U.S. firms hire 275,000 workers in April, most nine months: ADP

People attend the Executive Branch Job Fair hosted by the Conservative Partnership Institute at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, U.S., June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan

(Reuters) – U.S. private employers added 275,000 jobs in April, well above economists’ expectations and the most since last July, supporting the view of a solid domestic labor market, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.

April’s robust figure might be overstating the strength of the jobs sector due to technical factors, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics which jointly developed the employment report with ADP.

Job growth last month was likely in the 175,000 to 200,000 range, which is the current consensus range among economists, Zandi said on a conference call with reporters.

Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 180,000 jobs, with estimates ranging from 141,000 to 225,000.

Private payroll gains in the month earlier were revised up to 151,000 from an originally reported 129,000 increase.

While the overall labor market is “fine,” it is slowing, Zandi said.

The ADP figures come ahead of the U.S. Labor Department’s more comprehensive non-farm payrolls report at 8:30 a.m. (1230 GMT) on Friday, which includes both public and private-sector employment.

Economists polled by Reuters are looking for U.S. private payroll employment to have grown by 180,000 jobs in April, down from 182,000 the month before. Total non-farm employment is expected to have changed by 185,000.

The unemployment rate is forecast to stay steady at the 3.8 percent recorded a month earlier.

GRAPHIC: ADP vs. the U.S. Labor Department payrolls data – http://tmsnrt.rs/2eRF4KM

(Reporting by Richard Leong and Dan Burns; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Netanyahu to be charged in corruption cases, pending hearing: Israeli TV

FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a statement to the media in Tel Aviv, Israel February 21, 2019 REUTERS/ Ammar Awad/File Photo

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s attorney-general intends to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in three corruption cases, Israeli TV said on Thursday, citing the Justice Ministry.

The reported decision, ahead of Israel’s April 9 election, deepens uncertainty over Netanyahu’s prospects in a tight race.

The actual filing of the reported charges, which include bribery, fraud and breach of trust, will depend on the outcome of a required hearing. At that hearing – likely after the election – Netanyahu can try to persuade the attorney-general not to indict him.

Netanyahu, who is seeking a fourth consecutive term, denies any wrongdoing. In the long-running investigations, he is suspected of wrongfully accepting gifts from wealthy businessmen and dispensing favors in alleged bids for favorable coverage by a newspaper and a website.

Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party described the reported charges as “political persecution”. It said the prime minister, who has vowed not to resign over the allegations, was due to deliver a statement at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT).

(Reporting by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Stephen Farrell)

North, South Korea fix April date for first summit in years

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon is greeted by his North Korean counterpart Ri Son Gwon as he arrives for their meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, March 29, 2018. Korea Pool/Yonhap via REUTERS

By Christine Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) – North and South Korea will hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27, South Korean officials said on Thursday, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearization as tensions ease between the old foes.

South Korean officials, who announced the date after high-level talks with North Korean counterparts, said the agenda would largely be denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and improving inter-Korean relations.

The two Koreas had agreed to hold the summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom when South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent a delegation to Pyongyang this month to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Thursday’s meeting was the first high-level dialogue between the two Koreas since the delegation returned from the North.

The two sides said in a joint statement they would hold a working-level meeting on April 4 to discuss details of the summit, such as staffing support, security and news releases.

“We still have a fair number of issues to resolve on a working level for preparations over the next month,” said Ri Son Gwon, the chairman of North Korea’s committee for the peaceful reunification of the country in closing remarks to the South Korean delegation.

“But if the two sides deeply understand the historic significance and meaning of this summit and give their all, we will be able to solve all problems swiftly and amicably,” Ri added.

Tension over North Korea’s tests of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile surged last year and raised fears of U.S. military action in response to North Korea’s threat to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States.

But tension has eased significantly since North Korea decided to send athletes to the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. The neighbours are technically still at war after the 1950-53 conflict ended with a ceasefire, not a truce.

China commended both sides for their efforts to improve ties.

“We hope the momentum of dialogue can continue and that the peaceful situation also can last,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a briefing.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was encouraged by the recent developments with North Korea.

“I believe that in this world where unfortunately so many problems seem not to have a solution, I think there is here an opportunity for a peaceful solution to something that a few months ago was haunting us as the biggest danger we were facing,” Guterres told reporters on Thursday.


Kim is scheduled to meet U.S. President Donald Trump in May to discuss denuclearization, although a time and place have not been set.

Kim met Chinese President Xi Jinping in a surprise visit to Beijing this week, his first trip outside the isolated North since he came to power in 2011.

Even more surprising was Kim’s pledge to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. That commitment was reported by Chinese state media, although North Korea’s official media made no mention of it, or Kim’s anticipated meeting with Trump.

A senior Chinese official visiting Seoul on Thursday to brief South Korea on Kim’s visit to Beijing said it should help ease tension and lead to the denuclearization of the peninsula.

“We believe his visit will help the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, ensure peace and security of the Korean peninsula and resolve problems regarding the peninsula through political negotiations and discussions,” Yang Jiechi said in opening remarks during a meeting with South Korea’s National Security Office head, Chung Eui-yong.

Yang, a top Chinese diplomat, is scheduled to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon told reporters Kim’s visit to China was not discussed with North Korean officials in their Thursday talks.

Trump and Kim had exchanged insults and veiled threats of war in recent months but the U.S. leader made the surprising announcement this month that he was prepared to meet Kim to discuss the crisis over the North’s development of weapons.

The North Korean leader’s engagement with the international community has sparked speculation that he may try to meet other leaders. Japan’s Asahi newspaper said Japan had sounded out the North Korean government about a summit.

Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono left open the possibility that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe might meet Kim at some point. Kono said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday that Japan was closely watching preparations for the North-South Korean summit and the Trump-Kim meeting.

Xi promised that Beijing would uphold its friendship with North Korea after his meeting with Kim.

Trump wrote on Twitter he had received a message from Xi late on Tuesday that his meeting with Kim “went very well” and that Kim looked forward to meeting the U.S. president.

(Reporting by Christine Kim; Additional reporting by Michael Martina in BEIJING and Michelle Nichols at the UNITED NATIONS; Editing by Robert Birsel and James Dalgleish)

April Snow Showers Bring Groans

Photo - info The graphics on this page combine WPC forecasts of fronts, isobars and high/low pressure centers with the National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD) depiction of expected weather type.

April snow is in the forecast for a great deal of the Northeast along with a soggy cold rain as a series of storm systems move across the northern U.S. this weekend.  This will bring the potential for strong winds and wintry weather from the Great Lakes to New England through Friday and Saturday according the National Weather Service.   

The Weather Channel predicts that most areas will see less than 6 inches of snow through late Saturday night, though moderate snow accumulations are expected from the northern Great Lakes to parts of the mid-Atlantic states generally north and west of I-95.

Given the track of offshore low pressure, little or no accumulations are expected in most of New England.

The best chance for locally more than 6 inches of snow through Saturday will be across the higher terrain of West Virginia and far western Maryland.

Numerous showers and thunderstorms will bring welcomed drought relief over parts of California, Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico over the next few days.  The heaviest precipitation is expected over the Sierra Nevada mountains, where snow is likely at the highest elevations.