World News in Brief: December 17

Leader of Sri Lanka's United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was once sacked from the post of prime minister in late October, was sworn in as the prime minister by President Maithripala Sirisena again on December 16, ending a nearly two-month political crisis which erupted after his surprising dismissal.

* A powerful quake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale rocked Papua province in eastern Indonesia on December 16, but did not trigger potential for tsunami, the meteorology and geophysics agency of Indonesia disclosed in Jakarta.

* British business minister Greg Clark said that a second Brexit referendum would increase uncertainty for the country and his preference would be for parliament to back Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal.

* The Republic of Korea (RoK)'s military on December 17 confirmed the disablement of 11 guard posts of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) after the on-site verification works last week.

* Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Union Minister for International Cooperation of Myanmar U Kyaw Tin in Luang Prabang, Laos, on December 16, with both sides agreeing to strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation at all sectors.

* At the foreign ministers' meeting on December 16 at the sidelines of the 4th Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (LMC) in Luang Prabang, senior officals of China and Thailand pledged to deepen bilateral cooperation and move forward the construction of the China-Thailand railway.

* Protesters gathered in Brussels at the European Union (EU) headquarters against a United Nations migration pact on December 16, some clashing with police violently.

* A research institute under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) issued a statement on December 16 night criticizing the United States for imposing sanctions against DPRK officials.

* The Russian military has distributed food packages and warm clothes to the local population in Tall Daman, a settlement in Syria's war-torn Aleppo, Sputnik news agency reported on December 16, quoting the Russian Defense Ministry's center for Syrian reconciliation.

* India will provide a financial assistance of US$1.4 billion to the Maldives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on December 17 during a press conference with the visiting president of the South Asian archipelago.

* The US military said on December 17 it had killed 62 militants in six air strikes on December 15-18 in the vicinity of Gandarsh in Somalia's south-central Banaadir province.

* Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on December 16 met with a visiting Iranian official over the formation of the Syrian constitutional committee, said the presidential media office.

* President Cyril Ramaphosa vowed on December 16 to foster true reconciliation in South Africa by decisively bringing an end to the era of arrogance, entitlement and privilege.

* President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan on December 16 ordered a reshuffle of the central bank's board of directors, state-run WAM news agency reported.

* Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on December 16 arrived in Syria's capital Damascus, the first Arab leader to do so since the Syrian crisis erupted in 2011, state news agency SANA reported. The visit will give a strong push toward restoring the bilateral relations to what they were before the war.

* The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the Somali security forces plan to hold joint military operations in the Middle Jubba region, southern region to flush out al-Shabab remnants.

Xinhua, Reuters