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By Linda Sieg and Matt Spetalnick TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama used a state visit to Japan on Thursday to try to reassure Asian allies of his commitment to ramping up U.S. engagement in the region, despite Chinese complaints that his real aim is to contain Beijing's rise. Obama is being treated to a display of pomp and ceremony meant to show that the U.S.-Japan alliance, the main pillar of America's security strategy in Asia, remains solid at a time of rising tensions over growing Chinese assertiveness and North Korean nuclear threats. "As you said, my visit here, I think, once again represents my deep belief that a strong U.S.-Japan relationship is not only good for our countries, but good for the world," Obama told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the start of their summit. "Our shared democratic values mean that we have to work together in multilateral settings to deal with regional hot spots Around the globe, but also to try make sure we are creating a strong set of rules that govern the international order." Behind the scenes, U.S. and Japanese trade negotiators for the two countries were working around the clock in Tokyo on a two-way trade pact seen as crucial to a broader trans-Pacific agreement.
BEIJING (AP) — China's government says it will open 80 projects in eight state-run industries to private and foreign investors as part of efforts to make its slowing economy more efficient.
MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James drove to the rim as time was winding down, got clobbered by Josh McRoberts and sat on the hardwood gathering himself for a few seconds afterward.
NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday viewed "horrific pictures of corpses" from the scene of last week's massacre in South Sudan and discussed taking actions that could include sanctions, diplomats said.
BOSTON (AP) — Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected for using a foreign substance less than two weeks after appearing to get away with it in another game against Boston, and the Red Sox beat New York 5-1 on Wednesday night.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Monta Ellis scored 21 points and the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 113-92 victory over San Antonio on Wednesday night, snapping a 10-game skid against the Spurs and evening their first-round series at a game apiece.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the involuntary manslaughter conviction of Michael Jackson's doctor, rejecting his lawyer's petition without comment.
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.
A US judge threw out a lawsuit by Quentin Tarantino seeking $1 million from a gossip website for helping leak a screenplay for his latest planned movie. US District Judge John F. Walter said Wednesday that Tarantino had failed to demonstrate "direct infringement" by the Gawker website of his copyright for the script of "The Hateful Eight". The "Pulp Fiction" director announced in January that he had scrapped plans to film the movie as his next project because the screenplay had been leaked. He subsequently filed a lawsuit accusing Gawker Media of "predatory journalism" over the 146-page script.
BOSTON (AP) — Michael Pineda was ejected for using a foreign substance less than two weeks after appearing to get away with it in another game against Boston, and the Red Sox beat the New York Yankees 5-1 on Wednesday night.
TOKYO (AP) — President Barack Obama is seeking to reassure Japanese leaders Thursday that he can deliver on his security and economic pledges to Asia even as the crisis in Ukraine demands U.S. attention and resources elsewhere.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Brandon Dubinsky scored with 22.5 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and Nick Foligno's wrist shot just inside the blue line 2:49 into the extra session gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
Apple on Wednesday courted investors with stock split plans as hot iPhone sales pushed up profits while underscoring pressure for the company to unveil "the next big thing." Apple shares jumped more than seven percent to $566.15 in after-market trade following the release of January-March earnings figures showing profit of $10.2 billion on $45.6 billion in revenue. The earnings report came with Apple chief Tim Cook hinting that new products are on the way from the maker of iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macintosh computers. "We're very proud of our quarterly results, especially our strong iPhone sales and record revenue from services," Cook said in a press release.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for comparing living in her daughter's guest room with the captivity they experienced.
STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday she believes the outcome of the standoff in Ukraine will be a bad one for Russia.
Aspirin can reduce the risk of colon cancer by half, but only in people who carry high levels of a specific type of gene, a study released Wednesday found. Researchers previously were aware that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin could reduce colorectal cancer risks, but they did not understand why some saw a benefit and others did not, according to the study in Science Translational Medicine. Scientists studied tissues from people who developed colon cancer while on an aspirin regimen then set out to understand why people with a particular gene appeared to get a protective benefit from aspirin and others did not. They examined tissues of 270 colon cancer patients from 127,865 participants followed for over three decades.
Washington (AFP) - US industrial giant General Electric is in discussions to take over France's Alstom in a deal which could cost more than $13 billion, Bloomberg reported.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is encouraging many nonviolent federal prisoners to apply for early release — and expecting thousands to take up the offer. It's an effort to deal with high costs and overcrowding in prisons, and also a matter of fairness, the government says.
Barack Obama inspected the guard at a pomp-filled ceremony with Emperor Akihito Thursday, kicking off the formal proceedings of the first state visit to Japan by a US president in nearly two decades, at a time of nervousness in Asia. In the grounds of Tokyo's sprawling Imperial Palace, Obama strode in bright spring sunshine as he greeted a line of dignitaries. Soon after he arrived in Japan on Wednesday night, Obama's presidential motorcade whisked him to a tiny underground sushi restaurant, where he feasted on three Michelin star food with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Mesa (United States) (AFP) - Michael Phelps plunges back into competitive swimming on Thursday, unsure if his comeback will yield more Olympic glory but confident it won't diminish his past achievements. "I know if I really want to compete at a high level, I have to be ready by this summer," said Phelps, who still must meet the qualifying standard for the US championships.
Here's a look at some of the defining moments, exciting scenes, triumphs and defeats from the world of sports.
Slavyansk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Russia said it will strike back if its "legitimate interests" in Ukraine are attacked, raising the stakes in the Cold War-like duel with the United States over the former Soviet republic's future. Moscow is insisting that Kiev withdraw forces sent to eastern Ukraine on an "anti-terrorist" mission to dislodge pro-Russian rebels, who have occupied government buildings there. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told state-controlled RT television that if Russia or its interests are attacked, "we would certainly respond". "If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in accordance with international law," he said, referring to Russia's armoured invasion of Georgia in 2008.
TOKYO (AP) — Asian shares lacked a clear direction in early Thursday trading as players took a mostly wait-and-see view ahead of talks between Japan's prime minister and visiting President Barack Obama.
JINDO, South Korea (AP) — Divers made their way deeper Thursday into the submerged wreck of a ferry that sank more than a week ago as the death toll neared 160 and relatives of the more than 140 still missing pressed the government to finish the grim task of recovery soon.
HONOLULU (AP) — Long flights can leave anyone a little unsteady, but a teenager who defied the odds, surviving a flight from California to Hawaii tucked in a jetliner's wheel well, was disoriented, thirsty and could barely walk after the freezing, low-pressure ordeal, airport officials said Wednesday.
The United States said on Wednesday it was let down by a unity pact agreed to between the Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas' Palestine Liberation Organization and added it could make peace efforts difficult. "The timing was troubling, and we were certainly disappointed in the announcement," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a regular news briefing. "This could seriously complicate our efforts - not just our efforts but the efforts of the parties to extend their negotiations." The leaders of a U.S. House of Representatives appropriations subcommittee that oversees foreign said the Palestinians' agreement with Hamas could jeopardize funds they receive from the U.S. government. The United States, Israel and the European Union view Hamas as a terrorist organization, Washington sends about $500 million to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority each year.
BOSTON (AP) — Less than two weeks after pitching against Boston with what appeared to be pine tar on his pitching hand, the New York Yankees' Michael Pineda was ejected from a game against the Red Sox on Wednesday night after umpires found a foreign substance on his neck.
NEW YORK (AP) — Warren Buffett criticized Coca-Cola's pay plan for its executives on Wednesday.
NEW YORK (AP) — Mike McCarthy promises there won't be any bad memories plaguing his Green Bay Packers when they open the NFL season on Sept. 4 at Super Bowl champion Seattle.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Federal Communications Commission is set to propose new open Internet rules that would allow content companies to pay for faster delivery over the so-called "last mile" connection to people's homes, but enhance scrutiny of such deals so they don't harm competition or limit free speech.
Huy (Belgium) (AFP) - Amstel Gold winner Philippe Gilbert brushed off his disappointing 10th placed finish at Fleche Wallonne, insisting he is focused on Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The 31-year-old Belgian was the clear favourite coming into Wednesday's race having blitzed the opposition in last Sunday's Amstel Gold Race, where he finished five seconds clear of second-placed Jelle Vanendert despite letting up as he celebrated his win before crossing the line. Yet he was caught in a bad position at the foot of the final Mur de Huy climb at the Fleche Wallonne and was unable to work his way through the field, ending up 10th, 15sec behind winner Alejandro Valverde. But Gilbert said it meant little, confirming his assertion before the second of the three 'Ardennes Classics' that it was "just a midweek race" and that his true objective is victory in Liege, the fourth of five 'Monument' races this year.
HONOLULU (AP) — The father of a teenager who survived a flight from California to Hawaii tucked in a jetliner's wheel well has told Voice of America his son missed Africa, where he used to live, and was struggling in school.
By Miyoung Kim SEOUL (Reuters) - The body of a South Korean boy whose shaking voice first raised the alarm that a passenger ferry with hundreds on board was in trouble has been found, his parents believe, but a DNA test has yet to confirm the find, media said on Thursday. His parents had checked his body and clothes and concluded he was their son, the Yonhap news agency said. Captain Lee Joon-seok, 69, and other crew members who abandoned ship have been arrested on negligence charges.
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:
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.
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Washington (AP) — 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, a former soldier said Wednesday at a preliminary hearing.
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont could likely be the first state in the country to require labels on genetically modified foods, under a bill approved by both legislative chambers and favored by the governor.
Who says Apple does not want to be in the Dow Jones industrial average? The iPhone maker's market value has stood high above most U.S. corporations' for a few years, yet Apple still isn't a component of that blue-chip stock benchmark. That is because the Dow weighs its 30 components by price, so a $500 stock would overwhelm the index. A seven-for-one stock split that will chop the price to about $75 changes the picture.
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Lawyers for four gay and lesbian couples and the state of Oregon urged a federal judge Wednesday to strike down Oregon's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australian officials said Thursday that after examining detailed photographs of unidentified material that washed ashore in the southwestern part of the country they are satisfied it is not a clue in the search for the missing Malaysian plane.