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Embattled Guatemalan President Otto Perez resigned Thursday after a judge issued a warrant for his arrest to face corruption charges, upending the political landscape three days ahead of general elections. Congress voted unanimously Tuesday to strip the 64-year-old retired general's presidential immunity, a first in the Central American country's history. The new vice president, Alejandro Maldonado, is now due to assume power until Perez's successor is sworn in on January 14.
The US trade deficit narrowed in July as exports increased and imports fell sharply, led by a decline in consumer goods, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The trade gap in goods and services was $41.9 billion in July, down from an upwardly revised $45.2 billion in June. "Much better core numbers, but not yet clear if trade will boost Q3 GDP growth," said Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics.
Harrowing pictures of a drowned Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach brought home the horror of the escalating refugee crisis Thursday as Europe was accused of letting the Mediterranean become a "cemetery" for migrants. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan bluntly blamed EU states for the death of every single migrant who lost their lives making the perilous journey to Europe. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban also lashed out at Germany over its handling of the crisis as scenes of chaos erupted in his country.
New claims for US unemployment benefits rose last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, a day ahead of the release of the national employment report for August. In the week to August 29, initial jobless claims, an indicator of the pace of layoffs, rose by 12,000 to 282,000. On Friday the Labor Department will publish broader labor market data for August as economists and the Federal Reserve wait for signs of tightening -- especially wage rises -- that have not surfaced despite the steady fall in the overall unemployment rate.
Frankfurt (AFP) - The European Central Bank could extend its contested bond purchase programme beyond September 2016, its president Mario Draghi said on Thursday.