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Women edge into Gulf boardrooms as economies, societies shift

Princess Ameerah al-Taweel, chief executive of Saudi-based Time Entertainment Holding, stands in Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai By Mirna Sleiman DUBAI (Reuters) - Amina al-Rustamani, a member of a prominent UAE family, raised eyebrows among friends and relatives when she started her career in Dubai 13 years ago as an electrical engineer, becoming one of few females in the Middle East to enter the profession. She is now chief executive of TECOM Investments, part of a conglomerate owned by the ruler of Dubai which manages a complex of nine business parks and spearheads the emirate's economic ambitions in information technology, science and education. Almost unimaginable just a generation ago, Rustamani's rise to the highest level of business in a Gulf Arab country underlines a shift in the business environment that is allowing the gradual entry of women into boardrooms and other positions of economic power in the region. "There's always this challenge to fit in and excel but once you prove that you are competent, you will earn society's respect," said Rustamani, who has a doctorate in electrical engineering from The George Washington University in Washington DC.


Deputies: Man smothered crying son over video game

HOMOSASSA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man suffocated his young, crying son so he could play video games on his Xbox and watch TV, sheriff's deputies said Friday.

US senator: Metro-North fined $552,000 past decade

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Metro-North, the nation's second-largest commuter railroad, has been fined $552,000 over the past decade for safety violations and defects, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Friday.

GM could benefit, too, from an ignition-switch victims fund

A man walks past a row of General Motors vehicles at a Chevrolet dealership on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan If General Motors Co creates a fund to compensate victims of its faulty ignition switches, an option that a top legal adviser suggested it is exploring, the company could give up strong defenses to a wave of lawsuits. By setting up a fund, GM could avert years of civil litigation and limit its financial and reputational harm. GM has retained Kenneth Feinberg, a Washington lawyer who has overseen compensation funds for victims of high-profile catastrophes like the BP Plc oil spill and the September 11, 2001, attacks. Feinberg told CNBC on Wednesday that GM is "asking me to help develop some sort of program that might be used to compensate eligible claimants." Feinberg did not return a request for comment.


White House updating online privacy policy

This Screen grab from the website WhiteHouse.gov taken Friday April 18, 2014 shows the screen explaining a new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explaining how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites, and it clarifies that online comments, whether tirades or tributes, are in the open domain. (AP Photo/WhiteHouse.gov) A new Obama administration privacy policy released Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites, and it clarifies that online comments, whether tirades or tributes, are in the open domain.


Atlanta residents object to planned priests' home

FILE - In this March 31, 2014 file photo, the former residence of Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory sits under construction to be used as a rectory for six priests after Gregory moved to a nearby $2.2 million mansion for his own use in Atlanta. Residents in the neighborhood are objecting to the Archdiocese of Atlanta's plans to renovate the house in the city's upscale Buckhead neighborhood so it can be a home for a group of priests The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Friday April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) ATLANTA (AP) — Residents are objecting to the Archdiocese of Atlanta's plans to renovate a house in the city's upscale Buckhead neighborhood so it can be a home for a group of priests.


Top 20 Concert Tours from Pollstar

The Top 20 Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows in North America. The previous week's ranking is in parentheses. The list is ...

Smuggled cellphone use a growing concern for U.S. prisons

A man stands in Grand Central Terminal, as passengers face limited train service on New Haven Line between Stamford Station and Grand Central Terminal due to Con Edison power problem in New York By Colleen Jenkins WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - Cellphones smuggled into prisons by corrupt guards, concealed in food containers or hurled over security fences are an increasing worry for law enforcement as prisoners use them to intimidate witnesses, direct drug deals and plan escapes. The concerns about these contraband devices came into the national spotlight this month when U.S. officials accused a member of the notorious Bloods gang serving a life sentence in North Carolina of using a mobile phone hidden in his prison cell to arrange the kidnapping of the father of a woman who prosecuted him. There are no widely available reliable figures on how many cellphones are in the hands of the 2.3 million inmates in local, state and federal prisons in the United States, but statistics point to a swift rise of the problem. In California, for instance, the number of contraband cellphones discovered by corrections staff jumped to more than 15,000 in 2011, more than 10 times the 1,400 seized in 2007.


10 Things to Know for Today

FILE - In a Monday, Jan. 17, 2011 file photo, gun violence protesters participate in a lie-in during an anti-gun rally at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. Nearly six in 10 Americans want stricter gun laws in the aftermath of last month's deadly school shooting in Connecticut, with majorities favoring a nationwide ban on military-style, rapid-fire weapons and limits on gun violence depicted in video games and movies and on TV, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. A lopsided 84 percent of adults would like to see the establishment of a federal standard for background checks for people buying guns at gun shows, the poll showed. President Barack Obama was set Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013 to unveil a wide-ranging package of steps for reducing gun violence expected to include a proposed ban on assault weapons, limits on the capacity of ammunition magazines and universal background checks for gun sales. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File) Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:


Compensation battle rages four years after BP's U.S. oil spill

File photo of fire boat response crews battling the blazing remnants of the offshore oil rig Deepwater Horizon off Louisiana Four years after the Deepwater Horizon spill, oil is still washing up on the long sandy beaches of Grand Isle, Louisiana, and some islanders are fed up with hearing from BP that the crisis is over. Jules Melancon, the last remaining oyster fisherman on an island dotted with colorful houses on stilts, says he has not found a single oyster alive in his leases in the area since the leak and relies on an onshore oyster nursery to make a living. The British oil major has paid out billions of dollars in compensation under a settlement experts say is unprecedented in its breadth. Some claimants are satisfied, but others are irate that BP is now challenging aspects of the settlement.


Views differ of imam accused in terror case

FILE- In this Oct. 9, 2013 file courtroom drawing, defense attorney, Jeremy Schneider, left, represents accused terrorist Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, center, in Manhattan federal court, in New York. Opening arguments in Mustafa’s terrorism trial began in New York on Thursday, April 17, 2014. Federal prosecutors accused Mustafa of training and aiding terrorists in the 1990s while hiding in plain sight as the leader of a London mosque, while Mustafa’s attorney told jurors his client had never harmed Americans and did not participate in any of the acts charged in the case. (AP Photo/ Elizabeth Williams, File) NEW YORK (AP) — An Egyptian imam who led a London mosque more than a dozen years ago was portrayed in opening statements at his terrorism trial as an enthusiastic supporter of al-Qaida by a prosecutor and as a reasonable man who helped authorities in England keep people calm by his defense attorney.


Blumenthal: Metro-North fined $552,000 past decade

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal says Metro-North Railroad has been fined $552,000 over the past decade for safety violations and defects.

Views differ of imam accused in US terrorism case

FILE- In this Oct. 9, 2013 file courtroom drawing, defense attorney, Jeremy Schneider, left, represents accused terrorist Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, center, in Manhattan federal court, in New York. Opening arguments in Mustafa’s terrorism trial began in New York on Thursday, April 17, 2014. Federal prosecutors accused Mustafa of training and aiding terrorists in the 1990s while hiding in plain sight as the leader of a London mosque, while Mustafa’s attorney told jurors his client had never harmed Americans and did not participate in any of the acts charged in the case. (AP Photo/ Elizabeth Williams, File) NEW YORK (AP) — An Egyptian imam who led a London mosque more than a dozen years ago was portrayed in opening statements at his terrorism trial as an enthusiastic supporter of al-Qaida by a prosecutor and as a reasonable man who helped authorities in England keep people calm by his defense attorney.


Remembering an officer slain after bombs went off

FILE - This undated photo provided by the Middlesex District Attorney's Office shows Massachusetts Institute of Technology Police Officer Sean Collier, 26, of Somerville, Mass. Investigators said Collier was shot to death Thursday, April 18, 2013 on the school campus in Cambridge, Mass., by Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a botched attempt to obtain his gun several days after the twin explosions. Collier will be remembered on the first anniversary of his death in a ceremony at MIT Friday morning, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Middlesex District Attorney's Office, File) BOSTON (AP) — Like many other youngsters, Sean Collier wanted to be a police officer. Unlike most, he brought that dream to life — and then died doing it, becoming a central character in one of the most gripping manhunts the nation has ever seen.


Judge asks pointed questions in gay marriage case

Plaintiffs challenging Oklahoma's gay marriage ban Sharon Baldwin, left, and her partner Mary Bishop leave court following a hearing at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Thursday, April 17, 2014. The appeal of a lower court's January ruling that struck down Oklahoma's gay marriage ban is the second time the issue has reached appellate courts since the U.S. Supreme Court shook up the legal landscape last year by finding the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) DENVER (AP) — A judge in Colorado who will play a pivotal role deciding whether gays should be allowed to wed in the United States asked pointed questions Thursday about whether Oklahoma can legally ban the unions.


Student struggles to recount fatal truck-bus crash

File - In this April 10, 2014, file photo, massive flames engulf a tractor-trailer and a tour bus just after they collide on Interstate 5 near Orland, Calif. Authorities are releasing 911 calls made after a FedEx struck slammed into a tour bus carrying high school students last week, killing 10 people. The crash is under investigation by state and federal officials who are trying to determine why the truck driver careened across an Interstate-5 median and struck the bus, leaving no tire marks to suggest he tried to brake. (AP Photo/Jeremy Lockett, File) ORLAND, Calif. (AP) — Most of the 911 calls from witnesses to last week's fiery truck-bus collision that killed 10 were matter of fact. Then there was the one from a passenger: With shrieks in the background, the student struggled to recount how a truck came roaring toward them.


Late sign-ups improve outlook for Obama health law

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 17, 2014. The president spoke about health care overhaul and the situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) WASHINGTON (AP) — A surge of eleventh-hour enrollments has improved the outlook for President Barack Obama's health care law, with more people signing up overall and a much-needed spark of interest among young adults.


Court chaos: Iraqi man convicted in wife's murder

Murder suspect Kassim Alhimidi reacts to being found guilty for the murder of his wife Shaima Alawadi, Thursday April 17, 2014. Alhimidi shook his head as the verdict was read Thursday. He was charged with murdering his 32-year-old wife, Shaima Alawadi, in El Cajon, home to one of the largest enclaves of Iraqi immigrants in the U.S. (AP Photo/John Gastaldo,Pool) EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) — What began as a hate crime investigation two years ago has led to the murder conviction of an Iraqi immigrant, whose wife was found badly beaten with a threatening note labeling her a terrorist.


Quotations in the News

"Do you believe they're still alive? I know the chances aren't good. ... No one in his class has been rescued." — Lee Mi-shim, a 48-year-old mother of a missing student, as 270 people are missing two days after a ferry sank off South Korea.

Fourth U.S. Navy official charged in bribery investigation

By Marty Graham SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - The fourth U.S. Navy official charged in the widening corruption investigation of a Singapore-based defense contractor made his first court appearance on Thursday, accused of accepting gifts of cash, electronics and luxury hotel stays. Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug, 27, is charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, according to a complaint unsealed on Thursday. He is accused of accepting payments of $1,000 a month, plus expensive electronic gadgets and luxury hotel stays, in exchange for information he provided on Navy ships' schedules to Glenn Defense Marine Asia, the company at the center of the scandal. The company's CEO, native Malaysian businessman Leonard Glenn Francis, is charged with plying Navy officials with cash, concert tickets, prostitutes and other gifts to win business.

Suspect arrested in Kansas City highway shootings

GRANDVIEW, Mo. (AP) — Police arrested a suspect Thursday in a string of random vehicle shootings on Kansas City-area highways over the past few weeks that have wounded three motorists and frightened many more.

Obama: 8 million signed up for health care

President Barack Obama speaks about health care, Thursday, April 17, 2014, in the briefing room of the White House in Washington. The president said eight million have signed up for health insurance under Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) WASHINGTON (AP) — Eight million people have signed up for health care through new insurance exchanges and the proportion of younger applicants has increased, President Barack Obama said Thursday. The enrollments exceeded expectations and offered new hope to Democrats who are defending the law ahead of the midterm elections.


Japan, U.S. trade talks in stalemate, ministers to meet again: Japan

Amari speaks to the media after meetings with Froman in Tokyo By Krista Hughes and Kaori Kaneko WASHINGTON/TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S.-Japan talks aimed at a trade deal seen as vital to a broader regional pact are in stalemate, Japan's economy minister said, as negotiators struggle to narrow gaps ahead of a summit between the countries' leaders. The TPP is central to U.S. President Barack Obama's policy of expanding America's presence in Asia. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, for his part, has touted the TPP as a main element of his strategy to reform the world's third largest economy and generate sustainable growth. "A stalemate continues," Japan's Economy Minister Akira Amari told reporters in Washington after talks with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.


Texas town honors 15 killed in year-ago explosion

Brad Pustejovsky is hugged by his wife Dolores as he answers a reporters question about his brother Joey Pustejovsky, Thursday, April 17, 2014, in West, Texas. Joey was a volunteer firefighter in West, who was killed one year ago fighting a fire at a fertilizer plant that would later explode. AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) WEST, Texas (AP) — Rev. Terry McElrath heard the deafening boom. The pastor spun around and saw a column of smoke billowing into the sky above his small Texas town. He immediately thought, "Somebody has died tonight."


City of Lakeland Employee Morale Survey Spurs Records Dispute

The city of Lakeland again found itself embroiled in a public records dispute Thursday. Until the early evening, city officials refused to release a copy of the 80-question morale survey that city employees are taking.

Venture investments highest since 2001

NEW YORK (AP) — Funding for U.S. startup companies soared 57 percent in the first quarter to a level not seen since 2001, as venture capitalists piled more money into a growing number of deals, according to a report due out Friday.

Racist online forums linked to deadly U.S. hate crimes: rights group

By Barbara Liston ORLANDO, Florida (Reuters) - A white supremacist charged with killing three people near two Jewish community facilities in suburban Kansas City this week posted more than 12,000 messages on a racist website which carries the slogan "No Jews, Just Right," according to an organization that tracks hate groups. The online activity by Frazier Glenn Cross follows a trend in which prolific posters on hate online forums are becoming "disproportionately responsible" for racist murders and mass killings, according to a report released on Thursday by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights organization. The report said nearly 100 people in the last five years have been murdered by frequent users of one white supremacist website, Stormfront. The site describes itself as a community of "White Nationalists" and "the voice of the new, embattled White minority." "It has been a magnet for the deadly and deranged," said Heidi Beirich, author of the report.

Today in History

Today is Good Friday, April 18, the 108th day of 2014. There are 257 days left in the year.

Signs of healing in Texas town a year after deadly plant blast

Texas State Troopers block a railway line leading towards a fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West, near Waco, Texas By Lisa Maria Garza WEST, Texas (Reuters) - Still healing from multiple broken bones after the force of a deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant lifted him out of his boots a year ago, one first responder has begun to address the anguish of losing his team members. Volunteer firefighter Robert Payne said there were challenges that went far beyond physical rehabilitation in recovering from the April 17, 2013, blast that killed 15 people, most of them first responders. In many ways, the tiny, central Texas town of West looks much like it did before the fertilizer plant explosion leveled the surrounding neighborhood and injured hundreds. Texas Governor Rick Perry said late Wednesday that the state will award West an additional $4.8 million to repair infrastructure, including water treatment and storage, on top of the $3.2 million in disaster relief already received.


US: Forfeiture deal over Iran assets sets record

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has approved plans to sell a 36-story Manhattan office building and other properties owned by Iran nationwide in what will be the largest terrorism-related forfeiture ever, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Police: Man ate pot candy before shooting wife

This undated photo provided by the Denver Police Department shows of Richard Kirk. Kirk is being held for investigation of first-degree murder in the death of his wife in their Denver home. Police officers arrived just after Kristine Kirk was shot in the head Monday, April 14, 2014, about 15 minutes after she called 911. Police are investigating whether marijuana played a role in the killing. (AP Photo/Denver Police) DENVER (AP) — A Denver man accused of killing his wife while she was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher ate marijuana-infused candy before the attack, according to search warrants released Thursday.


Neighbors rushed in vain to help in California bus crash that killed 10

By Sharon Bernstein ORLAND, California (Reuters) - Newly released recordings of 911 emergency calls revealed the helplessness of stunned residents in the California town of Orland who witnessed the aftermath of last week's fiery crash between a FedEx truck and a tour bus that killed 10 people. The California Highway Patrol made the recordings public on Thursday as investigators returned to the scene of the accident, painstakingly driving a pristine white tour bus back and forth over the charred and bubbled surface of Interstate 5 in an effort to reconstruct the April 10 collision. I'm running over to see what it is." Five high school students and five adults, including the two drivers, died when the FedEx tractor trailer swerved across the highway median and slammed head-on into a motor coach filled with about 50 Los Angeles-area teenagers on their way to visit Humboldt State University in Arcata, California. A blast unleashed by the impact was so loud that it was heard throughout nearby Orland, an agricultural community about 90 miles north of Sacramento.

911 calls capture chaos after truck-on-bus crash

In This Photo Provided By The University Of La Verne, Trish Arzola, the mother of Arthur "Tury" Arzola, Jr. is hugged by her sons David and James at a candlelight vigil, as family, friends and colleagues gathered for a memorial service on Wed. April 16, 2014 at The University of La Verne. The La Verne graduate student was one of the 10 people killed in the tragic crash when a FedEx truck collided into a busload of students, chaperones and advisors who were heading to Humboldt State University. Arzola was a recruiter for Humboldt State University, and part of the close-knit University of La Verne community. (AP Photo/University Of La Verne, Nancy Newman) Nancy Newman Photography (714) 317-1518 NancyNB@earthlink.net ORLAND, Calif. (AP) — With shrieks in the background, a shocked passenger struggled to recount to an emergency dispatcher how a FedEx tractor-trailer smashed into a tour bus carrying high school students. In other 911 calls released Thursday, other witnesses described explosions after the fiery wreck that left 10 people dead.


California cross-border airport clears key hurdle

SAN DIEGO (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Thursday that it has reached agreement with an investor group to clear the way for construction of the nation's first cross-border airport terminal connecting San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.

Beijing's bid to move polluting firms watched warily in nearby regions

Chimneys and cooling towers of a steel plant are seen through the fog in Beijing By David Stanway BEIJING (Reuters) - China's capital has ordered more than 50 companies to shut down this year in an effort to cut pollution but pushing factories out could raise objections in surrounding areas reluctant to host Beijing's polluters. Smog-shrouded Beijing and the surrounding province of Hebei have become a front in a "war against pollution" declared by Premier Li Keqiang last month. But experts say efforts to cut coal consumption and industrial output in big cities like Beijing is likely to put pressure on other regions to endure more pollution to keep the economy growing, with overall coal consumption expected to rise by a quarter from 2011 to 2015. "Moving Beijing's plants to Hebei isn't the best way," said Yang Fuqiang, a former government researcher and senior energy and environment adviser with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a U.S.-based think-tank.


Obama budget would boost U.S. tax revenue, cut deficits: CBO

Obama speaks after touring the Community College of Allegheny West Hills Center in Oakdale, Pennsylvania By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's fiscal 2015 budget request would boost U.S. tax revenue by nearly $1.4 trillion over 10 years if fully enacted, cutting deficits by $1.05 trillion while funding new spending, the Congressional Budget Office said on Thursday. But the non-partisan agency's analysis was less optimistic than the White House's own projections - showing that cumulative deficits would total $6.6 trillion over 10 years, compared to $4.9 trillion under the Obama plan when it was released in March. A key difference between the two deficit pictures is CBO's projection of slower economic growth, partly resulting in lower revenue collections. The likelihood that Congress will advance Obama's plan in its entirety is virtually nil, but the CBO's latest analysis will feed campaign messaging by Democrats and Republicans ahead of congressional elections in November.


City announces it's closed deal with Aqua Indiana

The city of Fort Wayne announced Thursday that it had reached a final agreement with Aqua Indiana to purchase Aqua ’s water utility in southwest Fort Wayne. The agreement also resolves the dispute over the purchase price of Aqua ’s former north system.

City lowers Grand Concourse speed limit as a safety measure

City agencies are ramping up efforts to make the Bronx safer for drivers and pedestrians. Grand Concourse will be home to the second of 25 planned “arterial slow zones,” highly trafficked streets on which speed limits will be dropped to 25 miles per hour from the citywide limit of 30 miles per hour, transportation officials announced Thursday.

Auto airbag maker Continental named in GM recall suit

Plaintiffs' lawyers are seeking to draw Continental Automotive Systems US, the maker of airbag systems in recalled General Motors Co vehicles, into litigation over an ignition-switch defect that has been linked to 13 deaths. A lawsuit filed late Wednesday in federal court in California is the first to name Continental, a subsidiary of German automotive supplier Continental AG, in the growing wave of litigation over GM's recall, which has so far encompassed 2.6 million vehicles. Continental made airbag systems for the recalled cars, including sensors that determine if and when the airbags go off in an accident, according to the suit. The case is among dozens of proposed class actions that have been filed by customers accusing GM of concealing its knowledge of the defect for more than a decade, putting plaintiffs at risk of injury and causing them to suffer economic losses on their cars, including lower resale value.

City spending more for durable road lines

The City of Saskatoon is spending more to draw the line on Saskatoon streets. An additional $500,000 — on top of the $800,000 the city spends annually to repaint road lines — will be spent on durable road markings this year.
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