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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Austrians Reject Far Right Candidate In Presidential Election

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By Francois Murphy and Kirsti Knolle

VIENNA (Reuters) – Austria’s far-right presidential candidate was soundly defeated on Sunday, confounding forecasts of a tight election in which he would ride a wave of populism sweeping the West.

Norbert Hofer lost to former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen, who had put the June Brexit referendum at the center of his campaign, saying the far right would lead Austria down the same road and warning voters not to “play with this fire”.

“From the beginning I fought and argued for a pro-European Austria,” said Van der Bellen.

Hofer, of the anti-immigration and anti-Islam Freedom Party (FPO), was seeking to become Europe’s first freely elected far-right head of state since World War Two but conceded defeat soon after polls closed.



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Iran Vows ‘Firm Response’ Unless Obama Stops Sanctions Renewal

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani demanded on Sunday that Barack Obama block an extension of sanctions passed by the U.S. Congress, saying Tehran would otherwise “firmly respond”.

In a speech to parliament, Rouhani denounced legislation passed by the U.S. Congress to extend the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) for 10 years as a violation of Tehran’s nuclear deal with six major powers. The deal curbs Tehran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of international financial sanctions.

“America’s president is obliged to exercise his authority by preventing its approval and particularly its implementation … and if this gross violation is carried out we will firmly respond,” Rouhani said in the speech, carried live by state television.



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Pence: Conversation With Taiwan President A ‘Courtesy Call’

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s phone conversation with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday, which prompted a diplomatic protest from China, was simply a “courtesy call,” Vice President-elect Mike Pence said on NBC on Sunday.

Asked whether any shift in policy should be read into the call, Pence said: “I don’t think so.” The call with Tsai was the first by a U.S. president-elect or president with a Taiwanese leader since President Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979.

“This was a courtesy call. The democratically elected president of Taiwan called to congratulate the president-elect,” Pence said.



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