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US wins WTO fight over China’s export limits on rare earth elements critical to high-tech items

wto sides with USThe World Trade Organization on Wednesday sided with the United States against China in a trade dispute that could affect the price of nearly every modern electronic product manufactured today.

In its ruling, the WTO found that China had violated world trade regulations by imposing export restrictions on so-called rare earth elements, the lightweight, super-conductive minerals that are critical to a wide range of high-tech products, including hybrid car batteries, wind turbines, energy saving lighting, high-quality steel, electronics, flat-screen televisions and monitors, automobiles, electronics and medical equipment.


Pope removes German 'bling bishop' from post

bling bishop removedPope Francis on Wednesday permanently removed a German bishop from his Limburg diocese after his 31 million-euro ($43-million) new residence complex caused an uproar among the faithful.

Francis had temporarily expelled Monsignor Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst from Limburg in October pending a church inquiry.

At the center of the controversy was the price tag for the construction of a new bishop's residence complex and related renovations. Tebartz-van Elst defended the expenditures, saying the bill was actually for 10 projects and there were additional costs because the buildings were under historical protection.


BRICS countries extend statement of support for Russian participation in G20

BRICS countriesRepresentatives from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa -- economies that comprise BRICS -- met in The Hague on Monday on the sidelines of the Nuclear Security Summit.

The BRICS minsters issued a joint statement Monday asserting that Russia should be allowed to participate in the Group of 20's next meeting in Australia in November. The statement was prompted after Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop suggested Russia would be barred from the summit.


G7 countries snub Putin and refuse to attend planned G8 summit in Russia

G7 Western countries and Japan have suspended their 16-year collaboration with Russia in the G8 group in response to the annexation of Crimea and have threatened sweeping sanctions in the event of any Russian military moves in the region.

The move, a clear and deliberate break from the post-Soviet status quo, was intended to underline Russian isolation. Leaders from the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan met in The Hague as the G7 for the first time since Russian was brought into the group in 1998 to seal east-west co-operation and lay the cold war to rest.


Human rights groups denounce mass death sentencein Egypt

Morsi supporters sentenced to deathAn Egyptian court Monday sentenced to death 529 supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi on charges including one murder count, in a trial denounced by human rights groups as bereft of due process.

The biggest mass death sentence handed down in Egypt's modern history comes amid a sharp escalation of a crackdown on dissent and, in particular, on the Muslim Brotherhood. It prompted cries of anguish among family members of the accused gathered outside the courthouse.


U.S. to help in 'eliminating' sensitive Japanese nuclear stockpile

Japan nuclear stockpile to be degraded in USJapan will turn over hundreds of kilograms of sensitive nuclear material of potential use in bombs to the United States to be downgraded and disposed of, the two countries' leaders said ahead of a nuclear security summit on Monday.

China had voiced concern earlier this year about Japan's holding of plutonium but Washington and the United Nations nuclear agency in Vienna have made it clear they are not worried about the way Tokyo is handling the issue.


Acknowledging defeat, Ukraine pulls troops from Crimea

Ukraine pulls out of CrimeaUkrainian troops and their families began evacuating from Crimea on Monday, as Kiev effectively acknowledged defeat by Russian forces who stormed one of the last of their remaining bases on the peninsula.

Thousands of Ukrainian troops have been besieged on bases in Crimea, offering no armed resistance but refusing to surrender, since President Vladimir Putin declared Moscow's right to intervene at the start of the month.


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