Source Match International News
Savar (Bangladesh) (AFP) - She was the miracle seamstress, plucked from the rubble of the world's worst garment factory disaster 17 days after the building collapse. The case of Reshma Akhter, 19, was a rare bright spot in the Rana Plaza catastrophe on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on April 24 last year that left 1,138 dead and more than 2,000 injured. But she married her boyfriend in a simple ceremony in her village in northern Bangladesh in February and is enjoying a new job in a hotel run by the international chain Westin, which approached her after her ordeal. This is completely the opposite of the work of a garment factory.
PETAH TIKVA, Israel (AP) — When the Israeli women's soccer team Hapoel Petah Tikva lost a number of its players to Israel's national team ahead of World Cup qualifiers, founder Rafi Subra made a decision that sets the team apart from many of its rivals — he recruited from the Arab villages of northern Israel.
TOKYO (AP) — Accusing Russia of failing to live up to its commitments, President Barack Obama warned Moscow on Thursday that the United States has another round of economic sanctions "teed up" — even as he acknowledged those penalties may do little to influence Vladimir Putin's handling of the crisis in Ukraine.
The Nepal government held talks with grieving and angry sherpas on Mount Everest Thursday to try to end a deepening crisis on the world's highest peak after an avalanche killed 16 of their colleagues. As the talks got underway at Everest base camp over a sherpa threat to boycott the climbing season, three more mountaineering companies scrapped plans to scale the peak, citing safety concerns and fears of violence. "Our staff at base camp tell us the meeting between the guides and government officials has started, the discussions are on," said district police chief Badri Bikram Thapa.
Some parents of the mostly teenage victims of South Korea's ferry disaster are pushing for autopsies that might show their children were alive inside the submerged vessel and only died because the emergency response was so slow. "They want to know for certain how their family members died," Kim said.
By Ed Stoddard JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Marathon talks aimed at ending a crippling three-month strike in South Africa's platinum sector were to resume on Thursday after the world's top producers and union AMCU spent two days haggling over an offer tabled last week by the companies. The strike is already the longest and most costly in living memory for South Africa's mines, though there has been a renewed drive to break the deadlock in recent days after several weeks with no formal direct talks between the two sides. The talks involve the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) leadership and chief executives from Anglo American Platinum, Impala Platinum and Lonmin. There is "potential for further downside revisions from the ongoing industrial action," the unit of global mining house Anglo American said in a trading update.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The captors of an American soldier held for nearly five years in Afghanistan have signaled a willingness to release him but are unclear which U.S. government officials have the authority to make a deal, according to two individuals in the military working for his release. Critics of the release effort blame disorganization and poor communication among the numerous federal agencies involved.
British police reached out to Muslim women on Thursday in an attempt to prevent young people going to fight in Syria, after a sharp rise in arrests related to the conflict. Counter-terrorism officials launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the risks of travelling to Syria, especially for those who just want to offer humanitarian aid. The campaign was prompted by an increase in the number of Britons caught travelling or returning from Syria, from 25 arrests last year to 40 in the first three months of 2014. Only last week, a father from Brighton, Abubaker Deghayes, revealed that three of his sons had gone to fight in Syria, one of whom was killed in a battle.
Camilla, wife of Britain's Prince Charles, has been left "utterly devastated" after her brother died in an accident during a night out in New York, Clarence House said. Environmental campaigner Mark Shand, 62, fell and hit his head on the pavement outside the Rose Bar at Manhattan's Gramercy Park Hotel late Tuesday after attending a charity event. "It is with deep sadness that we have to confirm that the Duchess of Cornwall's brother, Mark Shand, has today passed away in New York," said a spokesman for Clarence House, Charles's official office, on Wednesday. "Mr Shand died in hospital as a result of a serious head injury which he sustained during a fall last night.
By Noriyuki Hirata TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's most powerful business lobby, Keidanren, plans to introduce corporate governance rules that will require better disclosure, a person familiar with the matter said, but they will stop short of bolder reforms sought by many investors. The lobby, whose member firms include most of Japan Inc's biggest names such as Canon Inc and Nippon Steel , will launch a study group later this year with an eye to announcing the new guidelines in 2016, the person said. The Keidanren's rules will not require independent directors or any particular governance structure, reflecting its belief that such decisions should be left up to individual companies, the person familiar with the matter said. But they will demand companies give a detailed explanation on a set of important matters, such as why it has or has not employed independent directors or adopted a company with a committee governance structure, the person said.
Israel's security cabinet was to meet on Thursday morning to weigh its response to a unity deal struck between the Palestinian leadership and the Hamas rulers of Gaza. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted angrily to Wednesday's agreement between the rival factions accusing Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas of choosing "Hamas, not peace". They were not expected to order a complete halt to US-brokered peace talks with the Palestinians, however, despite the announcement by a Netanyahu aide of the cancellation of a scheduled meeting on Wednesday evening, the broadcaster said. Netanyahu's office described the deal between Abbas and Hamas, which opposes all peace talks with Israel, as "very serious".
ROME (AP) — Inside a chapel on the edges of Rome, a nun uses a key to open a wooden wall panel, revealing a hidden niche. Behind glass and stitched loosely to supporting backing hangs a relic of holy suffering: the bullet-pocked, bloodstained undershirt that John Paul II was wearing when a gunman shot him in the stomach in St. Peter's Square.
US President Barack Obama vowed Thursday to defend Japan if China attacks over a tense territorial dispute, but also urged Beijing to help stop North Korea from forging ahead with its "dangerous" nuclear programme. Obama described as "critically important" China's role in keeping its wayward ally in check after South Korea said heightened activity at the North's main nuclear test site could point to an imminent test -- its fourth.
India's opposition Bharatiya Janata Party was set to make gains in two big states in the south and east that began voting on Thursday in the sixth phase of a mammoth general election that could help it build a stable majority in parliament. A final set of opinion polls predicted a strong showing by the BJP and its allies in Tamil Nadu in the south and West Bengal in the east that could make it less dependent on the two women who rule those states and who have in the past proved to be fickle coalition partners. The Hindu nationalist-led opposition, led by prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, is riding a wave of public anger across India against the ruling Congress party over a slew of corruption scandals and a slowing economy. A little over 180 million people were registered to vote on Thursday in the sixth phase of the world's biggest election that will end on May 16 when votes are counted from across India.
By Amy Sawitta Lefevre BANGKOK (Reuters) - Alarmed by the prospect of bloodshed in Thailand as a six-month political crisis nears a critical juncture, former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has called for talks between the government and its foes, urging compromise to restore stability. The 49-year-old leader of Thailand's main opposition Democrat Party has joined street demonstrations in Bangkok aiming to force out Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and his party boycotted a February 2 election, which was nullified by a court in March after widespread disruption. My intention, this week, is to say that: isn't it time we all accept the reality that neither side can get its way, and even if it did, it couldn't bring long-lasting stability." The protests, which attracted more than 200,000 people at their height, have dwindled but hard-core demonstrators say they will continue to harass the government and disrupt any new election until Yingluck's government is toppled. Abhisit's comments were met with skepticism by the government.
By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Two giants of Roman Catholicism in the 20th century will become saints on Sunday at an unprecedented twin canonization that has aroused both joy and controversy in the 1.2 billion member Church. Pope John XXIII, who reigned from 1958 to 1963 and called the modernizing Second Vatican Council, and Pope John Paul II, who reigned for nearly 27 years before his death in 2005 and whose trips around the world made him the most visible pope in history, will be declared saints by Pope Francis. While John died half a century ago, critics say the canonization of John Paul - which sets a record for modern times of only nine years after his death - is too hasty. They also believe he was slow to grasp the seriousness of the sexual abuse crisis that emerged towards the end of his pontificate.
Canon Inc raised its full-year operating profit target by a slight 1.4 percent after strong sales of office copiers and printers in the first quarter. Canon, the world's biggest camera maker, said in its quarterly earnings statement it expects an operating profit of 365 billion yen ($3.56 billion) for the year to December 31, a slight increase from its previous forecast of 360 billion yen. Its office equipment sales rose 9.7 percent in the January-March quarter. Canon posted an 82.6 billion yen operating profit for the January-March quarter, a 51 percent increase on the year.
By Mark Felsenthal and Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama assured ally Japan on Thursday that Washington was committed to its defendefensece, including of tiny isles at the heart of a row with China, but denied he had drawn any new "red line" and urged peaceful dialogue over the islands. Obama also urged Japan to take "bold steps" to clinch a two-way trade pact seen as crucial to a broad regional agreement that is a central part of the U.S. leader's "pivot" of military, diplomatic and economic resources towards Asia and the Pacific. U.S. and Japanese trade negotiators failed to resolve differences in time for Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to shake hands on a deal at the summit, but the two leaders reported progress and ordered their teams to keep working.
By Hyunjoo Jin SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Hyundai Motor missed analyst estimates by posting first-quarter net profit that was almost identical to a year earlier, as lackluster U.S. performance offset increased sales in China and Korea. Shares of Hyundai fell over 2 percent after the automaker reported January-March net profit of 1.93 trillion won ($1.86 billion), compared with the 2.19 trillion won mean estimate of 13 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose 1 percent to 21.65 trillion won. As well as competing with rivals touting newer models, Hyundai also had to contend with a stronger won potentially making Hyundai's exports from Korea more expensive for overseas buyers.
By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Shares in tech heavyweights Apple and Facebook held hefty after-hours gains on Thursday as their results handily outpaced Wall Street expectations, though Asian markets managed only a mumbled cheer. The Nikkei slipped 0.97 percent with some investors apparently disappointed that a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama made no concrete progress on a trade deal. The gains come after Apple decided to buy back $30 billion of its shares through the end of 2015 and authorized a seven-for-one stock split. Apple reported sales of 43.7 million iPhones in the quarter ended March, far outpacing forecasts.
By James Topham and Niu Shuping TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) - Three employees at one of Marubeni Corp's grain trading units in China have been detained by authorities, the Japanese trading house said on Thursday, a move industry sources said was prompted by allegations of tax evasion on soy bean imports. The employees worked at a Chinese unit of Marubeni's Columbia Grain, Inc, a spokesman at Marubeni said, adding he did not know why they had been detained. Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga, said none of the detained staff at the unit were Japanese citizens. The detentions come amid a wave of soybean defaults in China, where a combination of poor crushing margins and difficulty getting credit has led to a spike in rejected cargoes.
By Luciana Lopez NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett, chairman of conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, said on Wednesday that safety is a major priority for the rail industry, after a recent spate of accidents raised concerns about how to transport oil safely. He added that the delay in the construction of the Keystone pipeline was unlikely to prompt additional purchases of tank cars at Berkshire railroad unit BNSF. COCA-COLA COMPENSATION PLAN Buffett also said, in an interview with CNBC the same day, that he thinks Coca-Cola's equity compensation plan was excessive, but that Berkshire Hathaway abstained in a shareholders vote. Earlier on Wednesday, Coca-Cola said 83 percent of shareholders approved the plan.
By James Pearson and Kahyun Yang SEOUL (Reuters) - A South Korean boy whose shaking voice first raised the alarm that an overloaded ferry with hundreds of children on board was sinking has been found drowned in the submerged wreckage of the vessel, his parents believe, the coastguard said on Thursday. More than 300 people, most of them students and teachers from the Danwon High School, are dead or missing presumed dead after the April 16 disaster. Of the 476 passengers and crew on board, 339 were children and teachers from the school in Ansan, a gritty suburb on the outskirts of Seoul, who were on an outing to Jeju. As the ferry began sinking, the crew told the children to stay in their cabins.
By Byron Kaye and Sonali Paul PERTH/MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Authorities ruled out any link between debris picked up on an Australian beach and a missing Malaysian jetliner on Thursday as a tropical cyclone again threatened to hamper a 26-nation air, surface and underwater search of the Indian Ocean. The debris, found on Wednesday on a beach at the southern tip of Western Australia state, was seen as the first lead since April 4 when authorities detected what they believed was a signal from the black box of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board. But it took Australian authorities less than a day to analyze detailed photographs of the beached debris, no description of which was given, and dismiss the possibility that it may be linked to the plane. "We're not seeing anything in this that would lead us to believe that it is from a Boeing aircraft," Australian Transport Safety Bureau commissioner Martin Dolan the Australian Broadcasting Corp. That puts the focus of the search, the most expensive in aviation history, back on U.S. Navy undersea drone Bluefin-21, which will soon finish scouring a 10 square kms (6.2 square mile) stretch of seabed where the acoustic pings were located.