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After President-elect Donald Trump's pick for secretary of state made strong statements about China's actions in the South China Sea, Chinese officials have responded with muted, measured statements — while state-run media have warned of the potential for conflict and retaliation.

Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon Mobil CEO nominated to lead the U.S. State Department, had a confirmation hearing Wednesday. He told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that China's actions in the South China Sea were "extremely worrisome" and compared them to Russia's annexation of Crimea.

When I meet Nineb Lamassu at England's Cambridge University, where he's a researcher, he transports us to his Middle Eastern homeland as opens his computer and plays me a recording of a man reciting a poem.

Somewhere between speech and song, the voice is old, a little gruff, rising and falling rhythmically. Even in Aramaic — I don't speak a word of Aramaic — the effect is hypnotic.

A Hungarian camerawoman who was caught on film kicking migrants running from police near the border with Serbia was sentenced to three years of probation.

A judge said Petra Laszlo's behavior "ran counter to societal norms" and rejected Laszlo's claim that she acted in self-defense.

The Syrian government says Israel has attacked a military airport west of Damascus, and warns of "repercussions" without promising any specific retaliation.

The Syrian state news agency SANA reports that rockets fired by the Israeli air force caused a fire at the al-Mezzeh airport just after midnight local time on Friday morning. The report did not identify if there were any casualties.

Haryana state in northern India is a place where women often veil their faces, are underrepresented in public life, and where there has been a longstanding and well-documented preference for male babies. (Note for Julie - does this graph sit right with you? we can tinker)

And so it seems an unlikely setting for Disney to choose for an empowering film about sisters who grow up to be world-class wrestlers. But the U.S. production company, with Indian partners, did exactly that with the movie Dangal, the Hindi word for 'wrestling.'

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

For the first time in Japanese history three women of different political persuasions are in positions that could be stepping stones to the prime minister's office.

It's especially notable in Japan, where women's labor force participation remains among the lowest among developed nations, and gender roles are traditionally-defined.

"Women have not really been coached or mentored or encouraged to take on leadership roles," Kyoto University diplomacy professor Nancy Snow explains. "Also, women aren't allowed [culturally] to often show ambition, to sort of telegraph that."

The 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, from Fort Carson, Colo., has begun moving into Poland as part of the biggest U.S. military deployment in Europe since the end of the Cold War.

It's part of an Obama administration effort to deter perceived growing Russian aggression in Eastern Europe. The Kremlin isn't happy.

"These actions threaten our interests, our security," President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "Especially as it concerns a third party building up its military presence near our borders. It's not even a European state."

The U.N. Secretary-General said today he was hopeful that peace talks on Cyprus, being held in Geneva, could lead to a breakthrough, though he cautioned that "we are not here for a quick fix."

Flanked by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, Secretary-General António Guterres said a breakthrough is what the world needs now.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

In the closing weeks of 2016, an explosive document was floating around in media and security circles. Reporters tried, and failed, to verify the claims it contained — that Donald Trump colluded with Russia, and the Kremlin held lurid blackmail material as leverage over Trump. Reporting on the document, which was first compiled as opposition research, was rare and carefully vague.

Maracanã Stadium has been a fixture of the Rio de Janeiro skyline for decades. Opened just in time to play host to Brazil's heartbreak in the 1950 World Cup, it underwent massive renovations to host ... well, more heartbreak for Brazilians in the 2014 World Cup.

A U.S. military investigation has cleared the U.S. forces of wrongdoing in fighting that left 33 civilians dead and 27 others wounded last year in Afghanistan's Kunduz province, saying that they acted in self-defense.

"To defend themselves and Afghan forces, U.S. forces returned fire in self-defense at Taliban who were using civilian houses as firing positions," according to the U.S. military report published Thursday.

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