World briefs

CHINA-PHILIPPINES Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said yesterday that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping resolved to strengthen their countries’ friendship during their meeting in Beijing, with China pledging to speed up infrastructure projects it is funding in the Philippines. Duterte said he didn’t raise last year’s South China Sea arbitration ruling while in Beijing. 

THAILAND backed off a threat to block Facebook yesterday, instead providing the social media site with court orders to remove content that the government deems illegal. Thailand made the threat last week as it wanted Facebook to block more than 130 posts it considers a threat to national security or in violation of the country’s lese majeste law. 

NEW ZEALAND Researchers who traveled to a tiny uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean were astonished to find an estimated 38 million pieces of trash washed up on the beaches. The density of trash was the highest recorded anywhere in the world, despite Henderson Island’s extreme remoteness.

US-RUSSIA President Donald Trump yesterday claimed the authority to share “facts pertaining to terrorism” and airline safety with Russia, saying in a pair of tweets he has “an absolute right” as president to do so. 

GERMANY A German court has convicted a 32-year-old Iraqi man of raping two Chinese college students in the western city of Bochum. The dpa news agency reported yesterday that the court sentenced the man to 11 years in prison.

DENMARK Authorities say that a Danish national has been arrested upon an extradition request from Rwanda where he’s suspected of committing crimes against humanity in 1994. Prosecutor Martin Stassen says the 49-year-old man was arrested yesterday on suspicion of taking part in a massacre in a church and at a university where more than 1,000 people were killed.

EU The European Union has removed all airlines from Benin and Mozambique from its air safety blacklist after the companies addressed the bloc’s safety concerns. EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc said yesterday that the airlines’ removal from the blacklist showed their reforms and cooperation have paid off.

BRAZIL A few hundred national Brazilian security forces are patrolling parts of Rio de Janeiro following a surge in violence. Several public buses and cargo trucks have been burned in recent weeks. There has also been an increase in violence in large slums like Alemao.

UNITED NATIONS The U.N. is predicting expanding global economic growth in the next two years, spurred by stronger growth in the last six months and a modest recovery in trade and investment. In its mid-year update released yesterday, the U.N. said the acceleration is underpinned by firm economic growth in many developed countries and strengthened prospects in countries in transition.

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