Taiwan begins vote testing confidence in China-friendly ruling party
Voters in Taiwan began trickling into polling stations early on Saturday in a local election that could show support for the ruling party, the China-friendly Kuomintang, is waning less than two years before a presidential election.
Saturday's poll is the first chance for the island, viewed as a breakaway province by giant neighbor China, to make known its views since March, when thousands of young people occupied parliament in an unprecedented protest against a planned trade pact calling for closer ties with Beijing.
U.S. Black Friday shopping marked by thinner crowds
Mall crowds were relatively thin on Black Friday in a sign of what has become the new normal in U.S. holiday shopping: the mad rush is happening the night of Thanksgiving and more consumers are picking up deals online.
Most major retailers now open Thursday evening and are extending holiday deals rather than limiting them to one day. The result is a quieter experience on a day that has traditionally kicked off the holiday shopping season, and often drawn chaotic crowds.
Pope condemns 'barbaric violence' of Islamic State
Pope Francis said on Friday fighting hunger and poverty, rather than military intervention alone, were key to stopping Islamist militants carrying out "barbaric violence" in Syria and Iraq.
In a speech to Turkey's top cleric, Francis said "an extremist and fundamentalist group" had subjected entire communities in Turkey's southern neighbors to "barbaric violence simply because of their ethnic and religious identity."
U.N. torture watchdog urges U.S. crackdown on police brutality
The U.N. Committee against Torture urged the United States on Friday to fully investigate and prosecute police brutality and shootings of unarmed black youth and ensure that taser weapons are used sparingly.
The panel's first review of the U.S. record on preventing torture since 2006 followed racially-tinged unrest in cities across the country this week sparked by a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury's decision not to charge a white police officer for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.
BMW not interested in buying stake in Tesla
Germany's BMW is not interested in buying a stake in U.S. electric carmaker Tesla, German weekly WirtschaftsWoche reported on Friday, citing a BMW statement.
Earlier this week, a Tesla spokeswoman said there had been informal talks between the companies, but there were no plans to set up an alliance.