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WELLINGTON: Popular New Zealand Prime Minister John Key announced his shock resignation on Monday, saying he was never a career politician and it was the right time to go after eight years in the job. The former Merrill Lynch currency trader called it “the hardest decision I’ve ever made,” with…

BEATING BACK THE REBELS Syrian pro-government forces advance in the Myessar district in east Aleppo in an ongoing operation to recapture all of the battered second city, on Thursday. Fierce fighting shook east Aleppo as Syrian government forces pressed an assault that has seen them retake control of more than half of the former rebel stronghold. AFP PHOTO

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ALEPPO, Syria: Suspected Russian air strikes have killed at least 46 people in opposition-held parts of Syria, a monitor said, as the United Nations Security Council prepares to vote on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) on a resolution demanding a temporary ceasefire in Aleppo. Syria’s government is waging a fierce offensive…

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Donald Trump widened his search for Washington’s next top diplomat on Sunday (Monday in Manila), even as he pursued his own unorthodox brand of foreign policy with a Twitter broadside aimed at China. The US president-elect’s senior aide Kellyanne Conway said he would take “a very full slate…

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BEIJING: Implementation of the Iran nuclear deal should not be “affected by any changes in the domestic situations” of countries involved, China’s foreign minister warned on Monday, as US president-elect Donald Trump threatens to abandon it. The agreement, signed in Vienna in July 2015 and in force since January, was…

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JAKARTA: A strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of eastern Indonesia on Monday, US seismologists said, but no tsunami warning was issued and there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. The undersea quake hit about 190 kilometers (120 miles) northeast of Maumere, a holiday destination in Flores,…

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ROME: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announced his resignation on Monday, hours after it was confirmed he had suffered a crushing defeat in a referendum on constitutional reform. “My experience of government finishes here,” Renzi told a press conference, acknowledging that the No campaign had won an “extraordinarily clear” victory…

Malaysian Premier Najib Razak AFP

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KUALA LUMPUR: Aung San Suu Kyi must step in to prevent the “genocide” of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Malaysia’s prime minister said Sunday as he mocked the Nobel laureate for her inaction. Addressing a 5,000-strong rally in Kuala Lumpur, Najib Razak said the Myanmar government must stop the bloody crackdown…

Castro AFP

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SANTIAGO DE CUBA, Cuba: Cuban President Raul Castro pledged Saturday to uphold his brother Fidel’s socialist revolution at a massive rally in honor of the communist icon before his burial. Tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters recited the oath with Raul Castro at the Revolution Plaza of Santiago de Cuba,…

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A series of developments over the past weeks has definitely increased the diplomatic and military tensions in Asia-Pacific, which the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) cannot ignore because these could, by some miscalculation by trigger-happy military commanders of North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan…

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