North AmericaStay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.., 04 Aug 2015 13:45:50 +0000SRA Framework 2.0en-gbCanada set for election amid concern over economy and security Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Sunday called general elections for October 19, kicking off a campaign for a fourth straight term in power amid a sluggish economy.

Harper, in power since 2006, dissolved parliament after meeting with Governor General David Johnston, the representative of Queen Elizabeth II, Canada's nominal head of state in this Commonwealth country.

Voters will be choosing all 338 members of the House of Commons, 30 more than in the last election because of redistricting.

Polls suggested the race will be tight.

Harper said the election was about "leadership on the big issues that affect us all, our economy and our nation's security."

"It's an election about who will protect our economy in instability and ensure Canada's future prosperity. The national election is not a popularity contest," he added.

The economy is expected to be declared officially in recession in September when second quarter GDP figures are released. But Central Bank governor Stephen Poloz already said this month the economy was in fact in recession.

The Bank of Canada last month slashed rates for the second time this year to revive an economy badly hit by lower global oil prices.

Harper had planned to present himself as one of the first G7 leaders to post a balanced budget since the global financial crisis, bolstering his image as a strong fiscal manager.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)North AmericaMon, 03 Aug 2015 06:26:02 +0000
Clinton unfazed by possible Biden White House run: aide A top Hillary Clinton staffer told CNN Sunday that the former first lady's campaign team is unfazed by news that Vice President Joe Biden is giving serious consideration to a White House bid.

"We'll let him make his decision," Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton's campaign spokeswoman, told CNN.

"However hard it is to secure the Democratic nomination is however hard it is. We have no illusions. We never thought that this was going to be easy," Palmieri said.

News late Saturday that Biden is exploring a White House run had US pundits and politicos -- including some already declared candidates -- handicapping his odds of wresting the Democratic nomination from Clinton, widely viewed as the top contender.

A New York Times columnist reported on Sunday that his son Beau Biden, who died in May, at the end of his life encouraged his father to run for the US presidency.

Republican frontrunner Donald Trump was among those weighing in Sunday on Biden's odds.

"I think that Biden would have a good chance at beating her now," Donald Trump, the leading contender in the Republican race, told CBS television.

Controversy over Clinton's use of a private email server for State Department business may have tarnished her candidacy for some voters -- at least temporarily.

"I think that the email scandal is going to be a devastating blow for Hillary," said Trump, who made the rounds of various political chat shows.

"I think she's got some very big problems," he said Sunday.

"And you look at her poll numbers, they're coming down like a crashing rocket."

Biden, 72, has run, unsuccessfully, for the White House twice before, but news reports said he has said he feels more prepared than ever for the presidency.

Trump, 69, said however, that he was less than convinced that Biden could prevail in a general election contest.

"I don't think that he's going to be that effective as a campaigner," the outspoken Republican business mogul said.

Democratic contender Bernie Sanders, 73, told ABC on Sunday he was unconvinced Biden offers Americans a substantially different option to Clinton.

"I think the American people who are seeing the middle class of this country disappearing, massive levels of income and wealth inequality, (and) a campaign finance system which is literally corrupt... want to go beyond conventional establishment politics," the socialist lawmaker told ABC News.

Dick Harpootlian, a former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic party and an outspoken booster for a Biden White House run, told ABC that the vice president's family seems generally supportive of his making another presidential bid.

"This isn't some snap decision. He really is weighing how this would impact his family, he said.

"My sense around the country is there's tremendous support there. He's got to gauge that. And then he's got to do a gut check," Harpootlian said.

In addition to apparent public unease over her emails, Clinton has been dogged by problems about her family foundation.

Republicans in Congress also have been holding her feet to the fire over her handling of the deadly 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya which left three Americans dead.

She is scheduled to testify in Congress in October over the Benghazi affair.

Palmieri played down recent polls that have showed that voters find her boss, 67, less than trustworthy.

"She has the most money, and she's beating every Republican in most of the polls. So you can't really ask for much more than that," she said.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)North AmericaMon, 03 Aug 2015 06:24:22 +0000
Hillary Clinton healthy, quite wealthy: campaign statements Hillary Clinton is healthy and "fit to serve" as US president, her doctor affirmed Friday, as the Democratic White House frontrunner also revealed details about her family's substantial personal wealth.

Tax data released by Clinton's campaign show she and husband Bill Clinton, the former president, paid a massive $57.5 million in taxes since 2007.

Clinton did not release income figures, but by extrapolating her annual combined tax rate of about 40 percent over the period -- she stated their 2013 tax rate at 44.6 percent and 2014 at 45.8 percent, the highest rate -- it is clear the Clintons took in well over $100 million in eight years.

Physician Lisa Bardack of Mount Kisco Medical Group in New York said Clinton, 67, was enjoying a healthy lifestyle and has fully recovered from the effects of a concussion suffered in 2012 -- an incident which had prompted questions about her health.

"She is in excellent physical condition and fit to serve as president of the United States," Bardack stated in a letter distributed by the Clinton team.

Her campaign said that by providing the data, Clinton became "the first presidential candidate in this election cycle" to release his or her health information.

It offered details of Clinton's traumatic head injury in December 2012 when, according to the doctor, Clinton "suffered a stomach virus after traveling, became dehydrated, fainted, and sustained a concussion."

An evaluation discovered a blood clot in her brain, and she experienced double vision. She was treated for the conditions, including the use of anticoagulation therapy and glasses featuring a Fresnel prism.

"Her concussion symptoms, including the double vision, resolved within two months and she discontinued the use of the prism," Bardack said.

Follow-up testing in 2013 "revealed complete resolution of the effects of the concussion."

Clinton's standard laboratory test results were normal, and her cancer screening evaluations were all negative, Bardack said.

On the Clinton's financial health, their vast wealth does not come as a surprise. The couple are the heaviest of political heavyweights, and have earned tens of millions of dollars in speaking fees.

In 2013 alone Hillary Clinton earned $8.5 million from 36 speaking engagements, according to the data released Friday.

Bill Clinton earned at least $13 million from 41 speeches in the same period, including a trio of speeches in China over three straight days that earned him $1.7 million.

The revelations come as candidate Clinton seeks to embrace the role as fighter for America's middle-class and downtrodden.

In June 2014, she was mocked for saying she and her husband left the White House "dead broke" and in debt in 2001.

Republican Jeb Bush released 33 years of tax returns in late June.

Those records showed that Bush, the son and brother of two presidents, has made $29 million since leaving the Florida governor's mansion in 2007, including $7.36 million in 2013.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)North AmericaSat, 01 Aug 2015 06:18:34 +0000
US officer charged with murder after deadly traffic stop A white Ohio police officer who shot a black man during a routine traffic stop was charged with murder Wednesday in what prosecutors called a "senseless" act motivated by anger.

The case comes as the United States grapples with heightened racial tensions in the wake of a series of high-profile incidents of unarmed African Americans being killed by police in disputed circumstances.

"He wasn't dealing with someone who was wanted for murder -- he was dealing with someone with a missing license plate," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters told reporters.

"This is in the vernacular a pretty 'chicken crap' stop. If he started rolling away, seriously, let him go. You don't have to shoot him in the head."

University of Cincinnati campus police officer Ray Tensing initially told investigators that he shot Sam DuBose in the head after DuBose tried to drive away and dragged the officer along with him.

But a review of the officer's body camera footage showed Tensing was never in danger during the July 19 incident.

The university shut down its campus and placed barricades at entrances, in concern over possible violent protests as has been seen in the in response to other high-profile police shootings over the past year.

City officials pressed for calm and said they were prepared "for any scenarios that present themselves."

Despite concerns, there appeared to be no flare-up of violent protesting Wednesday night.

A small group of marchers gathered, waving "Black Lives Matter" placards, in reference to the grassroots movement opposing violence by law enforcement against blacks.

One sign read "They kill our daddies then make fun of us for being fatherless."

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)North AmericaThu, 30 Jul 2015 07:00:57 +0000
Putin orders destruction of smuggled Western food Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a decree ordering the destruction of Western food smuggled into the country in breach of an official embargo.

Moscow last year banned a slew of food products from the West in retaliation for biting economic sanctions over the Ukraine crisis.

The decree says that banned food products that are smuggled into the country must be destroyed from August 6 this year.

The embargo has seen truckloads of delicacies, from cheese to pate, stopped at the border, with allegations swirling that products are being re-labelled in neighbouring ex-Soviet countries and imported illegally.

Up until now, any smuggled produce being caught has been turned around and sent back.

The decree did not make it clear whether the food would be destroyed immediately at the border. It calls for the government to decide on a procedure for destruction.

At a meeting with Putin last week, agriculture minister Alexander Tkachev called for produce to be destroyed by customs officers.

The decree still allows people to bring in banned foods for personal consumption.

Yevgeny Bobrov, a member of the Kremlin rights council, an advisory body, last week called the proposal to destroy food "high-handedness," saying smuggled food should be given to the less well-off.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui)North AmericaWed, 29 Jul 2015 19:12:06 +0000
Earhquake rocks Colombia near Panama border A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 rocked northern Colombia near its border with Panama on Tuesday, authorities said, though there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The quake struck at 7:10 pm (0010 GMT Wednesday) at a depth of 30 kilometers (18 miles) in Choco department.

The epicenter was in a jungle area about 36 kilometers from the town of Unguia.

"At the moment, local authorities are checking to determine what, if any, damage or injuries there may be," the National Disaster Office said in a statement.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)North AmericaWed, 29 Jul 2015 06:22:03 +0000
Jeb Bush would give undocumented a way to stay in US Republican White House hopeful Jeb Bush vowed Monday to launch comprehensive immigration reform, including stronger borders and finding a way for the 11 million undocumented people in the country to make their status legal.

Back in 2008, then-candidate Barack Obama pledged to seek a major immigration policy reform that would let the undocumented stay indefinitely. But his efforts hit a wall in the Republican-run Congress.

According to former Florida governor Bush, a president is only going to be able to carry off the sometimes controversial issue if the new leader "is committed to protecting the border" and to building people's trust.

"That is the way it is. I am making the commitment, and I know that we can get it done," Bush said in an interview with Telemundo network, the first he has done completely in Spanish since throwing his hat in the ring.

The son of ex-president George H.W. Bush and brother to former president George W. Bush explained his plan would see 11 million people come out of the shadows, get a legal work permit, pay taxes and a fine, as well as learn English without getting federal benefits but while eventually obtaining permanent legal status.

Jeb Bush's take on immigration -- far more liberal than most Republicans' stands -- could help him get more support from Hispanics, the United States fastest-growing minority group.

He raised some eyebrows among conservatives last year when he said illegal immigration sometimes is an "act of love" by one relative desperate to be reunited with their US-based family. The issue is expected to be a divisive one for Bush's party this year.

But it is a personal matter for Bush. His wife, Columba, was born in Mexico.

"We speak Spanish at home. We eat Mexican food at home. Our kids are Hispanic in a lot of ways. So the Hispanic influence in my family is very important in my life," Bush added in Spanish.

Bush also faces intense competition from a deep Republican field, including several candidates with stronger backing from evangelicals, supporters of traditional values and religious freedom advocates.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)North AmericaTue, 28 Jul 2015 05:50:56 +0000
Parents of 43 missing Mexican students demand new search CITY: Parents and relatives of 43 Mexican students missing for 10 months and presumed dead marched Sunday to demand the government resume the search for the young men.

Authorities say corrupt local police abducted the students in September last year and handed them over to a drug gang, which slaughtered them, but families are angry at the handling of the case and refuse to believe their children are dead.

"We demand the relaunching of the search and the reopening of the case, which this corrupt government has refused to do," said Vidulfo Rosales, a lawyer for the families.

Officials say police officers in Iguala, southern Mexico, handed the students to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, who killed them and incinerated their bodies, according to prosecutors.

Dozens of officers and gang suspects have been detained, along with the mayor.

Only one of the students -- who came from a teacher training college -- has been identified among charred remains found in a landfill and parents of the missing have rejected the government's conclusions.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)North AmericaMon, 27 Jul 2015 07:37:28 +0000
Strong quake strikes remote Alaska islands ANGELES: A strong 6.9-magnitude earthquake rattled remote islands in the US state of Alaska on Sunday, seismologists said, but there was no tsunami warning.

The underwater quake hit off the Fox Islands, by the Aleutian Trench, more than 1,500 kilometers (1,000 miles) west of Anchorage, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The quake had a depth of 11 kilometers and struck at 5:49 pm (0449 GMT Monday), USGS said. The National Tsunami Warning Center noted the quake but did not issue an alert and nor did the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)North AmericaMon, 27 Jul 2015 07:31:41 +0000
Lightning kills seven from same Mexico family CITY: Four children were among seven people from the same family killed in a devastating lightning strike in rural Mexico on Friday, authorities said.

Another child and a 26-year-old woman were also injured as the group worked in a field during a violent storm in the town of Mesa Cuata, in the central Guanajuato state.

The dead children were aged three, five, nine and 14, a Guanajuato civil protection official told AFP by telephone.

The other victims were three women aged 19, 32 and 44.

The town where the tragedy took place is in the mountainous Sierra Gorda region.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri)North AmericaSat, 25 Jul 2015 07:15:50 +0000