Posts tagged with "Reuters"

Trump aborts parley with Putin after news breaks on business dealings with Russia

November 30, 2018

Following an abrupt cancellation of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin—which had been scheduled to take place on December 1 at the G20 summit in Argentina, according to a leaked Kremlin document seen by Reuters—U.S. President Donald Trump now has an empty space on his “dance card” at 4:30 p.m. (GMT) that day.

CNN reported on Thursday that Trump attributed the cancellation to Russia’s refusal to release Ukrainian Navy ships and sailors seized during a maritime confrontation between the two nations on November 25.

But while Russia’s position on the incident has not changed since it attacked the Ukrainian ships, CNN pointed out that the president had begged off suddenly—less than one hour after his longtime former attorney and “personal fixer” Michael Cohen leveled fresh allegations in court about Trump’s business dealings with Russia.

Cohen pleaded guilty before a federal judge in New York City to lying Congress about pursuing a real estate deal on behalf of his ex-boss for another Trump Tower in Moscow during the presidential campaign.

“For his part, Trump tweeted en route to the summit,  Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting (…) in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!”

Aboard the plane, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters the President made his decision in consultation with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Chief of Staff John Kelly, and National Security Adviser John Bolton. Sanders said she was not aware of any phone calls between Trump and Putin.

Earlier Thursday, Trump told reporters, “I probably will be meeting with President Putin. We haven’t terminated that meeting.

“I was thinking about it,” he said, “but we haven’t. They’d like to have it. I think it’s a very good time to have a meeting. I’m getting a full report on the plane as to what happened with respect to that,” he said at the White House as he prepared to board Marine One.

However, according to a report by the Russian news outlet Sputnik, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov insisted that the meeting was still on. “Preparation is continuing; the meeting has been agreed. We have no other information from American counterparts,” Peskov said.

Removing the meeting from his agenda at the G20 won’t necessarily preclude some type of encounter between the two leaders, who last met formally in Helsinki in July, CNN said. The summit, which officially begins on November 30, will provide several chances that will bring them into the same room for meetings and a dinner.

Research contact: @JDiamond1

Mitch McConnell: GOP intends to gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid after midterms

October 26, 2018

It’s the talk of the Beltway, according to the Los Angeles Times: Did Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) just admit that the GOP intends to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid after the midterm elections?

The scuttlebutt started, the Times reported on October 19, after the Senate majority leader gave an interview to Bloomberg  on October 16, in which he singled out “entitlements”—that’s political code for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—as “the real drivers of the debt” and called for them to be adjusted “to the demographics of the future.”

To make it short and sweet, McConnell intends to cut benefits.

Indeed, Bloomberg said, the Senate Majority Leader blamed rising federal deficits and debt on “a bipartisan unwillingness to contain spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.”

What’s more, although Republican legislators spent most of last winter trying to gut the Affordable Care Act, McConnell also telegraphed a plan to try again to repeal healthcare coverage after the midterm elections.

That’s despite indications that the ACA is becoming more popular with the public, not less, and voters’ concerns about preserving its protections for those with preexisting conditions may be driving them to the polls — and not to vote Republican. A poll released on October 18 by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, found that fully 71% of U.S. voters say healthcare is the most important issue driving them to the polls in the midterm elections.

In an October 17 interview with Reuters, McConnell commented that the GOP’s failure to repeal the ACA was “the one disappointment of this Congress from a Republican point of view.”  He said Republicans could try again to repeal Obamacare if they win enough seats in U.S. elections next month.

The CBO projects the current fiscal year deficit at $973 billion, and says it expects annual deficits to exceed $1 trillion into the next decade. The CBO attributed much of the deficit to “recently enacted legislative changes. … In particular, provisions of the 2017 tax act.”

The Congressional Budget office sees things differently. The CBO projects the current fiscal year deficit at $973 billion, and says it expects annual deficits to exceed $1 trillion into the next decade. The CBO attributed much of the deficit to “recently enacted legislative changes. … In particular, provisions of the 2017 tax act.”

Research contact: @hitzikm

Beer lovers dread looming shortages and price spikes

October 16, 2018

At the September 27 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing at which then-nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh was questioned about allegations of sexual assault, he was clear about his love of lager. “Yes, we drank beer,” he said, referring to his group of high school friends at the Georgetown Preparatory School. “My friends and I, the boys and girls. Yes, we drank beer. I liked beer. Still like beer. We drank beer.”

Indeed, as a senior, Kavanaugh wrote in the yearbook, “100 kegs or bust”—the goal he and his classmates set for their high school experience.

That’s way above the average for most Americans, but by any measure, beer is a very popular U.S. beverage. According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization in 2014, Americans drink an average of 2.4 gallons of alcohol, per person, per year—and beer accounts for half of all drinking in the United States.

Now, Kavanaugh and his fellow beer-lovers nationwide are facing a looming shortage of their favorite brew, according to reports by The New York Times and Reuters.

The cause is climate change.

Specifically, new research conducted by the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Britain warns that increasingly widespread and severe drought and heat may cause substantial decreases in barley yields worldwide, affecting the supply used to make beer, and ultimately resulting in “dramatic” falls in beer consumption and rises in beer prices.

Extreme weather events featuring both heat waves and droughts will occur as often as every two or three years in the second half of the century if temperatures rise at current rates, the study determined.

Average global barley yields during extreme events are expected to drop between 3% and 17%, depending on the conditions, said the study, published in the journal Nature Plants on October 18.

Under the hottest scenario, China will suffer the most shortages this century, followed by the United States, Germany, and Russia, the researchers said.

Dabo Guan, a professor of Climate Change Economics at the University of East Anglia and the study’s lead author, said beer issues pale in comparison to other climate induced problems, including food security, storm damage and fresh water scarcity.

The study did not consider climate change’s affects on other staple ingredients of beer such as hops.

Consumers in developed countries who want to avoid shortages would be wise to support policies reducing emissions of gases scientists blame for warming the planet, Guan said.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest brewer, said this year it would cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025.

Jess Newman, the head of U.S. agronomy for Anheuser-Busch, said the company was experimenting with developing drought-resistant barley and working with farmers to reduce their need for water by, for example, encouraging them to place irrigation sprinklers closer to the ground.

“It’s definitely an incremental process but we have many varieties in the pipeline,” Newman said when asked how close the company was to breeding a drought-resistant barley in the United States. For several years, Anheuser-Busch has used a winter barley in Idaho that gets moisture from melting snow, cutting the need for irrigation.

Research contact: Dabo.Guan@uea.ac.uk

Three cheers: USA, Canada, Mexico support new trade deal

October 2, 2018

The United States. and Canada have agreed on a deal to restore the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to its traditional structure as a trilateral bloc, Bloomberg reports.

U.S. and Canadian negotiators negotiated around-the-clock over the past weekend, September 29-30, to make a Sunday deadline that would allow the countries to sign the deal as their final act before Mexico’s outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto leaves office at the end of November.

The new deal will be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), according to a joint statement by  Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that was issued late Sunday night.

“USMCA will give our workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses a high-standard trade agreement that will result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region. It will strengthen the middle class, and create good, well-paying jobs and new opportunities for the nearly half billion people who call North America home,” the statement said.

According to a report by Reuters, Canada has agreed to provide U.S. dairy farmers access to about 3.5% of its $16 billion annual domestic dairy market. Although Canadian sources said its government was prepared to offer compensation, dairy farmers reacted angrily.

“We fail to see how this deal can be good for the 220,000 Canadian families that depend on dairy for their livelihood.” Pierre Lampron, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada, said in a statement.

“This has happened, despite assurances that our government would not sign a bad deal for Canadians.”

The deal also requires a higher proportion of the parts in a car to be made in areas of North America, paying at least $16 an hour, a rule aimed at shifting jobs from Mexico.

The new deal will need the approval of Congress, and it is not likely to reach a floor vote until the next session of Congress in 2019. The top Democrat in the House was not endorsing the deal just yet.

Democrats will closely scrutinize the text of the Trump Administration’s NAFTA proposal, and look forward to further analyses and conversations with stakeholders,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.

With control of both the House and Senate at stake in November, it is unclear if Congress will support the deal, ABC News reported.

However, Trump was optimistic, telling reporters he thinks it will pass “easily.”

Research contact: @jendeben

Reputation poll: Apple needs polishing

March 14, 2018

The Apple and Google corporate brands have lost their elan—while Elon Musk’s Tesla is rocketing higher after launching a red Roadster into deep space and Amazon continues to ride high at number one in the Harris Poll Reputation Quotient for the third consecutive year.

Since 1999, the Reputation Quotient has quantified the reputation ratings for the 100 most visible U.S. companies, according to Harris.

Specifically, in a survey of about 26,000 U.S. adults, iPhone manufacturer Apple dropped to number 29 this year from its previous position at number five, and Google dropped from number eight to number 28. Apple had ranked at number two as recently as 2016.

John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, told Reuters in an interview that the likely reason Apple and Google plummeted was that they have not introduced as many attention-grabbing products as they did in past years, such as when Google rolled out Google Maps or Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

“Google and Apple, at this moment, are sort of in valleys,” Gerzema said. “We’re not quite to self-driving cars yet. We’re not yet seeing all the things in artificial intelligence they’re going to do.”

Meanwhile, Gerzema attributed Amazon’s continued high ranking to its expanding footprint in consumers’ lives, into areas such as groceries via its Whole Foods acquisition.

Elon Musk’s Tesla climbed from number nine to number three on the strength of sending its Roadster into space aboard a SpaceX booster—despite fleeting success delivering cars on time on Earth, Gerzema told Reuters.

He’s a modern-day carnival barker—it’s incredible,” Gerzema said of Musk. He noted that the Tesla CEO “is able to capture the public’s imagination when every news headline is incredibly negative. They’re filling a void of optimism.”

This year’s top ten rankings go as follows: Amazon, Wegman’s Food Markets, Tesla Motors, Chick-fil-A, Walt Disney, HEB Grocery, United Parcel Service, Publix Super Markets, Patagonia, and Aldi.

Last place went to Japanese auto parts supplier Takata, which distributed air bags that inflated with too much force—allegedly causing 22 deaths and hundreds of injuries, and prompting the largest recall in automotive history.

Research contact: @StephenNellis

69% of U.S. voters oppose government shutdown

January 17, 2018

President Donald Trump may trigger a government shutdown on Friday night, January 19—viewing the withdrawal of authority for spending on all federal services as an opportunity “to be seen as a political badass by his … base,” according to an opinion piece in the January 15 edition of Forbes magazine.

“Given the various firestorms that have occurred just this past week,” writes Forbes contributor Stan Collender—referring to “the book, the remark about Haiti and African countries and the hush money paid to a porn star”—“Trump may want to reassure his base that he is still very much in charge by refusing to sign even a simple, clean and short-term extension of the current continuing resolution.”

What’s more, the POTUS is still demanding the wall at the border with Mexico that was a driver of his 2016 campaign. The wall is estimated to cost about $21.6 billion and take more than three years to complete, Reuters reports—and it is the one issue that will prompt the Trump base to support the shutdown..

However, the majority of Americans will not be happy about it: Politico and Morning Consult released survey results just before Labor Day showing that 69% of U.S. registered voters said they believed that members of Congress should “take all necessary steps” to stop a shutdown over the federal budget if possible.

Three-quarters of the nearly 2,000 respondents nationwide said a government shutdown would make them “very” or “somewhat” concerned.

However, that’s with the caveat mentioned above. If the shutdown were to impel the U.S. Congress to fund the wall, then Trump’s based will go for it: When reminded about the wall, more than half (51%) of GOP voters said they “strongly” or “somewhat” supported a shutdown.

Stay tuned.

Research contact: eyokley@morningconsult.com

Most U.S. teens have sex by 18, but pregnancies are down

January 17, 2018

More than half of American teens have had sex by age 18, but teenage pregnancy and birth rates continue to decline because of increased contraceptive use, according to a U.S. government study released in 2017 and posted on the Reuters website.

The study measured sexual activity, defined as vaginal intercourse between a female and a male, by teens aged 15 to 19 from 2011 through 2015.

Most of the 55% of teens who have had sex by 18 used some type of protection, typically a condom (80%), the study of more than 4,000 teenagers who attend U.S. public schools by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics found.

The researchers credit the more widespread use of contraception for helping to reduce the rate of births by teenagers to 22 per 1,000 females in 2015 from 62 per 1,000 in 1991

Teen pregnancy rates peaked in 1990 and have since fallen more than 50%, said Joyce Abma, a social scientist at the National Center for Health Statistics, who co-authored the report with Gladys Martinez.

The study found that among males aged 15 to 19, about 44% have had sex, down from 60 percent in 1988. For females, that rate was 42 percent in the recent study compared with 51 percent in 1988.

Among the teen females who have had sex, 74% hadintercourse for the first time with someone with whom they were “going steady,” compared with 51% of the males, the study found.

Research contact: Contact CDC–INFO

54% of Americans polled say #MeToo

November 4, 2017

Over half of Americans (54%) say they have personally experienced an unwanted verbal or physical sexual advance, Reuters/Ipsos said last week, after polling 1,832 adults nationwide.

As the #MeToo movement, started most recently by actress Alyssa Milano, continues to grow, the Reuters/Ipsos poll explored the social impact of the hashtag—and the overall numbers of Americans who said they had had a personal experience with unwanted sexual advances and assault.

While a limited number (about 16%) actually had engaged with the #Me Too movement online, the answers to questions about personal incidents came through loud and clear. In fact, 54% answered yes, when asked whether they had ever experienced an unwanted verbal or physical sexual advance.

When questioned about whether the unwanted advance came from specific people in their lives, the respondent answered “yes” in the following percentages:

  • A boss or authority figure at your job? (Yes-15%)
  • A coworker or colleague? (17% )
  • A friend? (15%)
  • A family member? (12
  • A romantic partner(14%)
  • Other? (18%)

Ipsos conducted the research from October 20 through October 24, on behalf of Thomson Reuters. For the survey, a sample of roughly 1,832 adults age 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online in English.

Research contact: chris.jackson@ipsos.com