North America Stay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.. Fri, 29 Apr 2016 15:57:31 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb US Senate confirms ambassador to Mexico after nine-month delay imageWASHINGTON: The Senate Thursday confirmed the appointment of a new US ambassador to Mexico, ending a nine-month delay caused by lawmakers opposed to the nominee's work on the US-Cuban rapprochement.

Roberta Jacobson, the current assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, was nominated by President Barack Obama in June of last year.

But the appointment was quickly put on hold by lawmakers from the opposition Republican Party.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who is of Cuban origin, was the leading force behind the hold-up, opposing Jacobson's central role in the diplomatic reconciliation between the United States and Cuba.

Jacobson's nomination was delayed in particular as Rubio hit the campaign trail in a bid for the US presidency.

However, Rubio's recent return to the Senate after dropping out of the race brought the issue back to the fore and prompted intense negotiations between the State Department and senators.

In an official statement, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his satisfaction Thursday that the "Senate has finally confirmed Roberta S. Jacobson."

"Nine months after her nomination, I'm pleased to say we are sending one of our finest diplomats to advance this important relationship," he said.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake, one of the staunchest advocates for rapprochement with Cuba, said in a statement that "though long overdue, I'm pleased that the Senate has confirmed an individual as qualified and capable as Roberta Jacobson."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:22:34 +0000
White House 'deeply' concerned about China law on foreign NGOs imageWASHINGTON: The White House said on Thursday the United States is "deeply concerned" that China's new law on management of the activities of foreign non-governmental organizations will narrow the space for civil society in China.

The White House urged China to respect the rights and freedoms of human rights defenders, journalists, business groups, and others, "including by protecting the ability of foreign NGO's to operate in China," Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said in a statement.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) North America Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:40:18 +0000
Indian PM invited to address joint meeting of US Congress imageWASHINGTON: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a joint meeting of the US Congress on June 8 during the leader's visit to Washington, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Thursday.

The address will be the fifth to a joint meeting of Congress by an Indian premier, and the first since 2005.

"This address presents a special opportunity to hear from the elected leader of the world's most populous democracy on how our two nations can work together to promote our shared values and to increase prosperity," Ryan said.

"The friendship between our nations is a pillar of stability in a very, very important region."

The United States and India held high-level bilateral talks as recently as early April, when US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter met Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi.

Carter traveled to India to bolster a strategic relationship Washington considers crucial in the face of what it sees as China's rising assertiveness, particularly in the South China Sea.

House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce welcomed Ryan's invitation to the Indian prime minister as a chance to work together "to promote peace and prosperity."

"Our partnership in areas such as defense, nuclear power, renewable energy and space exploration is very strong, thanks to our many shared values," Royce said in a statement.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) North America Thu, 28 Apr 2016 18:15:04 +0000
UN urges North Korea to stop ‘further provocative actions’‘further-provocative-actions’.html‘further-provocative-actions’.html imageUNITED NATIONS: The United Nations urged North Korea on Thursday to stop "any further provocative actions" after the Asian state test-fired what appeared to be two intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

"These types of actions by the DPRK (North Korea) are extremely troubling," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Both missile tests on Thursday failed, a South Korean official said, in a setback for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the run-up to next week's ruling party congress.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) North America Thu, 28 Apr 2016 16:51:13 +0000
Former US House speaker: Ted Cruz is 'Lucifer in the flesh' imageWASHINGTON: Former US House speaker John Boehner, who stepped down last year, let fly with a stunning critique of fellow Republican and 2016 presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, labeling him the devil incarnate.

"Lucifer in the flesh" is how the ever-blunt Republican bigwig described Senator Cruz of Texas, who is struggling to block billionaire Donald Trump's march to the Republican presidential nomination, according to the Stanford Daily newspaper.

"I have Democrat friends and Republican friends," Boehner said. "I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life."

Boehner's remarks were made at a public talk late Wednesday at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

During his tenure as the top lawmaker in Congress, Boehner rarely held back when frustrated or dissatisfied -- especially with the gridlock in Washington.

But even by his standards, the Ohioan's unvarnished appraisal of a fellow Republican lawmaker who is running for nation's highest office was startling.

Cruz prides himself on standing up for his beliefs, but he also is widely seen as one of the more intransigent members of Congress.

Critics on both sides of the aisle blamed him for triggering a 16-day federal government shutdown in late 2013.

Boehner often expressed exasperation with those he viewed as blocking the work of Congress, and that temperament was on display at Stanford as he called members of the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus "goofballs."

He also revealed he is friends and "texting buddies" with Trump and has played golf with the brash billionaire for years.

John Kasich, the Ohio governor who is trailing in the Republican nomination race, "requires more effort on my behalf than all my other friends," Boehner said. "But he's still my friend, and I love him."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) North America Thu, 28 Apr 2016 15:37:45 +0000
US jobless claims up; four-week average lowest since 1973;-four-week-average-lowest-since-1973.html;-four-week-average-lowest-since-1973.html imageWASHINGTON: The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits bounced back from a 42-1/2-year low last week, but the underlying trend remained consistent with tightening labor market conditions.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 9,000 to a seasonally adjusted 257,000 for the week ended April 23, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

Claims for the prior week were revised to show 1,000 more applications than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast claims rising to 260,000 in the latest week.

Jobless claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with healthy labor market conditions, for 60 weeks, the longest stretch since 1973.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week's claims data and no states had been estimated.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 4,750 to 256,000 last week, the lowest since December 1973.

The number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid decreased 5,000 to 2.13 million in the week ended April 16, the lowest since November 2000.

The four-week average of the so-called continuing claims declined 10,500 to 2.16 million, the lowest reading since November 2000.

The continuing claims data covered the survey week for April's unemployment rate.

The four-week average of continuing claims fell 47,750 between the March and April survey periods, suggesting an improvement in the unemployment rate.

The jobless rate was at 5.0 percent in March.

Copyright Reuters, 2016

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) North America Thu, 28 Apr 2016 12:43:11 +0000
White House hopeful Cruz taps Carly Fiorina as running mate imageWASHINGTON: White House hopeful Ted Cruz went all-in Wednesday as he sought to bar Donald Trump's triumphant march to the Republican nomination, naming Carly Fiorina as his running mate as the primary race hits its final stretch.

The Texas senator made the surprise announcement a day after Trump clinched a knock-out series of wins in five states, putting him within striking distance of the nomination as all eyes turn to next week's key vote in Indiana.

Cruz tapped the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Fiorina as his would be vice presidential pick, without waiting -- as is customary -- for the end of the primary campaign.

"Over and over again, Carly has shattered glass ceilings," Cruz told a cheering crowd in Indianapolis as he welcomed her on stage.

Fiorina, 61, has been one of Cruz's staunchest supporters since she abandoned her own White House bid early this year, not to mention an outspoken critic of both Trump and Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

In September she stole the show at an early presidential debate by landing stinging blows against Trump, and displaying steely confidence and command of foreign policy.

"Tough fights don't worry me a bit," she told the raucous Cruz rally.

"I am prepared to stand by his side and give this everything I have, to restore the soul of our party, to defeat Donald Trump, to defeat Hillary Clinton, and to take our country back."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Thu, 28 Apr 2016 08:44:07 +0000
Obama to visit water crisis-hit Flint imageWASHINGTON: President Barack Obama will next week travel to Flint, Michigan, where a crisis over tainted water has become a focus of the 2016 election campaign, the White House said Wednesday.

Responding to a letter from eight-year-old Flint resident Mari Copeny, Obama said he would visit the majority African American northern city on May 4.

"I want to make sure people like you and your family are receiving the help you need and deserve," Obama wrote.

Republican and Democratic presidential candidates have used the Flint crisis to trade barbs about the size, role and failings of local and federal governments.

More than 8,000 children are believed to have drunk water that contained harmful levels of lead.

The tainted water stemmed from a decision to shift Flint's water source from the Detroit River to the Flint River as part of cost-cutting measures ordered by state Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican who has consistently resisted calls to quit.

Experts believe the chemical-laced Flint River water corroded lead pipes, allowing large amounts of the chemical element to leach into the city's water.

The state attorney general has filed criminal charges against a city official and two state regulators for allegedly falsifying tests and tampering with evidence.

In the heart of America's rustbelt, Flint is at the crossroads of many of the issues that have dominated the 2016 election cycle -- foreign trade, environmental standards, the economy and the gap between rich and poor.

Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders even held a presidential debate in Flint ahead of the Michigan primary in March.

Sanders' strident message on the need to address income inequality narrowly won the day in the Democratic primary.

But the state is set to be a battle ground in the general election.

Donald Trump's populist message targeting disaffected white voters propelled him to win Michigan's Republican primary.

Obama is likely to use the trip to show Flint residents that the federal government is listening to them, and implicitly or explicitly, that the fault lies elsewhere.

A presidential visit will also energize his supporters ahead of the November 8.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) North America Wed, 27 Apr 2016 16:11:52 +0000
Clinton all but secures White House nomination, Trump advances lead imageWASHINGTON: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were a giant step closer to their parties' presidential nominations Wednesday after crushing their respective Democratic and Republican rivals in a string of presidential primaries.

Clinton has now virtually cleared the way to become the Democratic nominee in the November presidential election, the first woman in US history to reach that milestone.

The former secretary of state won four out of five primaries Tuesday in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and the night's big prize, the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

She conceded only the small state of Rhode Island to rival Bernie Sanders in a near sweep that gives her an almost insurmountable delegate lead.

Clinton now has 2,168 delegates, including more than 500 "super-delegates," against Sanders's 1,401, with about 1,000 more to be distributed in the 14 remaining nominating races. She needs 2,383 delegates to win the nomination.

"What a great night," Clinton told a thrilled crowd of supporters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The 68-year-old former first lady telegraphed her eagerness to shift toward the general election and a showdown with Republicans.

"Let's go forward, let's win the nomination, and in July let's return as a unified party," she said.

Clinton's strong showing heaps pressure on the well-funded Sanders, a self-styled democratic socialist senator from Vermont who vowed to battle on until the California primary on June 7.

"The people in every state in this country should have the right to determine who they want as president and what the agenda of the Democratic Party should be. That's why we are in this race until the last vote is cast," Sanders said in a statement.

"That is why this campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform."

Trump swept all five presidential races held Tuesday, strengthening his grip on the Republican race.

He demolished his rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island -- a stunning show of force by a candidate seen as a populist political savior by millions despite being loathed by the party establishment.

"I consider myself the presumptive nominee," the real estate mogul told a crowd at Trump Tower in New York, despite still being short of the 1,237 delegates required to win the nomination outright.

"As far as I'm concerned, it's over."

The 69-year-old billionaire extended his lead in the delegates who will officially choose the Republican nominee at the party's convention in July.

"For weeks, the stop Trump, dump Trump movement has tried to puncture" his rise, James Morone, a political science professor at Brown University, told AFP.

"Today's results overwhelmingly tell you it's not working."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Imaduddin) North America Wed, 27 Apr 2016 14:28:20 +0000
Clinton wins Connecticut primary, 4th win of night imageWASHINGTON: Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton on Tuesday scored her fourth primary win of the night over rival Bernie Sanders in Connecticut, US networks projected.

Clinton -- the former secretary of state, first lady and US senator -- also won nominating contests in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, according to US networks. Sanders won in Rhode Island.

On the Republican side, frontrunner Donald Trump swept all five primaries on Tuesday in the US Northeast.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Wed, 27 Apr 2016 08:34:17 +0000
Experts leave Mexico 'sad' after not finding missing students imageMEXICO: The foreign experts came to Mexico in March 2015 with the daunting task of helping investigators solve the mysterious disappearance of 43 students.

A year later, the five experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights are going home without an answer for the desperate parents of the young men missing since September 2014.

But they leave behind a blistering account of the government's investigation -- a report on Sunday that accused authorities of stonewalling them in their quest for new information and of possibly torturing suspects.

Before their mission formally ends on Saturday, two of the experts told AFP they are now concerned about how the parents, who have a tense relationship with the government and wanted the experts to stay, will be treated.

The experts also voiced hope that the government will follow their recommendations and use their conclusions to improve the country's opaque judicial system.

"We are sad to leave without being able to say where the missing are," Angela Buitrago, a former Colombian prosecutor, said on Tuesday.

"It's very important that the victims' right to know the truth be guaranteed, that they be protected and given visibility by the Mexican state," Buitrago said.

Fellow Colombian lawyer Alejandro Valencia said the government has a "duty to guarantee it will investigate this grave human rights case."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2016

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Wed, 27 Apr 2016 08:07:51 +0000