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China's Xi meets Central Asian leaders, calls for trade, energy development

Chinese leader Xi Jinping promised to build more railway and other trade links with Central Asia and proposed jointly developing oil and gas sources at a meeting Friday with the region's leaders that highlighted Beijing's growing influence.

The two-day China-Central Asia Summit in the western city of Xi'an came as President Joe Biden and other leaders of the Group of Seven major economies met in Japan. It reflected Beijing's efforts to develop trade and security networks centered on China, which resents U.S. domination of global affairs.

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Dubai's next big thing? Perhaps a $5 billion man-made 'moon'

Who says you cannot reach for the moon? A proposed $5 billion real estate project wants to take skyscraper-studded Dubai to new heights — by bringing a symbol of the heavens down to Earth.

Canadian entrepreneur Michael Henderson envisions building a 274-meter (900-foot) replica of the moon atop a 30-meter (100-foot) building in Dubai, already home to the world's tallest building and other architectural wonders.

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Deputy PM calls for Salameh's resignation amid corruption allegations

Lebanon's caretaker deputy prime minister Saade Chami, who is heading talks with the International Monetary Fund to bail out Lebanon's tanking economy, has called for the country's embattled central bank chief to resign, amid allegations of corruption and an international arrest warrant issued against him.

Once seen as the guardian of Lebanon's financial stability, Central Bank Gov. Riad Salameh is now widely blamed for an economic meltdown that began in 2019. The Lebanese pound has since plummeted in value and wiped out much of the savings of ordinary Lebanese, plunging an estimated three-quarters of the population into poverty.

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China's loans pushing world's poorest countries to brink of collapse

A dozen poor countries are facing economic instability and even collapse under the weight of hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign loans, much of them from the world's biggest and most unforgiving government lender, China.

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UK telecom company plans to shed up to 55,000 jobs, replace some with AI

U.K. telecom company BT Group said Thursday that it plans to shed up to 55,000 jobs by the end of the decade and replace some of them with artificial intelligence, as part of an overhaul aimed at slimming down its workforce to slash costs.

BT, which has 130,000 workers including both staff and contractors, said in its latest earnings report that its number of employees would be reduced to between 75,000 and 90,000 by 2030.

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Top leaders of Pakistan, Iran inaugurate border market in first meeting in 10 years

The top leaders of Pakistan and Iran on Thursday inaugurated the first border market as relations warm between the two countries, officials said.

Located in the remote village of Pashin in Pakistan's southwestern Baluchistan province, the marketplace is the first of six to be constructed along the Pakistan-Iran border under a 2012 agreement signed by the two sides.

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Russia agrees to extend Ukraine grain deal in a boost for global food security

Russia agreed to a two-month extension of a deal that has allowed Ukraine to ship grain through the Black Sea to parts of the world struggling with hunger, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced, a boost to global food security after the war drove up prices.

Turkey and the U.N. brokered the breakthrough accord with the warring sides last summer, which came with a separate agreement to facilitate shipments of Russian food and fertilizer that Moscow insists hasn't been applied.

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Debt limit progress as Biden, McCarthy name top negotiators to avert national default

Debt-limit talks shifted into an encouraging new phase Tuesday as President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy named top emissaries to negotiate a deal to avert an unprecedented national default. Biden cut short an upcoming overseas trip in hopes of closing an agreement before a June 1 deadline.

The fresh set of negotiators means discussions are now largely narrowed to what the White House and McCarthy will accept in order to allow lawmakers to raise the debt limit in the coming days. The speaker said after a meeting with Biden and congressional leaders that a deal was "possible" by week's end, even as — in McCarthy's view — the two sides remained far apart for the moment.

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Russia freezes bank accounts of Finland's diplomatic missions, prompting cash payments

Russia has frozen the bank accounts of Finland's diplomatic representations in Moscow and St. Petersburg, disrupting money flow and forcing the country's missions to resort to cash payments, the Finnish foreign minister said Wednesday.

Pekka Haavisto said Moscow's move at the end of April breaches the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Helsinki has delivered a diplomatic note on the matter to Russia.

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Iran, Russia ink deal to complete major transport network

Iran and Russia on Wednesday signed an agreement to construct the final part in the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that connects Russia to the Gulf and India.

The INSTC, a freight network of ship, rail and road routes, covers some 7,200 kilometres (4,475 miles) between Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran and India.

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