WASHINGTON (BBC): Michael Bloomberg, one of the world’s richest men and a candidate to take on President Donald Trump next year, has denied trying to buy the White House. Bloomberg’s rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination have accused him of doing exactly that. The ex-New York City mayor entered the race in late November with one of the largest political ad buys ever. Despite his late entry to the race, he is currently polling fifth on 4% out of 15 candidates. Asked to respond to the claim he was trying to buy the election, Bloomberg told CBS of his rivals: “I’m doing exactly the same thing they’re doing, except that I am using my own money. They’re using somebody else’s money and those other people expect something from them. “Nobody gives you money if they don’t expect something. And I don’t want to be bought.” Liberal Democratic White House front-runners have been criticising Bloomberg, who used to be a Republican. Senator Elizabeth Warren recently snapped up a TV ad spot on Bloomberg’s own network - Bloomberg TV - accusing him of trying to buy the election to avoid paying higher taxes. Another leading Democratic contender, Senator Bernie Sanders, last week said Bloomberg was using his billions “not to buy a yacht, not to buy a fancy car, but to buy the United States”. According to Bloomberg News, its owner has spent $59m on advertising since entering the race, relatively late in the political season. Asked by CBS why he had changed his mind about running - after saying in September that he would not - Bloomberg said the Democratic field was weak. “I watched all the candidates,” he said. “And I just thought to myself, Donald Trump would eat them up.” Bloomberg also said he did not warn former Vice-President Joe Biden - another leading Democratic 2020 candidate - that he planned to enter the race. The tycoon also said he was not trying to take Joe Biden’s “job” - political pundits have said Bloomberg’s campaign is a sign of Mr Biden’s perceived weakness. Mr Bloomberg’s net worth is $52bn, according to Forbes - 17 times more than Mr Trump.

Taiwan’s opposition party says struggling to pay salaries

TAIPEI (GN): Taiwan’s main opposition party the Kuomintang said on Friday it is struggling to pay staff a month away from presidential and parliamentary elections, due to an asset freeze previously put in place by the government investigating ill-gotten gains. “In spite of this, the party center is still trying its best to assist the presidential and legislative candidates with its limited resources,” the Kuomintang said in a statement. The Kuomintang said it was having to rely on loans to pay salaries, adding that it had yet to be able to pay December salaries, but that it had succeeded in finding people to support its presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu on the campaign trail. The government committee handling the investigation into ill-gotten assets issued a statement on its Facebook page responding to what it said was “fake information”.