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Philippines Bans Some Foreign Journalists over APEC Bali Incident

The Philippines said Saturday it had banned certain foreign journalists from the country over an incident last year, when President Benigno Aquino was taunted by a group of Hong Kong reporters during a visit to Indonesia.

The immigration bureau said the journalists, whom it did not name, were blacklisted on the recommendation of the intelligence services over "acts committed against the president during a summit in Bali, Indonesia".

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Mexico ex-Police Official Arrested in Student Abductions

A former police chief in Cocula, the Mexican town where witnesses say 43 missing students were massacred, was arrested for allegedly participating in handing the young men over to a criminal gang, prosecutors said Friday.

Cesar Nava Gonzalez was arrested on November 16, the statement said, calling the former official a "member of the Guerreros Unidos criminal organization."

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Report: Obama Extends U.S. Combat Role in Afghanistan

Barack Obama has extended the combat role for U.S. troops in Afghanistan for another year, in a classified order he signed in recent weeks, the New York Times reported Friday.

Previously, the president had said U.S.-led NATO combat operations would finish at the end of this year.

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Ailing Thai King Unable to Meet Ministers

Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej missed a planned meeting with two government ministers, palace officials said, amid ongoing public concern over the state of the ailing 86-year-old's health. 

The two ministers were supposed to accompany junta leader General Prayut Chan-O-Cha to meet the world's longest serving monarch on Friday evening to swear an oath in front of him before taking up office.

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Fears of Army Influence as Interim Burkina PM Picks Team

Burkina Faso army strongman and new Prime Minister Isaac Zida is set Saturday to name his ministerial team, amid fears of continued military influence over the phased return to democratic rule.

Lieutenant Colonel Zida, in charge of Burkina Faso since the ouster of veteran leader Blaise Compaore three weeks ago, formally handed power to interim civilian President Michel Kafando on Friday.

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French PM Valls Arrives in Chad on Regional Trip

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls arrived in Chad late Friday at the start of a two-day regional visit, in a show of support for a French-led anti-jihadist force.

In N'Djamena on Saturday and Niger's capital Niamey on Sunday, Valls will hold talks with respective presidents Idriss Deby and Mahamadou Issoufou.

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Deadlocked Iran Nuclear Talks Enter Cliffhanger Final Weekend

Deadlocked international talks aimed at defusing a 12-year standoff with Iran over its nuclear ambitions entered their cliffhanger final weekend Saturday, days before a deadline.

In a sign of the high stakes involved, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif stayed overnight Friday in the Austrian capital Vienna in a bid to break the deadlock in a year-long round of rollercoaster negotiations.

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Father Arrested in Case of Colombian Child Drug Mule

A Colombian father was arrested Friday on suspicion of forcing his 11-year-old daughter to swallow 104 cocaine-filled capsules and trying to use her as a drugs mule.

On the run since the girl was hospitalized last week, Diego Fernando Mancilla Aguilar was sought on charges of attempted murder, using a minor to commit a crime and for drug trafficking, prosecutors said.

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Germany Frees Female Russian Spy Early

A Russian spy, jailed in Germany with her husband last year, has been freed early and allowed to return home, media reports said Friday, suggesting a possible prisoner swap.

The 48-year-old woman, known only by the pseudonym Heidrun Anschlag, was freed two days ago and returned to Russia while her 53-year-old husband, known as Andreas, remains in detention, the DPA news agency and Focus magazine reported.

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U.N. Presses Myanmar over Rohingya Rights

The United Nations adopted a resolution Friday urging Myanmar to grant citizenship to its Rohingya Muslim minority, ramping up pressure on Yangon to scrap a controversial identity plan.

The measure was adopted by consensus in the General Assembly's rights committee following some wrangling with countries from the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which had sought stronger language.

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