The world’s 20 most corrupt countries

By Aarthi Swaminathan, Finance Writer (Yahoo Finance)

Berlin-based think-tank Transparency International published its latest Corruption Perceptions Index, which ranks 180 countries and territories based on how corrupt their administrative and political institutions are perceived to be. The report gives gives each country a score from 100 (least corrupt) to 0 (most corrupt).… read the full article

Democrats uneasy about potential Howard Schultz bid

By GENE JOHNSON (AP)

FILE – In this March 22, 2017, file photo, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks at the Starbucks annual shareholders meeting in Seattle. For someone who has given about $150,000 to Democratic campaigns over the years, Schultz is generating tepid, or even hostile, responses within the party as he weighs a presidential bid in 2020.
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Microsoft’s Cloud Wins Could Boost Its Earnings

by Danny Vena(TMFLifeIsGood)

IMAGE SOURCE: MICROSOFT.

The recent past

For the first quarter, Microsoft reported revenue of $29 billion, up 19% year over year, and easily topping both analysts’ consensus estimates and the high end of management’s forecast. This led to net income of $8.8 billion and diluted earnings per share of $1.14, which also beat expectations.… read the full article

Japan PM vows to step up China ties but bolster defense

by MARI YAMAGUCHI (Associated Press)

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe delivers his policy speech during a parliamentary session in Tokyo, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. Abe pledged Monday he will further expand his country’s already improving ties with China but said Japan still needs to bolster its defense capability as far as space amid concern about Chinese military activity and uncertainty over North Korea’s denuclearization.
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Roger Stone’s not guilty plea shows collapse of Russian collusion narrative

by James S. Robbins (USA TODAY Opinion)

The main takeaway from informal presidential adviser Roger Stone’s arraignment Tuesday is that the Russian collusion narrative has collapsed. If there were anything there, we’d know about it by now.

Stone was hauled in to federal court Friday morning after a theatrical, televised arrest that should be the subject of a Justice Department investigation or congressional inquiry.… read the full article

Trump lifts sanctions on Russia oligarch Oleg Deripaska in ‘huge gift to Putin’

‘What did we – the American people – get in return? Nothing,’ former US ambassador to Russia says

by Tom Embury-Dennis @tomemburyd (The Independent)

© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

The Trump administration has lifted sanctions against companies linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, defying efforts led by congressional Democrats to block the move. 

Earlier this month, 11 Republicans in the Senate joined Democrats in a bid to keep restrictions on aluminium producer Rusal, its parent En+ Group and JSC EuroSibEnergo, a private energy company. 

But that was not enough to overcome an aggressive lobbying campaign, led by a British lord who chairs one of the firms, and opposition from Donald Trump and most of his fellow Republicans. 

On Sunday, the Treasury Department ended the sanctions against Mr Deripaska’s business empire, having announced its intention to do so last month. 

In its statement, the US Treasury said the three companies had agreed to its conditions for ending sanctions by reducing Mr Deripaska’s direct and indirect shareholding stake and severing his control.… read the full article

Suicide Squad originally included Justice League’s Steppenwolf

Not sure that would have made it better…

BY IAN SANDWELL (DigitalSpy)

WARNER BROS.

David Ayer has revealed that Suicide Squad was originally tied closer to the wider Worlds of DC as it included Steppenwolf.

The director has confirmed that the largely-derided villain of Justice League was set to have a prominent role in Suicide Squad as the Big Bad.… read the full article