U.S. presidential candidate Harris says she tried pot – and inhaled


February 11, 2019

(Reuters) – U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, a former prosecutor who is seeking the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination, said on Monday she had smoked marijuana in college and supported its legalization.

The California Democrat told the syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club at Power 105.1 in New York that she smoked pot while attending Howard University in Washington in the 1980s.

“And I did inhale,” she said, laughing, in a swipe at former President Bill Clinton, who famously said he had tried marijuana but had not inhaled.

Harris, 54, is among a diverse and growing group of Democrats seeking to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in next year’s presidential election. Fellow Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts launched their bids over the weekend.

A former San Francisco prosecutor, Harris stopped short of endorsing legalized pot during a tight but ultimately successful race to become California’s attorney general in 2014.

In 2016, during her run for the U.S. Senate, she declined to endorse a ballot initiative that legalized the drug in the most populous U.S. state for recreational use by adults. She said at the time, however, that she expected marijuana to eventually become legal.

Since her election to the Senate, Harris has called for legalizing pot and supported a measure to decriminalize it at the federal level. She has for years called for research into the impact of marijuana use on the developing brains of teenagers and young adults, and for standards to judge when drivers are impaired after using cannabis.

Asked by the program’s host whether she would use marijuana again if it became legal, Harris laughed but did not answer the question directly.

“It gives a lot of people joy,” she said. “And we need more joy.”

As of last December, 10 states and the District of Columbia had legalized small amounts of marijuana for adult recreational use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The drug is still illegal at the federal level.

(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Peter Cooney)

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NBA investigating proposed Simmons, Magic meeting


February 11, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons wanted to sit down with Magic Johnson to discuss being a big point guard in the NBA, but Sixers general manager Elton Brand said he nixed that idea. And although Brand said he considers the case closed, the NBA is investigating.

“The league office is looking into whether any contact took place between Ben Simmons and the Los Angeles Lakers that violated NBA rules,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

When Brand was interviewed on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia on Monday, the conversation about the 76ers and their post-trade deadline lineup took a turn toward a potential meeting between the Lakers legend and Simmons.

Johnson, the Lakers team president, said Sunday that Simmons had contacted him about potentially meeting in the offseason. Johnson told reporters they couldn’t talk “if everybody doesn’t sign off.”

Brand said his Lakers counterpart, Rob Pelinka, contacted him about a month ago about the idea.

“Rob Pelinka called me and said that Ben wanted to talk to Hall of Famers after the season. Magic was on the list,” Brand said during the interview. “He asked for authorization, I said no. This was over a month ago.”

The Lakers have been fined twice by the NBA for tampering since Johnson has been in charge. And although there has been no talk of the Lakers pursuing Simmons – he doesn’t become a restricted free agent until 2020 – eyes could be raised if he and Johnson got together.

The 22-year-old Simmons is represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. He represents both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, whom the Lakers tried to acquire before the trade deadline last week.

Brand reiterated to Wojnarowski that he is not worried the Lakers are trying to snatch his young star.

“No issue. I have a great relationship with Ben and Rich (Paul) and we expect him to be a Sixer for a long time,” Brand said. “He has taken interest in chatting with some of the game’s all-time greats and we’re supportive. I had brief dialog with Rob Pelinka who I’ve known for a long time, but nothing is planned. Our collective focus is on making a postseason push. Again, we’re not sweating this, end of story.”

— Field Level Media

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Canadian dollar dips as oil falls, investors demand greenbacks


February 11, 2019

By Fergal Smith

TORONTO (Reuters) – The Canadian dollar edged lower against its U.S. counterpart on Monday as oil prices fell and investors sought to own greenbacks, betting that the U.S. currency would fare best as the global economy slows.

The U.S. dollar <.DXY> jumped as concerns grew that the latest round of U.S.-China talks may not yield a deal between the world’s largest economies before the March deadline.

“People want to be long U.S. dollars here,” said Scott Lampard, head of global markets at HSBC Bank Canada. “The sense is that the rest of the world is slowing at a pace that is more rapid than the U.S.”

Canada is a major producer of commodities, including oil, so its economy could be hurt by a slowdown in the global economy.

Oil prices fell as worries surrounding the resumption of U.S.-China trade talks overshadowed support from OPEC-led supply restraint. U.S. crude oil futures <CLc1> settled 0.6 percent lower at $52.41 a barrel.

At 4 p.m. (2100 GMT), the Canadian dollar <CAD=D4> was trading 0.1 percent lower at 1.3300 to the greenback, or 75.19 U.S. cents. The currency, which touched on Friday its weakest intraday level in two weeks at 1.3329, traded in a range of 1.3261 to 1.3319.

Still, the New Zealand dollar <NZD=> was the only G10 currency other than the greenback to outperform the loonie. It follows Canadian data last Friday showing bumper jobs numbers in January that far exceeded market expectations and highlighted the strength of the economy.

“You have got the bond market looking at the strength of the labor market in Canada and saying we feel like higher rates are warranted,” Lampard said.

The Bank of Canada has raised interest rates by a total of 125 basis points since July 2017. Chances of another hike before the end of the year have climbed since the jobs data to more than 30 percent from 13 percent, the overnight index swaps market indicated. <BOCWATCH>

Canadian government bond prices on Monday were lower across the yield curve in sympathy with U.S. Treasuries, as investors awaited U.S. data this week that will show inflation pressures in January.

The two-year <CA2YT=RR> fell 4 Canadian cents to yield 1.792 percent and the 10-year <CA10YT=RR> declined 25 Canadian cents to yield 1.910 percent.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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U.S. lawmaker apologizes after House leaders condemn her ‘anti-Semitic tropes’


February 11, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic lawmaker Ilhan Omar apologized on Monday after party leaders condemned her use of “anti-Semitic tropes” in suggesting that U.S. congressional support for Israel is a result of campaign donations.

“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes,” Omar, who was elected for the first time to the U.S. House of Representatives in November, said in a statement.

“My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole,” she said.

Omar had been criticized by Republicans and Democrats for saying on Twitter that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobbying group, was paying U.S. politicians to support Israel.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic House leaders condemned her remarks earlier, calling for an apology and saying anti-Semitism must be confronted and condemned.

“Legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies is protected by the values of free speech and democratic debate that the United States and Israel share,” they said. “But Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive.”

Even before her most recent comments, Republicans had criticized Democrats for appointing Omar to the House Foreign Affairs Committee and called for her to be removed from her seat because of past statements critical of Israel.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Vía One America News Network http://bit.ly/2SqPTsi

Tennis: Wawrinka prevails in tricky Rotterdam opener


February 11, 2019

(Reuters) – Three-times Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka recovered from a sluggish start to beat Frenchman Benoit Paire 7-6(4) 6-1 in the opening round of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam on Monday.

Wawrinka, who suffered a first round loss in Sofia last week, made another shaky start as he sprayed consecutive backhand errors to hand Paire a break in the seventh game.

However, the 33-year-old Swiss produced relentless accuracy from the baseline to save three set points before clinching the opening set in tiebreak.

Wawrinka, who is chasing his first title since undergoing two knee surgeries in 2017, lost just one more game at the start of the second set as he broke his opponent three consecutive times en route to victory.

The winner of Tuesday’s clash between fourth-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic and German Philipp Kohlschreiber awaits 68th-ranked Wawrinka in the second round.

Earlier in the day, Italian Andreas Seppi overcame a mid-match blip against German Peter Gojowczyk to prevail 7-6(3) 3-6 6-2, while Mikhail Kukushkin did not drop his serve in a 6-2 7-6(4) win over home favorite Robin Haase.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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EU, UK Brexit negotiators hold ‘constructive’ talks: UK spokesperson


February 11, 2019

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Britain’s Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay held a “constructive” meeting in Brussels on Monday evening, a British government spokesperson said.

The two met “to discuss the next steps in the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and explore whether a way through can be found that would be acceptable to the UK Parliament and to the European Union,” the spokesperson said, adding that the two agreed to further talks in the coming days.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Vía One America News Network http://bit.ly/2USRVxP

Home services site Handy has furniture assembly deal with Crate and Barrel


February 11, 2019

By Melissa Fares

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Home furnishings retailer Crate and Barrel will partner with home services platform Handy to offer furniture assembly and home decor installation across the United States, joining a growing list of big box retailers seeking to win over shoppers with handyman services, a Handy spokesperson said on Monday.

Customers who dislike do-it-yourself chores will now be able to walk up to store associates at any of the 90 Crate and Barrel stores across the country and arrange for a Handy worker to come to their home between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., any day of the week, to complete the task.

The Northbrook, Illinois-based retailer was expected to announce the partnership later on Monday. The decision is the latest example of a big box retailer responding to new online competition by offering a range of services complementing its furniture assortment.

Odd-jobs site Task Rabbit, a rival of Handy, was bought by Swedish furniture giant IKEA in September 2017. Determined to win over online shoppers, IKEA told Reuters it was expanding into interior design and looking at services such as furniture repair to gain an edge.

For now, Crate and Barrel customers will only be able to book a Handy worker while physically in the store and Handy installation is not currently available for Crate and Barrel products purchased online, a Handy spokesperson said.

Prices for the handyman services range from $59 to $199, a Handy spokesperson said. Hanging wall art, for example, costs $65. Desk assembly costs $109.

This is the first time Crate and Barrel is doing business with Handy, which also offers home services such as furniture assembly and television mounting via partnerships with retailers Walmart, Wayfair Inc and eBay Inc.

Separately, Walmart Inc on Friday debuted an online-exclusive furniture brand dubbed “MoDRN” and said in a company blog post it would launch new furniture and decor seasonally.

Over the past year, Walmart has seen a nearly 35 percent increase in visits to its home destination, with most customers spending more time on the site, according to the post.

The companies did not reveal financial terms of the partnership.

(Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)

Vía One America News Network http://bit.ly/2E4NoTm

Traders expect Cushing builds as refinery issues add to swelling supply


February 11, 2019

By Devika Krishna Kumar and Laila Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. crude traders are bracing for increasing supplies at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for benchmark crude futures, as unexpected refinery issues add to inventories that are already at the highest in more than a year.

Inventories at Cushing rose to 42.6 million barrels in the week to Feb. 1, the highest since early January 2018, the Energy Information Administration said. Problems at a key Midwest refinery, along with coming seasonal maintenance, has traders believing supplies will rise more than expected in Cushing in coming weeks.

A fire at Phillips 66’s 330,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) joint-venture Wood River, Illinois, refinery and a unit closure at the Ponca City, Oklahoma plant, added to the bearish outlook for prices, traders said.

The discount for front-month U.S. crude for delivery in March and futures for delivery in April widened to as much as 39 cents a barrel on Monday, the most in nearly a year-and-a-half, reflecting expectations of supply increases at the storage hub. Increased supply makes traders less inclined to pay higher prices for near-term oil.

The weakness in U.S. crude futures pushed the discount for U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) versus international benchmark Brent to the widest in nearly two months at $9.52 a barrel.

“The outages, whether they’re unplanned, or even more importantly the planned ones, are going to be mounting here and that’s going to engender a significant rise at Cushing,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital Management in New York.

The second largest crude distillation unit (CDU) was shut by a fire on Sunday at Phillips 66’s joint-venture Wood River, refinery, a source familiar with plant operations said.

Meanwhile, the 76,000 bpd CDU at Phillips 66’s Ponca City refinery has been shut down, Genscape said.

“It’s a perfect storm of bearish information this morning for WTI,” said Scott Shelton, a broker at ICAP in Durham. “Fears of tank tops will only worsen for the second quarter on this information.”

U.S. oil refiners were estimated to have about 1.8 million bpd of capacity offline in the week ending Feb. 8, increasing offline capacity by 629,000 bpd from a week earlier, research company IIR Energy said on Friday.

Moreover, traders said some barrels headed for Patoka, Illinois have been diverted to Cushing following an outage on a section of TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline.

“You’re getting some additional flow into Cushing. That’ll put pressure on WTI,” one crude trader said.

(Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar and Laila Kearney in New York; editing by Grant McCool)

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Robey-Coleman fined $26,000 for Super Bowl hit


February 11, 2019

Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman has been smacked with a hefty fine for a hit in a second straight playoff game.

Robey-Coleman was fined $26,739 by the NFL for a helmet-to-helmet hit on a prone New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead in the first quarter of Super Bowl LIII, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The Patriots won 13-3.

The hit drew a 15-yard penalty, unlike the play in the NFC championship game that saw him fined the same amount two weeks earlier.

The controversial non-call was a major factor in the Rams’ 26-23 overtime victory that earned the team a Super Bowl berth.

New Orleans had the ball on the Los Angeles 13-yard line with under two minutes to play when quarterback Drew Brees threw a third-down pass toward Tommylee Lewis near the right sideline. Robey-Coleman came over and smashed Lewis with a vicious hit just before the ball arrived.

Robey-Coleman has appealed the first fine, but it’s unclear whether he’ll challenge the second.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Rams CB Robey-Coleman fined for Super Bowl hit


February 11, 2019

Los Angeles Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman has been smacked with a hefty fine for a hit in a second straight playoff game.

Robey-Coleman was fined $26,739 by the NFL for a helmet-to-helmet hit on a prone New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead in the first quarter of Super Bowl LIII, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The Patriots won 13-3.

The hit drew a 15-yard penalty, unlike the play in the NFC championship game that saw him fined the same amount two weeks earlier.

The controversial non-call was a major factor in the Rams’ 26-23 overtime victory that earned the team a Super Bowl berth.

–The Cincinnati Bengals have hired Jemal Singleton as their new running backs coach, according to multiple reports, giving the team two new assistant coaches who were recently lured from the Oakland Raiders.

The Bengals hired former Raiders quarterbacks coach Brian Callahan on Thursday as their new offensive coordinator.

Singleton was a running backs coach with the Raiders for one season. He was previously the Indianapolis Colts’ running backs coach from 2016-17. Prior to coaching in the NFL, he served as an assistant at Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Air Force, where he spent nine seasons before departing after the 2010 season.

–Longtime NFL referee Red Cashion, known for his enthusiastic “First down!” calls, died at age 87, a Texas newspaper reported.

Cashion’s family confirmed his passing to the Bryan-College Station Eagle.

Popular with the fans and respected by coaches and players, Cashion officiated for 25 seasons in the NFL (1972-96) and was the referee in Super Bowl XX and Super Bowl XXX.

–Field Level Media

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