sábado, 30 de julio de 2016

Hot air balloon with 16 aboard crashes in Texas


Sixteen people died after the hot air balloon they were riding in caught fire and crashed in central Texas Saturday morning, according to authorities.

Here's the latest information on the crash:

  • There were no survivors in the crash in a pasture near Lockhart, Texas, the Caldwell County Sheriff's Office said in a statement to CNN affiliate TWC News Austin.
  • The number of fatalities is unprecedented. The highest number of fatalities in a single hot air balloon crash in the U.S. before this incident was six, according to the NTSB.
  • Fatal hot air balloon crashes are rare. This is the second fatal hot air balloon crash of 2016 in the United States according to the NTSB.
  • FAA representative Lynn Lunsford said the crash happened around 7:40 a.m. CT near Lockhart, about 30 miles south of Austin.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
  • Gov. Greg Abbott expressed his condolences to the victims' families.



miércoles, 27 de julio de 2016

Donald Trump encourages Russia to hack Hillary Clinton

Doral, Florida - Donald Trump on Wednesday called on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton's email.

"Russia, if you're listening I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press," Trump said during a news conference in Florida.

Shortly after his event ended, Trump repeated his call on Twitter.

"If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton's 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!" Trump tweeted.

Clinton's campaign said Trump's comments amounted to encouraging "a foreign power to conduct espionage."

"This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent," said Hillary for America senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan. "That's not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue."

Trump's comments represented a stunning twist in a controversy about Russia's alleged intervention in the presidential election after the release of Democratic Party emails, which appeared to show that party leaders were tilting the playing field against Clinton's Democratic primary opponent Bernie Sanders. US officials have said the emails were hacked from DNC servers in an operation originating in Russia that appeared to be linked to Moscow's intelligence agency.

Trump also suggested during his news conference that Russian President Vladimir Putin's lack of respect for the US prompted him to once call President Barack Obama "the N word." There are no published reports to back up Trump's claim about Putin's use of the racially derogatory term.

"I was shocked. Number one, he doesn't like him. Number two, he doesn't respect him," Trump said.
He called Russia's potential involvement in the hack another sign of Russia's "disrespect for our country."

Trump said U.S.-Russia relations would be better under his presidency than if Clinton ascended to the Oval Office, saying he would treat Putin "firmly," but would seek to bolster ties between the U.S. and Russia.

"He will respect me," Trump said.

Clinton nomination puts 'biggest crack' in glass ceiling

Philadelphia (CNN)--Democrats on Tuesday made Hillary Clinton the first woman to head a major party ticket -- and during an emotional night, her family and supporters asked voters to give her a second look.

At the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, just three miles from Independence Hall where the nation was born, a sense of history is palpable -- as is Clinton's willingness to finally enjoy it.
"What an incredible honor that you have given me, and I can't believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet," Clinton said via satellite after a video montage showed the faces of all 44 male presidents before shattering like glass to reveal Clinton waiting to address the convention from New York.

Hillary Clinton

"This is really your victory. This is really your night," Clinton told the cheering crowd. "And if there are any little girls out there who stayed up late to watch, let me just say I may become the first woman President. But one of you is next."


The Clinton campaign hoped the day would build momentum and goodwill to repair the deep divides that still linger after her bitter primary duel with Bernie Sanders. The goal is to reshape national perceptions of a candidate with negative approval ratings and who was lambasted last week at the Republican National Convention as a criminal and liar.
Former President Bill Clinton weaved a parable of Clinton's work for children, the sick and the disabled into the story of their relationship. More than two decades after Hillary Clinton became a fixture in national politics, Bill Clinton's folksy, sometimes meandering testimony was aimed at revealing a softer side of the Democratic nominee to a nationwide television audience.

Killer of Priest in France Was Detained for Twice Trying to Enter Syria

rev, jacques hamel

PARIS — One of the two young men who killed an 85-year-old priest in a town in Normandy on Tuesday had been detained for nearly 10 months after twice trying to travel to Syria, but he was released in March over the objection of prosecutors, according to French officials.

The young man, Adel Kermiche, 19, was born in Mont-St.-Aignan, a town about five miles away from St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray, where he killed the priest, the Rev. Jacques Hamel, at the end of morning Mass. Mr. Kermiche and the other attacker, who has not been identified, were shot dead by the police. Five other people — three nuns and two parishioners — were held hostage at the church; one of the nuns escaped, but one of the parishioners, an 86-year-old man, was critically injured. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.

The news that Mr. Kermiche was known to the authorities was announced Tuesday evening by François Molins, the Paris prosecutor, who oversees terrorism investigations. It immediately raised new concerns about the government’s ability to prevent radicalized young people from traveling to Syria and committing acts of terrorism.

On Wednesday, a former president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who is expected to be a candidate in the 2017 presidential elections and has proposed constitutional changes to crack down on terrorism, seized on the news to criticize President François Hollande’s government for not doing more to protect the country — an accusation that top officials, including Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, called baseless and politically motivated.

The details of Mr. Kermiche’s life suggest a man who desperately wanted to get away from France. On March 23, 2015, a relative reported that he had disappeared. The same day, German authorities detained him as he tried to use identification papers belonging to his brother to travel to Syria. The following day, he was returned to France and placed under detention. On March 28, 2015, he was charged with attempting a criminal act and placed under judicial supervision. He was ordered not to leave the Seine-Maritime department, where he is from, and was required to report once a week to his local police station.

Mr. Kermiche was not deterred, however, from his goal of becoming a jihadist. Just over a month later, he left home. An international arrest warrant was issued for him, and on May 13, 2015, he was arrested after flying to Turkey from Geneva — this time using his cousin’s national identity card. The Turkish authorities sent him back to Switzerland, and on May 22, 2015, the Swiss authorities sent him back to France.

There he faced new charges for violating judicial orders by trying to go to Syria. He was detained until March 18 of this year, when a counterterrorism judge allowed him to go home, but under house arrest, with electronic monitoring. He was permitted to leave his house from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 2 to 6 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The authorities confiscated his national identity card and passport.

The Paris prosecutor’s office appealed the decision to let Mr. Kermiche go home, but on March 25, an appellate court upheld the judge’s decision to release him under house arrest.

In addition, a 16-year-old native of Algeria was arrested in St.-Étienne-du-Rouvray at 11:40 a.m. on Wednesday, Mr. Molins said. The teenager is the younger brother of another man who is wanted by the authorities for having used Mr. Kermiche’s identity card on March 20, 2015, to leave France, headed for Iraq or Syria.

Mr. Kermiche’s persistence — despite repeatedly being stopped in his efforts to go to Syria and having spent almost a year in preventive detention before being released, and then only with elaborate conditions put on him — suggests that he was at the very least heeding the Islamic State’s call, which Mr. Molins described as: “Strike at any moment and any place, in all circumstances.”

Mr. Molins added, using an Arabic term for the Islamic State: “That is the criminal and fanatic propaganda of the criminal organization of Daesh, which takes over the minds of individuals of varying profiles and backgrounds in a terrifying way.”

Hillary Clinton, France, Olympics: Your Wednesday Briefing

Hillary Clinton

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

• Democrats make history.

Hillary Clinton on Tuesday officially became the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party. Mrs. Clinton hailed the moment in an address from her home in New York, telling women at the convention, “This is really your night.” 

But some of her advisers say that overemphasizing the achievement could backfire — a video casting her as a worthy heir to the women’s rights movement was pulled from Tuesday’s convention lineup. In polls, Mrs. Clinton is showing enormous weakness with a group that represented nearly half of all voters in 2012: white voters, particularly men, without a college degree.

Bill Clinton delivered a deeply personal speech, talking about his wife’s life and career, while Mrs. Clinton’s aides try to prepare for his possible role as White House spouse. Here are our takeaways from Day 2, and what to watch for today.

• President Obama’s turn.

Mr. Obama’s address tonight will aim to bolster Mrs. Clinton’s standing with voters, but it will also represent the start of his farewell.

Without his unifying presence, or the focus on health care, Democrats are searching for the party’s next great project.

• Behind the leaked D.N.C. emails.

We’ve learned that the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, said in an interview weeks ago that he had a trove of emails which he hoped would harm Mrs. Clinton’s chances of winning. He accused the former secretary of state of having been among those pushing to indict him after WikiLeaks released diplomatic cables.

Julian Assange

U.S. intelligence agencies are said to have “high confidence” that the Kremlin was behind the hacking of the D.N.C.’s emails.

• Religious solidarity in France.

President François Hollande is meeting today with the leaders of many faiths, after the Rev. Jacques Hamel, an 85-year-old Catholic priest, was killed as he celebrated Mass in his church in Normandy on Tuesday. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the killing.

makeshift memorial

The attack threatens to overshadow World Youth Day, one of the major events on the Catholic calendar.

• Mass killings as contagion?

A small number of people with strong personal grievances appear to be mining massacres for methods and potential targets to plan their own rampages.

We take a closer look at the human toll of these attacks in our profiles of the 247 victims who were killed in six countries during eight terrorist attacks across two weeks in March.

martes, 26 de julio de 2016

In D.N.C. Hack, Echoes of Russia’s New Approach to Power

hack, echoes

Of the questions raised by charges that Russia was involved in the release of hacked Democratic National Committee emails, at least one — why would Russia do such a thing? — can be answered with a little-noticed but influential 2013 Russian military journal article.

“The very rules of war have changed,” Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, the chief of the general staff, wrote in the Military-Industrial Courier.

The Arab Spring, according to General Gerasimov, had shown that “nonmilitary means” had overtaken the "force of weapons in their effectiveness.” Deception and disinformation, not tanks and planes, were the new tools of power. And they would be used not in formally declared conflicts but within a vast gray between peace and war.

Those ideas would appear, the next year, in Russia’s formal military doctrine. It was the culmination of a yearslong strategic reorientation that has remade Russian power, in response to threats both real and imagined, into the sort of enterprise that could be plausibly accused of using cyberattacks to meddle in an American presidential election.

‘We are protecting our sovereignty’

Like so many military rethinks, what became known as the Gerasimov Doctrine began as an effort to solve a seemingly urgent problem.

Throughout the 2000s, popular uprisings in Eastern Europe and Central Asia overturned their pro-Kremlin leaders, replacing them with democratically elected governments more inclined to the West.

In Moscow, these “color revolutions,” as well as the subsequent Arab Spring, were seen as a wave of hostile American operations, engineered to topple Russia’s allies and weaken Russia itself.

Sergei Shoigu, the Russian defense minister, said in a 2014 speech that such uprisings were “used as an excuse to replace nationally oriented governments with regimes controlled from abroad.”

The Kremlin felt encircled and threatened by what it took to be a vast American conspiracy whose ultimate goal, it concluded, was the subjugation or outright destruction of the Russian state.

In December 2011, thousands gathered in Moscow to protest legislative elections that had been marred by accusations of fraud. The demonstrations didn’t come to much, but they engendered a fear among Russian leaders that they were next.

mobile missile


President Vladimir V. Putin, at a news conference in 2014, warned that the West was seeking to “defang” the Russian bear — to remove its nuclear weapons so as to gain access to its natural resources.

“Once they’ve taken out his claws and his fangs, then the bear is no longer necessary,” Mr. Putin said. “The issue is that we are protecting our sovereignty and our right to exist.”

Russian military planners, apparently obsessed with such fears, concluded that their best defense would be to go on the offense. Believing that the Americans were already conducting a clandestine war through intelligence operations, media disinformation, and deniable proxy forces, they set out to do the same.

The phrase “hybrid war” — a common label in the West for Russia’s actions — was first used by Russian analysts to describe the supposed American tactics they believed they were countering. They called their own strategy something different: “new generation war.”

Projecting power beyond Russia’s strength

Even before this doctrine became formalized, Russia had developed tools of coercion and subterfuge, providing a model for wider usage.

As Russian power has resurged under Mr. Putin, the country has often used asymmetrical methods to assert its interests, particularly in the former Soviet republics it still considers its “near abroad” and rightful zone of influence.

In 2007, amid tensions with the small Eastern European nation of Estonia, Russian media falsely reported that members of Estonia’s Russian minority were being drugged and tortured by police, contributing to riots that injured several people and killed one. The next day, cyberattacks, attributed to a pre-Kremlin Russian group, forced many of Estonia’s major institutions offline.

At no point, in the 2007 episode, did Russia commit an act of military aggression against its neighbor. Yet Estonian leaders say these actions were meant as a message: Even if their country had joined NATO and the European Union, Moscow was still the boss.

These sorts of tools allowed Russia to project power beyond its strength and, just as importantly, to assert its interests abroad despite Western military and political dominance.

To paraphrase Mark Galeotti, a New York University professor who studies Russia’s military, this is a country whose economy is smaller than Canada’s or South Korea’s, yet is seeking a great power role akin to China or the United States. Traditional methods won’t cut it.

russia protesters


Information struggle and Maidan technology

Russia deployed its "new generation war” to startling effect in early 2014, when, amid Ukraine’s political crisis, it seized and subsequently annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea.

While that action is most remembered for the “little green men” — unmarked Russian special forces who seized key locations in a clandestine invasion — there were subtler components as well.

Russian state news media flooded Crimea’s airwaves with false stories about neo-Nazis taking over Ukraine and systematically attacking ethnic Russians, who are a majority in Crimea. As a result, many Crimeans welcomed the unmarked Russian troops, believing they were being saved from possible ethnic cleansing.

Dmitry Adamsky, an Israeli analyst, wrote in a 2015 report that this “information struggle” is central to Russia’s new strategy.

This information war, he wrote, “comprises both technological and psychological components designed to manipulate the adversary’s picture of reality, misinform it and eventually interfere with the decision-making process of individuals, organizations, governments and societies.”

While this was especially visible in Crimea, Mr. Adamsky warned that it was also deployed in peacetime and against any target where Moscow seeks influence. It may be intended to pursue a “strategic goal,” such as the weakening of pro-American political parties in Europe, or to simply foment a degree of instability that weakens adversaries.

Mr. Adamsky described this as a form of “subversion” that “aims to deceive the victim, discredit the leadership, and disorient and demoralize the population and the armed forces.”

That sheds light on why Russia might want to release Democratic National Committee emails, whose greatest effect is creating a kerfuffle within Democratic politics. It’s not as if the resignation of the party chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was some strategic Russian ambition.

While some observers say Moscow sees a potential friend in Donald J. Trump, it would also be well within Russian strategy to stir up trouble just to stir up trouble. This is what Mr. Adamsky calls “managed stability-instability” — low-level confusion and disunity that Russia could perhaps one day exploit.

Russia has long seen itself as the victim of these very tactics, accusing Western governments of using vague “Maidan technology,” named for the square where Ukraine’s 2014 protests began, to create “managed chaos” in targeted countries. Embarrassing stories, such as the Russian doping scandal and the Panama Papers, are seen as American information warfare meant to weaken Moscow.

In this view, Kremlin leaders could see releasing internal Democratic emails as a tit-for-tat retaliation in the information struggle. Such a thing would make little sense in the Western conception of geopolitics. But as Mr. Adamsky wrote in his 2015 study, Americans have long tried to conceptualize Russian strategy within Western ways of thinking, when it is anything but.

China Tiger Attack Kills Woman at Drive-Through Animal Park


A woman was killed by a tiger over the weekend after jumping out of a car in a Beijing animal park to try to save her daughter from a tiger attack, local government officials said.

At least one tiger mauled the women on Saturday at Badaling Wildlife World in a section that allows people to drive their own vehicles through a Siberian tiger enclosure, the Yanqing County government said in a written statement.

Surveillance video that circulated widely online showed a woman exit a car, then walk to the other side of the vehicle, where she was attacked a few seconds later by a tiger. As the animal dragged her away, her husband and mother jumped out in an attempt to rescue her.

The woman left the car because of an argument with her husband, reported The Legal Evening News, based in Beijing. The Beijing News, also based in the Chinese capital, quoted a friend of the family who denied that the couple had been fighting.

The woman who was first attacked was badly injured, and her mother, who left the car in an effort to save her daughter, was killed, The Beijing News reported. The woman’s husband was uninjured, as was their child, who remained in the vehicle, the newspaper said.

The park, near a famous section of the Great Wall in a county north of central Beijing, has had serious safety problems before. In March, a park employee was killed by an elephant. A security guard who stepped out of a patrol vehicle was killed by a tiger in 2014.

In 2009, an 18-year-old man was killed by a tiger in the park after he scaled a fence with two friends to enter the animals’ enclosure. The men had apparently been trying to take a shortcut through the park after a hike along the Great Wall, reported Xinhua, a state-run news agency.

While the number of wild tigers in China has dropped to fewer than two dozen living in the far northeast, where they cross back and forth into Russia, thousands of tigers are raised in parks around the country. Visitors to parks in cities like Harbin can pay to feed them, sometimes with live animals. Critics say such breeding programs do little to help wild populations and are sometimes used as cover for the illegal trade in animal parts, like tiger pelts and wine made from their bones.



A deadly hostage-taking at a Catholic church in Normandy, in which a priest was killed and another person seriously wounded, was a terror attack committed in the name of ISIS, French President Francois Hollande has said.

Speaking to journalists in the northern French town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, where two men took five people hostage during morning Mass Tuesday, Hollande said the attack was a "cowardly assassination" carried out by "by two terrorists in the name of Daesh" -- another name for ISIS.
In the latest Islamist atrocity to roil France, an 84-year-old Catholic priest, the Rev. Jacques Hamel, was killed when two men stormed the church in the northern region of Normandy, Dominique Lebrun, the Archbishop of Rouen, said in a statement posted on the diocese website.

deadly church attack in france

Police and firemen arrive at the scene of the attack.
Besides the slain priest, two nuns and two churchgoers had been taken hostage, CNN French affiliate BFMTV reported.
One of the hostages was seriously wounded, and is "between life and death," French Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told reporters.
The situation ended when the two attackers were shot dead by police, he said. "The two killers came out and they were neutralized," he said.

Hollande: ISIS 'has declared war on us'

The priest's killing comes on the back of a string of violent attacks across Europe in recent days, some claimed by the Sunni terror group ISIS, most notably an attack in the French city of Nice less than two weeks ago that left 84 dead.
France has been under a state of emergency since the Paris terror attacks in November last year.
Speaking to reporters, Hollande said: "Daesh has declared war on us. We have to win that war."
But urged the public to remain unified in the face of the threat.
"All people feel affected so we must have cohesion ... no one can divide us," he said. "Terrorists will not give up on anything until we stop them."
The Paris anti-terror prosecutor has taken over the investigation into the attack, France's Interior Ministry said in a statement.

Vatican condemns killing

The Vatican has condemned the attack, calling it "terrible news" on the back of a string of recent violent attacks in Europe. It said the Pope had been informed of the attack and shared the pain and horror in response to the "absurd violence."
The statement said the violence was particularly horrific as it had taken place in a church, "a sacred place where the love of God is announced."
Lebrun said in a statement that the "Catholic church cannot take up any other weapons but prayer and brotherhood among men."
He called on the faithful "to lower their arms before violence and to become an apostle of a civilization of love."
Other religious leaders were quick to condemn the violence, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, tweeting: "Evil attacks the weakest, denies truth (and) love, is defeated through Jesus Christ. Pray for France, for victims, for their communities."

viernes, 22 de julio de 2016

Munich shooting: Police operation underway, report says several killed at mall


A police operation is underway after gunfire erupted Friday at a shopping center in Munich, Germany. German media are reporting six people were killed in the shooting spree. Authorities shut down public transportation and warned people to stay home or seek protection.

Here's what we know so far:
  • At least one shooter remains on the loose after a shooting inside a McDonald's across from the Olympia shopping mall, police spokeswoman Claudia Küntzel said. "There could be several dead, and one or even several shooters are on the loose," Küntzel said. The shooting at the McDonald's happened around 5:50 p.m. (11:50 a.m. ET), she said. It's unclear whether shootings have occurred at other locations, and whether the gunfire has stopped.
  • Gunfire also broke out inside the mall, witnesses said.
  • On Facebook, police said gunfire was reported in several locations, and that witnesses report seeing three people with firearms.
  • "At the moment, we have not been able to arrest any perpetrators. The manhunt is underway at high speed," police said. "Because of the unclear situation we ask all people in the city area to stay at home or to look for protection in any nearby building. The operation of public transportation service has been stopped."
  • Lauraetta Januze told CNN her son was in a bathroom with a shooter at the McDonald's. "That's where he loaded his weapon," she said. "Boom, boom, boom, I heard, and then I saw all the injured. I was back to back with him, I was in the bathroom with my kid, and I only saw him shoot directly into the faces of children."
  • Lynn Stein, who said she works at the Jack Wolfskin store in the mall, said she heard six of seven shots inside the mall. "People were very confused, and they were running and they were screaming," she said. She said she saw someone lying on the floor of a store who appeared to be either dead or injured. "There's a woman over them, crying."
  • Outside the mall, she said, police ran with large guns and told people to clear the area.
  • Thamina Stoll told CNN she was with her grandmother, who lives about three minutes away from the mall: "There were like 50 people running towards our house to seek shelter, and there was a helicopter circling above us for about 20 minutes and sirens. And there's still people walking on the streets, they're confused, and nobody knows what's really going on."
munich

  • The shooting comes as recent terror attacks have put Europe on high alert. A truck plowed into a crowd of Bastille Day revelers in Nice, France, last week, killing more than 80 people. This week, a teenager who said he was inspired by ISIS stabbed passengers on a German train before police shot him dead.
CNN's Dugald McConnell, Claudia Otto, Bharati Naik, Vasco Cotovio, Laura Perez Maestro and Donie O'Sullivan contributed to this report.





Queens Crusader Turned the Tide for a Crumbling Park and Its Sea Wall

Queens Crusader Turned the Tide for a Crumbling Park and Its Sea Wall

Into her 80s, Elizabeth McQueen patrolled Queensbridge Park in Long Island City, Queens, wheeling her walker, a grandson or a great-grandchild at her side, eyes sweeping the walks and lawn. “If someone was barbecuing, she made sure they had garbage bags,” her grandson, Desmen Williams, said. “She had a bin of supplies. A rake if you needed to rake up. She made sure the fire barrels were out there, so you put coals in the barrel when you were done.”

The park is on the eastern bank of the East River, across from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and Mrs. McQueen lived in the Queensbridge Houses, home to about 7,000 people, the largest public housing development in the country.

“We used to take the kids down to the park,” Dolores Chauncey, her friend and neighbor, said. “She’d say, ‘We’re on one side of the river and the millionaires were on the other, but we have the better view. We can lay in the park and watch the boats go by, and wait for the stars and moon to come out.’ And we did.”

Mrs. Chauncey and Mrs. McQueen met about 40 years ago, another age in New York. The children splashed in a baby pool in the summertime, fished from the rocks when they got older, picnicked at all ages. But along the riverfront, the sea wall, built on a foundation of loose stone called riprap, was falling apart. To keep people away from the hazard, the parks department fenced off the area, including an esplanade. Decay marched on: One of two playgrounds was turned into a parking lot for people working on the Queensboro Bridge. The park house, with its concession stand and changing rooms for the wading pool, was left to the elements. And the pool was drained and filled in, visible only in the mind’s eye.

“It broke her heart that children were playing in a park that they could literally see crumbling into the river,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, a Democrat who represents the area, said. “It wasn’t just about the park, it was about justice. Nowhere in Manhattan would this be allowed to happen.”

Mrs. McQueen reared back and leaned against the universe. In between working as a technician at Polaroid and looking after her grandson, she became a world-class nudge. “She had no problem calling any elected official at any level,” said Chris Hanway, the executive director of the Jacob Riis Neighborhood Settlement House, where Mrs. McQueen served on the board.


And she leaned on nonelected officials, too. “This was a real problem site, and she in the most gracious possible way kept the pressure on,” said Adrian Benepe, the commissioner of the parks department from 2002 to 2012, who noted that the park was not in a fashionable neighborhood likely to attract private funds. She was installed as the park’s warden, a titled volunteer, in recognition of her stature.

With friends and allies in the community and government, she organized Dancing Under the Stars nights, Super Soaker days for water-gun battles, puppet theaters, concerts and more. Battered as it was, the park remained alive and lively.

That was the daily business. In the long term, she wanted New York City to rebuild the sea wall and restore access to the walkway along the water. At least four agencies had dominion over some piece of the park, and yet others had a say in granting permits. For the $7 million cost, Mrs. McQueen chased down elected officials, including Democrats like Mr. Van Bramer; Helen M. Marshall, then the borough president; Representative Carolyn B. Maloney; and Assemblywoman Catherine T. Nolan, as well as the mayor at the time, Michael R. Bloomberg, a Republican turned independent.

About half — $3.65 million — was secured by Mr. Van Bramer through the City Council. “When the grant came in for the sea wall, she came into my house and said, ‘We got it!’” her grandson said. “If she could have done back flips, she would have.”

The esplanade reopened in summer 2014. She was not done. A new park house was needed. “She was right,” Mr. Van Bramer said.

Work will begin in the fall. Mrs. McQueen died in February at age 83.

On Friday, the city, urged on by Mr. Van Bramer, will declare the esplanade along the river to be Elizabeth McQueen Way. It runs atop the rebuilt sea wall, across from Manhattan towers named for corporations and real estate developers, a place where anyone who loves river breezes and moonlit nights can stroll.

“My grandmother did things a lot of people wouldn’t do because they didn’t think it was their job,” Mr. Williams said. “She’s gone. But she’s still winning.”

Verizon Is Said to Be Near a Deal to Acquire Yahoo

Verizon Is Said to Be Near a Deal to Acquire Yahoo

The end of Yahoo as an independent company may be near, and Verizon — long considered the leading contender to buy the aging web pioneer — is the most likely acquirer.

The two companies are in advanced talks over a takeover of Yahoo that could be worth close to $5 billion, a person briefed on the matter said on Friday.

Any transaction would be for Yahoo’s core internet business, although it is unclear whether a deal would also include other assets like real estate or patents.

Both companies are hoping to announce a deal as early as next week, this person said. Verizon is scheduled to report earnings on Tuesday.

Still, no final deal has been reached and the talks could still falter, the person cautioned. One of the other finalists could also re-emerge with a higher bid.

A spokesman for Verizon declined to comment, while a Yahoo spokeswoman said the company would not comment “until we have a definitive agreement to announce” because it wanted to maintain “the integrity of the process.” The state of discussions between Yahoo and Verizon was reported earlier by Bloomberg.

When Yahoo finally began exploring a sale of its core business — a sprawling collection of properties including its sports and news sites, email and the social network Tumblr — Verizon was considered the front-runner by analysts and investors. The telecommunications behemoth already owned AOL, another onetime internet darling that had fallen far from its peak.

Bankers for Yahoo cast a wide net for the auction, and a number of potential suitors emerged. The field winnowed down to a handful of bidders, which included AT&T, private equity firms like TPG Capital, and the Quicken Loans co-founder Dan Gilbert, with the backing of Warren E. Buffett company, Berkshire Hathaway.



But people involved in the process long believed that Verizon, with its enormous cash pile and its ability to wring out efficiencies by merging Yahoo with AOL, was the most likely winner.

Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research, said that combining AOL with Yahoo would create a stronger No. 3 digital platform for online advertising, after Google and Facebook.

“This is a 1 plus 1 equals 2½,” he said.

Verizon, which had $132 billion in revenue last year, has been trying to build up its digital content portfolio, particularly in mobile and video, to serve customers of its wireless phone, cable TV and internet businesses. Last year, it bought AOL for $4.4 billion, acquiring not just its content sites like the Huffington Post and TechCrunch, but also the advertising technology used to target online ads to internet users.

Yahoo would bring in a huge amount of additional news, sports and finance content — and the one billion people a month who visit Yahoo services — and would offer Verizon another set of sophisticated ad technologies.

Yahoo’s BrightRoll division in particular is a leader in delivering automated, real-time advertising, and could be merged with AOL’s ad technology to deliver more appealing options to marketers, particularly in video.



Why Men Want to Marry Melanias and Raise Ivankas

Ivanka and Melania Trump

This article has been updated to reflect news events.

YOU can tell a lot about a person by whom they choose to marry. As the nominees selected at this week’s Republican National Convention and next week’s Democratic one take the stage along with their family members, they will display not only stark policy differences, but also two competing views of marriage, kin and the role of women in society. What we saw from Republicans: Men who want their wives at home while they celebrate the professional successes of their daughters.

The Republican Party has long praised traditional family values and intrinsic differences between men and women, while Democrats emphasize egalitarianism and expanding opportunities for women and girls. Few candidates in recent history have embodied those dissimilarities in such sharp relief as Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump. On Monday night, Mr. Trump’s wife, Melania, spoke about her husband and their family values. The speech was, like the woman herself, fairly unobjectionable on its face, with platitudes about family and country, patriotism and hard work. Like much of the Trump image, though, the shiny veneer hid shoddy construction: The very same parts of the speech that lauded integrity, hard work and honesty were lifted almost word for word from Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech.

It seems not even purported Trump family values are authentic. To borrow from Mr. Trump: sad.

One traditional value Mr. Trump does hew to: wanting an old-fashioned wife but a modern, professional daughter. On Thursday, convention-goers heard from the elder Trump daughter, Ivanka, a successful businesswoman whose feminism-tinged speech about the gender wage gap and affordable child care sounded less like any policy positions ever pushed by Mr. Trump and more like her book-in-progress, “Women Who Work.” They also witnessed how the Trump family embodies a very old sexist hypocrisy: Men who want one thing for their wives and another for their children.

While Trump family values may not be particularly honorable, they are perversely traditional. Melania Trump told the R.N.C. audience that “Donald is intensely loyal to family,” a claim belied by his own marital history — she is wife No. 3, and No. 2 was the woman with whom he cheated on No 1. Mr. Trump has children with three different women; he blames giving his wife too much responsibility in his business for his first divorce, and his wife’s wanting him to spend too much time at home with her and their daughter for his second.

The qualities Mr. Trump seeks in his romantic partners are remarkably retro. Melania Trump is a former model with her own QVC jewelry line and skin care brand who emphasizes that her role as a mother comes before all else; Mr. Trump has spoken disparagingly of working women, does little in the way of child care, and expects women to be more aesthetically appealing than intellectually substantive. “We know our roles,” his wife has said. “I didn’t want him to change the diapers or put Barron to bed.” Mr. Trump agrees: “I won’t do anything” to take care of the children, he told Howard Stern in 2005. “I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids.” By contrast, Mr. Trump took out a campaign ad featuring Ivanka, and said of her: “I am so proud of Ivanka. She is a terrific person, a devoted mother and an exceptional entrepreneur.”

It can feel unfair to criticize political spouses, who are often dragged into the spotlight only because of whom they married. Mr. Trump, though, is running for office, making his treatment of women — personal and political — as relevant as his treatment of his employees or business partners. The distinctions between the Clinton marriage and the Trumps’ reflect an uncomfortable evolution also happening in homes across the United States. In the past half-century, American women have undergone a transformation in roles, and married couples now look a lot more like the Clintons — or Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner — than whatever traditional view of women and home life that Mr. Trump holds: Most women work outside the home full time, and men increasingly marry women who are their educational and professional equals.

But the public remains deeply ambivalent about these shifts. Today, 40 percent of women are their family’s primary breadwinners, and nearly 80 percent of Americans agree that women should not return to traditional roles in society. A third still say it’s best for small children if Mom doesn’t work at all. The Republican Party has particularly struggled to accept this new model, and still pushes back on women’s progress by opposing policies that would help women work and plan their families: things like federally funded child care, paid parental leave and access to birth control. Ivanka Trump’s speech on Thursday was closer to a laundry list of the very policies Democrats have promoted and Republicans have tried to block.

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And like Mr. Trump praising his daughter’s business acumen, men want different things in their wives than in their daughters. Changing gender roles look less threatening when it’s their children who benefit. According to a survey published by Maria Shriver’s Shriver Report, American men listed “intelligence” as the top quality they valued in both a wife and a daughter, but then the responses split: More men said they wanted their wives to be attractive and sweet than said the same about their female children. For daughters, men ranked being independent, strong and principled as more important qualities than those same characteristics in wives. Two-thirds of men want an independent daughter, but only one in three wants an independent wife. Fourteen percent of men said they wanted a wife who was a homemaker; just 5 percent said the same about their daughters.




This dynamic seems to play out in the Trump family: Mr. Trump’s wife is professionally attractive, anecdotally nice and by her own telling fairly traditional, while his elder daughter is a strong, independent and well-educated businesswoman who was mentored by her father and rose to prominence inside his companies. Ivanka has been more publicly involved in the campaign than her stepmother, serving as something of a surrogate spouse to Mr. Trump by defending his treatment of women and emphasizing his good character. And it was Ivanka, not Melania Trump, who not only introduced Mr. Trump as the Republican Party nominee on Thursday night, but highlighted what he would do in office to help women.

This female empowerment narrative — of the daughter, not the wife — is one Americans are more ready to accept. A man who says he’s never changed a diaper and is on his third marriage to a former model may appeal to a resentful male minority, but will look unfamiliar and unappealing in much of the country. A successful child, though — that’s relatable and desirable. When men have daughters, their attitudes shift and they begin to adhere less stringently to traditional gender roles; no similar effect happens to mothers of girls. Fathers of daughters are also more likely to support reproductive rights than men who don’t have girls.

Men have often given their female offspring more opportunities than their female partners, perhaps seeing their children as extensions of themselves. Even today, many men find themselves newly appalled at sexism after having a girl, a reaction apparently not stoked by being born of a woman, married to a woman or simply seeing women as human. In our reluctantly feminist America, one question this election poses is whether we’ve evolved enough to value women as individuals instead of assessing them relationally, as an attractive wife supporting her husband or as a high-achieving daughter reflecting a flattering light back on her parents.

It’s a question Mr. Trump has addressed in his personal life. His answer isn’t very pretty.



Amid Broad Movement Against Police Abuse, Some Act on the Fringe

Amid Broad Movement
      Demonstrators faced police officers in riot gear this month in front of Police Headquarters in Baton Rouge, La. Credit      Max Becherer/Associated Press

As demonstrators flooded the streets of Baton Rouge, La., recently to protest the police killing of a black man there, about 15 men in black military fatigues broke off on their own. They marched toward the police station, three of them carrying AR-15 rifles.

They were members of a group called the People’s New Black Panther Party and they chanted for freedom for black people. They explained that their intent was not to harm police officers but to boldly express their rights to protest and defend themselves.

The broad movement against police abuse that has grown over the past two years has drawn a diverse kaleidoscope of activists who are employing an array of tactics. Among those who are praying, blocking roadways, crying out on social media and negotiating with elected officials are a small but fervent few who are channeling the history of militant resistance in America. They are protesting not just with slogans and signs, but also with rifles slung over their shoulders and a rebellious spirit emanating from their throats.

Micah Johnson, the man who killed five police officers in Dallas, liked two black militant groups on Facebook, but the authorities turned up no evidence that he or Gavin Long, the troubled man who killed three officers in Baton Rouge, was a member of any extremist group. Yet the furor over race and policing appears to have attracted new followers to some seemingly fringe black power groups.

Some ctivists, while distancing themselves from any calls for violence, argue that the movement is only strengthened by its diversity of strategies. No single group, they say, can steer the movement away from its ultimate goal: to end violence against black people and ensure that they gain control over their lives and communities, after being relegated to second-class status for centuries.

“All of those groups are relevant and important to the struggle for black liberation,” said Cat Brooks, an activist who works closely with the Black Lives Matter network. “We’ve never been liberated, so we don’t know how we’re going to get there. We need all hands on deck.”

The movement has had varying strains from the beginning, as evidenced by the reaction to the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Peaceful street protests were followed by spontaneous vandalism and looting, which brought widespread attention to the killing and, eventually, deeper problems confronting black communities nationwide.

At rallies, there are widespread cries of outrage against the police, for not valuing black lives, and there are also a few protesters who go further, shouting for the deaths of officers.

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WHITE HOUSE MEMO
Obama Faces Growing Expectations on Race and Policing JULY 21, 2016

Groups Unite Across America to Protest Police Shootings JULY 21, 2016

Baton Rouge Shooting Jolts a Nation on Edge JULY 17, 2016

Five Dallas Officers Were Killed as Payback, Police Chief Says JULY 8, 2016
In the crop of activist groups that sprang up after Ferguson, one of the earliest to organize was Lost Voices, a collection of young people with a rebellious edge. They shunned organized street protests and instead opted for tactics like crowding into a business and chanting loudly until it had to close its doors. (But they also protected black businesses from being looted.)

“We want to keep an uproar,” said one of the founders who goes by the name Bud Cuzz, adding that he does not condone violence. “We’re not just trying to get on Twitter and take pictures and type in stuff that we think sounds good.”

“All of those groups are relevant and important to the struggle for black liberation,” said Cat Brooks, an activist who works closely with the Black Lives Matter network. “We’ve never been liberated, so we don’t know how we’re going to get there. We need all hands on deck.”

The movement has had varying strains from the beginning, as evidenced by the reaction to the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Peaceful street protests were followed by spontaneous vandalism and looting, which brought widespread attention to the killing and, eventually, deeper problems confronting black communities nationwide.

At rallies, there are widespread cries of outrage against the police, for not valuing black lives, and there are also a few protesters who go further, shouting for the deaths of officers.

Continue reading the main story

RELATED COVERAGE


WHITE HOUSE MEMO
Obama Faces Growing Expectations on Race and Policing JULY 21, 2016

Groups Unite Across America to Protest Police Shootings JULY 21, 2016

Baton Rouge Shooting Jolts a Nation on Edge JULY 17, 2016

Five Dallas Officers Were Killed as Payback, Police Chief Says JULY 8, 2016
In the crop of activist groups that sprang up after Ferguson, one of the earliest to organize was Lost Voices, a collection of young people with a rebellious edge. They shunned organized street protests and instead opted for tactics like crowding into a business and chanting loudly until it had to close its doors. (But they also protected black businesses from being looted.)

“We want to keep an uproar,” said one of the founders who goes by the name Bud Cuzz, adding that he does not condone violence. “We’re not just trying to get on Twitter and take pictures and type in stuff that we think sounds good.”

On Wednesday, the Black Youth Project 100, a national coalition, helped to stage occupations of police unions and departments in cities from New York to Washington to Oakland, Calif. They were aiming to raise awareness of what they say is the complicity of police unions in helping officers to get away with violence.



Donald Trump’s Remarks Rattle NATO Allies and Stoke Debate on Cost Sharing

donald trumps
      Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, in Cleveland on Wednesday. In an interview, he suggested             that he would use a country’s level of military spending as a factor in deciding whether the United States would                 honor its commitment to defend NATO allies. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times

LONDON — Donald J. Trump’s statement that the United States might not come to the defense of NATO allies that do not foot their share of the bill fueled anxiety on Thursday in a Europe that is already deeply unsettled about Russia’s assertive posture, Britain’s decision to withdraw from the European Union and the rise of inward-looking populist and nationalist parties.

In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Trump suggested that if elected president he would use a country’s level of military spending as a factor in deciding whether the United States would honor its commitment to defend any member nation that comes under attack. While President Obama and other American officials have also pressed European countries in recent years to increase military spending in line with their commitments to NATO, Mr. Trump more explicitly linked financial considerations to the strategic response he would order as president in the event of an attack by Russia.

His comments left some European officials concerned that the United States under Mr. Trump would edge away from the security guarantees that Washington has provided to the Continent since World War II. But they also stoked the debate over cost sharing after years in which Europe had been slow to meet its commitments on military spending.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general and a former prime minister of Norway, said that he “will not interfere in the U.S. election campaign,” but made clear that he was alarmed by Mr. Trump’s remarks.

“Solidarity among allies is a key value for NATO,” he said in a statement. “This is good for European security and good for U.S. security. We defend one another. We have seen this in Afghanistan, where tens of thousands of European, Canadian and partner-nation troops have stood shoulder to shoulder with U.S. soldiers.”

He added, “Two world wars have shown that peace in Europe is also important for the security of the United States.”

Article 5 of the 1949 treaty that set up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization obliges any member of the alliance to come to the defense of another member if it comes under attack. The article has been invoked only once — after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

Continue reading the main story

RELATED COVERAGE


Transcript: Donald Trump on NATO, Turkey’s Coup Attempt and the World JULY 21, 2016

THE INTERPRETER
Donald Trump’s Ambivalence on the Baltics Is More Important Than It Seems JULY 21, 2016

Donald Trump Sets Conditions for Defending NATO Allies Against Attack JULY 20, 2016

Obama Tells NATO That ‘Europe Can Count On’ the U.S. JULY 9, 2016

NATO Unity, Tested by Russia, Shows Some Cracks JULY 8, 2016
“They have an obligation to make payments,” Mr. Trump said in the interview. “Many NATO nations are not making payments, are not making what they’re supposed to make.”

jens stoltenberg
       Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general and a former prime minister of Norway, in Maryland this month.          He expressed alarm over Mr. Trump’s remarks, saying, “Solidarity among allies is a key value for NATO.”  
Credit
       Cliff Owen/Associated Press


Asked whether the United States would come to the aid of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — three Baltic states that were invaded by the Soviet Union in 1940, and joined NATO in 2004 — in the event of a Russian invasion, Mr. Trump replied, “I don’t want to tell you what I’d do because I don’t want Putin to know what I’d do,” referring to Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, for whom Mr. Trump has expressed admiration.

Reminded that NATO members are obligated by treaty to come to one another’s defense, Mr. Trump responded: “Have they fulfilled their obligations to us? If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes.”

Asked on Thursday about Mr. Trump’s comments, Defense Secretary Michael Fallon of Britain snapped: “Article 5 is an absolute commitment. It doesn’t come with conditions or caveats.”

Less than two weeks ago, at a NATO summit meeting in Warsaw, Mr. Obama reassured America’s allies that “in good times and in bad, Europe can count on the United States — always.”

Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the president of Estonia, took to Twitter to emphasize that his country was one of only five NATO members to meet the target that it spend 2 percent of gross domestic product — a broad measure of economic activity — on military spending. (The others are the United States, Britain, Poland and Greece.)

Mr. Ilves also noted that Estonia contributed troops to the fight in Afghanistan in keeping with Article 5.

Artis Pabriks, a former foreign and defense minister of Latvia, which borders Russia and has stepped up military spending, wrote on Twitter: “If Trump doubts NATO solidarity in the case of Article 5, then his election is dangerous for Baltic security.”

Lithuania’s president, Dalia Grybauskaite, tried to calm her citizens. “Regardless of who becomes the next president of the U.S., we trust America,” she told reporters. “It has always defended nations under attack, and will do so in the future.”

Ms. Grybauskaite added: “Lithuania — as well as other Baltic states — is doing everything it can. We are modernizing our armed forces, we have reinstituted conscription and our defense spending will reach 2 percent of G.D.P. in 2018. I do not think interpretations of candidate Trump’s remarks are necessary. We know that the U.S. will remain our most important partner.”

In Russia, Mr. Trump’s comments met with approval. Alexei Pushkov, head of the foreign relations committee of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian Parliament, contrasted Mr. Trump with Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee. “Clinton’s creed: strengthen the U.S.’s anti-Russian alliances. Trump’s creed: respond only to real threats,” Mr. Pushkov wrote. “Aggressive banality versus common sense.”

NATO’s 28 members pledged at summit meetings in Wales in 2014 and in Warsaw this month to do more to meet the 2 percent of GDP spending target, and Mr. Stoltenberg has made reaching that goal a priority.

Xenia Wickett, the head of the United States and Americas program at Chatham House, a foreign policy think tank based in London, said Mr. Trump was echoing — albeit in far less diplomatic terms — concerns raised by a succession of American secretaries of defense, including the three who have served Mr. Obama: Robert M. Gates, Leon E. Panetta and Ashton B. Carter.

“The U.S. is no longer willing to cover the approximately 75 percent of the NATO budget that it currently does,” Ms. Wickett wrote in an email. “Trump takes it to the extreme, which is new, but the direction is not new. Trump wants to see a more ‘fair’ division of labor.” She added, “Unfortunately, his way of expressing it is likely to aid our adversaries rather than assist the alliance.”

Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, the head of the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a research organization, said too much was being made of Mr. Trump’s remarks. She said the imbalance in NATO spending “is just not sustainable,” adding, “Trump is taking the burden-sharing debate to extreme levels, by directly calling into question U.S. responsibility as a NATO member state to fulfill its obligations under Article 5, in case a NATO member state got attacked by Russia.”

She added that European leaders needed to persuade their citizens “of the importance of investing in defense to face current and future security challenges.”

But Carl Bildt, a former prime minister and foreign minister of Sweden, said he feared that Mr. Trump’s remarks would embolden autocratic and aggressive powers. “There is certainly a risk that he will encourage states like Russia and China to take the risk that U.S. will not stand up for its allies and its commitments, and that could be extremely dangerous for global stability,” he said. “He’s downplaying not only the defense of common interests, but also the defense of common values. Democracy seems nearly to be a derogatory term for him.”


Munich shooting: Death reported in shopping centre

Munich shooting

At least one person has been killed and an unknown number injured in a shooting at a shopping centre in the German city of Munich.
A big security operation is under way, German police say. The scene in the Moosach district has been sealed off.
Reports speak of one attacker. Helicopters are over the scene and shopworkers reportedly unable to leave.
The security forces have been on alert after a migrant stabbed five people on a train in Bavaria on Monday.
The authorities had warned of the danger of further attacks.
Munich police are telling people to avoid the area.

Brexit causes dramatic drop in UK economy, data suggests

Economy

Britain's decision to leave the EU has led to a "dramatic deterioration" in economic activity, not seen since the aftermath of the financial crisis.

Data from IHS Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, shows a fall to 47.7 in July, the lowest level since April in 2009. A reading below 50 indicates contraction.

Both manufacturing and syyervice sectors saw a decline in output and orders.

However, exports picked up, driven by the weakening of the pound.

The report surveyed more than 650 services companies, from sectors including transport, business services, computing and restaurants.


It asked them: "Is the level of business activity at your company higher, the same or lower than one month ago?"

It also asked manufacturers whether production had gone up or down.

The PMI is the first significant set of data measuring business reaction to the result of the UK referendum.

Business Live: Pound tumbles

Chancellor may 'reset' economic policy

'Record slump'

Chris Williamson, chief economist at IHS Markit, said the downturn had been "most commonly attributed in one way or another to 'Brexit'."

bussinesses

He added that the economy could contract by 0.4% in the third quarter of this year, but that would depend on whether the current slump continued.

"The only other times we have seen this index fall to these low levels, was the global financial crisis in 2008/9, the bursting of the dot com bubble, and the 1998 Asian financial crisis," Mr Williamson told the BBC.

"The difference this time is that it is entirely home-grown, which suggest the impact could be greater on the UK economy than before.

"This is exactly what most economists were saying would happen."

A subset of the PMI figures, shows that service companies, such as insurance or advertising, are feeling less positive about the future than at any time since the height of the recession.

'Heading for recession'

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the figures provided the "first major evidence that the UK is entering a sharp downturn".

Although he added that the "confidence shock from the Leave vote might wear off over the coming months".



Neil Wilson, markets analyst at ETX Capital, said he thought the UK was "heading for a recession again", and that the data would almost certainly prompt the Bank of England to roll out further stimulus.

The pound has fallen in response to the publication of the data.

The UK's new chancellor, Philip Hammond, urged caution.

"Let's be clear, the PMI data is a measure of sentiment, it's not a measure of any hard activity in the economy.

"What it tells us is businesses confidence has been dented, they're not sure, they're in a period of uncertainty now."

Earlier on Friday, Mr Hammond said that he might "reset" Britain's fiscal policy.

'No surprise'

While IHS Markit's reading on the UK economy was worse than most analysts expected, its verdict on the wider eurozone economy was more cheery.

Although business confidence dropped to an 18-month low, the overall pace of economic growth was in line with pre-Brexit trends, and employment across the eurozone rose.

The optimistic outlook is in line with comments made by the president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, who said on Thursday that Europe's financial markets had "weathered" the uncertainty caused by the vote.

Europe Economics' Andrew Lilico, who argued during the referendum campaign that leaving the EU would be beneficial for the UK in the long term, told the BBC the PMI data was "no surprise", and that it "doesn't tell us much about what Brexit's longer term impact will be".

Mr Lilico said he always expected a short-term reaction, and those who voted to leave, "expected a short-term slowdown too".

The downturn, he added, was "associated with risks in the global economy," as well as Brexit.