By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. retail sales rebounded in February and new applications for unemployment benefits hit a fresh three-month low last week, suggesting some strength in the economy after harsh weather abruptly slowed activity in recent months. The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales increased 0.3 percent last month as receipts rose in most categories. "We see this as further confirmation that the underlying momentum in the economy remains quite favorable, and we look for further upside spending momentum in the coming months." Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales rising 0.2 percent in February. Economists had expected only a marginal increase in retail sales in February after snow and ice blanketed densely populated regions during the first half of the month.
By Chine Labbé PARIS (Reuters) - French prosecutors are seeking a life term for a Rwandan ex-soldier accused of participating in the country's 1994 genocide, in a verdict due on Friday that could decide whether Paris and Kigali bring up to 20 other such cases to court. In a first for France, a jury will decide whether Pascal Simbikangwa - whom prosecutors allege was the No. 3 in Rwanda's intelligence services - is guilty of genocide and complicity in crimes against humanity during a wave of bloodletting in which 800,000 minority Tutsis and politically moderate Hutus died. "Pascal Simbikangwa is among those who were behind (the crimes)," vice-prosecutor Aurelia Devos told the court in statements summing up the prosecutors' case on Wednesday. A guilty verdict could smooth future prosecutions by France's special genocide unit.