Developing

  • Top Asian News at 6:00 a.m. GMT

    Associated Press - 9 minutes ago

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Barack Obama stepped into the familiar role of chief consoler Friday as he arrived for meetings in South Korea, a key U.S. ally that is reeling from a deadly ferry disaster. More than 300 people are dead or missing after the April 16 disaster, with the vast majority of the victims students from a high school near Seoul. The tragedy has consumed South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the lead-up to Obama's visit and could distract from the security and economic agenda she had been expected to highlight during her meetings with the U.S. president. More »Top Asian News at 6:00 a.m. GMT

  • Standard & Poor's affirms France credit rating

    Reuters - 27 minutes ago

    Standard & Poor's on Friday affirmed France's long-term credit rating at AA and its short-term credit rating at A-1+ with a stable outlook, citing the government's efforts to improve the economy's competitiveness and reduce the public deficit. "The French government has shifted toward policies to reduce labour costs and corporate taxation in order to improve the economy's competitiveness," the rating agency said in a statement. "We think the French government will gradually decrease its budget deficit to less than 3 percent of GDP by 2017, thanks to expenditure savings, but that government debt levels as a share of GDP will likely remain high and continue to grow until 2017," The stable outlook reflected S&P's view that risks to France's credit worthiness were balanced and that there was less than a one-in-three probability of raising or lowering the ratings over the next two years. More »Standard & Poor's affirms France credit rating

  • U.S. official says MH370 search likely to last for years

    Reuters - 35 minutes ago

    By Matt Siegel and Byron Kaye SYDNEY/PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is likely to drag on for years, a senior U.S. defence official said on Friday, as an underwater search for any trace of the plane's wreckage off west Australia appeared to have failed. The official, who declined to be identified because he is not authorised to comment on the search effort, said two weeks of scouring the Indian Ocean floor with a U.S. Navy submersible drone had turned up no wreckage. More »U.S. official says MH370 search likely to last for years

  • Top Asian News at 5:30 a.m. GMT

    Associated Press - 39 minutes ago

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Barack Obama stepped into the familiar role of chief consoler Friday as he arrived for meetings in South Korea, a key U.S. ally that is reeling from a deadly ferry disaster. More than 300 people are dead or missing after the April 16 disaster, with the vast majority of the victims students from a high school near Seoul. The tragedy has consumed South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the lead-up to Obama's visit and could distract from the security and economic agenda she had been expected to highlight during her meetings with the U.S. president. More »Top Asian News at 5:30 a.m. GMT

  • China labour activist freed, says will still help strikers

    Reuters - 45 minutes ago

    By John Ruwitch SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A Chinese labour activist has been freed after being detained for more than two days by security agents who he says tried to convince him not to make contact with workers involved in China's biggest strike in years. Zhang Zhiru's brief detention underscores nervousness among officials about the strike, which began on April 14 at a Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Ltd shoe manufacturing complex that employs some 40,000 workers in the southern industrial city of Dongguan. A colleague of Zhang's at the Shenzhen Chunfeng Labour Dispute Service Center, which he runs, was detained separately on Tuesday and has not been released, Zhang told Reuters by telephone on Friday. Labour activists say the strike is one of China's biggest since market reforms started in the late 1970s. More »China labour activist freed, says will still help strikers

  • Phelps welcomed back by rivals and team mates alike

    Reuters - 48 minutes ago

    Michael Phelps has always been the centre of attention in swimming circles since he burst on to the scene as a teenager and his comeback at the USA Swimming Grand Prix meet had everyone in a lather. The spectators roared when he won his morning heat then gasped when he lost the 100 metres butterfly to his old rival Ryan Lochte, who was as happy as anyone to see him back. "Just our history, between me and Phelps, any race we go up against each other it's going to be a battle because we don't know how to give up," said Lochte, who has five Olympic gold medals. "He could have taken 10 years off ... but he's a racer and that instinct will be with him until the day he dies." Lochte's former coach Gregg Troy, who helped mastermind one of Phelps' Olympic defeats, has no doubt the world's most decorated swimmer could be as successful in his comeback as he was before he retired. More »Phelps welcomed back by rivals and team mates alike

  • 11 kids, driver hurt in Calif. school bus crash

    Associated Press - 52 minutes ago

    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Eleven middle school students and their driver were injured when a school bus jumped a curb Thursday and rammed into trees in Southern California, authorities said. More »11 kids, driver hurt in Calif. school bus crash

  • Two executives at units of state-run China Resources detained - newspaper

    Reuters - 54 minutes ago

    HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese authorities detained last week two senior executives at units of China Resources Holding Co. Ltd , the South China Morning Post reported on Friday, as the chairman of the state-run conglomerate is being investigated for corruption. Wang Hongkun, an executive director of China Resources Land and Wu Ding, chief executive of China Resources Capital Holdings, were detained last Thursday, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the matter. ... More »Two executives at units of state-run China Resources detained - newspaper

  • China urban jobless rate edges down to 4.08 percent at end - March

    Reuters - 57 minutes ago

    China created 3.44 million new jobs in cities in the first three months of this year, bringing the urban jobless rate down slightly to 4.08 percent, the labour ministry said on Friday. "Although the economy grew at a slower pace, the increase of each percentage point of GDP actually produces more jobs than before due to an improving economic structure," Li Zhong, the spokesman of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, told reporters at a media briefing. Beijing has repeatedly stressed that employment is the first priority for the government, and economists also say it is the top factor that may trigger big-scale stimulus measures if the economy continues to lose momentum. China's economic growth dipped to a 18-month low in the first quarter, with exports, investment and credit all pointing to a weak showing, fanning worries about pressures on the job market. More »China urban jobless rate edges down to 4.08 percent at end - March

  • Top Asian News at 5:00 a.m. GMT

    Associated Press - 1 hour 9 minutes ago

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Barack Obama stepped into the familiar role of chief consoler Friday as he arrived for meetings in South Korea, a key U.S. ally that is reeling from a deadly ferry disaster. More than 300 people are dead or missing after the April 16 disaster, with the vast majority of the victims students from a high school near Seoul. The tragedy has consumed South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the lead-up to Obama's visit and could distract from the security and economic agenda she had been expected to highlight during her meetings with the U.S. president. More »Top Asian News at 5:00 a.m. GMT

  • Empty spaces mark Korean school tribute for missing ferry victims

    Reuters - 1 hour 38 minutes ago

    By Ju-min Park and James Pearson ANSAN, South Korea/SEOUL (Reuters) - A floral tribute to the children who drowned in a sinking South Korean ferry displays photographs of the victims in their school uniforms, while lines of empty spaces wait to be filled with photos once those still missing are confirmed dead. The pictures, flowers and spaces are banked up the entire wall of a gymnasium near Danwon High School in Ansan, on the outskirts of Seoul. And I hope the missing kids will also come back to their parents as soon as possible." One wailing old woman shouted out for her granddaughter, Lee Bomi. What am I supposed to do?" The Sewol ferry, weighing almost 7,000 tons, sank on a routine trip from the port of Incheon, near Seoul, to the southern holiday island of Jeju. More »Empty spaces mark Korean school tribute for missing ferry victims

  • China Communist Party mouthpiece demands "rectification" of satirical Twitter account

    Reuters - 1 hour 39 minutes ago

    A Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece has taken to Twitter, banned in China, to call for the "immediate rectification" of an account which uses the social media platform to satirise Chinese officialdom and state media. The Relevant Organs' account, @relevantorgans, calls itself "China's soft-power vanguard, rectifying your thought since 2010." But the People's Daily, a mouthpiece for the Chinese government, appeared to take offense at the satirical Twitter account's use of a link to the People's Daily website and China's national emblem. "We have noticed that a Twitter account has been misleading people by stealing People's Daily's web address and National emblem of China to make false impression that the account is related to China officials or People's Daily," read a statement posted on People's Daily's Twitter account, @PDChina. More »China Communist Party mouthpiece demands "rectification" of satirical Twitter account

  • Top Asian News at 4:30 a.m. GMT

    Associated Press - 1 hour 39 minutes ago

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Barack Obama stepped into the familiar role of chief consoler Friday as he arrived for meetings in South Korea, a key U.S. ally that is reeling from a deadly ferry disaster. More than 300 people are dead or missing after the April 16 disaster, with the vast majority of the victims students from a high school near Seoul. The tragedy has consumed South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the lead-up to Obama's visit and could distract from the security and economic agenda she had been expected to highlight during her meetings with the U.S. president. More »Top Asian News at 4:30 a.m. GMT

  • Obama wraps up Japan visit after security pledge but no trade deal

    Reuters - 2 hours 0 minutes ago

    By Linda Sieg and Matt Spetalnick TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama wrapped up a state visit to Japan on Friday during which he assured America's ally that Washington would come to its defence, but failed to clinch a trade deal key his "pivot" to Asia and to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's reforms. Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had been seeking to display the alliance was strong in the face of a rising China, but their success in putting recent strains behind them was partly marred by a failure to reach a trade deal seen as crucial to a broader regional pact. Obama and Abe had ordered their top aides to make a final push to reach a trade agreement after the leaders met on Thursday, but Economy Minister Akira Amari told reporters that gaps remained despite recent progress. More »Obama wraps up Japan visit after security pledge but no trade deal

  • Jamaican police increasingly facing murder charges

    Associated Press - 2 hours 8 minutes ago

    MAY PEN, Jamaica (AP) — It's been nearly a year since Sevina Giderisingh's 20-year-old son died in a confrontation with a police officer on the dusty outskirts of this struggling Jamaican city where jobs are scarce and crime is frequent. More »Jamaican police increasingly facing murder charges

  • Top Asian News at 4:00 a.m. GMT

    Associated Press - 2 hours 9 minutes ago

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — President Barack Obama stepped into the familiar role of chief consoler Friday as he arrived for meetings in South Korea, a key U.S. ally that is reeling from a deadly ferry disaster. More than 300 people are dead or missing after the April 16 disaster, with the vast majority of the victims students from a high school near Seoul. The tragedy has consumed South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the lead-up to Obama's visit and could distract from the security and economic agenda she had been expected to highlight during her meetings with the U.S. president. More »Top Asian News at 4:00 a.m. GMT

  • Bruins beat Red Wings 3-2 in OT, up 3-1 in series

    Associated Press - 2 hours 9 minutes ago

    DETROIT (AP) — The Boston Bruins took a couple punches, then hit back hard and put the Detroit Red Wings on the brink of elimination. More »Bruins beat Red Wings 3-2 in OT, up 3-1 in series

  • 7 Cambodians killed in Thai road accident

    Associated Press - 2 hours 16 minutes ago

    BANGKOK (AP) — Seven Cambodian migrant workers were killed Friday when their pickup truck lost control and crashed into a tree and in eastern Thailand, police said. More »7 Cambodians killed in Thai road accident

  • Exclusive - Obama may call EU leaders in Russia sanctions push: sources

    Reuters - 2 hours 31 minutes ago

    By Arshad Mohammed WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to speak to several European leaders on Friday to try to nudge the EU toward fresh sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, sources familiar with the matter said. Disagreements among European Union nations on whether to impose new economic sanctions on Russia have held up punitive steps by the United States, said the sources on condition of anonymity, but Washington could also act on its own. U.S. officials have grown increasingly impatient with what they describe as Russia's failure to live up to its commitments in an April 17 agreement reached in Geneva to try to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine. More »Exclusive - Obama may call EU leaders in Russia sanctions push: sources

  • Phelps beaten in first comeback final

    Reuters - 2 hours 38 minutes ago

    By Julian Linden PHOENIX (Reuters) - Michael Phelps suffered a narrow loss to his old rival Ryan Lochte in his comeback to competitive swimming on Thursday, but still showed enough to suggest he will be a force to be reckoned with. Racing for the first time since he retired in a blaze of glory after the 2012 London Olympics with a staggering career total of 18 gold medals, Phelps easily won his morning heat in the 100 metres butterfly then finished runner-up to Lochte in a close final. More »Phelps beaten in first comeback final

  • Retired justice says marijuana should be legalized

    Associated Press - 2 hours 56 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens says he thinks the federal government should legalize marijuana. More »Retired justice says marijuana should be legalized

  • Obama warns North Korea on nuclear test - South Korean media

    Reuters - 3 hours ago

    SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama warned North Korea on Friday against conducting another nuclear test, saying that it would draw a firm international response. "If North Korea were to make the mistake of engaging in another nuclear test, it should expect a firm response from the international community, " he said in an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo newspaper. (Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Paul Tait) More »Obama warns North Korea on nuclear test - South Korean media

  • Top Asian News at 3:00 a.m. GMT

    Associated Press - 3 hours ago

    TOKYO (AP) — When President Barack Obama arrives in South Korea on Friday, he will be thrust anew into the role of consoler in chief in a time of crisis, a responsibility he has become all too accustomed to in the United States. South Korea is reeling from the ferry disaster that has left more than 300 dead or missing, with the vast majority of the victims students from a high school near the capital of Seoul. The tragedy has consumed South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the lead-up to Obama's visit and could distract from the security and economic agenda she had been expected to highlight during her meetings with the U.S. president. More »Top Asian News at 3:00 a.m. GMT

  • Teen 'fighting' as £2m target hit

    Press Association - 3 hours ago

    A terminally-ill teenager who has smashed his fund-raising target with more than £2 million for charity has said that he is "still fighting" as donations from the public continue to flood in. More »Teen 'fighting' as £2m target hit

  • Japan PM Abe says achieved 'historic' success with Obama

    Reuters - 3 hours ago

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he and U.S. President Barack Obama achieved a "historic" success in an agreement on security issues and made progress in bilateral trade talks. "It was a historic statement for Japan and the United States," Abe told reporters shortly after Obama finished the first state visit to Japan by a U.S. president in 18 years. The two countries issued a joint statement saying they oppose attempts to assert territorial or maritime claims by coercion, specifying that their bilateral security treaty covers Japanese islands claimed by China, and welcoming Japan's consideration of allowing its military to come to the defence of friendly countries under attack. They failed to reach a bilateral trade deal that is key to both leaders' agendas. More »Japan PM Abe says achieved 'historic' success with Obama

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