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Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock

FILE - In this Dec. 23, 2013 file photo, a woman using a phone walks past Apple's logo near its retail outlet in Beijing. Apple reports quarterly earnings on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File) SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is doling out more of its cash to shareholders and preparing to split its stock for the first time in nine years in an attempt to win back investors fretting about the iPhone maker's slowing sales growth and pace of innovation.


Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock

FILE - In this Dec. 23, 2013 file photo, a woman using a phone walks past Apple's logo near its retail outlet in Beijing. Apple reports quarterly earnings on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File) SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is doling out more of its cash to shareholders and preparing to split its stock for the first time in nine years in an attempt to win back investors fretting about the iPhone maker's slowing sales growth and pace of innovation.


Qualcomm faces China bribery allegations from U.S. regulator

A Qualcomm sign is seen at one of Qualcomm's numerous buildings located on its San Diego Campus By Noel Randewich SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Leading mobile chipmaker Qualcomm said on Wednesday it could face a civil action from U.S. authorities over alleged bribery of officials associated with state-owned companies in China. With smartphone sales tapering off in the United States, China is a major market for Qualcomm, but doing business there has included disagreements over royalties and an antitrust investigation. In its fiscal second-quarter report, Qualcomm said it has received a notice from the Securities and Exchange Commission's Los Angeles office advising it of a preliminary determination to recommend an enforcement action against the company for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). Qualcomm said the civil action could seek remedies including "disgorgement of profits, the retention of an independent compliance monitor to review the company's FCPA policies and procedures, an injunction, civil monetary penalties and prejudgment interest." Qualcomm said it first learned of and disclosed the SEC investigation in 2012.


Airport official: Teen had no clue he was in Maui

A 15-year-old boy who stowed away in the wheel well of a flight HONOLULU (AP) — Long flights can leave anyone a little unsteady, but a teenager who defied the odds, surviving a flight from California to Hawaii tucked in a jetliner's wheel well, was disoriented, thirsty and could barely walk after the freezing, low-pressure ordeal, airport officials who reviewed video of his arrival said Wednesday.


UN chief demands Security Council action on Syria

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanded on Wednesday that the Security Council take action in Syria on violations of international law as he reported to the body that none of the warring parties was adhering to U.N. demands for aid access. In his second monthly report to the 15-member council on the implementation of a resolution demanding great humanitarian aid access in Syria, Ban said "none of the parties to the conflict have adhered to the demands of the Council." "The Security Council must take action to deal with these flagrant violations of the basic principles of international law," he wrote in the 21-page report.

Syria eyes end of chemical arms monitoring mission; West disagrees

A woman receives treatment at Bab al-Hawa hospital By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Syria declared on Wednesday that it was looking ahead to the dismantling of the international mission overseeing the destruction of the conflict-torn country's chemical arsenal, though Western officials said they want the team to keep working. The statement came after Sigrid Kaag, head of the joint mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told the Security Council that the Syrian government should be able to meet an April 27 deadline to hand over all declared chemical agents. Inside the council chamber, however, U.S. and European delegations told Kaag they were concerned about new allegations that Syria's government had deployed chlorine gas and expressed their view that a full investigation was necessary, diplomats said. After the closed-door session, in which Kaag participated via video link, Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari was asked what should happen to the U.N.-OPCW mission once declared materials linked to Syrian chemical weapons had been shipped out of the country and all installations were shut down.


Archaeologists, tribe clash over Native remains

LARKSPUR, Calif. (AP) — Archaeologists and Native Americans are clashing over Indian remains and artifacts that were excavated during a construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area and then reburied at an undisclosed location, a newspaper reported.

Top Asian News at 12:00 a.m. GMT

TOKYO (AP) — Facing fresh questions about his commitment to Asia, President Barack Obama will seek to convince Japan's leaders Thursday that he can deliver on his security and economic pledges, even as the crisis in Ukraine demands U.S. attention and resources elsewhere. The ominous standoff between Ukraine and Russia is threatening to overshadow Obama's four-country Asia swing that began Wednesday. He may decide during the trip whether to levy new economic sanctions on Moscow, a step that would signal the failure of an international agreement aimed at defusing the crisis.

Syrian activists accuse Assad of new gas attacks

In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, posted on April 18, 2014, an anti-Bashar Assad activist group, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, two women and a young girl are treated by a medic in Kfar Zeita, a rebel-held village in Hama province some 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Damascus. Syrian opposition activists and other witnesses tell The Associated Press that Syrian government forces have attacked rebel-held areas with poisonous chlorine gas in recent months. They say the attacks left scores of men, women and children coughing, choking and gasping for breath. The reports have been denied by the Syrian government and have yet to be confirmed by any foreign country or international organization. But if true, they highlight the limitations of the global effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapons. (AP Photo/Shaam News Network) BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian government forces have attacked rebel-held areas with poisonous chlorine gas in recent weeks and months, leaving men, women and children coughing, choking and gasping for breath, according to Associated Press interviews with more than a dozen activists, medics and residents on the opposition side.


France, US back sanctions against S.Sudan

This picture taken on January 12, 2014 shows a man carryring a bed walking past South Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) national army soldiers patrolling the town of Bentiu United Nations (United States) (AFP) - France and the United States called Wednesday for the UN Security Council to consider sanctions against South Sudan over spiraling violence in the country's civil war, diplomats said. US ambassador Samantha Power relayed Washington's position in a closed-door meeting of the 15-member Council, diplomats said, and France's Gerard Araud told reporters before the session that it was time to think about sanctions against those responsible. "I think we should consider sanctions because it is horrendous," he said.


Small Wyoming town evacuated after gas explosion

OPAL, Wyo. (AP) — A small town in southwest Wyoming was evacuated Wednesday after an explosion and fire at a natural gas processing facility and major national pipeline hub. There were no reports of injuries.

Tech sector brightens as Apple jumps 8 percent

Man looks at an electronic board displaying Japan's Nikkei average and various countries' stock indices outside a brokerage in Tokyo By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian markets could get a lift on Thursday after tech heavyweights Apple and Facebook beat Wall Street expectations, sending their stock up sharply and boosting Nasdaq futures. The Nasdaq futures were up 1 percent and the S&P 500 0.3 percent. Sentiment on the tech sector brightened after Apple decided to buy back $30 billion of its shares out to the end of 2015 and authorized a seven-for-one stock split. Apple reported sales of 43.7 million iPhones in the quarter ended March, far outpacing forecasts.


NTSB head: Action needed now on oil train safety

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration needs to take steps immediately to protect the public from potentially catastrophic oil train accidents even if it means using emergency authority, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman said Wednesday.

Soldier accused of killing teens in Iraq

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) — The two unarmed Iraqi brothers posed no threat as they herded cattle in a palm grove where a U.S. Army reconnaissance team was hidden one day seven years ago. But then-Staff Sgt. Michael Barbera took a knee, leveled his rifle and killed them — from nearly 200 yards away, a former fellow soldier said Wednesday at a preliminary hearing in the case.

Former AP reporter Robert Heard dies at age 84

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 1966, file photo, Robert Heard, Associated Press staffer in Austin, Texas, is attended by his nurse, Annie Worley, at Brackenridge Hospital, where he is recovering from gunshot wounds suffered while he was covering a shooting spree at the University of Texas tower, in Austin. Heard, who reported on Texas state government, politics and sports for The Associated Press and a groundbreaking series on race and integration of Longhorns football, has died. He was 84. Heard died April 15, 2014, from complications after surgery to repair a broken hip, said widow Betsy Heard. (AP Photo/DO, File) AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Robert Heard, who reported on Texas state government, politics and sports for The Associated Press, including the 1966 University of Texas tower shootings and a groundbreaking series on race and integration of Longhorns football, has died. He was 84.


Ohio women held captive seek Joan Rivers' apology

FILE - In this April 22, 2013 file photo, Television personalities Joan Rivers, left, and daughter Melissa Rivers attend the 2013 Matrix New York Women in Communications Awards at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, in New York. Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for comparing living in her daughter's guest room with the captivity they experienced. Rivers and her daughter were discussing their reality show Tuesday, April 22, 2014, on NBC's "Today" show when she complained about her living arrangements, saying, "Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space." (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, file) CLEVELAND (AP) — Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for comparing living in her daughter's guest room with the captivity they experienced.


Rail safety effort marred by squabbling

FILE - This Dec. 30, 2013 file photo shows a fireball going up at the site of an oil train derailment in Casselton, N.D. An effort by government and industry to make the tank cars used to ship crude oil and ethanol safer, spurred by a series of fiery train crashes, is becoming mired in squabbling and finger-pointing. The Department of Transportation, concerned about the potential for catastrophic accidents involving oil and ethanol trains that are sometimes as many as 100 cars long, is drafting new tank car regulations aimed at making the cars less likely to spill their contents in the event of a crash. But final regulations aren’t expected until the end of the year at the earliest, and it is common for such government rulemakings to drag on for years. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — Spurred by a series of fiery train crashes, a push by government and industry to make safer tank cars used for shipping crude oil and ethanol has bogged down in squabbling and finger-pointing over whether they're needed and if so, who should pay.


Rail safety effort marred by squabbling

FILE - This Dec. 30, 2013 file photo shows a fireball going up at the site of an oil train derailment in Casselton, N.D. An effort by government and industry to make the tank cars used to ship crude oil and ethanol safer, spurred by a series of fiery train crashes, is becoming mired in squabbling and finger-pointing. The Department of Transportation, concerned about the potential for catastrophic accidents involving oil and ethanol trains that are sometimes as many as 100 cars long, is drafting new tank car regulations aimed at making the cars less likely to spill their contents in the event of a crash. But final regulations aren’t expected until the end of the year at the earliest, and it is common for such government rulemakings to drag on for years. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy, File) WASHINGTON (AP) — Spurred by a series of fiery train crashes, a push by government and industry to make safer tank cars used for shipping crude oil and ethanol has bogged down in squabbling and finger-pointing over whether they're needed and if so, who should pay.


Images released of shipwreck in San Francisco Bay

This 2013 image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows a multi-beam sonar profile view of the shipwreck of the iron and wood steamship City of Chester. In 1888 on a trip from the San Francisco bay to Eureka, the Chester was split in two by a ship more than twice its size, killing 16 people and becoming the bay's second-worst maritime disaster. Now, more than a century later, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration team has found the shipwreck. The team came upon the wreckage in 217 feet of water just inside the Golden Gate while it was charting shipping channels. (AP Photo/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The first images of the newly discovered wreckage of a steamship that sank in San Francisco Bay in 1888, killing 16 people, were released Wednesday by federal ocean scientists.


Top Asian News at 11:30 p.m. GMT

TOKYO (AP) — Facing fresh questions about his commitment to Asia, President Barack Obama will seek to convince Japan's leaders Thursday that he can deliver on his security and economic pledges, even as the crisis in Ukraine demands U.S. attention and resources elsewhere. The ominous standoff between Ukraine and Russia is threatening to overshadow Obama's four-country Asia swing that began Wednesday. He may decide during the trip whether to levy new economic sanctions on Moscow, a step that would signal the failure of an international agreement aimed at defusing the crisis.

Colombia president reinstates ousted Bogota mayor

Bogota's mayor Gustavo Petro, center, is surrounded by supporters as he arrives to city hall in Bogota, Colombia, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos reinstated Petro following a court order. Petro was removed from office in March after President Juan Manuel Santos refused to heed the Inter-American Human Rights Commission's call for a stay on the Inspector General's ouster of the mayor months earlier for alleged administrative missteps. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara) BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia's capital was changing hands for a third time in little over a month after President Juan Manuel Santos said Wednesday he would execute a court order reinstating Bogota's ousted leftist mayor.


Chile aims to end dictatorship-era election rules

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — President Michelle Bachelet is determined to make Chile's democracy more representative, and for the first time in a quarter century, there may be just enough votes in Congress to achieve it.

Debris found on Australian beach not from MH370

An Australian Navy sailor looks for debris on a rigid inflatable boat as HMAS Perth searches for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 in the southern Indian Ocean, April 13, 2014 Perth (Australia) (AFP) - The Australian Transport Safety Bureau ruled out Thursday any link between material found on a beach in southwestern Australia and the missing Malaysia Airlines jet. However ATSB chief commissioner Martin Dolan scotched any hope of a breakthrough.


Explosion rocks natural gas plant in Wyoming, no injuries reported

(Reuters) - An explosion rocked a natural gas-processing plant in southwestern Wyoming on Wednesday, causing no injuries but prompting the evacuation of the facility and a nearby town, a company spokeswoman said. The explosion in an apparatus called a turbo expender at the Williams Companies plant in Opal, Wyoming, touched off a fire that was still burning several hours later, company spokeswoman Michele Swaner said. The Lincoln County Sheriff's Department referred calls regarding the incident to Williams. The explosion marked the second safety incident for Williams Companies Inc in the last few weeks.

Cuban top diplomat meets with attorney of jailed American

Cuban policemen stand by the municipal court where US citizen Alan Gross, charged with espionage, was on trial, on March 4, 2011 in Havana Cuba's top diplomat has met with a lawyer for jailed US contractor Alan Gross who is serving a 15-year term in Cuban prison, his defense team said Wednesday. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez met with Gross's lawyer Scott Gilbert on Wednesday in Havana, stressing Cuba's willingness to speak with the United States on the case, Gilbert's team said in a statement released in Washington. Rodriguez emphasized that Cuba would place no preconditions on such a negotiation," the statement explained.


Oregon gay marriage ban gets day in court

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Lawyers for four gay and lesbian couples and the state of Oregon are urging a federal judge to strike down the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

California court won't review Jackson doctor case

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Michael Jackson's doctor, rejecting his lawyer's petition without comment.

Bolivia threatens to fire protesting soldiers

Army soldiers march on the second day of protests in La Paz, Bolivia, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Hundreds of low ranking soldiers from Bolivia's Armed Forces marched for a second day against the military high command's dismissal of four of its leaders who defended their call for more career opportunities. The Ministry of Defense has threatened to discharge the soldiers who continue to protest. (AP Photo/Juan Karita) LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — Despite a government threat to fire them, some 500 soldiers marched in Bolivia's capital Wednesday for a second consecutive day to demand greater upward mobility within the armed forces.


Man charged with murder in nursing home deaths

This booking photo provided by the Houston Police Department on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, shows Guillermo Correa. Police say, Correa, 56, a resident of a Houston nursing home will face capital murder charges for using the armrest of his wheelchair to beat two of his roommates to death. (AP Photo/Houston Police Department) HOUSTON (AP) — A Houston nursing home resident accused of using the armrest of his wheelchair to beat two of his roommates to death is facing a capital murder charge, police said Wednesday.


Defense: FBI probe in 9/11 trial has implications

FORT MEADE, Maryland (AP) — The defense team for five people facing trial before a war crimes tribunal stemming from the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks claimed the implications of the FBI's questioning of one of its members are "staggering" and called on the court to probe the incident aggressively, according to a motion unsealed on Wednesday.

Defense: FBI probe in 9/11 trial has implications

FORT MEADE, Maryland (AP) — The defense team for five people facing trial before a war crimes tribunal stemming from the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks claimed the implications of the FBI's questioning of one of its members are "staggering" and called on the court to probe the incident aggressively, according to a motion unsealed on Wednesday.

Florida executes man convicted in 1990 murder of two relatives

Death row inmate Robert Eugene Hendrix is seen in an undated photo from the Florida Department of Corrections By Bill Cotterell TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) - A man convicted of killing his cousin and the man's wife to prevent his cousin from testifying against him in a burglary case was executed in Florida on Wednesday, a state prison official said. Robert Eugene Hendrix, 47, was pronounced dead at 6:21 p.m. local time from a lethal injection, said Jessica Cary, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections. Hendrix was convicted of shooting, stabbing and beating Elmer Scott and his wife, Michelle Scott, at their mobile home in Sorrento, central Florida. Hendrix and Elmer Scott had been involved in a home burglary, for which Scott was caught and given a reduced sentence in exchange for his testimony against Hendrix.


UK enlists Muslim women to help stop Syria jihadists

Rebel fighters and civilians stand looking at a burning building following a reported barrel bomb attack by Syrian government forces on April 20, 2014 in the northern city of Aleppo British police reached out to Muslim women on Thursday in an attempt to prevent young people going to fight in Syria, after a sharp rise in arrests related to the conflict. Counter-terrorism officials launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the risks of travelling to Syria, especially for those who just want to offer humanitarian aid. The campaign was prompted by an increase in the number of Britons caught travelling or returning from Syria, from 25 arrests last year to 40 in the first three months of 2014. Only last week, a father from Brighton on England's southern coast, Abubaker Deghayes, revealed that three of his sons had gone to fight in Syria, one of whom was killed in a battle.


Australia transport bureau says beach debris not from MH370

Handout of crew aboard the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield moving the U.S. Navy's Bluefin-21 into position for deployment, in the southern Indian Ocean to look for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 Debris picked up on a beach in Western Australia this week is unlikely to have come from the Malaysian Airlines jet that vanished nearly seven weeks ago, Australia's transport bureau said on Thursday. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has assessed the material that washed up on the coast 10 km (six miles) east of the town of Augusta, near the southwestern tip of Australia, the bureau's spokesman said. "It's considered highly unlikely to be from MH370," spokesman Tony Simes said. ATSB commissioner Martin Dolan earlier told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio that the bureau had examined detailed photographs of the debris and was satisfied it was not a lead in the hunt for the plane.


Death row case puts Oklahoma in legal bind

This photo combo of images provided by the Oklahoma Department of Corrections shows Clayton Lockett, left, and Charles Warner. Lockett and Warner, two death-row inmates who want to know the source of drugs that will be used to execute them, have placed Oklahoma’s two highest courts at odds and prompted aggravated members of the Legislature to call for the impeachment of Oklahoma Supreme Court justices. (AP Photo/Oklahoma Department of Corrections) OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Two death row inmates who want to know the source of drugs that will be used to execute them have placed Oklahoma's two highest courts at odds and prompted calls for impeaching justices on the Oklahoma Supreme Court.


Campaign to stop Britons joining Syria fight targets women

A view shows smoke rising after mortar bombs landed on a neighborhood in Damascus British police will ask women to help persuade young people not to go out to fight in Syria, in a new campaign to stem an exodus which authorities fear could breed militants at home. Senior police officers and security chiefs have said they are worried the fighters could return radicalized by hardline Islamists and carry out attacks on British soil. Britain's counter-terrorism police said they were going to appeal to women from "affected communities". "We are increasingly concerned about the numbers of young people who have or are intending ... to join the conflict," Helen Ball, National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, said in a statement ahead of Thursday's launch.


Bolivia approves downing of drug-smuggling planes

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — A new Bolivian law authorizes the country's military to shoot down planes suspected of smuggling cocaine, though it cannot yet be put into practice because it doesn't have sufficient radar coverage.

Top Asian News at 11:00 p.m. GMT

TOKYO (AP) — Facing fresh questions about his commitment to Asia, President Barack Obama will seek to convince Japan's leaders Thursday that he can deliver on his security and economic pledges, even as the crisis in Ukraine demands U.S. attention and resources elsewhere. The ominous standoff between Ukraine and Russia is threatening to overshadow Obama's four-country Asia swing that began Wednesday. He may decide during the trip whether to levy new economic sanctions on Moscow, a step that would signal the failure of an international agreement aimed at defusing the crisis.

Hagel seeking to deepen US-Mexico ties

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel boards his plane en route for Mexico City, Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at Pope Army Airfield in Fort Bragg, N.C. (AP Photo/Shannon Stapleton, Pool) MEXICO CITY (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday he is exploring ways to deepen U.S.-Mexican defense ties, including the possibility of training exercises with Mexican forces.


Hagel seeking to deepen US-Mexico ties

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel boards his plane en route for Mexico City, Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at Pope Army Airfield in Fort Bragg, N.C. (AP Photo/Shannon Stapleton, Pool) MEXICO CITY (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Wednesday he is exploring ways to deepen U.S.-Mexican defense ties, including the possibility of training exercises with Mexican forces.


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