Leaders of S. Korea, China agree to sign free trade deal

The presidents of South Korea and China have agreed to sign a free trade deal that will remove tariffs on more than 90 percent of goods over two decades.

The announcement from South Korea’s presidential office Monday came after South Korean President Park Geun-hye met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit being held in Beijing.

Negotiators held a 14th round of trade talks before Xi and Park met but failed to resolved outstanding issues.

KABUL, Afghanistan

Two blasts include attack on police headquarters

Two explosions rocked the Afghan capital Sunday, including a brazen suicide attack on the heavily fortified police headquarters that killed at least one senior officer and injured six other people inside the building.

The assault occurred hours after a bombing targeted a Defense Ministry convoy in the eastern outskirts of the capital, an area where similar strikes against Afghan security forces have been carried out in the past few weeks. There were no reports of casualties. Hours after the bombing at the police headquarters, a third blast was heard in the city, but police officials said it was unclear where it originated.

The Taliban asserted responsibility for the attacks on the police headquarters and the convoy. Although the casualties appeared to be low, police officials suggested that the death toll could rise.


Illinois Rep. Phil Crane dies of lung cancer at 84

Longtime Illinois U.S. Rep. Phil Crane – an anti-tax crusader and ardent advocate of limited government even before those views became a hallmark of the Republicans under President Ronald Reagan – has died of lung cancer at age 84.

The Chicago-born Crane died Saturday night at his daughter’s Jefferson, Maryland, home surrounded by the children he once delighted in sending poems to, said Eric Elk, a congressional aide to Crane through much of the 1990s.

The history professor-turned politician represented Chicago’s far northwest suburbs for 35 years and was the longest-serving House Republican when he was defeated in 2004 by Democrat and then-political newcomer Melissa Bean.

Crane also made an unsuccessful run for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980, losing out to the eventual winner, Ronald Reagan, who would go on to become the politician most closely associated with the modern conservative movement.

GLASGOW, Scotland

Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande win MTV Europe awards

Nicki Minaj rapped about shortbread and Ariana Grande capped a breakthrough year with two trophies as the MTV Europe Music Awards celebrated its 20th anniversary Sunday with a Scottish-accented show in Glasgow.

Grande was named best female artist and also took the best-single prize for “Problem,” one of a string of hits she’s had this year. The 21-year-old American singer said she was doubly grateful to the EMAs – meeting Iggy Azalea at last year’s awards show led directly to working with the Australian rapper on “Problem.”

Minaj proved a confident if conventional host for the show at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro arena, and she also took home the prize for best hip-hop artist.

– From news service reports