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Disappointment, uncertainty after India blocks WTO trade deal

WTO Director-General Azevedo gestures during a news conference on world trade in 2013 and prospect for 2014 in Geneva By Matt Siegel and Tom Miles SYDNEY/GENEVA (Reuters) - Several member states of the World Trade Organisation voiced frustration after India's demands for concessions on agricultural stockpiling led to the collapse of the first major global trade reform pact in two decades. WTO ministers had already agreed the global reform of customs procedures known as "trade facilitation" in Bali, Indonesia, last December, but were unable to overcome last minute Indian objections and get it into the WTO rule book by the July 31 deadline. "We have not been able to find a solution that would allow us to bridge that gap," WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo told trade diplomats in Geneva, just two hours before the final deadline for a deal lapsed at midnight (2200 GMT Thursday). Most diplomats had expected the pact to be rubber-stamped this week, marking a unique success in the WTO's 19-year history which according to some estimates would add $1 trillion and 21 million jobs to the world economy.


Japan offers vessels to Vietnam to boost its sea strength

Japan's Foreign Minister Kishida and Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung speak under statue of late Vietnamese revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh at the Government Office in Hanoi By Martin Petty HANOI (Reuters) - Japan will give six navy boats to Vietnam to boost its patrols and surveillance in the South China Sea, Japan's foreign minister said on Friday, in the latest sign of a strengthening of alliances between states locked in maritime rows with China. The deal represents a notable shift in the two countries' close diplomatic and investment ties towards defense, a move likely to irk an increasingly assertive China that is pressing hard on claims to nine-tenths of the potentially energy-rich sea, and worrying much of the region. "International security is getting more complicated... prosperity only comes with stability in the South China Sea and the East China Sea," Kishada told a news conference in Hanoi. "I hope this equipment will strengthen the ability of Vietnam's coastal enforcement authorities." Vietnam enjoys tight business ties with Japan, its biggest investor, but relations with Hanoi's largest trade partner, China, are at their worst in three decades and analysts believe that has sharpened the debate within Vietnam's secretive Communist Party over long-term foreign policy strategy.


Britain to map 100,000 DNA code sequences

Scientists will sequence the genetic codes of about 75,000 patients with cancer and rare diseases British scientists are to map 100,000 complete DNA code sequences in a project that will make the country a world leader in genetic research on cancer and rare diseases, the prime minister said on Friday. David Cameron announced £300 million ($507 million, 378 million euros) in deals to fund the mapping project, predicted to be complete by 2017. The project will sequence the genetic codes of about 75,000 patients with cancer and rare diseases, and those of their close relatives. Both the healthy and the tumour cells of the cancer patients will be mapped, meaning about 100,000 will be sequenced in total.


3-day Gaza cease-fire goes into effect

Gaza City, northern Gaza Strip, is seen shortly before the start of a proposed cease-fire, Friday, Aug 1, 2014. Palestinian officials say more than 15 Palestinians were killed in Israeli strikes ahead of the planned three-day cease-fire in the Gaza war. The cease-fire was to take effect at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday, under a deal brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Nations. During the lull, Egypt is to host indirect talks between Israel and Hamas in Cairo on a more durable truce. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israel and Hamas began observing a three-day Gaza cease-fire on Friday as diplomats worked to broker a lasting truce in a 25-day-old war that has killed more than 1,450 Palestinians, mainly civilians, and more than 60 Israelis, nearly all soldiers.


Algerian capital hit by 5.5 quake, no reports of damage

A magnitude 5.5 earthquake hit southeast of the Algerian capital on Friday, shaking buildings and sending panicked families rushing into the streets of Algiers and nearby towns, witnesses and officials said. The United States Geological Survey said the quake had struck nine miles (14 km) southeast of Algiers and its epicentre was recorded at a relatively shallow depth of 6.2 miles. In 2003, Algeria's strongest earthquake in years - measuring 6.7 - struck the capital and surrounding areas, killing at least 2,000 people and crumbling buildings in the nearby towns of Bourmerdes and Rouiba.

Gas blast in Taiwan kills 25, injures 267, topples buildings

Wreckage of a damaged car is pictured after an explosion in Kaohsiung A series of explosions caused by a gas leak killed 25 people and injured 267 in Taiwan's second city on Friday, sending flames shooting 15 storeys into the air, setting ablaze entire blocks and reducing small shops to rubble. Rescue authorities said police and soldiers had been drafted in to help firefighters after the midnight explosion and blaze gutted a district in the port city of Kaohsiung packed with shops and apartment buildings. Four firefighters were among the dead. President Ma Ying-jeou pledged tough measures to prevent any recurrence of the incident.


Firefighters battle blaze at Yorkshire coal power station

Firefighters douse a blaze at Ferrybridge Power Station in West Yorkshire on July 31, 2014 Firefighters fought back a large fire at a coal power plant in northern England on Thursday. A total of 15 fire crews battled the blaze, which sent thick smoke and flames high into the sky over the Ferrybridge Power Station near Knottingley, West Yorkshire. The National Grid said the fire had not affected electricity supply because the plant was shut down for the summer season. "West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has indicated the fire is now being brought under control," SSE said in a statement.


Syrian refugee women face sexual exploitation

In this July 14, 2014 photo, Syrian refugee Umm Jamil looks on at her house in Halba town, northern Lebanon. Jamil, who takes care of her 19-year-old disabled son, said she was falsely accused of prostitution after Lebanese police confused her for another suspected prostitute in her building. Her brief detention left her feeling humiliated and wanting to leave Lebanon, where she said Syrian women are often seen as being sexually promiscuous. (AP Photo/Diaa Hadid) TEL EL-HAYAT, Lebanon (AP) — The Syrian refugee woman huddled in the latest room she calls home, a peeling, run-down place outside a north Lebanese village. The mother of six doesn't know how she'll pay the rent. She's gotten by over the past year by taking a series of lovers who would pay for her housing.


Top Asian News at 7:00 a.m. GMT

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Japan will provide Vietnam with six vessels as part of a grant aid package that will boost Hanoi's maritime security patrol capacity at a time the country is locked in a territorial standoff with China in the South China Sea. The deal announced Friday for the six used vessels worth 500 million Yen ($5 million) was signed by Vietnam's Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who is on a two-day visit for a cooperation conference.

Gas blasts kill 25, injure 267 in Taiwanese port

Vehicles are left lie in a destroyed street following multiple explosions from an underground gas leak in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, early Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. A massive gas leakage early Friday caused five explosions that killed scores of people and injured over 200 in the southern Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung. (AP Photo) TAIWAN OUT KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan (AP) — At least 25 people were killed and 267 injured when underground gas explosions ripped through Taiwan's second-largest city, hurling concrete and cars through the air and blasting long trenches in the streets, authorities said Friday, as they searched for the cause.


Your Top Plays for Today

FILE - In this July 25, 2014 file photo, Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price delivers to the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of a baseball game in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Detroit Tigers added another Cy Young Award winner to their star-studded rotation, acquiring Price from Tampa Bay in a blockbuster deal Thursday, July 31, 2014. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File) Your Top Plays for Today: AP's Sports Guide


Sierra Leone declares emergency as Ebola death toll hits 729

Sierra Leone's President Bai Koroma attends a meeting of ECOWAS in Yamoussoukro By Umaru Fofana FREETOWN (Reuters) - Sierra Leone has declared a state of emergency and called in troops to quarantine Ebola victims, joining neighboring Liberia in imposing controls as the death toll from the outbreak of the virus hit 729 in West Africa. The World Health Organisation said it would launch a $100 million response plan on Friday during a meeting with the affected nations in Guinea. The WHO on Thursday reported 57 new deaths in the four days to July 27 in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, raising the death toll to 729. It said the number of Ebola cases had topped 1,300.


Israel, Palestinian militant groups begin three-day Gaza truce

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announces a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, while in New Delhi By Nidal al-Mughrabi GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A three-day ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip went into effect on Friday and appeared to be holding, with negotiators due to travel to Cairo to discuss a longer-term solution. The 72-hour break announced in a joint statement by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was the most ambitious attempt so far to end more than three weeks of fighting, and followed mounting international alarm over a rising Palestinian civilian death toll. After the truce began at 1 a.m. EDT (0500 GMT), Gaza's streets began to fill with Palestinian families. In Israel, sirens that have sent tens of thousands running for shelter daily fell silent.


RBS warns of material impact from Scottish independence

The logo of the Royal Bank of Scotland is seen at an office in London Royal Bank of Scotland said on Friday that a vote by Scotland to become independent from the rest of the United Kingdom could significantly increase its costs and have a material impact on its business. RBS, which is 81 percent-owned by the British government, said earlier in the year that it was considering its options should Scots vote to end the 307-year union. The bank has been careful not to enter the political debate over Scottish independence, repeatedly saying that the matter is one for the Scottish people to decide.


Separatists inflict new losses on army in east Ukraine

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian television said on Friday 20 servicemen had been killed in an attack by pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine during the night, but a military source said the death toll was likely to be lower. Military officials said a paratrooper unit had come under mortar and tank fire near the town of Shakhtarsk, in the region where a Malaysian airliner was brought down on July 17, and the number of casualties was being checked. Channel 112 gave no details but said in a morning news bulletin: "Twenty Ukrainian paratroopers were killed in a Grad missile attack near Shakhtarsk. ...

Macau casino revenue falls for 2nd straight month

HONG KONG (AP) — Casino revenue in the global gambling mecca of Macau fell for a second straight month in July as Chinese high rollers stayed away because of Beijing's corruption crackdown.

Steelmaker ArcelorMittal sees US, Europe improving

AMSTERDAM (AP) — ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, says it swung to a profit in the second quarter on higher steel shipments and better margins, and it sees improving markets in the United States and Europe.

Steelmaker ArcelorMittal sees US, Europe improving

AMSTERDAM (AP) — ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, says it swung to a profit in the second quarter on higher steel shipments and better margins, and it sees improving markets in the United States and Europe.

Top Asian News at 6:30 a.m. GMT

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Japan will provide Vietnam with six vessels as part of a grant aid package that will boost Hanoi's maritime security patrol capacity at a time the country is locked in a territorial standoff with China in the South China Sea. The deal announced Friday for the six used vessels worth 500 million Yen ($5 million) was signed by Vietnam's Minister of Planning and Investment Bui Quang Vinh and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, who is on a two-day visit for a cooperation conference.

Diaries of British war poet Siegfried Sassoon published online

Images of WWI soldiers are projected onto a recreated trench during a photocall to launch the Imperial War Museum's new First World War Galleries Atrium in London, on July 16, 2014 The war diaries of British poet Siegfried Sassoon have been published online for the first time, revealing early drafts and unpuplished material caked with mud from the trenches. In scrawled ink now almost a century old in places, the booklets are filled with names and addresses, scribbled drawings and notes, draft poetry and diary entries of Sassoon's life as he went to war.


Asia stocks sideswiped by Wall Street, but China motors on

A man looks at electronic boards outside a brokerage in Tokyo By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian shares were mostly under water on Friday after a sudden slump on Wall Street spilled over globally, though a surprisingly strong pick up in manufacturing helped Chinese markets hold at seven-month highs. In a promising omen for world growth China's official measure of industrial activity (PMI) rose to 51.7 in July from 51.0 in June, beating forecasts of 51.4 and the highest in 27 months. All of which helped China's stock markets top up the week's hefty gains. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was off 1 percent.


Japan provides Vietnam with 6 vessels

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, left, shakes hands with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh, right, as they pose for photos before their talks behind closed doors in Hanoi, Vietnam on Friday August 1, 2014. Japan said it will provide Vietnam six vessels as part of a grant aid package that will boost Hanoi’s maritime security patrol capacity at a time the country is locked in a territorial standoff with China in the South China Sea. (AP Photo/Tran Van Minh) HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Japan will provide Vietnam with six vessels as part of a grant aid package that will boost Hanoi's maritime security patrol capacity at a time the country is locked in a territorial standoff with China in the South China Sea.


Japan names islets in disputed area, around nation

FILE - In this Oct. 13, 2011 file photo, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force P-3C Orion surveillance plane flies over the disputed islands, called the Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China, in the East China Sea. Japan says it will give names to five uninhabited islands as part of a group in the East China Sea, Friday Aug. 1, 2014, a move likely to spark anger from other claimants China and Taiwan. (AP Photo/Kyodo News, File) JAPAN OUT, CREDIT MANDATORY TOKYO (AP) — Japan said Friday that it will name five uninhabited islands as part of a group in the East China Sea, a move likely to spark anger from other claimants China and Taiwan.


Israel, Gaza militants start 72-hour ceasefire

An Israeli artillery gun fires a 155 mm shell towards targets in the Gaza Strip from their position near Israel's border with the Gaza Strip on July 31, 2014 A 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Gaza militants went into effect Friday, as a diplomatic push for a more durable end to almost four weeks of bloodshed gained pace. As the humanitarian truce began at 0500 GMT, the skies over the Gaza Strip fell silent, although in the preceeding two hours there was heavy Israeli fire and the sound of outgoing rockets. Earlier, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that once the ceasefire was under way, Israeli and Palestinian representatives, including from Hamas, would begin more durable truce talks in Cairo, in a move confirmed by Egypt. As the truce took hold, Gaza doctor Belal al-Dabour tweeted: "This ceasefire should give us a glimpse on our life for the coming months after Israel destroyed everything.


GM boosted June sales with discounts to dealers

FILE - In this May 13, 2014 file photo, an auto worker inspects finished SUVs coming off the assembly line at the General Motors auto plant in Arlington, Texas. As General Motors tackles a safety crisis, a look at its numbers from June show just how intent the company is on keeping new-car sales on the rise during a record spate of safety recalls. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File) As General Motors prepares to report monthly sales results on Friday, a look its numbers from June show just how intent the company is on keeping new-car sales on the rise during a record spate of safety recalls.


BOJ's Kuroda defends upbeat economic view despite soft data

Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda attends a news conference at the BOJ headquarters in Tokyo By Leika Kihara and Stanley White TOKYO (Reuters) - Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda came out fighting on Friday, giving a spirited defence of the economy's performance after a run of weak data, and reiterated his readiness to expand stimulus if inflation faltered on the path to his 2 percent target rate. "The BOJ is not aiming at achieving the price stability target of 2 percent temporarily. "I would like to emphasize that...given the BOJ's clear and strong commitment to the 2 percent inflation target, it is a matter of course the BOJ will make adjustments if necessary to ensure the target is met," he said at a seminar. He stressed that the BOJ will vigilantly monitor how a decline in real income affects consumer spending.


Interfaith house of prayer to be built in Berlin

In this Friday, July 4, 2014 photo, the ground of the planned prayer and educational building House of One, is seen in Berlin. House of One will house a Jewish synagogue, a Christian church and a mosque. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) BERLIN (AP) — A rabbi, an imam and a priest start praying together under the same roof. It may sound like the start of a joke, but hopes are high it will become reality in Berlin.


Asia stocks dip on Dow drop, China data cuts loss

FILE - This April 22, 2010, file photo, shows a Wall Street sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks slumped Thursday, July 31, 2014, as investors reacted to disappointing corporate earnings reports and assessed the implications of the approaching end to economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) HONG KONG (AP) — Most Asian stock markets dipped on Friday following a big sell-off on Wall Street but losses were limited by optimistic reports on China's economy.


Asia stocks dip on Dow drop, China data cuts loss

FILE - This April 22, 2010, file photo, shows a Wall Street sign in front of the New York Stock Exchange. U.S. stocks slumped Thursday, July 31, 2014, as investors reacted to disappointing corporate earnings reports and assessed the implications of the approaching end to economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) HONG KONG (AP) — Most Asian stock markets dipped on Friday following a big sell-off on Wall Street but losses were limited by optimistic reports on China's economy.


Top Asian News at 5:30 a.m. GMT

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan (AP) — At least 24 people were killed and 271 injured when several underground gas explosions ripped through Taiwan's second-largest city, hurling concrete and cars through the air and blasting trenches in the streets, authorities said Friday, as a search for the cause began. The series of explosions about midnight Thursday and early Friday struck a densely populated district where several petrochemical companies operate pipelines alongside the sewer system in Kaohsiung, a southwestern port with 2.8 million people.

Senate confirms US ambassador to Russia

John Tefft of Va., arrives to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, to be the new U.S. Ambassador to Russia. President Barack Obama's earlier announcement that he is tapping Tefft for the high-profile diplomatic post comes amid a crucial period in U.S.-Russia relations, which have been severely tested over President Vladimir Putin's actions in neighboring Ukraine, among other issues. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has been without an ambassador since February. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) WASHINGTON (AP) — After a period in limbo with a slew of other nominees to be U.S. diplomats around the world, John Tefft gained Senate confirmation as America's new envoy to Russia.


Gaza 72-hour ceasefire period begins

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A 72-hour Gaza ceasefire period began on Friday, the most ambitious attempt so far to end more than three weeks of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Hamas Islamist-dominated enclave. The humanitarian truce, brokered by the United Nations and the United States, went into effect at 1 a.m. EDT (0500 GMT), and was to be lead to talks in Egypt on a longer-term solution. (Writing by Ori Lewis,; Editing by Jeffrey Heller)

China's factories spring to life as global trade reawakens

Workers look at machines moving newly made raw bricks at a factory in Huaibei By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Activity in China's vast factory sector expanded at the fastest pace in 27 months in July, while industry surveys across Asia showed a pick up in export orders that hinted at a long-awaited revival in global trade. China's official manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) rose to 51.7 in July - the strongest since April 2012 and up from 51 in June, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday. The upbeat result was echoed in the HSBC/Markit China measure of manufacturing which climbed to an 18-month peak of 51.7, from June's 50.7. "Taken literally, these PMIs signal an exceptionally strong start for third quarter growth in China," said Annette Beacher, head of Asia-Pacific research at TD Securities in Singapore.


Pospisil dumps Berdych, Raonic wins in Washington

Canada's Vasek Pospisil returns a shot to Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych during their Washington Open match on July 31, 2014 Washington (AFP) - Czech top seed Tomas Berdych was ousted from the ATP and WTA Washington Open, falling 6-2, 6-4 to Canada's Vasek Pospisil in a third-round match.


U.S. auto sales party seen increasingly dependent on easy money

A man walks past a row of General Motors vehicles at a Chevrolet dealership on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan By Bernie Woodall, Ben Klayman and Paul Lienert DETROIT (Reuters) - The U.S. auto industry hasn’t appeared so healthy for years. They argue that a combination of cheap loans with extended terms, deep incentives from some dealers, and unsustainably high values for used cars, is making it far too easy for many Americans to buy new vehicles. Among those seeing a glass half empty is Morgan Stanley auto analyst Adam Jonas who says we may be heading towards what he terms “peak auto.” Jonas, one of the industry's top analysts based on Institutional Investor's 2013 annual rankings, says that cheap and extended loan terms and inflated residual values on leases are making it far too easy for many Americans to buy new vehicles. We’re in uncharted territory right now.” When figures for July auto sales are released on Friday, growth is expected to show a slight dip to a 16.7 million annualized rate from 17 million in June, according to economists polled by Thomson Reuters.


U.S. job growth seen slowing, but remaining solid in July

Workers work on installing the motherboard to a 32-inch TV at Element Electronics in Winnsboro By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. job growth likely cooled a bit in July, but retained enough momentum to suggest the economy remained on solid ground. Still, it would mark the sixth straight month that employment has expanded by more than 200,000 jobs, a stretch last seen in 1997. The unemployment rate likely held at a six year-low of 6.1 percent, but could surprise on the downside after surveys showed Americans becoming more upbeat about jobs. "As long as we have job growth going in the right direction and the labor market tightening up, we are still in a good place," said Robert Dye, chief economist at Comerica in Dallas The economy grew at a 4.0 percent annual pace in the second quarter after shrinking at a 2.1 percent rate in the first three months of year.


Top Asian News at 5:00 a.m. GMT

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan (AP) — At least 24 people were killed and 271 injured when several underground gas explosions ripped through Taiwan's second-largest city, hurling concrete and cars through the air and blasting trenches in the streets, authorities said Friday, as a search for the cause began. The series of explosions about midnight Thursday and early Friday struck a densely populated district where several petrochemical companies operate pipelines alongside the sewer system in Kaohsiung, a southwestern port with 2.8 million people.

Three-day Gaza cease-fire goes into effect after heavy Israel-Hamas fighting

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Three-day Gaza cease-fire goes into effect after heavy Israel-Hamas fighting.

Death toll in Indonesia boat accidents up to 34

Rescuers evacuate a victim of a boat sinking in the Kapuas river that left a number of people dead in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, Thursday, July. 31,2014. It was one of two fatal boat accidents in three days related to celebrations of Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, the time of the year when millions of Muslims across the country travel to their hometowns to celebrate the festivity with their families. (AP Photo) JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Rescuers in Indonesia recovered more bodies after vessels carrying villagers to celebrations of a Muslim holiday capsized in two separate rivers, raising the death toll to 34, officials said Friday.


Leishman leads WGC Bridgestone, Woods four adrift

Marc Leishman of Australia hits off the seventh tee during the first round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club South Course on July 31, 2014 in Akron, Ohio Australia's Marc Leishman fired a six-under par 64 to seize a one-stroke lead in the Bridgestone Invitational with defending champion Tiger Woods four shots back. Leishman had eight birdies and two bogeys at Firestone Country Club and was one stroke in front of England's Justin Rose, South African Charl Schwartzel and American Ryan Moore. It makes this course a lot easier when you're on the fairway," said Leishman, who had top-10 finishes at the US PGA Tour's National and the British Open. Rose, the 2013 US Open champion who turned 34 on Wednesday, had five birdies in his five-under 65.


Google says 'forgetting' isn't easy, as requests mount

Google told European officials that forgetting isn't easy, especially when details are few and guidelines are murky regarding when personal privacy trumps public interest Google told European officials that forgetting isn't easy, especially when details are few and guidelines are murky regarding when personal privacy trumps public interest. The world's leading Internet search engine said that as of July 18 it had received more than 91,000 requests to delete a combined total of 328,000 links under Europe's "right to be forgotten" ruling. The most requests came from France and Germany, with approximately 17,500 and 16,500 respectively, according to a copy of a letter Google global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer sent to an EU data protection committee. Another 12,000 removal requests came from Britain, 8,000 from Spain, and 7,500 from Italy.


Gas blasts kill 24, injure 271 in Taiwanese port

Vehicles are left lie in a destroyed street following multiple explosions from an underground gas leak in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, early Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. A massive gas leakage early Friday caused five explosions that killed scores of people and injured over 200 in the southern Taiwan port city of Kaohsiung. (AP Photo) TAIWAN OUT KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan (AP) — At least 24 people were killed and 271 injured when several underground gas explosions ripped through Taiwan's second-largest city, hurling concrete and cars through the air and blasting trenches in the streets, authorities said Friday, as a search for the cause began.


China's Xi pledges hard strike against military corruption

Soldiers of People's Liberation Army stand in front of a tank in a drill during a organized media tour at a PLA engineering school in Beijing Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to strike hard against graft in the military, urging soldiers to banish corrupt practices and ensure their loyalty to the ruling Communist Party, state media reported on Friday. The vow to punish graft in the military came only days after the Communist Party began an investigation into former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, by far the highest-profile figure caught up in Xi's corruption crackdown. Xi said troops should remember where their priorities lie, the official PLA Daily reported. His remarks were made during a visit to a military base in the southeastern province of Fujian on Thursday to mark the 87th birthday of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).


International probe to begin at MH17 crash site in Ukraine

International experts will attempt Friday to begin a stalled investigation at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as Ukrainian forces threaten to resume their offensive against pro-Russian rebels after a one-day halt. The international probe into the downing of flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine inched forward on Thursday as experts risked attack to reach the site for the first time in nearly a week after Kiev announced a halt to its military offensive. A small team of Dutch and Australian experts accompanied by international monitors accessed the vast site of the Malaysia Airlines jet after days of fierce fighting between government forces and rebels had stopped them reaching the area. Dutch police heading up the international probe said the situation around the crash site remained perilous despite the small team managing to access the scene.

Top Asian News at 4:30 a.m. GMT

KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan (AP) — At least 24 people were killed and 271 injured when several underground gas explosions ripped through Taiwan's second-largest city, hurling concrete and cars through the air and blasting trenches in the streets, authorities said Friday, as a search for the cause began. The series of explosions about midnight Thursday and early Friday struck a densely populated district where several petrochemical plans operate pipelines alongside the sewer system in Kaohsiung, a southwestern port with 2.8 million people.

China PMIs jump to multi-month highs in July, add to view economy is steadying

Workers install the chassis along a production line at a truck factory of Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co. Ltd (JAC Motors) in Hefei By Koh Gui Qing BEIJING (Reuters) - China's factories posted their strongest growth in at least 1-1/2 years in July as new orders surged to multi-month highs, two surveys showed on Friday, cementing bets that the economy is re-gaining momentum after a spate of stimulus measures. Now that looser monetary policy is having its intended effect, some analysts questioned the need for more economic stimulus in China, at least in the near term. "There is no reason in China to be concerned about growth right now," said Julian Evans-Pritchard, an economist at Capital Economics. Worried by a slowdown in the economy in the first quarter, China began easing policy in April by cutting taxes, hastening investment, and lowering the reserve requirement for some banks.


Argentine markets fall post-default, New York hearing on Friday

A woman walks past a graffiti in Buenos Aires By Sarah Marsh and Richard Lough BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's bond and stock markets and peso currency dropped on Thursday after Latin America's No. 3 economy defaulted for the second time in 12 years following the collapse of last-ditch talks with holdout creditors. The default came after Argentina failed to strike a deal with lead holdout investors NML Capital Ltd, an affiliate of Elliott Management Corp and Aurelius Capital Management, in time for a midnight Wednesday EDT (0400 GMT) payment deadline. "Those who expect us to sign any old thing, threatening us that the world will come to an end otherwise, should not count on me," Argentine President Cristina Fernandez said in her first comments since the default. The government maintains it has not defaulted because it made a required interest payment on one of its bonds due 2033, but U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa in Manhattan blocked that deposit in June, saying it violated his ruling.


U.S. warns against traveling to Ebola-hit countries

U.S. health officials are warning Americans not to travel to the three African countries hit by an outbreak of Ebola.

Default fuels uncertainty, stock drop in Argentina

An office worker looks at a man sleeping inside the basket he uses to collect cardboard for recycling, at the financial district in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Thursday, July 31, 2014. The collapse of talks with U.S. creditors sent Argentina into its second debt default in 13 years and raised questions about what comes next for financial markets and the South American nation's staggering economy. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd) BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina entered economic limbo Thursday, forced into a default that could undermine an already frail economy if a dispute with U.S. creditors is not resolved soon.


Congress votes final passage on highway bill

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio defends the work of the GOP during a brief news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 31, 2014, as Congress prepares to leave for a five-week summer recess. The institutional split of a Republican-led House and Democratic-controlled Senate has added up to inaction, especially in a midterm election year with control of the Senate at stake. Lawmakers have struggled to compromise on a handful of bills to deal with the nation's pressing problems amid overwhelming partisanship. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress gave final approval Thursday to a $10.8 billion bill to keep federal highway funds flowing to states through the summer construction season and the fall elections.


Microsoft Store Camping World