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Kyodo news summary -1-

December 11, 2018

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Tokyo stocks slightly lower in early trading on Brexit woes

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks were slightly lower in early trading Tuesday as uncertainty over the outlook of Britain’s exit from the European Union grew after Prime Minister Theresa May postponed a parliamentary vote on the issue.

In the first 15 minutes of trading, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 21.82 points, or 0.10 percent, from Monday to 21,197.68. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 4.91 points, or 0.31 percent, to 1,584.90.

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Dollar trades in lower 113 yen zone in early Tokyo deals

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar traded in the lower 113 yen range early Tuesday in Tokyo, slightly down from its overnight levels in New York.

At 9 a.m., the dollar fetched 113.20-21 yen compared with 113.26-36 yen in New York and 112.63-64 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Monday.

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U.S. sanctions 3 N. Korean officials over human rights abuses

WASHINGTON - The United States sanctioned three senior North Korean officials, including a top aide to leader Kim Jong Un, on Monday for their roles in the leadership’s serious human rights abuses and censorship.

Subject to sanctions were Choe Ryong Hae, North Korea’s de facto No. 2 leader, State Security Minister Jong Kyong Thaek and Pak Kwang Ho, director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea, according to the Treasury Department.

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Macron offers tax concessions after weeks of protests

PARIS - French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday he will raise the minimum wage and that some planned new taxes will be scrapped in response to weeks of violent protests.

Macron said in a televised address that much of the protesters’ anger toward his reform plans was just, promising that overtime pay will not be taxed and that new levies on pensions will be dropped.

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U.S. auto union calls for quotas in trade deal with Japan

WASHINGTON - A labor union group representing American automobile manufacturing employees called Monday for the establishment of “strong” Japanese auto export quotas in a trade agreement the United States is eager to strike with Japan, citing the significant trade imbalances between the two countries.

The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America -- commonly known as the United Automobile Workers, or UAW -- filed the demand for what critics call a managed trade policy tool during a hearing on bilateral trade negotiations that President Donald Trump’s administration intends to start as early as in mid-January.

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Britain’s May delays parliamentary vote on Brexit

LONDON - British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Monday she will postpone a crucial parliamentary vote on her agreement to leave the European Union.

“If we went ahead and held the vote tomorrow the deal would be rejected by a significant margin,” she said. “We will therefore defer the vote schedule for tomorrow and not proceed to divide the house at this time.”

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Japanese scientist Honjo receives Nobel Prize at ceremony

STOCKHOLM - Japanese scientist Tasuku Honjo received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine at a ceremony Monday in Stockholm for his discovery of a protein on immune cells that paved the way for a new approach to cancer treatment.

The 76-year-old Kyoto native, clad in traditional Japanese clothing to remember the roots of his research, accepted the medal and diploma from Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf at the ceremony, which he attended with his wife Shigeko.

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Gymnastics ass’n lifts officials’ suspension over alleged harassment

TOKYO - The Japan Gymnastics Association announced Monday it has lifted the temporary suspension of two senior officials over the alleged harassment of 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympian Sae Miyakawa.

The sport’s governing body reinstated Chieko Tsukahara and her husband and association vice president Mitsuo Tsukahara after an independent committee concluded that while there were “a lot of inappropriate points lacking in consideration,” the two committed no acts that could be subject to punishment.

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Canadian province cancels trade trip to China

NEW YORK - A trade mission to China by the Canadian province of British Columbia has been cancelled due to the detention of a top Huawei Technologies Co. executive in Canada, a provincial official said.

“The Province of British Columbia has suspended the China leg of its Asian forestry trade mission due to the international judicial process under way” relating to Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, the official, Bruce Ralston, said in a statement.

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Japanese traveler almost duped into drug smuggling: Thai police

BANGKOK - Thai police on Monday announced the arrest of an Iranian man who delivered a suitcase filled with stimulant drugs to a Japanese man, who was duped over the Internet into thinking he could travel for free if he wrote a travel blog.

The Iranian, identified as 43-year-old Mohamad Ali Ezazi, was arrested last Friday by immigration police acting on a tipoff from the Japanese Embassy.

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Taiwan’s former top cross-strait negotiator Chiang dies at 85

TAIPEI, Taiwan - Taiwan’s former top negotiator with China Chiang Pin-kung died at a hospital in Taipei on Monday after suffering a heart-related disease, his party said.

The Nationalist Party (KMT) said in a statement that it was saddened by the “sudden loss” of Chiang who was a “great asset and pride of the nation.”

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Studio Ghibli classic “My Neighbor Totoro” to be screened in China

SHANGHAI - Koji Hoshino, chairman of Japanese animation film studio Studio Ghibli, is hoping “My Neighbor Totoro” will be worth the wait for Chinese fans when it finally starts screening at cinemas in the mainland from Friday.

A digitally remastered version of the film about two young sisters who encounter woodland spirits in post-war rural Japan is set to be shown at around 6,000 venues.

==Kyodo