30 October 2014

US economy grew 3.5% in third quarter

The American flag flutters in the breeze before the US Capitol, cocooned in scaffolding, October 28, 2014US economic growth was robust in the third quarter, according to the first government estimate Thursday, appearing to underscore the Federal Reserve's decision to end its asset-buying stimulus program. The world's largest economy expanded at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the July-September period as defense spending surged and exports climbed, narrowing the trade gap, the Commerce Department said. The economy contracted 2.1 percent in the first quarter largely due to severe winter weather. "Growth above three percent in four of the past five quarters is starting to look like a trend," said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics.


30 October 2014

Mozambique elects Nyusi as new president

Filipe Nyusi addresses a cheering crowd of supporters during a campaign rally on October 12, 2014 on the outskirts of MaputoMozambique has elected Filipe Nyusi of the governing Frelimo party as the next president, the National Electoral Commission said Thursday in announcing final results of polls two weeks ago. The former defence minister won 57 percent of the vote in the southern African nation -- sharply down on Frelimo's 75 percent victory in the last presidential election in 2009. Nyusi's nearest rival, Afonso Dhlakama of the former rebel Renamo party, garnered 37 percent of the votes -- more than double the 16 percent he won in 2009. Incumbent President Armando Guebuza, who was constitutionally barred from seeking re-election to a third term, will hand over early next year to Nyusi, 55, who will steer the country as it starts to tap vast natural gas resources recently discovered in the north.


30 October 2014

FTC sues Gerber over claims on infant formula

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators announced Thursday they were suing Gerber, the well-known baby food maker, for claiming that its Good Start Gentle formula can prevent or reduce allergies in children.

30 October 2014

Financing puts EU, Ukraine, Russia gas talks on hold

People queue to receive humanitarian aid at the Dombass Arena stadium in the eastern Ukrainina city of Donetsk on October 30, 2014The EU, Russia and Ukraine were trying to find the money on Thursday so Kiev can settle a bitter gas supply dispute with Moscow, as the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine claimed more lives. With more gas talks due later Thursday in Brussels, Ukraine said seven of its soldiers had been killed by pro-Russian rebels in the biggest daily toll in more than two weeks while NATO warned the alliance was "vigilant" in the face of increased Russian military activity in European airspace. Meanwhile the prospect of Russia recognising elections Sunday by pro-Moscow rebels in the parts of eastern Ukraine they control threatened to harden divisions on the ground, undercutting EU efforts to get Moscow to stick by a September peace roadmap.


30 October 2014

Menino, Boston's longest-serving mayor, dies at 71

FILE - In this August 9, 2013 photo, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino speaks at Faneuil Hall in Boston. Menino, who was diagnosed with cancer a month after leaving office in 2013, died Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 in Boston. He was 71. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)BOSTON (AP) — Thomas Menino, whose folksy manner and verbal gaffes belied his shrewd political tactics to govern as Boston's longest-serving mayor and one of its most beloved, died Thursday. He was 71.


30 October 2014

Alaska mayor vetoes law aimed at protecting moose

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The mayor of Anchorage, Alaska, has vetoed an ordinance passed to protect moose from impaling themselves on fences with metal spikes.

30 October 2014

Comcast to U.S. senator: no plans to create Internet 'fast lanes'

View of the headquarters of Comcast on JFK Boulevard in PhiladelphiaBy Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Comcast Corp has no plans to create "fast lanes" for any Internet websites or applications, the top U.S. cable and broadband provider reassured the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman in a recent letter. Senator Patrick Leahy last week wrote to top Internet service providers (ISPs), asking them to pledge to reject so-called paid prioritization deals, in which content companies would pay ISPs to ensure smooth and fast delivery of their traffic. ...


30 October 2014

Spokeswoman: Thomas Menino, affable yet shrewd as Boston's longest-serving mayor, dies at 71

BOSTON (AP) — Spokeswoman: Thomas Menino, affable yet shrewd as Boston's longest-serving mayor, dies at 71.

30 October 2014

Burkina army 'backs protesters' as parliament set ablaze

Cars burn outside Burkina Faso's parliament in Ouagadougou on October 30, 2014An opposition leader in Burkina Faso said Thursday that the army was "with the people" against the regime of President Blaise Compaore after protesters set light to the parliament building in Ouagadougou. Benewende Sankara, a leading light in the opposition that is protesting against plans to allow Compaore to extend his 27-year-rule, said he planned to meet retired general Kouame Lougue, a former defence minister and army chief, to discuss the crisis. "The opposition is demanding the resignation of President Blaise Compaore to enable calm to be restored."


30 October 2014

Only top legislators informed of White House computer attack

By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An attack by hackers on a White House computer network earlier this month was considered so sensitive that only a small group of senior Congressional leaders were initially notified about it, U.S. officials said on Thursday. The officials said the Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the heads of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, collectively known as the "Gang of Eight", were told last week of the cyber attack, which had occurred several days earlier. ...

30 October 2014

Obama to rally for Maine gubernatorial candidate

President Barack Obama speaks at an event with American health care workers fighting Ebola, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is heading to Maine to rally votes for the Democratic candidate for governor, the latest in a burst of campaign appearances Obama is making before next week's midterm elections after months of sitting on the sidelines because of his low approval ratings and unpopularity in some states.


30 October 2014

Insults against Israel PM 'disgraceful, damaging': Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry, seen here on October 22, 2014 in Berlin, says the Middle East peace process is still "doable" despite resurging tensionsUS Secretary of State John Kerry hit out Thursday at reported insults by an American official against the Israeli prime minister, saying it was "disgraceful, unacceptable and damaging." Kerry also pledged that the United States would continue to work "quietly and effectively" in order to relaunch the peace process with the Palestinians in a thoughtful and even-handed way, saying it was "doable." Turbulent US-Israel ties plunged to new lows this week, when an anonymous senior Obama administration official was quoted in The Atlantic magazine insulting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and saying he was only interested in preserving his own political skin. Kerry told a forum hosted by The Atlantic that the comments did not reflect the views of either President Barack Obama or his cabinet.


30 October 2014

Clegg blasts UK drugs policy as study backs decriminalisation

British MPs were debating drugs policy as a Home Office study backed decriminalisation of mood-altering substancesLondon (AFP) - British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on Thursday accused coalition partners the Conservatives of ignoring the evidence as they rejected a Home Office study backing decriminalisation of drugs.


30 October 2014

First Peshmerga fighters enter besieged Kobane

A peshmerga fighter waves a Kurdistan flag as his convoy arrives in Viransehir, in Turkey's Sanliurfa on October 29, 2014, bound for KobaneHeavily armed Iraqi peshmerga forces reached the Turkish border Thursday and a first group entered the town of Kobane as they prepared to join fellow Kurds battling the Islamic State group. A peshmerga convoy reached the town of Suruc on the Turkish side of the border Thursday, after travelling through southeastern Turkey along roads clogged with flag-waving Kurds, an AFP photographer said. There it linked up there with a second group of peshmerga who had flown in Wednesday, but it was unclear when the main force would cross into Kobane. The IS jihadists were pounding northern areas of Kobane along the border with mortars and heavy artillery Thursday, a monitoring group said, in an apparent bid to prevent the peshmerga from crossing.


30 October 2014

Spanish economy pulls ahead as eurozone stalls

A senior citizen shops in covered market in the center of Madrid on October 4, 2013Spain's economy expanded for the fifth straight quarter from July to September, official data showed on Thursday, holding to weak recovery from recession while the rest of the eurozone stalled. The country is pulling away from deep problems arising from a property crash and the eurozone debt crisis, and has enacted tough reforms against a background of high unemployment. Spanish gross domestic product grew by 0.5 percent in the third quarter from output in the previous quarter, according to initial figures from the national statistics institute. The Spanish economy, the eurozone's fourth biggest, has achieved modest but steady growth since emerging last year from its recession after the collapse of a property boom in 2008 that brought the country to the verge of default.


30 October 2014

Mega-donors give big to state candidates

More than two dozen donors have given at least $1 million to state-level campaigns ahead of Nov. 4.

30 October 2014

UN watchdog slams Israel abuses, demands Gaza war probe

Palestinian children stand in the rubble of destroyed homes from the 50-day conflict between Hamas militants and Israel, in Gaza City on October 12, 2014A UN human rights watchdog on Thursday urged Israel to respect the rights of Palestinians, and demanded the country probe violations committed during repeated assaults on Gaza. With tensions soaring in East Jerusalem, and months of almost daily clashes, the UN Human Rights Committee published conclusions Thursday from its review earlier this month of Israel's human rights record. The committee lamented continued punitive demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank, excessive force by the Israel Defence Forces and decried reports of the use of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinians, including children, in Israeli detention facilities.


30 October 2014

Fresh clashes in France after dam protest death

Demonstrators near the Hotel de Ville in Paris on October 29, 2014 as people gather to pay tribute to Remi FraisseFresh clashes broke out overnight in Paris between police and activists protesting over the death of a young man who was killed during a demonstration against a controversial dam project. A group of around 250 people gathered late Wednesday outside the City Hall in Paris, with some hurling missiles at police and scrawling "Remi is dead, the state kills" on walls. Remi Fraisse, 21, was found dead in the early hours of Sunday morning as people protesting against the project in the southwestern Tarn region clashed violently with security forces. The death has put pressure on President Francois Hollande's already unpopular government and there have been calls for Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve to step down.


30 October 2014

Ukraine's GDP shrinks 5.1 percent, beating expectations

A woman walks near a shop and a pile of sandbags in the centre of Donetsk, eatern Ukraine, on October 26, 2014Ukraine said its economy shrank by 5.1 percent on a 12-month basis in the third quarter, less than expected and signalling a pause in the war-torn country's accelerating economic decline. The government had warned earlier that this year the economy could shrink by nine percent because the separatist uprising that has gripped Ukraine's industrial east has effectively shut down industries responsible for nearly a quarter of the country's industrial output. Economy Minister Oleksandr Shalapak said this month that Ukraine's GDP reading for the third quarter may come in above expectations because of a relatively strong performance in September. Ukraine's economy recorded no growth last year and contracted by 0.2 percent in 2012.


30 October 2014

Iran wants sanctions lifted as part of nuclear deal

The chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi speaks on June 4, 2014 in DamascusIran wants all Western sanctions to be lifted as part of a deal on its contested nuclear programme by a November deadline, a top official said Wednesday. The six powers in the talks with Iran -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany, known as the P5+1 -- have set November 24 as the deadline. The chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi said the US proposal of a gradual lifting of sanctions was "unacceptable." A Western diplomat close to the negotiations with Iran on Monday said a firm deal by the deadline was highly unlikely, saying Tehran would have to make "significant gestures."