Trump tells Mattis he is 100 percent behind him after ‘Democrat’ jab

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said President Donald Trump has reassured him of his full support after the Republican president described his Pentagon chief as “sort of a Democrat” who could leave the administration. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump walks in with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis as they arrive to attend the multilateral meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels, Belgium July 11, 2018. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool via REUTERS/File PhotoMattis, speaking to reporters before landing in Vietnam on Tuesday, said…

U.S. government posts widest deficit since 2012

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government closed the 2018 fiscal year $779 billion in the red, its highest deficit in six years, as Republican-led tax cuts pinched revenues and expenses rose on a growing national debt, according to data released on Monday by the Treasury Department. A U.S. Dollar note is seen in this June 22, 2017 illustration photo. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration New government spending also expanded the federal deficit for the 12 months through September, the first full annual budget on the watch of U.S. President Donald Trump. It was…

Trump sends Pompeo to Riyadh over Khashoggi; Saudis may blame official

ANKARA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia is preparing to acknowledge the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a botched interrogation, CNN and the New York Times said on Monday, after U.S. President Donald Trump speculated “rogue killers” may be responsible. Trump dispatched Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet King Salman over the case that has strained the Americans’ relationship with the Saudis, carefully cultivated by the U.S. president. Khashoggi, a U.S. resident, Washington Post columnist and leading critic of the powerful Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, vanished after…

Asia stocks edge up but Saudi tensions limit gains

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian stocks rose modestly on Tuesday, gaining a firmer footing after a week of heavy losses, although increasing tensions between Saudi Arabia and the West have fanned geopolitical concerns and capped gains. People walk past an electronic board showing Japan’s Nikkei average (top R) and Japanese yen’s exchange rate against the U.S. dollar outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, October 15, 2018. REUTERS/Toru HanaiMSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan nudged up 0.25 percent, crawling away from a 19-month trough touched on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei bounced…

Bankruptcy judge approves financing to keep Sears open

(Reuters) – A bankruptcy judge on Monday approved $300 million in financing to keep department store chain Sears Holdings Corp open through the holiday season, giving the century-old retailer that once dominated U.S. shopping malls a chance to remain in business. Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in White Plains, New York earlier on Monday with a plan to close about 142 of its 700 stores by year-end and sell its best-performing stores in an auction in January to a buyer that will keep them operational. The bankruptcy filing…

Trump sees Michael’s wrath, rescuers search for bodies

LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (Reuters) – President Donald Trump got a first-hand look on Monday at the “total devastation” that Hurricane Michael brought to Florida, as rescuers searched for scores of missing and hundreds of thousands of residents remained without electricity. Trump and first lady Melania Trump passed out bottles of water at an aid center in Lynn Haven, a city of about 18,500 people near Panama City in northwestern Florida, after taking a helicopter flight from Eglin Air Force Base about 100 miles (160 km) to the west. “To see…

Sears, once a retail titan, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

(Reuters) – Sears Holdings Corp filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday with a plan to close about 142 of its 700 stores by the end of the year, throwing into doubt the future of the century-old retailer that once dominated U.S. malls but has withered in the age of internet shopping. The bankruptcy filing to reorganize debts of the parent of Sears, Roebuck and Co and Kmart Corp follows a decade of revenue declines, hundreds of store closures, and years of deals by billionaire Eddie Lampert in an attempt…

U.S. government, but not Trump, can be sued over climate: judge

(Reuters) – A group of young Americans suing the federal government over lack of action to fight climate change can proceed with their lawsuit, but U.S. President Donald Trump cannot be named as a defendant, a federal judge ruled on Monday. An U.S. flag waves in the wind on a boat near the Statue of Liberty in New York August 31, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson The decision by U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene, Oregon, came before the case is scheduled to go to trial in federal court on Oct.…

Trump calls hurricane destruction in Florida town ‘very tough’

LYNN HAVEN, Fla. (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump surveyed the damage from Hurricane Michael and met with survivors on Monday, saying food and housing were the top priorities for those hit in Florida’s storm-ravaged Panhandle. “To see this personally is very tough – total devastation,” Trump said in Lynn Haven, a city of about 18,500 people near Panama City in northwestern Florida that was his first stop. Trump and first lady Melania Trump passed out bottles of water at an aid center after taking a helicopter ride into the…

State of Play: Tightening Arizona race threatens Democrats’ slim Senate hopes

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Reuters) – For most of this year, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona has run what has been viewed widely as one of the best races in the nation. But with less than a month to go to Election Day, there are doubts whether she can make it across the finish line. Martha McSally greets her supporters on election night after winning the Republican primary for the open U.S. Senate seat in Tempe, Arizona, U.S. August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Nicole Neri Her matchup with Republican Martha McSally…

Trump, first lady arrive in hurricane-ravaged Florida Panhandle

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump traveled to Florida’s storm-ravaged Panhandle on Monday to see the destruction caused by deadly Hurricane Michael. The president and first lady arrived at Eglin Air Force Base in the Panhandle, Florida’s northwestern region, and were to check out part of Georgia that also was hit by Michael before returning to the White House on Monday evening, the White House said. Trump last month visited North and South Carolina after they were hit by Hurricane…

Senator Warren, mocked by Trump as ‘Pocahontas,’ releases DNA test

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has released a DNA test that shows “strong evidence” she has Native-American heritage, a smackdown of President Donald Trump’s ridicule of her as “fake Pocahontas” while she signals a possible 2020 presidential run. Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, said last month she would take a “hard look” at running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican Trump in 2020. She and Trump clashed frequently through the 2016 presidential campaign and Trump has cast aspersions on her claim to Native-American ancestry. “When I decided to…

Trump says he spoke with Saudi king, sending Pompeo for meeting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he has spoken with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman about missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and that he was sending U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with the king immediately. U.S. President Donald Trump rallies with supporters at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Lebanon, Ohio, U.S., October 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan ErnstTrump also said Salman denied “any knowledge of whatever may have happened” to Khashoggi, who disappeared after he went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, and…

Saudi king orders probe in Khashoggi case, Turkey to search consulate

ANKARA/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Monday ordered an internal probe into the unexplained disappearance of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a joint Turkish-Saudi team was set to search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was last seen on Oct. 2. A Turkish diplomatic source said investigators would inspect the consulate on Monday afternoon, following delays last week when the two countries agreed to work together to find out what happened to Khashoggi, a critic of the Kingdom’s policies. “The King has ordered the Public Prosecutor to…

Asian shares resume decline, Saudi tensions lift oil prices

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares slipped on Monday as worries over Sino-U.S. trade disputes, a possible slowdown in the Chinese economy and higher U.S. borrowing costs tempered optimism despite a rebound in global equities late last week. People walk past an electronic board showing Japan’s Nikkei average (top R) and Japanese yen’s exchange rate against the U.S. dollar outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, October 15, 2018. REUTERS/Toru HanaiSpreadbetters expected European stocks to open mixed, with Britain’s FTSE .FTSE edging up 0.15 percent, Germany’s DAX .GDAXI dipping 0.1 percent and…

North, South Korea agree to reconnect roads, rail amid U.S. concern over easing sanctions

SEOUL (Reuters) – North and South Korea agreed on Monday to begin reconnecting rail and road links, another step in an improving relationship that has raised U.S. concern about the possible undermining of its bid to press the North to give up its nuclear program. FILE PHOTO: Head of the North Korean delegation, Ri Son Gwon shakes hands with South Korean counterpart Cho Myoung-gyon as they exchange documents after their meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, South Korea, January 9, 2018.…

Kangaroo attacks couple in northeastern Australia, injures woman

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian wildlife carers Jim and Linda Smith are lucky to be alive, an ambulance official said, after they were attacked by a kangaroo in northeastern Queensland state. The Smiths were feeding wild kangaroos on their property in the Darling Downs when a grey kangaroo buck struck out at Jim Smith, knocking him to the ground. The kangaroo attacked his wife, Linda, when she ran to help him, leaving her with a collapsed lung, broken ribs, cuts and scratches. “It’s scary, it knocked me over once or twice…

Honduran migrant group grows, heading for United States

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – A growing group of more than 1,500 Honduran migrants headed for the United States moved toward the Guatemalan border on Sunday, witnesses and organizers said. Thousands of Hondurans fleeing poverty and violence move in a caravan toward the United States, in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras October 14, 2018. REUTERS/ Jorge Cabrera The migrants, who included families of adults and children, and women carrying babies, began a march on Saturday from the violent northern city of San Pedro Sula, days after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called…

Asian shares resume descent, oil prices up on Saudi tensions

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares slipped on Monday as worries over Sino-U.S. trade disputes, a possible slowdown in the Chinese economy and higher U.S. borrowing costs tempered optimism despite a rebound in global equities late last week. A man in a business building is reflected on an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-HoonNot helping the mood, oil prices jumped and Saudi Arabian shares tumbled on rising diplomatic tensions between Riyadh and the West after the monarchy warned against threats to punish…

Asian shares slip on lingering trade, U.S. rates worries

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares slipped on Monday as worries over Sino-U.S. trade disputes, a possible slowdown in the Chinese economy and higher U.S. borrowing costs tempered optimism despite a rebound in global equities late last week. A man in a business building is reflected on an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-HoonNot helping the mood, oil prices jumped and Saudi Arabian shares tumbled on rising diplomatic tensions between Riyadh and the West after the monarchy warned against threats to punish…

More dead expected in destroyed Florida Panhandle towns after Michael

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) – Dozens of people remained missing on Sunday in Florida Panhandle communities reduced to ruins by Hurricane Michael as rescuers said they expected the death toll to rise and survivors grappled with power outages and shortages of food and water. Already at least 18 deaths in four states have been blamed on the hurricane as rescue crews using cadaver dogs and heavy equipment searched through collapsed homes in small towns such as Mexico Beach and Panama City for more victims. So far one person has been…

Stand up to EU bullies, UK’s ex-foreign minister Johnson says

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain must stand up to bullies in the European Union and press for a “super Canada” free trade deal, former foreign minister Boris Johnson said, increasing pressure on his former boss, Prime Minister Theresa May, over Brexit. Conservative MP Boris Johnson walks through his garden at his home near Oxford, Britain, October 3, 2018. REUTERS/Toby MelvilleIn his weekly column in the Telegraph newspaper to be published on Monday, Johnson, who was the figurehead of the campaign to leave the EU, said the Brexit negotiations were entering a…

Brexit talks stall before midweek EU summit

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – The stubborn problem of Britain’s land border with Ireland thwarted a drive to clinch a Brexit deal before a European Union summit this week, as negotiators admitted defeat after marathon talks and pressed pause for the coming days. Britain’s Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Dominic Raab arrives in Downing Street, London, September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Toby MelvilleEU negotiator Michel Barnier said after meeting British Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab that they could still not bridge a gap between his “backstop” demands that Northern Ireland stay in…

Bavaria election humbles Merkel allies, raising tensions in Berlin

BERLIN/MUNICH (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Bavarian allies suffered their worst election result since 1950 on Sunday, bleeding votes to the far-right and the ecologist Greens in a setback that raised tensions within Germany’s crisis-prone national government. Leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU) Horst Seehofer arrives to give a speech after first exit polls in the Bavarian state election in Munich, Germany, October 14, 2018. REUTERS/Michaela RehleThe Christian Social Union (CSU) won 37.3 percent of the vote, preliminary results showed, losing its absolute majority for only the second time…

Trump calls Mattis ‘sort of a Democrat’ and says he ‘may leave’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said he is unsure whether Defense Secretary James Mattis is planning to step down from his post, but told CBS’ “60 Minutes” in a pre-taped interview that the retired general might and that he regards Mattis as “sort of a Democrat.” “It could be that he is” planning to depart, Trump said, according to an excerpt of a transcript released on Sunday before the show airs. “I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you want to know the truth. But General Mattis…

With UK’s May under pressure, Brexit diplomacy steps up in Brussels

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) – British Brexit minister Dominic Raab will hold talks with the EU’s chief negotiator on Sunday, the first in a flurry of formal meetings in Brussels where officials are trying to hammer out agreement on the terms of a divorce deal. European Union flags are seen outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, prior to a meeting between Britain’s Secretary of State for Exiting the EU Dominic Raab and EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, Belgium October 14, 2018. REUTERS/Francois LenoirWith less than six months until Brexit day…

Negotiators reach Brexit divorce deal: Politico cites EU diplomats

LONDON (Reuters) – Brexit negotiators have reached a deal on a withdrawal agreement, the Politico news website reported on Sunday, citing three EU diplomats. Three senior EU diplomats have told Reuters on condition of anonymity that a deal on Britain’s divorce terms had been reached, but others with knowledge of the negotiations said it was not the case. Senior EU negotiators declined to comment when asked by Reuters on whether a deal has been reached. Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Alastair Macdonald and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Robin PomeroyOur Standards:The Thomson…

Saudi threatens to retaliate against any sanctions over Khashoggi disappearance

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia rejected threats to punish it over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, saying the kingdom would retaliate against any sanctions with tougher measures, the official state news agency said on Sunday. FILE PHOTO: Human rights activists and friends of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi hold his pictures during a protest outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey October 8, 2018. REUTERS/Murad SezerThe comments came after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened “severe punishment” for Riyadh if it turned out Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi…

Trump says U.S. would be ‘punishing’ itself if it halts Saudi arms sales

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday the United States would be “punishing” itself by halting military sales to Saudi Arabia even if it is proven that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a chart of military hardware sales as he welcomes Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File PhotoKhashoggi, a prominent critic of Riyadh and a U.S.…

Martyr priest, now Saint Romero, challenged power in El Salvador

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) – In 1980, a day after urging El Salvador’s military to halt a string of abuses that would inflame a 12-year civil war in the impoverished country, Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero was shot dead while leading Mass. A statue of the late Archbishop of San Salvador, Mons. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who will be declared saint by the Catholic Church on October 14, is seen at the Dolores church in Izalco, El Salvador, October 4, 2018. REUTERS/Jose CabezasHis homilies had blasted the U.S.-backed military dictatorship while voicing solidarity…