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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Replaces cars with cards in eleventh graph)

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

* Monero is used on darknet marketplaces – analysts

* Developer says Monero enables crime no more than cash

By Tom Wilson

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

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

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

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

HOW IS MONERO DIFFERENT TO BITCOIN?

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

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

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

WHY’S IT GAINING ATTENTION?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IS LAW ENFORCEMENT WORRIED? WHAT DO REGULATORS SAY?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WHO’S BEHIND MONERO?

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

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

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

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

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

WHO USES MONERO FOR LEGITIMATE PURPOSES?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EU moves closer to debt action as Italy angles for compromise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related CoverageItalian deputy PM Di Maio says coalition meeting went well

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

‘NO TAX INCREASES’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DROPPED CLAUSE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRUMP-XI SUMMIT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Refiles to correct spelling in latest Trump tweet)

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

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

* Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4

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

* Major currencies calm for the moment

By Wayne Cole and Tomo Uetake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beijing remained defiant.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Saikat Chatterjee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congress should act on ‘scandalous’ fantasy betting: Reid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obama, Putin spar over Syria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OBAMA: NO ROLE FOR TYRANTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

BITTER PILL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ronaldo unsettled

The world class superstar is growing increasingly frustrated with his wage and performances

Real Madrid icon, Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly unsettled with his current situation at Real Madrid, according to ESPN.

The 33-year-old has been under a spell of poor form, as of late. Cristiano’s frustration on the pitch grows with each lackluster performance, and one can only wonder how long this stint will last.

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most accomplished footballers of all time, with; five Ballon d’Or’s, four Champion’s League trophies, two La Liga-titles, three Premier League-titles, to note a small fraction of Cristiano’s success.Top 5 Real Madrid players who are succeeding on a loan Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – We need to talk about the Top 5 Real Madrid players who are currently succeeding away from the club and are currently on a…

The portugese national must find his infamous form, in order to keep up with rival players, such as Messi and Neymar, in the run for this years Ballon d’Or award.

It is reported that Cristiano Ronaldo feels hard done by, regarding his wage. Under agent Jorge Mendes, Ronaldo will be aware of the ever-growing list of players worldwide, that earn more than he does. He has reportedly contacted 上海夜生活网Real Madrid regarding a pay rise since May, only seven months after signing a new contract with Real Madrid.

Ronaldo’s newly signed contract keeps him at Los Blancos until 2021.

Lingard happy with United spirit

The Red Devils managed to secure a draw against Burnley after上海夜生活网 coming back from a 0-2 deficit.

Manchester United striker Jesse Lingard praised his team-mates for not giving up in what appeared to be a rather frustrating day at Old Trafford.

The England international did not feature in the starting XI of the Red Devils in their 2-2 draw with Leicester City, but was brought into play from the bench against the Clarets to help his side seal a point.

Mourinho’s men were 2-0 down at half-time following goals from Ashley Barnes and Steven Defour, but Lingard scored a brace to deny the Clarets the three points at Old Trafford.

However, United’s draw means that Manchester City can create a 15-point gap on top of the league if they manage to beat Newcastle United on Wednesday.Solskjaer “very pleased” after another failure to win George Patchias – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was “very pleased,” even though United failed to win yet again.It is now ten games on the road since…

“If we had played for another five or 10 minutes, we would have won the game,” he told MUTV.

“[The message at half-time] was always believe. Never give up. We knew we had another 45 minutes to play so we had to be patient, keep moving the ball, moving Burnley about, and eventually we created two clear-cut chances which we scored from.

“This role, further inside, allows me to be closer to the striker, to get in the box, create more things and obviously have more shots at goal. I thought we could nick it towards the end but obviously time ran out and now we look forward to the next game [against Southampton].

“We always have that fighting spirit, that never-give-up attitude and we’ll see where it gets us.”

Pochettino urged Kane to play even better

Mauricio Pochettino, the Tottenham coach, admitted that he believes that Harry Kane, his side’s best striker, can continue in his improvement and will start to play even better than he has done so far this season.

The Englishman managed to score a hat-trick in his team’s latest 3-0 away win against Burnley and he proved himself to be a key player for the Spurs once again. His coach admitted that the young England international is very important for his system of play but he also claimed that he can see a space for a possible improvement and he hopes that Kane will not stop with his progress.

The former Southampton coach spoke about his star striker as he said, according to ESPN: “I think he still can improve. He’s 24, I think the player arrives at their best at 27, 28, 29, depending on how professional you are. But Harry Kane, if he keeps that mentality, keeps working hard every day in the training sessions and never changes that mentality, he can play until he wants to.”Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

He continued by adding that Kane can break Shearer’s record: “Of course the record of Alan is fantastic. He was a fantastic player, but Harry is doing so well. I think Alan was consistent during 10 years scoring goals and you need to show massive respect because it was amazing what he did. Now Harry is doing well, we hope for Tottenham, for him, for everyone that loves the club, tha上海夜生活网t every season he scores 50 or more than 50.”

In the end, Mauricio Pochettino insisted that his team have to start being consistent: “We need to keep the momentum, to try to win again, to be consistent. If we want to fight at the end for big things we must try to be consistent. But I’m sure that the team is focused, like we showed today. It was tough last week against City, but the team is in a good way.”

Shearer certain Kane can score anywhere

The England international broke a Premier League record as Spurs won 5-2 against Southampton on Boxing Day.

Alan Shearer believes that Tottenham Hotspur forward Harry Kane has what it takes to perform for a time like Barcelona or Real Madrid.

Kane scored a hat-trick on Tueday against the Saints, taking his record to 39 Premier League goals in 2017 and surpassing Alan Shearer’s record.

Kane’s consistent output of solid performance has seen him linked with a number of European giants and Shearer believes that the interest from other clubs might prove a big problem for Spurs, especially if Kane seeks to win trophies.

“Not only has he beaten my calendar-year record in the Premier League, but with his second successive hat-trick he eclipsed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for goals in all competitions in 2017 for club and country,” Shearer wrote in The Sun .Berbatov: It’s not the right time for Pochettino to move George Patchias – Dimitar Berbatov doesn’t think it’s t上海夜生活论坛he right time for Mauricio Pochettino to leave Tottenham Hotspurs or for him to join the likes of Madrid…

“That is some company to be in but, believe me, he could score goals for Barcelona and Real Madrid as well. There lies the problem for Spurs going forward, of course

“The club will not want to move into their brand new stadium without their biggest star. ‘One of our own’ as the Spurs faithful chant.

“But things have stalled a bit on the pitch after title tilts in the last two seasons, although they have been impressive in the Champions League.”

Meanwhile Kane is on the right track of securing a third consecutive Premier League Golden boot, an achievement only done by Shearer(1994-97) and Thierry Henry(2003-06).

Coutinho doesn’t know where he’ll play

Philippe Coutinho admitted that he still doesn’t know where his future lies and he is unsure whether he will remain with Liverpool as Barcelona were trying to bring him desperately.

He handed a transfer request at the end of the summer transfer window but the Reds didn’t allow him to go – and despite being forced to stay, he has been in a really good shape lately and he was given a chance to wear a captain armband in his side’s latest match against Spartak Moscow. To be added, the Brazilian scored a hattrick in that game and he showed that he is still a very valuable player at Anfield.

The former Inter Milan player spoke about his future as he said, according to Sky Sports: “I am at Liverpool and I always do my best when I have the opportunity to play, respecting the jersey and the supporters. I do not know how the future is going to be. What will happen in January, we will know it in January. I do not know if there will be an offer.”Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Re上海夜生活网al Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

He continued by adding that he was interested in moving to Barca: “Last summer there was a job offer in the same way that happens with any employee and I was interested in it. Since I stayed I have played with will and desire. Of course, a lot happened in the summer but my will is always to play and do the best wherever I am – that has not changed. I am here (at Liverpool), we have a lot of games and I try to do my best to help.”

In the end, Philippe Coutinho spoke about the last match and a remarkable 7-0 win: “It was a special night due to the result and because I had the armband in such an important game playing for a club like Liverpool. For sure this is my most important hat-trick. In the Champions League it was my first one, I scored one for Brazil but this was more important.”

Guardiola: “De Bruyne capable of anything”

Pep Guardiola is certain that Kevin De Bruyne is one of the world’s best creative midfielders also because of the fact that he is able to perform on a high level even in the most important matches of the season.

The Spanish coach relies on his Belgian key player ahead of the upcoming derby match against Manchester United and he claimed that De Bruyne can do “absolutely everything” on the pitch and he is certain that he can prove it once again. Guardiola’s side can be 11 points clear if they will manage to win this match and the title would be arguably over 上海夜生活at that point.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach spoke about the abilities of De Bruyne as he said, according to Sky Sports: “He can do everything on the pitch. And, in terms of mentality as well, he never hides. The big players you realise in the bad moments, the bad moments in terms of 75 minutes, we are losing, how you react in that situation.”Solskjaer “very pleased” after another failure to win George Patchias – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was “very pleased,” even though United failed to win yet again.It is now ten games on the road since…

He added that he is world-class also because he can show up in big moments: “With 4-0 everybody is a top-class player, the important time is when you are in the bad moments. I think he is world class because he can do absolutely everything.”

Guardiola also spoke about whether he will play Agüero or Gabriel Jesus as they both have been in a really good shape recently: “Maybe it is one of the toughest decisions because both are top, both deserve to play. I am so happy with both of them. When you play with two strikers, it is easy to take a decision. Gabriel is the best striker in the world in the high pressing. There is no one with the intensity and reading between the central defenders, attacking the holding midfielders from behind.”

AC Milan prepare January bid for Aguero

AC Milan are prepared to further invest in transfers and are monitoring the situation of Sergio Aguero.

Pep Guardiola has long been targeting his former player Alexis Sanchez, whose contract with Arsenal is set to expire next summer. In fact, Manchester City were very close to secure the transfer of Sanchez last summer, when they had a €70m bid accepted. However, the move collapsed after Arsenal failed to sign Thomas Lemar as a replacement.  The Citizens are now confident that a €20m bid in January will persuade the Gunners to allow the Chilean to move to Emirates.Report: West quit Milan because of the Mafia George Patchias – Taribo West claims he quit AC Milan because of the Italian mafia.The retired Nigerian international defender Taribo West claims he left Milan almost 19…

And now AC Milan are set to look into how they can benefit from Sanchez’s move to Manchester City. According to Daily Mail, the Rossoneri will enquire about Sergio Aguero in January, confide上海夜网nt that they could lure the Argentinian away from Etihad.

Sergio Aguero is on track to become Manchester City’s all-time top goalscorer. The Argentinian scored seven goals in eight matches this season and is very close to break the record of Erik Brook, who scored 177 goals for the Citizens. However, the 29-year-old is currently out of action after suffering a broken rib in a car crash in Amsterdam at the end of last month.

Preview: Monaco – Besiktas

Besiktas are top of Group G with six points and will be travelling to Monaco to face the team at the bottom of the group, with only one point acquired in the first two matches.

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

Alvaro Negredo (Besiktas) scored the goal to knock Monaco out of the tournament (4-3 aggregate win) in the play-off round of ‘15/16 when he was a Valencia player.

Falcao has scored 14 goals in 15 games in all competitions this season. He also has history with Besiktas, having scored home and away whilst at Porto in the Europa League campaign of ‘10/11.

Monaco have a strong home record in European competition and are unbeaten in 12 of their last 15 home games, a run they will hope carries on after a poor start to the group stage (D1, L1).Willian warns Chelsea of ‘difficult’ Ajax threat Andrew Smyth – Willian admits Chelsea will need to prepare well for their next Champions League clash at Ajax after overcoming Lille OSC 2-0 on Wednesday.

There is always potential for a goal fest when Monaco take to the field, as there has been over 2.5 goals in 9 of their last 11 games.

Besiktas are not afraid of a big challenge, with on average 16.25 fouls, and 2.5 cards per game this season. They have a foul per tackle r上海夜网atio of 1.05, making on average more fouls than clean tackles per game.

Missing players

Monaco: L. Badiashile (arm injury), G. Carillo (foot injury), S. Jovetic (thigh injury)

Besiktas: D. Boyko (doubtful), A. Nukan (doubtful), G. Tore (doubtful)

Pickford sure that his side won’t be relegated

It has been a terrible season so far for the Toffees but their goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, is confident that they can turn it around and avoid the relegation but they need to focus on themselves and improve.

Everton are currently placed 18th in the Premier League table and they are out of the Europa League after just four matches being played – now, they are about to face Watford at home and it’s going to be a crucial match for them as they need to escape the relegation zone in order to boost their confidence.

The former Sunderland goalkeeper and summer arrival, Jordan Pickford, is sure that his side won’t be relegated as he said, according to Goal: “It’s not been ideal but we are not far away from winning games. We’re not a club that is going to be in the bottom three for long I’d say. It’s just that the luck hasn’t come our way yet. It’s a totally different scenario for myself from last season. I think one win will get us to 13th or something in the league.”Wijnaldum looking to repeat Champions League success Nedim Maric – Liverpool are the reigning winners of the Champions League. However, this isn’t stopping them for aiming to get the glory once again.After a perfect…

And he knows that his side have to start improving to regain the confidence: “Then that one win can become back-to-back wins, and that is where the confidence grows, and it starts Sunday. We have had a bad lot of games. I love playing games week in week out, but it has been a change with the Europa League. That may have affected us. But we can’t be making excuses. We have to just move forward, dig in and get the win.”

The England international believes that his teammates are experienced enough to turn it around: “You have [fellow summer signing Wayne] Rooney, you have a lot of people who have been successful. The senior pros have all been successful in their careers, and that is where they help us. And then that is when the young lads become big characters when上海夜网 they wear their hearts on their sleeves in the games. We won’t be struggling – it will only make us go forward and get the wins that we need.”

Marseille to conduct internal investigation over Evra

Olympique Marseille informed that they will open an internal investigation to establish ‘all responsibilities’ after Patrice Evra hit a French supporter.

Marseille travelled to Portugal for their Europa League match against Guimaraes. During the warm-up, Patrice Evra was involved in a fight with some of the travelling fans, ending up hitting one of上海夜网 them with his foot in the head. Evra was sent-off by the referee and had to watch the game from the stands, although he was expected to start for Marseille.

The club posted a statement on their official website saying: “In any case, a professional player has to remain calm in front of provocative gestures and insults, no matter how unjustified they are.”Can Marseille make it to the Champions League? Taimoor Khan – With a depleted workforce with not a lot of quantity or quality, Olympique de Marseille are bound to struggle this season. After being held…

Patrice Evra became the first player in the history of Europa League to be sent off before the start of the match. Before the incident, some of OM’s fans had a verbal dispute with the player. According to the Portuguese press, French fans tried to enter the pitch to fight Rudi Garcia’s players. After verbal exchanges, Evra reacted violently, hitting one of the fans in the head with his foot. The stewards had to intervene to avoid the escalation of the situation.

Patrice Evra has 81 selections for the France national team, but the 36-year-old has been criticised recently for his performances at Marseille, losing his starting place in the team in favour of Jordan Amavi.

Evra’s gesture reminded of another former Manchester United player, Eric Cantona. In 1995, Cantona hit a Crystal Palace fan during a Premier League match, receiving a nine months suspension from the Englis Football Association.

Coleman wants to remain Wales manager

Almost everybody in Wales wanted him to stay – Chris Coleman has become a very popular figure in this country after achieving the EURO 2016 semi-finals and he insisted that he wants to continue as a coach of the national team.

Despite failing to make it to the World Cup play-off, Chris Coleman was still wanted by the Welsh FA. His side suffered a bitter 1-0 home loss against Ireland and it was the reason why they won’t be given a chance to fight for the World Cup. One dream is over but the fans and the officials of the FAW believe that Coleman is still the right man.

According to Sky Sports, Coleman decided to stay but he still hasn’t made a clear statement as he said: “I have no idea, to be honest. Theoretically yes, we don’t play again until March and that is quite a long time in football. Initial talks have been undertaken since our last game. My representatives have spoken, they have had one meeting, and that is basically where we are. I always thought we would be here, announcing the squad for the playoffs. I was confident of that and that didn’t happen.”Explaining Argentina’s devotion towards Diego Maradona Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – In the wake of Diego Maradona’s new documentary, we try to explain the devotion Argentines have for this legendary player.The new Diego Maradona documentary…

He added that he really has no idea about what is going to happen: “But nevertheless we have got two good games and I was always going to be taking this camp. Is it my last camp? I really don’t know. We are where we are. My contract is whe上海夜网re it is.”

Coleman said that he has to take many other factors into consideration: “If all things are good, I think everybody will look at me personally and my contract, but there are more elements in the equation than that. I have to look at it and say ‘can I take it forward?’ ‘Is the structure what I need it to be, to take it forward? Are the facilities what we need to take it forward?’”