Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
China's Xi urges North Korea, United States to meet halfway
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday told North Korea's foreign minister that he hoped North Korea and the United States could meet each other halfway and address each other's reasonable concerns, China's foreign ministry said. China is the North's most important economic and diplomatic backer, despite anger over its neighbour's nuclear and missile programmes. Ties have warmed in the last year as Pyongyang's relations with both Seoul and Washington have also improved.
France braces for trouble, Macron to address 'yellow vest' anger
France hunkered down for another wave of potentially violent protests on Saturday as under-fire President Emmanuel Macron planned to address the nation next week over public anger at the cost of living, senior allies said. Much of Paris will be in lockdown and tens of thousands of police deployed across the nation to contain what protesters are billing as 'Act IV' to the 'yellow vest' rebellion that has seen the worst unrest in the capital since 1968 student riots.
U.S. prosecutor drops appeal to extend Turkish banker's sentence: Anadolu
New York prosecutors have withdrawn an appeal to extend the sentence of a former executive at Turkey's state-owned lender Halkbank, Turkey's state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Friday. Halkbank shares rose nearly 4 percent after the report as market participants saw the move as further indication of an improvement in diplomatic ties between Washington and Ankara.
Trump, without evidence, says Arizona 'bracing' for surge of immigrants
U.S. President Donald Trump said without evidence on Thursday Arizona "is bracing for a massive surge" of immigrants along part of the border that has no protective fence, reiterating his call for Democrats to back funding for his proposed border wall. "Arizona, together with our Military and Border Patrol, is bracing for a massive surge at a NON-WALLED area. WE WILL NOT LET THEM THROUGH," Trump wrote in a post on Twitter, appearing to maintain pressure on lawmakers seeking to approve legislation to keep the government open through to Sept. 30 next year.
Russia ready to discuss fate of detained Ukrainian sailors after their trial
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that Moscow would only be ready to discuss the fate of a group of Ukrainian sailors it captured last month after their trial was finished. The United States and the European Union have called on Russia to free the 24 Ukrainian sailors who were detained by Russia on Nov. 25 near Russian-annexed Crimea. Moscow accuses them of illegally entering Russian waters, something Kiev denies.
As Brexit crunch nears, campaign for new referendum gathers pace
After losing the most contentious referendum in British history, James McGrory went for a drink in The Hope pub near London's medieval meat market. Amid butchers in bloodied coats, his dream of reversing Brexit seemed hopeless. Two years later, with the country in crisis over how or whether to leave the European Union, McGrory is feeling more confident that his campaign can help secure another referendum that he hopes would overturn the 2016 result.
'It's been an honour,' says Merkel as German CDU picks new leader
Angela Merkel bowed out as leader of her Christian Democrats on Friday with an emotional speech to her conservative party as it met to pick her successor who will move into pole position to become Germany's next chancellor. The frontrunners are Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a Merkel protege seen as the continuity candidate, and Friedrich Merz, a Merkel rival who has questioned the constitutional guarantee of asylum to all "politically persecuted" and believes Europe's biggest economy should contribute more to the European Union.
French government defends heavy-handed police tactics against students
France's government on Friday defended the tactics of riot police who forced several dozen detained high-school students to kneel in rows with their hands held behind their heads or in handcuffs after violent protests west of Paris. Students this week have been blocking access to scores of high schools across France in protest at President Emmanuel Macron's education reforms, just as the 40-year-old leader grapples with sometimes-violent demonstrations over living costs.
Russia: U.S. protests over INF treaty pave way to end of START pact
Russia believes the United States is ultimately trying to ruin the New START nuclear weapons treaty by moving to exit the Cold War-era Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday. A senior U.S. official said on Thursday that Russia must scrap its 9M729 nuclear-capable cruise missiles and launchers or modify the weapons' range to return to compliance with the 1987 INF treaty and avert a U.S. pullout from the pact.
Vying for influence, Russia accuses U.S. of meddling in Macedonia
The United States is meddling in Macedonian domestic affairs by pushing a name accord with Greece to boost the Balkan state's bid to join NATO, Russia's foreign minister said, amid a tussle for influence in the region. Athens and Skopje have agreed Macedonia will change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia to end a decades-long dispute and potentially enable it to join the transatlantic military alliance and European Union, which Russia opposes.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)