Detroit auto show isn’t what it used to be as luxury automakers from Audi to Porsche skip

The North American International Auto Show kicks off Monday, but Detroit’s flagship car exposition isn’t what it used to be as luxury automakers are going elsewhere to debut their latest designs. div > div.group > p:first-child »> Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, Porsche, Jaguar, Land Rover are skipping the show in an official capacity this year. Even smaller manufacturers, like Mitsubishi and Mini, have opted out. In years past, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see debuts of more than a dozen new models. Just last year, Mercedes launched its iconic redesigned…

Gilets Jaunes stage ninth round of protests in France

Thousands of demonstrators turned out across France for new « yellow vests » protests, with dozens of arrests and clashes in Paris and other cities. Police in the capital used water cannon and tear gas as scuffles broke out at the Arc de Triomphe, on the ninth consecutive weekend of protests. Some 84,000 demonstrators were recorded nationwide, an increase compared with last week, official figures show. The nationwide protests were initially triggered by the rising price of fuel. They have since widened to include anger at the cost of living,…

Rahaf al-Qunun: Saudi teen refugee arrives in Canada

Media playback is unsupported on your device A Saudi teenager who fled her family alleging abuse and got stranded at a Bangkok airport has arrived in Canada after being granted asylum there. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, had been trying to reach Australia via Bangkok but was initially told to return to Kuwait, where her family were waiting. She refused to fly back and barricaded herself into her airport hotel room, attracting international attention. She also said she had renounced Islam, punishable by death in Saudi Arabia. Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister…

Apple AirPods can do a lot more than play music, here’s how to get the most out of them

If you own a pair of Apple AirPods then you might, like me, simply pair them to your phone and forget about them, spending most of your time just listening to music. But there are other things you can do with AirPods, like control your music or speak to Siri. div > div.group > p:first-child »> Here’s a quick guide on a few other things you can do with your AirPods, and how to get the most out of them. You can talk to Siri without ever pulling your iPhone…

Huawei reportedly fires an employee in Poland following charges of espionage

Chinese telecom giant Huawei fired a sales director arrested in Poland on charges of conducting espionage on behalf of China, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. div > div.group > p:first-child »> Huawei, the world’s second largest maker of smartphones, further distanced itself from the employee, Wang Weijing, by issuing a statement that he had brought the company into « disrepute. » It added that the employee’s actions « have no relation to the company, » and stressed that it complies with the law in all countries. Prior to…

Snow storm marches towards Washington, after pummeling Midwest

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A winter storm that dumped heavy snow on the U.S. Midwest, stranding some motorists in Missouri and cancelling dozens of flights, marched east toward Washington on Saturday. Horses stand over a major winter storm which dropped around 8 inches of snow in Taos, New Mexico, U.S., January 11, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew HayThe weather system is forecast to affect an 1,800-mile (2,900 km) corridor of the United States from Colorado to the mid-Atlantic. It started as rain from Mexico and turned to snow as it met icy air.…

Democrat Julian Castro launches 2020 U.S. presidential bid

SAN ANTONIO, Texas/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Texas Democrat Julian Castro, a former San Antonio mayor and top U.S. housing official, formally launched his White House bid on Saturday, entering as a dark horse candidate in a likely crowded field vying to challenge President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election. FILE PHOTO: Julian Castro, former United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, speaks at the Netroots Nation annual conference for political progressives in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. August 4, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman/File PhotoCastro, 44, the grandson of a Mexican immigrant…

The sweater you don’t like is a trillion-dollar problem for retailers. These companies want to fix it

As online sales boom, there’s an inevitable side effect: More merchandise is getting returned, boosting costs and complexity for retailers. div > div.group > p:first-child »> The shift can be staggering. « Shoppers return 5 to 10 percent of what they purchase in store but 15 to 40 percent of what they buy online, » David Sobie, co-founder and CEO of Happy Returns told CNBC. Not being able to see an item in person accounts for part of the difference, but consumers also shop differently online than in-store, Sobie said.…

Anne-Marie, Dua Lipa and George Ezra among BRIT Awards nominees

LONDON (Reuters) – Singers Anne-Marie, Dua Lipa, Jess Glynne and George Ezra are among the nominees for next month’s BRIT Awards, Britain’s annual pop music honors, in a list dominated by young talent. FILE PHOTO – Dua Lipa performs during Z100’s iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2018 concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, U.S., December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo MunozAnne-Marie is in the running for four prizes – British Female Solo Artist, Mastercard British Album of the Year for “Speak Your Mind”, British Single and British Artist Video…

Detroit auto show offers glimpse of future without the sedan. Want a utility vehicle or sports car?

The lineup at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next week offers a glimpse of what new car lots are going to be stocked with in the future: crammed with trucks, SUVs and high performance sports cars. div > div.group > p:first-child »> A quick scan of the expected debuts shows just how important trucks and SUVs have become to buyers. Ford will display the latest update on its top-selling Ford Explorer midsize SUV, which has been refreshed for the first time since 2011. Cadillac will debut its…

Saudi teen who fled her family arrives in Canada

Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, an 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family, is pictured in the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) building Bangkok, Thailand, January 11, 2019, before leaving for the airport, after she was granted asylum in Canada. Khaled Ibrahim/UNHCR/Handout via REUTERSTORONTO (Reuters) – An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family this week saying she feared for her life arrived in Toronto on Saturday after Canada granted her asylum, according to a Reuters witness. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun grabbed international attention this week after she barricaded herself in…

Three dead in Paris gas blast amid lockdown for yellow-vest protests

PARIS (Reuters) – Two French firefighters and a Spanish citizen died and nearly people 50 were injured in a gas explosion that gutted the ground floor of a building in a central Paris shopping district on Saturday, authorities said. The accident occurred with central Paris under security lockdown for a ninth consecutive Saturday of “yellow vest” protests. Large parts of the capital were blocked off by riot police, although the protests have reduced in scale compared with November. “As firemen were looking for a gas leak in the building, a…

VR training by companies like Microsoft is saving lives, money and ensuring the future of VR and AR

After four consecutive quarters of declining virtual reality headset sales, VR for training is turning things around for the industry. div > div.group > p:first-child »> Headset sales for training is expected to reach $2.2 billion by 2022, according to Greenlight Insights, prompting companies like start-up Pixo VR to make the switch from gaming to VR training. Now, VR is widely used to train employees at major companies like Walmart and Chevron. At Tyson Foods, VR safety training reduced injuries and illnesses by 20 percent. It’s also saving these companies…

Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa fought for our attention at CES 2019

Amazon’s Alexa has become the household name when it comes to smart assistants, but its ongoing fight with Google Assistant is getting more difficult than expected. Products can support both Alexa and the Google Assistant, and since smart home companies want to sell products to as many customers as possible, Alexa has been getting fewer and fewer exclusive victories. Google used its massive presence at CES this week to send a message that it has bigger plans for the Assistant, too. Even at other companies’ exhibits, Google deployed employees dressed…

Huawei says sacks employee in Poland that was arrested on spying charges

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Huawei is seen in front of the local offices of Huawei in Warsaw, Poland January 11, 2019. REUTERS/Kacper PempelHONG KONG (Reuters) – Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei said on Saturday it had terminated the employment of a Chinese worker arrested on spying allegations in Poland. Polish authorities on Friday arrested Wang Weijing and a former Polish security official on spying allegations, a move that could fuel Western security concerns about the telecoms equipment maker. Huawei said in a statement that its employee’s alleged actions “have no…

Syria says Israel fired missiles toward Damascus, hit airport warehouse

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Syrian state news agency said Israeli warplanes fired a number of missiles toward the Damascus area on Friday, triggering Syrian air defense that shot down most of them. “The results of the aggression so far were limited to a strike on one of the warehouses at Damascus airport,” the SANA news agency cited a military source as saying. The attack took place at 11:15 p.m.(2115 GMT), it said. Syrian state media broadcast footage of what it said were the air defenses firing, with bright lights seen…

Trump ‘hasn’t been fair’ to OPEC, Oman’s oil minister says

div > div.group > p:first-child »> Oman’s oil minister thinks President Donald Trump has given OPEC some undue flak. But echoing other Gulf ministers, Mohammed bin Hamad al-Rumhi stressed his desire to steer clear of political animosity with the American leader, appearing keen to give him the benefit of the doubt. « Sometimes he hasn’t been fair, » al-Rumhi told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble while at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi. « I’m sure he has good intention too, he thinks he is representing the people of…

Paris ‘gas explosion’ kills four in city centre

Media playback is unsupported on your device Four people, including two firefighters, have been killed after an explosion caused a huge fire at a bakery in the French capital, Paris, officials say. Cars were wrecked and other buildings were damaged by the blast on Rue de Trévise in the 9th Arrondissement. A gas leak is said to have caused the explosion around 09:00 (08:00 GMT). Paris and other cities have been bracing themselves for new anti-government protests. Some 80,000 police officers due to be on duty on Saturday as «…

Paris ‘gas explosion’ causes casualties in city centre

Media playback is unsupported on your device Firefighters have been tackling a blaze in a business in the centre of Paris after a powerful explosion left 12 people seriously injured. Cars were wrecked and other buildings were damaged by the blast on Rue de Trévise in the 9th Arrondissement. Police suspect a gas leak caused the explosion which occurred in a bakery around 09:00 (08:00 GMT). They have asked people to stay away from the area, to allow emergency services access. In the immediate aftermath, smashed cars and debris from…

Gas explosion rocks central Paris shopping district, 9 injured

Fire burns at the site of an explosion at a bakery shop in Paris, France January 12, 2019, in this still image obtained from a social media video. David Bangura/via REUTERS PARIS (Reuters) – A massive explosion probably caused by a gas leak gutted a the ground floor of a building in central Paris’s shopping district on Saturday, seriously injuring at least nine people, French police said. Authorities were on high alert in the French capital for a ninth consecutive Saturday of “yellow vest” protests, with large parts of the…

Powerful blast shakes street in centre of Paris

Firefighters are tackling a blaze in a business in the centre of Paris after a powerful explosion which reportedly injured many people. Cars were wrecked and other buildings damaged by the blast on Rue de Trévise in the 9th Arrondissement. Police have asked people to stay away from the area, to allow emergency services access. A gas leak is thought to have caused the explosion in a bakery, a French public radio journalist tweeted. Skip Twitter post by @cathfournier La préfecture de police dénombre de « nombreux blessés » rue…

US partial government shutdown becomes longest on record

The partial shutdown of the US government has become the longest on record, with still no end in sight to the political standoff. On Saturday it reaches its 22nd day, overtaking the previous record – the 21-day shutdown in 1995-96 under then-President Bill Clinton. President Donald Trump is refusing to approve a budget unless it includes funds for a wall on the Mexican border. Democrats have rejected his request for $5.7bn (£4.5bn). About a quarter of the federal government is still out of operation until a spending plan is agreed,…

U.S.-led coalition says it has started Syria withdrawal

QAMISHLI, Syria (Reuters) – The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria, a spokesman said on Friday, indicating the start of a U.S. pullout that has been clouded by mixed messages from Washington. U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement last month that he had decided to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops stunned allies that have joined Washington in the battle against Islamic State in Syria. Senior U.S. officials were shocked too, among them Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who quit in protest. The coalition “has begun the…

Mexico City pipeline hit by ‘sabotage’ amid crackdown on fuel theft

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A major fuel pipeline that supplies Mexico City remained closed after two ruptures in a single day, the president said on Friday, as the government works to stem shortages that have frustrated motorists and triggered economic risks. Gas burns off at a stack flare ar the Mexico’s state-owned company Pemex refinery in Tula, Mexico. January 11, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammed SalemPresident Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s offensive against fuel robbers marks the leftist’s first attempt to tackle entrenched corruption since taking office on Dec. 1. Criminal groups have tapped…

Microsoft wins $1.76 billion defense contract: Pentagon

The Microsoft sign is shown on top of the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California, U.S. October 19,2018. REUTERS/Mike BlakeWASHINGTON (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) has been awarded a five-year contract worth $1.76 billion for delivering enterprise services for the Defense Department, Coast Guard and intelligence services, the Pentagon said on Friday. Reporting by David Alexander, editing by G CrosseOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. Source: Reuters

Ministers consider ending jail terms of six months or less

The Ministry of Justice is considering banning prison sentences of less than six months in England and Wales. Ministers argue that short jail terms are less effective at cutting reoffending than community penalties. Prisons minister Rory Stewart told the Daily Telegraph that such sentences were « long enough to damage you and not long enough to heal you ». If such jail sentences were to be scrapped it is thought it could free up thousands of prison places. Some burglars and most shoplifters are among those who could be spared…

Trump stops short of emergency declaration in border wall fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Friday he would not declare a national emergency “right now” to end a standoff over border security that has idled large swaths of the U.S. government, all but guaranteeing that he will preside over the longest shutdown in U.S. history. The dispute has disrupted everything from air travel to tax collection and suspended pay for 800,000 government workers. Trump has repeatedly described the situation at the U.S.- Mexico border as a “humanitarian crisis” as speculation has increased this week that he would…

R. Kelly’s attorney denies abuse allegations in documentary

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An attorney for R&B singer R. Kelly on Friday called a new Lifetime documentary series a “for-profit hit piece,” and said allegations of abuse by the Grammy-winning musician were a “complete fabrication.” FILE PHOTO: Singer R. Kelly arrives at the 41st American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 24, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File PhotoThe six-hour documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which aired earlier this month on U.S. cable channel Lifetime, includes allegations from multiple women who accuse Kelly of sexual misconduct, sometimes with minors. Kelly, 52, the…

SpaceX plans to lay off 10% of its workforce

SpaceX is planning on trimming its workforce, a company spokeswoman told CNBC. div > div.group > p:first-child »> The company said it sees « extraordinarily difficult challenges ahead » and therefore needs to « become a leaner company. » The Los Angeles Times first reported that the Hawthorne, California-based company would be laying off about 10 percent of its staff. According to its website, SpaceX employes more than 6,000 people. Read SpaceX’s full statement below: « To continue delivering for our customers and to succeed in developing interplanetary spacecraft and…

Exclusive: Verizon is quietly testing its own Netflix-style cloud gaming service

Verizon is currently conducting alpha testing of Verizon Gaming, a game streaming service that would represent a major new initiative for the home and mobile internet giant. The Verge can report that Verizon Gaming is already up and running on the Nvidia Shield set-top box and will, according to the company’s documentation, eventually make its way to Android smartphones. In either usage scenario, the service can be played using a paired Xbox One controller. Verizon has not publicly advertised Verizon Gaming or even really acknowledged its existence. Verizon has quietly…