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Syrian air raid on market town 'kills 27'

Syrians stand on a street covered with rubble as flames rise from buildings following a reported barrel bomb attack by pro-regime forces in the northern city of Aleppo, on April 20, 2014 An air strike on a market killed at least 27 people, including three children, in a village of the northern Syrian province of Aleppo Thursday, a monitoring group said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the campaign has killed hundreds, mostly civilians, and forced thousands of families to flee their homes. "The number of people killed in an air strike this morning on the market area of Atareb village has risen to 27, including two women and three children," said the Observatory, updating its toll from 25. Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that all the dead were civilians.


Attacks kill 13 in Iraq ahead of vote

An Iraqi policeman inspects a damaged checkpoint following a car bomb explosion on the outskirts of Hilla, on April 24, 2014 Hilla (Iraq) (AFP) - Violence focused mainly on security checkpoints killed 13 people in Iraq Thursday, as the country struggles with daily unrest ahead of next week's parliamentary election. Iraq is suffering a protracted surge in bloodshed that has killed more than 2,800 people this year, and Wednesday's polls -- the first since US troops departed in 2011 -- will be a major test for security forces. A car bomb exploded at a police checkpoint near the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad, killing eight people, among them three police, and wounding 20, an officer and a doctor said. Security forces were able to keep violence to a minimum during provincial elections last year, but they have failed to halt a subsequent year-long surge in unrest.


Obama in Tokyo backs Japan in China island row

US President Barack Obama (R) speaks with Japanese Empress Michiko during the official state dinner at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on April 24, 2014 US President Barack Obama vowed Thursday to defend Japan if China attacks over a tense territorial dispute, but also urged Beijing to step in to thwart North Korea's "dangerous" nuclear march. In Tokyo on the first leg of his Asian tour, Obama stopped short however of fully endorsing Japanese sovereignty over disputed East China Sea islands, keeping one eye on Beijing where his trip is being weighed for any hint of US hostility. Hopes that Obama's trip would revive the stalled Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) meanwhile looked doomed when there was little progress on one of the key sticking points -- US access to the Japanese auto market -- after his talks with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


Man crushed by giant John Paul II crucifix in Italy

A man walks past posters announcing the double canonisation of former pontiffs John Paul II and John XXIII, on display in central Rome, on April 24, 2014 An Italian man was crushed to death on Wednesday by a giant crucifix honouring John Paul II that collapsed during a ceremony ahead of the late pope's canonisation. The cross was designed by sculptor Enrico Job and was created for John Paul II's visit to Brescia in the Lombardy region in northern Italy in 1998.


5 Business Lessons from a Little Boy with Down Syndrome

5 Business Lessons from a Little Boy with Down Syndrome Kids can be some of the best teachers, even when it comes to business. My son has been no exception to that rule, despite the fact that he has a learning disability.


Israel halts peace talks after Palestinians agree unity deal

Palestinian Fatah delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmed (left) celebrates with Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniya after a signing ceremony in Gaza City, on April 23, 2014 Israel said Thursday it was halting peace talks with the Palestinians, following a unity deal struck between the Palestinian leadership and the Islamist Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip. "The cabinet has unanimously decided that the Israeli government will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas, a terror organisation that calls for the destruction of Israel," a statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu read.


Kuwait MPs ask to quiz PM over alleged corruption

Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah speaks during the opening session of the parliament in Kuwait City, on October 29, 2013 Three opposition MPs on Thursday sought to question Kuwait's prime minister, accusing him of giving cash handouts to lawmakers and mismanagement in sovereign wealth fund investments. The request, filed by Riyadh al-Adasani, Abdulkarim al-Kundari and Hussein al-Mutairi, could lead to a no-confidence vote that may force Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al-Sabah's dismissal. The lawmakers said Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund had posted losses in recent years in a number of major foreign investments, and despite that billions of dollars more were pumped into them.


E-cigarettes to be regulated under new US plan

This September 25, 2013 photo illustration taken in Washington, DC, shows a woman smoking a "Blu" e-cigarette The changes would also apply to other, previously unregulated tobacco products, including cigars, hookahs, nicotine gels, and pipe tobacco, and are aimed in large part at keeping these substances away from young people. "This proposed rule is the latest step in our efforts to make the next generation tobacco-free," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a press release announcing the reform. The proposal by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would bring these products under many of the same rules that already apply to traditional cigarettes. Companies would be barred from handing out free samples, and would be required to include health warning labels and to seek FDA approval before marketing a new product.


Putin critic Navalny escapes immediate threat of jail

Kremlin critic and opposition leader Alexei Navalny smiles as he stands in a courtroom in Moscow, on April 24, 2014 Prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Thursday escaped the imminent threat of jail when a court ruled to extend his house arrest by another six months, his spokeswoman said. President Vladimir Putin's top critic, who has been under house arrest since February and banned from using the Internet, saw his detention extended until late October, spokeswoman Anna Veduta told AFP. Navalny faces charges of stealing and laundering 27 million rubles ($756,500) from French cosmetics company Yves Rocher and his lawyer had previously said the court could move to place him in a pre-trial jail already Thursday. A Moscow district court made the ruling despite a request from prosecutors to move Navalny to jail for violating the terms of his house arrest by using the Internet.


UK asks Muslim women to report would-be Syria jihadists

Rebel fighters and civilians stand looking at a burning building following a reported barrel bomb attack by Syrian government forces on April 20, 2014 in the northern city of Aleppo Police launched a campaign on Thursday urging Muslim mothers to inform the authorities if they fear their children may go to fight in Syria, although critics warned that families were often the last to know. They urged people to channel their desire to help with the humanitarian crisis by supporting reputable charities working in Syria, but to refrain from going there themselves. Hundreds of Westerners have joined the groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria over the past three years, many travelling there by road from Turkey. Under the plans -- announced after a group of French hostages freed after being held in Syria for 10 months revealed that some of their captors were French-speakers -- the government will also be able to seize the passports of known jihadists.


Morocco wind farm, Africa's biggest, starts generating power

Wind turbines are seen at the Tarfaya wind farm in southwestern Morocco on May 14, 2013 Tarfaya (Morocco) (AFP) - Africa's largest wind farm, at Tarfaya in southwestern Morocco, has started generating electricity and will be capable of meeting the electricity needs of several hundred thousand people, officials say. It has launched a plan to produce 4,000 MW from wind and solar power. Last year, Morocco officially launched the construction of a 160-megawatt solar power plant near the desert city of Ouarzazate, which is slated for completion next year. Work started in Tarfaya at the beginning of 2013, and 88 of the 131 turbines have now been erected, according to Mohammed Sebti.


Attackers among dead in Nairobi bombing

A bomb squad inspects a vehicle suspected to be packed with explosives on April 24, 2014 in Nairobi' Authorities in Kenya said Thursday that two suspected militants were among the four people killed in a car bomb explosion outside a police station in Nairobi. The car then exploded outside the police station, killing two policemen. The policemen had suspicions about the car, so they decided to take the suspects to the police station. That's when they arrived at the police station that they blew the car," said Mwenda Njoka, an interior ministry official.


Institutionalized Fraud: How Wall Street Survives on Predicting the Past

Institutionalized Fraud: How Wall Street Survives on Predicting the Past We can just make stuff up with aplomb. One day we say the market rises as "investors cheer" good employment numbers; the very next day we attribute the decline to "structural problems" and look forward to a long decline! Were those structural problems not present yesterday when investors were cheering?


Deciding to Decide

Deciding to Decide Once you decide to decide, life becomes very simple. You don't have to think about certain issues or questions again. You simply get on with things and don't waste time and energy rehashing -- debating and arguing -- the problems and possibilities.


Armenia accuses Turkey of 'utter denial' on genocide

People lay flowers at a monument in Yerevan that is dedicated to Armenians killed by Ottoman Turks during World War I Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian on Thursday accused Turkey of an "utter denial" in failing to recognise World War I mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide, apparently brushing off Ankara's first ever offer of condolences for the tragedy. In an unprecedented move described by the United States as a historic gesture, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday offered condolences over the massacres, calling them "our shared pain." But in a statement marking the 99th anniversary of the start of the killings and mass deportations, Sarkisian made no acknowledgement of Erdogan's move and instead accused Turkey of continuing to ignore the facts. "The Armenian genocide... is alive as far as the successor of the Ottoman Turkey continues its policy of utter denial," he said.


Sudan to host pre-Olympic football qualifiers tournament

South Sudanese refugees play football at a camp run by the Sudanese Red Crescent on January 27, 2014 in the western part of Sudan's White Nile state, about 30 kilometres from South Sudan, after fleeing battles between rebel and government forces Sudan has been picked to host East and Central Africa's first ever pre-Olympic football qualifying competition this year in a bid to enhance its chances of reaching the 2016 games. Nicholas Musonye, the secretary of the East and Central Africa Football Federation (CECAFA) said the under-23 tournament in Khartoum in September will be used to prepare the region ahead of the African Olympic football qualifiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo next year. "We are all aware that no football team from the East and Central African region has ever qualified for the Olympic Games. Sudan will also stage CECAFA's maiden Nile Basin Cup Winners Cup for league runner-up teams in May and June this year.


Armenia genocide: Obama urges 'full' acknowledgement of facts

People lay flowers at a monument in Yerevan that is dedicated to Armenians killed by Ottoman Turks during World War I US President Barack Obama said Thursday that the "full, frank and just acknowledgement" of facts surrounding the World War I mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire was in everyone's interest. In a statement marking the 99th anniversary of the start of the killings and deportations, Obama said the United States grieved for the lives lost. "A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests," Obama said. In an unprecedented move described by Washington as a historic gesture, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday offered condolences over the massacres, calling them "our shared pain."


South Sudan rebels claim to be closing in on oil fields

A video grab released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on April 23, 2014 shows displaced people gathering water at a camp in Bentiu, on April 22, 2014 Rebels in South Sudan said Thursday they were closing in on key oil fields and two state capitals, predicting an imminent collapse of the government and a "bloodbath". A statement from rebel spokesman General Lul Ruai Koang said forces battling President Salva Kiir captured the town of Renk, close to the border with Sudan, on Wednesday and were advancing on the Paloich oil fields. He also said the rebels "once again renew calls for oil companies to stop production and evacuate staff/employees to avoid being caught in crossfire". According to the rebel spokesman, anti-government fighters loyal to former vice president Riek Machar were advancing on Jonglei state capital Bor, situated just 200 kilometres (130 miles) north of the capital Juba.


Barclays says expects small fall in quarterly profit

The British Barclays bank logo is seen on a branch in central London on February 15, 2011 Barclays, struggling to restore its damaged image, said on Thursday it expected to announce a small drop in quarterly pre-tax profits when it formally updates the market next month. In a statement being delivered by the lender at its annual general meeting, Barclays said that its investment banking business had one more suffered during the first three months of 2014. Barclays first-quarter update comes two months after the bank said it would axe thousands of jobs and raise bonuses for its bankers despite its investment arm falling into a heavy loss in 2013. "We have seen the benefits of being a diversified bank in the first quarter with the businesses outside the Investment Bank delivering a resilient performance, compared to the same period last year," Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins said in Thursday's statement.


Rise in reports of sex offences after Savile scandal

A police support officer walks past a sign outside New Scotland Yard in central London on January 11, 2013 Reports of sexual offences have risen in the wake of the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal while overall crime levels have continued to fall, official figures showed Thursday. The number of recorded sex crimes rose by 17 percent in 2013, police crime figures for England and Wales show, with the number of historic offences falling. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rise was likely due in part to a "Yewtree effect", with more victims coming forward to report sex offences since the launch of a major police inquiry into abuse claims. Operation Yewtree was launched in 2012 to investigate allegations, mainly involving children, against late BBC presenter Savile and others.


F1 boss Ecclestone denies bribery at German trial

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone arrives at court for his trial in Munich, southern Germany, on April 24, 2014 Munich (Germany) (AFP) - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone went on trial in Germany on Thursday, denying charges of bribery that threaten to land the British billionaire in jail. Ecclestone, 83, is accused of paying a German banker tens of millions of dollars to ensure his continued grip on the motor sports empire he built up virtually single-handedly over four decades. The mop-topped, diminutive F1 magnate entered the packed Munich courtroom in his trademark black suit and white shirt, saying only: "I'm confident, the sun is shining." He also declared that Ecclestone does not intend to speak for now in the trial that is set to run until September.


Kate shows off new royal style in Down Under tour

FILE - This is a Wednesday, April 16, 2014 file photo of Britain's Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, as she meets with people on the steps of the Sydney Opera House following a reception in Sydney, Australia. Kate’s dilemma: What to pack for a two-week trip, when your itinerary includes everything from state receptions and church services to toddler playdates and cricket games? For the Duchess of Cambridge, who’s rounding up her trip to Australia and New Zealand with husband Prince William and 8-month-old son George, there were additional sartorial dilemmas: Do royals take off their shoes at the beach? And what’s the most ladylike way to climb into a fighter jet while in a pencil dress and high heels? (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool, File) LONDON (AP) — Kate's dilemma: What to pack for a two-week trip, when your itinerary includes everything from state receptions and church services to toddler playdates and cricket games?


U.S. jobless claims rise more than expected last week

Job seekers apply for the 300 available positions at a new Target retail store in San Francisco The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week, but the rise probably does not suggest a shift in labor market conditions as the underlying trend continued to point to strength. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 329,000 for the week ended April 19, the Labor Department said on Thursday.


N fund pays $990 million in Kuwait compensation

GENEVA (AP) — A U.N. panel that settles claims for damages resulting from Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait has paid out another $990 million.

U.S. durable goods orders rise broadly, boost growth outlook

File image of shoppers looking at durable goods appliances at a Home Depot store in New York Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rose more than expected in March and a measure of business capital spending plans surged, bolstering views of an acceleration in growth in the second quarter. The Commerce Department said on Thursday durable goods orders increased 2.6 percent as demand rose across all categories. Durable goods range from toasters to aircraft and are meant to last three years.


Embattled South Sudan president replaces army chief

Chief of Staff of South Sudan's army, General James Hoth Mai speaks during a media update in Juba By Carl Odera JUBA (Reuters) - South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has sacked his army chief, a military spokesman said, replacing him with a loyalist from his own ethnic group as the country's four-month conflict shows signs of being increasingly fought along tribal lines. Kiir also replaced his head of intelligence, days after government troops were routed from a major oil hub by rebels loyal to Kiir's former deputy Riek Machar, and hundreds of civilians were massacred. Army spokesman Philip Aguer said General Paul Malong, a stalwart of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), had replaced army chief General James Hoth Mai. Mai was the most prominent Nuer within the SPLA, a former guerrilla force which became the national army of the south after the end of the civil war with Sudan in 2005.


German defense minister visits troops in Lebanon

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, center, boards a German UNIFIL vessel, at the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday April 24, 2014. Minister Ursula von der Leyen is in Lebanon to meet with the Lebanese officials and to visit her country’s naval troops. Germany has been a contributor since 2006 to the UNIFIL maritime mission in Lebanon which aims at supporting the Lebanese navy in securing Lebanon’s maritime borders. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) BEIRUT (AP) — Germany's defense minister has expressed her country's support for Lebanon and discussed means to help the Mideast nation as it deals with an influx of over one million Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war.


Top Asian News at 12:30 p.m. GMT

TOKYO (AP) — As negotiators struggle, President Barack Obama is rejecting suggestions that an Asia-Pacific trade deal is in danger and says the U.S. and Japan must take bold steps to overcome differences that are threatening completion of the cornerstone of his strategic rebalance to the region. Illustrating those difficulties, the top Japanese negotiator said Thursday that talks had come to a stop only to have a U.S. official later say that discussions would continue.

Verizon 1Q profit surges on Vodafone-related gains

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon's $130 billion deal to take over of all of Verizon Wireless is helping lift its profit.

Verizon 1Q profit surges on Vodafone-related gains

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon's $130 billion deal to take over of all of Verizon Wireless is helping lift its profit.

Caterpillar 1Q profit climbs 5 pct, forecast rises

In this Friday, March 28, 2014 photo, Lou Severino moves dirt with a Caterpillar dozer around a home under construction in Pepper Pike, Ohio. Caterpillar reports quarterly earnings on Thursday, April 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) Caterpillar's first-quarter earnings climbed 5 percent, and the construction equipment maker raised its 2014 forecast. But the company also said Thursday that a mining equipment sales slump is still hurting results.


Man to be sentenced in retirement home deaths

DETROIT (AP) — A judge is expected to order life sentences for a 67-year-old man convicted of killing two women at a Detroit retirement home.

Small Business Lending Plummets as Loans to Big Business Soar

Small Business Lending Plummets as Loans to Big Business Soar Studies show locally owned businesses are a primary source of net new job creation. Yet independent businesses in many sectors are losing market share, while the number of new startups has steadily fallen over the last two decades.  Insufficient capital is a key culprit driving these trends.


Anti-graft group accuses EU of complacency on corruption

Flags of European Union member states fly in front of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg By John O'Donnell BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European lobbyists carry out much of their work in secrecy and there is widespread complacency in Brussels about tackling corruption or conflicts of interest, Transparency International said on Thursday. In the first report of its kind, the anti-graft campaign group shone an unflattering light on the bodies that draft and police law for the European Union's 28 member states, concluding their lack of interest could prompt more corruption scandals. The criticism of institutions such as the European Parliament, which researchers said had refused to cooperate with the study, may provide further ammunition to eurosceptics, who are already on track to widen support in EU elections in May. "The rule book is there to prevent corruption or conflicts of interest but the rules are not enforced," said Carl Dolan, one of the experts involved in the study.


3M 1Q results improve, but miss Street's view

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — 3M's first-quarter net income rose 7 percent, led by sales growth in its health care business.

American Airlines posts first quarter profit

The tail sections of a newly designed American Airlines aircraft, a US Airways aircraft and a traditional American Airlines aircraft are lined up at at Dallas-Ft Worth International Airport (Reuters) - American Airlines Group , the world's largest carrier formed in a late 2013 merger, on Thursday reported a profit of $480 million, or 65 cents a diluted share, for the first quarter. The profit compared with a loss of $341 million a year earlier, which reflects results of AMR Corp prior to the merger with US Airways Group. Quarterly revenue was nearly $10 billion. (Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta)


Marlboro maker Altria 1Q profit falls

FILE - This April 23, 2008, file photo, shows the Altria Group Inc. corporate headquarters in Richmond, Va. Altria reports quarterly earnings on Thursday, April 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File) RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Altria Group Inc.'s first-quarter profit dropped 15 percent as the Marlboro maker sold fewer cigarettes and its year-ago results benefited lower expenses from a longstanding legal settlement.


United loses $609M in 1Q; fares don't cover costs

FILE - In this July 17, 2013 file photo, a United Airlines jet plane landing at Los Angeles International Airport, in Whittler City Calif., passes in front of a Waxing Gibbous moon. United Airlines reports quarterly earnings on Thursday, April 24, 2014. ( AP Photo/Nick Ut, File) United Airlines is the one U.S. carrier that can't seem to get its act together.


Ukraine forces say kill separatists in Slaviansk operation

By Aleksandar Vasovic and Gleb Garanich SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Ukrainian forces said they had killed several pro-Russian militants in clashes as they closed in on the separatist-held city of Slaviansk on Thursday, seizing rebel checkpoints and setting up roadblocks as helicopters circled overhead. Reuters journalists saw a Ukrainian detachment with five armored personnel carriers take over a checkpoint on a road north of the city in late morning after it was abandoned by separatists who set tires alight to cover their retreat. Earlier, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said its forces and troops from the Defence Ministry had killed "up to five terrorists" while destroying three militant checkpoints northeast of the center. A separatist spokeswoman in Slaviansk said early in the morning that two fighters had been killed in a clash in the same area, near a road leading to the town of Sviatogorsk.

Pirates pilfer fuel from Thai tanker off Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Pirates pilfered diesel fuel from a Thai tanker off Malaysia's east coast, making two attacks in a week and raising concerns of a rising threat to shipping, a maritime watchdog said Thursday.
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