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(Reuters) - Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six people and shot former Arizona lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords in a 2011 rampage, kept bomb-making components in a safe in his bedroom, the Los Angeles Times reported on Friday. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) files released to the newspaper showed that agents and sniffer dogs, who stormed Loughner's home just after his capture, found equipment including batteries, a circuit board, wires, and a numeric keyboard, the LA Times said. The files, amassed as the FBI investigated Loughner and released this week at the LA Times' request under the Freedom of Information Act, also showed his love of guns, erratic behavior and an obsession with Giffords. The FBI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
International lenders put new pressure on Cyprus politicians Friday to agree delayed legislation on foreclosure procedures for bad loans in the latest review of compliance over a multi-billion debt bailout. Legislation for the calling-in of non-performing loans contracted during the island's credit boom and crash that prompted the international bailout of March 2013 is a pre-condition for the next instalment of emergency loans that are desperately needed to rescue state finances. The urgent call for its passage by parliament came as part of a fifth review of the debt-ridden island's compliance with crippling bailout terms by the troika of lenders -- the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. "Reversing the rising trend of non-performing loans is critical to restoring credit, economic growth, and the creation of jobs," the lenders said.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police were searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit to raise money for their church, killing three kids and critically injuring their mother and the carjacking victim. Another woman was hurt but is in stable condition.
By Laura Zuckerman SALMON Idaho (Reuters) - Wildfire managers have turned to the U.S. Department of Defense for immediate access to two military C-130 aircraft retrofitted to carry retardant, boosting their forces to face the largest blaze in Washington state history. The U.S. Forest Service has its own fleet of more than 20 air tankers, but has in the past called on the military to provide aircraft to help suppress wildfires. Blazes that have raged across hundreds of thousands of acres (ha) of forests and grasslands in Washington state and Oregon triggered the call for the two aircraft, Steve Gage, a senior official with the U.S. Forest Service, told reporters in a conference call on Friday. Chronic drought has also parched much of California, New Mexico and Arizona, heightening the risk and intensity of wildfires.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Having forced out a beloved football coach and watched its president retire after a series of verbal gaffes, Ohio State University again finds itself grabbing headlines with the firing of a celebrated marching band director accused of ignoring a "sexualized" culture of rituals among band members.
MISSION, Texas (AP) — Three heavily armed Texas patrol boats rounded a bend in the Rio Grande on a recent afternoon and came upon two young men paddling an inflatable raft full-speed ahead toward the Mexican shore. The state troopers and game wardens bobbed helplessly in their boats as the men passed their raft and paddles up the bank to others, and a crew of troopers peeked through the tall reeds on the U.S. side for whatever load had just been deposited.
By Adrian Croft and Barbara Lewis BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union reached outline agreement on Friday to impose the first economic sanctions on Russia over its behavior in Ukraine but scaled back their scope to exclude technology for the crucial gas sector. The EU also imposed travel bans and asset freezes on the chiefs of Russia's FSB security service and foreign intelligence service and a number of other top Russian officials, saying they had helped shape Russian government policy that threatened Ukraine's sovereignty and national integrity. FSB director Alexander Bortnikov and Mikhail Fradkov, a former prime minister who now heads the foreign intelligence service, were among 15 Russians or Ukrainians and 18 companies and other organizations named in the EU's latest sanctions list.
By Justyna Pawlak BRUSSELS (Reuters) - When Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans spoke to his European Union peers of his grief and anger over the downing of a Malaysia Airlines airliner over eastern Ukraine, it was a turning point in Europe's approach to Russia. Several ministers had tears in their eyes when Timmermans said he had known personally some of the 194 Dutch passengers among the 298 people who died on the plane, which Washington believes pro-Russian separatists shot down in error. "To my dying day I will not understand that it took so much time for the rescue workers to be allowed to do their difficult job, and that human remains should be used in a political game," Timmermans told the U.N. Security Council hours earlier, before flying overnight to Brussels for the crucial EU session. Until that meeting on Tuesday, Europe had trailed the United States in imposing economic sanctions to pressure Moscow into working to defuse the eight-month crisis in Ukraine in which hundreds of people have been killed.
By Richard Leong NEW YORK (Reuters) - Even if data next week shows a mediocre rebound in U.S. economic growth, that might be enough to keep the stock market aloft at record highs and the Federal Reserve steadfast in its winding down of stimulus through bond purchases. U.S. gross domestic product for the second quarter, due to be released Wednesday, is forecast to have grown 3.2 percent. Growth had shrunk 2.9 percent in the first quarter due to a harsh winter and spending cuts tied to the federal Affordable Care Act. Indeed, Friday's disappointing report on durable goods orders in June spurred JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs to shave their second-quarter outlook by 0.1 percentage point to 2.6 percent and 3.0 percent growth, respectively.
The European Union is making swift progress on adopting much tougher economic sector sanctions against Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis, officials said Friday. After discussions on broadening the sanctions from the current mix of asset freezes and travel bans, the legal instruments required to give effect to the new punitive measures will be taken up Tuesday, they said. The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, "will swiftly table the necessary legislative proposals in all areas identified" by member states earlier this week, a statement said. "There is an agreement in principle on the package of economic sanctions," an EU diplomatic source said, adding that "a couple of details still have to be discussed" on Tuesday.
By Marice Richter DALLAS (Reuters) - Texas has launched a law enforcement surge to crack down on drug and human trafficking from Mexico in a move that comes as the state is about to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the border, officials said on Friday. The surge, announced last month and recently implemented, places more law enforcement officials and resources on the border and will result in $1.3 million in additional spending a week for the Texas Department of Public Safety, officials from the department said, without offering a specific date when it was launched. Texas Governor Rick Perry, seen as a potential Republican candidate in the 2016 presidential election, has blamed the Obama administration for not doing enough to halt a surge in children from Central America crossing the border. "Mexican cartels and criminal elements are taking advantage of this situation by further exploiting these gaps along the border to commit heinous crimes that will further their business," said Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger.
By Steve Holland and Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama urged the leaders of three Central American countries on Friday to work with him to stem the flow of child migrants who have surged across the U.S. border and warned that most of them would not be allowed to stay. In a White House meeting with the leaders of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Obama had a tough-love message: his administration had compassion for the children, but not many would qualify for humanitarian relief or refugee status. The meeting came as Obama struggles to contain a border crisis triggered by the tens of thousands of children who have crossed the Texas border with Mexico in recent months.
By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) - Some disappointing U.S. earnings, including Amazon.com, and weak German economic data pressured world stock markets on Friday, while the euro hit an eight-month low against the U.S. dollar. "The earnings season overall has been in line but when companies with rich valuations disappoint, you're going to get crucified," said Lawrence Glazer, managing partner at Mayflower Advisors in Boston. Signs emerged that tensions between the West and Russia are starting to hurt confidence in Germany, Europe's largest economy and the driver of its recovery. Germany's Ifo survey showed a hefty fall in business confidence over the last few weeks, prompting concerns Germany could be stuttering.
By Alastair Sharp TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's main stock index showed no signs of slowing its ascent into uncharted territory on Friday, with gold miners and banks helping it to another record close and a 1.2 percent gain in a week of all-time highs. With the Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index still relatively underperforming U.S. indices, investors are confident that economic fundamentals underpin the rally, despite worries of a pullback."In the grand scheme of things I'm fairly comfortable with valuations," said Marcus Xu, a portfolio manager at MY Capital Management Corp in Vancouver. "On the back of that notion commodities are doing fairly well." Canada's stock market relies on natural resource names for much of its bulk, and signs of global recovery help those stocks on the expectation that demand will pick up. Major gold miners were among the biggest positive contributors in the session, with Goldcorp Inc jumping 4.2 percent to C$30.51 and Barrick Gold Corp adding 2.8 percent to C$20.20.
Brazil's central bank said Friday it would ease banks' reserve requirements, freeing up $13 billion to stimulate lending and boost an economy facing its fourth year of sluggish growth. The new measures, which also loosen the rules on lending to small businesses, come as leftist President Dilma Rousseff heads into October elections in which she is seeking a second four-year term. "The central bank decided to adopt measures to improve the distribution of liquidity in the economy," the bank said. The bank also changed the way it calculates the reserves banks must keep on hand to cover their outstanding loans, basing the amount on the number of payments remaining rather than the total term of the loan.
By Daniel Bases and Alejandro Lifschitz NEW YORK/BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina failed to reach a breakthrough with the U.S. court-appointed mediator in its battle with holdout creditors on Friday in talks that lasted just an hour, suggesting a settlement to avoid a default next week remains elusive. The Argentine delegation headed home to seek instruction from the government after the talks in New York, mediator Daniel Pollack said, while the country's economy ministry underscored it would continue the dialogue with him over the next few days. Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa ordered Argentina and holdout creditors who have rejected its debt restructurings to meet continuously with Pollack to try to reach a deal and avoid the country's second default in 12 years. If they fail to reach a deal and holdouts do not ask for a suspension of Griesa's ruling to pay them back in full on their defaulted bonds, the judge will prevent Argentina from making a July 30 deadline for a payment on its exchanged bonds.
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde held discussions Friday with Ukraine's leaders about the impact of recent political turmoil on the nascent IMF rescue program, the Fund said. Lagarde spoke by telephone with President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a brief statement said. "The discussions focused on the implications of the recent political developments in Ukraine for economic policies, in particular for the authorities' ability to implement the program that is being supported by a Stand-By Arrangement," it said. "The managing director encouraged steady implementation of the authorities' reform program, including the policy package recently agreed with Fund staff."
Indonesia on Friday granted a permit to allow the local arm of US mining giant Freeport McMoRan resume exports, six months after the government applied a controversial ban, the company told AFP. It is one of a raft of economic policies that critics have dubbed "resource nationalism", and which are pushed by politicians who argue that Indonesia is losing out by allowing foreign firms easy access to lucrative industries. Copper concentrate, a major export for US giants Newmont and Freeport McMoRan, was exempt from the ban but the companies still faced paying the new, higher taxes on shipments of the product. "This is a good news, and we hope that our production will return to normal soon," Rozik Soetjipto, head of Freeport Indonesia, told AFP.