December 15, 2017 / 3:00 PM / 9 months ago

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Editor: Hugh Lawson + 44 207542 4441

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TOP STORIES

“Congratulations”: EU launches next phase of Brexit but warns of tough talks ahead

BRUSSELS - The European Union agreed on Friday to move Brexit talks onto trade and a transition pact but some leaders cautioned that the final year of Britain’s divorce negotiations could be fraught with peril. (BRITAIN-EU/ (UPDATE 5, PIX, TV), by Philip Blenkinsop and Robin Emmott, moved, 795 words)

+ See also:

- BRITAIN-EU/YEAR (EXPLAINER), by Alastair Macdonald, 1107 words, moved

U.S. negotiator says direct diplomacy needed on North Korea

BANGKOK - The chief U.S. negotiator for North Korea says the United States should engage in direct diplomacy with Pyongyang alongside sanctions imposed over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. (NORTHKOREA-MISSILES/YUN (UPDATE 1, PIX), moved, by Amy Sawitta Lefevre, 407 words)

Disney buying Fox film, TV units for $52 billion in digital push

Walt Disney Co. strikes a deal to buy film, television and international businesses from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox for $52.4 billion in stock, giving the world’s largest entertainment company an arsenal of shows and movies to combat growing digital rivals Netflix and Amazon.com. (FOX-M&A/DISNEY (UPDATE 8, PICTURES, TV), moved, by Aishwarya Venugopal and Jessica Toonkel, 1,020 words)

World trade order in a wobble as Washington snubs WTO status quo

BERLIN - The frustration of Roberto Azevedo was evident when, as director general of the World Trade Organization, he summed up the results of a three-day ministerial conference in Buenos Aires in the past week. There were simply none. (GLOBAL-ECONOMY/OUTLOOK (PIX), moved, by Michael Nienaber, 892 words)

U.S. says concerned about Myanmar’s silence over where Reuters journalists are being held

YANGON - The U.S. embassy in Myanmar said on Friday it was concerned that there had been no word on the whereabouts of two Reuters journalists three days after they were detained, and that authorities had not allowed their families to visit them. (MYANMAR-JOURNALISTS/ (PIX, TV), moved, 608 words)

+ See also:

- MYANMAR-JOURNALISTS/ (UPDATE 4, PICTURES, TV), moved, 750 words

EUROPE

Russian ex-minister Ulyukayev jailed for 8 years over $2m bribe

MOSCOW - Former Russian economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev was found guilty of soliciting a $2 million bribe from Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin and sentenced to eight years in jail on Friday. (RUSSIA-ULYUKAYEV/VERDICT (UPDATE 2, TV, PIX), by Polina Nikolskaya, moved, 367 words)

Germany’s SPD agrees to coalition talks, opening path out of deadlock

BERLIN - Germany’s Social Democrats have agreed to open exploratory talks on forming a government with Chancellor Angela Merkel, a party source said, raising hopes for an end to a rare period of political deadlock in Europe’s largest economy. (GERMANY-POLITICS/ (UPDATE 1), by Holger Hansen, 356 words, moved)

EU leaders clash over refugees

BRUSSELS - Two years after the Mediterranean migrant crisis blew a hole in the European Union, a tentative effort to patch up differences over what to do with refugees underlines continuing rifts among the bloc’s leaders. (EUROPE-MIGRANTS/EU (UPDATE 1, PICTURES, TV), moved, by Gabriela Baczynska and Robert Muller, 640 words)

Italy plans big handover of sea rescues to Libya coastguard

ROME/TRIPOLI - Italy wants Libya’s coastguard to take responsibility within three years for intercepting migrants across about a tenth of the Mediterranean even as Libyan crews struggle to patrol their own coast and are accused of making deadly mistakes at sea. (EUROPE-MIGRANTS/LIBYA (EXCLUSIVE, PIX, GRAPHIC), moved, by Steve Scherer and Aidan Lewis, 1030 words)

Multi-summit Macron burns energy in hunt for results

LONDON - If European leaders earned points for the amount of time they spend at summits, French President Emmanuel Macron would probably top the rankings this week.(EU-FRANCE/MACRON (PIX), moved, 650 words)

ASIA

China says stalled projects with S.Korea to resume, hails “springtime” in ties

SEOUL/BEIJING - China’s stalled projects with South Korea will resume as ties between the two nations thaw, South Korea’s presidential office spokesman on Friday quoted Chinese Premier Li Keqiang as saying. (CHINA-SOUTHKOREA/ (UPDATE 2, TV, PIX), moved, 343 words)

+ See also:

- NORTHKOREA-MISSILES/ (WRAPUP 4, PIX, TV), by Ben Blanchard, moved, 868 words

Australian abuse report calls for end to sanctity of confession

SYDNEY - Australia must adopt a law forcing religious leaders to report child abuse, including abuse revelations made to Catholic priests in the confessional, says a report. (AUSTRALIA-ABUSE/ (UPDATE 2, PIX, TV), by Byron Kaye and Elouise Fowler, 508 words)

Beijing evictions leave migrants in limbo as winter deepens

BEIJING - Winter is bringing a frigid existence and an uncertain future for migrant workers in Beijing deprived of electricity and heating as they resist a month-long campaign to evict them from the city’s urban villages. (CHINA-MIGRANTS/ (TV, PIX), moved, by Christian Shepherd and Natalie Thomas, 500 words)

MIDDLE EAST

Erdogan says Turkey seeking to annul Trump decision on Jerusalem at UN

ANKARA - Turkey is launching an initiative at the United Nations to annul a decision by the United States to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday. (USA-TRUMP/ISRAEL-TURKEY (UPDATE 1), moved, 292 words)

Top Iraqi Shi’ite cleric says paramilitaries should be part of state security bodies

BAGHDAD - Iraqi Shi’ite paramilitary groups who took part in the war against Islamic State militants should be incorporated into state security bodies, the nation’s top Shi’ite cleric said. (MIDEAST-CRISIS/IRAQ-POLITICS (UPDATE 2), moved, 432 words)

UNITED STATES

Republicans join push to lift secrecy around misconduct in Congress

WASHINGTON - Prominent Republican senators embrace a push to overhaul rules for addressing sexual harassment in the U.S. Congress, signing on to a bill that would protect victims and require lawmakers to pay for their own settlements. (USA-CONGRESS/MISCONDUCT (UPDATE 1), moved, by Susan Cornwell and Caren Bohan, 720 words)

Firefighter killed battling massive California blaze

LOS ANGELES - A firefighter is killed while battling a mammoth California wildfire as crews sought to protect coastal cities and towns in the path of flames that have destroyed more than 700 homes. (USA-WILDFIRES/ (UPDATE 5, PIX, TV), moved, by Dan Whitcomb, 460 words)

+ See also:

- USA-WILDFIRES/ (PIX, TV), by Dan Whitcomb, moved, 361 words

Committee questions head of Trump campaign data firm - sources

WASHINGTON - Members of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee interview the head of a data analysis firm to determine whether Donald Trump’s election campaign team sought his help to find thousands of emails missing from Hillary Clinton’s private server, three sources familiar with the session say. (USA-TRUMP/RUSSIA-EMAILS, moved, by Jonathan Landay and Mark Hosenball, 410 words)

AMERICAS

Peru’s president defies impeachment threat

LIMA - Peru’s center-right President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said on Thursday he would not resign in the face of possible impeachment over payments to a firm he owned by a Brazilian company that has bribed politicians across Latin America.(PERU-ODEBRECHT/KUCZYNSKI (UPDATE 4, PICTURES, TV), moved, by Marco Aquino and Teresa Cespedes, 600 words)

Chile presidential hopefuls end campaigns before Sunday vote

SANTIAGO - Chile’s presidential hopefuls end their campaigns in downtown Santiago ahead of an uncertain runoff election whose outcome will determine whether the world’s top copper producer turns to the right or maintains its center-left track. (CHILE-ELECTION/ (UPDATE 1, PICTURES, TV), moved, by Dave Sherwood and Antonio De la Jara, 435 words)

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