Intelligence leaker Edward Snowden on Wednesday spent a fourth day at a Moscow airport with his onward travel plans still a mystery after Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected calls for his extradition to the US. The US told Russia it has a clear legal basis to expel Snowden but anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, which helped organise his flight from Hong Kong, said he risks being stuck in Russia permanently. Meanwhile Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, who by coincidence is expected in Moscow next week for an energy summit, said Caracas would consider any asylum request from Snowden just as Ecuador is doing. In his first comments on the chase for the former contractor that has captivated world attention, Putin on Tuesday confirmed Snowden had arrived in Moscow but said he had never left the airport's transit zone. Mr Snowden is a free man, the sooner he selects his final destination point, the better for us and for himself, he said.
Aussie PM Gillard loses leadership ballot to Rudd:
Australian PM Julia Gillard was ousted as Labor Party leader on Wednesday by her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, in a vote of party lawmakers hoping to avoid a huge defeat in upcoming elections. The ballot took place three years and two days after Gillard ousted Rudd in a similar internal government showdown to become the country's first female PM. Wednesday's vote makes Rudd leader of the party, but he is not yet PM and may not get the job if lawmakers abandon Labor's ruling coalition. Party official Chris Hayes said Gillard lost 57 votes to 45.
UBS France fined $13 m in laundering probe:
UBS France is being fined 10 million euros ($13 million) after French authorities found the bank delayed tightening up controls to curb money laundering and cross-border fiscal fraud. The French banking regulator, ACP, said on Wednesday that UBS France was warned by autumn 2007 about inadequate procedures and did nothing for 18 months. The statement did not specify whether there had been any illicit activity. French prosecutors are separately investigating UBS France and three executives for complicity in illegal business dealings. In a statement, the Swiss bank said its French subsidiary has been under new leadership since 2012 and has continuously strengthened its rules and processes. The bank said it was considering appealing the decision and has denied wrongdoing in the investigation.
Oprah tops Forbes most powerful celebrity list:
After two years as a runner-up, Oprah Winfrey was named the most powerful celebrity on Wednesday by Forbes, heading the six women and four men who make up the top 10. It was the fifth time the former talk show host who runs her own TV network has headed the annual ranking of 100 celebrities. Singer Lady Gaga came in second, followed by director/producer Steven Spielberg and singers Beyonce and Madonna. There is nobody else with that kind of consistency and power, said Dorothy Pomerantz of Forbes.com. There are only three people who have been on every single one of our lists since 1999. It is Oprah, Howard Stern and Steven Spielberg. Singer and actress Jennifer Lopez, who was No. 1 last year, dropped to 12th place. With earnings of $77 million from June 2012 to 2013, Winfrey was not the highest earning celebrity, an honour that went to Madonna who made $125 million.