World News Roundup: Trudeau citing intelligence on airliner;UK lawmakers back EU exit deal and more
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
A Ukrainian airliner that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people aboard, was likely brought down by an Iranian missile, Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said on Thursday, citing intelligence from Canadian and other sources. The destruction of the airliner, which carried 63 Canadians, "may well have been unintentional," Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa.
Lawmakers approved legislation on Thursday which will allow Britain to leave the European Union on Jan. 31 with an exit deal, ending more than three years of tumult over the terms of the unprecedented divorce. They voted 330 to 231 in favor of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill, which implements an exit deal agreed with the EU last year. Syria cross-border aid to end Friday if U.N.
Security Council fails to break deadlock
A six-year-long United Nations operation delivering aid across the Syrian border to millions of civilians will expire at midnight on Friday if a deadlocked U.N. Security Council cannot reach a last-minute deal to extend its authorization. Since 2014, the United Nations and aid groups have crossed into Syria from Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan at four places annually authorized by the council. Its approval is needed because the Syrian government did not consent to cross-border deliveries.
Northern Ireland's DUP backs deal to restore devolved government
Northern Ireland's largest pro-British party, the Democratic Unionist Party, said it believed the draft deal published by the British and Irish governments on Thursday provided a basis upon which the regional assembly can be re-established. The positive response came less than one hour after the two governments urged all parties to back the deal to restore devolved government for the first time in three years or risk fresh elections in the British-run region if Monday's deadline for agreement passes.
U.S. calls for Venezuelan talks to form transitional government, hold elections
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday called for Venezuelan negotiations to form a transitional government that would organize fair elections and end the country's long-running political crisis. Pompeo urged a swift democratic transition in 2020, after a year in which President Donald Trump's administration had been skeptical of Norway-mediated talks involving representatives of socialist President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaido.
U.S., Iran ease fear of conflict but threats keep tension high
Iran spurned U.S. President Donald Trump's call for a new nuclear pact and its commanders threatened more attacks as the Middle East remained on edge following the U.S. killing of an Iranian general and Tehran's retaliatory missile strikes. Potentially stepping up international pressure on Tehran, U.S. officials said they believed a Ukrainian passenger plane that crashed in Iran was brought down accidentally by Iranian air defenses hours after Iran launched its missiles attacks.
From tools of war to photo op, Taiwanese repurpose old bunkers
Dotted around Taiwan lie the remains of abandoned bunkers originally built to repel an invasion from China, during a period in the island's history when it was under martial law and fear of a Chinese attack was a part of daily life. The threat from China, which claims democratic Taiwan as its own to be brought under Beijing's rule by force if needed, has not gone away but the aging bunkers are no longer needed for defense purposes.
Canada PM says he won't rest until he gets answers about downed jet
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday vowed his government would not rest until it had all the answers about the destruction of a Ukrainian airliner which he said was hit by an Iranian missile. All 176 people on board, including 63 Canadians, were killed on Wednesday shortly after it took off from Tehran on a flight to Kiev. Iran denies its forces brought down the plane.
Iranian General Qassem Soleimani arrived at the Damascus airport in a vehicle with dark-tinted glass. Four soldiers from Iran's Revolutionary Guards rode with him. They parked near a staircase leading to a Cham Wings Airbus A320, destined for Baghdad. Neither Soleimani nor the soldiers were registered on the passenger manifesto, according to a Cham Wings airline employee who described the scene of their departure from the Syrian capital to Reuters. Soleimani avoided using his private plane because of rising concerns about his own security, said an Iraqi security source with knowledge of Soleimani's security arrangements.
Britain's royal family was hurt and disappointed by the shock announcement by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan that they will step back from their senior roles and spend more time in North America, a royal source said. Harry and Meghan's announcement, made on social media on Wednesday evening, appeared to have taken Queen Elizabeth, Harry's grandmother, and Prince Charles, his father, by surprise.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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