Monthly Archive: April 2019

National Enquirer Being Sold to Former Newsstand Mogul 

The National Enquirer is being sold to the former head of the airport newsstand company Hudson News following a rocky year in which the tabloid was accused of burying stories that could have hurt Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. 

 

Tabloid owner American Media said Thursday that it plans to sell the supermarket weekly to James Cohen. Financial terms were not immediately disclosed for the deal, which included two other American Media tabloids, the Globe and National Examiner.  

  

American Media said last week that it wanted to get out of the tabloid business to focus on its other operations, which includes its teen brand and broadcast platforms.

Non-prosecution agreement

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan agreed last year not to prosecute American Media in exchange for the company’s cooperation in a campaign finance investigation. That probe eventually led to a three-year prison term for Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen for campaign violations among other charges.

American Media admitted it had paid $150,000 to keep former Playboy model Karen McDougal quiet about an alleged affair with Trump to help his campaign. Trump has denied an affair.  

The sale would end a longtime relationship between the Enquirer and Trump. Under the aegis of American Media CEO David Pecker, the tabloid has for years buried potentially embarrassing stories about Trump and other favored celebrities by buying the rights to them and never publishing in a practice called “catch and kill.” 

 

The Associated Press reported last year that Pecker kept a safe in the Enquirer’s office that held documents on buried stories, including those involving Trump. 

Whether James Cohen has any allegiances to Trump is not clear. While he was a registered Republican as late as 2017, according to Nexis records, he has given to both Republicans and Democrats. That included $17,300 in 2016 to an arm of the Democratic National Committee and $2,500 to the Republican National Committee in 2012.

News of the sale comes two months after Amazon chief Jeff Bezos publicly accused the Enquirer of trying to blackmail him by threatening to publish explicit photos of him. 

An American Media attorney denied the charge, but it threatened potentially big legal costs by upending American Media’s non-prosecution agreement in the hush money case. The AP reported that federal prosecutors were looking into whether the publisher violated terms of the deal, which included a promise not to break any laws in the future.

Heavy debt load

The Bezos accusation comes at a difficult time for American Media. It has financed several recent acquisitions with borrowed money and has been struggling under a heavy debt load. American Media said the Cohen deal would help reduce the amount it needs to pay back, leaving it with $355 million in debt. 

 

The Washington Post, which earlier reported the sale, said Cohen will pay $100 million in the deal.

Cohen’s family had run a magazine and newspaper distributor for decades before his father branched into newsstand stores in 1980s, starting with a single one at LaGuardia Airport. Before he died in 2012, the father had opened more than 600 stores. 

 

After the death, James Cohen’s niece alleged her uncle had cheated her out of her inheritance. She lost the case. 

 

The family sold a majority stake in the chain about a decade ago. The business is now owned by Dufry, an operator of duty-free stores in which James Cohen is a major shareholder. 

 

Cohen still owns a magazine and newspaper distributor called Hudson News Distributors. In addition, he runs a real estate developer and a publishing company, which owns Gallerie, an art and design magazine. 

 

Cohen has reportedly been involved in American Media deals before. The New York Times reports that, in 2011, Cohen invested in the company’s American edition of OK!, a British tabloid. 



Slight US Boost Seen From New North American Trade Pact

The new North American free trade pact would modestly boost the U.S. economy, especially auto parts production, but may curb vehicle assembly and limit consumer choice in cars, a hotly anticipated analysis from the 

U.S. International Trade Commission showed on Thursday. 

The ITC report is a crucial step in the push for Congress to consider ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which was signed by President Donald Trump and the leaders of the other two countries last year to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. 

The report estimates that annual U.S. real gross domestic product would increase by 0.35 percent, or $68.5 billion, on an annual basis compared with a NAFTA baseline, and would add 176,000 U.S. jobs, while raising U.S. exports. 

The ITC’s estimates are for year six of the trade deal, once it is fully implemented. 

The trade deal’s success or failure in Congress could be determined by how it is expected to affect the U.S. auto industry, a sector that steadily drained jobs to Mexico under NAFTA. The USMCA deal contains much tighter regional content rules, requiring that 75 percent of a vehicle’s value be sourced in North America versus 62.5 percent currently, and 40 to 45 

percent produced in high-wage areas, namely the United States 

and Canada. 

Auto industry employment would rise by 30,000 jobs for parts and engine production, but U.S. vehicle assembly would decline. 

U.S. vehicle prices would rise up to 1.6 percent, causing consumption to fall by 140,000 units per year, or about 1.25 percent of 2017 sales, the report said. 

The report overall was more positive than initially anticipated by economists, who said the traditional economic models used by the ITC to measure previous trade deals would result in minimal gains for the United States. 

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told Reuters that he was pleasantly surprised by the results, which used different modeling methods that he called “accurate and well done.” 

“Their estimate is a lot closer to what we think USMCA will do than I expected,” Hassett in a telephone interview. “This is very strong argument for passing the USMCA.” 

Concerns not alleviated

But some key Democrats were not swayed from their demands for improvements to the enforcement of new labor standards before they consider USMCA. Democrats control the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, chairman of the House Ways and Means trade subcommittee, said that he had already believed the trade deal needed changes before it could be considered by the House. “Nothing in this report alleviates those concerns,” he said. 

Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee said, “The administration shouldn’t squander the opportunity to lock in real, enforceable labor standards in Mexico.” 

The ITC report said Mexican union wages would rise by 17.2 percent if the labor provisions agreed to in the USMCA were enforced. Even so, Mexican factory wages would remain far below those in the United States. 

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, praised the report for highlighting benefits beyond tariff reductions. 

“Many of the significant improvements in USMCA are reducing non-tariff barriers and implementing rules and fair practices that will help U.S. workers, jobs and businesses tremendously over the coming years,” Grassley said in an emailed statement. 

 

Dueling analyses

The U.S. trade representative’s office had prepared a separate analysis of the USMCA’s automotive benefits that industry officials had described as a rosier alternative view of USMCA aimed at limiting any potential damage from the ITC report. 

USTR estimated that the trade deal would create 76,000 automotive sector jobs within five years as automakers invest $34 billion in new plants to comply with the regional content rules. The total includes about $15 billion in projects already announced. 

USTR officials said their analysis was based on plans disclosed by automakers to the trade agency for compliance with the new agreement’s tighter rules of origin.

“They have verbally committed to us that they intend to comply with the rules,” a senior USTR official said. “And they have told us that this is not going to have significant upward pressure on vehicle prices.” 

But the ITC report said some automakers may decide not to offer vehicles that would be too expensive to bring into compliance with the deal, reducing consumer choice in the U.S. auto market. 

The trade group representing Detroit automakers Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler said it viewed the USTR analysis as more accurate than the ITC’s. 

The ITC “underestimates the longer-term investments and increased U.S. auto parts sourcing that will be made in our sector as a result of the certainty and predictability the USMCA will deliver,” Matt Blunt, president of the American Automotive Policy Council, said in a statement. 

The USMCA deal will also lead to new access for U.S. exports of dairy, poultry and egg products to Canada and U.S. imports of sugar and sugar-containing products from Canada, the ITC said. 

The ITC’s forecast estimated total U.S. dairy product output would increase by $226.8 million, or 0.1 percent. U.S. agriculture and food exports overall would increase by $435 million. 



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Kudlow: White House Talking to Other Possible Fed Candidates

The White House is considering other possible candidates for the board of the Federal Reserve although President Donald Trump still backs his two potential nominees, Herman Cain and Stephen Moore, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday.

Kudlow, speaking to reporters at the White House, added that Trump’s picks are still going through the nominating process for the seats on the U.S. central bank’s board of governors.

“We are talking to a number of candidates. We always do,” he said when asked if the White House was vetting alternates for Cain and Moore, whose controversial potential nominations have raised concerns among economists as well as some of Trump’s fellow Republicans.

The U.S. Senate must confirm any nominees, and Republicans control the chamber with 53 seats. But four of them have said they oppose Cain, a former pizza company chief executive, effectively sinking his nomination.

Neither candidate’s name has been formally sent to the Senate, but Trump has pledged to do so.

Economists and other critics have raised concerns about two Trump loyalists serving at what has traditionally been a nonpartisan financial entity.

 



З початку доби бойовики 5 разів обстріляли позиції ЗСУ – штаб

З початку поточної доби бойовики на Донбасі п’ять разів порушили режим припинення вогню, чотири рази застосувавши заборонене Мінськими домовленостями озброєння. Про це повідомили у штабі операції Об’єднаних сил.

«Збройні формування Російської Федерації вели вогонь по позиціях наших підрозділів мінометів калібрів 120 та 82 мм, гранатометів різних систем, великокаліберних кулеметів та стрілецької зброї», – повідомили у штабі.

За їх інформацією, втрат серед українських військовослужбовців немає.

«На ворожі провокації підрозділи Об’єднаних сил дали адекватну відповідь. Втрати противника уточнюються», – мовиться у повідомленні.

У збройному угрупованні «ДНР» заявили про обстріл Збройними силами України з мінометів села Комінтерново. Аналогічне угруповання «ЛНР» звіту про хід бойових дій поточної доби не оприлюднило.

На Донбасі від 8 березня діє новий режим тиші, про який домовилися на засіданні Тристоронньої контактної групи в Мінську. Цього разу, як і раніше, перемир’я не дотримується і порушувалося відразу в перші години після проголошення.

Збройний конфлікт на Донбасі триває від 2014 року після російської окупації Криму. Україна і Захід звинувачують Росію у збройній підтримці бойовиків. Кремль відкидає ці звинувачення і заявляє, що на Донбасі можуть перебувати хіба що російські «добровольці».

За даними ООН, станом на кінець грудня 2018 року, за час конфлікту загинули близько 13 тисяч людей, майже 30 тисяч – поранені.



Fearing Austerity, Lebanese Protest Ahead of Budget

The Lebanese government has yet to disclose its budget for 2019, but protesters are already in the streets fearing the “difficult and painful” reforms it is expected to announce as it tries to get spending in control and rein in public debt.

Retired army officers blocked several highways with burning tires Tuesday, a preemptive warning to the government against any cuts to their pensions that might be part of its effort to reduce one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens.

Though small, the protests offered a glimpse of the political minefield facing the government.

The budget is seen as a critical test of its will to enact long-stalled reforms that economists say are more pressing than ever for an economy that has suffered years of low growth. State finances are strained by a bloated public sector, high debt servicing costs and hefty subsidizes spent on the power sector.

“We went out today to tell them that our pensions are a red line,” said Khaled Ammar, one of a number of retired officers blocking the highway south of Beirut.

The budget has yet to be finalized but speculation it will include cuts to the massive public wage bill has grown since Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil hinted at such steps Saturday.

“There are those who should be making people aware today that if a temporary reduction doesn’t happen, then there will be no salaries for anyone,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that “if we must start with the ministers and MPs, so be it.”

Protesters said tackling corruption should be the priority.

“If the economic condition of the country has reached this difficult level … we are not responsible for it, the politicians are,” said Ammar, a father of three who served in the military for three decades.

Bloated public sector

Lebanese leaders have been warning of economic crisis for some time. In a February policy statement, the new government committed itself to launching fast and effective reforms that could be “difficult and painful” to avoid a worsening of economic, financial and social conditions.

Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said last week he was concerned about a Greek-style crisis in Lebanon while saying that government measures would prevent “economic problems.”

At a Paris conference last year, Lebanon promised to cut its budget deficit by 1 percent of gross domestic product a year over five years. Economists are now looking for a bigger cut because last year’s deficit was bigger than expected at between 10.5%to 11% of GDP instead of a projected 8.2%.

Serious reforms would help Lebanon unlock some $11 billion in financing pledged in Paris.

The government last week approved a plan to overhaul the power sector — a major drain on state finances for years.

Critics say the government must deliver this time, pointing to previous such plans that were never implemented.

The public sector wage bill is the state’s biggest outgoing, followed by servicing the public debt equal to around 150% of GDP. The wage bill went up in 2017 after increases were agreed ahead of a parliamentary election.

Nassib Ghobril, chief economist at Lebanon’s Byblos Bank, hopes to see the deficit brought down by 2% of GDP and says reforms should include shutting down the many obsolete government agencies.

“They have to freeze hiring, freeze future salary increases, and increases in benefits, and they have to cut the number of public sector employees and restructure the way companies restructure when they are in financial difficulties,” he said.

“The public sector has recruited 31,000 people over the last four years — more than the entire financial sector.”



Погано бути рабом, але ще гірше бути рабом раба!

Громадяни України схаменіться, що ви робите?

Ви голосуєте за покидька, який бігає похвостичем у грабіжника і вбивці Коломойського, бо вам погано живеться!

Пригадайте як ви голосували за дебільного Януковича у 2010 році, бо вам здавалося, що Ющенко не зробив вас багатими. Чим це закінчилося – Майдан, війна, анексія, десятки тисяч вбитих і покалічених. Стало краще?

Тепер вам здається, що погано живеться при Порошенкові і ви готові голосувати за напівграмотного дурника, який не знає державної мови, української історії, уникав служби в армії, не вивчав дипломатію і є рабом злодія і вбивці проти якого ФБР веде розслідування?

А пропутінські ЗМІ переконують, що гірше ніж зараз бути не може. Та ні шановні українці, може бути гірше! І буде гірше якщо ви як вівці з беканням побіжите 21 квітня голосувати за блазня напівкровку.

Так, Порошенко не найкращий Президент для України і ми хочемо змінити його на кращого. Але Зеленський+Коломойський+Тимошенко+Бойко+Ахметов – це смерть України, Майдан, громадянська війна, руїна, знецнення гривні і вашого майна, голод, сотні тисяч загиблих і скалічених.

Зеленський з Коломойським втечуть в Ізраїль, Тимошенко, Бойко і Ахметов – в путляндію. А що буде з вами і вашим дітьми? Подумайте і краще не робіть помилку 21 квітня, бо будете шкодувати про це усе своє життя!

СЛАВА УКРАЇНІ!

Правда України



Development Bank Earmarks $4.4 Billion for Central Africa

The African Development Bank (AfDB) promised Tuesday to invest $4.4 billion (3.89 billion euros) in infrastructure in over the next seven years.

The sum will help to finance 30 projects, ranging from electricity networks and transport to information technology and communication and improve cross-border trade, it said in a statement.

Spending will be focused on Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, and the Central African Republic.

Growth in central Africa doubled in 2018, with GDP expanding by 2.2% against 1.1% a year earlier, according to AfDB figures.

The rate is still far behind the average for sub-Saharan Africa, which was 3.5 percent.

 



Потепління очікується з 18 квітня – синоптики

Синоптики прогнозують, що з 18 квітня в Україні розпочнеться потепління, а опади припиняться.

«17 квітня в Україні погода буде – таке собі. Йтимуть дощі, підриватиме вітер і ще буде холодно, +7 +12 градусів максимально», – вказує синоптик Наталка Діденко.

У ДСНС вказують, що, за даними Українського гідрометцентру, 18–19 квітня у центральних (крім Вінницької), Київській, Житомирській, Рівненській, Волинській, 19 квітня і у Львівській областях заморозки на поверхні ґрунту 0 – 5 градусів; у східних, Чернігівській та Сумській областях сильні заморозки у повітрі 0 – 3 градуси.

Американський сайт wunderground.com вказує, що в Києві 18 квітня буде ще переважно хмарно, але повітря вдень прогріється до +14. А от 17 квітня часом дощитиме, небо буде вкрите хмарами.




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