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News for 17-Oct-19

Kim Jong Un's murdered half brother lived quiet, open life in Macau
By James Pomfret MACAU (Reuters) - Before he was killed in Malaysia, Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea's leader, lived quietly in the Asian gambling hub of Macau, avoiding controversy and seemingly relaxed about personal safety, according to sources close to him. One veteran casino industry source, who has known him for over a decade, said he last met the affable, portly Kim at the Four Seasons Hotel in Macau last month, when he was eating cake and having a drink in the lobby coffee shop. "He didn't seem nervous at all." Five years ago, Kim Jong Nam pleaded with his half-brother, Kim Jong Un, to withdraw a standing order for his assassination, according to the South Korean intelligence agency.
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Chinese firm files complaints with Chinese government over McDonald's China sale

Customers eat dinner at a McDonald's store in BeijingBy Michelle Price and Julie Zhu HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Chinese consultancy that has previously helped to win antitrust battles against Coca-Cola and Apple has taken aim at McDonald's Corp, arguing in a complaint to regulators that the American fast food giant's China sale may hurt workers and consumers. McDonald's said last month it had agreed to sell the bulk of its China and Hong Kong business to state-backed conglomerate CITIC Ltd and U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group LP for up to $2.1 billion, in a deal that will see the consortium act as the master franchisee for a 20-year period. The complaint, which follows allegations from a U.S. labour union that the transaction will likely lead to poorer pay and conditions for McDonald's 120,000 workers in China, could delay regulatory approval for the deal.



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Famine threat looms as children starve in Boko Haram-hit northeast Nigeria

The Wider Image: Nigeria's struggle against Boko HaramBy Kieran Guilbert MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Slumped in his mother's lap in a health clinic in northeast Nigeria, three-year-old Hassan was too drained to cry or protest as the nurse wrapped a tape measure tightly around his arm. After weeks of fever, vomiting and diarrhoea - telltale signs of malnutrition - his gaunt face and glazed eyes were listless despite his mother's efforts to coax him into eating from a packet of nutritious peanut-based paste. "I'm scared we'll end up coming back ... there is no food to eat here," said Hassan's mother, Kolo Adam, who fled with her six children to Maiduguri's Bakassi camp for the displaced when Boko Haram militants attacked her village last year.



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2 women, 1 man arrested in North Korean's death in Malaysia

FILE - This May 4, 2001, file photo shows Kim Jong Nam, exiled half brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, escorted by Japanese police officers at the airport in Narita, Japan. Kim Jong Nam, 46, was targeted Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia, and later died on the way to the hospital, according to a Malaysian government official. (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File)KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian authorities on Thursday announced the second and third arrests in the death of the North Korean leader's half brother, whose apparent assassination this week unleashed tales of spectacular intrigue: a pair of women assailants, a broad-daylight killing and a dictator-sibling out for blood.



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Saudis voice optimism about relations with US under Trump

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2017 file photo, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is seen at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)BONN, Germany (AP) — Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says his country expects to have a productive relationship with the Trump administration and is optimistic that U.S.-Saudi cooperation can overcome challenges in the Middle East.



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Burundi's government boycotts resumption of peace talks
BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — Burundi's government has announced it will not attend the latest effort at peace talks with the opposition in neighboring Tanzania, eroding hopes for a negotiated settlement to the East African nation's often violent political crisis.
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Nigerian leader extends sick leave abroad as citizens suffer

FILE- In this file photo taken Friday, May 29, 2015, Nigerian President elect, Muhammadu Buhari, arrives for his Inauguration at the eagle square in Abuja, Nigeria. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's nearly month-long medical leave in London is reminding his country's taxpayers that while they finance their leaders' health care abroad, they often are stuck with decrepit, ill-staffed government health facilities at home. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba, File)JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari's nearly month-long medical leave in London is a sharp reminder to taxpayers that while they finance their leaders' health care abroad, they often are stuck with decrepit, ill-staffed government health facilities at home.



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World stocks ride to record high, dollar retreats

Traders work at their desks in front of the German share price index, DAX board, at the stock exchange in FrankfurtBy Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks hit an all time high on Thursday as the latest round of robust global data matched hopes that major economies like the United States will soon be serving up large helpings of fiscal stimulus. MSCI's All Country World index, which spans 46 countries, notched the milestone as Wall Street hit its latest record and Asia and Europe consolidated the roughly 10 percent gains both have made since mid-December. There were surges in exports from Indonesia and Taiwan, falls in unemployment in Europe from Sweden to the Netherlands while stronger U.S. retail sales and inflation data on Wednesday came as Donald Trump again promised mass tax cuts.



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Four famines mean 20 million may starve in the next six months

A woman carries a baby as she talks with other women talk at a food distribution in MinkamanBy Tom Miles GENEVA (Reuters) - More than 20 million people - greater than the population of Romania or Florida - risk dying from starvation within six months in four separate famines, U.N. World Food Programme chief economist Arif Husain says. Wars in Yemen, northeastern Nigeria and South Sudan have devastated households and driven up prices, while a drought in east Africa has ruined the agricultural economy. "In my not quite 15 years with the World Food Programme, this is the first time that we are literally talking about famine in four different parts of the world at the same time," he told Reuters in an interview.



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Kremlin says hopes to repair U.S. ties, but time is being wasted

Kremlin spokesman Peskov attends news conference of Russian President Putin and Laos' Prime Minister Sisoulith following Russia-ASEAN summit in SochiThe Kremlin said on Thursday political turbulence in the United States was delaying the resumption of better relations between Washington and Moscow, which are needed to tackle global problems. "We hope that sooner or later the process will start to resume a normal business relationship with Washington," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a conference call with reporters. Because there are lots of problems which are of a sort that neither the United States nor Russia can solve them effectively alone." Peskov was responding to a question about a possible U.S. probe into the resignation of President Donald Trump's national security adviser - the latest in a series of White House missteps and controversies.



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Trump drops US commitment to 'two-state' Mideast deal

US President Donald Trump (R) warmly welcomed Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House and hailed the "unbreakable" bond between their countries US President Donald Trump shelved Washington's years-long quest for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying he would back a single state if it led to peace. The new president warmly welcomed Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House and hailed the "unbreakable" bond between their countries.



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Austria to sue Airbus over alleged Eurofighter fraud

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a major prestige product for the European defence industryAustria said Thursday that it will sue European aerospace giant Airbus over a $2-billion sale of Eurofighter jets that has long been plagued by allegations of kickbacks. "We will file a lawsuit against Airbus," defence ministry spokesman Michael Bauer told AFP. The findings of the government investigation into the 2003 deal worth around 2 billion euros ($2.1 billion) were set to be presented in Vienna later on Thursday.



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'Scorpion' robot mission inside Fukushima reactor aborted

The "scorpion" robot is designed to withstand up to 1,000 sieverts of radiationA "scorpion" robot sent into a Japanese nuclear reactor to learn about the damage suffered in a tsunami-induced meltdown had its mission aborted after the probe ran into trouble, Tokyo Electric Power company said Thursday. TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant, sent the remote-controlled device into the No. 2 reactor where radiation levels have recently hit record highs. "It's not immediately clear if that's because of radiation or obstacles," she said, adding that TEPCO is checking what data the robot was able to obtain, including images.



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French prosecutors maintain probe into candidate Fillon

French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon gestures as he speaks during a campaign meeting in Compiegne, north of Paris, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. Conservative French presidential candidate Francois Fillon wants to prosecute 16 and 17-year-olds as adults, arguing it would prevent the kind of unrest that has rocked the low-income suburbs of Paris following an alleged police rape. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)PARIS (AP) — French financial prosecutors have decided to continue their investigation into embezzlement allegations against conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon.



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Church of England stance on gay marriage in disarray after vote

A priest wears a rainbow ribbon during a vigil against Anglican Homophobia outside the General Synod of the Church of England in LondonThe Church of England's legislative body on Wednesday voted against a report from bishops that rejected the idea of blessing same-sex marriages, the latest row over an issue that has divided the Church for years. The wider Anglican communion, which has 85 million members worldwide, has been in crisis since 2003 because of arguments over sexuality and gender between liberal member churches in the West and their conservative counterparts, mostly in Africa. The latest controversy stems from a report issued in January by the House of Bishops, which along with the houses of Clergy and Laity makes up the Church's legislature, known as the synod.



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All eyes on Tillerson's debut at G20 in Germany

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held talks with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir (not in picture) ahead of a G20 meeting in western Germany, on February 16, 2017US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson makes his diplomatic debut at a G20 gathering in Germany Thursday, where his counterparts hope to find out what "America First" means for the rest of the world. Host nation Germany has billed the two-day meeting as a chance for the club of leading economies to discuss how to work together on challenges ranging from climate change to the conflicts in Syria, Ukraine and Yemen. Tillerson will also have his first sitdown with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Bonn, talks that will be closely scrutinised for any hint of a rapprochement as controversy swirls over White House ties to the Kremlin.



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Swimming great Hackett found 'alive and sober' after disappearance

Dual Olympic champion Grant Hackett (pictured) had posted a photo on social media showing himself with a black eye, and accused his brother of beating him upOlympic swimming great Grant Hackett is "alive and sober", his father told media Thursday after he went missing following a family bust-up, sparking fears for his safety. Hackett's father Neville said Australia's troubled former 1500m world record-holder, who was briefly detained this week after a domestic incident, was in contact with police. "Police officers are happy he's alive and sober," Neville Hackett said, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).



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Uganda deploys troops to train Equatorial Guinea forces
KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda's government has deployed scores of troops to Equatorial Guinea under an agreement to train the West African country's troops, a military official said Thursday.
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Panthers' Huberdeau scores in OT, Jagr gets 1,900th point

Panthers' Huberdeau scores in OT, Jagr gets 1,900th pointJonathan Huberdeau needed overtime to extend his scoring streak and help celebrate Jaromir Jagr's birthday on a night the 45-year-old veteran reached another milestone. Huberdeau scored 1:38 into overtime ...



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Malaysia arrests third suspect in connection with murder of Kim Jong Nam

A still image from a footage broadcast by Chinese state media which they say is believed to show the second woman (wearing yellow top) suspected of involvement in the apparent assassination of Kim Jong NamMalaysian police on Thursday detained a third suspect in connection with the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, an officer said. "He was detained to facilitate investigations as he is the boyfriend of the second suspect," Selangor state police chief Abu Samah Mat told Reuters.



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The Latest: Vietnam talking to Malaysia over slay suspect

This image provided by Star TV on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, of closed circuit television footage from Monday, Feb 13, 2017, shows a woman, left, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, who police say was arrested Wednesday in connection with the death of Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. (Star TV via AP)KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Latest on the apparent assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half brother, Kim Jong Nam, at a Malaysian airport (all times local):



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Global stocks mixed on upbeat US data, rate hike prospects

Global stocks mixed on upbeat US data, rate hike prospectsGlobal stocks were mixed Thursday as investors took profit amid expectations that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates more aggressively than expected following upbeat U.S. economic data. KEEPING ...



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Saudis optimistic about relations with US under Trump

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2017 file photo, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is seen at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)BAD NEUENAHR, Germany (AP) — Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says his country expects to have a productive relationship with the Trump administration and is optimistic that U.S.-Saudi cooperation can overcome challenges in the Middle East.



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"It would be huge": U.S. border town confronts possible import tax

A man in Nogales, Sonora, Mexico looks through the U.S. border fence into NogalesFor up to 16 hours a day, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and mangoes grown in Mexico flow north through a border checkpoint into Nogales, Arizona, helping to ensure a year-round supply of fresh produce across the United States. In many ways, Nogales represents the flip side of free trade deals that have battered industrial cities in the Midwest, where jobs have been outsourced and manufacturing plants shut down. The cities where Donald Trump's promise to throttle what he calls unfair competition resonated most profoundly during the presidential campaign.



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Mystery deepens, questions build in N.Korea princeling death

Mystery deepens, questions build in N.Korea princeling deathWhat do we really know about the sudden death of an exiled North Korean princeling? Aside from heated media speculation and an instant "it's-gotta-be-Pyongyang" reaction from Seoul's spy agency, ...



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UK wage growth slows in late 2016, employment picks up

FILE PHOTO - People look at job listings at the Careers and Jobs Live careers fair at the ExCeL centre in LondonBy William Schomberg and Alistair Smout LONDON (Reuters) - British workers saw their pay grow more slowly than expected at the end of last year, official data showed on Wednesday, ahead of a likely squeeze on their living standards from higher inflation in 2017. At the same time, the employment rate hit a fresh all-time high as the number of people in work rose in the three months to December having fallen in the two previous monthly reports. Britain's labour market remained strong in 2016 despite the referendum decision in June to leave the European Union.



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EU workers in Britain drop in late 2016 after Brexit vote

Migrant workers pick apples at Stocks Farm in SuckleyBy William Schomberg and Alistair Smout LONDON (Reuters) - A steady rise in the number of European Union migrants working in Britain stalled at the end of 2016, suggesting the Brexit vote, and the subsequent fall in the value of the pound, might have made the country less attractive as a place to work. The number of non-UK EU nationals employed in Britain fell by 19,000 in the final three months of 2016 from the previous quarter, to stand at 2.24 million. After a surge in immigration over the past 20 years, Britain has one of the highest proportions of non-native workers among European countries.



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Saudis optimistic about relations with US under Trump

FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2017 file photo, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is seen at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)BAD NEUENAR, Germany (AP) — Saudi Arabia's foreign minister says his country expects to have a productive relationship with the Trump administration and is optimistic that U.S.-Saudi cooperation can overcome challenges in the Middle East.



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Thai authorities enter Buddhist temple to search for wanted monk

Buddhist monks chant inside Dhammakaya temple while police block access to the place in Pathum Thani provinceBy Aukkarapon Niyomyat BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai security forces entered the country's biggest Buddhist temple on Thursday to search for an influential monk wanted for money laundering after the junta leader declared he was imposing control over the vast temple complex. With political parties and many activists silenced since a coup in 2014, the scandal-hit Dhammakaya Temple is a rare institution in defying the junta, which has so far trodden warily in confronting a group that claims millions of followers. "Authorities have already started a search operation seeking the individual under arrest warrants," Paisit Wongmuang, chief of the Department of Special Investigation, told reporters.



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Assad says Trump travel ban targets terrorists, not Syria's people

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Yahoo NewsSyria's President Bashar al-Assad said President Donald Trump's ban on Syrians entering the United States targeted terrorists, not the Syrian people, appearing to defend the logic of the measure in an interview broadcast on Thursday. Trump last month issued an executive order, since suspended by a U.S. district judge, that temporarily barred travelers from seven mostly Muslim countries including Syria, as well as imposing an indefinite ban on all Syrian refugees. It happened in Europe, mainly in Germany," Assad said in the interview with Europe 1 radio and TF1 television which was recorded on Tuesday in English.



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North Koreans, in eye of storm, fete leader's birthday

Children with offerings walk toward statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il to pay tribute, in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. Unaware of reports his eldest son - and current leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother - was killed just days ago in what appears to have been a carefully planned assassination, North Koreans marked the birthday of late leader Kim Jong Il on Thursday as they do every year, with dancing, special treats for the children and treks to city plazas to offer reverential bows and bouquets of flowers before bronze statues. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin)PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Unaware of reports his eldest son — and current leader Kim Jong Un's half brother — was killed just days ago in what appears to have been a carefully planned assassination, North Koreans marked the birthday of late leader Kim Jong Il on Thursday as they do every year, with dancing, special treats for children and reverential bows and bouquets of flowers before bronze statues.



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Watchdog: Number of anti-Muslim hate groups on the rise

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2017 file photo, protesters carry signs and chant in Lafayette Park near the White House in Washington during a demonstration to denounce President Donald Trump's executive order that bars citizens of seven predominantly Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. The number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the U.S. is exploding behind well-paid ideologues, radical Islamic attacks and the incendiary rhetoric of last year’s presidential campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center said Wednesday in a new report. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States has nearly tripled since 2015, due in part to radical Islamic attacks and the incendiary rhetoric of last year's presidential campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center says.



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Dems see disparity in handling of Clinton, Russia inquiries

FILE - In this Feb. 9, 20167 file-pool photo, FBI Director James Comey is seen at the Justice Department in Washington. Democrats are criticizing the FBI over its refusal to discuss potential contacts between Russian officials and associates of President Donald Trump, saying the bureau’s tight-lipped approach and its public disclosures about Hillary Clinton’s emails during the fractious election reflect a double standard. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, Pool, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are criticizing the FBI over its refusal to discuss potential contacts between Russian officials and associates of President Donald Trump, saying the bureau's tight-lipped approach and its public disclosures about Hillary Clinton's emails during the fractious election campaign reflect a double standard.



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Trump White House wrestles with a crush of crises

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump accompanied by, from second from left, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Vice President Mike Pence, White House press secretary Sean Spicer and then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington. Trump's White House is nearly paralyzed by crisis, divisions and dysfunction. Virtually all policy announcements have slowed to a crawl. Aides are undercutting each other in leaks (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — Less than a month into his tenure, Donald Trump's White House is beset by a crush of crises.



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Malaysia pledges to return Kim body after autopsy

Malaysian police have confirmed the detention of a second suspect in the killing of the half-brother of North Korea's leaderMalaysia will return the body of the half-brother of North Korea's leader, the country's deputy prime minister said Thursday, as police probing the airport assassination arrested a second woman. South Korea says female agents working for Pyongyang poisoned Kim Jong-Nam as he readied to board a flight on Monday. North Korea has made no comment on the killing, but its diplomats objected to an autopsy Malaysian investigators carried out, a senior official said.



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Assad vows to retake Raqa and 'every inch' of Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said it was the "duty of any government" to regain control of "every inch" of its territoryPresident Bashar al-Assad on Thursday said Raqa is not a priority target for his forces, saying his goal is to retake "every inch" of Syrian territory. "Raqa is a symbol," Assad said in an interview with French media, while asserting that jihadist attacks carried out in France were "not necessarily prepared" in the Islamic State group (IS) stronghold in Syria. "You have ISIS close to Damascus, you have them everywhere," Assad said, using another acronym for IS.



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Puzder withdrawal stark example of rough start for Trump WH

FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2016 file photo, then-President-elect Donald Trump walks then-Labor Secretary-designate Andrew Puzder from Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. Every recent president has had a doomed Cabinet nomination or two, and Trump is no exception. On Feb. 15, Trump’s choice for labor secretary, Puzder, withdrew his name after Republicans expressed concern over his failure to pay taxes promptly on a former housekeeper who wasn’t authorized to work in the U.S. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is working frantically to find a new secretary of labor candidate after President Donald Trump's original pick, Andrew Puzder, abruptly withdrew from consideration.



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Indonesia requests consular access to woman arrested in Malaysia in death of North Korean leader's half brother
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia requests consular access to woman arrested in Malaysia in death of North Korean leader's half brother.
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Trump says intel officials, media unfair to Flynn

President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is blaming the media and "illegally leaked" intelligence information for bringing down his national security adviser Michael Flynn, one day after the White House said Trump had asked Flynn to resign because he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russia.



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Senate to confirm Trump budget chief

FILE - In this Jan. 24, 2017 file photo, Budget Director-designate Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C. testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Budget Committee. Mulvaney has cleared a routine Senate hurdle. But at least two senior Republicans have voiced doubts about supporting him in a Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, confirmation vote. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-controlled Senate is poised to confirm President Donald Trump's choice to run the White House budget office on Thursday and is on track to give his controversial pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency a vote of confidence as well.



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