MLB roundup: Marlins down Yankees, clinch playoff spot

Sep 25, 2020; Bronx, New York, USA; Miami Marlins pinch runner Monte Harrison (4) slides back into third in front of New York Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela (29) after being hit in the back by a throw during a rundown during the tenth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports September 26, 2020 Pinch runner Monte Harrison scored on a sacrifice fly by Jesus Aguilar in the 10th inning and the Miami Marlins clinched a playoff spot with a 4-3 victory over the New York Yankees on Friday night at Yankee Stadium. The Marlins had a magic number of one entering the 10th after the Philadelphia Phillies lost to the Tampa Bay Rays earlier in the day. Harrison was the automatic runner at second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jon Berti off loser Chad Green (3-3). Starling Marte hit a ground ball to shortstop Gleyber Torres and Harrison then got caught in a rundown, but catcher Kyle Higashioka’s throw hit him in the back, allowing Harrison to get to third and Marte to second on the error. Harrison then scored on Aguilar’s fly ball to the warning track in right field. Brandon Kintzler then nailed down his 12th save despite two walks by getting D.J. LeMahieu on a double play to end the game. Brad Boxberger (1-0) got a double play on Luke Voit in a scoreless ninth before Kintzler’s escape act. Rangers 5, Astros 4 (10 innings) Isiah Kiner-Falefa scored on Joey Gallo fielder’s choice grounder and host Texas rallied to stun Houston in 10 innings in Arlington, Texas. By blowing one-run leads in the ninth and 10th innings, the Astros failed to clinch the final American League postseason bid on their own, but they wrapped up the spot later in the evening thanks to the Los Angeles Angels’ 9-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Houston third baseman Alex Bregman lifted the Astros to a 4-3 lead with his sacrifice fly in the top of the 10th, before the Rangers scored twice off Astros right-hander Enoli Paredes (3-3). Gallo delivered the grounder off lefty Brooks Raley. The Rangers got off the mat with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning when first baseman Ronald Guzman smacked a game-tying home run with two strikes off Astros closer Ryan Pressly. The Astros were one strike away from clinching a postseason berth before Guzman launched a curveball into the right-field seats to tie the game at 3-3 and force extras. Reds 7, Twins 2 Mike Moustakas hit two home runs and Freddy Galvis drove in two runs as Cincinnati clinched its first postseason berth since 2013 by beating Minnesota in Minneapolis. Shogo Akiyama went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored for Cincinnati, which continued a blazing September with its 10th victory in the last 12 games. Michael Lorenzen (3-1) picked up the victory in relief, allowing one run on three hits over 3 1/3 innings, walking one while striking out four. Eddie Rosario and Jorge Polanco each had two hits to lead Minnesota. The Twins, who missed a chance to clinch home field advantage for the wild-card round, lost for just the second time in 12 September home games but still head into Saturday’s action with a one-game lead in the AL Central. Jose Berrios (5-4) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on five hits over five innings. Dodgers 9, Angels 5 Justin Turner hit two home runs and Will Smith hit a go-ahead two-run shot in the fifth inning as the Dodgers earned a victory and officially eliminated the Angels from playoff contention. AJ Pollock and Edwin Rios also hit home runs for the Dodgers on a night when Clayton Kershaw was far from his best while giving up two home runs himself in four innings. Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Jared Walsh went deep for the Angels. The Dodgers wrapped up the best record in baseball (41-17). The Dodgers have won eight of their last 10 games, while the Angels saw their three-game winning streak come to an end. They had won six of their previous seven. Brewers 3, Cardinals 0 (Game 1) Brent Suter, Devin Williams and Josh Hader combined for a seven-inning shutout as visiting Milwaukee defeated St. Louis in the first half of their doubleheaders. The Brewers entered one game back of the NL’s last wild-card playoff spot, while the Cardinals fell to 0-8 this season when trying to move to three games above .500. Jack Flaherty (4-2) took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits in five innings. Suter allowed two hits and three baserunners in the first four innings for Milwaukee. Williams (4-1) earned the win after working the fifth and sixth, inducing double-play grounders in each frame. Hader worked around a lead-off walk in the seventh for his 12th save. Cardinals 9, Brewers 1 (Game 2) Tommy Edman, Dylan Carlson and Matt Wieters drove in two runs each as St. Louis beat visiting Milwaukee to earn a doubleheader split. Because Game 2 was a makeup game for a COVID-19 postponement in Milwaukee, the Brewers were the designated home team. Cardinals starting pitcher Daniel Ponce de Leon (1-3) yielded just one hit, a solo homer by Orlando Arcia, in his six innings. Ponce de Leon earned his first victory in 20 major league starts. But he has pitched well lately, allowing five runs on eight hits in 17 innings over his last three outings. Brewers starting pitcher Josh Lindblom (2-4) worked just 2 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits. Cubs 10, White Sox 0 Willson Contreras homered twice and Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez and Victor Caratini also went deep to back seven shutout innings from Yu Darvish as visiting Chicago routed reeling Chicago. The Cubs snapped a three-game losing streak and reduced their magic number to clinch the National League Central to one while sending the White Sox to their season-high sixth loss in a row. Darvish defeated the White Sox for the second time this season, scattering three hits, one walk and five strikeouts in seven innings to improve to 8-3 and finish the regular season with a 2.01 ERA. An early power surge against White Sox righty Dylan Cease (5-4) provided plenty of cushion. Athletics 3, Mariners 1 (10 innings) Mark Canha hit a two-run homer with two outs in the 10th inning as Oakland defeated visiting Seattle. Ramon Laureano preceded Canha with a double down the left-field line, tying the score at 1-1 after neither team tallied through nine innings. The Mariners scored in the top of the 10th as pinch-runner Dee Strange-Gordon advanced from second to third on a flyout to right and scored on a passed ball. Mariners rookie right-hander Joey Gerber (1-1) was an out away from his first major league save before giving up the extra-base hits to Laureano and Canha. Oakland left-hander Jake Diekman (2-0) got the victory despite allowing the game’s first run in the top of the 10th. Blue Jays 10, Orioles 5 Travis Shaw had three hits, including a two-run home run, Randal Grichuk added a solo shot and Toronto defeated visiting Baltimore in the opener of a three-game series at Buffalo. Jonathan Villar and Teoscar Hernandez also had two RBIs each for the Blue Jays, who have won seven of eight meetings between the teams. Ramon Urias, Cedric Mullins and Jose Iglesias homered for Baltimore. Toronto starter Taijuan Walker pitched three perfect innings with four strikeouts and was removed as he prepares for a start in the postseason. He was replaced by rookie Nate Pearson (1-0), who allowed a walk and a single with two strikeouts in 1 2/3 innings to earn his first major league win. Orioles starter Jorge Lopez (2-2) allowed eight runs and nine hits in two-plus innings. Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 0 (Game 1) Christian Walker homered among his two hits, Daulton Varsho also had two hits, and Arizona beat Colorado in Phoenix in the first game of a doubleheader as Zac Gallen struck out 10 in six strong innings for the Diamondbacks, who have won three in a row. Gallen (3-2) scattered five hits and walked just two and finished the season with a 2.75 ERA. Stefan Crichton got the final out for his fifth save. Raimel Tapia had three hits for the Rockies, who were officially eliminated from the postseason with the loss. Walker has hit Colorado pitching hard this year. Through Friday’s first game he is 15-for-28 with four home runs, three doubles and 11 RBIs against the Rockies. Diamondbacks 11, Rockies 5 (Game 2) Josh VanMeter and Pavin Smith homered, and Arizona beat Colorado in Phoenix to sweep a doubleheader. David Peralta and Tim Locastro had three hits each and Stephen Vogt and Jon Jay had two apiece for Arizona, which has won four in a row. Ryan McMahon had two hits, including a home run, and Kevin Pillar had three hits and three RBIs for Colorado. Braves 8, Red Sox 7 (11 innings) Freddie Freeman led off the bottom of the 11th inning with a two-run homer over the fence in left-center field to give Atlanta a victory over Boston. Freeman’s blast came on a 1-0 sinker from Red Sox left-hander Jeffrey Springs (0-2) and helped the Braves clinch the No. 2 seed in the National League playoffs. The homer is Freeman’s 13th of the season and his fifth career walk-off blast. Alex Verdugo hit a sacrifice fly to center in the top of the 11th inning off Braves right-hander Shane Greene (1-0) to give Boston a 7-6 lead. Jackie Bradley Jr. homered earlier in the game for the Red Sox. Rays 6, Phillies 4 Joey Wendle’s two-out, tiebreaking single in the eighth helped Tampa Bay damage Philadelphia’s playoff hopes in St. Petersburg, Fla. Wendle’s two-run single broke a 4-4 tie and made a winner of Nick Anderson (2-1), who tossed a scoreless eighth. John Curtiss struck out the side in the ninth for his second save. Brett Phillips had a solo homer for the Rays, and Randy Arozarena had two hits. Bryce Harper lashed a run-scoring triple and went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run, Scott Kingery was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs, and Alec Bohm had two hits for the Phillies. Reliever Adam Morgan (0-1) took the loss. Starter Vince Velasquez left after giving up six hits and three runs, with six strikeouts, over 4 1/3 innings. Indians 4, Pirates 3 Cesar Hernandez hit an RBI double to cap a three-run ninth inning and lift host Cleveland to a victory over Pittsburgh for the team’s sixth straight win. The Indians’ latest walk-off win came on the same night that Pirates rookie Mitch Keller authored his second straight no-hit performance, albeit it with eight walks over five innings. With the Pirates nursing a 3-1 lead in the ninth, Tyler Naquin worked a walk off Chris Stratton (2-1) to begin the ninth inning and came home on Jordan Luplow’s RBI double to left-center field. Delino DeShields, who had a bunt single in the seventh to break up the no-hit bid, added an RBI single to forge a tie at 3. Adam Plutko (2-2) worked a scoreless ninth for the win. With the win, Cleveland moved to within one game of the AL Central lead behind the Minnesota Twins, and forged a tie for second in the division with the Chicago White Sox. The Indians hold the head-to-head tiebreaker with the White Sox. Giants 5, Padres 4 (Game 1) Brandon Crawford, Wilmer Flores and Mike Yastrzemski homered on Friday afternoon and host San Francisco held off a seventh-inning San Diego rally to score the victory in the first game of a doubleheader as all three home runs came off Padres starter Chris Paddack (4-5). The win kept the Giants alive in the race for one of the final two wild-card berths in the National League playoffs. Although the Padres lost a third straight game and fell to 2-6 over their last eight games, they clinched the No. 4 seed and homefield for all three games of the first round of the playoffs when St. Louis lost the first game of a doubleheader in Milwaukee. Left-hander Tyler Anderson held the Padres to two runs on five hits over six innings before leaving when Jurickson Profar opened the seventh with a double. Anderson issued four walks and struck out four Padres while improving to 4-3. Padres 6, Giants 5 (Game 2) Trent Grisham hit a three-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to give San Diego a split of its doubleheader with San Francisco. The Padres were the home team in the second game because it was the makeup of a game postponed in San Diego on Sept. 12 due to a false positive COVID-19 test. Luis Patino (1-0) pitched a scoreless top of the seventh to earn his first major league win for the Padres. Brandon Crawford, Flores and Mike Yastrzemski homered off Padres starter Chris Paddack in the opener, and the Giants turned back a seventh-inning Padres rally to win 5-4. Royals 3, Tigers 2 Adalberto Mondesi had at least three hits for the third straight game as Kansas City defeated Detroit to pick up its 11th win in its last 16 games. Brad Keller (5-3) had another stellar outing at home to pick up the win. He threw six shutout innings, allowing four singles, with five strikeouts and no walks. Keller has allowed just one earned run 33 innings this season at Kauffman Stadium for a 0.27 home ERA, the lowest among pitchers with at least five starts since at least 1920. Spencer Turnbull (4-4) took the loss for Detroit. He allowed three earned runs on six hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked two. Mondesi had a single, double and an RBI triple, and has nine hits in his last 12 at-bats. Mets at Nationals, postponed New York and host Washington will play a doubleheader on Saturday after inclement weather forced the postponement of their game on Friday. Max Scherzer (4-4, 3.67 ERA), the Nationals’ scheduled starter Friday night, will pitch the first game, and Anibal Sanchez (3-5, 6.80 ERA) will pitch the nightcap. The Mets’ pitchers will be Rick Porcello (1-6, 5.46 ERA), who was slated to pitch Friday, and ace Jacob deGrom (4-2, 2.14 ERA). The team did not indicate which pitcher would pitch in which game. –Field Level Media

Continue Reading MLB roundup: Marlins down Yankees, clinch playoff spot

Peru to further open economy in October as coronavirus cases drop

September 25, 2020 By Marco Aquino LIMA (Reuters) – Peru will push forward with a gradual reopening of its economy in October, allowing international flights to countries in the region and more people into its restaurants and stores, the government said on Friday, provided coronavirus cases continue to fall. President Martin Vizcarra said restaurants will soon operate at as much as 50% of their capacity, while shopping center capacity will rise to 60%. Bars, discos and cinemas will remain closed, Vizcarra said. Vizcarra said international flights would resume on October 5. “We will begin flights with neighboring countries in the region” he said, adding there would later be a gradual expansion to other destinations. Coronavirus infections have slowed in Peru in recent weeks. The country has reported 788,930 cases through Sept. 24, the second most infections in Latin America after Brazil and No. 6 in the world, according to a Reuters count. Vizcarra said the weekly death toll from the COVID-19 has also plummeted. “This allows us to see a light at the end of the tunnel,” the president said. (Reporting by Marco Aquino, writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Aurora Ellis)

Continue Reading Peru to further open economy in October as coronavirus cases drop

Delta Air Lines expects charges of up to $2.5 billion in third quarter

FILE PHOTO: Delta planes are seen at the platform after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporarily halted flights arriving at New York City airports due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York, U.S., March 21, 2020. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz September 25, 2020 (Reuters) – Delta Air Lines said on Friday it expects to record an up to $2.5 billion charge in the current quarter related to retirements of aircraft. The Atlanata-based airline reiterated that it expects charges of up to $3.3 billion during the third quarter, linked to its voluntary retirement and separation programs. Both the charges are before tax, the company said. The airline said it is retiring its Boeing 717-200 aircraft and the remainder of its 767-300ER aircraft from the fleet by December 2025. It is also retiring its CRJ-200 aircraft by December 2023, earlier than previously planned. (Reporting by Rachit Vats in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

Continue Reading Delta Air Lines expects charges of up to $2.5 billion in third quarter

Bill Murray, the Doobie Brothers and those ‘ugly’ golf shirts

September 25, 2020 LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Musicians have long protested about politicians using their songs during campaign rallies, but actor Bill Murray has now found himself in the crosshairs of a complaint by the Doobie Brothers. The idiosyncratic “Ghostbusters” star was hit with an unconventional letter this week from the band over Murray’s use of the song “Listen to the Music” in ads for the actor’s line of whimsical golf apparel. “It’s a fine song. I know you agree because you keep using it in ads for your Zero Hucks Given golf shirts. However, given that you haven’t paid to use it, maybe you should change the company name to ‘Zero Bucks Given,'” said the letter from Doobie Brothers attorney Peter Paterno. “We’d almost be ok with it if the shirts weren’t so damn ugly,” the letter continued. Representatives for Murray, who is known for playing world-weary characters in movies like “Groundhog Day” and “Lost in Translation,” did not return a request for comment. Murray, 70, a keen golfer, owns the William Murray clothing line, which describes itself as “where golf meets irreverence and fun inspires style.” Its shirt designs include pink flowers, shot glasses, frothy beer mugs and a shirt called Zero Hucks Given that pays tribute to literary hero Huckleberry Finn on a raft. “It seems like the only person who uses our clients’ music without permission more than you do is Donald Trump,” Paterno said in his letter, referring to other bands he represents. The U.S. president has been hit with numerous lawsuits and cease and desist letters for playing music without permission during campaign rallies and official appearances. Those musicians include Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Leonard Cohen and Neil Young (Reporting by Jill Serjeant in Los Angeles)

Continue Reading Bill Murray, the Doobie Brothers and those ‘ugly’ golf shirts

Schumacher’s son sets reclaiming win record as new target

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Tuscan Grand Prix - Mugello, Scarperia e San Piero, Italy - September 13, 2020 Former Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher's son Mick Schumacher poses by Ferrari engineers and staff before the race REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini/Pool September 25, 2020 By Alan Baldwin (Reuters) – Michael Schumacher’s son Mick says the prospect of Lewis Hamilton equalling the Ferrari great’s all-time record of 91 wins has given him something to aim for when he gets to Formula One. Hamilton, who replaced Schumacher senior at Mercedes in 2013, can take his 91st victory in Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi — a race he has won four times previously. “One sentence my dad always used to say was, ‘Records are there to be broken’. It’s everybody’s aim in this sport to do that,” Formula Two championship leader Mick said on Friday. “I think Lewis had a very, very good run. He had a very consecutive and positive run. “It’s good for the sport… the next aim would be then I guess for me, if I do make the step (up), to break that again,” added the 21-year-old. Seven times world champion Michael Schumacher took his last win with Ferrari in China in 2006. He has not appeared in public since he suffered severe head injuries in a 2013 skiing accident. Hamilton is on course for a seventh crown and set to replace the German as the most successful F1 driver of all time. The Briton already has more pole positions, podiums and points finishes. Hamilton said he prized the helmet he exchanged with Schumacher in Abu Dhabi in 2012 and felt ‘pure admiration’ for a man he first met as a youngster at the German’s kart track in Kerpen. Asked whether he might shed a tear as Schumacher did when he matched the late Brazilian triple champion Ayrton Senna’s 41 wins in 2000, Hamilton said he remembered that but was not focused on the numbers. “I cannot tell you how I am going to feel, or what it is going to mean, or if it’s going to mean anything,” said the Briton, an active campaigner for racial equality and justice. “There’s other and bigger issues happening in the world.” Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, for whom compatriot Schumacher was a boyhood idol and who has 53 career wins, said he would have mixed emotions. “On one hand, I will be sad because Michael is still my hero,” said the four times world champion. “On the other hand, I will be very happy for Lewis. “I think he deserves all the success he has had in the last years and he is going to have in this year… and the next years.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Continue Reading Schumacher’s son sets reclaiming win record as new target

Japan’s ANA mulls 200 billion yen share offer to raise capital: Nikkei

September 25, 2020 TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s biggest airline ANA Holdings is considering issuing 200 billion yen ($1.9 billion)in shares to raise capital to bolster its finances as a downturn in air travel drags on, the Nikkei newspaper reported. Like other airlines, ANA has had to slash flights as countries around the world imposed lockdowns to halt the spread of the coronavirus. So far the carrier has relied on loans from its banks and the government to help it cope with the slump in air travel. ($1 = 105.3800 yen) (Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Continue Reading Japan’s ANA mulls 200 billion yen share offer to raise capital: Nikkei

Colombia central bank to vote on interest rate, with market split on potential decision

September 25, 2020 By Nelson Bocanegra BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s central bank board on Friday will debate whether to continue a cycle of rate cuts meant to boost the coronavirus-battered economy or pause after months of reductions. Fourteen of the 26 analysts surveyed by Reuters this week said the seven-member board will reduce borrowing costs to a historic low of 1.75%, while the remaining 12 predicted policymakers will hold steady at 2%. The quandary has emerged amid low inflation figures and record-low growth, which could motivate the board to continue with a cut, and the risk of capital outflows, which would increase the current account deficit and potentially inspire a hold. “In our main scenario, the central bank should have finished cuts,” said Juan David Idrobo, a specialist in economic studies at Fidubogota. “However, we recognize there exists a significantly high probability of an additional cut.” “There will be considerations about the differential rates, the sustainability of the level of rates during (economic) reactivation, inflation expectations for next year and lack of transmission of monetary policy,” Idrobo added. The board has cut the rate by a total of 225 basis points over the last six months as the country held a national coronavirus quarantine which sent unemployment soaring and shuttered businesses. The bank predicts GDP will contract between 6% and 10% this year. (Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra in Bogota; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Continue Reading Colombia central bank to vote on interest rate, with market split on potential decision

Boohoo review finds ‘many failings’ in Leicester supply chain

September 25, 2020 (Reuters) – Fashion retailer Boohoo said on Friday an independent review into allegations about working conditions and low pay had found many failings in its Leicester supply chain and recommended improvements to the company’s corporate governance. Boohoo commissioned the review, headed by senior lawyer Alison Levitt, in July after a damaging British media report about factory working conditions. “Ms Levitt is satisfied that Boohoo did not deliberately allow poor conditions and low pay to exist within its supply chain, it did not intentionally profit from them and its business model is not founded on exploiting workers in Leicester,” Boohoo said in a statement. The review found that some workers in its supply chain had not always been properly compensated for their work and that many workers were not fully aware of their rights and their obligations, Boohoo said. It said it recognised that this was a widespread issue in the garment industry and committed to establishing and funding a Garment & Textiles Community Trust governed by independent trustees to address hardship. “This (review) has identified significant and clearly unacceptable issues in our supply chain and the steps we had taken to address them,” Boohoo CEO John Lyttle said. “It is clear that we need to go further and faster to improve our governance, oversight and compliance,” he said. The company laid out six steps it was taking to improve governance, including appointing new independent directors to its board, making supply chain compliance a standing item at board meetings and the formation of two committees to oversee risks to the business and its supply chain compliance. Boohoo sells own-brand clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty products targeted at 16- to 40-year-olds. Its shares were up 17% by 0708 GMT on Friday, on track to regain much of the market value they had lost since the July media report. (Reporting by Muvija M in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Jason Neely)

Continue Reading Boohoo review finds ‘many failings’ in Leicester supply chain

Singapore August manufacturing surges 13.7% year-on-year, beats forecasts

FILE PHOTO: Employees are seen by their workstations at a printed circuit board assembly factory in Singapore June 28, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su September 25, 2020 SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s industrial output rose 13.7% year-on-year in August, beating economists’ expectations, buoyed by a 44.2% jump in electronics production, official data showed on Friday. Economists had expected a 4.6% increase, according to the median of their forecasts in a Reuters poll. Industrial production marked its first rise after three straight months of contraction on an annual basis. On a month-on-month and seasonally adjusted basis, industrial production increased 13.9% in August, data from the Singapore Economic Development Board showed. Economists had expected a 2.6% rise. (Reporting by Chen Lin and Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

Continue Reading Singapore August manufacturing surges 13.7% year-on-year, beats forecasts

As foreigners depart, Singapore sees population drop for first time since 2003

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective face masks walk past shops, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore, August 12, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su September 25, 2020 SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s population has shrunk for the first time since 2003 as travel curbs and job losses brought about by the coronavirus pandemic have pushed foreign workers from the global business hub. The overall population dropped by about 18,000 people, or 0.3%, to 5.69 million, according to an annual population report. A sharp drop in foreigners, down 2% to 1.64 million, as well as a marginal fall in permanent residents, outweighed a modest rise in citizens, some of whom returned from overseas as the pandemic spread globally. “These trends were largely due to COVID-19 related challenges, brought about by weak demand and travel restrictions,” the report said, citing job losses in services, a sector heavily reliant on low-paid foreign labour. As the economy faces the deepest recession in its history – an economic decline officially estimated between 5%-7% for the year – the government has been raising barriers for foreign hiring to preserve jobs for locals. But authorities in the low-tax corporate hub, home to the Asian headquarters of many multinational companies, have also warned that a populist turn could hurt business. “We must be careful not to give the wrong impression that we are now closing up and no longer welcoming foreigners,” Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a speech earlier this month, after an election in which opposition parties criticised the government’s immigration policies as too slack. Singapore’s non-resident population has more than doubled over the last 20 years, powering population growth in a city-state with one of the world’s lowest birth rates. This has prompted recurring concerns about competition for jobs and the strains on public infrastructure, which again came to the fore on the July 10 ballot, in which the ruling People’s Action Party ceded a record number of seats to the opposition. “As activities ramp up there may be a manpower shortage again down the road,” said Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at OCBC Bank. (Reporting by John Geddie, Aradhana Aravindan and Chen Lin. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Continue Reading As foreigners depart, Singapore sees population drop for first time since 2003

Developer China Evergrande falls on concern over cash crunch

September 25, 2020 HONG KONG (Reuters) – Shares of China Evergrande Group , the nation’s No.2 property developer, dropped as much as 4.6% on Friday in early trade, on market concerns over its cashflow. The company has pleaded for government support to approve a restructuring plan that has languished for four years, warning it faces a cash crunch that could lead to systemic risks, sources told Reuters on Thursday. Evergrande said late on Thursday a document circulating online about a reorganisation of its subsidiary Hengda Real Estate was a fabrication and defamation, and said it has reported the matter to public security authorities. (Reporting by Clare Jim; Editing by Tom Hogue)

Continue Reading Developer China Evergrande falls on concern over cash crunch

Castroneves takes over McLaren ride for injured Askew

FILE PHOTO: Aug 21, 2020; Indianapolis, IN, USA; IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves stands in the pits during Carb Day before the 104th running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports September 24, 2020 (Reuters) – Three-times Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will fill in for Oliver Askew at Arrow McLaren SP in the IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix doubleheader next month after the young American was ruled unfit to race, the team said on Thursday. Askew was involved in an ugly crash during last month’s Indy 500 when his car slammed into the wall at the entry to the pit lane, destroying his car. The IndyCar rookie was cleared to race at events in St. Louis and Mid-Ohio but later reported balance and coordination issues. After being examined by the Indycar medical team Askew was ruled unfit to race at Harvest GP in Indianapolis on Oct. 2-3. “This was an incredibly tough call but I have to follow the advice of the IndyCar medical team and my doctors,” Askew said in a statement. “My priority right now is focusing on my health.” Askew has had three top-10 finishes in his rookie campaign, including a third place in Iowa. Castroneves is one of the most successful IndyCar drivers of all-time with 30 career wins all with Penske racing but the 45-year-old Brazilian has not raced full-time in the series since 2017. (Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, Editing by Ed Osmond)

Continue Reading Castroneves takes over McLaren ride for injured Askew

Kobe Bryant autograph on last game court piece hits auction block

September 24, 2020 By Alicia Powell (Reuters) – Basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s autograph, on a hardwood section of the court where he played his last game, is on the auction block online and expected to fetch at least $500,000 next week. The four-panel floor piece, measuring 4 feet by 8 feet (1.2 by 2.4 meters), is emblazoned with a huge “8,” one of two numbers Bryant wore during a sensational 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. It graced one end of the National Basketball Association court for the game on April 13, 2016, balancing a section with his other jersey number “24” at the other end. “This is really among the most unique and inspiring pieces we’ve ever had,” said Dan Imler, vice president of direct sales and consignments for Heritage Auctions. “Most fans will remember that as one of, if not the, greatest farewell performance in the history of sports.” Bryant scored 60 points in the Lakers’ 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz. “After the final piece of confetti had fallen, one of Kobe’s absolute last acts before he walked off the professional court was to add a large signature to the center of the number 8,” said Imler. “It’s one of the biggest Kobe autographs we’ve ever seen. It’s about a foot and a half long.” Bryant died at age 41, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, in a January helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. “Certainly the market has escalated and, you know, as you can imagine, you know, all things Kobe were really kind of crystallized after his, his tragic passing and kind of took on a new depth and a new meaning, a new level of appreciation,” Imler said. Buyers must place a bid before Oct. 3 to be eligible to raise the stakes on that day. The seller will donate 10% of the proceeds to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, a non-profit that helps underserved communities through youth sports. The name refers to nicknames for Kobe and Gianna Bryant. The sale, titled Michael Jordan & Basketball Icons, includes 375 items such as jerseys and game-worn sneakers by Jordan. “We have a great pair of Jordan game used Air Jordan 1’s. You know, the iconic red, white and black version,” said Imler. “Those are at the top of a lot of collectors’ wish list.” (Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Richard Chang; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Continue Reading Kobe Bryant autograph on last game court piece hits auction block

Factbox: EU proposes first bloc-wide ‘passport’ for crypto-assets

FILE PHOTO: Representations of the Ripple, Bitcoin, Etherum and Litecoin virtual currencies are seen on a PC motherboard in this illustration picture, February 13, 2018. Picture is taken February 13, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration September 24, 2020 LONDON (Reuters) – The European Commission on Thursday set out plans to create what its officials described as the world’s most comprehensive set of rules for crypto-assets and their underlying blockchain technology. EU policymakers have said that Facebook should not be allowed to launch its Libra stablecoin in the bloc until proper rules are in place. PASSPORTS The European Commission will propose new EU rules for crypto-asset issuers and service providers to apply for a “passport” or EU-wide single market access and safeguards for investors. Safeguards include capital requirements, custody of assets, a mandatory complaint holder procedure available to investors, and rights of the investor against the issuer. Issuers of significant asset-backed crypto-assets like global stablecoins would be subject to more stringent requirements in terms of capital, investor rights and supervision. The aim is to replace national rules introduced in some EU states and offer a “regulatory stamp” or legitimacy to crypto-asset and blockchain firms to help attract financial innovation and steal a march over other parts of the world. The EU will also consider updating capital rules for crypto-assets held by financial firms. It will also explore how blockchain could help smaller companies raise funds. EURO SANDBOX The EU will legislate to clarify how existing financial rules apply to crypto-assets. It will also introduce a pilot regime for crypto-assets covered by existing rules. Companies would be temporarily exempt from rules to experiment with new products in a controlled environment. Such a “sandbox” system has been used in Britain for several years. (Reporting by Huw Jones, Editing by William Maclean)

Continue Reading Factbox: EU proposes first bloc-wide ‘passport’ for crypto-assets

Alonso ready to help Renault at race weekends this year

September 24, 2020 LONDON (Reuters) – Twice world champion Fernando Alonso said on Thursday he hoped to attend some races this year to help Renault with “anything they may need” before his Formula One comeback in 2021. The 39-year-old Spaniard, who last raced in F1 with McLaren in 2018, is returning for a third stint with the French manufacturer team. “It’s going to be a couple of simulator days here at the factory, preparing next year and also helping somehow the weekends this year,” he said of his plans in a video interview issued by Renault. “I guess I will come to a couple of races, just to follow the team on the track side and to understand the philosophy working on the weekend. “(The season-ender in) Abu Dhabi will be probably a must, and hopefully I can come to Imola which is close to my home in Switzerland,” he added. “I will be available for the team for anything they need.” Alonso visited the team’s factory at Enstone in central England for a seat fitting and also travelled to Viry-Chatillon in France to meet Renault technicians. The Spaniard won his titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006 and also raced for them in 2008 and 2009 after a difficult season at McLaren. “A lot of things have changed; the simulator is new, the wind tunnel is updated, a few things are the same: some of the offices, the gym that I used to visit a lot,” he said of Enstone. “It’s like a first day at school with a lot of hopes, a lot of new things to learn but very productive.” “I think the team is in good shape for the future. The last three races were encouraging for everyone, for myself as well,” he added. Renault are fifth in the constructors’ championship. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)

Continue Reading Alonso ready to help Renault at race weekends this year

UAE reopens all seven regions to foreign visitors

FILE PHOTO: A man walks at the beach in front of Atlantis The Palm hotel, as the Emirates reopen to tourism amid coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Dubai, United Arab Emirates July 7, 2020. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah September 24, 2020 DUBAI (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates will resume issuing visas to foreign visitors to all seven of its regions as of Thursday after a six-month suspension imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, state media reported. Dubai, the region’s tourism and business hub and one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, had already lifted its own visa ban in July. The Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship said in a statement carried in state media that the decision was taken as part of the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the Gulf state as well as efforts to support economic recovery plans. All six Gulf Arab countries have lifted internal curfews and lockdowns, but restrictions on gatherings and foreign travel remain in the oil-producing region, where the total number of COVID cases stands at over 800,000, with more than 6,800 deaths. Neighbouring Oman said on Thursday it would resume scheduled international flights on Oct. 1 with strict measures to protect the country and aviation staff from the virus. (Reporting by Dubai bureau; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Continue Reading UAE reopens all seven regions to foreign visitors

DeChambeau’s ‘mad scientist’ muscle validated in U.S. Open win

September 21, 2020 By Amy Tennery MAMARONECK, N.Y. (Reuters) – Bryson DeChambeau’s unorthodox style got major validation on Sunday, as the power-driving “mad scientist” of the PGA Tour claimed the U.S. Open by a definitive six-stroke margin and silenced his sceptics. Since he unveiled his single-length set of clubs at the start of his pro career, the former physics major has embarked on a one-man mission to revolutionise golf, facing plenty of doubts in a sport where tradition is valued above all else. His most recent experiment was perhaps his most ambitious yet: a physical transformation that saw the 27-year-old pack on roughly 30 pounds (14 kg) of muscle with a high calorie diet and hours spent at the gym during the PGA Tour hiatus this year, in order to add jaw-dropping velocity to his drive. “I all of a sudden got a lot stronger, worked out every day, been working out every day, and all of a sudden — not because of clubs, but because of me, I was able to gain 20, 25 yards,” said DeChambeau after winning his maiden major title over fellow American Matthew Wolff. Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, who finished tied for 8th at Winged Foot Golf Club, told reporters he was initially sceptical that DeChambeau’s hard-charging approach would work in the long term, after playing with him at Colonial in June. “I sort of said, okay, wait until he gets to a proper golf course, he’ll have to rein it back in,” McIlroy said. “This is as proper as they come, and look what’s happened. Yeah, he’s got full belief in what he’s doing, and it’s pretty impressive.” Unlike some of his past experiments – including his now-banned on-course compass and the “side-saddle” putting technique he tried and quickly abandoned in 2017 – DeChambeau told reporters this new approach was here to stay as he aims to add another 10 or more pounds before the Masters in November. “I think I’m definitely changing the way people think about the game. Now, whether you can do it, that’s a whole different situation. There’s a lot of people that are going to be hitting it far,” said DeChambeau, who plans to try out a 48-inch (1.2 metre) driver next week. That’s another 2.5 inches on a club that’s already slightly above the average. “There’s a lot of young guns that are unbelievable players, and I think the next generation that’s coming up into golf hopefully will see this and go, hey, I can do that too.” (Reporting by Amy Tennery; editing by Richard Pullin)

Continue Reading DeChambeau’s ‘mad scientist’ muscle validated in U.S. Open win

Murkowski opposes Senate vote on Supreme Court nominee before election – reports

September 20, 2020 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski on Sunday said she opposes a vote on any U.S. Supreme Court nominee ahead of the November election, becoming the second Republican in the chamber to publicly oppose acting on President Donald Trump’s choice, according to several U.S. media outlets. “I did not support taking up a nomination eight months before the 2016 election to fill the vacancy created by the passing of Justice Scalia,” Murkowski said in a statement, reported by Axios and other outlets. “We are now even closer to the 2020 election – less than two months out – and I believe the same standard must apply.” Fellow Republican Susan Collins on Saturday also said she would not support moving to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the Nov. 3 presidential contest. (Additional reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Jan Wolfe; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Continue Reading Murkowski opposes Senate vote on Supreme Court nominee before election – reports

Chiefs coach Reid tweaks face shield for Week two

FILE PHOTO: Aug 29, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid on the sidelines during the second half against the Houston Texans in game five of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports September 20, 2020 Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid had trouble with his face shield in the season opener, but he’s giving it another shot in Week 2 when his team takes on the Chargers in Los Angeles on Sunday. Reid’s face shield fogged up repeatedly during that first game — a 34-20 win over the Houston Texans on Sept. 10 — and that’s something he said he hopes to avoid this week by applying a product hockey players use to maintain visibility in their masks. “That was brutal,” Reid said after the game. “I didn’t do very good with that thing. It will be better the next time. I appreciate you asking that, though. It was a bit of a mess, but we’ll get it fixed.” He credited Chiefs equipment manager Allen Wright with finding and implementing a solution. Reid is opting to wear the face shield rather than a mask or gaiter in response to the coronavirus pandemic. (Field Level Media)

Continue Reading Chiefs coach Reid tweaks face shield for Week two

Biden to weigh in on fight over Trump’s next Supreme Court nomination

September 20, 2020 By Susan Heavey and Andrew Chung WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will speak in Philadelphia on Sunday about his rival President Donald Trump’s plan to name a third justice to the Supreme Court, a move that would cement a 6-3 conservative majority. Trump on Saturday said he will make his nomination this week and named Amy Coney Barrett of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit and Barbara Lagoa of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit as possible candidates to fill the vacancy created by Friday’s death of liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The passing of Ginsburg upended the November election contests, energizing both Trump’s conservative base — eager to see the court overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide — and presenting new complications in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate. “I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where supporters chanted “fill that seat.” “I think it should be a woman because I actually like women much more than men.” Biden, who stayed out the public eye on Saturday, will speak at about 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT), his campaign said. Trump needs Senate approval for any pick, but his fellow Republicans hold a 53-47 majority and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made confirming judges a top priority. Democrats are still seething over the Republican-controlled Senate’s refusal in 2016 to act on Democratic President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, who died 10 months before that election. At the time, McConnell said the Senate should not act on a nominee during an election year, but he and other top Republican senators have since reversed that stance. They have time: While elections are on Nov. 3, a new Congress won’t be sworn in until Jan. 3, with the winner of the presidential contest sworn in on Jan. 20. Embattled Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine on Saturday said the Senate should hold off on voting on a nominee, saying she believed the winner of the presidential election should have the chance to nominate Ginsburg’s successor. That made her the most notable member of her party to break with McConnell. Senator Lisa Murkowski in an interview with media in her home state of Alaska hours before Ginsburg’s death was reported also said she believed it was too late in an election cycle to confirm a new justice; since Ginsburg’s death she has not spoken publicly. Trump has already appointed two justices: Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. Kavanaugh was narrowly confirmed after a heated confirmation process in which he angrily denied accusations by a California university professor, Christine Blasey Ford, that he had sexually assaulted her in 1982 when the two were high school students in Maryland. ‘NOTHING IS OFF THE TABLE’ Republicans risk the possibility of liberals embracing more radical proposals should Trump replace Ginsburg but Democrats win November’s election, with some activists on the left suggesting even before Ginsburg’s death that the number of justices on the court should be expanded to counter Trump’s appointees. “Let me be clear: if Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans move forward with this, then nothing is off the table for next year,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told fellow Democrats on a Saturday conference call, according to a source who listened to the call. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Saturday said that rushing a court pick through the Senate if Democrats win in November would be “undemocratic.” (Reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington and Andrew Chung in New York; Writing by Scott Malone; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Continue Reading Biden to weigh in on fight over Trump’s next Supreme Court nomination

Italy sees GDP down 9% this year, rising more than 5% in 2021 – sources

September 20, 2020 By Giuseppe Fonte and Gavin Jones ROME (Reuters) – Italy expects its coronavirus-hit economy to grow by more than 5% next year after shrinking 9% in 2020, two government sources told Reuters on Sunday. In April, the government of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and the centre-left PD party forecast a fall in gross domestic product of 8% this year and a 2021 rebound of 4.7%. The new forecasts, along with public finance projections, will be published next week, providing the framework for the 2021 budget which must be presented to the European Commission in mid-October. The euro zone’s third-largest economy has not seen annual growth of 5% for more than 40 years. The new forecasts, which still need to be finalised, are based on an unchanged policy scenario. This means they do not incorporate planned expansionary measures to be financed by the European Union’s Recovery Fund, the sources said. The government estimates it will get some 209 billion euros ($247 billion) in cheap loans and grants by 2023 from the fund, designed to help the EU nations hardest hit by COVID-19. Rome aims to present its so-called National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which will front-load the spending of up to 10% of this total, to the European Commission early next year, Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said last week. Among a raft of projects under discussion, the government wants to create a national ultra-fast broadband network, upgrade its rail lines and spend more than 30 billion euros in six years to strengthen its healthcare system. In a paper published this week, the government said Europe-funded reforms could help Italy double its growth rate, narrow its north-south divide and even increase its birth rate – one of the lowest in the world. (Editing by Jan Harvey)

Continue Reading Italy sees GDP down 9% this year, rising more than 5% in 2021 – sources

Macron challenger presses France to save tyre plant

September 20, 2020 PARIS (Reuters) – France should invest in a Bridgestone tyre plant threatened with closure, the head of its regional government who plans to run against President Emmanuel Macron in 2022 said on Sunday, ahead of a ministerial visit to the site. The call by Xavier Bertrand, a former minister who now leads the Hauts-de-France region, adds pressure on the government to prevent an outright closure of the facility, as the coronavirus pandemic batters confidence. The Japanese tyre maker’s announcement on Wednesday that it planned to close the Bethune plant, which employs 863 workers in Bertrand’s northern region, drew swift government condemnation. Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne is expected to visit the factory on Monday. Bertrand, a conservative who served as health minister between 2005 and 2007 in the government of Nicolas Sarkozy, told Europe 1 radio “everything must be done” to avoid a closure – invoking a 2013 precedent in which Italy invested in a Bridgestone plant to avert closure and save 60% of its jobs. Bertrand also stepped up his criticism of Macron in a separate interview with Le Parisien, declaring himself “more determined than ever” to challenge France’s centrist incumbent in the next presidential election. (Reporting by Tangi Salaun and Laurence Frost; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Continue Reading Macron challenger presses France to save tyre plant

Italians vote in regional elections, referendum in test for coalition

September 20, 2020 By Gavin Jones ROME (Reuters) – Italians began voting on Sunday in a raft of local ballots and a referendum, with the ruling coalition under pressure in its first electoral test since the coronavirus crisis. Voters have largely approved of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s handling of the pandemic, but recent opinion polls suggest this will not help his coalition allies in the vote for the heads of seven regions and mayors in almost 1,000 towns. The rightist opposition, led by Matteo Salvini’s League, is expected to win at least four of the regions up for grabs, and could capture the traditional leftwing stronghold of Tuscany. A drubbing for the ruling parties would galvanise the League and its allies, but most analysts say it would be unlikely to trigger a government collapse in the midst of the coronavirus crisis and as the country prepares a crucial 2021 budget. Voting takes place over two days and exit polls will be published at 1300 GMT on Monday when ballot boxes close. The co-ruling anti-establishment 5-Star Movement and centre-left Democratic Party are fielding separate candidates almost everywhere, hurting their chances against a united centre-right. 5-Star, which does not run any of Italy’s 20 regions, is pinning its hopes on the only nationwide ballot — a referendum it champions to cut the number of lawmakers to 600 from 945. Early voting went smoothly despite concerns over possible delays due to coronavirus social distancing rules. “The polling station president and the staff were very clear about the rules. It took 15 seconds longer to vote perhaps, but everything was fine,” said 69-year-old university professor Carlo Di Giovine after voting in the referendum in Rome. The centre-left is expected to lose control of Marche in the centre and Puglia in the south, while holding on to the southern region of Campania. Tuscany looks like a neck-and-neck race. The right should easily keep power in the two northern regions where it currently governs — Liguria and Veneto. The seventh region at stake is the tiny, French-speaking Valle D’Aosta which has its own party system. (Additional reporting by Carmelo Camilli and Roberto Mignucci; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Continue Reading Italians vote in regional elections, referendum in test for coalition

UK health minister: Second national lockdown possible

September 20, 2020 LONDON (Reuters) – British Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Sunday a second national lockdown was one possible step to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but it was not what he wanted to happened. “If everybody follows the rules then we can avoid further national lockdowns, but we, of course, have to be prepared to take action if that’s what’s necessary,” Hancock told the BBC. “I don’t rule it out, I don’t want to see it.” (Reporting by William James; Editing by David Clarke)

Continue Reading UK health minister: Second national lockdown possible

MLB roundup: Yankees rout Red Sox for 10th straight win

September 20, 2020 J.A. Happ struck out nine batters over eight innings as the visiting New York Yankees recorded their season-high 10th straight win on Saturday with an 8-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Clint Frazier homered among his three hits and drove in three runs for the Yankees, who have won 10 in a row for the first time since June 8-18, 2012. New York has won 12 straight over Boston dating back to last season. Happ (2-2) recorded his first outing of at least eight scoreless innings without a walk since June 27, 2009. The 37-year-old left-hander scattered four hits in 113 pitches to improve to 13-4 in his career against the Red Sox. Luke Voit and Kyle Higashioka each had an RBI single and Gio Urshela had a pair of sacrifice flies for the Yankees. DJ LeMahieu extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a single off Chris Mazza (1-2) to lead off the first inning. He advanced to third on a pair of walks before scoring on Urshela’s first sacrifice fly. Athletics 6, Giants 0 Jesus Luzardo combined with three relievers on a six-hitter and Jake Lamb broke open a tight game with a two-run home run as host Oakland once again beat Bay Area-rival San Francisco. The win lowered the magic number for the first-place A’s to one for clinching the American League West. With second-place Houston’s win over Arizona later Saturday, the magic number stayed at one. Luzardo (3-2) took a no-hitter into the fourth and then caught a break when the Giants pieced together three singles in the inning. The third of the three was an infield single by Mauricio Dubon, but A’s first baseman Matt Olson, after taking a late throw from shortstop Marcus Semien, was able to pick Donovan Solano off third base to end the threat after he’d rounded the bag too far. White Sox 5, Reds 0 Tim Anderson hit two of Chicago’s five solo homers and Dallas Keuchel grinded through four innings in his return from the injured list as Chicago cooled off host Cincinnati, which had its six-game winning streak snapped. Anderson, Yasmani Grandal and Jose Abreu hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in the eighth to break open a two-run game. Keuchel, who dealt with back spasms and most recently started on Sept. 6, was far from dominant, but was good enough to make it through 75 pitches while allowing four hits, walking three and striking out seven against the Reds, who are back in playoff contention. Twins 8, Cubs 1 Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano and Josh Donaldson homered, and Minnesota gained an easy win over host Chicago to clinch a playoff berth for the second straight year and the third time in the past four seasons. Jorge Polanco added two hits and a run for Minnesota, which won for only the second time in its past six games. The Twins evened the series against the Cubs, with the finale set for Sunday. David Bote doubled and drove in Chicago’s lone run. The loss snapped a five-game win streak for the Cubs. Astros 3, Diamondbacks 2 Jose Altuve recorded his first multi-RBI game in almost a month, and Michael Brantley delivered a crucial defensive play in the seventh inning as host Houston defeated Arizona to square their three-game interleague series at one game apiece. Altuve produced a run-scoring fielder’s choice grounder in the third inning and an RBI double in the sixth that pulled the Astros even at 2-2. Altuve drove home George Springer with his two-base hit and scored the go-ahead run when Kyle Tucker chased Arizona starter Luke Weaver (1-8) with an opposite-field RBI single three batters later. With the Astros clinging to that one-run lead in the top of the seventh, Brantley completed an inning-ending double play by corralling a line drive off the bat of Jon Jay and firing to Altuve at second base to double off the Diamondbacks’ Pavin Smith. A replay review upheld the call. Marlins 7, Nationals 3 Miguel Rojas finished a triple short of a cycle and Garrett Cooper homered and drove in three runs to lead host Miami past Washington. The Marlins, who are chasing their first postseason berth since 2003, remained in second place in the National League East with nine games remaining. Miami will close out its home schedule on Sunday with a doubleheader that also concludes the five-game series against the Nationals. Rojas went 3-for-5 with his fourth career leadoff home run off Nationals starter Patrick Corbin (2-6, 4.76 ERA). Cooper’s two-run homer in the third made it 3-0. Corbin allowed all seven Marlins runs on 14 hits over six innings, with no walks and seven strikeouts. Winner Pablo Lopez (5-4, 3.96 ERA) struck out seven and walked three while allowing three hits over 5 1/3 innings. Dodgers 6, Rockies 1 Chris Taylor homered and hit a triple, AJ Pollock also went deep, and Los Angeles beat Colorado in Denver. Clayton Kershaw pitched seven strong innings and Justin Turner also had two hits for the Dodgers. Kershaw (6-2) allowed one run on four hits and struck out six without walking a batter to help the Dodgers win their fifth straight and sixth in their last seven. Kevin Pillar had two hits for the Rockies, who have dropped four in a row. Rockies starter Chi Chi Gonzalez (0-2) retired the last six batters he faced before leaving after five innings. He allowed three runs on four hits and struck out two with one walk. Phillies 3, Blue Jays 1 Andrew Knapp and Adam Haseley each produced two hits and an RBI to lift host Philadelphia to a victory over Toronto. Andrew McCutchen added an RBI single and two walks for the Phillies, who won their third in a row in this four-game series. Phillies starter Vince Velasquez threw 104 pitches over six innings. Velasquez (1-1) allowed two hits and one run while striking out six and walking three. The Blue Jays have lost six straight games after managing just two hits. Blue Jays starter Hyun Jin Ryu gave up six hits and two runs in six innings. Ryu (4-2) struck out eight and walked only one. Mets 7, Braves 2 Rookie David Peterson struck out a career-high 10 while Robinson Cano homered and finished with three RBIs as host New York beat Atlanta. Peterson (5-2) got the better of fellow rookie Ian Anderson by allowing one run on three hits and four walks. He carried a shutout into the sixth. Peterson is the first Mets starter other than Jacob deGrom to strike out at least 10 since Noah Syndergaard whiffed 11 against the Chicago White Sox on July 30, 2019. Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman went 0-for-5 as his 12-game hitting streak and 33-game on-base streak each came to an end. Anderson (3-1) took his first big league loss after allowing three runs on four hits and four walks while striking out eight over 4 2/3 innings. Rays 3, Orioles 1 Yoshi Tsutsugo homered early, and Randy Arozarena added a tiebreaking two-run shot later as visiting Tampa Bay defeated Baltimore. The Rays have won the first four games of this five-game weekend series and will try to finish the sweep Sunday afternoon. Charlie Morton (2-2) pitched five solid innings to get the win. He squirmed out of trouble a few times, allowing one run on five hits. He struck out six and walked two. The Rays’ bullpen came through once more, throwing four shutout innings. Jorge Lopez (2-1) took the loss for the Orioles, giving up all three runs over six innings. He surrendered eight hits and one walk while striking out five. Tigers 5, Indians 2 Detroit scored four eighth-inning runs following the retirement of their manager prior to the game and downed visiting Cleveland. Ron Gardenhire cited health reasons for his sudden departure. He was replaced by Lloyd McClendon, who will manage the club for the remainder of the season. Eric Haase and Daz Cameron each had two hits, a run scored and an RBI. Victor Reyes and Harold Castro each reached base three times and drove in a run for Detroit. Jose Ramirez drove in both runs for the Indians. Cardinals 5, Pirates 4 Tommy Edman’s RBI single capped a five-run seventh inning for visiting St. Louis, who obliterated what had been a no-hitter in a win over Pittsburgh. Mitch Keller pitched six no-hit innings for Pittsburgh, which built a 4-0 lead, but Sam Howard (2-3) gave up two runs and three hits in the seventh. Ke’Bryan Hayes and Jose Osuna each hit a solo homer, and Colin Moran had an RBI single for the Pirates, who have lost 11 of their past 12 games. Tyler O’Neill added a two-run double and Kolten Wong an RBI single for St. Louis. Cardinals starter Kwang Hyun Kim pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up four runs and six hits, with four strikeouts and one walk. Brewers 5, Royals 0 Corbin Burnes struck out nine in six scoreless innings in his latest stellar performance to help Milwaukee blank visiting Kansas City. The right-handed Burnes (4-0) gave up just four hits without issuing a walk before leaving after 100 pitches for Milwaukee, which won its third straight game and fifth in its past seven. Ryan Braun broke the game open with a three-run homer during a four-run eighth inning against the Royals, who have lost the first two contests of the three-game series after entering with seven wins in their previous eight games. Mariners 4, Padres 1 Justus Sheffield pitched six strong innings and Luis Torrens hit a tiebreaking, two-run double against his former team as Seattle defeated San Diego. The Mariners were considered the home team as the series was moved from Seattle because of hazardous air conditions in the Pacific Northwest due to wildfires. The loss prevented the Padres from clinching a National League playoff berth. Angels 4, Rangers 3 Los Angeles rallied against one of the best pitchers in the majors to defeat Texas in the second game of their four-game series in Anaheim, Calif. Mike Trout singled home David Fletcher in the bottom of the eighth to give the Angels a one-run lead and complete the comeback after falling behind 3-0 to the Rangers’ Lance Lynn. Lynn threw at least 100 pitches for the 36th consecutive game, and allowed three runs and seven hits, struck out five and didn’t walk a batter in seven innings. Los Angeles starter Andrew Heaney went 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and six hits, striking out eight and walking one. Mike Mayers (2-0) retired the final six batters to earn the win. Shohei Ohtani homered, singled and scored two runs for the Angels. –Field Level Media

Continue Reading MLB roundup: Yankees rout Red Sox for 10th straight win

EU seeks new powers to penalize tech giants: FT

September 20, 2020 (Reuters) – The European Union wants to arm itself with new powers to penalize big technology companies, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. The proposed plan includes forcing tech giants to break up or sell some of their European operations if their market dominance is deemed to threaten the interests of customers and smaller rivals, the newspaper said. EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, in an interview with the FT, said the proposed remedies, which would only be used in extreme circumstances, also include the ability to exclude large tech groups from the single market altogether. (Reporting by Rama Venkat in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)

Continue Reading EU seeks new powers to penalize tech giants: FT

ByteDance says not aware of $5 billion education fund in TikTok deal

September 20, 2020 NINGBO, China (Reuters) – TikTok owner Bytedance said in a social media post on Sunday that it was the first time it had heard in the news it was setting up a $5 billion education fund in the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump said he had approved a deal, which included a $5 billion education fund, to allow TikTok to continue to operate in the United States. “The company has been committed to investing in the education field, and plans to work with partners and global shareholders to launch online classroom projects based on AI and video technology for students around the world,” ByteDance said on its official account on Toutiao. (Reporting by Shivani Singh in Ningbo and Sophie Yu in Beijing; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

Continue Reading ByteDance says not aware of $5 billion education fund in TikTok deal

Police clash with protesters at anti-lockdown demonstration in London

People gather in Trafalgar Square to protest against the lockdown imposed by the government, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in London, Britain, September 19, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls September 19, 2020 By Henry Nicholls LONDON (Reuters) – More than a thousand people gathered in central London on Saturday to protest against lockdown measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, before the event was broken up by police. The protest, which led to 32 arrests, came as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering whether to reimpose some lockdown restrictions across England. Demonstrators carried banners saying “Covid is a hoax” and “My body, my choice: No to mandatory masks”, as well as chanting at police: “Choose your side”. Police said protesters were ordered to leave Trafalgar Square on the grounds that the demonstration was putting those taking part and other members of the public at risk. “This, coupled with pockets of hostility and outbreaks of violence towards officers, means we will now be taking enforcement action to disperse those who remain in the area,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement. Under laws introduced to slow the spread of infection, people in England are not allowed to gather in groups of more than six. There are exemptions for political protests, but only if organisers follow guidelines to reduce the risk of the disease spreading. Organisers of previous anti-lockdown protests have been fined up to 10,000 pounds ($12,914). Some of the protesters at Saturday’s event voiced opposition to compulsory vaccines, as well as more general mistrust of the government, the media and the World Health Organization. Britain has suffered Europe’s highest death toll from coronavirus, with more than 41,000 deaths on the government’s preferred measure. National testing for the disease have not kept up with demand since schools reopened this month. Rising case numbers in parts of Scotland, Wales and northern England have already led to local restrictions on people inviting friends to their homes, and reduced pub and restaurant opening hours. (Reporting by Henry Nicholls; Writing by David Milliken; Editing by Ros Russell and Mike Harrison)

Continue Reading Police clash with protesters at anti-lockdown demonstration in London

Kegs tapped in Munich pubs for mini-Oktoberfest in shadow of COVID-19

September 19, 2020 MUNICH (Reuters) – Innkeepers in Munich tapped their barrels on Saturday for revellers determined to make the most of a scaled-down Oktoberfest after the world’s biggest beer festival was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The specially brewed beer started flowing at midday at 54 pubs with locals in traditional lederhosen and dirndls sitting at spread out tables and, where possible, outside. “It is a great alternative because at last we can celebrate the Oktoberfest a bit. It’s not the same as usual, but still,” said Christine Bachmeier, smiling at a table laden with litre glasses of beer at the famous Hofbraeuhaus. However, it is a far cry from the six million visitors from all over the world who usually flock to the Bavarian capital to squeeze into tents with long wooden tables and benches to swig beer and sing and sway to catchy oompah band tunes. Each year, the partygoers consume more than 7 million litres of beer, more than 100 oxen and half a million chickens. The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 in honour of Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage and now it typically brings Munich some 1.2 billion euros in annual revenues, though not this year. Still, in the pubs and sun-drenched gardens hosting the mini-Oktoberfest, guests put on a brave face. “It’s the best we can do in corona times,” said visitor Harald Posler. A spike in infections in Munich has increased worries about the coronavirus. Although Germany has kept the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths lower than many of its European neighbours, the number of infections rose on Saturday by 2,297, the highest daily increase since the end of April, the Robert Koch Institute said. That brings Germany’s total tally of cases to 270,070, with 9,384 deaths, including six new fatalities reported on Saturday. (Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Gareth Jones)

Continue Reading Kegs tapped in Munich pubs for mini-Oktoberfest in shadow of COVID-19

Biggest Thai protest in years targets government and monarchy

A pro-democracy protester with a painted face holds a placard as he attends a mass rally to call for the ouster of prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha's government and reforms in the monarchy, in Bangkok, Thailand, September 19, 2020. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun September 19, 2020 By Matthew Tostevin and Patpicha Tanakasempipat BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thousands of protesters in Thailand’s capital demonstrated against the government of former coup leader and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Saturday, with many also demanding reforms to the powerful monarchy. “Down with feudalism, long live the people,” was one of the chants. Protests have been building since mid-July to call for the removal of the government, a new constitution and elections. They have also broken a long-standing taboo by criticising the monarchy of King Maha Vajiralongkorn. Police said at least 5,000 people had gathered at the campus of Thammasat University, long seen as a hotbed of opposition to the military and royalist establishment, and scene of a massacre of protesters in 1976. Under light rain, protesters spilled onto Sanam Luang, a public space opposite the Grand Palace where state ceremonies are traditionally held. “Today the people will demand back their power,” Arnon Nampa, a human rights lawyer who has emerged as a leading figure in the protest movement, said on Twitter. Sept. 19 is the anniversary of the coup against the populist then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006. Among the protesters were many of his red shirt followers, veterans of clashes a decade ago with pro-establishment yellow shirts. “I’m here to fight for the future of my children and grandchildren. I hope that by the time I die, they will become free,” said 68-year-old Tasawan Suebthai, a redshirt with amulets round her neck to ward off bullets. So far the protests have been peaceful. The biggest to date drew more than 10,000 people last month, but organisers expect more this time. ESTABLISHMENT UNDER FIRE Thai politics has for years been marked by challenges to the royalist and military establishment by politicians backed by poor urban and rural voters, and more recently by the student protesters. The military, which proclaims itself the defender of the country’s core institutions, in particular the monarchy, has stepped in to overthrow civilian governments numerous times, most recently in 2014, citing the need to maintain stability. Prayuth has said the government would allow protests as a form of free speech but that demands for reform of the monarchy were not acceptable. “We are fighting to put the monarchy in the right place, not to abolish it,” one protest leader, Panupong “Mike” Jadnok, told the crowd. A 20-year-old student, who gave her name only as Waan for fear of reprisals, said it was time to reform the monarchy. “It’s a problem that’s been swept under the rug for so long. This must end right here.” Protesters demand the scrapping of a lese majeste law against criticism of the monarchy. They also seek to reduce the king’s constitutional powers and his control over the palace fortune and units of the army. On Thursday, Prayuth warned the protesters against raising the risks of spreading the novel coronavirus and urged them to put the health crisis before politics. Protesters jeered when a police officer told a group of them that they could only stay for an hour because of the risk of transmitting the virus. Police said they were deploying 10,000 officers on Saturday. (Reporting by Matthew Tostevin and Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Additional reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Michael Perry and William Mallard)

Continue Reading Biggest Thai protest in years targets government and monarchy

Germany plans reform to avoid bankruptcy wave due to corona

September 19, 2020 BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany would relax insolvency rules under proposals set out on Saturday to help avert a wave of bankruptcies in Europe’s biggest economy, provided companies hit by the coronavirus crisis have a robust business model. Keen to avoid bankruptcies and mass layoffs, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has launched a range of stimulus and relief measures as Germany braces for its biggest slump since World War Two, having shrunk by an unprecedented 9.7% in the second quarter. “Companies that can show creditors a realistic prospect of restructuring should be able to implement their concept outside insolvency proceedings,” said Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht in a statement. Under the draft reform, which would take effect at the start of 2021, the deadline for firms to file for insolvency would be extended to six from three weeks and authorities will apply more relaxed benchmarks when examining over-indebtedness. The government has already taken steps such as allowing firms in financial trouble due to the pandemic to delay filing for bankruptcy until the end of the year, extending an original deadline of the end of September. Helped by these measures, the number of firms declaring insolvency in Germany fell 6.2% to 9,006 in the first half of this year from the same period last year. Critics say suspending insolvencies delays, but does not prevent, the collapse of “zombie companies” artificially kept afloat. However, defenders of insolvency protection steps say they have helped to spare Germany deeper economic contraction and prevent a spike in unemployment. (Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by David Holmes)

Continue Reading Germany plans reform to avoid bankruptcy wave due to corona

‘Titanic battle’: U.S. Supreme Court seat upends 2020 presidential campaign

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in taking a new family photo with her fellow justices at the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY September 19, 2020 By Simon Lewis WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday has set off a fierce political battle over her replacement and thrust the sudden vacancy into the forefront in the November presidential election. Ginsburg, who died on Friday at age 87 of complications from pancreatic cancer, was a fierce advocate for women’s rights and the court’s leading liberal voice. Her death gives President Donald Trump a chance to expand its conservative majority with a third appointment at a time of deep divisions in America. Political strategists say it could bolster his effort to shift the subject away from his handling of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 Americans, while galvanizing both his conservative base and Democrats who fear a change in the balance of power on the Supreme Court. “This is going to set off a titanic battle. This could seriously effect the election,” said David Gergen, a political adviser who has served four U.S. presidents, both Republican and Democratic. Trump, seeking re-election on Nov. 3, already has appointed two conservatives to lifetime posts on the court, Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Friday he intends to act on any nomination Trump makes, while Democrats immediately called for the seat to be kept vacant until after Jan. 20, when the winner of the Nov. 3 election will be sworn in. Trump has been trailing Democratic opponent Joe Biden in opinion polls for months, as Democrats have sought to make the election a referendum on Trump and in particular his response to the public health crisis. “Any week Donald Trump doesn’t have to talk about coronavirus is a net positive for him,” said Joel Payne, a Democratic strategist who worked for 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. “Historically, Republicans vote on the court. I think some Republicans will see this as the October surprise to gin up excitement in their base,” Payne said. “(But) I think progressives understand the stakes in this election better than they ever have.” ‘A TURNING POINT’ Trump had already sought to capitalize on right-wing enthusiasm for his judicial nominees, by adding 20 names to his list of people he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court on Sept. 9. The Susan B. Anthony List, a leading anti-abortion group, said the opportunity for Republicans to fill the seat was “a turning point for the nation in the fight to protect its most vulnerable, the unborn.” Biden has not released a list of potential Supreme Court picks but has pledged to nominate a Black woman if a seat becomes available while he is president. Katon Dawson, a Republican consultant and a former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, said the development would help Trump with moderate Republicans who may not like him but are aligned with him on policy. “This solidifies those votes for him.” Dawson said. But an attempt to rush the nomination just before the election could backfire on Republicans, especially Senators who face tough re-election battles in November, he added. The threat of losing abortion rights could also exacerbate Trump’s struggles with women voters, said Andrew Feldman, a strategist who works on progressive issues. “When you ask these suburban women to think about the issue of choice, I will take our side of that argument every day,” he said. (Reporting by Simon Lewis, Tim Reid, James Oliphant, Joseph Ax, John Whitesides and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Michael Perry)

Continue Reading ‘Titanic battle’: U.S. Supreme Court seat upends 2020 presidential campaign

Informed by reporters of Ginsburg’s death, Trump says she was ‘an amazing woman’

A painting is seen in a storefront on Broadway of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg who passed away in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES September 19, 2020 BEMIDJI, Minn. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump, informed by reporters after a rally about the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said: “She was an amazing woman.” “She led an amazing life,” Trump said. In brief remarks to reporters before boarding the Air Force One following the Minnesota rally, Trump did not mention any potential plans to nominate a replacement for Ginsburg, who died of pancreatic cancer earlier on Friday. (Reporting by Steve Holland and Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Continue Reading Informed by reporters of Ginsburg’s death, Trump says she was ‘an amazing woman’

Biden says presidential winner should pick Ginsburg replacement

Democratic U.S. presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about the death of U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shortly after Biden arrived from campaign events in Minnesota at New Castle Airport in New Castle, Delaware, U.S., September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst September 19, 2020 By Jarrett Renshaw NEW CASTLE, Del. (Reuters) – Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Friday that “there is no doubt” that the winner of November’s presidential election should pick Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement. “There is no doubt – let me be clear – that the voters should pick the president and the president should pick the justice for the Senate to consider,” Biden told reporters after learning of Ginsburg’s death. Biden’s remarks appear to set the stage for a partisan fight over the judiciary that could dominate the fewer than seven weeks remaining until the Nov. 3 presidential election. Ginsburg, a stalwart liberal on the Supreme Court since 1993, died on Friday at age 87, giving President Donald Trump a narrow window in which to expand the court’s conservative majority with a third appointment during a tough re-election fight. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he intends to act on any nomination Trump makes. Biden’s comments signal he and the party will fight such a move. The Democratic former vice president learned of Ginsburg’s death while flying home from a campaign trip in Minnesota and he delivered brief remarks to reporters at an airport in New Castle, Del., without taking questions. As a senator, Biden presided over Ginsburg’s confirmation hearings for the job in 1993. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg stood for all of us,” Biden said. “She has been absolutely consistent and reliable and a voice for freedom and opportunity for everyone.” Ginsburg’s death could dramatically alter the ideological balance of the court, which already had a 5-4 conservative majority, moving it further to the right. The issue thrust courts into the center of an election that had been dominated by the coronavirus and its public health and economic consequences. Trump on Sept. 9 unveiled a list of potential nominees to fill any future Supreme Court vacancies in a move aimed at bolstering support among conservative voters. (Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw in New Castle, Delaware, and Trevor Hunnicutt in New York; Editing by Aurora Ellis and William Mallard)

Continue Reading Biden says presidential winner should pick Ginsburg replacement

Ginsburg death ignites fierce U.S. Senate battle — and stirs Scalia’s ghost

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to reporters after the Senate Republican luncheon on Capitol Hill, in Washington, U.S., September 15, 2020. REUTERS/Al Drago September 19, 2020 By Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Friday kicked off a monumental battle in Congress as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invited President Donald Trump to promptly nominate a replacement, ignoring pleas by Democrats to await the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election. “President Trump’s nominee will receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate,” McConnell proclaimed on Friday night, without providing a time frame for action by the Senate. That confirmed McConnell’s prior insistence that he would do so in an election year, despite stonewalling President Barack Obama’s efforts to nominate a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, 10 months before that year’s presidential election. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer urged McConnell to await the results of the elections that are less than two months from now. He quoted McConnell’s 2016 words on Twitter, saying “The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” Trump is seeking a second four-year term and has been trailing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in public opinion polls. The long-term direction of the nation’s highest court is at stake. The closely divided court currently had five justices with conservative bents and four liberals. If Trump were to choose a conservative judge to replace the liberal Ginsburg, as expected, the court’s conservatives would have more heft with a 6-3 majority. Democrats are trying to gain control of the White House and the Senate, which has the power to confirm the president’s nominees for the Supreme Court. Since becoming Senate majority leader in 2015 McConnell has focused most of his attention and wielded his power to fill the federal courts with conservative judges nominated by Trump. One senior Senate Republican aide said of McConnell, “No way he lets a (Supreme Court) seat slip away.” The aide added that a major question will be whether McConnell, in tandem with Trump, attempts to fill the vacancy before the Nov. 3 election or sometime before Jan. 20, when the next president will be sworn-in. It can take several weeks to months between the president’s nomination of a Supreme Court justice and a Senate confirmation vote as the nominee must go through a thorough vetting process by the Senate and often makes visits with individual senators to build support for the nomination. Then, lengthy confirmation hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee normally follow culminating with a recommendation on whether the nominee should be confirmed and placed onto the court. The last Supreme Court opening was filled in October, 2018 by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. His confirmation faced strong opposition from Senate Democrats and included bitter hearings amid allegations, which he denied, of sexual misconduct decades earlier. The Senate is currently controlled by 53 Republicans, while Democrats hold 45 seats. Two independents align with Democrats on most votes. Among the 53 Republicans are some moderates, including Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. Collins is in a tough race for re-election this year in her home state of Maine, which has been trending Democratic. Ginsburg’s death could have an impact on Collins’ re-election effort and her posture on whether filling the high-court seat should await the outcome of the 2020 presidential race. (Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Scott Malone and Aurora Ellis)

Continue Reading Ginsburg death ignites fierce U.S. Senate battle — and stirs Scalia’s ghost

Tiger looks ahead after missing the cut at the U.S. Open

September 19, 2020 (Reuters) – Tiger Woods was disappointed but focused on the future after missing the cut at the U.S. Open following a second-round 77 on Friday. After carding a respectable three-over on Thursday, Woods struggled mightily as Winged Foot got firmer overnight and the wind picked up, mixing five bogeys and two double bogeys with a pair of birdies to finish 10-over for the tournament. Woods hit just five fairways on Friday, not nearly enough to be competitive given the course’s long, nasty rough. “On this golf course it’s imperative that you hit fairways, and I did not do that,” he said. Despite missing the cut at a major for just the 11th time in his career, the reigning Masters and Zozo Championship winner said he will turn his attention to his title defenses once the sting wears off. “It’s frustrating that I’m not going to be here for the weekend and be able to compete for this great championship,” said Woods, who has won 15 majors including three U.S. Opens. “I didn’t get myself that opportunity,” he said, adding he believed that with the course conditions changing, anyone playing on the weekend had a shot at the title. The Zozo Championship will be played at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks starting on Oct. 22 this year instead of Japan due to the COVID-19 pandemic while the Masters will be held in Augusta in mid-November. “There’s still one more major to go, and my title defense at Sherwood,” he said. “We have a couple big, big things ahead of us.” Next up for Woods is a charity match on Tuesday where Woods and Justin Thomas will take on Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose at the Payne’s Valley Golf Course in Ridgedale, Missouri. “After that, I’ll take a little break,” he said. “And then refocus and get back after it.” (Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Continue Reading Tiger looks ahead after missing the cut at the U.S. Open

Libya’s Haftar says he will lift oil blockade, with conditions

FILE PHOTO: Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar meets Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (not pictured) at the Parliament in Athens, Greece, January 17, 2020. REUTERS/Costas Baltas September 18, 2020 TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar announced on Friday he would lift for one month his blockade of oil output and said he had agreed with the rival Tripoli government on “fair distribution” of energy revenue. A resumption of oil exports after the eight-month blockade would relieve mounting financial pressure for both sides in the Libyan conflict and could remove a major obstacle towards a political settlement, but it is not yet clear if the declared agreement has wider support. “We are ready to open oil fields, to secure the future of Libya, for one month,” Haftar said in a statement distributed by his spokesman after a brief televised broadcast in which he announced that it had “been decided” to resume oil production. National Oil Corporation (NOC), which operates Libya’s energy sector, also said overnight it would not lift force majeure on exports until the LNA withdrew fighters from its facilities. Libya and many of its state institutions have been split for years between the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) in the east. However, both of those camps have internal fractures that have widened since June when Haftar’s 14-month offensive to capture Tripoli collapsed and he was forced to retreat to the central coastal city of Sirte. In Tripoli, the GNA’s deputy prime minister, Ahmed Maiteeg, issued a statement immediately after Haftar’s speech also saying it “had been decided” to resume oil production and adding this would involve a new committee to oversee revenue distribution. The committee would coordinate between the two sides to prepare a budget and transfer funds to cover payments and deal with the public debt, he said. In a sign of potential pushback against the deal in western Libya, Maiteeg was later forced to cancel a news conference in the city of Misrata by the families of GNA fighters, an eyewitness there said. Prior to the blockade, Libya was producing around 1.2 million barrels per day, compared with just over 100,000 bpd now. GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj said on Wednesday he planned to step down by the end of October and analysts have said this would lead to political jockeying among other senior figures in Tripoli to succeed him. However, neither Haftar nor Maiteeg addressed the presence of LNA and allied foreign forces in oil production and export facilities, which NOC has said must be withdrawn to ensure the safety of its staff before it will resume output. OIL JITTERS The news contributed to a fall in the price of benchmark Brent crude by 21 cents, or 0.5%, to $43.09 a barrel by 1628 GMT. Any sustained return of Libyan exports may weigh on oil prices further, and push other producers to reevaluate their policy on production cuts. However, NOC has previously said it would take a long time to restore its previous output levels because of damage caused by the long shutdown. Haftar’s LNA is backed in the war by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt, while Turkish support helped the GNA end the assault on Tripoli this year. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he was upset that Sarraj was stepping down and would hold talks on the issue with the GNA later this month. Turkey and Russia have moved forward in their own talks on Libya towards cementing a ceasefire and finding a political solution, Ankara’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday. Talks on a political settlement have also advanced in Switzerland with support from the United Nations, and in Morocco between the two rival parliamentary assemblies in east and west Libya. A spokesman for the U.N.’s Libya mission said it would wait for an announcement by NOC on whether the oil blockade was being lifted. (Reporting by Reuters Libya newsroom; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Toby Chopra, Andrew Cawthorne, Raissa Kasolowsky and Kirsten Donovan)

Continue Reading Libya’s Haftar says he will lift oil blockade, with conditions

Canada drops free trade talks with China: The Globe and Mail

September 18, 2020 (Reuters) – A trade agreement between Canada and China is no longer worth pursuing, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said in an interview to The Globe and Mail, abandoning free trade talks that were initiated four years ago. “I don’t see the conditions being present now for these discussions to continue at this time,” Champagne added. Champagne’s comment shelved the idea of a free trade deal with world’s second-largest economy for which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was under pressure from domestic critics who charged he was too willing to make concessions in return for more trade with China. The Trudeau government has little appetite to get back to the convivial atmosphere it helped create four years ago, the report said adding that Champagne repeatedly criticized China for “assertive, coercive diplomacy.” Champagne also added that their first priority is to bring Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were charged in China in June with espionage, back home. Champagne’s office did not immediately respond to Reuters request for a comment. (Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

Continue Reading Canada drops free trade talks with China: The Globe and Mail

Fed, regulators take step to encourage more Main Street loans

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board building on Constitution Avenue is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis September 18, 2020 (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve on Friday offered updated guidance to banks on its Main Street Lending Program, telling them that U.S. regulators will not criticize lenders who make loans that meet the program’s requirements. The new guidance appears to be an attempt to address crossed signals from bank regulators that have been contributing to a limited uptake of the program, which is designed to offer credit to small and mid-sized businesses that need capital to survive the downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. central bank emphasized the new guidance was developed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, two of the primary U.S. bank regulators. The new guidance states: “Supervisors will not criticize Eligible Lenders for originating Main Street loans in accordance with the Program’s requirements, including cases when such loans are considered non-pass at the time of origination, provided these weaknesses stem from the pandemic and are expected to be temporary or if such loans are part of a bank’s prudent risk mitigation strategy for an existing borrower.” (Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Paul Simao)

Continue Reading Fed, regulators take step to encourage more Main Street loans

Banks in Britain ready for Libor milestone next month: BoE

September 18, 2020 By Huw Jones LONDON (Reuters) – Banks in Britain will be ready in two week’s time to offer companies loans not pegged to the Libor interest rate benchmark, in a major milestone towards phasing it out, British financial regulators said on Friday. Banks were fined billions of dollars for trying to rig Libor – the London Interbank Offered Rate – which is used to price trillions of dollars of financial contracts from mortgages to credit cards globally. Regulators want the financial services companies to switch to alternative benchmarks and ditch Libor by December 2021 in the finance industry’s biggest change in decades. “Sooner or later a benchmark based on such shaky foundations will collapse,” Andrew Hauser, executive director for markets at the Bank of England told an online event held by the central bank. Hauser said very few actual transactions now underpin Libor, making the benchmark effectively based on “informed guesswork.” Edwin Schooling Latter, head of markets policy at the Financial Conduct Authority, said that from the end of September banks will have to offer non-Libor loan alternatives, pegged, for example, to the BoE’s base rate or its overnight Sonia rate. “If you do choose Libor over the next six months, then your contract with your lender must include an arrangement to convert that to a non-Libor rate at the end of 2021 or before,” Schooling Latter said. From the end of March next year, banks will not offer new Libor-pegged loans, he said. “You will need to be able to conduct all your new business without relying on Libor before the end of 2021,” Schooling Latter said. Barclays’ Finance Director Tushar Morzaria, who chairs a financial industry working group looking at the scrapping of Libor, said banks will be ready to offer non-Libor alternatives to all borrowers from the end of the month. “By the end of the first quarter of next year, as a lending matter, Libor should really be pretty much behind us,” Morzaria said. “We are in very good shape there.” Bankers have also said that not all of their customers are likely to have adapted their IT systems for the switch. (Reporting by Huw Jones. Editing by Jane Merriman)

Continue Reading Banks in Britain ready for Libor milestone next month: BoE