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On final trip, Carter looks to reassure Asia allies

By Idrees Ali WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter makes his last scheduled trip to Asia next week, and he will try to sooth anxieties caused by Donald Trump's election, U.S. officials said. The Obama administration made Asia and U.S. alliances there a priority. While details of Trump's approach to the region remain scant, his calls for allies to pay more to sustain U.S. forces or face their possible withdrawal have alarmed Japan and South Korea.

Russia not serious in talks with Syrian rebels: opposition official

By Angus McDowall and Tom Perry BEIRUT (Reuters) - A senior Syrian opposition official accused Russia on Friday of procrastinating in talks with rebels over Aleppo, signaling no progress in diplomacy which rebels hoped would ease dire conditions in the city where they are in danger of defeat. Buoyed by its rapid capture of several whole neighborhoods, the government on Friday took journalists on an escorted tour of the ruined northeast Aleppo districts which fell on Sunday and Monday, and which the army is sweeping for mines. The rebels' talks with Russia, the most powerful ally of President Bashar al-Assad, in Ankara point to the bad set of options they face.

South Korea opposition introduces bill to impeach scandal-tainted Park

South Korea's three opposition parties introduced a bill on Saturday for parliament to impeach President Park Geun-hye who, tainted by a corruption scandal, could become the first democratically elected leader to leave office early in disgrace. The bill, signed by 171 members of the 300-seat unicameral assembly, said Park violated the constitution and criminal law by abusing her presidential power. "We hereby propose impeachment proceedings to protect the constitution and restore constitutional order by removing President Park Geun-hye from office," it said.

Trump speaks to Taiwan's leader in move that could anger China

By David Brunnstrom and Emily Stephenson WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke by phone on Friday with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, a move that is likely to infuriate China and complicate U.S. relations with Beijing. The call was the first such contact with Taiwan by a U.S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter adopted a one-China policy in 1979. Trump said on Twitter that the Taiwanese leader initiated the call.

Malaysia says Myanmar violence against Muslim Rohingya 'ethnic cleansing'

Malaysia described the violence against Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya minority as "ethnic cleansing" on Saturday, ahead of a planned solidarity march in Kuala Lumpur expected to be led by Prime Minister Najib Razak. The strongly-worded statement came after Myanmar said on Friday that Malaysia should respect sovereign affairs and follow Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) policy of non-interference in other member countries? internal affairs. "The fact that only one particular ethnicity is being driven out is by definition ethnic cleansing," Malaysia's foreign ministry said in a statement.

Europe must brace for new, varied IS attacks: security chief

By Alastair Macdonald BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Islamic State will attack Europe again, security chiefs warned on Friday, and may add car bombs, cyber and chemical warfare to its local arsenal as European militants drift home after reverses in Syria and Iraq. Gilles de Kerchove, the European Union's Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, said it was impossible to know for sure how many militants were already in Europe plotting. "We have to be prepared because some of them will come to Europe," said de Kerchove, a veteran EU official whose Brussels office is packed with books and souvenirs from nine years of intensive travel and talking with Europe's troubled neighbors.

Jamaican fugitive arrested day after making FBI wanted list

LOS ANGELES (AP) ? The FBI says it has arrested a Jamaican fugitive a day after he was added to the agency's top 10 most wanted list in the deaths of four people at a Los Angeles birthday party in October.

Merkel to chart 2017 election battle at party congress

After Donald Trump's shock victory, Francois Hollande's decision not to seek re-election and populism on the rise, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is next up on the campaign podium to set out her strategy for winning in 2017 polls. When her centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) holds its annual two-day congress from Tuesday, she will seek to rally members behind her bid for a fourth term as Germany's leader. Here is an outline of what the CDU congress in the western city of Essen is about.

Apparent tax arrangements of top soccer players released

MADRID (AP) ? A group of European media outlets on Friday published what it claims are details of tax arrangements made by several top soccer players and coaches, including Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil.

Top Asian News 3:26 a.m. GMT

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) ? President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with the president of Taiwan, a move that will be sure to anger China. It is highly unusual, probably unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a leader of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979. Washington has pursued a so-called "one China" policy since 1979, when it shifted diplomatic recognition of China from the government in Taiwan to the communist government on the mainland. Under that policy, the U.S. recognizes Beijing as representing China but retains unofficial ties with Taiwan. A statement from Trump's transition team said he spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, who offered her congratulations.

What US presidents said about ties with China and Taiwan

President-elect Donald Trump spoke Friday with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, a highly unusual and probably unprecedented move since the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with the self-governing island in 1979 and shifted to diplomatic recognition of China under a so-called "one-China" policy.

Trump says Philippines fighting drugs 'the right way': Duterte

Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday that President-elect Donald Trump told him Manila was conducting its deadly drug war "the right way", in stark contrast to the criticism he has received from the current White House. The Philippine president called Trump late Friday evening to congratulate him on his election victory with Trump wishing him "success" in his controversial anti-crime crackdown, in which some 4,800 people have been killed since June, according to Duterte. Trump's office released a brief statement following the conversation, saying Duterte had congratulated Trump and the two agreed to work together closely.

Norway urges Trump to issue predictable, clear policy on Russia

By Andrea Shalal and Mike Stone SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (Reuters) - Norway on Friday urged U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to enunciate a clear and predictable policy on Russia as soon as possible, amid growing concerns in Oslo about increasing Russian military activities in the "High North" or Arctic region. "What is most important to us right now is to have both a predictable and a very clear policy on Russia," Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide told Reuters ahead of the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in California. Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg spoke by telephone with Trump on Thursday, addressing concerns of the transatlantic NATO alliance and Europe about Russia's increasingly aggressive military stance, Soereide said.

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