The so-called "Islamic State" released a video on Tuesday showing a masked militant apparently beheading an American journalist and threatening to kill a British captive. The footage, seen by AFP after it was found online by private terrorism monitor SITE, shows 31-year-old freelance reporter Steven Sotloff dressed in orange and on his knees in a desert landscape. The masked militant condemns the ongoing US strikes against the Islamic State -- a Sunni jihadist group that operates in Iraq and Syria -- and cuts Sotloff's throat. "I'm back, Obama, and I'm back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State," the militant says, speaking in what sounds like a London accent.
The International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday that economically-devastated Ukraine may need an extra $19 billion (14.5 billion euros) in assistance should it fail to quell its brutal pro-Kremlin uprising by the end of next year. "We are assuming that the conflict will begin to subside in the coming months," the Fund's European Department head Poul Thomsen said in his first review of Kiev's compliance with its reform and recovery programme. If this assumption does not hold... the programmes' viability could hinge on larger assistance from Ukraine's international partners." The IMF added that it has agreed to give Kiev some slack by allowing the government to collect a bigger budget deficit than the one initially approved by its board.
France's scorned former first lady Valerie Trierweiler is set to lift the lid on her tumultuous relationship with the president on Thursday in what could prove an explosive memoir. Trierweiler, a journalist, was dumped unceremoniously by Francois Hollande in January after a magazine revealed his affair with actress Julie Gayet, and has since remained broadly silent about an event she once said had felt like falling "from a skyscraper."
The Islamic State released a video purporting to show the beheading of American hostage Steven Sotloff, a monitoring service said on Tuesday, as the militant group raised the stakes in its confrontation with Washington over U.S. A masked figure in the video also issued a threat against a British hostage, a man the group named as David Haines, and warned governments to back off "this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State", the SITE monitoring service said.
"Things continue to fall into place for our view that growth should accelerate in the year's back half," said Dan Greenhaus, chief strategist at BTIG in New York. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said its index of national factory activity rose to 59.0 last month, the highest reading since March 2011, from 57.1 in July. Carl Riccadonna, a senior economist at Deutsche Bank in New York, said the current level of new orders has historically been consistent with an annualized GDP growth pace of 4.4 percent.
Hip-hop star Chris Brown pleaded guilty Tuesday to hitting a fan outside a Washington hotel last year, a US district attorney announced. The misdemeanor assault charge carries a maximum 180 days in jail, but as part of a plea deal with the US Attorney's Office, a judge in District of Columbia Superior Court sentenced Brown to time served. The 25-year-old Grammy-winning R&B artist had already spent some 80 days in incarceration for a probation violation in California related to his arrest last October in the Washington assault case. At the time of the arrest, Brown had been on probation for felony assault for attacking the singer Rihanna in the hours before the 2009 Grammy Awards.