TOKYO— Improvements in life spans, education and incomes are slowing due to natural disasters, misguided government policies and worsening inequality in a world where the 85 richest people have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest people, the United Nations said Thursday in its annual human development report.» Read More
PARIS-- French and Swiss prosecutors say they've dismantled a major drug trafficking and money laundering network, arresting 20 people on Wednesday, including employees of a finance company and major international bank.
NEW YORK-- Home Depot, the largest U.S. home-improvement retailer, should benefit substantially from the expected housing market recovery, according to an Oppenheimer analyst. But until the recovery starts to gain traction, Home Depot's shares are expected to trade sideways, the analyst said Wednesday, and downgraded the stock.
MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio-- Auto insurer Progressive said Wednesday that its third-quarter net income jumped 84 percent, boosted by gains on its investments. Progressive earned $277 million, or 46 cents per share, in the three months ended in September, up from $150.7 million, or 24 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.
BAGHDAD-- Iraq officially stepped back on Wednesday from its ambitious plans to more than triple its oil production by 2017, but it remains more optimistic than the world's leading global energy monitor about how fast and how high it can boost output.
PARIS-- The leaders of France and Spain said Wednesday that the 17 countries that use the euro already have all the tools they need to solve their debt crisis and now must put their promises into action.
ABUJA, Nigeria-- Nigeria's president proposes a $29.3 billion federal budget in 2013 for the oil-producing nation, predicting a slight increase in the crude produced each month. President Goodluck Jonathan presented his budget Wednesday to a rare sitting of both chambers of the nation's National Assembly.
WASHINGTON-- As Bain& Co. head in the early 1990 s, Mitt Romney presided over the corporate strategy firm's expanding operations into China and Russia, helping their initial attempts to move into the world's free market system. In his campaign, China and Russia are prime targets for criticism.
NEW YORK-- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is accelerating the expansion of small stores, particularly its Neighborhood Market stores, as it looks to compete with a variety of rivals from dollar stores to drug chains.
NEW YORK-- Willie Geist will no longer have to be at work way too early. The MSNBC personality will join Al Roker and Natalie Morales as a host of the 9 a.m. hour of the "Today" show, and contribute to the program during its first two hours, NBC News said Wednesday. "There is a sense of just loosening up the show a bit," said Geist, son of CBS News reporter Bill Geist. "
Also highlighted at the film festival this year will be "Vamps," director Amy Heckerling's comedic take on the travails of club-hopping vampires, which reunites her with "Clueless" star Alicia Silverstone.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.-- A private company successfully delivered a half-ton of supplies to the International Space Station early Wednesday, the first official shipment under a billion-dollar contract with NASA. Williams thanked SpaceX and NASA for the delivery, especially the chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream stashed in a freezer.
LONDON-- This year's London Film Festival has Ben Affleck, Dustin Hoffman and the Rolling Stones _ and it's bookended by one of the city's premiere cinematic couples. Britain's biggest film showcase opens Wednesday with the European premiere of London- based American director Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie," the animated tale of a boy and his beloved _ but dead _ dog.
NEW YORK-- Shares of Alcoa Inc. fell Wednesday after the aluminum manufacturer reported a third-quarter loss and lowered its 2012 forecast for growth in aluminum demand. THE SPARK: Alcoa said Tuesday that it lost $143 million, or 13 cents a share, in the July-September quarter, largely due to one-time charges.
NAIROBI, Kenya-- Kenya's president vetoed a move by the country's parliament to award legislators bonuses of up to $110,000 at the end of their term next year. Kenya's 222 legislators currently make about $120,000 a year each. The minimum wage in Nairobi, the capital, is about $1,500 a year.
NEW YORK-- The price of oil is rising Wednesday after the government reported U.S. wholesalers' sales rose for the first time in four months. Benchmark crude is up 74 cents to $93.13 per barrel in New York morning trading. The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline stayed at $3.81.
Lady A and Zac Brown Band are next with six nominations apiece, while Swift and Eric Church took five nods each for the third annual fan-voted awards. Bryan, Swift, Lady A, Zac Brown Band and Jason Aldean are up for the night's top honor, artist of the year.
TOKYO-- There was nothing unusual about a man who boarded a flight in Osaka and was arrested after landing in Los Angeles wearing a bullet-proof vest and carrying handcuffs, knives and a smoke grenade in his checked-in baggage, a Japanese official said Wednesday.
Any perceived gain for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan may be seen as a risk that President Barack Obama's health care overhaul could be repealed, analyst Brian Tanquilut said in a research note.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska-- Inupiat Eskimo villagers in a small Alaska community are facing six long months of melting ice and snow nearly every time they want to cook a meal or bathe, after freezing temperatures hit before workers could fill the village's two large storage tanks with water.