World News in Brief: February 16

Sunday, 2020-02-16 14:26:29
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A 5.8-magnitude earthquake jolted Indonesia's eastern Maluku province on Sunday (February 16), the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said. The quake, with a depth of 28 km under the seabed, struck at 6 a.m. local time, and its epicentre was located 117 km southeast of the province's district of Seram Bagian Timur. The quake did not potentially trigger tsunami.

* Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Berlin on Friday (February 14) that China's position on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue has been consistent and clear, urging relevant parties "not to let the window for peace close again."

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the situation in the Middle East with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on the sidelines of the 56th Munich Security Conference in Germany, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday in a statement. The two sides focused on resolving the crisis in Syria in the context of the implementation of the Russian-Turkish memorandums of understanding adopted on Sept. 17, 2018 and Oct. 22, 2019 in Sochi, the statement said.

* French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday (February 15) called for a European strategy and more actions at the European level in the face of challenges at the ongoing 56th Munich Security Conference (MSC). It was Macron's first time attending the MSC since he canceled his trip to the conference last year.

* Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said Friday that any future peace talks in the Mideast region must be based on United Nations (UN) resolutions.

* The United States is increasing the additional duty rate imposed on aircraft imported from the European Union (EU) to 15 percent from 10 percent, effective from March 18, the Office of US Trade Representative (USTR) announced Friday.

* US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Dakar Saturday evening, the first leg of his African tour which will take him to Angola and Ethiopia after Senegal. Pompeo's visit is seen as part of the efforts to deepen cooperation between Senegal and the United States. This is the most important visit by US authorities to sub-Saharan Africa since Donald Trump was elected as US president.

* Ireland exported a record high of EUR152.5 billion (about US$165 billion) worth of goods in 2019, up by 8.5 percent compared with 2018, according to the latest preliminary figures released by the country's Central Statistics Office (CSO).

* The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a second tranche loan of US$170 million to conclude the Third Capital Market Development Program in Bangladesh.

* Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has shared details about Kiev's initiative to pull back troops along the contact line in eastern Ukraine, the presidential press service reported Saturday.

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the state of military security in Europe with Jens Stoltenberg, secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), in Germany on Saturday.

* Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey has "no intention to invade or annex the Syrian territory." Speaking at an event of his ruling party in Istanbul, Erdogan noted that the problem in Idlib, the last rebel-held stronghold in Syria, would not be resolved until the government forces are drawn to the limits set by the Sochi deal.

* Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi said on Saturday that he is close to completing his cabinet lineup and will announce the cabinet candidates in the coming days.

* A freight train loaded with 49 containers left the city of Dongguan, south China's Guangdong Province Friday. It is the first China-Europe freight train leaving the province following the conclusion of the Spring Festival holiday.

* An airstrike in the Yemeni northeastern province of al-Jawf on Saturday killed at least 31 civilians and injured 12 others, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen said in a statement.

* Jordan will launch a new package this week to stimulate the economy and improve public services to attract investors, the government said Saturday. The new package aims to improve the public e-services for citizens and investors, according to a statement carried by state-run Petra news agency, citing Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh.

* Hundreds of protesters in Lebanon on Saturday demonstrated against the government's request for technical support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the National News Agency reported. The protesters gathered near central bank of Lebanon and Beirut's downtown near the parliament.