Showing posts with label world news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label world news. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Google Joins Fitness Industry, Plans To Buy Fitbit

Google Joins Fitness Industry, Plans To Buy Fitbit

Google Joins Fitness Industry, Plans To Buy Fitbit

Google owner Alphabet Inc has made an offer to acquire U.S. wearable device maker Fitbit Inc, as it eyes a slice of the crowded market for fitness trackers and smartwatches, people familiar with the matter said.

While Google has joined other major technology companies such as Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in developing smart phones, it has yet to develop any wearable offerings.

There is no certainty that the negotiations between Google and Fitbit will lead to any deal, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the matter is confidential. The exact price that Google has offered for Fitbit could not be learned.

Google and Fitbit declined to comment.

Fitbit shares rose 27% on the news, giving the company a market capitalization of $1.4 billion. Alphabet shares rose 2% to $1,293.49.

A deal for Fitbit would come as its dominant share of the fitness tracking sector continues to be chipped away by cheaper offerings from companies such as China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Xiaomi Corp.

Google Joins Fitness Industry, Plans To Buy Fitbit
Fitbit’s fitness trackers monitor users’ daily steps, calories burned and distance traveled. They also measure floors climbed, sleep duration and quality, and heart rate.

Fitbit, which helped pioneer the wearable devices craze, has been partnering with health insurers and has been making tuck-in acquisitions in the healthcare market, as part of efforts to diversify its revenue stream. Analysts have said that much of the company’s value may now lie in its health data.

Fitbit cut its 2019 revenue forecast in July, blaming disappointing sales of its newly launched cheapest smartwatch Versa Lite. The watch is priced at $160, compared with $200 for the full version. It can track workouts and heart rate but lacks features such as the ability to store music directly.

In August, Fitbit said it had signed a contract with the Singapore government to provide fitness trackers and services in a health program it said could reach up to 1 million users.

Fitbit in August also launched its latest smartwatch, Versa 2, adding Inc’s voice assistant Alexa, online payments and music storage to the device’s capabilities.

Fitbit is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings on Nov. 6. Alphabet is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings later on Monday.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

JUST IN!!! 2 Killed,14 Injured In Texas Mass Shooting At Party Around Greenville

JUST IN!!! 2 Killed,14 Injured In Texas Mass Shooting At Party Around Greenville

2 Killed,14 Injured In Texas Mass Shooting At Party

Two people have been killed in a shooting at an off-campus Texas A&M University-Commerce party that also left at least 14 others injured, a sheriff’s official through Dallasnews said.

FreshReporters news gathered that the shooting took place just before midnight Saturday in Greenville, around 15 miles (24 kilometers) southwest of the Commerce campus. The shooter remains at large, Oxford said.

He said the shooting began around 15 minutes after deputies arrived outside the venue, responding to reports of illegal parking.

Deputies heard gunshots coming from the back of the building, but could not tell whether the shots were fired from inside or outside, Chief Deputy Buddy Oxford of the Hunt County Sheriff's Office said.

Officers found the two people who had been killed inside the building, he said, and 14 others sought treatment of were hospitalized for various injuries.

He didn't have a description of the shooter, for whom officers were still searching early Sunday morning.

Oxford did not have information on the severity of injuries. Medical City Plano spokeswoman Melissa Sauvage told The Associated Press that the hospital — around 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Greenville — had received three victims of the shooting, all of whom were in critical condition.

The shooting came as the university east of Dallas celebrated homecoming weekend. The event was a homecoming party, but wasn’t a school-sanctioned event, Oxford and university officials said.

The chief deputy said officers at the scene estimated at least 750 people were at the party.

Graphic video posted online showed seriously wounded victims, with at least one receiving CPR as many people screamed in the background.

Friday, October 25, 2019

 Two Dead As Iraq Anti-Government Protests Resume

Two Dead As Iraq Anti-Government Protests Resume

 Two Dead As Iraq Anti-Government Protests Resume

At least two demonstrators were killed in renewed anti-government rallies in the Iraqi capital on Friday, officials said, as security forces unleashed tear gas to push back thousands from Baghdad’s high-security Green Zone.

The protests were the second phase of a week-long movement in early October demanding an end to widespread corruption, unemployment and an overhaul of the political system.

Activists called Iraqis to go out on the streets again on Friday, which marks a year since Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi came to power. It is also a deadline set by the country’s top Shiite authority for him to enact desired reforms.

But the rallies began early, with hundreds gathering in the capital’s iconic Tahrir (Liberation) Square on Thursday evening.

On Friday, many crossed the bridge to mass near the Green Zone, which hosts government offices and foreign embassies, but security forces used a volley of tear gas to push them back.

“Two demonstrators died, with preliminary information indicating they were hit in the head or face by tear gas canisters,” said Ali Bayati, a member of the Iraqi Human Rights Commission.

He said nearly 100 more people were wounded.

There were no reports of live fire being used to disperse protesters.

‘We want dignity!’
“We’re not hungry — we want dignity!” a protester shouted in Baghdad on Friday morning, while another lashed out at “the so-called representatives of the people who have monopolised all the resources”.

One in five people lives in poverty in Iraq and youth unemployment sits around 25 percent, according to the World Bank.

The rates are staggering for OPEC’s second-biggest oil producer, which Transparency International ranks as the 12th most corrupt state in the world.

I want my share of the oil!” another protester told AFP.

Rallies were also rocking the southern cities of Diwaniyah, Najaf and Nasiriyah, where demonstrators said they would remain in the streets “until the regime falls”.

Iraq’s highest Shiite authority, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who has backed reforms, urged protesters Friday during his weekly sermon to use “restraint” to stop the demos descending into “chaos”.

But the real test will be the afternoon when many are expecting supporters of Moqtada al-Sadr — an influential cleric who controls the largest parliamentary bloc — to hit the streets.

His supporters have breached the Green Zone in previous years. This week, he called on his supporters to protest and even instructed members of his own paramilitary force to be on “high alert.”

They could be seen in parts of Baghdad on Friday in a clear show of force.

PM snipes at Sadr?
The movement is unprecedented in recent Iraqi history both because of its spontaneity and independence and because of the brutal violence with which a torrent of protests on October 1-6 was met.

At least 157 people were killed, according to a government probe published on Tuesday, which acknowledged that “excessive force” was used.

A vast majority of them were protesters in Baghdad, with 70 percent shot in the head or chest.

In response, Abdel Mahdi issued a laundry list of measures meant to ease public anger, including hiring drives and higher pensions for the families of protesters who died.

The beleaguered premier defended his reform agenda in a scheduled televised appearance early Friday, telling watchers it was their “right” to demonstrate as long as they did not “disturb public life”.

But he also said political figures demanding “reform” had themselves failed to enact it, in an apparent reference to Sadr’s “Alliance towards Reform” bloc.

Some have backed the government, including the powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force whose political branch is the second-largest parliamentary bloc.

And Iraq’s mostly-Kurdish north and Sunni west have stayed out of the protests.

Iraq has been ravaged by decades of conflict that finally calmed in 2017 with a declared victory over the Islamic State group.

Thus began a period of relative calm, with security forces lifting checkpoints and concrete blast walls and traffic choking city streets at hours once thought too dangerous.

Restrictions had even softened around the Green Zone but were reinstated as the October demonstrations picked up in Tahrir, which lies just across the Tigris River.

Authorities also imposed an internet blackout, which has been mostly lifted although social media remains blocked.
Chinese Team Disqualified For 'Extensive Cheating' At Military World Games

Chinese Team Disqualified For 'Extensive Cheating' At Military World Games

Chinese Team Disqualified For 'Extensive Cheating' At Military World Games

A Chinese team has been kicked out of its own Military World Games after other countries alerted judges to "extensive cheating" by the hosts.

Originally the Chinese athletes had taken the first, second and fourth places in the women's middle-distance orienteering competition, as well as second place in the men's, during the race on Sunday, according to a statement by the International Orienteering Federation (IOF).

CNN reported had noted that after a complaint by six European countries, including Russia and France, judges discovered that Chinese runners had been assisted by local spectators.

This included onlookers placing markings and preparing special paths in the terrain for Chinese athletes, which only those competitors were aware of.
The Chinese team was banned from taking part in the long-distance orienteering competition, according to the IOF.

"The IOF takes the actions of the Chinese team very seriously," IOF Secretary General Tom Hollowell said in a statement, adding that the organization was "investigating if any further actions need to be taken to guarantee the fairness of competition at the upcoming World Cup final in Guangzhou, China from October 25."

Like the Olympics, the Military World Games are held every four years. The inaugural competition was held in Rome in 1995 and this is China's first time hosting the event, which will continue until October 30.

More than 9,000 athletes from 109 countries are expected to take part in the Wuhan games, according to local organizers.

Among the events are swimming, parachuting, orienteering and wrestling. So far, China is substantially leading on the medal tally, with twice as many gold medals as nearest competitor Russia.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Churches In Northern Ireland Says No To Legalisation Of Same-Sex Marriage And Abortion

Churches In Northern Ireland Says No To Legalisation Of Same-Sex Marriage And Abortion

Churches In Northern Ireland Says No To Legalisation Of Same-Sex Marriage And Abortion
Say No To Legalisation Of Same-Sex Marriage And Abortion. (Photo: IrishTimes)

Churches In Northern Ireland Reject Legalisation Of Same-Sex Marriage, Abortion
None of the largest Churches in Northern Ireland have said they are prepared to carry out same-sex marriages.

The Church of Ireland, Methodist Church of Ireland and Presbyterian Church in Ireland all stated that they will only celebrate marriages between a man and a woman.

The Catholic Church expressed its concerns at the “redefinition” of marriage, but did not comment directly on whether it would hold same-sex wedding ceremonies on its properties.
Also Read:
The Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster did not reply when approached for comment, although it has previously expressed its opposition to same-sex marriage.

However, All Souls Church, a non-subscribing Presbyterian Church based in south Belfast, confirmed it will provide the opportunity for same-sex couples to have their marriage solemnised.

Marriages between same-sex couples are no longer illegal in Northern Ireland after legislation passed by Westminster in the absence of a Stormont Assembly came into effect at midnight on Monday.

A spokesperson for the Church of Ireland stated that weddings taking place in one of its churches or conducted by one of its ministers will only celebrate unions between men and women.

“The Church of Ireland affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its purpose a union permanent and lifelong, for better or worse, till death do them part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side,” added the spokesperson.
The Methodist Church of Ireland said that it understands that the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Act 2019 brought in by Westminster makes provisions to protect organisations to act in accordance with their religious beliefs and that marriage is between “one man and one woman”.

Rev Jim Stothers, deputy clerk of the Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly, explained that as the Church has a presence throughout Ireland, it has continued to “hold the scriptural basis of marriage” even after it was legalised in the Republic in 2015.

He continued: “In every marriage service, the minister officiating is required to read this statement: ‘Since the beginning of creation God, in His gracious purpose, provided marriage as the accepted way in which a man and a woman may come together as husband and wife.
“This is the only basis on which marriage can take place within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’.

“The introduction of same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland does not change that conviction.”

The Catholic Church expressed its concern over the changes and stated that the legalisation of same-sex marriage places the union of two men or two women “on a par” with a union between a man and a woman.

Rev Chris Hudson, Moderator of the non-subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland and Minister of All Souls, warmly welcomed the introduction of the legislation and confirmed that he will host same-sex weddings.

He said he was disappointed that churches will initially be excluded from holding them.

“It is important to put in place immediately the option for churches to opt in or stay out of marriage equality,” he said.

This week’s legislation also saw the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland, but the failure of MLAs to come together and form a power-sharing Executive was something that caused concern with a number of local denominations.

Rev Sam McGuffin, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland, stated: 

“I am deeply disappointed that our Northern Ireland MLAs have, through their inability to co-operate, allowed this abortion legislation to become law.

“I wish to place on record my thanks to those organisations who have supported the right to life cause and would encourage them to continue in their efforts to bring about a change to this extreme legislation.”

The Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Rev Dr Richard Clarke, added that sensitive social issues and the welfare of the people of Northern Ireland should be the responsibility of locally elected politicians, reports

“The Northern Ireland Office consultation on the specific regulations to be implemented in the wake of this legislation should now be a matter for conscientious engagement by all our people,” he said.

“We continue to pray for our politicians, but we pray also for all who will be affected by this legislation, imposed as it is from elsewhere.”
Northern Ireland Legalizes Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage

Northern Ireland Legalizes Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage

Northern Ireland Legalizes Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage and abortion became legal in Northern Ireland at the stroke of midnight Tuesday.

Abortions and same-sex marriages are now — for the first time — legal in Northern Ireland.

Legislation that the U.K.’s Parliament approved earlier this year to legalize same-sex marriage and extend abortion rights in Northern Ireland went into effect at the stroke of midnight Tuesday.

FreshReporters News gathered that until now, the region was the only part of the U.K. that did not allow same-sex marriage, and it had the country’s most restrictive abortion rules.

With abortion now decriminalized, no criminal charges can be brought against women who seek abortion services or against health care workers who provide an abortion or assist in one. All existing investigations and criminal prosecutions relating to abortions were also dropped on Tuesday.

We understand that the final legal framework for abortion won’t go into effect until the end of March. As such, those seeking a surgical abortion still have to travel to other parts of the U.K. for the time being; the British government will cover travel expenses.

Medical assistance will be provided for those who seek an abortion using pills. According to the BBC, once the regulations are implemented next year, medical abortions will be provided on two hospital sites in Northern Ireland.

The legislation also mandates that same-sex marriage regulations be put in place by Jan. 13. Because U.K. couples have to indicate they’re getting married at least 28 days before doing so, the first weddings are expected to be held in the week of Valentine’s Day, noted.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Brexit In The Balance As Johnson Faces Crunch Votes

Brexit In The Balance As Johnson Faces Crunch Votes

Brexit In The Balance As Johnson Faces Crunch Votes

Reuters reports that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face two pivotal votes in parliament on Tuesday that will decide if he can deliver on his promise to lead the United Kingdom out of the European Union in nine days time.

As the clock ticks down to the latest Oct. 31 deadline for Britain’s departure, Brexit is hanging in the balance as a divided parliament debates when, how and even whether it should happen.

FreshReporters News understands that after he was forced by opponents into the humiliation of asking the EU for a delay that he had promised he would never seek, Johnson is battling to ram legislation through the House of Commons that will enact his last-minute Brexit deal.

Also Read: Britain’s PM Johnson Launches Election Campaign

In yet another day of high drama, lawmakers vote at around 1800 GMT on the 115-page Withdrawal Agreement Bill and then vote on the government’s extremely tight timetable for approving the legislation.

“I hope parliament today votes to take back control for itself,” said Johnson, the face of the successful 2016 referendum campaign to leave the EU.

“The public doesn’t want any more delays, neither do other European leaders and neither do I. Let’s get Brexit done on 31 October and move on.”

Defeat in either vote would scupper Johnson’s plans to leave the EU with or without a divorce deal on Oct. 31. He would have to decide whether to abide by a law that demands he accept any Brexit delay offered by the EU or somehow leave without a deal.

Victory, while an imperfect indicator of possible support for Johnson’s deal, would simply open up another opportunity for opponents to ambush the government in parliament with amendments that could wreck Johnson’s plans by demanding a much closer post-Brexit relationship with the EU.

The pound was flat at $1.2943 in London trading. Foreign exchange markets now price in Britain either leaving with a deal or delaying Brexit, or possibly both.

Trump Congratulates Canada’s Trudeau On ‘Hard-Fought’ Election Win

Trump Congratulates Canada’s Trudeau On ‘Hard-Fought’ Election Win

Trump Congratulates Canada’s Trudeau On ‘Hard-Fought’ Election Win
Trump Congratulates Canada’s Trudeau On ‘Hard-Fought’ Election Win

U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated Canadian Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau early on Tuesday after the federal election put Trudeau back in power, though with a minority in parliament.

 “Congratulations to Justin Trudeau on a wonderful and hard fought victory. Canada is well served,” Trump said on Twitter. “I look forward to working with you toward the betterment of both of our countries!”

Monday, October 21, 2019

Bolivia: President Celebrates Fourth Term Victory In General Elections

Bolivia: President Celebrates Fourth Term Victory In General Elections

Bolivian President Celebrates Fourth Term Victory In General Elections

President Evo Morales announced today the victory of the Socialist Movement (MAS) for the fourth time in a row in the general elections of Bolivia, after knowing the preliminary results of Sunday’s polls.

Morales said at a press conference late midnight Sunday, from the Quemado Palace, former headquarters of the Presidency, that ‘we won once more, four consecutive historical and unedited elections.’

We thank, the president stressed, the national and departmental electoral authorities for this new victory in Bolivia.

The ruler informed that the MAS has secured the absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies and the majority in the Senate. Morales said this victory is due to the people’s awareness, and they will wait until ‘the last vote counted to continue with our process of change,’ he said.

On the other hand, the ruling Movement to Socialism (MAS) outperforms its closest rival, the conservative alliance of the Citizen Community (CC), in five of the nine departments of the country, according to partial results released Sunday night.

The MAS surpasses CC in the departments of Cochabamba (55.1 percent); La Paz (52.3); Potosí (48.6); Oruro (47.6) and Pando (43.8), according to the data reported by the Supreme Electoral Court (TSE) with 83 percent of the votes counted.

Nationally, the MAS marches first in the count with 45.71 percent of the votes valid on this day. CC leads the MAS in the departments of Santa Cruz (47.3); Chuquisaca (46.3), Tarija (42.7) and Beni (36.9).

According to the projections of specialists, the numbers could still vary, although they consider the victory of the MAS and President Evo Morales consolidated.

G7 Backflip: Trump Says His Florida Resort Will No Longer Host Summit

G7 Backflip: Trump Says His Florida Resort Will No Longer Host Summit

G7 Backflip: Trump Says His Florida Resort Will No Longer Host Summit

Donald Trump Explains Why He Removed His Hotel As Host Site For The 2020 G-7 Meeting

President Trump announced on Twitter Saturday night that he would no longer host next year's G7 summit at his Doral resort in Miami, but doubled down on defending the decision amid bipartisan backlash.

Trump Wrote:

"I thought I was doing something very good for our Country by using Trump National Doral, in Miami, for hosting the G-7 Leaders. It is big, grand, on hundreds of acres, next to MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, has tremendous ballrooms & meeting rooms, and each delegation would have its own 50 to 70 unit building. Would set up better than other alternatives. I announced that I would be willing to do it at NO PROFIT or, if legally permissible, at ZERO COST to the USA. But, as usual, the Hostile Media & their Democrat Partners went CRAZY!"

Why it matters: Throughout his presidency, Trump has faced allegations that he is using his office to enrich his own business.

The Trump National Doral Miami resort has struggled financially since the president took office, with its net operating income falling 69% over the past two years.
G7 Backflip: Trump Says His Florida Resort Will No Longer Host Summit

Trump claimed he wouldn't "profit" from the G7, but as journalist Yashar Ali points out, the president doesn't acknowledge how a "major global event like the G7 would give his resort lots of free advertising and would likely drive up business."

The big picture: Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on Thursday that the Trump National Doral Miami resort would be hosting next year's G7 summit amid an impeachment inquiry sparked by allegations that Trump pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden over conflicts of interest, says

The House Judiciary Committee had been looking into the president's plans to host the summit at Doral for some time as part of its ongoing investigations of Trump.

What they're saying: The Doral decision was met with criticism from some Republicans, including Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who told the Washington Post the G7 decision was "politically insensitive." 
"They should have known what the kickback is going to be on this, that politically he’s doing it for his own benefit," he said.
G7 Backflip: Trump Says His Florida Resort Will No Longer Host Summit

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), who's criticized Trump for his Syriapolicy and allegations concerning the president and Ukraine, called the G7 decision "a very unusual site selection," per Reuters.

After the G7 announcement, the conservative anti-Trump group Republicans for the Rule of Law "released an ad accusing Trump of using his office for personal enrichment," Reuters notes.