Today's News Headlines
President Trump doubles down on steel tariffs to Turkey. Read more.
MONDAY, AUGUST 13, 2018
Employee Steals and Crashes plane at Sea-Tac Airport, Seattle
Relatives of Richard Russell say they are "stunned and heartbroken" after the airline worker stole a passenger plane Friday from the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and was killed when he crashed 25 miles away.
"This is a complete shock to us," the family said in a statement Saturday night. "We are devastated by these events, and Jesus is truly the only one holding this family together right now."
The statement said Russell, 29, was "a faithful husband, a loving son and a good friend." Referring to audio recordings of Russell talking to air traffic control during his hour-long flight, the statement said his "intent was not to harm anyone. He was right in saying that there are so many people who have loved him."
Russell, a Horizon Air ground service agent for three and a half years, was the only person aboard the plane, the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said. The job of a ground service agent includes directing aircraft for takeoff and gate approach, handling baggage and tidying and de-icing planes, authorities said.
The incident, which the FBI's Seattle office did not consider terrorism, raises questions about airport security. Investigators headed Saturday to the crash site to recover the plane's data recorders and Russell's remains as part of a criminal probe, authorities said.
The 76-seat Horizon Air turboprop plane took off without authorization at 7:32 p.m. local time Friday, with Russell, who was not a pilot, at the controls, officials said.
After Russell talked periodically with air traffic controllers for about an hour, the plane crashed at Ketron Island,officials said.
Video from a witness on the ground shows the plane at one point pulling up for a loop, putting the aircraft upside-down and then pulling back up just feet above a body of water.
Airports nationwide will now look at whether their security procedures need to change, safety analyst David Soucie said. For one, Russell shouldn't have been able to board the plane alone, he said.
"There is a protocol to not allow anyone singularly to get onboard an aircraft," Soucie said. "If you're going to access the aircraft ... you make sure that you check with someone else, and that someone else (will confirm) that ... you have the right authority to get onto that aircraft."
VF Corp., the owner of Lee and Wrangler jeans, plans to spin off its denim business in a bid to sharpen its focus on faster-growing outerwear and activewear brands.
VF said Monday it wants to create the yet-unnamed company through a tax-free spinoff to its shareholders. The newly formed company will hold VF’s jeans business, which includes Wrangler, Lee, Rustler and Rock & Republic, and its 80 VF outlet operations. These businesses generate about $2.5 billion in annual revenue, the company said.
The company acquired Lee, its first denim brand, in 1969. It added Wrangler, Rustler and JanSport to its portfolio through its purchase of Blue Bell Holding Co. in 1986.
The apparel conglomerate has moved in recent years to shed some of the classic American brands in its portfolio. In the past few years, the company has sold denim brand Seven for All Mankind, the apparel brand Nautica and divested from its stake in the Majestic brand, the official supplier of Major League Baseball uniforms.
VF said the moves would allow the company to focus on its active and outdoor brands, like the North Face, JanSport and Eagle Creek. VF, which also owns Vans, Timberland and Dickies, estimates the core company will generate more than $11 billion in annual revenue.
Sales of Wrangler and Lee jeans have slowed in recent years as jeans have fallen out of favor with consumers who instead opt for yoga pants or premium brands like J Brand or Frame. In 2017, VF’s denim business generated $2.66 billion in sales and $422 million in profit. Sales were down 3% from the prior year, while profit fell 14%.
Friday, Aug. 10, 2018
In Washington, President Trump said he would double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey, deepening tensions over the country’s refusal to free an American pastor and amplifying an economic crisis that sent the lira down sharply today.
Mr. Trump said today in a tweet that the U.S. would impose aluminum tariffs of 20% and steel tariffs of 50% on Turkey. The threat came more than a week after the U.S. imposed sanctions against two top Turkish officials over the detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson, a 50-year-old North Carolina native who was arrested three months after a failed July 2016 military coup.
“Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!” he wrote on Twitter Friday morning.
Earlier on Friday, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan struck a defiant tone, saying the country would prevail in what he called an “economic war.”
“Hopefully we will overcome this disaster and we will also successfully overcome this economic war,” he said, according to Turkish television.
The Turkish lira fell nearly 14% against the dollar on Friday, amid concerns about Turkey’s foreign debts. Turkey’s external debt to gross domestic product is above 50%, one of the highest among developing economies.
The Treasury Department last week moved to prevent Americans from doing business with Turkey’s ministers of justice and interior, both of whom the U.S. accused of “serious human rights abuses” for their roles in detaining Mr. Brunson.
Mr. Brunson’s allies accused Turkey of holding the pastor as a political bargaining chip, and his case has become a cause célèbre among evangelical Christian groups.
During high-level talks in Washington this week, U.S. and Turkish officials were unable to break through the impasse that has pushed Turkey’s economy into turmoil, U.S. officials said. Turkey’s currency has plunged amid the crisis amid fears that the U.S. could take tougher steps before the standoff is resolved.
Mr. Brunson’s fate has become the most polarizing issue dividing the U.S. and Turkey, two North Atlantic Treaty Organization members that have repeatedly clashed over Washington’s policy in the Middle East.
Mr. Trump’s tweeted announcement came as Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Mr. Erdogan’s son-in-law, was unveiling a rush “new economic model” to try to assuage the markets.
Hours after Mr. Trump’s tweet on Friday, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said the president had authorized the preparation of documents to raise tariffs on Turkey and suggested the economic measure wasn’t related to the detention of Mr. Brunson.
She said that class of tariffs is “imposed on imports from particular countries whose exports threaten to impair national security…independent of negotiations on trade or any other matter.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican seen as an experienced foreign-policy hand, described Turkey as an important strategic partner but said Mr. Trump had “really no other choice.”
“I hope we can soon get Pastor Brunson and other Americans released in a win-win fashion for both the US and Turkey,” he wrote on Twitter.
Mr. Trump’s action suggests a new front in his increasingly aggressive use of presidential trade powers as an economic and diplomatic weapon, applying escalating tariffs to increase pressure on a trading partner.
Thursday, Aug. 11, 2018
The wildfires in the west continue to be out of control with hot weather and sometimes wind added to them. Fire officials say today there’s still no end in sight for two of the biggest in California history and some in Oregon.
The Mendocino Complex—an inferno combining two fires burning just north of Napa County’s wine-growing region—had scorched more than 283,000 acres as of Monday, said officials with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
The fires forced new evacuations over the weekend amid high winds, hot temperatures and low humidity. Thousands of structures remained under threat.
As of Monday, 16 major fires were burning across California, with more than 14,000 firefighters deployed to battle them.
The summer fires have claimed seven lives and prompted discussions among top leaders about how and where California builds its communities.
“We have to re-examine the way we manage our forests, the way we build our houses—how we build them, where we build them—and how much we invest in our fire protection services,” California Gov. Jerry Brown said over the weekend after touring devastated regions in Shasta County.
The Mendocino Complex is composed of two fires in Colusa, Lake and Mendocino counties, and has surrounded communities around Clear Lake, one of the state’s largest natural freshwater lakes.
The Mendocino Complex has worsened just as officials were beginning to get a handle on the Carr Fire blaze threatening Shasta County, another rural portion of the state.
In the nation’s capitol, The White House is working to reimpose heavy sanctions on Iran and those countries who deal with them. The Trump administration sought to increase pressure on the Tehran regime to negotiate or step aside.
Trump administration officials publicly maintain that the campaign isn’t aimed at regime change, even as thousands of Iranians protest a deteriorating economy. But senior U.S. officials have repeatedly depicted Iranian leaders as corrupt, remain openly angry with America, and declared that Iranians should have the right to pick their own government.
President Trump signed on Monday the executive order restoring the sanctions, the broadest economic action the U.S. has taken against Tehran since the president in May said the U.S. would withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, which had lifted them.
The sanctions will remain in effect, U.S. officials said, unless Tehran meets a dozen stringent demands, including that it cease its support for militant groups in the Middle East and end its enrichment of uranium.
Whether the administration’s calculation—that it can, in effect, drive a hard bargain with Iran or weaken the regime so it retrenches—pays off will depend on how vigorously the sanctions are enforced and whether Iran is able to circumvent them.
Hours after Monday’s announcement, European officials registered their opposition to the new sanctions. They said the remaining parties to the Iran agreement—Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and the EU—would work to maintain financial channels with Tehran and facilitate Iran’s continued exports of oil and gas.
While the threat of sanctions is prompting many European companies to withdraw from the Iranian market, China is likely to remain a major importer of Iranian oil.
Don’t let your preschoolers drink a lot of soda. Soft drinks, sports drinks, fake orange juice and other sweetened beverages are known to contribute to Americans’ obesity problem. A study (in Pediatrics) found evidence that the sugary drink–obesity link occurs in toddlers and preschoolers. Following 9,600 children from birth through age five, the researchers identified sugary drink patterns in children as young as two that set the stage for greater weight gain a few years later. The sugary drinks studied include sodas, sports drinks and any other sugar-added beverages or juice drinks that were not 100 percent juice.
Alexa still popular for many people. When you ask a voice assistant a question it doesn’t have an answer for, that’s usually the end of the story unless you’re determined to look up the answer on another device. Amazon doesn’t think the mystery should go unsolved, though. It’s rolling out an opt-in “Answer Update” feature for Alexa that notifies you when the robot helper has an answer to a previous question it couldn’t answer. Answer Update is reaching Alexa devices over the course of the next week, so you’ll have to be patient if you aren’t part of the first wave.
Deputies in Florida (Orange County) are searching for a man with a Bozo-style haircut who threatened a Home Depot employee with a knife as he was leaving the store with stolen items. Deputies said the man took two 20-amp rechargeable batteries from a shelf, opened the packages with a knife and concealed them. The loss prevention manager confronted the man who left the store without paying, and that’s when the thief pulled the knife on the employee. He was described as a 6-foot tall white man, about 40 years old with a grayish-white goatee and a Bozo-style cut.
A Louisiana grocery store clerk who did an extraordinary act of kindness for a teenager with autism has been rewarded for his efforts with a new car and over $100,000 for a college education. Last week, Jack Ryan Edwards, who is autistic and non-verbal, was at a (Baton Rouge) grocery store with his family when he noticed Jordan Taylor, a 20-year-old store clerk, doing his job. Taylor was loading bottles of orange juice into the store’s cooler, while Jack looked on in awe. Jordan says that, even though Jack can’t speak, Jack’s face told him Jordan that he wanted to help. And so that’s just what Jordan did: He let the young man help him shelve the bottled orange juice, encouraging Jack all along. Jack’s father caught the touching interaction on video and Jack’s sister posted it on Facebook.
… In the second of two videos posted by Delaney, a man off-camera asks Jordan where he goes to school. Jordan says that he had graduated high school two years ago and was working on going to college. Delaney started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the young man’s college goals. Within a few days, the campaign had raised $114,000. Meanwhile, Baton Rouge Community College has extended an invitation to Jordan to attend school there.
… It doesn’t end there. A local bank donated a new car to Jordan’s family.
Want to be happy and successful? Start by getting a pet. A study shows owning a pet increases your chances of being happy and successful. In the study, dog and cat owners over the age of 55 were as likely to consider themselves a success. And those with a pet are lucky enough to bring home over $5,000 more a year than those without.
Pretending to have an early work meeting, using a fake name and ‘acting weird’ are among the ways people try to get away from a partner the morning after having sex. A poll of 2,000 adults 35 and under also found some interesting ways people try to get a date to leave their home including starting to vacuum.
… What most people expect the morning is a cup of coffee or tea, a good morning kiss or a text.
Home buying…stressful. A new study examining the first time home-buying experiences of 2,000 people found one in three were reduced to tears while trying to buy their first home.
… The study (commissioned by Homes.com) found people typically view six properties before finding ‘the one.
… One in ten suffered buyer’s remorse and another 13 percent think they overpaid for their home.
… The average home buyer considers going on a job interview, hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and applying for college all less stressful life events than buying a home.
If you like Reese’s cups and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, you’re going to love this new collaboration. The two brands are teaming up to release the Krispy Kreme Reese’s Outrageous Doughnut. The new doughnut features a chocolate yeast dough dipped in Hershey’s chocolate fudge icing, topped with mini Reese’s Pieces and drizzled with Reese’s peanut butter and salted caramel sauce. The mash-up is inspired by the new Reese’s Outrageous Bar, which is made up of peanut butter, caramel and crunchy Reese’s Pieces candy dipped in rich milk chocolate.
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