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US figure skater, 22, is accused of slashing her 16-year-old Korean rival before world championships

An American figure skater has been accused of slashing her South Korean rival on the leg just before they competed in the world championships.

Mariah Bell, 22, allegedly kicked Lim Eun-soo, 16, during a warm-up before they were set to skate at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Japan on Wednesday.

Lim's management agency claims Bell cut the teen's leg while the skaters were rehearsing before the women's short program.

Forget Tesla, It's China's E-Buses That Are Denting Oil Demand

The oil industry needn’t be too concerned -- for now -- about how Tesla Inc.’s electric cars are denting demand. China and its bus fleet could be more of a worry.

By the end of this year, a cumulative 270,000 barrels a day of diesel demand will have been displaced by electric buses, most of it in China, according to a report published Tuesday by BloombergNEF. That’s more than three times the displacement by all the world’s passenger electric vehicles (a market where Tesla has a share of about 12 percent.).

Despite rapid growth, the impact on the oil market from electric vehicles remains relatively small. Collectively, buses and electric vehicles account for about 3 percent of oil demand growth since 2011, and 0.3 percent of current global consumption, according to BloombergNEF figures and data from the International Energy Agency.

Buses matter more because of their size and constant use. For every 1,000 electric buses on the road, 500 barrels of diesel are displaced each day, BloombergNEF estimates. By comparison, 1,000 battery electric vehicles remove just 15 barrels of oil demand.

Germany: US ambassador Richard Grenell should be expelled, says FDP deputy leader

Wolfgang Kubicki, the deputy chairman of the opposition Free Democrats (FDP), said Richard Grenell's repeated interference in German sovereignty should prompt Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to immediately declare Grenell persona non grata.

"Any US diplomat who acts like a high commissioner of an occupying power must learn that our tolerance also knows its limits," said Kubicki, who is also one of five deputy speakers of Germany's Bundestag parliament.

Grenell had on Tuesday criticized Germany's military spending plans within NATO as insufficient, prompting Kubicki to accuse the envoy of "interfering" repeatedly in political issues of a sovereign country.

Grenell's criticism of Germany's defense spending came weeks after he demanded that Berlin halt Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline being laid across the Baltic Sea to deliver gas from Russia to Germany, and threatened firms involved in the project with sanctions.

France says it might BLOCK any Brexit delay if Theresa May cannot guarantee she can pass her deal

France has warned it may block any request by Theresa May to delay Brexit unless she can give EU leaders 'guarantees' that it will lead to MPs passing a withdrawal deal.

Foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the parliament in Paris today that Mrs May would need to make an incredibly strong case at a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday.

It came after the Prime Minister revealed in the Commons this afternoon that she had written to the EU to ask for an extension to Article 50 to June 30 to allow more time to pass a deal.

Mr Le Drian told French MPs: 'A situation in which Mrs May would not be able to present to the European Council sufficient guarantees about the credibility of her strategy would lead to the extension request being dismissed and opting for a no-deal exit.'

Brexit in three months or I could QUIT: May tells MPs she won't delay leaving the EU beyond June 30

Brexit in three months or I could QUIT: May tells MPs she won't delay leaving the EU beyond June 30 as she reveals letter asking for a short extension to hold another vote on her deal

Theresa May will beg EU for a three-month delay - but Juncker says she may have to pass her deal to get one
Hinting that this is her personal red line she said: 'I am not prepared to delay Brexit any further than June 30'
Cabinet is split with Brexiteers hoping for No Deal and Remainers accusing her of 'caving-in' to Eurosceptics
Prime Minister travels to Brussels tomorrow to seek short extension to Article 50 beyond March 29
Mrs May hopes she can return to the Commons next week with a substantial change to withdrawal agreement
PM has told ministers she will be asking for a clause which could allow for withdrawal by June 30
Juncker signals that May must win vote on her deal before a delay to Brexit is granted at emergency summit
Labour push for emergency debate as Bercow prepares to intervene again days after blocking third vote
Brexiteers say Britain must leave before June's EU elections and party certain to be hit in May local elections

Trump's Beijing Blockade Backfires: Not A Single European Country Has Banned Huawei

For the past year, as part of Trump's escalating trade war against China, the Trump administration has been waging a parallel campaign to convince America's European "allies" (at least until the White House unleashes auto tariffs against Brussles in retaliation for China annexing Italy to the Belt and Road initiative) to bar China’s Huawei Technologies from their telecom networks, a process which so far has culminated with the arrest of the Chinese telecom giant's CFO in Canada. Bolstered by the success of similar efforts in Australia and New Zealand, the White House sent envoys to European capitals with warnings that Huawei’s gear would open a backdoor for Chinese spies. Last week, the U.S. even threatened to cut off intelligence sharing if Germany ignored its advice.

So far, the gamble to pressure Europe has backfired: not a single European country has banned Huawei.

Confirming that Europe and the US are now allies only on paper, was the scathing commentary by Angela Merkel at a Berlin conference on Tuesday: "There are two things I don’t believe in,” Merkel said: "First, to discuss these very sensitive security questions publicly, and second, to exclude a company simply because it’s from a certain country."

And just like that, Europe took its place in the grand superpower race: right next to China (and Russia) against the US.

Lion air trim adjustments from Preliminary Report

The Indonesian authorities' initial analysis (PDF, 12.7MB, 78 pages) of the flight data recorder (black box) from Lion Air 610 showed the pilots repeatedly undoing trim settings made by MCAS, only for the software system to repeat its input.

An extract from Figure 5 of the KNKT preliminary report into the fatal crash of Lion Air flight 610. The yellow graph shows MCAS inputting nose down trim with the light blue graph showing the pilots countering it with nose up trim. The dark blue line shows the ultimate position of the trimmer ending at almost full nose down. Click to enlarge

Unlike the other automatic trim systems aboard Boeing 737s, MCAS was written to operate in 10-second bursts. The system reportedly takes its critical inputs, from which it decides whether the aircraft is near to stalling and therefore needs nose-down trim, from a single angle-of-attack sensor at a time.

Exclusive: Cockpit voice recorder of doomed Lion Air jet depicts pilots' frantic search for fix - sources

JAKARTA/SINGAPORE/PARIS (Reuters) - The pilots of a doomed Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX scoured a handbook as they struggled to understand why the jet was lurching downwards, but ran out of time before it hit the water, three people with knowledge of the cockpit voice recorder contents said.


The captain asked the first officer to check the quick reference handbook, which contains checklists for abnormal events, the first source said.

For the next nine minutes, the jet warned pilots it was in a stall and pushed the nose down in response, the report showed. A stall is when the airflow over a plane’s wings is too weak to generate lift and keep it flying.

The captain fought to climb, but the computer, still incorrectly sensing a stall, continued to push the nose down using the plane’s trim system. Normally, trim adjusts an aircraft’s control surfaces to ensure it flies straight and level.

“They didn’t seem to know the trim was moving down,” the third source said. “They thought only about airspeed and altitude. That was the only thing they talked about.”

Boeing Co declined to comment on Wednesday because the investigation was ongoing.

The manufacturer has said there is a documented procedure to handle the situation. A different crew on the same plane the evening before encountered the same problem but solved it after running through three checklists, according to the November report.

Trigger warnings do little to reduce people's distress, research shows


Trigger warnings may be increasingly prevalent, but there has been almost no research actually examining their effects.

It's possible that they function the way they're meant to, helping people to manage their emotional responses and reduce their symptoms of distress. But it's also possible trigger warnings could have the opposite effect, influencing people's expectations and experiences in ways that exacerbate their distress.

"We thought it was important to figure out how effective these warnings are," says Sanson. "This is the first piece of empirical work directly examining if they have their intended effects."

To resolve the question, the researchers conducted a series of six experiments with a total of 1,394 participants.

Some participants -- a combination of college students and online participants -- read a message about the content they were about to see, for example: "TRIGGER WARNING: The following video may contain graphic footage of a fatal car crash. You might find this content disturbing." Others did not read a warning. All participants were then exposed to the content.

Afterward, the participants reported various symptoms of distress -- their negative emotional state, and the degree to which they experienced intrusive thoughts and tried to avoid thinking about the content.

The results across all six experiments were consistent: Trigger warnings had little effect on participants' distress. That is, participants responded to the content similarly, regardless of whether they saw a trigger warning.

The format of the content also did not make a difference: Trigger warnings had little impact regardless of whether participants read a story or watched a video clip.

Could it be that trigger warnings are specifically effective for those people who have previously experienced traumatic events? The data suggested the answer is no: There was little difference between groups. In other words, individuals with a personal history of trauma who received a trigger warning reported similar levels of distress as did those who did not receive a warning.

Sorry for not providing a trigger warning for such a distressing OP.

China may drop Boeing 737 MAX from trade deal with US

China is looking at excluding Boeing Co.’s troubled 737 MAX jet from a list of American exports it would buy as part of a trade deal with the US, people familiar with the matter said.

Boeing planes were featured on a draft list of American products China would buy to reduce its trade surplus with the US, the sources said, asking not to be identified discussing private deliberations. Now, safety concerns are pushing China to examine whether to cut the 737 MAX from the list altogether or replace it with other Boeing models after the crash of a plane operated by Ethiopian Airlines led to the aircraft being grounded worldwide, they said.

A reduction in aircraft purchases could make it harder for China to fulfil an offer it is said to have made to pare down its US$300-billion-plus annual goods trade surplus with the US over six years, and potentially delay any overall agreement between the two countries. Worth billions of dollars and a key US export, planes would likely be a key component of any commitment by China to buy more American goods, along with soybeans, meat and natural gas.

Italy may be ready to open up four ports to Chinese investment under Belt and Road Initiative

Four ports in Italy may be in line for Chinese investment under China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, despite security concerns within Italy and the European Union,according to diplomatic sources.

A deal on the ports is expected to be on the agenda when Chinese President Xi Jinping heads to Rome this week for talks with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

The northwestern city of Genoa, Italy’s biggest seaport, said it would sign cooperation agreements with China, while in the south the Sicilian port of Palermo – which Xi is expected to visit this weekend – is the focus of Rome’s efforts to attract Chinese shipping operators. Two ports in the northern Adriatic Sea, Trieste and Ravenna, might also be part of Italy’s memorandum of understanding with Xi as part of a plan to compete with major European ports, the sources said.

The Italian government has said that allowing Chinese state companies to manage or hold stakes in Italian ports would be key to expanding exports.
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