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China's Baidu enters strategic partnership with Paypal to tap Chinese tourists

BEIJING, July 27 (Reuters) - Baidu Inc said on Friday that it has entered a strategic agreement with PayPal Holdings Inc to tap overseas merchants as Chinese tech companies ramp up the fight for overseas payment partnerships.


BRIEF-Western Energy Services reports Q2 loss per share $0.23

* Western Energy Services Corp. releases second quarter 2017 financial and operating results

United States Politics and Government

Senate Soundly Rejects Repeal-Only Health Bill

Seven Republicans joined Democrats to vote down a measure that would have repealed the Affordable Care Act without a replacement


RPT-Reliance's 'free' JioPhone shakes up cheap end of India's billion-strong market

MUMBAI, July 26 (Reuters) - At first glance, Indian telecoms upstart Jio's bet on 'free' internet-enabled phones to win over poorer customers is a near-fatal blow for low-end handset makers, most already struggling with paper-thin margins on some of the world's cheapest devices.


Elliott wins more time to beat Berkshire Hathaway's Oncor deal

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) - A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Wednesday gave Elliott Management Corp 11 more days to formalize its plans to bid on Oncor Electric Delivery Co before the court approves the $9 billion offer for the utility from Berkshire Hathaway Inc.


Australia urges China to do more on North Korea threat

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop called on China on Thursday to do more to contain the threat of North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.


Facebook shares hit record high as mobile ad sales soar

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc reported steady and steep quarterly revenue growth on Wednesday, as the world's largest social network attracted more advertising dollars to its mobile empire, sending its shares to an all-time high.


U.N.'s Guterres concerned about risk of escalating violence in Jerusalem

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday he is concerned about the risk of violence escalating in the Old City of Jerusalem, where recent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians have been the bloodiest in years.


BRIEF-Packaging Corp of America reports Q2 sales $1.6 billion

* Packaging Corporation of America reports second quarter 2017 results

The GOP health care strategy: Pass bill first, fix it later

Congressional Republicans have a simple plan to get an Obamacare repeal and replace bill to President Donald Trump: Keep kicking the can down the road.

Apple supplier says it will invest $10 billion in Wisconsin


Bundy follower gets 68 years for role in armed Nevada standoff

(Reuters) - One of two men convicted in the first of several trials stemming from a 2014 standoff led by renegade rancher Cliven Bundy against federal authorities in Nevada was sentenced on Wednesday to 68 years in prison for his role in the armed confrontation.


Prosecutors plan video depositions in Texas truck death case

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors are planning video depositions of witnesses ahead of the trial of a man charged with driving a truck packed with illegal immigrants in Texas, where 10 people died from sweltering heat, court documents on Wednesday showed.


Israeli lawmakers vote to set high bar for ceding parts of Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's parliament on Wednesday passed the first of three votes needed to enact legislation that would set an extra-high threshold for any future vote on ceding parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinians.


As Washington refocuses on tax, anti-tax activist sees bill in September

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congressional Republicans are ramping up discussions on overhauling the U.S. tax code that a prominent Republican anti-tax advocate said on Wednesday will produce a bill by September that will include a hefty corporate tax cut.


Trump criticism prompts questions over Attorney General's future

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump further stoked speculation about the fate of his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, on Wednesday by assailing him in a fresh round of tweets even as Sessions was attending meetings at the White House.


Attorney General Sessions to unveil leak probes soon: reports

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to announce soon several criminal investigations into intelligence leaks, news outlets reported on Wednesday, as the nation's top law enforcement official faced mounting criticism from President Donald Trump.


Ford results foreshadow tougher times for Detroit automakers

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co on Wednesday joined rival General Motors Co in reporting higher-than-expected second-quarter profits, and in the next breath warning of a rougher ride for the rest of the year.


BRIEF-Finjan Holdings says court grants co's motion to strike ESET'S affirmative defenses

* Says court grants Finjan's motion to strike ESET'S affirmative defenses and dismiss counterclaims


Obamacare repeal battle back on Senate floor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. Senate will try again on Wednesday to approve a repeal of Obamacare as they struggle to keep a seven-year-old promise to end a law that has provided health insurance for millions of Americans but which they say is costly and intrusive.


U.S. defense companies lift forecasts amid growing security concerns

(Reuters) - Top U.S. weapons makers reported better-than-expected quarterly results and raised their full-year forecasts, buoyed by higher demand for fighter jets and tanks amid heightened security concerns around the world.


Fed holds rates steady, sees portfolio cuts 'relatively soon'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged on Wednesday and said it expected to start winding down its massive holdings of bonds "relatively soon" in a sign of confidence in the U.S. economy.


How India and China Have Come to the Brink Over a Remote Mountain Pass

The two nuclear powers are fighting over a border, but their battle is really over the shape of Asia’s future.


U.S. sanctions Venezuelan officials as pressure builds on Maduro

WASHINGTON/CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - The Trump administration imposed sanctions on 13 senior Venezuelan officials as the country's opposition launched a two-day strike on Wednesday, heaping pressure on unpopular President Nicolas Maduro to scrap plans for a controversial new congress.


UPDATE 3-U.S. regulatory scrutiny scuppers deal for unit of China's HNA

* Global Eagle agreed to sell $416 mln stake to HNA unit last year


Exclusive: U.N. report accuses Saudi coalition of deadly migrant boat attack off Yemen

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. investigators accused a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition of carrying out a deadly March attack on a Somali migrant boat off Yemen and said the alliance had become a cover for some states to avoid individual blame, according to a confidential report seen by Reuters on Wednesday.


Exclusive: U.S. sanctions Venezuelan officials to pressure Maduro - sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration imposed sanctions on 13 senior officials of Venezuela's government, military and state oil company PDVSA on Wednesday, U.S. officials said, seeking to ratchet up pressure on President Nicolas Maduro to scrap plans for a controversial new congress.


Exclusive: Venezuela police and army chiefs, PDVSA executive face U.S. sanctions - sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of Venezuela’s army, the national police chief, the country’s director of elections and a vice president for the state oil company PDVSA are among the 13 Venezuelan officials being sanctioned by the United States on Wednesday, U.S. officials told Reuters.


Reliance's 'free' JioPhone shakes up cheap end of India's billion-strong market

MUMBAI (Reuters) - At first glance, Indian telecoms upstart Jio's bet on 'free' internet-enabled phones to win over poorer customers is a near-fatal blow for low-end handset makers, most already struggling with paper-thin margins on some of the world's cheapest devices.


Trump bans transgender people from the U.S. military, via Twitter

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would not allow transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military in any capacity.


METALS-Copper hits two-year high as China looks to cut scrap imports

LONDON, July 26 (Reuters) - Copper prices rose for a fourth day on Wednesday to the highest in more than two years on expectations of strong economic growth in China and news of Chinese restrictions on scrap imports that would increase demand for imported refined copper.

President's decision reverses Defense Department policy initially approved under Obama

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he plans to ban transgender individuals from serving "in any capacity" in the US armed forces.


Kremlin calls new U.S. sanctions 'sad news' for U.S.-Russia ties

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Proposed new U.S. sanctions against Russia are an extremely unfriendly act and sad news for Russia-U.S. relations and their further development, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.


Greece arrests Russian suspected of running $4 billion bitcoin laundering ring

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police arrested a Russian man suspected of running a money laundering operation involving turning $4 billion from illicit business activities into the digital currency bitcoin, they said on Wednesday.


BRIEF-Sensus Healthcare receives approval to sell SRT-100 in China

* Sensus Healthcare receives regulatory approval to sell the SRT-100 in China for the treatment and prevention of keloids


Russia says its Baltic Sea war games with Chinese Navy not a threat

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said late on Tuesday that war games it is conducting with the Chinese Navy in the Baltic Sea, which has become a zone of heightened tensions between Moscow and the West, do not pose a threat to anyone.

Russia condemns US Congress over new sanctions bill

Russian responded angrily Wednesday to a US congressional vote to impose new sanctions on Russia, saying they risked worsening the already poor relations between the two countries.


China steps up warning to Botswana over Dalai Lama visit

BEIJING (Reuters) - China stepped up its warning to Botswana on Wednesday over a planned visit by exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama next month, demanding the African nation respect China's core interests.


Aleppo's limping recovery shows limits of battered Syrian state

ALEPPO, Syria (Reuters) - In eastern Aleppo, bodies still lie under the rubble, graveyards are full, people are short of electricity and bread, and some children take classes in mosques because their schools have been ruined by war.


UPDATE 1-Taiwan taken off Asia-Pacific money-laundering watchlist

* Decision seen reflecting island's reform push to fight crime


Iran will respond to any new U.S. sanctions: deputy foreign minister

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iran will respond if the U.S. government passes new sanctions, deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi said Wednesday, according to state media.


BRIEF-China's Irico Display Devices, U.S. firm Corning plan to set up two JVs

* Says it and Corning plan to set up two JVs with registered capital at $20 million each for two LCD glass substrate projects worth $60 million each


Rescuers on war footing as flooding hits western, eastern India

AHMEDABAD, India (Reuters) - Floods and relentless rain in India's western state of Gujarat have killed at least 75 people and displaced over 25,000 over the past three weeks, officials said on Wednesday.


UPDATE 2-Hyundai Motor profit slumps, warns China, U.S. sales malaise to persist

* Q2 net profit 817 bln won vs consensus f'cast 1.35 trln won

Does US-North Korea sanctions bill risk China relationship?

The US may target Chinese companies as part of new North Korea sanctions, an administration official said this week, even as diplomats are working with Beijing at the UN to reach a new international agreement.

Senators face hours of debate and votes on what could be dozens of amendments to Obamacare repeal bill


Hyundai Motor second quarter net profit halves as China, U.S. sales sag

SEOUL (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor's bleak results stretched into a 14th straight quarter as political headwinds continued to drag down sales in China, its biggest market, and higher incentives failed to boost business in the United States.


Hyundai Motor Q2 profit down 51 pct y/y, China, U.S. sales sag

SEOUL, July 26 (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor posted a 51 percent drop in net profit for the April-to-June period, missing analysts' estimates, as political headwinds hit sales in China and U.S. sales decelerated.


USTR Lighthizer: Trump challenging China's industrial policies - radio interview

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. trade negotiator said late on Tuesday that President Donald Trump is determined to challenge China's use of unfair subsidies and "non-economic" industrial policy to build up export industries that are costing American jobs.


U.S. firm Global Eagle says $416 mln pact with China's HNA fails to pass regulator

HONG KONG, July 26 (Reuters) - U.S.-based Global Eagle Entertainment Inc said a $416 million investment pact made last year with a unit of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co Ltd has been called off after failing to receive regulatory approval.


Robert Durst unfaithful to wife before her disappearance, friend says

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Real estate scion Robert Durst and his wife were unfaithful to each other before she went missing in 1982, a friend of Durst said in court on Tuesday, in testimony that could be used by prosecutors to show there was discord in the marriage.


Trump pledges U.S. aid to help Lebanon against Islamic State

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday praised Lebanon's efforts to guard its borders to prevent Islamic State and other militant groups from gaining a foothold inside their country and promised continued American help.


Fairy tales overcome nightmares at South Korea’s militarized border town

SEOUL (Reuters) - A half-hour's drive north of Seoul, along a highway lined with barbed wire, lie two shopping malls the size of several football stadiums, a stone's throw from the world's most militarized border.


Panama opens embassy in Beijing after break with Taiwan

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Panama has opened an embassy in China, the Central American country's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, deepening its links with the world's No. 2 economy after its diplomatic break with longtime ally Taiwan.


UPDATE 3-Malaysia's Petronas scraps $29 bln western Canada LNG project

CALGARY, Alberta, July 25 (Reuters) - Malaysian state-owned energy company Petronas will not proceed with a proposed C$36 billion ($29 billion) liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in western Canada due to weak global prices, dealing a blow to Canada's ambitions to become a global LNG player.


Sessions sets limits on U.S. federal funding for sanctuary cities

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday released a memo restricting Justice Department grants from going to so-called sanctuary cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration agents.


House approves new Russia sanctions, defying Trump

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to slap new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, despite President Donald Trump's objections to the legislation.

In challenge to Trump, House passes Russia sanctions bill

The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill giving Congress the power to block any effort by the White House to weaken sanctions on Russia, offering a direct challenge to President Donald Trump's authority.


North Korea could carry out missile test soon: U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials said on Tuesday they have seen increased North Korean activity at a site in the western city of Kusong that could be preparations for another missile test within days.

Study: Sperm counts of Western men plummeting

Sperm counts of men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand are plunging, according to a new analysis published Tuesday.


Trump speech to Boy Scouts raises ire of parents, former Scouts

NEW YORK (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's campaign-style address to the Boy Scouts of America touched off a firestorm of criticism on Tuesday as parents and former Scouts decried a speech peppered with partisan attacks and ridicule of "fake media."


U.S. likely to target more Chinese entities over North Korea 'fairly soon': official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. sanctions aimed at curbing North Korean's weapons programs, including measures aimed at Chinese entities and financial institutions, can be expected "fairly soon," a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.


Swiss chainsaw attacker arrested after international manhunt

SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland (Reuters) - Swiss police on Tuesday arrested a 50-year-old man a day after he stormed into an insurance office wielding a chainsaw and wounded two staff members, bringing an end to a two-day manhunt that had also involved German police.

How each senator voted on motion to debate health care bill

The Senate voted in favor of a motion to proceed with debate on the GOP health care bill Tuesday afternoon.


Two members of missing Burundi robotics team found, U.S. police say

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two members of a teenage robotics team from Burundi who went missing after a competition in Washington last week have been located and are safe, the city's Metropolitan Police Department said on Tuesday.


Arab states add groups, people to terror lists in Qatar row

DUBAI (Reuters) - Four Arab countries have added 18 more groups and individuals that they say are linked to Qatar to their "terrorist" lists, Saudi state news agency SPA reported on Tuesday, further escalating a row with Doha that has stoked regional tensions.


'Pharma bro' Shkreli stirs mixed feelings in his ancestral Albanian village

SHKREL, Albania (Reuters) - Dubbed the "most hated man in America" by the U.S. press, pharmaceutical entrepreneur Martin Shkreli has brought both pride and shame to his home village in Albania from which he takes his name.


U.S. says fame, fortune drove Macau billionaire's bribery

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ng Lap Seng's dream of "fame and more fortune" drove the Macau billionaire to bribe United Nations officials to win support for a multi-billion dollar conference center he hoped to build, a U.S. prosecutor said on Tuesday near the end of Ng's criminal trial.

Protesters shout 'Kill the bill' as Senate votes on moving health care forward


Beijing Journal: In China’s Capital, a Portal to Hollywood’s Golden Age

A small cinema offers an intimate atmosphere and luxury seating for lovers of classic films and vintage Chinese favorites.


Libya's PM, eastern commander commit to ceasefire, election

CELLE-SAINT-CLOUD, France (Reuters) - Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and the divided country's eastern commander Khalifa Haftar committed to a conditional ceasefire and to work towards holding elections next spring in talks chaired by French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.


Appeals court blocks D.C. law restricting gun rights

(Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday blocked a gun regulation in Washington, D.C., that limited the right to carry a handgun in public to those with a special need for self-defense, handing a victory to gun rights advocates.

Rand Paul a 'yes' on health care bill vote

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said on Twitter he will vote "yes" on the procedural vote to open debate on the health care bill, so long as leadership maintains the current strategy it has been circulating to Republican members.


U.S. says progress with China on N.Korea U.N. sanctions, true test is Russia

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United States is making progress in talks with North Korean ally China on imposing new U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang over its latest missile test, but the "true test" will be what measures Russia agrees to, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said on Tuesday.


Republican holdout Rand Paul to vote opening debate on health bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senator Rand Paul said on Tuesday he would vote to open debate on a healthcare overhaul to supplant the Affordable Care Act after the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, told him they planned to take up a clean repeal vote.


Sessions' allies say Trump using Twitter attacks to force resignation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' allies say President Donald Trump is carrying out a deliberate public campaign to pressure him to quit, rather than fire him outright, but the country's top lawyer has no intention of resigning.


The First Time: Bill Pullman: The First Time a Fellow Actor Had My Back

It was John Candy to the rescue when a famous director of comedies questioned whether this film newcomer could get a laugh.


U.S. Navy ship fires warning shots at Iranian vessel: official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. Navy ship fired warning shots toward an Iranian vessel near the northern Arabian Gulf on Tuesday after the vessel came within 150 yards (137 meters), a U.S. official told Reuters.


Blackrock, Lightsource target 1 billion pound UK solar power portfolio

LONDON (Reuters) - Asset manager Blackrock and solar energy firm Lightsource have agreed to jointly create a 1 billion pound ($1.3 billion) portfolio of solar power assets in Britain over the next three years, the two companies said on Tuesday.


Trump, without evidence, cites Ukraine ties to ex-rival Clinton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted the investigation into alleged Russian meddling in last year's U.S. election and raised questions, without offering evidence, about Ukrainian support for his Democratic presidential rival.


McCain to return for pivotal U.S. Senate vote on healthcare

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator John McCain will return to the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday to play what could be a crucial role in salvaging Republican efforts to repeal Obamacare and keep their years-long pledge to unwind the 2010 healthcare overhaul.

General Motors

G.M. Profit Falls 42%, to $1.7 Billion, Reflecting Sale of European Unit

The automaker’s second-quarter decline in profit was partially attributed to the pending sale of its Opel and Vauxhall divisions in Europe.


House seen passing Russia sanctions bill limiting Trump's power

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote overwhelmingly on Tuesday for a bill that would slap new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, potentially complicating President Donald Trump's hopes of pursuing improved relations with Moscow.


Turkey's Erdogan says signatures signed on Russian defense system

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey has made progress in plans to procure an S-400 missile defense system from Russia and signatures have been signed, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.


UPDATE 2-Michael Kors to buy luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion

* Michael Kors has struggled with falling underlying sales (Adds analyst comment, detail, background, shares)


China urges halt to oil drilling in disputed South China Sea

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Foreign Ministry has urged a halt to oil drilling in a disputed part of the South China Sea, where Spanish oil company Repsol had been operating in cooperation with Vietnam.

House to vote on Russia sanctions bill rebuking Trump

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives is expected to overwhelmingly approve a bipartisan bill giving Congress the authority to block any effort by President Donald Trump to ease sanctions against Russia.

Health Bill, Boy Scouts, Jimmy Choo: Your Tuesday Briefing

Here’s what you need to know to start your day.


China backs joint energy development with Philippines in disputed sea

MANILA (Reuters) - China's foreign minister on Tuesday said he supported the idea of joint energy ventures with the Philippines in the disputed South China Sea, warning that unilateral action could cause problems and damage both sides.


China's HNA taps Goldman for planned Pactera U.S. IPO: sources

HONG KONG (Reuters) - HNA Group, the Chinese airline-to-banking conglomerate, has tapped investment bank Goldman Sachs to list Pactera, the Beijing-based IT outsourcing firm it bought from private equity firm Blackstone, sources familiar with the matter said.


China's HNA taps Goldman for planned Pactera U.S. IPO - sources

HONG KONG, July 25 (Reuters) - HNA Group, the Chinese airline-to-banking conglomerate, has tapped investment bank Goldman Sachs to list Pactera, the Beijing-based IT outsourcing firm it bought from private equity firm Blackstone, sources familiar with the matter said.

United States Politics and Government

Future Unclear for Veterans Choice Program After House Bill Falters

A Republican plan that diverted funds to the program and did not allocate additional funds for in-house V.A. care galvanized opposition groups.

Human Rights and Human Rights Violations

Feature: The Lonely Crusade of China’s Human Rights Lawyers

As the global spotlight on the nation’s domestic policies has dimmed, lawyers for dissidents increasingly face a terrible choice: acquiescence or imprisonment.

Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestitures

Michael Kors to Buy Jimmy Choo in $1.2 Billion Deal

The agreement comes as upscale brands grapple with plummeting sales and tepid profits, particularly in the so-called middle market.


Refresco CEO: Cott acquisition not defense against private equity interest

AMSTERDAM, July 25 (Reuters) - Refresco's $1.25 billion acquisition of Canadian bottler Cott is in "no way" a defensive move aimed against protecting it from private equity buyers, the Netherlands-based company said on Tuesday.


Sri Lanka cabinet approves revised port deal with China: spokesman

COLOMBO (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's cabinet approved a revised port deal with China Merchant Port Holdings on Tuesday, cabinet spokesman Dayasiri Jayasekera told Reuters, after terms of the first agreement sparked widespread public anger.


Polish president signs bill giving justice minister power to hire court heads

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish President Andrzej Duda has signed a bill adopted by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party giving the justice minister the power to hire and fire the heads of courts of general jurisdiction in the country.


Exclusive: Australia to accept first Central American refugees under U.S. deal - sources

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia will accept several dozen Central American refugees within the next few months, two sources familiar with the process told Reuters, the first transfers under a controversial refugee swap arrangement agreed with the United States.


Game on: Suning leads China's $2 billion soccer rights frenzy

BEIJING/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - In the high-stakes race to control soccer TV rights in China, with a potential market of hundreds of millions of fans, an electronics retailer is betting up to $2 billion that could give it a near monopoly on broadcasting the sport at home.


LG Display to invest $7 billion in OLED production, second-quarter profit jumps

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's LG Display Co Ltd said on Tuesday it will invest 7.8 trillion won ($7 billion) in production facilities to make both large and small organic light-emitting diode (OLED) panels.


Michael Kors to buy luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. retailer Michael Kors has agreed to buy luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo for $1.2 billion, snapping up a British brand launched in the east end of London and made famous by celebrity fans including Princess Diana.


Refresco to buy bottling activities of Cott for $1.25 billion

July 25 (Reuters) - Dutch drinks bottler Refresco said on Tuesday it has agreed to buy the bottling activities of Canada-based Cott Corp for $1.25 billion.

China reinforcing its border with N. Korea

China is further fortifying its border with North Korea, new reports show, amid continued tensions on the peninsula and concerns over potential US military action against Pyongyang.


Paw power: China plans 100 panda-shaped solar plants on new Silk Road

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) - In a country where you can find everything from chopsticks to slippers designed to look like pandas, one Chinese energy company is going a step further by building 100 solar farms shaped like the bears along the route of the ambitious Belt and Road initiative.


After spate of Chinese patrols, Taiwan says it's prepared to defend itself

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan is prepared to defend itself against China if necessary, the self-ruled island's defense ministry said on Tuesday, in a strongly worded response to recent flybys by Chinese warplanes near the island China claims as a wayward province.


House expected to approve Russia sanctions bill limiting Trump's influence

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote overwhelmingly on Tuesday for a bill that would slap new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, potentially complicating President Donald Trump's hopes of pursuing improved relations with Moscow.


Now showing at a disputed South China Sea island not very near you

BEIJING (Reuters) - China has opened its southernmost cinema on a disputed island in the South China Sea, state media said, part on an on-going effort to build up civilian infrastructure and assert Beijing's sovereignty.


BRIEF-Softbank seeks multibillion-dollar stake in Uber- WSJ, citing sources

* Softbank seeks multibillion-dollar stake in Uber- WSJ, citing sources Source text : Further company coverage:


For China’s Global Ambitions, ‘Iran Is at the Center of Everything’

Iran’s strategic location makes it a focus, and Chinese investments and entrepreneurs are pouring into the country.


China police warn against illegal gatherings after rare Beijing protest

BEIJING (Reuters) - Police in the Chinese capital have warned against illegal gatherings after they shut down part of a major road when demonstrators gathered to stage a rare protest in Beijing, complaining the government was unfairly targeting a charity.


Senator Corker says no deal yet on Russia sanctions bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Long-delayed legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia hit another snag on Monday when the influential Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said the announcement of a deal to move the bill forward was premature.


Alphabet beats revenue forecast, but warns about rising costs

(Reuters) - Alphabet Inc surpassed Wall Street expectations for quarterly revenue and earnings on Monday, but it said costs were rising faster than sales and warned that as more traffic and searches shift to mobile devices the expenses would remain high.


Chinese shipbuilders tap rising cruise demand, rattle European rivals

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - European shipbuilders' dominance in the $117 billion passenger ship industry may come under threat as Chinese rivals move into the sector to tap booming local demand for cruise holidays.

Trump would be wise to sign Russia sanctions bill

Unless something goes terribly wrong, Congress is about to send President Trump a major piece of legislation that imposes tough sanctions against Russia for interfering in the 2016 election, its ongoing human rights violations, its annexation of Crimea and military operations in Eastern Ukraine.


Israel to replace metal detectors in Jerusalem with less obtrusive surveillance

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel on Tuesday decided to remove metal detectors it had placed at the entrance to a holy site in Jerusalem's Old City with other, less obtrusive surveillance means, a cabinet statement said.


UPDATE 1-After $50 bln deal spree, China's HNA moves to clear ownership concerns

* Says recently got $300 mln unsecured loan from Morgan Stanley


Justin Bieber cancels rest of 'Purpose' tour without explanation

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop singer Justin Bieber on Monday canceled the remainder of his "Purpose" world tour citing "unforeseen circumstances" but gave no specific reasons.


Trump to study tougher Russia sanctions bill: White House

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - President Donald Trump will examine whether a bill toughening sanctions on Russia is offering the "best deal" for the American people, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Monday.


Carlyle seeks $15 billion for its seventh U.S. buyout fund: Bloomberg

(Reuters) - Private equity firm Carlyle Group LP is looking to raise $15 billion for its next U.S. buyout fund, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.


Trump pleads with Republicans to keep their promise, roll back Obamacare

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump made a last-ditch plea to U.S. Senate Republicans on Monday to "do the right thing" and fulfill seven years of campaign promises to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law.


Congressman proposes ban on Trump hotels use by U.S. government

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives proposed legislation on Monday to bar the U.S. government from renting rooms at President Donald Trump's hotels for official business.


Alphabet profit slumps on record $2.7 billion EU fine

(Reuters) - Alphabet Inc reported a 27.7 percent drop in quarterly profit as the company recorded a previously announced charge related to a record $2.7 billion fine imposed on its Google unit by the EU.


U.N. warns of escalation if no Jerusalem mosque solution by Friday

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov warned on Monday that a solution was needed by Friday to the Jerusalem mosque crisis, which he said threatens to have "potential catastrophic costs well beyond the walls of the Old City."


Polish president halts justice reforms after days of protests

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish President Andrzej Duda unexpectedly announced on Monday he would veto two of three judicial reform bills passed by parliament that have triggered nationwide protests and raised EU and U.S. concerns about a politicization of the courts.


Massachusetts cannot hold immigrants so U.S. can detain them: state top court

BOSTON (Reuters) - Massachusetts police do not have the authority to detain illegal immigrants solely to buy time for federal law enforcement officials to take them into custody, the state's top court ruled on Monday.


BRIEF-Wells Fargo announces Don Hayes as head of business banking for new Ohio & Western Pennsylvania region

* Wells Fargo announces Don Hayes as head of business banking for new Ohio & Western Pennsylvania region


Jay-Z reigns Billboard chart, Linkin Park sales surge 461 percent

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Jay-Z ruled the Billboard 200 album chart for a second straight week with his confessional album "4:44," while California alt-rock band surged back into the Top 20 after the suicide last week of frontman Chester Bennington.

Uber rival gets $2 billion stronger


Chainsaw attacker targets insurer in Swiss rampage, still on run

SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland (Reuters) - A chainsaw-wielding loner who mostly lived in the woods stormed into an insurance office in a Swiss town on Monday, wounding two members of staff and three other people before fleeing, police said.

Sen. Sanders calls health care bill 'destructive' and 'irresponsible'

Sen. Bernie Sanders slammed the Senate health care bill as "destructive" and "irresponsible" in a speech at the NAACP national convention in Baltimore on Monday.

Health Insurance and Managed Care

Public Health: The Company Behind Many Surprise Emergency Room Bills

A study by Yale researchers found that the rate of out-of-network doctor’s bills for customers of a big insurer jumped when EmCare entered a hospital.

Beijing (China)

Lake Baiyangdian Journal: Sacred Lakes Threatened by China’s Growing Capital

Plans to transform Beijing and create a new nearby supercity may destroy celebrated wetlands — and erase the communities’ aquatic traditions.


Chinese jets intercept U.S. surveillance plane: U.S. officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy surveillance plan over the East China Sea over the weekend, with one coming within about 300 feet (91 meters) of the American aircraft, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday.


Israel cites self-defense in Amman embassy shooting

JERUSALEM/AMMAN (Reuters) - An Israeli embassy security guard shot dead a Jordanian who stabbed him with a screwdriver in the Amman mission compound in an incident in which a Jordanian bystander was also killed, Israel said on Monday.

Communist Party of China

Former Political Star in China Is Under Party Investigation

Officials said Sun Zhengcai, fired last month as party secretary of the city of Chongqing, was suspected of “grave violations of discipline.”


What's the issue with metal detectors in Jerusalem?

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - For 10 days, Jerusalem has been in the grip of the worst bloodshed for years over Israel's decision to install metal detectors at the entrance to the Old City's holy compound.


Trump's son-in-law Kushner says 'I did not collude' with foreign government

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner said on Monday that he "did not collude" with Russia and had roughly four meetings with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign and presidential transition.


Former party boss of China's Chongqing under investigation: Xinhua

BEIJING (Reuters) - The former Communist Party boss of the Chinese city of Chongqing, Sun Zhengcai, is under investigation for suspected serious violations of discipline, the official Xinhua news agency said on Monday.


After $50 billion deal spree, China's HNA sets out to clear ownership questions

(Reuters) - Privately-owned conglomerate HNA Group, one of China's most aggressive dealmakers, is shaking up its shareholding structure with a new, charitable foundation, part of efforts to quash long-standing concerns over its ownership.


A Rest Stop for Half a Billion Birds

During their migration between Europe and Africa, hundreds of millions of birds stop in Israel to rest and refuel. Hop aboard a government-sponsored tractor spreading birdseed and corn to keep the birds away from local crop fields.


Arrested driver of truck that held nine bodies due in court in Texas

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - The driver of a truck in which at least nine men were found dead alongside dozens suffering in sweltering conditions in San Antonio, Texas was expected to appear in court on Monday, over what authorities called a case of ruthless human trafficking.


China says it wants to 'maintain stability' in disputed South China Sea

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Monday Beijing wanted to maintain stability in the South China Sea as it seeks alliances in the region amid tensions in the disputed waters.


Car bomb in Afghan capital kills at least 24: Kabul officials

KABUL (Reuters) - A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb in the western part of Kabul on Monday, killing at least 24 people and wounding 40, and the death toll could rise, an Interior Ministry spokesman in the Afghan capital said.


China warns India not to harbor illusions in border stand-off

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's defense ministry on Monday warned India not to harbor any illusions about the Chinese military's ability to defend its territory, amid a festering border dispute.


Grab, Uber's SEAsia rival, to raise $2.5 billion from Didi, SoftBank, others

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Grab, Uber Technologies Inc's biggest ride-hailing competitor in Southeast Asia, said it expects to raise $2.5 billion in its latest financing round that will help bolster its leading position in the region and grow its payments platform.


Asian shares slip as risk appetite ebbs, dollar sulks

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Asian stocks slipped on Monday as demand for riskier assets ebbed after their recent strong gains, while the European Central Bank's apparent equanimity at the euro's two-year highs left the dollar languishing.


China's debt specter could haunt Fed's policy meetings

HONG KONG (Reuters) - In September 2015, the U.S. Federal Reserve cited risks from China as a key reason for delaying its first interest rate hike in a decade. A wall of Chinese debt maturing in the next few years could jolt the country back into the U.S. central bank's policy deliberations.


Swimming: China's Sun, American Ledecky light up world championships

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - China's Sun Yang destroyed the field to win a hat-trick of men's 400 meters freestyle titles while American Katie Ledecky reached more milestones in her glittering career as the swimming got underway at the world aquatics championships on Sunday.


California crews hold wildfire in check, letting more residents go home

(Reuters) - California authorities battling a massive wildfire near Yosemite National Park lifted evacuation orders on Sunday for more local residents but said firefighters may need almost two more weeks to contain the blaze fully.


Cuba’s top U.S. negotiator named to new post

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba has reassigned the woman who led two years of intense negotiation with the United States under the detente worked out by former U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro, state media said on Sunday.


In China, Herd of ‘Gray Rhinos’ Threatens Economy

Several Chinese conglomerates are now so big, so complex and so indebted that the government is trying to bring them to heel.

Huckabee Sanders: White House supports Russia sanctions bill

A day after congressional negotiators announced an agreement on a Russian sanctions bill, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration was also on board.


White House says open to legislation toughening Russia sanctions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Sunday it was open to legislation toughening sanctions on Russia as momentum increased in the U.S. Congress for stronger action against Moscow.


Maduro says Venezuela vote going ahead despite 'imperial' threat

CARACAS (Reuters) - Defying pressure from abroad and at home, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday that an election would go ahead next weekend for a controversial new congress his foes say will institutionalize dictatorship.


American Spieth emerges from epic duel to win British Open

SOUTHPORT, England (Reuters) - Jordan Spieth survived a roller-coaster final round at the British Open to emerge with his third major title, beating fellow American Matt Kuchar by three strokes in a thrilling duel at Royal Birkdale on Sunday.


Republican strategy on healthcare bill in flux ahead of vote

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Senate leaders aim to hold a procedural vote as early as Tuesday to take up legislation to repeal or replace Obamacare, but it remained unclear which version of the bill senators would vote on.

Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates

White House Signals Acceptance of Russia Sanctions Bill

The administration said changes made to the measure, which will curtail the president’s authority to lift sanctions, had satisfied earlier concerns.


Germany must act now to stop re-run of refugee crisis, Merkel rival says

AACHEN, Germany (Reuters) - Germany needs to take action now to prevent a re-run of 2015, when some 890,000 migrants arrived in the country, Chancellor Angela Merkel's Social Democrat challenger for a September election told Reuters on Sunday.


Headstrong Renzi struggles to find political touch as Italian vote nears

ROME (Reuters) - Matteo Renzi is struggling to regain the political initiative after a disastrous spell during which he lost his job as prime minister and his party fractured.


Eight found dead in Texas truck in suspected human trafficking

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Reuters) - Eight people believed to be illegal immigrants being smuggled into the United States were found dead inside a sweltering 18-wheeler trailer parked behind a Walmart store in San Antonio, Texas, early on Sunday, authorities said.


Britain needs transitional deal with EU, to end before next election: minister

LONDON (Reuters) - British trade minister Liam Fox said on Sunday that he backed a transition agreement to smooth Britain's departure from the European Union, but it would have to come to an end before the next election due in 2022.


Libya eastern commander Haftar, U.N.-backed premier Serraj to meet in Paris on Tuesday: source

CAIRO (Reuters) - Libya's eastern commander Khalifa Haftar and the head of the U.N.-backed government Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj plan to meet on Tuesday for French-organised talks on a deal to resolve the country's crisis, a diplomatic source said on Sunday.


Israel says Jerusalem mosque metal detectors to stay, may be reduced

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel will not remove metal detectors whose installation outside a major Jerusalem mosque has triggered the bloodiest confrontations with the Palestinians in years, but could eventually reduce their use, Israeli officials said on Sunday.


China's Guangzhou halts construction projects after deadly accident

BEIJING (Reuters) - The southern China city of Guangzhou on Sunday suspended all construction projects after a crane at a construction site collapsed on Saturday killing seven people.


UPDATE 1-China Unicom says talks with strategic investors ongoing, no agreements signed

BEIJING, July 23 (Reuters) - Telecommunications operator China United Network Communications said on Sunday it is still in talks with potential strategic investors and has not yet signed any binding agreements.


China Unicom says talks with strategic investors ongoing, no agreements signed

BEIJING, July 23 (Reuters) - Telecommunications operator China United Network Communications said on Sunday it is still in talks with potential strategic investors and has not yet signed any binding agreements.


Syrian warplanes strike near Damascus despite ceasefire: Syrian Observatory

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian government warplanes carried out several air strikes in the Eastern Ghouta area east of Damascus on Sunday, a day after the Syrian military declared a cessation of hostilities in the area, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.


Firefighters gain on California wildfire, some evacuees return

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A wildfire in central California was contained enough on Saturday for authorities to consider allowing more people back to their houses, a day after evacuation orders were lifted for a gold rush era town that was previously threatened.

Pence calls on GOP to 'step up to the plate' on health care bill

Vice President Mike Pence is increasing the pressure for Republicans to pass health care legislation, calling on senators to "step up to the plate" and keep their seven-year promise.

Poland passes bill to retire all Supreme Court judges in move seen as threat to democracy


U.S. lawmakers reach deal on Russia sanctions bill, creating limits for Trump

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republicans and Democrats have reached agreement on legislation that allows new sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, leading congressional Democrats said on Saturday, in a bill that would limit any potential effort by President Donald Trump to try to lift sanctions against Moscow.


Free Iranian citizens, Iran tells U.S. in response to Trump

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iran demanded on Saturday that the United States release Iranians detained there, a day after U.S. president Donald Trump called on the Islamic Republic to release three U.S. citizens.


Trump talks pardons amid probes of Russia role in U.S. election

NORFOLK, Va. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday declaring that he has "complete power to pardon," as his administration continued to be bogged down by ongoing investigations of possible ties between his 2016 campaign and Russia.


U.S. Army sergeant indicted in Hawaii on charges of trying to help Islamic State

(Reuters) - A U.S. Army sergeant stationed in Hawaii has been indicted on charges of trying to provide material support to Islamic State, allowing the case to move to a federal trial without a preliminary hearing, officials said on Saturday.


U.S. lawmakers reach deal on sanctions bill for Russia, Iran, North Korea

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republicans and Democrats have reached agreement on legislation that allows new sanctions against Russia, Iran and now also North Korea, leading congressional Democrats said on Saturday.


Iran announces new missile production line: state media

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iran announced the launch of a new missile production line on Saturday, according to state media, against a backdrop of tension between the United States and Tehran.


Backing Qatar, Erdogan may have little room to maneuver in Gulf visit

ISTANBUL/ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan heads to the Gulf this weekend in an attempt to patch up the rift between Qatar and its neighbors, but the firm Qatari ally may find himself with little room to maneuver as a mediator.


Eastern commander's forces battle resistance in Libya's Benghazi

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Fighting between the self-styled Libyan National Army and rival armed groups in Benghazi killed six troops and wounded eight as the LNA advanced into the last pockets of resistance in eastern Libya's largest city, a commander said on Saturday.


Four German women who joined Islamic State detained in Iraq: report

BERLIN (Reuters) - Four German women, including a 16-year-old girl, who joined Islamic State in recent years are being held in an Iraqi prison and receiving consular assistance, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday.

Xi Jinping

From Political Star to ‘a Sacrificial Object’ in China

The fall of Sun Zhengcai, a party secretary, is seen as a warning that President Xi Jinping will play succession politics by his own ruthless rules.


Hungary to support Poland amid European 'inquisition': PM Orban

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Saturday that Budapest would fight to defend Poland as the European Union threatens Warsaw with sanctions over its plans to extend government control over its courts.


Britain's May to stay as PM until at least 2020, close ally predicts

LONDON (Reuters) - British transport minister Chris Grayling, one of Prime Minister Theresa May's closest cabinet colleagues, has predicted she will remain in the job until at least 2020 and could even fight another national election.


Israeli forces raid home of Palestinian attacker, arrest brother

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli security forces on Saturday raided the home of the Palestinian attacker who stabbed to death three Israelis and restricted movement for Palestinians from his West Bank village, the military said.


Iraqi bridge is sole link for Mosul residents rebuilding lives

MOSUL, Iraq (Reuters) - On a pontoon bridge connecting East and West Mosul, residents of a city shattered by the battle to expel Islamic State cross back and forth trying to rebuild their lives from the rubble.


Toyota eyes mass EV output in China as early as 2019: report

TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp is likely to begin mass production of electric vehicles (EVs) in China as early as 2019, the Asahi daily reported on Saturday.


Scaramucci awaits U.S. approval for China deal

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Anthony Scaramucci, the Trump administration's new communications director, has yet to get approval from U.S. regulators to sell his hedge fund firm to a group led by Chinese conglomerate HNA, according to a person familiar with the matter.


Trump's new communications chief awaits U.S. approval for China deal

NEW YORK, July 21 (Reuters) - Anthony Scaramucci, the Trump administration's new communications director, has yet to get approval from U.S. regulators to sell his hedge fund firm to a group led by Chinese conglomerate HNA, according to a person familiar with the matter.

United States Politics and Government

Senate Parliamentarian Challenges Key Provisions of Health Bill

Elizabeth MacDonough on Friday challenged key provisions in the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, dealing another serious blow to its prospects.


Senate rule deals setback to Republican healthcare bill

(Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. Senate were dealt another blow in their effort to repeal Obamacare on Friday when the keeper of the Senate's rules said certain provisions in their healthcare bill, such as defunding Planned Parenthood, could not be included.


Russian envoy overheard saying he discussed campaign with Sessions: Post

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russia's ambassador to Washington was overheard by U.S. spy agencies telling his bosses that he had discussed campaign-related matters, including issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, the Washington Post reported on Friday, citing current and former U.S. officials.


Trump orders review to strengthen U.S. defense industry

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday initiating a government-wide review of the U.S. defense industry and suggest changes to strengthen it.


UPDATE 2-Trump orders review to strengthen U.S. defense industry

WASHINGTON, July 21 (Reuters) - President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday initiating a government-wide review of the U.S. defense industry and suggest changes to strengthen it.


Trump warns of 'serious consequences' unless Iran releases detained Americans: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump warned that Iran would face "new and serious consequences" unless all unjustly detained American citizens are released and returned, the White House said in a statement on Friday.


Exclusive: U.S. immigration raids to target teenaged suspected gang members

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. immigration agents are planning nationwide raids next week to arrest, among others, teenagers who entered the country without guardians and are suspected gang members, in a widening of President Donald Trump's crackdown on illegal immigrants.

Bathrooms and Toilets

Texas Bathroom Bill Has Emotions, and Stakes, Running High

Opponents and supporters of a proposal to limit transgender bathroom use in public buildings packed a committee hearing in Austin on Friday.


BRIEF-Japan Tobacco appears likely to reach final agreement soon to purchase Mighty for 45 billion pesos - Nikkei

* Japan Tobacco appears likely to reach a final agreement soon to purchase Philippine cigarette manufacturer Mighty for 45 billion pesos - Nikkei Source text : [ID:] Further company coverage:


Palestinians suspend official contacts with Israel: president

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday ordered the suspension of all official contact with Israel until it removed new security measures at a Jerusalem holy site.


Qatar's ruler: it is time to resolve differences through talks

DOHA (Reuters) - Qatar's ruling emir said on Friday that it was time for negotiations to resolve differences between Doha and four Arab states which have severed diplomatic ties with it.


U.S. special envoy to visit eastern Ukraine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The envoy tapped to lead U.S. diplomacy on the Ukraine crisis will embark on a trip to eastern Ukraine and European nations on Friday for talks with officials, conflict monitors and "those who have been affected by Russian aggression," the State Department said on Friday.


Activists, executives tell Texas Senate to ditch bathroom bill

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Transgender activists and business leaders urged a Texas Senate panel on Friday to scrap legislation that would limit bathroom access for transgender people, saying it was a discriminatory measure that would hurt the state's economy.