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Madeira, Portugal's tourist pearl in the Atlantic

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 04:40

Portugal's Madeira islands, where 29 Germans were killed in a bus crash Wednesday, are a favourite European holiday spot and famously the birthplace of soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo. The archipelago is particularly prized among German tourists who made up more than 28 percent of the 1.3 million visitors in 2017, just behind the nearly 29 percent from Britain, according to official statistics. Closer to Africa than Europe, Madeira lies 500 kilometres (300 miles) off the coast of Morocco and is about 1,000 km southwest of Lisbon.


Amazon to pull plug on China retail operations: report

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 03:15

Amazon plans to close down its online retail operations that cater to consumers in China in an apparent admission of defeat to local e-commerce rivals such as Alibaba and JD.com, a report said on Thursday. The US e-commerce pioneer will maintain other operations in China such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Kindle e-books and cross-border teams that help ship goods from Chinese merchants to customers abroad, Bloomberg News said, citing unidentified people familiar with the plans. An Amazon spokesperson did not explicitly confirm plans to throw in the towel on domestic e-commerce, but said the company was looking to focus more on cross-border sales.


India's Struggling Jet Airways Has Grounded All Flights

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 02:27

India’s Jet Airways announced Wednesday that it will be cancelling all flights due to a lack of funding.


Boeing conducts final test flight of 737 MAX with software fix

Thu, 04/18/2019 - 01:08

Boeing has conducted a final test flight of a 737 MAX model with an updated anti-stall system prior to its certification by aviation authorities, the aerospace manufacturer said Wednesday. CEO Dennis Muilenberg tweeted a video where he said the test flight was carried out on Tuesday, adding that test pilots have completed 120 flights totaling more than 203 hours of airtime with the software fix for the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Investigators have zeroed in on the system as a factor behind the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes in October and in March respectively, killing nearly 350 people in total.


Lou Dobbs Wonders Who Ilhan Omar Represents ‘Because It Isn’t America’

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 22:18

Chip Somodevilla/GettyFox Business Network host Lou Dobbs continued right-wing media’s weeklong outrage cycle over Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comment about 9/11 by accusing her on Wednesday night of not representing America.For days now, Fox opinion hosts and Republican politicians have taken aim at the Muslim-American lawmaker for remarks she made last month, claiming she minimized the 9/11 terror attacks when she said Muslim-Americans were treated as second-class citizens because “some people did something.” This resulted in President Trump tweeting out an inflammatory video targeting the freshman congresswoman—a video Omar says sparked new death threats against her.Speaking to Republican strategist Amy Tarkanian on Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not stripping Omar of her committee assignments over her remarks.“She won’t remove Congresswoman Omar from the foreign relations committee because why?” Dobbs wondered. “Because she thinks so little of America?!”The Trump-loving host—who occasionally gets patched into Oval Office meetings—went on to question the Minnesota lawmaker’s loyalty to the United States.“Who is she representing?!” Dobbs exclaimed. “Because it isn’t America with her thoughts and her regrettable remarks about September 11th and 3,000 victims who lost their lives that day.”Dobbs’ accusation that Omar doesn’t represent America comes on the heels of Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade saying last week that “you have to wonder if she is an American first,” remarks he somewhat walked back later. And last month, during another Omar-related controversy, Fox News host Jeanine Pirro found herself suspended for two weeks and “strongly” condemned by the network for suggesting on air that Omar didn’t believe in the Constitution because she wears a hijab. Read more at The Daily Beast.


`Not in My School, Not Here`: Officials Applaud Student`s Reaction After Friend Comes to School with Gun

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 22:15

School district leaders and local authorities are applauding the response made by a student at Lehi Junior High after a classmate had brought a handgun to school.


North Korea test-fires new tactical guided weapon as it tells US to replace Mike Pompeo in nuclear talks

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 21:55

North Korea announced on Thursday that it had test-fired a new type of tactical guided weapon, in its first public weapons test since February’s failed summit with the US in Hanoi.  Shortly after the test, North Korea demanded that Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, be removed from nuclear disarmament talks in another sign of deteriorating diplomatic relations with Washington since the failure of their second summit in Hanoi in February.  Pyongyang wanted a replacement for Mr Pompeo who would be “more careful and mature,” the North’s state media reported on Thursday, accusing the senior US official of undermining negotiations.  Adding to the stand-off, the Kremlin yesterday announced that Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un later this month, an apparent attempt to insert Russia into the delicate talks. The firing of the unspecified weapon, which was personally overseen by Kim from an observation post, was a possible attempt to express dissatisfaction with Washington’s refusal to budge over sanctions, without jeopardising the future of the currently deadlocked diplomatic talks.  It is not believed to have been a banned ballistic missile test, a provocative move which could have torpedoed negotiations with South Korea and the US over North Korea’s disarmament.  One South Korean analyst told the AP that the North’s state media report indicated it could have been a test of a new type of cruise missile. Pak Jong-chon, an artillery official, was also reportedly at the site.  Kim Jong-un and Mike Pompeo meeting in Pyongyang Credit: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File Vipin Narang, a North Korea expert and associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told The Telegraph that it might have been an anti-tank guided missile, a multiple launch rocket system or another system related to coastal or air defence.  If it was, “it would seem to be consistent with Kim potentially reminding both the US and ROK [South Korea] - in a calibrated way - where things could go if the US especially doesn’t moderate its negotiating position,” he said.  The test is part of a broader pattern of events since talks collapsed between Kim and Donald Trump, the US President, over mismatched demands from North Korea over sanctions relief and from the US over the speed of Pyongyang’s nuclear disarmament.  The weapons test followed a visit by Kim to the North Korean Air and Anti-aircraft Force on Tuesday to express “great satisfaction” at their combat readiness. Pyongyang's request to remove Mr Pompeo from negotiations presents Donald Trump, the US president, with the dilemma of whether to cave in to North Korea’s rejection of his lead negotiator or to stand firm and risk the total collapse of talks to persuade Kim to give up his nuclear weapons.  The stinging rebuke was conveyed to the state-run Korean Central News Agency by Kwon Jong-gun, a senior foreign ministry official, who claimed that the summit showed that when Mr Pompeo “pokes his nose in, talks between the two countries go wrong without any results.”  "I am afraid that, if Pompeo engages in the talks again, the table will be lousy once again and the talks will become entangled," Mr Kwon, director general of the ministry's American affairs department, said, in remarks translated by South Korea’s Yonhap agency.  The Hanoi summit made a promising start but collapsed over a disagreement about sanctions relief Credit: Evan Vucci/AP "Therefore, even in the case of possible resumption of the dialogue with the US, I wish our dialogue counterpart would not be Pompeo but another person who is more careful and mature in communicating with us," he added. The sudden cold shoulder treatment of Mr Pompeo, who has travelled to Pyongyang several times over the past year to personally meet with the North Korean leader, is being viewed as part of Kim’s strategy to project his strength to Washington and his domestic audience.  The North Koreans have accused Mr Pompeo of playing down the significance of comments by Kim during a meeting of his rubber-stamp parliament last week when he gave Washington an end of year deadline to offer mutually acceptable terms to salvage deadlocked nuclear talks.  Meanwhile, recent satellite images obtained by the US-based Centre for Strategic Studies show movement at the North’s main nuclear site of Yongbyon that could be associated with the reprocessing of radioactive material into bomb fuel.   Just days after the end of the summit, satellite images also suggested increased activity at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station at Tongchang-ri, which Pyongyang had previously pledged to dismantle.  “With rebuilding Sohae, continued activity at ballistic missile facilities and Yongbyon, and this, Kim seems to be suggesting ‘I’ve loaded my gun, but I am not going to fire... just yet’,” said Mr Narang.  The state-controlled Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) did not give an exact description of the new weapon but reported that Kim said "the development of the weapon system serves as an event of very weighty significance in increasing the combat power of the People’s Army." It added that it had a “peculiar mode of guiding flight” and “a powerful warhead.” In November, Kim oversaw the test of another unidentified “tactical weapon” which could protect North Korea like a “steel wall”, which experts said was part of his initiative to shift to high-tech weapons.  A man watches a TV news programme reporting about North Korea's test-fire of a "new-type tactical guided weapon"  Credit: AP However, he has not breached his pledge in April 2018 to stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles, which he said at the time was because Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities had been “verified.”  Mintaro Oba, a former state department official who focusses on Korea, said North Korea was unlikely to take action that would be perceived as a very serious escalation.  During a speech at his rubber-stamp parliament on Friday, Kim set an end of year deadline for Washington to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal, suggesting he is willing to continue along a diplomatic route.  “There are two possibilities here. One, that North Korea did this as a calculated escalation of tension to put pressure on the United States,” said Mr Oba.  “Or two, Kim Jong-un needed to demonstrate strength domestically given the lack of diplomatic progress. It's always tempting to view everything North Korea does as tactical, but we always have to consider whether there are internal factors at play as well.” The White House and the Pentagon said they were aware of the report but had no further comment.  Patrick Cronin, Asia-Pacific security chair for the Hudson Institute, said the US might react with tough statements and the tightening of sanctions, but only in a “cosmetic” way.  He suggested that Kim might be trying to tap into the US domestic political agenda as Washington gears up for the Thursday disclosure of Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election meddling and obstruction of justice.  “In a strange way you could say that he is maybe reaching out to the president at a time when the Mueller report is going to be released and he is offering the president a mini-crisis to resolve,” said Mr Cronin.


Some members of Congress will see a less-redacted version of Mueller report, DOJ says

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 19:43

After the public is given a redacted version of the nearly 400-page report on Thursday, a less-redacted version would go to a "limited number of Members of Congress" for their review.


Declining U.S. market ratchets up competition for SUV sales

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 18:52

Falling U.S. new vehicle sales through the rest of 2019 and into 2020 will bring more intense competition in the increasingly crowded market for SUVs and a continued decline in passenger car sales, executives and economists said at this week's auto show in New York. The new SUVs at this week's auto show included models from Toyota Motor Corp, Ford Motor Co, Subaru Corp, Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai Motor Co. After a long bull run, U.S. auto sales are expected to fall about 3 percent to 16.8 million units.


'I wanna be dead': Teen obsessed with Columbine posted dark thoughts online

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 18:50

The Florida teenager whose purported fascination with the 1999 Columbine school massacre sparked a massive hunt for her this week appears to have kept an online journal peppered with violent imagery and awash in despair, anger and suicidal thoughts. An online journal written by someone who identified herself as "Sol Pais" - the teenager who authorities said was found dead on Wednesday - included entries that alluded to "plans" that would lead to the author's death, though they did not describe specific threats against others. Pais, 18, was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound on Wednesday, authorities said, days after she traveled to Denver from her home in Florida and bought a shotgun ahead of Saturday's 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado.


NTSB investigating American Airlines JFK flight that 'struck an object' at takeoff

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 16:20

The plane reportedly tipped in strong wind, and a wingtip hit a runway marker during takeoff.


Netanyahu formally named next Israeli PM

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 15:45

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday formally handed Benjamin Netanyahu his letter of appointment to start building a coalition government following last week's general election. In a televised ceremony, Rivlin told Netanyahu that in consultations with all parties elected to the incoming 120-seat parliament, "65 MPs recommended you". Rivlin had sounded out delegations from political parties on Monday and Tuesday.


Ivanka Trump unveils $2 million boost for ICoast women

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 15:29

Trump visited a cocoa plantation in Adzope, north of Abidjan, before taking part in the first West African summit on female entrepreneurship in the country's economic capital. Ivory Coast is the world's leading producer of cocoa. "When you empower women, they uplift their families, their communities, and the whole country prospers," Trump said.


Debate rages on over no-kill policy at Long Beach animal shelter

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 15:13

A heartfelt fight in Long Beach to save as many animals as possible at the city's animal shelter continued at a special city council meeting Tuesday.


Israel's president formally nominates Netanyahu as PM

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 14:39

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's president on Wednesday formally nominated Benjamin Netanyahu for a fourth consecutive term as prime minister, officially launching a process that is expected to result in a new government dominated by religious and nationalist parties in the coming weeks.


Woman accused of making threats against Columbine high school found dead

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 14:20

Sol Pais, 18, who was described as armed and ‘infatuated’ with the Colorado school shooting, apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot woundA police vehicle sits outside a high school as some Denver area schools closed during the police search for an armed woman in Littleton, Colorado. Photograph: Rick Wilking/ReutersThe young woman being hunted in Colorado after making threats against Columbine high school just days before the 20th anniversary of the mass shooting there was found dead by police on Thursday, apparently as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, law enforcement officials said.Sol Pais, 18, who authorities said had traveled to the Denver area on Monday from her home in Florida, had been declared armed and dangerous on Tuesday after purchasing a pump-action shotgun and ammunition. She was hunted down in a forested campground in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, west of Denver, late morning on Wednesday.At first the FBI put out a statement on Twitter declaring she was “no longer a threat to the community”. Then law enforcement later confirmed that she was dead.> UPDATE: THERE IS NO LONGER A THREAT TO THE COMMUNITY. More information to follow shortly. FindSol> > — FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) April 17, 2019Pais was said to be obsessed with the 1999 school shooting of students and teachers at the high school in Littleton, near Denver, which killed 13. The two students who perpetrated the massacre died, in addition to their victims.Schools in and around Denver were closed on Wednesday after she made unspecified threats.The anniversary of the Columbine high school shooting is on Saturday. The tragedy ushered in the modern era of repeated US school shootings.Just a few minutes before its tweet that Pais was no longer a threat, the FBI had said that it was searching in the area of Mount Evans, west of Denver, and images on television showed investigators in snowy forest, aided by a snowcat vehicle with caterpillar tracks.> We can confirm there is investigative activity around the base of Mt. Evans. The investigation is active and ongoing. More information will follow soon. FindSol> > — FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) April 17, 2019The Jefferson county sheriff, Jeff Shrader, held a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, during which he said it had appeared that Pais had killed herself.She was found dead as police closed in, but Shrader said: “I don’t believe they were in active pursuit at the time she died.”He said he believed Pais had purchased the weapon legally after arriving in Colorado from Florida, where she lived near Miami, and from where she was reported missing on Monday by her parents.Police were searching her home in Surfside, Florida, on Wednesday, and schools in the Denver area were put into lockdown on Tuesday and then closed on Wednesday while she was still at large in the area, following unspecified threats.Shrader said Pais’s body was found “not far from Columbine”. The school is in Littleton, near Denver, and the woman was in densely wooded snowy hillside terrain, at a campground in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in the Arapahoe national forest.She was said to have had a fascination with the Columbine school shooting and its perpetrators.“Looking at school shooters there are some real indicators, the fact that she purchased a plane ticket and made this pilgrimage here. There is no evidence that she was [seen] on the Columbine property, but the fact of her history and the fact that she bought a firearm indicate that she was a threat,” said John McDonald, executive director of the Jefferson county department of school safety.The sheriff said it was not clear what, if anything, Pais would have been charged with if she had been captured.“She would have been subject to being taken into custody for a mental health check, 72 hours holding and treatment, to assess the threat,” Shrader said.Frank DeAngelis, the former principal of Columbine high school who was in charge on the day of the massacre in 1999 and has been there ever since, said that when the alarm was sounded about the threat on Tuesday, the school employed its lockdown system “like clockwork”.“The kids knew exactly what to do. There was help there. It was much more reassuring than it was 20 years ago,” he said on Wednesday.


Redesigned 2020 Ford Escape Adds Tech, Loses Weight

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 13:47

The 2020 Ford Escape was revealed ahead of the New York International Auto Show. We have since seen it in person at the major new-car event in the Big Apple. The totally redesigned compact SUV ge...


Why closing the U.S.-Mexico border would be 'catastrophic' for this Texas city

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 13:38

Trump's threat to seal the border has sent jolts of alarm across the U.S.-Mexico border, but few places feel it more acutely than Laredo, Texas.


Opposition candidate the official winner in tight Istanbul vote

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 13:30

Turkish election authorities on Wednesday confirmed opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu's win over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling AKP candidate after a recount of last month's disputed Istanbul election. Thousands of cheering supporters greeted Imamoglu outside the Istanbul town hall after he received his mandate certificate, though electoral authorities must still rule on an AKP appeal for a rerun over alleged irregularities in its narrow Istanbul defeat. "This is a new dawn for Istanbul," Imamoglu told the chanting crowds from the roof of a campaign bus.


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