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In Beijing talks, U.S. seeks details on Chinese goods purchases, trade promises

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. officials used three days of trade talks in Beijing to demand more details on China’s pledge to make big purchases of American goods, as well as to push for ways to hold China to any commitments on changes to industrial policies. The meetings in China were the first face-to-face negotiations since U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Buenos Aires in December and agreed a 90-day truce in a trade war that has disrupted the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars of goods. Washington has presented Beijing with a long list of demands that would rewrite the terms…

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Australia says no timeframe to decide case of Saudi teen asylum seeker

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Thursday there was no timeframe for the assessment of the case of Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, a Saudi woman who fled to Thailand saying she feared her family would kill her. Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne speaks during a news conference at Australian Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, January 10, 2019. REUTERS/Athit PerawongmethaThe U.N. refugee agency has referred Qunun to Australia for consideration for refugee resettlement. “Following the UNHCR referrals, Australia is now going through the steps we are required to do in relation to the assessment process and then when that is complete an announcement will be made,”…

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U.S. judge dismisses Ashley Judd’s sex harassment claim against Weinstein

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A federal judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday dismissed actress Ashley Judd’s sexual harassment claim against movie producer Harvey Weinstein but said she could proceed with a defamation claim against him. Judd had accused Weinstein of defaming her in 1998 after she refused what she said were his sexual advances a year earlier. In her lawsuit, filed in April 2018, the “Double Jeopardy” actress accused Weinstein of smearing her reputation by discouraging director Peter Jackson from casting her in his blockbuster movie franchise “The Lord of the Rings.” Judd, one of the first women in October 2017 to publicly accuse Weinstein of sexual…

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California utility PG&E explores bankruptcy filing: sources

(This January 4 story has been corrected to remove incorrect reference to the Woolsey fire) By Liana B. Baker, Greg Roumeliotis and Mike Spector (Reuters) - California utility company PG&E Corp (PCG.N) is exploring filing some or all of its business for bankruptcy protection as it faces billions of dollars in liabilities related to fatal wildfires in 2018 and 2017, people familiar with the matter said on Friday. The company is considering the move as a contingency, in part because it could soon take a significant financial charge for the fourth quarter of 2018 related to liabilities from the blazes, the sources said. A bankruptcy filing is…

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Exclusive: Sears chairman submits new roughly $5 billion bid to save retailer – sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sears Holdings Corp Chairman Eddie Lampert submitted a revised roughly $5 billion takeover bid for the company on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter said, boosting the chances that the U.S. department store operator will escape liquidation. FILE PHOTO: A dismantled sign sits leaning outside a Sears department store one day after it closed as part of multiple store closures by Sears Holdings Corp in the United States in Nanuet, New York, U.S., January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Mike SegarIn a concession, Lampert agreed to assume tax and vendor bills Sears has incurred since filing for bankruptcy protection in October, the sources said. The billionaire’s…

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Asia shares check rally as US-China trade talks, Fed policy in focus

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian shares took a breather on Thursday after an extended rally, as markets awaited more news on U.S.-China trade talks that have raised hopes of a deal to avert an all-out trade war between the economic giants. FILE PHOTO: A woman points to an electronic board showing stock prices as she poses in front of the board after the New Year opening ceremony at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), held to wish for the success of Japan's stock market, in Tokyo, Japan, January 4, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.2 percent, reversing course after briefly touching a…

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South Korea’s Moon says second Trump-Kim summit, Kim’s Seoul visit to happen soon

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in speaks during a meeting with senior aides at the Blue House in Seoul, South Korea, December 12, 2018. Presidential Blue House/Handout via REUTERS/File PhotoSEOUL (Reuters) - South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday the second U.S.-N.Korea summit and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s Seoul visit will take place “soon” and will be turning points to cement peace on the Korean peninsula. Moon also told a news conference the South Korean government would cooperate with the United States and the global community in resolving the issue of sanctions on North Korea in order to reopen the Kaesong industrial zone, shared by…

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North Korea’s Kim and China’s Xi discussed how to ‘jointly steer’ denuclearization talks: KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un shakes hands with China's President Xi Jinping, in Dalian, China in this undated photo released on May 9, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA/via REUTERS/File PhotoSEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Chinese President Xi Jinping had in-depth discussions on how to “jointly study and steer” the situation on the Korean peninsula and denuclearization talks, North Korea’s state media KCNA said on Thursday. Kim said during his China visit this week that there is no change in North Korea’s stance to faithfully carry out the agreement reached with U.S. President Donald Trump during their…

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China’s Xi nudges North Korea, U.S. to meet half way as second summit planned

SHANGHAI/SEOUL (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping said he hopes North Korea and the United States can meet each other half way as they plan a second summit between leaders Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump, China’s official Xinhua news agency said on Thursday. Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a welcoming ceremony for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un before their talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China January 8, 2019, in this picture released by Xinhua January 10, 2019. Huang Jingwen/Xinhua via REUTERS The remark by Xi, during a meeting with Kim this week in Beijing, hinted at the depth of the…

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Trump administration working on Arctic oil leases despite shutdown

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - Even as a partial shutdown halts the functions of many U.S. government departments, forcing the Department of the Interior to close national parks, the Trump administration is continuing to push for the expansion of oil drilling on sensitive, federally owned lands in Arctic Alaska. U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after he addressed a closed Senate Republican policy lunch as a partial government shutdown enters its 19th day on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 9, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young    The Alaska Bureau of Land Management (BLM), part of the Interior Department, was scheduled to hold a meeting on Wednesday night in Wainwright,…

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