Three dead in east Ukraine, Putin warns of 'abyss'

Pro-Russian protester seats at barricades at the police headquarters in SlavianskBy Aleksandar Vasovic MARIUPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) - Separatists attacked a base of the Ukrainian national guard overnight and Kiev said three separatists were killed, the worst bloodshed yet in a 10-day pro-Russian uprising in east Ukraine, overshadowing crisis talks to resolve the conflict. Ukrainian, Russian and Western diplomats arrived for the emergency talks in Geneva, but there was little hope of any progress in resolving a crisis that has seen armed pro-Russian fighters seize whole swathes of Ukraine, while Moscow masses tens of thousands of troops on the frontier. President Vladimir Putin, who overturned decades of post-Cold War diplomacy last month by declaring Russia's right to intervene in neighboring countries and annexing Ukraine's Crimea region, accused the authorities in Kiev of plunging the country into an "abyss".



EU warns Russia against using gas for politics

Reporters listen to Russian President Vladimir Putin's speech, displayed on TV screens during a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow, Thursday, April 17, 2014. Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Thursday dismissed claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine as "nonsense," but expressed hope for success of four-way talks on settling the crisis. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is warning Russia that interfering with gas deliveries to Ukraine to apply political pressure would backfire by damaging its reputation as a reliable supplier for the EU.



Putin fields question from U.S. fugitive Snowden

By Steve Gutterman and Alessandra Prentice MOSCOW (Reuters) - Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of U.S. intelligence eavesdropping, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin a question on Thursday during a televised call-in show. The exchange was the first known direct contact between Putin and Snowden since Russia granted the American asylum last summer after he disclosed widespread monitoring of telephone and internet data by the United States and fled the country. Snowden, who has been given refuge in Russia, was not in the studio where Putin was speaking. Snowden, wearing a jacket and open-collar shirt and speaking before a dark background, asked Putin: "Does Russia intercept, store or analyze, in any way, the communications of millions of individuals?" He also asked whether Putin believes improving the effectiveness of investigations justifies "placing societies .. under surveillance".
GE industrial profits rise 12 percent, shares up

A GE logo is seen in a store in Santa MonicaGeneral Electric Co posted a 12 percent rise in overall industrial profits on Thursday, as strength in its businesses selling gas turbines, jet engines and oil industry equipment offset weakness in healthcare and transportation. "The big story is the organic revenue growth," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer of Solaris Asset Management, which owns GE shares. "It really shows the return to an industrial emphasis is paying off, and where the company is focusing." GE Chief Executive Officer Jeff Immelt wants to focus the company even more on manufacturing of large industrial products as he reduces the company's dependence on its GE Capital finance unit.



Goldman Sachs profit falls 11 percent but beats estimates

A trader works at the Goldman Sachs stall on the floor of the New York Stock ExchangeGoldman Sachs Group Inc reported an 11 percent drop in first-quarter profit on Thursday as client activity remained constrained and fixed-income revenue shrank. The Wall Street bank said its net income fell to $1.95 billion, or $4.02 per share, in the first three months of the year from $2.19 billion, or $4.29 per share, in the same period of 2013. But the earnings beat the average analyst estimate of $3.45 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, and the bank's shares rose 1.7 percent in premarket trading. Goldman's rivals also reported a drop in revenue from fixed-income trading in the quarter, but Goldman has more at stake than others because it has a less diverse business mix.





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