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U.S. needs to do more in approach to North Korea talks: report

By David Brunnstrom WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. foreign policy and North Korea experts said in a report released on Wednesday that the United States should engage more with North Korea as a way to revive talks aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear-weapons program.

Japan's Cabinet OKs bill for fingerprint data pact with U.S.

Japan's Cabinet on Tuesday approved a bill designed to implement the recently signed pact with the United States for instantly sharing fingerprint data on suspected terrorists and people engaged in serious crimes. After the two countries inked the Agreement on Preventing and Combating Serious Crime earlier this month, the Japanese government aims to pass the bill in the ongoing parliamentary session in order to put it into effect within the next few years.

U.S. issues warning about shoe bombs on airplanes bound for U.S.

By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. authorities issued a warning on Wednesday to airlines flying to the United States to watch out for militants who may have hidden bombs in their shoes, U.S. government sources said. The warning came from the Department of Homeland Security, the sources said, and it is consistent with concerns security agencies have about militants trying to smuggle explosives onto airplanes in shoes, cosmetics or liquids.

Japan eyes boosting ground troop communications with U.S. military

Japan plans to boost communications between its Ground Self-Defense Force and the U.S. military using smartphone-type terminals, a Japanese Defense Ministry source said Sunday. The Japanese government will create prototype software from April with the aim of fully rolling it out in fiscal 2018, the source said.

Russia demands access to Russian drug smuggler in U.S. jail

By Lidia Kelly MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has summoned an American diplomat to demand diplomatic and medical access to a Russian drug smuggler imprisoned in the United States, who Moscow says was tortured when he was arrested in 2010. In a statement late on Friday, the Foreign Ministry said a Russian doctor should examine Konstantin Yaroshenko, a pilot serving 20 years for conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the United States whose health has been worsening, according to his lawyer.

U.S. sees emerging market woes as focal point at G20

By Jason Lange WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Economic policymakers from the world's biggest economies will focus on recent financial market turbulence when they meet next week in Sydney, a senior official at the U.S. Treasury said on Friday. Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of 20, which brings together the world's biggest economies and acts as a steering committee for global economic policy, will meet February 22-23 in Australia.

US to shift Bangladesh aid away from politicians

The United States said Tuesday it will curtail aid that benefits Bangladeshi politicians and redirect it to address labor and other concerns amid frustration over the country's prolonged political infighting. Nisha Biswal, the assistant secretary of state for South Asia, reiterated US calls for new elections after a January 5 vote boycotted by the opposition. She also urged Bangladesh to make greater strides in factory safety following a series of horrific disasters.

U.S. and South Korea to hold military drills despite protest from Pyongyang

SEOUL (Reuters) - The United States and South Korea will hold their annual joint military drills from February 24 to April 18, the combined forces command that oversees the allies said on Monday, and Pyongyang had been notified of the plan. The announcement comes after a nuclear-capable U.S. B-52 bomber sortie last week prompted angry reactions from North Korea, which threatened to reconsider plans for reunions of families separated during the 1950-53 Korean War.

S. Korea-U.S. joint military exercises to start Feb. 24

South Korea and the United States will begin annual combined military exercises on Feb. 24, the two sides jointly announced Monday. In a statement, the Combined Forces Command said Key Resolve, a command post exercise, will be held through March 6, while Foal Eagle, a field training exercise, will be held through April 18.

5.1 magnitude quake near Japan's Fukushima: US geologists

A 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Japan's Fukushima prefecture early on Saturday morning, the United States Geological Survey said. The moderate quake hit 34 kilometres (21 miles) east of coastal Namie city in Fukushima prefecture, where a devastating quake-tsunami in March 2011 sparked a nuclear disaster and caused massive damage. Saturday's earthquake occurred at 2:18 am local time (1718 GMT) off the east coast of Japan's main Honshu island, at a depth of 63 kilometres, US geologists said in a preliminary report.
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