World News in Brief: January 4

Friday, 2019-01-04 18:59:36
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Thailand's first tropical storm in three decades killed one person on January 4 as it arrived on the south coast, knocking down trees and blowing off roofs in its path, but was losing speed, officials said, while warning against the risk of flash floods.

* Democrat Nancy Pelosi was elected on January 3 to be the new speaker of the US House of Representatives as her party took majority control of the chamber following its election victory last November 6.

* China and the United States will hold vice ministerial level trade talks in Beijing on January 7-8, as the two sides look to end a dispute that is inflicting increasing pain on both economies and roiling global financial markets.

* Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on January 4 he intends to push forward towards a World War Two peace treaty with Russia, which has been stymied for decades by a territorial row, during a summit in Russia later this month.

* British Prime Minister Theresa May's bid to push her Brexit plans through parliament was dealt another blow on January 4 (January 4) when a survey showed most of her own party's members oppose the agreement and would prefer to leave the EU without a deal.

* The Iranian navy will send warships to deploy in the Atlantic from March, a top commander said on January 4, as the Islamic Republic seeks to increase the operating range of its naval forces to the backyard of the United States, its arch foe.

* The US House of Representatives, where Democrats now hold a majority, approved legislation on January 3 to end a partial government shutdown that began nearly two weeks ago at several federal agencies and fund the Department of Homeland Security through February 8.

* Brazilan president Jair Bolsonaro said in a TV interview on January 3 that he is open to discussing the possibility of hosting a United States military base.

* The Trump administration is considering Jim Webb, a former Democratic senator who also served as Navy secretary under Republican President Ronald Reagan, to be the next defense secretary, the New York Times reported on January 3.

* About 1,000 police officers from Scotland and England will start training for deployment in Northern Ireland in the event of disorder arising from a no-deal Brexit, the Guardian newspaper reported late on January 3.

* The United States issued a pre-emptive warning to Iran on January 3 against pursuing three planned space rocket launches that it said would violate a UN Security Council resolution because they use ballistic missile technology. Iran rejected the warning, issued by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, saying its space vehicle launches and missile tests were not violations.

* The United Nations said on January 3 it feared for the safety of Syrians barred from entering Algeria from the south, saying some of those turned back were refugees left stranded in the desert and not suspected militants as Algiers maintains.

* Montenegro has launched a programme offering citizenship to up to 2,000 foreigners in return for investment over the next three years to help speed up its economic development, the government said on January 3.

* Democratic Republic of Congo's Catholic bishops conference (CENCO) said on January 3 that results from Sunday (December 30)'s presidential election in its possession show that one candidate has clearly won, but did not say which one.

* Five women and three men died in the train accident on a bridge linking Denmark's two main islands, and they were probably all Danes, police said on January 3.