Tag Archives: Occasions

Asia shares observe Wall Road larger amid commerce optimism


Asian inventory markets have adopted Wall Road larger about optimism U.S.-Chinese language commerce relations are enhancing

Asian shares adopted Wall Road larger on Friday amid optimism U.S.-Chinese language commerce relations are enhancing.

Hong Kong’s benchmark rose 1.3% whereas Shanghai and Hong Kong additionally rose and Tokyo was unchanged.

Buyers welcomed President Donald Trump’s remark that an interim “Section 1” commerce deal was “getting executed.” Trump stated he and Chinese language President Xi Jinping would maintain a signing ceremony.

Markets have been inspired by optimistic feedback in regards to the settlement, although particulars have but to be launched.

Chinese language customs knowledge this week confirmed soybean imports rose in November in a attainable enhance to American farmers. Midwestern farm states had been battered by Beijing’s suspension of purchases of U.S. soybeans, the most important Chinese language import from the USA, in response to Trump’s tariff hikes in a struggle over China’s expertise ambitions and commerce surplus.

“Broadly threat sentiment is optimistic,” Mizuho Financial institution stated in a report.

Hong Kong’s Grasp Seng rose to 28,222.40 and the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.8% to three,030.13. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 was off Three factors at 23,921.97.

Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.3% to 2,204.03 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 added 0.3% to six,814.10.

Benchmarks in Taiwan and Singapore superior whereas New Zealand declined.

On Wall Road, the S&P 500 index and Dow Jones Industrial Common reached new highs Thursday.

The S&P 500 rose 0.5% to three,239.91 and the Dow gained 0.4% to 28,621.39. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.8% to 9,022.39.

Buyers welcomed a report by Mastercard SpendingPulse that confirmed U.S. on-line Christmas purchasing rose 18.8% over a 12 months earlier.

Regardless of optimism a couple of U.S.-Chinese language commerce truce, merchants nonetheless are involved about greater unresolved disputes.

The approaching 12 months additionally has the added complication of the U.S. presidential election.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude gained 13 cents to $61.81 per barrel in digital buying and selling on the New York Mercantile Change. The contract added 57 cents on Thursday to shut at $61.88. Brent crude, used to cost worldwide oils, superior 6 cents to $66.82 per barrel in London. It rose 60 cents the earlier session to $66.76.

CURRENCY: The greenback weakened to 109.47 yen from Thursday’s 109.57 yen. The euro gained to $1.1121 from $1.1100.

Nonetheless, as merchants flip their consideration to 2020, fears in regards to the outlook for the worldwide economic system stay, as do issues over unresolved commerce points between Washington and Beijing. Subsequent 12 months additionally has the added complication of the U.S. presidential election.


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Joshua Tree Nationwide Park braces for crowds amid holidays


Joshua Tree Nationwide Park is gearing up for the massive crowds drawn to the Southern California desert in the course of the holidays

Joshua Tree Nationwide Park is gearing up for the massive crowds drawn to the Southern California desert in the course of the holidays.

The Nationwide Park Service says the interval from late December via Jan. 1 brings a few of the busiest days, and campgrounds and parking tons will seemingly be full.

At occasions, the park turns into drive-through-only as a result of there are not any extra parking areas.

Guests are suggested to keep away from driving in between 10 a.m. and a couple of p.m. as a result of entrance station traces are at their peak throughout these hours.

The park says utilizing the Twentynine Palms entrance is a solution to keep away from the road on the entrance close to the city of Joshua Tree.

Current years have seen an enormous enhance in annual attendance at Joshua Tree Nationwide Park, which straddles the Mojave and Colorado deserts 140 miles (225 kilometers) east of Los Angeles.

An identical various vacation spot is the Mojave Nationwide Protect, which lies to the north.


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NASCAR ready for 1 final round of Daytona summer fireworks


The midpoint of the NASCAR season is here, making one last holiday weekend run at its birthplace, trying as always to deliver a white-knuckled thrill fest on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway.

The series is riding a high into Saturday night’s race following Alex Bowman’s first career Cup victory last week and a new rules package that NASCAR leadership believes has immensely improved the on-track product.

“It’s been an extraordinary year,” Steve Phelps, who took over as president of NASCAR late last season, said Friday. “I think the racing product has been exceptional. By and large, the fans are incredibly excited about what they see.”

The numbers support Phelps’ assertion that the racing is indeed more competitive than it was this time last season, when Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex romped over the competition during a summer stretch in which the three could not be beat. There have been 602 green flag passes for the lead in 17 races, up from 383 at this point last year. The average number of lead changes is nearly 19 per race, up from 15.88, and four races this season have produced record-setting green flag passes for the lead.

Conversely, though, there have been just seven winners this season, with the lion’s share of the checkered flags going to Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske. Gibbs drivers have combined to win 10 races, and Denny Hamlin led a 1-2-3 JGR sweep of the season-opening Daytona 500, while Penske drivers have six wins.

Hendrick Motorsports is finally showing signs of a turnaround behind Bowman’s victory at Chicagoland and Chase Elliott’s win at Talladega, but it can’t be overlooked that the parity the new rules were intended to create has not trickled down to the rest of the field. Stewart-Haas Racing is winless so far — the organization won 12 races last year — but the domination to date by two teams does not have NASCAR worried.

“The Penske-Gibbs piece, those teams have figured things out,” Phelps said. “There have been plenty of opportunities for Kevin Harvick to have won. I think that’s going to balance out. I don’t think alarms are going off that it is just a Gibbs and Penske show.”

Daytona, an unpredictable and often crash-filled race, has been known to produce wild-card winners and last year the victory went to Erik Jones. But winning on the 2.5-mile superspeedway requires strategy, a lot of luck and, lately, alliances made through the garage.

Hamlin and the Gibbs group brokered a deal with Hendrick Motorsports before the Daytona 500 to work together while drafting, and that put three Gibbs drivers on the podium. The Chevrolet camp fumed that Hendrick would work with rival manufacturer Toyota, while the Ford drivers bickered they didn’t do enough to try to put the blue oval in victory lane.

By Talladega in April, the heads of Ford and Chevy demanded their teams work with one another, and it worked for the first Chevrolet win of the season.

The plotting for Saturday night began before the teams even arrived in Daytona.

“We were talking about it just the other day as a group,” said Gibbs driver and defending race winner Jones. “We’ve got some strong race cars. Unfortunately, there is only five Toyotas out there and that doesn’t give us a lot to work with, especially with the other manufacturers having more.

“We will do all we can. I know we will have fast cars, but it’s definitely going to be manufacturer driven with the other two linking up and sticking together. I think they saw what Toyota has done in the past.”

Tension started in the first practice of the weekend, on Thursday afternoon when Brad Keselowski deliberately rear-ended William Byron to send a message that he will not tolerate blocking during the race. It might have been the warning shot on what Saturday night could look like in the final race run at Daytona on the July Fourth weekend.

The event is being moved to August next season as the regular-season finale, ending a run that began in 1959. The change is part of a scheduling shake-up that fans have demanded, with more changes coming in 2021.

Busch is among those sorry to see the holiday weekend race move next year to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“I’ll be frank, I’m kind of disappointed,” Busch said. “Overall, just being in Daytona for July 4th has always been cool. Having the opportunity to go to the beach, having the opportunity to do that, whether that be on Thursday or Friday, not having a lot going on. We are going to miss that, the fireworks show, things like that. Now that’s going to be in Indy. Yeah, there’s no beach there.”


More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports


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Trump says tanks will be part of July Fourth in Washington


President Donald Trump says military tanks will be part of Washington’s Fourth of July celebration later this week.

Asked Monday about his plans, Trump said tanks will be stationed outside but provided no other details.

Trump had wanted a parade of military tanks and other equipment in Washington after witnessing a similar parade in Paris in 2017. But that plan eventually was scuttled, partly because of cost.

This year, the president is organizing an event called “Salute to America” that the administration says will honor the U.S. military.

Trump plans to deliver a speech at the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday. The event will include music, military demonstrations and flyovers. The annual fireworks display will go off closer to the Lincoln Memorial than the Washington Monument.


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Lonely Planet’s top destination suffers a blow after blasts


Sipping fresh coconut water while sunbathing on deserted Hikkaduwa beach, Alexi Konchayenko, a sports trainer from Ukraine, struck a stoical note.

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Bomb blasts can happen “anywhere, anytime,” he said, adding that he was not afraid. “Sri Lanka is an amazing country. This is my first visit and I will tell my friends also to come.”

His is a lone voice — and a lone presence. Sri Lanka was the Lonely Planet guide’s top travel destination for 2019, but since the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and luxury hotels, foreign tourists have fled.

Many of those booked to come in the next few months have canceled. Hotel occupancy across the island has plummeted by 85% to 90%. The tropical beaches, restaurants and shops are empty.

The coordinated suicide bombings on April 21 not only destroyed lives but also wiped out the livelihoods of Sri Lankans who depend on tourism.

More than 250 people, including 45 foreigners mainly from China, India, the U.S. and the U.K., died in the Islamic State group-claimed blasts.

Tourists normally come to Hikkaduwa, in the southwest, for the strong waves that are perfect for surfing and sparkling clear waters made for snorkeling. Today, of the 27 hotels, very few are open. Most, along with the eateries that line the 6-kilometer (3.7-mile) stretch of palm-fringed beach, are closed.

Among the few hotels still open is Hikkaduwa Beach Hotel. On April 21, all 50 rooms were occupied; today, only a handful. “It’s a real disaster. We don’t know what to do right now,” said Sanjeewani Yogarajah, an executive with the hotel. She said the attack has cost the hotel 5.5 million Sri Lankan rupees ($31,000), forcing the hotel’s management to send half the staff home.

Some tourism officials say the damage to the industry after the bombings is worse than during the 26-year civil war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the government which ended a decade ago. At least then, the violence was mostly contained to the north of Sri Lanka, they said. This time, no part of the island has remained untouched by the blasts.

Lankesha Ponnamperuma, general manager of hotel chain Hikka Tranz, is one of the luckier ones. While most hotels report wholesale cancellations, he is surviving thanks to business from local residents. Last Friday, two-thirds of the 150 rooms were booked, mostly by domestic tourists.

“I haven’t sacked anyone yet. Instead, we are training our people to adjust their expenditure and helping them restructure their bank loans,” Ponnamperuma said.

The president of Sri Lanka’s Hotels Association, Sanath Ukwatta, said hotels have offered 30-50% discounts to entice local residents.

Such a strategy won’t solve the problem, he said, but will “help at least to keep the hotels going.”

The manager of a clothing shop said the owner had shut the group’s other two shops and the factory too. “Business collapsed after April 21,” said Kumari, who declined to give her surname.

According to government figures, there has been an 80% drop in arrivals since the attack. Tourism accounts for 4.9% of Sri Lanka’s GDP. Last year, 2.3 million tourists visited the island, generating $4.4 billion in revenues, a nearly 12% jump from 2017. Around half a million Sri Lankans directly depend on tourism while 2 million depend on it indirectly.

One of them is Mohomed Musflick, the owner of a souvenir shop in Galle which is full of wood carvings, local paintings and postcards. “I have not sold one item. There are no tourists and we are in a huge crisis,” he said.

While life is gradually returning to normal on the island with offices and schools re-opening, the tourism industry is in a somber mood over the slump in foreign tourists. Tour operators from Russia, Norway and Britain have canceled bookings going right up to April 2020.

A travel ban issued by nearly a dozen countries is the greatest cause for concern. “The ban is our main worry. Until it is removed or softened, we can’t start our marketing to attract tourists. If it is lifted soon, we are hopeful we can bounce back this year or otherwise definitely next year for sure,” said Yogarajah.

In the meantime, Sri Lanka’s government should target “people and countries resilient to this kind of attacks and situations, such as Russia, Israel and India,” said Anusha Frydman, managing director of the Lavanga Resort and Spa.

The industry is clear about what else it wants from the authorities: Ensure that stringent security measures are in place to reassure potential visitors; persuade politicians to put their differences aside and adopt a bipartisan approach on national security; and work fast to get the travel ban lifted.

To help the industry cope, the government has put together a relief package comprising easy loans at special rates and reduced taxes. The government also plans to formulate a $100 million insurance fund for compensation to any tourist injured or killed while visiting the island.

“In the past we have had many serious crises and we have recovered. I am quite positive we can do it again,” said Jan van Twest, general manager of the Fortress Resort and Spa near Galle, where 750 room nights have been canceled from May to October.

“But we need to recover, recover very fast,” he said.


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