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Europe recovery shows signs of strengthening

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — A closely-watched survey has found business activity across the 18-country eurozone running at a three-year high, in perhaps the clearest sign yet that the economic recovery is gaining momentum.

Global share rally peters out, euro lifted by PMI boost

A man smokes a cigarette outside The London Stock Exchange By Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) - European shares edged down on Wednesday after three days of gains as signs of a still stuttering Chinese economy and rising worries about Ukraine offset a reassuring set of European economic numbers. U.S. stock futures pointed to a flat start for Wall Street on what will be another heavy day of company earnings as well as U.S. PMI readings.. Data compiler Markit's equivalent readings for Europe, seen as good indicators of future growth, showed that while France's economy was still lagging, Germany continued to power the euro zone's recovery.


Paying for giant Nile dam itself, Ethiopia thwarts Egypt but takes risks

A general view shows construction activity on the Grand Renaissance dam in Guba Woreda, Benishangul Gumuz region By Aaron Maasho ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia's bold decision to pay for a huge dam itself has overturned generations of Egyptian control over the Nile's waters, and may help transform one of the world's poorest countries into a regional hydropower hub. By spurning an offer from Cairo for help financing the project, Addis Ababa has ensured it controls the construction of the Renaissance Dam on a Nile tributary. But the decision to fund the huge project itself also carries the risk of stifling private sector investment and restricting economic growth, and may jeopardise Ethiopia's dream of becoming a middle income country by 2025. The dam is now a quarter built and Ethiopia says it will start producing its first 750 megawatts of electricity by the end of this year.


Delay sought in loud music killing trial

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Attorneys for a Florida man charged with murder in the killing of a teenager during an argument over loud music are asking that his retrial be delayed.

Hole in Afghan budget stirs unease as West starts packing bags

A money changer holds a stack of U.S. dollars at Kabul's largest money market By Jeremy Laurence and Mirwais Harooni KABUL (Reuters) - A $375 million hole in the Afghan budget is threatening public projects and civil servants' salaries, officials say, putting the aid-dependent economy under stress just as Afghanistan awaits a new leader and foreign troops prepare to go home. U.S., U.N. and Afghan finance ministry officials have discussed ways to resolve what they say has become a critical situation for the budget, with civil projects most at risk as international assistance starts to taper off. "If the political situation of the country does not become normal and businesses do not start again soon this problem will become even more worrying," Alhaj Muhammad Aqa, director general of the treasury at the finance ministry, told Reuters on Wednesday. "We will not only face problems in paying salaries of employees but we will have difficulties in other issues too." Funding for security will not be affected, as costs are met by foreign governments which recognize that any chance of stability in Afghanistan rests on quelling the Taliban insurgency.


Chinese factories stalling as euro zone business picks up

Employees work on the production line of a wine bottle cap factory in Ganyu county By Jonathan Cable and Kevin Yao LONDON/BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese factory activity shrank for the fourth straight month in April but private businesses across the euro zone enjoyed their best month in nearly three years, surveys showed on Wednesday. Within the euro zone, Germany - Europe's largest economy - saw activity accelerate whereas in France, the bloc's second biggest, momentum waned. "Given the problems the euro zone faces, to get even a modest rate of positive growth this year is a good sign. But there is an increasing concern that two of the larger economies - Italy and France - are struggling to gain any traction," said Peter Dixon at Commerzbank.


BOJ says 90 percent of banks taking on more risk post-QE

A security guard salutes at the entrance of the Bank of Japan building in Tokyo January 22, 2014.REUTERS/Yuya Shino By Leika Kihara TOKYO (Reuters) - Over 90 percent of Japanese banks have increased loans and investment in riskier assets in the past year, the Bank of Japan said on Wednesday, suggesting that the wall of money it is pumping out is spilling over into the broader economy. "Financial institutions have reduced investment in domestic bonds, especially Japanese government bonds (JGBs), while increasing investment in relatively high-risk assets such as loans," the central bank said in a semi-annual report analyzing Japan's financial system. Banks are lending to a wider range of industries and are more keen to lend to small- and medium-sized companies whose appetite for loans is on the rise, the report said. Bank lending rose 2.1 percent in March from a year earlier, marking the 29th straight month of increase, with lending by regional banks up 3.2 percent, a monthly BOJ data showed.


'Bridgegate' scandal threatens next World Trade Center tower

World Trade Center developer Larry Silverstein speaks at an event to update the public on the pace of development at the site in New York By Hilary Russ NEW YORK (Reuters) - The "Bridgegate" scandal that rocked New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's administration earlier this year is threatening a deal that would allow developer Larry Silverstein to finish building the next World Trade Center skyscraper. Silverstein needs a guarantee from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to secure a $1.2 billion construction loan for 3 World Trade Center. On Wednesday, the agency's board will vote on whether to approve that guarantee, part of a deal that would provide hundreds of millions of dollars more to the Port Authority and allow it to foreclose on the $2.4 billion tower if Silverstein cannot pay debt service costs. But Silverstein's deal, even with the concessions to the Port Authority, has become entangled in a fierce debate within the agency over its mission, including whether it should be in the real estate business at all.


Zimbabwe says foreign banks can keep majority stakes, for now

RTXABFH Zimbabwe will let foreigners keep majority stakes in banks for now because locals have no money to buy shares, the finance minister said on Wednesday, signalling a pause in President Robert Mugabe's black economic empowerment drive. But Patrick Chinamasa said the government would not amend on plans to force foreign mining companies to sell at least 51 percent of their local holdings to Zimbabweans under the empowerment programme, known locally as indigenisation. The southern African country, which ditched its hyper-inflated local currency in 2009, is facing a serious dollar crunch as a result of lack of foreign donor support and investment, and some smaller local banks are struggling to stay afloat. The law obliging foreign-owned firms, including mines and banks, to sell at least 51 percent of their stakes to blacks was passed as long ago as 2008.


UK economy picking up speed - Bank of England

Commuters cross London bridge in central London Britain's economic recovery is gaining momentum but Bank of England policymakers held different views about the amount of slack in the economy and the medium-term inflation outlook, minutes from their April 9 meeting showed. The Bank expects the economy grew by 1 percent in the first three months of this year from the fourth quarter of 2013, up slightly from a previous growth forecast of 0.9 percent, the minutes showed. Economists at the Bank expected a slight slowdown in the April-June period. Members of the Monetary Policy Committee also thought it was "possible" that a sustainable rise in real wages, consistent with a durable recovery, was on the way.


Government finances improved across Europe in 2013

BRUSSELS (AP) — Governments across the 18-country eurozone made further headway in 2013 in reducing their deficits, official figures showed Wednesday in a further sign that spending cuts and the nascent economic recovery helped to heal government finances.

Material on Australian shore examined in jet hunt

Material on Australian shore examined in jet hunt Unidentified material that has washed ashore in southwestern Australia is being examined for any link to the lost Malaysian plane, authorities said Wednesday. Police secured the material, which washed ...


Euro zone private sector on strong footing but still slashing prices: PMIs

A cashier holds euro banknotes in Riga We are looking at 0.5 percent quarter-on-quarter GDP growth if we continue to see this level," said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit. Inflation fell to just 0.5 percent in March, its sixth straight month in what European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has called a "danger zone" below 1 percent and keeping pressure on the ECB to intervene. However, Markit's flash Composite Purchasing Managers' Index, which is widely regarded as a good gauge of growth, suggested the economic support, at least, may not be necessary.


Finalists named in Bloomberg European city contest

NEW YORK (AP) — Amsterdam wants to create an online game to get unemployed young people engaged in finding jobs across Europe. Schaerbeek, Belgium, envisions using geothermal mapping to give households personalized rundowns of steps to save energy. Gdansk, Poland, is proposing to require officials to debate ideas from citizens.

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:


Ten Best Local SEO Companies in India Declared in April 2014 by topseos.in

10 top local search engine optimization firms in India have been named by topseos.in for April 2014. (PRWeb April 23, 2014) Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/12/prweb11440562.htm

Japan Amari: Briefed PM Abe on trade talks before Obama arrival

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari said on Wednesday that he briefed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on trade talks with the United States shortly before President Barack Obama was to arrive for a state visit. Amari, speaking to reporters after negotiating with U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, declined to comment on the substance of the talks. The bilateral talks, focusing on Japan's agricultural market and both countries' car markets, are key to concluding a multilateral Pacific trade pact. ...

U.S. trade representative presses Japan to take 'elevated view' in trade talks

The United States put last-minute pressure on Japan to compromise in trade talks on Wednesday, shortly before President Barack Obama was to arrive for a state visit. "This a moment for Japan to take an elevated view and to choose a bold path of economic renewal, revitalization and regional leadership," U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters after negotiating with Economy Minister Akira Amari ahead of Obama's evening arrival. The bilateral talks - focusing on Japan's agricultural market and both countries' car markets - are key to reaching a multilateral Pacific trade pact. "Its economic and strategic importance is clear." Obama is having dinner with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday and will hold a summit meeting on Thursday focusing on security issues as well as trade.

U.S. steps up trade pressure on Japan ahead of Obama visit

United States Trade Representative Froman visits the new facility for Atlas Devices in Boston By Antoni Slodkowski and Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States put last-minute pressure on Japan to compromise in tough trade talks on Wednesday, shortly before President Barack Obama was to arrive for a state visit. The two-way talks - focusing on Japan's agricultural market and both countries' car markets - are key to reaching a multilateral trade pact that is central to Obama's strategic shift towards Asia. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has touted the broader trade deal as vital for growth in the world's third biggest economy. "This a moment for Japan to take an elevated view and to choose a bold path of economic renewal, revitalization and regional leadership," U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters after negotiating with Economy Minister Akira Amari ahead of Obama's evening arrival.


Washington state county eyes building ban after deadly mudslide: reports

Rescue workers work in a debris field left by a mudslide in Oso Snohomish County was on Wednesday to consider a six-month ban on new construction in landslide-prone areas countywide after a slide last month that killed 41 people, local media reported. A rain-soaked hillside collapsed above the Stillaguamish River on March 22 unleashing a torrent of mud that swallowed up a stretch of state highway and about three dozen homes near the small community of Oso, about 55 miles northeast of Seattle. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office said the remains of 41 victims had been recovered from the slide that buried the river valley neighborhood in the Cascade mountain foothills. U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday visited the site, offering condolences to the families of victims, encouragement to rescue workers and promises of government support.


Dead teen's mother claims negligence in deadly California crash: report

A makeshift memorial sits beside Interstate 5 in Orland, California (Reuters) - The mother of a 17-year-old student who was among 10 people killed in a highway crash in northern California earlier this month has sued FedEx Corp for negligence, California-based City News Service reported. More than 30 others were injured when a FedEx tractor-trailer crossed a highway median and slammed into a bus on Interstate 5 about 90 miles north of Sacramento. FedEx and the family's attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment. "We remain focused on providing support to those affected and cooperating with the authorities as they conduct their investigation," FedEx said in a statement, according to CNS.


Germany's private sector expands faster in April: PMI

The curve of the German share price index DAX board at the Frankfurt stock exchange Germany's private sector expanded faster in April, recovering from a slight slowdown in growth in March, as both manufacturing and services industry activity rose more than expected, surveys showed on Wednesday. Markit's preliminary composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which tracks activity in the manufacturing and services sectors and covers more than two-thirds of the euro zone's largest economy, rose to 56.3 in April from March's final 54.3. "This is a nice bounce back with good broadbased growth in the services and manufacturing sector... It is looking like it will be a good year for Germany," Markit economist Chris Williamson said. Germany's economy expanded just 0.4 percent in 2013, but growth is seen picking up this year, driven by domestic demand.


9 indicted in kidnapping of NC prosecutor's father

FILE - In this undated file photo provided by Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification, Kelvin Melton is shown. A North Carolina prosecutor was the intended target of an elaborate kidnapping plot, but the kidnappers looked up the wrong address on the Internet and abducted the prosecutor's father instead, according to an indictment released Tuesday, April 22, 2014. Authorities have said the kidnapping was retaliation for Colleen Janssen's prosecution of Melton for his involvement in a 2011 shooting. Melton, a high-ranking member of the Bloods gang, orchestrated the abduction from behind bars using a cellphone, the indictment said. (AP Photo/Raleigh/Wake City-County Bureau of Identification, File) CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — As the kidnappers pulled into a quiet, upscale golf course community, they thought they were about to abduct an assistant district attorney who sent a high-ranking gang member to prison for life, authorities said.


Michigan man among 1st in US to get 'bionic eye'

Roger Pontz wears special glasses that house a small video camera and transmitter ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision.


Missouri executes convicted killer in 1993 cattle-stealing plot

By Carey Gillam KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - Missouri on Wednesday executed a man who had been convicted in 1993 of murdering an elderly farming couple in a plot to steal their cattle, a state official said. William Rousan, 57, was pronounced dead at 12:10 a.m. (1.10 a.m. EDT) at a state prison in Bonne Terre, said Mike O'Connell, a spokesman for the state's Department of Public Safety. Rousan was sentenced to death for the murder of 62-year-old Grace Lewis and life in prison without parole for the murder of her 67-year-old husband Charles. Authorities said he was the mastermind in a siege that included his son and his brother, Robert, a spokeswoman for Missouri's top lawyer said.

Missouri executes inmate for 1993 farm slaying

In this Dec. 1, 2013 provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections is William Rousan. Rousan is scheduled to die at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. He was sentenced to death for killing 62-year-old Grace Lewis in 1993 and was sentenced to life in prison for killing her 67-year-old husband. (AP Photo/Missouri Department of Corrections) BONNE TERRE, Mo. (AP) — Missouri executed an inmate early Wednesday only a few miles from the farm where prosecutors say he orchestrated the 1993 killing of a couple whose cows he wanted to steal.


Botswana leaves main lending rate at 7.5 percent

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Botswana's central bank left its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 7.5 percent for the third straight meeting on Tuesday, citing a positive medium-term economic outlook. "The current state of the economy, domestic and external economic outlook and the inflation forecast, suggest that the current monetary policy stance is consistent with maintaining inflation within the Bank's 3–6 percent objective in the medium term," the Bank of Botswana said.

Your Top Plays for Today

Montreal Canadiens left wing Max Pacioretty (67) is mobbed by teammates after scoring the winning goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning during third period National Hockey League Stanley Cup playoff action on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 in Montreal. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz) Your Top Plays for Today: AP's Sports Guide


Fugitive killed in Oregon had 'moveable dungeon'

In this combo made from photos taken Jan. 21, 2014, left, and Nov. 6, 2013, and supplied by the Clackamas County Sheriff's office shows Kelly Vern Swodoba. A grand jury transcript released Monday, April 21, 2014, reveals that Swodoba, killed last month in a gunfight with Portland police, had stalked over a dozen girls, rating them by number, and prepared his van as a "moveable dungeon'' or "torture chamber'' with chains mounted to the floor, ropes, zip ties, a box of latex gloves, and teen pornography. (AP Photo/Clackamas County Sheriff) PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say a man fatally shot by a Portland officer last month had been stalking young women in a van that he converted into a "moveable dungeon" with chains and handcuffs after one of his victims managed to escape from it in January.


FedEx sued over deadly California bus crash

FILE - In this Thursday, 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. The mother of a 17-year-old honors student who was among 10 people killed in the fiery Northern California bus crash sued FedEx on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, alleging that its trucks have a history of catching fire. (AP Photo/Jeremy Lockett, File) LOS ANGELES (AP) — The mother of a 17-year-old honors student who was among 10 people killed in a fiery Northern California bus crash sued FedEx on Tuesday, alleging that its trucks have a history of catching fire.


Airport security vulnerabilities not uncommon

A plane takes off at Mineta San Jose International Airport, Monday, April 21, 2014, in San Jose, Calif. A 15-year-old boy scrambled over a fence at the airport, crossed a tarmac and climbed into a jetliner's wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii, Sunday. FBI spokesman Tom Simon in Honolulu said the teen did not remember the flight from San Jose. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — For all the tens of billions of dollars that the nation has spent on screening passengers and their bags, few airports made a comparable investment to secure the airplanes themselves.


Soldier faces hearing in killings of Iraqi boys

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) — A U.S. soldier accused of deliberately killing two unarmed teenage boys as they herded cattle in Iraq seven years ago is due in military court.

Judge to mull Chelsea Manning name change request

FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013, file photo, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted to a security vehicle outside a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., after a hearing in his court martial. A northeast Kansas judge will make a final determination Wednesday, April 23, 2014, on Manning’s request to change her name from Bradley Edward Manning to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning. Manning is serving a 35-year sentence for giving reams of classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge on Wednesday will consider Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning's petition to legally change her name from Bradley, as she continues serving a 35-year sentence for passing loads of classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks.


Republican activists push party on gay marriage

LAS VEGAS (AP) — As bans against gay marriage crumble and public opinion on the issue shifts rapidly, some Republicans are pushing the party to drop its opposition to same-sex unions, part of a broader campaign to get the GOP to appeal to younger voters by de-emphasizing social issues.

Federal judge to hear Oregon gay marriage case

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge in Oregon is ready to hear arguments about the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, but no one will be in court to defend the measure.

California bill reignites affirmative action fight

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, left, talks with Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-Covina at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, April 21, 2014. Hernandez proposed a constitutional amendment that would ask voters to again allow public colleges to use race and ethnicity when considering college applicants. The proposal stalled this year after backlash from Asian Americans.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Nearly 20 years after California became the first state to ban the use of race and ethnicity in college admissions, a proposal to reinstate affirmative action has sparked a backlash that is forging a new divide in the state's powerful Democratic Party and creating opportunity for conservatives.


China factory activity shrinks for fourth month

A worker assembles a generator at a factory in Hefei By Kevin Yao BEIJING (Reuters) - China's factory activity shrank for the fourth straight month in April, signaling economic weakness into the second quarter, a preliminary survey showed on Wednesday, although the pace of decline eased helped by policy steps to arrest the slowdown. "It's generally in line (with expectations), reflecting that growth momentum is stabilizing," said Zhou Hao, China economist at ANZ in Shanghai. Hao expected economic growth to pick up slightly to 7.5 percent in the second quarter. MODEST STIMULUS MEASURES China's central bank will cut the amount of deposits rural banks must hold as reserves by between 0.5 and 2 percentage points, it said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of measures to help combat the slowing economy.


FBI seeks to identify victims of suspected child molester abroad

The suspect, William James Vahey, 64, worked at the schools since 1972 and committed suicide on March 21 in Luverne, Minnesota, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Tuesday. He killed himself two days after agents in Houston sought a warrant to search a computer thumb drive belonging to him, the FBI said in a statement. The drive was given to the FBI by an employee of the American Nicaraguan School, in Managua, Nicaragua, where Vahey worked as a teacher of history and geography, the FBI said. A school employee filed a complaint with the FBI saying the USB drive "contained pornographic images of minor males who appeared to be asleep or unconscious," it said.

Oklahoma execution halted amid confusion over stay orders

Oklahoma Republican Governor Fallin, chair of the National Governors Association, makes opening remarks at a news conference prior to the opening of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington By Heide Brandes OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin issued a one-week stay in the execution of a death row inmate due to die by lethal injection on Tuesday, in a move to clear up confusion over which state body has the final say over executions. Fallin ordered the stay for convicted murderer Clayton Lockett a day after the state Supreme Court issued its own emergency stay for Lockett and a second inmate, Charles Warner, amid legal wrangling over drugs used in lethal injections. The stay issued by Fallin moves back Lockett's execution to April 29, the same day Warner is scheduled to be executed.


Teen who stowed away on Hawaii flight resting in hospital

A 16-year-old boy is carried on a stretcher in Maui A teenage boy who stowed away on a flight from California to Hawaii in the frozen, oxygen-deprived wheel well of a passenger jet was resting in hospital on Tuesday, two days after his death-defying jaunt over the Pacific, a Hawaii official said. The teenager, whose name has not been released, is "resting comfortably" at a hospital in Hawaii, Kayla Rosenfeld, spokeswoman of the state's Department of Human Services, said in a statement. The boy, who is from Santa Clara, California, is in the custody of the department's Child Welfare Services division, and officials were working to ensure his safe return home, she said. A local CBS-affiliate reported the boy was living with his father in Santa Clara, but his mother lives in Somalia.


California congressman woos Sriracha pepper sauce factory after odor complaints heat up

Flags flutter outside the Huy Fong Foods factory, maker of Sriracha hot chili sauce, in Irwindale By Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A U.S. congressman from a Los Angeles community is seeking to lure the factory that makes the bestselling Sriracha-brand hot pepper sauce to his district after residents in its current location complained about the smell. U.S. Representative Tony Cardenas, a Democrat whose district includes much of the San Fernando Valley, wants to convince David Tran, the owner of Huy Fong Foods company which makes the hot sauce, to relocate rather than continue to fight with the residents of the city of Irwindale, California. Cardenas said the company grossed $60 million in sales from its Sriracha brand alone last year, with little marketing, and hailed Tran, an ethnic Chinese immigrant from Vietnam who founded his company in Los Angeles in 1980, as "an American success story." Huy Fong Foods hires 70 full-time employees and 200 seasonal workers and produces over 20 million bottles of hot sauce yearly.


Group sues U.S. for stronger Idaho, Montana grizzly protection

By Laura Zuckerman SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - Federal protection status for a population of grizzly bears facing extinction in the mountains of Idaho and northwest Montana should be raised to endangered from threatened, environmentalists said in a lawsuit filed on Tuesday. The Montana-based Alliance for the Wild Rockies is asking a judge to order the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to strengthen protections for the fewer than 50 grizzlies that roam the Cabinet Mountains and the Yaak River drainage. The group also is seeking tougher restrictions on logging, road construction and other human activities on federal lands that constitute crucial habitat the bears in the so-called Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Missoula, Montana. U.S. wildlife managers set a recovery goal for Cabinet-Yaak bears at a minimum of 100.

Finalists in Bloomberg European city contest

NEW YORK (AP) — These are the finalists in a 9 million euro city-innovation contest sponsored by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

California bill to curb medical marijuana passes key hurdle

A volunteer displays cannabis buds at the La Brea Collective medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - A measure to regulate California's chaotic medical marijuana industry passed a key legislative hurdle on Tuesday, in a move that could lay the groundwork to tax and control recreational use of the drug if it ultimately becomes legal. U.S. states are increasingly moving to remove curbs on marijuana following landmark voter initiatives in Colorado and Washington state in 2012 that legalized the drug for recreational purposes. But the drug remains illegal under federal law, leaving states that have opted for medicinal legalization struggling to control a thriving trade in medical cannabis. "The current state of chaos around medical marijuana has got to come to an end," said state Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat.


Today in History

Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

Survey: China manufacturing shrinks for 4th month

HONG KONG (AP) — Factory activity in China shrank for the fourth straight month in April, though the decline was slightly slower, a survey on Wednesday said, in a possible sign the slowdown in the world's No. 2 economy is stabilizing.

Jet stowaway undetected for hours before departure

Graphic shows schematic of Boeing 767 and map of route taken by a teenage stowaway; 2c x 4 inches; 96.3 mm x 101 mm; HONOLULU (AP) — A law enforcement official says surveillance video from San Jose International Airport shows the boy who survived a flight to Hawaii in a plane's wheel well was on the airfield seven hours before the jet departed.


Froman in Japan early, seen meeting economy minister for talks: Kyodo

TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has arrived in Japan, Kyodo news agency said on Wednesday, and is expected to meet Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari for talks towards a key two-way trade pact later in the day. It was not clear when Froman had arrived in Tokyo. He had been expected to accompany U.S. President Barack Obama, who is set to arrive on Wednesday evening. U.S. officials had said he and Amari might join Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for dinner. A U.S. embassy spokesman could not immediately confirm the report. ...

Church deacon, fugitive in 1981 killing, arrested in Texas

By David DeKok HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - A 78-year-old church deacon in Texas has been arrested for a Pennsylvania murder after 33 years as a fugitive, authorities said on Tuesday. Joseph Lewis Miller was arrested by U.S. Marshals in Mineola, Texas, on Monday and faces extradition for the 1981 killing in Harrisburg. If he fights it, it will take a couple of months," said Marty Pane, a spokesman for the U.S. Marshals Service in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Miller is suspected of murdering Thomas Waller in January 1981, shooting him once in the head.

City continues desalination plant pursuit

City plans to study desalination — the process of removing salt from brackish or saltwater — took another step forward Tuesday as municipal leaders gave preliminary approval to preparing a pilot research program.
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