• Obama to use Japan visit to reassure Asian allies

    Reuters - 30 minutes ago

    By Linda Sieg and Matt Spetalnick TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will use a state visit to Japan on Thursday to try to reassure Asian allies of his commitment to ramping up U.S. engagement in the region, despite Chinese complaints that his real aim is to contain Beijing's rise. Obama will be treated to a display of pomp and ceremony meant to show that the U.S.-Japan alliance, the main pillar of America's security strategy in Asia, remains solid at a time of rising tensions over growing Chinese assertiveness and North Korean nuclear threats. "We're continuing to work," a U.S. official said on Thursday before the leaders were to meet on the first state visit to Japan by a U.S. president in 18 years. "We've made some progress and worked around the clock." Even if Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cannot complete a bilateral trade deal before the U.S. president leaves Tokyo on Friday, they are likely to try to project a sense of progress on key issues. More »Obama to use Japan visit to reassure Asian allies

  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock

    Associated Press - 31 minutes ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is doling out more of its cash to shareholders and preparing to split its stock for the first time in nine years in an attempt to win back investors fretting about the iPhone maker's slowing sales growth and pace of innovation. More »Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock

  • Airport official: Teen had no clue he was in Maui

    Associated Press - 37 minutes ago

    Long flights can leave anyone a little unsteady, but a teenager who defied the odds, surviving a flight from California to Hawaii tucked in a jetliner's wheel well, was disoriented, thirsty and could barely ... More »Airport official: Teen had no clue he was in Maui

  • UN chief demands Security Council action on Syria

    Reuters - 38 minutes ago

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded on Wednesday that the Security Council take action in Syria on violations of international law as he reported to the body that none of the warring parties was adhering to U.N. demands for aid access. In his second monthly report to the 15-member council on the implementation of a resolution demanding great humanitarian aid access in Syria, Ban said "none of the parties to the conflict have adhered to the demands of the Council." "The Security Council must take action to deal with these flagrant violations of the basic principles of international law," he wrote in the 21-page report. More »UN chief demands Security Council action on Syria

  • Syria eyes end of chemical arms monitoring mission; West disagrees

    Reuters - 39 minutes ago

    By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Syria declared on Wednesday that it was looking ahead to the dismantling of the international mission overseeing the destruction of the conflict-torn country's chemical arsenal, though Western officials said they want the team to keep working. The statement came after Sigrid Kaag, head of the joint mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told the Security Council that the Syrian government should be able to meet an April 27 deadline to hand over all declared chemical agents. Inside the council chamber, however, U.S. and European delegations told Kaag they were concerned about new allegations that Syria's government had deployed chlorine gas and expressed their view that a full investigation was necessary, diplomats said. After the closed-door session, in which Kaag participated via video link, Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari was asked what should happen to the U.N.-OPCW mission once declared materials linked to Syrian chemical weapons had been shipped out of the country and all installations were shut down. More »Syria eyes end of chemical arms monitoring mission; West disagrees

  • Archaeologists, tribe clash over Native remains

    Associated Press - 39 minutes ago

    LARKSPUR, Calif. (AP) — Archaeologists and Native Americans are clashing over Indian remains and artifacts that were excavated during a construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area and then reburied at an undisclosed location, a newspaper reported. More »Archaeologists, tribe clash over Native remains

  • Top Asian News at 12:00 a.m. GMT

    Associated Press - 40 minutes ago

    TOKYO (AP) — Facing fresh questions about his commitment to Asia, President Barack Obama will seek to convince Japan's leaders Thursday that he can deliver on his security and economic pledges, even as the crisis in Ukraine demands U.S. attention and resources elsewhere. The ominous standoff between Ukraine and Russia is threatening to overshadow Obama's four-country Asia swing that began Wednesday. He may decide during the trip whether to levy new economic sanctions on Moscow, a step that would signal the failure of an international agreement aimed at defusing the crisis. More »Top Asian News at 12:00 a.m. GMT

  • U.N. chief demands Security Council action on Syria

    Reuters - 40 minutes ago

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded on Wednesday that the Security Council take action in Syria on violations of international law as he reported to the body that none of the warring parties was adhering to U.N. demands for aid access. In his second monthly report to the 15-member council on the implementation of a resolution demanding great humanitarian aid access in Syria, Ban said "none of the parties to the conflict have adhered to the demands of the Council." "The Security Council must take action to deal with these flagrant violations of the basic principles of international law," he wrote in the 21-page report. More »U.N. chief demands Security Council action on Syria

  • Syrian activists accuse Assad of new gas attacks

    Associated Press - 43 minutes ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government forces have attacked rebel-held areas with poisonous chlorine gas in recent weeks and months, leaving men, women and children coughing, choking and gasping for breath, according to Associated Press interviews with more than a dozen activists, medics and residents on the opposition side. More »Syrian activists accuse Assad of new gas attacks

  • France, US back sanctions against S.Sudan

    AFP - 44 minutes ago

    France and the United States called Wednesday for the UN Security Council to consider sanctions against South Sudan over spiraling violence in the country's civil war, diplomats said. US ambassador Samantha Power relayed Washington's position in a closed-door meeting of the 15-member Council, diplomats said, and France's Gerard Araud told reporters before the session that it was time to think about sanctions against those responsible. "I think we should consider sanctions because it is horrendous," he said. In December the Security Council agreed to almost double the size of the UN peacekeeping force in troubled South Sudan, but few of the extra troops have actually arrived. More »France, US back sanctions against S.Sudan

  • Small Wyoming town evacuated after gas explosion

    Associated Press - 45 minutes ago

    OPAL, Wyo. (AP) — A small town in southwest Wyoming was evacuated Wednesday after an explosion and fire at a natural gas processing facility and major national pipeline hub. There were no reports of injuries. More »Small Wyoming town evacuated after gas explosion

  • Japan ship firm pays about $40 million to China after seizure - media

    Reuters - 46 minutes ago

    TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese shipping firm Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd has paid about 4 billion yen ($39 million / 23.2 million pounds) in settlement to China as compensation stemming from a wartime contractual obligation, following a seizure of its ship by a Chinese maritime court in Shanghai, Japanese media said on Thursday. What the company paid for was 2.9 billion yen in compensation plus interests, the Yomiuri newspaper and public broadcaster NHK said. Mitsui O.S.K. spokesman Atsushi Seki said he could not immediately confirm the report, saying it was still working to lift the seizure. ... More »Japan ship firm pays about $40 million to China after seizure - media

  • NTSB head: Action needed now on oil train safety

    Associated Press - 53 minutes ago

    The Obama administration needs to take steps immediately to protect the public from potentially catastrophic oil train accidents even if it means using emergency authority, National Transportation Safety ... More »NTSB head: Action needed now on oil train safety

  • Soldier accused of killing teens in Iraq

    Associated Press - 53 minutes ago

    JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) — The two unarmed Iraqi brothers posed no threat as they herded cattle in a palm grove where a U.S. Army reconnaissance team was hidden one day seven years ago. But then-Staff Sgt. Michael Barbera took a knee, leveled his rifle and killed them — from nearly 200 yards away, a former fellow soldier said Wednesday at a preliminary hearing in the case. More »Soldier accused of killing teens in Iraq

  • Former AP reporter Robert Heard dies at age 84

    Associated Press - 55 minutes ago

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Robert Heard, who reported on Texas state government, politics and sports for The Associated Press, including the 1966 University of Texas tower shootings and a groundbreaking series on race and integration of Longhorns football, has died. He was 84. More »Former AP reporter Robert Heard dies at age 84

  • Ohio women held captive seek Joan Rivers' apology

    Associated Press - 58 minutes ago

    CLEVELAND (AP) — Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for comparing living in her daughter's guest room with the captivity they experienced. More »Ohio women held captive seek Joan Rivers' apology

  • Rail safety effort marred by squabbling

    Associated Press - 1 hour 1 minute ago

    Spurred by a series of fiery train crashes, a push by government and industry to make safer tank cars used for shipping crude oil and ethanol has bogged down in squabbling and finger-pointing over whether ... More »Rail safety effort marred by squabbling

  • Images released of shipwreck in San Francisco Bay

    Associated Press - 1 hour 2 minutes ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The first images of the newly discovered wreckage of a steamship that sank in San Francisco Bay in 1888, killing 16 people, were released Wednesday by federal ocean scientists. More »Images released of shipwreck in San Francisco Bay

  • Top Asian News at 11:30 p.m. GMT

    Associated Press - 1 hour 8 minutes ago

    TOKYO (AP) — Facing fresh questions about his commitment to Asia, President Barack Obama will seek to convince Japan's leaders Thursday that he can deliver on his security and economic pledges, even as the crisis in Ukraine demands U.S. attention and resources elsewhere. The ominous standoff between Ukraine and Russia is threatening to overshadow Obama's four-country Asia swing that began Wednesday. He may decide during the trip whether to levy new economic sanctions on Moscow, a step that would signal the failure of an international agreement aimed at defusing the crisis. More »Top Asian News at 11:30 p.m. GMT

  • Colombia president reinstates ousted Bogota mayor

    Associated Press - 1 hour 8 minutes ago

    BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia's capital was changing hands for a third time in little over a month after President Juan Manuel Santos said Wednesday he would execute a court order reinstating Bogota's ousted leftist mayor. More »Colombia president reinstates ousted Bogota mayor

  • Chile aims to end dictatorship-era election rules

    Associated Press - 1 hour 11 minutes ago

    SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — President Michelle Bachelet is determined to make Chile's democracy more representative, and for the first time in a quarter century, there may be just enough votes in Congress to achieve it. More »Chile aims to end dictatorship-era election rules

  • Debris found on Australian beach not from MH370

    AFP - 1 hour 14 minutes ago

    The Australian Transport Safety Bureau ruled out Thursday any link between material found on a beach in southwestern Australia and the missing Malaysia Airlines jet. The ATSB decided to examine photographs of the material to determine whether it was linked to the search for the missing jet. However ATSB chief commissioner Martin Dolan scotched any hope of a breakthrough. More »Debris found on Australian beach not from MH370

  • Australia transport bureau says beach debris not from MH370

    Reuters - 1 hour 16 minutes ago

    Debris picked up on a beach in Western Australia this week is unlikely to have come from the Malaysian Airlines jet that vanished nearly seven weeks ago, Australia's transport bureau said on Thursday. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has assessed the material that washed up on the coast 10 km (six miles) east of the town of Augusta, near the south-western tip of Australia, the bureau's spokesman said. "It's considered highly unlikely to be from MH370," spokesman Tony Simes said. ATSB commissioner Martin Dolan earlier told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio that the bureau had examined detailed photographs of the debris and was satisfied it was not a lead in the hunt for the plane. More »Australia transport bureau says beach debris not from MH370

  • Oregon gay marriage ban gets day in court

    Associated Press - 1 hour 19 minutes ago

    EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Lawyers for four gay and lesbian couples and the state of Oregon are urging a federal judge to strike down the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. More »Oregon gay marriage ban gets day in court

  • Bolivia threatens to fire protesting soldiers

    Associated Press - 1 hour 20 minutes ago

    LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Despite a government threat to fire them, some 500 soldiers marched in Bolivia's capital Wednesday for a second consecutive day to demand greater upward mobility within the armed forces. More »Bolivia threatens to fire protesting soldiers

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