North America Stay updated with Business News, Pakistan news, Current world news and latest world news with Business Recorder.. Sat, 28 Nov 2015 09:25:48 +0000 SRA Framework 2.0 en-gb Gunman kills three at US family planning center imageCOLORADO SPRINGS: A gunman opened fire at a prominent family planning center in Colorado, killing three people and wounding several in a standoff that dragged on for five hours before he surrendered.

A usually busy area of snow-covered Colorado Springs was placed on lockdown into the early evening, just a day after millions of Americans celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, in the latest incident to shed a damning light on the United States' gun culture.

Mayor John Suthers paid tribute to police for hauling the gunman into custody without further bloodshed at the Planned Parenthood building, where people scrambled into a safe room in a desperate bid to save themselves.

A police officer was among the dead, he said, while nine others -- among them five police -- were wounded. None of the injured were in a serious condition.

"I want to convey to the loved ones of the victims: this is a terrible, terrible tragedy that occurred here in Colorado Springs today," Suthers told reporters.

"Obviously, we lost two civilian victims, we mourn the loss of a very brave police officer."

It was not immediately clear if Planned Parenthood -- a major women's health and family planning group -- had been specifically targeted.

Abortion is one of the services Planned Parenthood provides for women, and the association has become a lightning rod for criticism by social conservatives.

Those critics, many of whom seek to outlaw abortion in the United States, have accused Planned Parenthood of selling fetal organs and body parts for profit, and encouraging women to have abortions in order to expand such operations.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Sat, 28 Nov 2015 07:06:19 +0000
Eight bodies found in Mexico with throats slit imageMEXICO CITY: Eight men were found dead with their throats slit on Friday in a southern Mexican region gripped by drug violence, officials said.

Their hands and feet were also tied, said Juan Mateo Rodriguez, an Oaxaca state police deputy from the Cuenca del Papaloapan region.

Several bodies were inside an abandoned van, while others were near the vehicle.

"Farmers who had been going to work around the town of Cosolapa found the bodies and alerted us," said Rodriguez.

The town, home to 15,000 people, is in Oaxaca, one of Mexico's poorest states and the scene of violence linked to drug cartels' battles for control of lucrative drug trade routes to the United States.

More than 100,000 people have been killed or gone missing in drug-related violence nationwide since 2006.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Parvez Jabri) North America Sat, 28 Nov 2015 07:03:51 +0000
UN chief condemns deadly attack in disputed Abyei region imageUNITED NATIONS: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned an attack in the disputed region of Abyei bordering Sudan and South Sudan that left an Ethiopian UN peacekeeper and a small girl dead.

In a statement issued by the UN press office, Ban urged the governments of Sudan and South Sudan to bring the "unknown assailants" involved in the attack to justice. It noted that at least three civilians were also wounded. Ban "calls on (the Ngok Dinka and Misseriya) communities to remain calm and avoid any escalation of this tragic incident," the statement said.

The ownership of Abyei, which has rich pastureland and small oil reserves, was left undecided when South Sudan declared independence from Sudan in 2011.

It remains one of the biggest potential flashpoints between the two countries, who have also argued over oil rights and other disputed territories.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) North America Fri, 27 Nov 2015 21:05:09 +0000
Thousands protest police shooting in Chicago imageCHICAGO: Thousands of protesters blocked traffic in Chicago's busy commercial district during the Black Friday shopping extravaganza demanding justice for a black teen killed by a police officer.

Racial tensions have soared in the US city over the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, for which a white police officer was charged this week with first-degree murder.

Graphic footage of the October 2014 shooting has set Chicago on edge and reignited angry debate about the use of force by US law enforcement.

Protesters thronged Chicago's "Magnificent Mile" where police and private security guarded upmarket outlets like Tiffany and Co. and the Apple Store, locking arms in front of stores to keep shoppers from entering.

They wove their way between cars and buses halted on Michigan Avenue until police closed the street to vehicles to make room for the demonstrators.

A group of Black Power activists marched with red, green and black flags chanting "You can't see it and hide no more" while civil rights leader Jesse Jackson led a separate group in a more solemn march.

Tensions flared in the highly-segregated Midwestern city after officials released a dashcam video this week showing officer Jason van Dyke fire 16 bullets at the teenager.

Prosecutors and city officials have been accused of trying to block the footage's release and criticized for waiting until this week to press charges.

Several protesters held signs demanding the resignation of Chicago's embattled police chief and chanted "16 shots 13 months" to voice anger that it took so long to charge Van Dyke.

Protesters say the shooting illustrates deeper injustices both in Chicago and nationwide.

Many liken McDonald's case to that of Michael Brown, the black teenager shot dead by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri last year, whose death triggered 15 months of demonstrations over perceived police brutality against black men.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) North America Fri, 27 Nov 2015 19:09:40 +0000
Parents of missing Mexican students set up protest camp imageMEXICO CITY: Parents of 43 students who disappeared last year camped out Thursday near Mexico's presidential residence demanding a new investigation into their missing children, who investigators say were killed by drug traffickers.

Some two dozen parents were joined by relatives and around 100 supporters in a march that ended a few blocks from the Los Pinos presidential residency, which had been cordoned off by police.

"We demand the appointment of a prosecutor to investigate the case," said Vidulfo Rosales, lawyer for the parents, some of whom said they would not budge until justice was had.

Rosales said the families were also demanding that a technical team be established "as soon as possible," to conduct new research and searches for the students.

Prosecutors say municipal police in the southern city of Iguala abducted the students and handed them over to a drug gang, which killed them and incinerated their bodies at a landfill in September last year.

But independent experts have said there was no scientific proof that the 43 students were incinerated at the landfill and they urged prosecutors to seek new lines of investigation.

"We will not go home until we see truth and justice!" said Marco Flores, the father of one of the students, who accused the military of involvement.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) North America Fri, 27 Nov 2015 15:53:13 +0000
US condemns killing of opposition member in Venezuela imageWASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday condemned the killing of a local opposition leader in Venezuela days before the Latin American country's legislative election and called on the government there to protect all political candidates.

Luis Diaz, a leader of the opposition Democratic Action party in Guarico state in Venezuela, was shot at a public meeting on Wednesday night.

"This was the deadliest of several recent attacks and acts of intimidation aimed at opposition candidates," US State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. "Campaigns of fear, violence, and intimidation have no place in democracy."

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) North America Thu, 26 Nov 2015 20:26:41 +0000
Obama Thanksgiving message on refugees: world 'full of pilgrims' imageWASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama Thursday delivered a Thanksgiving message in which he compared modern refugees to the pilgrims whom the holiday celebrates, urging Americans to open their arms to the potential immigrants.

"Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims -- men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families," Obama said in his weekly address, referring to the boat on which the pilgrims arrived in the New World.

Thanksgiving was first celebrated by the group after fleeing religious persecution in England. For many Americans, it has become a family-oriented day marked with an enormous meal of roast turkey, an assortment of side dishes and a slice or two of pie.

"I've been touched by the generosity of the Americans who've written me letters and emails in recent weeks, offering to open their homes to refugees fleeing the brutality of ISIL," Obama said, referring to the Islamic State group.

Immigration has taken center stage as an important issue ahead of the 2016 presidential race but reached fever pitch following the deadly Paris attacks earlier this month.

The shootings and suicide bombings have stirred fears in North America and Europe that jihadists could seek to blend in with refugees in order to strike later.

Obama himself faces a barrage of opposition to his own plan to resettle 10,000 refugees in the coming year.

"People should remember that no refugee can enter our borders until they undergo the highest security checks of anyone traveling to the United States," Obama said.

"That was the case before Paris, and it's the case now."

Obama also reminded listeners that Thanksgiving was not just an opportunity for people to give thanks for their personal blessings.

"On this uniquely American holiday, we also remember that so much of our greatness comes from our generosity," he said.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2015

]]> (Imaduddin) North America Thu, 26 Nov 2015 13:42:02 +0000
Obama on Thanksgiving urges generosity to Syrian refugees imageWASHINGTON: President Barack Obama urged Americans to show generosity to Syrian refugees in his Thanksgiving message on Thursday, reminding them that the Pilgrims who came to America in 1620 were themselves fleeing persecution.

"Nearly four centuries after the Mayflower set sail, the world is still full of pilgrims - men and women who want nothing more than the chance for a safer, better future for themselves and their families," Obama said in his address.

Obama's plan to accept 10,000 refugees from Syria became a lightning rod for political criticism after attacks, claimed by Islamic State militants, killed 130 people in Paris two weeks ago. The United States is leading an international coalition fighting the group in Syria and Iraq.

Since the Paris attacks, Americans now identify terrorism as the most important problem facing the country, Reuters-Ipsos polling shows.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to suspend the refugee plan and intensify refugee screening measures before lawmakers left Washington for the Thanksgiving break. Several Republican candidates for the November 2016 presidential election have also said the refugees pose a risk.

"People should remember that no refugee can enter our borders until they undergo the highest security checks of anyone traveling to the United States," Obama said in his address.

Obama has vowed to veto the House refugee bill. But the White House has said it is open to working with lawmakers on tighter security measures for visitors from 38 countries who do not need a visa for short visits to the United States.

In his address, Obama quoted from letters he had received from Americans welcoming Syrian refugees.

"One woman from Pennsylvania wrote me to say, 'Money is tight for us in my household ... But I have a guest room. I have a pantry full of food. We can do this,'" Obama said.

"Another woman from Florida told me her family's history dates back to the Mayflower - and she said that welcoming others is part of 'what it means to be an American,'" he said.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Imaduddin) North America Thu, 26 Nov 2015 12:06:16 +0000
Hurricane Sandra strengthens off Mexico's Pacific coast imageMEXICO CITY: Hurricane Sandra on Wednesday strengthened to a Category 3 storm, becoming the strongest ever recorded in the eastern Pacific for this late in the year, as it heads toward the Mexican coast, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Sandra was about 555 miles (893 km) southwest of the Pacific port of Manzanillo on Wednesday afternoon, the NHC said.

The hurricane is expected to weaken to a tropical storm as it reaches the Baja California peninsula early on Saturday morning, and then weaken further to a tropical depression as it moves over the Mexican mainland, according to the NHC's forecast.

"Interests in southern portions of the Baja California peninsula should monitor the progress of Sandra," the NHC said. "Tropical storm or hurricane watches may be required for portions of this area tonight or on Thursday."

Last month, Hurricane Patricia, which at one point registered as one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded, landed on Mexico's Pacific coast, but did not inflict major damage.

Mexican state-owned oil company Pemex does not have any major installations in the storm's path.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) North America Wed, 25 Nov 2015 21:18:56 +0000
US new home sales rebound strongly in October imageWASHINGTON: New US single-family home sales surged in October and the inventory of properties for sale was the highest since early 2010, which could allay concerns of a significant slowdown in housing.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday sales increased 10.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 495,000 units.

September's sales pace was revised down to 447,000 units from the previously reported 468,000 units. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast new home sales, which account for about 8 percent of the housing market, rebounding to a rate of 500,000 units. Sales were up 4.9 percent compared to October of last year.

Though new home sales tend to be volatile month-to-month because they are drawn from a small sample, October's bounce back should offer some assurance that the housing market remains on solid ground despite declines last month in home resales, housing starts and confidence among builders.

New home sales vaulted a record 135.3 percent in the Northeast to their highest level since January 2010. Sales rose 8.9 percent in the populous South and were up 5.3 percent in the Midwest.

They fell 0.9 percent in the West.

The inventory of new homes on the market increased 1.3 percent to 226,000 last month, the highest since March 2010.

Supply still remains less than half of what it was at the height of the housing boom.

At October's sales pace it would take 5.5 months to clear the supply of houses on the market, down from 6.0 months in September.

The median price of a new home fell 6.0 percent from a year ago to $281,500.

Copyright Reuters, 2015

]]> (Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui) North America Wed, 25 Nov 2015 19:50:32 +0000