11 Mar 2019

World news today: What you need to know

7:06 pm on 11 March 2019

The international stories making headlines around the world.

Malaysia drops charges against Indonesian woman in Kim Jong-Nam murder case

Indonesian national Siti Aisyah (C) smiles while leaving the Shah Alam High Court, outside Kuala Lumpur on March 11, 2019 after her trial for her alleged role in the assassination of Kim Jong-nam.

Siti Aisyah (C) leaving the Shah Alam High Court, outside Kuala Lumpur. Photo: MOHD RASFAN / AFP

The Indonesian woman accused of killing Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has been freed after the murder charge against her was dropped.

Siti Aisyah had been accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Mr Kim's face in Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017.

She and her co-accused, Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, deny murder and say they thought they were part of a TV prank.

Ms Aisyah could have faced the death penalty if convicted.

The prosecutor in the case requested the murder charge be dropped, without giving a reason.

Siti Aisyah's lawyer told reporters there was simply no real evidence connecting his client with the killing.

Read the full story:

  • Kim Jong-nam killing: Charges dropped, accused woman to be freed
  • -BBC

    Boeing under pressure after second crash of 737-Max

    China's aviation regulator ordered local airlines to halt Boeing 737 Max 8 flights after a deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash involving the same model which killed 157 people

    Airlines must suspend commercial operations of all Boeing 737 Max 8 planes by 6pm local time (11pmNZT).

    The Ethiopian Airlines crash was the second involving a 737 Max 8 in the past five months.

    In October, a flight operated by Lion Air lost altitude soon after takeoff, killing 189 people on board.

    More than 90 Boeing 787 Max 8 models are in use in mainland China.

    The aircraft is relatively new to the skies, having only been in commercial use since 2017.

    Aviation experts say it is too soon to say whether the Ethiopian Airlines crash was caused by the same malfunction that downed the Lion Air flight.

    An investigation will be led by Ethiopian authorities co-ordinating with teams of experts from Boeing and the US National Transportation Safety Board.

    - BBC

    Attack resumes against last IS camps

    A fighter with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) takes aim with his Kalashnikov assault rifle after seeing a man walking towards his position in the town of Baghouz

    A fighter with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) takes aim with his Kalashnikov assault rifle after seeing a man walking towards his position in the town of Baghouz. Photo: AFP

    The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have launched another assault on the Islamic State group's last enclave in Syria.

    Head of the SDF media office, Mustafa Bali, tweeted their troops were in "direct violent clashes".

    Islamic State militants are centred in the town of Baghouz in eastern Syria.

    Once the village is taken, the US and its allies are expected to formally declare the end of the "caliphate" proclaimed by IS in 2014.

    Despite the loss of territory, the group is still seen as a major security threat capable of mounting attacks in the region and worldwide.

    The group once controlled 88,000 sq km (34,000 sq miles) of territory stretching across Syria and neighbouring Iraq, imposed its brutal rule on almost 8 million people, and generated billions of dollars from oil, extortion, robbery and kidnapping.

    Read the full story:

  • SDF attack Islamic State group's Syria enclave Baghuz
  • -BBC

    Venezuela Blackout drags on

    Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido has called for a nationwide march on Caracas to increase pressure on President Nicolas Maduro, as the country endured its third night largely without power.

    The massive blackout crippling the oil-rich but economically ravaged nation has fuelled the political stand-off between Mr Guaido, who is recognised as Venezuela's leader by more than 50 countries, and Mr Maduro, who is clinging to power.

    No national data was available about the impact of the power outage, but non-governmental organisations said at least 15 patients with advanced kidney disease died after they stopped receiving dialysis treatments.

    - BBC

    Jaguar attacks woman at Arizona Zoo

    A woman has been attacked by a jaguar after she crossed a barrier at a United States zoo in a bid to take the perfect selfie with the big cat.

    The jaguar swiped through fencing and left the woman with deep gashes to her arms after she crossed the protective barrier.

    Footage taken at the scene showed the woman writhing in pain.

    The big cat will not be euthanised because it "was not the animal's fault", the zoo confirmed.

    Eyewitnesses said the animal was in its enclosure at the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park in Phoenix, Arizona when it lashed out through fencing, leaving deep gashes on the woman's arm after she climbed over the barrier to get closer.

    Footage taken at the scene showed the woman writhing on the ground in pain with a deep laceration near her left wrist, as shocked onlookers tried to comfort her.

    - ABC