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In this photo taken during Dec. 27 - Dec. 31, 2021 and provided on Jan. 1, 2022 by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea fires projectile into sea in the fourth launch this month, South Korea says on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. Independent journalists were not given access to cover the event depicted in this image distributed by the North Korean government. The content of this image is as provided and cannot be independently verified. (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

Seoul: North Korea fires projectile in 4th launch this month

Associated Press

North Korea fired at least one projectile into the sea on Monday, South Korea’s military said, in a fourth weapons launch this month as it demonstrates its military might amid pandemic border closures and paused diplomacy with the United States.

Public transport buses block a road, during a general strike by public transport and labor unions to protest the country's deteriorating economic and financial conditions in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. Protesters closed the country's major highways as well as roads inside cities and towns starting 5 a.m. making it difficult for people to move around. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Hezbollah, ally end Cabinet boycott in crisis-hit Lebanon

Associated Press

Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group and its main Shiite ally said Saturday they are ending their boycott of Cabinet meetings after a three-month deadlock that has worsened the small nation’s unprecedented economic meltdown.

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Tourists visit Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. Thailand is prized by China partly because this rapidly modernizing Southeast Asian nation enjoys access near Bangkok to the Gulf of Thailand, which opens onto the South China Sea. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

U.S.-China rivalry plays out in remote Thai town

- The Washington Times

A new arrival can easily spot China's inexorable southern thrust along the Mekong River, where tall, fanciful Chinese buildings sprout nearby on the Laos side of this sleepy northern frontier town, sparking both hopes and fears about Beijing's influence and intent in Thailand.

U.S. soldiers stand guard during the handover ceremony of Qayyarah Airfield, Iraqi Security Forces, in the south of Mosul, Iraq on early Friday, March 27, 2020. (AP Photo/Ali Abdul Hassan) **FILE**

Iraqi officials: 4 rockets target U.S. Embassy in Baghdad

- Associated Press

At least four rockets targeted the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone on Thursday, two Iraqi security officials said. The area is home to diplomatic missions and the seat of Iraq's government,

Cheering Romanians cast shadows on a giant European Union flag during New Year celebrations for Romania's accession in the EU in Bucharest Romania Monday January 1, 2007. The European Union on Thursday prolonged economic sanctions against Russia for six months for failing to live up to its commitments to the peace agreement in Ukraine, amid concern that Moscow may be preparing to invade its former Soviet neighbor. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

EU extends Russia sanctions over Ukraine peace deal failures

Associated Press

The European Union on Thursday prolonged economic sanctions against Russia for six months for failing to live up to its commitments to the peace agreement in Ukraine, amid concern that Moscow may be preparing to invade its former Soviet neighbor.

People gather during a protest in Khartoum, Sudan, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. Thousands of people took to the streets on Thursday against a coup that has plunged the country into grinding deadlock. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

Sudan's anti-coup protests violently dispersed; 2 killed

- Associated Press

Sudanese security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse protesters in the capital of Khartoum as thousands took to the streets Thursday against a coup that has plunged the country into grinding deadlock, activists said. A senior police officer and a protester were killed, according to authorities and a medical group.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, center, sits in a car as he leaves Parliament after attending the weekly Prime Ministers' Questions session in London, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

U.K. ministers rally around embattled Boris Johnson, for now

- Associated Press

With varying degrees of enthusiasm, senior British government ministers on Thursday expressed support for Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson and rejected demands he resign for attending a garden party during the country's first coronavirus lockdown.

A Russian officer of the Collective Security Treaty Organization peacekeepers attends the official ceremony of starting withdraw its troops in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. In light of unprecedented mass protests that quickly grew violent, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev requested help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russia-led military alliance of six ex-Soviet states. The bloc sent over 2,000 troops to Kazakhstan last week, and on Tuesday Tokayev declared their mission largely complete. (Vladimir Tretyakov/NUR.KZ via AP)

Kazakhstan: Russia-led alliance's troops prepare to pull out

- Associated Press

Troops belonging to a Russia-led security alliance were preparing to pull out of Kazakhstan, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday. The withdrawal comes only a week after they were deployed to the ex-Soviet nation on the request of its president, who was seeking to quell violent mass protests.

A currency trader covers his face with his hands at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022. Shares were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after the latest report of surging prices in the U.S. appeared to keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates in coming months.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

Stocks open a bit higher on Wall Street, still down for year

Associated Press

Stocks are opening modestly higher on Wall Street, potentially setting the S&P 500 up for a third gain in a row after what has been a weak start to the year. The benchmark index was up 0.3% in the early going Thursday. It's still down slightly since the beginning of the year. Technology stocks were doing better than the rest of the market, and the Nasdaq was up 0.4%. Small-company stocks were also doing well. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.3%. Crude oil prices were little changed and Treasury yields were holding steady. Overseas markets were mixed.

People wearing face masks to help protect against the coronavirus look at a display of the Winter Paralympic mascot Shuey Rhon Rhon, left, and Winter Olympic mascot Bing Dwen Dwen near the Olympic Green in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. Just weeks before hosting the Beijing Winter Olympics, China is battling multiple coronavirus outbreaks in half a dozen cities, with the one closest to the capital driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

China faces omicron test weeks ahead of Beijing Olympics

- Associated Press

Most access to a major city adjacent to Beijing was suspended Thursday as China tried to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious omicron variant, which poses a test to its "zero-tolerance" COVID-19 policy and its ability to successfully host the Winter Olympics.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg leaves after speaking during a media conference after a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council at NATO headquarters, in Brussels, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Olivier Matthys)

NATO leader eyes more talks with Russia after lengthy session

- The Washington Times

Russian and NATO officials held a "serious and direct exchange" over soaring tensions in Ukraine and eastern Europe, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, asserting that the Western military alliance still has deep concerns about the Kremlin's policy but hopes for more talks to ease the crisis.