FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2019 file photo Katy Perry arrives at MusiCares Person of the Year honoring Dolly Parton in Los Angeles. Perry’s fashion line has pulled two types of shoes after some people compared them to blackface. The Ora Face Block Heel and Rue Face Slip-On Loafers were released last summer in nine different colors. They included protruding eyes, nose and red lips. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

Katy Perry's fashion line has pulled two types of shoes after some people compared them to blackface. The Ora Face Block Heel and Rue Face Slip-On Loafers were released last summer in nine different colours. They included protruding eyes, nose and red lips. In a statement released Tuesday by the singer and company, they said the shoes were "envisioned as a nod to modern art and surrealism." The singer says she was saddened when she learned they were being compared to blackface and were "immediately removed" from the company's website. Perry's is the latest company to withdraw products after they were compared to blackface. Gucci took a sweater off the market last week and Prada removed a series of accessories that resembled black monkeys with red lips in December.

AP photo: A cashier returns a credit card and a receipt at a McDonald's window, where signage for job openings are displayed in Atlantic Highlands, N.J last month.

USemployers posted the most open jobs in December in the nearly two decades that records have been kept, evidence that the job market is strong despite several challenges facing the economy. The Labor Department said Tuesday that job openings jumped 2.4 per cent in December to 7.3 million. That is the most since records began in December 2000. It is also far greater than the number of unemployed, which stood at 6.3 million that month. Businesses have shrugged off a variety of potential troubles for the economy in the past two months and kept on hiring. The 35-day partial government shutdown began Dec. 22, and growth in China, Europe and Japan has weakened, threatening US exports. Still, employers added 304,000 jobs in January, the government said earlier this month, the most in nearly a year. The jump in openings in December suggests hiring will likely remain robust. Openings are typically filled within 1 to 2 months. The surge in available jobs indicates that businesses expect demand to remain healthy and that they will need more employees to meet it. Tuesday's data also showed that employers boosted hiring in December, while the number of people who quit remained unchanged at a healthy level of about 3.5 million. Higher quits are typically signsof a dynamic job market, as most people quit to take a new job. The number of unemployed typically runs far ahead of job openings, but that switched early last year. That could mean potentially stronger wage gains are in store in the months ahead. With job postings so high at a time that the unemployment rate is at a very low 4 per cent, businesses may be forced to pay more to attract the workers they need. Paychecks are already increasing, though at a modest pace. Average hourly pay rose 3.2 per cent in January from a year earlier, the government said earlier this month. That's near December's figure of 3.3 per cent, which matched the best pay gain in almost a decade. Still, wage increases typically top 4 per cent when the unemployment rate is this low. Many industries with the biggest increases in job openings include mostly lower-paying jobs. Restaurants and hotels advertised more than 1 million jobs, 84,000 more than in November. Health care job postings rose 79,000 to 1.2 million. Some higher-paying industries also did well. Professional and business services, which include jobs in fields such as architecture and engineering, rose 82,000 to 1.34 million. Available jobs in manufacturing, meanwhile, fell 67,000 to 428,000. They also dropped in retail and financial services.


Haitians on Friday vowed to keep protesting until President Jovenel Moise resigns despite his announcement of upcoming economic measures designed to quell more than a week of violent demonstrations across the country. Moise said during a televised address late Thursday that he would not surrender the country to armed gangs and drug dealers and accused people of freeing prisoners to kill him. It was the first time Moise had spoken since the demonstrations began, and he made another call for dialogue with the opposition. "I heard the voice of the people. I know the problems that torment them. That's why the government has taken a lot of measures," he said. "I asked the Prime Minister to come and explain them and implement them without delay in order to relieve misery." He said Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant will share details of the new economic measures Friday. The announcement comes as protesters remain angry about skyrocketing inflation and the government's failure to prosecute embezzlement from a multi-billion dollar Venezuelan program that sent discounted oil to Haiti. Few believe the government will take any steps to alleviate the crisis. "The president has been lying to the nation," said Marco Jean-Baptiste, a 41-year-old mechanic who has been unable to work since the demonstrations began and worries about his three children. Protesters continued to block roads across Haiti as food, water and gas became scarce. Schools, businesses and government offices remain closed. Widler Saintil, a 35-year-old shop owner, said he has been forced to reduce the amount of food he eats because he can't afford to buy as much milk, bread, sugar, rice or beans as before. He also has been unable to work or send his two children to school. "The situation has gotten worse," he said, adding that he will continue to join the demonstrations until Moise resigns.

Dr Ashley Deans (right) interacts with (from left) Karen Ayee of the Jamaica Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and Deanna Ashley, Executive Director of the Violence Prevention Alliance.

United States-based professor, Dr Ashley Deans, is recommending that Jamaica adopt a transcendental meditation (TM) technique to assist in addressing the country’s crime problem. Deans made the recommendation while delivering a presentation at the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) Steering Committee on February 12, at the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona. Transcendental meditation technique is a form of silent meditation. It has reportedly been proven to cut crime in some of the world’s toughest crime-plague cities in Columbia, South Africa, Argentina, Ecuador and the United States. “Let’s say if we had 300 people doing transcendental meditation in the advance programme together, twice a day, (this) would certainly reduce the level of crime in Jamaica, and that is just the minimum, but you could always have more,” he said. Making reference to the successes of the programme in the United Kingdom, Deans said the technique was applied at a school in Liverpool in the UK. “Crime was going up in Liverpool year after year during the 1980s… and (after TM intervention) there was a completely different trend in the crimes; highly statistical significance,” he indicated. He said transcendental meditation has proven to curb youth violence and disruption, pointing to the initiative’s success at Holy Trinity High School in Kingston. Margaret Brissett-Bolt, former principal at the school, said before TM or Quiet Time was introduced, the school had a high number of disciplinary problems, but after the introduction of TM, anti-social behaviours decreased by 50 to 70 per cent. The areas that saw dramatic reduction in numbers included gang activities, fights and suspensions. “We put all of the lowest performing students into a special class and I gave them a teacher who was a meditator. That class, which was the lowest performing class in September 2015, is now above the highest performing class that we had,” she said via a video presentation that was shared by Deans during his presentation. Deans said TM or Quiet Time should be introduced in all schools. He also said it has proven to combat recidivism through holistics rehabilitation. The programme has been taught to inmates and guards in some of America’s toughest prisons, reportedly with key results, such as 30 per reduction in recidivism rates; fewer rule infractions in prison, and less criminal thinking, psychological distress and trauma symptoms. Dr Deanna Ashley, executive director of the VPA, said her organisation was happy to have collaborated with the Jamaica Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education to bring Deans to Jamaica to convey the findings of TM.


Manchester United forward Anthony Martial.

Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard are facing two to three weeks out due to injury, Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed. The forwards each suffered injuries in the first half of the 2-0 Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford on Tuesday. Solskjaer believes both could be out for the rest of February, meaning they will miss Monday's FA Cup clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the meeting with Premier League leaders Liverpool next Sunday. Youngster Mason Greenwood is also unlikely to be used as a replacement as he too is injured. "I think they'll be out for two to three weeks," Solskjaer told a news conference when asked about Martial and Lingard. "Thenyou're looking at young players: Mason Greenwood, it's your time to step in, and he's injured unfortunately, out for a couple of weeks as well. "Sometimesthat's how the luck goes, but Mason will get his chance." In addition to games against Chelsea and Liverpool, Martial and Lingard could miss Premier League games against Crystal Palace and Southampton on February 27 and March 2. They will face a battle to be fit for the return leg of the PSG tie at Parc des Princes on March 6.

Lasith Embuldeniya celebrates a wicket.

South Africa on Friday collapsed after lunch on day three in Durban to bring Sri Lanka back into the first Test as they chase 304 for victory. The Proteas looked to be in complete control at the end of the first session at Kingsmead, even after losing Quinton de Kock (55), with their lead standing at 271 runs. But the hosts added only 32 to that total after the restart as Sri Lanka took five wickets - including that of Faf du Plessis (90) - for just eight runs in a dominant spell, inspired by debutant Lasith Embuldeniya's 5-66. That flurry ensured a more attainabletarget for the tourists and they were still in the contest at stumps, with Kusal Perera (12 not out) and Oshada Fernando (28 no) battling away on 83-3, 221 short of an unlikely triumph. Already in a commanding position, South Africa cruised through the first session of day three as Du Plessis and De Kock built a partnership of 96. Kusal Mendis was substituted out for a time as a Du Plessis edge did not carry and he was hurt in stooping for thecatchbefore insult was added to injury when an overthrow provided De Kock with a 56-ball half-century. However, a rare De Kock error saw the Proteas star waste a review on a blatant lbw as he was trapped by Embuldeniya to halt the stand short of three figures. It initially appeared to matter little, yet the match turned dramatically in the second session. Vernon Philander was the first to go as he was beaten byEmbuldeniya,before Du Plessis followed via a straightforward lbw decision off Vishwa Fernando (4-71) just before a drinks break. South Africa's lowerorder never recovered and Embuldeniya swiftly added Kagiso Rabada, with VishwaremovingKeshav Maharaj and Dale Steynto suddenly conclude the innings. Keen to seize this improbable opportunity, Sri Lanka made a solid start with the bat as Dimuth Karunaratne and Lahiru Thirimanne paired for 42. But the duo departed in quick successionwith Rabada snaring Thirimanne while Karunaratne went to a tight lbw call, and then Mendis sent a cheap edge behind for a duck to hand Duanne Olivier a wicket. Bad light stopped play for the day as Sri Lanka steadied the ship through Perera and Oshada, with plenty of work left to do but the tourists at least in with a fighting chance. Scores in the match going into Saturday's fourthare: South Africa 235 & 259; Sri Lanka 191 & 83-3.


Spanish police say a 15-month investigation has led to the seizure at sea of 3.3 metric tons of South American cocaine with a street value of around 100 million euros (113 million US dollars). Police said in a statement Friday the drug was headed to Spain and was captured when security forces from Portugal boarded a ship in the Atlantic, 150 miles (240 kilometres) off the Portuguese coast. Authorities believe a gang was using cargo ships to transport the cocaine to Europe. The drug was usually transferred to smaller coastal craft using the ship's crane. Police say 11 people, including eight Ukrainians, were arrested in the operation that took place at the end of January.

Waves of heavy rain pounded California on Thursday, trapping people in floodwaters, washing away a mountain highway, triggering a mudslide that destroyed homes and forcing residents to flee communities scorched by wildfires last year. At least two people died as the powerful system swept in from the Pacific Ocean and unleashed damaging rain, snow and wind. The system was moving across the U.S. West into Wyoming and Colorado after walloping Northern California and southern Oregon a day earlier. The National Weather Service reported staggering rainfall amounts across California, including more than 9.4 inches (24 centimeters) over 48 hours at one location in the San Bernardino Mountains east of Los Angeles. A woman pulled from rising water in a low-lying area between those mountains and LA had a heart attack and died at a hospital, said Capt. Ryan Rolston with the Corona Fire Department. The unidentified woman was one of nine people and three dogs rescued in a flood control channel where homeless people camp, Rolston said. In Escondido, northeast of San Diego, firefighters pulled the body of a man from a concrete-lined waterway. Witnesses told authorities the man had been paddle-boarding in the surging waters. North of San Francisco, a mudslide barreled over cars, uprooted trees and sent a home sliding down a hill and smashing into another house in Sausalito. A woman was rescued from the splintered wreckage with only cuts and bruises. Susan Gordon was buried under a tree and mud for two hours while crews dug her out, her son wrote on an online fundraising page. Chris Parkman said it's been years since a storm so powerful has hit the hillside community, where at least 50 properties were evacuated. "We don't see the rain most of the year, so most of the year you feel safe. But when the big storms come, your safety factor is gone," he said. A deluge southeast of Los Angeles washed away a section of a two-lane mountain highway. Photos by the state Department of Transportation showed about 75 feet (23 meters) of pavement completely collapsed along State Route 243 near the remote community of Idyllwild. "We're basically stranded right now," said resident Gary Agner, adding that several other roads were closed because of flooding and debris. "I'm glad I went to the grocery store yesterday." The risk of flooding led officials to order people out of areas burned bare by a summer wildfire in the Santa Ana Mountains, with flash flood warnings blanketing a huge swath east and south of Los Angeles. Authorities also told parts of artsy Laguna Beach to evacuate, while the desert resort city of Palm Springs urged residents to stay where they were because of flooded streets. Flood advisories extended to Arizona. Weather was so severe that the Hollywood Walk of Fame had to postpone the dedication of a sidewalk star honoring the band Aerosmith. Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain theme parks closed. Trouble also persisted in saturated Northern California, where thousands of people lost power and flooding was possible. Downtown San Francisco saw more than 1.75 inches (4.4 centimeters) of rain over 24 hours. A flooded creek led authorities to urge about 300 residents to leave a community some 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Paradise, a town destroyed last year by the nation's deadliest wildfire in a century. The storm followed more than a week of severe weather in the Pacific Northwest and was the latest in a series of storms that has all but eliminated drought-level dryness in California this winter. It's fueled by an atmospheric river — a plume of moisture stretching across the Pacific Ocean nearly to Hawaii. Nearly 37 percent of California had no level of drought or abnormal dryness, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported Thursday. About 10.5 percent of the state was in moderate drought, just over 1.6 percent was in severe drought. The remainder was in the abnormally dry category. The numbers reflect data gathered up to Tuesday. Atmospheric rivers are long bands of water vapor that form over an ocean and flow through the sky. Formed by winds associated with storms, they occur globally but are especially significant on the West Coast. Even before the height of the storm, mandatory evacuations were ordered near the wildfire area in the Santa Ana Mountains where officials said there was a high risk of debris flows. Tim Suber chose not to leave his hillside neighborhood in Lake Elsinore. He said Thursday that he's lost count of how many times his family has been evacuated between last summer's devastating wildfire and this winter's storms. The rain was so heavy that "it sounds like a hundred bowling balls a minute are going down the creek" behind his house, Suber said. A neighbor had mud in his pool, but so far the area hadn't lost power and culverts and washes were handling the runoff. The storm delayed flights destined for San Francisco International Airport, closed sections of several key highways, including Highway 1 on the Central Coast, Interstate 5 north of Sacramento, and U.S. 395 in the snowy eastern Sierra Nevada. Wintry weather closed Interstate 80 across much of Wyoming and sections of at least four other highways. Multiple avalanches disrupted highway traffic in northwestern Montana near the Idaho border. In Colorado, high winds shattered windows and downed power poles, leaving thousands in Colorado Springs without power.