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Saturday, 30 November 2019

On Hong Kong streets, protesters say ‘Thank you’ to Donald Trump

December 1, 2019

By Kate O’Donnell-Lamb and David Dolan

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hundreds of people in Hong Kong, including many elderly residents, marched to the U.S. consulate on Sunday to show “gratitude” for U.S. support of anti-government protests that have roiled the financial hub for nearly six months.

Waving American flags, with some donning Donald Trump logo hats and t-shirts, protesters unfurled a banner depicting the U.S. president standing astride a tank with a U.S. flag behind him.

Another banner read “President Trump, please liberate Hong Kong.”

Trump this week signed into law congressional legislation that supported protesters in the China-ruled city, despite angry objections from Beijing.

“Thank you President Trump for your big gift to Hong Kong and God bless America,” shouted a speaker holding a microphone as he addressed a crowd at the start of the march.

Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of protesters, including many families with children, marched in protest against police use of tear gas.

Carrying yellow balloons and waving banners that read “No tear gas, save our children”, the protesters streamed through the city’s central business district towards government headquarters on the main Hong Kong island.

There has been relative calm in Hong Kong for the past week but activists have pledged to maintain the momentum of the movement with three marches planned for Sunday. All have been approved by authorities.

Anti-government protests have rocked the former British colony since June, at times forcing government offices, businesses, schools and even the international airport to shut.

“We want the police to stop using tear gas,” said a woman surnamed Wong, who marched with her husband and five year old son.

“It’s not a good way to solve the problem. The government needs to listen to the people. It is ridiculous.”

Police have fired around 10,000 rounds of tear gas since June, the city’s Secretary for Security, John Lee, said this week.


Sunday’s marches came as a top Hong Kong official said the government was looking into setting up an independent committee to review the handling of the crisis, in which demonstrations have become increasingly violent.

The protesters in Hong Kong are angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in the freedoms promised to the former British colony when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

China denies interfering and says it is committed to the “one country, two systems” formula put in place at that time and has blamed foreign forces for fomenting unrest.

On Saturday, secondary school students and retirees joined forces to protest against what they called police brutality and unlawful arrests.

While Saturday’s rallies were mostly peaceful, public broadcaster RTHK reported that police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters after a vigil outside the Prince Edward metro station. Some residents believe that some protesters were killed by police there three months ago. Police have denied that account.

Further protests are planned through the week and a big test of support for the anti-government campaign is expected on December 8 with a rally planned by Civil Human Rights Front, the group that organized million-strong marches in June.

Another march is planned on Sunday in the popular shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui.

That march is scheduled to end in Hung Hom, a district near the ruined campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The campus turned into a battleground in mid-November when protesters barricaded themselves in and faced off riot police in violent clashes of petrol bombs, water cannon and tear gas.

About 1,100 people were arrested last week, some while trying to escape.

On Friday police withdrew from the university after collecting evidence and removing dangerous items including thousands of petrol bombs, arrows and chemicals which had been strewn around the site.

(Reporting by Kate O’Donnell-Lamb, David Doland and Martin Pollard, Writing by Farah Master; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

PS4 surprise UPDATE: Download a FREE PlayStation game bonus today

PS4 owners can download a free game bonus today, with plenty of other deals still available on the PlayStation Store.

NFL notebook: Pryor reportedly in stable condition after stabbing

December 1, 2019

Free agent wide receiver Terrelle Pryor was stabbed early Saturday morning in Pittsburgh by a woman he is being charged with assaulting, according to a report by WPXI.

Pryor, 30, reportedly was stabbed in the shoulder and chest in the early hours overnight at his apartment. After initially being reported in critical condition, the former wideout was upgraded to stable and is expected to survive after undergoing surgery.

Pittsburgh police have a woman in custody, identified as 24-year-old Shalaya Briston. Per the WPXI report, she faces charges of criminal attempt homicide and aggravated assault, with Pryor being charged with simple assault.

The former Ohio State quarterback, who has played for five teams since entering the NFL as a quarterback in 2011, was released by Jacksonville in September.

–Washington Redskins president Bruce Allen’s job could be in jeopardy as the team struggles through another down season, multiple outlets reported.

NFL Network reported owner Dan Snyder is “truly evaluating” the job status of Allen “for the first time” since he joined the team in December of 2009.

–Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Drew Lock was activated off injured reserve as Brett Rypien was waived to make room for Lock, who could start Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

While NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Lock would be in line to be under center start versus the Chargers, coach Vic Fangio said the decision has yet to be reached. Brandon Allen started Denver’s last three games after a season-ending neck injury to Joe Flacco.

–The Detroit Lions placed quarterback Jeff Driskel on injured reserve, ending his season and putting rookie David Blough in line for his second start in Week 14.

Driskel sat out a loss to Chicago on Thanksgiving because of a hamstring injury. The Lions lost their fifth consecutive game and are unsure of the status of regular starter Matthew Stafford, who has missed four consecutive games (hip, back).

–Cleveland safety Damarious Randall, who was ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit against Pittsburgh wide receiver Diontae Johnson when the two teams last met, has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Steelers.

Randall did not make the trip to Pittsburgh due to a coach’s decision. Offensive lineman Greg Robinson (concussion) also was downgraded to out.

–While the New England Patriots mostly survived the flu outbreak that led to eight players missing practice on Wednesday, they have ruled out cornerback Jason McCourty (groin) for Sunday night’s game at Houston.

The team also announced that defensive lineman Byron Cowart (head) has been downgraded to out. Only one player — backup tight end Ryan Izzo — is out due to the flu.

Five starters — All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore, safety Patrick Chung, linebackers Jamie Collins Sr. and Dont’a Hightower, and left tackle Isaiah Wynn — reportedly were feeling better and were listed as questionable on Saturday’s injury report.

–The Los Angeles Chargers activated starting safeties Derwin James and Adrian Phillips from injured reserve.

The Chargers have played without James all season, and Phillips broke his right arm in Week 2. James underwent surgery on Aug. 22 in which a new screw was inserted in his right foot after an old screw — from an operation while at Florida State — bent during a training camp practice.

–Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard has been ruled out for Sunday’s road game against the Miami Dolphins.

Howard has nursed a shoulder injury since rushing for 82 yards and a touchdown against his former team in the Eagles’ victory over Chicago on Nov. 3. The 25-year-old leads the team in carries (119), rushing yards (525) and rushing touchdowns (six).

–Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen was listed as questionable to play in Monday’s road game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Thielen initially injured his hamstring on a touchdown catch against Detroit on Oct. 20. The 29-year-old attempted to play at Kansas City two weeks later but lasted only seven snaps and has not played since.

–Seahawks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is expected to play in Monday night’s contest against Minnesota after missing one game with a core-muscle injury.

The Seahawks listed Clowney as questionable on their Saturday injury report. Clowney was a limited practice participant for the second straight day, leading to optimism from Seattle coach Pete Carroll. Clowney suffered the injury against San Francisco on Nov. 11.

–The Houston Texans placed rookie offensive tackle Tytus Howard on injured reserve due to a knee injury.

Howard was previously listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game against New England prior to Saturday’s decision. Howard missed two games earlier this season with a partially torn MCL, an injury he suffered during an Oct. 13 game against Kansas City.

–The New York Giants placed long snapper Zak DeOssie, who is nursing wrist and knee injuries, on injured reserve, the team announced.

The Giants promoted Colin Holba from the practice squad to take DeOssie’s roster spot ahead of Sunday’s game against Green Bay in East Rutherford, N.J.

–Field Level Media

NBA roundup: Harden scores 60 as Rockets dominate Hawks

December 1, 2019

James Harden scored 60 points to reach the mark for the fourth time in his career, as the Houston Rockets steamrolled the visiting Atlanta Hawks 158-111 on Saturday night.

Harden made 16 of 24 field-goal attempts — the fewest ever in a 60-point game — including 8 of 14 from 3-point range, and connected on 20 of 23 free-throw attempts. He played just 31 minutes due to the one-sided contest and fell one point shy of his career high of 61, accomplished twice. Harden’s fourth 60-point outing ties for third in NBA history with Michael Jordan. Only Wilt Chamberlain (32) and Kobe Bryant (six) have more.

“That’s a great list right there. Those guys are something that I’m trying to get to,” Harden said in a postgame television interview. “Hopefully when it is all said and done, I can be mentioned in that group forever.”

Harden, who also had eight assists, became the fourth player to score 50 or more points on 20 occasions, trailing Chamberlain (118), Jordan (31) and Bryant (25).

Kings 100, Nuggets 97 (OT)

Harrison Barnes scored four of his game-high 30 points in succession to put Sacramento in front in overtime, and Buddy Hield hit two late free throws to help the hosts, after a furious fourth-quarter rally, earn a victory over Denver.

Denver, which led by 14 points with 7:21 remaining in regulation, took one final lead on a 3-pointer by Gary Harris in the second minute of the extra session.

But the Nuggets, losing for the first time after six straight victories, didn’t score again until Harris dropped in two free throws with 14.9 seconds remaining following two free throws and a short-range hoop by Barnes that helped put the Kings on top. Hield’s clinching foul shots came with 9.5 seconds left.

Bucks 137, Hornets 96

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 26 points in just 20 minutes of action, leading nine Milwaukee players in double figures in the team’s 11th straight win, a rout over visiting Charlotte.

The Bucks never trailed, building a double-digit lead less than seven minutes into the first quarter. The Hornets trimmed the deficit to three early in the second quarter, paced by the jump-shooting of guards Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham, but got no closer.

The Bucks quickly pushed the gap to 23 points three minutes out of halftime. Wesley Matthews hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the period, part of his 3-for-6 shooting from deep and 14 points. Robin Lopez knocked down three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points. The Bucks hit 20 of 44 (45.5 percent) from long range as a team.

76ers 119, Pacers 116

Joel Embiid had 32 points and 11 rebounds while hitting all 15 of his free throws to lift host Philadelphia past Indiana.

It was Embiid’s 12th double-double as the Sixers improved to 9-0 at home. They also won their third in a row overall. Tobias Harris scored 22 points, Al Horford added 15 and Ben Simmons (7-for-7 from the free-throw line) had 15 points, 13 assists, six rebounds and four steals.

T.J. Warren led the Pacers with 29 points, while Malcolm Brogdon added 28. Jeremy Lamb scored 15 points, and Domantas Sabonis had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who had their five-game winning streak snapped.

–Field Level Media

Flashback: Samsung Galaxy S III had both brains and brawn

The Samsung Galaxy S III was a rousing success, but the years since its launch in 2012 and now have caused memories of its innovative design to fade. Samsung Galaxy S III official shots The Galaxy S III (the last in the series to use Roman numerals) was unveiled in London in early May 2012. Samsung raked in 9 million pre-orders from 100 carriers worldwide before the phone was released a month later. It sold 20 million units in the first 100 days of availability, then reached 30 million sold in November. By the time the S III was relegated to the history books, it reportedly sold...

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PS5 games update: New PlayStation will have BIG advantage over Xbox Two

THE PS5 looks like it will have one big advantage over the Xbox Two when it launches next year.

China will maintain ‘normal’ monetary policy as long as possible: central bank governor

December 1, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s central bank governor said on Sunday that the country should maintain “normal” monetary policy as long as possible since economic growth is still within a reasonable range and inflation is mild overall.

The exchange rate of China’s yuan is decided by the markets’ supply and demand, we will not resort to competitive devaluation of the yuan, Yi Gang wrote in an article published by the leading Communist Party theoretical journal Qiushi.

China’s central bank will continue to promote reform of the yuan, and keep it basically stable on a reasonably balanced level, Yi said.

Yi also said China will strengthen the supervision of property financing markets.

(Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Se Young Lee; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

Australia’s Weeks says hope helped him survive Taliban captivity

December 1, 2019

By Lidia Kelly

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Timothy Weeks, the Australian academic released by the Taliban in November after being kept hostage for more than three years, said on Sunday that hope helped him survive the ordeal.

Weeks and U.S. citizen Kevin King were freed by the Taliban in return for the release of three Taliban commanders. The two were kidnapped in August 2016 outside Kabul’s American University of Afghanistan where they worked.

Speaking publicly for the first time since his release a visibly emotional Weeks said that the “long and tortuous ordeal” had a profound effect on him.

“At times, I felt as if my death was imminent and that I would never return to see those that I loved again,” Weeks said in Sydney in remarks televised by the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “But, by the will of God, I am here. I am alive and I am safe. And I am free. There is nothing else in the world that I need.”

He said that he had never given up hope, although his freedom took longer than he expected.

“If you give up hope, there is very little left for you,” he added.

Kidnapping has been a major problem in Afghanistan for many years. Most victims are Afghans and many kidnappers are criminal gangs seeking ransoms but foreigners have also been abducted for political ends.

The 50-year old teacher from Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, who returned to Australia on Thursday, also said that he believed that there were six attempts made to free him and King, including U.S. Navy SEAL forces in at least one instance.

“We were woken in the morning at around 2 a.m. and we were taken down into the tunnels. We were told by our guards that it was Daesh, and I’ve since learnt that I believe now that it was the Navy SEALs coming in to get us,” he said.

He said that although both were treated “as well as could be expected”, they were moved around various locations and sometimes kept in dark cells.

Weeks said he does not hate the guards who were watching him.

“A lot of people don’t admit this, but for me, they were soldiers. And soldiers obey the commands of their commanders. Then don’t get a choice,” Weeks said.

“Some of them were so compassionate and such lovely, lovely people. And it really led me to think about… You know, how did they end up like this?”

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

China wants rollback of tariffs in phase one trade deal with U.S.: Global TImes

December 1, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Beijing is insisting that a rollback of tariffs must be part of any phase one trade deal with Washington, China’s Global Times newspaper said on Sunday citing unnamed sources, amid continued uncertainty on whether the two sides can reach an agreement.

“A US pledge to scrap tariffs scheduled for December 15 cannot replace the rollbacks of tariffs,” the newspaper said in a tweet. The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.

(Reporting by Se Young Lee and Lusha Zhang; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

Here’s my pup seeing snow for the first time via /r/aww

Huawei Watch GT 2 review

The Huawei Watch GT 2 announcement was somewhat overlooked as it was part of the event that gave us the Mate 30 series. As things unfolded since the smartwatch got far wider availability so we decided to test if its two-week battery life claim materializes in real life and what else it has to offer. Huawei Watch GT 2 specs Body: 46mm: 45.9 x 45.9 x 10.7 mm, 41g weight 22mm strap; 42mm: 41.8 x 41.8 x 9.4 mm mm, 29g, 5 ATM water resistance; Stainless Steel frame, ceramic back Display: 46mm: 1.39" OLED, Resolution 454x454, 326 ppi; 42mm: 1.2" OLED, Resolution 390x390, 326 ppi OS:...

South Korea November exports plunge as China-U.S. deal still in dark

December 1, 2019

By Choonsik Yoo and Joori Roh

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean exports in November fell for the 12th month in a row and far more than expected, denting hopes for the global manufacturing sector stabilizing as a much-awaited China-U.S. trade deal is still in darkness.

Exports declined 14.3% in November from a year earlier, trade ministry data showed on Sunday, far below a median 10.2% fall tipped in a Reuters poll and missing even the worst forecast in the survey of an 11.1% loss.

It was also the second-worst drop in overseas sales in nearly four years as global semiconductor prices failed to turn around while China, the country’s biggest export market, continued to cut down purchases from its smaller neighbor.

The surprisingly weak November data from a manufacturing powerhouse, which reports monthly trade data ahead of major exporting nations each month, underscores the global economy still far from a turning point.

“The optimism for the first-phase trade deal between the United States and China will take time before actually boosting exports, and today’s poor data means the turnaround in exports is taking longer than expected,” said Chun Kyu-yeon, economist at Hana Financial Investment.

Shipments to China fell 12.2% in November from a year earlier, while overseas sales of semiconductors, South Korea’s top export item, tumbled by 30.8% in value as prices plunged this year from a super-rally last year.

Imports fell 13.0% on-year in November, also missing an 11.9% contraction tipped in the survey. That brought the November trade balance to a $3.37 billion surplus, versus a $5.34 billion surplus a month earlier.

Sunday’s data left shipments for the first 11 months of this year 10.7% below a year earlier, putting the country on track for its worst annual exports performance since a 13.9% fall in 2009 during the height of a global financial crisis.

South Korea’s economy, the fourth-largest in Asia and heavily dependent on exports, has been hit especially hard by cooling global trade and a prolonged tariff war between China and the United States.

On Friday, the central bank trimmed its 2019 economic growth forecast for the fourth time this year to the lowest in a decade, and also lowered next year’s forecast.

The downgrades came even after the Bank of Korea cut rates twice this year, the most recent cut coming in October. Many analysts expect the central bank to ease policy further next year to support the stuttering economy.

(Reporting by Choonsik Yoo and Joori Roh in Seoul; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

No. 15 Auburn wins wild Iron Bowl over No. 5 Alabama

December 1, 2019

Running back Shaun Shivers bulled his way for the decisive 11-yard touchdown on his only carry of the afternoon as No. 15 Auburn dealt a fatal blow to fifth-ranked Alabama’s playoff hopes with a 48-45 victory over the Crimson Tide on Saturday in Auburn, Ala.

Kicker Joseph Bulova’s 30-yard field goal bounced off the left upright with two minutes left, denying the Tide an opportunity to send the game to overtime.

Freshman quarterback Bo Nix passed for 173 yards and a touchdown, running back JaTarvious Whitlow accounted for 114 yards rushing and 29 receiving, and kicker Anders Carlson kicked four field goals for the Tigers (9-3, 5-3 SEC).

Auburn ran out the clock after the missed field goal, thanks to a fourth-down conversion when Alabama was penalized 5 yards for a substitution infraction.

Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, in his second start since Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending hip injury, completed 26 of 39 passes for 335 yards and four touchdowns for the Tide (10-2, 6-2 SEC). Three of his touchdowns went to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, covering 58, 12 and 28 yards. Waddle also scored on a 98-yard kickoff return.

But Jones also threw a pair of interceptions that Auburn returned for touchdowns by linebacker Zakoby McClain (100 yards) and Smoke Monday (29).

The second-highest-scoring Iron Bowl in series history was chugging along at 10-10 midway through the second quarter when the fireworks began. Starting with Monday’s 29-yard interception return, the teams put up five touchdowns and a field goal over the last 5 minutes, 36 seconds of the half.

The Tide’s touchdowns came on Waddle’s long kickoff return that followed Monday’s pick, receiver Henry Ruggs III’s 3-yard touchdown reception, and Waddle’s 58-yard scoring sprint after securing Jones’ flat pass.

After Monday’s touchdown, the Tigers’ scored on Nix’s 14-yard pass to receiver Sal Cannella and Carlson’s 52-yard field goal that was set up when officials put a second back on the clock after a review following Whitlow’s 17-yard gain on a screen pass.

The 93 points are second only to the 99 total in Alabama’s 55-44 win in 2014.

Whitlow finished with 114 yards on 16 carries. Alabama’s Najee Harris ran for 146 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.

–Field Level Media

Freddie Mercury: Incredible FIRST video of teenage star at college - Already doing THIS

FREDDIE MERCURY is revealed as a shy young student in this extraordinary video from his teenage college days.

Drove my two Goldens from Cali to Georgia for Thanksgiving to be with my parents' four Goldens via /r/aww

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Samsung Galaxy Note10 and Note9 phones are already getting December security patch OTA

Yes, you read that correctly, December security patches, even though, as of writing this, it is still technically November. You won't hear us complain, though, especially since Samsung kind of managed the same feat for the November Galaxy S10 security patch, which started seeding in late October. If this becomes a habit, the Korean giant definitely deserves some praise. As things currently stand, Galaxy Note10 and Note10+ users in about 25 Europe markets should be able to fetch an N97*FXXS1ASKB OTA package, thorough the phone's update menu. As for the Galaxy Note9, as far as we can...

Friday, 29 November 2019

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New Zealand government flags significant infrastructure spending

November 30, 2019

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The New Zealand government plans a significant increase in infrastructure spending, making use of low borrowing costs to “build” the country, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said on Saturday.

Economic output of the Pacific country has been ebbing this year with activity in the service industries, construction, mining and manufacturing – main contributors to gross domestic product (GDP) growth – idling.

Year-on-year GDP growth slowed to 2.1% in the second quarter, the lowest since 2013, hurt by record low business confidence, headwinds from international trade tensions, a slowing Chinese economy and Brexit.

The central bank, which surprised the market earlier this month by not easing monetary policy, has repeatedly called on the government to spend more to drive economic growth.

“I can announce today that the government will significantly increase spending on infrastructure,” Robertson told his governing Labour Party’s annual conference, according to a transcript of the speech posted on the party’s website.

“We are currently finalizing the specific projects that the package will fund but I can tell you this – it will be significant.”

Robertson said more details would be presented in December, but added that this is the time to “take the next step forward in our legacy of building” the country.

“Right now, we can borrow at an interest rate of 1.3% for 10 years. Just think about that for a minute,” Robertson said.

“We have the lowest borrowing costs in New Zealand’s history, so it is time to invest.”

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; editing by Richard Pullin)

Deal: Sony Xperia 10 is less than half its usual price at just $169.99 unlocked

Sony unveiled the mid-range Xperia 10 at MWC this February alongside the Xperia 1 flagship. Like that high-end model, the Xperia 10 also has a supertall screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio, making for a pretty unique look (especially when you add in Sony's blocky design language). While you may not watch a lot of 21:9 video content on your smartphone, this aspect ratio may also make you scroll less inside any apps that rely on that vertical action a lot - like, say Facebook, or Instagram. The display is definitely the Xperia 10's main claim to fame and its clear differentiator from the...

NHL roundup: Bruins nip Rangers in OT for 6th straight win

November 30, 2019

David Krejci scored 1:40 into overtime as the Boston Bruins rallied from two goals down to beat the visiting New York Rangers 3-2 on Friday.

David Pastrnak tied the score in the third period, and Sean Kuraly also scored as the Bruins ran their winning streak to six games. Jaroslav Halak stopped 26 shots.

Pavel Buchnevich and Filip Chytil scored for the Rangers, who had their three-game winning streak end. Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves.

Krejci went top shelf for the game-winner in overtime after Pastrnak crashed the net to draw in the defense. Halak also earned an assist on the goal.

Capitals 4, Lightning 3 (OT)

Dmitry Orlov scored the game-winner in overtime to cap a two-point game as host Washington erased a third-period deficit to beat Tampa Bay.

Orlov became the hero 3:03 into overtime when he ripped a high short-side shot home for his second goal of the season. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made 27 saves for the win, while T.J. Oshie collected three assists.

The Capitals got to OT by erasing a 3-1 deficit in the third. First, Jakub Vrana made it one-goal game when he slipped a sharp-angled shot into the net at 3:45 of the period. Then, Alex Ovechkin’s power-play goal, a patented one-timer from the top of the left circle, tied the game at 11:36.

Jets 3, Ducks 0

Nikolaj Ehlers scored his team-leading 12th goal, Kyle Connor recorded his 10th, and Connor Hellebuyck needed to make just 24 saves for his second shutout as surging Winnipeg prevailed at Anaheim to win its third straight game.

Neal Pionk also scored, and Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine each added two assists as the Jets improved to 10-2-1 in November. They’re also 7-1-0 on the road this month.

Hellebuyck was pulled after allowing five goals on 19 shots during Winnipeg’s 7-4 loss at Anaheim on Oct. 29. However, he came up big often on Friday, even while not seeing many shots en route to his 16th career shutout.

Sharks 4, Kings 1

Noah Gregor scored his first career goal, and Logan Couture added another score in the second period as host San Jose put away from Los Angeles for the second time in four days.

Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic each scored in the first period as the Sharks won for the fourth time in their past five games. Martin Jones made 33 saves for San Jose.

Kyle Clifford scored his third of the season with less than two minutes remaining to avoid the shutout as the Kings lost for the third time in their past four games. Los Angeles lost its eighth consecutive road game, scoring 10 goals in those games.

Wild 7, Senators 2

Minnesota scored six unanswered goals as they put away visiting Ottawa for the eighth consecutive time.

Jared Spurgeon contributed a goal and two assists, and Ryan Donato and Zach Parise also scored second-period goals.

Luke Kunin, Ryan Hartman and Jason Zucker added tallies in the final period, and Jonas Brodin had two assists. Eric Staal had a goal and an assist and played in his 1,200th NHL game, fifth among active players.

Sabres 6, Maple Leafs 4

Jack Eichel collected two goals and an assist as host Buffalo scored four times in the second period en route to a win over Toronto.

Casey Mittelstadt scored to snap a 16-game goal drought, and rookie Victor Olofsson, Jimmy Vesey and Jeff Skinner also tallied for Buffalo, which received 25 saves from Linus Ullmark.

The Sabres, who snapped a five-game winless skid against the Maple Leafs, will vie for a sweep of the home-and-home series when the Atlantic Division rivals reconvene in Toronto on Saturday. The Maple Leafs got two goals from John Tavares and one apiece from Dmytro Timashov and Kasperi Kapanen.

Avalanche 5, Blackhawks 2

Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and three assists, J.T. Compher scored a goal and added two assists, and Colorado won at Chicago in the front end of a back-to-back set.

Cale Makar, Valeri Nichushkin and Ryan Graves also had goals and Pavel Francouz stopped 34 shots for the Avalanche, who have won two in a row. Patrick Kane and Zack Smith scored, and Corey Crawford had 18 saves for the Blackhawks.

The Avalanche played without forward Andre Burakovsky, who sustained an upper-body injury in Wednesday’s win over Edmonton. He did not make the trip with the team and is considered day-to-day. The teams meet again Saturday night in Denver.

Flyers 6, Red Wings 1

Sean Couturier and Scott Laughton each had a goal and an assist as host Philadelphia had little trouble with Detroit, the team with the fewest points in the NHL.

Shayne Gostisbehere, Kevin Hayes, Oskar Lindblom and James van Riemsdyk scored one goal apiece for the Flyers, who won their third in a row. Jake Voracek recorded three assists while Matt Niskanen added two assists for the Flyers, who improved to 8-1-4 at home. They also have recorded at least one point in five consecutive games.

Robby Fabbri scored the lone goal for the reeling Red Wings, who fell to 0-6-2 in their past eight games. Detroit goaltender Cal Pickard, who played for the Flyers last season, stopped 29 shots.

–Field Level Media

NFL notebook: Cardinals CB Shaw suspended for betting

November 30, 2019

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Josh Shaw was suspended at least through the end of the 2020 season for betting on NFL games multiple times this season, the league announced Friday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell issued the suspension of Shaw, a fifth-year player currently on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury. In March, Shaw signed a one-year deal with Arizona and would become a free agent after this season.

Shaw, 27, can appeal his suspension by filing notice within three days and can seek reinstatement to the NFL on Feb. 15, 2021.

No evidence was found that indicated Shaw used inside information or “that any game was compromised in any way,” according to the NFL, which added, “Nor was there evidence suggesting any awareness by teammates, coaches or other players of his betting activity.”

–Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson agreed to a four-year contract extension that will make him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history, according to multiple reports citing sources. Reports said the extension is worth $72 million, with more than $54 million guaranteed.

The Eagles confirmed the extension runs through 2025 for Johnson, 29, who had two more years left on his original five-year extension signed in January 2016.

After sustaining a concussion and missing the past two games, Johnson is expected to return Sunday when the Eagles play at the Miami Dolphins.

–Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was added to the team’s injury report and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams due to a hamstring injury.

It wasn’t clear when Murray sustained the injury. Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury spoke to reporters before the injury report was released and said it appeared that everybody on the 53-man roster was available to play.

Murray was listed as a full practice participant after Friday’s workout.

–Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Drew Lock is in line to come off injured reserve and start Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.

However, Broncos coach Vic Fangio stopped short of saying Lock definitely will start over Brandon Allen, who has started Denver’s last three games after a season-ending neck injury to Joe Flacco.

Fangio said Lock will be activated on Saturday but that the decision of whether or not Lock starts on Sunday hasn’t been reached.

–Dallas Cowboys left guard Connor Williams will miss the rest of the season after tearing his ACL on Thursday against the Buffalo Bills, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett announced.

Williams missed one game earlier this season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. His latest injury will require major surgery, which he is expected to have in the next two to four weeks.

Xavier Su’a-Filo replaced Williams after his injury and is expected to take over the starting role.

–The New England Patriots released kicker Nick Folk after he underwent an appendectomy earlier this week, the team announced. Replacing him for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans is free agent kicker Kai Forbath.

Forbath, 32, has yet to play in the NFL this season after appearing in three games with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018, going 4 of 5 on field-goal attempts. He was the Minnesota Vikings’ full-time kicker in 2017.

–The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and likely running back James Conner for Sunday’s home game against the Cleveland Browns, multiple media outlets reported.

Smith-Schuster cleared concussion protocol this week but a knee injury will force him to miss his second straight game. Conner returned to practice the last two days but has been listed as doubtful to play against the Browns due to a shoulder injury.

–Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan will miss a game for the first time in his NFL career this weekend, interim coach Bill Callahan announced.

Kerrigan, who has started in 139 consecutive regular-season games, has been ruled out of Sunday’s road tilt against the Carolina Panthers due to a concussion.

–Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams has been ruled out for this weekend’s game against the Oakland Raiders, coach Andy Reid announced. Williams injured his ribs in Kansas City’s 24-17 victory over the Chargers in Mexico City on Nov. 18.

LeSean McCoy, Darrel Williams and rookie Darwin Thompson are expected to handle the backfield responsibilities for the Chiefs on Sunday.

–New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers because of a concussion.

The 31-year-old Tate missed practice again because of the injury, which he sustained last week while making a touchdown catch against the Chicago Bears.

–The Giants are expected to place long snapper Zak DeOssie on injured reserve, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported.

DeOssie, who is nursing wrist and knee injuries, was responsible for a bad snap that led to a 42-yard missed field goal by Aldrick Rosas in New York’s 19-14 setback against Chicago on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

China November factory activity unexpectedly returns to growth

November 30, 2019

BEIJING (Reuters) – Factory activity in China unexpectedly returned to growth in November for the first time in seven months, as domestic demand picked up on Beijing’s accelerated stimulus measures to steady growth.

But gains were still slight, and export demand remained sluggish. More U.S. tariffs are looming within weeks and Beijing and Washington are still haggling over a first phase trade deal.

With China’s economic growth cooling to near 30-year lows and industrial profits shrinking, speculation is mounting that Beijing needs to roll out stimulus more quickly and more aggressively, even if it risks adding to a pile of debt.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) bounced back to 50.2 in November, its highest since March, China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Saturday, above the 50-point mark that separates growth from contraction on a monthly basis.

The result compared with 49.3 in October.

A Reuters poll showed analysts expected the November PMI to come in at 49.5, rising just marginally from the previous month.

The official factory gauge pointed to an improvement in China’s vast manufacturing sector last month. Total new orders bounced back to expansionary territory with the sub-index rising to 51.3, the highest level seen since April.

That indicates domestic consumption firmed up after Beijing repeatedly urged local governments to kick stimulus up a gear to meet economic goals before year-end.

Beijing has front-loaded 1 trillion yuan ($142 billion) of a 2020 local government special bonds quota to this year and has urged that they be issued and used as early as possible, a sign that some analysts believe suggests the government is worried about downward pressure on the economy.

Factory output also rose to 52.6 in November, the strongest pace since March.

But uncertainties in the U.S.-China trade conflict clouded the outlook for external demand. New export orders fell for an 18th straight month in November, albeit at a slower pace, with the sub-index rising to 48.8 from 47.0 in October.

U.S. President Donald Trump said this week that the world’s largest economies are close to reaching agreement on the first phase of a trade deal. But trade experts and people close to the White House said it could slide into the new year, given China is pressing for more extensive tariff rollbacks.

The next U.S. tariff deadline is Dec. 15, when it is scheduled to slap a 15% levy on about $156 billion of Chinese products.

The PMI survey also indicated factories continued to cut jobs in November despite slightly improved business confidence. The employment sub-index was at 47.3, unchanged from that in October.

Beijing’s drive to guide more bank lending towards small private firms appeared to be working. Their PMI index recorded the strongest gain in November, compared to medium-sized and large firms, but their performance was still the poorest of the three at 49.4.


Growth in China’s services sector activity also quickened in November.

The official services PMI picked up to 54.4, recovering from October’s 52.8, the lowest point since February 2016, a separate NBS survey showed.

A strong services sector has offered Beijing some cushioning effects as manufacturers face growing difficulties in securing demand both at home and abroad.

However, the sector’s resilience weakened late last year amid a broader economic slowdown.

China’s gross domestic product growth is expected to slow to a near three-decade low of 6.2% in 2019 and then hit 5.9% in 2020, according to a Reuters poll.

(Reporting by Yawen Chen and Se Young Lee; Additional reporting by Roxanne Liu; Editing by)

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Vietnam receives remains of all British truck victims

November 30, 2019

By Khanh Vu

HANOI (Reuters) – The remains of 39 Vietnamese people found dead in a truck near London last month have been brought to Vietnam, bringing to a close a tragic saga that has devastated rural communities in the Southeast Asian country.

The remains of 23 victims arrived at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi early on Saturday, a local government official said. Seven of the bodies were cremated in Britain before being repatriated, the official Vietnam News Agency said.

The first 16 of the bodies were repatriated on Wednesday to their home towns in northern-central Vietnam, where they were received by relatives and friends holding white roses.

The discovery of the bodies in the back of a refrigerated truck after being smuggled into Britain has shone a spotlight on the illicit trade that sends the poor of Asia, Africa and the Middle East on perilous journeys to the West.

Police in Vietnam have arrested 10 people in connection with the deaths. On Monday, the British driver of the truck admitted plotting to assist unlawful immigration and acquiring criminal property.

In Vietnam, poor job prospects, environmental disasters and the promise of financial rewards are all factors pushing people to leave.

Nguyen Dinh Gia, father of victim Nguyen Dinh Luong said his son had left home for Britain in “hopes for a better life.”

“How could I describe how big this loss is for my family…but the return of his body has helped ease the pain,” Gia said after his son’s body was buried on Thursday.

(Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Peru opposition leader Keiko Fujimori freed from jail

November 30, 2019

By Maria Cervantes

LIMA (Reuters) – Peruvian opposition leader Keiko Fujimori walked free from prison on Friday night after being jailed for more than a year pending a trial over allegations she accepted illegal campaign contributions from Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.

Fujimori, leader of the powerful right-wing Popular Force party, left prison in the Chorrillos district of capital city Lima, according to a Reuters witness at the scene.

The country’s Constitutional Tribunal, Peru’s top court, had ordered her release on Monday after she was handed an 18-month pre-trial sentence in October last year.

(Reporting by Marco Aquino and Maria Cervantes; Writing by Hugh Bronstein and Adam Jourdan)

Black Friday: LG G8 ThinQ can be yours for just $399.99 for a few more hours

As you may have noticed, there are a lot of Black Friday deals around. That said, rarely does one offer come by that basically takes a high-end smartphone that still has up-to-date specs and cuts its price down to the level of a mid-ranger. This is one of those though. Amazon is currently selling the LG G8 ThinQ for just $399.99. That's a whopping $450 off the phone's introductory price. One caveat is that you only have a few more hours to take advantage of this crazy low price point. The other caveat is that the handset comes with a "pre-installed selection of Amazon apps", including...

Capitals cap 2-goal comeback with OT win over Tampa

November 30, 2019

Dmitry Orlov scored the game-winner in overtime to cap a two-point game as the host Washington Capitals erased a third-period deficit to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 Friday night.

Orlov became the hero 3:03 into overtime when he ripped a high short-side shot home for his second goal of the season. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made 27 saves for the win, while T.J. Oshie collected three assists.

The Capitals got to OT by erasing a 3-1 deficit in the third. First, Jakub Vrana made it one-goal game when he slipped a sharp-angled shot into the net at 3:45 of the period. It was so tight, even Vrana did not immediately realize he had scored.

Then, Alex Ovechkin’s power-play goal, a patented one-timer from the top of the left circle, tied the game at 11:36. It’s the 675th goal of his career and 255th man-advantage marker, which ties him with Teemu Selanne for third on the league’s all-time list.

For the first two-plus periods, however, the Lightning appeared to have the game in hand. Brayden Point opened the scoring with his 100th career goal, a power-play marker with 70 seconds remaining in the first period, and Mikhail Sergachev doubled the lead with technique not often seen from a defenseman. Sergachev worked his way down to the net and was on the spot for a loose puck to easily deposit 4:28 into the second period.

Evgeny Kuznetsov replied for the Capitals 49 seconds later with a power-play goal of his own. But before the second period was over, Alex Killorn restored Tampa Bay’s two-goal edge. Upon taking a pass from Point, Killorn rifled a top-corner wrister from the right faceoff dot to make it a 3-1 game.

Nikita Kucherov netted three assists for the Lightning, who received a 31-save performance from goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy. Tampa Bay also had captain Steven Stamkos back in the lineup after he missed three games due to injury.

–Field Level Media

International stocks to outperform U.S. in 2020: investors

November 30, 2019

By David Randall

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Even though the U.S. stock market continues a record-breaking rally that has sent the benchmark S&P 500 index up nearly 25% for the year, investors appear to be looking elsewhere for better values in the year ahead.

World stock funds brought in $8.2 billion in investor inflows over the last two weeks, breaking a losing streak that dated back to early September, according to Investment Company Institute data. U.S. equity funds, meanwhile, lost more than $10 billion in outflows over the last two weeks, extending a retreat that has spanned seven of the last eight weeks.

The move into overseas stocks comes as economic fundamentals appear to be improving in parts of Europe and Asia while U.S. growth looks to be slowing, drawing money away from a market that had been an outperfomer.

Even with the MSCI All World Country Index, which tracks global equities, nearing record highs set in January, 2018, fund managers and analysts say global stock markets still offer a better chance to outperform U.S. stocks in the year ahead. The cite significantly lower valuations after failing to keep pace with the U.S. equity market for much of the last decade.

“We’re starting to see a period where valuation is going to be the driver for future returns,” said David Marcus, chief investment officer at Evermore Global Advisors. He has been shifting more of his portfolio into European stocks such as Belgium-based medical lab equipment maker Fagron NV <FAGRO.BR> and French media giant Bollore SA <BOLL.PA>.

The forward price-to-earning ratio for the broad Stoxx 600 index, for instance, is 15.4, well below the 19.3 forward P/E of the S&P 500, according to Refinitiv data.

Any narrowing of that large gap in valuations could be a driver, even for companies that have strong stock performance this year, said Thomas Banks, a portfolio manager for the Federated International Small-Mid Company fund who has been increasing his stake in European companies.

He remains bullish on companies such as London Stock Exchange Group PLC <LSE.L> and Sweden-based casino game operator Evolution Gaming Group AB <EVOG.ST>, both of which are already up 50 percent for the year to date.

“Some of the higher valuations for U.S. shares has been warranted because the U.S. had a much faster growth rate. But going forward if there’s a trade deal announced or an amicable solution to Brexit, the divergent growth rates could converge again” as U.S. growth slows, said Banks.

The U.S. economy grew at a 1.9% annual rate in the third quarter, down from 3.1% during the first three months of the year. The European Commission expects the economy in the euro zone to expand at an annual rate of 1.2% over the course of 2020, defying market expectations that growth rates would continue to fall from 4-year lows in 2018.

Germany, the euro zone’s biggest economy, grew 0.1% in the third quarter after contracting 0.2% in the previous three months, easing fears that the bloc would fall into a recession.

Further declines in the U.S. growth rate will also likely bring down the value of the dollar, which has hovered near record highs and eaten into the returns of investing in overseas markets, Banks said.

Danton Goei, portfolio manager of the Davis International fund, said more attractive valuations are pushing him into Asian stocks and multi-national companies that are positioned to benefit from domestic consumption in India and China.

He is bullish on Chinese companies that are not highly dependent on trade such as tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd <0700.HK> and for-profit educational company New Oriental Education and Technology Group Inc <EDU.N.>.

“You can see that the trade war has had a very limited impact on their businesses and yet valuations have come down a lot because of the macro concerns. When you have very strong businesses and their valuations are falling for unrelated reasons, that appears like a good buying opportunity,” Goei said.

At the same time, he is adding to positions in companies such as French aircraft engine maker Safran SA <SAF.PA>, which he expects to benefit from growth in the Indian travel market as more consumers enter the middle class. Shares of the company are up 41% for the year to date, yet still trade near their lowest price-to-earnings ratio over the last 12 months.

“The big difference in valuations obviously matters in terms of your likelihood of outperforming in the future,” he said.

(Reporting by David Randall; Editing by Alden Bentley and Dan Grebler)

Avalanche down Blackhawks to open back-to-back

November 30, 2019

Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and three assists, J.T. Compher scored a goal and added two assists, and the visiting Colorado Avalanche beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Friday.

Cale Makar, Valeri Nichushkin and Ryan Graves also had goals and Pavel Francouz stopped 34 shots for the Avalanche, who have won two in a row.

Patrick Kane and Zack Smith scored and Corey Crawford had 18 saves for the Blackhawks.

The teams meet again Saturday night in Denver in the second game of a back-to-back set.

The Avalanche played without forward Andre Burakovsky, who suffered an upper-body injury in Wednesday’s win over Edmonton. He did not make the trip with the team and is considered day-to-day.

MacKinnon got things started just 59 seconds in when he tipped a shot by Compher past Crawford for his team-leading 16th goal.

Graves made it 2-0 when he scored off of a rebound of a Matt Nieto shot at 3:17 of the first. It was his third of the season.

Smith scored on a one-timer in front of the net on a feed from Ryan Carpenter at 9:14 of the first period. It was Smith’s first of the season.

Three minutes later, Makar scored on the power play, his eighth of the season, to give the Avalanche a 3-1 lead at the first intermission.

It stayed a two-goal game until midway through the second. Nichushkin picked up the puck off of a faceoff in the Colorado end, skated past Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith and beat Crawford with a backhander at 9:45. It was his second of the season.

Compher scored his third 1:41 later to give the Avalanche a 5-1 lead, but Chicago cut it to a three-goal deficit when Kane scored his 13th with 3.5 seconds left in the second period.

–Field Level Media

Japan government mulling fiscal spending package of over 10 trillion yen: Nikkei

November 30, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s government is considering putting together an economic stimulus package with fiscal spending exceeding 10 trillion yen ($92.05 billion), the Nikkei newspaper reported on Saturday.

The government will issue more bonds to fund part of the package and make up for shortfalls in tax revenues, the paper said without citing sources.

($1 = 108.6400 yen)

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Brazil’s president accuses actor DiCaprio of paying to burn the Amazon, offers no evidence

November 30, 2019

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro claimed on Friday that Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio financed fires being set in the Amazon rainforest, without presenting any evidence, the right-wing leader’s latest broadside in casting blame over forest fires that have generated international concern.

Bolsonaro appeared to be commenting on social media postings claiming that the environmental organization the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had paid for images taken by volunteer firefighters that it then used to solicit donations, including a $500,000 contribution from DiCaprio.

The WWF has denied receiving a donation from DiCaprio or obtaining photos from the firefighters.

“This Leonardo DiCaprio is a cool guy, right? Giving money to torch the Amazon,” Bolsonaro said during a brief remarks in front of the presidential residence.

A representative for DiCaprio did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

DiCaprio has been an outspoken advocate on behalf of combating climate change, posting frequently on Twitter about environmental issues, including the Amazon forest fires. His Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which is focused on projects that “protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction,” is part of the Earth Alliance.

Four members of the nongovernmental organization Alter do Chão Fire Brigade were arrested on Tuesday with police accusing them of purposefully setting fires in order to document them and drum up more donations. They were released on Thursday on a judge’s order.

Politicians and other NGOs fiercely criticized the arrest, saying it was part of a concerted attempt by Bolsonaro’s government to harass environmental groups.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly lashed out at various factions in casting blame for the forest fires.

In a Facebook live post on Aug. 21, he said, “Everything indicates” that NGOs were going to the Amazon to “set fire” to the forest. When asked then if he had evidence to back up his claims, Bolsonaro said he had “no written plan,” adding “that’s not how it’s done.”

One day later he admitted that farmers could be illegally setting the rainforest ablaze, but roughly a month later he attacked the “lying media” for saying that the rainforest was being devastated by the fires.

The Amazon rainforest is considered a bulwark against global climate change.

Bolsonaro had talked about DiCaprio on Thursday during a live webcast. The president said the WWF paid the firefighting NGO to take pictures of forest fires in the Amazon.

“So what did the NGO do? What is the easiest thing? Set fire to the forest. Take pictures, make a video,” the president said. “(WWF) makes a campaign against Brazil, it contacts Leonardo DiCaprio, he donates $500,000.”

“A part of that went to the people that were setting fires. Leonardo DiCaprio, you are contributing to the fire in the Amazon, that won’t do,” Bolsonaro said.

(Reporting by Eduardo Simões and Marcelo Teixeira; Editing by Jake Spring and Leslie Adler)

Thursday, 28 November 2019

BOJ’s Kuroda calls for structural reforms to boost Japan’s growth potential

November 29, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Friday structural reforms must accompany fiscal and monetary stimulus measures to heighten the economy’s long-term growth potential.

He also told parliament the central bank’s ultra-loose monetary policy is aimed at achieving its 2% inflation target, not at helping government fund its spending.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Australian students kick off global climate change protests

November 29, 2019

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Thousands of Australian students walked out of class on Friday to join rallies demanding stronger action to rein in climate change, which they said is contributing to the country’s bushfire crisis.

Australia has been battling wildfires for weeks, which have killed at least four people, burnt about 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) of farmland and bush and destroyed more than 500 homes.

The rallies, in Sydney and other major Australian cities, were the first in a series of protests by students across the globe demanding governments do more to protect the environment. The protests come ahead of the annual U.N. climate conference that starts in Madrid on Monday.

Holding home-made signs, including “The climate is changing, why aren’t we?”, protesters in Sydney accused the government of inadequate action in addressing Australia’s bushfire crisis. Smoke from the bushfires in New South Wales state formed a haze overhead.

“Our government’s inaction on the climate crisis has supercharged bushfires,” said 18-year-old Shiann Broderic, one of the event’s organizers, whose home was destroyed in a bushfire.

“People are hurting. Communities like ours are being devastated. Summer hasn’t even begun.”

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously rejected suggestions his government is not doing enough to address climate change.

Australia has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 26% from 2005 levels by 2030, but recent data shows emissions are unchanged.

However, data released on Friday showed Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions were roughly unchanged in the 12 months ended June.

The release of the data came as firefighters continued to battle more than 150 blazes still alight across the country that has left more than 5 million people residing in Sydney struggling under hazardous air pollution that has lingered for much of the last week.

While a cool change has eased the threat of more fires, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology on Thursday said much of the country will suffer from continued hot and dry conditions this summer, increasing the chances of more bushfires.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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Top U.S. retailers absorb tariff pressure ahead of holiday shopping season

November 29, 2019

By Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Prices for electronics sold online at top U.S. retailers were up slightly heading into the critical U.S. shopping season, but sites including Walmart Inc <WMT.N> and Inc <AMZN.O> have held prices steady for many other popular holiday products despite the pressure from tariffs on Chinese imports.

The analysis is based on a pricing study conducted for Reuters by retail analytics firm Profitero, which examined online prices from seven large retailers for 21,000 products.

The firm compared product prices during October and November last year to those this year in key holiday categories including appliances, electronics, toys and video games across Walmart, Walmart-owned, Amazon, Target Corp <TGT.N>, Best Buy <BBY.N>, GameStop <GME.N> and Staples.

On average, the prices the retailers charged for electronics were 2.3% higher than the year-ago period, while across all the categories, prices were 0.9% higher, said Keith Anderson, senior vice president for strategy and insights at Profitero.

That’s lower than the average rate of inflation during the same period, which stood at 2.4% in 2018 and about 1.8% in 2019 so far.

In categories such as toys, prices dipped 0.2% and video games fell 2%, according to Profitero, which has not looked at year-over-year changes in pricing across the sampling of retailers and categories in the past.

Walmart and Target did not comment on the study but pointed Reuters to past comments from executives about how they have managed tariffs by working with vendors and diversifying their supply chain. Amazon did not immediately comment on the study. Best Buy declined comment and GameStop did not respond to requests for comment. Staples asked to see the study but did not comment.

Graphic : Walmart, Amazon, Target and others take tariff hit –

America’s trade war with China threatens to push up product prices, which could hurt consumer spending this holiday season, a period which makes up nearly 40% of annual revenue for many retailers. The two countries are currently struggling to strike a preliminary trade deal.

About $539 billion worth of goods came into the United States from China in 2018, making the country the largest supplier of imported goods, the U.S. Trade Representative said. U.S. President Donald Trump has imposed tariffs and threatened more as leverage in trade negotiations with Beijing.

But while tariffs have driven up costs of goods for many retailers, at least the large firms have so far refrained from passing that cost pressure to shoppers, according to interviews with researchers, consultants and retail companies.

EBIT margins for all retailers excluding Walmart have been declining since October 2018 and at 6.7% are at their lowest since 2010, according to an analysis by Oxford Economics.


“Right now, nobody wants to be grinchy and steal Christmas so they are passing on as little as possible,” said Jeff Unze, a president at BorderX Lab – an e-commerce platform, which connects American retailers with Chinese consumers, and tracks pricing changes in both markets.

On Sept. 1, the U.S. imposed a 15 percent tariff on many consumer goods from China that increased the cost of goods sold for most retailers. For example, Dollar Tree said tariffs will increase its cost of goods sold by about $19 million in the fourth quarter if tariffs are fully implemented.

In the Profitero analysis, Walmart’s products were only 0.4 percent more expensive compared to a year ago on a sample of over 6,000 popular holiday products. Amazon was 0.6 percent pricier on 9,200 products. A sampling of 1,200 items sold online by Target were 0.9 percent less expensive than during the year earlier period.

By contrast, chains such as Staples were over 4.7 percent more expensive, and the goods sold by Best Buy were priced at 1.1 percent more.

The study did not include popular categories such as apparel and accessories, which have largely not been subject to the Trump administration’s latest tariffs but are likely to face a 15% tariff in a new round scheduled for Dec. 15.  

Consumer price index data, through October, shows that televisions, phones, computer accessories, video and audio products accounted for four of the top five largest year-over-year price declines by category.

The data is based on sampling by the Bureau of Labor Statistics only through October, however. In contrast, Profitero looked only at online pricing at seven retailers during October and November.

Factbox: Nearly all goods traded by U.S. and China will have tariffs by December 15 –

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington, Additional reporting by Melissa Fares in New York, Richa Naidu in Chicago and Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Vanessa O’Connell and Cynthia Osterman)

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BOJ mindful of risks from excessive fall in super-long yields – senior official

November 29, 2019

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Bank of Japan is guiding its ultra-loose monetary policy with an eye on the risk that excessive declines in super-long government bond yields could hurt the economy, a senior BOJ official said on Friday.

“We’re mindful that excessive declines in super-long bond yields, such as those with maturity of 20 years, could hurt public sentiment and economic activity by lowering the interest life insurers and pension funds earn from their investment,” BOJ Executive Director Eiji Maeda told parliament.

“But the current ultra-loose monetary environment is stimulating the economy by spurring capital expenditure and housing investment. That will push up household income and asset prices,” he said.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim)

South Korea to hold trade talks with Japan in December

November 29, 2019

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea and Japan have agreed to hold senior-level trade talks in December to discuss Tokyo’s export restrictions at the center of a bitter dispute between the two countries, the South Korean trade ministry said on Friday.

The talks would include Japan’s tighter rules since July on the export of three high-tech materials to South Korea and its removal of Seoul from its so-called “white list” of countries with fast-track trade status, the ministry said.

Seoul responded by taking Japan off its list of fast-track trade countries, deepening the trade dispute that has festered for months and hurt some of Asia’s biggest exporters.

“We will pursue dialogue with an ultimate goal to make things like the white list or three items go back to the original state,” Lee Ho-hyun, a South Korean senior trade ministry official, said at a news briefing.

The talks would take place in the third week of December in Tokyo, the ministry added.

The two countries agreed on Saturday to hold a summit next month in a major step toward improving relations strained by decades of bitterness over their wartime past. In a further sign of an easing of tensions, South Korea has also agreed to stick to an intelligence-sharing deal with Japan.

Officials from both countries met on Thursday to discuss holding the senior-level trade dialogue, according to the South Korean trade ministry.

The mood at the meeting on Thursday was more “friendly” than a similar meeting in July shortly after Tokyo imposed the export curbs, Lee added.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Stephen Coates)

Families of Mexico massacre victims suffer backlash over cartel row

November 29, 2019

By Lizbeth Diaz

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Members of a U.S.-Mexican religious community who lost relatives in a gangland massacre this month have come under fire from supporters of Mexico’s government for pressing the United States to declare drugs cartels terrorist groups.

Three mothers and six children of dual U.S.-Mexican nationality were shot to death in a brutal attack by suspected drug cartel gunmen in the northern state of Mexico, sparking outrage and condemnation in the United States.

The victims belonged to breakaway Mormon families who came to Mexico from the United States decades ago, and some of their U.S. relatives launched a petition over the weekend asking the government to declare the drug cartels terrorist organizations.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would have the gangs designated terrorist groups, stirring fears that he could send the U.S. military across the border to take them out, ramping up pressure on Mexico ahead of his re-election bid in 2020.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he would not accept any intervention from foreign powers.

Many social media users expressed support for Lopez Obrador and heavily criticized the petition directed to the White House, calling it treasonous and accusing the families of wanting to create a pretext for a U.S.-led invasion.

Twitter posts in Mexico often carried a Spanish language hashtags referring to the LeBaron family as traitors and asking them to leave the country.

“They’ve got double nationality so why don’t they return to their country instead of selling us out,” one such post read. “All Mexicans feel unsafe but that doesn’t make us ask for foreign intervention.”

Alex LeBaron, a former Mexican congressman and relative of some of the victims, called the accusations “baseless” and “insulting” in an interview.

“They’re terrorists, these cartels, whether they are declared as such or not,” LeBaron said. Previously, he rejected a U.S.-led intervention and instead called for cooperation to improve security for all Mexicans.

The La Mora community in Sonora, where members of the LeBaron as well as the Miller and Langford families live, is still in mourning. This year, they have not followed their tradition of opening their houses to locals on Thanksgiving.

On Dec 1, which marks the first anniversary of Lopez Obrador taking office, members of the community plan to protest violence in Mexico City.

(Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Writing by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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