Friday, 18 October 2019

Teaching smol puppy how to seat like a proper gentleman. via /r/aww

China says will work with the U.S. to address each other’s core concerns

October 19, 2019

NANCHANG, China (Reuters) – Chinese vice premier Liu He said on Saturday that China will work with the United States to address each other’s core concerns on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and that stopping the trade war would be good for both sides and the world.

Liu also said the Chinese government has every confidence in its ability to meet macroeconomic targets for the year.

Liu, who is also the chief negotiator in China’s trade talks with the United States, was speaking at a virtual reality conference in Nanchang, capital of southeastern Jiangxi province.

(Additional reporting by Ryan Woo and Samuel Shen; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

Google Voice now works with Hey Siri on iPhones and iPads

Not only does Google Voice still exist, but it's also adding new features. The service lets you call and text internationally for what should be cheaper rates than what your carrier charges. And starting today, if you have an iPhone or iPad, using Google Voice just became a lot simpler, and hands-free-er. Google has added support for Siri, which means that you can simply say Hey Siri, call John on Google Voice or something similar to, well, start a voice call. Or Hey Siri, send a message using Google Voice, if that's what you're after. To make this work you first have to go to...

Everyone say hi too Arthur, our recent rescue only 6 weeks old. He's perfect. via /r/aww

Hong Kong’s leader backs police use of force as protesters plan ‘illegal’ march

October 19, 2019

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam took to the airwaves on Saturday to back the use of force by police ahead of a major anti-government march planned this weekend in the Chinese-ruled city, which has been battered by months of violent protests.

Following a week of relative calm, Sunday’s march will test the strength of the pro-democracy movement. Campaigners vowed it would go ahead despite police ruling the rally illegal.

In the past, thousands of people have defied police and staged mass rallies without permission, often peaceful at the start but becoming violent at night.

The trigger for unrest in Hong Kong had been a now-withdrawn proposal to allow extradition to mainland China, as well as Taiwan and Macau. The case of a Hong Kong man accused of murdering his girlfriend in Taiwan before fleeing back to the city was held up as an example of why it was needed.

Late on Friday the man, Chan Tong-kai, who is jailed in Hong Kong for money laundering, wrote to Lam saying he would “surrender himself to Taiwan” over his alleged involvement in the case upon his release, which could be as soon as next week.

Lam said in an interview on Saturday with broadcaster RTHK that it was a relief as it could bring an end to the case.

She also said that police had used appropriate force in handling the protests, and were responding to protesters’ violence, amid criticism of heavy-handed tactics.

More than 2,600 people have been arrested since the protests escalated in June.

Protesters’ demands have, since then, swelled far beyond opposing the extradition bill, to take in broader concerns that Beijing is eroding freedoms granted when Britain handed the city back to China in 1997.

China denies the accusation and has blamed foreign nations such as the United States and Britain for inciting the unrest.

The crisis in the Chinese-ruled city is the worst since the handover and poses the biggest popular challenge to China’s President Xi Jinping since he took power.

Police have refused permission for Sunday’s march citing risks of violence and vandalism, which has increased in recent weeks as protesters dressed in black ninja-like outfits have torched metro stations and Chinese banks and shops.

Rights group Human Rights Watch said the police move appeared to be aimed at dissuading people from attending.

Demonstrations on Friday were calm, with protesters forming a human chain along the city’s metro network and many donning cartoon character masks in defiance of a ban on covering faces at public rallies.

Lam this week outright rejected two of the protesters’ five core demands: universal suffrage and amnesty for those charged during the demonstrations, saying the latter would be illegal and the former was beyond her power.

Instead she has sought to quell the crisis with plans to improve housing supply and ease cost-of-living pressures.

The atmosphere in the city remains tense.

Prominent rights activist Jimmy Sham was brutally beaten by four men wielding hammers and knives during the week, a move pro-democracy lawmakers said was meant to intimidate protesters and incite violence ahead of Sunday’s planned march.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city’s de-facto central bank, said on Saturday that some cash machines will be out of service temporarily, owing to vandalism or to safety considerations.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook and Twinnie Siu; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

MLB notebook: Harper happy for Nationals

October 19, 2019

Bryce Harper played his first seven seasons with the Nationals, leaving Washington in the offseason to sign a 10-year, $330 million megadeal with division rival Philadelphia.

And while the Phillies fell short of the postseason and the Nationals are heading to the World Series, the outfielder said he isn’t second-guessing his decision to go elsewhere and isn’t jealous.

“No. I’m so happy for them,” Harper told The Athletic. “You know how hard it is to get into the postseason and win games. For them to be able to put it together this year the way they have, it’s an amazing thing.”

Harper, 27, played in four National League Division Series with the Nationals, but they never were able to advance to the NL Championship Series. He rejected an offer from the Nationals, who used the saved money to add pitchers Patrick Corbin and Anibal Sanchez, then bolstered the bullpen at the trade deadline.

“It was kind of the perfect storm for them,” Harper said. “… Not signing me, they were able to go out and get the starting pitching that they needed and the pitching that they needed for their bullpen.”

The New York Yankees dropped an injured CC Sabathia from the American League Championship Series roster, likely ending the veteran pitcher’s career.

Pitching in relief Thursday night in Game 4 of the ALCS, Sabathia “suffered a subluxation of his left shoulder joint,” the team said in a statement. A subluxation is a partial dislocation, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Right-handed reliever Ben Heller replaced Sabathia on the roster. On the season, the 28-year-old pitched 7 2/3 innings over six games, recording a 1.23 ERA with nine strikeouts.

Giancarlo Stanton was back in the lineup for the Yankees, who were facing elimination in Game 5 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros.

Stanton, who played in the opening game of the ALCS before missing three games in a row with a quadriceps strain, batted fourth and served as designated hitter, replacing Edwin Encarnacion in the lineup. DJ LeMahieu played first base and batted leadoff.

Stanton attempted to play Thursday but manager Aaron Boone wasn’t comfortable playing him after a pregame workout.

Atlanta Braves All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow and should be ready for spring training, the team announced.

The procedure was performed in New York on Wednesday by Dr. David Altchek. The surgeon “cleaned out the entire right elbow joint during the procedure, removing three fragmented loose bodies and cleaning up multiple bone spur formations that had developed,” the team said in a statement.

Freeman, 30, hit .295 with a career-high 38 home runs and 121 RBIs in 158 regular-season games. In five postseason games, he was 4 of 20 with a home run, one RBI and six strikeouts.

–Field Level Media

Kuroda says BOJ could ease policy more, still has tools available

October 19, 2019

By Leika Kihara and David Lawder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Friday the central bank could ease monetary policy further if needed to spur growth, shrugging off views that it has used up ammunition to fight the next economic downturn.

A senior International Monetary Fund official also said deepening negative interest rates remained an option if the BOJ were to ease, though adding that any such move should be accompanied by fiscal and structural steps to be effective.

“We think that lowering the negative interest rate remains an option. Of course, given stubbornly anchored inflation expectations, a whole package (of steps) is needed, especially structural reforms,” Odd Per Brekk, who is the IMF’s mission chief of Japan, told Reuters on Friday.

The remarks came amid simmering market speculation that the BOJ could ease policy as early as this month such as by deepening negative rates – a controversial move given the strain years of ultra-low rates is inflicting on commercial bank’s profits.

The IMF cut its global growth forecasts this week as manufacturers felt the pinch from the U.S.-China trade war, adding pressure on the BOJ to ramp up stimulus to prevent external headwinds from derailing a fragile recovery.


Coming out from a two-day meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank heads, Kuroda said some countries did mention that prolonged periods of loose monetary policy have left them with less room to ramp up stimulus.

But the case for Japan was different, he said, stressing the BOJ’s readiness to top up monetary support if heightening global risks threaten achievement of its 2% inflation target.

“It’s not as if we have limited monetary policy space. If needed, we could take additional easing steps,” Kuroda told a news conference hosted by Japan as chair of this year’s G20 meeting.

“We will carefully analyze economic and price developments in deciding whether such measures are necessary,” he said.

While warning of heightening risks to global growth, the IMF has urged policymakers to avoid relying too heavily on already-stretched monetary policy tools in spurring growth.

“There were some views expressed at the G20 meeting that in general, prolonged periods of monetary easing have diminished space for additional easing,” Kuroda said.

“But it’s hard to generalize that monetary policy space has diminished, because much depends on the economic and price developments of each country,” he said.

Kuroda also said there were no signs yet that the BOJ’s ultra-loose monetary policy was impairing Japan’s banking system by discouraging financial institutions to boost lending.

The BOJ said last month it will more thoroughly assess economic and price developments at the Oct. 30-31 rate review due to heightening global risks, signaling the chance of easing policy as early as this month.

(Reporting by Leika Kihara and David Lawder; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Sandra Maler)

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