U.S.Much was missing from Trump’s press conference, such as answersHunter Walker White House Correspondent,• President Trump speaks during a news conference at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel on Sept. 26. (Photo: Evan Vucci/AP)It was a rare event. On Wednesday, President Trump held his first full press conference on American soil since the first weeks of his administration last year.Like his earlier foray into the jaws of the media, the event consisted of Trump speaking about a wide array of topics for nearly an hour and a half. It was a throwback to Trump’s days on the campaign trail where he regularly made marathon appearances in front of the media and in his signature rallies. But his responses left much unanswered.Trump’s appearance took place in a plush ballroom at Manhattan’s Palace Hotel, not far from the United Nations where he addressed the General Assembly on Tuesday. But foreign policy and his meetings with world leaders weren’t the top items on the agenda.The press conference came amid cascading allegations of sexual assault against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, and two days after a slew of conflicting reports about the status of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Justice Department’s Russia probe. By various accounts Rosenstein was on the verge of either resigning or being fired, but as of Wednesday evening he was still in his job. Both of these major developments seemed poised to come to a head on Thursday with Kavanaugh and one of his accusers scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill and Rosenstein heading to the White House for a meeting with Trump.In the very first question of the presser, Trump was asked for his assessment of the accusations against Kavanaugh. He dismissed them as a “big fat con job” and reiterated his support for the nominee. Trump was then asked a question he’d dodged at the United Nations earlier in the day, does he believe the three women who have come forward and publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct are all lying?“I won’t get into that game,” Trump replied. “I’m going to see what happens tomorrow.”President Trump was in New York for the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly. (Photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters)Throughout the press conference reporters tried multiple variations on the theme, but Trump’s responses didn’t become any more illuminating. The president delivered long answers that obfuscated the fact that although he professed an open mind, he was prejudging the allegations by framing them as a “con” by Democrats. Trump acknowledged the litany of sexual assault allegations that had been made against him during the campaign, and suggested the experience showed him some alleged victims launch false charges, but he repeatedly stopped short of definitively explaining his position on L’Affaire Kavanaugh. Ultimately, Trump settled on a noncommittal intention to watch the testimony on Thursday and reserve the right to withdraw his support for Kavanaugh, “if I [think] he’s guilty.”On Rosenstein, Trump was similarly evasive. The rumors the deputy attorney general was set to leave his job were sparked by a New York Times story that said Rosenstein discussed secretly taping the president and using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Even before this story, Rosenstein and the special counsel investigation into Moscow’s intervention in the 2016 presidential race had drawn Trump’s ire. The president, who has vehemently denied his campaign cooperated with the Russians has repeatedly referred to the probe as a “witch hunt.” Trump repeated that characterization at the press conference, but he paradoxically indicated he would “certainly prefer” to keep Rosenstein on the job. In the end, Trump offered no clear answer on Rosenstein and, in fact, said he might even postpone the meeting that was expected to settle his fate until after the Kavanaugh drama.“I may call Rod tonight or tomorrow and ask for a little bit of delay to the meeting because I don’t want to do anything that gets in the way … of this very important Supreme Court pick,” said Trump, adding, “I want to hear what she has to say. I may delay that;, I’m going to see.”In addition to the recent headlines on the home front, Trump’s time at the United Nations General Assembly did make major news. On Wednesday morning before the press conference, Trump accused China of having interfered in U.S. elections and expressed support for a two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Both of these topics came up at the press conference and, like the other major subjects he was asked about, they were met with inconclusive answers from the president. On Israel, Trump offered no specifics and, if anything, was less definitive than in his prior comments.“The bottom line, if the Israelis and the Palestinians want one state, that’s okay with me. If they want two states, that’s okay with me,” Trump said. After Trump made his blockbuster claim about Chinese election interference at the U.N. Security Council meeting, the White House hastily organized a telephone briefing to explain the charge. The presentation largely focused on Chinese advertisements in an Iowa newspaper that criticized the Trump administration’s tariffs on that country. Those advertisements appeared to be legal efforts to sway public opinion, so many observers were underwhelmed by the White House case.At his press conference, Trump was asked if he had more substantial evidence to back up his accusation against China. He demurred and hinted further revelations could come out in the future. Trump was also asked to “compare the level of interference” he believes China is engaged in to what went on with the Russians in the 2016 presidential election.President Trump chairs a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Sept. 26. (Photo: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)“Well I think it’s different,” Trump replied, without elaborating. He then launched into a long riff on one of his favorite topics, the trade imbalance between China and the U.S. Reporters didn’t follow up to ask whether he was acknowledging that Russia had indeed interfered with the election, something he has never conceded despite the unanimous assessment of the U.S. intelligence community Along with the dodgy and inconclusive statements on major areas of interest, Trump mostly served up reheated commentary on his favorite topics, including the old standards about his dissatisfaction with the Iran deal, his belief that much of the media is “fake news,” including the “failing New York Times,” and his assessments that he has a “very large brain” and has had an extremely successful tenure.With daily briefings becoming increasingly infrequent, the White House press corps has been clamoring for a full presidential press conference. Since February 2017, Trump has only held these in Finland and Singapore. Instead, he has largely engaged with the press through joint conferences with foreign leaders where he only allows four questions from selected members of the media, and moments he chooses to hold forth with pool reporters and the members of the press who shout questions his way when he departs for helicopter trips.Trump referenced the media’s dissatisfaction with that state of affairs during his press conference. He said a reporter complained to him about his lack of pressers and argued he does them regularly since he often takes questions from the smaller pool of reporters that covers him at events. But those venues are far different as they involve a smaller number of reporters, and he has much greater ability to ignore questions. Still, the frequency and manner of Trump’s engagement with reporters won’t matter if his answers are as vague and unsatisfying as they were at Wednesday’s press conference.
BERLIN/DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ryanair (RYA.I) said on Thursday it would invest $400 million (304 million pounds) on establishing hubs for its planes at two French airports, returning to heavily unionised France after the airline’s decision to recognise unions. Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, which closed its last hub in France in 2011, has faced several months of strikes as a result of its decision in December to recognise unions. Pilots and cabin crew in Germany are the latest to step up pressure over pay and conditions. Ryanair said when it made its announcement on union recognition in December that the decision would help it expand in countries where unions had a strong influence, like France.
Pilots and cabin crew in Germany are the latest to step up pressure over pay and conditions. German unions representing both said their members would strike on Friday, joining crews in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal, and bringing the number of flights cancelled to almost 250.
Ryanair said when it made its announcement on union recognition in December that the decision would help it expand in countries where unions had a strong influence, like France.
On Thursday, the airline said it would base two planes in Bordeaux and two more in Marseille, using the airports as a hub to add 27 new routes to its summer 2019 schedule. The move would create 60 new Ryanair jobs in each location, it said.
Basing planes at an airport allows an airline to fly a larger number of flights per day from that location. Ryanair, which now has 86 bases, aims to fly 200 million passengers per year by 2024, up from a forecast 139 million this year.
Ryanair said in January it planned to double capacity in France in the next four years to about 20 million passengers, although it said continued strikes might force it to consider cutting short-term growth plans in other markets.
Ryanair had already cancelled 150 flights scheduled for Friday due to the cabin crew action when it announced on Thursday that “under 100” flights would now also not operate in and out of Germany after the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) called on pilots to join the 24-hour strike.
“No improved offer has been made since the last industrial action on Sept. 12. In addition, no conciliation agreement has been reached between Ryanair and VC so far,” VC said.
Ryanair Chief Operations Officer Peter Bellew told VC in a letter dated Sept. 26 and released on Thursday that the airline was ready to enter arbitration with the union.
Ryanair said VC had rejected three German candidates it had suggested for arbitrator and that negotiations should take four to five weeks, not the five months proposed by the union.
Germany’s services union Verdi, which represents around 1,000 cabin crew at Ryanair and had encouraged them to hold rallies on Friday, said its members would also join the walkout.
Ryanair has traditionally employed a large proportion of its staff under Irish law, which unions say inconveniences staff and impedes them from accessing local social security benefits.
The European Union executive backed Ryanair workers on Wednesday by saying they should work under contracts in the countries where they live rather than in Ireland where the airline’s planes are registered.
Reporting by Maria Sheahan and Douglas Busvine in Berlin and Frankfurt, Graham Fahy and Padraic Halpin in Dublin; Editing by Darren Schuettler, Edmund Blair and Alexandra Hudson
The Latest: Temporarily shoring up 2 beams is a priority•People are directed around the Salesforce Transit Center following its closure Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, in San Francisco. San Francisco officials shut down the city’s celebrated new $2.2 billion transit terminal Tuesday after discovering a crack in a support beam under the center’s public roof garden. Coined the „Grand Central of the West,” the Salesforce Transit Center opened in August near the heart of downtown after nearly a decade of construction. It was expected to accommodate 100,000 passengers each weekday, and up to 45 million people a year. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on the closure of San Francisco’s new transit center (all times local):2:55 p.m.-A San Francisco official says his first priority is to shore up two cracking beams so a $2.2 billion transit center can re-open while engineers search for a permanent fix.Transbay Joint Powers Authority executive director Mark Zabaneh said Wednesday he expects the Salesforce Transit Center to be closed through next week.Workers discovered the first crack early Tuesday while installing roofing tiles. The second crack was discovered Tuesday night.The center was shut down during Tuesday’s evening commute._2:15 p.m.Construction experts say it’s exceedingly rare for steel girders that support buildings to crack like those in San Francisco’s new $2.2 billion transit center.The experts said Wednesday that cracks can appear in bridge girders because of the fluctuating vehicle weight crossing the structure. But cracked steel in the transit terminal support the same weight all the time.Two San Francisco engineers say it’s too early to point to a likely cause, but they say investigators will look at the beam’s U.S. manufacturers, building’s design and installation process.Engineer David Friedman says the beams were likely delivered and installed without the crack two years ago, but the flaws appeared once they started supporting a rooftop garden and other loads.Engineer Joe Maffei says the cracks could have been caused during installation, perhaps by quickly rising and falling temperatures caused by a welding torch.Workers discovered the first crack early Tuesday while installing roofing tiles._1:25 p.m.A San Francisco official says a new $2 billion transit terminal that shut down over a cracked support beam has a second adjacent beam that also shows signs of cracking.Salesforce Transit Center executive director Mark Zabaneh said Wednesday that the facility would remain closed „at least through the end of next week” as inspections continue.He says the problems are localized to that area of the transit hub but that officials don’t yet know what’s caused the cracking.Workers discovered the first crack early Tuesday while installing roofing tiles._12:55 p.m.A resident of the San Francisco neighborhood where a transit terminal is closed out of safety concerns says the $2.2 billion used to build it could have gone to other priorities.Julianna Cheng lives in the South of Market neighborhood where warehouses have been replaced by luxury high-rise condos and gleaming office towers amid a construction boom in the last few years.The 32-year-old says it’s disappointing but kind of amusing that Salesforce Transit Center was shut down only weeks after it opened.City officials in 2012 approved legislation to boost height limits on new buildings in anticipation of the transportation hub opening and as part of an effort to lure technology companies from Silicon Valley._12:20 p.m.The mayor of San Francisco says the city’s new $2 billion transit terminal where a crack was found in a support beam will stay closed until officials determine it’s safe to reopen it.Mayor London Breed said she visited the Salesforce Transit Center on Wednesday to meet with officials assessing the crack found Tuesday by workers installing roofing tiles.Breed says a thorough investigation will be conducted to determine what caused the crack, who is responsible and when the transportation hub can safely reopen. She didn’t say when that would be.Officials closed the center during Tuesday afternoon rush hour. Buses are being rerouted to a temporary transit center about two blocks away.The five-level center that opened last month includes a bus deck, a central entrance hall and a rooftop park with an outdoor amphitheater._12 a.m.The so-called „Grand Central of the West” is closed out of safety concerns after workers discovered a crack in a support beam of the $2 billion transit terminal that opened just last month.Executive director Mark Zabaneh says workers discovered the crack early Tuesday while installing roofing tiles at the Salesforce Transit Center. He said structural engineers would be working at the building Tuesday night to assess whether it is safe for people to return.Enveloped in wavy white sheets of metal veil, the five-level center includes a bus deck, a towering sky-lit central entrance hall and a rooftop park with an outdoor amphitheater. Zabaneh said American steel was used in the center’s construction.Buses were rerouted to a temporary transit center about two blocks away.
What may have been an honest mistake lead to pandemonium in the air on a recent flight in India.
A passenger on what he said was his first plane ride ever mistook the rear exit of the plane for the door to the toilet, giving his fellow passengers a fright as he tried to open the rear door while the plane was in flight, The Independent reports.
The man, a banker in his late twenties, was noticed tugging at the exit door on the GoAir flight from Delhi to Patna. When questioned by the other passengers on the plane, he “told them he needed to use the washroom urgently and kept tugging at the exit door,” according to a police spokesperson speaking to The Independent.
Luckily, the door could not be opened due to the difference in air pressure in and out of the plane. But his effort was enough to spark “pandemonium” on the flight, according to police.
Cabin crew were forced to wrestle the man away from the door and he was restrained. It’s unclear whether his mix-up was explained to him—or whether he was able to use the restroom—but The Independent reports he remained in his seat for the remainder of the flight before being handed over to airport security upon arrival.
Acapulco (Mexico) (AFP) – Mexico’s military arrested three top police officers in the resort city of Acapulco on Tuesday and took control of the entire police force in the scenic but violent port.
Fearing the Acapulco police force had been infiltrated by drug cartels, Mexican marines, together with state and federal police, deployed in a massive ground and air operation around the Pacific coast city’s police headquarters, said Guerrero state security spokesman Roberto Alvarez.
Two police commanders were arrested on murder charges, and the highway police chief for carrying unlicensed weapons, he said.
Municipal security secretary Max Lorenzo Sedano and his entire department are under investigation, he added.
„This decision… was a response to the increase in crime registered in the municipality and the total lack of action by the municipal police to confront the problem,” he said.
The state security ministry announced it would take over policing duties in Acapulco indefinitely.
Mexico has launched similar operations numerous times in recent years when a police force is suspected of being infiltrated by organized crime, but it is unusual in a city the size of Acapulco, which has nearly 700,000 inhabitants.
Guerrero has been the scene of turf wars between rival drug cartels in recent years, making it one of the most violent states in Mexico.
The country has been hit by a wave of violence since the government deployed the military to fight the powerful cartels in 2006.
Since then, Mexico has registered more than 200,000 murders, and gruesome discoveries of mass graves have become a regular occurrence.