China says using young, educated anti-graft officials as ‘fox hunters’

Commentary, Economy, Stocks, U.S. Infrastructure

China’s team charged with hunting down officials suspected of corruption who have fled overseas is aged 30 on average, speaks foreign languages and is well educated, a Chinese official said, giving rare details of a secretive operation. The government launched Operation Fox Hunt last year to go after suspects who have left China to try and seek refuge abroad, often taking large sums with them, though little information about the project has been made public. President Xi Jinping has vowed to hunt down powerful “tigers” as well as lowly “flies” in his campaign to stamp out corruption, which he has warned is so bad it could threaten the ruling Communist Party’s grip on power. Liu Dong, deputy director of the Ministry of Public Security’s economic crimes division, told the official Xinhua news agency this week that his team was highly intelligent, tough and nimble, with backgrounds in economics, law, foreign languages and business management.

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California gas pipeline explosion, fire injure up to 15 people

Commentary, Economy, Stocks, U.S. Infrastructure

A firefighter watches the blaze after a gas line exploded near FresnoBy Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) – A construction crew on Friday accidentally ruptured a natural gas transmission line in Fresno, California, sparking an explosion and fire that injured up to 15 people, four of them critically, officials said. The 12-inch (30-cm) pipeline, belonging to Pacific Gas & Electric Corp , was struck by a backhoe near state Highway 99, unleashing a fireball that injured members of the construction team and a jail inmate crew nearby, Fresno Fire Department spokesman Peter Martinez said. One worker in critical condition was flown to hospital by helicopter, and 13 or 14 others were taken to hospitals for evaluation and treatment of injuries after the pipeline was ruptured at about 2:30 p.m., Martinez added. Four of the injured were taken to Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, and two more were taken to the burn unit there, said hospital spokeswoman Mary Lisa Russell, adding that four were in critical condition and two serious.


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Sunken aircraft carrier rediscovered off California coast

Commentary, Economy, Stocks, U.S. Infrastructure

Scientists have rediscovered a mostly intact World War II aircraft carrier the U.S. Navy scuttled off the Northern California coast decades a… A mentally disabled Colorado man was set to be sentenced Friday for the murder of a Montana teacher whose death highlighted the downsides of an oil boom that has brought thousands of newcomers to the remote… A mentally disabled Colorado man was sentenced to 100 years in prison Friday for the murder of a Montana teacher whose death highlighted the downsides of an oil boom that’s sweeping across the remote Northern Plains. A northern New Jersey arsenal has been evacuated after a driver tried to enter through its truck gate, and authorities are treating the situation as an explosive threat.

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European stocks slide as Greek worries persist

Commentary, Economy, Stocks, U.S. Infrastructure

Europe's main stock markets have lost ground over Greece jittersEurope's main stock markets fell further on Friday as investor worries intensified over the plight of Greece, analysts said. In late morning deals, London's FTSE 100 index dropped 0.42 percent to 7,030.40 points. "London’s FTSE 100 has kicked off the final session of the week in a rather muted tone," said Trustnet analyst Tony Cross. The region's major indices had also slid Thursday on jitters over Greece, while London investors took profits from a record-breaking run.


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Is Congress sabotaging Iran nuclear deal?

Commentary, Economy, Stocks, U.S. Infrastructure

US lawmakers weren’t sitting at the table with Iran during the nuclear negotiations in Switzerland. But they were certainly the elephant in the room.

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U.S. charges Florida man who landed helicopter near Capitol

Commentary, Economy, Stocks, U.S. Infrastructure

People watch as a gyro copter that was flown onto the grounds of the U.S. Capitol is towed from the west front lawn in WashingtonA Florida man who caused a major security scare after landing a small helicopter on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol was charged with two criminal offenses on Thursday and then released pending trial. Douglas Mark Hughes, 61, a U.S. Postal Service mail carrier, faces up to four years in prison on charges of unlawfully operating an unregistered aircraft and violating national defense airspace. Hughes was arrested on Wednesday afternoon after he flew his "gyro copter" over Washington and landed on the Capitol grounds. Aircraft are banned from flying in the area of the Capitol and the White House without permission.


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Putin says Russian economy has passed ‘peak’ of problems

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Russian President Vladimir Putin says the worst of his country's economic problems are overPresident Vladimir Putin on Thursday said the worst was over for Russia's crisis-hit economy, pointing to the recent rebound of the ruble despite Western sanctions over Ukraine. "The ruble has stabilised and strengthened," Putin said during his annual phone-in with Russians. Following the shock collapse in the ruble late last year, the currency has bounced back to a five-month high as fighting in eastern Ukraine has waned and oil prices have steadied. Putin has previously predicted that it will take Russia's economy two years to bounce back to pre-crisis levels but said now that the recovery could happen sooner.


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U.S. fast-food workers mark Tax Day demanding higher wages

Commentary, Economy, Stocks, U.S. Infrastructure

Protestors demonstrate for higher wages in the Brooklyn borough of New York CityBy Sebastien Malo NEW YORK (Reuters) – Fast-food workers rallied in U.S. cities on Wednesday to demand higher pay, using the April 15 deadline for filing tax returns to publicize their claim that they cannot survive on the hourly wages paid by many U.S. corporations. The protests demanding pay increases to $15 an hour kicked off at dawn outside a McDonald's Corp restaurant in New York with several hundred demonstrators. Marching behind a banner reading "Raise wages, Raise the city," protesters carried placards with "Fight for $15 on 4/15." In Chicago, hundreds of protesters rallied at the University of Illinois, their ranks swelled by healthcare and college workers. "I have no benefits, I have no stability from semester to semester in any way being able to calculate out if and where I'll have a job," said Alyson Warren, 34, an adjunct writing professor at both Columbia College Chicago and Loyola University Chicago.


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