Insurance claims from the recent devastating California wildfires that killed at least 89 people and destroyed 19,000 homes and businesses have reached at least $9 billion, the state's insurance commissioner said Wednesday. "The devastating wildfires of 2018 were the deadliest and costliest wildfire catastrophes in California's history," said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. Most of the insurance payouts -- some $7 billion -- concern the Camp Fire in Northern California, which wiped out the town of Paradise and killed 86 people, making it the deadliest wildfire in recent California history.
SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - Canada should distance itself from U.S. "hegemonism" and grant unconditional freedom to Meng Wanzhou, a top executive of China's Huawei detained in Vancouver on Washington's request, state-owned tabloid Global Times said in a Thursday editorial. Meng, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, has been accused by U.S. prosecutors of misleading banks about transactions linked to Iran, putting the banks at risk of violating sanctions. The United States needs to make a formal extradition request within 60 days of her arrest, which a Canadian judge will weigh to determine whether the case against Meng is strong enough.
Technology researchers in China have been ordered to not travel to the US unless it is absolutely necessary, amid rising tensions between the two countries. Staff working in sensitive tech sectors were given the warning following the arrest of a Chinese tech executive in Canada, a source told the South China Morning Post. Workers at a research agency were also told to remove any sensitive data from laptops, mobile phones and other devices if travel to the US was essential.
A 21-year-old man was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder in the beating death of a University of Southern California graduate student from China. Albert Ochoa is the fourth person convicted in the 2014 attack on 24-year-old engineering student Xinran Ji. Ochoa and three others attacked Ji while trying to rob him as he was walking home from a study group near the USC campus on June 24, 2014, prosecutors said.
The sentencing memo filed last week by federal prosecutors against Michael Cohen, who for many years served as President Donald Trump's fixer, had Democrats and news media types aflutter: Would Trump soon be indicted for breaking campaign finance laws? The allegation is that Cohen and Trump ran afoul of campaign finance laws by breaking contribution limits and causing a corporation to make an illegal contribution to conceal a federal candidate's extramarital affairs from voters. Incoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said on CNN that if Trump were proven to have directed the payments, it would constitute "impeachable offenses." Soon-to-be House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said on CBS News that Trump will "face the real prospect of jail time." Leading Democrats want to impeach and jail their chief political antagonist, and yet it's Republicans who are constantly accused of running a banana republic. But I digress.
Luxury retailer appears to be first casualty as calls for a boycott spread on social media Weibo and echoed on state-run media Growing tensions between Beijing and Ottawa over the arrest of a senior Huawei executive have inflicted damage on the luxury clothing retailer Canada Goose, as Chinese consumers call for a boycott of the brand. Shares in the company have plunged nearly 20% since the arrest last week of Huawei’s chief financial officers Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. A Canadian judge granted bail to Meng on Tuesday evening.
Toyota gets hip to the beauty of all-wheel drive-and also of beauty. From Car and Driver
Turkey will launch a new operation in Syria within days against a US-backed Kurdish militia that Ankara considers a terrorist group, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday. "We will start an operation to free the east of the Euphrates from the separatist terrorist organisation in the next few days," Mr Erdogan said during a speech in Ankara, referring to territory held by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG). Turkey says the YPG is a "terrorist offshoot" of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
Japan is planning to tighten regulation of tech giants like Google and Facebook after an expert panel called for better oversight on competition and privacy, an official said Thursday. Japan has followed in the footsteps of other countries in scrutinising the dominant role played by the world's largest information technology companies, including Big Four tech firms Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. Despite bringing benefits, tech giants "tend to monopolise the market through their features such as... low costs and economies of scale," the report said.
Insurance claims from the recent spate of California wildfires, including one ranked as the most deadly and destructive in state history, have topped $9 billion and are expected to grow, the state insurance commissioner reported on Wednesday. The Camp Fire, which erupted on Nov. 8 and quickly incinerated most of the Sierra foothills town of Paradise, about 175 miles (280 km) north of San Francisco, has accounted for the bulk of the claims, just over $7 billion of the total. That fire destroyed more than 18,500 structures, including nearly 14,000 homes, in and around Paradise, and killed 86 people, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).
A disgruntled employee at a Canadian Walmart decided that he wasn’t going to quit quietly. In a video posted to Facebook on Friday, a 17-year-old worker named Jackson Racicot grabbed the PA mic and told everyone in the store what he really thought about working there. Racicot then dove into individual grievances, starting with his manager who apparently had called him “a waste of time.” He goes on to say that promises had been made and not kept, and details the story of how he was given only benefits of a part-time employee even though he worked full-time.
Three states resumed executions of death row inmates in 2018 after long breaks, but nationwide, executions remained near historic lows this year, according to an annual report on the death penalty released Friday. The report by the District of Columbia-based Death Penalty Information Center says 25 executions were carried out in 2018, the fourth consecutive year in which there have been fewer than 30 executions nationwide. Since the death penalty was re-instated in the United States in 1976, the number of executions peaked in 1999 with 98.
A Florida man testified this week about fatally shooting his best friend ― who was long suspected of falling victim to alligators ― because he was having an affair with the friend’s wife. Brian Winchester told a courtroom in Tallahassee that he killed his best friend, Mike Williams, in 2000 and hid his body because he was having an extramarital relationship with Denise Williams, who is now on trial for first-degree murder, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. Winchester’s remarks came as the prosecution presented its case against Williams on Wednesday, the second day of testimony.
President Trump speaks next to Vice President Mike Pence while meeting with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer at the White House on Dec. 11, 2018. It’s not been a stellar week for President Trump.
Nelson Martinez, the jailed former head of Venezuela's state-run oil giant PDVSA who was arrested last year as part of anti-corruption purge, died in state custody Wednesday, authorities said. The chief prosecutor's office said Martinez suffered from a serious and chronic illness that led to his death at a medical facility where he was undergoing treatment. The death is likely to focus attention on the conditions in which authorities are holding key opponents and former government officials.
Procter & Gamble is diversifying its beauty offering with the acquisition of Walker & Company Brands. Walker & Company Brands, which will operate as a separate and wholly-owned subsidiary of P&G, includes the specialized haircare ranges Bevel and FORM Beauty. "When I started Walker & Company Brands, I set out to build a company that would meet the health and beauty needs of people of color on a global scale," said Tristan Walker, CEO of Walker & Company Brands.
Many critics have suggested that new American pressure is harmful to both the people and the regime, perhaps sending many Iranians into the arms of the mullahs in protest. In reality, the protests and strikes in Iran’s cities have made it clear that the people recognize their economic hardships are rooted in the self-serving priorities of the mullahs, not international pressures. The enemy is right here,” protesters are chanting.
Prime Minister Theresa May enjoyed a Pyrrhic victory last night, surviving an attempt by her own party to oust her. Goldman said the party’s eurosceptic faction “holds much less sway across Parliament at large than its influence within the Conservative Party would suggest.” If the Prime Minister were to lose the vote on her tweaked Brexit deal, any subsequent legislation would likely reflect the preferences of a cross-party coalition of MPs looking for closer institutional ties, rather than those of Tory backbenchers advocating a more speedy EU departure. While Conservative MPs may have shied away from removing May, it doesn’t mean that her Brexit deal will succeed, as the Prime Minister struggles to secure a better withdrawal agreement.
A man was caught at New York's JFK airport last weekend trying to smuggle dozens of South American finches into the country, a bird that Guyanese immigrants covet for chirping but officials fear could spread disease, officials said on Thursday. About 70 finches were found hidden inside a shipment of hair rollers at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist inspected the unidentified male passenger's luggage. The birds may have been destined for sale to Guyanese immigrants for a game that involves betting on how often the finches chirp per minute, said Customs spokesman Anthony Bucci.
UPDATE 12/13/18: Toyota says the first production 2020 Supra will be auctioned off January 19, 2019, at the Barrett-Jackson auctions in Arizona to benefit the American Heart Association and the Bob Woodruff Foundation. Its VIN will be #20201 and it will feature a special paint scheme (teased below) including matte gray exterior paint, matte black wheels, red mirror caps, and a red leather interior featuring a carbon-fiber plaque denoting it as the first 2020 Supra. The new Toyota Supra sports car is almost here-and we mean it this time.
The outrage over a light sentence handed to a former Baylor University fraternity president accused of rape has already gotten him banned from his current school. The outcry may also cost the judge who approved a plea agreement that included no jail time. By Thursday night, more than 25,000 people had signed a petition for Judge Ralph Strother of McLennan County, Texas, to either resign or be removed from the bench after he accepted on Monday a deal that allowed Jacob Anderson to plea down to unlawful restraint, with deferred probation, counseling and a fine but no requirement he register as a sex offender.
The Instant Pot DUO80 8 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker is the largest available version of Instant Pot’s best-selling DUO line. This multi-use cooking machine does it all, but it typically comes with a hefty $140 price tag. With Christmas fast approaching, the price has been slashed by $40, dropping this insanely popular model back down to its Cyber Week sale price.
A middle school student in Delaware has been allowed to change his surname after enduring relentless bullying from his peers. Joshua Trump, who is not related to President Donald Trump, will now be known at school as Joshua Berto after dropping his mother’s surname for his father’s. The 11-year-old’s parents told ABC affiliate WPVI that the bullying of their son had been relentless and first started when Donald Trump began his presidential campaign.
Insurance claims from last month's California wildfires already are at $9 billion. State insurance commissioner Dave Jones announced the figure Wednesday and said it is likely to rise. About $7 billion in claims are from the Camp Fire that destroyed the Northern California city of Paradise.