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Business - Alstom shares jump on report of $13 billion GE bid


By Natalie Huet and Benjamin Mallet PARIS (Reuters) - Shares in Alstom jumped more than 14 percent on Thursday after a report that U.S. conglomerate General Electric was in talks to buy the struggling French turbine and train maker for about $13 billion. If confirmed, a takeover offer from a foreign company would raise concern among politicians and unions in France, where Alstom employs around 18,000 staff, or 20 percent of its global workforce. A deal could hand GE control of Alstom`s high-speed TGV trains and rail-signal technology, and has the support of Bouygues , Alstom`s biggest shareholder with a 29 percent stake, the report said. However, one person familiar with the industry said GE`s ultimate aim might be to buy Alstom`s power business rather than its power arm - a deal that would leave its transport business as a separate publicly listed company in Paris.


Thursday, April 24, 2014  17:46

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World - Attacks kill 13 in Iraq ahead of vote


Hilla (Iraq) (AFP) - Violence focused mainly on security checkpoints killed 13 people in Iraq Thursday, as the country struggles with daily unrest ahead of next week`s parliamentary election. Iraq is suffering a protracted surge in bloodshed that has killed more than 2,800 people this year, and Wednesday`s polls -- the first since US troops departed in 2011 -- will be a major test for security forces. A car bomb exploded at a police checkpoint near the city of Hilla, south of Baghdad, killing eight people, among them three police, and wounding 20, an officer and a doctor said. Security forces were able to keep violence to a minimum during provincial elections last year, but they have failed to halt a subsequent year-long surge in unrest.


Thursday, April 24, 2014  17:11

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World - UK asks Muslim women to report would-be Syria jihadists


Police launched a campaign on Thursday urging Muslim mothers to inform the authorities if they fear their children may go to fight in Syria, although critics warned that families were often the last to know. They urged people to channel their desire to help with the humanitarian crisis by supporting reputable charities working in Syria, but to refrain from going there themselves. Hundreds of Westerners have joined the groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad`s regime in Syria over the past three years, many travelling there by road from Turkey. Under the plans -- announced after a group of French hostages freed after being held in Syria for 10 months revealed that some of their captors were French-speakers -- the government will also be able to seize the passports of known jihadists.


Thursday, April 24, 2014  16:12

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Business - Alstom shares jump on report of GE bid


By Natalie Huet PARIS (Reuters) - Shares in Alstom jumped more than 14 percent on Thursday after a report that U.S. conglomerate General Electric was in talks to buy the struggling French turbine and train maker for about $13 billion. If confirmed, a takeover offer from a foreign company would raise eyebrows among politicians and unions in France, where Alstom employs around 18,000 staff, or 20 percent of its global workforce. A deal, which would be GE`s biggest ever and would hand it control of Alstom`s high-speed TGV trains and rail-signal technology, has the support of Bouygues , Alstom`s biggest shareholder with a 29 percent stake, the report said. Alstom, which has put its transport division up for sale in an attempt to fill a hole in its balance sheet, said on Thursday it was `not informed of any potential public tender offer for the shares of the company` and promised an update on its options when it releases annual results on May 7.


Thursday, April 24, 2014  13:37

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World - Anger boils over as relatives of S. Korea ferry victims attack official


Furious relatives of missing victims from South Korea`s ferry disaster attacked a top coastguard official on Thursday, accusing him of lying about efforts to retrieve bodies still trapped in the submerged vessel. Around 20 relatives forced their way into the office of Choi Sang-Hwan, the Deputy Director of the Korea Coastguard, and pulled him outside, ripping his shirt and punching and slapping him around the face and neck.


Thursday, April 24, 2014  12:36

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Business - Gucci`s sales growth remains sluggish in Q1


By Astrid Wendlandt PARIS (Reuters) - Gucci`s sales growth remained sluggish in the first three months of the year, hit in part by the brand`s upmarket repositioning and the clean-up of its wholesale distribution network. The Italian brand, which represents the bulk of valuation for parent Kering , on Thursday posted a 0.3 percent rise in like-for-like sales for the first quarter, broadly in line with analysts` expectations. In a conference call with journalists, Kering Finance Director Jean-Marc Duplaix said Gucci`s sales in China were still declining, without providing figures, but added that `trends are improving`. Gucci still makes more than 20 percent of its turnover from wholesale buyers, whose contribution to comparable sales dropped 19 percent in the first quarter after some accounts with department stores ended.


Thursday, April 24, 2014  17:34

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World - Syrian air strikes kill dozens at market near Aleppo: report


A Syrian air force raid on a rebel-held town near Aleppo on Thursday killed and wounded dozens of people at a vegetable market, activists said. President Bashar al-Assad`s forces have stepped up their aerial bombardment of Aleppo and surrounding towns after making gains around Damascus and in central Syria. The Britain-based anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said planes bombed the market in the town of Atareb on Thursday morning, killing 27 people and seriously wounding many others. Video footage from the aftermath of the strike, about 30 km (20 miles) west of Aleppo, showed charred bodies in a street among rubble and burning debris.


Thursday, April 24, 2014  17:34

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Business - Meet The Real Amazon Drones


An employee loads a truck with boxes to be shipped at the Amazon.com, Inc. distribution center in Phoenix, Ariz., on Nov. 26, 2012. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images) At least five days a week, Myron Ballard races around Washington, D.C., with a cargo van full of Amazon Prime packages. A career delivery driver with 20 years behind the wheel, Ballard typically gets paid $1.50 for each address he visits. If he delivers 150 Amazon boxes -- a fairly routine number -- he can net $225. Not bad for a day`s work. That is, until he starts tallying up all


Thursday, April 24, 2014  15:36

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World - Uruguay to limit pot buyers to 10 grams a week


MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) Uruguay`s government is still writing the rules for its legal marijuana market, two weeks overdue now, and President Jose Mujica has asked that no details be released until the regulations are published Friday or Monday.


Thursday, April 24, 2014  17:34

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World - 10 Things to See: A week of top AP photos


Here`s your look at highlights from the weekly AP photo report, a gallery featuring a mix of front-page photography, the odd image you might have missed and lasting moments our editors think you should see.


Thursday, April 24, 2014  17:34

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