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Obama to Trump: Keep Russia sanctions separate from nuclear talks

By Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama urged President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday to keep separate the issue of economic sanctions on Russia from the pursuit of talks to reduce nuclear stockpiles. Trump, who takes office on Friday after winning the Nov. 8 election, said in an interview with the Times of London published on Monday that he would propose offering to end sanctions on Moscow in return for a nuclear arms reduction deal. Obama's administration imposed the sanctions in 2014 after Russia's annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine.

Xi portrays China as global leader as Trump era looms

By Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - China will build a "new model" of relations with the United States, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday in a speech that portrayed China as the leader of a globalized world where only international cooperation could solve the big problems. Two days before the inauguration of Donald Trump who has promised to be a U.S. president putting "America first", Xi urged countries to resist isolationism.

North Korea may test-launch ICBM soon: South Korean media

By James Pearson SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea may be preparing to test-launch a new, upgraded prototype of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), South Korean media reported on Thursday, citing military sources. In his New Year's speech, leader Kim Jong Un said North Korea was close to test launching an ICBM, and state media has said a launch could come at any time. Experts on the isolated and nuclear capable country's missile program believe the claims to be credible.

Ukrainian president calls for global response to Russian threat

By Stephen Adler and Sujata Rao DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called for a worldwide effort to counter the threat of Russian cyber warfare and urged the United States to "be great again" by demonstrating leadership on issues such as global security. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's pledge to improve ties with the Kremlin and open admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin has put Ukraine, whose Crimea region was annexed by Russia in 2014, under the spotlight. Poroshenko played down speculation that Washington could backtrack on its support for Kiev, noting that Trump had said publicly he would stick to U.S. obligations and there had been "promising" statements by nominees to his cabinet.

China says police and judges need absolute loyalty to party

Law enforcement and judicial officials in China must be absolutely loyal to the ruling Communist Party, state media said, in the latest warning about loyalty in the wake of the jailing of former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Zhou once ran China's fearsome domestic security forces, but was jailed for life in 2015 for bribery, leaking state secrets and abuse of power, the most senior Chinese official to be ensnared in a graft probe since the ruling Communist Party swept to power in 1949.

Obama suggests U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem could be 'explosive'

By Jeff Mason and Ayesha Rascoe WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama suggested on Wednesday that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem could have "explosive" results and said he was worried that the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were waning. U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to re-locate the embassy to Jerusalem, breaking with longstanding U.S. policy. Israel and Palestinians both claim Jerusalem as their capital, and such a change would draw international condemnation.

Guatemalan president's brother, son detained in graft probe

GUATEMALA CITY (AP) ? Guatemalan prosecutors detained the brother and son of President Jimmy Morales on Wednesday in a case of alleged corruption.

Asian champs Jeonbuk to appeal AFC ban

Disgraced Asian title-holders Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports after being banned from this year's AFC Champions League over a domestic match-fixing scandal, reports said Thursday. "We have decided to appeal the case to the CAS to justify our participation," Jeonbuk were cited as saying by South Korea's mass-selling Chosun Ilbo newspaper. The Asian Football Confederation on Wednesday banned the defending champions from this year's competition due to its "indirect involvement in activities" to manipulate the outcome of matches during the 2013 and 2014 K-League seasons.

CIA cites new rules on protecting privacy

The CIA said Wednesday it would implement new rules to better respect the private information of Americans swept up incidentally during its investigations. The new restrictions imposed by the US attorney general just two days before Donald Trump become president will force the CIA, whose mission is to focus on foreign issues and threats, to dispose of the personal data of Americans it comes across during its probes within five years. Until now, under a 1981 executive order by then president Ronald Reagan, there were loose restrictions on how the spy agency handles that data.

Guatemala president's brother, son held on suspicion of fraud

By Sofia Menchu GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemala on Wednesday arrested the brother and a son of the country's president, who swept to victory with an anti-graft campaign, for their alleged involvement in corruption. Jimmy Morales was elected president in 2015 pledging to clean up Guatemalan politics after riding a wave of public anger over a corruption scandal that led to the arrest and trial of his predecessor, retired General Otto Perez. The alleged corruption in Morales' family represents a major blow to the former comedian's credibility in a country roiled by years of armed conflict and political corruption.

North Korea preparing to test new missiles: report

North Korea is preparing to test new rockets, a report said Thursday, after its leader Kim Jong-Un said the country was in the final stages of developing inter-continental ballistic missiles. Pyongyang's missile programme and its pursuit of nuclear arms have seen it repeatedly sanctioned by the UN Security Council. Quoting high-level South Korean officials and South Korean and US military sources, the South's Yonhap news agency said two new missiles had been loaded onto mobile launchers.

Vegemite goes home: Oreo maker sells to Australia's Bega

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) ? Vegemite, the salty, brown spread beloved in Australia, is going home, purchased by an Australian dairy company from the maker of Oreos.

Top Asian News 3:46 a.m. GMT

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) ? A Seoul court on Thursday denied a request to arrest one of South Korea's most powerful men, the heir to the Samsung Electronics juggernaut, in a setback to prosecutors investigating an influence-peddling scandal that toppled South Korea's president. The Seoul Central District Court said that a judge concluded that there was not enough justification to detain the 48-year-old billionaire Samsung vice chairman, Lee Jae-yong, at this stage. The announcement, made around 5 a.m. local time, allowed Lee to return home after a long night. He had been waiting for the court's decision at a detention center south of Seoul for more than 12 hours after a court hearing the previous day.

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