Three dead in east Ukraine, Putin warns of 'abyss'
By Aleksandar Vasovic MARIUPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) - Separatists attacked a base of the Ukrainian national guard overnight and Kiev said three separatists were killed, the worst bloodshed yet in a 10-day pro-Russian uprising in east Ukraine, overshadowing crisis talks to resolve the conflict. Ukrainian, Russian and Western diplomats arrived for the emergency talks in Geneva, but there was little hope of any progress in resolving a crisis that has seen armed pro-Russian fighters seize whole swathes of Ukraine, while Moscow masses tens of thousands of troops on the frontier. President Vladimir Putin, who overturned decades of post-Cold War diplomacy last month by declaring Russia's right to intervene in neighboring countries and annexing Ukraine's Crimea region, accused the authorities in Kiev of plunging the country into an "abyss".
04/17/2014 - 08:24 PM
EU warns Russia against using gas for politics
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is warning Russia that interfering with gas deliveries to Ukraine to apply political pressure would backfire by damaging its reputation as a reliable supplier for the EU.
04/17/2014 - 08:20 PM
Putin fields question from U.S. fugitive Snowden
By Steve Gutterman and Alessandra Prentice MOSCOW (Reuters) - Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of U.S. intelligence eavesdropping, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin a question on Thursday during a televised call-in show. The exchange was the first known direct contact between Putin and Snowden since Russia granted the American asylum last summer after he disclosed widespread monitoring of telephone and internet data by the United States and fled the country. Snowden, who has been given refuge in Russia, was not in the studio where Putin was speaking. Snowden, wearing a jacket and open-collar shirt and speaking before a dark background, asked Putin: "Does Russia intercept, store or analyze, in any way, the communications of millions of individuals?" He also asked whether Putin believes improving the effectiveness of investigations justifies "placing societies .. under surveillance".
04/17/2014 - 08:14 PM
GE industrial profits rise 12 percent, shares up
General Electric Co posted a 12 percent rise in overall industrial profits on Thursday, as strength in its businesses selling gas turbines, jet engines and oil industry equipment offset weakness in healthcare and transportation. "The big story is the organic revenue growth," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management, which owns GE shares. "It really shows the return to an industrial emphasis is paying off, and where the company is focusing." GE Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt wants to focus the company even more on manufacturing of large industrial products as he reduces the company's dependence on its GE Capital finance unit.
04/17/2014 - 08:12 PM
Goldman Sachs profit falls 11 percent but beats estimates
Goldman Sachs Group Inc reported an 11 percent drop in first-quarter profit on Thursday as client activity remained constrained and fixed-income revenue shrank. The Wall Street bank said its net income fell to $1.95 billion, or $4.02 per share, in the first three months of the year from $2.19 billion, or $4.29 per share, in the same period of 2013. But the earnings beat the average analyst estimate of $3.45 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, and the bank's shares rose 1.7 percent in premarket trading. Goldman's rivals also reported a drop in revenue from fixed-income trading in the quarter, but Goldman has more at stake than others because it has a less diverse business mix.
04/17/2014 - 08:11 PM
Philip Morris Int'l 1Q profit falls nearly 12 pct
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Philip Morris International Inc. said Thursday that its first-quarter profit dropped nearly 12 percent as cigarette sales fell in the overseas markets that it serves and it was hurt by foreign exchange rates for the U.S. dollar.
04/17/2014 - 08:10 PM
Ukraine, US work to reduce tensions with Russia
GENEVA (AP) — Ukraine is hoping to placate Russia and calm hostilities with its neighbor even as the U.S. prepares a new round of sanctions to punish Moscow for what it regards as fomenting unrest.
04/17/2014 - 08:08 PM
Goldman Sachs earnings fall 11 percent
NEW YORK (AP) — Investment bank Goldman Sachs says its first-quarter earnings fell as fixed income trading slumped.
04/17/2014 - 08:05 PM
Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
PARIS (AP) — A Tommy Lee Jones western and a David Cronenberg exposé about Hollywood's culture are among the 18 films vying for the top prize at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.
04/17/2014 - 08:04 PM
Putin says Russia has no interest in new 'Iron Curtain'
MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia would not seek to cut itself off from the outside world with a Soviet-style Iron Curtain. "The Iron Curtain is a Soviet invention," Putin said during a televised call-in with the nation. "We have no intention of closing off our country and our society from anyone." When asked whether he would be willing to remain president for life, Putin said: "No." (Reporting by Alexei Anishchu and Polina Devitt; Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Louise Ireland)
04/17/2014 - 08:04 PM
A year after marathon bombs, Boston hospitals apply lessons learned
By Svea Herbst-Bayliss BOSTON (Reuters) - The homemade bombs that ripped through the crowd at the finish line of last year's Boston Marathon, killing three people and injuring 264, showcased the city's medical talent but also taught valuable lessons in responding to a mass disaster. By all accounts, Boston's hospitals performed well after the attacks on April 15, 2013. Looking back, a year after their hospitals were packed with blast victims, Boston officials have tweaked how they prepare for a disaster, now requiring city emergency medical personnel to carry tourniquets and developing a standard method for one city agency to track disaster victims in hospitals.
04/17/2014 - 08:03 PM
India goes to polls in biggest voting day
Bangalore (India) (AFP) - India hosted its biggest day of voting on Thursday with the ruling Congress party battling to stem a further slide in the polls against the opposition Hindu nationalists after another week of damaging headlines. "It's a very important election, as it will decide the country’s future, the idea of India and its philosophy," billionaire first-time candidate Nandan Nilekani told AFP in IT hub Bangalore. Congress, in power for two terms since 2004, is widely expected to lose to the resurgent opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by hardline Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi. The 63-year-old barrel-chested leader, chief minister of prosperous Gujarat state in western India, insists only he can revive the faltering economy.
04/17/2014 - 07:59 PM
Salsa great Cheo Feliciano dies in car crash at 78
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Police say Puerto Rican salsa legend Cheo Feliciano has died in a car accident in the U.S. territory. He was 78.
04/17/2014 - 07:58 PM
Texas town recovering, year after deadly blast
WEST, Texas (AP) — As word spread of a spiraling fire at this Texas town's fertilizer plant, volunteers raced to protect families and elderly residents who lived nearby. Then came the deafening explosion.
04/17/2014 - 07:57 PM
ECB hardliner Weidmann comes in from the cold as deflation threatens
By Paul Carrel FRANKFURT (Reuters) - As recently as last November, Jens Weidmann steadfastly opposed any move by the European Central Bank to print money to buy assets and buoy the euro zone economy. The Bundesbank chief, known for his hardline stances at the ECB and as head of the German central bank, is now ready to support such quantitative easing (QE) if he and his ECB colleagues deem it necessary. Euro zone inflation has slowed to 0.5 percent from 0.9 percent in November, falling far below the ECB's target of just under 2 percent and stoking fears the bloc could become stuck in a prolonged period of so-called "low-flation", or even sink into outright deflation. Seeking to head off such a drop in inflation expectations, the ECB's governing council said earlier this month it was unanimous in its commitment to use unconventional tools - central bank-speak for things like QE - to counter a protracted period of low inflation.
04/17/2014 - 07:57 PM
Morgan Stanley reduces risky fixed-income assets by 5 percent
Morgan Stanley reduced its fixed-income risk-weighted assets by 5 percent in the first quarter, Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat said on Thursday. The Wall Street bank had $199 billion of those assets according to Basel 3 capital measurements as of March 31, down from $210 billion in the prior quarter, Porat said in an interview. Morgan Stanley is working toward a goal of having less than $180 billion of risk-weighted fixed-income assets by 2015 in order to free up capital.
04/17/2014 - 07:55 PM
Putin says trust lost in ties with U.S. before Ukraine crisis
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that trust between Russia and the United States had been damaged before the crisis in Ukraine, but that he wanted to restore their cooperation. "To a certain extent trust has been lost, but we do not think we are to blame," Putin said in a televised phone-in with the nation. He said it was U.S. hypocrisy that had brought relations to their worst level since the Cold War: "The United States can act in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya but Russia is not allowed to defend its interests." The two countries have been at odds over a range of issues, from U.S. missile defense plans to NATO expansion and the civil war in Syria. To improve ties, Putin said, the United States should respect others' interests and international law.
04/17/2014 - 07:54 PM
Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy
PARIS (AP) — Tiny nuclear power plants that could be far cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts could herald the future for an energy industry that has come under scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster.
04/17/2014 - 07:54 PM
Obama praises Biden, but doesn't endorse for 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is keeping to himself his favorite to succeed him in the White House.
04/17/2014 - 07:52 PM
Weak Barbie sales weigh on Mattel 1Q
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Toy maker Mattel says weak sales of Barbie and markdowns to clear out excess inventory left over from a sluggish holiday season led to an unexpected first-quarter loss.
04/17/2014 - 07:51 PM
Servier, lab founder in drug scandal, dies at 92
PARIS (AP) — Jacques Servier, the founder of France's second-largest pharmaceutical group who became ensnared in a scandal over a diabetes drug widely used for weight loss, has died.
04/17/2014 - 07:51 PM
Divers struggle in search for Korean ferry survivors
By Narae Kim JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds of people, most of them teenagers from the same school, still missing after a South Korean ferry capsized 36 hours ago. Nine people have been found dead and 179 were rescued, according to the South Korean government, leaving 287 unaccounted for and possibly trapped in the vessel.
04/17/2014 - 07:51 PM
Morgan Stanley profit soars on wealth management, trading
(Reuters) - Morgan Stanley reported a 55 percent jump in first-quarter earnings as higher revenue from the bank's institutional securities business augmented another strong quarter from wealth management. Morgan Stanley's shares rose 2.7 percent to $30.70 in pre-market trading on Thursday. Morgan Stanley also said it would buy back up to another $1 billion of shares and double its dividend this year. Although volumes were lower across most fixed-income businesses, revenue from Morgan Stanley's fixed income and commodities sales and trading rose 13 percent to $1.7 billion.
04/17/2014 - 07:50 PM
Blast on site of ammunition plant kills 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An explosion and fire at a Tennessee plant where ammunition is made killed one person and injured three others.
04/17/2014 - 07:49 PM
GE 1Q earnings fall, outlook strong
NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric posted lower first-quarter net income than a year ago because last year's results included the sale of NBC Universal. But the company said its industrial divisions performed well and the economic environment was "positive."
04/17/2014 - 07:46 PM
Putin says he wants to avoid using force in Ukraine
By Alissa de Carbonnel and Alexei Anishchuk MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine's leaders on Thursday of committing a "grave crime" by using the army to try to quell unrest in the east of the country, and did not rule out sending in Russian troops. But, addressing Russians in his annual televised phone-in, Putin said he hoped he would not need to take such a step, and that diplomacy could succeed in resolving the standoff. In a marathon session dominated by questions on Ukraine, Putin tempered withering criticism of the Ukrainian leadership with more conciliatory comments about the possibility of a compromise to resolve the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War. He pointedly reminded Europe of its dependence on Russian gas, and defended Russia's annexation of Crimea as, in part, a response to NATO's eastward expansion.
04/17/2014 - 07:41 PM
Iran cuts sensitive nuclear stockpile, key plant delayed: IAEA
By Fredrik Dahl VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran has acted to cut its most sensitive nuclear stockpile by nearly 75 percent in implementing a landmark pact with world powers, but a planned facility it will need to fulfill the six-month deal has been delayed, a U.N. report showed on Thursday. The monthly update by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has a pivotal role in verifying that Iran is living up to its part of the accord, made clear that Iran so far is undertaking the agreed steps to curb its nuclear program. As a result, Iran is gradually gaining access to some previously blocked overseas funds. Japan has made two more payments totaling $1 billion to Iran for crude imports, two sources with knowledge of the transactions said.
04/17/2014 - 07:39 PM
India struggles with rebel threats during election
RAJNANDGAON, India (AP) — Indians cast ballots Thursday on the biggest day of voting in the country's weekslong general election, streaming into polling stations even in areas where leftist rebels threatened violence over the plight of India's marginalized and poor.
04/17/2014 - 07:35 PM
Nigeria local authorities say most of abducted schoolgirls still missing
Authorities in Nigeria's northeast Borno state denied on Thursday a statement by the armed forces which had said most of the more than 100 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist rebels had been freed in a military rescue operation. "As I am talking to you now, only 14 of the students have returned," an aide to Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima told Reuters, asking not to be named. The assertion directly contradicted a statement issued late on Wednesday by national armed forces spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade in which he said only eight of the students were still missing after the military operation. An uncle of two of the teenagers who were snatched on Monday by Islamist Boko Haram militants from the government secondary school at Chibok in Borno state said the search was still going on.
04/17/2014 - 07:34 PM
Putin hopes no need to send troops into Ukraine
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday rejected claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but recognized for the first time that the troops in unmarked uniforms who had overtaken Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula before its annexation by Moscow were Russian soldiers.
04/17/2014 - 07:33 PM
PepsiCo 1Q jumps on snack sales, cost cuts
NEW YORK (AP) — PepsiCo reported a stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit as the company slashed costs and sold more snacks around the world.
04/17/2014 - 07:32 PM
Morgan Stanley's income rose 18 percent
NEW YORK (AP) — Investment bank Morgan Stanley says its first-quarter income rose 18 percent from a year ago, helped by its trading and merger and acquisitions advisory businesses.
04/17/2014 - 07:32 PM
Heavy winter storms weigh on DuPont during 1Q
DOVER, Del. (AP) — DuPont's agricultural sales suffered and its operating costs rose during extensive winter storms that dragged on first-quarter earnings, although volumes increased in the company's industrial segments and margins improved in almost every one of them.
04/17/2014 - 07:31 PM
Russia's Putin acknowledges impact from sanctions
President Vladimir Putin on Thursday condemned Western sanctions imposed on a group of Russians and Ukrainians, saying they were aimed at people close to him and in one case had prevented a leading businessman's wife from paying for an operation. He said the wife of Russian billionaire Gennady Timchenko, the co-owner of gas producer Novatek, had been unable to pay because of a blocked bank card. It has nothing to do with common sense," Putin said in a televised phone-in with people from across Russia. Russia has no intention of isolating itself on the world stage, Putin said, adding that other nations appeared reluctant to understand Russia's point of view.
04/17/2014 - 07:29 PM
Divers search for hundreds missing after Korean ferry accident
By Narae Kim JINDO South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers fought rising wind, strong waves and murky water on Thursday as they searched for hundreds of people, most of them teenaged schoolchildren, missing after a South Korean ferry capsized more than 24 hours ago. Nine people were found dead and 179 were rescued, according to the South Korean government, leaving 287 unaccounted for and possibly still trapped in the vessel.
04/17/2014 - 07:26 PM
Openings set to start in NY trial of Egyptian imam
NEW YORK (AP) — Lawyers are poised to make opening statements in the trial of an Egyptian Islamic preacher charged with conspiring to support al-Qaida in part by trying to open a training camp in Oregon.
04/17/2014 - 07:24 PM
Portland plans reservoir flush after teen cited
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Call it the Big Flush 2, and this time the sequel promises to be much bigger than the original.
04/17/2014 - 07:23 PM
Instant View: GE industrial earnings rise, shares tick higher
GE, which is increasingly focusing on its traditional manufacturing businesses over its finance unit, posted an 8 percent increase in industrial revenue, even as overall company revenue fell slightly short of Wall Street's target. They have still three quarters to get above zero in terms of what they guided for the year." PERRY ADAMS, NORTHWESTERN BANK, TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN, MANAGES GE SHARES "They beat expectations by a penny, but it definitely was a mixed bag.
04/17/2014 - 07:21 PM
uFly fires flight instructor who appeared on CNN
TORONTO (AP) — A Canadian flight simulator business fired an instructor who figured prominently in CNN's coverage of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, saying he showed up late to his regular job and "shamed Canadians" by dressing like a teenager.
04/17/2014 - 07:21 PM
India holds biggest day of voting with Hindu nationalists gaining strength
By Ashutosh Pandey and Swetha Gopinath BANGALORE (Reuters) - India held the biggest day of its mammoth general election on Thursday, with a quarter of its 815 million-strong electorate eligible to vote during a week of fresh blows for the ruling Congress party and gains for the Hindu nationalist opposition. Narendra Modi, the prime-ministerial candidate of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been wooing voters with promises to rescue India from its slowest economic growth in a decade and create jobs for its booming young population. In the latest large opinion poll, the BJP and its allies were forecast to win a narrow majority in the 543-seat lower house of parliament, compared to previous surveys predicting that they would fall short. Yet a decision by the Election Commission to reprimand a senior Modi aide for making speeches deemed to stir tensions with minority Muslims underlined critics' assertions that the party is a divisive force.
04/17/2014 - 07:18 PM
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