Japanese officials were tightlipped Wednesday as secret talks in Jordan sought to secure the freedom of a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian pilot captured by Islamic State extremists and purportedly threatened with death within 24 hours. The global efforts to free Japanese freelance journalist Kenji Goto and Jordanian Lt. Mu'ath al-Kaseasbeh gained greater urgency with the release of the apparent ultimatum from the Islamic State group. In the message, the extremists say the two hostages will be killed within 24 hours â€” late Wednesday night Japan time â€” unless Jordan frees Sajida al-Rishawi, an Iraqi woman sentenced to death in Jordan for her involvement in a 2005 terrorist attack on a hotel that killed 60 people. The pilot's father, Safi al-Kaseasbeh, made a last-ditch appeal for Jordan "to meet the demands" of the Islamic State group.
Gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Libya's capital Tuesday, killing at least five foreigners and three guards, authorities said. The attack, which including a car bombing, struck the Corinthia Hotel, which sits along the Mediterranean Sea. Mahmoud Hamza, commander of the so-called Special Deterrent Force, told private satellite television station al-Nabaa that the situation was "under control" Tuesday afternoon, though he couldn't confirm the whereabouts of the gunmen. Another security official earlier said the gunmen killed three guards and took hostages, but had no further information on who the captives were.
Messenger says they don't have a problem with medical marijuana â€” they just think grow-ops should be located somewhere else. Tenants say the smell makes it almost impossible to work and that it has driven away customers.
While people across the Maritimes hunkered down during Tuesday's powerful winter storm, Helen and Barry Gibb took in the snowy scenery on the mostly deserted streets of downtown Halifax. "We're roughing it at the Prince George (Hotel)," Helen Gibb said with a laugh. Environment Canada issued blizzard warnings for Prince Edward Island, southeastern New Brunswick and most of Nova Scotia, along with a mix of freezing rain, wind and snowfall warnings for Newfoundland. It said the highest wind gusts were recorded at 125 kilometres an hour in southwestern Nova Scotia and Moncton, N.B., got the most snow, with 30 centimetres late in the afternoon as the snowfall tapered off.
Of all the families eligible for the Conservative government's controversial family tax-and-benefit measures this year, those earning between $30,000 and $60,000 will see by far the smallest windfall, internal Finance Department numbers show. The government's own breakdown shows families within that income bracket in 2015 will receive average relief of $660, just slightly more than half the overall average of $1,140 for all eligible families â€” those with children under 18.
By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian stock markets followed Wall Street into the red early on Wednesday, while the euro managed a rare rally on speculation the Federal Reserve could take a dovish turn in its post-meeting statement later in the session. Apple Inc provided some relief after the bell as record sales of its iPhone line helped it beat expectations, sending its stock up 5 percent. On Wall Street, the Dow ended with losses of 1.65 percent, while the S&P 500 fell 1.34 percent and the Nasdaq 1.89 percent. The softness in business investment and corporate earnings stoked talk the Fed would have to acknowledge the more difficult environment in its policy statement at 1400 GMT.
Canada's biggest banks have started passing on some â€” but not all â€” of the Bank of Canada's recent rate cut, lowering the interest charged to borrowers with loans and mortgages tied to the prime rate. Royal Bank (TSX:RY) was the first to cut its prime rate when it announced it would go down to 2.85 per cent from three per cent, effective Wednesday. The move was quickly matched by the rest of the Big Five: the Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO), TD Bank (TSX:TD), CIBC (TSX:CM) and the Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX:BNS). National Bank (TSX:NA), the country's sixth-largest bank, also pulled back its prime rate to 2.85 per cent, effective Thursday.
If the PartiQuĂ©bĂ©cois is voted into power again, party members would like it to hold a sovereignty referendum shortly after the election. Party officials consulted about 2,500 members to decide rules for the leadership race. The document states that many are â€śexasperatedâ€ť with the debate onÂ sovereignty. â€śThe members of the Parti QuĂ©bĂ©cois want, first and foremost,Â the Parti QuĂ©bĂ©cois and its representatives to beÂ actively engaged in drafting a sovereignty plan to promote and demonstrate the benefits of an independent Quebec, rather thanÂ discuss the referendum timetable,â€ť the document states.
The Windsor-Essex Catholic School Board says it welcomes any adaptations to its curriculum that would help young students better understand sexual consent, but it recognizes there will be some challenges.Â
The Canadian military was not amused by the secrecy and confusion that surrounded a Toronto event it was asked to organize for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2012, a series of internal documents reveal. A post-event analysis written for Canadian Forces commanders paints a picture of befuddlement among those in uniform who were tasked with putting on some kind of military display at Fort York for the royal couple. The Prime Minister's Office kept the location, timing and details of the event a closely guarded secret until almost the last minute, forcing soldiers to scramble to get troops on parade and into supporting positions. "PMO delayed the release of the official announcement of the event location and timings for the Toronto military event, which hampered administration and co-ordinating arrangements for out of town (military) personnel attending or participating in the event," said the report, dated May 31, 2013, and released to The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
Apple Inc quarterly results smashed Wall Street expectations with record sales of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus smartphones in the holiday shopping season and strong sales in China, although the United States remained the top iPhone market. Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters in an interview that the company did not sell more iPhones in China than the United States, despite some earlier predictions by research analysts.
By Malathi Nayak SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - AT&T Inc on Tuesday posted a quarterly net loss that was slightly slimmer than Wall Street expected, as its mobile device deals attracted more customers, but its users switched to other networks at a higher rate. AT&T shares rose 1.6 percent in after-hours trading after closing at $32.81 on the New York Stock Exchange. Excluding items, AT&T earned 55 cents per share, a penny more than analysts' forecasts. Faced with intense competition and promotional activity, wireless carriers have moved from two-year contract plans to equipment financing plans, which reduce service fees and eliminate subsidies for devices.