Australia's economy powers ahead on exports
Australia's economy defied expectations with stronger-than-expected expansion in January-March, driven by net exports and household spending, to take annual growth to its highest level in recent years. Economic growth expanded by 1.1 percent in first quarter for an annual year-on-year reading of 3.1 percent, far above economists' forecasts of 0.8 percent and 2.9 percent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed. The Australian dollar, which had already jumped by half a cent following strong exports data on Tuesday, rose again by another half a cent from 72.38 US cents before the data to 72.90 US cents.
Signs of reprocessing at N. Korea complex: US think tank
Recent satellite images reveal multiple indicators that North Korea is preparing, or has already begun, to reprocess plutonium for additional nuclear weapons at its main atomic complex, a US think tank said. When operating at full capacity, the main five-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon is understood to be capable of producing six kilos (13 pounds) of plutonium a year -- enough for one or two bombs.
Swollen river feeds flooding near Houston as residents flee
RICHMOND, Texas (AP) ? Residents of some rural southeastern Texas counties were bracing for more flooding along a river that reached a record high Tuesday as more rain was expected in the coming days.
Asia shares wobble as oil slip dampens sentiment, dollar stalls
Asian stocks were on a weak footing on Wednesday as a slip in crude oil prices dampened investors' appetite for riskier assets, while the recently bullish dollar stalled against the euro and yen following a mixed bag of U.S. economic data. Shanghai see-sawed in and out of negative terrain, and was last up 0.1 percent, after rallying hard the previous day on expectations MSCI could add China's mainland stocks to its emerging market benchmark for the first time. There was little market reaction to the official and private surveys on China's manufacturing activity, which were roughly in line with expectations, underlining doubts that the world's second-largest economy is picking up.
Benzema says Deschamps 'bowed to racists' over Euro snub
France's top scorer Karim Benzema on Wednesday accused coach Didier Deschamps of bowing to pressure from a "racist" political party by not choosing him for the country's Euro 2016 squad. The Real Madrid striker, who is being investigated over an alleged sex-tape blackmail case, questioned whether Deschamps left him out because of his Algerian descent. The comments echo similar accusations from French legend Eric Cantona, who last week said Deschamps had excluded Benzema and Hatem Ben Arfa because of their North African heritage -- drawing a threat of legal action from the coach's lawyer.
Mexican football player's relative ordered kidnapping: official
Mexican authorities arrested a man married to a cousin of football star Alan Pulido, accusing the suspect of ordering the player's high-profile kidnapping over the weekend. Osvaldo Velazquez Garcia, 29, was wounded and detained in a house in the northeastern city of Ciudad Victoria after a shootout with federal police, said Tamaulipas state prosecutor Ismael Quintanilla. Velazquez started shooting after he was surrounded, Quintanilla said.
Judge doesn't trust Arizona sheriff to fix some problems
PHOENIX (AP) ? A judge presiding over a racial profiling case against an Arizona sheriff said Tuesday that he doesn't trust the sheriff's office to fix some of the problems involved in a recent contempt-of-court ruling against the famously defiant lawman.
General Mills recalls flour over possible link to E.coli outbreak
The bacteria strain behind the outbreak has not been found in any of General Mills' Gold Medal, Wondra and Signature Kitchens flour or their manufacturing plant, the company said. "Out of an abundance of caution, a voluntary recall is being made," General Mills said. U.S. and state health authorities are probing an outbreak of E. coli O121 from Dec. 21 to May 3, General Mills said.
Israel's settlement drive is becoming irreversible, diplomats fear
By Luke Baker MITZPE YERICHO, West Bank (Reuters) - In the hills east of Jerusalem, overlooking the Palestinian city of Jericho and the Jordan Valley, stands a religious Jewish settlement whose red-tile roofs, neat gardens and brightly colored playgrounds give the sense of permanence. Mitzpe Yericho has stood on this escarpment close to the Dead Sea - the lowest point on earth - since 1978. It is one of more than 230 settlements Israelis have built on occupied land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the past half-century.
Alabama's Saban rips satellite camps, Harbaugh fires backDESTIN, Fla. (AP) ? Alabama coach Nick Saban said Tuesday he wasn't going to talk about satellite camps ? and then he ranted about them.