U.S.

Chevron agreed to pay $33 billion for Anadarko Petroleum on Friday, broadening its access to the largest oil region in the continental U.S. as President Trump pushes the country to produce enough fuel to meet its own energy needs.

The deal, which offers Anadarko investors $65 a share in cash and stock, expands Chevron’s oil production in the Permian Basin, the oil-rich swath of land in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico that’s 250 miles wide and about 300 miles long, as well as deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

“We intend to accelerate activity in Anadarko’s Permian acreage,” Chevron CEO Michael Wirth, who hopes to complete the deal by the end of this year, told investors on Friday. “Getting more out of the Permian sooner is an important value driver.”

For the San Ramon, Calif.-based company, which already controlled 2.2 million acres in the region and is adding 589,000 with the transaction, the driver isn’t “getting bigger in the Permian, it’s about getting better,” Wirth said. That includes the the area’s Delaware Basin, where Anadarko has operations.

Late last year, the U.S. Geological Survey identified an estimated 46 billion barrels of oil in two formations in the Delaware Basin, a development that left then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke confident “that American energy dominance is within our grasp.”

The U.S. is the world’s largest oil producer, outpacing both Russia and Saudi Arabia, thanks largely to technological advances that let producers extract oil from shale formations.

Achieving energy independence was one of Trump’s signature campaign promises in 2016, a commitment based on concern that U.S. reliance on oil imports left the country more vulnerable and cost American jobs.

“We’re ending the theft of American prosperity and rebuilding our beloved country,” Trump said when he signed an executive order prompting energy independence just two months after taking office. “We will unlock job-producing natural gas, oil and shale energy.”

Anadarko climbed 33 percent to $62.20 after the sale was announced Friday. Chevron, which has a market value of $232.9 billion, has climbed 10 percent this year to $119.76.

FILE PHOTO: Super Bowl LIII - New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams
FILE PHOTO: NFL Football – Super Bowl LIII – New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams – Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. – February 3, 2019. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LIII. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

April 12, 2019

(Reuters) – A lawyer for New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Friday asked a Florida judge not to make public a video that led to the billionaire being charged in a prostitution sting at a massage parlor, calling the evidence “basically pornography.”

Media companies including ABC and ESPN clashed with Kraft’s defenders, saying the judge would violate Florida’s public records laws by suppressing the video of Kraft receiving sexual services at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida.

The owner of one of the National Football League’s most successful franchises and winner of this year’s Super Bowl was one of hundreds of people charged in February after an investigation unveiled widespread trafficking of young women at Florida day spas and massage parlors.

The 77-year-old billionaire businessman has pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor charges of soliciting sex and requested a jury trial in March.

William Burck, Kraft’s attorney, argued in Palm Beach County Court that surveillance footage from the spa should not be released to the media because it would violate Kraft’s privacy rights, compromise his right to a fair trial, and interfere in an active criminal investigation.

“It’s basically pornography,” Burck told Judge Leonard Hanser. “There’s no interest in actually seeing the video unless you have a prurient interest in seeing the video.”

Kraft’s attorneys filed a motion to suppress the video in March, further suggesting that police did not have a valid search warrant to collect the video as evidence.

Dana McElroy, an attorney representing the media outlets, argued that sealing the video would violate the state’s public records law.

Kraft apologized for his actions in a written statement issued last month.

(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Bill Berkrot)

Source: OANN

The German share price index DAX graph at the stock exchange in Frankfurt
The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, April 11, 2019. REUTERS/Staff

April 12, 2019

By Susan Mathew

(Reuters) – European shares finished higher for a third straight day on Friday, with investor sentiment getting a boost from JP Morgan setting a strong start to U.S. earnings and amid signs of stabilization in China’s economy.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed up 0.16 percent, but ended the week lower after two weeks of gains. Banks and the auto sector were the biggest boosts to the benchmark on the day.

Italy’s MIB led gains in the region with its 0.8 percent rise, having hit an eight-month high earlier the session, while German shares closed up 0.5 percent.

Data showed that China’s exports rebounded to a five-month high in March, but imports shrank for a fourth straight month and at a faster pace, painting a mixed picture of the economy.

“The markets seems to have shaken off the negative aspects of the Chinese trade data, but it’s a minor rise at the end of a fairly limp week,” said Connor Campbell, an analyst at Spreadex.

Banks got a boost after shares of the largest U.S. bank by assets rose after the company beat quarterly profit estimates, easing fears that slowing economic growth could weigh on its results.

Regional lenders, such as StanChart, Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse rallied, taking the European bank index up 1.9 percent to a five-month high.

HSBC was among the biggest driver of gains on the pan-region benchmark. The firm said it so far moved only a “tiny” number of jobs to Paris in order to deal with Brexit..

Italy’s biggest bank, UniCredit rose more than 4 percent even after it said is one of the banks accused of running a cartel in trading euro zone government bonds between 2007 and 2012, when financial crises dragged down banks and several European economies.

The auto sector followed suit with car-makers such BMW, Daimler and Fiat Chrysler gaining more than 2.2 percent each.

Amid warnings that proposed U.S. automotive tariffs could do more damage to global growth than the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute, BAML analysts point to a lack of action out of the U.S. on threatened auto tariffs.

“In our view, the reluctance to move forward is because actually imposing auto tariffs would be both deeply unpopular and a major shock to the equity markets.”

Basic resources stocks also gained with iron ore and copper prices on the rise. Rio Tinto and Glencore were among top boosts to Britain’s blue-chip index higher.

Airbus gained as its new chief executive, Guillaume Faury, imposed a simplified management structure and a manifesto for factory modernization.

GN Store Nord rose 7.8 percent after the Danish audio-maker raised financial guidance. Medical technology supplier Carl Zeiss climbed 6.6 percent on strong full-year guidance.

Swiss train and carriage manufacturer Stadler Rail jumped 13.4 percent after its debut on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

On the other hand, London-based online trading platform Plus500 tumbled 31.2 percent as revenue for the first quarter dropped to around a fifth of last year’s, hurt by a fall in trading volumes.

(This story has been refilled to correct country of index in paragraph 3 to say Italy’s MIB, not Spain’s MIB)

(Reporting by Medha Singh and Agamoni Ghosh and Susan Mathew in Bengaluru, editing by Larry King)

Source: OANN

A combination file photo shows Wells Fargo, Citigbank, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs from Reuters archive
A combination file photo shows Wells Fargo, Citigbank, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs from Reuters archive. REUTERS/File Photos

April 12, 2019

By Matt Scuffham

NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co’s better-than-expected first-quarter earnings raised expectations that rival Wall Street lenders would follow suit when they report next week, pushing most bank stocks higher on Friday.

Shares in JPMorgan jumped as much as 4.7 percent in morning trading, touching a more than four-month high before paring some gains.

Morgan Stanley shares were up 3.8 percent and Bank of America Corp rose 2.8 percent. Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Citigroup shares both climbed 2 percent.

JPMorgan is the largest U.S. bank by assets and a bellwether for the U.S economy and financial sector. It reported strong results across its businesses, with Chief Executive Jamie Dimon citing solid U.S. economic growth, moderate inflation and robust consumer and business confidence.

Even a 10 percent fall in JPMorgan’s trading revenue from a year earlier was viewed as boding well for others, since analysts had been bracing for a bigger drop in fixed-income and equities trading.

“JPMorgan had a positive read-across for trading results in the quarter,” said KBW analyst Brian Kleinhanzl. “We believe FICC (fixed income, commodities and currencies) trading should be a positive read-across to Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.”

Bank stock investors appeared to zero in on JPMorgan and ignore Wells Fargo & Co, the other big bank that reported on Friday.

Wells Fargo reported higher first-quarter earnings but lowered its forecast for net interest income this year, a move that sent its shares tumbling as much as 3 percent.

U.S. bank stocks had underperformed in recent months as economists and investors fixated on a flattening yield curve, normally the precursor to a recession. Bank executives have downplayed those concerns, pointing to continuing loan growth in the first quarter of 2019.

Since the start of December, the S&P 500 financial sector is up 0.3 percent, while the overall S&P 500 is up 5 percent. The S&P 500 banks index fell 2.5 percent over the same period. Brushing aside global economic concerns such as Brexit and U.S.-China trade tensions, JPMorgan’s Dimon said the U.S. economy “continues to grow, employment and wages are going up, inflation is moderate, financial markets are healthy and consumer and business confidence remains strong.”

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Neal Templin and Meredith Mazzilli)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Eurogroup President Centeno attends a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels
FILE PHOTO: Portugal’s Finance Minister and Eurogroup President Mario Centeno attends a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File Photo

April 12, 2019

By Jan Strupczewski

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Europe must raise the international profile of its euro currency to protect itself from the domination of a “weaponised” U.S. dollar and help stabilize the international monetary system, the chairman of euro zone finance ministers Mario Centeno said.

“Washington’s inclination to use the dollar as a tool to complement the effect of economic sanctions and serve a narrow domestic agenda is a source of concern,” Centeno told the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee in Washington on Friday.

“The foundations of the international monetary system are wobbling, as currencies are used to advance national interests that are narrowly defined. For some observers, the system in which the dollar holds a dominant and unrivalled position is on the cusp of reformation,” he said in a speech.

The European Union started thinking about increasing the role of the euro last year after U.S. President Donald Trump decided to abandon the 2015 deal under which international sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for Tehran accepting curbs on its nuclear program.

The U.S. move, though unilateral, means European companies also cannot trade with Iran, fearing they would be cut off from U.S. markets and the international payments system in retaliation.

Centeno said the world could be heading toward a multi-currency system in which the dollar would vie for dominance with others, notably the euro and the Chinese renminbi.

He said such a multi-polar currency system could improve the functioning of the international monetary system and would be less prone to the economic fluctuations of the dominant dollar by offering options to diversify currency reserves.

The euro is used in around 36 percent of international payments, just behind the dollar with almost 40 percent, but when it comes to foreign exchange trading 44 percent is in dollars but only 16 percent in euros, Centeno said.

The favorite for currency reserves is the dollar with a 62 percent share of global reserves, while the euro has a 20 percent share.

“In Europe there is a growing concern that we are exposed to the risk that the power of the dominant dollar can be used against our best interests. The obvious consequence of ‘America First’ is that others will come second, at best,” Centeno said.

“The feeling is that we can only rely on ourselves and our currency. And this is behind repeated calls to strengthen the international role of the euro,” he said.

Centeno noted however, that to achieve a stronger role, the euro zone needed to tackle many tough issues about the design of the single currency.

He said the 19 countries sharing the euro had to first complete their banking union, by agreeing on a European deposit insurance system and setting up a capital markets union.

Other needs include a budget for the euro zone, under discussion now, and creating a euro zone safe asset – a debt instrument backed by all euro zone countries – with a sufficiently deep and liquid market, an idea that now faces very strong opposition from several key euro zone countries.

(Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Andrea Ricci)

Source: OANN

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week they are both ready to sit down together to try to work out a long-elusive deal on immigration reform in response to a growing humanitarian crisis along the southern border.

Pelosi, D-Calif., speaking to reporters at the Democratic retreat in Leesburg, Va., said she is “pleased to see” news reports that McConnell, R-Ky., “is ready to talk about” about an immigration deal.

McConnell told reporters on Thursday it is “past time” to negotiate with Democrats on immigration and he is willing to talk to Pelosi about it “now.”

While lawmakers normally avoid taking up major policy initiatives when a presidential election is looming, they may have no choice.

A sudden surge in family units attempting to cross into the United States illegally has overwhelmed the nation’s border security system.

So far this year, 240,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended entering the United States, some at ports of entry, but mostly at points in between along the southwest border.

The increase accelerated after July 2015, when a federal judge ruled that illegal immigrant parents must be released with children soon after they are apprehended.

The court ruling attracted mass family migration from Central America as adults learned bringing children to the U.S. border would prevent them from being detained or immediately sent home.

Even Pelosi acknowledged Friday it has created “a humanitarian crisis.”

The GOP wants to change the nation’s asylum laws and rules governing the treatment of apprehended illegal immigrants in order to discourage the recent wave of mass migration from Central America.

Finding a bipartisan deal with Democrats, however, would likely require a comprehensive plan that addresses illegal immigrants already living in the United States.

While McConnell did not specify what should be included in a deal, Pelosi said “what we need to do is sit down and have comprehensive immigration reform.”

She added, “I’m glad Mitch McConnell has said he’s willing to do that.”

Democrats and Republicans have tried but failed to pass immigration reform legislation numerous times over the past 15 years.

Democrats want a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, while Republicans have sought stronger border security provisions.

Pelosi said none of the current problems along the border can be fixed without tackling comprehensive immigration reform.

“I think the president is beginning to realize that has to happen,” Pelosi said.

A group of 33 Haitian citizens who recently apprehended for attempting to sail to the U.S. and illegally enter were deported Friday to face possible prosecution back home for drugs that were found aboard the boat they commandeered, according to the Coast Guard.

The Department of Homeland Security agency said Friday Coast Guard Cutter Spencer spotted a 25-foot-long motor boat in the water about 35 miles north of Tortuga, Haiti, early Monday. The Boston-based ship deployed a small crew to inspect the suspicious boat.

While on the way to the boat, the guardsmen noticed six softball-sized bundles floating in the water about 300 feet from the boat. The packages were seized and later tested positive for marijuana.

Once at the boat, the guardsmen found 27 adult Haitian men and six Haitian women, as well as three more packages of marijuana and one of amphetamines. The narcotics all tested positive.

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All 33 migrants were taken into custody aboard the Coast Guard ship and given food, water, shelter, and basic medical attention, the agency said.

A Coast Guard spokeswoman in the Miami office said they have encountered several groups this size in recent months.

“The Coast Guard diligently patrols the Florida Straits and Caribbean Sea to ensure the safety of life at sea and the security of the United States,” Lt. Cmdr. James Hodges, District 7 response officer, said in a statement. “Neither illegal migration nor drug smuggling will be tolerated, and the Coast Guard will continue to enforce federal laws while maintaining a strong presence out on the water.”

The drugs were seized and destroyed by the Coast Guard.

Americans are in danger of ignoring casual lies by President Trump, making him a bigger threat in a sense than Russian actors trying to interfere in U.S. elections, according to former FBI Director James Comey.

“I’m sure Russia is engaged in efforts to undermine all manner of American institutions, but the president of the United States tweets lies about those institutions nearly every day,” Comey said Thursday at a Hewlett Foundation event near San Francisco. “He does it so often that we’ve become numb to it. And there’s danger in that numbness.”

Trump fired Comey in May 2017 over what he later said was an effort to shut down a probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign. Since then, the president has regularly targeted Comey for criticism over Twitter.

“I wake up some mornings and the president’s tweeted I should be in jail. You know what I do? I laugh and I go, ‘Oh, there he goes again.’ I don’t follow him on Twitter, so I only see it if one of you retweets it. But I laugh. And that laughing is dangerous.”

Comey also disputed Attorney General William Barr’s claim that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign in the 2016 presidential election.

“I don’t understand what the heck he’s talking about,” Comey said. “But when I hear that kind of language used, it’s concerning because the FBI and the Department of Justice conduct court-ordered electronic surveillance. I have never thought of that as ‘spying.’”

LONDON (AP) — What is expected to be an epic legal and political battle over whether to extradite Julian Assange to the U.S. began to take shape, with Britain’s opposition Labour Party urging the government Friday not to hand the WikiLeaks founder over to the Americans.

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted that the U.S. is prosecuting Assange because he exposed “evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Diane Abbott, Labour’s spokeswoman for domestic affairs, said the case is about the “embarrassment of the things he’s revealed about the American military and security services.”

On Thursday, British authorities dragged the 47-year-old Australian native from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had taken refuge for nearly seven years, and U.S. authorities announced charges against him of conspiring to break into a Pentagon computer.

The politicization of the case reflects the clashing views of Assange as either a heroic whistleblower standing up to the mighty United States or a willing stooge who helped the Russians boost Donald Trump’s presidential campaign by publishing emails that embarrassed his rival, Hillary Clinton.

The battle to fend off extradition could take years and involve several layers of appeal. Assange could also face a second extradition request if Sweden decides to pursue a rape case against him that was dropped in 2017, when he was holed up in the embassy, beyond the reach of the law.

His arrest became possible after Ecuador revoked his political asylum, complaining among other things that he was a messy and disruptive houseguest.

If found guilty of the U.S. charges, Assange could get five years in prison. His next court appearance was set for May 2 via a prison video link.

Extradition lawyer Ben Keith said the court will not assess the evidence against Assange to determine his guilt or innocence but will scrutinize whether the offense he is accused of in the U.S. would be a crime in Britain.

“The most likely outcome is that he will be extracted to the United States,” he said.

Britain is bound by law not to extradite a suspect to a country where he or she could face execution for the crime, but that’s not the case here.

Ecuador’s president, Lenin Moreno, stressed when he revoked Assange’s asylum that he had received assurances from Britain that Assange would not be exposed to capital punishment.

If Sweden also makes an extradition request, it would be up to Britain’s Home Secretary to determine which would take priority. Typically the first request made — in this case, the U.S. one — would be acted on first, but officials have some leeway, Keith said.

If Assange loses in extradition court, he could appeal several times and ultimately try to have his case heard at the European Court of Human Rights.

A top House Democrat said Friday the White House’s reported plan to get back at Democrats by transporting all released asylum seekers into sanctuary cities is proof the Trump administration’s approach to immigration policy is political and not about national security.

“The fact that this idea was even considered — not once but twice — serves as a reminder that the Trump Administration’s reckless immigration agenda is not about keeping the country safe, but about partisan politics and wantonly inflicting cruelty,” House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi said in a statement.

Thompson said the administration’s various immigration policy reforms “are all terrible.” The White House has introduced a travel ban of citizens from select countries primarily in the Middle East, and a “zero tolerance” initiative that led to families being separated at the border, and others.

“If the Administration wants to send a message to Democrats, let us send this message to the President: if your immigration policies are not fixing the problem but only cause chaos and focus on keeping people out, they will always fail. Playing politics with the country’s homeland security has been a mainstay of the Trump Administration since day one. The American people want it to end,” he said.

A Thursday report said White House officials asked officials at several federal agencies in November to look into turning over families who had illegally entered the country, and were seeking asylum, to be released in small and mid-size cities where local Democratic leaders had refused to cooperate with federal immigration agents.

“Sanctuary cities,” as they referred to, provide safety to immigrants who have committed additional crimes while in the U.S. by not honoring a request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to detain a person for them after his legal proceedings for that crime have concluded.

The Trump administration has railed over the policy, saying it protects suspected and convicted criminals from being handed over to ICE in a safe environment and forces agents to go into the community to find wanted criminals.

[Opinion: Washington Post offers miserable fix to asylum problem]


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