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Venezuela's Ramirez attacks efforts to link him to corruption

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HOUSTON (Reuters) - Venezuela's former oil czar Rafael Ramirez said on Wednesday the government would make one of its "worst political moves" if investigators target him in an anti-corruption purge, which is gaining traction ahead of the country's 2018 presidential election. [Source]

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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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Trump signs into law U.S. government ban on Kaspersky Lab software

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump signed into law on Tuesday legislation that bans the use of Kaspersky Lab within the U.S. government, capping a months-long effort to purge the Moscow-based antivirus firm from federal agencies amid concerns it was vulnerable to Kremlin influence.

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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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Senate leader says he's confident of deal to keep government open after Dec. 22

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Monday he was confident the U.S. Congress would be able to reach an agreement to fund the government when the current spending bill ends on Dec. 22 and that there would be no forced government shutdown.

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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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Mexico government bans Odebrecht unit from public contracts for 4 yrs

MEXICO CITY, Dec 12 (Reuters) - The Mexican government has banned an affiliate of construction company Odebrecht from bidding for federal public contracts for four years, in an investigation stemming from the bribery scandal that has engulfed the Brazil-based builder.

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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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Bitcoin exchange Bithumb says 'right' regulations in South Korea would boost market

SEOUL (Reuters) - The Seoul-based operator of the world's busiest virtual currency exchange Bithumb said on Tuesday it will fully comply with potential regulations from the South Korean government and adequately capitalize itself to protect its clients.

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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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Houston man arrested for trying to aid Islamic State: U.S. government

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An 18-year-old Houston man was charged on Monday with trying to support the radical group Islamic State and distributing information about how to make bombs, the U.S. Justice Department said.

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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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U.S. government calls for teens' climate change lawsuit to be halted

(Reuters) - The U.S. government on Monday urged a federal appeals court to issue an order blocking a lawsuit over climate change brought by a group of Oregon teenagers, warning that allowing it to go forward could lead to a constitutional crisis.

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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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The Carpetbagger: Jessica Chastain Feared Speaking Out Would Hurt Her Career

The Golden Globe nomination on Monday was especially gratifying for the “Molly’s Game” actress, who has been an outspoken critic of sexual harassment.

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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.

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Ukrainian judge frees Saakashvili from detention

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian opposition figure Mikheil Saakashvili was freed from detention on Monday, after a Ukrainian judge turned down the prosecutors' request to place him under house arrest - the latest twist in his dramatic standoff with the authorities.

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Morawiecki sworn in as Polish PM amid dispute with EU

WARSAW (Reuters) - Mateusz Morawiecki was sworn in as Poland's new prime minister on Monday and European Council President Donald Tusk called on the new leader to pursue European unity.

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Ukrainian judge turns down request to place Saakashvili under house arrest

KIEV (Reuters) - A Ukrainian judge on Monday turned down the prosecutors' request to place Ukrainian opposition figure Mikheil Saakashvili under house arrest, paving the way for his release from detention.

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Exclusive: Detained Saudi billionaire al-Sanea seeks to end debt dispute

DUBAI (Reuters) - A detained Saudi billionaire who led the collapsed Saad Group is seeking to repay part of a multi-billion dollar debt to creditors under a deal that could allow his release, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

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Tillerson set to meet Trudeau for N. 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, an Ottawa source said on Monday.

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Poland's Morawiecki sworn in as new prime minister

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish Finance Minister Mateusz Morawiecki was sworn in by President Andrzej Duda as the country's new prime minister on Monday, replacing Beata Szydlo, who became a Deputy Prime minister.

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Putin, Egypt's Sisi discuss restart of flights, sign nuclear deal

CAIRO (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday, agreeing to resume civilian flights which Moscow halted more than two years ago after militants bombed a Russian tourist jet over the Sinai.

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Iran will treat jailed aid worker as Iranian citizen-foreign ministry

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iran will treat a British-Iranian aid worker as an Iranian citizen and she will serve her sentence as determined by the judiciary, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday.

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Putin, in Syria, says mission accomplished, orders partial Russian pull-out

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin flew into Syria and ordered "a significant part" of Moscow's military contingent there to start withdrawing on Monday, declaring their work largely done.

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Emirates and flydubai resume operating some flights over Iraq

DUBAI (Reuters) - Emirates and flydubai have resumed using Iraqi airspace for flights to other countries, the Middle East airlines said on Monday, two days after Iraq declared victory in its years-long fight against Islamic state.

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Venezuelan migrants pose humanitarian problem in Brazil

BOA VISTA, Brazil (Reuters) - Last August, Victor Rivera, a 36-year-old unemployed baker, left his hometown in northern Venezuela and made the two-day journey by road to the remote Amazonian city of Boa Vista, Brazil.

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Russia's Putin, Egypt's Sisi discuss nuclear deal, Middle East tensions

CAIRO (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin met Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on Monday for talks over a nuclear power plant and tensions in the Middle East following Washington's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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Buoyed by mayoral votes, Venezuela socialists eye presidency race

CARACAS (Reuters) - President Nicolas Maduro has set his sights on Venezuela's 2018 presidential election after the ruling Socialist Party as predicted dominated mayoral polls with the help of a partial boycott by a crumbling opposition.

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Iran foreign minister defends missile program, asks European support

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Iran's foreign minister on Monday defended its ballistic missile program and urged European countries not to be influenced by U.S. President Donald Trump's confrontational policy towards Tehran.

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Catalan protesters clash with police over 'plunder' of religious artefacts

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Protesters clashed with police trying to reclaim disputed religious artefacts from a museum in Catalonia on Monday, in the latest display of tension between Catalan separatists and Spain's central government ahead of a Dec. 21 election.

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Putin orders 'significant part' of Russian forces in Syria to withdraw

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin ordered "a significant part" of Russia's military contingent in Syria to start withdrawing on Monday, saying Moscow and Damascus had achieved their mission of destroying Islamic State in just over two years.

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Pictures of the Year: A picture and its story

(Reuters) - Reuters photographers witnessed the biggest stories of 2017 -- from Donald Trump's first year as U.S. president to the flight of Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, from Venezuela's crisis to the fall of Islamic State and a tower block inferno in London.

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Russia's Putin and Egypt's Sisi discuss Middle East tensions in Cairo

CAIRO (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin met Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on Monday for talks on cooperation and tensions in the Middle East following Washington's decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

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Kuwait replaces oil and finance ministers: state news agency

DUBAI (Reuters) - Kuwait replaced its oil and finance ministers in a cabinet reshuffle on Monday, state news agency KUNA reported.

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Britain steps up battle against money laundering

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's government said on Monday it will create a new national economic crime center to crack down harder on money laundering by drug dealers and people traffickers who are expected to net 90 billion pounds ($120.3 billion) this year.

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India's Rahul Gandhi appointed president of Congress party

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's main opposition party Congress on Monday appointed Rahul Gandhi, the scion of the country's most fabled political dynasty, as its president, the party announced.

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Putin orders Russian forces to start pulling out of Syria

MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered Russian forces in Syria to start withdrawing, saying that after a two year military campaign, Moscow and Damascus had achieved their mission of destroying Islamic State.

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S.African prosecutors extend deadline for Zuma to file arguments over revived graft charges

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said on Monday it had extended the deadline for President Jacob Zuma to submit arguments on why he should not be prosecuted for corruption.

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Merkel, Social Democrats seek clarity on coalition talks

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) say they hope to find clarity soon on prospects for a new ruling coalition as they gear up for exploratory talks this week.

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U.S.-backed Syrian forces, Iraqi army coordinate at border: SDF

BEIRUT (Reuters) - U.S.-backed militias in Syria said they have set up a joint military center with the Iraqi army to protect their common border region after ousting Islamic State.

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Indonesia detains 18 in pre-emptive bid to boost Christmas security

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian anti-terrorism police have detained 18 people with links to militant groups in a bid to cut the risk of attacks during Christmas and the New Year in the world's biggest Muslim-majority country, police said on Monday.

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Saudi Arabia says cinemas will be allowed from early 2018

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia said on Monday that public cinemas would be allowed in the conservative kingdom and the first cinemas were likely to open early next year.

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U.S. citizen on the run after busting out of Bali prison

DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Indonesian police are hunting for a U.S. citizen who escaped on Monday from an overcrowded prison on the holiday island of Bali by cutting through steel bars in a ceiling, the jail's second breakout of foreign inmates this year.

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India government favors petcoke import ban, U.S. would be biggest loser

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's government is in favor of banning imports of petroleum coke on environmental grounds, according to a government affidavit filed with the country's top court, which could be a big blow to U.S. refiners who export heavily to the country.

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Indian police arrests French journalist after filming in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Indian police arrested a freelance French journalist in Kashmir for violating visa regulations, the city police chief said, after he was found filming for a documentary without permission.

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Indian police file sexual assault case against airline passenger for allegedly molesting Bollywood actress

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian police have filed a sexual assault case against an airline passenger after a 17-year-old Bollywood actress said the male passenger had molested her during a late New Delhi-Mumbai flight, police said on Monday.

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Bahraini civil society group under pressure after Israel visit

DUBAI (Reuters) - A Bahraini civil society group has defended sending a delegation to Israel as a gesture of tolerance and coexistence, state news agency BNA has reported, after news of the visit sparked wide anger on social media.

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Buoyed by mayoral votes, Venezuela's socialists eye 2018 presidency race

CARACAS (Reuters) - President Nicolas Maduro set his sights on Venezuela's 2018 presidential election after the ruling Socialist Party predictably dominated mayoral polls with the help of a partial boycott by a demoralized opposition.

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China starts formal legal proceedings against disgraced senior politician

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's prosecutor began on Monday formal legal proceedings against disgraced senior politician Sun Zhengcai, once considered a contender for top leadership, who has been accused of corruption and other crimes.

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Venezuela socialists winning local vote, Maduro joyous

CARACAS (Reuters) - President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government was on course to sweep Venezuela's nationwide mayoral elections on Sunday, deepening opposition disarray and strengthening his hand ahead of a likely 2018 re-election campaign.

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Venezuela's Maduro: Some opposition parties to be barred from presidential vote

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday that some of the main opposition parties will not be allowed to run in next year's presidential election.

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China, Taiwan spar over Chinese diplomat's invasion threat

BEIJING/TAIPEI (Reuters) - A threat by a senior Chinese diplomat to invade Taiwan the instant any U.S. warship visits the self-ruled island has sparked a war of words, with Taipei accusing Beijing of failing to understand what democracy means.

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With foes abstaining, Venezuela mayoral contests to boost socialists

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelans voted on Sunday in mayoral races that the ruling Socialist Party looked sure to sweep, deepening opposition disarray and strengthening President Nicolas Maduro ahead of a probable 2018 re-election campaign.

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With foes abstaining, Venezuela mayoral contests look set to boost Socialists

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelans voted on Sunday in mayoral races that the ruling Socialist Party looked sure to sweep, deepening opposition disarray and strengthening President Nicolas Maduro ahead of a probable 2018 re-election campaign.

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China's top paper says Australian media reports are racist

BEIJING (Reuters) - Australian media reports on Chinese interference in Australia are racist and paranoid, China's top newspaper said on Monday, stepping up a war of words over concerns in Australia about Chinese influence in the country.

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Syrian army and Iranian-backed militias push towards Idlib province

AMMAN (Reuters) - The Syrian army and Iranian-backed militias backed by Russian air power stepped up a military campaign against rebels in eastern Hama province in a push towards the rebel stronghold of Idlib province in northwestern Syria, rebels and witnesses said.

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Moore in 2011: Getting rid of amendments after 10th would 'eliminate many problems'

Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore appeared on a conspiracy-driven radio show twice in 2011, where he told the hosts in an interview that getting rid of constitutional amendments after the Tenth Amendment would 'eliminate many problems' in the way the US government is structured.

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Berlin police say bags of bullets found near Christmas market not linked to terrorism

BERLIN (Reuters) - There is no reason to suspect that two bags of bullets found near a Christmas market and mosque in western Berlin have anything to do with terrorism and the find was related neither to the market nor to the mosque, police said on Sunday.

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Mexican opposition leader Anaya to seek presidency in coalition

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican opposition leader Ricardo Anaya said on Sunday he would seek to win the presidency in a left-right alliance after stepping down as head of the conservative National Action Party (PAN).

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Grounded ferry in Calais refloated, passengers disembarked

LILLE, France (Reuters) - A P&O ferry with more than 300 people on board which had run aground in Calais harbor in northern France has been refloated and all passengers have disembarked, a P&O Ferries spokesman said on Sunday.

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Thousands of Romanians protest against proposed judicial reforms

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Thousands of Romanians rallied in the capital Bucharest and other cities on Sunday, protesting against plans by the ruling Social Democrats (PSD) to overhaul the country's judicial system which is seen as undermining efforts to combat corruption.

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Honduras tribunal says partial vote recount shows same result

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduras' electoral tribunal said on Sunday that a partial recount of votes from the disputed presidential election showed broadly the same result as previously, giving the lead to current President Juan Orlando Hernandez.

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Kenya's opposition says postpones 'swearing-in' of alternative president

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenya's opposition said on Sunday it had postponed plans to swear in its leader Raila Odinga as an alternative president, easing political tensions and opening a window for possible talks with the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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Qatar goes ahead with $6.7 billion Typhoon combat jets deal with UK's BAE Systems

LONDON (Reuters) - BAE Systems and Qatar have entered into a contract valued at around 5 billion pounds ($6.7 billion) for the country to buy 24 Typhoon combat aircraft, the British defense group said on Sunday.

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Thousands of Saakashvili supporters stage protest against Ukraine president

KIEV (Reuters) - Several thousand people marched through central Kiev on Sunday to protest against the detention of Ukrainian opposition figure Mikheil Saakashvili and call for the impeachment of President Petro Poroshenko.

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Pakistan says over 300 Baloch separatist militants surrender

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - More than 300 Baloch separatist militants have surrendered over the past few months, Pakistani government officials said, after a ceremony to mark the downing of guns and militants' return to civilian life.

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Dover-bound P&O ferry runs aground in Calais, no injuries

LILLE, France (Reuters) - A P&O ferry with more than 200 passengers on board has run aground in stormy weather in Calais harbor in northern France, but there are no injuries, the Pas-de-Calais prefecture said on Sunday.

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P&O ferry runs aground in Calais, no injuries: prefecture

LILLE, France (Reuters) - A ferry with more than 200 passengers on board has run aground in stormy weather in Calais harbor in northern France, but there are no injuries, the Pas-de-Calais prefecture said on Sunday.

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Catalan separatists to lose majority in tight election: poll

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Catalonia's independence movement could suffer a serious setback in elections this month, according to a poll published on Sunday, which suggests separatist parties will narrowly fail to secure a majority in the regional parliament.

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Philippines' Duterte to seek one-year extension of Mindanao martial law

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte will ask Congress to extend martial law in the volatile southern island of Mindanao to quell an insurgency, cabinet officials said on Sunday.

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After Brexit, UK aims for trade deal with EU that tops Canada pact

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain is aiming to secure a comprehensive free trade deal with the European Union and wants it to be signed shortly after it leaves the bloc in 2019, Brexit minister David Davis said on Sunday.

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Pope prays for nuclear disarmament

MILAN (Reuters) - Pope Francis on Sunday called on world leaders to work in favor of nuclear disarmament to protect human rights, particularly those of weaker and underprivileged people.

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UK's Johnson meets Iran president as he lobbies for jailed aid worker

DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson held almost an hour of talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday after flying to Tehran to seek the release of a jailed British-Iranian aid worker.

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Nobel peace laureate group urges nuclear powers to adopt ban-the-bomb treaty

OSLO (Reuters) - The leader of the group that won this year's Nobel Peace Prize on Sunday urged nuclear nations to adopt a United Nations treaty banning atomic weapons in order to prevent "the end of us".

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Yemen's Saleh buried in Sanaa with handful of relatives present: sources

DUBAI (Reuters) - Yemen's Houthi group has buried the body of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, allowing only a handful of relatives to attend, sources from his General People's Congress (GPC) party said on Sunday.

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Three arrested after attempted arson attack at Swedish synagogue

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Three people were arrested early on Sunday after an attempted arson attack at a synagogue in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Prosecution Authority said.

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Syrian government returns to Geneva talks, Western envoys skeptical

GENEVA (Reuters) - The Syrian government's delegation returned to Geneva on Sunday for the resumption of talks with United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura after more than a week's absence, but Western diplomats voiced scepticism about its willingness to engage.

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Israel says it has destroyed Hamas attack tunnel from Gaza

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli forces on Sunday destroyed a "significant" cross-border attack tunnel from the Gaza Strip, which the military said was being dug by the enclave's dominant Islamist group, Hamas.

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Britain offered 'statement of intent' on Irish border to unlock talks: Davis

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Brexit minister David Davis described the government's pledge to prevent any return to a hard border with Ireland after Britain leaves the European Union as "a statement of intent" rather than a legally binding move.

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Trump's Jerusalem decision could help militants: UAE's Sheikh Mohammed

DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital could provide a lifeline to militants after the setbacks they suffered this year, the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has warned.

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Japan, U.S., South Korea to hold missile tracking drill amid North Korea crisis

TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States, Japan and South Korea will hold two days of missile tracking drills this week, Japan's Maritime Self-Defence Force said on Sunday, as tensions rise in the region over North Korea's fast-developing weapons programs.

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With foes absent, Venezuela's socialists to gain from local vote

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's ruling Socialist Party looked set to sweep Sunday's nationwide mayoral polls, deepening opposition splits and consolidating President Nicolas Maduro's position ahead of a likely 2018 re-election campaign.

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Thousands march in Tel Aviv to protest against Netanyahu, corruption

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Thousands of Israelis protested in Tel Aviv on Saturday for the second consecutive week against government corruption and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is under criminal investigation over allegations of abuse of office.

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Argentina blocks two activists from entry on eve of WTO meeting

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina blocked two European activists from entering the country on the eve of the World Trade Organization's ministerial meeting in Buenos Aires, the two told a local radio program on Saturday.

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U.N. says missiles fired at Saudi Arabia have 'common origin'

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations officials have found that missiles fired at Saudi Arabia by Yemen's Houthi rebels appear to have a "common origin," but they are still investigating U.S. and Saudi claims that Iran supplied them, according to a confidential report.

Baseball nytimes.com

On Baseball: Tommy John Would Love a Plaque to Accompany All of His Fame

Best known for the elbow surgery that is named after him, John now awaits the results of a vote on Sunday that could get him in the door at Cooperstown.

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Norway's Liberal Party seeks to join government

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's Liberal Party will launch formal negotiations to join the right-wing cabinet of Prime Minister Erna Solberg, it said on Saturday, although the government would still be ruling in a minority even if the small centrist group is included.

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Brazil's PSDB picks Sao Paulo Gov. Alckmin to lead it into 2018 race

BRASILIA (Reuters) - The centrist Brazilian Social Democracy Party, or PSDB, elected four-time Sao Paulo Governor Geraldo Alckmin as its leader on Saturday, making him its most likely presidential nominee in next year's elections.

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Lebanon's Hariri denounces Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary's visit to border

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The head of an Iran-backed Iraqi Shi'ite militia has visited Lebanon's border with Israel accompanied by Hezbollah fighters, a video released on Saturday showed, in a show of Iranian influence that Lebanon's prime minister called illegal.

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Libya and Italy to set up operations room to tackle migrant smuggling

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's U.N.-backed government agreed with Italy on Saturday to establish a joint operations room for tackling migrant smugglers and traffickers as part of efforts to curb migrant flows toward Europe, according to a statement.

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UK's Johnson in Iran talks to lobby for jailed aid worker

DUBAI (Reuters) - British foreign minister Boris Johnson held talks on Saturday with his Iranian counterpart and other officials, during a visit to Iran where he is expected to seek the release of jailed Iranian-British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

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Russia fully compliant nuclear missile treaty: deputy foreign minister

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is fully committed to the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and plans to continue complying with it, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Saturday.

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Nobel peace laureate group tells U.S., North Korea to negotiate

OSLO (Reuters) - A survivor of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and the leader of the group that won this year's Nobel Peace Prize on Saturday urged the United States and North Korea to tone down their rhetoric and negotiate together to avoid a nuclear strike.

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Erdogan and Macron to urge U.S. to turn back on Jerusalem decision: sources

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan and France's Emmanuel Macron will work together to try to persuade the United States to reconsider its decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a Turkish presidential source said on Saturday.

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Iraqi Shi'ite militia leader visits Lebanese-Israeli border

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The head of an Iran-backed Iraqi Shi'ite militia has visited Lebanon's border with Israel accompanied by allies from the Lebanese group Hezbollah, a video released on Saturday showed.

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Kenyan lecturers end strike, say deal reached with government

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Lecturers in Kenya's public universities ended a strike on Saturday after reaching agreement with the government over pay and other issues, according to a statement from their union.

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Germany's Gabriel denies report he is eyeing finance minister post

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Saturday denied a report that said the Social Democrat, whose party has agreed to enter talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives on forming a coalition, was eyeing the post of finance minister.

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Britons can change terms of Brexit to diverge from EU: pro-Brexit minister Gove

LONDON (Reuters) - British voters will be able to change the terms of the country's relationship with the European Union after leaving the bloc if they don't like the final Brexit deal, senior cabinet minister and pro-Brexit lawmaker Michael Gove said on Saturday.

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Zimbabwe names diplomat Isaac Moyo as top spy

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has named a former diplomat as the head of its intelligence agency, state-owned newspaper The Herald said on Saturday.

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Iraq is 'totally liberated' from Islamic State: Iraqi armed forces

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq has been "totally liberated" from Islamic State, the Iraqi armed forces announced in a statement on Saturday.

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Czech PM designate: EU should not push us over migrants - paper

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The designated Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said that the European Union should not push Czechs over their refusal to shelter asylum-seekers, because it could strengthen extremist parties in the country.

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UK foreign minister arrives in Iran to lobby for jailed aid worker

DUBAI (Reuters) - British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson arrived on Saturday in Iran, where he is expected to lobby his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif for the release of jailed Iranian-British aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

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Indians vote in first stage of election seen as acid test for Modi

SURENDRANAGAR, India (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Indians voted in the first stage of assembly elections in the western state of Gujarat on Saturday, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi faces his toughest electoral test since coming to power with a landslide victory in 2014.

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Nepal leftist alliance appears heading for election victory

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A leftist alliance between Nepal’s former Maoist rebels and moderate communists appeared to be heading for a victory in elections aimed at completing a transition to democracy after the abolition of the monarchy and end to civil war.

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Mexico right-left coalition presents bid to run in 2018 election

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's newest political force formally emerged on Friday when a right-left coalition presented its official request with the electoral institute to compete in next year's presidential election.

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Japan arrests North Korean crew amid mystery boat arrivals

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese police arrested three crew of a North Korean boat on Saturday for stealing a generator from a hut on an uninhabited island, public broadcaster NHK said, the latest drama amid increasing arrivals of North Korean fishing boats off Japan.

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Mexican president asks Senate to broaden discussion over security bill

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Friday asked Senate lawmakers to include civil society's views in their discussion of a divisive bill that critics say would give the military greater powers and deepen its role in the country's drug war.

United States Politics and Government nytimes.com

Liberal Activists to Democrats: Protect Young Immigrants or Shut Down Government

Democrats want a deal to shield young undocumented immigrants from deportation, but liberal activists question their party’s willingness to provoke a shutdown.

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In push for Yemen aid, U.S. warned Saudis of threats in Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has warned Saudi Arabia that concern in Congress over the humanitarian situation in Yemen could constrain U.S. assistance, as it pushed Riyadh to allow greater access for humanitarian aid, a U.S. official said on Friday.

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U.S. envoy for North Korean affairs travels to Japan, Thailand

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. envoy for North Korea will travel to Japan and Thailand next week to discuss how to increase pressure on Pyongyang after its latest ballistic missile test, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

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Protesters gather in Kiev after police recapture ex-Georgia leader Saakashvili

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian police recaptured the former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili on Friday, prompting further protests in central Kiev by his supporters who freed him from police custody earlier this week.

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Ukrainian police recapture former Georgian leader Saakashvili

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's general prosecutor said on Friday police had recaptured the former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, who was freed from police custody by his supporters in dramatic scenes earlier this week.

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Rebels kill 15 peacekeepers in Congo in worst attack on U.N. in recent history

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Suspected Ugandan rebels killed at least 15 Tanzanian U.N. peacekeepers and wounded 53 others in a raid on a base in Congo that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called the worst attack on the organization in recent history.

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Ex-Georgian leader Saakashvili says he has been detained again in Kiev

KIEV (Reuters) - The former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili said on Friday he had been detained again by Ukrainian authorities, after he escaped police custody earlier this week.

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U.S. calls on Saudi coalition to open Yemeni ports to aid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Friday called on the Saudi-led military coalition to facilitate the free flow of humanitarian aid to all of Yemen's ports and through Sana'a airport, the White House said in a statement.

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PWC to sell government services practice -sources

WASHINGTON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Global financial auditing and consulting company PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is exploring the sale of its government consulting practice, which could fetch about $500 million, four people familiar with the matter said this week.

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BRIEF-Government Of Canada Names Direct Energy Business As Their New Natural Gas Provider

* DIRECT ENERGY - GOVERNMENT OF CANADA NAMED CO THEIR NEW NATURAL GAS PROVIDER FOR CORRECTIONAL SERVICES CANADA, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE

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Polish parliament, defying EU, approves judiciary overhaul

WARSAW (Reuters) - Polish lawmakers approved an overhaul of the judiciary on Friday, giving parliament de facto control over the selection of judges in defiance of the European Union.

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Despite furor over Jerusalem move, Saudis seen on board with U.S. peace efforts

BEIRUT/RIYADH/AMMAN (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia pulled no punches when it condemned President Donald Trump's move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. But Palestinian officials say Riyadh has also been working for weeks behind the scenes to press them to support a nascent U.S. peace plan.

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Venezuela's oil sales to U.S. fell in Nov to lowest level since 2003

HOUSTON, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Venezuela's crude oil exports to the United States fell in November to their lowest level since January 2003, when a strike knocked down the country's output, due to sanctions and a steep production decline, according to Reuters data.

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Poland's PM designate says will continue fighting tax evasion

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland will continue fighting tax evasion, allowing the government to keep public debt in check and finance its public spending agenda, Prime Minister-designate Mateusz Morawiecki said on Friday.

Air Pollution nytimes.com

Environmentalists Ask: Is India’s Government Making Bad Air Worse?

As northern India is swallowed by an epic smog cloud, critics say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s business-friendly policies are exacerbating the problem.

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Rebels kill 14 peacekeepers in Congo in worst attack on U.N. in recent history

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - Rebels killed at least 14 U.N. peacekeepers and wounded 53 others in Congo and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday the attack that targeted troops from Tanzania was the worst in recent history.

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U.S. military says airstrikes kill five al Qaeda militants in Yemen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military said on Friday it carried out airstrikes on Nov. 20 in Yemen's al Bayda province that killed five militants from al Qaeda's affiliate there, including Mujahid al-Adani, whom it described as one of the group's leaders.

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U.S. presses Russia to comply with nuclear missile treaty

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is reviewing military options, including new intermediate-range cruise missile systems, in response to what it says is Russia's ongoing violation of a Cold War-era pact banning such missiles, the State Department said on Friday.

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Pope singles out Rome's decay, corruption on traditional feast day

ROME (Reuters) - Pope Francis lamented the decay and degradation of Rome on Friday, using a traditional prayer on a national feast day to highlight problems such as environmental blight and corruption in the Italian capital.

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France's conservatives choose leader to rattle Macron's perch

PARIS (Reuters) - In his first seven months in office, President Emmanuel Macron has faced little opposition. But come Sunday, the once-dominant Republicans elect a new leader they hope might recover the party's voice.

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Criticism of Ukraine's language law justified: rights body

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's neighbors have a right to criticize a new Ukrainian law banning schools from teaching in minority languages beyond primary school level, a leading European rights watchdog said on Friday.

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Fourteen peacekeepers, five Congo soldiers, killed in Congo attack: U.N.

UNITED NATIONS/ABIDJAN (Reuters) - Suspected militiamen killed at least 14 U.N. peacekeepers and five Congolese soldiers in an attack on a United Nations base in eastern Congo on Thursday night, the U.N. mission said on Friday.

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At least 45 killed in ethnic fighting in South Sudan: official

JUBA (Reuters) - At least 45 people have died in fighting between ethnic groups in South Sudan's northern state of Western Lakes, a local official said, in a new source of violence in a country already devastated by a four-year civil war.

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Britain, EU clinch Brexit 'breakthrough' with move to trade talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain and the European Union struck a divorce deal on Friday that paves the way for arduous talks on future trade ties, easing immediate pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May and boosting hopes of an orderly Brexit.

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After stinging Athens, Turkey's Erdogan woos crowds in northern Greece

KOMOTINI, Greece (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gave out toy cars and dolls to children on the final leg of a visit to Greece on Friday, a trip meant to boost ties but which has exposed the deep rifts between the two neighbors.

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U.S. says it will take steps to press Russia to comply with INF nuclear treaty

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States warned on Friday that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is under threat because of Russian cruise missile activity and Washington will pursue diplomatic, economic and military steps to encourage Moscow to return to compliance.

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Motor racing: Matching Fangio's five would be cool, says Hamilton

PARIS (Reuters) - Lewis Hamilton wants to equal Juan Manuel Fangio's five Formula One world titles but doubts he will have the staying power to try and match Michael Schumacher's record seven, even if he cannot rule it out entirely.

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'Large number' of peacekeepers killed and wounded in Congo: U.N. official

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - A "large number" of U.N. peacekeepers were killed or wounded in an attack in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo's North Kivu province late on Thursday, a senior U.N. official said on Twitter on Friday.

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Polish lower house of parliament approves Supreme Court overhaul

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland's lower house of parliament approved changes to the country's Supreme Court on Friday, a key part of a planned judiciary overhaul criticized by the European Union as contrary to democratic standards.

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Iran's defense minister to visit Russia soon: RIA

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Iranian Defence Minister Amir Hatami plans to visit Russia soon, the RIA news agency reported on Friday, citing a source at the Iranian defense ministry.

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Britain and EU clinch Brexit 'breakthrough' with move to trade talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Britain and the European Union struck a divorce deal on Friday that paves the way for arduous trade talks, easing immediate pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May and boosting hopes of an orderly Brexit.

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Hungary's Jobbik asks voters to help pay 'court-martial' fine

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary's main opposition Jobbik party has launched a crowd funding campaign to raise money for a state audit authority fine that it said could cripple it in the run-up to 2018 elections.

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South African court rules Zuma appointment of state prosecutor invalid

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's High Court ruled on Friday that President Jacob Zuma's appointment of a state prosecutor to decide whether to reinstate corruption charges against him was not valid and should be set aside immediately.

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Venice Commission: Polish judiciary reforms pose a serious risk

WARSAW (Reuters) - The Venice Commission, a panel of constitutional law experts of the human rights body Council of Europe, said on Friday that Poland's proposed court overhaul poses serious risks to all parts of the country's judiciary.

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Palestinians, Muslims worldwide hold 'Day of Rage' over Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Thousands of Palestinians protested in a "day of rage" on Friday in the occupied West Bank, Gaza and in East Jerusalem against U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of the ancient city as Israel's capital.

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Venezuela's chronic shortages give rise to 'medical flea markets'

SAN CRISTOBAL/MARACAIBO, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuela's critical medicine shortage has spurred "medical flea markets," where peddlers offer everything from antibiotics to contraceptives laid out among the traditional fruits and vegetables.

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Vietnam assembly expels ex-top official over misconduct: report

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam's National Assembly on Friday expelled a former top Communist Party official suspected of misconduct while he was chairman of the main state energy firm, state media reported.

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U.N. calls on social media giants to control platforms used to lure African migrants

GENEVA (Reuters) - The U.N. migration agency called on social media giants on Friday to control their platforms that it said are being used by smugglers to lure West African migrants to Libya where they face detention, torture and slavery.

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U.N. warns against any hasty returns of Rohingya to Myanmar

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Friday that peace and stability must be restored in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state before any Rohingyas can return from Bangladesh, under international standards on voluntary repatriation.

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Britain and EU clinch divorce deal to move Brexit talks onto trade

BRUSSELS/LONDON (Reuters) - Britain and the European Union struck a divorce deal on Friday that paves the way for talks on trade, easing pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May and boosting hopes of an orderly Brexit.

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Zimbabwe court postpones U.S. citizen's subversion case to January

HARARE (Reuters) - A Zimbabwean court has postponed to Jan. 4 the trial of a U.S. citizen accused of attempting to undermine the authority of former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's government.

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South Africa's high court rules Zuma appointment of state prosecutor invalid

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's High Court ruled on Friday that President Jacob Zuma's appointment of a state prosecutor responsible for deciding whether to reinstate corruption charges against him was not valid and should be set aside immediately.

Noah, Trevor (1984- ) nytimes.com

Best of Late Night: Trevor Noah Says a Republican Al Franken Would Still Have a Job

Mr. Noah and other hosts tackled Mr. Franken’s resignation and Roy Moore’s Senate campaign.

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China warns of imminent attacks by "terrorists" in Pakistan

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Friday warned its nationals in Pakistan of plans for a series of imminent "terrorist attacks" on Chinese targets there, an unusual alert as it pours funds into infrastructure projects into a country plagued by militancy.

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Trial over 'Love Parade' deaths begins in Germany

BERLIN (Reuters) - Ten people went on trial in Germany on Friday for alleged failures in planning the "Love Parade" music festival in 2010 when 21 people were killed and more than 650 injured in a stampede.

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Vietnam reviews toll road after rare protests

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam's government has promised a full review of charges at a toll gate on a new road after protests there posed a rare challenge to the Communist authorities and showed signs of spreading.

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Israel allows Jerusalem mosque access despite Palestinian 'day of rage'

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli police preparing for a Palestinian "day of rage" increased their presence in Jerusalem on Friday but set no extra restrictions on access for worshippers at the flashpoint Al Aqsa Mosque, saying they had no indication of unrest there.