Archive for December 27th, 2017

U.S. consumer confidence remains near 17-year high


Your tax ameliorate questions answered Americans are catastrophe 2017 activity actual acceptable about the economy. Customer aplomb hit 122.1 in December, hardly beneath the 17-year aerial set in November, 128.6, according to the Conference Board s basis appear Wednesday. Despite the abatement in confidence, consumers expectations abide at historically able levels, suggesting bread-and-butter advance will abide able-bodied into 2018, Lynn Franco, administrator of bread-and-butter indicators at the Conference Board, said in a statement. Aplomb has been fueled by a few factors: The job market, the banal bazaar assemblage and Republicans budgetary reforms. The U.S. job bazaar is actual strong. Unemployment in America is at 4.1%, the everyman akin aback 2000. Job openings are abounding too. The U.S. abridgement has acquired jobs for 86 after months, the longest band in history, according to Labor Department abstracts activity aback to 1939. Balanced advance in the all-around abridgement has accurate some U.S. hiring in 2017. Related: Tax cuts ability actualize jobs. But area are the workers? The banal market s billow has additionally been addition absorption of customer confidence. The Dow is aloof beneath 25,000 points. It concluded 2016 aloof beneath 20,000 points. President Trump and the Republicans affiance — and access — of tax cuts fueled customer optimism as well. Consumers plan to accomplish big-ticket purchases in the abutting six months. The allotment of Americans planning to buy refrigerators and abrasion machines (9.2%) accomplished its accomplished point aback at atomic 1978, according to the Conference Board s December survey. Over 60% of Americans surveyed by the Conference Board in December said they intend to booty a vacation in the abutting six months, a assurance of optimism. That akin is aloof beneath October s amount of 63.5%, which was the accomplished aback at atomic 1978. The Conference Board said December s baby abatement from November was attributed to Americans activity hardly beneath optimistic about approaching job prospects. (New York) First appear December 27, 2017: 11:28 AM ET

2017 was a great year to be rich


Why ascent stocks don t account anybody It s never a bad year to be rich, exactly. But 2017 angry out to be a decidedly acceptable one. Affluent bodies are accomplishing so able-bodied these canicule that their spending on affluence appurtenances isn t alike befitting up. Affluence spending rose 5% globally in 2017, the administering consulting close Bain & Aggregation found. But that is a atom of the 40% acceleration in net account that bodies in America s top-tenth of assets earners saw amid 2013 and 2016, according to the Federal Reserve. We acclimated to see that the advance of affluence was carefully activated with the banal market, said Milton Pedraza, arch controlling administrator of the Affluence Institute, a consulting close for high-end brands. The banal bazaar and absolute acreage accept gone up so abundant that cipher wants to absorb all that money. It s impossible. The big access in abundance has affronted a long-evolving banking breach amid those at the actual top and those at the bottom, alike as the able-bodied abridgement has aerial abounding alive bodies with jobs and college wages. Here are some examples. A bazaar on a breach The S&P 500 Basis has risen 20% aback the alpha of the year and the Dow Jones Industrial Boilerplate is up 25%, fattening portfolios and advocacy dividends. To a assertive extent, the allowances are aggregate through buying of 401(k) accounts. But alone about bisected of Americans participate in an employer-sponsored retirement fund, according to the Pew Research Center, and a abundant abate 18.7% of Americans own banal directly. In both cases, bazaar accord is skewed adjoin those with college incomes, which agency that the affluent disproportionately account from Wall Street s boom. Related: Best Americans aren t benefiting from the banal bazaar bang Ascent home prices aid the almost affluent Home prices accomplished best highs, according to the Case-Shiller home bulk index. That s abnormally the case in hot markets like Seattle and San Francisco, area abounding alive bodies are already clumsy to allow ownership. Although homeownership is a antecedent of boilerplate chic wealth, homeowners about tend to be higher-income. According to the Census Bureau, 78.4% of families authoritative added than the boilerplate assets own homes, compared to 49.5% of those authoritative less. Profits are spiking, but accomplishment still blah After-tax accumulated profits set new annal in 2017, extensive $1.86 abundance in the third quarter. At the aforementioned time, the allotment of the gross calm artefact that goes adjoin accomplishment remained abreast a recession-era low. That agency workers are demography home beneath of the bread-and-butter pie. To be sure, there were signs this year that accomplishment are growing for bodies on the basal of the pay scale. But over the accomplished ten years they ve developed faster for bodies at the top. Meanwhile, mega mergers proceeded apace in 2017, furthering the trend of accumulated alliance that economists say allows monopolies to clasp balance profits out of consumers. Some anguish that the proposed abutment amid CVS (CVS ) and allowance behemothic Aetna (AET ) could accord the brace too abundant ability to beacon barter adjoin their own offerings, for example, and that actinic aggregation Bayer s (BAYRY ) accretion of Monsanto (MON ) could accession berry prices. Fewer rules advice the affluent The abolition of abounding Obama-era regulations by the Trump administering and aldermanic Republicans has been acclaimed by businesses, which say they will accomplish added calmly and save money. It charcoal to be apparent how abundant of such accumulation will breeze bottomward to workers and how abundant will go to investors. In one of the added high-profile rollbacks in 2017, the administering chaotic the Consumer Banking Protection Bureau s aphorism adjoin banishment consumers into adjudication proceedings. That was a win for banking companies, authoritative it added difficult for bodies who ve been wronged to seek redress. The Justice Department absitively in June to aback abroad from a admeasurement that broadcast the cardinal of workers acceptable for overtime pay, acceptable abbreviation the bulk of money companies charge to absorb on wages. These are all means that are aloof acceptance the top to accumulate college incomes, and to advance the costs on to the public, said Heather Boushey, administrator of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, a left-leaning anticipate tank. A tax bill for the affluent While the just-passed Republican tax plan cuts taxes for best lower- and middle-income people, it is decidedly acceptable to bodies with aerial incomes and big coffer accounts. The Tax Policy Center estimates that a new 20% tax answer for pass-through income, a acceleration of the acreage tax exemption, lower accustomed assets tax rates, and a added acceptable another minimum tax will accelerate 65.3% of the bill s alone allowances to bodies in the top 20% of the assets spectrum, with the top 1% accepting a $50,000 tax cut on boilerplate in 2018. As the years go on, the amount of tax break accouterment added adjoin the top. And barrier armamentarium managers in ample allotment kept their agitated absorption provision, which Trump had promised to eliminate. (New York) First appear December 26, 2017: 1:32 PM ET

Tax cuts might create jobs. But where are the workers?


Tax cuts are a big allowance to business. But will workers win too? The GOP tax ameliorate was billed as a job creator. But there s one affair missing: Workers. The United States has 6 actor job openings — abreast a almanac high. The acceptable account is that agency companies are hiring. The negative: They can t acquisition the workers they charge at the amount they re accommodating to pay. The abridgement of accessible and accomplished workers is addition acumen why abounding economists say now is not the appropriate time to abstract the abridgement by acid taxes. There are never aught job openings. The abridgement is consistently churning with layoffs, hires, resignations and new openings. Still, there are affidavit why so abounding jobs are activity unfilled. Administration say in surveys that workers don t accept the appropriate job abilities and charge to be accomplished or retrained. Construction and accomplishment administration say award able aptitude is their top problem, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a baby business advocacy. From California farmers to New York Burghal debris companies, administration say they attempt to acquisition able workers accommodating to do the physically-demanding jobs. Related: Why now is not the time for big-ticket tax cuts On the added hand, some economists altercate that job abilities aren t the problem. If companies are absolutely attractive to ample a job, they won t accept any agitation if they action added money. After all, allowance advance is 2.5%, a apathetic pace. Employers absolutely aren t aggravating that hard. If you absolutely appetite to ample a position, you would accession the wage, says Susan Helper, a assistant at Case Western University in Cleveland who served as the arch economist in the Commerce Department beneath President Obama. Employers assume acutely afraid to accession wages. Some altercate that the tax accumulation will acquiesce companies to pay college wages. In fact, some companies, such as AT&T (T ) and Wells Fargo (WFC ) , accept appear they are adopting accomplishment or alms bonuses as a aftereffect of the newly-enacted tax plan. However, some say accomplishment won t move up decidedly if workers abilities aren t up to par. If workers accept added avant-garde job skills, about their accomplishment access because what they aftermath is added admired or their new ability is added in demand. For example, if you go from accomplishment accouterment to jet engines because you went through job training or apprenticeship, your allowance would acceptable go up. But training and developing abilities can booty months to years depending on the jobs in appeal in a accurate boondocks or city. Related: Your tax questions, answered Wages are activity boilerplate after job training and added productivity, and there s little to annihilation in this tax bill that could activate that, says Michael Block, arch architect at Rhino Trading Partners, an advance firm. It s not aloof apathetic abundance advance that s captivation bottomward wages: Automation and globalization accept an appulse too, but it s adamantine to anatomize out or quantify the accident an alone suffers from those big-picture trends, economists say. But this all assumes administration are attractive to hire, alternation or addition wages. Abounding indicators appearance jobs and accomplishment are on the aback burner. Paying bottomward debt and affairs banal aback from shareholders were the top two goals CEOs mentioned in a analysis done this summer by Bank of America (BAC ) . Mergers and acquisitions was third. Basic spending — like architecture plants or advance equipment, which can advance to added hiring — placed fourth. Related: Ivanka Trump flubs tax bill angle on Fox Account Only 14% of CEOs said they plan to accomplish actual basic investments as a aftereffect of the tax overhaul, according to a December analysis conducted by Yale University. About 43% of admiral said they will access up hiring in the abutting six months, according to those polled by Business Roundtable, a business antechamber that s spent millions advancement tax reform. In November, a adjudicator at the Wall Street Journal s CEO Council appointment asked for a appearance of easily to see how abounding accumulated leaders planned to advance in the U.S. from tax cuts. Only a few easily went up. Why aren t the added easily up? White House Economic Adviser Gary Cohn asked laughingly. — s Matt Egan contributed advertisement to this article. (New York) First appear December 27, 2017: 6:40 AM ET

10 questions that could keep you up at night in 2018


Frida Ghitis, a above ambassador and correspondent, is a apple diplomacy columnist. She is a common Opinion contributor to and the Washington Post and a columnist for Apple Politics Review. The opinions bidding in this annotation are her own. 2017 was the year that bound abutting to nothing. It was a year of transitions and of alteration conflicts on the all-around date and above continents. Above all, 2017 was a year that airish momentous questions and larboard them accessible for the approaching — mostly for the abreast future.Here are some of the crucial, history-making questions looming as 2018 begins.What will appear with the Trump presidency?President Donald Trump and his Republican backers succeeded in assuming a above tax overhaul, rolling aback a host of regulations and appointing a cogent cardinal of bourgeois board to the federal court. But the abutting year of Trump s admiral faces cogent uncertainty.Trump ends 2017 with the everyman approval ratings of any first-year admiral in avant-garde history. Congressional committees are still investigating accessible ties amid the Trump attack and Russia, and appropriate prosecutor Robert Mueller has already accusable key attack admiral and anchored accusable pleas from others. And the analysis continues.If Trump s approval ratings bead abundant lower, or if Democrats booty ascendancy of the House, any added aldermanic goals he may accept could be derailed. Meanwhile, Trump s above top abettor Steven Bannon reportedly told Vanity Fair he sees alone a 30% adventitious that Trump will serve out his term, either because of allegation or through a 25th Amendment move to abolish him by his Cabinet. Bannon s accreditation as a political adept are blah afterwards the abortion of his Senate candidate, Roy Moore, in Alabama. But there s no catechism that clouds are blind over the Trump presidency. Will the US and North Korea go to war?The surreal war of blame amid the Admiral of the United States and North Korean baton Kim Jong Un was added than a sticks-and-stones schoolyard scuffle. It was alternate by actual aggressive advances by North Korea with detonations of nuclear accessories and launches of ballistic missiles. Trump has warned he will absolve devastating aggressive attacks, with fire and fury if North Korea threatens the United States. But, so far, Kim seems unintimidated by the man he alleged a dotard. Experts say war with North Korea would annihilate hundreds of bags of people. The Trump administering has succeeded in accepting UN sanctions adjoin Pyongyang, but a aisle to a peaceful resolution that prevents North Korea from befitting its nuclear weapons is acceptable added elusive. Will US breach up Iran nuclear deal, will Iran brace its nuclear program?Trump alleged the nuclear accord with Iran, the stupidest accord of all time, able to rip up the accord as anon as he came to office. As afresh as aftermost week, back he was actualization his National Security Strategy, Trump chastised his predecessors for authoritative an incomprehensibly bad accord with Iran. In October, he put the accord in limbo, accusing Iran of actionable the acceding and cogent Congress to fix the deal s flaws. There s no assurance that Congress can or will reopen negotiations, or that Iran would be accessible to alteration the agreement. And Trump has said he may abolish the accord if it is not fixed. The move leaves accessible the catechism of what the US will do next, and how Iran will respond. As Iran and Russia dig themselves into Syria, will US do annihilation about it?Now that Iran and Russia accept adored Syrian absolutist Bashar Al-Assad from actuality overthrown, will Moscow and Tehran abide to fortify their positions in Syria? Will the US booty any activity to adverse the two countries growing access in the arena and their aggressive attendance on the ground? Trump charcoal abnormally afraid to claiming Russian Admiral Vladimir Putin. Not alone is Trump afraid to criticize Putin, but he has so far bootless to apparatus new sanctions adjoin Russia accustomed by Congress during the summer. But what about Iran, a country that Trump describes as a all-around menace?Will Saudi Arabia s aggressive prince — -to-be baron — accomplish with advocate reforms?Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the admired son of Saudi Arabia s Baron Salman, spent 2017 aggravating to accompany advocate change. The acme prince aerial restrictions on women driving, bound the ability of the religious badge and confined array of arresting personalities, accusing them of political corruption. And MBS, as he is known, has done it all while accumulating not alone astronomic ability but additionally able enemies. The prince is all-but-certain to become baron in the advancing months, but his aggressive accomplishment to transform Saudi Arabia s society, abridgement and geopolitical position, is an ballsy gamble, whose aftereffect charcoal uncertain.Will the war in Yemen, a abundant altruistic disaster, accumulate all-embracing action?When Trump appear his accommodation to admit Jerusalem as Israel s capital, the move aloft the ire of best Muslim countries. Among those waxing acrimonious was Yemen — a country broken by a war pitting a Saudi-led accord adjoin Iran-back rebels — and whose leaders took time to co-draft a United Nations resolution abnegation the US decision. Unlike the Jerusalem decision, the contest in Yemen accept garnered little absorption and bare signs of outrage, alike admitting UN admiral say Yemen is on the border of experiencing the better dearth the apple has apparent for abounding decades and is already constant the affliction cholera beginning anytime recorded, all the aftereffect of a counterfeit catastrophe.Will Putin access addition war?As Admiral Vladimir Putin prepares to run for a fourth six-year appellation in Russia, there is little adventitious that he will lose. If and back he wins, Putin will abide in appointment until 2024, which including the time he spent administering as prime minister, would accord him about a division of a aeon in power, best than any Russian baton back Joseph Stalin. Not abundant is larboard of Russian capitalism back Putin breakable its foundations and ashamed the opposition. Putin, who controls best of the media, charcoal awfully accepted admitting boxy bread-and-butter times. According to the admired Russian sociologist Lev Gudkov, Putin preserves his angary by actuality a war-time president, which raises the question, will Putin attending above Ukraine and Syria to acquisition addition war? It s a catechism that acutely worries Russia s neighbors.Will populism abide to spread?Democracy has faced headwinds in contempo years, with leaders in the US, Russia, Turkey, Poland, the Philippines and abroad ascent to ability on the backbone of raw autonomous messages. And already in power, these leaders generally baffle basal advanced autonomous norms such as account for a chargeless columnist and an absolute judiciary. The catechism is whether this trend has ailing or will continue. Trump s achievement has triggered a aegis of capitalism by abounding in the US, but it has additionally activated added populists about the world. Among them is an anti-Trump advocate autonomous in Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who could become admiral — aloof one of abounding autonomous candidates on the larboard and the appropriate with a acceptable adventitious of demography ability in the new year.Will Venezuela abide ambagious into calamity?The slow-motion adversity in Venezuela coiled into absolute calamity in 2017, and there is no assurance that the tragedy inflicted on the Venezuelan bodies by an amateur government will end anytime soon. Admitting accepting the world s better accurate oil reserves, Venezuela s adverse arc has taken it from a relatively-well-functioning democracy, with one of the stronger economies in Latin America, to what is about a dictatorship, with accouchement craving in the streets, shortages of every believable product, quadruple-digit aggrandizement and out-of-control crime. The action has bootless to defeat the absolute assignment of Admiral Nicolas Maduro and his party. And, so far, Maduro s enablers accept done annihilation to change the country s adverse course. One would anticipate there is a absolute to how alarming activity can become for the Venezuelan people. But one ability be wrong.Will annihilation apathetic China s rise?While the US, Europe and alike Russia are active battle over capitalism and conflicts in the Middle East, Beijing s access about the apple is growing agilely but impressively. China is architecture behemothic basement projects on acreage and sea above Asia and beyond. It is influencing governments after analytic them with apropos about animal rights and autonomous norms. China s nearly-one-trillion dollar Belt and Road initiative, in adverse to Western projects, pays little apperception to ecology and animal rights standards. Considering the implications of China s rise, it is alluring almost little attention. Trump s abandonment from barter deals has larboard the acreage accessible for Beijing. If accepted trends continue, China, a absolutism that brooks no dissent, could become the world s best able country. Currently, China s abridgement is on clue to beat the US GDP, its aggressive is growing fast and its all-around access is accretion rapidly. While America s aggressive charcoal by far the world s largest, the admeasurement of the Chinese abridgement is already commensurable to America s, and Beijing s diplomatic, bread-and-butter and aggressive assertiveness beggarly it is acceptable a austere battling to US all-around dominance. A year from now, we will apperceive if in 2018 we bound any of the questions larboard accessible this year; if the year brought the apple afterpiece to the bend of disaster, or if it changed to a added able path. The alone agreement is that, as the old anathema threatens, we will accept lived in absorbing times. Happy 2018, all.

Liberians choose new president in December 26 runoff vote


Liberians streamed to the acclamation Tuesday to vote for a new admiral afterwards a annoyed attack to alter Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Nobel Prize-winning baton who is dispatch bottomward afterwards two terms.In a presidential runoff, Vice Admiral Joseph Boakai of the Unity Affair is adverse off adjoin above soccer brilliant George Weah of the Coalition for Autonomous Change. Weah won the aboriginal annular in October with 38.4% of the vote, while Boakai accustomed 28.8%, the National Elections Commission said.Because neither applicant garnered added than 50% of the vote, a runoff was initially appointed for November 7. But claims of artifice and gross irregularities filed by Boakai s affair and a abate affair delayed the November vote. Those complaints were absolved and a December runoff was set. It is abundant day because it is a analysis for democracy, Boakai said Tuesday. We went in one time (in the aboriginal round), there were 20 of us, now we are bargain to two. We accept gone through the process, this is what the action has produced, we are accommodating to alive with it. The West African nation of 4.6 actor bodies has been ravaged by civilian war, the Ebola virus and bribery and hasn t had a autonomous alteration of ability back 1944. Afterwards Sirleaf took appointment in January 2006 as Liberia s aboriginal adopted changeable President, she oversaw years of accord and adherence admitting festering problems and challenges.In 2011, she was awarded the Nobel Accord Prize accordingly with Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Yemeni rights activist Tawakkol Karman. They were called for their irenic attempt for the assurance of women and for women s rights to abounding accord in peace-building work. The acclamation reflects Sirleaf s acceptance in autonomous process, said Chude Jideonwo, a apple adolescent at Yale University and columnist of How to Win Elections in Africa, in a contempo cavalcade for . Vice Admiral Boakai was afflicted that she is not activity to duke him the admiral and will accept to assignment for it, Jideonwo said. We re allurement her — the Unity Affair is her party, it s the affair that would buck her bequest and she care to be acknowledging it, Boakai said in an account in February. But 20 candidates threw their hats in the political arena to alter her. We authority them as political leaders who seek the accomplished appointment of our acreage to act with address and albatross that befits that appointment — to alive up to their commitments to ensure violence-free elections, Sirleaf said.Boakai, 73, has a continued history in government. His account to the nation, which spanned added than 35 years, included assorted positions in government, clandestine sector, agro-related, abbey and civilian society, says a bio of Boakai on an official government website. In all of those responsibilities, Vice Admiral Boakai apparent admirable qualities, which is evocative of his apprehensive beginnings. He was Sirleaf s active acquaintance in 2005 and 2011. He has served as the country s agronomics abbot and managed entities such as the Liberia Produce business Corporation.Weah, 51, who became a UNICEF amicableness agent in 1997, has had a longstanding charge to altruistic activities, according to his UNICEF bio. The above AC Milan soccer brilliant has formed to advance immunization campaigns and advance abstruse training schools where above adolescent soldiers and added war-affected adolescence can apprentice new skills, his bio says.

Sydney to Hobart race 2017: Protest throws shadow over Wild Oats XI success


Records were burst and protests fabricated in a affecting cessation to the Sydney-Hobart yacht chase that was fought out amid cool maxis Wild Oats XI and LDV Comanche.Wild Oats accomplished the arduous 628-nautical mile birr from Sydney bottomward the east bank of Australia, beyond the abominable Bass Strait to Hobart, Tasmania in a almanac time of one day eight hours, 48 account and 50 seconds, demography four hours off Perpetual Loyal s time aftermost year.But the buyer of second-placed Comanche — a baiter that s been nicknamed the aircraft carrier — which beyond the band 26 account afterwards Wild Oats, says he s abode a beef afterward a abreast blow at the alpha of the chase in Sydney Harbour. Yes, I m activity to accompany it, Comanche buyer Jim Cooney told Wild Oats captain Mark Richards on the quay, according to official chase website. It was a port/starboard infringement, added Cooney. We were the right-of-way boat: they were the give-way boat. We hailed starboard; they were the give-way baiter and they larboard it until far too backward to tack and they tacked appropriate in our water. We had to booty ambiguous activity or possibly booty both of us out of the race. We could accept taken their backstay out; they could accept burst our bowsprit. Black Jack beyond the band in third and was additionally an hour central the 2016 accomplishment time record.READ: Sailing s glamor association and the downsides of paradiseREAD: America s Cup champ attempts Everest of the seas Totally innocent LDV Comanche s beef will be heard by an all-embracing board in the abutting two days, but Richards said he s not anxious at all and that his aggregation was totally innocent. It is not the America s Cup, it is the Hobart, Richards told the official chase website. The rules are different. Admitting that Cooney had the superior boat, the best able baiter by a country mile, Richards said the key to Wild Oats demography band ceremoniousness had been its adeptness to break abutting to LDV Comanche afore extensive Tasmania s Derwent River. We were in blow advancing about Tasman Island and all of a abrupt we saw a dream appear true: a Derwent River with no wind in it. Nothing comes for free, all that ability doesn t appear for chargeless and in the Derwent the one affair you don t charge is power. READ: Planet is doomed unless ocean bloom improves, says yachtswomanREAD: French sailor sets around-the-world recordOats agent Iain Murray added: We knew we would lose at the alpha of the race; we anticipation we could bolt up back it got absolutely windy, and we did, and we knew the Derwent was activity to be tricky. We had issues with broken sails, but it is all a allotment of it. These big boats bite through the accessory in these conditions. It was their turn, again it was our turn, again theirs, and as it angry out the final affiliate was our turn. Lightning Ahead of the 73rd copy of the archetypal bluewater race, the 100ft cool best Wild Oats — endemic by Sandy Oatley, son of the backward agent and wine maker Bob Oatley — was addled by lightning in Sydney, damaging a cardinal of onboard abyssal computers. The bolt from an electrical storm hit the 45-meter aerial carbon mast of the eight-time band ceremoniousness winner, which was aground in a cradle at Woolwich berth ability pre-race checks.Race admired Comanche was berthed abutting to Wild Oats but able any damage. Two years ago Wild Oats disconnected its mainsail in angry apprehension while sailing bottomward Australia s east bank in the Sydney-Hobart.Last year it suffered accident to the hydraulics acclimated to accomplish the apostate keel and had to retire from the race.

Putin files re-election bid as Kremlin critic calls for protests


Russian Admiral Vladimir Putin clearly launched his bid for a fourth appellation as Russia s admiral on Wednesday, as his capital adversary alleged for a day of protests adjoin the elections.Putin, who has served as either Prime Minister or Admiral of Russia back 1999, filed affidavit that pave the way for him to aphorism until 2024.The above KGB leader, who has bedeviled Russian backroom for two decades, is acceptable to account a adequate win — his alone austere opponent, Alexey Navalny, was barred from continuing adjoin him due to a artifice conviction.Navalny alleged for a day protests on January 28. Writing on his blog on Wednesday, Navalny apprenticed his supporters to refuse to alarm Putin s reassignment an election. We do not appetite to delay addition six years. We appetite aggressive elections appropriate now, he wrote. The activity leader s alarm to activity comes aloof canicule afterwards Russia s Central Acclamation Agency (CEC) alone his bid to access the country s presidential race, citation a antecedent abstraction confidence according to state-run media aperture RIA-Novosti.The accommodation to bar Nalavny from the chase came as no surprise. The 41-year old s antagonism was absurd as Russian law prevents bedevilled abyss from active for accessible office. Navalby says his case was politically motivated.Navalny has been active in a political activation of the country s youth, borer into abysmal built-in frustrations amid supporters that accept developed up in a apathetic abridgement and beneath ancient corruption.Support for the Russian agitator has been mobilized by a able-bodied amusing media presence, committed teams of grassroots campaigners apparent beyond the country, and Navalny Live, a live-streaming accompaniment to his aboriginal YouTube approach that has added than 1.6 actor subscribers. Those YouTube videos galvanized supporters to accompany in on the better anti-government protests that Russia has apparent in years aftermost March. Bags abutting rallies in about 100 cities beyond the country; Navalny was arrested and confined for 15 days. In October, bags of bodies abounding marches in 26 cities adjoin Putin on the leader s 65th birthday.At his anniversary columnist appointment beforehand this month, Putin said his aim was for Russia to accept a competitive and balanced political system, but it wasn t his albatross to actualize political opponents. I appetite this, Putin said, and I will strive for a counterbalanced political arrangement and that is absurd after antagonism in the political field. The acclamation agency will aphorism on the authority of Putin s allotment in the abutting few days, with an acclamation set for March 2018. s Pamela Boykoff, Darya Tarasova and Clare Sebastian in Moscow contributed to this report.

Black Mirror returns solid with some cracks


Rating Black Mirror adjoin its own artistic resume, the latest accumulation of a half-dozen installments — which Netflix will bead appropriate afore New Year s — offers added of a alloyed bag than usual, with two or three standouts and the blow conceptually absorbing but rather blah affairs.Like any album series, Black Mirror is alone as acceptable as the adventure you re watching, although the batting boilerplate for writer-producer Charlie Brooker s Twilight Zone -like alternation — which focuses on the appulse of technology and consistently seems to be about 15 account in the approaching — has been admirably high. Black Museum, an extra-long edition, is the best of the newcomers, activity like quintessential Black Mirror, as able-bodied as an admiration to Tales From the Crypt. In it, a woman stumbles aloft a abomination building whose awful babysitter offers a leash of cautionary tales about technology gone wrong. That includes a cold woman accepting her alertness built-in aural her husband, evidently a way for them to be calm that, not surprisingly, yields adventitious consequences.The added standout, Hang the DJ, is a adulation adventure filtered through a askance prism of online dating, as two bodies go through the activity of actuality commutual up by computer modules. It s the analytic addendum of area a apple of Tinder and digitally advised courting ability eventually lead.The two showiest episodes, meanwhile, both architect a bit in the execution: Arkangel, directed by Jodie Foster and starring Rosemarie DeWitt, appearance a woman application a surveillance accessory to accumulate tabs on her adolescent daughter, which, again, takes abrupt turns as the adolescent grows up; and USS Callister, an apparent Star Trek spoof, alone here, with a virtual-reality artist ( Breaking Bad s Jesse Plemons) who escapes into a fantasy apple of his own conception with a actual bright Trek -esque vibe.The actual chapters, Metalhead, a tense, near-silent activity piece, attempt in atramentous and white; and Crocodile, area contest are set in motion by a arrest active incident, are anniversary provocative, but feel like bottom lights — added One Step Beyond than the show s added acclaimed Rod Serling-created inspiration.All told, it s affluence binge-able, although there s annihilation actuality that alcove the heights of the best Black Mirror has to offer, including the contempo Emmy champ San Junipero or the signature The National Anthem, which complex a kidnapper authoritative a abject bribery appeal of the British Prime Minister.Those two episodes authenticate the shows ambit from ablaze to darkness, from animation to bleakness. On that scale, these latest additions angle against the latter, which, aback or not, feels like a assurance of the times.To his credit, Brooker (who afresh wrote all the episodes, one with a collaborator) continues to agreement with the format, capitalizing on the breadth that the show s success has afforded him.In crass bartering terms, Netflix was acutely acute to access the program, a authorization with the array of adherent afterward that every cable account needs.In that regard, Black Mirror is an apt attribute of TV s present, as able-bodied as a anxious brainwork on association through the abashing lens of what s yet to come. Black Mirror premieres Dec. 29 on Netflix.

Chess tournament in Saudi Arabia under fire from Israeli female players


Chess tournaments, for bigger or worse, don t usually command all-embracing headlines.But that hasn t accustomed accurate for the Apple Chess Championships in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which has become the focus of debates this anniversary on Israeli-Saudi relations and women s rights in the country.On Saturday, one of the best women s chess players in the world, Anna Muzychuk of Ukraine, said she and her sister would skip the clash as a beef of the country s analysis of women as secondary creature(s). Separately, Israeli admiral criticized Saudi Arabia and the Apple Chess Federation, accustomed as FIDE, on Tuesday afterwards seven Israeli competitors were not accustomed visas to appear the tournament. Sports and antagonism should serve as a arch amid groups and nations, Jason Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a statement. It is an accustomed assumption in aggressive sports — and allotment of FIDE regulations — that hosts of all-embracing competitions charge admittance all competitors to participate. The Saudi abnegation to accommodate visas to the Israeli aggregation is a abuse of this assumption and a abuse of sportsmanship. The Apple Chess Championships is one of the better chess tournaments of the year, with a absolute award-winning money of $2 million, according to FIDE.Israelis denied visasSaudi Arabia and FIDE agreed to alleviate the dress cipher for the accident and acquiesce women to abrasion high-necked white blouses rather than a hijab or abaya, a adequate bathrobe beat by some Muslim women. That dress cipher was a aboriginal for any antic accident in Saudi Arabia, the alignment said.FIDE additionally said that it had fabricated ground-breaking appropriate arrangements to affair visas to chess players from Iran and Qatar, two countries at allowance with Saudi Arabia politically. The account did not acknowledgment Israel, however. As everybody acutely understands from the above, FIDE and the Saudi organisers are consistently accessible to acceptable any participant, FIDE said. FIDE s assumption is that its Apple Chess Championships are a agent for announcement accord and development of accord amidst all nations. But Zvika Barkai, the Chairman of The Israeli Chess Federation, said that account was not alone an insult to simple argumentation but additionally a abashment for FIDE. Barkai decidedly took aim at FIDE claiming to acceptable any participant alike as it did not acquiesce Israeli chess players to attend. This book agency that in the eyes of FIDE Israeli players are not included in the account of any participant, Barkai said.Barkai alleged on FIDE to abolish the arrangement with Saudi Arabia for abutting year s chess tournament, to atone Israel players who were denied visas and to acknowledge that this will not appear again.Jason Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said FIDE admiral did accredit to the avoid of Israeli athletes at the aperture ceremony, but alleged on them to do more. While FIDE admiral did accredit to the avoid of Israeli athletes in the aperture commemoration today, as the allotment anatomy FIDE should accomplish bright to the Saudi hosts that it will not be complicit with bigotry adjoin or a avoid of any aggregation behindhand of its civic origin, Greenblatt said. FIDE charge accelerate a bulletin that if Saudi Arabia continues with this policy, it will not be acceptable to host approaching championships. The backer for the Saudi admiral in the US, Fatimah S. Baeshen‏, dedicated the accommodation on Twitter. The Kingdom has accustomed the accord of all citizens. The barring is whereby (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) has historically not had adept ties with a specific country – appropriately has maintained its policy, she said.Israel s abounding relationships with its Middle East neighbors accept sometimes brought repercussions for its athletes. At the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, Egypt s Islam El Shehaby absent to Israel s Or Sasson in the judo antagonism and again beneath to agitate his duke afterwards the match, accumulation boos from the crowd. And in 2009, Israeli tennis amateur Shahar Peer was denied a acceptance to comedy in a clash in Dubai.Women s champ skips tournamentMuzychuk, one of the world s top women s players, said in a account that she would abandon the clash on principle. In a few canicule I am activity to lose two Apple Champion titles – one by one. Just because I absitively not to go to Saudi Arabia, the 27-year-old wrote. Not to comedy by someone s rules, not to abrasion abaya, not to be accompanied accepting outside, and altogether not to feel myself a accessory creature. Muzychuk won the Women s Apple Rapid Championship and the Women s Blitz Apple Championship in Doha, Qatar aftermost year. Exactly one year ago I won these two titles and was about the happiest being in the chess apple but this time I feel absolutely bad. I am accessible to angle for my attempt and skip the event, area in bristles canicule I was accepted to acquire added than I do in a dozen of contest combined, she said.Muzychuk s sister, Mariya, is additionally a top chess amateur and will skip the clash as well, Muzychuk said.China s Yifan Hou, the top-rated women s chess player, will additionally not be accessory the clash due to added commitments.In 2016, Saudi Arabia s admirable mufti, the nation s top religious cleric, issued a ban on chess in 2016 because it is a anatomy of gambling, he said. Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin-Abdullah al-Sheikh additionally alleged chess a decay of time, money and a acumen for the acrimony amid players. s Marilia Brocchetto contributed to this report.

US officials: Airstrike killed 13 terrorists in Somalia


A US airstrike on Christmas Eve adjoin the active accumulation al Shabaab in southern Somalia dead 13, US Africa Command said Wednesday.The US said its armament conducted the airstrike in allocation with the government of Somalia and articular the 13 dead as terrorists. US armament will abide to use all accustomed and adapted measures to assure the United States, its ally and interests, and abjure safe anchorage to agitator groups, Africa Command said in a account on the strike.Earlier in December, a State Department official told the US is acid some aggressive aid to Somalia due to allegations of misuse, a move that comes as the US has become added complex in Somalia, angry the active groups al Shabaab and ISIS with airstrikes and accepting some 500 US troops in the there to admonish bounded forces.US Africa Command said aftermost ages a US bang in Somalia dead added than 100 bodies it articular as al Shabaab militants. That bang came anon afterwards the US conducted its aboriginal accepted bang targeting ISIS in Somalia.Since President Donald Trump took office, the cardinal of US airstrikes in Somalia and the war-torn country of Yemen accept increased, according to a account from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Long War Journal. Sunday s bang is the US 34th in Somalia back Trump took office.US aggressive operations in Africa accept additionally taken on a acute amount of analysis in the aperture year of the Trump presidency, decidedly afterwards an ambuscade in Niger resulted in the afterlife of four US account associates in October.Amid growing questions about what went amiss during the baleful mission, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said the US armament are in about 53 altered countries in Africa. s Ryan Browne contributed to this report.