Brazil rode a wave of national fervour to launch the World Cup with a 3-1 victory over Croatia on Thursday as an opening day which began with violent clashes gave way to an outpouring of joy. Barcelona superstar Neymar scored in each half as Brazil recovered from conceding an early Marcelo own goal to set up a win before hordes of golden-shirted fans at the 61,600 Corinthians Arena in Sao Paulo. The host nation's Group A victory was greeted by an explosion of fireworks across Sao Paulo, a sharp contrast to several hours earlier when riot police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse angry protests.
Toulouse (France) (AFP) - Airbus's chief executive said Thursday that if Britain voted to leave the European Union that would not be a reason for the European planemaker to quit the country where it employs 10,000 people. The comments by Fabrice Bregier run counter to those by many British business leaders who have begun a campaign against their country leaving the EU as could happen in possible 2017 referendum. With 90 percent of Airbus's market outside of Europe, competitiveness is the top priority for the planemaker, Bregier said at a company event in Toulouse on Thursday. Bregier said Airbus was very pleased with all the initiatives of the government of British Prime Minister David Cameron, and did not believe that would change if Britain left the EU.
United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The US ambassador to the United Nations accused Sudan Thursday of intensifying attacks on civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, and of deliberately bombing schools and hospitals. Samantha Power condemned "in the strongest possible terms" attacks she said were being carried out by the Sudanese government and its rapid support forces against ordinary people. Ground and air attacks have increased since April, with hundreds of barrel bombs and other ordnance dropped on towns and villages, deliberately targeting hospitals and schools, she said. The United States was also disturbed by reports of air strikes targeting civilian aid workers, which if accurate would seriously violate international law, she said.
By Emily Stephenson and Patrick Temple-West WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The defeat of House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor shifted the political ground under U.S. multinational corporations this week, just as they seemed to be gaining traction in their push for a $95 billion tax break on bringing foreign profits home. With House Republicans in turmoil after their leader's loss, lobbyists and policy analysts said the proposal, known as the offshore corporate income tax holiday, was losing momentum. The offshore income tax holiday had been gathering some support, but Cantor's defeat in the Virginia primary election damaged that, observers said. The proposal, which calls for short-term tax breaks to pay for road repairs, frustrates some conservatives who oppose more government spending and believe tax breaks should be permanent, not a one-time holiday.
President Barack Obama was given a clean bill of health on Thursday by his doctor, who noted in a medical report that daily exercise, healthy eating and a "tobacco free" lifestyle has helped the 52-year-old stay in great shape. "The president's overall health is excellent. All clinical data indicates that the president is currently healthy and that he will remain so for the duration of his presidency," said the report, by Ronny Jackson, physician to the president. A former smoker, Obama kicked the habit in 2010, his wife Michelle Obama told reporters in Feb. 2011.
The European Union wants the United States to be "fair" in its treatment of BNP Paribas over the French bank's alleged US sanctions violations, a senior EU official said Thursday. The EU's internal market and services commissioner, Michel Barnier, said that Brussels was following developments in the US case against France's largest bank, which reportedly might have to pay at least $10 billion in fines to resolve the accusations. "Given the importance of this case and the importance of this bank... we are closely following the situation and we simply wish that this affair be handled in a proportionate, fair and objective manner," Barnier said at a news conference in Washington. The bank is accused of breaking sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba between 2002 and 2009 by carrying out dollar transactions with them.
Ukraine's new president told his Russian counterpart Thursday the reported crossing of three tanks into his country's separatist east was "unacceptable", as the pair held what Kiev called "substantive and extended" telephone talks. President Petro Poroshenko also discussed his plans to defuse the crisis in the east of the country as he held what are thought to be his first telephone talks with Russia's Vladimir Putin since he was sworn in at the weekend. "Poroshenko called the situation unacceptable," the president's spokesman said on his Facebook page, referring to reports that three Soviet-era tanks had moved into Ukrainian territory from Russia. Moscow has denied the allegation, earlier raised by Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, who stopped short of accusing Russia of being behind the reported incursion.
Bowe Bergdahl, handed over on May 31 in return for five Taliban detainees held at Guantanamo prison, was "expected to arrive on Friday" at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, a defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP. The US Army sergeant has been recuperating at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, amid growing debate over the swap that secured his freedom, with some US lawmakers accusing President Barack Obama of capitulating to "terrorists." "Leadership was lacking, if not non-existent," he wrote in a letter sent to family during his time in captivity, obtained by the Daily Beast website.
The European Union hopes the United States will be "fair" in its treatment of BNP Paribas over the French bank's alleged US sanctions violations, a senior EU official said Thursday. The EU's internal market and services commissioner, Michel Barnier, said that Brussels was following developments in the US case against France's largest bank, which reportedly might have to pay at least $10 billion in fines to resolve the accusations. "Given the importance of this case and the importance of this bank... we are closely following the situation and we simply wish that this affair be handled in a proportionate, fair and objective manner," Barnier said at a news conference in Washington. The bank is accused of breaking sanctions against Iran, Sudan and Cuba between 2002 and 2009 by carrying out dollar transactions with them, but such cases are usually the subject of negotiations with US judicial officials.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate on Thursday confirmed Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell to a fresh term on the U.S. central bank's board. Powell, who has served at the Fed since May 2012, was approved for a fresh term that would carry until January 2028. The one-time investment banker said earlier this month that the time was not yet ripe to consider raising U.S. interest rates given the "significant amount of slack in the labor market." (Reporting by Howard Schneider and Krista Hughes; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
Nigeria's military indicated on Thursday that it could follow the example of Sri Lanka in fighting terror, to bring an end to an increasingly deadly insurgency by Boko Haram militants. A high-ranking military delegation from the South Asian island nation, led by Chief of Defence Staff General Jagath Jayasuriya, was in the capital, Abuja, to meet their Nigerian counterparts to share experience and expertise. The visit came after Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain held talks with his opposite number, Goodluck Jonathan, on Tuesday and the leaders pledged greater co-operation in defence and counter-terrorism. Sri Lanka, with Jayasuriya as army chief, brought its decades-long civil war with ethnic Tamil Tiger rebels to an end in May 2009 after a devastating military onslaught.