North America Stay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder Sun, 26 Jun 2016 20:42:53 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Clinton takes lead over Trump, new polls show imageWASHINGTON: Two head-to-head polls released Sunday showed a resurgent Hillary Clinton taking a lead in the US presidential race, after a tumultuous month for Donald Trump, who has failed to rally confidence among voters or party leaders.

If the presidential election were held today, 51 percent of poll respondents said they would vote for Clinton, versus 39 percent for Trump, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

It was conducted Monday through Thursday of last week among 836 registered voters and had a margin of error of four percentage points.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed a slimmer lead for Clinton, 46 percent to Trump's 41 percent. They were essentially tied, 39 percent for the Democrat Clinton and 38 percent for Republican Trump, when third-party candidates were included, results showed.

The poll of 1,000 registered voters was conducted Sunday through Thursday of last week and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

The surveys come after a difficult month for the combative Trump, a political novice who fired his campaign manager and faced criticism for poor campaign organization and a paltry war chest of $1.3 million at the end of May.

Clinton, who had repeatedly pounded Trump as being "temperamentally unfit," finished the month with $42 million.

Trump faced a widespread outcry over his attacks on a judge of Mexican heritage who is overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University.

In the aftermath of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, the brash businessman tweeted his thanks to people who congratulated him for "being right on radical Islamic terrorism." He also banned the Washington Post from his campaign events after objecting to its coverage.

According to the Washington Post-ABC News poll, two in three Americans say Trump is unqualified to lead the nation, are anxious about the idea of a Trump presidency and find his comments about women, minorities and Muslims to show an "unfair bias." Although the poll gave Clinton a double-digit lead, the largest since last fall and a dramatic improvement since last month's survey that showed her statistically tied with Trump, survey respondents also indicated unease with the former secretary of state.

A majority disprove of the way she has handled questions over her use of a personal email server during her tenure as the nation's top diplomat, and half are anxious about the idea of her in the White House.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Fawad Maqsood) North America Sun, 26 Jun 2016 16:30:12 +0000
Obama declares disaster as US flood death toll climbs to 24

imageWASHINGTON: The death toll from flooding in the US state of West Virginia rose to 24 Saturday, as President Barack Obama declared a major disaster, releasing federal aid for some of the hardest-hit areas.

The president "ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides," the White House said in a statement.

Days of heavy rain have caused massive flooding in the state, where high waters have washed away cars, trapped hundreds and cut power to large areas.

More than 21,300 people were without power across the state Saturday evening according to the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Hundreds of homes had been severely damaged or destroyed and more than 60 roads remained closed, it said.

Photos on the division's Facebook page showed a muddy, swollen river in the West Virginia town of Clendenin that had spilled over its banks and inundated a nearby neighborhood with floodwater.

Obama's disaster declaration makes federal funding available to Greenbrier, Kanawha and Nicholas counties.

The latest fatality from the flooding was reported Saturday in Greenbrier County, bringing the overall tally to 24 people dead, state spokeswoman Jessica Tice told AFP.

Among the dead was an eight-year-old boy who was swept away while walking along a creek bank with his mother and sister, local news station WSAZ reported. His body was found after three hours of searching.

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said Saturday he expected 400 National Guard members to be deployed during the day to assist local emergency responders in their relief efforts.

He said that support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that was released under the disaster declaration would "provide much needed assistance to severely impacted regions."

In five of the worst-hit counties volunteer centers were being set up, according to the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

It said that three Red Cross shelters and a number of community-based shelters had also been established across the state.

"We have so many businesses, individuals and churches really rallying together and gathering supplies," Tice said.

The devastating flooding also forced the PGA Tour to cancel its Greenbrier Classic scheduled for July 7-10 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The torrential rains that hit Greenbrier County especially hard caused extensive flood damage to the course beyond what could be repaired in time to stage the event, tour and resort officials said.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Fawad Maqsood) North America Sun, 26 Jun 2016 15:22:30 +0000
23 dead in West Virginia floods imageWASHINGTON: Flooding in the US state of West Virginia killed 23 people and stranded others who had to be plucked from rooftops and rescued from fast-moving waters, state officials said Friday.

"The damage is widespread and devastating. Our focus remains on search and rescue," Governor Earl Ray Tomblin told a news conference after floods caused by a day of heavy rains.

"I had planned to fly around the affected areas myself today but wasn't able to, because all state aircrafts are currently being used for rescues," he said.

Tomblin gave a death toll of 14 from the disaster, but later Friday Jessica Tice, with the state's Homeland Security and Emergency Management office, told AFP that the toll had reached 23.

The dead included an eight-year-old boy who was swept away while walking along a creek bank with his mother and sister, local news station WSAZ reported. His body was found after three hours of searching.

At least six counties have extensive structural damage and about 66,000 people were without power, the governor said.

US Senator Shelley Moore Capito said that she had been in touch with the White House about getting a disaster designation for the affected areas.

"We're pushing for the federal declaration -- I can't imagine that we won't get it," she told CNN.

"We had a call today with FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency). They're moving some of their assets in over the weekend," she said.

About 200 National Guard members had fanned out in eight counties to assist local responders and 17 shelters were open for those whose homes were damaged or destroyed.

About 500 people were stranded overnight inside a shopping mall in Elkview, near the capital Charleston, after a bridge leading to the main road was washed away, ABC News reported.

News station WCHS/WVAH posted a video on its Instagram account showing a house in flames being carried away by muddy floodwaters in the small city of White Sulphur Springs.

A Twitter account for news and events in the town of Spencer, West Virginia, posted dramatic images under its handle @Spencer_Daily.

One series of photos showed a man in chest-high water using a rock to smash the windows of a vehicle whose occupants were trapped inside.

Another set of photos showed a woman who had caught a giant trout with her hands while standing on a two-lane road amid stopped traffic.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Sat, 25 Jun 2016 07:07:52 +0000
US Navy keeps electromagnetic cannon in its sights imageWASHINGTON: The US Navy is quietly pushing ahead with a radical new cannon that one day could transform how wars are fought, even though some Pentagon officials have voiced concerns over its cost and viability.

Named the railgun, the weapon in question represents a paradigm shift in ballistic technology. Instead of using gunpowder and explosive charges to shoot a shell from its barrel, it employs vast amounts of electromagnetic energy to zoom a projectile along a set of copper-alloy rails.

Thanks to four small fins on its rear, the hefty round can then be guided toward a moving object -- such as an enemy ship, drone or incoming ballistic missile -- relying purely on the kinetic energy from its vast momentum to destroy the target.

Ultimately, scientists expect the railgun rounds to travel at speeds up to Mach 7.5, which at 5,700 mph (9,100 kph) is more than seven times the speed of sound, and cover a distance of about 100 miles (160 kilometers.)

"The railgun is revolutionary in terms of how much it can accelerate the bullet," Tom Boucher, the railgun program manager for Office of Naval Research, told AFP at the Pentagon as he displayed six interconnected steel plates that all had been shredded by a single test round.

"Powder guns have been matured to the point where you are going to get the most out of them. Railguns are just beginning."

The futuristic weapon has long been a darling of the Navy's research wing, along with other game-changing technologies such as laser beams that can track a boat in choppy water and blast holes in its hull.

Yet the railgun, which so far has cost more than $500 million, may find itself becoming something of a victim of its own success -- even before it is made operational.

That's because of its special shells designed to hurtle through the skies at jaw-dropping speeds.

These rounds, called High Velocity Projectiles, can be guided in flight. They can also be fired from a conventional five-inch cannon.

Though the HVPs would travel slower than they would out of a railgun, they still outperform regular shells, making them a tempting proposition for the Navy to deploy across its fleet.

"It turns out that powder guns firing the same hyper-velocity projectiles gets you almost as much as you would get out of the electromag rail gun, and it's something we could do much faster," Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work told US lawmakers last month.

Each HVP eventually will cost about $50,000 -- still considerably more expensive than a conventional shell but an order of magnitude cheaper than guided missiles such as the Tomahawk, that cost more than $1 million apiece.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Sat, 25 Jun 2016 06:59:45 +0000
Sanders will vote for Clinton to stop Trump imageWASHINGTON: US Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said on Friday he would vote for Hillary Clinton to stop Republican Donald Trump from winning the White House, a lukewarm show of support that his campaign said was not a formal endorsement. Sanders' comments come after weeks of pressure from Democratic Party officials to throw his weight behind Clinton, the presumptive nominee.

She locked up the required number of delegates this month with a string of wins in state-by-state primary contests.

Clinton, the former US secretary of state, senator, and first lady, needs Sanders' supporters to boost her chances against Trump in the Nov. 8 election. Only 40 percent of them say they would vote for her, with the rest undecided or divided between Trump, a third-party candidate and staying home, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling. Asked if he would vote for Clinton in November, Sanders, a US senator from Vermont, told MSNBC television: "Yes. The issue right here is I'm going to do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump. I think Trump in so many ways would be a disaster for this country if he were elected president."

"We do not need a president whose cornerstone of his campaign is bigotry, who is insulting Mexicans and Latinos and Muslims and women, who does not believe in the reality of climate change," he continued.

A spokeswoman for Sanders said his comments on MSNBC did not amount to an endorsement of Clinton, adding that "Senator Sanders is also still an active candidate."

Trump has angered minority groups with his hard line on immigration, including calls to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country, deport millions of undocumented immigrants, and build a wall along the US-Mexican border if he is elected.

A spokeswoman for Trump's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The wealthy New York businessman has rejected accusations his proposals are bigoted, and has said his policies would help minorities by bolstering the economy and creating jobs. Trump has also called climate change a hoax by the Chinese to hurt business in the United States.

Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, managed to turn his long-shot run into a mass movement with proposals to combat wealth inequality, increase access to healthcare and education, and defend the environment.

His challenge to Clinton, one of the best-known figures in US politics, lasted far longer than expected, running for four months and across 50 states and yielding record numbers of small donations to his campaign.

Sanders has said he will continue to push for a liberal agenda heading into the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia from July 25-28, when Clinton's nomination is expected to become official.

He has also made clear he does not want his presence to hurt the party's chances of holding onto the White House.

Three-quarters of likely Democratic voters in the general election say Sanders should have a "major role" in shaping the party's positions, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted June 17-21.

Nearly two-thirds also said that Sanders should endorse Clinton.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Fawad Maqsood) North America Fri, 24 Jun 2016 19:30:04 +0000
Brexit blow to Obama and US 'special relationship' imageWASHINGTON: Britain's vote to leave the European Union was a severe blow to one of the United States' key alliances and a setback for its influence across the old continent.

But can Barack Obama leverage what remains of the "special relationship" to smooth its exit and limit the damage to Western security and the global economy?

The US president travelled to London during the referendum campaign to back his friend Prime Minister David Cameron's doomed campaign against Brexit.

And on Friday he was quick to defend the enduring "special relationship," a phrase coined by Winston Churchill in 1946 after the Allies' World War II victory.

Nevertheless, Washington analysts were unanimous that the shock result was a huge setback for the alliance and for US interests -- and urged Obama to help fix things.

Following the vote, Britain will have to negotiate its departure from the world's biggest trading bloc without triggering a domino effect of economic catastrophe.

After speaking to Cameron on Friday, Obama said he was "confident that the UK is committed to an orderly transition out of the EU."

But European leaders have warned that they will not give London an easy ride, fearing that a smooth Brexit will encourage other European powers to jump ship.

- Divides allies -

That would be counterproductive, warned Tom Wright of the Brookings Institution, if a stormy debate further disturbs markets and divides US allies in Europe.

"In the last few weeks European leaders have taken a tough line and said there won't be concessions, but that may change now that the vote has happened," he said.

"I do think the US position will almost certainly and correctly be to try to make this as smooth as possible."

Wright did not downplay the scale of the harm Brexit would do to trans-Atlantic cooperation but said Obama could "mitigate" it by reaching out to France and Germany.

"The most important decisions will be taken in Berlin and in Paris," he told AFP in an interview.

"And if the US is going to engage these countries it will have to be at the leader level."

There is a lot of anger in Washington at what experts see as Cameron's unnecessary gamble on a referendum, but most hope the alliance will survive.

"Nothing will be served by pushing the UK away or by retaliating by diminishing the alliance," said Wright.

Jeffrey Rathke, a fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told AFP that the fundamentals of the alliance remain in place.

"The reason for the special relationship is basically because we have very similar interests and very similar ways of looking at the world," he said.

"However, if Britain's influence globally decreases then the US naturally has to find ways to compensate for that," he warned.

"The US will have to beef up its engagement with key European partners."

This analysis was shared by Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, who told reporters that Brexit was a harsh blow for the United States.

- 'Less special' -

"The net result will be the special relationship will be that much less special," he said.

"This essentially is a cloud without a silver lining when it comes to the UK itself, when it comes to Europe or when it comes to the United States.

"On balance this will diminish order within Europe and arguably beyond."

So a disaster then, in the eyes of experts, but could Obama have done more to steer his ally through the mess of its own making?

Analysts like Dalibor Rohac of the American Enterprise Institute, pointed out that the would-be "Pacific president" had somewhat neglected European ties.

And Britain too, in the grip of austerity economics and fixated by referenda first on Scottish independence then on Brexit, has retreated from the world.

"Much of the UK's political clout was related to its ability to steer European policy," said Rohac. "That clout is gone once the UK leaves."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Fawad Maqsood) North America Fri, 24 Jun 2016 18:44:18 +0000
Obama says US special relationship with Britain will endure imagePALO ALTO: US President Barack Obama said on Friday that he had spoken with British Prime Minister David Cameron about Britain's decision to leave the European Union and that he was confident the United Kingdom was committed to an orderly transition.

"While the UK's relationship with the EU will change, one thing that will not change is special relationship that exists between our two nations," Obama said in a speech at a global entrepreneurs conference at Stanford University. "That will endure.

The EU will remain one of our indispensable partners."

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) North America Fri, 24 Jun 2016 17:22:58 +0000
Sanders says he will vote for Clinton imageWASHINGTON: Bernie Sanders said Friday he will vote for Hillary Clinton in the US presidential election in November, bowing to his former rival for the White House but stopping short of a full endorsement.

Asked on MSNBC whether he would cast his ballot for Clinton, the Vermont senator who waged a surprisingly tough campaign during the primaries said, "Yes."

"I think the issue right here is I'm gonna do everything I can to defeat Donald Trump," Sanders said, referring to the billionaire businessman who is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

"I think Trump, in so many ways, will be a disaster for this country if he were to be elected president. We do not need a president whose cornerstone of his campaign is bigotry," Sanders told MSNBC.

Sanders has resisted dropping out of the race even though all the primaries are over and Clinton has reached the delegate threshold she needs to secure the nomination formally at next month's convention in Philadelphia.

Sanders has said he is still in the race because he wants to exert influence on Clinton and push her policy positions more to the left.

Sanders, who describes himself as a democratic socialist, did surprisingly well during the primary season by winning over younger voters in particular with his pledges to overhaul what he calls a tainted political and economic system and work to end income inequality in America.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Fawad Maqsood) North America Fri, 24 Jun 2016 16:06:36 +0000
Brexit: Fed set to provide dollar liquidity to offset market pressures imageWASHINGTON: The US Federal Reserve said Friday it was ready to provide dollar liquidity to other central banks to offset any global market pressures resulting from Britain's vote to exit the European Union.

"The Federal Reserve is prepared to provide dollar liquidity through its existing swap lines with central banks, as necessary, to address pressures in global funding markets, which could have adverse implications for the US economy," the central bank said in a statement.

The Fed said it was "carefully monitoring developments in global financial markets, in cooperation with other central banks," after the results of Britain's referendum on EU membership were announced early Friday.

Britons' unexpected decision in favor of exiting the 28-nation bloc roiled global equity markets and sent the pound diving to a three-decade low.

The Fed statement followed an announcement by the Group of Seven that their central banks were standing ready to use liquidity instruments if needed to counter extreme market volatility.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Fawad Maqsood) North America Fri, 24 Jun 2016 16:02:01 +0000
US durable goods orders fall in May imageWASHINGTON: US durable goods orders fell more than expected in May after increasing the two prior months, in fresh evidence Friday of the weakness in the American manufacturing sector.

New orders for manufactured durable goods like cars, aircraft, electronics and machinery fell 2.2 percent in May after a 3.3 percent jump in April, the Commerce Department reported. Analysts on average forecast a modest 0.6 percent decline.

"A pullback in May was expected but the larger than anticipated, broad-based decline serves to reinforce underlying weakness," said Sophia Kearney-Lederman, an economic analyst at FTN Financial.

Kearney-Lederman pointed to the impact of the strong dollar, which has only surged higher following Britain's unexpected vote Thursday to exit the European Union.

"A strong dollar and softening global growth has weighed on demand for US goods for much of the last two years. So far today, post-Brexit, the dollar has strengthened nearly 2.3 percent," she said in a client note.

The volatile transportation sector was a leading factor in the May downturn.

New transportation orders, which typically swing sharply month-over-month, tumbled 5.6 percent in May. Orders for defense aircraft dived 34.1 percent. Commercial aircraft orders rose a modest 1.0 percent after soaring in April.

New orders for motor vehicles fell 2.8 percent in May, reflecting a slight cooling in US auto sales.

Excluding transportation, durable goods orders fell 0.3 percent from April.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Fawad Maqsood) North America Fri, 24 Jun 2016 15:52:04 +0000
Trump says Brexit vote has 'real parallel' with his campaign imageTURNBERRY: Donald Trump hailed Britain's vote to leave the EU as "fantastic" on a trip to Scotland on Friday, saying the campaign had parallels with his own mission to become the president of the United States.

"I think it's a great thing. I think it's a fantastic thing," he told reporters after stepping off a helicopter with the word "Trump" emblazoned on its side at the golf resort he owns in southwest Scotland.

A break-up of the European Union "looks like it's on its way," he added later. "I think you're going to have this happen more and more."

Two bagpipers in kilts played as Trump landed and staff at the newly-renovated resort cheered as he arrived on his first international trip since becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Trump held a press conference on the ninth hole of his golf course, overlooking the sea.

There was a "real parallel" between the anti-EU vote and his own campaign, he told journalists, surrounded by golf balls emblazoned with Nazi swastikas which a protester had tossed onto the grass before being ushered away.

"People want to take their country back, they want independence," Trump said, explaining that unhappiness with immigrants "flowing" across borders was the common cause for discontent in Britain and the US.

"There were great similarities with what happened here and my campaign," he said.

At the resort, a large Scottish flag flew in front of the picturesque seafront, as protesters gathered nearby.

- 'Not welcome here' -

Two groups, Scotland Against Trump and Stand Up To Racism Scotland, bused protesters to the golf resort to picket the property mogul.

"Scotland is a progressive, tolerant and multicultural country and we oppose the bigotry that Donald Trump represents," Keir McKechnie of the anti-racism group told AFP.

"We want to tell the world that he's not welcome here."

The New York tycoon has caused alarm in Europe with his abrasive style and pledges to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and build a wall on the border with Mexico.

His proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States drew the ire of Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the idea "stupid, divisive and wrong".

Trump dismissed a question on whether his unpopularity with other world leaders would be a problem if he is elected US president in November.

He noted that Cameron had been defeated in the Brexit vote, and had decided to step down as prime minister.

"Where's David Cameron?" Trump asked with a chuckle.

"Right now I don't think David Cameron wants to meet anybody."

His Democratic rival in the US presidential election in November, Hillary Clinton, seized the moment to post a video compilation of criticism from Cameron and others.

"People in Scotland are not thrilled about Trump coming to their country," Clinton posted on Twitter. "We know the feeling."

- Raising the Mexican flag -

Another protester, Jonathon Shafi of Scotland Against Trump, said he wanted the gathering to show unity with demonstrators in the US who have disrupted Trump rallies.

"We want to send a message of solidarity to movements like Black Lives Matter that we are united in opposition," Shafi told AFP.

On Saturday, Trump is expected to travel to the Trump International Golf Links, another course he owns in the northeast Scottish coastal village of Balmedie, a resort that has been controversial with locals.

Some irate neighbours living next to the course have raised Mexican flags in symbolic opposition to Trump.

The trip stands in stark contrast to the welcome President Barack Obama received on a visit to Germany in 2008, when he was the presumptive Democratic nominee.

At the time, Obama addressed a crowd of tens of thousands about his hopes of closer links to a unified Europe.

Trump has criticised the continent's leaders as "weak" and accused them of taking inadequate measures to combat terrorism following the jihadist attacks on Brussels in March.

Trump's trip to Scotland will be brief as he is scheduled to return to the US later Saturday.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Fawad Maqsood) North America Fri, 24 Jun 2016 15:49:04 +0000