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Sudan to host pre-Olympic football qualifiers tournament

South Sudanese refugees play football at a camp run by the Sudanese Red Crescent on January 27, 2014 in the western part of Sudan's White Nile state, about 30 kilometres from South Sudan, after fleeing battles between rebel and government forces Sudan has been picked to host East and Central Africa's first ever pre-Olympic football qualifying competition this year in a bid to enhance its chances of reaching the 2016 games. Nicholas Musonye, the secretary of the East and Central Africa Football Federation (CECAFA) said the under-23 tournament in Khartoum in September will be used to prepare the region ahead of the African Olympic football qualifiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo next year. "We are all aware that no football team from the East and Central African region has ever qualified for the Olympic Games. Sudan will also stage CECAFA's maiden Nile Basin Cup Winners Cup for league runner-up teams in May and June this year.


Armenia genocide: Obama urges 'full' acknowledgement of facts

People lay flowers at the monument to Armenians killed by Ottoman Turks during World War I in Yerevan, on April 24, 2014, to mark the 99th anniversary of the Armenian genocide US President Barack Obama said Thursday that the "full, frank and just acknowledgement" of facts surrounding the World War I mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire was in everyone's interest. In a statement marking the 99th anniversary of the start of the killings and deportations, Obama said the United States grieved for the lives lost. "A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests," Obama said. In an unprecedented move described by Washington as a historic gesture, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday offered condolences over the massacres, calling them "our shared pain."


South Sudan rebels claim to be closing in on oil fields

A video grab released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) on April 23, 2014 shows displaced people gathering water at a camp in Bentiu, on April 22, 2014 Rebels in South Sudan said Thursday they were closing in on key oil fields and two state capitals, predicting an imminent collapse of the government and a "bloodbath". A statement from rebel spokesman General Lul Ruai Koang said forces battling President Salva Kiir captured the town of Renk, close to the border with Sudan, on Wednesday and were advancing on the Paloich oil fields. He also said the rebels "once again renew calls for oil companies to stop production and evacuate staff/employees to avoid being caught in crossfire". According to the rebel spokesman, anti-government fighters loyal to former vice president Riek Machar were advancing on Jonglei state capital Bor, situated just 200 kilometres (130 miles) north of the capital Juba.


Barclays says expects small fall in quarterly profit

The British Barclays bank logo is seen on a branch in central London on February 15, 2011 Barclays, struggling to restore its damaged image, said on Thursday it expected to announce a small drop in quarterly pre-tax profits when it formally updates the market next month. In a statement being delivered by the lender at its annual general meeting, Barclays said that its investment banking business had one more suffered during the first three months of 2014. Barclays first-quarter update comes two months after the bank said it would axe thousands of jobs and raise bonuses for its bankers despite its investment arm falling into a heavy loss in 2013. "We have seen the benefits of being a diversified bank in the first quarter with the businesses outside the Investment Bank delivering a resilient performance, compared to the same period last year," Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins said in Thursday's statement.


Rise in reports of sex offences after Savile scandal

A police support officer walks past a sign outside New Scotland Yard in central London on January 11, 2013 Reports of sexual offences have risen in the wake of the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal while overall crime levels have continued to fall, official figures showed Thursday. The number of recorded sex crimes rose by 17 percent in 2013, police crime figures for England and Wales show, with the number of historic offences falling. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rise was likely due in part to a "Yewtree effect", with more victims coming forward to report sex offences since the launch of a major police inquiry into abuse claims. Operation Yewtree was launched in 2012 to investigate allegations, mainly involving children, against late BBC presenter Savile and others.


F1 boss Ecclestone denies bribery at German trial

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone arrives at court for his trial in Munich, southern Germany, on April 24, 2014 Munich (Germany) (AFP) - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone went on trial in Germany on Thursday, denying charges of bribery that threaten to land the British billionaire in jail. Ecclestone, 83, is accused of paying a German banker tens of millions of dollars to ensure his continued grip on the motor sports empire he built up virtually single-handedly over four decades. The mop-topped, diminutive F1 magnate entered the packed Munich courtroom in his trademark black suit and white shirt, saying only: "I'm confident, the sun is shining." He also declared that Ecclestone does not intend to speak for now in the trial that is set to run until September.


Kate shows off new royal style in Down Under tour

FILE - This is a Wednesday, April 16, 2014 file photo of Britain's Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, as she meets with people on the steps of the Sydney Opera House following a reception in Sydney, Australia. Kate’s dilemma: What to pack for a two-week trip, when your itinerary includes everything from state receptions and church services to toddler playdates and cricket games? For the Duchess of Cambridge, who’s rounding up her trip to Australia and New Zealand with husband Prince William and 8-month-old son George, there were additional sartorial dilemmas: Do royals take off their shoes at the beach? And what’s the most ladylike way to climb into a fighter jet while in a pencil dress and high heels? (AP Photo/Jason Reed, Pool, File) LONDON (AP) — Kate's dilemma: What to pack for a two-week trip, when your itinerary includes everything from state receptions and church services to toddler playdates and cricket games?


U.S. jobless claims rise more than expected last week

Job seekers apply for the 300 available positions at a new Target retail store in San Francisco The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week, but the rise probably does not suggest a shift in labor market conditions as the underlying trend continued to point to strength. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 329,000 for the week ended April 19, the Labor Department said on Thursday.


N fund pays $990 million in Kuwait compensation

GENEVA (AP) — A U.N. panel that settles claims for damages resulting from Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait has paid out another $990 million.

U.S. durable goods orders rise broadly, boost growth outlook

File image of shoppers looking at durable goods appliances at a Home Depot store in New York Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rose more than expected in March and a measure of business capital spending plans surged, bolstering views of an acceleration in growth in the second quarter. The Commerce Department said on Thursday durable goods orders increased 2.6 percent as demand rose across all categories. Durable goods range from toasters to aircraft and are meant to last three years.


Embattled South Sudan president replaces army chief

Chief of Staff of South Sudan's army, General James Hoth Mai speaks during a media update in Juba By Carl Odera JUBA (Reuters) - South Sudan's President Salva Kiir has sacked his army chief, a military spokesman said, replacing him with a loyalist from his own ethnic group as the country's four-month conflict shows signs of being increasingly fought along tribal lines. Kiir also replaced his head of intelligence, days after government troops were routed from a major oil hub by rebels loyal to Kiir's former deputy Riek Machar, and hundreds of civilians were massacred. Army spokesman Philip Aguer said General Paul Malong, a stalwart of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), had replaced army chief General James Hoth Mai. Mai was the most prominent Nuer within the SPLA, a former guerrilla force which became the national army of the south after the end of the civil war with Sudan in 2005.


German defense minister visits troops in Lebanon

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, center, boards a German UNIFIL vessel, at the seaport of Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday April 24, 2014. Minister Ursula von der Leyen is in Lebanon to meet with the Lebanese officials and to visit her country’s naval troops. Germany has been a contributor since 2006 to the UNIFIL maritime mission in Lebanon which aims at supporting the Lebanese navy in securing Lebanon’s maritime borders. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla) BEIRUT (AP) — Germany's defense minister has expressed her country's support for Lebanon and discussed means to help the Mideast nation as it deals with an influx of over one million Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war.


Top Asian News at 12:30 p.m. GMT

TOKYO (AP) — As negotiators struggle, President Barack Obama is rejecting suggestions that an Asia-Pacific trade deal is in danger and says the U.S. and Japan must take bold steps to overcome differences that are threatening completion of the cornerstone of his strategic rebalance to the region. Illustrating those difficulties, the top Japanese negotiator said Thursday that talks had come to a stop only to have a U.S. official later say that discussions would continue.

Verizon 1Q profit surges on Vodafone-related gains

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon's $130 billion deal to take over of all of Verizon Wireless is helping lift its profit.

Verizon 1Q profit surges on Vodafone-related gains

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon's $130 billion deal to take over of all of Verizon Wireless is helping lift its profit.

Caterpillar 1Q profit climbs 5 pct, forecast rises

In this Friday, March 28, 2014 photo, Lou Severino moves dirt with a Caterpillar dozer around a home under construction in Pepper Pike, Ohio. Caterpillar reports quarterly earnings on Thursday, April 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) Caterpillar's first-quarter earnings climbed 5 percent, and the construction equipment maker raised its 2014 forecast. But the company also said Thursday that a mining equipment sales slump is still hurting results.


Man to be sentenced in retirement home deaths

DETROIT (AP) — A judge is expected to order life sentences for a 67-year-old man convicted of killing two women at a Detroit retirement home.

Small Business Lending Plummets as Loans to Big Business Soar

Small Business Lending Plummets as Loans to Big Business Soar Studies show locally owned businesses are a primary source of net new job creation. Yet independent businesses in many sectors are losing market share, while the number of new startups has steadily fallen over the last two decades.  Insufficient capital is a key culprit driving these trends.


Anti-graft group accuses EU of complacency on corruption

Flags of European Union member states fly in front of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg By John O'Donnell BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European lobbyists carry out much of their work in secrecy and there is widespread complacency in Brussels about tackling corruption or conflicts of interest, Transparency International said on Thursday. In the first report of its kind, the anti-graft campaign group shone an unflattering light on the bodies that draft and police law for the European Union's 28 member states, concluding their lack of interest could prompt more corruption scandals. The criticism of institutions such as the European Parliament, which researchers said had refused to cooperate with the study, may provide further ammunition to eurosceptics, who are already on track to widen support in EU elections in May. "The rule book is there to prevent corruption or conflicts of interest but the rules are not enforced," said Carl Dolan, one of the experts involved in the study.


3M 1Q results improve, but miss Street's view

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — 3M's first-quarter net income rose 7 percent, led by sales growth in its health care business.

American Airlines posts first quarter profit

The tail sections of a newly designed American Airlines aircraft, a US Airways aircraft and a traditional American Airlines aircraft are lined up at at Dallas-Ft Worth International Airport (Reuters) - American Airlines Group , the world's largest carrier formed in a late 2013 merger, on Thursday reported a profit of $480 million, or 65 cents a diluted share, for the first quarter. The profit compared with a loss of $341 million a year earlier, which reflects results of AMR Corp prior to the merger with US Airways Group. Quarterly revenue was nearly $10 billion. (Reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta)


Marlboro maker Altria 1Q profit falls

FILE - This April 23, 2008, file photo, shows the Altria Group Inc. corporate headquarters in Richmond, Va. Altria reports quarterly earnings on Thursday, April 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File) RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Altria Group Inc.'s first-quarter profit dropped 15 percent as the Marlboro maker sold fewer cigarettes and its year-ago results benefited lower expenses from a longstanding legal settlement.


United loses $609M in 1Q; fares don't cover costs

FILE - In this July 17, 2013 file photo, a United Airlines jet plane landing at Los Angeles International Airport, in Whittler City Calif., passes in front of a Waxing Gibbous moon. United Airlines reports quarterly earnings on Thursday, April 24, 2014. ( AP Photo/Nick Ut, File) United Airlines is the one U.S. carrier that can't seem to get its act together.


Ukraine forces say kill separatists in Slaviansk operation

By Aleksandar Vasovic and Gleb Garanich SLAVIANSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Ukrainian forces said they had killed several pro-Russian militants in clashes as they closed in on the separatist-held city of Slaviansk on Thursday, seizing rebel checkpoints and setting up roadblocks as helicopters circled overhead. Reuters journalists saw a Ukrainian detachment with five armored personnel carriers take over a checkpoint on a road north of the city in late morning after it was abandoned by separatists who set tires alight to cover their retreat. Earlier, the Ukrainian Interior Ministry said its forces and troops from the Defence Ministry had killed "up to five terrorists" while destroying three militant checkpoints northeast of the center. A separatist spokeswoman in Slaviansk said early in the morning that two fighters had been killed in a clash in the same area, near a road leading to the town of Sviatogorsk.

Pirates pilfer fuel from Thai tanker off Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Pirates pilfered diesel fuel from a Thai tanker off Malaysia's east coast, making two attacks in a week and raising concerns of a rising threat to shipping, a maritime watchdog said Thursday.

Cornish people recognized as official UK minority

FILE - This Aug. 8, 1999 file photo shows a road sign on the road going into Cornwall, in Launceston, England, Thursday April 24, 2014. The British government said Thursday April 24, 2014 that Cornish people have been given the same status as Scots, Welsh and Irish _ the U.K.'s other Celtic peoples _ under European Union law protecting national minorities. (AP Photo/PA, Toby Melville) UNITED KINGDOM OUT NO SALES NO ARCHIVE LONDON (AP) — The residents of England's windswept, wave-lashed southwest are Europe's newest official minority.


UK police seek to halt Brits joining Syria rebels

LONDON (AP) — British police are launching a nationwide bid to prevent young people from traveling to Syria to take part in the fighting there — part of a Europe-wide effort to discourage would-be combatants.

Chemical weapons watchdog weighs chlorine attack probe: sources

A woman receives treatment at Bab al-Hawa hospital By Anthony Deutsch AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The head of the global chemical weapons watchdog overseeing the destruction of Syria's toxic stockpile is considering launching a fact-finding mission there to investigate reports of attacks with chlorine gas, sources said. Syria became a member of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) last year as part of a deal with Russia and the United States to destroy its chemical weapons program. OPCW's head, Ahmet Uzumcu, has the authority to initiate an investigation into alleged use of chemical weapons in member states, including Syria, without the need to seek a formal request from a member state, sources told Reuters on Thursday.


Costa Rica is demanding US explain 'Cuban Twitter'

FILE - In this April 1, 2014, file photo, ttudents gather behind a business looking for a Internet signal for their smart phones in Havana, Cuba. The U.S. Agency for International Development masterminded the creation of a "Cuban Twitter," a communications network designed to undermine the communist government in Cuba, built with secret shell companies and financed through foreign banks. The Costa Rican government has asked the Obama administration Wednesday April 23, 2014, to explain why it launched a secret “Cuban Twitter” network from inside the Central American nation’s borders despite warnings in 2009 that the plan could jeopardize the two countries’ diplomatic relations. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File) SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — The Costa Rican government says it's still waiting for the Obama administration to explain why it launched the secret "Cuban Twitter" network from inside the Central American nation's borders despite warnings in 2009 that the plan could jeopardize the two countries' diplomatic relations.


Spanish economic growth seen fastest since 2008

MADRID (AP) — Spain's economy expanded by 0.4 percent in the first quarter, the Bank of Spain estimated Thursday, the fastest growth in six years and further evidence the recovery is gathering steam.

Families of ferry's lost confront SKorea officials

A mourner pays tribute to the victims of the sunken ferry Sewol near condolence flowers during a temporary memorial at the auditorium of the Olympic Memorial Museum in Ansan, south of Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, April 24, 2014. Divers made their way deeper Thursday into the submerged wreck of a ferry that sank more than a week ago as the death toll neared 160 and relatives of the more than 140 still missing pressed the government to finish the grim task of recovery soon. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man) JINDO, South Korea (AP) — Angry relatives of some of the more than 130 people still missing from the sinking of the ferry Sewol surrounded the fisheries minister and the coast guard chief Thursday, preventing them from leaving the area where families have been waiting for word of their loved ones for more than a week.


Obama rejects notion that trade deal is in danger

President Barack Obama, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at the conclusion of their joint news conference at the Akasaka State Guest House in Tokyo, Thursday, April 24, 2014. Obama said Thursday that he wants to see a dispute between China and Japan over islands in the East China Sea resolved peacefully, while affirming that America's mutual security treaty with Japan applies to the islands. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) TOKYO (AP) — As negotiators struggle, President Barack Obama is rejecting suggestions that an Asia-Pacific trade deal is in danger and says the U.S. and Japan must take bold steps to overcome differences that are threatening completion of the cornerstone of his strategic rebalance to the region.


Obama rejects notion that trade deal is in danger

TOKYO (AP) — As negotiators struggle, President Barack Obama is rejecting suggestions that an Asia-Pacific trade deal is in danger and says the U.S. and Japan must take bold steps to overcome differences that are threatening completion of the cornerstone of his strategic rebalance to the region.

Obama rejects notion that trade deal is in danger

President Barack Obama, left, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shake hands at the conclusion of their joint news conference at the Akasaka State Guest House in Tokyo, Thursday, April 24, 2014. Obama said Thursday that he wants to see a dispute between China and Japan over islands in the East China Sea resolved peacefully, while affirming that America's mutual security treaty with Japan applies to the islands. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) TOKYO (AP) — As negotiators struggle, President Barack Obama is rejecting suggestions that an Asia-Pacific trade deal is in danger and says the U.S. and Japan must take bold steps to overcome differences that are threatening completion of the cornerstone of his strategic rebalance to the region.


5 things about the English Premier League

Chelsea's manager Jose Mourinho gestures as he watches his team from the technical area during the Champions League semifinal first leg soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, April 22, 2014 .(AP Photo/Paul White) MANCHESTER, England (AP) — It takes something pretty special to overshadow Ryan Giggs' first game as manager of Manchester United.


Atletico changes focus to Spanish title race

Atletico's Koke, left, in action with Chelsea's Ashley Cole during the Champions League semifinal first leg soccer match between Atletico Madrid and Chelsea at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday April 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Gabriel Pecot) MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid's attention will return to domestic affairs, as it looks to defend its lead at the top of La Liga, with the club closing in on its first league title in 18 years.


Alstom shares jump on report of GE bid

The logo of French power and transport engineering company Alstom is pictured on a wall of the company's plant in Reichshoffen, near Haguenau By Natalie Huet PARIS (Reuters) - Shares in Alstom jumped more than 14 percent on Thursday after a report that U.S. conglomerate General Electric was in talks to buy the struggling French turbine and train maker for about $13 billion. If confirmed, a takeover offer from a foreign company would raise eyebrows among politicians and unions in France, where Alstom employs around 18,000 staff, or 20 percent of its global workforce. A deal, which would be GE's biggest ever and would hand it control of Alstom's high-speed TGV trains and rail-signal technology, has the support of Bouygues , Alstom's biggest shareholder with a 29 percent stake, the report said. Alstom, which has put its transport division up for sale in an attempt to fill a hole in its balance sheet, said on Thursday it was "not informed of any potential public tender offer for the shares of the company" and promised an update on its options when it releases annual results on May 7.


GM posts lower first-quarter profit after recall costs

The sign to a Chevrolet automobile dealership is seen down the street from General Motors World Headquarters on Jefferson Avenue in Detroit General Motors Co on Thursday posted lower quarterly profit after a massive recall due to defective ignition switches linked to at least 13 deaths, but results still topped Wall Street expectations on strong pricing for its vehicles, especially in North America. Excluding a charge mostly for the devaluation of the Venezuelan currency, GM earned 29 cents a share, far better than the 4 cents analysts expected, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Some GM ignition switches can make vehicle engines stall while operating, stop airbags from deploying, and power steering and power brakes from operating.


Top Asian News at 12:00 p.m. GMT

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan security guard opened fire on a group of foreign doctors at a Kabul hospital on Thursday morning, killing three American physicians and wounding a U.S. nurse, officials said. The shooting at Cure International Hospital in western Kabul was the latest in a string of deadly attacks on foreign civilians in the Afghan capital this year.

Udall, Gardner about even in Colorado Senate race

DENVER (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall is about even with his Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, according to a poll released Thursday that confirms Colorado's Senate race is one of the nation's most competitive.
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