Global oil prices climbed on Wednesday as dealers awaited the latest US stockpiles report for clues about demand in the world's top crude consumer. Brent North Sea crude for October added 10 cents to $102.60 per barrel in late morning London deals. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for October delivery gained 24 cents to $94.10 a barrel. Later on Wednesday, the US government's Department of Energy will publish the official petroleum stockpiles report for the week to August 22.
A World Health Organization (WHO) employee who has contracted Ebola arrived in Germany Wednesday, the first patient with the virus to be treated in the country, officials said. A plane carrying the patient -- a Senegalese epidemiologist who was infected in Sierra Leone -- touched down at the airport of the northern city of Hamburg and was to be taken to a hospital isolation ward.
The skies over Gaza remained calm Wednesday as a long-term ceasefire took hold, ending the deadliest violence in a decade with Israel and Hamas both claiming 'victory' in the 50-day war. Millions in and around the war-torn enclave enjoyed a welcome night of peace during which there were no strikes on Gaza, nor Palestinian rockets fired at Israel, the Israeli army said. "Since the truce came into force, there has been no IDF activity in Gaza, and no rocket fire on Israel," a military spokeswoman said 12 hours after the guns on both sides fell silent. Both Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement, the de facto authority in Gaza, hailed the ceasefire as a victory.
KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani pulled his observers from a U.N.-supervised audit of votes on Wednesday after rival candidate Abdullah Abdullah dropped out of the process, a senior member of Ghani's team said. "Although it seems sort of unfair ... politically it seemed more prudent," said Daoud Sultanzoy, adding that the United Nations had asked that Ghani's observer leave the process, in the interest of fairness. The Independent Election Commission will continue the audit, Sultanzoy said. (Reporting By Krista Mahr; Editing by Robert Birsel)
BUNOL, Spain (AP) — The streets of an eastern Spanish town are awash with red pulp as thousands of people pelt each other with tomatoes in the annual "Tomatina" battle that has become a major tourist attraction.
Iraqi warplanes have begun targeting jihadists besieging the Shiite Turkmen town of Amerli amid growing fears for the safety of thousands of residents short of food and water and facing a "massacre". With some 12,000 Turkmen trapped in the northern town, US President Barack Obama is "nearing a decision" to authorise strikes and aid drops in the area, The New York Times reported. The report added that Obama is also seeking to piece together an international coalition for potential military action in Syria, where the US has begun reconnaissance flights. Iraqi warplanes carried out nine air strikes on Tuesday against the militants besieging Amerli, an officer said.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Gov. Bobby Jindal planned to file a lawsuit Wednesday against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally manipulating federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards.
GENEVA (AP) — An independent U.N. commission said Wednesday that the Syrian government has likely used chlorine gas to attack civilians and that the Islamic State group committed crimes against humanity with attacks on civilians in two cities in the country's north and west.
TOKYO (AP) — At a humble Tokyo laboratory, Godzilla, including the 1954 black-and-white original, is stomping back with a digital makeover that delivers four times the image quality of high definition.
VENICE, Italy (AP) — A film in which art and fame battle it out in the streets and skies of Manhattan has kicked off the 71st Venice Film Festival, where high-art aspirations mix with Hollywood hopes.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — A Cabinet minister has urged Pakistan's two key opposition figures leading mass rallies outside parliament to back off their demand for the prime minister's resignation in ongoing talks with the government.
The cost of borrowing for eurozone countries fell to record low levels on Wednesday, despite gloom over the economic outlook and crisis over economic policy in France. The bond interest rates are falling following comments made by the head of the European Central Bank assuring that deflation will be kept at bay. The interest rate or yield indicated by traded German 10-year bonds, the benchmark for the eurozone, fell to a record low level of 0.915 percent from 0.939 percent late on Tuesday. The rate for French 10-year debt fell to a record low of 1.249 percent from 1.275 percent, against a background of the formation of a new government in France following the shock dismissal on Monday of economy minister Arnaud Montebourg, who had criticised economic policy.
- Swiss alpine skiing legend Karl Molitor has died at the age of 94, his family announced on Wednesday. Molitor, from the ski resort of Wengen in Switzerland's rugged Bernese Oberland region, won multiple victories in the iconic Lauberhorn downhill. His first win on the Lauberhorn, at 4.48 kilometres the longest downhill on the alpine skiing calendar, was in 1939, when he was 20. In 1948, at the Winter Olympics in the Swiss resort of St. Moritz, Molitor won silver in the combined and bronze in the downhill.
Warring forces in South Sudan traded blame Wednesday for the crash of a UN helicopter in which three crew died, although investigations have yet to confirm if it was shot down. A UN team was investigating the wreckage of the Mi-8 helicopter on Wednesday, but have made no comment on the cause of the crash, in which three were killed and one wounded. Army spokesman Philip Aguer said rebels "shot it down", but provided no further evidence. Rebel spokesman Mabior Garang, son of South Sudan's first president John Garang who died in a helicopter crash in 2005, dismissed the claims as "malicious allegations".
IMF chief Christine Lagarde, one of the world's most powerful women, announced Wednesday she had been charged with "negligence" over a multi-million-euro graft case relating to her time as French finance minister. The shock announcement came a day after she was grilled by a special court in Paris that probes cases of ministerial misconduct, the fourth time she has faced such questioning in a case that has weighed upon her powerful position as managing director of the International Monetary Fund. "The investigating commission of the court of justice of the French Republic has decided to place me under formal investigation," she said in exclusive comments to AFP. In France, being placed under formal investigation is the nearest equivalent to being charged, and happens when an examining magistrate has decided there is a case to be answered.
VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) — The historic blue-collar town of Vallejo is a short distance but a far cry from the touristy Napa Valley vineyards and quaint towns. So when Sunday's earthquake struck, the damage to the wine industry took center stage and the rubble in Vallejo got scant attention.
La Liga giants Barcelona have completed the signing of Brazilian full back Douglas Pereira from Sau Paulo for an initial fee of four million euros ($5.2 million, £3.2 million), the club confirmed on Wednesday. The 24-year-old will sign a five-year deal and is expected to compete with compatriot Dani Alves for a place in the first team. "FC Barcelona and Sao Paulo FC have reached an agreement for the transfer of Douglas Pereira," said a statement on the Barca website. "Douglas will travel to Barcelona at the end of this week to do his medical, sign his contract and be presented as a Barcelona player."
KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on Wednesday that Kiev knew of plans by Russia to halt gas flows this winter to Europe. "The situation in (Ukraine's) energy sector is difficult. We know of Russia's plans to block (gas) transit even to European Union countries this winter," he told a government meeting. Last year, half of Russian gas exports to the EU were shipped via Ukraine. Russian gas exporter Gazprom and the Energy Ministry were not immediately available for comments. (Reporting by Natalia Zinets; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin)
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sent a note earlier this year to a ceremony at a Buddhist temple honoring hundreds of World War II-era war criminals praising their contributions to the country, the government's top spokesman said Wednesday.
Argentine midfielder Angel di Maria has claimed he never asked to leave Real Madrid after sealing his British transfer record £59.7 million ($98 million, 75 million euros) move to Manchester United. Real boss Carlo Ancelotti had repeatedly stated over the past week that Di Maria had demanded an exit from the Spanish capital. The 26-year-old denied those suggestions, but did hint that the reason behind his departure had been the club's failure to give him an improved contract after his man-of-the-match performance as Real won their 10th European Cup against Atletico Madrid in May. "Unfortunately, today I have to leave, but I want to make it clear that was never my wish," Di Maria said in an open letter to Madrid sports daily Marca.
Britain's bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland has been fined £14 million for not taking enough care to explain to home-buyers the costs of taking out a mortgage, regulators said on Wednesday. "The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today fined The Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest £14,474,600 for serious failings in their advised mortgage sales business," the FCA said in a statement. The watchdog added that, following a review, it found that only two of 164 mortgage sales it examined between June 2011 and March 2013 had met the overall standard required. The FCA said RBS and its retail division NatWest had failed to consider the full extent of a customer's budget when making a mortgage recommendation.