World briefs

PORTUGAL Spain’s King Felipe VI and Brazilian President Michel Temer were among the dignitaries in Lisbon attending the state funeral of Mario Soares, a former Portuguese leader who steered his country to democracy after a 1974 army coup toppled Portugal’s four-decade dictatorship.

THAILAND prime minister says he will honor a request from the country’s new king that several changes be made to a constitution that was approved in a referendum last August. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha informed the public that the king wished to have several articles about the monarchy amended.

PHILIPPINES Eight Filipino fishermen were fatally shot by at least five suspected pirates who boarded their boat in the southern Philippines, officials said yesterday. Seven other crewmembers survived the attack by jumping off the boat and swimming away, said the head of the Philippine Coast Guard.

SOUTH KOREA Disgraced South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s longtime friend at the center of a massive corruption scandal refuses to testify at Park’s impeachment trial, with lawmakers alleging it is a stalling tactic. 

PAKISTAN International and local rights groups yesterday urged the Pakistani government to investigate the abductions last week of four anti-Taliban activists – disappearances that critics claim reflect a crackdown on secular dissent.

IRAQ  The U.N.’s humanitarian aid agency says an average of 1,000 people have fled the Iraqi city of Mosul each day over the last week amid a stepped-up Iraqi offensive to retake the city from the Islamic State group. According to the U.N., some 135,500 people have fled Mosul since the operation began in mid-October.

LEBANON’s newly elected president met yesterday with the Saudi king during his first visit to the kingdom, a meeting that could melt the ice between the two countries after relations became strained over divisions on Iran and the Shiite militant group Hezbollah.

TURKEY Private NTV television says an assailant has been killed during an attempted attack on a police station in the Turkish city of Gaziantep, near the border with Syria. Two suspected accomplices are believed to have fled the scene, the station said, citing local journalists.

UKRAINE Police say a monument to the victims of a Second World War massacre in a western Ukrainian village has been blown up. Vandals are suspected of destroying a stone cross commemorating Polish villagers who were massacred in 1944 by a Nazi unit mostly composed of Ukrainian volunteers.

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