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The corporate logo for the General Motors Corporation. (AFP/Stan Honda)

GM profit tumbles after recall costs

General Motors, the largest US automaker, on Thursday reported first-quarter profits plunged 85 percent after a series of vehicle recalls.

US weekly jobless claims rise

Initial jobless claims, an indicator of the pace of layoffs, totalled 329,000 in the week to April 19, up from 305,000 the previous week and 301,000 two weeks earlier.

Express bus companies may charge more for some M'sia routes

Express bus companies in Singapore said they may have to charge more for some routes to Malaysia. This came after Malaysian authorities announced that from next month, double-decker buses will be barred from driving along six highland routes which are deemed dangerous.

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Asia Pacific

Relatives of victims of the 'Sewol' ferry confront deputy director of the Korea Coastguard Choi Sang-Hwan (C) as they forcibly remove him from an office at Jindo harbour. (AFP/Ed Jones)

Anger boils over with Korea ferry rescue officials

Furious relatives of missing victims from South Korea's ferry disaster attacked a top coastguard official on Thursday, accusing him of lying about efforts to retrieve bodies still trapped in the submerged vessel.

Obama backs Tokyo in China-Japan island row

US President Barack Obama vowed on Thursday to defend Japan if China attacks over a tense territorial dispute, but also urged Beijing to help stop North Korea from forging ahead with its "dangerous" nuclear programme.

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Singapore

File photo of office workers at lunch break at a financial district in Singapore. (AFP/ROSLAN RAHMAN)

Redundancy, unemployment remain low in 2013: MOM

A total of 11,560 workers were laid off last year, slightly higher than the 11,010 in 2012, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) in its "Redundancy and Re-entry into Employment, 2013" report released on Thursday.

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World

Ukrainian special forces take position in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk. (AFP/Kirill Kudryavtsev)

Kiev claims rebel defeats in east Ukraine as Obama warns Russia

Ukraine's military launched assaults to retake rebel-held eastern towns on Thursday in which up to five people were reported killed, a move Russian President Vladimir Putin warned would have "consequences".

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Business

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) welcomes US President Barack Obama prior to their talks at the Akasaka guesthouse in Tokyo on April 24, 2014. (AFP/ POOL / Toru YAMANAKA)

Obama urges Japan to take "bold steps" in huge trade deal

US President Barack Obama on Thursday urged Japan to take "bold steps" to seal a Pacific-wide trade deal after Washington failed to wrestle key tariff concessions from Tokyo.

US weekly jobless claims rise

Initial jobless claims, an indicator of the pace of layoffs, totalled 329,000 in the week to April 19, up from 305,000 the previous week and 301,000 two weeks earlier.

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Sport

File photo of Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone at the Buddh International circuit in Greater Noida, India. (AFP/Manan Vatsyayana)

Motor Racing: F1 boss Ecclestone denies bribery at German trial

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone went on trial in Germany on Thursday, denying charges of bribery that threaten to land the British billionaire in jail.

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Entertainment

File photo of actress Lupita Nyong'o. (AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN)

Oscar winner Nyong'o named People's Most Beautiful person

Oscar-winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o was named Most Beautiful person of 2014 by People magazine Wednesday, following in the footsteps of stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts and Tom Cruise.

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Technology

The new Google Maps Street View snapshots feature allows users to see what specific neighbourhoods and landmarks looked like at different periods during the past seven years. (AP Photo/Google)

Google online maps go back in time

The new Google Maps Street View snapshots feature now allows users to see what specific neighbourhoods and landmarks looked like at different periods during the past seven years.

Amazon Prime wins deal with HBO

Amazon scored a deal Wednesday to distribute old shows from premium cable TV channel HBO to its monthly Prime subscribers, landing a blow on rival Netflix in the streaming video battle.

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Health

Saudi hospital employees wear mouth and nose masks as they stand outside the a local hospital's emergency department in the Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah. (AFP/STR)

King bids to reassure Saudis as MERS deaths hit 85

King Abdullah was in the Saudi commercial hub of Jeddah on Thursday in a bid to reassure a worried public as the death toll from the MERS virus hit 85.

MERS death toll hits 81 in Saudi

The MERS death toll has climbed to 81 in Saudi Arabia, which sacked its health minister as cases of infection by the coronavirus mount in the country.

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Lifestyle

A women stands next to the Soviet space capsule Vozvrashchayemi in Brussels, ahead of its auction on May 7, 2014. (AFP/John Thys)

Soviet space capsule up for sale in Belgium

German firm Lempertz unveiled plans on Wednesday for what it says is the first space capsule auction in Europe.

Mexico bids farewell to Garcia Marquez

Mexico has bid farewell to its beloved adopted son, Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in a national tribute filled with the late Nobel winner's favourite roses and music.