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Eurozone growth in 'low gear' at start of second quarter

Tulips stand in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Probst) LONDON (AP) — As winter turned to spring, the eurozone economy appears to have lost some — but by no means all — of the momentum that saw it grow faster than the U.S. in the first quarter of the year.


Turkey on verge of completing EU visa deal work: minister

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a news briefing in Tbilisi Turkey is on the verge of completing the necessary work to secure visa-free travel for Turkish citizens to the European Union, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday after parliament passed new legislation overnight. The 28-nation EU depends on Ankara's cooperation to maintain a March pact that has helped stem the flow of refugees and migrants arriving from Turkey, from which more than a million people reached Greece and Italy last year. The European Commission is expected to declare on Wednesday that Turkey has broadly met the criteria for visa liberalization and ask EU governments and the European Parliament to approve the decision by the end of June.


Iranian commander threatens to close Strait of Hormuz to US

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The deputy commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard said Iranian forces will close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to the United States and its allies if they "threaten" the Islamic Republic, Iranian state media reported on Wednesday.

Man wounded in leg in police-involved shooting in Southwest Philadelphia

Man wounded in leg in police-involved shooting in Southwest Philadelphia Police say a man was shot in the leg after he fired a shot at officers in Southwest Philadelphia.


Turkish warplanes destroy Kurdish militant targets in southeast Turkey: military

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish warplanes destroyed targets belonging to the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in southeast Turkey, the military said on Wednesday. No other details were immediately available. (Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

North Korea hails anti-smoking progress; leader Kim keeps puffing

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smokes a cigarette as he gives guidance on the development of Ssuk Islet North Korea said on Wednesday a campaign was helping to cut the number of smokers, although its leader Kim Jong Un is frequently seen with a cigarette in hand in photographs in state media. The government has cut the total area planted with tobacco "as much as possible" and health warnings are required on cigarette packs, the North's official KCNA news agency said. "The number of non-smokers is remarkably increasing with each passing day," KCNA said, adding the number of male smokers was 8 percent lower in 2013 compared with four years earlier.


Indonesian becomes Internet hit after taking on motorbikes

Alfini Lestari blocks motorcyclists from using a sidewalk in Jakarta An Indonesian woman has become an unlikely Internet sensation after photos of her angrily stopping motorcyclists from driving on pavements in traffic-choked Jakarta went viral online. Alfini Lestari, a 34-year-old cook, was pictured with her arms outstretched as she physically blocked a horde of motorbikes from riding down the pavement alongside one of the capital's main thoroughfares during rush hour this week. After the picture was printed on the front page of a national newspaper, she quickly gained a following online in a city with some of the world's worst traffic jams, threadbare public transport and few areas where pedestrians can comfortably walk.


U.S. gathers allies on next steps in Islamic State fight

A F/A-18E/F Super Hornets of Strike Fighter Attack Squadron 211 (VFA-211) lands on the flight deck of the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) aircraft carrier in the Gulf By Phil Stewart STUTTGART, Germany (Reuters) - The United States gathered defense ministers from 11 other countries for talks on Wednesday about ways to strengthen the campaign against Islamic State, a day after a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in Iraq during an attack by the militant group. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the defense ministers that despite recent gains "this fight is far from over". "That point was brought into stark relief by yesterday's attack on Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq, which unfortunately claimed the life of an American service member," Carter said, speaking at the start of talks at the U.S. military's European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.


UN envoy says talks to resume in Kuwait on ending Yemen war

KUWAIT CITY (AP) — The U.N. envoy trying to negotiate an end to the war in Yemen says peace talks will resume in Kuwait.

EU court upholds new tobacco laws on packaging, menthol cigarettes

Plain cigarette packaging helped reduce high smoking rates among the under-16s in Australia The EU's top court on Wednesday ruled that the bloc's new laws on plain tobacco packaging and a ban on menthol cigarettes were legal, rejecting a challenge by tobacco giant Philip Morris and others. Philip Morris, maker of iconic brands such as Marlboro, and the Polish government had lodged appeals against a tobacco directive adopted by the 28-nation European Union in 2014. "The new EU directive on tobacco products is valid," the Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice said.


Driver killed in police-involved shooting in Overbrook

Driver killed in police-involved shooting in Overbrook A driver inside a vehicle was shot four times by police after refusing to stop, and driving towards officers as they approached.


Economics, sense of revenge 'pushing Syrians into jihadist ranks'

A video released by the Islamic State group's official Al-Raqqa site on September 23, 2014 claims to show IS recruits marching in an unknown location Economic concerns and the desire for a sense of purpose and revenge are the major factors pushing young Syrians into the arms of jihadist groups, a study released on Wednesday found. It found that males between the ages of 12 and 24 were most at risk of joining jihadist organisations like the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front.


Economics, sense of revenge 'pushing Syrians into jihadist ranks'

A video released by the Islamic State group's official Al-Raqqa site on September 23, 2014 claims to show IS recruits marching in an unknown location Economic concerns and the desire for a sense of purpose and revenge are the major factors pushing young Syrians into the arms of jihadist groups, a study released on Wednesday found. It found that males between the ages of 12 and 24 were most at risk of joining jihadist organisations like the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front.


The Latest: Paris police, protesters scuffle over migrants

Tents set on the tracks of a train station are framed by a fence at the Greek northern point of Idomeni, Greece, Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Many thousands of migrants remain at the Greek border with Macedonia, hoping that the border crossing will reopen, allowing them to move north into central Europe. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) BRUSSELS (AP) — The Latest on Europe's response to the wave of migration from the Middle East and elsewhere (all times local):


Top Asian News 8:57 a.m. GMT

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's election campaign will officially start soon with climate change policy and union corruption in the national building industry shaping into key battlegrounds for the July 2 poll. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Wednesday that he was likely to visit Governor-General Peter Cosgrove this weekend to lock down the date and officially start the election campaign. A heartening historical fact for Turnbull is that no Australian federal government has lost power after a single three-year term since the tumultuous early years of the Great Depression. But Australia is now in an extraordinary era of political volatility as it grapples to diversify an economy that thrived on a mining boom that has gone bust.

After ships and planes, Chinese singers assert sea claims

FILE - In this Friday, March 1, 2013 file photo, Chinese singer Song Zuying performs during the "Cultures of China, Festival of Spring" concert at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. China's military has dispatched ships and planes — even constructed new islands to assert its maritime claims. Now it's deploying a new set of tools to uphold Chinese sovereignty: Magicians, singers and actors. Famed singer of patriotic anthems Song headlined a tour of China's man-made islands in the South China Sea's Spratly islands this week, underscoring Beijing's confidence in asserting its increasingly dominant position in the disputed region. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File) BEIJING (AP) — China's military has dispatched ships and planes — even constructed new islands to assert its maritime claims. Now it's deploying a new set of tools to uphold Chinese sovereignty: Magicians, singers and actors.


EU countries could face hefty fines for rejected refugees

Tents set on the tracks of a train station are framed by a fence at the Greek northern point of Idomeni, Greece, Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Many thousands of migrants remain at the Greek border with Macedonia, hoping that the border crossing will reopen, allowing them to move north into central Europe. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia) BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union countries that refuse to accept refugees under proposals to overhaul the EU's failed asylum laws could face large fines for each asylum seeker rejected.


Trump 'presumptive' White House nominee as Cruz crashes out

Donald Trump looks all-but-certain of carrying the Republican Party colors in the 2016 presidential election Donald Trump seized the mantle of Republican standard-bearer for the 2016 presidential election, sending his only serious challenger Ted Cruz crashing out of the White House race. After charging to victory in Indiana, the unorthodox, anti-establishment candidate embraced the role of de facto nominee and trained his sights on the Democrat most likely to face him in the battle for the White House. "We're going after Hillary Clinton," the billionaire real estate mogul told jubilant supporters gathered at Trump Tower in New York to celebrate the victory.


Southeast European business forum draws global investors

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The countries of southeastern Europe are aiming to attract more investment from international business executives gathered at a conference in Sarajevo.

Southeast European business forum draws global investors

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The countries of southeastern Europe are aiming to attract more investment from international business executives gathered at a conference in Sarajevo.

Independent Algerian paper faces closure threat

FILE - This Jan.8 2011 file photo showsfood industry magnate Issad Rebrab, owner of the Khabar media group, in Algiers. Independent-minded Algerian newspaper Al Khabar is facing likely closure Wednesday May 4, 2016, after the government cracked down on its advertising and challenged its pending sale in commercial court.The paper’s income plunged, so it sold a majority stake to Rebrab. (AP Photo) ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — Independent Algerian newspaper El Khabar is facing likely closure after the government cracked down on its ad revenue and challenged its pending sale in court.


PIMCO says buying emerging markets; likes rouble, Mexican peso

The offices of PIMCO are shown in Newport Beach Asset manager PIMCO said on Wednesday it was time to actively engage in emerging markets again and highlighted the Russian rouble and Mexican peso as examples of assets that offered potential gains. PIMCO's head of asset allocation for EMEA, Geraldine Sundstrom, said commodity prices appeared to be hitting a bottom, Chinese growth was stabilizing and the dollar was no longer on an uptrend. "The landscape in emerging markets has been steadily improving over the last few months...With this in mind, we are beginning to redeploy capital to EM where we can find good value," Sundstrom said in a note.


Syrian state media say rebel shelling kills 3 in Aleppo

Syrian state media say rebel shelling kills 3 in Aleppo DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syrian state media say three people have been killed in renewed rebel shelling of government-held areas in the deeply contested northern city of Aleppo.


Turkey on verge of completing work for visa-free travel in EU: foreign minister

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey is on the verge of completing the necessary work to secure visa-free travel for Turkish citizens to the European Union, including changes required in Turkish passports, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday. His comments, broadcast by NTV, came ahead of an expected declaration from the European Commission on Wednesday that Ankara has broadly met the criteria for visa liberalization as part of a deal to curb migration flows to Europe. (Reporting by Tulay Karadeniz; Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by David Dolan)

World stocks in retreat for second day on growth worries

Traders work at their desks in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in Frankfurt By Sujata Rao LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks fell for the second straight day on Wednesday and metals prices declined, pressured by signs of a renewed and prolonged global growth downturn. "The deflationary pressures remain and it's hard to see markets making much headway at the moment," said Richard Griffiths, associate director at Berkeley Futures. MSCI's index of world stocks was down a quarter of a percent to 2-1/2 week lows after falling 1 percent on Tuesday for its biggest one-day fall in a month .


As Trump becomes presumptive nominee, China urges objectivity

China on Wednesday urged people in the United States to take a rational and objective view of the relationship between the two countries, after Republican front-runner Donald Trump became the party's presumptive presidential nominee. Trump has proposed that tariffs on imported Chinese goods be increased to up to 45 percent and asserted that China had waged "economic war" against the United States, taking American jobs. China is the United States' largest trading partner.

Air raids hit east of Damascus after 'calm' expires

Air strikes targeted a Syrian rebel-held area east of Damascus on Wednesday after an agreement aimed at halting the fighting there expired at midnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and rescue workers reported. The Observatory also reported fighting between rebel groups and government forces in the area targeted in the air strikes in the town of Deir al-Asafir in Eastern Ghouta. The Civil Defence rescue service in opposition-held areas of rural Damascus said the area had been targeted by 21 raids and simultaneous mortar fire.

Three Red Cross workers kidnapped in Congo by suspected rebels

Three Red Cross staff members have been kidnapped in eastern Congo in an attack blamed by a rights group on Rwandan rebels. The abductions were confirmed on Tuesday in a tweet from Dominik Stillhart, the Red Cross's director of operations, who added: "We're doing everything we can to bring them back home safely." The Congo-based Centre of Studies for the Promotion of Peace, Democracy and Human Rights said the three were drivers from Goma in the east of the country. It said the culprits were believed to be members of the Rwandan rebel group, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which consists of former soldiers and Hutu militiamen behind Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

India rejects Apple's plan to import used iPhones

A man speaks on his mobile phone as he walks past an Apple iPhone SE advertisement billboard in a street in New Delhi India has rejected a plan by Apple Inc to import used iPhones, government officials said, a blow to the U.S. tech giant which has been seeking to revive flagging sales of its flagship smartphones. Apple sells what it calls refurbished iPhones at a discount in some countries including the United States, and extending this practice to India would have likely helped it gain market share against competitors with much cheaper offerings. India, which has been pushing a 'Make in India' initiative to enhance the competitiveness of its manufacturing industry, rejected the proposal citing rules against importing used electronics.


US Defense Sec'y Carter: Campaign against IS 'far from over'

FILE - In this April 28, 2016 file photo, Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The NATO alliance is considering establishing a rotational ground force in the Baltic states and possibly Poland, reflecting deepening worry about Russian military assertiveness, Carter said Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — The combat death of an American Navy SEAL in Iraq shows that despite recent gains against the Islamic State in Iraq, "this fight is far from over," U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday.


US Defense Sec'y Carter: Campaign against IS 'far from over'

FILE - In this April 28, 2016 file photo, Defense Secretary Ash Carter testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The NATO alliance is considering establishing a rotational ground force in the Baltic states and possibly Poland, reflecting deepening worry about Russian military assertiveness, Carter said Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — The combat death of an American Navy SEAL in Iraq shows that despite recent gains against the Islamic State in Iraq, "this fight is far from over," U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday.


'Terraria' explores a touch-friendly path on Wii U in June

Pakistani army chief confirms death sentences for 11 Taliban

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's army chief signed off on the death sentences of 11 members of the Taliban convicted of terrorism, kidnappings, attacks on civilians as well as assaults on police and army officers, an army statement said.

University of Iowa, police investigate reported racist attack

Marcus Owens, a freshman from Naperville, Illinois, was beaten after he left a bar on Saturday night by three white men who yelled racial abuse at him, according to an ABC affiliate in Chicago. Owen had just left an off-campus bar when three men approached and began punching him, his uncle Darrell Owens told the news station.

Dozens killed in Aleppo battle

People walk on the rubble of damaged buildings after an airstrike in the rebel held area of Aleppo's Baedeen district Dozens of people were killed in a day-long battle between Syrian rebels and government forces in western Aleppo that was still going on intermittently on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and combatant sources on both sides said. The combatant sources gave conflicting accounts of the outcome of the battle that began early on Tuesday in and around the Jamiyat al-Zahraa area of western Aleppo. A rebel said insurgents had managed to take some ground from the government side, while the army said the attack was repelled.


Virginia Supreme Court recognizes gay couples in divorce law

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The Supreme Court of Virginia has ruled that a person doesn't need to pay alimony to a former spouse if the payee is in a new relationship with a member of the same sex.

Alaska town's first liquor store in more than 40 years opens

This photo provided by Walter Pickett shows the interior of the new AC Quickstop liquor store on Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in Bethel, Alaska. The liquor store is the first in 40 years to open in this southwestern community, where residents had to get liquor sent through the mail after residents voted to no longer be a dry community. The new business is owned by Alaska Commercial Company. (Walter Pickett via AP) ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska town's first liquor store in more than 40 years has opened, and the police chief there worries he won't have enough officers to handle an expected spike in alcohol-related calls.


Pebble's Time Steel smartwatch gets a £60 price cut in the UK

Royal Dutch Shell first quarter earnings down 58 percent

LONDON (AP) — Oil company Royal Dutch Shell said first-quarter earnings plunged 58 percent as depressed crude prices create "hugely challenging times" for the energy industry.

Royal Dutch Shell first quarter earnings down 58 percent

LONDON (AP) — Oil company Royal Dutch Shell said first-quarter earnings plunged 58 percent as depressed crude prices create "hugely challenging times" for the energy industry.
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