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Amazon exploring potential alternatives to New York HQ: source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc is exploring alternatives to locating part of its new headquarters in New York in case the plan should fail due to local opposition, a person briefed on the matter told Reuters on Friday. The online retailer has not yet acquired any land for the project, which would make it easy to scrap its plans, the source said. The Washington Post reported the story earlier on Friday. The person briefed on the matter said that Amazon was still working toward winning approval from New York officials and had not given up on the proposal, but was considering potential alternatives to New York. Earlier,…

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Exclusive: Long a spoiler, Pakistan starts behind-scenes aid to U.S.-Taliban talks

WASHINGTON/PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan, long at odds with the United States over the war in Afghanistan, has begun to play a behind-the-scenes but central role in supporting U.S. peace talks with the Afghan Taliban, including by facilitating travel to negotiations, U.S. officials and Taliban sources told Reuters. The Pakistani assistance, which has not been reported in such detail before, also includes exerting pressure on Taliban leaders who fail to cooperate, including by detaining members of the militants’ families, the insurgents say. Pakistan’s role in the peace negotiations is a delicate one, with Islamabad seeking to avoid demonstrating the kind of broad influence over the Taliban that…

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Huawei Threatens Lawsuit Against Czech Republic After Security Warning

PRAGUE — In an attempt to push back against attempts to limit its reach in Europe, the Chinese technology giant Huawei threatened legal action against the Czech Republic if its cybersecurity agency did not rescind its warning about the risk the company poses to the nation’s critical infrastructure.As nations across Europe take the first steps to reconfigure the systems that control the internet, Huawei’s threat was the latest salvo in the escalating war over who will control the hardware that will underpin the new 5G, or fifth-generation, networks.For more than a year, the United States has been engaged in a global campaign aimed at limiting the reach…

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Why Jeff Bezos Went to Medium With His Message

Anyone remember blogs?Years before Facebook, Instagram and Twitter took over as the prime spots for oversharing, people had to go to websites like Open Diary, Blogger and LiveJournal to publish their thoughts for the world to read.But over time, social media became the way that people shared articles that reflected their politics, posted images of loved ones and sent out messages of frustration or exultation.Medium, the online open platform and publisher, is one bloglike platform that has persisted and innovated in the social media era. With 90 million unique monthly visitors, it has maintained relevance as a destination for open letters, petitions and personal essays. But it…

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Trump may skip deadline for report on Saudi journalist’s murder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration signaled on Friday it was unlikely to meet a deadline to report to Congress on whether it intends to impose sanctions on those responsible for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, prompting an angry backlash on Capitol Hill. Hatice Cengiz, Turkish fiancee of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, attends a news conference to present a book on Khashoggi, in Istanbul, Turkey February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVESRepublican and Democratic lawmakers triggered a provision of the Global Magnitsky human rights act in October, giving the administration 120 days until Feb. 8 to report on who was responsible for…

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Trump, not especially vigilant on diet, declared ‘in very good health’

BETHESDA, Md. (Reuters) - President Donald Trump was declared “in very good health” by the White House physician on Friday after four hours of examinations in what amounted to a test of whether his doctor’s order that he follow a healthier diet has paid dividends. U.S. President Donald Trump attends the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, U.S., February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque Specific details on Trump’s weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure were not released in a statement from White House physician Sean Conley after Conley and 11 specialists put the 72-year-old president through a battery of medical tests. “While the reports and recommendations are being finalized,…

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U.S. must prevent air accidents involving drones, lawmaker warns

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The commercial drone industry could be torpedoed if there were a serious accident involving a drone and a commercial aircraft, the chairman of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee warned on Friday. FILE PHOTO: An arrivals board in the South Terminal building at Gatwick Airport, after the airport reopened to flights following its forced closure because of drone activity, in Gatwick, Britain, December 21, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File PhotoRepresentative Peter DeFazio, a Democrat, said at a speech in Washington that regulators had to take the threat seriously. “This is really serious when these things are flying around and it could kill the commercial drone…

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U.S. appeals court to revisit open carrying of guns

(Reuters) - A federal appeals court has decided to reconsider its recent decision that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the right to openly carry guns in self-defense. David Amad, a member of Open Carry Texas, openly carries a firearm in Houston, Texas, U.S., September 24, 2018. Picture taken September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Loren ElliottIn an order on Friday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it will revisit whether Hawaii acted lawfully in denying the plaintiff George Young a permit to openly carry a loaded gun in public. Circuit Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote for a 2-1 majority last July 24 that “we do not…

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Exclusive: U.S. in direct contact with Venezuelan military, urging defections – source

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is holding direct communications with members of Venezuela’s military urging them to abandon President Nicolas Maduro and is also preparing new sanctions aimed at increasing pressure on him, a senior White House official said. FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan Colonel Jose Luis Silva, Venezuela’s Military Attache at its Washington embassy to the United States, is interviewed by Reuters after announcing that he is defecting from the government of President Nicolas Maduro in Washington, U.S., January 26, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File PhotoThe Trump administration expects further military defections from Maduro’s side, the official told Reuters in an interview, despite only a few senior officers having…

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Acting U.S. attorney general snaps at Democrats over Russia probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker snapped back on Friday at newly emboldened Democrats in Congress who are pushing for information on the special counsel’s Russia probe as they try to put President Donald Trump’s administration under greater scrutiny. Whitaker, a Trump appointee, said he had not “interfered in any way” with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Moscow tried to tip the 2016 presidential election in Trump’s favor or colluded with the Trump campaign. In a combative hearing in the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Whitaker said he had not talked to Trump about the probe. Democrats, who took over the panel…

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