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21 апреля, 17:55

Earnings Reports In Focus

Earnings Reports In Focus

21 апреля, 17:27

Deluge of Q1 Earnings Results: GE, HON, MAN, SWK, STI

To cap off this first week of a major deluge of Q1 earnings this season, we see results from plenty of S&P 500 companies which lead their respective industries.

21 апреля, 13:46

Сегодня в США ожидается публикация данных по рынку недвижимости, нескольких отчетностей

В пятницу, 21 апреля, в Соединенных Штатах Америки ожидается публикация лишь одного важного макроэкономического показателя. Так, в 17:00 МСК выйдут данные по продажам домов на вторичном рынке за март. Ожидается, что показатель составил 5,60 млн после 5,48 млн в феврале. Из второстепенной статистики можно отметить индекс деловой активности в промышленности за апрель. Кроме того, в 16:30 МСК выступит глава ФРБ Миннеаполиса Нил Кашкари. Что касается календаря корпоративных отчетностей, то здесь следует отметить General Electric, Honeywell International, Manpower, Schlumberger и SunTrust Banks, которые представят свои финансовые результаты до открытия торгов. К 13:25 МСК фьючерсы на индекс S&P 500 торгуются с повышением на 0,06%.

21 апреля, 12:30

Сегодня в США ожидается публикация данных по рынку недвижимости, нескольких отчетностей

В пятницу, 21 апреля, в Соединенных Штатах Америки ожидается публикация лишь одного важного макроэкономического показателя. Так, в 17:00 МСК выйдут данные по продажам домов на вторичном рынке за март. Ожидается, что показатель составил 5,60 млн после 5,48 млн в феврале. Из второстепенной статистики можно отметить индекс деловой активности в промышленности за апрель. Кроме того, в 16:30 МСК выступит глава ФРБ Миннеаполиса Нил Кашкари. Что касается календаря корпоративных отчетностей, то здесь следует отметить General Electric, Honeywell International, Manpower, Schlumberger и SunTrust Banks, которые представят свои финансовые результаты до открытия торгов. К 13:25 МСК фьючерсы на индекс S&P 500 торгуются с повышением на 0,06%.

20 апреля, 23:54

The Top Earnings Charts to End the Week

Are you trading earnings season? These are some of the best charts this week.

18 апреля, 17:42

War Experience Provides America's Industry With the Skills To Build Trump’s Wall

Dan Goure Security, U.S. companies did this in Afghanistan and Iraq and should be able to do the same along the southern border. War is one of the greatest engines of technological and organizational change. The 15-year fight against Islamic jihadist terrorist groups has proven this once again. The nature of these conflicts demanded the development of new intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance technologies, processes and organization. U.S. companies responded with a revolution in sensors, command and control systems, data management and fusion software and platforms. Now they are bringing the capabilities and know-how acquired from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq back to the U.S. and applying them to the effort to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. Security along this country’s land and water borders has always been multilayered. As of 2014, 653 of the nearly 2,000 miles of the southern border already has been fenced. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has deployed drones, blimps, aerostats and fixed towers with radar and electronic sensors to detect land and air movement across the unfenced portions of the border. The most important layer in this system is people, the thousands of Border Patrol agents that operate along the border and respond to the intelligence produced by these sensors. Access to this country from the sea is managed by the U.S. Coast Guard which does a remarkable job with limited resources. As Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, Senator Ron Johnson stated, “fencing is not a panacea. We need a layered approach to border security, one that includes technology, manpower, a commitment to the rule of law, and the elimination of incentives for illegal immigration.” Read full article

15 апреля, 18:42

Number of NHS managers still growing as GP posts fall again

Doctors say ministers’ ‘bureaucracy busting’ shakeup has failed to switch resources and manpower to the front lineThe number of NHS managers has grown by almost 18% in the four years since the government introduced a “bureaucracy-busting” shakeup of the health service, according to the latest official data.The rise of about 4,650 in total management posts since April 2013, when the controversial Health and Social Care Act came into force, contrasts with an alarming fall in the number of GPs over recent months at a time of unprecedented demand for health care. The figures have drawn criticism from the British Medical Association (BMA), who say ministers are failing in their central objective of shifting more resources and manpower from back-office posts to the front line. Continue reading...

15 апреля, 02:08

Trump's Pick For Army Secretary Has A Troubling History Of Anti-Muslim Remarks

function onPlayerReadyVidible(e){'undefined'!=typeof HPTrack&&HPTrack.Vid.Vidible_track(e)}!function(e,i){if(e.vdb_Player){if('object'==typeof commercial_video){var a='',o='m.fwsitesection='+commercial_video.site_and_category;if(a+=o,commercial_video['package']){var c='&m.fwkeyvalues=sponsorship%3D'+commercial_video['package'];a+=c}e.setAttribute('vdb_params',a)}i(e.vdb_Player)}else{var t=arguments.callee;setTimeout(function(){t(e,i)},0)}}(document.getElementById('vidible_1'),onPlayerReadyVidible); A Muslim civil liberties group is opposing the confirmation of President Donald Trump’s pick for Army secretary due to his history of deeply disparaging remarks about Islam and Muslims.  The White House announced last week that Trump will nominate Republican Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green for the role. Green ― a physician, Iraq War veteran and Bronze Star recipient ― would oversee all matters relating to the U.S. Army if confirmed by the Senate. But the Council on American-Islamic Relations says Green’s “past Islamophobic statements” should disqualify him from the role.  In a press release this week, CAIR highlighted remarks Green made about Islam and Muslims at a tea party meeting in Chattanooga in the fall of 2016. “Great question,” Green said when someone asked him about an armed insurrection in the U.S. staged by people “who don’t belong here, like Muslims...” Green, who did not respond to a request for comment on this story, describes himself as Christian on the official Tennessee state senate website. At the tea party meeting, he made it clear he didn’t want students in Tennessee learning about Islam.  When an audience member read a passage from a school textbook that correctly stated that Muslims believe in all the prophets in the Old and New Testament, Green replied, “When you start teaching the pillars of Islam ... we will not tolerate that in this state.” But if students did have to learn about Islam, they should only learn “the history of the Ottoman Empire” and “the assault of Islam out into the Levant and North Africa and into Constantinople,” Green said. When speaking about his missionary work in a Toronto Pakistani community, Green also incorrectly claimed that Muslims don’t believe Jesus was “born from a virgin.”  CAIR, in its press release, stated that “Muslims worldwide love and revere the Prophet Jesus.” The organization also cited a couple of passages in the Quran: “Behold! The angels said: ‘O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him. His name will be Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and in (the company of) those nearest to God.’” (The Holy Quran, 3:45) “How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me?” (Mary in The Holy Quran, 3:47) At another point in the tea party meeting, Slate notes that Green agreed with an audience member who said former President Barack Obama was not a U.S. citizen. And when asked if Obama was secretly a Muslim ― an Islamophobic conspiracy theory ― Green refused to answer.  “I think, standing alone, [Green’s] nomination is one thing,” Ibrahim Hooper, a national spokesman for CAIR, told The Huffington Post on Friday. “But coming as it does after all of these other Islamophobes and white supremacists who have been nominated and confirmed ― Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, Frank Wuco ― it just sends a very negative message to the American Muslim community and to Muslims worldwide: People with these kind of extremist views are now in the halls of power in our government.”  LGBT rights groups have also raised alarm over Green’s nomination. Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association, an LGBT organization for military families, said in a statement that Green has made “a shameful political career out of targeting L.G.B.T. people for discrimination.” Asked once about transgender members of the military, Green said that “if you poll the psychiatrists, they’re going to tell you that transgender is a disease.” Being transgender is not a disease. If confirmed, according to the Department of Defense, Green would have “statutory responsibility for all matters relating to the United States Army: manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and equipment acquisition, communications, and financial management.”  -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

11 апреля, 20:45

Background Press Briefing on Syria, 4/11/2017

James S. Brady Briefing Room  12:10 P.M. EDT SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  This briefing today is about a declassified -- or it's a summary based on declassified information about the attacks on the 4th of April.  So this is on background only.  Attribution is senior White House official, and it will be embargoed until the end of the brief.  And I'll have each of my colleagues come up here and introduce themselves.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  My understanding is you'd just like to ask some questions.  So I'm happy to go through some details of the narrative, or just take questions incoming, if you have them. Q    Do you mind walking through some of the narrative related to the chemical weapons attack -- what Russia knew perhaps beforehand, or during, or after, and some of the reporting that has come out about a Russian drone, et cetera? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So let me start with the narrative of what we think happened in the attack.  And let me tell you, to start with -- what we've done here is we've declassified a lot of intelligence with great thanks to our colleagues in the intelligence community so that we can be very forthcoming with you about the amount that we know about this attack and why we believe the Russian and Syrian narratives are false.  And we think it's really important for you to understand the depth of information that we have that supports this narrative.   I would say that since we started coming forward, in the immediate wake of the attack, all of the way through to today, we continued to get additional information.  And the information we get about this attack continues to be clear and consistent with our understanding of the attack, starting on the day of the attack, April 4th, and working all the way through today. And I would say we, even as recently as last night, for today, declassified additional information that, again, lends additional weight and credibility to the narrative I want to share with you today. The information we have downgraded and declassified includes a wide body of open-source material, both social media accounts.  It include open-source videos, reporting, open-source imagery, et cetera, as well as our own geospatial intelligence, our signals intelligence, and it include physiological samples of victims of the attack.  And again, all of that tells a very clear and consistent story about what we think happened. So to be clear, based on the pro-opposition social media reporting, those reports indicate that the chemical attack began in Khan Sheikhun at about 6:55 local time on April 4th.  Our information makes quite clear that the attack came from SU-22 fixed-wing aircraft out of the Shayrat airfield, which is regime-controlled.  These aircraft were in the vicinity of Khan Sheikhun for about 20 minutes before reports of the chemical attack came out, and they vacated the area shortly after the attack.  And I think some of you have seen the information that we shared previously about the tracks of those aircraft that came out of the Khan Sheikhun airfield -- or out of the Shayrat airfield, lingered over Khan Sheikhun, and came back to that airfield. In addition, we have information that suggests that personnel historically associated with the chemical weapons program were at Shayrat airfield in late March preparing for this attack.  On the dates surrounding the attack, and the day of the attack, they were again present at that airfield.  Hours after the attack, there were hundreds of accounts of victims of the particular chemical weapons attack.   The victimology, the symptomology of those victims is very consistent with nerve agent and sarin exposure.  And now, as I will note, we do have physiological samples from a number of victims that confirm sarin exposure.  The symptomology was quite consistent.  We saw miosis, or pin-point pupils.  We see frothing at the noise and mouth, twitching.  All of those are consistent with nerve agent.  They are not consistent with chlorine.   Also, the victimology shows that those people don’t have other wounds or injuries that would be consistent with a conventional attack.   I would note, as well, that another clear symptom of sarin or nerve agent exposure is that the secondary responders also started to have symptoms consistent with sarin exposure.  And those were the people that were there that took in the victims, that were touching them, that were removing their clothing.  Some of those also passed out and had other symptoms of sarin exposure. So by about 12:15 local time, the open source was very clear:  It showed images of dead children of varying ages.  And then we started to get accounts of the hospital, where some of those victims were being taken, being bombed at about 1:10 p.m. local.  It showed, again, victims flooding to that particular hospital before there was a conventional attack against that hospital.   The impact craters that we have in imagery and open source show conventional weapons being used around that hospital, not chemical weapons there.  The other information we have shows that leakage around the actual weapon that we think the sarin came from, not explosive debris that we would expect if it had been an explosive munition that it hit chemicals or something that would be consistent with a Russian attack.  And again, we think that is not true. Q    Sorry, can you just go over that one --  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, I'll come back through it.  Let me hit the Russian narrative all the way through, and I'll help you there. We also think -- some people have alleged that videos had been fabricated, that a lot of this information had been fabricated.  The absolute massive data we have, and all the different vehicles we've gotten it from -- open-source videos, to victim accounts, to imagery, to signals intelligence -- it's just too massive for really any intelligence organization to fabricate in that short a period of time.  We just think that's not a feasible explanation.   And then we did confirm that some of the videos that were shot of the account, we did go to independently confirm that the times at which those videos were taken were consistent with the times of the attack and not from prior footage of other attacks, other places. So let me walk through a little bit -- and, I would also note the World Health Organization came up with similar analysis on April 5th.  It, too, felt that the victims had been exposed to nerve agent based on the same kind of symptomology along the board.  And we do expect that as others continue -- and we would expect we are looking forward to the OPCW's fact-finding mission, looking into this event itself, and we think it's really important for them to get out there, for them to have access to the site of the attack, to the airfield, to other places that might be affiliated.  And we expect that any samples they find will again be consistent with what we've found so far. In terms of the Russian narrative -- and I’ll get back to your question about them and the inconsistency -- across the board, starting in 2013 and then since, we've seen both the Russians and the Syrians have a very clear campaign to try to obfuscate the nature of attacks, the attackers, and what has happened in any particular incident. They've thrown out a bunch of potential agents, a bunch of potential responsible or accountable parties.  And, often, their own information is inconsistent with their own narrative. They certainly have dismissed the allegations of a chemical weapons attacking Khan Sheikun.  They called it a “prank of a provocative nature.”  But again, we don't think it’s remotely possible for the Syrians or the Russians to have fabricated this much information so fast and so consistently on this attack. I’d also note that we’ve, of course, got extensive media observers and we have our own intelligence information.  And the intelligence information and the accounts we've gotten from our partners, again, suggest very similar outcomes in this attack. They noted, as I said -- the Russians did -- that this was a regime attack against a munitions depot, and that perhaps that terrorists had been holding chemical munitions that were attacked and then exploded from there.  As I noted, we think that the information is inconsistent with that narrative.  There is, as I said, leakage, and not in this hospital or this area where they said a building was attacked, but in a separate place where we can see the leakage from that munition.  It is inconsistent with where the Russians would say that this attack happens and where the gas came from.  And similarly, again, it’s leakage; it does not show explosive dissemination of the chemicals.  And we don't see a building, again, with that chemical residue we would expect if the Russian narrative was true. Q    When you say leakage, that's how a chemical weapon is supposed to work.  It's deliberate leakage?  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Right.  Yeah, absolutely. Q    It's dispersed. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  It's dispersed.  But there’s always leakage around the outside, or almost always leakage around the outside that shows that the material inside has leaked out as it disseminates.   Q    Rather than it was bombed and then exploded.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Exactly.  Exactly. Q    Do you believe it was only one munition that was dropped on the 4th?  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So I don't have details on the number of munitions here for you, but I think it’s fair to say we think it’s at least one munition.   And we have one particular munition that we've seen via overhead that we think is a munition that contains sarin.   Q    How do you explain the Russian drone at the hospital?  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So I don't think we have information for you today to talk about the Russian drone or any other information on the Russians, per se.  We just want to walk right through the narrative here.  We're still looking into what we think the intelligence community assessment or other is about Russian knowledge of involvement, et cetera.  And I’m sure we’ll come forward with more information on that, if we have it. Q    (Inaudible) on the question foreknowledge of Russia.  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We don't have information on that, per se.  I think it’s clear that the Russians are trying to cover up what happened there.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I’ll say we're still looking into that, into the particulars of that question.  And there’s not a consensus on our side about the extent or how to interpret the information that we have and continue to get.   However, what we do know from looking at a history of the Russian military and the Syrian military operating together for the better part of two years now closely, since the Russian advisory mission and assistance mission began in earnest in 2015.  And in addition, two militaries that have a decades-long support relationship.  Based on that historical pattern, we've seen that these two militaries operate very closely, even down to an operational and tactical level. And so considering the fact that there were Russian forces co-located with Syrian forces at the Shayrat airfield, in addition to many other installations -- many other Syrian regime installations around the country -- we do think that it is a question worth asking the Russians about how is it possible that their forces were co-located with the Syrian forces that planned, prepared, and carried out this chemical weapons attack at the same installation, and did not have foreknowledge. Q    So just to be clear, the attack that you mentioned against the hospital, which you said was aimed at covering up the initial chemical weapons attack, was that carried out by munitions that are linked to Russia? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, we don’t have information on that today. Q    Is it the assessment at this point, though -- can you say the least that -- and you spoke to this a little, and, [senior administration official], I want to get your take -- that the Russians tried to cover up the chemical weapons attack?  Do you believe that that is the case? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, we don’t know the tactical intentions of the Russians on that day on any operations that they may have been involved in.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So what I would say, in terms of cover-up -- just in terms of cover-up to follow there, I’m talking about the absolute -- coming out afterwards to say it was terrorists, to say that they’re -- SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The cover-up is the -- Q    (Inaudible) stockpile --     SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, I would say -- Q    -- you would say is absolutely an attempt to cover up a -- SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  To cover up Syrian regime culpability in a chemical weapons attack. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  The cover-up is the disinformation that has happened from the day of the attack to today. Q    In your estimation, does this action show an increase in Russian involvement?  Or is it has always been with Russia? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  What I’d like to do right now is get back to going through the narrative, and then we’ll take more of the questions.  If you can just finish going through the -- SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, if I can just finish why we think the Russian narrative is false. So getting back to why we think the Russian narrative is false -- Moscow, as I noted, said that the release of chemicals was caused by the terrorist -- a strike on a terrorist ammunition depot, but a Syrian military source told Russian state media on April 4th that regime forces had not carried out any strike in Khan Sheikhun, which contradicted Russia’s claim directly.   An open-source video shows where we believe the chemical munition landed -- again, not on a facility with weapons, but in the middle of a street in the northern section of Khan Sheikhun.  The imagery of that site from April 6th, after the allegation, shows a crater in the road that corresponds to the open-source video, so we can track to where we think that particular munition was. The Russians also allege that the terrorists -- this was a bombing on a terrorist ammunition depot.  We do not assess and have not assessed that ISIS or other terrorists in the area have sarin.  So while ISIS is using sulfur mustard -- and we’ve documented that quite well, and certainly oppose chemical weapons use by any actor, state or non-state, and are working, of course, to be able to push back ISIS chemical use as well -- it is quite clear to us that in this case this is not a terrorist holding of sarin or terrorist use of sarin.  But we do know that the Syrian regime has sarin, that it used it in the 2013 attack, and there are outstanding questions from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that make quite clear that Syria has not fully come clean on the locations, facilities, types of agents, or personnel involved with its chemical weapons program, causing us additional questions on what’s there. In terms -- is there more you want me to hit from the Russian piece? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Go ahead. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I think it’s a clear pattern of deflecting blame.  We’ve seen this in multiple accounts, including when the OPCW-U.N. joint investigative mechanism came out with reports in August and October of last year identifying Syria as culpable in three chemical weapons attacks.  In these three cases these were chlorine attacks.  They were from a different airfield here.  The United States did come out with designations on personnel affiliated with that attack on that airfield to condemn that use, as well. This is quite concerning, given that the Russians were part of setting up the deal by which Syria was supposed to give up its chemical weapons.  It was party to the deal to create the Joint Investigative Mechanism to investigate these attacks.  The JIM did come forward with clear attribution calls, and Russia has refused to accept those along the way. And I think I would leave it there on the narrative.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Okay.  So stepping back to some of your earlier questions, we’re going to open this up again to questions.  But to be clear, you’re going to receive a 3.5-page background document at the end of this that’s going to run you through this narrative that will be very detailed. One thing I want to address is the questions come up before.  We had a lot of questions about a hospital, about munitions use on that hospital, about who was responsible for bombing that hospital.  So, at this time, what you’ll see in this document is a discussion of the Russian use of information and disinformation for obfuscatory purposes in an attempt to shift blame or to transfer blame away from the Assad regime, to prevent counter-narratives about U.S. actions.  That’s what we’re addressing and discussing today. We don’t have any comment right now on who may have been involved in bombing that hospital and why and how.  So that piece, just to be clear -- because there was some confusion about that -- we’re talking -- when we talked about the Russian role, we talked about the obfuscatory information campaign, not the other thing that you asked on.  We don’t have a comment on that at this time.  And I’ll open it up to questions. Q    Have you exchanged any information with the Russians?  Because it’s easy -- they say one thing, you say another thing.  Why don’t exchange the information, compare it?   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, so we’ve come forward with a lot of the information we have publicly already.  This is another attempt to come forward publicly with that information.   We have had conversations at a variety of levels with the Russians, as well, to explain to them what we understand about the attack, and ask them to be helpful to our efforts to get the Syrians to come clean.  We have not done a full intelligence exchange, and I’m not sure that’s particularly likely at this point. Q    I think I heard you mention signals intelligence.  Do you have any SIGINT that actually indicates any level of collusion between Russia and Syria, or any indication that Assad himself ordered this strike? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So we don’t have any comment on that right now. Q    On the question of the delivery mechanism for the sarin, are you sure that the (inaudible) was Syrian air force? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We are confident, as I noted, that the SU-22 took off from the Shayrat airfield, which is regime-controlled, and dropped the strike, and we believe the Syrian regime is culpable. Q    Do you have any details about the origin of the sarin? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We don’t have additional details on the origin of the sarin.  It’s well-documented that the Syrians produce sarin as part of their chemical weapons program.  They were supposed to, of course, have destroyed -- declared and destroyed all of that agent. Q    You had talked about the movement, in late March, indicating that personnel were moved to this base to prepare these weapons.  Do you have any intelligence that indicates these types of personnel were moved to other airbases within Syria, that they may be preparing more chemical weapons attacks in the future? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So I can tell you that we take very seriously the possibility that Syria may have additional agents elsewhere.  We are working with our intelligence community to understand every piece of information they have about where such munitions might be located, who might be ahold of them, and I can tell you that that’s going to be part of what we try to figure out and where we go from here. Q    Do you believe that the Assad regime still owns a large stock of chemical weapons, especially sarin and the nerve gas, or is it the small (inaudible) amount that they use, like we saw in (inaudible)? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So I don’t think we have any comment on how much we think is left.  As I noted, we’re working with our intelligence community to figure out what it is.  But our clear goal right now, and the goal of this strike, was, in large part, to deter further chemical weapons uses by the Syria regime. Q    In the end, is there any indication that this action is an increase in Russian involvement? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, I don’t think it’s -- I don’t think it indicates an increase.  I mean, in the whole -- let’s say, in the whole environment of operational cooperation between the Russian military and Syrian military, the level of cooperation is quite high, so we’ve seen.  We haven’t seen that peak or drop.  It’s been steady. Q    So following, then this isn’t a provocative action aimed at the U.S., per se? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Don’t see any indication of that.  There were clear operational reasons, we think, probably, why they employed the weapons. Q    My question is about what President Putin said this morning, suggesting, according to him, the rebels were preparing other attacks around -- outside Damascus.  Can you give us any insight on that, and your view of those statements? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Of chemical attacks? Q    Yes.  Yeah, well, I don’t think it was -- I don’t think there was a specification.   Q    He specifically said that there will be other provocations like this one that -- and then the General Staff of the Russian Forces -- armed forces -- already said that the rebels, whom you call rebels, are already bringing in the substances. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  I would just say -- so to be clear, we are very confident that terrorists, or non-state actors, did not commit this particular attack.  We are confident as well that these terrorists or rebels don’t have sarin, so they would not be able to conduct a follow-on attack of this sort, given especially that they didn’t conduct the first one. Q    Given the fact that chemical weapons were used in this attack, do you have a sense of whether Syria got rid of any of its chemical weapons -- where that stockpile stands at this point?  And have you thought about next steps in terms of trying to get rid of it? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So we do know that Syria gave up a huge amount of its chemical weapons -- over 1,000 tons of chemical weapons.  They declared them.  And we had, through and incredible international effort with our partners, removed those chemical weapons and destroyed them.   Nevertheless, Syria -- it is clear that Syria’s declaration was not complete.  The OPCW has additional questions, and we look to the OPCW and the entire international community to support the OPCW’s effort to press Syria for answers to the outstanding questions, to get them to declare any agent, facilities, personnel, or others involved in the chemical weapons program, and most certainly get rid of anything that’s left. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Okay, we’re going to hold for a second.  [Senior administration official] is going to make a quick point here, and then we’ll jump back into Q&A. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, I think it’s important to understand the context in which these weapons were employed, what motivated the regime -- the fact that they were losing in a particularly important area, and that’s what drove it.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yeah, so in the middle of March, opposition forces launched an offensive from Southern Idlib province toward the major city of Hama, which is a strategic city in Syria.  It’s Syria’s third city, and it’s also the location of a key Syrian regime airbase that has been crucial for the regime and the forces that support it for projecting power from central Syria, both along the western spine, from Aleppo down to the south, and also further to the east to support operations in Palmyra.  So that is an airbase that the regime had to calculate that it could not lose. The opposition offensive approach was able to penetrate to within just a couple of miles of that strategic airbase and also threatened the Hama population center within just a few miles. At that point, the regime we think calculated that with its manpower spread quite thin, trying to support both defensive operations and consolidation operations in Aleppo and along that north-south spine of western Syria, and also trying to support operations which required it to send manpower and resources east toward Palmyra, we believe that the regime probably calculated at that point that chemical weapons were necessary in order to try to make up for the manpower deficiency.   That's why we saw, we believe, multiple attacks of this nature against locations that the regime probably determined were support areas for the opposition forces that were near Hama -- for example, in the town of Al-Tamanah and then in the town of Khan Sheikhun, both of which are in what would be, in military terms, the rear area for the opposition forces that were on the front line.   So we believe certainly that there was an operational calculus that the regime and perhaps its Russian advisors went through in terms of the decision-making. Q    You said there was an operational reason for this attack. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Correct.  Q    So just to clarify what you just said, this was an attack on civilians, but your understanding is that these civilian areas were seen as providing some sort of operational support for the opposition forces, which is what they're --  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes.  Now, I don't mean -- I don't mean that that means that the munitions were aimed at some sort of military capability.  What I --  Q    They were aimed at civilians. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  They were clearly aimed at areas that were most likely civilian areas.  However, what I mean is that they were most likely intended to create pressure in what was deemed a rear area for those opposition forces that were fighting. Q    So understanding that, just a quick follow-up on that, is there anything about the timing, why this took place now -- or when it did? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  In terms of the timing? Q    So you explained to us why you think they chose to attack where they did.  Why did they do it then? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Yes, if you look at sort of the punch-counterpunch of opposition and regime forces that are fighting in the vicinity of Hama, yes, you can see that -- in that context, you can see that the chemical weapons attacks seem -- could fit within the flow of a punch-counterpunch -- operational punch-counterpunch. Q    You said just a second ago, multiple attacks of this nature.  So multiple sarin attacks, not just (inaudible)? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So it’s a multiple chemical weapons attacks.  So we think that the regime has consistently used chemical weapons over time, not necessarily all sarin, to be able to fill conventional voids in its ability to reach the opposition. Q    -- the context of your colleague’s conversation with us about this particular one, so I’m just trying to clarify if they're all sarin attacks, or just the one in Khan Sheikhun, which you have established with your high degree of confidence. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So we would say that there are more than 200 allegations of regime chemical use since 2013, when Syria promised to give up its chemical weapons.  We assess that many of those are credible.  In terms of what we've been able to say right now, at least one of those is sarin, and we're continuing to look into -- Q    Khan Sheikhun, correct? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  It’s Khan Sheikhun, right. Q    With all of this confirmation that you have today, how are you employing the world community, to include the U.N., as it relates to what’s happening with the punch-counterpunch?  And also with the collusion with Russia and Syria together, how are you employing them?  And also is this clarification and confirmation ramping up efforts against Syria? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So I’ll start, and then I’m going to let these guys follow on.   In terms of the chemical weapons piece of this, it’s incredibly important that we speak with one voice at the United Nations and at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.  We need to speak with a clear message:  That chemical weapons use of any kind, by any actor, is absolutely intolerable.  That is our goal, and we need to do everything we can, collectively, to make sure that comes across clearly. We’re working with all of our partners, and we’ve made this message clear to the Russians as well, and will continue to do so, that we believe it’s in no state’s interest that any actor uses chemical weapons. Q    Support of additional forces, especially now that you believe to think that they have more agents left, be it sarin or what have you --  SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  So we’re still working through our partners.  We have to get through U.N. and OPCW this week.  We’re continuing engagement there, and then we’ll work with the international community.  Really important is going to be for the fact-finding mission at the OPCW to do its job, to turn over any information that it has to the Joint Investigative Mechanism so that we have an outside body confirm, I think, is what they will do, what we already very strongly believe -- that the Syrian regime is behind this attack. And again, I don’t think there’s evidence to the contrary at all, but we need to let the international community -- and empower those mechanisms of the international community to do their jobs.  And our hope is that that will lend additional weight to what we’ve already talked here about. SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  We’re going to let my colleague set up there.  And do you want to follow on with that? SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  No, no, that’s fine.   SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Quickly, we’re going to end here.  But what I’d like to say on this is it’s also -- you guys have asked about this several times.  Speaking with one voice is what we just said.  This is an opportunity.  We have a clear, concise and definitive analysis here.  We understand what happened there with a very high degree of confidence.  And this is an opportunity, going back to an earlier question, for the Russians to choose to stop the disinformation campaign and make the commitment to accept what happens and work forward to eliminate WMDs from Syria together. And that’s it, we’re going to leave it there.  Thank you.  The document will be handed out.  Thank you for being here.  And this is on background.  I’m going to finish off -- on background, senior White House officials, embargoed until we walk out of the room.  Document is coming to you. END  12:40 P.M. EDT

11 апреля, 01:52

Trump vexed by Assad’s motivation for chemical weapons attack

In White House meetings, evening calls with friends and even throughout the weekend at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump asked a repeated question: Why did Syria’s president use nerve gas? Trump puzzled over the mystery—even as he ordered 59 Tomahawk missiles careening into a Syrian airfield last Thursday night.Trump isn’t alone. U.S. officials and Syria experts are still debating what Syrian President Bashar Assad was thinking when he ordered a chemical attack sure to spark international outrage. Maybe Assad was hoping to terrorize his opponents. Perhaps he was testing Trump’s limits for his future military planning. Trump officials even initially considered the possibility that Assad had not ordered the strike at all, according to one administration official, and that a military commander might have gone rogue without Assad’s knowledge. Now several U.S. officials say they are reaching the consensus view that Assad was simply acting out of desperation. The embattled Syrian leader is facing a major rebel offensive in Idlib province, led by radical Islamic groups, that his depleted and exhausted army is ill-equipped to counter by conventional means. Chemical weapons were a response of cold-blooded convenience, they believe. That Trump and his team couldn't initially decide what may have motivated the strike complicated the decision-making on how to move forward, one administration official said, but "not to the point of stopping us from doing anything.” Still, the uncertainty and its effect on Trump provides a window into how the inexperienced commander in chief copes with major decisions. Aides and friends say the lack of clarity seemed to worry Trump, who is impatient and has sometimes expressed distrust of the intelligence community, while he faced his first military test. "No one really knew exactly why," a senior administration official said Saturday. "And Trump wanted to know why.”Trump continued to ask questions about Syria's motive even after the strike, mentioning the lack of a clear motivation to friends and aides at Mar-a-Lago, according to people who spoke to him. Trump is hardly the only one wondering about Assad's motive. “It’s a good question,” said Paul Salem, a Syria expert at the Middle East Institute. “Nobody really knows.”While many Syria experts in Washington endorse the official consensus that Assad is desperate to fend off even a weakened rebel opposition, they are still entertaining other theories. Some are complex and probably far-fetched. They include the possibility of a rogue military commander—perhaps loyal to Iran, which has sent troops and funding to prop up Assad—was trying to sabotage the possibility of a U.S.-Russia-Assad alliance that could isolate Tehran. Another is that Assad was trying to psychologically terrorize his opposition through a so-called “demonstration effect." This school of thought holds that “he’s showing the rebels, ‘I can get away with this,’” Salem said.There was good reason to think so. Until last week, Trump had long argued that any U.S. effort to depose Assad was a distraction from the fight against ISIS. Trump also opposed former President Barack Obama’s threatened 2013 air strikes in response to Assad’s last use of nerve gas. And the attack came days after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Assad’s fate “will be decided by the Syrian people,” and White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s declaration that Assad’s grip on power “is a political reality that we have to accept.” Until those statements, critics note, it had been nearly four years since Assad had used nerve gas. (His regime has repeatedly used less-lethal chlorine gas against civilians since 2013.)Another view holds that Assad was testing Trump’s limits in an effort to see how much leeway he might have in future military operations. While Assad has inflicted severe damage on the rebels in recent months, “He still has a lot of mopping up to do and he doesn’t have the manpower for that. He probably wanted to see if it was okay to deal with them with sarin gas,” said Phil Gordon, who served as Obama’s top national security council aide for Middle East affairs.Ultimately, Trump seemed to think of the strike as a test of his own military leadership—no matter what Assad's true motive was.

10 апреля, 17:03

3 Staffing Industry Stocks to Ride High on Trump's Policies

Let us have a look at three stocks in the Staffing space that are likely to benefit from the new policies.

31 марта, 18:35

Amazon (AMZN) to Open Tenth Fulfillment Center in Texas

In order to cater to growing demand in the online shopping space, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) shared plans of opening its 10th fulfillment center in Katy, TX.

30 марта, 04:13

Wary Democrats look to Kelly for answers on immigration

Senate Democrats wanted reassurances from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

27 марта, 19:01

Singaporean couple jailed for starving house maid

A Singaporean couple who starved their Philippine maid until she weighed just 29 kilograms were jailed yesterday, in a case described as “shocking” by prosecutors who are appealing for stiffer sentences. Trader

27 марта, 12:29

‘They Think We Are Slaves’

The U.S. au pair program is riddled with problems—and new documents show that the State Department might know more than it’s letting on.

24 марта, 03:22

Will the United States Be a Victim of Its Own Success in Syria?

Nicholas A. Heras Security, Middle East The Trump team has options for stabilizing Syria, but each one comes with its own set of risks. The ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS held in Washington, DC was an important milestone on the path to the Trump team’s mission to fully defeat the would-be caliphate in Iraq and Syria. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opened the proceedings by unequivocally stating that the ISIS threat would be the first priority of the new administration, and that in achieving that overarching objective, the United States would be invested in securing the stability of areas conquered from ISIS. Tillerson correctly identified Syria as a priority for stabilization after ISIS. The challenge for the Trump administration in Syria is that the United States could be a victim of its own success: by prosecuting the campaign against ISIS, the U.S. military is building out an American zone of control on the ground in a large area of eastern Syria. Unlike in Iraq, where Baghdad is a state actor that the U.S. military has chosen to work by, with and through to take the fight to ISIS, the United States refuses to formally work with Damascus. It will only deconflict military operations targeting ISIS and Al Qaeda that the Russian military occasionally carries out on behalf of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Under both Obama and Trump, the United States has operated under the assumption that Syria is a geographic space, not a functioning state with sovereignty over all of its territory, and for all intents and purposes cutting al-Assad out of the process. When ISIS is forced out of its Iraqi “capital” in Mosul, which appears set to occur in the near future, the ultimate authority for the territory held by ISIS in Iraq will fall to the Iraqi government, working with local actors. In contrast, in eastern Syria, the al-Assad government is present in a few scattered, beleaguered military outposts—the most significant being an airbase outside of the city of Deir al-Zour in the lower Euphrates River Valley near the Syrian-Iraqi border. Distracted by the fighting in western Syria, and the Syrian Arab Army’s chronic manpower shortages, even with the support of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its network of foreign, primarily Shia militias and the Russian military, the al-Assad government has ceded the operational freedom to the U.S. military to conduct counter-ISIS campaign throughout eastern Syria. Read full article

18 марта, 15:05

Military Gains Bigger Voice As Pentagon Waits For Civilian Nominees

WASHINGTON ― Thousands of American combat troops are fighting in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Nuclear-armed North Korea is testing long-range missiles. Russian troops are battling alongside insurgents in eastern Ukraine while U.S. special forces are working with the Ukraine army. U.S. aircraft are tangling with Russian planes over Syria and conducting strikes in Yemen, Libya and Somalia, while China is confronting U.S. warships in the Pacific. But here in Washington, the Defense Department seems almost abandoned. Two months into his administration, President Donald Trump, who promised to “make America safe again” and to manage a “massive” rebuilding of the U.S. military, has left the Pentagon without the top officials needed to turn those vague promises into reality and to manage the inevitable crises abroad. “Our adversaries are unlikely to wait long to test the new Administration,” a Pentagon panel of senior business leaders and policy experts warned last September, urging that the next president get senior staff ready even before the inauguration. That didn’t happen. Now, of the two dozen senior posts that provide critical direction to the Defense Department, only two are filled: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Deputy Secretary Robert Work, a temporary holdover from the Obama administration. That leaves the Pentagon struggling to make critical decisions without the people needed to thoroughly analyze proposals and examine potential consequences. For instance, Gen. Joseph Votel, chief of U.S. Central Command, has requested several thousand additional troops in Afghanistan and as many as 1,000 more for Syria. Mattis ought to have a full staff to assess those proposals. “You can’t expect him to run the entire show,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, grumbled this week. Trump has sent a budget to Congress calling for a $54 billion increase in defense spending. But the Pentagon has not linked the money to any strategy or prioritized it by specific threats because the top jobs in policy and strategy analysis are still vacant. No new strategy has even been devised. Without a strong cadre of seasoned civilians in senior positions, decision-making within the Pentagon defaults to the military, said Eric Fanning, who was secretary of the Army until Trump’s inauguration. “It’s not nefarious, not an orchestrated coup,” Fanning said. “But someone has to step in. Someone has to lead. There’s a void, and they fill it.” Walk along the Pentagon’s 17.5 miles of fluorescent-lit corridors and you’ll find strings of empty offices. Officials overseeing intelligence, manpower and nuclear weapons: missing. No senior civilian in the office responsible for special operations ― like the recent Navy SEAL raid in Yemen, in which Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens was killed. The comptroller and chief financial officer in charge of $600 billion in spending: nowhere to be found. As the White House sends Trump’s first budget to Congress, there is no Defense Department legislative liaison to work with Capitol Hill to get it passed. And the Pentagon needs, but doesn’t yet have, a general counsel. The suites of offices for the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force are also empty, along with the desks of most of their senior staff. So are the seats for the officials responsible for policy toward Russia, the Middle East, North Korea, Iran, China, homeland defense, drones, logistics, military health care, research and engineering, and foreign military sales. This week Trump announced his intention to nominate six officials to high-level Pentagon posts, all of whom require Senate confirmation. Friction has arisen between the White House and Mattis over who gets to pick nominees for senior Pentagon positions. Contrary to Mattis’ expectation when he accepted the job, it remains the prerogative of the White House ― not the defense secretary. Last week Mattis had to withdraw veteran diplomat Anne Patterson as his choice for policy chief, after the White House reportedly voiced unwillingness to fight for her confirmation. He was also said to be furious after the White House publicly pushed two wealthy businessmen as Trump’s picks to lead the Army and Navy. Both men chose to withdraw because of potential business complications. While the nomination dramas play out, defense policy can get dangerously out of whack. When the military is providing advice, decisions tend to reflect a purely military viewpoint, a military answer to a problem. Lacking are the civilian officials to bring economic, political and cultural considerations to bear on policy. As a result, experienced Pentagon hands note, decisions are likely to favor the application of “hard” military power over the “soft” power of foreign aid, support for political reforms and anti-corruption drives in places like Afghanistan. Military officers serving at the Pentagon “are really excellent, smart, dedicated people, but they come at issues from a very defined perspective,” said Fanning, who has held top civilian posts overseeing the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Trump administration’s suddenly bellicose stand against North Korea this week, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson raising the possibility of military action, may represent just such an over-reliance on military advice by the administration. Mattis himself has recognized the critical value of the State Department as a partner in counterinsurgency campaigns, providing targeted development and governance programs. “If you don’t fund the State Department fully,” he said in 2013 when he was serving as Middle East commander, “then I need to buy more ammunition.” Trump’s proposed budget would slash State Department funding by 28 percent while boosting Pentagon spending on “urgent warfighting” requirements. It’s not clear if Mattis was consulted. But that strategic choice, emphasizing military force over diplomacy, might have come out differently with a full house of experts on hand to balance competing initiatives. You can’t expect him to run the entire show. Sen. John McCain, referring to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis Many of the Pentagon’s vacant positions are ably but temporarily filled by senior career officials. Peter Verga, for example, is sitting in for the assistant secretary for homeland defense and global security. A Vietnam combat veteran, Verga has a long and distinguished civilian career at the Pentagon. Arthur T. Hopkins is acting assistant secretary for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs. He holds a doctorate in nuclear engineering and has years of government experience in those fields. Still, career official fill-ins cannot effectively run the Pentagon, former officials warn. Even though many senior civil servants hold rank equivalent to a three-star general, “the military doesn’t always treat them as peers,” said Fanning. Moreover, “they’re simply not empowered to break any new ground,” said Michael Carpenter, a senior Russia expert who resigned from the Pentagon before Trump took office. “This is compounded by the mixed messaging from the White House,” Carpenter added. “Should career officials listen to Trump when he says, ‘NATO is obsolete,’ or Vice President Pence when he says, ‘The U.S. strongly supports NATO’?” Most career bureaucrats opt for the status quo, which is OK in the short term, he said. “But the world continues to throw new problems and challenges our way every day. You can’t remain flat-footed for long.” Storm warnings were posted early last fall when the Defense Business Board, the independent advisory group, urged the two presidential candidate camps to put together their senior defense teams right away. Otherwise, the board warned, the new administration would find itself with “insufficient numbers of people in the Pentagon with statutory authority to make decisions and keep the Department operational and running on course.” With U.S. forces actively engaged in combat and potential crises simmering around the world, the board said, “it is simply untenable to run the Department for months without a competent and complete senior leadership team actively leading and managing it.” Trump remains upbeat. “You see what we’re doing with our military ― bigger, better, stronger than ever before,” he boasted in a campaign-style speech in Nashville this week. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

16 марта, 13:03

Employment outlook

Print section Print Headline:  Employment outlook UK Only Article:  standard article Issue:  The global economy enjoys a synchronised upswing A survey from Manpower, an employment-services firm, showed that in most countries payrolls are expected to increase in the second quarter of this year. Taiwan’s labour market looks buoyant: almost a third of employers surveyed say they expect to hire more people. Although hiring expectations in India are at their lowest since the third quarter of 2005, confidence remains high relative to many other countries. A sense of uncertainty prevails among employers in China—nearly two-thirds say they don’t know how their payrolls will change in the next quarter. Employers in recession-hit Brazil expect to shed more workers in the second quarter, but the labour market is stronger than it was a year ago. Article body images:  20170318_inc154_0.png Published:  20170318 Source:  The Economist Newspaper ...

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16 марта, 11:52

Russian sappers to test new demining equipment, exosuits in Syria’s Palmyra

Russian sappers will carry out demining activities in Syria’s Palmyra using cutting-edge equipment and protective gear, Ruslan Alakhverdiyev, Deputy Chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ Engineering Troops, told the Rossiya 24 TV channel. "As part of this work, we plan to use both in-service equipment and the equipment under development, which will help us facilitate the execution of the task and ensure safety of manpower. These are new protective suits, new search tools, robotic devices and exosuits," he said. More than 150 Russian sappers have arrived in Syria to take part in a mine clearance effort in Palmyra, the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry said on March 16. Some 17 pieces of special equipment have been sent to Palmyra, the ministry said. In addition to the sappers, the group also includes canine teams. The city was liberated from the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) on March 2, and on March 10 Russia’s General Staff reported that the first detachment of nearly 200 Russian sappers arrived in Palmyra. Source: TASS Read more: Will Syria and Russia be able to protect Palmyra from terrorists?

13 марта, 23:08

Last-ditch legal efforts to stop Trump travel ban heat up

Seven states are asking a Seattle judge to include the revised executive order under the original injunction.