UK in deadlock over Brexit 'Plan B' as May and Corbyn tussle

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s last-minute scramble to shape an EU exit, its biggest policy upheaval in half a century, stalled on Thursday as Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn dug in their heels for competing visions. After May’s two-year attempt to forge an amicable divorce with an independent trade policy was crushed by parliament in the biggest defeat for a British leader in modern history, May asked party leaders to forget self-interest to find a solution. Yet there was little sign on Thursday that either of…

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Zimbabwe charges activist pastor with subversion and incitement

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwean activist pastor Evan Mawarire was charged in court on Thursday with subverting the government, punishable by up to 20 years in jail, after violent protests this week that were met by a brutal crackdown from security forces. Mawarire was arrested on Wednesday and initially charged by police with the lesser crime of inciting public violence after social media posts encouraging Zimbabweans to heed a strike call by the biggest labour union. The charge sheet accused him of coercing workers to stay away from work and encouraging…

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Car bomb at Colombian police academy kills nine, injures 24

BOGOTA (Reuters) – A car bomb exploded at a police academy in Colombia’s capital Bogota on Thursday, killing at least nine people and wounding over 20 in an attack that prompted fears of a return to the country’s violent past. The car rammed into the grounds of the General Santander School in the south of the capital before the explosion, which shattered windows of apartments in the vicinity. President Ivan Duque called the bomb a “miserable terrorist act…against our police” and said he was returning to the capital from the…

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Petchem, consumer units fuel record quarterly profit at Reliance

(Reuters) – India’s Reliance Industries on Thursday posted record quarterly profit driven by its telecoms, retail and petrochemicals businesses, which offset the impact of a weaker refining margins due to volatile crude prices. The results saw the conglomerate making progress in its drive, announced last year, to make its consumer businesses eventually as large as its core energy operations, which are also struggling with slowing growth in China. “Consumer business now contributes more than 25 percent of the EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and profit),” V Srikanth, joint chief…

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Business leaders urge RBI to cut benchmark rate

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s top business groups on Thursday urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to cut its benchmark interest rate by at least half a percentage point and lower the cash reserve ratio it imposes on banks to stimulate an economy that is showing signs of weakness. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley indicated his support for the demands. Speaking through a video conference from New York, where he has gone for a medical check-up, Jaitley told TV channel CNBC TV18 that although he respected the autonomy of the…

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Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen: rigging polls 'was at the direction of' Trump

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Michael Cohen, a former lawyer for U.S. President Donald Trump, said on Thursday he paid a firm to manipulate online polling data “at the direction of and for the sole benefit of” Trump. The Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen had paid the data firm Redfinch Solutions to manipulate two public opinion polls in favor of Trump before the 2016 presidential campaign. “As for the @WSJ article on poll rigging,” Cohen said on Twitter on Thursday, “what I did was at the direction of and for the…

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Business leaders urge RBI to cut benchmark rate by 50 basis points

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s top business groups on Thursday urged the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to cut its benchmark interest rate by at least half a percentage point and lower the cash reserve ratio it imposes on banks to stimulate an economy that is showing signs of weakness. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, who took charge last month after the sudden exit of Urjit Patel, was presented with the requests when he met industry captains in Mumbai ahead of the next monetary policy meeting on Feb. 7. “The need…

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UK in deadlock over Brexit 'Plan B' as May and Corbyn double down

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s last-minute scramble to shape its exit from the EU, its biggest policy upheaval in half a century, hit the rocks on Thursday as Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn dug in their heels for competing visions. After May’s two-year attempt to forge an amicable divorce with an independent trade policy was crushed by parliament in the biggest defeat for a British leader in modern history, May asked party leaders to forget self-interest to find a solution. Yet there was little sign on…

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BJP President Amit Shah will be discharged in a day or two

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The chief of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, Amit Shah, will be discharged from hospital in a day or two after a bout of swine flu, a party spokesman said on Thursday. It is not clear how Shah, a key lieutenant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, contracted the H1N1 influenza. “Amit Shah ji is doing well. He will be discharged in a day or two. Thanks everyone for your good wishes!”, Anil Baluni, spokesman of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party said in a tweet. Health officials…

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Reliance posts record quarterly profit on petchem, refining boost

(Reuters) – Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries on Thursday posted a record quarterly profit, driven by growth in its petrochemicals and refining business, while its telecoms group Jio notched up a fifth consecutive profitable quarter. The telecoms business is central to the ambition of Chairman Mukesh Ambani – Asia’s richest man – to make Reliance’s consumer businesses as big as its energy operations, which contribute the bulk of group revenue and profit. In the last two years, Jio has used cut-price data and free voice calls to cornered over 250 million…

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