World News in Brief: December 22

Sunday, 2019-12-22 12:44:27
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Cambodia held its eighth annual Sea Festival in southwestern Cambodia's Kampot province on Saturday (December 21), attracting hundreds of thousands of festival-goers.

* Indian railways is planning to invest US$700 billion in the next 12 years to strengthen its operations, officials said Saturday.

* Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held a phone conversation with US President Donald Trump on late Saturday night to brief him about the outcome of the Japanese prime minister's talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, local media reported.

* The Chairman of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un presided over a meeting of top military officials in an effort to enhance the country's military capability, the official Korean Central News Agency reported Sunday.

* French President Emmanuel Macron voiced his determination Saturday to fight Islamic State (IS) extremism in West Africa after French forces killed 33 Islamist militants in Mali earlier in the day.

* US President Donald Trump spoke over phone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday, discussing issues concerning the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Iran, said the White House.

* Iran urged Japan's initiatives for protecting the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal as well as supporting peace and stability in the Middle East, Iranian media reported on Saturday. The remarks were made by the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on Friday.

* The Yemeni army said on Saturday it launched an offensive against the Houthi rebels in the northern province of Saada and captured several strategic highland sites.

* Klaus Iohannis was sworn in as Romanian president on Saturday for his second and final five-year term. Iohannis told the two chambers of Parliament, gathered in a plenary sitting especially for his swearing-in ceremony, that he would invest his strength and skills in the next five years in trying to develop Romania.

* Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Saturday accused the United States of prohibiting other countries from developing their economies, commenting on the recent sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream gas pipelines.

* Germany said Saturday it was against the United States' approval of sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, according to a German government spokeswoman.

* The Syrian army Saturday continued its operation against rebel-held areas in Idlib province in northwestern Syria, the state news agency SANA reported.

* Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has signed a bill into law that boosts military cooperation with Turkey, the press service of the head of state said in a statement on Saturday.