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  • Japan's Abe takes G7 leaders to shrine as economy tops summit agenda

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer arrive at Chubu Centrair International Airport in Tokoname, ahead of the G7 summit meetings.By Matt Spetalnick and Minami Funakoshi ISE-SHIMA, Japan (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe escorted Group of Seven (G7) leaders to the Shinto religion's holiest site on Thursday before a summit covering topics from risks to the global economy to refugees and China's maritime assertiveness. Abe greeted U.S. President Barack Obama and other G7 partners one-by-one at Ise Grand Shrine in central Japan, dedicated to sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami, mythical ancestress of the emperor. Abe has said he hopes the shrine visit will provide an insight to the heart of Japanese culture.




  • Atomic bomb survivors to attend Hiroshima event for Obama visit

    The Wider Image: Hiroshima after the atomic bombISE-SHIMA, Japan (Reuters) - At least three atomic bomb survivors will attend an event in Hiroshima on Friday when President Barack Obama becomes the first incumbent U.S. leader to visit the site of the world's first atomic bombing, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported. Obama has said he will not apologize or address the debate on whether the Aug. 6, 1945, dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and on Nagasaki three days later was justified, but will honor all those who lost their lives in World War Two. He will be accompanied by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the visit. ...




  • On eve of Greece visit, Putin says problems with EU can be solved

    Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during meeting with French businessmen in MoscowRussia and the European Union need to build a 'an equal and fair dialogue' as partners to overcome their differences, President Vladimir Putin said in an article published in a Greek newspaper on Thursday on an eve of a visit to the country. Western financial sanctions were imposed on Moscow in 2014 over its role in the Ukraine conflict, where it annexed Crimea. Russia has imposed counter sanctions against West, including a ban on agricultural produce.




  • Egypt investigator says French specialist vessel to join black box search today

    Recovered debris of the EgyptAir jet that crashed in the Mediterranean Sea are seen in this still image taken from videoCAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's air accidents chief said on Thursday that a vessel provided by French company Alseamar, which specializes in marine wreckage searches, will join within hours the hunt for the black boxes from crashed EgyptAir flight MS804. Ayman al-Moqadem said negotiations were also underway to contract a second firm to help in the search. The investigating team had also received radar imagery and audio recordings from Greece detailing the flight trajectory of the doomed plane and the last conversation between its pilot and Greek air traffic control, Moqadem said. ...




  • French strikers seek to tighten grip on energy supplies

    A placard which reads "closed, dried up" is seen at a petrol station in SavenayThe hardline CGT union sought to tighten its grip on France's energy supplies and transport network on Thursday as its stand-off with the government over planned labor reforms continued into a day of nationwide protests. French nuclear power capacity was cut by at least 4 gigawatts (GW) as part of a rolling nationwide strike, grid operator RTE showed on its website. A report on France Inter radio's web site cited a CGT delegate saying the union had the ability to cut off a fuel pipeline from the port of Le Havre supplying Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris.




  • China says its people will never stand for Taiwan independence

    Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen addresses during an inauguration ceremony in TaipeiChina's 1.3 billion people are united in their determination never to allow self-ruled Taiwan to become independent, China's top official in charge of ties with the island was quoted as saying on Thursday, in Beijing's latest blast at Taipei. China has repeatedly warned Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, whose leader Tsai Ing-wen assumed the presidency last week, of negative consequences if they fail to recognize Taiwan is a part of China under Beijing's "one China" principle. Tsai has said democratic principles will rule Taiwan's ties with Beijing and urged China in her inaugural speech Friday to "set aside the baggage of history" and engage in positive dialogue.




  • Top Asian News 8:25 a.m. GMT
    ISE, Japan (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe urged fellow leaders of the Group of Seven advanced economies to unite Thursday in forging a more urgent, coordinated response to the faltering global recovery. Abe and his counterparts sat down at a big round table for the first of their summit working sessions after strolling through the grounds of the Ise (Ee-say) Shrine, a tranquil, densely forested landmark that is the holiest site in the Japan's indigenous Shinto religion, and then joining a group of children in a tree planting ceremony. The G-7 gathering dovetails in many ways with Abe's long-term diplomatic, political and economic agenda.

  • Cambodian police hunt for opposition leader, waylay his car
    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Armed security forces raided the headquarters of Cambodia's main opposition party and surrounded the car of its No. 2 leader Thursday in an apparent attempt to apprehend him, but left empty-handed after not finding him in either place, witnesses and officials said.

  • Chevron Nigeria facilities 'grounded' by attack: source
    YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Chevron's onshore activities in Nigeria's Niger Delta have been shut down by a militant attack on an electricity power line leading to its Escravos terminal, a company source said on Thursday. "It is a crude line which means all activities in Chevron are grounded," the source told Reuters. (Reporting by Tife Owolabi; Editing by Ed Cropley)

  • 11 injured in 3rd night of clashes over squat in Barcelona

    Protestors move garbage containers during a demonstration in support of squatters in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, May 25, 2016. Protesters supporting squatters in Barcelona clashed with police for the third night in a row. The activists want squatters allowed back inside a vacant bank branch they occupied for years before they were evicted. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Police say 11 people were injured in a third consecutive night of clashes with protesters supporting squatters in Spain's northeastern city of Barcelona.




  • New Philippine president to face early test over food security

    Different rice varieties are pictured at a food stall in the mountain resort of BaguioBy Enrico Dela Cruz MANILA (Reuters) - While Philippine elections this month were dominated by talk about crushing crime, the next president faces another critical early test: ensuring there is enough rice for the country's more than 100 million people. The Philippine crop is suffering mounting drought damage, just as the country's big Asian rice suppliers also suffer from an El Nino weather pattern. There are now concerns that potentially vital imports may be delayed as the incoming administration of Rodrigo Duterte, who campaigned on making food available and affordable, looks to overhaul policies and review existing state purchase plans.




  • France's power output drops as workers join strike
    Power output in France fell by at least 5 gigawatts on Thursday after members of the CGT union at utility EDF joined a rolling nationwide strike against planned government reforms, a union official said. CGT members at 19 nuclear power plants had voted on Wednesday to join the strike which has already paralyzed French businesses and disrupted fuel supplies leading to shortages in some parts of France in the past week. Laurent Langlard, a CGT spokesman said power output was down by 5,000 MW by 0745 GMT as reactors reduced production but did not stop running.

  • French PM says possible to 'modify' reforms at centre of strikes

    Striking workers block access to the harbour at Saint-Nazaire, in western France, on May 24, 2016Paris (AFP) - French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday it might be possible to make changes to the labour reforms that have sparked protests and a wave of strikes.




  • Muslim mob attacks Christian homes in Egyptian province
    CAIRO (AP) — The Coptic Christian church says a Muslim mob has ransacked and torched seven Christian homes in a province south of Cairo after rumors spread that a Christian man had an affair with a Muslim woman.

  • EU chief says Turkey should meet visa terms, ignores threats
    BRUSSELS (AP) — European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says the EU expects Turkey to respect all conditions to secure visa-free travel for its citizens and has rejected what he called threats from Ankara.

  • Debris in Mozambique, Mauritius to be analyzed by MH370 team

    FILE - In this July 29, 2015, file photo, French police officers carry a piece of debris from a plane known as a "flaperon" on the shore iof Saint-Andre, Reunion Island. Three new pieces of debris found washed ashore in Mozambique and the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius will be examined by investigators in Australia to see if they came from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, officials said Thursday. (AP Photo/Lucas Marie, File)SYDNEY (AP) — Three pieces of debris found washed ashore in Mozambique and the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius will be examined by investigators in Australia to see if they came from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, officials said Thursday.




  • The Latest: French officials say energy supply won't run out

    Cars queue near a poster that reads "Fuel Shortage" outside a closed gas station in Villeneuve d'Ascq, near Lille, northern France, Wednesday, May 25, 2016. France has started using its fuel reserves to deal with gasoline shortages caused by strikes and protests over a bill weakening worker protections. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)LE HAVRE, France (AP) — The Latest on French labor dispute (all times local):




  • G7 concerned over emerging markets; PM Abe makes Lehman comparison
    ISE-SHIMA, Japan (Reuters) - Group of Seven leaders voiced concern on Thursday about emerging economies, a senior Japanese official said, as their host, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a pointed comparison to the global financial crisis. "G7 leaders voiced the view that emerging economies are in a severe situation, although there were views that the current economic situation is not a crisis," Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshige Seko told reporters after during the first day of a two-day G7 summit in Ise-Shima, central Japan. Abe told the group that they shared the view on the risks to the global economy, Seko said.

  • Israeli air force targets Gaza sites after rocket attack

    Graffiti in Gaza City commemorating the "Nakba" or "catastrophe" in Arabic, a reference to the establishment in 1948 of the state of Israel in the then British-mandate PalestineThe Israeli air force carried out strikes on Hamas sites in Gaza early Thursday in response to a rocket attack targeting the Jewish state, the army and Palestinian officials said. In response, the Israeli air force "targeted two Hamas sites in the southern Gaza Strip," the military said in a statement. A statement from Ajnad Beit al-Maqdis, a small Salafist jihadi group, claimed the rocket attack, which came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sealed a deal to bring hardline nationalist Avigdor Lieberman into his coalition as defence minister.




  • Japan PM Abe warns of Lehman-magnitude crisis: Nikkei
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned his Group of Seven counterparts of a crisis on the scale of Lehman Brothers, Nikkei reported, offering a potential justification to again delay an increase in the national sales tax. Abe presented data at a Thursday session of the G7 summit he is hosting, showing that commodities prices have fallen 55 percent since 2014, the same margin they fell during the global financial crisis, the newspaper said, interpreting this as "warning of the re-emergence of a Lehman-scale crisis". Abe has pledged to raise Japan's sales tax to 10 percent from 8 percent in April next year as planned, unless there is a financial crisis on the scale of the Lehman collapse or a major natural disaster.

  • South Korea's Park facing last chance to push through reforms, boost growth

    South Korean President Park Geun-Hye is seen during a welcome ceremony at the National Palace in Mexico CityBy Jack Kim and Christine Kim SEOUL (Reuters) - Thwarted in the last parliament, South Korean President Park Geun-hye may be facing her last chance to push through a series of bills aimed at bolstering a flagging economy despite a legislature that will soon be in opposition control. Park, in the fourth year of a single five-year term, faces an uphill battle to pass legislation to loosen the notoriously rigid labor market, boost the services industry, and ease regulations to create jobs and growth in Asia's fourth-largest economy. Despite a parliamentary majority, Park's conservative Saenuri Party chose not to force through legislation to make the labor market more flexible, fearing public backlash over worries about job security.




  • France: Day of strikes, protests, fuel blockades over labor

    Cars queue near a poster that reads "Fuel Shortage" outside a closed gas station in Villeneuve d'Ascq, near Lille, northern France, Wednesday, May 25, 2016. France has started using its fuel reserves to deal with gasoline shortages caused by strikes and protests over a bill weakening worker protections. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)LE HAVRE, France (AP) — With union activists disrupting fuel supplies, trains and nuclear plants, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls opened the door Thursday to possible changes in a labor bill that has sparked intensifying strikes and protests — but insisted the government will not abandon it.




  • DR Congo's opposition defiant despite rising crackdown

    Opposition groups called for protests after the Constitutional Court ruled Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila could remain in a caretaker capacity beyond the expiry of his second term in DecemberTensions are soaring in the Democratic Republic of Congo where veteran President Joseph Kabila is turning up the pressure on an embattled yet defiant opposition ahead of planned protests on Thursday. With Kabila's powerful rival and football magnate Moise Katumbi all but pushed into exile in South Africa, some dissidents in the vast central African country feel disillusioned. A key dissident group, the Citizens' Front, has vowed to hold nationwide protests Thursday in defiance of a government ban.




  • Rescuers retrieve body of Dutch climber who died on Everest

    The body of Dutch climber Eric Arnold, who died last week near South Col during a Mount Everest expedition, is carried to Teaching hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal, Thursday, May 26, 2016. This year's busy climbing season follows two years of disasters that virtually emptied the mountain. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — A helicopter on Thursday retrieved the body of a Dutch climber who died last week on Mount Everest while attempts were being made to retrieve the bodies of two other climbers.




  • Takata shares soar on report US firm KKR to take control

    Takata said earlier this month it logged an annual net loss of $120 million, as it struggles with a massive recall crisisTakata shares skyrocketed in afternoon trade Thursday, following a report that US private equity firm KKR wants to take control of the embattled airbag supplier. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) is looking to take over up to 60 percent of the company from the founding family, Japan's leading business paper the Nikkei reported, prompting Takata's shares to surge 21.16 percent to 458 yen at the Tokyo Stock Exchange. KKR appears to have proposed its support plan to a Takata-hired legal panel, the Nikkei said, without citing sources.




  • Democracy helps fulfill long-dead Myanmar teen's last wish

    FILE- In this Aug. 1, 2013 file photo, Win Kyu, left, and his wife Khin Htay Win hold a portrait of their 16-year-old daughter Win Maw Oo, who was killed during pro-democracy protests brutally crushed by Myanmar's military 25 years ago, in their house in Yangon, Myanmar. The parents of a Oo after all these years finally laid her soul to rest this week. The funeral ceremony, 28 years late, was delayed because the 16-year-old girl's dying wish was not to have the rites performed until Myanmar _then called Burma _ had achieved democracy. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win, File)YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Dying from soldiers' bullets, the young protester told her father not to lay her soul to rest until democracy reigned in her homeland, Myanmar. It has taken 28 years, but it is done.




  • French premier says he is open to 'improvements and changes' in contentious labor bill
    PARIS (AP) — French premier says he is open to 'improvements and changes' in contentious labor bill.

  • Turkey 'threats' over migrant deal won't work: Juncker

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the EU his parliament would block laws related to a landmark deal on migrants if it didn't get its way on visa liberalisationIse-Shima (Japan) (AFP) - Turkey must uphold its side of a deal made with the European Union over stemming the flow of migrants, a top EU official said Thursday, warning "threats" against the bloc will not work. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Ankara must ease strict anti-terror laws if it wants its citizens to enjoy visa-free travel on the continent. Juncker was speaking after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday warned the European Union his parliament would block laws related to the landmark deal if it didn't get its way on visa liberalisation.




  • Old jobs die hard in China's rustbelt

    China's Daqing has produced more than two billion tonnes of oil since it started flowing almost 60 years agoOnce the pride of Communist rulers and now hit by a global glut and slowing domestic growth, China's largest oilfield epitomises Beijing's reluctance to cut jobs at loss-making state-run operations. Thousands of oil pumps painted black, yellow and red stretch to the horizon in Daqing, which has produced more than two billion tonnes of the black gold since it started flowing almost 60 years ago. As oil prices hovered near historic lows, the field lost around $800 million in the first two months of 2016, its top Communist official said in March according to state-run media.




  • India's top court allows Italian marine to return home
    NEW DELHI (AP) — India's top court Thursday allowed an Italian marine to return home while international arbitration proceedings takes place over a 2012 fatal shootings of two Indian fishermen in which he and a fellow marine are implicated.

  • Turkey's Simsek to oversee smaller portfolio in new cabinet

    Simsek Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey attends the session "The Humanitarian Imperative: A Global, Regional and Industry Response" during the Annual Meeting of the WEF in DavosTurkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek will continue to oversee the Treasury and Central Bank in the new cabinet, but his portfolio has shrunk, with regulation of banks and capital markets handed to a minister close to President Tayyip Erdogan. Simsek, an anchor of investor confidence, was again named as one of five deputy prime ministers on Tuesday after Erdogan appointed a new prime minister, Binali Yildirim. Simsek will also oversee state banks, but responsibility for the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) and Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) were given to Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli, according to Numan Kurtulmus, another deputy prime minister.




  • Italian marine Girone can head home: India's top court

    Italian sailors Girone and Latorre leave the police commissioner office in KochiIndia's Supreme Court on Thursday said an Italian marine under investigation for the killing of two fishermen is free to go home while international arbitration into the case goes on. Salvatore Girone, who has been living in the Italian embassy in New Delhi, was one of two marines arrested in 2012 on suspicion of killing the fishermen during an anti-piracy mission on an Italian oil tanker. The other marine is already back in Italy after suffering health problems.




  • EU faces 'difficult' talks on Russia sanctions: Germany

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the West needed to engage in dialogue with Russia to "rebuild" lost trust and tackle crises in Syria and LibyaGermany says the EU is facing difficult talks on extending sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine due to the increased resistance of some member states, according to an interview released Thursday. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also told the Baltic News Service (BNS) that the West needed to engage in dialogue with Russia to "rebuild" lost trust and tackle crises in Syria and Libya. Steinmeier, who is to hold talks in Vilnius and Riga on Thursday with Baltic partners Lithuania and Latvia focused on NATO's July summit in Warsaw, said "we are aware that resistance in the EU to extending the sanctions towards Russia has increased.




  • Tornadoes and storms hit U.S. Great Plains, injure two in Kansas

    A man fights the wind and rain during the morning commute in New YorkBy Suzannah Gonzales CHICAGO (Reuters) - Tornadoes ripped through the U.S. Great Plains, badly damaging and destroying about 20 houses in Kansas, a day after two people were injured there in storms, local media and authorities said on Wednesday, and more dangerous weather is expected. Intense storms are possible across the region on Thursday and Friday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said, with large hail and damaging winds potential primary hazards. On Wednesday, at least one tornado tore through rural areas in Dickinson County, northern Kansas, an CBS-affiliated TV station reported, although the NWS had not confirmed the weather event's status.




  • Judgment day for South America's Operation Condor

    Former Argentine dictator and general, Rafael Videla (2-R) and other defendants are seen during their trials to investigate crimes committed during Operation Condor, in Buenos AiresParticipants in Operation Condor, in which six South American dictatorships collaborated to torture and assassinate their opponents, will face judgment Friday, four decades after their actions and three years into their trial. The Argentine court trying 18 former army officers is the first to address the crimes committed under the repressive plan, in which the military regimes of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay helped each other track down and kill leftist dissidents. The plan, which had the backing of the United States, began in the 1970s at the height of the Cold War, and is blamed for scores of executions and kidnappings -- 89 in Argentina alone.




  • Hongkongers pooh-pooh waste treatment plant, despite free spa

    The three mineral-infused pools in the glass-walled spa, each with a different temperature, are powered by the heat from the burning sludgeIt is billed as a groundbreaking way to deal with Hong Kong's human waste, and even includes an onsite spa free to residents, but a new eco-friendly sludge treatment plant has not washed with some locals. Each day, the HK$5 billion ($644 million) plant treats 1,200 tonnes of sludge from the city's wastewater treatment plants to avoid it being dumped in Hong Kong's overflowing landfills.




  • More debris found with possible MH370 link: Australia

    Relatives of passengers missing on Malaysia Airlines MH370 hold placards outside the Lama Temple in Beijing in MarchThree new pieces of debris have been found in Mauritius and in Mozambique that could be linked to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Australia's transport minister said Thursday. All of them were discovered thousands of kilometres (miles) from the current underwater search zone far off Western Australia's coast, where three ships carrying sophisticated equipment are scouring the sea floor for traces of the plane. Transport Minister Darren Chester said two of the new pieces were found in Mauritius, with the other in Mozambique and were "of interest in connection to the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370".





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