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By Jan Schwartz and Andreas Cremer BEIJING (Reuters) - Volkswagen will keep expanding Chinese operations and start selling battery-powered cars in the biggest auto market as the country rewards electric-vehicle buyers to tackle air pollution. VW said on Saturday it will add capacity in its top market, the destination of over a third of its 2.4 million first-quarter group deliveries, as economic stimulus measures and demand in China's interior regions fuel sales. VW group deliveries may increase to over 3.5 million cars this year, a record, from 3.27 million in 2013, Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn said at a company event. The German group, one of the first global automakers to establish production facilities in China during the 1980s, will push its environmental credentials as China moves to upgrade the economy and shift the focus away from heavy industry.
DENVER — The legalization of recreational marijuana sales in Colorado is turning an underground industry into a big business — and ushering in innovations in everything from genetics to growing methods. "Every single day, someone is reinventing the wheel, so to speak," said Scott Reach, a cannabis breeder and owner of the Colorado-based seed company Rare Dankness. This 4/20 weekend, businessmen like Reach will be setting up shop in downtown Denver for the Official 420 Rally, a celebration of all things weed that's expected to be the largest in the city's history. Medicinal use of marijuana has been legal under Colorado state law since 2000, when voters approved an amendment to the state constitution allowing cannabis possession and use with a doctor's order.
As Christians worldwide gather for Easter to celebrate their belief in the death and rebirth of Jesus, researchers continue to delve into the mysteries that surround the man. The following are five questions about Jesus that, for now, at least, remain unanswered. In 2008, astronomer Dave Reneke argued that the Star of Bethlehem (a celestial event long associated with Jesus' birth) may have been Venus and Jupiter coming together to form a bright light in the sky. Other researchers have claimed that a similar conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter occurred in October of 7 B.C. Still others have claimed that Jesus was born in the spring, based on stories about shepherds watching over their flocks in fields on the night of Jesus' birth — something they would have done in the spring, not the winter.
Fiat Chrysler has reached an agreement to start producing Jeep vehicles in China with partner Guangzhou Automobile Group Co , the companies said on Saturday, as Fiat tries to catch up with competitors in a fast-growing market. The plan to produce three new Jeep vehicles in China for the domestic market, through the GAC Fiat joint venture, has received the necessary government approvals, the companies said. GAC Fiat is also considering making a Jeep uniquely designed for China, where the Italian carmaker hopes the successful sport-utility brand can help it make up lost ground behind long-established rivals.
Fox has a new app for space fans who need more than their weekly dose of "Cosmos." "Cosmos" fans can also peruse the app's production diaries, a history of the series and guides on the show's wide-ranging subjects, from atoms to evolution and Halley's comet to the human eye. "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey," which is hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and premiered in March, is a reboot of the beloved "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage" series that aired on PBS in 1980 and was hosted by the late astronomer Carl Sagan. It will feature actor Richard Gere (of "Pretty Woman" and "Chicago") as the voice of Clair Patterson, the geochemist who developed the uranium-lead dating method that led to the discovery that Earth is 4.5 billion years old.
A commercial cargo vessel is chasing down the International Space Station, setting up a rendezvous with the orbiting lab early on Easter Sunday (April 20). SpaceX's unmanned Dragon spacecraft launched into space Friday afternoon (April 18) from Florida's Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, riding a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket to orbit in a smooth liftoff. Dragon is due to be grappled by the space station's huge robotic arm at 7:14 a.m. EDT (1114 GMT) Sunday, then berthed to the orbiting complex a little over two hours later. You can watch Dragon's capture and berthing live here on Space.com beginning at 5:45 a.m. EDT (0945 GMT) Sunday, courtesy of NASA TV.
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. bankruptcy judge largely declined on Friday to rule that former American Airlines parent company AMR Corp had a unilateral right to terminate benefits for nearly 47,000 retirees. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane in New York rejected a motion AMR made in 2012 for a ruling holding that the health and welfare benefits it provided retirees had not vested and could be unilaterally modified. Lane did rule for AMR with regard to some employees, but his ruling was a setback in AMR's bid to shift the program's costs from the company to the retirees, which included both union and non-union employees. "American will review his ruling and consider next steps related to the retiree health and life insurance benefits," said Casey Norton, a spokesman for American Airlines.
Greg Munson is the former General Counsel and Deputy Secretary at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is changing a key provision in the Clean Water Act (CWA) rules, with widespread impacts expected around the country. On March 25, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers released a draft rule defining "waters of the United States" under the CWA. The act applies to all "waters of the United States" so the new rule effectively defines its reach, and the newly released rule appears unlikely to end the controversy triggered by an earlier, leaked version.
By Nate Raymond NEW YORK (Reuters) - Rengan Rajaratnam, the younger brother of imprisoned hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, on Friday lost a bid to dismiss some of the insider trading charges leveled against him last year. U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan ruled that the indictment adequately alleged the essential elements of the crimes charged. A lawyer for Rajaratnam did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara declined to comment.
Biogen Idec Inc is pricing its newly approved long-acting hemophilia drug, Alprolix, to cost U.S. patients, and insurers, about the same per year as older, less convenient therapies whose price can reach about $300,000 annually. The move could pressure rivals such as Pfizer Inc to lower prices for existing hemophilia treatments, which provide patients with life-saving infusions of a blood clotting agent, according to doctors and industry analysts. Biogen last month won U.S. and Canadian approval for Alprolix to treat hemophilia B, the more rare form of the condition that affects about 4,000 people in the United States and about 25,000 worldwide. "We think we have priced (Alprolix) to create parity with existing therapies on an annual cost of therapy basis," Tony Kingsley, Biogen's head of global commercial operations, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
Brazil´s federal police have opened an investigation into former billionaire Eike Batista for financial crimes, including insider trading, manipulation of markets and money laundering, Brazilian media reported on Friday. If the police probe leads to criminal charges against Batista, it would be yet another major blow for a businessman once hailed as Brazil's model entrepreneur and symbol of its economic success. Batista´s EBX oil, mining and logistics empire, which two years ago was valued at $60 billion, collapsed last year in a mountain of debt and massive filings for bankruptcy protection. A week ago, Brazil's securities commission, CVM, announced that Batista was under investigation for insider trading as chairman of his now-bankrupt oil-producing company Óleo and Gás Participações SA , formerly known as OGX, and its sister company, shipbuilder OSX Brasil SA .
By Tom Bergin LONDON (Reuters) - The amount of money Amazon.com Inc reports through a tax-exempt vehicle in Europe has dropped sharply in the past two years, even as European sales jumped, after the U.S. tax authority tightened rules it felt were being abused to shift profits. Amazon minimizes its tax bill by having the U.S. unit which owns its technology licenses lease the rights to re-license the technology to a tax-exempt partnership based in Luxembourg. The Group of 20 leading economies has vowed to crack down on corporate tax avoidance and the practice of shifting profits into low or no tax jurisdictions. Amazon has been a frequent subject of politicians' criticism in Europe over the way it channels all European revenues to Luxembourg where profits can be earned tax free.
By Dan Levine SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Four large technology companies should not be allowed to limit evidence about Apple Inc co-founder Steve Jobs at an upcoming trial over no-hire agreements in Silicon Valley, according to a court document filed late on Thursday by employees suing the firms. Tech workers brought a class action lawsuit against Apple, Google Inc, Intel Inc and Adobe Systems Inc in 2011, alleging they conspired to avoid competing for each other's employees in order to avert a salary war. The case, which is closely watched in Silicon Valley, is largely built on emails among top executives, including Apple's late chief executive Jobs and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
By Chuck Mikolajczak NEW YORK (Reuters) - Earnings season shifts into high gear next week, and with nearly one-third of S&P 500 names set to post results, investors hope the news provides a catalyst to buy stocks and leave the market's recent weakness in the dust. Several behemoths, including Apple, the largest U.S. company by market value, as well as Microsoft, McDonald's and AT&T , are due to report earnings. They'll be accompanied by highfliers like Netflix and Facebook, giving the first real cross-section of the state of corporate America as temperatures rise across the country and investors hope to put the cold weather behind them. Strategists will also be looking for clues on how badly China's slowdown hits U.S. corporate results.
By Sharon Begley NEW YORK (Reuters) - Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patient's DNA in order to treat diseases, they announced on Thursday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men. The advance, described online in the journal Cell Stem Cell, is the first time researchers have achieved "therapeutic cloning" of adults. Technically called somatic-cell nuclear transfer, therapeutic cloning means producing embryonic cells genetically identical to a donor, usually for the purpose of using those cells to treat disease. But nuclear transfer is also the first step in reproductive cloning, or producing a genetic duplicate of someone - a technique that has sparked controversy since the 1997 announcement that it was used to create Dolly, the clone of a ewe.
The discovery, announced on Thursday, is the closest scientists have come so far to finding a true Earth twin. The star’s outermost planet, designated Kepler-186f, receives about one-third the radiation from its parent star as Earth gets from the sun, meaning that high noon on this world would be roughly akin to Earth an hour before sunset, said astronomer Thomas Barclay, with NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. “This planet is an Earth cousin, not an Earth twin,” said Barclay, who is among a team of scientists reporting on the discovery in the journal Science this week. NASA launched its Kepler space telescope in 2009 to search about 150,000 target stars for signs of any planets passing by, or transiting, relative to the telescope’s point of view.
For the first time, scientists have discovered an Earth-sized alien planet in the habitable zone of its host star, an "Earth cousin" that just might have liquid water and the right conditions for life. The newfound planet, called Kepler-186f, was first spotted by NASA's Kepler space telescope and circles a dim red dwarf star about 490 light-years from Earth. "One of the things we've been looking for is maybe an Earth twin, which is an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a sunlike star," Tom Barclay, Kepler scientist and co-author of the new exoplanet research, told Space.com.
The discovery, announced on Thursday, is the closest scientists have come so far to finding a true Earth twin. The star's outermost planet, designated Kepler-186f, receives about one-third the radiation from its parent star as Earth gets from the sun, meaning that high noon on this world would be roughly akin to Earth an hour before sunset, said astronomer Thomas Barclay, with NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. "This planet is an Earth cousin, not an Earth twin," said Barclay, who is among a team of scientists reporting on the discovery in the journal Science this week. NASA launched its Kepler space telescope in 2009 to search about 150,000 target stars for signs of any planets passing by, or transiting, relative to the telescope's point of view.
By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - This may be the role reversal to end all role reversals. That's why I was really surprised to see the structure," entomologist Kazunori Yoshizawa of Japan's Hokkaido University said by email. Yoshizawa said that although sex-role reversal has been documented in several different types of animals, these insects are the sole example in which the "intromittent organ" - the male sex organ - is reversed, Yoshizawa said. Yoshizawa said the females of Neotrogla can hold male mates coercively using their gynosome.