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Wednesday, Dec 13th

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U.S. suspends all visas for Cubans, withdraws most staff from embassy in Havana

US embassy staff in Cuba cut by 60%

The United States delivered an ominous warning to Americans on Friday to stay away from Cuba and ordered home more than half the U.S. diplomatic corps, acknowledging neither the Cubans nor America's FBI can figure out who or what is responsible for months of mysterious health ailments.

No longer tiptoeing around the issue, the Trump administration shifted to calling the episodes "attacks" rather than "incidents."

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Tillerson: U.S. talking 'directly' to North Korea

Tillerson : US talking directly to N. KIorea In Beijing meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Saturday the United States is "probing" North Korea over recent nuclear threats between the two countries.

Tillerson, in China a day after the White House announced President Donald Trump would travel to China and a handful of other Asian countries in early November, told reporters to "stay tuned" over whether diplomatic talks may begin between U.S. officials and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the New York Times reported.

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50 detained as anti-Semitic group marches in Swedish city

20 etained in anti Semitic march in SwedenPolice said at least 50 people were detained Saturday during a right-wing demonstration in Sweden's second-largest city that left one police officer and several others injured.

The rally by the Nordic Resistance Movement in Goteborg, 400 kilometers (248 miles) southwest of Stockholm, featured an estimated 600 people marching in formation in all-black outfits. Some wore helmets and held shields, while others hoisted the movement's green-and-white flags.

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Palestinians slam US Israel envoy's 'ignorance'

Ambassador FriedmanThe US ambassador in Tel Aviv has angered Palestinians with a comment downplaying Israel's 50-year occupation of the West Bank, the second such spat in a month.

In a video interview with Israeli news site Walla broadcast in full on Friday, ambassador David Friedman said the Jewish state is "only occupying two percent of the West Bank".

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UN sends warning letters to firms that trade in occupied Palestinian territories

UN sends warning letters about trading with w bank co's

The UN human rights commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, has sent letters to an estimated 150 international and Israeli businesses warning them that they may be included in a UN database of companies involved with illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The letters have been sent as part of the legal verification and clarification process to give businesses identified as working in settlements the right of reply before the database is published in December.

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Rocket attack at Kabul airport was attempt to kill Mattis, Taliban says

Rockey attack at Kabul airport meant to kill MattisThe Taliban and the Islamic State have claimed responsibility for a rocket attack at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Wednesday -- which militants say was an attempt to kill U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Dozens of rockets were launched at the airport just hours after Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg arrived, unannounced, to meet with U.S. forces and Afghan officials.

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Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly back split from Baghdad

Kurds vote for independence

Iraqi Kurds overwhelmingly voted in favour of a split from Iraq, election officials said on Wednesday, as tensions soared between Erbil and Baghdad following a contested referendum.

The "Yes" vote accounted for 92 percent of those who took part in Monday's poll. Turnout was 72 percent of the more than five million eligible voters, according to the electoral commission.

Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Erbil, said the announcement was in line with people's expectations in the region.

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