Security agents in Gabon are investigating several top civil servants, including an advisor to the president, for illegal trafficking in a precious hardwood, a source close to the government said Friday. Some of the officials have been taken into custody by the General Directorate for Research (DGR) agency in the past week, while others were questioned and later released, the source told AFP. DGR agents this week raided the ministry of water and forests in Gabon's capital Libreville, taking about 10 officials into custody, the source said, asking not to be named.
US contractor Alan Gross says he was mistreated by his captors and felt abandoned by his own government after Cuba arrested him and accused him of spying. In his first major interview since his release last year, Gross said exercise, family memories and humor kept him going though his five-year ordeal. Gross was contracted by the US Agency for International Development to deliver electronics to Jewish groups when he was arrested in Havana in December 2009.
TOKYO (AP) — Global stocks were mostly lower in muted trading Friday, after Wall Street was closed for Thanksgiving, but China's market fell sharply as investigations into the securities industry widened to include two top brokerages.
By Rupam Jain Nair NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited opposition Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi for talks on Friday to break a deadlock over the introduction of a new indirect tax in a bid to put his economic recovery agenda back on track. The face-to-face meeting between the two rivals would be the first since Modi rose to power 18 months ago, and could herald a long-awaited compromise on the proposed goods and services tax (GST), billed as the biggest tax reform since independence. Modi, 65, has raised India's global profile with a series of trips abroad but suffered his biggest setback as prime minister when his nationalist party crashed to defeat in a big state election this month.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Fifty years ago Malaysian and Singapore parted ways to form two separate countries, a decision that helped to kick start the economic miracle that subsequently took place in the Lion City.
Japan on Friday published a string of mostly weak data, the first major figures since news that world's number three economy had slipped back into recession. A key inflation gauge showed prices fell in October from a year ago, while spending by households also dropped in a double blow for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's high-profile growth blitz, dubbed Abenomics. The weak figures came despite signs that Japan's labour market remained tight, with the headline unemployment rate at a two-decade low of 3.1 percent, down from 3.4 percent in September.
Croatia's president opened talks with parliamentary parties Thursday to try and name a prime minister-designate and end a political stalemate after an election 18 days ago failed to produce an outright winner. The lack of a decisive outcome has caused concerns among analysts, coming as a huge influx of migrants passes through the European Union's newest member, which is slowly emerging from six years of recession and in need of economic reforms. The centre-left alliance, led by the Social Democrats and Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, won 56 seats but has since secured the support of 10 deputies from smaller parties and minority groups, increasing its chances of staying in power.
A Unification Ministry official in Seoul said the two sides would meet at the deputy minister level on December 11 in the Kaesong joint industrial zone, just inside North Korea. Unification Ministry Spokesman Jeong Joon-Hee told reporters that the North Koreans had initially demanded a set agenda for the Kaesong meeting, but later agreed to Seoul's proposal for a "comprehensive discussion of pending issues related to improving ties". A similar effort back in June 2013 saw both sides agree to hold what would have been the first high-level dialogue for six years -- only for Pyongyang to cancel a day before the talks were scheduled to begin.