Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
Chinese hackers are targeting US infrastructure, FBI chief to testify
Hackers linked to the Chinese government are targeting critical infrastructure in the United States, preparing to cause “real-world harm” to Americans, FBI Director Christopher Wray plans to tell a House of Representatives panel on Wednesday. Water treatment plants, the electrical grid, oil and natural gas pipelines and transportation hubs are among the targets of state-sponsored hacking operations that have received “far too little public focus,” Wray will testify to the House select committee on competition with China.
Pakistan ex-PM Imran Khan, wife, jailed for 14 years in graft case, his party says
A Pakistani anti-graft court jailed Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Khan for 14 years each on charges of illegally selling state gifts, his party said on Wednesday, the third conviction for the embattled former prime minister in the last few months. The verdict also includes a 10-year disqualification from holding public office, his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said. Bushra Khan, commonly known as Bushra Bibi, gave herself up for arrest shortly after the verdict, PTI added.
South Korea’s Yoon warns North Korea may try to disrupt April poll
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol warned on Wednesday that North Korea could stage provocations such as armed actions near the shared border, drone intrusions, cyber attacks or spreading fake news to interfere in April’s parliamentary elections. Yoon made the remarks as he convened an annual meeting of the central integrated defence council that brings together the military, government and civil defence entities.
Taiwan angered at ‘unilateral’ China change to Taiwan Strait flight path
Taiwan’s government expressed anger after China “unilaterally” changed a flight path close to the sensitive median line in the Taiwan Strait, saying it appeared to be a deliberate attempt to change the status quo for possible military means. China’s civil aviation administration said in a short statement late Tuesday that from Thursday it was cancelling an “offset measure” for the southbound operation of the M503 flight route, which is just west of the strait’s median line.
Israel pounds Gaza, regional tensions high as Hamas studies ceasefire proposal
Israeli forces pounded areas in northern and southern Gaza on Wednesday after Hamas said it had received and was studying a new proposal for a ceasefire and release of hostages held in the Palestinian enclave. The proposal, presented to the Palestinian militant group by mediators after talks with Israel, appeared to be the most serious peace initiative for months in the Israel-Hamas war.
World Court to rule on whether Russia violated international treaties in Ukraine
The United Nations’ top court will rule on Wednesday on whether Russia violated an anti-terrorism treaty by funding pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, including those who shot down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014. Kyiv says Russia also violated a human rights treaty by discriminating against ethnic Tatars and Ukrainians in Crimea, the peninsula which Russia declared annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
Sultan Ibrahim of Johor state installed as Malaysia’s 17th king
Malaysia’s Sultan Ibrahim from the southern state of Johor was installed as the country’s 17th king on Wednesday, taking the oath of office in a ceremony at the national palace in Kuala Lumpur. The monarchy plays a mostly ceremonial role in Malaysia, but its influence has grown in recent years, prompting the king to wield rarely-used discretionary powers to quell political instability.
The logistics of war: How Washington is preparing for a Chinese invasion of Taiwan
When U.S. and Australian troops practiced amphibious landings, ground combat and air operations last summer, they drew headlines about the allies deepening defense cooperation to counter China’s growing military ambitions. But for U.S. war planners preparing for a potential conflict over Taiwan, the high-profile Talisman Sabre exercises had a far more discreet value: They helped create new stockpiles of military equipment that were left behind in Australia after the drills ended in August, U.S. officials told Reuters.
Farmers in Europe step up protests against rising costs, green rules
French and Belgian farmers set up dozens of blockades on highways and on access roads to a major container port on Wednesday to press governments to ease environmental rules and protect them from rising costs and cheap imports. Protests have spread across Europe. Spanish farmers said they would join the movement, while 1,000 Italian farmers were planning to take part in rallies in Brussels on Thursday, to press EU leaders meeting in the capital to act. German and Romanian farmers with similar grievances have also taken action.
US says fentanyl talks with China ‘meaningful’ but more needs to be done-official
Talks between the U.S. and Chinese officials on stemming the flow of chemicals used for the production of deadly fentanyl have been “substantive” but “much more” needs to be done, the head of the White House delegation to Beijing said on Wednesday.
Washington hopes for deeper law enforcement cooperation, including on tackling illicit finance, and wants Beijing to put further controls on the chemicals that can be used to make fentanyl, said Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor Jen Daskal.
(With inputs from agencies.)