World News in Brief: May 17

Thursday, 2018-05-17 06:20:54
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Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone conversation on May 16 expressed serious concerns about the many deaths in recent violent clashes in the Gaza Strip.
At least 60 Palestinians were reportedly killed and over 1,300 others injured by live ammunition and rubber bullets on May 14, said the UN.

* The UN special envoy for the Syria crisis, Staffan de Mistura, on May 16 called for de-escalation in Syria and the revival of the political process.

* European Union leaders agreed on May 16 to try to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive and maintain their reviving economic cooperation with Tehran after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact.

* The United States and China launch trade talks on May 17 in a bid to avert a damaging tariff war, senior Trump administration officials said on May 16.

* French President Emmanuel Macron on May 16 said the comprehensive strategic partnership between France and China should play a "leading role" amid the current complicated international situation. Macron made the remarks during his meeting with visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Elysee Palace.

* Member of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Hanan Ashrawi said on May 16 that the massacre of Palestinian civilians in Gaza would lead to the destruction of chances of peace in the Middle East.

* The Republic of Korea has requested dispute consultations with the United States at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regarding US safeguard duties imposed on imports of large residential washers and crystalline silicon photovoltaic products, according to WTO official documents released on May 16.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin said on May 16 that warships armed with Kalibr cruise missiles will be permanently on duty in the Mediterranean due to persistent terrorist threats from Syria.

* Jordan on May 16 urged the EU to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, which is a prerequisite for attaining peace and stability in the Middle East region, the state-run Petra news agency reported.

* British Prime Minister Theresa May's government suffered its 15th defeat in the House of Lords on May 16 as the crucial European Union withdrawal bill continued its stormy passage through parliament.

* Two flight engineers of the United States space agency NASA completed the fifth spacewalk of this year out of the International Space Station on May 16. Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold wrapped up their spacewalk at 2:10 p.m. American Eastern Time, lasting about 6 hours and 31 minutes, according to NASA.

* At the behest of three Belgian trade unions, crowds of more than 55,000 people descended into the streets of the Belgian capital on May 16 to protest the government's latest round of reforms.

* The US Senate Intelligence Committee voted on May 16 in favor of Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's pick to be the next CIA director. The full Senate is expected to vote on her nomination as early as this week.

* German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended plans by her federal government to increase defense spending (from EUR38.5 billion – US$45.5 billion - in 2018 to EUR41.5 billion in 2019) in Germany on May 16.

* The Bulgarian government on May 16 proposed the purchase of 150 armored vehicles and 16 fighter jets in a bid to modernize the national army.