• Wage talks fail to end S.Africa's platinum mining strike

    AFP - 2 minutes 42 seconds ago

    A new round of talks on a new wage offer between the world's top platinum producers and union leaders on Thursday failed to end a crippling 13-week strike, the companies said. "Unfortunately, no resolution has yet been achieved in resolving the three-month strike relating to wages and benefits," Anglo American Platinum (Amplats), Impala Platinum (Implats) and Lonmin said in a statement. In a bid to break one of the longest strikes in South Africa's recent history, the world's three biggest platinum firms made an offer last week that will increase the remuneration package of radical union AMCU's members to 12,500 rand (850 euros/$1,200) a month by 2017. While urging the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) to "recommend" the offer to its members, the producers said they would now communicate "directly" with their employees with the details of the offer. More »Wage talks fail to end S.Africa's platinum mining strike

  • Algeria seizes 8 tonnes of cannabis smuggled from Morocco

    AFP - 6 minutes ago

    Algerian security forces have seized more than eight tonnes of cannabis in the port city of Oran, smuggled from neighbouring Morocco, and arrested six traffickers, the police said Thursday. Those arrested were all Algerian, between 30 and 45 years old, with one of them considered the "baron," police chief Salah Nouasri said, adding that the quantity seized was a record for Algeria's second-largest city. Morocco is one of the world's top cannabis producers and Europe's main source. More »Algeria seizes 8 tonnes of cannabis smuggled from Morocco

  • U.S. trade bank urges lawmakers to renew charter, avoid 'political games'

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago

    U.S. lawmakers should back a bill renewing the U.S. Export-Import Bank's charter and stop playing "political games" that will only hurt American exports and jobs, the bank's president said on Thursday. Ex-Im Bank President Fred Hochberg said critics of the export credit agency did not appreciate its role in supporting jobs and exports, and he warned the bank would have to close its doors on October 1 unless lawmakers renewed its charter. The White House had sent a bill to Congress to extend the bank's lending limit by $20 billion to $160 billion and allow it to operate for five more years, he said. More »U.S. trade bank urges lawmakers to renew charter, avoid 'political games'

  • Easy wins for Meusburger and Torro

    PlanetSport - 6 minutes ago

    Third seed Yvonne Meusburger and Maria Teresa Torro both enjoyed comfortable victories in the second round of the Marrakech Grand Prix on Thursday. More »Easy wins for Meusburger and Torro

  • Nine killed as poll violence hits restive Indian regions

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago

    Nine police and poll officials were killed in India in two attacks on Thursday, one in a region hit by a Maoist insurgency and the other in Kashmir, the mainly-Muslim region where many voters are boycotting a general election. Eight police and election officials were killed when assailants - that police suspect were left-wing rebels - blew up a bus they were travelling on in Dumka, in the eastern state of Jharkhand, police spokesman Anurag Gupta said. Jharkhand forms part of a belt running down eastern India that is prone to attacks by rebels who target politicians and businesses they believe are colluding to ruin the livelihoods of native tribal groups. "Militants this evening fired at polling staff in South Kashmir's Shopian district, killing one poll official and injuring five others, including two poll officials and three policemen," South Kashmir police chief Vijay Kumar told Reuters. More »Nine killed as poll violence hits restive Indian regions

  • Politics clouds proposed overhaul of U.S. housing finance system

    Reuters - 10 minutes ago

    By Margaret Chadbourn WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Banking Committee appears likely to back a bill to wind down government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to sources familiar with talks on the legislation. The committee's leaders have secured a bare majority of the votes needed to push the bill forward, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not keen for it to come up for a vote on the Senate floor ahead of congressional elections in November, these industry and Capitol Hill sources say. Congressional aides say the panel's Democratic chairman, Senator Tim Johnson, and its top Republican, Senator Mike Crapo, want at least 16 "yes" votes on the 22-member committee before going to Reid, a Democrat who has voiced opposition in the past to measures that would get rid of Fannie and Freddie. "If you want to end the government's monopoly in the housing finance system, which is what both Republicans and Democrats want to do - the environment to get it done is ripe. More »Politics clouds proposed overhaul of U.S. housing finance system

  • To Fight Sleeping Sickness, Tsetse Fly Genome Decoded

    LiveScience.com - 14 minutes ago

    Scientists have sequenced the full genome of the tsetse fly, the blood-sucking pest that spreads deadly sleeping sickness in sub-Saharan Africa. "Our goal is to enhance the toolbox that will be available to scientists and communities who are under the pressure of dealing with this disease," lead researcher Serap Aksoy, an epidemiologist at Yale University, told Live Science. Sleeping sickness (also called nagana when it affects cattle) tends to come in epidemics, the last of which occurred during the 1990s, Aksoy said. A major goal, Aksoy said, was to bring together scientists from sub-Saharan Africa and train younger researchers to use the blueprint to fight the disease. More »To Fight Sleeping Sickness, Tsetse Fly Genome Decoded

  • WWF condemns oil search in Africa's oldest national park

    AFP - 18 minutes ago

    Environmental campaigners WWF on Thursday condemned moves by British firm Soco International to start searching for oil in part of Africa's oldest national park. WWF said that Soco was on Saturday scheduled to start seismic testing in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Virunga park, home to 3,000 species including the endangered gorillas immortalised by the film "Gorillas in the Mist". "WWF condemns in the strongest terms Soco's unacceptable operations in Virunga National Park," said Lasse Gustavsson, head of conservation at WWF. WWF said people living near the park had warned that parts of Lake Edward -- a huge expanse of water that is partly within Virunga's boundaries -- were set to be closed to fishing while Soco searched for subterranean oil reserves. More »WWF condemns oil search in Africa's oldest national park

  • South Africa's ombudsman listed on Time's top 100

    AFP - 21 minutes ago

    Time magazine named South Africa's hard-hitting ombudsman as one of the world's 100 most influential people Thursday, providing high-profile recognition of her work investigating President Jacob Zuma as he fights for re-election. Thuli Madonsela in March found that some of the $23 million of taxpayers' money spent on "security upgrades" to Zuma's private home were "unlawful" and she ordered the president to repay part of the sum. "Thuli Madonsela is an inspirational example of what African public officers need to be," Nigeria's former central bank governor Lamido Sanusi wrote in the magazine's commendation. The soft-spoken human rights lawyer joins other powerful and influential world figures like US President Barack Obama, Chilean leader Michelle Bachelet, Pope Francis and whistleblower Edward Snowden on the list. More »South Africa's ombudsman listed on Time's top 100

  • Israel suspends peace talks after Palestinian unity bid

    Reuters - 31 minutes ago

    By Jeffrey Heller JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel on Thursday suspended U.S.-sponsored peace talks with the Palestinians in response to President Mahmoud Abbas's unexpected unity pact with the rival Islamist Hamas group. The negotiations had appeared to be heading nowhere even before Wednesday's reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian groups plunged them deeper into crisis. The United States had been struggling to extend the talks beyond an original April 29 deadline for a peace accord. "The government of Israel will not hold negotiations with a Palestinian government that is backed by Hamas, a terror organisation that calls for Israel's destruction," an official statement said after a six-hour meeting. More »Israel suspends peace talks after Palestinian unity bid

  • Japan's NTT Docomo to exit Indian market - Nikkei

    Reuters - 31 minutes ago

    (Reuters) - Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc will unload its 26 percent stake in its loss-making Indian mobile phone joint venture, Tata Teleservices Ltd, and withdraw from the country, the Nikkei newspaper reported. The joint venture, operating under the Tata DoCoMo brand, had 63 million mobile customers as at the end of March, ranking in No.7 in the crowded Indian market. The Japanese mobile giant is in talks to unload the stake to the Tata Group, the Nikkei said in an unsourced report. DoCoMo bought its stake in the joint venture for $2.7 billion in 2009. More »Japan's NTT Docomo to exit Indian market - Nikkei

  • France to send four Rafale fighter jets on Baltic security duty

    Reuters - 39 minutes ago

    France will send four Rafale fighter jets to Poland next week as part of a show of NATO commitment to Central Europe and the Baltic states, which have been rattled by the escalation of tensions between Russia and Ukraine. The four warplanes will be sent to Malbork in northern Poland on April 28 on a double mission: to train the Polish air force and stand ready for air patrols over the Baltic states under NATO command, the French defense ministry said. NATO said last week it would send more ships, planes and troops to eastern Europe to reassure allies worried by Russia's annexation of Crimea and its massing of troops on the border with eastern Ukraine. More »France to send four Rafale fighter jets on Baltic security duty

  • Thousands flee fighting in Sudan's Kordofan

    AFP - 39 minutes ago

    Thousands of people have fled renewed fighting in Sudan’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, adding to hundreds of thousands uprooted by conflict in the Darfur region this year, the UN said on Thursday. Clashes between government forces and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N)in South Kordofan's Rashad district displaced about 6,700 civilians, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its weekly bulletin. It cited data from Sudan's Humanitarian Aid Commission. More »Thousands flee fighting in Sudan's Kordofan

  • Angry Muslims in Central African Republic call for partition

    Reuters - 40 minutes ago

    By Emmanuel Braun BAMBARI, Central African Republic (Reuters) - In this dusty town at the heart of the Central African Republic, many angry Muslims advocate a simple solution to the threat of religious violence from Christian militias terrorizing the country's south: partition. Bambari lies near the dividing line separating Central African Republic's Christian south - where mobs have lynched hundreds of Muslims and torn down their homes - from a northern region controlled by the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels. But their 10 months in power - a murderous orgy of looting and extortion - sparked a sectarian backlash that is driving Muslims from the south despite the presence of French and African Union peacekeepers. Many people in Bambari say the savagery of the violence, which has displaced nearly a quarter of the country's 4.5 million people, has brought about a turning point. More »Angry Muslims in Central African Republic call for partition

  • GM posts lower profit after recall; outlook for rest of year trimmed

    Reuters - 43 minutes ago

    By Ben Klayman and Bernie Woodall DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co's first-quarter profit tumbled 88 percent on Thursday due to the massive recall for defective ignition switches, and shares fell 1.3 percent after the company said expectations for the rest of the year must be trimmed. While the company's results topped expectations on strong pricing for its redesigned pickup trucks in North America, it did not raise its full-year outlook by a corresponding amount. GM said in January its 2014 earnings would finish slightly higher. While leaving the outlook for the full year unchanged on Thursday, Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens said the stronger first quarter means the outlook for the rest of the year will have to come down. More »GM posts lower profit after recall; outlook for rest of year trimmed

  • Pinehurst U.S. Open attracts record entry total

    Reuters - 46 minutes ago

    (Reuters) - This year's U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in Pinehurst, Northern Carolina has attracted a record total of 10,127 entries, the United States Golf Association (USGA) said on Thursday. The number of applicants for the June 12-15 tournament eclipsed the previous best of 9,860 for last year's U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. "The number of entries, from across the world, affirms both the great appeal of playing in our national championship and the history surrounding Pinehurst No. 2," USGA vice president Daniel Burton said in a statement. The U.S. Open, the second of the year's four majors, will be held for a third time on the classic No. 2 Course at Pinehurst with its notorious upturned-saucer greens. More »Pinehurst U.S. Open attracts record entry total

  • Nasdaq not yet subpoenaed in N.Y. high frequency trading probe: CEO

    Reuters - 50 minutes ago

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nasdaq OMX Group Inc has not to date received a subpoena from the New York attorney general as part of its industrywide probe into allegedly unfair technological advantages on Wall Street, Nasdaq Chief Executive Officer Robert Greifeld said on Thursday. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is seeking information on the relationships that exchanges and off-exchange platforms, known as dark pools, have with high-frequency trading firms, and has issued subpoenas to at least half-dozen firms, Reuters reported last week. (Reporting by John McCrank; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe) More »Nasdaq not yet subpoenaed in N.Y. high frequency trading probe: CEO

  • Djokovic set to become a dad

    Reuters - 51 minutes ago

    Novak Djokovic is set to become a father after announcing on Thursday that he and fiancee Jelena Ristic are expecting their first child. "Jelena and I are truly blessed to soon become parents! My love is pregnant!," the world number two and six-times grand slam champion wrote on Facebook. Djokovic, who got engaged to Ristic last September, is set to join Swiss players Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka as the only members of the current world top 10 with children. Serbian Djokovic is currently recovering from a wrist injury and recently played down fears he could miss the French Open, the only grand slam missing from his collection. More »Djokovic set to become a dad

  • Ukraine gives Russia 48 hours to explain exercises

    Reuters - 53 minutes ago

    Ukraine has asked Moscow, under European OSCE security arrangements, to explain and give details of its military exercises near the border within 48 hours, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. In a statement in response to remarks by the Russian defence minister earlier in the day announcing exercises linked to tension in Ukraine, the ministry said Russia was trying to influence Kiev's efforts to fight militants in the east. It said that under the Vienna Document of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) it was entitled to an account of the goals and other details of the exercises within 48 hours of its request - namely noon GMT on Saturday. More »Ukraine gives Russia 48 hours to explain exercises

  • U.N. Security Council asks for inquiry into South Sudan massacre

    Reuters - 55 minutes ago

    By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council asked for an urgent investigation on Thursday into the ethnic massacre of hundreds of people in South Sudan's oil hub Bentiu and expressed its willingness to "take additional measures" if there are more attacks on civilians. The 15-member council said in a statement it wants U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for human rights Ivan Simonovic to return to South Sudan as soon as possible to assess the recent escalation in violence. More than 1 million people have fled their homes and thousands of people have been killed since fighting erupted in December between troops backing President Salva Kiir and soldiers loyal to his sacked deputy, Riek Machar. Security Council members are considering sanctions on South Sudan's warring parties and U.N. peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous demanded on Wednesday "serious consequences" be imposed to force an end to the violence. More »U.N. Security Council asks for inquiry into South Sudan massacre

  • Costa Rican 'miracle' woman was key to John Paul's sainthood

    Reuters - 58 minutes ago

    By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Floribeth Mora Diaz does not care if people think she is crazy. She is convinced - and so is the Vatican - that she owes her life to a miracle cure because she prayed to the late Pope John Paul. "I have experienced the mercy of God in my own life and I am grateful," she told a news conference at the Vatican on Thursday explaining what Church investigators believe was a miracle attributed to John Paul's intercession with God. Pope Francis will elevate John Paul to sainthood in the Roman Catholic Church on Sunday at a ceremony expected to draw more than one million people to the Vatican. More »Costa Rican 'miracle' woman was key to John Paul's sainthood

  • Chicago health center confirms doctor killed in Afghanistan

    Reuters - 1 hour 5 minutes ago

    A Chicago pediatrician was among those killed in an attack on a Kabul hospital funded by the U.S. Christian charity Cure International on Thursday, a clinic where the doctor worked in Chicago said. "For nearly a decade, Dr. Jerry Umanos volunteered in Afghanistan to train medical residents and to see pediatric patients," said Dr. Bruce Rowell, a medical director of clinical quality at Chicago's Lawndale Christian Health Center. More »Chicago health center confirms doctor killed in Afghanistan

  • Three Americans killed in Kabul hospital attack

    Reuters - 1 hour 5 minutes ago

    Three Americans were killed on Thursday when a security guard opened fire at a Kabul hospital funded by a U.S. Christian charity, the latest in a spate of attacks on foreign civilians in Afghanistan. A fourth American was wounded, the Afghan Health Ministry said. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for similar attacks this year, but made no comment about Thursday's shooting. Those killed included a doctor, and a father and son visiting the hospital, Health Minister Suriya Dalil said. More »Three Americans killed in Kabul hospital attack

  • S.African mum charged with murdering three children in London

    AFP - 1 hour 7 minutes ago

    A South African woman was charged on Thursday with murdering her three severely disabled children at their home in London, police said. Tania Clarence, 42, was arrested after the bodies of a four-year-old girl and two three-year-old boys were found on Tuesday evening. Neighbours said that Clarence, a graphic designer, and her husband Gary, who works at banking group Investec, had four children, three of whom were severely disabled. "Mrs Tania Clarence, 42, appears in custody at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court on Friday, 25 April, charged with three counts of murder," Scotland Yard said in a statement. More »S.African mum charged with murdering three children in London

  • London's Gherkin skyscraper enters receivership

    Reuters - 1 hour 8 minutes ago

    London's landmark Gherkin office tower has been placed into receivership by its creditors, accountancy firm and joint receivers Deloitte said on Thursday, paving the way for a possible partial sale of the skyscraper. Germany's IVG Immobilien, which co-owns the 40-storey Gherkin with Evans Randall Ltd, filed for insolvency last year after years of cost overruns and mounting debt. One of Germany's best known property firms, IVG sought protection last year from its creditors after failing to reach an agreement over the restructuring of its debt. Co-owner Evans Randall said on Thursday it was ready to invest further equity into the building but the company had been unable to agree on a new financial structure with IVG due to the German partner's financial situation. More »London's Gherkin skyscraper enters receivership

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