North AmericaStay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder..http://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america.htmlWed, 30 Jul 2014 17:04:29 +0000SRA Framework 2.0en-gbNine hospitalized after US lightning strike http://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/186114-nine-hospitalized-after-us-lightning-strike.htmlhttp://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/186114-nine-hospitalized-after-us-lightning-strike.htmlimageLOS ANGELES: Nine people, including teenager, were taken to hospital Sunday following a lightning strike at bustling Venice Beach, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

LAFD spokeswoman Katherine Main told AFP two of the individuals were in critical condition but that it was unclear whether all nine were actually hit.

The early afternoon incident occurred while there were isolated thunderstorms in the area and many people were at the beach, Main said.

Eight of those taken to hospital were adults while the ninth was a 15-year-old, she added.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

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parvezjabri@yahoo.com (Parvez Jabri)North AmericaMon, 28 Jul 2014 08:02:04 +0000
Mexico arrests 32 cops for alleged organized crime ties http://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/186063-mexico-arrests-32-cops-for-alleged-organized-crime-ties.htmlhttp://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/186063-mexico-arrests-32-cops-for-alleged-organized-crime-ties.htmlimageMORELIA: More than 30 police officers have been arrested in Mexico for alleged organized crime ties and possible involvement in the killing of fellow cops, authorities said Sunday.

Those detained include a former top public safety chief from the town of Tarimbaro, an ex-commander of the same unit and 18 more active duty agents, a public safety source in the troubled state of Michoacan told AFP.

Authorities are investigating whether those taken into custody were involved in the recent murders of three senior officials in Tarimbaro's public safety unit, the source added.

A second operation netted 12 municipal police officers in Charapan, authorities said.

The suspects were transferred to the state capital, Morelia, where they are due to appear before a judge.

Michoacan, on Mexico's Pacific coast, is a key drug trafficking area for United States-bound narcotics.

Some 80,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since 2006.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

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s.rs96@yahoo.com (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui)North AmericaMon, 28 Jul 2014 03:19:56 +0000
Americans infected with Ebola in Liberia outbreak http://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/186043-americans-infected-with-ebola-in-liberia-outbreak.htmlhttp://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/186043-americans-infected-with-ebola-in-liberia-outbreak.htmlimageWASHINGTON: Two Americans involved in the treatment of Ebola victims in Liberia have become infected with the West African epidemic, an aid agency said on Sunday.

Samaritan's Purse, a Christian charity, said that its physician Kent Brantly was in stable condition and had been isolated at the group's Ebola treatment center at the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia.

His symptoms included intermittent fever and body aches. Nancy Writebol, a missionary with the SIM Christian charity that runs the hospital, was also in stable condition as of Sunday morning, according to Samaritan's Purse.

"They're both receiving intensive early treatment, but certainly it's a dangerous situation and a frightening situation," spokeswoman Melissa Strickland told AFP.

She emphasized that early treatment was one key to recovery from the deadly disease. According to the World Health Organization, Ebola outbreaks have a fatality rate of up to 90 percent.

Writebol had been working as a hygienist responsible for detoxifying protective suits worn by those entering and exiting an Ebola isolation center.

She has a husband and two children, Samaritan's Purse said, adding that Brantly, 33, was also married with two children.

Brantly is the medical director of the Samaritan's Purse Ebola case management center in Liberia, where the agency continues to work with Liberian and international health officials to contain the outbreak.

He began work with the group's Liberia team in October and had focused on Ebola patients since June.

Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever with a very high fatality rate. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have borne the brunt of the recent epidemic, and last week Nigeria recorded its first death.

As of July 20, the number of Ebola cases recorded in the months-long epidemic stood at 1,093, including more than 660 deaths, according to the WHO.

The virus can fell victims within days, causing severe fever and muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea and, in some cases, organ failure and unstoppable bleeding.

Ebola is believed to be carried by animals hunted for meat, notably bats. It spreads among humans via bodily fluids including sweat, meaning you can get sick from touching an infected person.

With no vaccine, patients believed to have caught the virus must be isolated to prevent further contagion. Ebola first emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, and is named after a river there.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

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m.iqbal1967@yahoo.com (Muhammad Iqbal)North AmericaSun, 27 Jul 2014 21:47:21 +0000
Committees in Mexico's lower house pass energy reform bills http://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185986-committees-in-mexicos-lower-house-pass-energy-reform-bills.htmlhttp://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185986-committees-in-mexicos-lower-house-pass-energy-reform-bills.htmlimageMEXICO CITY: Committees in Mexico's lower house on Saturday approved laws fleshing out a landmark energy reform that seeks to drive private investment into the long-shuttered sector.

The so-called secondary laws, which detail the implementation of the constitutional energy reform passed last year, will head to the floor of the lower house, where lawmakers will debate them beginning on Monday.

If they are fully approved in the lower house, some of the secondary laws will head to the Senate for final approval.

The laws passed in committees on Saturday create a new tax framework for Pemex, guidelines for contracts and tax benefits for states where extraction occurs, among other things.

Pledging to reverse a decade of falling oil and gas output, President Enrique Pena Nieto pushed through a reform in December 2013 ending state oil company Pemex's 75-year oil and gas monopoly, and opening the industry up to private capital.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

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s.rs96@yahoo.com (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui)North AmericaSun, 27 Jul 2014 07:24:11 +0000
Tropical Storm Hernan forms off Mexico's Pacific coast http://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185979-tropical-storm-hernan-forms-off-mexicos-pacific-coast.htmlhttp://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185979-tropical-storm-hernan-forms-off-mexicos-pacific-coast.htmlimageMEXICO CITY: Fearing potentially deadly flooding, Mexican disaster officials are closely monitoring the weather after Tropical Storm Hernan formed off the country's Pacific coast of Mexico late Saturday.

Hernan was located 585 kilometers (more than 360 miles) southwest of the tourist port of Manzanillo and was moving in a northwesterly direction, parallel to the coastline, at a speed of 22 kilometers per hour, Mexico's National Meterological Service (SMN) reported at 0300 GMT.

The storm was packing maximum winds of 65 kilometers per hour, with gusts up to 85 kilometers per hours, the SMN said.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center, which had slightly different figures, warned that Hernan was picking up strength.

"Additional strengthening is expected" overnight Saturday to Sunday, "and Hernan could be near hurricane strength by Sunday afternoon," the NHC said.

It added however that the storm is expected to weaken on Monday.

Heavy rain from tropical storms Douglas and Elida earlier this month killed three people in the northen state of Chihuahua, while three other people were killed by Hurricane Amanda in May in the states of Michoacan and Guerrero.

Neither Mexican nor US weather monitors expect Hernan to make landfall.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

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s.rs96@yahoo.com (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui)North AmericaSun, 27 Jul 2014 06:57:21 +0000
Obama, Central American leaders meet on child migrantshttp://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185848-obama-central-american-leaders-meet-on-child-migrants.htmlhttp://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185848-obama-central-american-leaders-meet-on-child-migrants.htmlimageWASHINGTON: President Barack Obama met Friday with three Central American leaders to try to get control of an humanitarian crisis triggered by a tide of child migrants crossing the southern US border.

Obama's won pledges of support from the presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and repeated his appeals to Central American parents not to send their kids north.

"We reiterated our commitment to prevent families and children from undertaking this dangerous journey and to work together to promote safe, legal, and orderly migration," the four said in a joint statement.

They also pledged to pursue the smugglers that prey upon migrants desperate to reach the United States and to "counter misinformation about US immigration policy" that encourages the exodus.

The US president, in remarks to reporters following the hour-and-a-half long meeting stressed that Americans feel "great compassion" for the child migrants, who have often endured tremendous suffering before and during their journey.

"But I also emphasized to my friends that we have to deter a continuing influx of children putting themselves at risk," he said.

Obama has sought to pour cold water on the hopes of millions of families in Central America planning to join the tens of thousands of young migrants and their relatives arriving in the United States.

And he warned that many of those who manage to cross the border fail to qualify for longterm residency status.

"There may be some narrow circumstances in which there is humanitarian or refugee status that a family might be eligible for," Obama said.

"But I think it's important to recognize that that would not necessarily accommodate a large number of additional migrants."

His Central American counterparts gave no comment to the US media immediately after the White House meeting.

But they have already pinned some blame for the flood of young migrants at Washington's door.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said recently that the child migrant phenomenon is closely connected to drug-related, as well as somewhat fuzzy US immigration policy.

"It is a matter that arises, we believe, from the lack of clarity, or ambiguity, that has become the hallmark of the policies and the debates on immigration reform in the United States," he said during a visit to the US Congress on Thursday.

For the White House, the crisis is the visible symptom of a broken immigration system in desperate need of reform.

The US Senate last year passed an immigration reform bill that included a path to legalization for the 11 million undocumented immigrants now in the country, but the measure has run aground in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

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parvezjabri@yahoo.com (Parvez Jabri)North AmericaSat, 26 Jul 2014 05:46:41 +0000
Obama, Central American leaders meet on child migrants http://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185834-obama-central-american-leaders-meet-on-child-migrants.htmlhttp://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185834-obama-central-american-leaders-meet-on-child-migrants.htmlimageWASHINGTON: President Barack Obama met on Friday with three Central American leaders to try to get control of an humanitarian crisis triggered by a tide of child migrants crossing the southern US border.

Obama's won pledges of support from the presidents of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador and repeated his appeals to Central American parents not to send their kids north.

"We reiterated our commitment to prevent families and children from undertaking this dangerous journey and to work together to promote safe, legal, and orderly migration," the four said in a joint statement.

They also pledged to pursue the smugglers that prey upon migrants desperate to reach the United States and to "counter misinformation about US immigration policy" that encourages the exodus.

The US president, in remarks to reporters following the hour-and-a-half long meeting stressed that Americans feel "great compassion" for the child migrants, who have often endured tremendous suffering before and during their journey.

"But I also emphasized to my friends that we have to deter a continuing influx of children putting themselves at risk," he said.

Obama has sought to pour cold water on the hopes of millions of families in Central America planning to join the tens of thousands of young migrants and their relatives arriving in the United States.

And he warned that many of those who manage to cross the border fail to qualify for longterm residency status. "There may be some narrow circumstances in which there is humanitarian or refugee status that a family might be eligible for," Obama said.

"But I think it's important to recognize that that would not necessarily accommodate a large number of additional migrants." His Central American counterparts gave no comment to the US media immediately after the White House meeting.

But they have already pinned some blame for the flood of young migrants at Washington's door.

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said recently that the child migrant phenomenon is closely connected to drug-related, as well as somewhat fuzzy US immigration policy.

"It is a matter that arises, we believe, from the lack of clarity, or ambiguity, that has become the hallmark of the policies and the debates on immigration reform in the United States," he said during a visit to the US Congress on Thursday.

For the White House, the crisis is the visible symptom of a broken immigration system in desperate need of reform.

The US Senate last year passed an immigration reform bill that included a path to legalization for the 11 million undocumented immigrants now in the country, but the measure has run aground in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Now Obama who made immigration one of the central campaign themes in 2008 and 2012 finds himself facing mid-term legislative elections as the debate over immigration takes a heated turn.

"The conversation has become more toxic and what Obama is dealing with now is layers of politicization of the issue," said Audrey Singer of the Brookings Institution.

Texas governor Rick Perry, a Republican, announced he is sending 1,000 National Guard troops to secure his state's long border with Mexico.

In southern California, meanwhile, several "anti-immigrant" movements have sprung up. "We want a fence not a reform" and "Return to sender" read signs carried by protesters.

At least 57,000 unaccompanied minors have been detained on the border with Mexico since October.

The government expects this to reach 90,000 by the end of September, although the total may prove lower because the White House says detentions dropped by half since last month.

Obama has asked Congress to approve $3.7 billion in emergency funds to deal with the influx, but lawmakers seem likely to provide a far lower sum perhaps as little as a third of that sought.

Republicans also want to amend a 2008 anti-human trafficking law that gives greater legal protections to minors from countries that do not border the United States than to those from Mexico and Canada.

Time for a legislative remedy is running out, however: Congress goes into its summer recess next week, and lawmakers do not return to Washington until September 8.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

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m.iqbal1967@yahoo.com (Muhammad Iqbal)North AmericaFri, 25 Jul 2014 23:24:40 +0000
US Congress acts to prevent international child abductions http://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185831-us-congress-acts-to-prevent-international-child-abductions.htmlhttp://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185831-us-congress-acts-to-prevent-international-child-abductions.htmlimageWASHINGTON: Congress gave its final approval on Friday to legislation that compels US authorities to assist American mothers and fathers whose children are victims of international parental abductions.

More than 1,000 international child abductions each year are reported to the State Department, with children often taken illegally from the United States by a foreign parent to countries like Brazil, England, India, Japan and Russia. Most of them are not returned.

By simple voice vote, the House of Representatives approved the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act, named after son Sean who, through an intense US diplomatic intervention, was returned to his New Jersey home years after being taken to Brazil by his mother.

The bill passed the House last December, but the Senate tweaked it and approved its version last week. The House on Friday passed the final legislation and it now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The international Hague Convention on child abductions provides a civil framework for speeding the return of children, but the rules are not consistently enforced.

The Goldman act, first drafted in 2009, "ensures that (American parents) will now receive significant help from the US government in their fights to recover their children," said House Republican Chris Smith, who wrote the original legislation.

"With this bill, for the first time ever, parents with children held in non-Hague countries can work with the State Department. They won't be on their own, far from the United States, desperately trying to get their children back."

The law, once signed, would call for increasingly severe steps taken by US authorities if a foreign government does not cooperate in helping resolve abduction cases, beginning with diplomatic demarches and escalating to cancellations of official visits, suspension of economic aid, and formal requests for extradition of individuals engaged in abductions.

It would also urge the administration to forge bilateral agreements with Hague Convention and non-Hague Convention countries to help locate and return abducted children and protect access rights for the "left-behind" parent.

"These abductions are a form of child abuse and a human rights violation," Smith said.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

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m.iqbal1967@yahoo.com (Muhammad Iqbal)North AmericaFri, 25 Jul 2014 23:07:31 +0000
US hoping to boost India trade tieshttp://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185680-us-hoping-to-boost-india-trade-ties.htmlhttp://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185680-us-hoping-to-boost-india-trade-ties.htmlimageWASHINGTON: The United States hopes to give a huge boost to its trade ties with India in an upcoming visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry, US officials said Thursday.

"Our trade has already grown fivefold since the year 2000 to almost 100 billion (dollars) annually," Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Biswal told US lawmakers.

"We can grow that fivefold again in the years to come. And we are committed to addressing the inevitable frictions over trade through dialogue and engagement."

Kerry is to leave for India on July 31 to take part in the fifth annual US-India Strategic Dialogue, and he will be accompanied by Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, the State Department announced.

"This visit will mark the first US cabinet-level visit to New Delhi since the new Indian government was elected and underscores the enormous strategic importance of the US-India relationship and our hopes for the future of the relationship," deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters.

The US hopes to "relaunch the relationship" and focus on such issues as "reinvigorating trade and investment" while also highlighting "energy cooperation, including civil nuclear energy," Biswal said.

She stressed that one of the brightest areas was "helping India meet its growing energy needs" and trying to seal contracts to export American LNG as well as "cutting-edge nuclear energy technology."

American officials will also be seeking to break the ice with new Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Modi was once persona non grata in the United States due to allegations that he turned a blind eye to anti-Muslim riots that swept Gujarat in 2002 when he was leader of the western state. He has denied wrongdoing.

The United States has rushed to make up for lost time since it became clear that Modi would cruise to victory in elections held in April and May. His Hindu nationalist swept to India's biggest electoral mandate in three decades.

"While India is a large market, a commercial relationship remains underdeveloped relative to its potential," Assistant Commerce Secretary Arun Kumar told the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee.

"With a new government in charge, the timing may be ripe to improve our bilateral trade relationship. From 2000 to 2013, US-India two-way trade has grown from $19 billion in goods and services to about $97 billion," he said, adding "the potential is indeed vast."

But he cautioned challenges still remained, including protecting intellectual property rights, high tariffs and a regulatory system which lacks transparency.

"For India to... reach the potential as a strategic power across the Asia region, across the globe, its first order of business will be revitalizing its economy," added Biswal.

"And we have a deep interest in partnership with India in that quest and partnering with Prime Minister Modi in that quest."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

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parvezjabri@yahoo.com (Parvez Jabri)North AmericaFri, 25 Jul 2014 06:57:50 +0000
Republican Paul Ryan to renew U.S. poverty debate with grant planhttp://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185604-republican-paul-ryan-to-renew-us-poverty-debate-with-grant-plan.htmlhttp://www.brecorder.com/world/north-america/185604-republican-paul-ryan-to-renew-us-poverty-debate-with-grant-plan.htmlimageWASHINGTON: Republican Representative Paul Ryan will probably spark a new round of arguments over how to fight poverty in America on Thursday as he introduces a sweeping plan to replace long-standing social safety net programs with new block grants for states and communities.

Ryan, his party's vice presidential candidate in 2012, is best known for his budget blueprints marked by deep domestic spending cuts. This time, the chairman of the House Budget Committee will unveil his plan to keep social safety net funding at the same levels but change the way it is used in a speech on Thursday to the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington.

Instead of distributing money to the poor via food stamps, welfare checks and housing subsidies, Ryan would leave it up to states and local groups to apply for block grants aimed at encouraging people to take entry-level jobs instead of staying home and receiving welfare benefits.

Bob Woodson, who helped develop the plan as founder of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, said Ryan's grant program would be more flexible and better tailored to poor communities' needs. Community and faith-based organizations would apply for funds and have to demonstrate they can produce positive results, he said.

"Everything is intended to reward work," said Woodson, whose tax-exempt nonprofit group supports organizations in troubled neighborhoods. "It has as its goal to produce greater independence and self-sufficiency and not just to continue to tangle people in a safety net web."

Ryan is seen as a possible Republican presidential contender for 2016. Should he seek that nomination, many of the ideas he will present in a speech on Thursday to the American Enterprise Institute are likely to find their way into his campaign platform.

The Republican congressman from Wisconsin said in a report in March that existing federal safety net programs were haphazard and had largely failed to reduce poverty over the past 50 years, despite a cost of $799 billion in fiscal 2012.

Some groups who advocate for the poor are already criticizing Ryan's approach and assumptions. The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank in Washington, argued that Columbia University research shows that food stamps and the earned income tax credit have reduced poverty rates significantly since 1967.

Ryan "is entitled to propose whatever he wants," said Robert Greenstein, CBPP's president. "He is not, however, entitled to distort the nation's poverty record to sell his plan - and hopefully he will not do so."

One area of rare agreement between Ryan and Democratic President Barack Obama is the proposed expansion of the earned income tax credit to include single earners. The credit provides a refund check to the working poor to boost income and encourage work.

Ryan's plan will also seek to increase choice in public education and ease regulations associated with licensing for jobs such as taxi drivers, which in some states prohibit those with criminal records, said Stuart Butler of the conservative Heritage Foundation, who has reviewed the plan.

Democrats planned to use Ryan's speech to promote their alternatives, such as Obama's proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25.

"We will oppose any plan that uses the sunny language of 'reform' as a guise to cut vital safety-net programs," U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat from California, and U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen, Democrat from Maryland, wrote in an opinion piece published online on Wednesday by The Huffington Post.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

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imad_kueconomist@yahoo.com (Imaduddin)North AmericaThu, 24 Jul 2014 10:46:44 +0000