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  • Obama reaffirms commitment to Japan on tour of Asia allies

    Thursday, 3:59 AM

    U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a joint news conference at the Akasaka Palace in TokyoBy Mark Felsenthal and Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama assured ally Japan on Thursday that Washington was committed to its defense, including of tiny isles at the heart of a row with China, but denied he had drawn any new "red line" and urged peaceful dialogue over the islands. His comments drew a swift response from China, which said the disputed islets were Chinese territory. Obama also urged Japan to take "bold steps" to clinch a two-way trade pact seen as crucial to a broad regional agreement that is a central part of the U.S. leader's "pivot" of military, diplomatic and economic resources towards Asia and the Pacific. U.S. and Japanese trade negotiators failed to resolve differences in time for Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to shake hands on a deal at the summit.


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  • Body of Korean boy who raised ferry alarm believed found

    Thursday, 1:24 AM

    A mother whose teenage child was onboard the capsized Sewol ferry and is missing, cries as she reads messages dedicated to the missing and dead passengers on the ship at a port in JindoBy James Pearson and Kahyun Yang SEOUL (Reuters) - A South Korean boy whose shaking voice first raised the alarm that an overloaded ferry with hundreds of children on board was sinking has been found drowned in the submerged wreckage of the vessel, his parents believe, the coastguard said on Thursday. More than 300 people, most of them students and teachers from the Danwon High School, are dead or missing presumed dead after the April 16 disaster. Of the 476 passengers and crew on board, 339 were children and teachers from the school in Ansan, a gritty suburb on the outskirts of Seoul, who were on an outing to Jeju. As the ferry began sinking, the crew told the children to stay in their cabins.


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  • Thai opposition leader seeks compromise to avert bloodshed

    Thursday, 2:44 AM

    Thailand's opposition leader and former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva smiles during an interview in BangkokBy Amy Sawitta Lefevre BANGKOK (Reuters) - Alarmed by the prospect of bloodshed in Thailand as a six-month political crisis nears a critical juncture, former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has called for talks between the government and its foes, urging compromise to restore stability. The 49-year-old leader of Thailand's main opposition Democrat Party has joined street demonstrations in Bangkok aiming to force out Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and his party boycotted a February 2 election, which was nullified by a court in March after widespread disruption. My intention, this week, is to say that: isn't it time we all accept the reality that neither side can get its way, and even if it did, it couldn't bring long-lasting stability." The protests, which attracted more than 200,000 people at their height, have dwindled but hard-core demonstrators say they will continue to harass the government and disrupt any new election until Yingluck's government is toppled. Abhisit's comments were met with skepticism by the government.


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  • Taliban ready to deal on captive US soldier?

    Thursday, 4:24 AM

    This undated image provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The nearly five-year effort to free the only American soldier held captive in Afghanistan is scattered among numerous federal agencies with a loosely organized group of people working on it mostly part time, according to two members of Congress and military officials involved in the effort. An ever-shrinking U.S. military presence in Afghanistan has re-focused attention on efforts to bring home Bergdahl, who has been held by the Taliban since June 30, 2009. (AP Photo/U.S. Army)WASHINGTON (AP) — The captors of an American soldier held for nearly five years in Afghanistan have signaled a willingness to release him but are unclear which U.S. government officials have the authority to make a deal, according to two individuals in the military working for his release. Critics of the release effort blame disorganization and poor communication among the numerous federal agencies involved.


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  • Obama reaffirms commitment to Japan on tour of Asia allies

    Thursday, 3:59 AM

    U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a joint news conference at the Akasaka Palace in TokyoBy Mark Felsenthal and Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama assured ally Japan on Thursday that Washington was committed to its defense, including of tiny isles at the heart of a row with China, but denied he had drawn any new "red line" and urged peaceful dialogue over the islands. His comments drew a swift response from China, which said the disputed islets were Chinese territory. Obama also urged Japan to take "bold steps" to clinch a two-way trade pact seen as crucial to a broad regional agreement that is a central part of the U.S. leader's "pivot" of military, diplomatic and economic resources towards Asia and the Pacific. U.S. and Japanese trade negotiators failed to resolve differences in time for Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to shake hands on a deal at the summit.


    ... read more

  • Obama to Russia: More sanctions are 'teed up'

    Thursday, 3:33 AM

    President Barack Obama attends a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Akasaka State Guest House in Tokyo, Thursday, April 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Junko Kimura-Matsumoto, Pool)TOKYO (AP) — Accusing Russia of failing to live up to its commitments, President Barack Obama warned Moscow on Thursday that the United States has another round of economic sanctions "teed up" — even as he acknowledged those penalties may do little to influence Vladimir Putin's handling of the crisis in Ukraine.


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  • In Disney's shadow, homeless families struggle

    Thursday, 4:31 AM

    In this Tuesday, April 8, 2014 photo, Theresa Muller prepares to move out of her motel room she shares with her boyfriend, father and three children in Kissimmee, Fla. Muller and her family have been homeless but plan to move to a home in a neighboring county. (AP Photo/John Raoux)KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — When they moved from Georgia to the theme park playground of central Florida four years ago, Anthony and Candice Johnson found work at a barbecue restaurant and a 7-Eleven. Their combined salaries nevertheless fell short of what they needed to rent an apartment, so the couple and their two children have instead been hopping among cheap motel rooms along U.S. 192.


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  • Juicy Apple buoys shares, euro volatility sinks

    Thursday, 4:11 AM

    Man looks at an electronic board displaying Japan's Nikkei average and various countries' stock indices outside a brokerage in TokyoBy Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) - Global stocks were back on the front foot on Thursday, as upbeat earnings from tech heavyweights Apple and Facebook helped shake off some of the jitters that have hit the sector in recent weeks. The gains were boosted by the region's tech stocks and come after iPhone giant Apple reported record first quarter sales and laid out plans for a $30 billion share buy back and seven-for-one stock split. Facebook Inc shares jumped 3.7 percent after hours as the Internet social networking company topped Wall Street's expectations. The Nikkei slipped 0.97 percent with some investors apparently disappointed that a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama made no concrete progress on a trade deal.


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  • Asian stocks drop on no trade deal in Obama visit

    Thursday, 3:43 AM

    TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares were mixed as stocks in Tokyo slipped Thursday after talks between Japan's prime minister and visiting President Barack Obama produced little on a trade agreement.... read more

  • AstraZeneca flags cancer advances, silent on Pfizer bid talk

    Thursday, 4:08 AM

    By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca highlighted progress with new cancer drugs that may revive its fortunes as it posted a 17 percent fall in core earnings per share on Thursday, reflecting patent losses on profitable older medicines. Britain's second-biggest drugmaker made no reference to a reported 60 billion pound bid approach from Pfizer in its results statement. The firm's new cancer drugs are seen as a big draw for the U.S. group. Analysts at Berenberg Bank said bid speculation and progress with the late-stage drug pipeline should support the shares, despite "another difficult set of financials".... read more

  • FDA moves to ban sales of e-cigarettes to minors

    Thursday, 3:22 AM

    Electronic cigarettes are pictured on display at The Vapor Spot vapor bar in Los AngelesBy Toni Clarke WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed rules on Thursday that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18, but would not restrict flavored products, online sales or advertising, which public health advocates say attract children. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said at a briefing that the proposal represented the first "foundational" step towards broader restrictions if scientific evidence shows they are needed to protect public health. Critics of e-cigarette advertising say it risks introducing a new generation of young people to conventional cigarettes when little is known about the long-term health impact of the products. "It's very disappointing because they don't do anything to rein in the wild-west marketing that is targeting kids," said Stanton Glantz, a professor at the Center of Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California San Francisco.


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  • Managers mishandled radiation leak at New Mexico nuclear site -official

    Thursday, 3:19 AM

    Managers mishandled a radiation leak at a New Mexico nuclear waste dump in which 21 workers were exposed to airborne radioactive particles due in part to substandard equipment and safety systems, a U.S. investigator said on Wednesday. But the contamination from the underground salt mine in the Chihuahuan Desert - where radioactive waste from U.S. nuclear labs and weapons facilities is deposited - was unlikely to have harmed the workers' health, inspectors said. Ted Wyka, chairman of a federal accident review board, said improperly placed or inoperative air monitors, a substandard ventilation system and mismanagement contributed to the February 14 leak of radioisotopes including plutonium. The preliminary findings by Wyka and other officials assembled by the U.S. Energy Department, which oversees the plant, came during a public meeting in Carlsbad, New Mexico on Wednesday.... read more

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