China calls on Japan to meet ‘halfway’ to fix ties
Beijing (AFP) Dec 26, 2012 – China called on new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Wednesday to meet Beijing “halfway” to try and improve relations that have been hurt by a debilitating territorial dispute. “We hope the new Japanese administration will meet the Chinese side halfway and make concrete efforts to overcome difficulties in bilateral relations,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters. S … more

Syria military police chief defects to opposition
Beirut (AFP) Dec 26, 2012 – Syria’s military police chief has announced his defection from President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, accusing the army of having turned into “murderous gangs,” in a video posted online. “I, General Abdel Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, commander of Syrian military police, announce that I am defecting from the regime army, to join the people’s revolution,” the military-clad officer said. “The army … more

China and emerging powers to pay more for UN
United Nations (AFP) Dec 25, 2012 – China, Brazil, India and other emerging powers agreed to major increases in their United Nations payments as the global body hammered out a new budget deal this week to avoid its own fiscal cliff. The boom countries will pay more as economic crisis allows European nations, such as Britain, Germany and France and Japan to cut their contributions. While the sums involved are not huge by gl … more