World News in Brief: January 12

Sunday, 2020-01-12 17:30:29
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The international community has called for restraint and a de-escalation in the Middle East and the Gulf region amid rising US-Iran tensions following the US killing of a top Iranian general and ensuing Iranian attacks on US military bases.

* The foreign ministry of China on Sunday urged the international community to continue abiding by the one-China principle after the Taiwan leadership election.

* Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Saturday (January 11) strongly rejected the US extension of ban on charter flights between the United States and Cuban destinations except Havana.

* German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Libyan peace talks will be held in Berlin, as Turkey and Russia appealed to the north African nation's warring factions to enter a ceasefire.

* President Hassan Rouhani, during a telephone conversation with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday, promised further investigation into the downing of an Ukrainian passenger plane, state news agency IRNA reported.

* European airlines should avoid Iranian airspace until further notice, the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said on Saturday following Iran's admission that its armed forces inadvertently shot down a Ukrainian airliner earlier in the week.

* Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk said on Saturday that Ukraine would pay UAH200,000 (US$8,350) each to the families of those who died in a plane crash in Iran this week.

* Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday said Iran must take full responsibility and be held accountable for shooting down a Ukrainian plane and killing all 176 aboard, including 57 Canadians.

* Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday met with European Council President Charles Michel in Istanbul to discuss the latest developments in the region as well as bilateral relations.

* Russia supports Germany's initiative to hold an international conference on Libya in Berlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday during a press conference after talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

* Thousands of protesters marched in the centre of Athens and Thessaloniki in northern Greece on Saturday, chanting slogans against the US airstrike in Iraq which killed Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

* Israel's foreign minister has postponed a visit to Dubai this month due to security concerns, diplomats said on Sunday (January 12), linking the decision to Iran-US tensions.

* Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney said on Sunday the European Union would not be rushed in negotiations with Britain to thrash out their post-Brexit relationship.

* Britain must invest in military hardware to become less reliant on US air cover and spy planes in future conflicts, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was quoted as saying in an interview with the Sunday Times newspaper.

* At least 10 people died, more than 1,000 flights were canceled and hundreds of thousands were without power in five states of America on Saturday as a massive winter storm system dumped snow, freezing rain and hail from Texas to Michigan.

* A firefighter died while on duty on Saturday in Australia's state of Victoria, raising the toll from this season's devastating bushfires to 28 deaths as the government deploys mental health services to aid those in affected areas.

* Britain's Foreign Office confirmed on Saturday that the country's ambassador in Tehran was briefly detained by Iranian authorities, denouncing the arrest as a "flagrant violation of international law".

* US President Donald Trump said on Twitter that his administration is closely following protests that erupted in Iran after that country's government admitted its forces shot down a civilian Ukrainian airliner by mistake.

* The death toll from Thursday's attack by suspected jihadists on a Niger army base has risen to at least 89, four security sources said, surpassing a raid last month that killed 71 soldiers as the deadliest against Nigerien forces in years.

* French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe on Saturday offered a major concession to unions contesting his government's overhaul of the pension system, in a move aimed at ending strikes which are now in their fifth week.

* A roadside bomb killed two US military personnel and wounded two others in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, the US military said, an attack claimed by the Taliban.

* At least 17 people were killed and more than 40 injured on Saturday after Syrian army air strikes struck four cities in the country's northwestern region of Idlib, witnesses and a local civil defence centre said.

* German chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday repeated a call for all parties to respect the Iranian nuclear accord, despite Iran's decision to intensify its enrichment of uranium and moves by the United States to impose economic sanctions.

* Eight persons have died and several more are feared trapped following an explosion in a factory at Tarapur Industrial Area, 111 km from Mumbai in Palghar district of India's South Western state of Maharashtra on Saturday evening.

* The highest number of elephant deaths in Sri Lanka's history occurred in 2019, when 361 deaths were recorded, the local media quoted the Center for Environment and Nature Studies as saying. Media reports said on Saturday, that over 100 people were killed in the human-elephant conflict in the same period.

Xinhua,Reuters