U.S. south ‘still under the gun’ after deadly storms


(Reuters) – A storm system that blasted the U.S. South was weakening on Tuesday but another was on its way after thunderstorms and tornadoes left a swath of destruction, killed at least two people and tore up a NASCAR grandstand.

A storm cloud formation is seen in Collinsville, Oklahoma, U.S., May 20, 2019 in this picture obtained from social media on May 21, 2019. BRI’ANNE WALTON/via REUTERS

More than 30 tornadoes struck on Monday and Tuesday from Texas, Oklahoma and across the southern plains into Missouri, said meteorologists with the National Weather Service.

While this weakening storm system is expected to roll into the Great Lakes region early Wednesday, another system is brewing Wednesday night into Thursday, said Brian Hurley, a forecaster with the NWS Weather Prediction Center.

“The Southern Plains can’t catch a break,” Hurley said. “More storms will develop overnight into Thursday morning.”

Rainfalls are predicted to be about 2 inches across eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, and into western Missouri, with localized spots getting up to 5 inches, he said.

“That whole area is still under the gun,” Hurley said.

In Wheatland, Missouri, at the Lucas Oil Speedway, a reported tornado injured 7 people, flipped over cars, toppled campers and damaged the grandstands, with local media images showing piles of twisted metal and upside down vehicles.

The Memorial Day weekend “Lucas Oil Show-Me 100” races at the speedway, about 120 miles southeast of Kansas City, were canceled indefinitely. A crowd topping 3,000 fans of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) had been expected, track officials said on Tuesday.

Dozens of people were rescued from rising floodwaters and felled trees that smashed homes and blocked roadways in Oklahoma on Tuesday.

Crews using boats pulled at least 50 people from rising water as heavy downpours inundated roads and homes, Oklahoma Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Keli Cain said.

Two deaths from a traffic accident on a rain slicked Missouri highway were reported by police late Monday.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency on Tuesday for the state, out of concern for floods from cresting rivers and streams, with forecasts of more rain on the way.

Forecasters said the Missouri River is expected to crest on Thursday at more than 32 feet at the state capital of Jefferson City. Local media including NBC News said that is two feet higher than the city’s levees.

Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Graff



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Sources: Indian ride-hailing service Ola is suspending its food delivery business and laying off ~40 employees, about 18 months after acquiring Foodpanda India (Livemint)




Livemint:

Sources: Indian ride-hailing service Ola is suspending its food delivery business and laying off ~40 employees, about 18 months after acquiring Foodpanda India  —  – Ola is in talks with delivery companies such as Dunzo and Zomato to relist its cloud kitchen brands





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Jon Gruden defends Antonio Brown’s OTA absence


The Browns aren’t the only team dealing with a high-profile receiver who has attendance issues. Just ask the Oakland Raiders.

Wide receiver Antonio Brown was not present for the start of organized team activities on Tuesday.

Head coach Jon Gruden did not offer a reason for Brown’s absence but did not sound concerned.

“Nah, he’s not here today,” Gruden told reporters after the team’s practice Tuesday in Alameda, Calif. “Hopefully, we’ll see him here in the next couple days. He’s been working extremely hard learning our offense and excited to get him out here. But in the meantime, we have plenty of balls to throw and plenty of receivers to throw too.

“I wouldn’t read much into this, but I’m sure people will.”

Brown did have time to respond to Ben Roethlisberger’s apology for calling out the wide receiver after a loss last November to the Denver Broncos, tweeting he was a “two face.”

Browns coach Freddy Kitchens knows what Gruden is going through in trying to remain on good terms with a mercurial wide receiver.

Last week Odell Beckham Jr. attended the Browns first OTA, but did not go the following day, the only time when reporters were allowed to show up.

“I have never disputed the fact that it is not important for him to be here, but it is also important for him to be mentally ready to be here,’’ Kitchens told Cleveland.com after Beckham missed one of the OTAs. “I’m not giving him an out by any stretch of imagination, and nobody here knows the conversations that Odell and I have. I’m just saying it is better for him to be here when he can present his best self – emotionally, physically, everything.’’

Gruden and Kitchens are already in defense mode when it comes to their two wideouts, and the season isn’t even close to starting yet.





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Man in Italy survives taking an arrow to the heart


A man narrowly escaped death after an arrow pierced his heart and doctors in Italy performed emergency surgery to remove it, a report said Tuesday.

The 47-year-old man walked into Molinette Hospital in Turin, Italy, with the arrow sicking out of his chest on Tuesday, according to ABC News.

It’s not clear how he got hit with the arrow, which doctors successfully removed and stopped the man from losing blood, according to the report.

They added the procedure was an “exceptional” success.



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Former Louisville coach Denny Crum hospitalized after suffering a stroke


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — An official with Denny Crum’s foundation says the former Louisville coach has been hospitalized after recently suffering a stroke.

Jonathan Israel, who is the principal fundraiser for the Denny Crum Scholarship Foundation, provided the information in a Twitter post attributed to the foundation on Tuesday. The post that Crum, 82, who lives in Louisville, suffered the stroke in the past week. The post did not mention his condition or what hospital he is in, but added that Crum and his family “appreciates the thoughts, prayers and also their privacy while he is recovering.” There will be no other statements, the post added.

Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 1994, Crum was 675-295 with Louisville and led the Cardinals to NCAA men’s basketball championships in 1980 and 1986 before retiring in 2001 after 30 years. The coach suffered a stroke in August 2017 while fishing in Alaska but recovered and has attended Cardinals home games in recent years.



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The 016, a small social network with no algorithmic feed, seeks to connect local media, organizations, and businesses with the citizens of Worcester, MA (Dan Kennedy/Nieman Lab)




Dan Kennedy / Nieman Lab:

The 016, a small social network with no algorithmic feed, seeks to connect local media, organizations, and businesses with the citizens of Worcester, MA  —  Mark Henderson was getting ready to throw in the towel on his dreams of becoming a successful media entrepreneur.





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Juan Soto sticks it to Mets legend after on-air snafu



Swing and a miss for Keith Hernandez.

The beloved Mets legend knocked Juan Soto early in Tuesday’s game for not being a “home run hitter,” so of course the Washington Nationals’ wunderkind launched a 410-foot bomb into the right upperdeck of Citi Field during the same at-bat in the second inning of the Amazin’s 6-5 win at Citi Field.

“I have not seen one, I believe, go up there in the plaza above,” a stunned Hernandez said afterward on the SNY broadcast.

The dinger marked Soto’s seventh of the season, and the 20-year-old had 22 home runs during his dynamite rookie season a year ago.

Hernandez’s alma mater still won in dramatic walk-off fashion, so it wasn’t all bad for the Amazin’ Met.



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In Fed policy review, labor may finally win out over inflation


MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – At 2.3 percent, Minneapolis’ jobless rate seems impossibly low, even with national unemployment at a 50-year trough.

FILE PHOTO: The Federal Reserve building is pictured in Washington, DC, U.S., August 22, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

But that doesn’t mean full employment in North Minneapolis, where job advocate Tony Tolliver said half of adult black men in some neighborhoods don’t have jobs, and could benefit from even tighter labor markets.

U.S. policymakers “may be satisfied because we see numbers we have not seen in a while” in the headline unemployment rate, said Tolliver, director of workforce innovation at the Center for Economic Inclusion, a local group that works on economic inclusion and growth issues.

But it is only recently, deep in the recovery from the 2007-2009 recession, that employers “are recognizing that they can do more, they can do better, and they can be more inclusive.”

Federal Reserve officials increasingly agree. And that may herald a historic shift of emphasis for a U.S. central bank traditionally hesitant to allow unemployment to fall too far before tapping the brakes with interest rate hikes lest it risk uncontrollable inflation.

The Fed has already come partly around to that view, opting recently to leave rates on an indefinite hold even with record-setting unemployment. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in April, the lowest since December 1969.

But a more formal departure from its keep-a-lid-on-inflation-first orthodoxy is taking shape as part of a review of the Fed’s operating framework kicked off this year by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

A series of public sessions around the nation and an upcoming research conference in Chicago may provide the basis for fundamental changes in how the Fed views the interplay of inflation and employment and decides on appropriate monetary policy.

That would be a welcome outcome for labor advocates who have borne witness to how some groups and regions have been left out of a decade-long, record-setting economic expansion. The Fed, they have long complained, has been too quick to address inflation fears with rate hikes that choke off employment and wage gains.

For Fed officials themselves, it is a chance to lean into a new consensus that a low unemployment rate alone does not tell the whole story of the economy.

The strategies being debated “would by definition call for lower monetary policy even when inflation is at target or above target. That would give us more room to push on maximum employment and see how many more workers we could drag back in,” Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari said following a recent session on the topic organized by the Minneapolis Fed.

LITTLE JOY FOR AVERAGE WORKER

The dilemma the Fed faces is rooted in the fact that for large swaths of the American workforce, the economic expansion that followed the financial crisis a decade ago has delivered only meager returns.

Wages and middle-class incomes have been largely stagnant despite the creation of more than 21 million jobs, and that has upended the Fed’s traditional thinking about the relationship between employment, inflation, and how the benefits of growth are divided between workers and business owners.

Unemployment this low should be boosting wages and prices alike faster than has happened, and also should be pushing labor’s share of national income back towards levels of around 60% to 62%, where it has typically returned in recent decades after dipping during recessions.

While labor’s share was higher than that in the 1950s and 1960s, a variety of forces – technology, globalization, and recession among them – are thought to have pushed it down since the start of this century.

It hit a low of just under 56% in the years after the 2007-2009 recession, and has edged only a little higher since.

In an economy driven by consumer spending, that’s the sort of dynamic that has Fed officials worried about long-term growth, and which community advocates say is being felt on a daily basis in their neighborhoods.

Of five panelists who spoke at the Fed’s recent event here, none felt their community was near full employment.

“Absolutely not,” said Michael Goze, chief executive of the Minneapolis-based American Indian Community Development Corporation. “So many folks are not in the workforce. We are not reaching them.”

 ’COMPLEX ORGANISM’

A new policy framework is unlikely to emerge until next year, but interviews with current and former Fed policymakers, public statements by officials, and the writings of key figures in the debate indicate the implications for the economy and for the central bank could be extensive.

The Fed’s current strategy statement places unusually low unemployment on the same footing as excessive inflation as a risk the Fed would try “to mitigate.” That language may be ripe for change, one former Fed official suggested, to reflect that low unemployment, other things equal, is preferable.

One issue is how much policymakers ought to rely on the concept of a non-inflation accelerating rate of unemployment, or NAIRU, an elusive measure frequently debated as the Fed judges whether to raise interest rates.

Fed Vice Chairman Richard Clarida, appointed by Powell to head the framework review, is among those arguing the central bank is placing too much emphasis on it.

“What does a full employment mandate mean? Sometimes these conversations can get very ‘NAIRU-centric,’” Clarida said at a recent Minneapolis Fed conference. “The labor market is a very complex organism and it is useful to keep multiple indicators” of how it is working.

Before coming to the Fed last year, Clarida had written that in recent business cycles, tight labor markets have allowed workers to regain some of their lost portion of national income without an obvious inflation pressure.

Jon Faust, a former Johns Hopkins University professor who now advises Powell, has written that while central bankers may view a recovery of labor income as “cyclical overheating” to be offset with the traditional response of higher interest rates, they could lean another way. They could judge it to be “part of a secular – and to many, a desirable – re-balancing” of the economy which, left to run its course, would benefit workers.

The Minneapolis Federal Reserve bank, where officials gathered to discuss how monetary policy can affect income distribution, a question the Fed is analyzing as part of a broader look at how it operates, is pictured in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., April 9, 2019. Picture taken April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Howard Schneider

It is an unorthodox suggestion for a central bank shaped by the runaway inflation of the 1970s and 1980s, and by the deeply held commitment to never let that happen again. Though central bankers do not think they can influence much about the long run path of jobs, wages and underlying growth, the benefits of tighter job markets in the short run have been emphasized repeatedly in the Fed’s public “listening” sessions.

It is only recently, for example, that black women in Rhode Island have seen wage gains, Rachel Flum, executive director of Rhode Island’s Economic Progress Institute, told Fed officials at a recent meeting in Boston.

“I would like to push back a little bit on this argument that labor markets are tight. I’m not sure that’s true for everyone across the board,” she said. “The tighter the labor market can get over a sustained period of time, the better in addressing these disparities.”

Reporting by Howard Schneider; Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt in New York and Ann Saphir in San Francisco; Editing by Dan Burns and Paul Simao



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Inside the war against Huawei, led by Australia and the US, who fear Beijing's 5G domination could be used for espionage and sabotage of critical infrastructure (Reuters)




Reuters:

Inside the war against Huawei, led by Australia and the US, who fear Beijing’s 5G domination could be used for espionage and sabotage of critical infrastructure  —  In early 2018, in a complex of low-rise buildings in the Australian capital, a team of government hackers was engaging in a destructive digital war game.





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Woman in stolen RV leads cops on wild chase in LA



LOS ANGELES — A woman in a stolen recreational vehicle led authorities on a wild chase in Los Angeles on Tuesday, smashing into cars and a palm tree before finally coming to a halt with a large dog hanging out of the shattered windshield.

The half-hour chase began around 7 p.m. in Santa Clarita, just north of L.A., when the RV failed to yield for the California Highway Patrol, KABC-TV reported.

Video showed the RV careening at speeds of up to 60 mph from Santa Clarita into the San Fernando Valley.

The RV hit several cars and then a palm tree in a shopping mall parking lot that tore off the passenger-side door and wrecked the front end, leaving the windshield dangling on the hood.

At one point, a large dog in the driver’s lap scrambled halfway out of the shattered windshield area and tumbled or jumped from the moving vehicle, landing in the street. The RV stopped but the dog got up and appeared unharmed as it ran to the curb.

The RV drove on. Another dog was seen dangling from the window until the RV finally rear-ended another car at high speed in a residential Tarzana neighborhood and plowed into some trees.

The woman got out and ran with the dog following but she was quickly tackled by authorities.

The woman and the driver she hit were both taken away in ambulances. There was no immediate word on their conditions.

The dog also was captured and led away. It wasn’t immediately known what happened to the second dog.



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