WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican senator and frequent Middle East traveler says the Taliban detainees released from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl have been in touch with members of the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network, yet all five still are being monitored in Qatar.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who recently visited Qatar, said he was concerned one of the detainees had left, but was assured during his visit that all five senior Taliban officials remain in the small Gulf nation.
Qatar gained public praise from President Barack Obama for brokering the controversial deal that freed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from Taliban captivity in May 2014 in exchange for the release of the five Taliban detainees.
The Pentagon says it is confident in Qatar's ability to mitigate any threat posed by the former detainees.News Topics: General news, Government and politics
People, Places and Companies: Bowe Bergdahl, Lindsey Graham, Barack Obama, Qatar, Middle East
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Jamaican authorities are preparing to extradite a fraud suspect to the U.S. to face charges of allegedly participating in a lottery scam that fleeced thousands of dollars from elderly Americans.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force said Thursday that it will be the first lottery scam extradition since the transnational fraud became entrenched in the island's underworld years ago.
Police identified the suspect as 28-year-old Davion Barrett of St. James parish, where many of Jamaica's scam rings have been based over the years.
Last year in a Florida federal court, Barrett's alleged accomplice was sentenced to five years in prison for running a lottery scam that targeted elderly Americans who were told they had to pay fees to collect their winnings. But the sweepstakes were bogus.News Topics: General news, Extradition, Law and order
People, Places and Companies: Jamaica, Kingston, Caribbean, Latin America and Caribbean
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
NEW YORK (AP) — A retired Venezuelan general who's been in hiding for nearly a year has emerged in New York.
Gen. Antonio Rivero has been on the run since the president of the socialist South American country ordered his arrest last spring. On Thursday, Rivero spoke to journalists outside the United Nations in his first public appearance in 11 months.
Rivero says he has not seen his family in a year, and traveled to New York to ask the U.N. to speak out against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Rivero gained fame after his retirement for denouncing Cuban involvement in the Venezuelan military in 2010 and became a prominent member of the opposition.News Topics: General news, State governments, Government and politics
People, Places and Companies: Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela, New York, South America, Latin America and Caribbean, United States, North America
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A woman who says an Uber driver raped her in New Dehli, India, has sued the San Francisco-based company in federal U.S. court.
The woman's lawyers filed the lawsuit Thursday in San Francisco and have asked the court to protect the woman's identity.
The woman's report to police sparked widespread protest in India over sexual violence and demands there for more effort to ensure women's safety.
Protesters have also called for banning Uber from India.
An Uber spokeswoman said the company is cooperating with authorities in the rape investigation.
The lawsuit accuses the company of failing to properly investigate the background of the driver. The driver is in custody following the woman's report on Dec. 6.
In December, two California prosecutors filed a lawsuit alleging that the company exaggerates how comprehensive its driver background checks are.News Topics: General news, Corporate lawsuits, Lawsuits, Violent crime, Sexual assault, Corporate legal affairs, Corporate news, Business, Legal proceedings, Law and order, Crime
People, Places and Companies: India, San Francisco, California, South Asia, Asia, United States, North America
LOS ANGELES (AP) — With California gripped by a measles outbreak, Dr. Charles Goodman posted a clear notice in his waiting room and on Facebook: His practice will no longer see children whose parents won't get them vaccinated.
It's a sentiment echoed by a small number of doctors who in recent years have "fired" patients who continue to believe debunked research linking vaccines to autism. They hope the strategy will lead parents to change their minds; if that fails, they hope it will at least reduce the risk to other children in the office.
"Parents who choose not to give measles shots, they're not just putting their kids at risk, but they're also putting other kids at risk — especially kids in my waiting room," the Los Angeles pediatrician said.
The tough-love approach — which comes amid the nation's second-biggest measles outbreak in at least 15 years, with 95 cases or more since last month, most of them traced directly or indirectly to Disneyland in Southern California — raises questions about doctors' ethical responsibilities.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says doctors should bring up the importance of vaccinations during visits but should respect a parent's wishes unless there's a significant risk to the child.
"In general, pediatricians should avoid discharging patients from their practices solely because a parent refuses to immunize his or her child," according to guidelines issued by the group.
However, if the relationship between patient and doctor becomes unworkable, the pediatrics academy says, the doctor may want to encourage the vaccine refuser to go to another physician.
Some mothers who have been dropped by their doctors feel "betrayed and upset," said Dotty Hagmier, founder of the support group Moms in Charge. She said these parents made up their minds about vaccines after "careful research and diligence to understand the risks versus the benefits for their own children's circumstances."
Dropping patients who refuse vaccines has become a hot topic of discussion on SERMO, an online doctor hangout. Some doctors are adamant about not accepting patients who don't believe in vaccinations, with some saying they don't want to be responsible for someone's death from an illness that was preventable.
Others warn that refusing treatment to such people will just send them into the arms of quacks.
The measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, or MMR, is 97 percent effective at preventing measles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Measles spreads easily through the air and in enclosed spaces. Symptoms include fever, runny nose, cough and a rash all over the body. In rare cases, particularly among babies, measles can be deadly. Infection can also cause pregnant women to miscarry or give birth prematurely.
All U.S. states require children to get certain vaccinations to enroll in school. California is among 20 states that let parents opt out by obtaining personal belief waivers. Some people worry that vaccines cause developmental problems, despite scientific evidence disproving any link. Others object for religious or philosophical reasons.
Nationally, childhood measles vaccination rates have held steady for years at above 90 percent. But there seem to be growing pockets of unvaccinated people in scattered communities, said Dr. Gregory Wallace of the CDC.
AP Medical Writer Mike Stobbe contributed to this report. Follow Alicia Chang on Twitter at @SciWriAlicia.News Topics: General news, Childhood immunizations, Measles, Disease outbreaks, Health, Immunizations, Parenting, Public health, Child and teen health, Infectious diseases, Diseases and conditions, Relationships, Lifestyle
People, Places and Companies: California, United States, North America
NEW YORK (AP) — It was a Prime quarter for Amazon.
Amazon surprised investors on Thursday with a fourth-quarter profit that soundly beat expectations, despite a continued increase in spending and a slight sales miss, partly linked to the strong dollar. Investors drove shares up over 8 percent in aftermarket trading.
The results seem to indicate that areas in which Amazon has been investing in heavily for years, its $99 annual loyalty program and its Amazon Web Services cloud computing offerings for businesses, are finally helping out its bottom line.
CEO Jeff Bezos said Prime membership grew 53 percent during the year. It doesn't give out total figures. Prime memberships help Amazon get people to engage more often with the company's products — making them likely to spend more, says Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy.News Topics: Business, Personal finance, Technology, Web services, Internet technology, Computing and information technology
People, Places and Companies: Amazon.Com Inc, Jeff Bezos
PHOENIX (AP) — NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino says the inspection of the footballs by referee Walt Anderson before the AFC Championship was handled properly.
Blandino also said on Thursday the process of inspecting the balls and security surrounding the inspections will be enhanced for Sunday's Super Bowl.
Normally, 12 footballs per team are brought to the officials' locker room before a game, where they are tested and marked by the referee. This week, each team gets 54 footballs — many are given to charity after brief game usage — and all of them will be taken into custody by the NFL on Friday after the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots have prepared them.
The footballs will be inspected by referee Bill Vinovich three hours before the game, and Blandino said there will be "added security because of the environment we are in for this game."News Topics: Sports, NFL football, NFL Super Bowl, Professional football, Football, Events
SAO PAULO (AP) — The IndyCar Series opener scheduled for March in Brazil's capital was canceled on Thursday.
The television channel promoting the event released a brief statement saying the decision was made "unilaterally" by the local government in Brasilia.
Band TV did not immediately provide any additional details, but said it was a "hasty" decision by the local government.
"Band will inform in the next few days how those who have bought tickets will be reimbursed. The channel laments this hasty decision," the statement said.
The channel said three of the five seating sections for the March 8 race at the Nelson Piquet Circuit had already sold out.
The government agency organizing the event in Brasilia could not be immediately reached for comment.
IndyCar officials were yet to comment on the cancellation.News Topics: Sports, Automobile racing, IndyCar, Local governments, Government and politics
People, Places and Companies: Brazil, Brasilia, South America, Latin America and Caribbean
ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — A German couple was found dead Thursday on a cattle farm in northern Paraguay, apparently at the hands of a guerrilla group that earlier this week demanded the owner of an adjoining farm pay $300,000 and give food to the poor.
Roberto Natto, 60, and Erika Reiser, 53, had been taken away Wednesday along with four workers on their farm outside Yby Yau, about 395 kilometers (245 miles) north of the capital, investigator Sandra Quinonez said.
According to workers who managed to get free, "the captors wore camouflage uniforms and were apparently directed by Esteban Marin, a member of the criminal Paraguayan People's Army," Quinonez said Thursday.
Both of the Germans were shot in the back with a handgun, Quinonez said. She said agents found the bodies after a shootout with guerrillas in the area.
Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas said the two might have been killed because their captors had to flee and the advanced age of the couple made it difficult to take them. The leftist group often kidnaps people for ransom.
The bodies were taken to the capital, Asuncion, and were to be returned to Germany.
Quinonez said the Germans' farm, Luisa Ganadera, is adjacent to La Gringa, where guerrillas on Sunday burned two tractors and a building that housed workers. The group left a hand-written note demanding that the owner, Osvaldo Dominguez Dibb, pay a $300,000 "fine" and distribute free beef in several neighboring communities as punishment for alleged deforestation.
"Nature is not ours, it's only borrowed from future generations," read the note, published by local news organizations.
The rebel group gave Dibb until Feb. 6 to meet its demands, said Gen. Ramon Benitez, commander of a military anti-terrorism group. "The family of the cattle farm has not yet made a decision whether it will comply or not," he told The Associated Press.
Dibb is a former president of popular Paraguayan soccer club Olimpia and has stakes in several businesses.
The guerrilla group, operating in remote jungle areas, has frequently attacked farms along with military and police posts. Since 2008, its attacks have killed at least three members of the military, 13 police officers and 26 civilians.News Topics: General news, Cattle farming, Livestock farming, Agriculture, Industries, Business
People, Places and Companies: Paraguay, Germany, South America, Latin America and Caribbean, Western Europe, Europe
LOS ANGELES (AP) — An ex-Mexican Mafia leader serving life in prison for murder was escorted by police to speak at a gathering of police chiefs and business leaders,
The move on Wednesday prompted criticism and a call for a probe from the head of the civilian oversight commission for the Los Angeles Police Department, which organized the event.
Steve Soboroff says the public was unnecessarily endangered by having Rene "Boxer" Enriquez speak in a downtown Los Angeles building that required 23 elite LAPD officers to secure.
Participants were provided refreshments and a book about Enriquez's life and rise to power.
LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing says the event, first suggested by the Young Presidents' Organization, provided valuable information on the growth and operations of a transnational criminal enterprise, but in retrospect could have been held elsewhere.News Topics: General news
People, Places and Companies: Los Angeles, California, United States, North America
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The focus on Tiger Woods at the Phoenix open shifted Thursday from a chipped tooth to his chipping.
Woods struggled with his short game again, and it didn't help that he only hit three greens in regulation on the front nine. He made three bogeys and a double bogey and made the turn in 4-over 39.
In his 2015 debut, Woods already was 10 shots behind early leader Keegan Bradley, who had a 6-under 65.
Until he arrived at the TPC Scottsdale with a smile, Woods was last seen with a missing tooth while watching girlfriend Lindsey Vonn win a record 63rd World Cup ski race. The chipped and cracked teeth were easy to replace.
His chipping problems first surfaced at the Hero World Challenge in December.News Topics: Sports, Women's skiing, Skiing, Men's golf, Golf, Women's sports, Men's sports
People, Places and Companies: Tiger Woods, Keegan Bradley, Phoenix, Arizona, United States, North America
TORONTO (AP) — Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons, which recently merged with Burger King, says about 350 employees lost their jobs this week in layoffs across its organization.
A Tim Hortons spokeswoman said Thursday that most of those who were let go worked mainly at its headquarters and regional offices. She says the layoffs remain within commitments made to Industry Canada to maintain certain job levels in Canada.
Tim Hortons merged with Burger King under the name Restaurant Brands International late last year.
The Canadian government's stipulations on the merger required Tim Hortons to maintain staff levels at its franchised restaurants for five years. Employees at its offices were not protected under that agreement.
The company has a total of 2,300 employees across Canada.News Topics: Business, General news, Layoffs, Personnel
People, Places and Companies: Canada, North America
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City FC is replacing its leader before its first game in Major League Soccer by making Tom Glick president from Sunday.
Glick is a former NBA executive who has worked for sister club Manchester City for the past two years.
NYCFC said on Thursday he will replace Tim Pernetti, who leaves his job as chief business officer after its March 8 opener. NYCFC said Pernetti has been hired as president of multimedia for WME, IMG's college business.
Glick has been chief commercial officer of Man City since 2012. An American, he worked for minor league baseball teams from 1989-04, moved to the NBA from 2004-05 as vice president of marketing and team operations, and the New Jersey Nets as chief marketing officer from 2006-07. He was chief executive officer of the English soccer club Derby from 2008-12.
Glick will report to Ferran Soriano, NYCFC managing director and chief executive of its parent, City Football Group, and of Manchester City.
NYCFC was criticized this month after its parent company allowed star midfielder Frank Lampard to stay with Man City through the end of the English Premier League season. NYCFC announced last summer that Lampard and David Villa would be its most well-known players for its inaugural season.News Topics: Sports, Men's soccer, School administration, Professional soccer, Soccer, Men's sports, Education, Social affairs, NBA basketball, Professional basketball, Basketball, Men's basketball
People, Places and Companies: Frank Lampard, David Villa, New York City, New York, United States, North America
NEW YORK (AP) — Visa is reporting an 11 percent rise in fiscal first-quarter profits, helped by increased consumer spending on Visa's massive payment network.
The credit and debit card processor said Thursday it earned $1.57 billion, or $2.53 per share. That compares with a profit of $1.41 billion, or $2.20 a share, in the same period a year ago.
Visa said it processed $1.2 trillion in payments on its network in the latest quarter, up 11 percent compared to a year ago.
Revenue was $3.38 billion, compared with $3.16 billion a year ago.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected Visa to earn $2.49 a share on $3.34 billion in sales.
Visa also announced a 4-for-1 stock split, effective March 19.
Shares of Visa rose 4 percent in after-market trading to $259.03.News Topics: Business, Earnings reports, Stock splits, Earnings, Financial performance, Corporate news, Corporate stock
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (AP) — The FBI has added an alleged recruiter for the al-Shabab terror group in Somalia to its list of most-wanted terrorists.
An arrest warrant was unsealed Thursday for 29-year-old Liban Haji Mohamed, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Somalia who had lived and worked in northern Virginia as a taxi driver. He is charged with providing material support to al-Qaida and al-Shabab.
Mohamed is now one of 31 people on the FBI's list of most-wanted terrorists.
The FBI believes Mohamed left the U.S. in July 2012 for east Africa. He lived in northern Virginia prior to that.
The FBI says Mohamed is a key target because his knowledge of the nation's capital could help al-Shabab plot an attack here.News Topics: General news, Terrorism, Intelligence agencies, Law enforcement agencies, War and unrest, Government and politics
People, Places and Companies: Virginia, United States, North America
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google has gotten into the habit of missing analysts' earnings targets, frustrating investors who believe the online search leader would be more profitable it wasn't pouring so much money into far-flung projects such as Internet-connected eyewear and driverless cars.
The latest letdown came Thursday with the release of Google's fourth-quarter earnings report. The earnings were well below analysts' predictions, marking the fifth consecutive quarter that Google Inc. hasn't cleared a key hurdle for publicly held companies.
The Mountain View, California, company earned $4.8 billion, or $6.91 per share, a 41 percent increase from the same period in 2013. If not for certain expenses and gains, Google said it would have earned $6.88 per share. Analysts, on average, had forecast earnings of $7.12 per share, according to FactSet.
Google's revenue for the period covering the holiday shopping season rose 15 percent to $18.1 billion. After subtracting ad commissions, revenue stood at $14.5 billion — nearly $250 million below analysts' expectations.
Investors expressed their dismay as Google's stock sank $10.31, or 2 percent, to $502.92 in extended trading. Even before that sell-off, the shares had dropped by 8 percent from where they stood just 13 months ago.
The downturn has primarily been driven by two factors: Google's steadily rising expenses while the company's main digital advertising business is facing more challenges as a growing audience relies on smartphones instead of desktop and laptop computers to do searches and peruse digital content.
Ad prices have been sagging because marketers haven't been willing to pay as much to pitch consumers who are squinting at the smaller screens on smartphones, an issue that cropped up again during the final three months of last year. Google registered a 3 percent decline in the average price for the ads that appear alongside its search results and other online content, a measure known as "cost per click." It's the 13th consecutive quarter that Google's cost-per-click has fallen from the previous year.
The desktop-to-mobile transition also unleashed a flood of applications that make it easier for people to go directly to the digital content that they want, instead of searching on Google. People are also searching within apps once they're in them, relying on services such as Amazon to find products or Yelp to find restaurants.
That trend may help explain why the revenue-generating clicks on Google's ads have been growing at a slower rate. The volume of activity is important because Google bills advertisers when people click on a promotional link. Google's paid clicks during the fourth quarter rose 14 percent from the same time in 2013. That compared with increase of 17 percent increase in the third quarter and 25 percent in the second quarter.
Google could still be making more money if the company decided to add fewer workers to its payroll and rein in its spending on far-out technology. But CEO Larry Page believes Google needs to continue be taking risks and making big bets on ambitious ideas that he calls "moonshots" in an effort to open future moneymaking opportunities and perhaps make the world a better place.
Page, who is Google's controlling shareholder with fellow co-founder Sergey Brin, warned investors when Google went public in 2004 the company would continually invest for the long term instead of trying to make as money as possible from one quarter to next.
Google also has steadfastly refused to give any clue about its internal earnings projections, making it more difficult for analysts to make their own educated guesses.News Topics: Business, Technology, Earnings estimates, Online media industry, Earnings reports, Online advertising and marketing industry, Earnings surprises, Advertising and marketing industry, Earnings, Financial performance, Corporate news, Media industry, Media and entertainment industry, Industries, Information technology, Advertising and public relations
People, Places and Companies: Google Inc, Larry Page, Sergei Brin, California, United States, North America
NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of Amazon.com jumped over 8 percent in aftermarket trading after the e-commerce giant beat quarterly profit expectations by a mile.
Amazon's strategy always has been to spend a big chunk of the money it makes to grow and expand into new areas like cloud computing, streaming video and hardware — and that has affected profitability to investors' sometime chagrin. But Thursday's results seem to show the company has the reins in hand when it comes to spending big and being profitable.
Investors sent shares up $26.92, or 8.6 percent, to $338.60 in aftermarket trading.
Amazon Prime membership surged 53 percent during 2014, even though the Seattle-based company raised prices.
Amazon earned 45 cents per share for the three months ended in December, easily topping Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 24 cents per share. The online retailer posted revenue of $29.33 billion in the period, missing Street forecasts. Analysts expected $29.84 billion, according to Zacks. Amazon said the strong dollar pared nearly $900 million from revenue during the quarter.
For the current period ending in March, Amazon forecast revenue in the range of $20.9 billion to $22.9 billion. Analysts surveyed by Zacks expected revenue of $23.23 billion.
Amazon shares have increased slightly since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index has decreased almost 2 percent. In the final minutes of trading on Thursday, shares hit $311.87, a decrease of 19 percent in the last 12 months.
Elements of this story was generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on AMZN at http://www.zacks.com/ap/AMZN
Keywords: Amazon, Earnings Report, Priority EarningsNews Topics: Business, Technology, Earnings estimates, Earnings reports, Earnings, Financial performance, Corporate news
People, Places and Companies: Amazon.Com Inc
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. will be hearing oral arguments in a case involving citizenship rights of American Samoa residents.
Oral arguments are scheduled for Feb. 9.
In 2013, former Guam resident Neil Weare filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of American Samoa residents, arguing they have a right to be United States citizens.
The lawsuit was thrown out but Weare appealed.
The lawsuit centers on rights belonging to residents of U.S. territories. Congress has passed laws giving only specific rights to individual territories.
Unlike Guam, those born in American Samoa aren't U.S. citizens.
Pacific Daily News (http://ow.ly/Ib8Ex ) reports the case has ramifications for other territories because it also involves obtaining full representation in Congress. Guam currently only has a non-voting delegate in Congress.
Information from: Pacific Daily News: http://www.guampdn.comNews Topics: General news, Government and politics
People, Places and Companies: American Samoa, Hagatna, Guam, United States, Oceania, North America
LAKE PLACID, New York (AP) — Results Thursday in a freestyle World Cup:Moguls Men Final 2
1. Mikael Kingsbury, Canada, 90.54 points.
2. Alexandr Smyshlyaev, Russia, 87.97.
3. Marc-Antoine Gagnon, Canada, 87.69.
4. Anthony Benna, France, 85.96.
5. Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh, Canada, 85.29.
6. Philippe Marquis, Canada, 84.45.World Cup Moguls Standings (After five of 12 events)
1. Mikael Kingsbury, 429 points.
2. Philippe Marquis, Canada, 225.
3. Alexandr Smyshlyaev, Russia, 221.
4. Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh, Canada, 185.
5. Matt Graham, Australia, 181.
6. Anthony Benna, France, 181.
7. Marc-Antoine Gagnon, Canada, 173.
8. Sho Endo, Japan, 156.
9. Patrick Deneen, United States, 138.
10. Jeremy Cota, United States, 120.Women Final 2
1. Justine Dufour-Lapointe, Canada, 86.86.
2. Hannah Kearney, United States, 86.43.
3. Andi Naude, Canada, 76.51.
4. Deborah Scanzio, Switzerland, 76.08.
5. Nikola Sudova, Czech Republic, 75.51.
6. Audrey Robichaud, Canada, 73.69.World Cup Moguls Standings (After five of 12 events)
1. Justine Dufour-Lapointe, Canada, 385.
2. Hannah Kearney, United States, 326.
3. Chloe Dufour-Lapointe, Canada, 252.
4. Andi Naude, Canada, 188.
5. Deborah Scanzio, Switzerland, 183.
6. K.C. Oakley, United States, 178.
7. Maxime Dufour-Lapointe, Canada, 177.
8. Nikola Sudova, Czech Republic, 175.
9. Audrey Robichaud, Canada, 175.
10. Britteny Cox, Australia, 164.News Topics: Skiing, Women's skiing, Men's skiing, Women's freestyle skiing, Men's freestyle skiing, Freestyle skiing, Sports, Women's sports, Men's sports
People, Places and Companies: Deborah Scanzio, Nikola Sudova, Canada, New York, United States, North America
NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. stock market is closing sharply higher after investors received encouraging news on corporate earnings and the jobs market.
The Dow Jones industrial average jumped 225 points, or 1.3 percent, to close at 17,416 Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 19 points, or 1 percent, to 2,021.
The government reported Thursday that weekly claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a 15-year low. Ford, Harley-Davidson, Coach and Ally Financial were among the companies that reported quarterly results that exceeded Wall Street's expectations
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note edged up to 1.76 percent from 1.72 late Wednesday.News Topics: Business, General news, Stock prices, Earnings reports, Stock indices and averages, Financial markets, Leading economic indicators, Economy, Earnings, Financial performance, Corporate news, Stock markets