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Updated: 1 min 10 sec ago

Pope denounces violence in visit to restive region of Chile

53 min 16 sec ago

Pope Francis denounced the use of violence in the struggle for indigenous rights Wednesday, celebrating mass in a restive region of Chile hours after assailants firebombed churches and other targets. The Argentine-born pontiff was shining the spotlight on the simmering conflict between the state and the Mapuche people, who centuries ago controlled vast areas of Chile but have since been marginalized. "You cannot assert yourself by destroying others, because this only leads to more violence and division," the pope said, speaking before thousands of faithful at an airfield in Temuco, the capital of the southern Araucania region.

Lebanon reverses ban on Spielberg's 'The Post'

1 hour 33 min ago

The Lebanese government has allowed the release of Steven Spielberg's latest film, "The Post", overturning a ban by the General Security authority, a ministry said Wednesday. The security body had on Monday announced it was banning the Hollywood thriller to comply with an Arab League boycott targeting supporters of Israel. In a rare move, the interior ministry chose not to sign off on the decision by General Security, which in addition to controlling Lebanon's borders, is responsible for censoring films, plays, and books.

Ellen Pompeo to continue 'Grey's Anatomy' -- for $20 mn a year

1 hour 44 min ago

"Grey's Anatomy" star Ellen Pompeo has made a deal to appear in two more seasons of the highly popular show that will earn her $20 million per year, making her the highest-paid actress in a television drama. Pompeo, who stars in the medical drama as Meredith Grey, told The Hollywood Reporter that she will earn $575,000 an episode for seasons 15 and 16, under a deal signed late last year. "I'm 48 now, so I've finally gotten to the place where I'm OK asking for what I deserve, which is something that comes only with age," Pompeo wrote in a first-person article for the industry magazine.

Turkey ready to take 'any steps' against Syrian Kurdish militia

2 hours 27 sec ago

Turkey on Wednesday said it was ready to take any steps necessary against a Syrian Kurdish militia to ensure the security of its borders, as speculation mounted of an imminent cross border operation. The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia controls key Syrian northern towns including Manbij and Afrin and is an ally of the US but Ankara accuses the group of being a terror organisation. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week also threatened to destroy a planned US-backed 30,000-strong border security force in northern Syria that would be composed partly of YPG fighters, describing it as an "army of terror".

MPs approve landmark Brexit bill

2 hours 11 min ago

British MPs gave the green light on Wednesday to a landmark Brexit bill after weeks of debate and a damaging government defeat, but the legislation now faces a battle in the upper chamber. The House of Commons voted by a majority of 29 to approve the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, which repeals the 1972 law that made Britain a member of the European Union and transfers four decades of EU rules onto the British statute books. "This bill is essential for preparing the country for the historic milestone of withdrawing from the European Union," Brexit Secretary David Davis told MPs ahead of the vote.

Ethiopia frees prominent opposition leader

2 hours 13 min ago

Prominent Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina was freed from jail on Wednesday after the government dropped charges against him as part of a wider prisoner amnesty, state media reported. In his first comments after his release, Merera vowed to stay active in politics and urged Ethiopia's all-powerful government to hold "honest negotiations" with the country's many opposition parties. Merera is the first high-profile dissident to be freed since Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced earlier this month that Ethiopia would release an unspecified number of jailed "politicians." The detention of Merera, chairman of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), had become a cause celebre for members of the Oromo ethnic group.

US firms optimistic but face labor shortages: Fed

2 hours 32 min ago

American businesses are upbeat about 2018, but widespread difficulties finding workers are constraining growth for some firms, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday. Some firms expect they will have to raise wages in the months ahead. All 12 Federal Reserve districts reported economic gains that were at least "modest to moderate" since November, while the Dallas district -- which includes the hurricane-stricken Houston area -- reported "a robust increase." "The outlook for 2018 remains optimistic for a majority of contacts across the country," the Fed said.

Sainz closes in on second Dakar Rally title

2 hours 43 min ago

Carlos Sainz has his second Dakar rally title in his sights after overcoming his second tough exam in the Argentine dunes in Wednesday's 11th stage and maintaining his lead over Stephane Peterhansel in the general classification. Spaniard Sainz is an hour ahead of fellow Peugeot driver Peterhansel with three stages of the rally to go after finishing third on Wednesday, 10 seconds ahead of the Frenchman. "We have to continue like this, day after day, and what was important was not to lose Stephane." Dutchman Bernhard Ten Brinke (Toyota) won the stage with a time of 4hr 10min 54sec, ahead of Cyril Despres (at 4min 35sec) and Sainz (at 4min 40sec).

EU accuses Russia of 'orchestrated' disinformation campaign

3 hours 52 min ago

The European Union on Wednesday accused Russia of pumping out thousands of pieces of disinformation in an "orchestrated strategy" aimed at destabilising the bloc. Russia faces a barrage of accusations of interfering in a string of seismic political events, including the British vote to leave the European Union, the US election of President Donald Trump and the Catalan independence crisis. EU Security Commissioner Julian King gave the European Parliament an unusually blunt assessment of the scale of the Kremlin's propaganda efforts.

Republican senator slams Trump for Stalin-like attacks on media

4 hours 12 min ago

A maverick senator from Donald Trump's own Republican party launched a stinging attack on the president on Wednesday, accusing him of employing Stalinist language to "slur" and undermine the free press. Arizona lawmaker Jeff Flake levelled the broadside in an address from the Senate floor, timed to coincide with the expected announcement of controversial "Fake News Awards" by Trump's administration. Delivering a one-two punch after veteran Republican John McCain penned an op-ed assailing Trump's spoof awards, Flake slammed what he called the president's dangerous disregard for the truth, and his designation of the mainstream news media as an "enemy of the people." "Mr President, it is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously spoken by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies," said the senator, an outspoken critic of the president who is not seeking re-election this year.

Woody Allen backlash grows as daughter says telling 'truth'

4 hours 20 min ago

Woody Allen was thrust to the fore Wednesday of the sexual harassment watershed sweeping the United States when his daughter revived child molestation allegations against the famed director, asking the world to finally believe her. Dylan Farrow's claim that the director touched her inappropriately as a seven-year-old first surfaced a quarter of a century ago in the wake of her mother's acrimonious split from Allen, who ran off in 1992 with his lover's adoptive daughter from a previous marriage, Soon-Yi Previn, 21 years old at the time. In the wake of the Time's Up movement launched by Hollywood women to counter sexual harassment and sexism, Allen's estranged, adopted daughter said it was time for the world to finally listen.

Bastareaud out of France 6 Nations squad after homophobia ban

5 hours 49 min ago

Mathieu Bastareaud was first included and then hours later dropped from France coach Jacques Brunel's Six Nations squad announced on Wednesday after he was banned over a homophobic slur. Although initially included, Bastareaud received a three-week ban from European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) on Wednesday which ends a day after France's opening tournament match against Ireland on February 3. Bastareaud's selection was no surprise as Brunel had defended the Toulon back on Tuesday following the controversial comment used by the 29-year-old in a match against Treviso on Sunday that was heard on live television.

Britain, France to strike new border deal on migrants

6 hours 36 min ago

Britain will agree to take in more young refugees while providing "significant" funds for northern France's economic development under a new border agreement to be struck between Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May on Thursday, French sources told AFP. Macron, making his first visit to the UK as France's president, will meet with Prime Minister May for a summit where the migrant crisis and Britain's exit from the European Union are expected to loom large.

Macron's tapestry gesture risks rousing Anglo-French rivalry

7 hours 23 min ago

In a gesture of abiding friendship, or perhaps a subtle act of diplomatic trolling, French President Emmanuel Macron will offer to loan Britain the famed Bayeux Tapestry, depicting the French conquest of England, during his visit to the UK on Thursday. The 40-year-old French leader likes to accompany his diplomacy with symbolic moves and gifts as he sets about trying to restore France's international prestige. On a trip to Beijing, he offered the Chinese president a French stallion, while Russian leader Vladimir Putin was given a tour around an exhibition at the Versailles Palace last year that marked 300 years of Franco-Russian friendship.

Philippine volcano spews lava; thousands flee

7 hours 51 min ago

Glowing-red lava spurted in a fountain and flowed down the Philippines' most active volcano in a stunning display of its fury that has sent more than 34,000 villagers fleeing to safety.

Yabba dabba doo! Malaysian sultan gets Flintstones car

8 hours 4 min ago

A Malaysian sultan has been given a life-size replica of Fred Flintstone's car from the classic cartoon, although the modern update has an engine so he won't tire out his regal feet. Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar of Johor, one of Malaysia's most powerful and wealthiest state rulers, received the belated birthday gift from a fellow high-ranking royal this week. It will take pride of place in a house he built in the southern coastal town of Mersing inspired by the Flintstone's home from the 1960s cartoon.

Stokes available for England selection despite charge - ECB

8 hours 57 min ago

Ben Stokes will now be considered for England selection again and is set to return next month despite being charged with affray, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) announced Wednesday. Stokes was suspended from international duty by the ECB following his involvement in an incident outside a nightclub in September that reportedly left a man with a fractured eye socket. As a result, the Durham all-rounder missed the whole of England's 4-0 Ashes series defeat in Australia.

Jessica Chastain's difficult childhood taught her how to stand up to bullying

9 hours 36 min ago

The actress finds it important to be financially stable.

Justin Timberlake promised not to repeat Janet Jackson stunt for 2018 Super Bowl show

9 hours 36 min ago

The pop superstar "stumbled through" the infamous performance 14 years ago.

Cardi B thrilled by Jim Carrey's Finesse video approval

9 hours 36 min ago

The hip-hop newcomer has notched up another big U.S. chart record.