Prince Philip, 97, Recovering After Car Crash

Queen Elizabeth II’s 97-year-old husband was recovering Friday at the royal Sandringham estate after the Land Rover he was driving rolled on a nearby highway in a collision with another vehicle.

Witness Roy Warne told the BBC he was driving home from work when the accident involving Prince Philip’s black Land Rover and a compact car unfolded in front of him. Warne said he helped free a baby from the second car, a Kia, before helping the prince out of his vehicle, which was lying on its side.

“I saw a car, a black [Land] Rover, come out from a side road and it rolled and ended up on the other side of the road,” Warne said. “I saw it careering, tumbling across the road and ending up on the other side.”

Warne found Philip trapped in the car, but persuaded him to move one leg at a time to get out. He then pulled him out of the Land Rover through the windscreen or sun roof. The prince was able to immediately stand and walk around.

“He was obviously shaken, and then he went and asked if everyone else was all right,” Warne said.

Police conducted breath tests on the drivers after the accident, shortly before 3 p.m. Thursday. Both tested negatively.

The driver of the Kia, a 28-year-old woman, suffered cuts to her knee while her passenger, a 45-year-old woman, suffered a broken wrist. Both were taken to the hospital and released. A 9-month-old baby in the Kia was not injured.

The prince was checked by a doctor after the accident and determined to be fine, Buckingham Palace said.

“We are aware of the public interest in this case, however, as with any other investigation it would be inappropriate to speculate on the causes of the collision until an investigation is carried out,” Norfolk Constabulary said in a statement.

By coincidence, authorities in the area had planned to consider improving safety on the road, the A149. Norfolk County Council will discuss reducing the speed limit on the road from 60 mph to 50 mph and installing safety cameras.

Philip has largely retired from public life but is well known for his fierce independence and his love of cars. He has seemed to be in generally good health in recent months.

He and Elizabeth, 92, have been on an extended Christmas vacation at Sandringham, one of her favored rural homes.

May’s Foes Gather as Britain’s Brexit Stalemate Drags On

Prime Minister Theresa May held talks Friday with European leaders and British Cabinet colleagues, but efforts to end Britain’s Brexit stalemate appeared deadlocked, with neither May nor Britain’s opposition leader shifting from their entrenched positions.

May has been meeting with politicians from several U.K. parties this week to try to find a way forward after her European Union divorce deal was overwhelmingly rejected by Parliament.

Despite that, May has been unwilling to move her “red lines” in the Brexit negotiations, which include taking Britain out of the bloc’s customs union. And opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has refused to meet with May unless she rules out the possibility of Britain leaving the EU with no deal — a scenario that many believe would hurt the British economy.

May on Friday also spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, and planned more calls to European colleagues over the weekend.

But the talks yielded little progress.

The European Commission said tersely that the May-Juncker call was “an exchange of information on both sides” and that the two had “agreed to stay in touch.”

May, who narrowly defeated a no-confidence vote in her Conservative government triggered by Corbyn this week, said it was “not within the government’s power to rule out no-deal” because by law Britain will leave the EU without an agreement on March 29 unless Parliament approves a deal before then.

May is due to publish her revived Brexit blueprint on Monday, before British lawmakers debate it — and doubtless try to alter it — on Jan. 29.

The prime minister is in a bind. Many lawmakers think a “soft Brexit” that keeps Britain in the EU’s single market or customs union is the only plan capable of winning a majority in Parliament. But a large chunk of May’s Conservative Party is vehemently opposed to that idea.

Britain’s political chaos has spurred EU nations to step up preparations for a disorderly British exit. France and other countries are spending millions, hiring thousands of workers and issuing emergency decrees to cope with the possibility that Britain will crash out of the bloc, sparking major disruptions to travel and trade.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Friday inspected some of the country’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit, visiting the Eurotunnel complex and meeting with small businesses on the English Channel coast.

France is paying special attention to the Channel tunnel, which carries millions of passengers annually between Britain and France, as well as freight trucks that play a significant role in Britain’s trade with the continent.

On Friday, a group of high-profile Germans made an emotional appeal to Britain to stay in the bloc. A letter published in the Times of London said “without your great nation, this Continent would not be what it is today: a community defined by freedom and prosperity.”

It went on to list things Germans would miss about Britain, among them “tea with milk” and “going to the pub after work.”

The signatories include Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, Airbus chief Tom Enders and former German national soccer player Jens Lehmann.

Amid the political impasse, May’s domestic opponents are gathering. Brexit-backing former-Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson used a speech Friday at a bulldozer factory to accuse May of lacking the “gumption” to get a good deal from the EU.

Johnson, a likely future contender to replace May as Conservative leader and prime minister, urged her to “go back to Brussels and get a better deal,” even though EU leaders have said the withdrawal agreement won’t be renegotiated.

He dodged a question of whether he would support May as party leader if a sudden general election is called, saying instead that Britain does not need a new vote.

“I think most people in this country feel they have had quite enough elections,” he said. “I certainly do.”

EU Wants to Exclude Agriculture From Trade Talks With US

The European Union insisted Friday that agriculture be kept out of the EU-U.S. trade negotiations, despite Washington’s wishes to include the vast sector, and said any overall deal will be limited in scope.

The EU Commission announced its pro posals for a negotiating mandate from the 28 member states and said that the EU negotiations will be “strictly focused on the removal of tariffs on industrial goods, excluding agricultural products.”

EU Trade Chief Cecilia Malmstrom also said that she is preparing a target list of American products it will hit with punitive tariffs if the Trump administration goes through with its threat to impose duties on European auto imports.

Last July, during a period of heightened tensions over trade, U.S. President Donald Trump and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to start talks meant to achieve “zero tariffs” and “zero subsidies” on non-automotive industrial goods.

With the U.S. criticizing the Europeans for allegedly dragging their feet in the talks, Malmstrom said “the EU is committed to upholding its side of the agreement reached by the two Presidents.”

Any agreement would fall well short of the scope of the free trade deal that had been discussed in recent years — but paused in 2016 after Trump slammed such wide-ranging international deals as unfair to the U.S.

Instead, Malmstrom said, the deal both sides are now looking at could be concluded “quite quickly. We could finalize this and it would be beneficial to all of us.”

 

Canada Dismisses China’s Warning of Huawei Ban Repercussions

Canada’s government on Friday dismissed China’s warning of repercussions if Ottawa banned Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from supplying equipment to 5G networks, saying it would not compromise on security.

China’s ambassador to Canada issued the threat on Thursday as relations between the two nations continued to deteriorate after a senior Huawei executive was arrested in Vancouver last month on a U.S. extradition warrant. China has also detained two Canadians.

Canadian officials are studying the security implications of 5G networks, the latest generation of cellular mobile communications, but their report is not expected in the immediate future, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Some Canadian allies have already imposed restrictions on using Huawei equipment, citing the risk of espionage. Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, asked at a cabinet retreat about the Chinese ambassador’s remarks, said Ottawa had already made clear it would not cut corners on national security.

“We understand that those sorts of comments will be made in the process, but we will make our judgment based on what is right for Canada and not be deterred from making the right decision,” he told reporters.

“We are determined to stand our ground based on what is right for Canada … this is a tough and turbulent world.” Goodale noted that China had made similar comments after Australia banned Huawei from supplying 5G equipment last year.

Western intelligence agencies have for years raised concerns about Huawei’s ties to China’s government and the possibility its equipment could be used for espionage.

New Caravan of Honduran Migrants Crosses Into Mexico

A group of Honduran migrants entered southern Mexico on Friday, joining more than 1,000 people who departed Central America in recent days headed to the United States and putting to the test Mexico’s vows to guarantee the safe and orderly flow of people.

The cohort crossed into southern Chiapas state before dawn without needing wrist bands that migration officials the day before told migrants to wear until they could register with authorities, several migrants and an official told Reuters.

“The road today was open. … They didn’t give us bracelets or anything, they just let us pass through Mexico migration,” said Marco Antonio Cortez, 37, a baker from Honduras traveling with his wife and children, ages 2 and 9.

A migration official at the entry point, who asked not to be named because she was not authorized to speak to media, said that at least 1,000 people crossed from Guatemala into Mexico by around 5 a.m., without needing wrist bands.

The group proceeded on foot alongside cars on a highway, accompanied by federal police officers.

Mexico’s migration institute did not respond to a request for comment.

Groups of migrants departed from El Salvador and Honduras earlier in the week, the latest in a string of caravans of people largely fleeing poverty and violence.

The caravans have inflamed the debate over U.S. immigration policy, with U.S. President Donald Trump using the migrants to try to secure backing for his plan to build a wall at the southern border with Mexico.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is pursuing a “humanitarian” approach to the problem, vowing to stem the flow of people by finding jobs for the migrants. In exchange, he wants Trump to help spur economic development in the region.

Tesla Plans 7 Percent Staff Cut, Says Bumpy Road Ahead

Electric car and solar panel maker Tesla said Friday it plans to cut its staff by about 7 percent.

“The road ahead is very difficult,” the company’s founder and CEO Elon Musk said in an email to employees posted on the company’s website.

He said Tesla Inc. hopes to post a “tiny profit” in the current quarter but that after expanding its workforce by 30 percent last year, it cannot support that size of staff.

Musk said in a tweet in October that Tesla had 45,000 employees. A 7 percent cut would involve laying off about 3,150 people.

Tesla’s shares tumbled earlier this month after it cut vehicle prices by $2,000 and announced fourth-quarter sales figures that fell short of Wall Street estimates.

“Our products are too expensive for most people,” Musk said in the memo to Tesla staff saying the company has to “work harder.”

“Tesla has only been producing cars for about a decade and we’re up against massive, entrenched competitors,” he said.

The company says it delivered over 245,000 electric cars and SUVs last year, nearly as many as all previous years combined. But its 2018 production fell far short of a goal set nearly three years ago of manufacturing 500,000 vehicles for the year. That goal was announced in May of 2016 based on advance orders for its mid-range Model 3, which sells for $44,000.

Musk said Tesla plans to ramp up production of the Model 3, “as we need to reach more customers who can afford our vehicles.”

“Attempting to build affordable clean energy products at scale necessarily requires extreme effort and relentless creativity,” he said in the memo, “but succeeding in our mission is essential to ensure that the future is good, so we must do everything we can to advance the cause.”

Police: Death Toll From Colombia Car Bomb Rises to 21

Colombian police on Friday said 21 people were killed and 68 injured after a car bomb exploded at a police academy in Bogota in an attack that prompted fears of a return to the country’s violent past.

In Thursday’s attack, which the government described as an act of terrorism, the car broke through checkpoints into the grounds of the General Santander School before it detonated, shattering windows of apartments nearby.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the blast, the deadliest since the government struck a peace deal with the Marxist FARC rebel group in 2016.

President Ivan Duque called the explosion a “crazy terrorist act” against unarmed cadets and ordered police and the military to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

“We will not rest until we capture and bring to justice the terrorists involved,” Duque said late Thursday. “I tell the criminals that social repudiation awaits them, the rejection of all Colombians and the international community.”

Local Caracol radio said that a suspect had been captured. Investigators identified the car’s driver as Jose Aldemar Rojas Rodriguez, who was among the dead, Colombian Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez said on Thursday.

The vehicle, a gray Nissan Patrol SUV, was carrying 80 kilograms (176 lb) of the high explosive pentolite, which has been used in the past by Colombian guerrillas, Martinez said.

Car bombs were frequent in Colombia during decades of civil war between the government and various leftist rebel groups, as well as in violence involving the Medellin drug cartel led by the late drug lord Pablo Escobar.

The worst of the war, which killed some 260,000 and left millions displaced, ended when the government reached a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016.

The last major attack was in January 2018 when the biggest rebel group that remains active, the National Liberation Army (ELN), detonated a bomb in the northern port city of Barranquilla, killing five police officers and injuring dozens.

The ELN, made up of some 2,000 fighters and considered a terrorist organization by the United States, has been in talks with the government since February 2017 to end the conflict.

Duque, who took office in August, has said conditions for peace talks included the ELN suspending hostilities and releasing all hostages.

Nearly 1,000 Migrants Enter Mexico in New Caravans

Almost 1,000 Central American migrants entered southern Mexico Thursday in a test of the new government’s pledge to manage an ongoing exodus fueled by violence and poverty that has strained relations with the Trump administration.

Mexico’s National Migration Institute said 969 migrants from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua crossed into Ciudad Hidalgo just days after new U.S.-bound caravans of people set off from Central America.

Caravans from Central America have inflamed the debate over U.S. immigration policy, with U.S. President Donald Trump using the migrants to try to secure backing for his plan to build a border wall on the frontier with Mexico.

Humanitarian approach

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is pursuing a “humanitarian” approach to the problem, vowing to stem the flow of people by finding jobs for the migrants. In exchange, he wants Trump to help spur economic development in the region.

The U.S. government has been partially shut down for more than three weeks as Democrats resist Trump’s demand that Congress provide $5.7 billion to fund his planned wall.

Mexican officials put wristbands on the migrants as they entered the country to monitor the flow of people. The bands must be kept until the migrants register with authorities.

Once registered, migrants who met the requirements to stay would be issued humanitarian visas, allowing them to work in Mexico or continue to the U.S. border, said Ana Laura Martinez de Lara, director general of migratory control and verification.

Those who entered Mexico at the official border crossing had done so in a “very orderly” and respectful manner, in contrast to clashes that took place at the frontier in October when a larger caravan began crossing from Guatemala, she said.

Some of the migrants expected to stay in Mexico to find work but it was too early to say how many, she said.

Hundreds waiting to cross

Martinez de Lara said about 700 people were still waiting to cross into Mexico from Tecun Uman on the Guatemalan side of the border. She could not say if any people had tried to cross into Mexico illegally.

Mexico’s government said Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard planned to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo soon for talks on their efforts to address the migration challenge. No date was yet set for the talks, a ministry spokeswoman said.

Gloomy Davos: Plenty of Crises, Few World Leaders

An array of crises will keep several world leaders away from the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos next week, which takes place against a backdrop of deepening gloom over the global economic and political outlook.

Anxieties over trade disputes, fractious international relations, Brexit and a growth slowdown that some fear could tip the world economy into recession are set to dominate the Jan. 22-25 Alpine meeting.

The WEF’s own Global Risks Report set the tone this week with a stark warning of looming economic headwinds, in part because of geopolitical tensions among major powers.

​No Trump, Macron or May

Some 3,000 business, government and civil society figures are scheduled to gather in the snow-blanketed ski resort, but among them are only three leaders of the Group of Seven most industrialized countries: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte.

Donald Trump, who stole the Davos limelight last year with a rare appearance by a sitting U.S. president, pulled out of this year’s event as he grapples with a partial U.S. government shutdown.

On Thursday, the White House said Trump had also canceled his delegation’s trip to Davos because of the shutdown, now in its 27th day. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been expected to lead the U.S. team, according to two senior administration officials.

French President Emmanuel Macron is also skipping the meeting as he seeks to respond to the “yellow vest” protests, while British Prime Minister Theresa May battles to find a consensus on Brexit.

​No Xi, either

Outside the G7, the leaders of Russia and India are shunning Davos, while China —whose president, Xi Jinping, was the first Chinese leader to attend the elite gathering in 2017 to offer a vigorous defense of free trade — is sending Xi’s deputy instead.

That will leave the likes of British Finance Minister Philip Hammond, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and a host of central bankers with the task of trying to reassure business chiefs.

“Davos will be dominated by a high level of anxiety about stock markets, a slowdown in growth and international politics,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Markit. “The leadership presence is lower than last year but those who are going … will be seeking to impart a sense of confidence and calm business and investors’ nerves.”

​Forum still has its glitz

Before the U.S. cancellation, a Trump administration official had said the U.S. delegation would also discuss the importance of reforming institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Trump has harshly criticized globalization and questioned U.S. participation in multilateral institutions such as the WTO, calling for a revamp of international trade rules.

Davos watchers said the absence of so many top leaders this year did not mean the glitzy forum had lost its status as a global stage for top politicians to present their agendas.

“Abe is going to Davos not just as Japanese prime minister but also as chair of the G20. It will be a perfect opportunity to lay the groundwork of upcoming G20 meetings,” said a Japanese government source familiar with international affairs.

“Of course there may be inconveniences such as missing opportunities to hold bilateral meetings, but that won’t undermine the importance of Davos,” he said.

A Chinese official who has attended Davos regularly but will not go this year said China had never expected to make progress at the meeting on the trade dispute with the United States. 

“It’s just an occasion for making a policy statement,” he said.

​Networking opportunities

The low turnout among major Western leaders may also give more prominence to political personalities who may otherwise be upstaged. Davos will be the first major international outing for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, elected on a wave of anti-establishment and conservative nationalism also seen elsewhere.

He said on Twitter he would present “a different Brazil, free of ideological ties and widespread corruption.”

For business chiefs, the value of Davos lies not so much in the public sessions but in the networking and deal-making opportunities on the sidelines of the main conference.

“It’s the best place to pitch for ideas, build connections and get your brand known,” said Chen Linchevski, chief executive of Precognize, an Israel-based start-up developing software that prevents technical or quality failures at manufacturing plants.

“It’s the kind of place where in a few days you meet people you wouldn’t easily meet otherwise,” said Linchevski, who is paying 50,000 Swiss francs ($50,495) to attend the event.

US Appeals Court Will Not Delay Net Neutrality Case

A federal appeals court said Thursday it would not delay oral arguments set for Feb. 1 on the Trump administration’s decision to repeal the 2015 landmark net neutrality rules governing internet providers.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday asked the court to delay the arguments over its December 2017 repeal, citing the partial government shutdown. Without comment, the court denied the request.

The FCC had no immediate comment on the decision.

A group of 22 state attorneys general and the District of Columbia have asked the court to reinstate the Obama-era internet rules and block the FCC’s effort to pre-empt states from imposing their own rules guaranteeing an open internet.

Several internet companies are also part of the legal challenge, including Mozilla Corp, Vimeo Inc and Etsy Inc, as well as numerous media and technology advocacy groups and major cities, including New York and San Francisco.

The FCC voted to reverse the rules that barred internet service providers from blocking or throttling traffic, or offering paid fast lanes, also known as paid prioritization.

The FCC said providers must disclose any changes in users’ internet access.

‘Misguided’ repeal

The net neutrality repeal was a win for providers like Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, but was opposed by internet companies like Facebook Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc.

Major providers have not made any changes in how Americans access the internet since the repeal.

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said on Thursday that the lawsuits are aimed at overturning the agency’s “misguided” repeal of the Obama rules. “The fight for an open internet continues,” she wrote on Twitter.

The panel hearing the case is made up of Judges Robert Wilkins and Patricia Millett, two appointees of Barack Obama, and Stephen Williams, an appointee of Republican Ronald Reagan.

In October, California agreed not to enforce its own state net neutrality law until the appeals court’s decision on the 2017 repeal and any potential review by the U.S. Supreme Court.