US economy shrank at 0.7 percent rate in Q1, reflecting harsh winter and bigger trade gap WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. economy shrank at a 0.7 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, depressed by a severe winter and a widening trade deficit. The government's revision for last quarter was weaker than its initial estimate of a 0.2 percent growth rate. The U.S. trade gap - the difference between the value of exports and the larger value of imports - was found to be wider than first estimated. And consumer spending was slower than previously thought.
EPA eases regulation, proposes lowering requirements for ethanol in gas WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation's gasoline supply likely will have more ethanol in coming years - but not as much as was required by federal law. The Obama administration's proposed renewable fuel standard won't have much of an impact on gas prices, but could become an issue in the 2016 presidential elections, especially in farm states that have profited over the years from higher corn prices linked to the use of corn-based ethanol. Campaigning in Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has called for a robust renewable fuels standard.
Kerry signs order removing Cuba from US list of state sponsors of terrorism HAVANA (AP) - The Obama administration on Friday formally removed Cuba from a U.S. terrorism blacklist, a decision hailed in Cuba as the healing of a decades-old wound and an important step toward normalizing relations between the Cold War foes. Secretary of State John Kerry signed off on rescinding Cuba's "state sponsor of terrorism" designation exactly 45 days after the Obama administration informed Congress of its intent to do so on April 14. Lawmakers had that amount of time to weigh in and try to block the move, but did not do so.
Islamic State group claims suicide bombing at Shiite mosque in Saudi that kills 4 RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - A suicide bomber disguised as a woman blew himself up in the parking lot of a Shiite mosque during Friday prayers, killing four people in the second such attack in as many weeks claimed by the Islamic State group. The latest attack and a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque that killed 21 people last Friday appeared aimed at fanning sectarianism and destabilizing the kingdom. Both attacks took place in the oil-rich east, which has a sizable Shiite community that has long complained of discrimination.
Trainer Bob Baffert evolves from brash newcomer to horse racing's grateful elder statesman ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) - Bob Baffert came blasting into thoroughbred racing in Southern California talking smack. Wearing a cowboy hat and boots, he had already conquered the quarter horse world and was ready to take aim at the bigger money and prestige offered by training regally-bred thoroughbreds. It wasn't long before he piled up 11 wins in Triple Crown races - two behind leader D. Wayne Lukas - and ditched his big hat but kept the boots.