16 Aug 2019

Friday's world news: What's making headlines around the globe

7:36 pm on 16 August 2019

North Korea fires more missiles, US congresswomen blocked from Israel, Brexit updates and more - here's today's world news.

This screen grab image taken from North Korean broadcaster KCTV on August 1, 2019 shows a ballistic missile being launched from an unknown location in North Korea early on July 31.

A ballistic missile being launched from an unknown location in North Korea early on 31 July. Photo: AFP PHOTO / KCTV

North Korea halts talks with the South

North Korea has rejected any further talks with South Korea, calling its decision "completely the fault of South Korea's actions".

It issued a statement in response to a speech by South Korea President Moon Jae-in on Thursday.

Meanwhile, early on Friday North Korea test-fired two missiles into the sea off its eastern coast, the South Korean military said.

It is the sixth such test in less than a month.

The two "unidentified projectiles" and travelled 230 kilometres reaching an altitude of 30 kilometres, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

Six days ago, North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.

The series of tests come after US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed during a meeting in June to restart denuclearisation negotiations.

North Korea has faced international sanctions for its development of nuclear weapons.


Israel blocks Congresswomen after tweet from Donald Trump

Israel is blocking two US Democratic lawmakers, who are prominent critics of the Israeli government, from visiting.

Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were due to visit the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem next week.

Both have supported the boycott movement against Israel, but Israeli law allows supporters of the campaign to be banned from visiting.

Mr Trump earlier tweeted that it would show "great weakness" if the pair were allowed entry.

Ms Omar described Israel's move as "an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation".

Mr Trump earlier had taken to Twitter to urge that the two lawmakers be blocked from visiting, adding that "they hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds".

No member of the US Congress has ever been barred from visiting Israel.


Russia bird strike downs jet

A Russian passenger plane has made an emergency landing in a cornfield near Moscow after striking a flock of birds.

At least 74 people were injured in the incident, which saw the plane land with its engines off and landing gear retracted, emergency officials said.

The Ural Airlines Airbus 321 was travelling to Simferopol in Crimea when it hit the flock of gulls shortly after take-off, disrupting its engines.

State media has dubbed the landing the "miracle over Ramensk".


Gibraltar orders release of detained oil tanker

Gibraltar has freed an Iranian oil tanker detained last month on suspicion of sanctions-busting, despite a last-minute plea by the US authorities.

The UK territory received written assurances from Iran that the ship would not discharge its cargo in Syria.

Grace 1, carrying Iranian oil, was stopped by Royal Marines on 4 July, triggering a standoff with Tehran.

Gibraltar's chief justice, Anthony Dudley, said no US application was currently before the court.

An independent legal body would make a determination on the American request, Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said in a statement.


UK Opposition parties debate how to prevent "No-deal' Brexit.

Opposition parties launched rival campaigns to topple Prime Minister Boris Johnson and stop him taking Britain out of the European Union without a deal, illustrating fractures in the anti-Brexit movement that make neither scheme likely to succeed.

Mr Johnson has promised to push through Brexit by 31 October, with or without a deal, setting the scene for a showdown in parliament where a majority of lawmakers are opposed to an EU divorce without a transition agreement.

With parliament the main obstacle to Mr Johnson's "do or die" pledge, lawmakers are urgently seeking a way to remove him or change the law to delay Brexit.

Jeremy Corbyn, the veteran socialist leader of the Labour Party, said lawmakers should support a vote of no confidence and back him to lead a "strictly time-limited temporary government" that would postpone Brexit and hold an election.

"This government has no mandate for No Deal, and the 2016 EU referendum provided no mandate for No Deal," Mr Corbyn said. "I therefore intend to table a vote of no confidence at the earliest opportunity when we can be confident of success."

- Reuters

PI Forum ends in furore over climate change

A day-long meeting of Pacific Islands Forum leaders has ended with disagreement over action against climate change.

The leaders of the 18-member countries and territories met for 12 hours in Tuvalu yesterday, with a communiqué and separate statement on climate change finally released after midnight.

The document, released after midnight, includes what's titled the 'Funafuti Declaration for Urgent Climate Change Action Now'.

The main communiqué endorsed a declaration from the small island states calling for a commitment to limit the rise in global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, an immediate phase out of coal, and contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund.

But there was one qualification, which Tuvalu prime minister Enele Sopoaga said related to Australia.

"Australia is an important partner in the Forum, and Australia is an important part of the Forum family, likewise everybody else - New Zealand and other countries. So, we tried our best."

It's understood Australia had pushed for the wording on climate change to be watered down.


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