Source Match International News
The International Criminal Court on Friday convicted Congolese ex-militia boss Germain Katanga of being an accessory to war crimes and crimes against humanity for a 2003 village massacre. "The chamber by majority finds Germain Katanga guilty... of complicity in the crimes committed on February 24, 2003," said judge Bruno Cotte. Katanga was convicted of murder and pillaging but cleared of rape, sexual slavery and using child soldiers in the attack. The court will sentence Katanga, the one-time commander of the ethnic-based Patriotic Resistance Forces in Ituri (FRPI) operating in the DR Congo's mineral-rich northeast, at another hearing.
By Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (Reuters) - A Malaysian court convicted opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of sodomy on Friday, overturning his acquittal two years ago in a ruling that his supporters and international human rights groups say was politically influenced and aimed at ending his career. Anwar, who spent six years in jail on sodomy and corruption charges until his release in 2004, faces a jail term of up to 20 years, whipping and disqualification from holding political office. "It's (happening) all over again after 15 years," Anwar, who was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 and convicted a year later on sodomy and corruption charges, told reporters. That poll was expected to pave the way for him to take charge of Selangor, Malaysia's richest and most populous state.
Egypt has welcomed the decision of three Gulf states to withdraw their envoys to Qatar and said its own ambassador "will not return" to the Gulf emirate. The unprecedented decision this week by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates was seen as closely linked to Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, who was overthrown by the military in July. In a statement posted online late Thursday, the Egyptian government said it hoped the withdrawal of the envoys would mark "the beginning of a correction of the course taken by the Qatari government, which is contrary to our brothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council".
The Congolese warlord Germain Katanga was on Friday convicted of being an accessory to crimes including murder and pillage committed during an attack on a village in a diamond-rich region of Congo in 2003, in which some 200 civilians were killed. Reading the verdict, only the second conviction in the International Criminal Court's 11-year history, presiding judge Bruno Cotte said that without Katanga's aid in procuring firearms, the attack would not have been as bloody. The court acquitted Katanga of charges of direct involvement in the attack.
Russia's lower and upper houses of parliament on Friday pledged to vote into law the result of a "historic" March 16 referendum in the Ukrainian region of Crimea on becoming part of Russia. The speakers of both the State Duma and Federation Council strongly implied that ratification would receive fast-track rubber-stamp approval if Crimeans -- as is widely expected -- vote to become part of Russia. The comments came as a delegation of Crimean lawmakers, led by parliament speaker Vladimir Konstantinov, visited Moscow one day after the local parliament agreed to ask President Vladimir Putin for the region to become part of Russia and resolved to put the issue to a public vote. "We will respect the historic choice of the people of Crimea," said State Duma speaker Sergei Naryshkin at a meeting with the Crimean delegation and top Russian lawmakers.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's prime minister has threatened drastic steps to censor the Internet, including shutting down Facebook and YouTube, where audio recordings of his alleged conversations suggesting corruption have been leaked in the past weeks, dealing him a major blow ahead of this month's local elections.
By Noah Barkin BERLIN (Reuters) - After one of her first encounters with Vladimir Putin in 2002, Angela Merkel joked to aides that she had passed the "KGB test" by staring straight into his eyes without averting her gaze. Unlike presidents in Washington - George W. Bush claimed to have gotten a glimpse of Putin's soul and Barack Obama promised to "reset" relations with Russia - the German chancellor has never harbored any illusions about the former Soviet agent, nor hopes that she might change him. It is this hard-nosed realism, born of Merkel's own experience growing up in a Soviet garrison town in East Germany and reinforced over a turbulent 14-year relationship with Putin, that has earned her respect in the Kremlin and thrust her into the potentially risky role of chief mediator in the Ukraine crisis.
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — A neighbor of Oscar Pistorius testifying in his murder trial said Friday that the bangs he heard after a woman's screams on the night of Reeva Steenkamp's shooting were likely too quick to be the sounds of a cricket bat on a door, as the star athlete's defense team claims.
The protests aimed at bringing down Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra have been going on for four months and are taking a toll on the economy, with consumer confidence at a 12-year low. The political uncertainty is unnerving consumers and the violence is scaring tourists away from Bangkok. Surapong Techruvichit, president of the Thai Hotels Association, said the occupancy rate had plunged to 20 to 25 percent in Bangkok in January-February from 70 to 80 percent in the same months last year. The end of the 60-day emergency, imposed in Bangkok on January 22 in a bid to contain the unrest, would be a good start for getting business back on its feet, he said.
By Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) - World shares were at a six-year high and heading for a fifth week of back-to-back gains on Friday as the ongoing tug-of-war over Crimea and uncertainty ahead of U.S. jobs data did little to sap market confidence. With the tussle between Ukraine and the West and Russia over Crimea expected to drag on, investors turned their focus to non-farm payrolls due at 1330 GMT, though there was a sense they would still be distorted by the recent icy U.S. weather. It had surged on Thursday after the European Central Bank all but killed off bets of further interest rate cuts in coming months. "The market was looking for some action from the ECB, yet we got nothing, in fact what Draghi outlined was the improvement in the economic activity," said Jane Foley, senior currency strategist at Rabobank in London.
By Lidia Kelly and Alissa de Carbonnel MOSCOW/SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin rebuffed a warning from U.S. President Barack Obama over Moscow's military intervention in Crimea, saying on Friday that Russia could not ignore calls for help from Russian speakers in Ukraine. After an hour-long telephone call, Putin said in a statement that Moscow and Washington were still far apart on the situation in the former Soviet republic, where he said the new authorities had taken "absolutely illegitimate decisions on the eastern, southeastern and Crimea regions. ...
By Mehreen Zahra-Malik ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's cities are unsafe from Islamist militant attacks due to their porous security, the country's defense minister said after suicide bombers and gunmen killed 11 people in an assault on a court in the capital earlier this week. Carried out by a splinter group of the Paksitani Taliban, the attack will complicate the government's efforts to open peace talks as it destroyed trust on all sides, Defense Minister Khawaja Asif told Reuters. ...
Turkey's embattled prime minister has warned that his government could ban popular social media networks YouTube and Facebook after a raft of online leaks added momentum to a spiralling corruption scandal. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already tightened his government's grip over the Internet, generating criticism at home and abroad about rights in the EU-hopeful country. "There are new steps we will take in that sphere after March 30... including a ban (on YouTube, Facebook)," Erdogan told private ATV television in an interview late Thursday. Access to thousands of websites have been blocked in recent years in Turkey.
By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. hiring likely picked up enough in February to keep the Federal Reserve on track in reducing its monetary stimulus. But the size of the gain is nevertheless expected to be modest as the economy struggles to break free of the grip of unusually severe winter weather. Nonfarm payrolls probably increased by 149,000 last month, with the jobless rate holding at a five-year low of 6.6 percent, according to a Reuters survey of economists. Nonfarm payrolls averaged about 205,000 new jobs per month in the first 11 months of 2013, but that figure dropped to just 94,000 for December and January as the unseasonably cold and snowy winter disrupted economic activity.
Bill Gross, the co-founder and co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co, has accused departing CEO Mohamed El-Erian of seeking to "undermine" him by talking to The Wall Street Journal about deepening tensions between the two executives who have been jointly running the world's largest bond house. Gross told Reuters that he had "evidence" that El-Erian "wrote" a February 24 article in the Journal, which described the worsening relationship between the two men as Pimco's performance deteriorated last year, including a showdown in which they squared off against each other in front of more than a dozen colleagues at the firm's Newport Beach, California headquarters. Gross, who oversaw more than $1.91 trillion in assets as of the end of last year and who is known on Wall Street as the 'Bond King', said in a phone call to Reuters last Friday: "I'm so sick of Mohamed trying to undermine me." When asked if Reuters could see the evidence about El-Erian and the allegation he was involved in the article, Gross said: "You're on his side.
By Aron Ranen and Brandon Lowrey TEMPLE CITY, California (Reuters) - A Japanese American man thought to be the reclusive multi-millionaire father of Bitcoin emerged from a modest Southern California home and denied involvement with the digital currency before leading reporters on a freeway car chase to the local headquarters of the Associated Press. Satoshi Nakamoto, a name known to legions of bitcoin traders, practitioners and boosters around the world, appeared to lose his anonymity on Thursday after Newsweek published a story that said he lived in Temple City, California, just east of Los Angeles. Newsweek included a photograph and described a short interview, in which Nakamoto said he was no longer associated with Bitcoin and that it had been turned over to other people.
(Reuters) - Detroit said in a court filing on Thursday it had reached an agreement with Barclays PLC for a $120 million loan that would allow it to invest in services and speed its path out of bankruptcy. The deal comes after the judge overseeing Detroit's historic bankruptcy case rejected a $350 million loan that would have raised $230 million for the city to end interest rate swaps. Those swaps were used to hedge interest rate risk on some Detroit pension debt. The city said earlier this week it had reached a new agreement with Merrill Lynch Capital Services and UBS AG to end the swaps for $85 million.
By Jonathan Spicer WASHINGTON (Reuters) - It could be another two months before the U.S. Federal Reserve can determine whether recent weak economic data is truly weather-related or something more permanent, so policymakers should keep trimming their bond-buying stimulus, a top Fed official said on Thursday. In an interview, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said flatly that the central bank should keep reducing its policy accommodation even if the February jobs report on Friday falls short of expectations, making for three straight months of sub-par hiring in the world's largest economy. "In my mind, unless we really fall off track in the economy pretty dramatically, I think the tapering program should proceed," Lockhart told Reuters, adding that he has "modest" expectations for the government's nonfarm payrolls report. Lockhart attributed the weak data to the severe winter weather that has gripped much of the United States and issued a word of caution to anyone expecting the Fed to abruptly back off a plan to wind down its bond purchases by later this year.
The current slowdown of home prices has been sharpest in markets that crashed during the bust and bounced back last year. And although asking-price gains have been slowing since last spring, price increases remain high by historical standards. The Trulia Price Monitor and the Trulia Rent Monitor are the earliest leading indicators of how asking prices and rents are trending nationally and locally. They adjust for the changing mix of listed homes and therefore show what's really happening to asking prices and rents. ...