Following is a summary of current world news briefs.
U.S. says Iran may have killed more than 1,000 in recent protests
Iranian security forces may have killed more than 1,000 people since protests over gasoline price hikes began in mid-November, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said on Thursday, adding that many thousands were also wounded in the unrest. "As the truth is trickling out of Iran, it appears the regime could have murdered over a thousand Iranian citizens since the protests began," Hook told reporters at a briefing at the State Department.
Mexico meeting with U.S. attorney general to focus on cooperation: president
Meetings between Mexican officials and U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday will focus on bilateral cooperation, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told a regular morning news briefing. During the meetings, which Lopez Obrador and senior officials will hold with Barr on security issues, a document will be reviewed that will serve as a point of reference, the president said. He did not provide further details.
U.S. cracks down on Russian 'Evil Corp' hackers after $100 million spree
U.S. authorities on Thursday took aim at a Russian cybercriminal group known as Evil Corp, indicting its Lamborghini-driving alleged leader and ordering asset freezes against 17 of his associates over a digital crime spree that has netted more than $100 million from companies across the world. The action against Evil Corp., described by officials as one of the most damaging criminal organizations on the internet, comes with a $5 million bounty issued for information leading to the arrest of its alleged leader, Maksim Yakubets.
Canada's Trudeau clears first hurdle as opposition party offers support
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cleared a first hurdle on Thursday after the leader of the opposition Bloc Quebecois party said he would support the new minority government's priorities, at least initially. Trudeau's Liberals were re-elected in October but lost their parliamentary majority and need the support of at least one opposition party to stay in power and pass legislation.
UK's Labour accuses BBC of bias in election coverage
Britain's opposition Labour Party wrote to the head of the BBC on Thursday to complain about its coverage of campaigning ahead of next week's election, accusing the publicly-funded broadcaster of bias. Labour’s co-campaign coordinator Andrew Gwynne said they had recorded numerous examples where his party's leadership had received "more negative treatment, harsher scrutiny and slanted editorial comment" than Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives.
As scandal simmers, majority of Japan firms want PM Abe to finish term: Reuters poll
A majority of Japanese firms want long-serving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to finish his term to September 2021 but fewer than one in five say he should stay beyond then, a Reuters poll showed, as allegations that he broke campaign laws erode public support. Opposition lawmakers allege Abe favored supporters with invites to an annual state-funded cherry-blossom viewing party and may have broken campaign laws by subsidizing backers’ attendance at a reception the night before. Questions have also arisen over whether a gangster attended the state-funded event and why this year's invitation list was shredded.
Little wiggle room as Ukraine, Russia leaders meet for crunch Paris talks
Ukrainian and Russian leaders will try to seal a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine and agree prisoner swaps when they meet next week but with Kiev politically constrained and Moscow unlikely to bend, prospects for peace remain bleak, diplomats said. Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Vladimir Putin hold their first face-to-face talks on Dec. 9 in Paris overseen by the French and German leaders, more than three years since the countries' heads of state last met. It comes after a slight easing of tensions.
Ethiopia PM should talk to media when collecting Peace Prize: Nobel committee
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed will not talk to the news media when he is in Oslo next week to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, drawing rare criticism from the award committee, which says a free and independent press is vital. The Ethiopian leader won the prize in October for his peacemaking efforts which ended two decades of hostility with longtime enemy Eritrea.
U.S. Uighur bill's threat to surveillance economy puts China on offensive
China reacted angrily to President Donald Trump's approval of legislation supporting Hong Kong protesters last month, but movement on another congressional bill, backing Uighur Muslims in China's northwest, has cut even closer to the bone and could trigger reprisals and hurt efforts to resolve the U.S.-China trade war.U.S. congressional sources and China experts say Beijing appears especially sensitive to provisions in the Uighur Act passed by the House of Representatives this week banning exports to China of items that can be used for surveillance of individuals, including facial and voice-recognition technology. China will also be upset that the bill - which still requires Senate passage and Trump's signature to become law - calls for sanctions against a member of the powerful politburo for the first time. But its commercial stipulations have even more practical power to hurt the interests of Chinese leaders, sources say.
French strike against Macron reforms enters day two
A strike that crippled public transport and closed schools across France entered a second day on Friday, with trade unions saying they planned to keep going until President Emmanuel Macron backs down from a planned reform of pensions. The strike pits Macron, a 41-year-old former investment banker who came to power in 2017 on a promise to open up France's highly regulated economy, against powerful trade unions who say he is set on dismantling worker protections.