Biphoo http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:46:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.3 Myanmar praises China for suspending rebels bank accounthttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/myanmar-praises-china-suspending-rebels-bank-account.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/myanmar-praises-china-suspending-rebels-bank-account.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:46:11 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24881 Myanmar praises China for suspending rebels bank account Myanmar praises China for suspending rebels bank account:- Myanmar's government praised China on Wednesday for suspending a Chinese bank account used by ethnic rebels fighting Myanmar troops, in a move to prevent potential damage to diplomatic ties. Reuters has revealed that an ethnic rebel armed group fighting Myanmar forces near […]

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Myanmar praises China for suspending rebels bank account

Myanmar praises China for suspending rebels bank account:- Myanmar's government praised China on Wednesday for suspending a Chinese bank account used by ethnic rebels fighting Myanmar troops, in a move to prevent potential damage to diplomatic ties.

Reuters has revealed that an ethnic rebel armed group fighting Myanmar forces near the Chinese border had been openly soliciting funds via China's giant state-owned lender Agricultural Bank Of China (AgBank).

Myanmar's peace process - started under the previous semi-civilian administration - has lost momentum after Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi came to power in 2016, with some of the militias accusing her of a one-sided approach and refusing to join a major peace conference.

Relations with China have been strained by the ethnic conflicts spilling over the border, and some observers say Beijing uses ethnically Chinese insurgent groups as a means of leverage over Myanmar.

The decision to suspend AgBank was welcomed by Suu Kyi's government.

"We appreciated this action. Stability and peace in border area is common interest for both sides," Myanmar's presidential spokesman, Zaw Htay, told Reuters. "(It was a) very positive move from China."

Zaw Htay shared the Reuters story on his widely-followed Facebook page and Twitter accounts, tagging key negotiators in Myanmar's peace process.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she was not aware of the specifics about the decision on AgBank.

"We consistently persevere in not interfering in other countries internal affairs and respect the entirety of Myanmar's sovereign rights and territory. We will not allow any group or individual to use China's territory to undermine China-Myanmar relations and the border regions' stability," she said.

"For any illegal activity, we will deal with it according to law."

Over nearly two years, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) raised more than $500,000, deposited directly in an AgBank account or sent it via two mobile payment services - Tencent Holdings' WeChat Pay and Alipay, part of Ant Financial, which is affiliated with U.S.-listed Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

The account was suspended over the weekend, shortly after Reuters had sent AgBank a list of questions regarding the transactions, which compliance experts said could point to a weakness in controls aimed at stopping the global financial system being used to fund terrorism or facilitate crime.

There is no evidence that Agbank, or other financial entities that handled transactions for the MNDAA, have broken Chinese law.

Earlier this month, insurgents from the predominantly ethnic Chinese MNDAA attacked government troops in northeastern Myanmar. Some 20,000 people fled across the border to China to escape the fighting, prompting Beijing to call for a ceasefire.

In a rare move, Myanmar army chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing disclosed on his official Facebook page that he had summoned the Chinese ambassador and defence attaché on Tuesday to discuss the conflict, and how to cooperate to bring about peace and stability.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-myanmar-insurgency-china-idUSKBN16T0RA

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Red Cross warns on mass hunger in Yemen, Somaliahttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/red-cross-warns-on-mass-hunger-in-yemen-somalia.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/red-cross-warns-on-mass-hunger-in-yemen-somalia.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:42:59 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24878 Red Cross warns on mass hunger in Yemen, Somalia Red Cross warns on mass hunger in Yemen, Somalia:- There is a window of only three to four months to avert mass starvation in Yemen and Somalia, plagued by conflict and drought, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday in an appeal […]

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Red Cross warns on mass hunger in Yemen, Somalia

Red Cross warns on mass hunger in Yemen, Somalia:- There is a window of only three to four months to avert mass starvation in Yemen and Somalia, plagued by conflict and drought, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Wednesday in an appeal for funding.

More than 20 million people in four countries - Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and northeast Nigeria - face famine. "We have probably a window of three to four months to avoid a worst case scenario," ICRC director of operations worldwide Dominik Stillhart told a news briefing.

Robert Mardini, ICRC regional director for the Middle East, said that an ICRC team who provided aid to wounded refugees after a deadly helicopter attack on their boat off the Yemen coast last Friday had collected "evidence" which had been shared with the Saudi-led coalition as well as the Houthi side.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-africa-hunger-idUSKBN16T132

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China denies reports of building on disputed shoalhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/china-denies-reports-building-disputed-shoal.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/china-denies-reports-building-disputed-shoal.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:40:07 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24875 China denies reports of building on disputed shoal China denies reports of building on disputed shoal:- China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday denied reports that China will begin preparatory work this year for an environmental monitoring station on disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. China seized the shoal, which is northeast of the Spratly […]

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China denies reports of building on disputed shoal

China denies reports of building on disputed shoal:- China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday denied reports that China will begin preparatory work this year for an environmental monitoring station on disputed Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.

China seized the shoal, which is northeast of the Spratly islands, in 2012 and denied access to Philippine fishermen. But after President Rodrigo Duterte visited China last year, it allowed them to return to the traditional fishing area.

Earlier this month, Xiao Jie, the mayor of what China calls Sansha City, said China planned to begin preparatory work this year to build environmental monitoring stations on a number of islands, including Scarborough Shoal.

Sansha City is the name China has given to an administrative base for the South China Sea islands and reefs it controls.

"China places great importance on the preservation of the South China Sea's ocean ecology, this is certain," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily news briefing.

"According to the relevant bodies in China, the reports you mention that touch upon building environmental monitoring stations on Scarborough Shoal are mistaken, these things are not true," she added.

"With regards to Scarborough Shoal, China's position is consistent and clear. We place great importance on China-Philippines relations."

Xiao Jie's comments about the plans as quoted by the state-backed Hainan Daily had been amended to remove mention of the shoal in the paper's online version when checked by Reuters on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the Philippines formally asked China's embassy in Manila to explain news reports about building plans for Scarborough Shoal.

"We have sought clarification from China on reported plans on Scarborough Shoal," Charles Jose, foreign ministry spokesman, said in a text message sent to news organizations.

In a radio interview later, Jose said it is important for the Philippines to strengthen its defense and maritime domain awareness capabilities.

He said the Philippines should also step up cooperation with its allies and regional partners who share the country's position in maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea, resorting to peaceful settlement of disputes and adherence to rule of law.

"We should maintain the civilian nature so as not to escalate tensions," he said, reacting to some suggestions the Philippines deploy warships to Scarborough Shoal to assert Manila's claim on the rocky outcrop.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-southchinasea-china-philippines-idUSKBN16T0TZ

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Mexico warns firms not in their interest to build border wallhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/mexico-warns-firms-not-interest-build-border-wall.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/mexico-warns-firms-not-interest-build-border-wall.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:35:23 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24872 Mexico warns firms not in their interest to build border wall Mexico warns firms not in their interest to build border wall:- Mexico's government on Tuesday warned Mexican companies that it would not be in their best "interests" to participate in the construction of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, though there will be no […]

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Mexico warns firms not in their interest to build border wall

Mexico warns firms not in their interest to build border wall:- Mexico's government on Tuesday warned Mexican companies that it would not be in their best "interests" to participate in the construction of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, though there will be no legal restrictions or sanctions to stop them if they tried.

While some Mexican companies stand to potentially benefit from the controversial infrastructure project, residents south of the border view the wall and Trump's repeated calls to have Mexico pay for it as offensive. That is putting public pressure on firms to abstain from participating.

"We're not going to have laws to restrict (companies), but I believe considering your reputation it would undoubtedly be in your interest to not participate in the construction of the wall," said Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

"There won't be a law with sanctions, but Mexicans and Mexican consumers will know how to value those companies that are loyal to our national identity and those that are not," Guajardo added.

His comments echo those of Mexico's foreign minister Luis Videgaray, who said on Friday that Mexican companies that see a business opportunity in the wall should "check their conscience" first.

Mexico's Cemex (CMXCPO.MX), one of the world's largest cement producers, has said it is open to providing quotes to supply the raw materials for the border wall. Competitor Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC.MX) has also signaled a readiness to work on the project.

Both companies have a strong presence in the United States.

Commenting on a media report published last week that stated Cemex will not participate in construction of the border wall, company spokesman Jorge Perez told Reuters: "I confirmed that we will not participate in the bidding process. That is all we have said."

Asked if Cemex would be willing to provide raw materials, such as cement, to the companies eventually selected to build the wall, Perez said he could not comment.

The only Mexican company, out of some 720 in total, to put its name down on the U.S. government's website for business opportunities as an interested vendor for the wall construction, is a small, four-member concern from the central city of Puebla that wants to provide LED lights that it imports mostly from China.

Mexican activists have called on consumers and local government officials to boycott that company, Ecovelocity.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-mexico-wall-idUSKBN16T0DV

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Air strike kills more than 30 near Raqqa, Syrian Observatory sayshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/air-strike-kills-30-near-raqqa-syrian-observatory-says.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/air-strike-kills-30-near-raqqa-syrian-observatory-says.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:32:51 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24869 Air strike kills more than 30 near Raqqa, Syrian Observatory says Air strike kills more than 30 near Raqqa, Syrian Observatory says:- At least 33 people were killed in an air strike that hit a school sheltering displaced people near the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa, a group that monitors the war in Syria said […]

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Air strike kills more than 30 near Raqqa, Syrian Observatory says

Air strike kills more than 30 near Raqqa, Syrian Observatory says:- At least 33 people were killed in an air strike that hit a school sheltering displaced people near the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa, a group that monitors the war in Syria said on Wednesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it believed the strike was carried out by the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State.

Observatory activists had counted at least 33 bodies at the site near the village of al-Mansoura, west of Raqqa, Observatory Director Rami Abdulrahman told Reuters. The air strike took place on Monday night, he said.

The U.S.-led coalition has escalated its aerial campaign against the militant group around Raqqa this month, causing numerous civilian casualties, Abdulrahman said.

The nearest Islamic State installation to the site of the air strike was a religious school 3 km (1.9 miles) away, he said.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition has previously said that it does everything it can to avoid civilian casualties and that it investigates those that are reported as a result of its air strikes.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-led group of militias backed by the U.S.-led coalition, is fighting to isolate Raqqa ahead of an anticipated assault on the city, which Islamic State has used as a command node to plan attacks abroad.

The head of the YPG militia, the strongest in the SDF, said last week that the offensive to retake Raqqa would begin in early April but a spokesman for the U.S. Pentagon said no decision had yet been made.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-airstrike-idUSKBN16T0RV

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North Korea has no fear of U.S. sanctions move, will pursue nuclear armshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/north-korea-no-fear-u-s-sanctions-move-will-pursue-nuclear-arms.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/north-korea-no-fear-u-s-sanctions-move-will-pursue-nuclear-arms.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:30:18 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24866 North Korea has no fear of U.S. sanctions move, will pursue nuclear arms North Korea has no fear of U.S. sanctions move, will pursue nuclear arms:- North Korea has nothing to fear from any U.S. move to broaden sanctions aimed at cutting it off from the global financial system and will pursue "acceleration" of its […]

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North Korea has no fear of U.S. sanctions move, will pursue nuclear arms

North Korea has no fear of U.S. sanctions move, will pursue nuclear arms:- North Korea has nothing to fear from any U.S. move to broaden sanctions aimed at cutting it off from the global financial system and will pursue "acceleration" of its nuclear and missile programs, a North Korean envoy told Reuters on Tuesday.

This includes developing a "pre-emptive first strike capability" and an inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM), said Choe Myong Nam, deputy ambassador at the North Korean mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

Reuters, quoting a senior U.S. official in Washington, reported on Monday that the Trump administration is considering sweeping sanctions as part of a broad review of measures to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile threat. (For Monday's story, click reut.rs/2n9HZ5a)

"I think this is stemming from the visit by the Secretary of State (Rex Tillerson) to Japan, South Korea and China...We of course are not afraid of any act like that," Choe told Reuters.

"Even prohibition of the international transactions system, the global financial system, this kind of thing is part of their system that will not frighten us or make any difference."

He called existing sanctions "heinous and inhumane".

North Korea has been under sanctions for "half a century" but the communist state survives by placing an emphasis on juche or "self-sufficiency", he said. His country wants a forum set up to examine the "legality and legitimacy of the sanctions regime".

He denounced joint annual military exercises currently being carried out by the United States and South Korea on the divided peninsula and criticized remarks by Tillerson during his talks with regional allies last week.

"All he was talking about is for the United States to take military actions on DPRK," Choe said, using the acronym for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

North Korea rejects claims by Washington and Seoul that the military drills are defensive. They involve strategic nuclear bombers and a nuclear submarine, Columbus, that recently entered South Korean ports, he said.

"In the light of such huge military forces involved in the joint military exercises, we have no other choice but to continue with our full acceleration of the nuclear programs and missile programs. It is because of these hostile activities on the part of the United States and South Korea."

PRE-EMPTIVE STRIKE CAPABILITY

"We strengthen our national defense capability as well as pre-emptive strike capabilities with nuclear forces as a centerpiece," Choe said.

Asked to comment on Choe's remarks, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Anna Richey-Allen, called on North Korea "to refrain from provocative actions and inflammatory rhetoric...and to make the strategic choice to fulfill its international obligations and commitments and return to serious talks.”

Choe declined to give technical details of North Korea's latest rocket engine test on Sunday - seen as a possible prelude to a partial ICBM flight - calling it a great historical event that would lead to "fruitful outcomes".

"I can tell you for sure that the inter-continental ballistic rockets of the DPRK will be launched at any time and at any place as decided by our Supreme Leadership," Choe said, recalling leader Kim Jong Un's pledge in a New Year's address.

Analysts say North Korea has likely mastered the technology to power the different stages of an ICBM and may show it off soon, but is likely still a long way from being able to hit the mainland United States.

"The United States has been talking about launching pre-emptive strikes at North Korea," Choe said. "And we have been prepared to deter, to counter-attack such attacks on the part of the United States.

"We would utilize every possible means in our hands and the inter-continental ballistic rocket is one of them."

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-usa-sanctions-idUSKBN16S2KY

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North Korea missile test fails, U.S. and South say, as tensions simmerhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/north-korea-missile-test-fails-u-s-south-say-tensions-simmer.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/north-korea-missile-test-fails-u-s-south-say-tensions-simmer.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:27:08 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24863 North Korea missile test fails, U.S. and South say, as tensions simmer North Korea missile test fails, U.S. and South say, as tensions simmer:- A North Korean missile appeared to have exploded on Wednesday just after it was launched, the U.S. and South Korean militaries said after detecting the latest in a series of weapons tests […]

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North Korea missile test fails, U.S. and South say, as tensions simmer

North Korea missile test fails, U.S. and South say, as tensions simmer:- A North Korean missile appeared to have exploded on Wednesday just after it was launched, the U.S. and South Korean militaries said after detecting the latest in a series of weapons tests by the nuclear-armed state that have alarmed the region.

The launch attempt was made from near the city of Wonsan, on North Korea's east coast, the same place from where it launched several intermediate-range missiles last year, all but one of which failed.

"U.S. Pacific Command detected what we assess was a failed North Korean missile launch attempt ... in the vicinity of Kalma," Commander Dave Benham, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command, said in a statement, referring to an air field in Wonsan.

"A missile appears to have exploded within seconds of launch," Benham said, adding that work was being carried out on a more detailed assessment.

A South Korean military official told Reuters the missile appeared to have exploded just after it was launched.

"It may have exploded right after it took off from a launch pad," said military official, who declined to be identified.

It was not clear what type of missile it was. The South Korean defense ministry said it was conducting analysis to determine further details.

The increasing frequency of the missile tests has fueled a growing sense of urgency over how to respond to the isolated, unpredictable state.

North Korea launched four ballistic missiles from near its west coast on March 6 and this week conducted a rocket engine test that its leader, Kim Jong Un, said opened "a new birth" of its rocket industry.

The latest launch came as the U.S. envoy for North Korea policy, Joseph Yun, met his South Korean counterpart in Seoul to discuss a response to the North's weapons programs.

Just last week U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Japan, South Korea and China and how to handle North Korea was a major issue in his talks.

Speaking in Seoul on Friday, Tillerson said a policy of strategic patience with North Korea had ended and all options, including a military one, were on the table if North Korea threatened South Korean or U.S. forces.

North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and a series of missile launches since the beginning of last year in defiance of U.N. resolutions. It is believed to be working to develop nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States.

U.S. President Donald Trump rebuked Kim on Sunday, saying the North Korean leader was "acting very, very badly".

A senior U.S. official in Washington told Reuters on Monday that the Trump administration was considering sweeping sanctions as part of a broad review of measures to counter North Korea's nuclear and missile threat.

The United States is also deploying an advanced missile- defense system in South Korea. But China objects to the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, saying its powerful radar can penetrate deep into its territory, undermining its security.

Undaunted by the possibility of even tougher sanctions aimed at cutting North Korea off from the global financial system, a North Korean diplomat said his government would pursue an "acceleration" of its nuclear and missile programs.

This includes developing a "pre-emptive first strike capability" and an inter-continental ballistic missile, said Choe Myong Nam, deputy ambassador at the DPRK (North Korean) mission to the United Nations in Geneva.

Japan's Nikkei index .N225 and South Korean stocks .KS11 extended losses slightly after news of a North Korean launch broke but trade was steady overall.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-idUSKBN16T07M

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Paul leads Clippers in blowout, watches end with young sonhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/paul-leads-clippers-blowout-watches-end-young-son.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/paul-leads-clippers-blowout-watches-end-young-son.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:18:16 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24859 Paul leads Clippers in blowout, watches end with young son Chris Paul and the Clippers have taken firm hold of supremacy in their Los Angeles rivalry with the Lakers. They're victory Tuesday night was so dominant, Paul even got to slide in some unexpected family time at the end. Paul scored 27 points before watching […]

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Paul leads Clippers in blowout, watches end with young son

Chris Paul and the Clippers have taken firm hold of supremacy in their Los Angeles rivalry with the Lakers.

They're victory Tuesday night was so dominant, Paul even got to slide in some unexpected family time at the end.

Paul scored 27 points before watching the completion of a blowout with his young son on the bench, and the Clippers beat the Lakers 133-109 for yet another win in the battle of Los Angeles.

The Clippers have won 17 of the last 19 meetings with the Lakers. They led by 30 at the half in this one, and eight different Clippers scored in double-figures, including J.J. Redick with 24. The Clippers shot 45.5 percent on their 3s (15 of 33).

They ran, they defended and led by as many as 37 points. For the second consecutive game, none of their starters played in the fourth quarter.

"I just like how we're playing with pace right now," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. "More importantly, I like the way we defended in the first half."

The Clippers led 13-2 to start the game and then blew it open in the second quarter, outscoring the Lakers by 21 to take a 70-40 lead at the half.

"Their team chemistry is off the charts," Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell said. "They play really well together."

The Lakers, who have won one of their last 15 games, scored a lot of empty points late, led by Brandon Ingram's 21, Julius Randle's 19 and Russell's 18.

The Clippers spread the offense around, with Austin Rivers adding 18 points, Jamal Crawford 15, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan 12 each, and Marreese Speights and Brandon Bass adding 10 apiece.

Their defense led to stops, which led to fast breaks.

"When we get stops like that, we're dangerous," Paul said.

With the victory the Clippers pulled within a half-game of the Utah Jazz for fourth in the Western Conference and homecourt advantage in the playoffs.

TIPS-INS

Clippers: Griffin has added an unexpected weapon to his offensive arsenal — the 3-pointer. Griffin was shooting just 20.8 percent on his 3-pointers in his first 31 games and 27.1 for his career. In his last 19 games, he's hit on 39.2 percent of his 3s. He had one 3 on Tuesday.

Lakers: Ingram has not exactly had a spectacular rookie season, but the No. 2 overall pick in last year's draft has shown promise of late. He's started the past 17 games and has been particularly strong in the last eight, averaging 14.5 points and shooting 54.5 percent.

PLAYOFF FOCUS

The Clippers' push to overcome the Jazz for fourth in the West could get an assist from the schedule. Of their 10 remaining games, seven opponents have losing records and seven games are at home.

STARTERS BENCHED

Lakers coach Luke Walton was none too pleased with his team's second-quarter effort. He sent out a lineup made up entirely of reserves to start the second half.

"The most important (message) was that playing without a certain amount of effort isn't acceptable or tolerated," Walton said.

DEFENSE, STUPID

The Clippers led 33-24 at the end of the first quarter, but then outscored the Lakers 37-16 in the second period. Rivers credited a defense that held the Lakers to 29.2 percent shooting in the quarter.

"Everybody has an identity and ours is length and athleticism," Doc Rivers said. "The only way we can use that is by getting stops, and when this team gets multiple stops in a row, then we become athletic."

UP NEXT

Clippers: Travel to Dallas to meet the Mavericks on Thursday for the third time this season. The teams split their first two meetings. Forward Harrison Barnes has averaged 23 points in the two games.

Lakers: Play host to the Timberwolves on Friday. Minnesota won the first meeting by 26 when Andrew Wiggins exploded for a career-high 47 points.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/2017/03/22/paul-leads-clippers-in-blowout-watches-end-with-young-son/99482012/

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San Diego Chargers finalize deal to move training camp to Costa Mesahttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/san-diego-chargers-finalize-deal-to-move-training-camp-to-costa-mesa.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/san-diego-chargers-finalize-deal-to-move-training-camp-to-costa-mesa.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:15:18 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24856 San Diego Chargers finalize deal to move training camp to Costa Mesa San Diego Chargers finalize deal to move training camp to Costa Mesa:- The Los Angeles Chargers have finalized a deal to hold the first training camp after their move north in Costa Mesa. The Chargers announced their plans Tuesday night after the Orange […]

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San Diego Chargers finalize deal to move training camp to Costa Mesa

San Diego Chargers finalize deal to move training camp to Costa Mesa:- The Los Angeles Chargers have finalized a deal to hold the first training camp after their move north in Costa Mesa.

The Chargers announced their plans Tuesday night after the Orange County town approved the proposal in a city council vote.

The Chargers will train at Jack Hammett Sports Complex, which is only about 2 miles from the planned site of their regular-season base in Costa Mesa.

The team can use the facility for three to five weeks per year for up to 10 years. The Chargers agreed to make an estimated $1 million in improvements to the complex while paying $150,000 in annual rent.

The Los Angeles Rams held training camp last year at UC Irvine, about five miles away.

SOURCE:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2017/03/22/chargers-finalize-deal-to-hold-training-camp-in-costa-mesa/99482592/

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Turris scores 2, Senators beat Bruins 3-2 to end 4-game skidhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/turris-scores-2-senators-beat-bruins-3-2-to-end-4-game-skid.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/turris-scores-2-senators-beat-bruins-3-2-to-end-4-game-skid.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:10:32 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24853 Turris scores 2, Senators beat Bruins 3-2 to end 4-game skid Turris scores 2, Senators beat Bruins 3-2 to end 4-game skid:- For the Ottawa Senators, snapping a four-game losing streak seemed almost secondary to the way they did it. The Senators appeared ready for a return to the playoffs, ending an untimely skid with a […]

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Turris scores 2, Senators beat Bruins 3-2 to end 4-game skid

Turris scores 2, Senators beat Bruins 3-2 to end 4-game skid:- For the Ottawa Senators, snapping a four-game losing streak seemed almost secondary to the way they did it.

The Senators appeared ready for a return to the playoffs, ending an untimely skid with a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night.

"We wanted to see this as a seventh game because we want to be able to manage pressure," coach Guy Boucher said. "We've got a lot of young guys in there — a lot of guys who haven't gone to the playoffs in the NHL and had a lot of pressure moments."

The Senators were in an 0-2-2 slump and facing a team that could have pulled within two points of them for second place in the Atlantic Division. Instead, they headed home with a six-point cushion on the Bruins and a building sense of confidence.

Kyle Turris scored twice and Craig Anderson made 33 saves as the Senators improved to 3-0 against Boston this season. Tom Pyatt also scored and Mike Hoffman had two assists for Ottawa, which won despite being outshot 36-22.

Anderson stymied Boston with 18 saves in the second period, then again in the third after Torey Krug tied it for the Bruins just 17 seconds into the period.

Turris restored the lead a few minutes later and Ottawa never flinched as the Bruins pressed to keep their own losing streak from reaching three straight.

"I liked our third period. I thought our third period was good," Boucher said. "The minute we scored that goal, after that we looked like ourselves. We looked in control of where we were defensively. When we had the puck we had more poise. We gained that over the course of the game."

Krug had a goal and an assist, and David Krejci also scored in Boston's third consecutive defeat. The Bruins were coming off a 4-2 loss at Toronto on Monday night and never recovered from a flat start at home Tuesday.

The Bruins remained in playoff position, third in the division with nine games to play, but missed out on another chance to widen their lead over the pack of teams pushing for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

"We know where we are at this point of the year. Points are huge and teams are going to show up and be ready to play us," center Patrice Bergeron said.

The Bruins faced another round of questions about fading down the stretch and missing the playoffs the last two years. Could it happen again?

"There's a lot of guys in that room who weren't here last year, myself included," said interim coach Bruce Cassidy, who is 12-6-0 since replacing Claude Julien in early February. "We'd like to write our own story."

Even with the sluggish start, the game did have a little bit of a playoff feel to it. Both teams were physical all night, with several hits after the whistle and some more pushing and shoving after the final horn. The officials separated the players before the postgame scrum turned into anything more.

"It was just one of those games where both teams are fighting for their playoff lives and that just made for a hard, gritty, hard-nosed hockey game," Anderson said. "They were crashing the net hard. We were crashing their net, getting traffic and momentum as we were going back and forth. You know, it was just one of those games where tempers start to go and emotions get involved and guys care."

Early in the third, Krug took the puck end-to-end and skated through a pair of Senators before beating Anderson for an unassisted power-play goal. The Bruins opened the period with the man advantage after Dion Phaneuf was called for unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of the second following scrums among several players on the ice.

Phaneuf made up for his mistake later in the third with an assist on Turris' game-winner. Turris tipped a shot by Phaneuf and the puck changed direction again when it hit Boston captain Zdeno Chara on its way to the back of the net.

NOTES: The Senators return to Boston on April 6 for the fourth and final meeting of the regular season. ... Anderson played his 499th career game. ... Senators C Chris Kelly played his first game in Boston since breaking his leg as a member of the Bruins on Nov. 3, 2015, keeping him out for the rest of last season. ... Ottawa RW Mark Stone missed his sixth straight game with a leg injury but has resumed skating and is getting closer to returning, Boucher said. ... Boston LW Tim Schaller (lower-body injury) missed his sixth consecutive game.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nhl/2017/03/21/turris-scores-2-senators-beat-bruins-3-2-to-end-4-game-skid/99477766/

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U.S. win over Japan sets up World Baseball Classic finale many wanted to seehttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/u-s-win-japan-sets-world-baseball-classic-finale-many-wanted-see.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/u-s-win-japan-sets-world-baseball-classic-finale-many-wanted-see.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:07:25 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24850 U.S. win over Japan sets up World Baseball Classic finale many wanted to see U.S. win over Japan sets up World Baseball Classic finale many wanted to see:- They gathered together for the first time two weeks ago, unsure what to expect in the World Baseball Classic, with a sense of insecurity that they even […]

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U.S. win over Japan sets up World Baseball Classic finale many wanted to see

U.S. win over Japan sets up World Baseball Classic finale many wanted to see:- They gathered together for the first time two weeks ago, unsure what to expect in the World Baseball Classic, with a sense of insecurity that they even made the right choice to play in this international tournament.

Now, here they are after defeating Japan, 2-1, on Tuesday night, going where no USA team before them has ever gone before.

For the first time since this tournament started 11 years ago, Team USA is playing for the championship, facing Puerto Rico at 9 p.m. ET on Wednesday night at Dodger Stadium.

It might seem like a glorified exhibition game to most of America, but for the USA team, it means more than anyone could have possibly envisioned when they began this journey.

“Besides making my first All-Star Game, which was in Minnesota where I grew up,’’ said USA reliever Pat Neshek, who got the biggest out of the game Tuesday, “this is the best thing I’ve done. Nothing can beat this.

“You know, I’ve never been a prospect. Nobody really ever considered me for a Team USA. You get here, and you see these other teams, and how much fun they have. It pumps you up.

“I’ve never been in the World Series, but I’ve been in a lot of playoff games, and this is better.

“Really, it’s the best.’’

Really, no matter the outcome of the championship game, Team USA has lifted this tournament into what Major League Baseball and the players association envisioned when it was first created.

There have shattered attendance records, drawing in excess of one million fans, with 33,462 coming out Wednesday to Dodger Stadium on a cool, rainy evening.

“Who would have thought we’d be playing in this type of game in Los Angeles?’’ said Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen, who drove in the first run of the game. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen this type of weather in the years that I’ve come here. That’s what makes this game amazing.’’

Then again, the majority of these players on Team USA never imagined they’d be playing in this type of atmosphere in March.

This is usually the dog days of spring training, when players are more interested in packing their bags, and loading up their cars, than playing the final week of games in Arizona and Florida.

Yet, these games are like playing postseason games before the real season even starts, with fans banging on noisemakers, beating on drums, sounding horns, slapping tambourines, and screaming as if it’s a combination of the World Cup and Super Bowl.

“I remember in ’06, my rookie year, this thing was kind of laughable,’’ Neshek said. “It was like, 'What is this garbage?' Then you had the one in ’09, it was ok. And then the last one in ’13, you think, this is kind of serious.

“Now, after what we’ve done, the way everybody is buzzing about it on Twitter, and all of the attention it’s getting, you’re going to see everybody in the league want to pole in the next one. It’s a big deal. You won’t see a guy say, “No.’’’

It’s why San Francisco Giants closer Mark Melancon didn’t feel comfortable leaving his new teammates when he arrived to spring training, but told teammate Buster Posey that if it were possible, he’d love to join them in the second round. Joe Torre, the architect of the team, called last week, and there was Melancon making his WBC debut in the eighth inning.

“I’ve been watching this tournament pretty closely on TV,’’ Melancon said, “and it energized me. I felt like this was the first WBC tournament that has really taken off. Everybody is really into it, and excited.

“It’s different because your body clock kind of gets jolted into this, but it’s a good thing bridging the gap from spring training into the season.’’

Yep, tell Neshek about it. He came into the game in the eighth inning with two outs, runners on first and second, and left-handed cleanup hitter Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh coming to the plate. Neshek thought it was a right-handed hitter, so he threw sliders in the bullpen, never imagining he was facing a lefty who was their best slugger.

Neshek, who didn’t even know it was a left-handed batter until catcher Buster Posey came to the mound, started him off with a changeup, and on the fourth pitch, threw another. Tsutsugoh took a huge swing, and just missed it, with the ball falling softly into the glove of McCutchen in right field.

Neshek threw his hands into the air, jogged off the field, looked at Posey on the bench, and rolled his eyes in relief.

“”This thing is so intense,’’ Neshek said. “I really haven’t had much room for failure in this thing. If they get a hit there, I’m the worst player ever.

“It reminded me of ‘14 with the Cardinals when Matt Adams hit that homer off [Clayton] Kershaw. I said, “Oh, my God.’ I don’t want to blow it.’ That’s the way I felt.’’

Team USA, which went ahead 2-1 on Adam Jones’ slow infield roller that scored Brandon Crawford from third base in the eighth inning, hung on for the victory with Luke Gregerson pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

Now, they find themes in playing the most important international baseball game for the U.S. since Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda led the Olympians to the 1990 gold medal.

For Team USA, it’s a chance to make history, showing the world that they might not have had their greatest players in the tournament, but still are the best.

For Team Puerto Rico, well, it means everything, showing an unbridled passion and energy you won’t even find in a World Series. Veterans such as Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina insist that winning the WBC would be the highlight of their magnificent careers.

“I think certainly playing for their country,’’ USA reliever Andrew Miller says, “brings out the best in them. I think we have to try to match that. It’s not like we’re not proud to play for USA, but certainly there’s an energy these teams have brought that we’ve had to fight against.

“It’s a challenge.’’

And you can imagine the emotions USA starter Marcus Stroman will feel when he takes the mound. He could have easily been starting for Puerto Rico instead of Seth Lugo, since his mother is Puerto Rican. He even considered playing for Puerto Rico until deciding that he belonged on the USA team, where he grew up on Long Island, N.Y., and graduated from Duke University.

“It was a tough choice,’’ Stroman said. “My mom’s born and raised in Puerto Rico. But at the end of the day, getting that call from Joe Torre, I couldn’t say, “No.’ I played for Team USA for the collegiate national team in 2011, so that also had something to do with it.

“I feel like in the end I made the right choice.’’

Now, we have the title game that everyone wanted to see, and while Puerto Rico is undefeated and has stolen the show with their exuberance and demonstrative celebrations, USA vows to let loose if they prevail.

“I know I will,’’ Neshek said, laughing. “We’ve got a [decorative] big giant eagle in our clubhouse, and I’m bringing that sucker onto the field.

“I think a lot of guys don’t really want to go nuts until we’re the best, but if we win that thing, look out.’’

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2017/03/22/team-usa-beats-japan-world-baseball-classic/99482712/

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Belgium-born Lecomte helps Baylor get to another Sweet 16http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/belgium-born-lecomte-helps-baylor-get-another-sweet-16.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/belgium-born-lecomte-helps-baylor-get-another-sweet-16.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:04:47 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24848 Belgium-born Lecomte helps Baylor get to another Sweet 16 Belgium-born Lecomte helps Baylor get to another Sweet 16:- Manu Lecomte is like so many other players who made the NCAA Tournament. They grew up with dreams of making big plays on the biggest stage. Like his four-point play to start a personal scoring surge late […]

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Belgium-born Lecomte helps Baylor get to another Sweet 16

Belgium-born Lecomte helps Baylor get to another Sweet 16:- Manu Lecomte is like so many other players who made the NCAA Tournament. They grew up with dreams of making big plays on the biggest stage.

Like his four-point play to start a personal scoring surge late in the second-round game that finally put Baylor ahead to stay and helped push the Bears to another Sweet 16.

What is different about Lecomte (pronounced La-conn-t) is that he grew up in Belgium, where soccer is the favorite sport. He wasn't exactly on the recruiting trail for Division I basketball coaches, and nobody else in his family played basketball, not even the uncle who was a coach and taught him the game.

"I guess it's unique," he said. "When I was 4 or 5 years old, and he just got me started, and he started training me every day, and I just loved it. I loved the competition, I loved the game."

Baylor (27-7) will be in New York to play South Carolina at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.

Lecomte was 3-of-15 shooting in the tournament before making a go-ahead 3-pointer while being fouled with 4:40 left Sunday against Southern Cal. That was the first of his eight straight points in a 45-second span, and 12 the rest of the way in an 82-78 win.

"That dude makes huge plays , huge plays. He's one of those guys, he likes a challenge," said new North Texas coach Grant McCasland, the former Baylor assistant who recruited Lecomte. "You look at his size and know he's always had to fight uphill."

Listed at 5-foot-11, Lecomte is the only player on the Baylor roster shorter than 6-3.

When still in Belgium, Lecomte would watch NBA games online, as well as college games and the NCAA Tournament. He was already familiar with those bright Baylor jerseys, though he took another path to get to Waco.

Former Miami assistant coach Michael Huger had played pro basketball in Belgium and knew Lecomte's coaches. The Hurricanes offered him a spot without ever seeing him in person.

"I got lucky," Lecomte said. "That was one of the only schools that really offered me. I just needed one chance, one team that wanted me, and I thought Miami would have been a great fit."

While he started 40 of 71 games during two seasons with the Hurricanes, Lecomte decided to leave after standout point guard Angel Rodriguez left Kansas State for two final seasons at Miami along with some other transfers.

McCasland, who had been aware of him as a high school and amateur player on Belgian national teams, visited Lecomte after he left Miami.

"I had a great feeling, and I just loved it," Lecomte said. "I just loved the opportunity."

Except for having to sit out last season because of NCAA transfer rules. He was able to practice countless hours with the team and on his own, but couldn't play until this season — when Baylor needed a point guard.

"I just worked so hard on my game. I was in the gym every day, every night," he said. "I would have never thought one day I would be like I'm not going to play for a year. That would have been impossible for me. But now I did it and I overcame it, it was all worth it."

McCasland, who won 20 games at Arkansas State in his only season as head coach there before taking the North Texas job this week, said Lecomte became an elite player because of the time he spent in the gym on his own.

There were several other game-winning moments before Southern Cal.

In the Bahamas on Thanksgiving week, Lecomte scored Baylor's last 11 points in a 71-63 win over VCU. In his first Big 12 home game, Lecomte finished only 2-of-9 shooting but made a high-arcing shot on a short jumper over a defender with eight seconds left to beat Iowa State 65-63. There was also a game-clinching 3-pointer with 23 seconds left in a 78-75 win at Ole Miss.

"I really call it instinct," Lecomte said. "Just playing without thinking or having any doubts or anything. ... When I play my best is when I don't think, and I just play by instinct."

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2017/03/22/belgium-born-lecomte-helps-baylor-get-to-another-sweet-16/99482772/

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Airbnb embarks on China push with more staff, local namehttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/airbnb-embarks-china-push-staff-local-name.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/airbnb-embarks-china-push-staff-local-name.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:00:10 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24844 Airbnb embarks on China push with more staff, local name Airbnb embarks on China push with more staff, local name:- U.S. short-term rental giant Airbnb Inc will triple its China staff this year as it targets the country's millennial consumers, its chief executive said on Wednesday, even as the Silicon Valley firm faces competition from […]

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Airbnb embarks on China push with more staff, local name

Airbnb embarks on China push with more staff, local name:- U.S. short-term rental giant Airbnb Inc will triple its China staff this year as it targets the country's millennial consumers, its chief executive said on Wednesday, even as the Silicon Valley firm faces competition from local rivals.

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said China was a key market for the firm to achieve its global ambitions. He was talking at an event in Shanghai to launch the brand's Chinese name "Aibiying", literally "welcome each other with love".

"Chinese millennials, they are a huge market - nearly half a billion people, 400 million Chinese millennials and they represent 80 percent of our business here in China," he said.

"Our idea is to bring people together from every country in the world and that must start from the biggest country on earth, right here in China."

The firm, valued at $30 billion in a round of fundraising last year, has seen strong growth from Chinese tourists, with outbound travelers from the country staying at its properties globally growing 142 percent last year, the firm said.

Within China, the government has been ramping up pressure on foreign tech firms operating in the country, forcing many to find ways to bring Beijing on-side. Airbnb told Chinese users in November it would store their personal data locally and announced a series of agreements with local city authorities including Shenzhen, Chongqing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Beyond regulation, Airbnb is facing a handful of highly funded local rivals, including Tujia.com and Xiaozhu.com, often dubbed China's Airbnb clone.

Chesky added the firm had looked closely at the successes and failures of other companies operating in the country. Many international firms, especially in tech, have faced hurdles in China from ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] to Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O).

"To get things right in China we've tried to learn from other companies, what they did right and what they did wrong," he said. "The first thing is we've built a local team that is tripling in size this year."

The firm now has around 80,000 homes listed in China, a number growing at over 160 percent year-on-year, while its business is being driven by Chinese millennials, loosely defined as adults under 35 years old.

Chesky said this group was "moving away from mass tourism" of their parents and looking for authentic, local experiences: "(It's) a new generation that is traveling very differently."

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-airbnb-china-idUSKBN16T0HY

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China Geely doubles earnings as Volvo tech boosts saleshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/china-geely-doubles-earnings-volvo-tech-boosts-sales.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/china-geely-doubles-earnings-volvo-tech-boosts-sales.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:55:44 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24841 China Geely doubles earnings as Volvo tech boosts sales China Geely doubles earnings as Volvo tech boosts sales:- China's Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd (0175.HK) posted its biggest profit growth in eight years on Wednesday, as improved product design and engineering following its 2010 purchase of Sweden's Volvo helped propel it to record sales. Geely, which also owns the […]

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China Geely doubles earnings as Volvo tech boosts sales

China Geely doubles earnings as Volvo tech boosts sales:- China's Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd (0175.HK) posted its biggest profit growth in eight years on Wednesday, as improved product design and engineering following its 2010 purchase of Sweden's Volvo helped propel it to record sales.

Geely, which also owns the maker of London's black cabs, has already forecast a 31 percent jump in sales for the current year as affordable models introduced after the Volvo acquisition, such as its GC9 sedan and Boyue sport-utility vehicle, exceed initial estimates.

Long seen as a no-frills brand, Geely has transformed itself into an automaker with up-market aspirations, using its Volvo research-and-development advantage to climb the sales table in the world's largest auto market where it ranks around seventh.

Come next year, Geely plans its next phase of expansion as it aims to become China's first automaker to market its own brand - new Volvo collaboration Lynk & Co - in developed markets, beginning with Europe and the United States.

Entering major markets with an unknown Chinese brand is an expensive risk, analysts say, but investors are unperturbed: Geely's share price has trebled over the past 12 months.

"It's a total turnaround story," said a fund manager at a Taiwan-based investment firm that bought a significant amount of Geely stock last year.

"Before it was just a normal domestic brand, but after several new product launches it successfully elevated its brand image," said the person who was not authorized to speak publicly on the firm's investments and so declined to be identified.

Geely's China sales grew 50 percent last year to 766,000 vehicles, powered by the GC9 and Boyue, as well as small cars featuring Volvo technology. It aims to top 1 million this year, though could sell far more depending on market conditions, a Geely official with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

For 2016, net profit more than doubled to 5.1 billion yuan ($741 million), its strongest growth since 2008. The figure is set to rise 37 percent to 7 billion yuan in 2017, showed a Reuters poll of analyst estimates prior to Geely's Wednesday filing.

Geely shares were down 1.2 percent in early afternoon trading after the earnings release.

OVERSEAS GAMBLE

To be sure, growth has come at a cost. Geely and parent Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co Ltd [GEELY.UL] have spent 10 billion yuan on R&D in each of the past three to four years, or about 15 percent of current revenue, said spokesman Victor Yang.

That compared with 2 billion yuan in 2015 at domestic rival BYD Co Ltd (002594.SZ), showed Thomson Reuters data.

But Geely's domestic growth spurts could lessen as expansion in China's overall passenger car market slows following the reduction of subsidies for small-engine vehicles, adding impetus to any international push.

"The current focus of our work is firstly the pace of development in China and increasing our share of the Chinese auto market, then next we can focus our work abroad," Geely Chairman Li Shufu told reporters in Beijing earlier this month.

But entering markets where the brand is unknown is a gamble, and it could take years to gain traction, said James Chao, Asia-Pacific chief of consultancy IHS Markit Automotive.

As there is plenty of room for growth in China, however, there is no need to be concerned about the move abroad, said fund managers at two investment firms that hold Geely stock.

"If they do well abroad it's a bonus, and if they don't then it's not a big reason to worry," one of the managers said.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-geely-results-idUSKBN16T0DI

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Oil prices fall on bloated U.S. crude storagehttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/oil-prices-fall-bloated-u-s-crude-storage.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/oil-prices-fall-bloated-u-s-crude-storage.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:52:36 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24839 Oil prices fall on bloated U.S. crude storage Oil prices fall on bloated U.S. crude storage:- Oil prices dipped on Wednesday as rising crude stocks in the United States underscored an ongoing global fuel supply overhang despite an OPEC-led effort to cut output. At 0803 GMT, prices for front-month Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for […]

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Oil prices fall on bloated U.S. crude storage

Oil prices fall on bloated U.S. crude storage:- Oil prices dipped on Wednesday as rising crude stocks in the United States underscored an ongoing global fuel supply overhang despite an OPEC-led effort to cut output.

At 0803 GMT, prices for front-month Brent crude futures, the international benchmark for oil, were at $50.66 per barrel, down 30 cents or 0.59 percent from their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 28 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $47.96 a barrel.

"Crude oil prices fell as concerns over rising U.S. inventories resurfaced," ANZ bank said on Wednesday.

U.S. crude oil inventories climbed by 4.5 million barrels in the week ended March 17 to 533.6 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said late on Tuesday.

"The American Petroleum Institutes' crude inventories stuck the knife into crude overnight, coming in at a 4.5 million barrel increase against an expected increase of 2.8 million barrels," said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at futures brokerage OANDA in Singapore.

"If the API stuck the knife in, tonight's EIA Crude Inventory figures may twist it. A blowout above the 2.1 million barrel increase expected, may well torpedo oil below the waterline," he added.

Official U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) oil storage data is due on Wednesday.

The bloated storage comes as U.S. oil production has risen over 8 percent since mid-2016 to more than 9.1 million barrels per day (bpd), levels comparable to late 2014, when the oil market slump started.

Rising production in the United States and elsewhere, and bloated inventories, are undermining efforts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut output and prop up prices.

"OPEC's market intervention has not yet resulted in significant visible inventory draw-downs, and the financial markets have lost patience," U.S. bank Jefferies said on Wednesday in a note to clients, although it added that the cutbacks would likely start to show by the second half of the year if OPEC extends its production cuts beyond June.

Despite cuts, analysts warned of renewed or ongoing oversupply in coming years, especially as U.S. shale producers ramp up and once OPEC returns to full capacity.

"On an annual average basis, we expect U.S. crude oil production to grow by 360,000 barrels per day in 2017 and 1 million bpd in 2018," Jefferies said.

U.S. bank Goldman Sachs warned its clients in a note this week that a U.S. shale led production surge "could create a material oversupply in 2018-19."

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-oil-idUSKBN16T03H

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Uber board backs CEO Kalanick, still looking for chief operating officerhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/uber-board-backs-ceo-kalanick-still-looking-chief-operating-officer.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/technology/uber-board-backs-ceo-kalanick-still-looking-chief-operating-officer.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:46:09 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24836 Uber board backs CEO Kalanick, still looking for chief operating officer Uber board backs CEO Kalanick, still looking for chief operating officer:- Uber Technologies Inc plans to keep co-founder Travis Kalanick as chief executive following a series of damaging events at the ride services company, a member of its board said on Tuesday in a […]

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Uber board backs CEO Kalanick, still looking for chief operating officer

Uber board backs CEO Kalanick, still looking for chief operating officer:- Uber Technologies Inc plans to keep co-founder Travis Kalanick as chief executive following a series of damaging events at the ride services company, a member of its board said on Tuesday in a rare call with reporters.

"The board has confidence in Travis," said Arianna Huffington, co-founder of news site Huffington Post and one of seven voting Uber board members. The possibility of him resigning has not "come up and we don't expect it to come up," she said.

But she added that Kalanick, 40, needed to change his leadership style from that of a "scrappy entrepreneur" to be more like a "leader of a major global company."

The privately held company, valued at $68 billion, is pushing ahead in its search for a chief operating officer to help Kalanick run the business, but gave no hints on possible candidates or timing of an appointment.

Huffington and three Uber executives on the call said they were working on repairing the company's tarnished image and improving its culture and leadership after a series of embarrassing setbacks, including allegations of sexual harassment from a former employee and the recent departure of its president, Jeff Jones, who cited deep misgivings about the company. Kalanick was not on the call.

Uber expects to conclude an internal investigation into the sexual harassment allegations by the end of April, Huffington said The investigation was prompted by a former Uber employee who last month published a blog post describing a workplace where sexual harassment was common and went unpunished.

Huffington is part of a committee - along with Uber board members David Bonderman of TPG Capital and Bill Gurley, a venture capitalist at Benchmark and close adviser to Kalanick - that will review the findings of the investigation.

Huffington pledged to make those findings public.

Meanwhile, the search for a COO - announced two weeks ago by Kalanick - is continuing, Huffington said, without mentioning any candidates by name or saying when the job would be filled. She said the COO, a role that has not previously existed at Uber, will be a "true partner" to Kalanick.

"This is the first time that Travis has really understood the importance of having a partner," said Liane Hornsey, Uber's chief human resources officer, on the call.

News service Bloomberg last month released a video that showed Kalanick berating an Uber driver who had complained about cuts to rates paid to drivers, resulting in Kalanick making a public apology and admitting he needed leadership training.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-ceo-idUSKBN16S2Y0

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Luxury goods group Hermes delivers record 2016 profit marginhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/luxury-goods-group-hermes-delivers-record-2016-profit-margin.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/luxury-goods-group-hermes-delivers-record-2016-profit-margin.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:34:34 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24832 Luxury goods group Hermes delivers record 2016 profit margin Luxury goods group Hermes delivers record 2016 profit margin:- French luxury goods group Hermes (HRMS.PA) said on Wednesday it was starting 2017 on a solid footing after delivering record 2016 profits, providing further evidence of a broader recovery in the luxury goods industry. Chief Executive Axel […]

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Luxury goods group Hermes delivers record 2016 profit margin

Luxury goods group Hermes delivers record 2016 profit margin:- French luxury goods group Hermes (HRMS.PA) said on Wednesday it was starting 2017 on a solid footing after delivering record 2016 profits, providing further evidence of a broader recovery in the luxury goods industry.

Chief Executive Axel Dumas nevertheless struck a cautious note for the year given underlying global political and economic uncertainties.

"We did better than we expected in 2016 and we are entering 2017 on a solid base but remain cautious in view of an uncertain environment," Dumas told a conference call.

Hermes, known for its $10,000 Birkin bags and $400 printed silk scarves, said net profits had risen by 13 percent rise to a record 1.1 billion euros ($1.19 billion).

Its operating margin hit an historic high of 32.6 percent of sales against 31.8 percent in 2015, while the company also increased its dividend by 12 percent.

Hermes added it was keeping an "ambitious" medium-term goal for revenue growth at constant exchange rates.

The company's sales growth had mainly stemmed from a strong performance at its leather goods arm, which makes 50 percent of group sales, while other divisions also performed well although its watches unit lagged.

Hermes joined other luxury companies such as LVMH (LVMH.PA) and Kering (PRTP.PA) in reporting an improvement in the sector, which has suffered from slowing demand in China, while Islamist militant attacks in France have also deterred tourists from Europe.

Several analysts expect the luxury goods sector to benefit in 2017 from improved consumer sentiment in China, tax cuts under the new U.S. administration and robust Middle Eastern demand due to firmer oil prices.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-hermes-intl-results-idUSKBN16T0M4

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Markets fret as Trump agenda shows signs of crackshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/markets-fret-as-trump-agenda-shows-signs-of-cracks.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/markets-fret-as-trump-agenda-shows-signs-of-cracks.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:31:16 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24829 Markets fret as Trump agenda shows signs of cracks Markets fret as Trump agenda shows signs of cracks:- The steepest pullback in stocks since the U.S. presidential election reveals investor angst about President Donald Trump's ability to push through major reforms, leaving stocks vulnerable to a long-anticipated correction. The S&P 500, in its second longest […]

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Markets fret as Trump agenda shows signs of cracks

Markets fret as Trump agenda shows signs of cracks:- The steepest pullback in stocks since the U.S. presidential election reveals investor angst about President Donald Trump's ability to push through major reforms, leaving stocks vulnerable to a long-anticipated correction.

The S&P 500, in its second longest bull market ever, has risen close to 10 percent since the Nov. 8 election on optimism about Trump's pro-growth agenda. With valuations at their highest in over a decade, investors have been expecting a pullback even if its catalysts haven't been clear.

Trump, looking to score the first major political win of his presidency, on Tuesday warned Republican lawmakers that if a healthcare bill he backs fails to pass, it would cause "political problems." Stocks fell alongside the U.S. dollar, while Treasuries and gold rallied.

"It's like the Trump agenda getting kind of slapped in the face," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Investors saw the health bill vote, expected on Thursday, as testing optimism that the Trump administration and Republican leaders will implement tax cuts, deregulation and infrastructure spending expected to boost economic growth.

The muddled view on the healthcare bill "carries over to what will happen with the infrastructure plan and the tax reform plan and the reduced regulation plan," Tuz said.

Adding to the angst, FBI Director James Comey on Monday confirmed that the bureau is investigating possible ties between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia as Moscow sought to influence the 2016 U.S. election. The investigation, he said, could last for months.

Comey's testimony "pointed to the fact that there could be a lot of drawn-out political infighting that could delay some of the pro-business ideas from being passed," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management in Jersey City, New Jersey.

He said he doesn't expect to see a correction unless the S&P 500, currently down about 2 percent from the record high set March 1, retreats another 1.5 to 2 percent in the next few days.

"That would cause investors to maybe take a pause in what has been a buy-the-dip mentality since the election," Meckler said.

The S&P forward price to earnings ratio has jumped to above 18 from 16.6 on Election Day, making U.S. equities the most expensive level since 2004. At the same time, the index's dividend yield sits just above 2 percent, losing some of its allure against the 10-year Treasury note.

SKITTISH INVESTORS

The S&P 500 has not posted a daily decline of more than 1 percent since Oct. 11. Tuesday's move in stocks underscores trends in other markets already pricing in a risk that the Trump administration's plans could be delayed.

The Mexican peso MXN=, which weakened during the presidential campaign with rising prospects of a Trump win, traded last week at its strongest versus the dollar since the November election. It had hit a historic low in mid-January.

The yen JPY=, up against the dollar for a sixth straight session, was on track to close below 112 per $1 for the first time since Feb. 8.

Junk bond investors also pounced earlier this month. The spread between the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield index .MERH0A0 and benchmark Treasuries US10YT=RR bottomed on March 1 and has since widened by about 40 basis points.

Ten-year Treasury yields fell below 2.43 percent Tuesday, the lowest in about three weeks, partly reflecting traders scaling back their view on the domestic economy in the absence of any fiscal stimulus this year.

"Republicans should have prioritized tax reform ahead of health care reform," said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

"They’re coming across as a motley crew rather than a party that can get things done."

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-stocks-analysis-idUSKBN16S2LR

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Hot U.S. real estate a potential red flaghttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/hot-u-s-real-estate-a-potential-red-flag.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/hot-u-s-real-estate-a-potential-red-flag.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:26:52 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24825 Hot U.S. real estate a potential red flag Hot U.S. real estate a potential red flag:- The run-up in U.S. real estate prices could potentially amplify any future economic downturn, a Federal Reserve official said on Tuesday, urging regulators globally to consider tools beyond interest rates that could help cool the sector. A sharp downturn […]

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Hot U.S. real estate a potential red flag

Hot U.S. real estate a potential red flag:- The run-up in U.S. real estate prices could potentially amplify any future economic downturn, a Federal Reserve official said on Tuesday, urging regulators globally to consider tools beyond interest rates that could help cool the sector.

A sharp downturn in U.S. residential and commercial property prices in 2007 and 2008 rocked banks that were highly leveraged in the sector, sparking the global financial crisis and deep recession. With the economic recovery now well under way, bank holdings of commercial and apartment mortgages rose 9 percent and 12 percent, respectively, in the past year.

Eric Rosengren, president of the Boston Fed and an influential financial regulator at the U.S. central bank, said the "sharp" rise in apartment prices in particular may signal financial instabilities that interest rates, which are only gradually rising, may not be able to contain.

"Because real estate holdings are widespread, and the monetary and macroprudential tools for handling valuation concerns are somewhat limited, I believe we must acknowledge that the commercial real estate sector has the potential to amplify whatever problems may emerge when we at some point face an economic downturn," Rosengren said in prepared remarks for delivery to a banking supervision conference in Bali, Indonesia.

He noted that real estate has repeatedly played a big role in episodes of financial instability, and that prices are now outpacing growth in building owners' operating income.

Since equilibrium interest rates - the Fed's traditional tool to guide the economy - could remain lower than decades past, Rosengren said, "this would require a greater emphasis on macroprudential tools if valuations became a source of concern."

Such tools include rules and restrictions on bank holdings. "It is prudent to keep a healthy, ongoing focus on the sufficiency of these tools and their ongoing enhancement," he added.

 Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-fed-rosengren-idUSKBN16T06T

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Asian stocks slide as fresh Trump jitters damage risk sentimenthttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/asian-stocks-slide-as-fresh-trump-jitters-damage-risk-sentiment.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/business/asian-stocks-slide-as-fresh-trump-jitters-damage-risk-sentiment.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:09:38 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24824 Asian stocks slide as fresh Trump jitters damage risk sentiment "Asian stocks have had a good run so this is a good excuse to take some money off the table though there is plenty of cash waiting on the sidelines to be invested if the selloff intensifies," said Alex Wong, a fund manager at Ample […]

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Asian stocks slide as fresh Trump jitters damage risk sentiment

"Asian stocks have had a good run so this is a good excuse to take some money off the table though there is plenty of cash waiting on the sidelines to be invested if the selloff intensifies," said Alex Wong, a fund manager at Ample Capital Ltd. in Hong Kong.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 1.4 percent, its biggest intraday percentage fall since Dec. 15. In the previous session, the index hit its highest level since June 2015.

Japanese stocks .N225 led regional losers, falling 2 percent, as investors ignored data showing exports grew the most in more than two years in February. [nL3N1GY2GK]

Australian shares tumbled 1.6 percent.

Despite the tumble, some investors such as Sherwood Zhang at Matthews Asia, part of a team that manages $26 billion in global assets, were optimistic about the outlook for Hong Kong stocks, citing relatively reasonable valuations.

With valuations stretched -- U.S. stocks are trading at the upper end of their historical valuation ranges -- investors see the Trump administration's struggles to push through the healthcare overhaul as a sign he may also face setbacks delivering promised corporate tax cuts.

Expectations of those cuts have been a major driver behind the 10-percent surge in the S&P 500 since Trump's election and a subsequent rally in emerging markets since late December.

DECIDEDLY RISK-OFF

In a BofA Merrill Lynch survey conducted last week, 34 percent of investors found equities to be most overvalued of all asset classes, the highest proportion in 17 years, with U.S. stocks identified as the most expensive.

"Investor positioning argues for a risk rally pause in March/April, with allocation to equities at a two-year high and bond allocation at a three-year low," said Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at the bank.

"Policy is the key catalyst for the Icarus trade to fly higher in the coming months."

With investor mood decidedly risk-off, the Japanese yen scored some chunky gains against the U.S. dollar JPY=, rising to a four-month high of 111.60. The greenback slipped below a key level of 100 .DXY against a trade-weighted basket of its peers.

"Unlike the dollar and Treasuries, the 'Trump trade' still had an impact on equities. But if such impact on equities is to fade, it would weigh on dollar/yen. The dollar will also suffer against other currencies as U.S. yields would decline," said Shin Kadota, senior strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.

Bonds gained with yields on two-year U.S. debt US2YT=RR falling to 1.27 percent in overnight trades, retreating further from a 7-1/2 year high of 1.38 percent hit last Wednesday when the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates.

Gold XAU= was on track to extend its overnight strong performance with the precious commodity perched comfortably at a two-week high of $1,245 per ounce.

Commodities other than gold, however, have had a rough outing with copper CMCU3 and iron ore prices SRBcv1 down sharply with a spike in volatility flushing out a lot of speculative positions.

Oil prices declined as concerns about new supply overshadowed the latest talk by OPEC that it was looking to extend output cuts.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude CLc1 extended overnight losses to fall to fresh four-month lows at $48.07 a barrel.

Source:- http://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-markets-idUSKBN16T017

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Trump to attend NATO summit in Brussels amid complaint allies owe vast sumshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/trump-attend-nato-summit-brussels-amid-complaint-allies-owe-vast-sums.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/trump-attend-nato-summit-brussels-amid-complaint-allies-owe-vast-sums.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 05:50:16 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24821 Trump to attend NATO summit in Brussels amid complaint allies owe vast sums President Trump will travel to Brussels in May for a NATO summit, the White House said Tuesday. The announcement comes as Trump has roiled the alliance with renewed complaints about how much European allies are paying for their defense. But administration officials […]

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Trump to attend NATO summit in Brussels amid complaint allies owe vast sums

President Trump will travel to Brussels in May for a NATO summit, the White House said Tuesday.

The announcement comes as Trump has roiled the alliance with renewed complaints about how much European allies are paying for their defense. But administration officials say the U.S. has a "strong commitment" to the alliance.

In a meeting at the White House with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, Trump suggested that allies owe "vast sums of money from past years."

He followed up that meeting with a tweet demanding that "the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!"

Those statements reflected a shift in U.S. policy. At the most recent NATO summits in Wales and Poland, nations agreed to spend at least 2% of their economic output on defense by 2024, but the agreement was not retrospective and the money is not owed to the United States. "There is no debt account in NATO," German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen said Sunday.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that Trump "looks forward to meeting with his NATO counterparts to reaffirm our strong commitment to NATO." But he also alluded to two issues where Trump has been critical of the alliance, saying Trump hoped to "discuss issues critical to the alliance, especially allied responsibility-sharing and NATO’s role in the fight against terrorism."

Also Tuesday, the State Department said Rex Tillerson would be the first secretary of State to skip a meeting with NATO foreign ministers for the first time in 14 years, raising more questions about the U.S. commitment to the 68-year-old alliance. Instead, Tillerson will travel to Russia, NATO's chief rival, amid an FBI investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election.

But from lecterns across Washington Tuesday, the Trump administration professed support for NATO. "The United States remains 100% committed to NATO. President Trump said this in his very first address to a joint session of Congress. He said our commitment to NATO is unwavering and it remains so," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.

At the Pentagon, secretary of Defense James Mattis met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. "We have a very strong trans-Atlantic bond. It's getting stronger," Mattis said. "It's built on a legacy of common commitments and common defense, and we never forget that in this building."

The White House said Trump would meet with Stoltenberg at the White House on April 12.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/21/trump-attend-nato-summit-brussels-amid-complaints-they-owe-vast-sums/99479178/

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Supreme Court limits president appointment powershttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/supreme-court-limits-president-appointment-powers.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/supreme-court-limits-president-appointment-powers.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 05:43:22 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24818 Supreme Court limits president appointment powers Supreme Court limits president appointment powers:- The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it more difficult for the president to quickly fill vacant top government jobs in a case centered on the appointment powers of the executive. In a 6-to-2 ruling, the court limited the president’s ability to put certain […]

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Supreme Court limits president appointment powers

Supreme Court limits president appointment powers:- The Supreme Court on Tuesday made it more difficult for the president to quickly fill vacant top government jobs in a case centered on the appointment powers of the executive.

In a 6-to-2 ruling, the court limited the president’s ability to put certain high-level officials in positions in an acting capacity while awaiting confirmation by the Senate.

The court was reviewing the scope of a federal law intended to prevent presidents from temporarily slipping someone into a top position to circumvent the Senate’s process for reviewing an appointment to the permanent post.

The majority rejected the government’s view that the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 applied only to people serving in the role of “first assistant” and not to other officials. The statute, the court said, prohibits anyone who has been nominated to lead a federal agency from performing the job in an acting capacity, according to the majority opinion written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

During oral arguments in November over an appointment to the National Labor Relations Board, the Obama administration pointed out that three presidents had made more than 100 appointments under the government’s interpretation of the law.

Roberts rejected the significance of the statistics, noting those nominations accounted for less than 2 percent of the thousands of positions the Senate has considered. Just because Congress has not objected, Roberts wrote, did not make the government’s reading of the law correct.

“Congress’s failure to speak up does not fairly imply that it has acquiesced in the board’s interpretation,” Roberts wrote.

Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg disagreed, finding that the law was not intended to tie the hands of the president from temporarily appointing senior government officials and also nominating them to the permanent position.

“The court gives the provision a broader reach than the text can bear with no support from the history of, or practice under, the [law],” Sotomayor wrote in her dissent that Ginsburg joined.

The Trump administration appears to have taken note of the dispute even before the opinion was issued Tuesday. Since his nomination to the solicitor general’s post, Noel Francisco has been serving as a senior adviser to the Justice Department’s associate attorney general. Another attorney, Jeffrey B. Wall, was named acting solicitor general.

The case dates to June 2010 when President Obama tapped Lafe Solomon to serve temporarily as acting general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, the agency that enforces labor laws.

The law says that the “first assistant” to the position could take over on a temporary basis, but that such a person cannot serve both as acting and the nominee unless he or she has served for 90 days as first assistant.

Solomon had not served as the first assistant to the position, and Obama nominated him to the job permanently.

A company against which the board had issued an unfair-labor-practice ruling sued, saying Solomon lacked authority to issue the ruling because the law prevented him from being both the acting general counsel and the nominee. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed with the Arizona-based ambulance company, SW General Inc.,

As for Solomon, the Senate twice refused to confirm him, and the position eventually went to someone else.

The Supreme Court noted in its opinion Tuesday that the president could have appointed another person to serve temporarily in Solomon’s place, but did not.

In a second opinion issued Tuesday, the court allowed a lawsuit to go forward against members of a suburban Illinois police department.

Elijah Manuel was detained in 2011 for nearly seven weeks after police falsely asserted he was carrying the illegal drug ecstasy in a vitamin bottle. Officers dragged Manuel from his car, called him a racial slur and kicked and punched him on the ground.

In a 6-to-2 opinion, the court said Manuel could sue the City of Joliet, Ill., and police officers over his pretrial detention, and that his confinement on made-up evidence violated Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable seizures.

The Fourth Amendment “fits Manuel’s claim, as hand in glove,” according to the majority opinion written by Justice Elena Kagan.

The ruling sends the case back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, dissented, writing that the majority “stretches the concept of seizure much too far.”

Source:- https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-limits-presidents-appointment-powers/2017/03/21/9c62cb82-0e48-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html?utm_term=.30d665ae5e7c

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Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch stresses his independence from President Trumphttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/supreme-court-nominee-gorsuch-stresses-independence-president-trump.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/supreme-court-nominee-gorsuch-stresses-independence-president-trump.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 05:37:42 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24814 Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch stresses his independence from President Trump Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch stresses his independence from President Trump:- Judge Neil Gorsuch stressed his independence and defended the integrity of the federal judiciary Tuesday as the Senate hearings on his Supreme Court nomination turned on the search for his judicial philosophy and what one […]

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Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch stresses his independence from President Trump

Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch stresses his independence from President Trump:- Judge Neil Gorsuch stressed his independence and defended the integrity of the federal judiciary Tuesday as the Senate hearings on his Supreme Court nomination turned on the search for his judicial philosophy and what one senator called “the elephant in the room” — President Trump.

From the first question from a friendly Republican to a grilling by a Democrat hours later, Gorsuch was called upon on the second day of what is expected to be four days of hearings to assert his impartiality and reassure senators that he would not be swayed by political pressure if he wins confirmation, which appeared even more likely after his marathon session.

Gorsuch reiterated in public what he had told many senators in private — that he is offended by attacks like the ones leveled by President Trump against federal judges who have ruled in the past year in cases involving him.  

“When anyone criticizes the honesty or the integrity or the motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening. I find that demoralizing — because I know the truth,” Gorsuch told Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

“Anyone including the president of the United States?” Blumenthal asked, who had made the elephant-in-the-room comment.

“Anyone is anyone,” Gorsuch said. 

Gorsuch declined, however, to comment specifically on Trump’s various criticisms of federal judges, including an Indiana-born judge of Mexican descent who handled a federal lawsuit involving an online university bearing Trump’s name and the “so-called” judge who ruled against the president’s first attempt to ban travelers from Muslim-dominant countries from entering the United States. 

“I’ve gone as far as I can go ethically,” Gorsuch told Blumenthal.

It was a dramatic moment in a day that for the most part lacked color. Gorsuch refused to be pinned down on most of the issues that Democrats raised: his allegiance to Roe v. Wade, his views on money in politics, the reach of the Second Amendment.

He portrayed what Democrats saw as controversial rulings in his 10 years on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver as authentic attempts to interpret the laws that Congress writes.

“If we got it wrong, I’m very sorry, but we did our level best,” he said about a decision criticized by Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), but added: “It was affirmed by the Supreme Court.”

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) questioned Gorsuch’s ruling in what has become a celebrated case of a trucker who was fired after unhitching his trailer in subzero weather and driving away in search of warmth and safety. Gorsuch was the lone dissenter in saying a federal law did not protect the driver, but Franken said the judge could have ruled that a strict interpretation of the law would lead to an absurd result.

“I had a career in identifying absurdity, and I know it when I see it,” Franken said.

Republican senators did little more than set up Gorsuch, 49, to display an encyclopedic knowledge of the Constitution and Supreme Court precedent, and to allow him to stress his roots as an outdoorsy Westerner.

“What’s the largest trout you’ve ever caught?” asked Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.).

Gorsuch will be at the witness table again Wednesday as well as the fourth and final day of hearings scheduled for Thursday.

Gorsuch seemed happy at the outset of the hearing to take what even he called the “softball” question offered by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) about whether he would have any trouble ruling against Trump, the man who nominated him.

“I have no difficulty ruling against or for any party other than based on what the law and the facts of a particular case require,” Gorsuch told the panel. “And I’m heartened by the support I have received from people who recognize that there’s no such thing as a Republican judge or a Democratic judge — we just have judges in this country.

“My personal views . . . I leave those at home,” he added later.

The Columbia-Oxford-Harvard graduate employed a homespun tone — “gosh,” “golly” and “nope” punctuated his answers. Corny dad jokes fell flat, especially with the Democratic senators.

They pressed him on abortion, gun rights, privacy and the protracted 2000 presidential campaign recount. As other Supreme Court nominees have, Gorsuch explained that it would be improper to give his views on cases that might come before him or to grade decisions made in the past.


He had a tense encounter with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who sparred with him on issues of campaign finance and “dark money,” including a $10 million campaign by the group Judicial Crisis Network to advocate for Gorsuch’s confirmation.

Whitehouse said the group’s donors do not have to be disclosed, and he wondered what they saw in Gorsuch that would warrant such an expenditure.

“You’d have to ask them,” Gorsuch said.

“I can’t because I don’t know who they are,” Whitehouse shot back.

Democrats questioned him about his work at former president George W. Bush’s Justice Department and whether he’d rule against Trump’s travel ban.

Gorsuch declined to express his views on Trump’s move to ban travelers from several Muslim-majority countries because “that’s an issue that is currently being litigated actively.”
When Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) mentioned that a Republican lawmaker recently suggested that Gorsuch would uphold Trump’s ban if it came before the court, Gorsuch snapped: “Senator, he has no idea how I’d rule in that case.”

Other senators quizzed Gorsuch about several of Trump’s past statements. During the presidential campaign last year, Trump said that he would nominate people to the Supreme Court who would overrule Roe v. Wade and return decisions on abortion to the states.

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) asked Gorsuch whether Trump had asked him to do that during his interview before his nomination. 

“Senator, I would have walked out the door,” Gorsuch replied. In questioning later, Gorsuch said Trump did mention abortion being a “divisive” issue but then moved to other topics.

It was at least the second time senators had pressed Gorsuch on what Trump had said he was looking for in a Supreme Court justice. Gorsuch said he does not believe in litmus tests and was never questioned about them. 

Each senator was allotted up to 30 minutes to question Gorsuch during the first round of questions. A second round, scheduled to begin Wednesday morning, gives senators an additional 20 minutes to quiz the nominee. 

The committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), asked about Gorsuch’s work on issues involving enhanced interrogation of suspected terrorist detainees while he served in Bush’s Justice Department.

Even though the issue has been in the news during the past week, Gorsuch said he did not remember a document released last week in which he was preparing talking points for the then-attorney general. “Yes,” is handwritten next to a typed question: “Have the aggressive interrogation techniques employed by the Admin yielded any valuable intelligence?”

Feinstein said she would supply Gorsuch with the documents for future questioning. In general, Gorsuch portrayed himself as a facilitator rather than a policymaker during his 14 months at the Justice Department in 2005 and 2006.

“I was a lawyer for a client,” he said.

Feinstein asked about Gorsuch’s role in designing a signing statement for Bush on a detainee treatment law; she characterized it as indicating that the president did not feel bound by the law he had just signed.

“I certainly never would have counseled anyone not to obey the law,” Gorsuch responded.

Gorsuch also forcefully rejected claims by one of his former law school students that he had suggested that women take advantage of maternity leave policies by not telling the truth in job interviews about their plans to have families. Democrats had seized on the accusations when they surfaced Sunday and vowed to ask Gorsuch about them.

When Durbin asked about the topic, Gorsuch explained that he has taught ethics classes at the University of Colorado Law School for several years. Based on his years of teaching young law students, he said that employers in the corporate world, particularly law firms, continue to treat women poorly and often ask inappropriate questions in job interviews that are used to weed out female applicants who plan to have children.

Republicans intend to move quickly on confirming Gorsuch. Those on the Judiciary Committee hope to refer him to the full Senate on April 3 so that he can be confirmed before Easter.

But Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) warned Republicans on Tuesday that his party would attempt to slow down consideration of Gorsuch because Republicans last year blocked then-President Barack Obama’s attempts to fill the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, and because Trump’s presidential campaign is the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation.

Schumer said it seemed “unseemly to be moving forward so fast on confirming a Supreme Court justice with a lifetime appointment” due to the looming FBI investigation, which could potentially last for months or years.

Source:- https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/supreme-court-nominee-gorsuch-starts-day-two-of-confirmation-hearings/2017/03/20/ccd81b02-0dbf-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html?utm_term=.dc5b2363289b

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Los Angeles Latinos report fewer sex assaults amid immigration fearshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/los-angeles-latinos-report-fewer-sex-assaults-amid-immigration-fears.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/los-angeles-latinos-report-fewer-sex-assaults-amid-immigration-fears.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 05:27:26 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24811 Los Angeles Latinos report fewer sex assaults amid immigration fears Los Angeles Latinos report fewer sex assaults amid immigration fears:- Reports of sexual assaults and domestic violence among Los Angeles' Latino population have plummeted since the beginning of the year, amid fears that immigrants in the country illegally could face deportation if they interact with […]

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Los Angeles Latinos report fewer sex assaults amid immigration fears

Los Angeles Latinos report fewer sex assaults amid immigration fears:- Reports of sexual assaults and domestic violence among Los Angeles' Latino population have plummeted since the beginning of the year, amid fears that immigrants in the country illegally could face deportation if they interact with police or appear in court, the city's police chief said Tuesday.

Since the beginning of 2017, sexual assault reports have dropped 25 percent and domestic violence reports have decreased by 10 percent among Latinos, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday. Similar decreases weren't seen in other ethnic groups, he said.

"Imagine your sister, your mother, not reporting a sexual assault for fear that their family will be torn apart," Beck said Tuesday.

Around the nation, President Donald Trump's efforts to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. have sparked fear and anxiety, leading many people to try to avoid any contact with law enforcement.

Beck said there was a "strong correlation" between the timing of the decreased reporting and fears of accelerated efforts to round up and deport immigrants.

Josh Rubenstein, a Los Angeles police spokesman, said the numbers were "concerning" and that the department is continuing to look at "every element contributing to the drop in reporting."

Advocates say the unease among immigrants is forcing the victims of violent crimes to stay silent.

"We are seeing immigrant families potentially being so afraid of the ultimate punishment, which deportation represents, that they may forego their chances of justice," said Jorge-Mario Cabrera, of the immigrant advocacy group CHIRLA. "We do not want to be in a situation where victims of crimes remain silent because they fear deportation. That's just horrible and unthinkable."

In an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said gang members have also been preying on undocumented immigrants and telling them they would be deported if they report crimes to the police.

"Certainly the felons in our community are using that as a weapon against the hard working people, letting them believe that if you come forward as a witness or a victim to the police that you open yourself up to deportation," McDonnell said. "That is certainly not the case."

Source:- http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/03/22/los-angeles-latinos-report-fewer-sex-assaults-amid-immigration-fears-police-say.html

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Philadelphia district attorney indicted on bribery, corruption chargeshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/philadelphia-district-attorney-indicted-on-bribery-corruption-charges.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/philadelphia-district-attorney-indicted-on-bribery-corruption-charges.html#respond Wed, 22 Mar 2017 05:24:14 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24809 Philadelphia district attorney indicted on bribery, corruption charges Philadelphia district attorney indicted on bribery, corruption charges:- A federal grand jury indicted the Philadelphia district attorney Tuesday on charges related to what officials described as a five-year corruption spree that included accepting tens of thousands of dollars in concealed bribes, a trip to the Dominican Republic […]

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Philadelphia district attorney indicted on bribery, corruption charges

Philadelphia district attorney indicted on bribery, corruption charges:- A federal grand jury indicted the Philadelphia district attorney Tuesday on charges related to what officials described as a five-year corruption spree that included accepting tens of thousands of dollars in concealed bribes, a trip to the Dominican Republic and a 1997 Jaguar from business owners.

The charges against Seth Williams, 50, a Democrat, also included confiscating money intended for a relative's nursing home care and using the funds for his own personal use.

The Philadelphia Inquirer identified the relative as Williams' mother.

The evidence surfaced in part via text messages in which Williams offers himself up to two business owners for assistance.

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recused his office from the investigation.

The formal charges announced by acting New Jersey U.S. Attorney William Fitzpatrick, who is overseeing the case, include bribery, extortion, honest services wire fraud, and also defrauding a nursing home and family friends by taking the funds earmarked for the relative's nursing home fees. Honest services fraud is when a public official denies someone his or her intangible right to honest services.

"The indictment alleges that as District Attorney, Mr. Williams compromised himself and his elected office by standing ready to help those who were willing to pay him with money, trips and cars," Fitzpatrick said in a statement. "Mr. Williams' alleged willingness to compromise his position of public trust in exchange for private financial gain is all the more unfortunate given that he was elected to protect the interests of the people of Philadelphia as their chief law enforcement officer."

Williams' office requested privacy on the matter.

"The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office does not have any comment at this time," the office said in an e-mail to USA TODAY. "The DA is not in the office today because he is spending time with his family. I ask that you respect his privacy and the privacy of the men and women of the office so all of us can continue to do our jobs without the distraction of additional media attention."

Williams' lawyer, identified by the Inquirer as Michael Diamondstein, told the news organization his client would fight the charges. Sources told the Inquirer that Williams rejected a plea deal earlier this week.

"Mr. Williams vehemently denies that he ever compromised any investigation, case, or law enforcement function," Diamondstein told the Inquirer.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Harpster in a statement called the alleged misconduct "brazen and wide-ranging."

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney condemned the alleged behavior.

"It is deeply shameful that the city’s chief law enforcement officer has been implicated in such a flagrant violation of the law," Kenney said in a statement. "At a time when our citizens’ trust in government is at an all-time low, it is disheartening to see yet another elected official give the public a reason not to trust us. That this comes at the head of our justice system is even more troubling. We must all greatly raise the bar for our behavior and show the citizens of Philadelphia that we are capable of carrying out our most basic responsibilities as elected officials, upholding the law.”

The indictment comes during a period of alleged corruption and misspending in Philadelphia. The city controller has charged that a former aide to former Mayor Michael Nutter used a non-profit that operated under the mayor as a "slush fund" for the mayor's office. In December, former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah, a Democrat from Philadelphia, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on federal racketeering and bribery charges.

Former Congressman sentenced to 10 years
Williams took office in 2010, with much hoopla made over the fact that he was the first black district attorney in Philadelphia and the entire commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In his younger years, he showed much promise. At Penn State, he was president of the Undergraduate Student Government and the Student Black Caucus. He graduated from Georgetown University's law school as a Public Interest Law Scholar.

As an assistant district attorney for a decade with the city of Philadelphia, he launched and led a Repeat Offenders Unit. He was elected district attorney in 2009, attracting more then 75% of the vote. In 2011, his office brought charges against an abortionist who allegedly killed infants who survived the procedure and the abortionist was convicted and sentenced to life.

But things turned for Williams. In 2015, he was criticized for not going after prosecutors who were found to be sharing pornographic and racially derogatory e-mails on government computers. Last year, his a woman identified in the Philadelphia media as his girlfriend turned was sentenced to probation for slashing his tires in 2015. In January, Philadelphia's Board of Ethics fined him $62,000 for failing to disclose $160,000 in gifts. And last month, he announced he would not seek a third term as district attorney because he had "cast an unnecessary shadow" over his office.

The alleged misconduct cited in Tuesday's indictment took place from 2010 to 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Williams also attempted to conceal the bribes and gifts by filing misleading personal financial statements from 2012 through 2015, the Department of Justice said.

With one of the business owners, Williams accepted a vacation to the Dominican Republic, a custom sofa, a $502 dinner at a Philadelphia restaurant, a $7,000 check, $2,000 in cash, an iPad, Burberry watch and a Burberry purse for his girlfriend, according to the indictment. In return, the district attorney agreed to help the business owner with security screenings when he returned from foreign travel, and asked a police official to help the business owner avoid a screening.

Williams also agreed to help with an associate of the business owner with criminal charges. The business owner texted Williams that the associate would "take any punishment" but "just doesn't wanna do jail," according to the indictment. Williams responded, "I will look into it." Williams then asked about a second future trip to the Dominican Republic to be paid for by the business owner and texted, "I am merely a thankful beggar and don't want to overstep my bounds in asking ... but we will gladly go."

With another business owner, the owner of a bar, Williams accepted 16 round-trip airline tickets to Florida, San Diego, Calif., and Las Vegas for himself, his girlfriend and family members, the indictment alleges. He also asked for and accepted a 1997 Jaguar XK8 and at least $900 in cash, according to the indictment.

In exchange, Williams appointed the bar owner as a special advisor to his office, even though the bar owner was on federal probation resulting from a 2010 federal tax conviction, the indictment said. Williams also sent a letter to California officials attempting to influence a hearing to revoke or suspend the bar owner's California liquor license.

Williams sent texts to the bar owner that read, "I wish I could help more," "Can I be a celebrity greeter or celebrity bartender to work off my debt ... ?" and "I was serious about just doing whatever I can to help you guys," according to the indictment.

Regarding the nursing home funds, the indictment alleges that Williams diverted pension and Social Security payments intended for one of his family members to pay for his own personal expenses. The funds were to pay for the relative's nursing home costs and Williams was under an agreement with the nursing home to make the payments. Williams also lied and told a nursing home employee that his family member spent the money, according to the indictment. In addition, Williams accepted $10,000 from friends of his relative to cover nursing home expenses and spent the money on himself, the indictment alleges.

The relative was Williams' mother and he used the funds to pay his mortgage and electricity bills, according to the Inquirer.

Williams is expected to surrender and be arraigned Wednesday afternoon, the Inquirer reported.

Also working on the case are the FBI, IRS and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Two prosecutors from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania will work on the case under the supervision of prosecutors from New Jersey.

source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/03/21/philadelphia-district-attorney-indicted-bribery-corruption-charges/99467438/

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U.S. Limits Devices for Passengers on Foreign Airlines From Eight Countrieshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/u-s-limits-devices-for-passengers-on-foreign-airlines-from-eight-countries.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/news/u-s-limits-devices-for-passengers-on-foreign-airlines-from-eight-countries.html#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2017 12:42:32 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24804 U.S. Limits Devices for Passengers on Foreign Airlines From Eight Countries U.S. Limits Devices for Passengers on Foreign Airlines From Eight Countries:- Passengers on foreign airlines headed to the United States from 10 airports in eight majority-Muslim countries have been barred from carrying electronic devices larger than a cellphone under a new flight restriction enacted […]

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U.S. Limits Devices for Passengers on Foreign Airlines From Eight Countries

U.S. Limits Devices for Passengers on Foreign Airlines From Eight Countries:- Passengers on foreign airlines headed to the United States from 10 airports in eight majority-Muslim countries have been barred from carrying electronic devices larger than a cellphone under a new flight restriction enacted on Tuesday by the Trump administration.

Officials called the directive an attempt to address gaps in foreign airport security, and said it was not based on any specific or credible threat of an imminent attack.

The Department of Homeland Security said the restricted items included laptop computers, tablets, cameras, travel printers and games bigger than a phone. The restrictions would not apply to aircraft crews, officials said in a briefing to reporters on Monday night that outlined the terms of the ban.

The new policy took effect at 3 a.m. E.D.T. on Tuesday, and must be followed within 96 hours by airlines flying to the United States from airports in Amman, Jordan; Cairo; Istanbul; Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia; Kuwait City; Casablanca, Morocco; Doha, Qatar; and Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

It applies only to flights on foreign carriers, and not American-operated airlines. Officials did not say how long the ban would remain in place or if other airports would be added.

Royal Jordanian, the state-run airline of the Hashemite kingdom, said that medical items are exempt from the ban, and that larger electronic items could still be carried in checked baggage. It announced the changes to what it called “our dearest passengers” in a Twitter post Monday afternoon that was later deleted.

In all, officials said an estimated 50 flights each day into the United States would be affected. One of the world’s busiest airports, in Abu Dhabi, already requires American-bound passengers to undergo strict screening by United States customs officials before boarding flights. Abu Dhabi is one of 15 airports in the world to employ the Homeland Security preclearance techniques.

During the briefing on Monday night, Homeland Security officials did not cite specific intelligence suggesting that terrorist groups were planning imminent attacks as a reason for the new policy. Rather, they said the change was based on intelligence reports about extremist groups that have an ongoing interest in staging attacks against American aviation targets. The officials briefed reporters on the condition they would not be identified, since the ban was not yet in place.

Separately, an official with the Transportation Security Administration who confirmed the new restriction said not everyone at the agency had been briefed about it as of Monday evening, raising the possibility that it was being rushed out. He noted that there was no mention of intelligence at a national meeting of T.S.A. federal security directors last week that suggested planes coming to the United States had been targeted by terrorist groups.

The T.S.A. has been on heightened alert at several airports, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly. It was not clear if the alert was related to the new restrictions on electronic devices.

The restrictions follow other changes the T.S.A. made in aviation security in recent days.

Two weeks ago, the T.S.A. adopted enhanced pat-down searches for passengers at United States airports, a response to what the agency said were weaknesses in airport screening measures. Under the new rules, passengers will no longer be allowed to choose what type of searches they undergo in security lines.

The agency said the measures, which will be more invasive than current procedures, were needed to improve the ability of screeners to detect explosives or other banned items. In a series of 70 undercover tests of airport security screening procedures, conducted in 2015 by the Homeland Security inspector general’s office, auditors were able to get fake weapons and explosives past security screeners 95 percent of the time, according to the still-classified report.

The enhanced pat-down searches will be used on passengers who refuse to go through the full-body screening machine. Passengers who trigger alarms while going through screening will also undergo the enhanced searches. T.S.A. officers can also randomly choose passengers for the more invasive pat-downs.

Travelers will still be able to request a private pat-down screening and ask to be accompanied by a companion of their choice.

Source:- https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/21/us/politics/tsa-ban-electronics-laptops-cabin.html?mtrref=news.google.com&gwh=A735B30E3FAB8E4DCA8115A88605FF4F&gwt=pay

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Houston Officials Consider Use Of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes To Fight Zika Virushttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/health/houston-officials-consider-use-of-genetically-modified-mosquitoes-to-fight-zika-virus.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/health/houston-officials-consider-use-of-genetically-modified-mosquitoes-to-fight-zika-virus.html#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2017 12:22:56 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24801 Houston Officials Consider Use Of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes To Fight Zika Virus Houston Officials Consider Use Of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes To Fight Zika Virus:- Houston officials are eyeing the release of genetically modified mosquitoes to combat the possible spread of Zika virus. The report said officials of Harris County, Texas, are discussing plans with Oxitec, […]

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Houston Officials Consider Use Of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes To Fight Zika Virus

Houston Officials Consider Use Of Genetically Modified Mosquitoes To Fight Zika Virus:- Houston officials are eyeing the release of genetically modified mosquitoes to combat the possible spread of Zika virus.

The report said officials of Harris County, Texas, are discussing plans with Oxitec, a British biotech company, to release genetically modified mosquitoes that will not reach adulthood.

The plan, according to Mustapha Debboun, director of the Harris County Mosquito Control Division, is to have the tool to fight not only Zika but also other mosquito-borne diseases.

Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the carrier of Zika virus, dengue fever, and chikungunya, are common in Houston area.

There is no reported local transmission of Zika in Houston. Texas had homegrown Zika cases only in Cameron County, on the border with Mexico.

Trial Did Not Push Through

In August 2016, Oxitec got the signal from the Food and Drug Administration to conduct a field trial in a Florida Key suburb.

The FDA said the trial will have no adverse effects on humans, animals, or the environment.

The proposed Florida Keys trial did not materialize last year in the face of mounting concerns from Key Haven residents on genetic engineering.

To conduct a trial in Harris County, the company has to submit the required environmental assessment to the agency, the FDA said.

Trials Outside The United States Promising

The British company, however, had conducted several tests in Brazil, Panama, and the Cayman Islands. It claimed to have produced around 90 percent of Aedes Aegypti mosquitoes in each of the three locations.

Oxitec scientist Deric Nimmo called it an important change in tackling the disease with the "release of mosquitoes to control mosquitoes."

New Ways To Fight Zika Virus

The Oxitec technology needs inoculation of mosquito eggs with DNA containing deadly genes. In every batch of inoculated eggs, only the males will be released to mate with wild female mosquitoes. Male mosquitoes don't bite, so they will not help spread the disease.

The offspring of these genetically modified male and wild females will just die when hatched.

Field tests outside the United States had shown the technique was able to reduce the mosquito population over an eight-month period by 82 percent.

"About 40 percent of the global population is at risk [from] this species," Andrew McKemey, an entomologist and head of Oxitec field operations, said.

There is a need for new ways to combat the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, as all the current mosquito control methods are inadequate.

"My opinion on how we should proceed is we should aggressively pursue Aedes aegypti control," Peter Hotez, the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, said.

He said there is a need to act on the problem while it is not yet late, especially in cities that are at risks.

Source:- http://www.techtimes.com/articles/202474/20170321/houston-considers-use-of-genetically-modified-mosquitoes-to-combat-zika.htm

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Three No. 1 seeds, endless optimism among Sweet 16 teamshttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/three-no-1-seeds-endless-optimism-among-sweet-16-teams.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/three-no-1-seeds-endless-optimism-among-sweet-16-teams.html#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:50:26 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24791 Three No. 1 seeds, endless optimism among Sweet 16 teams Wisconsin's win over defending national champion and overall No. 1 seed Villanova shook up office pools around the country, though the tested Badgers aren't a typical No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Eleventh-seeded Xavier might be a surprise team in the regional semifinals, but […]

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Three No. 1 seeds, endless optimism among Sweet 16 teams

Wisconsin's win over defending national champion and overall No. 1 seed Villanova shook up office pools around the country, though the tested Badgers aren't a typical No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Eleventh-seeded Xavier might be a surprise team in the regional semifinals, but with their 3-point prowess, the Musketeers are capable of shooting their way past any opponent.

At this stage of the NCAAs, every team left is brimming with confidence. No team seems unbeatable to even the most unlikely Cinderella.

Anything can happen in the Sweet 16.

"A chip-on-your-shoulder mentality usually helps in sports and competitive situations," Xavier coach Chris Mack said after his team ousted third-seeded Florida State in the second round. "So if it's working, count us as (an) 11 seed."

Two more victories for Wisconsin and the Badgers' senior class will have advanced to a very impressive third Final Four in four seasons.

"We've talked about the legacy we want to leave," senior guard Bronson Koenig said Monday. "Getting to another Final Four has been one of those goals we've been talking about since last season. It would be a really cool thing if we can get there."

A look at the matchups in the Sweet 16:

EAST

No. 8 seed Wisconsin (27-9) vs. No. 4 seed Florida (26-8): The Gators used a stingy defense and a 21-0 run to rout Virginia in the second round. The Badgers got into offensive ruts this year, especially during a stretch of five losses in six games toward the end of the regular season. But Koenig, the team's best shooter and facilitator, appears to be healthy again. Nigel Hayes, another veteran of the team's Final Four runs, is coming off a big game against Villanova .

Prediction: Another clutch shot by Koenig helps Wisconsin win another thriller, 67-65.

No. 7 seed South Carolina (24-10) vs. No. 3 seed Baylor (27-7 ): More defense in the East. The Gamecocks are 32nd in Division I in giving up 65.2 points per game. The Bears are 21st, allowing 63.5 points, and featuring athletic ability and depth. But the way South Carolina stormed past Duke , albeit in its home state, was impressive.

Prediction: Sindarius Thornwell capitalizes on another showcase opportunity, Gamecocks win 78-74.

WEST

No. 4 seed West Virginia (28-8) vs. No. 1 seed Gonzaga (34-1): "Press" Virginia has scoring punch, too. The Mountaineers are getting strong play in the backcourt , which is especially crucial in March. Gonzaga hasn't exactly overwhelmed opponents so far in the tournament. The Bulldogs counter with one of the tourney's top point guards in Nigel Williams-Goss , who had 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists in the win over Northwestern.

Prediction: Bulldogs take another step closer to getting to their first Final Four, win 78-70.

No. 11 seed Xavier (23-13) vs. No. 2 seed Arizona (32-4): Wildcats coach Sean Miller's former team against his current team. The Musketeers are following Trevon Bluiett's lead into the Sweet 16 in an impressive run without point guard Edmond Sumner (torn ACL in January), with victories over Maryland and Florida State. They shot 64 percent from 3-point range against the Seminoles. Arizona shot 59 percent in the second half of a second-round win against St. Mary's after a sluggish first half.

Prediction: Allonzo Trier and Lauri Markkanen prove to be too much for Xavier, Arizona bears down for an 80-67 win.

SOUTH

No. 4 seed Butler (25-8) vs. No. 1 seed North Carolina (29-7): The Bulldogs don't seem to do any one thing well; they just figure out ways to win games . The defense is solid, and Butler is shooting 47 percent from 3-point range in the tourney. The Tar Heels are 10th in the nation in scoring (85.1 points) but had to hold off Arkansas in the second round. A team with three returnees who were on the court last year for Villanova's title-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer is also eager to get back to the Final Four.

Prediction: Tar Heels overcome another scare, 74-66.

No. 3 seed UCLA (31-4) vs. No. 2 Kentucky (31-5): Rematch! UCLA won the teams' first meeting on Dec. 3, 97-92. Fast forward to March, and UCLA's Lonzo Ball is on a roll . The star freshman played so well in the second half of the second-round win over Cincinnati, it looked as if he could carry the Bruins all the way to the Final Four. But relying on freshmen talent is part of Kentucky's blueprint, and coach John Calipari has another team filled with NBA prospects. Plus, Calipari is a Sweet 16 regular with Kentucky in the regionals for the seventh time in nine seasons.

Prediction: Kentucky outlasts UCLA in a matchup worthy of the Final Four, 86-85.

MIDWEST

No. 4 seed Purdue (27-7) vs. No. 1 seed Kansas (30-4): Double-double machine Caleb Swanigan helped the Boilermakers get a pair of solid wins in the first two rounds over Vermont and Iowa State. Taking down another Big 12 team, Kansas, in Kansas City will be a tall order. Guard Frank Mason III is averaging 21 points a game in the tourney.

Prediction: Kansas overcomes Swanigan's broad shoulders, beats another Big Ten school, 80-70.

No. 7 seed Michigan (26-11) vs. No. 3 seed Oregon (31-5): The Wolverines have won seven straight games, six coming after a scary accident on the way to the Big Ten Tournament. They've proven that they can hit from the outside as well as score with big man Moe Wagner . Oregon held off Rhode Island's upset bid to move on. Tyler Dorsey is averaging 23.6 points over his last five games, but the Ducks have been playing without senior big man Chris Boucher. He paired with Jordan Bell to give Oregon a pair of athletic shot-blockers.

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2017/03/21/three-no-1-seeds-endless-optimism-among-sweet-16-teams/99439612/

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Falling Trees Kill at Least 19 at Kintampo Waterfall in Ghanahttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/falling-trees-kill-at-least-19-at-kintampo-waterfall-in-ghana.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/world-news/falling-trees-kill-at-least-19-at-kintampo-waterfall-in-ghana.html#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:34:47 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24797 Falling Trees Kill at Least 19 at Kintampo Waterfall in Ghana Falling Trees Kill at Least 19 at Kintampo Waterfall in Ghana:- A rainstorm toppled trees onto people at the Kintampo Waterfall in Ghana, killing at least 19, most of them students who were visiting and swimming at the popular tourist site, officials said on […]

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Falling Trees Kill at Least 19 at Kintampo Waterfall in Ghana

Falling Trees Kill at Least 19 at Kintampo Waterfall in Ghana:- A rainstorm toppled trees onto people at the Kintampo Waterfall in Ghana, killing at least 19, most of them students who were visiting and swimming at the popular tourist site, officials said on Monday.

The bodies of 13 high school students, three university students and three local residents had been recovered at the waterfall in the Brong-Ahafo region, about 250 miles north of the capital, Accra, according to Siegfried Kwame Addo, a municipal official in Kintampo.

Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia of Ghana led a delegation of officials who visited relatives of those who died to express the government’s condolences, the state-owned Ghana News Agency reported.

Mr. Bawumia told the bereaved families the government would provide burials. He described the accident as a “tragic shock to the nation” and asked the relatives of the dead, as well as the chiefs and people of Kintampo, to remain calm and allow the security agencies to investigate, the news agency reported.

Ghana’s tourism minister, Catherine Afeku, who was in the vice president’s delegation, expressed sympathies to the victims’ relatives and said the government would put into place security measures at the waterfall and other tourist sites in Ghana to improve the safety of visitors.

Source:- https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/20/world/africa/kintampo-ghana-waterfall-trees-kill-students.html?mtrref=news.google.com&gwh=C4813FB62D5C447A59B628D194BB9EBB&gwt=pay

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Puerto Rico tops Netherlands in 11 innings, reaches World Baseball Classic finalhttp://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/puerto-rico-tops-netherlands-in-11-innings-reaches-world-baseball-classic-final.html http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/sports/puerto-rico-tops-netherlands-in-11-innings-reaches-world-baseball-classic-final.html#respond Tue, 21 Mar 2017 10:20:18 +0000 http://www.biphoo.com/bipnews/?p=24792 Puerto Rico tops Netherlands in 11 innings, reaches World Baseball Classic final Breaking down Monday’s semifinal game of the World Baseball Classic between Puerto Rico and the Netherlands. Puerto Rico 4, Netherlands 3, 11 innings *** The game: Puerto Rico, the most dominant team in this tournament, had all it could handle with the Netherlands […]

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Puerto Rico tops Netherlands in 11 innings, reaches World Baseball Classic final

Breaking down Monday’s semifinal game of the World Baseball Classic between Puerto Rico and the Netherlands.

Puerto Rico 4, Netherlands 3, 11 innings

***

The game: Puerto Rico, the most dominant team in this tournament, had all it could handle with the Netherlands before surviving, 4-3, in 11 innings, needing the tiebreaker rules to pull it out on Eddie Rosario’s sacrifice fly.

It’s amazing the Netherlands could hang around so long with powerful Puerto Rico, throwing six pitchers at the PR, keeping the game tied at 3-apiece.

They shut down Puerto Rico after T.J. Rivera’s homer in the second inning, using five relievers - including Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen - after Rick van Den Hurk lasted just two innings.

Puerto Rico survived the top half of the international tiebreaker when Curt Smith gorunded into an inning-ending, bases-loaded double play.

The Netherlands wasn't so fortunate in the bottom of hte 11th.

The inning, which automatically starts with runners on first and second and no outs, began when Yadier Molina bunted the runners over. Javier Baez was intentionally walked. And Rosario finally ended the marathon on a sacrifice fly.

***

State of the WBC: Puerto Rico, which reached the championship game in 2013  only to lose to the Dominican Republic, are back again, awaiting the winner of the USA-Japan game. Puerto Rico has won all seven games of the tournament, blitzing the field, outscoring the opposition, 55-18.

***

Pivot point: Puerto Rico captain Molina’s leadoff bunt in the 11th inning, advancing the runners to second and third. The Netherlands intentionally walked Baez, setting the stage for Rosario’s heroics.

Man of the moment: Molina

The Netherlands' first four batters reached base, with Wladimir Balentien culminating the outburst what should have been a grand slam.

Instead, it was only a two-run homer, thanks to the defensive wizardry of Molina.

Andrelton Simmons opened the game with a single, and Xander Bogaerts was hit by a pitch. Yet, when Jurickson Profar tried to lay down a bunt and missed, Molina popped up and threw to second base, nailing Simmons.

Profar followed with a single to right, and right fielder Eddie Rosario came up with a perfect strike to the plate to keep Bogaerts from scoring. Yet, while Profar was celebrating his hit, wildly clapping his hands. Molina, realizing Profar wasn’t paying attention, fired to first. First baseman T.J. Rivera slapped the tag, and Profar was the second out.

Baltentein followed with a home run, his WBC-leading fourth, but the scoreboard read: Netherlands 2, Molina assists 2.

***

Manager’s special:  No one got more out of his team’s talent this tournament than Netherlands manager Hensley Meulens. They didn’t have the pitching, and a weak bottom of the order, but yet gave Puerto Rico fits, just as they did all tournament.

Meulens, the San Francisco Giants hitting coach, commands tremendous respect the moment he walks into the room, and his players played with passion the entire tournament.

Certainly, after what he accomplished this tournament, he left little doubt he deserves strong consideration for a major-league managerial opening.

***

What you missed on TV: Puerto Rico utility player Kike Hernandez, who’s battling for a job to make the Dodgers’ opening-day roster, opted instead to play for his country, even knowing it could hurt his big-league chances.

He didn’t play until coming into the game as a pinch-runner Monday night, but instead watched the game from the dugout, his body wrapped with the Puerto Rico flag.

“I have played in two playoffs with the Dodgers, and I went for spring training with the possibility that maybe I would [not] make it for the major leagues because I'm here,’’ Hernandez said. “But I don't regret it at all. Because I have played two playoffs with the Dodgers, and the experience with this classic does not compare with anything that I've played in the past.

“To be in this Classic, there's no comparison with the experience of being in the Major Leagues. This has been at a different level. It's an incomparable experience to share this experience. So far we are the greatest talents that we have in Puerto Rico, and it is a tremendous honor to be in the same game with them.’’

Source:- http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2017/03/21/puerto-rico-beats-netherlands-11-innings-world-baseball-classic/99439162/

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