Nigerian presidential election postponed, all sides appeal for calm

DAURA/YOLA, Nigeria (Reuters) – Nigeria’s president and the leading opposition candidate urged people to remain calm after a national election scheduled for Saturday was postponed by a week just five hours before polls were due to open. However, the opposition candidate, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, later accused President Muhammadu Buhari of instigating the delay in order to “disenfranchise” the electorate. Early on Saturday morning, just as Nigerians began heading out to polling stations, the chairman of the electoral commission said it was no longer feasible to hold free and…

Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’ on brink of defeat in Syria

NEAR BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) – U.S.-backed fighters in Syria are poised to capture Islamic State’s last, tiny enclave on the Euphrates, the battle commander said on Saturday, bringing its self-declared caliphate to the brink of total defeat. Jiya Furat, commander of the assault on the last jihadist enclave in eastern Syria, talks during a press conference near Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Rodi SaidJiya Furat said the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had cornered the remaining militants in a neighborhood of Baghouz village near the Iraqi border,…

U.S.-backed SDF nears victory over Islamic State in east Syria

Jiya Furat, commander of the assault on the last jihadist enclave in eastern Syria, talks during a press conference near Baghouz, Deir Al Zor province, Syria February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Rodi SaidNEAR BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) – The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will capture Islamic State’s last tiny enclave in eastern Syria “in a very short time”, the battle commander said on Saturday. Jiya Furat said the SDF had cornered the remaining Islamic State militants in one tiny neighborhood of Baghouz village, under its fire from all sides. With the help…

U.S.-backed SDF nearing victory over IS in east Syria: battle commander

FILE PHOTO – Turkish military use water cannon to stop Syrian refugees as they wait behind the border fences to cross into Turkey on the Turkish-Syrian border, near the southeastern town of Akcakale in Sanliurfa province, Turkey, June 5, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal/File PhotoNEAR BAGHOUZ, Syria (Reuters) – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will defeat Islamic State “in a very short time”, the commander of the assault on the last jihadist enclave in eastern Syria said on Saturday. Jiya Furat told reporters the U.S.-backed SDF had cornered the remaining Islamic State…

Dismissed employee kills five co-workers in Illinois factory shooting

AURORA, Ill. (Reuters) – A gunman opened fire at an Illinois factory just after receiving notice of termination from his job there on Friday, killing five fellow workers and wounding five policemen before he was slain by police, authorities said. The assailant, identified as Gary Martin, 45, had worked at the Henry Pratt Company for 15 years before Friday’s violence unfolded at the firm’s sprawling facility in Aurora, 40 miles (65 km) west of Chicago, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said. At a late-night news conference, Ziman said it was…

Gunman in Aurora, Illinois, shooting described as ‘loner’

(Reuters) – When Gary Martin came to work at the Henry Pratt valve manufacturing plant in Aurora, Illinois, on Friday, he was told he was being terminated from his job. Shortly thereafter, Martin pulled out his Smith & Wesson revolver and opened fire. Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said Martin shot six fellow employees, five of them fatally, at the sprawling warehouse where he had worked for 15 years, and wounded five police officers before he was slain by police 90 minutes later. She said police had yet to determine…

Five killed as gunman opens fire at Illinois warehouse

AURORA, Ill. (Reuters) – A gunman opened fire on Friday at an Illinois manufacturing warehouse, apparently as he was being terminated from his job there, killing five fellow workers and wounding five police officers before he was slain by police, authorities said. Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said the assailant, identified as 45-year-old Gary Martin, had worked at the Henry Pratt Company for 15 years before Friday’s violence unfolded at the firm’s sprawling warehouse in Aurora, 40 miles (65 km) west of Chicago. At a late-night news conference, Ziman said…

U.S.-China trade talks to resume next week, Trump hints at extension

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and China will resume trade talks next week in Washington with time running short to ease their bruising trade war, but U.S. President Donald Trump repeated on Friday that he may extend a March 1 deadline for a deal and keep tariffs on Chinese goods from rising. Both the United States and China reported progress in five days of negotiations in Beijing this week. Trump, speaking at a White House news conference, said the United States was closer than ever before to “having a…

Mexico to inject $3.9 billion in Pemex, seeks to prevent credit downgrade

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico will inject $3.9 billion into ailing state oil company Pemex, officials said on Friday, promising to strengthen its finances and prevent a further credit downgrade, although investors saw the plan as only a short-term fix. FILE PHOTO: A digital LED price sign of state-owned company Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) shows their gasoline prices at a gas station in Monterrey, Mexico, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril/File PhotoFalling oil output, corruption and high labor costs have contributed to the decline of the company that was once a symbol…

Analyst View: Investors divided over Mexico’s bailout of state oil company

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The Mexican government promised on Friday to do what it takes to strengthen the finances of ailing state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos with an injection of at least $3.6 billion to prevent a further credit downgrade. FILE PHOTO: Clients get fuel at a gas station of state-owned company Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico October 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Luis GonzalezInvestors were divided over whether the plan, which includes previously announced measures as well as tax cuts and refinancing some of the firm’s roughly $106 billion…

Trump declares emergency for border wall, House panel launches probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval, an action Democrats vowed to challenge as a violation of the U.S. Constitution. The Republican president’s move to circumvent Congress represented an escalation in his efforts to make good on a 2016 presidential campaign pledge to build a wall to halt the flow into the country of illegal immigrants, who Trump says bring crime and drugs. Hours after Trump’s announcement, the Democratic-controlled House…

Gunman opens fire at Illinois plant, at least one killed

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A gunman opened fire in an industrial building in Aurora, Illinois, on Friday, city and law enforcement officials said, killing at least one person and wounding several others before he was taken into custody. “We have an active shooter incident at 641 Archer Av. This is an active scene. Please avoid the area,” the Aurora Police Department said in a tweet shortly after 2 p.m. CST, adding that additional details would be forthcoming. The city of Aurora, which is roughly 50 miles (80.5 km) west of Chicago,…

After Auschwitz visit, Pence accuses Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism

MUNICH/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence accused Iran of Nazi-like anti-Semitism on Friday, maintaining his harsh rhetoric against Tehran just a day he attacked European powers for trying to undermine U.S. sanctions on the Islamic Republic. After visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, Pence said the Nazi death camp had made him more determined to confront Tehran, saying it was “breathing out murderous threats, with the same vile anti-Semitic hatred that animated the Nazis in Europe.” Iran’s ancient Jewish community has slumped to an estimated 10,000 to…

After strong 2019 start for U.S. stocks, trade verdict looms

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Optimism about a U.S.-China trade agreement has helped drive U.S. stocks to more than two-month highs, creating a make-or-break moment for Wall Street as a year-long clash between the world’s two largest economies comes to a head. FILE PHOTO: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidInvestors are increasingly hopeful about a positive resolution as a March 1 deadline for trade talks nears. And if the United States and China reach a deal,…

New York state eyes legal challenge to Trump’s emergency declaration

U.S. President Donald Trump stops and thrusts his fist as he heads back to the Oval Office after declaring a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border during remarks about border security in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos BarriaWASHINGTON (Reuters) – New York’s state attorney general on Friday threatened legal action against U.S. President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration aimed at freeing up billions in funds to build a wall along the country’s border with Mexico. “We will not stand for this…

Trump says he’ll declare emergency on U.S.-Mexico border

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump on Friday announced he would declare a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, a move Democrats vowed to challenge as an unconstitutional attempt to fund his promised border wall without approval from Congress. U.S. President Donald Trump declares a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border as he speaks about border security in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria“I’m going to be signing a national emergency,” Trump said from the Rose Garden of the White House.…

Exclusive: U.S. may trim over 1,000 troops from Afghanistan in belt-tightening – general

MUSCAT/KABUL (Reuters) – Even before any peace push-related drawdowns, the U.S. military is expected to trim troop levels in Afghanistan as part of an efficiency drive by the new commander, a U.S. general told Reuters on Friday, estimating the cuts may exceed 1,000 forces. FILE PHOTO: U.S. troops patrol at an Afghan National Army (ANA) Base in Logar province, Afghanistan August 7, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani/File PhotoU.S. President Donald Trump told Congress this month he intended to reduce U.S. forces from Afghanistan as negotiators make progress in talks with Taliban insurgents,…

Russia detains U.S. founder of Baring Vostok private equity group

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has detained the U.S. founder of the Baring Vostok private equity group in Moscow on suspicion of fraud, a Moscow court said on Friday, a move likely to concern foreign investors. Michael Calvey, senior partner at the Baring Vostok private equity group, attends a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia May 24, 2018. Picture taken May 24, 2018. Pyotr Kovalev/TASS/Host Photo Agency/Pool via REUTERS Michael Calvey, a U.S. national and senior partner at the fund, was detained on Thursday, a spokeswoman for…

West ups defense spending to keep ahead of Chinese tech: conference report

MUNICH (Reuters) – The United States led a rise in Western defense spending in 2018 as it moved to keep ahead of Chinese and Russian pushes into advanced military technology, a report said on Friday. U.S. Marines test night optics during Advanced Naval Technology Exercise 2018 (ANTX-18) at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, March 20, 2018. U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Rhita Daniel/Handout via REUTERSAnd U.S. President Donald Trump will likely press European states to spend even more at a NATO conference in April, the International Institute for Security Studies…

Wall Street divided on Brexit: Goldman sees a deal, JPMorgan sees a delay

LONDON (Reuters) – As the United Kingdom’s Brexit crisis deepens, two of the titans of Wall Street have starkly different views of the ultimate outcome: Goldman Sachs sees a 50 percent probability of a ratified deal while JPMorgan sees a delay. British and EU flags flutter outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Toby MelvilleUnless Prime Minister Theresa May can get a Brexit deal approved by the British parliament, then she will have to decide whether to delay Brexit or thrust the world’s fifth largest economy…

Indian PM Modi warns Pakistan of strong response for Kashmir attack

NEW DELHI/SRINAGAR (Reuters) – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday promised a strong response to a car bombing in Kashmir that killed 44 paramilitary that his government blamed on Pakistan, ratcheting up tensions with the nuclear-rival. FILE PHOTO: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks with the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session, in New Delhi, India, December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/File PhotoThe attack on a military convoy in Jammu and Kashmir where India has been battling an insurgency was the worst in…

Exclusive: Alibaba in talks on stake in China operations of Germany’s Metro – sources

HONG KONG/DUESSELDORF (Reuters) – Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is in talks with Germany’s Metro about taking a stake in the German wholesaler’s China operations, three sources told Reuters on Thursday. FILE PHOTO: German retailer Metro AG sign is seen on the steps of their headquarters in Duesseldorf, Germany March 02, 2018. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen/File PhotoMetro and Alibaba declined to comment. The talks are at an early stage and could still fall apart, the sources said. Alibaba’s interest comes after rival Tencent last year signed a partnership deal with…

Pompeo: U.S. aims to ‘get as far down the road as we can’ with North Korea

WARSAW (Reuters) – The United States aims to “get as far down the road as we can” ahead of a summit with North Korea in Vietnam this month, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday. Pompeo said he was sending his team back to Asia in the coming days for further discussions around all issues discussed at a groundbreaking Singapore summit last June between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Trump announced last week he would hold a second summit with Kim in…

‘Forever haunted’ Parkland mourns a year after shooting

PARKLAND, Fla. (Reuters) – One year after the Valentine’s Day massacre inside a Florida school, students and families leading a nationwide push for school and gun safety paused on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the deadliest U.S. high school shooting. School buses brought only a handful of students to a shortened class day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student with an assault gun killed 17 people on Feb. 14, 2018. A moment of silence and community service activities took place at local…

Trump retreats on border bill but vows emergency declaration to get wall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump will sign a border security and federal spending bill to avert another government shutdown but also will declare a national emergency to try to obtain funds for his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall, the White House said on Thursday, drawing immediate criticism from Democrats. The bipartisan legislation, passed by the Republican-led Senate on Thursday before going to the Democratic-led House of Representatives for final congressional approval, denied Trump the funds he had demanded for a border wall, one of his central 2016 campaign pledges. In…

After ex-policeman’s murder sentence, divisions in Chicago persist

CHICAGO (Reuters) – After white former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was sentenced last month for the 2014 killing of black teen Laquan McDonald, top local officials urged the third-largest U.S. city to pull together to close a painful chapter in its history. FILE PHOTO: Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke watches the prosecution’s closing statements during his trial for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., October 4, 2018. Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Pool via REUTERS/File PhotoBut the nearly seven-year prison…

Amazon pulls plug on New York City headquarters

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc abruptly scrapped plans to build a headquarters in New York after opposition from local politicians and some of its would-be neighbors, the third most-valuable public U.S. company said on Thursday. Amazon’s search for a second headquarters, which it described as HQ2, was deemed a massive, year-long public relations success, garnering worldwide publicity and interest from cities across the United States and Canada. Accustomed to fawning advances from municipal leaders around the country, Amazon seemed startled by the brusque, even rude, welcome it got from some New…

Wall St skids as bleak retail sales data clouds trade optimism

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks fell on Thursday, led by declines in consumer and bank shares, after bleak retail data fanned concerns about retailer earnings and led to increased bets of interest rate cuts, with losses capped by optimism over Sino-U.S. trade talks. Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidRetail sales tumbled 1.2 percent in December, the commerce department said, the largest drop since September 2009 when the economy was emerging from a recession. Economists polled by…

Amazon will abandon plans to build HQ2 in New York

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc said Thursday it will not move forward with plans to build a headquarters in New York after rising opposition from local politicians. The company said it will not reopen the search process “at this time. We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and…

Stock futures pare gains after retail sales data

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures pared gains on Thursday, after retail sales recorded their biggest drop in more than nine years in December, suggesting a sharp slowdown in economic activity at the end of 2018. At 8:37 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 39 points, or 0.15 percent. S&P 500 e-minis were up 2.5 points, or 0.09 percent, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 13 points, or 0.19 percent.…