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Updated: 44 min 25 sec ago

Obama offering Japan security, economic assurances as Ukraine crisis vies for his attention

54 min 20 sec ago

TOKYO - President Barack Obama is seeking to reassure Japanese leaders Thursday that he can deliver on his security and economic pledges to Asia even as the crisis in Ukraine demands U.S. attention and resources elsewhere. The ominous standoff between Ukraine and Russia is threatening to overshadow Obama's four-country Asia swing that began Wednesday. But at least publicly, Obama will try to keep the focus on his Asia agenda, which includes reaffirming his commitment to a defence treaty with Japan, making progress on a stalled trans-Pacific trade agreement and finalizing a deal to modestly increase the American military footprint in the Philippines. Obama steered clear of more sensitive topics like the trade and China tensions as he and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sat down for a morning meeting at Tokyo's Akasaka Palace.


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A look at the events in the inmates' legal challenge of Oklahoma's execution drug secrecy

56 min 20 sec ago
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that death row inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner are not entitled to know the source of the drugs that will be used to kill them. The court, which is the highest in the state for civil cases, had previously halted their executions, even though critics said only the Oklahoma Court of Appeals can issue stays. The Court of Appeals is the highest in the state for criminal cases. March 10: District Court Judge Patricia Parrish says that she's willing to take the civil case but that she cannot set aside the inmates' execution dates.
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Attorneys for 2 Ohio women held captive say Joan Rivers should apologize for hurtful comment

56 min 47 sec ago

CLEVELAND - Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for comparing living in her daughter's guest room with the captivity they experienced. Rivers and her daughter were discussing their reality show Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show when she complained about her living arrangements, saying, "Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space." A Wednesday statement from attorneys for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus calls Rivers' remark hurtful and shocking.


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15-year-old stowaway homesick for Africa had no clue he was in Maui after jumping from plane

1 hour 31 min ago

HONOLULU, Hawaii - Long flights can leave anyone a little unsteady, but a teenager who defied the odds, surviving a flight from California to Hawaii tucked in a jetliner's wheel well, was disoriented, thirsty and could barely walk after the freezing, low-pressure ordeal, airport officials said Wednesday. Security video of his arrival shows the 15-year-old boy dangling his feet for about 15 seconds from the wheel well before jumping about 10 feet (3.05 metres) to the ground, landing on his feet and immediately collapsing Sunday morning, Maui District Airport Manager Marvin Moniz said. Staggering toward the front of the plane, the soft-spoken boy in a San Francisco Giants hoodie asked a ramp agent for a drink of water, setting in motion federal and local law enforcement investigations, national calls for better airport security and a flurry of speculation about how anyone could survive such a perilous trip. Abdilahi Yusuf Abdi, who said he is the boy's father, told Voice of America Wednesday that his son — who is still hospitalized in Honolulu — missed Africa, where they used to live, and had been struggling in school.


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Northern Colorado 4th graders get grandparents' pot; principal warns parents to secure drugs

1 hour 38 min ago
GREELEY, Colo. - School officials in northern Colorado are asking parents to take care with their newly legal recreational marijuana, after fourth graders were caught dealing the drug on an elementary school campus. John Gates, director of safety for Weld County School District 6, said Wednesday that the students involved, three 10-year-old boys and a 10-year-old girl at Greeley's Monfort Elementary School, faced tough discipline but not suspension or expulsion. Only one student admitted to trying any of the drug, a small bite of an edible marijuana item, and a subsequent medical exam did not indicate any harmful effect had been caused, Gates said. The marijuana appears to have been legally purchased by adults — grandparents in two families — and no charges were expected to be filed, Gates said.
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Ronald McDonald takes to Twitter, gets new outfit as McDonald's puts focus back on clown

1 hour 39 min ago
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Ronald McDonald has a new look, and he's ready for a selfie. McDonald's said Wednesday its famous spokesclown will take an active role on social media for the first time, using the hashtag #ronaldmcdonald. The move marks a turnaround from recent years, when the red-haired mascot faded to the background as McDonald's came under criticism for using him to market to children. The company says Ronald McDonald won't have his own Twitter handle, but that it will post photos and videos of him on its existing social media accounts.
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Should Chinese-only Crest toothpaste ad concern Richmond residents?

1 hour 40 min ago

A Richmond woman has renewed her call for a ban on Chinese-only signage, after ads for Crest toothpaste appeared in several city bus shelters.


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SKorea ferry toll hits 159 as divers plunge deeper into submerged ferry to reach victims

1 hour 40 min ago

JINDO, South Korea - Divers made their way deeper Thursday into the submerged wreck of a ferry that sank more than a week ago as the death toll neared 160 and relatives of the more than 140 still missing pressed the government to finish the grim task of recovery soon. The coast guard and a rescue company were searching the middle section of the same floor, and another team was to search the front and middle of the fourth floor. As divers plunge deeper into the ferry, the work gets harder as they find they have to rip through cabin walls to retrieve more victims. "Now we think we have to deal with this realistically," said Pyun Yong-gi, whose 17-year-old daughter is among the missing.


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Bashtag: NYPD learns the hard way that Twitter campaigns can backfire

1 hour 42 min ago

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The largest police department in the U.S. learned the hard way that there are legions online devoted to short-circuiting even the best-intentioned public relations campaign — in this case, the NYPD's Twitter invitation to people to post feel-good photos of themselves posing with New York's Finest. It was a mistake of epic proportions, with the hashtag among the most-trafficked in the world Tuesday, creating a public relations nightmare for a new NYPD leadership intent on creating a more community-friendly force. "When you're in the social space, it's tough to predict what's going to happen," said Glen Gilmore, who teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. A similar meltdown came last November when investment giant JP Morgan Chase, which had been paying billions in fines stemming from the financial crisis, asked followers on Twitter to post career advice questions.


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Founder of Russia's leading social media network quits company, flees country

1 hour 43 min ago

MOSCOW - The founder of Russia's leading social media network — a wunderkind often described as Russia's Mark Zuckerberg — has left his post as CEO and fled the country as cronies of President Vladimir Putin have made steady inroads into the company's ownership. The slow-motion ouster of Pavel Durov from the network known as VKontakte, or "In Contact," is the latest sign that independent media outlets in Russia have become increasingly imperiled. Although months in the making, the loss of Durov's leadership in VKontakte means that the space for free speech on the Russian web could shrink even further. As one of his final acts of defiance, Durov posted online last week what he said were documents from the security services, demanding personal details from 39 Ukraine-linked groups on VKontakte, also known as VK.


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Exclusive: Marubeni says Chinese authorities detain three staff at grain unit

1 hour 50 min ago
By James Topham and Niu Shuping TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) - Three employees at one of Marubeni Corp's grain trading units in China have been detained by authorities, the Japanese trading house said on Thursday, a move sources told Reuters was prompted by allegations the unit evaded taxes on soy bean imports. The employees worked at a Chinese unit of Marubeni's Columbia Grain, Inc, a spokesman at the trading company said. The detentions may signal further complications in strained relations between Japan and China. Japan's Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd has paid almost $40 million to Chinese claimants, stemming from a wartime claim after the seizure of one of its ships by a court in Shanghai, media in Japan said on Thursday.
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Oklahoma high court rejects death row inmates' drug secrecy claims, lifts stay of execution

1 hour 52 min ago

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that two death row inmates are not entitled to know the source of the drugs that will be used to kill them. In rejecting the inmates' claims, the court also lifted a stay of execution that it had granted earlier in the week in a case that placed Oklahoma's two highest courts at odds and prompted calls for impeaching justices on the Supreme Court. Wednesday's decision paves the way for death row inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner to receive a lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester. A stay issued on Tuesday by Gov. Mary Fallin remains in place for Lockett, but only until April 29, the same day Warner is scheduled to die.


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Material that washed ashore in western Australia not from missing Malaysian jet

1 hour 57 min ago

CANBERRA, Australia - Australian officials said Thursday that after examining detailed photographs of unidentified material that washed ashore in the southwestern part of the country they are satisfied it is not a clue in the search for the missing Malaysian plane. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has advised search co-ordinators that the material, which washed ashore 10 kilometres (6 miles) east of Augusta in Western Australia, is not from missing Flight 370, according to a statement from the Joint Agency Coordination Centre. Augusta is near Australia's southwestern tip, about 310 kilometres (190 miles) from Perth, where the search has been headquartered. Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Wednesday that failure to find any clue in the most likely crash site of the lost jet would not spell the end of the search, as officials plan soon to bring in more powerful sonar equipment that can delve deeper beneath the Indian Ocean.


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California Supreme Court refuses to review conviction of Michael Jackson's doctor

2 hours 9 min ago
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Michael Jackson's doctor, rejecting his lawyer's petition without comment. The decision by the state's highest court was the latest stop on Dr. Conrad Murray's legal odyssey. Attorney Valerie Wass said Murray will take his fight to federal court. "We're greatly disappointed but we intend to pursue this in federal court," Wass said.
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Apple expands buybacks by $30 billion, OKs 7-for-1 stock split

2 hours 18 min ago

By Edwin Chan SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc has approved another $30 billion in share buybacks till the end of 2015 and authorized a rarely seen seven-for-one stock split, addressing calls to share more of its cash hoard while broadening the stock's appeal to individual investors. Activist investor Carl Icahn, who had famously called on the iPhone maker to boost its buyback program, tweeted his approval of the move on Wednesday. On Wednesday, Apple reported sales of 43.7 million iPhones in the quarter ended March, far outpacing the roughly 38 million that Wall Street had predicted. But whether Apple can again produce a revolutionary new product remains the central question in investors' and Silicon Valley executives' minds.


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Teachers' job action starts today at B.C. schools

2 hours 37 min ago
Recess will be cancelled in several school districts across B.C. as the province's 41,000 public school teachers begin job action on Wednesday.
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Montreal International Jazz Festival lines up legends

2 hours 39 min ago

The Montreal International Jazz Festival is bringing in as many legendary stars as it can to celebrate its 35th anniversary.


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Manitoba government proposes opening more adoption records

2 hours 40 min ago
The Manitoba government is proposing sweeping changes to its adoption laws that would make birth and adoption records more accessible for people trying to learn more about their background.
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Air Canada passenger wins $1,050 after seat-bumping spat

2 hours 53 min ago

A Nova Scotia man has won a $1,050 judgment against Air Canada after he was bumped off a flight and sued the country's largest passenger airline after it refused to compensate him.


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Qualcomm faces China bribery allegations from U.S. regulator

2 hours 54 min ago

By Noel Randewich SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Leading mobile chipmaker Qualcomm said on Wednesday it could face a civil action from U.S. authorities over alleged bribery of officials associated with state-owned companies in China. With smartphone sales tapering off in the United States, China is a major market for Qualcomm, but doing business there has included disagreements over royalties and an antitrust investigation. In its fiscal second-quarter report, Qualcomm said it has received a notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission's Los Angeles office advising it of a preliminary determination to recommend an enforcement action against the company for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Qualcomm said the civil action could seek remedies including "disgorgement of profits, the retention of an independent compliance monitor to review the company's FCPA policies and procedures, an injunction, civil monetary penalties and prejudgment interest." Qualcomm said it first learned of and disclosed the SEC investigation in 2012.


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