SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Japan's stock benchmark surged 5 percent to the highest level since late 2007 and the yen slid against the dollar Friday after the Bank of Japan unexpectedly announced new stimulus to boost a flagging economy. Expectations Japan's $1.1 trillion public pension fund would boost its equity holdings gave a further boost to the market.
(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it will expand its offering of discounted products during the holiday season and may broaden a price-matching scheme to include online rivals, in the latest sign of an escalating price war among big U.S. retailers. Wal-Mart said it was bracing for competition to be as tough or tougher than in 2013, when heavy discounting depressed earnings across the industry. Wal-Mart's profits dropped in the holiday quarter last year and it has posted six straight quarters of flat or declining same-store sales. ...
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — There was a bit of a British invasion at the Beverly Hills Hilton hotel, as BAFTA Los Angeles hosted its annual Britannia Awards, honoring film and television talent from both sides of the pond, including director Mike Leigh and actors Dame Judi Dench, Emma Watson, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Robert Downey Jr.
The population of the Philippines' dwarf buffalo, one of the world's rarest animals, has grown to its largest since efforts to save them from extinction began, conservationists said Friday. An annual survey counted 382 tamaraws in a protected mountain area this year, an increase from 345 in 2013, according to data from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The tamaraw, famed for its distinct v-shaped horns, can be found only in the mountains of Mindoro, a farming island in the central Philippines. The stocky tamaraw, with its chocolate brown coat, runs wild in the forest and weighs half as much as the more common carabao, which is used by farmers in the Philippines to plough rice fields.
OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Hundreds of protesters marched in the capital of Burkina Faso on Friday demanding that President Blaise Compaore step down, a day after the military dissolved parliament and announced a transitional government in the face of violent mass protests. "We don't want him. We want him out of power. He is not our president," demonstrator Ouedrago Yakubo told Reuters. The demonstrators gathered at the main Place de la Nation and in front of the army headquarters. ...
The Bank of Japan ramped up its vast monetary easing programme Friday -- sending the yen plunging and stocks soaring -- in a surprise move aimed at reviving growth just as the Federal Reserve winds down its own stimulus spree. Speaking after the central bank wrapped up its latest policy meeting, BoJ chief Haruhiko Kuroda described the measures as crucial to keeping Japan on track in its war on deflation, and said further policy moves could follow. "The Japanese economy is now at a critical moment in its process of getting out of deflation," he told reporters in Tokyo, adding that the BoJ would "not hesitate" to pull the trigger on more easing if necessary. The BoJ also slashed its economic growth forecast by half, and trimmed inflation expectations as a much-touted inflation target looked increasingly out of reach.
Britain's security services are set to clash with parliament and the press over revelations that police secretly used a controversial law to identify journalists' sources, triggering a wider debate about media freedom in the digital age. Other cases have since emerged, although the full scale of the practice is unknown since police do not need to go through a court under the Regulation of Invest Powers Act (RIPA). In the case of The Sun, the phone records of political editor Tom Newton Dunn were accessed to find out which officers were behind allegations that Andrew Mitchell, the government's senior representative in parliament, swore at police. "It was a fairly simple process for them to identify which telephone numbers could be linked to police officers," said Dominic Ponsford from the Press Gazette trade magazine, which is running a "Save Our Sources" campaign.