World News in Brief: May 18

Friday, 2018-05-18 06:57:08
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As the June 1 deadline drawn by US President Donald Trump approaches, the European Union (EU) leaders reaffirmed their united front in their trade talks with Washington in the just-concluded EU-Western Balkans summit held on May 17 in Sofia.

* Addressing the United Nations Forum on the Question of Palestine on May 17, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed said that peace requires political will and courage from all sides.

* Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, who is leading a trade delegation in Washington, has met US President Donald Trump, state broadcaster China Central Television said on May 18.

* The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s chief negotiator on May 17 criticized the Republic of Korea (RoK) government for participating in the US-RoK air combat drills and threatened to halt all talks with the RoK unless its demands are met.

* Turkey wants the United Nations General Assembly to pass a motion regarding Jerusalem, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on May 17, as the discomfort over Palestinians killed in Gaza by Israeli forces grows.

* Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on May 16 the move of the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem will cause "some instability" in the region, in his first public comments on the issue.

* The US Senate confirmed Gina Haspel on May 17 to be the country's first female director of the CIA. The confirmation comes a day after the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 in favor of Haspel to lead the agency.

* Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on May 17 expressed his confidence that Canada, the United States and Mexico could reach a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

* China and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) on May 17 signed an agreement on trade and economic cooperation, the first major systematic arrangement ever reached between the two sides.

* Israel will export the Iron Dome rocket interception system for the first time as Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. announced on May 17 to sell the system to Romania, local media reported.

* The growth outlook for Europe remains robust with the euro area projected to expand 2.1 percent this year and 1.9 percent in 2019, a newly updated UN report said, while cautioning high downside risks.

* The United Nations on May 17 revised upward its forecast for GDP growth in Western Asia for 2018 from 2.3 percent to 3.3 percent, mainly reflecting a stronger growth projection for Turkey.

* Hawaii's Kilauea volcano spewed ash nearly six miles (9 km) into the sky on May 17 and scientists warned this could be the first in a string of more violent explosive eruptions with the next possibly occurring within hours.