World News Briefs -- February 20, 2018 (Evening Edition)



BBC: Syria war: '250 killed' in Eastern Ghouta bombardment

The death toll from two days of bombing by Syria's government of a rebel-held area has risen to 250, reports say.

It is the worst violence in the Eastern Ghouta area near Damascus since 2013, according to activists. More than 50 children are among the dead, they say.

The UN has warned that the situation is "spiralling out of control".

Meanwhile the Damascus government has sent forces to confront Turkish troops who have crossed the border to push back the Kurds in northern Syria.

The Syrian military has not commented on the reports from the Eastern Ghouta, but said it carried out "precision strikes" on areas from which the shells were launched.

A UN spokesperson said at least six hospitals had been hit in the area on Monday and Tuesday.

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MIDDLE EAST

Syrian forces continue bloody offensive in East Ghouta. Ghouta: Death toll soars as Syrian government bombards rebel-held city.

US 'deeply concerned' about attacks on Syria rebel enclave.

Pro-government fighters move into Syria's Afrin.

Turkey denies reports Syria will help YPG in Afrin.

Erdogan: Turkish army will besiege Afrin within days.

Israel’s Netanyahu and former state secretary Kerry go toe-to-toe on Iran nuclear deal.

Iran plane crash wreckage found on top of mountain, no survivors expected.

Abbas seeks alternative to US as peace mediator.

Abbas calls for international peace conference at UNSC.

New woes for Netanyahu as associates probed in fresh graft cases.

ASIA

Pakistan given three-month reprieve over terrorist financing watchlist: minister.

Maldives extends state of emergency by 30 days.

S. Korean official in charge of cryptocurrency crackdown found dead.

Another Marawi possible, Philippine rebel chief warns.

Duterte plays down China military facilities in disputed seas.

North Korea ‘fully ready for both dialogue and war,’ state media says

Fewer countries welcoming North Korean passport holders.

Hopes fading for reunion of Korean families.

Study reveals North Korean cyber-espionage has reached new heights.

Myanmar government 'bulldozing Rohingya mass grave to hide evidence'.

Terracotta theft: Chinese anger over stolen warrior thumb.

Cyclone Gita packs 150 kph winds for New Zealand. Gita blasts New Zealand; several districts declare emergency.

AFRICA

Congo: Thousands flee amid surge in 'horrific violence'.

South Africa: Cyril Ramaphosa announces 'lifestyle audits' for public officials.

Mozambique president presses peace deal with opposition.

Anti-jihadist Sahel force to push for more funding.

Over 5 million seek to vote in controversial Burundi poll: election chief.

Third of Burundi population needs humanitarian aid: UN.

2 aid workers killed, 1 kidnapped in DRC, U.N. says.

West African pirates taking hostages for ransom as oil prices tank.

Zimbabwe opposition prepares for election.

Mogadishu's Bakara market on strike over new government tax.

Kenya allows opposition figures to fly to Zimbabwe.

EUROPE

Sharp decline in illegal migrants entering EU in 2017: Frontex.

Latvian defense ministry says corruption claims may be disinformation campaign.

Dozens of Russian casualties in Syria battle, Russian ministry says. Dozens of Russian, CIS citizens killed & injured in recent clashes in Syria – Foreign Ministry.

UK Prime Minister May warns EU against freezing Britain out of defense developments.

Post-Brexit UK won't be like Mad Max, says David Davis.

Germany's far-right AfD overtakes Social Democrats in poll.

Serbia arrests eight foreigners on suspicion of spying on military facilities.

Netherlands becoming a narco-state, warn Dutch police.

Catalan politician Anna Gabriel defies court summons.

WHO warns of soaring rates of measles in Europe.

AMERICAS

Trump, Mexican president talk security, trade, migration.

Mueller ups pressure on Trump campaign aides with new charge.

George Clooney to join Florida teens in gun control march on Washington.

Trump pushes for ban on gun 'bump stocks'. Donald Trump orders ban on Las Vegas-style bump stock gun modifications.

Top Democrat suggests proof of Trump-Russia collusion still to come.

Mexico kicks off presidential election with 3 candidates.

Mexico arrests 'the Accountant' of notorious Gulf cartel.

Venezuela starts pre-sale of Petro cryptocurrency.

Oxfam apologises to Haiti over sex abuse allegations.

Mexico investigates disappearance of three Italians.

Peru's ex-President Fujimori ordered to stand trial again.

Trudeau in India: Did Modi government snub Canadian PM?

TERRORISM/THE LONG WAR

Pentagon hopes Guantanamo inmate will 'soon' go to Saudi Arabia.

After ISIS, the US faces its next battle: Syria’s erupting fault lines.

ISIS, routed in Iraq and Syria, is quietly gaining strength in Africa.

Guantanamo: Beautiful, weird and frustrating.

Islamic State 'Beatles': US and UK talk about fate of duo.

ECONOMY/FINANCE/BUSINESS

Walmart’s plunge sinks retailers, breaking streak for stocks.

Bitcoin nearly doubles in value from year's low hit in early February.

EU prepares response to possible US tariffs.

Apple rushes out fix to Telugu letter text bomb bug.

HSBC profits jump to $17.2bn on Asia growth.

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