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Oil prices jump, but oversupply worries persist

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 21:27

Brent crude was up $1.18, or 2.26 percent, at $53.34 a barrel at 0219 GMT, having earlier risen as much as 3.1 percent. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures, were at $45.62 a barrel, up 2.26 percent, or $1.01, after earlier rising 3.6 percent. Oil prices fell to their lowest in more than a year on Thursday, a day after their biggest one-day rally in two years, pulled down by worries about the global economy and a supply glut.

U.S. Coast Guard suspends search for missing cruise crew member

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 21:02

The U.S. Coast Guard said on Thursday it has suspended its search for a British crew member who went overboard from a Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd cruise ship in the Atlantic Ocean. The crews searched for about 83 hours, covering 3,707 square miles, the U.S. Coast Guard said, adding it has been in touch with the family of the man. "Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make as first responders, and it is never made lightly," the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Japan bolts whaling commission, but tensions may ease

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 20:39

Japan has made good on years of threats by bolting the International Whaling Commission, but its decision may also offer a way out of tensions that looked inextricable. Japan, which calls whaling part of its cultural heritage, said Wednesday it would withdraw from the seven-decade-old commission which since 1986 has banned commercial killing of the ocean giants. Australia and New Zealand have been outraged by Japan's incursions into waters they consider a whale sanctuary and activists harassed the whalers in often dangerous chases.

Search for missing British cruise ship entertainer suspended

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 20:31

The United States Coast Guard has suspended the search for a missing British cruise ship entertainer. In a statement, the coast guard said it had ended the search for 20-year-old Arron Hough at about 2.30pm on Thursday, two days after he reportedly went overboard. Crews searched for approximately 83 hours and covered more than 3,700 square miles, the statement added. Commander Christopher Douglas, Coast Guard Sector San Juan chief of response, said: "We've been in contact with members of Mr Hough's family throughout our search efforts and know this is a very difficult and painful time for them. "Suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we have to make as first responders, and it is never made lightly." Aaron Hough went missing from the ship on Christmas Day Credit: Facebook Mr Hough, from Sunderland, disappeared from the Royal Caribbean ship on Christmas Day. The vessel, named Harmony Of The Seas, was 267 miles (430km) north-west of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, at the time and was travelling to Philipsburg, St Maarten. The last CCTV footage available of Mr Hough showed him heading on to the ship's deck at around 4am, according to a statement issued by Royal Caribbean. However, staff on board the ship only realised he was missing when he did not report to work later that day. The United States Coast Guard was alerted to Mr Hough's disappearance at 1.45pm. Royal Caribbean and the coast guard were unable to confirm how far the ship had travelled during that time.

The Latest: Flooding rains fall in Louisiana, Mississippi

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 20:17

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on storms and flooding in Louisiana and Mississippi (all times local):

Storm whips up blizzards, dumps snow in Dakotas, Minnesota

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 19:44

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Post-holiday travelers were finding driving difficult as a winter storm dumped heavy snow and whipped up gusty winds across parts of the Dakotas and Minnesota on Thursday.

Boeing's F-15X Fighter: A Good Idea or Waste of Time?

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 19:38

Can it relieve critical F-22s and F-35s to more important tasks? Or is this a multi-billion dollar mistake?

Russia touts hypersonic missile speed

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 18:35

Russia touted Thursday a new hypersonic missile said to hit speeds of more than 30,000 kilometres per hour, amid heightened tension with the US over arms control. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday tracked final tests of a hypersonic missile dubbed "Avangard," which he says would defeat all existing missile defence systems. When Putin unveiled the new weapon during his state of the nation address in March, he said the missile was highly manoeuvrable and flew at 20 times the speed of sound.

On foreign policy, a confident Trump removes his training wheels

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 16:06

In the days preceding last July’s NATO summit in Brussels that President Trump was set to attend, administration officials including Defense Secretary James Mattis worked around the clock with European allies to seal a summit declaration before the alliance leaders’ meeting even began. The rush by Mr. Mattis and others to complete a deal they knew might not sit well with their boss – who had consistently aired his doubts about the benefits of international defense alliances like NATO and his disdain for what he considered to be freeloading allies – was striking. What it displayed was one more example of Mr. Trump’s top national security advisers working around the president’s skepticism and unpredictability toward traditional allies to confirm America’s unaltered global leadership role.

Why are Trump and Congress still getting paid amid a partial government shutdown?

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 15:55

Many Americans might not want to see Congress get paid amid a shutdown, but any change would require getting over a big hurdle: the U.S. Constitution.

UAE reopens Syria embassy in boost for Assad

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 15:53

DAMASCUS/DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates reopened its embassy in Damascus on Thursday, marking a diplomatic boost for President Bashar al-Assad from a U.S.-allied Arab state that once backed rebels fighting him. The UAE said the move aimed to normalize ties and to curb risks of regional interference in "Arab, Syrian affairs" - an apparent reference to non-Arab Iran, whose support for Assad has been critical to his war effort. "The UAE decision ... came after a conviction that the next stage requires the Arab presence and communication in the Syrian file," tweeted Anwar Gargash, the UAE minister of state for foreign affairs.

Good Samaritans Rewarded With $100 After Trying to Help Homeless Man

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 15:36

YouTuber Brian Breach gave anyone who offered to help him $100.

More Americans blame Trump for government shutdown: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 15:34

The shutdown was triggered by Trump's demand, largely opposed by Democrats, that taxpayers provide him with $5 billion to help pay for a border wall.

Morocco rescues over 360 migrants at sea: military source

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 15:33

Morocco's navy on Thursday rescued 367 mostly sub-Saharan migrants in the Mediterranean sea after they attempted to reach Spain, a military source told AFP. Morocco stopped 68,000 attempted illegal migrants and dismantled 122 "active criminal networks" in the first nine months of 2018, according to a recent official count. Alongside migrants arriving from sub-Saharan Africa, an increasing number of young Moroccan citizens have attempted to leave the country on board inflatable dinghies in recent months.

Ex-president Rajoelina wins Madagascar vote

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 14:04

Former Madagascan president Andry Rajoelina has beaten his rival and predecessor Marc Ravalomanana in an election beset by allegations of fraud, the electoral commission said Thursday. Rajoelina has returned to power after he won 55.66 percent against 44.34 percent for Ravalomanana in the run-off vote held last week, it said. The defeated candidate filed papers with the Constitutional Court just hours after the electoral commission announced the election's complete results.

Father charged in deaths of own children whose bodies were found buried behind home

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 13:53

Authorities say the teens' father, who recently played Santa at Walmart, is one of four people charged in his own kids' deaths.

Amazon, Under Armour, Lululemon among 93% of retailers that kept Christmas shipping promises

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 13:45

Retailers did even better last year, however, when 100 percent delivered their packages before the holidays, according to Accenture Strategy.

Trump finally hews to ritual of meeting troops in harm's way

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 13:25

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Maryland (AP) — President Donald Trump once opined that it wasn't "overly necessary" for him to visit troops in danger zones abroad. But with the lights of Air Force One out and window shutters drawn, the president did just that, slipping into Iraq at night to greet U.S. service members and show that his norm-busting presidency would hew at least to this tradition.

Michelle Obama displaces Hillary Clinton as 'most admired' woman

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 13:09

Former first lady Michelle Obama was named the most admired woman in the United States in an annual poll conducted by Gallup.