World News Summary: Suu Kyi defends jailing of two Reuters journalists; Syria and Jordan begin talks
Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Myanmar's Suu Kyi defends jailing of two Reuters journalists
Myanmar government leader Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday the jailing of two Reuters journalists had nothing to do with freedom of expression and they can appeal against their seven-year sentences. Suu Kyi, in her first public comment on the case since the two were convicted, referred to the colonial-era law under which they were charged.
Syria and Jordan begin talks on opening vital border crossing
Jordan and Syria held their first technical talks on opening a major border crossing in southern Syria that was recaptured from the opposition last July, a Jordanian official source said on Thursday. Damascus, which took back the crossing from the opposition, hopes to reopen the Nassib route vital to its hopes of reviving Syria's shattered economy and rebuilding in territory under its control.Amman also hopes the opening of the border crossing will reactivate billions of dollars of annual transit trade between Europe and Gulf markets across Syria.
Malaysian police question those paid out of $972 million in Najib's account
Malaysian police investigating a scandal at state fund 1MDB are questioning more than 50 individuals who received payments from a sum of $972 million that entered the personal bank account of former prime minister Najib Razak, an official said on Thursday. A total of $4.5 billion was misappropriated by high-level officials of the fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), and their associates, the U.S. Justice department has said.
Tourists injured after rockfall at pristine beach in Greece's Zakynthos
At least seven people were injured in Greece on Thursday in a rockfall at the popular Navagio beach in the island of Zakynthos, Greek authorities said. Their injuries were not life-threatening, fire brigade and coast guard officials said.
Pope orders investigation of bishop as U.S. Church leaders meet on abuse crisis
Pope Francis has ordered an investigation of an American bishop accused of sexual misconduct with adults and accepted his resignation, the Vatican and U.S. Church officials said on Thursday. The announcement was made as the pope was meeting U.S. Catholic Church leaders to discuss the fallout from a scandal involving a former American cardinal and demands from an archbishop that the pontiff step down.
Saudi-led coalition seizes main road linking Yemen's Hodeidah to Sanaa
Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition seized the main road linking the port city of Hodeidah to the capital Sanaa, blocking a key supply route for the Houthi group that controls both cities, military sources and residents said on Thursday. The Western-backed military alliance in Yemen resumed an offensive after the collapse of peace talks on Saturday which the United Nations had hoped would avert an assault on the Red Sea city - the country's main port and a lifeline for millions of Yemenis - and start a process to end the three-year war.
Russians in UK spy case say they wanted to see cathedral; Britain calls it 'lies'
Two Russians resembling men Britain accuses of jetting to England to murder a former spy said on Thursday that they were innocent tourists who had flown to London for fun and visited the city of Salisbury to see its cathedral. Britain said it was clear the two men, who appeared on Russia's state-funded RT television, were agents of Russia's GRU military intelligence who carried out the attack, and their interview an example of Russia's "obfuscation and lies".
German coalition leaders meet to discuss top spy's future: sources
Leaders of Germany's ruling coalition will meet during the afternoon to discuss the future of the domestic intelligence chief, two government sources told Reuters on Thursday. Hans-Georg Maassen is under fire for comments in which he questioned the authenticity of a video showing rightist gangs hounding migrants. Conservative Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has said he still has confidence in Maassen but the Social Democrats want Maassen to be fired.
'No-deal' Brexit? Britain sets out the damage for consumers and business
Britain published new advice to businesses and the public on Thursday about how to cope with the disruption that leaving the European Union without a divorce deal would cause to everything from data protection to driving licenses. Recent signals from Brussels have buoyed hopes that the United Kingdom and the EU can agree and approve a proper divorce agreement before the UK leaves on March 29, though the sides are still divided on about one fifth of the detail of a deal.
U.N. shares GPS coordinates of hospitals, schools in Idlib with major powers
The United Nations has shared the GPS coordinates of 235 protected sites in the Syrian province of Idlib, including schools and hospitals, with the Russia, Turkey and U.S.-led coalition amid fears of an all-out military assault, a senior U.N. aid official said on Thursday. Panos Moumtzis, U.N. regional humanitarian coordinator for the Syria crisis, also quoted a Russian official as telling a humanitarian task force in Geneva that "every effort to find a peaceful solution to the problem is being made at the moment".
(With inputs from agencies.)