13 May 2019

Today's world news: What you need to know

7:35 pm on 13 May 2019

Latest - Saudi Arabia says two Saudi oil tankers were targeted by what it called a "sabotage attack" off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

Saudi Arabia cries foul over oil tanker attack

Saudi Arabia says two Saudi oil tankers were targeted by what it called a "sabotage attack" off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), condemning it as an attempt to undermine security of global crude supplies.

The UAE said that four commercial vessels were hit by sabotage near the emirate of Fujairah, but gave no details.

The strait, a vital global oil and gas shipping route, separates the Gulf states and Iran, which has been embroiled in an escalating war of words with the US over sanctions and the US military's presence in the region.

- Reuters

China set to announce retaliatory tariffs

Investors are bracing with China tipped to announce retaliatory measures against the US on Tuesday.

Last week the US significantly increased tariffs on $US200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The US and China remain deadlocked in trade negotiations.

Washington has demanded promises of concrete changes to Chinese law and Beijing said it would not swallow any "bitter fruit" that harmed its interests.

- Reuters

Labor retains slim lead ahead of Australian election

Australia's opposition Labor leader Bill Shorten.

Australia's opposition Labor leader Bill Shorten. Photo: AFP

Just five days out from Australia's general election, a leading opinion poll shows the opposition Labor Party retains a narrow lead over the coalition government.

The Newspoll shows Labor ahead of the Liberal-National coalition, 51 percent to 49 percent - unchanged from polls over the past two weeks.

The polls also shows the popularity of the Labor leader Bill Shorten at a four year high but he still trails the Prime Minister Scott Morrison's by ten points.

- Reuters

Militants kill six in church attack in Burkina Faso

Six people including a priest have been killed by gunmen outside a Catholic church in Burkina Faso.

The attackers then burned the church, and looted several nearby shops.

It's the second attack on Christians in two weeks.

Burkina Faso is battling a rise in violence by militants with links to Islamic State and al-Qaeda.

Read more here.

Philippine mid-terms a test for Duterte

Voting is taking place in the Philippines in mid-term elections which are seen as a test of the popularity of President Rodrigo Duterte after his first three years in office.

His presidency has been marked by a violent war on drugs but he remains hugely popular among Filipinos fed up with the country's dysfunction and elite politicians.

Gaining a Senate majority would allow him to push for constitutional changes and restore the death penalty.

Some 61 million people from more than 7000 islands are registered to vote in provincial, city and national polls.


Italian Facebook accounts removed

New Zealand's biggest investment funds are continuing their push to make Facebook, Google and Twitter take action on greater controls for livestreaming and offensive content.

Photo: AFP

Facebook has removed more than 20 Italian accounts followed by over 2m people, accusing them of spreading false information before European Parliament elections this month.

A spokesman said the pages had featured divisive content on topics like migration, vaccines, and anti-Semitism.

The majority of them supported the governing far-right League party or the five-star party.


Killing Eve big BAFTA winner

The feminist spy drama Killing Eve has emerged as the biggest winner at Britain's most prestigious TV awards ceremony.

The BBC drama won the BAFTA for best drama series along with best actress for Jodie Comer and best supporting actress for Fiona Shaw.

I'm A Celebrity and Britain's Got Talent were among the other winners.