World News in Brief: September 18

Wednesday, 2019-09-18 15:04:32
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The 74th session of the UN General Assembly opened at UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday (September 17). The 74th session of the General Assembly will also feature other high-profile events, including a Climate Action Summit and a high-level meeting on universal health coverage.

* More than 350 representatives from China and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) discussed promoting regional green development at a forum held Tuesday in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Initiated in 2011, the forum is one of the warm-up events of the incoming 16th China-ASEAN Expo slated for September 21 to 24.

* Cambodia has returned all 83 plastic waste-filled containers to their countries of origin, the country's General Department of Customs and Excise (GDCE) said in a statement on Tuesday.

* China and Russia Tuesday agreed to further enhance cooperation in trade, energy and other areas, setting a goal to double bilateral trade volume. The agreement came as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Russia and co-chaired the 24th regular meeting between Chinese and Russian heads of government with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

* Japan remained the largest foreign holder of US Treasuries in July, with its holdings at the highest level in nearly three years, US Treasury Department said Tuesday. Japan's holdings of US Treasuries increased US$7.9 billion in July to reach US$1.1308 trillion, according to data from the department. China, meanwhile, held US$1.1103 trillion of US Treasuries, a slight drop of US$2.2 billion from the previous month.

* The US Treasury Department on Tuesday proposed new regulations to tighten national security reviews of foreign investment in US companies involved in technology, infrastructure and sensitive data.

* New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday welcomed Facebook's initiative on technology improvement and policy shift to prevent the harm of social media.

* US Treasury announced on Tuesday that it has imposed sanctions on three individuals and 16 entities which it claimed have connections with a corruption network profiting from a Venezuelan food subsidy project.

* US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following the attacks on Saudi Arabia's key oil facilities, said the US State Department on Tuesday.

* The number of international migrants globally reached an estimated 272 million in 2019, an increase of 51 million since 2010, according to new estimates released by the United Nations on Tuesday.

*Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday he will start negotiating with possible coalition partners to form "a strong Zionist government" in the wake of closely-fought elections. Exit polls showed Netanyahu's main challenger, Benny Gantz and his Blue and White party, had a slight lead in Tuesday's parliamentary elections.

* German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that there is at the moment no basis for lifting an export ban on weapons to Saudi Arabia.

* Croatia should remain vigilant when it comes to a possible new immigrant wave, it was concluded at an international security conference in Zagreb on Tuesday.

* Kuwait on Tuesday called for caution and readiness to face the threats to security and stability in the region.

* A Taliban delegation from Afghanistan has visited Iran to hold consultations with Iranian officials, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Tuesday.

* Independent candidate Kais Saied and leader of the "Heart of Tunisia" party, Nabil Karoui, will advance to the second round of Tunisian presidential election, according to official results released Tuesday.

* Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi held talks on Tuesday with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, agreeing to jointly seek political settlement of the crises in Libya and Syria.

* The Security Council on Tuesday adopted a resolution to extend the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for one year. Resolution 2489, which won the unanimous support of the 15 members of the Security Council, extends UNAMA's mandate till September 17, 2020.

* French police on Tuesday cleared out a migrant camp in Grande-Synthe near the northern port of Dunkirk. The operation was part of the government's plan to manage the influx of migrants, local media reported.

* The United States and Belarus have decided to announce the mutual return of ambassadors, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale said as he met with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday.

* Two Tu-160 strategic bombers of Russia conducted a 7-hour scheduled flight over the neutral waters of the Baltic Sea on Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

* Tsentr-2019 (Center-2019) military exercises involving eight countries began on September 16 in Russia, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on September 17.

* New measures to speed up the transition to clean energy and green economies are among the initiatives to be unveiled during the UN Climate Action Summit next week, United Nations (UN) officials announced on Tuesday.

* Tropical storm Imelda made landfall along southeastern coastal Texas, the United States, Tuesday afternoon, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported. The tropical storm made landfall near Freeport, about 100 km south of downtown Houston. There are no reports of damage or casualties.