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Updated: 15 hours 27 min ago

Galaxy Note 10 tipped to pack a camera feature no other phone has

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 10:10

The Galaxy Note 10 already has a rumored announcement date, and we're getting quite close to the launch of one of the most exciting phones of the second half of 2019. That also means more of its secrets will be spilled in the coming weeks, long before Samsung takes the stage in New York to introduce the handset. Just the other day we learned that the phone will feature a screen technology that only one other phone has, an LG phone that's nowhere near as popular as the Note 10 will be. That's a Sound on Display (SoD) screen the Note 10 will reportedly get, which turns the entire display into a speaker. As a result, there's no need for the regular earpiece at the top of the phone, so the bezels can be made even thinner. The display will not be the only unique trick the Note 10 will offer buyers though, as a new leak details an even more exciting feature that Samsung will introduce on the Galaxy Note 10.Ice Universe is a well-known Samsung insider in some circles, the circles that follow smartphone rumors closely. The leaker said on Twitter that Samsung China engineers revealed a detail about the Note 10 camera that should have probably been kept secret. Rather than equipping the phone's main camera with a dual-aperture lens as is the case with previous flagships, Samsung's new Note 10 phones will have a three-stage variable aperture: f1.5, f1.8, and f2.4.'s something that hasn't been done before and might give Samsung an edge over competitors.Older Galaxy flagships including the Galaxy S10 support f1.5 and f2.4 apertures, with the Note 10 supposedly getting a stop in between those, f1.8. As SamMobile explains, the new aperture could be useful to reduce overexposure in intermediate cases between low-light (f1.5) and bright (f2.4) conditions.A different report said earlier this week that the Note 10 might be getting another notable camera upgrade, front and rear Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors that would enable 3D face recognition, improve bokeh in portrait shots, and help with AR/VR apps.

China's Economic Expansion is a Shot Across the Bow at Russia

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 09:44

In Ancient Rome, the arrival of a conquering general from the front meant either a rapid change of political scenery or as much pomp and circumstance as could be drawn from its seven hills. With the lengths to which the Italian government went through to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping last March to inaugurate Italy’s joining of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, Romans may very well have asked themselves if both outcomes were taking place simultaneously. Outside of Italy, however, enthusiasm for the visit was more restrained. Even some of Italy’s closest European Union partners saw Italy as a modern-day Trojan Horse, betraying trans-Atlantic ideals for Chinese patronage.Whatever their views on the visit, both Western press and policy circles overwhelmingly focused on what the trip meant for the EU rather than assessing Beijing’s motives. The Chinese angle went beyond co-opting a G7 member into its belt and road initiative. Beijing’s first successful foray into securing an EU investor partner for its BRI is not just an economic victory for Beijing, but a powerful warning shot to the Kremlin that China will not allow Russia to envelop parts of Europe spinning off the illiberal axis all on its own.

Polo club frequented by Prince William and Harry in row with neighbours over plans to double capacity

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 09:10

A polo club frequented by the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex is embroiled in a planning row with neighbours over plans to double its capacity to 10,000 people. Residents believe the proposal will bring huge crowds that will cause extra noise and blight the area, and have complained to the council. The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club in Winkfield submitted the plans to the Bracknell Forest Council licensing panel. A decision is yet to be made. Yet one resident fumed: "I object to this application on the grounds that increasing the capacity of the premises is likely to have a negative impact on the prevention of public nuisance licensing objective. "Because a larger audience requires greater sound volume to penetrate both the greater area and the greater hubbub of chatter by the people attending. "We can hear the noise from their entertainments and are disturbed by it at night even though we live over half a mile away." Another said there would be a "significant increase" in traffic as well as the "major increase" in noise. In particular they said it would be a problem when loud music bands play on long summer nights after the polo. Prince Charles became a patron of the 220 acre polo club - just a stones throw from Windsor Castle - after it opened in 1985. This then led to both his sons playing regularly there. Just last July the Duke of Sussex shared a passionate kiss with his new wife, the Duchess of Sussex, after a game. He scored twice as his team won 5-4. The council panel was set to make a decision last night [Thurs]. It currently has an alcohol licence and can play music until 2am.

Dominican Republic deaths: What we know, including two more US tourists incidents

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 08:52

Here's everything we know about tourist deaths and concerning incidents in the Dominican Republic so far.

EU to extend economic sanctions on Russia until 2020

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 08:39

European Union leaders will decide on Thursday to prolong until the end of January 2020 economic sanctions against Russia over the turmoil in Ukraine and call on Moscow to help bring to justice those guilty of shooting down a passenger plane there in 2014. The EU slapped sanctions on Russia after Moscow annexed Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 and went on to support rebels fighting Kiev troops in the east of the country. The downing there in July 2014 of a Malaysian passenger plane marked another turning point for the EU's response to the crisis.

Airbus Vows to Fight Boeing for a Massive Jet Order That Could Mark the 737 Max's Turnaround

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 08:36

British Airways' owner said it would purchase 200 737 Max aircraft, which are still grounded

Russia and China Go War Against America. Here's What Could Happen Next.

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 08:25

Could Beijing and Moscow coordinate a pair of crises that would drive two separate U.S. military responses?The United States discarded its oft-misunderstood “two war” doctrine, intended as a template for providing the means to fight two regional wars simultaneously, late last decade. Designed to deter North Korea from launching a war while the United States was involved in fighting against Iran or Iraq (or vice versa,) the idea helped give form to the Department of Defense’s procurement, logistical and basing strategies in the post–Cold War, when the United States no longer needed to face down the Soviet threat. The United States backed away from the doctrine because of changes in the international system, including the rising power of China and the proliferation of highly effective terrorist networks.But what if the United States had to fight two wars today, and not against states like North Korea and Iran? What if China and Russia sufficiently coordinated with one another to engage in simultaneous hostilities in the Pacific and in Europe?This first appeared in August 2017.Political Coordination

The best selling Bluetooth earbuds on Amazon are down to $14.99, an all-time low

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 07:54

At this point we're starting to think that nothing will ever knock the Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones off the top of Amazon's best-sellers list in the Bluetooth earbuds category. They've been there for nearly 2 years already, and sales like the one happening today will go a long way to keep them there for another 2 years. Clip the 5% coupon on Amazon and use the promo code D2MP088R at checkout, and you can pick up a pair of these awesome wireless earbuds for just $14.99. That's an all-time low, but this deal won't last long so hurry!Here's more info from the product page: * HD Bass Sound: With well tuned driver, advanced CSR chip and Bluetooth 4.1 technology, Mpow flame sport earbuds produce richer bass stereo sound with reinforced clarity, as well as faster pairing and enhanced wireless connection. * Long-lasting 7-9 Hours Playtime: Powerful battery offers 7-9 Hours of superior audio performance or hands-free phone conversation after charging for just 1.5 Hours. (Note: 1. Mpow flame has 12V over-voltage hardware cut off, 1a over-current restored fuse to achieve safe charging. 2. Please use charging cable provided, or certified brand charging cable. 3. We don't recommend using fast charging.) * IPX7 Waterproof Headphones: Mpow flame wireless headphones have reliable water & sweat-proof Nano-coating for worry-free use and improved durability in intense workouts or exercises in light rain. Perfect for running, jogging, hiking, yoga, exercises, gym, fitness, traveling and etc. * Enhanced Comfort & Secure Fit: Four different sizes of eartips (XS, S, M, L), one memory foam eartip and one optional wire clip are included for different ear canals and necks. A carrying case is provided for better portability. (Note: Please choose the most suitable eartips for your ears.) * CVC 6.0 Noise Cancelling Mic: With built-in CVC 6.0 noise canceling microphone, Mpow flame bluetooth headphones offer crystal clear sound quantity for hands-free calling. 18 Month Warranty: Every Mpow product includes a 45 days money-back guarantee & 18-month warranty.

Trump news – live: Pentagon condemns 'unprovoked attack' after Iran raises stakes in Middle East stand-off by shooting down US drone

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 07:33

Iran‘s Revolutionary Guard has shot down a US drone to send a “clear message” to the Trump administration after US secretary of state Mike Pompeo blamed the regime for an attack on two foreign oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz last week.Donald Trump has yet to address the incident but did give in an interview to Sean Hannity of Fox News on Wednesday night in which he urged the host not to “worry about a thing” regarding tensions on the world stage with Iran, China and Russia.The Pentagon has called the downing of the drone an "unprovoked attack" by Tehran in international airspace. Iran says the drone crossed its border.In Capitol Hill, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee were left frustrated by White House stonewalling after their eight-hour, behind-closed-doors interview with ex-Trump aide Hope Hicks was thwarted by lawyers claiming “absolute immunity” on behalf of the executive, preventing the witness from answering questions about her tenure as a spokesperson for the Oval Office.Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load

Tel Aviv Journal

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 06:30

When we land in Tel Aviv from Bucharest, some people on the plane -- women! -- are very, very rude: pushing, shoving, and yelling. I’m about to put my dukes up and the F-word hangs on my lips -- and then I remember: “Ah, right: They’re Israelis. They’re supposed to be this way.”And the same women who are trying to run you over to get to the overhead bins they want would probably cook you a meal and tuck you in at night.And take up arms to defend you.Culture, culture …• Inside the airport, there is a sign -- a tourism poster: Follow Your Sunshine, Visit Florida. Huh. Yet there’s plenty of sunshine here, isn’t there? Regardless, I should not overthink a tourism poster …• The immigration official looks at my passport very, very skeptically. There is a sour look on his face. “What do you do?” he asks. I say that I’m a journalist. If possible, his expression gets more sour. “Do you have a journalist’s ID card?” he asks. No. I’m not from a Communist country.“Where do you work?” he asks. “National Review magazine in New York,” I answer. “What kind of magazine is that?” he asks. I say that it’s a magazine of politics and culture.With an air of both annoyance and boredom, he turns to his smartphone and fiddles with it for a while. Suddenly, his face is wreathed in smiles. He grins at me almost goofily, like a girl. I have never seen such a sudden change of countenance. He immediately hands me back my passport and sends me on my way.Did he Google me? Had he received a billet doux from his girlfriend? I don’t know …• Israeli cabbies are legendary -- legendary for trying to rip you off. There is a reason for the legend; it is grounded in fact -- and really too bad. Because a cabbie is often a person’s introduction to Israel. What a first impression, you know?This is a matter of national honor …• All the clichés about Tel Aviv are true: young, vibrant, hip, sensual. I am reminded of Miami. The beachtown sensuousness of Miami and the hipster vibe of Brooklyn (certain neighborhoods of).It is humid as hell, by the way. The temperature is not high -- only about 80 -- but the humidity is very high.Is it worth mentioning that the girls and women are beautiful, and often exotically so? That’s a little like mentioning that the bread in France is good, I know. But it’s still true.Of course, the climate and the general beachtownness helps. Sundresses and all that.A middle-aged Israeli man tells me, “The nation got seriously prettier once the Russians started coming.”As the U.S. is a nation of immigrants, so is Israel. It is a Jewish state, yes -- but a nation of immigrants at the same time. There are so many skin tones, so many hair types. Years ago, I had a visit here, and a colleague -- a young Jewish American -- said, “My Jewdar is all screwed up here.”It ain’t Scarsdale.• I am happy to see young mothers (and fathers, I guess) -- young people with children. Sign of hope, some people think. Sign of a willingness to press onward.Once, I asked Charles Krauthammer whether he thought Israel would survive. He said, “It depends on two things: the willingness of Israelis themselves to survive and the support of the United States.”• Given the general looseness of Tel Aviv, I’m surprised to see pedestrians waiting for the light to change at intersections -- even when there are no cars coming. Where are we, Salzburg? My Ann Arbor feet want to get moving …• At a restaurant, a waitress approaches a table and talks to the couple seated at it. She says, “Are you from South Africa?” Yes, they are. “I’m from South Africa,” she says. Then they talk about places, etc., they know in common.This is very Israel.• Needless to say, one should go to various restaurants and order various dishes. Personally, I can’t stop returning to one restaurant, for one dish: spicy ground lamb on Yemeni bread (with a fresh salad, of course).• Here is a Vietnamese joint -- and I got a kick out of the sign, somehow:• A jaunt to Jerusalem with friends, to see the Sharanskys -- Natan and Avital. To read a little about it, go here. I did an article.(After this article appeared, more than one person said, “He [Sharansky] is the greatest Jew alive.” And one of the greatest people, no question.)• Bad news, and common news: There has been a stabbing this morning. More than one stabbing, by one terrorist, a young Palestinian. He carried out his attacks at the Damascus Gate, which is a main entrance to the Old City (Jerusalem).Let me quote from a news report, published later on:> An Israeli man who sustained life-threatening stab wounds … was released from a Jerusalem hospital on Wednesday, vowing to reporters, “We will not be afraid.”> > Gavriel Lavi, 47, said he struggled to remember the details of the stabbing attack … but believed he had been saved from death by prayers and charity given by fellow students at his yeshiva, or Jewish religious seminary.• I attend a wedding, outside Tel Aviv. It’s a lovely evening, but not un-humid. Many of the men are in jackets and ties; many of them are not. One in the latter category tells me, “You can tell who was born here and who wasn’t. We sabras don’t wear jackets and ties to weddings.”Happily, I shed my jacket, though keep the tie in place.• Have I mentioned that the wedding is outdoors? Let me offer a quick shot of the scene:• The father of the bride gives a warm, elegant toast. He is from Iraq. (What a story the Iraqi Jews have.) In his toast, he quotes a Turkish saying, and a Persian one. He is a worldly man, a worldly Middle Easterner -- cosmopolitan, you might say. This is a bad word in some quarters, but not to me, it isn’t. The father of the bride is an Israeli patriot. He has also had a broad, rich experience of life.So, sue ’im …• It’s not like me to shoot food porn, but get a load of this spaghetti:Where’s the beef? (Remember that slogan? It made its way into the 1984 presidential campaign.)Put it on simmer, baby:I could go on …• At my table, there is a man named Moishe. “Oh, like ‘Moses,’” I say. “No,” he replies. “‘Moses’ is like ‘Moishe.’”That is one of the greatest replies I have ever heard …• In Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion Boulevard is a major thoroughfare. Well, it should be. So is Begin Road. Ditto. (“Begin” as in “Menachem,” by the way, not as in “commence.”) I also see Levi Eshkol Street. Do you know about him? The third prime minister of Israel, serving from 1963 until his death in 1969.(By the way, if you have any interest in Israeli politics at all, you will love -- devour -- Yehuda Avner’s memoirs, The Prime Ministers. The book is like candy.)There is also Rabin Square -- where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was murdered in 1995. The square used to be called “Kings of Israel Square.” (Some people still call it that.)• Ah, the beach, the Med -- which makes me think of another late prime minister, Shimon Peres. He met with a group of us journalists in 2005. The location was Davos. Let me fish out, and quote from, my journal:> The Labor head speaks first about the need for the economic betterment of the PA [Palestinian Authority]: Europeans, and others, should invest there. In Gaza, for example, unemployment is over 45 percent. Someone asks, “What kinds of business would you like to see in the PA?” He answers -- I like this phrase -- “Everything that life calls for.” He then elaborates: “high tech, low tech, no tech.” He points out that Gaza, someday, should be ripe for tourism: It has “43 kilometers of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean.” He wonders whether (abandoned) settlements can be converted to resorts.Yeah, well …• Tel Aviv’s waterfront is very, very friendly to people who want to walk. You can walk alongside the beach forever (though the surfaces change, not unpleasantly).Care for a quick shot?• One of the sequence of beaches here is (officially) “dog-friendly” -- meaning that Fido can frolic unleashed, as his owners look on, grinning.• Speaking of animals: I see five horses -- beautiful thoroughbreds (I believe) -- being walked by handlers on grassy areas (not knolls) just beyond a beach. Where are we, Kentucky?• On the beach, a mother in a bikini throws a football to her two young receiver sons. She has a good arm. A native Israeli, too (as her Hebrew indicates). I’m impressed. I wonder if the boys appreciate that this is not entirely normal.• Want to get some reading done?And the other side:• You can hear cries of muezzins all over the world, including here in Tel Aviv. One rises from the Great Mahmoudiya Mosque, near the beach …• Speaking of religion: I see some Jehovah’s Witnesses, and their booth. I’m reminded that these people are banned and persecuted in Putin’s Russia, which burns me.• Amid the buildings in Tel Aviv, the Trade Tower gleams, which makes me think, contentedly, “Up from the socialist past?”• Have another beach scene:And spot the cat? On the rocks, at about 5 o’clock?• I appreciate a blunt sign. Hard to get blunter than “Danger of Death!”• In my experience -- limited, to be sure -- Israelis are not great standers in line …• You know where they learn to stand in line? The Zarkor School. It is my favorite school in Israel, and possibly in the world. It has just three grades, so far: pre-school, kindergarten, and first grade. I bet it will grow. Zarkor was founded by my friend Michael Friedman, and it is a pioneering effort. Learn about it here.Michael -- who is a phenomenal story all by himself -- is married to another phenom, Rachel Zabarkes Friedman, a scholar who has three degrees from Harvard, but the pinnacle of whose life, surely, was her internship at National Review …(When I interviewed her, on the phone, I sat up a little straighter, because she was so authoritative, interesting, and compelling. She was just in college, mind you.)• You are familiar with the pop song “Saturday in the Park”: “People dancing, people laughing, a man selling ice cream, singing Italian songs.” Well, Saturday, it seems to me, is a deader, or emptier, or quieter day in Tel Aviv -- yes, even in Tel Aviv, to say nothing of Jerusalem and elsewhere. (Tel Aviv is regarded as a secular city.) Friday is probably more like “Saturday in the Park.”• See the British embassy, here in Tel Aviv?It reminds me that ours is now in Jerusalem. I wrote about this issue for years and years: from the point of view of U.S. foreign policy; from the point of view of the Arab–Israeli conflict; and from the point of view of U.S. politics. I should not repeat myself, as I’m trying to breeze through a journal. Maybe I could provide a link.Hmmm -- here’s a dollop.• I meet a woman who has a daughter in the third grade. She sings in a chorus (the daughter). One of the songs they sing is a patriotic one, saying that, surely, some of the little boys in their midst will grow up to die in Israeli wars.This is not a country bereft of realism, you might say (putting it mildly).• It is also not a country bereft of stress. The difficulty of life in Israel is famous, or infamous. I meet a man who is hoping to emigrate to Canada. He is native-born (in Israel, I mean). After his military service, he went to Japan, where he worked for seven years. It is not uncommon for Israelis to do this kind of thing, he says. He loved Japan: its orderliness, its peacefulness. When he returned to Israel, he found the stress -- the noise, the pressure, the tumult -- almost unbearable.Look, this is just one testimony, one story, one guy. But no Israeli would be surprised to hear him.• I have not said anything about Prime Minister Netanyahu -- and there is a lot of talk about him, among the people I meet. There was an election in April; there will be another in September. I’m just breezin’ along here, coming to a close. But let me say: Netanyahu is an interesting, impressive, and historic figure, with legions of admirers (including me). But even some of them say, or fear, that he has stayed too long.This is an age-old problem. Leaders begin to equate their personal interests or desires with the national interest, you know?  L’état, c’est eux.Anyway, a big, big subject. (I used to call Netanyahu “the Leader of the West.”  I also applied the phrase to Stephen Harper, the prime minister of Canada.)• You want to see a funny sign? I don’t have a picture, but I can quote it for you: Please Avoid Unpleasantness Involved in Towing Vehicles.Amen.• An Israeli tells me that shalom is used for goodbye in only one, special instance: when you are going away for a long, long time. Then it’s an adieu (rather than au revoir); an addio (rather than arrivederci).• It still amazes me, after all these years, that people -- modern people -- call their dad “Abba,” just as in the Bible …• One last shot of funkilicious Tel Aviv?• When I get back to New York, an airport official is jawing at a man who is hawking a car service, and he responds, “I know my rights!”Ah, America. See you, dear ones, and thanks for going to Israel with me.One more thing, maybe. Four years ago, I wrote an essay called “Hung Up on Israel”: here. It answered the question, “Why do you care about Israel so much?” At least, it answered it as well as I can.Thanks again, and see you.

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez refusing to apologize for comparing migrant detention centers to concentration camps

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 06:23

AOC comments spark outrage for both Republicans and Democrats; Aishah Hasnie reports.

Hypersonic Weapons Are Almost Here (And They Will Change War Forever)

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 06:05

A new technological competition has begun, one in which America’s rivals, particularly Russia and China, may be ahead. This is the race to build and put in the field super-fast or hypersonic weapons and vehicles. The military defines a hypersonic weapon as one that travels at least Mach 5 or five times the speed of sound. In comparison, commercial aircraft fly at around Mach 1 while some military jets can push themselves to around Mach 3, but only for a short time.There are two basic types of hypersonic weapons: super-fast cruise missiles, and boost-glide vehicles that are mounted on ballistic missiles. Hypersonic cruise missiles, which would most commonly be launched from aircraft, maintain powered flight from launch to impact. Boost-glide vehicles are lofted by a ballistic missile launched from an aircraft, ship, submarine or ground unit to the edge of space from which point they use their speed and aerodynamic design to skip along the top of the atmosphere for up to 10,000 miles.

The 2020 Explorer ST Is Ford's Most Legit Performance SUV Yet

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 06:00

The hi-po version of the newly redesigned Explorer comes much closer to earning its badge than the Edge ST does.

Jilted by Trump, Xi and Kim Seek Upper Hand Before G-20 Summit

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 04:53

(Bloomberg) -- Both China’s Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un have suffered from President Donald Trump’s penchant for walking away from talks. Now, he’ll have to worry about what they tell each other behind closed doors.Xi’s state visit to Pyongyang on Thursday -- the first such visit by a Chinese president in 14 years -- will showcase a renewed camaraderie between two neighbors that battled the U.S. together in the Korean War. The trip also sends Trump a pointed message about China’s broader influence ahead of potentially pivotal trade talks between American president and Xi on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan.For Kim, it’s another chance to demonstrate he’s got options beyond a third meeting with Trump, after the second ended in collapse in February. The North Korean leader may find a more receptive audience for complaints about U.S. after Trump rejected China’s latest trade offer last month.“Both leaders will likely seek to put pressure on Washington to conduct nuclear diplomacy with North Korea largely on North Korea’s terms -- through a phased, step-by-step approach to denuclearization and including partial sanctions relief,” said Mintaro Oba, a former U.S. diplomat who worked on Korean Peninsula issues. “If anything, this visit will underscore the weakening regional support for the U.S. pressure campaign.”China’s LeverageXi arrived in Pyongyang before noon local time Thursday accompanied by his wife, Peng Liyuan, the official Xinhua News Agency said. He was met by Kim at the airport and feted with a 21-gun salute, honor guard and a convertible ride past cheering crowds, according to the Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper. The two leaders held talks on what was expected to be the first of two days of events. Xi’s entourage included top diplomats Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi, as well as He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission.The summit comes at dramatic point in the strategic dance between the three leaders -- with U.S. ties with both China and North Korea on the downswing. Until his recent breakdowns with Xi and Kim, Trump had managed to keep relations with either one or the other on the rise.The problem for Trump is that China -- as North Korea’s dominant trading partner and sole security ally -- is key to maintaining the economic isolation the U.S. is relying on to force Kim back to the negotiating table. While China has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to the international sanctions regime it helped erect against North Korea, the country has shown its limits amid the trade showdown with Trump.On Tuesday, China joined Russia in blocking the UN Security Council committee that monitors North Korea sanctions from declaring that the country exceeded its annual import cap on refined petroleum products, the Associated Press said, citing two diplomats. The move came after the U.S. and its allies accused North Korea of using illicit ship-to-ship transfers to bring in more oil, Bloomberg News reported, citing a U.S. letter to the panel.In a commentary published Wednesday in North Korea’s ruling party newspaper, Xi said he wished to “open a new chapter” in ties. He told Kim, whom he repeatedly referred to as “Comrade Kim Jong Un,” that China supported North Korea’s “right direction for politically solving the issue on the Korean Peninsula.”Xi’s visit -- representing his fifth meeting with Kim -- is part of series of moves to repair ties strained by Kim’s weapons tests and other efforts to assert his independence after taking power in late 2011. The first meeting came in the early days of the U.S.-China trade dispute last year, when Xi told Kim in Beijing that he had made a “strategic choice” to have a friendlier relationship.“It is in China’s interest to comply with UN sanctions without necessarily enforcing them, mainly for two reasons -- so as not to put strain on DPRK-China relations, and to ensure that North Korea survives prolonged sanctions,” said Rachel Minyoung Lee, a Seoul-based senior analyst with NKPro.Trump may have facilitated Xi’s trip to North Korea by playing down Kim’s recent tests of short-range ballistic missiles in an apparent violation of UN sanctions -- approved with China’s vote. During a trip to Japan last month, the U.S. president referred to the missiles tested as “some small weapons,” saying the operation “disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me.”South Korea’s top nuclear envoy, Lee Do-hoon, expressed optimism about Xi’s visit during an appearance Wednesday in Washington with U.S. counterpart Stephen Biegun, noting that previous meetings between the Chinese and North Korean leaders were followed by contacts between Kim’s regime and the U.S. “I hope that this time again this pattern will apply,” Lee said.Biegun noted that China had long backed the elimination of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. “China’s not doing this as a favor for United States of America -- this is China’s national interests,” he said, adding “in this case, Chinese national interests and American national interests coincide.” Xi and Kim might discuss ways to convince Trump to drop his demands that North Korea first dismantle its nuclear arsenal before it can receive sanctions relief. China, like Russia, backs a process in which North Korea’s disarmament steps are met by U.S. rewards, arguing that it’s the best way to build trust.‘Over-interpreting’Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang acknowledged during a briefing Wednesday that the country wields “significant” influence in North Korea, but encouraged “all parties” to do more to promote a resolution. Earlier this week, Lu dismissed a link between trade talks and the North Korean visit, saying: “Whether or not this meeting will be used as a marker or leverage, I can only say that people who think this may be over-interpreting.”Still, Xi’s mere presence in Pyongyang -- a place no top Chinese leader has visited since Hu Jintao in 2005 -- may make the point. Trump has previously speculated after meetings between Xi and Kim that China was working to undermine nuclear talks out of spite for their trade disputes.“Xi’s visit will send a message that the strong relations between China and North Korea are critical to tackle the nuclear issue and to maintaining the peace on the peninsula, which the U.S. should not ignore,” said Wang Sheng, a professor of international politics at Jilin University in China.(Updates with Xi-Kim talks.)\--With assistance from Peter Martin, April Ma and Lucille Liu.To contact the reporters on this story: Jihye Lee in Seoul at;Dandan Li in Beijing at dli395@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at, Jon HerskovitzFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

UPDATE 4-Airbus demands chance to bid for IAG's surprise Boeing 737 MAX order

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 04:51

Airbus called on Thursday for a chance to compete for a blockbuster plane order by British Airways owner IAG, which stunned industry executives at this week's Paris Airshow by ordering 200 of Boeing's grounded 737 MAX. Airbus announced a new version of its best-selling A321 with close to 240 orders and commitments in Paris, only to see its grip on IAG's European short-haul networks damaged by the Boeing deal which analysts said shores up the embattled 737 MAX. Boeing's top-selling aircraft has been taken out of service worldwide since an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crashed in March, five months after a Lion Air 737 MAX plunged into the sea off Indonesia.

Trump reelection launch heralds political scorched earth campaign

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 01:56

With a 2020 campaign launch painting opponents in almost apocalyptic terms, President Donald Trump showed Democrats the scorched earth treatment they can expect in his fight for reelection. "He excited the base and it sends a pretty strong message to the Democrats that this is going to be a pretty tough race," Committee to Defend the President chairman Ted Harvey said on Trump's go-to TV channel Fox News.

China's Xi Jinping arrives in North Korea on historic visit

Thu, 06/20/2019 - 01:04

Tens of thousands of North Koreans lines the streets of central Pyongyang on Thursday and cheered as Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, arrived for a two-day state visit with Kim Jong-un to reinforce their uneasy alliance in the face of two leaders’ increasing tension with the United States. A smiling Kim greeted the crowds as he drove past Chinese flags with Mr Xi in an open-top Mercedes on their way to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, a complex that serves as the mausoleum for North Korea’s founder, Kim Il Sung. Mr Xi was afforded the honour of being the first foreign leader to have “received a tribute” at the palace, “which fully reflects the enthusiasm and respect of the host,” reported the NK News website, citing Chinese state media. Images of the pomp and grand ceremony would likely have bolstered Mr Xi, who has been embarrassed by mass pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in recent weeks, and who must face Donald Trump, the US president, at the G20 summit in Japan next week in the midst of a bitter trade dispute. Mr Xi is first Chinese president to visit North Korea in 14 years, and the visit gives Kim a much-needed boost as he strives to restore his image as an international statesman after his failure to secure a deal to relieve punishing international sanctions during a summit with Mr Trump in Hanoi in February. Xi and Kim met in the North's capital on Thursday, their fifth meeting in 15 months Credit: CCTV via AP In meeting with Mr Xi, Kim wants to show Mr Trump that he has China’s support on nuclear negotiations even as talks have come to a halt with Washington and the next US presidential election looms. Analysts say the trip is equally a chance for China to showcase its influence in the region.  “Comrade Xi Jinping is visiting... in the face of crucial and grave tasks due to complex international relations, which clearly shows the Chinese party and the government place high significance on the friendship,” the North’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said on Thursday. The North Korean media revealed little about the substance of their discussions, although it is expected that Pyongyang will seek Beijing’s help in securing sanctions relief and may discuss future investment through China’s global development “Belt and Road” initiative. China is historically North Korea’s largest trading partner. Mr Xi, whose entourage includes the head of China’s state economic planner, may offer fresh support measures for its floundering, sanctions-bound economy. Inside North Korea: Everyday life in the secretive state, in pictures However, President Xi’s visit, accompanied by Peng Liyuan, will remain largely symbolic and is unlikely to produce any major announcements or agreements. After he arrived at the airport, the two leaders reviewed a military guard procession and a 21-gun salute. The Chinese president was due to attend a welcoming banquet on Thursday evening and to be entertained by a mass gymnastic performance. He was also expected during his visit to pay tribute at the Friendship Tower, which commemorates Chinese troops who fought together with North Koreans during the 1950-53 Korean War. The conflict ended in a truce, not a treaty, leaving the North technically still at war with South Korea. The timing of Xi’s visit to North Korea was no accident, said Li Zhonglin, a North Korea expert at China’s Yanbian University, told Reuters. China could be hoping to play a role in coaxing the North and the United States to resume denuclearisation talks after this year’s failed Kim-Trump summit in Hanoi, he added.

Trump to Hannity: You’re ‘Not Really’ a Patriot, You Just Want ‘Great Ratings’

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 23:34

A night after Fox News ran President Trump’s 2020 re-election “kickoff” rally uninterrupted in primetime, Fox News host Sean Hannity handed over almost the entirety of his show to a phone interview with the president. And while their friendly conversation on Wednesday night broke little news, the president did find time to boast about his rally’s ratings—and to take an apparent jab at Hannity. Discussing Trump’s penchant for using Twitter, Hannity noted that many people would like for Trump to “turn off the switch,” prompting the president to say he uses social media to circumvent the media. Trump then quickly pivoted to his TV ratings.“If I don’t use social media—outside of you and a few other great people—I call them patriots,” the president told Hannity. “But actually, you’re not REALLY patriots as much as you want ratings.”“I mean, you're getting great ratings, in all fairness Sean. It’s like, last night, you got tremendous—I heard the speech. That was an easy night, you and Tucker [Carlson] and everyone else said let’s do it and you did it.”According to Nielsen, Hannity’s program on Tuesday night—which was largely devoted to airing the rally—drew over five million total viewers to easily lead cable news for the night. In comparison, Trump’s much-hyped primetime interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos drew an audience of only 3.9 million.In fact, on Monday night, Hannity sent a rather unsubtle message to the president after the disappointing ratings came in for his ABC special—stick with Fox News if you want to draw viewers.Highlighting that a March phone interview he did with Trump outdrew Stephanopoulos, Hannity said it was “humiliating” for the ABC News anchor and that he needs to “pack it up,” all while celebrating the president’s low ratings on another network.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Pompeo ups pressure on Russia over four MH17 accused

Wed, 06/19/2019 - 22:35

Moscow must ensure that those charged with murder over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 face justice, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, after international investigators accused three Russians and a Ukrainian over the disaster. The trial of the four men with military and intelligence links will start in the Netherlands in March next year, although they are likely to be tried in absentia as neither Russia nor Ukraine extradites their nationals. The Dutch-led inquiry team on Wednesday said international arrest warrants had been issued for Russian nationals Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Pulatov, and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, all of whom are suspected of roles in the separatist Donetsk People's Republic.