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Clyde K. Valle

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Clyde is a business graduate interested in writing about latest news in politics and business. He enjoys writing and is about to publish his first book. He’s a pet lover and likes to spend time with family. When the time allows he likes to go fishing waiting for the muse to come.

Giorgio Armani fashion house has paid 270 million euros ($374 million) to the Italian authorities to settle a tax bill.

An Armani spokesman confirmed reports that the payment concerned the group’s subsidiaries abroad but declined to comment further.

Giorgio Armani fashion house has paid 270 million euros to the Italian authorities to settle a tax bill photo

Giorgio Armani fashion house has paid 270 million euros to the Italian authorities to settle a tax bill

Last year the designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were convicted of concealing millions of euros in tax.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have appealed against a 20-month jail sentence.

All tax claims against Armani, which saw sales rise to more than 2 billion euros in 2012 according to Reuters news agency, are now closed, the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reports.

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Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have reported contrasting results for the first quarter of 2014.

Goldman Sachs’ neat earnings fell to $2.03 billion from $2.26 billion after a drop in revenues from its bonds, currency and trading business.

However, Morgan Stanley’s profit rose to $1.45 billion, compared with $981 million a year ago.

Revenues rose in all of its three business segments.

Goldman Sachs makes most of its money from trading and investing in capital markets.

In the first quarter, its revenue from fixed income, currency and commodities trading fell 11% to $2.85 billion compared with a year earlier.

Morgan Stanley’s profit rose to 1.45 billion in 2014 Q1 640x391 photo

Morgan Stanley’s profit rose to $1.45 billion in 2014 Q1

“We are generally pleased with our performance for the quarter, given the operating environment,” said Goldman Sachs’ chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein.

“Market sentiment shifted throughout the quarter, constraining client activity in various parts of our franchise,” he said.

Investment banking and investment management “generated solid results”, he added.

The bank’s net revenues from investment banking were $1.78 billion, 13% higher than the first quarter of 2013.

Its financial advisory service saw 41% higher net revenues, of $682 million.

Goldman Sachs’ results follow a big drop in profits in the fourth quarter last year.

Morgan Stanley’s trading, mergers and acquisition advisory and stock sales division grew the most during the first quarter.

The division, called institutional securities, earned $1.2 billion, compared with $1.1 billion last year.

Earnings for its wealth management division were $691 million, compared with $597 million a year ago, and investment management income jumped to $263 million from $187 million.

Morgan Stanley’s strong results come after a fourth-quarter reduction in bond trading revenue that more than halved its earnings.

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Chinese Twitter-like service Weibo’s shares rose by almost 20% on their first day of trading on the US stock market, after a lukewarm start.

Weibo’s flotation on the NASDAQ stock exchange had initially raised a less-than-expected $286 million.

However, investors flocked to the shares, and they ended the day at $20.24, after opening at $17.

The number of Weibo users fell after China’s censors strengthened control of online discussions last year.

Weibos flotation on the NASDAQ stock exchange had initially raised a less than expected 286 million 640x426 photo

Weibo’s flotation on the NASDAQ stock exchange had initially raised a less-than-expected $286 million

The China Internet Network Information Center said in its annual report that almost 28 million people abandoned Weibo in 2013.

It can only be used by Chinese citizens who verify their account with a mobile phone number.

The sale is a big test of demand for Chinese internet stocks ahead of an anticipated listing by Weibo’s co-owner, the Alibaba group.

China’s internet market has grown to become the world’s biggest with more than 500 million users.

With major global social networking firms such as Facebook and Twitter blocked in the country, domestic companies have benefited the most from this growth.

However, the growing popularity of social media platforms has also attracted the attention of authorities who have moved swiftly to silence voices online.

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Forensic tests carried out by expert Roger Dixon for Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial have been rigorously challenged by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel in South Africa.

Roger Dixon’s sequence for the shots that killed Reeva Steenkamp contradicts that of a police ballistics witness and pathologist.

Oscar Pistorius, 27, denies intentionally killing Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last year.

He says he fired in fear at a toilet door, mistaking her for an intruder.

The prosecution says the 29-year-old model and law graduate was deliberately killed after the couple had an argument.

Oscar Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder.

The trial has now adjourned for a break and will reconvene on Monday May 5.

Before the questioning got under way on Thursday, Judge Thokozile Masipa warned those watching the televised proceedings in an overflow court next door about their “unruly” behavior.

Judge Thokozile Masipa said she had been made aware that there had been shouting and cheering at times.

Roger Dixons sequence for the shots that killed Reeva Steenkamp contradicts that of a police ballistics witness and pathologist photo

Roger Dixon’s sequence for the shots that killed Reeva Steenkamp contradicts that of a police ballistics witness and pathologist

“It is not an entertainment place,” she said.

The prosecutor Gerrie Nel then continued his cross examination of Roger Dixon, a defense witness, who says he believes Reeva Steenkamp was standing at an angle to the door and that all four bullets hit her as she fell to the ground.

Earlier in the trial, ballistics expert Captain Christiaan Mangena said he believed Reeva Steenkamp was standing up facing the closed door when she was hit in the right hip.

He said she then fell back on to a magazine rack next to the toilet before three more bullets were fired at the door, one of which missed her.

Roger Dixon’s testimony challenges the state’s version that Reeva Steenkamp would have had time to scream after the first bullet and that Oscar Pistorius then changed aim and continued firing.

The forensic expert also told the court about light tests carried out in Oscar Pistorius’ bedroom and sound tests of a cricket bat striking a door and bullets hitting a door.

However, Gerrie Nel has sought to cast doubt on Roger Dixon’s credibility and qualifications as a forensics witness, suggesting some of the tests were amateurish.

He criticized him for not using a model the same height as Oscar Pistorius when on his stumps in a photograph to illustrate what neighbors would have been able to see through the bathroom window at night.

In the photograph a man was kneeling in front of the window.

“It is something I omitted. I overlooked it at the time,” said Roger Dixon, a geologist and university lecturer who worked as head of materials analysis at a police forensic laboratory in Pretoria for 18 years until 2012.

Gerrie Nel also sought to prove that he was out of his depth when he was testifying about marks on Reeva Steenkamp’s body.

He had identified one as a bruise which other pathologists had not, Gerrie Nel said.

At one stage on Wednesday Roger Dixon used the phrase “in my layman’s understanding”.

“Now you call yourself a layman. You see how irresponsible it is to make inferences that aren’t in your area of expertise,” the prosecutor replied.

Before the court adjourned, he was re-examined by defense lawyer Barry Roux and described how an official at the shooting range, where the sound tests were carried out, mistook the sound of the cricket bat striking the door for gunshots.

Roger Dixon took the stand on Tuesday after seven days of testimony from Oscar Pistorius came to an end with him reading a Valentine’s Day card from Reeva Steenkamp.

If Oscar Pistorius is acquitted of murder, the court must consider an alternative charge of culpable homicide, for which he could receive about 15 years in prison.

He also faces charges of illegally firing a gun in public and of illegally possessing ammunition, both of which he denies.

There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors.

Oscar Pistorius is known as the “Blade Runner” because of the carbon-fibre prosthetics he uses on the track.

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Reeva Steenkamp was shot in quick succession as she fell down, a forensics expert has told Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial.

This differs from a police ballistics witness who said there was short break between the first and second shots.

Oscar Pistorius denies intentionally killing Reeva Steenkamp in early hours of Valentine’s Day last year.

He says he fired rapidly in fear through the toilet door after he mistook Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder.

The prosecution says the 29-year-old model and law graduate was deliberately killed after the couple had an argument.

Oscar Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder.

The trial has been adjourned until Thursday, which will be the last day before a break; proceedings will resume on Monday 5 May.

Forensics expert Roger Dixon, a defense witness, says Reeva Steenkamp was standing at an angle to the door and that all four bullets hit her as fell to the ground.

 photo

Reeva Steenkamp was shot in quick succession as she fell down

Earlier in the trial, ballistics expert Captain Christiaan Mangena said he believed Reeva Steenkamp was standing up facing the closed door when she was hit in the right hip.

He said she then fell back onto a magazine rack next to the toilet before three more bullets were fired at the door, one of which missed her.

Roger Dixon’s testimony challenges the state’s version that Reeva Steenkamp would have had time to scream after the first bullet and that Oscar Pistorius then changed aim and continued firing.

On Tuesday, Roger Dixon told the court his tests showed that with the light out, Oscar Pistorius’ bedroom would have been almost completely dark on the evening of the shooting, despite a couple of LED lights.

This also supports Oscar Pistorius’ evidence that he did not see whether Reeva Steenkamp was still in bed when he got up.

The court also heard sound recordings Roger Dixon had made – of a cricket bat striking a door similar to the one in Oscar Pistorius’ toilet, and of gunshots fired through the door at a distance of 60m (196ft) and 180m.

Roger Dixon seemed to struggle to tell the sounds apart, which the defense will use to cast doubt on what neighbors say they heard that night.

Prosecution witnesses have testified to hearing a woman scream followed by gun shots, but the defense disputes their testimony, saying the only scream came from Oscar Pistorius – after he had fired.

But prosecutor Gerrie Nel has sought to cast doubt on Roger Dixon’s credibility and qualifications as a forensics witness during his cross examination on Wednesday.

Roger Dixon is a geologist and university lecturer who worked as head of materials analysis at a police forensic laboratory in Pretoria for 18 years until 2012 and repeatedly said he was not a ballistics expert.

Gerrie Nel also sought to prove that he was out of his depth when he was testifying about marks on Reeva Steenkamp’s body.

He had identified one as a bruise which other pathologists had not, Gerrie Nel said.

At one stage Roger Dixon used the phrase “in my layman’s understanding”.

“Now you call yourself a layman. You see how irresponsible it is to make inferences that aren’t in your area of expertise,” Gerrie Nel replied.

Roger Dixon took the stand after seven days of testimony from the sprinter came to an end with him reading a Valentine’s Day card from his girlfriend.

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Yahoo shares jumped 9% despite a 20% fall in first-quarter earnings.

Yahoo’s profits of $312 million still beat expectations.

Yahoo also said revenue from display advertising increased by 2% to $409 million, the first rise in some time. Overall, first quarter revenue was $1.1 billion, the best since 2010.

“I am really pleased by our first-quarter performance,” said Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in a statement.

Yahoo also reported that it had 430 million monthly mobile users who accessed Yahoo products, a crucial measure as the firm seeks to catch up with Facebook and Google to attract mobile advertising.

Yahoo shares jumped 9 percent despite a 20 percent fall in first quarter earnings photo

Yahoo shares jumped 9 percent despite a 20 percent fall in first-quarter earnings

It also increased its total workforce by 8% to 12,400 global employees.

In contrast to Yahoo’s earnings fall, Chinese internet giant Alibaba, of which Yahoo owns a 24% share, reported surging revenues.

These increased by 66% in 2013 Q4 to $3.06 billion, compared with $1.84 billion during the same period a year earlier.

Profits increased 110% to $1.4 billion, compared with $642 million a year earlier.

Alibaba’s fourth quarter earnings were released as part of Yahoo’s report.

Alibaba, China’s largest internet company, is expected to complete a public share sale sometime this summer on a US exchange.

The share float could raise as much as $15 billion, making it the biggest technology company debut since Facebook’s stock sale in 2012.

China’s economy grew by 7.4% in 2014 Q1, better than what many were expecting.

However, it is a slowdown from 7.7% growth in the final quarter of last year.

Other data released with the gross domestic product (GDP) figure showed industrial output rising 8.8% in March from one year ago.

Retail sales for the month of March spiked by 12.2%, underscoring China’s efforts to boost economic growth via domestic consumption.

Last year China set its growth target for 2014 at 7.5%, part of efforts to stabilize the economy after years of fast-paced expansion.

China’s growth data is closely watched around the region. A slowdown could hurt Asian economies especially those which export commodities and industrial components to the world’s second largest economy.

A sluggish start for the year is not uncommon, due to the Lunar New Year holiday when many businesses and factories shut down operations for about two weeks.

Chinas economy grew by 7.4 percent in 2014 Q1 better than what many were expecting photo

China’s economy grew by 7.4 percent in 2014 Q1, better than what many were expecting

But recent data from the manufacturing as well as industrial sectors have been weak, raising fears of a prolonged slowdown.

Amid these concerns, China has recently taken more steps to give a jolt to its economy.

A mini-stimulus measure announced earlier this month will see Beijing extending a tax break for small and medium-sized companies, and ramping up spending on China’s railway infrastructure.

In addition, the mainland also took steps to open up its capital markets by announcing a tie-up with Hong Kong, allowing for cross-border stock investment. The pilot scheme is scheduled to take off in about six months.

And in January, China launched a free-trade zone in Shanghai, seen as a test bed for reforms in key areas of the economy, such as the financial and telecom sectors which previously were tightly controlled by the government.

China also said it will allow foreign firms to make gaming consoles within the free-trade zone and sell them across China – lifting a ban on gaming consoles which had been in place since 2000.

Analysts are hopeful that the Chinese economy has bottomed out, and will perform better later in the year.

China’s trade figures for March had shown a sharp drop in both imports and exports.

Earlier this month the World Bank lowered its growth forecast for the Chinese economy this year to 7.6% for this year from a previous prediction of 7.7%.

 

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Reeva Steenkamp Valentine’s card has been presented to court during Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial in Pretoria.

Reeva Steenkamp had intended to give the card to Oscar Pistorius before he shot her dead.

The athlete read the poem to the court after five days of gruelling cross-examination.

Earlier, Oscar Pistorius said he was “heartbroken” when he saw her body in the early hours of Valentine’s Day last February.

Oscar Pistorius denies murder, saying he fired through a door in fear, believing there was an intruder behind it.

The prosecution says he deliberately shot dead Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model and law graduate, after the couple had had an argument.

Oscar Pistorius, 27, faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder.

His defense lawyer Barry Roux presented to the court the Valentine card which Reeva Steenkamp had got the athlete.

Oscar Pistorius read out Reeva Steenkamps Valentine Day card  photo

Oscar Pistorius read out Reeva Steenkamp’s Valentine Day card

The double-amputee sprinter read the card out in a trembling voice.

The front of the card reads: “Roses are red, violets are blue…”

Inside, Reeva Steenkamp had written: “I think today is a good day to tell you that, I love you.”

Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead in the early hours of Valentine’s Day – before they had opened each other’s cards and gifts.

Oscar Pistorius has previously told the court he only opened the card on Reeva Steenkamp’s birthday, in August 2013.

On the final day of his cross-examination, Oscar Pistorius said that after shooting and realizing Reeva Steenkamp was not in the bedroom as he believed, he tried to break down the door with his shoulder, before using a cricket bat, all the time screaming in panic.

He said he stopped screaming when he finally opened the door and saw the body.

When prosecutor Gerrie Nel asked why, Oscar Pistorius replied, his voice trembling with emotion: “I was heartbroken… overcome with sadness.”

“I crouched down over her… and I checked to see if she was breathing or if she had a pulse,” he said.

But this was disputed by prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

“You fired four shots through the door whilst knowing that she was standing behind the door,” he said.

“She was locked into the bathroom and you armed yourself with the sole purpose of shooting and killing her.”

Oscar Pistorius replied: “That is not true.”

The athlete has previously said he and Reeva Steenkamp had spent a quiet evening together before he woke up on hearing a noise in the bathroom.

During the cross-examination, Oscar Pistorius broke down in tears on several occasions.

Gerrie Nel suggested that he was doing this on purpose when he was struggling to explain his actions.

Oscar Pistorius has now ended his testimony.

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Oscar Pistorius has told his murder trial in Pretoria he was “heartbroken” when he saw the body of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

“I crouched down over her… and I checked to see if she was breathing or if she had a pulse,” the athlete said.

The prosecution has now finished five days of grueling cross-examination, which has seen the athlete break down on several occasions.

Oscar Pistorius, 27, denies murder, saying he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder.

The prosecution says Oscar Pistorius deliberately shot dead Reeva Steenkamp after the couple had had an argument and has suggested he is staging his emotional outbursts.

He faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder.

Before his cross-examination ended, the court was shown a photograph of the toilet covered in blood where Reeva Steenkamp was shot in February 2013.

Oscar Pistorius said that after shooting through the toilet door at what he thought were intruders, he realized he may have mistakenly killed his girlfriend, a 29-year-old model and law graduate.

He said he tried to break down the door with his shoulder, before using a cricket bat, all the time screaming in panic.

Oscar Pistorius has told his murder trial in Pretoria he was heartbroken when he saw the body of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp photo

Oscar Pistorius has told his murder trial in Pretoria he was “heartbroken” when he saw the body of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp

But the double-amputee sprinter said he stopped screaming when he finally opened the door and saw the body.

When asked why, Oscar Pistorius replied, his voice trembling with emotion: “I was heartbroken… overcome with sadness.”

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said the athlete had deliberately killed his girlfriend following an argument.

“You fired four shots through the door whilst knowing that she was standing behind the door. She was locked into the bathroom and you armed yourself with the sole purpose of shooting and killing her,” he said.

Oscar Pistorius replied: “That is not true.”

The athlete has previously said he and Reeva Steenkamp had spent a quiet evening together before he woke up on hearing a noise in the bathroom.

After the cross-examination ended, Oscar Pistorius’ defense lawyer Barry Roux asked a few further questions before presenting to the court the Valentine’s Day card which Reeva Steenkamp had written for the athlete.

On the card, she had written: “Roses are red, violets are blue, I think this is a good time to say, I love you.”

Reeva Steenkamp was shot dead in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013.

Oscar Pistorius has now ended his testimony.

Prosecution witnesses have testified to hearing a woman scream, but the defense disputes their testimony.

Judge Thokozile Masipa temporarily halted proceedings on two occasions on Monday after Oscar Pistorius broke down sobbing.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said: “You’re getting emotional now because you’re getting frustrated because your version [of events] is improbable.”

Both prosecution and defense have asked Judge Thokozile Masipa to postpone the case until May 5, following Tuesday’s cross-examination.

Gerrie Nel said members of his team were engaged in “more pressing” cases, which needed their attention, as well as “personal arrangements”.

The defense said the case should still finish on May 16, as planned. The judge said she would deliver her judgement on this request on Wednesday.

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Prosecutor Gerrie Nel at the Oscar Pistorius murder trial in Pretoria has suggested the South African athlete is using his emotions “as an escape”.

Oscar Pistorius, 27, broke down in tears four times on Monday and has also vomited in court.

“Now you trying to be emotional and it’s not working,” said prosecutor Gerrie Nel.

Oscar Pistorius admits killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year, but says he fired his gun after mistaking her for an intruder.

Gerrie Nel said Oscar Pistorius had deliberately shot Reeva Steenkamp after the couple had had an argument.

As the prosecutor resumed his cross-examination on Monday, he accused Oscar Pistorius of “tailoring his evidence” as he went along to suit the defense case, which had been “concocted”.

“Your version of events is untrue,” Gerrie Nel said.

Oscar Pistorius admits killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year but says he fired his gun after mistaking her for an intruder 640x534 photo

Oscar Pistorius admits killing girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on February 14 last year, but says he fired his gun after mistaking her for an intruder

Shortly before the case adjourned for the day, Gerrie Nel said: “You’re getting emotional now because you’re getting frustrated because your version [of events] is improbable.”

The prosecutor, known as “bull terrier” for his fierce style of questioning, then asked: “You’re not using your emotional state as an escape are you?”

Gerrie Nel spent much of the day trying to highlight apparent inconsistencies between Oscar Pistorius’ bail application and his evidence in court.

On one occasion, when Oscar Pistorius corrected Gerrie Nel, the prosecutor said this showed the athelte was a “stickler for detail” and yet on many aspects of the case, the athlete was being vague.

Earlier, Gerrie Nel again pressed Oscar Pistorius on the moment he shot Reeva Steenkamp.

The athlete said he had not intended to kill anyone.

“I fired out of fear,” he said.

This prompted Gerrie Nel to say Oscar Pistorius was changing his story from self-defense to saying he shot by accident.

The prosecutor said this was because the truth was: “You fired at Reeva.”

“It’s not true,” Oscar Pistorius replied, breaking into tears and prompting the court to briefly adjourn.

After the break, Gerrie Nel said that, as Oscar Pistorius was trained to use firearms, the court could not accept he had fired by “mistake”.

The prosecutor said the fact that a pair of Reeva Steenkamp’s jeans was lying on the bed showed that she was in the middle of getting dressed in order to leave Oscar Pistorius’ house when she was shot after the couple had argued in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013.

This was denied by Oscar Pistorius.

The Paralympic champion also started sobbing as he recalled shouting at the burglars he thought were in his house.

When asked why he broke down, Oscar Pistorius said: “I am traumatized” by the events of that night.

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Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline is facing a criminal investigation in Poland for allegedly bribing doctors.

Eleven doctors and a GSK regional manager have been charged over alleged corruption between 2010 and 2012, BBC reported.

A former sales rep said doctors were paid to promote GSK’s asthma drug Seretide.

GSK said one employee had been disciplined and it was co-operating with investigations.

If the allegations are proved, GSK may have violated both the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It is illegal for companies based in either country to bribe government employees abroad.

A former sales rep for GSK in the Polish region of Lodz, Jarek Wisniewski, said: “There is a simple equation.”  

“We pay doctors, they give us prescriptions. We don’t pay doctors, we don’t see prescriptions for our drugs.

“We cannot go to doctors and say to them, <<I need 20 more prescriptions>>. So we prepare an agreement for them to give a talk to patients, we pay £100 [$150], but we expect more than 100 prescriptions for this drug,” he told BBC program, Panorama.

GlaxoSmithKline is facing a criminal investigation in Poland for allegedly bribing doctors photo

GlaxoSmithKline is facing a criminal investigation in Poland for allegedly bribing doctors (photo Reuters)

“It’s a bribe,” Jarek Wisniewski said, confirming that although on paper the payments were for educational services, the doctors understood very clearly that they must produce a certain number of prescriptions in return.

The Lodz public prosecutor found evidence in documents given to doctors by GSK to support claims of corrupt payments in more than a dozen different health centers where there was no evidence “patient education” had taken place.

Spokesman Krzysztof Kopania said: “We have evidence that in more than a dozen cases it was a camouflaged form of a bribe.

“In return for the financial gains the doctors would favor the product proposed by the pharmaceutical company and they prescribed that medicine.”

One doctor has already admitted guilt, been fined and given a suspended sentence. He said he accepted £100 for a single lecture he never gave, but only under pressure from a GSK drugs rep.

The company said a GSK training program to help improve diagnostic standards and medical training in respiratory disease was run by doctors in Poland from 2010 to 2012.

A statement said: “These sessions were delivered by specialist healthcare professionals who, based on contracts signed with GSK, received payments appropriate to the scope of work as well as their level of knowledge and experience. The provision of sessions under this programme was agreed with the Polish healthcare centers.

“Following receipt of allegations regarding the conduct of the program in the Lodz region, GSK has investigated the matter, using resources from both inside and outside the company. The investigation found evidence of inappropriate communication in contravention of GSK policy by a single employee. The employee concerned was reprimanded and disciplined as a result.

“We continue to investigate these matters and are co-operating fully with the CBA [Poland's Central Anticorruption Office].”

In 2012, GSK paid $3 billion in the largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history after pleading guilty to promoting two drugs for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about a diabetes drug to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Last December, GSK announced it was making major changes to its incentive schemes after a damaging corruption scandal in China.

In a statement to the International Monetary Fund, US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has urged other countries to contribute more to the economic rescue of Ukraine.

Jacob Lew told the IMF that Ukraine’s “sizeable financing needs” meant other nations must add to its $1 billion (720 million euros) loan guarantee.

The appeal came as Ukraine’s interim PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk offered to devolve more powers to eastern regions.

Pro-Russian separatists there are defying the government.

Meanwhile, Washington on Friday announced a third round of sanctions against individuals it has linked to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The US Treasury said it had frozen the US-based assets of one former Ukrainian official, a Crimea-based energy firm and six Crimean leaders, including the chairman of the Crimea electoral commission and the mayor of Sevastopol.

Jacob Lew says the US is “bolstering the IMF program through a complementary aid package, which includes a $1 billion loan guarantee and additional technical assistance,” in a statement to the IMF.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has urged other countries to contribute more to the economic rescue of Ukraine photo

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has urged other countries to contribute more to the economic rescue of Ukraine

“It is critical that the international community – multilateral development banks and bilaterals – take immediate steps to also support the IMF program by providing financing support, given the sizeable financing needs,” he adds.

The IMF announced a rescue package worth as much as $18 billion last month in a bid to aid Ukraine’s economy, and this has been bolstered to $27 billion with contributions from Europe and the US.

In exchange, the IMF has demanded from Ukraine strict government spending cuts and tax increases.

Ukraine is being squeezed by Russia’s decision this month to stop providing Ukraine with subsidized natural gas.

That discount had been agreed between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s then President Viktor Yanukovych, in which Russia also said it would buy $15 billion-worth of Ukrainian government bonds.

The IMF is also asking Ukraine to crack down on corruption and end central bank support for the Ukrainian currency.

Ukraine’s new government has said it needs $35 billion to pay its bills over the next two years.

Ukraine has not paid off its debt to Russian gas supplier Gazprom despite the passing earlier this week of a deadline for the nation to start reducing its debt. Gazprom says Ukraine owes it $2.2 billion.

European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told Austria’s ORF radio he was working on a plan to help Ukraine pay its gas bills to ensure its debts do not rise.

On Friday, President Vladimir Putin moved to assure the EU it would not cut off gas supplies. Brussels said it would stand with the new authorities in Kiev if the Kremlin carries out a threat to turn off the tap to Ukraine.

“I want to say again: We do not intend and do not plan to shut off the gas for Ukraine,” Vladimir Putin said in televised comments at a meeting of his advisory Security Council, the Reuters news agency reported.

Russia has turned off the gas tap to Ukraine before, in 2006 and 2009. As the 2009 row escalated, gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine were suspended for two weeks.

But Russia may be reticent about doing it again as it is dependent on revenue from EU customers.

Talks between Russia, Ukraine, the US and the EU – the first four-way discussions since the crisis began – are scheduled to take place on April 17 in Geneva.

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Oscar Pistorius said that Reeva Steenkamp did not scream or shout as he grabbed a gun and fired shots that killed her.

At the athlete’s murder trial in Pretoria, prosecutor Gerrie Nel said it was “improbable” that Reeva Steenkamp would stand in the bathroom saying nothing while Oscar Pistorius was just 10 ft away shouting at her to call the police.

Oscar Pistorius, 27, said he could not explain why she had not shouted out.

The Paralympic champion denies murder saying the killing was a terrible accident.

He admits killing Reeva Steenkamp but says he fired his gun after mistaking her for an intruder.

Oscar Pistorius believed Reeva Steenkamp had been in bed when he grabbed his gun, made his way to the bathroom and fired shots through the door.

The prosecution says he killed her after an argument.

On the third day of his cross-examination, Gerrie Nel pressed Oscar Pistorius to explain the final moments leading up to the shooting.

Gerrie Nel asked why he had not checked whether Reeva Steenkamp had heard his calls for her to phone the police, or why he had not taken her to safety instead of going to confront the supposed intruder.

Oscar Pistorius said that Reeva Steenkamp did not scream or shout as he grabbed a gun and fired shots that killed her photo

Oscar Pistorius said that Reeva Steenkamp did not scream or shout as he grabbed a gun and fired shots that killed her

Oscar Pistorius said it was his personality to confront what he believed was an intruder.

The trial has been adjourned until Monday morning.

Later, Gerrie Nel questioned Oscar Pistorius’s account that he had not heard Reeva Steenkamp shout or scream during the whole incident.

He said it was the “most improbable” part of the account.

“At that stage when you shouted at Reeva to phone the police, she was 3 m away from you in the toilet, but she didn’t say anything,” he said.

“Why would she not say anything?”

Oscar Pistorius said he did not know.

The prosecutor accused the athlete of lying, and said he had shot Reeva Steenkamp while she was talking to him from the bathroom.

“She wasn’t scared of an intruder,” he said.

“She was scared of you.”

He went on: “Are you sure that Reeva did not scream after the first shot?”

Oscar Pistorius took a long time to answer, and broke down into sobs.

“At no point did Reeva shout out or scream,” he said.

Gerrie Nel then disputed his claim, saying he would not have been able to hear if he had just fired his gun.

Prosecution witnesses have testified to hearing a woman scream, but the defense disputes their testimony.

Gerrie Nel repeated a line of attack he had used on Thursday, testing the defendant’s version of events, and accusing him of lying.

Oscar Pistorius told the court he had heard a window opening and closing, and had immediately got out of bed and grabbed his gun.

“I told Reeva to get down and phone the police,” he said.

Gerrie Nel asked if he had not looked at Reeva Steenkamp, or asked if she had heard the noise.

“On the morning of the 14th I was sure of what I heard,” he said.

“My whole being was fixated on this person that I thought was in the bathroom.”

The double amputee faces life imprisonment if convicted of murdering 29-year-old model Reeva Steenkamp.

If he is acquitted of murder, the court must consider an alternative charge of culpable homicide, for which he could receive up to 15 years in prison.

Oscar Pistorius also faces charges of illegally firing a gun in public and of illegally possessing ammunition, both of which he denies.

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Oscar Pistorius has denied “picking on” his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, as his cross-examination continues at his murder trial in Pretoria.

The Paralympic champion was commenting on a mobile phone message Reeva Steenkamp had sent him.

The prosecution has been trying to portray Oscar Pistorius as self-obsessed and negligent with firearms.

Oscar Pistorius denies murdering Reeva Steenkamp, saying he accidentally shot her dead through a door, fearing there was an intruder in his house.

Prosecutors say Oscar Pistorius intentionally killed his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day last year by firing a gun through a bathroom door at her after a row at his Pretoria home.

Oscar Pistorius, 27, who is a double amputee, faces life imprisonment if convicted of murdering the 29-year-old model, reality TV celebrity and law graduate.

In Thursday’s proceedings:

  • Oscar Pistorius said he had not meant to pull the trigger
  • Chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel accused the athlete of being selfish, negligent and lying
  • Gerrie Nel said Oscar Pistorius’ apology in court was a “spectacle”
  • Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June, said she was “unmoved” by his apology
  • Oscar Pistorius denied ever shouting at Reeva Steenkamp, or a previous girlfriend

Under intense cross-examination, Oscar Pistorius said he had not meant to pull the trigger, even to fire at an intruder.

“It was an accident… I didn’t have time to think,” he said, his voice trembling after he had been generally calm in contrast to previous days.

Oscar Pistorius has denied picking on Reeva Steenkamp as his cross examination continues at his murder trial in Pretoria photo

Oscar Pistorius has denied picking on Reeva Steenkamp, as his cross-examination continues at his murder trial in Pretoria (photo CNN)

Earlier, chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel, known as the “bull terrier” in South Africa for his fierce questioning, suggested that Oscar Pistorius was only concerned about himself during the couple’s three-month relationship.

Gerrie Nel is trying to give an impression that the Paralympic athlete is self-centred, contemptuous of his girlfriend and lacking responsibility.

He suggested that Oscar Pistorius should have apologized to Reeva Steenkamp’s family in private, rather than making a “spectacle” by doing it in court as he opened his defense on Monday.

The athlete replied that he had not had the opportunity and had been unable to find the correct words.

When Gerrie Nel noted that in Monday’s apology, Oscar Pistorius did not say he was sorry for killing Reeva Steenkamp, the athlete replied: “I’m terribly sorry that I took the life of their daughter.”

In court, June Steenkamp shook her head as Oscar Pistorius was taken through several WhatsApp messages, which Reeva Steenkamp had sent.

In one, Reeva Steenkamp wrote: “You have picked on me incessantly since we got back from Cape Town.”

Asked to comment, Oscar Pistorius said: “I don’t feel like I picked on her incessantly – maybe we were having a rough time in our relationship.”

He also denied ever shouting or screaming at Reeva Steenkamp, or a previous girlfriend, Sam Taylor, as she had testified earlier in the trial.

Referring to an incident when a gun was fired in a restaurant, Oscar Pistorius said he had not been aware the gun was loaded but insisted he had not pulled the trigger.

Gerrie Nell said a gun firing itself would be a “miracle”. He also accused Oscar Pistorius of lying and not taking responsibility for his actions.

“You will blame anybody but yourself,” the prosecutor said, after Oscar Pistorius had questioned the decisions of his defense lawyers.

Oscar Pistorius did admit keeping ammunition in his bedside table, rather than in a safe.

He said he was usually armed “for my own safety”.

On Wednesday’s dramatic first day of questioning by Gerrie Nel, Oscar Pistorius became distraught as he was shown a photo of Reeva Steenkamp after her death.

The Chinese exports and imports fell sharply in March 2014, adding to recent indicators pointing to a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

China’s exports fell by 6.6% in March when compared with the previous year.

Imports dropped by 11.3% in the same month, when compared with the same time last year.

This is the second straight month of falling exports for China. In February, exports dropped by 18.1%.

It is the first time since 2009 that exports have fallen for two months in a row.

The Chinese exports and imports fell sharply in March 2014 photo

The Chinese exports and imports fell sharply in March 2014

China’s export decline in February was mainly attributed to weaker demand due to the Lunar New Year holiday period, which led to closures of many businesses and factories.

Analysts had been expecting to see an increase in both import and exports for the month of March.

The March trade figures will add to recent concern about the state of the Chinese economy, which has shown signs of weakness amid poor data from the manufacturing and retail sectors.

The latest trade figures come days after the World Bank trimmed its growth forecast for China to 7.6% for this year from its earlier forecast of 7.7%.

The latest trade data leaves China with a trade surplus of $7.7 billion in March, a turnaround from a deficit of $23 billion in February.

China last week unveiled a mini-stimulus package to boost growth, which included more spending on rail infrastructure and tax breaks for small businesses.

The Chinese government is aiming for total trade to grow 7.5% this year. Last year trade grew by 7.6%, below the official target of 8%.

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South African Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius became distraught as he was shown a photo of his dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by the prosecution at his murder trial in Pretoria.

“It’s time that you look at it,” chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel said, presenting the photo at the start of the first day of cross-examination.

Oscar Pistorius, who denies murdering Reeva Steenkamp, insisted he had made a “mistake”.

The athlete says he accidentally killed his girlfriend after mistaking her for an intruder.

He told the court on Wednesday: “I made a mistake. My mistake was that I took Reeva’s life.”

Prosecutors say Oscar Pistorius intentionally killed Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year by firing a gun through a bathroom door at her after a row at his Pretoria home.

Oscar Pistorius, who is a double amputee, faces life imprisonment if convicted of murdering the 29-year-old model, reality TV celebrity and law graduate.

Following legal arguments on Wednesday morning, Gerrie Nel showed video footage of the athlete at a gun range shooting a watermelon.

Oscar Pistorius became distraught as he was shown a photo of his dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by the prosecution at his murder trial in Pretoria photo

Oscar Pistorius became distraught as he was shown a photo of his dead girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp by the prosecution at his murder trial in Pretoria

Gerrie Nel then said the watermelon had exploded in the same way as Reeva Steenkamp’s head – and showed the photo. He asked Oscar Pistorius to look at it and take responsibility for his actions.

An emotional Oscar Pistorius, 27, turned away from the image on a monitor screen and said: “I’ve taken responsibility… but I will not look at a picture where I am tormented by what I saw and felt that night… I remember. I don’t have to look at a picture, I was there.”

After an adjournment to allow Oscar Pistorius to compose himself, Gerrie Nel sought to highlight what he said were inconsistencies in the athlete’s statements, questioning his claims that police had tampered with items in his home after the shooting.

“I am not pleading not guilty because the scene was contaminated,” Oscar Pistorius countered.

“I am pleading not guilty because what I’m accused of didn’t happen.”

In the opening moments of cross examination, Gerrie Nel showed the highly combative style Oscar Pistorius can now expect from him in the coming days.

Earlier, while being questioned by his lawyer Barry Roux, Oscar Pistorius told the court he had tried to revive Reeva Steenkamp, who was hit by three of four pistol rounds he fired through the door.

He said he had managed to carry Reeva Steenkamp downstairs, where neighbors had tried to administer first aid before paramedics arrived.

Before Barry Roux ended his questioning, he asked Oscar Pistorius if he had intentionally killed Reeva Steenkamp.

“I did not intend to kill Reeva or anybody else for that matter,” he replied.

If Oscar Pistorius is acquitted of murder, South African law stipulates that the court must consider the separate, lesser charge of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, for which he could receive between six and 15 years in prison.

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Oscar Pistorius described events after shooting his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home at his murder trial in Pretoria.

During his emotional testimony Oscar Pistorius said Reeva Steenkamp died before the ambulance arrived while he was holding her.

The Paralympic athlete said he tried to help his girlfriend breathe and stem the bleeding from her hip.

Oscar Pistorius denies deliberately shooting dead Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year, arguing he mistook her for an intruder.

Prosecutors contend he intentionally killed her in the toilet of his bathroom after a row.

On Tuesday, Oscar Pistorius broke down in tears whilst describing the events leading up to the shooting and the actual event.

If acquitted, South African law stipulates that the court must consider the separate, lesser charge of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, for which he could receive between six and 15 years in prison.

Oscar Pistorius also faces charges of illegally firing a gun in public and of illegally possessing ammunition, both of which he denies.

During his emotional testimony Oscar Pistorius said Reeva Steenkamp died before the ambulance arrived while he was holding her 640x360 photo

During his emotional testimony Oscar Pistorius said Reeva Steenkamp died before the ambulance arrived while he was holding her (photo AP)

On his third day on the stand, Oscar Pistorius described the moments after paramedics had arrived at the scene.

“They asked for some space to work so I stood up. Reeva had already died whilst I was holding her before the ambulance arrived. So, I knew there was nothing they could do for her,” he told the court.

He also described his distress as police and other officials arrived at the house.

“I asked a policeman if I could wash my hands because the smell of the blood was making me throw up,” he said.

Oscar Pistorius’ lawyer Barry Roux also asked him to demonstrate how he would swing a cricket bat.

The athlete said he was on his prosthetic legs when he used the cricket bat to break down the toilet door.

He said the three sounds heard by witnesses at 03:17 local time was the cricket bat hitting the door – about five minutes after he shot at the toilet door.

Oscar Pistorius said he was on his stumps, when he shot at the door.

“I can barely stand on my stumps,” he said.

During his questioning, Barry Roux also mentioned statements from close neighbors who were listed by the state but not called by the prosecution.

He said the statement from Kenny Motshoane’s house described hearing “crying” and not “a woman screaming”, as mentioned by other witnesses.

Another woman living nearby also says she heard “loud crying” and not a woman screaming, Barry Roux said.

Before Barry Roux ended his questioning he asked Oscar Pistorius if he had intentionally killed Reeva Steenkamp.

“I did not intend to kill Reeva or anybody else for that matter,” he replied.

On Tuesday, Oscar Pistorius described how the couple had spent a quiet evening together on February 13, Reeva Steenkamp doing some yoga as he spoke to his cousin on the phone.

He had then watched TV in bed with his head resting on her stomach and she would occasionally show him photos of cars she was looking at on her phone, he said.

Oscar Pistorius said that they had bought Valentine’s Day gifts for each other.

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Professional wrestler The Ultimate Warrior died Tuesday night at the age of 54, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) announced.

James Brian Hellwig, who officially changed his name to The Ultimate Warrior in 1993, “collapsed outside an Arizona hotel at 5:50 PM on April 8th … while walking to his car with his wife”, TMZ reported.

“Warrior was transported to a nearby hospital … where he was pronounced dead,” the website added.

James Brian Hellwig’s death comes only three days after The Ultimate Warrior was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, and just one day after Hellwig made an appearance on WWE’s Raw, his first appearance on the show since 1996.

James Brian Hellwig officially changed his name to The Ultimate Warrior in 1993 569x640 photo

James Brian Hellwig officially changed his name to The Ultimate Warrior in 1993

According to WWE, The Ultimate Warrior was “one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever,” joined the organization in 1987 and three years later was world champion, defeating Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania VI at SkyDome in Toronto. The match, billed as the Ultimate Challenge, lived up to the billing in the eyes of most, a common staple in lists of greatest wrestling matches of all time.

The WWE’s initial statement on James Brian Hellwig’s death said: “WWE is shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior. Warrior began his WWE career in 1987 and quickly went on to become one of the biggest stars in WWE history. Warrior became WWE Champion at WrestleMania VI, defeating Hulk Hogan in an epic encounter. We are grateful that just days ago, Warrior had the opportunity to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame and was also able to appear at WrestleMania 30 and Monday Night Raw to address his legions of fans. WWE sends its sincere condolences to Warrior’s family, friends and fans. Warrior was 54 and is survived by his wife Dana and his two daughters.”

James Brian Hellwig and WWE had a contentious relationship after he left the company in 1996, battling one another in lawuits over ownership of The Ultimate Warrior copyright.

WWE released a controversial DVD in 2005 titled The Self-Destruction of The Ultimate Warrior, which featured many wrestlers giving disparaging remarks about Warrior. That DVD led to yet another lawsuit.

As his wrestling career was over, the man who began his career as a bodybuilder had a brief turn as a motivational speaker.

Along with his enshrinement into the Hall of Fame and return to the ring in Raw, The Ultimate Warrior character is to be included in the WWE 2K14 video game, another sign of his reconciliation with WWE.

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Toyota is now recalling a total of 6.4 million cars globally due to five separate issues.

Some 3.5 million cars are being recalled to replace a spiral cable attached to the driver’s side airbag.

It may be damaged when the steering wheel is turned and result in the airbag not being deployed in a crash.

Other issues include problems with seat rails, steering columns, windscreen wipers and a glitch with the engine starters that poses a fire risk.

Toyota is now recalling a total of 6.4 million cars globally due to five separate issues photo

Toyota is now recalling a total of 6.4 million cars globally due to five separate issues

Toyota said it was not aware of any vehicle crashes, injuries or fatalities caused by these conditions.

However, it said it had received two reports of fires due to the engine starter problem.

The carmaker said that “due to inefficiencies in the design of the starter motor relays, metallic particles might accumulate on the contacts within the relay”.

It said that if the relays continue to be used the particles could come off and enter the relay’s circuitry and in the “worst case, this could lead to the starter relays catching fire”.

Approximately 20,000 cars involving six Toyota models and the Subaru Trezia are being recalled to replace both engine starter relays and the engine starter motor.

Other recalls include:

  • Approximately 2.32 million cars over problems with the seat rails
  • Some 760,000 cars due to a potential defect with the steering column bracket
  • Nearly 160,000 cars to replace the windshield wiper motors

Overall, the five issues affect 27 models.

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According to experts, the Chinese ship that detected a sound in the southern Indian Ocean consistent with a black box “ping” while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines plane may have simply been listening to itself.

That possibility illustrates just how complicated the task is to locate the transmitters from the lost MH370 flight.

Australian Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston warned Tuesday – 32 days since Flight 370 vanished after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur – that other ships are being kept away from the search area to prevent any further confusion about signal noise.

“We can’t have too many ships in the area, because when you are dealing with these transmissions, you need utter silence,” he said.

“It becomes a very noisy environment if you suddenly have several ships around there or ships dropping things in the water.”

Chinese ship Haixun 01 detected a sound in the southern Indian Ocean consistent with a black box ping while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines plane  photo

Chinese ship Haixun 01 detected a sound in the southern Indian Ocean consistent with a black box ping while searching for missing Malaysia Airlines plane

The crew of Chinese ship Haixun 01 announced Saturday they had recorded fleeting pings off Australia’s west coast, but their discovery occurred more than 350 miles from where the Australians say sustained and repeated pings were found Sunday.

Video of the Chinese ship appeared to show an extra pinger on board. That pinger would just need to get wet for it to start transmitting – noise that could then get picked up by the ship’s search crews, said Anish Patel, president of pinger maker Dukane Seacom. The company supplies black-box beacons for Malaysia Airlines.

“It takes the slightest bit of moisture for that water-activated switch to automatically fire up,” Anish Patel said.

He added that it’s “not best practice” during a search to keep another pinging device where you’re listening.

Video on China’s CCTV shows the crew of the Haixun 01 boarding a small dinghy and using a handheld hydrophone, which was lowered into the water on a pole, to listen for the pings from the missing jet’s two black boxes.

Experts have said that while it’s possible that such a device could pick up pings from the ocean, it’s highly unlikely in this case. The maker of the hydrophone technology used by the Chinese said it’s intended for shallower waters and requires the user to be much closer to the transmitter. The depth of the ocean in the search area is as much as 3 miles.

The Chinese said they recorded the fleeting pings on Friday and Saturday off Australia’s west coast. The signal’s frequency was recorded at 37.5 kHz per second – the same that would be emitted by flight recorders and a noise that does not occur naturally in the ocean.

Australia also is dragging a ping locator in the search area, and officials said signals it picked up late Saturday and early Sunday were stronger and lasted longer than the ones detected by the Chinese.

Those noises haven’t been heard since. The signals would become fainter over time as the beacons’ battery life slowly dies out. That typically takes about a month.

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Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing one month ago.

For 30 days, search and rescue teams have patrolled areas of the southern Indian ocean, thousands of miles apart.

Planes, ships and submarines have all been deployed.

China, Australia, Malaysia, the US, the UK New Zealand, Japan and South Korea have all contributed to the search.

The question is: How much is it costing, and who pays?

Malaysia has refused to be drawn. Acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein told reporters that the cost of mounting the search was “immaterial” when set against the need to bring solace to the families of the missing.

Mounting a search operation on this scale, and for this length of time, does not come cheap.

For 30 days search and rescue teams have patrolled areas of the southern Indian ocean thousands of miles apart 640x426 photo

For 30 days, search and rescue teams have patrolled areas of the southern Indian ocean, thousands of miles apart

The bill so far probably runs to $33-42 million, estimates Peter Roberts, senior research fellow in sea power and maritime studies at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

This includes the cost of fuel, spare parts, and transporting supplies, as well as the relocation of staff – even costs such as cancelled leave can push up the final bill.

Most of the financial burden will be borne by the countries who have contributed their forces.

For example, Australia deployed a navy replenishment vessel, HMAS Success, two weeks ago. It costs AU$550,000 a day to operate, says the Department of Defense, so that comes to AU$7.7 million ($7.2 million) already.

And that is just a single ship. HMAS Toowoomba, which has also been involved, costs AU$380,000.

The US Department of Defense set aside $4 million to help the search: between March 8 and 24, it spent $3.2 million, a spokesman told reporters in Washington.

In the end, the cost of sending HMS Echo to the waters off Australia will be met from Treasury contingency funds, says Peter Roberts. Governments will take the costs within their budget “and accept they have to do it”.

The ship will stay there as long as it has a role to play, he says: “Mariners have got a very strong sense of brotherhood: saving life at sea is the right thing to do.”

Once the search is completed, attention is likely to turn to improving the tracking technology.

“It is hard for anyone to imagine that we can’t continuously track aircraft anywhere in the world,” says Peter Roberts.

There, the most expensive part of the process will not be the development or fitting of any technology, but the cost of getting it accepted and standardized by aviation regulators around the world.

The most expensive salvage operation in aviation history came after an Air France flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashed in the Atlantic in 2009.

After multiple searches over three years, the final bill came to 32 million euros ($44 million).

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Oscar Pistorius has described the moment he fired the shots which killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home in Pretoria.

The 27-year-old double amputee told his trial in Pretoria he had heard noises from the toilet and thought an intruder was coming out.

“Before I knew it, I had fired four shots at the door,” Oscar Pistorius said.

The trial of the athlete, who could face life imprisonment if convicted of murder, was adjourned until Wednesday after he broke down crying.

The Paralympic athlete denies deliberately shooting Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year.

On his first day on the stand, on Monday, Oscar Pistorius made a tearful apology to Reeva Steenkamp’s family.

The prosecution alleges that Oscar Pistorius killed his girlfriend after an argument with her.

In the early hours of February 14, 2013, Oscar Pistorius said he had got up from bed to bring in some fans he had left outside, in order to cool his bedroom.

Oscar Pistorius has described the moment he fired the shots which killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home in Pretoria photo

Oscar Pistorius has described the moment he fired the shots which killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home in Pretoria

When he heard a window opening in the bathroom, he said, he thought there was a burglar trying to get in.

Wanting to protect Reeva Steenkamp, who was not sleeping, he had gone to get his gun in the dark.

“I whispered to Reeva to get down and phone the police,” he said.

He said he then went into the passage without his prosthetic legs and, overcome with fear, started screaming, and shouted for Reeva Steenkamp to get to the floor.

The toilet door slammed, reconfirming his belief there was a person or people in the bathroom, the athlete said.

“I heard a noise from inside the toilet, what I perceived to be someone coming out of the toilet,” he said tearfully. At that point, he shot at the door.

After the shooting, Oscar Pistorius said he had smashed in a door panel to get into the toilet, where he discovered what he had done.

“Whilst I leant over the partition to get in, I saw the key, so I took it and I unlocked the door, and I flung the door open, and I threw it open,” he said, sobbing.

“And I sat over Reeva and I cried… and um, I don’t know how long… I don’t know how long I was there for… She wasn’t breathing.”

As the athlete broke down, the judge adjourned the trial.

Earlier, Oscar Pistorius described how the couple had spent a quiet evening together on February 13, Reeva Steenkamp doing some yoga as he spoke to his cousin on the phone.

He had then watched TV in bed with his head resting on her stomach and she would occasionally show him photos of cars she was looking at on her phone, he said.

Oscar Pistorius said that they had bought Valentine’s Day gifts for each other. He had bought her a bracelet and they had been due to go the jewellers’ to collect it the next day, he said.

Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, reality TV celebrity and law graduate, was hit by at least three bullets while in the toilet cubicle of Oscar Pistorius’s home in Pretoria.

Known as the Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius holds six Paralympic medals and competed in the 2012 Olympic Games.

There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors.

Even if he is acquitted, South African law stipulates that the court must consider the separate, lesser charge of culpable homicide, or manslaughter.

If convicted on this charge, Oscar Pistorius could face between 6 and 15 years in prison.

Oscar Pistorius also faces charges of illegally firing a gun in public and of illegally possessing ammunition, which he denies.

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Oscar Pistorius has said he was “besotted” with his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, as he gave evidence at his murder trial.

The athlete said he and Reeva Steenkamp had been talking about “future plans” together.

He also read out messages they had sent each other, including one where she said he scared her sometimes.

Oscar Pistorius denies deliberately shooting dead Reeva Steenkamp in his home on Valentine’s Day last year, arguing he mistook her for an intruder.

On his first day on the stand, the athlete made a tearful apology to Reeva Steenkamp’s family.

The trial was adjourned on Monday after he was overcome with emotion.

Responding to his questioning by his lawyer Barry Roux, Oscar Pistorius said that in January 2013: “I was very keen on Reeva. If anything I was more keen than she was.”

He said they had a shared interest in cars and had spent Christmas together after meeting on November 4, 2012.

Oscar Pistorius has said he was besotted with his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp as he gave evidence at his murder trial photo

Oscar Pistorius has said he was “besotted” with his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, as he gave evidence at his murder trial

“I let her just take her space – it wasn’t always easy I was besotted with her… the relationship built up to a point in December, January that we really needed, we started caring about each other, we start talking about future plans.”

Barry Roux has also asked him to comment on “tensions” in their relationship and on WhatsApp messages Reeva Steenkamp sent him in which she expresses disquiet about his attitude towards her, accusing him of “double standards”.

Tears streamed down the athlete’s face as he read out the messages sent to him by Reeva Steenkamp during his testimony, which is not being filmed.

On Monday, Oscar Pistorius told Reeva Steenkamp’s relatives that there “hasn’t been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven’t thought about your family”.

He said: “I can’t imagine the pain and the sorrow and the emptiness that I’ve caused you and your family.”

“I was simply trying to protect Reeva. I can promise that when she went to bed that night she felt loved.”

Reeva Steenkamp’s mother, June, sat stony-faced while Oscar Pistorius spoke.

The athlete admitted to taking anti-depressants and sleeping pills, saying he was “scared to sleep” and suffered from “terrible nightmares”.

He also told the court that he had regularly been confronted with violence, including break-ins and assaults, while he was growing up.

Oscar Pistorius became emotional when he detailed how important religion had been to him and Reeva Steenkamp. His counsel eventually asked for an adjournment.

Prior to Oscar Pistorius’ appearance, the trial had already heard 15 days of prosecution-led testimony, which relied on accounts from neighbors and specialist ballistics experts, as well forensic and mobile phone evidence.

Chinese economy’s growth forecast has been slightly cut by the World Bank, citing a “bumpy start to the year”.

The World Bank now expects the Chinese economy to grow by 7.6% in 2014, down from its earlier projection of 7.7%.

A slew of disappointing figures has triggered concerns of a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy.

However, the World Bank said recent reforms unveiled by China were likely to help it achieve “more sustainable and inclusive” growth in the long term.

The Chinese government set out an ambitious and comprehensive reform agenda in November last year, aimed at overhauling its economy over the next decade.

The World Bank now expects the Chinese economy to grow by 7.6 percent in 2014 down from its earlier projection of 7.7 percent 640x426 photo

The World Bank now expects the Chinese economy to grow by 7.6 percent in 2014, down from its earlier projection of 7.7 percent

These include reforming the financial and services sectors as well as the big state-owned enterprises.

“If implemented, the reforms will have a profound impact on China’s land, labor, and capital markets, and enhance the long-term sustainability of its economic growth,” the World Bank said in its latest report.

“Some reforms, including efforts to reduce regulatory and administrative burdens, reform taxation, and make more land available for commercial activities, are also likely to support growth in the short term.”

The World Bank also cut its growth outlook for Thailand.

It predicts that the Thai economy will expand by 3% this year, down from its earlier projection of 4.5% growth.

It said that “implementation delays and political uncertainties have been the major contributor” to the slowdown.

A series of anti-government protests in recent months have stoked fears of political uncertainty in the country and its impact on the Thai economy.

The bank added: “The expiry of the car tax rebate scheme, rising levels of household debt, falling commodity incomes, arrears in government subsidy payments to rice farmers, and crumbling consumer sentiment in the face of political instability all crimped consumption.”

The World Bank said it expected the developing East Asia Pacific region to grow by 7.1% in 2014, slightly lower than its earlier projection of 7.2%.

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British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will investigate allegations about its conduct in Iraq, nine months after an inquiry into the company began in China.

We are investigating allegations of improper conduct in our Iraq business,” a GSK spokesman said.

“We have zero tolerance for unethical or illegal behavior.”

GSK will investigate allegations about its conduct in Iraq nine months after an inquiry into the company began in China photo

GSK will investigate allegations about its conduct in Iraq, nine months after an inquiry into the company began in China (photo Reuters)

GSK will investigate claims that it hired 16 state-employed doctors and pharmacists as paid sales representatives at a time they continued working for the government.

The allegations, which date back to 2012, were sent to the company late last year, the Wall Street Journal reported.

They allege that GSK paid for the doctors’ expenses to attend international conferences, and that it pays other doctors high fees to give lectures in exchange for promoting its drugs.

The emails were from someone familiar with the company’s Middle East business, said the report.

“In total, we employ fewer than 60 people in Iraq in our pharmaceuticals operation and these allegations relate to a small number of individuals in the country,” GSK said.

Last summer, GSK said senior executives in its China office appeared to have broken the law amid a bribery scandal.

The acknowledgement came as GlaxoSmithKline said it was co-operating with a Chinese investigation into alleged bribing of doctors to prescribe the company’s drugs.

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