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Dates were announced Thursday for the National Football League's unprecedented three regular-season games in London in 2014, all of them at Wembley Stadium. The American football invasion will commence on September 28 when the Oakland Raiders face the Miami Dolphins. Four weeks later, the Detroit Lions will play the Atlanta Falcons on October 26 and just two weeks later, the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars will meet.
Denver Broncos coach John Fox will return to the National Football League club on Monday after being medically cleared to resume his duties following heart surgery this month. The team announced Thursday that Fox will return next week, the day after the Broncos visit Kansas City in a showdown of 9-2 clubs level atop the AFC West division. "Our organization is confident that his health will allow him to meet his head coaching responsibilities," the Broncos said in a statement.
European Union leaders failed to convince Ukraine to sign a landmark political and trade deal on the first day of an EU summit Thursday designed to draw six ex-Soviet states into the Western fold. Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite told AFP that at talks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanuokovych, EU "arguments did not reach Ukraine president's ear and mind. The talks held symbolically in the Lithuanian capital on the EU's eastern flank was to have celebrated a five-year drive to cement ties between the 28-nation bloc and six former Soviet states in eastern Europe and the Caucasus -- Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
By Steve Stecklow LONDON (Reuters) - A multi-billion dollar organization controlled by Iran's supreme leader shook up the management of its charity division, appointing as its new chief a man involved in the confiscation of thousands of properties from Iranian citizens. Aref Norozi was named director general of the Barakat Foundation, Iran's state news agency reported on Wednesday. The foundation is a unit of a massive business empire controlled by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that is known as Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate Emam. The report by the Islamic Republic News Agency stated that Setad's president, Mohammad Mokhber, had ordered the appointment of Norozi, who once headed Setad's real-estate division and served on the boards of several Setad-linked companies.
Brazil awarded 72 onshore natural gas and shale gas exploration blocks Thursday in a controversial auction marked by complaints from environmentalists about a lack of regulation. The National Petroleum Agency, or ANP, said in a statement that the auction generated $72 million in revenue, awarding 72 of the 240 concessions on offer. An ANP spokeswoman said four of the 11 foreign companies that took part in the auction were awarded blocks: France's GDF Suez, Colombia's Petrominerales, Panama's Trayectoria Oil & Gas and GeoPark from Bermudas. ANP head Magda Chambriard stressed that the licensing round aimed to "sow the culture" of natural gas drilling in Brazil.
Vail (United States) (AFP) - Reigning Olympic downhill ski champion Lindsey Vonn returned to the slopes Thursday for the first time since reinjuring her right knee in a crash last week and declared it "awesome". A day after saying in a television interview that she was confident she would be able to ski in February at the Sochi Winter Olympics, Vonn posted on her Facebook page that she had skiied at Vail on the US Thanksgiving holiday, her first time on snow since falling 10 days earlier. "First day back on snow since my crash and it was awesome!" Vonn said. Vonn signed off with the hashtag "I WILL" but did not say when she would return to competitive racing for the first time since first tearing a right knee ligament last February at the World Championships in Austria.
By Steve Slater LONDON (Reuters) - In the 1990s, London-based investment banks rewarded top employees with gold bars, fine wine and oriental carpets to dent the impact of higher payroll taxes. Now, with public anger at banking excess near all time highs, they are looking at less flashy ways to cope with curbs on bonuses, including a new monthly allowance. European rules due to take force in January say bankers' bonuses cannot exceed annual salary, or twice that if shareholders approve, to curb the sort of excessive risk-taking blamed for the 2008-09 financial crisis. At least 10,000 bankers, most of them in London, take home more than half a million euros (415,335 pounds), according to industry sources, more than 10 times the average wage in wealthier European states.
China's military sent several fighter jets and an early warning aircraft on patrol into disputed air space over the East China Sea on Thursday, the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported, quoting a spokesman for the People's Liberation Army Air Force. The move raises the stakes in a standoff with the United States, Japan and South Korea over the zone. Japan and South Korea sent their own military aircraft through the air space on Thursday.