World News in Brief: January 28

Tuesday, 2020-01-28 11:28:34
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An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.4 struck Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, the weather agency said Tuesday (January 28). According to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), the temblor, which occurred at 10:36 a.m. local time, was located at a latitude of 43.4 degrees north and longitude of 146.0 degrees east. There have been no immediate reports of major damage or injuries as a result of the quake.

* A Chinese man from the central Chinese city of Wuhan was confirmed as the first person in Cambodia infected with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Cambodian Health Minister Mam Bunheng announced at a press conference in Phnom Penh on Monday (January 27) evening. He said the Chinese man, 60, was tested positive for the virus by the Pasteur Institute in Cambodia on Monday afternoon.

* Germany confirmed the first case of the novel coronavirus infection Monday night, according to the health authorities of Bavaria. The Bavarian health authorities said in a press release that the infected man is from Starnberg, a town some 30 km southwest of Munich.

* The Philippines stopped issuing visas on arrival to Chinese nationals on Tuesday, in a bid to keep the southeast Asian nation free of a new virus that has killed 106 and infected more than 4,500 since emerging in China in December.

* Japan's government will send a chartered flight to Wuhan, the epicentre of a virus outbreak in China, on Tuesday night to evacuate its nationals wishing to return home.

* UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday said the UN appreciates China's effort to battle against the novel coronavirus and has full confidence in China's ability of controlling the outbreak. In his meeting with China's Permanent Representative to the UN Zhang Jun, the UN chief said that at this important time, the UN stands in solidarity with the Chinese government and people.

* US President Donald Trump said on Monday that he will release the long-awaited political aspect of the Middle East peace plan on Tuesday, a proposal that has already been rejected repeatedly by the Palestinians.

* As the US Mideast peace plan, also known as the "Deal of the Century," is about to be declared, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday he rejects any US role in the peace process. Abbas told British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab during a telephone conversation that the US administration "is fully biased toward Israel," the official Palestinian News Agency WAFA reported.

* Troops of India and Pakistan exchanged heavy fire and mortar shelling on the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir on Sunday evening, state-run broadcaster -- All India Radio (AIR) said Monday. The two sides targeted each other's positions and civilian areas in Degwar sector of Poonch about 185 km southwest of Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.

* Bolivia's renewed voter roll for upcoming special general elections has 135,000 new registered voters, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) said on Monday. Some 20,000 registered voters who are now deceased were also purged from the list, the TSE said.

* Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and European Union (EU) chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier held a meeting on Brexit in Dublin on Monday, according to a press release from the Irish government. The meeting came just days before Britain will leave the EU on January 31, 2020.

* US President Donald Trump discussed developments in Syria and Libya in a phone call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, a White House spokesman said on Twitter.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda discussed the further development of economic cooperation between the two countries during their meeting in Poland, the Ukrainian president's press service said Monday.

* The US military on Monday confirmed that a US Air Force aircraft crashed in Afghanistan earlier in the day. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid reportedly claimed earlier in the day that a US Air Force plane crashed in the Ghazni province in eastern Afghanistan.

* Caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday talked over the phone and condemned the rocket attack on the US embassy in the Green Zone of Baghdad.

* Australian officials on Tuesday warned communities in hard-hit eastern states to strengthen bushfire defences as soaring temperatures and strong winds were set to return, threatening to reignite some blazes and start fresh ones.

* Following a three-week suspension over security concerns, the German armed forces Bundeswehr commenced its training mission in Iraq, German media reported on Monday. The operation of training Kurdish security personnel has been continued since Sunday morning German time, the Bundeswehr announced on Twitter.

* Severe flooding in southeast Brazil has left at least 58 people dead and displaced more than 40,000 others, the regional civil defense agency said on Monday. The worst-hit states are Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais and Espirito Santo, where torrential downpours have wreaked havoc since late last week.

* The government of the Czech Republic approved a proposal on Monday for the deployment of forces to Mali, Niger, and Chad in order to assist in counter-terror operations, according to the Ministry of Defense.

* A passenger plane crashed in Afghanistan's eastern Ghazni province on Monday with dozens killed or injured, a member of provincial council Khaliqdad Akbari said to local media. The crash took place in the Taliban-held area of Sadokhil in Deh Yak district in the afternoon, he said.