North America Stay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.. Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:07:39 +0000 SRA Framework 2.0 en-gb Mexico police, protesters clash outside National Palace

imageMEXICO CITY: Riot police clashed with protesters outside Mexico City's National Palace on Thursday, after a massive march against the government's handling of the investigation into the feared massacre of 43 students.

Police sprayed water at the protesters, some of whom kicked the officers' shields, after powerful firecrackers were thrown at the palace, which President Enrique Pena Nieto uses for ceremonies.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Fri, 21 Nov 2014 04:46:06 +0000
Clashes as Mexicans hold rally for 43 missing students imageMEXICO CITY: Tens of thousands of black-clad protesters angry at the presumed slaughter of 43 students marched in Mexico City on Thursday, chanting for President Enrique Pena Nieto's resignation.

In the latest day of nationwide demonstrations, protesters waved blackened Mexican flag, shouting "Urgent! Urgent for the president to resign!" and "He will fall, he will fall, Pena Nieto will fall!"

Parents of the 43 male college students, who reject claims their sons are dead, led the march to the historic Zocalo square, in front of the National Palace.

It was the latest protest over the government's handling of a crime that has infuriated Mexicans fed up with corruption, impunity and a drug war that has left more than 100,000 people dead or missing since 2006.

The case has turned into the biggest challenge of Pena Nieto's nearly two-year-old presidency, on top of another scandal over a mansion his wife bought from a government contractor.

Prosecutors say a drug gang confessed to slaying the students and burning their bodies after receiving them from corrupt police in the southern state of Guerrero in September.

"Mexico is used to tragedy, robberies and corruption, and we need to begin to exercise our rights as citizens to get the government working," said Lili Correa, 46, wearing black.

The demonstration coincided with the anniversary of the start of the 1910 Mexican revolution, prompting the government to cancel the annual parade.

Before the march, masked protesters threw firebombs and used bazooka-like tubes to launch firecrackers at riot police, who hit back with tear gas to disperse the group on a street near the airport. Around 15 people were detained.

Hundreds of protesters blocked the main road to the airport for an hour, while police vehicles picked up passengers walking with their suitcases along the road.

Thousands protested in several other cities, including Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero, the violence-plagued southern state where the students vanished nearly two months ago.

Thousands more marched in Bolivia and some 200 took to the streets in El Salvador.

Mexico and Real Madrid football star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez tweeted a picture of himself wearing a black hoodie and the hashtag #WeAreAllAyotzinapa, referring to the young men's Ayotzinapa teacher-training college.

"This is a nationwide problem. Nothing like this happened before and Pena Nieto doesn't care, he's useless," said Luis Angel Garcia, a 19-year-old Ayotzinapa student.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Fri, 21 Nov 2014 04:13:29 +0000
Shooting at US university leaves 3 wounded, gunman dead imageWASHINGTON: A gunman opened fire at a major university in Florida early Thursday, leaving three people injured, before officers killed the shooter, police said.

The latest episode of America's epidemic of gun violence, happened just after midnight at Florida State University in the state capital Tallahassee.

A gunman opened fire outside a library, and when challenged by campus police to put down his weapon, he declined and was shot dead, Tallahassee Police Department spokesman David Northway told reporters.

He declined to say if the victims had been shot or to say if they were students, saying only they were being treated in a local hospital.

Northway said the investigation remains underway as to the motive of the shooting.

With midterm exams coming up next week ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the library was open 24 hours a day and students were inside at the time of the shooting.

Students at the huge university with a student body of more than 40,000 told US media that as many as four shots were fired, although they said it was inside the library, not outside.

One of the students who was at the library, Blair Stokes, described the early moments of the drama. She said she was on the first floor of the library and "this guy comes up and says someone has a gun," she told CNN.

Stokes said police quickly swarmed the building after shots were fired. The university had quickly put out an alert warning of a "dangerous situation" on campus.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:06:12 +0000
Tory first to be jailed in Canada for election fraud imageOTTAWA: A Conservative campaign worker became the first person in Canada to be jailed for vote fraud Wednesday, landing a blow to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his ruling party ahead of elections next year.

Michael Sona, 26, who was convicted in August, was sentenced to nine months in prison over a scheme that misdirected Canadian voters to fake polling stations during the last election.

Harper is already reeling from last month's conviction of his former parliamentary secretary for overspending in the 2011 election and falsifying records to try to cover it up.

Prosecutors and the judge in the Sona case said they believed others were involved, but nobody else has been charged. Sona had claimed he was a scapegoat.

Public Prosecution Service of Canada spokeswoman Ruth McGuirl said she hoped the sentence would "discourage" others from engaging in election fraud.

A flood of complaints from across Canada prompted the probe into "robocalls," but all were dismissed except one involving Sona in Guelph, west of Toronto.

Sona was charged with planning and unleashing a misleading robocall -- or automated call -- that affected 6,000 voters in Guelph in an attempt to keep them from casting ballots in the May 2011 federal election.

Harper said that the Conservatives had absolutely "no role in any of this."

After three back-to-back minority governments, the Tories on May 2, 2011 won 166 out of 308 seats in parliament, gaining their first majority government since 1988.

The Guelph Conservative candidate whom Sona had worked to get elected failed to defeat the Liberal incumbent.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Thu, 20 Nov 2014 06:06:17 +0000
Texas judge approves execution of mentally ill man imageWASHINGTON: A Texas judge on Wednesday refused to postpone the scheduled execution of a convicted killer who suffers from mental illness and is set to face lethal injection on December 3.

Scott Panetti, who has had schizophrenia for three decades, has won support for his case of groups such as Mental Health America, psychiatrists, former judges and prosecutors, evangelical Christians.

The European Union urged Texas Governor Rick Perry to grant Panetti clemency.

"The execution of persons suffering from a mental disorder is contrary to widely accepted human rights norms and is in contradiciton to the minimum standards of human rights set forth in several international human rights instruments," the bloc wrote in its letter.

Still, district judge Keith Williams refused to give attorneys more time to reevaluate whether Panetti was criminally responsible for the 1995 killing of his wife.

"As an obviously severely mentally ill man with schizophrenia, Mr Panetti should never have been allowed to represent himself in his death penalty case," his attorney Kathryn Kase said.

He "should not have been allowed to reject a plea deal that would have saved his life. Now, Mr Panetti must not be executed without a competency hearing.

"This is the last chance to prevent an injustice from turning into an immoral tragedy."

Though individual US states choose whether they will implement the death penalty, in 1986 the US Supreme Court barred execution of the mentally ill as cruel and unusual punishment.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Thu, 20 Nov 2014 03:41:49 +0000
Obama to announce immigration action in Thursday night speech: sources imageWASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama is expected to announce details of his executive action on immigration in a Thursday night speech ahead of travel to Las Vegas on Friday, sources close to the administration said.

One source familiar with the White House plan on Wednesday said Obama's action aims to provide relief from the threat of deportation for 5 million undocumented immigrants. It will also strengthen border security, address high-skilled foreign workers, and expand assistance to undocumented residents brought to the United States as children, the source said.

Separately, labor union sources said Obama was expected to lay out details of the plan in Thursday's speech.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

]]> (Imaduddin) North America Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:44:04 +0000
Obama orders hostage policy review in wake of 'evil' IS beheadings imageBEIRUT: US President Barack Obama has ordered a review of how Washington can release American hostages, as intelligence agencies investigated the involvement of Western militants in the beheading of aid worker Peter Kassig.

The announcement of the review came just 24 hours after the release of a video by the Islamic State claiming the beheading of Kassig.

He was the third American to be killed by Islamic State, following the deaths of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

On Monday, the parents of the 26-year-old Kassig paid tribute to their son and said they would try to "forgive" the militants.

In the letter from Obama, dated last Tuesday, Christine Wormuth, the US undersecretary of defence for policy, says the review will focus "on examining family engagement, intelligence collection and diplomatic engagement policies".

"The president recently directed a comprehensive review of the US government policy on overseas terrorist-related hostage cases," Christine Wormuth said in the note posted on The Daily Beast news site.

The move, Wormuth said, comes "as a result of the increased frequency of hostage-taking of Americans overseas, and the recognition of the dynamic threat posed by specific terrorist groups".

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Tue, 18 Nov 2014 04:33:28 +0000
Harvard sued over 'racial profiling' imageNEW YORK: A nonprofit group filed a lawsuit Monday against Harvard University, accusing the world-famous Ivy League institution of racial profiling in its admissions policies.

Students for Fair Admissions says Harvard limits the number of Asian Americans it admits while giving preference to other races, according to the Project on Fair Representation (PFR), a legal defence fund supporting the lawsuit.

"The university is engaging in a campaign of invidious discrimination," PFR said in a statement.

"White, African American and Hispanic applicants are given racial preferences over better qualified Asian Americans," it added, accusing Harvard of breaching civil rights laws and undermining the Fourteenth Amendment to the US constitution.

Plaintiff the SFFA alleges that Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill violated the Supreme Court's 2013 ruling on "strict scrutiny" standards which says admissions should be conducted on "race-neutral" grounds to end "race-based affirmative action policies," according to the PFR statement.

The director of PFR vowed further action on race-based admissions policies at other universities in the United States.

"These two lawsuits are the first of what are expected to be several similar challenges to other competitive colleges that continue to unconstitutionally use racial preferences in admission decisions," said Edward Blum.

SFFA said its members include "highly qualified" students that have been rejected from Harvard and Chapel Hill, and their parents.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Tue, 18 Nov 2014 03:45:33 +0000
Keystone vote Tuesday will be nail-biter in US Senate imageWASHINGTON: The US Senate braced for Tuesday's cliffhanger vote on whether to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, with President Barack Obama signaling he might veto the controversial bill.

Congressional Republicans have long pushed the Obama administration to lift its hold on the $5.3 billion, shovel-ready project, which remains under extended review some six years after it was submitted.

The pipeline, which would bring oil from tar sands in Alberta province to refineries on the US Gulf coast, easily passed the Republican-controlled House last week, as it has several times before.

Now, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid finally allowing a vote on the bill, Tuesday's action in the Democratically-run Senate -- the most high-profile vote since Republicans swept to victory in midterm elections earlier this month -- will mark the closest Keystone has ever been to approval.

One of the legislation's sponsors, Senate Democrat Mary Landrieu, said "yes" when asked by reporters Monday whether she had the 60 votes necessary for passage, but she declined to name the elusive final Democrat needed.

The chamber's 45 Republicans are on record supporting the project, as are 14 Democrats.

"We've got 59 announced," said Senator John Hoeven, the bill's Republican co-sponsor.

"I think we'll get there, yeah. But I don't know for sure until we have the vote," he added.

Heightening suspense, independent Senator Angus King, seen as a potential decider, declined to say how he will vote Tuesday evening.

Keystone's progress is closely monitored in Canada, where government officials and builder TransCanada have said the project would provide an economic boon.

But Obama hinted, again, that he may block the bill should it reach his desk.

"With respect to Keystone, I've said consistently... we're going to let the process play itself out," the president said Sunday in Brisbane, Australia.

"But I won't hide my opinion about this, which is that one major determinant of whether we should approve a pipeline shipping Canadian oil to world markets, not to the United States, is does it contribute to the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change."

The State Department, which has authority over Keystone because of its international link, released a review in January finding that the project's carbon emissions would not be significant.

Critics warn of the pipeline's environmental impact, arguing that tar-sand bitumen is some of the world's dirtiest oil.

Republicans tout Keystone as a job-creator, saying it will generate 40,000 temporary construction jobs. The State Department's report agrees, but says only 35 permanent jobs will result from the project.

Republicans gained at least seven Senate seats in the midterm election, and when the new Congress convenes in January they should have the votes to pass Keystone.

But Landrieu forced a vote now, in no small part because she is locked in a December 6 runoff in Louisiana, where she wants to be seen as a breaking gridlock.

Her Republican challenger is congressman Bill Cassidy, who introduced the parallel legislation that passed in the House.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Tue, 18 Nov 2014 03:42:11 +0000
Mass murderer Manson to marry in prison imageLOS ANGELES: He may not be everyone's idea of a good catch, but mass murderer Charles Manson has been granted a marriage license to wed a 26-year-old woman who has been visiting him in prison.

Manson, 80, who is serving a life sentence for slaying seven people, plans to marry Afton Elaine Burton, 54 years his junior and described in US media as a slender brunette.

"He has received a marriage license," the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation told AFP on Monday.

The license was applied for on November 7, according to the website for King's County, california, where Manson is in jail, but no date for the nuptials has been set.

Manson has been in prison for more than four decades after the 1969 killings, which included the brutal murder of director Roman Polanski's wife, Sharon Tate, who was eight-and-a-half months pregnant.

But Burton, who also calls herself "Star," has said she and Manson are madly in love and already consider themselves married.

"I'm completely with him, and he's completely with me. It's what I was born for, you know. I don't know what else to say," she told CNN in August of the now gray-haired killer, who has a swastika tattooed on his forehead.

She said she had been following Manson's "philosophy" since she was a teenager and moved to Corcoran, where the convicted murderer is detained, to be closer to him.

They talk every day and she visits him at California State Prison most weekends, Burton said.

Manson was married twice before he was jailed, first to Rosalie Jean Willis from 1955 to 1958 and later to Candy Stevens between 1959 and 1963.

He was sentenced to death in 1969 along with four of his disciples for having led the killing of seven people, but their sentences were later changed to life in prison.

In 2012, Manson applied for parole but was denied release and is not eligible to apply again until 2027.

Manson headed an apocalyptic cult that committed murders in upscale, mostly white neighborhoods of Los Angeles in order to blame the crimes on African Americans, in hopes of sparking a "Helter Skelter" race war.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2014

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) North America Tue, 18 Nov 2014 03:06:04 +0000