Markus Söder officially takes the reins of Bavaria′s CSU party | DW

Garnering 87.4 percent of the vote from party delegates — and running unopposed — Bavarian state premier Markus Söder was chosen as the newest leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) at a special party conference in Munich on Saturday.
The 52-year-old from Nuremberg will replace Horst Seehofer as the leader of the CSU — the Bavarian sister-party to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU)... The election not only marks an end to the Seehofer era, but also marks the first time that a Protestant was chosen to lead the typically Catholic-dominated party.

Deadlocked Swedish Parliament affirms Stefan Lofven as PM 4 months after election - UPI.com

Sweden finally has a prime minister, more than four months after the parliamentary elections ended.
Social Democrat leader Stefan Lofven will return as prime minister after winning the vote from his party and the Green Party in Friday's vote. The Moderate Party, Christian Democrats and Sweden Democrats all voted against Lofven. Lawmakers from the Center Party, Liberal Party and Left Party abstained from the vote except for one, who voted no.
The final vote was 115 in favor, 153 against and 77 abstained. The opposition needed 175 votes to block Lofven.

Norway's PM Solberg forms majority center-right government | Reuters

Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg struck a deal on Thursday to form a center-right majority government by adding the small Christian Democratic Party to her minority three-party coalition.
The agreement fulfils a long-standing goal of Conservative Solberg, in power since 2013, who hopes that a majority will provide stability and help ease her path to re-election in 2021.

Oxford University suspends Huawei donations and sponsorships - BBC News

The University of Oxford has suspended new donations and sponsorships from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei... Oxford University said it had decided on 8 January that it will "not pursue new funding opportunities... at present" with Huawei.

Banksy does Tokyo? Officials check if years-old graffiti is work of legendary British street artist | The Japan Times

Officials are trying to verify if a drawing of a rat holding an umbrella, spray painted near a monorail station in central Tokyo, is the work of the famous and mysterious British street artist Banksy... An image of a rat holding an umbrella is one of Banksy’s most famous artworks... City maintenance workers removed the door, which was installed to prevent flooding during high tides, and placed it in storage Wednesday night to prevent any damage...

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News Headlines - 18 January 2019

Research on iPS cells now at crucial stage toward their practical use - The Japan News

Research on the treatment of diseases using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which can develop into various kinds of human body cells and tissues, is becoming more active.
Besides regenerative medicine, where iPS cells had been expected to prove effective since the early days of their development, the scope of their application is spreading into treatments for cancer and other diseases. The research can be considered to have reached a critical point toward their practical use. The efficacy of such treatments must be firmly ascertained.
Research institute Riken and Chiba University Hospital will jointly attempt to develop the nation’s first cancer treatment using iPS cells. They will start clinical tests as early as this year.

U.S. Military Is Building Smarter Robots and Thinks Insects Might Be Key to New Artificial Intelligence

The U.S. military has long experimented with new AI applications, from missile systems to swarms of drones, but the latest focus may be about understanding how the complexities of nature could shape strategies in this field. In a research opportunity posted last week, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) said it was "inviting submissions of innovative basic research concepts exploring new computational frameworks and strategies drawn from the impressive computational capabilities of very small flying insects."

Saudi teen granted asylum in Canada enjoys red wine and cigarette | Daily Mail Online

A Saudi teenager granted asylum in Canada is continuing to celebrate her freedom and new home - sharing pictures of red wine and a rolled up cigarette.
Rahaf Mohammed, who has renounced her last name al-Qunun after her family disowned her, captured global attention last week after she barricaded herself in an airport hotel room in Bangkok... After being handed over to the UN refugee agency and resettled to Canada, she has spent her first week in her new home enjoying things that were previously forbidden to her in her conservative homeland.
Earlier this week, she shared a snap of her breakfast as she tried Canadian-style bacon for the first time.

Heat Waves Are Causing Mass Fish Deaths in Australia - Scientific American

Hundreds of thousands of native fish in Australia’s Darling River have died following a major outbreak of blue–green algae and some severe weather. Two mass die-offs have been reported near Menindee in western New South Wales—the first was late last year, and the second last week.
Outbreaks of blue–green algae (cyanobacteria), which thrive in warm water, are not uncommon during droughts. The algae did not directly cause the mass die-off; rapid cooling and intense rainfall might have disrupted the bloom and depleted the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, killing the fish, said Anthony Townsend, a senior fisheries manager at the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, in a statement.

Man City sign defensive midfield hopeful Ko Itakura - Manchester Evening News

he Blues have picked up 21-year-old Ko Itakura from Japanese champions Kawasaki Frontale for a fee reported as being close to £1m, but he has been instantly loaned to Dutch club Groningen for 18 months.
He has been described as a central defender, Itakura has starred for Japan’s under-20 team as a holding midfielder and made all of his starts for Kawasaki as a central midfielder before being moved back into defence during his loan to their J1 League rivals Vegalta Sendai.
A Japan under-21 international, Itakura does not qualify for a UK work permit, but it is understood that he is viewed very much as a City Football Group signing.

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ルノー、ゴーンCEOの解任検討 仏政府が方針転換  :日本経済新聞


独、5Gからファーウェイ排除検討 包囲網拡大 - 産経ニュース


露、ベラルーシに統合迫る 石油価格で圧力 プーチン氏「新ポスト」で居座り画策? - 産経ニュース


ハーバード大で入学差別か アジア系訴え、黒人にも波紋:朝日新聞デジタル


97歳のフィリップ殿下が運転中に事故、けがはなく - BBCニュース


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News Headlines - 17 January 2019

Brexit vote news: MPs will debate and vote on Theresa May's plan B on January 29 | London Evening Standard

MPs will be able to vote on Theresa May's Brexit 'Plan B' on January 29, it has been confirmed... Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom said the Prime Minister would put forward a motion and make a statement on her next steps on Monday.
"A full day's debate on the motion will take place on Tuesday, 29 January, subject to the agreement of the house," Ms Leadsom told Parliament.

Brexit: EU ready to delay withdrawal until next year | The Times

European Union officials are examining plans to delay Brexit until 2020 after Germany and France indicated their willingness to extend withdrawal negotiations because of Britain’s political turmoil.
Diplomats and officials are preparing a longer than envisaged extension of the EU’s Article 50 exit procedure because the extent of Theresa May’s defeat in the House of Commons last night.
Previous planning had centred on a three-month delay to Brexit from March 29 until the end of June but now, according to multiple sources, EU officials are investigating legal routes to postpone Britain’s withdrawal until next year.

Singapore man linked to Tokyo's 2020 Olympics bid jailed for lying - The Mainichi

A Singaporean man linked to Tokyo's 2020 Olympics bid was sentenced to a week in jail on Tuesday for lying to officers from Singapore's anti-corruption agency investigating his company's shady financial transfers.
Tan Tong Han, 35, the owner of a now-defunct Singapore-based consultancy firm Black Tidings, was found by the court to have lied to Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau officers who were probing the firm's money transfers in 2015.
Tan had been charged in court in February last year at a time when media speculation was rife about his firm's alleged links to Tokyo's bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics and to an extortion and doping scandal involving Russian athlete Liliya Shobukhova and the International Association of Athletics Federations.

American Jason Spindler who survived 9/11 died in the Kenya attack - CNN

American businessman Jason Spindler survived the September 11 attacks in New York only to die this week in another act of terror.
Spindler was among those killed Tuesday in a terror attack on a Kenyan hotel compound, the company he founded said Wednesday... Spindler dedicated his life to helping others through his work as a business investment adviser, his parents told KTRK. It's what brought him to Nairobi, they said.

Volcano erupts on Kuchinoerabu, a small island in far south of Japan | South China Morning Post

A Japanese volcano erupted on Thursday, spewing ash and smoke 6km into the air over a small southern island. There were no reports of injuries or damage from the eruption on Kuchinoerabu, in the far south of Japan.
A local official said there had been no evacuations on the island, which is home to just 109 people.

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英議会、内閣不信任案否決 メイ氏続投も混迷続く:日本経済新聞


日立、英原発凍結を正式決定…3千億円損失計上 : 読売新聞(YOMIURI ONLINE)


仏大統領、デモ収拾へ国民討論会 7時間にわたり答弁 - 産経ニュース


ギリシャ議会、チプラス政権を信任 前倒し選挙を回避 :日本経済新聞


CNN.co.jp : スカート内盗撮禁止の法案、英国で成立へ 違反には2年以下の禁錮


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News Headlines - 16 January 2019

Huawei Targeted in U.S. Criminal Probe for Alleged Theft of Trade Secrets - WSJ

Federal prosecutors are pursuing a criminal investigation of China’s Huawei Technologies Co. for allegedly stealing trade secrets from U.S. business partners, including technology used by T-Mobile US Inc. to test smartphones, according to people familiar with the matter.

YouTube bans videos with potentially dangerous, distressing content

YouTube has moved to ban videos that depict dangerous activity that could cause injury or death -- like the "Bird Box" and "Tide Pod" challenges, which were both very popular on the site last year.
The video sharing platform said Tuesday it's making the move to pre-empt potential harm caused by video makers looking to produce the next big YouTube hit.

An Astonishing 773 Million Records Exposed in Monster Breach | WIRED

There are breaches, and there are megabreaches, and there’s Equifax. But a newly revealed trove of leaked data tops them all for sheer volume: 772,904,991 unique email addresses, over 21 million unique passwords, all recently posted to a hacking forum.
The data set was first reported by security researcher Troy Hunt, who maintains Have I Been Pwned, a way to search whether your own email or password has been compromised by a breach at any point. (Trick question: It has.) The so-called Collection #1 is the largest breach in Hunt's menagerie, and it’s not particularly close.

'Pig' British tourists to be deported from New Zealand after theft, littering, not paying for food - The Straits Times

Members of a British family have been branded "worse than pigs" and face deportation from New Zealand after a spree of bad behaviour that left normally easygoing Kiwis outraged.
The family have been involved in a string of incidents in and around Auckland and Hamilton, including accusations of littering, assault, not paying for restaurant meals and intimidating behaviour.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff led national outcry at the tourists' antics, demanding the police take action... New Zealand's assistant general manager of immigration, Mr Peter Devoy, said the family had been issued with a deportation notice on the grounds of "matters relating to character".

Flippin' brilliant: the Finns learning to be mermaids | Euronews

Adult women and men are taking to the mermaid lifestyle at a swimming pool in Espoo, on the outskirts of Helsinki, where 28-year-old former Kindergarten teacher Maija Mottonen gives lessons in swimming like a mermaid or merman. She is FInland's first professional mermaid instructor.

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英議会、EU離脱案を否決 メイ政権、歴史的敗北喫す:AFPBB News

英議会は15日、テリーザ・メイ(Theresa May)政権が欧州連合(EU)との間で合意に至った英国のEU離脱(ブレグジット、Brexit)協定案を圧倒的多数で否決した。最大野党・労働党はこれを受け、メイ政権に対する不信任投票を要請。同政権は崩壊の危機に直面している。
 労働党のジェレミー・コービン(Jeremy Corbyn)党首は採決の直後、メイ政権に対する不信任動議を提出。不信任投票は翌16日に実施される見通しとなった。

EU離脱 英国の介護現場に深刻な影響 東欧からの労働者に依存 - 毎日新聞


VWとフォード、トラックで提携 EV・自動運転開発も | ロイター


南極で消失の氷、80年代の6倍超…衛星で推定 : 読売新聞(YOMIURI ONLINE)


竹田氏、IOC会議欠席へ - 共同通信


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News Headlines - 15 January 2019

Brexit: Theresa May's deal is voted down in historic Commons defeat - BBC News

MPs voted by 432 votes to 202 to reject the deal, which sets out the terms of Britain's exit from the EU on 29 March.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has now tabled a vote of no confidence in the government, which could trigger a general election.
The confidence vote is expected to be held at about 1900 GMT on Wednesday.

El Chapo Trial: Former Mexican President Peña Nieto Took $100 Million Bribe, Witness Says - The New York Times

The former president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, took a $100 million bribe from Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the infamous crime lord known as El Chapo, according to a witness at Mr. Guzman’s trial.
The stunning testimony was delivered Tuesday in a New York courtroom by Alex Cifuentes Villa, a Colombian drug lord who worked closely with Mr. Guzmán from 2007 to 2013, when the kingpin was hiding from the law at a series of remote ranches in the Sierra Madre mountains.

Takeda corruption probe sullies 2020 Tokyo Olympics and IOC | madison.com

Tsunekazu Takeda, the president of the Japanese Olympic Committee and a powerful IOC member, again denied corruption allegations against him, suggesting on Tuesday that any guilt was with others at the Japanese body.
Takeda read a seven-minute prepared text and then took no questions from hundreds of media.

Virgin Atlantic swoops on troubled Flybe with £2.2m bid | The Guardian

Flybe has recommended shareholders accept a cut-price £2.2m takeover offer from a consortium led by Virgin Atlantic, after the regional airline struggled with rising fuel costs, currency volatility and political uncertainty.
Virgin, part-owned by the billionaire Sir Richard Branson, has banded together for the deal with the infrastructure firm Stobart Group and the investment house Cyrus to form a joint venture, Connect Airways... The consortium would also inject £100m into the struggling airline, in the form of a £20m working capital loan and £80m to invest.

Rare snowfall hits the Sahara Desert - ABC News

Ain Sefra is a small town on the northern edge of the Sahara, the hottest desert in the world, but on Sunday the town's sand dunes were coated with snow after an intense winter storm.
Photographs from local residents showed stunning scenes of vivid orange dunes dusted with snowfall. Algerian locals wearing coats and scarves were seen climbing the peaks, cheering loudly and posing for videos. Many brought cameras to record the rare wintry phenomenon before the snow began to melt later in the evening.
This is believed to be only the fourth time snow has fallen on Ain Sefra in northern Algeria in almost 40 years, according to Algerian media reports.

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中国、麻薬密輸のカナダ人に死刑判決 ファーウェイCFO逮捕が影響か | ニューズウィーク日本版


中国の華為、ポーランドで逮捕された社員を解雇-事件と距離置く - Bloomberg


東京新聞:ポーランドの市長刺され死亡 男を逮捕 政党に恨みか


東京新聞:ロシア外相、北方領土の名称変更要求 首脳会談は22日


寒くないの? 「ノーパンツ」で地下鉄乗車 世界60都市以上で開催:AFPBB News

ズボンを着用せずに地下鉄に乗る毎年恒例のイベント「No Pants Subway Ride(パンツなしで地下鉄に乗ろう)」が13日、世界各地で開催された。2002年に参加者わずか7人で始まった同イベントは、今では世界60都市以上で開催されている。

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News Headlines - 14 January 2019

China car sales hit reverse for first time since 1990s | Reuters

Car makers in China will face more fierce competition this year, after a tough 2018 when the world’s biggest auto market contracted for the first time in more than two decades, the country’s top auto industry association said on Monday... China car sales fell 13 percent in December, the sixth straight month of declines, bringing annual sales to 28.1 million, down 2.8 percent from a year earlier, China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) said.
This was against a 3-percent annual growth forecast set at the start of 2018 and is the first time China’s auto market has contracted since the 1990s.

China has a lot more to lose than the US in trade war, says Credit Suisse | South China Morning Post

The possibility that the United States and China are closer to resolving their trade dispute has stoked optimism among investors.
But insufficient attention may be being paid to what happens if no deal is struck, according to John Woods, Credit Suisse’s chief investment officer for Asia-Pacific. No deal would be “profoundly negative”... “It’s quite clear to me that China has a lot more to lose than the United States and, hence, the apparent willingness of the authorities to go the extra mile and secure something meaningful,” Woods said.

Wife of ex-Nissan boss urges action on 'harsh' detention - BBC News

The wife of former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn has said he is suffering under "harsh treatment" in a Japanese jail, where he has been detained for nearly two months.
In a letter to Human Rights Watch, Carole Ghosn described constant interrogations and appealed for action... His detention, which is likely to continue for months, has drawn criticism of Japan's justice system.
In Japan, interrogations can be done without a lawyer present. Suspects can be detained for up to 23 days before being formally charged. Bail is not easily granted unless a suspect admits to the charges, according to the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations.

Toyota brings back the Supra sports car after almost two decades

The Supra is a resurrection of a car Toyota has not made since 2002. It began as a variant of Toyota’s now also defunct Celica in 1978, but was spun off as its own model in 1986. It became known as one of the most famous Japanese tuner cars of the ’80s and ’90s.
Apart from the reputation it earned on its own, the Supra also was famous for being featured in “The Fast and the Furious” movie franchise, in which it was driven by the late actor Paul Walker.
The car will go on sale this summer. It will have a 3.0-liter turbo six-cylinder 335-horsepower engine and an automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Toyota says the car should be able to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.1 seconds. It will have an electronically limited speed of 155 mph.

Trump Discussed Pulling U.S. From NATO, Aides Say Amid New Concerns Over Russia - The New York Times

Last year, President Trump suggested a move tantamount to destroying NATO: the withdrawal of the United States.
Senior administration officials told The New York Times that several times over the course of 2018, Mr. Trump privately said he wanted to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Current and former officials who support the alliance said they feared Mr. Trump could return to his threat as allied military spending continued to lag behind the goals the president had set.
In the days around a tumultuous NATO summit meeting last summer, they said, Mr. Trump told his top national security officials that he did not see the point of the military alliance, which he presented as a drain on the United States.

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