World News in Brief: December 30

Sunday, 2018-12-30 13:19:16
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Indonesia has experienced a total of 11,577 earthquakes at various magnitudes throughout 2018, significantly higher than 6,929 ones recorded last year, a senior official at Indonesia's Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) said on December 29.

* At least 22 people have died and a number are missing after torrential rain triggered landslides and flash flooding in some regions in the Philippines, disaster officials and police said on December 30.

* The Russian Foreign Ministry said Saturday (December 29) it regretted the position of French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel on some aspects of Russia-Ukraine relations.

* The European Union is not trying to keep Britain in and wants to start discussing future ties the moment the UK parliament approves Brexit, partly to focus on its own unity ahead of May elections, said Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, in an interview with German newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

* Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a government decree on December 29 to ban imports of many Ukrainian products amid Moscow-Kiev tensions.

* Seven people have drowned as a heatwave grips Australia, sending big crowds to the beach to cool down, while a tropical depression in the far north threatens to turn into a cyclone by New Year's Day.

* US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Brazil and Colombia from December 31 to January 2 to strengthen US ties with the two countries as well as US engagement in the region, authorities said on December 28.

* Brazil's President-elect Jair Bolsonaro and visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to strengthen bilateral ties in technology, security, defense and agriculture.

* El Salvador on December 29 rejected US President Donald Trump's allegation that it was "doing nothing" to discourage undocumented migrants from heading to the United States.

* Bangladeshis vote in a general election on December 30 with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina seeking a third straight term in a face-off against a main opposition party whose leader is in jail on what she says were trumped up charges. The counting of votes will be done on the spot soon after polling is concluded (4 p.m).

* Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi said all Iranian military advisers have left Iraq after the defeat of the Islamic State (IS) militants, Tehran Times daily reported on December 29.

* Indian government has approved a project under which humans will be sent into space for at least a week, officials said. The project named Gaganyaan (skycraft) will incur a cost of US$1.43 billion.

* Yemen's Houthi forces have started to redeploy from the port of the Red Sea city of Hodeidah as part of a UN-sponsored peace agreement signed in Sweden earlier this month, a UN source and a spokesman for the group said on December 29.

* Russian and Turkish military will continue to coordinate their steps to eradicate terrorism in Syria after the withdrawal of US troops, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday.

* The US patrols still locate in the northern Syrian city of Manbij as the Syrian government forces are deployed on the frontline between the Kurdish-led groups and the Turkey-backed rebels, a war monitor reported on December 29.

* A special unit of the Rotterdam police arrested four suspects who are preparing a terrorist crime, Dutch police announced on December 29. The arrests took place on December 29 morning. During the operation, the Rotterdam police were assisted by the Dutch Special Interventions Service.

* The Egyptian police announced on December 29 killing 40 terrorists in security raids in Giza province near the capital Cairo and North Sinai province in northeast of the country.

* Polling stations opened in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo on December 30 for a presidential election that is meant to lead to the country's first democratic transfer of power, according to a Reuters witness in the city of Goma.