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Pope lands in Peru as president seeks help in political crisis

LIMA (Reuters) - Pope Francis arrived in Peru on Thursday, as the Andean nation's president appealed to him to help put the country back on track after a political crisis nearly ousted him from office a month ago.

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Zimbabwe opposition leader Roy Bennett killed in U.S. helicopter crash

(Reuters) - Exiled Zimbabwe opposition leader Roy Bennett and four other people were killed in a helicopter crash in a remote northern part of the U.S. state of New Mexico, officials and his political party said on Thursday.

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Jordan says Israel apologizes for deaths of two Jordanians at embassy

AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordan said on Thursday that Israel had formally apologized for the deaths of two of its citizens killed by an Israeli security guard last July in an incident that soured ties and led to the closure of the Israeli embassy in Amman, state media said.

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Turkey seeks Russian approval for air campaign against Afrin

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey dispatched its military chief to Moscow on Thursday, seeking approval for an air campaign in Syria's Kurdish-controlled Afrin region, although Damascus warned it could shoot down any Turkish planes in its skies.

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'Be my guest': France's Macron spells out reasons for Britain to stay in EU

SANDHURST, England (Reuters) - "Be my guest," French President Emmanuel Macron told Britain on Thursday, saying he would welcome any move by Prime Minister Theresa May to stay in the European Union's single market.

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France to launch international group targeting toxic gas attacks

UNITED NATIONS/PARIS (Reuters) - France has asked some 30 countries to work together to preserve evidence of chemical weapons attacks and impose sanctions on those responsible after Russia ended an international inquiry into who is to blame for using toxic gas in Syria.

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U.S. urges Turkey to remain focused on Islamic State, not attack Syria's Afrin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. State Department urged Turkey on Thursday not to take military action against Afrin region in Syria and called instead for Ankara to remain focused on fighting Islamic State militants in the region.

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Turkey detains five activists, including husband of freed German journalist: party

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish police on Thursday detained at least five members of two leftist parties, including the husband of German journalist Mesale Tolu, who was freed from prison last month, the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) said on social media.

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Jordan says Israel apologizes for killing of two Jordanians in embassy incident

AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordan said on Thursday that Israel had formally apologized for the deaths of two of its citizens killed by an Israeli security guard last July in an incident that has soured ties and led to the closure of the Israeli embassy in Amman, state media said.

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Zimbabwe fires more than 30 police commanders: state-owned Herald newspaper

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has fired more than 30 senior police commanders as part of a process to clean up the image of the force, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported in its online edition on Thursday quoting unnamed police sources.

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Jordan says Israel apologizes for killing of two Jordanians in embassy incident: government spokesman

AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordan said on Thursday that Israel has formally apologized for the deaths of two of its citizens killed by an Israeli security guard last July in an incident that has soured ties and led to the closure of the Israeli embassy in Amman, state media said.

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Russia accuses Washington of leaking diplomats' bank details

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's foreign ministry on Thursday accused U.S. officials of leaking to the media confidential financial details of Russian diplomats working in the United States, and demanded that those responsible be punished.

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EU keen to avoid a fight with Warsaw but will want real concessions

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A new charm offensive should buy Poland time in its confrontation with the EU over backsliding on democracy, but Warsaw will have to make some real policy changes to match the warmer words or risk losing some funds from the bloc.

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Macedonia told to resolve Greece dispute and implement reforms to join NATO

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Macedonia's must resolve a decades-long dispute over its name, implement judicial reform and build good relations with neighboring countries to join NATO, the Western military alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

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Venezuela talks off in row over fugitive ex-policeman's death

CARACAS (Reuters) - Talks between Venezuela's government and the opposition coalition foundered on Thursday after the opposition denied providing information that led to the death of a rogue former policeman and six other anti-government militants.

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Mexico rejects Trump claim it world's most dangerous country

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico on Thursday dismissed a claim by U.S. President Donald Trump that it was the most dangerous country in the world and reiterated it would not fund the construction of a wall along the U.S. southern border.

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BRIEF-Okta And Servicenow Integrate To Improve Security Incident Response

* OKTA AND SERVICENOW INTEGRATE TO IMPROVE SECURITY INCIDENT RESPONSE

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Shutting out immigrants is not Christian, pope says

IQUIQUE, Chile (Reuters) - Pope Francis said on Thursday that it is not Christian to shut out immigrants, urging nations to welcome people whose lives had been "watered down" by poverty, injustice and exploitation.

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Train crashes in Mexico City suburb, killing at least five

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A train derailed in a densely populated Mexico City suburb on Thursday morning, killing at least five people, local authorities said.

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Italy's Berlusconi says he is ready to be premier if European court lifts ban

ROME (Reuters) - Former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi said on Thursday he was ready to lead Italy again if the European Court of Human Rights scrapped a ban on him holding public office.

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Suspected Boko Haram attack in Niger kills at least four soldiers

NIAMEY (Reuters) - Suspected Boko Haram fighters have killed at least four soldiers and a civilian in an attack on a military post in Niger's southeastern Diffa region, local officials and two security sources said on Thursday.

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Train crashes in Mexico City suburb, killing at least 5

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A train derailed in a densely populated Mexico City suburb on Thursday morning, killing at least five people, local authorities said.

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HRW says Trump is 'disaster' for human rights, fuels authoritarians

PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's record on human rights in his first year in office has been a "disaster" and has encouraged oppression by authoritarian leaders from China to Russia, the head of Human Rights Watch said in an interview on Wednesday.

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China is a disruptive force, U.S. Pacific military chief says

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. military's Pacific command called China a disruptive power in the Indo-Pacific region on Thursday and urged countries in the area to build capabilities and work together to ensure free and open seas.

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Egypt, Ethiopia leaders say Nile dam must not ruin relations

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged on Thursday not to let differences over a dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile river ruin relations with Addis Ababa.

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Russian police search St Petersburg HQ of opposition leader Navalny

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian police searched the campaign headquarters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in St Petersburg on Thursday ahead of a presidential election on March 18, a video feed streamed live to the Internet by Navalny's supporters showed.

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EU offers Swiss leeway on settling disputes: sources

ZURICH (Reuters) - The European Union has proposed letting a special arbitration court settle some disputes under a new treaty it is trying to strike with neutral Switzerland, sources involved in the discussion said.

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Pope's help sought in Peru on Incan temple taken during conquest

LIMA (Reuters) - In his 2015 trip to Bolivia, Pope Francis asked for forgiveness for the "grave sins" committed against native people in the Americas in the name of the Catholic Church.

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Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa announces election in four to five months

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will hold elections in four to five months, a newspaper on Thursday quoted President Emmerson Mnangagwa as saying, the first time since independence the southern African state will conduct a vote that does not involve Robert Mugabe.

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Nigeria's Buhari says doesn't know if he will seek re-election

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday he does not know if he will seek re-election in 2019 and the decision is personal and also for Nigerians.

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More Rohingya flee Myanmar as Bangladesh prepares to start repatriation

TEKNAF, Bangladesh (Reuters) - More than 100 Rohingya Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar since Wednesday, with the latest refugees saying army operations are continuing in troubled Rakhine State, raising doubts about plans to send back 655,500 who had already fled.

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Philippines' Duterte urges Congress to pass bill for self-rule in Muslim region

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday urged Congress to pass a bill granting self-rule to the country's Muslim minority, warning that its collapse would see separatist rebels abandon a peace process and declare war again.

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Nigeria's Buhari doesn't know if he will seek re-election: radio interview

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said on Thursday he does not know if he will seek re-election in 2019.

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Gunmen in Pakistan kill two women working to eradicate polio

QUETTA, Pakistan (Reuters) - Gunmen in Pakistan shot and killed two women working on a polio eradication campaign on Thursday, the latest in a string of attacks on efforts to protect children from the crippling and sometimes deadly disease.

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Amsterdam's Schiphol scraps all flights due to storm

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - All flights at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport were canceled on Thursday due to a severe storm, as gusts of up to 140 kph (90 mph) blew down trees and damaged buildings.

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'Pyongyang Olympics?' Backlash reveals changing attitudes in South Korea

SEOUL (Reuters) - An agreement between South and North Korea to march under a unity flag and field a joint ice hockey team at next month's Olympics was met sharp criticism by many in the South on Thursday, highlighting changing attitudes toward the country's northern neighbor.

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Czech PM Babis, wary of who becomes president, rushes to form new government

PRAGUE (Reuters) - New Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis is rushing to form a new government, possibly by the end of February, before a new presidential term begins.

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Israeli commandos kill Palestinian gunman blamed for West Bank ambush

JENIN, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli police killed a Palestinian gunman and captured another in a clash in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, saying they were part of a cell responsible for an ambush in which a Jewish settler was shot dead.

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Bus fire kills 52 Uzbeks traveling in Kazakhstan: Kazakh government

ALMATY (Reuters) - A bus fire in north-western Kazakhstan killed 52 Uzbek citizens on a route used by migrant workers heading to Russia, the Kazakh Interior Ministry said on Thursday.

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Hong Kong pro-independence protest leader appears in court for 'rioting'

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A young protest leader calling for Hong Kong's independence from China appeared in court on the rare charge of rioting on Thursday as two co-defendants failed to show up, the latest case highlighting a new generation of opposition to Chinese rule.

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After Trump denial, Netanyahu clarifies remarks on timeframe for U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a step back on Thursday from comments, challenged by U.S. President Donald Trump, that envisioned a one-year timeframe for the planned relocation of the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

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Survey shows Filipinos more satisfied with Duterte government than any other

MANILA (Reuters) - Public satisfaction with the performance of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's government rose in December to the highest level on record since one of the country's top pollsters started conducting opinion surveys in 1980s.

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Cambodia's Hun Sen appoints son-in-law to senior police post

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen has appointed his son-in-law as deputy national police chief, in a move apparently aimed at consolidating his power ahead of an election this year.

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South Africa's Ramaphosa talks tough on state graft, signals departure from Zuma

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday welcomed moves taken by prosecutors against companies accused of corruption and said the ruling party would impose the policy certainty needed to attract investment to the country.

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Bus catches fire in Kazakhstan, killing 52 Uzbeks: Kazakh Interior Ministry

ALMATY (Reuters) - A bus caught fire in a remote part of Kazakhstan on Thursday, killing 52 citizens of neighboring Uzbekistan, the Kazakh Interior Ministry said on Thursday.

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Bus catches fire in Kazakhstan, killing 52: Interior Ministry

ALMATY (Reuters) - Fifty-two people were killed after a bus they were traveling in caught fire in Kazakhstan's north-western Aktau region, the country's interior ministry said on Thursday.

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Zimbabwe's Mnangagwa says to hold elections in four to five months

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will hold elections in four to five months, a newspaper on Thursday quoted President Emmerson Mnangagwa as saying, the first time since independence the southern African state will conduct a vote that does not involve former ruler Robert Mugabe.

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Russia starts shipping S-400 air defense missile system to China: TASS cites source

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has started delivering its S-400 surface-to-air missile system to China under the terms of a contract signed in 2014, the TASS news agency cited an unnamed source in the Russian military-industrial complex as saying on Thursday.

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Tillerson to visit London, hopes to visit new embassy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday he would make a one-day visit to Britain next week where he hoped to visit the new U.S. embassy.

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Turkey says could act in Syria unless U.S. withdraws support for Kurdish force

HATAY, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkey said on Wednesday it would not hesitate to take action in Syria's Afrin district and other areas unless the United States withdrew support for a Kurdish-led force there, but Washington denied such plans and said "some people misspoke".

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Tillerson says U.S. has no intention to build border force in Syria

ABOARD U.S. GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday denied that the United States had any intention to build a Syria-Turkey border force, saying the issue, which has incensed Ankara, had been "misportrayed."

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Macau police hunt VIP dealer after $6 million theft from Wynn

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Police in the world's largest gambling hub of Macau are hunting for a dealer suspected of stealing HK$48 million ($6 million) worth of casino chips from Wynn Macau, authorities in the Chinese-controlled territory said on Thursday.

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Homeland Security Secretary: 'I did not and will not lie under oath'

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen released a blistering statement Wednesday after being criticized over her recollection of the meeting last week where President Donald Trump reportedly called African nations "shithole" countries.

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Oil from sunken Iranian tanker diffusing in East China Sea

BEIJING (Reuters) - Oil from an Iranian tanker that sank in the East China Sea has diffused into four separate slicks, covering a combined area of just over 100 square kms (39 square miles), Chinese authorities said late on Wednesday.

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Colombia's FARC says two ex-fighters killed after campaigning

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Two former fighters from Colombia's FARC rebels were killed in Antioquia province after campaigning for a political candidate for the now-demobilized guerrilla group, the FARC said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Palestinian gunman killed in Israeli raid in West Bank

RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) - At least one Palestinian gunman was killed in a raid by Israeli armed forces on the town of Jenin in the occupied West Bank late on Wednesday, Palestinian health officials and local residents said.

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Turkey says could act in Syria unless Washington withdraws support for Kurdish force

HATAY, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkey said on Wednesday it would not hesitate to take action in Syria's Afrin district and other areas unless the United States withdrew support for a Kurdish-led force there, as the Pentagon downplayed its plans to train the Syrian fighters.

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Bannon's appearance reveals WH effort to restrict testimony

The White House is working behind the scenes to limit the testimony to congressional investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, according to multiple sources.

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With eye on Brexit talks, May to deepen security ties with France

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) - Britain and France will agree on Thursday to deepen security cooperation, a move which Prime Minister Theresa May hopes will win her goodwill in talks on leaving the European Union.

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Tillerson: Evidence sanctions 'really starting to hurt' North Korea

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday the United States is receiving evidence that international sanctions are "really starting to hurt" North Korea, and praised China for putting pressure on Pyongyang.

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Turkey says it could act in Syria unless Washington withdraws support for Kurdish force

HATAY, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkey said on Wednesday it would not hesitate to take action in Syria's Afrin district and other regions across the border unless the United States withdraws support for a Kurdish-led force there.

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Exclusive: Trump denies U.S. embassy to be moved to Jerusalem within a year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump denied on Wednesday that the planned relocation of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would take place within a year, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he expected the controversial move to happen by then.

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U.S. signals open-ended presence in Syria, seeks patience on Assad's removal

PALO ALTO, Calif. (Reuters) - The United States signaled on Wednesday an open-ended military presence in Syria as part of a broader U.S. strategy to prevent Islamic State's resurgence, pave the way diplomatically for the eventual departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and curtail Iran's influence.

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Under threat: Cyber security startups fall on harder times

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A wave of cyber attacks by criminals, spies and hacker activists should make these heady days for U.S. cyber security startups.

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British lawmakers back Brexit legislation, stiffer tests yet to come

LONDON (Reuters) - British lawmakers voted in favor of the government's legislative blueprint for Brexit on Wednesday, marking a victory for Prime Minister Theresa May over political opponents who want a softer approach to leaving the European Union.

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Turkey will take steps in Syrian border region if demands not met: Deputy PM

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will not hesitate to take steps in Afrin and other regions across its border with Syria to ensure its national security if its demands are not met, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Wednesday.

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U.N. chief says don't harm Iran nuclear deal over unrelated issues

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned on Wednesday that any issues not directly related to the Iran nuclear deal "should be addressed without prejudice to preserving the agreement," his spokesman said amid U.S. concerns with Tehran.

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Germany, Turkey resume bilateral meetings, still at odds over reporter's arrest

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany and Turkey on Wednesday resumed bilateral government consultations that had been suspended after Ankara's arrest of German-Turkish journalist Deniz Yucel in February 2017, an issue that continues to divide the two NATO allies.

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North Korea rejects sanctions talk, ready for 'successful' Olympics: diplomat

GENEVA (Reuters) - North Korea rejects as a "provocation" a U.S.-led meeting in Vancouver that discussed tougher sanctions that Pyongyang will fight, a senior North Korean diplomat told Reuters on Wednesday.

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In challenge to Madrid, Catalan assembly elects separatist speaker

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Catalonia's parliament picked a separatist speaker on Wednesday, signalling the possible return of sacked nationalist Carles Puigdemont as the region's leader and the renewal of full-blown political confrontation with Madrid.

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Farage backs off second Brexit referendum talk as EU says UK still welcome

STRASBOURG (Reuters) - Leading British anti-EU campaigner Nigel Farage rowed back on Wednesday from remarks favoring a second referendum on Brexit, a week after he unleashed a new round of debate and a chorus of invitations from European politicians for Britain to reconsider.

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Turkey says will respond immediately to any threats from Western Syria

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will respond immediately to any threats from Western Syria that could harm the country or its citizens, the National Security Council (MGK) said on Wednesday.

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Taliban leader approved Islamabad meeting on Afghan peace talks: sources

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A delegation approved by the Taliban's supreme leader visited the Pakistani capital this week for exploratory talks on restarting peace negotiations to end Afghanistan's 16-year war, two senior officials in the movement said.

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Congo armed groups uniting against President Kabila: U.N.

GENEVA (Reuters) - Militias in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are uniting in opposition to President Joseph Kabila, a senior U.N. official there told a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday.

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Suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers kill 12, injure 48

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers killed 12 people and injured 48 others in an attack on Wednesday on the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, officials from the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) for Borno said.

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Italy approves military mission in Niger, more troops to North Africa

ROME (Reuters) - Italy's parliament approved on Wednesday an increased military presence in Libya and the deployment of up to 470 troops in Niger to combat migration and the trafficking of people toward Europe, many of whom wash up on Italian shores.

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Suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers kill 12, injure 48 in attack on Nigerian city of Maiduguri: government aid agency

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Reuters) - Suspected Boko Haram suicide bombers killed 12 people and injured 48 others in an attack on Wednesday on the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, officials from the State Emergency Management Agency for Borno said.

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Russia: Vancouver meeting is aggravating situation around North Korea

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A meeting of 20 countries in the Canadian city of Vancouver to discuss ways to increase pressure on North Korea is making the situation on the Korean peninsula worse, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

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Kidnappers abduct American, Canadian in Nigeria, two police killed: police official

KADUNA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Kidnappers have abducted one American and one Canadian in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna, killing two police officers, police said on Wednesday.

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U.N. mediator invites Syria, opposition to Vienna talks next week

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria said on Wednesday he had invited the Syrian government and opposition to a special meeting to be held next week in Vienna, Austria.

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Defend culture but shun violence, pope tells Chile's indigenous Mapuche

TEMUCO, Chile (Reuters) - Pope Francis urged Chile's indigenous Mapuche people on Wednesday to shun violence, saying unity was the best weapon against "the deforestation of hope," as they struggle to defend their culture and reclaim ancestral lands.

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Mexico left-wing presidential contender retains lead: poll

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's left-wing presidential contender retained his lead in this year's election race as the ruling party hopeful failed to gain traction, a poll showed on Wednesday.

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Top German Social Democrats urge party to back coalition talks with Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) - Leading German Social Democrats (SPD) urged delegates on Tuesday to back coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and warned that shunning another tie-up would further damage the party's already dire ratings.

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Vandal-proof statue of Thatcher outside UK parliament could be rejected again

LONDON (Reuters) - A second attempt to erect a statue of Britain's former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher outside parliament, just six months after a first proposal was thrown out over vandalism fears, looks set to fail after officials recommended it be rejected.

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Wave of looting shutters stores, spreads fear in Venezuela

CARACAS/SAN CRISTOBAL, Venezuela (Reuters) - A wave of looting by hungry mobs across Venezuela has left streets of shuttered shops in provincial towns and pushed some store owners to arm themselves with guns and machetes, stirring fear that the turmoil could spread to the capital Caracas.

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Davos paper attacks Trump's views on trade

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. Donald Trump's view of world trade will be challenged next week when he visits the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, judging by a paper seen by Reuters on Wednesday that is aimed squarely at his "America First" stance.

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Schools, health could be hit by U.S. cut for Palestinian refugee funds: UNRWA chief

JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) - A cut in U.S. funding for a U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees will affect regional security and could put vital health, educational and food services at risk, its chief said on Wednesday, adding he would appeal for world donations.

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As Catalan parliament meets, some call for fugitive ex-leader to rule by Skype

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Catalonia's parliament met on Wednesday in a first step toward forming a new government dominated by the question of whether sacked former leader Carles Puigdemont can return as president and continue his push for independence from Spain.

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Uganda's Museveni accuses U.N. of "preserving terrorism" in eastern Congo

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni accused the United Nations on Wednesday of "preserving terrorism" in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo where U.N. peacekeepers have been unable to curb deadly attacks by Islamist rebels.

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Russia scolds Britain for casting it as an aggressor after jets scrambled

LONDON (Reuters) - Russia scolded Britain on Wednesday for casting it as an aggressor and said Prime Minister Theresa May was more interested in public rhetoric than dealing with the real threats facing the West.

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Pence urges peaceful end to standoff over Afghan Governor

KABUL (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called for a peaceful change of leadership in the northern Afghan province of Balkh, where the powerful governor has defied attempts by the central government to oust him for the past month amid sensitive ethnic rivalries.

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UNRWA chief appeals for Palestinian refugee funds after US cut

JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) - The head of the U.N. agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees appealed on Wednesday for world donations after the United States withheld about half its planned funding for the organization, a move he said risks instability in the region.

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UNRWA chief appeals for Palestinian refugee funds after U.S. cut

JERUSALEM/GAZA (Reuters) - The head of the U.N. agency that provides aid to Palestinian refugees appealed on Wednesday for world donations after the United States withheld about half its planned funding for the organization, a move he said risks instability in the region.

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'Bookkeeper of Auschwitz's' plea for mercy rejected - German media

BERLIN (Reuters) - A plea for clemency from a 96-year-old German convicted over his role in the murders of 300,000 people at the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland has been rejected, German media cited prosecutors as saying on Wednesday.

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France would 'look with kindess' on UK Brexit change of mind - Macron adviser

PARIS (Reuters) - France would "look with kindness" on a decision by Britain to reverse the course of Brexit and remain in the European Union, an adviser to President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday.

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Czech government agrees to resign after losing confidence vote

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech government led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis agreed to resign on Wednesday after the minority cabinet lost a confidence vote a day earlier.

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Arson attack rips through office of Russian human rights group

MOSCOW (Reuters) - One of Russia's biggest human rights groups said on Wednesday that one of its offices in southern Russia had been badly damaged in an overnight arson attack, an incident it said was part of a campaign to drive it from the region.

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Amid tension, China carrier group sails through Taiwan Strait

TAIPEI (Reuters) - A Chinese carrier group has sailed through the narrow Taiwan Strait that separates the self-ruled island from its giant neighbor but no unusual activity was detected, Taiwan said on Wednesday, amid heightened tension with Beijing.

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Syrian Kurdish PYD urges action against Turkish bombing of Afrin region

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria's main Kurdish party appealed on Wednesday to world powers to stop Turkish bombardment of the Afrin region in northern Syria.

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Future of Catalonia unclear as its parliament meets for first time since election

MADRID (Reuters) - The Catalan parliament will meet on Wednesday in a first step toward forming a local government after December's elections but questions remain over whether the wealthy northeastern region will continue to push for a split from Spain.

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Vietnam oil executives apologize to Communist Party in corruption trial

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnamese executives on trial for losses at a scandal-hit state oil firm used their final statement in court on Wednesday to apologize to the ruling Communist Party, media said, as Vietnam's biggest corruption trial for years draws to a close.

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Czech government approves resignation after losing confidence vote

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech government led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis approved its resignation on Wednesday, a spokeswoman said, a compulsory move after the minority cabinet lost a confidence vote on Tuesday.

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Myanmar police shoot dead seven protesters in troubled Rakhine

YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar police shot dead seven demonstrators and 12 were injured in troubled Rakhine State, after a local gathering celebrating an ancient Buddhist Arakan kingdom turned violent.

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China says it doesn't need Taiwan's permission to open new air route

BEIJING/TAIPEI (Reuters) - China said on Wednesday that it does not need Taiwan's permission to open new air routes, after the self-ruled island complained that a new route over the narrow Taiwan Strait that separates the two posed a security and safety risk.

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Japan government tells public broadcaster not to repeat false missile alert

TOKYO (Reuters) - The Japanese government called on public broadcaster NHK on Wednesday to make sure a false alarm warning of a North Korean missile launch will not be repeated, with tensions still high because of the North's missile and nuclear programs.

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Thai court drops royal insult case over ancient king

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's military court on Wednesday dropped the prosecution of an 85-year-old academic who had been accused of royal insult for questioning the truth of a 17th century elephant-back battle, he and his lawyer said.

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Nations to consider more North Korea sanctions, U.S. warns on military option

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Twenty nations agreed on Tuesday to consider tougher sanctions to press North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned Pyongyang it could trigger a military response if it did not chose negotiations.

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China says does not need Taiwan's permission to open new air route

BEIJING (Reuters) - The Chinese government said on Wednesday that it does not need Taiwan's permission to open new air routes, after Taipei complained that a new route over the narrow Taiwan Strait that separates the two was a security and safety risk.

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Hong Kong democracy leader Joshua Wong jailed a second time for 2014 protest

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong, 21, was sentenced to a second jail term of three months on Wednesday for his role in the 2014 pro-democracy "Umbrella Movement" street occupations.

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Guatemalan president reshuffles cabinet halfway through term

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales reshuffled his cabinet on Tuesday, changing his ministers for the environment, the economy and social development as he reached the halfway point of his four-year term.

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Nations at North Korea meeting commit to considering more sanctions

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A 20-nation meeting on North Korea agreed on Tuesday to consider imposing unilateral sanctions on Pyongyang that go beyond those required by U.N. Security Council resolutions, the United States and Canada said in a joint statement.

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El Salvador eyes work scheme with Qatar for migrants facing exit from U.S.

SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - El Salvador is discussing a deal with Qatar under which Salvadoran migrants facing the loss of their right to stay in the United States could live and work temporarily in the Middle Eastern country, the government of the Central American nation said on Tuesday.

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MOVES-Former cybersecurity exec DeWalt joins M&A firm

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Dave DeWalt, the former CEO of FireEye Inc, is joining the relaunched cyber security M&A advisory firm Momentum Cyber as chairman, the company said on Wednesday.

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Iranian oil tanker wreck produces two slicks in East China Sea: China

BEIJING (Reuters) - An Iranian oil tanker that sank in the East China Sea has left two oil slicks covering a combined 109 square kms (42 square miles), the Chinese government said late on Tuesday, as maritime police scour the area for damage.

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Indonesian president to reshuffle cabinet: presidential palace

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo will swear in new members of cabinet on Wednesday, the presidential palace said, in what will be the third reshuffle of his five-year term.

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Oracle issues security patches for chip flaws

Jan 16 (Reuters) - Oracle Corp said on Tuesday it issued a critical patch that provides fixes for certain of its products for Intel Corp chip flaws.

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Pope meets victims of child sexual abuse in Chile, 'cries with them'

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Pope Francis publicly expressed "pain and shame" on Tuesday over the rape and molestation of children by priests in Chile and later listened, prayed and cried at a private meeting with victims.

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Trump on Twitter (Jan 16): Border Security, fake news, Kazakhstan

The following statements were posted to the verified Twitter accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS.

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Back Brexit law or risk chaos, British PM May's Conservatives tell lawmakers

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party urged lawmakers to back the government's Brexit legislation at a vote in parliament later on Wednesday, warning opponents that trying to block the plan would bring chaos.

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Second U.S. winter storm forces hundreds of flight cancellations

NEW YORK, Jan 16 (Reuters) - A second winter storm in as many weeks is causing hundreds of flight cancellations across the United States, airlines reported on Tuesday, potentially dealing a further blow to carriers' first quarter outlooks.

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Bipartisan immigration plan fell short on border security: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bipartisan immigration proposal presented to President Donald Trump last week failed to adequately address his priorities, particularly in its level of funding for border security, the White House said on Tuesday.

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Canada judge tells jury in deadly oil derailment trial to press on

MONTREAL (Reuters) - A Canadian judge on Tuesday told jurors to continue deliberations, despite their difficulty in reaching a verdict in the joint trial of three former rail employees in the 2013 Lac Megantic train derailment that killed 47 in Quebec, local media said.

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Kosovo Serb leader shot dead in divided town of Mitrovica

PRISTINA/BELGRADE (Reuters) - Kosovo Serb leader Oliver Ivanovic, who was standing trial over the killings of ethnic Albanians during the 1998-99 war, was shot dead on Tuesday in what Serbia called an act of terrorism.

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Canadian jury at impasse in Lac Megantic derailment trial: media

MONTREAL (Reuters) - A Canadian jury on Tuesday said it was at an impasse in the trial of three former rail employees in the 2013 Lac Megantic train derailment that killed 47 in Quebec and has asked the judge for guidance in the matter, local media reported.

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Colombian army helicopter crash kills 10

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Ten people were killed when a Colombian army helicopter crashed near the town of Segovia, in northern Antioquia province, on Tuesday, the army said.

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Aside from Trump limelight, Davos discreetly pushes peace talks

GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will hog the limelight at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos next week, but behind the scenes some of the world's leading diplomats will be working on some of humanity's knottiest conflicts.

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U.S. Homeland Security chief: did not hear Trump use vulgarity during meeting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, under intense questioning from Democratic senators, said on Tuesday she did not hear President Donald Trump use a vulgarity to describe African countries during an impassioned White House meeting last week.

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Saudi Arabia shoots down Yemeni missile: Ekhbariya TV

(Reuters) - A ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s armed Houthi group towards Saudi Arabia's southern Jizan region was shot down by Saudi forces on Tuesday, Saudi state TV Ekhbariya reported.

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Some 1,400 migrants rescued at sea, two bodies recovered: Italy coastguard

ROME (Reuters) - Some 1,400 migrants were plucked from overcrowded boats off the coast of Libya on Tuesday, Italy's coastguard said, and two bodies were recovered.

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German police raids homes, offices of suspected Iranian spies

BERLIN (Reuters) - German police on Tuesday searched the homes and offices of 10 suspected Iranian spies following an investigation by the country's domestic intelligence agency, prosecutors said.

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Iran's leader accuses Saudis of 'treason' against Muslims

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran's supreme leader accused Saudi rulers on Tuesday of committing "treason" against Muslims by aligning themselves with the United States and Israel.

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Syrian rebels release 24 detainees from besieged Damascus suburb: SANA

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syrian rebels in the besieged enclave of eastern Ghouta released 24 captive men, women and children in a deal mediated by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, state media said on Tuesday.

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U.S.-led meeting says sanctions pressure on North Korea must be maintained

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Sanctions pressure must be maintained on Pyongyang to force it to abandon its nuclear weapons program, participants at a 20-nation meeting on North Korea said on Tuesday.

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World Bank urges Russia to spend more on healthcare, education

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's new government after its March presidential election should invest more in education and healthcare to help spur economic growth, the World Bank's chief executive officer said on Tuesday.

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Trump on Twitter (Jan 16): Border Security, immigration, fake news

The following statements were posted to the verified Twitter accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS.

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Security official says did not hear Trump say 'shithole' in immigration meeting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said on Tuesday that she did not hear President Donald Trump use the word "shithole" during a meeting about immigration last week at the White House.

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Venezuela rogue helicopter pilot Perez killed in Monday police raid: official

CARACAS (Reuters) - Rogue Venezuelan helicopter pilot Oscar Perez was killed in a police operation on Monday along with six other members of a "terrorist cell", Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said on Tuesday.

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BRIEF-Freddie Mac Forgoes Issuing Reference Notes Security On Jan 16 Announcement Date

* FREDDIE MAC FORGOES ISSUING A REFERENCE NOTES SECURITY ON ITS JANUARY 16, 2018 ANNOUNCEMENT DATE Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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Netanyahu says Israel, India both face threat from radical Islam

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday he was discussing with India ways to strengthen security cooperation against the menace of from Islamist extremism that both democracies faced.

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Split Social Democrats could sink Merkel's coalition plans

BERLIN (Reuters) - The leader of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) tried on Tuesday to quash a grassroots rebellion against a blueprint agreed with Angela Merkel's conservatives to enter formal talks on a "grand coalition" which could scupper her plan for a fourth term.

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Japan issues false alarm over missile launch, days after Hawaii alert gaffe

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese public broadcaster NHK issued a false alarm on Tuesday saying North Korea appeared to have launched a missile and urging people to take shelter, but it managed to correct the error within minutes.

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Syrian opposition calls on Trump and EU to put pressure on Russia and Iran

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and European Union leaders should increase the pressure on President Bashar al-Assad and his allies Russia and Iran to return to talks to end Syria's civil war, Syria's chief opposition negotiator said on Monday.

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Factbox: Trump on Twitter (Jan 16) - Border security, immigration

The following statements were posted to the verified Twitter accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS.

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Homeland Security chief: Deporting 'Dreamers' not top priority

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Deporting immigrants who came to the United States illegally as children will not be a top federal law enforcement priority even if lawmakers do not pass a program to protect them, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security chief said in an interview aired on Tuesday.

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Pope, in Chile, expresses 'pain and shame' over Church sex abuse scandal

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Pope Francis expressed his "pain and shame" on Tuesday over a sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Chile, seeking forgiveness for a crisis that has scarred its credibility and left many faithful sceptical of reform.

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Syrian opposition calls on Trump and EU to up pressure on Russia and Iran

LONDON (Reuters) - Syria's chief opposition negotiator called on U.S. President Donald Trump and European Union leaders to increase pressure on President Bashar al-Assad, Russia and Iran to return to talks aimed at ending the six-year civil war.

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Russian pollster pulls pre-election research over closure fears

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's only major independent pollster, the Levada Center, said on Tuesday it had stopped publishing polls about the forthcoming presidential election because it feared the authorities might shut it down for perceived meddling.

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Pope expresses 'pain and shame' over Chile sex abuse scandal

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Pope Francis expressed his "pain and shame" over Chile's sexual abuse scandal on Tuesday in his first comments in the country on a crisis that has scarred the Roman Catholic Church's credibility.

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Palestinians see Gaza peace dividend pass them by

GAZA (Reuters) - Life began to look up for Gaza's Palestinians when reconciliation between its Hamas Islamist rulers and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority in October brought a drop in crippling prices.

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Days after Hawaii alert gaffe, Japan issues false alarm about a missile launch

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese public broadcaster NHK issued a false alarm about a North Korean missile launch on Tuesday, just days after a similar gaffe caused panic in Hawaii, but it managed to correct the error within minutes.

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Ahead of UK summit, Macron visits migrants in port of Calais

CALAIS, France (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron visited a migrant reception center and quizzed refugees in Calais on Tuesday, taking stock of the pressure on the Channel port ahead of a summit with British Prime Minister Theresa May this week.

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Sudanese police fire tear gas, arrest protesters in Khartoum

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Sudanese police fired tear gas, struck demonstrators with batons and arrested several people at a protest against soaring living costs in the center of Khartoum on Tuesday.

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Now Japanese TV issues false alarm about a missile launch

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese public broadcaster NHK issued a false alarm about a North Korean missile launch on Tuesday, but it corrected the error within minutes, messages on the NHK website showed.

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Erdogan says Turkish operation in Syria's Afrin to be supported by rebels

ANKARA (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey's planned military operation against Kurdish militia forces in Syria's Afrin region will be supported by Syrian rebel fighters.

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Kosovo Serb leader shot dead in northern town

PRISTINA (Reuters) - A Kosovan Serb leader, Oliver Ivanovic, who was awaiting trial over the killings of ethnic Albanians during the 1998-99 war, was shot dead outside his party office in the northern town of Mitrovica on Tuesday, a state prosecutor said.

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Iran says planned U.S.-backed force inside Syria would fan war

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran said on Tuesday a new U.S.-backed, 30,000-strong force inside Syria would "fan the flames of war", echoing the vehement response of Syria, Turkey and Russia to the plan.

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EU 'still open' to Britain changing mind on Brexit

STRASBOURG (Reuters) - Donald Tusk, the European Council president, weighed in to new British debate on whether to hold a second referendum on Brexit by saying on Tuesday that Britons would be welcome to stay in the European Union.

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Malaysia says it won't let politics derail Singapore train projects

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore and Malaysia vowed on Tuesday to push ahead with two ambitious rail projects linking the two countries as Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak played down political uncertainty ahead of a general election to be held this year.

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Czech PM ready to face allegations as he fights for minority government

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Tuesday requested that lawmakers lift his parliamentary immunity so he can face allegations of fraud as he fights to win support for a minority government.

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Two killed when explosion destroys buildings in Belgium

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Two people were killed and 14 injured when an explosion in the Belgian city of Antwerp destroyed three buildings.

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Fire rips through 17th century heritage building in Indonesia

JAKARTA (Reuters) - A huge fire destroyed most of a Dutch colonial heritage site dating back to the 17th century, including a maritime museum, in the north of the capital Jakarta on Tuesday.

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Canadian suspect in Singapore bank robbery faces UK court on extradition

SINGAPORE/LONDON (Reuters) - A Canadian man suspected of a rare bank robbery in Singapore in 2016 faces a court appearance in Britain on Thursday after he was detained on a extradition request from Singapore.

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Pakistan clerics issue fatwa against 'un-Islamic' suicide bombings

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - More than 1,800 Pakistani Muslim clerics have issued an Islamic directive, or fatwa, forbidding suicide bombings, a book due to be unveiled by the government on Tuesday says.

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Bangladesh agrees with Myanmar to complete Rohingya return in two years

DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh has agreed to complete the process of returning Rohingya Muslims to Myanmar within two years after repatriation begins, the south Asian nation said on Tuesday, following a meeting of the neighbors to implement a pact signed last year.

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BRIEF-Novartis says data reinforces ‍Cosentyx effectiveness

* NOVARTIS NEW DATA REINFORCES SUPERIORITY OF COSENTYX® VERSUS STELARA®* IN ACHIEVING SKIN CLEARANCE FOR PSORIASIS PATIENTS

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Philippines' Duterte had 'nothing to do' with news site's license: spokesman

MANILA (Reuters) - The office of Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte sought to distance itself on Tuesday from a regulator's decision to revoke the license of a prominent news site, rebuffing allegations the administration had initiated a crackdown on the media.

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South Korean charged with murder of wife, son at Hong Kong Ritz-Carlton

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A South Korean man was formally charged on Tuesday with murdering his wife and six-year-old son at the five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel in Hong Kong.

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Japan investigates how to evacuate citizens from South Korea in crisis: report

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan is examining how to evacuate its roughly 60,000 citizens from South Korea in the event of a crisis that closes airports, with military ships being used as shuttles, a Japanese newspaper reported on Tuesday.

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China rights lawyer says legal license revoked after criticizing President Xi Jinping

BEIJING (Reuters) - A prominent Chinese rights lawyer who wrote an open letter criticizing President Xi Jinping said on Monday that authorities had revoked his license to practice law.

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North Korea meeting to stress importance of sanctions - Canada

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A summit on curbing North Korea's nuclear ambitions will focus in part on how to ensure countries fully implement all the sanctions imposed on the reclusive state, a Canadian government source said on Monday.

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Panama probes ex-officials in graft network suspected of taking bribes

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Panamanian prosecutors are investigating a network of over 30 people that includes former high-level officials suspected of taking bribes worth $40 million between 2011 and 2012 for public works projects, Attorney General Kenia Porcell said on Monday.

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Pope arrives in Chile to bolster battered Church credibility

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Pope Francis arrived in Chile on Monday to start a trip aimed at bolstering the credibility of a local Church battered by a sexual abuse crisis.

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Collapse of Colombian bridge kills nine workers, injures five

BOGOTA (Reuters) - At least nine construction workers were killed and five injured when a partially-constructed bridge collapsed in central Colombia on Monday, an official from the disaster response agency said.

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At least 20 dead as clashes shut airport in Libyan capital

TRIPOLI/TUNIS (Reuters) - Fierce clashes broke out in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Monday, killing at least 20 people, shutting the airport, and damaging planes during what the government said was a failed attempt to spring militants from a nearby prison.

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Romania's PM resigns after losing party's backing

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania's Prime Minister Mihai Tudose resigned on Monday after his Social Democrat Party (PSD) withdrew backing for him in an overwhelming vote, becoming the second premier to be ousted in seven months.

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Denmark will increase defense spending to counter Russia: PM

RIGA (Reuters) - The Danish government expects to win backing for a substantial increase in defense spending next month, to counter Russia's intensified military activity in eastern and northern Europe, the NATO-member's prime minister said Monday.

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Blast injures several in Belgium, terrorism ruled out: police

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - An explosion injured several people and brought down a residential building in the Belgian city of Antwerp on Monday evening, police said, stressing the incident was not related to terrorism.

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BlackBerry launches cybersecurity software for self-driving cars

(Reuters) - Canadian software maker BlackBerry Ltd on Monday launched a new cybersecurity software, which identifies vulnerabilities in programs used in self-driving cars.

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Romania's PM resigns after Social Democrats withdraw backing

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania's Prime Minister Mihai Tudose resigned on Monday after his Social Democrat Party (PSD) leaders withdrew backing for him in an overwhelming vote, making him the second premier ousted by the party in less than seven months.

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Twenty dead as clashes shut airport in Libyan capital

TRIPOLI/TUNIS (Reuters) - Fierce clashes broke out in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Monday, killing at least 20 people and shutting the airport during what the government said was a failed attempt to spring militants from a nearby prison.

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Romania's PM resigns after Social Democrats withdraw backing for him: sources

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Romania's Prime Minister Mihai Tudose resigned on Monday, after his ruling Social Democrat Party (PSD) leaders withdrew political backing for him in an overwhelming vote, the second premier to be ousted by his party in less than seven months.

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Greek parliament approves more bailout reforms despite protests

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's parliament on Monday passed a swathe of reforms demanded by international lenders in exchange for fresh bailout funds, a success for the government but a blow to thousands of people protesting outside.

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UAE says Qatari jet fighters intercepted civilian flights

DUBAI (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates said on Monday Qatari air force jets had twice intercepted its civilian aircraft during routine flights to Bahrain, but Qatar called the claim "completely untrue".

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Openness or protection? Czechs' choice echoes EU, U.S. votes

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czechs, like fellow voters from Europe to the United States, must weigh promises of a more outward-looking society against protection from the uncertainties of the global economy and immigration when they elect their president later this month.

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Nigeria's Buhari vows to punish all those behind ethnic violence

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria will punish all those behind an outbreak of deadly clashes between cattle herders and farmers, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday pushing back at accusations that he failed to take action against members of his own ethnic group.

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Greek parliament approves bailout reforms for new loans

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's parliament approved a bill for fiscal, energy and labor reforms prescribed by the country's international lenders in exchange for fresh bailout funds.

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Bahrain court upholds jail sentence against rights activist Rajab

DUBAI (Reuters) - Bahrain's top court on Monday upheld a two-year prison sentence imposed last year by a lower tribunal on rights campaigner Nabeel Rajab over comments he was alleged to have made to journalists, a rights group said.

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Ugandan lawyers seek to quash Museveni 'president for life' law

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda's leading lawyers sought on Monday to overturn a law that critics say would allow incumbent leader Yoweri Museveni to effectively become president for life.

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Baghdad reports 'atmosphere of trust' in talks with Kurdistan region

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's central government said "an atmosphere of trust" marked talks held on Monday with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region to resolve a conflict that triggered armed clashes in October.

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Erdogan: we will 'strangle' U.S.-backed force in Syria "before it's even born"

BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan threatened on Monday to "strangle" a planned 30,000-strong U.S.-backed force in Syria "before it's even born," as Washington's backing for Kurdish fighters drove a wedge into relations with one of its main Middle East allies.

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Syrian Kurdish leader hopes new force will counter threats from Turkey, Damascus

QAMISHLI, Syria (Reuters) - Kurdish-led regions of Syria are looking to a new U.S.-backed border force to protect them in the face of growing threats from Turkey and Damascus, a senior Kurdish politician told Reuters.

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U.S. diplomat has talks Pakistan amid tension over Trump 'deceit' tweet

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A senior U.S. diplomat had talks in Pakistan on Monday following an outcry over President Donald Trump's accusation that the nuclear-armed South Asian state had engaged in "lies and deceit" as a U.S. ally in the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

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Ten dead as clashes shut airport in Libyan capital

TRIPOLI/TUNIS (Reuters) - Heavy clashes broke out in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Monday, leaving at least 10 people dead and shutting the airport during what the government said was an attempt to spring militants from a nearby prison.

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Israel's Netanyahu pushes for India free trade deal during rare visit

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India and Israel will begin work on a free trade pact that Israel has been pushing for, officials said on Monday, as Benjamin Netanyahu began a first visit by an Israeli prime minister in 15 years.

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Venezuelan rogue police pilot says he is wounded as authorities close in

CARACAS (Reuters) - - Self-identified rogue helicopter pilot Oscar Perez appeared with a bloody face in a series of Instagram videos on Monday, saying that he was surrounded by authorities who were shooting at him in a poor neighborhood outside Caracas.

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Nephew of assassinated president Sadat says Egypt too repressive for election bid

CAIRO (Reuters) - The nephew of assassinated Egyptian president Anwar al-Sadat said on Monday he would not, as widely expected, challenge incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the presidential election because an environment of fear surrounds the vote.

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Iran frees 440 people arrested during protests

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran has freed 440 people arrested in Tehran during anti-government protests, a judiciary official said, amid continuing uncertainty over how many were detained around the country.

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Madrid to keep ruling Catalonia if exiled ex-leader reelected: PM

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain will continue to rule the regional administration of Catalonia directly from Madrid in the event that its self-exiled former leader Carles Puigdemont is chosen as president by the Catalan parliament, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said on Monday.

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Philippines' president made call on China's sea research - spokesman

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte personally made a decision to let China conduct scientific research off the Philippines' Pacific coast, his spokesman said on Monday, despite concern among critics about threats to maritime sovereignty.

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Saudi hotel to reopen after being used as prison in corruption purge

RIYADH (Reuters) - The luxury Riyadh hotel used as a prison during Saudi Arabia's crackdown on corruption will reopen for business next month, according to a company employee and its website, suggesting authorities are close to settling the cases of many suspects.