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The demonstrations are the latest eruption of a conflict pitting the Bangkok-based royalist establishment against mostly poorer Thais loyal to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was toppled by the military in 2006 and lives in self-imposed exile. Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy prime minister in a government led by the pro-establishment Democrat Party, told a rally the people had to take back power from what he called the illegitimate "Thaksin regime".
Twitter Inc is tying up with a Singapore-based startup to make its 140-character messaging service available to users in emerging markets who have entry-level mobile phones which cannot access the Internet. U2opia Mobile, which has a similar tie-up with Facebook Inc, will launch its Twitter service in the first quarter of next year, Chief Executive and Co-founder Sumesh Menon told Reuters. Users will need to dial a simple code to get a feed of the popular trending topics on Twitter, he said. More than 11 million people use U2opia's Fonetwish service, which helps access Facebook and Google Talk on mobile without a data connection.
South African President Jacob Zuma on Friday announced that Nelson Mandela's funeral will take place on December 15 at his rural childhood home. "He will be laid to rest on the 15th of December in Qunu in the Eastern Cape province. We should all work together to organise the most befitting funeral for this outstanding son of our country and the father of our young nation," said Zuma. Zuma said Mandela will be given a full state funeral expected to be attended by a slew of foreign leaders as well as celebrity and sports figures.
US consumer spending picked up pace in October, despite a dip in income, the Commerce Department reported on Friday. Consumer spending rose 0.3 percent in October, matching the average estimate, accelerating slightly from a 0.2 percent in increase in September. Personal income fell 0.1 percent instead of the 0.3 percent rise expected by most analysts. The October 1-16 partial government shutdown had no impact on government wages and salaries because Congress authorized back pay for federal workers furloughed during the shutdown, the department said.
The US jobless rate fell sharply to 7 percent in November, the lowest level in five years on the creation of a solid 203,000 jobs, the Labor Department announced Friday. The drop in the rate, from 7.3 percent in October, was unexpected and raised the odds that the Federal Reserve could soon begin moving away from its huge stimulus plan. But these gains were mostly due to the return to the rolls of full-time work by hundreds of thousands of government workers laid off temporarily in the first half of October due to washington budget politics, which saw many of them recorded as out of work, according to the Labor Department. That correction to October's distortions also pushed the labor force participation rate back up to 63.0 percent, though that is still very low compared to levels before the 2008 economic crisis.
President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych met on Friday in the Russian city of Sochi for unannounced talks to discuss signing a strategic partnership treaty, Ukraine's presidency said. "Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Sochi," said the office of Yanukovych, who is returning from his three-day visit to China.
Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility Friday for a brazen attack on a Yemeni defence complex that killed 52 people, saying it targeted the site as it hosted US personnel behind drone strikes against its militants. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), regarded by Washington as the jihadist network's most dangerous affiliate, has been hit by intensified US drone strikes targeting its militants in Yemen this year. But there was no immediate evidence to support its allegation that the Sanaa complex attacked on Thursday played any role in the drone war or housed any US personnel.
By Carrick Mollenkamp MACON, Georgia (Reuters) - Sanders Walker had been working for 13 years at a BWAY Corp factory in Macon, Georgia, when the word came down one September 2011 morning: The company, a maker of plastic and metal containers, was closing the plant. The private-equity firm that owned BWAY when Walker lost his job enjoyed a more satisfying relationship with the company. High-risk debt issued by BWAY helped Chicago-based Madison Dearborn Partners LLC acquire the manufacturer in June 2010 for $915 million. In that partially debt-financed buyout, Madison Dearborn put up just $294 million of its own cash.