World News in Brief: January 11

Friday, 2019-01-11 13:35:07
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte continues to enjoy high trust and approval ratings, according to an independent poll released on January 11. A survey by Pulse Asia Inc. conducted from Dec. 14 to 21 last year showed 81 percent of the 1,800 Filipinos aged 18 and above surveyed nationwide approved of Duterte's performance or the way Duterte runs the country, up by six percentage points from his September 2018 rating of 75 percent.

* Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Andrej Babis, will lead an official and business delegation to visit Thailand Jan. 15-17, the first-ever official visit to Thailand by a sitting prime minister of the country, Thailand's foreign ministry said in a press release on January 11.

* US President Donald Trump on January 10 canceled his planned trip later this month to the Swiss ski resort of Davos for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF), due to the ongoing partial government shutdown.

* Romania takes over a forefront role on a European level, through the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), and the main objective of its mandate is the consolidation of a more cohesive, more united and stronger Europe, President Klaus Iohannis said late on January 10 at the official inauguration ceremony for its Presidency in the EU Council.

* US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on January 10 that the United States will "use diplomacy" and work with partners to curb Iran's influence in the Middle East region.

* Morocco will restore compulsory military service in September, a government spokesman said on January 10. The first batch of people to join the compulsory military service will include 10,000 young men and women.

* Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on January 10 he will strengthen security along the 1,600-km state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) pipelines to prevent gasoline theft.

* The Italian government has agreed to take in some of the 49 migrants and asylum seekers who had been declined to disembark anywhere in Europe since they were rescued in the Mediterranean before Christmas, local media reported on January 10.

* Some US military ground equipment has been withdrawn from Syria in recent days, US media reported on January 10. Currently, there are about 2,000 US troops deployed in Syria.

* The Ukrainian army will meet standards of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) by the next year, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on January 10. In 2017, Ukraine officially declared the course towards joining NATO.

* Libya's Prime Minister Fayez Serraj and the Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya Ghassan Salame on January 10 held a meeting in the capital Tripoli and discussed preparations for the upcoming national conference.

* Jerome H. Powell, chairman of the US Federal Reserve (Fed), said on January 10 that the US economy would not fell into a recession this year, even though the projections of growth rate dropped.

* Continuous heavy snowfall is causing traffic chaos, closed schools and a high risk of avalanches in many southern parts of Germany on January 10.

* Hundreds of Turkey-backed rebels are expected to leave their positions to the al-Qaida-linked militants in northern Syria within the next 24 hours, a war monitor reported on January 10.

* At least 30 combatants from both the government security forces and the Taliban were killed since early on January 10 as the warring sides intensified attacks against each other in insurgency-battered Afghanistan, officials said.

* Some 70,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon, including 40,000 children, came under threat as their shelters were battered by a lasting storm that began on January 6, the UN refugee agency said on January 10.

Xinhua