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Lockheed nears $27 billion helicopter deal with Pentagon

( ) – Lockheed Martin Corp is expected to receive Pentagon approval on Thursday to begin production for 200 new heavy cargo helicopters for the U.S. Marines, a Defense Department official said on Tuesday.

The long-expected award for the CH-53K King Stallion will cost $87 million on average ea上海夜生活网ch and $105 million including spare parts and certain service contracts, said Colonel Hank Vanderborght, who heads the program for the Pentagon. The $27 billion program also includes more than $6 billion in research and development costs.

The new helicopter, in development by Lockheed’s Sikorsky helicopter business, can lift 36,000 pounds and would replace the CH-53E Super Stallion, which has operated as the backbone of field logistics for the U.S. Marines since the mid-1980s.

The Pentagon’s Defense Acquisition Board will meet on Thursday and it is expected to approve the beginning of production of the new helicopter, Vanderborght told . A Lockheed Martin representative declined to comment.

The expected approval by the Pentagon’s Defense Acquisition Board would be a major milestone for the largest U.S. defense contractor. Final terms of the production deal still are being finalized, a Defense Department official said.

Lockheed CEO Marillyn Hewson told reporters at the company’s annual media day last week that the 2015 purchase of helicopter maker Sikorsky from United Technologies Corp for $9 billion helped reshape the company.

Under pressure, Fed faces an outlook clouded by trade wars and signs of weakness

WASHINGTON ( ) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s attacks on the Federal Reserve have broken one set of precedents, his talk of stacking the central bank with political allies has strained another, and his on-again off-again tariff threats have made the economic outlook harder than ever to predict.

While the Fed may well find reason to cut interest rates in recent weak job and inflation readings, doing so could also put a safety net under Trump policies that, to the eyes of many policymakers, have to date done more harm than good.

“There is a kind of feed the beast aspect to it,” said former Fed vice chair Alan Blinder. “Among the many things the Fed has to take as given is trade policy. And if in fact trade policy is going to push the economy into a slump, that is a reason to cut interest rates … If the Fed comes in to bail him out you encourage bad behavior.”

Fed Chair Jerome Powell and other officials insist they can only consider what is happening in the economy and the appropriate policy response, and not try to second guess what the administration does or might do.

Trump on Monday renewed his attacks on the Fed, claiming that central bank policy put him at a disadvantage in his trade negotiations with China because that country, with closer political control of its central bank, could devalue its currency or use other tools to offset the tariffs Trump has imposed on Chinese imports.

“Our Fed is very destructive to us… They haven’t listened to me,” Trump said in a CNBC interview. “They’re not my people.”

In fact, Trump elevated Powell to the Fed leadership and appointed three of the other four sitting Fed governors.

Trump has for a year berated the Fed for raising rates and other policy steps that Fed officials say are the best way for keeping the recovery under way. That broke a roughly 30-year run of presidents largely staying away from specific policy recommendations for the Fed, even if they were sometimes generically critical of the central bank.

Earlier this year, Trump threatened a fuller assault by considering the appointment of two highly partisan political allies to the central bank, straying from a tradition of more technocratic appointments.

The surprise announcement in early May of higher tariffs on China and a threatened imposition of levies on Mexican imports added to the minefield the Fed must now navigate.

Though Trump in the end chose not to impose the tariffs on Mexico, the prospect of using an economic lever for the non-economic end of border control showed how in the Trump era policy could shift abruptly for central bankers who try to keep their focus on medium- and longer-term outcomes.

“We take all kinds of things…into account,” St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said last week before Trump called off the Mexican tariffs. “There are some good policies in there. There may be some bad policies in there. But we have to take everything into account.”

NOT IN A BOX

Recent economic data are already complicating the Fed’s job. Policymakers have expected the economy to slow, but also regarded the likely slowing as modest, and not enough to warrant a rate cut.

The story shifted after Trump’s latest trade war salvo.

“I don’t feel backed into a box,” to cut rates, Dallas Federal Reserve bank president Robert Kaplan said last week. But “in the month of April I might have said … I was a little more optimistic that the outlook was firming, and today I will tell you I am more cognizant of risks to the downside. That is a pretty big change in a relatively short amount of time.”

Whether it is enough for the Fed to put a rate cut squarely on the table will become clearer next week. Fed officials will hold their policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, and issue updated rate projections. They will also have to decide whether to maintain their “patient” approach to changing rates from the current range of between 2.25% and 2.5%, or drop that description in a sign that they are open to a move sooner rather than later.

Weak inflation readings like those in a New York Fed report on Monday have already led Bullard to say that a rate reduction was “warranted.” [nL2N23H0PS]

Analysts and markets, though, are split.

Bond markets have been aggressive in pricing in lower rates later this year, and U.S. stocks have rallied hard in the past week on optimism that a rate cut looked more likely, especially after last week’s weak jobs report. Economists at Goldman Sachs and elsewhere, meanwhile, have discounted any pressure from Trump and argue the economic outlook does not yet warrant a rate cut.

Rolling with the punches from political Washington is nothing new. Former Fed chair Ben Bernanke complained when congressional spending caps reduced economic growth just as the U.S. recovery was getting traction and the eurozone was threatening to crack apart.

This problem here is different, though, with the Fed both under political pressure and less certain, week to week, what actions of the White House they may have to take into account.

After years in which U.S. central bankers bemoaned being “th上海夜生活e only game in town” influencing the economy, they may now be nostalgic for those simpler times.

“The Fed has had too much on its plate for a long time,” said Boston College economics professor Peter Ireland. “Powell was taking pains to say ‘trade is trade’ and that is not our business. But he has gotten sucked into it.”

Trump seeks to ‘reboot’ U.S. relationship with Egypt in Monday talks

WASHINGTON ( ) – President Donald Trump will seek to rebuild the U.S. relationship with Egypt at a Monday meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi focused on security issues and military aid, a senior White House official said on Friday.

“He wants to use President Sisi’s visit to reboot the bilateral relationship and build on the strong connection the two presidents established when they first met in New York last September,” the official said, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity.

Egypt has long been one of Washington’s closest allies in the Middle East, receiving $1.3 billion in U.S. military aid annually. The country is fighting an Islamist insurgency in Sinai, and hundreds of Egyptian soldiers and police have been killed fighting insurgents.

The bilateral relationship was strained when former President Barack Obama criticized Sisi for cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest Islamist group.

Sisi does not make a distinction between the Brotherhood, which says it is peaceful, and Islamic State militants. Egypt considers the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group.

Obama froze aid to the country for two years after Sisi, then a general, overthrew President Mohamed Mursi in mid-2013 after mass protests against Mursi’s rule. Mursi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, had been elected the previous year.

Human rights groups have estimated that at least 40,000 political prisoners have been detained by Sisi’s government.

Trump’s relationship with Sisi got off to a good start when they met last September in New York while Trump was running for president, the White House said.

Trump supports Sisi’s approach to counterterrorism, which includes both military and political efforts, his efforts to reform Egypt’s economy, and Sisi’s calls for “reform and moderation of Islamic discourse,” the official said.

Asked whether the United States would designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, as Egypt has, the official said Trump was interested in hearing Sisi’s views during the meeting.

“We, along with a number of countries, have some concerns about various activities that the Muslim Brotherhood has conducted in the region,” the official said.

‘MORE DISCREET WAY’

Sisi’s visit comes as the Trump administration has proposed massive cuts to U.S. foreign aid, the details of which are still to be determined. The White House anticipates aid to Egypt will continue but provided no details on Friday.

“We’re in the budget process right now and those discussions are ongoing as to how it will be broken out,” the official told reporters.

Some U.S. lawmakers have opposed loosening restrictions on aid to Egypt because of concerns about human rights in the country. The Trump administration intends to address human rights issues behind closed doors, the White House official said.

“Our approach is to handle these types of sensitive issues in a private, more discreet way. We believe it’s the most effective way to advance those issues to a favorable outcome,” the official said.

The official would not say whether Trump would discuss with Sisi the case of Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian-American who works with street children and was arrested in May 2014 on human trafficking charges. Rights groups have called for her release.

Hijazi has been held in custody for 33 months in violation of Egyptian law, which states that the maximum period for pretrial detention is 24 months.

A verdict was set to be read in a March 23 court session, but was postponed with no reason stated by the judge until April 16. The maximum possible jail sentence in her case is 25 years.

The White House is aware of Hijazi’s case “at the most senior levels,” the official 上海夜网told reporters.

“We are going to address this with Egypt in a way that we think maximizes the chances her case will be resolved in a satisfactory way,” the official said.

Trump national security aide McFarland may become envoy to Singapore: official

PALM BEACH, Fla. ( ) – President Donald Trump’s deputy national security adviser, K.T. McFarland, is expected to step down and has been offered the position of U.S. ambassador to Singapore, a U.S. officia上海夜生活论坛l said on Sunday.

The move will be seen as a victory for Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, who is retooling the national security team he inherited from retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, who resigned as Trump’s first national security adviser in February.

McFarland, 65, is a former national security analyst for Fox News and was one of Trump’s original hires after he won the presidential election on Nov. 8.

The exact date of her departure was unclear, said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

News of her pending departure came less than a week after Trump removed his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, from the National Security Council at McMaster’s urging. Bannon had a seat on the council’s “principals committee,” which included the secretaries of state, defense and other ranking aides. Flynn was forced to resign on Feb. 13 over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, before Trump took office on Jan. 20.

McFarland’s expected departure will likely elevate the status of Dina Powell, who is deputy national security adviser for strategy. She had served in Republican President George W. Bush’s State Department, and had advised Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, during Trump’s transition to the presidency.

Trump’s White House has been rife with infighting and palace intrigue as the president has struggled to get past some early stumbles.

Investor Ackman opposes United Technologies’ aerospace merger with Raytheon: source

( ) – Billionaire investor William Ackman’s activist hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management LP is opposing United Technologies Corp’s planned $120 billion aerospace merger with defense contractor Raytheon Co, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The move makes Ackman the first major Wall Street figure to come out against the deal. On Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump expressed concerns over the merger’s impact on competition, though he also said he hoped the deal would happen.

Ackman wrote an email to United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes early on Sunday morning to express his concerns about the proposed deal after reading press reports about it, the source said.

The fund manager, whose firm owns roughly 0.67% of United Technologies, had previously supported the company in its plans to split into three businesses – aerospace, Otis elevators and Carrier air conditioners.

“We are extremely concerned that such a transaction will significantly lower the business quality of pro-forma United Technologies’ aerospace business, and, to make matters worse, will be accomplished through the highly dilutive issuance of large amounts of Un上海夜生活网ited Technologies stock,” Ackman’s email, seen by , said.

A spokesman for Pershing Square declined to comment. Raytheon did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“We are confident that our shareholders will see the merits of this transaction and the value it brings to them and the company. We will be working diligently in the days and weeks ahead to make sure that the details of the transaction are presented to and fully understood by all shareholders,” United Technologies said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Pershing Square’s opposition to the deal.

Activist hedge fund Third Point LLC also has a stake in United Technologies. Like Pershing Square, it supported the company’s break-up, but its views on the Raytheon deal are not known. A Third Point spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

The merger would reshape the competitive landscape by forming a conglomerate which spans commercial aviation and defense procurement. United Technologies provides primarily commercial plane makers with electronics, communications and other equipment, whereas Raytheon mainly supplies the U.S. government with military aircraft and missile equipment.

United Technologies and Raytheon shares have dropped 7% and 4.5% respectively since their deal was announced, as investors expressed disappointment with the low value of synergies the companies announced. Investors also fret that major clients of the companies such as the Pentagon would seek to review their supply chains.

Shareholders of United Technologies and Raytheon would have to approve the deal in separate votes.

Activist hedge funds are increasingly targeting announced deals and are seeking to upend them, often by betting that the acquirer’s stock would go up were it to walk away from the purchase.

Earlier this year, activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP sought to muster opposition against Bristol-Myers Squibb Co’s $74 billion acquisition of biotech Celgene Corp, but abandoned the effort after two leading proxy advisory firms backed the deal.

United Technologies’ deal with Raytheon also faces regulatory hurdles. The U.S. Defense Department and big customers like Boeing Co, Lockheed Martin Corp and Northrop Grumman Corp will have a lot of clout in the antitrust review, and may worry about over-reliance on one company for a big suite of products.

ACKMAN’S CONCERNS

Ackman’s email said that if the company moves forward with the deal, he expects the substantial majority of other shareholders to also line up against it.

The deal with Raytheon would be structured as an all-stock merger of equals because United Technologies, which currently has a market capitalization of $106 billion, would separately spin off Carrier and Otis. United Technologies bulked up in aerospace last year with its $23 billion acquisition of avionics maker Rockwell Collins.

“We cannot comprehend why United Technologies would attempt to effectuate a merger with Raytheon now, when United Technologies’ shares are likely to be materially higher after the business separation is effectuated early next year,” Ackman’s email said.

This year, Ackman’s firm has been one of the hedge fund industry’s best performers delivering gains of nearly 40% in the first four months of the year. This follows a rough patch where he faced big losses on Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc and Herbalife Nutrition Ltd and lost a proxy fight with Automatic Data Processing Inc. He has vowed to make back the money that he lost by reshaping his organization.

FOREX-Chinese yuan falls to 2019 low on U.S.-China trade setback

* Yuan headed for sixth consecutive day of losses

* But most currencies little changed by trade war

* Risk aversion dominates FX

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2019 tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh (Adds quote, updates prices)

By Tom Finn

LONDON, May 13 ( ) – China’s yuan was set for its worst daily fall in nine months on Monday as trade negotiations between the U.S. and China ended after President Donald Trump raised tariffs on Chinese goods.

Currency moves in response to the latest trade hostilities have been muted, but on Monday the yuan fell 0.8% to 6.9040, its weakest since Dec. 27.

The yuan has fallen for six consecutive days and some analysts believe it will breach 7 per dollar in coming months, a level last seen during the global financial crisis.

China would probably use its vast currency reserves to stop any plunge through 7 to the dollar, which could trigger speculation and heavy capital outflows.

Investors bid up the yen, which is considered a safe haven in times of stress given Japan’s status as the world’s largest creditor and its huge hoard of assets abroad.

The yen was 上海夜生活论坛0.25% higher at 109.700 yen, near last week’s three-month high of 109.470.

“Since demand for safe haven could exaggerate any gains in the yen, Japanese exporters could find themselves particularly disadvantaged in these circumstances. We expect the yen to be trading in the region of 108 on a 12-month view,” said currency analysts at Rabobank.

The world’s two biggest economies appear deadlocked. Washington demands changes to Chinese law; Beijing says it won’t swallow any “bitter fruit” that harms its interests.

President Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping are likely to meet during a G20 summit in Japan at the end of June and discuss trade.

The Australian dollar shed 0.3% to $0.6976. A drop below $0.6960 would take the currency, already burdened by a dovish shift by the Reserve Bank of Australia, to its lowest since early January.

The Aussie is sensitive to shifts in risk sentiment and also serves as a proxy for trades related to China, Australia’s largest trading partner.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was flat at 97.318.

WRAPUP 2-Canada trade deficit shrinks slightly in March on higher oil exports

(Updates with fresh analysts’ comment)

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, May 9 ( ) – Canada’s trade deficit in March shrank slightly to C$3.21 billion ($2.38 billion) but was still the 12th largest on record, Statistics Canada said on Thursday, underscoring the challenges still facing exporters.

Analysts in a poll had forecast a shortfall of C$2.45 billion. Statscan revised February’s deficit sharply upward to C$3.42 billion from an initial C$2.90 billion.

Canada, a major crude exporter, has been hit hard in recent years by lower oil prices and higher U.S. energy output, as well as a shift away from producing light trucks. It has posted just two trade surpluses since October 2014.

Exports grew by 3.2 percent with shipments of energy products posting a 7.7 percent gain. Crude oil export volumes, which had fallen by 10.9 percent from November to February, rose by 3.1 percent.

“We’re still not fully dug out of the hole that we put ourselves in the fourth quarter, but at least it’s a nice turn around in the export story,” said Ross Prusakowski, principal economist at Export Development Canada.

Prusakowski said there was modest upside potential for energy prices to increase further in 2019.

Exports of passenger cars and light trucks rebounded by 8.4 percent after dropping in February on lower auto output上海夜网.

Markets were unimpressed and the Canadian dollar held to a near-two-week low of 1.3496 to the U.S. dollar, or 74.10 U.S. cents.

Imports increased by 2.5 percent to a record C$52.26 billion as imports of consumer goods such as clothing, footwear and accessories rose by 6.7 percent. Imports of airliners plunged by 50.7 percent on a slowdown in deliveries of U.S. aircraft.

Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist at Capital Economics, said export volumes looked set to rise further in April.

“We expect trade to make a positive contribution to second-quarter GDP growth,” he said in a note to clients.

Canada’s trade deficit with the world in the first quarter rose to C$10.13 billion, the highest shortfall since the second quarter of 2016.

Canada sent 74.2 percent of all its goods exports to the United States in March. Exports to the United States rose by 1.3 percent while imports shrank by 0.4 percent and as a result, Canada’s bilateral trade surplus grew to C$3.62 billion from C$2.99 billion in February.

Separately, Statscan said new-housing prices were unchanged in March for the seventh month out of eight, with little or no growth in the major markets of Toronto and Vancouver.

GRAPHIC-Take Five: Trade winds – World markets themes for the week ahead

May 10 ( ) – Following are five big themes likely to dominate thinking of investors and traders in the coming week and the stories related to them. 1/WATCH THOSE CURVES Moody’s warned this week that a trade war could tip the U.S. economy into recession next year. And U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest decision to hike tariff rates on Chinese goods has possibly brought that risk a bit closer. At least the bond market seems to think so — the yield on three-month U.S. Treasury bills is on the cusp of rising above 10-year yields.

A sustained curve inversion, as such a shift is called, would be seen as a sure-fire recession signal; in a normally growing economy, longer-dated borrowing costs are higher than short-term rates.

But the curve has sent a false alarm at least once before and some believe it is doing so again, above all because huge Fed purchases have depressed longer yields. Huge issuance of short-term debt is also likely to have contributed to the flattening.

Which brings us to another question. Given 2019 net borrowing will top $1 trillion, might Washington find itself scrambling to find buyers? Some dismal bond auctions recently have raised the question whether China is paring Treasury purchases — due to the escalating trade spat. Simmering tensions will keep the issue alive.

-EXPLAINER-What is an inverted yield curve -Flattened yield curve reason to be nervous, but US economy solid – Fed’s Evans -U.S. yields spike after dismal 10-year note sale

tmsnrt.rs/2zUqXiW

2/ TALK, TWEET, REPEAT Industrial output, retail sales, house prices: a batch of data due in coming days was supposed to give investors an idea about how China’s economy was faring against a backdrop of 10% U.S. tariffs and authorities’ stimulus policies.

Fast forward and the stakes have been raised — quite a lot. On Friday, Washington hiked tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% and Trump, reverting to Twitter, has threatened more. Beijing warned it would retaliate, though it didn’t say how.

Negotiations to try to end a 10-month-old trade war between the world’s biggest economies are continuing, and markets have taken heart from China’s decision to stick with the talks. Another factor is China’s central bank, which assured markets it had “rich” policy tools to cope with external uncertainties. Weak economic data can only cement that resolve. -Trump’s tariff hike on $200 bln of Chinese goods takes effect -More China policy easing seen as lending slows, trade risks rise -Counting the cost of the U.S.-China trad上海夜生活论坛e war so far tmsnrt.rs/2Lzed8e

3/OIL SLICK The world economy seems to be shifting into a lower gear but Brent crude futures are holding above $70 a barrel, up 30% this year. Barclays sees a climb to $74-$75 in the coming year.

In the short-term too, oil looks well-supported. On the demand side, Chinese imports hit a record in April, possibly due to economic stimulus measures taking effect. And supply has been curtailed by a pipeline contamination issue in Russia and U.S. sanctions that have cut shipments from Venezuela and Iran.

Venezuelan exports have dropped 40% since January and Iran’s exports have more than halved, to one million barrels per day or less. They are expected to slide further in May.

None of these issues will be resolved anytime soon. Iran for one is threatening to retaliate against U.S. sanctions by breaching a nuclear pact signed in 2015. Sanctions have failed to dislodge Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro but they are likely to cut oil exports further in May, after the expiry of an April 28 deadline for U.S. firms to complete existing deals.

-U.S. sanctions and Venezuela’s exports and imports -OPEC supply squeeze seen supporting higher oil prices -Sinopec, CNPC skip Iran oil purchases for May to avoid U.S. sanctions tmsnrt.rs/2VThqU1

4/NO STICKER SHOCK Few U.S. data series have been as choppy in recent months as retail sales. December’s drop in core sales was the largest in nearly two decades — only to be followed by an equally large swing to the upside in January. Demand for big-ticket items like cars then pushed the March total to the highest in 18 months.

Consumer resilience, emboldened by a strong job market, was a key pillar of support for the U.S. economy in the first quarter. So the April reading will show if that willingness to spend continues into Q2.

estimates point to the first back-to-back rise in retail sales since November. Headline sales are seen up 0.2%.

The report comes soon after Trump imposed new tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports, but it is far too soon to see a meaningful impact from the trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Shoppers will probably not start reacting to sticker shock until the third quarter. -U.S. retail sales post biggest gain in 1-1/2 years in March -Fed rate cut likely if U.S. manufacturing continues to slow: Kemp tmsnrt.rs/2VVixm4 5/ITALIA DEJA VU Once again it seems there’s good reason to fret over Italy, the euro zone’s third-biggest economy — and one of its most indebted.

Tensions have flared within the ruling coalition over a corruption scandal that cost a junior minister his job. Rome may find itself footing the bill for a bank bailout after BlackRock ditched a proposed rescue of Carige. And finally, the European Commission has warned that Italian finances may deteriorate further. So another showdown with the EU might be looming.

How talks on deficit targets may pan out could become clearer at the May 16 Eurogroup meeting of finance ministers.

Signs of compromise will bring relief to Italian bond markets, where yields have seen their biggest weekly jump in three months with a rise of over 10 basis points. Contrast that to Spain and Portugal, often lumped in with Italy as the euro zone “periphery” — 10-year Spanish yields are at 2-1/2 year troughs while Portuguese yields have touched record lows.

The latest bond sell-off, which took Italian yields to 2.7%, is small compared to the rout a year ago when yields spiked to 3.4%. But who could be blamed for a sense of deja vu? -Rome scrambles to swerve Carige bank bailout after BlackRock pulls out -Italy coalition patches up rift after PM ousts junior minister

-Italy accuses EU of prejudice after grim economic forecasts

tmsnrt.rs/2LzsCkO

At Ethiopia flight memorial, white roses mark passing of lives

ADDIS ABABA ( ) – Bouquets of white roses surrounded aviation staff as they gathered at Bole International Airport on Sunday to remember the two pilots and six crew, who perished along with 149 passengers in the Ethiopia Airlines crash a week ago.

Weeping women held slender single stems in their shaking hands. Banks of the white flowers, the traditional color of mourning, were placed in front of a row of empty coffins at the ceremony.

A band – some of the musicians in tears – temporarily stopped playing as band members ran to comfort bereaved relatives who lunged forward, wailing in grief over the coffins.

“Our deep sorrow cannot bring them back,” an Orthodox priest in a traditional black turban and black robes told the crowd gathered outside an airport hangar.

“This is the grief of the world,” he said, as Ethiopian Airlines staff sobbed in each other’s arms.

Related CoverageFactbox: What we know about Boeing 737 MAX crash and what comes nextFrance’s BEA says Ethiopian jet’s flight data successfully recovered

At least the crash had taken place in Ethiopia – the holy land – he said, prompting “amens” from the crowd.

In Paris, investigators examined black box recorders to determine why the aircraft plunged into a field shortly after take off from Addis Ababa, searching for similarities to an October Lion Air crash that killed 189 people.

Both crashes involved the same model of plane – a Boeing 737 MAX 8 – causing aviation authorities to ground the model around the world after last week’s accident.

Data from the Ethiopian Airlines flight recorder had been successfully downloaded, France’s BEA air accident investigation agency said on Sunday. That information had been transferred to Ethiopian investigators, the agency said, adding that its technical work on the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder was now done.

PRAYERS PAUSED

In the Ethiopian capital, families and airline staff were focused on honoring their dead.

At the airport memorial, a banner offered “deepest condolences and comfort” to the families of the deceased crew.

A female flight attendant spoke warmly of the deceased captain, Yared Getachew.

“He was a really nice person, a good person, all the words you can find to talk about a good person apply. He was a very kind human being,” she said, before dissolving in tears.

A service for the families of passengers – more than 30 nationalities were onboard – was also held beneath the pink stone spires of Addis Ababa’s Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Families and relatives of the victims threw themselves on the coffins as they arrived and kissed pictures of loved ones.

Incense was waved over the coffins, but there was so much weeping that prayers had to be paused. Afterwards, some said the service meant they could now shift focus from grieving for the dead to caring for the living.

“Her husband is now left with an 上海夜网infant, he has to shift his attention to his life and raising his baby,” said Getachew Negatu, a friend of one of the stewardesses onboard the flight.

“Her father and mother, including her sisters, are devastated by this grief. Everyone has got to come back to life as we … cannot live like this forever.”

The families were offered charred earth from the crash site to bury, because most of the bodies were destroyed by the impact and fire. Identifying the small remains that have been collected may take up to six months.

French growth seen firming as impact of protests wanes: INSEE

PARIS ( ) – French quarterly growth will firm in the first half the year as consumer spending benefits from improving household incomes and recovering business confidence after protests at the end of last year, the INSEE statistics agency said on Tuesday.

The euro zone’s second-biggest economy is set to post growth of 0.4 percent in both the first and second quarters, up from 0.3 percent in the final three months of last year, INSEE forecast in its quarterly economic outlook.

The economy would have grown 0.4 percent at the end of last year as well if it were not for the impact of the yellow vest anti-government unrest, which INSEE estimated at 0.1 percentage point.

Protests in December saw some of the worst street violence in Paris in decades with rioters rampaging through upmarket neighborhoods, smashing store windows and burning cars.

With the exception of a flare-up last weekend, the violence has largely subsided since President Emmanuel Macron offered concessions in December worth more than 10 billion euros ($11.3 billion) in a package intended to boost the incomes of the poorest workers and pensioners.

INSEE said higher incomes would help consumer spending rebound 0.5 percent in the first quarter after flatlining at the end of last year in the face of the unrest, which forced many stores in central Paris to be boarded up during the peak holiday shopping period.

Business investment was also expected to recover in the first half of the year as confidence firmed albeit not to rates seen before a slowdown at the end of last year.

INSEE saw a limited impact to the French economy from Britain’s departure from the European Union, in theory still planned for the end of the month.

It estimated an orderly Brexit would knock a cumulative 0.3 percent off French growth over several quarters, while the impact could be as much as 0.6 perce上海夜生活论坛nt if London failed to reach a Brexit deal with the EU and tariffs were raised.

That was much less than impact INSEE estimated for Ireland (-1.4 to -4.1 percent) and Germany (-0.5 percent to -0.9 percent), as both countries are closer trade partners with Britain that France.

Simeone admitted that the Copa del Rey exit was his mistake

Diego Simeone, the Atletico Madrid head coach, admitted that the elimination from the Copa del 上海夜网Rey is his responsibility as he made a lot of mistakes and Sevilla deserved to go through after a 5-2 win on aggregate.

Atletico lost the first leg 2-1 after two late goals and they were defeated in the reverse match as well – and Simeone was sent from the sidelines in this bitter 3-1 loss to their rivals. Atletico were eliminated in the group stage of the Champions League by AS Roma and Chelsea and in La Liga, they are 11 points behind the league leaders, Barcelona.

The Argentinian coach spoke about this loss as he said, according to Goal: “The responsibility for this elimination and the Champions League is all mine. There are still four months left in the season and between La Liga and the Europa League, we’ll keep competing like we always have. Our opponent took advantage of their chances. Sevilla finished their chances both here and in the first leg. This made them more comfortable in the tie. We were close to turning the match around in the first half and scoring the equaliser in the second, but [Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio] Rico played well.”Kieran Trippier talks about his decision to leave Tottenham Nedim Maric – The English right-back changed the environment this summer, moving from rainy London to sunny Spain.Trippier is having a good start at Atletico Madrid. After rigorous…

He also added that they wanted to play the finals in their home stadium: “We had dreams of playing the final in our stadium. We’re going to pick ourselves up because this team has always done so. Now we need to think about La Liga. I think Sevilla were better and when that’s the case, you have to congratulate them.”

In the end, Simeone claimed that they will need to learn from their mistakes and start improving: “We need to study what we did wrong and improve from that. We have to fight to finish as high up in La Liga as possible and we also have the Europa League.”

Herrera lauds Sanchez’ workload

The Chilean’s debut for the Red Devils left a lot of people impressed, but one of his team-mates was struck by a different aspect of Sanchez’ game.

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera has revealed how intrigued he was by the Chilean’s tireless work ethics in the Red Devils 4-0 FA Cup win over Yeovil on Friday.

Sanchez took part in the hosts two opening goals and created a lot of chances for his team-mates, but it was another thing that caught Herrera’s eyes during the game.

– Yeah, amazing. He has played very good, but what I really like from him is the way he fights when he loses the ball. – the midfielder told MUTV.Opinion: Solskjaer needs patience from Manchester United Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – As we enter into one of the most complicated moments for Solskjaer, we believe Manchester United needs to be patient with him.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer…

– He is always ready to be the first defender of the team. That’s going to be very important for us.

– Of course, we know his quality. He is going to be amazing for us but the way his first, the way he defends I really like it.

When it comes to United’s goals this season and their look on the FA Cup, Herrera added:

– We have won the FA Cup two seasons ago and last season we won three trophies, so this club is about titles, and we are not going to give 上海夜网any competition away, we are going to fight for everything.

Pogba: We need to win

Paul Pogba tried to motivate his fellow Manchester United players ahead of their derby against local rivals and league leaders Manchester City

The France international will not play in the Red Devils’ important match due to the suspension he picked up against Arsenal. However, Pogba has urged Jose Mourinho’s side to take the game to Pep Guardiola’s men on Sunday, when they meet in the English top-flight.

The United playmaker encouraged his club to throw bodies forward, as they need a win to get closer to their rivals in the league table. He said United must attack during the whole game.

“We need to. To win those games you need to give everything. You need to be there offensively, defensively. Kill the game when you have one chance because they are City and they have quality as well in front and they can kill the game at any time,” Pogba explained.Solskjaer “very pleased” after another failure to win George Patchias – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was “very pleased,” even though United failed to win yet again.It is now ten games on the road since…

“They are first for good reason because they have been doing great at the start of the season. They keep winning and they didn’t lose one game and obviously mentally they are very strong.”

“I have complete trus上海夜生活t in the team. Even if I am not there, I will be there watching the game giving positive energy and hopefully we are going to win,” he added when asked about United’s chances to win the game.

“I’m very disappointed because I really want to help the team and wanted to be there for this derby because obviously we are playing City and in this moment, we need points and we need to win. It’s an important moment, an important game so, like I say, disappointed.”

“It’s a big derby and the atmosphere is going to be big. We want to win, we need to win as well,” the Frenchman praised the derby.

Preview: Barcelona – Sporting

Sporting’s only chance to qualify from Group D is a win in Barcelona today, coupled with a favorable result in the other match of the group between Olympiakos and Juventus (1x).

Flashscore presents the key facts before the match:

Sporting Lisbon face a 1,250km trip to Barcelona and face a mammoth task in their final group game in this Champions League (CL) campaign. Sporting must win here to stand any chance of qualification from the group. But for them to beat a Barcelona side away from home, who are unbeaten domestically and in the CL so far, whilst also relying on Olympiakos to do a job on Juventus – may be too big of an ask.

Barcelona have already qualified from the group having gained 11 points from their first five fixtures, but do not be mistaken in thinking that they’ll take their foot off of the gas for this one. Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona have won nine of their last ten at the Nou Camp, and their last defeat in any competition, home or away, was against their rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup.

To add more misery to Sporting’s chances, Barcelona have scored three goals in each of their home group games so far (3-0 vs Juventus, 3-1 vs Olympiakos). Furthermore, they remain unbeaten here in the CL since all the way back in September 2013 – a remarkable 23 CL home games.

Jorge Jesus’ Sporting side have not won in Spain in 11 attempts, drawing three and losing the remaining eight games, and m上海夜网ost recently to Real Madrid last season. Meanwhile, Barcelona are unbeaten vs Portuguese teams in their last 15 games, winning 12 and drawing three – with their last defeat to a Portuguese side being back in ‘87/’88!Niko Kovac urges Bayern Munich to remain ‘humble’ Andrew Smyth – Niko Kovac has called on Bayern Munich to stay focused and humble after thrashing Tottenham 7-2 in the Champions League.

Barcelona have managed five clean sheets in their last six CL outings, yet Sporting have scored 27 goals in their last ten away games, which is just short of three goals per game. The last meeting between the two at the Camp Nou ended with a Barca win and both teams finding the net (3-1).

Lionel Messi is on the brink of making history, he is now just three goals away from his century of CL goals, and he will surely be looking to take the match ball home after the game.

Missing players

Barcelona: O. Dembele (muscle injury), J. Mascherano (muscle injury), Rafinha (knee injury), S. Umtiti (muscle injury), A. Iniesta (doubtful), A. Turan (doubtful)

Sporting: J. Silva (knee injury), S. Doumbia (doubtful).

Messi’s hattrick sends Argentina to World Cup

Lionel Messi scored a hattrick in Argentina’s 3-1 victory over Ecuador, that secured the Albiceleste’s World Cup spot.

Argentina went to Ecuador with one clear objective in their mind – a victory that would seal their qualification to the 2018 World Cup. Despite their last matches being far from convincing, the Argentinian fans were putting all of their hopes on the talents of their best footballer – Lion上海夜网el Messi.

And the number 10 did not disappoint. In a crucial match for the football destiny of his country, Messi delivered – and he delivered big time. Having his own personal reasons on top of the country’s hopes to take part in the upcoming World Cup, Messi scored a hat-trick to overturn a match that Ecuador found themselves leading from minute 1.

For Lionel Messi it was one of the last chances to win a World Cup. If Argentina would have missed the presence in Russia, it’s hard to believe that Messi would have had another realistic chance to lift the trophy in 2022, when Barcelona’s player would be 35.

Argentina needed a victory in Ecuador, as well as other results to play in their favour, in order to qualify directly to World Cup. The pre-match statistics were not encouraging for Argentina. The Albiceleste only won once in Quito, where the altitude makes it almost impossible for Ecuador’s opponents to perform at full potential. Also, Argentina failed to score a single goal from open play since November 2016, a less than encouraging statistic going into a decisive World Cup Qualifiers where you need to score.Ernesto Valverde praises Lionel Messi’s “fantastic” impact Andrew Smyth – Ernesto Valverde praised a not fully-fit Lionel Messi’s impact as Barcelona came from behind to beat Inter Milan 2-1 on Wednesday.

Ecuador were decided to make life difficult for Argentina. In fact, they only needed 39 seconds to open the score through Ibarra. However, Messi was not about to give up. And this time, he was not alone. Angel di Maria sent a magical pass in the 12th minute, that found Barcelona’s player in a finishing position. Messi took no chances and finished accurately, levelling the score and keeping the World Cup dream alive.

With the next two goals, Messi proved his commitment to his nation and to the presence at the World Cup. First, in the 20th minute, he chased a loose ball, powering past a defender and sending the ball into the net from a less than comfortable angle. Then, in the 62nd minute, Messi proved his absolute brilliance with a lob that left Ecuador’s goalkeeper, Banguera, stranded.

Messi sealed the 44th hat-trick of his career and perhaps the most important one, in a moment when his country needed him the most. It has to be said that this time, as opposed to the previous few matches for the national team, Messi had help from his teammates. Angel Di Maria, Enzo Perez and Eduardo Salvio all stood out with their performances last night, acknowledging the importance of the moment.

Messi saved the day and took Argentina to the World Cup. But Sampaoli will have a lot of work to do if he wants to achieve any big things in Russia next summer.

Hartson would do anything to coach Wales

As Chris Coleman decided to end his time as the Wales national team manager, the Welsh FA has to look for his replacement – and one of the possibilities could be the former Wales international, John Hartson.

Hartson himself said that he would “walk on broken glass” for the national team of his country but there is another big name in the game – Tony Pulis. As the experienced manager was sacked by West Brom, he seems to be a great option to replace Coleman and even Hartson admitted that Pulis is a perfect candidate for this position.

Hartson was close to getting this job a few years ago as he said, according to BBC: “I was interviewed for the job when Gary Speed, God rest his soul, got it 10 years ago and I’ve been working on every single game (in the media) – I’ve not missed a Welsh game in the last three years. So I know exactly what goes on within the group. I know the system, I know the philosophy and what the boys like working to because I’ve been in there.”Report: Taylor says authorities turn a blind eye to racism George Patchias – Aston Villa and Wales international Neil Taylor believes football authorities are simply turing a blind eye to the racism that is marring football.Taylor s…

He said that he would be willing to take this job but he hasn’t got a big chance of getting it: “They know my passion – they know I’m an extremely proud Welshman and listen, I would walk on broken glass for the job. But at this moment in time, I don’t think I’m coming into their thinking. I think it’s probably a job, at this moment in time, for somebody that they feel with that little bit more experience and the ideal man, in my opinion, would be Tony Pulis.”

But the former attacker insisted that it’s just up to Pulis: “There’ll be several Premier League jobs and whether Tony feels he is capable of continuing at the highest level in the Premier League – whether he feels he has another couple of上海夜生活 jobs in him – before he takes over the national job, I don’t know.”

Preview: Monaco – RB Leipzig

Monaco and RB Leipzig are separated by two points at the bottom of Group G. The French team are last, with two points, while their German opponents are third, with four points after four rounds.

Flashscore present the key facts before the match:

AS Monaco have positive statistics facing teams from Germany in Europe’s premier competition with 7 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses.

When RB Leipzig score in the Champions League (CL) it’s mainly the first half – 4 of their 5 goals in this season’s competition have come in the first 45 minutes and overall they haven’t scored after the 48th minute in any CL match.

After reaching the semi-finals in the last CL campaign, Monaco have failed to shine this season. They haven’t manage to win a single match or score more than 1 goal in the 4 games so far (3 goals in total).

In the last 2 CL matches Monaco have even given away a 1-0 lead, with the opponents turning it into a draw and a defeat, respectively.

Leipzig have lost 5 of 10 competitive away matches this season and have conceded 7 out of 10 goals 上海夜生活论坛in the first half.Koulibaly warns about Genk danger Nedim Maric – The reliable Napoli defender, Kalidou Koulibaly warned his team about Genk’s quality as he’s played for the Belgian side in the past.Napoli opened their…

Despite losing both home matches in the CL, Monaco remain a big threat at home in Ligue 1 (P 6 W5 D1) and have scored 21 scored goals. In 4 of those matches they scored at least 3 goals.

Leipzig have conceded 6 goals in the 1st half of their Bundesliga away matches (4 in the 2nd) and that could be handy for Monaco, as the team has already scored 12 goals in the first 45 minutes of their home matches (9 in the 2nd half) in Ligue 1.

It’s not easy to be leading after 45 minutes against Monaco, as the team were only behind on 3 occasions at half-time this season.

Missing players

Monaco: T. Lemar (shoulder injury), D. Sidibe (injury), L. Badiashille (doubtful)

RB Leipzig: S. Ilsanker (toe injury), F. Coltorti (doubtful).

Cascarino thinks that Morata is “too nice for Chelsea”

The former Chelsea striker, Tony Cascarino, thinks that Alvaro Morata is “too nice” and the Blues are missing “the nastiness of Diego Costa” as they are no longer able to bully their opponents.

Diego Costa managed to score 20 goals in the previous season but after that, Antonio Conte decided to part company with the Spanish forward – and he brought Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid as the replacement. The former Juventus striker has been doing well so far as he scored seven times in 11 matches but Cascarino feels that he is not the right man for the team.

Cascarino spoke about Morata’s contribution as he said, according to Goal: “Alvaro Morata is a big talent but I wonder if Chelsea are missing the nastiness of Diego Costa up front. Morata is such an honest player: [against Roma] he literally picked up Federico Fazio when the Roma 上海夜生活网defender fell to the floor. I can just imagine Costa shoving Fazio aside if he had been in the same position.”Jamie Carragher puts Chelsea over Manchester United and Arsenal Nedim Maric – In an uneventful derby, last night, Manchester United and Arsenal both got point each.Top four-fight this season looks like it’s going to be between…

He thinks that Chelsea are missing a rude attacker like Costa was: “Morata scores plenty of goals and is a fine all-around player but Costa was always on the edge; bullying people, fouling or being fouled. Perhaps Chelsea as a whole have become nicer to play against. I remember I would pick up opponents in the early part of my career but, by the end, I certainly didn’t. I learned that no centre back would do the same for me.”

The former player of the London club also made a comment about the performance of Cesc Fabregas: “Roma’s third goal provided a classic illustration of why Cesc Fabregas should only be part of a midfield pairing when Chelsea are playing against fairly weak opposition — otherwise he should be in a midfield trio. He gave the ball away to Aleksandar Kolarov and then it was as though he had a parachute on as he tracked back to try to make up for his mistake. He has never been the quickest but he seems to have lost half a yard of pace.”

Silva praises amazing De Bruyne

The Belgium international has enjoyed a tremendous start of the season under Pep Guardiola.

Manchester City’s summer signing Bernardo Silva has lauded his team-mate Kevin De Bruyne as ‘one of the best in the world’. The Citizens’ playmaker is in outstanding form since the start of the season, constantly lifting the assist bar with his performances. De Bruyne has been the most assisting footballer in the Premier League since arriving at the Etihad Stadium in 2015. The 26-year-old’s showing on the pitch has been vital for Guardiola’s men, who keep smashing every team they face in England.

Their latest feature was a 7-2 hammering over Stoke City, with De Bruyne once again under the spotlight as he was involved in the majority of City’s goals. His incredible form has not gone unnoticed as Bernardo Silva could not hide his satisfaction with the Belgium international’s form and contribution to the club: “Kevin, is just an amazing player. It’s a pleasure to play alongside these kind of players and he showed us again that he’s one of the best in the world.” the Portuguese striker stated, according to beIN Sports.Neville: Pep Guardiola knows Ma上海夜生活n City aren’t good enough Andrew Smyth – Gary Neville has quashed Pep Guardiola’s claims that Manchester City won’t buy in January as they can’t challenge for trophies without defensive cover.

“It feels great to be part of this team and score my first goal for Manchester City, I’ve very happy for this.

“The team played an amazing game, three well deserved points and now we have to think about the Champions League, because we want another three points there to help us progress.

“To be here and to be able to learn from all these fantastic players, it’s an amazing opportunity, I’m very happy to be here, and I hope I can help the team to achieve the goals.”

Updates about Carvajal’s condition

Excellent news are coming from Spain, where it was announced that Dani Carvajal is out of any danger.

The Spanish full-back of Real Madrid was diagnosed with a viral infection of the pericardium and was ruled out of action indefinitely. So far, no news emerged about Carvajal’s situation and there were worries about his general health condition, after the medical staff of Real Madrid said that they don’t know when will the player be ready to play again. He was offered treatment and was kept under supervision by the team’s doctors.

However, AS now announced that the right-back is out of any danger and will return to the first team training sessions very soon. Although the medical team of Real Madrid cannot say exactly when Carvajal will re-join his teammates, rumours suggest that this will happen until the end of October, the player needing at least one more week of rest.Real Madrid injury update ahead of Champions League clash Nedim Maric – Atletico and Real Madrid pl上海夜生活论坛ayed the Madrileno derby last night which finished in a bore 0-0 draw.In the absence of Marcelo and Ferland Mendy,…

Dani Carvajal played 11 matches this season and provided two assists for his teammates. However, he stopped training with his colleagues on the 30th of September, due to the medical condition that was discovered during a routine medical check.

The Spanish right-back signed a new deal with Real Madrid recently, keeping him at the club until 2022. The 25-year-old played 170 matches for Los Blancos, scoring 4 goals and managing 27 assists. His current market value is €32m, according to Transfermarkt.