UK seaside towns fight back against seagull attacks

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Fed up with holidaymakers being divebombed by greedy seagulls in “horror movie” scenes, one British costal area is fighting back by making it an offence to feed the birds.

The district council of east Devon which includes the popular resorts of Exmouth and Sidmouth is introducing an 80-pound ($100) fine.

“Seagulls become accustomed to being fed by people and will attack them if they are not offered food,” said local councillor Iain Chubb.

“It isn’t very nice when they do come – it’s almost like a horror movie,” Chubb said, comparing it to British director Alfred Hitchcock’s film “The Birds”.

Tourists and local business owners have long been pressing for stronger measures against feeding the gulls than mere warning signs, he told Reuters.

But only regular feeders and restaurants that leave their rubbish bins open were at risk of being sanctioned.

“Quite often the seagulls will sort of swoop over you and if you’re a small child and a thing with a three-foot wingspan comes towards you like a pterodacytl you might just throw your food up in the air,” he added.

“If you were to feed a seagull a couple of chips, there’s nobody going to pounce out the bushes and say ‘you’ve got a fine.’”

(Reporting by Emily Roe; editing by Stephen Addison)

Singer Janet Jackson to go back on tour after time off for family

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LONDON Singer Janet Jackson has announced she is going back on tour later this year, returning to the stage in the United States and Canada after taking time off to give birth to her first child.

In a video message to fans, the pop star also referred to media reports that she had split from her Qatari businessman husband Wissam Al Mana, saying: “Yes I separated from my husband, we are in court and the rest is in God’s hands”.

Jackson, 50, last year said she was postponing her “Unbreakable” music tour due to a “sudden change” in the couple’s plans to start a family. She gave birth to son Eissa in January.

“I’m continuing my tour as I promised, I’m so excited,” the singer said in the video posted on her Twitter feed, thanking fans for their patience and support.

“I decided to change the name of the tour, ‘State of the World’ tour. It’s not about politics, it’s about people, the world, relationships and just love.”

The youngest child in the famed musical Jackson family, the Grammy Award winning singer began her “Unbreakable” tour in summer 2015. She will kick off the four-month, 56-date North American “State of the World” tour on Sept. 7 in Lafayette, Louisiana.

“I am so excited,” Jackson said. “I cannot wait to see you on stage September 7th.”

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

Bassong among five internationals let go by Norwich

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LONDON Sebastien Bassong and John Ruddy are among five internationals released by Championship side Norwich City, the club said on Tuesday.

Defender Bassong, 30, who has won 15 caps for Cameroon, and goalkeeper Ruddy, who played once for England in 2012, are among seven players let go by the Canaries, who are eighth in the table.

Also released are Democratic Republic of Congo midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu, Scotland full back Steven Whittaker and 58-cap striker Kyle Lafferty, who scored seven goals in Northern Ireland’s qualifying campaign for Euro 2016.

Norwich are restructuring their squad following their relegation from the Premier League in 2016.

(Reporting by Neil Robinson, editing by Ed Osmond)

Man United's Shaw set for another spell on sidelines

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<span class="articleLocation”>Manchester United full back Luke Shaw will see a specialist after damaging ligaments in his foot during the Premier League game against Swansea City, British media reported on Tuesday.

Shaw left the field nine minutes into the match at Old Trafford on Sunday, and manager Jose Mourinho said after the 1-1 draw that he suspected the 21-year-old had sustained a “big injury”.

United, who also lost centre back Eric Bailly to injury during the match, have a lengthy casualty list, with defenders Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo all sidelined along with top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Shaw has endured a difficult time since returning from a double leg break that kept him out for nearly a year, with Mourinho publicly questioning his commitment and ambition earlier in the season.

United, who are fifth in the Premier League table, a point and a place behind Manchester City with four games to play, take on Celta Vigo in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final in Spain on Thursday.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

Budget deal may map U.S. Congress road ahead, via Trump bypass

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By Richard Cowan and Ginger Gibson| WASHINGTON

The U.S. Congress, bitterly divided for years along party lines, may be mapping a bipartisan path forward that skirts around President Donald Trump when he refuses to engage constructively with lawmakers, Democrats and some lobbyists said on Monday.

The path was discernible in a nearly $1.2 trillion federal spending deal carved out over the weekend to avert a government shutdown. It had Democratic fingerprints all over it, even though Republicans control Congress and the White House.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Trump will sign the 2017 budget bill when he receives it from Congress on Thursday or Friday. Trump, in an interview with Bloomberg on Monday, said he was “very happy” with the deal announced late on Sunday.

Democrats claimed victory on issue after issue in the agreement, which will keep the lights on in Washington through the end of the federal fiscal year on Sept. 30, provided it holds up and wins final approval as expected.

Trump scored a partial win, getting a commitment for up to $15 billion in additional funding for a military buildup. That was about half of what he originally asked for.

No money was included for Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall. Democratic opposition to it was solid and support from Trump’s fellow Republicans was soft. Mulvaney said Trump will seek wall funding in a budget proposal coming in late May.

At a White House briefing, Mulvaney defended the concessions Trump made to reach an agreement, saying Democrats gave up on some items they had wanted as well in order to find a compromise.

“Everything we got in this deal … lines up perfectly with the president’s priorities,” he said.

Democrats took an opposite view.

Describing the work on Capitol Hill that went into the temporary spending pact, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters: “Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate were closer to one another than we were to the president on so many of the different issues.”

Schumer and Senator Patrick Leahy, the senior Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, said they were bolstered in negotiations by the fact that several Republican senators opposed funding for Trump’s wall and his call for deep domestic spending cuts.

Schumer and Leahy said the White House never tried to work with Democrats in the process.

Trump treats engaging with lawmakers on legislation as “an afterthought,” said Doug Heye, a Republican strategist who worked in Congress as an aide to former House Republican leader Eric Cantor.

“The power of the Oval Office can provide a lot of leverage when trying to move something on Capitol Hill,” Heye said. “We just haven’t see that level of engagement from Trump, whether it’s healthcare, or building a wall, or tax reform.”

But John Feehery, a Republican strategist in Washington, said the spending bill may not be indicative of Trump’s ability to negotiate with Congress because the legislative body should have dealt with this year’s funding months ago and never have been allowed to go into the current year.

“He knows that this bill was probably not going to reflect his priorities because it was old business,” Feehery said. “When it comes to new business, he has a lot more leverage in getting his priorities accomplished.“

PLANNED PARENTHOOD, OBAMACARE FUNDED

The spending deal preserved funding for healthcare provider Planned Parenthood, which has drawn Republican ire because it performs abortions; for the Obamacare healthcare law; and for an array of environmental and other domestic programs Trump wanted to slash.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said because the legislation needs to win a supermajority of 60 votes in the 100-member Senate that cannot be achieved without Democratic support, “we couldn’t have our entire way” on the deal.

Spicer said the “president’s priorities will be reflected much more” in spending yet to be worked out for the 2018 fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1. He said Trump was pleased to see the increase in military spending, a “down payment” on border security and money for scholarships to help low-income children in Washington attend private schools.

The fiscal 2017 funds, which should have been locked into place seven months ago, would pay for federal programs from airport and border security operations to soldiers’ pay, medical research, foreign aid, space exploration and education.

The Pentagon would win a $12.5 billion increase in defense spending for the fiscal year, with the possibility of an additional $2.5 billion contingent on Trump delivering a plan to Congress for defeating the Islamic State militant group.

Congressional negotiators settled on $1.5 billion more for border security, including money for new technology and repairing existing infrastructure.

Under the deal, Puerto Rico would get an emergency injection of $295 million for its Medicaid health insurance program for the poor. The impoverished U.S. territory faces a severe Medicaid funding shortfall.

The U.S. government and coal companies would be required to pay out healthcare to retired coal miners, guaranteeing benefits to workers even as coal companies face bankruptcy, under the spending agreement.

The deal also would reimburse New York City for money spent securing Trump and his family at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

(Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu, Susan Heavey, Tim Ahmann and Steve Holland; Writing by Will Dunham; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, Chizu Nomiyama, Meredith Mazzilli and Jonathan Oatis)

Trump questions why U.S. Civil War had to happen

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Donald Trump has shown a fascination with populist 19th-century U.S. president Andrew Jackson since he has occupied the Oval Office, hanging “Old Hickory’s” portrait in the Oval Office, visiting his plantation in Tennessee and placing a wreath at his tomb.

In an interview that aired on Sirius XM satellite radio on Monday, Trump suggested that if Jackson had governed a little later than his 1829-1837 presidency, the American Civil War might have been averted. Trump also questioned why the bloody conflict had to happen.

“Had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart,” Trump told Sirius XM. He said that although Jackson was a “swashbuckler,” after his wife died, Jackson visited her grave every day.

Jackson, a slave owner who was instrumental in the forced removal of Native American tribes from the U.S. Southeast in the so-called Trail of Tears, died nearly 16 years before the start of the Civil War.

But Trump told Sirius XM that Jackson “was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War.””He said, ‘There’s no reason for this,'” Trump said. “People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War — if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there a Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”

It was not clear what Trump believed Jackson would have done to avert the 1861-65 conflict, which cost 620,000 lives.

In a tweet later on Monday, Trump acknowledged that Jackson had died 16 years before the start of the war but said he “saw it coming and was angry. Would never have let it happen!”

The events leading to the Civil War have been extensively researched, with slavery being one of the root causes. Slavery and its legacy have been a source of division in the United States since.

By the time of his death, Jackson owned about 150 slaves who lived and worked at his plantation, the Hermitage. During his time in office, Jackson denounced the growing activity of abolitionists seeking an end to slavery.

Trump and his supporters have likened his election victory to Jackson’s triumph in 1828, when Jackson became the first U.S. president from what was then the western frontier of Tennessee.

The populist Democrat famously opened the White House to all comers after his inauguration, turning the normally dignified executive mansion into a mob scene.

(Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Peter Cooney)

Kremlin says Putin, Trump to speak by phone on Tuesday: RIA

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump will speak by phone on Tuesday, RIA news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.

Trump will speak with Putin on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. EDT, the White House said on Monday night.

A senior Trump administration official said the two leaders would likely discuss the civil war in Syria, where Moscow backs the government of Bashar al-Assad and the United States supports rebels trying to overthrow him.

(Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Jack Stubbs)

New York girds itself for Trump's first visit as president

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By Laila Kearney| NEW YORK

New York is bracing for President Donald Trump’s first trip back to his hometown since taking office in January in a Thursday visit that is expected to draw protests and snarl traffic in the United States’ most populous city.

The trip could mark a repeat of the chaotic 2-1/2 months between the real estate developer’s Nov. 8 election and Jan. 20 swearing-in, when crowds of protesters and admirers flocked outside his home in the gold-metal-clad Fifth Avenue Trump Tower.

The early days of the Trump administration have brought aggressive rhetoric and moves to crack down on immigration as well as roll back environmental regulations, much of which has ruffled feathers in the liberal northeast city.

Anti-Trump activists, some of whom have organized marches across the country since Trump’s stunning election victory, are planning loud protests to mark the native son’s return.

“A very hot welcome is being planned for Mr. Trump,” said Alexis Danzig, a member of Rise and Resist, an informal group of activists which formed as Trump came to power. “We’ll be out in full force to voice our grievances.”

Trump’s business dealings and romantic fallouts were constant city tabloid fodder in the 1980s and 1990s. His television show, “The Apprentice,” broadcast Trump to the world as the ultimate Big Apple dealmaker during the 2000s.

While the Trump brand is internationally associated with New York, fewer than one in five city residents voted for him.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, both Democrats, have said his stance on immigrants has put him at odds with a city where nearly a third of residents are foreign-born.

Protesters plan to gather Thursday near the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, a decommissioned aircraft carrier where Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull are to have their first in-person meeting. One of the pair’s last exchanges was an acrimonious phone call in January.

New York police declined to provide details of their preparations for Trump’s tour and the protests planned around it.

One lingering issue from the transition period, that of the costs of protecting the president-elect’s building was resolved earlier this week in a proposed federal budget including $61 million to reimburse New York and other local governments for providing Trump-related security.

“That’s good news for our city and the hardworking police officers faced with this unprecedented security challenge,” de Blasio said in a statement.

(Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Scott Malone and Andrew Hay)

Trump: Republican-led Senate should ease rules to pass bills

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U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday said Republicans should make it easier for the Senate to pass legislation, either by allowing bills to be approved by a simple majority vote or by winning a wider majority in the 2018 congressional election.

“The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good ‘shutdown’ in September to fix mess!” he wrote on Twitter.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

U.S. issues travel alert for Europe, citing threat of terrorist attacks

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The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert for Europe on Monday, saying U.S. citizens should be aware of a continued threat of terrorist attacks throughout the continent.

In the alert, the State Department cited recent incidents in France, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom and said Islamic State and al Qaeda “have the ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe.”

The State Department’s previous travel alert for Europe, issued ahead of the winter holiday season, expired in February. A State Department official said Monday’s alert was not prompted by a specific threat, but rather recognition of the continuing risk of attacks especially ahead of the summer holidays. The alert expires on Sept. 1.

Malls, government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, airports and other locations are all possible targets for attacks, the State Department’s alert said.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; editing by Diane Craft)