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Car Bomb Blast in Northern Ireland; No Injuries Reported

Northern Ireland police and politicians have condemned a “reckless” car bombing outside a courthouse in the city of Londonderry.

The device was placed inside a hijacked delivery vehicle and exploded Saturday night as police, who had received a warning, were evacuating the area. There were no reports of injuries.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland posted a photograph of a vehicle in flames and urged the public to stay away.

Police and army bomb-disposal experts remained at the scene on Sunday.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton called the attack “incredibly reckless.”

“The people responsible for this attack have shown no regard for the community or local businesses,” he said. “They care little about the damage to the area and the disruption they have caused.”

More than 3,700 people died during decades of violence before Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace accord. Most militants have renounced violence, but some Irish Republican Army dissidents carry out occasional bombings and shootings.

Uncertainty about the future of the Irish border after Brexit is adding to tensions in Northern Ireland.

John Boyle, who is mayor of the city also known as Derry, said violence “is the past and it has to stay in the past.”

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Car Bomb Blast in Northern Ireland; No Injuries Reported

Northern Ireland police and politicians have condemned a “reckless” car bombing outside a courthouse in the city of Londonderry.

The device was placed inside a hijacked delivery vehicle and exploded Saturday night as police, who had received a warning, were evacuating the area. There were no reports of injuries.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland posted a photograph of a vehicle in flames and urged the public to stay away.

Police and army bomb-disposal experts remained at the scene on Sunday.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton called the attack “incredibly reckless.”

“The people responsible for this attack have shown no regard for the community or local businesses,” he said. “They care little about the damage to the area and the disruption they have caused.”

More than 3,700 people died during decades of violence before Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace accord. Most militants have renounced violence, but some Irish Republican Army dissidents carry out occasional bombings and shootings.

Uncertainty about the future of the Irish border after Brexit is adding to tensions in Northern Ireland.

John Boyle, who is mayor of the city also known as Derry, said violence “is the past and it has to stay in the past.”

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Survivors: Up to 117 Missing From Sunken Boat Off Libya 

Three survivors of the sinking of a rubber dinghy in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya say up to 117 other migrants were aboard at the time, a U.N. migration official said Saturday. 

It appeared to be the latest tragedy on the dangerous central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Europe. 

Flavio Di Giacomo of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) told Italian state TV that “unfortunately about 120” migrants were reported by survivors to have been on the overloaded smugglers’ dinghy when it was launched from Libyan shores on Thursday evening. 

“After a few hours, it began sinking and people began drowning,” Di Giacomo said. 

Among the missing were 10 women and two children, including a 2-month-old baby, he said. Survivors indicated their fellow migrants came from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Gambia and Sudan, Di Giacomo said. 

Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who has urged that the government show more compassion for migrants, expressed his “deep sorrow for the tragedy that has taken place in the Mediterranean.” 

Premier Giuseppe Conte told reporters he was “shocked” at the reports of the sinking and vowed that Italy would continue to combat human traffickers. 

Italy’s populist government has banned private rescue boats from bringing migrants to Italian shores. Together with Malta, Italy has also launched probes of the rescue groups themselves, claiming their operations might facilitate trafficking. 

Friday rescue

The three survivors of the sinking were plucked to safety by an Italian navy helicopter on Friday afternoon, the navy said.  

The Italian navy said when its patrol plane spotted the sinking dinghy it had about 20 persons aboard. The plane’s crew launched two life rafts near the dinghy, which inflated, and a navy destroyer 100 nautical miles (200 kilometers) away sent a helicopter to the scene.  

That helicopter rescued the survivors, two from a life raft and one from the water, the navy said, adding that all had hypothermia. 

They were flown to Lampedusa, an Italian island near Sicily, and treated in a hospital, Di Giacomo said.   

Many migrants cannot afford to pay for life vests, an extra cost when boarding a smuggler’s boat in Libya. The survivors said the migrants aboard the dinghy didn’t have any. 

It wasn’t immediately clear exactly how many migrants might have died before the navy plane spotted the sinking dinghy. 

The Italian Coast Guard says Libya asked a nearby cargo ship to search for survivors but the ship reported it found no one. 

Libyan navy spokesman Ayoub Gassim said one of its boats was sent Friday to the scene but it “had a mechanical issue and we had to call it back.” The official said 50 migrants were believed to have been aboard the dinghy when it set sail. 

According to the IOM, at least 2,297 people died at sea or went missing trying to reach Europe in 2018. In all, 116,959 migrants reached Europe by sea routes last year, it says. 

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said Saturday it was “appalled” at the news of the latest migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. In a statement from its Geneva headquarters, it said in addition to those missing off Libya, 53 people died in recent days in the western Mediterranean, where one survivor was rescued by a fishing boat after being stranded for more than 24 hours at sea.  

Can’t be ignored

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the high numbers of people dying on Europe’s doorstep,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. 

Italy has trained and equipped the Libyan coast guard so it can intercept and rescue more migrant boats closer to their shores. But U.N. refugee officials and rights advocates say the migrants rescued by the Libyans are returned to dangerous, overcrowded detention facilities, where detainees face insufficient rations, rape, beatings and torture. 

Libyan navy official Ayoub Gassim said Saturday that the Libyan navy had stopped two smuggling boats, one with 67 migrants aboard and the other with 20.  

In a separate operation, the German rescue group Sea-Watch said it rescued 47 people from a rubber boat off the coast of Libya. 

After Italy’s populist government took power in June 2018, the number of migrants reaching Italy after rescue at sea dropped off sharply, as anti-migrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini refused to let humanitarian rescue vessels enter Italian ports.

Salvini says Italy has received hundreds of thousands of migrants rescued from Libyan-based smugglers in unseaworthy boats in the last few years and demands that other European Union countries do their part. 

After the latest sea tragedy, Salvini said that when humanitarian rescue boats patrol off Libya, “the smugglers resume their dirty trafficking [and] people start dying again.” 

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Survivors: Up to 117 Missing From Sunken Boat Off Libya 

Three survivors of the sinking of a rubber dinghy in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya say up to 117 other migrants were aboard at the time, a U.N. migration official said Saturday. 

It appeared to be the latest tragedy on the dangerous central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Europe. 

Flavio Di Giacomo of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) told Italian state TV that “unfortunately about 120” migrants were reported by survivors to have been on the overloaded smugglers’ dinghy when it was launched from Libyan shores on Thursday evening. 

“After a few hours, it began sinking and people began drowning,” Di Giacomo said. 

Among the missing were 10 women and two children, including a 2-month-old baby, he said. Survivors indicated their fellow migrants came from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Gambia and Sudan, Di Giacomo said. 

Italian President Sergio Mattarella, who has urged that the government show more compassion for migrants, expressed his “deep sorrow for the tragedy that has taken place in the Mediterranean.” 

Premier Giuseppe Conte told reporters he was “shocked” at the reports of the sinking and vowed that Italy would continue to combat human traffickers. 

Italy’s populist government has banned private rescue boats from bringing migrants to Italian shores. Together with Malta, Italy has also launched probes of the rescue groups themselves, claiming their operations might facilitate trafficking. 

Friday rescue

The three survivors of the sinking were plucked to safety by an Italian navy helicopter on Friday afternoon, the navy said.  

The Italian navy said when its patrol plane spotted the sinking dinghy it had about 20 persons aboard. The plane’s crew launched two life rafts near the dinghy, which inflated, and a navy destroyer 100 nautical miles (200 kilometers) away sent a helicopter to the scene.  

That helicopter rescued the survivors, two from a life raft and one from the water, the navy said, adding that all had hypothermia. 

They were flown to Lampedusa, an Italian island near Sicily, and treated in a hospital, Di Giacomo said.   

Many migrants cannot afford to pay for life vests, an extra cost when boarding a smuggler’s boat in Libya. The survivors said the migrants aboard the dinghy didn’t have any. 

It wasn’t immediately clear exactly how many migrants might have died before the navy plane spotted the sinking dinghy. 

The Italian Coast Guard says Libya asked a nearby cargo ship to search for survivors but the ship reported it found no one. 

Libyan navy spokesman Ayoub Gassim said one of its boats was sent Friday to the scene but it “had a mechanical issue and we had to call it back.” The official said 50 migrants were believed to have been aboard the dinghy when it set sail. 

According to the IOM, at least 2,297 people died at sea or went missing trying to reach Europe in 2018. In all, 116,959 migrants reached Europe by sea routes last year, it says. 

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said Saturday it was “appalled” at the news of the latest migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. In a statement from its Geneva headquarters, it said in addition to those missing off Libya, 53 people died in recent days in the western Mediterranean, where one survivor was rescued by a fishing boat after being stranded for more than 24 hours at sea.  

Can’t be ignored

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the high numbers of people dying on Europe’s doorstep,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. 

Italy has trained and equipped the Libyan coast guard so it can intercept and rescue more migrant boats closer to their shores. But U.N. refugee officials and rights advocates say the migrants rescued by the Libyans are returned to dangerous, overcrowded detention facilities, where detainees face insufficient rations, rape, beatings and torture. 

Libyan navy official Ayoub Gassim said Saturday that the Libyan navy had stopped two smuggling boats, one with 67 migrants aboard and the other with 20.  

In a separate operation, the German rescue group Sea-Watch said it rescued 47 people from a rubber boat off the coast of Libya. 

After Italy’s populist government took power in June 2018, the number of migrants reaching Italy after rescue at sea dropped off sharply, as anti-migrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini refused to let humanitarian rescue vessels enter Italian ports.

Salvini says Italy has received hundreds of thousands of migrants rescued from Libyan-based smugglers in unseaworthy boats in the last few years and demands that other European Union countries do their part. 

After the latest sea tragedy, Salvini said that when humanitarian rescue boats patrol off Libya, “the smugglers resume their dirty trafficking [and] people start dying again.” 

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Clashes Break Out in France in Latest ‘Yellow Vest’ Protest

Clashes broke out throughout France on Saturday, as an estimated 84,000 “yellow vest” demonstrators took to the streets in a 10th consecutive weekend of protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s government. 

The demonstrations passed off relatively peacefully in Paris where 7,000 turned up, although Reuters Television reporters saw scuffles briefly break out between police and demonstrators, some wearing masks, in the capital’s Invalides district. 

Protesters threw firecrackers, bottles and stones at police, who responded with water canon and tear gas to push them back. 

“Macron, resign!” some protesters shouted. 

The protests, named after the fluorescent jackets French motorists are required to carry in their cars, began in November over plans to raise fuel taxes. The number of demonstrators on Saturday was roughly the same as last week’s figure.  

The fuel tax hikes were subsequently scrapped, yet the movement has morphed into a broader protest against Macron’s government and general anger over taxes and the cost of living. 

“How can we continue to live with so little?” said Bernard Grignan, a 65-year old retired manager who took part in the Paris demonstrations. 

 

Trouble in Toulouse

In Paris, some demonstrators carried mock coffins symbolizing the 10 people who have died during the protests, mainly because of accidents when demonstrators blocked roads. 

December’s demonstrations saw some of the worst violence in decades in Paris, as rioters burned cars and vandalized shops. 

Protests in Paris this month have not seen the same level of trouble, although video of a former French boxing champion punching and kicking police in Paris shocked many. 

Despite a relative decline in crowd trouble in Paris, however, disturbances have flared up in other cities. 

According to official figures, the biggest demonstration on Saturday occurred in the southern city of Toulouse, where around 10,000 people took part. The demonstration turned violent as evening fell, as protesters vandalized a bank and other shops. 

Eight people were injured and there were 23 arrests. Reuters correspondents also reported disturbances in Bordeaux, Lyon and Marseille, while the local government building was attacked in Angers, northwest of Paris. 

Macron has launched a series of national debates to help quell public discontent and restore his standing.  

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen — soundly beaten by Macron in the 2017 presidential election — is looking to take advantage of the “yellow vest” crisis and win ground in the May 2019 European Parliament elections. 

‘Legitimate’ revolt

On Saturday, Le Pen reiterated her support for the protesters at a meeting near Marseille, at which she described the movement as a “legitimate” and “courageous” revolt. 

The Angers member of Parliament, Matthieu Orphelin, a member of Macron’s LREM centrist party, said he would cancel talks with members of the “yellow vests” in light of the trouble in Angers. 

“It fills me with fury to see our beautiful town attacked in this way, in particular the damage caused to symbols of the republic,” Orphelin said in a statement. 

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Clashes Break Out in France in Latest ‘Yellow Vest’ Protest

Clashes broke out throughout France on Saturday, as an estimated 84,000 “yellow vest” demonstrators took to the streets in a 10th consecutive weekend of protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s government. 

The demonstrations passed off relatively peacefully in Paris where 7,000 turned up, although Reuters Television reporters saw scuffles briefly break out between police and demonstrators, some wearing masks, in the capital’s Invalides district. 

Protesters threw firecrackers, bottles and stones at police, who responded with water canon and tear gas to push them back. 

“Macron, resign!” some protesters shouted. 

The protests, named after the fluorescent jackets French motorists are required to carry in their cars, began in November over plans to raise fuel taxes. The number of demonstrators on Saturday was roughly the same as last week’s figure.  

The fuel tax hikes were subsequently scrapped, yet the movement has morphed into a broader protest against Macron’s government and general anger over taxes and the cost of living. 

“How can we continue to live with so little?” said Bernard Grignan, a 65-year old retired manager who took part in the Paris demonstrations. 

 

Trouble in Toulouse

In Paris, some demonstrators carried mock coffins symbolizing the 10 people who have died during the protests, mainly because of accidents when demonstrators blocked roads. 

December’s demonstrations saw some of the worst violence in decades in Paris, as rioters burned cars and vandalized shops. 

Protests in Paris this month have not seen the same level of trouble, although video of a former French boxing champion punching and kicking police in Paris shocked many. 

Despite a relative decline in crowd trouble in Paris, however, disturbances have flared up in other cities. 

According to official figures, the biggest demonstration on Saturday occurred in the southern city of Toulouse, where around 10,000 people took part. The demonstration turned violent as evening fell, as protesters vandalized a bank and other shops. 

Eight people were injured and there were 23 arrests. Reuters correspondents also reported disturbances in Bordeaux, Lyon and Marseille, while the local government building was attacked in Angers, northwest of Paris. 

Macron has launched a series of national debates to help quell public discontent and restore his standing.  

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen — soundly beaten by Macron in the 2017 presidential election — is looking to take advantage of the “yellow vest” crisis and win ground in the May 2019 European Parliament elections. 

‘Legitimate’ revolt

On Saturday, Le Pen reiterated her support for the protesters at a meeting near Marseille, at which she described the movement as a “legitimate” and “courageous” revolt. 

The Angers member of Parliament, Matthieu Orphelin, a member of Macron’s LREM centrist party, said he would cancel talks with members of the “yellow vests” in light of the trouble in Angers. 

“It fills me with fury to see our beautiful town attacked in this way, in particular the damage caused to symbols of the republic,” Orphelin said in a statement. 

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Бокс: Ломаченко захищатиме титул чемпіона світу в поєдинку з британцем Кроллою

Український боксер Василь Ломаченко проведе захист титулу чемпіона світу  у легкій вазі проти британця Ентоні Кролли. Про це повідомили в Всесвітній боксерській асоціації (WBA).

Промоутерські торги заплановані на 4 лютого. Мінімальна ставка становитиме 150 тисяч доларів. Ломаченко отримає 75% гонорару, Кролла – 25%.

Коли і де має відбутися бій, поки невідомо.

Кролла був чемпіоном світу за версією WBA в 2015-2016 роках.

Ломаченко став чемпіоном світу за версією WBA у травні минулого року, а у грудні завоював пояс чемпіона світу за версією Всесвітньої боксерської організації (WBO).

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Trump Says a Deal ‘Could Very Well Happen’ With China

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday progress is being made toward a trade deal with China and denied that he was considering lifting tariffs on Chinese products.

“Things are going very well with China and with trade,” he told reporters, adding that he had seen some “false reports” indicating that U.S. tariffs on Chinese products would be lifted.

“If we make a deal certainly we would not have sanctions and if we don’t make a deal we will,” Trump said. “We’ve really had a very extraordinary number of meetings and a deal could very

well happen with China. It’s going well. I would say about as well as it could possibly go.”

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Stocks Rally on Trade Hopes, Dollar Has 1st Weekly Gain of 2019

World stock indexes jumped on Friday, with Wall Street posting a fourth straight week of gains, and the dollar had its first positive week since mid-December as optimism increased that an end is in sight to the U.S.-China trade conflict.

Stocks were boosted by a Bloomberg report that said China sought to raise its annual goods imports from the United States by more than $1 trillion in order to reduce its trade surplus to zero by 2024.    

That followed a report on Thursday that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was considering lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports. The Treasury denied Mnuchin had made any such recommendation.

Progress in trade talks

While the equity rally lifted all major sectors, trade-sensitive industrials posted among the biggest S&P 500 sector gains, up 1.9 percent on the day. The Philadelphia SE semiconductor index rose more than 2 percent and Germany’s exporter-heavy DAX was up 2.6 percent.    

“There seems to be some progress going in the trade negotiations,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

While that was the biggest influence, “we’ve still got momentum since the first of the year,” he said. “Some of the money that came out of the market at year-end, whether it was high frequency traders or tax-loss selling, is coming back in.”

Adding to strength in equities and supporting U.S. Treasury yields was data that showed U.S. manufacturing output increased the most in 10 months in December. 

Some strategists said relatively light equity trading volume this week indicated that some investors were still waiting on the sidelines.    

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 336.25 points, or 1.38 percent, to 24,706.35, the S&P 500 gained 34.75 points, or 1.32 percent, to 2,670.71 and the Nasdaq Composite added 72.77 points, or 1.03 percent, to 7,157.23.

The S&P 500 registered its biggest four-week percentage gain since October 2011. The index is now 8.9 percent below its Sept. 20 record close after dropping 19.8 percent below that level — near the 20-percent threshold commonly considered to confirm a bear market — on Christmas Eve.

STOXX 600 index is up

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 1.80 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 1.23 percent.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit the United States on Jan. 30 and 31 for another round of talks aimed at resolving the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

Recent indicators show signs that the Chinese economy is losing momentum.

The trade optimism boosted the dollar against other major currencies.

The dollar index rose 0.31 percent, with the euro down 0.26 percent to $1.1365.

U.S. Treasury yields rose to three-week highs as investors piled back into Wall Street.  

Oil prices jump

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 12/32 in price to yield 2.7878 percent, compared with 2.747 percent late on Thursday.

Oil prices jumped about 3 percent, rising after OPEC detailed specifics on its production-cut activity to ease global oversupply.   

Brent crude gained $1.52 to settle at $62.70 a barrel, or 2.48 percent higher. U.S. WTI crude futures added $1.73 to settle at $53.80 a barrel, or 3.32 percent up.

 

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Stocks Rally on Trade Hopes, Dollar Has 1st Weekly Gain of 2019

World stock indexes jumped on Friday, with Wall Street posting a fourth straight week of gains, and the dollar had its first positive week since mid-December as optimism increased that an end is in sight to the U.S.-China trade conflict.

Stocks were boosted by a Bloomberg report that said China sought to raise its annual goods imports from the United States by more than $1 trillion in order to reduce its trade surplus to zero by 2024.    

That followed a report on Thursday that U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was considering lifting some or all tariffs imposed on Chinese imports. The Treasury denied Mnuchin had made any such recommendation.

Progress in trade talks

While the equity rally lifted all major sectors, trade-sensitive industrials posted among the biggest S&P 500 sector gains, up 1.9 percent on the day. The Philadelphia SE semiconductor index rose more than 2 percent and Germany’s exporter-heavy DAX was up 2.6 percent.    

“There seems to be some progress going in the trade negotiations,” said Bucky Hellwig, senior vice president at BB&T Wealth Management in Birmingham, Alabama.

While that was the biggest influence, “we’ve still got momentum since the first of the year,” he said. “Some of the money that came out of the market at year-end, whether it was high frequency traders or tax-loss selling, is coming back in.”

Adding to strength in equities and supporting U.S. Treasury yields was data that showed U.S. manufacturing output increased the most in 10 months in December. 

Some strategists said relatively light equity trading volume this week indicated that some investors were still waiting on the sidelines.    

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 336.25 points, or 1.38 percent, to 24,706.35, the S&P 500 gained 34.75 points, or 1.32 percent, to 2,670.71 and the Nasdaq Composite added 72.77 points, or 1.03 percent, to 7,157.23.

The S&P 500 registered its biggest four-week percentage gain since October 2011. The index is now 8.9 percent below its Sept. 20 record close after dropping 19.8 percent below that level — near the 20-percent threshold commonly considered to confirm a bear market — on Christmas Eve.

STOXX 600 index is up

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 1.80 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 1.23 percent.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit the United States on Jan. 30 and 31 for another round of talks aimed at resolving the trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies.

Recent indicators show signs that the Chinese economy is losing momentum.

The trade optimism boosted the dollar against other major currencies.

The dollar index rose 0.31 percent, with the euro down 0.26 percent to $1.1365.

U.S. Treasury yields rose to three-week highs as investors piled back into Wall Street.  

Oil prices jump

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 12/32 in price to yield 2.7878 percent, compared with 2.747 percent late on Thursday.

Oil prices jumped about 3 percent, rising after OPEC detailed specifics on its production-cut activity to ease global oversupply.   

Brent crude gained $1.52 to settle at $62.70 a barrel, or 2.48 percent higher. U.S. WTI crude futures added $1.73 to settle at $53.80 a barrel, or 3.32 percent up.