World News | WRHL World News 2017-01-24T01:14:57Z World News Foreign powers back Syria truce deal, war erupts among rebels By Suleiman Al-Khalidi, John Irish and Olzhas Auyezov ASTANA (Reuters) - Russia and regional powers Turkey and Iran backed a shaky truce between Syria's warring parties on Tuesday and agreed to monitor its compliance, but on the ground rebels faced continued fighting on two fronts which could undermine the deal. After two days of deliberations in Astana, Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov said the powers had agreed in a final communique to establish a system "to observe and ensure full compliance with the ceasefire, prevent any provocations and determine all modalities of the ceasefire." While welcoming the text, the Syrian government's chief negotiator Bashar Ja'afari said an offensive against rebels west of Damascus would carry on. U.N. 'racing' to prepare aid for civilians ahead of battle for west Mosul By Maher Chmaytelli BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The United Nations said on Tuesday it is "racing against the clock" to prepare emergency aid for hundreds of thousands of endangered civilians in Mosul with an Iraqi army offensive looming to oust Islamic State from the western half of the city. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi confirmed on Tuesday that government forces had taken complete control of eastern Mosul, 100 days after the start of the U.S.-backed campaign to retake Iraq's second largest city from Islamic State (IS) insurgents who seized it in 2014. China says will protect South China Sea sovereignty By Ben Blanchard and David Brunnstrom BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China said on Tuesday it had "irrefutable" sovereignty over disputed islands in the South China Sea after the White House vowed to defend "international territories" in the strategic waterway. White House spokesman Sean Spicer in his comments on Monday signaled a sharp departure from years of cautious U.S. handling of China's assertive pursuit of territorial claims in Asia. "The U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there," Spicer said when asked if Trump agreed with comments by his secretary of state nominee, Rex Tillerson. Parliament must vote before UK can trigger Brexit, top court rules By Michael Holden and Estelle Shirbon LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May must give parliament a vote before she can formally start Britain's exit from the European Union, the UK Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, giving lawmakers who oppose her Brexit plans a shot at amending them. A "straightforward" bill will now be rushed to parliament within days, the government said after the country's highest judicial body decided May could not use executive powers known as "royal prerogative" to invoke Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty and begin two years of divorce talks. Under cover of night, Syrian wounded seek help from enemy Israel By Rami Amichay and Baz Ratner GOLAN HEIGHTS (Reuters) - It happens nearly every night. After dark, the Syrian wounded come to known locations on the Israel-Syria front in the Golan Heights, driven by desperation to seek help from an enemy army. Israeli soldiers on lookout or patrol spot them waiting by the fence and whisk them away to a rear position where army medics soon arrive, according to army officials operating in the area that was seized by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war. China says hopes Mongolia learned lesson after Dalai Lama visit China said on Tuesday it hopes Mongolia has learned a lesson and will keep a promise not to invite the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama again after his visit in November led to a chill in relations. The Dalai Lama is upheld as a spiritual leader in predominantly Buddhist Mongolia, but China regards him as a dangerous separatist and warned Mongolia before the visit that it could damage ties. "The Dalai Lama's furtive visit to Mongolia brought a negative impact to China-Mongolia relations," Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Mongolia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Tsend Munkh-Orgil by telephone. Crews seek source of Saskatchewan oil spill on aboriginal land The oil spill clean up on an aboriginal reserve in western Canada continued on Tuesday as crews prepared to excavate the site to determine the source of the leak, the provincial government said. A pipeline in the province of Saskatchewan leaked 200,000 liters (52,834 gallons) of oil last week, according to the government, which was notified of the leak on Friday. The breach leaked the oil onto farmland at the Ocean Man First Nation, 140 km (87 miles) southeast of the provincial capital of Regina. Hamas courts in Gaza sentence two to death: NGO Palestinian courts in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip sentenced two men to death on Tuesday, legal sources and a human rights NGO in the enclave announced. The Supreme Judicial Council in Gaza announced that a court in Gaza City and another in Deir al-Balah sentenced the two to death by hanging in unrelated cases. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) said that in the first case a man was convicted of murdering his brother, while the second man was found guilty of premeditated murder. Trump signs order to move Keystone, Dakota pipelines forward By Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump signed two orders on Tuesday to move forward with construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, rolling back key Obama administration environmental policies in favor of expanding energy infrastructure. Trump campaigned on promises to increase domestic energy industry production and before taking office indicated he supported completion of the Dakota pipeline and revival of the Keystone XL project. Protesters had rallied for months against plans to route the $3.8 billion pipeline beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, saying it threatened water resources and sacred Native American sites. Kuwait to deliver message to Iran on dialogue with Gulf Arab states Kuwait's foreign minister will make a rare visit to Tehran on Wednesday to deliver a message to President Hassan Rouhani on a "basis of dialogue" between Gulf Arab states and arch-rival Iran, Kuwait's state news agency reported. The visit comes days after Rouhani said countries including Kuwait had offered to mediate in the escalating feud between Shi'ite Muslim Iran and Sunni power Saudi Arabia. French presidential favourite Fillon paid wife as aide: report The British-born wife of French presidential candidate Francois Fillon was paid around 500,000 euros ($538,000) over ten years from parliamentary funds made available to her husband, a report said Tuesday. The Canard Enchaine, which mixes satire with investigative reporting, detailed various periods during which Penelope Fillon was paid from money available to her husband as a longstanding MP for the central Sarthe region. Citing pay slips, the paper said Penelope, who has always been seen as uninvolved in her husband's political life, was paid from 1992 to 2002 from funds intended for parliamentary assistants. US stock indexes move higher in afternoon trading; oil rises Materials and financial companies led U.S. stock indexes higher in afternoon trading Tuesday as investors sized up the latest round of company earnings news. Energy stocks also rose as crude oil prices headed higher. Health care, phone companies and other high-dividend stocks were among the biggest laggards as bond yields rose. Syria's White Helmets 'proud' after Oscar nomination Syria's White Helmets rescue workers said Tuesday they were "proud" that a documentary film about their work saving civilians in their country's devastating war was nominated for an Oscar. "The White Helmets documentary produced by Netflix was nominated for (an) Oscar!! I'm so proud to have filmed this film and for this nomination," wrote White Helmet photographer Khaled Khatib on Twitter. The documentary titled "The White Helmets" was named a contender Tuesday in the Oscars short documentary category. Italy's constitutional court mulls electoral law ROME (AP) — Italy's constitutional court began hearing challenges Tuesday to the country's electoral law, the outcome of which could help determine when new elections are held. Airbus says entering 'dangerous phase' due to Brexit The operations boss of Airbus declared Tuesday that the European aerospace giant was entering a "dangerous phase" because of Brexit, which could complicate its free movement of staff and products. Tom Williams, Chief Operating Officer and President of Commercial Aircraft at Airbus, made the comments before British lawmakers on parliament's powerful Treasury Select Committee. The Airbus chief was asked if the company would continue to prosper in the face of Brexit -- and whether it could survive without a presence in Britain. Dems challenge Trump health nominee on stocks, health policy WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats criticized stock purchases by President Donald Trump's pick for health secretary on Tuesday at a Senate hearing where Republicans defended the nominee but Democrats attacked his support for tearing down President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and his financial activities as a member of Congress. Iraqi PM: Eastern Mosul 'fully liberated' from Islamic State MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — Iraq's prime minister on Tuesday declared eastern Mosul "fully liberated" from Islamic State group militants after a day of fierce fighting and more than three months after a massive U.S.-backed operation to retake the city began. Saris swirl at rare transgender 'birthday' party in Pakistan By Jibran Ahmad PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - At a party in Peshawar, the guests' saris twirled as they danced to the music and fed each other pieces of cake, but armed police guarding the door indicated this was no normal carefree birthday gathering. The revelers were transgender, people who run the risk of violence in conservative Muslim Pakistan where they often work as dancers at weddings and other parties but are rarely allowed to hold their own celebrations. "It's the first time in a decade that we have openly hosted such a function," said Farzana Jan, a leader of Trans Action Pakistan, a campaign group that estimates there are at least 500,000 transgender people in the country of 190 million. Trump revives controversial oil pipeline projects US President Donald Trump on Tuesday revived two blocked oil pipeline projects as he signaled his determination to unpick existing environmental legislation. Trump gave an amber light to the Keystone XL pipeline -- which would carry deposits from Canadian tar sands to US refineries on the Gulf Coast -- and an equally controversial pipeline crossing in North Dakota. Both had been put on hold by president Barack Obama's administration on environmental grounds. Italy avalanche toll at 16 as helicopter crash adds to pain The toll from an avalanche that swamped an Italian mountain hotel rose to 16 dead and 13 missing Tuesday as a nearby helicopter crash claimed the lives of six people and dealt another blow to a region reeling from earthquakes and the heaviest snowfall in decades. The emergency response helicopter came down in thick fog near Campo Felice, a popular ski resort 120 kilometres (75 miles) east of Rome, during the evacuation of an injured skier. Campo Felice, located at 710 metres (2,330 feet) altitude but with pistes up to just over 2,000 metres, is close to the epicentres of earthquakes that struck the region last Wednesday and were followed by the killer avalanche. Tensions rise in Austrian coalition with do-or-die talk Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern said on Tuesday he was losing patience with his conservative coalition partners, raising the prospect of a government collapse that could play into the hands of the far-right Freedom Party. Kern, a Social Democrat, gave interviews in which he called on the conservative People's Party to back at least some of his recent proposals on economic and political reforms or face a breakdown of their coalition, which runs until 2018. Spats within the centrist bloc are common and neither party appears to have a vested interest in an early parliamentary election, since polls suggest the anti-immigrant Freedom Party (FPO) would win. Brazil officials: Mechanical problems not plane crash cause RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian aviation officials investigating a plane crash that killed a Supreme Court justice say a preliminary analysis of the aircraft's black box has found no indication of mechanical problems. Top Asian News 5:28 p.m. GMT THA PYAY TAW, Myanmar (AP) — Every day before sunrise, dozens of fishermen, shivering against the cold, shove out onto the Bay of Bengal on makeshift rafts made out of plastic jugs, bamboo and twine, just steps away from the sturdy and much safer wooden boats they had used for years. They were barred from using their boats three months ago by Myanmar authorities who say they're trying to prevent insurgents from entering or leaving the country by sea. The ban is one small part of a sweeping and violent counter-insurgency campaign in Rakhine state, home to the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority, where authorities have been accused of widespread abuses. Old Trafford capacity cut as United increase disabled places Manchester United are to create 300 new positions for disabled supporters at Old Trafford as part of a plan that will see the ground's capacity shaved from 75,635 to about 73,000. The increase in the number of places for disabled fans will involve United moving 2,600 season-ticket holders from their current positions over three years -- United admitted that would be "a sacrifice" for those supporters. United hope the structural alterations -- which were warmly welcomed by the Premier League club's disabled fans and roughly double the number of spaces available to them -- will be completed by August. Toyota to add 400 jobs, sink $600M into Indiana SUV factory DETROIT (AP) — Toyota says it will add 400 jobs and invest $600 million at a Southern Indiana SUV factory. CAS rejects Serbia's challenge to Kosovo joining UEFA LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The Serbian soccer federation's appeal against Kosovo joining UEFA has been rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Standing Rock Sioux tribe opposes Trump order on Dakota pipeline: statement (Reuters) - The Standing Rock Sioux tribe in a statement on Tuesday said it opposed U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order that would allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to move forward. The tribe, in a statement, said the $3.8 billion project would contaminate U.S. and tribal water supply, and that it intends to take legal action against the decision. PM Abadi says Iraq's oil is for Iraqis, in reaction to Trump Iraq's oil is the property of Iraqis, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday, in reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump who argued that the United States should have taken possession of the nation's crude reserves. In a speech to CIA officials on Saturday, Trump suggested the United States should have taken Iraq's oil in reimbursement for the 2003 invasion that put an end to Saddam Hussein's rule. Trump also suggested that taking Iraq's oil would have prevented Islamic State from rising up, by removing a source of the group's funding, according to a Huffington Post report of the encounter. BT shares plunge on cost of Italian accounting scandal LONDON (AP) — Shares in telecoms giant BT plunged by a fifth Tuesday after the London-based company warned of the cost of an accounting scandal at its Italian business and broad weakness in the global market. Seekers of phone sex keep dialing Irish town in error DUBLIN (AP) — The citizens of Westport have a message for the sexually desperate of Ireland: Please, babe, let us sleep. Russia says draft of new Syria constitution handed to rebels Russia has given rebels a draft version of a new constitution for Syria drawn up by Moscow to speed up political negotiations to end the conflict, the Kremlin's envoy said Tuesday. "We have handed the Syrian armed opposition a draft constitution of Syria prepared by Russian specialists for them to study," Russia's envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, told reporters. Kosovo experts to prove no loss in Montenegro border deal PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — A commission of experts in Kosovo has started work to measure the territory before August 2015 when a demarcation border deal with neighboring Montenegro, vehemently contested by the country's opposition, was signed. Syrian rebels battle jihadists in northern Syria By Tom Perry BEIRUT (Reuters) - Heavy fighting erupted in northwestern Syria on Tuesday between a powerful jihadist organization and more moderate rebel groups, threatening to further weaken the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad in its biggest territorial stronghold. Rebel groups fighting under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) banner, some of whom have representatives attending peace talks in Kazakhstan, accused the jihadist group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham of launching a surprise attack on their positions west of Aleppo. Fateh al-Sham could not immediately be reached for comment. Iraq clears east Mosul, amid fears for civilians in west Iraqi forces retook the last area of Mosul east of the Tigris River Tuesday, 100 days into an offensive whose next phase aid groups warned could have dire consequences for civilians. Army units flushed out fighters of the Islamic State group from a rural area on the northern edge of Mosul, completing an important step in Iraq's largest military operation in years. Commanders from the elite Counter-Terrorism Service that has done most of the fighting and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had already declared east Mosul "liberated" last week. French president meets with leftist rebels in Colombia LA VENTA, Colombia (AP) — French President Francois Hollande is meeting with leaders of Colombia's largest rebel movement in an area where they will soon begin turning over weapons as part of a historic peace deal. Key points in the Syria statement issued in Astana ASTANA, Kazakhstan (AP) — Russia, Turkey and Iran, who sponsored the first face-to-face meeting between Syria's armed opposition and Syrian government in Kazakhstan this week, issued a joint statement at the conclusion of the talks Tuesday announcing their intention to establish a trilateral mechanism to ensure full compliance with a cease-fire for Syria in place since Dec. 30. Bulgaria sets early vote for March 26, ex-parliament speaker to be interim PM Bulgaria's president on Tuesday called an early national election for March 26 and appointed former parliament speaker Ognyan Gerdzhikov as caretaker prime minister until then. Kiril Ananiev, 61, currently a deputy finance minister in charge of budgets, will take over as finance minister, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. President Rumen Radev, who took office this month, had to call an early election after the centre-right government resigned late last year following the presidential election loss of its candidate. Arsenal midfielder Xhaka questioned by police LONDON (AP) — Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has been questioned by police after being accused of racially abusing an employee at Heathrow Airport, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported. Merkel won't face vote challenge from Gabriel The head of Germany's Social Democrats on Tuesday abandoned an expected bid to challenge Chancellor Angela Merkel in September's general election, nominating former European Parliament speaker Martin Schulz instead. Sigmar Gabriel, 57, who currently serves as vice chancellor and economy minister in Merkel's government, revealed the decision in media interviews, saying his chances of victory would be dismal. Speaking ahead of a party meeting in Berlin to news weekly Stern, Gabriel proposed Schulz, speaker in the Brussels parliament until last week, as a candidate. WRHL 2017-01-24T18:14:57Z