World News in Brief: July 20

Saturday, 2019-07-20 13:11:23
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At least 10 people have been killed, 19 severely injured and five others are missing after an explosion ripped through a gas plant in central China's Henan Province Friday (July 19), local authorities confirmed Saturday (July 20). Further investigation is underway.

* Britain's ambassador in Iran is in contact with government authorities in Tehran following the seizure in the Gulf of two vessels, one of them British, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said late Friday night. Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on Friday seized the British oil tanker, Stena Impero, in the Strait of Hormuz, an IRGC statement said.

* US President Donald Trump confirmed Friday that an Iranian drone had been destroyed by a US warship, while Tehran denied the US assertion.

* Chinese Vice Premier Liu He held a telephone conversation with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as invited late on July 18, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said on July 19. They exchanged views on implementing the consensus reached by the two heads of state on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka and discussed the next step of consultations.

* The Russian Armed Forces have spotted 28 foreign aircraft conducting reconnaissance activities near Russian airspace over the past week, the Russian military's newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda reported on Friday.

* The Spanish government approved on Friday EUR30 million (US$33.6 million) to help Morocco curb illegal immigration into Europe.

* A total of 74 Palestinian demonstrators were injured during clashes with Israeli soldiers in the eastern Gaza Strip on Friday, the Health Ministry in Gaza said.

* Humanitarian partners of the United Nations reported that at least 30 people had been killed by monsoon rain-triggered landslides and flooding in parts of Bangladesh, a UN spokesman said on Friday.

* The US military said on Friday that Pentagon has authorized the movement of military personnel and resources to Saudi Arabia to help deter "credible threats."

* China and France agreed in Beijing on Friday to strengthen their strategic coordination. The agreement was reached between Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and visiting French president's diplomatic counselor Emmanuel Bonne when they co-chaired the new round of consultation between the coordinators for the China-France Strategic Dialogue.

* Russia on Friday denounced Washington's intention to impose new sanctions against Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officers over last year's Kerch Strait incident as "pointless and harmful."

* The Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) agreed to start an exchange of captives following a so-called legal clean-up, Ukraine's representative in the TCG's political subgroup Roman Bezsmertny said Thursday.

* A strong earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale jolted Athens on Friday, according to the Geodynamic Institute of the Athens Observatory which revised downwards an earlier estimate given by the Euro Mediterranean Seismic Center.

* Four people were killed and 16 others sustained injuries as a blast hit the southern gate of Kabul University in Kabul on Friday, Kabul police spokesman Ferdaus Faramarz said.