in a debate that was not moving in his favor.

President Barack Obama’s request to authorize a military strike against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appeared to be losing traction in Congress, and the Obama administration seemed to be reconsidering the idea. Public opinion firmly opposed military action, and even Aref’s fellow Syrian Americans were divided.

On top of that, it’s easy for newcomers like Aref to get lost on Capitol Hill, where one marble corridor looks much like the other and a “suspicious package” can shut down a building for hours.

As the afternoon wore on, hope was giving way to punchy humor.

“Did you get a receipt? Go ask for a receipt,” Aref told a young woman in his group of about eight after she dropped off a letter urging military action at the office of Representative Michael Grimm, a New York Republican.

“Maybe we should come back in 10 minutes and look in their trash can,” he added.

As lawmakers return to Washington after a month-long break, they face what could be one of the most defining foreign-policy votes since Congress backed Republican President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq more than a decade ago.

Obama says Congress should authorize limited military strikes to punish Assad for an apparent chemical attack last month that killed 1,400 people.

But public opinion polls show that Americans have little appetite for further military action after costly and inconclusive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama faces a particularly tough sell in the House of Representatives, where antiwar Democrats and anti-Obama Republicans could join forces to defeat the measure.

Still, most lawmakers remain undecided at this point, according to tallies by several news organizations, giving advocates on both sides of the issue a sense that they might be able to sway the debate in their direction.

The liberal grassroots group MoveOn.org planned 160 protests across the country on Monday evening and said its members have placed at least 22,000 calls to lawmakers urging a “no” vote on the resolution.

On the other side, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel organization regarded as one of the most powerful interest groups in Washington, plans to send 250 of its members to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to help make the case for a strike.

COMPETING RALLIES

Monday saw dozens of Syrian flags waving on t,上海夜网邀请码Kai,he Capitol grounds as rival Syrian American groups staged competing rallies outside the Capitol. Police ensured the two groups did not come face to face.

Clutching a portrait of Bashar al-Assad, Naife Khalouf of Allentown, Pennsylvania said she supported the Syrian strongman because he had protected her fellow Orthodox Christians from persecution in the Muslim-majority country.

“He’s wonderful, I believe in him,” Khalouf, 64, said quietly as several hundred antiwar protesters waved Syrian flags and chanted “Hands off Syria.”

Several others at the rally said they did not believe that Assad was responsible for the chemical attack and warned that a military strike would only deliver the country into the hands of al Qaeda-affiliated rebel groups.

Khalouf, 64, and others who had made the trip from Allentown appear to already have accomplished their mission: Their representative in Congress, Republican Charlie Dent, has said publicly that he oppo上海夜生活网ses military intervention.

On the other side of the issue, Aref has not had similar success. While his congressman, Democrat Bill Pascrell of New Jersey, is officially undecided, friends have told him he is unlikely to back military action.

Aref said he wouldn’t try to change his mind.

“It’s a waste of breath,” Aref said. “Some pro-Bashar people got to him.”

Aref said that before he immigrated to the United States in 1988, he had been locked up for a month by the Syrian government for questioning the leadership of Assad’s father while visiting Turkey. He has returned to Syria several times since the conflict started 2-1/2 years ago.

Aref said he was frustra,上海夜生活乌托邦Eden,ted that Americans were first indifferent to a conflict that has taken more than 100,000 lives and now oppose action even after an atrocity that appears to have gotten their attention.

Waiting for a stoplight, Aref engaged in a high-volume argument with an anti-war protester wearing desert camouflage. He said he appreciated the ability to engage in the deba,上海凤楼夜网Cade,te.

“Would you dare to do something like that in the Middle East? You’d be shot,” he said.

Goldman Sachs profit soars on bond-trading surge

( ) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) reported a nearly fourfold rise in quarterly profit on Wednesday thanks to a surge in bond trading revenue, with its finance chief offering a sunny outlook for business in 2017.

Like other Wall Street banks, Goldman benefited from jumps in volume across fixed-income markets late in the quarter after Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election and the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate target.

Business has remained strong in the first few weeks of 2017, Chief Financial Officer Harvey Schwartz said, offering optimism for the rest of the year.

“We’ve come out of a very low volume, low volatility environment over a number of years,” he said on a conference call. “With the shifting policies around the globe, it’s an extraordinary catalyst.”

However, Goldman’s shares fell 0.8 percent to $233.74 at mid-afternoon.

In research notes, analysts said expectations had run up so high leading into Goldman’s report, with its stock up nearly 30 percent since the Nov. 8 U.S. electi上海夜网on, that even the sharp rise in profit disappointed some investors.

“The bar was high,” said Citigroup analyst Keith Horowitz.

While the bank’s adjusted e,上海夜生活乌托邦Pablo,arnings per share of $5.08 topped the average analyst estimate of $4.82, some investors were privately expecting a so-called whisper number of $5.50 per share or more, Instinet analyst Steven Chubak said.

Goldman’s profit rose to $2.2 billion in the fourth quarter from $574 million a year earlier, when the Wall Street bank was hit with a $5 billion legal settlement. Its net revenue jumped 12 percent to $8.2 billion, above the average estimate of $7.7 billion.

Related CoverageGoldman could move up to 1,000 London staff to Frankfurt – Handelsblatt

Bond trading was the largest contributor to results, with revenue jumping 78 percent to over $2 billion, the highest level since the first quarter of 2015.

Equities trading revenue fell 9 percent to $1.6 billion, a decline that surprised several analysts. Schwartz said a “handful” of transactions weighed down the business.

Goldman’s results echoed those of rivals including Morgan Stanley (MS.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) and Citigroup Inc (C.N).

For Goldman, the post-election gains were particularly significant as several former executives have joined Trump’s administration, harking back to a time when the bank was jokingly referred to as “Government Sachs.” On the conference call, an analyst joked that former Goldman executives could keep business going strong by sending out tweets to spur trading activity.

Investors are betting the incoming administration will spur economic growth and lighten regulations on Wall Street. While Schwartz did not comment directly on Trump’s stated policy goals, he noted widespread confidence that there will be stronger fiscal policy, diverging interest rates globally and a better economy, all things that drive Goldman’s bottom line.

“In some respects, confidence is the best stimulus,” he said.

Goldman has historically relied more on trading than other big banks, but has sought to diversify its revenue in recent years by building up investment management and launching a consumer bank.

Investment banking revenue, including income from advising on mergers and acquisitions as well as underwriting bond and share offerings, fell 3.9 percent in the fourth quarter to $1.5 billion.

Revenue from investment management rose 3.4 percent to $1.6 billion.

Goldman has also been trying to cut costs, having launched a program last year to slash $700 million from annual expenses. Schwartz said Goldman exceeded that target, taking out $900 million in expenses by the end of the year. It cut costs by 19 percent to $20.3 billion last year, the lowest level since 2008.

The bank’s annualized return-on-equity, a measure that shows how well a bank uses sha,夜上海419龙凤论坛Tamara,reholder money to generate profit, was 11.4 percent in the quarter, above the 10 percent analysts believe is needed to cover a bank’s cost of capital.

It was the last time Schwartz would lead the earnings conference call as CFO, having recently been promoted to co-chief operating officer following the departure of longtime COO Gary Cohn to Trump’s administration. Incom,上海夜生活群Fabian,ing CFO Martin Chavez said he would continue Goldman’s traditions in terms of risk management and funding.

ECB succeeding on euro zone economy, but risks remain and more help…

FRANKFURT ( ) – European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said on Thursday that actions the bank has taken in December have succeeded in improving the economic climate, but he pledged to do more if the improvement proved transitory.

He also said economic growth in the euro zone would be held back by the lack of structural reforms by member states and that such moves should be stepped up.

“A very substantial ,上海夜生活去哪玩Jace,degree of (monetary policy) accommodation is needed,” he told a news conference after the ECB had left interest rates and asset purchases unchanged.

“If the outlook becomes less favorable … we stand ready to increase our asset-purchase program in terms of size or duration,” he said.

Euro zone price growth edged above 1 percent for the first time in three years last month, although this w,上海夜生活Eason,as largely due to a stabilization in oil prices.

With inflation in Germany hitting 1.7 percent in December, ECB critics in the,上海夜生活桑拿会所Idaline, country have been calling for an early end to the central bank’s money-printing program.

The ECB is blamed by sections of the German public opinion for eating into savings and bankrolling 上海夜生活网indebted governments in southern Europe through its policy of low interest rates and aggressive bond purchases.

Family stayed in Syrian town during offensive as rebels ousted

KHAN SHEIKHOUN, Syria ( ) – Russia-backed Syrian forces foun,上海夜网后花园Tabitha,d Abu Abdo and family this week in Khan Sheikhoun, a town which almost all other residents had fled during shelling in an offensive to take the area from rebel fighters.

“The last month was very bad. We couldn’t stand by the door because of the shelling … We couldn’t go anywhere,” 55-year-old Abu Abdo told .

He said his was one of only around three families that stayed in the town through the offensive while all other civilians fled north, away from the shelling.

“When the army came they opened the door of the house and entered, thinking no one was here. But when they saw us they were very respectful and asked us what we needed,” he said from his house which had a couple of shell holes in the walls.

Khan Sheikhoun was one of the towns lost early in the eight-year-old war to rebels opposed to the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. On Friday the Syrian army said it had taken it back, along with a handful of other sett,上海新夜网龙凤Daisy,lements.

“The fighters ran away a day before the army entered. There was a huge number of fighters here,” Abu Abdo said, referring to the rebels.

A renewed push by Syrian government and Russian forces to take the area has seen heavy strikes and advances this week in the south of Idlib province and nearby Hama, prompting a civilian exodus.

Hundreds of people have be,上海夜生活服务Idaline,en killed in the campaign since late April and more than 500,000 people have been displaced, the United Nations said.

“The operation (to take Khan Sheikhoun) was difficult. The rebels were holed up for a month under heavy, continuous bombardment. Which caused them to withdraw to the north,” a military official said.

Scattered around the town were signs with white writing on black backgrounds reading: “There is no other god but God”, “Singing is forbidden”, and “Syria is the land of jihad and guarding the borders.”

A team traveled to Khan Sheikhoun up a newly opened and de-mined part of the main south-north highway which once connected the capital Damascus to Aleppo. The sound of planes and distant explosions could still be heard in the large town in south Idlib province, heavily damaged by repeated aerial campaigns.

Khan Sheikhoun made headlines in 2017. Nearly 100 people died when the town was bombed with sarin poison gas. One of the deadliest chemical weapons attacks of the war, it prompted a U.S. missile st上海夜网rike against a Syrian air base.

Macron delivers breakthrough on Iran at tense G7 summit, but little…

BIARRITZ, France ( ) – French President Emmanuel Macron paved the way at a G7 summit for a diplomatic solution to the standoff between Washington and Tehran over a 2015 nuclear deal, but there was little else to show from a meeting at which allies were sharply divided.

Macron, host of the summit of seven industrialized nations that ended on Monday in the French seaside resort of Biarritz, said that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had told him he was open to a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump told a news conference before heading home that it was realistic to envisage a meeting with the Iranian head of government in the coming weeks. Both leaders are scheduled to attend the United Nations General Assembly next month.

European leaders have struggled to calm a confrontation between Iran and the United States since Trump pulled his country out of Iran’s internationally brokered 2015 nuclear deal last year and reimposed sanctions on the Iranian economy.

“What unites us, and that is a big step forward, is that we not only don’t want Iran to have nuclear weapons, but we also (want to) find the solution to that via political means,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the end of the gathering.

Macron has led efforts to defuse tensions, fearing a collapse of the nuclear deal could set the Middle East ablaze.

Trump ruled out lifting sanctions but said talks were underway to see how countries could open credit lines to keep its economy afloat. He indicated he wanted to address the nuclear deal’s timescale and said he did not want regime change.

“I’m looking at a really good Iran, really strong, we’re not looking for regime change,” he said. “And we’re looking to make Iran rich again, let them be rich, let them do well.”

Related CoverageMacron says U.S. did not join charter against online hate speechHighlights: Leaders’ closing remarks at Biarritz G7 SummitSee more stories

But, apparently referring to Iran’s recent rhetoric about its ability to attack U.S. interests, Trump suggested Iran would meet “violent force” if it followed through on its threats.

FEW CONCRETE RESULTS

Despite the headway made on Iran, the meeting ended with few significant deliverables because there were so many issues dividing the United States and its allies in particular.

These ranged from Washington’s escalating trade war with China, which many fear could tip the slowing world economy into recession, how to deal with North Korea’s nuclear ambitions and the question of whether Russian President Vladimir Putin should be readmitted to the group.

The U.S. president up-ended last year’s G7 summit in Canada, walking out of the meeting early and disassociating himself from the final communique having initially endorsed the document.

Trump said he had got on very well in Biarrtiz with fellow leaders from the group that also comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

However, Macron decided ahead of the meeting not to try for a communique after last year’s quarrel, and in the end France issued a terse one-page summit statement that mentioned trade, Iran, Libya, Ukraine and Hong Kong.

Trump offered an olive bra,上海夜生活去哪玩Octavien,nch to China after days of intense feuding between the world’s two largest economies over trade that has spooked financial markets and worried his G7 allies.

Washington’s dispute with Beijing escalated last week as both sides leveled more tariffs on each other’s exports.

However, on Monday Trump said he believed China wanted to make a trade deal after it contacted U.S. trade officials overnight to say it wanted to return to the negotiating table.

He hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping as a great leader and said the prospect of talks was a very positive development.

Asked about the White House’s apparent flip-flopping上海夜生活, he said: “It’s the way I negotiate.”

NO CONSENSUS ON BRINGING RUSSIA BACK

Trump skipped a summit session on climate change at which they agreed to $20 million technical and financial help for Brazil and its neighbors stop the Amazon forest fires.

Macron said Trump agreed on the initiative but cou,上海夜网官方网站Oakley,ld not attend because of bilateral meeting engagements.

A record number of fires are ravaging the rainforest, many of them in Brazil, drawing international concern because of the Amazon’s importance to the global environment.

Macron said there was no consensus on Trump’s proposal to invite Russia back to what used to be the G8.

Moscow was excluded from the group in 2014 after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea and then backed an anti-Kiev rebellion in the industrial region of Donbas in eastern Ukraine.

Two European officials said that efforts by summit ‘sherpas’ to agree on statements on global cooperation on artificial intelligence and gender equality were blocked by the U.S. delegation in talks that went into Sunday night.

“Let’s say our sessions have been much harder and longer than previously thought because one delegation bla,上海夜网千花Cain,tantly blocked almost everything, showing little will to really negotiate and move forward,” said a senior European diplomat, who declined to be named.

U.S. officials were not available to comment on the impasse.

Christian couple can sue over Minnesota same-sex marriage video law

( ) – A federal appeals court on Friday revived a lawsuit by a Minnesota couple challenging a state law requiring that their video production company film same-sex weddings, which they say violates their Christian beliefs.

In a 2-1 decision, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota, said Angel and Carl Larsen can try to show that the law violates their rights to free speech and to freely exercise their religious beliefs under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Circuit Judge David Stras, an appointee of President Donald Trump, called videos by the St. Cloud, Minnesota, couple “a medium for the communication of ideas about marriage,” and said the state’s law “is targeting speech itself.”

The court ordered U.S. District Judge John Tunheim in Minneapolis to decide whether the Larsens and their Telescope Media Group deserve a preliminary injunction against the law, which subjects violators to fines and possible jail time. Tunheim had dismissed the lawsuit in September 2017.

“With this perversion of the First Amendment, the majority sanctions a policy of ‘No gays allowed,’” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a Democrat who defended the law, said in a statement.

He pledged to respond in the “strongest and most strategic way possible” to the decisio,上海夜玩网论坛Radcliff,n.

“Angel and I serve everyone,” Carl Larsen said, i,上海凤楼夜网Falkner,n a statement provided by his lawyers at Alliance Defending Freedom. “We just can’t produce films promoting every message.”

The case is among several in recent years where private business owners or individuals invoked their religious beliefs to deny services to same-sex couples.

In June, for example, the Washington Supreme Court上海夜网 ruled for a second time against a Christian florist for refusing to sell flowers to a same-sex couple for their wedding, setting up a potential clash at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in 2015 cited her religious beliefs in refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Same-sex marriage became legal in Minnesota in 2013, and nationwide in 2015.

The Larsens said they wanted to use their talents to honor God, including by producing wedding videos promoting marriage as a “sacrificial covenant between one man and one woman.”

Minnesota objected, saying the Larsens had to produce videos of same-sex weddings as well as opposite-sex weddings, or else produce none.

But in Friday’s decision, Stras said the Larsens could try to show that Minnesota law interfered with their messag,上海会所夜网Idris,e “by requiring them to say something they otherwise would not.”

He distinguished antidiscrimination laws targeting conduct and only incidentally affecting speech, calling it “unquestionably” acceptable to require an employer to remove a “White Applicants Only” sign.

Circuit Judge Jane Kelly dissented, saying the majority’s approach could support treating customers differently based on sex, race, religion and disability.

“Nothing stops a business owner from using today’s decision to justify new forms of discrimination tomorrow,” she wrote. “In this country’s long and difficult journey to combat all forms of discrimination, the court’s ruling represents a major step backward.”

The case is Telescope Media Group et al v Lucero, 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 17-3352.

Pelosi sets spending demands for two-year budget deal

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Saturday that a two-year budget agreement with the Trump administration must include equal increases in defense and nondefense spending, plus additional money for a program intended to improve healthcare for military veterans.

“We all agree on the need to address the debt limit, but we also must reach an agreement on spending priorities based upon the principle of parity as soon as possible,” the top Democrat in the House of Representatives told U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a July 13 letter.

Pelosi’s office said it released the letter after she and Mnuchin spoke by phone on Saturday evening for 12 minutes.

“The two-year budget agreement we are working to achieve should provide equal increases in the defense base and the non-defense base over the next two fiscal years,” the speaker said in the letter.

“But it also must provide $9 billion in additional funds for the VA MISSION Act in fiscal 202,上海凤楼夜网Qirin,0 and $13 billion in additional funds in 2021,” she wrote.

The VA Mission Act, which passed Congress with bipartisan support, ,上海021夜网Cain,seeks to revamp healthcare services provided through the Veterans Administration by allowing veterans t上海夜生活论坛o obtain private care, expanding assistance for caregivers and incentives for health professionals, and making other changes.

Pelosi told Mnuchin that past agreements on parity between defense and non-defense spending did not take into account the growing ,上海足浴夜网联系方式Cain,cost of implementing the program.

Tunisia’s Karoui still presidential candidate despite arrest:…

TUNIS ( ) – Tunisian media magnate Nabil Karoui remains in the race for next month’s presidential election despite his arrest on Friday, the electoral commission said on Saturday.

Tunisian police arrested Karoui after a court ordered his detention in a case involving charges of money laundering and tax evasion. His party said his detention was a politically motivated attempt to exclude him from the election race.

A governmen上海夜网t official rejected that accusation and said it was a judicial matter and nothing to do with the government. The electoral commission said Karoui was still in the race.

“As long as there are no changes in his legal status,夜上海419龙凤论坛Barney, and no final verdict, Nabil Karoui remains a presidential candidate,” Nabil Baffoun, the head of the electoral commission, told reporters.

Karoui, 56, owner of the Nesma TV channel, is one of the frontrunners contesting the Sept. 15 election following the death last month of 92-year-old President Beji Caid Essebsi – the first head of state to be democratically elected in Tunisia following the popular uprising of 2011.

Karoui’s main rival among the 26 candidates in the race is Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. Other candidates include former president Moncef Marzouki and Abdel Fattah Mourou, vice president of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party.

Tunisia’s president controls foreign and defence policy, governing alongside a prime minister chosen by,上海夜生活网交流Kaiden, parliament who has authority over domestic affairs.

Karoui founded the Khalil Tounes Foundation in 2017 to fight pove,上海夜生活Jack,rty, the main theme in his campaign.

In June, parliament passed an amendment to its electoral law which would have banned Karoui from running for president. The draft banned candidates who benefit from “charitable associations” or foreign funding during the year before an election.

But Essebsi had not signed the law before he died, allowing Karoui to run.

Trump held conference call with big bank CEOs amid market turmoil:…

WASHINGTON ( ) – President Donald Trump held a conference call on Wednesday with the chief executives of the three largest Wall Street banks as financial markets were in turmoil, one source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

JPMorgan (JPM.N)’s Jamie Dimon, Bank of America(BAC.N)’s Brian Moynihan and Citigroup’s (C.N) Michael Corbat discussed the health of the banking sector with Trump, who was at his resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, the person said.

The call came on a day that saw all three major U.S. indexes close down roughly 3% amid ongoing concerns about the global economy.

The three CEOs w,上海夜玩网论坛Nadia,ere in Washington at the time of the call with Trump, according to four people with direct know上海夜生活ledge of the matter. Th,上海夜生活群Nadine,ey were in the nation’s capital to discuss long-sought changes to anti-money ,上海夜网推油Rae,laundering and bank secrecy rules with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the people said.

The meeting with the Treasury had been scheduled several weeks in advance, the people said. At that meeting, the bank executives told Treasury officials they believed the banking sector is in good health, with plenty of liquidity and capital, one person said.

In June, the Federal Reserve signed off on the capital plans for 17 of the nation’s largest banks, citing their strong capital levels.

Global markets have been roiled this week as investors fretted about the risk of recession and U.S.-China trade tensions. Wall Street’s three main indexes are down at least 1.5% since last Friday, on track to rack up their third consecutive week of losses.

The Treasury Department declined to comment on the meeting.

Iraq paramilitary groups blame U.S., Israel for blasts at Iraqi…

BAGHDAD ( ) – Iraq’s paramilitary groups on Wednesday blamed a series of recent blasts at their weapons depots and bases on the United States and Israel.

The statement from the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), the umbrella grouping of Iraq’s mostly Shi’ite Muslim paramilitary groups, many of which are backed by Iran, said the United States had allowed four Israeli drones to enter the region accompanying U.S. forces and carry out missions on Iraqi territory.

“We announce that the first and last entity responsible for what happened are the American forces, and we will hold them responsible for whatev,上海夜网千花Gabrielle,er happens from today onwards,” said the statement, signed by deputy head of the PMF, Jamal Jaafar Ibrahimi,上海夜生活 known by his nom de guerre Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes.

The PMF statement came a day after several blasts hit a position held by a PMF group next to Balad air base about 80 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad.

As tensions between Washington and Tehran increase, Iraq finds itself caught between neighboring Iran, whose regional influence has grown in recent years, and the United States.

The U.S.-led coalition, in Iraq to fight remnants of the Islamic State group, dismissed the statement.

“The mission of CJTF-OIR in Iraq is solely to enable our Iraqi Security Force partners in the mission of an enduring defeat of Daesh,” it said, using an alternative name for Isla,上海足浴夜网联系方式Earl,mic State. “We operate in Iraq at the invitation of the Government of Iraq and comply with their laws and direction.”

In Washington, the Pentagon denied involvement.

“The U.S. is not involved in the recent warehouse explosions,” Commander Sean Robertson, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.

“The U.S. presence in Iraq supports Iraq’s efforts against ISIS; we support Iraq’s sovereignty and we are complying with Iraqi government directives about the use of their airspace,” Robertson added.

Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in 2017, but there are still near-weekly operations against the group.

A blast last week at a weapons depot run by one group sent rockets careening across southern Baghdad, killing one person and wounding 29 others. Police at the time attributed the explosion to poor storage and high temperatures, but a government investigation is under way.

Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi last week ordered all ammunition dumps belonging to the armed forces or paramilitary groups to be moved outside of cities.

He also canceled all special flight permissions for Iraqi and foreign aircraft, meaning that sorties, including by the U.S.-led coalition operating against Islamic State militants, must be cleared in advance by the prime minister.

Some analysts have suggested the strikes might have been carried out by Israel, which signaled last year it could attack suspected Iranian military assets in Iraq, as it has done with scores of air strikes in Syria.

Israeli officials suggested recently they viewed Iraq, whose main ally is Israel’s regional foe Iran, as more of a threat than in recent years, but have not directly commented on the recent blasts a,上海夜生活服务Octavien,t PMF sites in Iraq.

More than 2,000 people displaced, 19 killed in Myanmar fighting

YANGON ( ) – More than 2,000 people have b,上海夜网官方网站Jackson,een forced to flee from their homes, and 19 have been killed, since fighting broke out between government troops and ethnic minority insurgents in northern Myanmar last week, government officials said Wednesday.

The escalation in hostilities in Myanmar’s fractured north is another setback for civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s bid to bring peace amid a stuttering trans上海夜生活论坛ition from full military rule.

The people displaced in the latest fighting are sheltering in monasteries around Lashio town in the north of Shan State, and are depending on aid groups and the government for their supplies, aid workers said.

“We are providing basic rescue materials as well as cash to displaced people in the camps,上海高端夜生活在那里Oakley,, the injured people and also to family members of those who got killed,” Soe Naing, director of the Department of Disaster Management in Shan State, told .

Aid would be delivered as long as people needed to stay in the camps, he said.

Tension in the region has risen since Thursday, when ,上海夜网千花Quay,a coalition of anti-government insurgent groups known as the Northern Alliance staged attacks including on an elite army college that killed more than a dozen people, mostly security forces personnel.

Nobel laureate Suu Kyi came to power following a landslide election win in late 2016, vowing to prioritize peace talks between ethnic minority guerrilla groups, the military and civilian government.

But conflict has escalated in Kachin State in the north and in Shan State, as the western Rakhine region on the border with Bangladesh.