Headlines

2019.05.21

News Headlines - 21 May 2019

Ex-Ritsumeikan teacher, a suspect in 2016 Dhaka terror attack fatal to 22, held in Iraq | The Japan Times
A Bangladeshi academic believed to have played a role in planning a July 2016 terror attack in Dhaka that killed 22 people, including seven Japanese, is being detained in northern Iraq, a Bangladesh intelligence official said Monday. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said information received through informal channels suggests that Mohammad Saifullah Ozaki, who once taught at Japan’s Ritsumeikan University, is being held in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah. Ozaki, alias Sujit Debnath, was among 10 Bangladeshi militants who surrendered to the Kurds in the former Islamic State stronghold of Baghouz, Syria, after it fell to the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces on March 15, according to the information.
Japanese man gets 15-year prison sentence in China for spying - The Mainichi
A Chinese court on Monday sentenced a Japanese man convicted of spying to 15 years in prison, Sino-Japanese sources revealed Monday. The man, in his 50s, was also fined 100,000 yuan (about 1.6 million yen) by the court in Hainan Province for having illegally obtained state secrets, analyzed them and disseminated them abroad. they said. Since 2015, at least nine Japanese people have been indicted in China for alleged involvement in spying activities, and this marks the seventh time for a court to render a verdict.
Japan gov't decides on route of Oct. parade to celebrate imperial couple
The Japanese government said Tuesday it has decided on the October parade route to be taken by Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako to celebrate his enthronement earlier this month. The open motorcade is expected to take 30 minutes to drive 4.6 kilometers through the capital on Oct. 22 from the Imperial Palace to the Akasaka Palace to be cheered by the public... The route for the imperial couple's wedding parade in 1993 was also considered but rejected.
Indonesia election: Joko Widodo re-elected as president - BBC News
Joko Widodo has been re-elected as Indonesia's president after last month's vote, beating former general Prabowo Subianto. The result was released a day ahead of schedule in the early hours of Tuesday, amid fears of unrest... Mr Prabowo rejected the result and said he would pursue "legal avenues", but urged his supporters to stay calm.
Washington becomes first US state to legalise human composting - BBC News
Washington has become the first state in the US to legalise human composting. Under the new law, people there can now choose to have their body turned into soil after their death. The process is seen as an alternative to cremations and burials, and as a practical option in cities where land for graveyards is scarce.

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2019.05.20

News Headlines - 20 May 2019

Japan's unexpected GDP growth in January-March leaves plenty of reasons for caution | The Japan Times
The economy unexpectedly grew at an annualized 2.1 percent in the January-March quarter, government data showed Monday, but it is likely to give little comfort to policymakers worried about economic momentum ahead of the looming consumption tax increase. The biggest driver of the expansion was imports falling even faster than exports, meaning that net exports technically drove growth in the economy. Yet falling imports is actually a sign of underlying weakness in demand, so the result is somewhat misleading.
Billionaire Robert F. Smith vows to pay off debt of Morehouse College graduates. Here is what it means - CNN
Billionaire investor Robert F. Smith's commitment to pay off the student loan debt for graduates of the historically black Morehouse College covers millions of dollars, the school said... Smith's gesture, which Thomas called "a liberation gift," will enable graduates to have more capital to do things like start businesses and support their families.
Watch as Nigel Farage hit by milkshake during Brexit Party campaign - The Scotsman
The Brexit Party leader became the latest victim of a protest which has seen other European election candidates such as Ukip's Carl Benjamin and ex-English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson suffer similar attacks... Last week, police apparently ordered a McDonald's outlet near a Brexit Party campaign rally to stop selling milkshakes and ice cream, the restaurant's staff have said.
Spina bifida: Keyhole surgery repairs baby spine in womb - BBC News
In a UK first, doctors have used keyhole surgery to successfully repair the spine of a baby with spina bifida while it was still inside the womb. Surgeons at King's College Hospital say the procedure is not a cure, but could be the difference between some children learning to walk or not. Sherrie Sharp and her son Jaxson had the operation 27 weeks into the pregnancy.
Germany legalises e-scooters but bans them from the pavement | Euronews
German lawmakers voted on Friday to allow e-scooters to take to the streets making the UK the last major European economy to still ban them.The text approved by the Bundesrat on Friday enables battery-powered scooters to circulate on roads and cycle paths but forbids them from being used on the pavements. Users must be 14 or over and must respect a 20 kilometres per hours speed limit.

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2019.05.19

News Headlines - 19 May 2019

Brexit: My Withdrawal Agreement Bill will be a bold new offer to MPs | The Sunday Times
When the government puts the Withdrawal Agreement Bill - the law that will take the UK out of the EU, deliver Brexit and allow us to move forward after three years of hard work - before parliament in a couple of weeks, it will truly be decision time for MPs. Before that happens, the British people will go to the polls in the European elections on Thursday. I hope that everyone who wants to see Brexit delivered in a responsible way as soon as possible will vote for the only party that can actually deliver that: the Conservative Party.
GOP Rep. Amash becomes first Republican to say Trump 'engaged in impeachable conduct' - CNNPolitics
Michigan GOP Rep. Justin Amash said Saturday he had concluded President Donald Trump committed "impeachable conduct" and accused Attorney General William Barr of intentionally misleading the public. Amash's comments recommending Congress pursue obstruction of justice charges against Trump were the first instance of a sitting Republican in Congress saying the President's conduct meets the "threshold for impeachment."
Bomb blast targets tourist bus near Egypt's famed pyramids
At least 17 people were injured on Sunday in a blast targeting a tourist bus near the new Egyptian museum close to the Giza Pyramids, Egyptian officials said. The roadside bomb went off as the bus was being driven in Giza, also causing injuries to Egyptians in a nearby car, medical and security sources said.
Detective Pikachu Tops Overseas Box Office, Endgame Hits $2.6 Billion - Variety
Warner Bros. and Legendary’s “Detective Pikachu” remained the top film at the international box office for the second weekend in a row, amassing $53.8 million from 72 foreign markets. The Pokemon adaptation, featuring the voice of Ryan Reynolds, is nearing the $200 million mark overseas. It has currently earned $193.4 million abroad, taking its worldwide bounty to a strong $287.4 million. “Detective Pikachu” had another solid outing in China, earning $17.2 million and bringing ticket sales in that territory to $70.3 million. Other top markets include Russia, where it opened with $4.3 million, as well as the United Kingdom with $3.5 million, Germany with $2.1 million, and Mexico with $2.25 million.
Zagitova faces administrative penalty for driving car
Olympic champion Alina Zagitova faces an administrative fine in the amount of 5 to 15 thousand rubles ($77 - 231) for driving a car without a license. To recall, the athlete is only 16 years old, and the Russian law prohibits her from driving. Sports.RU reported that employees of the State Traffic Inspectorate are already conducting an inspection on the grounds of the violation of Article 12.7 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation (Driving a Transport Vehicle by a Driver Who Has No Right to Drive the Transport Vehicle). The girl had previously published a video on her Instagram showing her driving a car in the countryside.

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2019.05.18

News Headlines - 18 May 2019

President Trump says foreign cars are a national security threat. Will Congress stop him in before it's too late? - CNNPolitics
Republicans on Capitol Hill at first breathed a sigh of relief this week when they learned President Donald Trump was planning to delay a decision on tariffs for foreign cars and auto parts by six months. But their initial reaction overlooked a key implication of the move: Included in Trump's announcement was his first formal assertion that imported cars and parts are in fact a national security threat.
Man in German crossbow deaths reportedly led 'Medieval cult' - The Local
Germany has been baffled by the bizarre case since the man and two women killed with crossbows were found Saturday in a hotel in Passau, followed by Monday's discovery of two more dead women in the town of Wittingen. The figure at the core of the group, Torsten W., 53, appeared to have controlled the four women like a harsh sect leader who used physical force and psychological manipulation, Bild daily and RTL television reported.
Glasgow and Edinburgh fight to become the UK's first 'net-zero' city - BBC News
Glasgow and Edinburgh are going head-to-head to try to become the UK's first "net zero" city. Both cities have now unveiled ambitious plans to cut greenhouse emissions to a neutral level. Glasgow wants to reach the target "well before" 2045, while Edinburgh has set its target to 2030.
More than half of Madagascar MPs suspected of corruption: enquiry
Madagascar's anti-corruption agency has begun legal action against more than half of the country's parliamentary deputies who are suspected of taking bribes, just two weeks ahead of legislative elections, a source said Friday. After a year-long enquiry, a dossier on 79 MPs was sent to the prosecutor's office this week "to begin legal action against the accused", the source told AFP.
WATCH: Arnold Schwarzenegger attacked with flying kick at Sandton event | Sunday Tribune
Former movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger was attacked by an unknown person during an event in Sandton on Saturday... A man is seen attacking the former governor of California from the back with a flying kick. The attacker hits the floor, as the 71-year-old Schwarzenegger stumbles momentarily after contact. It is not clear why the man attacked Schwarzenegger... On Twitter, Schwarzenegger said he was fine and only realised after seeing the video that he had been kicked. He was more concerned about his Snapchat being interrupted.

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2019.05.17

News Headlines - 17 May 2019

Taiwan gay marriage: Parliament legalises same-sex unions - BBC News
Taiwan's parliament has become the first in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage following a vote on Friday. In 2017, the island's constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples had the right to legally marry. Parliament was given a two-year deadline and was required to pass the changes by 24 May.
Vodafone reveals mammoth £6.6bn loss and slashes dividend | The Independent
Vodafone has revealed a mammoth £6.6bn annual loss and has cut shareholder dividends for the first time. The mobile phone giant slashed its payout by 40 per cent, dealing a blow to millions of investors, as it sought to reduce its mountain of debt. Vodafone swung to a huge loss from £2.8bn a year earlier, after it wrote down the value of some of its assets and took a hit on the sale of Vodafone India.
Microsoft, Sony partner on streaming games, chips and AI - Reuters
Microsoft Corp and Sony Corp on Thursday said they struck a strategic partnership in which Sony would use Microsoft’s cloud for streaming games and media and the two would work together to develop image sensors. The deal is in its early stages, with many specifics yet to be determined. But the owners of two major consumer interactive entertainment franchises - Microsoft’s Xbox platform and Sony’s PlayStation - would collaborate to stream games and content to consumers and offer game makers new development tools.
UK to scrap passenger landing cards - BBC News
Landing cards are currently filled in by passengers arriving by air or sea from outside the European Economic Area. Border Force director general Paul Lincoln, in a letter to staff, said it would "help meet the challenge of growing passenger numbers"... The Home Office had agreed to scrap them for seven countries, including the US and Australia, from June, but has now decided to go further.
Bulgarian boxer suspended in California for kissing broadcaster - Reuters
A Bulgarian boxer who grabbed a female broadcaster’s face and kissed her on the lips during a post-fight interview was suspended until July by the California State Athletic Commission on Tuesday following tearful testimony by the interviewer... Pulev, who has only one loss in 27 fights, grabbed Jennifer Ravalo’s face and kissed her in the middle of a live interview moments after knocking out Romania’s Bogdan Dinu in the seventh round of a March fight in Costa Mesa, California.

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2019.05.16

News Headlines - 16 May 2019

ISIS announces new India and Pakistan provinces, casually breaking up Khorasan
Islamic State, in a continuation of its Wilayah restructuring, causally announced the creation of a Wilayah Pakistan on Wednesday, May 15 when claiming two attacks in Pakistan. This followed the creation of Wilayah al-Hind (India) in a May 10 statement claiming an attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Venezuela government talking with 'democratic' opposition in Norway - Reuters
Talks are underway in Norway between Venezuela’s government and “democratic” opponents, an envoy said on Thursday, in a possible search for a mediated solution after the opposition’s failure to spark a military uprising against President Nicolas Maduro... Guaido, who denounces Maduro’s 2018 re-election as fraudulent, called for Venezuela’s military to rise up on April 30, but his push quickly petered out and the military’s top brass has since then sworn allegiance to Maduro.
U.S. judge dumps 'Pooey Puitton' lawsuit against Louis Vuitton - Reuters
Louis Vuitton has won the dismissal of a lawsuit by a California toy company that accused the French luxury goods maker of trying to interfere with its sales of a poop-shaped toy purse for children, Pooey Puitton... MGA had contended that no reasonable consumers would mistake Pooey Puitton, which retailed for $59.99, for costlier handbags from Louis Vuitton, a unit of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE.
GozNym cyber-crime gang which stole millions busted - BBC News
A complex police operation conducted investigations in the US, Bulgaria, Germany, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. The gang infected computers with GozNym malware, which captured online banking details to access bank accounts... The details of the operation were revealed at the headquarters of the European police agency Europol in The Hague.
Eiffel Tower celebrates 130th anniversary with laser show | Euronews
The Eiffel Tower celebrated 130 years since it opened to the public with a laser show on Wednesday, 15 May. Rising 324 metres (1,063 feet) above the French capital, the "Iron Lady" was designed by Parisian engineer Gustave Eiffel and built for the 1889 Universal Exhibition.

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2019.05.15

News Headlines - 15 May 2019

Novartis gets approval to sell Kymriah in Japan for $306,000 - Reuters
A Japanese government panel approved on Wednesday a price of 33.5 million yen ($305,800) for Novartis’ cancer treatment Kymriah, allowing the Swiss drugmaker to press ahead with a campaign to kick-start sluggish sales of the treatment. The one-time, personalized therapy, which was approved in Japan in March, will be available in the country for young people with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and adult patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The so-called CAR-T therapy, which Novartis believes could treat up to 216 Japanese patients a year, potentially generating annual sales of 7.2 billion yen ($65.7 million), has been a hailed as a revolutionary, last-ditch hope for people whose cancer advanced after previous treatment.
Nissan forecasts profit will drop to 11-year low - The Japan News
Nissan Motor Co. forecast a 28 percent plunge in its annual operating profit, setting it up for the weakest earnings in 11 years and underscoring its struggle to turn the page after the ouster of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn... The automaker reported an operating profit of ¥318 billion in the year just ended, down 45 percent from a year earlier. It also booked ¥4.4 billion in expenses to reflect previous misstatements involving Ghosn’s compensation. Sluggish profitability would likely result in a 30 percent cut to full-year dividend to ¥40 per share, Nissan said.
Duterte allies crush opposition in Philippine midterm elections - Nikkei Asian Review
Senate candidates backed by President Rodrigo Duterte are on track to take over most of the 12 seats contested in the Philippines' midterm elections, resulting in a crushing defeat for the country's opposition... With 94.26% of votes tallied as of 10:26 a.m. local time on Tuesday, nine of the 12 candidates with the most votes were allied with Duterte or with a coalition supportive of his administration, according to data from the Commission on Elections' transparency server. The commission is scheduled to begin the official count on Tuesday.
eSwatini king did not order men to have two or more wives, or face jail | IOL News
The government of eSwatini on Tuesday angrily denied viral online reports that King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch who has 14 wives, had ordered men to have at least two marriages or face jail. The story, carried by the Zambian Observer and picked up by several other online publications, said that Swazi men would have to marry several wives starting from June.
Germany mulls 'mosque tax' to cut out foreign funding - The Local
Support is growing in Germany for a "mosque tax" to make Islamic institutions less dependent on potentially anti-democratic or "radical" foreign funding sources, a media report said on Sunday. The federal government sees it as "a possible path", according to an answer to a parliamentary query, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported.

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2019.05.14

News Headlines - 14 May 2019

Nippon Ishin no Kai lawmaker ousted from party over Russia 'war' gaffe | The Japan Times
An opposition lawmaker was expelled from his party Tuesday amid growing criticism over his remarks on the possibility of Japan waging war with Russia to regain control of a group of islands at the center of a territorial spat.
Ramadan rules: Full-length pants required in Kirkuk at night
Security forces in Kirkuk city have arrested at least 20 males for not wearing pants longer than three-quarter-length, also known as "Bermuda" style shorts, following the implementation of a strict evening dress code or for riding a motorcycle at night during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan... The original decree - dated on April 28 - is signed by Ali Kamal Abdulrazaq, the head of the Kirkuk Provincial Police.
Houthi rebels attack Saudi oil pipeline | DW
A Saudi minister says that a crude oil pipeline in Riyadh province has been attacked by Yemeni drones. The attack follows Saudi claims of sabotage attempts on two of its oil tankers off the United Arab Emirates.
Trump plans to present sumo winner with own namesake trophy:The Asahi Shimbun
U.S. President Donald Trump, who has stamped his name on virtually every product and property in his business empire, plans to leave his mark on the Summer Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo, which began May 12. He will present a custom-made trophy called the "Trump Cup" to the winner. The president, who will visit Japan from May 25 to May 28 as a state guest, is expected to watch the final day of the tournament on May 26 at the Ryogoku Kokugikan in the capital. He plans to stay to the awards ceremony afterward to climb in the dohyo and hand the cup to the champion wrestler.
Shohei Ohtani home run: Angels DH blasts dinger vs. Twins | SI.com
Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani blasted his first homer of the season on Monday, unleashing a 429-foot moonshot in the third inning against the Twins. Ohtani returned from the Injured List on May 7 after missing the start of the seson as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.

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2019.05.13

News Headlines - 13 May 2019

Dow plunges 617 points after China retaliates with higher tariffs - CNN
China hiked tariffs on $60 billion of imports from the United States. It first imposed the tariffs last year. Worries over the escalation of the trade spat with China just aren't going away. US stocks ended the day sharply lower. The Dow closed down 617 points after falling as much as 719 points earlier in the day. The S&P 500 (SPX) fell 2.4% and the Nasdaq (COMP) dropped 3.4%.
Ghosn Didn't Receive Any Money Via Oman, Lawyer Tells TV Asahi - Bloomberg
Former Nissan Motor Co. Chairman Carlos Ghosn did not receive any money sent by the Japanese automaker through Oman to his personal accounts, his lawyer said on Sunday. “He doesn’t have a company, he doesn’t control a company there, formally or effectively,” Junichiro Hironaka, the former global auto executive’s attorney, said in an interview on TV Asahi when asked about payments made though the Middle Eastern country. “Ghosn told me that is impossible.”
Noted scholar cut loose for plagiarism and making stuff up:The Asahi Shimbun
A private educational institution famed for instilling Christian values into its curriculum fired its own head for what was described as egregious fabrication of materials used in a book about Weimar Germany. Tomoaki Fukai, who has published a number of well-regarded scholarly works on Protestant theology that have won awards, came under a cloud of suspicion when another scholar raised doubts last year about materials he used in a book published in 2012 about the relationship between German nationalism during the Weimar Republic and Protestantism.
More than 100 neglected lions found in a South African breeding facility
When NSPCA inspectors visited the facility, at Pienika Farm, they saw 27 lions afflicted with mange, a skin disease caused by parasitic mites. It was so severe that they’d lost almost all their fur. The inspectors reported that the animals were held in filthy, overcrowded enclosures, with more than 30 held in spaces meant for two. At least three cubs were suffering from a neurological condition called meningoencephalitis, an inflammation of the brain, that left them unable to walk. One was subsequently euthanized by a veterinarian at the facility.
Scores killed in Syria as bombs target last major rebel area - Channel 4 News
More than 100 people have now been killed in a bombing campaign by President Assad and his allies, targeting the last major rebel-held area. Eight months ago, the Russians and Turks agreed a ceasefire in Idlib with their troops monitoring a buffer zone around the province. The Syrian government and jihadist rebels blame each other for breaking the truce.

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2019.05.12

News Headlines - 12 May 2019

South Africa's ANC wins re-election with reduced majority | Al Jazeera
The ruling African National Congress (ANC) has won South Africa's parliamentary elections with 57.5 percent of the vote, the electoral commission said, announcing the official results. Saturday's win assured a sixth straight term in power for the ANC. But the result was the worst-ever electoral showing for the party, which has ruled South Africa since the end of apartheid 25 years ago.
Wide divide remains among NPT states - NHK WORLD
Disagreement between nuclear and non-nuclear countries has prevented the meeting of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, or NPT, from adopting a consensus document. About 190 member states took part in the preparatory session for the 2020 review conference of the treaty which was held over two weeks at UN headquarters in New York. It ended on Friday.
Mexico will produce all its own gasoline in three years: president - Reuters
Mexico will be self sufficient in its gasoline needs in three years, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Friday, once a major new refinery he wants to build is due to be completed... Many oil industry analysts believe a three-year time frame for the refinery is optimistic, but the president doubled down on the target during his news conference.
Chinese court hands Japanese man 5 1/2 years in prison over spying - Japan Today
A court in northeastern China's Liaoning Province has sentenced a Japanese man in his 60s to five years and six months in prison for spying, sources well-informed about Sino-Japanese relations said. The Intermediate People's Court in Dalian also ordered the man, an executive of a company in Shikoku, to forfeit personal assets totaling 200,000 yuan (about $29,000), the sources said... He was in May 2017 detained in the province on suspicion of spying, and indicted in March last year.
Suga, in rare official overseas trip, discusses N Korea, abductees with Pompeo, Shanahan - Japan Today
Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed Thursday to closely coordinate their response to North Korea's recent launches of projectiles. Speaking to reporters after a meeting in Washington, Suga said he briefed Pompeo about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's intention to hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un -- without preconditions -- to try and resolve the issue of Pyongyang's abduction of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s. Suga and Pompeo also agreed to jointly seek a swift resolution to the abduction issue, and to effect the full enforcement of U.N. sanctions on North Korea in tandem with the international community to force Pyongyang to give up nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

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2019.05.11

News Headlines - 11 May 2019

China indicts former Interpol chief on bribery charges:The Asahi Shimbun
Chinese prosecutors indicted former Interpol president Meng Hongwei on Friday on charges of accepting bribes, the latest development in a case that began with his disappearance while on a journey to Beijing. The announcement from the prosecutor's office in the northeastern city of Tianjin said Meng had abused his positions, including as a vice minister of public security and head of the maritime police to "illegaly accept cash and property in return for performing favors for others."
Hong Kong lawmakers scuffle in parliament | The Guardian
Hong Kong’s legislative assembly descended into chaos on Saturday as lawmakers for and against amendments to the territory’s extradition law clashed over access to the chamber... The amendments have been widely criticised as eroding the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s judicial independence by making it easier to send criminal suspects to mainland China, where they could face vague national security charges and unfair trials.
2 Nissan execs to escape charges under plea bargaining deal:The Asahi Shimbun
Two executives of Nissan Motor Co. who entered into a plea-bargaining deal with prosecutors investigating suspected financial wrongdoing by Carlos Ghosn will not be indicted, sources said... The pair who cooperated with prosecutors are a foreign senior executive and a Japanese official who once headed the company's secretariat. Sources said the foreign executive approached prosecutors through lawyers on Oct. 10 about a plea bargain, and the Japanese official did the same on Oct. 26.
Algerian police arrest brother of former president, two former intelligence chiefs - sources - Reuters
Algerian police have arrested Said Bouteflika, the youngest brother of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and two former intelligence chiefs, Generals Bachir Athmane Tartag and Mohamed Mediene, security sources said on Saturday... Said Bouteflika, who served as a top advisor to the presidency for more than a decade, acted as Algeria’s de facto ruler after his brother suffered a stroke in 2013 which left him in a wheelchair.
Nearly all countries agree to stem flow of plastic waste into poor nations | The Guardian
Almost all the world’s countries have agreed on a deal aimed at restricting shipments of hard-to-recycle plastic waste to poorer countries, the United Nations announced on Friday. Exporting countries - including the US - now will have to obtain consent from countries receiving contaminated, mixed or unrecyclable plastic waste. Currently, the US and other countries can send lower-quality plastic waste to private entities in developing countries without getting approval from their governments.

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2019.05.10

News Headlines - 10 May 2019

North Korea launches two short-range missiles, at same time as U.S. ICBM test - The Washington Post
North Korea launched two short-range missiles Thursday in its second such test in under a week, part of a calibrated escalation of pressure on Washington that coincided almost exactly with a U.S. test of an intercontinental ballistic missile... North Korea’s possible endgame remains difficult to decipher. Since Hanoi, there has been little apparent movement to restart talks on a potential deal to dismantle the North’s nuclear program in exchange for international development opportunities and the lifting of international sanctions.
Samsung Confirms Sudden Galaxy Fold Smartphone Cancellation
Today the company has announced it is going to start automatically cancelling orders for the once revolutionary Galaxy Fold. Now plagued with reliability problems, Samsung is looking to pull the world’s first commercial screen folding smartphone and the company has provided no date when the phone might go back on sale. This is a dramatic fall from grace... The only people who will still get a Galaxy Fold are those who have already ordered the $2,000 device and who tell Samsung specifically that they still want to receive it.
JAL and Malaysia Airlines aim to form 'joint venture' - Nikkei Asian Review

Japan Airlines and Malaysia Airlines are entering a flight-sharing and marketing tie-up, as the Japanese carrier takes another step to expand its Asian alliances since it was freed from government restrictions in 2017. The restrictions were imposed after the airline in 2010 was bailed out under the Corporate Rehabilitation Law. The tie-up with Malaysia Airlines is expected to strengthen its network of international flights. The carriers are calling their collaboration a "joint venture." In the aviation industry, the wording carries specific meaning -- tie-ups that allow partners to share income like a single company as well as adjust flight and fare schedules. The joint venture allows for more than code-sharing operations and enables passengers to more easily make connections.
Japan health ministry orders Ono Pharmaceutical to add warning to Opdivo cancer drug after death | The Japan Times
The health ministry said Thursday that a patient taking the cancer drug Opdivo has died and that it has ordered the manufacturer to add a warning on the package insert about a serious side effect. The patient was among 11 who experienced pituitary disorders after being treated with Opdivo, which is made by Ono Pharmaceutical Co.
Two children killed after car ploughs into crowd of kindergarteners in Japan | South China Morning Post
A car ploughed into a group of kindergarten children in western Japan’s Shiga region on Wednesday, killing two toddlers and injuring others, police said. Police said the car veered onto the pavement after making “contact” with another larger vehicle that was turning at a junction in Otsu City. The accident killed a girl and a boy, both two years old, a police spokesman said.

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2019.05.09

News Headlines - 09 May 2019

Iran nuclear deal: Tehran may increase uranium enrichment - BBC News
Iran has suspended commitments under the 2015 international nuclear deal, a year after it was abandoned by the US. President Hassan Rouhani said he would keep enriched uranium stocks in the country rather than sell them abroad... The 2015 accord was aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions in return for relief from sanctions. But since the US left the deal it has imposed new sanctions, hitting Iran's economy and raising Iran-US tensions.
Amazon (AMZN) Hackers Stole Merchant Funds in 2018 - Bloomberg
Amazon.com Inc. said it was hit by an "extensive" fraud, revealing that unidentified hackers were able to siphon funds from merchant accounts over six months last year. Amazon believes it was the victim of a "serious" online attack by hackers who broke into about 100 seller accounts and funneled cash from loans or sales into their own bank accounts, according to a U.K. legal document. The hack took place between May 2018 and October 2018, Amazon’s lawyers said in a redacted filing from November that can now be made public.
Home of controversial plastic surgeon Katsuya Takasu burglarized | TokyoReporter
A home of controversial plastic surgeon Katsuya Takasu burglarized of gold valued at more than 30 million, investigative sources revealed on Wednesday, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (May 8). At around 3:00 a.m., a security firm reported the break-in at a second home of Takasu in Nisshin City. The lost property included seven one-kilogram plates of gold and a personal computer.
Emperor performs 1st rituals at Imperial Palace sanctuaries - The Japan News
The Emperor performed rites in his first ceremonies in relation to his succession to the throne at the Kyuchu Sanden three sanctuaries in the Imperial Palace on Wednesday. During the Kashikodokoro-ni-Kijitsu-Hokoku-no-gi ceremony, the Emperor reported to his ancestors the date of the Sokuirei-Seiden-no-gi ceremony in October to disseminate at home and abroad the fact of his enthronement, as well as that of the Daijosai, a ceremony performed only once for each emperor, in November.
Shohei Ohtani Returns To Los Angeles Angels' Lineup After Six-Week Absence
Shohei Ohtani’s long-awaited return as designated hitter for the Los Angeles Angels was a big event in a 5-2 win over the Tigers in Detroit's Comerica Park Tuesday night even though the results may have been mundane. For the record, he went 0-4 with a walk and two strikeouts, driving in his first run of the season with a third-inning ground ball.

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2019.05.08

News Headlines - 08 May 2019

UK confirms participation in EU elections in May | DW

Despite talks with the opposition Labour Party to try to find an alliance to get the Brexit withdrawal agreement through Parliament, British Prime Minister Theresa May's deputy David Lidington conceded on Tuesday there was not enough time left to get the deal through the assembly.
"It is regrettably not going to be possible to finish that process" before May 23, Lidington said in a statement, promising to make the delay "as short as possible."
... This means that the UK will have to take part in European Parliament elections, which will take place from May 23 to 26.

Mike Pompeo warns UK over Huawei 'security risks' - BBC News

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has urged the UK to prioritise its security interests and those of its allies when dealing with Chinese firm Huawei.
Speaking in London, he said the US had "made its views well known" on Huawei's potential role in the UK's 5G network.
He said the US must protect its UK operations from "security risks" and ensure data partners were "trusted".

Japan to call on N. Korea to realize summit 'without conditions'

Tokyo plans to convey Abe's message that he is ready to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "without conditions," through the Japanese Embassy in Beijing and other various channels, according to the sources... Abe apparently lowered that hurdle amid fears of seeing the issue take a backseat to North Korea's nuclear and missile issues. While U.S. President Donald Trump has raised the abduction issue during his meetings with Kim, no substantial progress has been seen.

GM Self-Driving Cruise Raises $1.15 Billion With T. Rowe Joining - Bloomberg

General Motors Co.’s self-driving unit drew $1.15 billion in fresh investment, with T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. joining existing backers including Honda Motor Co. and SoftBank Vision Fund.
In what is GM Cruise LLC’s third major investment in the last year, the unit is now valued at $19 billion, according to a statement. Cruise raised $2.25 billion from the SoftBank Vision Fund and $2.75 billion from Honda last year.

Royal baby Archie: Prince Harry and Meghan name their 'bundle of joy' - Reuters

Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan announced on Wednesday they had named their newborn son Archie as they showed him off to the world, saying their “little bundle of joy” was magic.

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2019.05.07

News Headlines - 07 May 2019

Pompeo makes unannounced trip to Iraq to discuss tensions with Iran - CNNPolitics
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unannounced trip to Iraq on Tuesday after abruptly canceling a planned trip to Berlin amid escalating tensions with Iran. The top US diplomat met with Prime Minister Adil Abd al-Mahdi, President Barham Salih and other officials while on the ground in the Iraqi capital in a roughly four-hour visit, according to the pool traveling with Pompeo.
Turkey's election board orders rerun for Istanbul mayor - CNN
Turkey's election board has ruled in favor of a revote for Istanbul's new mayor -- just weeks after the opposition candidate won the contest -- in a decision denounced by opposition leaders as "plain dictatorship." The country's Supreme Election Council (YSK) announced its 7-4 decision on Monday due to allegations of electoral fraud, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party lost the race by a razor-thin margin.
Miss America, Miss Teen USA and Miss USA Are All Black Women for the First Time - The New York Times
Last week, for the first time, black women wore the crowns of all three major pageants simultaneously. Cheslie Kryst, 28, won the Miss USA contest, and Kaliegh Garris, 18, won Miss Teen USA. They joined Nia Franklin, 25, who was crowned as the 2019 Miss America in September.
Emperor Naruhito and Japan's lonely republicans - BBC News
After Japan was defeated, Hirohito, who sat on the Chrysanthemum Throne from 1926 to 1989, renounced his divinity. Under the constitution written by the US, Japan became a constitutional monarchy with the emperor kept on as "symbol of the state" who is forbidden from being involved in politics... In the later years of Hirohito's reign, anti-monarchy feelings were more pronounced. Leftist radicals carried out occasional small attacks on places associated with the emperor. But his son Akihito, who abdicated this Tuesday because of his age and ill health, succeeded in establishing the royal family as a symbol of peace after coming to the throne in 1989.
Wild raccoon moves into German zoo, can't be thrown out by law | The Japan Times
The German daily Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung reported Friday that zoo staffers recently discovered the uninvited guest inside the raccoon enclosure, where he seemed to be getting along fine with the seven original residents. The newspaper reported that the interloper - nicknamed Fred - can expect free board and lodgings for life because European Union rules forbid him from being released back into the wild. Under a 2015 EU directive, raccoons are considered an invasive alien species that might pose a threat to European plants and animals. Wild raccoons in Europe are the descendants of animals that escaped from fur farms decades ago.

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2019.05.06

News Headlines - 06 May 2019

Royal baby: Meghan gives birth to boy, Harry announces - BBC News
A beaming Prince Harry said they were "absolutely thrilled" and thanked the public for their support. He said Meghan and the baby were doing "incredibly well", adding that they were still thinking about names for the infant, who was delivered at 05:26 BST... The baby boy is seventh in line to the throne, behind the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and his children - Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis - and Prince Harry.
Theresa May in secret discussions on second Brexit referendum
Theresa May has held secret discussions over a three-way second referendum ahead of a crunch meeting with Labour this week to agree a cross-party Brexit deal. The Prime Minister has carried out “scenario planning” with aides and ministers in case the Government cannot prevent a Parliamentary vote on a second referendum.
Dow makes major recovery, rebounding from 471-point plunge - CNN
The Dow closed just 66 points lower on Monday, recovering from a plunge of as much as 471 points. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also erased their sharp losses, ending just 0.5% lower. The comeback signals investors don't believe President Donald Trump's surprise threat to impose higher tariffs on China will spark a painful deepening of the trade war. Optimists are even hoping an historic trade deal will still be reached.
Boeing Discovered Problem With Warning Light But Didn't Notify For A Year : NPR
Boeing knew that there was a problem with one of the safety features on its 737 Max planes back in 2017 - well before the Lion Air crash in October 2018 and the Ethiopian Airlines crash in March. But it did not disclose the issue to airlines or safety regulators until after the Lion Air plane crashed off the Indonesian coast, killing all 189 aboard.
Firefox Addons Being Disabled Due to an Expired Certificate
Mozilla Firefox users are discovering that all of their addons were suddenly disabled. It turns out that this is being caused by an expired intermediary certificate used to sign Mozilla addons. In numerous reports on Reddit, Twitter, and bug reports on bugzilla, users were stating that their Mozilla addons were suddenly disabled with a message stating that they "could be verified for use in Firefox".

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2019.05.05

News Headlines - 05 May 2019

Newly crowned Thai king carried through Bangkok in royal procession - Reuters
Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn visited Buddhist temples and greeted his subjects for the first time since his crowning in a royal procession around the old quarter of Bangkok on Sunday, as part of intricate coronation ceremonies held over three days.
Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro cancels New York trip as companies pull out of event | South China Morning Post
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro cancelled a trip to New York Friday after several companies pulled out of an event where he was to be honoured. In April, the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce named Bolsonaro 2019 Person of the Year, inviting him to take part in a gala dinner in New York the following month. The chamber rented space at the American Museum of Natural History for the event. The museum later said it would not be hosting the gala honouring Brazil’s far right president amid backlash. Companies including Delta Air Lines and the Financial Times also said they would not attend.
North Korea Urgently Needs Food Aid After Worst Harvest in Decade, U.N. Says - The New York Times
About 40 percent of North Korea’s population is in urgent need of food aid after the country suffered its worst harvest in a decade, the United Nations said on Friday, even as its regime defied international sanctions in order to keep its nuclear weapons program. The bad harvest left North Korea with a 1.36 million ton shortage of grain, forcing its government to reduce daily state rations to less than 11 ounces per person in January, compared with 380 grams a year earlier, the World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization said in their joint assessment.
Xi Jinping Tries to Crash the May Fourth Movement’s Centenary | The New Yorker
For China’s aging political leadership, certain anniversaries teeter between the emblematic and the problematic. On Tuesday, President Xi Jinping stood in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the May Fourth Movement, one of the most consequential social protests in Chinese history, in which students agitated against the incompetence of the country’s authoritarian leaders. Xi told “China’s youth” today to love their motherland, and to “obey the party and follow the Party.” He also urged them to study the May Fourth Movement, and added that “those who are unpatriotic, who would even go so far as to cheat and betray the motherland, are a disgrace in the eyes of their own country and the whole world.” Xi was taking a risk: the legacy of the May Fourth Movement is a complicated one, and to study its history is to confront the central hypocrisy of the Communist Party.
Jet stream pattern responsible for heatwaves, droughts in 2018: study - Xinhua
The extreme weather conditions were "directly connected to the emergence of a re-occurring pattern in the jet stream that stretches around the entire Northern Hemisphere," said lead author Kai Kornhuber from the University of Oxford and the PIK. At a height of about 10 kilometers within the atmosphere, the air current formed a stalled wave pattern, which made weather conditions more persistent and thus extreme in the affected regions, the PIK study found. According to the study, the same pattern had also occurred during the heat waves in Europe that occurred during the summers of 2015, 2006 and 2003.

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2019.05.04

News Headlines - 04 May 2019

140,000 people greet Japan's Emperor Naruhito as he makes first public appearance since accession | The Japan Times
Emperor Naruhito expressed his hopes for progress toward world peace on Saturday at the Imperial Palace, where tens of thousands of people gathered to witness his first public greeting since ascending to the throne on May 1... More than 140,000 people gathered for greeting sessions scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to the Imperial Household Agency, in which members of the imperial family made roughly five-minute appearances once every hour. The figure exceeded around 109,800 for the former emperor’s first public appearance in November 1990 following his ascension to the throne, according to the Imperial Household Agency.
Momo-3 is Japan's first private rocket to reach space | The Japan Times
A Japanese aerospace startup successfully launched a small rocket on Saturday, making it the country’s first privately developed model to reach outer space. Interstellar Technology Inc. said the unmanned Momo-3 launched from its test site in Hokkaido and reached about 110 kilometers (68 miles) in altitude before falling into the Pacific Ocean after 10 minutes of flight time.
North Korea launches short-range missiles | The Independent
North Korea has fired several short-range missiles from its east coast, South Korea’s military said, amid growing tensions with Washington following a failed nuclear summit in February. South Korean and US authorities are analysing details of the missiles, which were fired towards the east from the Hodo peninsula at around 9am local time. The missiles flew distances ranging from 70kms to 200 kms (44-124 miles), according to South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff.
Ebola Deaths Top 1,000 in Congo Amid Clinic Attacks - The New York Times
More than 1,000 people have died from Ebola in eastern Congo since August, the country’s health minister said on Friday, the second-worst outbreak of the disease in history behind the West African one in 2014-16 that killed more than 11,300. The toll came as hostility toward health workers continued to hamper efforts to contain the virus.
Cyclone Fani kills dozens in India and Bangladesh | Al Jazeera
Cyclone Fani, the strongest storm to hit the Indian subcontinent in five years, has barrelled into Bangladesh after leaving a trail of deadly destruction across the eastern coast of India. At least 16 people died in India, mostly in the worst-hit state of Odisha, Al Jazeera's Scott Heidler said on Saturday, citing local Indian media reports.

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2019.05.02

News Headlines - 02 May 2019

US Ending Iranian Oil Sanctions Waivers
The United States is tightening its economic sanctions on Iran by ending a set of waivers Thursday that had allowed some of the country’s largest oil buyers to continue their purchases. With the expiration of waivers for eight buyers, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States would be exerting “maximum pressure” on the Iranian government.
Senate fails to override Trump veto of bill to end U.S. role in Yemen
The Senate on Thursday failed to override President Donald Trump's veto of a resolution that would have required him to end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The 53-to-45 vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to overturn Trump's veto, although supports quickly vowed to try to use other legislative tools to try to curb the U.S. role in Yemen. Seven Republican senators bucked the president to join with 44 Democrats and two independents in Thursday's vote.
Carnival Cruise Line is sued over properties seized by Cuban government decades ago - The Washington Post
Miami-based Carnival Cruise Line on Thursday became the first U.S. company sued for using property confiscated six decades ago by Cuba’s revolutionary government, after the Trump administration ended a waiver of the law permitting such lawsuits... The actions, in federal court in Miami, were filed by two U.S. citizens whose parents owned commercial docks in Havana and in the southeastern Cuban city of Santiago. “The communist government,” the claim said, “nationalized, expropriated, and seized ownership and control” of the properties when their families fled the island in 1960.
Brexit boosts support for Scottish independence to 49 percent - POLITICO
Support for Scottish independence has risen to 49 percent, its highest level since 2015, according to a poll released Saturday. Asked whether Scotland should be an independent country, 49 percent of respondents said "yes," according to a YouGov poll conducted this week for the Times. That's up from 45 percent in June 2018.
Athlete Semenya loses appeal over testosterone rules - Reuters
Olympic 800-metres champion Caster Semenya on Wednesday lost her appeal against rules that mean female athletes with high natural levels of testosterone must take medication to reduce it.

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2019.05.01

News Headlines - 01 May 2019

One Image of Japan’s Royals Tells a Story of Demographic Crisis - The New York Times
During the short, solemn ceremony on Wednesday in which the new emperor of Japan, Naruhito, 59, accepted the sacred sword, jewels and seals that signify his right to sit on the throne, he was flanked by just two people. Standing ramrod straight to his right was his younger brother, Prince Akishino. To his left was his aging uncle, Prince Hitachi, who sat in a wheelchair. It was striking visual evidence of the imperial family’s looming existential crisis: It has precious few heirs left. Like Japan itself, the imperial family has a demographic problem. Just as Japan’s population is shrinking and aging, so is the royal family’s. The line of succession, which is limited to men, is only three people long.
Thailand's King Maha Remarries, Appoints New Wife as Queen | Time
Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who will have his official coronation on Saturday, has appointed his consort as the country’s queen. An announcement Wednesday in the Royal Gazette said Suthida Vajiralongkorn Na Ayudhya is legally married to the 66-year-old king, and is now Queen Suthida. Although she has been in the public eye for about three years, there has been little official information released about her and the news was a surprise to many Thais. Suthida is reported to be 40 years old and to have previously worked as a flight attendant for Thai Airways International. The two reportedly met on a flight.
CNN and BBC pulled off the air by Venezuela's government - CNN
CNN was taken off the air by the Venezuelan government on Tuesday moments after the network broadcast a feed that showed military vehicles running over protesters in Caracas. DirecTV, Net Uno, Intercable, and Telefónica all received orders from Venezuela's government regulator Conatel to block CNN. (DirecTV and CNN are both owned by AT&T.) A BBC spokesperson told CNN that BBC Global News had also been taken off the air in the South American country.
Poles stage banana protest over removal of 'indecent' artwork - Reuters
Around 1,000 people, many eating bananas to make their point, protested in front of Warsaw’s National Museum on Monday over a decision last week to remove artworks deemed “indecent” by the museum’s director. One work, a 1973 video “Consumer Art” by Polish artist Natalia LL and stills from the video, show a woman eating a banana in sometimes lascivious poses. Only the video was removed on Friday according to the museum’s officials.
Ifo study casts doubt on electric vehicles′ climate-saving credentials | DW
When the ifo institute released its findings shortly before Easter, its verdict amounted to no less than the slaughtering of a sacred cow of German climate policy: electromobility. The claims made by former ifo president Hans-Werner Sinn, physics professor Christoph Buchal and ifo energy expert Hans-Dieter Long could deal a big blow to this country's efforts to reduce traffic-related CO2 by 40% over the next decade... The research trio compared the CO2 footprint of a Tesla Model 3 with those of a Mercedes 220d diesel car and a Mercedes C Class model converted from petrol to liquefied natural gas (LNG). Their focus was on the cars' whole life cycle emissions — from the first nut welded right down to the cars' final kilometer. The life cycle in terms of distance driven was arbitrarily set at 150,000 kilometers (93,205 miles) for better judgement.

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2019.04.30

News Headlines - 30 April 2019

Emperor Akihito: Japanese monarch declares historic abdication - BBC News
Japan's Emperor Akihito has declared his abdication in a historic ceremony at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. In his last public address as emperor, Akihito handed over the symbols of power and thanked the public for their support during his 30-year reign... He is the first Japanese monarch to stand down in more than 200 years. Akihito technically remained emperor until midnight (15:00 GMT on Tuesday).
Venezuela Crisis: Guaidó Calls for Uprising as Clashes Erupt - The New York Times
Clashes between antigovernment protesters and law enforcement officers erupted in Caracas on Tuesday after the Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Guaidó, appeared alongside soldiers at a military base and called for the population to rise up against the president, Nicolás Maduro. Mr. Guaidó has urged the Venezuela military to join his side since he declared himself interim president more than three months ago. But it was a new step for him to make the declaration with men in uniform by his side. Still, it is unclear how much of the military supports him.
IS Leader Appears In Video For First Time In Five Years
The leader of the extremist Islamic State (IS) group has appeared in a video for the first time in five years. The video -- released by the IS's media outlet, Al-Furqan, on April 29 -- shows Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appearing with an unkempt, bushy gray and red beard while sitting on the floor against a wall... Baghdadi, 47, last appeared in a video while delivering a sermon at the Al-Nuri Mosque in 2014 in the Iraqi city of Mosul, which had been taken by IS forces when they swept over large swathes of Iraq and Syria. It was during that speech that he declared the establishment of an Islamic caliphate.
Ex-US North Korea envoy Joseph Yun says Trump approved signing of Warmbier pledge - CNNPolitics
Joseph Yun, the former State Department Special Representative for North Korea, confirmed Monday that he signed an agreement to pay North Korea $2 million for the release of American student Otto Warmbier in 2017. In an interview with CNN's Jim Sciutto, Yun said that he did so with the approval of then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and that it was his understanding President Donald Trump had also signed off on the decision.
President Trump has made more than 10,000 false or misleading claims - The Washington Post
It took President Trump 601 days to top 5,000 false and misleading claims in The Fact Checker’s database, an average of eight claims a day. But on April 26, just 226 days later, the president crossed the 10,000 mark — an average of nearly 23 claims a day in this seven-month period... In the first 100 days, Trump averaged less than five claims a day, which would have added up to about 7,000 claims in a four-year presidential term.

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2019.04.29

News Headlines - 29 April 2019

Man arrested over entering Prince Hisahito's school - The Mainichi

A 56-year-old man was arrested Monday on suspicion of entering the premises of the junior high school Prince Hisahito attends, police said, after knives were found on the prince's classroom desk last week.

Japanese bureaucrat in drugs arrest - NHK WORLD

Police in Tokyo have arrested a government bureaucrat for allegedly smuggling illegal drugs into Japan... Police say he received a package sent by international mail containing about 22 grams of stimulants with a street value of more than $11,000.
Customs officials found the drugs stashed inside a fashion magazine while checking a suspicious package sent from the United States.
Police say the shipping address was not Nishida's, but he instructed a post office to deliver it to his home.

Jokowi wants to move capital out of Java - The Jakarta Post

The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) presented its initial study on the relocation plan during a Cabinet meeting led by Jokowi on Monday, where the top executives discussed alternatives to establish a new political and government hub amid environmental concerns and overcrowding in Jakarta... The first was to keep Jakarta as the capital but establish a government district centered around the Presidential Palace and the National Monument to improve efficiency, while the second option was to establish a new capital located 50 to 70 kilometers outside Jakarta.

Experts warn Macron against rushing to rebuild Notre-Dame

Macron pledged to rebuild the cathedral within five years, after a devastating fire destroyed its spire and reduced much of the roof to cinders on April 15.
In the weeks that followed, a special bill was drafted, that - if approved - would allow the government to speed the project along by bypassing public procurement legislation and laws on cultural heritage.
Yet Macron’s apparent determination to rebuild Notre-Dame as quickly as possible has left many experts worried. In an open letter published on Monday by French daily Le Figaro, 1,170 architects, conservationists and academics from around the world called on the French president not to rush into reconstruction.

Ashdown Forest fire: Winnie the Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood ablaze

Ashdown Forest - the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood - went up in flames overnight as a fire swept across six acres of land... The forest gave birth to AA Milne's famous creation. The Hundred Acre Wood, from the author's children's books, is actually named after the Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest.

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2019.04.28

News Headlines - 28 April 2019

Denso profit drops 23% on increased investment, market slowdown

Denso, the Toyota Group company that is Japan's biggest auto parts supplier, reported a 23 percent decline in operating profit for the latest fiscal year... CEO Koji Arima predicted that revenue and operating profit will increase in the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2020, thanks to rising sales of electrification and safety related products.
Denso announced separately April 26 that Akio Toyoda, president of Toyota Motor, will be appointed to its board, pending approval at Denso's annual shareholder meeting.

Weak South Korean economy and cooling North Korea ties threatening Moon Jae-in's political future | The Japan Times

South Korea’s Moon Jae-in has staked his presidency on tackling two big challenges: North Korea and the economy. Both are proving to be stubborn foes.
The country’s gross domestic product contracted 0.3 percent in the first quarter - the biggest decline in a decade - the Bank of Korea said Thursday. The blow came just two days before the president was expected to mark the first anniversary of his historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - with an event snubbed by the North Koreans.

Feral cats in Australia: Government again in spotlight for plan to kill 2 million cats by 2020 | abc7news.com

Australia's federal government is once again in the spotlight for a years-old plan to cull 2 million feral cats by 2020, this time after details emerged about the reported use of poison-laced sausages to reduce the island's wild cat population.
Modern feral cats are the same species as domesticated house cats, but they hunt and survive in the wild without human contact. Scientists have linked the large cat population's predatory behaviors with the decline and, in some cases, the extinction of more than two dozen of Australia's native species.

Maria Butina sentenced to 18 months for trying to infiltrate US right and NRA The Guardian

A federal judge sentenced the Russian gun-rights activist Maria Butina to 18 months in prison on Friday, after she tried to infiltrate US conservative groups and the National Rifle Association to promote Russian political interests around the 2016 election.
After serving time in prison, Butina, 30, would be deported, a US district court judge said in a ruling the Russian embassy in Washington attacked as “political” and driven by “repressive US legislation”.
The judgment, which Butina can appeal, is a turning point in a high-profile case that came amid speculation over the extent of Russian interference in American politics.

NASA detects first 'Mars quake', and here's what it sounds like

The first "Mars quake" has been detected, NASA announced Tuesday... NASA said this is the first trembling that appears to have come from inside the planet, as opposed to being caused by forces above the surface, such as wind.
The sound was detected by NASA's Insight Lander, a robot spacecraft that's now sitting on the Martian surface. The sound was detected on April 6, 2019.

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2019.04.27

News Headlines - 27 April 2019

Knives found near Japan Prince Hisahito’s desk at Tokyo school, intruder caught on security video | South China Morning Post

Two kitchen knives have been found at the school desk of Japan’s Prince Hisahito, grandson of Emperor Akihito, with security camera footage showing a suspicious man trespassing on the grounds, media reported on Saturday.
The incident came as authorities were strengthening security before the popular emperor’s abdication next week after a 30-year reign.

Japan emperor: The mysterious Imperial Treasures - BBC News

On 1 May, Crown Prince Naruhito will ascend the Chrysanthemum Throne after his father abdicates, becoming the new emperor of Japan.
Both the abdication and accession will involve deeply symbolic Shinto ceremonies, and central to them will be three objects - a mirror, a sword and a gem - known as the Imperial Treasures or Regalia.
The origins and whereabouts of the mysterious objects are shrouded in secrecy, but myths about them are peppered throughout Japanese history and pop culture.

Leica's promo referencing the Tiananmen Massacre went viral on China's social media. Then, it disappeared. | Hong Kong Free Press

A new video promoting the German camera company Leica has caused an uproar on the Chinese internet, resulting in a ban on the video and its derivatives. Produced by Leica’s ad agency F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi, a five-minute video was launched in Brazil on April 16 to celebrate 100 years of the brand.
The video, titled “The Hunt,” features a collage of photographers documenting violence and hardship in different parts of the world. It is book-ended with scenes from inside a Beijing hotel in 1989, where a photographer is harassed by Chinese military officers but then left alone. Gunfire can be heard in the background as the photographer walks to the window, and raises his camera. Reflected in the lens, we see the infamous image of military tanks moving through Tiananmen Square towards a single protester standing before them.

Possible Banksy emerges as Extinction Rebellion protests close - ITV News

The end of the 10 days of climate change protests by Extinction Rebellion activists has been marked by the daubing of what appears to be a Banksy mural.
The environmental artwork sprung up on a wall in Marble Arch around the time the demonstrators gathered nearby to celebrate the closing of their spell of disruption in central London.
While there is no confirmation the piece is by the famed artist, it does bear a similar stencilled style.

Competition regulator blocks Sainsbury's £7.3 billion takeover of Walmart's ASDA - Reuters

Britain’s competition regulator on Thursday blocked Sainsbury’s proposed £7.3 billion takeover of Walmart-owned Asda - a huge blow to the supermarket groups who wanted to combine to overtake market leader Tesco.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) ruling is also a major setback for Sainsbury’s Chief Executive Mike Coupe, the architect of the deal and the group’s boss since 2014. For Walmart, the deal was a way to exit Britain, one of the weakest performers in its global portfolio, as it moves to revamp its international operations.

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2019.04.26

News Headlines - 26 April 2019

Shifting to more diverse hiring practices | The Japan Times

Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation) and representatives from universities have compiled an interim report calling for a departure from the long-established practice in which most big companies recruit prospective graduates en masse around the same time of year to start working in April - and a shift to more diverse hiring practices, such as year-round hiring, which is much more common in other countries and is increasingly being adopted here by firms in the IT and other growth sectors. The move reflects a sense of crisis among many Japanese firms that if they stick to the established hiring practice they will lose out in the race to secure employees with the knowledge and skills they need in the increasingly competitive and globalized business environment.

2 Japan opposition parties agree to merge ahead of upper house poll - The Mainichi

The leaders of the Democratic Party for the People (DPFP) and the Liberal Party (LP) agreed to merge the two opposition parties ahead of the House of Councillors election, now just months away.
DPFP leader Yuichiro Tamaki and LP co-head Ichiro Ozawa reached a formal agreement on the merger during an April 26 meeting at DPFP headquarters. The meeting followed a general assembly of DPFP members of both houses of the Diet held at the party headquarters in the predawn hours of April 26, where a majority of attendees agreed on the LP merger.

Japan nuclear regulator to halt reactors without anti-terrorism systems - Reuters

Japan’s nuclear regulator on Wednesday said it would start ordering shutdowns on any reactors for which power companies have not met deadlines for installing anti-terrorism safety features.
The deadlines start next year and are different for each reactor. The earliest deadline falls in March 2020 for Kyushu Electric’s Sendai reactor in southwestern Japan.

Myanmar court rejects final appeal by jailed Reuters journalists | The Guardian

The highest court of Myanmar has denied the final appeal of the two Reuters journalists who were imprisoned for their reporting on the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, upholding the seven-year prison sentence and dashing the last hope that justice would be served.
The swift ruling, by Myanmar’s highest court, was a devastating blow to Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, who were arrested in December 2017 and accused of breaking a colonial-era Official Secrets Act, and have now been in jail for 16 months.

Hundreds of thousands protest against Algeria's ruling elite - Reuters

Hundreds of thousands of protesters demanding the departure of Algeria’s ruling elite rallied peacefully in Algiers for a tenth consecutive Friday.
President Abdelaziz Bouteflika stepped down after 20 years in power this month, bowing to pressure from the army and weeks of demonstrations mainly by young people seeking change.

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2019.04.25

News Headlines - 25 April 2019

Joe Biden 2020: Former vice president Joe Biden says he's running for president in video announcing bid released today - live updates - CBS News

Ending months of speculation, former Vice President Joe Biden announced Thursday he is launching his third presidential campaign. Instantly joining the race as an early frontrunner, the former vice president and more than a dozen major Democratic candidates seek to deny President Trump a second term.

Otto Warmbier case: North Korea presented U.S. with $2 million bill for care of comatose student - The Washington Post

North Korea issued a $2 million bill for the hospital care of comatose American Otto Warmbier, insisting that a U.S. official sign a pledge to pay it before being allowed to fly the University of Virginia student home from Pyongyang in 2017.
The presentation of the invoice - not previously disclosed by U.S. or North Korean officials - was extraordinarily brazen even for a regime known for its aggressive tactics.
But the main U.S. envoy sent to retrieve Warmbier signed an agreement to pay the medical bill on instructions passed down from President Trump, according to two people familiar with the situation. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Japan to Compensate Forcibly Sterilized Patients, Decades After the Fact - The New York Times

More than 20 years after it repealed a eugenics law, Japan has agreed to compensate victims of a decades-long government program under which thousands of people were forcibly sterilized because of intellectual disabilities, mental illness or genetic disorders.
Under a bill passed by Japan’s Parliament on Wednesday, the government will offer 3.2 million yen, or about $28,600, to each of the survivors who were sterilized between 1948 and 1996 under the law.
Of the estimated 25,000 people who were sterilized, the government has identified about 5,400, and it is not known how many are still living.

Japan's Hitachi plans to sell chemical unit, sources say - Reuters

Japan’s Hitachi Ltd plans to sell its majority stake in Hitachi Chemical, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters, in what would mark the latest deal by the sprawling conglomerate to streamline its businesses... The sale of Hitachi Chemical could start as early as next month, one of the sources said, adding that the unit could attract strategic suitors as well as buyout funds. Both sources declined to be identified as the information is not public.

Sri Lanka says 60 people arrested since Easter Sunday blasts - Reuters

More than 60 people have been arrested since the rash of Easter Sunday suicide bombing attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka that killed at least 359 people, the leader of the country’s parliament said on Wednesday.

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2019.04.24

News Headlines - 24 April 2019

Sri Lanka bombings: Islamic State claims responsibility for attacks | World news | The Guardian

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 320 people, the group’s Amaq news agency has said.
The terrorist group released a photograph of the alleged ringleader of the attacks, as well as what it said was the nom de guerre of each attacker. The group said the bombers targeted citizens of the US-led coalition fighting Isis and referred to Easter as an “infidel holiday”.

Indonesia urged to review polls after over 100 election workers, police die of exhaustion - The Straits Times

The death from exhaustion of more than 100 Indonesian election workers and police officers during the world's largest one-day vote has triggered calls for a review of the simultaneous presidential and legislative polls.
More than seven million workers were deployed as almost 245,000 candidates vied for about 20,000 posts, according to the General Elections Commission.
Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Wiranto said 139 officials were confirmed dead as of Wednesday (April 24), while the commission said more than 500 fell ill after the vote.

Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Leaders Sentenced to Prison | Time

Eight Hong Kong activists were handed sentences of up to 16 months in prison on Wednesday for their roles organizing pro-democracy demonstrations in 2014.
The activists were convicted on charges of public nuisance and incitement two weeks ago, a verdict that some perceived as underscoring eroding political freedoms in the semi-autonomous Chinese enclave under pressure from Beijing.

Theresa May defies security warnings of ministers and US to allow Huawei to help build Britain's 5G network

Theresa May has given the green light to a Chinese telecoms giant to help build Britain's new 5G network despite warnings from the US and some of her most senior ministers that it poses a risk to national security.
The National Security Council, which is chaired by the Prime Minister, agreed on Tuesday to allow Huawei limited access to help build parts of the network such as antennas and other “noncore” infrastructure.
Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, Foreign Secretary, Gavin Williamson, Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, International Trade Secretary, and Penny Mordaunt, International Development Secretary, were said to have raised concerns about the approach.

Treasury's Mnuchin misses congressional deadline to hand over Trump tax returns - Reuters

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to meet a final congressional deadline on Tuesday for turning over President Donald Trump’s tax returns to lawmakers, setting the stage for a possible court battle between Congress and the administration.

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2019.04.23

News Headlines - 23 April 2019

SoftBank Founder Masayoshi Son Lost $130 Million on Bitcoin - WSJ

Masayoshi Son, the billionaire founder of SoftBank Group Corp., made a huge personal bet on bitcoin just as prices for the digital currency peaked, losing more than $130 million when he sold out, according to people familiar with the matter.
Mr. Son, who launched the world’s biggest venture-capital fund on the strength of his long-term investing acumen, made the investment in late 2017 at the recommendation of a well-known bitcoin booster, whose investment firm SoftBank bought that year, the people said.

Toyota establishes research institute in China to study hydrogen, green technologies - Reuters

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp said on Sunday it was setting up a research institute in Beijing in partnership with Tsinghua University to study car technology using hydrogen power and other green technologies that could ease environmental problems in China.
The initiative, outlined by Toyota’s President and Chief Executive Akio Toyoda in a speech at Tsinghua University, is part of the Japanese carmaker’s efforts to share more technology with China as it seeks to expand its business in the country by beefing up manufacturing capacity and distribution channels, a source close to Toyota said.

Samsung Delays Launch of Galaxy Fold Smartphone | Fortune

Samsung has decided to postpone the launch of its anticipated folding smartphone after a number of reviews noted the device was too flimsy.
The company, in a press release, says it has pushed the launch back of the Galaxy Fold from the original target of April 26.

New IRA admits responsibility for murder of Lyra McKee - Irish Times

The New IRA admitted responsibility for the death of McKee in Derry. In a statement given to The Irish News using a recognised code word, the group offered “full and sincere apologies” to her family and friends.
The New IRA is an amalgam of armed groups opposed to the peace process and it recently claimed responsibility for parcel bombs sent to London and Glasgow in March.

Prince Louis: Kate's pictures mark first birthday - BBC News

Official photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's youngest child, Prince Louis, have been released to mark his first birthday.
Taken by the duchess, the images show the prince in the grounds of the family's home, Anmer Hall, on the Queen's Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.
Catherine also took Prince Louis' first official portraits, shortly after his birth on 23 April last year.

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2019.04.22

News Headlines - 22 April 2019

Carlos Ghosn indicted again - NHK WORLD

Prosecutors in Tokyo have brought another indictment against Carlos Ghosn for aggravated breach of trust... Prosecutors claim Ghosn sent money to a car dealership in Oman and some of it wound up in a Lebanese shell company he controls.
They say Nissan lost nearly 5 million dollars as a result of the transaction... Ghosn has denied all of the allegations.

China extends holidays and removes songs to avoid anniversary protests | Financial Times

National holidays are usually set well in advance. So when Beijing abruptly announced an extra three days of official holidays in early May, schools and businesses had to scramble to accommodate the new schedule.
The sudden change is just one of the measures the Chinese capital has taken to make sure no untoward gatherings are held to mark the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement, which spurred the modernisation of Chinese politics and society. It is followed by the even more sensitive 30th anniversary of the June 4 1989 military suppression of student and worker protests on Tiananmen Square.
Songs have been taken off music streaming platforms and controls on academics tightened ahead of the two anniversaries. To prevent any possible unrest, China extended the May 1 national holiday from one day to three days in the hope that many residents take vacation outside the capital.

Trump touts New York Times op-ed saying media owes him an apology

In another tweet from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida where the president was spending the holiday weekend, he referred to a New York Times opinion piece from last week in which the writer called on the liberal media to apologize to Trump.
“Do you believe this? The New York Times Op-Ed: MEDIA AND DEMOCRATS OWE TRUMP AN APOLOGY,” the president wrote. “Well, they got that one right!”
The author, Christopher Buskirk, said the “media and political elites” have a lot of work to do to regain Americans’ trust.

Girl's deadly reaction to toothpaste is extremely rare, allergist reminds parents - CNN

Monique Altamirano's 11-year-old daughter, Denise Saldate, died of a severe allergic reaction to toothpaste, she told Allergic Living.
Denise, who had a severe dairy allergy, had recently been given a prescription toothpaste that unknowingly contained a milk-derived protein. The California girl's parents were careful to check food labels for milk and other potential allergens but did not think to check the toothpaste, which triggered a deadly allergic reaction that did not respond to an epinephrine pen or inhalers, Altamirano told the magazine.

Polanski sues Oscars academy for reinstatement | The Japan Times

Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski is suing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, demanding his reinstatement nearly a year after the organization expelled him amid the #MeToo movement.
Polanski, who in 1977 pleaded guilty in California to statutory rape, argued in a court filing in Los Angeles that the academy wrongly denied him a hearing when it voted in May to oust him amid the nationwide furor sparked by sexual-abuse revelations against famed producer Harvey Weinstein.

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2019.04.21

News Headlines - 21 April 2019

At least 138 Killed in Sri Lanka in Easter Attacks

Sri Lanka has imposed a curfew, effective immediately, following a series of Easter Sunday explosions at churches and hotels... At least 138 people were killed and hundreds more hospitalized from injuries in near simultaneous blasts that rocked three churches and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter, a security official told The Associated Press, in the worst violence in the South Asian country since its civil war ended a decade ago.

Japan's ruling LDP loses two out of two Lower House by-elections in possible harbinger for July polls | The Japan Times

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party was dealt a crushing blow Sunday after losing the Lower House by-elections in Okinawa and Osaka, viewed as a harbinger for the Upper House election just a few months away, Kyodo News projections showed.
The loss of both national races in the second wave of the unified elections marked a significant setback for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who doubles as head of the ruling party.
It is the first time the LDP has lost a national by-election since Abe’s second term began in 2012, excluding the uncontested Lower House by-election in Kyoto Prefecture in 2016.

Sir Graham Brady to tell Theresa May: Stand down or be ousted | The Sunday Times

Theresa May will be told this week that she must step down as prime minister by the end of June or her MPs will change the Tory party leadership rules to force her out.
Sir Graham Brady, chairman of the back-bench 1922 committee, is set to visit May to tell her that 70% of her MPs now want her to resign for botching Brexit and presiding over a collapse in Tory support.
MPs on the executive of the committee will meet on Tuesday to decide whether to tear up the rules to allow a new vote of no confidence in May before December. Insiders say “swing voters” are leaning towards changing the rules unless she agrees to go by June 30.

Claims of Shoddy Production Draw Scrutiny to a Second Boeing Jet - The New York Times

When Boeing broke ground on its new factory near Charleston in 2009, the plant was trumpeted as a state-of-the-art manufacturing hub, building one of the most advanced aircraft in the world. But in the decade since, the factory, which makes the 787 Dreamliner, has been plagued by shoddy production and weak oversight that have threatened to compromise safety.
A New York Times review of hundreds of pages of internal emails, corporate documents and federal records, as well as interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees, reveals a culture that often valued production speed over quality. Facing long manufacturing delays, Boeing pushed its work force to quickly turn out Dreamliners, at times ignoring issues raised by employees.

Beavers released in Yorkshire anti-flooding trial - BBC News

Two beavers have been introduced into a Yorkshire forest in an effort to naturally manage water flows.
The pair of Eurasian beavers will be monitored to see how they affect the landscape and whether their actions can help prevent flooding.
The five-year Forestry England project will check if the creatures maintain dams and boost biodiversity.

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2019.04.20

News Headlines - 20 April 2019

N. Korea Says Bolton Comments on Third Summit Are Foolish: KCNA - Bloomberg

North Korea has criticized U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton for his comments downplaying a possible third summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, according to KCNA... North Korea’s Foreign Ministry diplomat Choe Son Hui was quoted by the news agency as saying. “I’m not sure if he meant to be humorous, but for me, his comments were unattractive and foolish.”
Bolton on Wednesday said the U.S. would need more evidence North Korea is ready to give up its nuclear weapons before Trump would meet Kim for a third time. His tone was more pessimistic than other members of the U.S. administration including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who earlier rejected calls by Pyongyang to be removed from the negotiation table.

U.S. authorities make first arrest in mysterious raid of North Korea’s Embassy in Spain - The Washington Post

U.S. authorities have made the first arrest related to the mysterious raid of North Korea’s Embassy in Spain in which masked assailants tied up staff, stole computers and fled to the United States, according to two people familiar with the matter.
On Thursday, federal authorities arrested Christopher Ahn, a former U.S. Marine and a member of Free Joseon, a group dedicated to the overthrow of North Korea’s Kim Dynasty.

Agreement made to clarify eel distribution - NHK WORLD

Delegates from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan ended the two-day meeting in Tokyo on Friday. They hope to save the Japanese eel from extinction.
Japan's fisheries agency says the amount of young eels caught in the country during the 4-month period through February this year was a record low 0.8 tons... Japan was hoping for a deeper cut at the latest conference, but officials refrained from tightening regulations as the biggest harvester, China, was absent for the fifth straight year.

Woman, 3-year-old daughter killed, 8 others injured after car, garbage truck collide in Tokyo - Japan Today

A car collided with a garbage truck in Tokyo on Friday, killing a woman and her daughter and injuring eight pedestrians... Police said the car, driven by an 87-year-old man, hit a pedestrian first, then continued on for about 70 meters where it collided with the garbage truck, with both vehicles hitting people on a crossing... The driver told police that the car's accelerator was not able to return to its original position.

Columbine Survivors Reflect, and Reckon With Specter of Future Shootings - The New York Times

Twenty years after two students attacked Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., killing 12 of their peers and one teacher and marking the beginning of an era of school threats and mass shootings, Columbine’s survivors are now parents.
On Saturday, the anniversary of the attack, many of those survivors returned to the school, walking its hallways with their children before heading to a memorial in a nearby park. The faces of their dead classmates flashed on a video screen as armed deputies stood by and the sun fell behind the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

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2019.04.19

News Headlines - 19 April 2019

Ministry inspects Suzuki HQ as part of dodgy inspection probe - The Mainichi

The transport ministry inspected the headquarters of Suzuki Motor Corp. on Friday as part of an investigation into improper quality inspections that led the automaker to recall more than 2 million cars in Japan... Suzuki reported to the ministry Thursday a recall of 2.02 million cars, record-high in a single domestic filing, after an investigation by outside lawyers found that uncertified employees checked car brakes before shipment and some certified workers falsified inspection records over the period from 1981 until January this year.

Nissan Denies Nikkei Report on Global Car Output Cut of 15% - Bloomberg

Nissan Motor Co. denied a report by the Nikkei that it’s planning to cut global output by around 15 percent for the fiscal year to March 2020, even as the carmaker struggles to reignite earnings and sales while dealing with the fallout from the arrest of ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn.
Nissan issued a rare response calling the details in the report “completely incorrect,” saying that it lodged a protest with the newspaper over its coverage. The Japanese automaker is seeking to produce around 4.6 million units, the lowest in nine years, according to the newspaper.

Sony bulks up anime business in China - Nikkei Asian Review

YO -- Sony plans to broaden its footprint in China's anime industry, aiming to apply a proven formula it has used in Japan, combining both new shows and merchandise to tap into a market that already exceeds $26 billion.

Tokyo to exhibit possible Banksy work - NHK WORLD

The illustration was discovered on a tide gate on the waterfront in Tokyo's Minato Ward in December of last year. People have noted its resemblance to works by renowned street artist Banksy. The anonymous artist is known for painting satirical artworks on buildings and other structures.
Tokyo authorities stored the illustration in a warehouse, and have been trying to determine whether it was created by the reclusive artist.
Koike said in a speech in Tokyo on Wednesday that her office has been trying to contact Banksy, so far without success. She said she is considering displaying it at the Tokyo government office during the holiday season in late April and early May.

Trump Administration Announces Measures Against Cuba, Venezuela And Nicaragua : NPR

The Trump administration has announced new sanctions and penalties against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua aimed at both ending the rule of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and weakening Cuba's communist regime.
One of the measures will allow lawsuits against foreign companies operating on property in Cuba that was seized from U.S. citizens during the Cuban revolution - a reversal of more than 20 years of U.S. policy.

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2019.04.18

News Headlines - 18 April 2019

Abe aide hints at delay in consumption tax hike - NHK WORLD

The government is preparing to increase the tax from 8 to 10 percent on October 1, but comments by the Liberal Democratic Party's Acting Secretary General, Koichi Hagiuda, have cast doubt on that plan.
Hagiuda told a net-cast program on Thursday that the Japanese economy is weakening slightly. He said the timing of the tax increase will depend on the results of the Bank of Japan's quarterly "tankan" survey of business sentiment. The next report is due out in July.
Hagiuda said if the survey shows that executives feel a sense of danger, the government won't "be able to take everyone to the edge of a cliff."

Tencent wins key approval to sell Nintendo's Switch in China - Reuters

China’s Tencent has won a key approval to start selling the Nintendo Switch in the country, paving the way for the console to enter the world’s largest video games market two years after it was first released worldwide.
Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong gave the green light on Thursday to Tencent Holdings to distribute the Nintendo Switch console with a test version of the “New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe” game, a statement on the government’s website showed.

India's Jet Airways Ceases Operations Amid Financial Woes : NPR

But earlier this week, that once-dazzling fleet of 120 planes was down to just seven. And before dawn Thursday, after months of wooing investors for cash that just didn't come, Jet Airways landed its last plane on the tarmac at its home base in Mumbai - at least for now.
Creditors say they're "reasonably hopeful" that a bidding process with potential investors would be able to save the company. Otherwise, if it declares insolvency under India's new 2016 bankruptcy law, Jet Airways' creditors may seek to dismantle the company and recover their debts within 180 days.

Egypt to vote on extending Sisi's term on April 20-22 | Al Jazeera

Egypt will hold a three-day referendum starting on Saturday over proposed constitutional changes that could allow President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to stay in power until 2030.
The ballot will run between April 20-22 and will also see voters decide on whether an upper parliamentary chamber should be created, Lasheen Ibrahim, the chairman of the National Election Authority, said in a statement on Wednesday.

N.Korea's Kim oversees test of new weapon with 'powerful warhead'

North Korea's Kim Jong Un has supervised the test-firing of a new tactical weapon with a "powerful warhead", state media reported Thursday, in the first test of its kind since nuclear negotiations with Washington stalled.
The test marks a ratcheting up of tensions weeks after a summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump collapsed without agreement.
It also comes after satellite imagery suggested heightened activity at a nuclear test site.

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2019.04.17

News Headlines - 17 April 2019

Taiwan's Richest Man Says He May Run For President

Foxconn’s billionaire founder and chairman, Terry Gou, said on Tuesday that he is considering running for Taiwan’s presidency in 2020.
Speaking on the sidelines of an event in Taipei that marked the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act, Gou said he would decide within the next few days whether to run for president as a candidate of the opposition party Kuomintang (KMT).

Indonesia's Joko Widodo poised to claim big win in presidential poll

Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is on track to claim a thumping victory and a second five-year term as Indonesia's President, with "quick counts" of ballot papers indicating he has defeated Prabowo Subianto by about eight to 10 percentage points.
Five reputable companies undertook the count of ballot papers, a process that has proved accurate in the past. They all forecast - with about 70 per cent of the count completed - that Joko had won between 54.6 and 55.2 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote by Wednesday evening.

Alan Garcia, former Peru president, dies from self-inflicted gunshot wound - CNN

Former Peruvian president Alan Garcia died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head as police were preparing to arrest him on Wednesday morning... Garcia, who served as president from 1985 to 1990 and from 2006 to 2011, was under investigation for money laundering and taking bribes in connection with a massive corruption scandal that has engulfed a number of former Latin American leaders.

Nuclear fuel removed from crippled Japan plant | New Straits Times

The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima power plant on Monday began removing atomic fuel from inside a building housing one of the reactors that melted down in 2011.
The delicate operation represents the first time the Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) has pulled out fuel rods from inside a highly contaminated building containing the melted-down reactor, and comes four years behind schedule.
Due to high radiation levels, technicians used remote-controlled equipment to haul fuel from a “storage pool” inside the building.

Toyota to build Corolla in Brazil that will run on electricity, ethanol and gas - Reuters

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp said on Wednesday it will begin building in Brazil a new version of the Corolla sedan that will run on electricity, ethanol and gas, the first vehicle of its kind to be built in Latin America.

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2019.04.16

News Headlines - 16 April 2019

Thousands block roads in Extinction Rebellion protests across London | The Guardian

Thousands of people have blocked well-known landmarks including Waterloo Bridge in central London, bringing widespread disruption to the capital in a “climate rebellion” that organisers say could last several days... The protests are part of a global campaign organised by the British climate group Extinction Rebellion, with demonstrations planned in 80 cities across 33 countries in the coming days.

Toyota unveils first electric SUVs at Shanghai motor show | The Japan Times

Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday unveiled the first two electric SUV models it plans to mass market in China as a major auto show got underway in Shanghai showcasing the newest vehicles by the world’s automakers... Toyota will begin selling the electrified C-HR and IZOA models in 2020. Executive Vice President Moritaka Yoshida said they represent the first in the Japanese automaker’s plan to roll out more than 10 EV models globally by the first half of the 2020s.

Mount Aso in Kumamoto erupts - NHK WORLD

Mount Aso in Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, has erupted.
The Meteorological Agency says the volcano erupted at 6:28 p.m. on Tuesday. Smoke mixed with volcanic ash rose about 200 meters from the mountain's crater.
The agency raised the alert level for Mount Aso to two on a scale of one to five on Sunday, after detecting active volcanic tremors and an increase in volcanic gas emissions.

Exclusive: What to Expect From Sony's Next-Gen PlayStation | WIRED

MARK CERNY WOULD like to get one thing out of the way right now: The videogame console that Sony has spent the past four years building is no mere upgrade.
You’d have good reason for thinking otherwise. Sony and Microsoft both extended the current console generation via a mid-cycle refresh, with the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 spawning mini-sequels (the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro). “The key question,” Cerny says, “is whether the console adds another layer to the sorts of experiences you already have access to, or if it allows for fundamental changes in what a game can be.”
The answer, in this case, is the latter. It’s why we’re sitting here, secreted away in a conference room at Sony’s headquarters in Foster City, California, where Cerny is finally detailing the inner workings of the as-yet-unnamed console that will replace the PS4.

'Super Saturdays' to highlight schedule for Tokyo Olympics | The Japan Times

Tokyo 2020 sports director Koji Murofushi walked a full news conference through the highlights of the marquee event, which will run from July 24 to Aug. 9... The competition will begin two days before the July 24 opening ceremony, with softball and women’s soccer players taking to the field on July 22.

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2019.04.15

News Headlines - 15 April 2019

Huge fire sweeps through Notre Dame Cathedral - in pictures | The Guardian

Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral was engulfed in flames on Monday afternoon, causing its main spire to collapse and raising fears for the future of the 850-year-old building and its precious artworks

Ex-VW boss Martin Winterkorn charged in Dieselgate scandal | DW

Public prosecutors in the German city of Braunschweig have brought charges against former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn over his role in the Dieselgate scandal, they said on Monday. Four other managers were also charged, they said.
Winterkorn stepped down as Volkswagen CEO in 2015 after revelations that the carmaker had programmed computers in its vehicles to detect when they were being tested and had altered the running of diesel engines to conceal the true level of emissions.

China Investigates Ericsson Over Licensing as 5G Competition Heats Up - WSJ

Authorities in China are investigating Swedish telecom-equipment giant Ericsson AB while the firm’s Chinese rival, Huawei Technologies Co., moves to counter a U.S. campaign to limit its business, the latest signs of global jockeying to shape next-generation 5G information networks.
Some 20 investigators from China’s State Administration for Market Regulation raided Ericsson’s Beijing office Friday, said a person familiar with the matter. Ericsson spokesman Peter Olofsson confirmed the investigation late Sunday

South Korea's Asiana Airlines to be put up for sale - The Straits Times

Asiana Airlines, South Korea's second-biggest air carrier, would be put up for sale in the near future as its parent company, Kumho Asiana Group, was struggling with liquidity crunch and massive debts.
Kumho Asiana Group decided to sell off its flagship unit of Asiana Airlines through the board of directors' meeting of Kumho Industrial, the largest shareholder of the air carrier that owned a 33.47 per cent stake, local media reported on Monday (April 15).
The stake was valued at about 300 billion won (S$358 million).

Shinji Okazaki to leave Leicester City on free transfer this summer

The Japan international, who will be 33 on Tuesday, has proven a hugely popular figure in the Leicester dressing room since a £7.5m move from Mainz in 2015 but is now ready to pursue a new challenge.
Okazaki made 30 appearances under Claudio Ranieri as Leicester lifted the Premier League title in the 2015/16 season, scoring three goals.
But first-team opportunities have been limited over the last 18 months, with Huddersfield failing with a £200,000 bid to sign him in January.

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2019.04.14

News Headlines - 14 April 2019

Ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage launches Brexit Party | Al Jazeera

Leading British eurosceptic Nigel Farage has launched a new political party with a promise of a "democratic revolution" in UK politics, beginning with the European Parliament elections in May.
The Brexit Party has 70 candidates and sees the upcoming elections, which begin on May 23, as a "first step", Farage said at the launch event in the English city of Coventry on Friday.

Isis plans to copy Paris atrocity with fresh wave of carnage | The Sunday Times

In Paris four years ago 130 people died when Isis terrorists stormed the Bataclan concert hall and attacked other soft targets across the city. In Manhattan two years later a pick-up mowed down cyclists and runners by the Hudson River, killing eight.
Isis operatives remember the atrocities well. Documents seen by The Sunday Times show that they are actively planning to recreate them in new attacks across Europe and the Middle East.
Detailed plans for terrorist assaults in Europe, funded and controlled by Isis leaders, are exposed in the trove of chilling documents.

Is Anyone Listening to You on Alexa? A Global Team Reviews Audio - Bloomberg

Amazon.com Inc. employs thousands of people around the world to help improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers. The team listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices. The recordings are transcribed, annotated and then fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands.

Russell Bateman's Skinny Bitch Collective under fire for using native Kenyans as workout props - ABC News

When renowned fitness coach Russell Bateman posted videos on Instagram of his invite-only fitness group Skinny Bitch Collective (SBC) on a retreat in Kenya, it set off a ripple of outrage across the platform.
The videos from the retreat that were posted over the weekend show a group of Western-looking women using Kenya's tribal Maasai people as props in their workout routine.
The backlash was so swift Mr Bateman had issued an apology and deleted his Instagram account within days.

Coffee not essential for life, Swiss government says - BBC News

The Swiss government wants to put an end to its emergency stockpile of coffee after declaring that it is "not essential" for human survival.
Switzerland began storing emergency reserves of coffee between World War One and World War Two in preparation for potential shortages... It now hopes to end the practice by late 2022. But opposition is mounting.
It currently has 15,300 tonnes saved up - that's enough to last the country three months.

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2019.04.13

News Headlines - 13 April 2019

Suzuki Motor to recall 2 million cars due to false brake checks:The Asahi Shimbun

Suzuki Motor Corp. announced April 12 it would recall about 2 million vehicles manufactured in domestic plants since April 2016 after admitting to more falsifications than it had previously acknowledged that involve key safety features, including brakes.
The recall is projected to cost the company about 80 billion yen ($714 million).
An investigative report by a team of outside lawyers released the same day referred to egregious handling of safety inspections by those in charge at the three plants in Japan.

Toshiba shares slump after sale of U.S. LNG business canceled - Reuters

Toshiba Corp shares fell by the most in two months on Friday after an agreement to offload its U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) business collapsed, a blow for the Japanese company which has been shedding assets to turn around its business.
Toshiba said late on Thursday that China’s ENN Ecological Holdings Co had scrapped an agreement to take over the LNG business due to a failure to get approvals from shareholders and a U.S. panel that monitors foreign investments.

TPK joins investment in Japan Display - Taipei Times

TPK Holding Co, a touch sensor supplier for Apple Inc’s iPads, yesterday said it has joined a consortium that is to invest ¥60 billion (US$535.9 million) for a 50 percent stake in ailing Japan Display Inc (JDI), as it seeks to secure its display supply and broaden its customer base.
The announcement ended three months of speculation about TPK’s involvement in talks to help the financially troubled Japanese display supplier... Changing its tune, TPK yesterday said it has signed a letter of intent to invest US$230 million in a consortium, Suwa Investment Holdings LLC, that would acquire a 49.82 percent stake in Japan Display.

North Korea's Kim Jong Un open to third summit with Trump -- but only if U.S. changes stance - The Washington Post

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he would be prepared to meet President Trump for a third summit, but only if the United States fundamentally changes its approach. He also warned that his patience is running out.
In a speech to the Supreme People’s Assembly in Pyongyang, Kim offered no hints of new concessions or ideas from his regime after the failure of February’s summit, putting the blame squarely on the United States and throwing the ball into Washington’s court.

India election 2019: marathon vote begins to decide Modi's fate | The Guardian

The world’s largest ever election has started in India, with voters in 20 states casting their ballots in the first phase of a marathon six-week poll.
The contest in the vast country of 1.3 billion people is dominated by local issues but also viewed as a referendum on the prime minister, Narendra Modi, a staunch Hindu nationalist who rode a wave of popularity five years ago to become the first leader of a majority government in decades.
Polls are now open in 91 seats, about a sixth of the total in the Indian parliament’s lower house, with six more voting days to be held before the results are announced on 23 May.

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2019.04.12

News Headlines - 12 April 2019

Kim Jong Un given new title amid broader North Korean political shake-up | NK News

DPRK leader Kim Jong Un was in the Friday morning edition of party daily the Rodong Sinmun described as “supreme representative of all the Korean people,” in what represents a new title amid a broader reshuffle in the country’s top leadership.
The comments reportedly came at Thursday’s session of the country’s rubber-stamp Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) - its first meeting since elections in March.
During Kim Jong Un’s reelection as chairman of the country’s State Affairs Commission (SAC), state media reported, top official Choe Ryong Hae used the new phrase to describe the DPRK leader.

South Korea WTO appeal succeeds in Japanese Fukushima food dispute - Reuters

South Korea won the bulk of its appeal on Thursday in a dispute at the World Trade Organization over import bans and testing requirements it had imposed on Japanese seafood in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Last year a WTO dispute panel supported Japan, saying South Korea was wrong to keep its initial trade restrictions in place. But Thursday’s ruling overturned several key points of that verdict, saying South Korea’s measures were not overly restrictive and did not unfairly discriminate against Japan.
The appeal looked solely at the panel’s interpretation of the WTO rules, without going into the facts about the levels of contaminants in Japanese food products or what the right level of consumer protection should be.

NHK reporter laughed at for asking black hole team for more on Japan’s contributions - Japan Today

This week scientists released the first-ever captured image of a black hole. It’s a major milestone in scientific progress, and it can’t help but make most of us ponder both the vastness of the cosmos and the amazing capabilities of the human species.
However, to one reporter from Japan’s public broadcaster NHK, this momentous milestone was also the perfect opportunity to remind the world that Japan is pretty great too, you know... After the reporter speaks his home country’s name, there’s a brief pause, followed by a roll of soft laughter from the other journalists in attendance. A handful of Japanese Twitter users, though, have responded in a harsher tone.

Israel's Beresheet spacecraft crashes on Moon - BBC News

The first privately funded mission to the Moon has crashed on the lunar surface after the apparent failure of its main engine.
The Israeli spacecraft - called Beresheet - attempted a soft touchdown, but suffered technical problems on its descent to the lunar surface... Only government space agencies from the former Soviet Union, the US and China have achieved soft lunar landings.

New York City Has a Y2K-Like Problem, and It Doesn’t Want You to Know About It - The New York Times

On April 6, something known as the GPS rollover, a cousin to the dreaded Y2K bug, mostly came and went, as businesses and government agencies around the world heeded warnings and made software or hardware updates in advance.
But in New York, something went wrong - and city officials seem to not want anyone to know.
At 7:59 p.m. E.D.T. on Saturday, the New York City Wireless Network, or NYCWiN, went dark, waylaying numerous city tasks and functions, including the collection and transmission of information from some Police Department license plate readers.

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2019.04.11

News Headlines - 11 April 2019

Sudan's army removes President Bashir after 30 years in power | The Guardian

Sudan’s army has removed President Omar al-Bashir from power after 30 years, following months of protests that escalated at the weekend when demonstrators began a sit-in outside the defence ministry compound in central Khartoum.
Bashir had been arrested “in a safe place”, the Sudanese defence minster and army general Ahmed Awad Ibn Auf said in a statement broadcast on state media. A military council will take control of the country for two years, after which elections would be held, Ibn Auf added.

Baby with DNA from three people born in Greece | The Guardian

A baby with DNA from three people has been born in Greece following a controversial fertility treatment.
The baby boy, weighing 2.9kg (6lb), was born on Tuesday and both he and his mother, who is 32, are said to be in good health.
The doctors behind the treatment, from Greece and Spain, say it marks a historic advance - it is the first time an IVF technique involving DNA from three people has been used with the aim of addressing fertility problems.

Bridgestone to join Toyota and JAXA int'l space mission to Moon

Bridgestone Corp. said Wednesday it will become a part of Toyota Motor Corp. and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's joint mission to send a rover to the Moon.
The world's leading tire maker announced its participation at the Space Symposium in Colorado. JAXA is planning to launch the five-year mission in 2029.

Tesla and Panasonic hold off on Gigafactory expansion

Tesla and Panasonic are delaying plans to expand the electric car maker's Gigafactory 1 battery plant in Nevada. The two companies decided to freeze spending on the world's largest EV battery plant following less-than-stellar demand of new Teslas, reported Nikkei Asian Review. The two companies had initially planned to raise capacity by 50 percent by next year. Panasonic has also apparently canceled plans to invest in Tesla's new Gigafactory in Shanghai, as well.

'Cowboy Bebop' Anime Star Comments On Netflix's Live-Action Cast

When it comes to Cowboy Bebop, the anime has gained an all-star reputation with fans. Over the years, the series has become one of anime’s most critically praised projects, and it is about to get a new lease on life. Netflix is making headway on their adaptation of the series, and one anime star is weighing in on the series.
Not long ago, reports went live about Netflix and its plans for Cowboy Bebop. It seems the lead cast for the adaptation has been selected as John Cho will play Spike Spiegel. And, for anime fans, they should know the pick has the approval of Spike’s English voice actor.

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2019.04.10

News Headlines - 10 April 2019

Japan Olympics minister expresses intention to resign over gaffes - The Mainichi

Japanese Olympics minister Yoshitaka Sakurada on April 10 expressed his intention to resign to take responsibility for a series of gaffes.
Sakurada conveyed his intention to step down to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at the prime minister's office following a gaffe earlier that day relating to Japan's recovery from the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.
During a party in Tokyo for Hinako Takahashi, a member of the House of Representatives belonging to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Sakurada had stated, "Ms. Takahashi is more important than restoration. Please extend your assistance."

The last surviving Doolittle Raider, Richard E. Cole, dies at 103 - ABC News

Retired Lt. Col. Richard E. Cole, the last surviving Doolittle Raider, has died. He was 103... In early 1942, Cole volunteered for "Special Mission Number 1," according to an Air Force news release. He trained at Eglin Air Field and on April 18, 1942 served as then-Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle's copilot during a raid on Tokyo.

Black hole picture captured for first time in space ‘breakthrough’ | The Guardian

The picture shows a halo of dust and gas, tracing the outline of a colossal black hole, at the heart of the Messier 87 galaxy, 55 million light years from Earth.
The black hole itself - a cosmic trapdoor from which neither light nor matter can escape - is unseeable. But the latest observations take astronomers right to its threshold for the first time, illuminating the event horizon beyond which all known physical laws collapse.
The breakthrough image was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a network of eight radio telescopes spanning locations from Antarctica to Spain and Chile, in an effort involving more than 200 scientists.

About 1 in 4 Japanese adults in their 20s and 30s is a virgin, study says - CNN

Japanese adults have their first heterosexual sexual experiences later than their counterparts in the United States and the UK, according to a new study.
Public health experts at the University of Tokyo found that sexual inexperience was on the rise in the country, with the percentage of women aged 18 to 39 who'd never had sex rising to 24.6% in 2015 from 21.7% in 1992.
The change was greater for men of the same age, with 25.8% virgins in 2015, up from 20% in 1992.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern pays for groceries of a mum who forgot her wallet | Stuff.co.nz

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has shown a compassionate side during a recent visit to a supermarket.
Ardern confirmed that she recently helped out a mother-of-two who had forgotten her wallet while shopping at Countdown in Ponsonby, Auckland... When Ardern was asked by a journalist during a press conference in Hamilton on Thursday whether she had paid for the woman's groceries, she said "yes".

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2019.04.09

News Headlines - 09 April 2019

Japan's air force loses contact with F-35 stealth fighter - Reuters

Japan’s military said on Tuesday it lost contact with one of its Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters over the Pacific Ocean close to northern Japan.
Japan’s first squadron of F-35s has just become operational at the Misawa air base and the government plans to buy 87 of the stealth fighters to modernize its air defenses as China’s military power grows.

In video, ousted Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn claims he's a victim of 'conspiracy' | The Japan Times

In a highly anticipated video released Tuesday, Carlos Ghosn characterizes his ousting from the automaker he led for 20 years as “a conspiracy” by “selfish” Nissan executives afraid to forge ahead in its alliance with Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Renault SA... According to Junichiro Hironaka, one of his lawyers, Ghosn originally named individuals as masterminds of the conspiracy, but the defense team redacted those names at their discretion after getting consent from Ghosn. The video was aired to journalists a day after Nissan formally expelled Ghosn, who faces charges of financial misconduct and breach of trust, from its board at an extraordinary shareholders meeting.

Japan to have new banknotes in 2024, one featuring Hokusai's 'Great Wave'

Japanese banknotes will be redesigned for the first time in two decades in 2024 with one of them featuring possibly the country's most iconic art piece in the world -- ukiyo-e master Katsushika Hokusai's "The Great Wave off Kanagawa," the government said Tuesday.
The famous woodblock print from the "Thirty-six Views of Mt. Fuji" series by Hokusai (1760-1849) that depicts a large frothy wave with Japan's highest peak in the background will be printed on the reverse side of the 1,000 yen bill, Finance Minister Taro Aso said in a news conference.
In the first design overhaul since 2004, Japan will also introduce new 10,000 yen and 5,000 yen bills with cutting-edge anti-counterfeiting protections.

Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders found guilty in 2014 protests - Nikkei Asian Review

Nine leaders of Hong Kong's 2014 pro-democracy Occupy Central movement were found guilty on Tuesday for their involvement in the protests that paralyzed the financial hub for 79 days.
The defendants, aged 24 to 75, on Tuesday called on people in Hong Kong to continue the fight for democracy, as hundreds of supporters chanted slogans outside a district court in West Kowloon where the verdict was delivered.
The verdict was the latest in a series of jail sentences against high-profile protesters in the former British colony amid growing international criticism of the erosion of the city's freedoms and autonomy as Beijing tightens its grip. The sentences will be handed down on a later date.

Oregon woman lived 99 years with organs on the wrong side of her body

A 99-year-old Oregon woman may have died not knowing that many of her organs were not where they should've been.
Rose Marie Bentley is thought to be the oldest person with a rare condition called situs inversus with levocardia, meaning that her heart was in the right place, but her liver and other abdominal organs grew on the left side of her body - the opposite of typical human anatomy.

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2019.04.08

News Headlines - 08 April 2019

Nissan shareholders vote to remove Ghosn as director - Japan Today

Nissan's shareholders ousted the automaker's former chairman Carlos Ghosn from its board on Monday, seeking to shut the door on an era capped by scandal.
More than 4,000 people gathered at a Tokyo hotel for a three-hour extraordinary shareholders' meeting and signaled their approval for dismissing Ghosn with applause. They also approved the appointment of French alliance partner Renault SA's Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard to replace Ghosn. Renault owns 43 percent of Nissan.

Turret truck driver killed in elevator accident at new Toyosu fish market - The Mainichi

A man died at the new Toyosu Central Wholesale Market in Koto Ward, Tokyo, on April 8 after being crushed by the door of a freight elevator while driving a small turret truck, police said.
The man, who was in his 50s, worked at the market as a driver of the small trucks. Known as taare in Japanese, they are small motorized vehicles used to transport goods quickly within the market.

Takuma Sato wins Indy Grand Prix of Alabama to earn fourth career IndyCar crown | The Japan Times

Takuma Sato had one “little moment” when his car went into the grass late in the race.
Other than that, the Japanese driver didn’t have too many worrisome moments at Sunday’s Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on his way to a fourth career IndyCar victory.

G1 Supercard: Kazuchika Okada wins IWGP title at Madison Square Garden | SI.com

Wrestling at Madison Square Garden will never be the same.
The “World’s Most Famous Arena” played host to the G1 Supercard show on Saturday, and history was made when Kazuchika Okada won the IWGP heavyweight championship. Okada’s victory marks the first time New Japan Pro Wrestling’s prestigious world title has ever changed hands outside of Japan.
And it happened on 7th Avenue between West 31st and West 33rd, right in the heart of New York City.

Prince William joins Her Majesty’s secret service with stint at MI6, MI5 and GCHQ | South China Morning Post

As one of the most recognisable public figures in the world, Britain’s Prince William would not make as effective a 007 as legendary fictional spy James Bond.
But that did not stop the heir to the British throne spending the last three weeks working with the security services, including in Bond’s own foreign intelligence unit MI6.
The Duke of Cambridge ended the top-secret attachment - which also included a week with domestic intelligence service MI5 and cybersecurity agency GCHQ - on Saturday, according to Kensington Palace.

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2019.04.07

News Headlines - 07 April 2019

Ghosn’s wife to appeal to French government to help ex-Nissan boss | Financial Times

The wife of Carlos Ghosn has flown to Paris to increase pressure on the French government to intervene and help her husband as the former Nissan chairman begins a stretch of solitary detention in Tokyo.
In an interview with the Financial Times just hours before boarding her flight out of Japan on Friday night, Carole Ghosn said that her husband’s previous 108-day imprisonment had left him “a different person” and that normal life under bail conditions had been impossible... France insisted at the weekend that it was doing what it could to help Mr Ghosn, with Jean-Yves Le Drian, the foreign minister, raising the matter of his detention with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono at a G7 meeting in France.

Battle for power in Libya reaches the capital Tripoli | Euronews

The Libyan National Army says it has advanced into the outskirts of Tripoli as it continues its thrust against the internationally recognised government.
Fighting has been reported near the former international airport, which the LNA claims now to control.
The secretary general of the United Nations held talks with offensive leader Khalifa Haftar on Friday, but left the country without achieving a breakthrough.

Apple Music Overtakes Spotify in Paid U.S. Subscribers - WSJ

Apple Music has surpassed Spotify Technology SA in paid U.S. subscriptions, according to people familiar with the matter, in a shift that escalates the music rivals’ contest for listeners world-wide.
Apple Inc.’s streaming-music service has been adding subscribers in the world’s biggest music market more rapidly than its Swedish rival-a monthly growth rate of about 2.6% to 3%, compared with 1.5% to 2% for Spotify-the people said.

Microsoft's eBook store: When this closes, your books disappear too - BBC News

There’s bad news for users of Microsoft’s eBook store: the company is closing it down, and, with it, any books bought through the service will no longer be readable.
To soften the blow, the company has promised to refund any customers who bought books through the store (a clue that there may not have been that many of them, hence the closure. Microsoft did not offer further comment).
But just think about that for a moment. Isn’t it strange? If you’re a Microsoft customer, you paid for those books. They’re yours.
Except, I’m afraid, they’re not, and they never were - when you hand over money for your “book”, what you’re really paying for is access to the book. That access, per the terms and conditions of every major eBook store, can be taken away at any moment.

Ex-sumo wrestler Baruto becomes Estonian lawmaker - NHK WORLD

A retired sumo wrestler has been elected to Estonia's parliament. Kaido Hoovelson was formerly known as Baruto.
The country's election commission announced on Wednesday that Hoovelson had won a seat in last month's general election... Hoovelson was elected when another candidate decided not to take up his seat.
Hoovelson is set to begin work as a lawmaker when the Estonian parliament convenes on Thursday.

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2019.04.06

News Headlines - 06 April 2019

U.S. Role in Yemen War Will End Unless Trump Issues Second Veto - The New York Times

The House on Thursday gave final passage to a bipartisan resolution forcing an end to United States military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, sending President Trump a pointed rebuke over his continued defense of the kingdom after the killing of a dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
The 247-to-176 vote, with 16 Republicans joining all House Democrats, invoked the rarely used War Powers Act to curb the president’s executive power to wage war without congressional approval. It most likely sets up the second veto of Mr. Trump’s presidency, this time to publicly defend a four-year conflict that the United Nations has deemed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with thousands of civilians killed and millions suffering from famine.

Ecuador rejects WikiLeaks claim it plans to expel Julian Assange

Ecuador has denied WikiLeaks' claims that it is set to expel Julian Assange from its embassy in London, rejecting what it called "an attempt to stain the dignity of the country."
...On Friday, WikiLeaks tweeted that Assange would be expelled from the embassy "within 'hours to days'" and claimed that Ecuador "already has an agreement with the UK for his arrest."

Brexit: UK couple issued different passport versions - BBC News

A British couple who applied for their passports on the same day received different versions - one with European Union on the cover, the other without.
The new burgundy passports were introduced from 30 March, the day after the UK was supposed to leave the EU... The Home Office said some people may still receive the old version until stocks run out.

Deputy land minister resigns over remark - The Japan News

A senior official of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration resigned on Friday, after suggesting that he acted voluntarily for the interests of Abe and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso over a road project.

Olympics: JOC to name judo federation head Yamashita as new chief - The Mainichi

The Japanese Olympic Committee is set to name former Olympic judo gold medalist Yasuhiro Yamashita as successor to President Tsunekazu Takeda, who is under investigation by French authorities for alleged bribery, multiple sources said Friday.

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2019.04.05

News Headlines - 05 April 2019

8 Activists Arrested in Saudi Arabia, Including 2 US-Saudi Citizens

Saudi Arabia has arrested at least eight writers and activists, including two who hold dual U.S.-Saudi citizenship, in the latest crackdown on supporters of female activists.
Rights workers say the detained have all expressed support for a group of Saudi women activists, now on trial for allegedly defaming the kingdom over its treatment of women.
The U.S. State Department has confirmed the arrest of two Americans.

Judge orders Elon Musk and the SEC to settle Tesla tweet dispute

Tesla chief Elon Musk told reporters outside the Manhattan Federal Courthouse that he was "very happy" over the outcome of the SEC's latest complaint against him. The commission sought to hold him in contempt for violating their previous settlement over a financially relevant tweet, after all, but the judge has merely ordered both parties to resolve their dispute outside of court. "Take a deep breath, put your reasonableness pants on, and work this out," District Judge Alison Nathan said during the hearing.

Samsung's profit drops 60% on slump in panels and chips - Nikkei Asian Review

Samsung Electronics' earnings plunged more than 60% in the first quarter from a year ago, as sinking prices for display panels and memory chips dealt a blow to the global supplier.
Operating profit tumbled 60.4% to 6.2 trillion won ($5.5 billion) for the January-March quarter, the South Korean company said on Friday, a far larger drop than market estimates of 7.8 trillion won. Revenue slid 14.1% to 52 trillion won... The announcement came one week after Samsung, which is both a supplier and competitor to smartphone rival Apple, issued an unusual profit warning, saying that first-quarter results would fall short of the market consensus.

Hayabusa 2 tries to create crater on asteroid by dropping bomb:The Asahi Shimbun

Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency scientists sent a signal to the Hayabusa 2 space probe on April 5 cueing it to drop a bomb over the asteroid Ryugu to blast a crater into it.
JAXA officials said Hayabusa 2 then descended to about 500 meters above the asteroid, where it released the explosive device.
The probe's impactor device is programmed to descend for about 40 minutes after getting the signal to a height of about 200 meters and then detonating, sending an approximately 2-kg copper mass into Ryugu's surface at a speed of 2 kilometers per second.

Ever dreamed of a night with Mona Lisa? Now you can! | Reuters.com

''Night at the Museum'' will soon become a reality for two guests who will win ''tickets'' to spend a night at the Louvre in Paris, courtesy of Airbnb.

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2019.04.04

News Headlines - 04 April 2019

Ex-Nissan boss Ghosn served 4th arrest warrant; calls it 'outrageous' - Japan Today

Former Nissan Motor Co Chairman Carlos Ghosn was rearrested Thursday over a new allegation that he was responsible for a $5 million loss made by the automaker, the fourth time he has been arrested in Japan.
The new arrest warrant, served for an allegation of aggravated breach of trust over a payment made to a distributor in Oman, marks another turn for the once-feted auto tycoon, who was preparing to defend his innocence at trial.

Japan's 7-Eleven to replace leader as firm considers changing 24-hour policy | Reuters

Japan’s biggest retail group Seven & I Holdings Co Ltd said it is replacing the head of its 7-Eleven convenience store business, amid pressure to abandon its 24-hour store policy due to a shortage of workers.
The company has come under pressure to change after complaints by franchise owners, some of whom were forced to keep working amid massive snowstorms or in the wake of a family death, attracted nationwide attention.

Japan Post Insurance to Sell $3.7 Billion Shares in Global Deal - Bloomberg

Japan Post Holdings Co.’s insurance unit is conducting a secondary sale of shares held by its parent worth 409 billion yen ($3.7 billion) in a global offering.
In its first sale since its listing in November 2015, Japan Post Insurance Co. plans to sell 112.6 million shares in Japan and 55.5 million shares overseas, the Tokyo-based insurer said in a filing Thursday. Another 24.1 million shares could be offered in an over-allotment, with 16.9 million of those in Japan and the rest abroad, it said.

Facebook's Zuckerberg confident of stopping interference in 2020 campaign - Reuters

Facebook Inc’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is confident the world’s biggest social network will do better in 2020 at stopping “bad actors” from manipulating the U.S. presidential election... U.S. intelligence agencies say there was an extensive Russian cyber-influence operation during the 2016 campaign aimed at helping Donald Trump, a Republican, defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. Russia has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Zuckerberg said here the social media giant had implemented a lot of different measures since 2016 to verify any advertiser who is running a political ad and create an archive so anyone could see what advertisers are running, who they are targeting and how much they are paying.

Tennis Superstar Naomi Osaka Signs with Nike - Nike News

Two-time Grand Slam winner and current World No. 1 Naomi Osaka has joined Nike’s elite roster of professional athletes... Osaka’s deal begins this week. Her first official competition in Nike gear will be the WTA Event in Stuttgart, beginning April 22.

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2019.04.03

News Headlines - 03 April 2019

21-Year-Old Student Dead After Getting In Car She Thought Was Uber - Rolling Stone

Last Friday morning, Samantha Josephson, a 21-year-old college student at the University of South Carolina, ordered an Uber at 2:00 a.m. after spending the night out with her friends. She was last seen on surveillance footage getting into a black Chevy Impala in downtown Columbia, thinking it was her Uber. It was not.
On Saturday, Columbia police chief Skip Holbrook announced that Josephson’s body had been found by turkey hunters in Clarendon County, a rural area 65 miles southeast of Columbia.
Although Holbrook did not reveal the cause of death, he did announce that a suspect had been arrested in relation with Josephson’s murder: 24-year-old Nathaniel David Rowland, who was arrested and charged with murder and kidnapping.

Toyota to offer royalty-free use of patents - NHK WORLD

Toyota says it will provide other makers with the rights to more than 23,000 patents for hybrid-related parts and systems. These include electric motors and power control units... The company hopes the move will encourage more automakers to produce hybrids. This should help lower production costs for entirely electric vehicles -- which share key components with hybrids.

Carlos Ghosn on Twitter: Ready to ‘tell the truth’ about events:The Asahi Shimbun

Ousted Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn promised to "tell the truth" at a news conference next week, taking to Twitter to announce his first briefing since being released on bail and hours after a report that prosecutors were preparing a fresh case against him... The account was created this month. It was the sole tweet, posted in Japanese and English.
Under the terms of Ghosn's bail he is not allowed to use the internet, although the tweet may have been made on his behalf, as is common with celebrities and other high-profile figures.

Japan assures world that Reiwa is all about 'beautiful harmony' and has nothing to do with 'command' | The Japan Times

The Foreign Ministry confirmed Wednesday the name for Japan’s forthcoming new Imperial era, Reiwa, means “beautiful harmony” in English... The move is intended to dispel what the ministry considers erroneous reports overseas that the new era name has connotations of “command” or “order” - one of the most common meanings of the kanji for rei that forms the first half of Reiwa.

Brunei implements stoning to death under anti-LGBT laws - BBC News

Brunei is introducing strict new Islamic laws that make anal sex and adultery offences punishable by stoning to death.
The new measures, that come into force on Wednesday, also cover a range of other crimes including punishment for theft by amputation.
The move has sparked international condemnation.

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2019.04.02

News Headlines - 02 April 2019

Lego's Spike Prime kits give kids the confidence to code

STEM has a bit of an image problem: Despite efforts to make it colorful and friendly, it's still intimidating to a lot of students. When there are parents shoving electronics kits at them while offering no help and teachers insisting that learning to code is fundamental to their career prospects, some kids end up completely turned off. But now Lego Education has a $330 kit, Spike Prime, aimed at building coding literacy and overcoming the confidence problem that drives many kids away from STEM before they reach high school.

Chinese woman arrested carrying malware into Trump resort

President Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort just dealt with a decidedly unusual malware 'attack.' A Chinese woman, Yujing Zhang has been charged with making false statements to a federal officer and entering restricted property after she visited Mar-a-Lago on March 30th carrying a thumb drive apparently loaded with malware.

Hundreds take part in ‘silly walk’ parade - BBC News

Hundreds of people took part in a Monty Python-inspired "silly walk" parade in the Hungarian capital Budapest to mark April Fools’ Day... The idea was inspired by a sketch in the 1970s comedy series Monty Python, where actor John Cleese played a civil servant walking in unusual ways to the "Ministry of Silly Walks".

Mick Jagger to undergo heart surgery - CNN

Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger is set to undergo heart surgery this week, a source close to the band tells CNN.
The source said the surgery is to replace a valve in his heart... The news comes three days after The Rolling Stones postponed their North American tour that was set to kick off on April 20 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Pope Francis on Lionel Messi: 'He's great, but he is not God' | The Guardian

The five-times Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi has earned the nickname 'D10S', a combination of his shirt number and the Spanish word for God - Dios - but Pope Francis has said 'it is a sacrilege' to give the Barcelona captain that title.
In an interview with La Sexta, the leader of the Catholic Church, praised his Argentinian compatriot saying: 'He's great to watch - but he's not God.'

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2019.04.01

News Headlines - 01 April 2019

Japan reveals name of new imperial era will be 'Reiwa' - BBC News

Japan has announced that the name of its new imperial era, set to begin on 1 May, will be "Reiwa" - signifying order and harmony.
The country's current era, Heisei, will end in a month with Emperor Akihito's historic abdication.

Japan chooses new imperial era of 'Reiwa' from Japanese rather than Chinese source for first time

Unusually, the new era name was not selected from traditional Chinese texts, as has been the case since Japan’s first gengo began more than 1,300 years ago in 645AD.
Instead, Reiwa was taken from a Japanese classic for the first time in the nation’s history, with the word originating from 7th century Manyoshu, the country’s oldest existing collection of poetry... The decision to subvert tradition and use a Japanese rather than Chinese text to mark a new and modern era for Japan appears to tie in with the nationalist leanings of prime minister Shinzo Abe’s conservative government.

New Japanese era a boon for Aussie property website - CNA

The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia said it had an unexpected surge in traffic to its website - Reiwa.com - after the era of emperor Naruhito's rule was named.
Seventy per cent of the day's traffic to reiwa.com was from Japan, according to institute spokeswoman Sjanna Sandalova.
In Japanese, "Reiwa" consists of two characters: "Rei", which can have meanings related to "order" but also "auspicious" and "Wa", usually translated as "peace" or "harmony".
For the many residents of Perth, REIWA is synonymous with the hunt for a two-bedroom apartment near the Swan River.

2 Japanese teenagers found drowned in Australian lake - Japan Today

Two 16-year-old Japanese boys have been found dead in Australia's Lake McKenzie on Fraser Island after being reported missing while in Queensland state on a school homestay tour.
The boys' bodies were discovered by police divers on Saturday morning.

Thai police arrest 15 Japanese in Pattaya call center scam targeting Japan | The Japan Times

Thai police have said 15 Japanese have been arrested for alleged involvement in a call center scam that defrauded people in their homeland.
The police said Friday that the 15 were arrested following a raid on an upscale house in the beach resort town of Pattaya... The sources said the police launched an investigation after rumors began circulating of a Japanese gang running a phone scam in town.

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2019.03.31

News Headlines - 31 March 2019

Who Is Lucy Flores, the Woman Accusing Joe Biden of Kissing Her? - The New York Times

Lucy Flores, a former Nevada state assemblywoman, published an essay Friday in which she described Joseph R. Biden Jr. touching her inappropriately and kissing her on the head during a Democratic campaign rally in 2014, when he was vice president.
With Mr. Biden expected to announce whether he will enter the race for president in April, Ms. Flores’s story attracted scrutiny on his interactions with women over his long career in national politics. On Sunday, Mr. Biden released a statement defending himself, saying he did not believe he had ever acted inappropriately on the campaign trail.

Jamal Khashoggi’s murder has rocked the U.S.-Saudi partnership - The Washington Post

Some members of the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group that was sent to Istanbul received training in the United States, according to U.S. and Saudi sources. The CIA has cautioned other government agencies that some of this special-operations training might have been conducted by Tier 1 Group, an Arkansas-based company, under a State Department license. The training occurred before the Khashoggi incident, as part of ongoing liaison with the Saudis, and it hasn’t been resumed... The Istanbul team’s alleged leader was Maher Mutreb, a colonel in the Saudi intelligence service and member of a wealthy and respected Saudi family. A Saudi source said he had served in London from 2002 to 2007 as deputy chief of station.

Microsoft leads the way in banning April Fools’ Day pranks - The Verge

Everyone hates April Fools’ Day, and Microsoft is taking a stand against its own corporate pranks. Microsoft’s marketing chief Chris Capossela has warned all employees to not participate in the process of annoying hoaxes on Monday. In an internal memo, obtained and verified by The Verge, Capossela explains that “data tells us these stunts have limited positive impact and can actually result in unwanted news cycles.” He encourages all teams inside Microsoft not to do any public-facing April Fools’ Day stunts.

New York State Budget Deal Brings Congestion Pricing, Plastic Bag Ban and Mansion Tax - The New York Times

After weeks of intraparty bickering, the New York State Legislature and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday signed off on a $175 billion budget that was wreathed with progressive initiatives, including changes to the cash bail system, a new tax on high-end homes and a groundbreaking plan to charge motorists to drive into Manhattan’s busiest stretches.

Parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen positions for driverless cars with $7 billion deal for Wabco | Reuters

German auto parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen has agreed to buy U.S. rival Wabco for over $7 billion, an acquisition it has long targeted to bolster its expertise in autonomous-driving technologies.
The all-cash deal, announced by the two companies on Thursday, is for $136.50 per share. That represents a 13 percent premium to Wabco’s closing price on Feb. 26, the day before the American company said it had been approached by ZF.

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2019.03.30

News Headlines - 30 March 2019

SoftBank Said to Be Sidelined by Soccer Clubs in FIFA's New Cup - Bloomberg

SoftBank Group Corp. has been cut out of plans for a new, lucrative, 24-team soccer tournament after high-profile clubs voiced concern about the Japanese company’s share of the profit, according to people briefed on the matter.
SoftBank was previously set to act as a lead investor, along with an international consortium, in a $25 billion proposal for a new Club World Cup and an international tournament.
However, some clubs were concerned about the amount of profit the Japanese company might have made from the enterprise, said the people briefed on the revamped version, asking not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

Lyft Is About to Flood San Francisco with Even More Millionaires | Vanity Fair

Lyft on Friday became the first ride-sharing company to go public, hitting the NASDAQ at an I.P.O. price of $72 per share before popping as much as 20 percent, valuing Lyft at nearly $30 billion. The public offering represents a windfall for venture-capital firms and private investors, who had sunk $4.9 billion into Lyft over the past five years. Rakuten, General Motors, Fidelity, and Andreessen Horowitz are expected to rake in billions.

Honda says 16th U.S. death confirmed in air bag rupture:The Asahi Shimbun

Honda Motor Co. said on Friday it had confirmed a 16th U.S. death has been tied to a faulty Takata air bag inflator.
The Japanese automaker said that after a joint inspection Friday with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it had confirmed a faulty air bag inflator was to blame for a June 2018 death of a driver after the crash of a 2002 Honda Civic in Buckeye, Arizona.
The defect, which leads in rare instances to air bag inflators rupturing and sending metal fragments flying, has prompted the largest automotive recall in U.S. history and is tied to 14 U.S. deaths in Honda vehicles and two in Ford Motor Co. vehicles since 2009.

Comedian set to win first round of Ukraine presidential vote | Reuters

Ukrainians exhausted by five years of war and decades of official corruption look set to send a comedian with no political experience into a second round run-off against the incumbent when they vote in Sunday’s presidential election.
The favorite in Sunday’s first round vote is Volodymyr Zelenskiy, a political novice who plays a fictitious Ukrainian president in a popular TV series and who, in real life, has tapped into an anti-establishment mood among voters.
Many opinion polls put the serving president, Petro Poroshenko, in second place, a result that would set up a run-off between him and Zelenskiy next month, with a hard-to-predict final outcome.

Sigur Rós band members charged with tax evasion by Icelandic authorities | The Guardian

Members of the Icelandic band Sigur Rós have been charged with tax evasion, three years after local authorities launched a probe into the avant-garde rock band’s finances.
The indictment, issued by the district prosecutor on Thursday, accuses the musicians of submitting incorrect tax returns from 2011 to 2014, evading a total of 151m Icelandic krona (£945,000).

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2019.03.29

News Headlines - 29 March 2019

Sony's Hirai, Architect of Tech Giant's Turnaround, to Retire - Bloomberg

Sony Corp. Chairman Kazuo Hirai, the architect of a turnaround at the once-dominant Japanese electronics giant, will retire in June after spending more than three decades at the company.
The 58-year-old, who ceded the role of chief executive officer to Kenichiro Yoshida in April 2018, will continue to advise the company after his retirement, Sony said in a statement. Shuzo Sumi of Tokio Marine Holdings Inc. was nominated to become chairman of the board.
Hirai, who took over as CEO from Howard Stringer in 2012, turned the company’s fortunes around by paring back and refocusing its operations. With Yoshida’s support, Hirai sold off the Vaio personal computer business, reshaped the television set unit and pulled the mobile business back from a destructive fight for market share. He also invested heavily in the PlayStation games business and image sensors used in smartphones, now major drivers of the business. Profits hit a record last year as he ceded the CEO role.

Honda, Hino join SoftBank-Toyota mobility services venture:The Asahi Shimbun

Japanese technology company SoftBank Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp., the nation's top automaker, announced late last year a joint venture for mobility services, in what they called a "united Japan" effort to face global competition.
Honda Motor Co., Toyota's rival, and Hino Motors, Toyota's truck division, said Thursday each company will acquire a 9.9 percent stake in the 2 billion yen ($20 million) Toyota-SoftBank venture Monet Technologies Corp.
Each company invests 250 million yen, according to the companies.

Name of Japan's new era to be revealed at 11:30 a.m. Monday, with Abe statement due at 12 | The Japan Times

The government said Friday it will announce the name of Japan’s forthcoming new era at 11:30 a.m. Monday, and that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will make a statement on the decision from noon.

India conducted successful anti-satellite missile operation, Prime Minister says - CNN

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India has successfully conducted an anti-satellite missile test that put the country in a league of global "space powers."
In a national address Wednesday, Modi said India had achieved a "historic feat" by shooting down its own low-orbit satellite with a ground-to-space missile in three minutes.
Only three other countries -- the US, Russia and China -- have the capabilities to use an anti-satellite missile.

TASS: Venezuelan parliament set to demand withdrawal of Russian military

Members of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament are set to demand the withdrawal of Russian military from the country, lawmaker Sirit Eliezer told a parliamentary session on Tuesday... The El Comercio newspaper earlier reported that an Antonov An-124 and an Ilyushin Il-62 aircraft carrying Russian troops and 35 tonnes of cargo arrived in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on March 23.

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2019.03.28

News Headlines - 28 March 2019

Brexit: Petition to revoke Article 50 to be debated next week - BBC News

The government has officially responded to the record-breaking petition calling for Brexit to be cancelled, which will be debated by MPs next week.
The petition, which has passed more than 5.75m signatures, has been scheduled for debate on Monday, 1 April along with two other Brexit petitions.
Responding, the government said it "acknowledges the considerable number of people" who have signed it.

BMW 'interested in taking over Honda's Swindon site' | The Guardian

Honda last month announced that it would cease production in Swindon in 2021, dealing a major blow to a British car industry that already faces an uncertain future over Brexit. However, the availability of a ready-made plant could prove attractive to buyers if the UK maintains a stable trading relationship with the EU. Honda employs 3,500 people in Swindon, all of whom are expected to lose their jobs in 2021.
BMW has been eyeing the plant for several weeks, although it is not thought that a decision will be made until well after the status of the future UK-EU trading relationship is confirmed.

Sandy Hook victim's father apparently took his own life - BBC News

The father of a Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim has been found dead, having apparently taken his own life, police say.
Newtown, Connecticut, police said Jeremy Richman was found in his office building on Monday.
The 49-year-old was the father of six-year-old Avielle, one of 20 children killed in the December 2012 shooting.

'I'm really, really sorry' - Vegan YouTube star captured eating fish on camera apologises to her fans - Independent.ie

Yovanda Mendoza Ayres, aka Rawvana, was recorded eating seafood in a video posted by another vlogger a couple of weeks ago.
She adapted the raw vegan diet six years ago and claimed she experienced good results - she was sleeping and feeling and looking better, and her skin had cleared - which inspired her to blog about her veganism and become a health coach.
However, she told her followers in a video earlier this month that she experienced a raft of health issues over the last few years.

'Monster nine-foot' alligator invades golf course in Georgia | The Guardian

An alligator, thought to be around nine-foot long, made an unexpected appearance on the 17th green at a club in Georgia, stopping a group of golfers in their tracks.
Ed Vance, who filmed the incident at The Club at Savannah Harbor on Sunday, told The Island Packet: 'The video doesn’t pick it up, but the ‘thud, thud, thud’ sound was what you would think a dinosaur sounds like. It was surreal.'

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2019.03.27

News Headlines - 27 March 2019

Renault eyes Fiat Chrysler bid after Nissan merger | Financial Times

Renault aims to restart merger talks with Nissan within 12 months and then acquire another carmaker, with Fiat Chrysler among the preferred targets, according to several people familiar with the French company’s plans... the recent creation of a new alliance board led by Renault chairman Jean-Dominique Senard has improved confidence that merger plans can advance, according to people familiar with both sides’ thinking.
The combined company would then pursue a further acquisition that would bulk up the business for a fight for global dominance with the likes of Volkswagen and Toyota.
Two people familiar with the matter said Mr Ghosn held talks about merging Renault with Fiat Chrysler two to three years ago but the proposal was scuppered by opposition from the French government. The talks have not previously been reported.

Swedbank report spotted anti-money-laundering breaches: Swedish TV | Reuters

An internal Swedbank report identified major breaches of anti-money laundering obligations involving its business in Estonia, Swedish public broadcaster SVT said on Tuesday after having seen a copy of the document... The Swedish bank conducted a review of its Estonian branch after a scandal at Danske Bank’s Estonian branch which was used to funnel some 200 billion euros ($227 billion) of suspicious payments between 2007 and 2015.

Lloyd's of London Unveils Lifetime Bans for Sexual Harassment - Bloomberg

Lloyd’s of London outlined a plan to address allegations of sexual harassment by setting up an independent whistleblower hotline and laying out potential lifetime bans for inappropriate behavior.
The proposals were agreed upon at an emergency meeting of industry executives convened on Monday evening by Lloyd’s Chief Executive Officer John Neal after a Bloomberg Businessweek article found a deep-seated culture of sexual misconduct in the London insurance market. The report drew on the experiences of 18 women to describe an atmosphere of near-persistent harassment, ranging from inappropriate comments to unwanted touching to sexual assault.

Thailand election 2019: Anti-junta political parties form coalition - CNN

Pro-democracy parties battling to block the military's return to power after Thailand's first election since a 2014 coup said Wednesday they have secured enough seats to form a government.
The main opposition Pheu Thai party, which was ousted before the coup, and six other parties announced they had forged a coalition accounting for 255 seats in the 500-member lower house of parliament.

London Natural History Museum: Indigenous remains to be brought home

The ancestral remains of 37 indigenous people will be returned to Australia from London’s Natural History Museum.
For more than 150 years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ancestral remains and sacred objects were removed from their communities and placed in museums, universities and private collections in Australia and overseas.
But, in a major win for Australia, the UK’s agreement to hand 27 remains back was sealed overnight as Narungga community representatives from South Australia, Douglas Milera and Professor Peter Buckskin, travelled to the UK to attend the handover ceremony.

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2019.03.26

News Headlines - 26 March 2019

Trump rips 'Mainstream Media': 'They truly are the Enemy of the People' | TheHill

President Trump took aim at the "Mainstream Media" in an early morning tweet on Tuesday following a summary of the special counsel's investigation that showed there was not enough evidence to conclude the president's campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election... "The Mainstream Media is under fire and being scorned all over the World as being corrupt and FAKE. For two years they pushed the Russian Collusion Delusion when they always knew there was No Collusion," he tweeted. "They truly are the Enemy of the People and the Real Opposition Party!"

Apple's iPhones infringe Qualcomm patent and should be banned, ITC judge says - CNET

The International Trade Commission on Tuesday handed down two rulings in Apple and Qualcomm's battle over patents. One found in favor of Qualcomm while the other sided with Apple.
In one case, a judge said Apple's iPhones have infringed a Qualcomm patent and should be banned from sale. But a full commission review in a second, separate case said Apple didn't infringe Qualcomm patents and dismissed that suit. It also said it found that Qualcomm's patents aren't valid.

Muji launches an autonomous bus to take you around Helsinki | T3

Japanese lifestyle brand Muji and Finnish autonomous driving company Sensible 4 have teamed up to launch Gacha, the world's first autonomous driving bus designed for all weather conditions.
As you'd expect, Sensible 4 provided all of the technology for the shuttle, while Muji provided the vehicle’s design and user experience... When not in use, the self-driving system traces a digital map, but when you want to go somewhere, you can summon Gacha using an app, then wait for it to arrive.

Manneken Pis no longer peeing water down the drain | The Guardian

For four centuries the celebrated Manneken Pis - the “peeing boy” in the local Dutch dialect - has embodied the laissez-faire culture of the Belgians.
But, to the surprise of officials in the city of Brussels, it has emerged that the bronze statue had been weeing fresh clean drinking water - 1,000 to 2,500 litres of it a day, sufficient for the use of 10 households - directly into the city’s sewers.

METI tells convenience store operators to come up with plans to cope with Japan's labor crunch | The Japan Times

Operators of Japan’s major convenience store chains need to formulate plans to address the severe labor shortage that is creating growing discontent among their struggling franchisees, the industry minister said Tuesday.

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2019.03.25

News Headlines - 25 March 2019

Outcry over Japan’s ‘vicious’ idol industry after NGT48 singer Maho Yamaguchi’s assault allegations go unresolved | South China Morning Post

Japanese social media has been ablaze in recent days with outrage at the perceived failure of the country’s music industry and police to properly investigate an alleged assault on a member of a popular girl band.

Polls close in Thailand's general election, 1st since coup - The Mainichi

Up for grabs are all 500 seats in the lower house of parliament. Preliminary results for 350 seats that are directly elected are expected to be known by 8 p.m., with the remaining 150 seats to be allocated on a proportional party-list basis... Three main parties in the fray are the pro-junta Palang Pracharath Party, the Pheu Thai Party, which won the last election in 2011 but was ousted in the 2014 coup, and the Democrat Party, which is seen as a potential "kingmaker" party.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who has led the government since his coup in May 2014, is the Palang Pracharath Party's candidate to lead a new civilian government.

Macron under fire for criticising elderly woman injured at "yellow vest" protest - The Local

France's Emmanuel Macron has been accused of lacking empathy after criticising an elderly "yellow vest" protester who was badly injured during a demonstration in Nice at the weekend... Macron, who travelled to the area on Sunday to meet visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping, told the Nice Matin newspaper that he wished Legay a "speedy recovery" but also "a form of wisdom"... The remarks were immediately criticised by Legay's family, which has accused police of using disproportionate force to clear protesters.

Too poor to play: children in social housing blocked from communal playground | The Guardian

At least one multimillion-pound housing development in London is segregating the children of less well-off tenants from those of wealthier homebuyers by blocking them from some communal play areas.
Guardian Cities has discovered that developer Henley Homes has blocked social housing residents from using shared play spaces at its Baylis Old School complex on Lollard Street, south London. The development was required to include a mix of “affordable” and social rental units in order to gain planning permission.

Auschwitz Museum asks visitors not to balance on train tracks | DW

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum implored visitors to respect the memories of the 1.1 million people who were killed at the concentration camp - and not to balance on the train tracks that brought Holocaust victims to the site... The Auschwitz Museum added in a later post that photography will not be banned at the site, but that "we ask visitors to behave respectfully, also when taking pictures."

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2019.03.24

News Headlines - 24 March 2019

US-backed forces claim final victory over so-called Islamic State in Syria | Euronews

The so-called Islamic State (IS) has lost its final territorial enclave in the village of Baghuz after the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) declared "total elimination of the so-called caliphate".
The spokesperson for the American backed forces tweeted that the last so-called IS stronghold in Syria, Baghuz, has been freed, declaring the final military victory over the militant group in Syria.

Cabinet coup to ditch Theresa May for emergency PM | The Sunday Times

Theresa May was at the mercy of a full-blown cabinet coup last night as senior ministers moved to oust the prime minister and replace her with her deputy, David Lidington.
In a frantic series of private telephone calls, senior ministers agreed the prime minister must announce she is standing down, warning that she has become a toxic and “erratic” figure whose judgment has “gone haywire”.

Italy home circumcision kills child - BBC News

A five-month-old boy has died after parents performed a circumcision at their home in Italy, officials say... Authorities in the northern Reggio Emilia province have opened an investigation against the parents, who are reported to be of Ghanaian origin.
In a similar case, a two-year-old boy died after a failed circumcision at a migrant centre in Rome in December.

Harvard sued over profiting, use of slave photography

In 1850, a Harvard professor with a twisted theory of white superiority had research photographs taken of two slaves from South Carolina - a father and daughter, stripped to the waist, who stare hauntingly into the camera.
Enlarge ImageA copy of a 1850 daguerreotype of Renty
A copy of a 1850 daguerreotype of RentyAP
Now, 169 years later, a Connecticut woman who believes that the father and daughter, identified only as “Papa Renty” and “Delia,” are her direct ancestors and is suing Harvard to get the photos back.Tamara Lanier, 54, a retired chief probation officer from Norwich, filed suit Wednesday in Massachusetts.

First Indonesia Underground Opens, Making 34-Year Dream Reality - Bloomberg

Indonesia rolled its first train through a new underground rail network in the capital city of Jakarta on Sunday, another step in its struggles to overcome traffic gridlock in one of the busiest cities in Southeast Asia.
President Joko Widodo, who got the project off the ground in 2013, inaugurated the project, making the 34-year-old dream come true.

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2019.03.23

News Headlines - 23 March 2019

Economic slowdown fears send NY stocks lower - NHK WORLD

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged over 400 points on Friday, amid growing concerns over the global economic slowdown.
The Dow ended Friday's trading session in New York at 25,502, a drop of 460 points, or 1.8 percent lower than Thursday's close. The tech-heavy Nasdaq plunged more than two percent.
The US Federal Reserve signaled on Wednesday that it would not raise interest rates this year, pointing out that the pace of economic activity has slowed.

Peugeot, After Digesting GM’s Europe Business, Set Sights on Fiat Chrysler - WSJ

Peugeot maker PSA Group approached Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV earlier this year about combining the two car makers, according to people familiar with the matter, proposing to form a $45 billion industry behemoth that would reposition their businesses in the U.S. and Europe.
Fiat Chrysler rebuffed the overture, as it had previous ones by the French car maker, according to these people. Those approaches haven’t been previously disclosed.

US sanctions Chinese firms for helping N.Korea - NHK WORLD

The United States has imposed sanctions on two Chinese shipping companies for helping North Korea evade UN Security Council sanctions.
The Treasury Department announced on Thursday that it had placed the two firms on the US sanctions list. The move prohibits anyone in the US from dealing with the designated companies and freezes any assets they have in the country.
The department said one of the Chinese companies shipped cargo to a North Korean firm that is based in the western city of Nampo and affiliated with Pyongyang's spy agency. It also said the other company used deceptive practices to enable North Korean procurement officials in the European Union to purchase goods for their country's regime.

Venezuelan Opposition Aide Seized, Drawing Rebuke From U.S. | Time

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido’s top aide was taken away in the middle of the night by masked intelligence agents who broke down his door early Thursday, drawing condemnation from the United States and other countries pushing to oust President Nicolas Maduro.
Washington demanded the immediate release of Guaido chief of staff Roberto Marrero, whose whereabouts after the raid on his Caracas home were not immediately disclosed.

Uri Geller calls on Britons to help telepathically stop Brexit | The Guardian

The illusionist Uri Geller has called on the British people to help him in his efforts to telepathically stop Brexit by sending their own telepathic messages to Theresa May’s mind, compelling her to revoke article 50.
Geller wrote an open letter to the prime minister on Friday warning her he will use the powers of his mind to stop her from leading Britain into Brexit.
He plans to transmit his psychic energy into May’s brain at the “very mystical time” of 11.11 in the morning and evening every day from a secret location near his home in Israel.

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2019.03.22

News Headlines - 22 March 2019

Zenrin Falls on Speculation That Google Maps Partnership Is Over - Bloomberg

Zenrin Co. plunged the most in three years in Tokyo amid speculation that Japan’s biggest mapmaker has ended its relationship with Alphabet Inc.’s Google... Japanese users took to social media to complain about the sudden deterioration in the quality of Google Maps in the country, and pointed out that a previous copyright attribution to Zenrin has vanished from the fine print at the bottom of the screen.
On March 6, Google announced on its Japanese blog it will roll out a new version of its maps for the country, but that post made no mention of Zenrin.

Hong Kong to build one of world’s largest artificial island projects | The Guardian

Hong Kong plans to spend HK$624bn (£60bn) on one of the world’s largest artificial island projects, which the government promises will ease the territory’s housing crisis but critics say will cause environmental and financial problems.
The government says it will create 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of land off Hong Kong’s biggest island, Lantau... Work on the Lantau Vision Tomorrow scheme is scheduled to start in 2025, with the first residents moving in seven years later, in 2032.

Garuda Indonesia airline wants to cancel $6.9 billion Boeing 737 Max order after fatal crashes - ABC News

Indonesia's flag carrier Garuda has sought to cancel a multibillion dollar order for 49 of the manufacturer's 737 Max 8 jets, citing a loss of passenger confidence in the model after two fatal crashes in the past six months.
It is the first announcement of a cancellation since Boeing's new model aircraft was grounded by airlines worldwide after the devastating crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

VW CEO Herbert Diess Still Under Fire for Nazi-Era Gaffe

Volkswagen AG CEO Herbert Diess is under fire for a colossal verbal blunder, invoking a Nazi- era phrase in a management meeting. The transgression was so serious that one of his own managers leaked the blunder to the media, and some investors and the media are now calling for his ouster.
“Ebit macht frei,” was what Diess told his managers, or “Profits will set you free.” Diess was reportedly answering a query about why the company’s Porsche division seemed to get more freedom with capital investment and risk-taking than other VW brands. Diess was referencing Porsche’s attractive profit margins on everything it does.
But the retort was widely seen as a play on “Arbeit Macht Frei,” or “work will set you free, an infamous and well-known phrase that was forged into the gates of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Every German schoolboy knows it is a notorious phrase that strikes at the heart of German guilt over the Holocaust.

Microsoft starts notifying Windows 7 users about end of support - The Verge

Microsoft has started rolling out an update to Windows 7 that will notify existing users about the end of the support. The software maker is stopping support of Windows 7 on January 14th, 2020, and it’s now starting to warn about this cutoff date. Microsoft is using a notification to warn Windows 7 users, similar to the prompts the company used to get people to upgrade to Windows 7.

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2019.03.21

News Headlines - 21 March 2019

Facebook Stored Hundreds of Millions of User Passwords in Plain Text for Years - Krebs on Security

Hundreds of millions of Facebook users had their account passwords stored in plain text and searchable by thousands of Facebook employees - in some cases going back to 2012, KrebsOnSecurity has learned. Facebook says an ongoing investigation has so far found no indication that employees have abused access to this data.

Disney seals $71bn deal for 21st Century Fox as it prepares to take on Netflix | The Guardian

Disney has closed its $71bn (£54bn) acquisition of Rupert Murdoch’s entertainment business in a deal that unites franchises including Cinderella, The Simpsons and Star Wars under one corporate roof to create a media behemoth of unprecedented scale... As part of the deal, Disney will absorb the Fox film and TV studios, the FX networks, National Geographic and the Indian TV giant Star India in a huge boost to its content.
It plans to launch its new streaming service Disney Plus later this year as it challenges Netflix for future audience share.

FBI joining criminal investigation into certification of Boeing 737 MAX | The Seattle Times

The FBI has joined the criminal investigation into the certification of the Boeing 737 MAX, lending its considerable resources to an inquiry already being conducted by U.S. Department of Transportation agents, according to people familiar with the matter.

Japan official held for allegedly assaulting S. Korean airport worker - The Mainichi

A Japanese government official was temporarily detained in South Korea for allegedly assaulting an airport worker in Seoul while on a personal trip, the government said Wednesday.
Kosuke Takeda, a 47-year-old official of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, is suspected of assaulting a worker at Gimpo International Airport and telling the worker that he hates South Koreans, according to a senior ministry official.
South Korean police said Takeda was detained Tuesday on suspicion of hitting an airport worker at a boarding gate while under the influence of alcohol.

New Zealand bans assault weapons after mosque massacre | New Zealand attack News | Al Jazeera

New Zealand has banned the sale of assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons after the country's worst-ever attack that killed 50 Muslims in two mosques.
"Be assured this is just the beginning of the work we'll be doing," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference on Thursday.

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2019.03.20

News Headlines - 20 March 2019

Billionaire Has New Goal for His 17,000 Workers: Learn to Code - Bloomberg

Rakuten Inc. may soon expect its more than 17,000 employees to know how a computer compiles a program and understand the difference between a CPU and GPU (one is the brains of a PC, the other runs the graphics). Underpinning that is a mandatory, entry-level ability to code.
Hiroshi MikitaniPhotographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Mikitani, a trailblazer in Japan’s internet economy, is considering this dramatic step as his e-commerce empire faces increasing pressure from the likes of Amazon.com Inc. It’s an attempt to keep the skills of employees up to date and answer the question -- do you need to know programming to work in tech?
“If you’re working for Toyota, for example, you know how the automobile works -- basic structure of the engine, suspension and so forth,” Mikitani told Emily Chang of Bloomberg Television. “So if you work for an IT services company, you need to have the basic knowledge of what’s in the computer.”

Japan to develop habitation unit for Gateway lunar station:The Asahi Shimbun

Japan’s space agency plans to take charge of development of a habitation module and an unmanned logistics vehicle for the Gateway cislunar space station as part of an international project.
The project, led by NASA, has set a goal of landing a manned spacecraft on the moon’s surface in 2028, the first of its kind since the end of the U.S. Apollo project in the early 1970s... JAXA plans to work with its European counterpart to develop the habitation module by drawing on technologies it cultivated during the development and operation of the International Space Station’s Kibo experiment module, including one for recycling air and water aboard a spacecraft.

Toyota teams up with Suzuki to build hybrid cars in UK | The Guardian

Toyota is to build a new hybrid electric vehicle in the UK for Suzuki, in a boost to British car industry workers amid continued Brexit uncertainty.
The hybrid will be based on Toyota’s Corolla model and made at its Burnaston plant in Derbyshire, with engines supplied by the company’s Deeside factory in north Wales.
It is not thought this development will lead to the creation of new jobs as it will be within Toyota’s existing production capacity. However, it will help secure the future of the UK workforce of more than 3,000.

Theresa May asks EU for Brexit delay until 30 June | The Guardian

Theresa May has written to the EU seeking a brief delay to Brexit until the end of June, telling MPs that a longer delay would mean “a failure to deliver” on the result of the 2016 referendum.
Speaking at the start of prime minister’s questions, May said “I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than 30 June”, implying the possibility that she could step down rather than allow a long delay to article 50.
The prime minister said she would present her Brexit plan to the Commons for a third time, and if it was passed the delay would allow time to implement it. If it was again defeated, parliament would have to decide how to proceed, May said.

Google will give Android users a choice of browser and search engine in Europe - The Verge

Google has announced that it will start asking European Android users which browser and search engine they would prefer to use on their devices, following regulatory action against the company for the way it bundles software in its mobile operating system. Last year Google was fined a record $5 billion by EU regulators for violating antitrust laws and was ordered to stop “illegally tying” Chrome and its search app to Android.

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2019.03.19

News Headlines - 19 March 2019

Olympics: Japan chief Takeda to quit as corruption probe continues | Reuters

Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) chief Tsunekazu Takeda, who is under investigation for suspected corruption, said on Tuesday he will step down when his term ends in June and resign from the International Olympic Committee.

Concern raised over SKorean treatment of Bloomberg reporter

International journalists’ organizations are criticizing the status of press freedom in South Korea after the country’s ruling party singled out a Bloomberg reporter with South Korean nationality over what it claimed was a “borderline traitorous” article insulting President Moon Jae-in, resulting in threats to the reporter’s safety.
The Democratic Party initially said Tuesday that it had no immediate plans to withdraw a March 13 statement by spokesman Lee Hae-sik, who attacked the reporter by name over a September article whose headline described the liberal Moon as acting as the “top spokesman” of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the U.N. General Assembly.

Former sumo wrestler Baruto becomes lawmaker in Estonia - The Japan News

Former sumo wrestler Kaido Hoovelson from Estonia, who went by his ring name Baruto in Japan, has become a lawmaker in his home country.
Hoovelson, 34, said on Twitter on Sunday that he was elected to Estonia’s parliament, although he initially lost in the March 3 poll as a runner-up. According to the Estonian public broadcaster, a victorious candidate who belongs to the same party as Hoovelson declined to take up the parliamentary seat in order to stay on as a town mayor. The former sumo wrestler was given the seat as a result.

More than 1,000 feared dead in Mozambique storm | AFP.com

More than a thousand people are feared to have died in a cyclone that smashed into Mozambique last week, while scores were killed and more than 200 are missing in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
The city of Beira in central Mozambique bore Cyclone Idai's full wrath on Thursday before the storm barrelled on to neighbouring Zimbabwe, unleashing fierce winds and flash floods and washing away roads and houses.

May seeking Brexit delay to June 30 with option of 2-year extension -BBC | Reuters

British Prime Minister Theresa May will write to the European Union on Tuesday to ask for a Brexit extension until the end of June and with a possible two-year delay, the BBC’s political editor said... the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg said on Twitter after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting: “Cabinet sources say PM is writing letter to EU today asking for extension - frustration that she is going to ask for end date of June 30th, with proviso of delay of up to 2 years.”

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2019.03.18

News Headlines - 18 March 2019

China says 13,000 'terrorists' arrested in Xinjiang since 2014 | Al Jazeera

Authorities in China have arrested almost 13,000 "terrorists" in the restive far western region of Xinjiang since 2014, the government said on Monday.
The announcement was made in a lengthy policy paper again defending Beijing's controversial "deradicalisation" measures.
China has faced growing international opprobrium for setting up facilities that United Nations experts describe as detention centres holding more than one million Uighurs and other Muslims.

Moon's job approval rating dips to new low: poll | Yonhap News Agency

President Moon Jae-in's job approval rating dropped to a record low last week, a poll showed Monday, apparently on the recent collapse of negotiations between the United States and North Korea on ending the North's nuclear ambitions.
In the survey conducted by Realmeter, 44.9 percent of those surveyed said they approved of Moon's job as president, down 1.4 percentage points from a week earlier.
The reading marked the lowest since Moon took office in May 2017.

Main suspect in Utrecht shooting arrested, questions remain about motive - DutchNews.nl

The suspect wanted for shooting dead three people in Utrecht on Monday morning has been arrested, police said at a news conference on Monday evening. Three people were killed and five injured, three seriously, in the attack which took place on and outside a tram on Monday morning in the Kanaleneiland area of the city. The circumstances of the arrest are still unclear, and officials at the news conference were taken by surprise by the development, which came as the meeting was ending.

Slovakia: Businessman charged with ordering murder of journalist Jan Kuciak | DW

A man has been charged with ordering the killings of investigative journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova, last year, Slovakian authorities announced on Thursday.
Special prosecutors identified the suspect as Marian K., withholding his last name as is standard practice in Slovakia, adding that they believe the contract killing was tied to Kuciak's investigative work.

Toyota doubles down on Nvidia tech for self-driving cars | TechCrunch

Toyota is deepening its relationship with Nvidia, as the automaker, and its research arms in Japan and the U.S., ramps up its autonomous-vehicle development program.
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announced Monday during his keynote at the 2019 GPU Technology Conference that Toyota Research Institute-Advanced Development - the automaker’s Japan-based research arm - is using the chipmaker’s full end-to-end development and production to develop, train and validate its autonomous vehicle technology. The partnership builds on an ongoing collaboration with Toyota and is based on development between engineering teams from Nvidia, TRI-AD in Japan and Toyota Research Institute in the United States.

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2019.03.17

News Headlines - 17 March 2019

Ethiopian Boeing 737 black boxes show ‘clear similarities’ with Indonesian crash

Black box data recovered from an Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed last week shows "clear similarities" with a recent crash in Indonesia of the same type of aircraft, Ethiopia's transport minister said on Sunday.
While declining to give details, Dagmawit Moges told journalists the parallels would be the "subject of further study during the investigation," with a preliminary report issued in "30 days".

Spain approves exhuming, moving remains of dictator Francisco Franco - UPI.com

The Spanish government led by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez approved Friday the exhumation of former leader Francisco Franco at a controversial burial site that's viewed by many as too regal for a dictator who ruled through decades of violent repression.
The exhumation of Franco, who died in 1975, will take place June 10 when his remains will be transferred from the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen) memorial complex near Madrid to a regular cemetery near his wife's tomb, ABC and El Diario reported.

Eurostar warns Brits not to travel to Paris and cancels trains for next three days as customs strike chaos continues for THIRD WEEK

EUROSTAR passengers face days more chaos as the firm warned passengers not to travel to Paris.
Crowds queued for hours as four London-bound train were axed today - and another three will not run on Monday with more cancellations throughout the week.
The cross-Channel chaos has now stretched into a third week as French customs officers demanding a Brexit pay rise are "working to rule" and imposing extra checks on passengers.

SoftBank, Other Investors in Talks to Invest $1 Billion in Uber’s Self-Driving Unit - WSJ

A consortium that includes SoftBank Group is in late-stage talks to invest $1 billion or more in Uber Technologies Inc.’s self-driving vehicle unit, according to people familiar with the negotiations, a move that would help the ride-hailing firm make its pitch to investors ahead of its eagerly anticipated IPO.
Under terms being discussed, SoftBank’s Vision Fund and other investors, including at least one unnamed auto maker, would take a minority stake in the unit at a valuation of between $5 billion and $10 billion...

Moon's office reacts angrily to South Korea MP's claim that president is Kim Jong Un's 'top spokesman' | The Japan Times

The office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in responded sharply Tuesday to a conservative lawmaker’s accusation that he was acting as the “top spokesman” of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The Blue House said the comments by Na Kyung-won, floor leader of the Liberty Korea Party, were an insult to both Moon and South Koreans wanting peace, and demanded an apology... Na said she borrowed the expression from “foreign wires,” apparently referring to a Bloomberg report last September that described Moon as acting as Kim’s “top spokesman” at the U.N. General Assembly.

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2019.03.16

News Headlines - 16 March 2019

Apple says Spotify wouldn't survive without the Apple Store

On Wednesday, Spotify complained to the European Commission antitrust regulators that Apple isn't playing fair and is harming consumers. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek argued that App Store policies give Apple Music an “unfair advantage at every turn.”
On Thursday, Apple fired back against the streaming service by saying that Spotify wants "all the benefits of a free app without being free." The iPhone maker also threw in a couple more subtle jabs in the lengthy "Addressing Spotify's Claims" press release.
Apple said in its public retort that Spotify has used the App Store "for years to dramatically grow their business," but now it wants to reap benefits "without making any contributions to that marketplace."

Christchurch shootings: Social media races to stop attack footage - BBC News

What ensued was an exhausting race for social media pages to take the footage down, as it was replicated seemingly endlessly and shared widely in the wake of the attack.
And through social media, it found its way onto the front pages of some of the world's biggest news websites in the form of still images, gifs, and even the full video.
This series of events has, once again, shone a spotlight on how sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Reddit try - and fail - to address far-right extremism on their platforms.

EU Parliament Leader Under Fire for Praising Mussolini - The New York Times

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani apologized Thursday for remarks interpreted as praise for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and insisted he is "a committed anti-fascist."
Tajani, who is a member of Silvio Berlusconi's center-right Forza Italia party, came under fire after telling Radio 24 on Wednesday evening that before Mussolini "declared war on the entire world, following Hitler, until he promoted the racial laws," the dictator did some "positive things," such as improving infrastructure.

Toyota and Panasonic will showcase assistive robotics during the Tokyo Summer Olympics | TechCrunch

Next year, the world’s top athletes will compete in the Tokyo Summer Games. Some of Japan’s biggest companies will also happily be using the opportunity to show off their latest technologies - namely a fleet of robotics aimed at helping human spectators navigate around the event... Toyota, a long time developer of assistive robotics, will take center stage here. The company is a key sponsor of the events bringing 16 support robots to the games, along with delivery robots. Fellow sponsor Panasonic will also participate by bringing 20 robotic exoskeletons to help transport luggage and lift other heavy objects.

The Royal Air Force Has Said Goodbye To The Tornado After An Amazing 40-Year Career - The Drive

The Royal Air Force has marked the end of an era and formally retired the very last of its swing-wing Panavia Tornado combat jets. For almost 40 years, the aircraft formed an essential part of British air combat capabilities, but are now giving way to the next generation of aircraft, including the stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

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2019.03.15

News Headlines - 15 March 2019

JOC head Takeda likely to retire amid probe into Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid corruption, say sources | The Japan Times

Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda is likely to retire without serving another term at a time when French prosecutors are investigating him for suspected corruption in Japan’s successful bid to host the 2020 Games, sources said Friday... The prosecuting judge now suspects Takeda of paying bribes to secure the winning bid, a judicial source said... The International Olympic Committee’s ethics commission has opened an ethics file on Takeda, who is also an IOC member and chairs its marketing commission.

18-yr-old boy accused of 15-million-yen 'Monacoin' cryptocurrency theft - The Mainichi

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has sent papers to prosecutors accusing an 18-year-old boy of stealing some 15 million yen worth of Monacoin virtual currency... The boy specifically stands accused of accessing Monappy, an online wallet service for storing cryptocurrency, between Aug. 14 and Sept. 1 last year to withdraw the Monacoin. The teenager took advantage of website vulnerabilities arising from access overload glitches.

Itochu amasses 40 percent stake in Descente in rare Japan hostile bid | Reuters

Trading house Itochu Corp said on Friday it has amassed a 40 percent stake in sportswear maker Descente Ltd, setting the stage for a rare hostile takeover in Japan’s consensus-driven market... Itochu, which previously held around 30 percent of Descente shares, offered in late January to buy more from other shareholders at a 50 percent premium.

Google team led by Japanese engineer breaks record by calculating pi to the 31.4 trillionth digit | The Japan Times

Google LLC said Thursday that a team led by engineer Emma Haruka Iwao from Japan has broken a Guinness World Record by calculating pi to the 31.4 trillionth digit, around 9 trillion more than the previous record set in 2016.
The accomplishment, announced on the day dubbed “Pi Day” as its first three digits are 3.14, was achieved by using Google Cloud infrastructure, the tech giant said.

Boeing Halts 737 MAX Deliveries After Two Fatal Crashes - WSJ

Boeing Co. suffered dual setbacks Thursday when it paused deliveries of its 737 MAX jetliner and a U.S. Air Force official raised concerns about one of the company’s biggest military-plane programs. The aircraft manufacturer said it has suspended deliveries of its 737 MAX following the grounding of the aircraft by aviation regulators around the world after two fatal crashes within five months.

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2019.03.14

News Headlines - 14 March 2019

Emperor starts ceremony series related to his abdication:The Asahi Shimbun

Emperor Akihito on March 12 took part in the first ceremony related to his abdication, informing imperial ancestors, including Amaterasu-omikami, the legendary sun goddess, of his intention to step down on April 30.
The “hokoku no gi” started around 10 a.m. within the Imperial Palace grounds, with Akihito dressed in the “sokutai,” a formal traditional attire that can only be worn by an emperor... The same document was read at two other shrines in the Imperial Palace dedicated to past emperors and other Shinto gods.

Japan won't submit N. Korea resolution at UN - NHK WORLD

Japan's government says it won't submit a resolution condemning North Korean human rights violations at the United Nations this year.
Japan and the European Union have jointly submitted such resolutions to the UN Human Rights Council for the past 11 years. The resolutions referred to Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea.

TASS: Pyongyang set to break off denuclearization talks with Washington - diplomat

The North Korean leadership is considering suspension of denuclearization talks with the United States, North Korea’s Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui told reporters on Friday... The deputy foreign minister blamed the breakdown of talks in Hanoi on the US side, who "were too busy with pursuing their own political interests and had no sincere intention to achieve a result."
She also said that during an extended meeting, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and US National Security Adviser John Bolton "created the atmosphere of hostility and mistrust and, therefore, obstructed the constructive effort for negotiations between the supreme leaders of North Korea and the United States."

China says Xinjiang has 'boarding schools' not 'concentration camps' | Reuters

China is running boarding schools not concentration camps in the far western region of Xinjiang, its governor said on Tuesday, as the United States called conditions there “completely unacceptable”.
China has faced growing international opprobrium for what it says are vocational training centers in Xinjiang, a vast region bordering central Asia that is home to millions of Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities.

Chinese parents storm primary school in rotten food row | The Guardian

Hundreds of parents have stormed a primary school in south-western China after learning their children were being fed rotten food, clashing with riot police and refusing to leave.
Parents of students attending the Chengdu No 7 Experimental school, a private institution with an intake of about 6,000, discovered issues with school lunches after their children experienced breathing problems and stomach pains.
A doctor who inspected one student said the child appeared to have been eating rotten food for a prolonged period of time, according to one parent’s social media post. Some parents discovered supplies of frozen meat and produce growing mould and posted about them online.

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2019.03.13

News Headlines - 13 March 2019

Spotify: Apple is harming competitors and the EU should act - CNN

Spotify says Apple isn't playing fair when it comes to competing for music fans.
The Swedish music streaming company has filed a complaint against Apple with European antitrust officials, accusing it of giving its own music service an unfair advantage over competitors.

Airbiquity announces strategic investment from Toyota Motor Corporation, DENSO Corporation, and Toyota Tsusho Corporation | Automotive World

Airbiquity, a long-standing global leader in connected vehicle services, today announced a $15 million minority investment in the company from Toyota Motor Corporation, DENSO Corporation, and Toyota Tsusho Corporation. This investment will support Airbiquity’s expansion of the development of connected vehicle software technology and cloud-based services.
Additionally, the four parties will collaborate to accelerate the development and commercialization of an automotive grade over-the-air (OTA) system enabling remote vehicle software updates and management; increased production and operational efficiencies throughout the vehicle lifecycle; and new mobility services powered by data and analytics. Central to this alliance is Airbiquity’s market-leading OTAmatic software and data management offering for connected vehicles.

Japan Sega game sales halted after cocaine arrest - BBC News

Games firm Sega is to stop sales of its video game Judgment in Japan, after actor Pierre Taki, who appears in it, was arrested for alleged drug use.
Mr Taki, who plays a gangster in the game, was arrested on Tuesday night on suspicion of using cocaine.
Judgment had been on sale in Japan since December 2018, and is due to be published worldwide later this year.

Vietnam asks Malaysia to free woman accused of Kim Jong Nam's poisoning | Reuters

Vietnam called on Malaysia on Tuesday to free a Vietnamese woman accused of the 2017 VX poison murder of the North Korean leader’s half-brother, a day after a Malaysian court dropped the same charge against an Indonesian woman... Huong’s co-defendant, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, was freed on Monday.
She and Huong had been accused of poisoning Kim Jong Nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with liquid VX at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. Conviction could carry the death penalty.

Ebola treatment center attacked again as Congo battles a deadly epidemic - CNN

Militants attacked an Ebola treatment center in the Democratic Republic of Congo, killing a police officer as the nation battles a growing epidemic that has killed hundreds.
The World Health Organization said a staff member was injured in the Saturday attack by armed groups that targeted the center again last week. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was in the nation on a three-day visit and spoke to officials and staff at the center after the attack.

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2019.03.12

News Headlines - 12 March 2019

MPs ignore May’s pleas and defeat her Brexit deal by 149 votes | The Guardian

Theresa May has suffered a second humiliating defeat on her Brexit deal, as MPs voted it down by a crushing majority of 149, dealing a fresh blow to her shattered authority.
With just 17 days to go until the UK is due to leave the EU, backbenchers from both sides of the Brexit divide immediately began manoeuvring to take control of the next steps of the process, in a series of key votes in the coming days.
MPs ignored the prime minister’s pleas to “get the deal done” and voted the deal down for a second time, after the Democratic Unionist party (DUP) said it was not convinced by last-minute assurances won from Brussels on Monday.

U.S. official suggests Italy avoid China's Belt and Road plan | Reuters

The Italian government should not support China’s “Belt and Road” infrastructure plan, a spokesman for the White House’s group of national security advisers said on Saturday, calling it a “vanity project.”
On Friday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that he might sign an accord with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month, despite reports that the United States was concerned at the prospect of a key ally joining the venture.

French prosecutors open inquiry into Carlos Ghosn's lavish Versailles wedding party, source says | The Japan Times

French prosecutors have begun an inquiry into the lavish wedding party at the Palace of Versailles for former Renault and Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, part of which was billed to the French automaker, a legal source said.
Renault SA disclosed last month that the chateau had waived the usual €50,000 (¥6.3 million) rental fee for the October 2016 party under a sponsorship fee signed a few months earlier.
The waived bill could amount to the misuse of company resources, as well as tax evasion, if the benefit-in-kind was not declared to French authorities.

Toyota and JAXA plan to send space rover to the moon in 2029 | The Japan Times

Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it will jointly develop a rover to be sent to the moon in 2029, amid fierce global competition to explore Earth’s natural satellite.
Toyota unveiled the project with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to build a rover that can be powered by fuel cells and enable astronauts to live inside it for a certain period without wearing space suits, in what would be the first such development in the world.
JAXA is planning to send manned missions to the moon between 2029 and 2034.

Venezuela's Power Outage Continues, Situation Grows Desperate : NPR

Venezuela has been in the grip of a crippling blackout for four days - and the humanitarian situation there is growing increasingly dire.
Signs of the crisis are everywhere you look in the Venezuelan capital. "Drive around Caracas, and you see long lines of cars waiting for hours at the few gas stations still operational," NPR's Philip Reeves reported from the city.

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2019.03.11

News Headlines - 11 March 2019

Bells and sirens as Japan marks tsunami anniversary, pledges recovery | Reuters

Bells rang and sirens sounded on Monday as Japan observed a moment of silence to commemorate the eighth anniversary of a massive earthquake and tsunami that left more than 20,000 people dead or missing, and triggered triple nuclear meltdowns.
The quake of magnitude nine on March 11, 2011 struck north of the Japanese capital, unleashing a tsunami that engulfed large swathes of the Pacific coast and caused the world’s worst nuclear accident in 25 years.

South Korean plaintiffs may seek seizure of Mitsubishi Heavy assets in Europe over wartime forced labor | The Japan Times v

A team of lawyers representing South Korean plaintiffs who won a case against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. over wartime forced labor is considering seeking a seizure of the Japanese manufacturer’s assets in Europe, one of them has said.

Ethiopian Airlines crash kills 157, spreads global grief - Boston Herald

An Ethiopian Airlines jet faltered and crashed Sunday shortly after takeoff, carving a gash in the earth and spreading global grief to 35 countries that had someone among the 157 people who were killed.
There was no immediate indication why the plane went down in clear weather while on a flight to Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya. The crash was strikingly similar to that of a Lion Air jet in Indonesian seas last year, killing 189 people. Both accidents involved the Boeing 737 Max 8, and China ordered a temporarily grounding of those planes for Chinese airlines Monday.

May wins ‘improved’ Brexit deal but it may not be enough for MPs | The Guardian

Theresa May has called for MPs to “come together” to back her deal after claiming to have secured the legally binding changes parliament wanted to ensure the EU cannot trap the UK in the Irish backstop and a permanent customs union.
But within minutes of the start of a late-night joint press conference in Strasbourg, those words rang hollow, as Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, conceded the EU had not agreed to the prime minister’s central demand.
Juncker told reporters that a freshly negotiated legal add-on to the Brexit deal, emphasising the temporary nature of the Irish backstop, “complements the withdrawal agreement without reopening it”.

Sotheby’s celebrates 275 years of history with London exhibition | Culture | The Guardian

On 11 March 1744, Samuel Baker, a “joyous fellow” with a “fondness for plum-coloured coats”, who for a decade had sold books from his corner table in Covent Garden’s Angel and Crown pub, brought the hammer down on his first auction... Exactly 275 years on, the international auction house Sotheby’s, which grew out of Baker’s entrepreneurial endeavours and is one of the UK’s oldest businesses, marks its anniversary by ringing the opening bell on the New York stock exchange trading floor. Sotheby’s is almost 50 years older than the stock exchange itself.

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2019.03.10

News Headlines - 10 March 2019

Police are 'increasingly concerned' for Japanese musician, 19, after he goes missing from UK tour | Daily Mail Online

Concerns have risen for the welfare of a 19-year-old Japanese musician who disappeared mid-way through a tour of the UK with his world-famous drumming group.
Sho Teshigawara was last seen at Dorking train station at 6.30pm - two hours before an 8pm performance was booked for his group the Yamato Drummers. The Yamato drummers are a group of dozens of Japanese performers who use their whole bodies to hit a Japanese taiko drum made from a large 400 year-old tree.

Crime Agency Freezes Bank Accounts of Chinese Students Studying in U.K.

Authorities in the U.K. have frozen dozens of bank accounts belonging to Chinese nationals studying in the county, citing money-laundering concerns.
The National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) said it would seek to freeze 95 bank accounts containing an estimated £3.6 million (U.S.$ 4.7 million) in funds "suspected to be either the proceeds of crime or intended to be used for criminal purposes."
It said the accounts were held mainly by overseas students studying in the U.K. who may be unaware that their operation of their accounts was "potentially illegal."

Mario Batali sells his stake in his restaurants, more than a year after sexual-harassment allegations | The Seattle Times

Disgraced celebrity chef Mario Batali relinquished his stake in his company on Wednesday, more than a year after numerous women alleged that he sexually harassed them, resulting in a criminal inquiry against the chef. The New York Times reported that longtime partners Joe Bastianich and his sister, Tanya Bastianich Manuali, have bought the chef’s shares in the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, the company behind his popular restaurants like Babbo and Del Posto, for an undisclosed price.

IS group runaway teen's baby son dies in Syria camp

The baby son of Shamima Begum, a British-born teenager who left London to join the Islamic State group, has died in Syria, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces has said.
Begum, 19, who was stripped of her citizenship for joining IS by the British government despite her wish to return, gave birth last month in a refugee camp in northeastern Syria.
The baby died of pneumonia, according to a medical certificate, the BBC reported Friday.

Korean forced labor victims seek court seizure of Mitsubishi assets

Four Korean victims of wartime forced labor are seeking seizure of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.'s local assets as the company refuses to comply with the Supreme Court ruling that ordered the firm to compensate them.
The plaintiffs, including 88-year-old Yang Geum-deuk, on Thursday filed the request with the Seoul Central District Court to seize several Mitsubishi trademarks and patents, according to a civic group that represents the victims.
If approved by the court, the Japanese company will be forbidden from selling or transferring the assets.

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2019.03.09

News Headlines - 09 March 2019

UN Panel Says North Korea Obtained $670 Million in Crypto and Fiat via Hacking: Report

North Korea has reportedly amassed $670 million in fiat and cryptocurrencies by conducting hacking attacks, Asia-focused financial newspaper Nikkei Asian Review reports on Friday, March 8. The publication cites a U.N. Security Council report.
The report, prepared by a panel of experts, was presented to the Security Council's North Korea sanctions committee ahead of its annual report. According to the documents obtained by Nikkei, the hackers attacked overseas financial institutions from 2015 to 2018 and purportedly used blockchain “to cover their tracks.”

Hyundai Heavy signs formal deal to take over Daewoo Shipbuilding | Yonhap News Agency

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. on Friday signed a formal deal with the state-run Korea Development Bank to buy its smaller local rival Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., heralding the world's largest shipbuilding group with a some 20 percent market share.
Hyundai Heavy became the sole bidder for Daewoo Shipbuilding after another local shipyard, Samsung Heavy Industries Co., turned down an offer to bid for Daewoo Shipbuilding.

UK, Japan scientists study radioactive Fukushima particles | Reuters

Eight years after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in Japan, radioactive particles collected from the site are undergoing new forensic investigation in Britain in an effort to understand the exact sequence of events.

IHI finds 211 cases of improper engine inspections - NHK WORLD

Japan's IHI Corporation says it has found more than 200 cases of improper inspections of aircraft engines over the past two years... IHI President Tsugio Mitsuoka offered his apologies on Friday. He said the company examined about 40,000 inspection records from the past two years, and found 211 cases of misconduct... The misconduct involved 32 employees. IHI managers had received a whistle-blower report in April last year, but failed to confirm the wrongdoing.

Hello Kitty headed for Hollywood after years of talks on film rights | The Japan Times

Sanrio announced on Wednesday that it will team up with New Line Cinema and FlynnPictureCo. to create an English-language Hello Kitty film for global audiences, with Warner Brothers as distributor.
The iconic cat, first designed in 1974 with a trademark pink bow, will be turned into a movie character after nearly five years of talks to secure the film rights. The new partnership also includes film rights to Sanrio’s other creations, including the pink rabbit My Melody and Gudetama, a slouching egg-shaped cartoon character.

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2019.03.08

News Headlines - 08 March 2019

Japan fourth-quarter GDP revised up on investment rebound but trade clouds outlook | Reuters

The Japanese economy grew faster than initially estimated in the fourth quarter as capital expenditure staged a quick recovery from a series of natural disasters in the previous quarter.
However, despite the upward revision to growth, economists are likely to temper their optimism on the outlook given a recent batch of disappointing data on exports and factory output and the economy expected to weaken due to the Sino-U.S. trade war.

Renesas to halt six plants in Japan for up to two months | The Japan Times

Major Japanese chipmaker Renesas Electronics Corp. will halt six domestic plants for up to two months due to China’s economic slowdown reflecting the country’s trade spat with the United States, informed sources have said.
The Chinese slowdown has dented demand for semiconductors for industrial machinery and consumer electronics, according to the sources.

Honda workers travel to Parliament as campaign to save Swindon plant ramps up - ITV News

Honda workers and union representatives have travelled to Parliament as part of their campaign to save jobs in Swindon.
The group plan to lobby politicians and meet MPs. They hope a question will be raised at Prime Minister’s Questions so the issue remains on the political agenda.
3,500 jobs are at risk after Honda announced plans to close the Swindon plant and build their new electric models in North America and Asia, where they have a larger customer base.

70% of anti-Meghan tweets sent in two month came from just TWENTY trolls | Daily Mail Online

More than 3,600 hateful tweets directed at, or about, the Duchess of Sussex were sent in just two months by just 20 accounts, new analysis has revealed.
The handful of accounts, most of which seem to have been set up explicitly and exclusively to spew vile posts about Meghan Markle, were responsible for 70 per cent of more than 5,200 abusive messages.
The research, by campaign group Hope Not Hate and CNN, examined tweets in January and February featuring anti-Meghan hashtags including #megxit, #bumpgate, and #mmtcd - believed to mean 'Meghan Markle, the Charlatan Duchess'.

Thailand court disbands pro-Thaksin political party for nominating princess | The Japan Times

Thailand’s Constitutional Court on Thursday ordered the dissolution of a major political party ahead of this month’s general election because it nominated a member of the royal family to be its candidate for prime minister.
The Thai Raksa Chart Party on Feb. 8 nominated Princess Ubolratana Mahidol as its candidate for the March 24 polls. However, her brother King Maha Vajiralongkorn later that day issued a royal order calling the nomination highly inappropriate and unconstitutional.
The court in its ruling also banned members of the party’s executive board from political activity for 10 years.

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2019.03.07

News Headlines - 07 March 2019

Key index shows Japan economy may already be in recessionary phase - The Mainichi

The government on Thursday downgraded its assessment of a key indicator of economic trends, suggesting Japan may have already entered a recessionary phase rather than marking its longest growth streak since the end of World War II, as previously believed.
The Cabinet Office's coincident index of business conditions for January was down 2.7 points from the previous month at 97.9 against the 2015 base of 100. It was the index's third consecutive monthly decline, prompting the office to say that it was "signaling a possible turning point." Prior to that, it had said conditions were "weakening."

Japan's moon shot: Toyota and JAXA space agency plan to send rover on lunar mission | The Japan Times

Toyota is teaming up with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency on a planned mission to the moon, with the auto giant expected to develop a lunar rover, officials and local media said Wednesday... Details will be announced by JAXA and Toyota on Tuesday next week when the space agency hosts a symposium in Tokyo, the spokesman said.

China reveals case against two Canadians detained in wake of Huawei arrest - CNN

The case against the two Canadians detained in the wake of the controversial arrest of a Huawei executive was revealed by China's Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission on Monday.
In a statement, former diplomat Michael Kovrig was accused of spying by the Chinese government, including gathering and stealing "sensitive information and other intelligence" since 2017.
Businessman Michael Spavor is accused of providing intelligence to Kovrig, and is described as an "important contact" for the former diplomat.

Brian K. Vaughan To Pen ‘Gundam’ Live-Action Adaptation For Legendary | Deadline

Famed comic book creator and New York Times bestselling author Brian K. Vaughan has signed on to write the screenplay for Gundam, the first live-action film based on the popular mecha anime and science fiction media franchise created by Sunrise. The project hails from Legendary Entertainment, in a co-production with Sunrise. Vaughan, best known for creating comic book series like Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina and Runaways, will also serve as an executive producer on the pic.

How Man Utd produced one of the great European comebacks... and why PSG's furious Neymar called it a 'disgrace'

Marcus Rashford's stoppage-time penalty secured injury-hit Manchester United an extraordinary victory against the odds at Paris St-Germain as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer steered his side into the Champions League quarter-finals.
Just 22 days after suffering his only defeat as caretaker manager in the first leg, United arrived in France looking to become the first side in the competition's history to progress after suffering a first-leg home loss by two goals.
The odds were stacked against them - but United turned the improbable into reality in an extraordinary Parc des Princes clash, securing a 3-1 victory and progress on away goals.

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2019.03.06

News Headlines - 06 March 2019

Senate set to reject Trump's national emergency declaration | The Guardian

Donald Trump’s declaration of an emergency on the Mexican border will be rejected by the Senate, the most senior Republican in the US upper chamber has admitted.
The Democratic-controlled House has already voted to reject the national emergency declaration. A rejection in the Republican-controlled Senate would send a powerful signal that Trump’s control of his own party may be slipping.
If his national emergency declaration is rejected, Trump could veto that rejection. A presidential veto can be overruled by both houses of Congress, but only with two-thirds majorities, which is unlikely, meaning the declaration is likely to stand in the end.

Carlos Ghosn: former Nissan chairman released on bail in Tokyo | The Guardian

Carlos Ghosn has been freed from detention in Tokyo, almost four months after the former Nissan chairman was arrested for financial misconduct... Live TV footage showed Ghosn, dressed in a dark blue uniform, light blue baseball cap and surgical face mask, being escorted out of Tokyo detention centre by several officials and taken to a silver van. Reports said that a car from the French embassy had arrived at the detention centre, as media helicopters swirled overhead.

Kagoike couple at heart of Japan PM Abe's Moritomo Gakuen cronyism scandal plead not guilty | The Japan Times

The former head of a school operator and his wife, who are at the heart of a cronyism scandal linked to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of fraud related to public subsidies for their schools, claiming their arrests were politically motivated.

Japan's health ministry approves world's first trials for using iPS cells to treat corneal disease | The Japan Times

The health ministry conditionally approved Tuesday the world’s first clinical study to treat patients with corneal disease by using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
The study, to be conducted by a team of researchers from Osaka University, will be the sixth time the government has authorized clinical studies using iPS cells.

Arata Isozaki Won 2019 Pritzker Architecture Prize. Now See Pictures Of His Work : NPR

Isozaki won the Pritzker Architecture Prize on Tuesday, a lifetime achievement award so prestigious, it's often known as the Nobel Prize for architects. And according to the prize's judges, it was in part Isozaki's endless attempts to rebuild - to make something new from old forms, to experiment on the edge of what's possible - that earned him the honor.

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2019.03.05

News Headlines - 05 March 2019

US decision to merge Palestinian mission with Israeli embassy sparks anger | The Independent

The US has officially closed its consulate in Jerusalem, which served Palestinians, and has folded it into the US embassy to Israel.
The consulate functioned as a de facto embassy to the Palestinians for decades, but now that mission will be handled by a Palestinian affairs unit under the command of the embassy.

Holland recalls envoy from Iran in escalating murder plot row | The Times of Israel

The Netherlands said Monday it had recalled its ambassador from Tehran after Iran expelled two Dutch diplomats in an escalating dispute over an alleged plot to assassinate regime opponents.
Dutch authorities accused Iran in January of involvement in the murder of two dissidents on Dutch soil in 2015 and 2017, and the European Union slapped sanctions on Tehran over the killings.

Ghosn’s family taps U.N. rights group to show jail violations:The Asahi Shimbun

Carlos Ghosn's lawyers have submitted a dossier to a United Nations' working group which showed that the former head of Renault's rights had been violated during detention in Japan, one if his lawyers said on Monday.
Ghosn has been in custody since his initial arrest in late November over allegations he under-reported his compensation at Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., for nearly a decade through 2018. He also has been charged with aggravated breach of trust.

'Haptic baton' offers new hope for blind musicians | Reuters

A conductor’s baton has been created that allows the visually-impaired to follow its movements, opening up the potential for blind people to join more orchestras.
The ‘Haptic Baton’ contains sensors that pick up even slight motions. These are then transmitted via radio signals to vibrating devices attached to musicians’ wrists or ankles.
They vibrate and buzz in different ways to indicate to the player the pace and dynamics the conductor wants.

Japan Releases Incredible Asteroid Landing Footage From Its Hayabusa-2 Spacecraft

Japan has revealed images taken by its Hayabusa-2 spacecraft during last month’s historic asteroid landing, showing the dramatic moment it touched the surface and scooped up material.
Hayabusa-2 landed on the surface of the asteroid Ryugu on Thursday, February 21 at a distance of 310 million kilometers from Earth. This was only the second successful asteroid landing in history, after the Hayabusa-1 mission in 2005.

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2019.03.04

News Headlines - 04 March 2019

£1.6bn 'bribe' for poorer towns as May seeks Labour's backing for Brexit deal | The Guardian

Left-behind towns in England are to get a £1.6bn funding boost as part of a package of measures to win support for Theresa May’s Brexit deal among Labour MPs, who said the new cash would not buy their votes.
Labour MPs including Lisa Nandy and Gareth Snell who have signalled they might back May’s deal criticised the approach and said the cash would do little to tackle the effects of austerity.

As many as 70 UK opposition Labour lawmakers oppose second Brexit referendum: lawmaker | Reuters

As many as 70 of Britain’s opposition Labour lawmakers oppose holding a second Brexit referendum, Labour lawmaker Caroline Flint said on Sunday.
Earlier this week Labour said it would back a second referendum in order to try to prevent either a ‘no deal’ or Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal.

Virgin Atlantic drops mandatory makeup for female cabin crew | The Guardian

Virgin Atlantic has told female cabin crew they will no longer have to wear makeup in the air.
The airline will also provide female crew with trousers as part of their standard uniform, rather than only providing them on request... Virgin said cabin crew could now work without makeup, but were welcome to follow the palette of lipstick and foundation set out in its guidelines.

Salisbury to be declared decontaminated after 13,000-hour clean-up following Novichok poisoning | London Evening Standard

Salisbury is to be declared decontaminated of Novichok after an almost year-long military clean-up following the Sergei Skripal poisoning... Military teams have spent 13,000 hours on the clean-up after Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia were targeted with the nerve agent in March last year and left seriously ill.
During the 355-day operation, they took 5,000 test samples from across Salisbury and nearby Amesbury, where Dawn Sturgess, 44, was fatally poisoned in July.

'Beverly Hills, 90210' Star Luke Perry Dies Of Stroke At 52

Television icon Luke Perry has died at the age of 52, according to his spokesperson. He suffered a massive stroke on Wednesday at his home in Sherman Oaks, California, and had spent the past few days in emergency care at St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank... Some of his many stand-out roles included his work on Oz, John From Cincinnati, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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2019.03.03

News Headlines - 03 March 2019

U.S., China Close In on Trade Deal - WSJ

China and the U.S. are in the final stage of completing a trade deal, with Beijing offering to lower tariffs and other restrictions on American farm, chemical, auto and other products and Washington considering removing most, if not all, sanctions levied against Chinese products since last year.
The agreement is taking shape following February's talks in Washington, poeple briefed on the matter on both sides said.

President of Slovenia says EU could approve short Brexit delay | Sky News

The President of Slovenia has said he believes his country and "a lot of other" EU nations would approve a short delay to Brexit... President Borut Pahor added that Britain needs to show "clarity and consensus" and come back to the EU with a plan MPs can approve.

German public servants to get 8-percent pay increases

Union and government negotiators say they’ve reached a new wage agreement that will give more than a million public servants in Germany a nearly 8 percent pay increase over 33 months.
The deal, announced just before midnight Saturday, comes after disruptive short-term strikes by teachers and others designed to put pressure on the government.

OPCW confirms chemical weapons use in Douma, Syria | DW

The OPCW fact-finding mission said there were reasonable grounds that toxic chemicals had been used in the Syrian town of Douma, near Damascus in April 2018. The investigation did not assign blame.

Italy arrests Camorra 'superboss' after 14 years on run - The Local

Italian police on Saturday arrested top mafia fugitive Marco Di Lauro, the fourth son of ex-Camorra boss Paolo Di Lauro, after over 14 years on the run. Di Lauro, 38, was arrested without a fight at a modest apartment where he lived with his wife in the Chiaiano district in southern city Naples, police said.

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2019.03.02

News Headlines - 02 March 2019

British prejudice against immigrants is among lowest in Europe, study shows

Just one in 10 Britons would object to neighbours of a different race while only 15 per cent do not want immigrants living next door, a new study has found. Research has shown that British prejudice against immigrants is among the lowest in Europe, and comparable to most other wealthy EU and English speaking nations.
US researchers said the findings challenge the prevailing attitudes about Brexit suggesting that the vast majority of people in Britain do not have an issue with immigration.

SDF draws fire for recruitment poster featuring female anime characters in skimpy costumes | The Japan Times

A Self-Defense Forces recruitment office in Shiga Prefecture has caused a stir by releasing a poster that features female anime characters wearing super-short skirts, which expose what appear to be underwear. Some people have described the image as a form of sexual harassment.

Thailand to apply to join trans-Pacific FTA this month: official - The Mainichi

Thailand will apply this month to join a trans-Pacific free trade agreement, aiming to ensure it is not left behind by its competitors in the vibrant region, according to a senior Thai government official.

Mystery still surrounds break-in at North Korean embassy in Madrid - The Local

A week after a break-in at the North Korean embassy in Madrid, Spanish authorities were on Friday still trying to shed light on the mysterious theft of computers and office equipment...North Korea's ambassador to Spain was expelled in 2017 as a "persona non grata" after nuclear tests and missile firings by Pyongyang.
Since then, North Korea has had diplomatic representation in Madrid but no ambassador.

It’s Spielberg vs. Netflix as the Post-Oscar Academy Wars Continue | IndieWire

Steven Spielberg isn’t basking in the glow of Best Picture Oscar-winner “Green Book,” which he supported in this year’s contentious Oscar race. His Academy Award attention is now devoted to ensuring that the race never sees another “Roma” - a Netflix film backed by massive sums, that didn’t play by the same rules as its analog-studio competitors.
As far as he’s concerned, as it currently stands Netflix should only compete for awards in the Emmy arena; as the Academy Governor representing the directors branch, Spielberg is eager to support rule changes when it convenes for its annual post-Oscar meeting.

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2019.03.01

News Headlines - 01 March 2019

Canada allows US extradition of Huawei CFO to proceed

The Canadian government has decided to allow the U.S. extradition process of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou to proceed, the country's Department of Justice announced Friday.
It's the first step in what's likely to be a lengthy and revealing legal process. Meng will sit for an extradition hearing in Canada on March 6, during which evidence will be entered into the public record.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Vancouver, British Columbia, in December over allegations that the company defrauded several banks, including HSBC and Standard Chartered, by concealing payments from Iran in violations of sanctions against that country.

Hamza bin Laden: US offers $1 million bounty in hunt for bin Laden's son - CBS News

Eight years after a Navy SEAL team shot and killed Osama bin Laden, the U.S. government is offering $1 million for help tracking down the son of the Sept. 11 mastermind. The State Department announced Thursday it would give out the reward for help locating Hamza bin Laden.

Pakistan set to free Indian pilot to de-escalate tensions | Al Jazeera

Pakistan is set to release a captured Indian pilot in a "peace gesture" aimed at easing tensions with its nuclear archrival, after aerial clashes ignited fears of a dangerous conflict in South Asia.
Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who has become the face of the crisis between Islamabad and New Delhi, will be handed back to Indian officials at the Wagah border crossing on Friday afternoon, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Friday.

Shadowy group declares 'government-in-exile' for North Korea - Channel NewsAsia

A shadowy group believed to be protecting the son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's assassinated brother declared the formation of a government-in-exile Friday (Mar 1), dedicating itself to the abolition of the "great evil".
The Cheollima Civil Defence (CCD) organisation - which offers to assist people attempting to defect from North Korea - emerged in 2017 when it posted an online video of Kim Han Sol, saying it had guaranteed his safety after his father was killed by two women who smeared him with nerve agent.

Korea Commemorates 100th Anniversary of March 1st Independence Protests | The Diplomat

On Friday, the Koreas commemorate the 100th anniversary of the March 1st Movement, a mass demonstration of Korean resistance against Japanese colonial rule. The movement began on March 1, 1919 with a reading of Korea’s “Proclamation of Independence”; within a year, up to 2 million Koreans participated in protests around the country. The movement was met with brutality by Japanese authorities, with thousands killed and as many as 46,000 people arrested for their involvement in the protests, which were eventually quashed the following spring.

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2019.02.28

News Headlines - 28 February 2019

Subaru to recall 2.2 million cars over brake light glitch, including in Singapore - Channel NewsAsia

Subaru on Thursday (Feb 28) announced a global recall of 2.2 million SUVs, the biggest ever for the company, over a brake light glitch that could affect how the vehicle engines start.
The models affected are the 2014-2016 Model Year (MY) Forester, 2011-2014MY WRX (4-Door), 2008-2016MY Impreza and 2012-2017MY Subaru XV.

Britain's Jeremy Corbyn supports second Brexit referendum

British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said Monday his party is prepared to support a second referendum on Britain's potential withdrawal from the European Union as the country closes in on a deadline to agree on how to separate from the bloc.
Corbyn said that if a vote on the Labor Party's proposed Brexit deal fails, the party would put forward or support an amendment proposing another public vote on leaving the European Union in order to "prevent a damaging Tory Brexit."

Border wall: House passes bid to stop Trump's national emergency

The House voted 245-182 Tuesday to block President Donald Trump's declaration of a national emergency along the southern border, but Democrats didn’t win enough support from Republicans to overcome Trump’s threatened veto.Only 13 Republicans joined all Democrats in backing the measure, even though many had warned against the declaration.

Michael Jackson 'abused us hundreds of times' - BBC News

Two men have told the BBC they were abused hundreds of times by Michael Jackson, from the ages of seven and 10... Jackson's family say there's "not one piece of evidence" to prove the claims.
The two men have also spoken out in the documentary Leaving Neverland.

Bryce Harper to Phillies: Biggest contracts in MLB history, ranked

Bryce Harper agreed to a 13-year, $330 million deal - the biggest contract in North American sports history - with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday.
His deal surpassed Stanton's 13-year, $325 million extension he signed before the 2015 season with the Miami Marlins and comes on the heels of Nolan Arenado's eight-year, $260 million extension with the Colorado Rockies and Manny Machado's 10-year, $300 million deal with the San Diego Padres.
While Harper's deal sets a new bar for total value, it didn't break the record for highest annual average value ($25.8 million).

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2019.02.27

News Headlines - 27 February 2019

Pakistani Military Says It Downed Two Indian Warplanes, Capturing Pilot - The New York Times

Pakistan said Wednesday that it downed two Indian fighter jets and captured a pilot, escalating hostilities between the nuclear-armed neighbors a day after Indian warplanes struck inside Pakistani territory for the first time in five decades.
The rapid turn of events raised fears that the historical animosities between India and Pakistan could be steering them toward another war.
Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan urged India to settle matters through talks, referring to the nuclear weapons both countries hold and the risk of further escalation.

Legislator points at Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro for removal of 8 tons of gold from bank - New York Daily News

More than $300 million worth of gold was spirited out of Venezuelan bank vaults last week, and one politician says it’s the result of desperate President Nicolas Maduro being strapped for cash.
Authorities loaded about eight tons of the precious metal onto government trucks while security guards were absent, legislator Angel Alvarado - and three other government sources - claimed to Reuters... As of Wednesday’s closing price of $1,329.30 per ounce, the value of eight tons of gold is $340,300,800.

Muhammadu Buhari wins Nigerian election with 56% of the vote | The Guardian

Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari has been declared the winner of the country’s election after results showed that he claimed 56% of the vote.
With ballots from all 36 states counted, Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) garnered 15.2m votes compared with 11.3 m for Atiku Abubakar’s People’s Democratic party. The election turnout was 35.6 percent, the electoral commission said, which compared with 44% in the 2015 presidential election.

Apple self-driving car layoffs hit 190 employees in Santa Clara, Sunnyvale - SFChronicle.com

Apple will lay off 190 employees in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale in its self-driving car division, the company said.
The layoffs were disclosed, along with new details, in a letter this month to the California Employment Development Department. CNBC reported last month that layoffs were occurring in the self-driving car division, known as Project Titan. Tom Neumayr, an Apple spokesman, confirmed that the letter to the state referenced the same layoffs.
Most of the affected employees are engineers, including 38 engineering program managers, 33 hardware engineers, 31 product design engineers and 22 software engineers. The layoffs will take effect April 16, according to the filing.

AT&T-Time Warner merger: Appeals court backs AT&T acquisition of Time Warner - CNN

An appeals court has rejected the Justice Department's bid to overturn a ruling that cleared the way for AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner... AT&T first announced its intention to purchase Time Warner, which included HBO, Warner Bros. and the Turner cable networks, in October of 2016. Just over a year later, the Justice Department sued to stop the deal on antitrust grounds, claiming that by owning Time Warner, AT&T would have "both the incentive and the ability to raise its rivals' costs and stifle growth of innovative, next-generation entrants."

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2019.02.26

News Headlines - 26 February 2019

India strikes inside Pakistan after deadly Kashmir attack - The Mainichi

Pakistan says India launched an airstrike on its territory early Tuesday that caused no casualties, while India said it targeted a terrorist training camp in a pre-emptive strike that killed a "very large number" of militants.
The overnight raid was the latest escalation between the nuclear-armed rivals since a deadly suicide bombing in the disputed Kashmir region earlier this month killed more than 40 Indian soldiers. Pakistan has denied involvement in the attack but has vowed to respond to any Indian military operation against it.
The Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility. The bomber, who made a video before the attack, was a resident of Indian-controlled sector of Kashmir.

After Putin's warning, Russian TV lists nuclear targets in U.S. | Reuters

Russian state television has listed U.S. military facilities that Moscow would target in the event of a nuclear strike, and said that a hypersonic missile Russia is developing would be able to hit them in less than five minutes.
The targets included the Pentagon and the presidential retreat in Camp David, Maryland.
The report, unusual even by the sometimes bellicose standards of Russian state TV, was broadcast on Sunday evening, days after President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was militarily ready for a “Cuban Missile”-style crisis if the United States wanted one.

Moldova set for coalition talks after inconclusive election | Reuters

An election in Moldova has produced a hung parliament, with the vote split between pro-Western and pro-Russian forces at a time when the ex-Soviet republic’s relations with the European Union have soured.
The outcome of Sunday’s contest sets the stage for coalition talks or possibly new elections, just as the country has recovered from a political and economic crisis following a $1 billion banking scandal in 2014 and 2015.

Algerians take to the streets over president's plan to seek fifth term | The Guardian

The Algerian capital, Algiers, has had its biggest street demonstrations in over a decade in recent days as crowds protested against Abdelaziz Bouteflika seeking a fifth term as president after 20 years in power.
Students are expected to lead fresh demonstrations on Tuesday after several days of angry protests that began on Friday when tens of thousands of people took to the streets in towns and villages across the country, including the capital.
It is rare for protests to be tolerated by authorities, particularly in Algiers, where demonstrations have been banned since 2001.

SEC asks judge to hold Tesla CEO Elon Musk in contempt for violating deal

Shares of Tesla fell Tuesday after the Securities and Exchange Commission asked a judge to hold Elon Musk in contempt for violating its settlement deal... The SEC cited an "inaccurate" February 19 tweet about production, Bloomberg first reported. On that date, Elon Musk tweeted - then revised - projections for full-year Tesla manufacturing numbers.

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2019.02.25

News Headlines - 25 February 2019

Bank of America Drops Merrill Lynch From Its Investment Banking Brand | Fortune

Bank of America Corp. will drop Merrill Lynch from its investment-bank brand, while keeping the name Merrill for wealth management... Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch, known for its “thundering herd” of brokers pitching stocks to Main Street, in the depths of the financial crisis. The firm took steps to dissolve the Merrill legal entity in 2013 while keeping the brand across retail and institutional businesses.

Vietnam deports Kim Jong-un lookalike before summit, but not Trump imitator | World news | The Guardian

A Kim Jong-un impersonator has been taken from his hotel ahead of his planned deportation from Vietnam before the real North Korean leader meets US president Donald Trump in Hanoi later this week... The impersonator was told by Vietnamese immigration officials his visa was “invalid”, but said he received no further explanation.

Former Trump campaign staffer sues, alleging that Trump kissed her without consent - CNNPolitics

A former Trump campaign staffer is suing President Donald Trump and his campaign, alleging that the then-Republican presidential candidate kissed her without her consent during the 2016 race. She's also suing over equal pay -- claiming that she was paid less for her work based on race and gender.
Alva Johnson, a former Trump campaign staffer who lives in Alabama, alleges in a lawsuit filed Monday that Trump grabbed her hand and forcibly kissed her without her consent inside an RV in Florida in August 2016.

Celebrating 10 million vehicles sold and a best-ever year, the Lexus brand continues to grow globally | Automotive World

Today Lexus announced its 10 millionth vehicle sold, a landmark achievement that came shortly after a strong 2018 year-end sales performance with Lexus achieving multiple best-ever sales goals around the globe. In addition, the brand that pioneered the world’s first luxury hybrid-electric vehicle in 2005, and offers eleven (11) electrified models globally, surpassed the 1.45 million unit mark in self-charging hybrid vehicles sold worldwide. Lexus hybrid vehicle sales jumped nearly 20% in 2018 from the prior year, a result that underscores the brand’s heritage with, and commitment to, electrification.

Cinderella Escorts model Mahbuba Mammadzada sells virginity to politician | Daily Mail Online

A young model who put her virginity up for sale online claims to have secured a winning bid of €2.4M (£2M).
Mahbuba Mammadzada, 23, from Azerbaijan, hit headlines last year for announcing her controversial money-making scheme, and claimed this week the auction had finally come to a close.
According to online agency Cinderella Escorts, the winning bidder is an unnamed 'politician from Tokyo', with a London lawyer and a Munich football player coming in at second and third place respectively.

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2019.02.24

News Headlines - 24 February 2019

Okinawa votes in referendum on US military base relocation - Stripes

The people of Okinawa are voting Sunday on a plan for a U.S. military base relocation in a referendum that will send a message on how they feel about housing American troops in Japan, who many see as a burden on the group of tiny southwestern islands.
The referendum is technically not binding but interest is high for testing the public sentiment about the plan to relocate Futenma air base, which is pushed by the national government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Emperor voices emotion over 30 years on throne - The Japan News

The Emperor expressed deep emotion on Sunday over marking the 30th anniversary of his accession to the Chrysanthemum Throne amid congratulations offered by people at home and abroad... Looking back on the Heisei era, which began the day after his enthronement in January 1989, the Emperor said, “Japan had a period free of war for the first time in modern history, backed by the strong will of the people aspiring for peace.”
But he added, “Japan also faced many unexpected difficulties.”

Theresa May delays Brexit vote for a fortnight and refuses to censure ministers demanding A50 extension

Theresa May has delayed a vote on her Brexit deal for up to two weeks and refused to censure Remain ministers for calling for Article 50 to be extended. The Prime Minister repeatedly refused to criticise Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clarke after they vowed to support a backbench bid to take a no-deal exit from the EU off the table.
Mrs May said her meaningful vote could be held as late as March 12, which would leave just two and a half weeks until the UK’s planned exit date from the EU.

Ian Austin becomes 9th MP to quit UK Labour - POLITICO

Ian Austin has become the ninth MP to quit Britain's Labour Party this week, telling his local paper the party is "broken."... The Dudley North MP said that Labour has been taken over by the hard left and accused the party of being harder on people who complain about anti-Semitism than it is on racists.
Austin said he has not spoken to the Independent Group, which consists of eight former Labour MPs and three former Conservative MPs.

French Court Won't Block Catholic Abuse Film 'By the Grace of God' | Hollywood Reporter

The film was inspired by the case against Preynat, indicted two years ago for sexual assault and accused of molesting more than 80 boys. The priest, who denies the charges, said that the film undermines his presumption of innocence and would unfairly impact his trial. He sued to block the film's release until after his trial, which is expected to happen some time later this year.
However, the French court rejected his bid, though the film still faces an additional legal challenge that could stop its scheduled release Feb. 20.

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2019.02.23

News Headlines - 23 February 2019

Trump agrees to keep about 400 US troops in Syria, official says - CNNPolitics

President Donald Trump has agreed to keep about 400 US troops in Syria after the withdrawal of most US forces there this spring, a senior administration official said Friday.
Trump agreed on Thursday to keep about 200 US troops as part of planned multinational force that would maintain a safe zone in northeastern Syria, the official said. This force would be in addition to the 200 troops the US is planning to maintain after the withdrawal at its base in at-Tanf, Syria, the official said.

North Korea's Kim begins long train trip to Vietnam for summit with Trump: Report - Channel NewsAsia

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un set off by train for Vietnam on Saturday (Feb 23), for his second summit with US President Donald Trump next week, media reported, and hours later, two witnesses saw a train crossing into China from North Korea.
The reports of Kim's departure from North Korea came after Vietnam announced that Kim would make an official visit in "coming days", as the Southeast Asian country prepares to host the summit with Trump on Wednesday and Thursday.

UK says it will not transition EU-Japan trade deal before March 29 | Reuters

Britain will not be able to replicate the European Union’s trade deal with Japan before it leaves the bloc on March 29, the government said on Thursday in a document setting out its progress on transitioning existing agreements.
Britain is seeking to roll over around 40 EU bilateral trade deals ahead of its exit from the bloc in 36 days. The government is yet to win parliament’s backing for its Brexit deal with Brussels, and if Britain leaves without a deal those bilateral agreements will cease to apply, likely disrupting trade.

Crown prince ready to carry on legacy, find new role as emperor - The Mainichi

Crown Prince Naruhito, on the occasion of his 59th birthday on Saturday, expressed his resolve to fulfill his new role as emperor after acceding the throne on May 1, saying he will follow the path shown by his parents.

Sudan's Omar al-Bashir declares state of emergency - BBC News

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has declared a national state of emergency, dismissed the federal government and sacked all state governors.
Mr Bashir made the announcement in a TV address to the nation, but later appointed members of the security forces as replacement governors... Mr Bashir has been the focus of anti-government protests in recent weeks.

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2019.02.22

News Headlines - 22 February 2019

House Democrats move to block Trump's national emergency declaration

House Democrats challenged President Donald Trump's national emergency declaration Friday, setting up dramatic votes in Congress on whether to rein in the president's flex of executive power... The Democratic-held House plans to vote on the bill Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Friday. On the same call where Pelosi spoke, Castro told reporters that the measure has at least 226 co-sponsors, including one Republican, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan. The number tops the 218 votes the plan needs to pass the House.

Daimler. BMW Plan $1.1 Billion Car-Sharing Battle With Uber, Lyft - Bloomberg

Daimler AG and BMW AG are pouring more than 1 billion euros ($1.13 billion) into their joint car-sharing and ride-hailing businesses to take on the likes of Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc.
The German venture, which is estimated to become the world’s largest car-sharing operator, will weigh purchases of startups or 30established players, along with collaborations, Daimler said.

Japan’s Hayabusa 2 successfully touches down on Ryugu asteroid | The Guardian

A Japanese spacecraft has successfully touched down on a speeding asteroid 300 million kilometres from the Earth as it attempts an audacious manoeuvre to collect samples and bring them back for scientists to study.
The Hayabusa 2 probe touched down on the asteroid Ryugu at around 11:30pm GMT on Thursday. Data from the probe showed changes in speed and direction, indicating it had reached the asteroid’s surface, according to officials from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

Maduro Closes Venezuela’s Border With Brazil to Block Aid - The New York Times

President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela ordered its border with Brazil closed Thursday, part of his escalating effort to stop opponents from sending humanitarian aid into his poverty-stricken country.
Juan Guaidó, the parliamentary opposition leader who declared himself president of Venezuela last month, has vowed to bring tons of aid donated by the United States and others into Venezuela on Saturday. Mr. Maduro, who has called Mr. Guaidó an American lackey, has vowed not to let the aid in.
The Brazil-border closure, announced on television, followed a Venezuelan government announcement on Wednesday that it would block air and sea travel between Venezuela and three Caribbean islands where the opposition said it wished to stage relief supplies.

R Kelly charged with sexually abusing 4 victims, at least 3 of them minors

More than a decade after surviving a high-profile child pornography trial, R. Kelly on Friday was back in police custody - this time accused of sexual misconduct with underage girls.
The embattled R&B singer was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He is expected to appear in bond court Saturday - one day after Cook County prosecutors alleged in an explosive indictment that the abuse involved four victims, at least three of them minors, from 1998 to 2010. The minors were between 13 and 16, prosecutors said. Kelly is 52.

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2019.02.21

News Headlines - 21 February 2019

5.5-magnitude quake strikes Japan's Hokkaido, no tsunami warning - The Straits Times

A 5.5-magnitude earthquake hit Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido on Thursday (Feb 21) but no tsunami warning was issued, US and Japanese authorities said.
There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries from the quake, which occurred at 9.22 pm (8.22pm Singapore time) at a depth of 41km, according to the US Geological Survey.
The epicentre of the quake was around 55 km southeast of the city of Sapporo, the USGS added. The Japanese meteorological agency said there was no tsunami risk following the jolt.

200 U.S. Troops to Stay in Syria, White House Says - The New York Times

The White House said on Thursday that it planned to leave about 200 American troops in Syria, signaling a partial retreat from President Trump’s announcement in December that he would withdraw all 2,000 forces after what he described as a victory over the Islamic State.
The move was a concession to allies and Pentagon officials who have argued that a complete American withdrawal risks returning key areas in Syria to the Islamic State. It came Thursday after a phone call between Mr. Trump and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, during which the two leaders agreed to continue working together to try to create a “safe zone,” the White House said.

AT&T Joins Latest Brand Pullback From YouTube Over ‘Unsafe’ Content - WSJ

AT&T Inc. is the latest to join a growing group of marketers halting their advertising on YouTube after it was found that the site served ads near inappropriate content again, putting pressure on the video platform to contain any new brand revolt... AT&T’s retreat is notable because it was one of the last major marketers to resume advertising on YouTube, part of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, after a number of them pulled out in 2017 over revelations that their ads there were running near offensive videos. AT&T said in January that it had taken time to be confident that similar problems wouldn’t recur.

'Trump' and 'Kim' Go Head-to-Head at Hanoi Hair Salon

As Vietnam's capital city prepares to host the second summit between North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, and U.S. President Donald Trump, salon owner Tuan Duong is offering free haircuts to customers eager to sport the distinctive hairstyle of either leader.

Germany seizes world Smurf record from Welsh students - The Local

Fans of the blue elf-like creatures created in a Belgian comic strip in 1950s, managed to gather 2,762 people dressed and painted blue in the regulation smurf attire -- curly hats and all.
The gathering took place at the town of Lauchringen, near the German border with Switzerland, the organisers reported on Facebook.
Their record came three years after their first attempt failed to beat the record held by Welsh students who managed to unite 2,510 regulation smurfs in Swansea back in 2009.

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2019.02.20

News Headlines - 20 February 2019

Labour infected with antisemitism says 8th MP to quit UK party - Jerusalem Post

UK Labour MP Joan Ryan has become the eighth member to resign from the party due to antisemitism in its ranks and its policies on Brexit.
Ryan said that Labour has become “infected” with antisemitism and that its leader, Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to lead the country.
On Monday, seven Labour MPs resigned from the party in protest of the party’s failure to deal with its antisemitism problem, which they said has changed Labour’s character, and due to their frustration with its bumbling policy on Brexit, which is the central political issue in the UK today.

EU agrees to cut greenhouse gas emissions from trucks | Reuters

The European Union agreed on Tuesday to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from new trucks and buses by 30 percent by a 2030 deadline as part of its commitment to cut its output of greenhouse gases.

French police officers attacked by yellow vest protesters while trapped in their car

Police in Lyon, France have released footage of 'Yellow Vest' protestors attacking two police officers trapped in their car with rocks and other objects.

Japanese SDF jet crashes, 2 crew rescued - NHK WORLD

Japan's Defense Ministry has confirmed a F-2 fighter jet has crashed off the coast of western Japan and the crew of two has been rescued alive.
Officials described the condition of both crew members, who were pulled from the sea, as "conscious."

Naomi Osaka blames scrutiny over coaching split for Dubai defeat - BBC Sport

Japan's Naomi Osaka blamed scrutiny following the split from her coach for defeat in her first match since becoming world number one.
The Australian and US Open champion, 21, was beaten 6-3 6-3 by France's Kristina Mladenovic in the Dubai Tennis Championships second round... Asked if she could block out reaction to the news, she said: "I couldn't. This match is the result of that."

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2019.02.19

News Headlines - 19 February 2019

Congress wants Facebook to explain why closed groups leaked user data | ZDNet

Members of the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg today demanding answers from the exec and its staff about the company's most recent privacy scandal... The complaint is connected to a privacy issue that Facebook dealt with over the summer. According to a CNBC report at the time, the leader of a health-centric Facebook group discovered that a Chrome extension for marketers allowed advertisers to collect the names and emails of users who joined Facebook "closed" groups, including the details of a group she organized for women with BRCA gene mutations.

PS Vita production ending soon in Japan - Gematsu

PS Vita will soon end production in Japan, according to the official Japanese PlayStation website... While a specific end date is currently unknown, it is worth noting that when PlayStation 3 ended production back in May 2017, the official Japanese PlayStation website posted the same notice two months prior. PS Vita first launched in December 2011.

Stephen Lawrence: '100 years before Met has ethnic mix' of London - police - BBC News

Currently 14% of Met officers are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, but the 2011 Census shows 40.2% of Londoners identify as BAME.
As a result the force says it wants to recruit 250 extra BAME officers a year... Since 1999, BAME officers have increased from 3% to 14%, while last year 30% of new recruits were from that background.

Karl Lagerfeld, iconic Chanel fashion designer, dies - BBC News

Iconic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died in Paris following a short illness.
The German designer, who was the creative director for Chanel and Fendi, was one of the industry's most prolific figures and worked up until his death.
His signature ponytail and dark glasses made him an instantly recognisable figure around the world.

Karl Marx's London grave vandalized again, with red paint | Reuters

A memorial to Karl Marx at the cemetery in north London where the 19th century political philosopher is buried has been defaced for the second time in less than a fortnight - this time with red paint.
Earlier this month, the monument in Highgate cemetery, which is among British structures listed as being of exceptional historical interest, was damaged with a hammer.

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2019.02.18

News Headlines - 18 February 2019

Japan approves test of iPS cells for treating spinal injuries | Reuters

Japanese scientists will test the use of human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) to treat spinal cord injuries, a health ministry panel that approved the research project said on Monday.
The research team from Tokyo’s Keio University planned to inject about two million iPS cells into the damaged areas of an individual patient and review the results over the course of a year, according to the plan approved by the health ministry.

Pres. Office: Moon Believes Trump Deserves Nobel Peace Prize l KBS WORLD Radio

The presidential office said that President Moon Jae-in hasn’t nominated U.S. President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize, but that Moon believes Trump deserves recognition from the Nobel Committee for his leadership in establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula.

New iPhone Leak Reveals Apple's Disappointing Innovations

More details have come out for Apple’s planned upgrades to the iPhone in 2019, and the unfortunate but expected news is that Apple does not appear to have anything new to offer. The feature upgrades are already widely available on Android and expected to become prolific long before Tim Cook reveals the presumptively named iPhone 11 family in September.

'Kissing sailor' in iconic NY picture dies age 95 | AFP.com

The sailor pictured kissing a woman in Times Square as people celebrated the end of World War II has died at age 95, his daughter told the Providence Journal.
George Mendonsa had a seizure Sunday after falling at an assisted living facility in Middleton, Rhode Island, his daughter Sharon Molleur said.

NBA to start African basketball league with 12 teams across the continent - CNN

The NBA is launching a professional basketball league in Africa that will feature 12 teams from several countries across the continent.
The league will debut next year, and will be referred to as the Basketball Africa League. It will include teams from several African countries, including Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.

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2019.02.17

News Headlines - 17 February 2019

Munich Security Conference Reveals A Growing Rift Between U.S. And Its Allies : NPR

The U.S.-led liberal world order is falling apart, according to the organizers of a gathering of world leaders and defense chiefs in Germany that has met annually since the Cold War.
The Munich Security Conference report said the Trump administration displays an "irritating enthusiasm for strongmen across the globe" and "disdain for international institutions and agreements."
For much of this past week, the growing rift between the U.S. and its traditional European allies has been on display.

Heather Nauert Withdraws as Trump's Nominee for UN Ambassador - Bloomberg

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is withdrawing from consideration as President Donald Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to the United Nations, according to a statement.
Nauert’s nomination began to falter after the White House was alerted to a problem in her background: She had in the past employed an immigrant nanny who was in the U.S. legally but wasn’t authorized to work, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Schools in France to replace 'mother and father' with 'parent 1 and 2' under controversial same sex amendment

French schools are to replace the words “mother” and “father” with “parent 1” and “parent 2” under an amendment to a law passed this week... The amendment was passed by MPs on Tuesday night as part of a wider so-called law to build “a school of trust”, which among other things also makes attendance compulsory for all three-year-olds.

Climate strike: Schoolchildren protest over climate change - BBC News

Pupils from around the UK went "on strike" on Friday as part of a global campaign for action on climate change.
Students around the country walked out of schools to call on the government to declare a climate emergency and take active steps to tackle the problem.
Organisers Youth Strike 4 Climate said protests took place in more than 60 towns and cities, with an estimated 15,000 taking part.

Eerie black snow falls over Siberian region triggering acute pollution concerns from locals

Prosecutors in Kemerovo region are reportedly checking the cause of black snow over three cities in the coalmining region - Prokopyevsk, Kiselyovsk and Leninsk-Kuznetsky... Local media have blamed the gloom on local plants processing coal.
Director general of Prokopyevskaya factory Anatoly Volkov explained to Vesti-KUzbass TV channel that a shield stopped working at his plant protecting the air from coal powder.

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2019.02.16

News Headlines - 16 February 2019

Japan growth turns positive, despite China worries - NHK WORLD

The latest GDP data shows Japan returned to growth in the latest quarter. The economy expanded at an annualized rate of 1.4 percent in the three months ended in December... Government officials say it was the first positive GDP in two quarters. The previous period saw a contraction, after a string of natural disasters in summer.

Ukraine Deports Russia-Aligned Priest, Strips Citizenship, In Church Rift

Ukraine has taken the extraordinary step of deporting a senior cleric of the Moscow-aligned Orthodox Church and stripping him of his citizenship, marking a political escalation in the historic rift that has shaken the Eastern Orthodox world and further raised tensions between Kyiv and Moscow.

Shamima Begum: Bring me home, says Bethnal Green girl who left to join Isis | The Times

On the day the caliphate suffered a mortal blow the teenage London bride of an Islamic State fighter lifted her veil. Her two infant children were dead; her husband in captivity. Nineteen years old, nine months pregnant, weak and exhausted from her escape across the desert, she nevertheless looked calm and spoke with a collected voice.
“I’m not the same silly little 15-year-old schoolgirl who ran away from Bethnal Green four years ago,” she told me. “And I don’t regret coming here.”

Charles and Camilla set to make historic trip to Cuba as part of wider Caribbean tour - ITV News

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall could meet some of Cuba's most celebrated music stars when they make an historic visit to the country.
Charles and Camilla's official four-day trip to the communist state in March, part of a Caribbean tour, will be a first by members of the monarchy.

Slovenia MP quits after stealing sandwich - BBC News

A member of the Slovenian parliament has stepped down after stealing a sandwich from a shop in Ljubljana where he says he was ignored by staff.
Darij Krajcic told local media he was annoyed at being "treated like air" and decided to test the supermarket's security by walking out.
The theft went unnoticed but the ruling Marjan Sarec List (LMS) party member insisted he later returned to pay.

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2019.02.15

News Headlines - 15 February 2019

TEPCO finds some debris in Fukushima reactor could be removed - The Mainichi

The operator of the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said Wednesday its latest probe has found that debris inside one of the reactors can be lifted, raising hopes for progress in its bid to remove melted fuel and decommission the complex.

Recalled French ambassador returns to Rome, invites Italian president to Paris

France’s ambassador to Italy returned to Rome on Friday after a series of critical comments directed at France by Italian politicians, as President Macron invited Italian President Sergio Mattarella to Paris, the Élysée palace said.

Nobel Peace Prize winner accused of sexual assault by six women | TheHill

A sixth woman has come forward to accuse Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias of sexual assault, the Associated Press reported Wednesday... The AP reported that at least six women have now accused Arias of sexual misconduct.
Arias also met Wednesday with prosecutors to give statements in connection to criminal complaints against him alleging sexual assault, the AP reported.

Nvidia Suffers Through Fourth Quarter, Blaming the Loss of GPU Crypto Miners as Buyers

Most of the focus on the cryptocurrency industry’s bear market has been on the impact made on exchanges and investors, losing value, and even shutting doors.
However, mining companies have been having lower performance as well, which impacts the companies that make mining equipment, like Nvidia. According to Nvidia, their fourth quarter earning suffered because of the crypto winter that has impacted these miners... During Q4, which concluded on January 27th, their revenue ended up at $2.21 billion, though last year’s Q4 was at $2.91 billion. In comparison with Q3, the revenue is about 31% less

‘Spider-Man’s Marc Webb Direct ‘Your Name’ Remake From Toho, Bad Robot, Paramount | Deadline

Toho, Paramount and Bad Robot have set Marc Webb to direct Your Name, a reimagined version of the 2016 animated romantic fantasy drama film that became a classic in Japan. Webb followed (500) Days of Summer with the blockbuster reboot The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel. Eric Heisserer is set to write the retelling... In this reimagined version, a young Native American woman living in a rural area and a young man from Chicago discover they are magically and intermittently swapping bodies. When a disaster threatens to upend their lives, they must journey to meet and save their worlds.

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2019.02.14

News Headlines - 14 February 2019

EU adds Saudi Arabia to dirty-money blacklist, upsetting Britain - Japan Today

The European Commission added Saudi Arabia, Panama, Nigeria and other jurisdictions to a blacklist of nations seen as posing a threat because of lax controls on terrorism financing and money laundering, the EU executive said on Wednesday.
The move is part of a crackdown on money laundering after several scandals at EU banks but has been criticised by several EU countries including Britain worried about their economic relations with the listed states, notably Saudi Arabia.

Venezuela’s Top Diplomat Enlists Support From Dozens of Nations to Counter U.S. - The New York Times

Venezuela’s foreign minister said Thursday that a new coalition of nations would fight what he called an illicit, American-led effort to topple his government, and he accused the United States of using sanctions and emergency aid as political weapons against Venezuelans... He was flanked by ambassadors of several countries that have joined the group, which includes China, Cuba, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia and Syria. Diplomats said the group totaled about 50 nations.

‘From Philippines to Maharlika? Referendum needed’ | Philstar.com

In a speech delivered in Maguindanao last Monday, Duterte said former president Ferdinand Marcos was right in calling for a change in the country’s name to Maharlika, noting that the name “Philippines” has colonial origins.
He said Spanish colonizers had named the country after King Philip II who also financed Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition to the Philippines.

JAL introduces wearable robot for baggage handlers - NHK WORLD

Men and women workers wearing the gear could be seen putting passengers' luggage into containers at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Tuesday.
Officials of its maker say the powered device weighs about four and a half kilograms. They say a motor reduces the burden on a worker's back by about 10 kilograms, improving efficiency by more than 20 percent.
The number of foreign visitors to Japan has tripled in the last five years. Workloads for airport baggage handlers have been increasing, because the number of workers has hardly changed.

Gay couples sue Japan over right to get married - BBC News

Thirteen same-sex couples across Japan are taking legal action on Thursday against the government, demanding the right to get married.
They are suing for symbolic damages, arguing that being barred from marriage violates their constitutional rights.
Should the courts agree, it would mean same-sex unions will have to be permitted in future.

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2019.02.13

News Headlines - 13 February 2019

Iran suicide bomber kills 27 in attack on border guards' bus | The Guardian

A suicide bomber targeted a bus carrying personnel affiliated to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Wednesday, killing 27 people and wounding 20 others.
A Sunni extremist group linked to al-Qaida and which operates in Pakistan reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred in the south-east of Iran.
The bombing happened on the day that a conference convened by the US in Warsaw was to include discussions on what Washington says is Iran’s malign influence across the wider Middle East. It also came two days after Iran marked the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution and four decades of tense relations with the west.

Japan PM Abe demands apology for South Korean comments on Emperor Akihito - The Straits Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe denounced a top South Korean lawmaker’s comments about the Japanese emperor as “extremely inappropriate,” ratcheting up already-high tensions between the two neighbours.
Abe told parliament Tuesday (Feb 12) that Japan asked South Korea to apologise for National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang’s remarks last week describing Emperor Akihito as “the son of the main culprit of war crimes.”

Trump supporter attacks BBC cameraman at El Paso rally - BBC News

Sporting a Make America Great Again cap, the man shoved and swore at the BBC's Ron Skeans and other news crews before being pulled away.
Mr Skeans said the "very hard shove" came from his blindside. "I didn't know what was going on."
Mr Trump saw the attack and confirmed Mr Skeans was well with a thumbs up after it happened.

NASA's history-making Mars rover Opportunity declared dead - CNET

On Wednesday, NASA announced its mission complete and with it, the rover's life officially over. The plucky robot roamed the Martian surface for approximately 5,515 Earth days, just over 15 years.
During a press conference, NASA said that Opportunity hadn't responded to a last-ditch effort Tuesday to establish contact. A planet-encircling dust storm cut off communications with Opportunity on June 10, 2018, preventing its solar panels from storing power. Since then, over 830 rescue commands had been beamed to the rover.

Daisuke Matsuzaka sustains freak injury during spring training

Daisuke Matsuzaka has dealt with numerous arm injuries during his career as a pitcher in Major League Baseball and Japan but none quite like this.
The Chunichi Dragons say Matsuzaka is experiencing pain in his right shoulder after an overzealous fan pulled his throwing arm during a fan event at spring training in Okinawa.
Matsuzaka was diagnosed with inflammation in his throwing arm as a result of the incident, and the Dragons on Tuesday told him not to throw for the time being.

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2019.02.12

News Headlines - 12 February 2019

France Pushed Nissan for a Renault Merger but Was Rebuffed - WSJ

The French government held talks with Nissan Motor Co. in early 2018 about the possibility of a full-blown merger with Renault SA, but the Japanese auto maker countered with proposals to strengthen its hand within their existing partnership, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.

Nissan Now Has More to Worry About Than Ghosn - The Washington Post

Nissan Motor Co.’s operating profit dropped around 14 percent in the first nine months, margins shrank and net income tanked 45 percent from a year earlier, the Japanese carmaker said Tuesday. The company also booked a 9.2 billion yen ($83 million) expense related to its former chairman’s compensation. Through all the recent twists and turns in the Ghosn drama, it’s now clear there have been problems for a while in the way the business was being run, not just in its corporate governance.

Theresa May Promises U.K. Lawmakers Brexit Vote by Feb. 27 | Time

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will this week ask Parliament to give her more time to renegotiate her Brexit deal with the European Union, promising lawmakers a further chance to take control of the process before the clock runs out, according to officials with knowledge of her plans.
With a vote due on Feb. 14, May will ask Parliament to reaffirm its desire to remove the contentious Irish backstop clause from the Withdrawal Agreement, according to an official, who asked not to be identified.
She’ll say that if she hasn’t brought them new deal by Feb. 27, there will then be another opportunity to vote, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire confirmed in an interview.

Turkey issues 1,100 arrest warrants for Gülenist coup suspects | The Guardian

Turkey has issued arrest warrants for a further 1,112 people with suspected connections to the outlawed Gülenist movement, as the impact of the 2016 failed military coup continues to reverberate around the country.
The operation announced on Tuesday by Turkey’s state-run news agency is one of the biggest to date targeting followers of cleric Fethullah Gülen, a former ally of president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan now living in self-imposed exile in the US, whom Ankara blames for the coup attempt... Since the failed 2016 coup at least 77,000 people have been arrested and around 130,000 others have been dismissed from state jobs in the police force, judiciary, academia and other public sector jobs as the Turkish government seeks to purge state institutions of what it says are Gülenist efforts to create a “parallel state”.

Japanese swimming star Rikako Ikee diagnosed with leukemia

Japanese swimming star Rikako Ikee has been diagnosed with leukemia less than 18 months before the Olympics in Tokyo.
The 18-year-old Ikee won six gold medals at the Asian Games in Jakarta last year and was tipped to be one of the faces of the 2020 Olympics in her home country.
She posted on her verified Twitter account Tuesday that her illness surfaced when she got tests after returning from a training trip to Australia.

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2019.02.11

News Headlines - 11 February 2019

Iran marks 40 years since Islamic Revolution as Rouhani warns US - CNN

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stood before a big crowd celebrating the Islamic Revolution's 40th anniversary on Monday and vowed to boost his country's military and ballistic missile program, defying US pressure and sanctions... US President Donald Trump has said that the economic sanctions he re-imposed in 2018 sought to keep Iran's military -- namely its ballistic missile program -- in check.
Tehran has tried to present the anniversary rallies as a show of support for the regime and Rouhani has accused Trump of openly agitating for regime change in Iran.

Top South Korean lawmaker seeks apology from Emperor to end 'comfort women' dispute | The Japan Times

National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang said in an interview Thursday that Emperor Akihito - as “the son of the main culprit of war crimes” - should deliver the apology before his planned abdication in May. Moon was asked how the two U.S. allies could resolve a worsening diplomatic feud fueled by disagreements over Japan’s 1910-45 occupation of the Korean Peninsula, much of it under his late father, Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa.

Prince Philip, 97, gives up driving licence - BBC News

The Duke of Edinburgh is to voluntarily give up his driving licence, Buckingham Palace has said.
It comes after the 97-year-old duke apologised over a car crash near the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, in which his Land Rover Freelander landed on its side after a collision with a Kia... Buckingham Palace said that he surrendered his licence on Saturday.

Russian islands declare emergency after mass invasion of polar bears | The Guardian

Russian environmental authorities have deployed a team of specialists to a remote Arctic region to sedate and remove dozens of hungry polar bears that have besieged the people living there.
The move came after officials in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, with a population of about 3,000 people, appealed for help... A state of emergency has been declared in the region.

Hawaii hit by heavy rains, large waves, blackouts -- and snow

A powerful winter storm in the Pacific triggered flooded roads, blacked out communities and even brought a rare sight to Hawaii -- snow.
At least three people were injured in the winter storm, which prompted Oahu Mayor Kirk Caldwell to declare a warning of "all hands on deck" and advise residents in certain areas to stay at home.

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2019.02.10

News Headlines - 10 February 2019

E-cigarette death: Man dies after vape pen explodes, hits his carotid

A 24-year-old Texas man died of injuries he suffered after the vape pen he was using exploded, a local medical examiner's office says.
William Brown of Fort Worth, Texas, died last month after a vape pen suddenly burst and severed his carotid artery, according to a search of case records on the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office website.
The incident occurred outside a vape shop in Fort Worth, and Brown later died at a hospital, said the report.

Germans trust China more than the US, survey finds | DW

Germans have an increasingly negative view of the relationship between their country and the US, a survey released on Friday indicated, with many seeing China as a more reliable partner.
Just over 42 percent of Germans who took part in the study said they saw China as a more reliable partner than the US, compared with 23.1 percent who favored the US over China... A clear majority (57.6 percent) said they were in favor of putting more distance between the two trans-Atlantic allies. Only 13.1 percent said they would prefer to see the nations work more closely at present.

Descente opposes top shareholder Itochu's bid to acquire larger stake - Japan Today

Major Japanese sportswear maker Descente Ltd said Thursday it opposes what it calls an "oppressive" bid by its top shareholder Itochu Corp to acquire a larger stake, drawing the two firms into a rare hostile takeover battle... Major trading house Itochu, which has had a business relationship with Descente for over 50 years, made a tender offer on Jan. 31 that would raise its equity stake in the company from the current 30 percent to as much as 40 percent, citing the need to "reform the management structure" at Descente... Eight Descente board members, excluding two from Itochu, and three auditors decided to oppose the bid offer at an extraordinary board meeting on Thursday. Itochu's bid "hurts our company's value and infringes our shareholders' common interest," the company said in a statement.

Japan sushi chain worker uploads video of fish's journey from trash can to cutting board in Osaka | The Japan Times

The operator of one of Japan’s largest sushi restaurant chains said Wednesday that video footage recently uploaded to the internet showed one of its part-time kitchen workers throwing sliced fish into a trash can and then returning it to a cutting board at an outlet in Osaka Prefecture.
Kura Corp., which operates some 400 Kura Sushi restaurants in Japan, said that the fish was disposed of and never served to customers, but that it takes the incident seriously and is considering legal action, without elaborating.

Maurizio Sarri: What next for Chelsea boss after Man City thrashing - BBC Sport

Sarri had that familiar haunted look, one worn by sacked predecessors such as Luiz Felipe Scolari and Andre Villas-Boas, as he sifted through the carnage of a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City - Chelsea's heaviest defeat since the 7-0 loss at Nottingham Forest in April 1991.
He admitted that "my job is always at risk" while insisting he did not know whether he was in immediate danger... Sarri's team have conceded 10 goals without reply in their past two away league games, having lost 4-0 at Bournemouth on 30 January. Chelsea, once a by-word for defensive solidity, conceded all four in the second half against Eddie Howe's side and four in the first 25 minutes at City.
They have now dropped to sixth in the Premier League, a point adrift of Manchester United in fourth place, having enjoyed an 11-point advantage when Jose Mourinho left Old Trafford in December.

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2019.02.09

News Headlines - 09 February 2019

India unexpectedly cuts key rate, changes stance to neutral | Reuters

India’s central bank on Thursday unexpectedly lowered interest rates and, as anticipated, shifted its stance to “neutral” to boost a slowing economy after a sharp slide in the inflation rate.
The cut is welcome news for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which wants to boost lending and lift growth as it faces elections by May.

South Africa to hold presidential election on May 8 | Al Jazeera

South Africa will hold its presidential and parliamentary elections on May 8.
It will be the first vote in the country since the resignation of Jacob Zuma in February last year.

'Landslide Vote' For Wider Muslim Self-Rule In Philippines' South - The Organization for World Peace

For nearly three million Filipino Muslims, a new era of autonomy and self-government will soon be realized. Monday’s plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law represents what many hope is the first step towards the resolution of a decades-long conflict between the national government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). As a result of this vote, a new Muslim-led entity known as the Bangsamoro (meaning Moro nation) will be created on the southern island of Mindanao. This territorial establishment has been long awaited, as it was six years ago that the Filipino government signed a peace deal with the MILF, which dropped its bid for independence in return for the right to self-rule, but only six months ago that President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Bangsamoro Organic Law.

Two positive kanji, easy to write and read: Japan to follow precedent in selecting new era name | The Japan Times

The government confirmed Friday that it will follow the procedures taken to pick the current era name of Heisei in choosing a name for the new era... The government will announce the name for the new era on April 1, ahead of the start of the new era on May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito is set to ascend the throne to succeed his father, Emperor Akihito... The guidelines also say that an era name should have a positive meaning that is appropriate to the people’s ideals, and be written using two kanji characters. The era name should also be easy to read and write, not commonly used and should not have been used in previous era names or in the posthumous names of previous emperors.

Renesas to cut 1,000 jobs - NHK WORLD

A major Japanese chipmaker is preparing to slash jobs due to a shrinking domestic market. NHK has learned that Renesas Electronics is in labor union negotiations about the plan.
The company says it intends to cut 1,000 positions by the end of June. That's about five percent of its workforce.

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2019.02.08

News Headlines - 08 February 2019

Japan begins culling thousands of pigs as swine fever spreads - The Straits Times

Japanese authorities were battling to contain swine flu on Wednesday (Feb 6) after the virus was detected at multiple sites in central Japan.
Japanese soldiers and local government officials began slaughtering around 6,600 pigs at a farm in Toyota City in Aichi prefecture following the confirmation of an outbreak of swine fever, also known as hog cholera, there.
Since January, the farm has shipped pigs to six facilities in Nagano, Gifu, Aichi, Mie, Shiga and Osaka prefectures, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. It said it had found the virus at all the above places except Mie.

Toyota cuts full-year profit forecast, warns over Brexit - Channel NewsAsia

The firm's senior managing officer Masayoshi Shirayanagi also told reporters there was no way to avoid a negative impact in the event of a no-deal Brexit - days after fellow Japanese carmaker Nissan announced a cut in production in Britain.
The maker of the Camry sedan and Prius hybrid now expects annual net profit of 1.87 trillion yen (US$17 billion) instead of the 2.3 trillion yen it projected three months ago.
The new forecast represents a 25-per cent plunge from the previous year.

Hosoda’s ‘Mirai’ wins Annie for best animated indie feature:The Asahi Shimbun

Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda’s film “Mirai” won the 46th Annie Award for Best Animated Independent Feature at the prestigious ceremony in Los Angeles on Feb. 2.
The Annies are often referred to as the Academy Awards for animation.

Princess Ubolratana is candidate for prime minister | Bangkok Post: news

The Thai Raksa Chart Party threw election politics into chaos on Friday when it nominated Princess Ubolratana as its candidate to be prime minister.
The party officially registered the elder sister of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn as news people pushed for vantage points at the Office of the Election Commission.
The move was the focus of election rumours on Thursday and overnight, but no media had been bold enough to mention her name or the royal connection until the actual event at 9am Friday.

Emiliano Sala: Cardiff could face Premier League points deduction if they fail to pay Nantes £15m transfer fee | The Independent

Cardiff could face a Premier League points deduction if they do not honour their £15 million deal with Nantes over the transfer of Emiliano Sala, according to sports law expert Gianpaolo Monteneri... On Thursday night, Sala's body was formally identified after it was recovered from the wreckage of the aircraft, which is on the seabed 21 miles off the coast of Guernsey.
Cardiff received a formal letter from Nantes on Tuesday asking for the first of three yearly instalments of the Sala transfer fee, understood to be £5.27m, to be paid within 10 days.

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2019.02.07

News Headlines - 07 February 2019

German airline Germania files for insolvency | Euronews

German airline Germania said on Tuesday it had filed for insolvency and would terminate flight operations immediately, citing rising fuel prices and a stronger dollar.
There were also delays integrating aircraft into the fleet and a high number of "maintenance events", the company said in a statement.
CEO Karsten Balke said it was unable to cover a short-term liquidity need.

Leopalace21 to ask over 14,000 residents across Japan to vacate apartments after probe finds defects | The Japan Times

Rental apartment operator Leopalace21 Corp. said Thursday it will ask 14,443 residents to move out as it plans to repair defects found in 1,324 of its apartments.
The company said a probe found faulty installation of a fire-resistant material in ceilings and the use of a substandard material for sound insulation in interior walls... Leopalace21 launched an investigation into possible defects in its nearly 40,000 apartments nationwide after 38 cases of defects were found in apartments built between 1996 and 2009 last May.

Kazuo Ishiguro: Knighthood part of ‘big love affair with Britain’

Novelist Kazuo Ishiguro has described his newly awarded knighthood as forming part of his “big love affair” with British culture. Ishiguro, whose novels include The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go and An Artist Of The Floating World, received a knighthood for services to literature on Thursday.
The ceremony, which was held by Prince Charles, was a “humbling” experience, the author said.

'Boiling Water Challenge' Sends Several People to Hospital - NBC Chicago

The extreme cold last week activated the science experiment gene in a number of people, resulting in injuries for those who tried the "boiling water challenge."
The challenge was to fling boiling water in the air and watch it turn into frozen vapor.
The burn center at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood reports it treated eight people who attempted the exercise.

China investigates HIV contamination of 12,000 blood plasma treatments - Channel NewsAsia

A batch of more than 12,000 blood plasma treatments produced by a state-owned pharmaceutical company in China was found to have been contaminated with HIV.
On Wednesday (Feb 6), the National Health Commission (NHC) said it has instructed medical institutions to cease use of the batch of intravenous immunoglobulin produced by Shanghai Xinxing Pharmaceutical, after it received a report that the batch was tested to be HIV positive.

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2019.02.06

News Headlines - 06 February 2019

Pope admits clerical abuse of nuns including sexual slavery - BBC News

Pope Francis has admitted that clerics have sexually abused nuns, and in one case they were kept as sex slaves.
He said in that case his predecessor, Pope Benedict, was forced to shut down an entire congregation of nuns who were being abused by priests.
It is thought to be the first time that Pope Francis has acknowledged the sexual abuse of nuns by the clergy... The Pope's comments come amid long-running cases of sexual abuse of children and young men by priests at the Church.

Canada’s Sunrise Records throws beleaguered HMV chain a lifeline | Globalnews.ca

Canadian retailer Sunrise Records is pulling stricken retailer HMV out of bankruptcy in a deal that will safeguard some 1,500 jobs.
However, administrator KPMG says 27 stores will close immediately, resulting in a loss of 455 jobs.
Sunrise Records will acquire 100 stores across the United Kingdom, and 1,487 stores and head office employees will transfer as part of the transaction. Sunrise Records took over dozens of HMV Canada locations back in 2017.

Brexit ministers to study secret hi-tech plan to that could break the Irish backstop deadlock

Officials from DexEU have been quietly working on the blueprint - drawn up by Japanese firm Fujitsu - for 10 months. But, it has been rapidly dusted down in the last week after MPs voted to replace the current Irish backstop with a different one that could involve “alternative arrangements”... Named the ‘Drive Through Border Concept’, it ensures there is no need for any physical checks on the border or hard infrastructure.
Instead, a tracking system monitors vehicles on designated routes as they cross from Northern Ireland to the Republic via GPS as well as number plate recognition cameras.

U.S. D-Day flag to return home 75 years after Normandy landing | Reuters

A rare D-Day flag that flew on a U.S. Navy ship leading the allied advance at the beaches of Normandy nearly 75 years ago will be returned to America after going on display in the Netherlands on Monday.
The 48-star “Normandy” flag was on the U.S. Navy’s LCC 60, one of just three advanced fleet vessels directing troops onto Utah Beach in German-occupied France on June 6, 1944.

Uefa 'looking to scrap away goal rule in Champions League' after Wenger and Mourinho complaints

In the 1960s, home advantage was more of a significant factor with longer travel times and non-standardised balls.
And footie chiefs responded by introducing the concept of a two-legged tie being settled by which team scored the most away goals in 1965.
But the policy is seen as out of date in today's era, with advances in technology and governance levelling the playing field... In September, a number of top coaches - including Wenger, Mourinho, Unai Emery, Max Allegri, Carlo Ancelotti, Paulo Fonseca, Julen Lopetegui and Thomas Tuchel - met to discuss away goals.
And following the chat, Uefa competition director Giorgio Marchetti said: “They think that achieving away goals is not as difficult as in the past.

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2019.02.05

News Headlines - 05 February 2019

Cabinet ministers hold secret discussions on plans to delay Brexit by eight weeks

Cabinet ministers have secretly discussed plans to delay Brexit by eight weeks despite warnings by Theresa May that it is “counter-productive” to talk about it.
Ministers want the EU to agree a two-month "grace period" after March 29 if Mrs May’s deal passes through Parliament to allow extra time for necessary legislation.
Britain would remain in the EU on the same terms during this temporary period, The Telegraph understands.
An eight-week delay would mean Brexit being postponed to May 24.

UK, EU watchdogs agree clearing houses pact for no-deal Brexit | Reuters

The BoE said it and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) had agreed memoranda of understanding regarding cross-border cooperation and information-sharing between regulators for central counterparties and central securities depositories... The announcement means that stock, bond and derivatives transactions will face no immediate disruption if Britain leaves the bloc on March 29 without a transition deal.

Norway urges students to avoid UK universities in Brexit warning | The Guardian

Norway’s government is advising its citizens against studying in the UK because of Brexit, in a warning that will fuel concerns from universities about falling enrolment from Europe.
In blunt comments, Iselin Nybø, Norway’s minister responsible for higher education, urged students to avoid British universities.
Speaking to state broadcaster NRK, she said: “There’s so much uncertainty because of Brexit. If you’re a student and plan to travel out of Norway to study this autumn, I recommend you look at other countries than Great Britain.”

Nissan to hold extraordinary shareholders meet on April 8 to approve new director - Channel NewsAsia

Nissan Motor said on Tuesday (Feb 5) it will hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting on Apr 8 to formally discharge its ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn following his arrest on financial misconduct charges.
The meeting also aims to approve Renault SA Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard as a director, it said.

Japan's deputy prime minister blames women 'not giving birth' for declining population - CNN

Japan's deputy prime minister has come under fire after apparently blaming childless women for Japan's demographic woes.
Taro Aso, 78, denied that the elderly were the cause of the country's declining population and increasing social security costs during a speech in Fukuoka prefecture in southern Japan on Sunday... After being grilled by an opposition lawmaker during a budget committee session, Aso said Monday that he would retract the remark "if it caused misunderstanding."

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2019.02.04

News Headlines - 04 February 2019

China’s BRI is facing resistance in region, says ministry report | Hindustan Times

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a connectivity project linked to Chinese president Xi Jinping, is facing a “push back”, especially in India’s immediate neighbourhood, according to a study by the Union ministry of external affairs (MEA), at a time when Beijing is getting ready to hold the 2nd Belt and Road forum meeting this April.
Launched five years ago, BRI is spread over 80 countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, and the Arctic, with an apparent aim to re-energise trade through investments in ports and power plants. The project, billed at about $900 billion, will enhance China’s influence and is seen as a key to its global ambitions.

Faulty job data blasted in latest Japanese scandal - The Straits Times

Japan's Labour Ministry has drawn flak after it was found to have released faulty job data for years, in what the opposition has slammed as a ruse to burnish the sheen of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic policies... Revised figures, showing that real wages dropped by an average of about 0.5 per cent year on year in the 11 months to November, are expected to be presented to Parliament this week. This is worse than the average 0.05 per cent decrease announced previously.

Brexit: What are the new ideas for the Irish backstop? - BBC News

The backstop is an insurance policy - designed to avoid a hard border "under all circumstances" between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
If the UK leaves the customs union and the single market that could mean goods would have to be checked as they crossed the frontier.
The UK and EU would instead like to keep the border frictionless through a comprehensive trade deal.
If such an agreement could not be reached, then to avoid those checks with customs posts or other infrastructure, the backstop would come into force. It would keep the UK in a "single customs territory" with the EU, and leave Northern Ireland in the EU's single market for goods.
Many MPs fear the UK could be "trapped" in that arrangement for years, leaving it unable to strike its own trade deals on goods with the rest of the world.
The prime minister's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) allies also do not want to see Northern Ireland treated differently from the rest of the UK.

Assaults on rail staff caught on camera - BBC News

Rail staff are being issued with body-worn cameras in a bid to cut the amount of abuse they're having to face.
The cameras can record an incident and be used as evidence against the attacker. Some staff say they've switched jobs after being attacked, which they describe as "part of daily life".

Super Bowl ratings still super, but drop for Rams-Patriots snoozer - CNN

Super Bowl LIII averaged 100.7 million viewers across several channels and streaming outlets, according to CBS.
The overall viewership was the lowest total for a Super Bowl match-up since 2009... The last time CBS televised the Super Bowl, in 2016, the game averaged almost 112 million viewers on TV. In 2017, viewership held steady around 111 million. In 2018, it dropped to 103.4 million viewers on TV.

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2019.02.03

News Headlines - 03 February 2019

Plan to evacuate the Queen after a no-deal Brexit | News | The Sunday Times

The Queen and other senior royals will be evacuated from London in the event of riots triggered by a no-deal Brexit, under secret plans being drawn up by Whitehall.
Emergency proposals to rescue the royal family during the Cold War have been “repurposed” in recent weeks, as the risk continues to rise of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal before next month’s deadline.

Trump says he has ‘no plans’ to withdraw US troops from S. Korea - Stripes

President Donald Trump said in an interview broadcast Sunday that he has “no plans” to withdraw U.S. forces from South Korea as he prepares for another summit with North Korea’s leader.
The president has frequently complained about the expense of maintaining servicemembers on the divided peninsula. Seoul and Washington are involved in a standoff over sharing the cost, raising concern the president may move to pull them out.
But Trump told CBS News the issue hasn’t come up.

Man spends 100 hours painstakingly recreating Pimlico Tube station in Minecraft | London Evening Standard

A keen gamer has revealed how he dedicated 100 hours towards painstakingly recreating Pimlico Tube station in the popular video game Minecraft... The man, named only as David and who goes by the screen name Creator Labs, recreated the station by using reference images on the internet.
The project was started in Minecraft in December last year and was finished earlier this month. The game lets players build entire worlds out of nothing but blocks.

Emiliano Sala: missing Premier League footballer’s plane found | The Guardian

The wreckage of the plane that vanished with the Premier League footballer Emiliano Sala on board has been found within hours of a search starting in the sea off the Channel Islands.
A search boat hired privately by Sala’s Argentinian family - thanks partly to a crowdfunding appeal - located the wreckage on Sunday morning.
The crew passed the details of the location on to government investigators, who used a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) to examine the spot.

Antalyaspor 2-6 Besiktas: Shinji Kagawa scores twice in three minutes on his debut | Daily Mail Online

Shinji Kagawa scored two goals in three minutes after coming on for his Besiktas debut in a 6-2 win at Antalyaspor in the Turkish league on Sunday.
The Japanese star, who moved from Borussia Dortmund to Besiktas on the last day of the winter transfer window on Thursday, came on in the 81st minute with his team leading 4-1.
Kagawa scored one minute later with his first action with the ball when he let fly inside the bottom left corner from around 18 yards. He added a second from a free kick two minutes later.

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2019.02.02

News Headlines - 02 February 2019

EU-Japan trade: Five things about the world's biggest deal - BBC News

Cheaper wine and cheese for Japan, cheaper cars for the EU - part of what the EU-Japan trade deal, now in force, means.
The world's biggest such deal, it covers nearly a third of global GDP and 635 million people.
However there are warnings that the UK could lose its benefits if it leaves the EU without an agreement... Here are five things about the deal:
1) Services as well as Sancerre and Suzukis
2) Japan's emergence as a free trade champion
3) The UK may only be in it for 59 days
4) The climate component
5) Where does it leave the US and China?

Porn actor who filmed himself in threesome on busy Tube train fined £1,000

An adult performer who filmed himself and his former partner having a threesome on a Tube train in front of passengers has been fined £1,000.
Porn actor George Mason, 35, and Nicholas Mullan, 24, were with a third man, who has not been identified, on a Northern Line train between Leicester Square and Waterloo.
The incident happened in July 2017 but was not reported until February last year, when it was posted on Twitter.

Huge cocaine shipment swapped with salt to catch traffickers | The Guardian

Italian police have taken possession of more than two tonnes of cocaine in the largest drugs seizure in the country in 25 years, after a sting operation involving three other nations across two continents.
The drugs, discovered in 60 bags in a cargo container at the Port of Genoa, have a total value of €500m (£436m) and were found with the help of the British, Colombian and Spanish police... The container set off from Colombia and arrived in Genoa last week and was then destined for Barcelona in Spain.
To catch the traffickers in Barcelona, the Italian investigators replaced the cargo of drugs - 1,801 bricks of pure cocaine - with salt and let it continue on its journey. In the Catalan city, Spanish police arrested the alleged recipient of the shipment, a 59-year-old Spaniard.

Japan police probe 'uranium' on online auction site - The Straits Times

Japanese authorities are investigating how a substance that appears to be uranium came to be offered for sale on an online auction site, a nuclear official said on Thursday (Jan 31).
Police are trying to confirm whether the product is radioactive, he said, with local media reporting investigators are questioning "a number of people" suspected of involvement in the sale and purchase of the substance.

New biometric boarding launched at Miami International Airport | Miami Herald

On Friday, MIA and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials unveiled a new biometric boarding process for a Lufthansa flight heading to Munich, Germany. Instead of showing their passports and boarding passes, passengers simply stopped in front of a camera, had their photo taken by an iPad-shaped, automated camera, and were cleared to board by a computer.
It’s the first of what could eventually be a systemwide phase-in, not just MIA but for most international flights in the U.S.. The roll-out allows airlines to better comply with a federal requirement that the U.S. government know who has left the country. Biometric systems have already been put in place at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, Boston-Logan, and Los Angeles international airports.

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2019.02.01

News Headlines - 01 February 2019

Carlos Ghosn’s treatment is a stain on ‘liberal’ Japan | FT

The abrupt arrest and indefinite detention of Carlos Ghosn in Japan have brought to mind unflattering parallels with Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. To those like me who know the former Nissan and Renault boss, his treatment suggests that Andrei Vyshinsky, the main architect of the judicial charades used to eliminate the Bolshevik old guard, is alive and well in the Tokyo public prosecutors’ office.

Most of UK's top-selling keyless cars at risk of theft, says Which? | The Guardian

The Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Qashqai and Ford Focus - four of the top five models sold in the UK - are among the cars that are susceptible to theft using “cheap electronic equipment bought online”, the consumer group Which? said.
Keyless entry systems enable cars to start if a fob is nearby. However, thieves using relay devices to boost the signal can trick the cars’ sensors into thinking the keyless fob is closer than it is, enabling them to open and start a vehicle even when the fob remains in the owner’s house.

British restaurant insolvencies hit record, study shows | Reuters

The number of British restaurant insolvencies hit a record high in 2018 and have doubled since 2010, a study by accountants Price Bailey showed on Wednesday as the sector struggles with market saturation and competition from delivery apps.
There were 1,442 restaurant insolvencies in 2018, up 40 percent compared to 2017, Insolvency Service data obtained by Price Bailey showed. Four restaurant businesses a day are going bust, up from under two a day in 2010.

Unilever stockpiles Magnum ice-cream in case of no-deal Brexit | The Guardian

Unilever is stockpiling Magnum ice-cream in the UK to ensure supplies do not run low if there is a no-deal Brexit.
Alan Jope, Unilever’s chief executive, said the company had taken the decision to import extra supplies of the ice-cream, which is produced in mainland Europe, in case the ports grind to a halt.

EU parliament recognizes Guaido as Venezuelan interim president | Reuters

The European Parliament recognized Venezuela’s self-declared interim president Juan Guaido as de facto head of state on Thursday, heightening international pressure on the OPEC member’s socialist President Nicolas Maduro... EU lawmakers voted 439 in favor to 104 against, with 88 abstentions, at a special session in Brussels to recognize Venezuelan congress head Guaido as interim leader.
In a statement with the non-binding vote, the parliament urged the bloc’s 28 governments to follow suit and consider Guaido “the only legitimate interim president” until there were “new free, transparent and credible presidential elections”.

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2019.01.31

News Headlines - 31 January 2019

U.N. panel to point out S. Korea's violation of N. Korea sanctions

A U.N. panel plans to point out in an upcoming report South Korea's failure to notify the Security Council of its shipments of petroleum products to North Korea in breach of international sanctions, diplomatic sources said Wednesday.
It will be the first time for the sanctions committee on North Korea under the 15-member council to say that Seoul has violated U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang. South Korea has been stepping up efforts to improve relations with North Korea since last year.

77% of Russians Oppose Ceding Kuril Islands to Japan, Poll Says

Over three-quarters of Russians have said they oppose handing a chain of Pacific islands to Japan as the countries seek to resolve a long-standing territorial row, according to a state-funded poll released on Monday... According to the state-funded VTsIOM pollster, 77 percent of Russian respondents say they oppose giving the Kuril Islands to Japan.
Another 14 percent of respondents said they would favor the transfer of the islands.

Nomura posts second straight quarterly loss on wholesale segment write-off | Reuters

Nomura said in a statement its October-December net loss came in at 95.3 billion yen ($876.64 million), down from a profit of 88 billion yen a year earlier and compared with the 30.9 billion yen average profit estimate of two analysts compiled by Reuters.
The company said it booked an impairment charge of 81 billion yen during the period. It said the impairment is related to Instinet and Lehman Brothers.

FBI Investigating Mystery Tunnel Leading To Bank In Pembroke Pines - CBS Miami

The FBI is investigating the discovery of an underground tunnel, which appears to lead to a bank in Pembroke Pines.
The discovery started with a complaint Tuesday night about a sinkhole in the middle of the road at 390 South Flamingo Road. A crew from the city’s utility department was sent to check it out.
The tunnel was about two to three feet in diameter. Police found a winch, a generator, some boots, a bucket, and some other items nearby. Leverock said the FBI was called because police determined it was a suspected bank burglary.

German police arrest 3 Iraqi refugees suspected of planning terror attack | DW

Three Iraqi refugees were arrested on Wednesday in northern Germany for preparing a terror attack.
Two 23-year-olds and a 36-year-old were arrested in an early morning raid in the state of Schleswig-Holstein after a months-long investigation, German police said... Two of the suspects are accused of preparing a bomb using gunpowder from fireworks and another of aiding and abetting the terror plans.

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2019.01.30

News Headlines - 30 January 2019

Exclusive interview: Ghosn says 'plot and treason' led to arrest - Nikkei Asian Review

Former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn told Nikkei in an exclusive interview Wednesday that he had "no doubt" that the charges against him were the result of "plot and treason" by Nissan executives opposed to his plan for deeper integration between Renault and its two Japanese alliance partners.

Cliff Sims: the ex-Trump staffer who wrote 'Team of Vipers' - The Washington Post

Yet another former aide to President Trump is in the news for writing a memoir about working in the White House. This time, it’s Cliff Sims, scribe of “Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House.”
Yes, the book reportedly contains the kind of salacious behind-the-scenes details about Trump’s most controversial moments that have come to characterize this very specific genre. But Sims also presents himself as a supporter of the president and his politics and has spoken on his press tour about his own personal failings.

US State Department Approves $2.15 Billion Aegis Ashore Sale to Japan | The Diplomat

The U.S. Department of State approved the possible sale of two Aegis Ashore batteries, the land-based variant of the Aegis combat system for defense against ballistic and cruise missiles, to Japan for an estimated $2.15 billion, the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a January 29 statement. The foreign military sale is still subject to congressional approval.

UNICEF appeals for $3.9 billion in emergency assistance for 41 million children affected by conflict or disaster

UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children sets out the agency’s 2019 appeal and its efforts to provide 41 million children with access to safe water, nutrition, education, health and protection in 59 countries across the globe. Funding for child protection programmes accounts for $385 million of the overall appeal, including almost $121 million for protection services for children affected by the Syria crisis.

Meghan Kate abuse: Kensington Palace asks social media firms to help combat negative comments - CNN

Kensington Palace has asked social media firms for help in combating a boom in abuse aimed at the British Duchesses Kate and Meghan.
The royal household -- which oversees the offices of Prince William and Kate, and Prince Harry and Meghan -- has directly appealed to Instagram and Twitter for assistance in controlling vicious online comments aimed at both women, according to a source. The abuse is often made against one duchess by supporters of the other.
The volume of the comments, some of which are sexist and racist, is so significant that tackling them has been challenging, the source told CNN.

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2019.01.29

News Headlines - 29 January 2019

Mueller's investigation is close to completion, Matthew Whitaker says

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is “close to being completed,” acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said Monday... Whitaker’s remark is the first indication from a Justice Department official suggesting that Mueller could deliver his report soon.
Mueller’s team of investigators is examining Russian interference in the 2016 election. The special counsel is also probing for possible collusion by Donald Trump’s campaign and whether or not the president obstructed justice.

U.S. and Taliban Agree in Principle to Peace Framework, Envoy Says - The New York Times

American and Taliban officials have agreed in principle to the framework of a deal in which the insurgents would guarantee Afghan territory is never used by terrorists, which could lead to a full pullout of American troops in return for larger concessions from the Taliban, the chief United States negotiator said on Monday.
The negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, said those concessions must include the Taliban’s agreement to a cease-fire and to talk directly with the Afghan government, which the insurgents have persistently opposed in the past.

Saturn's rings help astronomers finally calculate the length of a day

The beauty of Saturn’s delicate system of rings is indisputable, but human fascination with them isn’t all about aesthetics; those rings can tell us incredible scientific stories, too.
Now, a study published in The Astrophysical Journal has used the planet’s rings to answer a surprisingly frustrating question: How long is a day on Saturn? The answer: 10 hours, 33 minutes, and 38 seconds.

Japan's economy likely in longest postwar expansion phase, government says, as risks loom | The Japan Times

Japan’s economy is likely experiencing its longest expansion phase since the end of World War II amid solid domestic demand and a tightening labor market, the government said Tuesday... The Japanese economy is thought to have counted its 74th consecutive month of improvement since December 2012 under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, though there is persistent criticism that consumers have yet to feel the benefits as wage gains remain tepid.

Football: Penalty controversy as Japan stun Iran to reach Asian Cup final - Channel NewsAsia

Japan benefited from a controversial penalty as they sent favourites Iran crashing 3-0 in the Asian Cup semi-finals to move within one win of a record-extending fifth title on Monday.
Yuya Osako put Japan 1-0 up after half-time but it was his penalty shortly afterwards, awarded following a video review, that knocked the stuffing out of Iran.

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2019.01.28

News Headlines - 28 January 2019

Howard Schultz, former Starbucks CEO, says he's considering independent run for president - CBS News

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz left his company seven months ago which led many to wonder what the socially conscious executive was planning. To Schultz, Starbucks was never just a coffee shop. He saw his stores as meeting halls where customers came to chew over the great issues of the day. His activism is rooted in a rags-to-riches life. And tonight, Schultz reveals traumas he has never discussed publicly. At the age of 65, he is preparing for the greatest challenge of his life. Many believe that Schultz would run for president as a Democrat. His announcement tonight may come as a surprise.

NATO head: Trump's tough talk has added $100B to alliance, helped deter Russia | Fox News

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking on "Fox News Sunday," said President Trump's tough talk has ultimately strengthened the 70-year-old alliance by leading member nations to contribute tens of billions of additional dollars to ensure their own security.
Stoltenberg's comments were a direct repudiation of critics who have accused Trump of undermining NATO by repeatedly pushing allies to meet their defense spending obligations -- and Trump himself referred to Stoltenberg's interview minutes later on Twitter as a rejection of a narrative pushed by "Dems & fake news."

ISIS bombing in Philippines shows reach into Asia

A deadly bombing of a cathedral in the Philippines has brought fresh attention to the Islamic State’s ability to metastasize across the world, even as the militant group has been reduced to a sliver of turf in Syria.
The attack, consisting of two detonations, struck the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel on the island of Jolo at the southern end of the Philippines, a region where Muslim insurgents have for decades battled the Catholic-majority state. At least 20 people were confirmed dead in the assault, which took place just as worshippers gathered for Mass on Sunday.

Letters with suspected cyanide sent to 9 Japan firms - The Straits Times

Nine Japanese companies, including drugmakers and a newspaper publisher, have received blackmail letters containing white powder suspected to be cyanide, police and local media said yesterday.
The letters were sent under the names of executed members of the Aum Shinrikyo - the Japanese doomsday cult behind the deadly 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo - and demanded 35 million won (S$42,350) in bitcoins, a police spokesman told Agence France-Presse.

Thief steals painting from Moscow gallery as witnesses watch | The Guardian

On Sunday evening, a man in jeans and a dark shirt walked up to a painting by landscape artist Arkhip Kuindzhi in Moscow’s New Tretyakov Gallery and lifted it right off the wall. Then, as others looked on, he grabbed the frame in one hand and strolled out of the gallery.
It took several minutes for museum patrons to realise they had witnessed a theft. One eyewitness said that he had mistaken the thief “for a museum employee”. By the time the alarm was raised, the man had already vanished on to the street.
The painting of the Ai-Petri mountain peak was part of a popular exhibition of landscapes in Moscow, and its theft quickly became a media sensation.

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2019.01.27

News Headlines - 27 January 2019

Death toll rises to 58 as hope dims after Brazil dam collapse | Reuters

Brazilian rescuers searched into the night on Sunday for hundreds of people missing after a burst mining dam triggered a deadly mudslide, as the death toll rose to 58 and was expected to keep climbing more than two days after the disaster.

London faces 'severe' water droughts as population grows, civil engineering experts warn | London Evening Standard

Office for National Statistics figures predict London’s population will exceed 10 million in 2035, by which time an estimated 50,000 homes are expected to have been built.
The population was 8.1 million in the last census in 2011.
Civil engineering experts from two of London’s top universities have said this level of growth will mean Londoners need to start thinking seriously about how they can save water.

Inside Victoria and David Beckham's palatial £31.5million London home

THANKS to the Beckham’s love of sharing on social media, fans will never have to wonder what sort of house the fashionable family live in.
David and Victoria bought their six-bedroom, Grade II-listed townhouse, located in London’s prestigious Holland Park for £31.5million in 2013.

Japanese Boy Band Arashi to Disband End of 2020, Reports Say - Bloomberg

One of Japan’s oldest and most popular boy bands will suspend its activities at the end of next year, according to local media reports.
Five-member Arashi made the announcement on its fan club home page, adding it would reveal the reason at a news conference later on Sunday, the reports said.

Haiti celebrates Osaka's Australian Open victory - NHK WORLD

A Haitian online media report said it was a precious win for Osaka, the first woman of Haitian and Japanese descent to win two straight Grand Slam titles. Osaka won the US Open last September.
Another online media report said Osaka is the first player of Haitian and Japanese descent to reach the top spot in tennis.
Osaka visited Haiti with her parents last November and received a commemorative plaque from Haitian President Jovenel Moise.

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2019.01.26

News Headlines - 26 January 2019

Online sales tax to help save high street falls foul of EU | The Times

An online sales tax to help high street shops has in effect been ruled out by the Treasury because it would fall foul of EU rules.
The Times has learnt that Mel Stride, financial secretary to the Treasury, has written to Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Treasury select committee, to say there was a “high risk” that any such tax would breach the bloc’s state aid rules.

Prince Philip finally apologises to car crash victim and says he's 'deeply sorry' - Mirror Online

Prince Philip has finally written to the mum injured in his car crash and told her he is “deeply sorry”.
In his surprise note, dated the day AFTER the Sunday Mirror revealed he had not made contact, the 97-year-old Duke wished Emma Fairweather, pictured right, a “speedy recovery”... In his note - written a day after the Sunday Mirror revealed he had NOT been in touch with Emma - the Duke said he was “shaken” by the collision.
The typed 181-word message finally arrived six days after the smash and was signed “Yours sincerely, Philip” - in blue pen.

Student, 21, 'froze to death after being kicked off bus for not having 68p fare' - Mirror Online

Iryna Dvoretska, 21, was on her way to visit her sick mother at a hospital in Olevsk, northern Ukraine.
But bus driver Oleg Zhelinskiy allegedly kicked the woman off at around 4am after she failed to come up with the 25 Hverna (68p) bus fare.
It is believed Iryna started walking along the dark country road and attempted to take a shortcut through a forest... Her father, who is a park ranger, discovered her frozen corpse after she had been missing for two days.

Pope Francis to visit Japan in November, having abandoned plan to come as missionary in his youth | The Japan Times

Pope Francis announced Wednesday he will visit Japan in November, becoming the first pontiff to do so since John Paul II nearly 40 years ago... The Argentine pontiff has repeatedly voiced a desire to visit Japan, home to some 450,000 Roman Catholics, and around 510,000 Protestants.

Australian Open 2019: Naomi Osaka beats Petra Kvitova to win title - BBC Sport

Japan's Naomi Osaka beat Czech Petra Kvitova in a thrilling Australian Open final to win back-to-back Grand Slams and become the new world number one... Osaka was all smiles during the trophy presentation in Melbourne - in contrast to her US Open victory - and she continued a tradition of slightly awkward acceptance speeches.

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2019.01.25

News Headlines - 25 January 2019

Trump Signs Bill Reopening Government for 3 Weeks in Surprise Retreat From Wall - The New York Times

President Trump agreed on Friday to reopen the federal government for three weeks while negotiations continued over how to secure the nation’s southwestern border, backing down after a monthlong standoff failed to force Democrats to give him billions of dollars for his long-promised wall... The plan includes none of the money for the wall that Mr. Trump had demanded and was essentially the same approach that he rejected at the end of December and that Democrats have advocated since, meaning he won nothing concrete during the impasse.

End Brexit feud, Queen tells warring politicians | The Times

The Queen has urged the country to “seek out the common ground” in a sign of royal nervousness over the divisions caused by Brexit.
Delivering a rebuke to warring politicians, she urged them to respect, not attack, one another while “never losing sight of the bigger picture”.
Her intervention came 64 days before Britain is due to leave the European Union, with no settled plan on how it will be achieved.

Vodafone 'pauses' use of Huawei equipment over security concerns | The Guardian

Vodafone has decided to “pause” the use of Huawei equipment in its core networks across Europe because of the debate about security concerns involving the Chinese telecoms giant.
Nick Read, chief executive of Vodafone, said the company would continue to buy equipment from Huawei to build its 4G and 5G networks but would halt using the Chinese supplier in its core network, where data is concentrated and security concerns are highest. Huawei has denied allegations its kit could be used by the Chinese government to spy on users.

Apple drops trademark hint that the next iPod Touch could be a games console

THE next iPod touch could be geared towards gaming after Apple filed to have the music player's trademark changed to specifically let it cover games consoles too... The update to the iPod Touch trademark, filed earlier this month, means that the iPod Touch trademark now covers "hand-held units for playing electronic games" and "Handheld game consoles".

50 killed in Sudan demonstrations to date: Former PM

At least 50 people have been killed in Sudan since the country was engulfed by popular protests in mid-December, Sadiq al-Mahdi, an opposition politician and former prime minister, said Friday.
Addressing thousands of supporters in Khartoum, al-Mahdi called on the Sudanese security forces to stop using deadly force to disperse unarmed demonstrators.
He also called for the resignation of President Omar al-Bashir.

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2019.01.24

News Headlines - 24 January 2019

S. Korea: Japanese Warplane Made Threatening Pass over Naval Vessel

South Korea says a Japanese military aircraft made a threatening low-altitude flight over one of its naval vessels Wednesday, describing it as a "provocative act."... Wednesday's incident is the latest chapter in a heated military dispute between two Asian neighbors since last month, when Tokyo claimed a South Korean destroyer locked its targeting radar on a Japanese surveillance plane in the Sea of Japan. Seoul accused the Japanese plane of flying too close to the destroyer, which was engaged in a rescue operation.

Nintendo's 'Splatoon' at Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt - V&A Blog

Our exhibition Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt goes behind the scenes at global game studios, revealing the amazing creative processes that go into some exceptional productions. Representing Nintendo is their fantastic take on the multiplayer third-person shooter, Splatoon (2015). Watch Producer Hisashi Nogami and Head of Software Development Shinya Takahashi visit the V&A exhibition to see for themselves how we represented the art and engineering of their game.

French Olympic probe raises questions about Japanese firm

In the French probe, investigators are examining $2 million authorized by Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda and paid to the Singapore-based consulting company Black Tidings and its head Ian Tan Tong Han. Black Tidings is suspected of channeling the money to Papa Massata Diack, one of the sons of the former IOC member from Senegal, Lamine Diack.
Lamine Diack is also the former head of the International Association of Athletics Federations, the world governing body for track and field.
Dentsu has links to both Diacks and is the IAAF’s long-time commercial partner with a contract that extends through 2029.

Apple lays off over 200 from Project Titan autonomous vehicle group

Apple dismissed just over 200 employees this week from Project Titan, its stealthy autonomous vehicle group, people familiar with the matter told CNBC... In August, Apple enlisted a Tesla engineering vice president and Apple veteran, Doug Field, to lead the Titan team alongside Bob Mansfield. This week’s dismissals from the group were seen internally as anticipated restructuring under the relatively new leadership.
Other employees who were impacted by the restructuring of Project Titan are staying at Apple, but moving to different parts of the company.

Bryan Singer’s Accusers Speak Out - The Atlantic

We spent 12 months investigating various lawsuits and allegations against Singer. In total, we spoke with more than 50 sources, including four men who have never before told their stories to reporters... The accusations against Singer cover a spectrum. Some of the alleged victims say they were seduced by the director while underage; others say they were raped. The victims we interviewed told us these experiences left them psychologically damaged, with substance-abuse problems, depression, and PTSD.

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2019.01.23

News Headlines - 23 January 2019

Trump delays State of the Union Address until shutdown ends | Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump said in a late night Tweet on Wednesday that he would delay a State of the Union address until the government shutdown was over, responding to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s move to obstruct his plans for the speech.

Afghanistan attack: 'More than 100 security officers' killed in Taliban assault on military base, official says | The Independent

More than 100 security forces members have been killed in a Taliban assault on a military base in eastern Afghanistan, an official said.
An interior ministry spokesperson said a suicide car bomber struck the base first, followed by insurgents who opened fire at the Afghan forces in Maidan Shar, the capital of Maidan Wardak province.
An official in the defence ministry, speaking anonymously, told Reuters the death toll was as high as 126.

Subaru stops two Japanese factories to address power-steering defect - Roadshow

Subaru has discovered a defect in the power-steering systems of some of its Japanese-built vehicles, and has shut down the plants briefly as it investigates the root cause.
On Wednesday Subaru announced that it had idled two plants in Japan's Gunma prefecture on Jan. 16 when it discovered a defect that may disable a vehicle's power steering and illuminate a warning lamp. According to the automaker's press release, it hopes to have the plant up and running again on Jan. 28.
The two plants comprise a majority of Subaru's global manufacturing, including some models destined for the US. A Subaru spokesperson said approximately 10,000 examples of the Crosstrek and Forester might be affected, but the final number may be smaller.

Naomi Osaka sponsor apologises for 'whitewashing' tennis star in ad | The Guardian

One of Naomi Osaka’s sponsors has been forced to apologise after depicting the Japanese tennis star, who is half-Haitian, with pale skin in an advertisement.
Nissin featured Osaka in an ad for its Cup Noodle range of instant ramen. It depicts Osaka, who holds dual Japanese and American citizenship, with pale skin, wavy brown hair and Caucasian facial features.
The company said it had not intended to “whitewash” the athlete, who became a national hero in Japan after beating Serena Williams to win the women’s singles title at the US Open in September last year.

Rescuers search for Cardiff striker Sala as final message emerges | AFP.com

As the air search resumed, Argentine media reported that Sala sent a final message before the plane disappeared from radar around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Guernsey on Monday night.
"I'm on a plane that looks like it's going to fall apart, and I'm leaving for Cardiff," the 28-year-old said in a rambling WhatsApp audio message.
"If in an hour and a half you have no news from me, I don't know if they will send people to look for me, because they will not find me, you know... I'm so scared," he added.

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2019.01.22

News Headlines - 22 January 2019

Report Says Shutdown Is Impeding F.B.I.’s Law Enforcement Efforts - The New York Times

As the partial government shutdown enters its fifth week, the funding freeze has impeded F.B.I. efforts to crack down on child trafficking, violent crime and terrorism, according to a report issued Tuesday by the group that represents the bureau’s 13,000 special agents.

Dyson to move company HQ to Singapore | The Guardian

Sir James Dyson, the British billionaire inventor and outspoken Brexiter who called on the government to walk away from the EU without a deal, is moving the headquarters of his vacuum cleaner and hair dryer technology company to Singapore.
The Dyson chief executive, Jim Rowan, said the move from Wiltshire to Singapore had “nothing to do with Brexit” but was about “future-proofing” the business. The move of Dyson’s legal entity from the UK to Singapore “will happen over the coming months”, meaning it could take place before Brexit.

Trump, Key European Leaders Skip Davos Amid Turmoil at Home - WSJ

President Trump is staying in Washington to deal with the partial government shutdown. U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May is tied up with Brexit talks in London. French President Emmanuel Macron is responding to yellow-vest protests at home.
This week’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in this Swiss mountain resort will bring together more than 60 heads of state or government. But a number of major world leaders are skipping the gathering to attend to pressing domestic business.

Five arrested as police say New IRA responsible for Derry van bomb - The Irish News

POLICE have blamed dissident republican organisation the New IRA for Saturday night’s van bomb attack on Derry courthouse... Dissident republican group Saoradh said the attack was carried out to mark the centenary of the Soloheadbeg ambush and the killing of two RIC officers which marked the start of the Irish War of Independence.

Shrinkflation: Bread and breakfast cereals most affected - BBC News

Bread and breakfast cereals are the most likely to be affected by shrinkflation, whereby a product shrinks in size but its price doesn't. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) studied the price of 17,000 items between September 2015 and June 2017.
It found 206 products in all categories had shrunk in size, while 79 increased.

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2019.01.21

News Headlines - 21 January 2019

China's economy grew at slowest pace in 28 years in 2018 | AFP.com

China's economy grew at its slowest pace in almost three decades in 2018, losing more steam in the last quarter as it battles a massive debt pile and a US trade war, official data showed Monday.
The 6.6 percent growth comes in above the official target of around 6.5 percent and matches a forecast by analysts polled by AFP, but is down from the 6.8 percent chalked up in 2017, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Chinese Drone Giant DJI Unearths $150 Million Losses From Fraud - Bloomberg

DJI has unearthed cases of fraud involving its own employees that may trigger losses of about 1 billion yuan ($150 million) for the world’s largest drone maker, marking one of the largest recent cases of graft among China’s technology giants.
SZ DJI Technology Co., which discovered the corruption in an internal probe, said it’s fired multiple workers who inflated parts costs for personal gain, and contacted law enforcement... DJI, which employs 14,000 people around the globe, is the runaway leader in consumer drones with almost three-quarters of the market.

Death toll from Mexico pipeline blast reaches 91, Pemex defends response | Reuters

The death toll from a fuel pipeline explosion in central Mexico last week rose to 91 on Monday as Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) defended its response to one of the deadliest incidents to hit the state-run oil company in years.
Hundreds of people near the small town of Tlahuelilpan in Hidalgo state rushed to collect fuel from a gushing duct which authorities said was punctured by suspected thieves, and dozens were caught in the explosion that followed.
The blast followed severe shortages of gasoline in central Mexico after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in late December launched a major crackdown on fuel theft, ordering pipelines closed in a bid to thwart the criminal activity.

President Trump made 8,158 false or misleading claims in his first two years - The Washington Post

Two years after taking the oath of office, President Trump has made 8,158 false or misleading claims, according to The Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president.
That includes an astonishing 6,000-plus such claims in the president’s second year.
Put another way: The president averaged nearly 5.9 false or misleading claims a day in his first year in office. But he hit nearly 16.5 a day in his second year, almost triple the pace.

Canadian fraudster foiled because he used the wrong font | National Post

A bankrupt telecom executive’s fraudulent plan to shield two of his homes from creditors has been foiled because he used the wrong font... The Muskoka cottage document, ostensibly created in 1995, was written in Cambria, a typeface that wasn’t designed until 2002.
The Caledon farm document, dated in 2004, was written in Calibri, a typeface that wasn’t released to the general public until the release of Windows Vista in January, 2007. It is now the default typeface on most Microsoft software, including Word, Powerpoint and Outlook.

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2019.01.20

News Headlines - 20 January 2019

Wife of Former Interpol Chief Seeks Asylum in France - The New York Times

Nearly four months after an Interpol chief was detained in China on corruption charges, his wife has applied for asylum in France, she said on Saturday.
Grace Meng, wife of Meng Hongwei, the former Interpol president, has remained in France, where the organization has its headquarters, since his arrest... Ms. Meng, who has refused to specify her Chinese given name or to have her face photographed or filmed by the news media, said in interviews on Friday that she was seeking French protection for her and her twin boys.

Standard & Poor's Keeps Greece's Credit Rating to B+ | GreekReporter.com

Standard & Poor’s (S&P) rating agency kept Greece’s credit rating at ”B+” on Friday, following an upgrade made in July 2018, when the agency increased the country’s rating by one notch.
According to S&P, the outlook for the Greek economy remains positive as the domestic demand is expected to get higher with a clear improvement on the country’s exports being underway.

Toyota and Panasonic plan to produce electric car batteries at joint venture in 2020 | The Japan Times

Toyota plans to take a 51 percent stake in the new company and Panasonic the rest. They will announce the plan as early as this week, the sources said.
The two companies will join forces to develop solid-state batteries, which require advanced technologies to improve the range of EVs while cutting recharging time, they said. Panasonic will shift its five plants for car batteries in Japan and China to the new company.

Apple resurrects iPhone SE, a smaller smartphone option

Welcome back, shorty. Apple has apparently made an under-the-radar market move in restoring the smaller iPhone SE to its online store.The iPhone SE, which has a 4-inch display and was retired by Apple last year, reappeared Saturday in its online retail outlet's clearance section. Originally launched in 2016 for $349 and $449 for the 32 Gigabyte and 128GB model, respectively, the models now are lower-priced at $249 and $299... Supplies are apparently limited: The phones were listed as out of stock by Sunday afternoon.

Sweden charges man ‘for stealing two royal crowns and an orb worth US$7.2 million’ | South China Morning Post

A man was charged on Thursday with stealing 65 million kronor (US$7.2 million) worth of Swedish royal treasure including a jewelled crown from a cathedral where they were on display.
Two crowns and an orb used for the funerals of King Karl IX and Queen Kristina haven’t been recovered, national police investigator Filippo Bassini said.

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2019.01.19

News Headlines - 19 January 2019

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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2019.01.18

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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2019.01.17

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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2019.01.16

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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2019.01.15

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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2019.01.14

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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2019.01.13

News Headlines - 13 January 2019

It is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country - THERESA MAY writes | Express.co.uk

On Tuesday, your MP will be asked to vote on this deal and with it, your future.
It is the biggest and most important decision that any MP of our generation will be asked to make. So they must decide what really matters.

US Warns German Firms of Possible Sanctions over Russia Pipeline

The U.S. ambassador to Germany has warned companies involved in the construction of the Russian-led Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that they could face sanctions if they stick to the project, a senior U.S. official said on Sunday... The pipeline, which would carry gas straight to Germany under the Baltic Sea, is also seen critical by other European countries as it would deprive Ukraine of lucrative gas transit fees which could make Kiev more vulnerable in the future.

Amazon Dash buttons judged to breach consumer rules in Germany | TechCrunch

Germany was among the first international markets where Amazon launched Dash, in 2016, along with the U.K. and Austria. But yesterday a higher state court in Munich ruled the system does not provide consumers with sufficient information about a purchase.
The judgement follows a legal challenge by a regional consumer watchdog, Verbraucherzentrale NRW, which objects to the terms Amazon operates with Dash.

The European capital cobbled with Jewish gravestones - BBC News

Each year millions of visitors walk through the cobbled streets of Prague's Old Town - without realising, most likely, that many of the stones below their feet have been looted from what was meant to be sacred ground. The BBC's Rob Cameron only recently learned their secret.

Venezuela opposition leader briefly detained after challenging Maduro | The Guardian

Venezuelan secret police seized and then swiftly released a prominent opposition leader, less than 48 hours after he declared himself ready to assume the presidency of his crisis-stricken country in a bold challenge to its leader Nicolás Maduro.
Juan Guaidó, the 35-year-old head of Venezuela’s opposition-run parliament, was reportedly taken by agents from the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Sebin) on Sunday morning as he travelled north out of the capital, Caracas.

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2019.01.12

News Headlines - 12 January 2019

Snow brings parts of Europe to standstill - BBC News

The Red Cross helped drivers stuck on a motorway in the southern German state of Bavaria and a nine-year-old boy was killed by a falling tree.
The front of a Swiss hotel was hit by an avalanche and a winter storm made roads impassable in Sweden and Norway.
Austrian rescuers had to battle through chest-deep snow to reach a snowboarder.

London’s gangs have changed, and it’s driving a surge in pitiless violence | The Guardian

The murder of 14-year-old Jayden Moodie on Tuesday night highlights how youth violence continues to devastate the lives of young people, families and communities in London. Jayden’s death marks a new low point as he is the youngest victim to die on London’s streets so far this year.
We don’t know whether Jayden was himself involved in gangs or if his death was gang-related. All we know is that he was struck by a vehicle while riding a moped, then chased by a group of three men and stabbed to death in what police believe was a targeted attack. However, Jayden was killed in Leyton, part of the east London borough of Waltham Forest where the threat of gangs and gang violence looms large.

Opposition-controlled Venezuela parliament calls for protest to oust Maduro

Venezuela's sidelined opposition-controlled parliament called on Friday (Jan 11) for a mass protest against President Nicolas Maduro in a bid to oust the socialist leader in favour of "a transitional government."
Maduro, 56, was sworn in for a second term on Thursday, having won a highly controversial election in May that was boycotted by the opposition and branded a fraud by the United States, European Union and Organization of American States.

Michael Lang: Woodstock festival to be at Watkins Glen Aug. 16-18

Two festivals will mark the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair this year, on the same weekend, around 150 miles apart from each other.
Michael Lang, the co-producer and co-founder of the original 1969 festival, announced Wednesday that he will hold his anniversary show, "Woodstock 50," in Watkins Glen on Aug. 16-18.

Tony Khan: Fulham vice-chairman promises investment but argues with fan on Twitter - BBC Sport

Fulham vice-chairman Tony Khan told a critical supporter who had urged him to leave the club to "go to hell".
Khan, 36, tweeted fans after Saturday's 2-1 defeat at Burnley, which left his side 19th in the Premier League, five points adrift of safety.

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2019.01.11

News Headlines - 11 January 2019

Kim's China visit to be positive factor for 2nd US-NK summit: Seoul

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's recent visit to China will have positive effects on prospects for a successful second summit between Washington and Pyongyang, South Korea's National Security Council said Thursday.
This week, Kim made a surprise visit to China and held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping. During the meeting, Kim vowed efforts to draw positive results from a possible second summit with US President Donald Trump, and Xi expressed his support, according to Chinese media.

After meeting UK's May, Japan's Abe says world does not want no-deal Brexit | Reuters

Japan’s Shinzo Abe said on Thursday that the world did not want to see a disorderly Brexit and that he fully supported British Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal deal from the European Union now facing defeat in parliament.

Japanese magazine apologises over university 'sex listing' - BBC News

A Japanese men's magazine has had to issue an apology after publishing a list ranking universities on how easy it is to convince female students to have sex at drinking parties.
The list in the issue of the weekly magazine Spa! prompted outrage... The article in the 25 December issue said the parties were popular among female college students and included an interview with the developer of an app intended to help men and women find potential attendees.

NGT48's Yamaguchi Maho Apologizes for Discussing Assault | Billboard

A member of J-pop girl group NGT48 apologized Thursday (Jan. 10) for publicly addressing an assault against her. Yamaguchi Maho, a member of the AKB48-associated act, apologized Thursday night in Japan for “causing trouble,” according to fan-captured videos from the act’s third-anniversary concert.

Japan wrestling star Yoshida taps out before Olympics - Channel NewsAsia

Japan's Saori Yoshida, a three-time Olympic gold medallist, confirmed Thursday (Jan 10) she is retiring from wrestling despite "wavering" at the thought of missing the Tokyo 2020 Games... She admitted "wavering, with the feeling that I want to participate in the Tokyo Olympics," but said she had ultimately decided it was time to pass the baton to younger athletes.
The 36-year-old topped the podium in the women's 55kg division at three straight Summer Games between 2004 and 2012, but fell short of a fourth straight gold medal at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, settling for silver in the 53kg division.

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2019.01.10

News Headlines - 10 January 2019

Japan labour data 'incorrectly collected since 2004' - The Straits Times

Japan may have underpaid billions of yen in unemployment benefits after it emerged that the government has been incorrectly collecting labour market data for as long as 15 years.
Officials are supposed to gather data from all firms with 500 or more employees but in Tokyo, only about one-third of 1,400 such firms were surveyed, according to a civil servant at the labour ministry... According to public broadcaster NHK, the problems could date back as far as 2004.
A ministry official speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP that the problem could have resulted in underpayment of unemployment benefits and industrial injury insurance benefits.

Venezuela’s annual inflation surges to 1.7 million percent | Business Recorder

Venezuela’s consumer prices rose 1.7 million percent in the year ending in December, the opposition-controlled National Assembly said on Wednesday, up from 1.3 million percent in November as the country’s economy continued its downward spiral.
Prices rose 142 percent in December, equivalent to around 3 percent per day, according to the report released by legislator Angel Alvarado. The National Assembly has become the only reliable source for consumer price data since the government stopped publishing economic indicators years ago as falling oil prices sent activity tumbling.

MacKenzie Bezos Could Become World's Richest Woman With Divorce - Bloomberg

MacKenzie Bezos’s divorce from Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos could make her the world’s richest woman.
As of now, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the granddaughter of the founder of cosmetics manufacturer L’Oreal SA, is the richest woman in the world, with a net worth of $45.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.
Neither the Bezoses nor Amazon have commented on the likely division of the couple’s assets, including a 16 percent stake in the company. But without an agreement stipulating otherwise, their wealth would almost certainly be divided equally, according to Karin Lundell, a partner at law firm Rower LLC in New York.

Pedophile Gary Oliva confesses to killing JonBenét Ramsey by accident | Daily Mail Online

A longtime suspect in the murder of JonBenét Ramsey has finally admitted he killed the then six-year old beauty pageant queen, DailyMailTV can exclusively reveal.
Gary Oliva, 54, a convicted pedophile who is currently serving a 10-year sentence in a Colorado prison for child pornography, has admitted in letters obtained by DailyMailTV he killed her by accident.

Paris nudist restaurant undone by scanty custom | AFP.com

The first nudist restaurant in the French capital is being forced to close because it cannot put enough bums on seats.
"O'Naturel" will draw the curtain on nude fine dining in Paris in February after a little over a year despite rave reviews from diners who shed their clothes to slurp oysters and feast on snails, foie gras and asparagus.
But to avoid financial embarrassment, twins Mike and Stephane Saada said they were having to close... The restaurant in the east of Paris opened amid a blaze of publicity in November 2017.

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2019.01.09

News Headlines - 09 January 2019

Grieve amendment vote: Theresa May suffers another bruising Brexit Commons defeat as MPs vote to impose three-day deadline for PM to present Plan B | London Evening Standard

Theresa May has suffered another bruising Commons defeat as MPs voted in favour of an amendment that will force her to present a Brexit "plan B" within three days if her controversial deal does not pass... MPs backed the amendment by 308 votes to 297 on Wednesday afternoon.
It gives MPs the chance to formally put forward alternatives to her deal for the first time, including a People’s Vote, and the Norway and Efta “soft Brexit” options.

S. Korean Court Seizes Assets of Japanese Company Over Forced Labor

A South Korean court has seized the local assets of a Japanese company in order to compensate four South Koreans who were forced into labor during Japan's brutal colonial rule of the peninsula between 1910 and 1945... South Korea's Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in last October ordering Nippon Steel to pay nearly $90,000 to each of the four plaintiffs. But Nippon refused to comply, citing a 1965 treaty that formally normalized bilateral ties between Seoul and Tokyo. The treaty included $800 million in reparations paid by Japan in the form of economic aid and loans.
But the Supreme Court has ruled that the treaty does not prevent individuals from seeking compensation from Japanese companies involved in the forced labor practices of the time.

Thai, Saudi officials meet over case of young Saudi woman

Thailand’s immigration police chief met Tuesday with officials from the Saudi Embassy in Bangkok, as Saudi Arabia tried to distance itself from accusations that it attempted to block a young woman’s effort to flee from her family and seek asylum abroad.
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun arrived in Bangkok from Kuwait late Saturday after slipping away from her family, whom she accused of abusing her. The 18-year-old was stopped by officials in Thailand who confiscated her passport.
Her urgent pleas for help over Twitter from an airport hotel room garnered tens of thousands of followers and the attention of the U.N.’s refugee agency, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. Public pressure prompted Thai officials to return her passport and let her temporarily stay in Thailand.

Heathrow airport drone investigated by police and military - BBC News

The military is helping police after sightings of a drone temporarily halted flights at Heathrow airport on Tuesday... Departures from the west London airport were suspended for about an hour.
It comes after thousands of passengers were caught up in disruption at Gatwick Airport last month following reports of drone sightings.

Snowy Greece sees temperatures plunge to -23C

Greece has been freezing in temperatures as low as -23C (-9F) as some of Athens' most famous monuments got a dusting of snow.
The -23C figure was recorded in the northern city of Florina and led to road closures and disruption to transport.
Further south in the capital, Athens, snow fell around monuments such as the Temple of Zeus as schools closed and some roads became impassable because of ice.

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2019.01.08

News Headlines - 08 January 2019

British officials 'putting out feelers' with EU for Article 50 extension

British and European officials are discussing the possibility of extending Article 50 amid fears a Brexit deal will not be completed by March 29, the Telegraph can reveal.
Three separate EU sources confirmed that UK officials had been “putting out feelers” and “testing the waters” on an Article 50 extension, even as the Government said it had no intention of asking to extend the negotiating period.

'Unfairly detained': Ex-Nissan boss Ghosn protests innocence | AFP.com

Former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn said Tuesday he had been "wrongly accused and unfairly detained" at a high-profile court hearing in Japan, his first appearance since his arrest in November rocked the business world.
Entering the court handcuffed and with a rope around his waist, the once-revered titan of the auto industry mounted a passionate defence against a string of financial misconduct allegations.
The 64-year-old was thinner -- his family says he has lost up to 20 kilograms (44 pounds) due to the rice-based diet in his Tokyo detention centre -- and his hair was greying. He appeared in a dark suit without a tie and wore dark green plastic slippers.

Japan tourist tax begins to prepare for 2020 Olympics

Starting Monday, January 7, visitors to Japan will have to pay a 1,000 yen (about $9) levy when leaving.
The departure tax — dubbed a “sayonara tax” — applies to both international and Japanese travelers who travel via plane or ship, excluding children under 2 years old and those in Japan for fewer than 24 hours.
The Japan tourist tax is being implemented in anticipation of the surge in visitors expected in 2020 for the Tokyo Olympics.

Kim Stepping Down Early as World Bank President at Month End - Bloomberg

Jim Yong Kim abruptly resigned as president of the World Bank more than three years ahead of schedule, potentially sparking an international tussle over who replaces him as the Trump administration questions the development lender’s purpose... Kim, 59, began his second five-year term at the bank on July 1, 2017. He helped the lender win support from its member countries in April for a $13-billion capital increase, after the U.S. dropped proposals to limit the World Bank’s resources.

Saudi woman fleeing family temporarily admitted to Thailand | The Guardian

An 18-year-old Saudi woman seeking passage to asylum in Australia after fleeing her family in Saudi Arabia and renouncing Islam will be temporarily admitted to Thailand, Thai authorities have said.
Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun barricaded herself inside a transit zone hotel room in Bangkok airport to prevent immigration officials putting her on a flight to Kuwait after she was denied entry to Thailand while en route to Australia... Thai immigration police later released photos of the teenager after she left her hotel room late on Monday. Her destination was not made public, but she said on Twitter she was under the protection of the UNHCR and her passport had been returned. She also said her father had arrived in Thailand.

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2019.01.07

News Headlines - 07 January 2019

CBS: El-Sissi says Egypt, Israel cooperate against militants

Egypt’s president has told CBS that his country and Israel, with whom it fought four wars, are cooperating against Islamic militants in the Sinai Peninsula, a startling and potentially damaging acknowledgment that could explain the Egyptian government’s request that the network not air the interview.

Gabon detains soldiers after failed coup | The Guardian

The Gabonese government has put down a coup attempt after a group of soldiers briefly took over state radio and broadcast a statement calling on people to “rise up” while the president, Ali Bongo, is in Morocco recovering from a stroke.
Authorities have regained control of the state broadcasting offices and a major thoroughfare in the capital, Libreville, which were the only areas taken by the plotters, the government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou told Radio France International.

SoftBank Scraps $16 Billion Plan to Buy Most of WeWork - WSJ

SoftBank Group Corp. 9984 5.68% has scrapped a planned $16 billion investment in shared-office space provider WeWork Cos., opting instead for a smaller deal of about $2 billion amid market turbulence and opposition from investment partners, according to people familiar with the matter... The Wall Street Journal reported in December that SoftBank faced opposition from the two main investors in its nearly $100 billion Vision Fund, which it used in 2017 to buy a $4.4 billion stake in WeWork.

Yusaku Maezawa has most retweeted tweet ever after offering $923,000

A message from Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has become the most retweeted tweet of all time.
Maezawa took to Twitter on Saturday to give 100 randomly selected retweeters the chance to win a share of 100 million Japanese yen ($923,000)... Maezawa, the founder of Japanese online retailer Zozo Inc, sent the tweet after his website Zozotown posted sales of 10 billion yen in its New Year's sale. He previously gained international attention after securing a seat aboard SpaceX's inaugural tourist flight to the moon. The mission from Elon Musk's transportation company is expected to launch in 2023.

Guinness World Records Oldest Person Jeanne Calment was lying about her age, Russian researcher says - The Washington Post

Jeanne Calment died in 1997 in the southern French town in which she was born, and her death drew a flurry of attention. At 122, an age that had been certified by the Guinness World Records as well as public health researchers, she was the oldest documented person to have lived.
But a Russian mathematician is casting doubt on her record. Nikolay Zak said in a report that he believes Calment was actually Yvonne Calment, Jeanne’s daughter, who Zak says assumed her mother’s identity to avoid inheritance taxes in the 1930s. If true, Yvonne Calment would’ve been 99 if she died in 1997.

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2019.01.06

News Headlines - 06 January 2019

Moscow says FBI arrested Russian a day after it detained ex-U.S. Marine | Reuters

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday the United States had detained a Russian citizen, a day after Moscow arrested the former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan on suspicion of spying.
Whelan was taken into custody by Russia’s Federal Security Service on Dec. 28. His family have said he is innocent and that he was in Moscow to attend a wedding.
The ministry said the United States detained Russian citizen Dmitry Makarenko on Dec. 29 on the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. commonwealth in the Pacific Ocean, and had transferred him to Florida.

King of Malaysia abdicates amid rumours of marriage to ex-Russian beauty queen

The King of Malaysia renounced the throne on Sunday after weeks of speculation over his ill health and rumours that he had married a former Russian beauty queen in a secretive ceremony.
The abdication of Muhammad V was announced by Malaysia's National Palace, which mysteriously gave no hints as to why the monarch had taken the historic decision.
It marks the first time in Malaysian history that a monarch has stood down since the country gained independence from Great Britain in 1957.

Renewables exceed 40% in Germany for 2018 | Windpower Monthly

Wind turbines produced 111.35TWh in 2018, 20.4% of total generation in the country in 2018, according to researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (Fraunhofer ISE).
Lignite coal was the only energy source to produce more power than wind in 2018, the researchers noted, with 131.28TWh accounting for 24.1% of Germany’s total... Clean energy sources accounted for 40.4% of total generation in Germany last year — an all-time high and the first time they had exceeded the 40% mark.

Arizona police investigate after 'vegetative patient gives birth' - BBC News

Police in the US state of Arizona have launched a sexual assault investigation amid reports a patient in a vegetative state for a decade gave birth.
The woman is a patient in a clinic run by Hacienda HealthCare near Phoenix.
Hacienda HealthCare gave no details but said it was aware of a "deeply disturbing incident".

How On Earth Did 'Pokémon GO' Make Almost $800 Million In 2018?

The biggest story of the gaming year is certainly Fortnite, which made Epic Games $3 billion this year despite its battle royale mode being free, selling only cosmetics. But a similarly impressive story is that Pokémon GO made $795 million in 2018, two years after its release, which represents a 35% jump from the year before. And I’d argue that it did so while being a free game that sells far less attractive items than Fortnite’s never-ending carousel of skins.

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2019.01.05

News Headlines - 05 January 2019

China's Xi calls on army to be battle-ready | Reuters

China’s armed forces must strengthen their sense of urgency and do everything they can to prepare for battle, President Xi Jinping told a meeting of top brass on Friday.
China is keen to beef up its armed forces amid territorial disputes in the South China Sea and escalating tension with the United States over issues ranging from trade to the status of Taiwan.
The official Xinhua news agency said Xi told a meeting of the top military authority that China faced increasing risks and challenges, and the armed forces must work to secure its security and development needs.

Cuba celebrates 60 years of revolution amid challenges and change, Americas News & Top Stories - The Straits Times

Cuba, long a source of inspiration for leftist Latin American governments, celebrated the 60th anniversary of its revolution on Tuesday (Jan 1) facing increasing isolation in a region dominated by a resurgent right.
Former president Raul Castro lashed out at what he called a return by the United States government to "confrontation with Cuba" after restoration of diplomatic ties and a friendlier tone under the former administration of president Barack Obama.

Yemen rebels slam WFP for 'rotten' food aid | Daily Mail Online

Yemen's Huthi rebels on Tuesday rejected UN accusations of selling aid meant for civilians, slamming the World Food Programme (WFP) for sending "rotten food" to the war-torn country.
The WFP, which plans to provide food to up to 12 million Yemenis a month in 2019, on Monday accused Huthi rebels of "criminal behaviour" and of selling food aid in markets in the rebel-held capital Sanaa.

Sharp rise in air crash deaths in 2018 - BBC News

Last year saw a sharp rise in fatalities from air crashes compared with 2017 but 2018 was still the ninth safest year on record, figures show.
Airliner accidents killed 556 people last year compared with 44 in 2017, the Aviation Safety Network (ASN) reports. Last year's worst civilian accident was in October when a Lion Air plane crashed in Indonesia, killing 189.
The year 2017 was the safest in history for commercial airlines with no passenger jet crashes recorded.

Japan’s ‘King of Tuna’ Pays Record $3 Million for Bluefin at New Tokyo Fish Market - The New York Times

The first tuna auction of the year at Tokyo’s new fish market set a high bar on Saturday after a restaurant chain paid a record price — more than $3 million — for a giant bluefin tuna... Saturday’s high bidder, Kiyoshi Kimura, the self-styled “King of Tuna,” runs the Sushi Zanmai chain of restaurants. He paid 333.6 million yen, or over $3 million, for the 612-pound bluefin, a value of around $4,900 per pound.

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2019.01.04

News Headlines - 04 January 2019

Trump says he has considered national emergency powers to build wall - CNNPolitics

President Donald Trump said Friday that he is considering using emergency powers which would allow him to use military funding to build a wall on the US-Mexico border, saying "I can do it if I want."

Thirteen Canadians have been detained in China since Huawei executive’s arrest, says Ottawa - The Globe and Mail

Thirteen Canadians have been detained in China since the high-profile arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on Dec. 1, Ottawa says.
Global Affairs Canada spokesman Guillaume Bérubé said in a statement to The Globe and Mail that the government is aware that 13 Canadians have been detained in China, excluding Hong Kong, since Dec. 1, 2018. Previously, only Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor and Sarah McIver were publicly known to have been detained in China since Canada arrested Ms. Meng, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. They were taken into custody after China promised retaliation for Ms. Meng’s arrest.
Mr. Bérubé said in the statement that at least eight of the 13 have been released. Global Affairs Canada did not disclose the identities of the other 10 Canadians.

South Korea discloses video of maritime incident to dispute Japan claims - Nikkei Asian Review

South Korea on Friday released a video of an alleged radar lock-on incident involving a Japanese plane and a South Korean warship, repeating its demand that Japan stop "distorting" the truth about the case and apologize for a low-altitude flyby by one of its planes.
The South Korean move marks another twist in a dispute that has pitted two U.S. allies against each other and comes exactly a week after Japan released a video of its own in claiming that a South Korean Navy ship had locked a fire-control radar on a Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol plane over the Sea of Japan.
South Korea has steadfastly denied Japan's claim, saying the destroyer was on the scene on Dec. 20 to rescue a drifting North Korean fishing boat. It said the destroyer used an optical camera but did not direct its radar.

Abe: New era name to be announced April 1 - The Japan News

The name of the nation’s next era will be announced on April 1, ahead of the change from the current Heisei era on May 1, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday.
The era name release one month before the switch is intended to “minimize the impact on the lives of the public,” Abe told a press conference, held after his customary New Year visit to the Ise Grand Shrines in Ise, Mie Prefecture. The Abe Cabinet is set to formalize the new era name at a meeting earlier on April 1, he said.
The Emperor is scheduled to abdicate on April 30, to be followed by Crown Prince Naruhito’s accession to the throne on May 1. This will mark the first Imperial succession from a living emperor in Japan in about 200 years.

Japanese monks: 'I can do this in monk's robes' videos shared online - BBC News

Japanese monks have been skipping, skating and juggling to show how unrestrictive their traditional attire is.
It comes after a monk was fined by police for driving while wearing a kimono because it "could affect safe driving", according to the Yomiuri Shimbun.
He has refused to pay the traffic ticket of 6,000 yen ($55; £43).

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2019.01.03

News Headlines - 03 January 2019

Apple Drops iPhone Bombshell on Already Reeling Stock Market - The New York Times

Apple acknowledged that demand for iPhones is waning, confirming investor fears that the company's most profitable product has lost some of its luster.
The reckoning came in a letter from Apple CEO Tim Cook to the company's shareholders released after the stock market closed Wednesday.
Cook said Apple's revenue for the October-December quarter — including the crucial holiday shopping season — will fall well below the company's earlier projections and those of analysts, whose estimates sway the stock market... The official results are scheduled to be released Jan. 29.

Apple’s slowdown in China ripples through global financial markets - The Washington Post

Global markets shuddered Thursday after Apple said China is buying fewer iPhones, amplifying fears that the world’s second-biggest economy is fading... Apple shares sank 10 percent, and the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 660 points, or 2.8 percent, to close at 22,686.
The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index slumped 2.5 percent, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq composite fell 3 percent. The Nasdaq dipped into bear territory, which is at least 20 percent below its most recent peak.

Britain to become 'true global player' post-Brexit with military bases in South East Asia and Caribbean, says Defence Secretary

Britain will open two new military bases in the Caribbean and South East Asia as the country looks to step up its military presence overseas after Brexit, Gavin Williamson has revealed... In an interview with The Telegraph in his Ministry of Defence office, Mr Williamson says: "We have got to be so much more optimistic about our future as we exit the European Union.

Thousands march in Hong Kong for democracy and independence from China

Thousands of demonstrators marched in Hong Kong on Tuesday to demand full democracy, fundamental rights, and even independence from China in the face of what many see as a marked clampdown by the Communist Party on local freedoms.
Over the past year, countries such as the United States and Britain have expressed concerns about a number of incidents they say have undermined confidence in Hong Kong's freedoms and autonomy under Chinese rule.
These include the jailing of activists, a ban on a pro-independence political party, the de facto expulsion of a Western journalist and barring democracy activists from contesting local elections.

Boxing fans call Floyd Mayweather's win over Tenshin Nasukawa a fix

FLOYD MAYWEATHER'S 136-second demolition of Tenshin Nasukawa has been blasted as "a fix" on social media. Kickboxing star Nasukawa was left crying in his own corner after being sent tumbling to the canvas three times in the first two minutes of the fight in Saitama, Japan.

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2019.01.02

News Headlines - 02 January 2019

Japan's Emperor Akihito draws record numbers for farewell New Year's speech - CNN

Japan's emperor drew record numbers of well-wishers to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo for his annual New Years' speech -- his last before he abdicates in April.
The Imperial Household Agency told CNN that the number of well-wishers exceeded 140,000 for Emperor Akihito's New Year address to the public, which takes place every year on January 2, breaking the former record, set last year with 126,720 people.

No sign of progress after Trump meets lawmakers on shutdown | Reuters

A meeting between U.S. congressional leaders and President Donald Trump on Wednesday yielded no sign of an agreement to end a partial government shutdown now in its 12th day as the president stuck to his demand for $5 billion in funding for a border wall.

Somalia Says UN Special Envoy Violated Norms, No Longer Welcome - Bloomberg

Somalia said the United Nations special representative Nicholas Haysom was no longer welcome in the Horn of Africa nation, accusing him of meddling in internal affairs... Haysom was appointed in September as envoy to the nation struggling to shake off an insurgency by Al-Qaeda-linked militants. The foreign ministry order came after an attack on the UN compound in the capital, Mogadishu, in which three people were injured.

Lion kills young worker at North Carolina wildlife sanctuary | Reuters

A lion at a North Carolina private wildlife sanctuary fatally mauled a 22-year-old worker on Sunday before being shot and killed by local law enforcement, officials said.
The sheriff’s office in Caswell County, North Carolina, said Alexandra Black, who started her job as an intern at the facility two weeks ago, was part of a team doing routine cleaning of an enclosure when she was attacked, local media reported.

Queen's Brian May Releases 'New Horizons' Single to Celebrate Epic Flyby

Astrophysicist Brian May, lead guitarist for the band Queen, released a new single called "New Horizons" just after midnight EST (0500 GMT) on New Year's Day to highlight the flyby, which peaked about 30 minutes later when the NASA spacecraft zoomed within 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) of Ultima Thule.
Ultima lies about 4 billion miles (6.4 billion km) from Earth and is now the farthest-flung celestial body ever to be visited by a spacecraft. [New Horizons at Ultima Thule: Full Coverage]

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2019.01.01

News Headlines - 01 January 2019

8 injured as man rams car into pedestrians in Harajuku in 'retaliation for execution' - Japan Today

Eight people were injured after a man rammed his car into pedestrians on a shopping street in central Tokyo in the early hours of Tuesday, police said.
The police arrested Kazuhiro Kusakabe, 21, on suspicion of attempted murder... Kusakabe told the police he had intended to kill the pedestrians he hit "in retaliation for an execution." It was not immediately clear whether he was referring to a specific execution or the country's system of capital punishment.

Manchester Victoria stabbing: police raid suspect's home after 'terror attack' leaves three injured

On New Year's Eve, three people, including a police officer, were stabbed by a man who was heard shouting “Allah” at Victoria station.
British Transport Police (BTP) said a 25-year-old man had been arrested and added there was nothing to suggest a wider threat.

Venezuela offers help probing alleged planned attack on Colombia president | Reuters

Venezuela’s government is willing to help investigate a plot to assassinate Colombian President Ivan Duque, in which three Venezuelan nationals arrested in Colombia may be suspects, foreign minister Jorge Arreaza said.

Sudanese president orders to form committee to investigate recent protests - Xinhua

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Monday issued a decree to form a fact-finding committee to investigate the recent protests in Sudan, official SUNA news agency reported.
According to the decree, the committee will be chaired by Sudan's Justice Minister Mohamed Ahmed Salim, the report said.
Since Dec. 19, various areas in Sudan, including the capital Khartoum, have witnessed popular protests over the deteriorating economic conditions and price hikes of basic commodities.

Iran TV chief sacked over uncensored Jackie Chan sex scene - BBC News

Iran's state broadcaster, Irib, has sacked the head of a regional TV channel after it broadcast a Jackie Chan film without removing a sex scene.
A video posted online apparently by a viewer on Kish Island showed the Hong Kong martial arts star having sex with a woman in the film Shinjuku Incident.

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2018.12.31

News Headlines - 31 December 2018

Elizabeth Warren Announces Iowa Trip as She Starts Running for President in 2020 - The New York Times

Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat and a sharp critic of big banks and unregulated capitalism, entered the 2020 race for president on Monday, becoming the first major candidate in what is likely to be a long and crowded primary marked by ideological and generational divisions in a Democratic Party determined to beat President Trump.

Trump to Allow Months for Troop Withdrawal in Syria, Officials Say - The New York Times

President Trump has agreed to give the military about four months to withdraw the 2,000 United States troops in Syria, administration officials said on Monday, backtracking from his abrupt order two weeks ago that the military pull out within 30 days.

DR Congo election: Internet shut down after presidential vote - BBC News

The internet has been shut down in key cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo a day after the much-delayed presidential election.
Opposition candidate Martin Fayulu's campaign team accused the government of ordering the shut down to avoid broadcasting his "overwhelming victory" in Sunday's poll.

See Venice, but pay an entry fee first - The Local

The measure, passed late on Saturday as part of the budget bill, allows the city authorities from July to being charging tourists a landing fee of between 2.5 and 10 euros depending on the season.
The charge covers all visitors, whether they are staying overnight or not.
That means it will apply to day-trippers such as the thousands of cruise ship passengers who currently escape the existing tax charged by hotels and the owners of rented properties for those staying overnight.

Tokyo court says extends detention of Nissan's Ghosn until Jan 11 | Reuters

The Tokyo District Court said on Monday it has extended the detention of ousted Nissan Motor Co chairman Carlos Ghosn by 10 days until Jan. 11... The latest extension will see Ghosn remain in Tokyo’s main detention center, where he has been confined since his first arrest on Nov. 19 on allegations of financial misconduct.

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2018.12.30

News Headlines - 30 December 2018

Pacific trade pact takes off with tariffs cut in six nations | Reuters

A landmark 11-country trade deal, a revamped version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), came into force on Sunday with New Zealand’s trade minister hailing the opportunities it presented for exporters...
The deal, which will slash tariffs across much of the Asia-Pacific region, does not include the United States after Washington pulled out of the TPP negotiations in 2017... The pact came into effect on Sunday for Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Mexico and Singapore, with Vietnam to follow on 14 January, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said on its website.
Brunei, Chile, Malaysia and Peru will begin 60 days after they complete their ratification process.

Thousands protest against Serbian president | Reuters

Serbians protested against President Aleksandar Vucic and his ruling Serbian Progressive Party in downtown Belgrade on Saturday.
Thousands of people chanted “Vucic thief” as they marched peacefully through the city center in the fourth such protest in as many weeks. They demanded media freedoms, an end to attacks on journalists and opposition politicians.

Anak Krakatau: Indonesian volcano's dramatic collapse - BBC News

The scale of the dramatic collapse of the Indonesian volcano that led to last Saturday's devastating tsunami in the Sunda Strait is becoming clear.
Researchers have examined satellite images of Anak Krakatau to calculate the amount of rock and ash that sheared off into the sea.
They say the volcano has lost more than two-thirds of its height and volume during the past week.

Ariana Grande turns down Damehood after Manchester terror attack | Metro News

Ariana Grande has reportedly turned down the Queen’s offer of a Damehood in order to respect the families of those affected by the Manchester terror attack... A source now claims that Ariana, 25, was offered a damehood for her response to the ordeal but has ‘politely’ declined as she feels it’s ‘too soon’ after the incident.

The Greatest Showman soundtrack beats Adele's UK album chart record - BBC News

The Greatest Showman soundtrack has now spent more weeks at number one in the UK than any other album this century - beating a record set by Adele.
The film soundtrack remained at number one for the last chart of 2018 - its 24th non-consecutive week at the top.
Adele's 21 album racked up 23 weeks between February 2011 and April 2012.

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2018.12.29

News Headlines - 29 December 2018

Malware attack disrupts delivery of L.A. Times and Tribune papers across the U.S. - Los Angeles Times

What first arose as a server outage was identified Saturday as a malware attack, which appears to have originated from outside the United States and hobbled computer systems and delayed weekend deliveries of the Los Angeles Times and other newspapers across the country... The attack delayed distribution of Saturday editions of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union Tribune. It also stymied distribution of the West Coast editions of the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, which are printed at the Los Angeles Times’ Olympic printing plant in downtown Los Angeles.

Egyptian forces kill 40 suspected militants after tourist bus bombed | Reuters

Egyptian security forces have killed 40 suspected militants in three separate incidents in North Sinai and Giza, the Interior Ministry said on Saturday, a day after a bombing on a Vietnamese tourist bus in Giza killed four people.
The bombing, less than 4 km from the pyramids, on the outskirts of Cairo, is the first deadly attack against foreign tourists in Egypt for more than a year and comes as the tourism sector, a vital source of foreign currency, recovers from a sharp drop in visitor numbers since the country’s 2011 uprising.

Rescue boat set to arrive in Spain with over 300 migrants

A Spanish charity rescue boat is due to arrive in a southern Spanish port Friday morning carrying more than 300 migrants rescued off the coast of Libya a week ago.
The Open Arms is scheduled to dock in the port of Crinavis, in San Roque, just across from Gibraltar near the city of Algeciras, at 8:00 am (0700 GMT). Proactiva Open Arms, the Spanish charity which runs the vessel, tweeted the details on Thursday.

Earthquake Reported Off Philippines; No Tsunami

A strong undersea earthquake struck off the southern Philippines on Saturday, and the head of the country’s quake-monitoring agency advised people in a southeastern province to avoid beaches in case of a tsunami.
No casualties or damage have been reported, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center lifted its warning for a potential tsunami that could hit coastal areas of the southern Philippine and Indonesia.

UK honors cave rescue divers, Twiggy, Monty Python's Palin

British divers who rescued young soccer players trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand are among those being recognized in Britain’s New Year’s Honors List, along with 1960s model Twiggy and Monty Python star Michael Palin.
Twiggy, a model who shot to stardom during the Beatles era, will become a “dame” — the female equivalent of a knight — while Palin, whose second career has seen him become an acclaimed travel documentary maker, receives a knighthood.

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2018.12.28

News Headlines - 28 December 2018

Japan's 10-Year Yield Turns Negative for First Time Since 2017 - Bloomberg

Japan’s 10-year bond yield fell below zero for the first time since September 2017 as a slide in global equities fuels a rally in government debt around the world.
The benchmark yield dropped 2.5 basis points Friday to minus 0.005 percent, according to Japan Bond Trading Co., as the Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined on its last trading day of the year.
It’s no problem if bond yields become negative as long as they reflect economic fundamentals and remain within the central bank’s target range, Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said last week.

Japan shows video of alleged radar lock-on by South Korean warship

Japan released video footage today it said proved a South Korean warship locked its fire-control radar onto a Japanese warplane off the northeastern coast in the latest move of an escalating row between the Asian neighbors.
The Defense Ministry’s just over 13-minute footage, filmed from the P-1 patrol aircraft, contained voices of Japanese crewmembers asking the destroyer for clarification but getting no response.

Egypt tourist bus bombing leaves three dead, several injured

A blast hit a bus carrying tourists near the Egyptian pyramids in Giza on Friday, killing at least three and injuring several.
The three dead were Vietnamese holidaymakers would had been visiting the pyramids near the capital Cairo and an Egyptian tour guide, according to the country's interior ministry. Ten others were injured.

Scandal involving Brazil president-elect's son clouds inauguration | Reuters

A lingering financial scandal involving Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro’s son has soured his inauguration next week and tarnished the reputation of a far-right maverick who surged to victory on a vow to end years of political horsetrading.
Bolsonaro, who spent nearly 30 years in Congress, takes office on Jan. 1 after an electoral win that gave him a mandate to hobble violent drug gangs, cut through red tape to kick-start Brazil’s economy and go after the corrupt political class.
But a regulator’s questions about a bank account of the former driver of his son, Rio de Janeiro state lawmaker and Senator-elect Flavio Bolsonaro, has clouded his big day, leading critics to doubt the president-elect’s graft-busting credentials and his ability to deliver a new type of politics.

Michelle Obama wins America's 'Most Admired Woman' in Gallup poll

Former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama has been named America’s “Most Admired Woman” in 2018, ending Hillary Clinton’s 17-year winning run.
The lawyer, author, and activist won the 2018 poll convincingly, securing 15 percent of the mentions among the 1,025 of people surveyed.

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2018.12.27

News Headlines - 27 December 2018

China's BeiDou navigation system starts global service - CCTV News

China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) has started to provide global service, said BDS Spokesperson Ran Chengqi on Thursday.
At a press conference of the State Council Information Office, Ran said the construction of the BDS-3 primary system had been completed... By the end of 2018, there were a total of 33 BDS satellites operating in orbit, including 15 BDS-2 satellites and 18 BDS-3 satellites.
China plans to launch another 11 BDS-3 satellites and one BDS-2 satellite in the coming two years to form the complete global network, which will further enhance the global service performance, Ran said.

China uses facial recognition to arrest fugitives - NHK WORLD

Local media report that since April, the police have been making the arrests at concerts across China by well-known Hong Kong singer, Jacky Cheung.
The security cameras' facial recognition system reportedly detected about 60 fugitives.
They were arrested on various charges, including property damage, fraud and trading illegal drugs.

Brexit: Jeremy Corbyn challenges Theresa May to recall parliament early over critical vote on deal | The Independent

Jeremy Corbyn has challenged Theresa May to cut short the Christmas recess and recall parliament early in the new year in order to bring forward a critical vote on the Brexit deal.
In an interview with The Independent, the Labour leader said he believed the prime minister and her allies were engaged in a “cynical manoeuvre” to run down the clock and offer MPs the “choice of the devil or the deep blue sea”.
His remarks come as the Commons prepares to vote on the UK-EU deal in the week beginning 14 January – in what is being billed as the most significant moment in parliament for a generation.

Mount Etna volcano triggers 4.8 magnitude quake in Sicily, Italy

quake triggered by Mount Etna's ongoing eruption jolted eastern Sicily before dawn Wednesday, slightly injuring 10 people and prompting frightened Italian villagers to flee their homes.
Italy's Civil Protection officials said the quake, which struck at 3:19 a.m., was part of a swarm of some 1,000 tremors, most of them barely perceptible, linked to Etna's volcanic eruption this week.
The quake struck north of Catania, the largest city in the eastern part of the Mediterranean island, but no injuries or damages were reported there. Italy's national seismology institute said it registered a magnitude of 4.8 and occurred at a relatively shallow depth, 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) under the mountain's surface.

Inter Milan fan dies, four Napoli supporters stabbed and alleged racist chanting at Serie A match | Sky Sports

An Inter Milan fan has died and four Napoli fans were stabbed before a Serie A match on Wednesday - while alleged racist chanting occurred inside the San Siro.
The 35-year-old supporter was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery after being hit by a van but later died, while in a separate incident, four Napoli fans were stabbed around an hour before the game as ultras from both sides clashed.
One of the Napoli fans needed hospital treatment for wounds to the abdomen and two Inter ultras have been arrested in connection to the attack.

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2018.12.26

News Headlines - 26 December 2018

Nissan tells staff: No contact with Ghosn or Kelly upon release:The Asahi Shimbun

Nissan Motor Co. has ordered its employees not to communicate with beleaguered former chairman Carlos Ghosn and his aide Greg Kelly, both of whom were indicted on charges of financial misconduct earlier this month.
A message titled "Important notice to all employees" e-mailed on Dec. 24 instructed Nissan employees to shun communication with the pair, as well as their lawyers and others connected with the case, according to a source.
A similar notice was distributed through the company's in-house network on Dec. 21.

Trump and first lady Melania make surprise visit to US troops in Iraq

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on Wednesday made an unannounced visit to Iraq to meet with political and military personnel.
In his first visit to U.S. troops in a war zone since the start of his presidency, Trump defended his decision to withdraw American soldiers from Syria, and said that Patrick Shanahan, whom Trump elevated to acting Defense secretary starting in 2019, could hold the job “for a long time.”

Islamic State claims attack on Libya's Foreign Ministry

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at Libya’s Foreign Ministry in Tripoli that killed at least three people.
In a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency Wednesday, IS says three fighters infiltrated the area and fired on Foreign Ministry workers.
Libyan officials say a suicide bomber targeted the entrance to the ministry and another was shot dead by guards before he could detonate his explosives.

Al-Qaeda terror group returns to target airliners and airports | The Sunday Times

Al-Qaeda is resurgent and seeking to carry out new terrorist atrocities against airliners and airports, the security minister Ben Wallace warned last night.
The terrorist group behind the 9/11 attacks in 2001 poses a growing threat that is keeping ministers “awake at night”, he told The Sunday Times. Wallace said intelligence had revealed that al-Qaeda was developing technology to bring down passenger jets. Whitehall officials say that could include miniaturised bombs. Islamists have also plotted to use drones packed with explosives to blow up key targets.

Singer Of Indonesia Band Seventeen That Was Hit By Tsunami To Bury His Wife

The front man of popular Indonesian pop group Seventeen was to bury his wife Tuesday, compounding a tragedy that saw his three bandmates also killed when a tsunami tore into their open-air concert.
Dramatic footage posted online showed fans clapping and cheering before the wave smashes into the concert, hurling band members from the stage and slamming into the audience.
Lead vocalist Riefian Fajarsyah posted a video clip of himself on social media stroking the coffin of his wife, actress and TV personality Dylan Sahara, in her hometown of Ponorogo on the east side of Java island.

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2018.12.25

News Headlines - 25 December 2018

Nikkei plunges 5% to 20-month low on U.S. share slump, strong yen

The benchmark Nikkei index plunged 5 percent to a 20-month low Tuesday, tracking drops on Wall Street since late last week amid concerns over a slowdown in the world's largest economy, with exporter stocks also hurt by a strong yen.
The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average ended down 1,010.45 points, or 5.01 percent, from Friday at 19,155.74, the lowest level since April 2017. Financial markets were closed Monday in Tokyo for a national holiday.

JAL probe finds flight attendant consumed alcohol while on duty

The cabin attendant tested positive in two breathalyzer tests conducted after a colleague noticed her breath smelt of alcohol during a Tokyo-Honolulu flight and she was removed from duty for the remainder of the flight, JAL said.
"An unserved bottle of champagne (6oz 170g) for Premium Economy was found empty in the galley area," JAL said in a release, citing that fact as one basis for the conclusion.

American Held in Nissan Investigation Released From Jail in Japan - The New York Times

A senior Nissan executive urged Mr. Kelly to attend a November board meeting in person rather than by video conference, and sent a corporate jet to pick him up, Mr. Kelly’s wife, Donna Kelly, said. Instead, he was taken into custody minutes after he arrived in Tokyo.
Like Mr. Ghosn, Mr. Kelly was not allowed to communicate with his family or an American lawyer while he was in jail, and he was questioned at length by prosecutors without a lawyer present, as is standard in Japan.

On Christmas Eve, Trump questions child about belief in Santa

Fielding a phone call from a seven-year-old on Monday, US President Donald Trump put himself on Santa Claus's naughty list by raising doubts about his existence.
The call to American defense agency NORAD, which "tracks" Santa's movements around the world, was one of several answered by Trump and his wife Melania as part of a Christmas Eve tradition.

US judge orders N.Korea to pay $501 mln over dead American | AFP.com

A US judge on Monday ordered North Korea to pay $501 million over the death of American Otto Warmbier, concluding that the university student likely suffered torture.

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2018.12.24

News Headlines - 24 December 2018

Japan suffers biggest natural population decline ever - CNN

The fast-graying nation also posted a record-low birthrate, as the estimated number of babies born in 2018 dipped to 921,000 -- the lowest since records began in 1899 -- according to a report published Friday by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.
The number of newborns is estimated to have shrunk by 25,000 from 2017, and the figure remains under the 1 million mark for the third year running.
Deaths in 2018 also hit a postwar record high of 1.369 million, with a natural population decline of 448,000 -- the highest ever.

S.Korea again denies Japan's radar claim - NHK WORLD

Japan says the South Korean vessel leveled the radar at the SDF plane over waters off Ishikawa Prefecture. But South Korea says the destroyer was using radar to search for a drifting North Korean ship.
Deputy spokesman of South Korea's Defense Ministry Lee Jin-woo spoke at a news conference on Monday... Lee acknowledged that the destroyer used a camera to monitor the SDF aircraft as it flew at a low altitude and approached the vessel. But he denied the vessel emitted radio waves from its tracking radar.

Indonesia tsunami: Death toll rises to 222, hundreds more injured - Channel NewsAsia

Indonesia's disaster agency said 222 people were dead and hundreds more injured after a tsunami struck coastal areas around the Sunda Strait between the islands of Sumatra and Java on Saturday (Dec 22) night.
"222 people are dead, 843 people are injured and 28 people are missing," Indonesia's national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Sunday evening.

Trump takes parting shot at Mattis and his view of U.S. allies | Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday criticized departing Defence Secretary James Mattis and his view of alliances, saying the Pentagon chief failed to recognise the true costs of America’s military support around the world.

Wayne Rooney: Everyone from the staff to the kitmen were unhappy under Jose Mourinho at Man Utd | London Evening Standard

Former Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says “everyone from the staff to the kitmen” was unhappy during Jose Mourinho’s reign at Old Trafford.
Mourinho departed after two-and-a-half years last Tuesday with club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer installed as caretaker manager until the end of the season... Speaking during his appearance as a pundit on BT Sport, Rooney echoed those sentiments.

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2018.12.23

News Headlines - 23 December 2018

China Mulls Law to Curb Forced Tech Transfers: People's Daily - Bloomberg

A draft law aiming at protecting foreign investment and preventing the forced transfer of technology has been submitted for review at a Chinese legislators’ meeting starting Sunday, People’s Daily reported.
The country will protect the intellectual property rights of overseas investors, encourage voluntary technology transfers but forbid forced transfers using administrative measures, Minister of Justice Fu Zhenghua told lawmakers, according to the newspaper.

JAL hit by business improvement order over drunk pilot; flight attendant fails Breathalyzer test | The Japan Times

The transport ministry issued a business improvement order to Japan Airlines Co. on Friday over a pilot who was convicted in the U.K. for heavy drinking that delayed the start of a London-Tokyo flight.
The order, the third most serious reprimand after business license revocation and business suspension orders, was issued after a JAL co-pilot was given a 10-month sentence in the U.K. for having a blood-alcohol level about 10 times higher than the legal limit before boarding the flight in October. He has since been dismissed.

Gatwick mystery deepens as couple released without charge and damaged drone found near airport | The Independent

A man and a woman arrested over the drone activity that prompted days of chaos at Gatwick Airport have been released without charge, Sussex Police have said.
Their release comes after several sightings of a drone around the airport caused around 1,000 flights to be cancelled, affecting 140,000 passengers ahead of the year’s busiest weekend of travel... The police have also found a damaged drone on the airfield which will now be forensically examined.

'Stealthing' trial: German man sentenced in landmark case - CNN

A German police officer has been found guilty of sexual assault for removing a condom during sexual intercourse without the consent of his partner, an act known as "stealthing," in what is believed to be the first case of its kind to be prosecuted in Germany... He received an eight-month suspended jail sentence from the court and was fined €3,000 ($3,400) in damages, along with a €96 fine to pay for a sexual health test for the female victim.

Italy's 2019 budget wins Senate approval amid outcry | Reuters

The Italian government won a grueling vote of confidence on its 2019 budget in the upper house in the early hours of Sunday, as it races to get the package approved before a year-end deadline.
The budget now has to be approved by the lower house of parliament by Dec 31 so it can take effect from the start of the new year.
The government of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the right-wing League won the vote 167-78, with three abstentions.

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2018.12.22

News Headlines - 22 December 2018

Japan-EU EPA set to take effect in Feb. - The Japan News

On Friday, Japan and the EU informed each other that their necessary procedures, including parliamentary approvals, have been completed for the deal to create a free trade bloc that accounts for 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product.
The EPA will take effect on Feb. 1, 2019, the first day of the second month after the mutual notification, as stipulated by the agreement.

Thousands of Hungarians join latest rally against Orban’s 'slave law' | The Guardian

Thousands of Hungarians marched to the presidential palace late on Friday to protest against labour reforms as a rally led by spoof political party MKKP merged with a subsequent demonstration staged by opposition groups.
Passage of two laws last week backed by prime minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party angered a variety of groups.
One, dubbed by critics the “slave law”, allows employers to ask staff to work up to 400 hours per year of overtime. Another would set up new courts which critics say could be politically manipulated.

Czech coal mine methane gas explosion kills 13 - BBC News

At least 13 miners have been killed and 10 more injured in a methane explosion at a Czech coal mine, officials say.
Most of the victims were Polish miners provided by an agency, the state-run OKD mining company said.
Thursday's blast happened 800m (2,600ft) below ground at the CSM hard-coal mine, near the eastern town of Karvina, close to the Polish border.

Train in Serbia Hits Bus Full of Students, Killing at Least Five - Bloomberg

A train collided with a bus carrying students in southern Serbia, killing at least five people and injuring 27, the Interior Ministry said.
The collision took place near the southern city of Nis on Friday. Images from the scene showed that the train cut the bus in half before partially derailing. Police are investigating.

Government partially shuts down for third time in a year - CNNPolitics

Parts of the federal government shut down at midnight after Congress and the White House failed to reach a deal Friday night to avert the shuttering of several departments.
Both the US House of Representatives and the Senate adjourned after Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said there would not be a vote Friday night in the Senate.

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2018.12.21

News Headlines - 21 December 2018

Two Chinese nationals charged with hacking U.S. government and military

Two Chinese nationals were charged with participating in a global hacking campaign that targeted the U.S. government and military — and stole the personal information of more than 100,000 Navy personnel, the Justice Department said Thursday.
Zhang Shilong and Zhu Hua, also known as "Godkiller," worked with an extensive network of Chinese hackers to infiltrate dozens of government agencies, private companies including oil and gas firms, NASA and the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York, according to a three-count indictment.

Japan accuses South Korea of 'extremely dangerous' radar lock on plane | Reuters

Japanese Defence Minister Takeshi Iwaya “strongly protested” to South Korea on Friday after a South Korean destroyer allegedly locked its targeting radar on a Japanese surveillance plane.

Watch Ukrainian MPs punch one another in the face as a fight breaks out in Parliament

unches were thrown in the Ukrainian parliament yesterday after a bill was passed that would require the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to change its name to indicate its ties to Russia.
Fighting broke out after Nestor Shufrych, a member of the Opposition Bloc, removed a poster from the podium which accused pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Medvedchuk of being an “agent” of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

'Pineapple leather' offers vegan fashion alternative | Reuters

Pineapples aren’t just good to eat. A Spanish businesswoman is on a mission to convince us they’re also good to wear.
Carmen Hijosa has created Piñatex, a textile woven from the long fibers in the fruit’s discarded leaves that she hopes will give the fashion industry a sustainable alternative to leather.

Hotel steps in to give rooms to homeless over Christmas - BBC News

A second hotel in Hull has stepped in to offer 28 homeless people rooms over Christmas after their previous booking by a homeless project was cancelled.
The group had been due to stay at the Royal Hotel in Hull but were then told they could not, prompting an outcry.
The hotel later said they had been told about damage to rooms by the group at an Ibis hotel last Christmas.
Raise the Roof Hull Homeless Project says the allegations are "lies" and Ibis denies the claim.

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2018.12.20

News Headlines - 20 December 2018

Japan to withdraw from IWC to resume commercial whaling: sources

Japan has decided to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission in a bid to resume commercial whaling for the first time in about 30 years, government sources said Thursday... The decision, which will be officially announced as early as next week, comes after decades of confrontation between pro- and anti-whaling members of the IWC.

EU Targets China's Alleged Tech Looting, Steps Up WTO Fight - Bloomberg

The European Union stepped up a legal fight with China over intellectual-property rights, handing a political boost to a parallel U.S. campaign.
The EU broadened on Thursday a complaint at the World Trade Organization over forced technology transfers by European companies doing business in China. Building on a case filed in June, the bloc is targeting Chinese laws that regulate the approval of investments in the areas of electric vehicles and crop seeds and of joint ventures across industries.

EU boy band tells Brits the love isn't over, 'come back to us' | Reuters

As Brexit rapidly approaches, a pro-European Union boy band has made its debut with a ballad to the British people pleading for them to “come back to us” because the love is not over.
The five-member “Breunion Boys”, formed by a Dutch animation artist, launched the video of their first single, “Britain Come Back”, in Amsterdam this week.

Thousands protest in Hungary against ‘slavery’ law | Financial Times

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in Budapest for a fourth day of protests against new laws that critics say erode workers’ rights and codify government control over the judiciary... An estimated 15,000 Hungarians participated throughout the day, with police using tear gas against a crowd of about 2,000 outside MTV, where 10 opposition MPs asked to read protesters’ demands.
The protests were triggered by the approval last week of a law that would allow employers to seek up to 400 hours of overtime a year. Opponents have dubbed the measure a “slavery law”.

Colombia’s ELN rebels announce Christmas ceasefire

Colombia's ELN Marxist guerrilla group has announced a Christmas ceasefire as peace talks with the country's government have been on hold since August.
"The National Liberation Army will cease its offensive operations from December 23 to January 3, 2019, to contribute to a peaceful climate over Christmas and the New Year," said the ELN in a statement.
Such moves by the ELN are not unusual at this time of year... The ELN also reiterated its desire to kick start peace talks that have been suspended since right-wing President Ivan Duque assumed power in early August.

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2018.12.19

News Headlines - 19 December 2018

Hacked European Cables Reveal a World of Anxiety About Trump, Russia and Iran - The New York Times

The techniques that the hackers deployed over a three-year period resembled those long used by an elite unit of China’s People’s Liberation Army. The cables were copied from the secure network and posted to an open internet site that the hackers set up in the course of their attack, according to Area 1, the firm that discovered the breach.
Area 1 made more than 1,100 of the hacked European Union cables available to The New York Times.

Third Canadian detained in China amid Huawei case - The Straits Times

A third Canadian has been detained in China following the arrest of a Chinese technology executive in Vancouver, a Canadian government official said on Wednesday (Dec 19) amid a diplomatic dispute also involving the United States.

SoftBank mobile subsidiary has bitter debut on Tokyo market | The Seattle Times

SoftBank Group Corp.’s Japanese mobile subsidiary suffered a bitter debut Wednesday on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, slumping 15 percent, hurt by a recent service outage and concerns about the use of parts from Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
Shares fetched an opening price of 1,463 yen ($13) and slid further to end their first day at 1,282 yen ($11), down 15 percent from the IPO price of 1,500 yen announced earlier this month.

German auto supplier to plead guilty, pay $35 mln fine in VW emissions case | Reuters

German auto supplier IAV Gmbh agreed to plead guilty and pay a $35 million fine for conspiring to assist Volkswagen AG in its effort to evade U.S. diesel emissions standards, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday.
IAV, which is 50 percent owned by Volkswagen, will serve two years of probation and be under the oversight of an independent monitor, the Justice Department said.

Jose Mourinho: Manchester United sack manager - BBC Sport

The Portuguese, 55, took over in May 2016 and led United to League Cup and Europa League titles, but they are 19 points behind league leaders Liverpool.
The club have made a change after no progress with results or style despite spending nearly £400m on 11 players.
They also say the new manager will understand the philosophy of the club, including their attacking tradition.

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2018.12.18

News Headlines - 18 December 2018

China's staggering 40 years of change in pictures - BBC News

Forty years ago, China introduced major economic reforms - lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and leading to it becoming the second-largest economy in the world.
Here's the story of how China changed - in pictures.

U.S. Is Said to Ratchet Up Huawei Security Concerns to Germany - Bloomberg

A U.S. delegation met on Friday with German counterparts in the Foreign Ministry in Berlin to discuss risks posed by the Chinese company, according to people with knowledge of the talks who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The American officials used the closed-door talks to raise their concerns about Huawei’s role in expanding Germany’s 5G network. The auction is scheduled for next year.

Malaysia says Goldman Sachs failed to disclose key facts in 1MDB bond sales | Reuters

Goldman Sachs Group Inc made untrue statements and omitted key facts in offering circulars for the bonds it sold for Malaysian state fund 1MDB, the Malaysian government said in criminal charges against the U.S. bank.

Sapporo blast occurred after 100 spray cans were emptied inside an office | The Japan Times

An explosion in Sapporo that injured 42 people over the weekend occurred after two employees of a real estate office located at the site emptied about 100 deodorizer spray cans at once, sources close to the matter said Tuesday.

Japan sees record 30 million-plus foreign visitors in 2018

The number of foreign visitors to Japan in 2018 topped 30 million on Tuesday, marking an all-time record on an annual basis, as the country attracted a high proportion of travelers from its Asian neighbors, the Japan Tourism Agency said.
The figure, eclipsing the previous record of 28.69 million set in 2017, is expected to reach around 31 million by the end of this year, although the pace of increase slowed after a number of natural disasters, including earthquakes and torrential rains, hit the country this summer, agency officials said.

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2018.12.17

News Headlines - 17 December 2018

'Farout' the most-distant solar system object discovered - CNN

For the first time, an object in our solar system has been found more than 100 times farther than Earth is from the sun.
The International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center announced the discovery Monday, calling the object 2018 VG18. But the researchers who found it are calling it "Farout."

Egypt tomb: Saqqara 'one of a kind' discovery revealed - BBC News

The tomb, found in the Saqqara pyramid complex near Cairo, is filled with colourful hieroglyphs and statues of pharaohs. Decorative scenes show the owner, a royal priest named Wahtye, with his mother, wife and other relatives.
Archaeologists will start excavating the tomb on 16 December, and expect more discoveries to follow - including the owner's sarcophagus.

Foreign Minister Kono apologizes for dodging media questions:The Asahi Shimbun

Bowing to heavy criticism for repeatedly ignoring reporters’ questions, Foreign Minister Taro Kono apologized in his blog on Dec. 15 and vowed not to do it again... Kono came under heavy fire from opposition party politicians and various media outlets for ignoring reporters’ questions four times at a news conference on Dec. 11.

hokusai's 'great wave' emerges as a giant mural on building facade

iconic japenese artwork ‘the great wave off kanagawa’ by katsushika hokusai’s has made its way onto the facades of five high-rise apartment buildings in moscow. the buildings make up part of a new development in the city inspired by the silhouettes of several other destinations including new york, chicago, barcelona, and monaco.

China Box Office: ‘Totoro’ Triumphant as ‘Aquaman’ Defies Newcomers – Variety

Japanese animated feature “My Neighbor Totoro” was the weekend surprise. Released for the first time in China, about 30 years after its bow in Japan, the Hayao Miyazaki-directed, Studio Ghibli-produced crowd-pleaser earned $13 million in three days. It is assumed that the film was widely pirated in the three prior decades.

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2018.12.16

News Headlines - 16 December 2018

Renault Urges Nissan to Call for Shareholder Meeting Following Nissan Indictment - WSJ

Renault SA is pressing Nissan Motor Co. to open a discussion into the balance of power atop the Japanese auto maker after prosecutors charged its former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, and the Japanese firm with financial misconduct.
Thierry Bolloré, deputy CEO of Renault, which owns 43.4% of Nissan, sent a letter dated Dec. 14 to Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa urging him to call a shareholder meeting “as promptly as practicable” that would allow a discussion of Renault’s representation on Nissan’s nine-member board and within the ranks of its top managers.

Jaguar Land Rover set to cut thousands of jobs in new year | Financial Times

Jaguar Land Rover will announce plans to cut thousands of jobs early in the new year, as part of a £2.5bn turnround plan to revive the fortunes of Britain’s largest carmaker.
JLR, which employs 40,000 people in the UK, has been stung by sliding demand for diesel, poor sales in China and costs of preparing for Britain’s departure from the EU.
In October, after posting a loss of £90m for the three months to September, it outlined plans to find savings of £2.5bn, including £1bn of cost reductions within 18 months, without specifying how many jobs would be lost.

New £50 bank note 'must recognise ethnic minorities' - BBC News

Comedian Sanjeev Bhaskar and presenter Sandi Toksvig are among those calling for a historic figure from a black and ethnic minority background (BAME) to feature on the new £50 note.
The Bank of England last month asked the public to nominate a British scientist to feature on the note.
Campaigners say the chosen figure should recognise "the contribution of ethnic minorities" to British culture.

Kingdom Hearts 3 leaks, director pleads for community not to share spoilers - Polygon

More than a month before it is due to launch, several copies of Kingdom Hearts 3 have made it into the wild, with screenshots and videos of the game leaking into social media. Kingdom Hearts 3 director Tetsuya Nomura responded via Twitter last night, acknowledging the breach and asking the community not to share any videos or images, and to warn one another of spoilers... The material was first shared through a since-deleted Facebook Marketplace listing. That was quickly picked up by YouTubers, intended as a warning to others.

Money falls from sky onto busy Hong Kong street - The Straits Times

The man is believed to be the owner of Epoch Cryptocurrency, a Facebook page that promotes cryptocurrency. The man is widely known online as "Coin Young Master" and his real name is Wong Ching-kit, reported SCMP... However, Agence France-Presse (AFP) later reported that he was arrested on Sunday for causing disorder in a public place, after he drove back to the neighbourhood in his Lamborghini.

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2018.12.15

News Headlines - 15 December 2018

Germany Focuses on Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank Merger - Bloomberg

The German government is intensifying efforts to help fix Deutsche Bank AG, with officials studying ways to make it easier to merge with Commerzbank AG, people familiar with the matter said.
The high-level discussions -- which have included Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing-- are looking at concrete ways the government can assist in a potential combination of the country’s two largest lenders...

Fire at Chester Zoo leads to evacuation of visitors - BBC News

Visitors were evacuated from Chester Zoo when a large fire broke out in one of its attractions.
The zoo tweeted the blaze was in its Monsoon Forest habitat.

Police investigate suspected break-in at Sir Paul McCartney's home

Police are investigating a break-in at Sir Paul McCartney's London home.
Thieves targeted the former Beatle's house in St John's Wood at around 6.20pm on Friday December 7... No arrests have been made and the investigation continues, they added.
It is unknown if the musician, 76, or his wife Nancy Shevell were home at the time of the break-in, which came days before Sir Paul played a gig in his hometown of Liverpool on Wednesday.

Ariana Grande plans special Manchester concert during 2019 tour - BBC News

Ariana Grande is planning to return to Manchester with "a special show" as part of her world tour next summer.
She will return to the city two years after 22 people died in a bomb attack on her gig at the Manchester Arena.

Father of Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner dies suddenly in the stadium after match | Daily Mail Online

Stuttgart captain Christian Gentner's father died suddenly after the side's 2-1 Bundesliga win at home over Hertha Berlin on Saturday... Christian Gentner initially gave interviews on the pitch after the game. He then rushed from the changing room to where a doctor attempted to save his father.

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2018.12.14

News Headlines - 14 December 2018

North Korea keeps busting sanctions, evading U.S.-led sea patrols

A top secret U.S. military assessment found that North Korea is still evading U.N. sanctions by transferring oil at sea, and that a coalition of U.S.-led forces deployed to disrupt the movements has failed to dent the overall number of illegal transfers, three U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence told NBC News.
The finding underscores the Trump administration's struggle to maintain economic pressure on North Korea amid a diplomatic bid to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile arsenal. The smuggled fuel provides a crucial lifeline for the regime's economy and armed forces.

Japan begins reclamation at disputed US base despite protest

Japan’s central government started main reclamation work Friday at a disputed U.S. military base relocation site on the southern island of Okinawa despite fierce local opposition.

Man gets 18 years for Kanagawa road rage incident that left couple dead and their daughters injured | The Japan Times

A court on Friday sentenced a 26-year-old man to 18 years in prison for a highway road rage incident last year in which a couple died and their two teenage daughters were injured.

Tokyo, Singapore battle London to host ATP Finals - Channel NewsAsia

Tokyo and Singapore are battling London to host the ATP Finals from 2021 to 2025, the governing body of men's tennis announced on Friday (Dec 14).
The shortlist for the end-of-season showpiece also includes the northern English city of Manchester and Italy's Turin, while the London deal, which runs until 2020, could be extended.

Germany adds ′diverse′ as a gender to birth register DW

Up until now, people had to choose between "male" and "female" when giving their gender, or leave the option blank.
But following a vote in the German parliament late on Thursday intersex people — people whose sexual anatomy does not fit the typical definitions of male and female — will be allowed to change their entry to "diverse."
The "third gender" option places Germany in line with other countries that have introduced measures to recognize intersex people or a third gender, such as Austria, Australia, New Zealand, India, Canada and Portugal.

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2018.12.13

News Headlines - 13 December 2018

Germany’s SPD struggles with Merkel’s successor | Financial Times

“In terms of the competition between the two parties, Kramp-Karrenbauer will make life more difficult for the SPD,” said Uwe Jun, a professor of politics at Trier University.
“She represents the social wing of the CDU, and her positions on social and economic issues are pretty close to those of the SPD. This could make it even harder for the SPD to draw a distinction to the CDU — and that was already a problem for the party.”

Putin's Stasi spy ID pass found in Germany - BBC News

A Stasi ID pass used by Vladimir Putin when he was a Soviet spy in former East Germany has been found in the Stasi secret police archive in Dresden... Mr Putin, then a KGB major, got it in 1985. It got him into Stasi facilities, but he may not have spied for them.

Huge cliff collapse in Cornwall captured by woman walking her dog | The Independent

A large cliff section collapsing onto a beach in Cornwall was caught on camera by a woman taking her dog for a walk.
Deborah Smith witnessed the dramatic coastal erosion at Lyntone Cliffs near Bude around 4pm on Monday afternoon, when she “saw the rocks moving and quickly videoed it” using her mobile phone.
Ms Smith, 54, said she ran away from the cliff edge shortly after the land plunged onto the beach below.

Icebergs ahead! Olafur Eliasson brings the frozen fjord to Britain | The Guardian

Olafur Eliasson is putting the chill into climate change. The revered Scandinavian artist has placed 24 large blocks of centuries-old ice, harvested from the Nuup Kangerlua fjord in Greenland, in a circle outside the Tate Modern in London, with another six on display in the City.
The purpose of Ice Watch London, a collaboration with award-winning Greenlandic geologist Minik Rosing, is to bring the effects of climate change closer to home, putting people in direct contact with its effects so that they can feel – and even sniff and lick – the ice as it slowly melts away.

Ecclestone says he attempted to buy Silverstone

Former Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone says he has made enquiries about buying the Silverstone circuit – and was told that the venue is not for sale.
Ecclestone's claim comes as the future of the British GP remains in doubt, with the current contract expiring after next year's race.

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2018.12.12

News Headlines - 12 December 2018

Theresa May survives confidence vote of Tory MPs - BBC News

Prime Minister Theresa May has won a vote of confidence in her leadership of the Conservative Party by 200 to 117.
After securing 63% of the total vote, she is now immune from a leadership challenge for a year.

Italy offers to lower deficit to 2.04% of GDP in 2019: Conte

Italy has made an offer to the European Commission to lower its deficit to 2.04 percent of GDP in 2019, Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte said on Wednesday, in a bid to avoid financial penalties from Brussels.
After meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Conte said that additional resources had given Italy more financial wriggle room... Conte said that the budget could be revised down from a proposed deficit of 2.4 percent to 2.04 percent, due to the "recovered" financial resources.

Daimler to buy $23 billion of battery cells for electric car drive | Reuters

Daimler will buy battery cells worth more than 20 billion euros ($23 billion) by 2030 as it readies mass production of hybrid and electric vehicles, the maker of Mercedes-Benz cars said on Tuesday.

Chaos and the chocolate factory as leak smothers German street | The Guardian

The German newspaper Soester Anzeiger reported that a “small technical defect” involving a storage tank caused the chocolate to spill out from the DreiMeister chocolate factory in Westönnen.
After hitting the chilly pavement, the milk chocolate quickly hardened.
About 25 firefighters worked to pry the chocolate off with shovels. They also used hot water and torches to remove remaining bits from cracks and holes.

Why 10pm on Christmas Eve (or Christmas Day) could be deadly

On an average day, 50 heart attacks were recorded, but on Christmas Eve the number jumped to 69, a 37 per cent increase, with incidents clustering around 10pm, after a day of coping with relatives, eating and drinking too much... The risk of suffering a heart attack also rises by 22 per cent on Boxing Day. Winston Churchill is said to have suffered a heart attack on December 26 in 1941 while opening a window at the White House following a speech to congress.

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2018.12.11

News Headlines - 11 December 2018

Former Canadian Diplomat Detained in China, Adding to Tensions - The New York Times

A former Canadian diplomat has been detained in China, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, less than a week after Canada announced the arrest of a senior Chinese tech executive, angering the government in Beijing... The former diplomat, Michael Kovrig, has worked since early 2017 for the International Crisis Group, an independent nongovernmental organization that tries to defuse international conflict.

Strasbourg Christmas market shooting: suspect on the run after three killed | The Guardian

France has upgraded its security threat level as hundreds of police hunted a gunman who shot three people dead and injured 12 others in a terror attack on Strasbourg’s celebrated Christmas market on Tuesday evening.
Six hours after the gunman disappeared after firing at passers-by in the busy city centre, the interior minister, Christophe Castaner, said the government had raised the risk level to the highest category.

Scientist Honjo receives Nobel Prize in Sweden - NHK WORLD

Japanese molecular immunologist Tasuku Honjo has jointly received this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Honjo and American scientist James Allison were awarded the prize for their work that led to a revolutionary cancer therapy.
The 2 scientists and other Nobel laureates attended a ceremony at a concert hall in the Swedish capital Stockholm on Monday.

Vast, zombie-like microbial life lurks beneath seabed | AFP.com

Scientists have drilled a mile and a half (2.5 kilometers) beneath the seabed and found vast underground forests of "deep life," including microbes that persist for thousands, maybe millions of years, researchers said Monday.
Feeding on nothing but the energy from rocks, and existing in a slow-motion, even zombie-like state, previously unknown forms of life are abundant beneath the Earth despite extreme temperatures and pressure.

Belgian museum on Africa reopens after 10-year effort to exorcise the ghosts of colonialism

For more than a century, Belgium’s Royal Museum for Central Africa has stood as a monument to the worst excesses of colonial plunder.
After a ten-year “decolonisation” project, the renovated museum will open to visitors for the first time in five years on Sunday and Belgium will finally take a step towards confronting its brutal history in the Congo.

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2018.12.10

News Headlines - 10 December 2018

Theresa May calls off MPs' vote on her Brexit deal - BBC News

Prime Minister Theresa May has called off Tuesday's crucial vote on her Brexit deal so she can go back to Brussels and ask for changes to it.
As it stands the deal "would be rejected by a significant margin" if MPs voted on it, she admitted... But European Council President Donald Tusk said the remaining 27 EU countries would not "renegotiate" the deal.

Carlos Ghosn and Nissan have been indicted in Japan - CNN

Carlos Ghosn and Nissan, the Japanese automaker he saved from collapse, were indicted Monday on allegations of financial misconduct, deepening a crisis that already brought down one of the global car industry's most iconic figures.
Tokyo prosecutors said they indicted Ghosn and Nissan for under-reporting his income over a five-year period and are investigating allegations that the practice went on for even longer.

Japan effectively bans China’s Huawei and ZTE from government contracts, joining U.S. - The Washington Post

Japan’s government issued instructions Monday effectively banning China’s Huawei and ZTE from official contracts, while the country’s top three telecom operators plan to follow suit, Japanese media reported Monday.
The news is another setback for Huawei after its chief financial officer was controversially arrested in Canada at the behest of the U.S. government for allegedly trying to evade U.S. sanctions on Iran.

All nine private-sector executives of Japan Investment Corp. to resign over pay dispute | The Japan Times

Masaaki Tanaka, the president and CEO of a state-backed investment fund, said Monday he and eight other executives will resign following a dispute with the industry ministry over their remuneration, which the government called “too high.”

Japan's July-Sept GDP downgraded to 2.5% annualized contraction - Nikkei Asian Review

Japan's economy shrank at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the July-September quarter, downgraded to the sharpest contraction in more than four years as a string of natural disasters weighed on capital expenditure, government data showed Monday.

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2018.12.09

News Headlines - 09 December 2018

The Wooing of Jared Kushner: How the Saudis Got a Friend in the White House - The New York Times

Senior American officials were worried. Since the early months of the Trump administration, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, had been having private, informal conversations with Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the favorite son of Saudi Arabia’s king.
Given Mr. Kushner’s political inexperience, the private exchanges could make him susceptible to Saudi manipulation, said three former senior American officials.

The first charges for money-laundering are laid against Danske Bank - The Economist

The dirty-money scandal swirling around Danske is the largest ever uncovered. Over €200bn ($227bn) of suspicious transfers originating in ex-Soviet countries may have been rinsed through the bank’s Estonian branch. As the scale of the suspected laundering, dating back a decade, has emerged this year, the bank has lost its boss and seen its share price halved.

Brussels police arrest hundreds in 'yellow vest' riot | Reuters

Belgian police detained more than 400 people on Saturday after “yellow vest” protesters inspired by riots in France threw rocks and firecrackers and damaged shops and cars as they tried to reach official buildings in Brussels.

Government warns of six-month border disruption under 'no-deal' Brexit

Medical suppliers have been warned of border disruption for up to six months in the event of a "no-deal" Brexit.
In a series of letters to industry, Health Secretary Matt Hancock set out "revised" estimates over the impact on cross-Channel ports of the UK leaving the EU without an exit agreement.
He wrote: "The revised cross-government planning assumptions show that there will be significantly reduced access across the short straits, for up to six months."

Japan win Curling World Cup by finest of margins - Eurosport UK

Korea lead 6-5 going to into the final end of the match but the Japanese quartet of Yurika Yoshida, Yumi Suzuki, Chinami Yoshida, Satsuki Fujisawa did just enough to turn things around on the very last stone.
Korea's Team Minji Kim had the hammer going into the last end at the Ralston Arena, but were left with a tricky draw with the very last shot, with Japan lying three.
The win meant Team Fujisawa avenged their loss to the same opponents in the recent Pacific-Asia Curling Championships final, in which they blew a big lead in the last two ends.

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2018.12.08

News Headlines - 08 December 2018

Altria to marry pot with big tobacco in $1.8 billion Cronos deal | Reuters

Marlboro cigarette maker Altria Group Inc announced a $1.8 billion investment in Cronos Group Inc on Friday, which could give it up to 55-percent ownership of the Canadian cannabis producer.
The deal represents by far the biggest investment by a major tobacco conglomerate in a cannabis company. It comes after Canada legalized the recreational use of marijuana this year, and several other jurisdictions, including some states in the United States, follow suit.

Wall Street Rule for the #MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Cost - Bloomberg

No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings.
In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way?
Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies for the #MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women.

NASA just heard the first sounds of wind on Mars. And you can hear them, too. - CNN

NASA just announced it has heard the first-ever "sounds" of wind on Mars. But if you're expecting howling, swooshes and crackles, you're in for a surprise. These are vibrations, captured by NASA's InSight lander, which touched down on the Red Planet just last week. The craft will stay put until November 24, 2020, measuring quakes that happen anywhere on Mars.

Survivors gather at Pearl Harbor to remember 1941 attack | The Japan Times

About 20 survivors gathered at Pearl Harbor on Friday to pay tribute to the thousands of people lost in the Japanese attack 77 years ago.
They joined dignitaries, active duty troops and members of the public in observing a moment of silence at 7:55 a.m., the time the bombing began on Dec. 7, 1941.

Ghost in the Shell comes to Netflix with two big-name directors - Polygon

Ghost in the Shell and the director behind its first animated series, the venerated Stand Alone Complex, are coming to Netflix in 2020 with a 3DCG series. The new series extends Netflix’s big push into anime for the coming two years.
Kenji Kamiyama, who directed 2002’s Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, is aboard for this project, titled Ghost in the Shell: SAC_2045. Kamiyama and Production I.G. will team with with Shinji Aramaki and Sola Digital Arts (of the 3DCG series Appleseed) to co-direct the series. The directors are also working for Netflix on Ultraman, which premieres April 1, 2019.

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2018.12.07

News Headlines - 07 December 2018

Trump to Pick Heather Nauert as UN Ambassador, Sources Say - Bloomberg

Nauert, 48, is an unusual choice for the UN role given that she had little experience in government or foreign policy before joining the administration in April 2017 after several years as an anchor and correspondent for Fox News, including on the “Fox and Friends” show watched by Trump. Haley also lacked foreign policy experience when she took the UN posting, but she had twice been elected governor of South Carolina.

Bank of America completes Brexit switch to Dublin | Reuters

Bank of America finished moving its banking and markets operations in Europe to a new base in Dublin from London, the bank said on Monday, after it received all necessary regulatory and court approvals.

Deutsche Bank Raids: What We Know so Far | Fortune

Last week, 170 law enforcement officials descended on the lender to raid it in connection with suspected money laundering. The pictures of police cars with flashing lights lined up in front of the bank’s Frankfurt headquarters sent the share price to a record low as investors considered the possibility of new distractions for top management and the potential of fines. Here’s what we know so far.

Nissan to recall 150,000 more vehicles in Japan after improper inspections | Reuters

Nissan Motor Co said on Friday it will recall 150,000 more vehicles in Japan due to improper final inspections before they were shipped from two Japanese manufacturing plants... The latest “non-conformities” involved inspections of brakes, steer wheels, speed measurements and vehicle stability, the company said.

Sketchbooks belonging Star Wars costume designer to go under the hammer for £300,000 | Daily Mail Online

Sketchbooks belonging to a British costume designer who created the famous outfits in the original Star Wars trilogy are being put up for auction for £300,000.
John Mollo, who died aged 86 last year, created costumes for many of the films most iconic characters such as Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Obi Wan Kenobi.
He also designed the iconic white and black uniforms worn by Stormtroopers as well as TIE Fighter and X-wing pilots.

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2018.12.06

News Headlines - 06 December 2018

In Lebanon, billboards declare 'We are all Carlos Ghosn'

Lebanese woke up to bright billboards of ousted Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn posted around Beirut on Thursday, in the latest show of support for the detained businessman of Lebanese origin.
The Brazil-born entrepreneur is feted in Lebanon as a model of international success, and many were shocked by his arrest in Japan last month over alleged financial misconduct.
"We are all Carlos Ghosn," the digital billboards declared, under a large mosaic portrait of the 64-year-old tycoon, who is currently held in a Japanese prison.

Toyota shakes up executive structure to fast-track promotions - Nikkei Asian Review

The company will create a rank of "senior professional/senior management," replacing previous titles such as managing officer, executive general manager and lower-tiered senior grade 1 and 2 managers. The new rank will number roughly 2,300, and will serve as a pool of candidates to fill key positions in the group, such as heads of internal-companies, plants and regions, giving Toyota the flexibility to promote from a wide variety of expertise.
Previously, these key roles were filled by a narrower pool of 80 leaders.

Luxembourg Times - Cannabis to be made legal for recreational use in Luxembourg

Cannabis will be made legal for recreational use in Luxembourg, it has been confirmed.
During a press conference held by the three coalition parties – Democratic Party (DP), Luxembourg Socialist Workers' Party (LSAP) and The Greens (déi gréng) – political leaders said the drug will be legalised.

Woman gives birth using womb transplanted from dead donor | The Guardian

A woman in Brazil has successfully given birth after receiving a womb from a dead donor, the first time such a procedure has been successful.
While researchers in countries including Sweden and the US have previously succeeded in transplanting wombs from living donors into women who have gone on to give birth, experts said the latest development was a significant advance.

Europe's 'Most Expensive' Gold Christmas Tree Is Worth $2.6 Million | Kitco News

With winter holidays just around the corner, Christmas tree competition is heating up and Germany is taking the lead as it unveils its own solid-gold version worth $2.6 million.
Dubbed by its creators as “the most expensive” Christmas tree in Europe, the festive gold creation is made up of 2,018 solid gold one-ounce Vienna Philharmonic coins, topped by a massive 20-ounce coin, which is placed into a golden star.

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2018.12.05

News Headlines - 05 December 2018

Former presidents, world leaders to attend George H.W. Bush's funeral - CNNPolitics

Former President George H.W. Bush will be honored with a state funeral on Wednesday, an official gathering that will include current and former presidents and world leaders to mark the life of the 41st President.
The White House said both President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will attend Wednesday's service at Washington National Cathedral.

Powerful 7.5 quake off New Caledonia triggers tsunami but no damage - Channel NewsAsia

A powerful 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck near New Caledonia on Wednesday (Dec 5), triggering a tsunami alert and emergency evacuations across a swathe of the South Pacific, but there were no reports of serious damage or injuries.

Toyota launches sensor-based device designed to prevent accidents caused by the misapplication of pedals | The Japan Times

Toyota Motor Corp. on Wednesday launched a sensor-based device that is designed to prevent crashes caused by the misapplication of pedals in older types of its Prius and Aqua series of vehicles that do not have an automatic braking system... The new safety feature detects objects within a range of 3 meters and issues an alert if the driver mistakenly hits the gas pedal instead of the brake, according to the automaker.
The new system also slows down the car if it reaches over 5 kilometers per hour in reverse.

Takeda shareholders approve Shire acquisition - Nikkei Asian Review

Takeda Pharmaceutical's planned $58.3 billion acquisition of Irish drugmaker Shire passed the final major hurdle on Wednesday as shareholders approved issuing new stock to finance more than half of the purchase.
The deal will lift the Japanese drugmaker into the top 10 globally by revenue as it combats fierce competition.
Takeda announced that at least 88% of shareholders voted in favor of the proposal, well above the two-thirds needed for approval. The institutional investors that represent around 66% of the company's shares generally supported the deal.

Former marathon runner gets suspended sentence for shoplifting - Japan Today

Former world championships marathon runner Yumiko Hara has been sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for four years with supervision, for shoplifting food, with the court citing an eating disorder she is suffering from even after her retirement... The Maebashi District Court acknowledged that her bulimia, which makes her crave food, affected her ability to discern and control her behavior. But the court also concluded she was mentally competent to be held responsible.

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2018.12.04

News Headlines - 04 December 2018

Dow drops more than 800 points on Trump’s ‘Tariff Man’ tweet

US stocks got slammed on Tuesday, dropping more than 800 points as doubts mounted about the US-China trade truce that was struck over the weekend... “President Xi and I want this deal to happen, and it probably will. But if not remember, I am a Tariff Man,” Trump tweeted.
The Dow Jones industrial average was recently off 805.35 points, at 25,021.08, with the selloff erasing last week’s gains on fresh optimism about the US-China trade war.

French police remove helmets as gesture of peace to protesters, video goes VIRAL — RT World News

As France has been struggling to cope with a surge in violent protests that has left hundreds of police and demonstrators injured, a video showing officers making an unexpected conciliatory gesture has gone viral.
Footage posted on social media shows a group of about two dozen police officers in riot gear removing their helmets while standing just meters away from a crowd of Yellow Vest movement protesters – an umbrella group behind the massive rallies that have gripped France for several weeks.

Family opposition to Takeda-Shire deal - NHK WORLD

But a key member of Takeda's founding family, former executive Kazuhisa Takeda, says he will oppose the plan... He added that another family member, Kunio Takeda -- who led the business from 1993 to 2009 -- is also against the acquisition for the same reason.
Although the founders' combined shareholding is not enough to block the plan, Takeda said he was planning to urge other stockholders to vote against it.

Water bill 'too expensive' to flush toilet - BBC News

A disabled mother from Yorkshire says she is so worried about the cost of water that she sometimes has to miss out on washing or flushing the toilet.
Shirley Widdop, from Keighley, whose bill, based on a water meter, has risen by 35%... A report on poverty from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that arrears for water bills are now the most common form of debt for the poorest families.

Euro 2020 draw: England avoid Germany but Northern Ireland face Germans & Netherlands - BBC Sport

The 2018 World Cup semi-finalists were drawn with the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo in Group A, with fixtures to run between March and November next year... Northern Ireland have what looks like one of the most difficult draws, with Germany and the Netherlands in Group C.

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2018.12.03

News Headlines - 03 December 2018

Qatar Says It Will Leave OPEC and Focus on Natural Gas - The New York Times

The tiny, wealthy Persian Gulf state of Qatar will withdraw from OPEC in January, the country’s energy minister said on Monday, hinting that it wanted freedom from an oil cartel dominated by Saudi Arabia, one of its regional rivals... But the decision by Qatar, whose citizens have the highest per capita income of any country thanks to its status as the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas, to leave OPEC after nearly six decades of membership is nonetheless a blow to the group and a possible sign of tensions within it.

'It's the real me': Nigerian president denies dying and being replaced by clone | The Guardian

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has denied claims that he had died and was replaced by a Sudanese impostor, breaking his silence on a rumour that has circulated on social media for months.
Buhari, who is running for re-election in February, spent five months in Britain last year being treated for an undisclosed illness. One theory widely aired on social media – and by some political opponents – was that he had been replaced by a lookalike from Sudan called Jubril.
No evidence has been presented, but videos making the claim have been viewed thousands of times on YouTube and Facebook.

Prosecutors seek warrants for former top court justices, first in Korean history

The prosecution on Monday filed for arrest warrants for former top court justices over their suspected involvement in a massive judiciary power abuse case. It is the first time in Korean history that arrest warrants have been requested for former Supreme Court justices.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office said it submitted the request early Monday for former Supreme Court Justices Park Byong-dae and Ko Young-han over their alleged abuse of power. They are suspected of colluding with former Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae to interfere in politically sensitive trials in an effort to win favor from former President Park Geun-hye.

Dozens injured as 22 tornadoes reported in central Illinois - ABC News

A rash of tornadoes broke out Saturday afternoon and evening across central Illinois, injuring at least 30 people and turning homes into piles of splintered wood.
There were 22 tornadoes reported to the National Weather Service on Saturday, all in central Illinois.

Fukushima group holds food campaign in Brussels - The Japan News

People from Fukushima Prefecture living in Europe have started in earnest to campaign in Brussels to dispel concerns about foods from the northeastern prefecture following the 2011 nuclear crisis there.
The move by groups of Fukushima people in Britain and three other European countries, excluding Belgium, comes as the European Union maintains import restrictions on some Fukushima food products more than seven years after the meltdown at the tsunami-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

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2018.12.02

News Headlines - 02 December 2018

North Korean soldier defects to South across land border - The Straits Times

A North Korean soldier defected to South Korea yesterday across their heavily fortified land border, which the two sides have begun to demilitarise as relations between the Cold War-era foes warm, the South's military said... The incident did not trigger any gunfire, unlike last year when a North Korean soldier ran across under a hail of bullets from his own side.

Pompeo condemns Iran missile test | Reuters

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday condemned what he described as Iran’s testing of a medium-range ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple warheads as a violation of the international agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.

German special forces soldiers 'are being silently enlisted into a shadow army' of neo-Nazis

But underneath this veneer he is covertly prepping a crack team of ex-soldiers and stockpiling weapons ready to execute a list of politicians when the right time arrives.
This is no pulp fiction though. The accusations made against the soldier Andre S - known by his codename 'Hannibal' - by a string of German publications is bringing a dark tale to life and revealing how little Germany knows about its most elite troops.

Deadline ends for Hungary, Soros-funded university to reach deal | Al Jazeera

Saturday marked the end of the embattled Central European University's (CEU) deadline to remain in Budapest, with the university now set to move its activities and start the 2019-2020 academic year in Vienna.
The move is seen by students and some European politicians as a serious blow to a liberal bastion in Hungary, led by far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party since 2010.

New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox: MLB London tickets to cost up to £385 | The Independent

Major League Baseball is charging princely prices for its first games in Britain.
Premium seats at London's Olympic Stadium will cost £385 for the games between the New York Yankees and World Series champion Boston Red Sox on 29 and 30 June. The top non-premium seats near the infield cost £320.

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2018.12.01

News Headlines - 01 December 2018

Europe ready to offer Britain more time for a softer Brexit | The Times

European leaders are prepared to offer Britain a three-month extension to Article 50 to prevent parliamentary deadlock triggering a no-deal Brexit.
Under plans being discussed in European capitals the EU would agree to extend Britain’s membership until July to allow time for either a second referendum or to agree a Norway-style soft Brexit... The move was part of a response to growing fears in Brussels that if Theresa May’s deal is voted down by MPs the ensuing chaos could increase the odds of a no-deal Brexit.

Gaza's Only Grand Piano Makes Public Comeback

The only grand piano in the Palestinian territory of Gaza was played in public this week for the first time in 10 years.
Palestinian and Japanese musicians played the piano for 300 people at a November 25 performance at the Palestine Red Crescent Society. For many, it was the first time they had ever heard a piano performed live... The Japanese government donated the piano about 20 years ago, following temporary peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.

Gay 'trend' influencing the Catholic clergy: Pope

Pope Francis is "concerned" about what he described as the "serious issue" of homosexuality, saying in an interview published Saturday that being gay was a "fashion" to which the clergy is suspectible.
"The issue of homosexuality is a very serious issue that must be adequately discerned from the beginning with the candidates," the pontiff said with regards to would-be priests.
"In our societies it even seems that homosexuality is fashionable and that mentality, in some way, also influences the life of the church," he says in the book 'The Strength of a Vocation', released in Italy on Saturday.

New cases of HIV rise in Eastern Europe, decline in the West | Reuters

More than 130,000 people were newly diagnosed with HIV last year in Eastern Europe, the highest rate ever for the region, while the number of new cases in Western Europe declined, global public health experts said on Wednesday... almost 160,000 people were diagnosed in Europe with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS...

Ex-Barcelona striker David Villa announces move to Vissel Kobe | The Japan Times

Former Spain and Barcelona striker David Villa announced Saturday that he has signed with Vissel Kobe, joining his former teammate Andres Iniesta... Villa started his career at Sporting Gijon before stints with Real Zaragoza and Valencia. He joined Iniesta at Barcelona in 2010, where he won the Spanish League twice and the Champions League... Villa was also a key member of Spain’s 2010 World Cup-winning team in South Africa.

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2018.11.30

News Headlines - 30 November 2018

Prince Akishino questions Japanese government financing of Shinto-linked rite | The Japan Times

Prince Akishino, the younger son of Emperor Akihito, has questioned whether the state should finance one of the Shinto-linked rituals to be held following the Imperial succession... He expressed doubts at the news conference about the constitutionality of the Daijosai grand thanksgiving rite to be held in November next year, saying he believes it is a “highly religious” event.
The supreme law bans the state from engaging in religious activities. Shinto is Japan’s indigenous religion, in which the Emperor is venerated as a descendant of the sun goddess.

Met police knock suspects off mopeds in new tactic – dashcam video | The Guardian

UK police say tough tactics to tackle violent thieves on mopeds, including chasing them and knocking them off their bikes, has helped drive down crime. This year, a special team of 'Scorpion' drivers have knocked suspects off their mopeds 63 times

Supreme Court orders Mitsubishi to compensate Korean forced labor victims

South Korea’s top court on Thursday ruled in favor of Korean victims who were forced into labor during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula, ordering a Japanese company to compensate them for their unpaid work and reaffirming that an international treaty does not negate an individual’s rights to seek damages.
The Supreme Court upheld two lower court rulings against the Japanese company Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., and ordered payments in the amount of 80 million won ($71,500) to the families of each of the six men who were forced to labor and 100 million to 120 million won to four female victims of forced labor, in separate cases.

In Indonesia Lion Air Crash, Black Box Data Reveal Pilots’ Struggle to Regain Control - The New York Times

Data from the jetliner that crashed into the Java Sea last month shows the pilots fought to save the plane almost from the moment it took off, as the Boeing 737’s nose was repeatedly forced down, apparently by an automatic system receiving incorrect sensor readings... The pilots managed to pull the nose back up over and over until finally losing control, leaving the plane, Lion Air Flight 610, to plummet into the ocean at 450 miles per hour, killing all 189 people on board.

Hang glider forced to cling on for his life after launching unattached | The Guardian

A first-time hang glider has spoken of how he was left holding on for his life after his pilot failed to fasten him to the glider.
Chris Gursky was forced to cling to the glider with one hand and his pilot with the other for more than two minutes or face a probably fatal fall to earth.

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2018.11.29

News Headlines - 29 November 2018

French official 'suspected of spying for North Korea' - BBC News

Benoît Quennedey was arrested on Sunday night over the "collection and delivery of information to a foreign power", they say.
He is being questioned by the domestic security agency, the DGSI... Mr Quennedey is a senior civil servant, working for the Senate's department of architecture, heritage and gardens. He is also president of the Franco-Korean Friendship Association (AAFC in French), which promotes closer ties with North Korea and supports the reunification of the divided Koreas.

Hungary: Thousands rally for George Soros-founded Central European University | DW

Protesters voiced support for CEU, which said in October that it would start admitting students to a new campus in Vienna if the government did not acknowledge its legal status by December 1... Attracting students from over 100 countries and offering US-accredited masters programs, CEU, founded in 1991, has long been seen by the nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban as a hostile bastion of liberalism.
Orban's government has clamped down on academic freedom more broadly in recent years, banning universities from teaching gender studies in October.

Berlin man, 95, charged with over 36,000 deaths at Nazi camp - The Local

German prosecutors on Friday charged a 95-year-old man with more than 36,000 counts of accessory to murder over his alleged time as a Nazi concentration camp guard during World War II... Hans H. is believed to have belonged to the SS-Totenkopfsturmbann (Death's Head Battalion) between summer 1944 and spring 1945 at Mauthausen, part of the Nazis' vast network of concentration camps where inmates were forced to perform slave labour.

Egypt unveils previously unopened ancient female sarcophagus in Luxor | London Evening Standard

Egyptian authorities have unveiled a well-preserved mummy of a woman inside a previously unopened coffin in Luxor dating back to more than 3,000 years.
The sarcophagus, an ancient coffin, was one of two found earlier this month in the northern area of El-Asasef, a necropolis on the western bank of the Nile.

Football-mad parents in battle to name baby 'Griezmann Mbappe' | AFP.com

French authorities are seeking to ban a couple of apparently football-obsessed parents from naming their baby "Griezmann Mbappe" after two of the national team's heroes... Earlier this month authorities in the eastern city of Dijon launched a legal bid to stop a mother naming her son "Jihad".

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2018.11.28

News Headlines - 28 November 2018

China orders inquiry into 'world's first gene-edited babies' | The Guardian

A Chinese scientist’s claim that he has created the world’s first genetically edited babies has prompted global outcry and an investigation by Chinese health authorities.
In a video posted on Sunday, university professor He Jiankui announced the birth of twin girls whose DNA had been edited to prevent HIV infection. He said the twins’ DNA was modified using CRISPR-Cas9, a technique that allows scientists to remove and replace a strand with pinpoint precision.
Editing the genes of embryos, which can alter other genes, is banned in many countries because DNA changes, which will be passed to future generations, could have unforeseen effects on the entire gene pool.

TEPCO and state slapped with new lawsuit over nuclear crisis:The Asahi Shimbun

The lawsuit was filed at the Fukushima District Court on Nov. 27 after five years of negotiations between the town and TEPCO collapsed in April over the utility's refusal to meet demands for more compensation.
According to court papers, 109 plaintiffs of 49 households are seeking 12.1 million yen in individual compensation... TEPCO, under guidelines established by the central government, has been paying 100,000 yen a month to each resident forced to evacuate.
However, town officials argued that the figure was painfully low and should be increased to compensate for psychological suffering caused by the disaster.

$18M of cocaine found in boxes of bananas donated to Texas prisons | Daily Mail Online

Nearly $18million-worth of cocaine was found in a shipment of bananas donated to the Texas prison system.
Ports of America in Freeport offered two pallets of the bananas to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice because the shipment hadn't been claimed and the fruit was already ripe.
Two sergeants with the Wayne Scott Unit - a prison facility south of Houston - were unloading the bananas when they noticed one box that felt heavier than the others.

Stephen Hillenburg Dead: SpongeBob Squarepants’ Creator Was 57 – Variety

Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of the megahit Nickelodeon cartoon series “SpongeBob SquarePants,” died on Monday. He was 57.
The cause of death was ALS, which Hillenburg revealed he had been diagnosed with in March of last year.

Milan coach hits back as Italy's deputy PM slams his game plan - The Local

AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso told Italy's Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini to focus on politics and not football after criticising his game plan in a Sunday's 1-1 draw against Lazio... Asked about Salvini's comments, Gattuso said: "I don't talk about politics because I don't understand anything.
"I tell him to think about politics because with all the problems we have in our country, if the deputy prime minister is talking about football, it means that we are in a bad way."

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2018.11.27

News Headlines - 27 November 2018

Manafort held secret talks with Assange in Ecuadorian embassy, sources say | The Guardian

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told.
Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 – during the period when he was made a key figure in Trump’s push for the White House... It is unclear why Manafort would have wanted to see Assange and what was discussed. But the last apparent meeting is likely to come under scrutiny and could interest Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Trump Expects to Move Ahead With Boost on China Tariffs - WSJ

President Trump, days before a summit with China’s leader, said he expects to move ahead with boosting tariff levels on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25%, calling it “highly unlikely” that he would accept Beijing’s request to hold off on the increase.

The Ghosn Inquisition - WSJ

A CEO once hailed as a business savior is arrested at the airport, held in detention for days without being charged, interrogated by prosecutors without a lawyer present, and fired from his post amid media leaks claiming he’s guilty of financial malfeasance.
Communist China? No, capitalist Japan, where former Nissan MotorsCEO Carlos Ghosn is enduring a bizarre inquistion. The publicly available facts are murkey, but the episode ought to trouble anyone concerned with due process and corporate governance in Japan.

Immigration bill clears Lower House despite opposition filibuster and no-confidence motion | The Japan Times

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling coalition bulldozed a controversial immigration bill through the Lower House on Tuesday, taking a key step toward initiating a new visa system meant to address the country’s acute labor shortages.
Attempts by opposition parties to block the bill have significantly delayed deliberations and its progress in the chamber. But after hours of delay, the Lower House Committee on Judicial Affairs, controlled by the ruling bloc, approved the bill amid a fierce outcry from opposition representatives. The bill was endorsed at a plenary session of the chamber and was immediately sent to the Upper House.

NASA's InSight Spacecraft Lands on Mars and Snaps a Photo | WIRED

AFTER A SIX-MONTH journey across hundreds of millions of miles of deep space, NASA's InSight spacecraft—a mission nearly ten years and close to $1 billion in the making—landed successfully on the surface of Mars on Monday, touching down on the planet's surface just a few minutes before 12:00 pm PT.

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2018.11.26

News Headlines - 26 November 2018

Iran earthquake: More than 700 injured in Kermanshah - BBC News

More than 700 people have been injured in a 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck western Iran on Sunday night, state television reports.
The epicentre was in Kermanshah province, where last year more than 600 people were killed in the country's deadliest earthquake in over a decade.
Tremors were reportedly felt across the wider region, with reports of at least one death in nearby Iraqi Kurdistan.

Tijuana: US authorities fire tear gas at migrants at border - CNN

A major US-Mexico border crossing in San Diego was closed for hours on Sunday after a group of migrants on the Mexican side rushed the border area, leading US Border Patrol agents to fire tear gas at the group.
About 500 migrants on the Mexican side of the border overwhelmed police blockades near the San Ysidro Port of Entry Sunday afternoon, two journalists at the scene in Tijuana told CNN.
As the migrants tried to cross the border, authorities on the US side used tear gas to disperse them, the journalists said. Video of the scene showed a cloud of tear gas that sent people running and screaming, including families with young children.

France is ditching Google to reclaim its online independence | WIRED UK

France is working hard to avoid becoming a digital colony of the US or China. Last month, both the French National Assembly and the French Army Ministry declared that their digital devices would stop using Google as their default search engines. Instead, they will use Qwant, a French and German search engine that prides itself for not tracking its users.

Amazing video gives a 'unique' look inside an Enigma cipher machine | Daily Mail Online

A fascinating new video gives a unique look inside the Enigma cipher machine used by the Nazis during World War Two and famously cracked by a team of code breakers led by British mathematician Alan Turing.
Scientists used state-of-the-art X-ray scans to peer inside the Enigma's metal casing, revealing the wiring and rotors that encrypted the messages sent using the machine.
In total, more than 1,500 scans were taken of an Enigma machine built in Berlin in 1941 - one of just 274 known to have survived the war.

Carlos Ghosn Is Removed as Chairman of Mitsubishi Motors - The New York Times

Carlos Ghosn, one of the auto industry’s most powerful leaders, lost another title on Monday when the board of Mitsubishi Motors removed him as chairman, one week after he was arrested in Tokyo on suspicion of financial misconduct.

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2018.11.25

News Headlines - 25 November 2018

EU leaders agree UK's Brexit deal at Brussels summit - BBC News

EU leaders have approved an agreement on the UK's withdrawal and future relations - insisting it is the "best and only deal possible".
After 20 months of negotiations, the 27 leaders gave the deal their blessing after less than an hour's discussion.
They said the deal - which needs to be approved by the UK Parliament - paved the way for an "orderly withdrawal".

Paris riot police blast water cannon at demonstrators protesting Macron's fuel tax rise  | Daily Mail Online

A water cannon and rounds of teargas were also used by riot police against thousands of French 'Yellow Vest' fuel protesters in Paris today as the Champs Elysee was reduced to a battlefield.
The grassroots movement is campaigning against a what is believes to be a general decline in living standards across the country, and the recent decision to raise fuel prices.
The worst violence took place on the most famous avenue in the city where a huge crowd called for President Emmanuel Macron to resign.

Taiwanese reject gay marriage, new Olympic name - The Washington Post

Voters in Taiwan have approved a referendum opposing same-sex marriage while rejecting a proposal to change the name of its Olympic team to Taiwan from the current Chinese Taipei.
The referendums were among 10 on the ballot during island-wide city mayoral elections Saturday that dealt a major setback to President Tsai Ing-wen’s independence-leaning party.
Ballot initiatives are advisory only in Taiwan, but the vote in favor of restricting marriage to male-female couples will put lawmakers in a difficult position. They face both a court order to make same-sex marriage legal by 2019 and elections in 2020.

In referendum, the Taiwanese vote to retain ban on food products from five Japanese prefectures | The Japan Times

Taiwanese voters approved a referendum to maintain a ban on food products from five Japanese prefectures, imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster, dealing a setback to the government of President Tsai Ing-wen and possibly damaging the island’s relations with Japan... The result dealt a significant blow to the Democratic Progressive Party government that proposed easing the ban after coming to power in May 2016, but backed away when the main opposition Nationalist Party (KMT) questioned the new government’s ability to ensure the safety of the imported products.

Man to sue former boss over yearend party assault resulting in burns - The Mainichi

A man who suffered severe burns after having his head shoved into a pot of boiling liquid at a yearend party in 2015 said Thursday he plans to sue his former boss over the incident... The case came to light after a video of the incident was made available recently to Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Shincho, which posted it on its www.dailyshincho.jp website. The video has now gone viral on YouTube.

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2018.11.24

News Headlines - 24 November 2018

APEC issues statement 5 days after summit - NHK WORLD

The Chairman's statement of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum has been released 5 days after the summit talks ended.
21 members of APEC met in Papua New Guinea but failed to agree on a final communique due to a rift between the United States and China over trade.
The chairman's statement was released by the host country on Friday, following last weekend's summit.

Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen resigns as chair of ruling DPP after losses in local polls - Channel NewsAsia

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen resigned as leader of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Saturday (Nov 24) after the pro-independence party suffered major defeats in key mid-term polls, a blow to her prospects for re-election... DPP lost its traditional stronghold of Kaohsiung city for the first time in 20 years, and was also defeated in the second-largest city of Taichung.

OLYMPICS/ IOC’s Bach and Abe make brief visit to Fukushima:The Asahi Shimbun

IOC President Thomas Bach and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a quick trip Saturday to the region northeast of Tokyo that was devastated by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami that destroyed three nuclear reactors.
The Fukushima region will hold baseball and softball games during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The visit was intended to showcase a region that government officials say is safe, except for a no-go zone around the nuclear plant.

China: Situation is severe on swine fever - NHK WORLD

Chinese authorities dealing with multiple outbreaks of African swine fever have described the situation as "severe".
The virus is not harmful to humans but is highly contagious and almost always fatal for hogs. It is also known as hog cholera... Feng Zhongwu, deputy director of the husbandry and veterinary bureau, said 73 cases have been reported since August, and 600,000 pigs have been culled.

'Bohemian Rhapsody' turned Queen into box office, music champions

The rock band hasn’t dropped a music project in nearly 30 years, but thanks to the performance of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” their music has been given a new lease on life. After just a few weeks, the biographical film about the band and its late frontman, Freddie Mercury, has made $130 million domestically since its November 2 release, according to Box Office Mojo.

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2018.11.23

News Headlines - 23 November 2018

Nissan board fires Ghosn as chairman following arrest:The Asahi Shimbun

Nissan Motor Co. fired Carlos Ghosn as chairman Thursday, curtailing the powerful executive's nearly two-decade reign at the Japanese automaker after his arrest for alleged financial improprieties.
In an hourslong meeting, the company's board of directors voted unanimously to dismiss Ghosn as chairman and as a representative director, Nissan said in a statement.

Washington Asks Allies to Drop Huawei - WSJ

The U.S. government has initiated an extraordinary outreach campaign to foreign allies, trying to persuade wireless and internet providers in these countries to avoid telecommunications equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies Co., according to people familiar with the situation.
American officials have briefed their government counterparts and telecom executives in friendly countries where Huawei equipment is already in wide use, including Germany, Italy and Japan, about what they see as cybersecurity risks...

Facebook under fire for posts on auction of child bride - CNN

Facebook has come under fire after posts discussing the sale of a child bride were made and shared on its site.
An auction was discussed on the social media platform for a girl aged 16 or 17 in South Sudan that sought payment for her hand in marriage.
Facebook said the post was taken down as soon as the company learned of it, but that wasn't until after the girl involved was married.

Nintendo investigates conduct of Nintendo Russia CEO following Mario Kart live s | Pocket Gamer.biz

Nintendo is investigating the conduct of its Russian general manager Yasha Haddaji after footage of him verbally abusing staff become widely-circulated online.
The video in question involves Haddaji becoming agitated as he didn't believe the Mario Kart live stream was adequately promoted. Following on he then appears bewildered as to whether the stream is live or not.
While the video was pulled from Nintendo of Russia’s social media, fans managed to archive it and share it to YouTube, where it then spread to Reddit and Resetera.

BBC 100 Women 2018: Who is on the list? - BBC News

BBC 100 Women has announced its list of 100 inspiring and influential women from around the world for 2018.
With their help we will explore a variety of themes, including using anger to spark action, and uncovering women from the shadows of history.
Ranging in age from 15 to 94, and from more than 60 countries, the BBC 100 Women list includes leaders, trailblazers and everyday heroes.

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2018.11.22

News Headlines - 22 November 2018

Interpol presidency vote: Russia in surprise loss to South Korea - BBC News

Mr Kim was chosen by Interpol's 194 member states at a meeting of its annual congress in Dubai.
He beat Russia's Alexander Prokopchuk, who has been accused of using Interpol's arrest warrant system to target critics of the Kremlin... The election follows the disappearance of Interpol's former president Meng Hongwei, who vanished on a trip to China in September. Beijing has since confirmed he has been detained and is being investigated for allegedly taking bribes.

Cult leader jailed in South Korea for raping eight female followers | Daily Mail Online

A South Korean religious cult leader who was a 'God' to his followers has been jailed for 15 years after he was convicted of raping eight of his female supporters.
Judge Chung Moon-sung told Seoul Central District court that Pastor Lee Jaerock had absolute religious authority over his followers, who were unable to resist him.
The cult leader's conviction comes after three of his followers went public earlier this year and revealed that Lee had summoned each of them to an apartment before raping them.

American killed on Andaman island home to uncontacted people, body yet to be recovered - India News

An American man was killed on an island inhabited by a tribe known to resist outside contact in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. And, his body still lies there.
The American was identified as 27-year-old John Allen Chau, who sources said was a Christian missionary who wanted to convert the Sentinelese tribe that inhabits the island where he was killed... The officer stressed that the Sentinelese must be left alone and that any forced contact with the outside world could put them in danger.

Sperm Whale Washed Up Off Sulawesi Had Plastic Bottles, Bags in Stomach | Jakarta Globe

A sperm whale found dead in Wakatobi National Park southeast of Sulawesi Island had nearly 6 kilograms of plastic waste, including 115 cups, in its stomach, park officials said on Tuesday.
The 9.5-meter whale was found in waters near Kapota Island, the park said in a statement... The cause of death was not known, but park officials found plastic bottles, bags, sandals and a sack with more than 1,000 pieces of string in the whale's stomach.

Softbank makes major pivot toward office, ride sharing:The Asahi Shimbun

Japan’s No. 3 wireless carrier will transfer 9,000 employees over the next few years from domestic telecom units to help expand joint businesses that parent company Softbank Group Corp. recently launched with Yahoo Japan and other startups based in China and the United States... Under the slogan “Half & Twice,” Softbank will effectively cut its workforce by half while encouraging employees to double the productivity of existing businesses.
The company has already relocated more than 500 personnel from engineering and sales departments and call centers to new business sections through its internal job posting system as of this month. An additional 200 employees are expected to be transferred as of Jan. 1, 2019.

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2018.11.21

News Headlines - 21 November 2018

U.S. Prosecutors Are Said to Be Investigating Japan’s Largest Bank - The New York Times

Japan’s largest bank has already been penalized by the State of New York for letting countries on sanctions lists like Iran and Myanmar route payments through its systems, but a current inquiry is more serious: It’s a federal case involving North Korea.
The bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan late last year as it was locked in a court fight with the New York Department of Financial Services, according to two people who were briefed on the investigation but not permitted to speak publicly. That litigation involves the department’s attempts to punish the bank, known as MUFG, for breaking anti-money-laundering rules.

Carlos Ghosn was planning Nissan-Renault merger before arrest | Financial Times

Carlos Ghosn had been planning a merger between Renault and Nissan before his arrest in Tokyo this week, a deal that the Japanese carmaker’s board opposed and was looking for ways to block.
Several Nissan board members expected a bid to materialise in the coming months, according to one person close to the board. Another source said that a merger was likely to happen “within months”, and a third said it was under active consideration.

Macron's popularity falls to 25% - poll | News24

The popularity of French President Emmanuel Macron has dropped to just 25%, according to a major tracker poll published on Sunday.
The poll by research group Ifop was published in the Journal du Dimanche a day after a nationwide "yellow vest" protest against high fuel prices that analysts say has come to represent widespread frustration with the 40-year-old president.

Spain threatens Brexit deal over Gibraltar status - CNN

Spain has long claimed sovereignty over Gibraltar, which has been a British territory since 1713. But Gibraltarians, who voted almost unanimously to remain in the European Union in the 2016 referendum, are fiercely loyal to Britain and have resisted Spanish claims.
The draft Brexit deal must be agreed on at an EU summit on November 25. An EU official told CNN that it was likely the issue would be ironed out before the EU Council meets over the weekend: "I am confident this will be solved before Sunday," the official said.

Ex-Macedonia PM Gruevski says he has been granted asylum in Hungary | Reuters

Former Macedonian prime minister Nikola Gruevski, who fled abroad after being sentenced to two years in prison on corruption-related charges, said on Tuesday that he had been granted political asylum in Hungary.
Macedonian police had issued an arrest warrant for Gruevski, who resigned in 2016 after a decade in power, after he failed to show up to begin his sentence, following a Nov. 9 court ruling against his motion for a reprieve.

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2018.11.20

News Headlines - 20 November 2018

Ivanka Trump used a personal email account to send hundreds of emails about government business last year - The Washington Post

Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules, according to people familiar with a White House examination of her correspondence... The discovery alarmed some advisers to President Trump, who feared that his daughter’s prac­tices bore similarities to the personal email use of Hillary Clinton, an issue he made a focus of his 2016 campaign. He attacked his Democratic challenger as untrustworthy and dubbed her “Crooked Hillary” for using a personal email account as secretary of state.

France 'extremely vigilant' on Renault after Ghosn arrest | AFP.com

President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said France would be extremely vigilant about the fate of Renault and its alliance with Nissan after the arrest of the French auto group's boss Carlos Ghosn in Japan.

Argentina: Submarine found a year after it vanished with 44 aboard - CNN

A missing Argentine naval submarine has been found, a year and a day after it vanished in the South Atlantic with 44 crew members on board, authorities said Saturday.
The wreckage of the ARA San Juan, which "suffered an implosion," was found about 870 meters (2,850 feet) down on the ocean floor, Argentine naval Capt. Gabriel Attis later told reporters in Buenos Aires.

Russia’s $11 Billion Natural Gas Pipeline Is Primed to Fuel Europe - Bloomberg

...contractors for Gazprom PJSC are building the latest monument to Europe’s growing dependence on Russia for energy: the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. Germany could receive more gas pumped directly from Siberian fields as soon as late next year.
The $11 billion pipeline is one of three giant projects helping the world’s biggest gas producer strengthen its grip on Europe and Asia. Thousands of miles to the east, the Power of Siberia pipeline will connect with China, and a project under the Black Sea will deliver fuel to Turkey and southeast Europe.

Communities flee eruption at Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire | The Seattle Times

About 4,000 residents fled Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire Monday as red-hot rock and ash spewed into the sky and cascaded down the slopes toward an area devastated by a deadly eruption earlier this year.
Guatemala’s volcanology unit said that explosions from the 12,300-foot (3,763-meter) high mountain shook homes with “constant sounds similar to a train locomotive.”

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2018.11.19

News Headlines - 19 November 2018

Nissan Renault chief Carlos Ghosn faces arrest in Japan | The Guardian

Carlos Ghosn, the chairman of Nissan and chief executive of Renault, faces arrest in Japan and will be sacked by the car manufacturers for alleged financial violations.
Renault’s market value dived by €2bn (£1.78bn) to €17bn after the report, with shares falling by 11%. The value of Nissan securities listed in Germany fell by 12%.

Chinese officials try to 'barge' into minister's office as APEC summit tensions boil over - Channel NewsAsia

The police were called when Chinese officials attempted to "barge" into the office of Papua New Guinea's foreign minister, it emerged on Sunday (Nov 18), as APEC summit tensions boiled over.
The Chinese delegates "tried to barge into" Rimbink Pato's Port Moresby office Saturday, in an eleventh-hour bid to influence a summit draft communique, but were denied entry, three sources with knowledge of the situation told AFP.

Peru ex-president Garcia asked for asylum in Uruguay: foreign ministry | Reuters

Former Peruvian President Alan Garcia entered the Uruguayan embassy and applied for asylum, hours after being banned from leaving the country while under investigation for corruption, the Peruvian foreign ministry said on Sunday.

Die-hard fans wait 11 hours to see Mickey Mouse anniversary attraction at Tokyo Disneyland | The Japan Times

Mickey Mouse drew crowds of visitors to an attraction at Tokyo Disneyland on Sunday, the 90th anniversary of the character’s debut, forcing the operator to ask some to wait for 11 hours for entry... Many visitors flocked to the Mickey’s House and Meet Mickey attraction at the theme park in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, apparently to celebrate the character’s screen debut on Nov. 18, 1928.

Hear John Williams’ New ‘Star Wars’ Theme for Disney’s ‘Galaxy’s Edge’ – Rolling Stone

John Williams, the Oscar-winning composer behind Star Wars‘ classic scores and themes, has created a new work in association with the Star Wars-themed attractions currently in construction at Disney parks.
Williams’ new themes will feature in Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge attraction, a themed land dedicated to the film series that will open at both Disneyland in Anaheim, California, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida in 2019...

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2018.11.18

News Headlines - 18 November 2018

CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination - The Washington Post

The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month, contradicting the Saudi government’s claims that he was not involved in the killing, according to people familiar with the matter.

California fires: Number of missing grows to more than 1,000 in Camp Fire - CNN

More than 1,000 people are unaccounted as California's deadliest wildfire enters a second week.
The death toll rose to 71 in the Camp Fire that started November 8 in Northern California. The list of people who are unaccounted for grew to 1,011 names, but that number may change once authorities follow up with families to confirm if they've heard from missing relatives, Butte County Sheriff and Coroner Kory Honea said Friday.
In addition to the dozens killed, three other deaths were reported in the Woolsey Fire in Southern California, bringing the statewide death toll from the wildfires to 74.

Interpol meets to select new president after China’s arrest | The State

Police chiefs from around the world gathered in Dubai on Sunday for Interpol's general assembly to select a new president after the agency's former official in the post was detained in China.
Meng Hongwei— who was China's vice minister of public security while also leading Interpol — went missing while on a trip to China in September. It later emerged that the long-time Communist Party insider with decades of experience in China's security apparatus was detained as part of a sweeping purge against allegedly corrupt or disloyal officials under President Xi Jinping's authoritarian administration.

South Korea to dissolve Japan-funded 'comfort women' foundation | The Japan Times

South Korea has notified Japan of its intention to dissolve a foundation set up as part of a 2015 agreement to resolve the long-standing issue of Korean “comfort women” who were forced to work in Japanese wartime military brothels, sources familiar with bilateral ties have said.

Burned to death because of a rumour on WhatsApp - BBC News

Rumours of child abductors spread through WhatsApp in a small town in Mexico. The rumours were fake, but a mob burned two men to death before anyone checked... Police said there was no evidence the men had committed any crime, and that they had been taken into the station for "disturbing the peace" after they were accosted by local residents.
But the mob outside the station on Reforma Street was in the grip of a different version of events, a story stirred up somewhere unknown and spread through the private messaging app WhatsApp... Eyewitnesses believe Ricardo was already dead from the beating, but his uncle Alberto was still alive when they set the two men on fire. Video footage shows his limbs moving slowly as the flames licked around them.

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2018.11.17

News Headlines - 17 November 2018

UN lifts nearly decade-old sanctions on Eritrea - CNN

The UN Security Council unanimously voted on Wednesday to lift 9-year-old sanctions against Eritrea that imposed travel bans, asset freezes and an arms embargo.
The East African country was hit with targeted sanctions in 2009 after being accused of having ties to Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia and refusing to withdraw from border disputes with Djibouti. Eritrea denied the accusations of involvement with Al-Shabaab.
The resolution, which was drafted by the United Kingdom and backed by allies, marks a new chapter for peace and cooperation in Eritrea after years of regional conflict.

Southeastern and Greater Anglia want more women train drivers - BBC News

Rail companies have launched campaigns to recruit more women train drivers.
Southeastern, which serves London, Kent and East Sussex, said fewer than 5% of its drivers were women and it wants 40% of applicants to be women by 2021.

Couple who named baby after Hitler found guilty of membership of neo-Nazi group - CNN

A neo-Nazi couple who named their child after Adolf Hitler have been found guilty Monday of being part of a banned right-wing group in England.
Adam Thomas, 22, and Claudia Patatas, 38, were convicted at Birmingham Crown Court in the country's West Midlands region for being members of the extreme right-wing organization, National Action. The group was banned in 2016.
According to the UK's Press Association news agency, the court heard that the couple gave their child the middle name "Adolf" after Hitler, because of Thomas' "admiration" for him.

US asks London court to hand over two alleged hackers - BBC News

The US's attempt to have two alleged cyber-criminals extradited from the UK has come before a London court.
The two men are accused of being members of a 36-strong group said to have been behind a dark web forum responsible for more than $530m (£409m) of losses to banks and individuals... Taimoor Zaman and Anthony Nnamdi Okeakpu deny the allegations made against them.

What happens to used lithium-ion battery packs from electric cars?

While the sheer volume of EV batteries that will need to be re-purposed or recycled is undoubtedly daunting, it’s worth starting on the positive note that these batteries have a long lifespan, and have proven very reliable. Most lithium-ion batteries will last about eight to 10 years before their performance drops to around 70 per cent (or less) of what it was when new.
So what can be done with these batteries when they reach the point that they need to be re-used or recycled?

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2018.11.16

News Headlines - 16 November 2018

Bank of Japan's balance sheet now larger than country's GDP | Reuters

Japan’s central bank has become the first among G7 nations to own assets collectively worth more than the country’s entire economy, following a half-decade spending spree designed to accelerate weak price growth.
The 553.6 trillion yen ($4.87 trillion) of assets the Bank of Japan holds are worth more than five times the world’s most valuable company Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) and 25 times the market capitalisation of Japan’s most valuable company Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.T).
They’re also bigger than the combined GDPs of five emerging markets — Turkey, Argentina, South Africa, India and Indonesia.

Toyota to slash thicket of officers so new talent can shine - Nikkei Asian Review

Toyota Motor will overhaul its leadership structure in January, scrapping more than half its executive posts to make room for younger employees who may not necessarily have the seniority traditionally required for major management roles.
The automaker has 55 top executives, including the president and vice presidents. Abolishing the post of managing officer next year will reduce the count of the top executives by 60%.
A new, flexible class of managers will instead encompass anyone from current department heads to managing officers, as well as lower-level managers, some still in their early 40s, for a total of more than 2,000.

The Pathway from Micro Solid State to EV Batteries - EVWORLD.COM

We know that Toyota has said it wouldn't get serious about building battery electric vehicles until they had perfected the solid state battery. In the meantime they'd stick with trusted, reliable NiMH for most of their hybrids. They know it works... And while other carmakers are pretty much following Tesla's lead and have gone the lithium battery route, Toyota quietly turned to a small UK startup out of Southampton on the English channel with orders to explore various materials Toyota researchers had identified that could be used for a solid state battery, one that eliminates the flammability inherent in the electrolyte found in today's lithium-ion cells.

Stolen credit card details of nearly 250,000 British Airways customers on sale for up to £9.4m

redit card details stolen from nearly 250,000 customers of British Airways during a cyber-hack on the airline's website in August could have raised up to $12.2m (£9.4m) for Russian hackers on the dark web, the Telegraph has learned.
Research from cyber security experts Flashpoint and Risk IQ has shown that credit card details were for sale for between $9 (£6.94) and $50 (£38.58) each.
The hack, attributed to a Russia-linked group known as Magecart, took place between August 21 and September 5, with 244,000 payment cards compromised.

Aung San Suu Kyi: Amnesty strips Myanmar leader of top prize - BBC News

Amnesty International is stripping Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi of its highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award.
The politician and Nobel peace prize winner received the honour in 2009, when she was living under house arrest.
The rights group said it was profoundly dismayed at her failure to speak out for the Rohingya minority, some 700,000 of whom have fled a military crackdown.
This is the latest honour in a string of awards Ms Suu Kyi, 73, has lost.

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2018.11.15

News Headlines - 15 November 2018

Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis - The New York Times

Inside Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters, top executives gathered in the glass-walled conference room of its founder, Mark Zuckerberg. It was September 2017, more than a year after Facebook engineers discovered suspicious Russia-linked activity on its site, an early warning of the Kremlin campaign to disrupt the 2016 American election. Congressional and federal investigators were closing in on evidence that would implicate the company.

Japan's cyber-security minister has 'never used a computer' - BBC News

Japan's new cyber-security minister has dumbfounded his country by saying he has never used a computer.
Yoshitaka Sakurada made the admission to a committee of lawmakers... The 68-year-old was appointed to his post last month.
His duties include overseeing cyber-defence preparations for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Wayward mortar damages civilian vehicle as Japanese soldiers train east of Kyoto - Stripes

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force is investigating after a stray mortar landed near a public roadway and struck a civilian vehicle in a prefecture just east of Kyoto.
The incident occurred at about 1:20 p.m. Wednesday when three mortars went wide of their target during routine training at the Aibano Training Area in Takashima City, Shiga prefecture, said JGSDF spokesman Muneyuki Yatsuo.

South Korea's 'Garlic Girls' curlers slam coaches - Channel NewsAsia

The "Garlic Girls" South Korean curling team who became a media sensation with their unlikely run to the Winter Olympics final detailed their coaches' alleged verbal abuse and intrusive control on Thursday (Nov 15).
The five women from a small rural town known for garlic farming were rank outsiders at the South's Pyeongchang Games in February, but ended up winning silver, their giant-killing feats along the way earning them celebrity status.

Winner of $1.5B Mega Millions has not claimed prize

The winner of the huge $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot still has not come forward. A ticket sold in Simpsonville matched all the numbers of the October 23 drawing.
It's been nearly three weeks since that drawing and state lottery officials tell News19 there's no word on the winner yet... The winner has 180 days from the drawing to come forward. Their time doesn't run out until April 21st.

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2018.11.14

News Headlines - 14 November 2018

Brexit deal: Theresa May's cabinet approves EU withdrawal agreement | The Independent

Theresa May’s cabinet has approved the draft Brexit deal struck by British and EU negotiators paving the way for a critical Brussels summit to rubber stamp it this month.
The prime minister made the announcement on the steps of Downing Street after a marathon five-hour meeting with her most senior frontbenchers... But despite cabinet approval bolstering Ms May, there was increasing speculation in Westminster of a leadership challenge to be launched by Tory backbenchers angry about concessions made in the draft plan.

US Condemns ‘Illegal Elections’ in Russia-Controlled Eastern Ukraine

The United States issued a scathing condemnation of the elections held on Nov. 11 in the eastern region of Ukraine occupied by Russia, calling it an attempt by Moscow to legitimize its proxies... The member states of the European Union and Canada also condemned the elections as illegal and in violation of a ceasefire agreed to in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, in 2015.

Putin and Abe Agree to Speed Up Talks Over Disputed Islands - Bloomberg

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed to accelerate talks on resolving a dispute over four islands that has prevented their countries from sealing a peace treaty since World War II.
The two leaders affirmed at a meeting Wednesday in Singapore that a 1956 declaration under which the Soviet Union agreed to return two islands after the conclusion of a peace treaty with Japan will form the basis for the negotiations, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters.

Japan's SoftBank steps closer to transformation with mammoth mobile IPO | Reuters

SoftBank Group Corp has won approval to conduct a 2.4 trillion yen ($21.04 billion) initial public offering (IPO) of its domestic telecoms business, in a deal that will seal the group’s transformation into a top global technology investor.

Talent agency managing K-pop group BTS apologizes over A-bomb T-shirt | The Japan Times

The talent agency that represents K-pop group BTS on Tuesday apologized over one of its members wearing an offensive T-shirt that depicted an atomic bomb exploding over Japan, and other members having earlier worn hats that carried the Nazi guard insignia.

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2018.11.13

News Headlines - 13 November 2018

Trump Targets French President Macron In A Series Of Angry Tweets : NPR

This morning, French President Emmanuel Macron was the latest target of a series of angry tweets from President Donald Trump. Trump highlighted Macron's recent statement calling for a European army to help protect the continent. He also cited Macron's low popularity with French voters, and he complained about the high tariffs France has imposed on American wine.
This all follows President Trump's visit to Paris over the weekend, where he joined other world leaders to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Italy defies EU request to present revised budget | The Guardian

The Italian government has defied a request to present a revised draft budget for 2019 to the European commission, as it pursues its big-spending strategy.
Luigi Di Maio, the deputy prime minister and leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, which is ruling in coalition with the far-right League, said the government was committed to maintaining its deficit target of 2.4% but it would move forward with plans to cut taxes, introduce a universal basic income and lower the retirement age.
Italian leaders had until midnight on Tuesday to respond to the commission, which last month took the unprecedented step of asking a member state to revise its draft budget.

Oldest known cave painting of animal found in Borneo, Indonesia, bolstering new theory on human ancestors - CBS News

Scientists have found the oldest known example of an animal drawing: a red silhouette of a bull-like beast on the wall of an Indonesian cave.
The sketch is at least 40,000 years old, slightly older than similar animal paintings found in famous caves in France and Spain. Until a few years ago, experts believed Europe was where our ancestors started drawing animals and other figures.
But the age of the drawing reported Wednesday in the journal Nature, along with previous discoveries in Southeast Asia, suggest that figurative drawing appeared in both continents about the same time.

Roborace DevBot 2.0 Will Be Driven By Human-Machine Teams | Digital Trends

Roborace wants to take the human element out of racing. It hopes to launch the world’s first race series using self-driving cars, but it’s taking a gradual approach to reaching that goal. Roborace just unveiled its latest prototype, dubbed DevBot 2.0, and the car still features a cockpit for a human driver.
For its first season, called Season Alpha, Roborace will have humans and machines work together. Cars will set lap times both with human drivers and autonomously, and these times will be compared to those of other teams to determine a winner. So cars won’t race wheel to wheel, as they do in more conventional race series.

MLB's Velazquez apologizes over inappropriate video about Hiroshima

Boston Red Sox pitcher Hector Velazquez apologized Tuesday over video footage posted on his Instagram account that showed images of a building that has become symbolic of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima along with a graphic of a bomb and subtitles that read "Atomic bomb!"
At a press conference held before Game 4 of the Japan MLB All-Star Series at Mazda Stadium in the western Japan city, Velazquez bowed his head and said he was regretful of his action.

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2018.11.12

News Headlines - 12 November 2018

Dow Jones falls 600 points as tech stocks slip

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 600 points Monday as major tech stocks faltered... Apple drove the decline in the tech sector after one of its key suppliers, Lumentum, said it would cut its outlook for the second quarter of 2019 due to lower predicted production volume for one of its major clients.
Concern over demand for Apple's iPhone line caused the company's stock to fall 5 percent Monday.

Exposure of Israel special forces unit in Gaza turns deadly - The Washington Post

Israel’s military said it had rushed extra infantry troops and air defenses to the border with Gaza as at least 300 projectiles were launched toward Israeli territory on Monday. Several rockets hit residential buildings, while an antitank missile struck a bus transporting soldiers, the military said, critically injuring a 19-year-old.

US jet crashes in 2nd accident involving US carrier in month - The Washington Post

A U.S. combat jet from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan crashed into the sea northeast of the Philippines on Monday, but its two pilots were rescued safely.
The U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet said the F/A-18 Hornet had a mechanical problem during routine operations in the Philippine Sea... The crash was the second involving aircraft belonging to the USS Ronald Reagan in less than a month.

Miley Cyrus, Neil Young, Gerard Butler among those to lose homes in California wildfires - CNN

The deadly wildfires ripping through California have forced hundreds of thousands of residents to evacuate, including some celebrities whose homes have been lost to the blazes.
Neil Young, Robin Thicke, Gerard Butler and Miley Cyrus are among those whose houses were ravaged by the Woolsey fire raging north of Los Angeles in Southern California, according to the entertainers' respective online posts.

Japanese shot in Malate | Philstar.com

A Japanese man who was accused of estafa was shot in front of the Ambassador Hotel in Malate, Manila before noon Thursday.
Masato Ogushi, 67, had just boarded a pedicab in front of the hotel, where he was billeted, when he was shot in the neck by motorcycle-riding assailants along Mabini street at around 11:40 a.m.
The pedicab driver took the victim to the Ospital ng Maynila, where he was reported to be in critical condition.

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2018.11.11

News Headlines - 11 November 2018

Hometown urging search for missing French woman - NHK WORLD

Hundreds of people in the French town of Poitiers held a march on Saturday to press authorities do more to find a local woman who went missing while sightseeing in Japan.
36-year-old Tiphaine Veron was last seen leaving her accommodation in Nikko, north of Tokyo, on July 29th. Police in Japan are still searching for her.
Around 450 people turned out for a march organized by Veron's family to urge French police to send officers to Japan to help find Tiphaine.

Croydon bus crash: Driver arrested on suspicion of drug driving after collision leaves 15 year-old in 'critical condition' | The Independent

A 15-year-old girl is in critical condition after a double decker bus crashed into a bus shelter in south London in a suspected drug-driving incident on Sunday.
Police and emergency services were called to the scene in Station Road, Croydon shortly before 12.30pm following reports of a collision involving another bus and a car at West Croydon Bus Station.
The teenage girl – a passenger on the 198 bus – was taken to a local hospital by air ambulance and is now fighting for her life.

Topless Woman Tries to Charge Trump's Paris Motorcade | PEOPLE.com

A protester made her opinion of President Donald Trump crystal clear when she ran towards his car sans shirt in Paris during his trip to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice.
Trump’s motorcade was on the famous Champs-Élysées en route to the Arc de Triomphe when the woman approached. The words “fake peacemaker” were written on her body.

Douglas Rain, Stratford Festival actor and voice of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey, dies at 90 | CTV Kitchener News

Douglas Rain passed away Sunday morning at the age of 90.
The actor, one of the pioneers of the Stratford Festival, is best known for his role in Stanley Kubrick’s iconic 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Rain was the voice of the sentient computer HAL.

ATP Finals: Roger Federer beaten by Kei Nishikori in opening group match - BBC Sport

Roger Federer paid for his errors as he lost to Japan's Kei Nishikori in his opening group match at the ATP Finals.
The Swiss, chasing a 100th career title at the season-ending event, lost 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 to the world number nine.

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2018.11.10

News Headlines - 10 November 2018

German conservatives back Merkel protege for new CDU leader: poll | Reuters

Some 35 per cent of members of the two conservative parties in Germany's ruling coalition favour Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a protege of Chancellor Angela Merkel, to replace her as leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), a poll showed on Friday (Nov 9).
Some 33 per cent backed businessman Friedrich Merz while 7 per cent favoured Health Minister Jens Spahn, according to the poll of 1,200 people that Mannheim-based Forschungsgruppe Wahlen carried out for broadcaster ZDF between Nov 6 and 8.

Macron and Merkel lay wreath at WW1 armistice site - The Local

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday laid a wreath and unveiled a ceremonial plaque at a war memorial in eastern France where the armistice was signed ending World War I.
In a highly symbolic ceremony, Macron and Merkel met in a forest clearing near Compiègne, where Germany officially surrendered at dawn on November 11, 1918, bringing to a close more than four years of slaughter on the Western front.

Trump in Paris: Skips WWI battlefield commemoration with eye on political fights at home - The Washington Post

Early Saturday, the White House announced Trump and the first lady had scuttled plans, due to bad weather, for their first stop in the weekend’s remembrance activities — a visit to the solemn Aisne Marne American Cemetery, marking the ferocious Battle of Belleau Wood.
It was not completely clear why the Trumps were unable to attend. The cemetery is 50 miles from Paris.

London violent crime could take 'a generation' to solve - BBC News

It could take a generation to solve London's violent crime problem, the city's mayor has warned.
Two teenage boys and two men have been stabbed to death in the city in the last five days, including 15-year-old Jay Hughes.
Mayor Sadiq Khan told the BBC's Today programme to "really make significant progress can take up to 10 years"... There have been 118 homicides in the capital this year, including 73 stabbings and 12 shootings, compared to 116 for the whole of last year.

Congo Ministry: Ebola Outbreak Worst in Country's History

Congo's latest Ebola outbreak is the worst in the country's recorded history with 319 confirmed and probable cases, the health ministry said.
The deadly virus has killed about 198 people since the outbreak was declared Aug. 1 in the volatile east, the ministry said. Those dead include 163 confirmed Ebola cases, with 35 probable deaths. Nearly 100 people have survived Ebola.
This is Congo's 10th outbreak since 1976, when the hemorrhagic fever was first identified in Yambuku, in the Equateur province, the ministry said.

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2018.11.09

News Headlines - 09 November 2018

Disney's new Netflix rival will be called Disney+ and launch late 2019

Disney’s new streaming service will be called Disney+ and launch in late 2019, CEO Bob Iger announced on the company’s earnings call Thursday.
The company announced in August 2017 it would pull all its movies from Netflix in 2019, and start its own streaming offering for its past titles. Disney also purchased Fox for $71.3 billion in cash and stock, further bolstering its library.

May and Macron pay tribute to war dead at Somme ceremony | The Guardian

Theresa May has paid tribute to first world war soldiers who died at the Somme, as she joined the French president, Emmanuel Macron, on his armistice commemoration tour, where he warned that Europe must stick together as nationalism threatens the continent’s fragile peace.

Kyoto team uses iPS-derived cells to battle Parkinson's in world first - The Mainichi

In a global first, Kyoto University Hospital doctors injected neural progenitor cells created from iPS cells into the brain of a Parkinson's disease patient to ease his symptoms of the devastating nervous system disorder, the university said on Nov. 9.
The iPS cells, or induced pluripotent stem cells, are capable of turning into any type of cell, including neural progenitor cells. In the latest clinical trial started by the hospital, the cells injected into the patient's left brain are expected to grow into neurons and release dopamine to send signals to other nerve cells. Parkinson's disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine, causing symptoms such as tremors, slowed movement and dementia.

Meet adorable Zippy, Britain's second ever zonkey who was born on a Somerset farm - Somerset Live

Zippy, Britain's second ever Zonkey (an adorable cross between a zebra and a donkey), has been born in Somerset.
He is an ultra-rare Zebra-Donkey crossbreed who was born on October 2 on Kristine Turner’s 55-acre farm in South Barrow, Somerset... There is thought to be only one other zonkey in Britain, called Zambi, which lives on a donkey sanctuary in Shropshire.

BTS' Canceled Gig Underlines Japan & Korea's Awkward K-Pop Relationship | Billboard

On Friday (Nov. 9), headlines ran across both mainstream and music news outlets about BTS being dropped from a Japanese TV show over member Jimin wearing a T-shirt in 2017 that depicted the atomic bomb drop on Japan, among text celebrating Korea's liberation from Japanese rule during World War II. Fashion taste aside, what the stories are largely failing to recognize is the ongoing, politically driven tension that has plagued Korean acts in Japan for years, with this being the latest stumble in an already awkward relationship.

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2018.11.08

News Headlines - 08 November 2018

Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Japanese Reporter: ‘Say Hello to Shinzo, I’m Sure He’s Happy About Tariffs on His Cars’

During a press conference on the midterm elections results, President Donald Trump Wednesday afternoon told a Japanese reporter to say hello to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and remind him that their trade deal is unfair to the U.S.
The reporter with a Japanese accent asked, “Mr. President, how you focus on the economic...”
"Where are you from, please?" Trump cut in.
The reporter answered, "Japan."
"Say hello to Shinzo," Trump said, drawing some giggles from other media in the room.

Helge Ingstad: Norway's warship collides with tanker in fjord - BBC News

Norway has evacuated all 137 crew from one of its warships after it collided in a fjord with a Maltese oil tanker.
Eight people were lightly injured in the collision in the Hjeltefjord near Bergen. The KNM Helge Ingstad frigate has been listing dangerously.
The warship had been returning from Nato military exercises. The tanker, the Sola TS, was slightly damaged and it appears that it did not spill oil.

Grenade-shaped belt buckle prompts evacuation of Spanish rail stations | The Guardian

Police evacuated the main railway stations in Barcelona and Madrid during Wednesday morning’s rush hour after a belt buckle in the shape of a hand grenade triggered a security alert.
The incident, which turned out to be a false alarm, appears to have been caused by a woman carrying the belt buckle on to a train from Barcelona to Madrid.

Green slime and Rubik's cubes among the highlights on Guinness World Records Day - ITV News

From solving Rubik's cubes simultaneously with both hands and feet to lengthy green slime - countries around the world have showcased their best talents to celebrate Guinness World's Record Day.

Oscar-winning Love Story composer Francis Lai dies at 86 - BBC News

Oscar-winning French composer Francis Lai has died at the age of 86.
He was best-known for winning the prize for composing the memorable piano theme to the 1970 film Love Story.

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2018.11.07

News Headlines - 07 November 2018

Former Nazi SS camp guard, 94, goes on trial in Germany

A 94-year-old former SS enlisted man went on trial Tuesday in Germany, facing hundreds of counts of accessory to murder for alleged crimes committed during the years he served as a guard at the Nazis’ Stutthof concentration camp.

Who Steals Portable Toilets? German Court Renders Verdict - The New York Times

Two men in Germany have been convicted of stealing more than 100 portable toilets... Both men worked for a waste disposal company from whose premises the toilets — worth nearly 70,000 euros ($79,700) in all — gradually disappeared... The men admitted having sold the toilets to a company in the Netherlands via a go-between.

Woman who spent £16m in Harrods arrested - BBC News

A woman who spent £16m at Harrods and became the subject of the UK's first Unexplained Wealth Order has been arrested and faces extradition.
Zamira Hajiyeva, 55, is the wife of an ex-state banker who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for embezzlement in their home country of Azerbaijan.
Mrs Hajiyeva, who lives in a £15m house near the London store, became the first person to be served a UWO by the National Crime Agency last month... The UWO means she has to explain the origin of her fortune.

IT venture firm head detained for assault allegations

Police detained the head of a local online storage service company on Wednesday over multiple alleged assaults and violent acts toward his employees.
Police apprehended Yang Jin-ho, chief of WeDisk and also of robot developer K-Technology, in a residential building and took him into custody, the Gyeonggi police agency said.

Grenfell tower effigy: Sixth man arrested over video showing model being burned on a bonfire | The Independent

The 19-year-old was detained on suspicion of a public order offence after handing himself in to a police station in south London.
Five men – two 49-year-olds and the others aged 19, 46 and 55 – were arrested on Monday night.
All have since been released under investigation, the Metropolitan Police said on Tuesday evening.

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2018.11.06

News Headlines - 06 November 2018

Iran Accused of Plot to Assassinate Dissident in Denmark - The New York Times

Iran tried to assassinate an Arab separatist leader living in Denmark, the Danish authorities claim, adding that a suspect in the “unusual and very serious” plot was in custody.
The accusations have set off anger and concern in Denmark, a nation that has experienced little political violence in recent years. Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen called the plot “totally unacceptable,” Denmark recalled its ambassador to Iran, and potential joint European action is on the agenda for a meeting of European Union foreign ministers on Nov. 19.

Russia Reports Computer 'Malfunction' On International Space Station

Russia's Roskosmos space agency says one of the computers on the International Space Station (ISS) has malfunctioned, but it gave assurances that the defect has no impact on the safety of the crew.
Roskosmos said Russian flight controllers plan to reboot the faulty computer -- one of the three in the station's Russian module -- on November 8.

Deutsche Post profit hurt by restructuring costs at parcel business | Euronews

Deutsche Post DHL Group reported a sharp fall in operating profit on Tuesday, hurt by costs to restructure its troubled post and parcel division.
The German postal and logistics group is grappling with spiralling transport and staff costs at its Post - eCommerce - Parcel (PeP) division, and the group issued a profit warning for 2018 in June and started a restructuring programme.
It spent 392 million euros (342 million pounds) in the third quarter on restructuring measures at the PeP division which include splitting its post and parcel delivery division into a German and an international unit.

Japanese victims reportedly stalked - NHK WORLD

Guatemalan police investigating an attack on 2 Japanese women on Sunday say the victims had told their neighbors that they were being stalked and had been assaulted.
The Japanese Embassy in Guatemala says a Japanese woman is dead and another in a hospital with serious injuries.

Sexual Violence Routine in North Korea | Time

North Korean refugees say sexual violence against women in their former homeland is part of daily life. But a new report suggests there’s little chance that abused women in the North will get to say “MeToo” anytime soon.

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2018.11.05

News Headlines - 05 November 2018

Even Fox News Stops Running Trump Caravan Ad Criticized as Racist - The New York Times

NBC and Facebook, both of which had run the ad over the weekend, reversed course after a backlash on Monday and announced that the commercial would be removed, saying it fell short of their in-house advertising standards. CNN had refused to air the ad from the start, calling it “racist.”
Even Fox News, which has made warnings about the migrant caravan a staple of its prime time coverage of the midterms, felt compelled to distance itself from the ad.

Major new Brexit poll shows voters swinging towards Remain – Channel 4 News

Most UK voters would vote Remain if the EU referendum were held again, according to a major new poll from Channel 4 and Survation.
Some 54 per cent of people said they would stay in the EU if the 2016 referendum were held tomorrow – when those who refused to vote or answered “don’t know” were removed.

New £50 note will feature a British scientist - BBC News

The new £50 note will feature a prominent British scientist, the Bank of England has announced, with the public being asked for nominations.
In addition to the Queen, the note will include the portrait of an eminent late scientist from fields such as biology, astronomy and medical research.

Muji and Sensible 4 design Gacha, an autonomous shuttle bus for Finland

Japanese brand Muji has revealed designs for an autonomous shuttle bus built for all weather conditions, set to hit the roads in three Finnish cities by 2020.
The public shuttle bus, called Gacha, is designed in collaboration with Finnish autonomous driving company Sensible 4. According to Muji, it is the first autonomous bus in the world that is suited to all types of weather.

Sam Ballard dies eight years after being paralysed by garden slug

A promising young rugby player left paralysed after eating a garden slug as a dare, has died after an eight-year battle.
Sam Ballard was in a coma for 420 days after eating the slug at a party on Sydney’s north shore in 2010 when he was 19... He was later diagnosed with eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis contracted from rat lungworm which is usually found in rodents by snails and slugs can also be infected when they eat rat faeces.

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2018.11.04

News Headlines - 04 November 2018

As Trump restores sanctions, Iranians rally to mark anniversary of U.S. Embassy takeover

Thousands of Iranians rallied in Tehran on Sunday to mark the 39th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy takeover, as Washington restored all sanctions lifted under the nuclear deal.
The crowd chanted "Down with U.S." and "Death to Israel" during the rally in the capital, and state TV said similar demonstrations were held in other cities and towns.

Heather Nauert is Trump's leading choice for UN ambassador - CBS News

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert is President Trump's leading choice to take over the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, a senior administration official and another administration official with knowledge of the matter tell CBS News.
The post will be vacated current U.N. Ambassador and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley at the end of the year. The president has told White House advisers that he continues to be impressed by Nauert, a former Fox News host before joining the State Department. The president met with Nauert this week in the Oval Office, and may formally offer her the position as early as next week. CBS News had previously reported that Nauert was under consideration for the role.

German state Hesse to finally scrap death penalty - The Local

The western German state of Hesse has voted to finally scrap the death penalty, referendum results have shown, fixing a historical oddity given that the punishment has been illegal in Germany for nearly 70 years.
Results from a Sunday referendum showed that 83.2 percent of voters in Hesse, home to finance hub Frankfurt, were in favour of changing the state constitution written in 1946 that allowed capital punishment.
Just three years later, Germany's new post-war constitution, known as the "Basic Law of 1949", formally abolished the death penalty.

Man gets life in prison for killing Japanese woman in Canada | The Japan Times

A man convicted of murdering a Japanese woman in Vancouver in 2016 received a life sentence Friday with no chance of parole for 14 years, Canadian media reported.
The ruling by a Vancouver court came after William Schneider, 50, was found guilty of murder last month over the death of Natsumi Kogawa, then a 30-year-old student at a language school.

French poet Baudelaire suicide letter fetches €234,000 at auction - BBC News

A letter by the French 19th-Century poet Charles Baudelaire announcing he would kill himself has sold at auction for €234,000 (£204,000; $267,000).
The note, dated 30 June 1845, was addressed to Baudelaire's lover Jeanne Duval.
The poet, who was 24 years old at the time, attempted to commit suicide on the same day - but survived.

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2018.11.03

News Headlines - 03 November 2018

Muji misses out in removing some disputed trademarks, caught by Chinese owners - Global Times

Japanese retail chain Muji's removal of the wuyinliangpin characters from trademarks on some of its products after it lost a lawsuit to a Beijing-based company won't affect the company's reputation or popularity, a consumer said.
But experts noted that overseas companies should register sufficient trademarks related to their brands to guard against possible infringement as they develop their businesses in China.
Wuyinliangpin is the Chinese name for Muji meaning "good products with no signs."

Toyota to launch 'subscription' car service in January - Nikkei Asian Review

Toyota Motor will next year launch a service that will allow customers to try various car models for a fixed monthly fee in Japan. The new offering is part of the company's efforts to explore new business opportunities that do not depend on new car sales alone.
Toyota will become the first Japanese automaker to launch such a "subscription" service, envisioning cases where customers could, for example, use its Lexus sedan for a certain period of time and then switch to an SUV.
The company will consider introducing the scheme overseas as well, including in Asia.

Two men arrested after stabbing at Sony Music's London HQ | The Guardian

Two men have been arrested after a stabbing incident at Sony Music’s headquarters in west London.
The Metropolitan police said two men were being treated for non-life threatening injuries after being found with stab wounds at the scene in Kensington. Both were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm before being taken to hospital.

Apple Reports Record Results but Weak Revenue Outlook - WSJ

Apple Inc. reported its fourth consecutive quarter of record revenue and profit, as the combination of higher iPhone prices and strong app-store sales propelled the technology giant to its best year ever.
But the world’s most valuable company offered guidance for the current period that disappointed many investors, and said it would stop reporting unit sales for its products—a measure closely watched by investors—raising questions about the prospects for strong sales of new gadgets it has unveiled in the past two months.

Andres Iniesta shows he's still a genius as outrageous 'scoop pass' up Lukas Podolski goal for Japanese club Vissel Kobe

Few stars, past or present, would have conceived the option of the 'scoop pass' Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta saw for ex-Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski.
Fewer still could have delivered it so outrageously.
Nowadays the setting for these two over-30s is exotic rather than exalted.

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2018.11.02

News Headlines - 02 November 2018

Japan aims to open door wider to blue-collar workers | Reuters

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet approved draft legislation on Friday to open the door to more overseas blue-collar workers in sectors grappling with labor shortages, a controversial policy shift in immigration-shy Japan... Immigration has long been taboo as many Japanese prize ethnic homogeneity, but the reality of an aging, shrinking population is challenging such views.
Despite misgivings in Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), parliament is likely to adopt the revisions in the face of intense pressure from businesses battling the tightest labor market in decades, although opposition parties could delay.

2 ASDF fighters make contact midair, causing minor damage - The Mainichi

Two Air Self-Defense Force F-2 fighter jets came into contact midair Friday over the sea off southwestern Japan, the ASDF said, but despite suffering minor damage both aircraft managed to return to base.
The incident between the fighter jets, which fly out of the Tsuiki Air Base in Fukuoka Prefecture, occurred about 200 kilometers west of the base at around 3:55 p.m.

Japanese journalist apologizes, recounts days as hostage in Syria | Reuters

Jumpei Yasuda, a Japanese journalist held by militants in Syria for more than three years, said on Friday he told his captors to deafen him if they suspected he was eavesdropping on their conversations.
Yasuda, 44, said it was one of the darkest moments before his release last month, ending what he called 40 months of physical and psychological “hell”.

Khashoggi murder: Body 'dissolved in acid' - BBC News

A top Turkish official, presidential adviser Yasin Aktay, has said he believes Jamal Khashoggi's body was dissolved in acid after being cut up.
The "only logical conclusion", he said, was that those who had killed the Saudi journalist in Istanbul had destroyed his body "to leave no trace behind"... No forensic evidence has been provided to prove his body was dissolved.

Football: Documents Show Secret Plans for Elite League of Top Clubs - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Today, in November 2018, the Super League idea appears to have fresh impetus: According to the draft of a confidential term sheet that Real Madrid received just a few days ago from a consulting firm, 16 top clubs are to sign a document to establish such a league. According to the document, the league would begin operating in the 2021 season. One of the 16 clubs named in the document is FC Bayern Munich.

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2018.11.01

News Headlines - 01 November 2018

U.K. Expects Brexit Deal With EU by November 21, Dominic Raab Says - Bloomberg

British and European officials hailed progress in Brexit negotiations on Wednesday, with U.K. lead negotiator Dominic Raab predicting that a deal on the divorce will be finalized by Nov. 21.
In a letter to Parliament’s Brexit select committee sent Oct. 24 -- and published Wednesday -- Raab said “a great deal of progress” had been made in recent weeks, thanks in part to new British proposals for resolving the disagreement over the future of the Irish border.

Pound jumps on May’s Brexit deal on financial services | The Times

The pound jumped this morning after The Times revealed that Theresa May has struck a deal with Brussels that would give UK financial services companies continued access to European markets after Brexit.
British and European negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on all aspects of a future partnership on services, as well as the exchange of data, government sources said.

Download Free Digitized Art Through the Art Institute of Chicago Website

Chicago is a city steeped in art and culture. In addition to its iconic public sculptures, it boasts one of the oldest and largest museums in the country: the Art Institute of Chicago. While a real-life visit to this historic institution should be on all art lovers’ lists, a recent website redesign has made it easy to experience its collection with the click of a mouse.
The museum has reproduced thousands of high-resolution images of its art and released a substantial amount into the public domain. This means that, under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license, students, educators, and even everyday art lovers can download this digitized art for free.

BBC - The 100 greatest foreign-language films

One statistic we noted was that a quarter of the films on our list were East Asian: that is, 25 of them were made in Japan (11), China (6), Taiwan (4), Hong Kong (3) or South Korea (1). And the winning film, Seven Samurai, by the Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, was loved by critics everywhere – everywhere, that is, except for Japan. The six Japanese critics who voted didn’t go for a single Kurosawa film between them.

Football's lawmakers to discuss overhaul of handball rules while penalty rebounds could also be eliminated

Football’s lawmakers are expected to discuss a radical change to the handball rule to clarify it and take out the word “deliberately”.
The International FA Board (Ifab) advisory panels will also examine a raft of other potential measures, including altering the way penalties are taken.
A surprising proposal is expected to be put up for discussion which would mean that penalties are “one shot” – and that there will be no rebounds if the kick is saved or strikes the goal-frame and bounces back into play.

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2018.10.31

News Headlines - 31 October 2018

New 50 pence coin to commemorate Britain's Brexit day | Reuters

Britain will mint a new 50 pence ($0.6) coin to commemorate leaving the European Union in spring 2019, the finance ministry said on Monday.
The departure is one of a series of historic moments such as the 2012 Olympics, the decision to join the European Economic Community, the predecessor to the EU, in 1973, and the centenary of the First World War, it said.

Russian suicide bomb kills one and injures three in FSB offices | The Guardian

A suicide bombing in the offices of Russia’s Federal Security Service in Arkhangelsk in northern Russia has left three injured.
Investigators said a 17-year-old local male had been carrying the bomb in a bag and detonated it on Wednesday shortly after entering the FSB’s offices in the city, which is just south of the Arctic circle.

Town assembly on tiny Okinawa island finally elects speaker after 99th vote - The Mainichi

The municipal assembly on Japan's westernmost island of Yonaguni, Okinawa Prefecture, finally elected its speaker in its 99th vote on Oct. 31 after those elected in the previous processes had declined to take the post.
Both pro- and anti-mayor members had refused to take the post of speaker because the camp from which a speaker is elected would become a minority in the assembly that is evenly split into the ruling and opposition camps.

Mitsubishi Heavy to provide \220 billion to aid struggling aircraft unit | The Japan Times

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. said Wednesday it will provide \220 billion ($1.94 billion) to its struggling aircraft subsidiary to bolster its capital and help its long-delayed development of a regional passenger jet.
Mitsubishi Heavy said it will increase the capital of Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp. by \170 billion and also cancel \50 billion of the total debt owed by the subsidiary, as the aircraft company continued to have a negative net worth at the end of fiscal 2017.

Ford and Baidu will develop self-driving cars together in China - CNN

Ford and Baidu are teaming up to develop self-driving cars in China.
The US automaker and Chinese internet company said Wednesday they plan to start testing autonomous vehicles together on Beijing roads by the end of the year.
The project combines Baidu's (BIDU) "technological know-how and understanding of China together with Ford's vehicle expertise," said Zhenyu Li, head of Baidu's Intelligent Driving Group.

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2018.10.30

News Headlines - 30 October 2018

South Korea court orders Japan firm to compensate wartime forced labourers - The Straits Times

South Korea’s top court ruled on Tuesday (Oct 30) that Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp should compensate four South Koreans for their forced labour during World War Two, when Japan occupied Korea, Yonhap reported... The court ruled that the former labourers’ right to reparation was not terminated by a 1965 treaty normalising diplomatic ties, rejecting the claim by Tokyo, Yonhap said.
Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said on Tuesday that the South Korean court’s order was “unthinkable”, and the ruling overturned the legal basis for bilateral friendship since 1965.

Sony forecasts big jump to record annual profit on winning gaming strategy | Reuters

Japan’s Sony Corp boosted its annual profit outlook by 30 percent to a record level after a strong second-quarter, propelled by popular game titles like “Marvel’s Spider-Man” as well as growing demand for its online gaming services.

Twitter to remove 'like' tool in a bid to improve the quality of debate

Twitter is planning to remove the ability to "like" tweets in a radical move that aims to improve the quality of debate on the social network.
Founder Jack Dorsey last week admitted at a Twitter event that he was not a fan of the heart-shaped button and that it would be getting rid of it “soon”.
The feature was introduced in 2015 to replace “favourites”, a star-shaped button that allowed people to bookmark tweets to read later.

NASA Solar Probe Becomes Closest Spacecraft to the Sun - Geek.com

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe now holds the record for closest approach to the Sun by a human-made object.
The spacecraft on Monday passed within 26.55 million miles of the Sun’s surface, beating the previous achievement, set by the German-American Helios 2 in April 1976.
Expect a lot more broken records as the Parker Solar Probe mission continues, prepared to make a final close approach of 3.83 million miles from the Sun’s surface in 2024.

Police rescue animals from 'hellish' Albanian zoo | The Japan Times

Albanian police on Sunday broke open cages at a private zoo and removed 11 animals including three lions and a bear being kept in “hellish” conditions, animal welfare workers said.
After the owner of the zoo at Fier, around 100 km (60 miles) south of the capital Tirana, allegedly refused to cooperate, officers forcibly entered areas where the animals were kept to allow vets access, an AFP correspondent at the scene reported.

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2018.10.29

News Headlines - 29 October 2018

Indonesian Lion Air plane crashes into sea with 188 passengers, crew | AFP.com

An Indonesian Lion Air plane carrying 188 passengers and crew crashed into the sea Monday, officials said, moments after it had asked to be allowed to return to Jakarta.
The jet vanished from radar just 13 minutes after taking off from the Indonesian capital, plunging into the ocean.

China's yuan sinks to 10-year low against dollar

China’s yuan sank to a 10-year low against the dollar on Monday, coming close to breaking the politically sensitive level of seven to the U.S. currency.
The yuan declined to 6.9644 per dollar at midday, passing its most recent low in 2016 before recovering slightly. It was the lowest level since May 2008.
The currency’s weakness is one of a series of elements fueling Washington’s trade complaints against Beijing. The U.S. Treasury Department declined this month to label China a currency manipulator but said it was closely watching Beijing.

Sweden closer to election as Lofven drops bid to form government | Reuters

The failed attempt brought the prospect of a snap election closer, though the speaker of parliament said he would try to avoid that at all costs.
The Sept. 9 vote gave the anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats hold the balance of power, but neither Lofven’s center-left bloc nor the center-right group of parties has been willing to give them a say in policy due to their white supremacist roots.

Georgia presidential election poised for runoff | Reuters

Georgia’s presidential election looked likely to go to a second round as early official results on Sunday showed neither of the frontrunners with enough votes to secure victory.
French-born ruling party candidate Salome Zurabishvili had 43.2 percent of the vote and h