According to US Labor Department figures, the US economy added 175,000 new jobs in February, but the unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.7%.
The jobs figures were better than many had been expecting and marked a rebound from two weak months.
It had been thought the figures would be affected by recent harsh weather, which had hit much of the country.
But the unemployment rate, based on different statistics, went up slightly from January’s 6.6% to 6.7%.
February’s jobs figure – known as non-farm payrolls and based on a survey of employers – compares with the 129,000 new jobs created in January.
Analysts had been expecting a rise of about 150,000 last month.
A large chunk of the gains came from financial and other services, which were responsible for an extra 79,000 jobs.
Construction companies, many of which had been affected by the bad weather, added 15,000 jobs.
But the information sector lost 16,000 jobs, most of them in film and sound recording.
Average hourly earnings in the private sector rose by 3.7%, or about nine cents, to $24.31, the figures show. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2%.
The unemployment rate is calculated from a different survey, of households, and rose slightly from its lowest level since October 2008. It leaves the total number of unemployed relatively unchanged at 10.5 million.
However, the same survey shows the number of long-term unemployed (defined as those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 203,000 in February to 3.8 million.
Cold and snowy weather, which has disrupted much of the country, was one of the reasons 601,000 people with jobs stayed at home last month, according to the survey.
The US Federal Reserve has said the severe winter was to blame for recent weaknesses in jobs numbers, retail sales and housebuilding.
Analysts see the latest figures as further evidence the apparent slowdown was only a blip.
The stronger-than-expected figures are likely to mean the Federal Reserve will continue to withdraw extra support from the economy – a process known as tapering.
The Fed had been spending $85 billion a month buying bonds, but has now reduced that to $65 billion and plans to cut the program by $10 billion each month.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has opened the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in a spectacular ceremony in Sochi.
The ceremony at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi was themed Breaking the Ice and featured music, dance, special effects and fireworks.
“I call upon all those who experience these Games to have barrier-free minds,” said International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven.
“Dreams do come true and, since winning the Games seven years ago, this part of Russia has undergone a monumental transformation.
“The Paralympics will surprise you, tremendous skills will excite you and examples of human endeavor will inspire you. The sport you witness here will change you. Not just for now, but forever.”
The Ukraine team only confirmed on Friday morning they would take part in the Games after fears they would boycott the event following Russia’s occupation of Crimea.
Ukraine Paralympic Committee president Valeriy Suskevich warned that any escalation of military conflict would result in the team leaving Sochi.
The Ukraine team was only represented in the athletes’ parade by their flag-bearer Mykailo Tkachenko, with a number of his team-mates opting not to take part though they were elsewhere in the stadium.
The scenes of the ceremony were linked by the journey of the firebird, a mythical bird from Russian folklore said to be a symbol of wealth and happiness.
Featured performances came from 25-year-old Yulia Samoylova, the runner-up in the Russian version of the X Factor, Faktor A, who has been in a wheelchair since childhood, and blind accordionist Alexey Levchuk.
The show culminated in a huge ice scene, featuring an Icebreaker ship crashing easily through blocks of ice, before a spectacular lighting of the flame.
Action starts on Saturday and runs until Sunday, March 16, and the Games will feature 547 athletes from a record 45 countries, with 72 gold medals up for grabs across the five sports – biathlon, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.
Winter Paralympics Games are taking place less than two weeks since the Sochi Winter Olympics closed.
The sporting world is back to Sochi on Friday for the Winter Paralympics opening ceremony.
Less than two weeks after the Winter Olympics ended, 547 athletes from 45 countries will compete for 72 gold medals in five sports over 10 days.
It is the largest number of countries to take part in the event since it was first held in 1976.
The Games, opened by Russian president Vladimir Putin, will begin amid an escalating political crisis in Ukraine.
A number of the world’s politicians have said they will snub the showpiece event following Russian intervention in Crimea, situated just 300 miles from Sochi.
Ukraine had contemplated a boycott of the event but on Friday, the Ukraine Paralympic Committee president Valeriy Suskevich confirmed that their 23-strong team would take part.
The opening ceremony at the Fisht Stadium gets underway at 8 p.m. local time with action due to get start on Saturday.
The fifth day of Oscar Pistorius’ trial in South Africa has begun with his ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor telling the court the athlete once fired his gun from his car sunroof after becoming angry with police.
Earlier, Samantha Taylor broke down while discussing two breakups with the athlete.
Samantha Taylor said Oscar Pistorius had twice been unfaithful, with the relationship finally ending when he “cheated” on her with Reeva Steenkamp.
Oscar Pistorius denies both murdering Reeva Steenkamp and the alleged shooting incident.
The defense also pointed to emails it said proved the relationship with Samantha Taylor was already over by the time Oscar Pistorius began seeing Reeva Steenkamp.
Samantha Taylor insisted the relationship was not “officially” over when he started dating Reeva Steenkamp.
She also said the alleged shooting incident happened when he became angry after a police officer stopped him for speeding, saw the gun on the car seat and told him it could not be left there.
Samantha Taylor accepted that he laughed around the time he actually fired the gun.
She testified that Oscar Pistorius kept his gun “on him all the time,” and described him as a man who could get very angry.
On Wednesday, the court heard evidence from boxer Kevin Lerena, about another incident in which Oscar Pistorius is alleged to have fired a gun – in a restaurant – after it was passed to him by another friend in the group. He said Oscar Pistorius asked the gun’s owner to take the blame.
Towards the end of Samantha Taylor’s evidence on Friday, the court was adjourned a second time when she broke down again in the witness box.
After returning, she was asked by the prosecution if there had been other occasions when Oscar Pistorius thought there was an intruder in his house.
Samantha Taylor replied that it had happened at least twice. Crucially, she said he always woke her up before taking his gun with him to check.
Oscar Pistorius claims that he shot Reeva Steenkamp after mistaking her for an intruder.
If found guilty, Oscar Pistorius, 27, could face life imprisonment.
Friday’s trial began with more testimony from neighbor Johan Stipp, who on Thursday told the court he found Oscar Pistorius praying over Reeva Steenkamp’s body as she lay dying.
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Oscar Pistorius was praying over the body of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp as she lay dying, the Paralympic champion’s neighbor Dr. Johan Stipp told his murder trial today.
In the trial’s first account of the moments after the shooting, Johan Stipp said he tried to revive Reeva Steenkamp.
During Dr. Johan Stipp’s testimony, Oscar Pistorius cried and seemed to retch.
The double amputee denies intentionally killing her, saying he mistook Reeva Steenkamp, 29, for an intruder.
If found guilty, 27-year-old Oscar Pistorius could face life imprisonment.
Dr. Johan Stipp, who was testifying on the fourth day of the trial at the high court in Pretoria, said he could see Reeva Steenkamp’s brain tissue in her hair.
It was at this point in the testimony that a police officer passed a plastic bag to Oscar Pistorius.
Recalling the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013, Dr, Johan Stipp said he had heard gunshots and after making sure it was safe, went to help.
When he got to Oscar Pistorius’ house, he found the athlete kneeling by Reeva Steenkamp, with “his left hand on her right groin, and his right hand – the second and third fingers – in her mouth”.
“Oscar was crying all the time,” Dr. Johan Stipp said.
“He was praying to God [saying] <<Please let her live>>.”
Dr. Johan Stipp said Oscar Pistorius had been in an emotional state, and fearing he might hurt himself, had asked where the gun was.
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This weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS), Danica Patrick will be racing only in the Sprint Cup Series.
Danica Patrick, 31, will be sporting a new look with sponsorship from Aspen Dental instead of her traditional GoDaddy.com colors.
She is in serious need of a good finish this weekend.
In her first two races of the season, Danica Patrick was caught up in crashes, finishing 40th at Daytona and 36th at Phoenix.
While she wasn’t at fault in starting either crash, qualifying 27th at Daytona and 33rd at Phoenix left Danica Patrick back where trouble tends to happen.
Another neighbor of Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius has told his murder trial he heard the athlete saying that he had shot his girlfriend after mistaking her for a burglar.
Johan Stipp, a qualified doctor, says he tried to revive Reeva Steenkamp but could tell she was dying.
During Dr. Johan Stipp’s testimony, Oscar Pistorius cried and seemed to retch.
The double amputee denies intentionally killing Reeva Steenkamp, saying he mistook the 29-year-old model for an intruder.
Dr. Johan Stipp said he could see Reeva Steenkamp’s brain tissue in her hair.
At this point, a police officer passed a plastic bag to Oscar Pistorius.
Recalling the night of February 14, 2013, Dr. Johan Stipp said he had heard gunshots.
He said he had found OScar Pistorius kneeling by her body.
“I shot her,” Oscar Pistorius told him.
“I thought she was a burglar.”
Dr. Johan Stipp said Oscar Pistorius had been in an emotional state. Fearing he might hurt himself, he had asked where the gun was.
Earlier, defense lawyer Barry Roux said that two neighbors, Michell Burger and Charl Johnson, had discussed their testimony with each other and amended the rough notes they had made a few days after the shooting.
“Your interpretation [of events] is designed to incriminate the accused and it’s unfortunate,” Barry Roux said.
Charl Johnson denied this. He insisted that he had heard a woman screaming “help”, followed by a man doing the same.
On Wednesday, boxer Kevin Lerena said Oscar Pistorius had been responsible for a weapon being fired at a restaurant last year.
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The third day of Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial in South Africa has begun with another key witness saying the athlete was responsible for a weapon being fired at a restaurant last year.
Boxer Kevin Lerena told the court that Oscar Pistorius had asked the owner of the gun to take the blame.
The incident happened the month before Oscar Pistorius shot dead his 29-year-old girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Double amputee Oscar Pistorius, 27, denies intentionally killing Reeva Steenkamp, saying he mistook her for an intruder.
The Paralympic champion also denies charges of illegally possessing ammunition.
Reeva Steenkamp, a model and reality TV star, was shot dead in the early hours of February 14, 2013, at Oscar Pistorius’s home in Pretoria.
Kevin Lerena, a professional boxer, is the fourth witness to take the stand at the trial, which began at the High Court in Pretoria on Monday.
He testified that he had been to Tasha’s Restaurant in Johannesburg with Oscar Pistorius and two other people, including Darren Fresco, in January 2013.
Darren Fresco had passed his firearm to Oscar Pistorius and said “I’m one up”, meaning there was a bullet in the chamber of the gun, Kevin Lerena said.
When the firearm was handed over a there was a shot followed by “complete silence”, he added.
Oscar Pistorius had apologized and asked Darren Fresco to take the blame, which he had agreed to do, Kevin Lerena said.
“Please, I don’t want any attention around me. Just say it was you,” Oscar Pistorius pleaded, according to Kevin Lerena.
Prosecutors say Oscar Pistorius planned the killing and shot Reeva Steenkamp after a row.
Earlier witnesses at the trial were neighbors of Oscar Pistorius who testified about the sounds they heard around the time of Reeva Steenkamp’s death.
If found guilty of premeditated murder, Oscar Pistorius could face life imprisonment.
At the opening of its annual parliament session, China has announced a growth target of 7.5% and plans to raise its defense budget by 12.2%.
China’s PM Li Keqiang said that economic development was the central task of the government, but “painful structural adjustments” were needed.
Japan voiced concern at the defense move, citing a “lack of transparency”.
Li Keqiang also pledged to “declare war” on pollution, fight corruption “without mercy”, and “crack down” on terrorism.
The congress marks one year since Xi Jinping was confirmed as president.
The 10-day meeting of around 3,000 legislators from delegations across China began on Wednesday.
As parliament opened PM Li Keqiang presented a work report highlighting targets for China’s economy this year.
He said that the government’s “work got off to a good start” but admitted that “there are still many problems that people are unhappy about”.
According to the speech, the government will aim to keep inflation at about 3.5%, while boosting domestic growth and carrying out “people-centred urbanization”.
The growth and inflation targets were widely expected. The growth rate target in 2013 was also 7.5%.
Correspondents say the fact that the growth target for 2014 has not changed will lead some to question how serious China is about embracing economic reforms, which would involve lowering the growth rate.
Implementing reforms to tackle local government debt was also expected to be a priority.
The latest military budget boost comes amid tensions between China and many of its neighbors, including Japan and the Philippines, over disputed territories.
McDonald’s may raise its wages being forced by growing concerns over income inequality.
The fast food giant said the public focus on the issue “may intensify” over the coming months.
However, McDonalds warned that higher wages might impact its profit margins if it cannot offset them by raising prices as well.
Fast food companies have been under increasing pressure to raise wages and workers at various outlets, including McDonald’s, have held strikes in recent months.
In its annual filing with the US financial regulator, McDonald’s said the long-term trend was “toward higher wages and social expenses in both mature and developing markets, which may intensify with increasing public focus on matters of income inequality”.
Fast food workers across the US have been demanding that the minimum wage in the sector should be raised to $15 per hour.
In December, workers in the fast food industry held strikes in 100 cities across the US.
Lawyers representing Amazonian villagers in Ecuador used bribes to secure compensation worth billions of dollars from Chevron, a US judge has ruled today.
The latest ruling means that the Amazonian villagers cannot use US courts to enforce the ruling against Chevron.
Chevron had been found guilty in Ecuador of causing environmental damage to the Lago Agrio region.
The legal team says they will appeal.
In 2011, an Ecuadorean judge ordered Chevron to pay $18.2 billion for “extensively polluting” the Lago Agrio region.
Ecuador’s highest court last year upheld the verdict against Chevron, but reduced the amount of compensation to $9.5 billion.
The alleged environmental damage was done by Texaco between 1964 and 1990. Texaco was later acquired by Chevron.
Chevron has always maintained that it cleaned up the area before handing over the oil field to the Ecuadorean government.
The oil company argued that it only lost the case because the legal team representing the villagers paid nearly $300,000 in bribes in Ecuador.
US district judge Lewis Kaplan in New York has now ruled that Steven Donziger’s legal team used “corrupt means” to win the 2011 case.
Lewis Kaplan described the evidence against Steven Donziger’s team as “voluminous”.
Chevron’s chief executive, John Watson, hailed the ruling as “a resounding victory for Chevron and its shareholders”.
The legal team representing the Ecuadorean villagers has also sued Chevron in Brazil, Argentina and Canada.
But Chevron believes the US judge decision will help them fight their case in other courts.
Some 30,000 local residents, including five different Amazonian tribes, began the lawsuit against Texaco in 1993.
The plaintiffs say that the oil company knowingly dumped 18 billion gallons of toxic waste water and spilled 17 million gallons of crude oil into the rainforest during its operations in north-east Ecuador.
They say the affected area covers 1,700 sq miles on the border with Colombia.
Local residents believe the pollution has led to health problems such as cancer and birth defects.
A second key witness in Oscar Pistorius’ trial has told the court in Pretoria she was awoken by the sounds of a fight early on February 14, 2013.
Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius, 27, has pleaded not guilty to intentionally killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
Oscar Pistorius shot dead Reeva Steenkamp, 29, at his home, saying he mistook her for an intruder.
His neighbor, Estelle Van Der Merwe, said the row had lasted about an hour.
“It seemed like somebody was involved in a fight,” said Estelle Van Der Merwe, who lives in the same gated Pretoria housing estate as Oscar Pistorius.
“People were talking in loud voices.”
The argument woke her at about 01:56 local time and lasted about an hour. After that, she heard four loud sounds in succession.
Estelle Van Der Merwe was the second witness to take the stand at the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius, which began at the high court in on Monday.
She said she had been irritated by the noise of the argument and placed a pillow on her head “in hope of falling asleep again”.
Tuesday’s hearing adjourned not long after the third witness, Charl Peter Johnson – husband to the first witness Michelle Burger – had taken the stand.
The second day of the trial began with defense lawyer Barry Roux quizzing Michelle Burger about her account of hearing a woman’s screams, a man calling for help and then four gunshots.
The defense line was clear that as Reeva Steenkamp was in a closed toilet with a closed window, the screams the witness said she heard could not have come from her.
Oscar Pistorius was in the bathroom where the window was open so the screams must have come from him.
Barry Roux also suggested expert evidence would prove that Reeva Steenkamp would have been unable to scream between shots.
When details of the bullets hitting her head were read out, Oscar Pistorius’s head dropped into his hands.
At the start of proceedings on Monday, Barry Roux read out a statement from the athlete, giving his version of events of how Reeva Steenkamp had died, saying he believed his girlfriend was in bed when he shot at the toilet door.
State prosecutors say Oscar Pistorius planned the killing and shot Reeva Steenkamp after a row.
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The second day of Oscar Pistorius’ trial in South Africa begins with his defense lawyers questioning a neighbor who told a court in Pretoria that heard a woman’s “terrible screams” on February 14, 2013.
Oscar Pistorius has pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The Paralympic champion shot dead the 29-year-old model and reality TV star at his home, saying he mistook her for an intruder.
Oscar Pistorius’ neighbor, Michelle Burger, said cries for help were followed by shots.
“She screamed terribly and she yelled for help. Then I also heard a man screaming for help. Three times he yelled for help,” Michelle Burger told the high court in the capital on the first day of the trial.
Michelle Burger said she called security and then heard four gunshots.
Double amputee Oscar Pistorius, 27, won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and also competed at the Olympics.
For the first time in South Africa, parts of the trial are being televised live, although Michelle Burger’s testimony, in Afrikaans, is being relayed in audio.
Some witness testimony is being excluded from TV broadcasts, although audio of the entire trial is being broadcast.
The court was briefly adjourned as questioning began on the second day of the trial over concerns Michelle Burger’s photograph was shown on television on Tuesday.
Judge Thokozile Masipa warned that no photographs of witnesses from any sources were to be used by the media and any violators would not be “treated with soft gloves”.
Today, Oscar Pistorius’ defense lawyer Barry Roux began his remarks by outlining what he would focus on with Michelle Berger’s testimony: her credibility and reliability.
On Monday, Oscar Pistorius pleaded not guilty to all charges, including the “willful and intentional murder of Reeva Steenkamp” as the trial began.
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Indian government has put on hold all deals with Rolls-Royce until it completes an investigation into bribery allegations against the company, the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.
A federal agency is probing allegations that Rolls-Royce paid bribes for supply of aircraft engines.
Rolls-Royce said it would “cooperate fully” with Indian authorities.
The company is the world’s second biggest manufacturer of aircraft engines.
India’s defense ministry had put on hold all “existing and future” contracts with Rolls-Royce pending the results of an investigation by the country’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the purchase of jet fighter engines in a deal worth $1.6 billion, PTI reported.
The Rolls-Royce engines were supplied to the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) between 2007 and 2011, reports said.
“There was an internal vigilance report [by HAL] that suggested there were discrepancies in the deal. The CBI will look into that,” the AFP news agency quoted a defense official as saying.
A Rolls-Royce spokesman said the company would cooperate with the inquiry.
“We have repeatedly made clear that we will not tolerate misconduct of any sort,” PTI quoted the spokesman as saying.
Rolls-Royce said last year that the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was investigating allegations of possible bribery in China and Indonesia.
Last month, two people were arrested in London as part of an SFO investigation into the firm’s activities in Asia.
The office said at the end of last year it had opened a formal investigation into the engine maker about bribery and corruption in overseas markets.
The Rolls-Royce probe is the latest controversy to hit India’s defense purchases.
Bill Gates is back on top of Forbes’ annual ranking of global billionaires, reclaiming the title of world’s richest person from telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, who ranked No. 1 for the past four years.
Microsoft founder’s total net worth was estimated at $76 billion this year, up from $67 billion in 2013.
His rise in wealth knocked Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim off the top spot into second place.
In total, there were a record 1,645 billionaires, according to Forbes magazine.
The funds needed to make it into the top 20 ranking are now $31 billion, up from $23 billion last year, Forbes said.
Bill Gates has been top of the list for 15 of the last 20 years, according to Forbes.
Technology firms featured heavily in the list, with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg becoming the biggest gainer in net worth.
Mark Zuckerberg’s fortune more than doubled to $28.5 billion, boosted by a sharp rise in the price of the social network’s shares.
The social network’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, also made the list for the first time.
WhatsApp founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton entered the list at number 202 and 551 respectively, thanks to Facebook’s $19 billion purchase of the messaging app.
The world’s largest economy, the US, continues to have the most billionaires, with 492.
By region, Europe boasted the most billionaires outside the US, with 468 in total, closely followed by Asia, which had 444 billionaires.
The list suggested that wealth was spreading, with four new countries featuring for the first time – Algeria, Lithuania, Tanzania and Uganda.
Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, became the first African to be listed in the top 25, with a net worth of $25 billion.
Oscar Pistorius’s neighbor Michelle Burger has revealed in Pretoria court that she was awoken by a woman’s “terrible screams” in the early hours of February 14, 2013.
Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius has pleaded not guilty at the start of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
The 27-year-old double amputee shot dead the 29-year-old model and reality TV star at his home, saying he mistook her for an intruder.
Michelle Burger said cries for help were followed by shots.
“She screamed terribly and she yelled for help. Then I also heard a man screaming for help. Three times he yelled for help,” Michelle Burger told the high court in the capital.
The neighbor said she called security and then heard four gunshots.
For the first time in South Africa, parts of the trial are being televised live, although Michelle Burger’s testimony, in Afrikaans, was only relayed in audio.
The start to proceedings at the court in South Africa’s capital on Monday was delayed by 90 minutes as an Afrikaans translator was absent.
Oscar Pistorius pleaded not guilty to all charges, including the “willful and intentional murder of Reeva Steenkamp” as the trial began.
Oscar Pistorius has arrived in court in South Africa at the start of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.
Oscar Pistorius, 27, shot Reeva Steenkamp, 29, at his home in Pretoria on February 14, 2013.
State prosecutors allege the killing was premeditated, but the Paralympic champion claims he mistook her for an intruder.
For the first time in South Africa, parts of the trial will be televised live. Media interest is high.
The arrest of the national sporting hero astounded South Africa.
Double amputee Oscar Pistorius won gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and also competed at the Olympics.
Oscar Pistorius’s uncle, brother and sister are also in court; next to them on the relatives’ bench is the family of Reeva Steenkamp, including her mother June.
Gerrie Nel, who is leading the prosecution team, will be the key figure in Monday’s proceedings, as he begins to lay out the state’s case against the athlete.
State prosecutors say Oscar Pistorius planned the killing and shot Reeva Steenkamp after a row.
If found guilty of premeditated murder, the sportsman could face life imprisonment.
Oscar Pistorius has also been charged with illegally possessing ammunition.
Berkshire Hathaway, the investment company run by Warren Buffett, has reported a record $19.5 billion profit for 2013, up from $14.8 billion in 2012.
Warren Buffett wrote to shareholders: “On the operating front, just about everything turned out well for us last year – in some cases very well.”
However, Berkshire Hathaway underperformed the S&P 500 share index for the fifth year in a row.
The growth in the company’s book value – the company’s assets minus its liabilities and Warren Buffett’s preferred measure of Berkshire’s performance – was 18.2% in 2013, while the S&P 500 rose 32.4%.
Warren Buffett said that was to be expected when the S&P performed well.
“We have underperformed in 10 of our 49 years, with all but one of our shortfalls occurring when the S&P gain exceeded 15%.”
He added that the fund had outperformed the stock market between 2007 and 2013 and that through a full six year cycle he expected to do that again.
“If we fail to do so, we will not have earned our pay,” he wrote.
Warren Buffett, ranked fourth on the Forbes rich list, pointed to a strong performance in the firm’s insurance, rail and energy businesses for the increase in profit.
These include the auto insurer Geico, General Reinsurance, Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad and the electric utility MidAmerican Energy.
Berkshire Hathaway increased its stake in the US companies Coca-Cola, American Express, IBM and Wells Fargo but reduced its ownership in the UK retailer Tesco – to 3.7% from 5.2%.
Warren Buffett did acknowledge he had made mistakes in some of his investments in the manufacturing, service and retail industries, some of which saw “very poor returns”.
“I was not misled: I simply was wrong in my evaluation of the economic dynamics of the company or the industry in which it operated,” he said.
Supermarket giant Tesco has been accused by Greenpeace of stocking a brand of tuna that is caught in a way that can harm other wildlife.
Greenpeace said Tesco pledged in 2012 to ensure all its own brand tuna was sustainably caught.
But the group says Tesco has started to stock tinned tuna from low-cost brand Oriental and Pacific which it says is caught in large nets.
Tesco said Greenpeace was “simply wrong” and the manufacturer said it “totally refutes” the claims.
Greenpeace claimed the brand was “dirty” because tuna in it was caught in big nets, known as purse seines, that could kill sea creatures.
The environmental group said Tesco “must try harder” to make sure tinned tuna was sustainably caught.
Greenpeace said Sainsbury’s was at the forefront of sustainable tuna, and Waitrose, the Co-operative, Marks and Spencer, and Morrisons were also praised.
Campaigner and celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who is featuring the issue on his Fish Fight programme on Channel 4 on Sunday, called on Tesco to take the brand off its shelves.
Tesco said it had moved much faster than many of its competitors to make sure its own-brand tuna was 100% caught using a pole and line, which avoids catching other species by accident.
It said it had also promised to use sustainable tuna in other products such as pastas, sandwiches and salads.
A spokesman said: “Many of our competitors continue to sell non-pole and line caught tuna. Customers have a great choice of sustainable tuna at Tesco.”
LDH, which owns the Oriental and Pacific (O&P) tuna brand, supplies a range of products including canned tomatoes, fish, fruit and vegetables, and dried pasta.
In a statement, the company said: “At least 85% of the tuna we sell is fished using the pole and line method; our O&P brand skipjack tuna is caught using the purse seine fishing method, which accounts for 63% of all tuna caught around the globe.
“Credible scientific research by the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations shows that stocks of skipjack tuna are healthy.
“All of our tuna suppliers are members of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation and support its research-led initiatives for long-term conservation of tuna stocks.”
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World football’s governing body FIFA has decided to allow the wearing of head covers for religious reasons during football matches.
The ruling was made following a meeting of the International Football Association Board (IFAB) in Zurich and will apply to male and female players.
The wearing of head covers had been banned, but a two-year trial started in 2012 has proved successful.
In 2011, Iran’s women’s team withdrew from an Olympic qualification match against Jordan in protest at not being allowed to wear headscarves.
There have also been calls from the Sikh community in Canada for the ban on the wearing of turbans to be lifted.
FIFA had claimed the wearing of head covers while playing competitive football posed too great a risk of injury to the head or neck.
However, following a request from the Asian Football Confederation, the IFAB allowed for their safety to be tested during the trial.
At the annual general meeting at FIFA’s headquarters, IFAB members also voted to introduce a new law that will punish players who display messages on T-shirts underneath their club’s kit.
The new rule change – which will come into effect from June 1st – amends Law 4 of the game, which relates to players’ equipment.
Cyprus’ parliament rejected a key part of the country’s bailout plan.
As part of the 10 billion-euro ($13.7 billion) deal with the EU and International Monetary Fund (IMF), lawmakers have until March 5 to pass a bill allowing state firms to be privatized.
On Thursday, the lawmakers threw it out, jeopardizing the next tranche of cash.
The government says it will re-submit the bill with some amendments.
The deal was agreed in March last year in an attempt to stave off the collapse of Cyprus’s banking sector and the wider economy.
It included moves to restructure the banks, along with other measures such as tax rises and privatizations.
Late on Thursday, the privatization bill was narrowly defeated after parliament split 25-25 on the vote, with five abstentions. This meant the legislation failed to pass.
The vote took place as hundreds of people opposed to privatization staged a protest outside the parliament building.
A government spokesman, Christos Stylanides, said the bill would be amended to reflect concerns over workers’ rights after privatization.
The new version of the bill would be submitted to the House of Representatives on Friday.
Subrata Roy – the chairman of Sahara, one of India’s biggest businesses – has been arrested after he surrendered to the police.
The Supreme Court had ordered the arrest of Subrata Roy on Wednesday after he failed to appear before judges in a case of fraud.
Two Sahara firms are accused of raising 240 billion rupees ($3.9 billion) through bonds that were found to be illegal.
Market regulators say Subrata Roy failed to refund the money to millions of investors despite a court order.
He is expected to remain in custody until March 4 as the Supreme Court refused to take up his bail petition on Friday, saying it was “not urgent”.
“Mr. Roy willfully submitted himself before [the northern city of] Lucknow police. He is co-operating with all authorities,” his son, Seemanto Roy, told a press conference in Delhi.
Senior police official Habibul Hasan in Lucknow said the businessman would be produced before the magistrate soon.
Earlier on Friday, Subrata Roy issued a statement saying he was not “absconding” from arrest after police in Lucknow said they had raided his house on Thursday, but failed to find him.
Subrata Roy said he was indeed in Lucknow but had stepped out to consult doctors about his ailing mother.
On Wednesday, angry judges ordered the businessman’s arrest after his lawyer said the Sahara chief had been unable to appear in court since his 92-year-old mother was very unwell.
Subrata Roy and his rags-to-riches life story is a household name in India.
Sahara group, worth 682 billion rupees ($11 billion), has businesses ranging from finance, housing, manufacturing, aviation and the media. It also has interests overseas – it owns New York’s landmark Plaza Hotel and London’s iconic Grosvenor House.
Subrata Roy’s group also sponsors the Indian hockey team and owns a stake in Formula One racing team, Force India.
With more than 1.1 million workers, Sahara is India’s biggest private sector employer.
General Motors has decided to recall 748,024 more cars in the US that may have faulty ignition switches that can shut the engine off while driving.
In a statement, GM said it found eight additional crashes related to the ignition switch problem for a total of 31 accidents and 13 deaths.
A total of 1.37 million General Motors cars are affected in the US and about 1.62 million worldwide.
Two weeks ago, GM recalled nearly 780,000 2005-2007 Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007 Pontiac G5 sedans and coupes, including 619,122 in the US.
The additional cars include the 2003-2007 Saturn Ion coupe, 2006-2007 Chevrolet HHR compact SUV and 2006-2007 Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky 2-seat roadsters.
Repsol has agreed a $5 billion settlement with Argentina over the seizure of its assets there.
Argentina nationalized Repsol’s stake in the country’s biggest oil firm, YPF, in 2012, stripping the Spanish oil company of nearly half its annual output.
Repsol had been demanding $10.5 billion in compensation.
Although the amount agreed is half that figure, Repsol said it was a positive move as it would end legal uncertainty and give the firm a financial boost.
“I think to finally reach a friendly agreement on this contentious issue that has taken two years is extremely positive,” said Antonio Brufau, Repsol’s chairman.
“As far as we are concerned, from a financial point of view, we have started a new chapter where we are stronger.”
Argentina will pay Repsol using US dollar-denominated government bonds, which the Spanish firm can sell at any time.
The move is also expected to help Argentina attract foreign investment in its shale oil and gas reserves, which are among the world’s largest.
YPF produces about a third of Argentina’s oil and a quarter of its gas.
Argentina has been keen to develop the Vaca Muerta shale formation – a key YPF asset – but has so far struggled to attract investors, not least due to the uncertainty over the legal proceedings with Repsol.
As part of the settlement, Repsol has agreed to drop its lawsuits against Argentina.
A US congressional committee report found that Credit Suisse “helped its US customers conceal their Swiss accounts” and avoid billions of dollars in American taxes.
The report claims the bank opened Swiss accounts for more than 22,000 US customers, with assets totaling $12 billion at their peak.
It alleges bankers helped clients create offshore shell entities and design transactions to avoid arousing suspicion.
“From at least 2001 to 2008, Credit Suisse employed banking practices that facilitated tax evasion by US customers,” the report said.
It said the practices included “opening undeclared Swiss accounts” or accounts to “mask their US ownership”, as well as sending Swiss bankers to the US to recruit new customers and “service existing Swiss accounts without creating paper trails”.
US prosecutors are chasing 14 Swiss banks for allegedly helping wealthy Americans dodge US taxes.
Credit Suisse’s private banking and wealth management division has already put aside 175 million Swiss francs to fight a US investigation into hidden offshore accounts in Switzerland.
The bank has said it was “working towards a resolution” with US authorities but has not given a time-frame of when that resolution might be reached.
The report has also published details of the way, it alleges, the bank worked to keep the accounts concealed from the US authorities.
It said some bankers even applied for US visa waivers, claiming they planned to visit the country for “tourism” instead of “business” purposes.
The report listed one incident where a client was handed bank statements hidden in a Sports Illustrated magazine.
It said the bank also used sponsored events, including the annual “Swiss Ball” in New York and golf tournaments in Florida, to recruit more customers.
The committee has called upon US regulators to take strict action against banks that help US customers avoid taxes.
“For too long, international financial institutions like Credit Suisse have profited from their offshore tax haven schemes while depriving the US economy of billions of dollars in tax revenues by facilitating US tax evasion,” said Senator John McCain, a member of the subcommittee.
“As federal regulators begin to crack down on these banks’ illicit practices, it is imperative that they use every legal tool at their disposal to hold these banks fully accountable for willfully deceiving the US government and seek penalties that will deter similar misconduct in the future.”
The US Justice Department issued a statement saying it was investigating various Swiss banks over the issue.