Dec 30, 2019

REUTERS

The United States would be very disappointed if North Korea tested a long-range or nuclear missile and would take appropriate action as a leading military and economic power, White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said on Sunday.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for "positive and offensive measures" to ensure the country's security before a year-end deadline he has set for denuclearization talks with the United States, state media KCNA said on Monday.

A magnitude 5.4 earthquake struck southern Iran on Monday near Bandar Abbas, site of a major oil refinery, Iranian state media reported, but there were no reports of casualties or damage to oil installations.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will visit Washington this week to sign a "Phase 1" trade deal with the United States, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday.

Oil prices rose to three-month highs on Monday, underpinned by optimism over an expected China-U.S. trade deal and upbeat industrial data, while traders kept a close watch on the Middle East following U.S. air strikes in Iraq and Syria.

Indonesia said on Monday it had protested to Beijing over the presence of a Chinese coastguard vessel in its territorial waters near the disputed South China Sea, saying it marked a "violation of sovereignty".

U.S. retailers including Walmart Inc. will add "Do Not Sell My Info" links to their websites and signage in stores starting Jan. 1, allowing California shoppers to understand for the first time what personal and other data the retailers collect, sources said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kiev on Friday, just weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump was impeached over abuse of power involving his handling of Ukraine.

Tesla has started delivering Model 3 electric cars built at its Shanghai factory in just under a year since it began work on the $2 billion plant, a record for global automakers in China, and said it would ramp up deliveries from next month.

AP Top Stories

The Taliban targeted a pro-government militia compound in northern Afghanistan before dawn on Monday, killing 14 members of the Afghan security forces, a local official said. The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility for the attack.

A suspect has been arrested after five people were stabbed at a Hasidic rabbi's New York home during a Hanukkah celebration, an attack Governor Andrew Cuomo has branded "domestic terrorism".

A record haul of 6 tons of cocaine estimated to be worth more than $1bn has been seized in Uruguay, according to the country's navy.

Police arrested more than 200 people and seized several high-powered weapons after a major drug bust in North Philadelphia. Police, working with federal drug enforcement agents and the FBI, confiscated drugs including cocaine, crack, marijuana, heroin and other hard drugs.

The United States carried out airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Sunday, targeting weapons and munitions depots used by Kataib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militia.

Gold rose to a two-month peak on Monday as a weaker dollar fueled investor interest in the metal, with U.S. military strikes in the Middle East also providing some limited support in holiday-thinned trading.

A Chinese scientist who set off an ethical debate with claims that he had made the world's first genetically edited babies was sentenced Monday to three years in prison because of his research, state media said.

Police in Turkey detained at least 124 people suspected of links to the Islamic State group, the state-run news agency reported Monday, in an apparent sweep against the militant group ahead of New Year celebrations.

Residents and vacationers in part of the Australian state of Victoria were urged to leave on Sunday ahead of what is expected to be a day of extreme fire danger.

A Chinese man has been arrested by US authorities while he photographed an American Navy base in the Florida Keys.

Protesters in Hong Kong continued to target shopping malls in the city, harassing mainland Chinese and clashing with police, who used pepper spray on demonstrators.

BBC

Scores of fires are burning out of control across Australia amid a heatwave that has seen temperatures exceed104F in every state. The most dangerous fires on Monday were in the state of Victoria.

Sydney's iconic fireworks display on New Year's Eve will go-ahead despite calls for it to be cancelled due to the bushfire crisis.

A Sudanese court has sentenced 29 intelligence officers to death for the torture and killing of a teacher.

Five years ago, the Nigerian government signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, essentially banning gay relationships. Activists say the law has worsened discrimination against sexual minorities in the highly religious country. They also claim there's been a rise in instances of extortion and blackmail of the LGBTQI+ community by security forces.

WND

Around 480 million animals are feared to have died in the bushfires sweeping Australia, including nearly a third of the koalas in New South Wales's main habitat.

Seattle Public Schools is warning thousands of students that they will be excluded from school after Christmas break unless they get in compliance with Washington's vaccine laws.

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