World News in Brief: December 24

Monday, 2018-12-24 16:26:51
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The Republic of Korea (RoK) sent an advance team on December 24 to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to prepare for a groundbreaking ceremony later this week to connect railways and roads across the border, according to Seoul's unification ministry.

* A joint anti-terrorism training drill between the Chinese and Indian armies concluded on December 22 in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, a military source said on December 23.

* Italy's rightwing-populist coalition government won a confidence vote in the early hours of Sunday (December 23) on its 2019 budget bill, sparking an outcry from the opposition.

* US President Donald Trump announced on December 23 that he has picked Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan as the acting Pentagon chief. Shanahan will assume the role starting January 1, 2019, Trump said in a tweet on December 23 noon.

* A Taliban commander along with five of his fighters gave up fighting and joined the government-backed peace process in Darayem district of the northern Badakhshan province on December 23, provincial government spokesman Nik Mohammad Nazari said on December 24.

* With five days ahead of Bangladesh's general election, Army troops have been deployed in most parts of the country (389 out of about 500 sub-districts) to assist the civil administration in ensuring security.

* Colombia's National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group launched a unilateral temporary cease-fire on December 23 in the lead up to Christmas.

* China will ban imports of waste foreign vessels to protect the environment, China Daily reported on December 24.

* At least eight people were killed and many injured in a massive pile-up of as many as 50 vehicles, including a school bus, trucks and several cars, due to dense fog in India's northern state of Haryana early on December 24 morning.

* The departing US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has signed the execute order detailing the US troop withdrawal from Syria, reported US media on December 23.

* Israel's army said on December 23 night that its troops opened fire at "armed infiltrators" after the latter crossed a buffer zone near the Israeli-Syrian border.

* The White House budget director said on December 23 that the White House has given a "counter-offer" to the Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, appearing to soften its position on the funding of the president's promised US-Mexico border wall.

* Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on December 23 that supporting the Palestinian cause is one of the principle policies of the country, official IRNA news agency reported.

* Intense clashes erupted on December 23 between the Yemeni government forces and the Houthi rebels in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah despite the cease-fire backed by the United Nations, local sources said.

* The cybersecurity department of Beijing police said more than 3,100 suspects involved in over 6,600 Internet-related cases were detained in the capital of China in 2018.

* The White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said on December 23 that the ongoing partial government shutdown would likely extend into the new year.

* Libya's UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez Serraj and his Italian counterpart Giuseppe Conte met in the Libyan capital Tripoli on December 23 and discussed bilateral relations and cooperation.

* The Egyptian police killed 14 terrorists after hours of shootout in Arish city of North Sinai province northeastern the country, the Egyptian Interior Ministry said in a statement on December 23.

Xinhua