World News in Brief: January 5

Saturday, 2019-01-05 13:38:28
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China's Henan Province issued a red alert for heavy air pollution January 4, forecasting the pollution to persist for several days.

* President Donald Trump threatened to keep the US government partially shut for months or years on January 4 after he and Democratic leaders failed to resolve their dispute over Trump's request for US$5.6 billion to build a wall on the Mexican border.

* Mexico's new government on January 4 called on its peers to refrain from interfering in Venezuela's internal affairs, declining to back a regional declaration that urged Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro not to take office on January 10.

* At the talks on January 4 with Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that relations between China and the African Union (AU) are now "in the best shape ever."

* Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro expressed doubts on January 4 over the merger between Brazilian aviation company Embraer and US company Boeing, which has been in talks since last year.

* Jerome Powell, chairman of US Federal Reserve (Fed), said on January 4 that the Fed "will be patient" while it weighs future interest rate hikes.

* The US economy added a higher-than-expected 312,000 jobs in December, while the unemployment rate edged up to 3.9 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on January 4.

* Afghan forces' crackdown against Taliban outfit have left 13 insurgents dead in Almar district of the northern Faryab province, an army statement released on January 5 said.

* Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on January 4 to continue coordination on Syrian issues during a phone conversation.

* US President Donald Trump on January 4 dismissed a New York Times report that he is considering former Democratic Senator Jim Webb to be the next Pentagon chief, calling the story "fake news."

* Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on January 4 has called on all political forces and candidates to unite their efforts for promoting free and fair presidential election in Ukraine this year.

* Hundreds of Palestinian demonstrators reached on January 4 afternoon the eastern area of the Gaza Strip, close to the fence of the border with Israel to join the 41st Friday of the "Great March of Return."

* The Louvre Museum broke its attendance record in 2018 with a total of 10.2 million visitors, an increase of 25 percent in comparison with 2017, the museum said in its latest press release.

* Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi decided to extend the state of emergency for one more month running from Jan. 6 to Feb. 4, the presidency said on January 4.

* US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to visit eight Middle East countries in the following weeks, a trip scheduled amid rising uncertainty and complexity in the region following the decision of US troop withdrawal from Syria.

* Beijing's new international airport is expected to handle 45 million passengers annually by 2021 and 72 million by 2025, according to the country's civil aviation regulator.

* At least four people were injured on January 5 morning in a car bomb blast in Pakistan's northwest city of Peshawar, police said.

* The World Food Programme (WFP) on January 4 bought about 36,000 tonnes of maize worth some US$9 million from Tanzania's state-owned National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) for refugees sheltered in the western region of Kigoma.