Showing posts with label - Nigeria's entertainment & lifestyle platform online. Show all posts
Showing posts with label - Nigeria's entertainment & lifestyle platform online. Show all posts

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Finance: 10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, SNAP)

People participate in a yoga class during an annual Solstice event in the Times Square district of New York, U.S.

This is what traders are talking about.

Here is what you need to know.

Oil is on track for its worst first-half performance since 1997. Oil has tumbled more than 20% so far in 2017.

The kiwi spikes after New Zealand's central bank keeps policy on hold. The New Zealand dollar, often referred to as the "kiwi," is higher by 0.5% at .7260 against the dollar after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand held its key rate at 1.75%. The bank said that "the growth outlook remains positive, supported by accommodative monetary policy, strong population growth, and high terms of trade."

Iron ore is in the middle of its longest winning streak since December 2015. The commodity has gained for six straight sessions, tacking on 6.5% over that time.

Ethereum flash-crashed. On Wednesday afternoon, the red-hot cryptocurrency crashed from $296 to $13 before quickly recovering its losses.

Snap reportedly bought an app that lets your track your friends. In what appears to be one of its largest acquisitions ever, Snap paid as much as $350 million for Zenly, TechCrunch says.

Oracle crushes earnings, shares spike 9%. The company earned an adjusted $0.89 per share on adjusted revenue of $10.94 billion, both well ahead of estimates.

Altice USA prices its IPO. The cable provider priced its initial public offering at $30 a share. It will trade under the ticker "ATUS."

Stock markets around the world are lower. China's Shanghai Composite (-0.28%) lagged in Asia and France's CAC (-0.54%) trails in Europe. The S&P 500 is set to open down 0.10% near 2,433.

Earnings reports trickle out. Bed Bath & Beyond and Sonic will both report after markets close.

US economic data is light. Initial jobless claims will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET and the FHFA House Price Index will cross the wires at 9 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is down 2 basis points at 2.14%.

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Tech: Sean Parker has stepped down from Spotify's board as the company prepares to IPO

Napster founder Sean Parker.

The Facebook billionaire's departure is part of a bigger Spotify board shuffle.

Tech billionaire Sean Parker has stepped down from Spotify's board of directors, according to Swedish tech site

Parker cofounded file-sharing service Napster when he was 19 years old and he served as the first president of Facebook. He has a net worth of $2.6 billion (£2 billion), according to Forbes. claims to have obtained documents from The Luxembourg Trade and Companies Register that contain the full details of Spotify's new board of directors.

Music Business Worldwide also obtained the document and posted a screenshot of the Spotify board as it stands.

Parker and Klaus Hommels, founder and CEO at venture capital firm Lakestar, are out, while Cristina Stenbeck, major shareholder and ex-chairman of the board for Swedish investment firm Kinnevik, is in, according to

Parker has been on the Spotify board for seven years. He joined the board in 2010 after investing $15 million (£12 million) in exchange for 5% of the company, according to MBW.

Spotify is currently preparing to go public on the New York Stock Exchange this year.

It beefed up its board with four new directors in May, according to The Financial Times. Ex-Walt Disney COO Tom Staggs, YouTube's former head of product Shishir Mehrotra, and NextEV's US boss Padmasree Warrior were all appointed to the board, as was Stenbeck, the FT reported.

Earlier this year, Spotify raised $1 billion (£700 million) in debt, The Wall Street journal reported. Investors valued Spotify at $8 billion (£6.3 billion) at the time, according to Bloomberg, but recent reports suggest it could now be worth as much as $13 billion (£11 billion).

Spotify declined to comment.

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Finance: INSIDE NOMURA: Day in the life of a junior banker


Meet Agnes Valencic, a recent graduate who works on Nomura's asset-backed securities desk in London.

LONDON – Meet Agnes Valencic, a recent graduate who works on Nomura's asset-backed securities (ABS) desk in London.

After completing a degree in French and Art History at UCL last year, Agnes joined the 10-week intern programme at the bank and landed a job in ABS sales.

Her job is to support the desk as it matches European buy-side clients, such as pension funds and asset managers, with the right asset-backed products at the right price.

The securities are backed by pools of mortgages on residential or commercial property, similar to the structured products blamed in the US for starting the credit crunch in 2007.

That didn't put her off. The products' risky reputation is unjustified in Europe, she says, where default rates were low both before and after the crisis.

The securities are often complex, and she tells her friends to watch the Big Short to understand the basics about how they work.

Agnes is in a sales role, and enjoys the focus on building relationships with people the most. Unlike a lot of people attracted to a role on the global markets floor, Agnes did a humanities degree, rather than economics or finance. She hasn't found that a problem so far, and likes following the constantly moving market.

Here's how her day unfolds, and what the office is like to work in:

Nomura's London HQ overlooks the river near Cannon Street, in a historic part of the city that was home to a self-governing enclave of merchants, part of the so-called Hanseatic League, until the late 16th century.

Agnes gets in for around 7:30 a.m., when she checks news sources such as Bloomberg and the Financial Times for news of overnight developments in the ABS markets, or any relevant changes in the macro environment, such as an interest rate hike. She'll forward the interesting ones to clients. After that, she'll grab a quick coffee and breakfast from the in-house cafe.

Once the trading day begins, Agnes is in almost constant touch with both clients and the other salespeople and supervisors of the ABS desk, which manages the whole process of a deal, from the initial client interest to making sure the trade is completed at Euroclear, a clearing house.

She has to keep up contacts both externally with clients and internally with middle office managers, who she has to chase to make sure transactions go through on time and as planned. Agnes conducts most of her business over the phone or via Bloomberg chat, which is a messaging service used by Bloomberg subscribers.

She sits in the middle of a block of around 8 desks surrounded by the rest of the ABS team. The atmosphere is pretty light and friendly.

If it's a sunny day, and Agnes has a moment to get away from her desk, she might visit The Terrace – Nomura's big canteen on the sixth floor – for lunch around noon or 12:30pm.

As the name suggests, it features a huge terrace with views over the Thames. A pop-up bar opens up here every Thursday evening for after-work drinks.

One of the big attractions is the kitchen garden.

The garden includes a habitat for bees and other bugs.

Lots of vegetables, which are used as ingredients in the meals.

And even Hakurei turnips, a Japanese variety of the root vegetable.

So as you might expect the canteen is full of healthy options.

Such as this sushi.

And this extraordinary gluten-free, chia seed, almond milk, and granola pot.

There are also plenty of more substantial meals on offer.

Including a build-your-own burger section.

Which features cumberland sausages and chicken schnitzel.

For those who like a snack, there are both sweet and savoury options.

With the emphasis on sweet.

This frozen yoghurt, and assorted toppings, are a must on a hot day.

If Nomura's London employees are still hungry after all that then there's a sweet shop that doubles as a dry cleaners.

The office has a decent gym for working off visits to the frozen yoghurt machine, with all the weights, spinning classes and running machines you could ever need.

As well as a lot of kettle bells.

In the afternoon, Agnes will deal with the US-based ABS desk, connecting UK or European clients with American salespeople and products. There may also be a coffee with a client and a team member to attend.

Agnes leaves work around 6pm and rarely works later, which is one of the benefits of working in markets rather than an advisory business such as M&A. That said, sometimes she goes to team-building drinks and dinners with clients after leaving the office.

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Finance: 'The UK is unprepared to feed its own people'

A worker sells strawberries on a market stall in Leicester, England

Brexit threatens the security of the UK's supply of fresh fruit and vegetables and will make healthy food more expensive, Euromonitor International is warning.

LONDON – Brexit threatens the security of the UK's supply of fresh fruit and vegetables and will make healthy food more expensive, according to research house Euromonitor International.

Leaving the European Union without a trade deal would weaken the pound further, "leading to even higher prices of imported foods, which mostly applies to fresh produce," Sara Petersson, nutrition analyst at Euromonitor International said in an emailed statement.

"With such dependence on foreign agriculture, at its current state, the UK is unprepared to feed its own people," Petersson said.

The domestic agriculture sector is also heavily reliant on seasonal, migrant labour, which would be threatened by Prime Minister Theresa May's plans to reject the EU's free movement of people and take the UK out of the single market.

Trade barriers and tariffs could exacerbate the price increases if the UK leaves the customers union. The cost of strawberries, for example, could jump by as much as 50%, Datamonitor said.

"The UK’s exit from the European single market is expected to result in changes in tariffs in food trade between the UK and the EU," said Peterson. "Rising tariffs are likely to lead to high prices for fruits which may eventually affect the consumption of certain fruits that the UK is heavily reliant on importation from the EU over the 2016 – 2021 forecast period."

The average Briton consumes 99 kilograms of fruit a year, or 3.4 portions a day. This is expected to drop by 2.1 kilograms to 3.3 portions by 2020.

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Live2love Network: NGO holds conference themed "You Are Enough" in Lagos

Live2love Women Conference

Live2love Network; an NGO that is particular about the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional wellbeing of Youths, Women and Married People.

Live2love Women Conference which came up on 10th of June, 2017 was a mind-blowing event. Women from various walks of life graced the conference with their presence. Notable speakers were on ground to make the conference one that cannot be forgotten in a long while to come.

The convener; Bukola Oyetunji is a life coach, motivational speaker, author of two inspirational books and the Founder of Live2love Network; an NGO that is particular about the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional wellbeing of Youths, Women and Married People. The theme for this maiden Women Conference is YOU ARE ENOUGH. This theme was borne out of the need to encourage women to believe in themselves and let go of all limits they consciously or subconsciously set for themselves.

They were adequately encouraged to put to use all the treasures that resides deep within them so as to have a positive impact on their family, community, organisation, nation as well as the world as a whole. The speakers did a great job at making the time participants spent at the conference worthwhile. The first speaker; Funto Ibuoye, spoke about Tapping into the God-Given Treasures in YOU. The second Speaker; Lepacious Bose encouraged women to appropriately develop themselves in order to achieve self confidence. The keynote speaker; Yetunde Bankole Bernard - The Identity Coach, encouraged women to discover who they are, defend it and stand by it. At this conference, the panel discussants are Tosin Praise-Fowowe, Bridget Elesin and Wunmi Omololu. these wonderful women talked on the topic; Standing out as a balanced woman... It was indeed an awesome one.

Reviews of Live2love Women Conference from participants "It was an awesome event which all the speakers and Penalists Performed brilliantly and all their speech Penetrate into my body Positively of which they let me realize that as a woman you have to stand by your Self and I was also thought how to be a balanced woman. As soon as I stepped out from that event, my thinking has changed. I really love it and I will to be present in any upcoming events like this. Mrs Bukola Oyetunji You Really Did A Great Job By Organizing This. I Love U" - Opeyemi Ajoke "It was nice being at the conference... I learnt a lot...I was inspired by Lepacious Bose's speech..and Yetunde Bankole Bernard' s speech... I was really glad I came and the most important aspect was 'I found myself'...I am really grateful to the convener of the conference; Mrs. Bukola Oyetunji.. And to all who made it possible... I look forward to being at the next conference...." - Adepeju Oyedola "Am happy and do appreciate Sis Bukola Oyetunji for putting that event together.

 God will continue to strengthen you and reward all your efforts in Jesus name. Honestly, I have now learnt how to focus on my immediate needs without first meeting the needs of all around me who only take advantage of me. Because I had the courage to forgo a lot of other pressing needs to attend the Conference meant a New Me emerged. I have gone through a lot in life all alone, just like the experience Lepacious Bose shared. But God never fails. Real blessings Sister Bukola Oyetunji. Keep the flag flying.” - Charity Uzoamaka "Live2love Women Conference was simply monumental!" - Divinelove Mmaduka

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Relationships and Sex: The major breakthrough that completely stopped this woman's painful genital herpes outbreaks


Here's what you need to know.

In the span of seven days, Mel Smith left her verbally abusive boyfriend, moved out of their house with her 13-year-old son, and found out that she had contracted genital herpes.

“I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t know what to do,” she says, remembering the time five years ago when her vagina itched so badly she couldn’t wear underwear.

Her diagnosis? Herpes simplex virus.

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 420 billion people worldwide have herpes simplex virus, commonly referred to as “herpes.”

The highly contagious virus is passed through human contact, be it orally or sexually.

There are two types: HSV-1, which mainly causes oral herpes, and HSV-2, which infects 417 million people and mainly causes genital herpes.

Women are infected with HSV-2 more than men because sexual transmission is more efficient from men to women than from women to men.

Most herpes infections don’t cause symptoms. But for some people, like Mel, painful, itchy, sore-causing genital outbreaks become the new reality.

Today, there is no known cure—just antiviral medications that can help ease the pain of outbreaks for some people.

“He told me that ‘it’s like buying a condo in Florida, you can never get rid of it,’” she says of her doctor, who prescribed her the antiviral and sent her away.

Her ex-boyfriend, who she thinks may have cheated and passed along the virus, offered no support either. He accused her of cheating on him.

So she started taking the medication to lessen the intensity of her severe outbreaks, which caused tingling on her genitals, and intense itching that often resulted in scabs or open wounds when scratched.

Still, every month when she got her period, an outbreak came with it, a common phenomenon for women with genital herpes.

Online, she found a community of people with herpes, and she also found William Halford, Ph.D., who had been studying the virus for more than 20 years.

Five years ago, Halford met filmmaker Agustin Fernandez, who was interested in investing a half-million dollars in a herpes vaccine, inspired by an ex-girlfriend who had the virus.

The doctor and filmmaker started Rational Vaccines in 2015 with the hopes that a vaccine for herpes could one day be on the market.

After writing to him about her life with severe monthly outbreaks, Mel became one of the 17 people chosen for a clinical trial run by Halford in the Caribbean.

The trial group, based in Saint Kitts and Nevis, was composed of men and women from the U.S. and U.K. of different ages and races.

Each participant had tested positive for herpes and experienced severe genital outbreaks 12 to 24 times per year.

Beginning in April 1, 2016, they were each injected with three doses, one month apart, of the vaccine.

Halford first tested the vaccine on mice, guinea pigs, himself, and co-founder Fernandez.

Though neither of them were infected with herpes, they injected themselves to prove their belief that the vaccine was safe.

Next came the trial, which not only offered further proof of the vaccine's safety in humans but its ability to help tame symptoms.

The clinical trial Mel participated in was the first live-attenuated herpes vaccine tested on humans.

Translation: Halford injected a “slow, stupid version” of the herpes virus into participants, so their immune systems could find it, fight it, and do the same thing when the real virus flared up again.

Halford and his team are still analyzing the data from the trial, and they expect to have a paper published in a medical journal by the end of 2017.

However, Fernandez said 100 percent of the patients reported improvements in the frequency of their outbreaks.

“It worked on every person in varying degrees,” he said. About 65 percent of participants said they have not had a genital herpes outbreak since the trial has ended—Mel included.

About 25 percent now have many fewer outbreaks than before, he says. Everyone in these two categories tested positive for one of two types of herpes simplex virus before the trial began.

The remaining 10 percent, all of whom were women who tested positive for both types of herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 and HSV-2), saw the least amount of improvement.

But these women still reported that their outbreaks had subsided, whether it was the intensity or the frequency.

Fernandez said that, like Mel, each of these women experienced outbreaks during their menstrual cycles.

Live viral vaccines are nothing new—the shingles and chickenpox vaccines employ the same strategy to fight the viruses. Still, Fernandez said the words “live” and “virus” in the same sentence made the FDA hesitant to approve trials in the U.S.

That’s why the company had to conduct the trial overseas. While that may sound suspect, it's similar to what happened with the chickenpox vaccine, which is now required to attend public school in all 50 states.

When scientists behind that vaccine were conducting trials in Japan in 1972, the FDA delayed bringing it to the U.S.

The regulatory agency was concerned that there could be unwanted side effects, according to the New York Times. It wasn’t approved until 1995.

Now, chickenpox is largely a thing of the past. Fernandez hopes that one day soon, herpes will be, too.

Edward Gershburg, Ph.D., who worked on the development of the vaccine with Halford at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, confirms that this trial was the first time a live-attenuated herpes vaccine was tested on humans.

That may be because although the risk of contracting or worsening the virus from this type of vaccine is extremely small, it’s there, he says.

"We are at the point where (U.S. regulators) can’t afford even the slightest risk, even if it’s one out of several million,” he says. “Those vaccines will be somewhat considered risky.”

Fernandez says he is confident in the safety in the vaccine, but he wants to run more tests.

Within three to five years, he hopes to have a Phase 1 FDA-approved clinical trial in the U.S.

He doesn’t want to wait for the sometimes years-long approval process when he could be helping more people, he says, so he’ll organize more trials in Mexico and the Caribbean in the meantime.

With desperate emails from people with herpes pouring into his inbox every day, Fernandez says he asks himself, “What’s the bigger risk? I think it’s a little more risky to let this continue.”

“We can’t wait,” he says. “There are literally too many people suffering.”

When Harvey Friedman, M.D., professor of infectious diseases at University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, read about the trial, he says it was encouraging to hear that it had positive effects on every participant.

Still, he says, it’s too early to celebrate.

“The first step is to have a control group, which he didn’t have,” he says. “He was looking at safety.”

To really prove the efficacy of the vaccine to alleviate outbreaks, patients would have to be split into two groups.

One group would get the vaccine and one would get a placebo, Friedman says. After recording the results, Rational Vaccines will have a better idea of how to proceed.

Fernandez knows it will be a long road with several phases of testing before this vaccine could possibly be available to the public, but he is prepared to do whatever it takes.

His friend and co-founder Halford has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and the filmmaker wants to continue his legacy.

“There is nothing else more important I could do than this,” he says.

Mel has thrown out the antiviral medications that she used to hide shamefully in her medicine cabinet.

She has more time to spend with friends, her son, her boyfriend, and working on her business now that she doesn’t have painful monthly outbreaks. "I feel like a more whole person," she says.

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Lifestyle: French Instagram fitness star killed by exploding whipped cream canister


Rebecca Burger had 160,000 Instagram followers.

Rebecca Burger, a French fitness blogger, has died after a whipped cream dispenser exploded in her chest.

Burger, who had 160,000 Instagram followers and more than 55,000 Facebook fans, passed away at the weekend.

Citing local reports in France, the BBC reported that she died of cardiac arrest after the accident, despite being attended to by medics.

Her family announced her death on Facebook, calling it a "domestic accident." A warning about the faulty dispensers has also been posted on her Instagram. It said the canister "exploded and struck Rebecca's chest, causing her death".

The dispensers shoot gas into a metal capsule, which keeps the pressure high. The BBC said a French consumer group has warned readers for years about faulty connectors on the gas capsules, causing them to break and expel at high speed.

The number of accidents from such dispensers even prompted the government office for consumers to issue a warning, saying the accidents stretch back as far as 2010, and can occur at any time - even after years of use, it said.

Below is the warning posted on Burger's Instagram account.

Burger's family announced the death on Facebook.

Burger had 160,000 followers on Instagram, where she shared glamorous photos of her life.

She also had a YouTube channel. Her first and only video was posted on 10 June and captured a trip to Bali.

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Petra Kvitova: Two-time Wimbledon champion reaches first quarter-final of comeback

Czech Republic's Petra Kvitova returns the ball to US Bethanie Mattek-Sands during their tennis match at the Roland Garros 2017 French Open on May 31, 2017 in Paris

Kvitova did serve a few double faults which briefly seemed worrying, but hit some fine ground strokes and moved better.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was cheered as if she had been the home player, after a straight-sets win over Britain's Naomi Broady in Birmingham on Wednesday carried her into a first quarter-final in eight months.

The applause was not intended as any slight to Broady, but as acknowledgement of an encouraging performance by the Czech, whose career may still be at risk from the injuries inflicted on her by an intruder with a knife six months ago.

Kvitova did serve a few double faults which briefly seemed worrying, but hit some fine ground strokes and moved better than she used to in a 6-2, 6-2 victory.

She seemed taken aback when asked after the match if she knew that she was widely considered as one of the favourites for the tournament.

"I didn't hear that," she said. "I don't really care – it's too early," she added, mindful of this being only her fourth match since the trauma of having five fingers and two tendons of her left hand damaged.

"I am here to play tennis and to play on the grass which I love."

Next up could be Kristina Mladenovic, the fifth-seeded French player, who caused a stir at Roland Garros two weeks ago by eliminating the defending champion Garbine Muguruza.

But Kvitova will have to wait, and make the best of another practice day on Thursday while Mladenovic plays her second round against Zhang Shuai, the world number 31 from China.

She may find that she is fresher than anyone, as her match lasted little more than an hour on a day which was reportedly the hottest in the United Kingdom since 1976, with temperatures in the mid-30s.

Ability to withstand such heat may have been a factor in the two-hour, 20-minute victory for the ninth-seeded Australian, Daria Gavrilova, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 against Katerina Siniakova, a rising young Czech who already has two wins over top-10 players this year.

Another win each and Gavrilova and Kvitova would meet in Saturday's semi-finals.

Later another Aussie, the 21-year-old Ashleigh Barty, also prospered in the high temperatures.

In her first appearance in the main draw she overcame Barbora Strycova, the eighth-seeded Czech who has twice been a finalist here, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.

Her reward is likely to be a quarter-final with Ukrainian top seed Elina Svitolina.

The last match saw former French Open runner-up Lucie Safarova see off Naomi Osaka 6-2, 6-4, and the Czech will face Gavrilova next.

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Saudi Arabia: Country to host women's professional squash event

Nour El Sherbini of Egypt tries to return a shot to Laura Massaro of Great Britian during their semi-final match of the Dubai PSA World Series Finals squash tournament in Dubai on May 27, 2016

The Professional Squash Association (PSA) said the PSA Women’s Masters will be staged at Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University.

Saudi Arabia will stage a women's squash tournament later this year with world champion Nour El Sherbini and eight-time world title winner Nicol David appearing in a rare public airing for women's sport in the kingdom.

The Professional Squash Association (PSA) said the PSA Women’s Masters will be staged at Princess Nora bint Abdul Rahman University in Riyadh from October 29 to November 2.

"Following recent initiatives from the General Authority of Sports in Saudi Arabia to increase sporting participation and awareness across the country, the $165,000 tournament will play a crucial role in inspiring a new generation of Saudis to become active within sport," said a PSA statement.

PSA Chairman and Saudi businessman Ziad Al-Turki said he hoped the event would encourage more women to take up squash.

"I’m hoping that this tournament will increase local participation in Saudi Arabia, and I look forward to working with all parties involved throughout the next six months insuring continued success for years to come."

Saudi authorities have often come under fire from rights groups for their approach to women in sport as well as in everyday society.

Only four women featured in the Rio Olympics in 2016 for the Saudis after two were named in the team for London in 2012, the first time the Gulf nation had sent female athletes to the Games.

Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan, under secretary president of the Women’s Department of the General Authority for Sport in Saudi Arabia, added: "We look forward to growing the female participation of the sport of squash. It is a dynamic game that involves fast thinking and fast reaction times, skills that are well reflected in the women of Saudi Arabia."

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Dominic Thiem: Austrian player dumped out by Haase, Zverev reaches quarters

Netherlands' Robin Haase returns the ball to Spain's Rafael Nadal during their tennis match at the Roland Garros 2017 French Open on May 31, 2017 in Paris.

Austrian Thiem was playing in his first tournament since reaching the French Open last four earlier this month.

Second seed Dominic Thiem suffered a surprise second-round defeat by Robin Haase in Halle on Wednesday, but home favourite Alexander Zverev cruised into the quarter-finals.

Dutchman Haase got the better of Thiem 6-3, 7-6 (9/7), after the fourth-seeded Zverev had brushed aside his fellow German Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-4.

Austrian Thiem was playing in his first tournament since reaching the French Open last four earlier this month, looking to get some match practice on grass before the start of Wimbledon on July 3.

But the world number 42 Haase grew into the match after saving two break points in the first game, and took the opening set thanks to a break in game eight.

Thiem, who beat Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros before being thrashed by Rafael Nadal, broke his opponent when he served for the match to force a second-set tie-break.

But Haase saved three set points in the breaker and wrapped up the win at the first time of asking to set up a last-eight tie with Richard Gasquet.

"It was not the best start I've had. The first set was pretty average," Thiem told the ATP Tour website.

"I played good in the second set and had a lot of chances, but he played those set points well and was playing well overall."

"I hope to get some matches next week (in Antalya) and then get ready for Wimbledon."

Earlier, Zverev, 20, had confidently dispatched of Kohlschreiber in just 65 minutes.

A break of serve in each set was enough for the Italian Open champion to reach his seventh quarter-final of the season, where he will take on seventh-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut.

"I'm very satisfied because Philipp is someone who can play very well on grass. He mixes it up well with his slice and serve, so he's always a difficult opponent on this surface," said Zverev, the world number 12.

"I'm glad I could win in two sets and have the feeling I played well."

In the day's other matches, Gasquet followed up his surprise win over fellow Frenchman Gael Monfils by beating Bernard Tomic 6-3, 6-3, while Bautista Agut got the better of Dustin Brown 6-4, 1-6, 7-6 (8/6).

Roger Federer will continue his bid for a ninth Halle title on Thursday when he takes on Zverev's older brother Mischa.

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Pulse Style: Outfit of the day

Ranti Onayemi - Blanchard

Pulse Style's daily fashion inspiration where fashion enthusiasts/ fashion loving individual styles are broken down to serve as a style pointer for everyday wear and more...

Outfit of the day is a chic take on white and black with brilliant accessories to bring the look perfectly together.

Style inspiration is taken off Ranti Onayemi-Blanchard, style enthusiast and influencer who takes on white in no boring way at all. She sports a white high neck butterfly sleeve detailed free midi dress complete with white tier statement earrings.


She chose the look with lacer acrylic cut out grab bag that brings a bit of 'va va voom' to the get up topped with embellished slips.

She chose soft glowing makeup look paired with matte red lips with hair firmly secured in a centre part to rock the simple look. What do you think of her effortless styling of the white dress?


For more of her looks as inspiration, follow on Instagram @rantiinreview.

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Politics: Kensington and Chelsea council CEO resigns after Grenfell Tower disaster

Council is "grief-stricken" by last week's blaze.

Council is 'grief-stricken' by last week's blaze, which claimed the lives of at least 79 people.

LONDON — Nicholas Holgate, the CEO of Kensington and Chelsea council, has resigned in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster.

In a statement, Holgate said he was asked to step down by Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid. He will make way once a successor is identified.

Council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown said Holgate's resignation was accepted with "great regret." He said the local authority is "grief-stricken" by last week's blaze, which claimed the lives of at least 79 people.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was responsible for managing Grenfell, the west London residential tower block. It was sidelined in providing relief for bereaved and homeless residents caught up in the catastrophe by a coalition of other local councils and organisations, such as the British Red Cross.

Prime Minister Theresa May apologised for the state's response to the Grenfell tragedy on Wednesday. "Support on the ground for families in the initial hours was not good enough," she said. "That was a failure of the state, local and national."

Here is Holgate's statement in full:

"Serving the families so desperately affected by the heart-breaking tragedy at Grenfell Tower remains the highest priority of the Council. Despite my wish to have continued, in very challenging circumstances, to lead on the executive responsibilities of the Council, I have decided that it is better to step down from my role, once an appropriate successor has been appointed.

"Success in our efforts requires leadership across London that sustains the confidence and support of central Government. There is a huge amount still to do for the victims of the fire, requiring the full attention of this Council and many others. If I stayed in post, my presence would be a distraction.

"Whilst the public inquiry and other investigations will get to the truth of the causes of this tragedy and the management of its aftermath, I strongly believe that Councillors and officers have always endeavoured to have the interests of our residents at heart and will continue to do so."

Elsewhere on Thursday morning, Sky News reported that cladding fitted to the west London tower block released toxic hydrogen cyanide gas as it burned. At least three of those injured in the fire were treated with an antidote to the poisoning, Sky said.

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Lifestyle: What it's like to buy a London flat under shared ownership — the scheme that helps millennials get on the property ladder


Like many 20-something Londoners, the idea of buying my own flat had always seemed wildly unattainable.

Like many 20-something Londoners, the idea of owning my own place had always seemed so wildly unlikely that I didn’t bother worrying about it. I had taken it as a given that my monthly rent and bills for a London flatshare would absorb around half of my monthly wage.

That is until last summer, when my boyfriend Jonny and I bought 40% of a two-bedroom flat in Clapton, Hackney, for £146,000 through the Share to Buy scheme, with a deposit of just over 5% of the overall value.

So how did we do it?

Three years ago, we first moved in together, into a flat in Stoke Newington, Zone 2, on the road below. But renting a one-bed worked out more expensive than we thought.

Once bills were factored in, we were actually paying more than when we were renting rooms separately. We adored the place, but in reality we ended up splashing out for a damp-infested basement.

Our letting agency had refused to address some epic mould issues, and we felt stuck. Still, despite the amount we were coughing up each month, our rent was considered reasonable for the area. So, if we were to move, we faced additional "admin fees," and probably even higher rent.

The out-of-reach property ladder

We had some money for a deposit and started looking into buying a place. But we soon learned that what we had would get us nowhere on the open market in any of the areas we wanted to live in.

Moving in together was a grown up enough step in and of itself, and we weren't ready to move to the outer suburbs with a monster commute — a reasonable request in most other European, even UK cities.

Stoke Newington was well out of the picture in terms of house prices, so we went to speak to an estate agent in Walthamstow (Zone 3). At the time, everyone seemed to be talking about the "up-and-coming area," so it seemed like a good compromise. The leafy Walthamstow Village, shown below, is particularly popular among younger buyers.

But we were too late. The Walthamstow property market was already booming, and at that time we would have needed at least a 20% deposit (£50,000) to be taken seriously for a one-bed flat, for which prices were starting at about £250,000. We had less than half of that deposit.

We were told many of the flats were being snapped up by property developers, who were blowing buyers out of the water with offers of 100% equity at bidding stage — or, just gazumping them later down the line.

Whether there was an element of scare-mongering from the agents we spoke to or not, it felt depressing, and wholly unattainable.

Discovering Share to Buy

Defeated, we resorted back to the damp flat. Our only other options were to sign for another year with our hopeless agent, or worse — move back into a flatshare to reduce our outgoings in order to try and save.

One night at the pub we got talking to a friend who had bought a shared ownership property a few years before. It sounded too good to be true — a scheme that allows you to buy part of a property in an area where you otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford a bedsit.

How had we not heard of this?

We had heard of the Help to Buy scheme, which was great for helping first time buyers scrape together more of a deposit, but with greater lending restrictions following the 2008 crisis, it wouldn't have helped people like us.

Even taking into account both of our salaries, we were unlikely to be approved enough of a mortgage for a one-bed.

Shared ownership, on the other hand, offers people who can't quite afford a mortgage on 100% of a home to buy stakes of between 25% and 75% of a home’s value and pay rent on the remaining share, as well as a service charge. You can buy more of the property later — which is known as "staircasing."

The scheme has been around for decades, first known as "Part Buy and Part Rent," but has been rebranded over the years, and is now most commonly referred to as “Share to Buy.”

Tariq Qureshi, a sales manager at housing association Southern Housing, told me: "It was initially targeted at people in social housing, who fell in the gap of earning enough not enough to rent from local authorities but not enough to buy outright."

"But over the years, as property prices have continued to grow, the market has opened up to a wider and more diverse audience who is unable to buy outright on the open market."

We represented that new demographic.

Figuring out the financials

The Share to Buy website became the fixation of our lives for the next seven months.

The first thing we found was that, just like on the open market, there were new builds up for sale, as well as second-hand homes, known in the shared ownership world as "resales."

To begin with, we were focused only on the new developments. For a couple that didn't own a stick of furniture between us, the idea of walking into a brand new pad kitted out with all white goods was appealing.

The first development we visited was overlooking London Fields and a stone's throw from Broadway Market — foodie and hipster heaven — making it a prime piece of London real estate.

Walking around the show flat, I was giddy with excitement that a home this gorgeous was within our reach. Except, it wasn't.

With shared ownership, it's the housing association — to whom you pay the rent and service charge portions to — that decides who is eligible to buy a property. Applications are assessed based on your financial situation as well as a special criteria, which can vary between associations. There was no instant "yes" or "no." Instead, it was a waiting game, which proved frustrating at times.

To buy a shared ownership property in London, the maximum household income needs to be £90,000 for Londoners, and £80,000 elsewhere. The lower threshold depends on the value of the property and the size of share that you're buying.

The London Fields flat was too expensive for us. The monthly outgoings would have been well over £2,000 a month for a two-bedroom (which was what we wanted for a longer-term investment).

Meeting the criteria

Even if our financials made the bracket, the demand was huge. It's particularly strong in boroughs like Hackney, where the average first time buyer property costs £415,000, according to Savills' analysis of Land Registry data.

"As with homeownership in the open market, demand constantly remains high for shared ownership and supply does lag behind that," Qureshi told me.

As you can imagine, the scheme taps into a whole pool of people that otherwise wouldn't be able to afford to buy their own homes, and they're all after the same end goal.

In our experience, the housing associations handling Hackney properties prioritised people with children — and rightly so — as well as key workers, such as teachers and nurses, among others. The criteria also takes into account whether you live and/or work in the borough in which you are applying.

We only really ticked one box: that we had lived in the borough for several years. Would that ever be enough to make us "more" eligible than someone else?

Once we realised how competitive it was, we widened our search to resales, but even that seemed impossible. We started viewing, or attempting to view, every single Hackney property that came on the Share to Buy portal.

We visited endless flats that we desperately wanted, and would often hear nothing back. It felt like a mammoth job search, and at one point I was close to giving up.

Offer (finally) accepted

Thankfully, we finally get the phone call to say that we'd had our offer accepted on a two-bed flat in Clapton, Hackney (shown below), seven months after our first viewing the London Fields flat.

We were buying 40% of a property worth £380,000 for £146,000. Of the share we were buying we had a deposit worth 15%, which meant securing a mortgage of 85%, which in real terms is a relatively small mortgage for London.

Little did we know that was just the beginning for us. As much as you are protected by the shared ownership market — there are no bidding wars or gazumping because you can only make an offer for the asking price — it's a seller's market in other ways.

Our sellers hadn't yet found a place to buy, which meant months went by without the sale progressing.

When they eventually did find a place to buy, the value of the flat we were buying had gone up by £20,000 and they wanted us to pay extra, proportional to our share. As in the open market, there was nothing to protect us from this under shared ownership, and they were likely all too aware of how long it had taken us to match the criteria and be allocated another shared ownership property in Hackney.

So, we eventually came to an agreement to pay a portion of the extra cost.

We exchanged in June 2016, 14 months since beginning our search and seven months on from having our offer accepted.

Finally, we could celebrate.

Our process was particularly long for reasons unique to our sale. We know people who exchanged on shared ownership properties in half the time, but we both agree it was worth every month spent waiting for news.

Our outgoings are now less than when we were renting, we have more space, and we're now on the London property ladder.

Still, many people we talk to even now, particularly those who fall under the new demographic of potential buyers — millennials — are still unaware of the benefits of the scheme, which remains relatively under-the-radar.

You don't have to be in a couple to buy under shared ownership — it could just as easily be done between two friends, and it's not entirely restricted to first time buyers.

If you have a property and are in the process of selling it — say for example because you're downsizing, or are going through a divorce — you could also qualify for the scheme.

For more information on who is eligible to buy properties under Share to Buy, head to the website.

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Roberto Firmino: Liverpool forward weds long-term girlfriend in Brazil

Roberto Firmino and Larissa Pereira

Firmino's Liverpool teammates Coutinho, Lucas and Souza also attended the wedding.

Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino and his long-term girlfriend Larissa Pereira have tied the knot.

Firmino and Pereira have been dating for four years and have two kids together.

The couple on Tuesday, June 20 finally tied the knot in a very expensive wedding ceremony in the Brazilian city of Maceio.


Liverpool Brazilian players Philippe Coutinho, Allan Souza and Lucas Leiva were at the ceremony to support their teammate.


Popular Brazilian pop star Gabriel Diniz performed a number of his hits at the ceremony and was joined on stage by Firmino, Coutinho and Lucas.


Firmino and Pereira have two daughters.

His wedding comes after an impressive season for Liverpool scoring 12 goals in all competitions as they qualified for the Champions League.

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Fitness and Weight Loss: Work your abs and chest with a single dumbbell

Be more attractive

Change the way you hold your dumbbell and the results will shock you.

"The name of the game is tension,"says Andy Speer, the creator of The Anarchy Abs Workout from Men's Health.

The crush (adduction) motion forces your chest and abs to activate in every move.

This added tension throughout the entire series will light up your chest and core while working your shoulders and back, Speer adds.

This circuit trains you to hold tension in your trunk while moving your extremities, which is the foundation for most athletic movement.

Aside from improved performance in your athletic pursuits, this type of core work will sculpt killer abs.

Best of all, this workout doesn't require much equipment. A single light-to-medium weight dumbbell will do the trick.

Directions: Perform the exercises below in the order listed with 30 seconds of work for each move and 15 seconds of rest between moves.

1. Dumbbell kneeling crush press out

2. Dumbbell bent-over crush row

3. Dumbbell hollow-body hold crush pull over

4. Dumbbell crush hollow-body rock

That's 1 round. Rest for 60 seconds. Repeat for 2 to 3 rounds.

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Fitness and Weight Loss: This 4-minute cardio-core circuit will blast away your belly fat

one arm pushup

Raising a family is no excuse to get soft.

Just because you’re a dad, you don’t need to default into the dad bod—or, at least, the soft and shlubby image that term brings to mind.

That’s why we’re taking that label and molding it into version 2.0.

We’ve partnered with trainer Cory Gregory to bring you a cutting-edge, four-week program with five workouts that will help you completely reshape your body.

By using a time-based circuit format—allowing you to focus more on quality reps rather than sloppily pumping out a set number—you’ll build loads of lean muscle and burn off the fat that’s covering it. You don’t need to hit the gym for it, either.

So clear off some floor space and get ready to sweat. The road to your new, chiseled body starts here—welcome to Dad Bod: Redefined.


Equipment needed: Jump rope and dumbbell

Time: 20 to 40 minutes, plus rest

Directions: Complete each exercise before going right into the next. After you’ve completed all four moves, rest as needed. That’s one circuit. Complete five to 10 times total.


1. Jump Rope: 1 minute

2. Plank: 1 minute

3. Jump Rope: 1 minute

4. Weighted Crunch: 1 minute


Equipment needed: A treadmill if you need to stay inside; a track or any other place to run if you can head outside

Time: 10 to 20 minutes

Directions: Complete each exercise before going right to the next. When you’ve completed both exercises, that’s one circuit. Do 5 to 10 times total.


1. Walk: 1 minute

2. Run: 1 minute

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Cristiano Ronaldo: Football star has eyes on Nigerian music and Davido might be his first stop

Ronaldo has his eyes on Nigerian music

Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed he is a fan of Nigerian music.

Yesterday, Wednesday, June 22, 2017, the world of football crossed paths with the world of Nigerian music as football star Cristiano Ronaldo followed Davido on Instagram.

The Real Madrid star who is currently playing for his country at the Confederations Cup followed Nigerian superstar Davido on the social media platform who couldn't stop raving at it.

Davido took to Instagram to announce the big moment in his career. "All my guys call me @cristiano !! MADRID HERE I COME !!" he wrote on Instagram.


Cristiano Ronaldo also liked a video of Davido in which the pop star placed his single 'Fall' on the football star's Champions League highlights.

In Davido's new single, the pop star name checked Cristiano Ronaldo on the record. CR7 is a lover of music and he has a few music stars as friends such as Lil' Wayne.


This is not the first time a football star has publicly shown his affection for Nigerian music. In 2013, Dutch striker Robin Van Persie said he was a fan of Psquare.


In 2016, Manchester United stars Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard were recorded dancing to Wizkid's single 'Come Closer' featuring Drake.


West Ham winger Wilfred Zaha hung out with Wizkid at his Hunger Magazine photo shoot in April 2017.

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Finance: Oil prices are on track for worst first half performance since 1997


Brent is below $45 a barrel for the first time this year on Thursday, as fears of oversupply continue.

LONDON — Oil is hovering below $45 and on track for its worst performance for the first-half of a year since 1997.

Oil prices dropped in late trade on Wednesday and have failed to recover, amid continued concerns about oversupply. It entered bear market territory earlier in the week and price pessimism appears to be setting in. Traders are increasingly skeptical that OPEC will be able to control prices through supply caps in the way it once could.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, says in an email: "The declines seen in the past few weeks really shouldn’t have been too much of a surprise to OPEC given the capacity of US shale producers to vacate the space left open for them.

"That, and a significant increase in output from Libya and Nigeria, both of whom are exempt from the quota system, and it is clear that OPEC underestimated their own importance, when it came to global oil output. The decline in prices hasn’t been helped by concerns that demand might be slowing in Asia, meaning the prospect that inventory levels are likely to remain elevated for longer."

US West Texas Intermediate is hovering close to 12-month lows, down 0.02% to $42.52 at 7.10 a.m. BST (2.10 a.m. ET):

Brent oil, meanwhile, is below $45 a barrel for the first time this year. Brent is down 0.09% to $44.74 at 7.15 a.m. BST (2.15 a.m. ET):

Oil prices have now dropped by more than 20% since the start of the year and, with eight days left to go until the first half of 2017 ends, the Telegraph reports that oil is on track for its worth first-half performance since 1997.

CMC Markets' Hewson warns that price pressure could continue, saying: "A new unknown is whether the new Saudi leadership will alter course on its current oil policy, given that it is they who are making the lion’s share of the cuts in output."

The Saudi king this week shook up the kingdom's line of succession, putting his 31-year-old son first in line to the throne.

Hewson adds: "Another question now is what US shale producer’s pain threshold is as oil prices close in on the $40 level, and levels last seen in August last year."

OPEC began pumping out oil in 2014 as a tactic to try and put the US shale industry out of business by depressing prices to unsustainable levels. It had a dramatic effect, reducing the number of US oil rigs from just over 1,600 to around 500.

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Wednesday, 21 June 2017

In Syria: Besieged Douma, Ramadan meals among the ruins

Syrian residents of the rebel-held town of Douma on the outskirts of Damascus break their fast with the "iftar" meal on a heavily damaged street on June 18, 2017, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan

The scene in Syria's besieged rebel-held town of Douma is almost surreal -- tables laden with food to break the Ramadan fast are surrounded by the crumbling carcasses of bombed-out buildings.

The scene in Syria's besieged rebel-held town of Douma is almost surreal -- tables laden with food to break the Ramadan fast are surrounded by the crumbling carcasses of bombed-out buildings.

The open-air meals are a rare treat in the town in the Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus, made possible only by the relative calm that has followed an international deal to reduce violence.

In recent years, such communal "iftars" or fast-breaking meals have been organised rarely and always inside buildings that provided some protection from the constant threat of government bombardment.

But this Ramadan the meals are being held outside, on long tables covered in festive red cloth.

They are topped first with orange juice and dates ready for residents to break their day-long fast as soon as the sun sets and the call to prayer begins.

Main dishes quickly follow, filling the six tables that each seat around 40 people, with others in an overflow section on the street.

Bowls of fava beans topped with tomato, olive oil and parsley, and platters of peas in tomato stew with rice arrive among the offerings.

There is also locally produced yoghurt, as well as bowls of fresh apricots.

"After six years of war in Syria and in Ghouta in particular, we wanted to take advantage of the relative calm to bring people happiness," said Muayyed Muhieddine, a spokesman for the local Adalah (Justice) NGO organising the meals.

"We wanted to remind them of the time before the war, when the meals looked like marriage banquets," he told AFP.

Relative calm

In May, regime backers Russia and Iran, and rebel supporter Turkey, signed a deal to set up "deescalation zones" in several parts of Syria after fighting that has killed over 320,000 people.

Though the zones have yet to be formally delineated and implemented, there has been a major reduction in violence in most of the areas included in the plan.

Among them is Douma, the largest city in the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus and a regular target of heavy government bombardment.

The city has been under siege since 2013, though residents have been able to cultivate food locally and other items are smuggled in through tunnels and across checkpoints.

Adalah has held the communal iftars in recent years despite the siege and bombardment, but until now always inside, in mosques or underground, though even those locations have not always proved safe.

Last year, "we organised an iftar for 900 people in a mosque, but two mortars landed nearby," said Muhieddine.

This year, the relative calm encouraged the NGO to begin holding the meals outside, and so far it has organised six outdoor iftars.

The meals are prepared in a makeshift street kitchen largely hidden from view by a swathe of red-and-green striped cloth hung around three sides of the cooking stations from a metal frame, like curtains.

The head cook ladles food onto plastic plates that volunteer servers ferry out to the waiting diners.

Reminder of 'the old days'

"These meals remind us of the old days," said Abu Hashim Minyasa, as he waited to break his fast.

Whenever someone passes by, they ask us what is happening and think we're celebrating a wedding."

"These meals are not just for one or two families. They bring together all the people of the neighbourhood and everyone sees each other and eats at one table."

The diners are however virtually all men and boys, with a few young girls there with relatives.

Adalah says it also prepares meals for women, but they are delivered to them to eat in their homes.

The NGO plans to organise four more such meals before Ramadan ends with the Eid holiday.

"We hope to organise these kinds of iftars in other towns in the Ghouta region," adds Muhieddine.

For residents, they provide a rare respite from the horrors of the country's six-year war, despite being set against the backdrop of the conflict's destruction.

"We feel safer, more relaxed with these meals, as though nothing had happened," said 29-year-old Marwan, despite the crumbling buildings around him.

"May God keep the bombing from returning."

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Trump: US President's new idea -- a 'solar wall' on Mexican border

Donald Trump says his planned wall on the US-Mexico border will be covered with solar panels and the energy generated will be used to cover construction costs

US President Donald Trump pitched a new concept to his supporters for the wall he intends to erect on the Mexican border: cover it with solar panels -- and use the energy to cover construction costs.

US President Donald Trump pitched a new concept to his supporters for the wall he intends to erect on the Mexican border: cover it with solar panels -- and use the energy to cover construction costs.

"Yes, we will build a wall," he told a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "We have to stop the drugs from flowing in."

"I will give you an idea that nobody has heard about yet," he said. "The southern border. Lots of sun, lots of heat. We are thinking about building a wall as a solar wall. So it creates energy. And pays for itself."

"And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money. And that's good. Right?" quipped the president, whose initial pledge to make Mexico pay for the wall has met with stiff resistance from America's southern neighbor.

"Think of it, the higher it goes, the more valuable it is," he enthused.

"Pretty good imagination, right? My idea!"

The US administration put out a call for proposals several months ago for the construction of the border wall, one of which -- submitted by a Las Vegas businessman named Tom Gleason -- involved using solar panels.

The Trump administration has yet to make serious headway on the president's emblematic but hugely costly campaign pledge to build a wall on the Mexican border.

Under pressure from Democrats, the US Congress has so far refused to commit funding to the project, agreeing only to finance maintenance on existing parts of the border fence.

The real funding battle will play out starting in October, when 2018 budget negotiations begin in earnest.

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