Author: LostNews

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States expressed deep concern on Thursday that Jordanian medics were wounded in shelling near their field hospital in Gaza.

Jordan’s foreign ministry said seven staff members at its field hospital in northern Gaza were wounded by Israeli shelling.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Thursday called Jordan a critical ally and said its “essential role in the conflict must be protected.”

“We are deeply concerned that Jordanian medical personnel in Gaza were wounded in an attack near their field hospital, and we are profoundly grateful to medical professionals providing critical care to Palestinians in Gaza,” he said.

Representatives for the Israeli Defense Forces could not be immediately reached for comment. Sullivan did not say who was responsible for the shelling in his post on X, formerly Twitter.

“Israel’s exposing the hospital and its staff to danger during its bombing of our Palestinian brothers is an unacceptable and condemnable crime and represents a clear violation of international law,” Sufyan Al-Qudah, spokesman for Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement.

“The government is awaiting the results of the investigation initiated by the Armed Forces-Arab Army to take the necessary legal and political steps against this heinous crime,” he added.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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“Add a tip?”

The prompts have become ubiquitous in all kinds of sales situations — from ordering a coffee to paying for a packaged sandwich — as digital card readers proliferate. But while automated requests for gratuities continue to spur confusion and grumbling, recent data suggests consumers have no trouble breezing past them.

Many people first started noticing so-called tipflation as the economy emerged from the pandemic. Venturing out again to bars, restaurants and shops, consumers were confronted with what felt like a new set of etiquette expectations — and duly began tipping more often, even as many griped loudly about it. But those upticks were modest and far from universal, and some of shoppers’ generosity now looks to be waning.

In a survey released this month by the Pew Research Center, 72% of American adults said tipping is now expected in more places than it was five years ago — but that’s pretty much all consumers can agree on when it comes to tipping.

Many dislike it when the tablets they’re presented suggest specific gratuity amounts; 40% oppose the prompts, while just 24% favor them, according to Pew.

But when consumers are left to their own devices, they take widely different approaches to deciding how much extra to offer and when to offer it, if at all. While 78% of respondents told Pew they always or often tip for haircuts, just 61% said the same of tipping their taxi or ride-hailing drivers. And only 1 in 4 reported frequently tipping baristas.

Americans can’t even agree on whether adding a tip is more of a choice or an obligation: 21% see it the first way and 29% the latter, with the remaining 49% landing somewhere in the squishy middle, saying it depends on the situation.

It’s no surprise consumers are so divided and exasperated, said Deidre Popovich, a Texas Tech University professor of marketing and supply chain management who specializes in consumer behavior.

“I think there’s just too many prompts now in the marketplace with these automated payment systems,” she said. “We’re used to tipping when we can evaluate the service, and in a lot of these situations, there’s no service tied to the tip. What do we do?”

There has been some movement at the margins of Americans’ gratuity habits.

NBC News reported in February that tipping frequency was up, possibly reflecting a pandemic hangover of good vibes toward service workers when expanding point-of-sale systems made it easier for businesses to solicit tips.

The payments processor Square, which makes a popular point-of-sale platform, said the restaurant and retail workers who use its software have seen increases in tipped and overtime earnings. But the company noted that the rises have tracked broader wage increases and higher restaurant menu prices.

“We’ve definitely observed a slight increase in tipping over the last few years,” said Ara Kharazian, the research lead at Square. “But I think it’s a lot more modest than people realize, and it’s starting to slow down a lot.”

For example, the average overall earnings for restaurant workers using Square were $17.67 an hour in October, with a base wage of $13.80. That $3.87 difference, which mostly reflects tips, is only about 60 cents higher than it was in October 2021, according to the company’s payroll index.

As consumers get used to seeing tip prompts in more places more regularly, they may be getting more comfortable ignoring them — especially after having dealt with inflation-related sticker shock for many goods and services over the past year.

Lightspeed, another POS provider, said customers add tips on just 1.3% of in-store transactions at the retailers that have enabled its tipping feature.

While tip levels in some settings have held steady or inched higher, others are declining.

Lightspeed said the median tip at all types of restaurants using its service increased from 16.9% in the second quarter last year to 17.3% in the same period this year. But tip amounts for online orders and delivery — for which patrons can decide privately whether to tip, without service workers nearby — have dipped since last year, from about 8.8% to 8.1%.

Another POS platform, Toast, said in September that average tips at full-service restaurants declined from 19.7% in the first quarter this year to 19.4% in the second — the lowest level for that category since the start of the pandemic. Gratuities at quick-service restaurants using Toast barely ticked up to 16.1% from 16.0% over the same period.

A Bankrate survey this year found tipping frequency has continued a multiyear downslide virtually across the board. The shares of Americans who say they always tip in service transactions from food delivery to hotel housekeeping have steadily shrunk. That’s the case even at sit-down restaurants, where those who reported always tipping their servers fell from 75% in 2021 to 65% this spring.

Some companies are trying other ways to nudge customers to tip. DoorDash wrote in a blog post this month that it was testing an in-app pop-up in the U.S. and Canada to remind users of its delivery service to leave gratuities, lest they risk longer waits.

“Orders with no tip might take longer to get delivered,” the test prompt reads. “Are you sure you want to continue?”

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By Sarah Marsh

BERLIN (Reuters) – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday that a key goal of the EU summit with China in Beijing in December was to achieve a level playing field in trade in light of market distortions.

As one example, von der Leyen said Chinese overcapacity in the clean tech sector was set to worsen and be exported as its economy slowed down, worsening distortions in the EU market – which the bloc could not accept.

China’s trade surplus with the EU was the highest in history last year, just below 400 billion euros ($434.96 billion), she said.

“We do not accept distortion from the inside, we should not accept it from the outside either,” she told a conference on China in Berlin, noting this was why the EU had launched an investigation into imports of Chinese electric vehicles.

“Europe is open for competition. Not for a race to the bottom.”

Von der Leyen said, however, that as much as the EU would protect its interests, it would also seek to address disagreements with China through dialogue – for example at their Dec. 7-8 summit, which comes after U.S. President Joe Biden met this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“Our goal is to achieve a level playing field in our trade relationship with China,” said the official, who has driven recent European efforts to “de-risk” from Asia’s rising superpower.

“We will go to China in good faith,” said von der Leyen. “We will never be shy in raising our concerns. But we must leave space for a discussion on a more ambitious relationship that benefits both of sides.”

Von der Leyen said she expected action from China to deal with the current imbalances.

“The story of how we relate to China is not yet fully written. Nothing is predetermined, we have agency and China is capable of change.”

($1 = 0.9196 euros)

(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; Editing by Miranda Murray and Sharon Singleton)

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LONDON (AP) — Britain’s interior minister said Thursday that the U.K. government can revive its blocked plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda without breaching international law, with the first flights taking off next year.Home Secretary James Cleverly said the government is “absolutely determined” to begin Rwanda deportation flights before a national election that must be called by the end of 2024.Many legal experts said that’s wishful thinking, and critics urged the government to ditch a plan they say is costing millions and harming Britain’s international reputation.On Wednesday, the U.K. Supreme Court quashed the government’s plan, saying Rwanda is not a…

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A deluge of intense rain in parts of Florida has submerged neighborhoods, turned roads into rivers, closed schools and has left over 108,000 without power.Heavy rain fell over central and Southern Florida Wednesday into early Thursday morning due to a slow-moving storm system over the Gulf of Mexico.Seven million people were under flood watches Wednesday, meanwhile strong onshore winds created gusts that reached 74 mph at an elevated weather station near Miami and 63 mph at Dania Pier near Fort Lauderdale.Miami-Dade County recorded 9.35 inches of rainfall in Cache, 7.58 inches in Coral Gables, and 4.90 in Miami. Meanwhile, Broward…

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A heavily armed gang surrounded a hospital in Haiti on Wednesday, trapping women, children and newborns inside until police rescued them, according to the director of the medical center who pleaded for help via social media.Jose Ulysse, founder and director of the Fontaine Hospital Center in the sprawling Cite Soleil slum in the capital of Port-au-Prince, told The Associated Press that gangs were torching homes surrounding the hospital and preventing everyone inside from leaving. He had earlier said that it appeared gangs had entered the hospital.Ulysse said Haiti’s National Police responded to his call for help…

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A US warship shot down a drone that is believed to have originated from Yemen in the Red Sea on Wednesday, according to two US officials.The USS Thomas Hudner, an Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, engaged a drone that originated from Yemen on Wednesday and was heading towards the ship, a defense official confirmed to CNN. The Hudner was not believed to be the intended target, the officials said.A statement from the Defense Department on Wednesday said that while “transiting the international waters of the Red Sea, the crew of the USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) engaged a drone…

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