World News Roundup: Ukraine asks West to ramp up sanctions on Russia; U.S. fails to win support at U.N. to condemn Hamas
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Rejecting suggestions of delay, UK PM May's team says Brexit vote will go ahead
Parliament's vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal will go ahead on Dec. 11, her office said on Thursday, rejecting suggestions from lawmakers that she should seek ways to avoid a defeat so big it might bring down the government. May has been trying to win over critics of an agreement that would keep close economic ties with the European Union when Britain leaves in March, but her warnings that it's her deal, no deal or no Brexit have fallen flat so far.
Israel tells Lebanon and U.N. peacekeepers to destroy attack tunnel
Israel told Lebanon's army and U.N. peacekeepers on Thursday to destroy a tunnel it said had been dug by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement across the border into Israeli territory. Israel's military said this week it had identified a number of passages and sent diggers and troops close the frontier to block them.
Ukraine asks West to ramp up sanctions on Russia
Ukraine urged a gathering of dozens of foreign ministers on Thursday to increase sanctions against Russia, accusing Moscow of ramping up aggression against Kiev and sowing "instability and insecurity" across the West. Speaking at a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the foreign minister of Ukraine denounced the recent seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crew by Russian forces off Crimea, saying it represented another assault on international law.
Russia must scrap or alter missiles U.S. says violate arms treaty
Russia must scrap its 9M729 nuclear-capable cruise missiles and launchers or modify the weapons' range to return to compliance with a key Cold War-era arms control treaty and avert a U.S. pullout from the pact, a senior U.S. official said Thursday. "Either you rid the system, rid the launcher or change the system where it doesn't exceed the range" in a verifiable manner, said U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson.
Yemen warring sides agree at start of talks to free thousands of prisoners
Yemen's warring sides agreed to free thousands of prisoners on Thursday, in what a U.N. mediator called a hopeful start to the first peace talks in years to end a war that has pushed millions of people on the verge of starvation. U.N. mediator Martin Griffiths told a news conference in a renovated castle outside Stockholm that just getting the warring sides to the table was an important milestone.
U.S. fails to win enough support at U.N. to condemn Hamas
A U.S. attempt to get the United Nations to condemn violence by Palestinian militant group Hamas for the first time failed on Thursday because the draft resolution fell short of votes needed in the General Assembly. The resolution required two-thirds support and while Assembly resolutions are non-binding, they can carry political weight. The U.S. text received 87 votes in favor, 58 against, 32 abstentions and 16 countries did not vote.
Fearing 'Act IV' of unrest, France to close Eiffel Tower, Louvre, at weekend
France will close the Eiffel Tower and other tourism landmarks in Paris and draft in thousands more security forces on Saturday to stave off another wave of violent protests in the country over living costs. With protesters from the "yellow vest" movement calling on social media for "Act IV" - a fourth weekend of protest - Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said 89,000 police nationwide would be deployed to stop a repeat of last Saturday's mayhem across France.
Swiss cabinet set to rebuff EU in watershed vote on treaty
Switzerland's divided cabinet looks bound for a clash with the European Union with its likely rejection on Friday of a draft treaty that has exposed deep divisions in Swiss attitudes toward its biggest trading partner. Brussels has pressed for a decade for an accord that would have Switzerland routinely adopt changes to rules in the single market that is the lifeblood of Swiss exporters. It also wants changes to Swiss labor rules that defend high local wages.
Brazil's Bolsonaro lumps native tribes with women in new ministry
Brazil's right-wing President-elect Jair Bolsonaro named a pro-life evangelical pastor on Thursday to head a new ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights that will also take over the agency looking after the country's 850,000 indigenous people. Damares Alves, a lawyer, preacher and congressional aide, is a staunch opponent of legalizing abortion, which is allowed only in cases of rape, anencephaly or when the mother's life is in danger.
Ecuador's Moreno says Wikileaks' Assange can leave embassy if he wants
Ecuadorean President Lenin Moreno said on Thursday that there was a "path" for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to leave the South American country's London embassy, where he has lived for six years under asylum, if he so chooses. Assange has claimed that Ecuador is seeking to end his asylum and hand him over to the United States, where prosecutors are preparing to pursue a criminal case against him. Wikileaks has released thousands of classified U.S. military documents, among other disclosures.
(With inputs from Reuters)
(With inputs from agencies.)