October 16, 2018

Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi crown prince ‘denies knowledge’ of missing critic

Jamal Khashoggi: Saudi crown prince 'denies knowledge' of missing critic Image copyright AFP Image caption The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, met the crown prince in Riyadh on Tuesday Saudi Arabia's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has denied knowing what happened to the missing Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, according to President Donald Trump. Saudi Arabia being blamed was a case of "guilty until proven innocent", Mr Trump told the AP news agency. Unnamed Turkish officials say a search of the Istanbul Saudi consulate gave more evidence Mr Khashoggi was killed. The issue has put Saudi Arabia under pressure from close allies. The journalist, a critic of the Saudi leadership, was last seen alive entering the consulate on 2 October. Saudi Arabia has denied killing him and initially said he left the building unharmed. What has Prince Mohammed said?The Saudi heir apparent wields considerable power in the kingdom and is being held responsible by many outside for whatever happened to Mr Khashoggi. Mr Trump tweeted that Prince Mohammed had spoken to him on the phone and he "totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate". The president said he "told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly". The phone call coincided with a visit to Saudi Arabia by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, sent there by Mr Trump to deal with the crisis in relations. Did Apple Watch record Khashoggi killing? Why Saudi Arabia matters to the West More firms pull out of Saudi business conference On Monday, Mr Trump speculated that "rogue killers" may have been behind the journalist's disappearance. In a further sign of disquiet within the US, a leading Republican senator and defender of US-Saudi links, Lindsey Graham, has been highly critical of the Saudi crown prince. "This guy's gotta go," he said on Tuesday morning o..
October 16, 2018

Canada becomes second country to legalise recreational marijuana

Canada becomes second country to legalise recreational marijuana Image copyright Getty Images Canada has become the second country after Uruguay to legalise possession and use of recreational cannabis. The nationwide market for cannabis opened Wednesday at midnight amid lingering questions about the impact on health, the law and public safety. Preparations included mailings to 15m households detailing the new cannabis laws and public awareness campaigns. But there remain concerns, including about the readiness for police forces to tackle drug impaired driving. Canadian provinces and municipalities have been preparing for months for the end of cannabis prohibition. Provinces and territories are responsible for setting out many of the details for where cannabis can be bought and consumed within their jurisdictions. This has created a patchwork of legislation across the country as jurisdictions choose more or less restrictive frameworks for selling and using cannabis. Shops in the province of Newfoundland, the most easterly time zone in Canada, opened as midnight struck for the first legal sales of cannabis in the country. How ready is Canada for cannabis?There remain unanswered questions on some key issues around how legal cannabis will work in Canada. A number of analysts are predicting a shortage of recreational marijuana in the first year of legalisation as production and licensing continues to ramp up to meet demand. And the marketplace itself is still in its infancy. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Unauthorised dispensaries have cropped up in cities across Canada in the run up to legalisation Ontario, Canada's most populous province, will only begin opening retail stores next spring, though residents will be able to order cannabis online. British Columbia, one of the provinces with the highest rates of cannabis use, will only have one legal store open on Wednesday. Until retail locations are more widely available, some unlicensed cannabis reta..
October 16, 2018

Legal cannabis in Canada: Should pot convicts get amnesty?

October 16, 2018

How California is changing the US

How California is changing the US Image copyright Getty Images Image caption A wave of new laws in California is shaping national debate. In privacy law, minimum wage and other ways, California is shaping national debate. The US, long a laggard when it comes to online privacy, is finally taking a serious look at creating national rules to protect consumer data. But the impetus driving the talks in Washington isn't what you might think. Yes, lawmakers are responding to an outcry over the exposure of information held by giants such as Facebook, Google and Equifax. They are also looking over their shoulders at Europe, where a new privacy law went into effect in May. But there's another, bigger factor pushing people to the table - California. In June, the Golden State passed a sweeping privacy law, which gave consumers the right to sue over data breaches, among other changes. Now, worried that other states will follow suit, companies and some politicians that opposed previous regulatory efforts have come out in favour of national rules. And data privacy is not the the only area where California is driving the national debate. In recent years, the state has passed a slew of progressive laws concerning everything from marijuana to the minimum wage, inspiring lawmakers in other states. Frederick Boehmke, a professor of political science at the University of Iowa, has studied the adoption of more than 700 policies across the states over many decades. He says California stands out, both for its willingness to adopt new ideas and for its influence over other states. That role has also increased over time. "It's pretty clearly the overall leader," he says. "They are shaping the national agenda." Image copyright Getty Images Image caption California Governor Jerry Brown has made climate policies a signature issue, saying California is not "turning back" The Golden State has a long history of presenting Americans with an alternative path. In the 19th Century, th..
October 16, 2018

Trump calls Federal Reserve ‘my biggest threat’

Trump calls Federal Reserve 'my biggest threat' Image copyright Reuters Image caption Donald Trump named Jerome Powell to lead the Federal Reserve US President Donald Trump has escalated his war of words against America's central bank, calling the Federal Reserve his "biggest threat". The remarks, made in an interview with US media outlet Fox Business, follow the president's repeated criticism of the Fed for its decision to raise interest rates. Mr Trump is worried the moves will hurt economic growth. The Fed maintains the economy is strong enough to handle the increases. It has been gradually raising its benchmark rate since 2015, aiming to shift rates away from the ultra-low levels puts in place during the financial crisis and recession to spur economic activity. Before becoming president, Mr Trump said the Fed should be moving faster, accusing it of keeping rates artificially low to help then President Barack Obama. But his position has changed since he assumed office. In the Fox interview, he said: "My biggest threat is the Fed, because the Fed is raising rates too fast." "It's independent, so I don't speak to [Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell] but I'm not happy with what he's doing," he added. The comments follow Mr Trump's attacks on the bank last week, after US share prices dropped suddenly. At the time, he said the bank had "gone crazy" and was "out of control". The perils of a political Federal ReserveThe Fed's rate increases are intended to prevent uncontrolled inflation, which has shown signs of picking up. But they have that effect by making borrowing more expensive for businesses and families - and for the US government, which is borrowing to fund a growing budget deficit. In the most recent financial year, the US spent nearly $800bn more than it brought in in revenue - an increase of $113bn. Recent presidents have avoided commenting on Fed policy, in a sign of respect for the bank's independenc..
October 16, 2018

US mid-terms: The most surprising candidates

US mid-terms: The most surprising candidates Image copyright Getty Images It can be tough to keep up with the deluge of information and analysis that comes with the US mid-term elections. Despite all the noise, the key question remains whether or not Republicans will be able to keep control of both chambers of Congress. But with so much to consider and thousands of races taking place, some interesting stories can be lost. That's why we've picked out some candidates who have had memorable journeys to the ballot box on November 6. Plus, a politics professor explains how a compelling personal story can make a difference. The cage-fighting Native-American Image copyright Getty Images / Sharice Davids Who? Democrat Sharice Davids, a gay ex-mixed martial arts fighter, is running in Kansas's third congressional district. What makes her interesting? Ms Davids could become the first Native-American woman elected to Congress. She is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, was raised by a single mother who worked as a drill sergeant, and has a law degree from a top US university. The 38-year-old won her first mixed martial arts fight in November 2013, but began to focus on politics after she was rejected by the Ultimate Fighting Championship. One quote: "I've been put down, pushed aside, knocked out. I've had to fight my whole life because of who I am and who I love." The decorated female fighter pilot Image copyright Getty Images Who? Martha McSally, a two-term Republican representative from Arizona, is running for Senate in the state. What makes her interesting? Ms McSally is the first US female fighter pilot to fly in combat and the first to command a fighter squadron. She was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and earned six medals during her 26-year military career. If elected, she will become the first woman to represent Arizona in the Senate. One quote: "I'm a fighter pilot and I talk like one. That's why I told Washington Republicans to g..
October 16, 2018

Mary Bono: USA Gymnastics boss quits after Simone Biles & Aly Raisman criticism

The interim boss of USA Gymnastics resigns after her appointment was criticised by Olympic champions Simone Biles and Aly Raisman.
October 16, 2018

Netflix surges on strong subscriber growth

Netflix surges on strong subscriber growth Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings in 2016 Netflix shares jumped more than 10% in after-hours trade after the firm added more subscribers than forecast. The firm said it added nearly seven million members during the quarter, ending September with more than 137 million members world wide. It had told investors to expect growth of about five million. The strong growth followed an unusually weak second quarter that had fanned worries about the online streaming firm's future. Netflix is among the first of the major US technology companies to report earnings to investors this quarter. Revenue increased 34% year-on-year to nearly $4bn, while profits more than tripled to $403m.
October 16, 2018

US senator apologies for revealing names of ‘sex crime victims’

US senator apologies for revealing names of 'sex crime victims' Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Neither Mrs Heitkamp (pictured) nor her team have explicitly said how the mistake occurred A Democratic US senator facing a tough re-election bid has apologised for disclosing the names of survivors of sex crimes in a campaign advert. The womens' names were among 125 featured in an "open letter" Sunday newspaper advert for North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp. Some women whose names appeared on the advert have said that they never gave permission for their names to be used. Mrs Heitkamp has admitted the mistake and pledged not to let it happen again. In a statement on Tuesday, Mrs Heitkamp said that the mistake occurred when "our campaign worked with victim advocates to identify women who would be willing sign the letter or share their story". "We recently discovered that several of the women's names who were provided to us did not authorise their names to be shared or were not survivors of abuse." Neither Mrs Heitkamp nor her team have explicitly said how the mistake occurred. In an interview on Tuesday with conservative blogger Rob Port, she said: "This was incompetent. It was wrong. It should have never happened." "It was a very flagrant error of the campaign and I own it." Several women have come forward to say that their names appeared in the advert without permission, and at least one has said that she is not a survivor of domestic violence. What did the newspaper ad say? The "open letter" was directed at Republican opponent Kevin Cramer, and accused him of being insensitive to victims of sexual assault. "We are here to let you know that we have all suffered from domestic violence, sexual assault, or rape - and that yes, we expect somebody to believe us when we say it," the letter states. The letter attacked him for suggesting "tough people" do not identify with the national conversation around sexual assault, and that the letter woul..
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