World News Roundup: Thousands flee northwest Syria; Trump to share Mideast peace plan with Israelis and more
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
A renewed drive by President Bashar al-Assad to recapture rebel-held territory in Syria's northwest sparked a fresh exodus of many thousands of civilians toward Turkey's border on Monday amid heavy air strikes, aid workers and witnesses said. Syrian government forces backed by Russian air power have stepped up a campaign to recapture Idlib province, the last rebel stronghold where millions took refuge after fleeing other parts of Syria earlier in its nearly nine-year civil war.
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he will announce his long-delayed Middle East peace proposal on Tuesday and that he believes Palestinians will eventually go along with it despite their refusal to engage on the subject. Sitting down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office, Trump said his plan "makes a lot of sense for everybody." Of the Palestinians, Trump said, "It's something they should want," but he declined to say how it would be good for them.
The United States warned against travel to China on Monday and Canada issued a more narrow travel warning as a spreading coronavirus outbreak has killed 81 people, stranded tens of millions during the biggest holiday of the year and rattled global markets. Global stocks fell, oil prices hit three-month lows, and China's yuan dipped to its weakest in 2020 as investors fretted about damage to the world's second-biggest economy from travel bans and an extended Lunar New Year holiday.
U.S. military confirms plane crash in Afghanistan, disputes claims it was brought down
The U.S. military said on Monday an E-11A aircraft crashed in Afghanistan's Ghazni province, but disputed claims that the Taliban had brought the military plane down. Senior Afghan officials told Reuters the authorities had rushed local personnel to locate and identify the wreckage, in a mountainous area partly controlled by the Taliban.
Mexican ruling party roiled by chief refusing to step down in leadership tussle
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's ruling party plunged into a divisive leadership struggle on Monday when party chief Yeidckol Polevnsky refused to stand down after being voted out by opponents. Lopez Obrador's National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party reshaped Mexico's political landscape with a convincing victory in the 2018 elections, winning majorities with its allies in both houses of Congress.
Reported Pompeo comments put Ukraine in awkward spot before visit
Reported comments by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appearing to play down Ukraine's importance to Americans have put Kiev in an awkward spot days before Pompeo is due to visit. Ukraine is already walking a political tightrope over the attempt to impeach U.S. President Donald Trump, which focuses on allegations he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate the son of his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Mexican leader blasts critics after supporters hector grieving family
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador lashed out at critics on Monday after a group of his supporters angrily hectored members of a U.S.-Mexican family protesting to the government about the murder of their loved ones. Supporters of the president chanted insults at participants of a peace march as their column arrived on the Zocalo square in Mexico City's historic center next to the presidential palace on Sunday.
Iran prepares site for satellite launch that U.S. links to ballistic missiles
Iran is preparing a site for launching a satellite, a government minister said on Monday, highlighting a program the United States says is a cover for ballistic missile development. "Yes, a site is being prepared for placing the Zafar satellite into orbit," Iranian Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi tweeted.
Brexit withdrawal deal must be implemented 'with rigor': EU's Barnier
The European Union will monitor the Northern Ireland elements of Britain's Brexit agreement very closely and will not allow London to re-open the deal "under the guise of implementation," the EU's chief Brexit negotiator said on Monday. "The withdrawal agreement must be applied with rigor and discipline by all sides. It cannot be re-opened under the guise of implementation," Michel Barnier told an audience at Queen's University Belfast.
Violence escalates in Iraq as government pushes to end protests
Gunmen shot dead two protesters in Iraq's southern city of Nassiriya overnight and a Baghdad district became a battlefield on the third day of a drive-by security forces to end months of demonstrations against the largely Iran-backed ruling elite. Clashes over the weekend had already killed at least five protesters. Rockets also hit the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone housing government buildings.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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