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Ukraine protests after Yanukovych EU deal rejection
Thousands of people have staged fresh protests in Ukraine's capital, Kiev, at President Viktor Yanukovych's refusal to sign an EU association agreement.
Some 10,000 Demonstrators in Independence Square carried Ukrainian and EU flags late on Friday and chanted "Ukraine is Europe".
Mr Yanukovych, who attended an EU summit in Lithuania on Friday cited pressure from Russia for his decision.
A smaller rally in Kiev voiced support for the president's decision.
BBC:Iran nuclear crisis: UN warns process will 'take time'
Iran nuclear crisis: UN warns process will 'take time'
The head of the UN's nuclear agency, Yukiya Amano, has warned it will "take some time" before work can begin on verifying whether Iran is complying with a deal on its nuclear programme.
Iran agreed last week to curb some nuclear activities for six months in return for sanctions relief.
The deal requires increased UN inspections of Iran's nuclear sites including the Arak heavy water plant.
Mr Amano said he could not yet tell when the inspections would begin.
BBC:Nigeria: Three Lebanese nationals cleared of terrorism
Nigeria: Three Lebanese nationals cleared of terrorism
Three men suspected of being members of Hezbollah have been cleared of terrorism charges by a Nigerian court.
The men, all Lebanese nationals, were arrested in May after the discovery of weapons in the northern city of Kano.
They denied accusations of plotting attacks on Western and Israeli targets in Nigeria.
One of the men was convicted on a weapons charge and jailed for life. Nigerian officials had described the weapons cache as a "cell of Hezbollah".
BBC:DR Congo President Joseph Kabila eyes end to war
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila eyes end to war
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has told residents of a town held by rebels for more than a year that he wants an end to 20 years of conflict in the region.
He has spent the past week driving from Kisangani in a 70-car convoy, which got bogged down in the region's bad roads.
He has ended his 930km- (575 mile) journey in Rutshuru, which was held by the M23 rebels for more than a year.
During his trip, he warned the region's other militias to disarm.
BBC:Tuareg separatist group in Mali 'ends ceasefire'
Tuareg separatist group in Mali 'ends ceasefire'
An ethnic Tuareg separatist group in Mali has said it is ending a ceasefire agreed with the government in June.
It comes a day after clashes between Malian troops and Tuareg protesters who prevented a visit by Prime Minister Oumar Tatam Ly to the town of Kidal.
A National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) leader said: "What happened is a declaration of war."
June's ceasefire followed more than 18 months of fighting that prompted an intervention by French troops.
BBC:Brazil National Force sent to land dispute region
Brazil National Force sent to land dispute region
A task force of the Brazilian National Force is to be deployed in areas disputed by indians and farmers in the western state of Mato Grosso do Sul.
The federal force is due to arrive in the region just ahead of an auction to raise funds for the farmers' private security personnel.
An indigenous man was killed in the area in clashes with the police in May.
A 2010 court ruling granted the Terena ethnic group exclusive rights over the land, but land owners dispute it.
Reuters:With new air zone, China tests U.S. dominance in East Asia
With new air zone, China tests U.S. dominance in East Asia
(Reuters) - China's new air defense zone, stretching far into East Asia's international skies, is an historic challenge to the United States, which has dominated the region for decades.
For years, Chinese naval officers have told their U.S. counterparts they are uncomfortable with America's presence in the western Pacific - and Beijing is now confronting strategic assumptions that have governed the region since World War Two.
China's recent maritime muscle-flexing in disputes over the Paracel islands and Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea and over Japanese-administered islands in the East China Sea has stirred concern and extensive backroom diplomacy in Washington.
But it took the events of the last week to spark an immediate and symbolic response from the United States - the unannounced appearance in the zone of two unarmed B-52 bombers from the fortified island of Guam, the closest U.S. territory to the Chinese coast.
Reuters:Nasdaq ends brief post-holiday session at 13-year high
Nasdaq ends brief post-holiday session at 13-year high
(Reuters) - The Dow and the S&P 500 dipped in thin holiday trading on Friday, but technology stocks helped lift the Nasdaq to a 13-year high.
The Nasdaq got a boost from the technology sector, with Apple (AAPL.O) up 1.9 percent at $556.07, Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) up 1.4 percent at $38.13 and Amazon Inc (AMZN.O) up 1.8 percent at $393.62.
"It's almost as if people are rotating into the bigger blue-chip names, especially the technology big caps. We wouldn't be shocked at all to see the small and mid-cap names lag a little bit," said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist with Schaeffer's Investment Research, in Cincinnati.
But with the both the S&P and Dow on an eight-week winning streak, investors may be cautious in adding new positions.
Reuters:U.S. extends Iran oil sanctions waivers to China, India, South Korea
U.S. extends Iran oil sanctions waivers to China, India, South Korea
(Reuters) - The U.S. State Department extended six-month Iran sanctions waivers on Friday to China, India, South Korea and other countries in exchange for their reducing purchases of Iranian crude oil earlier this year.
The waivers had been expected. Under a law governing sanctions imposed on Iran's disputed nuclear program by the United States, the State Department is required to determine whether the Islamic Republic's oil consumers have reduced their purchases.
The decision comes even after the United States and five other global powers, known as the P5+1, agreed in Geneva this month to ease Iran's access to about $4.2 billion in foreign currency reserves for six months in exchange for Tehran's taking steps to curb its nuclear program.
The waivers, which the State Department calls exceptions, mean that banks in the consuming countries will not face being cut off from the U.S. financial system for the next six months.
Reuters:Iran shakes up foundation controlled by Ayatollah's business empire
Iran shakes up foundation controlled by Ayatollah's business empire
(Reuters) - A multi-billion dollar organization controlled by Iran's supreme leader shook up the management of its charity division, appointing as its new chief a man involved in the confiscation of thousands of properties from Iranian citizens.
Aref Norozi was named director general of the Barakat Foundation, Iran's state news agency reported on Wednesday. The foundation is a unit of a massive business empire controlled by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that is known as Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate Emam.
The report by the Islamic Republic News Agency stated that Setad's president, Mohammad Mokhber, had ordered the appointment of Norozi, who once headed Setad's real-estate division and served on the boards of several Setad-linked companies.
As a result of Norozi's professional experience, the report said, "It is expected that the Barakat Foundation's activities will be more extensive than before."
Reuters:Tents, refugees crowd Lebanese valley - just don't call it a camp
Tents, refugees crowd Lebanese valley - just don't call it a camp
(Reuters) - White tents with "The U.N. Refugee Agency" written on them flap in the wind outside the Lebanese mountain town of Arsal. Children run past latrines and water points. In all respects, it is a refugee camp, but you must not call it that, say officials.
The site is home to about 350 people who have fled the civil war in neighboring Syria - the first officially U.N.-run plot set up for displaced Syrians in Lebanon, complete with running water, toilets and other services.
But in a sign of the extreme sensitivities over refugees in the Mediterranean state, the authorities are doing all they can to play down any suggestion it is a settled facility for long-term residents.
"It's not a camp, it's a temporary transit site," said one aid worker showing journalists round the site on Friday.
Reuters:Japan shippers plan to order 90 new LNG tankers worth $17.6 billion by 2020
Japan shippers plan to order 90 new LNG tankers worth $17.6 billion by 2020
(Reuters) - Japan's top shippers plan to order around 90 new liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers worth about 1.8 trillion yen ($17.61 billion) by 2020 as they gear up to transport rising volumes of the super chilled fuel from North America and Australia.
The expansion plans reflect rising LNG demand in nuclear-free Japan to generate electricity and also in other Asian countries such as China and South Korea. Global LNG trading volume is expected to grow to 400 million tonnes (1.1023 ton) in 2020 from 250 million tonnes in 2012, according to industry data.
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. (9104.T), Japan's second-largest shipping company, plans to increase the number of its LNG carriers to 110 by 2020 from about 70 now, a spokesman said.
Nippon Yusen KK (9101.T), the No.1 shipper in the country, plans to raise its LNG tanker strength to 100 by 2020 from about 70 now while third-biggest shipper Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd (9107.T) aims to order about 20 new LNG tankers before the end of the decade.
ABC:First Lady Welcomes White House Christmas Tree
First Lady Welcomes White House Christmas Tree
Michelle Obama, daughters Malia and Sasha and the family's two dogs on Friday accepted an 18½-foot Douglas fir as the official White House Christmas tree.
The tree was grown by Christopher Botek, a second-generation Christmas tree farmer from Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, Pa.
The tree was hauled up the driveway by horse-drawn wagon and taken to the Blue Room, where it will stand as the main attraction of the White House Christmas decorations.
Mrs. Obama, holding the leash for dog Sunny, and her daughters walked around the wagon to inspect the fir.