World News in Brief: January 6

Sunday, 2019-01-06 16:31:30
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Tropical cyclone Mona has severely affected Fiji with roads being closed, flights cancelled and hundreds of people sheltered in evacuation centers across the South Pacific island nation.

* Myanmar's regional police has filed against the Arakan Army (AA) group for Friday (January 4)'s attack on four police outposts in Myanmar's Rakhine state, said a release from the Myanmar Police Force on January 5.

* The US Federal Reserve (Fed) is expected to raise interest rates once in the second half of 2019 amid political pressure and financial volatility, experts said on Saturday (January 5).

* British health minister Matthew Hancock said on January 6 that he hoped the probability of getting the government's Brexit deal approved by parliament have improved over the Christmas break.

* Iran and Russia are preparing to hold joint naval exercises in the Caspian Sea, including rescue and anti-piracy drills, the commander of the Iranian navy was quoted on January 6 as saying.

* An Egyptian police officer was killed and another injured on January 5 while trying to defuse a bomb in a church in Cairo, state-run MENA news agency reported. The incident happened two days ahead of Coptic Christmas which is observed by Coptic Egyptians.

* Kevin Sweeney, chief of staff of the US Department of Defense, announced Saturday his resignation from the post. His departure comes after former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis stepped down last month.

* Nearly 295,000 Syrians returned home from Turkey in 2018, Turkish Interior Ministry said Saturday. Meanwhile, nearly 270,000 irregular migrants were held during their attempts to illegally cross borders, and 55,894 of them were deported, the ministry said on its social media account.

* Illegal border crossings at Europe's external borders in 2018 fell by a quarter to the lowest level in five years (estimated at 150,000, 92 percent below the peak of the migratory crisis in 2015), according to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.

* Senior Trump administration officials and Democratic congressional staffers met Saturday without achieving any breakthrough in ending a partial government shutdown and breaking a deadlock over funding for a proposed US-Mexico border wall.

* At least four Palestinians were injured on January 5 evening in an accidental explosion that wrecked three houses in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah, medics, security officials and eyewitnesses said.

* The Libyan navy said on January 5 that it rescued a crew of 14 members on a cargo ship that drifted off Tripoli's port on January 2 because of high waves and bad weather.

* Four people, including a 13-year-old girl, were arrested Saturday during a yellow vest pro-Brexit march in central London. Around 100 people in yellow vests marched through Westminster towards Trafalgar Square, causing disruption and setting off smoke bombs.

* A total of 120 rebel fighters have been killed over the past five days of intense battles to stop the advance of the al-Qaida-linked groups in a part of the demilitarized zone in northern Syria, a war monitor reported Saturday.

* Albanian President Ilir Meta has decreed the dismissal of seven out of the eight ministers proposed by Prime Minister Edi Rama, the press office of the President informed on January 5.

* German Ambassador to Libya Oliver Owcza said on January 5 that his country would support the political efforts of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) in the UN Security Council.

* Armed militants on January 5 intercepted a civilian vehicle in Afghanistan's western Farah province and abducted 12 commuters, in apparent tit-for-tat move against security forces' earlier operation to rescue 12 hostages from a Taliban detention center.

* The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) accession protocol for Macedonia will be drafted immediately after the ratification of Prespa Agreement by both parties, Macedonian Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska said Saturday.

* The death toll in a powerful storm that triggered landslides and flash flood in the Philippines has risen to 126, a government disaster agency said on January 6.

* Tropical storm Pabuk has claimed four lives in southern Thailand, police said on January 6.

* Dense fog with high air-pollution levels has delayed 41 flights from New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport on January 6 since 6:00 a.m. local time. Road traffic also was disrupted due to low visibility in New Delhi and adjacent areas.

* Six people were killed and 54 others injured when a tour bus overturned on a slippery road on Bangkok's northern outskirts during a wee hour of January 6, police said.