World News in Brief: January 14

Monday, 2019-01-14 14:48:42
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One person was killed and six may be trapped under the rubble after a gas blast hit a residential building in the city of Shakhty, in Russia's south Rostov Region, local news reported on January 14.

* The nuclear chief in Iran said Sunday that the Islamic republic has taken initial steps for 20-percent uranium enrichment to produce fuel for its nuclear reactor.

* Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin on January 13 urged Lebanese officials to speed up the government formation in order to start necessary reforms in the country.

* Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ruled out calling an early general election, setting the stage for the nation to go to the polls in May.

* The mayor of northern Polish city of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz, was stabbed by a man while he was on stage of a charity event held in the Baltic city of Gdansk on January 13 evening, local media reported.

* The United Nations welcomed the decision by the parliament of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to ratify an agreement with Greece on a new name for itself, UN News reported Sunday.

* Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on January 14 the nation has a "great concern" about the US plan to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

* Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Hakim said on January 13 that Iraq supports the restoration of Syria's suspended membership of the Cairo-based Arab League (AL).

* Iran's Defense Ministry announced on January 13 that homegrown long-range cruise missile Soumar will be delivered to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in near future.

* Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on January 13 that Israel had attacked multiple Iranian sites in Syria over the weekend, in a rare public acknowledgment of such airstrikes.

* The Turkish government and Turkish Cypriots have asked the United Nations to delay restarting negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem for at least five months, Cyprus' state television reported on January 13.

* US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh on January 13 as part of his regional tour.

* Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on January 13 ordered to set up a fund of US$20 million to evacuate African immigrants in Libya to their home countries.

* France is willing to provide logistics support for the Libyan Interior Ministry, French Ambassador to Libya Beatrice du Hellen said Sunday. The French envoy made the remarks at a meeting with Libyan Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha, during which they discussed ways to boost mutual cooperation.

* UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame on Sunday (January 13) visited southern Libya for the first time since taking office in July 2017, where he met with tribal elders, academics and local activists.

* Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Baghdad on January 13 for talks with Iraqi leaders to discuss means to enhance bilateral cooperation.

* Egypt will provide Jordan with half of its natural gas needs for power production in 2019 under an agreement signed Sunday. Jordan used to receive around 250 million cubic feet of gas from Egypt in 2004 and the volumes were reduced in 2009 and came to complete halt in 2011 after attacks by terrorist groups on the pipeline in Sinai that provides gas to Jordan. After the halt in Egyptian gas, Jordan resorted to importing more expensive liquefied natural gas.

Xinhua