UK retail sales fall sharply in December but fourth quarter still solid
An unexpectedly weak December dragged on British retail sales growth in the fourth quarter of last year, although consumers still spent strongly over the October-December period as a whole. Shoppers have driven Britain's economy since June's referendum decision to leave the European Union, just as other sources of growth like investment and trade have lagged. Official data on Friday showed retail sales volumes dropped 1.9 percent year-on-year in December, far below economists' forecasts in a Reuters poll for a 0.1 percent decline and the biggest fall since April 2012.
Royal Navy disposes of suspected WWII bomb in London
Britain's Royal Navy has disposed of a suspected World War II bomb discovered in London's River Thames close to parliament, leading to the closure of two bridges, police said Friday. "Victoria Embankment has now reopened after police and the Royal Navy worked together to remove a suspected WWII ordnance," London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement. The ordnance was spotted after coming to the surface of the water in the tidal flow of the Thames, a police spokesman told AFP.
Russian political elites revel in Trump's inauguration
Trump bigger uncertainty for EU than Brexit, says HammondDonald Trump's presidency is likely to create bigger uncertainty for the European Union than Britain's decision to leave the bloc, Britain's finance minister Philip Hammond said on Friday. "Brexit has introduced uncertainty. Hammond, a former foreign minister, said EU countries varied widely in how big a security threat they saw from Russia.
The Latest: Romanians fear worst for nurse in avalanche
Mexican drug kingpin "El Chapo" to appear in US courtroom
NEW YORK (AP) ? Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, one of the world's most notorious drug kingpins, is finally headed for a court date the United States sought for two decades while he made brazen prison escapes and spent years on the run in Mexico.
Desperate search for Iran firefighters after high-rise collapse
A desperate search was underway Friday for around 20 firefighters trapped for 24 hours under the rubble of a Tehran high-rise that collapsed following a fire. Hopes were fading for the men who were still inside the 15-storey Plasco building when it came down on Thursday. Rescue workers, soldiers and sniffer dogs worked through the night, cutting through steel girders and digging tunnels under the wreckage, but no survivors or bodies had yet been found.
Washington braces for massive protests as Trump becomes U.S. president
By Ian Simpson and Scott Malone WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of law enforcement officers and miles of barriers were in place in Washington on Friday, as officials braced for hundreds of thousands of people planning to celebrate or protest Donald Trump's inauguration as president of the United States. About 900,000 people were expected to pack central Washington, including the grassy National Mall facing the Capitol, where the New York businessman and former reality TV star will be sworn in, and the parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.
Thirty people still missing at Italian hotel buried by massive avalanche
Rescuers dug all night in deep snow and debris in search of some 30 missing people who were staying in a luxury mountain hotel in Italy when an avalanche struck almost two days ago. Officials have confirmed finding two bodies, while Italian media said two more were located overnight. The only survivors so far are two men who were outside the hotel when the avalanche hit.
Gambia leader Jammeh faces noon deadline to hand over power
Long-ruling Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh, who lost elections last month, has until midday Friday to hand over power and agree to leave the country or face military action, regional bloc ECOWAS has said. West African troops entered The Gambia on Thursday to bolster its new President Adama Barrow but the military operation was suspended a few hours later, in favour of a final diplomatic effort to convince Jammeh -- who has refused to quit -- to exit the country. "We have suspended operations and given him an ultimatum," said Marcel Alain de Souza, head of the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States.