Mar. 17, 2017

BLOOMBERG

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is considering "all options" to counter North Korea's nuclear threat while criticizing China over moves to block a missile-defense system on the peninsula.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Friday it may be necessary to take pre-emptive military action against North Korea if the threat from their weapons program reaches a level "that we believe requires action."

Brazil ended a 22-month streak of formal job losses in February in a sign that the economy may be emerging from the worst recession in a century. The country added 35,612 jobs in February in the first monthly increase since March 2015.

Cape Town, the crown jewel of South Africa's tourism industry, has 100 days before it runs out of water. After two years of the least rainfall on record, the average level of the six main dams that supply the city of 3.7 million people has dropped below 30 percent, one of the lowest levels on record.

Output at U.S. manufacturers rose in February for a sixth consecutive month, underscoring a sustained rebound in the industry. The 0.5 percent gain at factories, which make up 75 percent of overall industrial output, matched the prior month's advance, marking the best back-to-back performance in three years.

The low birth rate and slowly recovering economy are keeping Japan's job-to-applicant ratio at a 25-year high, with the figure at 1.43 for January. In Tokyo, there are more than two jobs for every applicant.

AP Top Stories

Sicily's Mount Etna volcano unleashed an explosion Thursday, hurling molten rocks and steam that rained down on tourists, journalists and a scientist who scrambled to escape the barrage. Ten people were reported injured.

Somali pirates on Thursday handed over an oil tanker and eight Sri Lankan hostages captured just days ago, the Oceans Beyond Piracy NGO told AFP, bringing to a close the first such attack since 2012. "The Puntland maritime police force freed the ship. They made (the pirates) an offer they couldn't refuse and the pirates have left."

A Philippine lawmaker filed an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday because of the thousands of deaths in his anti-drug crackdown and alleged corruption, although the bid faces an uphill battle with Duterte's allies holding an overwhelming majority in Congress.

The United States reiterated its condemnation of Russia's annexation of Crimea, vowing to maintain related sanctions until Moscow returns the strategic Black Sea peninsula to Ukraine.

Florida Governor Rick Scott on Thursday replaced a local prosecutor who declared she would not seek the death penalty in a case against a man accused of killing an Orlando police officer and refused to recuse herself.

The GOP health care bill narrowly passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee on Thursday, after three Republicans joined all the committee's Democrats in voting against it. The committee's Republicans also unanimously passed several motions urging big changes to the bill that some members said needed to be made for it to pass in the House.

Israeli warplanes struck several targets in Syria early Friday, prompting retaliatory missile launches, in the most serious incident between the two countries since the Syrian civil war began six years ago.

Huge groups of humpback whales have been seen gathering in the Southern Hemisphere, and it's leaving scientists and people on the internet a little confused.

In the wake of a disappointing holiday season, J.C. Penney said recently that it will close 130 to 140 stores by the second quarter. The store closures represent 13% to 14% of the company's current store base and less than 5% of annual sales.

BBC

Israel has shot down a Syrian missile using its most advanced anti-missile system for the first time, Israeli media said.

Pakistan says it has asked Facebook to help investigate "blasphemous content" posted on the social network by Pakistanis. Facebook has agreed to send a team to Pakistan to address reservations about content on the social media site, according to the interior ministry. Blasphemy is a highly sensitive and incendiary issue in Pakistan.

More than 1,100 complaints of child sexual abuse have been made against the Anglican Church of Australia, a royal commission inquiry has heard. The allegations, dating from 1980 to 2015, have been made against 569 church figures, including 247 ordained clergy.

At least 31 people, including women and children, have been killed after a boat carrying Somali refugees was targeted in a helicopter attack off the coast of Yemen, the International Organization for Migration said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to meet President Donald Trump in Washington, with transatlantic trade and NATO ties high on the agenda.

WND

Acid attacks in Britain's capital are soaring to new heights, new data reveals. A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Mirror shows that between 2011 and 2016, London had nearly 1,500 cases of the devastating crime, which burns the skin and leaves victims cowering from their injuries.

President Donald Trump asked Congress for $999 million to start building the wall along the border with Mexico this year, and wants $2.6 billion for the project in next year's budget.

Teachers at a primary school in Sydney, Australia have been threatened with beheading and other violence from young Islamic students, prompting one of them to quit her job.

Russia's justice ministry has filed a lawsuit with its supreme court to declare the national headquarters of the country's Jehovah's Witnesses an extremist organization.

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