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US, EU preparing new sanctions against Russia

BRUSSELS (AP) — The United States and the European Union, finally in synch on how to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin, are preparing a powerful one-two punch against Russia's economy, with EU ambassadors meeting on Tuesday to discuss a dramatic escalation in the trade bloc's sanctions.

Whale watching boat snagged by rope docks safely

BOSTON (AP) — Passengers on a whale watch boat are back on dry land after spending a long night stuck at sea outside Boston.

U.S. regulators looking into UBS, Deutsche Bank speed trading operations

Logos of Deutsche Bank AG are seen in Tokyo By Jonathan Gould, Katharina Bart and Joshua Franklin FRANKFURT/ZURICH (Reuters) - Germany's Deutsche Bank and Switzerland's UBS said they were caught up in an inquiry by U.S. regulators, who are looking into whether broker-run stock exchanges gave an unfair advantage to high-frequency traders. The investment banks, which said on Tuesday that they were cooperating with inquiries, also faced class action suits that alleged they violated U.S. securities laws, allowing high-speed traders to make a profit at the expense of institutional investors, such as pension funds and insurance companies. Deutsche Bank, which also reported earnings on Tuesday, said it had received requests for information from certain regulatory authorities related to high frequency trading but did not give further details. The lack of transparency has drawn the scrutiny of regulators, concerned that brokers and proprietary trading firms that use aggressive high-frequency trading strategies have an unfair advantage over other clients.


3 dead in tourist bus crash in Norway

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norwegian authorities say three people were killed and several injured, one seriously, when a tourist bus from Switzerland slammed into a mountainside in central Norway.

Broad strikes twice as India crawl to 108-3

India's Murali Vijay is bowled out by England's Stuart Broad during the third day of the third cricket test match of the series between England and India at The Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) SOUTHAMPTON, England (AP) — Fast bowler Stuart Broad removed Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay to leave India on 108-3 against England at lunch on day three of the third test at the Rose Bowl.


With Israel at war, US lawmakers give full support

FILE - In this July 24, 2014, file photo, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks with the media on Capitol Hill in Washington. While much of the rest of the world watches the Gaza war in horror and scrambles for a cease-fire, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military operations. Boehner said Monday, July 28, the administration should "stand with Israel, not just as a broker or observer but as a strong partner." (AP Photo/File) WASHINGTON (AP) — While much of the rest of the world watches the Gaza war in horror and scrambles for a cease-fire, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military operations.


With Israel at war, US lawmakers give full support

FILE - In this July 24, 2014, file photo, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks with the media on Capitol Hill in Washington. While much of the rest of the world watches the Gaza war in horror and scrambles for a cease-fire, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military operations. Boehner said Monday, July 28, the administration should "stand with Israel, not just as a broker or observer but as a strong partner." (AP Photo/File) WASHINGTON (AP) — While much of the rest of the world watches the Gaza war in horror and scrambles for a cease-fire, U.S. lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to take no action that puts pressure on Israel to halt its military operations.


Strong quake shakes Mexico's Gulf coast

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A strong earthquake shook much of eastern Mexico on Tuesday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injury.

U.S. regulators looking into UBS, Deutsche Bank speed trading operations

FRANKFURT/ZURICH (Reuters) - Germany's Deutsche Bank and Switzerland's UBS said they were caught up in an inquiry by U.S. regulators, who are looking into whether broker-run stock exchanges gave an unfair advantage to high-frequency traders. The investment banks, which said on Tuesday that they were cooperating with inquiries, also faced class action suits that alleged they violated U.S. securities laws, allowing high-speed traders to make a profit at the expense of institutional investors, such as pension funds and insurance companies. Deutsche Bank, which also reported earnings on Tuesday, said it had received requests for information from certain regulatory authorities related to high frequency trading but did not give further details. The lack of transparency has drawn the scrutiny of regulators, concerned that brokers and proprietary trading firms that use aggressive high-frequency trading strategies have an unfair advantage over other clients.

Europe, Asia stocks up ahead of US data

Trader Glenn Kessler works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, July 28, 2014. The stock market is opening mixed at the start of a busy week as a batch of merger announcements lift shares in Family Dollar and other companies. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — European and Asian stocks rose Tuesday ahead of a string of U.S. and Chinese economic reports later this week and despite the possibility of more sanctions on Russia. Wall Street was expected to rise on the open.


Europe, Asia stocks up ahead of US data

Trader Glenn Kessler works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Monday, July 28, 2014. The stock market is opening mixed at the start of a busy week as a batch of merger announcements lift shares in Family Dollar and other companies. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — European and Asian stocks rose Tuesday ahead of a string of U.S. and Chinese economic reports later this week and despite the possibility of more sanctions on Russia. Wall Street was expected to rise on the open.


Pfizer beats forecasts as oncology drugs grow

A man walks past Pfizer's world headquarters in New York (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc , which in May officially abandoned its bid to buy British rival AstraZeneca Plc, reported higher-than-expected second-quarter revenue, helped by growing demand for its cancer medicines. Analysts on average expected 57 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Sales fell 2 percent to $12.77 billion, hurt by declines for generic medicines that Pfizer calls established products, but they exceeded Wall Street expectations of $12.46 billion.


China says investigating powerful former security chief for graft

Then China's Public Security Minister Zhou reacts as he attends the Hebei delegation discussion sessions at the 17th National Congress of the CPC in Beijing By Michael Martina and Megha Rajagopalan BEIJING (Reuters) - China is investigating former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang, one of the most powerful politicians of the last decade, on suspicion of corruption, the government said on Tuesday, in what could become China's biggest graft scandal. The ruling Communist Party is investigating Zhou for suspected "serious disciplinary violations", the party's graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said in a brief statement, using the usual euphemism for corruption. Reuters reported in early December that Zhou had been placed under virtual house arrest after President Xi Jinping ordered a special task force to look into corruption accusations against him. Zhou, 71, is the most senior Chinese politician to be ensnared in a graft scandal since the Communist Party swept to power in 1949.


China: Ex-security czar Zhou under investigation

In this photo taken Friday, March 9, 2012, Zhou Yongkang, then Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member in charge of security, attends a plenary session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China. China's Communist Party says it has launched an investigation into the former domestic security chief who was once among the country's most feared leaders. The official Xinhua News Agency cited the party as saying Tuesday, July 29, 2014 it is investigating Zhou for serious violations of party discipline, but did not provide details. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) BEIJING (AP) — China's ruling Communist Party announced an investigation into a feared ex-security chief on Tuesday, demonstrating President Xi Jinping's grip on power and breaking a longstanding taboo against publicly targeting the country's topmost leaders.


Top Asian News at 12:00 p.m. GMT

BEIJING (AP) — China's ruling Communist Party announced an investigation into a feared ex-security chief on Tuesday, underlining President Xi Jinping's firm grip on power and breaking a longstanding taboo against publicly targeting the country's topmost leaders. The party's anti-graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said on its website that it is investigating Zhou Yongkang for serious violations of party discipline, but gave no details. Such an announcement typically paves the way for the official to be ousted from the party and face prosecution.

Turkish PM Erdogan returning Jewish American award

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is returning an award given to him by a Jewish American group in 2004, after the group asked for it back because of comments he made regarding the conflict in Gaza.

Quake shakes Mexico's Gulf coast

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A strong earthquake has shaken eastern Mexico, but there are no immediate reports of damage or injury.

Syria rebels advance towards key airport in Hama province

Syrian rebels fire a heavy-machine gun during clashes with regime forces near Hama, on February 17, 2014 Syrian rebels pressed on with a fresh advance in the central province of Hama, as they bid to take out its military aiport, a rebel commander and a monitor said Tuesday. "The rebels are now nine kilometres (six miles) away from Hama military airport, which they want to put out of action," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman. A rebel leader in the area, who gave his name as Hassan, said Hama military airport was important because "that is where the regime makes its barrel bombs, and warplanes take off from there to carry out air strikes on (opposition-held) areas across Syria".


UPS profit hit by retirement liabilities

UPS driver delivers parcels in Washington (Reuters) - United Parcel Service Inc's quarterly profit more than halved as the world's biggest courier company took a charge related to retirement liabilities of some union employees. The company's net income fell to $454 million, or 49 cents per share, from $1.07 billion, or $1.13 per share, a year earlier. Net income in the latest quarter included a charge of $665 million from post-retirement liabilities. Total revenue rose 6 percent to $14.27 billion. (Reporting by Sweta Singh in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)


China investigating Microsoft in monopoly case

BEIJING (AP) — China's anti-monopoly agency has announced an investigation of Microsoft Corp., stepping up pressure on foreign technology companies.

Reynolds American profit rises 6.7 pct on higher pricing

The headquarters of Reynolds American is seen with old R.J. Reynolds Tobacco smoke stacks from a previous manufacturing plant in downtown Winston-Salem (Reuters) - Tobacco major Reynolds American Inc's quarterly profit rose 6.7 percent as price increases helped to make up for a drop in cigarette volumes. The company's net income rose to $492 million, or 92 cents per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from $461 million, or 84 cents per share, a year earlier. Net sales fell 0.7 percent to $2.16 billion. Reynolds American, which has agreed to buy smaller rival Lorillard Inc in a $25 billion deal, also raised the bottom end of its full-year adjusted earnings forecast range to $3.35-$3.45 per share from $3.30-$3.45. ...


Airport in Russia's St. Petersburg evacuated

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — A Russian official says the Pulkovo airport in St. Petersburg has been evacuated, reportedly because of a bomb threat.

Futures rise on earnings, data on tap

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the market's opening in New York NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures edged higher on Tuesday following better-than-expected results from companies such as Pfizer and Merck and ahead of data on home prices and consumer sentiment. Merck reported better-than-expected quarterly results as new drugs offset declining sales of ones facing generic competition. Pfizer's higher-than-expected second-quarter earnings were helped by growing sales of its cancer medicines. The economic calendar for Tuesday includes S&P/Case-Shiller home price index for May at 9:00 a.m. ...


London's famed 'Gherkin' on sale for £650 mn

The Gherkin building is visible on London's skyline on February 28, 2012 London's landmark "Gherkin" office tower, one of the landmarks on the British capital's skyline, went on sale for about £650 million ($1.1 billion, 820 million euros) on Tuesday after being placed into receivership. Property firms Savills and Deloitte Real Estate were jointly instructed to sell the 41-storey block in the city's financial district. The building looks like a glass gherkin, rising out of the City of London financial district. This was after lenders to the current owners -- German property firm IVG Immobilien -- became frustrated at its attempts to restructure debt.


China regulator announces anti-monopoly probe of Microsoft

A employee stands in the Microsoft booth during the 2014 Computex exhibition at the TWTC Nangang exhibition hall in Taipei By Paul Carsten BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese regulator said on Tuesday it is conducting an anti-monopoly investigation into Microsoft Corp over its Windows operating system, in the latest in a growing number of competition probes that have unnerved Western firms in China. China's State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) was also investigating a Microsoft vice president and senior managers, and had made copies of the firm's financial statements and contracts, the agency said on its website. It said Microsoft, which has struggled to make inroads in China due to rampant piracy, had not fully disclosed information about Windows and its Office software suite. Microsoft is one of the biggest U.S. companies to fall under the eye of Chinese regulators as they ramp up their oversight in an apparent attempt to protect local companies and customers.


EU readies new Russia sanctions as fighting blocks MH17 probe

A resident of the eastern city of Lisichansk walks past the wreckage of a miltary vehicle that was destroyed in clashes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian militants, on July 28, 2014 The EU was set to approve punishing sanctions against Russia Tuesday over its role in the Ukraine crisis, as fighting in the strife-torn east again prevented international experts from reaching the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17. For the third day running, an unarmed team of Dutch and Australian police ditched plans to travel to the scene of the disaster as "there is currently too much fighting on and around the road to the crash site," said the Netherlands' justice ministry. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country is leading the probe into a disaster that killed 193 of its citizens, called Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko to ask him to call off the fighting blocking access to the zone. "We want to get to the crash site as quickly as possible to get the victims and bring them home," a Dutch government spokesman said.


EU readies new Russia sanctions as fighting blocks MH17 probe

A resident of the eastern city of Lisichansk walks past the wreckage of a miltary vehicle that was destroyed in clashes between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian militants, on July 28, 2014 The EU was set to approve punishing sanctions against Russia Tuesday over its role in the Ukraine crisis, as fighting in the strife-torn east again prevented international experts from reaching the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17. For the third day running, an unarmed team of Dutch and Australian police ditched plans to travel to the scene of the disaster as "there is currently too much fighting on and around the road to the crash site," said the Netherlands' justice ministry. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country is leading the probe into a disaster that killed 193 of its citizens, called Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko to ask him to call off the fighting blocking access to the zone. "We want to get to the crash site as quickly as possible to get the victims and bring them home," a Dutch government spokesman said.


Merck beats forecasts, newer drugs offset impact of generics

A view of the Merck & Co. campus in Linden, New Jersey (Reuters) - Merck & Co reported better-than-expected quarterly results on Tuesday, with sales of newer drugs helping to offset the impact of generic competition on the sales of other drugs. The No. 2 U.S. drugmaker earned $2.03 billion, or 68 cents per share, in the second quarter. That compared with $906 million, or 30 cents per share, in the year-earlier period, when Merck took charges for acquisitions and restructuring. Excluding special items, Merck earned 85 cents per share. Analysts, on average, were expecting 81 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. ...


Renault profits rise thanks to cost cuts

PARIS (AP) — French carmaker Renault says its profits in the first half of the year rose, partly thanks to lower costs as its revenue dropped.

Renault profits rise thanks to cost cuts

PARIS (AP) — French carmaker Renault says its profits in the first half of the year rose, partly thanks to lower costs as its revenue dropped.

US: Russia violated 1987 nuclear missile treaty

FILE - Int this Dec. 8, 1987, file photo, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, right, shakes hands with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after the two leaders signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to eliminate intermediate-range missiles during a ceremony in the White House East Room in Washington. In an escalation of tensions, the Obama administration accused Russia on July 28, 2014, of conducting tests in violation of a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, calling the breach "a very serious matter" and going public with allegations that have simmered for some time. The treaty confrontation comes at a highly strained time between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia's intervention in Ukraine and Russia's grant of asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.(AP Photo/Bob Daugherty, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration accused Russia of conducting tests in violation of a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, calling the breach "a very serious matter" and going public with allegations that have simmered for some time.


US: Russia violated 1987 nuclear missile treaty

FILE - Int this Dec. 8, 1987, file photo, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, right, shakes hands with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after the two leaders signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to eliminate intermediate-range missiles during a ceremony in the White House East Room in Washington. In an escalation of tensions, the Obama administration accused Russia on July 28, 2014, of conducting tests in violation of a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, calling the breach "a very serious matter" and going public with allegations that have simmered for some time. The treaty confrontation comes at a highly strained time between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia's intervention in Ukraine and Russia's grant of asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.(AP Photo/Bob Daugherty, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration accused Russia of conducting tests in violation of a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, calling the breach "a very serious matter" and going public with allegations that have simmered for some time.


Iran's supreme leader accuses Israel of Gaza 'genocide'

Smoke rises as Palestinian rescuers search for victims under the rubble of a building that was destroyed in an Israeli air strike on the Gaza town of Rafah, on July 29, 2014 Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the Islamic world Tuesday to arm Palestinians to allow them to counter what he called Israel's "genocide" in the Gaza Strip. In a speech marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, Khamenei said Israel was acting like a "rabid dog" and "a wild wolf," causing a human catastrophe that must be resisted. After three weeks of fighting that has killed more than 1,100 Palestinians and 55 Israelis, he sought to pay tribute and rally support to those under attack from Israeli military forces in Gaza. Khamenei, Iran's ultimate authority, dismissed talk of a ceasefire, dubbing it a ploy by the United States and European states to save Israel's "Zionist regime".


Iran's supreme leader accuses Israel of Gaza 'genocide'

Smoke rises as Palestinian rescuers search for victims under the rubble of a building that was destroyed in an Israeli air strike on the Gaza town of Rafah, on July 29, 2014 Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged the Islamic world Tuesday to arm Palestinians to allow them to counter what he called Israel's "genocide" in the Gaza Strip. In a speech marking the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr, Khamenei said Israel was acting like a "rabid dog" and "a wild wolf," causing a human catastrophe that must be resisted. After three weeks of fighting that has killed more than 1,100 Palestinians and 55 Israelis, he sought to pay tribute and rally support to those under attack from Israeli military forces in Gaza. Khamenei, Iran's ultimate authority, dismissed talk of a ceasefire, dubbing it a ploy by the United States and European states to save Israel's "Zionist regime".


Magnitude 6.3 quake hits Mexico, no major damages or injuries

People stand on the street after evacuating an apartment building after a 6.3 magnitude earthquake was felt in Mexico City (Reuters) - A magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit southwest of Juan Rodriguez Clara, in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz on Tuesday at a depth of 95 km (60 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damages. The quake was felt in Mexico City, Reuters witnesses said, where it rattled doors and shook light fittings. Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said in a tweet that there were evacuations in the capital, but that after inspection, no damages or injuries were reported.


Top Asian News at 11:30 a.m. GMT

BEIJING (AP) — China's ruling Communist Party announced an investigation into a feared ex-security chief on Tuesday, underlining President Xi Jinping's firm grip on power and breaking a longstanding taboo against publicly targeting the country's topmost leaders. The party's anti-graft watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said on its website that it is investigating Zhou Yongkang for serious violations of party discipline, but gave no details. Such an announcement typically paves the way for the official to be ousted from the party and face prosecution.

German minister: best for Snowden to return to US

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's justice minister says the best outcome for National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden would be a deal with U.S. authorities to return home.

Obama going to dinner as clock ticks toward recess

President Barack Obama awards the 2013 National Humanities Medal to Ellen Dunlap of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass., during a ceremony in the East Room at the White House in Washington, Monday, July 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is taking four Kansas City residents out to dinner to chew over the concerns of heartland Americans, with little time remaining for action on pressing issues before Congress begins its August recess.


Civilians killed in eastern Ukraine in fierce fighting

Armed pro-Russian separatists stand guard on the suburbs of Shakhtarsk KIEV/DONETSK Ukraine (Reuters) - Intense fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine killed dozens of civilians, soldiers and rebels, as Kiev pressed on with an offensive on Tuesday including near the wreckage of Malaysian flight MH 17. Ukrainian forces have been pushing rebel units back towards their two main urban strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk and have sought to encircle them in several places. Officials said up to 17 people, including children, were killed in fighting on Monday evening in the town of Horlivka, a rebel stronghold north of Donetsk that saw fierce battles between the rival forces in the last few days. In the city of Luhansk, officials said five civilians were killed when shelling hit a retirement home.


Madagascar billed as surfing paradise

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Itching to catch a wave? Try Madagascar.
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