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President Trump, in Manila on the last leg of his tour of five Asian nations, only briefly touched on the question of human rights with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has waged a deadly extra-judicial war on drugs that has left thousands dead.

Lawmakers in Catalonia have declared independence from Spain in a historic vote that prompted protests and celebration.

The government in Madrid, vowing to halt any would-be secession, has authorized the Spanish prime minister to take over direct rule of the previously semi-autonomous region. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy says he's dissolving the regional government, with new elections to be held on Dec. 21, The Associated Press reports.

Updated at 5:15 a.m. ET

Spain was preparing to impose direct rule over semi-autonomous Catalonia after the region's leader Carles Puigdemont declined to categorically renounce an independence referendum, the prime minister's office announced Thursday.

Spain's government said it would hold a special Cabinet meeting and "approve the measures that will be sent to the Senate to protect the general interest of all Spaniards."

Chinese President Xi Jinping proclaimed the arrival of "a new era" in which a reinvigorated Communist Party will lead his nation to modernity, wealth and power as he opened the 19th national congress of China's ruling Communist Party on Wednesday.

The meeting is expected to give him a second five-year term.

Xi's speech, delivered in the cavernous Great Hall of the People overlooking Beijing's Tiananmen Square, lasted for 3 1/2 hours and traced the broad outlines of his vision and the party's policies.

Mstyslav Chernov / Wikimedia Commons

Eleven human rights activists – including the Turkish director of Amnesty International – are to face trial next week on terrorism charges in Turkey. They are among the thousands of people swept up in a huge crackdown in the country, following last year’s attempted coup that left at least 240 people dead.

John Thomas

“The Wall,” Brexit… the world seems to be moving towards more impermeable boundaries. This hour, we talk about what it means to draw borders.

Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are in the process of kicking ISIS out of Raqqa, the extremist group's self-declared capital where it has terrorized civilians and plotted attacks against targets linked to the U.S. and its allies. Now ISIS fighters are reportedly bottled up in a stadium complex in the Syrian city.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. ET

The Trump administration has announced that the U.S. will withdraw from UNESCO, the United Nations' chief cultural and educational agency. In a statement released Thursday, the State Department said the move won't take effect for more than a year, noting the withdrawal will be as of Dec. 31, 2018.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

President Trump ordered new economic sanctions Thursday against any bank or other company doing business with North Korea, in response to Pyongyang's renegade nuclear program.

The move is designed to tighten the economic screws on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in hopes of halting his development of nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

President Trump delivered a stern warning to North Korea's leader at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday.

Raffaele Pagani / Flickr

Perhaps the most surprising thing about the Amazons of ancient Greek mythology is that they were not entirely mythical. While many of the deeds and details ascribed to these women warriors were imagined, the Amazons themselves were inspired by a real-life horse-riding tribe of nomads called the Scythians.

Before a solar project, Mark Holohan usually gives his customers plenty of time to mull over the cost. But lately, installers are scooping up panels so quickly that Holohan has trouble guaranteeing a price for too long.

"We have a sort of panic buying mode in the marketplace right now. Inventories have fallen. Availability has decreased. Prices have risen," Holohan, the solar division manager at Wilson Electric, said over the clatter of machines and workers in the company's warehouse outside Phoenix, Ariz.

North Korea is issuing fresh threats against the United States as a 10-day computer-based military exercise gets under way on the Korean peninsula. It's an annual joint drill between American and South Korean forces, but this year, it comes following a bitter back-and-forth between North Korea and U.S. President Donald Trump.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reviewed his military's plans to rain "an enveloping fire" around the U.S. territory of Guam — but opted not to fire missiles at this time, according to state media. Despite the stand-down, some Guamanians were alarmed after two radio stations aired an erroneous emergency alert Tuesday.

Fronteiras do Pensamento https://www.flickr.com/photos/fronteirasweb / Creative Commons

Nobel Peace Prize 2011 winner Leymah Gbowee made a passionate plea on Thursday to those who work in conflict zones around the world to include women as equal partners in the journey toward peace.

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