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Democrats face uphill fight if Trump gets second U.S. high court pick

WASHINGTON ( ) – If Democrats thought it was hard to stop President Donald Trump’s first U.S. Supreme Court nominee, it promises to be even tougher for them if he gets to fill another vacancy, potentially to replace the most influential justice, Anthony Kennedy.

Kennedy, a conservative who sometimes sides with the court’s liberals in key cases such as on gay rights and abortion, is one of three justices 78 or older. Justice Stephen Breyer is 78 and fellow liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 84.

Former Kennedy Supreme Court clerks said the justice, who turns 81 in July上海夜网, may be pondering retirement either this year or in 2018.

That would give Trump a further chance to shape the court after his first nominee, Neil Gorsuch, was sworn in on Monday for the lifetime job to replace the late conservative Justice Antonin Scalia after overcoming fierce Democratic opposition in the Senate confirmation process.

Kennedy administered Gorsuch’s judicial oath at a White House ceremony, and Trump heaped praise on a justice who has spent nearly three decades on America’s top court, calling him “a great man of outstanding accomplishment.”

Gorsuch is one of Kennedy former clerks. Kennedy is planning a reunion of his clerks in June rather than next year as had been expected. Kennedy, through a court spokesman, declined to comment on his plans.

The implications for the court if Kennedy were to step down are enormous. For the past decade he been its swing vote in major cases. Gorsuch’s confirmation restored the court’s 5-4 conservative majority. If whenever Kennedy leaves the bench he is replaced by a stalwart conservative, that would move the court further to the right.

Republicans possess a 52-48 majority in the Senate. In order to secure Gorsuch’s confirmation, they voted to prohibit a procedural roadblock called a filibuster that had required a super-majority of 60 votes to allow a confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominees, leaving the minority Democrats with little ammunition for the next nomination fight.

“I think it will be very hard for Democrats to get much traction to derail a future Trump nominee without the threat of a filibuster,” George Washington University political scientist Sarah Binder said.

But Democrats and Republicans still are predicting a fierce fight over the next court vacancy.

‘I EXPECT ARMAGEDDON ‘

“For the life of me I don’t understand why the Democrats made such a fuss about this one. They look stupid,” Republican Senator Orrin Hatch said last week of Gorsuch’s nomination. “I expect Armageddon on the next one because that’s going to change, assuming Trump gets another one, the direction of the court. It would certainly keep the court in a more conservative mode for a long time.”

A Democratic congressional aide added, “The opposition to Gorsuch could look weak compared to what a similarly conservative nominee would face, if it would tip the balance on the court.”

Kennedy is the longest-serving of the nine justices. He was nominated by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1987 and confirmed by the Senate in 1988 after Democrats thwarted Reagan’s first choice, outspoken conservative Robert Bork, and his second pick, Douglas Ginsburg, withdrew from consideration.

Although he has sided with his conservative colleagues on many issues, Kennedy has supported liberal causes such as gay rights, culminating in writing the landmark 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

He also joined the liberals in upholding abortion rights. In 2016, Kennedy joined the court’s four liberal justices in a ruling striking down a Texas abortion law imposing strict regulations on doctors and facilities in the strongest endorsement of U.S. abortion rights in more than two decades.

He also authored a 2016 ruling upholding the consideration of race in college admissions, joined by the court’s liberals.

University of Georgia School of Law professor Lori Ringhand said Republicans may be wary of defending an extremely conservative court nominee with the midterm congressional elections coming up in 2018, if another vacancy arises.

“It’s not clear it would be to the electoral advantage to Republicans to have a hotly contested Supreme Court nomination right before the midterms that highlighted a nominee’s extremely conservative positions on social issues that the majority of the public have actually accepted,” Ringhand said.

House reauthorizes Iran sanctions bill, sets Syria sanctions

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. lawmakers passed bills on Tuesday renewing sanctions on Iran for 10 years and imposing new sanctions on Syria, underscoring their determination to play a strong role in Middle East policy no matter who occupies the White House.

The House of Representatives voted 419 to one for a 10-year reauthorization of the Iran Sanctions Act, or ISA, a law first adopted in 1996 to punish investments in Iran’s energy industry and deter Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The House also passed by voice vote a bill that would sanction the government of Syria, and supporters including Russia and Iran, for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Iran measure will expire at the end of 2016 if it is not renewed. It must still be passed by the Senate and signed by President Barack Obama in order to become law.

The Obama administration and other world powers reached an agreement last year in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

But lawmakers said they wanted the ISA to stay in effect to send a strong message that the United States will respond to provocations by Iran and give any U.S. president the ability to quickly reinstate sanctions if Tehran violated the nuclear agreement.

“Even after a hard-fought election here at home and power changing hands, American leadership on the global stage won’t falter,” said Representative Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a bill sponsor.

Republican Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, the bill’s lead sponsor, called the ISA “a critical tool.”

“Its expiration would compound the damage done by the pre上海夜生活网sident’s dangerous nuclear deal and send a message that the United States will no longer oppose the destructive role of Iran in the Middle East,” said Royce.

The vote took place one week after Republican Donald Trump was elected U.S. president. Congressional Republicans unanimously opposed the nuclear deal, along with about two dozen Democrats, and Trump has also strongly criticized it.

Lawmakers from both parties said they hoped bipartisan support for a tough line against Iran would continue under the new president.

There was no immediate word from Senate leaders on when the ISA and the Syria measure might be taken up in that chamber.

Many Senate Democrats favor a “clean” renewal of the ISA, like the one that passed in the House. But other lawmakers have pushed to add new sanctions such as some specifically targeting Iran’s ballistic missile tests.

Sterling stalls ahead of vote to delay Brexit; dollar ticks up

NEW YORK ( ) – The U.S. dollar gained on Thursday for the first time in a week, albeit modestly, as the pound stalled at lower levels ahead of a vote to extend Britain’s March 29 deadline for exiting the European Union.

The pound was down 0.54 percent at $1.3266 in afternoon American trade as Prime Minister Theresa May piled pressure on rebel lawmakers on Thursday to back her battered European Union divorce deal as parliament prepared to vote on seeking a delay to Britain’s departure that could ultimately derail the process.

A day earlier, the British currency soared nearly 2 percent and reached nine-month highs after lawmakers voted against a potentially 上海夜生活论坛disorderly “no-deal” departure from the EU.

Analysts cautioned against putting large positions on sterling due to lingering uncertainty about Brexit.

“With the uncertainty around (Brexit), it’s not a time … to take sizeable positions. The risk/reward still favors waiting for some clarity,” said Charles Tomes, senior investment analyst at Manulife Asset Management.

The dollar index, a gauge of its strength against six other major currencies, was up 0.22 percent at 96.757. It had fallen overnight, at one point brushing a nine-day trough of 96.385.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week, suggesting the labor market was slowing, but probably not to the extent implied by a near-stall in job growth in February.

Other U.S. data showed import prices in February rose by the most in nine months. Still, the inflation trend remained weak as import prices dropped on a year-on-year basis for a third straight month. The data remained supportive of the Federal Reserve’s pledge to be “patient” before raising interest rates.

“In the foreign exchange market overall there’s not a lot of conviction” at the moment, said Tomes. “Volatility is low and people don’t want to put on sizeable positions either way.”

The Australian dollar AUD= fell to its lowest in three days after reports that China and the United States had delayed a meeting to end their trade war. The meeting between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping will not occur this month and is more likely to happen in April at the earliest, Bloomberg reported. It was last at $0.7061, down 0.54 percent on the day.

Investors are worried that any escalation in the trade conflict will pummel export-oriented economies like Australia, whose biggest trading partner is China. The yuan was relatively stable in the offshore market, down 0.31 percent at 6.7230.

Goldman Sachs sets targets for Hispanic and black entry-level hires

( ) – Goldman Sachs Group Inc is setting targets for hiring minority groups for the first time as it ramps up efforts to diversify its workforce, according to a memo sent by top executives to employees on Monday.

The Wall Street bank, which last year said it wanted women to make up half of its entry-level workforce, now is aiming to ensure that 14 percent of new analysts and associates in the Americas are Hispanic or Latino and 11 percent of them black, according to the memo, which was seen by .

In Britain,上海夜生活 Goldman Sachs wants 9 percent of its entry-level workforce to be black.

The bank, whose senior executives are primarily white and male, did not set targets for more experienced employees, but is now requiring businesses to interview at least two qualified diverse candidates for each open position.

Goldman Sachs said in the memo it is “nearly there” with the targets it announced last year for campus hiring, and is exploring ways to increase the portion of staff who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, disabled or veterans.

David Solomon, who took over as chief executive of the bank in October, has been vocal about increasing diversity. He and two deputies sent the staff-wide memo ahead of disclosures on its gender pay gap that are required in Britain.

Last year, Goldman Sachs reported a mean gender pay gap in Britain for its international business of 55.5 percent and a mean bonus gap for the unit of 72.2 percent. Other companies, including HSBC Plc, fared worse.

Goldman Sachs is not alone on Wall Street in its diversity and gender equality campaign. Citigroup Inc has also set goals to have half its global staff to be women, and 30 percent of its staff to be black and Hispanic or Latino in the United States.

Trump defend Obama? ‘I don’t think so!’

WASHINGTON ( ) – Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump said on Saturday it was not his job to stand up for U.S. President Barack Obama after a man at one of his campaign events said he was a Muslim and “not even an American.”

“Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so!” Trump said on Twitter.

Trump drew criticism on Friday from Republican and Democratic rivals in the 2016 race for the presidency when he failed to challenge a man at a New Hampshire town hall Thursday night who said Muslims were a problem in the United States.

“We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American,” the man said.

Trump, the billionaire television personality who leads the pack of Republicans seeking the presidential nomination, has cast doubt on whether Obama was born in the United States and therefore qualified to stand as president.

“This is the first time in my life that I have caused controversy by NOT saying something,” Trump tweeted. “If someone made a nasty or controversial statement about me to the president, do you really think he would come to my rescue? No chance!”

Obama is a Christian who as president has attended church occasionally.

Later on Saturday, Trump read out the tweets to audience applause at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Forum in Des Moines.

Trump rattled the Republican establishment with a summer surge to the top of the polls, overshadowing expected favorite Jeb Bush, the son and brother of two U.S. presidents. An unremarkable showing at Wednesday night’s Republican debate, where the frontrunner drew attacks from his many rivals, had some observers wondering if Trump frenzy is finally on the wane.

Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, described as divisive even by members of his own party, has tapped into a vein of anger among like-minded supporters.

PARALLELS TO 2008

In August, two Boston brothers charged with urinating and beating a homeless Mexican man told police they were inspired by Trump. “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported.” the said, according a police report.

On Monday, opponents and supporters clashed outside a rally for Trump. Protesters, many of them Hispanic, shouted “shame on you,” while some Trump fans retorted, “Keep them out!”

The tenor of the campaign has drawn parallels to the 2008 rallies by Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, that drew virulent anti-Obama rhetoric including shouts of “terrorist” or “traitor.”

McCain eventually had to confront the issue at an October campaign rally where a woman called Obama an Arab. He stopped her and called Obama a decent family man.

In Des Moines, Trump referred to the incident, saying “McCain just ripped that microphone from that woman’s hands… I thought it was a little harsh.”

David Axelrod, former White House adviser and Obama campaign strategist, said: “I think a lot of the people who are supporting Donald Trump are the same people who showed up at those Sarah Palin rallies at the end of the 2008 campaign.”

“We know that there is this cohort out there who believe that we are being encroached on by illegal aliens, Muslims, China and Trump has tapped into that constituency,” he said on CNN.

Far from trying to tamp down the controversy, Trump appeared to reach for more in his tweets Saturday, implying that Christians have suffered under Obama.

“Christians need support in our country (and around the world), the上海夜生活论坛ir religious liberty is at stake! Obama has been horrible, I will be great,” Trump said.

For more on the 2016 presidential race, see the blog, “Tales from the Trail” (here).

Wenger wants to get his revenge on Liverpool

Arsene Wenger can remember how heavily his side were defeated by Liverpool earlier this season – and he wants his players to get their revenge for this 4-0 embarrassing loss at Anfield Road.

The Arsenal goalkeeper, Petr Čech, described this loss as one of the worst moments of his long career – so it’s obvious that the Gunners will do anything to win the reverse match and get their revenge. Arsene Wenger admitted that this defeat still hurts him and he thinks that his players feel the same way – and he wants to do something similar to their upcoming opponent.

The former AS Monaco coach spoke about his feeling after this huge loss as he said, according to Sky Sports: “When you have such a long career as I have, you have some defeats unfortunately that hurt you for the rest of your life. I believe what is interesting in football is you always have a time to make up for it. When you can put things right, do it. So let’s focus on what is in front of us and turn up on Friday night with a completely different performance.”Opinion: Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League Tomás Pavel Ibarr上海夜生活论坛a Meda – Given how much he’s been rejected by Real Madrid, we are convinced that Martin Odegaard is perfect for the Premier League.Martin Odegaard is finally…

He continued by assuring that the motivation is there and his side will do anything to turn it around: “The motivation is there. This squad has a good mentality and it is about us, to make sure we are on top of our game. We must play with pace and a determined attitude.”

In the end, Arsene Wenger spoke about his reunion with Oxlade-Chamberlain: “It would be not fair to put the defeat at Liverpool, where the whole team had a bad performance, on one player. After that, on the other side, you analyse ‘did you make mistakes or not?’ You cannot go home and say everything was perfect when you lose like we did.”

Conte is too clever to take the AC Milan job

The former Inter chairman, Massimo Moratti, is certain that Antonio Conte won’t be a new coach of AC Milan as he is “too smart” to take this job and he will more likely remain at Chelsea.

Antonio Conte has mentioned several times before that he would like to return to Italy at some point in his career but Moratti thinks that AC Milan won’t be the right destination. The Rossoneri have been struggling so far and they are currently looking for a new coach as Genaro Gattuso is considered to be a mostly temporary replacement.

The ex-chairman of Inter spoke about this situation a上海夜生活网s he said, according to Goal: “He is a great manager, the only difference with [Luciano] Spalletti is that Spalletti has yet to win a Serie A title, Conte has already won league titles in Italy and in England. If he’d joined Inter and failed it would have been Inter’s fault. A move to AC Milan? No, I don’t think so, he is a smart guy.”Italian football to pay respects to Sassuolo owner Squinzi George Patchias – Sassuolo owner Giorgio Squinzi has died at the age of 76, and a minute’s silence will be observed across Italian football this weekend as…

He also spoke about Inter’s current coach, Luciano Spaletti: “I’d never give him advice. I’ve explained to him the mentality of an interista fan, but he already knew it. I also wanted to hire him but I never managed to in the past. We were very close after the treble but he chose Zenit instead. He can read the players’ mind just like Mourinho. Players like Ranocchia, Santon and Brozovic are reborn.”

In the end, Marotti also mentioned the fact that Ivan Perisic decided to stay with Inter Milan and to refuse Manchester United: “He is so strong, he has strength and quality. I don’t see better wingers in Europe right now but he needs to have consistency. Spalletti was very important for him because he blocked his exit last summer.”

Dortmund’s season in danger

Borussia Dortmund have started this season in an incredible form, however the German side can’t seem to keep their performances up

Their emphatic start to the season set club and league records, but it has taken just a few weeks for things to reach a critical point for Borussia Dortmund, GOAL reports.

They have managed to win only 2 out of their last 9 games in all competitions. They are close to elimination in the Champions League, after only drawing against APOEL, and they are about to visit Bayern Munich on Saturday, which will again be a tough game for BVB.

Their start to the season was fantastic: 6 wins out their first 7 Bundesliga matches. In this period, Dortmund scored 21 goals and conceded only 2. It seemed like the club’s new coach Peter Bosz has done a good job putting the team together.

Capitalising on Bayern’s struggles under Carlo Ancelotti, they were touted as title contenders by the media, but their decline has coincided with the Jupp Heynckes-led revival in Bavaria and they have quickly become a club in crisis, GOAL continues.

After being outclassed by Real Madrid and Tottenham, they are no certainties to secure their place in Europe’s top competition over the Cypriot side.Wijnaldum looking to repeat Champions League success Nedim Maric – Liverpool are the reigning winners of the Champions League. However, this isn’t stopping them for aiming to get the glory once again.After a perfect…

With that in mind, staying in the domestic title race will become crucial to ensure their season doesn’t turn into a complete disaster.

Their next game against Bayern could be decisive, as Dortmund was 5 points ahead of Heynckes’ side just a month ago and a defeat now would put them 6 points behind.

Dortmund CEO Hans-Jachim Watzke said to Bild, they’re not a contender to Bayern, even when his side were sitting at the top: “The question is always: what will happen with Bayern? When they recover their form, we have no chance.”

Watzke updated his point with Bayern Munich now on a six-game winning run. He told Sky: “Obviously, once the atmospheric problems between the coach and the team have been resolved, they are stable again.

“If Bayern Munich are stable, then that means they can win everything,” he added.

With that kind of mentality, Dortmund has little to no chance of winning against Bayern. Bad news for the fans, as another loss could see them fall to the point of上海夜生活 no return.

Klopp doubts Southgate’s nomination

Gareth Southgate’s nomination for the national team is quite surprising and Jürgen Klopp thinks that the Englishman is making his own life difficult by not calling up some experienced players.

The German manager especially talked about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Daniel Sturridge – these two are not in the England squad and Klopp doesn’t agree with that decision. Southgate’s argument in relation to Sturridge on Thursday was that because he was not playing regularly he could not perform “at his very best” for the national team.

The former manager of Borussia Dortmund shared his thoughts as he said, according to ESPN: “It is not our decision but if Gareth Southgate saw the last few games I think for sure he could have invited all three of them. Gareth makes his decisions, I cannot change that. Both of them would play in other English Premier League teams quite regularly.”

He thinks that Southgate will be in a difficult situation with criteria like that: “If he makes it now like this it could be difficult in the future if he sticks to this plan 100 percent — not for us but maybe for England.”Wijnaldum looking to repeat Champions League success Nedim Maric – Liverpool 上海夜生活论坛are the reigning winners of the Champions League. However, this isn’t stopping them for aiming to get the glory once again.After a perfect…

Jürgen Klopp also spoke about Sturridge who is finally back from injury for good and he is able to perform at a high level: “Daniel had a few injury problems and was called up [in the past] because he is still the striker everyone thinks about. If he [Southgate] thinks he doesn’t need him I cannot change it.”

And the German coach thinks that Oxlade-Chamberlain has been doing well after his recent transfer: “Ox is coming in a new club and that always needs time to adapt. I think he made big steps since he was here. But, again I cannot call him and say, ‘Please, call him up.’”

Is Klopp right or is the Gareth Southgate’s choice the right one?

Klopp says he had a ‘good conversation’ with Coutinho

The Brazilian is finally back from international break and training with the first squad.

Liverpool’s head coach Jurgen Klopp has revealed that he had a good conversation with Philippe Coutinho upon his arrival in Melwood. Yet, the 25-year-old midfielder will likely not start against Manchester City.

Many expected things to get a bit awkward between the two after Coutinho submitted a transfer request in an attempt to force a move to Barcelona, but his wish was denied and he will be staying at Liverpool. However, the Brazilian reported back for training at Melwood on Thursday and everything seems back to normal for Liverpool.

“I know what people think, but Phil had the back problem a few weeks ago and couldn’t train so that means he missed around about three weeks,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website.

“Yes, he went to the national team and trained normally, but now we have to prepare for a normal season so we have seven games [before the next international break] and we saw trai上海夜网ning this morning and thought ‘OK, maybe we should use him immediately’ because he was really good, but that doesn’t make sense.Liverpool could be kicked out of the Carabao Cup Andrew Smyth – Liverpool face a nervous wait to discover their Carabao Cup fate after falling into hot water with the Football League over selecting ineligible players.

“We have now to continue with the pre-season, not too long, but in a few sessions we have to give ourselves the time because in the next month we have seven games.

“We always have the same decision to make, ‘does he need training or can he play?’ and all that stuff. Yes, he will now do a little bit more than the other boys but he showed up in a very, very good mood and looks really promising.”

The German tactician also stated that he had a fresh talk with Coutinho and everything was alright between them.

“Of course – all good, all good. Nothing else to say, actually, so he’s back and we had a really good conversation, so good,” the Reds boss added.

Leicester City sign Harry Maguire from Hull City

The central defender is the club’s first summer signing for undisclosed feeWritten by – Nikolay Nikolov, June 15, 2017.

Leicester City have announced their first summer signing- the central defender Harry Maguire from Hull City.

He has agreed on a five-year deal, joining the Foxes for an undisclosed fee (rumored to be in the region of £17m).

Maguire will stay for at least one more season in the Premier League after his former club was relegated and will play in the Championship next season.

“Once I had my eyes on this club, I always wanted to join,” Maguire told lcfc.com.”Kane: Spurs out of excuses after shock Carabao Cup exit Andrew Smyth – Harry Kane concedes that Tottenham only have themselves to blame following a shock Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Colchester Un上海夜生活ited.

”Thankfully I’m here so I can’t wait to get the season started and kick on.”

The 24-year-old made 29 appearances in the Premier League last season, scoring two goals and providing 2 assists. He also made 6 appearances in the League Cup, scoring once.

Besides from being a centre-back, Maguire can also play at the right-back position.

He becomes Craig Shakespeare’s first signing as Leicester manager as he also signed a new three-year contract last week.

Maguire could play his first game for Leicester in the Premier League Asia Trophy. The tournament will take place in Hong Kong, starting on 19th of July. Leicester will meet West Bromwich and one of Crystal Palace or Liverpool three days later.

\u2018If Ronaldo wants to leave Madrid then the Premier League is the right place for him\u2019 says Raul Meireles

Should the Portuguese decide to leave Real Madrid this summer, the Premier League is the right destination for him, says former Portugal teammateWritten by – Nikolay Nikolov, June 27, 2017.

After the reports stating that Ronaldo wants to depart from Real Madrid, because of the way he has been treated by the country’s tax authorities, a lot of his current and former teammates and coaches reflected on the situation. One of them was the former Portugal international Raul Meireles, who believes that a return to the Premier League would definitely suit Ronaldo.

“Yes of course [he could return to the Premier League],” Meireles told Sky Sports News HQ.

“He was very successful in the Premier League so I think that if he does not want to stay at Real Madrid, or he wants to leave, then the Premier League is the right place for him to be.”Kane: Spurs out of excuses after shock Carabao Cup exit Andrew Smyth – Harry Kane concedes that Tottenham only have themselves to blame following a shock Carabao Cup exit at the hands of Colchester United.

“He played before at Manchester United, so it could be them, but I think any team… Chelsea? I do not know, but he can play for any team in the Premier League.”

Spain tax authorities filed a tax fraud lawsuit against the Portuguese earlier this month and reports claimed the forward was ready to re-join Manchester United this summer.

According to Sky sources, Ronaldo will have a meeting concerning his future with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and head coach上海夜网 Zinedine Zidane after the Confederations Cup is finished, as Portugal advanced to the semi-finals.

On Wednesday night, Ronaldo’s nation will take on Chile in Kazan, Russia.

Conte prepares \u20ac83m bid for two Roma players

Antonio Conte has asked for reinforcements ahead of next season, as his team faces a higher number of games, due to participation in Champions League.Written by Cosmin Mihalescu. May 8, 2017.

And the Italian manager has turned his attention to上海夜生活论坛 Serie A. Chelsea are preparing an €83m bid for two of AS Roma’s players: Radja Nainggolan and Antonio Rudiger.

Conte wanted Nainggolan last summer as well, but Chelsea failed to meet Roma’s asking price of €38m. The Belgian expressed his interest in joining the Premier League team: “I spoke with Antonio Conte, they were very interested in me, they wanted me there. Many of my colleagues played in England, it’s the best league in the world. We will discuss again when the transfer window will open.”Inter Milan V Lazio: Players to Watch Taimoor Khan – Inter Milan are set to host Lazio at the San Siro on Thursday and the game is definitely going to be an exciting affair…

Chelsea are still looking for replacement options for John Terry and Rudiger is considered a serious alternative. Last summer, Conte tried to bring another central defender from Serie A –  Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, but again failed to meet the asking price of the Italian club.

Radja Nainggolan was brought by Roma from Cagliari in 2014, for €18m, while Antonio Rudiger came from Stuttgart in 2016 for €9,5m.

Power traders tackle renewables puzzle in Danish ‘Silicon Valley’

AARHUS, Denmark ( ) – Far from the sprawling financial hubs of London or Frankfurt, high-tech traders in the Danish university city of Aarhus are driving rapid change in European power markets, easing the shift to renewables with technology that also carries some risks.

The red-brick buildings, pavement cafes and streets full of cyclists in the coastal city on the Jutland peninsula belie the sophisticated computer-driven trade in electricity and gas across Europe taking place inside some 10 firms based here.

But the wind turbines filling fields nearby flag the origins of a future-focused business. Leading global wind turbine manufacturers Vestas (VWS.CO) and Siemens Gamesa (SGREN.MC) have roots in Denmark, which now covers around 30 percent of its energy needs with renewables.

The rapid diversification brought by renewables, coupled with growing competition and digitalization in traditional European power and gas, has lowered margins, shortened contracts and brought an explosion of data for traders to consider.

Algorithms can examine live data about the output of wind turbines or solar panels, changeable weather patterns, demand and fuel price data much faster, more accurately and at a lower cost than a human trader.

A Dane called Henrik Lind spotted an opportunity in Aarhus, where Vestas is based, and set up Danske Commodities in 2004. It and other firms established since – some by former Danske Commodities employees – now use algorithms and artificial intelligence to reap rewards from real-time fluctuations in supply and demand.

“A knowledge industry has been created here of power, gas, renewables, Big Data, artificial intelligence – a combination of the traditional markets and the Silicon Valley tech,” said Jesper Johanson, chief executive and co-founder of InCommodities, one of four Aarhus-based firms spoke to.

Energy companies and banks have their own trading desks experimenting with automation and utility companies are also dipping their toes into the business, but some say that with customers to satisfy, the stakes are much higher if they get it wrong.

In an ideal world, the technology helps energy producers to sell their output at the best price, utilities to keep their costs and supplies steady and bankers and brokers to make money with trades that smooth over sharp changes in supply or demand.

Balancing those interests and ensuring transparency and predictability is a challenge, however, and market experts expect regulation to evolve as it has for financial markets as power trading develops.

DATA IS GOLD

Specialist firms are already growing fast as the shift away from fossil fuels introduces a raft of new variables.

“I consider InCommodities just as much an IT company as a commodity trader,” said Johanson, one of four founders of a two-year-old company which now employs 35 people trading short-term power and gas in ten different European markets. All four founders have previously worked at Danske Commodities.

InCommodities’ earnings before tax jumped 529% last year to 7.9 million euros ($8.9 million) and it plans to expand into UK gas next year, emissions markets and, potentially, liquefied natural gas in future.

Danske Commodities was bought by Norwegian oil and gas major Equinor (EQNR.OL) last year: its 50 dedicated energy traders are now doing more than 3,750 trades a day; 24 hours a day; 7 days a week and across 38 power markets.

Unlike InCommodities, which trades for itself, Danske Commodities buys and sells on behalf of clients which may be power companies or renewable energy producers; its earnings before interest and tax rose by 28 percent last year to 72 million euros.

“We treat data as gold. We believe in automation. AI and algorithms are important to be able to leverage the trend of digitalization and develop a competitive edge in these power markets,” said Andreas Schwartz Knudsen, the company’s head of commercial business development.

Leading European power exchange EPEX SPOT said automatic trading began on its platform in 2012 and by last year accounted for around a third of record intraday and day-ahead volumes of 567 terawatt hours (TWh).

Six senior上海夜网 company officials from Danish-based companies involved in the trade interviewed by all saw European power trading becoming so complex that only computer modeling, coupled with human traders, could tackle it.

Investment in automation technology can cost from 100,000 euros to several millions but the most successful has a payback of between one and two years, according to Philippe Vie, group leader of energy, utilities and chemicals at business consultancy Capgemini.

Even so, some people are cautious.

Swedish power company Vattenfall’s CEO Magnus Hall said the company did trade automatically, but “under great surveillance”.

“If it goes wrong it can go severely wrong,” he said by telephone. “Some others do it more frequently but we think there is a need for more safety and security work.”

FAIR MARKET

Market players in Aarhus see themselves as a force for good in a market much more unpredictable than it was in the pre-1990s era of state monopolies dealing with fossil-fuel based regional supply and relatively steady demand.

“The transition towards a higher share of renewable production increases market volatility,” said Sebastian Lund, managing partner of Aarhus-based Nordic Energy House, founded by four former Danske Commodities employees and focused on British and Irish intraday power markets.

“Traders provide market liquidity and play a vital role in establishing dynamic and fair market prices,” he said.

The increasing electrification of power to homes and businesses and the prospect of millions of electric vehicles supplied via a web of renewables and traditional suppliers gives a picture of the complexity ahead.

Algorithmic trading is at a relatively early stage compared with financial markets, but as it develops, it will become harder for the traders overseeing it to gauge the factors behind market moves.

Potential risks have already caught the attention of the body overseeing European energy market transparency regulation, the Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators.

“The two main examined risks are its potential use as a tool for the manipulation of the market and the possibility that algorithms themselves can in certain circumstances be susceptible to manipulation,” it said.

Existing legislation already applied, it said, while adding: “Provisions from the financial legislation and experience from financial market authorities could prove useful.”

REWARDS

The rewards for successful power trading are growing.

Volumes in Europe’s main wholesale markets were broadly stable at 9,270 terrawatt hours (TWh) last year, but a rise in prices pushed its notional value up 25% to a 7-year high of 459 billion euros, research firm Prospex said. Total European gas trading value rose 35% last year to exceed one trillion euros for the first time.

“As technology and trading gets more sophisticated, the imperfections and the profits shrink,….but the companies playing the market the best, with the most sophisticated technology, are claiming larger profit share,” said Antti Belt, managing director and partner at Boston Consulting Group.

Germany has the continent’s most liquid power market and very short term trades are increasing, while German power producers and grid operators are concerned about the possibility of outages as the country shifts to renewables.

In-country and cross-border capacity is an issue, and with a population exceeding 83 million, Germany has around 14 times as many people to worry about than its northern neighbor Denmark.

There, so far, the experience has been good.

“Denmark … is now widely recognized as a global leader in integrating variable renewable energy while at the same time maintaining a highly reliable and secure electrical power grid,” the International Energy Agency said.

At Danske Commodities, the average age of the 300 employees is 33 and 73% have a master’s degree or higher – some even in cosmology and nanophysics. A talent pool for it and other firms lies on the doorstep.

Deutsche Bank careers end in an envelope, a hug and a cab ride

HONG KONG/LONDON/NEW YORK ( ) – Summoned by HR to be handed a Deutsche Bank envelope, many of its staff across the world then left their desks for the last time on Monday, shown the door by their German employer within hours of a restructuring announcement.

Deutsche Bank confirmed on Sunday that it was closing huge parts of its trading businesses, with staff in its equities division in Sydney and Hong Kong among the first to be told their roles would go.

“If you have a job for me, please let me know,” said a banker leaving the Hong Kong office on Monday.

Staff leaving in Hong Kong were holding envelopes with the bank’s logo. Three employees took a picture of themselves beside a Deutsche Bank sign outside, hugged and then hailed a taxi.

“They give you this packet and you are out of the building,” said one equities trader.

“The equities market is not that great so I may not find a similar job, but I have to deal with it,” said another.

At the bank’s Wall Street office, staff impacted by the cuts were summoned to the cafeteria to learn of their fate. A notice inside the building’上海夜生活论坛s lobby told staff the cafeteria would be closed until 11.30 a.m. EST.

Hundreds of staff were informed during the meetings that their positions were being cut, sources within the bank told . They also received details of their redundancy packages. One source said staff could be seen saying their goodbyes to colleagues upon leaving the cafeteria.

Speaking outside the bank’s office, one employee told the cuts had been anticipated for weeks.

“People have been planning their next moves but it’s a tough market,” the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another employee, who asked not to be named, said the bank held a short meeting in its auditorium at 9.30 a.m. EST to inform staff of the cutbacks. He said he was later handed an envelope informing him of his redundancy. The staffer said he and his colleagues had known the impending cuts were likely for the past couple of weeks.

Deutsche Bank plans to close all of its equity trading business and cut some parts of its fixed income operations, in an overhaul expected to lead to 18,000 job cuts.

Some of those roles will be cut immediately, while some staff will be kept on for longer while they help wind down operations.

A few hours after the Hong Kong staff left, workers were seen leaving Deutsche Bank’s office in the City of London, which along with New York is expected to bear the brunt of the cuts, carrying similar envelopes.

“I was terminated this morning, there was a very quick meeting and that was it,” said one IT worker, who left while Deutsche Bank chief executive Christian Sewing was inside the building doing a call with the media.

Few staff wanted to speak outside the bank’s London office, but trade was picking up at the nearby Balls Brothers pub around lunchtime.

“I got laid off, where else would I go,” said a man who had just lost his job in equity sales.

FAR-FLUNG CUTS

The layoffs were going beyond the major financial centers.

A Deutsche Bank employee in Bengaluru told that he and several colleagues were told first thing that their jobs were going.

“We were informed that our jobs have become redundant and handed over our letters and given approximately a month’s salary,” he said.

“The mood is pretty hopeless right now, especially (among)people who are single-earners or have big financial burdens such as loans to pay,” he added.

Deutsche spokespeople in Hong Kong and London declined to comment on specific details about the number of departures, but said they would try to support people being made redundant.

For those losing their jobs in equities, finding a new one could prove difficult, with the industry still grappling with higher costs from new European regulations on share trading.

“The job market in equities is going to be very tough,” said George Kuznetsov head of research and analytics at Coalition, which analyses the investment banking industry.

“Our expectations if for equities sales and trading revenues falling 7-8% this year and that of course is going to put a lot of halts into the hiring across most of the brokers”.

For Deutsche Bank staff whose jobs are safe for now, there was some relief, but also big doubts about the future.

“The biggest question for us is where do we go from here if we don’t offer the whole suite of products? Will clients stick with us or is the game over?” said a Singapore banker who remains in his job.

Oil climbs on Iran tensions, stocks edge back from seven-week highs

NEW YORK ( ) – Oil prices added to recent gains on Friday on fears any U.S. military attack on Iran would disrupt flows of crude from the Middle East, while a gauge of global stock markets edged back from seven-week highs following a run-up spurred by optimism over monetary policy.

Gold prices rose to near six-year highs. The dollar fell to a three-month low against a basket of currencies.

Central banks have dominated economic news this week, with the Federal Reserve signaling the potential for a U.S. interest rate cut later this year and the European Central Bank hinting at stimulus measures.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.10%, after a day earlier reaching its highest since May 1.

U.S.-China trade tensions were also in focus ahead of an expected meeting between the countries’ two leaders next week at a G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan.

U.S. stocks were supported by news that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called off a planned China speech that had been initially cast as a sequel to a blistering broadside he delivered in October, a move aimed at averting increasing tensions with Beijing.

“Having an accommodative interest rate outlook is a positive for the markets, but now investors are looking for direction on trade,” said Christopher O’Keefe, portfolio manager at Logan Capital Management in Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

“For the market to meaningfully move forward from here you have to have some positive outcome on trade.”

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 33.84 points, or 0.13%, to 26,719.33, the S&P 500 lost 3.68 points, or 0.12%, to 2,950.5 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 19.63 points, or 0.24%, to 8,031.71.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 0.36%.

Trump said he had aborted a military strike on Iran because such a response to Tehran’s downing of an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone would have caused a disproportionate loss of life.

Spot gold a上海夜生活网dded 0.8% to $1,399.05 an ounce, surpassing the $1,400 level during the session.

“There is a perfect mix of ingredients for gold’s rush to the top – a weak macroeconomic environment, low bond yields, soft dollar and rising geopolitical tensions,” said Howie Lee, an economist at OCBC Bank.

Oil futures rallied on fears of disruption to flows in the Middle East, which provides more than a fifth of the world’s oil output.

U.S. crude settled up 0.6% at $57.43 a barrel, and Brent settled at $65.20, up 1.2%.

Government bond yields in the United States and Europe rose but remained near record or multi-year lows after the dovish statements from the central banks.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes last fell 17/32 in price to yield 2.0591%, from 2.001% late on Thursday.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of currencies, fell 0.44%, falling to a three-month low, with the euro up 0.66% to $1.1366.

GM to invest $150 million to boost heavy-duty pickup truck production

FLINT, Mich. ( ) – General Motors Co president Mark Reuss said on Wednesday that the automaker is investing about $150 million at its Flint Assembly plant, Michigan, to boost production of heavy duty trucks by another 40,000 vehicles a year.

Reuss announced the investment at the Flint truck assembly plant wearing a United Auto Workers pin.

The Detroit automaker announced in February it was adding 1,000 jobs in Flint to build a new generation of heavy-duty pickup trucks.

GM did not say that the latest investment would add more jobs at the plant, but Reuss said there could be opportunities to add workers as the launch of the automaker’s new trucks progresses.

GM has been under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump and lawmakers of both parties to add jobs in the United States after it said last November it would idle a small car assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, and had no new products for three other U.S. manufacturing plants.

The Flint investment will include upgrades to the plant’s conveyors and other new tooling, and will be completed in the first half of 2020. GM has invested more than $1.6 billion in the plant since 2013.

Last month, GM said it would invest $24 million to increase truck production at its assembly plant in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which makes Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models.

Sales of heavy-duty pickups in the United States have grown to more than 600,000 vehicles a year, up more than 20 percent since 2013, according to industry data. Prices for luxury models can easily top $70,000.

GM’s Chevrolet and GMC brands have long trailed Ford Motor Co’s F-series heavy duty trucks in the lucrative segment. The new Chevrolet and GMC heav上海夜生活网y duty trucks have been re-engineered to tow heavier trailers, and keep pace in what has become an arms race among the Detroit Three automakers to claim superior torque and towing capability.

White House says it will meet two-year deadline for Huawei ban for…

WASHINGTON ( ) – The White House Office of Management and Budget has told the U.S. Congress it will now meet a two-year deadline to ban federal contracts with companies that do business with Chinese telecom giant Huawei, part of a defense law passed last year, according to a letter seen by .

“Congress has made it clear in recent days the importance of implementing the law within the two years provided, and we will,” Russ Vought, the acting director of OMB, said in a letter to Senator James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Last week the OMB had said it would need more time to implement the ban, which requires third-party suppliers and contractors to restrict t上海夜生活网heir purchases and use of Huawei equipment.

But the White House reversed course after “recent conversations with Congress,” Vought said in the letter dated Wednesday.

“As we move forward to meet the statutory deadline without further delay, we will work with Congress to address any unforeseen issues that arise,” Vought said.

The ban is one part of a multifaceted U.S. push against Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world’s largest telecoms network gear maker, which Washington accuses of espionage and stealing intellectual property.

Huawei has repeatedly denied it is controlled by the Chinese government, military or intelligence services. It has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government over the restrictions in the defense policy bill.

The defense law, called the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), placed a broad ban on the use of federal money to purchase products from Huawei, citing national security concerns.

It included a ban on direct federal purchases of Huawei equipment, which will take effect this year.

Nissan CEO got higher stock-linked bonus after payout date changed,…

TOKYO ( ) – Nissan Motor Co Ltd Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa was granted an exception in 2013 to reschedule a stock-linked bonus that bumped up the payout by 47 million yen ($432,382), former Representative Director Greg Kelly told magazine Bungei Shunju.

In his first interview since his November arrest for alleged financial misconduct, Kelly told the Japanese monthly that Saikawa was due to get a stock appreciation rights (SAR) payment pegged to Nissan’s share price on May 14, 2013, but got it based on a higher price a week later.

“An exception was made and he was the beneficiary of that exception,” Bungei Shunju quoted Kelly as saying, in excerpts it translated into English and provided to . “I don’t know of any other time that an exception was made to do that.”

Kelly’s lawyer, Yoichi Kitamura, was unavailable for comment. was unable to contact Kelly directly.

Nissan spokesman Nick Maxfield said, “We have no comment on the details of Kelly’s interview at this time.”

Kelly’s comments may raise questions about Saikawa’s push for improved corporate governance as he prepares to face shareholders at an annual meeting this month, amid a plunge in profit that has underscored his struggle to lead Nissan following the arrest and ouster of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn.

Kelly has been charged with helping Ghosn hide around 9 billion yen in compensation. Both men deny wrongdoing.

Ghosn also faces charges that he enriched himself at the expense of Nissan, and Saikawa has said the Japanese automaker may claim damages from his former mentor.

Kelly in the interview did not say how he was aware of the exception or who authorized it. He did not claim any illegality on the part of Saikawa or Nissan, nor discuss the possible prevalence of such practices in corporate Japan.

Since taking the lead at Nissan, Saikawa has worked to improve governance while navigating fraught relations with French majority shareholder Renault SA. Ghosn, as chairman of both automakers, had favored a merger before his ouster, while Saikawa had opposed, sources have told 上海夜生活 .

On Monday, Renault signaled it would block Nissan’s planned governance reforms unless it gets more say in them, a demand which Nissan called “most regrettable” and which one source derided as a potential conflict of interest.

In his interview, Bungei Shunju quoted Kelly as saying Saikawa helped create an agreement to pay Ghosn millions of dollars in income after he retired to retain him as an advisor and keep him from working at one of Nissan’s competitors.

Ghosn, Kelly and Nissan have been charged for understating Ghosn’s salary in agreeing to post-employment payments.

“We didn’t violate the law, we were trying to protect Nissan in a way that was lawful, which was to retain a talented top executive,” Bungei Shunju quoted Kelly as saying. “Saikawa signed the document, he was the only one. He signed it and gave it to me and I gave it to Mr. Ghosn.”

Kelly, who has lived in Tokyo since his Christmas Day release on bail, is expected to go to trial early next year alongside Ghosn.

Ghosn, who has been detained and bailed twice, also faces charges related to a $5 million payment received from a Middle East Nissan dealership, and for temporarily transferring personal financial losses to his employer’s books.

($1 = 108.7000 yen)

Australia’s Telstra planning to cut 10,000 contractor jobs in two…

SYDNEY ( ) – Australia’s biggest telecommunications provider Telstra Corp Ltd plans to cut a quarter of its contractors in two years, its CEO said on Tuesday, a reduction of 10,000 people on its payroll and adding to thousands of internal jobs slated to go.

The newly上海夜网 disclosed cuts show the extent of the company’s focus on lowering overheads as cut-throat competition and new technology put pressure on its mainstay fixed-line businesses.

The announcement came a week after the former government utility brought forward a plan to cut a quarter of its internal workforce, or 8,000 jobs, and forecast a A$500 million ($348.9 million) writedown on its ageing data-storage assets.

“Over the past year we have also reduced our indirect workforce by 5,000 and we would anticipate reducing this further by over 25% in the next two years,” Telstra CEO Andy Penn said at an investor conference.

Penn did not specify the number of jobs, but a Telstra spokesman referred to Penn’s comments earlier in 2019 when he said Telstra had 40,000 “industry partners who provide technology, consultancy and other services”.

“The human dimension of these numbers is very challenging,” Penn added in the speech on Tuesday.

Telstra announced its job-cut plan last June and last week said it will have shed about 6,000 internal jobs, from 8,000 jobs it plans to cut, by the end of the financial year to June, bringing forward A$200 million in restructuring costs.

The telco then added that it would take another A$350 million in restructuring charges in the following financial year.

Telstra shares were up 1.8% on afternoon trading, while the broader sharemarket was up 0.3%.