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US, China vow to manage rifts ahead of Obama visit

The US and China on Saturday pledged to overcome mistrust, manage their differences and cooperate on key issues such as combatting terrorism and the spread of the Ebola virus as US President Barack Obama prepares to travel to the Chinese capital next month. Meeting in Boston,FULL STORY

Beijing marathon runners don facemasks

Despite heavy pollution blanketing Beijing, an international marathon went ahead yesterday, with face masks and sponges among the equipment used by competitors to battle the smog. The 34th Beijing International Marathon began at Tiananmen Square with many of the tens of thousands of participants wearing faceFULL STORY

Indonesian president breaks free of tradition

Slumped in a black swivel chair in Jakarta’s colonial-era governor’s office, Indonesian president-elect Joko Widodo looked weary. He is not due to take office until today, but already Widodo faces a hostile opposition coalition in the Indonesian parliament that has vowed to undermine him at everyFULL STORY

North Korea’s Kim hosts banquet for gold medal winners

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un hosted a banquet for athletes who won gold medals at the recent Asian Games in South Korea, state media said yesterday, marking his third public appearance in a week after an extended absence. Kim praised the medalists for proving “the validityFULL STORY

Vatican, Vietnam edge closer toward diplomatic relations

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung met Pope Francis in Rome on Saturday with both saying they were committed to restoring diplomatic relations. The country’s communist regime broke off diplomatic ties with the Vatican in 1975, but both sides have been working on warming relations sinceFULL STORY

Indian PM’s party wins key states

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing party yesterday snatched electoral victories in two key states, tightening its grip on power after storming to power five months ago in the national polls. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was leading in Maharashtra, whose capital is financial hub Mumbai,FULL STORY

Fiercest fighting in days erupts in key Syrian town

The fiercest fighting in days shook the Syrian border town of Kobane overnight, sources inside the town and a monitoring group said yesterday, as Islamic State (IS) militants attacked Kurdish militants with mortars and car bombs. The group — which controls much of Syria and Iraq,FULL STORY

FEATURE: ‘Chinese’ fishing tradition sinking in India

Tugging ropes and bellowing chants, five men hoisted from the water a huge spidery frame gripping a web of fishing net as they practiced a centuries-old custom on India’s southern coast. Two of the team bounded down a rickety platform to scoop up the catch, whichFULL STORY

Comet hurtles to Mars in one-in-a-million-years event

A comet the size of a small mountain is about to skim past Mars and NASA hopes its spacecraft will be able to photograph the once-in-a-million-years encounter. The comet, known as Siding Spring (C/2013 A1), is set to hurtle past Mars at a close distance ofFULL STORY

US says witnesses gave statements in Philippines murder

Four witnesses gave statements to Philippine prosecutors in a case where a US Marine is a suspect in the murder of a Philippine transgender, the US embassy in the Philippines said yesterday. “Last week, [Manila] City Prosecutors met with four witnesses and swore them to theirFULL STORY

Ebola fuels call for calm amid ‘disaster’

Aid agency Oxfam said Ebola could become the “definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation,” as US President Barack Obama urged against “hysteria” in the face of the growing crisis. Oxfam, which works in the two worst-hit countries — Liberia and Sierra Leone — on Saturday calledFULL STORY

Rival rallies face off in Venezuela

Red-clad “Chavistas” rallied in central Caracas on Saturday to protest the killing of a young ruling party lawmaker, while across town a protest called by the opposition’s new leader failed to attract as big a crowd. Caracas says the stabbing to death of the 27-year-old RobertFULL STORY

Bermuda escapes worst from Hurricane Gonzalo

Bermuda residents spoke of their relief and began a major cleanup on Saturday after Hurricane Gonzalo spared the Atlantic archipelago from catastrophic damage. Gonzalo made landfall in Bermuda as a strong Category 2 storm on Friday, knocking down trees, damaging a hospital and cutting power toFULL STORY

Dutch ‘Black Pete’ finally gets facelift

Black Pete, the jolly sidekick of the Dutch Saint Nicholas, is finally getting a facelift after years of bitter debate, including death threats against those calling for change. An Amsterdam court’s ruling in July that Pete — dressed in a gaudy medieval costume with a blackenedFULL STORY

World News Quick Take

NEPAL Hiker search effort reduced Hopes for survivors of one of the country’s worst mountain disasters faded yesterday as villagers joined an intensive search by troops and government officials for as many as 40 people missing after an unseasonal blizzard killed 39. More than 500 people haveFULL STORY

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