July 21, 2014 / 6:36 PM / 3 years ago




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Obama says Russia must press Ukraine rebels to allow plane probe

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama piled pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday to force pro-Russian separatists to stop blocking an international investigation into the shooting down of a passenger jet last week. Obama denounced the Russian role in eastern Ukraine in some of his strongest language yet and pointedly appealed to Putin to cut ties with the separatists or risk greater international isolation. (UKRAINE-CRISIS/OBAMA (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moved at 12:15 p.m., 320 words)

Obama says focus in Gaza conflict must be on ceasefire

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama repeated on Monday that Israel had the right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Hamas militants but said he had serious concerns about the growing number of civilian casualties resulting from the conflict. (PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/OBAMA (PIX, TV, CORRECTED), moved at 12:07 p.m., 80 words) See also: White House says Israel needs to do more to ensure civilians protected (MIDEAST-USA/OBAMA, 50 words, moved at 1:49 p.m.)

Ten killed in air strike north of Baghdad

BAGHDAD - Ten people were killed, including a mother and three children, in a government air strike on a militant-controlled town north of Baghdad on Monday, hospital sources and witnesses said. The attack targeted the town of Hawija,140 miles from the capital, which is controlled by Sunni Muslim insurgents from the Islamic State and other groups opposed to Iraq’s Shi‘ite-led government. A tribal leader and former army officer said the dead were all civilians, and also included an elderly couple. He blamed the deaths on the militants for locating a base in the centre of the town. (IRAQ-SECURITY/, moved at 12:10 p.m., 240 words)

Friend of accused Boston bomber found guilty of obstructing justice

BOSTON - A jury on Monday found a friend of the accused Boston Marathon bomber guilty of obstructing the investigation into the deadly blasts by removing a backpack containing fireworks shells from the suspect’s dorm room. The friend, Kazakh exchange student Azamat Tazhayakov, was found guilty of conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice for going to suspected bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s room three days after the April 15, 2013 attack and removing a backpack containing empty fireworks shells. (USA-EXPLOSIONS/BOSTON-TAZHAYAKOV (UPDATE 2, PIX), moved, 300 words)


Bodies leave Ukraine crash site, easing sanctions pressure

DONETSK, Ukraine - A train carrying the remains of most of the almost 300 victims of the Malaysia Airlines plane downed over Ukraine left the site on Monday after the Malaysian Prime Minister reached a deal with the leader of pro-Russian separatists controlling the area. The aircraft’s black boxes, which could hold information about the crash in rebel-held eastern Ukraine but will not pinpoint who did it, would be given to the Malaysian authorities, Prime Minister Najib Razak said, indicating he had bypassed Kiev, which has lost control of much of the east. The expected handover of the bodies and the black boxes, and reports by international investigators of improved access to the wreckage of the airliner four days after it was shot down, weakened a new case for broader sanctions against Russia laid out by Western leaders struggling to agree a united response. (UKRAINE-CRISIS/ (WRAPUP 7, PIX, TV, GRAPHICS), moved at 1:35 p.m., 1,149 words)

+See also:

UKRAINE-CRISIS/BLACKBOXES, moved, 150 words; UKRAINE-CRISIS/SANCTIONS-BRITAIN (UPDATE 2), moved at 12:54 p.m., 300 words; and UKRAINE-CRISIS/SANCTIONS (UPDATE 2), moved at 12:43 p.m., 500 words

Gaza death toll tops 500 as U.S. steps up ceasefire efforts

GAZA/JERUSALEM - The Palestinian death toll in an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip jumped to more than 500 on Monday as the United States, alarmed by escalating civilian bloodshed, took a direct role in efforts to secure a ceasefire. Despite growing calls for a halt to two weeks of fighting, violence raged on, with Israel pounding the densely populated coastal strip, killing 28 members of a single family in one strike and four people in an attack on a hospital, medics said. Israel’s losses also mounted. A day after he was caught by an open microphone saying sarcastically that the Israeli assault was “a hell of a pinpoint operation,” Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Cairo to try to secure an end to hostilities. (PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/ (UPDATE 6, PIX, TV), moved at 1:43 p.m., 1,018 words)

+See also:

PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/GAZA-ARABSPRING (ANALYSIS), moved at 12:18 p.m., 1,146 words; PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/NETANYAHU (PIX), moved at 12:44 a.m., 500 words; PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/AMERICANS (UPDATE 2), moved, 290 words; and PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/KIDNAPPING, moved, 300 words)

Texas governor Perry to deploy 1,000 National Guard troops to border

AUSTIN, Texas - Texas Governor Rick Perry will hold a news conference on Monday where he is expected to announce plans to send 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to the Mexican border to boost security, a move that could pile pressure on President Barack Obama. Perry, seen as a possible Republican Party candidate in the 2016 election, will speak at 2 p.m. local time (3 p.m. ET) on immigration. Tony Payan, director of the Mexico Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute in Houston, said the plan is more about politics than security because guard troops will play supporting roles on the vast border and likely be deployed for a short period of time. (USA-IMMIGRATION/TEXAS, moved, 250 words, will be updated by 5 p.m.)

Obama signs order barring federal discrimination against gays

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The order did not include new exemptions for religious organizations, a move that was welcomed by gay rights activists. (USA-GAY/ (PIX), moved at 1:06 p.m., 315 words)

Washington state wildfire claims first fatality, weather improving

SEATTLE - Cooler weather and lower winds aided firefighters on Monday as they battled a week-old wildfire in Washington state that has destroyed up to 150 homes, scorched a wide swath of wilderness east of the Cascade Mountains and left one person dead. Several miles of containment lines have been put in place around the perimeter of the Carlton Complex Fire, which has burned through 243,000 acres since it was sparked by lightning July 14, fire officials said. A drop in temperatures on Sunday, with rain expected later in the week, was helping some 1,700 firefighters get a handle on the blaze about 120 miles northeast of Seattle, authorities said. (USA-WILDFIRES/ (PIX, TV), moved at 1:53 p.m., 350 words)


Obama says Biden would make ‘superb’ president - New Yorker

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama said Joe Biden would make a ”superb“ president but expressed skepticism that his vice president or his potential rival Hillary Clinton would want to endure another campaign for the presidency, a media report on Monday said. Obama, according to the New Yorker, said Biden ”has seen the job up close, he knows what the job entails. USA-CAMPAIGN/BIDEN (PIX), moved, 240 words)

Biden says Putin has no soul - New Yorker

WASHINGTON - Vladimir Putin has no soul, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden concluded after meeting with the Russian leader at the Kremlin in 2011, according to an article in the New Yorker published online. Biden told the magazine about his 2011 visit with Putin, who at the time was prime minister, and said he found himself just inches away from the Russian leader. (USA-RUSSIA/BIDEN, 340 words, moved at 10:36 a.m.)

Senate to vote on House’s $10.9 billion tranport bill this week

WASHINGTON - The Senate plans to vote this week on a $10.9 billion transportation funding extension already passed by the House of Representatives, signaling a desire to minimize drama over road construction money this summer. The measure authored by Republican House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp would raise revenues from pension accounting changes, higher customs user fees and a transfer from an environmental cleanup fund. (USA-TRANSPORTATION/SENATE, expect by 3 p.m., 300 words)

China says will not fill U.S. void in Afghanistan

BEIJING - China does not seek to fill a void left in Afghanistan by the withdrawal of U.S. troops but will play a “huge” commercial role in helping rebuild the country, a newly appointed Chinese special envoy said on Monday. China, which is connected to Afghanistan by a narrow, almost impassable mountain corridor, has been quietly preparing for more responsibility there after the bulk of U.S.-led troops pull out by the end of this year. (CHINA-AFGHANISTAN/ (TV), moved, 300 words)

Cuba eyes more investment as Chinese president arrives

HAVANA - Chinese President Xi Jinping begins a two day visit to Cuba on Monday evening, stirring hopes on the island that China will finally invest in the country after a number of important deals never materialized. Xi was to meet with President Raul Castro on Tuesday and then fly to Santiago de Cuba to see plans to improve port facilities and recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy, which devastated Cuba’s second city almost two years ago. Xi was in Brazil last week for a summit of the BRIC nations, which also includes Russia, India and South Africa. He then traveled to Argentina and Venezuela, signing a raft of multi-billion dollar credit and investment agreements, before stopping in Cuba on his way home. (CUBA-CHINA/ (PIX, TV), moved at 1:40 p.m., 400 words)

NABE survey points to rising U.S. wage pressures

WASHINGTON - The share of U.S. companies raising wages more than doubled in the three months to July from a year ago, a survey showed on Monday, suggesting a faster pace of wage growth. The National Association for Business Economics’ latest business conditions survey found that 43 percent of the 79 economists who participated said their firms had increased wages. That compared to only 19 percent last year and marked an increase from 35 percent in the three months to April. (USA-ECONOMY/WAGES, moved, 300 words)

New college grads hit by slow wage growth - Fed study

SAN FRANCISCO - New college graduates have seen their wages rise more slowly than the rest of the U.S. workforce since the Great Recession, new research from the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank shows, a trend that reflects continued weakness in the economy. Employers can set the hiring conditions and wages of new workers with more freedom than they can change the wages of existing workers, the researchers argued, making the wages of recent college graduates a better indicator of the true price of labor and the underlying strength of the labor market. (USA-FED/WAGES, moved at 1 p.m., 220 words)


After U.S. deportation, a Honduran mother and daughter’s uncertain fate

TEGUCIGALPA - When 9-year-old Genesis stepped off a plane in Honduras after being deported from the United States, she was excited at the thought of seeing her cousins. For her mother, Victoria Cordova, the homecoming was terrifying: she fears being killed if she does not repay money she owes the wife of a local gang leader. Cordova had used the money to pay a smuggler to get her and Genesis to the United States. But after a grueling 1,600 mile overland trek, the pair were caught entering Texas in June, sent to a detention center and then flown home last week as part of a U.S. effort to speed up the expulsion of thousands of illegal migrants, many of them children. Mother and daughter, who had fled rampant violence in the Honduran city of Tegucigalpa, returned to a situation even more precarious than the one they had left. (USA-IMMIGRATION/DEPORT (INSIGHT, PIX, TV, GRAPHIC), moved, 1,430 words)


Johns Hopkins to pay $190 million to women filmed by doctor

BALTIMORE - Johns Hopkins Hospital has agreed to pay $190 million to thousands of women who were secretly filmed by a doctor during gynecological exams. The proposed settlement, announced Monday, came in a class action lawsuit filed last year in Baltimore city court over the conduct of Dr. Nikita Levy, who worked at the hospital for 25 years. He was accused of secretly filming and taking photos of more than 9,000 women, often using a camera hidden in a pen. (JOHNSHOPKINS-SETTLEMENT, expect by 3 p.m., 150 words)

N.Y. immigration groups to close over alleged fraud

NEW YORK - Two of the largest non-profit immigration service groups in the United States will shut down after being accused of defrauding thousands of clients, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said on Monday. The International Professional Association will close immediately and the International Immigrants Foundation within two years, Schneiderman said. Their remaining assets of $2.2 million would be used to provide restitution to clients. (IMMIGRATION-NYGROUPSSHUTTER/, moved at 12:06 p.m., 300 words)

New York City settles case of inmate death for $2.75 million -NYT

NEW YORK - New York City has agreed to pay $2.75 million to settle a lawsuit regarding the 2012 death of a prisoner at a city jail whose death was ruled a homicide, the New York Times reported. The settlement is one of the largest paid recently by the city to settle cases claiming violence against an inmate, the Times said. (USA-NEWYORK/JAIL, moved at 9:35 am, 320 words)

Four emergency workers barred from 911 duty in NYC arrest death

NEW YORK - Four emergency responders have been put on modified duty while authorities investigate their response to a man, suspected of selling untaxed cigarettes, who died after New York police put him in a chokehold, a fire department official said on Sunday. (USA-NEW YORK/CHOKEHOLD-EMS (UPDATE 1), moved at 8:45 a.m., 497 words)

Florida police probe death of 4-year-old run over by car

TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida boy found in the middle of a street in Tampa died after being run over by a car, and authorities are investigating whether the child was pushed or fell from the vehicle, city police said on Monday. Four-year-old Marterrance Albury rolled out of the back passenger door of a green sports utility vehicle on Sunday evening, a witness told authorities in an emergency call. (USA-FLORIDA/DEATH (UPDATE 1), moved at 1:03 p.m., 150 words)

Judge denies Stand Your Ground hearing for abused Jacksonville woman

JACKSONVILLE, Florida - Florida judge denies Marissa Alexander’s request for a second “Stand Your Ground” hearing. Alexander, who says she fired a warning shot at her abusive husband during a violent argument, is facing retrial for aggravated assault with deadly weapon. (USA-FLORIDA/SELFDEFENSE, moved, 300 words)

Expert witness concludes Detroit bankruptcy plan is feasible

DETROIT - Detroit’s plan to adjust $18 billion of debt and exit the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history is feasible, according to an expert witness report obtained by Reuters on Monday. Martha Kopacz, a senior managing director at Phoenix Management Services in Boston, who was chosen by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes in April as an expert witness in the case, also concluded in her report that the plan’s revenue, expense and payment assumptions are reasonable. But the report, which was based on more than 200 interviews as well as fact-gathering meetings, raised concerns over the speed of the city’s bankruptcy case, filed a year ago. (USA-DETROIT/BANKRUPTCY (UPDATE 2), exp3ect by 3 p.m., 400 words)

CN train derailment in Wisconsin forces people to move to safer sites

MILWAUKEE - A Canadian National Railway train derailed in Wisconsin on Sunday night, spurring local residents to move to safer locations, according to the railway and media reports. (USA-WISCONSIN/DERAILMENT (UPDATE 1, PIX), moved, 200 words)

Trial set to open for white suburban Detroit homeowner charged with killing unarmed black woman

DETROIT - The trial of a white suburban Detroit homeowner charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of an unarmed black woman on his front porch in November is scheduled to begin in Wayne County court. Attorneys for Theodore Wafer have said the shooting of Renisha McBride, 19, was accidental. The case sparked protests in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, and comparisons to the 2012 shooting death of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. (USA-CRIME/DEARBORNHEIGHTS, expect by 5 p.m., 250 words)

Donald Sterling presents case to block $2 billion Clippers sale

The attorneys for disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling will begin to present their case at a probate trial that the $2 billion sale of the NBA team brokered by Sterling’s estranged wife should be blocked because he was fraudulently removed as controlling owner. (NBA-CLIPPERS/ (PIX, TV), expect by 4 p.m., 500 words) See also: In Clippers court case, octogenarian lawyer relishes the ruckus (NBA-CLIPPERS/ATTORNEY (PIX), moved, by Eric Kelsey, 500 words)

Oil-by-rail fight in Washington state threatens California gasoline prices

VANCOUVER, Washington - California’s chance to keep a lid on some of the nation’s highest gas prices and join in the spoils of a domestic oil production boom is threatened by quickly growing opposition to a rail terminal in Washington state. (CRUDE-RAILWAY/TESORO (ANALYSIS, PIX), moved at 7 a.m., by Kristen Hays, 1,047 words) See also: California crude sources and oil-by-rail projects (CALIFORNIA-CRUDE/RAILWAY (FACTBOX), moved, 300 words)


West struggles to cut feared bomb risk in Iran nuclear talks

VIENNA - Major powers appear to have made only limited headway in making sure Iran will not be able to build an atomic bomb any time soon, underlining the uphill task they face after talks that began in February were extended by four months. (IRAN-NUCLEAR/TALKS, moved at 9:57 am, 1,000 words)

Italy rescues 1,800 migrants over weekend, five bodies recovered

ROME - Italy’s navy said it rescued nearly 1,800 migrants in overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean over the weekend, and a merchant ship recovered five bodies from a sinking rubber raft off the coast of Libya. (ITALY-MIGRANTS/, moved at 7:31 am, 300 words)

Emaciated children in South Sudan point to looming famine

LEER, South Sudan - A surge of emaciated arrivals at a children’s feeding center in rebel-held Leer, a muddy town in South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity State, is fuelling fears that the world’s youngest nation is on the brink of famine. (SOUTHSUDAN-AID/ (TV, PIX), moved, 500 words)

Norway, survivors still bear scars of Breivik shootings

KONGSBERG, Norway - Laila Gustavsen sometimes wonders whether meeting Anders Behring Breivik face-to-face would help her to understand. “I would ask him: ‘What made you (do it)?',” she said of the man who shot her daughter twice in the back on July 22, 2011. “He has explained ... the political reasons why he did what he did. What he has not talked about is what made him hold these opinions. Where did it go wrong?” (NORWAY-SURVIVORS/ (PIX, TV), moved, 1,239 words)

French govt slams “anti-Semitic” violence at pro-Palestinian rally

PARIS - France’s interior minister promised on Monday to crack down on anti-Semitism after violence marred pro-Palestinian rallies in and around Paris to protest against Israel’s role in the two-week-old Middle East conflict. France has both the largest Jewish and Muslim populations in Europe and flare-ups of violence in the Middle East often add to tensions between the two communities. (PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/FRANCE (PIX, TV), moved, 400 words)

Turkey hatching plan to clear Syrian beggars off Istanbul streets

ISTANBUL - Authorities in Istanbul are working on plans to clear the streets of Syrian beggars and house them in camps like those on the border, as Turkey struggles with an influx of over a million refugees and the hospitality of locals starts to wear thin. (SYRIA-CRISIS/TURKEY-REFUGEES (PIX), moved, 500 words)

Chinese police clash with protesters over cross removal

BEIJING - Police in eastern China clashed in the middle of the night with Christian protesters massed around their church on Monday, but failed to carry out a government order to remove a cross from the building, according to witnesses and online accounts. (CHINA-PROTESTS/, moved. 250 words)


Play it again: ‘Casablanca’ piano to be sold at auction

NEW YORK - An iconic piano that was featured in Rick’s Cafe Americain in the 1942 Hollywood classic “Casablanca” is expected to be the highlight of a sale of film memorabilia in New York in November, Bonhams auction house said on Monday. The upright piano is one of two from the film in which actor and singer Dooley Wilson sang “As Time Goes By,” the signature song for lovers played by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. (FILM-AUCTION/PIANO, expect by 3 p.m., 150 words)

Iron Man’ Robert Downey Jr highest-earning actor - Forbes

NEW YORK - Robert Downey Jr, the star of Disney’s Marvel superhero film franchises “Iron Man” and “The Avengers,” is Hollywood’s highest paid actor for the second consecutive year, with estimated earnings of $75 million, according to Forbes.com. (FILM-ACTORS/TOPEARNERS (PIX), moved at 1:20 p.m., 250 words)

Study finds most Americans pay attention to fashions

NEW YORK - Most Americans think people are too focused on fashion, yet a majority says how they dress is an important part of who they are, according to a survey released on Monday. With that eye to fashion, most people, 86 percent, say it is possible to be stylish on a limited budget, according to the survey conducted by the Fashion Program at Marist College and the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, New York. Just 14 percent disagreed, saying good fashion is reserved for people with a lot of money. (USA-FASHION/SURVEY, moved at 12:56 p.m., 220 words)

British Prince George celebrates first birthday on Tuesday

LONDON - He has graced the cover of Vanity Fair, charmed world leaders on jetsetting tours, is already a national fashion icon - and on Tuesday he will celebrate his first birthday. Prince George, the son of Prince William and his wife Kate, turns one as betting heats up that his parents will soon announce a royal sibling. (BRITAIN-ROYAL/GEORGE (PIX), moved at 9;59 am, 506 words)

Beauty apps show ‘before and after,’ glamorize selfies

TORONTO - Women looking to enhance their image but wary of spending money on expensive cosmetics can take the guesswork out of finding a new look, or improving selfies, with the latest beauty apps. Consumers can experiment with different looks in the apps that act like augmented reality mirrors. With the Beauty Mirror app, which uses filters, people can see how they would look with fewer wrinkles, bigger lips or lifted eyebrows in a real-time photograph or video. (APPS-BEAUTY/, moved, 300 words)

Hoopsters put circus-inspired spin on cardio workout

NEW YORK - It has been a circus prop, a toy and a 1950s fad, and now the hula hoop is making a comeback as a workout tool that fitness experts say provides an effective cardio and even meditative workout. A new generation of hoop activists is putting another spin on the hoop, which ancient Greeks fashioned from grapevines and used to exercise the hips. (FITNESS-HOOPING/ (PIX), moved, by Dorene Internicola, 500 words)

U.S. rapper Nas keeps London crowd spellbound with “Illmatic”

LONDON - Many in the crowd at the Lovebox Festival in London were not yet born when U.S. rapper Nas released his groundbreaking “Illmatic” two decades ago but they seemed to know all the lines as he reeled them off. The New York-born hip hop star took to the main stage as the sun lowered at the two-day festival in East London’s Victoria Park, giving the performance as one of a series to celebrate the anniversary of his debut record, widely considered one of the greatest rap albums of all time. (MUSIC-BRITAIN/NAS (PIX), moved, 603 words)


Yum, McDonald’s apologize as new China food scandal brews

SHANGHAI - McDonald’s and KFC parent Yum Brands are facing a new food safety scare in China, denting the fast food giants’ efforts to shore up reputations and businesses that were hurt by a 2012 safety scandal. The two fast food outlets apologized to customers after Chinese regulators shut a local meat supplier following a TV report that showed workers picking up meat from a factory floor, as well as mixing meat beyond its expiration date with fresh meat. (YUM! BRANDS-FOOD-SAFETY/ (UPDATE 3), moved at 1:43 p.m., 750 words)

Sierra Leone religious leaders criticise government handling of Ebola

FREETOWN - Religious leaders in Sierra Leone have criticised the government’s handling of an Ebola outbreak that has killed 194 people in the West Africa country, saying a lack of information was prompting rural communities to shun medical help. Health authorities in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are struggling to contain the worst outbreak of the deadly epidemic which has killed some 603 people since early this year, according to the World Health Organization. (HEALTH-EBOLA/AFRICA (UPDATE 1), moved at 1:31 p.m., 400 words)


Coca-Cola profits could fall short for bottlers

-- Coca-Cola may have annual profits of about $9.3 billion, but that could fall short of what the world’s largest soda maker needs to tempt would-be bottling franchisees. That is the puzzle for the Atlanta-based soft drink company prepares to report quarterly earnings that will likely show an improvement in North American profit margins. (COCA COLA-RESULTS/PREVIEW, moved, 600 words)

Netflix results seen lifted by “Orange is the New Black”

-- Season two of “Orange is the New Black” is expected to help lift Netflix results for the quarter ended June. Wall Street is forecasting the video streaming company will report growth in U.S. and international subscribers, boosted by customers who signed up to see the Emmy-nominated prison comedy. (NETFLIX-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), expect by 5 p.m., 400 words)

Tiffany CEO Kowalski to retire, president Cumenal to take over

NEW YORK - Jeweler Tiffany & Co said Michael Kowalski, its chief executive of 15 years, would retire next year and President Frederic Cumenal would succeed him. (TIFFANY-MANAGEMENTCHANGES/ (UPDATE 2), moved at 1:54 p.m., 240 words)

Allergan to cut 1,500 jobs as it fights Valeant bid

-- Allergan, which is fighting off a hostile bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, on Monday announced 1,500 jobs cuts as part of a $475 million restructuring meant to boost profits over the next six years. But the company did not announce any major acquisition or share-repurchase program, moves it had discussed as ways that might bolster its defenses against Valeant and Pershing Square Capital Management. (ALLERGAN-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 90 words)

Halliburton sees North America margin growth on rise in drilling

-- Halliburton, the world’s No.2 oilfield services provider, forecast higher margins in North America for the current quarter on strong drilling activity, signaling an industry-wide recovery in the region after a two-year slump. The company’s second-quarter margins in North America rose 2.8 percentage points to 18.2 percent and were higher than Baker Hughes’s 12 percent and Schlumberger’s 18 percent, according to analysts. (HALLIBURTON-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 2), moved, 300 words)

Hasbro boosted by international sales, demand for action toys

NEW YORK - Hasbro, the second-largest U.S. toymaker, reported an 8 percent increase in quarterly revenue on a jump in international sales and strong demand for its action toys based on “Transformers” movies and Marvel Comics’ characters. International sales rose 17 percent in the second quarter, driven by double-digit growth in Europe, Latin America and Asia-Pacific region. U.S. and Canada sales fell 2 percent. Sales of boys’ toys, Hasbro’s largest business, rose 32 percent as the release of the latest “Transformers” and “Spider-Man” movies in the quarter pushed up demand for action toys. (HASBROINC-RESULTS/ (UPDATE 1), moved, 250 words)

Russia’s Severstal sells U.S. steel plants to AK steel, Steel

LONDON/MOSCOW - Russia’s Severstal said on Monday it had agreed to sell its two U.S. steel plants for $2.3 billion, withdrawing from the U.S. market at a time of rising tension between Russia and the West and turning its focus to its domestic business. (SEVERSTAL USA/, moved, 400 words)

Exxon oil rig enters uncharted waters of Russian political storm

OSLO - An ordinary, long-scheduled journey of an oil drilling rig into Arctic waters is turning into a major political exercise, attracting international scrutiny and creating a dilemma for ExxonMobil. Exxon, the top U.S. oil major and the world’s most valued oil company, is bringing the rig, called West Alpha, from Norway to the Russian Arctic. It is hoping for a major discovery in the Kara Sea with Russian partner Rosneft. (UKRAINE-CRISIS/RUSSIA-EXXON MOBIL, moved, 676 words)

A Fox-Time Warner deal would give Murdoch new heft in China

LOS ANGELES - Rupert Murdoch’s plan to buy Time Warner would help the Twenty-First Century Fox chairman make larger inroads in China, a fast-growing market that media moguls are finding hard to crack. “He’s going to be able to create Netflixes of his own.” said Mario Gabelli, CEO of GAMCO Investors, said. (TIMEWARNER-FOX/INTERNATIONAL (ANALYSIS, PIX), moved by Ron Grover, 948 words)


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