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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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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.

China 5:50am EST

Two U.S. drone strikes kill seven militants in Pakistan

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan - Two suspected U.S. drones fired missiles at militant hideouts in northwest Pakistan on Friday killing at least seven fighters, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

Aerospace & Defense 12:45am EST

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

China raises Nepal aid five-fold in regional diplomacy push

KATHMANDU - China will increase official aid to Nepal by more than five times from fiscal 2015-16, officials said on Friday, to develop infrastructure in the landlocked nation where regional rival India has long wielded political influence.

China 6:52am EST

Lawyer confident of testimony to clear Myanmar duo of Britons' murders

BANGKOK - A lawyer for two Myanmar nationals indicted over the murder of two British tourists on a Thai holiday island said on Friday he was confident of persuading scared witnesses to testify and exonerate the accused.

Thailand, Myanmar 8:12am EST

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