Anne Hathaway attacks ‘white privilege’ after train stabbing

US actress Anne Hathaway has urged white people to ask “how ‘decent’ are we really?” after a black teenager was stabbed to death on a California train.

Nia Wilson, 18, was killed after she and her sister were both knifed in the neck on Sunday night in Oakland.

“She was a black woman and she was murdered in cold blood by a white man,” Hathaway wrote on Instagram.

The suspect, John Lee Cowell, is in custody, but officials say it is unclear if race played a factor.

Hathaway’s post continued: “White people – including me, including you – must take into the marrow of our privileged bones the truth that ALL black people fear for their lives DAILY in America and have done so for GENERATIONS.”

“We must ask our (white)selves – how “decent” are we really?” she added. “Not in our intent, but in our actions? In our lack of action?”

The comments were posted alongside an image of Ms Wilson, who was returning home from a family event when she was attacked.

“It basically happened at the snap of the fingers, at the drop of the pin,” police chief Carlos Rojas said at a news conference on Monday.

He added that it was “the most vicious” attack he had seen in his nearly 30-year career.

“It’s more reminiscent of a prison yard assault,” Chief Rojas said. “They do their attack so quickly that before anybody can really react, the person takes off running.”

The suspect was arrested on Monday night on board another train after an anonymous tipster called police.

In a statement on Monday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf raised the subject of race in response to the killing.

She said that although the attacker’s motivation is not yet known, “the fact that his victims were both young African-American women stirs deep pain and palpable fear in all of us who acknowledge the reality that our country still suffers from a tragic and deeply racist history”.

Amazon powers up profits as footprint grows

Amazon delivered better-than-expected profits Thursday, helping the online colossus shake off the stock market gloom produced by tech rival Facebook.

Net profit for Amazon in the past quarter jumped 12-fold to $2.5 billion, far ahead of expectations, as the online giant saw gains across its range of businesses as it expands operations globally.

Revenue rose 39 percent to $52.9 billion, shy of most forecasts, but shares in Amazon nonetheless lifted 4.1 percent in after-hours trade.

Amazon has grown into one of the world’s biggest companies on its global e-commerce operations along with cloud computing, artificial intelligence, streaming video, groceries and other operations.

Chief executive and founder Jeff Bezos, whose Amazon stake has made him the world’s richest person, used the quarterly update to highlight Alexa, the digital assistant that powers Amazon electronics along with cars, appliances and other connected devices.

“We want customers to be able to use Alexa wherever they are,” said Bezos.

“There are now tens of thousands of developers across more than 150 countries building new devices using the Alexa Voice Service, and the number of Alexa-enabled devices has more than tripled in the past year.”

Amazon built a reputation for making little or no profit in its early years, but has recently ramped up profitability.

– ‘Innovates like no other’ –

The profit in the past quarter compared with net income of $197 million in the same period last year.

The company said it expects sales to grow between 23 and 31 percent in the current quarter.

“Despite its enormous size and previous run of strong growth, Amazon has had no problem in delivering another good set of numbers,” said Neil Saunders of the research firm GlobalData.

Saunders said in a research note that Amazon’s success comes from the fact that “it innovates and tries new things like no other retailer… this heady pace of creativity is the key reason why it stays several steps ahead of the market and is able to generate so much growth.”

The latest update showed an operating profit of $1.8 billion for its North American operations, offset in part by an operating loss of $494 million in its expanding international segment.

Amazon’s large cloud computing segment, which powers systems for business and government clients, delivered an operating profit of $1.6 billion.

The report offered few details on the Whole Foods grocery chain Amazon acquired last year, which has become increasingly integrated into its retail strategy.

At the close of trade Thursday, Amazon’s market value was some $877 billion, roughly equal with Google parent Alphabet and trailing Apple at $955 billion.

Amazon got a lift from its earnings despite a gloomy quarterly update a day earlier from Facebook, which sent shares in the leading social network down an unprecedented 19 percent, wiping out more than $100 billion in market value and spilling over to others in the sector.

According to the research firm eMarketer, Amazon’s e-commerce revenue will grow more than 28 percent this year to reach $394 billion, and will account for 49 percent of US online retail sales and nearly five percent of all retail spending.

One of Amazon’s revenue drivers is its Prime subscription service which offers streaming video and music, free delivery and other perks and which has more than 100 million members worldwide.

According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Prime has 95 million US users who spend on average $1,400 annually.

Amazon has become a frequent target of President Donald Trump, who has claimed the company takes advantage of the US Postal Service and that Bezos is using his personal ownership of the Washington Post newspaper for lobbying.

BHP sells US oil and gas assets to BP for $10.5 bn

The world’s biggest miner BHP Friday announced the sale of its US shale oil and gas assets to BP for US$10.5 billion, with its shareholders set for a windfall.

The Anglo-Australian firm spent US$20 billion in 2011 to acquire the assets, but the sector later experienced a fall in prices, hammering profits.

It prompted BHP to announce plans to exit the business last year.

With its net debt currently towards the lower end of its target range of US$10-US$15 billion, the money raised is expected to be returned to shareholders.

“We are pleased that we have agreed to sell all of our shale assets in two simple transactions that provide certainty for shareholders and our employees,” said BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie.

“The sale of our onshore US assets is consistent with our long-term plan to continue to simplify and strengthen our portfolio to generate shareholder value and returns for decades to come.”

Under the deal, BP American Production Company, a subsidiary of the British giant, will acquire Petrohawk Energy Corporation, which holds BHP’s Eagle Ford, Haynesville and Permian assets, for US$10.5 billion.

In a separate transaction, a unit of the Merit Energy Company will buy BHP Billiton Petroleum (Arkansas) Inc. and BHP Billiton Petroleum (Fayetteville) for $US300 million.

Both sales are expected to be completed by the end of October.

BHP said it expected to record a one-off post-tax charge of about $US2.8 billion in its full-year results due next month on account of the deals.

Mali holds key polls overshadowed by jihadist violence

Mali holds crucial polls on Sunday with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita seeking re-election in a country reeling from jihadist violence and ethnic attacks.

The international community hopes the poll will strengthen a 2015 accord that Mali, a linchpin state in the troubled Sahel region, sees as its cornerstone for peace.

But violence has peppered the election, with the final days of campaigning marred by an attack on a candidate’s convoy and renewed killings of civilians.

Despite the peace deal, which gathers the government, government-allied groups and former Tuareg rebels, a state of emergency remains in force and heads into its fourth year in November.

Jihadist violence, meanwhile, has spread from northern Mali to the centre and south and spilled into neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger, often exacerbating communal conflicts.

– ‘No more war-mongering’ –

Twenty-four candidates are in the race for the presidency, and over eight million people are eligible to vote.

Keita, elected in 2013, is accused by his opponents, including several former ministers, of poor governance and security failures. Nearly 300 civilians have died in ethnic clashes this year alone.

On Wednesday, at least three Fulani civilians were killed in central Mali in an attack by suspected traditional hunters, according to civil society and security sources.

The Fulani community regularly denounces abuses against them by Bambara and Dogon farmers in the fight against jihadists, accusing authorities of ignoring or even taking part in them.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Keita, 73, defended his record and branded the attacks as “pockets of violence and remnants of terrorism”.

“There’s no more war-mongering in Mali today,” Keita said.

He acknowledged that the violence had “metastasised to central Mali”, but said the state was making a “colossal financial effort” to combat it.

– Rivals -<

Keita’s challengers are headed by Soumaila Cisse, a former finance and economy minister, who lost by a large margin in the second round of the 2013 election.

Others are Modibo Kone, a rural development expert at the West African Development Bank, and Hamadoun Toure, who runs the “Smart Africa” initiative to drive development on the continent via technology.

Another candidate, businessman Aliou Boubacar Diallo, said IBK had “failed miserably”. Diallo’s convoy was attacked by armed assailants while he was campaigning.

“Everywhere we have been, it is this insecurity which tops Malians’ concerns,” Diallo said.

Other contenders include astrophysicist and former prime minister Cheick Modibo Diarra. There is only one female candidate — Djeneba Ndiaye, a 55-year-old businesswoman.

– Fraud claims –

Amid concerns that the vote could not be held in some restive parts of the country, over 30,000 security personnel have been commandeered to ensure security.

In the north, where the state is largely absent, armed groups who signed the peace agreement have also been roped in.

The campaign unfolded amid tight security and marked by a controversy over the electoral roll — with the opposition warning of possible fraud.

Cisse’s team claimed there were two electoral lists and hundreds of fake polling stations listed.

The European Union is expected to deploy around 100 observers on Sunday. Its chief observer, Italian Euro-MP Cecile Kyenge, called on Wednesday for “more transparency” and access for all observers, including 3,000 Malians.

Turnout is traditionally low in Mali during the first round of voting, hovering around 50 percent.

If Keita — widely known as IBK — or any of his contenders fail to secure more than half of the ballots, a second round will take place on August 12.

The first results are expected within 48 hours of the vote, with official results following on August 3 at the latest.

Beijing blast: Small explosive device set off near US embassy

A man has set off a small explosive device close to the US embassy in Beijing, officials have confirmed.

Apart from the attacker, there were no other injuries reported and officials say police responded immediately.

Video and images posted on social media show smoke rising from the vicinity of the embassy in the heart of the Chinese capital with crowds gathering.

State media outlet Global Times tweeted that local residents had heard a “thunder-like bang”.

A statement from the US embassy in Beijing said a device, which they described as a bomb, had exploded at around 1300 local time (0500 GMT) at the south-east corner of the compound.

Beijing police called it a “suspected firecracker device” which caused a fire. The bomber injured his hand during the incident, but there was no danger to his life and he was immediately sent to hospital.

He was named by police as Jiang Moumou, from Inner Mongolia province.

The BBC’s Stephen McDonell at the scene says that normal activities have since resumed at the embassy, with people still lining up for visa applications.

There were earlier reports that police had taken away a woman who had tried to set herself on fire near the embassy at 1100 local time, several hours before the reported blast.

DR Congo: Bemba to ask for opposition leaders for ‘joint candidate’ mandate

Considering that the opposition in DR Congo has agreed in principle to field a joint candidate, former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba said he believed he would be the best candidate in December’s presidential election but that he was open to supporting another candidate.

In his first in-depth public remarks since being acquitted in May on appeal for war crimes at The Hague, Bemba told a news conference in Brussels that standing for president was not an obsession but touted his experience and leadership qualities.

Candidate registration opened on Wednesday. President Joseph Kabila, who has governed since 2001, is barred by term limits from running but has refused to commit publicly to not standing.

That and rising militia violence in Democratic Republic of Congo’s eastern borderlands have raised fears the country could be dragged back to the civil wars of the turn of the century that killed millions, most from hunger and disease.

United against Kabila

Kabila’s opponents have struggled to coalesce behind a single standard bearer for the election and Bemba’s release from prison and planned return to Congo next week have further muddied the waters.

Asked why he should be the sole opposition candidate, Bemba cited his “experience, management of men, management of security, of the army and also of economic development”.

“It is not an obsession. It is so that we, the opposition, can win and do everything so that a candidate from the opposition can win by presenting a programme that is credible for the population.”

Bemba’s political highs and lows

Bemba, who is popular in western Congo, finished runner-up to Kabila in the 2006 election, which touched off days of combat in the capital Kinshasa between militia fighters loyal to him and state troops.

He was arrested in Europe in 2008 and charged with responsibility for murder, rape and pillage committed by fighters he sent to Central African Republic in 2002 to back then-president Ange-Felix Patasse.

The International Criminal Court convicted him in 2016 but an appeals court then ruled in May that he could not be held personally responsible for his fighters’ actions.

Bemba said he would meet with opposition leaders upon arriving in Kinshasa on Aug. 1. Besides Bemba, opposition leaders Moise Katumbi, Felix Tshisekedi, Martin Fayulu and Vital Kamerhe have been nominated by their parties to run for president.

Pakistan election: Ex-cricketer Khan leads in early counting

Ex-cricket star Imran Khan has taken an early lead as votes are counted in Pakistan’s national election, but his rivals allege major vote-rigging.

Early unofficial results suggest his PTI party is in the lead, but it will need to form a coalition if it is unable to secure a simple majority.

Results are trickling in slowly, but election officials deny rigging, saying there are simply technical problems.

Voting day saw bloodshed, with many killed in a blast at a polling station.

This historic election will mark only the second time that a civilian government has handed power to another after serving a full term in Pakistan.

With 42% of polling stations reporting, the Election Commission of Pakistan had Mr Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party leading in 113 of the 272 National Assembly constituencies being contested, according to Pakistan’s Dawn Newspaper.

But the party of disgraced former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has weighed in rejecting the results, as have a host of smaller parties, all alleging vote-rigging and manipulation.

“The way the people’s mandate has blatantly been insulted, it is intolerable,” Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the PML-N and brother of the former prime minister.

Election officials say delays in releasing the results are simply down to technical failures in the electronic reporting system and the votes are now being counted manually.

But any delay to the formation of a government is likely to be a concern for Pakistanis waking up to an unclear result, considering Pakistan’s turbulent political history and a brewing economic crisis.

Why does this election matter?
Pakistan has a population of nearly 200 million, and is a nuclear-armed rival to India, a key developing economy and one of the world’s largest Muslim-majority nations.

The country has been ruled on and off by the military during its 71-year history, so this election is significant because it is considered the country’s second consecutive democratic transition.

The election has been seen as a contest between Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party and Mr Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Mr Sharif, who won the last election, has been jailed for corruption after a scandal stemming from the Panama Papers leak.

Are the elections clean?

Both the run-up to the vote, and the vote count itself, have been highly controversial.

Ahead of the elections, the PML-N complained of a targeted crackdown by the security establishment, with the alleged help of the courts, in favour of the PTI party. The Pakistani military denied interfering in politics.

Independent media, meanwhile, say there have been blatant attempts to muzzle them, while the human rights commission has said there are “ample grounds” to question the legitimacy of the polls.

After the polls closed on Wednesday, several political groups alleged that vote rigging was taking place in polling stations – something denied by election officials.

Representatives from several parties said that their polling agents were expelled from polling stations during vote count and were denied certified copies of results – breaching election procedures.

Analysts have also highlighted unusual delays in the announcement of unofficial results in dozens of constituencies, especially in the crucial province of Punjab which has been a stronghold of PML-N.

What are the results of the vote?

The election commission has not released official results yet.

According to unofficial initial results, the PTI party is currently leading in about113 national assembly seats, while PML-N is ahead in about 60seats, local media report.

However, only about a third of the votes have been counted so far, Dawn newspaper says.

The party of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the historically liberal PPP, is widely expected to come third.

It is now fronted by Ms Bhutto’s son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, a 29-year-old Oxford University graduate.

I’m the most stylish man in Africa – Kenyan man with 160 suits boasts

Is this the most stylish man in Kenya? No, he’s the self-proclaimed most stylish man in the world.

BBC Africa One Minute Stories went to meet him.

This man from Nairobi currently holds a record of owning about 160 suits, 300 caps, 200 pairs of shoes! No, we didnt make this up!

Mr. James Maina Mwangi, a native from Nairobi, Kenya describes himself as the most stylish and smartest man in Africa because of his unique dress style.

In an interview with BBC Africa, he said he has about 160 suits, more than 300 caps and over 200 pairs of shoes among others. He has a matching outfit for every occasion

According to him, if he’s wearing a green suit, he must match it with “green shoes, green shirt, green cap, green handkerchief, green underwear, green pen, and a green cover of my phone.”

He further explained the inspiration for his monochrome style. He said when he first came to Nairobi, he had one shirt and people laughed at him because of his poor background. So he asked God to bless him with something different from other people.

Pakistan election: Dozens killed on voting day

Pakistan has been hit by violence on the day of its general elections – with at least 31 dead in the worst attack.

A man blew himself up outside a polling station in Quetta, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.

Preliminary, unofficial results suggest ex-cricket star Imran Khan’s PTI party is in the lead as votes are counted.

However, the rival party of disgraced former PM Nawaz Sharif, PML-N, has rejected the results amid allegations of vote rigging.

The campaign has been overshadowed by concerns of fraud and violence, and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says there have been “blatant” attempts to manipulate the polls.

There have also been delays in releasing the results. Baber Yaqoob, the secretary of the Electoral Commission, said this was due to technical errors, adding: “There’s no conspiracy.”

“The delay is being caused because the result transmission system has collapsed,” Mr Yaqoob said.

According to unofficial initial results, the PTI party is currently leading in 109 national assembly seats, while PML-N is ahead in about 67 seats, local media report.

However, only votes from 34% of polling stations have so far been counted, Dawn newspaper says.

The turnout has been estimated at between 50% and 55% out of 106 million registered voters, AFP reports.

Several political groups have alleged that vote rigging is taking place in polling stations – something denied by election officials.

Representatives from several parties say that their polling agents were expelled from polling stations during vote count and were denied certified copies of results – breaching election procedures.

Analysts have also highlighted unusual delays in the announcement of unofficial results in dozens of constituencies, especially in the crucial province of Punjab which has been a stronghold of PML-N.

Shehbaz Sharif, leader of the PML-N party and brother of ex-PM Nawaz Sharif, said the vote counting process was “unbearable and unacceptable” due to “manifest and massive irregularities”.

“It’s such a blatant rigging that everyone has started crying. Today what they have done has pushed Pakistan back 30 years,” he said.

Mr Khan has vowed to tackle corruption but his rivals accuse him of benefiting from alleged meddling by the military, which has ruled Pakistan for nearly half of its history.

Mr Sharif, who won the last election, has been jailed for corruption after a scandal stemming from the Panama Papers leak.

How bad is the violence?

Despite tight security, with hundreds of thousands of troops and police officers deployed across the country, there have been violent attacks.

In addition to the suicide attack in Quetta, in Balochistan province, one person died in a grenade attack in Khuzdar, and another died in a shooting between political rivals in Swabi, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The Dawn newspaper also reported clashes in Mardan, Rajanpur, Khipro and Kohistan.

An IS-claimed attack targeting a political rally earlier this month in nearby Mastung killed at least 149 people.

Why is this election important?

Pakistan has been ruled on and off by the military during its 71-year history. This election is significant because it will mark only the second time that one civilian government has handed power to another after serving a full term.

But the run-up to the vote has been controversial.

Mr Sharif’s PML-N complains of a targeted crackdown by the security establishment, with the alleged help of the courts, in favour of Imran Khan and his PTI party.

On Sunday, a judge in the High Court of Islamabad appeared to support that allegation, saying that the military Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) organisation had been interfering in the judiciary.

In a BBC interview on Monday, Mr Sharif’s daughter Maryam Nawaz – who was jailed earlier this month with her father on corruption-related charges – criticised the military.

“When a prime minister refuses to put down his head and do their [the military’s] bidding, they pull him down with four things; get a religious fatwa issued against him, call him a traitor, call him a friend of India, or call him corrupt. They use these things against every elected prime minister,” she said.

Several PML-N candidates also say they have been coerced to switch to the PTI. The Pakistani military denies interfering in politics.

Independent media, meanwhile, say there have been blatant attempts to muzzle them. There are also concerns about the participation of militants on international terror blacklists in the election process.

For all these reasons, the human rights commission has said there are “ample grounds” to question the legitimacy of the polls, “with alarming implications for Pakistan’s transition to an effective democracy”.

Republicans launch bid to impeach US deputy attorney general

Republicans have launched a bid to remove the Department of Justice official overseeing the Russia inquiry dogging Donald Trump’s presidency.

House of Representatives conservatives have filed articles of impeachment in an effort to oust Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

The measures were introduced on Wednesday evening by Representatives Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan.

They accuse him of stonewalling their inquiries, which his department denies.

Impeachment would have to be approved by a majority in the House and backed by two-thirds of the US Senate to convict Mr Rosenstein, which makes the plan a long shot.

Who is Rod Rosenstein?

Within weeks of becoming deputy attorney general in April 2017, Mr Rosenstein found himself in controversy after a memo he wrote was cited as the reason for President Trump’s decision to fire FBI chief James Comey, who was investigating Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US elections.

Mr Rosenstein then appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to take over the inquiry.

Earlier this month, the Department of Justice charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democratic officials during the 2016 vote.

Although Mr Rosenstein has said there is no evidence they “altered the vote count or changed any election result”, the announcement came just before Mr Trump’s controversial summit with President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.