World News in Brief: January 16

Thursday, 2020-01-16 14:38:28
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A Philippine volcano that has been spewing ash for days appeared to be calming down on Thursday (January 16), but seismologists said the danger of an eruption remained high and authorities warned evacuees not to return to their homes.

* China will continue to maneuver its macro policies and boost the market expectation in 2020 to ensure economic growth will remain within a reasonable range, Premier Li Keqiang said.

* The Bolaven Plateau Coffee Producers' Cooperative (CPC) based in Pakxong district, southern Laos' Champasak province, is aiming to export 64-65 containers of processed coffee beans worth US$5 million in 2020. This is a slight increase on last year's export target of 63 containers worth over US$4.8 million.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron will pay two separate visits to the West Bank next week to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a senior Palestinian official said Wednesday (January 15).

* Philippine troops have rescued an Indonesian fisherman held hostage since September 2019 by the Abu Sayyaf fighters in the southern Philippine Sulu province, the country's military said on Wednesday.

* Death toll of multiple avalanches in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir has risen to 76 while 53 injured people are being treated in various hospitals of the area, an official of the disaster management authority in the region said on Wednesday.

* Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has tasked the government with expanding export potential of the country, attracting more foreign investments and raising localization level of production processes in 2020, the president's press service said Wednesday.

* A worsening of the Libyan crisis "could entail higher risks in terms of terrorism threat and illegal immigration," Italian foreign minister Luigi Di Maio said on Wednesday while addressing the parliament.

* French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Wednesday reiterated that diplomacy was the only way to help stop conflict in Libya and implement lasting peace.

* Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced the resignation of his government, the Kremlin press service said Wednesday. The decision was announced after President Vladimir Putin addressed the Federal Assembly.

* The United States has promised to provide technical assistance for Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia if they reached a deal regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), said a statement of Sudan's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

* Brazil has made significant progress in meeting the requisites to become a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro said on Wednesday. The government, said Bolsonaro, will continue to strive to meet the demands of the organization.

* Australia's peak tourism body estimated the country's bushfire crisis has so far cost the industry almost AU$1 billion (US$690 million) and called for urgent help from the government to lure back visitors.

* Israel's military said on Wednesday night it had carried out retaliatory airstrikes at sites in the Gaza Strip belonging to Hamas, an Islamist Palestinian movement that runs the enclave. A military spokesperson said in a statement that fighter jets struck "a number of Hamas terror targets" in the northern Gaza Strip.

* Eleven policemen and 10 Taliban militants were killed in clashes in Afghanistan's northern province of Kunduz during Wednesday night, a local official said Thursday.

* At least four Syrian soldiers were killed during battles between the Syrian army and the Islamic State (IS) in the eastern Syrian desert on Wednesday, a war monitor reported.

* Israeli warplanes carried out on Wednesday night airstrikes against military positions in the Gaza Strip in response to earlier firing of rockets from the Hamas-ruled enclave into southern Israel, eyewitnesses and security sources said.

* Jordan and Palestine's Al-Quds Electricity Company on Wednesday signed an agreement to increase electricity exports to the Palestinian territories. Jordan will increase its electricity exports from 26 megawatts to 80 megawatts under the deal, Jordanian Minister of Energy Hala Zawati said at a press conference in the capital Amman.

* Sudan's Energy and Mining Minister Adil Ali Ibrahim on Wednesday announced that the Sudanese army restored two oil fields in Darfur region after they were earlier seized by elements belonging to the General Intelligence Service (GIS).

* The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Wednesday said that almost 10,000 illegal immigrants have been voluntarily returned from Libya to their countries of origins in 2019.

* Islamist militants released three aid workers and other civilians in northeast Nigeria who had been held hostage since late December, the United Nations humanitarian coordinator in the country said on Thursday.

Xinhua, Reuters