Category: OAN

Tennis: Serena coach makes plea for honest and open on-court coaching

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October 18, 2018

By Ossian Shine

(Reuters) – The coach whose attempts to guide Serena Williams mid-match during this year’s U.S. Open final led to her explosive row with the umpire and a code violation en route to defeat, has called for on-court coaching to be permitted.

Patrick Mouratoglou admitted gesturing to Williams from the stands during her match with Japan’s Naomi Osaka — in contravention of U.S. Open and other grand slam tournament rules — but the American was left incensed at the umpire’s strict interpretation of the rule. She said she had not seen Mouratoglou’s signal and that she had “never cheated in her life”.

The incident and the ensuing row resulted in a game penalty and a $17,000 fine for Williams, and divided tennis by triggering a debate about sexism in the sport.

The debate was fueled by Williams’s and others assertions that an umpire would not have dealt with a male player in the same way.

Coaching during matches is permitted in some women’s events, but grand slam tournaments are among those which do not allow it. The U.S. Open permitted players to talk to their coaches during qualifying and junior matches, but any move to allow it during main draw matches would need to be unilateral among the four slams.

This is likely to be problematic with Wimbledon so far entirely against it, although Wimbledon chief Philip Brook told reporters recently it was time for a “grown-up conversation” about the issue.

Mouratoglou clearly thinks it is a good idea and on Thursday said mid-match coaching needed to be authorized in order to “ensure tennis sustains its development”.

The Frenchman said it was time coaching was both recognized and valued, because the fallout following last month’s U.S. Open final made it look as though coaching was shameful.

“Authorizing coaching in competition and actually staging it so that the viewers can enjoy it as a show would ensure it remains pivotal in the sport,” he posted on his Twitter feed.

Mouratoglou said he could not understand why tennis was “just about the only sport” where coaching was not allowed, citing soccer, basketball and boxing as high profile examples, and pointing out that elite cyclists are in radio contact with their advisors during races.

Touching on a theme raised by the Williams episode, Mouratoglou said legitimizing in-competition coaching would end hypocrisy.

“It is a very basic truth that the vast majority of tennis coaches are actually coaching on court, despite the rule,” he said.

“Of course, coaches are usually discreet… occasionally the players are punished for it, but for the most part they are not.”

Representatives of the four grand slam tournaments are expected to meet before the end of the year, at which point the future of mid-match coaching will be a topic of conversation.

(Editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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U.S. weekly jobless claims drop; continuing claims lowest since 1973

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October 18, 2018

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped last week and the number of Americans on jobless rolls fell back to levels last seen in 1973, suggesting a further tightening in labor market conditions.

A strong labor market and robust economy likely keep the Federal Reserve on course to increase interest rates again in December. The U.S. central bank raised rates in September for the third time this year and removed the reference to monetary policy remaining “accommodative.”

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits decreased 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 210,000 for the week ended Oct. 13, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims fell to 202,000 during the week ended Sept. 15, which was the lowest level since November 1969.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims slipping to 212,000 in the latest week. The Labor Department said claims for South and North Carolina continued to be affected by Hurricane Florence, which drenched the region in mid-September. Claims for Florida were impacted by Hurricane Michael.

The four-week moving average of initial claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, rose 2,000 to 211,750 last week.

The claims data covered the survey period for the non farm payrolls component of October’s employment report. While the four-week moving average of claims rose 5,750 between the September and October survey periods, that will probably not change expectations for a rebound in job growth this month after Florence depressed restaurant and retail payrolls in September.

The economy created 134,000 jobs in September, the fewest in a year. The labor market is viewed as being near or at full employment with the unemployment rate close to a 49-year low of 3.7 percent. There are a record 7.14 million open jobs.

Minutes of the Fed’s Sept. 25-26 meeting published on Wednesday showed policymakers “generally agreed that (labor market) conditions continued to strengthen.”

U.S. financial markets were little moved by the data.

Thursday’s claims report also showed the number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid fell 13,000 to 1.64 million for the week ended Oct. 6, the lowest level since August 1973. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims dipped 1,250 to 1.65 million, also the lowest level since August 1973.

A separate survey from the Philadelphia Fed showed its business conditions index for the mid-Atlantic region slipped to a reading of 22.2 in October from 22.9 in September amid a drop in new orders. The survey showed higher employment at factories in the region, with more than 30 percent of responding firms saying they had increased payrolls.

The survey’s employment index rose 2 points to a reading of 19.5 this month and firms also reported increasing hours for workers. The workweek index jumped to a reading of

20.8 from 14.6 in September.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

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Teenager kills 19 in Crimea college shooting: Russian officials

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October 17, 2018

By Polina Nikolskaya and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber

MOSCOW (Reuters) – At least 19 people were killed and dozens injured at a college in the Black Sea region of Crimea on Wednesday when a student went through the building shooting at fellow pupils before killing himself, Russian law enforcement officials said.

Eighteen-year-old Vladislav Roslyakov turned up at the college in the city of Kerch on Wednesday afternoon carrying a firearm and then began shooting, investigators said. His body was later found in the college with what they said were self-inflicted gunshot wounds.

There were no immediate clues as to his motive in mounting such an attack, which recalled similar shooting sprees carried out by students in U.S. schools.

Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 , prompting international condemnation and Western sanctions, but since then there have been no major outbreaks of violence on the peninsula.

Many of the victims from Wednesday’s attacks were teenage students who suffered shrapnel and bullet wounds.

Pupils and staff described scenes of mayhem as panicked pupils tried to flee the building. They said the attack had started with an explosion, followed by more blasts, and a hail of gunfire.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a meeting in the southern Russian resort of Sochi with his Egyptian counterpart, declared a moment’s silence for the victims. “This is a clearly a crime,” he said. “The motives will be carefully investigated.”

“CHILDREN’S BODIES EVERYWHERE”

The director of the school, Olga Grebennikova, described the scene that she encountered when she entered the college building after the attack.

“There are bodies everywhere, children’s bodies everywhere. It was a real act of terrorism. They burst in five or 10 minutes after I’d left. They blew up everything in the hall, glass was flying,” Grebennikova told Crimean media outlets.

“They then ran about throwing some kind of explosives around, and then ran around the second floor with guns, opened the office doors, and killed anyone they could find.”

Soon after the attack, Russian officials said they were investigating the possibility that it was terrorism. Troops with armored personnel carriers were sent to the scene. Local parents were told to collect their children from the city’s schools and kindergartens for their safety.

However, the Investigative Committee, the state body that investigates major crimes, said later that it was re-classifying the case from terrorism to mass murder.

An employee at Kerch’s hospital said dozens of people were being treated for their injuries in the emergency room and in the operating theater.

Anastasia Yenshina, a 15-year-old student at the college, said she was in a toilet on the ground floor of the building with some friends when she heard the sound of an explosion.

Officials said an explosive device had gone off in the school’s cafeteria during the attack and that a second device had been found among Roslyakov’s belongings and defused.

“I came out and there was dust and smoke, I couldn’t understand, I’d been deafened,” Yenshina told Reuters. “Everyone started running. I did not know what to do. Then they told us to leave the building through the gymnasium.”

“Everyone ran there… I saw a girl lying there. There was a child who was being helped to walk because he could not move on his own. The wall was covered in blood. Then everyone started to climb over the fence, and we could still hear explosions. Everyone was scared. People were crying.”

Photographs from the scene of the blast showed that the ground floor windows of the two-story building had been blown out, and that debris was lying on the floor outside.

Emergency services teams could be seen in the photographs carrying wounded people from the building on makeshift stretchers and loading them on to buses and ambulances.

A second pupil at the college, who gave his name as Sergei, said he had taken a few steps out of the building into the street when the first blast went off. He was hit by debris from the blast and injured in the leg.

Sergei, 15, told Reuters he ran to another building, but said he could hear more explosions going off every few seconds. He took cover and after the attack was over, he was taken to hospital in an ambulance.

“I arrived at the hospital, the scene there was awful. They’re bringing in people all covered in blood, some with arms missing, some with legs missing.”

(Reporting by Moscow newsroom; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Turkey searches Saudi consulate again, as French, Dutch ministers cancel Riyadh trip

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October 18, 2018

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey searched the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for a second time overnight as part of a probe into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, while the French and Dutch finance ministers pulled out of a Riyadh investment summit amid global criticism of the kingdom.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he was awaiting a full report on what had happened to Khashoggi from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after the envoy met with Saudi and Turkish leaders, and said he did not want to abandon his Saudi ally.

Turkish officials say they believe Khashoggi – a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and his body removed.

Saudi Arabia has denied involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance. Trump has speculated without providing evidence that “rogue killers” could be responsible.

How Western allies deal with Riyadh will hinge on the extent to which they believe responsibility for the affair lies with Prince Mohammed and the Saudi authorities.

Trump, who has forged closer ties with Saudi Arabia and the 33-year-old crown prince in an effort to counter Iranian influence in the region, has appeared unwilling to distance himself too much from Riyadh. He has cited tens of billions of dollars in potential arms deals.

Other Western nations have expressed concern about Khashoggi’s disappearance, but face a similarly delicate situation in their dealings with the world’s top oil exporter.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Thursday he had canceled his attendance at an investment conference in Riyadh next week, telling Public Senat TV: “The conditions are not right.”

Dutch Finance Minister Wopka Hoekstra has also scrapped plans to attend, news agency ANP reported, while the Dutch government canceled a trade mission to Saudi Arabia next month.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his plans to attend the Riyadh conference would be revisited on Thursday after U.S. officials have a chance to consult Pompeo. Britain’s Secretary of State for Trade Liam Fox’s plans to attend have not been confirmed, a spokesperson said.

AUDIO RECORDING

Turkish crime scene investigators left the Saudi consulate early on Thursday after searching the building and consular vehicles, a Reuters witness said. They used bright lights to illuminate the garden.

Earlier, the investigators spent nearly nine hours in the Saudi consul’s residence, as did Saudi investigators. The Turkish team’s search included the roof and garage and the use of a drone.

Turkish sources have told Reuters the authorities have an audio recording indicating Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. Trump said the United States has asked Turkey for any audio or video evidence.

Turkey’s pro-government Yeni Safak newspaper published on Wednesday what it said were details from audio recordings that purported to document Khashoggi’s torture and interrogation.

The newspaper said Khashoggi’s torturers severed his fingers during the interrogation and later beheaded and dismembered him.

A New York Times report cited a senior Turkish official confirming those details. Two Turkish government officials contacted by Reuters declined to confirm the report.

Turkey has not shared with the U.S. government or European allies graphic audio or video evidence, seven U.S. and European security officials have told Reuters.

The United States and allies have collected some intelligence through their own sources and methods, which partly confirms news reports based on leaks of audio recordings, four of the sources said.

INTELLIGENCE TEAM

Turkish pro-government newspaper Sabah published preliminary evidence last week from investigators who it said had identified a 15-member Saudi intelligence team that arrived in Istanbul on diplomatic passports hours before Khashoggi disappeared.

One name matches a LinkedIn profile for a forensic expert who has worked at the interior ministry for 20 years. Another is identified in a diplomatic directory from 2007 as a first secretary at the Saudi Embassy in London.

Other names and photos of the 15 resemble officers in the Saudi Army and Air Force, as identified by previous Saudi media reports and in one case a Facebook profile.

A New York Times report, citing witnesses and other records, linked four suspects to Prince Mohammed’s security detail.

Prince Mohammed has painted himself as the face of a new, vibrant Saudi Arabia, diversifying its economy away from reliance on oil and making some social changes.

But he has faced criticism including over the arrest of women activists, a diplomatic row with Canada and Riyadh’s involvement in the Yemen war during which airstrikes by the coalition Saudi Arabia leads have killed civilians.

Khashoggi, a royal insider who once advised former Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal, never shied away from criticizing Saudi policies.

The Washington Post published a column it received from his assistant after he was reported missing in which Khashoggi condemns the crackdown on journalists by Arab governments and the failure of the international community to respond.

“As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate,” he wrote.

(Reporting by Umit Ozdal, Yesim Dikmen and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Daren Butler and Stephen Kalin; Editing by David Dolan and Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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Fed’s monetary policy ‘about right,’ no more hikes needed: Bullard

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October 18, 2018

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve’s most recent interest rate increase put monetary policy about where it should be, with no further hikes required in an economy where inflation remains weak, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Thursday, pressing an argument he has made over the past two years.

“The current level of the policy rate is about right,” Bullard said of the U.S. central bank’s current short term policy rate, which is set in a range of between 2.00 percent and 2.25 percent. “Maintaining the current level of the policy rate would be an appropriate policy,” for the foreseeable future.

Policymakers expect to raise rates again in December, and several times next year before the central bank’s benchmark overnight lending rate reaches a “restrictive” level of around 3.40 percent sometime in 2020, according to the most recent set of Fed economic projections.

The minutes from the September policy meeting, released on Wednesday, showed there was broad agreement on the need for a rate hike last month, as well as on continued “gradual” rate increases to manage an economy in which unemployment is near a 50-year low and economic growth has been stronger than expected.

Inflation, however, remains controlled, and Bullard has focused on that and several other aspects of the economy in recent years to argue that the Fed should basically stop in place until something changes.

In prepared remarks for an appearance at the Economic Club of Memphis, Bullard laid out a new version of the argument by introducing an updated version of a standard monetary policy “Taylor Rule” that accounts for both the modern drift down in market interest rates, weak current inflation, and weak expectations among investors about future inflation.

While a standard Taylor Rule would recommend much higher interest rates than the Fed currently envisions – a fact often used to criticize the relevance of policy rules in general – Bullard said that adjusting the rule for changes in the economy shows that current policy is on target.

Bullard is not currently a voting member of the Fed’s rate-setting committee, but he will join that group in 2019.

(Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Paul Simao)

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Starbucks to license out certain EMEA stores to Mexico’s Alsea

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October 18, 2018

(Reuters) – Starbucks Corp <SBUX.O> said on Thursday it would license out its operations in France, Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg to long-standing partner Mexico’s Alsea SAB <ALSEA.MX>.

Restaurant chain operator Alsea will have the rights to operate and develop Starbucks stores in these markets, the company said in a statement.

Starbucks and Alsea first partnered in 2002, when together they opened Mexico City’s first Starbucks store.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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Primark sharpens ethical focus in bid for German customers

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October 18, 2018

By Emma Thomasson

BERLIN (Reuters) – Primark, the fashion chain owned by Associated British Foods <ABF.L>, has emphasized its commitment to environmental standards and safer working conditions as it fights for market share in discount-loving Germany and other countries.

The company’s low prices came under scrutiny in 2013 after 1,129 people died in the collapse of a factory in Bangladesh, where clothes were made for brands including Primark.

That prompted it to ramp up efforts to police its suppliers, building up a team of over 100 people who focus on ethical trade and environmental and sustainability issues.

“Germany is the homeland of Aldi and Lidl so German customers appreciate low prices, good quality,” said Wolfgang Krogmann, head of Primark in Germany, as the chain opened its 28th store in the country in west Berlin.

“They understand that kind of model. That is definitely in our favor.”

German shoppers are also more demanding when it comes to ethical standards, Krogmann said, prompting the company to trial “Primark Cares” posters in its stores in the country, with information about its factories and how it sources raw materials.

Germany is a key growth market for Primark, which is expanding across continental Europe and the United States after nearing saturation point in Britain and Ireland. It expects to open two more stores in Germany in the current financial year, after five in the 2017/18 fiscal year.

But it is locked in a battle with rival discount retailer H&M <HMb.ST>, successfully drawing customers away from the Swedish company’s 458 German stores. H&M saw sales steadily decline in Germany, its biggest market, in the last two years until a rebound in its latest quarter.[nL8N1WD159]

H&M is another major brand putting a bigger emphasis on sustainability. It, Primark and other retailers are seeking to promote recycling and more environmentally-friendly cotton farming methods in response to customer concerns.

“We don’t want to give the impression that we’ve got everything right…We’re on a gradual journey,” said Katharine Stewart, Primark’s head of ethical trade and environmental sustainability.

Primark, which has 360 stores globally, will roll out more products next spring made from cotton planted under its sustainable farming program in Pakistan, including children’s pyjamas and women’s jeans.

“We now know it works. We know we can … get visibility all the way through the supply chain,” Stewart said.

Primark has slightly slowed its pace of expansion in the last year as like-for-like sales have declined, but it still plans to open 14 new stores in the 2018/19 financial year, with most in Germany, France, Spain and Britain.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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Former USA Gymnastics boss arrested for Nassar evidence-tampering

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October 18, 2018

(Reuters) – Steve Penny, the former USA Gymnastics president, was arrested on Wednesday night in Tennessee on charges he tampered with evidence in the case of Larry Nassar, the disgraced team doctor convicted of sexually assaulting athletes, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Penny is due to be extradited to Walker County in Texas to face allegations he removed documents from the USA Gymnastics national team training center there, the U.S. Marshals Service’s statement said.

Nassar was sentenced in February to up to 125 years in prison after some 200 women, including Olympians, testified about decades of abuse at his hands. Some of the abuse happened at the Texas training center, known as Karolyi Ranch.

Bowing to criticism he did not do more to stop the abuse, Penny resigned last year after more than a decade running the sport’s national governing body, saying he was heartbroken to learn of the accusations.

An indictment charges Penny with ordering documents related to Nassar removed from Texas and delivered to the USA Gymnastics’ headquarters in Indianapolis, some of which remain missing, the U.S. Marshals Service said. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Marshals found Penny in a cabin in Gatlinburg in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains.

Penny’s arrest comes after Mary Bono resigned on Tuesday as USA Gymnastics’ interim chief after only a few days on the job after she drew fire from prominent athletes for a tweet she sent criticizing Nike Inc’s use of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign. Kaepernick sparked a national controversy by kneeling during the national anthem.

The Walker County district attorney’s office could not immediately be reached for comment, and it was not clear whether Penny had a lawyer.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Susan Thomas)

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Losses at Russian banks from cyber attacks down sharply in 2018: central bank

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October 18, 2018

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – Russian banks have sharply reduced their losses from cyber attacks with 76.5 million roubles ($1.17 million) in losses in the first eight months of 2018, the central bank said on Thursday.

Russian lenders lost 1.08 billion roubles ($16.46 million) in the same period last year, it said.

(Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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Top Afghan official killed in shooting, U.S. general unhurt

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October 18, 2018

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) – The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Scott Miller escaped unhurt after a burst of gunfire in the governor’s compound in Kandahar province on Thursday but the powerful police chief General Abdul Razeq was killed, officials said.

A senior security official said the governor’s bodyguard opened fire and hit Razeq in the back as soon as officials came out of the meeting. The governor and the local head of the NDS intelligence service were wounded.

Several Afghan and international security officials said Razeq, one of Afghanistan’s most powerful commanders with a fearsome reputation as an enemy of the Taliban, had been killed.

Miller, who had been attending a meeting with security officials ahead of parliamentary elections on Saturday, was not injured but two Americans were wounded in the crossfire and had been evacuated, NATO spokesman Colonel Knut Peters said.

“Provincial officials including the governor, the police chief and other officials were accompanying the foreign guests to the plane when the gunshots happened,” said Said Jan Khakrezwal, the head of the provincial council.

(Reporting by Ismail Sameem and Hamid Shalizi in KABUL; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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