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Ex-soldier convicted in daughter's beating death

Tarshia Williams displays a pendant with her daughter's face on it outside of a federal courthouse in Honolulu on Thursday, April 24, 2014. A federal jury convicted the girl's father, former Hawaii soldier Naeem Williams, of murder in the beating death of the 5-year-old girl, a capital offense in a state that doesn't have the death penalty. (AP Photo/Sam Eifling) HONOLULU (AP) — A federal jury on Thursday convicted a former Hawaii soldier of murder in the beating death of his 5-year-old daughter, a capital offense in a state that doesn't have the death penalty.


Doctor: Slain Minnesota teens shot multiple times

Byron Smith takes his first break during the first day of his trial at the Morrison County Courthouse, Monday, April 21, 2014, in Little Fall, Minn. The 65-year-old faces two counts of premeditated first-degree murder for the killings of Haile Kifer, 18, and Nick Brady, 17, who broke into his home on Thanksgiving Day 2012. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Elizabeth Flores) MANDATORY CREDIT; ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGAZINES OUT; TWIN CITIES TV OUT. LITTLE FALLS, Minn. (AP) — The two Minnesota cousins killed by a man who claimed he was defending himself after they broke into his home were each shot multiple times, a medical examiner testified Thursday, and while the initial gunshots caused serious injury, they did not immediately kill the teens.


Ex-suspect in boy's disappearance stays in prison

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — A convicted child molester long suspected in a notorious 1979 New York City child disappearance case will spend six to 20 years in a Pennsylvania prison for failing to register an address under Megan's Law the last time he left prison.

Seattle stymied in efforts to raise minimum wage

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray addresses a news conference on a proposal to increase the minimum wage in the city Thursday, April 24, 2014, in Seattle. The mayor said his advisory group of business, labor, non-profits and other representatives have not yet agreed on a plan to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) SEATTLE (AP) — Highlighting the contentious debate around raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in a supportive city, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said Thursday that no agreement has been reached among business and labor representatives trying to create a plan for city leaders.


Fewer communities risk running out of water in California drought

Irrigation pipe is seen on a farm near Cantua Creek A moderate dose of winter rainfall hasn't ended California's historic drought, but it has dropped just enough moisture on the beleaguered state to help 14 communities that had risked running out of water. In January, public health officials in the most populous U.S. state said that 17 communities were at risk of running out of water in 60 to 90 days. But now just three small communities were at risk, one in the central part of the state and two in the north, Department of Public Health spokeswoman Anita Gore said on Thursday. In the town of Willits, for example, a grant from the state helped to pay for a backup water treatment plant constructed within weeks of the drought's declaration by Governor Jerry Brown in January.


Google, Apple settle high-tech workers' lawsuit

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, file photo, employees cheer customers as they enter a newly-opened Apple Store in the Wangfujing shopping district in Beijing. Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe Systems announced Thursday, April 24, 2014, they have settled a class-action lawsuit alleging they conspired to prevent their engineers and other highly sought technology workers from getting better job offers from one another. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File) SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google, Apple, Intel and Adobe Systems have settled a class-action lawsuit alleging they conspired to prevent their engineers and other highly sought technology workers from getting better job offers from one another.


11 kids, driver hurt in Calif. school bus crash

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.

California school bus crash injures driver, 11 children

Eleven middle school students and a bus driver were injured on Thursday, three critically, when their bus veered off a Southern California road, authorities said. The bus driver and two of the students from El Rancho Charter School in Anaheim, California, were listed in critical condition at a local hospital, said Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department.

Asian shares struggle, dollar slips as Ukraine tensions rise

Man looks at an electronic board displaying Japan's Nikkei average and various countries' stock indices outside a brokerage in Tokyo By Lisa Twaronite TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian stocks struggled to rise on Friday, as the impact of upbeat U.S. economic data and robust U.S. tech shares faced off against fears of an escalating Ukraine crisis that bolstered the safe-haven yen. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that time was running out for Moscow to change its course in Ukraine. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was a few ticks higher in early trade, while Japan's Nikkei stock average skidded 0.5 percent as disappointment over a failed attempt to reach a U.S.-Japan trade pact weighed on sentiment. The two countries made progress in trade talks at a bilateral summit in Tokyo but did not reach the trade deal that they were hoping to seal, Economy Minister Akira Amari said on Friday.


New Jersey forest fire burns half a square mile

High winds and dry conditions on Thursday provided fuel for several New Jersey forest fires, including one that forced the evacuation of more than 600 homes and the early closure of a school.

Company stopped from accepting abortion waste

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — County commissioners gave final approval Thursday to an order to stop an incinerator in Oregon from receiving medical waste until procedures are in place to ensure no fetal tissue is burned to generate power.

10 Things to Know for Friday

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., right, joined by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013, after the Democratic majority voted to weaken filibusters and make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of the president's nominees for judges and other top posts. McConnell said Democrats are using a power play to distract voters from the president's troubled health care law. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday:


Accused Kansas killer with 'murder' tattoo to wear turtleneck

A combination photo shows Kansas Department of Corrections photos of Jeffery Chapman By Alice Mannette WICHITA, Kansas (Reuters) - Jurors in the trial of a man accused of a 2011 killing could be looking across a steamy Kansas courtroom this summer at a defendant wearing a turtleneck. What they will not see is the word "MURDER" tattooed backwards across the neck of the defendant, Jeffrey Chapman, 32. He is accused of shooting Damon Galyardt to death. Chapman's lawyers had asked the court for permission to have a professional tattoo artist remove the tattoo that runs from his collarbone to just under his chin and stretches from ear to ear, arguing it could prejudice his defense.


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

U.S. President Barack Obama bids farewell to Emperor Akihito of Japan at the Okura Hotel in Tokyo By Antoni Slodkowski and Matt Spetalnick TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama neared the end of a state visit to Japan on Friday during which he assured America's close ally that Washington would come to its defense but failed to clinch a trade deal vital to his promised "pivot" to Asia. Failure to reach a trade deal has delayed a joint statement on security and economic ties that Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were expected to issue after their summit on Thursday. Obama and Abe had ordered their top aides to make a final push to reach a trade agreement but Economy Minister Akira Amari told reporters on Friday that gaps remained despite recent progress. The TPP is high on Abe's economic reform agenda and central to Obama's policy of expanding the U.S. presence in Asia.


Police say teens killed Amish family's pet donkey

MONTGOMERY, Pa. (AP) — Three central Pennsylvania teenagers have been accused of fatally shooting a pet donkey on an Amish family's farm.

Rabbit heads left in 2 sisters' mailboxes

WESTFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Westfield police are investigating after severed rabbit heads were found this week in two mailboxes in this western Massachusetts town.

Oregon's broken healthcare exchange may move to federal network

By Shelby Sebens PORTLAND (Reuters) - Top officials for Oregon's troubled health insurance network, dogged by technical glitches that have kept a single subscriber from enrolling online, recommended on Thursday dumping the state website in favor of a federally run healthcare exchange. Oregon, a state that fully embraced the Affordable Care Act, has endured one of the rockiest rollouts of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, requiring tens of thousands of applicants to apply on paper since launching on October 1. Managers of the state exchange, called Cover Oregon, have determined it would cost about $78 million to fix and continue under the beleaguered system, well above the projected cost of switching over to the federal exchange, spokesman Alex Pettit said. Under the latest proposal, the private insurance plans now offered through Cover Oregon would be moved to the federal website, while individuals seeking coverage under an expansion of Medicaid, a state-federal healthcare plan for the needy, would apply through the Oregon Health Authority, spokeswoman Ariane Holm said.

Court filing says ship in Texas spill was speeding

File - In this March 22, 2014 file photo, a barge loaded with marine fuel oil sits partially submerged in the Houston Ship Channel. The owner of a tugboat that collided with a ship last month, dumping nearly 170,000 gallons of oil into the Houston Ship Channel, claims in court filings the ship was speeding and being operated in a reckless manner. Houston-based Kirby Inland Marine alleges in court documents filed earlier this month that the March 22 collision, which occurred after the ship struck a barge the tugboat had been pulling, was caused by gross negligence on the part of the ship’s owner, Liberia-based Sea Galaxy Marine. In its own court filings, Sea Galaxy says the collision was not its fault. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, PO3 Manda Emery, File) HOUSTON (AP) — The owner of a tugboat that collided with a ship last month, dumping nearly 170,000 gallons of oil into the Houston Ship Channel, claims in court filings the ship was speeding and being operated in a reckless manner.


California lawmakers aim to tighten handgun restrictions

By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - A bill banning the sale of single-shot handguns that can be modified into semi-automatic weapons advanced in the California legislature on Thursday as lawmakers sought to close what the bill's supporters say is a loophole in the state's gun safety laws. Gun control advocates say thousands of weapons are sold in California each year without a required safety feature that indicates when a bullet is in the chamber, endangering children and others who may be shot accidentally. "Right now there is a very large opening in the law that permits guns that otherwise we wouldn't consider safe for sale and purchase in California," said Sacramento assemblyman Roger Dickinson, a Democrat who authored the bill. Under existing law, semi-automatic weapons must have an indicator showing when there is a bullet in the chamber.

Postal workers' unions protest Staples program

U.S. Post Office employee Detra Parker chants during a protest outside a Staples store, Thursday, April 24, 2014, in Atlanta. Thousands of postal workers picketed outside Staples stores nationwide Thursday to protest a pilot program that allows the office supply chain to handle U.S. mail. The American Postal Workers Union fears layoffs and post office closings and says that unlike retail workers, postal workers "have taken an oath to protect the sanctity of the mail." (AP Photo/David Goldman) CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Postal workers in cities big and small protested in front of Staples stores on Thursday, objecting to the U.S. Postal Service's pilot program to open counters in stores, staffed with retail employees.


Pellet gun firing causes Navy base lockdown

Captain Scott F. Adams, right, Commanding Officer Navy Base Point Loma, accompanied by Lt. Commander Steve Ruh, talks about an incident on the base in which a sailor was arrested for operating an Airsoft weapon on the base, Thursday, April 24, 2014, in San Diego. A second sailor who was a friend of the sailor with the weapon was also arrested. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi) SAN DIEGO (AP) — A major Navy base ground to a halt for more than two hours Thursday after a sailor waved a weapon from a sixth-floor barracks room that turned out to be a pellet gun used for recreational purposes, officials said.


Vermont ups the ante on genetically modified foods

Edge Fuentes, left, stands with his wife Katie Spring, right, and their 9-month-old son Waylon in their planting room surrounded by seedlings for vegetables and flowers at their Good Heart Farmstead, Thursday, April 24, 2014, in Worcester, Vt. Spring and Fuentes back the GMO labeling bill passed by the Vermont Legislature. They believe people need to be able to know what’s in their food. (AP Photo/Wilson Ring) MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont has raised the stakes in the debate over genetically modified foods by becoming the first state to pass a bill requiring that they be labeled as such in the grocery aisle, making the move despite the opposition of the powerful U.S. food industry.


Attorneys give arguments in Coast Guard killings

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Prosecutors say a 62-year-old man accused of a double homicide at a Coast Guard communications station is the only possible killer in a circumstantial case, countering defense arguments that the government hasn't proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

South Korea ferry disaster may cloud Obama visit

U.S. President Barack Obama stands in front of a large model of the Earth as he attends a youth science event at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, known as the Miraikan, in Tokyo on Thursday, April 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) 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.


Nevada rancher defends remarks, loses supporters

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Nevada rancher who became a conservative folk hero for standing up to the government in a fight over grazing rights lost some of his staunch defenders Thursday after wondering aloud whether blacks might have had it better under slavery.

Criminal probe into NYC heiress' life is over

NEW YORK (AP) — During a yearslong court fight over an idiosyncratic copper heiress' $300 million estate, a criminal investigation quietly examined how she and her finances were being looked after, though no one was ever charged.

Defense contractor accused of selling phony parts

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A new indictment accuses a Coos Bay, Ore., defense contractor of defrauding the military of $10.5 million by supplying phony truck and helicopter parts.

City want to appeal "reasonably related" standard in utility suit

The City of Portland wants to appeal a Multnomah County judge's ruling that water and sewer spending must be "reasonably related" to services provided by the two city utilities. City attorneys filed a request with Multnomah County Circuit Judge Stephen K. Bushong on Thursday that he enter an order ...

Gang leader gets life in US consulate slayings

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A Mexican gang leader has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the 2010 slayings in the border city of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, of a U.S. consulate employee, her husband and the husband of another employee.

13 people hurt in California school bus crash

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say at least 13 people are hurt in a school bus crash in Southern California.

Water picture improves for some California towns

FILE - In this Feb. 4, 2014 file photo, Forrest Clark loads five-gallon bottles of water purchased at a local store into his car in Willits, Calif. State public health officials have reduced the number of communities at risk of losing their drinking water due to California's drought from 17 to three. In the Mendocino County town of Willits, which was two months from losing its drinking water, well drilling efforts and rain have helped officials ease restrictions. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, file) SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — While much of California remains in the grips of extreme drought, spring storms have eased pressure slightly and reduced the number of rural communities considered at risk of running dry.


Several injuries in California school bus crash

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say several children and their bus driver are injured in a school bus crash in Southern California.

Woman gets prison time in Ohio forced-labor case

File-This June 20, 2013 file photo provided by the Ashland County jail shows Dezerah Silsby. A federal judge on Thursday April 24, 2014, sentenced 22-year-old Silsby to 45 months in prison. She was accused of using ice cream to lure a mentally disabled woman and her child to captivity in a forced-labor case. (AP Photo/Ashland County Jail, File) YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio woman accused of using ice cream to lure a mentally disabled woman and her child to captivity in a forced-labor case has been sentenced to more than three years in prison.


Japan says no trade deal with U.S. as Obama prepares to depart

U.S. President Obama and Japan's Emperor Akihito offer toasts to each other during the Japan State Dinner at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo Japan and the United States have made progress in trade talks but not reached the deal that they were hoping to seal at a bilateral summit, Economy Minister Akira Amari said on Friday. But he said, "Overall, the gaps are steadily narrowing" between the two sides, which did not issue the customary joint statement after Thursday's summit between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.


EU should halve meat, dairy consumption to cut nitrogen-report

By Nina Chestney LONDON (Reuters) - People in the European Union, who according to a United Nations body eat way more protein than necessary, could prompt big cuts in nitrogen pollution if they halved their meat and dairy consumption, a U.N.-backed report said on Friday. Nitrogen is used in fertilizer to replace nutrients which are removed by soils during plant growth but excess nitrogen can harm the environment by polluting water, air and soil. That represents around 80 percent of nitrogen emissions from all sources, said the study by the United Nations' Economic Commission for Europe's (UNECE) Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen. "If all people within the EU would halve their meat and dairy consumption, this would reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 25 to 40 percent, and nitrogen emissions by 40 percent," lead author Henk Westhoek, program manager for Agriculture and Food at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, said in a statement.

Local Expert Weighs In On Malaysian Plane Search

A world-renowned deep sea explorer based here in Connecticut shared his take on the missing Malaysian jetliner. It took Dr. Robert Ballard just nine days to find the Titanic…the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is coming up on seven …

Bank of Canada sees evidence exports poised to heat up

Bank of Canada Governor Poloz speaks during a news conference in Ottawa By Bryn Levy SASKATOON, Saskatchewan (Reuters) - Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz is more hopeful than before about an export recovery but is not straying from his mantra that an interest rate cut is just as possible as a hike because the economic outlook is so uncertain. "We're expressing true neutrality on that question," Poloz told reporters after a speech on Thursday when asked if the bank's next move would be an increase or a decrease in its main overnight target rate. But if the more upbeat scenario does not materialize and exports do worse than expected, overall inflation will fall again and drift further from the bank's 2 percent target, he warned. "The bank's analysis has given us a more granular interpretation of the export picture - and gives us more hope for the recovery of our non-energy export sector," Poloz said in a speech at a trade and export industry luncheon in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.


Rebellious Nevada rancher's racist remarks dim Republican support

Rancher Cliven Bundy greets a supporter during a Bundy family "Patriot Party" near Bunkerville, Nevada Two Republican senators who voiced support for a Nevada cattleman in his showdown with federal agents over grazing rights on public land condemned recent remarks by the rebellious rancher musing about whether African-Americans would be "better off as slaves." A day after Cliven Bundy's comments about "the Negro" and government subsidies were published in The New York Times, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky issued a statement saying the rancher's "remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him." Paul, a libertarian and presumed 2016 Republican presidential contender, has expressed sympathy for Bundy's cause and for the resentment harbored by many political conservatives in the West against what they view as overreaching by Washington.


Manufacturers see better times for economy, jobs

FILE - In this Monday, Sept. 10, 2012 file photo a General Electric logo is seen on a kitchen stove at a Lowe's store in Framingham, Mass. Industrial companies such as General Electric, Honeywell and Caterpillar, which make expensive equipment that other companies need to buy in order to grow, have been posting strong results in recent weeks and telling investors that orders are strong. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File) NEW YORK (AP) — Companies are finally starting to spend some of the cash they've been sitting on, and that could mean a stronger economy and more jobs are on the way.


Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to 'super PACs'

Shaun McCutcheon is pictured in front of the United States Supreme Court in Washington By Joseph Ax NEW YORK (Reuters) - A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new era of "super PACs" in state campaigns. District Judge Paul Crotty said the statutes could not survive First Amendment scrutiny in light of recent landmark Supreme Court decisions that have lessened restrictions on big-money political donors. "I think there is a risk of quid pro quo corruption, but the Supreme Court has not recognized it," he said during a hearing in Manhattan federal court. "We know what the Supreme Court has held, whether we like it or not, and I'm bound to follow it." The New York laws had limited the amount of money individual donors could contribute to independent political committees, known as super PACs, that operate separately from a candidate's campaign.


IMF board to meet next week to review aid package for Ukraine

By Elvina Nawaguna WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Thursday said its board planned to meet on April 30 to consider an aid package for Ukraine, saying that Kiev had supplied the necessary documents to determine whether conditions for a bailout had been met. The IMF tentatively agreed in late March to provide a $14 billion-$18 billion two-year aid package to help Ukraine recover from months of political and economic turmoil. "We're in the process of completing the steps necessary for board consideration," IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters during a weekly briefing. "Staff are checking these documents to verify the details, if they're in line with the program understanding." As part of the conditions for the aid, the IMF expects Ukraine to implement major reforms in its energy and financial sectors, which included raising the price of its domestic gas.

Bank of Canada sees export recovery, but low inflation if wrong

Bank of Canada Governor Poloz speaks during a news conference in Ottawa The Bank of Canada is more hopeful than before for the recovery of the country's exports but if exports do worse than expected, overall inflation will fall again and drift further from the target, Governor Stephen Poloz said on Thursday. A new study by the central bank of Canada's non-energy exports found that while some sectors had not rebounded in line with foreign demand, other sectors representing about half of total exports should benefit from foreign expansion, he said. Poloz had previously confessed to being puzzled by Canada's lagging exports and said a recovery of the sector was a prerequisite for full economic comeback. "However, if, for some reason, the export recovery were less than we're predicting, then total inflation, having gone up to target, will simply drift back down to converge with core inflation at perhaps around 1 percent, because the output gap will be just as big as before." The bank's analysis of 31 non-energy export sectors found that the recent depreciation of the Canadian dollar would help some industries, but that the majority of sectors that had been doing well - and which the bank says should drive the export recovery - are less likely to benefit from the lower currency.


Iranians face midnight fuel price surge as subsidies cut

By Michelle Moghtader DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranians have rushed to gas stations to fill their cars before a price surge expected at midnight on Thursday, as President Hassan Rouhani pushes ahead with a policy to cut fuel subsidies. The new prices of subsidized petrol, diesel and compressed natural gas (CNG) have not been announced, but the increases will test Rouhani's support among a population battered by soaring inflation that has been exacerbated by economic sanctions. With memories of riots at the pumps when cheap fuel was rationed for the first time, in 2007, police are on the alert, but do not expect trouble, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said. "We have been preparing for two months to implement these plans in provinces, cities and rural areas," state news agency IRNA quoted Rahmani Fazli as saying on Thursday "Considering the planning, it is expected that the second phase of target subsidies will take place without any problems or displeasure from people." Rouhani's predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, last cut subsidies for fuel, food and utilities in December 2010.

IMF board to meet April 30 to review aid package for Ukraine

By Elvina Nawaguna WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that its board would meet on April 30 to consider an aid package for Ukraine, saying that Kiev had supplied the needed documents for it to determine whether conditions for a bailout had been met. The IMF tentatively agreed in late March to provide a $14 billion-$18 billion two-year bailout to help Ukraine recover from months of political and economic turmoil. The IMF board has yet to approve that package. "Staff are checking these documents to verify the details, if they're in line with the program understanding." The IMF's aid to Ukraine is expected to unlock additional international assistance of about $15 billion over the same two-year period for the nation.

South Sudan to free prisoners as pressure mounts for peace deal

South Sudan's President Kiir speaks during a joint news conference with Sudan's President Bashir at Khartoum Airport By Carl Odera JUBA (Reuters) - South Sudan will free four high-profile political prisoners facing treason charges, a presidential spokesman said on Thursday, meeting a demand by rebels in a faltering peace process. President Salva Kiir has come under mounting pressure as rebel fighters loyal to Kiir's sacked deputy, Riek Machar, seize territory and close in on northern oil fields that provide the country's economic lifeline.


France, Germany show EU support for Georgia as Ukraine crisis mounts

By Margarita Antidze TBILISI (Reuters) - France and Germany assured Georgia on Thursday that a deal bringing it closer to the European Union would be sealed within weeks, moving to tighten ties with the ex-Soviet republic as tension mounts between Russia and the West over Ukraine. The two core EU nations' top diplomats affirmed plans to speed up the signing of a deal to boost trade and political ties - the same kind of pact whose rejection by Ukraine in November touched off the biggest East-West crisis since the Cold War. "I am sure that by the end of June the agreement will have been signed and that it is an important milestone in the history of Georgian and European relations," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Tbilisi. "This agreement is not aimed against anyone ... The EU's economic relations with Georgia don't place economic cooperation between Georgia and Russia in doubt," he told a joint news conference with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

Strong durable goods orders buoy growth outlook

By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rose more than expected in March and a measure of business capital spending plans surged, bolstering views of an acceleration in growth in the second quarter. The Commerce Department said on Thursday durable goods orders increased 2.6 percent as demand rose across all categories. Durable goods, which range from toasters to aircraft and are meant to last three years and more, increased 2.1 percent in February. The end of long-term unemployment benefits and cuts to food stamps have also robbed the economy of momentum.

Spanish economic growth seen fastest since 2008

MADRID (AP) — Spain's economy expanded by 0.4 percent in the first quarter, the Bank of Spain estimated Thursday, the fastest growth in six years and further evidence the recovery is gathering steam.

City set to avoid Champions League ban

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain will not be banned from the Champions League for breaching UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, according to Michel Platini

U.S. vows to help Libya tackle "rising violent extremism"

First Deputy President of Libya's General National Congress Ezzedine Muhammad Yunus al-Awami meets with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns at the headquarters of the National General Congress in Tripoli U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns on Thursday promised Libya more U.S. help against extremist violence, saying the country could not achieve political or economic stability without tackling its security challenges. Libya's weak central government is struggling to assert its authority against militias and armed tribesmen who helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising. "Rising violent extremism is an enormous challenge first for Libya but also for Libya's international partners," Burns told a news conference after talks in the capital Tripoli.


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