US factory CEOs to Trump: Jobs exist; skills don't

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump brought two dozen manufacturing CEOs to the White House on Thursday and declared their collective commitment to restoring factory jobs lost to foreign competition. They urged the White House to support vocational training for the high-tech skills that today's manufacturers increasingly require — a topic Trump has seldom addressed. "The jobs are there, but the skills are not," one executive said during meetings with White House officials that preceded a session with the president. White House officials said Trump heard the CEOs' concerns about a shortage of qualified workers and said he supports efforts to increase training for factory jobs. One executive said in discussions with White House officials that his company has 50 participants in a factory apprenticeship program, but could take 500 if enough were qualified.

February 24, 2017 02:05 UTC

Brace for the cold: low temperature warning for 10 cities and counties

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- With the approach of a strong cold air mass, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) issued a low temperature warning for 10 cities and counties north of Taichung on Thursday evening. The bureau issued the warning for Keelung, Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung and Hsinchu cities and Miaoli, Hsinchu, Lienchiang and Kinmen counties, urging the public to keep warm. The bureau cautioned nationwide rain, especially in northern Taiwan, Yilan and Hualien where rainfall is forecasted to be the strongest. Farmers and fisheries owners are advised to take precautions against the cold weather, the bureau said. Tamsui recorded a low temperature of 10.8 degrees, while Hsinwu in Taoyuan saw a temperature of 11.1 degrees, Hsinchu 11.2 degrees and Wuqi in Taichung 12 degrees at 9:15 p.m. on Thursday.

February 24, 2017 01:39 UTC

Police say nerve agent found on killed N.Korean

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Police in Malaysia say the half brother of North Korea's leader who was killed in a Kuala Lumpur airport more than a week ago had a nerve agent on his eye and his face. A statement Friday from the inspector general of police said that a preliminary analysis from the Chemistry Department of Malaysia identified the agent at "VX NERVE AGENT." Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, died Feb. 13 shortly after two women put a substance on his face while he was checking in for a flight. Alex Hwang said he first met Kim Jong Nam in 2012 at his Koryo-Won restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, and they met a total of eight times. Hwang, from South Korea, said he recognized Kim and collected his dishes after a meal and sent them to the South Korean Embassy for fingerprint and DNA tests that confirmed his identity.

February 24, 2017 01:14 UTC

Polish prosecutors probe play simulating oral sex on pope

WARSAW, Poland -- Polish prosecutors on Wednesday began investigating a theater play that drops hints about murdering a top politician and has a scene simulating oral sex on a statue of the late pope, Saint John Paul II. Poland's powerful Roman Catholic church has slammed "The Curse", a play directed by Croat Oliver Frljic, as being "blasphemous" for this and other sex scenes involving crosses. Investigators will also examine whether the play, which opened to the public on Saturday at Warsaw's Teatr Powszechny theater offends religious feeling. One scene shows an actress performing oral sex on a life-size statue of the late Polish-born John Paul II, perhaps the most popular historic figure in the strongly Catholic country. "The Curse" is an adaptation of Polish playwright Stanislaw Wyspianski's 1899 play of the same name.

February 24, 2017 00:01 UTC

Man held after gun shot in Vegas fight between rapper, group

LAS VEGAS -- A Florida man has been jailed on felony and misdemeanor charges after he fired a shot during a fight between the hip hop music group Migos and rapper Sean Kingston outside a Las Vegas Strip convention center, police said Wednesday. The gunshot was fired in the air and no one was reported to have been injured during the fracas Tuesday afternoon outside the Sands Expo & Convention Center, Las Vegas police Officer Danny Cordero said. The physical confrontation near an outdoor Sands expo center loading dock followed an argument inside stemming from a previous dispute between the two groups, Cordero said. A spokeswoman for the expo center and adjacent Venetian and Palazzo resorts referred questions about the incident to police. Efforts to identify and contact representatives of Kingston and Migos weren't immediately successful.

February 23, 2017 21:03 UTC

Lisa Marie Presley's payments to ex limited to legal fees

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patrick Cathcart ordered Presley to pay $50,000 to the lawyer representing her estranged husband, Michael Lockwood. It comes days after Presley filed court documents stating she is deeply in debt and their 8-year-old twin daughters are subject to a child welfare case. The order does not affect the couple's children, who are in the care of Presley's mother, Priscilla. Leaving him without money from Presley "just leaves Mr. Lockwood in this continuing state of poverty." Priscilla Presley tried to allay fans' concerns about the legal issues and well-being of the twins in a Facebook post Sunday.

February 23, 2017 19:21 UTC

Service sector in driving seat of growth, say experts

Helped by a robust service sector, China is expected to see 6.64 percent economic growth this year, but the sluggish private sector might influence the overall outlook, according to a report released by Xiamen University on Wednesday. Lu Furong, an economist with the research center, said the strong service sector that has become the main driver of the economy since 2015 would ensure that the economy would not lose its momentum. Data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed that the service sector has outpaced the manufacturing sector since 2015, accounting for more than half of the nation's gross domestic product. But the flagging private sector would be a problem this year, according to Lu. The report suggested to speed up reform, giving certain privileges to the private sector to help it get loans from banks.

February 23, 2017 18:13 UTC

Smart voice tech dawns

Education, homes, healthcare, driving ... turn intelligentImagine this: you ask "someone" around you to book a hotel room in a nearby suburb. The intelligent voice technology is receiving the spotlight in various fields: smart homes, intelligent driving, healthcare and education. Unisound, a voice recognition and processing technology provider in China, is one of the players that are pioneering application of artificial intelligence in the field of voice technology. Seeing the internet of things as a future trend, the company provides AI chips, AI user interfaces and AI services for intelligent voice functions for companies and institutions. With the development of smart devices, voice interaction will become the future trend."

February 23, 2017 18:13 UTC

Barclays bank swings back into profit in 2016

LONDON -- British bank Barclays returned to profit in 2016 after slashing provisions set aside for legal and compensation costs linked to foreign exchange and insurance scandals, it said Thursday. Chief executive Jes Staley saluted the performance of core operations in the U.K. and abroad and said the bank would complete a restructuring program faster than expected. Barclays said it plans to shut down its non-core division six months earlier than planned, on June 30. Amid talk of banks switching operations out of the U.K. owing to Brexit, Staley told reporters on a call that London was set to remain Europe's financial center.

February 23, 2017 18:05 UTC

Video shows Harrison Ford's plane mistakenly fly over jet

SANTA ANA, California -- Newly released video shows a small plane piloted by Harrison Ford flying low over an airliner with 116 people aboard moments before he mistakenly landed on a taxiway at a Southern California airport. The 74-year-old actor was told to land his single-engine plane on Runway 20L, but he instead landed on a parallel taxiway on Feb. 13. The video released Tuesday shows the incident from different angles. In one, Ford's Aviat Husky plane is seen from behind as it descends toward the airfield where an American Airlines Boeing 737 is slowly taxiing. Another angle shows Ford's plane emerge from the right side of the frame, flying low over the airliner and casting its shadow across the fuselage of the bigger plane before landing on the taxiway a few seconds later.

February 23, 2017 18:01 UTC

Trump warned over new trade deficit formula

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump has reportedly ordered a change to the U.S. trade deficit calculations to bolster his argument against trade deals, but analysts say this could undermine a key economic indicator. These moves have stoked fears about the credibility of economic data under Trump. Over their objections, officials at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative's office last week produced new trade balance data using a methodology that exaggerates deficits with key U.S. trading partners such as Mexico, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. The picture of yawning trade gaps could help Trump's stance that the U.S. is getting the short end of the stick in free trade deals. By excluding those goods from the tally of U.S. exports, but keeping them in the calculation of imports, trade deficits would appear to be much larger than the official data indicate.

February 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

Fed says may need to raise rates 'fairly soon'

WASHINGTON -- U.S. central bankers say they may need to increase the key lending rate "fairly soon," but appear split on the timing amid uncertainty over President Donald Trump's tax and spending policies, the minutes of their last meeting show. The Fed officials said their outlook for the economy and interest rates had not changed much since December, when they indicated three rate hikes were likely this year, according to the minutes of the Jan. 31-Feb. 1 monetary policy meeting published Wednesday. In its first meeting since Trump took office, the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee said it continues to expect to need only "gradual adjustments" in interest rates to hit the two percent inflation target, if the economy continues to grow at the current moderate pace. Trump has promised to deliver a major tax cut plan very soon and also pledged to implement a large infrastructure spending project. The central bankers continue to see "heightened uncertainty" about the timing and impact of those policies, and pointed to potential risks if the measures fuel inflation.

February 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

Battered Brazil slashes interest rates further

RIO DE JANEIRO -- Brazil slashed its key interest rate further on Wednesday to try to yank Latin America's biggest economy out of its worst recession in a century. The country's central bank cut the benchmark rate by 0.75 percentage points to 12.25 percent — still one of the world's highest. It was the fourth such cut in a row by the Brazilian Central Bank, as inflation falls but the economy shows few signs of recovering any time soon from two years of decline. The scale of Wednesday's cut was in line with analysts' expectations, though some had said the bank should cut rates even more sharply, citing a steep decline in inflation. "There is room for that cut, which would be positive in terms of what the country needs," he told AFP, adding that big banks were opposed to such a sharp reduction.

February 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

Mexico economy grows but Trump jitters hit

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico enjoyed solid economic growth last year before uncertainty struck over the impact of U.S. President Donald Trump's trade policies, official data showed Wednesday. The institute's data showed that in the fourth quarter, growth in Latin America's second-biggest economy slowed to 0.7 percent from 1.0 percent the previous quarter. That coincided with Trump's election victory in November. Trump has vowed to crack down on U.S. companies producing in Mexico, in a bid to see jobs shifted back to the United States. He has called for renegotiations this year of the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada.

February 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

US faces questions over N. Korea

WASHINGTON -- China's surprising suspension of North Korean coal imports puts pressure not only on Pyongyang, but also on President Donald Trump. The question for him: Should the U.S. respond with new North Korea negotiations? Years of failed efforts to stem North Korea's nuclear and missile programs have followed a usual pattern. Washington has said the North's nuclear weapons program must be settled first. Trump has vowed to "deal with" North Korea, without saying how.

February 23, 2017 16:07 UTC

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