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Top Asian News at 11:30 p.m. GMT

Wednesday, 4:34 PM

TOKYO (AP) — Facing fresh questions about his commitment to Asia, President Barack Obama will seek to convince Japan's leaders Thursday that he can deliver on his security and economic pledges, even as the crisis in Ukraine demands U.S. attention and resources elsewhere. The ominous standoff between Ukraine and Russia is threatening to overshadow Obama's four-country Asia swing that began Wednesday. He may decide during the trip whether to levy new economic sanctions on Moscow, a step that would signal the failure of an international agreement aimed at defusing the crisis.

Colombia president reinstates ousted Bogota mayor

Wednesday, 4:34 PM

Bogota's mayor Gustavo Petro, center, is surrounded by supporters as he arrives to city hall in Bogota, Colombia, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos reinstated Petro following a court order. Petro was removed from office in March after President Juan Manuel Santos refused to heed the Inter-American Human Rights Commission's call for a stay on the Inspector General's ouster of the mayor months earlier for alleged administrative missteps. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia's capital was changing hands for a third time in little over a month after President Juan Manuel Santos said Wednesday he would execute a court order reinstating Bogota's ousted leftist mayor.


NTSB head: Action needed now on oil train safety

Wednesday, 4:48 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration needs to take steps immediately to protect the public from potentially catastrophic oil train accidents even if it means using emergency authority, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman said Wednesday.

Rail safety effort marred by squabbling

Wednesday, 4:40 PM

FILE - This Dec. 30, 2013 file photo shows a fireball going up at the site of an oil train derailment in Casselton, N.D. An effort by government and industry to make the tank cars used to ship crude oil and ethanol safer, spurred by a series of fiery train crashes, is becoming mired in squabbling and finger-pointing. The Department of Transportation, concerned about the potential for catastrophic accidents involving oil and ethanol trains that are sometimes as many as 100 cars long, is drafting new tank car regulations aimed at making the cars less likely to spill their contents in the event of a crash. But final regulations aren’t expected until the end of the year at the earliest, and it is common for such government rulemakings to drag on for years. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Spurred by a series of fiery train crashes, a push by government and industry to make safer tank cars used for shipping crude oil and ethanol has bogged down in squabbling and finger-pointing over whether they're needed and if so, who should pay.


Phelps having fun in his return to swimming

Wednesday, 4:50 PM

Michael Phelps laughs while talking with coaches during a training session Wednesday, April 23, 2014, in Mesa, Ariz., as he prepares to compete for the first time since retiring after the 2012 London Games. The 22-time Olympic medalist is entered in three events at the Arena Grand Prix starting Thursday. (AP Photo/Matt York)MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Michael Phelps is making a comeback after nearly two years out of the pool for the simplest of reasons: He missed the sport that has been his entire life.


Cubs lose to Diamondbacks 7-5 on Wrigley's 100th

Wednesday, 4:38 PM

Jake Schrum, 10, of Cedar Lake, Ind., holds a sign during the fifth inning of a baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first game at Wrigley Field in the most appropriate way: with a gut-wrenching loss.


Small Wyoming town evacuated after gas explosion

Wednesday, 4:56 PM

OPAL, Wyo. (AP) — A small town in southwest Wyoming was evacuated Wednesday after an explosion and fire at a natural gas processing facility and major national pipeline hub. There were no reports of injuries.

Soldier accused of killing teens in Iraq

Wednesday, 4:48 PM

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (AP) — The two unarmed Iraqi brothers posed no threat as they herded cattle in a palm grove where a U.S. Army reconnaissance team was hidden one day seven years ago. But then-Staff Sgt. Michael Barbera took a knee, leveled his rifle and killed them — from nearly 200 yards away, a former fellow soldier said Wednesday at a preliminary hearing in the case.

Tech sector brightens as Apple jumps 8 percent

Wednesday, 4:52 PM

Man looks at an electronic board displaying Japan's Nikkei average and various countries' stock indices outside a brokerage in TokyoBy Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian markets could get a lift on Thursday after tech heavyweights Apple and Facebook beat Wall Street expectations, sending their stock up sharply and boosting Nasdaq futures. The Nasdaq futures were up 1 percent and the S&P 500 0.3 percent. Sentiment on the tech sector brightened after Apple decided to buy back $30 billion of its shares out to the end of 2015 and authorized a seven-for-one stock split. Apple reported sales of 43.7 million iPhones in the quarter ended March, far outpacing forecasts.


Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock

Wednesday, 4:21 PM

FILE - In this Dec. 23, 2013 file photo, a woman using a phone walks past Apple's logo near its retail outlet in Beijing. Apple reports quarterly earnings on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Apple is doling out more of its cash to shareholders and preparing to split its stock for the first time in nine years in an attempt to win back investors fretting about the iPhone maker's slowing sales growth and pace of innovation.


Two 10-year-olds caught selling grandparents' pot at Colorado school

Wednesday, 3:53 PM

By Keith Coffman DENVER (Reuters) - Two 10-year-old boys in Colorado were caught selling and swapping marijuana that they pilfered from their grandparents' supplies of legally purchased pot in separate incidents at the same school, a district official said on Wednesday. John Gates, director of safety and security for Weld County School District 6, said a fourth-grade boy at Monfort Elementary in Greeley brought a small amount of marijuana to school on Monday and sold it to three other classmates. That boy nibbled on the edible, but suffered no ill-effects, Gates said, adding that another student observed the incident and reported it to school authorities. Voters in Colorado approved the possession and use of small amounts of cannabis by adults for recreational purposes in 2012, and the first state-licensed retail pot stores opened in the state in January.

Vermont lawmakers send GMO food-labeling law to governor

Wednesday, 3:49 PM

A law that would make Vermont the first U.S. state to enact mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, received final approval from state lawmakers on Wednesday and now heads to the governor's desk. The Vermont House of Representative passed the bill 114-30. Last week, the Vermont Senate, by a vote of 28-2, approved the measure, which requires foods containing GMOs sold at retail outlets to be labeled as having been produced or partially produced with "genetic engineering." "Vermont's leading the nation on this, giving consumers basic information about the food that they are eating," said Falko Schilling, a spokesman for the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, which backed the bill. The Vermont bill also makes it illegal to describe any food product containing GMOs as "natural" or "all natural." Unlike bills passed last year in Maine and Connecticut, which require other states to pass GMO labeling laws before they can be enacted, Vermont's contains no such trigger clause.