London FTSE ends lower on US stimulus talk
10 Dec 2013 | 12:14 pm
London equities closed lower on Tuesday as traders remained firmly focused on the outlook for US stimulus. The benchmark FTSE 100 index of leading companies ended the day down 0.55 percent at 6,523.31 points. "Europe's markets have continued their theme of underperformance slipping back today after a slight miss on Chinese industrial production, as well as uncertainty about the timing of the start of a pullback in the current Fed stimulus program," said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK. "Last night's comments from St. Louis Fed President James Bullard about the prospect of a possible taper may not have spooked US investors that much, but given the recent direction of travel on Europe's markets they appear to have been enough to limit the upside in terms of European trading today, and prompt some continued profit taking as volumes continue to decline," he said.
Founder of French breast implant scandal firm jailed
10 Dec 2013 | 12:02 pm
The founder of a French firm whose faulty breast implants sparked a global health scare was sentenced to four years in jail Tuesday after being convicted of fraud. Four other former executives of the now-defunct Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) were also convicted over a scandal that reverberated around the world. PIP was revealed two years ago to have been systematically using industrial-grade rather than medically approved silicone in its breast implants in order to cut costs and boost profits. The Marseille court sentenced PIP founder Jean-Claude Mas to four years in prison, fined him 75,000 euros ($103,000) and banned him permanently from working in medical services or running a company.
US-led Pacific trade zone talks end without deal
10 Dec 2013 | 9:43 am
SINGAPORE (AP) — The United States and 11 other nations negotiating a free trade zone stretching from Chile to Japan failed to reach a final agreement at talks in Singapore, but indicated they were closing in on a landmark deal.
Pentagon chief affirms Qatar, US defence ties
10 Dec 2013 | 7:20 am
Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel reaffirmed US military ties with Qatar on Tuesday, during a regional tour aimed at shoring up Gulf alliances amid disagreements over policy on Iran and Syria. Hagel met Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani and his minister of state for defence, Major General Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah, in Doha where they renewed a defence agreement. US air force commanders also gave Hagel a tour of the Combined Air Operations Centre, where officers oversee combat aircraft in Afghanistan and track air traffic across the volatile Middle East. At the control centre, massive digital maps on screens lined the walls showing air traffic over conflict-hit Syria, the Gulf and Afghanistan.
Thai PM urges protesters to take part in election
10 Dec 2013 | 6:58 am
By Amy Sawitta Lefevre BANGKOK (Reuters) - Her eyes welling with tears, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pleaded on Tuesday for anti-government protesters to clear the streets after she called a snap election, but protests leaders said she should step down within 24 hours. After weeks of sometimes violent street rallies, protesters dismissed her call on Monday for a general election and said she should be replaced by an unelected "people's council", which has stoked concern that Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy may abandon the democratic process. Yingluck insisted on Tuesday she would not step down and said she would continue her duties as caretaker prime minister until the election, which is set for February 2. "Now that the government has dissolved parliament, I ask that you stop protesting and that all sides work towards elections," Yingluck told reporters as she went into a cabinet meeting held at an army club.
N. Korea accused of 'reign of terror' over shock purge
10 Dec 2013 | 5:24 am
North Korea's state media on Tuesday sought to whip up public support for the shock purge of leader Kim Jong-Un's uncle and former mentor, as South Korea accused Kim of waging a "reign of terror". The North confirmed Monday that Jang Song-Thaek -- seen as Kim's political regent and the country's unofficial number two -- had been stripped of all posts and titles, accusing him of corruption and building a rival power base.
Economic experiment shows limits of NKorean change
10 Dec 2013 | 4:33 am
Singapore charges 24 Indian workers for rioting
10 Dec 2013 | 2:41 am
Singapore on Tuesday filed charges against 24 Indian nationals who allegedly took part in its first riot for over 40 years, as officials and activists warned against inciting racial hatred over the incident. The men face up to seven years in jail plus caning for the hour-long fracas on Sunday night, triggered when an Indian construction worker was struck and killed by a private bus in a district known as Little India. They were among an estimated 400 South Asian migrant workers involved in the rampage that left 39 police and civil defence staff injured and 25 vehicles -- including 16 police cars -- damaged or burnt.
Pakistan, Iran agree to speed up gas pipeline project
9 Dec 2013 | 11:46 pm
Pakistan announced on Tuesday it had agreed with Iran to speed implementation of a much-delayed gas pipeline project designed to link Iran's giant South Pars gas field with consumers in South Asia. The United States opposes the $7.5-billion project because it could violate sanctions imposed on Iran over nuclear activities Washington suspects are aimed at developing an atom bomb, although Tehran denies this. In an announcement following a breakthrough pact between Iran and global powers, Pakistan said both sides would speed up work to finish construction of the pipeline. Iran agreed with six world powers last month to curb its nuclear program in return for some easing of sanctions in a landmark pact seen as a first step towards resolving a decade-old dispute over the Middle Eastern nation's nuclear program.
Thai PM calls snap election, protesters want power now
9 Dec 2013 | 6:40 am
By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Martin Petty BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament on Monday and called a snap election, but anti-government protest leaders pressed ahead with mass demonstrations in Bangkok seeking to install an unelected body to run the country. Police estimated about 160,000 protesters converged on Yingluck's office at Government House, but there was none of the violence and bloodshed seen before the demonstrations paused last Thursday out of respect for the king's birthday. The protesters want to oust Yingluck and eradicate the influence of her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled by the military in 2006 and has chosen to live in exile rather than serve a jail term for graft. There was a carnival atmosphere as protesters gathered at Government House, with unarmed police and troops inside the gates.
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