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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations is launching a global campaign with a media blitz and an array of stars from Beyonce to Usain Bolt to spread news to everyone in the world about its new goals to eradicate poverty, fight inequality and combat climate change.


Russia is interested in both foreign and domestic investment, especially in the country's Far East region, President Vladimir Putin told the Eastern Economic Forum on Friday. Making an appeal to countries from the Asia-Pacific region, Putin said his government will increase efforts to develop Russia's Far East.


By Aubrey Belford BANGKOK (Reuters) - Just minutes after being locked up for 30 years for insulting Thailand’s monarchy, Pongsak Sriboonpeng described what he thought was the cause of his capture: a poorly chosen Facebook friend. For at least a year, the self-described "red shirt" supporter of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had posted angry commentary on the social networking site, including six postings that were later deemed to have defamed the royal family. As the bus idled at a station in the northern province of Phitsunalok on December 30, soldiers and police swarmed the vehicle and took him to a Bangkok army base.


BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Thousands of people desperate to reach Western Europe rushed into a Budapest train station Thursday after police ended a two-day blockade, setting off a wave of anger and confusion as hundreds shoved their way onto a waiting train. But when it tried to drop them off at a Hungarian camp for asylum seekers, a bitter showdown began.


SAITAMA, Japan (AP) — Japan eased past Cambodia 3-0 to secure its first win in World Cup qualifying while South Korea thrashed Laos 8-0 to stay undefeated on Thursday.


By Marton Dunai and Ece Toksabay BICSKE, Hungary/MUGLA, Turkey (Reuters) - Migrants forced from a train threw themselves onto railway lines and scuffled with helmeted riot police in Hungary on Thursday as politicians across Europe struggled to respond to public opinion appalled by images of a drowned 3-year-old boy. France said European countries must be required to accept their share of refugees, proposing what would potentially be the biggest change to the continent's asylum rules since World War Two. Europe's worst refugee crisis since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s has strained the European Union's asylum system to breaking point, dividing its 28 nations and feeding the rise of right-wing populists.


China were frustrated 0-0 by Hong Kong in a politically fraught World Cup qualifier on Thursday as Son Heung-Min celebrated his move to Tottenham Hotspur with a hat-trick in South Korea's 8-0 thrashing of Laos. Japan finally got a win under coach Vahid Halilhodzic and Australia shrugged off internal problems to smash five past Bangladesh as Asia's big fish feasted on the region's minnows.


The latest Thursday on the European migrant crisis (all times GMT):


In this photo by Joshua Paul, a construction worker lights a cigarette against the hazy skyline in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Wildfires caused by illegal land clearing on Indonesia's Sumatra and Borneo islands often spread choking haze into neighboring countries, and several locations in western Malaysia registered unhealthy air quality Thursday. Last year, the Indonesian Parliament ratified an agreement with other Southeast Asian countries to more actively fight forest fires and haze. The country banned open burning in 1999 after the haze caused disputes with its neighbors, but enforcement is often lax.


By Jonny Hogg ANKARA (Reuters) - Divisions over how to handle the continent's biggest refugee crisis since World War Two could damage the "idea of Europe" Germany's labor minister said on Thursday, calling for a fairer distribution of refugees within the EU. Andrea Nahles said Europe had "come to a crossroads", and that poor handling of the influx of asylum seekers from countries like Syria was fuelling scepticism towards the EU. "We need to have more distribution of refugees because we cannot see the end (of the problem)... It would be far easier when we do not have pressure only on Sweden, Germany and Austria," she said on a visit to Turkey.
By Marton Dunai BICSKE, Hungary (Reuters) - Migrants threw themselves onto railway lines and scuffled with helmeted riot police trying to take them to a reception center in Hungary on Thursday, forced from a train in desperate scenes symbolic of a European asylum system brought to breaking point. In Budapest, lawmakers debated changes to entry laws that the right-wing government said would close the country to migrants as of Sept. 15, after nine months in which some 140,000 have been caught crossing from neighboring Serbia en route to western Europe. Crowds surged past, cramming onto trains many believed would take them to Austria, Germany and the end of a sometimes perilous journey from the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Net immigration into Germany last year hit its highest level since 1992 and the number of people claiming asylum benefits jumped by 61 percent, the Statistics Office said on Thursday, with expectations that figure will rise this year to 800,000. Roughly 550,000 more people moved to Germany last year than left and the majority were from Europe, mostly from Poland. Economic migrants from southeastern Europe, included 13 percent more from Italy last year while arrivals from Spain and Greece fell 26 percent and 29 percent respectively.


MONZA, Italy (AP) — Italian Premier Matteo Renzi has a message for Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone: "Leave Monza alone."

Chinese President Xi Jinping lauded his country as a major power and a force for world peace Thursday as he presided over a spectacular military parade marking the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II. With concerns rife over China's rise, Xi announced that the People's Liberation Army -- the world's largest military -- would be reduced by 300,000 personnel, although the defence ministry said the cuts would mainly fall on outdated units and non-combat staff. The mixed messages drew a rebuke from Japan which said it was "disappointed" by Xi's speech for focusing too much on the past and for its lack of "rapprochement" between the Asian powers, the world's second- and third-largest economies.


Children in the Philippines suffer from "sub-Saharan levels" of malnutrition that stunts growth in a people who have traditionally been considered short because of genetics, a campaign group said Thursday. Although economic growth has surged in recent years, chronic malnutrition means the country has more stunted children than Ethiopia or the Republic of Congo, the Save the Children Fund said in a new report. "The assumption has always been that Filipinos are just genetically short but what we actually see now are generations of stunted and malnourished children," said Amado Parawan, the group's health and nutrition adviser.


BEIJING (AP) — With fighter jets roaring overhead, China's leader presided Thursday over a massive parade of tanks, missiles and troops that displayed growing military might, but also pledged to reduce the army by 300,000 troops in a bid to show that his country poses no expansionist threat.


HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam's benchmark VN Index closed down 1.42 percent on Thursday, the third fall this week, dragged by the losses of banks and energy stocks due in part to lower global oil prices. The fall on Thursday, making Vietnam the sole one-day decliner in Southeast Asia, brought the market's combined loss this week to nearly 3 percent. PetroVietnam Gas , the country's third-biggest firm by market value, dropped 3.99 percent following the fall of oil prices on a surprise build in U.S. inventory levels and a firm dollar. Vietcombank , Vietnam's top lender by capitalisation, fell 2. ...
ZURICH (AP) — Copa America winner Chile rises two places to No. 8 in the FIFA rankings still led by Argentina.
By Tommy Wilkes NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Australia wants to join India, the United States and Japan in joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean, widening participation in multilateral drills as China's influence in the region grows. Australian Defense Minister Kevin Andrews said expanding the exercises to include more countries would help avoid military mistakes in a region where China and India are increasingly competing.

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