Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Strong travel demand lifts Boeing in first quarter

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Rising demand for travel is providing Boeing with a huge tail wind, pushing earnings and revenue beyond Wall Street expectations in the first quarter.

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The aircraft maker also boosted its 2018 profit outlook and cited a strong backlog on orders. It expects to increase production of its 767’s over the next within the next two years.

“Our team’s strong first-quarter performance, combined with the positive market outlook across our businesses and our confidence in executing on our production and development programs, gives us a solid foundation to raise our guidance for the year,” said President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg.

Profit rose 57 percent to $2.48 billion, or $4.15 per share. Per-share earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, were $3.64, blowing past analyst projections for $2.59.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $23.38 billion with the Chicago company making 184 deliveries of commercial aircraft.

The company’s defense segment also gained ground, getting an initial contract from Kuwait for 28 F/A-18’s, among other international contracts.

Looking ahead, Boeing raised its projected 2018 per-share profit range to between $16.40 and $16.60 from $15.90 to $16.10. It still expects revenue between $96 billion and $98 billion.

Shares of Boeing Co. rose 3 percent in premarket trading.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on BA at https://www.zacks.com/ap/BA

Insurer Anthem's earnings jump 30 pct as medical costs fall

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Anthem’s first-quarter earnings shot up 30 percent, and the Blue Cross-Blue Shield insurer hiked its 2018 forecast, as a drop in medical expenses bolstered its performance.

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The nation’s second-largest health insurer joined rival UnitedHealth Group Inc. in topping analyst expectations for the quarter and hiking its 2018 forecast.

Anthem said Wednesday that it now expects 2018 adjusted earnings to be greater than $15.30 per share after saying in January that they would exceed $15 per share.

The new estimate tops the average analyst forecast for $15.13 per share, according to FactSet.

In the first quarter, Anthem saw its largest expense, medical costs, fall 3 percent to $17.05 billion. New CEO Gail Boudreaux attributed that drop in part to the insurer’s push to create “value based care models” across its markets.

Anthem and other insurers are trying to base more of their reimbursement for care on a patient’s health or how the person does. They want to get away from simply paying for each service performed, an approach they say leads to over use of some forms of care, which drives up costs.

Anthem also added 135,000 Medicare Advantage customers in the quarter after completing an acquisition. But it’s total enrollment slipped more than 2 percent to 39.6 million, as the insurer scaled back the individual coverage it sells on the Affordable Care Act’s public insurance exchanges. Several other insurers also have withdrawn from those markets after getting hit by higher than expected costs and other complications.

Overall, Anthem Inc. earned $1.31 billion in the quarter, with earnings adjusted for one-time gains and costs at $5.41 per share.

That trumped expectations on Wall Street, where analysts forecast, on average, earnings of $4.83 per share, according to Zacks Investment Research.

Operating revenue, which excludes investment gains, came in relatively flat at $22.34 billion, and that missed expectation for $22.53 billion.

Shares of Indianapolis-based Anthem advanced $2 to $227 before markets opened.

Anthem shares have dropped slightly since the beginning of the year, but the stock has risen 34 percent in the last 12 months.

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Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on ANTM at https://www.zacks.com/ap/ANTM

Arizona special election features Debbie Lesko, Hiral Tipirneni: What to know about the race

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Arizona’s 8th congressional district hasn’t had a U.S. representative since December – but Republican Debbie Lesko is about to change that. 

Lesko, a former state lawmaker, narrowly defeated Democrat Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, a cancer research advocate, in an April 24 special House election by about 5 percentage points. The seat was left empty after Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican, resigned in disgrace on Dec. 8, 2017, following reports of sexual misconduct. 

Here’s what you need to know about the candidates and the district.

Debbie Lesko, Republican

FILE - In this April 6, 2017 file photo, Arizona state Sen. Debbie Lesko speaks in the Senate chambers in Phoenix. Two former Republican Arizona lawmakers who are leading candidates to fill a vacant U.S. House seat are embroiled in controversy as Tuesday's special primary election looms. Former state Sen. Debbie Lesko is under fire for transferring $50,000 from her old state Senate campaign fund to an independent group backing her congressional election bid. Former state Sen. Steve Montenegro reportedly received racy text messages from a Senate staffer who isn't his wife. (AP Photo/Bob Christie, File)

Debbie Lesko served as a state senator and representative for nearly 10 years total.  (AP Photo/Bob Christie)

When Debbie Lesko reflects on her time serving in Arizona politics, she recalls a golf cart parade.

In 2014, then a state representative, Lesko championed legislation that allowed people to drive golf carts – the preferred mode of transportation in large retirement communities – along the side of the road. At the time, more than 30,000 golf carts were registered in Maricopa County, Arizona, and up to 50 percent of households in Sun City, a large retirement community, used a golf cart, according to the Arizona Republic.

Residents, along with Lesko and then-Gov. Jan Brewer, celebrated with a parade of more than 100 golf carts.

“I have a reputation of doing things that directly help my constituents,” Lesko told Fox News. “People in my district believe in everything that everyone else in the nation believes in: securing the border … national security, a good economy, good jobs. But they also really care about local issues, and I have a history of helping them with that.”

Many of those national issues, according to Lesko’s campaign website, echo some of President Trump’s agenda items, such as building a border wall, strengthening the country’s missile defense program against potential threats from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (who her website calls an “insane madman”) and protecting the Second Amendment.

Aside from those issues, Lesko also wants to talk about domestic violence. She said she was able to leave an abusive husband about 25 years ago.

“Domestic violence is a very prevalent problem, and it can happen to anyone. It doesn’t matter what their status is, what their educational background is,” she said. “It happens to so many women, and I just want them to know they can get out of it and become successful, because I did it. I’m living proof of it.”

She has since remarried and has three children.

Lesko first got into politics with her local Republican Party, starting off as a district chairman, an elected volunteer position. She rose through the ranks, becoming a state Republican Party officer before she won a state House seat. She served as a representative for six years and as a state senator for three.

President Trump congratulated Lesko on her win, saying she “will do a great job.” 

“I’ve come a long way, and this is really quite overwhelming. It’s very surreal,” Lesko said at her victory party. “Twenty-five years ago, I left an abusive husband, and I sure as heck never would have dreamt in a million years that I would be running for Congress to be a congresswoman.” 

Hiral Tipirneni, Democrat

This undated photo shows candidate Hiral Tipirneni, one of two Democrats running in the 8th Congressional District's special election on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, to replace former Rep. Trent Franks, in Arizona. The leading Republicans among a dozen candidates in the GOP stronghold 8th Congressional District that covers much of the western Phoenix suburbs include two former state senators, two former state House members and a talk radio host who pulled in 29 percent of the vote in a 2016 primary challenge to Franks. Two Democrats are seeking their party's nomination, hoping to pull out a longshot win in the April 27 general election. (Celina Medina via AP)

Democrat Hiral Tipirneni works in cancer research, an issue that she is personally passionate about.  (Celina Medina via AP)

A former emergency room physician, Dr. Hiral Tipirneni has dedicated her career to cancer research after the death of her mother and nephew. And it’s the skills she developed as a doctor – working together with a group of diverse people with different perspectives to help patients – that she wanted to take to Washington.

Tipirneni knew that she was running as a Democrat in a conservative district, but she didn’t dwell on that. For her, it’s not about a political party so much as it is about representing the district.

“One of the big reasons I decided to run is I’m so frustrated by the lack of forward progress, divisiveness and standing solely on a partisan [ground],” Tipirneni told Fox News.

“I’m looking to bring people together to the table to have a conversation,” she continued. “A lot of folks feel alienated. I would fight on their behalf and not fight about ideology.”

Her campaign website pushed for more bipartisan solutions to hot-button issues. For example, on the Second Amendment, Tipirneni said she supports the rights of “law-abiding Americans to obtain firearms through legal channels to protect their homes, themselves and their families, and for hunting and sport.” But she also supports “commonsense gun reform,” such as eliminating certain background check loopholes.

The top of the Second Amendment section on Tipirneni’s site declares: “When progressives and conservatives work together, we can accomplish great things.”

While Tipirneni has volunteered on other campaigns, this was her first foray into politics. She said she isn’t “looking to build [her] political resume” but just wants to help those in her district.

“The reason I’m doing this is because I am a constituent as well in this district, and I’ve spent many years frustrated, feeling that I don’t have a voice in D.C.,” she said.

Along with her husband, Tipirneni has three children. Her daughters are in college, and her son is in high school. Tipirneni also serves on the board of directors for the Maricopa Health Foundation.

The district

The 8th congressional district includes a small area just outside of Phoenix. In the 2016 presidential election, President Trump beat Hillary Clinton by 21 percent in the district, according to statistics provided by the Arizona secretary of state’s office.

The district is also home to Sun City – the expansive and “original” retirement community.

There are more than 455,000 registered voters in the district: 187,129 Republicans, 109,555 Democrats and 154,764 voters not registered to a party. Franks didn’t face a Democratic challenger in 2016 or 2014.

Republicans have a 17-percentage-point registration advantage, according to the Arizona Republic

Gabby Giffords, a Democrat who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, represented the 8th district for five years until she resigned a year after the attack. However, due to redistricting in the state, the landscape of the 8th district has since changed. 

Issues important to the district

Immigration: Illegal immigration is a large issue for voters in the 8th district, according to Lesko.

“[Illegal] immigration, just naturally because we’re a border state, costs our state a lot of money. People are frustrated that – at least under the Obama administration – the federal government was not securing the border,” Lesko said.

Lesko said on her campaign website that she’s “committed to working with President Trump” to secure the border.

For Tipirneni, immigration is a “truly personal” issue, as she and her parents came to the U.S. from India.

“I passionately believe that we must remain a land of opportunity for those who are willing to work for it,” she says on her campaign website.

“We ALL deserve an accountable immigration system providing a clear, affordable path to citizenship for those who qualify and have earned it. We also need secure borders. While those two ideas should not be mutually exclusive, our current climate politicizes an issue that, at its core, has real lives at stake,” the site reads.

Tipirneni called for a solution for DACA and comprehensive immigration reform. She said she is opposed to Trump’s proposed border wall as she believes the funds for it “would be better spent towards securing our border in other ways.”

Health care: Voters in the district, particularly senior citizens, are concerned about health care, including the future of Medicare and the state’s Medicaid program, Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS).

Tipirneni said that as she’s knocked on doors during her campaign so far, many people have expressed concern about health care issues – particularly Medicare.

Tipirneni’s platform includes health care reform, including expanding Medicare to a younger consumer base. She acknowledged the Affordable Care Act has “serious flaws [that] must be addressed if we are to improve access to health care today as well as generations to come.”

Drew Anderson, senior communications adviser for the Arizona Democratic Party, told Fox News voters are “simply fed up” with Republicans’ “chaotic tactics to rip away their health care opportunities, including access to Medicare and Arizona’s AHCCCS.”

While Medicaid and Medicare issues are not listed on her campaign website, part of Lesko’s platform includes a commitment to “vote to prohibit any federal funding for abortion or infanticide.”

“I’m a strong believer that life begins at conception and we must protect the most vulnerable among us,” she said.

Money: Republicans were not afraid to spend money on this race. 

The National Congressional Committee is responsible for a $170,000 TV ad buy, according to Politico. And the Republican National Committee and Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC, have also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Lesko.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.

The Latest: 2 Dallas officers who were shot remain critical

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The Latest on the shooting of two Dallas police officers and an employee of a home improvement store(all times local):

7:10 a.m.

Authorities say two Dallas police officers are in critical condition, with one described as “gravely ill,” a day after they were shot while trying to remove a man from a home improvement store.

Police officials said in a statement that a Home Depot employee is also in critical condition following the Tuesday afternoon shooting.

Officers Crystal Almeida and Rogelio Santander, both three-year veterans of the force, remain hospitalized Wednesday in Dallas. Dallas police Sgt. Michael Mata told KDFW-TV that Santander is “gravely, gravely ill.” He says Almeida is “severely injured” but “fighting hard.”

Mata says “it’s going to be a tough day today.”

Authorities say suspect Armando Juarez will be charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a public servant in the shooting. He was apprehended following a police chase late Tuesday.

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11:45 p.m.

Authorities say two Dallas police officers were escorting a man from a home improvement store when he shot them and a store employee.

The shooting occurred Tuesday at a Home Depot in northern Dallas. Police Chief U. Renee Hall says the two officers and the store loss-prevention officer underwent surgery for their injuries.

She did not provide further details but asked for continued prayers for their recovery.

Police have arrested 29-year-old Armando Luis Juarez on charges of aggravated assault on a police officer and felony theft. He was taken into custody following a car chase hours after the afternoon shooting.

The two police officers were called to the store to help an off-duty officer with removing the man from the store.

Who is Debbie Lesko? 3 things to know about Arizona's newest congresswoman

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Running as a Republican in the special Arizona House race, Debbie Lesko knows her district and has experience representing it at the state level.

Lesko narrowly defeated Democrat Hiral Tipirneni in the April special election. The congressional seat became vacant after Republican Rep. Trent Franks resigned in December.

After her win, President Trump tweeted his congratulations, saying she “will do great things.”

Here’s three things to know about Arizona’s newest congresswoman.

She’s been involved in the state Republican Party for some time

Lesko recently resigned as a state senator, a position she held for three years, to run for Congress. Prior to that, she was a state representative for six years.

Lesko, a mother of three, got her start in Republican politics first with an elected volunteer position as district Republican chairman. Eventually she would become a county Republican officer, and then a state Republican officer.

“I was just really engaged,” Lesko told Fox News. “When an opening came up in the legislature in 2008, people approached me and asked if I wanted to run, and I did and won.”

As a state representative, she participated in a golf cart parade

A woman rides in a golf cart with her dog in Sun City, Arizona, January 6, 2013. Sun City was built in 1959 by entrepreneur Del Webb as America?s first active retirement community for the over-55's. Del Webb predicted that retirees would flock to a community where they were given more than just a house with a rocking chair in which to sit and wait to die. Today?s residents keep their minds and bodies active by socializing at over 120 clubs with activities such as square dancing, ceramics, roller skating, computers, cheerleading, racquetball and yoga. There are 38,500 residents in the community with an average age 72.4 years. Picture taken January 6, 2013. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SOCIETY) ATTENTION EDITORS - PICTURE 16 OF 30 FOR PACKAGE 'THE SPORTY SENIORS OF SUN CITY' SEARCH 'SUN CITY' FOR ALL IMAGES - LM2E91F0XAN01

A woman rides in a golf cart with her dog in Sun City, Arizona in 2013.  (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)

Lesko said she gained a reputation of working to directly address her constituents’ concerns – including when it came to golf cart regulations.

In 2014, then a state representative, Lesko championed legislation that allowed people to drive golf carts – the preferred mode of transportation in large retirement communities – along the side of the road. At the time, more than 30,000 golf carts were registered in Maricopa County, Arizona, and up to 50 percent of households in Sun City, a large retirement community, used a golf cart, according to the Arizona Republic.

Residents, along with Lesko and then-Gov. Jan Brewer, celebrated with a parade of more than 100 golf carts.

She’s passionate about domestic violence issues

As a survivor of domestic violence, Lesko says she recognizes the importance of speaking out about the issue and making sure other women know they are not alone.

“Domestic violence is a very prevalent problem, and it can happen to anyone,” Lesko said. “It doesn’t matter what their status is, what their education background is.”

“It happens to so many women, and I just want them to know they can get out of it and become successful because I did it,” she said. “I’m living proof of it.”

“It happens to so many women, and I just want them to know they can get out of it and become successful because I did it. I’m living proof of it.”

– Debbie Lesko

Lesko said she isn’t sure if there’s much Congress can do in terms of legislation in order to combat domestic violence.

“You can’t legislate the behavior of people,” she said. “I think those of us who got out of the situation, it’s just important that we talk to other women and tell them to just get out because chances are it’s not going to get any better [in that relationship].”

She added, “There is hope. You have a future. There are organizations out there that will help you – help you financially, give you a place to stay.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.

Global stocks slide, futures point to weak Wall Street open

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Global shares dropped Wednesday and Wall Street was set to edge slightly lower on the open amid worries over a rise in the cost of borrowing and companies’ raw materials.

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KEEPING SCORE: France’s CAC 40 was down 0.8 percent to 5,399, while Germany’s DAX fell 1.7 percent to 12,343. Britain’s FTSE 100 lost 0.8 percent to 7,368. U.S. shares were set to drift lower with Dow futures down almost 0.1 percent and S&P 500 futures 0.4 percent lower.

YIELDS QUESTION: The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.99 percent on Tuesday from 2.98 percent the day before, having peaked at 3 percent for the first time since January 2014. Low interest rates have played an important role in the economic recovery of the last decade, and the yield on the 10-year note is a benchmark for many kinds of interest rates including mortgages. It’s been climbing because investors expect higher economic growth and inflation.

TAKEDA-SHIRE: Shares in Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. tumbled 7 percent to in Tokyo on Wednesday after the company confirmed it had revised its offer for an approximately 50 percent stake in biotech company Shire Plc to 46 billion pounds ($64.2 billion). Shire’s board indicated that it would recommend that proposal to its shareholders, Takeda said in a statement. The two companies have until May 8 to reach a final deal, they said.

SKY TUSSLE: U.S. media conglomerate Comcast offered to buy British broadcaster Sky for 22 billion pounds ($30 billion), topping a controversial bid from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. The move opened up the possibility of a bidding war for Sky, whose stock spiked 4.4 percent to 13.63 pounds on the news.

ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 shed 0.3 percent to finish at 22,215.32. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 1.1 percent to 30,281.15. The Shanghai Composite index shed nearly 0.4 percent to 3,117.97. South Korea’s Kospi lost 0.6 percent to 2,448.81. Australian markets were closed for Anzac Day, a public holiday. Southeast Asian shares were also lower.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil edged 8 cents lower to $67.62 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It shed 1.4 percent to $67.70 on Tuesday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, fell 22 cents to $73.64 per barrel.

CURRENCIES: The dollar rose to 109.22 yen from 108.82 yen. The euro fell to $1.2182 from $1.2196.

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Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

Her work can be found at https://www.apnews.com/search/yuri%20kageyama

Amazon earnings, a big surprise could be in store

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Amazon’s first-quarter earnings are expected to decline even with growing revenue as the giant online retailer invests heavily to expand its offerings and its global reach.

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The company is expected to post first-quarter earnings of $1.26 per share on revenue of $49.88 billion when it reports on Thursday. In the same quarter a year ago, Amazon earned $1.48 per share on revenue of $35.7 billion.

Upsized expectations are normal for the company, but this time around earnings are expected to decline, despite rising revenue, as the company boosts capital spending to grow its Amazon Web Services (AWS), Prime and Alexa devices.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos disclosed in a letter to shareholders last week that Amazon Prime has more than 100 million paying subscribers worldwide, and that revelation relieved some of the pressure that the company has been under after a series of tweets from President Trump suggested that the company could face increased regulation.

The 100 million subscribers is a clear piece of evidence of how quickly the company has been expanding its reach. But, some wonder how long this trajectory can continue. Of note, the U.S. has about 126 million households. According to Forbes, citing information obtained at the Internet Retailers Conference and Exhibition, 80 million households in the U.S. have Amazon Prime.

Bezos, in his shareholder letter, talked up international expansion in places like India as a means for continued growth.

“Amazon’s growth has been breathtaking and impressive, but there is no way they can continue at that scale,” said Pete Killian, partner at Vivaldi, a business consultancy and branding company. “They need to find $25 billion-plus of topline growth every year to maintain their growth rate, and at some point that outstrips the speed of consumers’ behavior change. So the ‘hole’ in the 100 million number is that it’s the victim of its own success: there really is not much higher to go,” Vivaldi told MarketWatch.

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Many companies have been somewhat uninspired by earnings so far this season, reporting beats but then shares have fallen in the aftermath.

Analysts have an average 12-month price target on Amazon of $1,674.

QTS Realty: 1Q Earnings Snapshot

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) _ QTS Realty Trust Inc. (QTS) on Wednesday reported a key measure of profitability in its first quarter. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations.

The Overland Park, Kansas-based real estate investment trust said it had funds from operations of $39.3 million, or 68 cents per share, in the period.

The average estimate of four analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for funds from operations of 62 cents per share.

Funds from operations is a closely watched measure in the REIT industry. It takes net income and adds back items such as depreciation and amortization.

The company said it had a loss of $551,000, or 2 cents per share.

The data center real estate investment trust posted revenue of $113.7 million in the period, missing Street forecasts. Three analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $114.7 million.

The company’s shares have declined 38 percent since the beginning of the year. The stock has fallen 36 percent in the last 12 months.

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This story was generated by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on QTS at https://www.zacks.com/ap/QTS

Pope to focus on fate of Christians in Middle East on July 7

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The Vatican says Pope Francis is planning to invite heads of churches and Christian communities from the Middle East to join him in a day of reflection and prayer in the southeastern Italian port city of Bari on July 7.

The announcement on Wednesday said Francis has called for this “ecumenical encounter for peace” in view of the “dramatic situation” facing many Christians in the Middle East.

The pope has frequently decried violence targeting Christians in parts of the Middle East, many of whom have fled their homelands to seek safety.

St. Nicholas Basilica in Bari, an Adriatic port city, is a popular pilgrimage destination for both Catholics and Orthodox Christians.

The Vatican said Francis is calling for prayers to help prepare for the daylong event.

Egypt's parliament passes law to fine aggressive touts

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Egypt’s parliament has passed a law that would impose fines on overly aggressive touts as part of efforts to revive the country’s tourism sector.

The law approved this week would impose a fine of up to 10,000 pounds ($567) on anyone found to have pestered tourists “with the intention of begging or promoting, offering or selling a good or service.”

Visitors to the pyramids at Giza and other major historical sites in Egypt are routinely harassed and followed by young men offering tours, souvenirs, carriage or camel rides. Scams are common, and the tourism police rarely intervene.

Egypt’s vital tourism sector has struggled through years of unrest since the 2011 uprising.

Greek police seize horses, illegally harvested wild herbs

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Greek police say they have arrested six Albanian men near the border that separates the two countries and seized 10 horses and more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of an illegally harvested wild mountain herb traditionally used to cure various ailments.

For conservation reasons, it is illegal in Greece to pick anything other than a small amount of wild herbs for personal use. Authorities and conservationists say bands of mainly impoverished Albanians make regular cross-border forays, illegally harvesting herbs and medicinal plants.

They are also said to have destroyed rare and endangered species in the process.

Police said Wednesday that the six arrested the previous day for violating forestry laws had collected more than 132 kilograms of primula veris, or cowslip, which can garner 100 euros per kilogram.

High Dividend Stocks: A Lonely Opportunity?

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This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.

There is a market “truism” that needs to be set straight. In summary: “Rising interest rates hinder high dividend equities.” We’d rephrase it this way: “Rising rates have been hindering high-dividend equities in the last couple of years, but over any sizable time frame, the causal relationship between rates and equity factors has been cursory at best.” With […]

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8 Valuable Lessons Gained From Largest Retail REIT

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This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.

CapitaLand Mall Trust (CMT) is the largest retail REIT in Singapore. It owns/co-owns 16 retail malls in Singapore, many of which are familiar to locals including Plaza Singapura, Junction 8, Bugis Junction, Bugis+, Bedok Mall, and Tampines Mall. As at 31 December 2017, CMT’s property portfolio is valued at $8.7 billion. Since it first listed […]

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What Do Inventories Tell Us About the Economy

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This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.

One benefit of factor investing lies in the cyclical nature of factors. Because various factors tend to perform differently depending on economic conditions, investors can harness these attributes to their advantage. For example, value and momentum stocks have often been better-suited for periods of expansion. This is because value strategies tend to invest in cyclical […]

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13 semi drivers helped stop a suicide by parking under bridge

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The Michigan State Police organized a unique way to help a man who was threatening suicide on a highway overpass: they pulled together multiple semi truck drivers to help shorten the fall, Fox 2 reports.

Tuesday morning, all lanes of 696 were closed at Coolidge in both directions as a man threatened suicide.

The first call came in a little before 1 a.m. on Tuesday as the unnamed man was on the bridge over the highway. The eastbound lanes were closed as MSP started organizing semi-truck passing through.

A few minutes later, the westbound lanes were also closed as more semis showed up to cross the highway. All told, 13 semi trucks were parked under the overpass to shorten the distance he would fall, if he were to have jumped.

Thankfully, the man did not jump and the situation ended as the man walked off the bridge. He was taken by Huntington Woods Police to Beaumont hospital for evaluation.

MSP, Huntington Woods and Oak Park police were all on scene and all had negotiators talking to the man for several hours until it ended peacefully.

Around 4 a.m. 696 was reopened to travelers.

Madonna loses fight to prevent Tupac love letter from being auctioned off

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Pop star Madonna has lost her battle to prevent an auction of her personal items, including a love letter from her ex-boyfriend, the late rapper Tupac Shakur, a pair of worn panties and a hairbrush containing her hair.

Last year, a judge ordered Gotta Have It! Collectibles to pull the items from its impending rock ‘n’ roll-themed auction after the Material Girl sought an emergency court order.

In a decision revealed Monday, the judge dismissed the case on grounds the statute of limitations to recover the items had passed.

The auction house told The New York Times it had done due diligence on the items and was confident Madonna had no claim.

The company says the auction will be in July.

Starting bid for the Tupac letter is $100,000.

Airbus, Dassault to develop new European fighter jet

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European plane maker Airbus and France’s Dassault Aviation have agreed to join forces in developing and producing a new European fighter jet.

The two companies’ announcement at an air show in Berlin Wednesday follows a decision in principle last year by the French and German governments to develop a new fighter jet together.

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The new aircraft is slated at first to complement and then replace the Eurofighter and Rafale aircraft currently in use, between 2035 and 2040.

Dirk Hoke, the CEO of Airbus’ defense and space division, said that “never before has Europe been more determined to safeguard and foster its political and industrial autonomy and sovereignty in the defense sector.”

He said the “the schedule is tight” and the companies need to start work immediately on a project roadmap.

Independence Realty Trust: 1Q Earnings Snapshot

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Independence Realty Trust Inc. (IRT) on Wednesday reported a key measure of profitability in its first quarter. The results matched Wall Street expectations.

The Philadelphia-based real estate investment trust said it had funds from operations of $15.6 million, or 18 cents per share, in the period.

The average estimate of five analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for funds from operations of 18 cents per share.

Funds from operations is a closely watched measure in the REIT industry. It takes net income and adds back items such as depreciation and amortization.

The company said it had net income of $3.4 million, or 4 cents per share.

The real estate investment trust posted revenue of $45.6 million in the period, topping Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $44.3 million.

Independence Realty Trust expects full-year funds from operations in the range of 74 cents to 79 cents per share.

The company’s shares have fallen nearly 7 percent since the beginning of the year. The stock has dropped almost 1 percent in the last 12 months.

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This story was generated by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on IRT at https://www.zacks.com/ap/IRT

Germany sees skullcap protests against anti-Semitism

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People wearing Jewish skullcaps as a sign of protest are taking to the streets in several German cities, taking a stand against an anti-Semitic assault in Berlin.

Some 150 protesters came to a rally Wednesday in the eastern German city of Erfurt and hundreds more are expected later in the day in Berlin, Cologne and Potsdam.

The kippa protest follows last week’s assault on two young men wearing the skullcaps. The attack, in which a 19-year-old Syrian asylum-seeker is a suspect, added to growing concern about anti-Semitism.

The country’s main Jewish leader said Tuesday he would advise people visiting big cities against wearing Jewish skullcaps. His comment drew sharp criticism from other Jewish leaders, who say it is time for Jews to wear a kippa to show they’re not afraid.

Man charged over Mont Saint-Michel incident

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French prosecutors have charged a 36-year-old man with threatening to attack security services at Mont Saint-Michel, one of the country’s most-visited tourist sites.

The prosecutor in the Coutances district of Normandy said in a statement Wednesday the man was charged with relaying a “death threat” and a “public insult” against police. The suspect, who has seven convictions on his criminal record for use of illicit drugs and other petty crimes, has been remanded in custody.

On Sunday, French authorities evacuated tourists from the Mont Saint-Michel after the incident that triggered a regional manhunt.

French police have faced a string of attacks over the past few years, some of them fatal.

Audi recalling 1.2 million cars and SUVs for fire risk

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Audi will recall 1.2 million vehicles at risk of fire due to overheating coolant pumps.

The automaker discovered that the pumps can be blocked by debris in the fluid, or moisture can cause a short. Audi originally tried to address the issue with a software update, but it wasn’t effective.

The issue is linked to the company’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine installed in the 2012 to 2015 A6, 2013 to 2017 Q5, 2013 to 2016 A4 and 2013 to 2017 A5.

The recall work will be done in two steps. The pumps will first be replaced with new ones, then replaced again with an all-new design when it becomes available later in the year.

Audi said it does not know of any real world fires related to the problem.

Notifications will be sent to affected owners no later than June 11.  

With AP

Gary Gastelu is FoxNews.com’s Automotive Editor. Follow him on Twitter @garygastelu

Boeing profit rises 57%

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(Reuters) – Boeing Co. on Wednesday reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its full-year forecast for earnings per share and cash flow, boosted by strong demand for air travel.

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Shares of the world’s biggest planemaker rose more than 2 percent in premarket trading.

Boeing, which sold a record 763 aircraft last year and has already announced a rise in commercial deliveries in the first three months of the year, raised its full-year operating cash flow forecast to $15.0 billion-$15.5 billion from about $15 billion, previously.

The company also increased its 2018 core earnings per share forecast to $14.30-14.50 from its previous projection of $13.80-$14.00.

Boeing’s commercial aircraft deliveries rose 9 percent to 184 in the first quarter ended March 31.

Core earnings, which exclude some pension costs, were $3.64 per share in the quarter, compared with $2.17 per share, a year earlier. Total revenue rose 6.5 percent to $23.38 billion.

Core operating margin rose to 10.7 percent from 8.5 percent a year earlier.

Analysts had expected first-quarter earnings of $2.58 per share and revenue of $22.26 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

Gunman wounds 2 Dallas police officers, store employee

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Two Dallas police officers were critically wounded in a shooting that also injured a home improvement store employee, authorities said.

The shooting occurred about 4:15 p.m. Tuesday as officers were escorting a man from the Home Depot in northern Dallas. The two officers and the store loss-prevention officer underwent surgery for their injuries, Police Chief U. Renee Hall said late Tuesday night. She did not provide details of their conditions but asked for continued prayers for their recovery.

Police arrested Armando Luis Juarez, 29, on charges of aggravated assault on a police officer and felony theft. He was taken into custody shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday after a lengthy car chase involving officers of various law enforcement agencies.

“We got our man,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said at the late-night news conference.

The two police officers were called to the store to help an off-duty officer with removing the man from the store.

In a tweet about the shooting Tuesday evening, the Dallas Police Department said the officers were critically wounded, but Hall declined to go into detail about their conditions during two news conferences at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. She said surgery was completed on the police officers and store employee late Tuesday at the hospital.

Rawlings said he continues “to be upset at the lack of respect for our police in this city and in our country.”

In 2016, four Dallas police officers and a transit officer were shot dead by a sniper in an ambush that came toward the end of a peaceful protest over the police killings of black men that had occurred in other cities.

Gaming and Leisure Properties: 1Q Earnings Snapshot

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WYOMISSING, Pa. (AP) _ Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. (GLPI) on Wednesday reported a key measure of profitability in its first quarter.

The Wyomissing, Pennsylvania-based real estate investment trust said it had funds from operations of $169.7 million, or 79 cents per share, in the period.

Funds from operations is a closely watched measure in the REIT industry. It takes net income and adds back items such as depreciation and amortization.

The company said it had net income of $96.8 million, or 45 cents per share.

The real estate investment trust posted revenue of $244.1 million in the period, missing Street forecasts. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $251.3 million.

The company’s shares have decreased slightly more than 7 percent since the beginning of the year. The stock has increased slightly in the last 12 months.

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This story was generated by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on GLPI at https://www.zacks.com/ap/GLPI

Kanye West abruptly fires manager Scooter Braun, fears about his health emerge

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Kanye West canceled 21 tour dates in 2016 after suffering a “nervous breakdown,” but there are new fears for his health after he abruptly fired manager Scooter Braun and a “friend” claimed West had been addicted to opioids.

If West had actually canceled the tour due to drug use, it could have legal ramifications.On Monday, Hot 97 host Ebro Darden told listeners that he had spoken with West this weekend, and West allegedly told him, “Nobody really showed love for me when I was addicted to opioids and in the hospital.”

The rapper filed a 2017 $10 million lawsuit against insurers Lloyd’s of London, claiming they were refusing to pay for his lost dates and citing his marijuana use as an excuse.

The insurer finally caved in and agreed to pay most of what was due to cover the lost tour dates.

Lawyers for Lloyd’s didn’t return calls for comment Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a source close to West tells Page Six they were “doubtful” he was hospitalized for opioid use and “disappointed” Darden made those claims on-air.

West sources had said at the time of the 2016 breakdown that it was due to the death of his mom, the stress of juggling his fashion line and the tour, and acute sleeplessness and paranoia.

West dramatically just fired Braun and others in his inner circle — despite having just announced five new albums on Twitter — with sources spreading rumors online that those cast out were “very worried for Yeezy’s mental health” and that he could be suffering from “another episode.”

West hired Braun, who also reps Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, a couple of years ago.

He took a larger role in March after West’s longtime manager Izvor “Izzy” Zivkovic stepped down.

While Braun and a rep for West didn’t comment, the first source explained, “Kanye has been saying he wants to bring all representation in-house, and that extends to his managers. His mentality is, ‘I can’t be someone’s client. I have to represent myself.’ He’s clearing house. Scooter remains in an advisory role.”

Since returning to Twitter, West has been raising eyebrows with a series of peculiar tweets.

On Tuesday he wrote, “to be great is to be misunderstood” as well as “dragon energy/Natural born leaders/Very instinctive/Great foresight.”

He also drew some ire by praising a noted right-wing commentator, saying, “I love the way Candace Owens thinks.”

This story originally appeared in the New York Post.