“45,000 Evacuated Across Russia After Wave of Bomb Threats.”
More than 45,000 people have been evacuated from airports, schools and government buildings across Russia over the last two days amid a wave of fake bomb threats that officials called unprecedented. “There’s never been anything like this before, it’s 100 percent organized telephone terrorism,” Frants Klintsevich, deputy head of the Defense Committee in the upper house of parliament, said in a telephone interview. “The only goal is to set off destructive processes, to sow panic. It’s possible this could be preparatory work for a serious terrorist attack.”
The official RIA Novosti news agency quoted an unnamed source in the security services as saying 45,000 people had been evacuated Tuesday from 205 buildings in 22 cities. Many were city halls, schools and other official buildings, according to local news reports. The Interior Ministry and Security Council declined to comment.
More threats and evacuations were reported today, in cities ranging from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Far East, across Siberia, to Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea. Three shopping malls in Moscow also were cleared after calls reporting bombs, Tass reported. Police were also investigating threats at several train stations.
The anonymous calls came from Internet dialing systems and couldn’t easily be traced, official news agencies reported. Initial reports indicated the evacuations might have been some kind of exercise. Wednesday, Klintsevich and other officials said the source could have been Ukraine.
“Brazil police detain JBS CEO Batista on suspicion of insider trading.”
Brazil’s federal police detained JBS SA Chief Executive Officer Wesley Batista on Wednesday, as an investigation escalated into the role played by him and his younger brother in suspected insider trading ahead of a plea bargain deal with prosecutors.
Joesley Batista has been in temporary detention since Sunday after recordings suggested he tried to take advantage of prosecutors and conceal details during negotiations that led to the plea deal. He has strongly denied this.
The insider trading case involving JBS (JBSS3.SA) and the Batistas follows probes by securities markets regulator CVM on trades both made before a plea deal between the brothers and prosecutors was announced in mid-May.
The police said two detention orders were also issued against executives at the Batista family-owned FB Participações SA and JBS, without elaborating.
The scheme helped “manipulate markets in a way that all shareholders incurred some of the losses that FB Participações would have otherwise had to absorb alone,” a police statement said.
“EU: Juncker sees window of opportunity for reform.”
The «wind is back in Europe’s sails», European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has said in his annual state of the union address. He told the European Parliament there was a «window of opportunity» to build a stronger, more united union – but it «wouldn’t stay open forever». Mr Juncker said Europe’s economy was «bouncing back» and the EU had to move beyond Brexit. He called for the union to embrace reforms and forge new trade deals.
On trade, Mr Juncker hailed recent deals with Canada and Japan, and said deals with Mexico and South America were in the pipeline. And he promised new openness in trade negotiations and – amid concern about Chinese investment in strategic European assets – said investors in the EU would be screened.
Mr Juncker praised Europe’s progress on migration, saying it protected its external borders in a more efficient manner. He highlighted Italy’s «perseverance and generosity» in helping to manage irregular migration from Africa. But work needed to be done opening legal migration routes, ending «scandalous» conditions in Libya and investing in Africa.
Mr Juncker also called for a number of key reforms to the union’s organization. He suggested his own role of Commission president should be merged with that of the Council president, and elected following a «pan-European campaign». The Commission leader also proposed the creation of a Europe-wide finance minister, enabling deeper integration of the eurozone.
New York Times
“Median U.S. Household Income Up for 2nd Straight Year.”
Despite eight years of economic growth since a brutal recession, some politicians and economists have worried that many Americans have not felt the benefits of the expansion. On Tuesday, the Census Bureau painted a brighter picture, suggesting that the recovery had shifted into a new phase in recent years and is now distributing its benefits more broadly.
American households saw strong income growth last year, the bureau reported, and the gains stretched across the economic spectrum. A closely watched measure, median household income, jumped for the second straight year, reaching $59,039 — a 3.2 percent increase after inflation. The bureau also reported that the percentage of Americans living in poverty continued to fall last year, while the share with health insurance continued to increase.
The Census Bureau report is the second in a row to find strong income growth. A year ago, the bureau reported that the median income in 2015 had risen by 5.2 percent, the largest jump since record keeping began in 1967. The 2016 gains described on Tuesday pushed the median to the highest level on record, topping the previous peak in 1999.
But Census Bureau officials cautioned that those figures were not directly comparable because of a change in its methodology in 2013 that has tended to increase measured incomes.
The Economic Policy Institute, a liberal research organization based in Washington, estimated that without the change in methodology, median household income in 2016 was still 2.4 percent lower than in 1999 — and 1.6 percent below the level reached in 2007, before the recession began.