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WASHINGTON : President Donald Trump began the New Year on Monday with a blistering attack on Pakistan saying it will get no more US aid as it was giving "safe haven to terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan". "The US has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in aid over the last 15 years and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit thinking of our leaders as fools " Trump tweeted in his strongest denunciation of Islamabad.

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SEOUL : North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in his New Year's Day address said on Monday that his country has completed its nuclear arsenal and he has the ignition button ready "always on" his desk. "We achieved the goal of completing our state nuclear force in 2017," Kim said in a televised message broadcast by the North Korean state network.
"A button is always on my desk," the North Korean leader said, adding that "this is reality, not a threat".

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BANGKOK : A Thai court has sentenced a fraudster to a total of 13,275 years in prison, a media report said. Pudit Kittithradilok, 34, admitted to the court on Friday of running a Ponzi scheme whereby he promised investors artificially high financial returns, reports the BBC. About 40,000 people were persuaded to pour more than $160 million into his companies.

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Jerusalem: Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said his country has the strongest air force against threats, with the ability to reach targets at all distances.

“Israeli Air Force is at the prime of its capabilities, with the very best technological tools, aircraft, pilots, possessing defensive and offensive capabilities, with immense fire capabilities, which can reach near and far targets,” Netanyahu said on Wednesday at a graduation ceremony for air force pilots at the Hatzerim Air Base, Xinhua reported.

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DAMASCUS: A senior UN official has said that children waiting to be evacuated from a besieged rebel-held area of the Syrian capital city of Damascus, were being used as bargaining chips, the media reported on Thursday. UN special envoy to Syria Jan Egeland told the BBC on Wednesday night that rebels had supposedly agreed to release government workers in exchange for the children from Eastern Ghouta.

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TOKYO: Tokyo is set to host the first evacuation drill in the face of a possible missile attack from North Korea following the repeated tests of missiles that saw some of them fly over Japanese territory earlier this year.

Some 250 people are set to take part in the drill scheduled on January 22

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PYONGYANG: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un on Friday said his country has achieved rapid development in strategic weaponry and poses "substantial nuclear threat to the US", state news agency reported.

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BAGHDAD : Iraqi forces aided by the US-led coalition on Friday re-took Rawa -- the last Islamic State foothold in Iraq, the Iraqi army and the US special presidential envoy to the coalition Brett McGurk announced. "Iraqi forces with coalition support announce the liberation of #Rawa in #Anbar province, among the last populated areas in #Iraq held by #ISIS terrorists. Days of its phony "caliphate" are coming to an end," McGurk tweeted.

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WASHINGTON : White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told congressional investigators probing alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election, that he did not communicate with WikiLeaks during the campaign, the media reported.

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CAIRO : Saudi Arabia has urged the Arab League (AL) to hold an urgent meeting of Arab foreign ministers on what it calls Iran's interventions in the region, informed sources said. "Saudi Arabia requests the meeting to be held next Sunday," said the AL source on Sunday, reported Xinhua. The Saudi request comes amid continuous tension between the two rivals in the region, particularly in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

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TEHRAN / BAGHDAD : At least 134 people were killed and over thousands others injured after a powerful earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck an area near the Iran-Iraq border, media reports said on Monday. According to Iran's state-run Press TV, 130 victims were killed in Kermanshah province. Four other people were killed in Iraq's Darbandikhan town, Sulaimaniya province, Governor Omar Ahmad told CNN early Monday. 

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TEHRAN : At least 134 people were killed and over thousands others injured after a powerful earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter scale struck an area near the Iran-Iraq border, media reports said on Monday. According to Iran's state-run Press TV, 130 victims were killed in Kermanshah province. Four other people were killed in Iraq's Darbandikhan town, Sulaimaniya province, Governor Omar Ahmad told CNN early Monday. 

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DA NANG : US President Donald Trump revived his tough talk on trade on Friday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit (APEC) here, warning he will not allow "the US to be taken advantage of any more." Speaking at a gathering of business leaders, Trump demanded trade "on a fair and equal basis" and returned to his campaign rhetoric, promising to place America first in global deals and agreements.

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BEIJING : US President Donald Trump on Thursday urged all countries to stop arming, financing and trading with the "murderous" North Korean nuclear regime. Addressing a joint press conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall, Trump, on a three-day visit, said both the leaders had agreed not to replicate failed approaches to resolving the North Korean crisis.

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BEIJING : Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his visiting US counterpart Donald Trump on Thursday where they discussed the North Korean nuclear crisis. The two leaders met at the Great Hall of the People here. While Xi promised cooperation and coordination on the worsening crisis, Trump said that China has the solution to the problem.

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SEOUL : US President Donald Trump on Wednesday cancelled a visit to the tense Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas because bad weather ostensibly made it impossible for him to travel by helicopter to the border from Seoul.The president's helicopter convoy took off from the central Yongsan military base in Seoul, near the hotel where he is staying, but it had to return to the base a few minutes later due to poor weather conditions, the White House said, Efe reported.

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NEW YORK : Two Indian American candidates have overcome bigoted propaganda to win local elections in New Jersey - one of them as the Mayor of Hoboken. Ravi Bhalla was elected in Tuesday's elections as the first Sikh Mayor of the town that is a suburb of New York City.

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SEOUL : US President Donald Trump arrived here on Tuesday for a two-day visit that will include a bilateral summit with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in. The US leader landed at the Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, some 70 km south of Seoul, from Japan, reports Yonhap News Agency. Trump is the first US president in 25 years to make a state visit to South Korea. Seoul is Trump's second stop of his five-nation Asia tour.

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TOKYO : US President Donald Trump on Monday met Japanese Emperor Akihito and held a joint press conference with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe where the two leaders discussed North Korean threats and bilateral economy. Trump arrived here on a two-day visit on Sunday, the first stop in his five-nation tour through Asia, reports CNN.

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RIYADH : Saudi Arabia on Monday accused Iran of supplying ballistic missiles to the Houthi rebels in Yemen and called it a blatant act of military aggression. In a statement, the command of Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces in Yemen, said that an analysis of the remains of the missiles that were launched on Saturday against Riyadh confirmed they were made in Iran, reports Efe news.

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WASHINGTON : At least 26 people were killed when a lone gunman wearing a ballistic vest and carrying a military-style rifle, opened fire on worshippers at a Baptist church in Texas, police said. The attack took place on Sunday in Sutherland Springs, some 45 km southeast of San Antonio. 

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MADRID : A Spanish judge has issued an international arrest warrant for ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, one day after eight fellow members of the dissolved regional government were jailed in Madrid, the media reported. 

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MUMBAI : The funeral of Dina Wadia, daughter and the only child of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, shall take place in New York on Friday, official sources here said. Wadia, 98, passed away at her home in New York on Thursday, surrounded by many of her family members and relatives.

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PYONGYANG : North Korea on Friday condemned two US bombers flying near the Korean peninsula claiming that the exercise was a trial run for a surprise nuclear attack, media reports said. US Air Force B-1 bombers, accompanied by fighter jets from South Korea and Japan, conducted a flyover near the Korean peninsula on Thursday, CNN reported. 

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TOKYO : US President Donald Trump's daughter and senior advisor Ivanka Trump on Friday spoke about women's participation in the economy at the World Assembly of Women here, an annual conference sponsored by the Japanese government, the media reported. Trump was introduced at the event by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. She will have dinner with Abe on Friday night, reports CNN.

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WASHINGTON : The CIA has released a thousands of files seized during the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, including personal photographs of his family and insight into the Al Qaeda's global leadership, the media reported. The massive amount of new material released on Wednesday containes nearly 470,000 items totalling 321 gigabytes of data, reports CBS News. 

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NEW YORK : President Donald Trump has called the Uzbek immigrant arrested in Tuesday's terror attack that killed eight persons an "enemy combatant". However, prosecutors filed terrorism charges against him in a civilian federal court here.

Acting federal prosecutor Joon Kim announced the filing of the charges in the civilian federal court on Wednesday, hours after Trump said that he would be open to sending Sayfullo Saipov to the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, where terrorists captured abroad are tried by military tribunals.

At the start of a cabinet meeting, in reply to a reporter's question about the possibility of Saipov being sent to Guantanmo, Trump said: "Send him to Gitmo -- I would certainly consider that, yes."

Sending Saipov, 29, a legal immigrant with a green card, to Guantanamo for a military trial may raise legal questions while labelling him an "enemy combatant" may open the way for this. 

Guantanamo, known as Gitmo for short, is a US military base in Cuba -- in territory under American control.

Saipov mowed down pedestrians and bicyclists with a rented truck on Tuesday. The rampage ended when the truck hit a school bus. 

After he emerged from it brandishing two fake guns, a police officer shot and arrested him. 

Six of those killed were foreign tourists. Twelve people were injured.

The initial charges filed against Saipov are only about providing support to a terrorist organisation, the Islamic State (IS), and operating a motor vehicle in a manner that caused a death. 

These charges were meant to hold him in custody. More serious charges about the killing of eight people and other actions were expected later.

New York state does not have death penalty but because he is charged in a federal court and not a state court, Saipov can face capital punishment under federal laws.

The court papers said Saipov told officials in hospital that he felt "good" about what he had done and asked them to put an IS flag in his hospital room.

He told the officials that he was inspired by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and had planned the attack more than a year ago, choosing Halloween day because he thought he could do the maximum damage then.

About a week before the attack, he told the officers, he had made a trial run of the area near the 9/11 memorial and had planned to continue his attack on the Brooklyn Bridge. But he could not because of the collision with the school bus.

Officials said in the court document that on Saipov's cellphones they found about 90 IS videos with bomb-making instructions and showing beheading of prisoners and running them over with tanks.

Earlier at a news conference, New York Police Counter-terrorism Deputy Commissioner John Miller said Saipov "appears to have followed almost to a 'T' the instructions that IS has put out" for carrying out vehicle attacks.

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NEW YORK : In the second terror attack within a month in the US, a man driving a truck ploughed through cyclists and pedestrians on a street near the site of the 9/11 attack killing eight persons. The attacker was shot and arrested by the police.

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TOKYO : Following snap polls, Japan's Lower House of Parliament on Wednesday re-elected Shinzo Abe of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) as the Prime Minister. Abe's party won the snap elections held on October 22. The 63-year-old leader, received 312 votes in favour, out of 465 in the House of Representatives. Abe will announce his new cabinet later in the day, Efe news reported.

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NEW YORK : In the second terror attack within a month in the US, a man wielding a truck as a weapon on Tuesday ploughed through bicyclists and pedestrians on a street near the site of the 9/11 attack killing eight persons - most of them tourists. New York Mayor Bill De Blasio declared: "This was an act of terror, particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians."

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LONDON : As many as 200 North Korean labourers were killed after a mine shaft being dug at a nuclear test site collapsed, the media reported. The Telegraph quoted sources in North Korea saying that a tunnel being excavated by around 100 workers at the Punggye-ri test site crashed in early October. An additional 100 labourers sent to rescue their colleagues were reportedly killed when the tunnel suffered a second collapse, according to Japan's Asahi TV.

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WASHINGTON : The White House was transformed into a haunted house as US President Donald Trump with his wife Melania welcomed trick-or-treaters on his first Halloween in office. Trump and the First Lady on Monday greeted some of the 6,000 children and adults who were invited to the party on Halloween eve, the US media reported. 

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RIYADH : Saudi Arabia will allow women to attend sports events in stadiums for the first time from next year, a part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's major drive to modernise the Saudi society and boost economy, the media reported. Families will be able to enter the stadiums in three major cities - Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, reports the BBC.

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UNITED NATIONS : Two popular pillars of education in India and elsewhere in Asia -- "high-stakes" tests and private tuitions -- have been denounced by Unesco as harmful to students and the goals of education.

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WASHINGTON : US Vice President Mike Pence has said that Washington will keep up economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea to curb its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Pence made the remarks on Friday during a visit to an Air Force base in North Dakota, home to both B-52 bombers and intercontinental ballistic missiles, Xinhua news agency reported.

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UNITED NATIONS : A senior UN official has called on Member States, regional organisations and civil society for greater partnership to boost women's participation at all levels. "We will strengthen the collection and analysis of gender statistics and encourage Member States to monitor gender equality indicators as part of their work to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," Xinhua quoted Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, the Chef de Cabinet, as saying.

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