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Japan says close to deal with South Korea and U.S. on North Korea defense

TOKYO - Japan, the United States and South Korea are close to reaching a deal on sharing and safeguarding sensitive information on North Korea's missile and nuclear programs, Japan's Defence Ministry said on Friday.

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Asia remembers devastating 2004 tsunami with tears and prayers

BANDA ACEH, Indonesia - Survivors of Asia's 2004 tsunami and relatives of its 226,000 victims cried and prayed as they gathered along Indian Ocean shorelines on Friday for memorials to mark the 10th anniversary of a disaster that still leaves an indelible mark on the region. | Video

Ruble rebounds sharply from lows as exporters sell dollars

MOSCOW - Russia's ruble rose on Friday to its strongest levels in more than three weeks, in a sharp rebound from its recent all-time lows, after the government ordered exporters to sell some of their hard currency revenues.

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Prosecutors raid LG headquarters over washing machine row with Samsung

SEOUL - Prosecutors raided the headquarters of LG Electronics on Friday as part of a probe into whether the South Korean company had damaged the washing machines of rival Samsung Electronics at retail stores in Germany, LG said.

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Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox hit by delays

- Microsoft Corp's Xbox Live and Sony Corp's PlayStation Networks experienced user connection problems on Christmas Day, for which a hacker group claimed responsibility. | Video

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Sony's 'Interview' draws U.S. moviegoers who trumpet free speech

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES - "The Interview," the Sony Pictures film about a fictional plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, opened in more than 300 movie theaters across the United States on Christmas Day, drawing many sell-out audiences and statements by patrons that they were championing freedom of expression. | Video

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On Christmas visit with troops, Obama lauds end of Afghanistan mission

KANOEHE BAY, Hawaii - One week before the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan draws to a close, President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, thanked American troops on Thursday during a Christmas Day visit to Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kanoehe Bay.

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Chinese leadership offers support for Hong Kong leader

BEIJING - China's central government fully approves of the leadership of Hong Kong's chief executive Leung Chun-ying and the work of the territory's government which has shown itself "unafraid of challenges", Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday.