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Ukrainian president and opposition sign early poll deal
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and opposition leaders have signed a deal to try to end the political crisis in the country.
Under the agreement, a national unity government will be installed and a presidential poll will be held by the end of the year.
The deal, reached after mediation by EU foreign ministers, also sees electoral reform and constitutional changes.
Ukraine's parliament has voted to reduce the president's powers.
BBC:Obama's meeting with Dalai Lama irks China
Obama's meeting with Dalai Lama irks China
US President Barack Obama has met the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, US officials say.
The US leader vowed "strong support" for the protection of Tibetans' human rights in China during the encounter.
China had urged the US to cancel the meeting, saying it would "seriously impair China-US relations".
Beijing described the Dalai Lama as a separatist, while the spiritual leader said he only advocates greater autonomy for Tibet, not independence.
BBC:Detroit files multi-billion dollar bankruptcy plan
Detroit files multi-billion dollar bankruptcy plan
Detroit's emergency manager has filed a plan to restructure the city's debts in the wake of the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history.
The plan, awaiting approval from a bankruptcy judge, includes cuts to pensions and creditors to drive down the $18bn (£10.8bn) debt.
Funds would also be devoted to demolishing abandoned city properties.
The city initially filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2013
BBC:Venezuela 'revokes accreditation and visas' of CNN journalists
Venezuela 'revokes accreditation and visas' of CNN journalists
Two other CNN journalists who had been sent to Venezuela to cover the country's political crisis also had their working permits cancelled.
President Nicolas Maduro had vowed to expel CNN unless it "rectified" its coverage of recent opposition marches.
Eight people have been killed in a series of protests that began this month, according to the government.
The opposition leader who called the marches, Leopoldo Lopez, was detained on Tuesday during a protest in Caracas.
BBC:Somali presidential palace: 'Car bomb' attack in Mogadishu
Somali presidential palace: 'Car bomb' attack in Mogadishu
A huge car bomb has exploded at the gate of Somalia's presidential palace, followed by a fierce gun battle inside, officials say.
At least two senior officials and nine attackers are reported dead but the security minister told the BBC the situation was "under control".
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has told the UN envoy to Somalia he was not harmed, envoy Nick Kay has tweeted.
The al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabab has said it carried out the attack.
BBC:Libya's Meftah Daouadi killed in Tunisia plane crash
Libya's Meftah Daouadi killed in Tunisia plane crash
A former Islamist fighter who joined Libya's government was among 11 people killed when a Libyan military plane crashed in Tunisia, officials say.
Meftah Daouadi was being taken to Tunisia for unspecified medical treatment, Libya's government said.
He was part of the 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi before working at the Ministry of Martyrs, which looks after the families of former fighters.
The Antonov plane is said to have suffered engine failure.
Reuters:BOJ's Kuroda: Weak yen contributing a lot to price gains
BOJ's Kuroda: Weak yen contributing a lot to price gains
(Reuters) - Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Friday that a weak yen and high energy prices are contributing a lot to gains in consumer prices.
Kuroda, speaking in the lower house financial affairs committee, also said that gains in consumer prices are spreading to a broader range of goods, indicating that domestic demand is expanding.
(Reporting by Stanley White; Editing by Dominic Lau)
Reuters:Japan factory output seen up, core inflation near five-year highs
Japan factory output seen up, core inflation near five-year highs
(Reuters) - Growth in Japan's factory output likely accelerated in January and core inflation hovered near five-year highs, a Reuters poll showed, underscoring the ongoing economic recovery despite fears that momentum may soon start to fade.
Retail sales probably increased while job conditions held firm, in a sign that an improving labor market and firm demand are driving private consumption, which accounts for 60 percent of the economy.
The slew of indicators, all due next Friday, come on the heels of data earlier this week that showed weaker-than-expected fourth quarter growth due to disappointing exports, capital spending and private consumption.
Weak readings could heighten market expectations that further stimulus will need to be rolled out by the government and the Bank of Japan, which remain upbeat on the economy despite worries about the potential blow from a planned sales tax hike in April and weak demand from emerging economies.
Reuters:Japan's Aso urges U.S. to communicate with markets on tapering
Japan's Aso urges U.S. to communicate with markets on tapering
(Reuters) - Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso on Friday urged the United States to keep explaining to financial markets how it plans to wind back its massive monetary stimulus, noting the tapering is a good thing as it reflects an improving economy.
Ahead of his departure for the Group of 20 finance ministers' meeting in Sydney this weekend, Aso called on emerging market economies to implement necessary reforms to guard against any spillover from the U.S. tapering.
Global economic growth and ructions in emerging markets are set to take centre stage at the G20 meeting, following turmoil in emerging markets after the U.S. taper raised concerns of sharp capital outflows and weaker growth.
"It is a good thing that the United States is starting to reduce its quantitative easing as it reflects improvement in the U.S. economy," Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
Reuters:Iran's rising executions dim U.N. hopes for reforms
Iran's rising executions dim U.N. hopes for reforms
(Reuters) - At least 80 people and perhaps as many as 95 have been executed in Iran already this year, a surge in the use of the death penalty that has dampened hopes for human rights reforms under President Hassan Rouhani, the United Nations said on Friday.
Rouhani, who won a surprise election last year on a platform of more openness with the West, clinched an interim deal in November with world powers over Iran's nuclear program.
In September, dozens of political prisoners were released, raising hopes that he would also improve human rights in a country that ranks second after China on Amnesty International's list of states with the highest use of capital punishment.
"There were some encouraging signs last year where political prisoners were released ... But it appears at least in the past seven weeks that in fact executions have been scaled up," U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a news briefing.
Reuters:Syria submits new 100-day plan for removal of chemical weapons
Syria submits new 100-day plan for removal of chemical weapons
(Reuters) - Syria has submitted a new 100-day plan for the removal of its chemical weapons after failing to meet a February 5 deadline, but the international mission overseeing the operation believes it can be done in a shorter time frame, diplomats said on Friday.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons executive committee met on Friday in The Hague to discuss the joint OPCW and U.N. mission amid growing international frustration at Syria falling behind on its commitments.
The Syrian government, locked in a three-year-old war with rebels seeking President Bashar al-Assad's overthrow, failed to meet the February 5 OPCW deadline to move all of its declared chemical substances and precursors out of the country.
The final deadline under the OPCW plan is for all of Syria's declared chemical materials to be destroyed by June 30.
Reuters:First 'orange' pollution alert as smog rolls into Beijing
First 'orange' pollution alert as smog rolls into Beijing
(Reuters) - China's capital Beijing, under fire to take effective measures against air pollution, raised its four-tiered alert system to "orange" for the first time on Friday, as heavy smog was forecast to roll into the city over the next three days.
The orange level, the second highest, advises schools and kindergartens to cancel outside sports classes, but falls short of ordering school to close and keeping government vehicles off the road, provisions which come into force with the "red" level.
The alert was raised after the Beijing government faced criticism from state media and on the Internet for failing to act against high pollution levels last weekend.
State news agency Xinhua said that the city had dispatched inspectors to factories around the capital, warning that those found breaching emission rules would be fined.
LA Times:Transcripts detail Fed's struggles amid 2008 financial crisis
Transcripts detail Fed's struggles amid 2008 financial crisis
WASHINGTON — The day after Lehman Bros. filed for bankruptcy in September 2008, Federal Reserve policymakers hadn't yet grasped the scope of the financial storm blowing overhead.
What was clear to them as they gathered for a regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 16, was that economic conditions were worsening, according to transcripts released Friday of key Fed meetings that year.
"The markets are continuing to experience very significant stresses this morning," said Ben S. Bernanke, then the Fed chairman, arriving late for the meeting, "and there are increasing concerns about the insurance company, AIG."
But Fed officials weren't ready for the unprecedented steps, such as bailing out the giant insurer, American International Group Inc., that they soon would be taking in a tumultuous year that transformed the central bank from obscure guardian of interest rates to aggressive fighter of financial crises.