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James Soong displayed his ability to jolt the political landscape by announcing that he just might jump into Taiwan's crucial 2016 presidential race. (Associated Press)

James Soong: Taiwan’s kingmaker in action again

He is the most enigmatic figure in Taiwanese politics. Admired by many, loathed by some but courted by most, he has commanded attention in all of the island’s key elections and helped decide the outcome in the most crucial ones since Taiwan embraced full-blown democracy in the 1990s.

Riot police throw a tear gas canister as demonstrators run to avoid it before a rally organized by supporters of the No vote in Athens, Friday, July 3, 2015. Greeks will vote Sunday on whether to accept a proposal that creditors had made of specific reforms in exchange for loans. European Union institutions are framing it as a vote for or against the euro. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

Greek police, youths clash before Athens rally on bailout referendum

- Associated Press

The brief but intense campaign in Greece’s critical bailout referendum ends Friday, with simultaneous rallies in Athens supporting “yes” and “no” answers to a murky question in what an opinion poll suggests could be a very close vote.

Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican, hit Venezuela's "flawed economic policies and political system," just as the U.S. is seeking to repair ties. (Associated Press)

Sen. Corker slams Venezuela as U.S. seeks better ties

- The Washington Times

A key Senate Republican on foreign policy slammed Venezuela’s “flawed economic policies and political system” on Thursday, a day after reports emerged that the Obama administration is engaging in its most expansive dialogue in hopes of improving long-strained relations with Caracas.

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McConnell: Senate unlikely to confirm ambassador to Cuba

- Associated Press

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Republican majority is unlikely to confirm an ambassador to Cuba as the United States prepares to re-open its embassy in the communist country after more than 50 years of hostile relations.

The chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba Jeffrey DeLaurentis, left, and Cuba's Interim Foreign Minister Marcelino Medina sit at a meeting prior to handing over of a letter from U.S. President Barack Obama for Cuba's President Raul Castro in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, July 1, 2015. The respective diplomatic missions called interests sections will be converted into embassies as soon as July 20, although the U.S. State Department says it does not yet have a date for a formal ceremony. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

Top Republican doubts Senate will confirm ambassador to Cuba

- Associated Press

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday that his chamber is unlikely to approve an American ambassador to Cuba, dishing out a quick rebuff to President Barack Obama and his drive to normalize relations with the U.S. neighbor and longtime Cold War foe.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier leaves Palais Coburg where closed-door nuclear talks with Iran take place in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, July 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

Iran takes hard line on inspections, sanctions at nuke talks

- Associated Press

Iran took a hard line Thursday on two of the biggest demands of world powers in a final nuclear accord, rejecting any extraordinary inspection rules and threatening to ramp up enrichment of bomb-making material if the United States and other countries re-impose sanctions after the deal is in place.

FILE - In this Oct. 25, 2013 file picture the US  flag flies  on top of the US embassy in front  of the  Reichstag building  that houses the German  Parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin,  A German official says Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff has asked the U.S. ambassador for a meeting to discuss the latest reports of alleged U.S. spying on Germany. The official says chief of staff Peter Altmaier invited Ambassador John B. Emerson to the chancellery Thursday July 2, 2015.  (AP Photo/Michael Sohn,file)

Merkel's office invites U.S. envoy to discuss latest spy claim

- Associated Press

Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff asked the U.S. ambassador for a meeting Thursday to discuss the latest reports of alleged American spying on Germany and told him that German law must be adhered to, the German government said.

In this photo taken on April 4, 2015, a man looks on at the destruction on a street of the city of Benghazi, Libya. Destruction has permeated the North African country since the civil war ousted Moammar Gadhafi four years ago. For Benghazi, the past year was the worst. (AP Photo/Mohamed Salama)

Benghazi, where Libya's uprising began, now a shattered city

- Associated Press

The old courthouse in central Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city and the birthplace of the uprising against Moammar Gadhafi, is a shelled-out ruin -- a testimony to the destruction and chaos that permeate this North African country four years after the civil war that ousted the longtime dictator.

Rescuers search for victims at the site where an Indonesian Air Force cargo plane crashed in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, Wednesday, July 1, 2015. The Hercules C-130 plane has crashed into a residential neighborhood in the country's third-largest city. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

Crashed Indonesian plane may have suffered engine problem

- Associated Press

The aging Indonesian military transport plane that crashed into a residential neighborhood of Medan killing 141 people had a propeller "abnormality" that indicates an engine stalled, the air force chief said Thursday.

In this photo taken Thursday, June 25, 2015, Western Command deputy commander Brigadier General Guillermo Molina Jr. talks to U.S. Navy officer Patrick Ronan on board a P3 Orion plane during  the joint US-Philippines naval exercise dubbed CARAT (Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training) 2015 over the Sulu Sea off Palawan Province in western Philippines. The weeklong combat exercises have helped the U.S. and Philippine navies prepare to jointly deal with natural disasters and a range of security challenges. (AP Photo/Jim Gomez) ** FILE **

Ferry capsizes in Philippines; 36 dead, 19 missing

Associated Press

A ferry carrying 173 passengers capsized Thursday as it left a central Philippine port in choppy waters, leaving at least 36 people dead and 19 others missing, coast guard officials said.

News briefs from around Kentucky at 1:58 a.m. EDT

Associated Press

Lawyers for a Christian ministry that's building a Noah's ark theme park in Kentucky say state officials violated First Amendment religious protections when they denied the project a state tax incentive worth millions.

University takes new steps to comply with Iranian sanctions

- Associated Press

The state's flagship public university confirmed that it won't ban Iranian nationals from certain graduate programs as it initially said it would do this year but instead will unroll several new measures to comply with U.S. sanctions against Iran.

Elba Gil, 61, housewife, poses for a photo in Havana, Cuba, Wednesday, July 1, 2015. Eleven years ago, Gil cried for a week when her daughter left to live in the United States. As her last child remaining on the island now prepares to make the same move soon with her own family, Gil feels more nostalgic than anything. That's because improved political ties are making it easier for families divided by the Florida Straits to stay in touch. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

Some Cubans see US thaw as a boon, others pessimistic

- Associated Press

As Havana and Washington move to restore full ties, Cubans are watching closely. Some hope rapprochement will help them make a small business prosper or keep in touch with relatives in Florida, while others doubt it will do anything to improve their lives.

Cuban-Americans react to embassies opening

Associated Press

Cuban-Americans say they are angry about President Barack Obama's announcement that the United States and Cuba will open embassies in each other's countries.