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U.S. hails Korea talks, despite North's rejection of denuclearization

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U.S. hails Korea talks, despite North's rejection of denuclearizationBy Christine Kim and David Brunnstrom SEOUL/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – North and South Korea held their first talks in over two years on Tuesday, which Washington welcomed as a first step to solving the North Korean nuclear weapons crisis, even though Pyongyang said those were aimed only at the United States and not up for discussion. The U.S. State Department said Washington would be interested in joining future talks, but stuck to its insistence that they must be aimed at denuclearization, showing that a diplomatic breakthrough remains far off.

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Iran has foiled plot to use protests to overthrow system, leader says

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Iran has foiled plot to use protests to overthrow system, leader saysBy Babak Dehghanpisheh BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iran has foiled attempts by its foreign enemies to turn legitimate protests into an insurgency to overthrow the Islamic Republic, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday. “Once again, the nation tells the U.S., Britain, and those who seek to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran from abroad that ‘you’ve failed, and you will fail in the future, too’,” Khamenei tweeted. The Revolutionary Guards, the military force loyal to Khamenei, said on Sunday security forces had put an end to the unrest that it also said had been whipped up by foreign enemies.

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Israel to approve hundreds of new settler homes in West Bank

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Israel to approve hundreds of new settler homes in West BankIsrael will approve construction of hundreds of new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Tuesday. Settlements are one of the most heated issues in efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, frozen since 2014. Palestinians want the West Bank for a future state, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

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Protests turn violent in Tunisia over price hikes

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Protests turn violent in Tunisia over price hikesTunisia’s prime minister promised Tuesday to crack down on rioters after violent protests over price hikes left one person dead and raised fears of broader unrest in the country that was the birthplace of the Arab Spring. The clashes earlier this week recalled the 2010-2011 protest movement that led to the ouster of authoritarian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked uprisings across the Arab world. Tunisia’s economy has struggled ever since.

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North Korea to go to South Korea's Olympics after talks

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North Korea to go to South Korea's Olympics after talksSEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The rival Koreas moved toward easing their bitter animosity Tuesday during rare talks, with North Korea agreeing to take part in next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea. The countries also agreed to hold more discussions on reducing tension along their border and to reopen a military hotline.

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California mudslides demolish homes, five deaths reported

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California mudslides demolish homes, five deaths reportedMudslides unleashed by a ferocious storm demolished homes in southern California, authorities said Tuesday. Santa Barbara County Fire Department (SBCFD) says the bodies were discovered in mud and debris during rescue operations in Montecito, northwest of Los Angeles, according to various reports. “Firefighters successfully rescued a 14-yr-old girl after she was trapped for hours inside a destroyed home in Montecito,” it added.

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