Obama looks to salvage Asia 'pivot' as allies fret about China
16 Apr 2014 | 12:51 pm
By Matt Spetalnick and Manuel Mogato WASHINGTON/MANILA (Reuters) - When a Philippine government ship evaded a Chinese blockade in disputed waters of the South China Sea last month, a U.S. Navy plane swooped in to witness the dramatic encounter. The flyover was a vivid illustration of the expanding significance of one of Asia's most strategic regions and underscored a message that senior U.S. officials say President Barack Obama will make in Asia next week: The "pivot" of U.S. military and diplomatic assets toward the Asia-Pacific region is real. Washington's Asian allies, however, appear unconvinced. During Obama's four-nation tour of Asia that begins on April 23, his toughest challenge will be to reassure skeptical leaders that the United States intends to be more than just a casual observer and instead is genuinely committed to countering an increasingly assertive China in the region.
Saudi reports new MERS death, infections in Jeddah
16 Apr 2014 | 11:35 am
Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) (AFP) - A Saudi man has died of MERS in the western city of Jeddah, where authorities have sought to calm fears over the spreading respiratory illness, the health ministry said Wednesday. The ministry said five more people were infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, including two medics, all in Jeddah. The latest death of a 52-year-old brings to 71 the total number of people to have died from MERS, out of 205 infections in Saudi Arabia, it added. Health authorities on Tuesday reported the death of a 59-year-old, also in Jeddah, as well as four other infections in the same city, including three medics.
World stocks up on hopes Chinese slowdown is mild
16 Apr 2014 | 11:00 am
LONDON (AP) — World stock markets rose Wednesday after Chinese economic figures showed the slowdown in the first quarter was less severe than expected.
European Parliamentarians back measures against 'invasive aliens'
16 Apr 2014 | 10:40 am
By Barbara Lewis BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Parliament backed a law on Wednesday to help keep alien species of plants and wildlife out of Europe and limit their spread in the event they do get in. Non-native plant and animal life are estimated to cost the European Union 12 billion euros ($16 billion) a year in damage and control costs. They compete with European species for food and disrupt their habitats. The European Environment Agency says more than 10,000 alien species have gained a foothold in Europe and at least 1,500 are considered harmful.
S. Korea, Japan hold rare 'comfort women' talks
16 Apr 2014 | 9:19 am
South Korea and Japan held rare high-level talks Wednesday on the extremely sensitive issue of wartime sex slavery, which has contributed to a virtual freeze in diplomatic ties. Kyodo News cited an unnamed government official as saying the Japanese side would indicate Tokyo is mulling an official apology and money for the so-called "comfort women" forced to work in military brothels. Seoul said the meeting between Junichi Ihara, head of the Japanese foreign ministry's Asia and Oceania affairs bureau, and Lee Sang-Deok, South Korea's director-general for Northeast Asian Affairs, marked the first time high-level officials had discussed the comfort woman issue in isolation.
Take a stroll in these Istanbul neighborhoods
16 Apr 2014 | 9:07 am
ISTANBUL (AP) — Istanbul, the noisy metropolis on the Bosporus Strait lauded by many a travel ranking, has much more to offer than grand mosques and bazaars. Away from the din of typical tourist haunts, a walk around the neighborhoods of Karakoy, Balat and Kuzguncuk will peel back the surface to reveal the city's multilayered history, and the lifestyles of those who've lived it.
Malaysia reports first Asian death from MERS virus
16 Apr 2014 | 9:01 am
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysian man who went on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia has become the first death in Asia from Middle East respiratory syndrome, while the Philippines has isolated a health worker who tested positive for the deadly coronavirus.
China's growth slows to 7.4 percent in 1Q
16 Apr 2014 | 4:27 am
BEIJING (AP) — China's economic growth slowed further in the latest quarter but appeared strong enough to satisfy Chinese leaders who are trying to put the country on a more sustainable path without politically dangerous job losses.
World shares rise, shrug off slower China growth
16 Apr 2014 | 4:06 am
Tesco seeks Asia pick-up after fresh profit setback
16 Apr 2014 | 4:02 am
Supermarket giant Tesco announced a second drop in annual profits in a row on Wednesday, leaving Britain's biggest retailer hoping that recent expansion into India and China can offset weakness in Europe. But annual profit after tax soared to £974 million from £28 million in the previous trading year when Tesco was hit by its decision to close the group's under-performing US business. "While the decline in profitability and like-for-like UK sales comes as no surprise, it marks the end of a disappointing year for Tesco," said Bryan Roberts, analyst at consultancy group Kantar Retail. Speaking of 2013/14, Tesco said in its earnings statement: "Our performance in the year was not where we had planned it to be."
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