World News in Brief: January 9

Wednesday, 2019-01-09 11:43:43
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British Prime Minister Theresa May's government suffered a defeat in parliament on January 8 when lawmakers who oppose leaving the European Union without an accord won a vote that created a new obstacle to a no-deal Brexit.

* United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked the Security Council to approve the deployment of up to 75 observers to Yemen's port city of Hodeidah for six months to monitor a ceasefire and redeployment of forces by the warring parties.

* The Afghan Taliban said on January 8 they had called off peace talks with US officials in Qatar this week due to an "agenda disagreement", especially over the involvement of Afghan officials as well as a possible ceasefire and prisoner exchange.

* The Turkish presidential spokesman said on January 8 that the United States should hand over its 16 military bases used for fighting the Islamic State (IS) militants in northern Syria to Turkey or the local authorities after its pullout.

* Iran's foreign minister said on January 8 that EU sanctions on Tehran over alleged planned attacks in Europe "will not absolve Europe of responsibility for harboring terrorists."

* French President Emmanuel Macron's approval rating rebounded in January for the first time since November 2017, a survey showed on January 8. A poll by the French Institute of Public Opinion for French media Sud Radio and Paris Match showed Macron's score improved to 28 percent, up by five percentage points from December.

* Yemen's rival forces on January 8 accused each other of being reluctant to implement a UN-brokered cease-fire and peace agreement reached in Stockholm last month, just a day after a brief visit by the UN special envoy to rebel-held capital Sanaa.

* The Hamas-run Ministry of Interior announced on January 8 that it has arrested 45 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip for being collaborators with Israel since November.

* At a meeting with visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, King Abdullah II of Jordan on January 8 underlined the need to end the repeated Israeli violations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem.

* Ukraine may join the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in a medium-term, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said on January 8.

* Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on January 8 that the Syrian government needs to take a number of measures toward a political settlement for the Syrian crisis, which are necessary for Damascus to resume its suspended membership of the Cairo-based Arab League (AL).

* The US Treasury Department announced on January 8 that sanctions have been imposed upon several Venezuelan individuals and groups.

* Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on January 8 hailed India as Iran's "most reliable partner" in hard times, Tasnim news agency reported. Zarif made the remarks in his address to an Iran-India joint economic meeting in the New Delhi on January 8.

* A financial agreement worth EUR150 million (US$171 million) was signed on January 8 between Tunisia, African Development Bank (AfDB) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

* Nepal's tourism sector witnessed phenomenon growth in international tourist arrivals in 2018 as the Himalayan country received over 1.1 million tourists, Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) said on January 8. Visitors from China and India contributed the largest number of tourists last year, taking up over 30 percent of the total.

Xinhua, Reuters