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Obama denies Trump claim he wiretapped him during campaign

WASHINGTON - A spokesman for Barack Obama rejects claims by U.S. President Donald Trump that the then-president had wiretapped Trump in October during the late stages of the presidential election campaign, saying it was "simply false." (USA-TRUMP/OBAMA (UPDATE 8, PIX, TV), moved, by David Shepardson, 917 words)

Trump administration to propose 'dramatic reductions' in foreign aid

WASHINGTON - The White House budget director confirms that the Trump administration will propose "fairly dramatic reductions" in the U.S. foreign aid budget later this month. (USA-BUDGET/ (moved), by David Shepardson, 327 words)

Canada: No plans to clamp down at border to deter migrants

TORONTO - Canada will not tighten its border to deter migrants crossing illegally from the United States in the wake of a U.S. immigration crackdown because the numbers are not big enough to cause alarm, a government minister said on Saturday. (USA-IMMIGRATION/CANADA-BORDER (UPDATE 1), moved, 423 words)

Twelve treated for chemical weapons agents in Mosul since March 1, UN says

BAGHDAD - Twelve people, including women and children, are being treated for possible exposure to chemical weapons agents in Mosul, where Islamic State is fighting off an offensive by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, the United Nations says. (MIDEAST-CRISIS/IRAQ-CHEMICALWEAPONS), moved, 307 words)

France's Fillon under fire as party chiefs bring forward crisis meeting

PARIS - Embattled French presidential candidate Francois Fillon is under growing pressure to quit the race as his party leaders bring forward a meeting to discuss the situation and former allies shied away from a planned rally to support him. (FRANCE-ELECTION/FILLON (UPDATE 1, TV, PIX), moved, by Sophie Louet and John Irish, 609 words)


Tight deadline for talks after nationalist surge in Northern Ireland

DUBLIN - Northern Irish leaders prepare for three weeks of challenging talks to save their devolved government after a snap election that could have dramatic implications for the politics and constitutional status of the British province. (NIRELAND-POLITICS/ (UPDATE 1, PIX, TV), moved, by Ian Graham, 795 words)

Peugeot poised to buy GM's Opel, creating European car giant

PARIS/LONDON - France's PSA Group is set to announce a deal to buy Opel from General Motors on Monday after striking an agreement with the U.S. carmaker and winning the blessing of its board for the acquisition. (OPEL-M&A/PSA (UPDATE 1, PIX), moved, by Laurence Frost, Gilles Guillaume and Pamela Barbaglia, 547 words)

Rows over reforms, election bog down Albania's EU accession talks

TIRANA - Albania's political parties snuff out hopes for a compromise that would keep open the Balkan state's path to European Union membership after Brussels warned that an opposition boycott of parliament put accession talks at risk. (ALBANIA-EU/PROTESTS (TV, PIX), moved, by Benet Koleka, 442 words)

Turkey plans more pro-Erdogan rallies, German concerns mount

ISTANBUL/BERLIN - Turkey says it would keep holding rallies in Germany and the Netherlands to urge Turks living there to back a vote to boost President Tayyip Erdogan's powers, despite opposition from authorities in both countries. (TURKEY-REFERENDUM/GERMANY-NETHERLANDS (moved), by Ralph Boulton and Andrea Shalal, 396 words)


Malaysia expels North Korean ambassador after Kim Jong Nam murder

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia expels the North Korean ambassador, declaring him "persona non grata" and asking the envoy to leave Malaysia within 48 hours. (NORTHKOREA-MALAYSIA/KIM (UPDATE 1), moved, 334 words)

MH370 families launch campaign to fund search for missing jet

KUALA LUMPUR - Families of passengers on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 launch a campaign to privately fund a search for the aircraft. (MALAYSIA-AIRLINES/ (moved), 395 words)

China's 2017 defense budget rise to slow again

BEIJING - Defying pressure for a strong increase in defense spending, China says its military budget this year would grow about 7 percent, its slowest pace since 2010. (CHINA-PARLIAMENT/DEFENCE (UPDATE 4, TV, PIX), moved, by Michael Martina and Philip Wen, 579 words)


At least 2 killed in new drone strikes on al Qaeda in Yemen - residents

ADEN - Drones fired missiles at suspected al Qaeda targets in two separate attacks in Yemen, local sources say, in what appeared to be a third successive day of U.S. strikes against militants in the Arab country. (YEMEN-SECURITY/ (moved), 315 words)

Syrian army takes more villages from militants in northwest

AMMAN - The Syrian army has expanded its control over former Islamic State-held villages in northwest Syria, gaining more territory as it pushes back the jihadists from more pockets in Aleppo province, state media says. (MIDEAST-CRISIS/SYRIA-MILITANTS (moved), 310 words


East Libyan forces target rivals with air strikes to regain oil ports

BENGHAZI - East Libyan forces carried out air strikes around major oil ports as they sought to regain control of the area from a rival faction, a military spokesman says. (LIBYA-SECURITY/OIL (UPDATE 3), moved, by Ayman al-Warfalli, 508 words)