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Obama reaffirms commitment to Japan on tour of Asia allies
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a joint news conference at the Akasaka Palace in TokyoBy Mark Felsenthal and Linda Sieg TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama assured ally Japan on Thursday that Washington was committed to its defense, including of tiny isles at the heart of a row with China, but denied he had drawn any new "red line" and urged peaceful dialogue over the islands. His comments drew a swift response from China, which said the disputed islets were Chinese territory. Obama also urged Japan to take "bold steps" to clinch a two-way trade pact seen as crucial to a broad regional agreement that is a central part of the U.S. leader's "pivot" of military, diplomatic and economic resources towards Asia and the Pacific. U.S. and Japanese trade negotiators failed to resolve differences in time for Obama and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to shake hands on a deal at the summit.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 05:22:55 -0400
Obama poised for new sanctions on Russia if no progress on Ukraine
Ukrainian security force officers walk past a checkpoint set on fire and left by pro-Russian separatists near SlavianskBy Mark Felsenthal and Alissa de Carbonnel TOKYO/DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he was poised to impose new sanctions on Moscow if it does not act fast to end an armed stand-off in Ukraine, but there was a first, tentative sign that pro-Russian separatists were ceding ground. Moscow also flexed its economic muscles in its worst stand-off with the West since the Cold War, with the government suggesting foreign firms which pull out of the country may not be able to get back in, and a source at Gazprom saying the gas exporter had slapped an additional $11.4 billion bill on Kiev. Under an international accord signed in Geneva last week, illegal armed groups in Ukraine, including the pro-Russian rebels occupying about a dozen public buildings in the east of the country, are supposed to disarm and go home. Washington accuses Moscow of fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine while Russia denies this and counters that Europe and the United States are supporting an illegitimate government in Kiev.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:01:42 -0400
Boy and girl on Korean ferry drowned with life jackets tied together
News ImageBy James Pearson and Meeyoung Cho SEOUL (Reuters) - A boy and girl trapped in a sinking South Korean ferry with hundreds of other high school students tied their life jacket cords together, a diver who recovered their bodies said, presumably so they wouldn't float apart. Captain Lee Joon-seok, 69, and other crew members who abandoned ship have been arrested on negligence charges.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:59:12 -0400
Three Americans killed in Kabul hospital attack
Afghan policemen stand at the gate of Cure Hospital after three foreigners were killed in KabulThree Americans were killed on Thursday when a security guard opened fire at a Kabul hospital funded by a U.S. Christian charity, in the latest of a spate of attacks on foreign civilians in Afghanistan. A fourth American was wounded, the Afghan Health Ministry said. The attacker, a policeman employed as a security guard at the Cure Hospital, was captured, the ministry said. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for similar attacks this year, but made no comment about Thursday's shooting.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:11:40 -0400
Kashmiris shun polls as Modi challenges for power in India
Akhtar, wife of Pandith, a village council head, who was killed by militants, sits with relatives inside her house in GulzarporaBy Douglas Busvine and Fayaz Bukhari ANANTNAG, India (Reuters) - Mohammad Amin Pandith, a smallholder and father-of-three from Indian-controlled Kashmir, was lured from his home at night by a man in army uniform, dragged along a potholed lane and shot in the back of the head. His execution, one of three deadly attacks on village elders in the last week blamed on militants determined to derail elections, spread fear through the hamlet of Gulzarpora and led locals to boycott India's general election on Thursday. It also underlined how hard it will be for India's next prime minister to reach a lasting political settlement in Jammu and Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region that has been largely pacified by a huge security presence, yet is not at peace. India's election, which runs in stages until May 12, may well propel Hindu nationalist leader Narendra Modi to power, a prospect that has Kashmir's 12.5 million people scrabbling to determine what it would mean for them.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:39:38 -0400
Australia rules out link between debris and Malaysian plane
News ImageBy Byron Kaye and Sonali Paul PERTH/MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Authorities ruled out any link between debris picked up on an Australian beach and a missing Malaysian jetliner on Thursday as a tropical cyclone again threatened to hamper a 26-nation air, surface and underwater search of the Indian Ocean. The debris, found on Wednesday on a beach at the southern tip of Western Australia state, was seen as the first lead since April 4 when authorities detected what they believed was a signal from the black box of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board. But it took Australian authorities less than a day to analyze detailed photographs of the beached debris, no description of which was given, and dismiss the possibility that it may be linked to the plane. "We're not seeing anything in this that would lead us to believe that it is from a Boeing aircraft," Australian Transport Safety Bureau commissioner Martin Dolan the Australian Broadcasting Corp. That puts the focus of the search, the most expensive in aviation history, back on U.S. Navy undersea drone Bluefin-21, which will soon finish scouring a 10 square kms (6.2 square mile) stretch of seabed where the acoustic pings were located.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 00:06:28 -0400
Schalke chairman draws criticism over Kremlin trip
BERLIN (AP) Schalke's chairman is drawing criticism from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party for suggesting that his team, sponsored by Russian energy giant Gazprom, would accept an invitation to Moscow from President Vladimir Putin. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 07:07:21 -0400
Activists: Syrian airstrikes in north kill 18
BEIRUT (AP) Opposition activists say Syrian government airstrikes on a vegetable market in a rebel-held town in the northern Aleppo province have killed at least 18 people and wounded scores. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 07:03:54 -0400
Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
News ImageKABUL, 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.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 07:02:27 -0400
Top Asian News at 11:00 a.m. GMT
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) An Afghan security guard opened fire on a group of 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. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 07:02:14 -0400
Russia says Kiev must take first step to solve Ukraine crisis
(Reuters) - The Ukrainian authorities must take the first step if a resolution is to be found to the Ukraine crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday. Lavrov, speaking at a news conference after meeting his Lebanese counterpart, also said the United States should use its influence to persuade Kiev to implement its commitments under an international accord on Ukraine that was signed last week. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Christian Lowe, editing by Nigel Stephenson) Thu, 24 Apr 2014 07:00:24 -0400
Tiny Pacific nation sues 9 nuclear-armed powers
News ImageNEW YORK (AP) The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands is taking on the United States and the world's eight other nuclear-armed nations with an unprecedented lawsuit demanding that they meet their obligations toward disarmament and accusing them of "flagrant violations" of international law.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:55:36 -0400
Platini: No Champs League bans in 1st FFP cases
News ImagePARIS (AP) Clubs won't be excluded from next season's Champions League for breaking "Financial Fair Play" rules, according to UEFA President Michel Platini
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:50:04 -0400
China demands local solutions for grievances
BEIJING (AP) For decades, members of the Chinese public with grievances against local governments have been traveling to Beijing in the time-honored tradition of appealing to the country's highest authorities. Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:48:54 -0400
Syia air raid on market town 'kills 21'
News ImageAn air strike on a market on Thursday killed at least 21 people, including three children, in a village of the north Syrian province of Aleppo, a monitoring group said. The deadly raid comes amid a massive aerial offensive targeting opposition-held areas across Aleppo city and province that began in December 15. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the bombing campaign has killed hundreds, mostly civilians, and forced thousands of families to flee their homes. "The number of people killed in an air strike this morning against the market area of Atareb village has risen to 21, including three children," said the Observatory, adding the toll was likely to rise.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 06:48:41 -0400
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