Month: October 2018

Jamal Khashoggi case: Saudi Arabia says journalist killed in fight

Jamal Khashoggi Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption This is the first time Saudi Arabia has admitted the death of Jamal Khashoggi

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a fight in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the country’s state TV reported quoting an initial probe.

It said deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, senior aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, were dismissed over the affair.

US President Donald Trump said what had happened was “unacceptable” but that Saudi Arabia was a “great ally”.

This is the first time the kingdom has admitted Mr Khashoggi has died.

The acknowledgement follows two weeks of denials that Saudi Arabia had any involvement in the disappearance of the prominent Saudi critic when he entered the consulate in Istanbul on 2 October to seek paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

The Saudi kingdom had come under increased pressure to explain Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance after Turkish officials said he was deliberately killed inside the consulate, and his body dismembered.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Turkish forensic investigators have already searched the Saudi consulate and consul’s residence

On Friday, Turkish police widened their search from the consulate grounds to a nearby forest where unnamed officials believe his body may have been disposed of.

Observers are questioning whether Riyadh’s Western allies will find the Saudis’ account of a “botched rendition” convincing – and whether it will persuade them not to take punitive action against Saudi Arabia.

‘This is only a first step to the truth’

Analysis by BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner

The Saudi leadership will now be hoping that its belated admission that Khashoggi did die after all inside its consulate – coupled with a handful of sackings and arrests – will be enough to draw a line under this affair. It won’t.

This is only a first step towards publicising the truth of what really happened. Given the days of indignant denials by the Saudi leadership it’s doubtful we would have even got this far without sustained international pressure.

There can only be one of two possible alternatives here. Either – as many suspect – the powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was to blame, or he had lost control of his inner circle, something most observers find hard to believe.

MBS, as he’s known, has a huge following amongst young patriotic Saudis who see him as a visionary reformer. If that support were now to ebb away then the crown prince could find himself dangerously isolated at court.

What is Saudi Arabia’s version of events?

A statement from Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said a fight broke out between Mr Khashoggi, who had fallen out of favour with the Saudi government, and people who met him in the consulate – ending with his death.

The investigations are still under way, it said, and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested. The Saudi authorities have yet to give evidence to support this version of events.

State media said Saudi King Salman had ordered the sacking of two senior officials.

Saud al-Qahtani is a prominent member of the Saudi Royal Court and adviser to Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Image copyright Twiiter/@suadq1978
Image caption Saud al-Qahtani has over a million followers on Twitter

Major-General Ahmed al-Assiri has acted as the top spokesman for the kingdom about the war in Yemen.

Gen Assiri spoke to the BBC in 2017 about the conflict, defending Saudi Arabia’s actions.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionNawal Al-Maghafi speaks to Major-General Ahmed al-Assiri

King Salman has also reportedly ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed, to restructure the intelligence services.

Saudi Arabia said it had acted on information provided by Turkish authorities as part of its inquiry, investigating a number of suspects.

How did Trump react?

President Trump said the arrests were an important “first step”. He praised the kingdom for acting quickly, and while he said sanctions were an option against the country, he spoke of the possible effect such moves would have on the US economy.

Asked if he found Saudi Arabia’s version of events credible, he replied, “I do.”

He stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia as a counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East, and pushed back against the need for sanctions against the country in light of the new information, talking about the effect of such a move on the US economy.

He spoke of his visit to Saudi Arabia – his first trip abroad as president – and the $110bn (£84bn) arms deal he signed with the kingdom.

“I’d rather keep the million jobs [in the US] and find another solution,” he said.

Earlier this week Mr Trump said there would be “very severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia was proved to have killed the journalist.

The White House said in a separate statement the US was “deeply saddened” to hear confirmation of Mr Khashoggi’s death.

US Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican highly critical of the Saudis, said he was “sceptical” of the report on the journalist’s death.

Why does Turkey say he was murdered?

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate, and his body then removed – and they say they have video and audio evidence to back this up.

Saudi Arabia has denied this, and initially insisted Mr Khashoggi had freely left the embassy.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Turkish newspapers with close links to the government have published gruesome details of the alleged audio, including what they describe as the sounds of screams and Mr Khashoggi being interrogated and tortured.

Meanwhile, Turkish media say they have identified a 15-member team of suspected Saudi agents who flew into and out of Istanbul on the day of the disappearance.

Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: The key events

2 October

  • 03:28: A private jet carrying suspected Saudi agents arrives at Istanbul airport. A second joins it late afternoon
  • 12:13: Several diplomatic vehicles are filmed arriving at the consulate, allegedly carrying some of the Saudi agents
  • 13:14: Mr Khashoggi enters the building, where he is due to pick up paperwork ahead of his marriage
  • 15:08: Vehicles leave the consulate and are filmed arriving at the nearby Saudi consul’s residence
  • 21:00: Both jets leave Turkey by 21:00

3 October

  • Turkish government announces Mr Khashoggi is missing, thought to be in the consulate

4 October

  • Saudi Arabia says he left the embassy

7 October

  • Turkish officials tell the BBC they believed Mr Khashoggi was killed at the consulate. This is later strongly denied by Saudi Arabia

13 October

15 and 17-18 October

  • Forensic teams carry out searches of consulate

20 October

  • Saudi state TV reports an initial investigation shows Jamal Khashoggi died in the consulate
  • Two Saudi senior officials are dismissed and King Salman announces the formation of a ministerial committee to restructure the intelligence services

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Scientists prepare for expedition to the world’s deepest depths

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(Reuters) – For the first time, humans will visit the deepest part of each of the five oceans, plunging to the sea floor using a two-person craft designed to withstand the intense pressures more than 5.5 miles (9 km) below the surface.

The project, known as Five Deeps Expedition, will use a special submersible vehicle that took more than three years to build. It is made of titanium and other special materials that can dive to the bottom of the ocean, said Victor Vescovo, an explorer who will pilot the vehicle after it leaves its supporting boat and descends toward the deepest parts of the ocean.

“I’m very much looking forward to pushing not only the limits of the technology and myself and my crew, but also hopefully push humanity forward a little bit in terms of our understanding of our world and showing what we can do as a species,” said Vescovo, who has climbed the world’s seven highest mountain peaks and trekked to both the North and South Poles.

The maker of the submersible vehicle, Triton Submarines LLC of Vero Beach, Florida, said on the company website that it is the only submersible certified to carry humans on dives of 36,000 feet (11,000 meters). Discovery and Science Channel will capture the entire mission for a project known as “Deep Planet” that will air in 2019.

Reporting by Jessica Resnick-Ault in New York; Editing by David Gregorio

ZF takes 35 percent stake in autonomous driving specialist ASAP

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Car parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen said on Friday it acquired a 35 percent stake in ASAP, a Germany-based maker of software and testing systems for autonomous driving applications and electric vehicles.

ASAP specializes in car-to-x communication, human-machine interfaces and electronic architecture and last year generated sales of 84 million euros. It employs 1,100 staff.

ZF’s Chief Executive Officer Wolf-Henning Scheider recently said ZF will invest about 12 billion euros in electromobility and autonomous driving over the next five years.

A purchase price for the ASAP stake was not disclosed.

Reporting by Arno Schuetze, editing by Riham Alkousaa

Jamal Khashoggi case: Turkish police ‘search forest’

A Turkish forensic officer waits outside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul 17 October 2018 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Turkish forensic investigators have already searched the Saudi consulate and consul’s residence

Police in Turkey investigating the alleged killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have expanded their search, reports say.

Unnamed Turkish officials say his body may have been disposed of in a nearby forest or on farmland.

Mr Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, where Turkish officials allege he was murdered.

Saudi Arabia denies any knowledge of what happened to him.

Samples taken from the Saudi consulate and the consul’s residence during searches this week are being tested for a match with Mr Khashoggi’s DNA.

Separately, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo strongly denied having listened to an audio recording Turkey says is evidence of Mr Khashoggi’s murder.

“I’ve heard no tape, I’ve seen no transcript,” he said.

Mr Pompeo also strongly criticised ABC News, which had earlier quoted a senior Turkish official as saying that he had been given access to the recording.

“This is wrong to do to the fiancé of Khashoggi,” he added. “This is a very serious matter that we’re working diligently on, and so to put out headlines that are factually false does no one any good.”

Turkey has previously said it has audio and video evidence of Mr Khashoggi’s murder, but these have not been made public.

The incident has caused considerable strain between Riyadh and its Western allies, with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox becoming the latest senior figures to pull out of a major investment conference in Riyadh next week.

The summit is being hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to promote his reform agenda.

However, a number of major businesses – including Pepsi and EDF – are still intending to go despite growing pressure for a boycott.

What happened to Jamal Khashoggi?

It is not clear. Mr Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, to pick up paperwork that would allow him to marry his fiancée Hatice Cengiz.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionJamal Khashoggi: What we know about the journalist’s disappearance

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate, and his body then removed.

Saudi Arabia has denied the claims, and initially insisted Mr Khashoggi had freely left the embassy.

Is there any evidence?

Turkish media with close links to the government have published gruesome details on the alleged audio recording, saying screams, and the voice of the consul, Mohammed al-Otaibi, could be heard in the recording.

The Yeni Safak newspaper, which is close to the government, quotes him as telling alleged Saudi agents sent to Istanbul: “Do this outside. You’re going to get me in trouble.”

Meanwhile, Turkish media say they have identified a 15-member team of suspected Saudi agents who flew into and out of Istanbul on the day of the disappearance.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the Saudis will respond in a “timely fashion”

However, Saudi Arabia says reports on Mr Khashoggi’s death are “completely false and baseless” and that it is “open to co-operation” to find out what happened.

Several high-profile human rights groups have demanded that Turkey ask the UN to investigate the possible killing of Mr Khashoggi.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Turkish investigators spent almost nine hours searching the Saudi consul’s residence, before moving on to the consulate itself about 200m (650ft) away, according to Reuters news agency.

Several vehicles with Saudi diplomatic number plates were filmed by CCTV cameras moving from the consulate to the residence just under two hours after Mr Khashoggi entered the consulate.

How have other countries reacted?

Saudi Arabia is a key ally to many Western countries, especially the US. As one of the world’s biggest oil exporters, it has significant influence on the world stage.

The Dutch and French finance ministers, and the head of the International Monetary Fund, are amongst those now boycotting the summit.

On Thursday Donald Trump told reporters it “certainly looks” like Mr Khashoggi is dead, adding “it’s very sad”.

He said there would be “very severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia was proved to have killed the journalist.

However, Mr Trump has also been accused of providing cover to the Saudi government.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it is a pity that Mr Khashoggi has gone missing, but that Russia cannot damage relations with Saudi Arabia without hard facts.

Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Hatice Cengiz said she waited outside the consulate for 11 hours, but did not see her fiancé

Who is Jamal Khashoggi?

Mr Khashoggi is a prominent journalist who has covered major stories for various Saudi news organisations.

He served as an adviser to top Saudi officials, but later fell out of favour with the government.

He went into self-imposed exile in the US last year, and wrote a monthly column in the Washington Post.

On Thursday, the Washington Post published Mr Khashoggi’s latest column – a call for press freedom across the Arab world.

Jamal Khashoggi disappearance: The key events

2 October

  • 03:28: A private jet carrying suspected Saudi agents arrives at Istanbul airport. A second joins it late afternoon
  • 12:13: Several diplomatic vehicles are filmed arriving at the consulate, allegedly carrying some of the Saudi agents
  • 13:14: Mr Khashoggi enters the building, where he is due to pick up paperwork ahead of his marriage
  • 15:08: Vehicles leave the consulate and are filmed arriving at the nearby Saudi consul’s residence
  • 21:00: Both jets leave Turkey by 21:00

3 October

  • Turkish government announces Mr Khashoggi is missing, thought to be in the consulate

4 October

  • Saudi Arabia says he left the embassy

7 October

  • Turkish officials tell the BBC they believed Mr Khashoggi was killed at the consulate. This is later strongly denied by Saudi Arabia

13 October

15 and 17-18 October

  • Forensic teams carry out searches of consulate

Read more: What we know about Saudi journalist’s disappearance

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Championship Central

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Fall DIII Women’s Volleyball Nov. 15-17 Pittsburgh, PA A.J. Palumbo Center DI Field Hockey Nov. 16-18 Louisville, KY Trager Stadium DI Women’s Cross Country Nov. 17 Verona, WI

Thomas Zimmer Championship Course

DI Men’s Cross Country Nov. 17 Verona, WI

Thomas Zimmer Championship Course

DIII Women’s Cross Country Nov. 17 Winneconne, WI Lake Breeze Golf Club DIII Men’s Cross Country Nov. 17 Winneconne, WI Lake Breeze Golf Club DIII Field Hockey Nov. 17-18 Manheim, PA Spooky Nook Sports DII Women’s Volleyball Nov. 29-Dec. 1 Pittsburgh, PA A.J. Palumbo Center DII Men’s Soccer Nov. 29-Dec. 1 Pittsburgh, PA Highmark Stadium DII Women’s Soccer Nov. 29-Dec. 1 Pittsburgh, PA Highmark Stadium DII Field Hockey Nov. 29-Dec. 1 Pittsburgh, PA Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field DIII Men’s Soccer Nov. 30-Dec. 1 Greensboro, NC UNCG Soccer Stadium DIII Women’s Soccer Nov. 30-Dec. 1 Greensboro, NC UNCG Soccer Stadium DI Women’s Soccer Nov. 30-Dec. 2 Cary, NC WakeMed Soccer Park DII Women’s Cross Country Dec. 1 Slippery Rock, PA Cooper’s Lake Campground NC Men’s Water Polo Dec. 1-2 Stanford, CA Avery Aquatic Center DI Men’s Soccer Dec. 7-9 Santa Barbara, CA

Meredith Field @ Harder Stadium

DI Women’s Volleyball Dec. 13-15 Minneapolis, MN Target Center DII Football Dec. 15 Kansas City, KS Children’s Mercy Park DIII Football Dec. 15-16 Shenandoah, TX Woodforest Stadium DI Football Jan. 5 Frisco, TX Toyota Stadium Winter NC Skiing Mar. 6-9 Stowe, VT

Stowe Mountain Resort Trapp Family Lodge

DI Men’s Indoor Track & Field Mar. 8-9 Birmingham, AL Birmingham CrossPlex DI Women’s Indoor Track & Field Mar. 8-9 Birmingham, AL Birmingham CrossPlex DII Wrestling Mar. 8-9 Cleveland, OH

Cleveland State University – The Wolstein Center

DII Men’s Indoor Track & Field Mar. 8-9 Pittsburg, KS Robert W. Plaster Center DII Women’s Indoor Track & Field Mar. 8-9 Pittsburg, KS Robert W. Plaster Center DIII Wrestling Mar. 8-9 Roanoke, VA

Berglund Center (Roanoke Civic Center)

DIII Men’s Indoor Track & Field Mar. 8-9 Boston, MA Reggie Lewis Center DIII Women’s Indoor Track & Field Mar. 8-9 Boston, MA Reggie Lewis Center NC Rifle Mar. 8-9 Morgantown, WV WVU Shell Building DII Men’s Swimming & Diving Mar. 13-16 Indianapolis, IN

IU Natatorium on the Campus of IUPUI

DII Women’s Swimming & Diving Mar. 13-16 Indianapolis, IN

IU Natatorium on the Campus of IUPUI

DIII Women’s Ice Hockey Mar. 15-16 TBD TBD DIII Women’s Basketball Mar. 15-16 Salem, VA Cregger Center DIII Men’s Basketball Mar. 15-16 Fort Wayne, IN

Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Arena

DI Women’s Swimming & Diving Mar. 20-23 Austin, TX

Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center

DIII Men’s Swimming & Diving Mar. 20-23 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Aquatic Center DIII Women’s Swimming & Diving Mar. 20-23 Greensboro, NC Greensboro Aquatic Center DI Wrestling Mar. 21-23 Pittsburgh, PA PPG Paints Arena NC Fencing Mar. 21-24 Cleveland, OH

Cleveland State University – The Wolstein Center

DIII Men’s Ice Hockey Mar. 22-23 TBD TBD NC Women’s Ice Hockey Mar. 22-24 Hamden, CT TD Bank Sports Center DII Women’s Basketball Mar. 26-29 Columbus, OH Alumni Hall DI Men’s Swimming & Diving Mar. 27-30 Austin, TX

Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center

DII Men’s Basketball Mar. 27-30 Evansville, IN The Ford Center DI Women’s Basketball April 5-7 Tampa Bay, FL Amalie Arena DI Men’s Basketball April 5-10 Minneapolis, MN U.S. Bank Stadium DI Men’s Ice Hockey April 11-13 Buffalo, NY KeyBank Center NC Bowling April 11-13 Wickliffe, OH Game of Wickliffe NC Men’s Gymnastics April 19-20 Champaign, IL State Farm Center NC Women’s Gymnastics April 19-20 Fort Worth, TX

Fort Worth Convention Center Arena

Spring DIII Men’s Volleyball April 26-27 Union, NJ Harwood Arena NC Men’s Volleyball May 2-4 Long Beach, CA Walter Pyramid NC Beach Volleyball May 3-5 Gulf Shores, AL Gulf Shores Public Beach NC Women’s Water Polo May 10-12 Stanford, CA Avery Aquatic Center DII Men’s Lacrosse May 11 TBD TBD DIII Men’s Golf May 14-17 Nicholasville, KY Keene Trace DIII Women’s Golf May 14-17 Houston, TX Bay Oaks Country Club DII Women’s Golf May 15-18 Palm Beach Gardens, FL

PGA National Resort – Champions Course

DI Women’s Tennis May 16-25 Orlando, FL

USTA National Campus (Collegiate Center)

DI Men’s Tennis May 16-25 Orlando, FL

USTA National Campus (Collegiate Center)

DI Women’s Golf May 17-22 Fayetteville, AR The Blessings Golf Club DII Women’s Lacrosse May 17-19 Allendale, MI GVSU Lacrosse Stadium DII Men’s Golf May 20-24 Daniels, WV The Resort @ Glade Springs DIII Women’s Tennis May 20-25 Kalamazoo, MI Stowe Stadium DIII Men’s Tennis May 20-25 Kalamazoo, MI Stowe Stadium DII Men’s Tennis May 21-25 Altamonte Springs, FL Sanlando Park DII Women’s Tennis May 22-25 Altamonte Springs, FL Sanlando Park DII Men’s Outdoor Track & Field May 23-25 Kingsville,TX Javelina Stadium DII Women’s Outdoor Track & Field May 23-25 Kingsville,TX Javelina Stadium DIII Men’s Outdoor Track & Field May 23-25 Geneva, OH

SPIRE Institute – Outdoor Track & Field

DIII Women’s Outdoor Track & Field May 23-25 Geneva, OH

SPIRE Institute – Outdoor Track & Field

DII Softball May 23-27 Denver, CO

The Regency Athletic Complex @ MSU Denver

DIII Softball May 23-28 Tyler, TX Suddenlink Field DI Men’s Golf May 24-29 Fayetteville, AR The Blessings Golf Club DI Women’s Lacrosse May 24-26 Baltimore, MD Homewood Field DIII Women’s Lacrosse May 25-26 Ashland, VA

Randolph-Macon College Day Field

DI Men’s Lacrosse May 25-27 Philadelphia, PA Lincoln Financial Field DIII Men’s Lacrosse May 25-27 Philadelphia, PA Lincoln Financial Field DI Softball May 30-June 5 TBD TBD DIII Rowing May 31-June 1 Indianapolis, IN Indianapolis Rowing Center DI Rowing May 31-June 2 Indianapolis, IN Indianapolis Rowing Center DII Rowing May 31-June 2 Indianapolis, IN Indianapolis Rowing Center DIII Baseball May 31-June 5 Cedar Rapids, IA

Perfect Game Field @ Veterans Memorial Stadium

DII Baseball June 1-8 Cary, NC

USA Baseball National Training Complex

DI Men’s Outdoor Track & Field June 5-8 Austin, TX Mike A. Myers Stadium DI Women’s Outdoor Track & Field June 5-8 Austin, TX Mike A. Myers Stadium DI Baseball June 15-26 Omaha, NE TD Ameritrade Park

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New Academic Journal Seeks Marketing and Tech Writers – SEOJournal.co

SEOJournal.co seeks to add a new voice in SEO discussions by providing a peer-reviewed research periodical.  While there are a lot of journals providing SEO top ten lists this journal will serve as an academic source.  The new journal is already registered with the Library of Congress as a periodical and its first publication is planned in the next several months.

Students and practitioners are welcome to submit various skill levels for beginner audiences to expert data scientist. The journal has two volunteer editors both with Masters of Education and Technology backgrounds.  The journal is a non-profit endeavor and will not include advertisements or charge subscriptions.

This is an excellent way to get published and acknowledged outside of the buzzword gallery of blogs.  Visit https://seojournal.co to subscribe for upcoming editions or to submit works for inclusion.

Robot market growth slows as trade war hits industrial spending: robot industry chief

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TOKYO (Reuters) – An escalating trade war between the United States and China has dampened manufacturers’ appetite for investment in equipment, causing growth in the industrial robot market to slow, the chief of the global robot industry group said.

Many global manufacturers “are now in a wait-and-see mode, wondering whether to shift production (away from China) to, let’s say, Vietnam or the United States,” said Junji Tsuda, chief of the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), in an interview on Thursday.

IFR, which brings together nearly 60 global robot suppliers and integrators, predicts worldwide industrial robot sales this year to grow 10 percent compared to last year’s 30 percent jump.

China is the world’s largest robots market with a 36 percent global share, with its sales volume exceeding the total of Europe and the Americas combined.

Tsuda, also the chairman of Japan’s Yaskawa Electric Corp, said the manufacturers would move out of the wait-and-see mode by the end of this year.

It will take a while for the direction of the trade war to be clear, Tsuda said. “But global demand for smartphones, semiconductors and autos have been solid, and the time will eventually come that they can wait no longer and will resume investment to meet the demand.”

Yaskawa, one of the world’s top robot manufacturers, last week cut its annual operating profit forecast to 59 billion yen ($524.40 million) from 65.5 billion yen, citing a slowdown in smartphone-related demand in China and growing caution over the trade dispute.

From next year onwards, however, IFR expects the robot market growth to pick up again, forecasting an average 14 percent increase per year through 2021.

($1 = 112.5100 yen)

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

Crimea attack: College assault kills 17

Scene of Crimea school shooting, 17 October 2018 Image copyright PA

At least 17 people have been killed and dozens more wounded in an attack at a college in Russian-annexed Crimea.

Officials initially said an “unidentified explosive device” detonated, but now say all the victims died of gunshot wounds at the technical college in Kerch.

Russian investigators said an 18-year-old student blamed for the attack had killed himself.

Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 in a widely criticised move.

The annexation followed a disputed vote that was condemned by many Western powers.

The alleged perpetrator of the college attack has been identified as Vladislav Roslyakov, who is said to have opened fire on those in the building. Forty people were injured.

Russia’s RBC TV interviewed a friend who said he “hated the technical school very much”.

Image copyright PA

The incident had initially been described as a “terrorist act”, but Russia’s investigative committee has now reclassified it as “mass murder”.

President Vladimir Putin described it as a “tragic event” and expressed condolences to the victims’ relatives.

Image copyright PA
Image caption National guard soldiers were deployed

A local official said most of the victims were students of the technical college, which is a vocational school for 850 teenagers.

A major emergency response operation launched as the victims were taken to hospitals.

Four military planes were ready to evacuate the wounded and military hospital facilities were ready to accept victims if necessary, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

Investigators had at first released a statement saying an explosive device filled with “metal objects” had detonated in the dining area.

In earlier reaction, the director of the college, who was not at the scene at the time of the attack, told Russian media that unknown armed men had broken into the building. She compared it to the school siege of Beslan in 2004, during which about 330 people died.

Reuters news agency said that schools and pre-schools were being evacuated in the city.

Kerch is situated at the point where Russia built a bridge between the Crimean peninsula and Russia.

Relations between Russia and Ukraine remain strained by the Crimea annexation and a continuing conflict involving Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.

The speaker of the Russia-backed Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, suggested Kiev may have been behind the attack, saying “the entire evil inflicted on the land of Crimea is coming from the official Ukrainian authorities”.

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Insurers call for delay in prising open ‘black box’ accounts

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LONDON (Reuters) – Insurers from across the world have called for amendments and a two-year delay to a change in accounting rules aimed at increasing visibility of how they earn their money.

Nine national and regional insurance industry bodies from Europe, Canada, Korea, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa want the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) to amend and delay its “IFRS 17” book-keeping rule by two years to January 2023.

Twenty years in the making, the rule seeks to make it easier for investors to compare how much insurers earn from policies by prising open a “black box” of opaque national practices. IASB rules are used in over 100 countries, though the United States has its own accounting standards.

The industry bodies said in a letter to the IASB that preparatory work has confirmed that a number of important issues need to be resolved to make the new rule practical.

“As a result, we strongly believe a two-year delay in the effective date of the standard is required,” the letter to IASB chair Hans Hoogervorst said.

“There is no expectation that a delay will result in insurers stopping or slowing their implementation project.”

The CFO Forum of chief financial officers from major European insurers like Allianz, Aviva, Generali and Axa has said the new rule leads to inconsistent reporting, and requirements that are unnecessarily complex.

Implementation costs range from 50 million euros to 320 million euros per CFO Forum member, it said, with ongoing operational costs expected to be significantly greater than for applying existing insurance book-keeping rules.

The IASB board will discuss staff reports about a potential delay and amendments next week, but no decision is expected at that time.

“In determining what amendments, if any, to make to IFRS 17, the board will need to balance the potential benefit of any amendments against the effect of an undue delay to a standard that is needed to address many inadequacies in the existing wide range of insurance accounting practices,” an IASB staff paper for the meeting said.

Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Jan Harvey

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Jamal Khashoggi: Pressure grows on Saudis as US envoy meets king

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meeting Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 16 October 2018 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mr Pompeo thanked the king for his “commitment” to an investigation

Pressure is growing on Saudi Arabia to explain the fate of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met King Salman in Riyadh.

Mr Khashoggi was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents but the Saudis have denied this.

However, US media are reporting that the Saudis may be preparing to admit that Mr Khashoggi died as a result of an interrogation that went wrong.

Overnight, Turkish police completed a search of the consulate after being admitted by Saudi authorities.

What’s likely to come from the Pompeo meeting?

The secretary of state and the king have now met in Riyadh.

While much of what was discussed during has yet to be announced, the US State Department said that Mr Pompeo had used the time to thank the king for his “commitment to a thorough, transparent investigation” into Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Mr Pompeo was also expected to seek further clarification over a conversation between the king and President Donald Trump on Monday.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionPresident Trump and the King of Saudi Arabia discussed the disappearance of the Saudi journalist

Tweeting earlier about the call, Mr Trump said: “Just spoke to the king of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened ‘to our Saudi Arabian citizen’.”

He later told reporters: “The denial was very, very strong. It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows?”

There is a lot at stake given the strength of Saudi-US ties. Mr Trump has already ruled out cancelling a lucrative arms deal, although he did threaten “severe punishment” if the kingdom were found to be responsible for the death.

King Salman ordered an investigation into the missing journalist on Monday. Saudi statements up to now have dismissed allegations of a killing as “baseless” and “lies”.

The kingdom has also angrily rejected what it called political and economic “threats”, saying it would respond to any punitive action, such as sanctions, “with a bigger one”.

Mr Pompeo is also expected to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during his day in Riyadh. The secretary of state may then head to Turkey.

What is this US media line about?

It appeared in the New York Times and on CNN, quoting unnamed sources.

They said Saudi Arabia would acknowledge that Mr Khashoggi’s death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong and the intention had been only to abduct him from Turkey.

This may explain in part Mr Trump’s “rogue killers” line.

Who such killers could be and how it fits into reports of a Saudi team being despatched to the consulate before Mr Khashoggi’s arrival will presumably need to covered.

CNN said the Saudis may argue the operation was conducted without clearance and those responsible would be held accountable.

The Khashoggi family in Saudi Arabia issued a statement calling for an “independent and impartial international commission”.

Reputations may be forever tainted

By Frank Gardner, BBC News

The recent, highly charged exchange of words between Washington and Riyadh now appears to have given way to a mutual search for the least bad explanation. Both countries’ leaders know they have an enormous amount to lose if this affair ended up splitting apart their 73-year old strategic partnership.

Iran, as the regional rival to Saudi Arabia, would be the prime beneficiary if the Saudis were to lose their defensive US umbrella. President Trump is also correct when he says thousands of US jobs would be lost, with China and Russia to be among those lining up to replace them.

Which begs the wider question: is the West’s relationship with Saudi Arabia so important that it outweighs the need to condemn and punish what many believe was a state-sponsored murder of a journalist inside a consulate?

Hence the urgent dispatching of US Secretary of State for talks with the Saudi leadership. In private there may well be some strong words, in public both countries may want to present a united stand. But one thing is certain: whatever narrative emerges, the international reputation of the Saudi Crown Prince and power-behind-the-throne Mohammed Bin Salman will forever be tainted by this affair.

What happened with the consulate search?

For the first time since the journalist disappeared on 2 October, Turkish investigators were allowed to enter the building.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Turkish officers search the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

A Saudi team entered first on Monday, followed roughly an hour later by Turkish forensic police.

The Turkish investigators, some wearing overalls, gloves and covered shoes. stayed for about eight hours, leaving in the early hours of Tuesday.

They reportedly took with them samples, including of soil from the consulate garden.

Saudi Arabia agreed last week to allow Turkish officials to conduct a search but insisted it would only be a superficial “visual” inspection.

Turkey rejected that offer. The Sabah daily newspaper said investigators had wanted to search the building with luminol, a chemical which shows up any traces of blood. It is not clear whether that happened.

Reports on Tuesday said Istanbul police would also search the Saudi consul’s residence.

What allegedly happened in Istanbul?

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Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government who has written for the Washington Post, was last seen walking into the consulate on 2 October.

Reports suggest an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi went to get paperwork for his forthcoming marriage.

Turkish sources allege he was killed by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents but Riyadh insists that he left the consulate unharmed.

Mr Khashoggi was once an adviser to the Saudi royal family but fell out of favour with the Saudi government and went into self-imposed exile. He is a US resident.

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Jamal Khashoggi: Turkey ‘to search Saudi consulate’ in Istanbul

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Media captionJamal Khashoggi: What we know about the journalist’s disappearance

Turkish officials investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will search Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul later on Monday, according to reports.

Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by Saudi agents nearly two weeks ago, but Riyadh strongly denies this.

Diplomatic pressure is growing on the Saudis to give a fuller explanation.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman ordered an investigation into the case.

“The king has ordered the public prosecutor to open an internal investigation into the Khashoggi matter based on the information from the joint team in Istanbul,” an official quoted by Reuters news agency said.

Last week, Turkey accepted a Saudi proposal to form a joint working group to investigate Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.

The latest moves come as more leading business figures say they will not attend a major investment conference in Riyadh later this month.

The head of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, is one of the latest high-profile executives to pull out.

When will the search take place?

Turkish diplomatic sources said the consulate would be searched by a joint Turkish-Saudi team in the late afternoon or evening.

Details of how the search will be carried out have not been revealed.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police barricades have been set up in front of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Saudi Arabia agreed last week to allow Turkish officials to search the building but insisted it would only be a superficial “visual” inspection.

Turkey rejected that offer. The Sabah daily newspaper said investigators had wanted to search the building with luminol, a chemical which shows up any traces of blood.

King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone on Sunday evening, officials said, and stressed the importance of the two countries working together on the case.

What is alleged to have happened in Istanbul?

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Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government who has written for the Washington Post, was last seen walking into the consulate on 2 October.

A Turkish security source has told the BBC that officials have audio and video evidence proving Mr Khashoggi was murdered inside the building.

Reports suggest an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi went to get paperwork for his forthcoming marriage.

Turkish sources allege he was killed by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents, but Riyadh insists that he left the consulate unharmed.

Mr Khashoggi was once an adviser to the Saudi royal family but fell out of favour with the Saudi government and went into self-imposed exile. He is a US resident.

How have other countries reacted?

US President Donald Trump has threatened Saudi Arabia with “severe punishment” if it emerges that Mr Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

In an interview with CBS News, Mr Trump said that, if true, the fact that a journalist was murdered was “terrible and disgusting”.

However, he ruled out halting big military contracts with Riyadh.

On Sunday, Riyadh angrily rejected political and economic “threats” over the missing journalist and said it would respond to any punitive action “with a bigger one”.

The UK, Germany and France have called for a “credible” investigation into the disappearance.

Their foreign ministers said that if anyone were found responsible they should be held accountable, and urged a detailed response from Riyadh.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said that whatever happened now was “absolutely up to Saudi Arabia”.

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Kangaroo attacks couple in northeastern Australia, injures woman

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian wildlife carers Jim and Linda Smith are lucky to be alive, an ambulance official said, after they were attacked by a kangaroo in northeastern Queensland state.

The Smiths were feeding wild kangaroos on their property in the Darling Downs when a grey kangaroo buck struck out at Jim Smith, knocking him to the ground.

The kangaroo attacked his wife, Linda, when she ran to help him, leaving her with a collapsed lung, broken ribs, cuts and scratches.

“It’s scary, it knocked me over once or twice and once they grab you, you can see what they do”, Jim said, showing his injuries.

It was only when their son came out and hit the kangaroo with a piece of wood that the marsupial stopped the attack and returned to nearby bushland, Australian media reported.

Linda Smith was taken to Toowoomba Hospital, where she underwent surgery, media reports said.

“If the kangaroo was able to continue to inflict further injury, her life was, yes, in danger,” Queensland Ambulance Service’s senior operations supervisor Stephen Johns said.

Australia has roughly 45 million kangaroos and it is not unusual for them to come into conflict with people as housing has expanded to areas where the marsupials live.

They are even more likely to be driven into populated areas in search of food and water in drought-stricken areas.

Reporting by Stefica Nicol Bikes; Writing by Karishma Singh

Jamal Khashoggi case: Saudis defy ‘threats’ over missing writer

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Media captionJamal Khashoggi: What we know about the journalist’s disappearance

Saudi Arabia rejects political and economic “threats” over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a source quoted by state news agency SPA says.

The country would respond to any punitive action “with a bigger one”, the unnamed senior source said.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, vanished on 2 October after visiting its consulate in Istanbul.

US President Donald Trump said he would “punish” Saudi Arabia if it were found responsible for killing him.

The authorities in Istanbul believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate by Saudi agents – claims Riyadh has dismissed as “lies”.

Britain and the US are considering boycotting a major international conference in Saudi Arabia this month.

What is the latest from the Saudis?

The source quoted by SPA said: “The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats or attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure.

“The kingdom also affirms that it will respond to any action with a bigger one. The Saudi economy has vital and influential roles for the global economy.”

The Saudis have come under considerable international pressure over the disappearance.

Diplomatic sources told the BBC’s James Landale that both US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox might not attend next month’s investment conference in Riyadh, which has been dubbed “Davos in the Desert”.

The event is being hosted by the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to promote his reform agenda. Several sponsors and media groups have decided to pull out.

A joint statement of condemnation, if it is confirmed that Mr Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents, is also being discussed by US and European diplomats.

What has Mr Trump said?

The president has said the US will inflict “severe punishment” if Saudi Arabia is found to be responsible for the death of Mr Khashoggi.

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Media captionDonald Trump says he’d be very angry if Saudi Arabia ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

He said he would be “very upset and angry if that were the case”, but ruled out halting big military contracts.

“I think we’d be punishing ourselves if we did that,” he said. “If they don’t buy it from us, they’re going to buy it from Russia or… China.”

Where is the investigation now?

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevut Cavusoglu said Saudi Arabia had not so far co-operated with the investigation – despite a statement from Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif bin Abdulaziz saying his nation wanted to uncover “the whole truth”.

Mr Cavusoglu has urged the kingdom to allow Turkish officials to enter the consulate.

Saudi share reaction

On Sunday, stocks on the Tadawul All-Shares Index plummeted 7% in early trading, wiping out all the gains made this year, before recovering slightly around noon.

In two sessions it lost $50bn (£38bn) of its $450bn capitalisation, AFP news agency reported.

Salah Shamma, of Franklin Templeton Emerging Markets Equity, told Reuters: “The market is reacting negatively to sentiment around the Khashoggi case.”

What is alleged to have happened in Istanbul?

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Media captionCCTV footage shows missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

A Turkish security source has told the BBC that officials had audio and video evidence proving Mr Khashoggi, who wrote for the Washington Post, was murdered inside the consulate.

Reports suggest an assault and struggle took place in the consulate after Mr Khashoggi entered the building to get paperwork for a marriage.

Turkish sources allege he was killed by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents.

Turkish TV has broadcast CCTV footage of the moment Mr Khashoggi walked into the consulate.

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Media captionSecretary General Antonio Guterres told the BBC’s Kamal Ahmed “we need to know exactly what has happened”

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Selling Or Buying A Home? You’ll Know What Comps Are Soon.

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It’s all about Location, Location, Location they say in real estate, but to a buyer or a seller it may be Price, Price, Price.  You may be buying your first starter home or selling the family home to move into retirement in Florida either way you’ll need to know “How much is it actually worth?”  In real estate lingo “Comps” is a second word that comes with little ambiguity, but to the laymen that same word could leave you wondering.  Comparables are reports on similar houses in the area and how much they went for when they were recently sold.  These reports give insight into the value of the home you wish to sell or buy and allow you to determine if it is really a dream home or it is actually a home you can afford.

Sites like Zillow.com attempt to determine a comparable price for a home through open records and information about a home provided over the years in these open records. Ask any realtor and they’ll tell you they hate Zillow.  Not because it takes their clients, the site doesn’t facilitate home sales but due to the inaccuracies made when determining a home’s value without firsthand knowledge of the area or the home.

Real estate agents usually determine these with local knowledge and understanding of the area.  These are performed though after a home buyer or seller has contacted a real estate agent.  Sometimes you’d just like to know without beginning a search with someone who’s commission based.  The perceived pressure that comes with a real estate agent may make Zillow more attractive than an accurate price or at least get you by until you absolutely have to contact an agent.

Other sites are now offering a blended opportunity that borrows the best of both previous options and provide accurate real estate comps but free of the pressure of working with an agent.  RealEstateCompsToday.com is one of these services that offers national coverage but contracts with local agents to provide investors, sellers and buyers with the best possible comparable home price reports.

Too often in life we see black and white or right and wrong and forget that life choices don’t have to be bilateral.  More often a third method is available that includes the best of both original options and today it seems there is a third option in real estate comps.  Consider this next time you search for comps in my area.

Nepal storm kills several climbers in Himalayan peak Gurja

An ice avalanche is shooting down an icy rock slope Image copyright Frank Bienewald/Getty
Image caption Nepal is home to eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks

At least eight climbers died when a violent snowstorm destroyed their camp on a Himalayan peak in western Nepal.

A five-member South Korean expedition team and four Nepali guides were at the base camp of Mount Gurja when the storm struck, police said on Saturday.

A rescue helicopter at the scene confirmed seeing eight bodies in the ruins of the camp, but was unable to stay due to bad weather conditions.

The ninth climber has yet to be found but is feared dead.

“Five South Korean climbers are dead, three Nepalese nationals are also dead. One Nepali guide is missing,” police spokesman Sailesh Thapa told the BBC.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Kim Chang-ho has won awards for his mountaineering efforts

Local media report that South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, the fastest person to summit the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen, is among the dead.

“The camp was completely destroyed,” the BBC heard from Myagdi district official Liladhar Adhikari. “[A recovery team] could see the bodies of the climbers scattered near the camp.”

He said another recovery team would be sent on Sunday, weather conditions permitting.

Expedition organisers raised the alarm after losing contact with the group, which set off on 7 October, for nearly 24 hours.

The climbers had been waiting for a window of good weather so they could reach the summit, when the storm hit Friday.

The base camp, which is at least one-day’s trek from the nearest village, is at 3,500m (11,483ft), on the 7,193m-high mountain.

The rarely-climbed Mount Gurja sits in Nepal’s Annapurna region, next to avalanche-prone Dhaulagiri, the world’s seventh highest mountain.

According to the Himalayan Database, no-one has stood on Gurja’s summit since 1996.

Only 30 people have successfully climbed to its peak compared with more the than 8,000 people who have reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Everest.

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