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China says U.S. warship violated its South China Sea sovereignty

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - A U.S. Navy destroyer sailed near a disputed shoal claimed by China in the South China Sea this week, U.S. officials said on Saturday, and Beijing vowed to take "necessary measures" to protect its sovereignty.

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Several dead as gunmen attack top Kabul hotel, take hostages

KABUL (Reuters) - Gunmen attacked Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel on Saturday, seizing hostages and exchanging gunfire with security forces as the building in the Afghan capital caught fire and residents and staff fled.

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Tens of thousands of Romanians brave snow for corruption protest

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Romanians marched through heavy snow in Bucharest on Saturday in protest against corruption and attempts by the ruling Social Democrats to weaken judicial independence.

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Two dead, several hurt in Prague hotel fire

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Two people died and nine were injured in a fire at a hotel in the center of Prague on Saturday night, fire and rescue officials said.

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Gunmen attack Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel, take hostages, deaths reported

KABUL (Reuters) - A group of as many as four gunmen attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday night, seizing hostages and exchanging gunfire with security forces as the building caught fire and residents and staff fled.

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Vowing anti-graft revolution, Mexican governor shakes election

CHIHUAHUA, Mexico (Reuters) - Invoking Pancho Villa's revolutionary legacy and armed with a hard-hitting corruption investigation into the country's ruling party, the governor of border state Chihuahua is shaking up Mexico's presidential election, without being in the race.

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Pence tells Egypt's Sisi that U.S. still backs two-state solution

CAIRO (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday told Egypt’s leader the United States would support a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians if the two sides agreed, seeking to reassure a key Arab ally over President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

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Gunmen attack Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel, take hostages

KABUL (Reuters) - A group of as many as four gunmen attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday night, seizing hostages and exchanging fire with security forces as the building caught fire and residents and staff fled.

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Honduran security forces battle protesters as election chaos lingers

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduran soldiers and police clashed with protesters blocking roads across the Central American country on Saturday, as discontent continues to fester nearly two months after a disputed presidential election.

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Comoros says abuse of passports-for-cash scheme worries Gulf allies

MORONI (Reuters) - Comoros has sold citizenship to nearly 52,000 foreigners since 2009, the government said in the first official statement on the scale of a passports-for-cash deal with Gulf states.

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Gunmen attack Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel

KABUL (Reuters) - A group of as many as four gunmen attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital Kabul and were exchanging fire with security forces on Saturday as residents and staff fled.

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South Africa's ANC to force Zuma to quit as president: reports

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Leaders of South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC)met on Saturday to outline the party's program for the coming year amid reports that its executive planned to force Jacob Zuma to quit as the country's president.

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Pence starts Middle East tour in Egypt, pledges 'shoulder-to-shoulder' support

CAIRO (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence kicked off a trip to the Middle East on Saturday with a visit to Egypt, where he pledged firm U.S. backing to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in the nation's fight against militants.

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Merkel welcomes EU-Turkey meeting to improve ties

SOFIA (Reuters) - Germany's Angela Merkel welcomed on Saturday a Bulgarian plan to host a European Union-Turkey working meeting to try to improve strained ties and clear the ground for an eventual possible summit.

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Fire at a warehouse near India's capital kills 17 people

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Seventeen people died after a fire broke out at a warehouse in an industrial area on the outskirts of India's capital on Sunday, a fire official said.

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Gunmen attack Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel: Afghan official

KABUL (Reuters) - A group of three or four gunmen attacked the Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghan capital Kabul on Saturday and were exchanging fire with security forces, an interior ministry spokesman said.

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Pope urges hope in visit to Peru area devastated by floods

TRUJILLO, Peru (Reuters) - Pope Francis, visiting an area of Peru that was devastated last year by heavy rains linked to climate change and plagued by gang violence, urged people not to lose hope.

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Philippine troops fight first clash with militants since Marawi battle, six wounded

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine troops clashed briefly with pro-Islamic State militants in the volatile south on Saturday, the army said, in their first engagement since the government retook Marawi city in the country's biggest battle since World War Two.

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Russian, U.S. army chiefs discussed Syria by phone - RIA

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Chief of the General Staff of the armed forces Valery Gerasimov and his U.S. counterpart Joseph Dunford have discussed the situation in Syria by phone, RIA news agency reported on Saturday, citing the Russian Defence Ministry.

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Turkish military operation in Syria's Afrin has begun: Erdogan

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday a military operation in Syria's Kurdish-controlled Afrin region had begun after cross-border shelling by the Turkish army.

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Germany weighs new sanctions against Iran: report

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is lobbying among European allies to agree new sanctions against Iran in an attempt to prevent U.S. President Donald Trump from terminating an international deal curbing Tehran's nuclear program, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday.

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German SPD leaders upbeat as biggest branch backs coalition talks

BERLIN (Reuters) - Senior members of Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) said on Saturday they were confident the party would approve the start of formal coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives at a special congress.

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Iraqi PM Abadi meets Kurdistan region PM Barzani: Kurdish official

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met on Saturday in Baghdad with the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region's Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, a Kurdish official said.

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Iraqi parliament postpones vote on election date

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament failed on Saturday to approve May 12 as the election date, as suggested by the government, as Sunni and Kurdish lawmakers demanded a delay to allow hundreds of thousands of war-displaced people to return home.

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Military operation in Syria's Afrin has started, Erdogan says

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday a military operation in Syria's Afrin has begun on the ground and another operation in nearby Manbij would follow.

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Yemen's Houthis fire ballistic missile toward Saudi Arabia

DUBAI (Reuters) - Yemen's Houthi movement fired a ballistic missile toward the southern Saudi province of Najran on Saturday, the group's official al-Masirah TV reported, and a Saudi military spokesman said air defense forces had intercepted the missile.

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McDonald to succeed Adams as Sinn Fein leader

BELFAST (Reuters) - Mary Lou McDonald will succeed Gerry Adams as Sinn Fein leader, the party said on Saturday, completing a generational shift for the Irish nationalist party.

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Russia, U.S. likely to discuss North Korea in Moscow: Minister to TASS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Diplomats from Russia and the United States are likely to hold their next round of consultations on North Korea in Moscow on a date yet to be decided, TASS news agency quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov as saying on Saturday.

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South Africa's ANC to force Zuma to quit as president: eNCA TV

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) said on Saturday it would work for close coordination between the party and the government, declining to comment on a report its executive planned to force Jacob Zuma to step down as president.

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China accuses U.S. warship of violating its sovereignty

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's foreign ministry has accused a U.S. warship of entering its territorial waters without permission and said it would take "necessary measures" to ensure its sovereignty is protected.

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Cambodia's detained opposition leader rejects new opposition movement

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia's detained opposition leader Kem Sokha has declined to join a new movement, founded by prominent exiles following a ban on the main opposition party, his lawyer said on Saturday.

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Canceled North Korean visit to prep for Olympics 'not permanent': South Korea ministry

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's Unification Ministry said on Saturday that the sudden cancellation of a North Korean delegation's planned visit to the South to prepare for the North's art troupe during the Winter Olympics was "not a permanent cancellation".

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Hundreds of police in Thailand block anti-junta march

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Hundreds of police in Thailand on Saturday blocked protestors planning to march from Bangkok to Khon Kaen in the northeast of the country in a rare display of public discontent in the junta-ruled country.

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Cuba, U.S. hold talks on law enforcement despite tensions

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban and U.S. officials concluded on Friday a week of talks on law enforcement cooperation in Washington with a meeting on the combat against illicit drug trafficking, at a time of heightened tensions between the old Cold War foes.

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Mexico ruling party hopeful proposes graft law to boost election campaign

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Struggling to kick-start his campaign and clean up the image of the graft-stained ruling party he hopes to lead to election victory, Mexican presidential hopeful Jose Antonio Meade on Friday proposed tougher anti-corruption legislation.

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Egypt's Sisi to run for second term in March election

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Friday he will run for a second term in office in an election in March, which the former military commander is widely expected to win.

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U.S. charges Honduran congressman with drug trafficking conspiracy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Federal authorities announced drug trafficking and weapons charges against a congressman from Honduras on Friday, the latest U.S. case accusing current and former officials of the Central American country of involvement in the drug trade.

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U.S. to retry Senator Menendez on bribery, corruption charges

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department said on Friday it plans to retry Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez on bribery and corruption charges after a jury was deadlocked during a trial in November.

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U.S. to retry Senator Menendez on bribery, corruption charges: filing

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department said on Friday it plans to retry Democratic U.S. Senator Robert Menendez on bribery and corruption charges after a jury was deadlocked during a trial in November.

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Failure to launch: Egypt opposition hits roadblock on path to presidency

CAIRO (Reuters) - Six months into laying the groundwork for his presidential bid, Egyptian hopeful Mohamed Anwar Sadat hit a snag: he could not find a hotel prepared to hire him a space to launch his campaign.

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Egypt's Sisi announces intention to run for second term

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced on Friday his intention to run for a second term in office in a March election.

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U.S. trying to form 'alternative bodies of authority' in Syria: Russia's Lavrov

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that the United States, despite denying setting up local forces in northern Syria, is trying to form "alternative bodies of authority" that contradict a commitment to Syrian territorial integrity.

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Merkel upbeat SPD will approve talks with her conservatives

PARIS (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday she was optimistic that Social Democrats (SPD) would approve the start of formal coalition talks with her conservatives at a special party congress this weekend.

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U.S. funding hold will hurt U.N. effort to help Palestinian refugees: Russia's Lavrov

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a U.N. news conference on Friday that the U.S. decision to withhold funds for a U.N. agency that assists Palestinians would seriously undermine efforts to meet the needs of refugees.

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Iran nuclear deal cannot survive if U.S. pulls out: Russia's Lavrov

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday the Iran nuclear deal cannot survive if the United States pulls out the agreement.

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Ex-Honduran minister gets nearly two-and-a-half years prison in U.S. drug case

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A former member of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez's cabinet was sentenced by a New York federal judge to nearly 2-1/2 years in prison on Friday, after pleading guilty to attempting to launder drug money from the Central American country.

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French police clash with prison guards in protest over jail conditions

PARIS (Reuters) - French riot police clashed on Friday with striking prison guards who accuse the government of doing little to counter spiraling violence and Islamist activism inside the country's overcrowded jails.

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Syrians freeze to death crossing mountains into Lebanon

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Nine Syrians froze to death crossing into Lebanon when an icy storm hit a smuggling route in the mountains near a border post with Syria, the Lebanese Army said on Friday.

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Slowly, Germany begins to ponder life after Merkel

BERLIN (Reuters) - She has not faced a credible challenge to her rule as German chancellor for more than 12 years. Now, members of Angela Merkel's conservatives are starting to look ahead to potential alternatives to lead their party and country.

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German election would further harm SPD, Schulz warns

BERLIN (Reuters) - The leader of Germany's Social Democrats on Friday urged members of his center-left party to endorse coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives or risk facing new elections that could further damage the party.

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Could Taliban finally return to Afghan peace talks? Obstacles abound

KABUL (Reuters) - Exploratory meetings in Pakistan between a high-level Taliban delegation and a representative of a prominent Afghan politician have fueled speculation of a revival of long-stalled talks on ending Afghanistan's 16-year war that kills thousands each year.

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Far from home, Mexican migrants eager to influence presidential race

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Tijuana native Alma Martinez will cast her first-ever vote for a Mexican president this July, but from across the country's northern border, where she is among hundreds of thousands of co-nationals whose participation could be decisive in a close race.

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1.3 million children displaced by Iraq's war with Islamic State: UNICEF

GENEVA (Reuters) - About half the 2.6 million people displaced in Iraq after a three-year war with Islamic State militants are children and persisting violence hampers efforts to ease their suffering, the United Nations said on Friday.

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Turkey shells Syria's Afrin region, minister says operation has begun

SUGEDIGI, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish artillery fired into Syria's Afrin region on Friday in what Ankara said was the start of a military campaign against the Kurdish-controlled area.

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Czech lower house votes to lift immunity of prime minister

PRAGUE (Reuters) - The Czech lower house voted on Friday to allow prosecution of Prime Minister Andrej Babis in a case of alleged EU subsidy fraud, which has blocked his attempts at creating a government.

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Merkel and Macron look to turn warm ties into reform goals

PARIS (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron will spend more than five hours together in Paris on Friday, putting on a show of Franco-German unity as they try to agree on reforms to the euro zone.

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France says no for now to Johnson's idea of giant Channel bridge

LONDON/PARIS (Reuters) - France on Friday politely rejected Boris Johnson's idea of building a giant bridge across the English Channel after Brexit, saying that, while far-fetched ideas were worth considering, there were plenty of major European projects to finish first.

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Sweden's government, Left party propose profit cap on welfare companies

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's center-left government and the Left Party has agreed to put forward a bill for a profit cap on private schools and care homes funded by taxpayers, they said on Friday.

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China to enshrine Xi's thought into state constitution amid national 'fervor'

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's ruling Communist Party will enshrine President Xi Jinping's political thought into the country's constitution, state media said on Friday, further solidifying his power following its addition last year to the party constitution.

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Somali authorities say troops rescue 32 children from 'terrorist school'

MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Somali authorities said troops stormed a school run by al Shabaab on Thursday night and rescued 32 children who had been taken as recruits by the Islamist militant group.

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Desperate Cubans seek U.S. visas in Colombia after Havana embassy cutbacks

HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuban actress Aniet Hernandez lost all hope that she and her two children would ever join her husband in Miami when the Trump administration slashed staffing at the U.S. embassy in Havana in September and stopped almost all visa processing.

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China to enshrine Xi's thought into state constitution

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's ruling Communist Party will enshrine President Xi Jinping's political thought into the country's constitution, state media said on Friday, further solidifying his power following its addition last year to the party constitution.

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Turkish shelling marks start of Afrin operation, minister says

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's operation in Syria's Kurdish-controlled Afrin region has "de facto" begun with cross-border shelling, Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Friday.

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Russian student injures six in an ax attack at his school

MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian teenager attacked a group of younger students with an ax, injuring six people, before setting his school on fire, investigators said on Friday.

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Turkish minister says military operation in Syria's Afrin should happen without delay

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey's Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli said on Friday that a military operation in Syria's Afrin region should be carried out without delay and that Ankara and Moscow would continue talks about Turkey's planned military action.

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Serbia on course for EU by 2025, top EU official says

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Serbia and Montenegro are likely be the next countries to join the European Union, possibly by 2025, the bloc's official in charge of membership bids said in an interview.

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Taiwan stymies new China flights amid route row, official says

TAIPEI/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Taiwan's aviation regulator has stalled applications for new flights from China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines amid a row between Beijing and the self-ruled island over air routes, a regulatory official said on Friday.

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Let's build a bridge to Europe after we Brexit, Britain's Boris Johnson suggests

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's most prominent campaigner for leaving the European Union, Boris Johnson, has suggested building a giant bridge across the English Channel to France after Brexit, The Daily Telegraph reported.

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Turkey's EU minister rejects any option other than full membership

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey would reject any offer of partnership with the European Union that falls short of membership, Ankara's minister for EU affairs said, warning that the current situation gave Turkey no reason to maintain its migrant deal with the bloc.

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Taiwan stymies new China flights amid route row: official

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan's aviation regulator has not approved applications from China Eastern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines to increase flights during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, an official with the regulator told Reuters.

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Russia's Constitutional Court rejects Putin critic Navalny's election complaint: RIA

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Constitutional Court has refused to review a complaint from opposition leader Alexei Navalny over a ban on him running in a March presidential election citing legal problems with it, the RIA news agency reported on Friday.

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Russia's Putin takes dip in icy lake to mark Orthodox Epiphany

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin stripped off to his bathing trunks and immersed himself in the freezing waters of a lake late on Thursday, observing an Orthodox Christian ritual to mark the feast of Epiphany.

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Duterte says may ban sending Filipinos to work in Kuwait due to abuses

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is considering banning workers being sent to Kuwait because of abuses he said were being inflicted on Filipino domestic helpers there and which led to several committing suicide in recent months.

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China detains rights lawyer critical of President Xi Jinping: wife

BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing authorities on Friday took outspoken rights lawyer Yu Wensheng into custody as he was taking his child to school, his wife told Reuters, days after Yu said he was stripped of his legal license for criticizing President Xi Jinping.

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Japan criticizes U.S. for military flights over school in Okinawa

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan criticized the U.S. military on Friday for breaking a pledge to avoid flying helicopters over a school next to its base in Okinawa, a rare flash of discord with Tokyo's main ally.

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South Korea President Moon's approval rating drops on Olympics furor

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in's approval rating has fallen to a four-month low, a poll showed on Friday, after a public backlash over a decision for South and North Korea to field a joint ice hockey team at next month's Winter Olympics.

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Car plows through Copacabana sidewalk, kills baby, injures 15

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A speeding car plowed through evening strollers on a crowded sidewalk of Rio's famed Copacabana beach on Thursday in an apparent accident, killing an 8-month old baby and injuring 15 people, police said.

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U.S. won't pay $45 million pledged for Palestinian food aid for now

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will not provide $45 million in food aid for Palestinians that it pledged last month as part of the West Bank/Gaza Emergency Appeal led by the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the U.S. State Department said on Thursday.

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African U.N. envoys suggest Trump meet leaders in Ethiopia after 'shithole' remark

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - African U.N. envoys suggested on Thursday that U.S. President Donald Trump meet with African leaders in Ethiopia this month after he was reported to have described some immigrants from Africa and Haiti as coming from "shithole" countries.

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BRIEF-Aptar Announces George Fotiades To Replace Chairman King Harris

* APTAR ANNOUNCES CHAIRMAN KING HARRIS TO RETIRE IN MAY; GEORGE FOTIADES ELECTED AS INCOMING CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD; TWO NEW DIRECTORS APPOINTED Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

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New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern pregnant with first child

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday she was pregnant with her first child, and planned to take a short break after the birth in June.

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New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern announces she is pregnant with first child

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Friday that she was pregnant with her first child, which was due in June.

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Sudanese authorities detain Reuters, AFP reporters in Khartoum

CAIRO (Reuters) - Sudanese authorities have detained a Reuters stringer and an AFP reporter who were covering protests in the capital Khartoum, the external information council, which deals with foreign media organizations, said.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.