World News Roundup: Exclusive-Russians, Ukrainians met in UAE to discuss prisoner swap, ammonia, sources say; Indonesia struggles to get aid to quake survivors, rescue continues and more
Following is a summary of current world news briefs. Exclusive-Russians, Ukrainians met in UAE to discuss prisoner swap, ammonia, sources say Representatives from Russia and Ukraine met in the United Arab Emirates last week to discuss the possibility of a prisoner-of-war swap that would be linked to a resumption of Russian ammonia exports, which go to Asia and Africa, via a Ukrainian pipeline, three sources with knowledge of the meeting said.
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Exclusive-Russians, Ukrainians met in UAE to discuss prisoner swap, ammonia, sources say
Representatives from Russia and Ukraine met in the United Arab Emirates last week to discuss the possibility of a prisoner-of-war swap that would be linked to a resumption of Russian ammonia exports, which go to Asia and Africa, via a Ukrainian pipeline, three sources with knowledge of the meeting said. The sources said the talks were being mediated by the Gulf Arab state and did not include the United Nations despite the U.N.'s central role in negotiating the ongoing initiative to export agricultural products from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports. Ammonia is used to make fertilizer.
Indonesia struggles to get aid to quake survivors, rescue continues
Indonesian authorities struggled on Thursday to get aid to thousands of people displaced by a deadly earthquake in western Java, as rain-triggered landslides and difficult mountainous terrain hampered the efforts of rescue teams. Monday's 5.6-magnitude earthquake in the town of Cianjur, about 75 km (50 miles) south of the capital Jakarta, killed at least 272 people and left thousands sheltering in tents with scant medical and aid supplies.
Taiwan president casts local election as referendum on her leadership
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday cast this weekend's local elections as a referendum on her leadership, saying a vote for her party's candidates was a vote for her and her commitment to "take good care" of Taiwan and ensure peace with China. Tsai's second term in office runs out in 2024 and she cannot stand again as president because of term limits. She was re-elected by a landslide in 2020 on a pledge to stand up to China and protect Taiwan's freedom and democracy.
Ballet star finds feet in Georgia after quitting Russia over Ukraine war
When Laura Fernandez's fellow dancers at the Stanislavsky Theatre in Moscow began discussing the war in Ukraine, she knew she would have to leave. Swiss-born, with a Ukrainian mother, Fernandez, 24, was a soloist at the Stanislavsky and rising star of the ballet world when Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine in late February.
Ukrainians suffer in cold, darkness as president implores U.N. to punish Russia
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy demanded the United Nations punish Russian air strikes on civilian infrastructure, after a missile barrage caused the worst nationwide power outages yet, plunging cities into freezing darkness. With millions of Ukrainians enduring below zero temperatures at home, authorities were working hard on Thursday to get the lights and heat back on. Russia's latest missile barrage killed 10 people, shut down Ukraine's nuclear power plants and knocked out most power nationwide.
Malaysia's Anwar becomes prime minister, ending decades-long wait
Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in as prime minister on Thursday, capping a three-decade political journey from a protege of veteran leader Mahathir Mohamad to protest leader, a prisoner convicted of sodomy and opposition leader. His appointment ends five days of unprecedented post-election crisis, but could usher in a new instability with his rival, former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin, challenging him to prove his majority in parliament.
Israel rescinds 200 Gaza work permits, citing bomb worries
Israel has cancelled 200 out of some 15,500 permits issued to Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to work in its territory after a labourer was accused of planning to carry out a bombing, the Shin Bet security agency said on Thursday. The suspect, arrested on Oct. 30, told interrogators he had been recruited by relatives in the militant group Islamic Jihad to plant a bomb on a bus in southern Israel, the Shin Bet said.
Bordering Georgia's breakaway regions, villagers fear Russia's next steps
For displaced villagers living near the border of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, the war in Ukraine has brought back terrifying memories of Russian bombardments. "I know what it feels like hiding in the basement while your village is being bombed. I know that horrible feeling of fear," said Mari Otinashvili, whose family fled the shelling of her village when she was a 13-year-old in 2008.
Analysis-Italy's Meloni and the technocrats - a difficult power balance
Having spent much of her career railing against bureaucrats and financial elites, Italy's new right-wing Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni now has to get them on side - and it is not proving easy. Things got off to a bad start after her victory at a Sept. 25 election.
French lawmakers debate giving constitutional protection to abortion rights
French lawmakers debated on Thursday whether to enshrine abortion rights in the constitution, with MPs on the left and centre saying the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of a landmark ruling in June showed the need for new steps. Women have had a legal right to abortion in France since a law adopted in 1974, and updated several times since, with the latest modification in February extending access to abortion to 14 weeks of pregnancy from 12.
(With inputs from agencies.)