Here are the top stories and upcoming coverage plans for Reuters text service as of 10 p.m. GMT/5 p.m. ET. For a full schedule of news and events, go to our editorial calendar on Reuters Connect here GLOBAL CHINA-HEALTH/ Americans disembark from virus-hit cruise; China says new cases slow SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – American passengers were taken off a cruise liner on Sunday to fly home after being quarantined for two weeks off Japan, while China said the rate of new coronavirus cases had slowed, calling that proof its steps to fight the outbreak were working. NORTHKOREA-ANNIVERSARY/ Kim Jong Un makes first public appearance in 22 days amid virus outbreak SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made his first public appearance in 22 days amid an outbreak of coronavirus, state media reported on Saturday, to visit a national mausoleum and mark the anniversary of the late leader Kim Jong Il’s birth. U.S. USA-ELECTION-BLOOMBERG/ Democratic rivals tell billionaire Bloomberg: Let’s debate WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential candidates said on Sunday billionaire Michael Bloomberg should face the same rigorous scrutiny as his rivals and they would welcome the chance to square off with him in a 2020 presidential debate. USA-TRUMP-RUSSIA-STONE/ Former DOJ officials call on Attorney General Barr to resign WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 1,000 former U.S. Justice Department officials on Sunday called for Attorney General William Barr to resign over his handling of the trial of a longtime adviser of President Donald Trump. BUSINESS SPRINT-CORP-M-A-T-MOBILE-APPEAL/ New York drops fight against T-Mobile-Sprint merger NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York on Sunday dropped its fight against the $40 billion merger of U.S. wireless carriers T-Mobile US Inc (TMUS.O) and Sprint Corp (S.N), saying the state would not appeal a judge’s approval of the deal. BAYER-DICAMBA-LAWSUIT/ U.S. peach grower awarded $265 million from Bayer, BASF in weedkiller lawsuit A Missouri jury’s $265 million award to peach grower Bill Bader in his lawsuit against herbicide providers Bayer and BASF has raised the stakes for the two companies as at least 140 similar cases head to U.S. courts later this year. ENTERTAINMENT BRITAIN-PEOPLE-FLACK/ ITV hit ‘Love Island’ to return on Monday after death of former presenter Flack LONDON (Reuters) – British broadcaster ITV (ITV.L) said its popular reality show “Love Island” would return on Monday after it was taken off air following the death of former presenter Caroline Flack. AWARDS-OSCARS-PARASITE-BONG/ ‘Parasite’ director Bong Joon-ho gets hero’s welcome in South Korea INCHEON (Reuters) – “Parasite” director Bong Joon-ho was greeted with cheers and applause as he returned to South Korea on Sunday after his historic four-Oscar win. SPORTS TENNIS-BUENOSAIRES/ Norwegian Ruud claims first ATP Tour title with Argentina win Casper Ruud put Portugal’s Pedro Sousa on the defense early and became the first Norwegian to win an ATP Tour title at the Argentina Open on Sunday. TENNIS-STPETERSBURG/ Bertens downs Rybakina to retain St Petersburg title Kiki Bertens powered past Kazakh Elena Rybakina 6-1 6-3 in the St Petersburg Ladies Trophy final on Sunday to successfully defend her crown. BUSINESS / ECONOMICS NISSAN-CEO/ (PIX) (GRAPHIC) INSIGHT-Clock’s ticking for Nissan boss Uchida to show he has a plan – sources Nissan’s new CEO Makoto Uchida doesn’t have time to work his way into the job. He is effectively on probation and has a matter of months to show he can revive the ailing automaker, according to three people familiar with the thinking of some on the company’s board. 17 Feb 17:00 ET / 22:00 GMT EU-CROPS/ EU crop monitor monthly report The EU’s crop monitoring service issues update on conditions for major field crops. Focus on mild winter and state of plants after rain-disrupted sowing in northwest Europe. 17 Feb CALTEX AUSTRALIA-M&A/ALIMENTATION COUCHE-TARDE INC Caltex Australia gives due diligence access to Couche-Tard Takeover target Caltex Australia Ltd said on Monday it would allow Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc to conduct additional due diligence, after the Canadian firm raised its buyout offer to A$8.80 billion ($5.91 billion) last week. 17 Feb EU-FACEBOOK/ (PIX) Zuckerberg to meet EU Commissioners ahead of antitrust proposals Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg will meet the EU’s digital and industry chiefs on Feb. 17, two days before the two Commissioners present proposals for a single market in data viewed as an attempt to rein in U.S. tech giants and Chinese rivals. 17 Feb MOZAMBIQUE-HAIR/ (PIX) (TV) Mozambican hairdresser breaks taboos to keep ‘Afro’ love alive Cadino Chipanga decided 20 years ago to take up a trade seen as taboo in Mozambique: a male hairdresser looking after women. He also resolved to focus on dreadlocks – a style unacceptable in some African communities. Now 38, Chipanga has no regrets. He owns Carapinha, a small business that includes three salons in Maputo and a range of hair products. 17 Feb 03:00 ET / 08:00 GMT EU-BUDGET/ (TV) EU ministers discuss bloc’s 2021-27 budget before leaders lock horns EU affairs ministers meet in Brussels for a final preparatory discussion about their next joint budget for 2021-27 before national leaders of the bloc’s 27 member states lock horns on the matter at Feb.20 summit. 17 Feb 10:30 ET / 15:30 GMT SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY CHINA-HEALTH/WILDLIFE (PIX) ‘Animals live for man’: China’s appetite for wildlife likely to survive virus For the past two weeks China’s police have been raiding houses, restaurants and makeshift markets across the country, arresting nearly 700 people for breaking the temporary ban on catching, selling or eating wild animals. The scale of the crackdown, which has netted almost 40,000 animals including squirrels, weasels and boars, suggests that China’s taste for eating wildlife and using animal parts for medicinal purposes is not likely to disappear overnight, despite potential links to the new coronavirus. 17 Feb 18:00 ET / 23:00 GMT POLITICS / INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS USA-PRESIDENTSDAY/ (PIX) (TV) President’s Day People mark President’s Day – a federal holiday celebrated in honor of George Washington, the first president of the United States. 17 Feb FRANCE-POLITICS/ Macron picks minister to lead Paris mayor battle after sexting scandal French President Emmanuel Macron picked his widely respected health minister on Sunday to reinvigorate a campaign to win over Paris City Hall that fell apart when his previous candidate pulled out over a sexting scandal. 17 Feb USA-POMPEO/ANGOLA (PIX) (TV) U.S. secretary of state meets Angolan president U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet Angola’s President Joao Lourenco and members of the business community to discuss the southern African country’s fight against corruption, as well as trade and investment opportunities. 17 Feb USA-POMPEO/ETHIOPIA (PIX) (TV) U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to visit Ethiopia U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to visit Ethiopia as part of his first official trip to Africa, where his office says he will seek to strengthen commercial ties and promote U.S. investment opportunities on the continent of more than one billion people. He is expected to address the African Union and meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. 17 Feb AFGHANISTAN-REFUGEES/PAKISTAN (PIX) (TV) United Nations and Pakistan hold conference on future of Afghan refugees Pakistan and the United Nations’ refugee agency host a conference on the future of the 4.6 million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan. The gathering comes at a time of heightened anticipation of a possible peace deal between the Taliban and the U.S. and gathers a number of high profile Pakistani and U.N. officials, including U.N. chief Antonio Guterres, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, and Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan. 17 Feb IRELAND-POLITICS/ Irish PM’s Fine Gael party meets to discuss possible coalition talks Members of parliament from the Fine Gael party of Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar meet a week after an inconclusive parliamentary election to consider whether to join talks on forming a coalition government, with only viable option left a tie-up with historical rivals Fianna Fail that neither party has ruled out. 17 Feb HAITI-HUNGER/ (PIX) (TV) In aftermath of protests, Haiti faces growing hunger crisis Farmhand Celavi Belor feels dizzy when he looks up from hoeing a rocky field in the mountains of northwestern Haiti: he hasn’t eaten all day and has lost so much weight over the past year his clothes hang limply off his angular frame. Drought has ravaged harvests for the last three years in Haiti, while a collapse in Haiti’s currency, the gourde, has put imported food out of reach for many Haitians. Against this backdrop, a countrywide lockdown – known locally as ‘peyi lock’ – spurred by anti-government protests created a full-blown hunger crisis. 17 Feb NIGERIA-TRANSPORTATION/BAN (PIX) (TV) Burning tyres and sore feet: Lagos bristles under bike ban Gridlock in Lagos, whose traffic jams were already so ubiquitous they have their own term – “go-slows” – has intensified weeks after motorbike taxis and motorized rickshaws were banned from plying most major routes. 17 Feb IRAN-ELECTION/ (PIX) (TV) Preview of parliamentary elections in Iran, hardliners set to make gains A preview of Iran’s Feb. 21 parliamentary elections where anti-Western security hardliners are expected to make gains amid a deepening confrontation with Washington. 17 Feb 00:00 ET / 05:00 GMT SPORTS OLYMPICS-2020/TOKYO-BARRIERFREE (PIX) STORY DELAYED TO LATE FEB-Barrier-free? Tokyo struggles to remove obstacles for the disabled ahead of Olympics STORY DELAYED TO LATE FEB-While many prospective Olympic visitors from Asia envision Japan as a disabled-friendly hi-tech paradise where robots seamlessly serve you drinks and take you up and down the stairs, it can often be nothing but. Steep staircases, no elevators on major stations and huge, crushing crowds are often daunting for visitors from abroad. While Tokyo has moved quickly to make the city more “barrier-free” there’s a long way to go. 17 Feb ARTS / CULTURE / ENTERTAINMENT JAPAN-NAKEDFESTIVAL/ (PIX) (TV) Ten thousand Japanese men strip off for naked festival About 10,000 Japanese men dressed in loincloths gather in Saidaiji Temple in Okayama Prefecture for the naked festival. The men will try to snatch a wooden stick called “shingi” tossed by the priest into the crowd. The person that grabs it is considered the “luckiest men of the year”. 17 Feb
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