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By Ju-min Park and A. Ananthalakshmi SEOUL/KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian police on Wednesday detained a woman holding Vietnam travel papers and are looking for a "few" other foreign suspects in connection with the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half-brother, police said. Lawmakers in South Korea had earlier cited their spy agency as saying it suspected two female North Korean agents had murdered Kim Jong Nam, and U.S. government sources also told Reuters they believed North Korean assassins were responsible. The portly and gregarious Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, was assaulted on Monday morning in the departure hall of Kuala Lumpur International Airport and died on the way to hospital, Malaysian police said.
By Luke Baker WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump prepared to host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday for talks that could shape the contours of future Middle East policy as Palestinians warned the White House not to abandon their goal of an independent state. For decades, the idea of creating a Palestine living peacefully alongside Israel has been a bedrock U.S. position, though the last negotiations broke down in 2014. Netanyahu committed, with conditions, to the two-state goal in a speech in 2009 and has broadly reiterated the aim since.
Russia is committed to honoring its international obligations, including in relation to missiles, the Kremlin said on Wednesday, responding to reports it had violated a treaty with the United States by deploying a new ground-based missile. "Russia has been and remains committed to its international commitments, including to the treaty in question," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a daily telephone briefing. "Nobody has formally accused Russia of violating the treaty," he said.
By Robin Emmott and Phil Stewart BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Nervous European allies put a brave face on the troubled debut of President Donald Trump's administration, expressing confidence in U.S. engagement with NATO as they prepared to hear from Trump's defense chief at talks in Brussels on Wednesday. The meeting at NATO headquarters is seen as an opportunity for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to reaffirm U.S. commitment to European security after an election campaign in which Trump appeared to question the value of the alliance.
By Andrew Osborn MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Wednesday it would not hand back Crimea to Ukraine or discuss the matter with foreign partners after the White House said U.S. President Donald Trump expected the annexed Black Sea peninsula to be returned. Moscow says an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to become part of Russia in a 2014 referendum wanting protection from what the Kremlin cast as an illegal coup in Kiev. Ukraine says the referendum was a sham held at gunpoint after Russian troops illegally annexed the peninsula, that Russia-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by people power, and that Moscow should return Crimea.
China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday warned Washington against challenging its sovereignty, responding to reports the United States was planning fresh naval patrols in the disputed South China Sea. On Sunday, the Navy Times reported that U.S. Navy and Pacific Command leaders were considering freedom of navigation patrols in the busy waterway by the San Diego-based Carl Vinson carrier strike group, citing unnamed defense officials. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said tension in the South China Sea had stabilized due to the hard work between China and Southeast Asia countries, and urged foreign nations including the U.S. to respect this.
WASHINGTON (AP) â€” Just six days into his presidency, Donald Trump was informed his national security adviser had misled his vice president about contacts with Russia. Trump kept his No. 2 in the dark and waited nearly three weeks before ousting the aide, Michael Flynn, citing a slow but steady erosion of trust, White House officials said.
BEIJING (AP) â€” Global stock markets rose on Wednesday after Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said the U.S. central bank could raise interest rates as soon as next month, a sign of confidence in the strength of the world's largest economy.
Ousted coach says he didn't resign from Glasgow club Rangers
Montenegro: Immunity lifted for 2 alleged coup suspects
WHO declares end to yellow fever outbreak in Congo, Angola
Top Asian News 12:19 p.m. GMT
Egypt extends detention of prominent activist
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) â€” The killing of the North Korean leader's outcast half brother could be the latest addition to a long list of high-profile assassinations or attempts in which the country is suspected of targeting estranged relatives of the Kim clan, turncoats and South Korean public figures.
ISLAMABAD (AP) â€” A top official of the Pakistan Cricket Board says two players accused of involvement in spot-fixing in the Pakistan Super League tournament will face maximum punishments if they confess.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) â€” Greeks "need to see a light at the end of the austerity tunnel," the European Union's financial affairs chief said Wednesday during a visit to discuss the bailout-dependent country's slow-moving negotiations with its international creditors.
Russia denies intelligence contacts with Trump campaign team
SKARAMANGAS, Greece (AP) â€” Soccer fans of a certain age may still remember Antonis Nikopolidis for his resemblance to American actor George Clooney and as the goalkeeper who helped Greece become surprise European Champions in 2004.
BRUSSELS (AP) â€” The European Union's parliament approved a trade deal with Canada on Wednesday, extolling the pact as a sign of cooperation at a time when many political forces, including U.S. President Donald Trump's administration, are trying to halt globalization.
Philippines eyes more airports to unclog Manila hub
By Tom Miles GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations is warning of catastrophic flooding in Syria from the Tabqa dam, which is at risk from high water levels, deliberate sabotage by Islamic State (IS) and further damage from air strikes by the U.S.-led coalition. The earth-filled dam holds back the Euphrates River 40 km (25 miles) upstream of the IS stronghold of Raqqa and has been controlled by IS since 2014. Water levels on the river have risen by about 10 meters since Jan. 24, due partly to heavy rainfall and snow and partly to IS opening three turbines of the dam, flooding riverside areas downstream, according to a U.N. report seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
JORDAN-SYRIA BORDER (AP) â€” The commander of Jordan's border guards says Islamic State extremists are expanding their influence in a sprawling border camp for displaced Syrians, posing a growing threat to the U.S.-allied kingdom.
Asian confederation imposes life bans for Laos match-fixing
UK Supreme Court rules against royal wedding protesters
Kazakhstan postpones Syria talks by a day
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) â€” The United Arab Emirates says its ambassador to Afghanistan has died of wounds sustained in a January bombing that also claimed the lives of five other Emirati nationals.
NATO allies will show "transatlantic unity" in their first talks with new Pentagon boss James Mattis on Wednesday, the alliance's chief said against a backdrop of concerns about US President Donald Trump's commitment. Defence Secretary Mattis has voiced support for NATO in contrast with the sceptical Trump, and has been tougher on Russia than his boss, whose views worry the alliance's eastern European member states in particular. Mattis's visit has been overshadowed by the resignation of Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn over allegations he had discussed US sanctions with Russia's ambassador before taking office.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) â€” Hundreds of people in New Zealand's second-largest city were evacuated from their homes Wednesday as wildfires burned down several houses and threatened to encroach further into some suburbs.
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) â€” Europe's top human rights institution on Wednesday urged Turkey's leaders to "urgently change course" and reverse violations of media freedoms and the rule of law, voicing alarm over democracy in the country.
HASSAN SHAM CAMP, Iraq (AP) â€” The United Nations announced on Wednesday it was temporarily pausing aid operations to neighborhoods in the eastern half of the Iraqi city of Mosul as attacks by the Islamic State group continue to inflict heavy civilian casualties there.
Pope Francis wades into US oil pipeline dispute
LISBON, Portugal (AP) â€” Portugal's government has proved its critics wrong, slashing the debt-heavy country's budget deficit to its lowest level in more than 40 years despite warnings that its anti-austerity policies could spell financial disaster.
Afghanistan gunmen kidnap 52 farmers, regional officials say
Palestinians caution Trump against abandoning two-state concept
The European Parliament backed a contested EU-Canada free trade deal on Wednesday, facing down protests by activists and Donald Trump-inspired calls for protectionism. MEPs meeting in Strasbourg, France, approved the pact with 408 votes in favour, 254 against and 33 abstentions. Approval by the parliament allows the provisional implementation of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement as early as next month.