Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Trump wary of halting Saudi arms sales over journalist
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he saw no reason to cut off arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, possibly setting up a clash with the U.S. Congress. Trump also said the United States may be closer to finding out what happened to Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi policies who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
Space crew survives plunge to Earth after Russian rocket fails
A Russian cosmonaut and a U.S. astronaut were safe on Thursday after a Soyuz rocket bound for the International Space Station failed in mid-air two minutes after liftoff in Kazakhstan, leading to a dramatic emergency landing. The two-man crew, Russian cosmonaut Alexei Ovchinin and American Nick Hague, landed unharmed on the Kazakh desert steppe as rescue crews raced to reach them, according to the U.S. space agency NASA and Russia's space agency Roscosmos.
Space crew coalition parties hits record lows: poll
Support for Angela Merkel's conservatives and their Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partner hit record lows, a survey showed on Thursday, as the German chancellor struggles to prevent her fractious government from falling apart. Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU bloc and the SPD each saw their voter share fall by 3 percentage points, to 26 and 15 per cent respectively, the DeutschlandTrend survey for broadcaster ARD showed.
U.S. 'hopeful' on pastor's release, unaware of a deal with Turkey
The Trump administration is hopeful that American pastor Andrew Brunson who is on trial in Turkey could be freed at a Friday court hearing, but the State Department said it was unaware of any deal with the Turkish government for his release. NBC News and The Washington Post reported on Thursday that the United States and Turkey had reached an agreement in which some charges against Brunson would be dropped and he would be released at the hearing or soon after.
In race to parliament, Malaysia's Anwar faces down critics
Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim faces the first test of his return to political life on Saturday, in a by-election that would pave his way to claiming the premiership, as promised by the prime minister and former foe Mahathir Mohamad. Anwar, who is expected to win, needs a strong mandate in the fight in the coastal seat of Port Dickson to counter criticism that he is in a hurry to take over from the 93-year-old Mahathir, just five months after being released from prison.
Brazil's leading candidate Bolsonaro confirms Guedes would be economy minister
Brazil's leading presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that if elected in the Oct. 28 runoff ballot, he would name banker Paulo Guedes as economy minister to oversee a "super ministry" combining the current finance, planning and development portfolios. Speaking to journalists after meeting with members of his Social Liberal Party, the far-right politician said he would appoint retired army general Augusto Heleno Pereira as defence minister, and congressman Onyx Lorenzoni as chief of staff. He also said that conservative agriculture leader Nabhan Garcia would not be the eventual head of another ministry combining the current agriculture and environment ministries.
U.S. Navy returns to Israeli port in a sign of 'deep alliance'
A U.S. Navy warship has docked in the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, the first such visit there in almost 20 years, in what officials from both sides hailed as a sign of their strong ties in the face of shared adversaries like Iran. Foreign navies generally prefer northern Haifa as their Israeli port of call, so the destroyer USS Ross's arrival at Ashdod potentially signalled Washington's interest in broadened berthing options for its Mediterranean Sixth Fleet.
Greece tells Germany it wants better ties but still seeks WW2 reparations
Greece still seeks reparations for its victims of World War Two and repayment for a loan it was forced to make to its Nazi occupiers, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos told his visiting German counterpart on Thursday. Pavlopoulos, who met Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Athens, said that such demands fell under the framework of "resistance against those who want to return to a nightmarish past", hinting at the rise of the far-right in Europe ahead of EU elections.
Ukraine wins approval for historic split from Russian church
Ukraine secured approval on Thursday to establish an independent church in what Kiev says is a vital step against Russian meddling in its affairs, but the Russian clergy fiercely opposes the biggest split in Christianity for a thousand years. At a three-day synod presided over by the Ecumenical Patriarch in Istanbul, the seat of the global spiritual leader of roughly 300 million Orthodox Christians, endorsed Ukraine's request for an "autocephalous" (independent) church.
Brexit negotiators eye Monday breakthrough, Northern Irish party ups the ante
British and EU negotiators making headway on the Irish border hope for a Brexit deal breakthrough on Monday, diplomats said, though the British prime minister's Northern Ireland ally has stoked uncertainty by warning it could vote against her. Under pressure from all sides, Theresa May told journalists at Downing Street reception that talks on the key issue of the Irish border were likely to continue until November, while cabinet ministers who met with May on Thursday evening were cited by the Financial Times as saying the border issue was close to being settled.
(With inputs from agencies.)