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Kyodo news summary -1-

December 18, 2018

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Tokyo stocks open sharply lower following plunge on Wall Street

TOKYO - Tokyo stocks opened sharply lower Tuesday, tracking on an overnight plunge on Wall Street amid growing concerns over a possible slowdown in the global economy.

In the first 15 minutes of trading, the 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average fell 320.98 points, or 1.49 percent, from Monday to 21,185.90. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange was down 24.63 points, or 1.54 percent, at 1,569.57.

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U.N. adopts refugee accord without U.S., Hungary

NEW YORK - The U.N. General Assembly on Monday adopted an international agreement that attempts to create a framework for dealing with the global refugee crisis, but without the backing of the United States and Hungary.

The Global Compact on Refugees, prepared by the Geneva-based Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, is meant to forge a stronger and fairer response to large-scale refugee movements.

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N. Korea using gasified coal to withstand sanctions: report

WASHINGTON - North Korea has accelerated the use of its abundant coal reserves to produce synthetic gas as part of efforts to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and withstand international sanctions, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

China has provided technology and expertise for the coal-conversion efforts, the paper said in a dispatch from Beijing.

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Dollar trades in upper 112 yen in early Tokyo deals

TOKYO - The U.S. dollar traded in the upper 112 yen range early Tuesday in Tokyo, almost unchanged from its overnight levels in New York.

At 9 a.m., the dollar fetched 112.83-84 yen compared with 112.79-89 yen in New York and 113.40-41 yen in Tokyo at 5 p.m. Monday.

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U.N. adopts motion taking aim at N. Korea rights record for 14th yr

NEW YORK - The U.N. General Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution slamming North Korea’s human rights record for the 14th year in a row with a new sense of urgency for the Japanese abducted decades ago.

The Japan- and European Union-led human rights measure was endorsed by consensus without a vote at the annual plenary session of the General Assembly as the last stage in the process that began earlier in the fall.

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U.N. adopts Japan-sponsored resolution promoting volunteerism

NEW YORK - The U.N. General Assembly on Monday adopted a resolution encouraging volunteerism to advance the global body’s sustainable development agenda, a motion Tokyo hopes can be used to mobilize activities coinciding with its Summer Olympics in 2020.

“This year we wanted to infuse enthusiasm for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” a diplomat told Kyodo News, adding that Tokyo penned the resolution with Brazil, the previous host of the Summer Olympics at the 2016 Games in Rio.

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Britain’s May sets Jan. date for parliamentary vote on Brexit

LONDON - British Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday the country’s parliament will vote on a divorce deal with the European Union in mid-January.

“I can confirm today that we intend to return to the meaningful vote debate in the week commencing 7th January and hold the vote the following week,” she said in parliament.

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Trump prods Fed not to raise U.S. interest rates further

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Monday effectively called for the Federal Reserve not to raise U.S. interest rates after its two-day monetary policy meeting starting Tuesday.

“It is incredible that with a very strong dollar and virtually no inflation, the outside world blowing up around us, Paris is burning and China way down, the Fed is even considering yet another interest rate hike,” Trump said in a Twitter post.

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Google to invest $1 bil. to build new campus in NYC

NEW YORK - Google said Monday it will spend more than $1 billion to build a new campus in lower Manhattan, in a major expansion of its presence in New York City.

Google already has an office with over 7,000 employees in the city. The planned campus called “Google Hudson Square” in Manhattan’s West Village neighborhood will more than double the workforce in New York City over the next decade.

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Nissan puts off naming Ghosn’s successor amid tensions with Renault

YOKOHAMA - The board of Nissan Motor Co. put off a decision Monday to choose the successor to ousted Chairman Carlos Ghosn, who has been arrested for alleged financial misconduct, reflecting heightened tensions with its partner Renault SA.

Renault has urged Nissan to hold an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to discuss the French automaker’s representation in the Japanese firm. But Nissan has rejected the call, a source close to the matter said, while CEO Hiroto Saikawa emphasized the need for beefing up its governance before seeking investors’ understanding.

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Toyota group aims to sell record 10.76 mil. cars globally in 2019

TOKYO - Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday its group aims to sell a record 10.76 million vehicles globally in 2019, up 2 percent from the previous year, driven by solid demand for hybrids in China and Europe.

The global sales, which include vehicles to be sold by two group companies, minicar-manufacturer Daihatsu Motor Co. and truck maker Hino Motors Ltd., will hit a record high for the third year in a row and surpass the 10 million mark for the sixth straight year.

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Hitachi to buy ABB’s power grid business for $6.4 bil.

TOKYO - Hitachi Ltd. said Monday it has agreed to purchase the power grid business of Swiss engineering group ABB Ltd., initially investing $6.4 billion for an 80.1 percent stake before a complete takeover in the future.

But the Japanese technology conglomerate also indicated that it would freeze a nuclear plant project in Britain due to rising costs, apparently urging the British side to increase commitment through measures such as investment in the project.

==Kyodo

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