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Supreme Court nominee to face confirmation vote April 7: Senate leader

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday that the Senate would have a final vote on April 7 on President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, even as more Democrats opposed his confirmation

The Gorsuch nomination, McConnell told reporters, will hit the Sen上海夜生活ate floor next week after the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday approves him. McConnell added that Gorsuch will be “confirmed on Friday” of next week.

Senate Republicans continued to put the pressure on Democrats to lend enough support to Colorado appeals court judge Gorsuch to avoid a showdown that in turn could trigger McConnell to seek a change in Senate rules that would clear away a Democratic blockade against the nomination.

So far, about 26 of the 48 Democratic senators have publicly announced opposition to Gorsuch. Most of that group backs a growing effort to block a confirmation vote through the use of a procedural hurdle called a filibuster.

Sixty votes in the 100-seat Senate would be needed to stop a filibuster and allow a confirmation vote on Gorsuch. The confirmation would require a simple majority in favor. Republicans control the Senate 52-48.

Some Senate Republican aides suggested that if Democrats block a confirmation vote, McConnell might move quickly to change the rules. It was unclear, however, if he had enough votes to do so

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that Gorsuch will face an uphill climb to get the 60 votes he would need to avoid a showdown over Senate rules.

“The bottom line is very simple, and that is that Gorsuch did not acquit himself well at the hearings and did not impress our caucus,” Schumer said, accusing Gorsuch of siding with powerful interests and expressing concerns about his independence from the president.

“It’s going to be a real uphill climb for him to get those 60 votes,” Schumer told reporters.

Trump is seeking to avoid another setback in Congress after major healthcare legislation he supported was pulled from the House of Representatives floor amid opposition within his own party on Friday.

The confirmation of Gorsuch, 49, would restore the nine-seat court’s conservative majority, a major campaign promise for Trump.

The Senate Judiciary Committee oversaw a four-day confirmation hearing for Gorsuch last week.

EU to remove UK, Dutch overseas territories from tax haven blacklist

BRUSSELS ( ) – European Union finance ministers are set to remove this week the British overseas te上海夜网rritory of Bermuda, the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba and Barbados from the bloc’s blacklist of tax havens, an EU official said on Monday.

The three islands were added to the list in March because the EU found shortfalls in their tax rules that could favor tax evasion in other states.

The decision, which is due to be formalized by EU finance ministers in a meeting on Friday, will remove from the list the only EU territories that are currently on it.

EU countries are not even screened as they are deemed compliant, although the EU Parliament has accused seven of them of acting as tax havens. They are Luxembourg, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta, Hungary, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Listing decisions are made by the 28 EU governments. Each one of them has the power to veto any decision on the matter.

Jurisdictions are removed from the blacklist when they address their main shortfalls and commit to further reforms to increase tax transparency.

With this week’s removal of the three islands, the blacklist will shrink to twelve jurisdictions. It will still include the United Arab Emirates, Oman and the three U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Other jurisdictions on the list are Belize, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, Dominica, Samoa and Trinidad and Tobago.

Blacklisted states face reputational damage and stricter controls on transactions with the EU.

The EU set up the blacklist in December 2017 after revelations of widespread tax avoidance schemes used by corporations and wealthy individuals to lower their tax bills.

The list initially comprised 17 jurisdictions, but it is subject to regular reviews. Countries with legal shortfalls are added if they do not amend their rules by set deadlines.

Schumer, McConnell elected top leaders in Senate

WASHINGTON ( ) – Democratic U.S. senators elected Chuck Schumer of New York as minority leader on Wednesday, and he tapped former presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders to help Democrats woo blue-collar workers, many of whom voted for President-elect Donald Trump.

Senate Republicans also met and voted to keep Mitch McConnell of Kentucky as the majority leader.

Schumer, 65, replaces the retiring Harry Reid of Nevada as the top Democrat in the Senate as the party prepares to deal with Republican Trump and Republican majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

Schumer said Democrats had learned from the Nov. 8 election that they needed “a sharper, bolder economic message about returning the economic system which so many feel is rigged against them to one that works for the people.”

“We’re ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Republicans, working with soon-to-be-President Trump on issues where we agree, but we will go toe-to-toe against the president-elect whenever our values or the progress we’ve made is under assault,” Schumer, who has been in the Senate since 1999, told reporters after the Democrats’ closed-door election.

In a move recognizing the influence of Sanders with many working-class voters, Schumer asked the independent senator from Vermont to be caucus head of outreach. Sanders, who lost the presidential primary to former senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton, said his job was to reach out to “grassroots America.”

Another liberal, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was given the role of vice chair of the conference while yet another progressive voice, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, was made conference secretary.

Senator Joe Manchin, a more conservative Democrat from West Virginia, was named vice chairman of the Democratic policy and communications committee.

Schumer said he knew there would be differences of opinion on the new team, but that together the gro上海夜生活up could “speak to the blue-collar worker in West Virginia, and Michigan, as well as the people who live along the coast.”

Trump’s economic populism helped him flip some once-reliably Democratic areas in blue-collar states while Democrats did better in large urban centers and coastal states.

Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois remained minority whip, the No. 2 spot, while Senator Patty Murray of Washington was chosen as assistant Democratic leader.

In the House, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi announced she was running for minority leader again and said she already has the support of more than two-thirds of her caucus.

Pelosi, who may face a challenger, agreed this week to delay leadership elections until Nov. 30 after her fellow Democrats called for more time to reassess why they fell short of their goals in the Nov. 8 election.

Ventura frustrated at the poor fitness of his players

The Azzurri drew a disappointing 1-1 against Macedonia.

Italy head coach Gian Piero Ventura lashed out at the players’ poor fitness after a disappointing draw in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Macedonia.

Chiellini’s first-half goal was nullified by Aleksandar Trajkovski equalizer in the 77th minute, which puts the Azzuri in a play-off spot, meaning their place in the 2018 World Cup is yet to be confirmed.

“We lost some players and lost a certain thread that we had in the first half, in my view,” Italy’s manager told Rai Sport.Infantino publicly calls out Italian football on racism George Patchias – FIFA president Gianni Infantino publicly called out Italian football on their handling of racism.As Gianni Infantino took to the stage at the FIFA Best…

“I thought the first half was positive, the second was not, but when you have nothing left in the tank, that’s what you get.

“I think a lack of fitness levels made a big difference and when that drops, the sharpness goes, so we could not develop anything more. In football, when you don’t propose anything in attack for an entire half, it can well be that you concede.

“We hope that in the meantime four or five of the players we’re missing can return. We need to get上海夜网 the players back, play some real football and get the situation back on track.”

Manchester City’s future: Phil Foden

Manchester City star Yaya Toure believes his team-mate Phil Foden is the future of the club

Phil Foden is an U17 World Cup champion, and is considered to be one of the brightest talents in the Premier League. He made his debut for Manchester City’s first-team on Tuesday, when the Blues of Manchester faced Feyenoord in the Champions League.

On上海夜生活e of Pep Guardiola’s men talked about the midfielder, labelling him a rising star and the future of Manchester City.

Citizens manager Guardiola talked about the development of Foden earlier and claimed it’s up to the 17-year-old what he’ll become.

Yaya Toure, on the other hand, is confident that the English youngster will reach his potential as he as the chance of learning from great players such as David Silva, Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne.

“If he stays in this club, he is going to be one of the top players because it’s always good to learn from and be close to the big players,” Toure told City’s official website.Manchester City star out with groin injury Nedim Maric – In a neck-to-neck title race last season, Manchester City just edged it out against Klopp’s Liverpool.This season, however, the mood looks like it’s shifting….

“When I was at Barcelona, I learned a lot. I was lucky enough to have a chance to win trophies because of the players around me.”

“It’s fantastic for him and he’s going to be the future,” the 34-year-old added.

“He’s very important. The team keeps changing and the club are moving forward, so it’s very important [to bring players through].

“I hope, and I think, he will stay for a long time,” Toure expressed his wishes.

“Sometimes you have great players coming because Man City is such a strong team, a powerful club who can buy players, but I think he must stay here and learn from the big players, like Silva, Kevin, Gundogan, Fernandinho – all those players are going to give him more experience and confidence for the rest of his career.”

The Ivorian concluded by saying: “I hope we will see a great player in the future.”

Wilshere needs more game time

England manager Gareth Southgate explained why he decided to not include Jack Wilshere in his squad against Germany and Brazil

According to GOAL, England boss Gareth Southgate says Jack Wilshere cannot expect to get back into the national squad without playing regularly for Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger stood beside Jack Wilshere, saying his midfielder deserves a recall after impressing performances in Europa League matches this season.

However, the 25-year-old has been left out of England’s squad for friendlies against world champions Germany and Brazil.

Southgate says he will speak to Wenger about Wilshere’s chances of returning in 2018 but in上海夜生活论坛sists he has to be playing more often, GOAL continues.

Jack Wilshere has only made one appearance in the Premier League this season, that one being a second-half substitute.

Gareth Southgate was asked about why Wilshere won’t get a chance in England’s national XI, and the coach said the midfielder first needs to play in Arsenal.Wijnaldum looking to repeat Champions League success Nedim Maric – Liverpool are the reigning winners of the Champions League. However, this isn’t stopping them for aiming to get the glory once again.After a perfect…

“I don’t know how you get in an England squad without getting in the Arsenal team,” the manager told a news conference.

Southgate said he doesn’t question Wilshere’s abilities, but he needs to see the midfielder play before he can make the decision to call him in.

“There is no question about his ability, his football brain or personality, we just need to see him playing before he comes back in because unfortunately there has been a history of injuries.”

“I’ll be having discussions with Arsene about him, we think he is a top player so for him it’s about game time,” Southgate added.

Manchester United’s defender Ashley Young however, has been named as one of the 25 players in England’s squad after not playing for his nation’s team for 4 years.

Southgate believes Young will provide a good option as a wing-back, since the defender had shown very good performances this season.

“Young’s performances warrant a recall. We want to play with wing-backs — I think it’s a role he can perform, left or right, very well. He’s played very well for Manchester United.”

Carragher warns West Ham that the relegation is real

West Ham are certainly not the team that should be in the relegation battle but they have to be prepared for this situation as they are just one point above the relegation zone after their last 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace.

Slaven Bilic’s side were 2-0 in front but they just weren’t able to secure their lead and they gained just one point from this match – and Jamie Carragher thinks that the relegation is still more and more likely to happen for the Hammers. If they will continue making silly mistakes like they did in the last minutes of the Crystal Palace fixture, they are going to be in huge troubles.

The former Liverpool defender shared his thoughts as he said, according to Sky Sports: “There are a lot of teams down the bottom of the league you could make a case for survival. I’m struggling with West Ham. It’s a shambles. Six players ahead of the ball, again, the same situation, and there is four versus two at the back post. That is a disgrace that you find yourself in that situation. It will have felt like a defeat.”Wijnaldum looking to repeat Champions League success Nedim Maric – Liverpool are the reigning winners of the Champions League. However, this isn’t stopping them for aiming to get the glory once again.After a perfect…

Carragher also added: “West Ham are getting a little bit too close to comfort to the teams we’ve slaughtered over the years. Your Sunderlands, your QPRs. We watched them, and it was really poor against Brighton, their application, and then you see that, in the last minute, you’re fighting for your lives against another rivals, it’s more than three points, and you’ve got people bombing forward to get a goal and th上海夜生活en jogging back.”

He thinks that they are one of the main adepts for the relegation as he claimed: “They’re the team I would massively worry about in terms of relegation because it doesn’t seem like there’s much there. It looks a bit of a shambles behind the scenes at times for me. It just seems like a lot of players just thrown together without any real thought.”

Wales can earn ‘golden era’ status, according to Coleman

The Wales national team has the chance to qualify for the 2018 World Cup for the first time since 1958.

Wales manager Chris Coleman thinks his players have earned the right to be considered ‘a golden generation’ for their country as they prepare for a vital qualifier against Republic of Ireland.

A win on Monday for either side would guarantee them a spot in the play-off round or could even be enough to seal a first place spot in Russia, depending on Serbia’s result against Georgia.

The Welshman have not featured in the World Cup tournament since 1958, but have been writing history for the past two years, reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2016 and climbing an all-time high place in the FIFA rankings – 8th in October 2015.

Speaking about Wales’ chanc上海夜生活网es to qualify, Coleman said:Report: Taylor says authorities turn a blind eye to racism George Patchias – Aston Villa and Wales international Neil Taylor believes football authorities are simply turing a blind eye to the racism that is marring football.Taylor s…

“I fought against it when they were labelled the ‘golden bunch’ before we qualified for the Euros but now they’ve earned it. This is a golden era,” he said, as quoted by The Daily Telegraph.

“[This game] is as big as anything we’ve been involved in.

“Dare to dream? I meant every word of that. I say that because I’ve seen the other side. That’s why I don’t have any fear. We look forward to these games because I’ve been in positions where I didn’t know if I’d still be in a job if I’d lost that next game. To be sat here now is an absolute joy.

“If you could bottle the feeling for football the nation had three years ago and compare it to now, it is night and day. It’s an event now in Wales when the team plays. The excitement is incredible.

“Two years ago, a game like this would have been brand new. I don’t want to sound flippant but we’ve been sat here before with these big games and we’ve got that experience.”

Koeman insists Barkley has future at Everton

The England international refused a move to Chelsea on the last day of the close-season.

Ross Barkley still has future at Goodison Park, according to Ronald Koeman. Barkley will have no contract with the Toffees at the end of the season, meaning a move to Chelsea appeared to be the normal thing to do.

However, the 23-year-old insisted he wanted to stay at Everton until he is back to full fitness, possibly hinting an exit in January.

Meanwhile Everton’s head coach Koeman said he would never hesitate to include Ross Barkley in the squad once he is back to 100 %.Match Preview: Everton vs Manchester City Boro Tanchev – Manchester City travel to Liverpool this weekend, but don’t get that much excited because it is Everton who they are visiting in the seventh Premier League round.

“Of course it was a strange last day of the transfer window but I don’t think it was only that for Everton but for most of the Premier League clubs,” Koeman told a media conference as quoted by Goal.

“Ross also came to see me last Tuesday and he explained to me why he turned down the chance to go to Chelsea. That is private.

“He was open to making a move to another club and I heard from the board that there was an agreement between Chelsea and Everton.

“But finally the decision was by the player. And t上海夜网hat was what happened at that time.”

Campbell confirms sale of Australian snacks unit Arnott’s to KKR for $2.2 billion

( ) – Campbell Soup Co (CPB.N) on Friday confirmed that it signed a deal to sell its Australian snacks unit Arnott’s and some of its international operations to KKR & Co Inc (KKR.N) for $2.2 billion as the U.S. company works on reducing debt.

Campbell and KKR will enter into a long-term licensing arrangement for the exclusive rights to use certain Campbell brands, including Campbell’s, Swanson, V8, Prego, Chunky and Campbell’s Real Stock, in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and other select markets, the company said.

“This was a thorough and complex process in which we considered many options,” Campbell Chief Executive Officer Mark Clouse said.

“By applying almost $3 billion of divestiture net proceeds to reduce debt, Campbell’s balance sheet will be stronger and capable of supporting our plan to grow our focused and differentiated portfolio,” he said.

KKR & Co said last week it was buying Campbell’s Arnott’s that will give it ownership of top-selling biscuit brands such as Tim Tam.

Campbell put its international unit and ‘Fresh’ unit up for sale last year as it wanted to focus on its core North American businesses and reduce debt. It was also under pressure from investors to impr上海夜网ove profitability and stock performance.

In July, U.S. packaged food company said it would sell its Danish unit Kelsen Group to an affiliate of Nutella maker Ferrero SpA for $300 million.

Treasury’s Mnuchin says Amazon ‘destroyed’ U.S. retail sector

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday that online giant Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) “destroyed the retail industry across the United States.”

Mnuchin said he looked forward to hearing the results of a Justice Department probe, announced on Tuesday, into whether big U.S. technology firms engage in anticompetitive practices, the strongest sign yet that the Trump administration is stepping up its scrutiny of Big Tech.

“If you look at Amazon, although they’re certain benefits to it, they’ve destroyed the retail industry across the United States,” Mnuchin told CNBC. “I don’t have an opinion other than I think it’s absolutely right the attorney general is looking into these issues and I look forward to listening to his recommendations to the president.”

Amazon defended itself, saying that 90% of all sales occur in上海夜生活网 brick-and-mortar stores.

“Today, independent sellers make up more than 58% of physical gross merchandise sales on Amazon, and their sales have grown twice as fast as our own, totaling $160 billion in 2018,” a spokesman for Amazon said.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to say on Tuesday which companies it would scrutinize under the antitrust probe, but said the review would consider concerns raised about “search, social media, and some retail services online” – an apparent reference to Google, Amazon, Facebook Inc (FB.O), and potentially Apple Inc (AAPL.O).

Mnuchin also said the small amount of work that Google does with the Chinese government did not raise any concerns, despite President Donald Trump’s calls last week for his administration to investigate the issue.

“The president did look into that as well as I,” Mnuchin said. “Google is an American company who wants to help the U.S.”

U.S. attorney general orders probe into mistreatment of gay employees

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. Attorney General William Barr said he was ordering certain Justice Department offices to investigate possible discrimination targeting gay, lesbian, bisexual上海夜网 and transgender employees after an internal gay affinity group complained of low morale.

In an April 4 letter to DOJ Pride released on Friday, Barr said he was “troubled” by the group’s concerns, and was directing the FBI and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to “investigate and address allegations of discrimination.”

Barr also released a formal Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement declaring that no department employee or applicant should face discrimination over race, ethnicity, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation.

“Issuing the statement is not only required by law … it is the right thing to do,” Barr wrote.

Barr’s tone and response to the department’s gay rights group marked a stark contrast from his predecessor Jeff Sessions, who actively took steps to undermine civil rights protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people.

In October 2017, for instance, Sessions sent a memo to federal prosecutors declaring that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act did not protect workers from gender identity discrimination.

The department under Sessions’ leadership also reversed legal positions taken during the Obama administration on gay rights, including one case where it appeared before a federal appeals court in Manhattan to argue that Title VII does not provide protections to gay and lesbian workers.

In a March letter to Barr, DOJ Pride said the department in recent years has suffered low morale, hurting its ability to retain and recruit new LGBT talent.

The group said Sessions had declined ever to issue an EEO statement reiterating the federal government’s stance against discrimination, despite requests to do so.

Throughout his time at the department, it said, an older EEO statement issued by former Attorney General Loretta Lynch was all that remained up on the department’s website.

Based on an October 2018 survey, the group found, gay, lesbian and transgender employees felt the workplace environment was “no longer the welcoming, inclusive environment” it used to be.

Of all the respondents in the survey, only 31 percent said they believed the Justice Department valued LGBT employees.

In particular, the survey identified concerns inside both the FBI and BOP – the two largest components of the Justice Department. It also uncovered repeated criticism within the FBI Academy, the agency’s law enforcement training and research center, over how gay people are evaluated and treated.

An FBI representative said in a statement that the agency “is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion in our workforce” and it does “not tolerate discriminatory behaviors.”

The BOP, in an emailed statement, said it “does not tolerate discrimination” and any allegations of misconduct are taken seriously. “We are committed to ensuring a safe work place that is free of discrimination and harassment,” the statement said.

Deutsche Bank capital-boosting debt dips on restructuring fears

LONDON ( ) – Deutsche Bank’s capital-boosting Additional Tier I (AT1) debt issues fell on Monday on worries over future challenges Germany’s biggest lender may face in a planned overhaul.

Concerns centered on Deutsche Bank’s decision to lower minimum capital buffers, a pool of assets designed to absorb losses, after it launched one of the biggest overhauls of its investment bank since the 2008 financial crisis on Sunday.

The debt had earlier risen after Deutsche Bank said it will pay coupons on its bank capital debt.

“A substantial restructuring was needed to address the bank’s sluggish p上海夜生活论坛erformance,” ING analyst Suvi Platerink Kosonen said, adding: “The measures involve substantial execution risks and lowering the capital buffers makes the bank more vulnerable to any headwinds”.

Deutsche Bank’s U.S. dollar Additional Tier 1 perpetual bond, callable in November 2021, were down 0.70 cents on the dollar at 93.51, off an earlier high of 94.41.

Two euro-denominated issues, both callable in May 2027, were also down, reversing early gains.

“I guess (the early gain) was a knee-jerk reaction on the stock being up 5% plus, but as people digest the details, then it is difficult to get AT1 support,” said Steve Hussey, head of financial institutions credit research at Alliance Bernstein.

Deutsche Bank will now target a minimum common equity tier 1(CET1) ratio of 12.5% and a leverage ratio of 4.5% by 2020 and 5% by 2022. It had a CET1 ratio of 13.7% at the end of March.

Meanwhile, the cost of insuring exposure to Deutsche Bank’s debt through 5-year credit defaults swaps (CDS) fell by 3 basis points (bps) from Friday’s close to 61 bps, data from IHS Markit showed.

Deutsche Bank CDS fell for a sixth straight session.

Trump campaign preparing early focus on Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and…

WASHINGTON ( ) – President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign is preparing an early focus on Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, states that were instrumental to his improbable 2016 victory but where his support has softened, two campaign advisers said.

The decision to accelerate campaign organizing and eventually get the Republican president to make trips to the three states is a recognition that Trump’s path to re-election in 2020 will need to repeat some of the successes he had in 2016.

Advisers also see a need to bolster Trump’s support in Florida, a battleground state he considers his second home but where opinion polls show him struggling.

They also see an opportunity for gains in Minnesota and Colorado, two states Trump narrowly lost. The Trump team views those states as competitive places where the president can go on offense, according to the advisers, who asked not to be named so they could speak freely about the campaign strategy.

With 20 months to go until the November 2020 presidential election, Trump and his campaign team are still getting organized for what is expected to be a tough battle for a second four-year term.

Democrats seized control of the House of Representatives in last November’s congressional elections widely seen as a referendum on Trump’s storm-tossed first two years in office, while Republicans strengthened their grip on the U.S. Senate.

More than a dozen Democrats have lined up so far to challenge Trump, and some Republicans are also considering running against him.

Chris Jackson, a pollster for Ipsos, which conducts polls with , said Trump, however, looked to be in a competitive position for re-election at this point, given his approval rating is hovering between 40 percent and 45 percent.

“Presidents with an approval rating above 40 percent generally have better than 50-50 odds of winning re-election,” he said. “He’s not an underdog if you take the big picture view.”

Trump’s support among Republican voters also remains strong.

CRITICAL STATES

Trump’s win in 2016 included unexpected victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, which form part of the country’s former industrial heartland. The trio of states had voted Democratic in recent presidential elections, but Trump caught Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by surprise, winning them by a mere combined 77,000 votes.

An Emerson College poll of Michigan voters released on Sunday found Trump trailing all the leading potential Democratic challengers, including an 8-percentage-point deficit to former Vice President Joe Biden, who is considering a White House bid.

A Marquette Law School poll conducted in January during a government shutdown largely blamed on Trump found the president had a 44 percent approval rating among Wisconsin voters, with 52 percent disapproving. The political tracking organization Morning Consult found Trump down 7 points among Pennsylvania voters.

Asked about the re-election strategy, a senior Trump campaign official said the early focus on the three states had nothing to do with polling.

“It is about securing victory in states where the margin of victory was close in 2016,” the official said.

The official上海夜生活论坛 added: “These are not given Republican states. These are Trump states. Wisconsin had not gone red since 1984 and Pennsylvania and Michigan since 1988. Trump expanded the map, and now we must protect this territory.”

Republican strategist Scott Reed, who is not connected to the Trump campaign, said the three states would be critical for Trump.

“Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan put Trump over the top, and they are clearly where this next national election will be won or lost,” said Reed, who was campaign manager for Republican nominee Bob Dole’s 1996 White House campaign.

Aides say Trump has shown a keen interest in his re-election effort. In the absence of an obvious front-runner among the Democrats, the president has concentrated his attacks on what he calls the Democrats’ trend toward socialism with their “Green New Deal.”

Trump has talked privately about some of the Democratic field, telling allies that Senator Kamala Harris of California had the best campaign rollout. He described Biden as “dumb” in a lunch with television anchors ahead of his State of the Union address on Feb. 5, a source familiar with the lunch said.

Trump’s campaign team recently showed the president a slide show outlining how to organize, tie up Republican nominating delegates and control the Republican presidential nomination process to fend off any challengers, a Republican official familiar with the presentation said.

“We are running a comprehensive, state-of-the-art campaign,” the senior campaign official said.

Outlook uncertain for Japan’s whaling industry despite commercial…

MINAMIBOSO, Japan ( ) – When Yachiyo Ichihara was a child in Wada, one of Japan’s oldest whaling villages, she’d go down to the harbor with a bucket and carry it home full of freshly butc上海夜网hered whale meat.

“It’s really delicious; that’s what I grew up eating,” the 72-year-old said. “Whale is something you’d gather your family together and eat. It’s real home cooking.”

In those days, men would peddle the meat from carts, calling “Whale, whale” as they went door to door. But in 1986, a whaling moratorium drove prices up and made whale a luxury food.

Ichihara now runs a whale restaurant in the Wada district of Minamiboso, on the Pacific coast just east of Tokyo, and should be celebrating Japan’s decision to withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and resume commercial whaling on July 1. Instead, she and others involved in the business worry about the future.

“I’m really anxious, not expectant,” Ichihara said.

Though Japan’s post-Christmas announcement sparked widespread condemnation and fears for the world’s whales, the prospect of growth in whaling is far from certain, both environmentalists and whaling advocates say.

“In the past 30 years, all kinds of foods have come into Japan; there are so many things to eat,” said Kazuo Yamamura, president of the Japan Whaling Association. “It’s no longer a situation where if you produce lots of whale meat, you’re going to make lots of money.”

Barely 300 people are directly connected to whaling, and whale represented only about 0.1 percent of Japan’s total meat consumption in 2016, according to government data.

About 4,000-5,000 metric tons of whale meat are supplied to Japan annually, amounting to 40-50 grams of whale for each Japanese person, said Joji Morishita, Japan’s retiring IWC commissioner. That’s about the mass of half an apple.

“The question is, is there enough demand, enough feasibility and enough viability for commercial whaling – or commercial whale eating – to take place in Japan?” he said.

KEY SUPPORTERS

Whaling supporters include Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Toshihiro Nikai, head of Abe’s conservative ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), both of whose districts have long whaled. Nikai’s base includes Taiji, made notorious for dolphin hunts in the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove.”

Related CoverageExplainer: What’s behind Japan’s support of whaling?Raw, fried or on a bun: the many ways Japan eats whale

That high-profile support helped Japan finally leave the IWC, said Kiyoshi Ejima, an LDP lawmaker from the same area as Abe and a former four-term mayor of Shimonoseki, where the country’s based its “scientific whaling” mother ship and fleet. Five smaller ships, which carried out coastal whaling under an IWC loophole, will take the lead after July 1.

“Previous prime ministers were afraid of what’d be said if they left, that Japan would become a villain,” he told .

But environmentalist Patrick Ramage says the decision ended up being an “elegant” masterstroke that gave almost everybody something they wanted.

“Ostensibly there is a defiant, almost nationalistic expression of intent to resume commercial whaling” in Japan, said Ramage, director of marine conservation at International Fund for Animal Welfare. “But it becomes clear for anybody genuinely interested in the conservation of these whale species and their welfare … that whales are better off.”

Japan has not yet set its hunt quota. But many in the industry believe the number taken will fall between the 180 minkes and sei whales taken in the Northern Pacific and the 330 minkes hunted in the Antarctic.

The decision to leave the IWC, which will limit whaling to Japan’s exclusive economic zone, may also save money because ships won’t have to travel to the Antarctic. About 5.1 billion yen ($47.05 million) was budgeted for whaling in 2019.

“We’ll have to see how it goes this year – how much they take, how much it sells,” Ejima said. “We’re basically feeling our way.”

FADING APPETITES

Though a 2018 government survey found that about 70 percent of Japanese supported leaving the IWC, Morishita said the response was driven largely by opposition to anti-whalers.

A recent informal Yahoo Japan poll of nearly 20,000 people said 58.2 percent liked eating whale and 28.3 did not, while 13.5 percent had never eaten it. Older Japanese remember eating whale in school lunches but few seek it out.

In Wada, though whales are everywhere – including a giant skeleton by a museum and metal whales on a seawall – most people there on a recent afternoon were either surfing, driving, or fishing near the concrete dock where whales are drawn up to be butchered.

“I haven’t had whale but now I want to try,” said Kazushi Yago, 36, who stopped by a roadside store featuring local whale products. “I’m a bit nervous about how it tastes, though.”

But 63-year-old Tsuneo Tsuruoka said he’d had whale as a child and it wasn’t an experience he would repeat.

“I like beef better,” he said. “The food culture has changed.”

Is bitcoin growing up? Regulated futures boom as investors seek a…

LONDON ( ) – When bitcoin was born it was a symbol of counterculture, a rebel currency with near-anonymity and a lack of regulation. A decade later, there are growing signs it’s entering the establishment its creators sought to subvert.

As the cryptocurrency has surged in value bigger investors, from trading firms to hedge funds, have increasingly turned to exchanges regulated in traditional financial centers. They are buying bitcoin futures to gain exposure to the asset while avoiding the hacks and heists that plague the industry.

The crypto market, associated by many with the dark web, money laundering and the Wild West, is beginning to be discussed by financiers in the same breath as derivatives, hedging instruments and compliance.

Investors plowed record levels of money into bitcoin futures at regulated exchanges in the United States and Britain last month, hungry for a piece of the action but seeking the kind of protection that will satisfy their compliance officers.

Between March and May, bitcoin more than doubled in price, an ascent peppered by double-digit price swings reminiscent of its 2017 bubble, which was driven by smaller retail investors.

During that period, Chicago-based CME Group Inc’s average daily volumes of futures contracts climbed over seven-fold to a record $508 million in May. The number of open interest contracts – those that haven’t been settled – also hit a record.

CME said bitcoin’s price gains, and the subsequent increase in volatility, attracted new investors seeking to hedge risk.

Crypto Facilities, a London-registered platform bought this year for over $100 million by major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, said bitcoin futures daily trading volumes jumped over three-fold from March to a record $84 million in May.

In a sign of the growing mainstream market, the owner of the New York Stock Exchange, Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE), plans to offer bitcoin futures in the coming months through a new crypto-trading platform, Bakkt.

“It’s logical they (institutional investors) would want to be moving in this direction, especially considering their size and how much more there is at stake,” said Joel Kruger, currency strategist at LMAX Exchange Group.

HEDGING INSTRUMENT

Futures – financial contracts that lock buyers and sellers into trading an asset at a set date and price – are seen as key components of any mature market, as they boost market liquidity and allow investors to bet on the direction of prices.

“It’s a useful hedging instrument,” said Daniel Matuszewski, head of trading at Goldman Sachs-backed crypto firm Circle. “Futures are much easier to trade, much easier to use for hedging, much easier to get leverage on.”

Playing out in the spiking demand is the emergence of a twin-track global bitcoin futures market – on “onshore” exchanges like CME and “offshore” exchanges, which are more lightly regulated and still command the bulk of the multi-billion-dollar daily market.

Onshore exchanges – those regulated in established financial centers – are usually subject to strict checks on governance, technology and client vetting. They demand a high degree of transparency.

Offshore platforms, in contrast, are typically registered in jurisdictions with less onerous rules. They tend to accept business from investors who can sign up with few checks on their identity or the provenance of their funds.

Larger investors, bound by strict compliance rules, are heading to regulated platforms in financial hubs like CME, according to industry players. Traders with more tolerance for risk – including retail investors from north Asia and companies earning money in cryptocurrency, from miners to gaming firms – use of offshore exchanges.

“Offshore exchanges aren’t really exchanges – they are more like private markets,” said Vladimir Jelisavcic of trading firm Cherokee Acquisition in New York.

‘STARS HAVE ALIGNED’

Offshore exchanges have offered bitcoin futures since as early as 2011. One of the biggest, Seychelles-registered BitMEX, said it上海夜网 now accounts for over 65% of global cryptocurrency derivatives trading. Trading volumes were $4.3 billion in May, it said.

BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes said, however, that larger investors were being increasingly drawn to onshore exchanges like CME.

“It’s the perfect product (for bigger investors) – it’s U.S.-dollar based, they never have to touch actual bitcoin, it’s financially settled,” he said.

The launch by CME and rival Cboe Global Markets in December 2017 marked the first time mainstream exchanges offered cryptocurrency derivatives.

They initially faced tepid demand. Cboe said in March, when bitcoin languished below $4,000, that it planned to discontinue its futures, with the final contracts expiring this month.

For their part, CME’s futures have typically seen thin liquidity and high barriers to entry for smaller investors, said Ricky Li of crypto trader Altonomy in New York.

The growing gap in the market for futures from onshore exchanges is stimulating growing competition and attracting new entrants, such as ICE.

Sui Chung, head of cryptocurrency pricing products at Crypto Facilities, said compliance-wary institutional investors had been assessing the various futures products offered by regulated exchanges for some time, as they awaited a spike in prices to allow them to enter the market.

“This is the first time those stars have aligned,” he said.

American Airlines CEO sees Boeing 737 MAX flying by mid-August

CHICAGO ( ) – The grounded Boeing Co 737 MAX is “highly likely” to be flying by mid-August, American Airlines Group Inc Chief Executive Doug Parker told shareholders on Wednesday.

A battered aviation industry is awaiting regulatory approval for a software fix and pilot training updates by Boeing that would pave the way for the troubled jet to fly again following two deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia within five months.

American Airlines has said the economic impact of the grounded MAX would be about $350 million between its worldwide grounding in mid-March and Aug. 19, when the airline had initially envisioned flying its 24 MAX jets again.

On Sunday, American extended cancellations of about 115 daily flights until Sept. 3, but Parker said that decision merely reflected monthly scheduling plans for crew.

“No one should take that as some indication that we don’t think the aircraft will be ready by Aug 19,” 上海夜生活网Parker said during the company’s annual shareholders meeting.

“We wouldn’t be selling seats today if we didn’t think it was a highly likely possibility (…) that we’d be able to provide that service by Sept. 3,” he added.

Boeing has yet to formally submit its software fix to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, which said on Wednesday it does not have a specific timetable on when the 737 MAX would return to service.

Still, Parker said he understood there was “an absolute fix” for the 737 MAX, while acknowledging there was no certain timetable and that rebuilding public confidence may take time.

Once regulators approve the MAX, airlines will need some time to train pilots on the software fix, meant to prevent the erroneous triggering of a system called MCAS that played a role in the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, and to prepare the jets following months of storage.

Before the jet flies commercially, Parker said he and other executives would fly in the MAX and noted that if American pilots were comfortable taking up the aircraft, over time, the flying public would recognize that it is safe.

Speaking on CNBC on Wednesday, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said he believed consumer confidence would take a while to restore, and that a MAX return to service was “probably going to be longer than anyone would like it to be.”

Shares in Delta, which does not operate the MAX, have outperformed those of U.S. rivals with the jets. American shares, which have lost about 4% this year, were up 1.2% on Wednesday.

No let-up in anger in U.S. campaigns after spate of violence

WASHINGTON – Anger over the weekend massacre of 11 people at a Pennsylvania synagogue spilled onto the U.S. campaign trail with just over a week to go before elections that will determine control of Congress.

The shooting, which prosecutors said was a hate crime carried out by a gunman who said he wanted to kill Jewish people, followed a wave of more than a dozen package bombs that were sent to prominent critics of President Donald Trump last week, and was widely seen as showing a rising level of rage and violence in U.S. politics.

While elected leaders from both parties voiced sympathy for the victims and denounced violence, the incidents did little to cool the tone of campaigns that will determine whether Trump’s Republican Party keeps control of both houses of Congress in the Nov. 6 elections.

Democrats would need a net gain of 23 seats in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate to take majorities that would allow them to more effectively oppose Trump’s agenda. Nonpartisan forecasters and opinion polls generally give them a good chance of winning the House, with Republicans widely expected to keep control of the Senate.

Following the pattern of mass shootings that have become a recurrent feature over American life over the past few years, Saturday’s massacre in Pittsburgh inflamed the nation’s long-running debate on gun rights, with Trump suggesting that armed guards could have prevented the killing.

“No, Mr. President, the synagogue is not at fault for being insufficiently armed,” Scott Wallace, a Democrat running for Congress in eastern Pennsylvania, said in a weekend statement. “To say that the solution to gun violence is more guns, is like saying that the solution to lung cancer is more cigarettes.”

U.S. Representative Keith Rothfus, a western Pennsylvania Republican, stayed away from the gun rights issue while condemning the prejudice that allegedly motivated the attack.

“You look at what this particular shooter was doing, the vile comments that he had put out there on social media, the anti-Semitic hatred that he was spewing forth,” Rothfus said in a Monday interview on Fox News. “Somebody was aware of the animus.”

Reactions to mass shootings often divide along roughly party lines. Broadly, Democrats favor more controls on gun ownership as a way of reducing gun violence, while Republicans push back against efforts to introduce tighter gun controls, noting that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right to bear arms.

Liberal protesters who crashed a Tennessee rally on Sunday for Republican U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn’s Senate campaign drew her criticism for repeatedly trying to shout her down, including during a moment of silence intended to remember those killed at the synagogue.

“It is a sad day when Phil Bredesen’s party will go as far as interrupting a moment of silence for the victims of Pittsburgh in order to protest,” Blackburn said on Twitter, referring to her Democratic rival, a former governor of the state. “There is no excuse to choose confrontation, ambush, attack or any form of violence to deal with differences of opinion.”

TRUMP’S BARBS

The violence did not bring a return to civility, with Trump weighing in on Monday on the Florida governor’s race, where he has endorsed former U.S. Representative Ron DeSantis over Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

In a tweet, Trump called Gillum “a thief” and said Tallahassee is “one of the most corrupt cities in the Country.” Florida media have reported that the FBI is investigating Tallahassee’s government. G上海夜生活网illum has said he is not the probe’s target. FBI officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Gillum said on Monday said the name-calling is leading to violence.

“That kind of irresponsible language is now leading to loss of life,” Gillum told reporters, calling it “dangerous rhetoric.”

Full election coverage: here

Nissan set for weakest profit in 11 years as Ghosn woes, bleak…

YOKOHAMA ( ) – Nissan Motor Co forecast a 28% plunge in its annual operating profit, putting it on course for the weakest earnings in 11 years and underscoring its struggle to turn the page after former Chairman Carlos Ghosn was ousted.

The lackluster outlook from Japan’s No.2 automaker – hit by Ghosn’s arrest last year and troubles at its North American business – is likely to add to the pressure on CEO Hiroto Saikawa as he tries to overhaul corporate governance and put Nissan on a more equal footing with alliance partner Renault.

Nissan’s weakening profit and a growing number of departing executives and managers have raised concerns at Renault, which holds a 43% stake in the Japanese firm and has pushed for closer ties.

These issues could strengthen the argument for closer links between the two automakers, although some Nissan executives have opposed a full merger and what they see as an unequal partnership that gives smaller Renault more sway over Nissan.

“Today we have hit rock bottom,” Saikawa told a news conference at the company’s headquarters in Yokohama on Tuesday, adding that he wanted the company to recover to its original performance level in next two to three years.

“Most of the problems we are facing are the negative legacy of our old leader,” he said in a reference to Ghosn, adding that the company had been slow to move on from these problems.

Nissan expects operating profit of 230 billion yen ($2 billion) for the year to March 2020, missing the 457.7 billion yen average of 23 analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

The automaker reported an operating profit of 318 billion yen in the year just ended, down 45% from a year earlier. It also booked 4.4 billion yen in expenses to reflect previous misstatements involving Ghosn’s compensation.

Sluggish profitability would likely result in a 30% cut to full-year dividend to 40 yen per share, Nissan said.

DIFFERENT VIEWS

After Ghosn’s ousting as head of the Renault-Nissan alliance, the French automaker is set to discuss forming a joint holding company to give both companies equal footing, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

Saikawa declined to comment on the progress of the discussions, but acknowledged a difference of opinion with Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard regarding a closer capital integration between the two companies.

“I have been negative to the idea of a full merger,” he said. “Now is not the right time to discuss a merger. We have to focus on our recovery,” he said.

Ghosn, out on bail and awaiting trial in Japan, has been charged on several counts of financial misconduct and of allegedly enriching himself at Nissan’s expense. He has denied all charges and said he is the victim of a boardroom coup.

The scandal has rocked the global auto industry and raised concerns about Nissan’s ability to regain its footing following the departure of the charismatic leader and the architect of its alliance with Renault.

Widely considered a protege of Ghosn before t上海夜网aking the reins at Nissan, Saikawa has now come under fire for not doing enough to limit Ghosn’s broad control over the company, and for the drop in the automaker’s performance since he took over in 2017.

Saikawa has said that he planned to eventually hand over to a successor, but on Tuesday he gave no indication of when such a move may come.

“Timing is a matter I need to decide,” he said, adding that he would step down “at the appropriate time”.

U.S. BLUES

The biggest blow to Nissan’s bottom line has come from the costly sales incentives in the United States, where its sales fell 9.3% to 1.44 million units in the year ended March 31.

For years it has relied on heavy discounting in its biggest market to sell its Rogue compact SUVs and Altima sedans, under aggressive targets Ghosn set during his time as CEO.

Saikawa has pledged to focus on improving U.S. profit margins, but it has been a slow process as Nissan continues to resort to discounting.

The automaker also cut its mid-term revenue target to 14.5 trillion yen by 2022, from 16.5 trillion yen. It sees its annual operating margin at 6% by then, versus an earlier target for 8%.

Nissan shares are down around 2% this year, after losing a fifth of their value last year.

Samsung Electronics to cut China phone output as market share sinks

SEOUL/SHANGHAI ( ) – South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Wednesday it plans to cut production at a smartphone plant in China, as competition from domestic rivals squeezes its share of the world’s biggest smartphone market to less than a paltry 1%.

The output reduction at the factory in the southern city of Huizhou comes just six months after Samsung said it would close its only other handset plant in China, in the northeastern city of Tianjin, in a move it said would enhance efficiency.

Samsung, the world’s biggest smartphone maker, has seen its share of China’s market shrink from about 20% in 2013, showed data from Strategy Analytics. The intervening years have seen a bout of anti-South Korean sentiment following a diplomatic spat, as well as a shift to local champions like Huawei Technologies Co Ltd at a time of deteriorating Sino-U.S. relations.

In the three months of 2019, however, Samsung’s smartphone sales volume in China rose 40% versus the previous three months, helped strong promotion of premium models and cheaper mass-market handsets, showed an April report from Counterpoint Research.

Samsung上海夜生活’s Wednesday statement followed a report by financial magazine Caixin saying the South Korean firm had offered voluntary redundancy for some employees at the Huizhou plant.

Samsung declined to detail the plant’s capacity, staff numbers or degree of production cut when contacted by .

A spokesman in China told there would be “some adjustment to production volume and staff” based on the market situation. He declined to provide details.

The smartphone maker’s share price was 1.0% higher in afternoon trade in Seoul. The KOSPI benchmark share price index was down 1.0%.