|Put N Korea On Trial
|SHIN Dong-hyuk was 14 in 1996
when prison guards suspended
him from the ceiling of an
underground torture chamber
by his hands and legs, all
because his mother and brother had
tried to escape....
|MAYBE we gave up on
John Edwards too soon.
His hair still looks great,
even though he now gets
cuts for $12.95, not
$400. And the man clearly has a gift
for multitasking under pressure....
Chevron profit rises 4% at $6.47bn in first quarter
MAJOR emerging powers stood ready on Friday to pledge money to bolster the International Monetary Fund's crisis-fighting war chest, though Brazil was holding out for promises that their voting power at the global lender would increase.
|US growth slows to 2.2% in first quarter |
|ECONOMIC growth cooled in the first quarter as businesses cut back on investment and restocked shelves at a slower pace, but stronger demand for automobiles softened the blow.
Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.2 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday in its advance estimate, moderating from the fourth quarter's 3 percent rate.
While that was below economists' expectations for a 2.5 percent pace, a surge in consumer spending took some of the sting from the report and growth was still stronger than analysts' predictions early in the quarter for an expansion below 1.5 percent.
"There's nothing catastrophic happening, this is just slow growth and this underscores that the economy is on sound footing but nothing more," said Steven Baffico, chief executive at Four Wood Capital Partners in New York.
Futures for the broad-based S&P stock index pared gains after the GDP report, while US Treasuries prices turned positive.
The dollar extended losses against the yen and fell against the euro.
Although the details were mixed, the GDP report offered a somewhat better picture compared with the fourth quarter, when inventory building accounted for nearly two thirds of the economy's growth. In the first quarter, demand from consumers took up the slack.
|Petrochemicals dent Total's profit in Q1 |
|FRENCH oil company Total saw its revenues grow strongly in the first quarter of the year but said on Friday that a drop in European demand for petrochemicals hit profits.
While energy prices have soared amid unrest in the Middle East and tension in Iran, the economic slowdown in Europe has weighed on demand.
Those high prices have buoyed Total's production business, but other sectors are struggling amid the poor economic environment.
France's largest company by market value reported on Friday that net profit fell 7 percent to $4.9 billion for January to March.
Revenues, however, rose 11 percent to 51.2 billion euro, beating the average expectation of analysts surveyed by FactSet of 48 billion euro.
Total stock opened significantly lower on Friday, but recouped those losses and was up 0.1 percent by the afternoon.
In addition to weak demand for petrochemicals, the company said the sale of a Spanish oil company decreased refining output. That business was also hurt by a decrease in refining margins.
In the business group that includes refining and chemicals, adjusted net operating income dropped 77 percent over the same quarter last year.
|Spanish jobless rate hits 24.4% in first quarter |
|MADRID SPAIN'S jobless rate soared to a record 24.4 percent in a deepening recession in the first quarter, data showed Friday, piling on the misery hours after a sharp credit-rating downgrade.
A total 5.64 million people searched in vain for work in the deficit-plagued Spanish economy, the fourth-biggest in the troubled eurozone, the National Statistic Institute said.
Spain already had the highest level of unemployment in the industrialised world as the slumping economy failed to absorb the millions of workers who have lost their jobs since a massive property bubble imploded in 2008.
The slump has been compounded by stiff government austerity measures to rein in the public deficit and curb mushrooming debt, making jobs even harder to find.
The unemployment rate hit 24.44 percent in the first quarter, up sharply from 22.85 percent in the last three months of 2011, the National Statistics Institute report showed.
Some 365,900 jobs were lost in the quarter, pushing the unemployment rate to its highest level since records began in their existing format in 1996, it said.