July 8, 2019

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The troubled German lender unveiled its long-awaited reorganization plan yesterday, which involves eliminating thousands of jobs and severely reducing its global ambitions. But is it too little, too late?

The bank plans to cut 18,000 jobs and shrink its global equities business. Top executives will leave, including its investment banking chief, and $300 billion worth of assets will be hived off in a “bad bank” to be sold off over time. The layoffs have already begun.

The firm will refocus its efforts on serving European companies and retail-banking customers, pulling back from nearly two decades of trying to compete with Wall Street giants. But its C.E.O., Christian Sewing, said this morning that the U.S. remains a core market for the bank.

The plan will cost the lender 7.4 billion euros, or $8.3 billion, in severance payments and other expenses through 2022. Dividends will be suspended for 2019 and 2020.

But experts are unsure whether it will work. Shrinking means reduced revenue, potentially creating a vicious circle of declining income and profits. Mohamed El-Erian of the German insurer Allianz tweeted, “Big question that’s now on the table is whether DB can shrink itself to heightened competitiveness and sustainable profitability without a merger of some sort.”

(NY Times)

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  • Flash flooding in Washington, D.C. delivers a month’s worth of rain on the local area in the span of an hour. The torrential rain leaves commuters stranded on car rooftops, floods several metro stations and causes flooding in the White House(CNET)

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July 9, 2019

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Earliest modern human found outside Africa

Researchers have found the earliest example of our species (modern humans) outside Africa.

A skull unearthed in Greece has been dated to 210,000 years ago, at a time when Europe was occupied by the Neanderthals.

The sensational discovery adds to evidence of an earlier migration of people from Africa that left no trace in the DNA of people alive today.

The findings are published in the journal Nature.

Researchers uncovered two significant fossils in Apidima Cave in Greece in the 1970s.

One was very distorted and the other incomplete, however, and it took computed tomography scanning and uranium-series dating to unravel their secrets.

The more complete skull appears to be a Neanderthal. But the other shows clear characteristics, such as a rounded back to the skull, diagnostic of modern humans.

(BBC)

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July 10, 2019

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USWNT, Morgan take home top honors at ESPYS

The U.S. women’s national soccer team’s day started with a parade through New York City’s Canyon of Heroes, included a flight to Los Angeles and then saw Alex Morgan and the USWNT shine as the big winners at The ESPYS on Wednesday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Morgan earned the ESPY for best female athlete, beating overall women’s World Cup Alpine skiing champion Mikaela Shiffrin, Breanna Stewart of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and gymnast Simone Biles.

The USWNT then won best team, topping the World Series champion Boston Red Sox, the College Football Playoff-winning Clemson Tigers, the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, the NBA champion Toronto Raptors, the NCAA women’s college basketball champion Baylor Bears and the NCAA men’s basketball champion Virginia Cavaliers.

The two ESPYS wins were the latest reasons for the USWNT to celebrate after it captured its second consecutive World Cup title by beating the Netherlands 2-0 on Sunday.

Morgan joked that her ESPY for best female athlete was the second-best trophy she earned this week.

(ESPN)

List of the day –

Winners of Best Female Athlete ESPY Award

YearImageAthleteNation representedSportRef(s)
1993Monica Seles YugoslaviaTennis[3]
1994Julie Krone United StatesThoroughbred horse racing[4]
1995Bonnie Blair United StatesSpeed skating[5]
1996Rebecca Lobo United StatesBasketball[6]
1997Amy Van Dyken United StatesSwimming[7]
1998Mia Hamm United StatesSoccer[8]
1999Chamique Holdsclaw United StatesBasketball[9]
2000Mia Hamm (2) United StatesSoccer[10]
2001Marion Jones United StatesTrack and field[11]
2002Venus Williams United StatesTennis[12]
2003Serena Williams United StatesTennis[13]
2004Diana Taurasi United StatesBasketball[14]
2005Annika Sörenstam SwedenGolf[15]
2006Annika Sörenstam (2) SwedenGolf[15]
2007Taryne Mowatt United StatesSoftball[16]
2008Candace Parker United StatesBasketball[17]
2009Nastia Liukin United StatesGymnastics[18]
2010Lindsey Vonn United StatesAlpine skiing[19]
2011Lindsey Vonn (2) United StatesAlpine skiing[20]
2012Brittney Griner United StatesBasketball[21]
2013Serena Williams (2) United StatesTennis[22]
2014Ronda Rousey United StatesMixed martial arts[23]
2015Ronda Rousey (2) United StatesMixed martial arts[24]
2016Breanna Stewart United StatesBasketball[25]
2017Simone Biles United StatesGymnastics[1]
2018Chloe Kim United StatesSnowboarding[26]
2019Alex Morgan United StatesSoccer[27]

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Armed conflicts and attacks

  • Assailants raid a village in Papua New Guinea‘s Hela province, killing and dismembering 16 women and children, and burning buildings. (The Guardian)
  • Three or five of Iran‘s IRGC Navy gunboats unsuccessfully attempt to seize control of British oil tanker British Heritage in the Persian Gulf, according to UK’s Ministry of Defense as well as two anonymous U.S. officials. The Royal Navy‘s HMS Montrose reportedly warns the boats to back away from the BP Shipping-owned tanker, which they do. The incident is allegedly captured on a U.S. aircraft’s camera. (CNN)

Business and economy

Disasters and accidents

  • An unexpected violent storm hits the Greek region of Halkidiki with heavy rain, hail, and strong winds, killing six foreign tourists. (BBC)

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July 11, 2019

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Siberian lake loved by Instagrammers is toxic, power plant says

A turquoise lake in Siberia where people have been taking selfies is actually a power plant’s ash dump.

The lake, nicknamed the “Novosibirsk Maldives” because of how tropical it looks, has provided the perfect backdrop to people’s Instagram posts.

But the reason for its colour is less appealing – calcium salts and other metal oxides from the plant.

Responding to the selfies, the Russian power company that runs the plant urged people not to go near the water.

But its stern warning seems to have only made people even more determined to visit.

(BBC)

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Law and crime

  • British right-wing activist Tommy Robinson is sentenced to nine months in prison for contempt of court — minus time served equals about another 10 weeks in prison. Supporters attacked police and journalists following the court proceedings. Police say no new arrests were made. (BBC)
  • American R&B singer R. Kelly is arrested in Chicago on federal sex crime charges. (NBC News)

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July 12, 2019

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Facebook ‘to be fined $5bn over Cambridge Analytica scandal’

US regulators have approved a record $5bn (£4bn) fine on Facebook to settle an investigation into data privacy violations, reports in US media say.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been investigating allegations that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica improperly obtained the data of up to 87 million Facebook users.

The settlement was approved by the FTC in a 3-2 vote, sources told US media.

Facebook and the FTC told the BBC they had no comment on the reports.

The consumer protection agency the FTC began investigating Facebook in March 2018 following reports that Cambridge Analytica had accessed the data of tens of millions of its users.

The investigation focused on whether Facebook had violated a 2011 agreement under which it was required to clearly notify users and gain “express consent” to share their data.

The $5bn fine was approved by the FTC in a 3-2 vote which broke along party lines, with Republican commissioners in favour and Democrats opposed.

(BBC)

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July 13, 2019

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New York’s power is coming back after Manhattan spent hours in the dark

Power was starting to come back to parts of New York on a warm Saturday night as ConEdison restored electrical service on the west side of Manhattan after widespread power outages canceled shows and sent tens of thousands of people onto darkened streets, officials said.

There were 16,000 customers without power in Midtown Manhattan and the Upper West Side, utility company ConEdison said.

At its peak, the number was about 72,000, it said.The company estimated most customers will have power restored by midnight.As he spoke to reporters, the lights came on in buildings behind him and the crowd cheered loudly.

Just before the lights and air conditioners began to come back on, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the numbers of customers without power had soared from 20,000 right after the blackout started because transformers kept tripping.

(CNN)

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Monsoon of South Asia

Three days of heavy rain in Nepal trigger floods and landslides resulting in at least 67 deaths. India was also affected by heavy floods, resulting in the death of 34 people, while 29 others died in Bangladesh(BBC)

Tropical Storm Barry increases to 121 kilometers per hour (75 miles per hour), becoming the first hurricane of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season.

Politics and elections

  • U.S. Vice President Mike Pence says the conditions under which asylum seekers are being held in facilities along the U.S. border with Mexico are unacceptable, after visiting two federal detention centers in Texas, remaining the highest-ranking member of the Trump administration to say so. He calls upon the U.S. Congress to act. (CNN)

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July 14, 2019

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Epic final tied, Super Over tied, England win World Cricket Cup on boundary count

New Zealand 241 for 8 (Nicholls 55, Woakes 3-37) tied with England 241 (Stokes 84*, Buttler 59, Neesham 3-43)
Super over England 15 beat New Zealand 15 on boundaries scored

It was never going to be easy, was it? Two teams without a World Cup title between them in 44 years of the men’s competition. After 100 overs, the last couple of which contained almost as much drama as a few previous finals in their entirety, nothing could separate England and New Zealand. For the first time in World Cup history, a Super Over was required to determine the winner.

Asked to score 16 from six balls, Jimmy Neesham coolly struck Jofra Archer‘s second legitimate delivery way back into the Mound Stand, making the equation seven off four. A brace of twos followed, before Archer’s bumper took Neesham off strike. Martin Guptill, at the end of a tournament of personal trial, needing to hit two more otherwise England would take the trophy on boundaries scored. Archer found a yorker, Guptill found deep midwicket and Jason Roy’s throw found Guptill short; Jos Buttler completed the run-out at full stretch to end all those years of hurt and an afternoon of exquisite agony.

(ESPN)

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