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Top Asian News at 2:00 p.m. GMT

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong police warned of serious consequences if pro-democracy protesters try to occupy government buildings, as they have threatened to do if the territory's leader didn't resign by Thursday. Tensions mounted ahead of the deadline set by students for the city's Beijing-backed Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down — part of broader demonstrations pushing for electoral reforms for the Asian financial center.

IS at gates of Syria border town as Turkey mulls action

US Air Forces Central Command image shows a US Air Force B-1B Lancer prior to strike operations in Syria on September 27, 2014 Mursitpinar (Turkey) (AFP) - Islamic State fighters were at the gates Thursday of a key Kurdish town on the Syrian border with Turkey, whose parliament was set to vote on authorising military intervention against the jihadists.


In Texas Ebola patient's neighborhood, scores sick

Mercy Kennedy, 9, cries Thursday Oct. 2, 2014. as community activists approach her outside her home on 72nd SKD Boulevard in Monrovia, Liberia, a day after her mother was taken away by an ambulance to an Ebola ward. Neighbors wailed Thursday upon learning that Mercy’s mother had died; she was among the cluster of cases that includes Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man now hospitalized in Texas. On Thursday, little Mercy walked around in a daze in a torn nightgown and flip-flops, pulling up the fabric to wipe her tears as a group of workers from the neighborhood task force followed the sound of wailing through the thick grove of banana trees and corn plants.(AP Photo/Jerome Delay) MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Thomas Eric Duncan rushed to help his 19-year-old neighbor when she began convulsing days after first complaining of stomach pain. Everyone assumed her health problems were related to her being 7 months pregnant. Still, no ambulance came as Ebola decimates Liberia's capital.


Syria Kurds say American joins fight against Islamic State

By Tom Perry and Fiona Ortiz BEIRUT/CHICAGO (Reuters) - A U.S. citizen has joined Kurdish forces fighting against Islamic State militants in northern Syria, a spokesman for the main Kurdish armed group in the country said on Thursday. The Kurdish official said that Jordan Matson had joined the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), who are mainly battling advances by Islamic State close to Syria's borders with Turkey and Iraq. "Yes it is true," YPG spokesman Redur Xelil said in an online message. "He is fighting in the Jazaa area. ...

40 jihadists, 17 police and army killed in Iraq clashes

An image grab taken from a video released by Aamaq News, a Youtube channel which posts videos from the areas under the Islamic State (IS) group's control, on September 23, 2014 Ramadi (Iraq) (AFP) - The Islamic State group launched attacks on Iraqi bases in two western towns that left at least 17 members of the security forces and 40 jihadists dead, security and medical sources said Thursday.


Venezuelan 'Chavista' lawmaker Serra, partner killed

By Deisy Buitrago CARACAS (Reuters) - Robert Serra, a "Chavista" ruling party lawmaker, and his partner were found dead in their home in Caracas late Wednesday, government officials said, in Venezuela's latest high-profile violent crime. Serra, 27, and Maria Herrera, were found dead at their residence in the impoverished La Pastora neighborhood of the Venezuelan capital. ...

Brazil tries to clarify changes to hand-ball calls

SAO PAULO (AP) — The Brazilian football confederation is meeting with the captains of all 20 first division teams to try to clarify a controversial change in the way referees have been calling hand balls, hoping to ease some of the criticism from clubs, coaches and the media.

Cape Town Nobel summit 'suspended' over Dalai Lama visa row

Cape Town's mayor says Nobel peace laureate summit cancelled over government's refusal to give Dalai Lama a visa Johannesburg (AFP) - Cape Town's mayor on Thursday announced that a planned summit of Nobel peace laureates had been "suspended", citing the South African government's "intransigence" in not providing a visa to the Dalai Lama.


Abubakar Shekau: Boko Haram's 'living' leader

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is seen in a video obtained by AFP on October 2, 2014 Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) - Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau is an elusive figure whose whereabouts are unknown, but he makes himself heard each time the military proclaims him dead.


ECB's Draghi gives no hint of more stimulus

President of European Central Bank Mario Draghi walks in front of the ECB governing council prior to their meeting in Naples, Italy, Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. European Central Bank head Mario Draghi is expected Thursday to underline the bank's willingness to deploy more economic stimulus measures, a stance that could send the euro skidding even lower. And a drop in the currency — which helps eurozone exporters and could nudge up worryingly low inflation — might be the most effective stimulus to come out of the ECB's monthly meeting. (AP Photo/Lapresse, POOL) NAPLES, Italy (AP) — European Central Bank head Mario Draghi underlined the bank's willingness to ramp up its stimulus efforts with large-scale bond purchases if needed — but otherwise offered no new economic help at the bank's meeting Thursday.


Marathon walk to storm city spotlights Philippine climate risks

Philippine Climate Commissioner Naderev Sano during closing of COP19 in Warsaw By Imelda V. Abano MANILA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Hundreds of activists led by the Philippine climate change commissioner kicked off a 38-day walk of more than 1,000 km from Manila to the typhoon-hit city of Tacloban to raise awareness of rising risks from higher seas and extreme weather. Climate commissioner Naderev “Yeb” Saño grabbed global attention at U.N. climate talks in Warsaw last November when he gave a tearful speech and fasted in solidarity with the victims of super typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 6,000 people in the central Philippines. ...


Lewis shoots 66 to take lead at Reignwood Classic

BEIJING (AP) — Top-ranked Stacy Lewis birdied five holes on the back nine to shoot a 7-under 66 in the first round of the Reignwood LPGA Classic on Thursday.

Germany coach Loew calls up newcomer Bellarabi

CORRECTS MONTH - Leverkusen's Karim Bellarabi, left and Benfica's Anderson Talisca, right, challenge for the ball during the Champions League group C soccer match between Bayer 04 Leverkusen and SL Benfica at the BayArena stadium in Leverkusen, Germany, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner) FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Germany coach Joachim Loew has called up newcomer Karim Bellarabi for the upcoming European Championship qualifying matches against Poland and Ireland.


Syria's army goes on the offensive as U.S. bombs Assad's foes

By Laila Bassam and Sylvia Westall BEIRUT (Reuters) - As U.S. warplanes bomb his enemies in Syria's east, President Bashar al-Assad has set loose his own forces in the west, alarming Washington's few friends on the ground and potentially undermining the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State. U.S. President Barack Obama says Washington's goal in Syria is to defeat Islamic State without helping Assad's government. The Arab allies that have joined the U.S.-led strikes are some of Assad's fiercest opponents. ...

Egypt army kills militant commander in Sinai: security sources

ISMALIA Egypt (Reuters) - Egypt's army killed a field commander in Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the country's most dangerous Islamist militant group, during clashes on Thursday in the lawless north of the Sinai Peninsula, security sources said. Mohamed Abu Shatiya, among militants behind the kidnapping of seven Egyptian soldiers in Sinai last year, died during fighting with the army south of Rafah, on the border with Gaza. Two tonnes of explosives were confiscated from a nearby tunnel connecting Sinai to Gaza during the incident, they said. ...

EU to extend Zimmer, Biomet probe, clear Eli Lilly, Novartis deal: sources

Logo of Swiss drugmaker Novartis is seen at its headquarters in Basel BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU antitrust regulators will widen a probe into Zimmer Holdings Inc's $13.4 billion bid for Biomet Inc but clear Eli Lilly's offer for a Novartis AG unit, three people familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The two deals are among several announced in recent months in the healthcare sector, with drugmakers seeking to gain scale or specialise in certain disease areas. ...


German insurer Allianz appoints new CEO

German insurer Allianz SE says board member Oliver Baete will take over as chief executive in May when current CEO Michael Diekmann steps down after more than a decade in charge. Allianz said Thursday ...

New Swedish PM can expect struggle ahead

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Stefan Lofven has become Sweden's new prime minister at the head of a weak, left-leaning minority government that is expected to struggle to push its agenda through Parliament.

Russia dims hopes for European auto rebound

A Renault made Twingo is presented at the Paris Motor Show, in Paris, Thursday Oct. 2, 2014. The Paris Motor Show will open its doors to the public on Saturday Oct. 4, until Oct. 19. European carmakers are hoping to impress with new models at this week's Paris Motor Show and prove they have come out stronger from years of economic trouble and cost-cutting. (AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere) PARIS (AP) — Troubles in Russia's once-booming car market are dampening spirits at the Paris Motor Show.


Official: Suicide bombers kill 7 at Libyan airport

CAIRO (AP) — Two suicide car bombings near an eastern airport in Libya killed seven troops and wounded 12 people Thursday, a spokesman for a renegade general said, as fierce clashes erupted nearby between the general's forces and the extremist militias trying to take over the airfield.

As Kurds regain ground in Iraq, new challenges emerge

By Isabel Coles HASSAN SHAM Iraq (Reuters) - The changing fortunes of war in northern Iraq are recorded in layers of graffiti daubed on the walls of villages overrun by Islamic State militants this summer, but since re-appropriated by Kurdish peshmerga forces. "Bravo peshmerga," read the freshest markings, painted over older inscriptions - some of them already scribbled out - that proclaim "property of the Islamic State". ...

Image of Asia: Paying tribute to Gandhi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, pays tributes at the memorial of Mahatma Gandhi on Gandhi's birth anniversary, in New Delhi, India ,Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014. (AP Photo /Manish Swarup) In this photo by Manish Swarup, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays his respects at the memorial of independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi on Thursday, the 145th anniversary of Gandhi's birth. Gandhi adopted the path of nonviolent protests to gain independence for India following British colonial rule. He was shot and killed by a Hindu fanatic in January 1948 at the age of 78, five months after India won independence. India's leaders visit Gandhi's memorial, on the banks of the Yamuna River in New Delhi, to pay homage each year on Oct. 2. The memorial includes a black marble platform where an eternal flame burns.


Wall Street opens flat after strong labor market data

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks opened little changed on Thursday as a positive read on the labor market was not enough to entice buyers even after a sharp decline in the previous session. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 9.22 points, or 0.05 percent, to 16,795.49, the S&P 500 lost 0.12 points, or 0.01 percent, to 1,946.04 and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.80 points, or 0.04 percent, to 4,423.88. (Reporting by Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Bernadette Baum)


UK royals issue warning over Prince George pics

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 9, 2014 file photo, Britain's Prince George, right, plays during a visit to Plunket nurse and parents group at Government House in Wellington, New Zealand. Prince William and his wife Kate are threatening to take legal action against a photographer they say has been monitoring their toddler son Prince George. The palace said Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014 the couple had "taken legal steps to ask that an individual ceases harassing and following both Prince George and his nanny as they go about their ordinary daily lives." In a statement, the palace said the unnamed photographer was suspected of "placing Prince George under surveillance." William and Kate, who are expecting their second child, want to spare their children intense press coverage. (AP Photo/Marty Melville, Pool, file) LONDON (AP) — Prince William and his wife Kate have threatened to take legal action against a photographer they say has been monitoring their toddler son Prince George.


ECB to begin buying secured debt, bundled loans from mid-month

A huge euro logo is pictured past next to headquarters of ECB in Frankfurt By Gavin Jones NAPLES Italy (Reuters) - The European Central Bank will buy bundles of loans and other forms of secured debt from mid-month in an attempt to kick start a languishing euro zone economy, despite misgivings in Germany and elsewhere. After cutting interest rates last month to what it said was "the lower bound", the ECB left its main refinancing rate at 0.05 percent on Thursday. ...


In US war on IS, what would victory look like?

An image issued by jihadist media outlet Welayat Raqa on June 30, 2014, allegedly shows a member of the Islamic state militant group parading in a street in the northern rebel-held Syrian city of Raqa Washington (AFP) - The United States has yet to explain exactly what victory might look like in its war against the Islamic State group, but it is becoming clear that success will depend heavily on political events in Syria and Iraq that are beyond its control, experts say.


Gignac gets France recalls vs. Portugal, Armenia

PARIS (AP) — Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac has been rewarded for his early-season form with a call-up to France's national team for matches against Portugal and Armenia.

Seven killed in Pakistan passenger bus explosion

PESHAWAR Pakistan (Reuters) - Seven people were killed and at least 11 wounded when an explosive device ripped through a passenger bus traveling outside the volatile Pakistani city of Peshawar on Thursday, a hospital spokesman and police said. The attack took place against the backdrop of a large military operation in Pakistan's tribal North Waziristan region targeting Taliban hideouts in the lawless area on the Afghan border - a campaign militants have vowed to avenge. ...

Turkey ponders new powers to fight IS militants

Turkish soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint as Syrian refugees from Kobani arrive at the Turkey-Syria border crossing of Mursitpinar near Suruc, Turkey, late Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014. U.S.-led coalition airstrikes targeted Islamic State fighters pressing their offensive against a Kurdish town near the Syrian-Turkish border on Tuesday in an attempt to halt the militants' advance, activists said. The south part of Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani is seen in the background.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici) ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's parliament was debating a motion Thursday to give the government new powers to launch military incursions into Syria and Iraq and to allow foreign forces to use its territory for possible operations against the Islamic State group.


Berkshire's Buffett: Coke compensation plan makes 'great sense'- CNBC

Warren Buffet leaves the first session of the annual Allen and Co. conference at the Sun Valley NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett, the chairman and chief executive officer of conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc, praised Coca-Cola's altered executive compensation plan on Thursday. "I think the new plan makes great, great, sense," Buffett told cable business channel CNBC, referring to Coca-Cola's new guidelines to limit its executive compensation plan, starting next year. Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway Inc holds 9.1 percent of Coca-Cola and is the company's biggest shareholder, said he felt as good about his investment in Coca-Cola as he ever has. ...


Emaar Malls shares jump 12 percent on listing

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Shares in the owner of the Middle East's largest mall jumped over 12 percent in the first day of trading on the Dubai stock exchange after its initial public offering.

Jobless claims drop, point to stronger labor market

Job seekers fill out job applications for recruiters as they attend a job fair in New York WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, a sign the labor market may be tightening. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 287,000 in the week ended Sept. 27, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 297,000 last week. Claims have fallen steadily since the nation emerged from the 2007-09 recession and are currently lower than they were before the country's economic crisis began. ...


Southampton's Clyne receives first England call-up

LONDON (AP) — Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne has been included in an England squad for the first time, the latest player from the Premier League club to be rewarded with an international call-up in the last year.

Officials say top militant killed in Egypt's Sinai

EL-ARISH, Egypt (AP) — Senior military officials in Egypt say soldiers have killed a top militant in the Sinai Peninsula amid clashes.

Royals warn paparazzo Prince George is off-bounds

Prince William and his wife Kate introduce Prince George to butterflies at the Natural History Museum in London London (AFP) - Prince William and his wife Kate have sent a legal warning letter to a photographer trying to take pictures of their son Prince George and his nanny, a spokesman said Thursday.


Banks boost equity, loan provisions in H1 ahead of ECB tests

The tower of the new European Central bank (ECB) (R) is pictured next to the former market hall 'Grossmarkthalle' at the site of the new ECB headquarters in Frankfurt By Laura Noonan LONDON (Reuters) - Attempts by the euro zone's 20 largest banks to anticipate the outcome of European Central Bank stress tests continued in earnest in the first half, as lenders boosted equity levels and set aside more money for bad loans. Data compiled by Reuters shows the 20 listed banks increased equity by 4 percent, or 26 billion euros ($33 billion), in the period and put a similar amount into loan loss provisions ahead of the ECB ruling on whether banks must raise cash, or revalue assets. But vulnerabilities remain. ...


Wambach, players go to court over World Cup turf

FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2014, file photo United States' forward Abby Wambach (20) walks off the field following an international friendly game with Mexico, in Sandy, Utah. A group of elite players has filed a lawsuit in Canada challenging plans to play the 2015 Women's World Cup on artificial turf. The players, led by U.S. women's national team forward Abby Wambach, filed Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, in the human rights tribunal of Ontario next week, attorney Hampton Dellinger said. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) A lawyer says a group of the world's top women soccer players are "fully prepared to go forward zealously and aggressively in court" to force Canada to stage next year's World Cup on grass instead of artificial turf.


Nigeria's Boko Haram 'leader' appears in new video - AFP

ABUJA (Reuters) - A man claiming to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has appeared in a new video, contradicting Nigerian military reports that he was killed, French news agency AFP reported on Thursday. Screen grabs of the video, seen by Reuters, show a figure in boots and combat fatigues who looks similar to the man claiming to be Shekau in previous videos. "Here I am, alive. I will only die the day Allah takes my breath," he says in the northern Hausa language, reported the news agency, which normally receives Boko Haram tapes first, before they are distributed online. ...

Catalan leader treads legal tightrope for independence

A boy wearing Lionel Messi's jersey sits on the shoulders of a relative as Catalans holding independentist flags (Estelada) gather on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes during celebrations of Catalonia National Day (Diada) in Barcelona on Sept 11, 2014 Madrid (AFP) - Catalonia's leader Artur Mas is walking a legal tightrope as street protesters and political allies urge him to defy the courts by holding a vote on independence from Spain.


Boeing to raise monthly production of 737 planes to 52 in 2018

The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago (Reuters) - Boeing Co said it would raise monthly production of 737 commercial aircraft to 52 in 2018 from 42 currently to meet strong demand from customers worldwide. After the increase, annual production of 737 aircraft is expected to rise to an all-time high of more than 620, Boeing said in a statement. Boeing had earlier said it would raise monthly production of 737 jets to 47 in 2017. (Reporting by Ashutosh Pandey in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)


Iraqi forces clash with IS group over small town

BAGHDAD (AP) — A military spokesman says fierce clashes are underway between Iraqi forces and extremists from the Islamic State group in and around a small western town.

Putin says 'foolish' sanctions will not hold back Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the presidential council at the Kremlin in Moscow By Darya Korsunskaya MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin dismissed Western sanctions as "utter foolishness" on Thursday and said they would not stop Russia developing into a stronger economic power. Attempting to take the higher ground in a speech to foreign and Russian investors, Putin said he was relaxed about the measures imposed on his country over Ukraine even though they had broken the fundamental principles of the global economy. ...


Libyan soldiers killed in Benghazi attacks

By Ayman al-Warfalli BENGHAZI Libya (Reuters) - Up to 12 Libyan soldiers were killed and 60 wounded in a double suicide bombing and clashes in the port city of Benghazi on Thursday, medics said. Four people were also killed in a separate attack by suspected Islamists on an army checkpoint in Qubah, east of Benghazi, hospital officials said. Libya is being racked by violence as the armed groups which helped topple Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 turn their guns on each other in a struggle for the country's vast oil resources and political domination. ...

Get a refurbished Xbox 360 E (4GB) for $89.99

Microsoft Never mind that it's a refurb -- it comes with all the usual accessories and a full one-year warranty.>


Waze to share traffic data with governments

Waze to share traffic data with governments A new plan called "Connected Citizens" will give real-time anonymized crowdsourced traffic data to government departments.>


Lamborghini debuts 910 horsepower Asterion plug-in hybrid

Lamborghini debuts 910 horsepower Asterion plug-in hybrid Lambo wants in on the new wave of hybrid supercars, so it's brought the 910-horsepower Asterion concept to the 2014 Paris Motor Show.>


Islamic State presses assault on Syrian border town, Kurds warn Turkey

People gather at the site of a car bomb attack in a Shi'ite neighbourhood of New Baghdad in southeastern Baghdad By Ayla Jean Yackley and Alexander Dziadosz SURUC Turkey/BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamic State insurgents tightened their grip on a Syrian border town on Thursday despite coalition air strikes meant to weaken them, sending thousands more Kurdish refugees into Turkey and dragging Ankara deeper into the conflict. Kurdish militants warned that peace talks with the Turkish state would come to an end if the Islamist insurgents were allowed to carry out a massacre in the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobani, pressuring Ankara to act. ...


Islamic State committing 'staggering' crimes in Iraq: U.N. report

Islamic State flags flutter on the Mullah Abdullah bridge in Kirkuk By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - Islamic State insurgents in Iraq have carried out mass executions, abducted women and girls as sex slaves, and used child soldiers in what may amount to systematic war crimes that demand prosecution, the United Nations said on Thursday. In a report based on 500 interviews with witnesses, also said Iraqi government air strikes on the Sunni Muslim militants had caused "significant civilian deaths" by hitting villages, a school and hospitals in violation of international law. ...


Netflix to bankroll and premiere four Adam Sandler movies

Actor Adam Sandler celebrates his Kids' Choice Awards in March 2014. The "Happy Gilmore" and "Billy Madison" star will bypass theatres to appear online first.>


Daimler cuts car market forecast as Europe wobbles

A worker assembles a Mercedes-Benz C-class model at their plant in Sindelfingen near Stuttgart By Edward Taylor and Laurence Frost PARIS (Reuters) - German luxury automaker Daimler has cut its growth forecast for the global car market, blaming cooler demand in emerging markets and a plunge in Russian sales which has put a fledgling European industry recovery in jeopardy. Speaking as the Paris auto show opened to the media on Thursday, Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche said he now expected the global car market to grow by 3-4 percent this year, down from a previous forecast of 4-5 percent. ...


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