World News in Brief: December 31

Monday, 2018-12-31 15:32:07
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In his New Year message, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world is undergoing a stress test, as climate change is running fast, geo-political divisions are deepening, inequality is growing, and record numbers of people are moving in search of safety and protection. Despite such challenges, the UN chief said the United Nations will continue to bring people together to build bridges and create space for solutions in 2019.

* Indonesian authorities have prohibited tourists from hiking in the radius of 4 km from the crater of Mount Agung volcano, which erupted on December 30, while residents in the slope of the mountain have been ordered to exercise caution over the flow of lava during heavy downpours, disaster agency official said.

* Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), sent a letter on December 30 to the Republic of Korea (RoK) President Moon Jae-in, according to Moon's office Blue House.

* Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro on December 29 said he will issue a decree to loosen gun laws to enable Brazilians to protect themselves from violence. Making it easier for Brazilians to arm themselves against crime was one of his main campaign promises.

* Russia will take retaliatory measures in case of the deployment of US missiles banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on December 30.

* Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's alliance won Bangladesh's election with a thumping majority (won 287 of the 298 seats), the country's Election Commission said on December 31, giving her a third straight term. The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which boycotted the last poll in 2014, won just six seats.

* In a telephone conversation on December 30, German Chancellor Angela Merkel asked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to act with restraint and responsibility as the United States decided to withdraw troops from Syria.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 30 said that Russia and Turkey will continue to strengthen security in the Eurasian region.

* Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will pay an official visit to Turkey on January 3-4, 2019, at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the foreign ministry said on December 30. This will be the prime minister's first official visit to Turkey.

* At least 25 Taliban militants were killed after the Afghan Air Force launched airstrikes in eastern Wardak province, 35 km west of Kabul, the country's Ministry of Defense said on December 31.

* The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on December 30 said it had deported more than 16,000 illegal migrants from Libya to their countries of origin in 2018.

* Libya's Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha on December 30 said the ministry is preparing a biannual plan to secure the capital Tripoli.

* The Chairman of the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Mohammad Baqeri on December 30 said that the Gulf countries are capable of ensuring security on their own and the US presence in the region has only created insecurity.

* The Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) has set July 20 as a new date for the country's fourth presidential elections, an IEC official said on December 30.

* Turkish police arrested 30 Islamic State (IS)-linked suspects in capital Ankara, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on December 30.

Xinhua,Reuters