Monthly Archives: March 2014

Bishops seek immigration reform during border trip

PHOENIX (AP) — Less than a week after President Barack Obama discussed immigration reform in a meeting with Pope Francis, a delegation of Roman Catholic leaders is visiting the U.S-Mexico border Tuesday to raise awareness about the plight of immigrants and to pray for policy changes.

Iraqi man goes on trial in fatal beating of wife

EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) — The killing of Kassim Alhimidi’s wife in California drew international attention after their daughter said she found a note by her Iraqi mother’s bludgeoned body that read: “Go back to your country, you terrorist.”

Singapore’s OCBC offers $4.95 billion for Wing Hang Bank in bet on China growth

Office workers pass a logo of Overseas-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd (OCBC) at the company's headquarters in SingaporeBy Saeed Azhar and Eveline Danubrata SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd (OCBC) has offered to pay almost $5 billion for one of Hong Kong's last remaining family-owned banks, in a deal that would give the Singapore lender a much sought-after gateway to the Greater China region. The deal to buy Wing Hang Bank Ltd was the outcome of months of negotiations, with the deadline for an agreement extended not once, but twice. OCBC formally made the offer to purchase the Hong Kong-based lender after reaching a deal with major shareholders including the bank's founding family. OCBC, like other foreign lenders, are drawn to China's economic clout and the growth of its offshore yuan markets.

Tax hike hurts Japan business mood more than in 1997: BOJ tankan

A businessman uses a mobile phone in front of cherry blossoms in full bloom in TokyoBy Leika Kihara and Tetsushi Kajimoto TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese business sentiment barely improved in the three months ending March and the corporate outlook is now considerably weaker than when Japan last raised its sales tax in 1997, the Bank of Japan's tankan survey showed on Tuesday. The findings highlight the daunting challenge facing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his quest to increase the consumption tax while simultaneously rescuing Japan from years of deflationary stagnation. The headline index for big manufacturers' sentiment rose by one point from three months ago to plus 17, the BOJ's closely watched survey showed, marking the fifth straight quarter of improvement but slightly short of a median market forecast of plus 18. Big service-sector sentiment also improved, by four points to plus 24, matching the median market forecast, as consumers rushed to beat the April 1 sales tax hike.

Hollande makes Valls PM after election debacle

French President Francois Hollande Hollande is pictured after he recorded a speech to be broadcast on French television on March 31, 2014 at the Elysee presidential Palace in ParisThe full line-up of France's new government is set to emerge Tuesday after President Francois Hollande reacted to an electoral rout for his Socialist Party by naming popular Interior Minister Manuel Valls as prime minister. The Green party said it was "awaiting clarification" of the direction of Valls' government before deciding on further cooperation. Hollande on Monday confirmed Ayrault's dismissal and Valls' promotion in a televised address to the nation, a day after the Socialists lost more than 150 towns and cities to the right or far-right in municipal elections. He said Valls would be charged with implementing a package of pro-business policies known as the Responsibility Pact, which have been attacked by the left of his party.

Mexican security forces kill Michoacan cartel leader

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican security forces killed a leader of the violent Knights Templar drug cartel on Monday, officials said. The cartel has created a major security problem for President Enrique Pena Nieto in the western state of Michoacan, where it has been fighting vigilante groups. Enrique Plancarte was killed by Mexican marines in an operation in Michoacan, security officials said. …

U.S. stops talks with Russia over tax information: report

The United States has de-facto suspended talks with Russia about exchanging information on taxes under 2010’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), in a sign of a deepening rift over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, Vedomosti daily reported on Tuesday. Scheduled to take effect on July 1, FATCA will require foreign banks to share information with the Internal Revenue Service about Americans’ accounts worth more than $50,000. The United States and European Union have already sanctioned some Russian officials and Bank Rossiya over Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula, which instigated the most serious East-West spat since the end the of Cold War more than 20 years ago.

AP sources: US considers release of spy Pollard

FILE - This May 15, 1998 file photo shows Jonathan Pollard speaking during an interview in a conference room at the Federal Correction Institution in Butner, N.C. An AP source says: the US is talking with Israel about early release of Pollard for concessions. (AP Photo/Karl DeBlaker, File)JERUSALEM (AP) — The United States is talking with Israel about releasing convicted spy Jonathan Pollard early from his life sentence as an incentive to the Israelis in the troubled Mideast peace negotiations, people familiar with the talks said Monday. Releasing Pollard, a thorn in U.S.-Israeli relations for three decades, would be an extraordinary step underscoring the urgency of U.S. peace efforts.

In Brussels, China learns ‘eurospeak’ to seek influence

European Council President Van Rompuy and European Commission President Barroso welcome China's President Xi at the European Council in BrusselsBy Robin Emmott BRUSSELS (Reuters) – At the height of the euro zone crisis, a Chinese official quipped that Europe was being reduced to a "wonderful theme park" for tourists. That view no longer has much currency as Beijing recalibrates links with the world's biggest trade bloc. Beijing's growing realization that China needs strong influence in Europe's de facto capital, Brussels, has been cemented by President Xi Jinping's visit to the EU's institutions this week, the first ever by a Chinese leader. Nurtured over the past decade as China and its businesses seek to protect and promote their interests in Europe, Beijing's diplomatic charm offensive is being consolidated by Xi, who became president a year ago with an ambitious reform agenda.