The United States said its two B-52 bombers had no intention of flying over a Chinese-controlled man-made island in the South China Sea, after Beijing accused Washington of "a serious military provocation" in the strategic waters with overlapping claims.
China's Defense Ministry on Saturday accused the U.S. of deliberately raising tensions in the region, where China has been aggressively asserting its claims to virtually all islands, reefs and their surrounding seas. It reiterated that it would do whatever is necessary to protect China's sovereignty.
Pentagon spokesman Mark Wright said that the Dec. 10 mission was not a "freedom of navigation" operation and that there was "no intention of flying within 12 nautical miles of any feature," indicating the mission may have strayed off course.
The U.S. uses preplanned freedom of navigation operations to assert its rights to "innocent passage" in other country's territorial waters. - AP
Peacekeeping force is rejected
Burundi's government on Saturday rejected the African Union's plans to deploy a 5,000-strong peacekeeping force to stop escalating violence triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza's extended tenure in office, a government spokesman said.
If the African Union sends troops without Burundi's consent it will be viewed as an attack, said government spokesman Philippe Nzobonariba. Burundi has enough forces to maintain peace, he said.
Burundi has been in turmoil since April when Nkurunziza's candidacy for a third term was announced. Violence escalated following Nkurunziza's reelection in July. - AP
Siberian city backs cat for mayor
Tired of the dog-eat-dog politics in their Russian city, the residents of Barnaul say they want a cat to be their next mayor.
The city of 650,000 people is to get a new mayor next week when a commission comprising the city council and the regional governor choose from among six candidates.
But none of the six appear to spark much affection among Barnaul's residents. An informal online poll asking residents to express their preferences among the six and a Siamese cat named Barsik showed the feline nabbing more than 90 percent of the vote. - AP
Miss Spain named Miss World
Spain's Mireia Lalaguna Royo was named the winner of the Miss World 2015 competition Saturday night in the southern Chinese island resort of Sanya, an event dogged by controversy over China's refusal to allow Canada's entrant to attend.
Sofia Nikitchuk of Russia was the runner-up and Indonesia's Maria Harfanti took third place in the final following a lengthy competition featuring 114 women.