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House advances lawsuit bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans have cleared legislation for a vote in the House that authorizes the filing of an election-year lawsuit accusing President Barack Obama of failing to implement the 4-year-old health care law.

Air Algerie flight crashes, 116 aboard

The sister-in-law of a Lebanese passenger on board flight AH 5017 displays her picture in the southern Lebanese village of Srifa Search for site where Flight AH5017, from Burkina Faso to Algiers, went down underway.


US stocks rise at midday on stronger earnings

FILE - The New York Stock Exchange is shown, in this Aug. 9, 2011 file photo taken in New York. World shares were rattled Thursday July 24, 2014 by reports the European Union is weighing stiffer financial sanctions against Russia. .(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File) NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks edged higher in midday trading Thursday as investors digested second-quarter results from companies across several industries, including Facebook, Ford and Caterpillar.


Arizona execution rekindles death penalty debate

Joseph Rudolph Wood FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — The nation's third execution in six months to go awry rekindled the debate over the death penalty and handed potentially new evidence to those building a case against lethal injection as cruel and unusual punishment.


10 Things to See: A week of top AP photos

10ThingsToSee - Hotel security officers guard at an entrance door of a hotel room set aside for relatives or friends of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, in Beijing, China Wednesday, March 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong) Here's your look at highlights from the weekly AP photo report, a gallery featuring a mix of front-page photography, the odd image you might have missed and lasting moments our editors think you should see.


Facebook shares hit record high as market likes earnings

A Facebook logo on an Ipad is reflected among source code on the LCD screen of a computer in this photo illustration Shares of Facebook Inc hit a record high on Thursday after a surge in mobile advertising revenue helped the world's No. 1 social network trounce analysts' expectations for quarterly profit and revenue. At that price, Facebook's market value is just short of $200 billion, putting the company in position to overtake IBM Corp as the fourth-largest U.S.-listed tech company. The top three are Apple Inc, Google Inc and Microsoft Corp. At least 28 brokerages raised their price targets on the stock, by as much as $15 to a high of $100. At $100, Facebook would be valued at more than $250 billion.


Results, jobs data buoy Wall Street, S&P eyes 2,000

A trader watches his screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange By Rodrigo Campos NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 hit a record high for a third straight session on Thursday, lifted by jobs data and earnings, but a weak reading in new home sales kept other key stock indexes little changed. Stocks had opened higher on strong job market data in the United States and overseas factory readings, while Facebook shares rallied after results beat expectations. Jobless claims fell to the lowest since mid-February 2006, pointing to continued strength in the labor market, but new home sales fell 8.1 percent in June, the most in almost a year, and May's initial reading of a more than 18 percent gain was revised to just above 8 percent, putting a damper on sentiment as the housing market struggles.


Pope meets Sudanese woman sentenced to death

Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim ROME (AP) — Pope Francis met privately Thursday with a Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence, blessing the woman as she cradled her infant daughter born just weeks ago in prison.


IMF cuts US and global growth forecasts for 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The International Monetary Fund foresees the global economy expanding less than it had previously forecast, slowed by weaker growth in the United States, Russia and developing economies.

Iraqis: Jihadis destroy ancient mosque in Mosul

FILE - in this Thursday July 29, 2004, file photo, Fouad Massoum speaks during a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq. Kurdish politician Fouad Massoum was named Iraq’s new president on Thursday, Massoum, 76, one of the founders of President Jalal Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, known as PUK, accepted the position after winning two-thirds of the votes, noting the “huge security, political and economic tasks" facing the government. (AP Photo/Mohammed Uraibi, File) BAGHDAD (AP) — Residents of the Iraqi city of Mosul say Islamic extremist militants have blown up a revered Muslim shrine traditionally said to be the burial place of the Prophet Jonah.


Ford 2Q net profit up 6 percent to $1.3 billion

FILE - This file photo taken on Feb. 14, 2013 shows the Ford logo on the grill of a 2013 Ford F-350 truck on display at the Pittsburgh Auto Show in Pittsburgh. Ford reports quarterly financial results on Thursday, July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File) DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) — Ford Motor Co. beat Wall Street's expectations in the second quarter as it chalked up a record profit in North America and made money in Europe for the first time in three years.


Massachusetts monks tap brewing tradition to support aging members

Trappist Monks pray during a service at Saint Joseph's Abbey in Spencer By Scott Malone SPENCER, Mass. (Reuters) - Tucked off a two-lane highway in a hilly, wooded section of central Massachusetts, a group of Roman Catholic monks has embraced a centuries-old tradition they hope can sustain their aging members in a world of rapidly rising health costs. "We're trying to reinvent our economy," said Father Isaac Keeley on a recent tour of the abbey's low-slung stone buildings and starkly modern 30,000-square-foot brewery, nestled in a wooded property some 60 miles (97 km) west of Boston. "The health costs are huge," said Father Dominic Whedbee, the abbey's 65-year-old prior, the group's second-ranking member.


Celgene profit rises but revised outlook disappoints

Celgene Corp reported a 25 percent rise in second-quarter profit, edging out Wall Street expectations, but a raised 2014 forecast failed to excite investors and its shares fell nearly 4 percent. "So lots of biotech investors are continuing to flock to Gilead and Biogen, which have more near-term earnings upside and catalysts coming." Gilead Sciences Inc and Biogen Idec Inc on Wednesday both crushed Wall Street earnings expectations as Gilead's new hepatitis drug Sovaldi racked up a stunning $3.5 billion in second-quarter sales and Biogen's multiple sclerosis drug Tecfidera continued one of the most impressive new drug launches overshadowed only by Sovaldi. "Celgene was fine but disappointed the bulls after a big recent stock run to its all time highs," said Yee.

EU targets state-owned Russia banks in sanctions plan

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for a meeting of the Security Council in Moscow's Kremlin By Justyna Pawlak and Adrian Croft BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union would target state-owned Russian banks vital to financing Moscow's faltering economy in the most serious sanctions so far over the Ukraine crisis under proposals considered by EU governments on Thursday. Ambassadors of the 28-nation bloc met in Brussels to discuss options drafted by the executive European Commission in response to the downing of a Malaysian airliner in an area of eastern Ukraine held by Russian-backed separatists. "If implemented such sanctions would be a serious blow to the Russian economy, exacerbating an already very likely recession this year and sustaining an economic depression for longer," said analyst Michal Dybula of BNP Paribas. The proposals included an arms embargo, although diplomats said it would apply to future deals and would not bar delivery of a French warship built for Russia under a 2011 contract.


IMF warns sanctions against Russia risk 'impact' on region

A pro-Russia militant stands guard next to a Ukrainian tank that was destroyed by separatists in the eastern city of Donetsk, on July 22, 2014 The International Monetary Fund warned Thursday that recent economic sanctions imposed against Russia could have a severe impact that would ripple through the region. "On a regional level, there's bound to be some impact," especially through trade channels, IMF spokesman William Murray said at a news conference. Murray said the impact was expected to be felt in economies "that have very active and direct trade links with Russia, particularly in eastern and central Europe and central Asia." The IMF spokesman highlighted that recent sanctions against Russia, "especially those that have imposed by the United States," signalled a step-up of geopolitical tensions and "could have a significant adverse impact on the Russia economy."


IMF lowers 2014 global growth forecast

The IMF has lowered its forecast for the US economy to 1.7%, from an earlier estimate of 2.8% in April The International Monetary Fund lowered its 2014 global economic growth forecast Thursday, warning of "negative surprises" from the United States and China and geopolitical risks in Ukraine and the Middle East. In the eurozone, still struggling to recover from recession, the growth estimate was unchanged at 1.1 percent, and the IMF reiterated concern about weak inflation in the 18-nation European bloc.


FAA lifts ban on US flights to Tel Aviv airport

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. flights in and out of Israel.

IMF says Israel-Gaza conflict already having economic costs

Israel and Gaza are already facing economic costs from the fighting between them that has raged for the past two weeks, a spokesman from the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday. The fiscal cost to Israel is estimated at 0.2 percent of its gross domestic product, though that number could increase if the fighting continues for long, IMF deputy spokesman William Murray said, citing figures from "various sources." He said the Israeli economy, especially the tourism industry and small and medium-sized firms, has also been hit, and GDP growth could slow further if the conflict continues. "However, we need to make clear that once the conflict ends, we expect growth in Israel to rebound relatively quickly," Murray said. "Heavy damage to buildings, water and electricity infrastructure is already apparent, aggravating an already critical humanitarian situation (in Gaza)," Murray said.

Russia's UK envoy: Western sanctions over Ukraine illegal and harmful

Western sanctions against Russia over its role in the crisis in Ukraine are illegal, counter-productive and could hurt the global economy, Russia's ambassador to Britain, Alexander Yakovenko, said on Thursday. The United States and the European Union have imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russian individuals and companies over Ukraine. "We believe they are illegal, unreasonable and counter productive," Yakovenko told a news conference in London. Some Western states are now mulling broader sanctions that would affect whole sectors of the Russian economy after a Malaysian airliner was downed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine last Thursday, killing all 298 on board.

Pope meets Sudanese woman sentenced to death

Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim ROME (AP) — Pope Francis met privately Thursday with a Sudanese woman who refused to recant her Christian faith in the face of a death sentence, blessing the woman as she cradled her infant daughter born just weeks ago in prison.


Official: Air Algerie flight 'probably crashed'

This photo taken on Friday, May 16, 2014 shows an MD-83 aircraft in the livery of Swiftair landing at Zaventem Airport Brussels. An Air Algerie flight carrying over 100 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali after heavy rains were reported, according to the plane's owner and government officials in France and Burkina Faso. Air navigation services lost track of the MD-83 about 50 minutes after takeoff from Ougadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, at 0155 GMT (9:55 p.m. EDT Wednesday), the official Algerian news agency APS said. Air Algerie Flight 5017 was being operated by Spanish airline Swiftair, the company said in a statement. The Spanish pilots' union said the plane belonged to Swiftair and it was operated by a Spanish crew. (AP Photo/Kevin Cleynhens) ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — An Air Algerie flight carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algeria's capital disappeared from radar early Thursday over northern Mali, officials said. France's foreign minister said no wreckage had been found, but that the plane "probably crashed."


US new-home sales plummet in June

FILE - In this May 14, 2014 file photo, a sign hangs in front of a new home for sale in Riverview, Fla. Sales of new U.S. homes plunged in June, the Commerce Department said Thursday, July 24, 2014, a sign that real estate continues to be a weak spot in the economy. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — Sales of new U.S. homes plunged in June, a sign that real estate continues to be a weak spot in the economy.


This Silent Market Hides Hidden Terrors

Everybody is talking about today's low-volatility stock market but investors in Barclays PLC (LON: BARC), Tesco PLC (LON: TSCO) and GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON: GSK) might disagree.

Planes with Malaysia Airlines bodies leave Ukraine

In this framegrab made from a video provided by press service of the rebel Donetsk People's Republic and icorpus.ru, pro-Russians collect parts of the burning debris of a Ukrainian military fighter jet, shot down at Savur Mogila, eastern Ukraine, Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Two Ukrainian military Sukhoi-25 fighters have been shot down in the east, according to the country's Defense Ministry. (AP Photo/icorpus.ru, Press Service of the rebel Donetsk People's Republic) KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Two military aircraft carrying remains of victims from the Malaysian plane disaster departed for the Netherlands Thursday, while Australian and Dutch diplomats joined to promote a plan for a U.N. team to secure the crash scene which has been controlled by pro-Russian rebels.


Global stock indexes, euro inch up on euro zone data, U.S. earnings

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) - Major global stock markets edged higher while the euro rose from an eight-month low against the U.S. dollar on Thursday following upbeat euro zone data and stronger-than-expected U.S. earnings. The S&P 500 was barely higher as data showing sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell by the biggest amount since July 2013 offset profit news from companies including Facebook . Facebook's shares were up 5.4 percent at $75.14 and hit a record high of $76.74 in early trading, a day after reporting a surge in mobile advertising revenue. Russian debt insurance costs rose after European Union leaders proposed sanctions on Russian banks which are majority-owned by the government.


Ukraine accused of targeting civilians in east

In this photo taken on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, Alexander Litvinenko points to damage inflicted where a missile hit, two days before, leaving a gaping hole in the wall of his ninth-floor apartment, in Donetsk, Ukraine. The 53-year-old college philosophy teacher had just stepped into his study to check the news online, barely escaping death. Others in the residential neighborhood in northwest Donetsk were less fortunate. Five civilians were killed and 12 injured in fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels on Monday, according to the mayor’s office. Residents in the rebel-held city are blaming Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has promised to stamp out the uprising in the eastern part of the country. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda) DONETSK, Ukraine (AP) — War literally came to Alexander Litvinenko's living room, when a missile punched a gaping hole into the wall of his ninth-floor apartment. The 53-year-old college philosophy teacher had just stepped into his study to check the news online, barely escaping death.


Stock indexes, euro inch up on euro zone data, U.S. earnings

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) - Major global stock markets edged higher while the euro rose from an eight-month low against the U.S. dollar on Thursday following upbeat euro zone data and stronger-than-expected U.S. earnings. The S&P 500 was barely higher as data showing sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell by the biggest amount since July 2013 offset profit news from companies including Facebook FB.O. Facebook's shares were up 5.4 percent at $75.14 and hit a record high of $76.74 in early trading, a day after reporting a surge in mobile advertising revenue. ...


Stock indexes, euro inch up on euro zone data, U.S. earnings

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) - Major global stock markets edged higher while the euro rose from an eight-month low against the U.S. dollar on Thursday following upbeat euro zone data and stronger-than-expected U.S. earnings. The S&P 500 was barely higher as data showing sales of new U.S. single-family homes fell by the biggest amount since July 2013 offset profit news from companies including Facebook FB.O. Facebook's shares were up 5.4 percent at $75.14 and hit a record high of $76.74 in early trading, a day after reporting a surge in mobile advertising revenue. ...


GLOBAL MARKETS-Stock indexes, euro inch up on euro zone data, U.S. earnings

Major global stock markets edged higher while the euro rose from an eight-month low against the U.S. dollar on Thursday following upbeat euro zone data and stronger-than-expected U.S. earnings. The S&P ...

Global economy starts second half on solid footing: PMIs

A worker climbs over a solar panel at a solar factory in Longyou county (Reuters) - China's factory activity expanded at its fastest in 18 months in July, while the euro zone's private sector also perked up, but the pace of U.S. manufacturing expansion slowed. While China is relying on increased government stimulus to steer its economy away from reliance on exports and towards consumer spending, Europe has taken the opposite approach, combining fiscal austerity with near-zero interest rates, and the U.S. is beginning to wind down its monetary expansion. "The strength of this morning's data from China and the euro zone offers some encouragement that there is some momentum building for the global economy at the start of the third quarter," said Mark Wall, European economist at Deutsche Bank. "The (U.S.) data suggest the sector is growing at an annualized rate of roughly 8.0 percent as we moved into the second half of the year," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.


Amazon's smartphone fails to kindle a "Fire" among reviewers

Amazon representative shows off the company's new Fire smartphone at the company's campus in Seattle, Washington Amazon.com Inc's new "Fire" smartphone features "gimmicks" - such as 3D effects and object scanner - that may not be enough to entice users away from similarly priced Apple Inc iPhones and Samsung's Galaxy S5, reviewers said. Among the features of its first smartphone, Amazon has introduced "Dynamic Perspective", four cameras that track a user's face and simulate a 3D effect on the screen. The phone also touts a "Firefly" scanner that allows users to point the phone at an object and be directed to Amazon's online store to buy it. "Look, Ma, no hands!"," Wall Street Journal's Geoffrey Fowler said.


'Horrifically botched' Phoenix execution prompts death penalty outrage

USA-ARIZONA/EXECUTION By David Schwartz PHOENIX (Reuters) - Lawyers for a double-murderer whose lethal injection in Arizona dragged on for two hours called for an outside review of the "horrifically botched execution" and prompted new calls on Thursday for the United States to abandon the death penalty. The ordeal in putting Joseph Wood to death on Wednesday at a prison facility southeast of Phoenix followed lethal injections that went awry this year in Ohio and Oklahoma, renewing the U.S. debate over capital punishment. Corrections officials said Wood was never in pain but Rob Freer, a U.S. researcher with human-rights group Amnesty International, asked, "How many more times do officials need to be reminded of the myth of the 'humane execution' before they give up on their experiment with judicial killing?" States that impose the death penalty have been scrambling to find new suppliers of chemical combinations to use in lethal injections after their former suppliers, primarily European drug makers, objected to having their products used to put people to death.


IMF cuts global growth outlook, warns of stagnation risk in rich nations

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks during a conference about the future of the Euro zone in Paris The International Monetary Fund on Thursday chopped its 2014 forecast for global economic growth to take into account weakness early in the year in the United States and China, the world's two biggest economies. The IMF warned that only some of the factors leading to the reduction were temporary, and said richer nations in particular faced the risk of economic stagnation unless they do more to boost growth through deeper reforms, such as investing in infrastructure or changing tax laws. In an update to its World Economic Outlook report, the IMF said the global economy should expand 3.4 percent this year, 0.3 percentage points below what it predicted in April. "Robust demand momentum has not yet emerged despite continued very low interest rates and easing of brakes to the recovery, including from fiscal consolidation or tight financial conditions," the IMF said, adding that all major advanced economies would do well to keep policy rates low for now.


Israeli fire hits UN facility in Gaza, killing 15

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli tank shells hit a compound housing a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens who were seeking shelter from fierce clashes on the streets outside, Palestinian officials said, as Israel pressed forward with its 17-day war against the territory's Hamas rulers.

Porch shooter: I didn't know gun was loaded

Theodore Wafer waits for the start of his trial at the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, Wednesday, July 23, 2014 in Detroit. Wafer is charged with murder in the shooting of a young unarmed woman on his porch. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio) DETROIT (AP) — A suburban Detroit man who killed an unarmed woman on his porch immediately suggested to police it was an accident and that he didn't know his shotgun was loaded, according to recorded remarks played in court Thursday.


Ukraine's Metinvest says shell-hit coke plant back at full capacity

Ukraine's largest steelmaker Metinvest said its Avdiivka coke plant had resumed working at full capacity after being hit by artillery fire and warned of the economic risks posed by the conflict in the country's east. "I can say without exaggeration that the combat operations have threatened not only the Avdiivka coke plant but also the entire Ukrainian economy," Avdiivka Chief Executive Musa Magomedov said in an online statement. Avdiivka, which produces 40 percent of Ukraine's coke - a key ingredient in steelmaking - was hit by shelling late on Monday, forcing it to halve output, as Ukrainian forces pressed their military campaign against the separatists. Metinvest said coke production had returned to a normal level of around 7,200 tonnes per day, although the facility was still experiencing problems with water and electricity supply.

European stocks rise on firm data, as EU eyes sanctions

People walk through the foyer of the London Stock Exchange where the FTSE 100 index edged up 0.09 percent to stand at 6,804.29 points in mid-afternoon trading European stock markets rose on Thursday and the euro recovered from an eight-month low as figures pointed to an uptick in growth in Europe and China. Shares were also helped by robust manufacturing data in China, the world's second-largest economy, which traders said outshone concerns about European Union sanctions against Russia. London's benchmark FTSE 100 index edged up 0.09 percent to stand at 6,804.29 points in mid-afternoon trading, boosted by strong eurozone purchasing managers' (PMI) data. "Eurozone growth rebounded in July," the private Markit research group, which published the eurozone PMI data, said while warning that the crisis in Ukraine could cloud the bloc's outlook.


US stocks open higher as investors gauge earnings

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. stock market is opening slightly higher as several big companies across industries report second-quarter earnings.

Ukraine fighting rages as Australia ready for MH17 site deployment

Pro-Russian separatists stand guard at a check-point near the eastern Ukrainian city of rebel stronghold Donetsk on July 23, 2014 Fighting between Ukrainian troops and rebels raged Thursday near the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17, as countries which lost 298 citizens in the disaster moved to deploy their police to secure the impact zone. The Dutch team leading the crash probe was stuck in Kiev, unable to join a handful of international investigators at the rebel-controlled site. Meanwhile, Ukraine's army reported four soldiers killed over the last 24 hours in its offensive to retake the eastern industrial heartland from the pro-Russian insurgents. Two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down Wednesday 45 kilometres (28 miles) from the crash site, just as the first bodies recovered from the fated flight were flown out to the Netherlands, which counts 193 citizens lost in the disaster.


Wall St edges up at open on earnings, data

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks opened slightly higher on Thursday, following a record close on the S&P 500 index, lifted by strong job market data in the United States and overseas factory readings, while better than forecast results sent Facebook shares rallying. The Dow Jones industrial average is up 15.7 points, or 0.09 percent, to 17,102.33, the S&P 500 added 2.07 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,989.08 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 6.96 points, or 0.16 percent, to 4,480.66. (Reporting by Chuck Mikolajczak; Editing by Nick Zieminski)


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