World News in Brief:January 3

Thursday, 2019-01-03 19:52:01
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Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa began to assume responsibilities on January 2 as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council. The five countries hold a two-year term while Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Netherlands and Sweden have just left the Security Council.

* Cambodia's economy enjoyed robust growth last year, driven by garment exports, construction and tourism, said a National Bank of Cambodia's statement on January 3.

* China said on January 2 it hoped that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States would respect and accommodate each other's reasonable concerns to achieve progress in the denuclearization of and establishing a peace mechanism on the Korean Peninsula in the new year.

* The Indian government on January 2 approved the merger of three state-owned banks - Vijaya Bank, Bank of Baroda and Dena Bank, officials said.

* The death toll in heavy rains that triggered landslides and flash flooding in the Philippines has risen to 122, a government disaster agency said on January 3.

* Boat and ferry services from the mainland to the famed island destination Samui in southern Thailand have been cancelled on January 3 as tropical storm Pabuk is approaching.

* Flight operation at New Delhi's airport in India were hampered on January 3 due to rough weather conditions including fog, officials said. According to officials, all departures at the airport were put on hold from 7:30 a.m. local time.

* The letter by Kim Jong-un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), to US President Donald Trump will play a positive role in denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and building lasting peace, the Republic of Korea (RoK)'s presidential Blue House said on January 3.

* Saudi Arabia's Public Prosecution demanded on January 3 the capital punishment against five out of 11 suspects over murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Press Agency reported.

* Mongolian Parliament speaker Miyegombo Enkhbold has rejected demands for him to resign, the press office of the legislative body said Thursday.

* The Afghan Independent Elections Commission (IEC) announced a new timeline for candidates' registration of the country's fourth presidential elections, a statement from the entity said on January 3.

* The newly elected members of Bangladesh's parliament have taken the oath of office amid an opposition boycott following the December 30 parliamentary election.

* Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on January 2 that the partial government shutdown could continue for days or even weeks due to continued discrepancy between the US Congress and the president.

* Brazilian Foreign Minister Ernesto Araujo and visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on January 2 agreed to broaden bilateral relations based on "shared values."

* US President Donald Trump said on January 2 that the US troops would be withdrawing from Syria "over a period of time," dismissing the previously reported four-month exit plan.

* Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat on January 2 urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to start an official investigation into Israeli settlement in the Palestinian territories.

* Russian land forces plan to participate in seven joint exercises this year with foreign armies, the defense ministry said in a press release on January 2.

* The Ukrainian Armed Forces last year received about 50 planes and helicopters modernized by national enterprises, the country's state defense conglomerate Ukroboronprom said in a statement on January 2.

* Libya's Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha on January 2 called for international training for Libyan security personnel.

* Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed the Syrian settlement and Ukraine-related issues over the phone on January 2.

* A convoy of 30 vehicles carrying Kurdish fighters left Syria's northern city of Manbij on January 2 toward areas on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, the Syrian Defense Ministry said.