Trump says he prefers rich persons to be in charge of the economy

U.S. President Donald Trump said he wouldn’t want a poor person in charge of the economy, as he defended his cabinet, which is thought to be the wealthiest in the country’s history.

“Somebody said, ‘Why did you appoint a rich person to be in charge of the economy?’” he told supporters at rally in Iowa.

“So I said …. because that’s the kind of thinking we want… because they’re representing the country.”

Making a particular reference to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, a Continue reading “Trump says he prefers rich persons to be in charge of the economy”

Rome to stop taking migrants, says mayor

Rome’s Mayor Virginia Raggi, on Tuesday said that she wants the Italian government to put a stop to any more migrants being housed in the city for the time being.

The migrant crisis has put Rome under “heavy pressure,” Ms. Raggi, a member of the Eurosceptic Five Star Movement (M5S), wrote on Continue reading “Rome to stop taking migrants, says mayor”

Spicer says he let Trump down with comments comparing Assad to Hitler

WhiteHouse Spokesperson, Sean Spicer [Photo Credit: CNN]

White House spokesman, Sean Spicer, said on Wednesday he was personally and professionally pained by his comments comparing the atrocities of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Adolf Hitler, saying he made a mistake and let down the president.

“I made a mistake. There’s no other way to say it.

“I got into a topic that I shouldn’t have and I screwed up,” Spicer said during an event at a museum in Washington.

“I hope I showed that I understand that I did that and that sought Continue reading “Spicer says he let Trump down with comments comparing Assad to Hitler”

Putin says U.S.-Russia ties worse since Trump took office

Vladimir Putin, Russian President

Photo Credit: Slate

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the levels of trust between Moscow and Washington have deteriorated since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

Asked about relations since Trump became president, according to a transcript of the interview released by the Kremlin on Wednesday: Mr. Putin said, “One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved, but rather has deteriorated.”

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Putin condemns U.S. attack on Syria, says it damages Russia-U.S. relations

Vladimir Putin, Russian President

Photo Credit: Slate

The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, condemned U.S. cruise missile strikes on Syria on Friday, warning the move would further damage already battered U.S.-Russia relations which Moscow had hoped President Donald Trump would revive.

U.S. officials said they had informed Russian forces ahead of the strikes, intended to punish the Syrian government for what they say was a chemical weapons attack on Wednesday, and had avoided hitting Russian personnel.

Satellite imagery suggests the Shayrat air base that was struck in western Syria is home to Russian special forces and military helicopters, part of the Kremlin’s effort to help the Syrian government fight Islamic State and other militant groups.

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Roger Goodell says changes coming to quicken NFL games in 2017

Image result for photos of Roger Goodell

Every NFL fan has seen an exciting game disrupted in a familiar way: a commercial break, then a kickoff, then … another commercial break.

Commissioner Roger Goodell doesn’t like it, either.

“It drives me crazy,” Goodell told news Agency on Wednesday. “We call those ‘double-ups.’ They actually occurred 27% of the time (on kickoffs last season). And that’s still too high for us.”

In the coming days, the league will roll out its plans for not only revamping the commercial structure within TV broadcasts, but also tweaking in-game timing, replay reviews and more — the product of experimentation and research the NFL took directly to fans before last season to find out what they liked and disliked, both in the stadium and on the couch.

Goodell said the changes aren’t tied to a pre-election TV ratings dip last season. But he acknowledged the expiration of the NFL’s current TV deals in 2022 amidst a changing media landscape is “top of mind for us on the broader picture” as the league continues to seek the best way to deliver a valuable commodity: three hours of content many viewers still consume live.

Beginning with the upcoming season, there will be subtle changes to the timing of the game itself, including standardizing the start of the clock after a player goes out of bounds and the duration of halftime. A play clock will be instituted after extra points (and perhaps after touchdowns, though that’s still under discussion). A vote is expected at the league meetings next week on a centralized replay system in which referees review plays on tablets, rather than sideline monitors, and provide input to officiating headquarters in New York, where the final call would be made.

There will be changes to TV broadcasts, including less frequent, but slightly longer commercial breaks — a standard pattern of four per quarter (rather than five, six, five and five), each extended from 1:50 to 2:20. (The NFL’s research shows fans notice fewer breaks, not how long they are, Goodell said.) Networks will be allowed to break during replay reviews. At times, a double box allowing viewers to see inside the stadium while an ad plays, or a sponsored break featuring one brand, could replace standard commercials. Some in-game promotion for NFL and partner initiatives will be replaced by more analysis, highlights and other content.

“We have seen commercialization maybe creep into the game in areas that we don’t think is appropriate,” Goodell said, “and we’re going to work with our network partners to try to pull that back, to make sure that we can create that compelling experience for our fans.”

Other changes — including a potential vote to eliminate coaches challenges after or late into a commercial break (another issue Goodell said frustrates him) and an actual reduction of ads and promotions — remain under consideration as well.

he goal isn’t to shorten games, though Goodell estimated the changes might shave five minutes off contests that lasted an average of 3:07:08 last season (down from 3:08:18 in 2015).

“What we’re looking to do is take that down time out, which is not entertaining,” Goodell said. “And in our research, we had biofeedback, so we could see what they were watching and you could tell when they’re not as interested in what’s happening in the broadcast.

“In today’s day and age, we have to give our fans every reason to watch what’s happening, find what they see on television and in the stadium as compelling. Don’t give them a reason to turn away.”

Other frequent targets of fans angle are also being addressed. Goodell confirmed the NFL intends to begin hiring some of the 17 full-time officials permitted under its labor deal. He also expects the league “will be loosening up the celebration rules to allow the players a little more expression of their enthusiasm,” though the competition committee continues to study that issue, as  reported last month, and discussions likely will extend beyond the next meeting.

Further changes to commercials, timing and other areas are likely in the coming seasons, Goodell said. As it does with everything, the NFL will roll out changes incrementally, gauge the impact and then determine what it should do next.

As for those obnoxious “double-ups” — Goodell said the goal is to eliminate them, though significantly reducing them by reducing the number of breaks would be a positive first step.

“You’re always going to be re-evaluating these areas and trying to say, what do we do better here?” Goodell said. “Whether it’s in our officiating mechanics, whether it’s in our commercial mechanics and how work with our TV partners, what we do in our stadiums — all those things are going to continue to be high priorities for us.

Saudi Arabia says Iranians will rejoin Hajj

Pilgrims at the Hajj in Saudi Arabia
Photo: AlJazeera

Saudi Arabia on Friday said Iranians would take part in the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage in the kingdom this year after they missed the annual ritual in 2016 amid a dispute between both countries.

The Saudi Ministry of Pilgrimage said that authorities in both countries had finalised arrangements for Iranians’ participation in the upcoming Hajj season slated for early September.

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U.S. says policy of ‘strategic patience’ with North Korea over

Rex Tillerson [Photo: The New Yorker]

The U.S. policy of strategic patience with North Korea has ended, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in South Korea on Friday, adding that military action would be “on the table” if North Korea elevated the threat level.

Mr. Tillerson began his first Asian visit as secretary of state in Japan on Wednesday and will travel to China on Saturday with a main focus on finding a “new approach” on North Korea after what he described as two decades of failed efforts to denuclearize the insular nation.

“Let me be very clear: the policy of strategic patience has ended. We are exploring a new range of security and diplomatic measures.

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Global Oil Price: OPEC recovering momentum from $1 trillion loss, says Barkindo

Mohammed Barkindo

The Organization of Petroleum Countries, OPEC, is gradually recovering from its worst experience as a result of the global oil crisis, which cost members about $1 trillion loss since 2014, an official said.

The Secretary General of OPEC, Mohammed Barkindo, said in Abuja during his first member country visit to Nigeria that since the crisis, which followed the unprecedented drop in crude oil prices, member countries of the organisation experienced significant decline in their production capacities and output.

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There are no limits, Bolt says after winning historic 4th Laureus Award

Usain Bolt

Even though one of his nine gold medals has been withdrawn, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt won an historic fourth Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award on Tuesday night. He has been nominated for the award seven times.

Bolt won three gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m at last year’s Rio Olympic Games. He had also won the prestigious award in 2013, 2010 and 2009.

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