World News in Brief: January 9

Thursday, 2020-01-09 10:56:10
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The World Bank on Wednesday (January 8) trimmed its global growth forecasts slightly for 2019 and 2020 due to a slower-than-expected recovery in trade and investment despite cooler trade tensions between the United States and China.

* Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will cancel a planned trip to the Middle East initially planned from Saturday (January 11) amid the escalating tensions in the region, government sources said Wednesday.

* US President Donald Trump on Wednesday tempered days of angry rhetoric and suggested Iran was "standing down" after it fired missiles at US forces in Iraq overnight, as both sides looked to defuse a crisis over the US killing of an Iranian general

* Australian troops and personnel will stay in Iraq to continue their mission, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday (January 9), as tensions eased following an Iranian attack on US forces there.

* US aircraft surveillance firm Aireon has collected the position data from a Ukraine International Airlines jet that crashed near Tehran on Wednesday and is sharing it with the appropriate authorities, a spokeswoman said.

* US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "discussed critical bilateral and regional issues" in a call on Wednesday, the White House said in a statement, without giving further details.

* Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday expressed deep concern over the evolving situation in the Middle East in view of the US-Iran tensions, underlining the imperative of avoiding any further escalation, said a statement from the Prime Minister Office.

* Italy on Wednesday appealed for de-escalating tension between the United States and Iran, after the most recent developments occurred on the Iraqi soil.

* Australian authorities issued new warnings and evacuation notices across the country's heavily populated southeast on Thursday as a return of hot weather fanned huge bushfires threatening several towns and communities.

* As many as 116,951 people out of Bulgaria's seven million population live in places with reduced water supply, the country's Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works said on Wednesday. Restrictions on water use are currently implemented in five Bulgarian towns and 99 villages with a total of 83,037 and 33,914 affected residents respectively, the ministry said in a statement.

* US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Wednesday that Iran launched 16 short-range ballistic missiles from three locations within Iran in Tuesday's attack.

* Iran's civil aviation authority has said it will not hand over two black boxes recovered from an ill-fated Ukrainian airliner with 176 people aboard to the plane's manufacturer Boeing or the United States, but will cooperate with Ukraine. Both of the plane's black box voice and data recorders had been found, Iranian state television reported on Wednesday.

* Jordan on Wednesday denounced Israel's plan to build 1,936 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank.

* Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday issued a joint statement on the civil war of Libya, crisis in Iran and developments in Syria after their consecutive meetings in Istanbul.

Xinhua, Reuters