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Top News: World

Miss Spain breaking barriers as first transgender Miss Universe hopeful

Bangkok - Carrying a bold message of inclusion, transgender rights and a sharp rebuke to US President Donald Trump, Miss Spain's Angela Ponce is blazing a trail as the first transgender contestant in Miss Universe's 66-year history.

Kosovo asserts statehood with vote to create army

Pristina - Kosovo on Friday passed laws to build an army, asserting its statehood in a US-backed move that has angered Serbia, which does not recognise the former province's independence.

Islamic State not defeated, just transforming: experts

Washington - Even as the last pockets of resistance in eastern Syria hold their ground, the Islamic State group is shapeshifting into a new, but no less dangerous, underground form, experts warn.

US-backed forces expel IS from east Syria hub

Beirut - Kurdish-led forces seized the Islamic State's main hub of Hajin Friday, a milestone in a massive and costly US-backed operation to eradicate the jihadists from eastern Syria.

Nations still worlds apart at crunch UN climate summit

Katowice - Nations at UN climate talks were haggling Friday over the world's plan to avert disaster as host Poland dumped a draft decision text on delegates just hours before the summit was due to end.

Iran deal, Saudi murder: Turbulent year shakes up Middle East

Apo - A murdered Saudi journalist. A scrapped Iran nuclear deal. The two events alone have undone years of diplomacy in the Middle East, testing old alliances and shaking up the regional balance of power, analysts say.

France dismisses IS claim for Strasbourg Christmas bloodshed

Strasbourg - France's interior minister on Friday dismissed a claim by the Islamic State group that it was responsible for a shooting spree at a Christmas market in Strasbourg after the gunman was shot dead by police, ending a 48-hour manhunt.

Cameroon to free 289 anglophone separatists: minister

Yaound - Nearly 300 people who were arrested in connection with Cameroon's anglophone crisis will be released on Friday, a day after being pardoned by President Paul Biya, the defence minister said.

Indian court backs Modi over French jet deal

New Delhi - India's top court dismissed Friday calls for an investigation into a French military jet deal that was threatening to damage Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of elections next year.

Brexit could wilt huge Dutch flower trade

Aalsmeer - Every day from dawn, a fleet of forklift trucks carries crates of roses, tulips, chrysanthemums and 22,000 other flower varieties through the world's biggest flower market.

Business worries for France ahead of new 'yellow vest' protests

Paris - A survey of French businesses on Friday indicated a major dip in activity linked to the month-long "yellow vest" protests ahead of a decisive weekend for the grassroots opposition movement and President Emmanuel Macron.

Young Russian fashion designers take inspiration from history

Moscow - In her workshop in a Moscow attic, Maria Andrianova is using a sewing technique she learnt from elderly women in the forested Karelia region of northwestern Russia."For me, sewing is a way to learn about my origins," said the 31-year-old designer.

Dead stag installed at former US base in South Korea

Paju - A stuffed deer stands in a former US ammunition store just outside the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two Koreas, tree branches spreading up from its antlers towards the roof.

Under-fire UNAIDS chief offers to resign in June

Geneva - Scandal-plagued UNAIDS head Michel Sidibe offered Thursday to resign in June, following an expert report that said his "defective leadership" had plunged the agency into crisis.

Ghosn family removes items from jailed auto exec's Rio apartment

Rio De Janeiro - Family members of Carlos Ghosn, the auto executive jailed in Japan on financial misconduct allegations, have entered an apartment he used in Rio de Janeiro and removed items, according to Nissan.

Israel in West Bank manhunt as Netanyahu under pressure

Ramallah - Israeli forces kept up a manhunt Friday for a Palestinian who shot dead two soldiers in the occupied West Bank, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced rightwing pressure for a strong response.

EU backs modest eurozone reform despite French push

Apo - EU leaders will approve a modest list of euro single currency reforms on Friday that are a far cry from the vast overhaul to the European project sought by France.

40 years in the making: Five lives changed by China's reforms

Bejing - China's "reform and opening up" policy brought monumental changes to society in the world's most populous country since its launch 40 years ago under late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.

Kosovo and Serbia's simmering disputes

Pristina - Serbia and Kosovo's troubled relationship has taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks, with Pristina's vote on Friday to form an army just one of many sources of tension between the former war foes.
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Top News: World