Headlines: Nikkei dips as relief rally sputters ahead of holiday week     -     European shares dip after strong week as earnings take centre stages     -     Largely flat; Singapore edges up, led by financials
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US renews Belarus sanctions relief2017/04/29
WASHINGTON: The United States on Friday extended sanctions relief for Belarus for another six months, continuing a policy begun during the Obama administration meant to encourage a country traditionally in Russia's orbit to turn to the West.
The waivers to U.S. economic sanctions for nine major Belarus companies began in 2015 and were extended twice last year, and were set to expire on April 30 ...

Poland chides France's Macron for backing tougher line on Warsaw2017/04/29
WARSAW: Polish officials called French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron's call for European Union sanctions against Poland a violation of friendship and a "fantasy".
The centrist Macron, tipped to win a run-off against eurosceptic far-right leader Marine Le Pen on May 7, said on Thursday that if elected he would pursue a tougher line with Poland and other countries he believed were infringing EU democratic principles ...

US Congress passes short-term bill to avert government shutdown2017/04/29
WASHINGTON: The Republican-led Congress on Friday passed a bill to avert a government shutdown at midnight and give U.S. lawmakers another week to work out federal spending through the end of the fiscal year, with tricky issues like defense spending still unresolved.
The Senate passed the stopgap measure by voice vote without opposition after the House earlier approved it by a tally of 382-30. The measure now goes to Republican President Donald Trump to sign into law, preventing a shutdown of many parts of the federal government on Saturday, his 100th day in office.
The bill provides federal funding until the end of May 5, allowing lawmakers to hammer out legislation in the coming days to keep the government funded for the rest of the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.
Congress has been tied in knots over $1 trillion in spending priorities for months. Lawmakers were supposed to have taken care of the current fiscal year appropriations bills by last Oct. 1.
Democrats backed the stopgap bill a day after House Republican leaders again put off a vote on major healthcare legislation sought by Trump and opposed by Democrats to dismantle the 2010 Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare, after Republican moderates balked at provisions added to entice hard-line conservatives.
In the bigger spending bill to be negotiated in the coming days, it remained unclear whether Republicans would prevail in their effort to sharply boost defense spending without similar increases for other domestic programs. Trump has proposed a $30 billion spending hike for the Pentagon for the rest of this fiscal year.
House and Senate negotiators also have been struggling over funding to make a healthcare program for coal miners permanent and whether to plug a gap in Puerto Rico's Medicaid program, the government health insurance program for the poor.

In first 100 days, a reversal of fortune for Trump favorites on Wall Street2017/04/29
SAN FRANCISCO: A funny thing happened on Wall Street in Donald Trump's first 100 days in the White House: Shares of companies that got closest to the president lagged the market's march higher.
Meanwhile, stocks from sectors that have had less access, and have faced occasional bluster from Trump, such as media and technology, have hopped into the driver seat ...

US says time to act on North Korea, China says not up to Beijing alone2017/04/29
UNITED NATIONS: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned on Friday that failure to curb North Korea's nuclear and missile development could lead to 'catastrophic consequences,' while China and Russia cautioned Washington against threatening military force.
Washington has recently lavished praise on Beijing for its efforts to rein in its ally Pyongyang, but Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made clear to the U ...

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