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Obama calls for replacing sequester with balanced approach

US President Barack Obama urged Congress Saturday to replace automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester with what he called “a balanced approach,” which combines “smart” cuts with reforms. The appeal came the day after the president, complying with the law, signed an order bringing arbitrary cuts worth $85…

Famously corporate-friendly Switzerland set to get tough on CEO pay

Switzerland has a reputation as one of the most business-friendly countries in the world. But huge salaries and bonuses for top managers of Switzerland’s listed companies could soon be a thing of the past if voters back a national initiative on Sunday. At least 64 percent of the Swiss population…

Easter candy recall: Chocolate eggs may contain salmonella

The FDA has announced an Easter candy recall of certain lots of Zachary Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Eggs in five states that may be contaminated with salmonella. The marshmallow eggs were manufactured by Zachary Confections, of Frankfurt, Ind., which makes chocolates, candy corn, and jelly beans,…  …

New Defense Secretary Hagel scolds budget cuts

Major budget cuts will endanger the US military’s ability to conduct its missions, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel warned. His comments came hours before President Barack Obama authorized cuts in domestic and defense spending, following the failure of efforts to clinch a deal with Republicans on cutting the deficit. Hagel, whose…

Samaritans in Taiwan turn plastic junk into items for the needy

Some 40 people stand ankle-deep in used plastic bottles in the yard of a recycling station in Taipei, stamping them flat in the first step of a process that will transform the junk into usable goods. At the station operated by Taiwan’s largest charity group Tzu Chi Foundation, hundreds of…

Vatican issues postage stamp marking Benedict XVI’s departure

The Vatican post office Friday issued a set of stamps for use during the “Sede Vacante”, or Vacant See, created by the historic resignation of pope Benedict XVI. The unusual interregnum stamps, a series of four, include the Vacant See symbol — a striped umbrella over crossed keys — as…

Homeland Security chief calls for immigration overhaul after mass releases

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano affirmed that security at the U.S.-Mexico border is tighter than ever and encouraged a more comprehensive approach to immigration report in an interview with ABC News on Thursday. “We’re putting mobile surveillance so that we can move around and watch and we have increased the…

Brazilian president confirms nuclear sub project as ‘defense deterrent’

Brazil is set to join the select group of countries that have nuclear-powered submarines, President Dilma Rousseff said Friday. Rousseff stressed Brazil was committed to peace but also needed its defense deterrent, as she inaugurated a naval shipyard in Rio de Janeiro state where the country’s first nuclear-powered sub is…

Despite U.S. budget mess, Dow reports 5-year high

The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached a new five-year high Friday as investors looked past the risks to the economy of impending federal spending cuts and bid up equities. The Dow jumped 35.17 points (0.25 percent) to 14,089.66, less than 100 points from all-time high of 14,164.53 on October 9,…

Hong Kong moves to stop baby formula smuggling

A Hong Kong regulation came into force Friday barring people from crossing into mainland China with large quantities of baby formula following chronic shortages which have fuelled anti-Beijing sentiment. Formula is popular with mainland Chinese because of concerns about the safety of food processed in China after a series of…

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