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Last update: Mon, 05 Dec 2016 07pm

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Bickering with rebels leaves Italy's left red-faced after elections ROME: Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's centre-left party was playing the blame game Monday after suffering a setback in regional elections which saw both the right-wing Northern League and comeback kid Silvio Berlusconi celebrate key wins.Projections showed centre-left candidates ahead in five regions but Renzi's party paid the price of internal divisions which split the leftist vote in Liguria, leaving a delighted centre-right to claim victory in the northwestern region.Sunday's polls were the first in recession-hit Italy since European elections a year ago, in which Renzi's Democratic Party (PD) stormed to victory with just over 40 percent of the vote.While the premier's popularity remains high, the results were a warning of the threats he faces from a rise in leftist dissidents, anti-European and anti-immigrant sentiment, and the phantom of the billionaire Berlusconi.- Left scores own goal -"The League is the most serious alternative to Renzi in Italy today," its leader ...

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Climate: France hikes pressure in 'pre-agreement' call BONN: France sought Monday to breathe life into talks for a UN climate pact, urging countries to forge a "pre-agreement" weeks before they meet to seal the deal in December.French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned against temptations to leave a breakthrough for the very end, a problem that has bedevilled climate negotiations for over two decades."The goal is for us to reach a pre-agreement as early as October," said Fabius, who will steer the vital ...

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Clinton's debut campaign rally set for June 13 in New York NEW YORK: Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has been a US presidential candidate for seven weeks, but her campaign officially launches June 13 with a rally on a New York City island, her team said Monday.The public event will occur midday on a Saturday in Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, a picturesque few acres on Roosevelt Island, presumably with Manhattan's skyscrapers framing the backdrop."Her speech will lay out her view of the challenges facing this ...

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Russian FM dimisses 'absurdity' of EU anger over entry bans MOSCOW: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday dismissed the "absurdity" of EU complaints over a travel ban imposed by Moscow on 89 Europeans over the Ukraine crisis."It is even quite embarrassing to explain the absurdity and awkwardness of such logic as it's an attempt to substitute international law with one's own political biases," Lavrov told reporters in Moscow amid a new spike in tensions with Brussels.Moscow last week released a list of 89 European ...

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Berlin, Paris urge Brussels to rework EU asylum plan BERLIN: Germany and France on Monday urged the EU to find a fairer way to admit and distribute asylum seekers, as their leaders met the European Commission chief in Berlin.The Greek debt crisis and the threat of Britain leaving the EU were also sure to occupy minds as Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted President Francois Hollande and Jean-Claude Juncker for a working dinner.Officially the mini-summit brought together the leaders of the eurozone's two biggest economies and ...