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IMF board to meet April 30 to review aid package for Ukraine

By Elvina Nawaguna WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that Ukraine's government had provided the documentation needed to show whether it had met conditions for a financial aid package and the Fund's board would meet on April 30 to review and consider the matter. The IMF tentatively agreed in late March to provide a $14 billion-$18 billion two-year bailout to help Ukraine recover from months of political and economic turmoil. The IMF board has yet to approve that package. (Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna; Editing by Paul Simao)
Strong durable goods orders buoy growth outlook

By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods rose more than expected in March and a measure of business capital spending plans surged, bolstering views of an acceleration in growth in the second quarter. Thursday's robust durable goods report was the latest confirmation it was out of hibernation. Orders for durable goods, items meant to last three years or more, increased 2.6 percent last month as demand rose across all categories, the Commerce Department said. The end of long-term unemployment benefits and cuts to food stamps have also robbed the economy of momentum.
France, Germany show EU support for Georgia as Ukraine crisis mounts

By Margarita Antidze TBILISI (Reuters) - France and Germany assured Georgia on Thursday that a deal bringing it closer to the European Union would be sealed within weeks, moving to tighten ties with the ex-Soviet republic as tension mounts between Russia and the West over Ukraine. The two core EU nations' top diplomats affirmed plans to speed up the signing of a deal to boost trade and political ties - the same kind of pact whose rejection by Ukraine in November touched off the biggest East-West crisis since the Cold War. "I am sure that by the end of June the agreement will have been signed and that it is an important milestone in the history of Georgian and European relations," German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in Tbilisi. "This agreement is not aimed against anyone ... The EU's economic relations with Georgia don't place economic cooperation between Georgia and Russia in doubt," he told a joint news conference with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
Afghan policeman guns down three US citizens at Kabul hospital

Afghan police stand guard at the gate of the CURE International hospital in Kabul on April 24, 2014 after a gunman killed three AmericansAn Afghan policeman opened fire at a Kabul hospital run by a US charity on Thursday, killing three Americans including a doctor, in the latest deadly attack targeting foreign civilians in the city. The gunman shot himself in the incident outside the CURE International hospital and was detained by police after being treated inside, officials said, adding that the motive for the killing was not clear. The US embassy condemned the deaths of the three Americans, saying that "this act of terror deprives the citizens of Afghanistan of valuable medical expertise. "Our condolences and sympathy to the families of those killed and injured while selflessly working towards better future for Afghanistan," it said.



Apple's sales boom in communist Vietnam

By Nguyen Phuong Linh HANOI (Reuters) - Communist Vietnam is suddenly Apple Inc's hottest market after sales there tripled in its fiscal first half, a growth rate five times faster than in India where it is spending heavily in a battle for market share. Vietnam has barely received a mention from Apple executives in their regular briefings for financial analysts. Quarterly iPhone sales more than doubled and the strong growth appears likely to continue given Vietnam's predominantly young, tech-savvy population, rapid growth in internet and mobile phone use and a projected doubling of the middle class by 2020.


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