India’s battered Congress party closes ranks after election setback

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The head of India’s main opposition Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, offered to quit on Saturday after a crushing election defeat but senior party officials rejected his offer and called instead for a major internal shake-up. Rahul Gandhi, President of Congress party, his mother and leader of the party Sonia Gandhi and India’s former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting in New Delhi, India, May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Altaf HussainGandhi, 48 and the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, had been under intense pressure…

Democratic presidential hopeful Klobuchar proposes revamping EPA ethanol rules

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar on Saturday called for revamping the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rules governing how refineries use ethanol in gasoline products, a proposal aimed at the politically critical state of Iowa. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar declares her candidacy for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Eric Miller/File Photo    Part of a series of farm policies that also addressed access to capital and bankruptcy assistance, Klobuchar, a U.S. senator, said the EPA’s waivers that allow refineries to…

How to group video chat on between iPhones and Android phones

Google Duo video chat with 8 people.GoogleGoogle this week updated it Duo video chat app with group support that allows up to eight people to chat at the same time.Duo is Google’s version of Apple FaceTime, which supports up to 32 people in a single video chat call. But Duo is supported on both Android and iOS, making it a compelling alternative to FaceTime for families or groups of friends who don’t all have iPhones. My wife, for example, primarily uses Android, so she can’t regularly join in on FaceTime…

Almodovar and dark comedy ‘Parasite’ in spotlight as Cannes closes

CANNES, France (Reuters) – An introspective turn by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar with a movie about an filmmaker, and a darkly humorous South Korean thriller are among the movies sparking awards buzz at Cannes in an unusually crowded field of runners and riders this year. FILE PHOTO: 72nd Cannes Film Festival – Photocall for the film « Pain and Glory » (Dolor y Gloria) in competition – Cannes, France, May 18, 2019. Director Pedro Almodovar poses. REUTERS/Jean-Paul PelissierThe film festival’s top Palme d’Or prize will be announced on Saturday evening…

U.S. troop move to Middle East dangerous for international peace: Iran’s Zarif

DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday that the U.S. decision to deploy more troops to the Middle East in response to the perceived threat from Iran was “extremely dangerous” for peace. FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sits for an interview with Reuters in New York, New York, U.S. April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File PhotoThe United States said it was sending 1,500 troops to region in what it called an effort to bolster defenses against Tehran, and it accused Iran’s Revolutionary Guards…

Trump arrives in Japan for ceremonial visit as trade tensions loom

TOKYO (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, landed in Japan on Saturday on a largely ceremonial visit meant to showcase strong ties with Tokyo even as trade tensions loom. U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at the Haneda International Airport in Tokyo, Japan, May 25, 2019. Koji Sasahara/Pool via ReutersJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will treat Trump to an imperial banquet and front row seats at a sumo tournament during the trip, which lasts through Tuesday. The two men share a warm relationship, which…

Austria scandal: Lawyer says he was part of Ibiza sting

Media playback is unsupported on your device A Vienna lawyer says he was involved in the video sting that brought down far-right leader Heinz-Christian Strache. The lawyer – named by Germany’s Bild newspaper as Ramin Mirfakhrai – said it was a « civil society-driven project in which investigative-journalistic approaches were taken ». However the statement does not reveal who was ultimately behind the sting operation, or who paid for it. The scandal has led to the collapse of Austria’s coalition government. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is facing a no-confidence vote in…

Duvets discarded, cushions thrown at Japan’s Pillow Fighting Championship

ITO, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan (Reuters) – The Japanese may be known for their neatness, particularly when it comes to making their bed in the morning, but all social norms went out the window on Saturday during qualifying for the All-Japan Pillow Fighting Championships in Shizuoka Prefecture. In the small fishing town of Ito, 150 kilometers south of Tokyo, teams gathered from across the region to compete in the event that has been one of Japan’s quirkiest since 2013. Started by a group of high school children in Shizuoka, the game…

Tory leadership: Matt Hancock latest candidate to enter race

The race to become the next Conservative Party leader has begun, following Theresa May’s announcement that she will step down next month. Health Secretary Matt Hancock is the fifth Tory to enter the race. He told the PCF that delivering Brexit was « mission critical » and Mrs May’s successor must be more « brutally honest » about the « trade-offs » required to get a deal through Parliament. The leadership contest will determine who is the UK’s next prime minister. Party bosses expect a new leader to be chosen…

Extinction Rebellion: Met wants 1,130 climate protesters charged

The Met will push for the prosecution of more than 1,100 people arrested over last month’s Extinction Rebellion protests, a senior officer has said. So far more than 70 activists have been charged in connection with the demonstrations that brought parts of central London to a standstill. Ten days of protests in April saw 1,130 people arrested for various offences. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said the Met wanted to deter other groups employing similar tactics. The group’s tactics included asking volunteers to deliberately get arrested to cause maximum disruption…

Donald Trump: Details of first state visit to UK revealed

US President Donald Trump will be welcomed by the Queen on his first official state visit to the UK next month, Buckingham Palace has announced. A ceremonial welcome will be held in the palace’s garden on the first day of his three-day trip next month. Mr Trump will also meet outgoing PM Theresa May and royals including the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex. The Duchess of Sussex will not attend. It follows the birth of her son Archie, who…

I entrusted my pension to German builders

Charity worker Samantha Hields had saved up a pension of £16,000 and, after being made redundant, was given an offer she could not refuse. A salesman called her out of the blue and told her she could boost her savings by lending the money, securely, to a company redeveloping listed German buildings into luxury flats. « He said it would double my money, and my money would be safe, as long as I was happy to invest it for five years, » she says. She was expecting the money to…

Birmingham LGBT row: The view from the school gates

Protesters have gathered outside a Birmingham school for eight weeks in a dispute over teaching children about LGBT relationships. As the row continues, the views of those at the gates of Anderton Park Primary are varied and passionate. At the heart of a terraced street sits a striking, red-brick building with a spire. A sign on its fence reads « relationships, aspirations, sparkle », encapsulating the ethos of a school at the centre of the storm. It feels like a normal day, except for the police car and three officers…

Huawei shipments could fall by up to a quarter this year: analysts

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s Huawei, hit by crippling U.S. sanctions, could see shipments decline by as much as a quarter this year and faces the possibility that its smartphones will disappear from international markets, analysts said. FILE PHOTO: A salesman turns on a new Huawei P30 smartphone for a customer after Huawei’s P30 and P30 Pro went on sale at a Huawei store in Beijing, China, April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File PhotoSmartphone shipments at Huawei, the world’s second-largest smartphone maker by volume, could tumble between 4% and 24% in…

Trump says considering pardons for some U.S. soldiers accused of war crimes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was considering pardons for “two or three” American soldiers charged with war crimes, a move he also said would be controversial but justified because they had been treated “unfairly.” U.S. Navy SEAL Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, charged with war crimes in Iraq, is shown in this undated photo provided May 24, 2019. Courtesy Andrea Gallagher/Handout via REUTERS Trump told reporters at the White House that he had not decided yet on the cases but may wait until the…

Groups sue over Alabama abortion law; judge blocks Mississippi ban

(Reuters) – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit on Friday challenging a law enacted by Alabama last week that bans nearly all abortions and makes performing the procedure a felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison. FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Flag and Alabama State Flag fly over the Alabama Governor’s Mansion as the state Senate votes on the strictest anti-abortion bill in the United States at the Alabama Legislature in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S. May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Aluka BerryThe lawsuit is one of…

Trump says to consider pardons for some U.S. soldiers accused of war crimes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he is considering pardons for “two or three” American soldiers charged with war crimes, a move he also said would be controversial but justified because they had been treated “unfairly.” FILE PHOTO – U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the news media before boarding Marine One to depart for travel to Japan from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Leah MillisTrump told reporters at the White House that he has not decided yet…

Race to be new UK prime minister begins

The race to become the next Conservative Party leader has begun, following Theresa May’s announcement that she will step down next month. The contest will not only result in a new party leader, but also in the next prime minister of the UK. Party bosses expect a new leader to be chosen by the end of July. Mrs May will continue to serve as PM while the contest takes place, but she confirmed on Friday that she will resign as Tory party leader on 7 June. She agreed with the…

Cannes prize for Brazilian movie sends message of hope, director says

CANNES, France (Reuters) – A Brazilian victory in Cannes has sent a message of hope at a difficult time for the country’s movie industry, director Karim Ainouz said on Friday after winning an award at one of the film festival’s prestigious side competitions. 72nd Cannes Film Festival – Un Certain Regard prize – Cannes, France, May 24, 2019. Director Karim Ainouz celebrates winning the Grand Prix Un Certain Regard Award for the film « The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao » (A Vida Invisivel de Euridice Gusmao). REUTERS/Eric Gaillard“The Invisible…

Novartis $2 million gene therapy for rare disorder is world’s most expensive drug

ZURICH/NEW YORK – Swiss drugmaker Novartis on Friday won U.S. approval for its gene therapy Zolgensma for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), the leading genetic cause of death in infants, and priced the one-time treatment at a record $2.125 million. FILE PHOTO: Logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is seen at its branch in Schweizerhalle near Basel, Switzerland, March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd WiegmannThe Food and Drug Administration approved Zolgensma for pediatric patients under age 2 with SMA, including those not yet showing symptoms. The approval covers babies with the deadliest Type 1…

For Anderson family, an early bet on SMA gene therapy

NEW YORK (Reuters) – When Malachi Anderson was diagnosed with a rare and often deadly disease called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) as an infant nearly four years ago, his parents Tina and Torence had a decision to make. In years past, many of the babies born with the most severe form of SMA, like Malachi, died before their second birthday. Those who survived longer would likely not walk, eat or breathe on their own. By 2015, drugmakers were testing two experimental therapies in clinical trials: a one-time gene therapy treatment…

Uber’s first employee, Ryan Graves, is leaving the board

Ryan Graves was Uber’s first full-time CEO and employee, who was last senior vice president of global operations before announcing he would step down in August 2017. Graves said at that time he would remain on the board during the search for the replacement of his CEO successor, Travis Kalanick.UberUber said in a Friday filing that Ryan Graves, its first employee, is leaving the company’s board, effective Monday.Graves was the company’s first CEO, hired by Travis Kalanick after he responded to a Kalanick Tweet seeking a « Looking 4 entrepreneurial…

Apple bought a start-up that was working on monitoring asthma in children

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty ImagesApple has acquired Tueo Health, a small start-up that was developing a system to help parents monitor asthma symptoms in sleeping children, according to a person familiar with the deal.It’s unclear how much Apple paid for Tueo Health. The start-up raised a small seed round of $1.1 million in funding in 2017. Tueo’s CEO and co-founder Bronwyn Harris and chief operating officer Anura Patil changed their employer to Apple on LinkedIn in late 2018, which is likely around the time Apple completed its acquisition…

‘Off the scale’ excitement for fans as Spice Girls reunion opens

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Fans from near and far got what they really really really wanted on Friday night when the ultimate 1990s girl band, the Spice Girls, opened their long awaited reunion tour at last in Dublin. “We have been fans for 20 years at least…but we have only been to see impersonators. This is our first time with the real live Spice Girls,” said Erica Rozario, 32, from Toronto, in Baby Spice-esque pigtails and a Scary Spice leopard-skin top. “Are we excited? We’re off the scale!” The British pop…

On Cannes red carpet, ‘go big’ is this year’s fashion buzzword

CANNES, France (Reuters) – Enormous bouffant dresses decked out in lace or feathers ruled the red carpet at this year’s Cannes film festival, one of the of the world’s most glamorous stages for actors as well as fashion designers. 72nd Cannes Film Festival – Screening of the film « Pain and Glory » (Dolor y gloria) in competition – Red Carpet Arrivals – Cannes, France, May 17, 2019. Bella Hadid poses. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier As well as oversized gowns, more classic monochrome looks also scored design points for some fashion critics…

U.S. Supreme Court blocks redrawing of Ohio, Michigan electoral maps

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday blocked lower court rulings that had ordered Republican legislators in Michigan and Ohio to redraw U.S. congressional maps ahead of the 2020 elections after finding that the current districts were designed to illegally diminish the power of Democratic voters. The justices granted requests from Republican lawmakers in both states to stay those decisions. The lower courts found that the electoral maps had been drawn to entrench the majority party in power, a practice known as partisan gerrymandering, in violation of the…

China accuses U.S. officials of misleading public on trade war

BEIJING (Reuters) – China on Friday accused U.S. officials of lying to the public about their trade war, as rising tensions between the world’s two largest economies kept financial markets in a state of unease. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang answers questions about a major bus accident in North Korea, during a news conference in Beijing, China April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Jason LeeTalks to end the trade dispute collapsed earlier this month, with the two sides in a stalemate over U.S. demands that China change its policies to address a…

Rocky star Stallone says he never expected to make it in movies

CANNES, France (Reuters) – Action movie superstar Sylvester Stallone told cinemagoers in Cannes on Friday that he never expected to make it in the film industry due to an accident at birth that caused him to slur his words – now one of his more celebrated trademarks. 72nd Cannes Film Festival – Masterclass Sylvester Stallone – Cannes, France, May 24, 2019. Sylvester Stallone reacts. REUTERS/Eric GaillardThe U.S. actor, 72, rocketed to fame in 1976 with his Oscar-winning boxing movie “Rocky” and went on to become one of Hollywood’s biggest action…

Ohio House committee passes bill to save nuclear power plants

(Reuters) – A committee in Ohio’s House of Representatives voted along party lines to approve a bill to save the state’s two nuclear power reactors from retirement and provide some financial support for a couple of ailing coal plants. Republicans in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the bill on Thursday after changing it earlier in the week to provide credit payments to nuclear plants only instead of all zero-carbon emission resources, like wind and solar plants. The state’s two reactors are at the Davis Besse and Perry…

ACLU, Planned Parenthood sue over Alabama abortion ban

(Reuters) – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit on Friday challenging a law enacted by Alabama last week that bans nearly all abortions and makes performing the procedure a felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison. FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Flag and Alabama State Flag fly over the Alabama Governor’s Mansion as the state Senate votes on the strictest anti-abortion bill in the United States at the Alabama Legislature in Montgomery, Alabama, U.S. May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Chris Aluka BerryThe lawsuit is one of…