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U.S. lobby says China protectionism fueling foreign business pessimism

BEIJING ( ) – More than 80 percent of members of a U.S. business lobby in China say foreign companies are less welcome than in the past, a survey released on Wednesday showed, with most saying they have little confidence in China’s vows to open its markets.

The American Chamber of Commerce in China’s annual survey reinforces growing pessimism in the foreign business community, as it grapples with a slowing Chinese economy and complains of increasing protectionism.

The chamber’s report comes a day after China’s President Xi Jinping gave a speech at the World Economic Forum championing open markets, and Beijing unveiled proposals to reduce restrictions on foreign investment in China.

Business circles are particularly concerned over the future of U.S.-China commercial ties as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office, having pledged to brand China a currency manipulator and threatened to impose tariffs on its goods.

“More companies are slowing investments and deprioritizing China as an investment destination due to slowing growth and increased concerns over barriers to market entry, the regulatory environment, and rising costs,” the chamber said.

If China took action, including removing “discriminatory barriers” to foreign-invested companies and investment restrictions, the chamber’s members would “significantly increase investment”, it said.

Asked about the report, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said investment figures showed China remained an attractive place for U.S. businesses and China was committed to opening up.

“At the same time, we hope that the doors of all countries are fairly opened to Chinese investors,” Hua told a daily news briefing.


The chamber said the share of companies that identified China as a top three global investment priority dropped to 56 percent this year, compared with a peak of 78 percent in 2012, a record low.

Eighty-one percent of the 462 companies included in the survey, among them U.S. and multinational firms, said foreign business was less welcome in China than in the past, up from 77 percent in 2016.

Foreign businesses in China, as well as foreign governments, have long complained about a lack of market access in China and restrictive policies that run counter to its pledges to free up markets.

Though President Xi’s speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos painted a picture of China as a “wide open” economy, more than 60 percent of the chamber’s members had “little or no confidence that the government is committed to opening China’s markets further in the next three years”.

Respondents estimated on average that China’s economic growth for 2017 would be 6.1 percent, below what sources have told would be a government target of around 6.5 percent.

The survey, with responses compiled both during and after Trump’s November election victory, showed 72 percent of members felt that positive U.S.-China relations were “critical” to business, but only 17 percent thought they would improve,上海夜生活群Octavien, in 2017.

Chamber chairman William Zarit said some of its members would go to Washington in February, months ahead of an annual lobbying trip, to engage with the Trump administration.

“We certainly are not going there to lecture the administration, but we are there to share our ideas on … a more constructive path forward,” Zarit said at a briefing on the survey.

C,上海高端夜生活在那里Paisley,hina has warned that it will be tough for its foreign trade to impr,上海夜生活网419Nadine,ove this year, especially if a Trump administration and other political changes limit export growth.

Schlumberger expects international markets recovery in late 2017

( ) – Schlumberger NV said on Friday that it does not expect a “dramatic” short-term recovery in international markets, compared with North America where shale producers are already ramping up drilling activity.

The world’s No.1 oilfield services provider reported a more-than-8-percent drop in fourth-quarter revenue as strong activity in the Middle East and North America was offset by weakness in Latin America, Europe, Russia and Africa.

“Our international busine上海夜生活论坛ss is currently like a highly-compressed coiled spring,” Chief Executive Paal Kibsgaard said on an analyst call.

“Activity levels in key market segments such as exploration and deepwater are at record lows and althou,上海夜生活男人好去处Pamela,gh we do not expect a dramatic short-term recovery, the trends can only be positive from this point on.”

With crude oil prices on the rise, oil companies have begun to ramp up exploration and production spending, particularly in North American shale fields, after two years of budget cuts.

However, Kibsgaard expects a global increase to unfold only later this year – a view that Edward Jones analyst Rob Desai agreed with.

“The end of 2017 is when you start to see things really improve in international markets,” Desai said.

Schlumberger’s earnings from international markets, including Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Sub-Sahara Africa, China and onshore Russia, in the fourth quarter of 2016 was more than 70 percent lesser than its earnings in the fourth quarter of 2014, when oil prices began to slump.

The company is far more reliant on markets outside North America than its rivals Halliburton Co and Baker Hughes Inc.

Schlumberger gets only a quarter of its revenue from North America, while Halliburto,上海021夜网Sabia,n gets more than 40 percent.

Schlumberger’s fourth-quarter revenue from North America rose 4 percent to $1.77 billion compared with the third quarter.

Desai said he had expected a 6 percent increase, given the roughly 22 percent rise in average U.S. rig count in the period.

Schlumberger’s revenue growth in international markets was slower, rising 1 percent to $5.28 billion from the third to the fourth quarter.

Net loss attributable to Schlumberger fell to $204 million, or 15 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, from $1.02 billion, or 81 cents per share, a year earlier. bit.ly/2jGqJn7

Excluding one-time items, Schlumberger earned 27 cents per share, in-line with analysts’ average estimate, according to Thomson I/B/E/S.

Total revenue was ,上海夜生活桑拿会所Mace,$7.11 billion, edging past analysts’ estimate of $7.07 billion.

Schlumberger’s shares were down 1.7 percent at $85.73 in morning trading.

Nissan to review UK investment stance once Brexit terms clear

DAVOS, Switzerland ( ) – Nissan (7201.T) will review the case for future investment in Britain when the terms of the country’s departure from,上海夜网千花Daisy, the European Union finally become clear, the Japanese carmaker’s Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said on Friday.

Nissan said in October it was going ahead with plans to build the next X-Trail and Qa,上海夜网邀请码Dahlia,shqai SUVs at its plant in Sunderland, northeast England, after obtaining written government assurances that Brexit would not be allowed to harm the site’s export competitiveness.

The decision was hailed by Prime Minister Theresa May’s government as evidence that the threat of new EU trade tariffs would ,上海021夜网Fabiana,not significantly damage investment in Britain.

Speaking in Davos, however, Ghosn said Nissan would re-examine the group’s investment strategy once the terms of Brexit become clear. The UK government has said it will trigger the two-year process for exiting the EU by the end of March.

“Obviously when the package comes, you are going to have to re-evaluate the situation, and say, okay, is the com上海夜生活petitiveness of your plant preserved or not?” he told reporters.

Ghosn, who also heads Nissan’s alliance partner Renault (RENA.PA), said he trusted and assumed that May’s government would ensure that Sunderland remained competitive whatever the final outcome of Brexit talks.

He added: “We’re going to have to make decisions on investment within the next two to three years. So obviously the faster the Brexit results come, the better.”

May’s Conservative government has steadfastly rejected opposition demands that it publish the “letter of comfort” written to Ghosn by Business Secretary Greg Clark and first reported by on Oct. 27.

U.S. regulator finds no evidence of defects after Tesla death probe

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. auto safety regulators said on Thursday they found no evidence of defects in a Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) car involved in the death of a man whose Model S collided with a truck while he was using its Autopilot system.

The case has been closely watched as automakers race to automate more driving tasks without exposing themselves to increased liability risks.

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk, on his Twitter account, praised the decision by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which did not order a recall and put the responsibility for the accident primarily on the driver, former Navy SEAL Joshua Brown.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters on Thursday that drivers have a duty to take seriously their obligation to maintain control of a vehicle. He said automakers also must explain the limits of semi-autonomous systems. In the case of Tesla’s Autopilot, one limitation was that the system could not detect a truck trailer that crossed the road in front of the victim’s Tesla.

“The (auto) industry is going to have to be clear about what the technology does and what it is does not do, and communicate it clearly,” Foxx said.

Jack Landskroner, a lawyer for Br,上海夜网Tabitha,own’s family, said they plan to evaluate all the information from government agencies investigating the crash “before making any decisions or taking any position on these matters.”

U.S. Senator Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, said in an interview on Thursday “it is important regulators allow the flexibility and freedom to innovate, but also prevent technology that is not quite ready for prime time to get on the road.”


Legal experts said the agency’s decision does not mean automakers would上海夜生活网 escape liability claims in cases where driver assistance systems fail to prevent a crash.

“If it is known that drivers are misusing and being confused by your self-driving system, then that in and of itself can be a safety-related defect,” product liability lawyer Jason Stephens said.

The crash occurred near Williston, Florida, last May. Brown was operating his Model S in Autopilot mode just before he collided with a truck and was killed.

The first fatality in a Tesla vehicle operating in Autopilot mode, the incident raised questions about the safety of systems that can perform driving tasks for long stretches with little or no human intervention, but which cannot completely replace human drivers.

NHTSA said in a report that Brown did not apply the brakes and his last action was to set the cruise control at 74 miles per hour (119 kph), less than two minutes before the crash.

The agency said Brown “should have been able to take some action before the crash, like braking, steering or attempting to avoid the vehicle. He took none of those actions.”

The agency said the truck should have been visible to Brown for at least seven seconds before impact. Brown “took no braking, steering or other actions to avoid the collision,” the report said.

NHTSA also said in the report that drivers could be confused about whether the system or the driver is in control of the vehicle at certain times.

NHTSA issued numerous subpoenas and requests for information to Tesla, and also sought information from Tesla supplier Mobileye. The agency asked Tesla to describe how it monitored misuse of the system and steps it took before introducing the technology to prevent misuse, but nearly all of Tesla’s answers were redacted by the agency.

Tesla said “the safety of our customers comes first, and we appreciate the thoroughness of NHTSA’s report a,上海夜生活去哪玩Dallas,nd its conclusion.”

Musk, in a tweet, called the report “very positive.” He also cited NHTSA’s analysis of Tesla data which suggested vehicle crash rates fell by 40 percent after the installation of its Autosteer lane-keeping function.

Tesla in September unveiled improvements to Autopilot, adding new limits on hands-off driving and other features that its chief executive officer said likely would have prevented a fatality.

The agency also said its decision to close the investigation was not based on the software improvements announced in September.

In October, Musk said all new Tesla models will come with an $8,000 package for technology that allows the car to drive itself. By the end of 2017 a Tesla should be able to drive in full autonomous mode from Los Angeles to New York “without the ne,上海夜生活服务Cade,ed for a single touch” on the wheel, Musk said.

Rival automakers have said they expect to be able to field autonomous driving capability by around 2020.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is also probing the crash. NHTSA said there have been no reported incidents in the United States involving a Tesla in autopilot mode that resulted in fatalities or injuries since a Pennsylvania crash in July injured two people.

Foreign business skeptical of China’s promised opening

BEIJING/SHANGHAI ( ) – Beijing has some way to go to convince foreign businesses that it is serious about liberalizing China’s economy, despite President Xi Jinping’s speech at Davos on Tuesday and new proposals to relax restrictions on foreign investment.

Xi made a vigorous defense of globalization at the World Economic Forum and painted a picture of China as a “wide open” economy, but foreign businesses see it through a very different lens.

An annual survey from the American Chamber of Commerce in China released on Wednesday showed that more than 80 percent of its members felt less welcome in China than before and most had little confidence in China’s vows to open its markets.

“I think it is good that President Xi is saying these things,” sa,上海高端夜生活在那里Paisley,id William Zarit, Chairman of the Chamber. “And hopefully there will be some opening of markets. But I don’t think we’ve seen that yet.”

The proposed liberalizing measures unveiled by China’s State Council, or the Cabinet, late on Tuesday are testament to the scope of the restrictions placed on foreign businesses in the world’s second-largest economy.

The State Council said on its website that China would lower restrictions on foreign investment in a broad range of financial services, plus telecommunications, the internet, culture, education and transport sectors.

It also said it would allow foreign-invested companies to list on Chinese stock exchanges, and issue various debt instruments in China including corporate bonds, enterprise bonds and convertible bonds.

China’s central planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), joined the chorus on Wednesday, saying on its website that local governments will be able to introduce preferential policies to a,夜上海论坛Barrett,ttract foreign investment, focusing on manufacturing projects.

It also conceded that some foreign firms have been moving out of China.

“If the State Council and other government agencies are going to actually open up more widely, they have a lot to do,” said Lester Ross, chairman of the Chamber’s policy committee.

Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, welcomed the commitment to opening up, but noted there had been “many years of talk of opening up” and businesses now wanted to see what it would entail.

“For the European Chamber, a true demonstration of this commitment would be a deal between China and the European Union on their ongoing investment agreement negotiations,” he said.


The State Council did not give details or a timeline, and analysts were skeptical that there would be much to celebrate in the near term on any greater access to share markets.

“Overseas companies’ listing on the A-share market is unlikely in any meaningful scale, given the pressure the market is under,” said David Cui, head of China Equit,上海夜网推油Tabitha,y Strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

And the plan could find itself running up against a more pressing policy priority – Beijing’s battle to stop capital leaving the country, an outflow that helped knock nearly 7 percent off the yuan currency last year.

“There could be currency implications, as well, if the foreign companies are allowed to send the IPO proceeds offshore,” Cui added.

Zhu Haifeng, a retail investor, said it would not change much for him, as he can already buy foreign shares through the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect scheme, and he didn’t see much likelihood of overseas firms rushing to invest in China.

“I think foreign companies will consider listing in China only when China’s economy fully recovers and the yuan stops depreciating, which is some 2-3 years away.”

In the energy sector, Angus Rodger, research director, upstream oil and gas at Wood Mackenzie, said that while Beijing might like more private players investing downstream, there was little prospect of it allowing a meaningful challenge to its dominant national oil companies in exploration and production.

“I don’t think we’ll see that happening in the short term, and really I don’t think we’ll see it happening at all,” he said.

A Hong Kong fund manager in China stocks who asked not to be named said it was “superficially a move in the right direction”, but politics was playing a significant part, just days before U.S. President-elect Donald Trump enters the White House.

Trump has repeatedly slammed China for trade practices that put American firms at a disadvantage.

“Politically, this seems a prepared counter-offensive against Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, to shut his mouth, s上海夜生活论坛o to speak,” he said.

Struggling hedge funds still expense bonuses, bar tabs

NEW YORK ( ) – Investors are starting to sour on the idea of reimbursing hedge funds for multi-million dollar trader bonuses, lavish marketing dinners and trophy office space.

Powerful firms such as Citadel LLC and Millennium Management LLC charge clients for such costs through so-called “pass-through” fees, which can include everything from a new hire’s deferred compensation to travel to high-end technology.

It all adds up: investors often end up paying more than double the industry’s standard fees of 2 percent of assets and 20 percent of investment gains, which many already consider too high.

Investors have for years tolerated pass-through charges because of high net returns, but weak performance lately is testing their patience.

Clients of losing funds last year, including those managed by Blackstone Group LP’s (BX.N) Senfina Advisors LLC, ,上海夜网推油Kai,Folger Hill Asset Management LP and Balyasny Asset Management LP, likely still paid fees far higher than 2 percent of assets.

Clients of shops that made money, including Paloma Partners and Hutchin Hill Capital LP, were left with returns of less than 5 percent partly because of a draining combination of pass-through and performance fees.

(For a graphic on the hedge funds that passed through low returns, click: tmsnrt.rs/2iLRB3T)

Millennium, the $34 billion New York firm led by billionaire Israel Englander, charged clients its usual fees of 5 or 6 percent of assets and 20 percent of gains in 2016, according to a person familiar with the situation. The charges left investors in Millennium’s flagship fund with a net return of just 3.3 percent.

Citadel, the $26 billion Chicago firm led by billionaire Kenneth Griffin, charged pass-through fees that added up to about 5.3 percent in 2015 and 6.3 percent in 2014, according to another person familiar with the situation. Charges for 2016 were not finalized, but the costs typically add up to between 5 and 10 percent of assets, separate from the 20 percent performance fee Citadel typically charges.

Citadel’s flagship fund returned 5 percent in 2016, far below its 19.5 percent annual average since 1990, according to the source who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information is private.

All firms mentioned declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

In 2014, consulting 上海夜网firm Cambridge Associates studied fees charged by multi-manager funds, which deploy various investment strategies using small teams and often include pass-throughs. Their clients lose 33 percent of profits to fees, on average, Cambridge found.

The report by research consultant Tomas Km,上海新夜网龙凤Nadine,etko noted such funds would need to generate gross returns of roughly 19 percent to deliver a 10 percent net profit to clients.


Defenders of pass-throughs said the fees were necessary to keep elite talent and provide traders with top technology. They said that firm executives were often among the largest investors in their funds and pay the same fees as clients.

But frustration is starting to show.

A 2016 survey by consulting firm EY found that 95 percent of investors prefer no pass-through expense. The report also said fewer investors support various types of pass-through fees than in the past.

“It’s stunning to me to think you would pay more than 2 percent,” said Marc Levine, chairman of the Illinois State Board of Investment, which has reduced its use of hedge funds. “That creates a huge hurdle to have the right alignment of interests.”

Investors pulled $11.5 billion from multi-strategy funds in 2016 after three consecutive years of net additions, according to data tracker eVestment. Redemptions for firms that use pass-through fees were not available.

Even with pass-through fees, firms like Citadel, Millennium and Paloma have produced double-digit net returns over the long-term. The Cambridge study also found that multi-manager funds generally performed better and with lower volatility than a global stock index.

“High fees and expenses are hard to stomach, particularly in a low-return environment, but it’s all about the net,” said Michael Hennessy, co-founder of hedge fund investment firm Morgan Creek Capital Management.


Citadel has used pass-through fees for an unusual purpose: developing intellectual property.

The firm relied partly on client fees to build an internal administration business starting in 2007. But only Citadel’s owners, including Griffin, benefited from the 2011 sale of the unit, Omnium LLC, to Northern Trust Corp for $100 million, plus $60 million or so in subsequent profit-sharing, two people familiar with the situation said.

Citadel noted in a 2016 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing that some pass-through expenses are still used to de,上海夜生活服务Kai,velop intellectual property, the extent of which was unclear. Besides hedge funds, Citadel’s other business lines include Citadel Securities LLC, the powerful market-maker, and Citadel Technology LLC, a small portfolio management software provider.

Some Citadel hedge fund investors and advisers to them told they were unhappy about the firm charging clients to build technology whose profits Citadel alone will enjoy. “It’s really against the spirit of a partnership,” said one.

A spokesman for Citadel declined to comment.

A person familiar with the situation noted that Citadel put tens of millions of dollars into the businesses and disclosed to clients that only Citadel would benefit from related revenues. The person also noted Citadel’s high marks from an investor survey by industry publication Alpha for alignment of interests and independent oversight.

Gordon Barnes, global head of due diligence at Cambridge, said few hedge fund managers charge their investors for services provided by affiliates because of various problems it can cause.

“Even with the right legal disclosures, it rarely passes a basic fairness test,” Barnes said, declining to comment on any individual firm. “These arrangements tend to favor the manager’s interests.”

Indonesia watchdog says former CEO of airline Garuda a bribery suspect

JAKARTA ( ) – Indonesia’s anti-corruption agency said on Thursday it was treating the former chief executive of airline PT Garuda Indonesia Tbk (GIAA.JK) as a suspect in a bribery case.

Indonesia’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) said in a statement the CEO of Garuda from 2005 to 2014 was suspected of taking bribes related to the purchase of planes and machines from Airbus (AIR.PA) and Rolls-Royce (RR.L).

The KPK did,上海夜网后花园Sabia, not refer to the former CEO by name but, as is its custom, used initials – in th,夜上海论坛Oakley,is case “ESA”. The CEO of Garuda from 2005 to 2上海夜生活网014 was Emirsyah Satar, who is now chairman of Indonesian conglomerate Lippo Group’s e-commerce platform MatahariMall.com.

In a phone message to , Satar denied wrongdoing but said that it was the authority of the KPK to name him as a suspect and that he will respect the legal process.

“As far as I know, when I was the CEO of PT Garuda Indonesia, I had never done corrupt activities and I did not receive anything that was related to my position,” Satar said.

MatahariMall said it supported the legal process in Indonesia, but declined further comment. Rolls-Royce did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Airbus said the company had no comment on the issue.

The KPK said it found evidence that “ESA” had received 20 billion rupiah ($1.5 million) of cash and items worth $2 million in Singapore and Indonesia from another suspect.

KPK Chairman Agus Rahardjo said at a news briefing its probe was directed against individuals, and would not affect Garuda’s operations.

Garuda’s vice president for corporate communication, Benny S. Butarbutar, said the airline would cooperate with the KPK, adding the investigation “has no connection to our corporate activities”.

Garuda shares closed 2.3 percent lower on Thursday, underperforming the broader market .JKSE which was little changed. They were down 0.6 percent on Friday.

Rolls-Royce agreed to pay authorities more than $800 million to resolve charges of bribing officials in six countries in schemes that lasted more than a decade, the U.S. Justice Department and Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said in statements on Tuesday.

Britain’s SFO last year launched an investigation into suspected fraud, bribery and corruption in some Airbus aeroplane sales, following discrepancies found during an internal company audit of applications for UK government export credits. Neither the UK authorities n,上海夜生活桑拿会所Dahlia,or Airbus has said which airlines’ aircraft are affected by the probe. ($1 = 13,368.00 rupiah)

Panasonic aims to move Tesla auto partnership beyond batteries: CEO

OSAKA ( ) – Panasonic Corp aims to extend its partnership with electric car maker Tesla Motors ,上海夜生活群Paisley,Inc beyond batteries and into self-driving technology, as the Japanese conglomerate continues to shift its focus to the automotive business.

The electronics maker has placed automotive applications at the center of a growth strategy that targets corporate clients at the expense of low-margin consumer goods, where low-cost Asian rivals have diminished the dominance of Japanese firms.

Panasonic is the exclusive supplier of batteries for Tesla’s Model S, Model X and upcoming mass market Model 3, and plans to contribute $1.6 billion to Tesla’s $5 billion battery factory.

“We are deeply interested in Tesla’s self-driving system,,上海会所夜网Tamara,” Chief Executive Officer Kazuhiro Tsuga said in an interview on Thursday. “We are hoping to expand our collaborati上海夜生活on by jointly developing devices for that, such as sensors.”

One candidate would be so-called organic photoconductive film CMOS image sensors currently under development at Panasonic, which enable high-speed sensing of moving objects without distortion, Tsuga said.

Panasonic aims to add such technology to an automotive business that also includes cockpit displays and navigation systems. It targets annual sales of 2 trillion yen ($17.43 billion) for that business in the year through March 2019, from 1.3 trillion yen in the year ended March 2016.

As well as automotive, Panasonic and Tesla work together in solar energy. The Japanese firm last month said it plans to invest more than 30 billion yen in a Tesla factory making photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules.

($1 = 114.7600 y,上海高端夜生活在那里Balthazar,en)

U.S. bankers tell Europeans to think positively on Trump

DAVOS, Switzerland ( ) – U.S. bankers, buoyed by a resurgence in profits, are advising their counterparts in Europe to think positively about the new administration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump.

But many Europeans still need convincing.

At the annual gathering of the world’s political and business elites in the Swiss resort of Davos, U.S. financiers told investors and overseas’ rivals to focus less on Trump’s anti-globalization rhetoric and more on his cabinet picks, comprising of Wall Street veterans and corporate bosses.

Many European bankers fear Trump, who campaigned on an “America first” platform and who has threatened to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports, could trigger a trade war with the world’s second-largest economy.

Jose Vinals, chairman of Standard Chartered Bank (STAN.L) and a former deputy governor of the Spanish central bank, said there was a lot of unease over whether the Republican’s campaign rhetoric would translate into his policies as president.

“In Europe, there is concern and trepidation about Trump’s administration and how his politics will affect global trade and finance,” he told .

“Any form of protectionism will likely ultimately make the U.S. economy less competitive and be bad news for the world,” said Vinals, who has previously built up an expertise on Asian markets, including China, while working as a senior official at the International Monetary Fund.

But Mary Callahan Erodes, who runs the asset management arm of U.S. bank JPMorgan (JPM.N), sought to assuage concerns about the incoming White House administration. She told the World Economic Forum that Trump’s officials, including former Goldman Sachs bankers Steven Mnuchin and Gary Cohn, would push a pro-business agenda that would drive economic growth.

“We are going to have to get used to thinking very pro-actively and getting excited about growth,” she said. “It is a pendulum swing and it is going to be positive for business. It just is.”

Anthony Scaramucci, a hedge fund manager who has been appointed by Trump to liaise with the business community, was the only member of the new U.S. administration to attend the Davos forum.

He spoke publicly about how Trump would be good for the global economy and, according to banking sources, followed this up with private discussions with European bankers. But the sources said industry players in Eur,上海新夜网龙凤Kade,ope wanted more clarity on key U.S. economic policies from Trump himself.

Banks on both sides of the Atlantic might be happy at having a leader in the White House who has pledged to cut tax rates and ease restrictions imposed on banks’ risk-taking in the wake of the financial crisis.


At private lunches and evening cocktail receptions in the swish ski reso上海夜生活网rt, some U.S. financiers expressed concern about the impact from Trump’s blunt re-evaluation of key foreign policy principles and his penchant for castigating American companies on Twitter.

Most banker,上海足浴夜网联系方式Ida,s expect volatile market swings in 2017 after investors, having driven up stock prices in anticipation of tax cuts and spending hikes, grow impatient for action.

Increased volatility plays to Wall Street banks’ greater strength ,上海夜生活网交流Gabriel,in trading bonds, stocks and currencies.

U.S. investment banks have already reported bumper fourth-quarter results following a surge in trading volumes across commodities, interest rate products and foreign exchange as investors reworked their portfolios in response to Donald Trump’s surprise victory and the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike.

Goldman Sachs, the bank most dependent on trading, has seen its stock rise nearly 30 percent since the Nov. 8 election.

European banks have not yet reported fourth-quarter earnings but their shares have also have been boosted by the U.S. developments.

The region’s banking index .SX7P is up 15 percent as investors bet banks such as Barclays and Deutsche, which have U.S. investment banking operations, will get a boost from increased trading and deal action.

To be sure, some European bankers reflected that sunnier outlook in Davos, saying Trump was good news for banks.

“He wants banks to have more say in economic growth and I fundamentally think that is an inextricable link combination, you don’t have strong economies in the long run without strong banks, and vice versa,” said Antonio Horta-Osorio, the chief executive of Britain’s Lloyds (LLOY.L).

“Banks are for the economies like blood is for the body and, therefore, I see that as very positive.”

Western Union admits to aiding wire fraud, to pay $586 million

WASHINGTON ( ) – Western Union Co (WU.N), the world’s biggest money-transfer company, agreed to pay $586 million and admitted to turning a blind eye as criminals used its service for money laundering and fraud, U.S. authorities said on Thursday.

Western Union, which has over half a million locations in more than 200 countries, admitted “to aiding and abetting wire fraud” by allowing scammers to process transactions, even when the company realized its agents were helping scammers avoid detection, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission said in statements.

With the help o上海夜生活f Western Union agents, Chinese immigrants used the service to send hundreds of millions of dollars to pay human smugglers, wiring the money in smaller increments to avoid federal reporting requirements, U.S. authorities said.

Fraudsters offering fake prizes and job opportunities swindled tens of thousands of U.S. consumers, giving Western Un,上海夜生活网419Earl,ion agents a cut in return for processing the payments, authorities said.

Between 2004 and 2012, the Colorado-based company knew of fraudulent transactions but failed to take steps that would have resulted in disciplining of 2,000 agents, authorities said.

“Western Union is now paying the price for placing profits ahead of its own customers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General David Bitkower.

A Western Union spokesman said that the company didn’t “do as much as it should have” to oversee its agents between 2004 and 2012 but is committed to improving its procedures.

Western Union, which helped clients move over $150 billion in 2015, said in a press release that more than one-fifth of its work force is currently devoted to compliance. It also said consumer fraud accounts for less than one-tenth of 1 percent of consumer-to-consumer transactions.

The settlement will fund refunds for customers who were victims of scams, authorities said. It will also implement a comprehensive anti-fraud program to train agents to identify and stop transactions that result from fraud.

Between 2004 and 2015 Western Union collected 550,928 complaints about fraud, with 80 percent of them co,上海夜哪里艳遇Landon,ming from the United States where it has some 50,000 locations, the government c,上海会所夜网Hallie,omplaint said. The average consumer complaint was for $1,148, the government said.

Western Union reported revenues of $1.4 billion for the quarter that ended on September 30, 2016, according to a government filing. The company said it spent some $200 million a year on compliance.

Defecting Democrats doomed Summers bid for Fed job

WASHINGTON ( ) – The death knell for Lawrence Summers’ candidacy to lead the Federal Reserve came on Friday morning with a shock phone call message left for President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough.

The message was from Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, a member of the Senate Banking Committee from Oregon and a vocal critic of the prospects of a Summers nomination for the central bank’s chairmanship.

Merkley told the White House that there were now five Democrats on the committee, which would have to clear the nomination before a final Senate vote, who would oppose Summers, a former Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton and a close confidante of Obama’s.

Up until Friday, only two – Merkley and Senator Sherrod Brown from Ohio – had publicly signaled how they would vote.

But fierce Wall Street critic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts had privately told the White House she was uncomfortable with the prospective nomination and, according to a Senate aide, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota also had concerns.

The surprise on Friday was not only the number of senators deciding to vote no but that one of them was centrist Democrat Jon Tester of Montana, whose opposition,上海夜生活论坛Pamela, showed that concerns about the former Treasury secretary were not confined to the liberal wing of the party.

“Four seemed insurmountable. Five was just game over,” said a Senate aide.

After Merkley called the White House, an Obama administration official called Tester, Tester’s spokeswoman said. But the early afternoon phone call was too late to change his mind.

The five “no votes” on the committee posed a potentially unassailable obstacle for Summers. Democrats only have a two-vote majority on the panel and at least three Republicans were also expected to vote against Summers.

Summers dropped out of consideratio,上海夜生活网交流Kade,n for the top Fed job on Sunday, writing to Obama that any confi上海夜生活网rmation process would likely be acrimonious. People familiar with the situation said on Monday that Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen had become the frontrunner now that Summers has withdrawn.


Some critics of the administration’s strategy for the Summers nomination say that the White House has itself to blame for allowing opposition to fester.

The White House did little to ease Senators’ concerns about Summers, who many accuse of sowing the seeds of the recent financial crisis by refusing to regulate derivatives and easing restrictions on banks when he was Treasury chief from 1999 to 2001.

After 20 of 54 members of the Democratic caucus in the Senate sent Obama a letter in July urging him to nominate Yellen to lead the central bank, there was little to no communication between the White House and members of the Banking Committee, Senate aides said.

One congressional aide said: “You would assume the (Capitol) Hill charm campaign would take place.” But it never did.

“At the beginning, the White House was not taking (the opposition) all that seriously,” said a Democratic Senate aide. “We tried to make sure that they knew it was real. We were always urging them to take it seriously,” the aide said.

In a series of calls between aides to Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the White House over the August break, Reid’s office stressed the “magnitude of difficulty” that would come with getting Summers confirmed, a Senate aide said.

The message to the White House was: “What we need go,上海夜生活网419Fabian,ing into the fall is Democratic unity. We made it clear (a Summers nomination) would be harmful to the cause of Democratic unity.”

China says can resolve trade disputes with new U.S. government

BEIJING ( ) – ,上海夜网千花Gabriella,China and the United States can resolve any trade disputes through talks, the government said on Thursday, as a Chinese newspaper warned U.S. business could be targets for retaliation in any trade war ushered in by President-elect Donald Trump.

Trump, who is sworn into office on Friday, has criticised China’s trade practices and threatened to impose punitive tariffs on Chinese imports.

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, Trump’s choice for commerce secretary, voiced sharp criticism of China’s trade,上海夜生活桑拿会所Gabrielle, practices on Wednesday, telling senators he would seek new ways of combating them.

Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Sun Jiwen said the government was willing to work with the new U.S. administration to promote the healthy development of commercial ties.

“I believe China and the United States can resolve any disputes through dialogue and negotiation and that the China-U.S. commercial relationship will not significantly stray from the path of mutual benefit,” Sun told reporters.

“Both sides benefit with cooperation, and both are hurt with conflict,” he added.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said any disputes should be resolved via constructive talks, to avoid any miscalculations.

“We look forward to working hard with the new U.S. government, adhering to no clashes and no confrontation,” she told a separate briefing.

But a high-powered economist and a widely-read state-run newspaper took a harsher line.

Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Centre for International Economic Exchanges,,夜上海419龙凤论坛Qirin, an influential think tank with close government ties, said China does not d上海夜生活论坛esire a trade war but it is certainly not afraid of one.

“If you want a fight, then we will fight and we will fight to the end,” Chen said.

“But the U.S. will be the first to be injured and their injuries will be more severe,” she said, adding that China could “definitely defeat the U.S.”

In an editorial, the Global Times said that as the United States has the stronger economy, China may suffer more once a trade war starts, but China “will take the U.S. on to the end”.

“There are few cases in modern history where only one party surrendered in a trade war; rather, the two parties ended up compromising with each other. How could Trump’s team believe China would surrender without any countermeasures?” it said.

“The arrogant Trump team has underestimated China’s ability to retaliate. China is a major buyer of American cotton, wheat, beans and Boeing aircraft,” the paper added in the editorial carried in its Chinese and English-language editions, without elaborating.

Boeing Co’s China office declined to comment.

Boeing anticipates China will need 6,800 new jetliners worth $1 trillion over the next 20 years.

In October, Boeing and Chinese planemaker Commercial Aircraft Corp of China Ltd (COMA) [CMAFC.UL] signed an agreement to open a Boeing 737 completion facility in the Chinese coastal city of Zhou.

The Global Times, run by the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily, is known for its stridently nationalist tone, but its editorials cannot be viewed as representing government policies or official statements.

In recent weeks, the Global Times and other state-run Chinese news outlets have issued several warnings of possible retaliation if the Trump administration carries out threats of tariffs or undermines Beijing’s claims on self-ruled Taiwan.

In November, the Global Times warned that China could switch large orders from Boeing to Europe, Apple phones would “essentially be crowded out” and U.S. soybeans and corn banished from China if Trump creates problems for China on trade.

China is the world’s top producer and consumer of cotton and top buyer of grains such as soybeans to feed its vast livestock industry.

Trump vows to help farmers as China halts U.S. agricultural purchases

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday vowed to protect American farmers against China by signaling to provide further aid if needed, a day after Chinese firms stopped agricultural purchases and Beijing threatened more tariffs on U.S. farm products.

“Our great American Farmers know that China will not be able to hurt them in that their President has stood with them and done what no other president would do – And I’ll do it again next year if necessary!” Trump tweeted on Tuesday.


U.S. farmers, a key political constituency for Trump, have been among the hardest hit in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Shipments of soybeans, the most valuable U.S. farm export, to top buyer China sank to a 16-year low in 2018.

To compensate for the losses, the Trump administration has rolled out up to $28 billion in federal aid since the trade war began last year, and the Agriculture Department to date has made $8.6 billion of direct aid payments to farmers.

The latest federal aid package of up to $,上海新夜网龙凤Idaline,16 billion was rolled out in July and the first tranche for the payments are expected to begin in mid-to-late August.

For a graphic on Trump’s trade war farmers bailo上海夜生活ut, click tmsnrt.rs/2YoyTpk

Promises of large agricultural purchases by China have been a key element of a potential trade deal, but Trump last week said Beijing had not fulfilled a promise to buy large volumes of U.S. farm products and vowed to impose a 10% tariff on a further $300 billion in Chinese imports starting Sept. 1.

On Monday, China’s Commerce Ministry said Chinese companies have stooped buying U.S. farm products and added that Beijing may also impose additional tariffs on American agricultural goods, a move that could further hurt U.S. farm states that are key for Trump’s 2020 re-election bid.

Overall, China has purchased about 14.3 million tonnes of last season’s soybean crop, the least in 11 years, and some 3.7 million tonnes still need to be shipped, according to U.S. data. China bought 32.9 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans in 2017.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow also said the administration would help farmers more if need be. “The farmers have been great, they’re pat,上海夜网千花Ebba,riots. They backed us 100%,” he told reporters. “But sure, we’re helping them as much as we can. We will help them more if need be and we’ll see how the negotiations go.”

Google, Apple, Mozilla move to block Kazakh surveillance system

( ) – Alphabet Inc’s Google, Apple Inc and Firefox browser maker Mozilla took steps on Wednesday to block the Kazakh government from creating an internet surveillance system using their browsers.

Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox will block a government encryption cert,上海夜生活服务Kaiden,ificate that allows authorities to read anything a user types or posts using the browsers, including account information and passwords, the companies said in separate statements.

Apple also said in a statement it would take similar measures to protect the users of its Safari browser.

Kazakh authorities were not immediately available to comment.

Earlier this month, Kazakhstan said it had halted implementation of the system, the initial roll out of which was,上海仙霞路夜生活Fabian, described as a test by the government.

State security officials had said its goal was to protect Kazakh users from “hacker attacks, online fraud and other kinds of cyber threats”.

The system could be deployed again “if threats emerge to national security in the form of cyber- and information attacks”, Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee said in a statement this month.

The former Soviet Central Asian nation routinely blocks websites and applications used by its critics, in上海夜网cluding Facebook and Youtube, for short periods of time.

The blocks have often coincided with public protests, the most recent wave of which took place around the time of the June 9 election which completed the transfer of po,上海高端夜生活在那里Octavia,wer from strongman Nursultan Nazarbayev to his loyal ally Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

Migrants disembark Open Arms rescue ship on Italian island of…

LAMPEDUSA ( ) – Nearly one hundred migrants who had been stranded on the Open Arms rescue ship off the coast of Lampedusa disembarked on the Italian island on Tuesday night, ending a prolonged stand-off between the Spanish charity operating the boat and the government in Rome.

The migrants, mainly from Africa, were removed from the boat after an Italian prosecutor ordered the seizure of the ship and the evacuation of the people on board.

The ship docked at Lampedusa’s harbor just after 2330 CET (2230 GMT) on Tuesday.

The Open Arms ship, run by a Spanish charity of the same name, had rescued the migrants heading for Europe off the Libyan coast. But after Italy refused to let it dock the ship had been stranded at sea for nearly three weeks, with the charity saying that the migrants were distressed and urgently needed to find shelter.

Open Arms’ director and founder, Oscar Camps, confirmed earlier on Twitter that the ship would be seized temporarily, adding it was “a cost that Open Arms assumes to ensure that people on board can be served.”

“We consider it essential to prioritize the migran,上海晚上耍女人的地方Gabi,ts’ health and safety in this humanitarian emergency,” he said.

Related CoverageEU executive asks for solidarity with Ocean Viking migrants after Open Arms disembarkedFive EU states to take in migrants disemb,上海凤楼夜网Hadley,arked from Open Arms: Commission

Spain sent a naval vessel on Tuesday afternoon to rescue the migrants and take them to Mallorca after some of them jumped overboard.

But the Spanish navy is only due to reach Lampedusa in three days and Open Arms repeatedly said that the situation on board was desperate and some migrants were suicidal.

The passengers were sleeping jammed together on deck and sharing two toilets.

After the charity said nine had tried to swim ashor上海夜生活e, footage showed another five people jump, although it was not immediately clear if some were lifeguards.

Italy has taken a tough line on migrant entry, saying it has borne too much responsibility for handling African migration to Europe. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini says the charity-run ships have become “taxis” for people smugglers.


Dozens of migrants have been taken ashore since the ship entered Italian w,上海夜生活男人好去处Jacklyn,aters because they were said to be minors or ill.

Salvini suggested on Tuesday that the charity was exaggerating the problems on board. Of eight migrants taken ashore on Monday night for urgent medical attention, he said, only two had health problems.

“Spanish NGO, Spanish ship, Spanish port: The coherence and strength of Italy has paid off. We are no longer the refugee camp of Europe,” he said in a statement.

The standoff has fueled Salvini’s campaign against migrant boats from Africa, and comes as he is trying to force Italy into snap elections. Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced his resignation on Tuesday, accusing Salvini of sinking the ruling coalition for personal and political gain.

While welcoming Spain’s latest move, Salvini’s political rival Danilo Toninelli said he hoped Madrid would now commit to stop Open Arms’ activity in the future.

Toninelli, who controls the Coast Guard but not port access, had earlier offered to take the migrants on a Coast Guard vessel to Spain under the condition that Madrid de-register the Open Arms ship by removing its Spanish flag.

“I hope that Spain answers our appeal and commits to stopping Open Arms in the future with the means and in the ways it deems right,” the Italian minister said in a statement.

Without a flag, it would be difficult for the ship to continue running rescue missions.

Spain and five other European Union nations have offered to take the migrants. The details of the offers from Spain, France, Germany, Romania, Portugal and Luxembourg have yet to be finalized.

U.S. judge tosses Democratic Party lawsuit against Trump campaign,…

( ) – A U.S. judge on Tuesday dismissed a Democratic Party lawsuit arguing that the Russian government, President Donald Trump’s campaign and WikiLeaks carried out a conspiracy to influence the 2016 U.S. election.

U.S. District Judge John Koeltl in Manhattan said he could not hear the claims against Russia, which were the focus of the case, because of a legal doctrine called sovereign immunity that shields foreign governments from litigation in the United States.

“The remedies for hostile actions by foreign governments are state actions, including sanctions imposed by the executive and legislative branches of government,” Koeltl’s written opinion said.

Koeltl also said holding WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign liable for dissemination of hacked emails would infringe on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Democratic National Committee’s computer systems were hacked during the campaign and WikiLeaks published party emails.

Trump said on Twitter that the ruling was “yet another total & complete … vindication & exoneration” of him and his campaign, similar language he used in response to former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into Russian election interference.

Mueller here, in testimony to Congress last Wednesday, emphasized that he had not exonerated Trump and accused the president of not always being truthful, called his support for the 2016 release of stolen Democratic emails “problematic” and said Russia would again try to interfere in the 2020 U.S. elections.

A lawyer for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) did not im,上海021夜网Paisley,mediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday’s decision.

The DNC said in its lawsuit that top officials in Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government and its military spy agency to hurt Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and tilt the election to Trump. Moscow denies interfering in the election.

The lawsuit said that Trump’s campaign “gleefully welcomed Russia’s help” in the 2016 election and accuses it of being a “racketeering enterprise” that worked in tandem with Mo上海夜生活scow.

“During the 2016 presidential campaign, Russia launched an all-out assault on our democracy and it found a willing and active partner in Donald Trump’s campaign,” DNC chair Tom Perez said at the time the lawsuit was filed. “This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery.”

The Mueller report released in April detailed numerous contacts between the Trump campaign and Russians but found ins,上海夜生活群Cade,ufficient evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy with Russia to sway the election.

The Trump campaign argued in court filings that Mueller’s report made clear that the DNC lawsuit was “frivolous” and that the DNC should be sanctioned for refusing to drop the case.

Koeltl denied the request, saying the case was “not so objectively unreasonabl,上海会所夜网Paige,e as to warrant the imposition of sanctions.”

Puerto Rico vote delay raises uncertainty over next governor

SAN JUAN ( ) – Puerto Rico’s next governor remained up in the air on Thursday, just 24 hours before Governor Ricardo Rosselló was due to resign, as the U.S. territory’s Senate pushed a vote on his successor to Monday.

Rosselló, who is set to leave office at 5 p.m. ET (2100 GMT) on Friday, tapped lawyer Pedro Pierluisi to be secretary of state, pending confirmation by the legislature, and first in line to succeed him as governor.

But Puerto Rico Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz said Pierluisi’s role as an attorney advising the widely-disliked financial oversight board directing Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy presented conflicts of interests and made him unacceptable.

“Pedro Pierluisi does not have the vote of the majority,” Schatz said in a fiery speech. “The lawyer for Puerto Rico’s number one enemy can’t be in charge of Puerto Rico.”

His chamber agreed to hear from Pierluisi on Monday, while the House is scheduled to vote on the nomination on Friday, making i上海夜生活t more likely that Justice Secretary Wanda Vázquez, the second in line for governor, would take office.

Vázquez, who previously said she did not want the position, tweeted on Thursday that if the time comes, she would assume the governorship.

The speaker of Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives, Carlos Méndez, told reporters that Pierluisi could still become governor in the event his chamber fails to vote on or confirms the nomination during a Friday session. If the House votes against Pierluisi as expected, Vázquez would become governor, Méndez said.

A 2005 Puerto Rico law suggests that the secretary of state could become governor without being confirmed by the House and Senate, according to José Julián Alvarez, constitutional law professor at the University of Puerto Rico Law School, who said he believed that law to be unconstit,上海夜生活服务Dahlia,utional.

“The constitutional solution requires the secretary of state be confirmed by both houses of legislature before the governor resigns. If not the secretary of justice, under law, becomes governor,” he said.

Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets in recent weeks to demand Rosselló quit af,上海夜哪里艳遇Hadrian,ter the leaked messages unleashed rage over suspected administration corruption, slow recovery from 2017’s deadly hurricanes and the U.S. territory’s bankruptcy.

Street protesters have also accused Pierluisi of serving the interests of the federally-created oversight board, not the Puerto Rican public.

During Pierluisi’s second term as Puerto Rico’s nonvoting representative in Congress, he supported the 2016 passage of the PROMESA Act, which created a financial oversight board for the island’s government and a path to deal with its huge debt loa,上海夜网Gabi,d.

In 2017, the oversight board filed a form a bankruptcy to restructure about $120 billion of the government’s debt and pension obligations.

At O’Neill & Borges, one of the law firms representing the board in the bankruptcy, Pierluisi has been an adviser on mediation and policy-related matters and provided “key assistance” on a deal to restructure Puerto Rico’s sales tax-backed debt, according to court filings.

U.S. House panel authorizes subpoenas for Kushner, other Trump aides

WASHINGTON ( ) – The Democratic-led U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to authorize subpoenas for a dozen witnesses including President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner.

The vote gives panel Chairman Jerrold Nadler discretion on whether to subpoena current and former Trump advisers such as former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, as part of a broad corruption and obstruction of justice probe of the Trump presidency.

“These include government officials who worked, or continue to work, in close proximity to the president,” Nadler said at a meeting to consider the subpoenas. “We will not rest until we obtain their testimony and documents.”

The committee also authorized subpoenas for documents and testimony connected with Trump’s immigration po,上海凤楼夜网Pamela,licies, including family separation and detention and “zero tolerance” for migrants.

The move comes as Democrats who control the House,夜上海419龙凤论坛Lark, of Representatives prepare to escalate their scrutiny of the Trump presidency, with public testimony from former U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller on July 17 and a vote next week to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas.

Republicans dismissed the committee’s action as a partisan fishing expedition against Trump and a bid to heal political rifts within House Democratic ranks. “That’s all today’s episode is about. It sure isn’t about oversight. It’s simply about politics,” said Representative Doug Collins, the Judiciary Committee’s top Republican.

Nadler’s committee, which could launch an impeachment inquiry if it uncovered evidence of presidential misconduct, is pursuing actions and events described in Mueller’s 448-page report on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller found insufficient evidence to show th上海夜网at the Trump campaign conspired with Russia despite numerous contacts between campaign officials and Moscow. He also did not find that the president obstructed justice, but said specifically that the evidence did not exonerate Trump.

In addition to Kushner, Sessions and Kelly, the committee authorized subpoenas for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and others.

The subpoena list also includes David Pecker, chief executive of American Media Inc [AMRCM.UL], which publishes the National Enquirer, for testimony about hush money payments made during the campaign to two women who said they had affairs with Trump.

Thursday’s proceedings drew fresh criticism from Trump in a pair of tweets.

“Now the Democrats have asked to see 12 more people who have already spent hours with Robert Mueller, and spent a fortune on lawyers in so doing. How many bites at the apple do they get before working on Border Loopholes and Asylum,” the president wrote on Twitter.

“Enough already, go back to work! I won, unanimously, the big Emoluments case yesterday!” Trump wrote, citing Wednesday’s U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissal of a la,上海021夜网Hadley,wsuit by Maryland and the District of Columbia accusing him of violating anti-corruption provisions of the U.S. Constitution. The judicial panel found that the state and district lacked legal standing to bring the case.

Trump and his administration have sought to stymie committee investigators by directing former Trump aides, including former White House Counsel Don McGahn, not to cooperate with Congress.

The Judiciary Committee is expected soon to file a key lawsuit against McGahn as early as next week over his refusal to testify before the panel in May.

Uganda demands financial records, donor lists of NGOs

KAMPALA ( ) – Non-governmental organizations in Uganda have been told to submit financial information including budgets and donor lists to the authorities, an official told on Thursday, in a move rights groups said was another attempt to muzzle criticism.

The government of veteran leader President Yoweri Museveni, 74, has long chafed at criticism from NGOs and others of reported excesses including corruption, torture, illegal detentions and extra-judicial killings.

Over the last year several government officials have been quoted in local media accusing Bobi Wine, a musician-turned-legislator who says he will seek the presidency at the next election, of being funded by unnamed foreign agents.

Steven Okello, executive director of the state-run National Bureau for NGOs, told the organization was undertaking a “verificat,上海夜生活去哪玩Faith,i,上海021夜网Idaia,on and validation” exercise for all non-profits op上海夜生活erating in the country and that this included filing of financial records.

“We want more information about these organizations, their area of operation… We want also to establish do you have an approved budget, how much is that budget, and who is funding it,” Okello said.

Uganda’s next presidential election is not due until early 2021 but Museveni, in power for 33 years, is widely expected to stand again.

Livingstone Sewanyana, head of the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), told the renewed government scrutiny of NGOs was a concern ahead of the election.

“It could have an intimidating effect and also have an overall negative impact on civic oversight of the poll,” he said.

This month a letter circulating on social media showed the head of the Financial Intelligence Authority, a government agency that tracks and combats money laundering, writing to a commercial bank requesting financial records of 13 pro-democracy NGOs including FHRI.

The agency’s head, Sydney Asubo, did not reply to a call seeking comment, but Sewanyana told that FIA has confirmed to him they were seeking the information.

The government was “introducing unnecessary, unrealistic bureaucratic burdens o,上海夜网Dakota,n NGOs,” said Sara Birete of the Centre for Constitutional Governance.

“Considering the period we are going into of course, the move becomes suspicious especially considering what happened in the past.”

In 2017, security personnel raided the offices of at least two pro-democracy NGOs including South Africa-based ActionAid, confiscating computers and other equipment, in a move critics said was likely connected to the charities’ opposition to legislation aimed at allowing Museveni to extend his rule.

Earlier this month, the communications regulator said influential figures on social media and others with commercialized online followings were to be monitored by the state to clamp down on immoral or prejudiced content. Critics said that move was part of a growing campaign to suppress opposition to Museveni.

With political power at stake, North Carolina gerrymandering trial…

RALEIGH, N.C. ( ) – Nor上海夜生活网th Carolina’s state legislative districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to entrench Republicans in power and must be thrown out, a lawyer for state Democrats and a good-government advocacy group told a panel of judges on Monday.

The case is the first to reach trial since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month that federal courts have no authority to curb partisan gerrymandering, the practi,夜上海论坛Gabi,ce of drawing electoral maps to benefit one political party over another.

The decision did not prevent state courts from taking up the issue based on state constitutions, a legal avenue that advocates have said they will vigorously pursue.

“Republicans in the General Assembly have manipulated the district lines to guarantee that their party will control both the state House and the state Senate, regardless of how people vote,” attorney R. Stanton Jones said as the civil trial began in Superior Court in Raleigh, the state capital.

“This attack on representative democracy and voting rights is fundamentally unfair.”

A lawyer for Republican lawmakers, Phillip Strach, said Democrats were using the court to sidestep the electoral and legislative processes.

“This lawsuit is not about protecting democracy,” Strach said. “It is a full, frontal assault on democracy.”

Last year, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down that state’s congressional map as an illegal Republican gerrymander. Gerrymandering critics have said they hope a second victory in North Carolina could bolster similar efforts around the country.

While the latest case does not specifically address the Southern state’s congressional districts, a ruling outlawing partisan gerrymandering would likely also apply to federal lines.

A win for t,上海夜生活男人好去处Rachel,he plaintiffs would improve Democrats’ fortunes in next year’s state legislative elections, after years of Republican control. The party in power will control the next round of redistricting for both U.S. congressional and state legislative maps in 2021.

Despite losing the statewide popular vote, Republicans won a majority of seats in both houses of the state legislature last year.

“The simple truth is this: because of the extreme gerrymandering, Democrats cannot win a majority in the House or the Senate under the 2017 map,” said Jones, the plaintiffs’ lawyer.

Strach countered that constitutional requirements, such as keeping counties undivided, leave little room for partisan manipulation. Democratic voters’ natural tendency to cluster in urban areas is more responsible for the party’s lack of success, he said.

Much of the trial testimony will likely center on the work of Thomas Hofeller, the recently deceased consultant who drew the maps in question. Common Cause obtained thousands of documents from Hofeller’s estranged daughter that Jones said prove “beyond a doubt that partisan gain was his singular objective.”

The Hofeller files also played a role in the recent legal fight over the Trump administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the U.S. census, after some documents showed Hofeller authored a study concluding doing so would benefit Republican gerrymandering efforts.

Strach said Hofeller was a “boogeyman” used by the plaintiffs to distract from their weak ca,上海高端夜生活在那里Macauly,se.

The case is expected to end up before the state Supreme Court, where Democratic judges hold six of the seven seats.