Last update: Mon, 24 Oct 2016 07pm

General News: World


Iraq's elite counter-terrorism service (CTS) on Thursday retook full control of Bartalla, a small Christian town to the east of Mosul which the Islamic State group seized two years ago. CTS commander Taleb Sheghati al-Kenani announced the jihadists' defeat in Bartalla on television from the town, which lies less than 15 kilometres (9 miles) from the eastern edge of Mosul. "I announce to the people of Bartalla and Mosul we have complete control over Bartalla. Its residents, its churches and all of its infrastructure are now under the control of CTS," he said.
Supporters of Israel from across the globe marched in Jerusalem on Thursday, two days after UNESCO backed a resolution which Israel said denied Judaism's connection to the city. Thousands marched through the largely closed centre of Jerusalem as part of the annual Jerusalem March, an important part of the Sukkot Jewish holiday. Groups carried flags from dozens of countries, including the United States, Brazil and Thailand, with many visiting as part of Christian delegations.
Pentagon chief Ashton Carter on Thursday decried North Korea's latest missile test and again vowed an "overwhelming" response if Pyongyang were ever to launch a nuclear weapon. North Korea on Thursday - Wednesday in the United States - conducted what appeared to be a failed test of a powerful medium-range missile that experts warn could be deployed as early as next year.
Iran has stepped up weapons transfers to the Houthis, the militia fighting the Saudi-backed government in Yemen, US, Western and Iranian officials told Reuters, a development that threatens to prolong and intensify the 19-month-old war. The increased pace of transfers in recent months, which officials said include missiles and small arms, could exacerbate a security headache for the United States, which last week struck Houthi targets with cruise missiles in retaliation for failed missile attacks on a US Navy destroyer.
European Union leaders warned Russia at a summit on Thursday that they will consider sanctions over its role in the Syrian conflict if Moscow does not stop "crimes" in the devastated city of Aleppo. As the bloc's 28 leaders met in Brussels for a crucial discussion on their future strategy to deal with Moscow, EU President Donald Tusk said they should "keep all options open, including sanctions".
Tajikistan began joint anti-terror drills with China on Thursday close near the border with Afghanistan as part of Beijing's drive to boost security in the region. Tajikistan's defence ministry told AFP that the exercises on Tajik territory would last until October 24 and involve at least 10,000 troops as well as military vehicles and helicopters.
Scattered clashes between rebels and pro-government forces undermined a fragile cease-fire in Yemen Thursday as global pressure intensified for a lasting truce in a country where millions are homeless and hungry. At least 11 people were killed on the first day of the UN-brokered cease-fire, despite all parties insisting they will pause the fighting.