Reuters World News Summary

Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

Turkey says Libya's Haftar violating ceasefire, must be stopped

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu accused Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar on Saturday of constantly violating a ceasefire in the country, saying he "must be stopped" so a political solution could be found. Turkey backs the internationally-recognized government of Fayez al-Serraj in Libya and has sent military personnel to the country in support of Serraj. President Tayyip Erdogan has also warned that Ankara may deploy troops there if necessary.

Syrian army clears barricades on Damascus-Aleppo highway-state media

Syrian troops began clearing barricades from the main highway between Damascus and Aleppo on Saturday after recovering full control of the road in a Russian-backed offensive, Syrian state media reported. It marks a major gain for President Bashar al-Assad, as reopening the M5 highway will restore the shortest route between Syria's two biggest cities for the first time in more than seven years of conflict.

U.S. criticism of China is 'lies', foreign minister says

China's State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi dismissed U.S. criticism of his country as "lies" on Saturday, shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized its foreign policy and desire for "empire". "All these accusations against China are lies, not based on facts," Wang told the Munich Security Conference. "But if we replace the subject of the lie from China to America, maybe those lies become facts."

U.S. to evacuate Americans aboard cruise ship quarantined at Japan port

The United States said it would send an aircraft to Japan to bring back U.S. passengers on the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, where the most coronavirus infections outside China have occurred. The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said in a letter on Saturday to passengers that a chartered plane would arrive in Japan on Sunday evening and that it recommended "out of an abundance of caution" that U.S. citizens disembark and return home for further monitoring.

Turkey says it fulfilled responsibilities in Syria's Idlib in line with agreements

Turkey has fulfilled its responsibilities in the northwestern Syrian region of Idlib in line with the agreements it made with Russia and Iran, Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Saturday, after violence spiked in recent weeks. Turkey and Russia back opposing sides in the conflict, and agreed in 2018 to set up a de-escalation zone in the region. A Syrian government offensive disrupted Ankara and Moscow's fragile cooperation, after 13 Turkish soldiers were killed in the past two weeks.

Chinese tourist becomes Europe's first coronavirus death

An elderly Chinese tourist infected with the coronavirus has died in France, Paris said on Saturday, becoming the first fatality in Europe and the fourth outside mainland China from an epidemic that has rattled the world. Thought to have originated from a wildlife market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the outbreak has dented the world's second largest economy and presented a huge challenge to the ruling Communist Party.

'The West is winning,' U.S. tells China; France wary

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended on Saturday his nation's global role despite misgivings in Europe, vowing that Western values would prevail over Russian and Chinese desires for "empire". Seeking to reassure Europeans troubled by U.S. President Donald Trump's "America first" rhetoric, his ambivalence over the NATO military alliance and tariffs on European goods, Pompeo said there was no crisis in Western leadership.

Philippines' Duterte says Trump deserves to be re-elected

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday that Donald Trump deserved to be re-elected, praising the U.S. president's reaction to his decision to end a decades-old military agreement with the United States. Trump said on Wednesday he did not mind Duterte's decision to end the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) even as his defense secretary, Mark Esper, called the move "unfortunate" as Washington and its allies press China to abide by "international rules" in Asia.

Exclusive: Senior China diplomat concedes challenge of coronavirus, slams 'overreaction'

A top Chinese official acknowledged on Friday that the new coronavirus is a deep challenge to the country, but defended Beijing's management of the epidemic while lashing out at the "overreaction" of other countries. In a wide-ranging interview with Reuters in the German capital, State Councillor Wang Yi, who also serves as China's foreign minister, urged the United States not to take unnecessary virus-response measures that could hamper trade, travel and tourism.

Flights canceled as Britain braces for Storm Dennis

Flights have been canceled and the army drafted in as Britain prepares for Storm Dennis with the authorities warning of heavy rain and flooding in parts of England. EasyJet has warned of "significant disruption" to its operations whilst Luton Airport is advising passengers to check with their airlines before setting off from home.