World News in Brief: February 14

Thursday, 2019-02-14 14:38:29
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Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith will lead government officials on an official visit to Brunei on February 16-17, local daily Vientiane Times reported on February 14.

* China and the United States began high level trade talks in Beijing on February 14, state news agency Xinhua said.

* Japan's economy rose at an annualised rate of 1.4 percent in October-December, government data showed on February 14, as consumer spending and capital expenditure rebounded from natural disasters that disrupted corporate activity.

* The Democratic-led US House of Representatives on February 13 approved a resolution that would end US support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the war in Yemen, as many lawmakers sought to push President Donald Trump to toughen his policy toward the kingdom.

* Moscow has agreed to join a short-term mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to monitor Ukraine's presidential election, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

* Egypt and Germany signed on February 13 an agreement to support the Egyptian economic reform program with US$250 million as the second tranche of a US$500-million soft loan, the Egyptian investment ministry said in a statement.

* French President Emmanuel Macron on February 13 said violent "Yellow Vest" protests must come to an end, reaffirming the government's firm stance to manage troublemakers and preserve the country's calm.

* A Chinese envoy on February 13 underscored the importance of political settlement to the Iraq issue while addressing a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in Iraq.

* Polish President Andrzej Duda said an increase in the presence of US armed forces on Polish territory was to be expected, following a bilateral meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence in Warsaw on February 13.

* Joint US-Libyan forces raided an al Qaeda site in the Libyan city of Ubari on February 13, according to a statement by a Libyan official. The Pentagon could not immediately be reached for comment.

* Taliban negotiators will meet their US counterparts on Feb. 18 in Pakistan's capital Islamabad as part of accelerating diplomacy to end more than 17 years of war in Afghanistan, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said on February 13. But a US State Department representative said in a statement that the United States had "not received a formal invitation to any talks."

* Emirates airline said on February 14 it had reached an agreement with Airbus to reduce its total order of A380 aircraft from 162 to 123 jets. Emirates also said it had signed an new deal with Airbus for 40 A330-900s and 30 A350-900s worth US$21.4 billion.

* A suicide bomber killed 27 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards on February 13, state media said, in a southeastern region where security forces are facing a rise in attacks by militants from the country's Sunni Muslim minority.

* The US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Wednesday announced sanctions against two Iran-based entities and their associated individuals.

* Morocco and Spain signed on February 13 11 agreements in Rabat to bolster cooperation between the two countries.

* The Moroccan authorities seized on February 13 1.92 tons of cannabis in the northern city of Tetouan.

* The death toll from Brazil's tragic dam disaster in southeast Minas Gerais state has climbed to 166, the state civil defense agency said on February 13.

* The death toll from a stampede during an election campaign rally on February 12 in Nigeria's southern state of Rivers has risen to 15, a hospital spokesman revealed Wednesday.

Xinhua, Reuters