Police on Friday investigated the motive of the anti-U.S. activist they say slashed the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, as questions turned to whether security was neglected. The attack Thursday on Mark Lippert, which prompted rival North Korea to gloat about "knife slashes of justice," left deep gashes on his face and hand and damaged tendons and nerves.
By Florence Tan SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Brent crude oil rose to around $61 a barrel on Friday as fighting in Libya and Iraq stoked output worries, while traders kept a close eye on Iran nuclear talks that could eventually bring more supply to world markets. Fighting has escalated in northeast Iraq where Islamic State militants have set fire to oilfields to deter Shi'ite militiamen and Iraqi soldiers from advancing. In Libya, worsening security conditions have led to the closure of 11 oilfields. "The Libyan and Iraqi oilfield skirmishes are worrying," said Tamas Varga, oil analyst at London brokerage PVM Oil Associates.
By Koh Gui Qing and Judy Hua BEIJING (Reuters) - China will pursue an expansionary fiscal policy this year to prevent its economy from stalling, Finance Minister Lou Jiwei said on Friday as he assured investors that authorities are keeping an eye on heavily-indebted local governments. Asked how China would manage its rising debt levels as its economy loses steam, Lou said the country has to balance the need to deleverage without pushing the economy over a "cliff". To underscore the importance of state spending, he said China's actual fiscal deficit should be worth 2.7 percent of its 2015 gross domestic product (GDP) after taking into account 112.4 billion yuan ($18 billion) that was allocated to previous budgets but was not yet spent. China had announced on Thursday a planned 2015 fiscal deficit of 2.3 percent of GDP, or 1.62 trillion yuan ($258.61 billion), at the opening of the annual meeting of the National People's Congress, the country's parliament.
Political slogans have been a mainstay of Chinese life dating back to Mao Zedong, the founder of the People's Republic. President Xi Jinping is carrying on that tradition with two of his slogans, "Chinese Dream of the Great Rejuvenation of the Chinese Nation" and the "Four Comprehensives," that are getting attention during the annual session of the national legislature this week. "Destroy the Four Olds" — With the launch of the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, Mao and his henchmen needed to identify their targets, settling in part on old customs, old habits, old culture and old thinking.
By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - The dollar held pole position in Asia on Friday as bulls wagered a looming U.S. jobs report would add to the chance of rate hikes there, even as the European Central Bank embarks on a trillion euro campaign of bond-buying. The same balance of risks kept most equity investors guarded with MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edging up 0.4 percent.
By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. employment likely rose strongly in February with the jobless rate slipping, signs that could encourage the Federal Reserve to consider hiking interest rates in June. A Reuters survey of economists forecast a 240,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls after a 257,000 gain in January. "The jobs picture remains extraordinary healthy," said Jacob Oubina, an economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York. The jobless rate was forecast to fall one-tenth of a percentage point to 5.6 percent, while average hourly earnings were seen rising 0.2 percent after jumping 0.5 percent in January.
Federal Reserve policymakers should not wait too long to raise interest rates, a top U.S. central banker said on Thursday, because doing so could mean "drastically" overshooting on inflation and forcing the Fed to hike rates dramatically. "I think that by mid-year it will be the time to have a serious discussion about starting to raise rates," San Francisco Fed chief John Williams said. "I see a safer course in a gradual increase, and that calls for starting a bit earlier." The hawkish remarks from the normally centrist Williams do much to suggest the era of rock bottom interest rates is nearing an end. Williams' concern over waiting too long marks a stark contrast with the dovish worries of another policymaker, Chicago Fed chief Charles Evans, who earlier this week called for delaying rate hikes until 2016, citing the dangers of premature rate increases.
Iran said oil prices will not rise above $60 until 2016 and that it would increase crude exports if Western sanctions over its nuclear program are lifted, the semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Friday. "We're not expecting oil prices to go over $60 until 2016. What will happen after that is not clear," Mehr quoted National Iranian Oil Co's head of international affairs Mohsen Ghamsari as saying. "When sanctions are lifted, it is our natural and legal right to increase our oil sell aimed at having more market share." U.S. and EU sanctions that came into force in 2012 prohibit the import, purchase and transport of Iranian petroleum products, to pressure Tehran to halt its nuclear program.
Business software maker SAP SE will cut about 2,250 posts, or around 3 percent of its global workforce, while creating a similar number in expanding parts of the company, as it accelerates a push to sell its products via the Internet. Last year SAP, Europe's largest software maker, which employs about 75,000 workers worldwide, cut a similar percentage of posts, said Stefan Ries, SAP's chief of human resources. He said SAP expects to create about 2,200 jobs this year in growth areas such at its cloud business, its in-memory database Hana and Concur, the expenses software maker it bought last year for $7.3 billion. Established software makers such as SAP are battling to boost internet software sales and fend off pure cloud-based rivals such as Salesforce.com and Workday .
Bariatric surgery has been a boon to obese patients hoping to shed significant pounds or to treat weight-related diabetes, but the downside is an increased risk of developing colon cancer. In studies in laboratory mice, a research team led by Drucker found the digestive hormone GLP-1 was "a pretty potent growth factor" for the intestine in the animals, as well as a catalyst for intestinal tumours in other lab mice specially bred to study colorectal cancer. The concern about colon cancer made headlines in 2013 when a Swedish-U.K. study of more than 77,000 obese patients showed that those who had undergone bariatric surgery had a 60 per cent increased risk of developing the malignancy compared with the general population. Since the risk of developing many other cancers fell with the weight-loss surgery, doctors were puzzled at the rise in colon cancer risk.
Harrison Ford crash-landed his World War II-era airplane after losing engine power, suffering serious but not life-threatening injuries as he used his years of piloting prowess to bring down the plane on a golf course and avoid nearby homes in what one expert called a beautifully executed manoeuvr. It was the latest and most serious in a series of crashes and close calls for the 72-year-old action-adventure A-lister, who like his "Star Wars" alter-ego Han Solo has a taste for aerial thrills. He was pulled Thursday from the plane by golfers and course workers who saw it come down about a quarter-mile short of the runway at Santa Monica Municipal Airport and taken by ambulance to a hospital conscious and breathing. He was pulled from the plane and given initial help by doctors who happened to be playing golf on the course that is right next to Santa Monica Municipal Airport, Los Angeles fire officials said.
Exercising regularly has been like a prayer answered for Madonna: The singer says thanks to staying active, she didn't suffer much after falling during her performance at the Brit Awards. Madonna said the cape had been tied too tightly at the neck and after the performance, she said she suffered whiplash. Madonna added that her iPod currently is playing EDM producer Kidnap Kid and Diplo, who produced some of her new album "Rebel Heart," out next week.
Harrison Ford is as much the daredevil in real life as Han Solo, Indiana Jones or the other larger-than-life characters that he has played on the screen. Ford, 72, who had reported engine failure to air-traffic controllers, was taken to the hospital with injuries that his spokeswoman said were not life-threatening. — In 1999, Ford crash-landed his helicopter during a training flight in which he and an instructor were practicing auto rotations in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles.
Craig Sager returned to his familiar spot on the NBA sideline Thursday after being treated for leukemia. The sideline reporter worked the Chicago Bulls' victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder for TNT, 11 months after he was diagnosed with leukemia. The 63-year-old Sager hadn't worked a game since April 10 in Dallas when he felt ill and sought treatment from Mavericks team physician Dr. Tarek O. Souryal, who had previously performed Sager's knee surgery. Sager had a bone marrow transplant from his son Craig Jr. and spent part of his absence in isolation.
NTSB Investigator Patrick Jones held a press conference Thursday night regarding Harrison Ford's plane crash. Jones called Ford "lucky" to have survived the crash. "A pilot [and] any… human being [who survives] an accident is a lucky individual, but having said that, there are over 2,000 accidents a year nationwide that involve varying levels of injuries [from] none to fatalities," he said. "There was a Ryan aircraft, a vintage aircraft that was taking off from Santa Monica," he said during the conference.
By Katharina Bart and Brian Homewood ZURICH (Reuters) - Younger than some professional footballers, Swiss attorney Cornel Borbely is at first sight an unlikely choice as the man to step into Michael Garcia's shoes and try to keep corruption out of FIFA. A disillusioned Garcia, the former U.S. attorney with a long track record in complicated, international, high profile cases, resigned in December, saying he felt he was no longer making progress and that football's governing body "lacked leadership." Widely regarded as the man most likely to get to the root of FIFA's problems, Garcia's departure was seen as another sign that the organization was incapable of reforming itself. Borbely, who has enjoyed a remarkably swift rise through the Swiss legal world, has landed the role as FIFA's chief ethics investigator at the age of 36, having been promoted from his previous role as Garcia’s deputy. In his first interview with international media, Borbely told Reuters he would not be pushed around and rejected suggestions he will act on FIFA president Sepp Blatter's orders.
By Daniel Lovering FALL RIVER, Massachusetts (Reuters) - A tread mark found near the body of a man allegedly killed by Aaron Hernandez was made by a tire from a car rented by the ex-NFL star, a Massachusetts State Police trooper who specializes in tire track analysis said on Thursday. Trooper Todd Girouard said the rear passenger side tire of a Nissan Altima that prosecutors say was rented by Hernandez matched a track found at a North Attleborough industrial park where the body of Odin Lloyd was found in June 2013. Hernandez, 25, has been charged with murdering Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who had been dating his fiancee's sister, and is being tried at Bristol County Superior Court in Fall River, Massachusetts.
After the Los Angeles Kings finally won their first shootout since mid-October, their other feats and failures in the previous 65 minutes seemed puny in comparison. The defending Stanley Cup champions managed to earn a second point after their late comeback against the powerful Montreal Canadiens, and it just might give them a shot to do even bigger things down the stretch. Marian Gaborik's second power-play goal tied it with 45 seconds left in regulation, and he scored again in the shootout as the Kings rallied for a 4-3 victory Thursday night. Jeff Carter also scored in regulation and the shootout, and Anze Kopitar scored in the fourth round before Lars Eller put a shot off the post to end Los Angeles' second shootout victory in eight tries this season, including seven straight losses.
You're also too late to bid on taking a bow onstage with the cast of the Broadway hit "It's Only a Play" while Louis C.K. presents you with flowers in front of the bemused theatre patrons. You can catch such fundraising hijinks and lots more during the "Night of Too Many Stars" telethon (airing Sunday on The Comedy Network), which gathers Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, Bill Burr, Steve Buscemi, Gilbert Gottfried, Chris Rock and others to raise money for autism educational programs.