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Kerry: US, Vietnam committed to rule of law in South China Sea

WASHINGTON  — Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. and Vietnam share a commitment to rule of law in the disputed South China Sea. Kerry was speaking ahead of talks Tuesday with a top figure in Vietnam's ruling communist party, Executive Secretary Dinh The Huynh (din tay hwin). Vietnam is among governments claiming territory in the South China Sea, where China's assertive behavior and land reclamation has stirred tension. The meeting comes five months after President Barack Obama visited Vietnam and lifted restrictions on arms sales to the former U.S. enemy. It also takes place as longstanding U.S. ally in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, is strengthening its ties with China. Kerry said he and Huynh will also discuss human rights — still a sore point in U.S.-Vietnam relations.

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Google Fiber halts expansion plans as chief steps down

SAN FRANCISCO  — Google's parent company is halting operations and laying off staff in a number of cities where it once hoped to bring high-speed internet access by installing new fiber-optic networks. The company also announced that Craig Barratt, a veteran tech executive who led the ambitious — and expensive — Google Fiber program, is stepping down as CEO of Access, the division of Google corporate parent, Alphabet Inc., that operates the 5-year-old program.   In a statement, Barratt said Google Fiber will continue to provide service in a handful of cities where it's already operating, including Atlanta; Austin, Texas; and Charlotte, North Carolina. But it will put further plans on hold in at least eight more metropolitan areas where it's been holding exploratory talks with local officials. Those include Dallas; Tampa and Jacksonville, …

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Vatican: No more scattering of cremation ashes

The Vatican on Tuesday, October 25, published guidelines for Catholics who want to be cremated, saying their remains cannot be scattered, divvied up or kept at home but rather stored in a sacred, church-approved place. The new instructions were released just in time for Halloween and “All Souls Day” on November 2, when the faithful are supposed to pray for and remember the dead. For most of its 2,000-year history, the Catholic Church only permitted burial, arguing that it best expressed the Christian hope in resurrection. But in 1963, the Vatican explicitly allowed cremation as long as it didn’t suggest a denial of faith about resurrection. The new document from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith repeats that burial remains preferred, with officials calling cremation a “brutal destruction” of the …

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Poll shows young Americans across racial lines going for Clinton

Washington, DC, United States – Young Americans across races and ethnicities are now more likely to support Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump for president, and to say the former secretary of state will help people like them, a new GenForward poll shows. Clinton’s largest advantage is among young African-Americans, Latinos, and Asian-Americans, but the survey also shows a shift to her among young whites in the last month. GenForward is a survey of adults age 18 to 30 by the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The first-of-its-kind poll is designed to pay special attention to the voices of young adults of color, highlighting how race and ethnicity shape the opinions of a new generation. The poll also shows that young people …

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Interest in F1 waning in Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Formula One could be on its way out of Malaysia after the country’s sports minister said “we should stop hosting” the grand prix and the chief of the Sepang International Circuit inferred the dominance of Mercedes had stripped the sport of its excitement. There is a contract to hold an F1 race at Sepang through 2018 but the prospects of continuing beyond that are diminishing. An early exit could possibly be negotiated as F1’s new ownership seeks to expand its presence in the United States without extending the season schedule. Amid falling ticket sales and television viewership, SIC chief executive Razlan Razali told local media that “maybe it will do Malaysia good to take a break” from hosting F1.”The product (F1) is no longer exciting. It’s …

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Obama reads ‘mean’ tweets in Kimmel show

Los Angeles –  President Barack Obama entertained Jimmy Kimmel's audience with some of the mean tweets sent his way, beginning with one sent by Donald Trump in August when he said “President Obama will go down as perhaps the worst president in the history of the United States.'' Obama's reply: “Really? Well, (at) realDonaldTrump, at least I will go down as a president.'' The president appeared on ABC's “Jimmy Kimmel Live'' during the middle of his three-day visit to Nevada and California, where he is campaigning and raising money for presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates.  The segment contained a mix of humor and serious talk about the current election. Kimmel routinely has celebrities read some of the mean tweets sent their way. Another person asked: “Barack Obama, bro do you …

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Hong Kong court sees chilling video of torture

Hong Kong–  A jury in Hong Kong watched chilling video Tuesday of a British banker describing how he tortured and killed an Indonesian woman he met in a bar, saying he repeatedly raped her and "tortured her badly." In the video he shot, Rurik Jutting, a Cambridge University graduate on trial in Hong Kong's High Court for the murder of two Indonesian women, can be seen shirtless in his apartment. "My name is Rurik Jutting. About five minutes ago I just killed, murdered, this woman here," he says into the camera. He also pointed the camera down briefly to show the body of Sumarti Ningsih, 23, lying face down in a bathroom. Moments later he holds up his hand, which can be seen shaking. "It's Monday night. I've held her captive since early Saturday, …

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Maduro meets pope as Vatican steps into Venezuela crisis

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro met Monday with Pope Francis as the Vatican took a more active role trying to defuse a tense political standoff in the South American nation. Maduro spoke with the Pope in a private meeting on his way back to Venezuela following a tour of oil-producing nations of the Middle East. As news of the surprise papal meeting surfaced, back in Venezuela Monsignor Emil Paul Tscherrig, who Francis dispatched in a bid to jumpstart dialogue between the government and the opposition, announced that representatives of the two sides would meet Oct. 30 on the Venezuelan island of Margarita under the auspices of the Vatican and the Union of South American Nations. "It's important to have light, a lamp to guide us through this tunnel of a fight that we've entered," …

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Turkish media: explosion in Mediterranean resort of Antalya

Turkish media reports say an explosion has occurred in the parking lot of the local chamber of trade in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya. The private Dogan news agency says the cause of Tuesday's explosion is not immediately known. Several ambulances have been dispatched to the scene.

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4 killed on river rapids ride at Australian theme park

Four people have been killed in an accident at a popular theme park on Australia's east coast. Miche Paterson, a spokeswoman for Dreamworld, says two men and two women died Tuesday while on a river rapids ride at the park, located on Queensland state's Gold Coast. She had no information on how the accident occurred. Paterson says the park was closed following the accident. Queensland police spokesman Kieran Self said police also did not yet have information on how the injuries occurred. Aerial footage of the park showed paramedics at the Thunder River Rapids ride, which whisks riders in circular rafts along a fast-moving, man-made river.

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