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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe picked two veteran lawmakers with friendly ties to China for top party posts on Wednesday in an apparent signal of hope for a thaw in chilly ties with Beijing and a summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The change in executives in Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is part of a broader leadership rejig, including a cabinet reshuffle, which is aimed at strengthening party unity and polishing Abe's image. Abe's new line-up faces a number of challenges, including how to repair ties with China that have been frayed by rows over disputed territory and Japan's wartime history, and whether to go ahead with a planned sales tax rise next year despite signs the economy is faltering. In a bid for party unity, the hawkish Abe tapped outgoing Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki, his predecessor as LDP leader, for the key party post of secretary-general, the LDP's de facto election campaign chief.
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — President Nicolas Maduro has replaced Venezuela's longtime oil boss and economic czar as part of a cabinet shakeup sidelining the most-prominent voice within his administration for pragmatic reforms to tackle a deep economic crisis.