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SLOVYANSK, Ukraine - Russia's defence minister has announced new military exercises in Russia's south and west in reaction to the mounting unrest in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian troops on Thursday moved against pro-Russia militants in eastern Ukraine, killing at least two in clashes at checkpoints. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in comments carried by the Russian news agencies that Russia has launched new military exercises involving ground troops in the south and the west and the air forces that will be patrolling the border.
JINDO, South Korea - 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. Relatives of the missing passengers surrounded Oceans and Fisheries Minister Lee Ju-young, coast guard chief Kim Seok-kyun and deputy chief Choi Sang-hwan. Some of the family members shouted at the officials, accusing them of lying about the operation, demanding that the search continue through the night and asking why hundreds of civilian divers have not been allowed to join coast guard and navy personnel in searching for bodies. About 700 divers are working at the site of the April 16 wreck, said Koh Myung-seok, spokesman for the government-wide emergency task force.
SAVAR, Bangladesh - One year after the Rana Plaza garment factory collapsed in a pile of concrete slabs and twisted metal, Bangladeshi seamstress Shefali says she would rather starve to death than return to factory work. Like many survivors of the worst disaster the garment industry has ever seen, 18-year-old Shefali, who goes by one name, says she suffers from depression and has flashbacks of the catastrophe that killed more than 1,100 people. "We die, we suffer, nobody takes care of us," Shefali said earlier this month as she toured the site of the collapse, now a barren, fenced-off expanse. The owner of the illegally constructed Rana Plaza building is behind bars, pending an investigation, but there has been no word on when he will be put on trial.
KABUL - 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. Two of the dead Americans were a father and son, Minister of Health Soraya Dalil said, adding that the third American was a Cure International doctor who had worked in Kabul for seven years. "A child specialist doctor who was working in this hospital for the last seven years for the people of Afghanistan was killed and also two others who were here to meet him, and they were also American nationals," Dalil said.
This is the strongest job growth over the recovery among G7 countries." The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper frequently claims Canada leads the G7 in the number of jobs created since the low point of the global recession. But newly released figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development suggest Canada did not fare quite as well as many â€” indeed, most â€” of the world's seven wealthiest economies. The Paris-based OECD's latest quarterly employment numbers (found at http://www.oecd.org/std/labour-stats/QES-0414.pdf), show Canada's employment rate between the second quarter of 2008 and the fourth quarter of 2013 fell 1.3 percentage points.
PORT HARDY, B.C. - Glass rattled, buildings swayed, but no damage was reported after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit off the northern coast of Vancouver Island on Wednesday night. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the epicentre was about 94 kilometres south of Port Hardy and struck at a depth of 11 kilometres. Emergency Management B.C. reported there was no tsunami warning for the West Coast, including B.C., and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami was not expected. "We can confirm at this time that there is no reporting of any injuries or any significant damage, so all folks are safe," said Pat Quealey, assistant deputy minister for Emergency Management BC.
TOKYO - 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. Standing alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama also affirmed that the U.S. will defend its Asian ally in a potential confrontation with China over a set of disputed islands. On the first full day of a four-nation visit to Asia, Obama called for the U.S. and Japan to resolve disagreements promptly over access to agriculture and automobile markets, issues that are hindering completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The deal, involving 12 nations overall, is a key component of Obama's efforts to assert U.S. influence in Asia in the face of China's ascendancy in the region.
TOKYO - Warning Russia that new economic sanctions are "teed up," President Barack Obama accused Moscow of failing to live up to an agreement last week to ease tensions in eastern Ukraine. He conceded that new sanctions may not change Russian President Vladimir Putin's geopolitical calculations. "There are some things the United States can do alone but ultimately it's going to have to be a joint effort, a collective effort," Obama said during a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Obama's comments underscored the difficulties he faces in devising a response to Russia's aggressive moves on Ukraine's eastern border and the growing unrest in the country driven by pro-Russian insurgents.
BAGHDAD - A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a police checkpoint south of Baghdad on Thursday morning, killing at least 11 people, officials said, the latest episode in an uptick in violence in the run-up to next week's parliamentary elections. The attack struck during the morning rush hour, when the checkpoint at one of the entrances to the city of Hillah, about 95 kilometres (60 miles) south of Baghdad, was crowded with commuters. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The Shiite-dominated city of Hillah has seen sporadic violence recently.
SRINAGAR, India - Hundreds of Kashmiri protesters hurled rocks at polling stations in the disputed Himalayan territory Thursday and shouted "Down with India!" on a major day of voting in the country's general election. Indian forces used tear gas and wooden batons to disperse the protesters, but there was no disruption in the voting, a police officer in the area said. With 814 million eligible voters, India is voting in phases over six weeks, with results expected May 16. The protests in Kashmir came as millions of people turned out in 11 states Thursday for the second-biggest day of voting in the election.
(Reuters) - Time Warner Cable Inc , the second-largest U.S. cable operator, reported first-quarter profit above analysts' estimates as it added more residential subscribers than expected for its high-speed data services. The company, which is in the middle of a $45.2 billion acquisition by Comcast Corp , lost 34,000 residential video subscribers in the first quarter on a net basis, fewer than the 77,300 analysts had expected. Time Warner Cable's quarterly profit jumped 19.5 percent to $479 million, or $1.70 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31. Time Warner Cable's shares closed at $139.87 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.
By James Topham and Niu Shuping TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) - Three employees at one of Marubeni Corp's grain trading unit in China have been detained, Chinese customs said on Thursday, a move prompted by allegations of tax evasion on soybean imports. The three local staff worked at a Chinese unit of Marubeni's Columbia Grain, Inc, the Japanese trading house and Chinese customs in the port city of Qingdao said. The detentions could add to recent pressure on soybean prices after a wave of soybean cargo defaults in China, where a combination of poor crushing margins and difficulty getting credit has led to a spike in rejected cargoes. U.S. soybean futures hit their lowest since April 14 on Thursday, on concerns about defaults by top buyer China, which buys more than 60 percent of global imports.