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Obama argues healthcare law is working, rejects Republican criticism

President Barack Obama arrives in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 17, 2014, where he spoke about health care overhaul and the situation in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama mounted a vigorous effort on Thursday to show his signature healthcare law is working and dismissed Republican critics who are using flaws in Obamacare to campaign for ousting Democrats from the U.S. Congress in November. Appearing in the White House briefing room days before leaving the national stage for a week-long trip to Asia, Obama used a news conference to make the case that the Affordable Care Act had mended nicely from its disastrous October rollout. For the healthcare law to succeed, young, healthy people must sign up and pay premiums to offset the healthcare costs for older Americans. Obama's remarks reflected deep concerns at the White House that Republicans may be able to topple Democrats from control of the U.S. Senate in November elections and build on their majority in the House of Representatives.


California rail line fined for worker deaths

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Workplace safety officials fined a San Francisco Bay Area commuter rail line $210,000 on Thursday over the deaths of two track workers who were killed by a train the officials said was operated by an inexperienced driver with inadequate supervision.

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.


4th US Navy official charged in bribery scheme

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Prosecutors say a fourth member of the U.S. Navy has been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery in a multimillion-dollar scheme involving a Singapore-based defense contractor accused of giving cash, vacations and the services of prostitutes in exchange for information.

Condition upgraded for victim of firetruck crash

Firefighters and other officials work the scene of an accident where two firetrucks answering a call collided en route to a fire Wednesday, April 16, 2014, in Monterrey Park, Calif. The collision sent one firetruck careening into a restaurant, leaving 14 people, including several firefighters, injured. (AP Photo/Nick Ut) MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have upgraded the condition of a man who was critically injured in a Los Angeles-area crash involving two firetrucks.


UN Security Council meets on rights in North Korea

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The head of the commission of inquiry that accused North Korea of crimes against humanity told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that it must take action against "a totalitarian state without parallel in the contemporary world," and he told reporters that most council members "expressly said" the matter should be referred to the International Criminal Court.

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.


What's next in gay marriage's legal odyssey?

Plaintiff challenging Oklahoma's gay marriage ban Sue Barton, left, gets a hug from her pastor, Tulsa based Reverend Leslie Penrose, of the United Church of Christ, after leaving 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) Thursday's hearing in Denver was the second of two hearings on gay marriage that were weighted with legal significance. The cases are the first time an appellate court has considered the ramifications of last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The hearing on the legality of Oklahoma's gay marriage ban came one week after a three-judge panel heard a similar case originating from Utah.


Another suspect arrested in kidnapping of N.C. prosecutor's father

Authorities have arrested another suspect in the gang-related abduction of a North Carolina prosecutor's father. Quantavious Thompson was taken into custody late on Wednesday in Atlanta, the FBI said in a statement. Thompson, who is either 18 or 19 years old, is one of eight people accused in the kidnapping of Frank Janssen from his Wake Forest home on April 5. Janssen, 63, was held hostage until he was rescued by federal agents in Atlanta four days later.

Fraternity shuts Ole Miss branch after noose tying

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A national fraternity group has closed its University of Mississippi chapter after three members were accused of tying a noose around the neck of a statue of the first black student to enroll in the Southern college that was all-white at the time.

10 Things to See in Sports: AP's top sports photos

10ThingstoSeeSports - Bubba Watson's caddie Ted Scott, right, and spectators celebrate as Bubba Watson wins the Masters golf tournament Sunday, April 13, 2014, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File) Here's a look at some of the defining moments, exciting scenes, triumphs and defeats from the world of sports.


Cost to buy F-35 up 2 percent; to operate down 9 percent: Pentagon

By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Thursday forecast the cost of developing and buying Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet at $398.6 billion, up 2 percent from last year, but said the projected cost to operate and maintain the jets was down about 9 percent. The total cost of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Pentagon's costliest weapons program, is now seen at $1.42 trillion, down about 6 percent from $1.50 trillion, including research, development, procurement and operations through 2065. Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan said the higher acquisition cost was mainly due to postponed orders by the U.S. military and some allies. But he said he was unhappy about a $4.3 billion increase in costs on the plane's engine, which is built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp. Bogdan told reporters that growing demand for the new fighter jet would drive procurement costs lower in coming years, citing potential orders from South Korea, Israel, and Singapore.

911 calls capture chaos after truck-on-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) — 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, motorists described explosions after the fiery wreck that left 10 people dead.


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 based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.

Oregon ruling spurs halt on immigration detainers

FILE-Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts is shown in this Dec. 12, 2012, file photo taken in Portland, Ore. A federal judge has ruled that Clackamas County in Oregon violated an immigrant woman’s constitutional rights by holding her in jail for two weeks without probable cause at the request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, so that the agency could investigate whether she is subject to deportation. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Thomas Boyd, file) PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge in Oregon has found that an immigrant woman's constitutional rights were violated when she was held in jail without probable cause at the request of U.S. immigration authorities, one of several recent federal court decisions to scrutinize the practice of keeping people in jail after they're eligible for release so that they can be considered for deportation.


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.


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.


Man said to be homesick for prison gets 3½ years

FILE - This Feb. 9, 2013 file surveillance photo provided by the FBI shows 73-year-old Walter Unbehaun, an ex-convict from Rock Hill., S.C., during a bank robbery in Niles, Ill. Unbehaun allegedly told investigators he intended to get caught so he could live his final years behind bars. On Thursday, April 17, 2014, Unbehaun is scheduled to be sentenced in Chicago. In 50 years, he has spent just six out from behind bars. His case highlights a wider societal dilemma about what to do with an increasingly elderly ex-cons, many of whom spent so much of their lives inside prison that they, like Unbehaun, can't cope with life on the outside. (AP Photo/FBI, File) CHICAGO (AP) — An ex-con who spent most of his adult life in behind bars on Thursday got what he said he wanted for robbing a suburban Chicago bank. The 74-year-old gets to go back to the place he called home — prison.


Chelsea Clinton expecting first child this fall

FILE - In a Dec. 9, 2013, file photo Chelsea Clinton speaks in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Chelsea Clinton says she and her husband are expecting their first child later this year. The daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced at a Clinton Foundation event in New York that she and her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, are "very excited" to be having their first child later this year. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo, file) WASHINGTON (AP) — For the Clintons, 2014 is the year of the baby.


Chelsea Clinton expecting first child

FILE- In this Feb. 9, 2011 file photo, Chelsea Clinton and husband Marc Mezvinsky attend amfAR's annual New York Gala at Cipriani Wall Street, in New York. Clinton announced that she is pregnant with the couple’s first child on Thursday, April 17, 2014, while co-hosting “Girls: A No Ceilings Conversation,” a Clinton Foundation event in New York. Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton co-hosted the event with her. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — For the Clintons, 2014 is the year of the baby.


Jury convicts husband in Iraqi woman's death

EL CAJON, California (AP) — A jury convicted an Iraqi immigrant Thursday of bludgeoning his wife to death in a case that was initially considered a hate crime.

Racist online forums linked to deadly hate crimes: rights group report

Frazier Glenn Cross appears at his arraignment on capital murder and first-degree murder charges in New Century, Kansas 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 a leading 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.


Texas seizes polygamist group's secluded ranch

ELDORADO, Texas (AP) — State agents have seized a polygamous group's Texas ranch where hundreds of children were removed during a 2008 FBI raid prompted by child sex abuse allegations.

Woman convicted in hammer beating speaks to jury

FILE - In this Tuesday, April 8, 2014, file photo, Marissa Devault looks at the jury as they are polled after finding her guilty of first degree murder, in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix. Devault was convicted for bludgeoning her husband to death with a hammer in what prosecutors said was a failed bid to collect on a life insurance policy to repay about $300,000 in loans from her boyfriend. Jurors decided on Monday, April 14, 2014, that Devault is eligible for the death penalty after prosecutors argued that she carried out the brutal killing so she could collect life-insurance money. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Tom Tingle, File) PHOENIX (AP) — An Arizona woman convicted of bludgeoning her husband to death with a hammer made a tearful plea for mercy Thursday, telling the jury deciding her fate that she is sorry for her actions and wishes she could go back and undo the pain she caused.


Police: Student ate more pot than recommended

DENVER (AP) — A Wyoming college student who jumped to his death at a Denver hotel had eaten more of a marijuana cookie than was recommended by a seller, police records show — a finding that comes amid increased concern about the strength of popular pot edibles after Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana.

Calls for peace at memorial for Kansas shooting victims

Area religious leaders light candles during a memorial service at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park By Kevin Murphy and Carey Gillam OVERLAND PARK, Kansas (Reuters) - The scene of what authorities say was a hate crime just days ago became the setting for tears, prayers and calls for peace as religious leaders gathered at a Kansas Jewish community center for a service to honor the three people shot dead on Sunday. Heavy security surrounded the Jewish Community Center on Thursday in suburban Overland Park, Kansas, where two of the victims were gunned down, and several hundred people crowded into the center's auditorium for the interfaith service. "We all needed to come together to ... bring into this tragedy God, heaven, peace and love," Jacob Schreiber, president and chief executive of the Jewish Community Center, told the gathering. Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, also known as avowed white supremacist Glenn Miller, is being held on $10 million bond on a charge of capital murder and premeditated first-degree murder for the killings on the eve of the Jewish Passover holiday.


New York's transit authority cuts deal to end 2-year pay dispute

By Edward Krudy NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) struck a deal on Thursday to end a 2-year pay dispute with a more generous offer to workers than the years of pay freezes it had originally proposed, New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo said. "The resolution of this contract dispute is fair to transit workers, fiscally responsible for the MTA, and will have no impact on fares," Cuomo said in a statement, adding that the transit system was the "lifeblood" of New York City. The MTA runs 842 miles of subway tracks in New York City as well as urban buses, the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metro North rail systems, and some of the city's bridges and tunnels. New York City's urban transport network is the largest in the country The current agreement mostly covers workers on the subway and bus systems and does not include the LIRR, which has its own ongoing dispute with the MTA.

US tells jury Egyptian imam pursued global terror

FILE - In this March 28, 2003 file photo, radical Muslim cleric Mustafa Kamel Mustafa prays in a street outside his Mosque in north London. Mustafa faces charges he conspired to support al-Qaida by trying in 1999 to set up a terrorist training camp in Bly, Ore., and by helping abduct two American tourists and 14 others in Yemen in 1998. Jury selection for his terrorism trial begins in New York on Monday, April 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File) NEW YORK (AP) — The imam of a London mosque used his influential position in the late 1990s to train and aid terrorists and used the cover of his religion to hide in plain sight, a prosecutor told jurors in his opening statement Thursday before a defense attorney promised that the defendant will explain himself during the trial.


Military shell prompted evacuation of hundreds

This image provided by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office Wednesday April 16, 2014 shows the military ordnance that caused the evacuation of between 500 and 700 homes and businesses Wednesday in Solvang Calif. The tiny town 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles is a tourist stop known for its Danish-themed shops and buildings. (AP Photo/Santa Barbara County Sheriffs Office) SOLVANG, Calif. (AP) — An old but still potentially explosive military shell that was found in an alley was safely destroyed early Thursday, ending an evacuation that emptied hundreds of homes and businesses in this Central California tourist town.


IRS audits less than 1 percent of big partnerships

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service audits fewer than 1 percent of large business partnerships, according to a government report released Tuesday.

Judge wants Detroit mayor to back bankruptcy plan

FILE- In this Jan. 16, 2013 file photo, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder delivers his third annual State of the State address to a joint session of the state Legislature in the Capitol in Lansing, Mich. The city of Detroit reached tentative agreements to preserve pensions for retired police office and firefighters but cut monthly payments for other former employees, officials said Tuesday, April 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File) DETROIT (AP) — Looking years ahead, the judge overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy said Thursday he wants assurances from the mayor and other elected leaders that they'll follow a final plan that likely cuts pensions, sheds debt and plows millions into better services.


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 employee suddenly retires after suspension

A city maintenance manager suddenly has retired. It comes just a day after a committee agreed he should be disciplined. He is accused of poor management after city vehicles literally fell apart.

Local teen believed to be subject of search following Lake Erie boat crash

A prayer vigil was held at Pelion High School Thursday afternoon following the speculation that a student there may have been on a boat that capsized in Lake Erie Wednesday night.

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.

House Republican leaders holding up immigration reform: Obama

A woman holds a cluster of U.S. flags during a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services naturalization ceremony in Oakland President Barack Obama on Thursday called on the Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, which he said was being held back by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives. "There is bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform," Obama said at a news conference. The Congress should act. "Right now what's holding us back is House Republican leadership not willing to go ahead and let the process move forward." Obama said there were Republicans in both the House and Senate who know immigration reform "is the right thing to do." "I also know it's hard politics for Republicans because there are some in their base that are very opposed to this," he said.


U.S. barbecues grow pricier as beef, pork reach record highs

Beef and pork ribs lie on a grill at The Outdoor Grill in Culver City, Los Angeles With the Chicago weather finally getting a little nicer, Chris Anderssen wanted to grill some burgers outside for a group of family and friends. When she got to the meat aisle at her local Jewel-Osco supermarket, a case of sticker shock made her change the menu: extra lean ground beef was $4.99 a pound. Retail beef and pork prices reached all-time highs last month, according to Bill Hahn, agricultural economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service. That's prompting some consumers to pivot to less expensive protein sources and driving the grocery, packaged food and restaurant industries to adjust portion sizes, tweak their menus and roll out new products in a bid to address higher food costs without driving customers away.


Jobless claims, factory data put some shine on economy

Corporate recruiters gesture and shake hands as they talk with job seekers at a Hire Our Heroes job fair targeting unemployed military veterans and sponsored by the Cable Show, a cable television industry trade show in Washington By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New claims for jobless benefits hovered near their pre-recession levels last week and manufacturing in the Mid-Atlantic region accelerated in April, suggesting an upswing in economic activity after a brutally cold winter. Coming on the heels of fairly bullish data on retail sales and industrial production, Thursday's reports also hinted job growth may be picking up slightly. "The data add further evidence to the notion that the economy has exerted positive momentum at the start of the second quarter," said Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits ticked up 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000 for the week ended April 12, the Labor Department said, but stayed close to a 6-1/2 year low touched the prior week.


RME360 Launches LocalMotion

TAMPA, Fla., April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- RME360 announces the launch of LocalMotion, a web-based SEO program designed to improve advisors' local search visibility in their target markets. LocalMotion works to ensure an advisor's online search results are consistent and visible across more than 150 different local search portals and navigation tools such as Siri and TomTom.  This advisor ...

Fed bond buying twice as effective on growth as BoE's - research

The logo is seen at the Bank of England in the City of London By David Milliken LONDON (Reuters) - Bond purchases by the U.S. Federal Reserve have been twice as effective at boosting economic output as those by the Bank of England, research by a Bank policymaker showed on Thursday. The findings are likely to be of interest to the European Central Bank, which is weighing whether to start an asset purchase programme in the euro zone to ward off the threat of deflation. Martin Weale, who sits on the BoE's rate-setting committee, looked at growth and inflation data from March 2009 to May 2013 to assess the impact of bond purchases by the Bank and the Fed. Fed purchases of bonds equivalent to 1 percent of gross domestic product raised U.S. GDP by 0.36 percent, while Bank purchases on the same scale raised gross domestic product by only 0.18 percent, Weale said. The findings also suggest Bank asset purchases were slightly more effective than estimated in a Bank paper in 2011.


South Africa rand halts 5 straight losses, boost from dovish Fed

Electronic board displaying movements in major indices is seen at Johannesburg stock exchange in Sandton South Africa's rand was in firmer territory against the dollar on Thursday after five prior straight losses, reaching its strongest in nearly a week as dovish comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve weighed on the greenback. The local unit climbed to as high as 10.4705, a level last reached on April 11 according to Thomson Reuters data, and was trading at 10.4750 by 1530 GMT, up 0.87 percent from Wednesday's close. Trading volumes were fairly thin, with most traders reluctant to take meaningful positions ahead of financial market closures in South Africa on Friday and Monday for the Easter holiday, dealers and analysts said. The rand tracked a generally firmer trend among emerging market assets, which carry more risks but offer investors higher yields, and benefited from comments overnight by Fed Chair Janet Yellen that low interest rates are needed to support the U.S. economy.


Twitter broadens advertising reach through app-install ads

A portrait of the Twitter logo in Ventura By Gerry Shih SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Twitter Inc took a significant step Thursday towards broaden its advertising business by offering mobile ads urging people to install apps on its social network as well as through MoPub, the mobile-advertising network it acquired last year. As the mobile app economy grows, app developers have been willing to pay increasing amounts to advertise on major sites like Facebook to boost their app downloads. Twitter said Thursday it could reach 1 billion unique mobile devices through its MoPub network, which places ads inside of hundreds of apps. Twitter, which acquired MoPub last year for roughly $350 million, reaches a more limited audience of 240 million users through its own Twitter.com Web site and mobile apps.


LocalVox Launches First-Ever Retail 150 Annual Local Marketing Report Card

NEW YORK, April 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to using local marketing to attract and retain customers and beat out the competition, many of the top 150 U.S. retailers are falling behind on local ...

Yemen's foreign minister says will push donors for promised billions in aid

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi speaks to reporters during a news conference in Sanaa By Mohammed Ghobari SANAA (Reuters) - The Yemeni foreign minister said on Thursday he would use a meeting in London this month to push donor countries to release billions of dollars in promised aid that Yemen desperately needs to address its ailing economy and volatile security situation. The Friends of Yemen group pledged around $7.9 billion in aid in 2012, but most of the funds have been delayed because of technical issues and lagging approvals by donor heads of state, a Yemeni government minister previously told Reuters. Yemen's economy nearly collapsed during the year-long revolt that toppled former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Stability in Yemen is seen as key by Washington and Gulf countries because of the country's location next to the world's top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and on the important Red Sea oil shipment route.


Egypt central bank to keep interest rates on hold -survey

A trader uses his mobile phone at the Egyptian stock exchange in Cairo Egypt's central bank will keep interest rates on hold next Thursday as it balances the need to fight inflation while supporting the currency and stimulating an economy battered by more than three years of upheaval, a Reuters poll showed. Annual urban consumer inflation remains high despite slowing for three consecutive months before holding steady at 9.8 percent in March, but it may still be too early for the central bank to cut rates to spur on economic activity. Six economists polled by Reuters said they expect the central bank to keep rates on hold on April 24. Moustafa Bassiouny, an economist at Signet Institute, said the central bank's Monetary Policy Committee was likely to wait until next month before cutting rates.


ECB hardliner Weidmann comes in from the cold as deflation threatens

File photo of Germany's federal reserve Bundesbank President Weidmann By Paul Carrel FRANKFURT (Reuters) - As recently as last November, Jens Weidmann steadfastly opposed any move by the European Central Bank to print money to buy assets and buoy the euro zone economy. The Bundesbank chief, known for his hardline stances at the ECB and as head of the German central bank, is now ready to support such quantitative easing (QE) if he and his ECB colleagues deem it necessary. Euro zone inflation has slowed to 0.5 percent from 0.9 percent in November, falling far below the ECB's target of just under 2 percent and stoking fears the bloc could become stuck in a prolonged period of so-called "low-flation", or even sink into outright deflation. Seeking to head off such a drop in inflation expectations, the ECB's governing council said earlier this month it was unanimous in its commitment to use unconventional tools - central bank-speak for things like QE - to counter a protracted period of low inflation.


Total strikes oil for second time offshore Ivory Coast

A logo for oil giant Total is seen at a petrol station in London By Michel Rose and Joe Bavier PARIS/ABIDJAN (Reuters) - France's Total said on Thursday it had discovered oil in a deep offshore area in the west of Ivory Coast, the company's second oil find in a year in the West African country. "This well is the first discovery in the San Pedro Basin, a frontier exploration area in Ivory Coast," Total senior vice president for exploration Marc Blaizot said in a statement. "Having confirmed the presence of a petroleum system containing light oil, we will next evaluate this very promising find and focus on its extension to the north and east." Oil and gas exploration in West Africa's Gulf of Guinea has risen sharply since Ghana discovered its giant Jubilee field in 2007 and brought it to production in record time in late 2010. Ivory Coast, French-speaking West Africa's largest economy, is seeking to accelerate development of its energy sector, neglected during a decade-long political crisis that ended in a brief civil war in 2011.


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