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Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa says elections must be credible, free and fair

HARARE (FX BUZZ) - Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday the ruling ZANU-PF party should aim to always compete in elections which are credible, free and fair.

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Russian court jails ex-minister Ulyukayev for eight years in bribery case

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian court sentenced ex-economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev to eight years in prison on Friday after finding him guilty of taking a $2 million bribe from Igor Sechin, the CEO of oil giant Rosneft.

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Thyssenkrupp has offered help to Argentina over disappeared submarine

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's Thyssenkrupp, has offered assistance to Argentinian authorities in an investigation into the disappearance of a submarine last month, a spokesman said on Friday.

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BRIEF-Torex Gold Resources Majority Of Employees Have Voted To Return To Work Immediately

* MAJORITY OF EMPLOYEES HAVE VOTED TO RETURN TO WORK IMMEDIATELY

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NATO sounds alarm on banned Russian missile system

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO allies on Friday publicly raised concern about a Russian cruise missile system that the alliance says may break a Cold War-era pact banning such weapons, in a show of support for Washington.

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Death toll rises to six after school bus, train collide in France

PARIS (Reuters) - The death toll from a collision which saw a train rip a school bus in half rose to six on Friday after doctors in southern France lost the battle overnight to save two of those left seriously injured, a source close to the investigation said.

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Germany owes Europe a stable government, top SPD boss says

BERLIN (Reuters) - A senior Social Democrat (SPD) politician said Germany needed a stable government able to play a leadership role in the European Union, in the clearest signal yet that the party would open coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives.

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Death toll from train, bus collision in France rises to six: source

PARIS (Reuters) - The death toll from Thursday's collision between a train and a school bus has risen to six, a source familiar with the investigation said on Friday, as investigators combed the mangled wreckage.

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Middle-class Egypt adapts to survive as austerity bites

CAIRO (Reuters) - Swapping new cars for cheaper models, cutting back on pricy supermarket shopping and giving up holidays abroad, middle-class Egyptians are finding strategies to stay afloat after a currency reform a year ago sent their living costs soaring.

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EU to move on Brexit talks, Irish 'riddle' remains

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is poised on Friday to move talks forward with London on Britain's exit from the bloc as leaders warm to the British premier but there was little clarity on trade issues and Austria warned the Irish border issue remained a "riddle".

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Russian ex-minister Ulyukayev found guilty of bribe-taking

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Former Russian economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev was found guilty on Friday of soliciting a $2 million bribe from Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin in a court case that has shone a rare light on infighting among the Russian elite.

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Second phase of Brexit talks will be harder than first: EU's Juncker

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The second phase Brexit negotiations will be significantly harder than an already difficult first phase of talks, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday.

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Russia says Iran nuclear deal breakdown would hurt effort to manage North Korea

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a possible breakdown of the Iran nuclear deal would send the wrong signal when it came to trying to resolve the situation around North Korea, the RIA and Interfax news agencies reported on Friday.

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Britain says West must defend undersea cables from Russian navy

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain and its NATO allies must defend deep sea cables against a potentially catastrophic attack by the Russia navy that could disrupt trillions of dollars in financial transactions, the head of Britain's armed forces warned.

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Russian parliament sets March 18 as presidential election date

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The upper house of the Russian parliament voted on Friday to set March 18 as the date of next year's presidential election.

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Cambodia's Hun Sen challenges EU and U.S. to freeze assets

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen encouraged the United States and European Union on Friday to freeze the assets of Cambodian leaders abroad in response to his government's crackdown on the opposition and civil society.

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South Africa's governing ANC to announce party leader on Sunday

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) will announce current president Jacob Zuma's successor as party leader on Sunday as it looks to conclude a bruising leadership battle and focus on policy, a party spokesman told radio station 702 on Friday.

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Beijing evictions leave migrant workers in limbo as winter deepens

BEIJING (Reuters) - Winter is bringing a frigid existence and an uncertain future for migrant workers in Beijing deprived of electricity and heating as they resist a month-long campaign to evict them from the city's urban villages.

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Peru's Kuczynski says will not resign over Odebrecht scandal

LIMA (Reuters) - Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said late on Thursday that he would not resign over a scandal involving payments that Brazilian builder Odebrecht paid a decade ago to a company he controlled while holding public office.

Soccer nytimes.com

Bars on the Windows, Laughter Between the Lines

An Italian nonprofit organizes soccer matches inside the country’s prisons in an effort to foster healthy relationships between inmates and their children.

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Australian abuse report calls for end to sanctity of confession

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia should introduce a law forcing religious leaders to report child abuse, including Catholic priests told of abuse in the confessional, said a report on Friday which detailed institutional abuse, particularly in the Catholic Church.

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Australian child abuse report calls for end to sanctity of confession, voluntary celibacy for clergy

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia should introduce a law forcing religious leaders to report child abuse, including Catholic priests who are told of abuse in the confessional, according to a report into institutional child abuse released on Friday.

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EU leaders clash over refugees

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Two years after the Mediterranean migrant crisis blew a hole in the European Union, a tentative effort to patch up differences over what to do with refugees underlined continuing rifts among the bloc's leaders.

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Chile presidential hopefuls end campaigns before Sunday vote

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile's presidential hopefuls ended their campaigns in downtown Santiago on Thursday ahead of an uncertain runoff election whose outcome will determine whether the world's top copper producer turns to the right or maintains its center-left track.

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Trump discusses North Korea situation with Putin: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Trump spoke by phone on Thursday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the two leaders "discussed working together to resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea," the White House said in a statement.

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Peru's Kuczynski loses support of inner circle: sources

LIMA (Reuters) - Peru's President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has lost support of senior officials in his government after Brazil's Odebrecht said it had transferred $4.8 million to companies linked to him, two government sources said on Thursday, and the opposition called for him to resign.

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May wins applause from EU leaders for Brexit efforts

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European leaders applauded British Prime Minister Theresa May for her work so far on Brexit, assuring her at a summit in Brussels that sufficient progress has been made to allow Britain to move on to the next stage of leaving the union.

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EU leaders lock horns over hosting refugees

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders locked horns at a summit in Brussels over the divisive issue of hosting refugees who reach Europe, reopening a two-year-old dispute that has shaken the bloc.

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Putin, Trump discuss bilateral relations, Korean Peninsula situation: Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump discussed bilateral relations and situation in the Korean Peninsula during a telephone call, the Kremlin said in a statement early on Friday.

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Investors pull most money in 2017 from U.S. stock funds: Lipper

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Investors pulled $16.2 billion from U.S.-based equity funds during the latest week, according to Lipper, marking the largest withdrawals since December 2016.

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Canada spy agency settles lawsuit alleging homophobia, racism

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's spy agency has settled a lawsuit by five employees who accused their bosses of homophobia, racism and Islamophobia and it will work to stamp out harassment, the head of the agency said on Thursday.

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Four French schoolchildren killed as train plows into bus

PARIS (Reuters) - Four adolescents were killed when a train smashed into a school bus on a level crossing outside the town of Perpignan in southwestern France on Thursday.

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While focus is on North Korea, China continues South China Sea buildup: think tank

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - While attention in Asia has been distracted by the North Korean nuclear crisis in the past year, China has continued to install high-frequency radar and other facilities that can be used for military purposes on its man-made islands in the South China Sea, a U.S. think tank said on Thursday.

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Two dead, several wounded in stabbing in southern Dutch city Maastricht: police

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - At least two people were killed and several others wounded by stabbings in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht on Thursday evening, police said.

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One dead, several injured in stabbing in southern Dutch city Maastricht: police

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - One person was killed and several others injured in a stabbing incident in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht on Thursday evening, police said.

New York Times nytimes.com

Bulletin Board: NYT Needle Returns to the Spotlight. The Internet Notices.

New York Times editors explain how our election needle came to be and why we’re all fixated on it.

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After London setback, May wins Brexit cheer in Brussels

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Making no secret of her desire to move on with Brexit talks, Prime Minister Theresa May told EU leaders on Thursday and won a round of applause for efforts so far in agreeing to an outline of divorce terms.

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Colombia urgently crafting law to allow crime gangs to surrender

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's government is urgently working with Congress on a law that would lay out terms of surrender for crime gangs such as the Gulf Clan, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Thursday, after the gang declared a unilateral ceasefire.

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U.N. calls Syria talks a 'big missed opportunity', seeks new ideas

GENEVA (Reuters) - A round of Syria peace talks that ended on Thursday was a big missed opportunity but there may more talks next month if ideas can be found to encourage President Bashar al-Assad's government to engage, U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura said.

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EU agrees to extend economic sanctions on Russia until mid-2018

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders agreed on Thursday to prolong for another six months the bloc's economic sanctions on Russia, imposed over the annexation of Ukraine's peninsula of Crimea and Moscow's support for rebels in east Ukraine.

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Mexico presidential front-runner taps finance minister choice

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The front-runner for Mexico's 2018 presidential election on Thursday said U.S.-trained economist Carlos Manuel Urzua was his choice for finance minister if he won the July election.

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In first, U.S. presents its evidence of Iran weaponry from Yemen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday presented for the first time pieces of what it said were Iranian weapons supplied to the Iran-aligned Houthi militia in Yemen, describing it as conclusive evidence that Tehran was violating U.N. resolutions.

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U.S. jets fire flares to warn Russian jets in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. F-22 fighter aircraft fired warning flares on Wednesday after two Russian Su-25 jets entered an agreed upon deconfliction area in airspace east of the Euphrates river in Syria, the U.S. military said.

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More than 20 Islamic State militants killed in Syria: U.S.-led coalition

WASHINGTON/AMMAN (Reuters) - A Pentagon-backed rebel group and the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State killed more than 20 Islamic State fighters and detained a number of militants in the southern Syrian desert near a base, the coalition said on Thursday.

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Saudis welcome U.N. report, U.S. stand on Iran's missile supplies to Yemen's Houthis: agency

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia on Thursday welcomed a United Nations report and a U.S. stand on Iran's missile supplies to Yemen's Houthis and demanded immediate action to hold Tehran accountable for its actions, state news agency SPA reported.

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Chile presidential hopefuls wrap up campaigning ahead of Sunday vote

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile's presidential hopefuls were to wrap up campaigning on Thursday, three days ahead of a tight runoff election whose outcome will determine whether the world's top copper producer will turn to the right or maintain its center-left track.

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Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary chief seeks to put troops under national army

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The commander of Iraq's biggest Shi'ite Muslim paramilitary group told its fighters on Thursday to take their orders from the national military and cut their ties with the group's political wing.

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In first, U.S. presents its evidence of Iranian weaponry from Yemen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Thursday presented for the first time pieces of what it said were Iranian weapons supplied to the Iran-aligned Houthi militia in Yemen, describing it as conclusive evidence that Tehran was violating U.N. resolutions.

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Hamas will reverse Trump's Jerusalem move, leader tells Gaza rally

GAZA (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Palestinians including hundreds of gunmen rallied in Gaza on Thursday to mark the 30th anniversary of Hamas's founding and its chief vowed to reverse U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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U.S. military orders additional probe into August Somalia raid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of U.S. forces in Africa has ordered an additional investigation into an August raid in Somalia by Somali and American forces, the U.S military said on Thursday.

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Train collides with school bus in southern France: local townhall

PARIS (Reuters) - A train collided with a school bus outside the town of Perpignan in southern France on Thursday and emergency services were at the scene, a local official said.

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U.N. chief presses for release of arrested Reuters journalists in Myanmar

TOKYO/YANGON (Reuters) - The arrest of two Reuters journalists in Yangon this week was a signal that press freedom is shrinking in Myanmar and the international community must do all it can to get them released, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday.

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John McCain returns to hospital

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is being treated at Walter Reed Medical Center for side effects from his cancer treatment.

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Despite parliament defeat, Britain's May on course to deliver Brexit

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Theresa May said on Thursday she was on course to deliver Brexit and a new partnership with the European Union, shrugging off a parliamentary defeat that could weaken her hand as the decisive phase of talks begins.

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India PM Modi's party seen sweeping state polls in popularity boost

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling group will sweep an election in his home state of Gujarat, surveys showed on Thursday, shaking off the most serious challenge yet from a combined opposition.

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Italy adopts living wills allowing patients to refuse treatment

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's Senate passed into law on Thursday a bill allowing severely ill people to refuse treatment that would prolong their lives.

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Splits on Italian right buoy opponents as campaigning starts

ROME (Reuters) - The leader of Italy's far-right Northern League said on Thursday he was suspending contacts with his main political ally, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, because of a disagreement over how tough courts should be on murderers and rapists.

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Exclusive: U.S. suspends aid to Somalia's battered military over graft

NAIROBI (Reuters) - The United States is suspending food and fuel aid for most of Somalia's armed forces over corruption concerns, a blow to the military as African peacekeepers start to withdraw this month.

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German police raid locations linked to Islamist militants

BERLIN (Reuters) - German police investigating four people suspected of planning an Islamist-motivated attack raided nine locations in Berlin and the eastern state of Saxony Anhalt on Thursday, prosecutors said.

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Brazil's Temer delays pension-vote talks as he recovers after surgery

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Michel Temer has postponed meetings scheduled for Thursday to discuss a crucial pension reform vote as he recovers well in hospital following minor surgery, his office said, and he will not be back on the job until Friday.

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Austria's Kurz says pro-EU stance secured in deal with far right

VIENNA (Reuters) - Coalition talks between Austria's far-right Freedom Party and conservatives led by Sebastian Kurz are in the "home straight" and have laid down guarantees that the next government will be pro-European, Kurz said on Thursday.

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Cameroon's Anglophones flee to Nigeria as crackdown grows

IKOM, Nigeria (Reuters) - When soldiers burst into her village in southwest Cameroon last month with guns blazing, small farmer Eta Quinta, 32, raced into the forest with three of her children.

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EU's new eastern leaders stick to guns on refugees

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The new prime ministers of Poland and the Czech Republic vowed not to give any ground on the divisive issue of hosting refugees as they arrived in Brussels on Thursday for their first summit of European Union leaders.

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Iraq hangs 38 Sunni militants in mass execution: justice ministry

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq hanged 38 Sunni Muslim militants on Thursday after they were sentenced to death on terrorism charges, the justice ministry said in a statement.

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Austria's Kurz optimistic on coalition deal with far right by Christmas

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian conservative leader Sebastian Kurz said on Thursday that coalition talks with the far-right Freedom Party were in the "home straight" and a deal on forming a government should be reached by next week.

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Putin says U.S. gripped by fabricated spymania, praises Trump

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday the United States was in the grip of a fabricated spymania whipped up by President Donald Trump's opponents but he thought battered U.S.-Russia relations would recover one day.

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Do not expect postcard-sized tax return from Republican plan: experts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Since mid-2016, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has carried around a "postcard" that he has said shows how easy it will be for Americans to file their taxes once Republicans are finished their tax overhaul.

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Putin says Russia won't be dragged into new arms race with U.S.A.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia would pay proper attention to the development of its army and navy, but it would not be dragged into a new arms race with the United States.

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Kenyan police assaulted and raped women during election: rights group

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Several dozen women in Kenya said police officers attacked them during this year's election season and some said they were raped by men in uniform, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday.

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Zimbabwe ex-leader Mugabe visits Singapore hospital: sources

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe visited a hospital in Singapore this week apparently for medical checks, his first trip outside his country since he was ousted from office last month, sources in Singapore said on Thursday.

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Indian Hindu tried to raise money with video of killing of Muslim: police

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A Hindu man in India tried to raise money for a campaign against minority Muslims by issuing an appeal for donations with a video he took and posted online showing him killing a Muslim, police said on Thursday.

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Three-man crew returns from space station - NASA TV

(Reuters) - A capsule carrying U.S., Russian and Italian astronauts from the International Space Station landed in Kazakhstan on Thursday, a NASA TV live broadcast showed.

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After defeat at home, Britain's May urges EU leaders to move on with Brexit

LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May will urge European Union leaders to approve an agreement to move Brexit talks on to a second phase on Thursday, just hours after an embarrassing parliamentary defeat at home that weakens her hand.

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Six months on, London holds memorial for Grenfell fire victims

LONDON (Reuters) - Survivors of a fire that killed 71 people six months ago in the Grenfell Tower social housing block in west London will join firefighters and members of the royal family at a national memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral on Thursday.

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Sweden to raise minimum pension age as retirees live longer

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden will raise the minimum age at which workers can take their state pension over the coming years, a move designed to match an increase in average life spans, the major political parties said on Thursday.

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China angered as U.S. considers navy visits to Taiwan

BEIJING/TAIPEI (Reuters) - China accused the United States on Thursday of interfering in its internal affairs and said it had lodged a complaint after U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law an act laying the groundwork for possible U.S. navy visits to self-ruled Taiwan.

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Suicide bomber kills at least 15 at police academy in Somalia's capital

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A suicide bomber disguised as a policeman blew himself up inside a police training camp in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Thursday and killed at least 15 officers, officials said.

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China summons Australian envoy over political meddling allegations

SYDNEY (Reuters) - China summoned Australia's ambassador to lodge a complaint last week over Canberra's allegation that Beijing had sought to interfere in Australian politics, a source familiar with the diplomatic action told Reuters on Thursday.

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Moscow, Cairo may sign deal on Friday to resume Russian flights to Egypt: TASS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia and Egypt may sign an agreement on Friday allowing to resume Russian civilian flights to Egypt, the TASS news agency cited Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov as saying on Thursday.

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Suicide bomber kills at least 13 in police academy attack in Somali capital

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - A suicide bomber in police uniform blew himself up inside a police training camp in Somalia's capital Mogadishu on Thursday, killing at least 13 police officers, officials said.

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Australia's population growth outpaces world as migrants rush in

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia's population is expanding at the fastest pace in the developed world as skilled migrants flock to the resource-rich nation, a fillip to economic growth overall but perhaps also a source of puzzling weakness in wages.

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Britain's May urges EU leaders to move on with Brexit talks

LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May will urge European Union leaders to approve an agreement to move Brexit talks on to a second phase on Thursday, describing it as a fair deal that offers a good base for a discussion of future ties.

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US helicopter window falls off mid-flight, injuring child

The window of a US Marine Corps helicopter fell off mid-flight onto a school playing field, slightly injuring a child on the Japanese island of Okinawa. The incident is likely to fuel outrage among locals who view the US military footprint in southern Japan as both a pest and a danger.

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Indonesia court rejects petition to bar consensual sex outside marriage

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's constitutional court on Thursday narrowly rejected a controversial petition to bar all consensual sex outside of marriage in the world's biggest Muslim-majority country.

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Indonesia's constitutional court rejects petition to bar consensual sex outside marriage

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia's constitutional court on Thursday rejected a petition to bar all consensual sex outside of marriage.

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Odebrecht paid firms linked to Peru's Kuczynski $4.8 million: document

LIMA (Reuters) - Brazilian builder Odebrecht transferred $4.8 million to companies linked to Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski between 2004 and 2012, some of which was paid to a company Kuczynski controlled when he held senior government roles, according to a document the company sent to Congress.

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Mexico Senate committees pass controversial security bill

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican Senate committees on Wednesday approved a controversial security bill that human rights groups say risks granting excessive power to the armed forces in their already checkered role in combating organized crime in the country.

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Bumper crop of new drugs fails to lift big pharma R&D returns

LONDON (Reuters) - It is shaping up to be a bumper year for drug approvals, with U.S. officials clearing twice as many novel medicines as in 2016, yet returns on research investment at leading pharmaceutical companies are down.

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Ecuador court sentences VP to six years in jail in Odebrecht graft case

QUITO (Reuters) - An Ecuadorean court on Wednesday sentenced Vice President Jorge Glas to six years in jail after finding him guilty of receiving bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht [ODBCT.UL] in return for handing the scandal-ridden firm state contracts.

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Merkel's conservatives keen, but SPD still coy on German government talks

BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives said they were willing to open formal talks on forming a government with Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) - but her chosen partner was expected to take two more days to decide how to proceed.

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Canada says defense firms can now sell small arms to Ukraine

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada said on Wednesday that defense contractors would be allowed to sell weapons such as automatic firearms and electric stun guns to Ukraine, a move the government in Kiev has long pressed for.

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Putin must nudge Syria into U.N. peace deal, mediator says

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura urged Russia on Wednesday to convince its ally the Syrian government of the need to clinch a peace deal to end the nearly seven-year-old war.

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Britain's May defeated in parliament over Brexit blueprint

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May's government was defeated on Wednesday, when lawmakers forced through changes to its Brexit blueprint that ministers said could endanger Britain's departure from the European Union.

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Turkish police summon FBI official: Anadolu

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish police summoned a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) official on Wednesday over statements made in a U.S. court by a former Turkish police investigator who fled the country last year, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

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Brazil's Temer back in hospital for prostate tests

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian President Michel Temer canceled his scheduled meetings on Wednesday and flew to São Paulo for tests to evaluate surgery he had in October to reduce the size of his prostate, his office said.

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British lawmakers defeat May's government on Brexit law

LONDON (Reuters) - British lawmakers defeated Prime Minister Theresa May's government on Wednesday, voting to change her Brexit blueprint in a move which could complicate her efforts to sever ties with the European Union.

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Merkel courts Germany's skittish SPD as talks open on government

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) held their first formal talks on forming a government with Angela Merkel's conservatives on Wednesday, more than two months after the national election that plunged Europe's largest economy into unaccustomed uncertainty.

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Despite Tillerson overture, White House says not right time for North Korea talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - No negotiations can be held with North Korea until it improves its behavior, a White House official said on Wednesday, raising questions about U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's offer to begin talks with Pyongyang anytime and without pre-conditions.

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U.S. stock funds attract most cash in 7 weeks -ICI

NEW YORK, Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. fund investors dashed into domestic stocks, pouring the most cash in seven weeks into the market, according to Investment Company Institute (ICI) data on Wednesday. The funds collected $6 billion in the seven days through Dec. 6, according to the trade group, as the market is poised to close 2017 with another strong year of gains under its belt. "We're in literally the longest amount of days since a 5 percent drawdown in 25 years," said Gary Droz, ma

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Two Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar, face official secrets charges

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar's government said on Wednesday that police had arrested two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. The reporters had been working on stories about a military crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rahkine State that has caused almost 650,000 people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.

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White House says not right time for North Korea talks, despite Tillerson overture

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - No negotiations can be held with North Korea until it improves its behavior, a White House official said on Wednesday, raising questions about U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's offer to begin talks with Pyongyang anytime and without pre-conditions.

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White House says not right time for talks with North Korea

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There can be no negotiations with North Korea until it "fundamentally improves its behavior," a White House official said on Wednesday, a day after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's offer to begin direct talks with Pyongyang anytime and without pre-conditions.

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EU reopens feud over quotas for hosting refugees

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Rivals from the two sides of the European Union's migration dispute will meet in Brussels on Thursday in a goodwill gesture just as the bloc reopens a bitter feud over hosting refugees.

politicsNews reuters.com

U.S. House to stop using public funds for harassment settlements: speaker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Wednesday that Congress was working on a package of reforms that would prohibit using taxpayer money for settlements in sexual harassment claims lodged against lawmakers' offices.

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Supporters of Egypt presidential hopeful arrested, say security sources, family

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces have arrested three supporters of presidential hopeful and former prime minister Ahmed Shafik, security sources and members of his party said on Wednesday.

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Algeria's ruling caste set on orderly succession, when the time comes

ALGIERS (Reuters) - Algerians are facing the eventual departure of their long-serving president, the ailing Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in the knowledge that all is being done to ensure little changes when he goes.

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Presidential hopeful wants Finland out of EU, says nationalists will bounce back

HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland will leave the European Union and position itself as the Switzerland of the north to protect its independence if Laura Huhtasaari, the presidential candidate of the eurosceptic Finns Party has her way.

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Nigerian court drops most asset declaration charges against Senate president

(This version of the December 12th story corrects headline and paragraph one to remove references to corruption)

politicsNews reuters.com

Congress to stop using public funds for harassment settlements: U.S. speaker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House Republican Speaker Paul Ryan said on Wednesday that Congress would stop using taxpayer money for settlements in sexual harassment claims lodged against lawmakers' offices.

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As resistance builds, Macron shifts focus away from euro reform

PARIS/BERLIN (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron, concerned that a divisive discussion over euro zone reform might undermine his broader European agenda, has begun prioritizing other areas of EU cooperation, French officials say.

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In another blow to Zuma, South African top court orders influence-peddling inquiry

PRETORIA (Reuters) - South Africa's High Court ruled on Wednesday that President Jacob Zuma, under fire for alleged corruption, must set up a judicial inquiry into state influence-peddling within 30 days.

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Poland's new prime minister: a gamble that could backfire

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's new prime minister faces a difficult balancing act trying to repair bruised relations with the European Union without alienating the eurosceptic government's core voters.

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Brazil police raid homes of two members of Congress in bribery probe

BRASÍLIA (Reuters) - Brazilian police raided the offices and homes of two members of Congress on Wednesday in the latest corruption probe as the government makes a last-ditch effort to vote on an overhaul of the country's costly pension system.

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Two Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar: government

YANGON (Reuters) - Two Reuters journalists were arrested on Tuesday evening in Myanmar's main city, Yangon, a government spokesman said.

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Saudi King Salman says determined to confront corruption

RIYADH (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz said on Wednesday his government was determined to confront corruption with "justice and decisiveness" as the kingdom pushes ahead with its vision to wean the kingdom from dependence on oil.

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Two Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar: government spokesman

YANGON (Reuters) - Two Reuters journalists were arrested on Tuesday evening in Myanmar's main city, Yangon, a government spokesman said.

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Germany's SPD plays hard-to-get before first talks with Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's Social Democrats said on Wednesday they would share power with Angela Merkel's conservatives only if ordinary voters get a fairer deal, seeking to reassure party skeptics hours before highly-sensitive talks between the two camps.

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Rights group criticizes China for mass DNA collection in Xinjiang

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese authorities have collected DNA and other biometric data from the whole population of the volatile western region of Xinjiang, Human Right Watch said on Wednesday, denouncing the campaign as a gross violation of international norms.

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Swiss Gotthard road tunnel closed after fatal crash

ZURICH (Reuters) - The Gotthard road tunnel under the Alps in Switzerland is closed after a truck and a passenger car collided, killing two people and damaging the key transit route, police said on Wednesday.

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France's Macron to attend Russia investor forum in 2018: RIA

MOSCOW (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron will be a guest of honor at an economic forum to be held in Russia's second-largest city St. Petersburg next year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday, the RIA news agency reported.

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Kremlin calls U.S. allegations of subversive activity 'groundless'

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Wednesday that U.S. allegations it was involved in a new generation of warfare, including internal political subversion, against the United States, were groundless and not backed by facts.

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South Korean firms flock to Beijing hoping summit will hasten thaw with China

SEOUL (Reuters) - Hoping a thaw in relations with China will reopen opportunities after a diplomatic spat earlier this year cost many of them business, some 300 South Korean executives joined President Moon Jae-in for the start of his four-day trip to China on Wednesday.

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At least 39 Yemenis dead in Saudi-led raid on police camp in Sanaa: official

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi-led coalition aircraft struck a military police camp in the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital Sanaa on Wednesday, killing at least 39 people and wounding 90 more, including some prisoners, an official and witnesses said.

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Britain cannot renege on Brexit commitments: EU's Barnier

STRASBOURG (Reuters) - Britain cannot renege on commitments made to ensure Brexit talks with the European Union move on to discussions on the future relationship between the two, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator told the European Parliament on Wednesday.

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Saudi-led coalition kills 39 in strike on police camp in Yemen capital: witnesses

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi-led coalition aircraft struck a military police camp in the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital Sanaa on Wednesday, killing at least 39 people and wounding 90 more including some prisoners, an official and witnesses said.

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Backed by Putin, Russian military pushes into foreign policy

MOSCOW (Reuters) - From Damascus to Doha, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has been showing up in unexpected places, a sign of the military's growing influence under Vladimir Putin.

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China marks Nanjing Massacre anniversary but Xi low key

BEIJING (Reuters) - China marked the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre on Wednesday with a call to work with Japan for peace, but President Xi Jinping kept a low profile and left the main public remarks to another senior official.

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U.S. urges Cambodia to reverse steps against democracy

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - The United States has called on Cambodia to reverse steps that "backtracked on democracy" before a general election next year, a visiting U.S. official said on Wednesday.

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Pakistani court summons police in case of missing peace activist

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) - A Pakistani court on Wednesday summoned a police officer investigating the case of a missing peace activist who is believed to have been kidnapped by unidentified men this month.

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Judges consider HK double murder appeal by convicted former British banker

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Three judges in Hong Kong's Court of Appeal are set to decide the fate of a former British banker who was jailed for life last year for the murder of two Indonesian women he tortured and raped after his appeal hearing closed on Wednesday.

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Turkey says world must recognise East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Muslim nations must press the world to recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, Turkey said on Wednesday as it opened an Islamic summit called in response to a U.S. decision to recognise the city as Israel's capital.

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Packers QB Rodgers says cleared to return from injury

(The Sports Xchange) - The uncertainty about whether Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers would be ready to return this week was resolved on Thursday when Rodgers announced on Instagram that he was medically cleared to play football.

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Poland's new government wins vote of confidence in parliament

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's new government led by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki won a vote of confidence in parliament just before midnight on Tuesday, voting records showed, opening the way for the Cabinet to start functioning.

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Turkey says world must recognize East Jerusalem as Palestinian capital

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey appealed on Wednesday for the world to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, as it opened an Islamic summit called in response to a U.S. decision to recognize the city as Israel's capital.

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China marks Nanjing Massacre anniversary but Xi silent

BEIJING (Reuters) - China marked the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre on Wednesday with a call to work with Japan for peace, but President Xi Jinping kept a low profile and left the public remarks to another senior official.

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Australian PM says government at risk if it loses Sydney by-election

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Wednesday his government's future was at risk if it lost a Sydney by-election this weekend and failed to regain its one-seat majority, forcing it to rely on independents to survive in power.

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Window falls from U.S. Marines helicopter onto school grounds in Japan's Okinawa

TOKYO (Reuters) - A window fell from a U.S. helicopter onto a school sports field near a U.S. Marines air base on Okinawa on Wednesday, the Marines said, the latest in a series of accidents that have fanned safety concerns on Japan's southern island.

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Human Rights Watch calls on Singapore to relax free speech, assembly laws

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The Singapore government's laws limiting critical speech and peaceful assembly are overly broad and make the country a repressive place severely restricting what can be said and published, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

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Tillerson overture to North Korea: U.S. ready to talk without pre-conditions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered on Tuesday to begin direct talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, backing away from a key U.S. demand that Pyongyang must first accept that any negotiations would have to be about giving up its nuclear arsenal.

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Brazil appeals court schedules early decision on Lula appeal

BRASILIA (Reuters) - A Brazilian appeals court on Tuesday said it would decide on Jan. 24 on an appeal by former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva against a corruption conviction that could bar him from running in the 2018 presidential race.

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U.S. wary of Putin's declaration of military victory in Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is voicing skepticism about Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement of a major withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria and is arguing that his declaration of victory against Islamic State was premature.

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Latest fire in Chinese capital kills five despite safety blitz

BEIJING (Reuters) - A fire in a southern neighborhood of the Chinese capital, Beijing, early on Wednesday killed five people, the government said, just weeks after another deadly blaze in the city prompted a crackdown against migrant workers.

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UK's May faces parliamentary showdown with Brexit rebels

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May's control of the Brexit process will undergo its stiffest parliamentary test yet on Wednesday, when she faces a showdown with rebels in her own party over the laws that will take Britain out of the European Union.

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U.S. aid chief says no sign Yemen port blockade easing to allow aid in

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There are no signs that a blockade of Yemen's ports by a Saudi-led military coalition has eased to allow aid to reach communities increasingly at risk of starvation, the head of the U.S. government's aid agency said on Tuesday.

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U.S.'s Tillerson, in new overture to North Korea, says ready to talk without pre-conditions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson offered on Tuesday to begin talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, appearing to back away from U.S. demands that Pyongyang must first accept that any negotiations would have to be based on North Korean nuclear disarmament.

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U.N. envoy urges Security Council to visit Myanmar, Bangladesh

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A top U.N. official recounted to the Security Council on Tuesday "heartbreaking and horrific accounts of sexual atrocities" by Myanmar soldiers against Rohingya Muslim women, urging the body to visit the region and demand an end to attacks on civilians.

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U.S. ready to talk but North Korea must be ready to change course: Tillerson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Tuesday the United States was prepared to talk to North Korea whenever it is ready but Pyongyang must come to the negotiating table willing to make choices to change course on its nuclear and missile programs.

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Mexico's presidential front-runner vows more welfare, formalizes bid

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican front-runner for next year's election, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, formalized his bid for the presidency on Tuesday and promised his government would spend on the young, elderly and farmers.

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Fury says 'nightmare' over after UKAD clears him to return to ring

LONDON (Reuters) - Former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury said he was glad the "nightmare" was behind him as he was cleared to resume his boxing career after agreeing a two-year backdated ban for an anti-doping violation on Tuesday.

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Venezuela to start criminal probe into ex-oil czar Ramirez

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela said on Tuesday it would start a criminal investigation into powerful former oil czar Rafael Ramirez, in an escalation of a purge of alleged corruption that has resulted in the arrest of dozens of oil executives.

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Lafarge paid 13 million euros to armed groups to keep operating in Syria: rights group

PARIS (Reuters) - French cement group Lafarge paid close to 13 million euros ($15.2 million) to armed groups including Islamic State militants to keep operating in Syria from 2011-2015, human rights lawyers said on Tuesday.

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EU pushes to curb Africa migration more, still split on hosting refugees

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union leaders will discuss how to further curb immigration from across the Mediterranean over dinner on Thursday, but are as divided as ever on how to take care of refugees who still make it to Europe.

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Russia not withdrawing forces from Syria, Pentagon says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Tuesday it has not observed any meaningful withdrawal of Russian combat forces from Syria, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement on Monday of a significant pullout.

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EU readies 'David Davis-proof' Brexit summit

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union plays down talk by Britain's Brexit minister that last week's interim accord is not binding and will launch new talks on Friday that are "David Davis-proof", a senior EU official said.

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France's Le Drian says 'no' to Iran Mediterranean axis

PARIS (Reuters) - France's foreign minister criticized Iran's regional ambitions, saying Paris could not accept Tehran's military expansion to the Mediterranean, and accused Russia of failing to use its influence to push U.N.-led Syrian peace talks and curb violence.

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Venezuela to open criminal probe of ex oil czar Ramirez: prosecutor

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela will open a criminal investigation of former oil czar Rafael Ramirez, the country's chief prosecutor said on Tuesday, as part of a broad shakeup of the OPEC nation's oil industry that has resulted in the arrest of dozens of executives.

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U.N. warns of new Syrian refugee wave to Europe if aid dries up

GENEVA (Reuters) - Syrian refugees could again seek to reach Europe in droves if aid programs are not sustained in five neighboring countries hosting the bulk of them, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

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Bulgaria freezes assets of independent media publisher

SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria has frozen assets and property and bank accounts belonging to businessman and media owner Ivo Prokopiev, who said the state was trying to silence the country's independent media.

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German soldier accused of planning to kill politicians, frame refugees

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German soldier was charged on Tuesday with plotting to kill senior politicians because of their support for refugees and trying to make it look like asylum seekers carried out the murders.

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South Africa's Zuma rejects reports his office is drafting emergency laws

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African President Jacob Zuma has rejected local news reports that his office has started drafting regulations for a state of emergency, the president's office said on Tuesday.

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Poland's new PM says government policy to remain unchanged

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's new Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday in his policy speech that the Law and Justice (PiS) party government's policy will remain unchanged and it will be focused on supporting families.

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Russia will keep bases in Syria to strike at insurgents: Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will keep a naval and an air base in Syria capable of carrying out strikes against insurgents if required after a partial military pull-out announced by President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

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Partial power-share can end German political dilemma, some in SPD say

BERLIN (Reuters) - Wary of renewing a coalition with conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany's Social Democrats are instead contemplating a so-called "cooperation" arrangement that would see them agree on a minimal program but leave contested matters up for debate.

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Turkish teachers linked to Ergogan foe detained in Afghanistan

KABUL (Reuters) - One Afghan and three Turkish teachers linked to an organization regarded with suspicion by the Turkish government were detained by Afghan intelligence officials on Tuesday, the organization's head said.

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Tight race as South Africa's ANC prepares to elect Zuma successor

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling African National Congress holds an election this weekend to replace Jacob Zuma as party leader in a closely fought contest whose winner is likely to emerge as the nation's next president.

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Tillerson to back North Korea diplomacy, reject Syria's Assad: U.S. official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in remarks later on Tuesday, plans to say that he is optimistic about North Korea denuclearization talks and that there is no role for President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's future, a U.S. official said.

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'We are one': Palestinian Christians and Muslims unite against Trump's Jerusalem call

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Less than an hour after U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Palestinians protested by turning off the lights on the Christmas tree outside Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

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France expects slow but massive impact from labor reforms: minister

PARIS (Reuters) - President Emmanuel Macron's labor reforms will be slow to bear fruit but eventually have a massive impact on France's stubbornly high unemployment, his labor minister said Tuesday after data showed a slowdown in new job creation.

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Denmark's government at risk in row with nationalists over Syrian refugees

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Demands from the nationalist Danish People's Party (DF) that Syrian refugees be sent home as soon as possible are threatening to bring down the country's centre-right minority government.

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French government dampens Corsican nationalists' autonomy hopes

PARIS (Reuters) - France's government on Tuesday ruled out major concessions towards autonomy sought by Corsica's nationalists after they won a regional election, but said it was open to talks that took account of the island's distinctive character.

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Two dead in Gaza blast, Israeli military denies it carried out an attack

GAZA (Reuters) - Two Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants riding on a motorcycle in Gaza were killed in an explosion on Tuesday, health officials said. Israel's military denied accounts by local residents that they were killed in an air strike.

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Be careful, murdered Iranian activist's daughter tells European exiles

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The daughter of an Iranian Arab activist killed in the Netherlands last month linked his death to political conflict in the Middle East, and warned other exiles in Europe to be on their guard.

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Turkey chides Arabs for 'weak' reaction ahead of Jerusalem summit

ANKARA/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey criticized what it said was a feeble Arab reaction to the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, saying on the eve of Wednesday's Muslim summit in Istanbul that some Arab countries were scared of angering Washington.

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Hundreds of thousands in Israel mourn 104-year-old ultra-Orthodox rabbi

BNEI BRAK, Israel (Reuters) - Hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews crammed into the streets of a Tel Aviv suburb on Tuesday to mourn a 104-year-old rabbi who had significantly influenced a succession of Israeli coalition governments.

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Bomb kills bomb disposal expert in Somalia's Puntland, al Shabaab suspected

BOSASO, Somalia (Reuters) - An army colonel in the semi-autonomous Puntland region who also headed the region's bomb disposal unit was killed on Tuesday after a roadside bomb he was defusing exploded, a military official said.

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Make EU gentleman's agreement with Britain binding: EU lawmakers

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Parliament will insist on quickly making the deal reached between the European Union and Britain on divorce terms legally binding, worried London may not honor a gentleman's agreement, the parliament's chief Brexit coordinator said.

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War-scarred neighborhoods in Ukraine's rebel-held Donetsk

DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - Ruined houses, shell craters and deserted streets - this is a typical scene in the Oktyabrsky district of Donetsk, the largest city of Ukraine's pro-Russian rebel region that bears the same name.

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Japan's Constitutional Democrats: a little party with big ambition

TOKYO (Reuters) - The leader of the small Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, which out-performed expectations in an October vote, now hopes that by offering clear policy alternatives he can oust Prime Minister Shinto Abe's coalition in the next election.

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China warns against livestreaming after 'rooftopper' falls to death

BEIJING (Reuters) - A young Chinese climbing enthusiast's fatal fall from a skyscraper while making a selfie video on a $15,000 "rooftopping" dare has spurred warnings by state media against the perils of livestreaming.

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Russian credit to cover part of S-400 missile deal with Turkey: agency

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will offer Turkey partial financing for Ankara's purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, the Interfax news agency reported on Tuesday, citing a Russian presidential aide.

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Russia will keep bases in Syria to strike at 'terrorists': Kremlin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will keep a naval and an air base in Syria capable of carrying out strikes against "terrorists" if required after a partial military pull-out announced by President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

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Kremlin: We see Trump's tweets as official statements

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Tweets by U.S. President Donald Trump are viewed in Moscow as his official position and read by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Tuesday.

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Japan air force drills with U.S. bombers, stealth fighters near Korean peninsula

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese F-15 fighters on Tuesday held drills with U.S. B1-B bombers, F-35 stealth aircraft and F-18 multirole combat jets

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Kremlin says widespread Russian forces no longer needed in Syria

MOSCOW (Reuters) - There is a no longer the need for widely-deployed Russian military forces in Syria, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

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Death toll from fighting in South Sudan's Great Lakes rises to 170

JUBA (Reuters) - The death toll from inter-clan fighting in South Sudan's Great Lakes region last week - a new source of violence in a country devastated by a four-year civil war - has reached at least 170, officials said on Tuesday.

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Thai PM says no trade with North Korea, ahead of U.S. envoy's visit

BANGKOK (Reuters) - No trade takes place between Thailand and North Korea, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday, ahead of an expected visit by a U.S. envoy seeking to step up pressure on North Korea over its weapons programs.

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Zimbabwe's Mugabe flies to Singapore, first trip since ouster

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's former president Robert Mugabe has left the country for medical checks in Singapore, his first foreign travel since the army forced him from office last month, a state security official said on Tuesday.

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Death toll from fighting in South Sudan's Great Lakes region rises to 170: official

JUBA (Reuters) - The death toll from intercommunal fighting between two clans in South Sudan's Great Lakes region last week has reached at least 170, an official said, up from 45, reflecting a new source of violence in a country devastated by a four-year civil war.

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Return of defeated IS fighters 'real threat' to Russia: RIA cites FSB chief

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Former militants from "bandit units" in Syria are now a real threat after the defeat of Islamic State, as many of them may be now planning to return to Russia, the RIA news agency cited the head of Russia's FSB security service as saying on Tuesday.

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EU suspends funding for Cambodian election

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - The European Union has suspended funding for Cambodia's 2018 general election because the vote cannot be credible after the dissolution of the main opposition party, according to a letter sent to the national election committee on Tuesday.

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Cuba tells U.S. suspension of visas is hurting families

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba told senior U.S. officials during talks on migration in Havana on Monday that the U.S. decision to suspend visa processing at its embassy on the island was "seriously hampering" family relations and other people exchanges.

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South Korea's Moon, China's Xi to talk North Korea, trade in Beijing summit

SEOUL/BEIJING (Reuters) - Reining in North Korea's nuclear ambitions will top South Korean President Moon Jae-in's agenda in Beijing during a visit this week aimed at breaking the ice after a furious row with China over Seoul's deployment of a U.S. anti-missile system.

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Wife of disgraced Mexican governor taking 'refuge' in UK: report

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The wife of a detained former Mexican governor is living in Britain and has demanded back artwork, golf clubs and crystal that were seized by the government, according to a letter obtained by news site Animal Politico.

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Prominent Australian opposition lawmaker quits over claims of China links

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Prominent Australian opposition Senator Sam Dastyari said on Tuesday he would resign from parliament after a series of allegations emerged about his links with Chinese-aligned interests in Australia.

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British banker to appeal against life sentence for Hong Kong double murder

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A British banker, jailed for life in Hong Kong last year for the murder of two Indonesian women he tortured and raped in his luxury apartment, is due to launch an appeal on Tuesday.

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PM May's deputy to keep job after pornography claims, ITV says

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May's senior minister will not have to resign over claims that police found pornography on a work computer and that he made an inappropriate sexual advance against a young woman, ITV political editor Robert Peston said on Monday.

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Leading French conservative quits party after right winger wins leadership

PARIS (Reuters) - Right-wing heavyweight Xavier Bertrand quit France's main conservative party, The Republicans, on Monday, highlighting the challenges its new chief will face in trying to keep the party together.

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Turkey, Russia will meet to finalize S-400 defense deal in coming week

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish and Russian officials will meet to finalize Turkey's S-400 surface-to-air missile systems deal in the coming week, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

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Kids continue to die in window-blind accidents, despite safety warnings

(Reuters Health) - Even though window coverings have been recognized for decades as a safety hazard to children, injuries from blinds and shades still send many kids to the emergency room each year, a U.S. study suggests.

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Tillerson set to meet Trudeau for North Korea crisis talks: source

OTTAWA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau next week for talks on how to address the crisis over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, an Ottawa source said on Monday.