Breaking

HELSINKI - Workers in several technology industry companies will go on strike in Finland from Wednesday to Friday this week after no solution was found to a wage dispute, Technology industry employers said in a statement on Tuesday. "This day did not bring a solution to the labour dispute between Industrial union and Technology industry employers," the Finnish national conciliator's office said in a tweet. The strike will hit 20 companies, including ABB, Sandvik and Outokumpu, that employ 11,000 workers, the employers' organisation said. Strikes could follow at several other industries if no solution is found to disputes over wage demands. (Reporting by Essi Lehto, editing by Terje Solsvik)...
By Simon Lewis RAMALLAH, West Bank - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken moves to the West Bank on Tuesday, a day after calling for a halt to escalating violence and reaffirming Washington's backing for a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Blinken appealed for calm on both sides following last week's killing by a Palestinian gunman of seven people outside a synagogue in the worst such attack in the Jerusalem area for years, bringing the total of Israelis killed in attacks by Palestinians since 2022 to 33 with three Ukrainians also killed. He will meet Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders deeply disillusioned after months of raids by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank that have killed more than 200 Palestinians, including civilians as well as militant fighters, since 2022. In January alone, 35 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops, in the bloodies...
MOSCOW - Russia said on Tuesday that calls by the president of Lithuania to supply Ukraine with fighter planes highlighted the "extremely aggressive position" of the Baltic states and Poland, and that "major European countries" should counterbalance their stance. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said on Monday that NATO should stop drawing "red lines" and should supply Ukraine with whatever weapons it needed, including fighter jets and long-range missiles. Asked about those comments, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters: "In general, we see an extremely aggressive position from representatives of the Baltic countries and Poland. They are apparently ready to do anything to provoke the growth of further confrontation, with little regard for the consequences." He added: "Of course, it is very sad that under these conditions the leaders of major European countries, who drive all European processes, unfortunately do not play a ba...
BANGKOK - Political activists met Thailand's biggest opposition party on Tuesday to demand that, if it wins in upcoming elections, it revoke a tough law that criminalises insults of the country's monarchy. Thailand has some of the world's strictest lese majeste laws, with punishments of up to 15 years in prison for each perceived royal insult. Hundreds of people have been arrested or jailed under the rules, some for as long as 43 years. Article 112 of the criminal code, as the law is known, has long been a taboo topic in Thailand and calls for it to be reformed have also led to arrests. Eight activists met on Tuesday with the Pheu Thai party and said scrapping Article 112 must be a priority. Pheu Thai has won most votes in every election in the past two decades and will be among the key contenders in this year's poll, which is due by May. "If the Pheu Thai Party want to win by a landslide, they need to revok...
HANOI - A Vietnamese military aircraft crashed during a training session in northern Vietnam on Tuesday, killing a pilot, state media reported. The accident happened at noon in Yen Bai province, reported official Vietnam News Agency. (Reporting by Khanh Vu)...
LONDON - More companies suffered insolvency last year in England and Wales than any time since 2009, according to government figures released on Tuesday. Total insolvencies rose by 57% from their 2021 level to reach 22,109 in 2022. "The increase compared to 2021 was driven by the highest annual number of Creditors' Voluntary Liquidations (CVLs) since the start of the series in 1960," the government's Insolvency Service agency said. (Reporting by David Milliken, Editing by Kylie MacLellan)...
DAKAR - United Nations experts have called for an independent investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by government forces and Russian private military contractor Wagner group in Mali, they said in a statement on Tuesday. (Reporting by Edward McAllister and Nellie Peyton; Editing by Alexander Winning)...
KYIV - Ukraine's foreign ministry criticised Croatian President Zoran Milanovic on Tuesday for saying Crimea would never return to Ukrainian control, describing his comment as "unacceptable." Russia seized the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and Kyiv has said it will not abandon efforts to regain control of the region. In remarks on Monday detailing his objection to Zagreb providing military aid to Kyiv, Milanovic said it was "clear that Crimea will never again be part of Ukraine". "We consider as unacceptable the statements of the president of Croatia, who effectively cast doubt on the territorial integrity of Ukraine," Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko wrote on Facebook. In the same statement, Nikolenko thanked the Croatian government and people for backing Ukraine's since Russia's invasion in February last year. Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic has openly voiced support for Ukraine...
* Q4 GDP -0.1% q/q vs forecast of -0.2% * Domestic demand contracted in Q4, net exports grew * Full year 2022 GDP rose prelim 3.9% By Gavin Jones ROME, Jan 31 - Italy's economy shrank by 0.1% in the fourth quarter of last year from the previous three months, preliminary data showed on Tuesday, a slightly smaller contraction than expected but still raising fears of recession. On a year-on-year basis, fourth quarter gross domestic product in the euro zone's third largest economy was up 1.7%, national statistics bureau ISTAT said. A survey of 23 analysts had forecast a 0.2% quarterly decline and a 1.6% rise compared with the year earlier. Over the whole of last year, GDP growth, adjusted for the number of working days, came in at 3.9%. Looking ahead, the outlook has been clouded by sky-high inflation and energy costs, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, which have sapped busin...
MILAN - EuroGroup Laminations, which makes electric motor and generator components, said on Tuesday it was aiming for a market capitalisation of up to 983 million euros ($1.06 billion) in an initial public offering (IPO) in Milan. The planned IPO will follow on from German web hosting firm IONOS, whose offer for its debut in Frankfurt started on Monday in a sign that the public listings market is thawing after a tough 2022. EuroGroup Laminations said its offer is expected to be between 416 million and 448 million euros, including the placement of 250 million euros of new shares. The rest of the shares will be sold by the five families who control the group through holding company EMS and by French private equity group Tikehau. EuroGroup said it would use the proceeds from the capital increase to expand its production capacity (including new production sites), develop new technologies, strengthen its capital structure as well...
SYDNEY - Australian authorities are mounting an extensive search for a tiny radioactive capsule believed to have fallen out of a road train - a truck with multiple trailers - that travelled 1,400 km (870 miles) in Western Australia. Here's what you need to know: WHAT IS IT? The silver capsule is just 6 mm in diameter and 8 mm long and was part of a gauge used to measure the density of iron ore feed at Rio Tinto's remote Gudai-Darri mine. HOW DID IT GO MISSING? The gauge, packaged by a specialist contractor, was picked up from the mine on Jan. 12, by a separate logistics company. When it was unpacked on Jan. 25, it was found broken apart, with one of its four mounting bolts as well as screws and the capsule missing. Authorities suspect vibrations from the road train caused the gauge to break apart and the capsule fell out. HOW DANGEROUS IS THE CAPSULE? Filled with Caesium-137, it em...
KIKUYU, Kenya - Kenya may only have one skating rink and next to no coaches, but that has not stopped 28-year-old Benjamin Mburu from following his dream of ice hockey glory. His team, the Kenya Ice Lions, hone their skills at Nairobi's Panari Hotel. When they can't get in there, they take to the roof-tops and train in roller-blades to make up for a lack of "ice time". As the only side in the country, they usually organise games between themselves. "One day a few of my friends invited me to go and play ice hockey and that was the beginning of this beautiful journey," Mburu, an architect, said from his hometown of Kikuyu, 20 km (12 miles) northwest of Nairobi. Eventually, Mburu hopes Kenya will join the International Ice Hockey Federation. The Ice Lions have already played friendly matches against teams from the United States and Canada. They watch online tutorials and get lesso...
FRANKFURT - The euro zone eked out growth in the final three months of 2022, avoiding a recession even as sky-high energy costs, waning confidence and rising interest rates took a toll on the currency bloc's economy, data from Eurostat showed on Tuesday. Gross domestic product in the euro zone expanded by 0.1% in the fourth quarter, outperforming expectations in a poll for a 0.1% drop. Compared to a year earlier, growth was 1.9%, above expectations of 1.8%. Among the bloc's biggest countries, Germany and Italy recorded negative growth rates for the quarter but France and Spain expanded, Eurostat added, based on a flash estimate that is subject to revisions. Russia's nearly year-old war in Ukraine has proved costly for the euro zone, which now spans 350 million people in 20 countries, given some members' heavy reliance on cheap energy. Surging oil and gas prices have depleted savings and held back investment while forcing t...
By Andrew Hay - Actor Alec Baldwin and armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed will be charged on Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Western "Rust" in 2021, a New Mexico prosecutor said. The charges follow 15 months of speculation whether District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies would find evidence Baldwin showed criminal disregard for safety when a revolver he was rehearsing with fired a live round that killed Hutchins. The "30 Rock" actor has denied responsibility for the shooting, saying he cocked the revolover but never pulled the trigger and it was the job of Gutierrez-Reed and other weapons professionals to ensure it was unloaded. The most serious charge - which carries five years in jail - would require prosecutors to convince a jury Baldwin was not just negligent but reckless in his use of a firearm. "The evidence and facts speak for themse...
- European shares dropped on Tuesday, dented by healthcare stocks, with investors refraining from placing aggressive bets anticipating another round of interest rate hikes by major central banks this week. The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.2% at 0816 GMT, but on track to end January on a positive note, buoyed by hopes of better-than-feared corporate earnings and economic resilience. Rheinmetall AG, which dropped 5% following the launch of a convertible bond offering, was the biggest drag among industrials, while Novo Nordisk AS and AstraZeneca PLc pulled down the healthcare sector. UniCredit jumped 8.1% to the top of STOXX 600 after the Italian lender pledged to return 5.25 billion euros ($5.69 billion) to investors based on its 2022 results, after posting its best profit in more than a decade. Shares of UBS Group AG fell 2.6% after the world's largest wealth manager predicted an "uncertain" year ahead. Th...
LISBON - Portugal's economic growth decelerated to 0.2% in the fourth quarter from 0.4% in the previous three months, still producing the strongest full-year expansion in 35 years before a projected steep slowdown this year, official data showed on Tuesday. The National Statistics Institute (INE) said in its flash estimate that gross domestic product also rose 3.1% in the fourth quarter from a year earlier after 4.9% growth in the third quarter, with private consumption and investment dropping amid high inflation. Full-year economic growth reached 6.7% after 5.5% in 2021 and was largely in line with the government's latest forecast. The government expects growth to slow down to a mere 1.3% this year due to the impact of high inflation and rising interest rates. (Reporting by Andrei Khalip and Joao Vicente in Gdansk, editing by Sergio Goncalves)...
PARIS - French inflation rose in January on higher energy prices after the government phased out some measures that had reined in increases, according to preliminary figures released on Tuesday. Consumer prices rose 0.4% from December, pushing the 12-month inflation rate to 7.0% from 6.7% the previous month, European Union-harmonised data showed. The inflation rate, which was in line with economists' expectations, jumped on higher energy prices after the government phased out a subsidy for car fuel at the end of the year. Meanwhile, regulated gas prices set by the government rose 15% at the start of the year, adding to further pressure on energy prices. Regulated power prices are also set to rise 15% in February. Most economists expect inflation to resume a downward trend once those increases in energy prices subside. Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has consistently said that he expects inflation in France to recede from the...
LONDON - British lenders approved far fewer mortgages than expected in December, according to Bank of England data on Tuesday. There were 35,612 mortgages approved last month, compared with 46,186 in November. A poll of economists had pointed to approvals of around 45,000 in December. Excluding the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the smallest number of approvals since the financial crisis. (Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by David Milliken)...
MOSCOW - Russian retailer O'Key Group said on Tuesday it expects its chain of discount stores will soon account for half of its overall revenues as shoppers increasingly seek cheaper goods amid economic contraction and high inflation. Inflation surged in Russia last year and real wages fell as the economy suffered from the fallout of what the Kremlin calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine and heavy Western sanctions. Under that economic pressure, Russians have been switching to discount stores, with leading retailers X5 Group and Magnit expecting to open hundreds more of their own low-cost shops in 2023. O'Key, whose YES! discount stores currently account for a 26.6% share of group revenues, also noted the trend's growing importance. "The company expects YES! discounters to remain one of the major revenue and profit drivers in the medium term, with their share in the group's revenue to reach 50%," O'Key said, w...
- A.G. Barr said on Tuesday it expects its full-year revenue and profit to beat market expectations, helped by price hikes and steady demand for its cocktail mixes and beverages. The company raised prices last year to deal with surging costs and launched new products as it benefited from greater at-home consumption of food and drinks that held even after the pandemic and despite pubs and restaurants reopening. The maker of the orange fizzy drink Irn Bru forecast revenue of 315 million pounds ($389 million) for the year ended Jan. 28 and said it expects full-year profit to be slightly ahead of market expectations. Analysts expect the group to report an annual revenue of 302 million pounds and a pretax profit of 42.6 million pounds, according to company-compiled estimates. ($1 = 0.8100 pounds) (Reporting by Muhammed Husain in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)...