APNewsBreak: Trump campaign to report $30 million haul Zeke Miller, Associated Press•FILE – In this Aug. 11, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump meets supporters after addressing a GOP fundraising event in Birch Run, Mich. Trump’s re-election campaign tells The Associated Press it will report raising more than $30 million in the first quarter of 2019. That’s slightly more than his top two Democratic rivals combined. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is set to report that it raised more than $30 million in the first quarter of 2019, edging out his top two Democratic rivals combined, according to figures it provided to The Associated Press.The haul brings the campaign’s cash on hand to $40.8 million, an unprecedented war chest for an incumbent president this early in a campaign.The Trump campaign said nearly 99% of its donations were of $200 or less, with an average donation of $34.26.Trump’s fundraising ability was matched by the Republican National Committee, which brought in $45.8 million in the first quarter — its best non-election year total. Combined, the pro-Trump effort is reporting $82 million in the bank, with $40.8 million belonging to the campaign alone.Trump formally launched his reelection effort just hours after taking office in 2017, earlier than any incumbent has in prior years. By contrast, former President Barack Obama launched his 2012 effort in April 2011 and had under $2 million on hand at this point in the campaign.Obama went on to raise more than $720 million for his reelection. Trump’s reelection effort has set a $1 billion target for 2020.Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement that Trump „is in a vastly stronger position at this point than any previous incumbent president running for re-election, and only continues to build momentum.”Trump’s fundraising with the RNC is divided between two entities: Trump Victory, the joint account used for high-dollar gifts, and the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, the low-dollar digital fundraising operation known internally as „T-Magic.” The campaign is set to launch a traditional „bundling” program — which it lacked in 2016 — in the coming weeks. Bundlers are mid-tier donors who bring in contributions from their associates.Together, the Trump entities have raised a combined $165.5 million since 2017.Trump is benefiting from the advantages of incumbency, like universal name recognition and his unrivaled position atop the Republican Party.Among Democrats, dollars are divided across a candidate field of well more than a dozen, while the Democratic National Committee remains in debt and has suffered from being dramatically outraised by the RNC in recent months.Bernie Sanders topped the Democratic field in the first quarter, raising slightly more than $18 million, followed by Kamala Harris with $12 million and Beto O’Rourke with $9.4 million. Trump is reporting a haul of $30.3 million.Republicans have trailed Democrats in online fundraising ever since the medium was invented roughly two decades ago. But Trump has closed the gap, driving small-dollar donors who make recurring donations to the GOP like the party has never seen before. According to RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Trump’s campaign has already had eight seven-figure fundraising days this year, and has taken in money from more than 1 million new online donors since Trump’s inauguration — including 100,000 this year.The Republican committee said it is planning on spending $30 million on maintaining and growing Trump’s email list alone, recently expanded its headquarters space to an annex in Virginia and will soon invest in developing an app.In 2015, Trump swore off outside money, declaring in his opening speech: „I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists’. I’m not using donors’. I don’t care. I’m really rich.”He quickly reversed course on high-dollar donations after he won the GOP nomination, bowing to the financial pressures of running a general election campaign, and he’d already raised millions online through the sale of merchandise like his signature red Make America Great Again hats.Trump gave or loaned $66 million to his 2016 campaign, but has yet to spend any of his own cash for his reelection effort. Aides don’t expect that to change.
Donald Trump has unleashed a series of angry tweets attacking The New York Times over a report claiming he was thinking about sending undocumented immigrants into so-called “sanctuary cities” represented by Democrats.
The president accused the newspaper of failing to “call to check for truth”, only for White House correspondent Maggie Haberman to explain the Times had in fact emailed his press team “three times for comment and [the] press office acknowledged receipt of emails”.
The newspaper claimed the idea of releasing immigrants detained by federal agencies into cities which had previously offered protection from deportation had been considered by the White House.
Although Mr Trump said the story was “knowingly wrong on almost every fact”, he appeared to confirm and validate its truth with his own tweets.
He wrote: “Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only.”
The president insisted the newspaper was guilty of “really corrupt reporting”, stating: “They will lie & cheat anyway possible to make me look bad. In 6 years they will be gone.”
His other late night-tweets on Saturday suggested Mr Trump has refused to give up on the idea of sending migrants to sanctuary cities. He claimed the nation had the “absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred”.
The president attacked the Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf after she criticised the idea as “an outrageous abuse of power”.
POTUS really ought to check in with his press team more often, or they with him. NYT emailed three times for comment and press office acknowledged receipt of emails.
Donald J. Trump
The New York Times Sanctuary Cities/Immigration story today was knowingly wrong on almost every fact. They never call to check for truth. Their sources often don’t even exist, a fraud. They will lie & cheat anyway possible to make me look bad. In 6 years they will be gone……..
Mr Trump tweeted: “So interesting to see the Mayor of Oakland and other Sanctuary Cities NOT WANT our currently “detained immigrants” after release due to the ridiculous court ordered 20 day rule.”
He added: “Just out: The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities.”
Ms Schaaf later responded by telling the president to “stop fanning hate and division”.
Just out: The USA has the absolute legal right to have apprehended illegal immigrants transferred to Sanctuary Cities. We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the State of California, which is well known or its poor management & high taxes!
Despite Mr Trump’s threatening tweets on the subject, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has said the idea of sending released immigrants to particular US cities had been raised and dismissed.
“This was a suggestion that was floated and rejected, which ended any further discussion,” said a DHS spokesman.
The plan discussed by Mr Trump would face major financial and legal issues. Flights chartered by ICE cost about $7,785 (around £6,000) per flight hour, according to the agency, and require multiple members of staff, including an in-flight medical professional.
It is also unclear how long the immigrants would stay in these cities because they are required to provide an address to federal authorities – typically of a family member – as a condition of their release.
“It’s illogical,” said Angela Chan, policy director and senior attorney with the San Francisco-based Asian Law Caucus. “It’s just alarming that they are spending so much effort and so much time to engage in political theatre.”
Additional reporting by AP
After President Donald Trump threatened to send immigrants into “sanctuary cities” across the country, the mayor of Seattle responded that her city “isn’t afraid of immigrants.”
On Friday, the President tweeted that he is giving “serious consideration” to sending “illegal immigrants” into sanctuary cities. Later that day, however, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan fired back in a Washington Post op-ed to tell the President that her city has “always welcomed” immigrants.
“Contrary to what this President thinks, in Seattle, we have strong American values of inclusiveness and opportunity,” Durkan wrote. “Instead of threatening immigrant families and the cities that welcome them, this President should spend a little bit more time trying to learn from us.”
As the President has made curbing immigration a major focus of his presidency, he has expressed a desire to punish sanctuary cities – jurisdictions which limit the cooperation of local law enforcement with immigration authorities. In 2017, he threatened to withhold law enforcement grants from such localities.
Durkan, however, said that while she is not concerned about more immigrants arriving in Seattle, she is worried about the way the President is using a “law enforcement agency” as a weapon.
“It’s clear he hates the fact that the very cities he scorns are engines of innovation, opportunity and economic power. But we will not be deterred,” Durkan said.
Durkan wrote that immigrants, who she said make up 18% of the city’s population, make Seattle “a stronger, more vibrant place” and make contributions to business, culture, law enforcement and other parts of its society.
She noted that the city already has programs in place to help immigrants succeed while living in Seattle. These include a program to offer tuition-free college to all public high school graduates – regardless of their immigration status; the Ready to Work Program, which aims to provide immigrants with case managers and English language education; and the New Citizen Campaign, a program to help legal permanent residents become citizens.
Durkan wrote that Seattle will continue to stand up to the President.
“So if this President wants to send immigrants and refugees to Seattle and other welcoming cities, let me be clear: We will do what we have always done, and we will be stronger for it. And it will only strengthen our commitment to fighting for the dignity of every person. We will not allow any administration to use the power of America to destroy the promise of America,” Durkan wrote.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined other Democrats in their demands for the full Mueller report to be released to Congress and the public.
“We deserve to see the Mueller report, and if there is material that, for whatever reason, should not be shared publicly, it should be shared with the Congress,” Clinton told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria in an interview Friday at the Women in the World 10th Anniversary Summit in New York City.
“One of the things that I did as a very young lawyer was work on the impeachment staff of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, investigating Richard Nixon,” said Clinton, referring to the Watergate scandal for which President Nixon was named an “unindicted co-conspirator” and later impeached. “I know what can be made available, what the court has to be asked to permit to be made available. I know what the Republicans did when they were in charge of the Congress in demanding information from the Justice Department that had never been offered before — very sensitive information. It was all turned over to the Republican Congress.”
“We’re in this bit of a twilight zone, aren’t we?” she continued. “There’s a report that, depending upon which figure you believe, is somewhere between maybe three, four hundred pages long, and it is not being delivered to the Congress, which has an absolute right to see it. It is not being presented to the public.”
The report is expected to be released in the coming days, according to Attorney General William Barr, who testified last week at a hearing on Capitol Hill before House and Senate subcommittees. His summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the 2016 campaign said there was no collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russia. It also stated the Mueller’s findings were „not sufficient to establish that the president committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”
Democrats, skeptical of the four-page summary of the 400-page report and armed with a subpoena they have yet to issue, pressured Barr for the full, unredacted report. But Barr, while testifying Tuesday, refused to divulge details about Mueller’s report or say whether the White House has seen or been briefed on it.
“I think that what we saw in Congress, with the attorney general’s presentation in both the House and the Senate, is someone who considers his principal duty to be protecting Donald Trump, not protecting the rule of law and the democracy that the Justice Department should be defending,” said Clinton, who lost to Trump in the 2016 presidential election. “And I remember when Nixon was really upset because there was an investigation going on and he fired people who would not do his bidding — until he finally ended up with somebody who would do his bidding — but it didn’t save him, because the information that had been collected was made available to the Congress, to the courts and eventually to the public.”
“I would hope that the law is followed, that the information is provided,” she added, “that the American public and the press has a chance to go through these three to four hundred pages with as few redactions or cross-outs as possible.”
While Trump and Republicans saw Barr’s summary of the report as “complete and total exoneration,” some Democrats have held out belief there was some collusion — like Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who has been one of the most outspoken skeptics of Barr’s conclusions and maintains his stance that there is still “significant evidence of collusion” in the 2016 presidential election.
Clinton, whose 2016 presidential run was marred by WikiLeaks publishing emails obtained through Russian hacks of the Democratic National Committee and her campaign, spoke about her experience in calling for the full report.
“As someone who has been in the eye of the storm all of these years, I think that everybody deserves their chance to tell their story,” she said. “I believe in facts and evidence and law. But this was an investigation that had a serious purpose — to determine what role the Russians played in our election, to try to understand the kind of bizarre connections between Russians and members of the Trump campaign and people close to Trump.”
“These are really important questions,” she continued. “[Not] just because we should, for historic purposes, really find out what did happen. It’s because we need to be prepared to prevent whatever happened in the past from happening again that would influence — wrongly — our elections.”
Khartoum (AFP) – Sudan’s foreign ministry on Sunday urged the international community to back the country’s new military rulers to help „democratic transition”.
„The ministry of foreign affairs is looking forward to the international community to understand the situation and to support the transitional military council … in order to achieve the Sudanese goal of democratic transition,” the ministry said in a statement.
„The steps taken by the army on Thursday, April 11, take the side of the people for the sake of freedom, peace and justice,” the ministry said, echoing the catch-cry of the months-long protest movement that led to the ousting of long-time leader Omar al-Bashir.
The chief of the military council, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, is „committed to having a complete civilian government and the role of the council will be to maintain the sovereignty of the country,” the military said.
Burhan was also committed to an independent judiciary and to preparing the environment for political parties and civil society to build themselves up „in order to have a peaceful transition of power,” the ministry said.
Burhan took the oath as chief of the military council after his predecessor stepped down a day after ousting Bashir.
Tens of thousands of people have been camped outside the army headquarters since April 6 demanding both the deposing of Bashir and the transition to civilian rule.
By Josh Horwitz and Brenda Goh
SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Richard Liu, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com Inc, has weighed in on an ongoing debate about the Chinese tech industry’s gruelling overtime work culture, lamenting that years of growth had increased the number of „slackers” in his firm who are not his „brothers.”
Liu’s comments, which Chinese media said were posted on his personal WeChat feed on Friday, are the latest contribution to a growing discussion about work-life balance in the tech industry as the sector slows after years of breakneck growth.
They also come amid reports this week that the company is in the throes of widespread layoffs. Three company sources told Reuters that cuts began earlier this year and had become more extensive in recent weeks.
A JD.com spokesman confirmed the authenticity of Liu’s note. He declined to comment on layoffs but said some adjustments were happening as a normal part of business.
„JD.com is a competitive workplace that rewards initiative and hard work, which is consistent with our entrepreneurial roots,” the spokesman said. „We’re getting back to those roots as we seek, develop and reward staff who share the same hunger and values.”
Liu, who started the company that would become JD.com in 1998, in the note spoke about how in the firm’s earliest days he would set his alarm clock to wake him up every two hours to ensure he could offer his customers 24-hour service – a step he said was crucial to JD’s success.
„JD in the last four, five years has not made any eliminations, so the number of staff has expanded rapidly, the number of people giving orders has grown and grown, while the those who are working have fallen,” Liu wrote. „Instead, the number of slackers has rapidly grown!”
„If this carries on, JD will have no hope! And the company will only be heartlessly kicked out of the market! Slackers are not my brothers!” he added
The term he used, which is commonly translated in China as „slackers” can be directly translated as people who drift along aimlessly or waste time.
The contents of his note were reported by major Chinese media outlets such as financial magazine Caijing and the 21st Century Herald newspaper on Saturday as well as widely shared on Twitter-like platform Weibo, where it was read more than 400 million times.
CUTS AND SLOWDOWN
Three JD employees, who declined to be named as they were not permitted to speak to the media, told Reuters that morale at the company was low after several senior executive departures and layoffs across the firm in recent weeks. One said the cuts also affected vice-president level staff.
Tech website The Information reported this week that JD.com could cut up to 8 percent of its workforce. JD, which had more than 178,000 full-time employees at the end of last year, said the figure was incorrect.
„Now is kind of an inflection point, where too many people and too many business leaders or department leaders have been laid off. No one is safe,” one of the sources said.
He added that it had affected productivity in his department and that many workers checked Weibo, the stock markets or played games rather than focus on work.
The layoffs „are pretty much all JD employees can talk about,” he said.
The JD spokesman, when asked about morale, said most of the team was highly committed.
„Change – while uncomfortable for some – can be encouraging for most, who are dedicated to our shared future.”
JD, which is backed by Walmart Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and China’s Tencent Holdings, in February posted its lowest quarterly revenue growth rate since its 2015 initial public offering.
Other Chinese tech giants have lowered growth forecasts and cut staff bonuses amid the slowdown, which has driven calls for better work conditions for its workers.
The ‘996’ work schedule, which refers to a 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. workday, six days a week, has in particular become the target of online debate and protests on some coding platforms, where workers have swapped examples of excessive overtime demands at some firms.
Alibaba Group founder and billionaire Jack Ma also weighed in on Friday, telling the company’s employees in a speech that the opportunity to work such hours was a „blessing”.
Liu said JD did not force its staff to work the „996” or even a „995” overtime schedule.
„But every person must have the desire to push oneself to the limit!” he said.
(Additional Reporting by Cate Cadell and Zhang Min in BEIJING; Editing by Gerry Doyle)
London (AFP) – A driver arrested in London for ramming into the Ukrainian ambassador’s parked car and then trying to run over police officers is being held under mental health legislation, police said Sunday.
The 40-year-old man „has been sectioned under the Mental Health Act” — meaning he can be held against his wishes — and will be taken to hospital for treatment, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
He was arrested Saturday outside Ukraine’s embassy in the exclusive Holland Park area of London, after police officers opened fire on his vehicle.
The embassy said the official vehicle of Ambassador Natalia Galibarenko was „deliberately rammed” but none of its staff were injured.
Police were called to the scene shortly before 10:00am (0900 GMT) to find a car had driven into several parked cars.
The vehicle then accelerated towards the officers themselves, prompting them to open fire and discharge a Taser gun.
„The vehicle was stopped and a man was arrested on suspicion of the attempted murder of police officers and criminal damage,” police said.
He was taken to hospital as a precaution but was not injured and was held overnight in a police station.
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — The widow of late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, who was often dubbed Lady Macbeth of the Balkans because of the huge influence she had on her husband, died Sunday in Russia at the age of 76, friends and party associates said.
Serbian state television said Mirjana Markovic died in a hospital in Moscow. Milosevic’s Socialist party sent condolences to the family, saying it „respected her as the wife of Slobodan Milosevic and as a scientist.”
There were no officials details from Russia, where she had lived since 2003, about the cause of death, but Serbian media said Markovic died of pneumonia and had undergone several recent surgeries.
Markovic, who had been a sociology professor at Belgrade University, served as leader of a neo-Communist party during her husband’s presidency in the 1990s, a coalition partner with a major influence on Milosevic.
Markovic, whose trademark was a plastic flower she often wore in her hair, was known for „diaries” she published in local newspapers that were widely read because they often predicted future political moves by her husband. The former Serbian first lady’s notes were written in a poetic, flowery style that contrasted with her often ruthless behavior toward her husband’s political opponents.
She fled Serbia in 2003 after Milosevic’s ouster from power in a popular revolt. He was handed over to a U.N. court in The Hague, Netherlands, where he faced a genocide trial for his role in the Balkan wars of the 1990s. He died in 2006 while jailed there before a verdict.
After the political revolt that ended her husband’s time as president, Markovic was sought for questioning in the killings of the couple’s political opponents during his autocratic rule. In 2005, Serbian authorities asked for her extradition, but Moscow refused, saying she had been granted political asylum.
Though she was never formally charged, Markovic was widely suspected of playing a role in the 1999 assassination of prominent Belgrade newspaper editor Slavko Curuvija, who was gunned down during the NATO bombing of Serbia. Markovic had publicly accused him of supporting the Western military alliance’s attacks by „calling for NATO bombs.”
A Serbian court recently convicted four former state security members of slaying Curuvija but the court did not reveal who ordered the hit on the editor.
Pro-democracy officials who took over after Milosevic’s ouster also linked Markovic to the disappearance in 2000 of Milosevic’s former mentor and friend, Ivan Stambolic, whose remains were found in an unmarked pit in northern Serbia in 2003.
Markovic fled Serbia together with her son, Marko, who reportedly made a fortune in murky business and smuggling when his father was president and Serbia was placed under international isolation for launching land-grabbing wars in neighboring countries after the breakup of former Yugoslavia.
In Moscow, Markovic wrote an autobiography defending her husband and revealing details of their marriage.
She described Milosevic as „the leading political figure” of the last decade of the 20th century, „whose name was mentioned more often than those of the Russian, American and Chinese presidents put together.”
After his death while jailed in The Hague, Milosevic was buried in the yard of his wife’s family home in the central Serbian town of Pozarevac. Markovic was in Moscow and did not attend, fearing her arrest.
Markovic is survived by her son and her daughter, Marija.
For three years, JetBlue Airways (NASDAQ: JBLU) has been publicly weighing the possibility of flying to Europe. In mid-2016, it negotiated an option to convert some of its Airbus A321neo orders to the A321LR variant, which has additional fuel capacity, enabling flights between the Northeast U.S. and Western Europe.
On Wednesday, JetBlue made the long-anticipated announcement that it will exercise some of those conversion options, allowing it to begin flying from Boston and New York to London in 2021. Other popular destinations in Europe, such as Amsterdam, Dublin, and Paris, could follow soon thereafter.
JetBlue sees plenty of potential in Europe
A big reason why JetBlue is expanding to Europe — and London, in particular — is because many of its customers already travel there and would fly JetBlue if they had the choice. Corporate customers, in particular, have been clamoring for JetBlue flights to Europe.
JetBlue confirmed last week that it plans to start flying to London in 2021. Image source: JetBlue Airways.
Indeed, by late 2016, JetBlue already served 39 of the top 50 destinations from Boston. (It has since added another: Minneapolis-St. Paul.) At the time, management noted that four of the 11 top destinations that JetBlue didn’t serve yet from Boston were in Europe: London, Paris, Dublin, and Reykjavik. Of those, London is by far the most popular travel destination.
The biggest opportunity for JetBlue is in the upper end of the market. Outside of peak season, economy fares for transatlantic flights are pretty low, as budget carriers like Norwegian Air have injected more competition into the market.
By contrast, business travelers who want flat-bed seats for long-haul flights have few choices in the transatlantic market. American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL), Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), and United Continental and their European joint-venture partners are absolutely dominant on many key transatlantic routes, leading to extremely high premium fares.
In the past five years, JetBlue has had huge success with its flat-bed „Mint” premium service on domestic transcontinental routes, combining an award-winning inflight product with lower fares to stimulate demand. Mint should allow the carrier to compete effectively for premium traffic on transatlantic routes, as well. Furthermore, JetBlue will take advantage of the new Airbus Cabin Flex option to offer more Mint seats on each A321LR than it does on its current A321 Mint fleet.
JetBlue’s Mint lie-flat seats are the linchpin of its business plan for London flights. Image source: JetBlue Airways.
Two alliances dominate the U.S.-London market today
Fares for flat-bed seats on routes to London tend to be particularly outrageous. That’s largely because the market is dominated by two key joint ventures: one between American Airlines and British Airways and another between Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic. Each joint venture has antitrust immunity, allowing the members to plan schedules and pricing together while sharing revenue on routes between the U.S. and London.
On a typical day this summer, there will be 33 nonstop flights from New York to London. Nearly half of those (16, to be exact) are operated by the British Airways-American Airlines joint venture. The Delta-Virgin Atlantic alliance accounts for another nine. United and Norwegian are the only other competitors, with five and three daily roundtrips, respectively.
The situation is even worse in Boston, where there are eight daily flights to London: four by British Airways and three by the Delta-Virgin Atlantic joint venture. Norwegian supplies the only competition to these two behemoths, with a single daily flight. Moreover, with no flat-bed seats, Norwegian doesn’t compete in the premium segment of the market.
As a result, roundtrip business class tickets from Boston or New York to London routinely price out at $8,000 or more, even if purchased a month in advance. By contrast, roundtrip business class fares between New York and Madrid (a market with more robust competition) can be had for around $3,000, even though it’s a slightly longer flight.
This highlights the opportunity for JetBlue — and for travelers willing to pay up for comfort. The carrier could probably set the starting price for Mint tickets on its London routes at $3,000 or less roundtrip and still earn sizable profits.
Getting into the best airports will be critical
JetBlue hasn’t set schedules yet for its London flights. It hasn’t even determined which London airport (or airports) it will use. All the airline revealed in its announcement was that it plans to offer multiple daily flights to London from both Boston and New York.
Gaining access to the most preferred London airports could make or break JetBlue’s expansion plan. Heathrow Airport — the city’s primary airport — is completely full, and slots trade for tens of millions of dollars each (on the rare occasions that they become available). The situation isn’t much better at Gatwick Airport.
JetBlue executives have hinted that they expect to gain access to at least one of the two airports, if not both. The pending acquisition of Flybe by a consortium including Virgin Atlantic could lead to mandatory slot divestitures at Heathrow. JetBlue also argues that it should be given „remedy” slots currently allocated to Delta and Virgin Atlantic to bolster competition on certain U.S.-Heathrow routes. Finally, if Brexit becomes a reality, the top antitrust regulator in the U.K. plans to open an investigation into Heathrow slot allocations.
Still, there’s no guarantee that JetBlue will be able to get attractive slots — or any at all. If it’s forced to use less-convenient airports like London Stansted, many business travelers might stick with American and Delta (and their joint-venture partners), despite their higher fares.
The battle between JetBlue and the incumbents in the New York-London and Boston-London markets looks like it’s going to be epic. Investors and travelers will just have to wait and see how JetBlue implements its London plans.
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday visited the Fukushima nuclear plant, which sank into meltdowns after a tsunami eight years ago, in an effort to highlight revival and safety as the nation prepares to host the 2020 Olympics.
The visit by Abe, who last went to the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant five years ago, was seen as damage control after Yoshitaka Sakurada, a ruling party minister overseeing the Olympics, resigned for a remark appearing to belittle reconstruction in northeastern Japan.
„Our basic policy is that every minister is a reconstruction minister,” Abe said during his visit. „We reaffirmed our commitment to work for the revival of Fukushima and northeastern Japan.”
Abe wore a business suit as he was shown around the plant — a contrast to the special head-to-toe suit and mask visitors had to wear five years ago, reflecting progress with the cleanup.
He also visited a soccer facility called J-Village, which temporarily served as a place for workers dealing with the plant accident.
A giant tsunami in March 2011 set off meltdowns at three of Fukushima Dai-ichi’s reactors, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. As many as 160,000 people evacuated the area, although some have since returned.
Earlier Sunday, Abe visited Okuma, one of two towns that house the plant, where an evacuation order was partially lifted earlier this month.
The government has been carrying out decontamination efforts to lower radiation levels in the region. The plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co., is being decommissioned. The utility says that will take 30 to 40 years.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s foreign minister has confirmed a New Zealand nurse has been held captive by the Islamic State group in Syria for almost six years, information long kept secret for fear her life might be at risk.
The status of nurse and midwife Louisa Akavi, now 62, is unknown but her employer, the International Committee of the Red Cross, says it has received recent eyewitness reports suggesting she might be alive.
The New York Times on Sunday became the first media organization to name Akavi, ending a more than 5 ½-year news blackout imposed by the New Zealand government and Red Cross with the cooperation of international media.
The collapse of ISIS has raised hopes Akavi and two Syrian drivers kidnapped with her might now be discovered.
The New York Times reported that as recently as December, Akavi may have been seen by at lest two people at a clinic in Sousa, one of the Islamic State’s last outposts. There were also reported sightings in 2016 and 2017, Red Cross officials said.
„We continue to work together (with the Red Cross) to locate and recover her,” New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters said. „This has been a uniquely complex and difficult case.
„Louisa went to Syria with the ICRC to deliver humanitarian relief to people suffering as a result of a brutal civil war and ISIS occupation.
„Where a New Zealander is held by a terrorist organization the Government takes all appropriate action to recover them. That is exactly what we have done here.”
Akavi was taken captive in 2013 in the city of Idlib in northwest Syria. It is believed Akavi was offered for ransom and may have been used as a human shield. The New Zealand government believed at one point she may have died. But there are hopes her medical skills might have caused her captors to spare her.
The New Zealand government is reported to have opposed the ICRC’s decision to allow The New York Times to report Akavi’s name and nationality.
Dominik Stillhart, director of operations for the ICRC, said the organization had decided to permit publication in the hope it would elicit new information on her whereabouts.
„We have not spoken publicly before today because from the moment Louisa and the others were kidnapped, every decision we made was to maximize the chances of winning their freedom,” Stillhart said in a statement.
„With Islamic State group having lost the last of its territory, we felt it was now time to speak out,” he said. He said the collapse of the Islamic State group in Syria may mean new opportunities to learn more about Akavi’s situation and ICRC also feared it risked losing track of her in the aftermath of IS’s collapse.
Akavi is of Cook Islands descent and lives in Otaki, a small town north of Wellington. She is the longest-held captive in the history of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Stillhart called her „a true and compassionate humanitarian.”
He said strenuous efforts had been made to secure her release. Negotiations in 2013 and 2014 were not successful. In 2014 she was among a group of hostages moved by ISIS only hours before a raid by U.S. special forces which aimed to free them.
„We call on anyone with information to please come forward,” he said. „If our colleagues are still being held, we call for their immediate and unconditional release.”