World News in Brief: April 1

Monday, 2019-04-01 14:22:11
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The Japanese government announced Monday (April 1) that "Reiwa" will be the name of Japan's new era to start on May 1, when Crown Prince Naruhito ascends the Chrysanthemum throne succeeding his father Emperor Akihito. The new era name, interpreted as meaning "decree" (or order) and "peace" is derived from Man'yoshu, the oldest anthology of Japanese poetry.

* The Philippines and the United States will begin on April 1 their biggest annual joint military exercise known as Balikatan, or Shoulder-to-Shoulder. There are around 7,500 participating troops, consisting of some 4,000 Philippine troops and 3,500 US troops, in this year's Balikatan drills.

* Venezuela was hit by a new blackout on Sunday (March 31) morning that knocked out power nearly nationwide. Twitter users reported power outages in at least 20 of the country's 23 states, including the capital Caracas.

* Four militants were killed Monday in a fierce gunfight with troops in restive Indian-controlled Kashmir, officials said.

* Arab leaders strongly rejected the US decision to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory at the 30th Arab League (AL) summit in the Tunisian capital Tunis on March 31.

* The Israeli authorities informed the Palestinian side that it decided to ease the Israeli security restrictions imposed on fishermen off the Gaza Strip coast starting from Monday, a senior official announced on March 31.

* Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced on March 31 during a visit to Israel that Brazil will open a new trade office in Jerusalem. In a joint statement alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Bolsonaro said his government will open a new Trade, Technology and Innovation Office.

* Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced a new caretaker government amid weeks of mass protests demanding his resignation, the country's national television said on March 31 night. Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui, who took office on March 11, will head the new administration, the state TV reported.

* The European Union has had a lot of patience with Britain over Brexit but patience runs out, the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said in an interview on Italian state TV RAI on Sunday.

* Results based on a count of more than half the ballots in Ukraine's presidential election showed comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy in first place, with 30.2 percent of the vote, the Central Election Commission said on Monday. Incumbent President Petro Poroshenko remained in second place, it said, on 16.64 percent of Sunday 's vote.

* Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) on Monday both declared they had narrowly won Istanbul's mayoral elections on Sunday.

* Over two dozen people were killed in a severe thunderstorm that swept through parts of southern Nepal late on Sunday and hundreds more were injured, police and officials said. Nepal's Prime Minster K.P. Sharma Oli in a tweet said 25 people had been killed, and around 400 were injured.

* Germany announced on March 31 a concessional loan of US$100 million to Jordan in recognition of the recent progress achieved by the Jordanian government on its path of economic and fiscal reforms.

* Iran's southwestern province of Khuzestan on March 31 announced a state of emergency amid heavy rains and the likelihood of flooding on March 31 and April 1, official IRNA news agency reported. Floods and landslides killed at least 44 people and injured 265 others across Iran in the past week.

Xinhua, Reuters