World News in Brief: January 17

Friday, 2020-01-17 15:12:20
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Thousands of residents under orders to evacuate from a town near the Philippine volcano Taal were allowed to briefly visit homes on Friday (January 17) to rescue their animals and recover some possessions, taking advantage of what appeared to be waning activity.

* Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Nay Pyi Taw on Friday for a state visit to Myanmar. It is Xi's first overseas trip this year, and the first visit to the Asian neighbor by a Chinese president after an interval of 19 years.

* Tourism officials from ASEAN, China, the Republic of Korea (RoK) and Japan reaffirmed their commitment on Thursday (January 16) to strengthen their cooperation to make the region more competitive globally.

* China's economy grew 6.1 percent year on year in 2019, within the government's annual target of 6 to 6.5 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Friday. The reading was lower than the 6.6-percent growth registered in 2018.

* RoK's unification ministry said on Friday that the country's policy on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) belonged to a matter of sovereignty.

* Eleven US troops were treated for concussion symptoms as a result of the January 8 Iranian missile attack on an Iraqi base where US forces were stationed, the US military said on Thursday, after initially saying no service members had been hurt.

* Palestine plans to request a UN investigation into Israel's environmental practices in the West Bank, the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority (PEQA) said on Thursday.

* A magnitude 5.6 earthquake hit the southern Mexican state Oaxaca, close to Salina Cruz, on Thursday, the country's National Seismological Center reported.

* Ukraine's Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk has submitted a letter of resignation and President Volodymur Zelenskiy will consider it, the presidential office said on Friday.

* Intense thunderstorms with heavy rains dampened bushfires on Australia's east coast on Friday to the relief of exhausted firefighters, and farmers battling years of drought.

* US President Donald Trump on Thursday declared a major disaster in earthquake-hit Puerto Rico, boosting aid to the island a day after placing tougher restrictions on billions of dollars in delayed hurricane relief.

* Mexico's foreign ministry said top officials met with US Attorney General William Barr on Thursday and agreed on a bilateral program aimed at reducing the trafficking of illicit arms, drugs and money.

* A total of 483 members of Lebanon's Internal Security Forces (ISF) have been injured since the beginning of nationwide protests in last October, the ISF said Thursday.

Xinhua, Reuters