Commuters beware: New York and Washington's clogged streets and creaky subway systems are about to feel more pain as 50,000 more people descend on the two metro areas where Amazon will open new headquarters. An expansion of that scope in a city such as New York — where the regional subway, bus, and commuter lines move more than 8 million people every day — sounds like something a transit system should be able to absorb. Not so, some experts say. "Congestion will get worse. Buses will probably get a little bit slower. There are going to be more people traveling at a specific time of day to a specific place," said Eric Guerra, assistant professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania. "But at the same time, they will create a lot of jobs where people are." Long Island City, the New York City neighborhood that will be home to one of the new headquarters, sits across the river from the busy world of midtown Manhattan. The growing neighborhood is crisscrossed by subways and buses and surrounded by residential neighborhoods. The other headquarters will be in the Washington suburb of Arlington in northern Virginia, a part of the country known for its mind-numbing traffic. Amazon said hiring at the two headquarters will start next year, but it could take a decade or more to build out its offices. Still, the complaining has already begun. Among the sticking points — Amazon has won the rights to a helipad at its Long Island City location, allowing some senior executives to get through rush hour in style, though the company had to agree to limit landings to 120 per year. "For the city and state to greenlight a helipad for the wealthiest man in the world and one of the richest corporations in the world is a slap in the face to all New Yorkers, but particularly the people in Queens who have to fight to get on the 7 train in the morning," said City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, a Democrat who represents Long Island City. "And furthermore, if there were 25 to 30,000 Amazon employees in Long Island City, that fight to get onto the train is going to get a lot more intense." Frustration levels already are high among New York City subway riders. More than a quarter of residents spend more than an hour getting to work, and 57 percent ride public transit to commute, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A key subway line that runs through Long Island City has been often criticized for delays, though long-awaited upgrades to allow trains to run more frequently are on track to finish as soon as this month, and a new ferry connection to Manhattan opened in August. Still, Van Bramer insisted the area is not sufficiently well served, and there are complaints about noise pollution from helicopters and seaplanes. "The entire city is in a mass transit crisis and nothing that I've seen about this deal makes me think it will help," New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson said at a press conference Wednesday. "Western Queens transit infrastructure is already strained and the 7 train, in particular, is a mess every morning, so this definitely adds to existing transportation concerns." New York City commuters have been clamoring for subway improvements for years, and some on Wednesday tweeted photos of packed subway stations near Amazon's proposed new office and reported having let several overcrowded trains go by before they were finally able to squeeze into one. Some see the dire warnings about New York's transit system as premature. "Even as stressed as our system is right now, an investment in the growth of this magnitude doesn't overwhelm the transportation network because it's such a robust and large system," said Tom Wright, president, and CEO of the Regional Plan Association, an urban research and advocacy organization. Washington, D.C.'s subway system, which will serve Amazon's headquarters in Arlington's Crystal City, is at capacity on many lines and has serious maintenance problems, said Tom Rubin, a transportation consultant based in Oakland, California. Repair work to the subway station closest to Amazon's new office resulted in a disastrous commute last week as people missed flights and stood in long lines for buses that never arrived, said Thomas Cooke, professor of business law at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. In fact, fires have broken out so many times in Washington D.C.'s Metro system that a developer created a Twitter account to automatically tweet suspected fires in stations. "We have an embarrassing metro system here that I hope will benefit by this relocation," Cooke said, adding that taxpayers will be footing the bill for the transit improvements that Virginia agreed to in its deal with Amazon. Development along major highways in Northern Virginia and Washington have led to "unreasonable traffic delays on a daily basis" in the past few years, with drive times that used to take 40 minutes ballooning to up to 90 minutes, Cooke said. In the nation's capital, more than a third of commuters ride public transit and most commuters spend at least a half-hour getting to work, according to the Census Bureau. Commuters in the suburbs surrounding Washington face even longer commute times. Elsewhere, companies use vanpools and private buses to entice talented employees who want to live in hipper neighborhoods away from their offices. Google and Yahoo began running private buses from downtown San Francisco and elsewhere to their headquarters in Silicon Valley more than a decade ago. In the Los Angeles area, Disney, Nickelodeon, and Warner Bros. run shuttle buses to carry employees from public transit stations to their Burbank studios, said Keith Millhouse, a transportation consultant and principal at Millhouse Strategies. Some hoped Amazon would invest in transit upgrades as part of the deal. But it's hard to imagine Amazon volunteering to chip in for transit improvements when so many cities — 238 submitted proposals — were competing for the company's second headquarters, Guerra said. "If anything, they're getting benefits out of it," Guerra said. "They're unlikely to be paying for new services."

Walmart says it will begin giving hiring preference to military spouses under a new initiative the retail giant is launching. Walmart announced Monday the start of the Military Spouse Career Connection, an effort to recruit and hire military spouses. Walmart says the initiative complements an effort it launched in 2013 to hire 250,000 military veterans by 2020, a goal the company says it's on track to surpass next year. Walmart already offered military spouses and veterans the ability to transfer from one Walmart or Sam's Club location to another when a spouse is transferred because of the military. The company says that beginning Monday, it will offer any military spouse with a current Uniformed Services Identification Card hiring preference when they apply. All candidates must meet the standard hiring criteria.


Flooding captured in Penal on June 21, 2017.

Rising water levels across the Penal/Debe Regional Corporation has left some residents isolated in flooding that is significantly worse than what was experienced in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Bret. That’s according to the area’s Regional Corporation Chairman, Allen Sammy, who was speaking with Loop TT on Thursday morning. “It’s all in the Barrackpore area, throughout Penal/Debe. It’s worse than Bret I think, judging from the severity of the flooding and how widespread it is. So it’s bad, it’s all over.” Sammy says preliminary reports indicate that hundreds are marooned in their homes with thousands more expected to be in a similar situation. He says these residents are isolated and cut off due to impassable roads. These areas include Woodland, Barrackpore, Penal, Debe, along the SS Erin Road and environs. According to Sammy, some families have already been evacuated from Batchia Branch Trace #1 and Batchia Trace #2 as well as Woodland areas. They are seeking refuge in the homes of loved ones. “We got called last night to move out some people, they went to family and we have got a request already this morning for residents of the Batchia area to be removed.” The Corporation Chairman says he anticipates that the situation may prolong into the weekend. “The low tide was supposed to be at 4 o’clock this morning so we’re still in a low-tide mode but the volume of the water is so much that the tidal movements make little difference at this time. We believe it’s going to get worse from what I’ve heard, based on what has been happening since last night, it’s going to get worse today. So today is going to be a red letter day, into tomorrow and Sunday.” Despite the torrential downpours that continue to batter these areas, Sammy expressed confidence that residents are prepared. “There is nothing except to say that we have already alerted people and they have the experience of stocking up with water, with food and so on. So I don’t expect to be many requests for food and water in the short term. Even to get food and water to them will be a challenge for us, I’m sure we will have to activate our dinghies again.” Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store:http://bit.ly/GetALoop Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store:http://bit.ly/GetiLoop

Prime Minister Mia Mottley meets  President of Suriname, Desiré Bouterse in Suriname.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley is in Suriname. She shared the news on her Instagram today. A photo gallery was accompanied by the caption: "My delegation received a very warm reception at the Johan Adolf Pengel (J.A.P.) International Airport, after which we embarked on the 60-minute drive to Paramaribo, to the Presidential Palace, Onafhankelijkheidsplein, where my delegation and I were welcomed by the President of the Republic of Suriname, His Excellency Desiré Delano Bouterse." The Government Information Service released a press statement sharing that the Prime Minister'sofficial visit is for three days. She willvisitthe Republic of Suriname from today, Wednesday, November 14, to Friday, November 16. The press release indicated that the President of Suriname, Desiré Bouterseinvited Barbados' leader to visit the South American country. OurPrime Minister has underscored the importance of her visit, saying relations between the two countries would be strengthened. “Closer cooperation with Suriname in the areas of trade and investment, agriculture, energy and education and training would be in Barbados’ interest. In addition, Suriname’s strategic position between Latin America and the Caribbean presents significant potential for exports from Barbados,” she pointed out. Noting that the two countries shared similar goals, Prime Minister Mottley also stated that Suriname was focusing on removing identified weaknesses, for example, enacting more business-friendly legislation and improving the ease of setting up business. Barbados and Suriname established diplomatic relations in March 1978. Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: Download the Loop News Caribbean app on Google Play Store: http://bit.ly/GetALoop Download the Loop News Caribbean app on the App Store: http://bit.ly/GetiLoop


England's Wayne Rooney fouls Unites States Jorge Villafana during the international friendly football match against the United States at Wembley stadium, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018.

Wayne Rooney couldn't raise his England scoring record in a 120th and final appearance for the Three Lions as a new generation of players provided the goals in an easy, 3-0 victory over the United States on Thursday. The 33-year-old Rooney was denied a perfect farewell in stoppage time by U.S. goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who dived to stop a low shot to the frustration of the striker and the Wembley crowd that shouted "Shoot!" every time Rooney touched the ball. Rooney's international career ended with 53 goals, 15 years after his debut. Recalled after two years off the team for a ceremonial farewell, the D.C. United player provided the biggest cheers of the night when he entered in the 58th minute against the country he now calls home. As England's record-scorer bid farewell, striker Callum Wilson and defender Trent Alexander-Arnold scored their first international goals and Jesse Lingard netted for the first time at Wembley for his country. The stakes will be more meaningful in the next game at Wembley on Sunday. After leaving the field, England learned that Croatia beat Spain 3-2 in the UEFA Nations League ahead oftheir trip to London. England or Croatia has a chance to advance to the Final Four tournament if either can win the match on Sunday. A draw would see Spain advance from league A4 to the finals of Europe's new national-team competition.

Sime Vrsaljko and Tin Jedvaj celebrate for Croatia.

Tin Jedvaj's extraordinary double saw Croatia blow their Nations League pool wide open with a 3-2 win against Spain on Thursday, setting up a make-or-break clash with England. The World Cup finalists endured a miserable start to their Group 4 campaign in League A - thrashed by Spain in the reverse fixture and drawing with England - but they now head to Wembley in contention for a Finals place after an incredible finish in Zagreb. A tame first half was followed by a frantic second as Croatia were twice pegged back by a rampant Spain side, Dani Ceballos levelling after Andrej Kramaric's opener, before a Sergio Ramos penalty cancelled out Jedvaj's first international goal. But the Croatia full-back ensured his side would not be denied, lashing in a rebound in the dying seconds to keep the hosts in the running. Spain, meanwhile, face a nervous wait after completing their group campaign, now requiring a draw between the two teams in London to reach next year's knockout stage. David de Gea was drawn into a smart early stop, helping Ivan Perisic's deceptive low effort onto his right-hand post, but further first-half chances were sparse before Lovre Kalinic tipped away an Isco drive. The first goal was a gift when it finally did arrive. Sergio Ramos and Sergi Roberto traded passes in the corner before Perisic intercepted an impudent flick from the latter to send Kramaric through on goal, the forward keeping his cool to convert. Yet Spain suddenly awoke from their slumber and a flowing attacking move down the left concluded with Isco squaring for Real Madrid team-mate Ceballos to slide into the net. Kalinic lost the ball at Iago Aspas' feet for a seemingly simple Spanish second, but the forward prodded against the crossbar and Croatia were able to go up the other end and restore their lead, Jedvaj nodding Luka Modric's teasing cross in at close range. De Gea denied Ante Rebic on the break at one end before a frantic scramble saw Sime Vrsaljko block Alvaro Morata's on-target header at the other, though the right-back's handball allowed Ramos to convert from 12 yards out. However, there was still time for another twist as, with Croatia throwing everyone forward, De Gea could only parry a low shot as far as Jedvaj in a crowded penalty area, allowing the 22-year-old to settle a see-saw contest.


The Justice Department inadvertently named Julian Assange in a court filing in an unrelated case that suggests prosecutors have prepared charges against the WikiLeaks founder under seal. Assange's name appears twice in an August court filing from a federal prosecutor in Virginia, who was attempting to keep sealed a separate case involving a man accused of coercing a minor for sex. In one sentence, the prosecutor wrote that the charges and arrest warrant "would need to remain sealed until Assange is arrested in connection with the charges in the criminal complaint and can therefore no longer evade or avoid arrest and extradition in this matter." In another sentence, the prosecutor said that "due to the sophistication of the defendant and the publicity surrounding the case, no other procedure is likely to keep confidential the fact that Assange has been charged." Any charges against Assange could help illuminate the question of whether Russia coordinated with the Trump campaign to sway the 2016 presidential election. It would also suggest that, after years of internal wrangling within the Justice Department, prosecutors have decided to take a more aggressive tact against the secret-sharing website. It was not immediately clear why Assange's name was included in the document, though Joshua Stueve, a spokesman for the Eastern District of Virginia — which had been investigating Assange — said, "The court filing was made in error. That was not the intended name for this filing." The Washington Post reported late Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter, that Assange had indeed been charged. The Associated Press could not immediately confirm that. It was not immediately clear what charges Assange, who has been holed up for years in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, might face. But recently ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year declared the arrest of Assange a priority. Special counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating whether Trump campaign associates had advance knowledge of Democratic emails that were published by WikiLeaks in the weeks before the 2016 election and that U.S. authorities have said were hacked by Russia. Any arrest could represent a significant development for Mueller's investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the election. Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Assange, told the AP earlier this week that he had no information about possible charges against Assange. In a new statement, he said, "The news that criminal charges have apparently been filed against Mr. Assange is even more troubling than the haphazard manner in which that information has been revealed. The government bringing criminal charges against someone for publishing truthful information is a dangerous path for a democracy to take." The filing was discovered by Seamus Hughes, a terrorism expert at the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, who posted it on Twitter hours after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department was preparing to prosecute Assange and said, "To be clear, seems Freudian, it's for a different completely unrelated case, every other page is not related to him, EDVA just appears to have assange on the mind when filing motions to seal and used his name." Assange, 47, has resided in the Ecuadorian Embassy for more than six years in a bid to avoid being extradited to Sweden, where he was wanted to sex crimes, or to the United States, whose government he has repeatedly humbled with mass disclosures of classified information. The Australian ex-hacker was once a welcome guest at the Embassy, which takes up part of the ground floor of a stucco-fronted apartment in London's posh Knightsbridge neighborhood. But his relationship with his hosts has soured over the years amid reports of espionage, erratic behavior and diplomatic unease. Any criminal charge is sure to further complicate the already tense relationship. Ecuadorian officials say they have already cut off the WikiLeaks founder's internet, saying it will be restored only if he agrees to stop interfering in the affairs of Ecuador's partners - notably the United States and Spain. Officials have also imposed a series of other restrictions on Assange's activities and visitors and - notably - ordered him to clean after his cat. With shrinking options — an Ecuadorian lawsuit seeking to reverse the restrictions was recently turned down — WikiLeaks announced in September that former spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson, an Icelandic journalist who has long served as one of Assange's lieutenants, would take over as editor-in-chief. WikiLeaks has attracted U.S. attention since 2010, when it published thousands of military and State Department documents from Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning. In a Twitter post early Friday, WikiLeaks said the "US case against WikiLeaks started in 2010" and expanded to include other disclosures, including by contractor Edward Snowden. "The prosecutor on the order is not from Mr. Mueller's team and WikiLeaks has never been contacted by anyone from his office," WikiLeaks said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May appealed directly to voters to back her Brexit plan Friday as she waited to see whether rivals within her party have gained enough support to launch a leadership challenge. May answered questions from callers on a radio phone-in, the day after she vowed to stay in office and see through Britain's exit from the European Union. It was not an easy ride. One caller said May should resign and let a more staunchly pro-Brexit politician take over; another compared her to Neville Chamberlain, the 1930s prime minister who vainly tried to appease Nazi Germany to avoid a war. May stood by her plan. "For a lot of people who voted 'leave,' what they wanted to do was make sure that decisions on things like who can come into this country would be taken by us here in the U.K., and not by Brussels, and that's exactly what the deal I've negotiated delivers," she said. May is battling to save her Brexit plan, and her job, after the draft withdrawal agreement between Britain and the EU sparked fierce opposition from euroskeptic politicians in her Conservative Party. They say the agreement, which calls for close trade ties between the U.K. and the bloc, would leave Britain a vassal state, bound to EU rules it has no say in making. Several Conservative lawmakers are pushing for a no-confidence vote, hoping to reach a threshold of 48 to trigger a challenge. If May lost her job as party leader, she would also lose her position as prime minister. Two pro-Brexit Cabinet ministers quit May's government on Thursday. A third, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, is considering whether to follow them. A defiant May vowed Thursday to "see this through," and said abandoning her Brexit plan, with Britain's exit just over four months away on March 29, would plunge the country into "deep and grave uncertainty. The political turmoil has prompted a big fall in the value of the pound, which was trading under $1.28 Friday, near Thursday's low and down 1.5 percent in 48 hours, as investors fretted that Britain could crash out of the EU in March without a deal. That could see tariffs on British exports, border checks and restrictions on travelers and workers.