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Oil prices reached a six-month high Tuesday after the Trump administration announced it would no longer exempt countries from U.S. sanctions, if they continue to buy Iranian crude oil, a move aimed at imposing a complete oil embargo on Iran.

Waivers granted to eight countries, including big Iranian crude importers China, India, Japan, Turkey and South Korea, are due to expire on May 2.

RBC Capital Markets, a global investment bank, has told clients it anticipates a loss of 700,000 to 800,000 barrels of oil a day from markets as a consequence of the waivers-withdrawal.

That will tighten oil supplies as seasonal demand picks up in the Northern Hemisphere, forcing importers to seek alternative supplies, a search made more challenging with production falling off in Venezuela and Libya because of domestic unrest and conflict.

U.S. sanctions were snapped back on Iran last year when President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal, signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, in which Tehran agreed to nuclear curbs in return for sanctions relief.

The European Union has been at loggerheads with Washington over Iran and the nuclear deal, which the Trump administration fears only delays Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  

“Today I am announcing that we will no longer grant any exemptions,” Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, said Tuesday.  “We’re going to zero.  We will continue to enforce sanctions and monitor compliance.  Any nation or entity interacting with Iran should do its diligence and err on the side of caution.  The risks are simply not going to be worth the benefits,” he added.

The Trump administration gave waivers last year to avoid a price spike.

Some oil analysts are predicting the price of a barrel could rise to $80 as a result of the withdrawal of the exemptions and say the Trump administration may have to release oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an emergency supply of up to 727 million barrels, if the administration wants to keep prices low.

“There isn’t much doubt about the trigger for the latest rally, with Trump’s decision not to extend waivers on imports of Iranian oil beyond May unsurprisingly providing further upward pressure,” according to Craig Erlam, an oil market analyst at OANDA, a U.S. currency brokerage.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have said they will in principle increase production, but are unlikely to do so before a meeting in June of the 14 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).  Analysts say they will want to wait to see the effect of the withdrawal of exemptions before committing to make up the shortfall on the international market.

Last year, OPEC countries increased production when the Trump administration first announced the return of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate oil have surged in price more than 30 percent this year because of production disruptions in Venezuela, Nigeria, and Libya.

Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst of Energy Aspects, a research consultancy, says a jump in OPEC cartel production won’t necessarily keep prices in check.  “The problem we have is the quality of the crude.  Iran produces a lot of medium to heavy crudes, whereas the spare capacity in Saudi Arabia and the UAE is of lighter crudes.  The quality issue is going to become a very big problem,” she says.

One of the big questions when it comes to oil prices is whether importers decide to comply with the U.S. demand to stop buying Iranian oil.

Sen says China has made very strong statements it is within its legitimate rights to do business with Iran.  “We think Iranian exports will still be about 600,000 to 700,000 barrels per day.  And if prices rise quite substantially and compensates for the drop of 500,000 to 600,000 the revenue shortfall [for Iran] might not be that substantial,” Sen added.

Just hours after the Trump administration’s announcement that it wouldn’t renew waivers, the World Bank issued a report saying it was expecting oil prices to drop this year because of weaker global economic growth. The report, though, was drafted before the announcement and noted “the outlook for oil could be swayed by a range of policy outcomes, including whether the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and partners extend production cuts, the impact of the removal of waivers to the U.S. sanctions on Iran, and looming changes in marine fuel emissions regulations.”

In retaliation for the withdrawal of waivers, Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and one of the world’s most strategically important maritime choke-points.  Few analysts believe Iran will follow through on its threat as it would risk a firm U.S. response and undermine Tehran’s efforts to keep Europeans wedded to the 2015 nuclear deal.

More likely is Iran will use “proxy wars” in the region, in Syria and Yemen, to retaliate, they say.

The U.S. withdrew from the nuclear deal in part because, it said, Iran was failing to act  like “a normal country.”  Trump officials laid down a dozen conditions Tehran would have to fulfill for sanctions to be lifted, including an end to all uranium enrichment, stopping its support of Hezbollah, Lebanon’s radical Shi’ite movement, and other militant groups including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

 


Oil prices reached a six-month high Tuesday after the Trump administration announced it would no longer exempt countries from U.S. sanctions, if they continue to buy Iranian crude oil, a move aimed at imposing a complete oil embargo on Iran.

Waivers granted to eight countries, including big Iranian crude importers China, India, Japan, Turkey and South Korea, are due to expire on May 2.

RBC Capital Markets, a global investment bank, has told clients it anticipates a loss of 700,000 to 800,000 barrels of oil a day from markets as a consequence of the waivers-withdrawal.

That will tighten oil supplies as seasonal demand picks up in the Northern Hemisphere, forcing importers to seek alternative supplies, a search made more challenging with production falling off in Venezuela and Libya because of domestic unrest and conflict.

U.S. sanctions were snapped back on Iran last year when President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal, signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, in which Tehran agreed to nuclear curbs in return for sanctions relief.

The European Union has been at loggerheads with Washington over Iran and the nuclear deal, which the Trump administration fears only delays Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  

“Today I am announcing that we will no longer grant any exemptions,” Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, said Tuesday.  “We’re going to zero.  We will continue to enforce sanctions and monitor compliance.  Any nation or entity interacting with Iran should do its diligence and err on the side of caution.  The risks are simply not going to be worth the benefits,” he added.

The Trump administration gave waivers last year to avoid a price spike.

Some oil analysts are predicting the price of a barrel could rise to $80 as a result of the withdrawal of the exemptions and say the Trump administration may have to release oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, an emergency supply of up to 727 million barrels, if the administration wants to keep prices low.

“There isn’t much doubt about the trigger for the latest rally, with Trump’s decision not to extend waivers on imports of Iranian oil beyond May unsurprisingly providing further upward pressure,” according to Craig Erlam, an oil market analyst at OANDA, a U.S. currency brokerage.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have said they will in principle increase production, but are unlikely to do so before a meeting in June of the 14 members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).  Analysts say they will want to wait to see the effect of the withdrawal of exemptions before committing to make up the shortfall on the international market.

Last year, OPEC countries increased production when the Trump administration first announced the return of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate oil have surged in price more than 30 percent this year because of production disruptions in Venezuela, Nigeria, and Libya.

Amrita Sen, chief oil analyst of Energy Aspects, a research consultancy, says a jump in OPEC cartel production won’t necessarily keep prices in check.  “The problem we have is the quality of the crude.  Iran produces a lot of medium to heavy crudes, whereas the spare capacity in Saudi Arabia and the UAE is of lighter crudes.  The quality issue is going to become a very big problem,” she says.

One of the big questions when it comes to oil prices is whether importers decide to comply with the U.S. demand to stop buying Iranian oil.

Sen says China has made very strong statements it is within its legitimate rights to do business with Iran.  “We think Iranian exports will still be about 600,000 to 700,000 barrels per day.  And if prices rise quite substantially and compensates for the drop of 500,000 to 600,000 the revenue shortfall [for Iran] might not be that substantial,” Sen added.

Just hours after the Trump administration’s announcement that it wouldn’t renew waivers, the World Bank issued a report saying it was expecting oil prices to drop this year because of weaker global economic growth. The report, though, was drafted before the announcement and noted “the outlook for oil could be swayed by a range of policy outcomes, including whether the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and partners extend production cuts, the impact of the removal of waivers to the U.S. sanctions on Iran, and looming changes in marine fuel emissions regulations.”

In retaliation for the withdrawal of waivers, Iran has threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open ocean and one of the world’s most strategically important maritime choke-points.  Few analysts believe Iran will follow through on its threat as it would risk a firm U.S. response and undermine Tehran’s efforts to keep Europeans wedded to the 2015 nuclear deal.

More likely is Iran will use “proxy wars” in the region, in Syria and Yemen, to retaliate, they say.

The U.S. withdrew from the nuclear deal in part because, it said, Iran was failing to act  like “a normal country.”  Trump officials laid down a dozen conditions Tehran would have to fulfill for sanctions to be lifted, including an end to all uranium enrichment, stopping its support of Hezbollah, Lebanon’s radical Shi’ite movement, and other militant groups including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

 


Greece’s budget performance in 2018 was better than expected following some revenue-boosting measures by the government.

According to the country’s statistical agency, Greece recorded a primary budget surplus, which excludes the cost of servicing the country’s vast public debt, of 4.4 percent of its annual output. That’s ahead of government projections of 4.1 percent.

 

The agency also said Tuesday that the country’s debt mountain rose to 181 percent of GDP in 2018, from 176 percent in 2017.

 

Greece’s debt dynamics have been shaken by a debt crisis that led to a deep recession and forced Athens in 2010 to seek a massive international bailout. In exchange for the loans, successive governments implemented strict austerity measures.

 

Though Greece ended its bailout era last summer, it still has to post surpluses for years to come.

 

 

 


Greece’s budget performance in 2018 was better than expected following some revenue-boosting measures by the government.

According to the country’s statistical agency, Greece recorded a primary budget surplus, which excludes the cost of servicing the country’s vast public debt, of 4.4 percent of its annual output. That’s ahead of government projections of 4.1 percent.

 

The agency also said Tuesday that the country’s debt mountain rose to 181 percent of GDP in 2018, from 176 percent in 2017.

 

Greece’s debt dynamics have been shaken by a debt crisis that led to a deep recession and forced Athens in 2010 to seek a massive international bailout. In exchange for the loans, successive governments implemented strict austerity measures.

 

Though Greece ended its bailout era last summer, it still has to post surpluses for years to come.

 

 

 


Every month, when his respiratory medicine runs out, Dionysis Assimakopoulos heads to the most unlikely pharmacy in Athens.

Amid derelict stadiums dating from the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, the volunteer-staffed social pharmacy of Hellinikon has handed out free medicine to hundreds of poverty-stricken patients, keeping some of them out of death’s reach.

“My wife and I have been unemployed for over two years. We need about 150 euros for medicine every month,” says Assimakopoulos, a former baker.

Established at the height of the crisis in 2011, the pharmacy runs on donated medicine and disposables. Some 40,000 people have brought medicine, many from abroad, says on-duty pharmacist Dimitis Palakas.

Another patient waiting in line is Achilleas Papadopoulos, a retired tenor. His pension of 700 euros is not enough to cover the antibiotics he has come for.

During nearly a decade of cuts imposed as Greece struggled to avert national bankruptcy, public education and health were among the sectors hit the hardest as the country lost a quarter of its national output.

Amid sweeping layoffs, wage cuts and tax hikes, many could not maintain their social insurance contributions and were pushed out of state-provided health support.

“Only 11 percent of Greeks can currently afford private insurance giving full health coverage,” says Grigoris Sarafianos, head of the association of private Greek health clinics.

According to the national statistics service, Greeks paid 34.3 percent of their medical expenses out of their own pocket in 2016.

The crisis exposed “huge state shortages,” says Petros Boteas, a member of the Hellinikon health team, which serves over 500 patients every month.

“There are fewer doctors and hospital staff. Money for medicine has been cut. There is a long waiting list for doctor’s appointments…we had a cancer patient given an appointment in three months,” he told AFP.

To avoid a long wait — especially in an emergency — many are forced to seek private healthcare, regardless of the cost. There are currently over 120 private clinics in the country.

‘Go to a better school’

A similar scenario casts its shadow over education.

When Aspasia Apostolou’s son was 11 years old and finishing Greek public primary school, his class teacher did something unexpected.

“He told us our son is bright and that he should be in a better school,” reminisces Apostolou, a 44-year-old lawyer.

According to the government, public funding for education fell by about 36 percent during the crisis.

Thousands of trained staff including teachers and doctors emigrated — part of an exodus of some 350,000 people — or opted to retire.

A recent study by the London School of Economics found 75 percent of Greek crisis emigrants hold university degrees.

The OECD in a 2017 study — prepared at Greece’s request — said austerity cuts had “a major impact on the demands on the Greek education system, and on those working within it.”

It said that in 2015, there were approximately 25,000 posts vacant for teachers in primary and secondary education schools.

Apostolou now pays 5,800 euros ($6,500) a year in tuition fees at a private school where her son can be assured of a well-structured curriculum.

“At our old school, the children usually come home early. So many school hours are lost because of teacher shortages during the year,” she says.

“There is no evaluation, no reward for effort in a public school. You wallow in mediocrity.”

Between 2011 and 2014, the state cut education wages and expenses by 24 percent, the OECD study said.

While school books are provided by the state free of charge, the cuts continue to impact other essential resources including computers and petrol for heating.

It’s not uncommon for schools to be shut down for lack of heating. The last instance was in February at the Athens school complex where Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras himself was a pupil.

In public schools, much now relies on private initiative and personal goodwill, what Greeks call ‘filotimo’, says Athanassia, a veteran public school teacher.

“I’ve worked in schools where the principal or teachers or parents paid out of their own pocket for essentials…or discreetly brought food to needy families,” says Athanassia, who has worked in 20 public schools as teachers are shared out to plug staffing gaps.

“Whatever works is based on filotimo,” she adds. “If funding were better, it would be totally different.”

According to the Greek statistics agency, around 12 percent of the country is near the poverty level.

In response, Tsipras’ government in 2016 began a program giving out free school meals at hundreds of schools in poorer regions.

Similarly, the government allowed access to public hospitals to long-term jobless with Greeks without health insurance.

“It’s a step forward, but inequalities persist,” says Petros at the Elliniko clinic.

“Without health insurance, securing a public hospital appointment might take six months, even for critical examinations,” he adds.


Every month, when his respiratory medicine runs out, Dionysis Assimakopoulos heads to the most unlikely pharmacy in Athens.

Amid derelict stadiums dating from the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, the volunteer-staffed social pharmacy of Hellinikon has handed out free medicine to hundreds of poverty-stricken patients, keeping some of them out of death’s reach.

“My wife and I have been unemployed for over two years. We need about 150 euros for medicine every month,” says Assimakopoulos, a former baker.

Established at the height of the crisis in 2011, the pharmacy runs on donated medicine and disposables. Some 40,000 people have brought medicine, many from abroad, says on-duty pharmacist Dimitis Palakas.

Another patient waiting in line is Achilleas Papadopoulos, a retired tenor. His pension of 700 euros is not enough to cover the antibiotics he has come for.

During nearly a decade of cuts imposed as Greece struggled to avert national bankruptcy, public education and health were among the sectors hit the hardest as the country lost a quarter of its national output.

Amid sweeping layoffs, wage cuts and tax hikes, many could not maintain their social insurance contributions and were pushed out of state-provided health support.

“Only 11 percent of Greeks can currently afford private insurance giving full health coverage,” says Grigoris Sarafianos, head of the association of private Greek health clinics.

According to the national statistics service, Greeks paid 34.3 percent of their medical expenses out of their own pocket in 2016.

The crisis exposed “huge state shortages,” says Petros Boteas, a member of the Hellinikon health team, which serves over 500 patients every month.

“There are fewer doctors and hospital staff. Money for medicine has been cut. There is a long waiting list for doctor’s appointments…we had a cancer patient given an appointment in three months,” he told AFP.

To avoid a long wait — especially in an emergency — many are forced to seek private healthcare, regardless of the cost. There are currently over 120 private clinics in the country.

‘Go to a better school’

A similar scenario casts its shadow over education.

When Aspasia Apostolou’s son was 11 years old and finishing Greek public primary school, his class teacher did something unexpected.

“He told us our son is bright and that he should be in a better school,” reminisces Apostolou, a 44-year-old lawyer.

According to the government, public funding for education fell by about 36 percent during the crisis.

Thousands of trained staff including teachers and doctors emigrated — part of an exodus of some 350,000 people — or opted to retire.

A recent study by the London School of Economics found 75 percent of Greek crisis emigrants hold university degrees.

The OECD in a 2017 study — prepared at Greece’s request — said austerity cuts had “a major impact on the demands on the Greek education system, and on those working within it.”

It said that in 2015, there were approximately 25,000 posts vacant for teachers in primary and secondary education schools.

Apostolou now pays 5,800 euros ($6,500) a year in tuition fees at a private school where her son can be assured of a well-structured curriculum.

“At our old school, the children usually come home early. So many school hours are lost because of teacher shortages during the year,” she says.

“There is no evaluation, no reward for effort in a public school. You wallow in mediocrity.”

Between 2011 and 2014, the state cut education wages and expenses by 24 percent, the OECD study said.

While school books are provided by the state free of charge, the cuts continue to impact other essential resources including computers and petrol for heating.

It’s not uncommon for schools to be shut down for lack of heating. The last instance was in February at the Athens school complex where Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras himself was a pupil.

In public schools, much now relies on private initiative and personal goodwill, what Greeks call ‘filotimo’, says Athanassia, a veteran public school teacher.

“I’ve worked in schools where the principal or teachers or parents paid out of their own pocket for essentials…or discreetly brought food to needy families,” says Athanassia, who has worked in 20 public schools as teachers are shared out to plug staffing gaps.

“Whatever works is based on filotimo,” she adds. “If funding were better, it would be totally different.”

According to the Greek statistics agency, around 12 percent of the country is near the poverty level.

In response, Tsipras’ government in 2016 began a program giving out free school meals at hundreds of schools in poorer regions.

Similarly, the government allowed access to public hospitals to long-term jobless with Greeks without health insurance.

“It’s a step forward, but inequalities persist,” says Petros at the Elliniko clinic.

“Without health insurance, securing a public hospital appointment might take six months, even for critical examinations,” he adds.


Amazon and Walmart on Thursday kicked off a two-year government pilot program allowing low-income shoppers on government food assistance in New York to shop and pay for their groceries online for the first time. 

 

ShopRite will join the two retailers on the program early next week, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. 

 

The USDA has long required customers using electronic benefits transfer, or EBT, to pay for their purchases at the actual time and place of sale. So the move marks the first time SNAP customers can pay for their groceries online.

ShopRite and Amazon are providing the service to the New York City area, and Walmart is providing the service online in upstate New York locations. The agency said the pilot will eventually expand to other areas of New York as well as Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.

Purchase food, but not delivery

The pilot program will test both online ordering and payment. SNAP participants will be able to use their benefits to purchase eligible food items but will not be able to use SNAP to pay for service or delivery charges, the agency said. 

 

People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food — by ordering and paying for groceries online,'' said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.As technology advances, it is important for SNAP to advance, too, so we can ensure the same shopping options are available for both non-SNAP and SNAP recipients.” 

 

Perdue said he will be monitoring how the pilot program increases food access and customer service, specifically for those who have trouble visiting physical stores.  

Roughly 38 million individuals receive food stamps in the U.S., according to the USDA. Nearly $52 billion, or 82% of all food stamp dollars, were spent at big box stores and grocery chains in 2017, according to the most recent USDA data. 

 

The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the USDA to conduct and evaluate a pilot program for online purchasing prior to national implementation. The USDA says the move was intended to ensure online transactions are processed safely and securely. 

 

Seattle-based Amazon said those who qualify don’t need to be Prime members to buy groceries with their benefits. They’ll get free access to its AmazonFresh service, which delivers meat, dairy and fresh produce to shoppers’ doorsteps. And they’ll also be able to use Prime Pantry, which delivers packaged goods like cereal and canned food.

Qualifying amounts

However, they’ll need to spend over a certain amount to qualify for free shipping: $50 at AmazonFresh and $25 at Amazon.com. The online shopping giant launched a website, amazon.com/snap, where people can check if they qualify. Amazon said it’s working with the USDA to expand service to other parts of New York state. 

 

Amazon.com Inc. was on the initial list for the government pilot program, and Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart Inc. made the list later. The world’s largest retailer, however, in late 2017 had started allowing customers in limited locations to order items through its online grocery pickup service and then pay for it in person at the stores. 

 

Access to convenience and to quality, fresh groceries shouldn't be dictated by how you pay,'' Walmart said.This pilot program is a great step forward, and we are eager to expand this to customers in other states where we already have a great online grocery.” 

 

Walmart said that nearly 300 locations with grocery pickup in the states will be part of the USDA government program. 


Amazon and Walmart on Thursday kicked off a two-year government pilot program allowing low-income shoppers on government food assistance in New York to shop and pay for their groceries online for the first time. 

 

ShopRite will join the two retailers on the program early next week, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. 

 

The USDA has long required customers using electronic benefits transfer, or EBT, to pay for their purchases at the actual time and place of sale. So the move marks the first time SNAP customers can pay for their groceries online.

ShopRite and Amazon are providing the service to the New York City area, and Walmart is providing the service online in upstate New York locations. The agency said the pilot will eventually expand to other areas of New York as well as Alabama, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.

Purchase food, but not delivery

The pilot program will test both online ordering and payment. SNAP participants will be able to use their benefits to purchase eligible food items but will not be able to use SNAP to pay for service or delivery charges, the agency said. 

 

People who receive SNAP benefits should have the opportunity to shop for food the same way more and more Americans shop for food — by ordering and paying for groceries online,'' said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.As technology advances, it is important for SNAP to advance, too, so we can ensure the same shopping options are available for both non-SNAP and SNAP recipients.” 

 

Perdue said he will be monitoring how the pilot program increases food access and customer service, specifically for those who have trouble visiting physical stores.  

Roughly 38 million individuals receive food stamps in the U.S., according to the USDA. Nearly $52 billion, or 82% of all food stamp dollars, were spent at big box stores and grocery chains in 2017, according to the most recent USDA data. 

 

The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the USDA to conduct and evaluate a pilot program for online purchasing prior to national implementation. The USDA says the move was intended to ensure online transactions are processed safely and securely. 

 

Seattle-based Amazon said those who qualify don’t need to be Prime members to buy groceries with their benefits. They’ll get free access to its AmazonFresh service, which delivers meat, dairy and fresh produce to shoppers’ doorsteps. And they’ll also be able to use Prime Pantry, which delivers packaged goods like cereal and canned food.

Qualifying amounts

However, they’ll need to spend over a certain amount to qualify for free shipping: $50 at AmazonFresh and $25 at Amazon.com. The online shopping giant launched a website, amazon.com/snap, where people can check if they qualify. Amazon said it’s working with the USDA to expand service to other parts of New York state. 

 

Amazon.com Inc. was on the initial list for the government pilot program, and Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart Inc. made the list later. The world’s largest retailer, however, in late 2017 had started allowing customers in limited locations to order items through its online grocery pickup service and then pay for it in person at the stores. 

 

Access to convenience and to quality, fresh groceries shouldn't be dictated by how you pay,'' Walmart said.This pilot program is a great step forward, and we are eager to expand this to customers in other states where we already have a great online grocery.” 

 

Walmart said that nearly 300 locations with grocery pickup in the states will be part of the USDA government program. 


The National Enquirer is being sold to the former head of the airport newsstand company Hudson News following a rocky year in which the tabloid was accused of burying stories that could have hurt Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. 

 

Tabloid owner American Media said Thursday that it plans to sell the supermarket weekly to James Cohen. Financial terms were not immediately disclosed for the deal, which included two other American Media tabloids, the Globe and National Examiner.  

  

American Media said last week that it wanted to get out of the tabloid business to focus on its other operations, which includes its teen brand and broadcast platforms.

Non-prosecution agreement

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan agreed last year not to prosecute American Media in exchange for the company’s cooperation in a campaign finance investigation. That probe eventually led to a three-year prison term for Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen for campaign violations among other charges.

American Media admitted it had paid $150,000 to keep former Playboy model Karen McDougal quiet about an alleged affair with Trump to help his campaign. Trump has denied an affair.  

The sale would end a longtime relationship between the Enquirer and Trump. Under the aegis of American Media CEO David Pecker, the tabloid has for years buried potentially embarrassing stories about Trump and other favored celebrities by buying the rights to them and never publishing in a practice called “catch and kill.” 

 

The Associated Press reported last year that Pecker kept a safe in the Enquirer’s office that held documents on buried stories, including those involving Trump. 

Whether James Cohen has any allegiances to Trump is not clear. While he was a registered Republican as late as 2017, according to Nexis records, he has given to both Republicans and Democrats. That included $17,300 in 2016 to an arm of the Democratic National Committee and $2,500 to the Republican National Committee in 2012.

News of the sale comes two months after Amazon chief Jeff Bezos publicly accused the Enquirer of trying to blackmail him by threatening to publish explicit photos of him. 

An American Media attorney denied the charge, but it threatened potentially big legal costs by upending American Media’s non-prosecution agreement in the hush money case. The AP reported that federal prosecutors were looking into whether the publisher violated terms of the deal, which included a promise not to break any laws in the future.

Heavy debt load

The Bezos accusation comes at a difficult time for American Media. It has financed several recent acquisitions with borrowed money and has been struggling under a heavy debt load. American Media said the Cohen deal would help reduce the amount it needs to pay back, leaving it with $355 million in debt. 

 

The Washington Post, which earlier reported the sale, said Cohen will pay $100 million in the deal.

Cohen’s family had run a magazine and newspaper distributor for decades before his father branched into newsstand stores in 1980s, starting with a single one at LaGuardia Airport. Before he died in 2012, the father had opened more than 600 stores. 

 

After the death, James Cohen’s niece alleged her uncle had cheated her out of her inheritance. She lost the case. 

 

The family sold a majority stake in the chain about a decade ago. The business is now owned by Dufry, an operator of duty-free stores in which James Cohen is a major shareholder. 

 

Cohen still owns a magazine and newspaper distributor called Hudson News Distributors. In addition, he runs a real estate developer and a publishing company, which owns Gallerie, an art and design magazine. 

 

Cohen has reportedly been involved in American Media deals before. The New York Times reports that, in 2011, Cohen invested in the company’s American edition of OK!, a British tabloid. 


The National Enquirer is being sold to the former head of the airport newsstand company Hudson News following a rocky year in which the tabloid was accused of burying stories that could have hurt Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. 

 

Tabloid owner American Media said Thursday that it plans to sell the supermarket weekly to James Cohen. Financial terms were not immediately disclosed for the deal, which included two other American Media tabloids, the Globe and National Examiner.  

  

American Media said last week that it wanted to get out of the tabloid business to focus on its other operations, which includes its teen brand and broadcast platforms.

Non-prosecution agreement

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan agreed last year not to prosecute American Media in exchange for the company’s cooperation in a campaign finance investigation. That probe eventually led to a three-year prison term for Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen for campaign violations among other charges.

American Media admitted it had paid $150,000 to keep former Playboy model Karen McDougal quiet about an alleged affair with Trump to help his campaign. Trump has denied an affair.  

The sale would end a longtime relationship between the Enquirer and Trump. Under the aegis of American Media CEO David Pecker, the tabloid has for years buried potentially embarrassing stories about Trump and other favored celebrities by buying the rights to them and never publishing in a practice called “catch and kill.” 

 

The Associated Press reported last year that Pecker kept a safe in the Enquirer’s office that held documents on buried stories, including those involving Trump. 

Whether James Cohen has any allegiances to Trump is not clear. While he was a registered Republican as late as 2017, according to Nexis records, he has given to both Republicans and Democrats. That included $17,300 in 2016 to an arm of the Democratic National Committee and $2,500 to the Republican National Committee in 2012.

News of the sale comes two months after Amazon chief Jeff Bezos publicly accused the Enquirer of trying to blackmail him by threatening to publish explicit photos of him. 

An American Media attorney denied the charge, but it threatened potentially big legal costs by upending American Media’s non-prosecution agreement in the hush money case. The AP reported that federal prosecutors were looking into whether the publisher violated terms of the deal, which included a promise not to break any laws in the future.

Heavy debt load

The Bezos accusation comes at a difficult time for American Media. It has financed several recent acquisitions with borrowed money and has been struggling under a heavy debt load. American Media said the Cohen deal would help reduce the amount it needs to pay back, leaving it with $355 million in debt. 

 

The Washington Post, which earlier reported the sale, said Cohen will pay $100 million in the deal.

Cohen’s family had run a magazine and newspaper distributor for decades before his father branched into newsstand stores in 1980s, starting with a single one at LaGuardia Airport. Before he died in 2012, the father had opened more than 600 stores. 

 

After the death, James Cohen’s niece alleged her uncle had cheated her out of her inheritance. She lost the case. 

 

The family sold a majority stake in the chain about a decade ago. The business is now owned by Dufry, an operator of duty-free stores in which James Cohen is a major shareholder. 

 

Cohen still owns a magazine and newspaper distributor called Hudson News Distributors. In addition, he runs a real estate developer and a publishing company, which owns Gallerie, an art and design magazine. 

 

Cohen has reportedly been involved in American Media deals before. The New York Times reports that, in 2011, Cohen invested in the company’s American edition of OK!, a British tabloid.