YouTube star Jake Paul tries to start online feud with Zayn Malik, gets shut down by Gigi Hadid

Jake Paul attempted to engage Zayn Malik in an online feud, after the singer allegedly told him to “f*** off” as they attended the Tyson Fury v Deontay Wilder match in Las Vegas. 

The YouTube star, 23, tweeted a string of grievances against the former One Direction member, claiming Malik was “rude to him”. 

“Almost had to clap up Zane [sic] from 1 direction because he is a little guy and has an attitude and basically told me to f*** off for no reason when I was being nice to him,” Paul tweeted. 

He added: “Zane ik you’re reading this… stop being angry cause you came home alone to ur big a** hotel room hahaha.”

“Bro he literally started yelling and freaking the f*** out,” he claimed, alleging that Malik had shouted “you wanna test me mate?” at him.

“Lol I feel bad for childhood stars,” he wrote.

Malik has yet to respond, but his girlfriend, model Gigi Hadid, tweeted: “Lol cause he doesn’t care to hang w you and your embarrassing crew of YouTube groupies…? 

“’Home alone’ with his best friends like a respectful king cause he has me, sweetie. Unbothered by your irrelevant ugly a**. Go to bed…” 

At the time of writing, Hadid’s response had received more than 50,000 likes. 

Malik released his latest album, Icarus Falls, was released in 2018 to positive reviews.

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College Basketball Sport

Louisville and Ohio State Start to Rise Above Other Teams

Men’s college basketball has had no dominant teams so far this season. But finally, certain teams are separating themselves from the rest of the pack.

Those teams have been more consistent than others and maximized early-season opportunities. They could be near the top of the polls from now until the seeding of the N.C.A.A. tournament.

Louisville is playing elite defense. The Cardinals held Michigan and Pittsburgh to an average of 44.5 points in two wins last week. Louisville also held both teams to a shooting average of 31.5 percent and 19 percent from 3-point range. “We’re a lot more connected on that end of the floor than we were last year,” said Louisville Coach Chris Mack, who is in his second season with the Cardinals. “We have older guys who have gotten so much better defensively.” Louisville is the top team in the Associated Press Top 25.

Ohio State has been the most impressive team during the first month. The Buckeyes have beaten Villanova, Cincinnati and Penn State at home to go with a 25-point rout of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Those four victories have come by an average of 22.5 points. Ohio State will face Kentucky on Dec. 21 at the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas, and will take on West Virginia on Dec. 29 in Cleveland. The 2020 N.C.A.A. tournament is still months away, but Ohio State is putting itself in position for a top seed.

Gonzaga has had no drop-off. The Bulldogs lost four starters from last season’s team that lost in a regional final to Texas Tech; yet they are 10-1 following a win at Washington on Sunday night. Their only defeat came against Michigan at the Battle 4 Atlantis. All five of Gonzaga’s starters scored in double figures against the Huskies. This team doesn’t have the star power it possessed a year ago with two eventual first-round N.B.A. draft picks in Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke, but it is still capable of going deep in the N.C.A.A. tournament.

UConn returns to Madison Square Garden. The Huskies face Indiana as part of the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday. UConn has won five of its last six games after giving up 96 points in a loss to St. Joseph’s on Nov. 13. The Hoosiers are coming off a 20-point defeat at Wisconsin on Saturday. Louisville will play Texas Tech in the other game of the doubleheader.

Baylor takes a shot at undefeated Butler. The defense for Butler has been tremendous to start the season. In two games last week against Mississippi and Florida, Butler held the Rebels and the Gators to an average of 60 points. “We’ve been locked on that side of the floor,” Butler Coach LaVall Jordan said. “The thing I like about this team is everybody seems to know their roles.” Baylor is the top challenger to Kansas in the Big 12 and an off-the-radar contender to reach the Final Four.

Illinois needs a good win. The Illini outplayed Maryland for 39 minutes on Saturday before losing by 1 point in College Park. Now, they get Michigan on Wednesday night in Champaign. Illinois has yet to beat a high-major opponent this season. This will be Michigan Coach Juwan Howard’s first true road game in Big Ten play. He won his conference opener on Friday night against Iowa in Ann Arbor.

  • Kentucky’s next marquee opponent might be Ohio State in two weeks. The Wildcats, though, have some Power 5 competition before then with Georgia Tech and Utah. Kentucky hasn’t met a team from a power conference since it opened the season with a win over Michigan State.

  • The skilled, versatile Xavier junior Naji Marshall is on the verge of becoming a star. Marshall scored 31 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had five steals on Saturday against Cincinnati. He is 6 of 15 from 3-point range during his last two games. “There’s nothing he can’t do,” Xavier Coach Travis Steele said of the 6-foot-7 Marshall.

  • Memphis Coach Penny Hardaway has the Tigers at 8-1 over all despite the suspended freshman center James Wiseman appearing in only three games. The freshman guard Lester Quinones has played in only six games because of a hand injury. Memphis’s game on Saturday against rival Tennessee in Knoxville will be appointment television.

  • Purdue is significantly better than its 6-3 record. The Boilermakers could have easily won all the games they lost, and the defeats came against quality teams: Texas, Marquette and Florida State. “All three of those teams are going to have a chance to go to the N.C.A.A. tournament,” Purdue Coach Matt Painter said. “We like playing those games because those teams are different than us. Those styles are different than what we see in the Big Ten.” One thing that’s important to remember: Purdue was 6-5 last December and wound up winning 26 games and advancing to a regional final, where it lost to the eventual national champion, Virginia.

  • Quentin Grimes is starting to get into a rhythm for Houston after transferring from Kansas. Grimes was the best player on the floor in the Cougars’ 20-point win at South Carolina on Sunday and is averaging 20.7 points over his last three games. Coach Kelvin Sampson will most likely have this team ranked by mid-January.

  • The Mountain West Conference is quietly making a comeback. Its three top teams — Utah State, San Diego State and New Mexico — have wins over programs from power conferences and have a combined record of 28-3. “We’re all in this thing together,” San Diego State Coach Brian Dutcher said. “It’s not about our own team winning quality games in November and December; it’s about the whole league winning quality games. That’s how we become quality games for each other in league play.”

  • Rhode Island’s Fatts Russell, 5-10 junior, is playing like the best guard in the Atlantic 10. He has scored 20 or more points in seven consecutive games and is averaging 21.4 points this season. “I’ve never had a guard who had a stretch like this,” Rhode Island Coach David Cox said. Russell was a freshman two years ago when the Rams won a game in the N.C.A.A. tournament.

  • Cincinnati needs Jarron Cumberland to regain his previous form if it wants to play in the N.C.A.A. tournament for the 10th consecutive season. Cumberland, a preseason all-American, has had nagging injuries and is averaging only 13.9 points. He averaged 18.8 points last season, when the Bearcats won 28 games.

All times are Eastern.

TUESDAY Louisville vs. Texas Tech (7 p.m., ESPN), Maryland at Penn State (7 p.m., ESPN2), Butler at Baylor (9 p.m., ESPN2), Indiana vs. UConn (9 p.m., ESPN)

WEDNESDAY Michigan at Illinois (9 p.m., Big Ten Network)

THURSDAY Iowa at Iowa State (8 p.m., ESPN2)

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Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury: Fight start time, date, how to watch, undercard, prediction, odds and more

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury reignite their rivalry in the early hours of Sunday morning in the biggest fight of the modern heavyweight era. 

It’s been over a year since the pair’s first bout ended in spectacular and then controversial fashion as Fury somehow rose from the canvas in the 12th round only for the fight to be judged a draw on the scorecards.

The Briton has since chopped and reshuffled his camp, switching trainers and introducing a nutritionist, while also employing a veteran cutman amid fears the gash sustained in his victory over Otto Wallin could reopen.

Wilder, meanwhile, is looking to come into the bout heavier than last time to lessen Fury’s size advantage, however, there’s little doubt he will once again be relying on finding the knockout punch against a technically superior boxer.

Here is everything you need to know: 

When and where is the fight?

The fight takes place at the MGM Grand arena in Las Vegas on Saturday 22 February – or the early hours of Sunday morning for UK viewers.

What time does the fight start?

The ring walks are expected at approximately 5am UK time.

How can I watch it and how much does it cost?

The fight will be broadcast live on BT Sport Box Office for £24.95. Fans can also stream the fight online via BT’s official website.

Who is on the undercard?

Charles Martin vs Gerald Washington (heavyweight)

Emanuel Navarrete vs Jeo Santisima (WBO World Super Bantamweight Title)

Amir Imam vs Javier Molina (welterweight)

Isaac Lowe vs Alberto Guevara (featherweight)

Subriel Matias vs Petros Ananyan (welterweight)

Sebastian Fundora vs Daniel Lewis (super welterweight)

Gabriel Flores Jr vs Matt Conway (lightweight)

Rolando Romero vs Arturs Ahmetovs (lightweight)

Vito Mielnicki Jr vs Corey Champion (welterweight)

What’s at stake?

Wilder is looking to make the 11th defence of his WBC World Heavyweight title and thereby surpassing Muhammad Ali’s record. The Ring Magazine title and Fury’s status as lineal champion are also up for grabs.

What are the odds?

Wilder: To win – 1/1, by KO – 11/10, on points – 11/1.

Fury: To win – 10/11, by KO – 5/1, on points – 13/8.


The impact of that final round 14 months ago has the potential to make or break Wilder. On one hand, the American has full confidence in his ability to knock Fury out, which could result in him looking for that loaded right hand much earlier in the contest. But on the other, the reigning champion could easily lose his game plan and give Fury the opportunity to demonstrate his superior boxing talent as well as offer the chances he claims he wants to knock Wilder out. Either way, the chances of a Wilder points win looks even slimmer than December 2018, and with Fury battle-hardened this time around, the Briton looks set for an unlikely points win – which proved the downfall of Wladimir Klitschko all those years ago.

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Wetherspoons to start serving Fairtrade sugar in bid to become more ethical

JD Wetherspoon is working towards becoming a more ethical retailer by serving only Fairtrade sugar in its outlets across the UK and Ireland. 

The British pub chain has confirmed that it will make the shift later this month at the start of the annual Fairtrade Fortnight, which begins on 24 February and calls for all farmers to be paid fairly for their work.

The new range of sugar, which will be packaged in paper “sticks” and stamped with the recognisable blue and green Fairtrade logo, will be stocked in all of JD Wetherspoon’s 874 pubs and 58 hotels.

Jameson Robinson, JD Wetherspoon’s head of food, says the company’s decision to offer Fairtrade sugar underlines its “continued commitment to supporting farmers, producers and workers, here in the UK and overseas, who supply the products which we use and sell”. 

“We are proud that our pubs will very soon be serving Fairtrade sugar. We are certain this will be welcomed by our customers and staff,” Robinson added.

The sugar chosen by the pub chain has been manufactured by Tate & Lyle Sugars, the largest cane sugar brand in the UK.

The company, which was formed in 1921, has been working with the Fair Trade certification scheme since 2008. Since then, Tate & Lyle Sugars has supported more farmers’ organisations to become Fairtrade certified and sources Fairtrade sugar from over 20,000 small scale cane farmers in four countries.

“It makes common sense, and indeed good sustainable business sense, for Tate & Lyle Sugars to support the people who farm sugar cane, the raw material on which we depend,” the company’s website states.

“Fairtrade is a system that encourages small scale farmers to become an organised social group, improve their environmental and ethical practices and in return they receive financial support (Fairtrade Premium) for their produce.”

The decision to serve Fairtrade sugar is the latest in a string of moves the retailer has made in recent years to become more ethical. 

Since 2008, JD Wetherspoon has worked with the Rainforest Alliance to ensure that 100 per cent of the tea and Lavazza coffee it sells comes from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms.

 In 2010, the company was awarded the Sustainable Standard-Setter Award, by the Rainforest Alliance, for ongoing dedication, innovation and leadership in environmental conservation.

In October 2019, the pub chain also added a host of vegan options to its nationwide menu, including a vegan burger created by The Meatless Farm, vegan English breakfast, and vegan curry. 

“We are keen to offer vegetarian and vegan pub-goers an excellent choice of meals to enjoy at Wetherspoon,” said Robinson said at the time of the launch. 

“The plant-based burger is a great addition to the menu and we are confident that it will prove popular with vegetarians and vegans as well as those who eat meat.” 

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Oscars 2020 live updates: What time do the Oscars start, who’s nominated and how can I watch?

The 92nd Academy Awards kick off tonight (Sunday 9 February) at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California. 

Hollywood’s biggest stars will gather at the ceremony to see who will win the film industry’s most coveted prizes, from Best Actor to the biggest award of the night, Best Picture. 

Follow all the action in our liveblog: 

Among this year’s nominees are Joaquin Phoenix, widely tipped as the Best Actor favourite for his performance in Todd PhillipsJoker, and Brad Pitt, who could win his first-ever acting Oscar for his role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Meanwhile, Sam Mendes and his war epic 1917 are the hot favourites for Best Director and Best Picture, respectively, after the film swept both the Baftas and the Golden Globes. 

If you’re watching from home, there are plenty of ways you can keep up with all the action on TV and online.

The evening will be broadcast live on ABC in the US and on NOW TV and Sky in the UK.

Sky Cinema will air for the entire evening, beginning at 10pm in the UK with red carpet arrivals. The ceremony itself will start around 1am GMT.

For US viewers, the Oscars will be available to watch on ABC with red carpet coverage kicking off at 5pm PT/ 8pm ET.

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UFC 247 Jones vs Reyes LIVE: Stream, UK start time tonight, undercard latest

Jon Jones puts his light-heavyweight title on the line tonight when he fights Dominick Reyes at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas – and you can follow live coverage of that fight and all of the other UFC 247 contests below.

30-year-old Reyes is undefeated in the Octagon and beat Chris Weidman last time out, but will need to produce the performance of his career if he is to capture the title from Jones.

The reigning light heavyweight champion is regarded as one of the greatest mixed martial artists in history and currently sits at the top of the men’s pound-for-pound rankings. Follow all of the latest below.

Dominick Reyes has to be proud no matter what way the judges score this. What a performance.

I gave that second round to Reyes, who may well be seconds away from being crowned light heavyweight champion.

And the final buzzer sounds. An impressive fifth from Reyes in terms of the heart shown, but Jones likely took it. It may come down to that close second round…

Reyes ducks a high kick and lands a stern left hand.

Jones is clearly fresher, but Reyes is digging so deep to keep active.

Jones shoots low and gets the takedown. A crucial moment in this fight? Reyes climbs up immediately…

One-two from Jones to end the round – one to the body, one to the head. We may be tied at two rounds apiece heading into the final frame. Reyes may even be 3-1 up…

Jones closes the distance with an elbow. He has so much experience in the championship rounds and it’s showing.

Reyes fought so hard to defend those takedowns and ultimately get back up, and his tiredness is showing.

Reyes defends another takedown, but finally Jones lands one, dragging his challenger down. Reyes is straight back up, though!! Incredible from the Californian.

Jones with a bit of a cheeky shot after the buzzer, kneeing Reyes’ low. Frustration, perhaps? He showed signs of improvement in the second, but looked to have lost the third there.

Reyes defends another takedown, wow.

He has Jones running again.

Harsh kick to the body by Reyes.

Jones just barely blocks a high kick.

A closer second round. Again Reyes outstrikes Jones numerically, but the gap is closing.

Reyes has already landed more strikes than Thiago Santos did against Jones last year, when Santos came so close to beating Jones. That fight went all five rounds, too…

Jones is starting to do what he does: vary his offence and find ways through.

That was a lot of energy expended by the challenger and not necessarily many shots landed, though.

UFC 247 preview

When is UFC 247?

UFC 247 is tonight: Saturday February 8. So that means it’s in the early hours of Sunday morning for UK fans.

Where is it?

The fights take place at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

What time will the main event start?

The main card will take place at 3am GMT. Expect the main event to take place around 5.30am.

Which TV channel can I watch it on?

UFC 247 will be shown live on BT Sport 2.

The action is not pay-per-view in the UK.

Full card

Main Card

  • Jon Jones vs Dominick Reyes (Light heavyweight title)
  • Valentina Shevchenko vs Katlyn Chookagian (Women’s flyweight title)
  • Juan Adams vs Justin Tafa (heavyweight)
  • Mirsad Bektic vs Dan Ige (featherweight)
  • Derrick Lewis vs Ilir Latifi (heavyweight)


  • Trevin Giles vs Antonio Arroyo (middleweight)
  • Alex Morono vs Kalinn Williams (welterweight)
  • Lauren Murphy vs Andrea Lee (women’s flyweight)

Early prelims

  • Miles Johns vs Mario Bautista (bantamweight)
  • Journey Newson vs Domingo Pilarte (bantamweight)
  • Andre Ewell vs Jonathan Martinez (bantamweight)


Jones to win: 2/9

Reyes to win: 10/3


Jones was not at his best last time out. But he should have too much for Reyes. We’re predicting Jones by UD.

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U.S. to Start Trade Talks With Kenya to Counter China’s Influence

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced on Thursday that it would begin talks for a free-trade deal with Kenya, a step partly designed to counter China’s influence in Africa.

The deal, which is likely to require many months of negotiations, would be the United States’ first trade pact with a sub-Saharan African nation and its second with an African country. It signed an agreement with Morocco in 2004.

While the agreement could help some farmers and other industries sell into and invest in Kenya, it is unlikely to have much influence on the American economy overall. Kenya is the United States’ 98th-largest trading partner in goods, with $1 billion in two-way trade in 2018, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. Kenya’s biggest American imports include aircraft, machinery and agricultural goods; the United States buys Kenyan apparel, tree nuts and coffee.

But the Trump administration and other officials in Washington see the move partly in geopolitical terms, believing it could provide a model for other trade deals with African countries and be a step toward countering China’s growing influence on the continent.

President Trump welcomed Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, to the White House on Thursday afternoon to discuss the plan. When a reporter asked if he planned to sign a trade agreement with Kenya, Mr. Trump responded, “Probably.”

At the U.S. Chamber of Commerce later in the afternoon, during an event sponsored by Uber and other companies, Mr. Kenyatta said the agreement “will not only serve Kenya and the United States but will probably set the base for renewed engagement between the United States and other African countries.”

“We see clearly the opportunity that exists, and we want to be trailblazers and set a path for others on the continent to follow,” he told a gathering of American and Kenyan officials and businesspeople. He added, “Don’t let others take what should be yours.”

Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, said in a statement that Kenya was “an important strategic partner of the United States, and there is enormous potential for us to deepen our economic and commercial ties.” The administration believes that an agreement with Kenya “will receive broad bipartisan support in Congress,” he added.

The Trump administration had discussed for more than two years which African country to select for trade talks — an effort explicitly aimed at countering China.

Mr. Lighthizer said in a radio interview in early 2018 that Africa was only a few years away from being the world’s population center, “and if we don’t figure out a way to move them right, then China and others are going move them in the wrong direction,” according to the publication Inside U.S. Trade.

China has lent vast sums of money to African governments and built ports, roads, airports and bridges around the continent as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. The projects include a 300-mile, $4 billion railway in Kenya that has linked Nairobi and Mombasa.

China says its investments in Africa are aimed purely at driving economic development, and many countries have welcomed improvements to their infrastructure that have aided the flow of commerce. But some projects have left governments, including Kenya’s, saddled with billions of dollars of debt to China and sparked distrust and resentment.

In a 2018 speech in Washington attended by many African officials, Mr. Lighthizer said that many African countries had signed free-trade agreements with some of America’s largest “competitors,” like the European Union and China, and that these governments were investing heavily.

“My sense, however, is that many of you recognize the value of diversifying your commercial ties, and I know you recognize what American companies bring to the table,” Mr. Lighthizer told the African officials.

Scott Eisner, the president of the U.S.-Africa Business Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a call with reporters on Wednesday that Kenya had made the most forceful case to the administration for starting trade talks.

“It really is who was willing to raise their hand and who had the most political will behind it,” he said.

Mr. Eisner said the trade deal could benefit American agricultural producers who would sell into Kenya; textile manufacturers looking to invest in the country; and companies, like John Deere and Caterpillar, that would sell and service equipment. But if the deal is a comprehensive, high-standard trade agreement, it probably won’t be completed this year, he said.

An agreement that addresses the bulk of trade between the countries would require congressional approval. Whether such a deal could pass Congress remains to be seen. For example, Democrats could be concerned about Kenya’s low wages and labor standards.

Nations across Africa are pursuing a large-scale effort to break down trade barriers and integrate their economies. In May, the African Union initiated the African Continental Free Trade Area, a deal aimed at breaking down trade barriers and minimizing trade disputes.

Also, preferential trading terms that the United States has offered certain sub-Saharan African countries are set to expire in the coming years. The African Growth and Opportunity Act, which allows those countries to send goods to the United States duty free, is scheduled to expire in 2025, and it’s unclear whether Congress will renew it. Over 70 percent of Kenya’s exports to the United States enter under those terms, according to the United States trade representative’s office.

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Kell Brook vs Mark DeLuca: Live stream, UK start time and undercard latest

Kell Brook has promised fans that he will produce a “spectacular” performance to defeat Mark DeLuca in Sheffield tonight.

The 33-year-old returns from 14-months out of the ring to take on the American.

“You’ve got to go away and think ‘he’s back better than ever’. That’s what I want people to say,” Brook has said. “It’s got to be spectacular. I want to be on everybody’s lips, I want people to say ‘he’s the main man again’. That’s what I’m aiming for.”

He is the overwhelming favourite to beat DeLuca, a little-known 31-year-old with a professional record of 24-1. It is DeLuca’s first fight in Europe.

Here is what you need to know.

Fight preview

When is the fight?

The fight is tonight: Saturday February 8.

What time is it?

The main card starts at 7pm.

The main event will likely take place around 10pm.

What channel is it on?

The card will be shown live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Main Event, with coverage beginning at 7pm.

Non-subscribers can watch the action on NOW TV.

Full undercard

  • Kell Brook vs Mark DeLuca (vacant WBO inter-continental super welterweight title)
  • Terri Harper vs Eva Wahlstrom (women’s WBC and IBO super-featherweight world title)
  • Kid Galahad vs Claudio Marrero (featherweight)
  • Martin Joseph Ward vs Jesus Amparan (super featherweight)
  • Dave Allen vs Dorian Darch (heavyweight)
  • Anthony Tomlinson vs Stewart Burt (welterweight)
  • John Docherty vs Stanislav Eschner (super middleweight)
  • Donte Dixon vs Eduardo Valverde (super featherweight)
  • Callum Beardow vs Pawel Martyniuk (cruiserweight)

Fight odds

Kell Brook to win – 1/20

DeLuca to win – 9/1

Draw – 28/1

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Job Growth Gives the Economy an Upbeat Start to the Year

Job growth accelerated last month, posting a strong start to an election year in which the economy could prove pivotal.

Employers added 225,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate stayed near a half-century low, the Labor Department reported Friday. Perhaps most encouragingly, the strong labor market continued to pull in workers off the sidelines, giving opportunities to people who were left behind in earlier stages of the decade-long economic expansion and suggesting that companies can keep adding jobs without running out of workers.

“It means we don’t have to settle for a lower pace of job growth,” said Michelle Meyer, chief United States economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Not only is there demand for labor, there’s supply to fill that demand, and that’s a very positive narrative.”

Most economists say the president and his policies deserve relatively little credit for the economy, which has held to largely the same trajectory under Mr. Trump as under his predecessor, Barack Obama. But there are signs that Mr. Trump’s pitch is working: Consumer confidence is up among independents, a potentially decisive constituency in the November election, and the president’s approval ratings have risen in recent weeks.

Still, Democrats have not shied away from talking about an economy that they say is working better for wealthy investors than for ordinary families. The report on Friday gave them ammunition as well. Wage growth remained lackluster, as it has for much of the expansion. A major annual revision knocked hundreds of thousands of jobs off earlier estimates from 2018 and 2019. And January job growth probably would have been weaker had unusually warm winter weather not lifted employment in the construction and hospitality sectors.

Nor was there any evidence in the figures released Friday of the “blue-collar boom” that Mr. Trump cited in his State of the Union address on Wednesday. Manufacturers cut 12,000 jobs, with most of the losses coming among automakers, and employment also dipped in the mining sector. Job growth in freight transportation was also weak, the latest evidence that the ripple effects of the trade war are continuing to spread.

John Wilbur has seen the industrial slowdown up close. At Roadmaster Group, a trucking company based in Arizona that he runs, business cooled last year as a drop in trade volumes and a slump in the manufacturing sector reduced demand for its big rigs.

Mr. Wilbur had hoped that newly completed trade deals with China, Mexico and Canada would lead to a rebound this year. Then Boeing announced in December that it was shutting down production of its troubled 737 Max aircraft.

“That supply chain is broad and deep, and I think a lot of people don’t even know when they’re being hit by that shutdown,” Mr. Wilbur said.

Now the coronavirus outbreak in China is threatening to further disrupt global trade, with unpredictable effects on the American economy.

“Right when that trade deal gets done, then you throw coronavirus on it, so it’s a little tough to gauge where we are,” Mr. Wilbur said. “Certainly the coronavirus is nothing that anyone budgeted or forecast.”

The data in the jobs report was collected before the coronavirus began to spread, and there have been few signs so far that the outbreak has affected the American economy. Data for the February jobs report will be collected next week, and investors and policymakers will be watching closely for any signs that companies or consumers have become more cautious as a result of the virus.

“I feel like people won’t breathe a sigh of relief until they see a February report,” said Ellen Zentner, chief United States economist for Morgan Stanley.

Despite that uncertainty, this is by many measures the best environment for workers in years. The unemployment rate ticked up in January to 3.6 percent, from 3.5 percent in December, but only because more people joined the labor force to look for work. Employers are hiring candidates with disabilities, criminal records and other barriers to employment, and are offering perks to attract workers.

Amy Glaser, senior vice president at the staffing firm Adecco, said employers were increasingly willing to let people work from home and to set their own schedules, steps that can make jobs attractive to stay-at-home parents, rural residents and others who might otherwise remain outside the job market. And they are increasingly offering performance bonuses to try to get more out of their work forces.

But companies remain reluctant to raise base pay, a step that standard economic theory associates with a tight labor market. Ms. Glaser said many of her clients in low-wage industries had waited so long to increase pay that they would need to offer several dollars more per hour to be competitive.

Why won’t they budge? “I ask myself that daily when we sit in front of our clients,” Ms. Glaser said.

Wage growth did pick up slightly in January, with average hourly earnings rising 3.1 percent from a year earlier. But that still reflects a slowdown from the middle of last year, when growth briefly hit 3.5 percent.

“The wage momentum looks like it’s cooled,” Ms. Zentner said. “Wages are rising, it’s just still a lackluster pace compared to what we’d like to see.”

For policymakers at the Federal Reserve, however, the combination of strong hiring and moderate wage growth could be welcome news. The central bank cut interest rates three times last year in a bid to keep the expansion from stalling. The report released on Friday is a sign that effort is working, without causing the economy to overheat.

The report also provided new evidence of the effect of the Fed’s recent policy moves. The Labor Department said that the economy added 514,000 fewer jobs in 2018 and early 2019 than initially reported, but that job growth was stronger later in 2019 than was previously known.

These benchmark revisions, which align the monthly survey-based estimates with more definitive data from state unemployment insurance records, are made annually but were much larger than usual this year. The revisions were largely in line with preliminary estimates released last summer.

Taken together, the new figures support suggestions that the Fed’s rate increases in 2018 may have acted as a brake on job growth, but that the 2019 cuts helped drive a rebound in hiring, as lower borrowing costs gave a lift to the housing market.

The revisions are also the latest evidence that the economic jolt delivered by the Republican tax cuts in 2018 was milder and ended sooner than it initially appeared. Earlier revisions to gross domestic product, which likewise downgraded estimates of 2018 growth, told a similar story.

“There were lots of skeptics when it passed that it would have much pass-through” to the larger economy, Julia Coronado, president of MacroPolicy Perspectives, an economics consulting firm, said of the tax law. “And now the data confirms that there wasn’t much pass-through.”

The revisions kept alive the economy’s record-setting streak of monthly job gains, but by the slimmest of margins. The new figures show that employers added just 1,000 jobs last February, down from 56,000 before the revision.

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Netflix UK revenues hit £1bn, but when will the company start paying any corporation tax?

It’s been a blockbuster year for Netflix. The company clocked up worldwide revenues of $20bn and by our reckoning around £1.1bn of that will have been from subscribers in the UK.

So will any of Netflix’s substantial profits be taxed over here?

Sorry to be the spoiler, but it’s unlikely. In 2018 the company reported revenues of just £43.3m and profits of just £2m at its main UK company, Netflix Services UK, and paid no tax. In fact, the company received a tax credit from the government.

Our recent report ‘No Tax and Chill’  exposed how an estimated £860m in subscription fees from UK customers in 2018 were billed by a company in the Netherlands, Netflix International BV. This explains why so little revenue and profit end up in the UK.

The company has yet to publish its UK accounts for 2019, but as far as we are aware, this part of the company’s structure has not changed. Given that, it is unlikely that the company will have much of a tax liability, if any, in the UK this year either.  

Our latest analysis, based on Netflix’s recent earnings reports, suggests that Netflix revenues from UK customers increased sharply to an estimated £1.08bn in 2019. This should have generated an estimated £68.5m in profit, giving rise to a tax liability of £13m.

These figures may seem relatively small compared to the gigantic amounts of tax avoided by companies like Google and Facebook, but they are significant.

Until now, Netflix has largely flown under the radar for its tax structure. The company has been investing huge amounts of money in building its presence around the world and as a result has not been making much profit. That is now changing. Netflix’s latest accounts, published just a few weeks ago, show a 62 per cent explosion in operating profit for 2019. Globally, after-tax profits went from $1.2bn to $2bn.

This is a problem that is only going to get worse, and the UK has done little to stop it. Streaming services such as Netflix were left out of the government’s digital services tax, an anti-tax avoidance measure targeted at large tech companies due to come into effect in just a couple of months’ time. In France, the company is already subject to a 2 per cent tax on video rental services. Brazil has a tax on online streaming services.  

For years the digital giants have argued that the reason they don’t pay tax in the UK is all of the value of their business was created somewhere else. That was always a highly dubious claim, but even that does not work with Netflix. The company has been building a substantial presence in the UK, taking out a long-term lease on Shepperton studios and producing a significant amount of content in the country.

In order to incentivise Netflix and other companies to make films here, the government hands out generous subsidies, via the creative industry tax relief scheme. This sees companies receive a discount on their tax bill if they are profitable, or cash back from HMRC if they are not. The amount of relief or credit received is calculated based on the amount of production spend in the UK. Netflix claims these tax credits, but when it comes to the revenues generated in part from those production activities, they are sent to the Netherlands.

Netflix is by no means the only company to take advantage of the government’s generosity in this way. In the video games industry, Rockstar North, the Edinburgh-based makers of Grand Theft Auto, have consistently declared losses in the UK, and hovered up a staggering £80m in tax relief under the video games tax relief scheme.

The result is that the company has not had a corporation tax liability in the UK in the last ten years, despite producing the most profitable entertainment product in history, Grand Theft Auto V, which made sales of $6bn+. Sales which apparently have gone somewhere else.

By structuring their business offshore, large multinationals in the entertainment industry have managed to get a one-way deal. When productions perform poorly, producers get a hand out. When the producers land successful films or games that rake in billions in sales, they still get a hand out.

Many will find this a bizarre way to run a tax system, and it is difficult to imagine that policymakers ever intended the creative industry tax relief scheme to operate in this way.

Tonight, MPs in Parliament will consider the issue in a debate on tax policy and Netflix called by Rt Hon Dame Margaret Hodge MP.

Given the huge amount of focus on the tax affairs of Google, Apple and Facebook in recent years, it is welcome that Parliament is taking a closer look at some of the policy issues raised by the digitalisation of the entertainment industry.

George Turner is director of Tax Watch UK

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