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Trump taps former campaign rival Carson as housing secretary

FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2016, file photo, former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson speaks before Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's arrival at a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H. President-elect Donald Trump chose Carson to become secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Trump's decision, announced early Monday, Dec. 5, by his transition office at Trump Tower in New York, comes as the real estate mogul continues a series of interviews, meetings with aides and other sessions aimed at forming his administration. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump, moving to complete formation of his Cabinet and decide other key administration posts, chose former campaign rival Ben Carson on Monday to be secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

S.Africa's DA party asks court to compel Zuma to set up influence-peddling inquiry

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma after speaking to members of the Twelve Apostles' Church in Christ at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in DurbanSouth Africa's main opposition party said on Monday it had asked the Constitutional Court to compel President Jacob Zuma to establish a judicial inquiry into alleged influence-peddling in his government. The Democratic Alliance's (DA) application came days after Zuma asked the High Court to set aside a report by the former Public Protector which called for an investigation into whether he and some cabinet members and state companies had acted improperly. "The DA has filed papers in the Constitutional Court to seek a declaratory order that President Jacob Zuma has violated his constitutional obligations in not giving effect to the remedial action set out in Public Protector's State Capture report by establishing a Commission of Inquiry by 2 December 2016," the party said in a statement.

Abe to make first Pearl Harbor visit by Japan leader

More than 2,400 American troops and civilians were killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to become the first Japanese leader to visit Pearl Harbor, announcing Monday a trip to Hawaii this month for talks with US President Barack Obama. Abe, who will be in Hawaii on December 26 and 27, will visit the site of the surprise Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, that began World War II in the Pacific. The Hawaii visit comes after Obama in May journeyed to Hiroshima, the Japanese city where a US plane dropped the world's first atom bomb in the closing chapter of the war.

Italy's Renzi to resign after referendum rout

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi speaks during a media conference after a referendum on constitutional reform at Chigi palace in RomeBy Crispian Balmer and Gavin Jones ROME (Reuters) - Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is set to resign on Monday after suffering a crushing defeat in a referendum over constitutional reform, tipping the euro zone's third-largest economy into political turmoil. Renzi's emotional, midnight resignation announcement sent the euro lower and jolted stock and bond markets on concerns that early elections could follow, possibly paving the way for an anti-euro party, the 5-Star Movement, to come to power. European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs Pierre Moscovici dismissed talk of a euro zone crisis, and German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble urged calm.

Trump names former rival Ben Carson as housing secretary

Ben Carson is a retired neurosurgeon who in 1987 performed the first successful separation of twins conjoined at the headUS President-elect Donald Trump on Monday chose Ben Carson, the mild-mannered retired neurosurgeon who challenged him for the Republican nomination, to turn around troubled US inner cities as secretary of housing and urban development. Carson, an African American who is a religious conservative, has no background in housing policy but has cited his poor childhood in Detroit as a qualification for the job. "Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities," Trump said in a statement.

Eurosceptics delight as Italy's Renzi quits

Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi announces his resignation at Rome's Palazzo Chigi on December 5, 2016Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi prepared to hand in his resignation Monday after suffering a ruinous referendum defeat cheered by populist leaders but sparking fresh jitters in Europe. "My experience of government finishes here," said a downcast Renzi after acknowledging a defeat of almost 60-40 percent over his constitutional reform bid, which threw the future of one of the eurozone's biggest economies into turmoil. Renzi, 41, will meet President Sergio Mattarella later Monday to hand in his resignation formally after a final cabinet meeting.

European markets rebound from Renzi-sparked losses

Italy's youngest ever premier, Matteo Renzi was just 39 when he took office in February 2014 via an internal coup in his Democratic PartyEuropean stocks and the euro rebounded sharply Monday as investors were reassured by the speed of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's resignation after losing a crunch referendum. The region's markets began the day in negative territory, with Milan tumbling two percent, but recovered somewhat with sentiment soothed also by the defeat of the far-right in Austria's presidential election. "The Italian referendum is the major story that will dominate market moves throughout Monday... after Renzi left his position after a bruising defeat," said GKFX analyst James Hughes.

Army advances in Aleppo, talks planned on rebel exit

Syrian pro-government forces advance in the Myessar district in east Aleppo in an ongoing operation to recapture the city, on December 4, 2016Syria's army gained ground in the battle for Aleppo on Monday, as regime ally Russia said it would hold talks with Washington on a total rebel withdrawal from the city. President Bashar al-Assad's forces have seized two-thirds of the former rebel bastion in east Aleppo since they began an operation to recapture all of Syria's battered second city in mid-November. The rapid gains for regime forces have left opposition fighters reeling and on Monday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said talks would be held with Washington on a complete rebel evacuation from the city.

UK government's Brexit plans in hands of Supreme Court

Protestors in costume demonstrate outside the Supreme Court in London, Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. May's government will ask Supreme Court justices to overturn a ruling that Parliament must hold a vote before Britain's exit negotiations can begin _ a case that has raised a constitutional quandary and inflamed the country's heated debate about Brexit. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)LONDON (AP) — Britain's Supreme Court began hearing a landmark case Monday that will decide who has the power to trigger the U.K.'s exit from the European Union — the government or Parliament.

Trump clear on China's stance on call with Taiwan's Tsai: ministryChina said on Monday U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are clear on China's position regarding his telephone call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday. "The world is very clear on China's solemn position. The US side, including president elect Trump's team, is very clear China's solemn position on this issue," said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang at a regular press briefing in Beijing.Uzbek interim leader wins presidency with 88.6% of vote: results

Shavkat Mirziyoyev is predicted to score a comfortable victory in presidential elections, with results expected MondayBishkek (Kyrgyzstan) (AFP) - Uzbekistan's interim leader Shavkat Mirziyoyev has won a landslide victory to become the country's second-ever president following the death of long-reigning strongman Islam Karimov, official results said Monday.

Uzbekistan's acting president wins election overwhelmingly

Uzbek acting President Shavkat Mirziyoyev casts his ballot during presidential election in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016. Mirziyoyev, who spent 13 years as Karimov's prime minister, is expected to easily win a five-year term. Karimov led Uzbekistan since before the Soviet collapse, first as its communist boss and then as president. (AP Photo/Anvar Ilyasov, Pool)MOSCOW (AP) — Uzbek election officials say that acting President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has overwhelmingly won a tightly controlled presidential election.

UN appeals for record $22.2 bn in global aid

Sara, 66, receives food from the World Food Programme in the commune of Maniche, in Haiti, last monthThe United Nations appealed Monday for a record $22.2 billion (20.9 billion euros) to provide aid in 2017 to surging numbers of people hit by conflicts and disasters around the world. It's "the highest amount we have ever requested," UN humanitarian aid chief Stephen O'Brien told a press conference. The global appeal by UN agencies and other humanitarian organisations aims to gather funds to help the 92.8 million most vulnerable of the nearly 129 million people expected to require assistance across 33 countries next year.

UN prosecutors: Mladic 'called the shots' in Bosnian war

FILE - In this Friday, June 3, 2011, file photo former Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic sits in the court room during his initial appearance at the U.N.'s Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. UN prosecutors deliver their closing statement in the marathon genocide trial of former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic, who is accused of commanding forces responsible for the worst atrocities of the Bosnian war. (AP Photo/ Martin Meissner, Pool, File)THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Gen. Ratko Mladic "called the shots" as his troops murdered and expelled thousands of civilians to carve out an ethnically pure Serb mini-state in Bosnia during the Balkan nation's 1992-95 war, a United Nations prosecutor said Monday as Mladic's genocide trial neared its end.

The Latest: Russian nurse died in rebel shelling of AleppoBEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):Factbox: What it will take for Trump to meet his immigration goalsPresident-elect Donald Trump has outlined a ten-point plan on his transition website for dealing with illegal immigration. BUILD A WALL ON THE SOUTHERN BORDER: Trump has the legal authorization to build fences under the "Secure Fence Act" passed in 2006, but Congress would have to approve considerably more funding to wall off the entire southern border, which spans nearly 2,000 miles. Trump previously said he would make Mexico pay for the wall, but that policy is not included on his post-election web site.UK services PMI hits 10-month high, points to solid fourth quarter growth

A bus carries commuters as it travels over Waterloo Bridge in LondonBy David Milliken LONDON (Reuters) - Businesses in Britain's dominant services sector grew at their fastest pace since January last month and the broader economy maintained momentum, even if firms have some worries about the year ahead, a survey showed on Monday. The Markit/CIPS services purchasing managers' index (PMI) - a closely watched gauge of the services sector - rose to 55.2 in November from 54.5 in October, beating all the forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists. Despite a dip in the equivalent survey of manufacturers published last week, overall the November PMIs suggest the economy as a whole will maintain the third quarter's solid 0.5 percent growth rate through to the end of the year, Markit said.

10 Things to Know for Today

10 Things to Know for TodayYour daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

Japanese leader Abe to visit Pearl Harbor with Obama

FILE - In this Nov. 20, 2016 file photo, U.S. President Barack Obama, right, talks with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after they joined leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) for a group photo in Lima, Peru. Abe said Monday, Dec. 5, he will visit Pearl Harbor with Obama at the end of this month, becoming the first leader of his country to go to the U.S. Naval base in Hawaii that Japan attacked in 1941, propelling the United States into World War II. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday he will visit Pearl Harbor with U.S. President Barack Obama at the end of this month, becoming the first leader of his country to go to the U.S. Naval base in Hawaii that Japan attacked in 1941, propelling the United States into World War II.

Fake US embassy in Ghana shut down after 'about a decade'ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — The U.S. State Department says it has shut down a fake embassy in Ghana's capital that operated for "about a decade" issuing counterfeit and fraudulently obtained visas to West Africans.Bob Dylan sends speech for Nobel ceremony

Bob Dylan has sent a speech to be read out at the award of his Nobel prize for literatureMusic icon Bob Dylan won't be at the Nobel prize ceremony this week to accept his award, but he has sent along a speech to be read aloud, the Nobel foundation said Monday. "This year's Laureate in Literature, Bob Dylan, will not be participating in the Nobel Week but he has provided a speech which will be read at the banquet," the foundation said in a statement. Sending along the speech does not exempt the American songwriter from holding a lecture at a place and a type of his choosing, the only requirement by the Nobel foundation.

Italy hit by market volatility after referendum defeat

Italy hit by market volatility after referendum defeatItalian voters dealt Premier Matteo Renzi a resounding rebuke early Monday by rejecting his proposed constitutional reforms, plunging Europe's fourth-largest economy into political and economic uncertainty. ...

With Dakota denial, outlook for U.S. pipelines turns murky

A man from the Lakota Sioux tribe with a Native American tattoo on his neck poses for a photograph during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North DakotaBy Liz Hampton HOUSTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army's denial of an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline, after permitting and legal obligations were followed, sets an uncertain precedent for new projects despite President-elect Donald Trump's promise to support energy infrastructure. The decision came after months of protests by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and others who said the line could desecrate tribal grounds, or a spill could contaminate drinking water. While most of the 1,172-mile (1,885-km) pipeline is complete, Energy Transfer Partners, the line's owner, needed an easement from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to drill under Lake Oahe.

Tunisia sells ex-president's plane to Turkish Airlines

A Turkish Airlines Airbus A330 aircraft takes off at the Charles de Gaulle airport in RoissyTunisia has sold the presidential plane used by toppled leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to Turkish Airlines (Turk Hava Yollari) for 181 million dinars ($78 million), officials said on Monday. The sale is part of a slow-moving effort to offload property amassed by Ben Ali's government and his family following Tunisia's 2011 uprising. Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia after popular protests ended his 23 years in power.

The Latest: German business worries about Italy outcome

Anti-referendum militants gather in downtown Rome after Italian Premier Matteo Renzi conceded defeat in a constitutional referendum and announced he will resign in Rome, early Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. Italians voted Sunday in a referendum on constitutional reforms that Premier Matteo Renzi has staked his political future on. Banner in Italian reads "You wanted to change the Constitution? Goodby Bella". (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)MILAN (AP) — The Latest on the Italian referendum (all times local):

Dollar near peak, U.S. could slip into recession in 2017: Saxo Bank CIOThe dollar's rally since the U.S. election is likely to run out of steam soon and the damage from its strength in the past month could be enough to put the world's largest economy into a recession, an investment chief at Saxo Bank said on Monday. The dollar has rallied on expectations that President-elect Donald Trump will increase fiscal spending and deregulate key industries, leading to higher U.S. growth and interest rates. The dollar index rose as much as 4.2 percent at one point against six other major currencies since Trump's Nov. 8 upset win.President-elect Trump chooses former campaign rival Ben Carson to be housing secretaryNEW YORK (AP) — President-elect Trump chooses former campaign rival Ben Carson to be housing secretary.Snowden does not expect pardon from Obama

Edward Snowden will tried for espionage and other charges carrying up to 30 years in prison, should he ever return to the United StatesEdward Snowden says he does not expect a pardon from US President Barack Obama which would spare the fugitive whistleblower from a toughened approach when Donald Trump takes power. "I'm not counting on it," Snowden said in an interview published by Yahoo News on Monday. The former National Security Agency contractor leaked thousands of classified documents to the press in 2013 which revealed the vast scope of US surveillance of private data that was put in place after the 9/11 attacks.

At Dakota pipeline protest, activists celebrate, mindful fight isn't over

Activist Hugh Ahnatock of the Inupiaq tribe pauses after singing while the sun rises inside of the Oceti Sakowin camp as demonstrations continue against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipelineBy Ernest Scheyder and Terray Sylvester CANNON BALL, N.D. (Reuters) - Thousands of protesters in North Dakota celebrated after the federal government ruled against a controversial pipeline project on Sunday, even though many recognized that the fight is likely to continue into next year. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it rejected an application to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to tunnel under Lake Oahe, a reservoir formed by a dam on the Missouri River. The decision came after months of protests from Native Americans and climate activists, who argued that the 1,172-mile (1,885-km) Dakota Access Pipeline would damage sacred lands and could contaminate the tribe's water source.

Japan PM to visit Hawaii to remember Pearl Harbor victims with Obama

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe gestures during a press conference in Buenos Aires, ArgentinaJapanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Monday he would visit Hawaii on Dec. 26 and 27 for his final summit meeting with outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama, and to remember the victims of Japan's Pearl Harbor attack 75 years ago. Abe will be the first incumbent Japanese Prime Minister to visit Pearl Harbor after Tokyo launched a surprise attack on the U.S. naval base in December 1941. This will be a visit to console the souls of the victims," Abe told reporters.

Stolen Dachau 'Work will set you free' gate found in Norway

The iron gate from the former Nazi concentration camp in Dachau was found outside Bergen in southwestern NorwayAn iron gate with the infamous slogan "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work will set you free") stolen from the former Nazi concentration camp Dachau in Germany two years ago has been found in Norway, police said Friday. The gate was recovered outside Bergen in southwestern Norway this week following an anonymous tip-off, Bergen police spokeswoman Margrethe Myrmehl Gudbrandsen told AFP.

Referendum defeat a new blow to Italy rating prospects: DBRSBy John Geddie LONDON (Reuters) - Ratings agency DBRS said on Monday that Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's imminent resignation after a crushing referendum defeat was negative for the country's credit ranking, which is under threat of a downgrade. DBRS' A(low) rating on Italy is important for its beleaguered banks, because a downgrade would mean they would pay more for European Central Bank funding. "This is certainly credit negative," DBRS' co-head of sovereign ratings, Fergus McCormick, told Reuters.Iran: US threatens nuclear deal, warns of 'strong reaction'VIENNA (AP) — A senior Iranian official has warned the U.S. of a "firm and strong reaction" if it persists in actions he says are endangering a nuclear deal aimed at curbing programs Tehran could use to make atomic arms.Trump supports completion of Dakota Access Pipeline

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump arrives at a costume party at the home of hedge fund billionaire and campaign donor Robert Mercer in Head of the HarborBy Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday said for the first time that he supports the completion of a pipeline project near a North Dakota Indian reservation, which has been the subject of months of protests by tribes and environmentalists. A communications briefing from Trump's transition team said despite media reports that Trump owns a stake in Energy Transfer Partners, the company building the pipeline, Trump's support of the pipeline "has nothing to do with his personal investments and everything to do with promoting policies that benefit all Americans." "Those making such a claim are only attempting to distract from the fact that President-elect Trump has put forth serious policy proposals he plans to set in motion on Day One," said the daily briefing note sent to campaign supporters and congressional staff.

Weak UK regulation lets opaque companies persist

A man walks past a branch of Mail Boxes Etc. in LondonBy Tom Bergin LONDON (Reuters) - To get an idea of how Britain allows individuals to hide behind hard-to-trace companies, take a look at Number 43 Bedford Street, a nondescript brick terrace in central London. The ground floor of the building is lined with myriad mail boxes and is more of a staging post than a conventional office. It is occupied by a branch of Mail Boxes Etc., a franchise chain that provides postal services for other companies.

Merkel regrets but respects Renzi resignation after Italian voteGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel regrets but accepts Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's decision to resign after his defeat in a referendum on constitutional amendments, her spokesman said on Monday. "The Chancellor has taken note of the resignation of the Italian Prime Minister with regret.Police fire tear gas to disperse striking Kenyan doctorsNAIROBI (Reuters) - Police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of striking doctors demonstrating over pay and conditions outside Kenya's health ministry on Monday. The medics, swearing white gowns and surgical caps, were demanding the government honour a 2013 deal to increase their salaries. The members of the Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists' Union, all working for state hospitals, marched on to another part of the capital. (Reporting by Humphrey Malalo and Thomas Mukoya; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Andrew Heavens)China appeals to US to stop disrupting acquisitionsChina urged Washington on Monday to stop disrupting its foreign corporate acquisitions after President Barack Obama blocked the purchase of a German maker of semiconductor manufacturing equipment as a ...Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will visit Pearl Harbor with President Barack Obama in late DecemberTOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he will visit Pearl Harbor with President Barack Obama in late December.Who collects costs for Trump's Taiwan call?

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks on the phone with U.S. president-elect Donald Trump at her office in TaipeiBy Ben Blanchard and Michael Martina BEIJING (Reuters) - There are many pressure points China can push to express its anger at Donald Trump's call with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen last week, including luring away more of Taiwan's diplomatic allies and ramping up military deployments in the Taiwan Strait. China's irritation with the call, the first by a U.S. president-elect or president since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979, has mostly been directed at the self-ruled island China claims as its own.

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