Britain’s Prince William arrives at Christchurch Hospital in Christchurch, New Zealand April 26, 2019. REUTERS/Tracey Nearmy
April 26, 2019
By Charlotte Greenfield
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince William met survivors of a deadly shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, including a five-year-old girl recovering in hospital, during a two-day visit to New Zealand.
William, the Duke of Cambridge, was making the trip on behalf of his 93-year-old grandmother Queen Elizabeth, New Zealand’s head of state, following a request from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
He arrived in Christchurch on Thursday afternoon and on Friday visited Christchurch Hospital to meet survivors recovering from injuries from the attacks, before he was set to visit the two mosques where a gunman killed 50 worshippers on March 15.
He had started the visit on Thursday in the country’s largest city of Auckland where he attended an ANZAC memorial service. He later visited Starship Children’s Hospital with Ardern to meet five-year-old Alen Alsati, who had recently woken up from a coma after she and her father were injured in the attacks.
Photos and a video posted on Kensington Palace’s Twitter account showed Prince William sitting on the side of the child’s hospital bed, surrounded by her family and Ardern.
The girl asked if he had a daughter.
“Yes, she’s called Charlotte … she’s about the same age as you,” Prince William replied.
Later in the evening, the Prince went to Christchurch’s justice center to meet first responders to the mosque shootings, including ambulance staff.
“You did an incredible job on a very bad day,” he said, according to Kensington Palace’s Twitter account.
(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Sandra Maler)
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol
April 25, 2019
By Jeffrey Dastin and Arjun Panchadar
(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc plans to deliver packages to members of its loyalty club Prime in just one day, instead of two days, part of a spending ramp-up that might curb future profits after a blockbuster first quarter.
Shares rose as much as 2% in after-hours trade on Thursday on the faster shipping announcement for customers around the globe and as Amazon’s first-quarter profit trounced estimates thanks to soaring demand for its cloud and ad services.
Amazon will spend $800 million in the second quarter on the goal.
The announcement adds pressure to rivals Walmart Inc and others already racing to keep pace with the speed and benefits of Amazon’s Prime program.
Amazon’s first-quarter net income more than doubled to $3.6 billion, while analysts were only expecting $2.4 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Second-quarter operating income will be as much as $3.6 billion, but analysts had been expecting $4.2 billion, according to FactSet.
Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said Amazon was still reaping rewards from prior years of hiring and investments in warehouses and other infrastructure.
“We’re banking the efficiencies of prior investments, continued into Q1,” he said on a call with reporters. “There’ll be times when we have to invest ahead to build out warehouse capacity, but right now we are on a nice path where we are getting the most out of the capacity we have.”
Olsavsky also said earlier that the company would spend more later this year to roll out more benefits to international Prime members.
The news marks a familiar refrain for the world’s largest online retailer. For years, Amazon has made expensive bets on new technology and programs, like its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market in 2017 to become a player in the U.S. grocery business.
Amazon’s investments had long meant lower profit. However, its steady, often successful marches into new industries have been lucrative to shareholders, including its founder Jeff Bezos, who had become the richest man in the world.
The luster of these bets still shined brightly on Thursday.
The company’s loyal customer base has drawn merchants to sell and increasingly advertise through its site in exchange for fees, helping Amazon transform from a largely low-margin retail business to a more and more lucrative marketplace.
Revenue from seller services jumped 20 percent to $11.1 billion in the first quarter, while ad and other sales surged 34 percent to $2.7 billion, the company said.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s cloud unit kept growing as more enterprises moved data and computing operations to the technology company’s servers. Sales for Amazon Web Services (AWS) rose 41 percent to $7.7 billion in the first quarter.
MORE HIRING, SPENDING TO COME
Some analysts noted that these growth figures, while impressive, were lower than what Amazon had posted in prior quarters.
“Amazon delivered slower growth in all key segments – AWS, advertising and e-commerce – but margins skyrocketed, seemingly driven by less aggressive investment,” said Atlantic Equities analyst James Cordwell.
Amazon suggested that spending indeed was on the way, and with that smaller growth in profit.
The company has been building warehouses around the world to ensure its edge in delivering goods to customers the fastest. It is spending more on video, from live sports to a planned prequel series to “The Lord of the Rings,” to draw more people to log on to its website, watch, and while they are there, buy socks.
Hiring will pick up from the 12 percent increase Amazon posted in the past 12 months, Olsavsky said.
And the company is delving into even less familiar terrain. It recently announced investments in self-driving and electric car companies, teasing how it thinks these high-tech, capital-intensive businesses could pay dividends potentially in the form of autonomous deliveries in the long run. Amazon has not described in detail its thinking behind the bets.
In China, where the company had long struggled to compete with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, Amazon said this month it would close warehouses and its domestic marketplace in July.
There were silver linings for investors, however.
Amazon’s Olsavsky said the company saw no material impact in India from actions the company took to comply with new regulations there affecting foreign investment in the e-commerce sector, something Amazon had voiced concern about in the past. Prime member signups in India, one of Amazon’s most important growth markets, continue to be rising the fastest in the company’s history.
Bezos, who many regard as a management guru, also settled his closely watched divorce such that he will retain full voting control of his family’s stock, sparing Amazon a boardroom battle. However, his fortune, which has been the largest of any married couple in the world, will be divided.
The company forecast net sales of between $59.5 billion and $63.5 billion for the second quarter, the midpoint of which was below analysts’ average estimate of $62.37 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Lisa Shumaker)
FILE PHOTO: The Intel logo is shown at E3, the world’s largest video game industry convention in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
April 25, 2019
By Sayanti Chakraborty and Stephen Nellis
(Reuters) – Chipmaker Intel Corp on Thursday cut its full-year revenue forecast and missed analysts’ estimates for first-quarter sales for its higher-margin data center business, sending its shares down as much as 7.5%.
The forecast adds to concerns that an industry-wide slowdown could persist until the end of 2019 and follows a similar warning earlier this week from chipmaker Texas Instruments Inc .
Intel marginally beat Wall Street targets for revenue and profit in the fiscal first quarter, but sales in the data center group unit fell 6.3% to $4.9 billion, hit by weakness in China as customers worked through stockpiles of chips purchased last year. Analysts had expected revenue of $5.1 billion, according to financial and data analytics firm FactSet.
“The data center rebound the company was banking on for back-half (of 2019) improvements doesn’t look like it’s going to happen,” said Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy.
The company has turned to the server chips it supplies data center operators for growth in recent years. Chief Executive Bob Swan said in an interview that customers in China had “absolutely” bought extra chips last year due to fears of a tariff or supply constraints owing to the U.S.-China trade dispute.
“The belief at the time was that they were ordering well ahead of what they’re real needs were, but the expectation was that they would consume that over the course of Q4 and Q1,” Swan said. “But today we think … it’s not being consumed quite at that level; there’s going to be another quarter.”
The chipmaker cut its 2019 revenue forecast to $69 billion, from the $71.5 billion it told investors to expect when it last reported earnings in January.
A year-long U.S.-China trade war and weakening smartphone sales have taken a toll on the global semiconductor industry. Investors are banking on the launch of 5G telecom networks and demand for chips used in self-driving vehicles to reignite growth. To that end, Swan said a 30% boost in so-called programmable chips that go into 5G networking equipment showed early gains for Intel in the technology but that the bulk of chip sales were yet to come.
Shares of rival chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices Inc rose 1.5% in extended trade after Intel’s report, while graphics chipmaker Nvidia Corp fell 2.5%.
Intel’s business unit that sells modem chips to connect Apple Inc’s iPhones to wireless data networks was a growth spot. This is despite Intel’s announcement last week that it would exit the market for 5G modem chips. The news came the same day that Apple resolved a long-standing dispute with Qualcomm Inc and the companies signed a chip supply agreement.
Swan said Intel expects to continue shipping 4G modems though, as is customary for Intel, he did not mention Apple by name.
“Our expectation is we will continue to deliver on the 4G modem throughout the course of this year, including the second iteration of that product coming in the fall back-to-school season,” Swan said.
The Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker also estimated profit of 89 cents per share on revenue of $15.6 billion for its second quarter that ends in June, compared with analysts’ expectation of $1.01 per share on $16.85 billion.
“As bad as the outlook is for 2Q19 and FY19 due to weaker macro softness, we think there remains further headwinds due to the increased competitive threat from AMD into 2H19 and 2020,” said Kinngai Chan, an analyst with Summit Insights Group.
Net income fell to $3.97 billion, or 87 cents per share, from $4.45 billion, or 93 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned 89 cents per share, beating analysts’ estimate of 87 cents.
Revenue in Intel’s client computing business, which caters to PC makers and still the biggest contributor to sales, rose 4.45% to $8.59 billion, beating FactSet estimates of $8.38 billion.
Intel shares were trading down 7.5% at $57.61 after the bell.
(Reporting by Sayanti Chakraborty in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Richard Chang)
Police keep watch outside the family home of a bomber suspect where an explosion occurred during a Special Task Force raid, following a string of suicide attacks on churches and luxury hotels, in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
April 25, 2019
By Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez
COLOMBO (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s top defense official said on Thursday that security agencies had been working to stop militant attacks in the days before Easter Sunday bombings that killed 359 people, and he was resigning to take responsibility for the failure.
The suicide bomb attacks on three churches and four hotels exposed a significant intelligence failure, with warnings of strikes not acted on and accusations of feuds at the highest levels of government undermining security cooperation.
Police issued names and photographs of seven people, three of them women, wanted in connection with the attacks, as bomb scares and security sweeps kept the country on edge.
“We were working on that. All those agencies were working on that,” Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando told Reuters, referring to intelligence tips from India warning of imminent strikes that came in over the days before the blasts.
Fernando, the top civil servant at the government’s defense department, said he had resigned to take responsibility for institutions he was in charge of, though he added there had been no failure on his part.
The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks. If that connection is confirmed, it looks likely to be the deadliest ever such attack linked to the group.
Most of the victims were Sri Lankans, although authorities have said at least 38 foreigners were also killed, many of them tourists sitting down to breakfast at top-end hotels when the bombers struck.
They included British, U.S., Australian, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch and Portuguese nationals.
About 500 people were wounded.
Authorities have focused their investigations on international links to two domestic Islamist groups – National Thawheed Jama’ut and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim – they believe carried out the attacks.
Islamic State released a video that showed eight men, all but one with their faces covered, standing under a black Islamic State flag and declaring their loyalty to its leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
The government said there were nine suicide bombers, eight of whom had been identified, and that one was a woman.
A picture has emerged of a group of nine well-educated, home-grown suicide bombers. Two of them were brothers, sons of a wealthy spice trader and pillar of the business community, a source close to the family said.
One studied in Britain and Australia.
At least 76 people, including several foreigners, have been rounded up since Sunday, but police on Thursday for the first time identified seven people they were looking for and appealed to the public for help in finding them.
Photographs, apparently casual snapshots, posted with a wanted notice showed young bearded men, one with a Muslim cap, and three young women, all with head scarves.
Fears that more bombers are at large has kept Sri Lanka on edge all week.
Authorities locked down the central bank and shut the road to the capital’s airport for part of the day because of bomb scares as communal tension simmered.
Office workers in Colombo’s business district were asked to go home early, police said, to avoid vulnerable throngs of people at rush hour. City-center restaurants were also shutting early.
Police also arrested three people and seized 21 locally made grenades and six swords during a raid in Colombo, a spokesman said. He did not give details or suggest that the raid was linked to the suicide bombings.
The bombings shattered the relative calm that has existed in Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka since a civil war against mostly Hindu, ethnic Tamil separatists ended 10 years ago, and raised fears of a return to sectarian violence.
Sri Lanka’s 22 million people include minority Christians, Muslims and Hindus. Until now, Christians had largely managed to avoid the worst of the island’s conflict and communal tensions.
It seems unlikely that Fernando’s resignation will end the questions and recriminations over why authorities failed to act more effectively to stop the plotters.
Government officials have acknowledged a major lapse in the sharing of intelligence information. Lakshman Kiriella, the leader of parliament, said senior officials had deliberately withheld the intelligence from India about possible attacks.
Both President Maithripala Sirisena and his rival, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, denied seeing the Indian intelligence warnings, officials have said.
The president fired Wickremesinghe last October over political differences, only to reinstate him weeks later under pressure from the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, fears are growing of a surge of communal tension.
Muslims have fled the Negombo region on Sri Lanka’s west coast since scores of worshippers were killed in the bombing of the St. Sebastian church there on Sunday.
Hundreds of Pakistani Muslims have left the port city, crammed into buses, after threats of revenge.
“The local Sri Lankan people have attacked our houses,” one of them, Adnan Ali, told Reuters on Wednesday, as he prepared to board a bus.
(GRAPHIC: Sri Lanka bombings – https://tmsnrt.rs/2Xy02BA)
(GRAPHIC: A decade of peace shattered – https://tmsnrt.rs/2W4wZoU)
(Reporting by Shihar Aneez and Ranga Sirilal; Additional reporting by Sanjeev Miglani in COLOMBO, Alasdair Pal and Sunil Kataria in NEGOMBO, Sri Lanka, and Will Ziebell in MELBOURNE; Writing by Paul Tait and Robert Birsel; Editing by Michael Perry and Alex Richardson)
Former President Barack Obama gave his former vice president, Joe Biden, some encouraging words Thursday, but stopped short of endorsing his run for the White House, Politico reports.
Biden officially announced his presidential campaign Thursday morning, saying in a video clip he “cannot stand by and watch” President Donald Trump win re-election.
“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made,” a spokesperson for Obama, Katie Hill, said in a statement after Biden’s announcement. “He relied on the vice president’s knowledge, insight, and judgment, throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today.”
Obama declined to endorse a candidate in the 2016 race, even his former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. One of his former top advisers, David Axelrod, told Politico the former president will almost certainly follow tradition and not endorse a candidate.
“The custom for former presidents is not to endorse presidents,” he said. “The expectation that he would, I find kind of baffling.”
Axelrod added Obama typically thinks a strong primary season will lead to the strongest candidate emerging on top.
Source: NewsMax America
FILE PHOTO: The Comcast NBC logo is shown on a building in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo
April 25, 2019
By Helen Coster and Arjun Panchadar
(Reuters) – Comcast Corp reported first-quarter profit on Thursday that beat Wall Street estimates, boosted by strong additions of high-speed internet customers in a quarter that painted another mixed picture for the biggest U.S. cable provider.
The company’s shares were up 2.5 percent in premarket trading after falling as much as 3 percent following release of its earnings report.
Overall revenue missed analyst estimates and Comcast lost more video and phone customers than expected. Revenue from its NBCUniversal cable networks, filmed entertainment and theme parks also fell short of expectations. Earnings per share did, however, exceeded expectations.
Like others in the cable television industry, Comcast is grappling with rival offerings from Alphabet Inc’s YouTube TV and subscription video services like Netflix Inc.
Earlier this week AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc both reported losing more video customers than analysts expected.
Philadelphia-based Comcast said it lost 121,000 video customers in the quarter, more than the 29,000 it shed last quarter and the 109,000 estimated by analysts, according to research firm FactSet. In response, the company is striving to build new services on top of its broadband network.
Revenue from the high-speed internet business climbed 10 percent to $4.58 billion in the first quarter as the company added 375,000 subscribers on a net basis.
Subscriber additions beat the average analyst estimate of 356,000, according to FactSet, but were down slightly from 379,000 in the same period a year earlier.
Comcast is betting that its redesigned Xfinity X1 cable box, which uses a single menu to find content across live TV, on-demand and streaming services like Netflix, will help retain and attract subscribers.
Revenue at its NBCUniversal business, which includes NBC Entertainment and Universal Pictures, dropped 12.5 percent to $8.31 billion.
NBCUniversal plans to launch an advertising-supported TV streaming service in 2020 that will be free for NBCUniversal’s pay-TV customers as well as Sky customers internationally.
Filmed entertainment revenue rose 7.4 percent to $1.77 billion, boosted by movies including “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” and “Us” while theme park revenue slipped 0.4 percent to $1.28 billion.
Revenue from broadcast television dropped 29.4 percent year-on-year to $2.47 billion. Excluding last year’s Olympics and Super Bowl from the prior-year comparison, however, revenue rose.
Comcast, which bought the British pay-TV group Sky last year, said revenue reported from Sky was $4.8 billion.
Excluding items, the company earned 76 cents per share, beating estimates of 68 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Comcast’s overall revenue rose 18 percent to $26.86 billion, but fell short of Wall Street expectations of $27.20 billion.
(Reporting by Helen Coster and Arjun Panchadar; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli and Steve Orlofsky)
The United States is in the middle of a cyberwar, but President Donald Trump is compromised and the “federal government is asleep at the switch,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said Thursday while insisting that President Donald Trump’s tax returns will be released through a subpoena rather than leaked.
“That will be the product of a subpoena process,” Perez told CNN’s “New Day,” after he was asked if a candidate will use the documents if they are leaked. “We are entitled to that. If you look at the law that Chairman [Richard] Neal of the House Ways and Means Committee is using, it’s clear.”
However, he added that the DNC and the party are working to protect its data and working with all their campaigns to provide cybersecurity training, because “we can’t expect help from the administration.”
The tactics of cyberattacks aren’t about “right versus left,” but instead, “right versus wrong,” insisted Perez.
“A foreign adversary, Russia, they hacked the DNC and others,” said Perez. “They did so with the intent to interfere with our presidential election. What we said in the letter is when we have such activity, if someone calls and tells you ‘I’m going to rob a bank,’ your response should be ‘I’m going to call the authorities.’
When Russian called President Donald Trump’s campaign and said they had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, they should have called the authorities, he continued.
Meanwhile, Perez said the committee is welcoming former Vice President Joe Biden, who announced his presidential candidacy on Thursday, to the race.
“The video was very powerful,” said Perez. “As he points out, this is a battle for the soul of our nation.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
FILE PHOTO: An attendee plays a video game next to the Nintendo booth at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 13, 2017. REUTERS/ Mike Blake
April 25, 2019
By Sam Nussey
OSAKA (Reuters) – Japan’s Nintendo Co Ltd cautioned it will take time for the launch of its Switch console in China and dampened speculation about introducing a low-cost version of the device.
Nintendo’s partner Tencent Holdings won approval last week to sell the hybrid home-portable device in China. But though Nintendo Chief Executive Shuntaro Furukawa praised Tencent and the partnership on Thursday, he said Switch sales in China wouldn’t begin soon.
The news of the partnership and hopes that it will extend to mobile gaming helped lift Nintendo’s stock price to six-month highs last week. Mobile and PC gaming in China, the world’s largest video games market, dwarfs the market for consoles, whose growth has been pegged back by local regulations.
Nintendo’s push into mobile is yet to deliver a major hit, although analysts point to Mario Kart Tour, developed with DeNA and due for release this summer, as a possible contender.
The Kyoto-based gaming company, which has a reputation for making conservative forecasts, said it would sell 18 million Switch console units globally this financial year, up 6.2 percent from last year.
It expects operating profit to rise 4.1 percent to 260 billion yen ($2.3 billion) this year, well below an average analyst estimate of 342 billion yen, according to Refinitiv data.
Media reports that Nintendo is preparing a low-cost version of the Switch have helped push its shares higher in recent weeks.
Furukawa said at a news conference that while the company is always developing new hardware internally it has nothing to announce and had no plans to reveal new hardware at the E3 trade show in June.
Nintendo sold 16.95 million Switch hardware units in the year just ended, slightly undershooting its revised forecast of 17 million units. Nintendo had initially forecast sales of 20 million units before Furukawa took up the role in June.
The Switch games pipeline continues to create fan excitement, with two full Pokemon titles due later this year.
Nintendo expects to sell 125 million copies of Switch games in the current fiscal year, versus 118.55 million in the year ended in March.
The industry is facing a shake-up with established console gaming companies like Nintendo and Sony Corp exposed to competition from new entrants like Alphabet Inc’s Google offering browser-based games streaming services.
Furukawa said he welcomed new technology bringing games to users.
Nintendo’s shares closed up 1.3 percent ahead of the earnings announcement. Its share price has risen 32 percent year-to-date, pushing its market capitalization above 5 trillion yen.
(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)
Former Vice President Joe Biden hours ahead of launching his presidential campaign urged top donors and supporters to contribute heavily in the first 24 hours and first week following his announcement.
Biden said world leaders had called him, “almost begging me to do this, to save our country, save the world,” according to three sources who spoke with Politico.
“The money’s important. We’re going to be judged by what we can do in the first 24 hours, the first week,” Biden said Wednesday during a conference call with top donors and supporters.
“People think Iowa and New Hampshire are the first test,” Biden said. “It’s not. The first 24 hours. That’s the first test. Those [early states] are way down the road. We’ve got to get through this first.”
Per The Washington Post, Biden, 76, is set to announce his run for president Thursday in a video. He is expected to travel to Pittsburgh, Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina over the next week for campaign events.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., topped Democrats in the fundraising race in the first quarter, bringing in $18.2 million, followed by Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. (nearly $12 million), former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke ($9.4 million) and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (nearly $7 million).
Source: NewsMax America