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  • Russia's Lavrov says difficult to solve peace treaty issue with Japan

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets his Japanese counterpart Fumio Kishida in MoscowRussian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday it would be difficult to close the gap in positions over a peace treaty and territorial dispute with Japan, two weeks before President Vladimir Putin visits. A territorial dispute between Tokyo and Moscow over a chain of western Pacific islands, seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War Two, has upset diplomatic relations ever since, precluding a formal peace treaty between the two countries. "It's not easy to bridge the gap in the principal positions of both sides, the problem is difficult," said Lavrov at a joint briefing with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in Moscow.

  • Syria army retakes over half of rebel east Aleppo

    Syrian soldiers drive past residents fleeing the eastern part of Aleppo, a former rebel-held district which was recently retaken by the regime forcesSyria's army advanced overnight deeper into east Aleppo where it now controls more than half of the former rebel stronghold after a fierce assault that has sparked an international outcry. Tens of thousands of civilians have fled eastern neighbourhoods of the battered city since President Bashar al-Assad's regime began its latest offensive in mid-November. Overnight, government troops and allied forces seized the district of Tariq al-Bab where heavy fighting had raged a day earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Saturday.

  • Russia's Lavrov says ready for talks with U.S. on rebel pullout from Aleppo

    Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov attends news conference in MoscowMOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday Moscow was ready for talks with the United States about a complete withdrawal of all rebels from Syria's eastern Aleppo. Syrian government forces have captured 60 percent of the area previously held by rebels in eastern Aleppo after gaining new ground on the city's eastern edge, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday. [nL5N1DY05N] (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

  • China's Xi says military must be smaller, but more capable

    China's President Xi Jinping looks on during a meeting with Laos' Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith at the Great Hall of the People in BeijingChina's armed forces must be smaller but more capable, and if reforms are not properly carried out the military risks falling behind, affecting its ability to wage war, Chinese state media on Saturday cited President Xi Jinping as saying. The cuts come at a time of heightened economic uncertainty in China as growth slows and the leadership grapples with painful economic reforms. Speaking at a two-day meeting on military reform, Xi said militaries must never stick to their old ways and need to change with the times.

  • China coal mine blasts kill 38: report

    Deadly coal-mining accidents are common in China, though the number of deaths has fallen substantially in the past decade, to fewer than 1,000 a yearOne blast occurred late Tuesday at a private mine in Qitaihe City, Heilongjiang province, trapping 22 workers, Xinhua news agency said. Twenty-one were confirmed dead Friday night, it said, citing provincial authorities. Rescue efforts were hampered by debris from the blast in some of the tunnels, according to an earlier report.

  • Indonesia police release treason suspects, continue probe

    Muslims pray during a rally against Jakarta's minority Christian Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama who is being prosecuted for blasphemy, at the National Monument in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. Several hundred thousands of conservative Muslims rallied in the Indonesian capital on Friday in the second major protest in a month against the minority Christian governor. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police said they released eight people Saturday who were arrested a day earlier for suspected treason and other crimes. They said they were continuing to investigate the eight, who include prominent citizens, and that three others who were arrested were still being held for questioning.

  • Important to solve dispute over Russian islands - Japan's foreign minister

    Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida meets his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in MoscowMOSCOW (Reuters) - Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said on Saturday it was important to solve the issue over disputed Russian islands and to continue talks with Moscow. The chain of western Pacific islands, seized by Soviet troops at the end of World War Two, has precluded a formal peace treaty between the two countries. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Susan Thomas)

  • Mass protest demands ouster, arrest of S. Korea president

    South Korean protesters shout slogans during a protest outside the headquarters of the ruling Saenuri Party in Seoul on December 3, 2016Hundreds of thousands of protestors marched in Seoul for the sixth-straight week Saturday to demand the ouster and arrest of scandal-hit President Park Geun-Hye ahead of an impeachment vote in parliament. It was the latest in a series of massive anti-Park demonstrations and came just hours after opposition parties filed an impeachment motion that will be put to a vote by lawmakers on Friday. Whether the motion is adopted or not, Park is firmly on course to become the first democratically-elected South Korean president not to complete a full, five-year term.

  • Sri Lanka police clash with protesters outside parliament

    Mahinda Rajapakse -- who served as Sri Lankan president from 2005-2015 -- walks past the parliament building during a 2010 ceremony in ColomboPolice fired teargas and water cannon to disperse thousands of opposition-backed protesters outside parliament Saturday as lawmakers debated the annual budget. Demonstrators led by loyalists of former president Mahinda Rajapakse held up traffic and blocked the main access to the parliament complex for several hours in the capital. Opposition lawmaker Ranjith Soysa said protesters were demanding local elections which were due last year, but postponed to devise a new electoral system.

  • S. Koreans rally for 6th weekend calling for leader's ouster

    Protesters shout slogans as they march toward the presidential house during a rally calling for South Korean President Park Geun-hye to step down in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans marched in the capital for the sixth straight Saturday calling for the removal of scandal-plagued Park, who faces an impeachment vote in parliament next week. The banners read: "Park Geun-hye to step down." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon).SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Rallying for the sixth straight weekend in what has become perhaps South Korea's biggest protests ever, demonstrators in Seoul on Saturday got the closest yet to the president they desperately want removed.

  • EU's Mogherini says fall of Aleppo won't end Syria war

    EU foreign policy chief Mogherini holds a news conference on the European Defence Action Plan in BrusselsBy Isla Binnie ROME (Reuters) - European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is convinced the fall of rebel-held areas of Aleppo to the government would not end the war in Syria, she said on Saturday. "I'm convinced the fall of Aleppo will not end the war," Mogherini said during a panel discussion at a conference in Rome war with U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura. Syrian government forces backed by allied militia have captured swathes of Aleppo from rebel groups over the last week in a ferocious offensive.

  • Syrian rebels lose more ground in Aleppo - monitor

    Syrian government soldiers gather in Al-Haidariya neighbourhood after government forces took control of the area in AleppoSyrian government forces have captured 60 percent of the area previously held by rebels in eastern Aleppo after gaining new ground on the city's eastern edge, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday. At least seven plumes of smoke were seen rising from rebel-held areas of the city on Saturday morning as the sound of jets could be heard overhead, a Reuters witness in the government-held western Aleppo said. The Syrian army backed by allied militia has captured large areas of rebel-held eastern Aleppo in the last week in a ferocious campaign that threatens to deal a major defeat to the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad.

  • China lodges protest after Trump call with Taiwan president

    Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks on the phone with U.S. president-elect Donald Trump at her office in TaipeiBy Ben Blanchard BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China lodged a diplomatic protest on Saturday after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, but blamed the self-ruled island Beijing claims as its own for the "petty" move. The 10-minute telephone call with Taiwan's leadership was the first by a U.S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, acknowledging Taiwan as part of "one China".

  • Intense Syrian bombing of besieged Aleppo, troops advance

    FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016 file photo provided by the Rumaf, a Syrian Kurdish activist group, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows people fleeing rebel-held eastern neighborhoods of Aleppo into the Sheikh Maqsoud area that is controlled by Kurdish fighters, Syria. The U.N. humanitarian aid agency said Friday an estimated 31,500 have been displaced from the government advances into the rebel-held enclave since this weekend, in one of the most dramatic shifts in the conflict now in its sixth year. (The Rumaf via AP, File)ALEPPO, Syria (AP) — Syrian warplanes, artillery and mortar rounds have pounded areas in the eastern rebel-held Aleppo enclave, killing at least three, according to opposition activists.

  • Beijing protests to US over Trump Taiwan call

    US President-elect Donald Trump broke with decades of foreign policy to speak with the president of TaiwanBeijing has lodged a protest with the United States over a call between US President-elect Donald Trump and Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen, the foreign ministry said in a statement Saturday. It must be pointed out that there is only one China in the world. Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory," the statement said.

  • Website seeks to match migrants with employers in Germany

    Website seeks to match migrants with employers in GermanyA startup company in Berlin is trying to help integrate last year's flood of migrants into the German workforce with a tailor-made online job market for new arrivals. The website was ...

  • May's Brexit plans face British Supreme Court test

    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May waits to greet Belgian Prime Minister Michel at Downing Street in LondonBy Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May's government launches a challenge on Monday against a court ruling that it requires parliamentary approval to start the process of leaving the European Union, a decision that could upset Britain's Brexit plans. If the Supreme Court, the United Kingdom's highest judicial body, dismisses the government appeal it could derail May's timetable for triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and leaving the EU. The government's legal fight comes against a backdrop of claims by some politicians and newspapers that establishment judges want to thwart the Brexit process.

  • Malaysia hits out at Myanmar over 'ethnic cleansing'

    Ethnic Rohingya Muslim refugees hit a placard with a portrait of Myanmar State Counsellor and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi during a protest in Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaMalaysia accused Myanmar of engaging in the "ethnic cleansing" of its Rohingya minority Saturday, as former UN chief Kofi Annan visited a burned out village in strife-torn Rakhine state. Tens of thousands of Muslim Rohingya have fled their homes since a bloody crackdown by the Myanmar army in the western state of Rakhine sparked by a string of deadly attacks on police border posts in early October. "The fact that only one particular ethnicity is being driven out is by definition ethnic cleansing," Malaysia's foreign ministry said in an unusually strongly-worded statement.

  • Le Pen victory would be 'body blow' to Europe: ex-British PM

    Marine Le Pen will represent France's far-right National Front (FN) in next year's presidential electionsBritain's former premier said Saturday the election of France's Marine Le Pen would be a "big body blow" for Europe, saying he hoped for the victory of a mainstream party. David Cameron said the recent rise of "anti-system, populist" and "quite extreme political parties" in western Europe did not mark the end of globalisation, but warned of the immediate need to make a "major course correction" to address related economic and cultural challenges. "If France were to elect Marine Le Pen, that would be obviously a very big body blow for the European project," he said at a Hindustan Times organised conference in New Delhi, hoping for a victory of "a mainstream party that can unite people behind their candidacy".

  • South Koreans march close to presidential Blue House demanding Park resign

    Protesters gather and occupy major streets in the city center for a rally against South Korean President Park Geun-hye in Seoul, South KoreaBy Joyce Lee SEOUL (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans rallied in Seoul on Saturday in the sixth straight weekend of protests demanding the resignation of scandal-tainted President Park Geun-hye that took them closer than ever to the presidential Blue House. The march came after three opposition parties introduced a bill for parliament to impeach Park, who could become the first democratically elected leader to leave office early in disgrace. The bill, signed by 171 members of the 300-seat unicameral assembly, said Park had violated the constitution and criminal law by abusing her power in the influence-peddling scandal.

  • Najib: You can always turn down BR1M

    Najib: You can always turn down BR1MKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 ― Malaysians who do not want the government’s cash aid are not forced to accept it, Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak said at the close of his party’s general assembly...

  • Hollande vows to fight for weakest until he steps down

    French President Francois Hollande holds a press conference during a visit of The Louvre Abu Dhabi on December 3, 2016French President Francois Hollande vowed Saturday to spend the final months of his presidency fighting to protect the rights of the most vulnerable in society and the world. Speaking on his first foreign trip since announcing he would not stand for re-election, the socialist president also hit out at the policies of the conservative candidate who is now favourite to succeed him in May. "My decisions as president have been based first and foremost on protecting," Hollande said, adding that he had always sought to look out for the "most vulnerable" and "civilian populations threatened by wars and terrorism". "This will be my task until the month of May." Hollande took issue with a campaign pledge by conservative frontrunner Francois Fillon to shed 500,000 public sector jobs if he becomes president.

  • The Latest: China lodges 'solemn representations' with US

    In this Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 photo released by Taiwan Presidential Office Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump through a speaker phone in Taipei, Taiwan. (Taiwan Presidential Office via AP)BEIJING (AP) — The Latest on President-elect Donald Trump's phone conversation with Taiwan's leader (all times local):

  • Najib says Malaysia not meddling with Myanmar as Rohingya is ‘universal’ issue

    Najib says Malaysia not meddling with Myanmar as Rohingya is ‘universal’ issueKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 ― Malaysia is not attempting to intervene in the sovereign affairs of Myanmar but is taking a strong stand against its treatment of the Rohingya people because of universal...

  • Iran's supreme court upholds tycoon's death sentence for graft

    Handout photo shows Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani appearing during a court session in TehranIran's supreme court has upheld the death penalty against Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani for corruption, the judiciary said on Saturday, a sentence critics say will mask the identity of senior officials who supported him. By his own account, Zanjani had for years helped circumvent sanctions by arranging billions of dollars of oil deals through a network of companies stretching from Turkey to Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. Prosecutors accused Zanjani of owing the government more than $2.7 billion for oil sold on behalf of the oil ministry.

  • Najib: 2016 Umno assembly is the best

    Najib: 2016 Umno assembly is the bestKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 ― Buoyed by a surge of support, Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak declared his party’s general assembly this year to be the best. Najib whose political career in Umno...

  • India, Afghanistan plan air cargo link over Pakistan

    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and India's PM Narendra Modi pose for the media outside Hyderabad House in DelhiBy Sanjeev Miglani AMRITSAR, India (Reuters) - India and Afghanistan are likely to announce an air cargo service on Saturday to help increase trade that both say is stymied because of their tense political relations with Pakistan that lies between them. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi were meeting in Amritsar, a short distance from the Pakistan border, for the Heart of Asia conference aimed at stabilising Afghanistan. Nuclear-armed India and Pakistan have gone to war three times and remain bitter foes while ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan have become strained despite their shared religious and cultural identities.

  • Putrajaya forms taskforce to probe foreign meddling into Malaysia’s affairs

    Putrajaya forms taskforce to probe foreign meddling into Malaysia’s affairsKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 ― The government has formed a federal taskforce to investigate allegations of foreign interference into sovereign matters, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi...

  • Nations set to approve heritage protection fund

    The remains of the Arch of Triumph in Palmyra after it was destroyed by the Islamic State group in SyriaRepresentatives of around 40 countries are expected to approve on Saturday establishing a fund to protect heritage sites in conflict-ravaged areas and a network of safe havens for endangered artworks. From Syria to Mali, Afghanistan to Iraq, jihadists have targeted priceless cultural heritage sites that they deem un-Islamic. French ex-culture minister Jack Lang, who heads the Paris-based Institut du Monde Arabe, said the heritage protection fund and safe haven network would be included in a declaration at the end of the Abu Dhabi conference.

  • Jury going into next week in ex-officer's murder trial

    North Charleston police officer Michael Slager, second from right, sits in the courtroom during his murder trial at the Charleston County court in Charleston, S.C., Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, in Charleston, S.C. Circuit Judge Clifton Newman told the jurors Friday afternoon that they should try again to reach a verdict in the trial of former South Carolina patrolman Michael Slager. (Grace Beahm/Post and Courier via AP, Pool)CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The jury in the murder trial of a former South Carolina police officer charged with gunning down a black motorist will continue deliberating next week, despite at one point Friday appearing deadlocked by a juror who told the judge he could not "with good conscience approve a guilty verdict."

  • It's a squeeze, but Paris Impressionist mecca is still a hit

    French president Francois Mitterrand (2R) listens to Anne Pingeot (R), chief curator of the Musee d'Orsay during the inauguration of the museum in Paris in December, 1986Thirty years after the Musee d'Orsay opened its doors for the first time, it has become as much a Paris landmark as its big sister the Louvre just across the River Seine. An average of 3.5 million visitors a year pour through its spectacular vaulted nave, making it the "most dense museum in the world", according to its director of collections Xavier Rey. Although the Musee d'Orsay is one of the top 10 most visited galleries in the world, it is several times smaller than its rivals.

  • Dazed Tennessee residents get first look at wildfire rubble

    The stone walls are all that stands of the Roaring Fork Baptist Church in Gatlinburg, Tenn., Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, following the devastating wildfires from Monday night, Nov. 28. (Amy Smotherman Burgess/Knoxville News Sentinel via AP)GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — Charlotte Moore needed a phone charger.

  • Shahrizat: Speed up political funding law to probe anti-govt plotters

    Shahrizat: Speed up political funding law to probe anti-govt plottersKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 ― Putrajaya must expedite the legislation of the proposed Political Donations and Expenditure Act (PDEA), Wanita Umno chief Tan Sri Shahrizat Jalil said today. She said...

  • US warns crackdown in Myanmar could radicalize Rohingya

    FILE - In this Nov. 25, 2016, file photo, a Muslim woman wears a mask of Myanmar's Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi during a rally against the persecution of Rohingya Muslims, outside the Embassy of Myanmar in Jakarta, Indonesia. It’s a scene straight out of Myanmar’s dark past: a military offensive waged beyond world view that forces ethnic minority villagers from the smoldering ruins of their homes. The U.S. government, a key sponsor of Myanmar’s democratic transition, says a security crackdown that has displaced tens of thousands Rohingya Muslims and left an unknown number dead risks radicalizing a downtrodden people and stoking religious tensions in Southeast Asia. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — It's a scene straight out of Myanmar's dark past: a military offensive waged beyond world view that forces ethnic minority villagers from the smoldering ruins of their homes.

  • Fed-up MH370 relatives head to Madagascar

    Grace Nathan (C), whose mother Anne Daisy was onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, addresses the media prior to departing for Madagascar from Kuala Lumpur on December 3, 2016Relatives of missing MH370 passengers were headed to Madagascar Saturday, harbouring hopes of finding seaborne debris, 1,001 days since the mysterious disappearance of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines jet. Four Malaysians and two Chinese nationals left from Kuala Lumpur and will be joined in Madagascar by other MH370 next-of-kin travelling from France. The Boeing 777 jet was carrying 239 passengers and crew when it disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

  • For Russia, Trump presidency offers hope of sanctions relief

    FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2016, photo, President-elect Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a "USA Thank You" tour event in Cincinnati. Russia’s government staunchly denies reports that it tampered in the U.S. election or supported either candidate, but once the results were in, members of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party didn’t hold back. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)WASHINGTON (AP) — Russia's government staunchly denies reports that it tampered in the U.S. election or supported either candidate, but once the results were in, members of President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party didn't hold back.

  • Iran says extension of sanctions act shows U.S. unreliable

    Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is pictured after meeting with Lebanese President Michel Aoun at the presidential palace in BaabdaA U.S. Senate vote to extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for 10 years shows the world that Washington cannot be relied upon to act on its commitments, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday. Iran has vowed to retaliate against the ISA extension, passed unanimously on Thursday, saying it violated last year's agreement with six major powers to curb its nuclear programme in return for lifting of international financial sanctions. "To the world community, the extension of sanctions against Iran shows the unreliability of the American government," state broadcaster IRIB quoted Zarif as saying upon arrival in India for an official visit.

  • Panel urges better cybersecurity to President-elect Trump

    FILE - In this Feb. 17, 2016, file photo, President Barack Obama, joined by from left, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, former IBM CEO Sam Palmisano, former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, talks to media in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington. Donilon, and Palmisano, are being appointed as the Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, of the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. A national commission is delivering urgent recommendations to improve the nation's cybersecurity, weeks before President-elect Donald Trump takes office. The report follows the worst hacking of U.S. government systems in history and the Obama administration accusing Russia of meddling in the U.S. presidential election by hacking Democrats. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — A presidential commission on Friday made 16 urgent recommendations to improve the nation's cybersecurity, including creating a nutritional-type label to help consumers shop wisely and appointing a new international ambassador on the subject — weeks before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

  • The "Two Trumps" surface in president-elect's transition

    President-elect Donald Trump raises his fist as he speaks during the first stop of his post-election tour, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)NEW YORK (AP) — Donald Trump's skeptics hope the presidency will reveal a serious side of the brash businessman. His supporters want him to keep the freewheeling style that rattled Washington.

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