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   KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Global stock markets were mostly weaker Thursday, with a cautious mood prevailing ahead of key U.S. data that will provide further clues on when the Federal Reserve will cut monetary stimulus.

   Major European benchmarks were muted in early trading. Britain's FTSE 100 fell 0.3 percent to 6,724.16 and France's CAC-40 added 0.1 percent to 4,290.43. Germany's DAX gained 0.1 percent to 9,047.30.

   Futures pointed to a weaker open on Wall Street where Twitter will start trading following an initial public offering that valued the social network at $18 billion. S&P 500 and Dow Jones futures were both down 0.1 percent.

   Stan Shamu, market strategist for IG in Melbourne, Australia, said investors are staying on the sidelines ahead of the release of the advance estimate of U.S. third quarter economic growth later Thursday and October jobs figures on Friday.

   Both reports could signal how much longer the Federal Reserve will continue its bond purchases at the current $85 billion a month rate. That program has held down interest rates, kept bond yields low and made stocks more attractive for investors.

   Market expectations are also growing that the European Central Bank and the Bank of England may disappoint and not cut interest rates at policy meetings Thursday to shore up a recovery from recession, he said.

   "With two central banks, a U.S. GDP and jobs report all due out, we were always bound to see some nervous trading," Shamu said.

   DBS Vickers in Hong Kong said in a market commentary that the ECB is likely to put off a rate cut amid a pick-up in production and confidence, but it may open the door for possible easing in December when it releases its quarterly economic projections,

   Earlier in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 shed 0.8 percent to 14,228.44 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 0.7 percent at 22,881.03. China's Shanghai Composite fell 0.5 percent to 2,129.40 and Seoul's Kospi dropped 0.5 percent to 2004.04.

   Benchmark crude for December delivery was down 17 cents at $94.63 in electronic trading at the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose $1.43 to close at $94.80 a barrel on Wednesday.

   The euro rose to $1.3520 from $1.3510 late Wednesday. The dollar was little changed at 98.68 yen.

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   MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Thousands of villagers in the central Philippines, including those from a province devastated by a recent earthquake, were being evacuated Thursday as one of the most powerful typhoons globally this year approaches.

   Typhoon Haiyan was already packing sustained winds of 215 kilometers (134 miles) per hour and ferocious gusts of 250 kph (155 mph), and could pick up strength over the Pacific Ocean before it slams into the eastern Philippine province of Eastern Samar on Friday, according to government forecasters.

   The U.S. Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Hawaii said it was the strongest tropical cyclone in the world this year, although Cyclone Phailin, which hit eastern India on Oct. 12, packed winds of up to 222 kph (138 mph) and stronger gusts.

   Governors and mayors were supervising the evacuation of thousands of residents away from landslide- and flood-prone communities in several provinces where the typhoon is expected to pass, said Eduardo del Rosario, head of the government's main disaster-response agency.

   President Benigno Aquino III has ordered officials to aim for zero casualties, a goal often broken in an archipelago lashed by about 20 storms each year, most of them deadly and destructive. Haiyan is the 24th such storm to hit the Philippines this year.

   Edgardo Chatto, the governor of Bohol island province in the central Philippines, where an earthquake last month killed more than 200 people, said that soldiers, police and rescue units were helping displaced residents, including thousands still in small tents, move to shelters. The typhoon was not forecast to directly hit Bohol but the province was still expected to be battered by strong wind and rain, government forecaster Jori Loiz said.

   Army troops were helping transport food packs and other relief goods in hard-to-reach communities and rescue helicopters are on stand-by, the military said.

   "My worst fear is that the eye of this typhoon will hit us. I hope we will be spared," Chatto told The Associated Press by telephone.

   Haiyan was forecast to barrel through the country's central region Friday and Saturday before it blows toward the South China Sea on Sunday, heading toward Virtnam. It was not expected to hit the densely populated capital, Manila, in the north, Loiz said.

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HAZLEHURST, Miss. (AP) - A man suspected in the slaying of three family members from Mississippi has been charged with murder and arson.

Authorities found the family's wrecked and burned vehicle Saturday in a remote area southwest of Jackson. Authorities say after questioning Timothy Lydell Burns, he led them to the bodies of a couple and a 7-year-old boy. They were in an abandoned house about a mile from the vehicle.

Burns was ordered held without bond Wednesday and attorney M.A. Bass was appointed to represent Burns. Bass could not immediately be reached for comment.

Burns was charged with two counts of murder and vehicle arson. Authorities say the third murder charge will likely come out of nearby Hinds County, where authorities think Laterry Smith, the boy's stepfather, was killed.

Read more...

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