Christmas market attacker ‘neutralised’

French police have « neutralised » gunman who attacked a Strasbourg Christmas market – reports quoting police sources This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version. You can receive Breaking News on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts. Source: BBC

Maria Butina: Russian activist pleads guilty in US

A Russian woman accused in the US of acting as an agent for the Kremlin to infiltrate political groups has pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors. Gun rights activist Maria Butina, 30, admitted a single count of conspiracy at a court in Washington DC. She allegedly tried to infiltrate the National Rifle Association (NRA) in an effort to influence US policies in favour of Moscow. Butina initially pleaded not guilty. She has been in custody since July. She has also agreed to co-operate with investigators. Prosecutors expect the deal…

Chirp perp: Finches found in luggage at NY airport

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A man was caught at New York’s JFK airport last weekend trying to smuggle dozens of South American finches into the country, a bird that Guyanese immigrants covet for chirping but officials fear could spread disease, officials said on Thursday. About 70 finches were found hidden inside a shipment of hair rollers at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday when a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist inspected the unidentified male passenger’s luggage. Some of the birds had died enroute. The birds may have…

Virgin Galactic completes manned space test, more flights soon

MOJAVE, Calif. (Reuters) – A Virgin Galactic rocket plane reached space on Thursday and returned safely to the California desert, capping years of testing to become the first U.S. commercial human flight to breach Earth’s atmosphere since America’s shuttle program ended in 2011. A view from the edge of space is seen from Virgin Galactic’s manned space tourism rocket plane SpaceShipTwo during a space test flight over Mojave, California, U.S. December 13, 2018. Virgin Galactic/Handout via REUTERSThe successful test flight presages a new era of civilian space travel that could…

U.S. government posts $205 billion deficit in November

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Treasury building is seen in Washington, September 29, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Bourg WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. federal government ran a $205 billion deficit in November, according to data released on Thursday by the Treasury Department. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected a $188 billion deficit for last month. Treasury said federal spending in November was $411 billion, up 18 percent from the same month in 2017, while receipts were $206 billion, down 1 percent compared to November 2017. The total deficit for the first two months…

Legendary trader Andy Hall bets oil prices are going to rebound

Legendary oil trader Andy Hall says oil prices have likely hit a bottom after plunging more than 30 percent over the last two months. div > div.group > p:first-child »> « I think with prices hovering around or a little over $50 a barrel, I think you would have to have a pretty negative outlook on the global economy to believe that prices will continue their downward trajectory, » he said in an interview on Bloomberg TV on Thursday. « So I think on balance, if you want to place…

Janet Jackson gets Rock Hall of Fame place on Brit-heavy list

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Janet Jackson finally won her place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday when the pop singer was named as one of seven music acts to be getting a place in music history. FILE PHOTO: Singer Janet Jackson makes a heart symbol after receiving the Global Icon award at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards at Bilbao Exhibition Centre in Bilbao, Spain, November 4, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent WestJackson, 52, the younger sister of the late Michael Jackson, will join Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks…

U.S. labor market tightening; inflation pressures muted

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits tumbled to near a 49-year low last week, which could ease concerns about a slowdown in the labor market and economy. A container ship is shown at port in Long Beach, California, U.S. July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mike BlakeOther data on Thursday showed import prices dropping by the most in more than three years in November as the cost of petroleum products tumbled and a strong dollar weighed on prices of other goods, pointing to subdued imported inflation. Tightening…

Mexico will pay for wall with trade, Trump says after call with Mexican president

MEXICO CITY/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that Mexico is paying for a border wall through trade and he did not mention the subject on a call with his Mexican counterpart, as he focuses on getting the U.S. Congress to fund the project. FILE PHOTO: Mexico’s new President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador arrives for an event to unveil his plan for oil refining, in Paraiso, Tabasco state, Mexico, December 9, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre MeneghiniOne of Trump’s key campaign promises was to build the border wall he said…

Strasbourg shootings: Armed police mount operation in Neudorf district

Police in the French city of Strasbourg are carrying out a security operation in the district of Neudorf as they continue their hunt for the gunman who killed three people on Tuesday. Cherif Chekatt, 29, has been on the run since the attack at the city’s Christmas market. He was dropped off in Neudorf by a taxi which he commandeered to leave the city centre. Hundreds of police are hunting for him in France and Germany. Strasbourg shooting: What we know so far Face to face with the gunman It…

Oil majors to remain resilient despite market volatility, S&P Global Ratings says

While crude exporting countries worry about bearish forecasts for energy markets, the big oil supermajors can withstand fluctuating oil prices in the coming year, one ratings agency says. div > div.group > p:first-child »> Cost cuts in the industry from previous years and promising cash flow potential mean the world’s largest publicly traded international oil companies (IOCs) — Exxon, Shell, Chevron, BP, Eni and Total — needn’t worry even if oil falls to $50 a barrel, according to S&P Global Ratings. « Supermajors and these guys, the big players, the…

Bad bet: 70 finches seized at U.S. airport may have been bound for gambling

A live finch is seen following passenger inspection where live finches were found concealed within hair rollers at John F. Kennedy Airport in this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in New York, U.S., on December 13, 2018. U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Handout via REUTERSNEW YORK (Reuters) – Customs agents at a New York airport have arrested a bird smuggler who had hidden 70 live finches inside multi-colored hair rollers he had brought from Guyana and may have been bound for a gambling ring, federal officials said on…

U.S. forecaster sees 90 percent chance of El Niño in winter

(Reuters) – There is a 90 percent chance of the El Niño weather pattern emerging during the northern hemisphere winter 2018-19, a U.S. government weather forecaster said on Thursday. “The official forecast favors the formation of a weak El Niño,” the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said in a monthly forecast. The expectation of the weather pattern continuing through spring next year stood at 60 percent, the CPC added. Last month, the weather forecaster pegged the chances of the El Niño emerging at 80 percent during the winter…

‘Benny the Beluga’ facing Christmas in the Thames far from home

A Beluga whale swims in the River Thames near Gravesend, east of London, Britain, September 26, 2018. REUTERS/Peter NichollsLONDON (Reuters) – A beluga whale that was first spotted nearly three months ago in the River Thames is still feeding healthily east of the British capital and facing a lone Christmas hundreds of miles from its normal Arctic habitat. The white cetacean, which feeds on fish, squid and crabs, was first spotted in September and surfaced near Gravesend, Kent on the southern side of the estuary. The last spotting of the…

Weakened May turns to Brussels for Brexit help, but EU cautious

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Britain’s weakened prime minister, Theresa May, said on Thursday she did not expect to secure an immediate breakthrough in Brexit talks that would provide her fractured party with the kind of reassurances needed to get her deal through parliament. The European Union’s response as she arrived in Brussels for two days of talks with fellow EU leaders at a summit was bound to disappoint May, fresh from surviving a mutiny against her leadership within the Conservative party. The other 27 national leaders were wary of giving Britain…

EU leaders arrive for two-day summit dominated by Brexit

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders arrive in Brussels for two days of talks on Brexit, the euro zone, migration and Russia, among others. Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel arrives at a European Union leaders summit in Brussels, Belgium December 13, 2018. REUTERS/Francois LenoirBelow are some of their comments made on arrival. ROMANIAN PRESIDENT KLAUS IOHANNIS “I think we have a good deal. My impression is that on the British side, people have not yet understood that this is a good deal.” DUTCH PRIME MINISTER MARK RUTTE “It is impossible…

$325 million Illinois wind farm to supply power to General Motors, Bloomberg

Enel has started operations at the 185-megawatt HillTopper wind farm in Illinois via its U.S. renewable business Enel Green Power North America. Through power purchase agreements the facility, in Logan County, will sell power to Bloomberg LP, General Motors and Constellation, an Exelon business. Investment in the project’s construction, which will generate roughly 570 gigawatt hours per year, is around $325 million, Enel said Wednesday. Power produced from a 17-megawatt (MW) section of the site will be sold to Bloomberg. Energy from a 100 MW section will be bought by…

Oil prices steady as China-U.S. trade tensions ease

Oil prices steadied on Thursday, under pressure from high inventories but buoyed by a drawdown in U.S. crude stockpiles and indications that the trade war between the United States and China may be easing. Global oil supply has outstripped demand over the last six months, inflating inventories and pushing crude oil to its lowest in more than a year at the end of November. But the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other big producers, including Russia, agreed last week to reduce supply to try to trim the surplus.…

Strasbourg: Police make public appeal in Chérif Chekatt manhunt

French police have appealed for help in finding a man suspected of a Christmas market gun attack in Strasbourg that killed three people, and left a fourth brain dead and 12 others wounded. Hundreds of security personnel are searching for Chérif Chekatt, 29, on both sides of the Franco-German border. The suspect had a string of criminal convictions and had become a radical Islamist while in prison. Police say he is highly dangerous and should not be approached. French officials announced on Thursday that a third person had died in…

Hungary ‘slave labour’ law sparks protest on parliament steps

Protests have broken out in Hungary after the country’s parliament passed new labour laws, which have been labelled « slave labour » by opponents. New rules mean companies can demand up to 400 hours of overtime a year and delay payment for it for three years. Police used tear gas against crowds on the steps of the parliament building on Wednesday night as crowds gathered. Opposition politicians had created chaos inside, blocking stairways and blowing whistles to disrupt the votes. They were also angry over a second vote to create…

France ready to take Strasbourg suspect dead or alive, says government spokesman

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) – Hundreds of police scoured eastern France on Thursday for a fugitive gunman behind a deadly Strasbourg Christmas market attack that left two people dead and six others fighting for their lives. French police posted December 12, 2018 on their Police Nationale Twitter account, a call for witnesses for Strasbourg-born Cherif Chekatt, 29, the day after a gun attack on a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France. French Police Nationale/via ReutersFrance has raised its security threat to the highest level and police issued a wanted poster for Cherif…

Strasbourg shooting death toll rises to three

A tribute message which reads « You do not grieve alone » is seen on the « Pont de l’Europe » Bridge at the Franco-German border after a shooting in Strasbourg, France, December 13, 2018. REUTERS/Christian HartmannPARIS (Reuters) – The death toll from the gun attack on Strasbourg’s Christmas market rose to three on Thursday after a wounded victim died, the Paris prosecutor’s office said. Reporting by Emmanuel Jarry; Editing by Richard Lough and Robin PomeroyOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles. Source: Reuters

US dominance in oil markets is only going to get bigger, the IEA says

The U.S. might have been left out from the big summit between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Vienna last week but the country’s influence over global oil markets is only going to get stronger, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated in its latest report. div > div.group > p:first-child »> « While the U.S. was not present in Vienna, nobody could ignore its growing influence, » the IEA said in its December report, published Thursday. « Last week’s meeting reminded us that the Big Three of oil – Russia, Saudi…

OPEC exit frees Qatar from U.S. legal concerns

DUBAI/DOHA (Reuters) – Even before taking over Qatar’s energy policy in a government reshuffle last month, Qatar Petroleum (QP) CEO Saad al-Kaabi had long wanted the Gulf state to leave OPEC. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Qatar Petroleum is seen at its headquarters in Doha, Qatar, July 8, 2017. REUTERS/StringerKaabi was concerned OPEC membership could be a stumbling block for QP’s ambitions in the United States, where it has one of the world’s biggest LNG terminals, and a distraction as Doha doubles down on gas production, three industry sources said.…

U.S. solar takes hit from Trump tariffs but is cheaper than ever: report

(Reuters) – U.S. solar installations fell 15 percent in the third quarter as the Trump administration’s tariffs on overseas-made panels forced developers to put off large projects, according to a report commissioned by the industry’s primary trade group. FILE PHOTO: Solar panels are pictured at the BP America Gasosaurus Gas Unit well site in Lufkin, Texas, U.S., June 13, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan BachmanCurrent weakness in the utility-scale market, however, will be offset by larger volumes of projects than had been expected over the next five years because solar energy is now…

Turkey train crash: At least four dead in Ankara

Media playback is unsupported on your device A crash involving a high-speed train at a station in the Turkish capital Ankara has killed at least four people and injured more than 40, the local governor said on Thursday morning. Images from the scene showed emergency services working to rescue people from badly damaged carriages. Reports citing local officials said the high-speed train had collided with another train, then into an overpass. The accident occurred at about 06:30 local time (03:30 GMT). The train was travelling from Ankara to the city…

Defying Trump, U.S. Senate advances measure to end support for Saudis in Yemen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In a rare break with President Donald Trump, the Senate voted on Wednesday to move ahead with a resolution to end U.S. military support for the Saudi Arabian-led coalition in the war in Yemen and lawmakers vowed to push for sanctions against the kingdom in the new year. Eleven of Trump’s fellow Republicans joined Democrats to provide the 60 votes needed to advance the war powers resolution in the Republican-led chamber. The vote paved the way for debate and a vote on U.S. involvement in a conflict…

Asian shares surge as US-China trade thaw seen, sterling wobbles

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Asian equity markets surged on Thursday on signs of easing Sino-U.S. trade tensions and expectations that China will step up efforts soon to support its cooling economy. FILE PHOTO: An investor sits in front of a board showing stock information at a brokerage office in Beijing, China, December 7, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas PeterAfter a quiet start, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up more than 1 percent by midday, building on early gains made after British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote. Regional…

UK PM to join EU summit after surviving vote

Theresa May is heading to Brussels for an EU summit, less than 24 hours after surviving a vote of confidence. The prime minister is seeking legally binding pledges from EU leaders on the Irish backstop – a key obstacle for MPs who oppose her Brexit deal. The EU will not renegotiate the deal but may be willing to give greater assurances on the temporary nature of the backstop, the BBC understands. The PM won the ballot on her leadership by 200 votes to 117 on Wednesday night. The secret ballot…

Oil prices inch up amid US stockpile drop, signs of easing trade tensions

Oil prices edged up on Thursday, buoyed by a draw down in inventories in the U.S. and by signs of easing trade tensions between Washington and Beijing. Oil prices have also been supported by OPEC-led supply curbs announced last week, although gains have been muted after the producer group lowered its 2019 demand forecast. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $51.43 per barrel at 0230 GMT, up 0.57 percent from their last settlement. International Brent crude oil futures were 0.6 percent higher at $60.50 per barrel. «…