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Donald Trump backs down over 'one China policy' in call with Xi Jinping

Trump and XiDonald Trump has backed down over his confrontational stance towards Beijing, committing to the ‘One China policy’ in his first phone call with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, since taking office.

In a move that is certain to ease tensions between the United States and China, the US president “agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honour our ‘one China’ policy,” the White House said in a statement.

The “lengthy telephone conversation” on Thursday evening was “extremely cordial” and the two leaders “extended invitations to meet in their respective countries,” the statement added.

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Strong quake damages buildings in southern Philippines

Philippine earthquakeA strong earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 shook a southern Philippine region late Friday, damaging some buildings, knocking out power and sending residents fleeing to safety, officials said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries from the quake in Surigao del Norte province, which struck about 14 kilometers (8 miles) northwest of Surigao city at a relatively shallow depth of 11 kilometers (6.8 miles), officials said.

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Donald Trump should not be allowed to speak in UK parliament, says Speaker

John BerkowDonald Trump would not be welcome to address parliament during his state visit, the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, has said in an unprecedented intervention that drew applause and cheers from MPs.

Bercow, whose role is non-political, said he could not block a state visit by the US president but would use his role as one of the three “key-holders” of Westminster Hall to prevent the Republican from addressing MPs and peers.

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Israel likely to pass bill retroactively legalizing Jewish settlements

NetanyahuIsrael’s parliament looks likely to approve a controversial bill to retroactively “legalise” illegal Jewish outposts built on privately owned Palestinian land, setting up inevitable confrontation with the international community.

As he prepared to fly back from meeting the UK prime minister in London, the Israeli leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Monday he had informed the White House he was flying back to take part in the vote, indicating he would support its passage.

The legislation is scheduled to be voted on twice on Monday evening in the Knesset – despite threats that the law will be immediately challenged in the courts.

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Kremlin breaks with Trump on Iran

Dmitry PeskovThe Kremlin on Monday disagreed with President Donald Trump’s description of Iran as “the No. 1 terrorist state.”

“Russia has friendly partner-like relations with Iran,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call Monday, according to Reuters. “We cooperate on a wide range of issues, value our trade ties, and hope to develop them further.”

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Kremlin says it wants apology from Fox News over Putin comments

Kremlin wants apology from FOX newsThe Kremlin said on Monday it wanted an apology from Fox News over what it said were "unacceptable" comments one of the channel's presenters made about Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly described Putin as "a killer" in the interview with Trump as he tried to press the U.S. president to explain more fully why he respected his Russian counterpart. O'Reilly did not say who he thought Putin had killed.

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Israel not paying to de-mine Christian holy site

Christian holy site in IsraelNearly half a million tourists annually walk past two fenced-in minefields to visit Qasr al-Yahud, meaning Castle of the Jews in Arabic - the site where Jesus was believed to have been baptised in the River Jordan.

A $4m project launched last year by the de-mining charity Halo Trust is hoping to make the site safer, after the group struck an agreement with Israeli authorities, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and local churches that own plots in Qasr al-Yahud. The deal allows Halo Trust to work on de-mining the site, located several kilometres from Jericho.

But Israel, whose army peppered the site with mines after the 1967 war, is not paying for these de-mining efforts, observers note.

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