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Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych on Tuesday accused the pro-European opposition of posing a threat to national security, in a show of defiance as he held talks with the EU foreign policy chief to seek a way out of an explosive stand-off with protesters. With thousands still defying sub-freezing temperatures to protest Yanukovych's rejection of an EU pact under Russian pressure, the president held talks Tuesday with Catherine Ashton and his three predecessors in Kiev. "Substantial meeting (with) President Yanukovych, all relevant issues discussed," Ashton's spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic added on Twitter, saying the talks lasted three and a half hours but giving no further details. In a sign of Europe's support for the demonstrators, Ashton later personally visited the epicentre of the protests on Independence Square in Kiev, an AFP correspondent said.
Rudy Kurniawan may have been one of the world's top wine collectors and dealers but he fell heavily into debt as early as 2007, prosecutors told his fraud trial in New York on Tuesday. In 2007, the man nicknamed "Dr Conti" for his love of Romanee Conti, the fine wine, was considered one of the five top wine collectors in the world, but he owed creditors millions of dollars, prosecutors told the second day of his trial. That autumn he applied for a $3 million loan without saying he was already more than $10 million in debt, said first witness, Barbara Chu, a senior banker at Emigrant Bank Fine Art Finance. Kurniawan also said nothing about his illegal status.
BANGUI, Central African Republic (AP) — More than 500 people have been killed over the past week in sectarian fighting in Central African Republic, aid officials said Tuesday, as France reported that gunmen fatally shot two of its soldiers who were part of the intervention to disarm thousands of rebels accused of attacking civilians.
By Ben Klayman DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson will step down next month and be replaced by global product development chief Mary Barra, who will become the first woman to lead a global automaker. The company said on Tuesday that Akerson, who is also the chairman, will leave on January 15, moving forward his planned departure by at least six months. He said he had planned to leave in mid- to late-2014, but accelerated his exit after learning about two months ago that his wife had an advanced stage of cancer. ...
A senior Iranian official indicated on Tuesday that progress was being achieved in expert-level talks between Tehran and six world powers over the implementation of a landmark nuclear deal. But Iranian Ambassador Reza Najafi added that the meeting, which began on Monday at the Vienna headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear watchdog, would continue for a third day on Wednesday. The goal is to work out nitty gritty details of implementing the November 24 interim accord under which Iran will curb its disputed nuclear program in return for some easing of sanctions that have battered its oil-dependent economy. We are going to continue tomorrow." Najafi is Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, which will have a key role in verifying that Iran fulfils its side of the agreement.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican and Democratic negotiators reached out for a budget agreement Tuesday to reduce automatic spending cuts aimed at programs ranging from parks to the Pentagon, risking a backlash from liberals and conservatives that highlighted the difficulty of compromise within divided government.