Obama seeks to recast ties with skeptical Arab world
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Thursday invoked the killing of Osama bin Laden as a chance to recast relations with the Arab world and said the top U.S. priority was to promote democratic change across the region. Obama, in his much-anticipated "Arab spring" speech, also ratcheted up pressure on Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, saying for the first time that he must stop a crackdown on protests and lead a democratic transition "or get out of the way."
Data suggests second-quarter GDP may disappoint
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Weak data on U.S. home sales and factory activity on Thursday showed the economy stuck in a slow-growth gear, although a drop in claims for jobless aid offered hope the labor market's recovery was on track. The reports suggested growth was being hampered by a combination of bad weather at home and supply disruptions caused by the March earthquake in Japan, and analysts said the economy should regain momentum by the second half of the year.
Strauss-Kahn resigns as Lagarde heads race to take over
WASHINGTON/PARIS (Reuters) - French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde emerged as frontrunner on Thursday to succeed Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the IMF after he resigned and vowed to fight charges of sexually assaulting a hotel maid. His letter of resignation, tendered from a New York prison cell, triggered a political tug-of-war over the leadership of the global lender. Strauss-Kahn arrived at a New York court building on Thursday to apply for release on $1 million bail.
LinkedIn share price more than doubles in NYSE debut
NEW YORK (Reuters) - LinkedIn Corp's shares more than doubled in their public trading debut on Thursday, evoking memories of the investor love affair with Internet stocks during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. Shares of the online professional social networking company soared as much as 171 percent, or $76.97, to $121.97 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange -- far exceeding the $45 initial public offering price.
Obama says Gaddafi's departure from Libya inevitable
TRIPOLI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Thursday it was inevitable Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi would have to leave power and only then could a democratic transition in the North African state proceed. Obama was speaking as part of a major address in Washington about the Middle East, which has seen a series of uprisings this year including ones that have toppled governments in Tunisia and Egypt as well as a three-month-old revolt in Libya.
Al Qaeda releases posthumous bin Laden audio recording
CAIRO (Reuters) - Al Qaeda released a posthumous audio recording by Osama bin Laden in which he praised revolutions sweeping through several Arab countries, and called for more Muslim "tyrants" to be toppled. Islamists have conspicuously been absent in the uprisings in the Middle East that have largely been led by ordinary citizens angered by autocratic rule, corruption and mismanaged economies.
Pile of U.S. debt would stretch beyond stratosphere
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Ronald Reagan once famously said that a stack of $1,000 bills equivalent to the U.S. government's debt would be about 67 miles high. That was 1981. Since then, the national debt has climbed to $14.3 trillion. In $1,000 bills, it would now be more than 900 miles tall.
Deutsche Bank chairman denies Kirch conspiracy
MUNICH (Reuters) - The legal battle between Deutsche Bank and media mogul Leo Kirch looked no closer to being resolved after a day of hearings in a Munich court which saw Chief Executive Josef Ackermann in the witness stand. Judge Guido Kotschy had sought to establish whether the lender had damaged Kirch's business with intent, in a bid to resolve one of Germany's most bitter, drawn-out corporate disputes.
Special report: GE thrives, Wall Street yawns, Immelt charges on
FAIRFIELD, Connecticut (Reuters) - Even a casual look at the history of General Electric Co during its decade with Jeff Immelt at the helm reads like a chronology of the major crises of the start of the 21st century. He became chief executive days before the 9/11 attacks, which took a heavy toll on GE's insurance and aviation businesses. He saw the largest U.S. conglomerate's shares fall to 18-year lows as the financial crisis battered the economy. And just two months ago the company was rocked again as its reactors played a central role in Japan's nuclear crisis.
Strauss-Kahn arrives at court for bail hearing
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is charged with trying to rape a hotel maid, arrived at a New York court building on Thursday for a bail hearing. Strauss-Kahn's lawyers are asking that he be released on $1 million cash bail and placed under 24-hour home detention with electronic monitoring, court papers showed.