Source Match International News
Health and agriculture development are key if African countries are to overcome poverty and grow, US software billionaire Bill Gates said Thursday, as he received an honourary degree in Ethiopia. "By getting things right in these two areas, the gains can be exceptional," Gates said, calling health and agriculture "enabling factors for all the other things that need to be done." "This Boko Haram disruption is the one real cloud on the horizon, where it means there are groups of children that we're not able to get to," he told reporters after receiving his award. Gates -- the world's richest man -- and his wife are the co-founders of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which tackles health and poverty in Africa.
Visa Inc, the world's largest credit and debit card company, cut its revenue forecast for the year, as growth in cross-border transactions slowed amid a strengthening of the U.S. dollar. Visa, which gets about 60 percent of its total transaction volume from outside the United States, cut its full-year revenue growth forecast to 9-10 percent from 10-11 percent. International transaction revenue rose less than 1 percent to $854 million in the latest quarter. Wedbush Securities Inc analyst Gil Luria said Visa's international transaction revenues was growing at the lowest rate since the financial crisis.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 300 passengers perish when their plane is shot out of the sky. Airlines suspend flights to Israel's largest airport after rocket attacks. An airliner crashes during a storm, and yet another disappears. Aviation has suffered one of its worst weeks in memory, a cluster of disasters spanning three continents.
By Daniel Bases NEW YORK (Reuters) - Representatives for holdout investors and Argentina in the country's ongoing debt default met for about three hours with a court-appointed mediator in New York on Thursday, less than a week before Argentina could once again default. Several members of Argentina's delegation left the Manhattan office of special appointee Daniel Pollack around 3:30 p.m. EDT but declined to comment on the talks. Edward Friedman, a lawyer for Aurelius Capital Management, one of two leading holdouts, emerged shortly after, also without commenting. Argentina faces its second default in 12 years if it fails to cut a deal with the hedge funds demanding full payment, instead of a reduced amount, for defaulted bonds.
Reuven Rivlin, who was sworn in on Thursday as Israel's 10th president, is a far-right hawk with a quirky sense of humour who is known as the guard-dog of democracy. Popular and affable, 74-year-old "Ruby" Rivlin was a veteran member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rightwing Likud party and a former parliament speaker. He has made no secret of his vision of a Greater Israel encompassing all the territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean. "Rivlin won't be the State of Israel's president, but Greater Israel's president," wrote commentator Ari Shavit in Haaretz newspaper about the largely ceremonial post.
By Patrick Markey and Aziz El Yaakoubi TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Heavy black smoke rose over southern Tripoli on Thursday after rival militias exchanged artillery and rocket fire in a battle over the Libyan capital's airport that has killed around 50 people in nearly a fortnight of fighting. Sporadic blasts echoed across the city since the morning in clashes that have deepened fears of post-war Libya becoming a failed state, with a fragile government unable to control heavily armed brigades battling for power. Fighting in the capital and the eastern city of Benghazi, its heaviest since the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, has led most international flights to Libya to be canceled and has prompted the United States to pull out embassy staff. Underscoring Libya's chaos, acting Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni said on Thursday that he was prevented by militias from flying from an airport outside Tripoli.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his horror at the attack on the school at Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza strip. I strongly condemn this act." Ban later arrived to Cairo where he was expected to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been working the telephones to try to broker an elusive truce. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said there was a chance the school had been hit by stray Hamas rockets. "It could be errant fire from the IDF or rockets landing from Gaza terrorists but we still don't know, there's still a question mark," he told Reuters TV.
KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two more military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster arrived in the Netherlands on Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash site which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels.
Australia's swimmers buried their 2012 Olympics flop by claiming two world records on the opening day of the Commonwealth Games which brought only misery for superstars Bradley Wiggins and Mo Farah. Their women's 4x100m freestyle relay squad set a new world record of 3min 30:98sec as they retained their Commonwealth Games title. Having already broken the Commonwealth Games record in the heats, the addition of 100m freestyle world champion Cate Campbell to the team of Bronte Campbell, Melanie Schlanger and Emma McKeon proved the difference as they shaved more than seven tenths of a second off the previous record held by the Netherlands.
Canada revealed on Thursday details of previously announced sanctions targeting Russia's arms, financial and energy sectors, over the downing of Flight MH17. "The measures we are announcing today include sanctions against a broad range of entities from Russia's arms industry, as well as from its financial and energy sectors," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in a statement. Armed Ukrainian separatist groups -- The Donetsk People's Republic and The Luhansk People's Republic -- as well as their leaders were also targeted by the latest round of sanctions. "These groups, with direct support from Russia, have engaged in egregious acts against the armed forces of Ukraine, international monitors deployed to the area, and the civilian population," Harper said.
By Deepa Seetharaman SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc posted a much larger-than-expected loss in the second quarter as it continues its rapid pace of investment in new businesses such as digital content and consumer electronics. Amazon's stock price has dropped 10 percent so far in 2014, with investors leery of betting on its long-term growth at the expense of little to no profit. Amazon is investing heavily in new businesses and hardware products, as it prepares to take on major tech rivals from Apple Inc and Google Inc to Netflix. Chief Financial Officer Tom Szkutak said Amazon had a "tremendous amount of opportunities" and its investments were "certainly impacting short-term results." The company is spending more than $100 million on original video content in the third quarter, a substantial increase compared to last year and the second quarter, Szkutak said.
The new jihadist rulers of Iraq's northern city of Mosul on Thursday completely levelled one its most well-known shrines, an official and witnesses told AFP. The Nabi Yunus shrine was built on the reputed burial site of a prophet known in the Koran as Yunus and in the Bible as Jonah. "Islamic State completely destroyed the shrine of Nabi Yunus after telling local families to stay away and closing the roads to a distance of 500 metres from the shrine," said the official at the Sunni endowment, which manages Sunni religious affairs in Iraq. The endowment official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, and Mosul residents told AFP it took the Sunni extremists an hour to rig the shrine with explosives.
The U.N. civil aviation body, ICAO, will meet in Montreal next week with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and other agencies to discuss airline safety following last week's downing of a Malaysian jet over Ukraine, two sources said on Thursday. Such a gathering would be unusual since the International Civil Aviation Organization has no operational role and cannot open or close air routes or warn carriers to avoid conflict zones. ...
The UN Security Council on Thursday threw its support behind a ceasefire deal reached by warring factions in the Central African Republic and said the agreement should be fully implemented. In a statement, the Council said it welcomed the deal and "called on all parties to immediately and fully implement this agreement." "This agreement is a first step in a wider political process in the Central African Republic," said the Council, citing the need for political dialogue, disarmament of rebels including of child soldiers, and elections.
By Ryan Vlastelica NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks finished a quiet session mostly flat on Thursday as earnings painted a mixed picture of the economy, though the S&P 500 set another record closing high. With 41 percent of S&P 500 companies having reported results so far, 68 percent have posted earnings that topped expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data, above the long-term average of 63 percent. Caterpillar Inc raised its full-year outlook but posted a decline in sales, pushing its stock down 3.1 percent to $105.04. The S&P 500 gained 0.97 of a point or 0.05 percent to end at 1,987.98, its second record closing high in a row.
Israeli security forces shot dead a Palestinian man Thursday night during a massive protest in the West Bank, just north of Jerusalem. Palestinian security and medical officials named the man as Mohammed Al-Aaraj, 25, and said he was among at least 10,000 people clashing with soldiers and border police in Qalandiya, between Jerusalem and Ramallah. "They are rolling burning tyres and throwing molotov cocktails and fireworks at soldiers and border police," she said. The confrontation, and several smaller skirmishes throughout Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, came on Laylat al-Qadr, or Night of Destiny, when Muslims pray through the night as the holy month of Ramadan nears its end.
Tseng Yani sank a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Thursday to give last-seed Taiwan a stunning sweep over top-seeded United States at the LPGA International Crown matches. Tseng's clutch putt gave her and Phoebe Yao a 1-up victory over world number one Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson after Teresa Lu and Candie Kung ripped Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr 4 and 3.
Egypt said Thursday that foreign intelligence services were prime suspects in an attack last week that killed 22 soldiers near its border with restive Libya. Unidentified militants firing rocket-propelled grenades and machine-guns attacked a checkpoint in Egypt's western desert last Saturday. "Foreign intelligence services are likely to be behind the terrorist elements which carried out" the attack, interior ministry spokesman Hani Abdel Latif said, quoted by state news agency MENA, without naming any countries. "The terrorist operations (in Egypt) are carried out by terrorist elements, mercenaries, trained in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, and recruited by foreign intelligence services," Abdel Latif said.
(Reuters) - Starbucks Corp on Thursday said quarterly sales at established stores in its dominant Americas region grew a somewhat stronger-than-expected 6 percent, including a 7 percent rise for the United States. The third fiscal quarter results from the world's biggest coffee chain followed disappointing quarterly results from McDonald's Corp and Dunkin' Donuts parent Dunkin' Brands. Shares in Starbucks were up just 0.4 percent in extended trading following its results. Analysts, on average, expected Starbucks quarterly same-store sales to rise 5.1 percent globally and for the Americas region, according to Consensus Metrix.
By Edward Taylor, Bernie Woodall and Ben Klayman FRANKFURT/DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co said on Thursday the crisis in Ukraine has exacerbated a sales slowdown in Russia, but the carmakers said they were on track to turn around their European operations after years of economic instability on the Continent. Ford said again it expected to have a full-year profit in Europe next year and GM reiterated its previous forecast that it would return to profitability in Europe "by mid-decade." Both U.S. automakers reported second-quarter results on Thursday. Ford surprised analysts with a modest second-quarter profit in Europe, while GM matched last year's $114 million loss after writing down a plant closure in Germany.
By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - The federal judge who oversaw the trial of five associates of imprisoned swindler Bernard Madoff on Thursday refused to overturn their convictions for helping their former boss run one of the world's biggest Ponzi schemes. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain found sufficient evidence for jurors on March 24 to have convicted back-office director Daniel Bonventre, portfolio managers Annette Bongiorno and Joann Crupi and computer programmers Jerome O’Hara and George Perez after the five-month trial. Swain also said the defendants were not entitled to a new trial, rejecting arguments that prosecutors had made prejudicial remarks during their opening and closing statements, including referring to their defenses as "ridiculous" and "absurd." "Although the court had expected the government to take a higher and less rhetorical road," Swain wrote, "the government's summation – when considered in the context of the meticulous presentation of all of the evidence, arguments in the trial as a whole and the curative instructions – did not so taint the trial so as to make it fundamentally unfair." Judges give jurors curative instructions to eliminate the risk of prejudice from tainted statements or evidence.
(Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group is expected to announce early next week that the British bank would pay between 200 million pounds and 300 million pounds ($509.52 million)to settle benchmark interest rate (LIBOR) fixing allegations, the Financial Times reported late on Thursday. Lloyds is expected to announce the payment before declaring its first-half results, the media agency reported citing people familiar with the situation. One person familiar with the situation told the FT that Lloyds was likely to face less political criticism than Barclays did as it has changed its top management since the alleged misconduct took place and it is now clear that many banks were involved. Lloyds, FCA, CFTC and DoJ could not immediately be reached for comment.($1 = 0.5888 British Pounds) (Reporting by Aashika Jain in Bangalore;
By Hamid Ould Ahmed ALGIERS (Reuters) - French warplanes and U.N. helicopters scoured the north of Mali on Thursday for the wreckage of an Air Algerie flight after it crashed carrying 110 passengers, nearly half of them French, from Burkina Faso to Algiers. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said authorities believed flight AH5017 may have encountered bad weather after the pilot requested to change direction shortly after takeoff due to a storm. Officials in Mali and Burkina Faso gave conflicting accounts of locating the crash. Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said wreckage of the flight had been spotted in his country's far north, toward the Algerian border between the towns of Aguelhoc and Kidal.
By David Lague , Charlie Zhu and Benjamin Kang Lim BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Oil executive Jiang Jiemin rose to power in Communist China in time-honored fashion: by hitching his star to a mighty mentor. In Jiang's case, that patron was another oil man, Zhou Yongkang, who went on to become the chief of China's internal security apparatus and one of the country's most powerful men. Like Zhou before him, Jiang rose to the top of country’s biggest oil producer, China National Petroleum Corporation. ...