Goldman Sachs fires back after Malaysia charges bank in 1MDB probe

NEW YORK/KUALA LUMPUR,  (Reuters) – Malaysia yesterday filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs Group Inc related to its dealings with the sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, and Goldman Sachs fired back that the previous Malaysian government had lied to the investment bank.

Climate talks pass baton in race to stop global warming

KATOWICE, Poland,  (Reuters) – Fractious climate change talks in Poland showed the limits of international action to limit global warming in a polarised world, putting the onus on individual governments, cities and communities to stop temperatures rising.

Saudi Arabia rejects US Senate position on Khashoggi -statement

CAIRO,  (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia yesterday rejected “the position expressed recently by the United States Senate”, saying that the Jamal Khashoggi murder is a crime that does not reflect the policy of the kingdom, a statement by Saudi’s foreign ministry said.

Wickremesinghe returns as Sri Lanka PM as crisis nears end

COLOMBO,  (Reuters) – Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Sri Lanka’s prime minister today, making a remarkable comeback weeks after being ousted by President Maithripala Sirisena under controversial circumstances.

Canada is looking for a way out of big Saudi arms deal, says PM

OTTAWA,  (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking in an interview that aired yesterday, said for the first time that his Liberal government was looking for a way out of a multibillion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

Tenders for Mexican train to go out within 2 months -president

MEXICO CITY,  (Reuters) – Mexico’s new government aims by mid-February to put out tenders for the first four sections of a planned railway connecting the southeast of the country to Caribbean resorts, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said yesterday.

Cuba forecasts slow growth in 2019 as economic woes continue

HAVANA,  (Reuters) – Cuba’s economy will grow next year at about the same sluggish 1 percent pace it did in 2018 and an austerity program begun in 2016 will continue, the country’s economy minister said yesterday, according to state-run media.

Nicaragua police beat journalists in crackdown on free press

MANAGUA,  (Reuters) – Nicaraguan police on Saturday beat at least seven journalists with batons, including one of the country’s best known editors, in an escalating crackdown on independent media in the aftermath of protests against President Daniel Ortega.

Wickremesinghe returns as Sri Lanka PM as crisis nears end

COLOMBO,  (Reuters) – Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Sri Lanka’s prime minister today, making a remarkable comeback weeks after being ousted by President Maithripala Sirisena under controversial circumstances.

Nations agree on global climate pact rules, but seen as weak

KATOWICE, Poland, (Reuters) – Nearly 200 countries overcame political divisions late yesterday to agree on rules for implementing a landmark global climate deal, but critics say it is not ambitious enough to prevent the dangerous effects of global warming.

British minister warns Brexit is stuck as no-deal or referendum looms

LONDON, (Reuters) – Britain’s exit from the European Union was heading for an impasse, one senior minister said yesterday, after a week in which Prime Minister Theresa May failed to win EU assurances on her deal and pulled a vote because UK lawmakers would defeat it.

Trump says Interior’s Zinke to step down at end of year

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has aggressively sought to roll back Obama-era environmental protections, will be leaving his post at the end of the year, President Donald Trump tweeted yesterday, the latest high-profile departure from his administration.

Two million more Venezuelans could flee next year – U.N.

GENEVA, (Reuters) – An estimated two million Venezuelans could join the ranks of migrants and refugees next year, swelling the total to 5.3 million as the country’s meltdown continues, the United Nations said yesterday.

Trump picks Mulvaney as chief of staff – for now

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday moved to end speculation that he was having a hard time finding a new chief of staff, naming his budget chief Mick Mulvaney to the top post on a temporary basis.

India court rejects challenge to Dassault jet deal; win for Modi

NEW DELHI,  (Reuters) – India’s top court rejected petitions yesterday seeking an investigation of fighter jet deal worth about $8.7 billion with France’s Dassault Aviation , handing a political victory to the ruling party months before a general election.

Sri Lanka PM Rajapaksa to resign as fears of govt shutdown grow

COLOMBO, (Reuters) – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will resign from his post, his son said yesterday, in a move that will force President Maithripala Sirisena to appoint a replacement to avert a possible government shutdown on Jan 1.

UNAIDS chief stepping down early after scathing report

GENEVA, (Reuters) – The head of the U.N. agency for HIV and AIDS is stepping down in June, six months before his term ends, after an independent panel said that his “defective leadership” tolerated “a culture of harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying, and abuse of power”.

EU gives May assurances on Brexit, but cold comfort

BRUSSELS,  (Reuters) – European Union leaders assured Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday that the Brexit treaty she agreed last month but is struggling to get through UK parliament should not bind Britain forever to EU rules.

Cocaine surge to Europe fuelled by new gangs, violence-report

LISBON,  (Reuters) – New gangs are muscling into cocaine markets in Europe, setting up smuggling networks straight from producers in Latin America to consumers, a business which used to be dominated by the mafia, the Lisbon-based EU drugs agency said on Thursday.

Butina admits being Russian agent, pleads guilty in U.S. to conspiracy

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – A Russian woman pleaded guilty in a U.S. court yesterday to a single conspiracy charge in a deal with prosecutors and admitted to working with a top Russian official to infiltrate a powerful gun rights group and make inroads with American conservative activists and the Republican Party as an agent for Moscow.

Trump ex-lawyer Cohen given 3 years in prison as risks rise for Trump

NEW YORK, D (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison yesterday for crimes including orchestrating hush payments to women in violation of campaign laws before the 2016 election, and he promised to keep cooperating with the U.S.

Canada warns U.S. not to politicize extradition cases

OTTAWA,  (Reuters) – Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland yesterday  warned the United States not to politicize extradition cases, a day after President Donald Trump said he could intervene in the affair of a Chinese executive detained in Canada at Washington’s request.

Germany secures access to vast lithium deposit in Bolivia

BERLIN, (Reuters) – Germany and Bolivia yesterday sealed a partnership for the industrial use of lithium, a key raw material for battery cell production, in an important step to become less dependent on Asian market leaders in the dawning age of electric cars.

UK leader May battles leadership revolt

LONDON,  (Reuters) – Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to fight for her job in a leadership challenge on Wednesday triggered by Conservative lawmakers, saying a change could jeopardise Britain’s divorce from the European Union.

Gunman kills 3 people in French Christmas market, flees

STRASBOURG, France,  (Reuters) – A gunman on a security watchlist killed three people and wounded a dozen others near the picturesque Christmas market in the historic French city of Strasbourg last evening before fleeing.