Developing

  • Australia, Malaysia vow to keep searching to solve plane mystery

    Reuters - 9 hours ago

    By Byron Kaye PERTH, Australia (Reuters) - Australia and Malaysia vowed on Wednesday to keep searching for a missing Malaysian plane despite no sign of wreckage after almost seven weeks, and as bad weather again grounded aircraft and an undersea drone neared the end of its first full mission. But Australian authorities said unidentified material washed up on the coast of Western Australia was being investigated for possible links to missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had earlier acknowledged that the search strategy could change if seabed scans taken by the U.S. Navy drone failed to turn up a trace of the plane, which vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board. The finding of unspecified material on the southern tip of Western Australia was the first report of suspected debris in weeks and the first since the detection of what were believed to be signals on April 4. More »Australia, Malaysia vow to keep searching to solve plane mystery

  • Ukraine Gas Crisis Talks Not Going Ahead

    IB Times - 9 hours ago

    Crisis talks between Ukraine, Russia, the European Union, and Slovakia will not happen this week, Ukraine's energy minister said on Wednesday. According to the news agency Interfax, Yuri Prodan said the key players were not planning to attend the talks over Ukraine's looming energy crisis, touted for Thursday. A European Commission spokeswoman confirmed that the proposed talks were not likely to happen this week, according to Reuters. The dispute between Russian energy giant Gazprom and the interim government in Kiev originated when the company almost doubled the price it charges for gas in a week. More »Ukraine Gas Crisis Talks Not Going Ahead

  • Top Asian News at 12:00 p.m. GMT

    Associated Press - 9 hours ago

    TOKYO (AP) — President Barack Obama is getting a lesson in the art of sushi making at a famous Tokyo restaurant with hard-to-come-by reservations. But Obama and his dining partner, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh ah-bay), didn't appear to have trouble scoring seats at Sukiyabashi Jiro. The 10-seat restaurant is run by 87-year-old Jiro Ono, who was featured in the 2011 documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi." More »Top Asian News at 12:00 p.m. GMT

  • Data matching 'could help accuracy'

    Press Association - 9 hours ago

    Centrally-held government records could help improve the accuracy of electoral registers across the UK, a report on Northern Ireland's experience said. More »Data matching 'could help accuracy'

  • Material on Australian shore examined in jet hunt

    Associated Press - 9 hours ago

    Unidentified material that washed ashore in southwestern Australia and is being examined for any link to the lost Malaysian plane is unlikely to have come from the jet, an official said Wednesday. The ... More »Material on Australian shore examined in jet hunt

  • Greece qualifies for new debt relief after 2013 budget surplus

    Reuters - 9 hours ago

    BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece is set to obtain more debt relief from its international lenders after European officials confirmed on Wednesday that Athens had topped its fiscal targets and achieved a budget surplus in 2013. Wednesday's announcement come on the fourth anniversary of Greece's official request for a bailout after it lost access to global bond markets. The budget surplus is a sign of the progress Greece has made to fix its finances after four years of tough bailout-imposed austerity that wiped out almost a quarter of its GDP and sent unemployment to record highs of almost 28 percent. "The country and its economy are in a much better position now, after very tough years for households and businesses," said Greece's deputy finance minister, Christos Staikouras. More »Greece qualifies for new debt relief after 2013 budget surplus

  • South Sudan's massacre among many

    Al Jazeera - 9 hours ago

    What happened in Bentiu is one in a series of massacres stretching back decades into South Sudan's troubled history. More »South Sudan's massacre among many

  • Tony Blair's 'Why the Middle East Matters' Speech - Full Transcript

    IB Times - 9 hours ago

    It is unsurprising that public opinion in the UK and elsewhere, resents the notion that we should engage with the politics of the Middle East and beyond. We have been through painful engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq. More recently, Ukraine has served to push the Middle East to the inside pages, with the carnage of Syria featuring somewhat, but the chaos of Libya, whose Government we intervened to change, hardly meriting a mention. What is presently happening there, still represents the biggest threat to global security of the early 21st C. The region, including the wider area outside its conventional boundary – Pakistan, Afghanistan to the east and North Africa to the west – is in turmoil with no end in sight to the upheaval and any number of potential outcomes from the mildly optimistic to catastrophe. More »Tony Blair's 'Why the Middle East Matters' Speech - Full Transcript

  • Airport Security Codes Lost Before Obama Visit

    Sky News - 9 hours ago

    Security codes for Tokyo's main airport had to be changed just days before President Obama arrived, after an employee dropped a memo containing the top-secret details. The Skymark Airlines employee mislaid the list of every security code on the departure lobby floor of Haneda Airport, an official revealed. Security in the capital was ramped up ahead of Mr Obama's visit, with 16,000 police officers deployed. Mr Obama touched down just before 8pm local time, marking the beginning of the first state visit by a US president for two decades. More »Airport Security Codes Lost Before Obama Visit

  • Tony Blair: West Should Prioritise Fight Against Islamic Extremism

    IB Times - 9 hours ago

    Former British prime minister Tony Blair has called on Western nations to take sides in the Middle East, between moderate and radical Muslims, and to shift the fight against global Islamic extremism to the top of the political agenda. "Take a step back and analyse the world today: with the possible exception of Latin America, there is not a region of the world not adversely affected by Islamism and the ideology is growing." More »Tony Blair: West Should Prioritise Fight Against Islamic Extremism

  • Israel to privatise Israel Military Industry at $1.6 billion cost

    Reuters - 9 hours ago

    Israel's parliament on Wednesday gave final approval to privatise state-owned Israel Military Industries (IMI), which has been cash-strapped for years despite developing some of the country's best-known battlefield equipment. IMI's classified operations will be transferred to a new, smaller state-owned firm called Tomer, according to a statement by parliament's Finance Committee, which approved the privatisation. IMI manufactured the Uzi submachine gun and has developed missiles, tank guns, body armour and other combat systems, much of which is exported. More »Israel to privatise Israel Military Industry at $1.6 billion cost

  • HK, Philippines compromise over tourist deaths

    Associated Press - 9 hours ago

    HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong and the Philippines reached a compromise Wednesday over Hong Kong's demands for an apology for the families of eight tourists killed in a bungled response to a 2010 Manila hostage-taking that soured relations. More »HK, Philippines compromise over tourist deaths

  • Thai activist who opposed lese majeste law killed

    Associated Press - 9 hours ago

    BANGKOK (AP) — A pro-government activist who opposed a law punishing critics of Thailand's monarchy was fatally shot Wednesday in the capital, police said. More »Thai activist who opposed lese majeste law killed

  • Top Asian News at 11:30 a.m. GMT

    Associated Press - 9 hours ago

    TOKYO (AP) — President Barack Obama confirmed Wednesday that America's mutual security treaty with Japan applies to the islands at the center of a territorial dispute between China and Japan. "The policy of the United States is clear," he said in a written response to questions published in Japan's Yomiuri newspaper before his arrival in Tokyo at the start of a four-country Asia tour. More »Top Asian News at 11:30 a.m. GMT

  • Is Boris On His Bike Back To Westminster?

    Sky News - 9 hours ago

    London Mayor Boris Johnson has insisted he is "getting on with his job" amid renewed speculation he will stand as an MP in next year's general election. Speaking to Sky News outside his home, Mr Johnson sought to shrug off rumours he will run for Parliament in 2015. More »Is Boris On His Bike Back To Westminster?

  • France treads fine line on EU deficit-cutting targets

    Reuters - 9 hours ago

    By Nicholas Vinocur and Jean-Baptiste Vey PARIS (Reuters) - France outlined a slower roadmap on Wednesday to reduce its chronic deficit to the European Union's treaty limit next year, based on growth assumptions described by an independent watchdog as risky. Europe's second-biggest economy, with the highest public spending quota in the EU, is a serial laggard where recovery and public finances are concerned. Its partners fear it may miss the deadline again next year, but an unpopular Socialist government is struggling to sell painful savings to the electorate and to rebellious rank and file lawmakers, even though they are milder than in many other European countries. That leaves no margin for error should growth fail to meet government projections - as most private economists expect. More »France treads fine line on EU deficit-cutting targets

  • Veep renewed for fourth series

    Press Association - 9 hours ago

    Veep, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, is set to return for a fourth series after TV bosses ordered another run. More »Veep renewed for fourth series

  • Chairman of Lanzhou Veolia apologises after water pollution in China

    Reuters - 9 hours ago

    The chairman of Lanzhou Veolia Water Co, partly owned by a subsidiary of French utility Veolia Environnement , has apologised after a cancer-inducing chemical was found in tap water supplied by the company. Benzene was found in tap water supplied by the Lanzhou Veolia Water Co in the north-western city of Lanzhou on April 10, forcing the city of 3.6 million people to turn off supplies in one district. Last week, China blamed Veolia for failing to maintain water quality. Veolia said at the time it was not responsible for polluting the tap water with benzene. More »Chairman of Lanzhou Veolia apologises after water pollution in China

  • Obama opens 4-country, Asia-Pacific trip in Tokyo

    Associated Press - 9 hours ago

    TOKYO (AP) — Opening a four-country swing through the Asia-Pacific region, President Barack Obama is aiming to promote the U.S. as a committed economic, military and political partner, but the West's dispute with Russia over Ukraine threatens to cast a shadow over the president's sales mission. More »Obama opens 4-country, Asia-Pacific trip in Tokyo

  • Warriors announce new plans for SF arena

    Associated Press - 10 hours ago

    The Golden State Warriors agreed to terms Tuesday to buy 12 acres of land in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood to build a new arena. The Warriors are buying the land from salesforce.com. The team ... More »Warriors announce new plans for SF arena

  • Proposed Houston Spaceport Lands Private Space Plane Partner

    SPACE.com - 10 hours ago

    HOUSTON — Houston has landed a partner in its bid to establish its own spaceport in the form of a private spaceflight company that may someday land its mini space shuttle at the facility. The Houston Airport System (HAS), which last year revealed plans to convert Ellington Field into "Houston Spaceport," signed a letter of intent with the Sierra Nevada Corp. to explore landing the company's Dream Chaser spacecraft at the proposed facility. The Dream Chaser is one of three commercial vehicles now vying to fly NASA astronauts to and from the International Space Station. "For all the [space program] work that has been done in Houston, there is one thing that hasn't happened, and that is [a spacecraft] hasn't returned here," Mark Sirangelo, corporate vice president and head of Sierra Nevada's space systems division, said at a news conference on April 10 at Rice University Space Institute in Houston. More »Proposed Houston Spaceport Lands Private Space Plane Partner

  • BOJ says 90 ppercent of banks taking on more risk post-QE

    Reuters - 10 hours ago

    By Leika Kihara TOKYO (Reuters) - Over 90 percent of Japanese banks have increased loans and investment in riskier assets in the past year, the Bank of Japan said on Wednesday, suggesting that the wall of money it is pumping out is spilling over into the broader economy. "Financial institutions have reduced investment in domestic bonds, especially Japanese government bonds (JGBs), while increasing investment in relatively high-risk assets such as loans," the central bank said in a semi-annual report analysing Japan's financial system. Banks are lending to a wider range of industries and are more keen to lend to small- and medium-sized companies whose appetite for loans is on the rise, the report said. Bank lending rose 2.1 percent in March from a year earlier, marking the 29th straight month of increase, with lending by regional banks up 3.2 percent, a monthly BOJ data showed. More »BOJ says 90 ppercent of banks taking on more risk post-QE

  • Privacy Law Proposed Ahead of NetMundial Conference to Debate Future of Web

    IB Times - 10 hours ago

    Internet legislation that would guarantee freedom of expression and privacy has been passed by Brazil's Federal Senate in the build up to a global conference to determine how the web should be governed. Brazil has been particularly vocal about the spying allegations, with President Dilma Rousseff refusing to travel to Washington last year after it was revealed that she had been the target of NSA snooping. According to the summary, the Marco Civil da Internet would also require sexual images and videos to be removed at the request of victims. The NetMundial conference will bring together 850 government officials, experts, advocates and academics in order to discuss the future of the Internet and the set of shared principles that could form the basis for global Internet governance. More »Privacy Law Proposed Ahead of NetMundial Conference to Debate Future of Web

  • Afghan election commission delays vote results

    Associated Press - 10 hours ago

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's election commission delayed a planned release of full results from the April 5 presidential election to allow for recounts and audits, officials said Wednesday, a development that adds to the confusion surrounding the balloting to replace President Hamid Karzai. More »Afghan election commission delays vote results

  • Injecting cash to stimulate economy would be complex for ECB, Hansson says

    Reuters - 10 hours ago

    By David Mardiste TALLINN (Reuters) - Quantitative easing would be operationally complex for the European Central Bank, policymaker Ardo Hansson said, casting doubt on whether the bank could implement such a plan to ward off the threat of deflation. The ECB governing council said earlier this month it was unanimous in its commitment to use unconventional tools - central bank-speak for things like quantitative easing (QE), or printing money to buy assets - to counter a protracted period of low inflation. Euro zone inflation is now running at 0.5 percent, well below the ECB's target of just under 2.0 percent over the medium term. The central bank wants to avert any drop in inflation expectations that could lead to a prolonged period of so-called "low-flation", or even sink into outright deflation. More »Injecting cash to stimulate economy would be complex for ECB, Hansson says

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