Tagged: OAN

Putin says Trump listens to him and wants to repair U.S.-Russia ties

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October 18, 2018

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – Russia’s Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump listened to him and was keen to improve battered U.S.-Russia ties despite the complicated domestic political situation in the United States.

Putin, who was speaking at a discussion forum in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, made the comments when asked if he agreed that Trump only listened to himself.

Putin said he thought the U.S. president wanted to stabilize the troubled relationship between Moscow and Washington and said it was not true that Trump only listened to himself.

“Maybe he acts like that with someone else, but in that case they are to blame. I have a completely normal and professional dialogue with him and of course he listens. I see that he reacts to his interlocutor’s arguments,” said Putin.

The Russian leader said it was normal they disagreed about many things, something he said was normal in discussions with foreign leaders.

(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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Saints QB Brees heads to Baltimore seeking first win over Ravens

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October 18, 2018

By the time he retires in some still unwritten chapter of his NFL playing career, Drew Brees may own every passing record in NFL history.

But the New Orleans Saints quarterback, fresh off becoming the NFL’s career passing yardage leader, would like to do one thing on Sunday that he hasn’t been able to do in 18 seasons — defeat the Baltimore Ravens.

Brees, 39, is 0-3 against the Ravens, the only NFL team he has yet to beat. A victory would make Brees the only quarterback besides Brett Favre and Peyton Manning to defeat all 32 NFL teams.

“Listen, I would love to beat these guys,” said Brees, who has led the 4-1 Saints to first place in the NFC South. ” They’re always a great team when you play them. So you always know it is going to be a slugfest. You do not get to play them all that often. It’s a once every four year deal being AFC and NFC, but they’re a great team. They’re the No. 1 defense in the league right now, so we have got our work cut out for us.”

Brees has always been ultra-competitive, and he admitted it does bother him not having been able to beat the Ravens (4-2).

“A little bit,” he said. “Again, you try to make it like any other game, any other opponent. You turn on the film and you know you just digest what you see you know. Take the name off the helmet and just go off you know what you see on film and they are an extremely talented defense across the board.”

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh doesn’t put much stock into the statistical oddity.

“This league – week to week, game to game – it’s crazy,” he said. “That’s probably what I would attribute that to.”

While the Saints had a bye week to rest from their 43-19 rout of the Washington Redskins on Oct. 8 – which has allowed starting cornerback Marshon Lattimore to show steady recovery from a concussion – Baltimore shut out the Tennessee Titans 21-0 on the road on Sunday, recording 11 sacks against quarterback Marcus Mariota, the league’s first 11-sack game since 2012. Mariota completed only 10 passes. He was sacked on 42 percent of his throws.

Harbaugh said it will be much more difficult to get Brees on the ground because of the way he gets rid of the ball so quickly.

“He looks better than ever,” Harbaugh said. “I think he’s playing at the highest level he’s played (at), if it’s possible. I can’t remember him playing any better. He knows where he is going with the ball, has weapons around him and they protect him. But he’s the maestro, he orchestrates the whole thing. Between he and Sean (Payton) game-planning and freeing guys up in man-zone coverage and him knowing where to go with the ball and getting it there quickly, it’s been very good.”

While the Saints probably will get Lattimore back to shore up their secondary, the Ravens are bit more banged up. Cornerback Brandon Carr (knee) and guard Alex Lewis (neck) did not practice on Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

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Putin says it’s not up to Russia to persuade Iran to pull out of Syria

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October 18, 2018

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that it was not up to Russia to persuade Iran to pull its forces out of Syria, and that the governments calling for Iran to leave should provide guarantees that they would not meddle in Syria’s affairs.

Putin was speaking at a forum in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; Writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by John Stonestreet)

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Third Point video urges retail investors to replace Campbell Soup board

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October 18, 2018

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON (Reuters) – Activist investor Daniel Loeb turned up the heat on Campbell Soup Co <CPB.N> on Thursday with a video aimed at persuading retail investors to vote with his hedge fund Third Point LLC to replace the food company’s entire board of directors.

The 3-minute, 57-second video makes many of the same points that Third Point has made in mailings and on its web site. But it uses the familiar Campbell Soup jingle and tailors its arguments to reach retail investors, often neglected in activist shareholder campaigns that mostly target pension funds and other institutional shareholders. (http://bit.ly/EmptyTheCan2018)

Retail investors make up between 10 percent and 15 percent of Campbell Soup’s shareholder base and Loeb needs to persuade them if he is to win the hotly contested proxy fight. Third Point owns roughly 7 percent of Campbell shares and heirs of the company’s founder who support the current board own 41 percent. Analysts have said every vote counts, making it important for Loeb to reach retail investors.

The video starts with Campbell’s signature jingle “Mmm Mmm good” but then turns to “Mmm Mmm Bad” and chastises the board for the company’s sluggish stock price and former Chief Executive Officer Denise Morrison’s $60 million pay package. It argues that the board made bad business deals and failed to hold top leaders accountable.

On Wednesday, several heirs of the family that has controlled Campbell Soup for decades and who hold about 41 percent of the company’s stock said they support the current board. They did not give an explicit reason for their support on the statement the company put out on Wednesday. Still, their stance could make it tough for Loeb to gain enough investor votes at the Nov. 29 annual meeting to unseat all 12 directors. George Strawbridge Jr., another family heir who owns a 2.7 percent stake, is siding with Third Point.

In the video, Third Point said fixing the company takes more than just adding some salt or gluten free noodles to the recipe. It calls for changing the board, “all of them,” and says current directors destroyed shareholder value. It cited a statistic that one dollar invested in Campbell’s 20 years ago would be worth $1.19 now while a dollar invested in the S&P 500 index would be worth $4.06.

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by David Gregorio)

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Ryanair makes no concessions to Polish union demands on contracts

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October 18, 2018

By Joanna Plucinska

WARSAW (Reuters) – Ryanair <RYA.I> will press ahead with plans to move Polish staff on to self-employed contracts, Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said in an interview with Reuters.

Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, is already trying to cope with an industrial relations revolt across the region, with pilots and cabin crew staging strikes in several countries over employment conditions.

In Poland, a union representing Polish cabin crew has refused to sign the new contracts which the company’s local subsidiary wants to introduce.

But Jacobs said the new contract reflected the local market.

“It’s the local type of contract, the same as (national Polish carrier) LOT and other airlines,” Jacobs said.

Many Polish Ryanair staff are currently on contracts provided by the parent company, but are being asked to transfer to the new contracts as Ryanair’s main operation in Poland is handed to Ryanair Sun, a local subsidiary.

Paulo Conceicao, secretary of the Polish cabin crew union, CWR, who works as cabin crew at Ryanair, told Reuters that the self-employed contract would mean staff would lose important rights such as sick pay and maternity leave.

“All the rights embedded into your labor contract are liquidated,” he said.

Analysts have said that the transfer to self-employed contracts gives airlines more flexibility and will save them money.

Jacobs said staff would get higher salaries as a result of the shift and could also be relocated elsewhere in Europe if they are not satisfied with the contracts.

Ryanair employs 400 cabin crew in Poland, according to the union, of which about three-quarters are union members.

Ryanair staff have received support from unions representing workers from Poland’s state-run airline LOT, who went on strike on Thursday over working conditions.

“We will work together (with Ryanair’s union) to fight self-employment. We plan on raising this on the European and national stage,” Agnieszka Szelagowska, a leader at LOT’s union told a news conference on Wednesday.

Ryanair plans to continue its expansion and hiring in Central and Eastern Europe, Jacobs said.

(Reporting by Joanna Plucinska; Editing by Marcin Goclowski and Jane Merriman)

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Ryanair makes no concessions to Polish union demands on contracts

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October 18, 2018

By Joanna Plucinska

WARSAW (Reuters) – Ryanair <RYA.I> will press ahead with plans to move Polish staff on to self-employed contracts, Ryanair’s Chief Marketing Officer Kenny Jacobs said in an interview with Reuters.

Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, is already trying to cope with an industrial relations revolt across the region, with pilots and cabin crew staging strikes in several countries over employment conditions.

In Poland, a union representing Polish cabin crew has refused to sign the new contracts which the company’s local subsidiary wants to introduce.

But Jacobs said the new contract reflected the local market.

“It’s the local type of contract, the same as (national Polish carrier) LOT and other airlines,” Jacobs said.

Many Polish Ryanair staff are currently on contracts provided by the parent company, but are being asked to transfer to the new contracts as Ryanair’s main operation in Poland is handed to Ryanair Sun, a local subsidiary.

Paulo Conceicao, secretary of the Polish cabin crew union, CWR, who works as cabin crew at Ryanair, told Reuters that the self-employed contract would mean staff would lose important rights such as sick pay and maternity leave.

“All the rights embedded into your labor contract are liquidated,” he said.

Analysts have said that the transfer to self-employed contracts gives airlines more flexibility and will save them money.

Jacobs said staff would get higher salaries as a result of the shift and could also be relocated elsewhere in Europe if they are not satisfied with the contracts.

Ryanair employs 400 cabin crew in Poland, according to the union, of which about three-quarters are union members.

Ryanair staff have received support from unions representing workers from Poland’s state-run airline LOT, who went on strike on Thursday over working conditions.

“We will work together (with Ryanair’s union) to fight self-employment. We plan on raising this on the European and national stage,” Agnieszka Szelagowska, a leader at LOT’s union told a news conference on Wednesday.

Ryanair plans to continue its expansion and hiring in Central and Eastern Europe, Jacobs said.

(Reporting by Joanna Plucinska; Editing by Marcin Goclowski and Jane Merriman)

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Take it or leave it? EU offers May few options on Brexit deal

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October 18, 2018

By Gabriela Baczynska

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union and Britain have given themselves a few more weeks to break the deadlock in their Brexit talks but for Brussels the delay seems mainly about Prime Minister Theresa May dealing with critics back in London.

An accord sketched by officials from both sides last weekend stalled because May’s fractious government rejected a “backstop” insurance clause the EU wants in case future talks fail to forge a trade pact that avoids customs posts on the Irish border.

An EU offer to extend a status-quo transition period by a year to end-2021, keeping Britain in a customs union to diminish the chances of the backstop being triggered, was not enough.

EU negotiator Michel Barnier pledged at a summit to keep working “calmly and patiently”. But many EU leaders see the main negotiations to be had now as being among May and her allies in London, possibly only after she gets a budget through parliament early next month. They see little scope now for the EU to move.

“We took our steps. We need to know what the other side wants – finally,” said Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite.

Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, less than three years since Britons voted for an exit in a referendum.

“This is pretty much it,” an EU diplomat said of the weekend offer, which included a longer transition to give time for a customs deal. “This is the deal – if ever there’s to be one.”

French President Emmanuel Macron noted the tricky “political balance” May faces at home — her vital Northern Irish allies say the EU’s backstop, by keeping Northern Ireland alone in the EU customs area, would break up the United Kingdom; and Brexit hardliners insist the UK must leave the EU customs union soon.

ACID TEST

All governments insist, though, that they want a deal in the coming weeks that can avoid chaos when Britain leaves in March.

There are limited ways to salvage an agreement.

The EU is firmly behind Ireland. It says any “hard border” infrastructure on its frontier with the British province of the island would revive sectarian conflict. Many small EU states see the willingness of big powers to risk trade with Britain to protect Ireland as an acid test of the value of EU membership.

That limits May’s scope for rejecting any backstop at all.

Her solution so far has been to offer to keep the British mainland also inside EU customs rules for a time. But the EU has rejected that because it says it appears to offer Britain too many trading advantages without deeper negotiations which it is only willing to start after Britain has left the Union.

Yet if a deal is to be struck, the focus will be finding a formulation that makes a customs border between Northern Ireland and the British mainland highly improbable and/or makes a UK-EU future customs zone more certain than Brussels now wants. And more permanent than May’s hardline Brexit supports would accept.

“There are many ways to skin a cat,” another EU diplomat working on the Brexit conundrum said. “But only so many — and we have looked at all of them. So it’s either the backstop or all of the United Kingdom staying inside our customs zone.”

“Now, Britain must simply pick.”

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Alison Williams)

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Putin says can’t justify spoiling Saudi ties over Khashoggi affair

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October 18, 2018

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia did not have enough information about the unexplained disappearance of a Saudi journalist to justify spoiling ties with Riyadh.

Turkey says Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was killed by Saudi agents in Riyadh’s diplomatic mission in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and his body cut up. Saudi Arabia denies the allegation.

Putin told a discussion forum in the Black Sea resort of Sochi that Moscow did not really know what had happened in the case, that it was a pity that the journalist had gone missing, and that Russia would wait for details.

(Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov in Sochi; Additional reporting by Christian Lowe and Polina Devitt in Moscow; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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U.S. to merge Jerusalem consulate in to new embassy

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October 18, 2018

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will merge the U.S. Consulate General, which serves Palestinians, with its new embassy into a single diplomatic mission in Jerusalem, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday.

“This decision is driven by our global efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations,” Pompeo said in a statement. “It does not signal a change of U.S. policy on Jerusalem, the West Bank, or the Gaza Strip.”

The consulate-general in Jerusalem is the top mission for Palestinians, who want East Jerusalem for their capital.

“We will continue to conduct a full range of reporting, outreach, and programming in the West Bank and Gaza as well as with Palestinians in Jerusalem through a new Palestinian Affairs Unit inside U.S. Embassy Jerusalem,” Pompeo said. 

He said the Trump administration was committed to a peace effort between Israel and the Palestinians.

U.S. President Donald Trump outraged the Arab world and stoked international concern by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December and moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest disputes between Israel and the Palestinians and Palestinian leaders accused Trump of sowing instability by overturning decades of U.S. policy.

Palestinians, with broad international backing, seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a state they want to establish in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israel regards all of the city, including the eastern sector it captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed, as its “eternal and indivisible capital,” but that is not recognized internationally. The Trump administration has avoided that description, and noted that the city’s final borders should be decided by the parties.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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Kosovo votes to create national army over Serb objections

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October 18, 2018

By Fatos Bytyci

PRISTINA (Reuters) – Parliament in Kosovo, Europe’s newest independent state which relies on NATO troops for its protection, voted on Thursday to set up a 5,000-strong national army though its Serb minority said the move was illegal.

Serb deputies, backed by Belgrade which does not recognize Kosovo’s independence, have blocked any such move in the past saying creation of a national army required a change to the constitution.

But three laws promoted by the Kosovo government and passed by a parliamentary vote on Thursday simply upgraded the mandate of the lightly-armed domestic Kosovo Security Force (KSF) to become a national army – something which the government said did not require any changes to the constitution.

The vote was passed with 98 in favor in the 120-seat parliament, though it was boycotted by the legislature’s 11 Serb deputies. A second vote will be required in the next few days.

“The three laws have one task, to protect the territorial integrity of Kosovo, to protect the citizens of all communities in Kosovo,” Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said before the vote.

The landlocked Balkan territory of 1.8 million, which declared independence in 2008, is still guarded by 4,000 stationed NATO troops nearly two decades after the end of the war.

NATO moved into the fledgling state in June 1999 following weeks of air strikes to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians by Serbian forces fighting a two-year counter-insurgency after the break-up of Yugoslavia.

The United States and most of the European Union member states recognize Kosovo. But objections by permanent Security Council members Russia and China which back Serbia in not accepting Kosovo’s statehood prevent it from being a member of the United Nations.

The laws passed said the new army would have 5,000 active soldiers and 3,000 reservists. The present KSF security force is a lightly armed, 2,500-strong force trained by NATO and tasked with crisis response, civil protection and ordinance disposal.

NATO says it has no plans to leave the territory just now, but it suggested that any change to the status of the KSF might lead to a reduction in its forces there.

“Any change in the structure, mandate and mission of the Kosovo Security Forces is for the Kosovo authorities to decide,” a NATO official told Reuters in an e-mailed answer.

“NATO supports the Kosovo Security Force under its current mandate. Should this mandate evolve, the North Atlantic Council will have to re-examine the level of NATO’s engagement in Kosovo. We cannot predict decisions by the North Atlantic Council.”

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

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