BEIRUT (AP) — The Syrian government has agreed “in principle” to attend a conference proposed by Russia and the United States on ending the Arab country's conflict, Russia's foreign ministry said Friday.
Read more here: Russia: Syrian regime may take part in peace talks
By Janeman Latul and Kanupriya Kapoor JAKARTA (Reuters) – Standard Chartered PLC’s chief executive Peter Sands denied U.S. activist investor Muddy Waters’ claim that the bank has taken on too much risk, saying its loan book was in a good condition and there is no change in risk appetite for lending. Sands’ comments came after Carson Block, the founder of Muddy Waters, told a conference earlier this month that he had bet against Standard Chartered’s debt because he thought the market was underestimating the risk in the bank’s loan portfolio. …
Read more here: StanChart's Sands says Muddy Waters' debt bet misplaced
By Douglas Busvine MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s leading online social network was briefly banned on Friday, in a move dismissed as a “mistake” but which follows intensifying official pressure on the company as President Vladimir Putin consolidates his power. VKontakte (www.vk.com), Europe’s largest homegrown social network with 210 million registered users, was put overnight on a “black list” of sites barred from distributing content inside Russia. Hours later, the ban was lifted. …
Read more here: Russia's leading social network banned by "mistake"
LONDON (Reuters) – HSBC's Chairman Douglas Flint said on Friday the pace of reform in the banking industry must be accelerated to avoid investor confidence in the sector being undermined. “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform banking and the broader financial industry,” Flint told shareholders at the bank's annual general meeting. “As a first priority we need to speed up the reform process. Otherwise investor confidence in the sector will continue to be undermined,” he added. (Reporting by Matt Scuffham, editing by Sinead Cruise)
Read more here: HSBC urges acceleration of banking reform
By Aaron Maasho ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – African nations have backed a request by Kenya for charges of crimes against humanity by its president to be referred back to the east African country, African Union documents show. President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, are both facing trial in the International Criminal Court (ICC), accused of masterminding ethnic bloodshed in post-election violence five years ago that killed more than 1,200 people. Both deny the charges. …
Read more here: Africa backs Kenya call for Hague court to drop Kenyatta case
BEIJING (AP) — A top North Korean envoy has delivered a letter from leader Kim Jong Un to Chinese President Xi Jinping. The move comes as part of efforts to mend fences after Pyongyang angered Beijing with recent snubs and moves to develop its nuclear program.
Read more here: NKorean envoy delivers letter to China's Xi
ABIDJAN (Reuters) – An al Qaeda-linked group that carried out the raid on the In Amenas gas plant in Algeria in January has claimed to have participated in Thursday’s attacks in Niger. A statement posted on the internet on Friday was signed by Khalid Abu al-Abbas, better known as Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leading figure in al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). At least 21 people were killed and dozens wounded in coordinated dawn assaults on a uranium mine run by French company Areva at Arlit and the military base in Agadez, Niger, on Thursday. …
Read more here: Group linked to Algeria gas plant attack claims Niger raids
By Yantoultra Ngui KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan is exploring an IPO of British soccer team Cardiff City for as early as this year, people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, in a deal that would follow the team's recent promotion to the Premier League. The process is in its early stages, the people said, with details on the timing, size and listing venue subject to change. A listing would come after Manchester United Plc's debut on the New York Stock Exchange last year, which raised $233.2 million in the largest sports team IPO ever. …
Read more here: Exclusive: Malaysia tycoon plans IPO of football club Cardiff City – sources
LONDON (AP) — Two Muslim hardline preachers say that one of the suspects in the killing of a London soldier was interested in their teachings. And a British government official said one of the men tried to go to Somalia to train or fight with the terror group al-Shabab.
Read more here: Attack casts spotlight on radical preachers
By Lavinia Mo HONG KONG (Reuters) – The H7N9 bird flu virus may be capable of spreading from human to human and can be transmitted not only through direct contact but also through airborne exposure, researchers at the University of Hong Kong have found. The researchers found in a study, presented at a news briefing on Friday, that three ferrets – the main animal used for research into human influenza – that were placed in close contact with ferrets injected with H7N9 contracted the virus. One out of three that were kept in different cages became infected through airborne exposure. …
Read more here: New bird flu strain may be capable of spreading from human to human: study