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May's Conservative party takes lead over Labour: Times
Reuters, London
British Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party has taken a four point lead over Labour according to a poll published in the Times newspaper on Friday, which suggests a row over anti-Semitism is damaging the opposition party's appeal.
The YouGov poll published on Friday showed that 39 percent of those asked said they would vote for the Conservatives, a gain of one point for May's party compared to last week when the pair were level. Labour dropped three points to 35 percent.

Canada asks for help in Saudi dispute
AFP, Ottawa
Canada is quietly nudging allies including Germany and Sweden for help with resolving its row with Saudi Arabia, a government source confirmed Thursday.
The senior official, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the diplomacy, said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland had spoken with her counterparts in the two European nations.

Taliban fighters storm Ghazni
Reuters, Ghazni
Heavily armed Taliban fighters attacked Ghazni city in central Afghanistan early on Friday, burning police checkpoints, shelling houses and business areas and seizing control of parts of the city before being beaten back, officials said.
U.S. attack helicopters and drone aircraft provided government forces with air support. But as smoke rose across the city and witnesses reported bodies lying in the streets, and it was unclear how much of Ghazni was under government control.

Indonesian President picks cleric as
running mate
AP, Jakarta
The battle lines for Indonesia's 2019 presidential election were drawn Friday as the incumbent Joko "Jokowi" Widodo formally registered as a candidate after choosing a conservative Islamic cleric as his running mate.
Jokowi, the first Indonesian president from outside the military and political elite, announced his vice-presidential candidate, Ma'ruf Amin, on Thursday after weeks of fevered speculation in local media. Jokowi's pick has become bigger news in Indonesia, the world's third-largest democracy, than an earthquake on the island of Lombok that killed more than 300 people.

2 dead as rescue chopper crashes in Japan
AP, Tokyo
At least two people were confirmed dead after a Japanese search and rescue helicopter with nine people aboard crashed Friday in central mountains hours after it lost contact.
Rescue aircraft dispatched by the Defense Ministry found eight of the crewmembers at the site. Two of them were later confirmed dead, while the conditions of the other six were still unknown, according to Ryu Kumakawa, an emergency response official at the Gunma prefecture.

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