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Smart Lights Are the One Smart Home Gadget for Everyone

ImageCreditMark PerniceSmart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home have brought the dream of a fully automated smart home closer to reality more than ever before. Yet, one question hangs in the air: Do you even need a smart home?You could get a video doorbell that shows you who’s at the door. But maybe people don’t come to your door that often. You could get a smart thermostat and let it adjust your AC automatically. But maybe your basic, programmable thermostat does the job just fine.Most smart home gadgets, no matter how useful, tend to appeal to a subset of people, but smart lights are a…

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Trump’s top communications aide Shine resigns, moves to re-election campaign

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - White House communications director Bill Shine has resigned as Donald Trump’s top White House communications aide and will move to work on the U.S. president’s 2020 re-election campaign, the White House said on Friday. Shine, a former Fox News executive, resigned on Thursday and will serve as a senior campaign adviser ahead of the 2020 presidential election, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. A source close to Trump, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the president had lost confidence in Shine and was relying heavily on Sanders to run the communications operation. Shine is the latest in a string of communications…

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Women’s Day unites activists, Turkish police break up crowd with tear gas

LONDON (Reuters) - Campaigners for gender equality took to European city streets on Friday to mark International Women’s Day with celebrations and protests, while in Turkey police fired tear gas to break up a crowd of several thousand women in Istanbul in the evening. Police try to disperse a march marking International Women's Day in Istanbul, Turkey, March 8, 2019. REUTERS/Kemal AslanIn Spain, hundreds of thousands of women, wearing purple and raising their fists, took to the streets of cities around the country calling for greater gender equality. The issue has become deeply divisive in Spain ahead of a national election on April 28. A new far-right…

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Wall Street extends losing streak after weak U.S. jobs data

(Reuters) - Wall Street’s main indexes fell for a fifth straight session on Friday and posted their biggest weekly declines since the market tumbled at the end of 2018, as a weak U.S. jobs report ignited more concerns about the global economy. But Friday’s declines were only slight. Stocks significantly pared losses late in the day as investors reassessed the employment report and considered whether the market’s recent slump was ending. The eventful session came as some Wall Street watchers prepared to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the start of the S&P 500’s bull market run that took root during the financial crisis. U.S. employment growth almost…

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Venezuela power flickers after worst blackout in decades

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela’s power supply remained patchy on Friday after the worst blackout in decades paralyzed most of the country, exacerbating hardship for millions of people already suffering from hyperinflation and widespread shortages of basic goods. Power went out across the recession-stricken country on Thursday afternoon due to a problem at Venezuela’s main hydroelectric plant, the government said, calling the event an act of “sabotage” by ideological adversaries. Power returned to some parts of the capital of Caracas during the afternoon but quickly cut out again, according to witnesses and local media, threatening to extend what is already the longest blackout under 20 years of socialist…

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U.S. charges Maduro’s industry minister with sanctions violations

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Friday announced criminal charges against a top official in Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government for violating sanctions imposed two years ago, when the official was accused of drug trafficking. Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah, Venezuela’s industry minister, was accused of evading the February 2017 sanctions by hiring U.S. companies to provide private jet services, including for a Feb. 23 return trip to Venezuela from Russia. Venezuelan businessman Samark Jose Lopez Bello, an El Aissami associate also sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, was also criminally charged, as were several other defendants. A lawyer for…

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Thousands protest on International Women’s Day in Brazil

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro kisses his wife, Michelle Bolsonaro during a ceremony marking the International Women's Day at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil March 8, 2019. REUTERS/Adriano MachadoSAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Thousands of people, mostly women, took to the streets of several Brazilian cities late on Friday, calling for gender equality and an end to violence against women, as well as to criticize Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, and his policies. The protests on International Women’s Day were organized by activists in nine Brazilian cities, including Sao Paulo, capital Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro. In Rio, demonstrators remembered the assassination almost a year ago of…

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Your New Favorite Couple, Kathy and Stu, Sets the Record Straight

New York Times readers leave thousands of comments on our site each day. Usually these comments don’t go viral. But on rare occasions, they get shared widely, charming a wider portion of the internet beyond the digital walls of The Times. On Thursday, two of our readers, Kathy Watson and her husband, Stu, of Hood River, Ore., joined that unofficial hall of fame. Stu, a retired newspaper editor and writer, left a comment on Mike Isaac’s story about how Mark Zuckerberg plans to change Facebook and other social platforms so that people have more private conversations with smaller groups: ImageKathy, also a former journalist and a semiretired…

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Global stocks, dollar fall as global growth worries mount

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global stocks lost ground on Friday and the dollar softened for the first time in eight sessions after a disappointing U.S. payrolls report exacerbated concerns that the world economy was slowing. Global economic growth worries mounted as data in China showed exports shrank 20.7 percent in February from a year earlier while imports fell 5.2 percent. White House trade adviser Clete Willems said on Friday that Trump administration officials have not made any new plans to send a team to China for face-to-face trade talks, although negotiators have made progress. U.S. ambassador to China Terry Branstad told the Wall Street Journal that the…

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Ex-Army intelligence analyst Manning jailed for defying grand jury subpoena

(Reuters) - Former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning was taken to jail on Friday after a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia, held her in contempt for refusing to testify before a federal grand jury, representatives for Manning and the U.S. Justice Department confirmed. Manning had appeared before the grand jury on Wednesday but declined to answer questions in connection with what is widely believed to be the government’s long-running investigation into Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange, citing her First, Fourth and Sixth Amendment rights under the Constitution. She returned to court Friday for a hearing and Judge Claude Hilton of the U.S. District Court for…

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