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Delta Air: Rises after report says co tentatively agrees to reduce pilot layoffs

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** Shares of Delta Air Lines rise ~1% to $34.25 in premarket trade

** Co on Thursday reached a tentative agreement with its pilots’ union to reduce layoffs by 220, according to a memo to pilots seen by Reuters

** Agreement must still go through the pilot union’s review process

** Co also announced it was raising $9 bln, $2.5 bln more than its previous est, by pledging its SkyMiles loyalty program

** YTD, stock down ~42%, as of last close

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UN investigator on Belarus warns of ‘another iron curtain’

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GENEVA — A U.N. investigator warned of the possibility of “another iron curtain” descending in Europe during an urgent debate on the human rights situation in Belarus in Geneva on Friday.

“Let’s not allow another iron curtain to descend on the European continent,” said Anaïs Marin, U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Belarus, describing a “catastrophic” situation in the country.

Her speech was interrupted several times by objections from other U.N. members including Russian, Belarusian and other delegations who called for the broadcast to stop. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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Storm Noul makes landfall in Vietnam, kills at least one person

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HANOI — Tropical storm Noul made landfall in Vietnam on Friday, killing at least one person and triggering heavy rain in the central parts of the country, though authorities later downgraded the weather system.

The storm hit the tourist city of Danang and veered north to Thua Thien Hue province before entering Laos around Friday noon, state-run Voice of Vietnam said on its website.

The storm killed at least one person, injured another, while downing trees and damaging hundreds of houses, the report said.

Tuoi Tre newspaper said the man was killed by a falling tree and television footage showed flooded streets in some areas.

The government had previously made plans to evacuate up to half a million people when the storm was forecast to have wind speeds of up to 135 km (84 ...

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Thomas, Bonner lead Sun to playoff upset over Sparks

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Alyssa Thomas racked up 19 points and DeWanna Bonner collected 17 points and 13 rebounds as the Connecticut Sun upset the Los Angeles Sparks 73-59 in a single-elimination, second-round game of the WNBA playoffs Thursday night at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

The seventh-seeded Sun move on to meet the top-seeded Las Vegas Aces in Sunday’s Game 1 of the semifinals, which are a best-of-five series.

All five Connecticut starters scored in double figures, with Briann January tacking on 11 points while Brionna Jones and Jasmine Thomas, who had six assists, both notched 10 points. Alyssa Thomas and Bonner each supplied five assists.

Candace Parker poured in 22 points to go with 14 rebounds and five assists while reserve Seimone Augustus had 10 points for the Sparks, who were c...

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Vietnam says tropical storm weakening, but risk of heavy rain

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HANOI — Vietnam’s weather agency said on Friday tropical storm Noul was weakening as it approached land, though authorities warned the storm could still dump heavy rains triggering floods and landslides in central areas of the country.

The government said on Wednesday it was readying plans to evacuate up to half a million people from central coastal areas as the storm was forecast to make landfall with wind speeds of up to 135 km (84 miles) an hour.

On Friday, Vietnam’s weather agency said the storm would make landfall in a coastal area between Quang Binh and Thua Thien Hue province in the afternoon with wind speeds of 90 km per hour and should weaken to a tropical low within hours.

Noul is forecast to dump up to 250 mm (9...

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Valdez stifles Rangers as Astros reach .500

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Framber Valdez matched his career high for strikeouts, Kyle Tucker slugged a two-run home run and the Houston Astros claimed the rubber match of their three-game series with the Texas Rangers with a 2-1 victory on Thursday at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros (25-25) picked up a game on the Seattle Mariners in the race for second place in the American League West and an automatic postseason berth. Seattle lost to the San Francisco Giants 6-4 earlier Thursday and fell three games behind the Astros.

Valdez (4-3) recorded 11 strikeouts, matching his total from an 11-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park on Aug. 24. While half of his 100 pitches were sinkers, Valdez earned 12 swinging strikes on 41 curveballs. Thirteen of his 21 called strikes were on the sinker.


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Trump plans panel to promote ‘patriotic education’ in appeal to conservative base

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said on Thursday he planned to establish a commission to promote “patriotic education” in the United States, taking issue with efforts to highlight the United States’ history of slavery and racism.

In remarks delivered at the National Archives, which houses the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence, Trump railed against people who have taken to the streets around the country this year to protest racial injustice.

Republican Trump has sought to portray himself as a “law and order” candidate in the Nov. 3 election against Democratic rival Joe Biden and his announcement on Thursday to use an executive order to establish the commission could also be a move to appeal to his base.

Trump said “left-wing ...

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After the floods, assessing Hurricane Sally’s damage

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Sally’s immediate impact likely caused around $5 billion in damage and cleanup costs, Watson said. The storm has moved away from the coast but will bring several more inches of rain to the U.S. Southeast before dissipating.

“If you’re sitting on a river 5 miles (8 km) inland, you’ve got the wind and 2 feet (0.61 m) of rain dumped on you, then four to six days later a few feet of water comes down the river,” Watson said. Inland rains also could affect cotton and peanut harvesting, as five counties in central Georgia got more than 10 inches (25 cm) in 12 hours, Watson said.

Several rivers in Alabama and Florida have not yet crested and are not expected to reach “major flood” stages until Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.


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Mexican president says offer on table for predecessor’s luxury jet

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MEXICO CITY — Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Thursday he has received an offer for his predecessor’s luxury jet, which officials have struggled to sell for nearly two years.

The leftist president put the Boeing 787 Dreamliner up for sale shortly after taking office in December 2018, condemning the customized aircraft as an out-of-touch symbol of excess, yet bids failed to meet the $130 million valuation.

Lopez Obrador did not provide details of the offer, but said the government expected to receive 2 million pesos ($95.46 million) “once the plane is sold.”

“Fortunately, there is an acquisition proposal. We’re waiting on a new appraisal, and it’s very likely that the plane gets sold,” Lopez Obrador told his daily news conference.

Last ...

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Sounders re-sign D Smith

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The Seattle Sounders signed defender Brad Smith to a contract, the team announced Thursday.

Smith played two seasons with the Sounders, including last year on the MLS Cup championship team. He was a free agent after his contract expired with Bournemouth following the English club’s relegation from the Premier League.

The 26-year-old Australian will be available for training and competition upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and completion of any mandatory quarantine period under local government and MLS health and safety protocol.

“We are very excited to bring in Brad, a proven winner who adds even more speed and athleticism to our squad,” said Garth Lagerwey, the Sounders general manager and president of soccer.

“With Brad being out of cont...

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