Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Islamic state confirms death of its leader, names new chief
Islamic State confirmed on Thursday the death of its leader Abu Ibrahim Al-hashemi Al-Quraishi and its spokesperson Abu Hamza Al-Quraishi, and announced Abu Al-Hassan Al-hashemi Al-Quraishi as its new chief. Quraishi, a religious scholar and soldier in former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s army who led IS from the shadows for a little over two years, died in a U.S. special forces raid in northern Syria in February when he detonated a bomb that killed him and family members, the U.S. administration said.
Two young American women rescued from Yemen’s Houthis in U.S.-Saudi operation -source
Saudi Arabia and the United States mounted a joint operation in January to rescue two young American women who were held captive by the Iran-backed Houthi movement in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday. The Yemen-born women, aged 19 and 20, were flown from the Yemeni capital to the southern city of Aden and then to the Saudi capital of Riyadh, where they underwent health checks and other care, said the source, who requested anonymity.
Putin says Russia will emerge stronger, sanctions will rebound on West
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that sanctions imposed against Russia would rebound against the West, including in the form of higher food and energy prices, and Moscow would solve its problems and emerge stronger. Putin said there had been no alternative to what Russia calls its special military operation in Ukraine and that Russia was not a country which could accept compromising its sovereignty for some sort of short-term economic gain.
Meta Platforms will allow Facebook and Instagram users in some countries to call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers in the context of the Ukraine invasion, according to internal emails seen by Reuters on Thursday, in a temporary change to its hate speech policy. The social media company is also temporarily allowing some posts that call for death to Russian President Vladimir Putin or Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in countries including Russia, Ukraine and Poland, according to internal emails to its content moderators.
North Korea’s Kim orders expansion of ICBM launch site -state media report
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for expanding its site for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) into an “ultramodern advanced base” in order to become a space power, state media KCNA reported on Friday. Kim made the remarks during a visit to the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground, which has been used to put a satellite in orbit, but also for various tests involving missile technology. Those include static rocket engines and space launch vehicles which South Korean and U.S. officials have said require similar technology used in ICBMs.
Besieged Ukrainians endure bombardments, with no breakthrough in talks
Hundreds of thousands of civilians remained trapped in Ukrainian cities on Thursday, sheltering from Russian air raids and shelling as talks between Ukraine and Russia’s foreign ministers made little apparent progress. With Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine entering its third week, officials in Mariupol said Russian warplanes again bombed the southern port city where a maternity hospital was pulverised on Wednesday.
Explainer-How the U.S. could tighten sanctions on Russia
The United States has imposed several rafts of sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine two weeks ago, targeting its central bank, major lenders, oligarchs and elites and President Vladimir Putin, while saying all options are on the table for additional action. Here are some ways in which the United States could further increase sanctions on Russia.
Iran and the United States were at loggerheads over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal on Thursday after Tehran suggested there were new obstacles and Washington said hard issues remained. The differences emerged just as Western powers were already grappling with last-minute Russian demands that threatened to torpedo otherwise largely completed talks.
EU snubs Ukraine’s quest to join, braces for long stand-off with Russia
European Union leaders gathered on Thursday to agree on a joint response to the war in Ukraine, with differing views on how far to go with economic sanctions, how quickly to cut Russian energy imports, and whether or not to let Kyiv join their bloc swiftly. Russia has waged war on its smaller neighbour since Feb. 24, when it attacked from land, sea and air to remove Ukraine’s pro-Western government in an attempt to abort the former Soviet republic’s bid to join the EU and NATO.
Analysis-Two weeks into Ukraine war, faint glimmers of compromise emerge
Talks between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers produced no apparent progress towards a ceasefire on Thursday but analysts said the fact they were even meeting left a window open for ending Russia’s war against Ukraine. Ukraine’s Dmytro Kuleba said his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov had indicated he did not have the authority to negotiate even a 24-hour ceasefire or a humanitarian corridor in Mariupol, the besieged southern Ukrainian city under heavy fire from Russian artillery.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)